Barring Medicines In Syria…
But that was then and now its spring in Damascus, or so it feels to those of us used to New England Januarys. It’s nearly downright balmy here. Spring flowers are bursting out all over and the city parks are crowded with mothers pushing baby carriages, kids playing and young lovers cooing softly on the park benches. Park workers are raking the dead leaves and others trimming the palm trees and piling the branches neatly on flatbed trucks.
What “civil war”? What “crisis”? One is tempted to ask himself even though there continues to be intermittent “thuds” and a jet streaking overhead now and then en route apparently to one of the suburbs where clashes erupt intermittently.
It’s been a rough winter and perhaps we are just experiencing here a false spring. Yet one senses a palpable sigh of relief and even some optimism while talking to citizens, NGO staffers and some officials. It could be partly the wonderful weather but perhaps also a realization that a corner may have been turned, peace and security will be restored and the killing ended. Some refugees are to be seen returning to Damascus. Syrians and Palestinians from Lebanon — yet there are still traffic backups with cars piled high with personal belongings crossing over to Lebanon at the Masnaa border checkpoint. Meanwhile the Ministry of Interior in Damascus has pledged various forms of help to those who heed the governments call to “come back home to your people.”
Energized by the exhilarating park ambiance this observer decided to walk to UNESCO headquarters for an appointment. Plus it can be kind of tough at times to find a taxi these days.
Perhaps I should have remained in the park. Lord knows that this observer has experienced his share of irate women shouting at him over the years. Being raised by three older sisters and a no-nonsense German/Italian mother- all of them unmercifully wanting to correct my behavior was a mere harbinger of things to come. But, even with this “training”, I was ill prepared for what the lady at the UNESCO office here in central Damascus unleashed on me.
And I had not done the lady wrong.
Except, perhaps, that I happen to be an American and there is plenty of anger here among the Syrian public, the NGO’s, and increasingly the international legal community among others — not toward the American people but toward the US government — over the effects of its sanctions which are severely and illegally targeting the civilian population. At the same time they are directly contributing to prospects of irreparably damaging many of this millenary country’s historic sites.
According to archeological experts here, Syria, with its six UNESCO world heritage sites testifying to its deserved reputation as being one of the most archeologically well-preserved cradles of civilization, may soon to be the most wantonly destroyed in modern times (Iraq being the other). This frequently-predicted catastrophe is a result, not only of war in the usual sense, but war in its more subtle form of US-led sanctions aimed at political regime change.
Of particular concern to UNESCO, whose UN mandate includes registering and protecting World historical sites, is the preservation of the Ancient Cities of Damascus, Bosra, Palmyra, Aleppo, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’ at Salah El-Din, as well as the ancient villages of Northern Syria.
This week, the Syrian Directorate of Antiquities and Museums has released its detailed report of acts of vandalism and illegal excavations by armed groups and foreign thieves across Syria. The Directorate has documented violations against archeological sites and Syrian museums, as well the emerging phenomenon of artifact forgery. In Aleppo, the Antiquities division reported that al-Diriya caves in Samaan Mountain suffered from acts of sabotage, adding that “terrorists have looted the equipment of excavations, wooden columns and timbers.”
Also, this week, Human Rights Watch issued a report that Saudi-Qatar-US backed militants destroyed religious locations following a four-day investigation in the provinces of Latakia and Idlib. According to HRW, a Husseiniyah (a congregation hall for Shia commemoration ceremonies) was destroyed by the militants in Idlib, while two Christian churches were looted in Latakia. The Middle East director at the Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson claimed that Syria “will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship.”
Against this backdrop, it is not totally surprising that my UNESCO hostess, less than half a minute after I entered her office, literally threw at me a statement in French from Director Irina Bokova of the UNESCO HQ in Paris. It read:
“I am deeply distressed by the daily news about the escalation of damage to cultural heritage throughout Syria. We saw damage to the Citadel in July and the souks ten days ago, and the Umayyad Mosque, heart of the religious life of the city, one of the most beautiful mosques in the Muslim world, is being severely endangered. In Northern Syria, the region of the Ancient Villages inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2011 is heavily struck and it seems that the invaluable Saint-Simeon Byzantine complex might have been torched.”
Before I could finish reading, the lady exclaimed: “These testimonials from the past!…” raising her voice and glaring at me while pointing to the posters of Syrian historical sites on her wall, “the destruction of this heritage for which your sanctions are partly responsible. Your government is responsible today and will be tomorrow, for the whole of humanity.” When I was eventually able to get a word in sideways, I explained that I had come to her office precisely because I have been studying the immoral, illegal and “un-American” sanctions and that I was spending my time in Syria learning first-hand about the sanctions’ utter disregard for the humanitarian concerns of the Syrian people — in contravention to what one hears repeatedly from US officials.
When I added, I don’t know any Americans who would condone what the Congress and our government have been doing, if they knew the facts on the ground, she did calm down a bit and said she understood what I was saying and more or less agreed. She then mentioned a national poll conducted on 13 January by the Better World Campaign, an organization that works to support U.S.-U.N. relations, that showed that 83 percent of US citizens believe it is important that their country provide funding to UNESCO and want the US to lift its sanctioning of UNESCO and pay its withheld budget contribution, which accounts for 22% of the UN specialized agency’s budget.
“Let me tell you something!” she exclaimed and launched into describing the dire effects of the current US-led sanctions on UNESCO’s work in preserving and protecting historical sites. In her view, the American assault on UNESCO and its work began when UNESCO committed a sin in March of 2011 by admitting Palestine as a full member.
She explained: “For months our offices had been warned by Israeli officials and then Americans, that there would be a big price-tag were we to admit Palestine.” And there was. In October 2011, the U.S. cut off funding to UNESCO as payback for admitting Palestine as a member and in November 2012, the United States was one of nine member states out of 193 in the General Assembly who, on behalf of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine, tried to unsuccessfully bar Palestine from gaining non-member observer state status at the UN.
UNESCO and some other NGO staff here claim that much of the damage here could have been prevented if there was a lifting of the US 2011 cut-off of UNESCO’s budget. As a direct result, UNESCO cannot even replace more than 400 staffers who left from normal attrition or even hire “neighborhood watch,” local volunteer personnel, to coordinate the guarding by of many archeological sites around Syria.
Regarding the other layers of US-led sanctions targeting the civilian population here, a survey by NGO’s on the impact of the fake “medicine and foods” exemptions will soon be released. Its indictment of the US-led sanctions is severe. Contrary to Washington and NATO mythology, the “medicine and foods” exemptions do not exist in reality because suppliers of both fear being accused of violating the great number of sanction details. Washington and Brussels are acutely aware of this fact.
Among the data that will be presented in the soon-to-be released analysis, are cases of cancer patients who need weekly medicines but are now only able to receive them twice a month, with the expected dire consequences. The same obtains for many other long term care patients who need specific medicines, even as generic as penicillin, which are no longer available as they were before the US-led sanctions.
Just as I was preparing to leave her office, she softened a bit and asked this observer. “See here, I generally like Americans who we come in contact with here but how can you explain these sanctions — or those in Iraq or Afghanistan that have killed so many?”
I tried to explain that we have a culture clash in America that means that many Americans overwhelmingly support UNESCO and the work of all sixteen of the UN Specialized Agencies but we also have politicians like Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham who never saw a war they did not like. The former just returned from another visit to the region and apparently learned nothing except that he still wants a military solution.
The latter, who is known for his jokes on Capitol Hill that as a “true southerner” he never got over the American Civil War or what it did to American society, has repeatedly expressed his view of US “economic” sanctions by declaring recently, “Sanctions are good but they need to be tougher! Cut the bastards off at the knees.”
Senator Graham also noted his agreement with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who made the repulsive statement that the deaths of 500,000 children in Iraq from a US “economic sanctions” regime that “exempted foods and medicine” but in reality was a starvation program “was worth the price.”
Ironically, it was the arch-nemesis of the Confederacy, Yankee General William Tecumseh Sherman, who might agree with Graham regarding sanctions against a civilian population. What has bothered Senator Graham since he first studied the Civil War in school, according to one Congressional source, is that the Yankee February 17, 1865 captured Graham’s state capital of Columbia, South Carolina. It was not pretty and most of the central city was destroyed. But the Yankee and the Confederate might just agree on targeting civilian populations with economic sanctions. Wrote Sherman, shortly before his March to the Sea which fatally cut the south in two:
“We are not fighting against enemy armies, but against an enemy people, young and old, rich and poor, and they must feel the iron hand of war in the same way as organized armies.”
I left the UNESCO office sort of crestfallen. Not because of the lady’s roughness with me, but rather because of the realization, yet once again, that our species quite simply does not learn much from history and apparently will repeat it until the end of times. May God protect the people, everywhere, from the politicians.
Apparently, it’s a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people – with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years – in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.
So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based
Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali. Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The formerly wimpy Hollande – now enjoying his “resolute”, “determined”, tough guy image reconversion – has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.
French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.
The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).
Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.
Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council – faster than a collection of Marvel heroes – duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors – part of the ECOWAS regional bloc – were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened – and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.
Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate – and impoverished – countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.
To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe’s cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.
General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what’s really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those “vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara”?
It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government’s incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.
The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010. Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department’s Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this “freedom” business Mali has been the proverbial “steady ally” – as in counterterrorism partner – fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Over the last few years, Washington’s game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.
An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch’s papers – for instance, The Times of London – and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.
Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs’ independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.
After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The “international community” spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other – Islamist – groups; Ansar ed-Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Meet the players
The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration – and development – for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi’s army. But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.
AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to “The Doctor”, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.
Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as “The Uncatchable”, has recently joined MUJAO.
MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It’s the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, “in the name of Allah”, to respond by attacking “the heart of France”.
Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of – inevitably – Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It’s interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.
Gimme ‘a little more terrorism’
No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo’s military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad – especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu. How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It’s useless to ask the question to US drones.
The official “leading from behind” Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing “could rally jihadis” around the world and lead to – what else – attacks on the West. Once again the good ol’ Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.
There’s no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to. The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that “from categorically refusing an intervention – saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous”, Algiers went to “open Algerian skies to the French Mirages”.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.
So let’s turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcomingThe Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).
Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, “Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the ‘Global War on Terror’ has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.”
In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, “a little more terrorism” in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush – or the neo-cons behind him – wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.
Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that “little more terrorism”. Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as “terrorists”; the perfect pretext for Bush’s Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon’s Operation Flintlock – a trans-Sahara military exercise.
The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.
The Tuaregs – the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel – number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.
Keenan’s analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine’s Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO’s Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.
Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That’s the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.
Round up the usual freedom fighters
Washington’s “leading from behind” position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.
And that’s it.
Not really. Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.
Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road – and by the (Niger) river – and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.
As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller wassaying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.
AFRICOM’s spy planes have been “observing” Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are – what else – contractors who do not wear military uniforms.
Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM’s commander, once more gave a big push to the “mission to advance US security interests across Africa”. Now it’s all about the – updated – US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to “strengthen democratic institutions”; encourage “economic growth, trade and investment”; “advance peace and security”; and “promote opportunity and development.”
In practice, it’s Western militarization (with Washington “leading from behind”) versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa. In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.
Already in early December a “multinational” war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.
The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, “multinational” proxy army about to get into the action, it’s the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony “in trouble” to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.
Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.
A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it’s been reported), led by who else but the “uncatchable” Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.
The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced – what else – the new French “crusade” and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.
As blowback goes, this is just the hors d’oeuvres. And it won’t be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.
So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about “peace”); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed “kinetic military operations”.
Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There’s no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at email@example.com
Source: Asia Times Online
Was the shooting of 20 students in Newtown, Connecticut the Neo-Liberal version of 9/11? The question merits considerable thought, but let me explain further what I mean. In the aftermath of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, a sense of shock and awe sunk into the minds of the American populace like nothing seen in decades. This overwhelming fear, this logic crippling terror, infected the public to more destructive ends than any deadly virus in existence. Conservatives were especially vulnerable to the infectious symptoms of the event, abandoning all reason and even their small government values to support the fascist inklings of the Bush Administration; a Neo-Con (fake conservative) driven presidency with ambitions of constitutional reversal. Whatever you may believe about the true causes and culprits behind 9/11, no one can deny that Bush and his ilk sought to exploit the tragedy to gain political capital to be used in the destruction of American civil liberties.
More than a decade later, the Neo-Liberal (fake liberal) Obama Administration and its minions continue the Bush legacy by exploiting our latest tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary as a means to an end; a political opportunity to assert federal authority as more valuable than constitutional freedom.
The onset of the illegal wars thrust upon the Middle East after 9/11 brought with it mass resistance from the “left” side of the political spectrum. Protests abounded, dissenters were numerous, and Bush responded in kind with unprecedented domestic surveillance programs and attacks against free speech. Democratic leaning citizens saw the criminality of it because they were unhindered by bias. The archetypal manipulation of 9/11 and the fear mongering of the terrorist myth was less effective on them. However, times have changed…
With a Democratic president in the White House, the left has grown addicted to their perceived (but illusory) social leverage. The intoxicating symptoms of power overdose have clouded their vision, and that which they fought against in the Bush years now appears rather fair and acceptable to them today. Obama has so far committed every war atrocity that Bush was ever guilty of in his tenure, while expanding on liberty nullifying pieces of legislation Bush set into motion. Liberals cry out in horror at the deaths of 20 children in Connecticut while cheering a man like Obama, who orders predator drone strikes that result in the deaths of children everyday. Of all the people in this country, self proclaimed “progressives” are the most hypocritical and the most disappointing as human beings.
Adding to that disappointment, Obama’s more aggressive socialist support base (useful idiots) along with the establishment controlled mainstream media are attempting to squeeze every last ounce of political advantage from the Newtown massacre to gain superiority in a battle over one of the last portions of the Constitution that people still seem willing to fight and die for: The 2nd Amendment.
In the past few days I have seen an unprecedented tidal wave of media stories promoting anti-gun sentiments and prejudice against gun ownership. Counterpoints to this philosophy are almost never given credence in print or on television, and when they are, gun rights advocates are interrupted with incessant Alinsky arguments attacking their characters or distracting away from the real issues. What the MSM is attempting to do (blatantly and shamelessly I might add) is to create the illusion of consensus. Through a deluge of constant propaganda, they hope to implant the false perception that a “majority” of Americans are in support of strict gun control or even confiscation.
What I have found though in my seven years as an analyst in the independent media is quite the opposite. America’s appreciation of gun rights and gun ownership is increasing exponentially. Not because of some newfound love affair for “hunting”; that’s just nonsense. Instead, the public is embracing our gun culture because they are slowly realizing the need for self defense in these precarious times, and this need extends to defense against a highly corrupt government (hence the public’s right to military style weapons). Gun ownership has even increased amongst Democrats after the election of Barack Obama, and gun sales have skyrocketed beyond all expectation. Interestingly, some gun grabbers are willing to admit that 2nd Amendment principles are pervasive in the U.S., and have suggested that the Obama Administration target not only gun ownership, but our “gun culture” as well.
Numerous mainstream articles have been published attacking the gun culture as the root cause of all our nation’s ills, but I felt one Reuters piece in particular stood out as indicative of the truly despotic depths to which leftists (who claim to be champions of freedom) are willing to sink:
The piece begins by comparing the battle for gun control to the battle for civil rights of black Americans during the reign of Lyndon Johnson. As painful and absurd as this sounds, the author appears to take the premise very seriously.
The article attempts to promote the idea that desegregation was achieved due to the actions of the Johnson Administration, who supposedly used the threat of cancelled supplemental funds to state schools as a means to force them into enrolling black students.
The goal here is to promote a worshipful attitude towards the Federal Government as the sole arbiter and savior of the people. It’s funny, but I thought it was the dissenting protests of millions of civil rights activists that ended desegregation, NOT Lyndon Johnson, who by all accounts was a racist who only wanted to use the black community as a voting bloc to revitalize the Democratic Party.
In this White House recording, Johnson complains that using the argument of discrimination to impose federal controls on taxation in Texas was not working because there were too many “n*ggers” voting there to make it seem plausible:
Johnson is also famous for this quote:
“I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
From Ronald Kessler’s “Inside The White House”
Clearly, Johnson saw the tragedy of the oppression of the black community as a tool he could exploit to further his goal of decapitating states rights. Progressives and centralists often use the argument that if the states are left to their own devices they will implement freedom crushing legislation like segregation. I would point out that anti-constitutional and anti-freedom actions by ANY government, whether state or federal, need to be stopped by the citizenry. The federal government is supposed to keep the states in line constitutionally, but states are also supposed to keep the federal government in line constitutionally. In the meantime, the people are supposed to keep BOTH of them in line constitutionally. The Federal Government was never designed to be an unaccountable and unstoppable dictator in the affairs of the states or the populace. They do not get the last word; the Constitution and the people do.
In light of this information on Johnson, I find it interesting that the author of the Reuters article above uses Johnson’s methodology as an argument for Obama’s gun control. Whether he realizes it or not, he has made a very astute comparison. Obama does not care about Sandy Hook, the children who were killed, or similar tragedies in general. Like Johnson, though, Obama does care about how he can use the event to further federal power and chew away at our constitutional rights.
The LBJ / Obama connection aside, the article gets much worse…
The author goes on to propose that Obama use Johnson’s strategy of flaunting federal money as a carrot to get states to submit to centralized gun control. This plays into the overall meme that the mainstream media is pushing post-Newtown; the idea that Obama must bypass Congress and take action against gun rights unilaterally. You know…like an emperor…
And still, it gets even darker…
What is the author’s ultimate methodology? What edict does he hope the Obama Administration will implement? Use the threat of lost federal funding to force schools across the country to institute government approved “gun safety and violence prevention” programs.
But what does he mean by “violence prevention”? The author dances around the specifics of the issue while throwing out a couple small placations to states rights advocates, but slips up by admitting he wants the gun control ideology taught to schoolchildren while blaming the American “gun culture” as equally responsible for the attack at Newtown:
“…Public debate and discussion about the role of guns and gun culture in American society must be a key component of that process. The question that many Americans will be asking is: Why did the shooting occur and how can we prevent another shooting in the future? It is not just that guns are available, it’s also the culture that surrounds them. It’s about the people and the tools, not one or the other. A comprehensive attempt at gun control would better inform Americans about gun safety and the hazards of guns. But how best to do that? I offer one possible solution: the power of federal government intervention through schools.”
“…the Obama administration would begin to chip away at a culture of violence that is clearly deeply rooted across the country…If we can link federal funds to mandatory standardized testing then we can certainly do the same for gun-control education. This will not only be a practical step to ensure that an event like the Newtown shooting does not happen again. It’s also a moral one to combat a culture that’s buying an increasing number of guns—guns that can easily have dire effects in the future.”
And there you have it. The answer, according to gun grabbers, is to force schools to reeducate your children to fear and disdain the very idea of gun ownership. This is almost the equivalent of a “Prima Nocta” policy against the gun rights movement. Essentially the Reuters author’s philosophy is to “breed us out”, taking away our ability to pass on our 2nd Amendment principles to our children through propaganda conditioning, instead of trying to fight us head on.
Is this really the point we have come to in America? Where hack journalists feel no qualms about openly calling for the execution of political propaganda in public schools to manipulate little kids into believing what the establishment wants them to believe? I realize that this is sadly already happening in many ways, but it has always been a subversive and secretive process because, well…because it is abhorrent and they know it! Now, they openly petition for it as if it should be commonly accepted?!
Here is the bottom line: If you can’t convince people through rational debate that your position is the correct one, and, if you have to threaten them, lie to them, or brainwash them before they will adopt your ideas, then there is something wrong with your ideas. The truth wins out eventually under its own power. Only disinformation needs to be forcefully injected into the public consciousness. Obviously, there are a great many truths behind the concepts of individual self defense and gun ownership if gun grabbers find it impossible to prevail without subverting our youth.
As I mentioned in my article ‘Teachers: It Is Time To Arm Yourselves Regardless Of The Law’, the Liberty Movement has already offered a solution to potential gun violence that can and does work far better than gun restriction or confiscation; let teachers carry their own firearms, training to defend themselves and their students. We should demand that this solution be given the consideration it deserves instead of being outright ignored in the public arena. If we allow gun grabbers to “shame” us into silence, or, god forbid, reeducate our offspring, the outlandish Orwellian concepts peddled by the mainstream today will seem like child’s play compared to the tyranny of tomorrow.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The Obama administration has already declared war on Syria, even if it isn’t “official” yet. Consider the facts, all of them acts of war: The U.S. now recognizes a group of Syrian exiles to be the official government of Syria; the U.S. is providing direct support for rebels attacking the government; the U.S. has coordinated with NATO to place advanced missile systems — and 400 U.S. troops — on Syria’s border with Turkey; Obama has drawn a “red line” that, if Syria crosses, would result in U.S. direct military intervention. If any other country made similar moves toward the U.S., there would be no question that war had been declared.
All the strategic steps that led to the Iraq war are being repeated. Obama has assembled a Bush-style international “coalition of the willing” of nations to topple the Syrian government; 130 countries have put their names on paper in support of toppling the Assad government.
In reality, however, the core of the group is the U.S./Europe NATO alliance and the Gulf monarchies. The rest of the “coalition” are economic and political satellites of these main groups, who would sign onto to any military adventure that the rich nations demanded of them, since otherwise the poorer nations would have their military, financial, or political aid frozen.
Europe’s increased lust for blood is a relatively new phenomenon; the European divisions that erupted during the Iraq war and then the Libyan invasion seem to have been smoothed over. Now even Germany aims to directly join the war efforts, intending to send missiles and troops to the Turkish border as well.
But NATO is still a U.S.-dominated military alliance. Any NATO military action is in reality a U.S. led effort, since the European armies are miniscule in comparison, and lack much of the technological sophistication of U.S. weaponry. The advanced Russian missile systems that Syria is equipped with demand a direct U.S. military role to neutralize.
Like Bush, Obama is using his coalition of the willing to distract from the fact that he is circumventing the UN, and thus bringing the post WWII system of international conflict resolution — already on life support — closer to death.
Also like Bush, Obama strategically exploited the UN to weaken Syria with sanctions, and when further UN action was not possible — because of the objections of China and Russia —Obama threw aside the UN and opted for NATO, a U.S./European military alliance built specifically as a deterrent to the now-defunct Soviet Union.
Again like Bush, Obama has crafted a false motive for war. Obama has stolen Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction” but substituted “the use of chemical weapons” as a bogeyman worthy of military intervention. Obama’s bogeyman is as false as Bush’s was. The New York Times reports:
“…the effect of that statement [that Syria was planning to use chemical weapons] was somewhat undercut when France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, asserted during a news conference that such reports were unconfirmed.”
This lack of confirmation hasn’t bothered the U.S. media, who remain content repeating as truth any report issued by U.S. intelligence, no matter the past lies that have cost countless deaths in Iraq and elsewhere.
Of course the U.S. government has zero legitimacy to hand pick a “replacement” government for Syria, since the U.S. is universally hated in the region after the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the ongoing drone wars against Pakistan and Yemen. No sane Syrian would invite the U.S. government to “liberate” their country.In fact, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups inside of Syria, the National Coordination Committee (NCC) — virtually ignored by the U.S. media — opposes military intervention, demanding the conflict be addressed through political means.A leader of the NCC is Hassan Abdul Azim, who correctly states:
“We refuse on principle any type of military foreign intervention because it threatens the freedom of our country.”Another prominent ongoing lie repeated by U.S. politicians and media is that the Syrian government is on the verge of collapse. This lie is effective in that it creates an urgency to “take action.” It also paints a picture of the conflict coming to an end that resonates well with Americans.The reality is that the Syrian western-backed rebels have staged daring high-profile attacks that have been largely repulsed by government counter-attacks. But in each instance the U.S. government has used these attacks as an excuse to ratchet up their support to the rebels and now to place U.S. missiles and troops on Syria’s border. Of course if the Syrian government does fall, Obama has absolutely no plan on how to “stabilize” the country, since the most effective rebel fighting force — the Al-Nusra Front — has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
Obama and his NATO and Gulf monarchy allies have created an extremely unstable situation in Syria. They have already torn the Syrian social fabric to shreds with their support of the rebels, but in so doing they’ve pushed many Syrians closer to supporting their government, who they see as a protector against the rebels that have used large scale ethnic-religious cleansing and other war crimes to subdue the population.
Thus, the Syrian government still retains a popular base, ensuring that the already bloody catastrophe will continue with no end in sight, especially since Obama has “regime change” as his goal and is encircling the country with missiles and U.S. and European troops. Iran and Russia will continue to bolster the Syrian government.Under these tense conditions a broader war can break out any moment. The U.S. can claim that the Syrian government is about to employ chemical weapons as an excuse to directly intervene. Or perhaps Turkey — a NATO member — will claim that Syria fired missiles into its territory, and thus Obama will act to “defend” its ally.When war “officially” breaks out, Iran might then increase its direct support for the Syrian government with troops —funneled through Iraq — giving the U.S. another excuse to “defend” itself, and pushing the conflict into Iran. Hezbollah in Lebanon or Israel may intervene too, since both have a direct interest in the outcome of the Syrian conflict. Any number of scenarios could play out that drag other nations into the war, including Russia, who is already supporting the Syrian government. Many of these scenarios have already begun on the proxy level and need only a shove to ensure they explode into a full-scale regional war.
A nation under attack creates a feeding frenzy logic from those countries looking to opportunistically exploit the situation. This proxy war in Syria is on the brink of a much larger disaster, with the potential to annihilate the Middle East through a new round of war and barbarism.
At church this weekend, our minister explored the violence that killed 20 2nd and 3rd grade children and six adults in Newtown, CT. With point blank accuracy, one 20 year old disturbed kid, stilled the life of those young children. The father of one of the slain, Robbie Parker said of his daughter Emilie, “I was honored to be her father.” I wept as did one of our other ministers. Hundreds of others in the congregation visibly shuddered.
This tragedy follows in the wake of Columbine in Littleton, Colorado 13 years ago with Harris and Klebold. This fall a man named James Holmes shot up an entire movie theater, also in Denver. A Muslim U.S. Army Major Hasan shot 42 innocent people. The Times Square bomber and thousands of other acts of violence have devolved us into a violent, unsafe and frightening culture.
It’s not the individual acts that make us a violent culture. We promote violence on TV with incredibly violent programs like NCIS in NYC, in Los Angeles and in Miami. Criminal Minds TV show creates horrific and sickening criminal torture and death plots. Springer, Povich, Cunningham and other moronic TV shows celebrate illiteracy, the dregs of society and sheer violence. We create unspeakable brutality via other TV shows. Our movies depict the sickening world of masochists and sadists while movie goers absorb these graphics deep within their minds.
In every town, you may go to a video arcade and watch kids commit murder, mayhem, slaughter and staggering acts of violence—with glee, joy and a sense of victory. All of it mindless, yet potent toward further real life carnage within our society.
On our highways, drunk drivers killed 17,000 to as high as 20,000 innocent lives every single year with their weapon of choice—a 4,000 pound missile speeding down the highway at 75 miles per hour drunk or high on drugs—but we refuse to construct drunk driving laws that would make the crime more prohibitive than the offense. We promote alcoholism via beer commercials sensationalizing the lifestyle of alcohol, replete with beautiful women and fast cars.
Our U.S. Congress reeks of warmongering by starting the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm War and Iraq War for no valid reason whatsoever. We killed millions of people and destroyed millions of parents, adults and children. Millions! We remain in Afghanistan, long after bin Laden met his death—still killing their people and ours—with no positive result.
Over the decades, our drones and bombs have created hundreds of thousands of “Newtown, Connecticut’s” where millions of people have died in the aforementioned countries. We insist on maintaining 450,000 military personnel on 700 bases around the world to show-case our ability to kill anyone whose perspective doesn’t match ours.
After the 10 year Vietnam War, over 200,000 of our soldiers became so distraught from their experiences—they committed suicide. Today, an average of four present and former US soldiers commit suicide daily from their war traumas. Millions more emotionally limp along from drugs, depression, PTSD and alcoholism. Some experts predict another 200,000 U.S. soldiers will commit suicide from their military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While we war upon other countries for decades, and after Columbine’s mass murders, we fail to take care of our own youth such as the young man who just killed 26 innocent human beings. An average of 18 teenagers commit suicide in America every single day of the year, every year, every decade—without pause.
A mind-numbing 15,000 people kill others with their knives and guns annually, year after year, decade after decade. Equally lethal, although self-imposed, smokers of tobacco kill themselves off at 450,000 annually.
Let’s talk about men beating wives, girlfriends and lovers:
* There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. Cruelty to animals abounds in the USA. (Schneider, 1990).
* Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. (“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Hearing, 101-939, pt. 1, p. 12.)
* One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation).
Our federal officials have arrested and slammed 37 million kids into jail for smoking a joint in the past 41 years of the “War on Drugs”—while alcohol and booze have killed endless millions—legally.
As our government foments, creates and imposes wars on countries 10,000 miles away, we suffer the cruelty of 14 million jobless Americans, 47.7 million living on food stamps, 1.5 million homeless and 2.3 million Americans subsisting in prisons.
The final costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan War will reach into the trillions of dollars when that money could have been used to create a more just, hopeful and prosperous society for all our citizens.
What we need to do
An evolutionary vision must occur within our country. We citizens must create peace in our schools and communities. We must vote for leaders who insist on peace rather than war. We need to move away from TV, movie and arcade violence to peaceful understanding. “Yes,” you say, “but what can I do?”
We need to shift from war spending toward life-enhancing contributions to flourish our society. We spend trillions of dollars on war and a tiny fraction for education and betterment of our society.
What not to continue because it doesn’t work:
- Stop engaging in useless, costly, deadly and meaningless wars overseas
- Stop our empire building by bringing home 450,000 military personnel from those 700 bases. It wastes money, people and resources and it accomplishes nothing.
- Stop meddling in hundreds of countries’ business as if the U.S. ethnocentric position constitutes the bottom line of righteousness
- Stop the War on Terror, War on Drugs and War on Poverty because the energy of fighting anything pales in comparison to the support of human dignity
- Stop violent video games, violent movies, violent TV programming
Transfer war funds to peace funding for our society:
- Spend billions for jobs that give dignity to citizens
- Spend billions on after-school classes, activities and playgrounds
- Spend billions on mental health, emotional health and well-being in families
- Spend billions on high school marriage, relationship and child rearing classes to support fathers and mothers in workable marriages, which will result in viable lives for children
- Spend billions to build personal responsibility, personal accountability and educational excellence for all our citizens to grow our civilization into a positive future
- Spend billions on raising healthy, happy and balanced children with mental health services, parental training and guidance
We Americans need to reassess ourselves. We need to invent or discover another path. We need to open toward a spiritual awakening. We need to move toward slower living, inter-related living and environmentally balanced living. We need to eschew 80,000 chemicals injected into our air, water and ground 24/7—most definitely scrambling our emotions, body chemistries and minds. We need to live and grow in smaller, community-oriented cities. (As John Muir said, “There is not a single sane man in all of San Francisco.) We need both fathers and mothers for our children so they grow into healthy adults who value themselves and know they are essential. We must extricate ourselves from the pervasive violence in our culture by moving toward peaceful solutions, love and kindness.
This transformation requires you, your actions, your passions, your energy and your optimism for the future.
In this column last week, I took sportscaster Bob Costas to task for his inane comments regarding the murder-suicide deaths committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Costas ignorantly and irrationally blamed the deaths of Jovan and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, on “our current gun culture.” Costas naively said, “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
See my column on Bob Costas at:
Well, here is another tragic story of an NFL player’s untimely death. This time the team is the Dallas Cowboys. USA Today covers the story:
“For the second time in a week, from one Saturday to the next, another young professional football player is dead at the age of 25 and another NFL team is grieving after allegations of a terrible and tragic crime.
“Last weekend, it was Kansas City. This weekend, it’s Dallas. The circumstances are different, but the results are eerily similar. Two players are gone: One by his own hand in front of his coach and general manager in the parking lot of the team’s practice facility; the second in the morgue after a night out with a teammate, who is now sitting in an Irving, Tex., jail cell while his teammates fly to Cincinnati for Sunday’s game.
“One week after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his nearly 3-month-old daughter and then killed himself, the Cowboys are mourning the loss of a teammate while another has been arrested for intoxication manslaughter.
“Nose tackle Josh Brent, who was to have started this Sunday against the Bengals, was arrested early Saturday morning after the car he was driving flipped over, killing his lone passenger, Cowboys practice-squad player Jerry Brown, who was Brent’s teammate not only in Dallas but also at the University of Illinois from 2007-09.”
See the report at:
So, why didn’t Bob Costas get on national television and say, “If Josh Brent didn’t possess a car, Jerry Brown would be alive today”? Why? Because Bob Costas doesn’t think critically, that’s why! He simply regurgitates the same antiquated anti-gun rhetoric he hears from his pro-gun-control buddies.
But it’s true: if the gun is to blame for Belcher and Perkins’ deaths, the car is to blame for Brown’s death.
And speaking of cars and guns, the total number of deaths nationwide from the misuse of firearms pales in comparison to the total number of deaths from the misuse of automobiles. Yet, I don’t hear the Bob Costases of the world screaming for “automobile-control.” Come on, folks, get real! Plus, as Larry Pratt and others have already noted, firearms in the possession of American citizens are actually used to protect the lives of people some 4,000 to 6,000 times A DAY. When Costas said, “Handguns do not enhance our safety,” not only was he wrong, he was miserably wrong! Handguns DO enhance our safety–not to mention our liberty!
Look at the city of Chicago. More people have been murdered in the city of Chicago this year than soldiers killed in Afghanistan. One hundred and forty-four US troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far in 2012, while 228 people have been murdered so far in 2012 in The Windy City.
According to The Huffington Post, “The war zone-like statistics are not new. As WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.”
See the report at:
Yet, Chicago, Illinois, has some of the strictest gun-control laws in America. Then again, maybe that’s one of the reasons why so many people are killed in Chicago. The laws of this city forbid honest citizens from being armed and, thus, they are unable to defend themselves. Let the good guys start shooting back and one will see a dramatic lapse of courage among miscreants. Don’t believe that? Check out the violent crime rates in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, or Vermont.
This modern infatuation with blaming inanimate objects for acts of immorality and impropriety is nothing short of epidemic! Of course, the reason for this madness is it facilitates the expansion of government into the minutest details of our lives. Big-Government zealots have an innate fear of power and responsibility resting in individuals. They see government as the only suitable source of power. To big-government toadies, individuals are merely the property of government. To them, government bureaucrats can do nothing wrong, while individual citizens can do nothing right. Hence, to big-government hacks, only government officials have the right to keep and bear arms.
The same reasoning applies to America’s so-called “War on Drugs.” Marijuana, especially, is blamed for all kinds of immoral and unsavory conduct, even though the overwhelming evidence simply does not support the accusation.
My youngest son, Timothy, is a former Florida Assistant State Attorney who is now in private practice. Regarding marijuana as being a source of criminal conduct, he wrote, “Drawing from my own personal experience, I see the absurdity of the ‘war on marijuana.’ During my time as a prosecutor at the Florida State Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2006 where I handled literally thousands of criminal cases and tried nearly 60 jury trials, I was never impressed that marijuana was the cause of any criminal activity. Oh sure, possession of marijuana charges comprised a large number of my criminal cases; but the criminal act was merely the man-made law of possession of marijuana. In fact, most criminal activities were in large part caused by alcohol, where one who consumed too much alcohol became violent; beat his wife; neglected his children; drove drunk and hurt someone; caused a disturbance of the peace; or other similar evils.
“I saw those alcohol-related cases every day. Yet, I cannot say the same regarding marijuana. I would estimate that of the thousands of cases I handled, at least half (if not more) were a direct cause of alcohol consumption or addiction. Yet, alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal.”
See Tim’s column at:
In fact, marijuana was not even considered harmful or illegal in the United States until 1937, as Tim pointed out in his column. Most people would probably be surprised to learn that four out of our first five presidents not only promoted the use of the hemp plant, but also grew it. Can one imagine putting George Washington or Thomas Jefferson in jail for growing what we now call marijuana? Egad!
The idea that the use of marijuana is harmful because “it leads to hard drugs” is tantamount to saying that beer is harmful because “it leads to hard liquor.” But it’s just not true! There are tens of millions of people who drink responsibly, or who use alcohol medicinally (as prescribed even by Holy Scripture), who never become alcoholics. Likewise, there are tens of millions of marijuana users who use it responsibly or medicinally, who never go on to use hard drugs or become drug addicts. And when it comes to addictions, Americans’ addiction to sugar and laziness kills far more people than those addicted to alcohol–or even tobacco for that matter.
But by making marijuana responsible for all kinds of untoward behavior, and by ignoring the personal accountability of people to behave responsibly, it has helped provide the justification for government to trample the Bill of Rights and create huge bureaucracies, which swell the size and scope of government–especially the federal government.
The same is true for firearms. By making guns responsible for all kinds of untoward behavior, and by ignoring the personal accountability of people to behave responsibly, it helps provide the justification for government to trample the Bill of Rights (in this case the Second Amendment) and create huge bureaucracies (the ATF among others), which swell the size and scope of government–especially the federal government.
Marijuana is a convenient scapegoat. Firearms are a convenient scapegoat. Automobiles, on the other hand, are not so convenient! Hence, we hear nothing from Bob Costas about the need for more “automobile-control.” Plus, amazingly enough, neither did Costas say a word about bringing back Prohibition! In Costas’ world, only guns are sufficiently evil enough to warrant his righteous indignation.
The tragedies in Kansas City and Dallas cause all people of good will to grieve. We grieve for the people involved; we grieve for the families of the victims; and we grieve for the NFL players, coaches, and management. But what we must not do is use these tragedies as an excuse to justify and condone the suppression of our God-given liberties! In addition, it’s past time for America, at every level, to start re-emphasizing the primacy of personal responsibility. That’s something that isn’t being taught much in our nation’s schools, churches, or even families.
But the promotion and expectation of personal responsibility is what made America great; and it’s also what provides our nation with its liberties. If men cannot be expected to be accountable for their conduct, they can hardly be expected to be accountable for their freedom. This is why inanimate objects are used as scapegoats by big-government toadies: it diminishes the virtue of individualism and extols the necessity of governmentism.
In Kansas City, the problem was not the gun; the problem was Belcher. And in Dallas, the problem was not the car–or even the booze–the problem was Brent. Straighten out the man and one will have no need to worry about the objects that are at his disposal.
A dreadful warning arises, when public sector employment pay and benefits outstrips the remuneration earned by the private employment workers. Even the most hardened government proponent, must succumb to the reality that private business generates real wealth that finances government through taxes. The expenditures of government on all levels are linked to the profitability of enterprises and sufficient margin that affords the ability to pay revenue levies. Thus, the proportion of wages between private enterprises and public employees has significant consequences.
Consider the coverage of that bastion of mainstream reporting CBS News when making a comparison in Does the Government Pay More than the Private Sector?
“Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that federal employees in occupations that exist in both the public and private sectors made an average salary of $67,691 in 2008, USA Today reports. Meanwhile, private sector workers in those occupations made $60,046. Government data also shows federal workers received benefits valued at $40,785, compared with benefits valued at $9,882 for private sector workers.”
Now on the surface this assessment is very plausible. Common sense, after the financial collapse in 2008, with the dramatic rise in private sector unemployment and reduced wages, federal employees are sitting pretty. Before the alarm bell sounds, deliberate over the assessments from friendly government sources.
The Congressional Research Center study on Comparing Compensation for Federal and Private-Sector Workers, has some interesting conclusions.
“Federal workers with less than a bachelor’s degree have on average a wage premium compared to private sector counterparts, while federal workers with post-graduate educational attainment experience a wage penalty relative to private sector counterparts.
As with wage differentials, the CBO study finds a declining benefit premium as educational attainment rises. That is, the benefit premium declines from 72% for federal workers with a high school degree or less to 2% for federal workers with a professional degree or doctorate. The CBO study finds an average benefit differential of 48% for federal workers compared to private sector workers.”
The list of Pay Scales at TSA provides a departure from Federal employees because the TSA does not use the standard GS grading system. The TSA uses an “SV” grading system, which is a system of discrete grades with pay ranges that differ from GS pay ranges. Civil Service work rules and pay scales have long rejected any direct relationship with productive results. However, in the conflicted thinking of Washington speak the President extends federal pay freeze. Note that a reduction in wages and benefits is an unknown thought, even in a collapsing economy.
“The freeze will stay in effect until a spending plan is passed, but the presidential election makes it unlikely that will happen before the start of fiscal 2013 on Oct. 1. As a result, the president is required by the end of August to come up with an “alternative pay plan” to avoid a legal trigger that would automatically raise federal pay in line with private-sector salaries.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the president reiterated his support for ending the pay freeze with a 0.5 percent raise, to take effect Jan. 1, 2013, that he proposed early this year.
“Civilian federal employees have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a two-year pay freeze,” Obama wrote. “As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. This is an effort that continues to require tough choices and each of us to do our fair share.”
OK, we have all heard enough of that “fair share” mantra. Now the banner carriers of Big Government raise their ugly heads and reveal their real motives in The truth about federal salary numbers.
“The Federal Salary Council, an advisory body of academics and leaders of public employee unions, suggested last month that federal workers are underpaid by an average of 35 percent relative to nonfederal employees. The council’s data come from the “President’s Pay Agent,” the bureaucratic entity that conducts the federal government’s annual pay comparison.
If these figures are to be believed, federal employees are paid only 65 cents for every dollar received by nonfederal employees doing the same work. Put another way, the average federal employee who shifts to a job outside government would increase his salary by 54 percent.”
Weak private sector employment persists. Wages are stagnant or regressive. New jobs are sporadic, at best. Prospects of a prosperous recovery are slim. Government dependency seems like the only growth occupation. No bureaucratic study or public union advocacy changes the facts that the private enterprises are fighting a rear guard effort to subsist.
With the election of President Obama to a second term, the reigns of restraint on public agencies and expenditures are non-existent. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says ‘No Time To Waste’ On National Debt is a factual appraisal of the attitude that drives the disparity between employment in enterprises that have to earn their way to profits and public agencies that are protected from the harsh consequences of a balanced budget. “We look forward to hearing from voices across the private sector as we work together to reach a balanced agreement,” said Pelosi.
The relationship equilibrium between the private and public spheres is out of line. More government spending never generates a genuine economic recovery. Making matters worse, the prospects of a rise in government salaries only exasperates the problem. The need for a true dramatic across the board reduction in federal agency budgets is the proper response. Private businesses understand the need to scale back in a depressed economy in order to survive. In spite of this certainty, the federal government operates as if their ranks are the new and only economy.
In an age of disappearing private pensions and job security, why allow “public servants” to dominate the job market because of odious taxpayer subsidies. The current pay differential between the free market and the federal bureaucrat guarantees a marginal economy at best.
Being forced to endure and survive a catastrophic macro event like a monetary or social collapse is perhaps one of the worst experiences I could imagine. Such a crisis leads to just about every crime and inhuman action in existence, and, the time required for a culture to right itself and rebuild is severely protracted. A hurricane or earthquake or tidal wave; these calamities are short lived and easy in comparison. The point is, as survivalists who are preparing to make an economic end-game scenario as “comfortable” to live through as we can, it is incumbent upon us to consider the kind of company we keep during the gambit. Some allies will make that mad world bearable; others will bring the madness to your doorstep
Many preppers are aware of the dangers inherent in our progressively deteriorating nation. Unfortunately, some of them are completely unaware of the dangers inherent within themselves. Building a solid community of people to rely on during a collapse is absolutely essential, and the larger the group of liberty minded neighbors the better. But, if certain ground rules are not established from the very beginning, a rainbow of personal issues and character flaws could very well destroy years of effort. Care must be taken by all parties involved to ensure that internal conflicts remain at a minimum, and when they do arise, that each person is wise enough to resolve issues in an adult manner.
I hate to say it, but you will inevitably run into some folks that are beyond compromise and beyond hope. Working with them is like pulling teeth…shark’s teeth…from your jugular. Here are just a handful of powder keg personalities that will make the apocalypse more than a living hell for you and your friends if they manage to latch onto or take leadership in your survival watch…
1) The Self Assumed “Leader”
The “Assumed Leader” is not actually a reliable or practical leader; he just thinks he is, and reminds everyone loudly whenever he can find occasion. He does not generally do this by screaming “I AM YOUR LEADER!” Instead, he attempts to micro-manage every aspect of the survival group and shows early signs of control issues. The Assumed Leader will first make forceful suggestions to test the waters, scoffing angrily whenever people do not strictly follow his advice. If he gains traction, his suggestions turn into orders, and he begins to act as though he is somehow in a superior position to the rest of the community.
He seems to have an answer to every question or concern, which would be nice if he actually knew what he as talking about half of the time. Usually, this is not the case. He may have expertise in a certain field, like farming, or building, or engineering, or even defense, and this is indeed valuable. However, his mastery of one area of knowledge has inflated his ego to massive proportions and he now pretends as if he is some kind of hyper-educated elitist potentate. When approached with alternative options and methods, he will respond with ridicule as if you have no clue what you are talking about. When his ideas are criticized, he will react with fury, and try to remove dissenters from the community entirely.
The best way to avoid these people is to discover them early in your prepping project, and to make certain that NO ONE becomes a De facto dictator. Every person with particular expertise within the community should be given respect in that specific field, but not given authority over all decisions. The experienced farmer should offer leadership when it comes to farming, but step aside when it comes to defense and defenders, and vice versa. It is best to keep in mind that the most effective leaders always ask those around them for aid and advice before coming to any conclusion. The worst leaders already assume they know everything.
2) The Feudal Lord
The Feudal Lord is an Assumed Leader who has managed to lure other preppers into a Commune, rather than a Community, and there is a considerable difference. He is often a well-off survivalist who has suddenly realized that for all his money and land and supplies, he is basically defenseless, and needs an organized group to protect his bounty. He entices other preppers into the fold with ideas that he is building a legitimate and fair community, and with land already available, many take interest. The problem is, the Feudal Lord believes possession of the land that the group is defending automatically makes him Grand Poobah, and that those people are not equals, but servants and serfs.
I have found that Feudal Lords also have a tendency to charge people “fees” for the right to join their communes. They will argue that this is designed to “vet” candidates and see if they are truly “serious” about survival prepping. In the dark corner of their minds, however, they actually believe that they are OWED a tithe from anyone who wishes to earn the “privilege” of becoming a permanent installment on their property. From the very beginning they go into the project with almost no sincere regard for the people they are working with.
The reality is, the Feudal Lord’s land and supplies are utterly meaningless without security and without aid. His survival riches can be taken in an instant by a mere handful of looters, or even one experienced raider. Without other people, treated as equals in survival and ready to lay down their lives to protect each other and him, he has nothing, and is foolhardy to think otherwise.
This is not to say that all landowners who try to centralize a group on their property are seeking to become mini-kings of a mini-kingdom. If rules and agreements are made early on, and everyone understands their role, then such an arrangement could work. But, if the landowner purposely avoids set agreements, appoints roles to people without asking them, changes the plan regularly to suit himself, and tries to leech money out of participants, then it’s time to walk away now before it is too late. Eventually he WILL use his position as landowner as a means to dominate, and will threaten to cast people out who disagree with his methods.
The best way to avoid these characters and the commune situation altogether is to not centralize on a single piece of land, but to organize in a neighborhood fashion, where everyone maintains sovereign control of what they do and all aid is voluntary.
3) The Moral Relativist
There is, sadly, a small subsection of survivalists out there who do not plan to live off their own preps; they plan to confiscate the preps of others by force and solve every problem at the barrel of a gun. In their mind, a crisis situation calls for the abandonment of conscience and the application of a “survival of the fittest” mentality. They believe that morals are all well and good when civilized society remains, but a source of weakness during catastrophe. Their philosophy is: Only the strongest of men will be able to set aside principle and “do what needs to be done”. That is to say, they believe you must become the monster to defeat the monster.
In fact, only men who are able to hold onto their principles during the worst moments are strong. Weak men run away from conscience, using the excuse that times are “different and difficult”. They are not survivalists, they are terrorists in every sense, and they will only hurt our ultimate goal of rebuilding a free, prosperous, and individualistic society.
These people should be avoided like the plague. They will make enemies wherever they go, ask you to do highly questionable things, and push your community into annihilation. Eventually, somebody is going to put them out of their misery, and it’s best to not be around when that happens.
4) The Obsessive
The Obsessive is a person whose drive is initially impressive but also ultimately destructive. His entire life revolves around survival prepping and impending doom. Certainly, it is better to be extra concerned about the economic crisis on the horizon than to be utterly oblivious. A smart man over-prepares. But, there is such a thing as overkill, even in the world of survivalism.
No one can ever do enough fast enough in this person’s eyes. He will whine constantly about how he is the only one taking preparations seriously, and how everyone else is a lazy bum. He will become frantic on a daily basis, admonishing the group or community on their lack of urgency. In a leadership position, this person is a nightmare, creating constant waves of tension and panic, instead of calmly offering solutions or constructive criticism.
Obsessives are generally unimaginative people with little talent or intelligence who use their prepping lifestyle as their only means to feel superior to others. They tend to become legends in their own minds, dreaming of the day when everyone will desperately cling to them and their remedial survival know-how. They fantasize about all the people who “wouldn’t take their advice” (usually smug advice), crawling in squalor begging them for help one day.
The Obsessive’s motto is: “Let me tell you why you are wrong and how you are lazy!” Instead of: “How can I help you fix this?”
We all need a break once in a while from the horrors we know are waiting for us. To step back and enjoy what we can of a beautiful day or good friends is not the same as being a freeloader or a backslider within your prepper group. Survival is about more than sustaining the body. It is about more than chopping wood, stockpiling ammo, and slaving over a piece of land from sun up until sundown like a mindless drone just to get by; it is also about sustaining the heart and the mind. Otherwise, what is the point of living?
5) The Ulterior Motive Drama Queen
The Drama Queen is a man or woman who is loosely interested in survivalism, but wants to join your community for other reasons, and these reasons may cause many members dismay. The opposite of The Obsessive, you’ll notice a strange non-involvement on their part or lack of interest as far as participating in survival discussions and decision making. They will often hand over all their survival preparation plans to another person or persons, while hovering like a gnat around the community searching for that special something.
They may be looking for friends and social recognition. They may be afraid of collapse and simply trying to lock into ANY group regardless of whether they fit, becoming disenchanted later. They may enjoy the excitement of feeling like they are involved, and are living vicariously through the accomplishments of others. They may just be looking for a date. Ultimately, their primary objective is not to build a working community, but to get something out of the community beyond safety.
If they do not get what they want, they raise hell, using whatever excuse happens to be handy without ever admitting their real motivations. They will deliberately start unnecessary drama, attempt to create divisions, focus on one person as the cause of all their troubles, or blame the whole group for the heartache in their life. They will attempt to draw everyone into their personal soap opera in the hopes of becoming the focal point, sharing strange and extremely private issues with anyone who accidentally offers to listen.
Eventually, they will be seen for what they are and will lose the ear of the other preppers, who obviously have better things to worry about, but not after wreaking some havoc in the process.
6) The Zealot
The Zealot has a perfect picture in his mind of how his survival community is going to look. Absolutely perfect. The problem is, all people are imperfect and all have different conceptions of life, and this disturbs and disrupts the Zealot’s fantasy. It is one thing to be careful in whom you associate with when assembling a prepper organization, but it is entirely another to hold everyone to insane standards that even you cannot meet.
The Zealot usually wants to be in charge so that he can vet and control each member of the group, but this is not always the case. Zealots are also sometimes highly anti-social, showing interest in a group for a short time and then suddenly walking away as if no one is up to par. He may base his zealotry on a misplaced religious fervor or philosophical inflexibility, but he will not be happy until everyone sees the world the way he does, or until they meet his grandiose brand of moral flawlessness. For him, it is not enough that the community around him shares a love for liberty and a disdain for tyranny, they must also be “spiritually pure” in his eyes.
One mistake or disagreement by a member of the group earns them a black mark on the Zealot’s list which he never forgets. From then on, that member is the enemy, and the Zealot will engineer conflict after conflict until the person gives up and goes away, or until he can convince the group that person is more trouble than they are worth.
The great dilemma for any survivalist is to balance personal freedom and a peaceful home life with the reality that they will not last long without relying on a group. Other people bring talent, friendship, and safety to our lives, but they also bring baggage. The key is to work with those who know how to manage as much of their own baggage as possible, who are aware of themselves and are willing to police their own quirks, and who have not swan dived off a cliff into extreme disturbia. No survival community can withstand the savage assault of national collapse otherwise.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
“I hear that Petraeus likes it,” a source told me. “I hear he likes to be in the room when it happens.”
He wasn’t talking about sex. He was talking to me a good six months before the revelation of the affair between General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, and so he wasn’t commenting on Petraeus’s bedroom enthusiasms. He was talking, instead, about killing. He was talking about drones. He was relaying a rumor, which is why I never used his comment in the story that I was writing about “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama.” I repeat it here to provide context for the ongoing discussion of what was at stake not just in the fall of David Petraeus but also in his rise — for the ongoing journalistic enterprise of finding “the real scandal” underneath the scandal of one 60 year-old man’s affair with a younger woman.
A kind of consensus has emerged in the last few days among purveyors of sophisticated analysis charged with writing about David Petraeus. The sex scandal is not the real scandal. The real scandal is either the combination of prurience and priggishness that drives men of competence and talent out of positions of public responsibility because of their private behavior, or the fact that “private behavior” barely exists anymore, given the ease with which the FBI sought and received access to the personal email correspondence of Broadwell and Petraeus.
I agree that these “real scandals” are scandals indeed, and cause for ongoing concern about the health of the republic. But they are not the real scandal. In yesterday’s iteration of his ongoing online conversation with Gail Collins, David Brooks said that Petraeus “didn’t do anything that the legendary C.I.A. director Allen Dulles didn’t do dozens of times over. Dulles had an affair with a member of the royal family of a foreign government, for crying out loud.”
This is an inapt comparison. For while Petraeus might have done what Dulles did, in committing a sexual indiscretion, Dulles didn’t have the capacity to do what Petraeus did. He didn’t have the capacity to transform the CIA into a paramilitary organization distinctive for its lethality and lack of accountability — the killing machine that spearheads the Lethal Presidency. He didn’t have the capacity to order, and then preside over, the executions of hundreds of people.
Petraeus did, until the revelations of his affair. After President Obama — and perhaps White House counterterrorism advisor William Brennan and Special Ops panjandrum William McRaven — Petraeus was the primary driver of a policy that has established killing as the option of first resort in the war against Al-Qaeda and its proxies. He did not institute the data-driven “signature strikes” that have become the CIA’s specialty, but he clashed with the State Department over them, and he was relentless in his efforts to make sure that the inherently expansive Lethal Presidency kept expanding. The revelation that President Obama managed a “kill list” from the Oval Office rightly drew a great deal of attention; but just as remarkable were the killings in which the President had no direct hand. It has been estimated that the White House has ordered about a third of the targeted killings that have taken place under the Obama Administration; the rest have come at the behest of JSOC and the CIA. The President was consulted about the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, and ordered it to be carried out on September 30, 2011; apparently he was not consulted about the drone strike that two weeks later killed al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman, a 16-year-old American citizen never associated with terrorism.
From the beginning, the architects of the Lethal Presidency have justified their ownership of the power of life and death by promising that they will use the power reluctantly, wisely, dispassionately, with precision and restraint. Indeed, they have claimed nearly superhuman powers of discrimination to counterbalance the power they have come to possess, to the extent that nothing could be more threatening to their power than the entrance of unruly human passions. Americans ambivalent about the prerogatives of the Lethal Presidency might experience a moment of unwelcome clarity if they found out that the President was killing people out of political expediency; they should feel no less uncomfortable now that they’ve found out that David Petraeus was killing people while also trying to extend his sexual potency.
In truth, we upped the moral ante on the executive branch when we gave it the power to kill people unilaterally and in secret. The media’s deification of General David Petraeus turned out to be wishful thinking, a collective psychological projection necessary to allow him to keep killing without answering questions. He couldn’t be human, because we gave him inhuman powers. Now he turns out to be very human indeed; now he turns out, in more ways than one, to have “liked it.” It is not a titillating revelation but rather a horrifying one, for to understand how deeply David Petraeus was embedded with the Lethal Presidency we need only look at the scorecard:
To the best of our knowledge, the United States has carried out no drone strikes since his fall.
Syrian Volunteers Exhibit Their Humanity, Despite International Politicizing of Emergency Aid…
Over the past twenty months, as the Syrian crisis continued beyond most early predictions, this observer learned something about the Syrian people that I had known for decades about Palestinians. And that is their great concern for their countrymen wherever they are found and whatever their current condition. When I am in Syria I am frequently asked “how are our people doing in Lebanon as refugees from this crisis?” In Lebanon, I am often asked “how are our (internal) refugees in Syria and what of our people in Jordan, Iraq or Turkey, how are they being treated and are they getting the basic necessities they need to live?”
And many Syrian refugees there are these bitter days. As of early November, 2012, close to 700,000 have fled their country with the UN now expecting close to one million by early next year if the fighting does not stop. Soon, it is likely that there will be close to 2 million displaced persons inside Syria according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There are currently, according to the 10/12 UNHCR Syrian Refugee Report, 205,000 in Jordan, approximately 60,000 in Iraq (the first known refugees who have sought refuge in Iraq during the past quarter century) 110,649 in Turkey and 110,095 in Lebanon. The true figures are higher by an estimated 13% if one were to include the many Syrian refugees who are unable or do not want to register with local authorities or NGO’s for various reasons.
“Many more Syrians have recently been displaced within our borders and we are bracing for a long conflict.” Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar, Director of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent told this observer during a meeting in his Damascus office. Dr. Attar explained that “internally displaced persons” now exceed 1.5 million and close to 8.5% of the entire population have fled their homes during the last 19 months of conflict. Nearly 400,000 in Damascus alone. Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR’s regional co-coordinator for Syrian refugee’s advised that more than 3,000 refugees flee to neighboring countries every day, or approximately 90,000 per month. Both agree that due to the collapse of public services, and given that perhaps 1.2 million people need humanitarian aid inside the country, it brings the total number of Syrians requiring some form of relief to 2.7 million – or roughly 12 per cent of the total population.
Politicizing Humanitarian Aid
Whereas in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, official refugee camps are providing shelter at no cost to more than a quarter million Syrian refugees, the government in Lebanon has not yet permitted the construction of similar sites due to confessional fears that perhaps a political or other advantage might somehow accrue to a rival sect-once more exposing how deeply its current anarchist confessionalist arrangement paralyzes Lebanon. Unfortunately it is the same mentality and prejudices that so far has prevented Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from being granted the same elementary civil rights to work and to own a home that Syria and every other country granted the victims of the Zionist colonial enterprise usurpation of Palestine, six decades ago.
The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon who fled the violence in their homeland have increased sectarian tensions with one result being Syrian workers and refugees being targeted by elements of the Lebanese government. This despite the enormous aid Syria gave Lebanese refugees during the 2006 war when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese sought safety next door in Syria. Nadim Houry, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch, has documented growing political harassment of Syrian workers in Lebanon. He reports: “We’ve seen the army and the police detaining and roughing up a number of Syrian workers. Most recently, the Lebanese army beat up 72 workers; most of them were Syrian,” Houry reported. “The Lebanese army rounded up the migrant men in the neighborhood and decided to ‘teach them a lesson’ instead of doing police work.”
Against this dismal backdrop one can find across the border in Syria hope and even inspiration. It is coming from the Syrian people themselves and their mainly Arab friends. Between 10,000 and 11,000 volunteers, including Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, are manning across Syria more than 80 Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) aid “sub-stations.” These include more than a dozen mobile clinics and pharmacies as well as 10 “on the spot readiness centers.” Depending on the level of localized conflict on any given day, SARC volunteers operate 24/7 anywhere from 6 and 30 ambulances, as they liaise with the Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteers, among others. Since mid-summer, SARC volunteers have been opening centers for psychological support services for children as well as adults. Recently a phone “hotline” has been set-up to help citizens find emergency help. International volunteers are most welcomed at any of SARC’s centers.
SARC’s volunteers have recently been praised by the UN World Food Program and many others for their work delivering humanitarian aid to internal refugees here in Syria. They distribute necessities of life during the chaos and killing to their fellow countrymen without regard to religion or political views. Foreign donor countries giving the most support currently include Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy and Britain. Others help as well, including money and foodstuffs from Iran and cash from the American Red Cross, the latter channeled through the ICRC so as not to raise Congressional outcries about possible violations of heavy US sanctions being imposed on the Syrian people.
Founded in 1942, as the French colonizers withdrew from this 7000 year old civilization which they occupied in 1917, as part of the English-French Sykes-Picot arrangement, the Syria Arab Red Crescent society became linked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1946. SARC receives no government funding. This observer had the opportunity to meet SARC staff and volunteers of such singular commitment to helping their countrymen that more than a dozen have given their lives while trying to bring assistance to those stranded in Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa and elsewhere. One SARC team leader to me: “When one of our people is killed we bury the martyr and by the next morning we have 20 or more new volunteers who want to take their place and bring aid to those trapped in the most dangerous areas. I must tell you that this hell we are living through-we are confronting directly—it has made me very proud of my people and to be Syrian. Enshallah, we will overcome this chaos and killing and we will be stronger than before as a people.”
At the United Nations on 11/5/12, a top relief official said the UN aid effort in Syria, which means mainly SARC’s volunteers, “is very dangerous and very difficult.” The official, John Ging, director of operations of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that the aid efforts in Syria (mainly being done by SARC volunteers) was supplying 1.5 million people in with food and that nearly half was being delivered into areas of conflict, but “there are areas beyond our reach, particularly areas under opposition control for quite a long time.”
Despite UNCHR’s role in studying the refugee problem and coordinating yet more studies and some registration of aid applicants during the current crisis, some familiar with its activities in Syria, including a few other NGO’s and some Syrian officials, have been critical of its performance to date. One highly respected governmental official told this observer recently, “I said to UNCHR’s local administration, “We have noticed the many fine vehicles that you flew into Syria, and we have met some of the well paid staff that you have brought to help us, but please can you show us that you have to date delivered even one loaf of bread to our desperate people?”
In fairness to UNCHR, after an admittedly slow start in Syria, it has recently picked up steam and its international staff is learning much from the local Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers.
Nor is SARC is without its critics.
Tawfik Chamaa, spokesman for the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM) speaking from his comfortable Geneva office issued an ad holmium broadside on 11/6/12 against the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society and its nearly 11,000 volunteers. He charged that cash or materials sent to SARC was being “confiscated by the regime. It will not reach the civilians who are bombed every day or besieged,” telling reporters in Geneva, “Ninety, even 95 percent of everything that is sent to Syrian Red Crescent headquarters in Damascus goes to support the Syrian regime, especially the soldiers.”
However, according to AFP, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN World Food Program (WFP), which both work closely with the Syrian Red Crescent Society, strongly denied their aid was being seized by the government or anyone else. This observer, during the late night of 11/7/12 contacted “Wassim”, a friend and a volunteer at the Damascus SARC HQ who last week arranged visits for me of SARC aid distribution centers and Wassim also flatly denied the UOSSM report. Wassim informed this observer on the evening of 11/7/12 that SARC will immediately prepare a response to the USOOM allegations.
UOSSM itself has been criticized, as have a few other NGO’s working in Syria, for becoming politicized, polarized and for being inordinately top heavy administratively with bloated salaries and ” humanitarian team leaders” sitting in offices in Paris or Geneva and elsewhere far from Syria. Mr. Chamaa, himself, is a high salaried founding member of the Western group of 14 aid organizations from countries including France, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. According to SARC volunteers working in field aid distribution centers in Syria, Mr Chamaa could learn more were he to visit Syria and actually observe what’s happening on the ground before making unsupported claims. The UOSSM was set up at the beginning of the year mainly by Syrian doctors living in NATO countries. Some speculate that UOSSM hopes to be part of a possible future NATO affiliated “transition team” while others claim its political charges against SARC volunteers, without proof, are irresponsible and hurt those suffering most in Syria. The reason is because such alarmist press releases tend to damp down much needed donations of medical aid and necessities. This affects directly the 1.5 million people inside Syria who are in need of emergency humanitarian aid.
In response to Charmaa’s sensationalistic headline grabbing charges, UN World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told the media on 11/7/12: ”I believe there is absolutely no confiscation. WFP food monitors are able to visit most areas to check that food is reaching the people who need it most. Even in some dangerous areas, they use WFP armored vehicles.” She insisted that the Red Crescent, “as the designated coordinator of humanitarian assistance in Syria, operates through branches in an independent manner”.
The ICRC said it was aware of Chamaa’s allegations. Its HQ stated on 11/7/12: “Whenever such facts are clearly established, which does not appear to be the case in Syria, we treat them very seriously and would address directly the management of (the Syrian Red Crescent) and Syrian authorities” ICRC spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk stressed that the ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent “strive to assist all populations in need without any discrimination, which is a challenging task given the deteriorating humanitarian situation and security conditions.” The ICRC and SARC volunteers recently managed to deliver medical and food aid to 1,200 people in the Old City of Homs, and since the beginning of the year they have provided food, water and other assistance to more than one million people across Syria, according to ICRC spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk, and as reported by AFP.
On 11/8/12 exhibiting exasperation, a sense of foreboding and just a whiff of defeatism, ICRC president Peter Maurer to a conference in Geneva that “We are in a situation where the humanitarian situation due to the conflict is getting worse. And we can’t cope with the worsening of the situation. We have a lot of blank spots, we know that no aid has been there and I can’t tell you what the situation is or what we can do.”
In a late breaking development Friday morning, 11/9/12, the UN human rights chief expressed concern after the ICRC said it was struggling to deliver aid in war-ravaged Syria. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told AFP during an interview at the Bali Democracy Forum in Indonesia: “The fact that they’ve now said they are unable to perform their core functions makes the humanitarian crisis in Syria extremely critical. Nearly hopeless.”
Don’t tell that to Zeinab Tamari, a thirties something Palestinian volunteer from the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Damascus who is traveling across Syria bringing aid and relief to her fellow Arabs.
And don’t tell either it to Syrian student Mahar Saad whose home was destroyed during fighting in Homs and who daily risks his life remaining in his neighborhood helping his neighbors despite losing family members in the fighting. Both are SARC volunteers appeared without being asked at one of the aid organizations outlets across Syria to help. They inspire hope for Syria and for all humanity, regardless of the outcome of the current crisis.
The staff and volunteers who perform the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society’s humanitarian work undertaken in the main by Syrians for Syrians, with Syrians are a credit to their country and warrant the blessings and support all people of good will as they risk their lives to bring aid to their countrymen.
Let me begin by saying, I’ve been an evangelical Christian since I was a child. I’ve been in the Gospel ministry all of my adult life. I attended two evangelical Christian colleges, received honorary degrees from two others, and taught and preached in several others. I’ve attended many of the largest evangelical pastors’ gatherings and have been privileged to speak at Christian gatherings–large and small–all over America. I have been part of the inner workings of evangelical ministry for nearly 40 years. I think I learned a thing or two about evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity in America. With that said, I’m here to tell you: I don’t like what I see happening these days.
Historically, Christians have always attempted to be–and have always publicly taught the importance of being–peacemakers. Have not Christians preached–and tried to practice–love and brotherhood? The early church was born in a baptism of love and unity. Oh sure, there were always individual misunderstandings and differences, but, on the whole, the church was a loving, caring, compassionate ecclesia.
Mind you, Christians historically were not afraid or ashamed to defend themselves, their families, and their country. The Lord Jesus, Himself (the Prince of Peace), allowed His disciples to carry personal defense weapons (see Luke 22:36, 38). While some Christian sects were conscientious pacifists, these were the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of Christian believers understood the Biblical, Natural Law principle of self-defense. But believing in the right of lawful, God-ordained self-defense was never to be confused with warmongering.
So, what has happened to turn the most peace-loving institution the world has ever known (the New Testament church) into the biggest cheerleaders for war? I’m talking about unprovoked, illegal, unconstitutional, unbiblical–even secret–wars of aggression. The biggest cheerleaders for the unprovoked, unconstitutional, pre-emptive attack and invasion of Iraq were evangelical Christians. Ditto for the war in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, the attacks in Yemen, drone attacks in Pakistan, etc. Who is calling for the bombing of Iran? Evangelical Christians. Who cheers for sending more and more troops all over the world to maim and kill more and more people (including innocents)? Evangelical Christians. Most evangelical Christians didn’t even bat an eye when the federal government sent military and police personnel to murder American citizens, including elderly men, women, and children–Christian elderly men, women, and children, no less–outside Waco, Texas. Neither have the vast majority of them piped a peep of protest against the federal government’s murder of Vicki and Sammy Weaver.
And where are today’s evangelical Christians giving a second thought regarding their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in many of these Middle Eastern countries that are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the puppet regimes being put in power by the US government–at US taxpayer (including Christian taxpayer) expense? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more Christians have been persecuted under the US-imposed regime in Iraq than were ever persecuted when Saddam Hussein was in power. Oh! And don’t forget that it was the US government that was responsible for putting Saddam Hussein in power to begin with. The US government set up Osama bin Laden, too. But I digress.
In addition to the “white” wars (the ones everyone knows about), the US government authorizes some 70 black ops commando raids in some 120 countries EVERY DAY. In fact, the secret, black ops military of the US is so large today it now totals more personnel than the ENTIRE MILITARY OF CANADA!
A recent report noted, “In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once ‘special’ for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.”
To see the complete report of America’s secret wars, go to:
Yet, how much of this knowledge would even faze the average evangelical Christian today? All we seem to hear from today’s “churches” is “bomb,” “attack,” “wipe them out,” etc. Then, at the same time, they get all emotional about sending missionaries to the same countries that they had just cheered-on the US military in raining down missiles of death and destruction upon (to bring salvation to the lucky ones that weren’t killed, I suppose).
And who were the ones that belittled and impugned Ron Paul? Evangelical Christians. Why? Because he dared to tell the truth about America’s foreign policy being responsible for much of the hatred and bitterness erupting in foreign countries against us.
The disciples of our Lord were called “Christians” first by the Gentiles of Antioch, because of the manner in which the disciples reminded them of Christ’s nature and teachings. I never thought I would hear myself say what I’m about to say, but the truth is, the term “Christian” today signifies anything but Christ-like. To many people today, “Christian” refers to some warmongering, mean-spirited, throw-anyone-to-the-wolves-who-crosses-them person, who then has the audacity to look down their nose in contempt against anyone who disagrees with them for even the smallest reason. And the word “church” has the stigma of being simply an enclave of warmongers to many people today. And that, my friends, is one reason so many people are turned off with today’s Christianity. And I can’t say that I blame them. I’m turned off too!
Am I a pacifist? Absolutely not! Do I believe an individual, a family, a community, or a nation has the right to lawful self-defense? I absolutely do! But this blind support for illegal, immoral, unconstitutional war is anything but Christian. Not only is it turning people against our country among people abroad, it is turning our own countrymen against the Christ we Christians claim to love right here at home.
I dare say that the modern Warfare State would grind to a screeching halt tomorrow if evangelical Christians would simply stop supporting it! And the thing that most evangelical Christians fail to realize is that the Warfare State is one of the primary tools being used to usher in a devilish New World Order that even babes in Christ know to be of Satan. Hence, Christians are helping to promote the very thing that Satan, himself, is using to enslave them.
And I realize that right now the vast majority of evangelicals eat, breathe, and sleep only one mantra: “Get rid of Obama!” They would vote for anybody to beat Obama. Well, anybody except Ron Paul, that is. Evangelicals might hate Ron Paul more than they do Barack Obama. And after Mitt Romney is elected on November 6, these same “Christians” will go into a state of extended hibernation, ignoring every unconstitutional big-government decision that Romney makes. Not only that, buckle your seat belts boys and girls, because Romney is going to expand America’s foreign wars (and the emerging police state at home) like nobody’s business. And when he does, guess what? Evangelicals will be the ones who clap and cheer the most.
Let me ask my Christian brethren some questions: does God give governmental leaders a pass on obeying His moral laws? If God will hold you and me accountable to His command to not murder, for example, will He not hold our civil magistrates accountable to His command to not murder? Or do you really believe that murder is justified on the word of a king? If so, had you been alive in Hitler’s Germany, you would have supported his atrocities, too, right? And is that whom you think occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: a king? Is murder justified simply because a magistrate orders it? And if that’s true, is it then justified that government forces pillage, plunder, and rape? If not, why not? After all, if it’s lawful for men to murder on the command of a magistrate, why can they not pillage, plunder, and rape? What’s the difference?
Accordingly, I personally believe that evangelicals owe Bill Clinton an apology. They excoriated him when it came to light that he had committed adultery. They then turned around and supported G.W. Bush’s unconstitutional, unprovoked, preemptive wars of aggression, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Pray tell, if a President is exempt from the moral law against shedding innocent blood (Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 6:17) why should he not be exempt from the moral law against adultery?
Believe it or not, a local pastor here in the Flathead Valley of Montana recently preached a message to his congregation on Romans 13 with the typical erroneous “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” claptrap. When a member of his congregation later asked him personally to explain himself, he told the parishioner, “If government agents or troops came to my house and laid my wife on the kitchen table and raped her, Romans 13 tells me I cannot resist.” That’s what he said, folks. I’m not making it up.
Well, if you believe that Presidents are above the moral law of God regarding shedding innocent blood, why should they be held to any other moral law of God? And if Presidents are exempt, what about governors, mayors, sheriffs, etc.? I truly wonder how many evangelical Christians deep in their heart share the opinion of the above-mentioned pastor. Scary thought, isn’t it?
And, by the way, that President Obama continues to escalate America’s wars in the Middle East is the one thing that evangelicals LIKE about him. In fact, it was Ron Paul’s opposition to the wars of aggression in the Middle East that was the chief reason why evangelicals rejected him. Yes, between a war-mongering socialist such as Barack Obama, and a peace-loving freedomist such as Ron Paul, the average evangelical would choose the warmonger.
Have evangelicals forgotten I John 3:14, 15? It says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (KJV)
And folks, need I remind you that there are hundreds of thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters scattered throughout the Muslim world? In fact, Christianity is growing fastest within the Muslim world today. I have been to the Middle East. I have met hundreds of Palestinian and Arab Christians. And I can tell you unequivocally that they do NOT hate America; they are NOT our enemies; and they love the Lord and try to live for Him as much as any of us here in the United States do. And every day many of these innocent brothers and sisters of ours are being maimed and killed by the relentless missile attacks and countless wars being perpetrated by the US government. So, pray tell, how can we claim to be Christians on the one hand and be so callused to the suffering and death of our Christian brothers and sisters on the other hand? (And that is not to minimize the deaths of the tens of thousands of non-Christian innocents who are killed in these attacks, but to simply appeal to my fellow Christians with the Biblical “love the brethren” message.) How can we justify this carnage? Oh, it’s just “collateral damage,” right?
No man is exempt from the moral laws of God. No man! Not even the President of the United States. And how much guilt do those of us in America who laud and support the Warfare State share when atrocities are committed by our leaders in our name and with our approval? And if none, then what were those trials in Nuremberg all about?
Yes, I’ve been an evangelical Christian for most of my life and an evangelical pastor for most of my adult life. And if we Christians do not quickly repent of this bloodlust that seems to dominate evangelical Christianity today (spiritually and militarily), the word that was first used by un-churched Gentiles to describe Christ’s followers will be used as a curse-word to describe those who facilitated the ruination of our country, because “whatsoever a [nation] soweth, that shall [it] also reap.”
The West’s attempts to destroy the Iranian economy through heightened sanctions—including most imports, oil exports and use of banks for trade operations—is having its affect. According to Johns Hopkins University Professor Steve Hanke, Iran is facing hyperinflation, with a monthly inflation rate of nearly 70% per month and its national currency, the rial, plummeting in value against western currencies. Iran is the latest casualty to be placed on his Hanke-Krus Hyperinflation Index, which includes France (1795), Germany (1922), Chile (1973), Nicaragua (1986), Argentina (1990), Russia (1992), Ecuador (1999) and Zimbabwe (2007), countries which experienced price-level increases of at least 50% per month.
Hanke, relishing his role as the world’s expert on this nightmarish phenomenon, has “played a significant role in stopping more hyperinflations than any living economist, including 10 of the 57 episodes” on his Index. He writes that Iran has three options: spontaneous dollarization (people unloading rials on the blackmarket for dollars, as happened in Zimbabwe), official dollarization (the government withdrawing the currency in favor of dollars, as in Ecuador), or a currency board issuing a new domestic currency backed 100% by—you guessed it—dollars. Hanke insists that the foreign currency doesn’t have to be US dollars. Pitcairn Island, for instance, uses New Zealand dollars.
The inflation doctor admits vaguely that there are “foreign factors”, without a hint of criticism of not only the sanctions, but the active subversion of Iran through everything from support of Iranian terrorists, assassinations of leading scientists, right up to war (the US encouraged Iraq to invade Iran in 1980). He emphasizes “Iran’s complex system of subsidies, capital controls, and multiple exchange rates”, but most of all “massive overprinting of money”, though he complains that “the Central Bank of The Islamic Republic of Iran has not reported any such statistics for some time”. As if a country living through a state of emergency is likely to divulge such sensitive information.
He coolly dismisses consumers’ expectations influencing prices, since “fear surrounding military tensions is nothing new for Iranians”. Indeed, the US has been targeting Iran for destruction ever since it threw off its colonial chains in 1979—a dangerous example for other, especially Muslim countries. It is miraculous that Iran has done so well economically since the revolution, given the unremitting victimization it has experienced. One can only marvel at the stubborn courage it has shown to build an Islamic society in the teeth of opposition by the world empire and even by other Muslim nations allied to the empire.
We indeed may ask why Iran’s inflation rate has jumped so dramatically precisely in recent times. Of course, it is because of the sanctions. And why the sanctions? Is it really fears that Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, despite professions to the contrary and membership in the IAEA? No. Besides Iran’s role in inspiring the current ‘Islamic Reawakening’ in the Middle East, there is another very important reason, one which flies in the face of Hanke’s ‘three options’ for Iran.
Those ‘options’ all amount to one: accept US-dollar dictatorship. Iran has been trying to trade oil in non-US dollar currencies since 2008, when it opened its Oil Bourse. Iraq did this in 2000, and the US reaction was invasion—dollarization at gunpoint. The point of the sanctions today is a last-ditch attempt by the US to force Iran to comply with the US world order, as epitomized by continued acceptance of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Hanke insists it is not necessary for Iran to use US dollars as its substitute currency, which in any case would be ridiculous under the circumstances. However, the alternative of using, say, New Zealand dollars finesses the reality that all currencies are tied to the US dollar, as the de facto international reserve currency. This has been the case in reality since the 1930s, when the world abandoned the gold standard. Acknolwedging this fact, over 20 countries call their legal tender ‘dollars’.
Whether the government moves quickly to raise the white flag, as in Ecuador, or belatedly, as in Zimbabwe, or insists on printing pretty new paper scrip tied 100% to the US dollar through an exchange board, as did Argentina, merely confirms the obvious. In past cases, such as Chile, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe, the message was: your socialist policies are unacceptable. In Iran’s case, the message is: take dollars for your oil.
Hanke’s monetarist credo—printing money causes inflation—ignores the underlying causes of inflation. As he admits, Iranians have faced war fears for over three decades. The exchange controls and subsidies, “government monopolies, price controls, and Soviet-style economic planning”, which Hanke calls “wrong-headed”, are not the cause of inflation, but a way for the government to keep it under control. However, at a certain point, the “foreign factors” become so egregious that even such measures fail. That is what has happened now, as sanctions have created extreme pain for the average Iranian. Bare shelves and panic in the face of invasion threats means that the currency will devalue, however many rials the government prints.
This is what happened in Germany in 1922, when it was forced to export everything to buy the gold to pay the extortionate reparations. It ended by resorting to Hanke’s currency board and marks issued against gold, but the underlying cause—the extortion practiced by Britain and France—only ended when Hitler took power and canceled the reparations. The devastation cause by “foreign factors” led in that instance to the rise of fascism.
University of Missouri Professor Michael Hudson maintains that “every hyperinflation in history stems from the foreign exchange markets. It stems from governments trying to throw enough of their currency on the market to pay their foreign debts.” Canadian commentator Stephen Gowans calls it “warfare by other means”. Devaluing the enemy’s currency was used as a war tactic by Napoleon against the Russians and by the British against the American colonists.
A consideration of all the countries on Hanke’s Hyperinflation Index can trace similar real causes and real ways to end the underlying problem that led to hyperinflation in each case. Ecuador finally took control of its economy and reduced its foreign debt in defiance of the IMF under President Rafael Correa, and is today the most popular political leader in all of the Americas. That is what created political stability and ended the ever-present threat of inflation there. The same goes for Argentina under President Nestor Kirschner and Russia under President Vladimir Putin.
Hanke is like the doctor telling the patient who was shot that he must have his leg amputated immediately. He refuses to condemn the sanctions as a violation of human rights, targeting the Iranian people without cause. He wants to cut off the patient’s leg to save him, which he can do in a matter of hours. The Iranian government is trying to remove the bullet and use a strict regime of rehabilitation, something that requires patience and grit. There is no magic cure to solve inflation under these circumstances.
The possibility looms that the US will undertake yet another criminal invasion of a Muslim country, recapitulating its war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The real analogy for Iran is wartime. During war, all countries ration scarce goods, and people unite and accept sacrifice in the face of the enemy. This is the only solution for Iran today unless it agrees to join the US-dollar denominated empire as a junior member. Hanke’s patient could well die under the ‘anesthesia’ of US-Israeli bombs, but the Iranian people are proud and will fight for their dignity till their dying breath. The worries about hyperinflation will then pale in comparison to the real “foreign factors”, and the US will face the revenge of history for its criminal actions.
Most countries are too afraid of the US wolf to stand up to it. There are exceptions. China, Russia, India and South Korea have not abandoned ‘the patient’. Egypt is establishing diplomatic and economic relations with Iran in defiance of the US. Hopefully other ‘Arab Spring’ countries will join Iran in pursuing a policy of justice for the Middle East, working together to undo the horrendous legacy of US imperialism in the region. Someday, ‘dollarization’ will be a shibboleth, consigned to the ‘ash heap of history’.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ and is author of Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games. http://claritypress.com/Walberg.html . You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/
The Southeast Asian country of Laos in the late 1950s and early 60s was a complex and confusing patchwork of civil conflicts, changes of government and switching loyalties. The CIA and the State Department alone could take credit for engineering coups at least once in each of the years 1958, 1959 and 1960. No study of Laos of this period appears to have had notable success in untangling the muddle of who exactly replaced whom, and when, and how, and why. After returning from Laos in 1961, American writer Norman Cousins stated that “if you want to get a sense of the universe unraveling, come to Laos. Complexity such as this has to be respected.” 1
Syria 2012 has produced its own tangled complexity. In the past 18 months it appears that at one time or another virtually every nation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as members of NATO and the European Union has been reported as aiding those seeking to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Russia, China, and several other countries are reported as aiding Assad. The Syrian leader, for his part, has consistently referred to those in combat against him as “terrorists”, citing the repeated use of car bombs and suicide bombers. The West has treated this accusation with scorn, or has simply ignored it. But the evidence that Assad has had good reason for his stance has been accumulating for some time now, particularly of late. Here is a small sample from recent months:
- “It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field … The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution.” (New York Times, July 24, 2012)
- A leading German newspaper reported that the German intelligence service, BND, had concluded that 95% of the Syrian rebels come from abroad and are likely to be members of al Qaeda. (Die Welt, September 30, 2012)
- “A network of French Islamists behind a grenade attack on a kosher market outside Paris last month also planned to join jihadists fighting in Syria … Two suspects were responsible for recruiting and dispatching people ‘to carry out jihad in some countries – notably Syria’,” a state prosecutor said. (Associated Press, October 11, 2012)
- “Fighters from a shadowy militant group [Jabhat al-Nusra] with suspected links to al-Qaida joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile defense base in northern Syria on Friday, according to activists and amateur video. …The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks.” (Associated Press, October 12, 2012)
- “In a videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri … urged support for Syria’s uprisings.” (Associated Press, October 28, 2012)
According to your favorite news source or commentator, President Assad is either a brutal murderer of his own people, amongst whom he has had very little support; or he’s a hero who’s long had the backing of the majority of the Syrian population and who is standing up to Western imperialists and their terrorist comrades-in-arms, whom the US is providing military aid, intelligence, and propaganda services.
Washington and its freedom fighters de jour would like to establish Libya II. And we all know how well Libya I has turned out.
Of backward nations and modern nations
Page one of the October 24 Washington Post contained a prominent photo of a man chained to a concrete wall at a shrine in Afghanistan. The accompanying story told us that the man was mentally ill and that “legend has it that those with mental disorders will be healed after spending 40 days in one of the shrine’s 16 tiny concrete cells”, living “on a subsistence diet of bread, water and black pepper.” Every year hundreds of Afghans bring mentally ill relatives to the shrine for this “cure”.
Immediately to the right of this story, constituting the paper’s lead story of the day, we learn that the United States is planning to continue its policy of assassinating individuals, via drone attacks, for the foreseeable future. This is Washington’s “cure” for the mental illness of not believing that America is the savior of mankind, bringing democracy, freedom and happiness to all. (The article adds that the number of “militants and civilians” killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by some estimates, surpassing the number of people killed on September 11.)
Undoubtedly there are many people in Afghanistan, high and low, who know that their ancient cure is nonsense, but the chainings have continued for centuries. Just as certain, there are American officials who know the same about their own cure. Here’s a senior American official: “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us. … We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America’.” Yet , we are told, “Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.”
We can also be confident that there have been people chained to the wall in Afghanistan who were not particularly mentally ill to begin with but became so because of the cure. And just as certain, there have been numerous people in several countries who were not anti-American until a drone devastated their village, family or neighbors.
The Post article also reported that Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returned from Pakistan a while ago and recounted a heated confrontation with his counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. “Mullen told White House and counterterrorism officials that the Pakistani military chief had demanded an answer to a seemingly reasonable question: After hundreds of drone strikes, how could the United States possibly still be working its way through a ‘top 20′ list?”
American officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones’ cross hairs. “Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official. “But it doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.” The Post added this comment: “Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent.”
The next day we could read in the Post: “There is ample evidence in Pakistan that the more than 300 [drone] strikes launched under Obama have helped turn the vast majority of the population vehemently against the United States.”
Wake up and smell the bullshit. Then go vote.
After the second presidential debate in early October, Luke Rudkowski of the media group We Are Change asked Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, about President Obama’s widely reported “kill list” of Americans and foreigners who can be assassinated without charge or trial.
Luke Rudkowski: ”If President Romney becomes president, he’s going to inherit President Barack Obama’s secret ‘kill list’? This is going to be debated. How do you think Romney will handle this ‘kill list,’ and are you comfortable with him having a ‘kill list’?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Obama has a secret ‘kill list’ which he has used to assassinate different people all over the world.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I’m happy to answer any serious questions you have.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Why is that not serious?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Of course you don’t.”
The existence of the U.S. ‘kill list’ has been publicly known for nearly two years and was the subject of a 6,000-word exposé in the New York Times in May.
At the same event, Sierra Adamson of We Are Change asked former White House Press Secretary and current Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs about the U.S. killing of Abdulrahman Awlaki, the teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
Sierra Adamson: ”Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was an American citizen, is justifiable?”
Robert Gibbs: ”I’m not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki’s son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship.”
Sierra Adamson: ”His son was still an American citizen.”
Robert Gibbs: ”Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al-Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And…”
Sierra Adamson: ”That’s an American citizen that’s being targeted without due process of law, without trial. And he’s underage. He’s a minor.”
Robert Gibbs: ”I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father. If they’re truly concerned about the well-being of their children, I don’t think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.” 2
To demonstrate that the bullshit is bipartisan, we now present Mr. Mitt Romney, speaking during the presidential foreign policy debate: “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea. It’s the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel.”
However, a look at a map reveals firstly that Iran does not share a border with Syria; there’s something called Iraq in between; and secondly that Iran already has access to the sea on both its north and south; actually about 1100 miles of coastline. Romney has made this particular blunder repeatedly, and the Washington Post has pointed it out on several occasions. Post columnist Al Kamen recently wrote: “We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.” 3
Of course, neither Obama nor the debate moderator pointed out Romney’s errors.
The sanctity of life
“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice-president, told the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010. 4
How nice. Yet the man supports all of America’s wars, each of which takes the lives of large numbers of people, both American and foreign; and he’s opposed to national health insurance, which would save countless more lives. The good congressman is also an avid hunter and supporter of gun-owners’ rights, so he apparently is not too pro-life concerning other creatures of God’s Kingdom. Of course, what Ryan actually means by “life” is an embryo or fetus, perhaps even a zygote. Oh wait, that’s not all of it – corporations are also people whose lives Ryan cherishes.
The fate of those who do not love the empire
On October 7 Hugo Chávez won his fourth term in office as president of Venezuela. The feeling of frustration that must have descended upon the Venezuelan and American power elite is likely reminiscent of Chile, March 1973, when the party of another socialist and American bête noire, Salvador Allende — despite the best intentions and dollars without end of the CIA — won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections, compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.
During the spring and summer the Agency’s destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with a particularly long one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: “While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout.” A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on “a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas” where the money for it came from. “From the CIA,” they answered laughingly. 5
There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and the ultra-right Patria y Libertad.
In September the military prevailed. “It is clear,” said the later US Senate investigating committee, “the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973.” 6 The United States had also prepared the way for the military action through its economic intervention and support of the anti-Allende media.
Chávez has already been overthrown once in a coup that the United States choreographed, in 2002, but a combination of some loyal military officers and Chávez’s followers in the streets combined for a remarkable reversal of the coup after but two days. The Venezuelan opposition will not again make the mistake of not finishing Chávez off when they have him in their custody.
Both Hugo Chávez and Salvador Allende had sinned by creating “nationalistic” regimes that served the wrong “national interest”. The hatred felt by the power elite for such men is intense. The day after the legally and democratically elected Venezuelan leader was ousted, but before being restored to power, the New York Times(April 13, 2002) was moved to pen the following editorial:
“With yesterday’s resignation [what the coup leaders called it] of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.”
It should be noted that the “respected business leader”, Pedro Carmona, quickly dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and annulled the Venezuelan constitution.
And keep in mind that in the United States the New York Times is widely regarded as a “liberal” newspaper; most conservatives would say “very liberal”, if not “socialist”.
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 21 ↩
- Democracy Now, October 25, 2012 ↩
- Washington Post, October 24, 2012, column by Al Kamen ↩
- New York Times, August 12, 2012 ↩
- Time, September 24, 1973, p.46 ↩
- Covert Action in Chile, 1963‑1973, a Staff Report of The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate) December 18, 1975, p.39 ↩
In the Middle Eastern corrida, the moment of truth is approaching fast. Assad’s Syria is running around the arena like a wounded bull, fraught and worn down by a year of cruel strife. Banderillas of mujaheeds stick out of his broken hide. The public, the Europeans, the Americans, the Gulf rulers call: Kill him! And the Turkish matador steps forward, pulling out his sword. His cannons rain death on Syrian slopes; fire and lead storm consumes the hills. Erdogan is preparing to deal last blow to his exhausted neighbour.
“Don’t do it, Erdogan! Desist!” – cry thousands of Turks demonstrating against the bloody war. Syria was a good neighbour of Turkey: Assad did not allow the Kurdish separatists to open the second front against the Turks, he delivered Ocalan to their hands, he did not turn the loss of Antioch into a national cause, he kept Israeli army at bay, he bore the brunt of war in Lebanon, supporting the brave warriors of Hezbullah. Post-Assad Syria will be worse for Turkey.
If Erdogan’s Janissaries will deal treachourous strike to Syria, and cause its collapse, a terrible whirlwind will ensue, and it will engulf Turkey as well. Inevitable massacre of Syrian Christians by the mujaheeds with Turkish support will remind the world of so many forgotten Christian villages and cities smashed and depopulated by the victorious Turks. The ghosts of slaughtered Armenians and Greeks will emerge from the lanes of Smyrna and the shores of Van. From broken Syria, Kurdistan will definitely come to being, reducing Turkey to the size envisaged by the Versailles Conference.
Saudis will be the great winners of the war, not the Turks. The dream of Caliphate will be centered on the Gulf, not on the Bosphorus. With their own hands, the Turks prepare their own defeat.
Good relations with Russia will suffer immensely. Russia has called upon Turkey to restrain its actions and reminded of terrible responsibility to be born by the aggressor. Russia wants Syria to find its own way. Russia is the biggest trade partner of Turkey; thousands of Turkish engineers and technicians work in Russia, thousands of Russians holiday in Turkey.
Moreover, the relations of Russia and Turkey are important beyond practical mercantile considerations. These two great countries are heirs to one greatest Eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire. The Ottomans inherited her main body that was broken in 1918 into many splinters; her most important offshoot, Russia inherited her spirit and faith. If you seek symmetry, think of the Western Roman Empire: her main body, Western Europe, was fragmented and is now in the process of being united, while her most important offshoot, the United States of America, inherited her imperial spirit.
Russians and Turks are very similar to each other; the Turks are “Russians in shalvars”, they say. Both nations went through modernisation and Westernisation, but preserved their own identity. Both nations passed through violent denial of faith from 1920s to 1990s, and rediscovered their religious leanings afterwards.
The Russians see the Turks as equal human beings and feel empathy to them. The leading Russian historian Lev Gumilev exalted the Russian – Turkic comradeship-in-arms that broke the wave of Western Crusades in 13-14th Centuries. In modern times Vladimir Lenin gave a hand in friendship to Mustafa Kemal and forfeited all Russian claims to defeated Turkey, for he expected Turkey to sustain its historical role of protector of the East. The Russians and the Turks must remain friends. If the Russians ask Erdogan “Do not do it!” he should listen. Instead, he grounded their plane.
The Russians are not obsessed with Bashar al Assad, nor is he their best friend. He came to power in year 2000, but his first visit to Moscow took place only in 2005, meanwhile he frequented Paris and London. Russian trade with Syria is not too big, either. Israeli PM Netanyahu promised Russian President Putin to protect Russian interests in Syria in case of the rebels’ victory. The Russians aren’t selfish; they insist on peaceful transformation, in accordance with Syrian people’s will, and they do object to the rape of Syria as envisaged by Saudis and the West.
The relations of Turkey with Iran will suffer. For Iran, Syria is an important partner, a window to the Mediterranean. Victory of pro-American forces in Syria will close the window. Iranians will be mighty upset with Turkey. It is not a good idea to spoil these relations.
The people of Turkey do not want war with Syria; even Turkish generals are not keen to unleash the dogs of war. Only pro-NATO Westernisers within Turkish leadership desire to overturn the legitimate government in Damascus. Other Turks remember that doing Western bidding never led Turkey – or Russia – to any good result.
I understand why the Turkish leaders decided to embrace and support the rebels a year ago: they were misled by the Western-cum-Gulf spin of Syrian government’s forthcoming speedy collapse, and they wanted to be on the winning side. But after the noisy media campaign, reality came and debunked the propheciers: despite billions of dollars wasted by Qatar, Saudis and the West, despite heaps of armaments transported through Turkish-Syrian border, the Assad regime stands fast and still enjoys enough popular support.
This is the right time for reassessment. In every game, there is a moment for it, when you decide not to throw good money after bad one. And reassessment started, with many Turks calling to write off the losses, stop supporting the rebels and try to restore normalcy under the good slogan “with neighbours – no problems”. The New York Times reported a few days before the flare-up of the U-turn in Turkish minds: people are disappointed with flow of unruly Syrian mujaheddin, with lawlessness, with flood of refugees, with growth of Kurdish resistance. Turks are known for their daring U-turns. In 1940, they sided with Germany being certain of the Reich’s victory, but in 1944 they understood that the USSR is winning, and changed sides. Now is the time to change sides, to go back to strict neutrality, to stop support of the rebels and seal the border, said the people to the New York Times reporter.
But people overseas who planned the Syrian Disaster, drew different conclusion of this turn of mind: they decided to speed up their operations and provoked the artillery exchanges. We do not know who aimed the mortars at the Turkish border villages: whether it was done by the Syrian Army in the heat of the battle, or by the rebels trying to trigger the war. The Turkish Yurt newspaper reported that the shots were fired from the NATO weapons recently given to the rebels by the Turks: “Erdogan’s Government Handed over the Mortars to Armed (Free Syrian Army) Groups in Syria which Shelled Akcakale Town” – they headlined. The ammunition was reportedly NATO ammunition 120 AE HE-TNT. Even the New York Times admitted that it’s unknown who’s responsible for mortars landing in Turkey. A German TV canal ZDF reported: mortars were launched from territory controlled by FSA fighters. A leaked video clip said they admitted responsibility for striking Akcakale and killing five Turkish nationals.
But it is possible that the shells were fired by the government troops who shot at the rebels and the Turkish villagers became innocent victims. Provided the Turks allow the rebels to operate freely on their territory, it is quite possible.
It is still not a good reason to begin war. Let us remember 2010, when the Israelis murdered mafia-style nine unarmed Turkish volunteers on board of Mavi Marmara. This was brutal murder at full daylight, filmed and undoubted. Erdogan threatened to send Turkish Navy to the shores of Palestine and relieve Gaza by force. Now, did he do it? No, he did not. Now he is brave to shoot at tired and devastated Syria; but why he was not brave enough to deal with Israel, like the Syrians did?
Now Israelis hope Erdogan will help the rebels to destroy Syria; they asked Turks to coordinate joint action with them. So instead of punishing Israel, Erdogan ends with doing Israel’s desire.
I remember snowy February 2003 in Istanbul, when I came to argue for banning the US army passage to Iraq. I told them that “the long standing Zionist plan is being realised. First, Iraq must be destroyed. After that, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, until all the former Ottoman Empire and its neighbours from Pakistan to Africa are turned into a Zone of Special Interests for Israel, policed by the Turks.
This plan was outlined by General Sharon many years ago, re-formulated by the Zionist Neo-cons Richard Perle and Douglas Feith in 1996, and is now upheld by the Wolfowitz Cabal, the people who run the US foreign policy. If it will be done, it will have been done with the connivance of Turkey, of its ‘Islamic’ government.
I am sorry for you, friends. You were shepherds of the Middle East, now you help the Wolves. You were the rulers of men, now you have become the servants of your masters. You were the protectors of Islam, now you are about to allow desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque.”
What I said then, became true; nothing good came out of Iraqi war. And now, I can say it again: nothing good will come out of Syria War.
The stories of multiple massacres are often just stories. Wikileaks published a Stratfor report saying: “most of the [Syrian] opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue.” And the events on the ground are certainly not worse than whatever was done to Kurds in Turkey, and the Turks probably do not cherish a R2P intervention in their country.
My advice: do not try to finish off Syria, return to your policy of strict neutrality, cease fire and logistic support of the rebels. Let the Syrians sort out their problems themselves, without foreign intervention.
By any traditional standards of accomplishment, Barack Obama has failed miserably. This assessment is not based upon any particular ideology or partisan politics, just on straight pragmatic results. Furthermore, if you watch or read any of the accounts from the establishment media you would think that the black messiah would shuffle into a second term on the strength of his vocal talent. Singing sweet melodies appeals to those lacking in intellectual skills to assess and judge reality from rhetoric. What is striking about the tenor of the political debate is that the face of the country now wears a socialist mask that the masses love and demands even greater expansion.
The message out of the mass media never misses an opportunity to apologize for the multiculturalism missteps that push the destructive nature of identity politics. Using the rouge of labeling the white middle class as habitual racists, and playing upon a fabricated and discredited guilt complex, the Obama administration has demonstrated that the true bigots work for the POTUS in the district of criminals.
Another tortured viewing of the Obama phone madam is not necessary. The ridiculous rant for more government freebies to supplement their dependency lifestyle is not unique to any one community or administration. Mark Hendrickson, in the Forbes article, What the “Obama Phone” Tells Us About America’s Health, gives a proper assessment.
“The race of the woman is irrelevant. The video reminds me of an incident that happened early in Bill Clinton’s presidency. The Clintons had profited handsomely from an allegedly shady real estate deal that became known as “the Whitewater scandal.” At a public presidential appearance, a woman (white, as I recall) called out from a crowd, “Don’t you worry about Whitewater, Bill, just keep our welfare checks coming!”
One expects that a credible publication like Forbes will provide an insightful and balanced conclusion. However, when analyzing public feedback after the first Presidential debate, the progressive spin to downplay Romney rave reviews, rises it’s bias head. An example is found in NewsHounds, who proclaims the motto - We watch Fox so you don’t have to!
In their article, Luntz’ Presidential Debate Focus Group Has A Suspicious Makeup is in full damage control mode puts a smiley face on a poor Obama debate performance.
“Frank Luntz has a history of putting together focus groups that are skewed toward Republicans which he tries to pass off as fair and/or representative. So I was immediately suspicious when Luntz described tonight’s presidential debate focus group by saying, “13 of these 24 people voted for Obama in 2008, only 10 voted for McCain.” Notice that he didn’t say how many were Democrats, how many Republicans, how many independents or other. For all we know, those 13 people who voted for Obama were Republicans. And guess what? Every one of them said they were undecided about who to vote for before the debate. That’s not a representative sample of voters at all.
To be fair, I’ll agree that Romney won the debate. But would that many Democrats actually have suddenly made up their minds to vote for Romney after this one debate? And a lot of the participants’ comments about Obama sounded suspiciously like Republican talking points.”
Actually, this sample focus group consisted of independent registered voters. Facts have little meaning in the minds of the Obama media enablers. You would expect that the “true believers” should be sufficiently humiliated; to invoke their distorted viewpoint, but how do they explain away the favorable Romney new impressions and perceptions by the American public? How dare the Romney camp challenge the prevailing wisdom of the progressive pressitute media, with a winning presentation?
Tarnishing the legacy of the titan of news reporting, CBS DC has Bill Buck pushing another embarrassing argument to protect the failed performance of their favorite, in Mitt Romney May Have Cheated To Win The Debate.
“A review of the debate tape reveals that, apparently, Mitt Romney needed a cheat sheet to keep the lies straight.
The rules of the presidential debates are clear about not bringing outside notes and presidents and aspirants have followed the rule for decades.
Video of the first eleven seconds of the debate available on YouTube shows Mitt Romney reaching into his pocket at the moment he is out of view of those in front of him, he used the lectern as a shield, and removing what appears to be folded papers from his pocket.
We see this because the camera that was broadcasting was behind Romney. Those in the audience and the moderator may have been shielded from his sleight of hand, but not the viewers.”
Identity Politics also has a gender component. The Democratic Party campaign spokesperson, Stepanie Cutter, makes the lies of James Carville tame by comparison. Even the Daily Beast, Newsweek’s latest attempt for relevancy, in the article How Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s One-Woman Warrior, Wages Political Combat has to admit that Identity Politics is central to the core pro government message, out of that supposed most transparent administration.
“The Obama campaign—with Cutter and her boss, David Axelrod, leading the charge—is focusing much of its firepower on what it sees as Republicans’ antediluvian platform on women’s issues.
Cutter doesn’t see her job as trying to appeal to female voters. She doesn’t have to. Her presence as a feisty warrior for Obama sends a message every time she pops up on the screen. As a symbol of the campaign’s gender diversity, Cutter cuts to the heart of all issues and delivers messages bringing out her inner pit bull when needed.”
NewsBusters provides a much different assessment on the believability of Cutter in ‘Fact Checkers’ AWOL After Obama Spokesperson Lies About Jobs Created Under Reagan and Obama.
“AP’s “Presidential Campaign Fact Check” appears to be limited to what the presidential and vice-presidential candidates say. The wire service is currently carrying its interview with President Obama, naturally headlined “AP INTERVIEW: OBAMA CALLS ROMNEY’S IDEAS ‘EXTREME’,” on its “Top Story” page. Zheesh.
“As to “fact-checkers” like PolitiFact and others, nothing demonstrates that they have turned themselves into just another tool of leftist bias than the “fact” that they haven’t called out Stephanie Cutter’s lie for four days and counting while trying and failing to nitpick the Romney campaign over its true statement about women’s job losses during the recession several months ago. PolitiFact falsely claimed it was “Mostly False.”
For deranged “Feminazis” like Cutter, the “Big Lie” is essential to keeping the fantasyland, hope and change, fraud alive. When the facade is stripped away from the decaying body of another political media whore, what remains is total deception and prevarications.
In order to appreciate the sinister nature of Identity Politics, one needs to discard the race baiting and sexism and focus upon the universal human rights of every individual. Racial preference as a “Right” is absurd and only leads to the insanity of a reparations mantra that drives the left into an asylum of self-delusion.
One does not need to support or vote for a Mitt Romney presidency to reject the destructive dogma that underpins the liberal malady. Lara Logan makes an astute observation that applies universally.
“Identity politics revolve around the narrative of victimization. For adherents to identity politics, the victim is not a person, but a member of a privileged victim group. That is, the status of victimhood is not determined by facts, but by membership in an identity group.”
Implement this insight as it pertains to the manner that the mass media conducts their ideological feud against Middle America. The self-anointed elites that populate daily perceptions and agendas worthy of discussion share an identity that supersedes the common person. The kind of victimhood message that these egomaniacs publish or broadcast, seeks to extend and spread the propaganda distortions that reinforces the virus of multiculturalism.
Rational and insightful citizens see the media elite as dying dinosaurs. Their disinformation does influence the Obama phone dame and dudes, no matter what their skin color. The unholy duality between government statists and media messengers, merge into a final content that violates every standard of journalism ethics and objectivity.
The goal of this confederation of deceit is to limit public discourse to approved areas of acceptable discussion. Controlling what is deemed a fact verses illusion is central to the process. Enforcing taboos and deporting violators into publication exile is habitual.
The bleeding heart hypocrisy that guarantees systemic limitations to upward social mobility is a hallmark of the professional media impostor. In the larger scheme of political temperament, the presidential debates are mere staged shows that act as a way to avoid genuine national dialogue.
The spin masters disguised as journalist are one-step removed from the cesspool of a political consultant. Remember that it was not that long ago that Obama Press Secretary, James “Jay” Carney was a TIME Warner media stooge. He never had to change his function, only the job title. Just imagine the horror of compelled watching an official “public servant” Stepanie Cutter, in a second Obama term.
Presidential debates between Obama and Romney will begin next week, beckoning Americans to focus on the candidates and who they should support.
It is time to ask ourselves if either of the present presidential campaigns or any debate between the two candidates matters.
Eight years ago, on Sept. 28, 2004, an editorial published by The Lone Star Iconoclast, the hometown newspaper of George Bush in Crawford, Texas, outlined the issues that were being overlooked by the mainstream media. The newspaper endured threats and boycotts after endorsing John Kerry for President. Kerry had been struggling in the wake of an off-point swift-boat campaign launched by covert manipulations orchestrated by the Rove White House. We suggest you read the editorial again, in full.
The editorial, which began with “Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would…” sent shock waves through the electorate and around the world.The Iconoclast site went down, overpowered by the force of 10,000,000 hits in one day as real, substantial issues came into sharp relief.
Instead of irrelevancies, the ensuing 2004 presidential debates refocused attention on the shocking developments in America and around the world, driven by war, irresponsible spending, the emptying of the Social Security Trust as benefits were slashed, the outsourcing of jobs, granting of cost plus contracts to friends of the administration, and the conversion of a budget surplus to the largest deficit in history.
The editorial concluded that Bush was a liar and cited “elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.”
The Kerry Campaign experienced a surge of support, which most Americans believed would carry him into the White House. The issues have not changed, despite attempts by both candidates to distract you. But we are farther down the path on a trajectory to absolute disaster.
Today the truth about Bush has become obvious, despite constant attempts to make him look good in comparison to Obama, who after a short, giddy period of fervent relief, stunned supporters by continuing the Bush presidency. Most Americans cannot discern a difference between the two administrations.
2004 provided a lesson we need to learn.
Beginning in the summer 2003 flyers were being circulated in the extended Cleveland, Ohio area reading, “Get Rid of Bush.” This was before the primary process had identified the opposing candidate.
Rebecca Anne, then living in the area, remembers the flyers, which urged people to register to vote for the explicit purpose of removing Bush from office. No one, Rebecca Anne said, cared very much who replaced Bush. Anyone would do. The people she knew included a broad range of political affiliations.
The editorial board of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has been criticized by liberal columnists for the generally conservative positions on its editorial page, despite the Democratic readership, withheld any endorsement. Then-publisher Alex Machaskee wanted to endorse Bush, over the objections and vote of the editorial board. He was instead persuaded by editorial page editor Brent Larkin to withhold any endorsement.
In the immediate aftermath of the election an article appeared in The Free Press by columnist Bob Fitrakis, entitled “How the Ohio election was rigged for Bush,” on Nov. 22, 2004.
The article cited four community public meetings about “election irregularities and voter suppression – two in the capitol, Columbus, and one each in Cincinnati and Cleveland – a clear pattern and practice of voter disenfranchisement is emerging.”
The 2004 election raised intensity on the troubling issue of electoral integrity. Millions of Americans had waited in long lines across the country to vote on Nov. 2 and went to sleep in the belief John Kerry had been elected President. They woke up the next morning to the news Kerry had conceded in the small hours of the night, refusing to contest the highly questionable outcome of counts in several states.
Today, a growing number of Americans from all parties accept that Kerry was actually elected. The election had been stolen by use of a back door in the voting machines, designed and sold to Americans by wealthy Bush friends. As this realization sunk in questions about the 2000 election also dawned.
Stolen elections require both the means of carrying it out with voting machines that can be remotely programmed and providing probable deniability. But the same people are used for this, over and over again.
The publication of another book, Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, by Rove confidant John Fund, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, with Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky, serves to illustrate how the Bush strategy for covering up their serial election thefts works. Building on their mainstream credentials operatives such as Fund provide cover which dampens protests by muddying the waters with false facts and rhetoric.
Fund’s first book, “Stealing Elections,” published in 2004, and his presence as a spokesman, has been invaluable as well.
Today, the whole electoral process appears to be a distraction for the public, providing shreds of false hope as the next round of take-downs are put in place, carried out with the callousness of the slaughter house.
Since the moment Bush was inaugurated in 2001 Americans have been subjected to a continuous onslaught of falsehoods, from the infamous weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war in Iraq, and moves by Congress which changed the economic rule book, immunizing the financial sector from wrong doing. Since then, Americans have suffered through a series of shocks which can each be traced back to the income stream of a small number of interests.
Wealth is being transferred from those who earned it to those who use government to fill their own pockets. Changes in statute, rubber stamped by Congress, and the erosion of the rights of Americans, through conversion of our courts, have transformed America.
What began as a trickle into the pockets of special interests has become a hemorrhage, with the 2008 real estate crisis only one of many.
As Americans vote this November, if they bother, the next round of planned takings will begin. The target will, again, be the homes of Americans. This will happen no matter who is elected to fill the office of President and a growing number of Americans realize this.
Today, there are more ‘Obama in 2008′ stickers weathering on cars than new 2012 stickers. Romney signs are still outnumbered by those for Ron Paul.