If you really want to understand the world we are living in, you better stick with the Zionist media. The Jerusalem Post will provide you with the names of the Jews who own the planet. The British Jewish Chronicle will teach you about arch pedophile Jimmy Seville’s ties with Israel. Haaretz will even let me speak about all those topics The Guardian (Of Zion) is there to shamelessly suppress.
Yesterday I came across a text by Dave Rich, a Hasbara mouthpiece operating within the UK ultra-Zionist Community Security Trust. Rich suggested that making a common cause “between Holocaust deniers, neo-fascists, the pro-Palestinian left, and the revolutionary Islamists of Iran is precisely what Dieudonné has spent the past decade trying to achieve.”
Let us admit it, no one could have been more succinct and precise in analysing Dieudonné’s vast impact. Yet in order to fully understand Rich’s statement we’ll have to decode the kosher sound bites and rewrite the above sentence using terminology that may resemble a familiar language.
Holocaust deniers – In the real world there are no ‘Holocaust deniers’: what we have instead are history revisionists – people who understand that the making of history, is a continuous attempt to narrate the past as we move along. The so-called revisionists re-visit, re-write and revise the past. Those whom Zionists and progressives often tag as ‘Holocaust deniers’ are often enough the last True Historians.
Neo-Fascists and Fascists – Zionists and Progressives tend to attach the ‘Fascist’ label to those who refuse to surrender to the tyranny of political correctness. Those few people who insist to say what they think against all odds. Thus, those whom the Zionists call ‘Fascists’ are in practice merely a bunch of Authentic People.
Pro-Palestinian Left – points in the direction of the last pockets of resistance to Kosher indoctrination within the Left, namely, those few resilient subjects and organisations that say NO to George Soros’ funding. Rich is basically referring here to the Genuine Left, people and organisations that are committed to Labour, working class politics and solidarity, as opposed to Identity politics spin.
Revolutionary Islamists of Iran – is the tag Zionists and progressives often attach to Proper Resistance – those Muslims who won’t work for Israel, not even in the spring.
Now that we are familiar with the basic Zionist glossary we are ready to translate Rich’s statement into proper English.
By suggesting that Dieudonné is articulating a common cause for “Holocaust deniers, neo-fascists, the pro-Palestinian left, and the revolutionary Islamists of Iran” Rich actually admits that Dieudonné has managed to unite the True Historians, Authentic People, Genuine Left and the Proper Resistance.
In case someone fails to realize it, what Rich is describing here is the true dissidence, an uncompromised league of people that forms the un-controlled opposition: those people and institutions that do not subscribe to Zionist hegemony funded by Soros and his ilk.
It is not a secret that the Zionists and Left are in a state of panic, and for a good reason. The ‘anti-quenelle’ campaign that was supposed to ruin Dieudonné’s career backfired colossally. Pretty much when it seemed as if the French people had been Zionised by means of ‘correctness’ and were stripped of their revolutionary inclinations, a tsunami of resentment towards kosher socialism and Jewish political power swept the ground. They panicked and struck back hard. But you cannot fight a tsunami with a boomerang.
Dieudonné’s ‘quenelle’ is already a monumental development in the history of the Jews and their stooges within the Left and the media.
In 1979, Iran shocked the world—and directly confronted America’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East — by charting its own revolutionary course toward participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence. Over the past thirty-five years the Islamic Republic of Iran has held dozens of presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections and attained impressive developmental outcomes—including more progressive results at alleviating poverty, delivering health care, providing educational access, and (yes) expanding opportunities for women than the last shah’s regime ever achieved. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic has done these things while withstanding significant regional challenges and mounting pressure from the United States and its allies. Below, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett suggest that like 1979, 2014 is likely to be, in unique ways, another Year of Iran, when Tehran’s foreign policy strategy will either finally compel Western acceptance of Iran’s sovereign rights—especially to enrich uranium under international safeguards—or fundamentally delegitimise America’s already eroding pretensions to Middle Eastern hegemony.
Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s president seven months ago caught most of the West’s self-appointed Iran “experts” by (largely self-generated) surprise. Over the course of Iran’s month-long presidential campaign, methodologically-sound polls by the University of Tehran showed that a Rohani victory was increasingly likely. Yet Iran specialists at Washington’s leading think tanks continued erroneously insisting (as they had for months before the campaign formally commenced) that Iranians could not be polled like other populations and that there would be “a selection rather than an election,” engineered to install Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “anointed” candidate—in most versions, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. On election day, as Iranian voters began casting their ballots, the Washington Post proclaimed that Rohani “will not be allowed to win”—a statement reflecting virtual consensus among American pundits.
Of course, this consensus was wrong—as have been most of the consensus judgments on Iran’s politics advanced by Western analysts since the country’s 1979 revolution. After Rohani’s victory, instead of admitting error, America’s foreign policy elite manufactured two explanations for it. One was that popular disaffection against the Islamic Republic—supposedly reflected in Iranians’ determination to elect the most change-minded candidate available to them—had exceeded even the capacity of Khamenei and his minions to suppress. This narrative, however, rests on agenda-driven and false assumptions about who Rohani is and how he won.
“The Islamic Republic aims to replace American hegemony with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and by leveraging participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”.”
At sixty-five, Rohani is not out to fundamentally change the Islamic Republic he has worked nearly his entire adult life to build. The only cleric on the 2013 presidential ballot, Rohani belongs to Iran’s main conservative clerical association, not its reformist antipode. While he has become the standard bearer for the Islamic Republic’s “modern” (or “pragmatic”) right, with considerable support from the business community, his ties to Khamenei are also strong. After Rohani stepped down as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in 2005, Khamenei made Rohani his personal representative on the Council.
Backing Rohani was thus an unlikely way for Iranian voters to demand radical change, especially when an eminently plausible reformist was on the ballot—Mohammad Reza Aref, a Stanford Ph.D. in electrical engineering who served as one of reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s vice presidents. (Methodologically-sound polls showed that Aref’s support never exceeded single digits; he ultimately withdrew three days before Iranians voted.) The outcome, moreover, hardly constituted a landslide—not for Rohani and certainly not for reformism: Rohani won by just 261,251 votes over the 50-percent threshold for victory, and the parliament elected just one year before is dominated by conservatives.
The other explanation for Rohani’s success embraced by American elites cites it as proof that U.S.-instigated sanctions are finally “working”—that economic distress caused by sanctions drove Iranians to elect someone inclined to cut concessionary deals with the West. But the same polls that accurately predicted Rohani’s narrow win also show that sanctions had little to do with it. Iranians continue to blame the West, not their own government, for sanctions. And they do not want their leaders to compromise on what they see as their country’s sovereignty and national rights—rights manifest today in Iran’s pursuit of a civil nuclear program.
The Iranian Challenge
Iran’s presidential election and the smooth transfer of office to Rohani from term-limited incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stand out in today’s Middle East. Compared to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia, the Islamic Republic is actually living up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s description of Iran as “an island of stability” in an increasingly unsettled region. And compared to some Gulf Arab monarchies, where perpetuation of (at least superficial) stability is purchased by ever increasing domestic expenditures, the Islamic Republic legitimates itself by delivering on the fundamental promise of the revolution that deposed the last shah thirty-five years ago: to replace Western-imposed monarchical rule with an indigenously generated political model integrating participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance.
“Partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests.”
These strengths have enabled the Islamic Republic to withstand sustained regional and Western pressure, and to pursue a foreign policy strategy likely to reap big payoffs in 2014. This strategy aims to replace American hegemony, regionally and globally, with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and institutions, and by leveraging the Islamic Republic’s model of participatory Islamist governance, domestic development, and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”—not just with a majority of Iranians living inside their country, but (according to polls) with hundreds of millions of people across the Muslim world and beyond, from Brazil to China and South Africa. Such soft power was on display, for example, in the last year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when, during a trip to China, he won a standing ovation from a large audience at Peking University, where a representative sample of next-generation Chinese elites showed themselves deeply receptive to his call for a more equitable and representative international order.
In the current regional and international context, the West is increasingly challenged to come to terms with the Islamic Republic as an enduring entity representing legitimate national interests. In Tehran, the United States and its European allies could have a real partner in countering al-Qa’ida-style terrorism and extremism, in consolidating stable and representative political orders in Syria and other Middle Eastern trouble spots, and in resolving the nuclear issue in a way that sets the stage for moving toward an actual WMD-free zone in the region. But partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests—something that Western powers have refused to accord to any Iranian government for two centuries.
President Obama’s highly public failure to muster political support for military strikes against the Assad government following the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21, 2013 has effectively undercut the credibility of U.S. threats to use force against Iran. On November 24, 2013, this compelled an American administration, for the first time since the January 1981 Algiers Accords that ended the embassy hostage crisis, to reach a major international agreement with Tehran—the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1—largely on Iranian terms. (For example, the interim nuclear deal effectively negates Western demands—long rejected by Tehran but now enshrined in seven UN Security Council resolutions—that Iran suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment).
But recent Western recognition of reality is still partial and highly tentative. The United States and its British and French allies continue to deny that Iran has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards. They also demand that, as part of a final deal, Tehran must shut down its protected enrichment site at Fordo, terminate its work on a new research reactor at Arak, and allow Western powers to micromanage the future development of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Such positions are at odds with the language of the interim nuclear deal and of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They are also as hubristically delusional as the British government’s use of the Royal Navy to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil on the high seas after a democratically-elected Iranian government nationalised the British oil concession in Iran in 1951—and as London’s continued threat to do so even after the World Court ruled against Britain in the matter.
If Western powers can realign their positions with reality on the nuclear issue and on various regional challenges in the Middle East, Iran can certainly work with that. But Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Western powers may not be capable of negotiating a nuclear settlement grounded in the NPT and respectful of the Islamic Republic’s legal rights—just as Britain and the United States were unwilling to respect Iran’s sovereignty over its own natural resources in the early 1950s. Under such circumstances, more U.S.-instigated secondary sanctions that illegally threaten third countries doing business with Iran will not compel Tehran to surrender its civil nuclear program. Rather, Iran’s approach—including a willingness to conclude what the rest of the world other than America, Britain, France, and Israel would consider a reasonable nuclear deal—seeks to make it easier for countries to rebuild and expand economic ties to the Islamic Republic even if Washington does not lift its own unilaterally-imposed sanctions.
“Continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East.”
Likewise, Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Washington cannot disenthrall itself from Obama’s foolish declaration in August 2011 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go—and therefore that America cannot contribute constructively to the quest for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict. If the United States, Britain, and France continue down their current counter-productive path in Syria, Tehran can play off their accumulating policy failures and the deepening illegitimacy of America’s regional posture to advance the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.
How Will the West Respond?
Coming to terms with the Islamic Republic will require the United States to abandon its already eroding pretensions to hegemony in the Middle East. But, if Washington does not come to terms with the Islamic Republic, it will ultimately be forced to surrender those pretensions, as it was publicly and humiliatingly forced to do in 1979. Moreover, continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East. Less than a month after Rohani’s election, it was widely perceived that the United States tacitly supported a military coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected (and Islamist) government. The coup in Egypt hardly obviates the fact that, when given the chance, majorities in Middle Eastern Muslim societies reject Western intervention and choose to construct participatory Islamist orders. Refusing to accept this reality will only accelerate the erosion of U.S. influence in the region.
The United States is not the first imperial power in decline whose foreign policy debate has become increasingly detached from reality—and history suggests that the consequences of such delusion are usually severe. The time for American elites to wake up to Middle Eastern realities before the United States and its Western allies face severe consequences for their strategic position in this vital part of the world is running out.
About the Authors
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are authors of Going to Tehran: America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (New York: Metropolitan, 2013), which has just been released in paperback, with a new Afterword. They had distinguished careers in the U.S. government before leaving their positions on the National Security Council in March 2003, in disagreement with Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror. They teach international relations, he at Penn State, she at American University.
Source: The World Financial Review
1911, May 15
The Supreme Court of the U.S. finds John Rockefeller and his Trust guilty of corruption, illegal business practices and racketeering. As a result of this decision, the entire Rockefeller Standard Oil-Trust, the world’s largest corporation of its time, was sentenced to be dismantled. But Rockefeller was already above the Supreme Court and did not care about this decision.
In order to disperse public and political pressure on him and other robber-barons, Rockefeller uses a trick called “philanthropy”, whereby the illegal gains from his robber-practices in the oil business are used to launch the Rockefeller Foundation. This tax haven was used to strategically take over the health care sector in the U.S..
The Rockefeller Foundation was the front organization for a new global business venture of Rockefeller and his accomplices. This new venture was called the pharmaceutical investment business. Donations from the Rockefeller Foundation went only to medical schools and hospitals. These institutions had become missionaries of a new breed of companies: the manufacturers of patented, synthetic drugs.
This was also the time when the first vitamins were discovered. It soon became clear however that these natural molecules had live-saving health benefits and that they were able to prevent many chronic health conditions. The first books appeared with research, subsequently abandoned, about the health benefits of vitamins. These newly discovered molecules had only one disadvantage: they were non-patentable.
Thus, in its first years of existence, the pharmaceutical investment business already faced a mortal thread: vitamins and other micronutrients promoted as public health programs would prohibit the development of any sizable investment business based on patented drugs. The elimination of this unwanted competition from natural micronutrients therefore became a question of life and death for the pharmaceutical business.
The Rockefeller Foundation uses the Spanish flu epidemic – and the media (that it already controlled by this time) – to start a witch-hunt on all forms of medicine that were not covered by its patents.
Within the next 15 years, all medical schools in the U.S., most hospitals and the American Medical Association all essentially became pawns on the chessboard of Rockefeller’s strategy to subjugate the entire health care sector under the monopoly of his pharmaceutical investment business.
Disguised as a “Mother Theresa”, the Rockefeller Foundation was also used to conquer foreign countries and entire continents for the pharmaceutical investment business – just as Rockefeller himself had done a few decades previously with his petrochemical investment business.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in Germany, the first chemical / pharmaceutical cartel is founded in order to compete with Rockefeller’s quest for control of the global drug market. Lead by the German multinationals Bayer, BASF and Hoechst, the I.G. Farben cartel was founded with a total number of employees surpassing 80,000. The race for global control was on.
1929, November 29
The Rockefeller cartel (U.S.A.) and the I.G. Farben cartel (Germany) decided to divide the entire globe into interest spheres – the very same crime Rockefeller had been sentenced for 18 years earlier, when his trust had divided up the U.S. into “interest zones”.
1932 / 33
The I.G. Farben cartel, equally insatiable, decides no longer to be bound by the 1929 constraints. They support an uprising German politician, who promises I.G. Farben to militarily conquer the world for them. With millions of dollars in election campaign donations, this politician seized power in Germany, turned the German democracy into a dictatorship and kept his promise to launch his conquest war, a war that soon became known as WWII.
In each and every country Hitler’s wehrmacht invaded, the first act was to rob the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and assign them – free of charge – to the I.G. Farben empire.
1942 – 45
In order to cement its global leadership with patented drugs, the I.G. Farben cartel tests its patented pharmaceutical substances on concentration camp inmates in Auschwitz, Dachau and many other sites. The fees for conducting these inhumane studies were transferred directly from the bank accounts of Bayer, Hoechst and BASF to the bank accounts of the SS, who operated the concentration camps.
I.G. Farben’s plan to take control of the global oil and drug markets has failed. The U.S. and the other allied forces won WWII. Nevertheless, many U.S. and allied soldiers had lost their lives during the conflict, and the allies’ reward was little compared to the rewards of others. The corporate shares of the losers, I.G. Farben, went to the Rockefeller trust (U.S.A.) and Rothschild / J.P. Morgan (U.K.).
In the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, 24 managers from Bayer, BASF, Hoechst and other executives of the I.G. Farben cartel were tried for crimes against humanity. These crimes included: leading wars of aggression, instituting slavery and committing mass murder. In his final pleading, U.S.-Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor summarized the crimes committed by these corporate criminals with the following words: “Without I.G. Farben, the second World War would not have been possible”.
Amazingly, the real culprits for the death of 60 Million people in World War II – the I.G. Farben executives – received the mildest verdicts. Even those executives directly responsible for the crimes in I.G. Auschwitz only received a maximum of twelve years in jail. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
By 1944 Nelson Rockefeller had already entered the executive branch of the U.S. government. He started off as Under-Secretary of State and ended up a few years later as Special Adviser of President Truman for Special Affairs. In other words, at critical junctures of the 20th century, the Rockefeller interests took direct charge. They decided the post war shape of the world and the distribution of its wealth.
As such, under the influence of the U.S. State Department, the verdicts in Nuremberg against the I.G. Farben managers can easily be explained. In return for taking over the corporate shares of I.G. Farben, and thereby global control of the oil and drug business, Nelson Rockefeller made sure that the real culprits of World War II were not hanged. In fact, and as we shall see, they were needed.
The Federal Republic of Germany was founded. This was the first time in history that the constitution and society of an industrialized nation could be planned and modeled as a fortress of the pharmaceutical investment business – a transatlantic outpost of the Rockefeller interests.
Within only a few years, the I.G. Farben managers sentenced in Nuremberg were released from jail and put back into their previous positions as stakeholders of the Rockefeller interests. Fritz Ter Meer, for example, sentenced to twelve years in jail for his crimes in Auschwitz, was back as chairman of the board of Germany’s largest pharmaceutical multinational, Bayer, by 1963!
1945 – 49
The role of the Rockefeller brothers was not limited to their taking over the global monopolies of the oil and drug businesses. They also needed to create the political framework for these businesses to thrive. Under their influence, therefore, the United Nations was founded in 1945, in San Francisco. To seize political control of the post war world, three countries – leading drug export nations – had all the say, and 200 other nations were rendered mere spectators.
Founded as organizations to allegedly serve the wellbeing of the people of the world, the UN’s subsidiary organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), soon turned out to be nothing more than the political arms of the global oil and drug interests.
On behalf of the Rockefeller interests, the government of the pharmaceutical banana republic Germany spearheaded one of the most infamous efforts ever made within the United Nations. Under the pretense of consumer protection, it launched a four-decade-long crusade to outlaw vitamin therapies and other natural, non-patentable health approaches in all member countries of the United Nations. The goal was to simply ban any and all competition for the multi-billion dollar business with patented drugs. The plan was simple: copy for the entire world what had already been accomplished in America in the 1920s – a monopoly on health care for the investment business with patented drugs.
Since the marketplace for the pharmaceutical investment business depends upon the continued existence of diseases, the drugs it developed were not intended to prevent, cure or eradicate disease. Thus, the goal of the global strategy was to monopolize health for billions of people, with pills that nearly cover symptoms but hardly ever address the root cause of disease. The deprivation of billions of people from having access to life saving information about the health benefits of natural health approaches, whilst at the same time establishing a monopoly with largely ineffective and frequently toxic patented drugs, caused disease and death in genocidal proportions.
This epidemic of unnecessary disability and death by the pharmaceutical business with disease is unparalleled in history.
Linus Pauling and other eminent scientists deserve credit for having kept open the door of knowledge about the health benefits of vitamins and other effective natural health approaches. If it were not for them we would already be living in a health prison today, guarded by the gatekeepers of the pharmaceutical business with disease in medicine, politics and the media.
Linus Pauling should also be credited for having identified the significance of Dr. Rath’s early research in vitamins and cardiovascular disease, and for having invited Dr. Rath to join him during his last years to continue his life’s work.
1990 – 92
These years will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the pharmaceutical business with disease. In a series of scientific publications, in some of which Dr. Rath invited Linus Pauling to join him as co-author, Dr. Rath identified micronutrient deficiency as the primary cause of diseases. These diseases include heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetic circulatory problems, cancer and even immune deficiency diseases, including AIDS.
Like a Sherlock Holmes of science, Dr. Rath traced the real cause of these diseases, and found that they had been deliberately nebulized or even hidden away from millions of people for one purpose only: to feed the insatiable greed of the pharmaceutical business with disease.
Source: Dr. Rath Health Foundation
There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people. One dollar, one vote describes the new reality.
Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich consider some facts about them.
How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. In other words, plain millionaires moved up to billionaire status.
But the super rich include many more than the billionaires, because the top one percent on the economic scale have monster size wealth, according to a new report Working for the Few. The one percent of the richest people in the world have $110 trillion. That equates to some 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. But among the millions of the top one percent, the richest 85 people, true billionaires, have wealth equal to the bottom half of the world’s population. As to the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. That leaves 9 percent, about 30 million Americans, in the upper class that did very well as they strive to make it into the top one percent.
When people talk about economic, wealth or income inequality they are really talking about the incredibly small fraction of the richest people relative to the larger population that still are not sharing in the global jackpot, no matter how hard they work. Inequality means that money is not being fairly distributed. There have been times in history when prosperity was shared, as in the several decades after World War II.
No surprise that only 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup report, currently feel “very satisfied” with our nation’s distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is working very or fairly well for the wealthy, compared to 22 percent for the middle class.
Why hate the super rich and the rising economic inequality that benefits them?
This distorted economic system means that democracy is more delusional than real. Consider this: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Truly wise words.
The near total lack of public confidence in Congress, both major political parties and the whole political system by Americans goes hand-in-hand with the perverted economic system. You have every right to hate the super rich because for a long time in many visible and invisible ways they have intentionally manipulated the political system to create and maintain the unjust economic system. Their economic power gives them political power. Rather than one person one vote, think in terms of one dollar one vote.
Hate the super rich because their degree of wealth and power is obscene.
Hate the super rich because they persecute the vast majority of people worldwide. Some of the super rich play up their charitable activities, but that does not negate all the evil consequences of economic inequality on the daily lives of billions of people.
Hate the super rich because their greed is ungodly. If true democracy is to be restored, then Americans need to be much more than dissatisfied. They need to get more emotional. They need to hate. Then they must convert that hatred into political demands and actions.
After Connecticut enacted one of the most draconian gun-control regimes in America, official estimates suggest that the overwhelming majority of the citizens targeted by the latest assault on gun rights failed to comply. Indeed, analysts say it appears that most people largely ignored the new statute, which purports to ban numerous non-registered “assault” weapons and standard-capacity magazines. Now, despite resistance by the governor, state lawmakers are reportedly “scrambling” to come up with a possible amnesty plan allowing gun owners to register past the deadline.
According to news reports, some 50,000 newly mislabeled “assault weapons” and 40,000 so-called “high-capacity” magazines (10 or more rounds) targeted under the scheme were registered with state officials by the January 1 deadline. However, estimates and an official report by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research issued before the new law suggest there are many, many more that went unregistered. Massive non-compliance with gun-registration schemes has been the norm in the United States and abroad, experts pointed out — and analysts say that is likely what happened in Connecticut.
Noting that the real number of “large-capacity” magazines in the state was unknown, the 2011 Connecticut Office of Legislative Research report said that it “could be in the tens of millions.” Estimates on the number of guns subject to the legislation, meanwhile, indicate that there may be as many as 500,000. Based on those figures, analysts suggested that perhaps less than 10 percent — possibly even less than five percent — of the items subject to the draconian new gun-control regime were registered with authorities by the deadline.
“Governor Dannel Malloy and the government of the state of Connecticut are having their own ‘Oh, poop’ moment, now that they’ve tallied the number of citizens who have registered their ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity magazines’ required by the state’s unconstitutional gun laws, compared that to the estimated number of applicable weapons and magazines in the state, and realize they’ve been ignored,” observed Bob Owens, editor of the pro-Second Amendment website BearingArms.com.
“Historically speaking, 90-percent or more of those required to comply with gun registration laws in the U.S. refuse to do so, and there is no reason to suspect that this registration attempt in Connecticut is any different,” Owens continued in comments about the radical new registration scheme. “I’ve seen estimates of 1,000,000 firearm magazines that should have been registered under the law, but the state reports registering only 40,000 … just 4 percent.”
Other analysts came up with similar non-compliance estimates, suggesting that the new anti-gun scheme — widely lambasted as unconstitutional and currently being fought in court — has been largely ignored by the public. “In past cases of firearms bans, noncompliance with registration is not uncommon,” pointed out Chris Eger in an analysis for Guns.com, another popular pro-Second Amendment website. “In California in 1990, out of an estimated 300,000 guns classified as ‘assault weapons’ just 7,000 were registered.”
Even in other nations without strong gun rights traditions and constitutional guarantees for the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, citizens have balked at registration. After all, historically, tyrants have almost always tried to force subjects to register their weapons prior to confiscation and eventual totalitarianism. When the Canadian government tried to register guns, Eger said, there was massive civil disobedience, with estimates indicating that the compliance rate was less than a third. Even in Austria and Germany, the number of guns registered was drastically below what authorities had estimated.
As The New American reported a year ago, in the state of New York, a radical assault on gun rights dubbed the “SAFE Act” was met with open calls for defiance. Setting the stage for what some analysts said might be the largest act of civil disobedience in New York history, countless gun-rights activists and owners vowed never to register their weapons. Even some lawmakers took to the floor of the legislature and said they would not comply with the draconian law. Sheriffs and other law enforcement officials also vowed to fight it as unconstitutional.
In Connecticut — ironically, also known as the “Constitution State” — lawmakers are now reportedly seeking to offer “amnesty” in an apparent bid to raise compliance levels. “It had come to my attention and the attention of others that many people who were attempting in good faith to comply with the law … were not able to because of what I would argue were circumstances not under their control,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) was quoted as claiming by the Hartford Courant.
In the state House, Rep. Rob Sampson is also working to extend the registration period, and other lawmakers have been involved in the discussions. News reports, citing officials, said that “many citizens” had tried to register their purportedly banned property by mail on December 31. However, because post offices closed, the documents were postmarked January 2 and were returned by state officials due to being past the statutory deadline. Pro-amnesty lawmakers are hoping an extension would encourage more citizens to obey.
The Democrat governor’s office, however, opposes the so-called “amnesty” effort, sending a letter to legislators saying that gun owners who failed to comply by the deadline were just “too late” to do anything about it. “Individuals whose late registrations were not processed,” the message to lawmakers says, “can render their magazine or firearm inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer, remove it from the state, or turn it over to law enforcement.”
The penalty for being found with an “unregistered” standard-capacity magazine or semi-automatic firearm misclassified as an “assault” weapon under the new scheme is a fine — the first time. Further violations of the unconstitutional statute can result in up to five years in prison. While the long lines to register guns by the deadline drew numerous comparisons to historical instances of tyranny — as well as sympathy from gun owners across America — it remains unclear how many citizens failed to comply, and for what reasons.
Suggesting that some gun owners may have simply not known about the purported registration requirements, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League is calling on authorities to extend the deadline for compliance. “There are still too many gun owners that either do not know about this new law, or do not realize that it applies to them,” said CCDL President Scott Wilson. “I would ask the governor and state legislators what there would be to gain by punishing persons that are otherwise law abiding that do not legitimately know about this law?”
In addition to extending the deadline, the organization, which represents more than 10,000 members and has challenged the statute in federal court, is also urging officials to adopt an open-ended “amnesty” scheme to avoid criminalizing potentially massive numbers of everyday citizens. “CCDL also suggests that the state should consider an ongoing amnesty program in the future, for those that discover they own banned firearms or magazines that are not registered,” Wilson said. “This would likely alleviate some of the concerns people may have about the intent of the state.”
Gun rights proponents, meanwhile, ridiculed state officials for expecting citizens to comply with the oppressive gun-control regime — and for efforts in the legislature to save it. “They’re calling for an amnesty period because their internal estimates likely show that their attempt to browbeat the citizenry into registering their arms for future confiscation has been an abject failure, and they are desperate to do anything they can do to encourage compliance now that their threats have failed,” wrote Bob Owens at BearingArms.com.
Other pro-Second Amendment commentators made similar remarks. “So, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people waited until the last absolute second to send in this paperwork? I’m thinking not,” said Dan Cannon at GunsSaveLives.net. “I think this ‘amnesty’ deal is a chance for anti-gun politicians to try and save face after a massive civil disobedience movement was discovered.”
At the federal level, the Obama administration has continued to issue unconstitutional decrees on gun control after failing spectacularly last year in its push for Congress to approve more infringements on the human right to keep and bear arms. Ironically, however, as The New American reported this month, the nationwide assault on gun rights by Obama, the establishment media, and certain extremist Democrats has backfired, big time. In addition to sparking record firearm sales across America, dozens of state laws easing restrictions were enacted — almost double the number of laws purporting to impose new infringements. Efforts to fight the radical new scheme in Connecticut are ongoing.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The New American
Is there any doubt that America’s foreign policy, based upon maintaining a global empire, actually makes us less safe? The misgiving is that such intercession has any actual benefits to the citizens of the country. What once was a respected leadership role of non-interventionism in international affairs, has become a dominating imperium for worldwide control and subjugation. Exporting the “land of the free” is a myth, especially when domestic freedom is a dying memory. Internationalists tell us that military and surveillance drone technology promises enhanced security, with little concern for collateral damage or loss of innocent life. However, the facts do not bear out such claims.
Factor in the expansion of robot deployment and replacement of human assets, produces the net effort of an even more depersonalize and dehumanizing use of coercive force. Nonetheless, such a trend gets little public concern and even less outrage. Military branches, filled with voluntary recruits, are losing faith in the spin. CIA and unnamed black bag missions rely upon eager operatives that believes in the importance of the assignment or demented mercenaries that enjoy their macabre trade.
The practice of desensitizing defense forces is an essential component of basic training. With robot brigades, moral considerations need not interfere with killing tasks. The essay, Kant’s moral philosophy and the question of pre-emptive war illustrates the quid essential example of an amoral tech that avoids the very nature of profound ethical issues. The stick question of morality is foremost in areas of human endeavors, but total absent in the wiring of tech carnage machines.
“That the international arena is indeed a state of nature in something approaching Hobbes’s sense of the term is a theme upon which Kant insists in both Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals; it becomes a much more insistent theme in the latter. Such a conceptualization does not, however, diminish Kant’s commitment to upholding and, if possible, promoting fundamental principles of right within this arena, nor his condemnation of those individuals and governments, however numerous, which violate them. It is in this context that his pronouncements concerning the justifiability of war, and whether a pre-emptive war is ever acceptable, must be understood. In Perpetual Peace, these pronouncements are unequivocal. Famously, Article 5 of the preliminary principles conducive to perpetual peace is “No state shall interfere by force in the constitution and government of another state.” In the long Appendix to this essay Kant warns against demanding that another state divest itself of a despotic constitution – at least as long as this state is in danger of being swallowed up by other states – even while expressing the hope that despotic constitutions will gradually give way throughout the world to republican forms of government. (Republican and despotic are the only two types of Regierung, as distinguished from forms of authority, or Beherrschung - that is, whether the ruling power consists of one person, several, or all of civil society taken together – that Kant recognizes; he is far removed from the distasteful combination of frivolity with brutality that has led to the identification of certain regimes as “rogue states,” hence undeserving of any respect, by apologists for the great powers of our day.) Further on in the same Appendix, in the context of considering possible antinomies between morality and politics, Kant asks whether, if a neighboring power has grown to such size as to warrant apprehension that it might attack, it would be permissible for an allied coalition of weaker states to stage a pre-emptive attack on that state, “even without preceding insult,” and answers in the negative.”
Surely, the memory chips in drones and robots are not programmed to reflect a Kantian standard for the use of deadly force and destructive weaponry. It is exactly because of this lack of understanding between right and wrong that drones and robots are so attractive to the enforcers of the imperial empire.
Even an establishment mouthpiece like CBS must acknowledge the risks and non-decisive functions of this technology. Drone wars: Pentagon’s future with robots, troops, clearly raises the dangers of android warfare.
“Washington’s post-9/11 military interventions have been a boon for drones. The numbers tell the story. At the turn of this century, the Department of Defense had 90 drones with plans to increase the inventory by 200 over the next decade, according to Dyke Weatherington, a Defense Department deputy director overseeing acquisitions of hardware for unmanned warfare. As 2012 began, there were more than 9,500 remotely piloted aircraft in the U.S. arsenal.
Air Force contracting documents suggest that the estimated five Reaper sorties flown each day in 2012 will jump to 66 per day by 2016. What that undoubtedly means is more countries with drones flying over them, more drone bases, more crashes, more mistakes. What we’re unlikely to see is armed drones scoring decisive military victories, offering solutions to complex foreign-policy problems, or even providing an answer to the issue of terrorism, despite the hopes of policymakers and the military brass.”
Yet, the military is rapidly expanding the footprint and capacities for their drone force. Obama’s Two Words for Us: ‘Predator Drones’, is not only a sick joke, but more importantly a very obscene policy. America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases, documents that this immoral combatant system is spreading indiscriminate causalities from “The Agency” who has a long record of war crimes.
“Over the last decade, the American use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has expanded exponentially, as has media coverage of their use. On September 21st, the Wall Street Journal reported that the military has deployed missile-armed MQ-9 Reaper drones on the “island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks on al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Somalia.” A day earlier, a Washington Post piece also mentioned the same base on the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, as well as one in the African nation of Djibouti, another under construction in Ethiopia, and a secret CIA airstrip being built for drones in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. (Some suspect it’s Saudi Arabia.)
Post journalists Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reported that the “Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.” Within days, the Post also reported that a drone from the new CIA base in that unidentified Middle Eastern country had carried out the assassination of radical al-Qaeda preacher and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.”
Is this the kind of stealth death that shares the adage “if you build it they will die” or can the capabilities of these systems be limited strictly to reconnaissance intelligence? Now such a goal is not covered by international law, because the AMERIKA super power does not recognize any legal or moral restrains on their use of armed elimination of anyone designated as an enemy of the state.
Reigning terror from the skies is rationalized because suspected terrorists are such existential threats that allow for the use of any means necessary. The NDAA mentality covers the entire globe using the standard that removing anyone without due process is warranted. The Drone Wrath for a Compliant Society essay, implores that active resistance is long overdue.
“The National Defense Authorization Act is the latest unconstitutional measure that targets domestic citizens for punitive punishment. Due process, now reduced to “Due or Die” is the harbinger of the use of domestic drone capitulation. What will it take to awaken submissive citizens that the capability of foreign deployed drones easily can be weaponized for local operations?”
The NSA calls for the elimination of Edward Snowden, who just happens to be the most current and celebrated target. Nevertheless, with the readying of robot assassin squads, anyone could be the next victim. As long as the internationalists are in control of our government and the globalists are the masters of the world economy, the focus and missions of the U.S. military will be uses to further the interests of these treacherous elites.
The technocratic authoritarians diminish the sacred nature of life with each new death system. Absent from their design specifications is the moral imperative. For these deranged enablers of a global gulag, humans are expendable and unnecessary. The concept of Kantian duty is never a factor in their robotic monsters.
When empires are in the last thralls of decay, they go to war. The failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have exposed the futility and betrayal of globalist government service. Defense of country has never been the mission for these expeditions.
Future operations will use drone and robotic weapons whenever possible, since human doubt in a rightful purpose in the mission is rapidly diminishing. Troop reduction and replacement with machines is the technology solution, when moral authority is absent.
Perpetual war will seek full spectrum dominance, which is now dependent upon unman aircraft and land based devices. The next false flag excuse will claim a fictitious necessity to unleash the bombing drones. GPS coordinates; unencumbered by moral doubt, guide Hellfire missiles.
The rancour between Japan and China was on public display at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave his keynote speech to the gathering of billionaires, bankers, CEOs, and political leaders on Wednesday.
After expounding on his “Abenomics” pro-market restructuring agenda, Abe spent the second half of his speech making barely-veiled jabs at China that were calculated to further inflame tensions.
Abe began by declaring that “freedom of movement” was of particular importance—a reference to the dangerous dispute that emerged last month over China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea, including the disputed islets known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
The US, followed by Japan, immediately flew war planes into the zone unannounced, challenging Chinese authority and sharply escalating tensions. As China scrambled its own fighters in response, the danger emerged of a clash precipitated by a mistake or miscalculation on either side.
Referring to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Abe repeated his adage that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and the rule of law, not through force and coercion. In fact, his government refuses to even recognise that there is a dispute over the rocky outcrops and has stepped up military measures in the area, raising the risk of a military clash.
Again pointing to China, Abe proclaimed the need to “restrain military expansion in Asia, which could otherwise go unchecked.” He called for military budgets to be made “completely transparent”—a criticism repeatedly made by the US and its allies over China’s military spending.
While repeatedly declaring his commitment to peace, Abe last year announced the first increase in the Japanese military budget in a decade. His government continued to shift the strategic focus of the Japanese military to “island defence” and Japan’s southern island chain adjacent to the Chinese mainland.
Japan’s defence expansion has been encouraged and backed by the Obama administration, as part of its “pivot to Asia” that includes strengthening of alliances and partnerships throughout the region aimed against China.
Making clear the dangers of war were real, Abe warned his audience: “If peace and stability were shaken in Asia, the knock-on effect for the entire world would be enormous.”
Asked by the chair of the session, Abe defended his visit in December to the notorious Yasukuni war shrine—a hated symbol of Japanese militarism in the 1930s and 1940s, where many “Class A” Japanese war criminals are buried. Abe claimed he was simply “praying for the souls of the departed,” which should be “something quite natural for a leader of any country in the world.”
While Abe did not name China in the course of his speech, the target of his remarks was unmistakable.
In another Davos session, Chinese academic Wu Xinbo responded by calling Abe a “troublemaker”, likening him to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Political relations between our two countries will remain very cool, even frozen for the remaining years of Abe in Japan,” he warned.
In a less public forum at Davos with international journalists, Abe was more explicit. Asked by Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman if war with China was “conceivable”, the Japanese prime minister did not rule it out. Instead, he compared the current tensions between China and Japan to the rivalry between Britain and Germany in the years before the World War I, saying that it was a “similar situation”.
While various commentators have made the same comparison, such remarks carry added significance coming from Japan’s prime minister. Abe reinforced the point by declaring that China’s increase in military spending was a major source of instability in the region.
As reported in Rachman’s blog, Abe noted that, “Britain and Germany—like China and Japan—had a strong trading relationship. But in 1914, this had not prevented strategic tensions leading to the outbreak of conflict.” He warned of the danger of “some conflict or dispute arising out the blue, on an ad hoc level… or inadvertently”—a reference to the killing of the Austrian archduke in 1914 that sparked war.
Abe offered no suggestion as to how conflict could be avoided, other than a half-hearted proposal for a “military-force level communications channel” between Beijing and Tokyo. “Unfortunately we don’t have a clear and explicit roadmap,” he said, adding later than Japan would “very much like to strengthen our military relationship with the US.”
This last remark highlights the role of the Obama administration is stoking up tensions throughout the region. Its “pivot to Asia” has encouraged allies as Japan and the Philippines to take a far more aggressive stance in their maritime quarrels with China. Four years ago, the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands barely registered in international politics. Today it has become a dangerous flashpoint for war in Asia.
Abe’s speech is part of an escalating propaganda war between Japan and China. Following Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, Chinese and Japanese ambassadors have engaged in embittered exchanges in the newspapers in at least a dozen countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
In Britain, the exchange took the bizarre form of likening the other country to Lord Voldemort—the ultimate incarnation of evil the Harry Potter children’s novels—and accusing it of militarism and aggression.
Like the Abe government, the Chinese regime has seized on the dispute to whip up reactionary patriotic sentiment, seeking to divert attention from the social crisis at home and manoeuvre diplomatically abroad. Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming concluded his diatribe against Japan with an appeal for Britain and China to renew the World War II alliance—that is, against Japan—in order “to safeguard regional stability and world peace.”
The tensions between Japan and China at Davos, where business and political leaders are supposedly gathered to iron out the problems of global capitalism, underlines the bankruptcy of the social order that they all defend. Five years after the global financial crisis, the economic breakdown continues unabated, fuelling geo-political rivalries that are driving towards a catastrophic war.
New and Old…
Even the definition of “asymmetric war” is controversial, because it can concern at least three drivers and methods of conflict, usually between large organized fighting forces and the opposite. Firstly there is the political-economic or other motivation, second the tactics, and thirdly the weapons utilised in asymmetric war – which itself is usually defined by the negative. Some writers say the term was first used by Andrew J. Mack in a 1975 book titled “Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars”. Some military historians conversely say asymmetric war dates from Antiquity, and included the surprise outcome of larger fighting forces losing an asymmetric war with smaller insurgent, militia, terrorist or tight knit politically motivated forces and entities in specific theaters of conflict.
Other than wars of Antiquity like the Ancient Greek Pelopennesian war series which lasted about 30 years in the 5th century BC, and certainly included asymmetric war and “surprise defeats” for larger forces, the 200-year Crusader war series (about 1095-1299) had recurring battles and campaigns where asymmetric war featured, and sometimes dominated. Our problem is that certainly for a near-century from the late 19th century to about 1980-2000, the Clausewitz doctrine of “God is with the big battalions” held firm. This in turn can be traced to the nature as well as the goals of war following the Industrial Revolution. Drivers of change included European nationbuilding, colonialism, mass migration and by 1948 the later “bipolar world” of the so-called Soviet Empire opposing the Western liberal-capitalist democracies. The collapse of the USSR was naively believed to mean “the end of history and of warfare itself”.
Although not defined as an asymmetric war campaign leading to total victory, by historians like Andrew Mack, the Long March of Mao Zedong culminating in total victory in 1949 was for most of its time called “terror war” by external major powers, including the US, Japan, the UK and other European nations. This only underlines the fact that asymmetric war for losers is often called terrorism, but also underlines the wider tactics and strategy, and weapons used by smaller insurgent forces during an asymmetric war campaign or series. It also underlines that like the asymmetric wars of the distant past, these are generally long series of wars, not setpiece short-term frontline battlefield warfare.
Strategy and Tactics
Strategy above all means command and control because decisive gains and losses need close combat at some stage for any type of war excluding setpiece formal warfare of the pre-Cold War type or paradigm. The Cold War “bipolar paradigm”, we should note, was not for nothing subtitled Mutually Assured Destruction because a charred, radioactive wasteland was the booty or logical peace dividend for any hypothetical “winner”. Also, the MAD paradigm more subtly underlined the role of economic and military infrastructures, which as they become more sophisticated, become more vulnerable. Often scenarized by US and Soviet military strategists during the Cold War, the utilization of a small number of missile-launched airburst nuclear weapons would instantly paralyse the enemy’s command and control infrastructure, electric power and telephone systems, water supplies, fuel supplies, road transport and so on. There could be no winner, only two losers.
Discussion of military infrastructure, and its fragility, however shifts the spotlight away from a key element of asymmetric war the role of ideology and personal commitment. Command and control operated by for example Mao Zedong in his Long March war campaign, was primarily ideological at its beginnings. Conversely in nearly all conventional setpiece wars, which are now likely a thing of the past, the belligerents deployed forces that were essentially of similar type. The war’s outcome could normally be predicted by the physical size, quantity and control of the forces in play. Where the forces are essentially equal, with access to the same technology, the outcome is usually stalemate. The Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 was a classic example.
This already makes it possible to define probably the most decisive motivating role for asymmetric fighting forces technological superiority is canceled by infrastructure fragility. Alternately stated technological inferiority is often canceled by the enemy’s vulnerable military, ideological and economic infrastructures. The Afghan war of 1979-88 was a classic example.
Including vulnerable economic infrastructures, asymmetric wars such as this Afghan war (and the US-Afghan war of 2001-2014) will heavily feature urban insurgency and the destruction of economic infrastructures, which either directly support the more-powerful enemy’s military capability or provide indirect aid to the enemy’s ideological action, attempting to maintain a semblance of “normal life”. Asymmetric wars, we can again note, are often very long and measured in decades, not years, and in part due to this can include a major element of attrition, both economic and ideological.
Terrain and Proxies
Certainly the case in asymmetric wars of Antiquity, small inferior forces fighting the opposite can “trump the enemy” using terrain which today includes and features urban areas. As I have noted in recent articles concerning Syrian war geopolitics, one basic reason why “Syria” is a non-nation or a geopolitical metastase of the Sykes-Picot era of Great Power diplomacy, is the extreme geological folding of the mountainous coastal strip with peaks higher than 2000 meters, where more than 90% of the population lives. This rough, hilly terrain has always favored small autonomous or semi-autonomous population groupings, all of them with a long tradition of conflict including “asymmetric” combat. Ideological differences are often extreme, for example the age-old conflict between traditional Alawites and the Assassin heretic sect of the Alawites.
During the long Crusader war series, for example, the Assassins turned their fighting skills against the invading European crusaders. After this 200-year war series, they returned to fighting any centralising power based in Damascus. The same applies to the Druzes, and to other “mountain fighters”. On numerous occasions, often for decades, fighting groups in what is called “Syria” served as proxies in and for highly complex military campaigns. One examples was the period through about 1204-1260 when a loose alliance of southern powers or “statelets” opposed the larger, better armed Latin Empire of the Byzantines.
No power, either great or small can change geology and geomorphology. To be sure, Stalin-era Soviet campaigns against Chechens, Daghestanis and other small, ideologically tight-knit “mountain fighters”, and the campaign waged in this geopolitical rimland or shatterbelt since the 1990s by Russia, have attempted their eradication. In Afghanistan, as the USSR and later the US found out, so-called mountain fighters can easily urbanize and rapidly shift to urban theater conflict, broadening their warfare tactics with ease.
The major and increasing role of proxy fighting itself favors a shift to asymmetric war. Since the end of World War II, some military historians claim the majority of wars on a numerical basis fought since 1945 have either included, or been dominated by proxy fighters. This in turn means more belligerants, with usually different motivations, staying power, weapons and tactics, will be operating in any warfare. This also means that “surprise outcomes” become more commonplace, for example when proxies turn against their original partners or actively side with their former enemy or enemies.
Deed Horses and Stynking Beestes
Widely used in the Crusader war series, and imported back to Europe with returning Crusaders by the start of the 14th century, early biological warfare featured the catapulting of diseased putrefying corpses, often of horses or other animals, sometimes of humans into castle moats. By the time of the so-called Hundred Years War starting about 1340, biological war was commonplace in siege warfare. With the Black Death (bubonic plague) epidemic which spread from the western Balkans and killed an estimated 25%-33% of the total population of Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, bodies of bubonic plague victims were utilised as weapons as commonly as munitions, arrows and other weapons in the majority of European wars. Death rates obtained using these “asymmetric weapons”, according to military historians could often exceed 950 killed for every 1000 enemy attacked.
Today we hear about the Syrian regime of Bashr al-Assad, and-or rebel forces, utilizing chemical weapons, but chemical weapons akin to napalm were utilized on a common basis in warfare opposing the Byzantime Empire and sometimes-insurgent, often small scale Muslim forces, by 670 AD. These early chemical weapons increasingly used additives including chalk powder, arsenic sulfide, copper oxides and other toxic suffocants to increase lethality.
By the early 18th century, the UK Royal Society was theater to recurring debates on how to protect land armies against biological warfare, in particular protection against smallpox bacteria due to smallpox being already known as a biological weapon. By about 1715, the technique of variolation, or immunization against smallpox was developed, firstly with a view to protecting British fighting forces despite early immunization by variolation causing an estimated 2%-3% mortality of treated soldiers. As we know, the conquest of the US Wild West in the 18th-19th centuries made frequent use of smallpox bacteria to kill Indian fighters and peoples who were not immunized. Historians contend that General George Washington who had warned his troops that English forces might use smallpox as a weapon in the Battle of Quebec (1775) which was lost by the Americans, was himself killed by smallpox poisoning in 1776.
It is therefore either by hypocrisy, ignorance or blindness that mainstream media and many politicians pretend that CBW (chemical and biological weapons) are both strange and repulsive. For numerically inferior forces, they can provide a decisive advantage similar to the historical role of crossbows, in the Middle Ages. Their utilization in asymmetric war has been more the rule, than exception. This logic certainly extends to the broad group of asymmetric arms called NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) weapons – the arsenals held by the small nations North Korea and Israel reflect their political rulers’ fear of numerically superior enemy forces. As we know, both mass-produced pesticides and relatively abundant nuclear wastes, among others, are major potential asymmetric weapons.
The Coming Global Asymmetric War
Andrew J. Mack made the point that big nations can easily lose small wars. He did not add that due to weapons technology and MAD, they can only lose big wars. This standoff or new weakness – of the great powers whether they describe themselves as “great” or not, has certainly been observed and noted by the large number of their asymmetric war-oriented opponents and rivals.
When added to the impacts of economic and industrial technology change, described in other recent articles by myself, the concept of either one or a select few hegemonic powers dominating world political-strategic relations is consigned to trashcan of History. Probably since as early as 1980, certainly in the coming decades from today, this observation will be put to the test.
The Syrian civil war which is a showcase of asymmetric war and proxy war could be taken as an example. Neither Russia nor the US can win this war. Iran’s supposed interest in this war can be questioned. European influence in any outcome to this war is small and weak. Chinese, Indian and other Asian interest in this war is very low. Only extremely massive and sustained, therefore very expensive military occupation on a long-term basis could create or restore any simulacre or surrogate for “the nation state of Syria”. No major external power has any interest in this outcome. The staying power of KSA, Qatar, UAE and other sunni-minority small states paying for Syrian theatre proxy fighters, called “djihadis”, despite the petrodollars and the Wahabism, can easily be questioned.
What was called “Syria” therefore become a shatterbelt zone in modern geopolitical parlance, very comparable with the pre-1914 Balkan states, and pre-1917 Middle Eastern and North African states. Formerly called “rimland states”, shatterbelt zones can also be called the Funeral Pyres of Empire due to these intrinsically volatile and ungovernable zones often being gateways to larger zones of major economic significance, drawing repeated attempts at dominance by the great powers.
Multiple examples exist outside the zone including southern Russia, the Balkans (of 2014), western Asia, and the MENA. Under certain hypotheses, zones like the Europe of the EU28, engaged in an undeclared power struggle with Russia to win power over the Ukraine, may be an example.
More important for this article, most definitely intensified by asymmetric war ideology, tactics and weapons, world shatterbelt zones of “permanent instability” are growing and they are necessarily growing. Sometimes called “multipolarity” and presented as the positive spinoff from economic globalisation, and above all presented as consensual by the great powers (and would-be great powers), the loss of centre and the growth of periphery is a stark fact of the coming world.
This stark fact is of course denied by the so-called great powers. However, when there is no longer a ruling centre and the central power or Hegemon, there is only periphery and no Hegemon in a series of complex rimlands and shatterbelts.
Source: Andrew McKillop
There is one rule to citizen defiance that, in my opinion, surpasses all others in strategic importance; and it is a rule that I have tried to drive home for many years. I would call it the “non-participation principle” and would summarize it as follows:
When facing a corrupt system, provide for yourself and your community those necessities that the system cannot or will not. Become independent from establishment-controlled paradigms. If you and your community do this, the system will have one of two choices:
1) Admit that you do not need them anymore and fade into the fog of history, OR…
2) Reveal its tyrannical nature in full and attempt to force you back into dependence.
In either case, the citizenry gains the upper hand. Even in the event of government retaliation or a full-blown shooting war, dissenting movements maintain the moral high ground, which is absolutely vital to legitimate victory. No revolutionary movement for freedom can succeed without honoring this rule. All independent solutions to social destabilization and despotism rely on it. Any solutions that ignore it are destined for failure.
I am hard-pressed to think of a better recent example of the non-participation principle in action than the rise of Mexican citizen militias in the Western state of Michoacan.
Michoacan, like most of Mexico, has long been overrun with violent drug cartels that terrorized private citizens while Mexican authorities did little to nothing in response. I could easily cite the abject corruption of the Mexican government as the primary culprit in the continued dominance of cartel culture. I could also point out the longtime involvement of the CIA in drug trafficking in Mexico and its negative effects on the overall social development of the nation. This is not conspiracy theory, but openly recognized fact.
The Mexican people have nowhere to turn; and this, in my view, has always been by design. Disarmed and suppressed while government-aided cartels bleed the public dry, it is no wonder that many Mexicans have turned to illegal immigration as a means of escape. The Mexican government, in turn, has always fought for a more porous border with the U.S. exactly because it WANTS dissenting and dissatisfied citizens to run to the United States instead of staying and fighting back. My personal distaste for illegal immigration has always been predicated on the fact that it allows the criminal oligarchy within Mexico to continue unabated without opposition. Unhappy Mexicans can simply run away from their problems to America and feed off our wide-open welfare system. They are not forced to confront the tyranny within their own country. Under this paradigm, Mexico would never change for the better.
Some in the Mexican public, however, have been courageous enough to stay and fight back against rampant theft, kidnapping and murder.
The people of Michoacan, fed up with the fear and subjugation of the cartels and the inaction of the government, have taken a page from the American Revolution, organizing citizen militias that have now driven cartels from the region almost entirely. These militias have decided to no longer rely upon government intervention and have taken independent action outside of the forced authoritarian structure.
The fantastic measure of this accomplishment is not appreciated by many people in America. Though many cartels are populated by well-trained former Mexican military special ops and even covert operations agents, the citizens of Michoacan have proven that the cartels are a paper tiger. They can be defeated through guerrilla tactics and force of will, which many nihilists often deny is even possible.
Joel Gutierrez, a militia member of the Michoacan region, says residents were “sick of the cartel kidnapping, murdering and stealing.”“That’s why we took up arms,” says Gutierrez, 19. “The local and state police did nothing to protect us.”
The militia men have been patrolling their towns and inspecting cars at checkpoints like this one for nearly a year. All that time, federal police did little to stop them, and at times seemed to encourage the movement.
But that tacit approval appeared to end last weekend, when the number of the militias mushroomed and surrounded Apatzingan, a town of 100,000 people and the Knights Templar’s stronghold. A major battle between the militias and the cartel seemed imminent.
The federal government sent in thousands of police and troops to disarm the civilian patrols. A deadly confrontation ensued. Federal soldiers fired into a crowd of civilian militia supporters, killing two.
Militia leader Estanislao Beltran says the government should have gone after the real criminals, the Knights Templar, and not those defending themselves. He vehemently denies rumors that he takes funds from a rival group.
“The cartels have been terrorizing us for more than a decade,” Beltran says. “Why would we side with any of them?”
Initially, local authorities encouraged the militias, or stayed out of their way. The citizens armed themselves with semi-automatic weapons, risking government reprisal, in order to defend their homes; and so far, they have been victorious. One would think that the federal government of Mexico would be enthusiastic about such victories against the cartels they claim to have been fighting against for decades; but when common citizens take control of their own destinies, this often incurs the wrath of the establishment as well.
The Mexican government has decided to reward the brave people of Michoacan with the threat of military invasion and disarmament.
In some cases, government forces have indeed fired upon militia supporters, killing innocents while exposing the true intentions of the Mexican political structure.
Mainstream media coverage of the situation in the western states of Mexico has been minimal at best; and I find the more I learn about the movement in the region, the more I find a kinship with them. Whether we realize it or not, we are fighting the same fight. We are working toward the same goal of liberty, though we speak different languages and herald from different cultures. Recent government propaganda accusing Michoacan militias of “working with rival cartels” should ring familiar with those of us in the American liberty movement. We are the new “terrorists,” the new bogeymen of the faltering American epoch. We are painted as the villains; and in this, strangely, I find a considerable amount of solace.
If the liberty movement were not effective in its activism, if we did not present a legitimate threat to the criminal establishment, they would simply ignore us rather than seek to vilify us.
The militias of Michoacan have taken a stand. They have drawn their line in the sand, and I wish I could fight alongside them. Of course, we have our own fight and our own enemies to contend with here in the United States. As this fight develops, we have much to learn from the events in Western Mexico. Government retaliation has been met with widespread anger from coast to coast. And despite the general mainstream media mitigation of coverage, the American public is beginning to rally around the people of Michoacan as well. The non-participation principle prevails yet again.
The liberty movement in the U.S. must begin providing mutual aid and self-defense measures in a localized fashion if we have any hope of supplanting the effects of globalization and centralized Federal totalitarianism. We must begin constructing our own neighborhood watches, our own emergency response teams, our own food and medical supply stores, and our own alternative economies and trade markets that do not rely on controlled networks. We must break from the system and, in the process, break the system entirely.
Even now, we are beginning to understand the subversive transformation of our own law enforcement structure, and find a system designed to protect the criminal establishment, not the people. The FBI, for example, has recently changed the language of its primary mission statement, claiming that their goal is “national security”, not law enforcement.
Police department across the U.S. are also changing how they interpret their mandate. U.S. courts have ruled that police departments do not have a constitutional duty to protect citizens from harm, rather, they simply exist to enforce legal code after a crime has already been perpetrated. This means that local police are no longer considered “peace officers”, but agents of bureaucracy who are not necessarily required to defend the citizenry from violent action. The terrors Mexican citizens face in Michoacan are coming to America, and if disarmament proponents have their way, we will have no means to stop it.
I am growing increasingly exhausted with the incessant rationalizations of frightened activists posing as non-aggression proponents; the same kinds of people who refuse to even entertain the probability that physical self defense will be needed against corrupt government. The pungent smog of cowardice that follows them curls the nostrils, and the obvious transparency of their fear is a bit sickening. I wish I could convey how refreshing it is to witness a group of common people, regardless of nationality, with a set of brass ball bearings large enough to face off against government supported drug cartels notorious for mass murder and decapitation.
If you want see into the future, into the destiny of America, I suggest you examine carefully the developments of the Michoacan region. It is no mistake that good men and women are being disarmed around the world, and America is certainly not exempt. Look at what happens when we are not helpless! We can crush cold and calculating drug cartels as easily as we can crush psychopathic government entities. We are capable of superhuman feats. We are capable of globalist overthrow. We are capable of unthinkable greatness, as long as we are not distracted by false solutions and false leaders who lure us away from localized action towards centralized non-events.
The rise of Mexican non-participation groups gives me much hope for the future. For if the most corrupt and criminally saturated of societies can find it within themselves to fight, to truly fight, regardless of the obstacles and regardless of the supposed consequences, then there is a chance for us all. We must look beyond the odds of success and become men — real men — once again. We must face down evil, without reservation and without apprehension first by separating from the system, and then by standing our ground. We must be willing to risk everything; otherwise, there is absolutely nothing to gain.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Can the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sustainability, then such claims are without substantiation – although there are many hopeful signs that the conversation is slowly moving in the right direction.
In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise. According to most general definitions that are widely available online, the sharing economy leverages information technology to empower individuals or organisations to distribute, share and re-use excess capacity in goods and services. The business icons of the new sharing economy include the likes of Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Poshmark, although hundreds of other for-profit as well as non-profit organisations are associated with this burgeoning movement that is predicated, in one way or another, on the age-old principle of sharing.
As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media, a debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction. There is no doubt that the emergent paradigm of sharing resources is set to expand and further flourish in coming years, especially in the face of continuing economic recession, government austerity and environmental concerns. As a result of the concerted advocacy work and mobilisation of sharing groups in the US, fifteen city mayors have now signed the Shareable Cities Resolution in which they officially recognise the importance of economic sharing for both the public and private sectors. Seoul in South Korea has also adopted a city-funded project called Sharing City in which it plans to expand its ‘sharing infrastructure’, promote existing sharing enterprises and incubate sharing economy start-ups as a partial solution to problems in housing, transportation, job creation and community cohesion. Furthermore, Medellin in Colombia is embracing transport-sharing schemes and reimagining the use of its shared public spaces, while Ecuador is the first country in the world to commit itself to becoming a ‘shared knowledge’-based society, under an official strategy named ‘buen saber’.
Many proponents of the sharing economy therefore have great hopes for a future based on sharing as the new modus operandi. Almost everyone recognises that drastic change is needed in the wake of a collapsed economy and an overstretched planet, and the old idea of the American dream – in which a culture that promotes excessive consumerism and commercialisation leads us to see the ‘good life’ as the ‘goods life’, as described by the psychologist Tim Kasser - is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. Hence more and more people are rejecting the materialistic attitudes that defined recent decades, and are gradually shifting towards a different way of living that is based on connectedness and sharing rather than ownership and conspicuous consumption. ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials.
However, many entrepreneurial sharing pioneers also profess a big picture vision of what sharing can achieve in relation to the world’s most pressing issues, such as population growth, environmental degradation and food security. As Ryan Gourley of A2Share posits, for example, a network of cities that embrace the sharing economy could mount up into a Sharing Regions Network, then Sharing Nations, and finally a Sharing World: “A globally networked sharing economy would be a whole new paradigm, a game-changer for humanity and the planet”. Neal Gorenflo, the co-founder and publisher of Shareable, also argues that peer-to-peer collaboration can form the basis of a new social contract, with an extensive sharing movement acting as the catalyst for systemic changesthat can address the root causes of both poverty and climate change. Or to quote the words of Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, we are going to have to “share to survive” if we want to face up to a sustainable future. In such a light, it behoves us all to investigate the potential of sharing to effect a social and economic transformation that is sufficient to meet the grave challenges of the 21st century.
Two sides of a debate on sharing
There is no doubt that sharing resources can contribute to the greater good in a number of ways, from economic as well as environmental and social perspectives. A number of studies show the environmental benefits that are common to many sharing schemes, such as the resource efficiency and potential energy savings that could result from car sharing and bike sharing in cities. Almost all forms of localised sharing are economical, and can lead to significant cost savings or earnings for individuals and enterprises. In terms of subjective well-being and social impacts, common experience demonstrates how sharing can also help us to feel connected to neighbours or co-workers, and even build community and make us feel happier.
Few could disagree on these beneficial aspects of sharing resources within communities or across municipalities, but some controversy surrounds the broader vision of how the sharing economy movement can contribute to a fair and sustainable world. For many advocates of the burgeoning trend towards economic sharing in modern cities, it is about much more than couch-surfing, car sharing or tool libraries, and holds the potential to disrupt the individualist and materialistic assumptions of neoliberal capitalism. For example, Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude perceives that a new economics based on sharing could be an antidote to the hyper-individualised, hyper-consumer culture of today, and could help rebuild the social ties that have been lost through market culture. Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff project, in her latest short video on how to move society in an environmentally sustainable and just direction, also considers sharing as a key ‘game changing’ solution that could help to transform the basic goals of the economy.
Many other proponents see the sharing economy as a path towards achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits, and an essential first step on the road to more localised economies and egalitarian societies. But far from everyone perceives that participating in the sharing economy, at least in its existing form and praxis, is a ‘political act’ that can realistically challenge consumption-driven economics and the culture of individualism – a question that is raised (although not yet comprehensively answered) in a valuable think piece from Friends of the Earth, as discussed further below. Various commentators argue that the proliferation of new business ventures under the umbrella of sharing are nothing more than “supply and demand continuing its perpetual adjustment to new technologies and fresh opportunities”, and that the concept of the sharing economy is being co-opted by purely commercial interests – a debate that was given impetus when the car sharing pioneers, Zipcar, were bought up by the established rental firm Avis.
Recently, Slate magazine’s business and economics correspondent controversially reiterated the observation that making money from new modes of consumption is not really ‘sharing’ per se, asserting that the sharing economy is therefore a “dumb term” that “deserves to die”. Other journalists have criticised the superficial treatment that the sharing economy typically receives from financial pundits and tech reporters, especially the claims that small business start-ups based on monetised forms of sharing are a solution to the jobs crisis – regardless of drastic cutbacks in welfare and public services, unprecedented rates of income inequality, and the dangerous rise of the precariat. The author Evgeny Morozov, writing an op-ed in the Financial Times, has gone as far as saying that the sharing economy is having a pernicious effect on equality and basic working conditions, in that it is fully compliant with market logic, is far from valuing human relationships over profit, and is even amplifying the worst excesses of the dominant economic model. In the context of the erosion of full-time employment, the assault on trade unions and the disappearance of healthcare and insurance benefits, he argues that the sharing economy is accelerating the transformation of workers into “always-on self-employed entrepreneurs who must think like brands”, leading him to dub it “neoliberalism on steroids”.
Problems of definition
Although it is impossible to reconcile these polarised views, part of the problem in assessing the true potential of economic sharing is one of vagueness in definition and wide differences in understanding. The conventional interpretation of the sharing economy is at present focused on its financial and commercial aspects, with continuous news reports proclaiming its rapidly growing market size and potential as a “co-commerce revolution”. Rachel Botsman, a leading entrepreneurial thinker on the potential of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies to change our lives, has attempted to clarify what the sharing economy actually is in order to prevent further confusion over the different terms in general use. In her latest typology, she notes how the term ‘sharing economy’ is often muddled with other new ideas and is in fact a subset of ‘collaborative consumption’ within the entire ‘collaborative economy’ movement, and has a rather restricted meaning in terms of “sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits” [see slide 9 of the presentation]. This interpretation of changing consumer behaviours and lifestyles revolves around the “maximum utilization of assets through efficient models of redistribution and shared access”, which isn’t necessarily predicated on an ethic of ‘sharing’ by any strict definition.
Other interpretations of the sharing economy are far broader and less constrained by capitalistic assumptions, as demonstrated in the Friends of the Earth briefing paper on Sharing Cities written by Professor Julian Agyeman et al. In their estimation, what’s missing from most of these current definitions and categorisations of economic sharing is a consideration of “the communal, collective production that characterises the collective commons”. A broadened ‘sharing spectrum’ that they propose therefore not only focuses on goods and services within the mainstream economy (which is almost always considered in relation to affluent, middle-class lifestyles), but also includes the non-material or intangible aspects of sharing such as well-being and capability [see page 6 of the brief]. From this wider perspective, they assert that the cutting edge of the sharing economy is often not commercial and includes informal behaviours like the unpaid care, support and nurturing that we provide for one another, as well as the shared use of infrastructure and shared public services.
This sheds a new light on governments as the “ultimate level of sharing”, and suggests that the history of the welfare state in Europe and other forms of social protection is, in fact, also integral to the evolution of shared resources in cities and within different countries. Yet an understanding of sharing from this more holistic viewpoint doesn’t have to be limited to the state provision of healthcare, education, and other public services. As Agyeman et al elucidate, cooperatives of all kinds (from worker to housing to retailer and consumer co-ops) also offer alternative models for shared service provision and a different perspective on economic sharing, one in which equity and collective ownership is prioritised. Access to natural common resources such as air and water can also be understood in terms of sharing, which may then prioritise the common good of all people over commercial or private interests and market mechanisms. This would include controversial issues of land ownership and land use, raising questions over how best to share land and urban space more equitably – such as through community land trusts, or through new policies and incentives such as land value taxation.
The politics of sharing
Furthermore, Agyeman et al argue that an understanding of sharing in relation to the collective commons gives rise to explicitly political questions concerning the shared public realm and participatory democracy. This is central to the many countercultural movements of recent years (such as the Occupy movement and Middle East protests since 2011, and the Taksim Gezi Park protests in 2013) that have reclaimed public space to symbolically challenge unjust power dynamics and the increasing trend toward privatisation that is central to neoliberal hegemony. Sharing is also directly related to the functioning of a healthy democracy, the authors reason, in that a vibrant sharing economy (when interpreted in this light) can counter the political apathy that characterises modern consumer society. By reinforcing values of community and collaboration over the individualism and consumerism that defines our present-day cultures and identities, they argue that participation in sharing could ultimately be reflected in the political domain. They also argue that a shared public realm is essential for the expression of participatory democracy and the development of a good society, not least as this provides a necessary venue for popular debate and public reasoning that can influence political decisions. Indeed the “emerging shareability paradigm”, as they describe it, is said to reflect the basic tenets of the Right to the City (RTTC) – an international urban movement that fights for democracy, justice and sustainability in cities and mobilises against the privatisation of common goods and public spaces.
The intention in briefly outlining some of these differing interpretations of sharing is to demonstrate how considerations of politics, justice, ethics and sustainability are slowly being allied with the sharing economy concept. A paramount example is the Friends of the Earth briefing paper outlined above, which was written as part of FOEI’s Big Ideas to Change the World series on cities that promoted sharing as “a political force to be reckoned with” and a “call to action for environmentalists”. Yet many further examples could also be mentioned, such as the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Manifesto for the New Materialism’ which promotes the old-fashioned ethic of sharing as part of a new way of living to replace the collapsed model of debt-fuelled overconsumption. There are also signs that many influential proponents of the sharing economy – as generally understood today in terms of new economic models driven by peer-to-peer technology that enable access to rather than ownership of resources – are beginning to query the commercial direction that the movement is taking, and are instead promoting more politicised forms of social change that are not merely based on micro-enterprise or the monetisation/branding of high-tech innovations.
Janelle Orsi, a California-based ‘sharing lawyer’ and author of The Sharing Solution, is particularly inspirational in this regard; for her, the sharing economy encompasses such a broad range of activities that it is hard to define, although she suggests that all its activities are tied together in how they harness the existing resources of a community and grow its wealth. This is in contradistinction to the mainstream economy that mostly generates wealth for people outside of people’s communities, and inherently generates extreme inequalities and ecological destruction – which Orsi contends that the sharing economy can help reverse. The problem she recognises is that the so-called sharing economy we usually hear about in the media is built upon a business-as-usual foundation, which is privately owned and often funded by venture capital (as is the case with Airbnb, Lyft, Zipcar, Taskrabbit et cetera). As a result, the same business structures that created the economic problems of today are buying up new sharing economy companies and turning them into ever larger, more centralised enterprises that are not concerned about people’s well-being, community cohesion, local economic diversity, sustainable job creation and so on (not to mention the risk of re-creating stock valuation bubbles that overshadowed the earlier generation of dot.com enterprises). The only way to ensure that new sharing economy companies fulfil their potential to create economic empowerment for users and their communities, Orsi argues, is through cooperative conversion – and she makes a compelling case for the democratic, non-exploitative, redistributive and truly ‘sharing’ potential of worker and consumer cooperatives in all their guises.
Sharing as a path to systemic change
There are important reasons to query which direction this emerging movement for sharing will take in the years ahead. As prominent supporters of the sharing economy recognise, like Janelle Orsi and Juliet Schor, it offers both opportunities and reasons for optimism as well as pitfalls and some serious concerns. On the one hand, it reflects a growing shift in our values and social identities as ‘citizens vs consumers’, and is helping us to rethink notions of ownership and prosperity in a world of finite resources, scandalous waste and massive wealth disparities. Perhaps its many proponents are right, and the sharing economy represents the first step towards transitioning away from the over-consumptive, materially-intense and hoarding lifestyles of North American, Western European and other rich societies. Perhaps sharing really is fast becoming a counter-cultural movement that can help us to value relationships more than things, and offer us the possibility of re-imagining politics and constructing a more participative democracy, which could ultimately pose a challenge to the global capitalist/consumerist model of development that is built on private interests and debt at the cost of shared interests and true wealth.
On the other hand, critics are right to point out that the sharing economy in its present form is hardly a threat to existing power structures or a movement that represents the kind of radical changes we need to make the world a better place. Far from reorienting the economy towards greater equity and a better quality of life, as proposed by writers such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Tim Jackson, Herman Daly and John Cobb, it is arguable that most forms of sharing via peer-to-peer networks are at risk of being subverted by conventional business practices. There is a perverse irony in trying to imagine the logical conclusion of these trends: new models of collaborative consumption and co-production that are co-opted by private interests and venture capitalists, and increasingly geared towards affluent middle-class types or so-called bourgeois bohemians (the ‘bobos’), to the exclusion of those on low incomes and therefore to the detriment of a more equal society. Or new sharing technology platforms that enable governments and corporations to collaborate in pursuing more intrusive controls over and greater surveillance of citizens. Or new social relationships based on sharing in the context of increasingly privatised and enclosed public spaces, such as gated communities within which private facilities and resources are shared.
This is by no means an inevitable outcome, but what is clear from this brief analysis is that the commercialisation and depoliticisation of economic sharing poses risks and contradictions that call into question its potential to transform society for the benefit of everyone. Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sound environmental stewardship, then the various claims that sharing is a new paradigm that can address the world’s interrelated crises is indeed empty rhetoric or utopian thinking without any substantiation. Sharing our skills through Hackerspaces, our unused stuff through GoodShuffle or a community potluck through mealshare is, in and of itself, a generally positive phenomenon that deserves to be enjoyed and fully participated in, but let’s not pretend that car shares, clothes swaps, co-housing, shared vacation homes and so on are going to seriously address economic and climate chaos, unjust power dynamics or inequitable wealth distribution.
Sharing from the local to the global
If we look at sharing through the lens of just sustainability, however, as civil society organisations and others are now beginning to do, then the true possibilities of sharing resources within and among the world’s nations are vast and all-encompassing: to enhance equity, rebuild community, improve well-being, democratise national and global governance, defend and promote the global commons, even to point the way towards a more cooperative international framework to replace the present stage of competitive neoliberal globalisation. We are not there yet, of course, and the popular understanding of economic sharing today is clearly focused on the more personal forms of giving and exchange among individuals or through online business ventures, which is mainly for the benefit of high-income groups in the world’s most economically advanced nations. But the fact that this conversation is now being broadened to include the role of governments in sharing public infrastructure, political power and economic resources within countries is a hopeful indication that the emerging sharing movement is slowly moving in the right direction.
Already, questions are being raised as to what sharing resources means for the poorest people in the developing world, and how a revival of economic sharing in the richest countries can be spread globally as a solution to converging crises. It may not be long until the idea of economic sharing on a planetary scale - driven by an awareness of impending ecological catastrophe, life-threatening extremes of inequality, and escalating conflict over natural resources – is the subject of every dinner party and kitchen table conversation.
Agyeman, Julian, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego, Sharing Cities, Friends of the Earth briefing paper, September 2013.
Bollier, David, Bauwens Joins Ecuador in Planning a Commons-based, Peer Production Economy, 20th September 2013, bollier.org
Botsman, Rachel, The Sharing Economy Lacks a Shared Definition: Giving Meaning to the Terms, Collaborative Lab on Slideshare.net, 19th November 2013.
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Eberlein, Sven, Sharing for Profit – I’m Not Buying it Anymore, Shareable.net, 20th February 2013.
Enright, Michael in interview with Benita Matofska and Aidan Enns, Sharing, Not Buying at Christmas (Hr. 1), CBC Radio, 16th December 2012.
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Jackson, Tim, Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Routeledge, 2011.
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On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, the highly anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee report on the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans was released. The primary investigative report, including redactions, consists of 42 pages with an additional 16 pages of appendices and another 25 pages of additional “majority views.” While the report validates much of what I’ve written well in advance of media reports, it also appears to be deliberately deficient in a number of critical areas.
The report acknowledges that there were no protests over an obscure internet video at this facility in Benghazi, which was neither an embassy nor a consulate. As I initially exposed, the report confirms on page seven that the Benghazi facility was an undercover CIA compound. It was only somewhat known to be a U.S. asset in the region, but had no U.S. flag flying anywhere on the property, and did not serve any diplomatic operational function as would an embassy or consulate. Therefore, no one “in the know” could reasonably believe or even suspect that this location would be the site of any protests about an obscure internet video. Yet, the deliberate mischaracterization of not only the site of the attacks, but the reason behind them, continued to be shamelessly peddled by the politicians and media alike. It was not only a lie, but a contemptible lie.
The critical issue of the actual function that CIA compound served remains the “third rail” of our elected leaders and their obedient media. The report focuses on accountability for the lack of security and later, the lack of response to a critical incident. However, it fails to address that the U.S., under the direction of Barack Hussein Obama in the Executive branch, and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Secretary of State, were spearheading a weapons running operation to arm the anti-Assad factions in Syria by way of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. As I detailed on November 5, 2012, reasonable estimates suggest that between 30-40 million pounds of missiles, guns and even chemical weapons (gas) had been confiscated in Libya and shipped to various prepositioning locations in Turkey and directly into Syria for use by anti-Assad “rebels.”
The function of this compound was far different than the legitimate function of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. The compound in Benghazi served as a logistics hub to arrange the crisscrossing supply lines of Gadaffi’s weapons, under the control of Muslim Brotherhood factions, to the Libyan port city of Dernah, the chokepoint of the arsenals. This was appropriately named the “Ho Chi Minh Trail of Muslim Brotherhood supply lines” as referenced in an October 5, 2012 article by Michael Reagan titled “Building on a kernel of truth.” Despite this exposure, senate and congressional investigators, whose job it is to uncover the truth, still don’t seem willing to ask the correct questions. Why?
While the political pundits and the corporate media will continue to shamelessly play political football with not only the bodies of four dead Americans, but with the future of all Americans and everyone in the West, Obama and his operational staff of globalists will continue to advance the U.S., and the world, on a certain course that will take us headlong into World War III. By not addressing the core issues of the larger agenda, the attention of the American people continues to be held captive by a single act of a larger play. As I’ve written before, the lies are much bigger.
As I have consistently maintained, the attacks in Benghazi were proxy attacks at a nation-state level in response to our arming the anti-Assad terror organizations. They were not the result of an angry protest over an Internet video, although understanding how that video was used provides insight into the role of the CIA and certain other key players in the cover-up. You will find that the video is directly tied to a CIA operation that was to be used as cover at an appropriate moment.
They were also not the result of some false flag operation with plans to kidnap an American ambassador to swap him for the blind sheikh, although kidnapping did played a role in the attacks as I previously detailed. The kidnapping to which I refer, of course, is related to the abduction of seven Iranian-citizen ICRC workers in Benghazi on July 31, 2012. At least that incident earned a footnote in the Senate report. The curiosity regarding the number of attacks on September 11, 2012, combined with the withholding of heavy artillery suggests that the attackers were looking to rescue their compatriots that were held captive until their mysterious release after the attacks.
Even as the merits of this report are debated in the fictional right-left paradigm and the captive press, the agenda for which this CIA compound served continues. The glee shown by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in October 2011 when she laughed about the murder of Gaddafi and the destabilization of Libya will likely be absent when Assad falls. Syria remains the target of this game of Risk among the globalists.
The recent actions of new Secretary of State John Kerry are as insidious as his predecessor’s, although perhaps not as overt or easily identifiable in this hall of mirrors of Middle East politics. By stating that the U.S. would not militarily intervene in the take-over by al Qaeda and related terror groups of the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, where many Americans died for the ostensible cause of freedom for the Iraqi people, he has given them a green light to open another front against Syria. The opening a front to the southeast of Syria via Iraq is actually one of many contingency plans, as blaming the use of chemical weapons on Assad did not work as planned as enough people saw that for what it was.
As I have written many times, the goal has always been Syria. Now, if someone thinks that the Russians, Iranians and Syrians are going to be fooled about who’s actually behind this proxy eastern front being opened up against Assad, I’d like to ask now, a year-and-a-half later, do you think they were ever fooled about who was behind the arms running operation out of Benghazi and eastern Libya where this all started? No and HELL NO. This latest front, just as the first and now failed fronts in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, is all about plausible deniability, or PD as it’s known in the tradecraft. It’s the magic act where sleight of hand and deception rule the day in “the hall of mirrors” that is Mideast politics, a reference again to the aforementioned article written by Michael Reagan.
Syria will not implode and it will not succumb to some rag-tag army of militants. The anti-Assad operation needs Western and external assistance. Putin is aware of our machinations, as are other leaders. So, when all of this comes unraveled, and it will, look for it to explode eastward into Saudi Arabia, into the Arab sea, north into Iran and all the way to the Strait of Hormuz. And when, not if it does, that attack will not just damage shipping and the free flow of oil into Western markets, it will crush the dollar and with it the hopes and dreams not just of the U.S., but western civilization itself.
If you continue to sleep now America, sleep well. Because when you do wake up, it just might be a long while before you sleep well again. The prematurely darkening sky you see is not just the announcement of evening in America. Those are blustering storm clouds, and the claps of thunder will be along shortly. And they will most likely be hard to miss.
Source: Douglas J. Hagmann
With everything on the line, no country hosting a Olympiad can afford to take it easy on security – especially Russia.
With terror threats already made openly and through back channels, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has already been ramped-up as one of the biggest security operations in events history. But there’s a bigger story unfolding here – a tectonic shift in world geopolitics.
Putin Winds Back His Gains of 2013
News reports now place the probable cost of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia at more than $51 billion making them the most expensive-ever. Security costs help explain this. Vladimir Putin’s ironclad determination to make the games a success – makes them a rising political risk, not only for domestic political consumption but also a challenge to Russia’s federal unity and relations with its Asian neighbors, and internationally. Making the Sochi games a PR disaster is the goal of Putin’s enemies.
The Islamic Bomb Lady was officially seen by Russian police. They identified her as 22 year old terrorist Razmena Ibragimova, displayed on Russia’s official Sochi blog sites like the one above. Her terrorist credentials were bolstered by a clumsily falsified side-profile photograph, portraying her bulging neck probably hiding explosives behind her scarf. Officially she was part of the Volgograd bombing conspiracy and Razmena is now the Most Wanted Lady in Russia.
Once Upon a Time There was Pingpong Diplomacy
Cold war-era diplomacy of the 1960s included the “ping-pong diplomacy” US-China phase, but today’s Russia-Saudi Arabia jousting is measured by the number of body parts on the pavement after each designer bomb attack by a throwaway human suicide bomber. To date, Saudi Arabia has scored several direct hits against Putin’s Russia, but the ex-KGB chief is unlikely to take that lying down. Revenge hits against Saudi-backed Arab capitals, and against Riyadh-backed forces active in Syria are either certain or not impossible, to ram home the Putin message that Saudi Arabia is a small country on the edge of “The World Island” that talks a lot too loud – only thanks to oil.
At home in Russia, the Islamic kamikaze bombing scare, which in fact may have been Soviet-era agitprop not needing any Saudi petro-dollars or American nods to be executed, enables Putin to further seal the power of his New State apparatus. The new state is little changed from the old USSR, which set the southern Caucus Republics as the acid test arena for total power by Moscow.
Today, Razmena is placarded on wanted posters all across Sochi. According to one poster on display at all security checkpoints in Sochi’s airport, Ibragimova is “currently located on Sochi territory” and ‘could attempt a suicide bombing’ at any time, according to the poster.
Ramming home the fear message for visitors who will pay at least $500-a-day to be in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, she is described as having been spotted on the street near the Russian foreign ministry building, and in streets near the upmarket hotels of Sochi. Imagine that. Not great in terms of events marketing, but the Russian Bear can ill-afford to be shy this time around.
Stalingrad and the Terror Republic
Under its former name Stalingrad, today’s Volgograd was the Martyr City for Soviet resistance to Nazi Germany, but security analysts estimate that hundreds of the 2000-odd Islamic terror attacks on Russian Federal territory since 1990 have been in or around Volgograd. Veterans of the 1990s-era conflict waged by Moscow against breakaway independence movements state that at the time most of them flew the Islamic flag and were eager to receive Saudi petrodollars. The theater was however already widening across the Caucasian Republics including Chechnya, Ingueshetia, Daghestan, Tatarstan, and in Russian satrape republics such as Azerbaijan, and the 1990s veterans recall that in that period, ruthless terror-versus-terror tactics and strategy became the norm.
These veterans, some of them now Douma parliamentarians say the intensity of conflict has moved up, from that previous terror war level to a much wider “conflict of civilizations”, even a threat to the continued existence of Russia. Tom Nichols, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College cited by Stripes .com 15 January said the intensity of conflict.. “ has made the Russians — who already are used to a strong state security apparatus — far more willing to empower its internal security forces way beyond anything Americans would ever allow”.
Saudi terror strategy may be comfortable for its Riyadh purveyors, players and payers safe in Riyadh, when it concerns Mali, Niger, South Sudan, the Central African Republic or Riyadh’s other low-income Black African asymmetric war theaters, but in the Russia Caucuses this is a high risk gambit and historic conflict that Islam always lost. Inside the Russian Federation, longstanding political conflicts are already sufficient to make government difficult. Adding a layer of Saudi-financed and American-tolerated Islamic extremism may create a runaway process of domestic conflict – which for Putin and his oligarchs is exactly what they want to intensify and seal their total power.
For Russian leaders, the calls by some Syrian rebels for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in their homeland sound uncomfortably similar to the goals of Doku Umarov, the Chechen leader of the so-called, ‘Caucasus Emirate’. The stated aim of Umarov’s group, designated by Moscow, and by Washington as a terrorist organization, is to establish an Islamic state on Russian territory. Chechen fighters like Omar Abu al-Chechen, who leads an expatriate jihadist force known as the Faithful Immigrant Brothers in Syria, have sparked Kremlin fears that the real goal of extremists is to make Syria into a base for future terror operations inside Russia.
Chechnya has become ever more critical to Kremlin strategists, the front line theater for Russian-Saudi conflict with Sochi an easy ride from its borders. This theater is particularly acute due to the fact that Syria has thousands of fighters who, according to the Russian Spetznaz special services, are a serious and real threat for the country. Ramzan Kadyrov, the former Chechen rebel placed in charge by Kremlin and an adept at counter-terror war, has on many recent occasions said that Islamist insurgents in Chechnya have reached “plague proportions” and in his view are only biding their time before moving north to Russia – and to Europe.
Syria Split Could Set Russia Alight
State Douma deputy and Foreign relations commission chief Anatoly Ermolin, with a long military track record in Chechnya and the Caucuses during the 1990s bluntly says : “I think this is one of the most dangerous things for any government. They (the Islamists) are very serious and believe they can organize an Islamic state….They consider (Russia) to be their territory. We are dry wood; it’s very easy to set fire to the situation.”
Ermolin is openly alarmed and alarmist because he believes the disastrous conflict in Syria divided Russia and NATO-member countries into two camps, with the US-led west leaning to support or at least tolerance of the Islamists, despite the increasingly frenzied extremist nature of Syria’s opposition. For Russia this means it is next in line for destabilization, by Islam under the guise of, and stoked by Western-Russian rivalry and conflict. Ermolin says there can soon be a major realignment of international relations and vital interests.
Add the Saudi terror chief, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan (photo, left) into this mix and the fuse is nearly lit. The London Telegraph reported back in October about Saudi Arabia’s under the table offer to Russia for a chance to ‘control the world’s oil market’ in some type of strategic alliance between OPEC and Russia – but only if Russia would wash its hands of the Assad regime in Syria. That was the carrot. The stick was somewhat more barbaric:
Bandar threatened to unleash his Chechen terrorists in order to shutdown, and possibly kill civilians at Sochi. He is alleged to have said:
‘‘I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Games are controlled by us’’
Beyond Saudi Arabia international racketeering and extortion, in there is fear in Germany, France, the UK and Italy – as there is in Russia, of what happens when thousands of young “jihadis” return from the Syrian war. Russian foreign relations experts like Ermolin say this will be the acid test, and in the Middle East will surely and certainly coincide with the equally rising threat of more open and wider conflict between Sunni Saudi Arabia, and Shia Iran. The dangers of another Iran-Sunni war like the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war are claimed by Russian policy experts to have been completely underestimated in the west. As they and Russian military analysts say, the potential for a repeat of the 1980-88 war “going nuclear” is high.
Russian experts also say the dangers of Iran itself destabilizing and “turning to terror” have been ignored or underestimated in the west. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel, backed by the US and several EU countries, especially France give either open or covert support to anti-Iranian Sunni terror movements, making all out Iran-versus-Sunni war the logical follow-up. In the case of Iranian defeat, spillover will, the Russians say, be large scale regional, not contained. As a result, although never stated as a driver for US and European thawing towards Iran, the risk of Iran being destabilized have to be taken seriously.
Whistling in the Dark
To date, western understanding of the war theater’s dimensions and component drivers is, Russians say, woeful. The USA’s Boston Bombings, for example, were laughably unprofessional pinpricks. European domestic experience of eradicating Islamist insurgents, they add, is close to zero making for permanent underestimation of the threat.
Reasons for this western blind spot to the insurgent threat, which in Russia now straddles both ethnic religious and nationalist political lines – notably in Tartarstan – can be traced to different Russian and western interpretations of geopolitics. For Russians, even in the 1930s Stalin era, Halford Mackinder’s theory of “The World Island”, centered on Russia but spreading south through the Caucuses to Arabia, North Africa and Europe was taken as a game plan and threat – or prize – for the USSR. Putin’s Russian Federation of today is driven by geopolitical hopes and fears linked to the Mackinder theory.
To be sure, Washington has decided the dispatch of a small anti-terror group of experts to Sochi, more for protecting US athletes and comforting domestic political opinion than aiding Moscow, but soon, analysts and Russian leaders say, Moscow and Washington will have to collaborate better. To do this, they will have to set aside other issues that get in the way. The USA’s new isolationism, however, may also hamper this needed collaboration, and like the Europeans, the US may be tempted to turn Russia’s difficulties to its advantage – by pouring oil and Saudi petro-dollars on the fire.
Senior Russian political figures like Alexander Khinshtein, Vice chairman of the State Douma’s Security and anti-corruption commission, make it plain that formerly contained, localized and specific Islamic terror threats and action have massively changed since the 1990s. Khinshtein says that “Terrorism cannot be a local problem; it is not a problem for just one place.” Russian news releases and investigations concerning the Volgograd bombings already say these attacks – which are part of a longstanding organized campaign – link closely to non-Islamic political independence movements in Russia’s Caucasian republics.
The challenge from the Islamic south, to Russia’s “world island” has now mutated and coalesced with other movements and issues that, in the 1990s, were totally separate. The Sochi theater for terror war and counter-terror war concerns the whole world.
Source: 21st Century Wire
Ynet reports in the last few days that an FBI investigation into Republican Congressman Michael Grimm’s campaign finances ties him to Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto through donations of more than half a million dollars, and has also led to suspicions of senior Israeli police officers accepting bribes from Pinto.
The affair came to light due to an FBI wiretap agreed to by Pinto as part of a settlement with the bureau, after Pinto filed a blackmail complaint resulting the rabbi having to testify against Grimm, the New York Republican Congressman and former FBI agent.
The New York Times reported that Grimm was in contact with Ofer Biton (an ex Porn distributor), one of Pinto’s assistants, in order to raise money for his election from the rabbi’s followers.
Grimm, it said, had good reason to turn to the popular rabbi since he needed a great deal of money. Pinto supplied the funds to the Republican incumbent, a Catholic who prays every Sunday in church.
Grimm was able to raise more than half a million dollars – which comprised half of his total fundraising for the election, the FBI revealed.
Biton is being investigated on the suspect of embezzling millions of dollars from Pinto’s followers. The New York Times also reported that there were illegal donations that included cash transfers and straw companies. The followers said they gave the money because Biton said Pinto wanted his followers to donate to the politician.
The message must be clear. America must target all Jewish lobby groups and block the possibility of foreign interests interfering with its politics politicians, domestic and international interests.
“I’ve gotten some of my best light from bridges I’ve burned.”– Don Henley
What does it take, in an era dominated by progressive identity politics, to be accepted as a fully qualified member of the Left?
Jane is a London lawyer who identifies politically ‘as a woman,’ and marches enthusiastically for human rights. Can she join? I think the answer is yes, she can.
George is a medical doctor who happens also to be a black man and identifies as ‘Black middle class.’ Can he subscribe to a progressive email group and contribute to the discussion? I hope and suspect that he can.
And what about Julie? She runs an estate agency on the posh side of town but she also identifies as a ‘gay lesbian,’ can she join the parade? What a question! Of course she can.
Now Abe is an accountant and very attached to his Jewish heritage. Abe identifies as a ‘secular Jew,’ can he join the anti-war movement? More than likely he can, in fact he may even, within hours of his joining, find himself in a position of leadership.
But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ — can he join a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious at all because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ ideology and indeed, activism, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.
So, while Hammed is identifying with a universal and humanist precept, Jane, ‘the woman’, Julie ‘the Gay Lesbian’ and George ‘the Black’ openly subscribe to biologically-determined political identities. Furthermore, Abe, Identifying as a secular Jew, affiliates himself with a blood-based ethnocentric tribal identity. Clearly, the Left has no problem with such marginal and exclusivist political identities.
So, how is it possible that the contemporary Left discourse is sustained by people who, themselves subscribe to biologically-determined identity politics, yet so often reject similar, though often working class folk, who actually support equality and human rights issues? Could it be that the Left has in fact, drifted away from working class politics into some vague and inconsistent pseudo-empathic discourse primarily engaged in sectarian battles?
And there’s more.
Uri is an Israeli peace activist and writer who also identifies as an Israeli Leftist. Is Uri welcome within the progressive network? The answer is unreservedly, yes. But John Smith, an English bus driver from Liverpool is proud to be English and ‘as an Englishman’ he opposes the war because John actually believes that peace is patriotic. Can he join an anti-war protest and, while he’s at it, carry a Union Jack to demonstrations? I leave the answer to you.
Tony is a ‘Jewish Socialist’ – certainly not religious but an ethnic Jew who identifies ‘as a Jew’ racially and ethnically. And by the way, Tony also operates politically within Jews-only anti-Zionist groups. Now Tony is hugely welcome at most Left and progressive gathering. But can the same be said for Franz who identifies as an ‘Aryan socialist’? Again, I leave the answer to you.
The point is that yet again we detect a critical discrepancy in Left or progressive thinking. While Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is accepted, other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected. Is this a contradiction? You judge.
And, while we’re at it, what about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind the veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ gatherings? Not really. But Laura certainly supports human rights and equality almost as much as she loves Allah. But the Left’s and progressives’ tolerance towards Allah worshippers is particularly limited while, on the other hand, worshippers of the Talmud who are willing to oppose Israel are, not only tolerated, they are positively welcomed. Torah Jews, for instance, are often invited to progressive gatherings though, it must be said, they also encounter some resentment, especially from Jewish activists (This surely is because progressive Jews don’t like to be associated with people in caftans).
So it seems that membership of a progressive club is no straightforward matter because here we are here dealing with a discourse that is far from being open or inclusive. On the contrary, it is a pretty selective operation and far from being principled, coherent or universal. No longer is it committed to ‘members’ of the ‘working class’ - unless they first demonstrate adherence to a predetermined tablet of ‘correct politics’.
So what are these ‘correct politics’? Where are they defined and by whom?
In order to address this question we have to first delve into the peculiar ‘progressive’ threshold that leaves the Muslim and the nationalist out yet happily embraces other biologically-determined political, and even racial categories. Strangely enough, the mix that forms the Left alliance is suspiciously similar to the mix that sustains Liberal Zionist political power.
Is this a coincidence? Is it really that surprising that the Left, traditionally defined as a universal humanist discourse, is now supported politically and financially by a mixture of political identities that also lend their support to Israel and its rabidly nationalist, capitalist and ethnocentric ideology? No, it’s not, so I guess that the growing similarity between the Left and Liberal Zionism alliance demands some explanation. I’ve managed to come with three possible answers.
1. The Spin – The similarity between the Liberal Zionist alliance and the Left compound is a complete coincidence and reveals nothing about either Zionism or Left ideology.
2. The Observant – The Left and Liberal Zionism are basically two faces of the same coin.
3. The Forensic – By following the money trail, we see that most Left groups and liberal Zionism (a la J-Street and practically the entire progressive network) are funded by the same organizations, leading amongst them being George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
If the last is true (and I think it is) it may as well mean that a large part of the ‘dissident’ network is sustained by….wait for it… a Wall Street hedge fund. In other words we are dealing here with an institutional and well-funded controlled opposition apparatus. This may explain, what so often seems on the part of the Left and Progressive discourse generally, like complete dysfunction and utter impotence – whether in labour matters, domestic politics, foreign affairs, global wars and, of course, Palestine.
If the Left sees any reason to rescue itself — and this is indeed a big ‘if’ – it would first have to redeem itself from its greed and attachment to ‘big money.’ It may have to redefine for itself exactly what labour and ‘working class politics’ means for the workless.
Of course, it may just be that the Left has ended its political and ideological role, that basically, it belongs to the past. In other words, our capacity to think universally and ethically is now completely liberated from dialectical materialism or class division.
In the end, I doubt whether anyone within the progressive network possesses the intellectual capacity and ideological stamina to endure such a serious discussion.
I guess we’d just better move on.
A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.
1. Mainstream media exists solely to make profit
What´s the purpose of the mainstream media? Saying that the press exists to inform, educate or entertain is like saying Apple corporation´s primary function is to make technology which will enrich our lives. Actually, the mass media industry is the same as any other in a capitalist society: it exists to make profit. Medialens, a British campaigning site which critiques mainstream (or corporate) journalism, quotedbusiness journalist Marjorie Kelly as saying that all corporations, including those dealing with media, exist only to maximize returns to their shareholders. This is, she said, ´the law of the land…universally accepted as a kind of divine, unchallengeable truth´. Without pleasing shareholders and a board of directors, mass media enterprises simply would not exist. And once you understand this, you´ll never watch the news in the same way again.
2. Advertisers dictate content
So how does the pursuit of profit affect the news we consume? Media corporations make the vast majority (typically around 75%) of their profit from advertising, meaning it´s advertisers themselves that dictate content- not journalists, and certainly not consumers. Imagine you are editor of a successful newspaper or TV channel with high circulation or viewing figures. You attract revenue from big brands and multinational corporations such as BP, Monsanto and UAE airlines. How could you then tackle important topics such as climate change, GM food or disastrous oil spills in a way that is both honest to your audience and favorable to your clients? The simple answer is you can´t. This might explain why Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times- sponsored by Goldman Sachs- is so keen todefend the crooked corporation. Andrew Marr, a political correspondent for the BBC, sums up the dilemma in his autobiography: ´The biggest question is whether advertising limits and reshapes the news agenda. It does, of course. It’s hard to make the sums add up when you are kicking the people who write the cheques.´ Enough said…
3. Billionaire tycoons & media monopolies threaten real journalism
The monopolization of the press (fewer individuals or organizations controlling increasing shares of the mass media) is growingyear by year, and this is a grave danger to press ethics and diversity. Media mogul RupertMurdoch´s neo-liberal personal politics are reflected in his 175 newspapers and endorsed by pundits (see Fox news) on the 123 TV channels he owns in the USA alone. Anyone who isn´t worried by this one man´s view of the world being consumed by millions of people across the globe- from the USA to the UK, New Zealand to Asia, Europe to Australia- isn´t thinking hard enough about the consequences. It´s a grotesquely all-encompassing monopoly, leaving no doubt that Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. But as the News International phone hacking scandal showed, he´s certainly not the most honorable or ethical. Neither is AlexanderLebedev, a former KGB spy and politician who bought British newspaper The Independent in 2010. With Lebedev´s fingers in so many pies (the billionaire oligarch is into everything from investment banking to airlines), can we really expect news coverage from this once well-respected publication to continue in the same vein? Obviously not: the paper had always carried a banner on its front page declaring itself ´free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence´, but interestingly this was dropped in September 2011.
4. Corporate press is in bed with the government
Aside from the obvious, one of the most disturbing facts to emerge from Murdoch´s News International phone hacking scandal (background information here ) was the exposure of shady connections between top government officials and press tycoons. During the scandal, and throughout the subsequent Leveson inquiry into British press ethics (or lack of them), we learned of secret meetings, threatsby Murdoch to politicians who didn´t do as he wanted, and that Prime Minister David Cameron has a very close friendship with The Sun´s then editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks. How can journalists do their job of holding politicians to account when they are vacationing together or rubbing shoulders at private dinner parties? Clearly, they don´t intend to. But the support works both ways- Cameron´s government tried to help Murdoch´s son win a bid for BSkyB, while bizarrely, warmongering ex Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch´s daughter Grace. As well as ensuring an overwhelming bias in news coverage and election campaigns, flooding newspapers with cheap and easy articles from unquestioned government sources, and gagging writers from criticizing those in power, these secret connections also account for much of the corporate media´s incessant peddling of the patriotism lie- especially in the lead-up to attacks on other countries. Here´s an interestinganalysis of The New York Times´s coverage of the current Syria situation for example, demonstrating how corporate journalists are failing to reflect public feeling on the issue of a full-scale attack on Assad by the US and its allies.
5. Important stories are overshadowed by trivia
You could be forgiven for assuming that the most interesting part of Edward Snowden´s status as a whistleblower was his plane ride from Hong Kong to Russia, or his lengthy stint waiting in Moscow airport for someone- anyone- to offer him asylum. Because with the exception of The Guardian who published the leaks (read them in fullhere), the media has generally preferred not to focus on Snowden´s damning revelations about freedom and tyranny, but rather on banaltrivia – his personality and background, whether his girlfriend misses him, whether he is actually a Chinese spy, and ahhh, didn´t he remind us all of Where´s Waldo as he flitted across the globe as a wanted fugitive? The same could be said of Bradley Manning´s gender re-assignment, which conveniently overshadowed the enormous injustice of his sentence. And what of Julian Assange? His profile on the globally-respected BBC is dedicated almost entirely to a subtle smearing of character, rather than detailing Wikileaks´s profound impact on our view of the world. In every case, the principal stories are forgotten as our attention, lost in a sea of trivia, is expertly diverted from the real issues at hand: those which invariably, the government wants us to forget.
6. Mainstream media doesn´t ask questions
´Check your sources, check your facts´ are golden rules in journalism 101, but you wouldn´t guess that from reading the mainstream press or watching corporate TV channels. At the time of writing, Obama is beating the war drums over Syria. Following accusations by the US and Britain that Assad was responsible for a nerve gas attack on his own civilians last month, most mainstream newspapers- like the afore-mentioned New York Times- have failed to demand evidence or call for restraint on a full-scale attack. But there are several good reasons why journalists should question the official story. Firstly, British right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail actually ran a news piece back in January this year, publishing leaked emails from a British arms company showing the US was planning a false flag chemical attack on Syria´s civilians. They would then blame it on Assad to gain public support for a subsequent full-scale invasion. The article was hastily deleted but a cached version still exists. Other recent evidence lends support to the unthinkable. It has emerged that the chemicals used to make the nerve gas were indeed shipped from Britain, and German intelligenceinsists Assad was not responsible for the chemical attack. Meanwhile, a hacktivist has come forward with alleged evidence of US intelligence agencies´ involvement in the massacre (download it for yourself here ), with a growing body of evidence suggesting this vile plot was hatched by Western powers. Never overlook the corporate media´s ties to big business and big government before accepting what you are told- because if journalism is dead, you have a right and a duty to ask your own questions.
7. Corporate journalists hate real journalists
Sirota rightly points out the irony of this: ´Here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.´ Sirota goes on to note various examples of what he calls the ´Journalists against Journalism club´, and gives severalexamples of how The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has been attacked by the corporate press for publishing Snowden´s leaks. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest, while NBC’s David Gregory´s declared that Greenwald has ´aided and abetted Snowden´. As for the question of whether journalists can indeed be outspoken, Sirota accurately notes that it all depends on whether their opinions serve or challenge the status quo, and goes on to list the hypocrisy of Greenwald´s critics in depth: ´Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. (The Washington Post´s David) Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. (The Washington Post´s Bob) Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. (The Atlantic´s Jeffrey) Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. (The New York Times´s Thomas) Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstated assumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity.´
8. Bad news sells, good news is censored, and celebrity gossip trumps important issues
It´s sad but true: bad news really does sell more newspapers. But why? Are we really so pessimistic? Do we relish the suffering of others? Are we secretly glad that something terrible happened to someone else, not us? Reading the corporate press as an alien visiting Earth you might assume so. Generally, news coverage is sensationalist and depressing as hell, with so many pages dedicated to murder, rape and pedophilia and yet none to the billions of good deeds and amazingly inspirational movements taking place every minute of every day all over the planet. But the reasons we consume bad news are perfectly logical. In times of harmony and peace, people simply don´t feel the need to educate themselves as much as they do in times of crises. That´s good news for anyone beginning to despair that humans are apathetic, hateful and dumb, and it could even be argued that this sobering and simple fact is a great incentive for the mass media industry to do something worthwhile. They could start offering the positive and hopeful angle for a change. They could use dark periods of increased public interest to convey a message of peace and justice. They could reflect humanity´s desire for solutions and our urgent concerns for the environment. They could act as the voice of a global population who has had enough of violence and lies to campaign for transparency, equality, freedom, truth, and real democracy. Would that sell newspapers? I think so. They could even hold a few politicians to account on behalf of the people, wouldn´t that be something? But for the foreseeable future, it´s likely the corporate press will just distract our attention with another picture of Rhianna´s butt, another rumor about Justin Bieber´s coke habit, or another article about Kim Kardashian (who is she again?) wearing perspex heels with swollen ankles while pregnant. Who cares about the missing$21 trillion, what was she thinking?
9. Whoever controls language controls the population
Have you read George Orwell´s classic novel1984 yet? It´s become a clichéd reference in today´s dystopia, that´s true, but with good reason. There are many- too many- parallels between Orwell´s dark imaginary future and our current reality, but one important part of his vision concerned language. Orwell coined the word ´Newspeak´ to describe a simplistic version of the English language with the aim of limiting free thought on issues that would challenge the status quo (creativity, peace, and individualism for example). The concept of Newspeak includes what Orwell called ´DoubleThink´- how language is made ambiguous or even inverted to convey the opposite of what is true. In his book, the Ministry of War is known as the Ministry of Love, for example, while the Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda and entertainment. Sound familiar yet? Another book that delves into this topic deeper is Unspeak, a must-read for anyone interested in language and power and specifically how words are distorted for political ends. Terms such as ´peace keeping missiles´, ´extremists´ and ´no-fly zones´, weapons being referred to as ´assets´, or misleading business euphemisms such as ´downsizing´ for redundancy and ´sunset´ for termination- these, and hundreds of other examples, demonstrate how powerful language can be. In a world of growing corporate media monopolization, those who wield this power can manipulate words and therefore public reaction, to encourage compliance, uphold the status quo, or provoke fear.
10. Freedom of the press no longer exists
The only press that is currently free (at least for now) is the independent publication with no corporate advertisers, board of directors, shareholders or CEOs. Details of how the state has redefined journalism are noted here and are mentioned in #7, but the best recent example would be the government´s treatment of The Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks. As a side note, it´s possible this paper plays us as well as any other- The Guardian Media Group isn´t small fry, after all. But on the other hand- bearing in mind points 1 to 9- why should we find it hard to believe that after the NSA files were published, editor Alan Rusbridge wastold by the powers that be ´you´ve had your fun, now return the files´, that government officials stormed his newsroom and smashed up hard drives, or that Greenwald´s partner David Miranda wasdetained for 9 hours in a London airport under the Terrorism Act as he delivered documents related to the columnist´s story? Journalism, Alan Rusbridge lamented, ´may be facing a kind of existential threat.´ As CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wrote: ‘We have few princes and earls today, but we surely have their modern-day equivalents in the very wealthy who seek to manage the news, make unsavory facts disappear and elect representatives who are in service to their own economic and social agenda… The “free press” is no longer a check on power. It has instead become part of the power apparatus itself.’
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and a freelance feature writer for various publications on society, activism and other topics. You can read more of her stuff here.
Source: True Activist
Ever since Ariel Sharon began rising up through the ranks of Israeli neo-con politics by hook or by crook, I’ve always viewed him as a Bad Guy. But maybe he wasn’t all that bad after all — at least not within the time-frame right before his sudden stroke. According to former IGF officer Roi Tov, Sharon might have finally seen the light and started actually implementing some of the few hopeful features of GWB’s ill-conceived “Road Map,” now a document as long-forgotten as Mr. Bush himself.
Tov is an Israeli journalist who I always love to read because he always seems to have juicy insider knowledge of all the latest hot gossip about what is going on in the highest Israeli neo-con circles. And according to Tov, Sharon had been taking the Peace Process a little bit too seriously right before his sudden stroke and, like Rabin, needed to be stopped. http://www.roitov.com/
Sharon himself must have constantly been aware, like all good neo-cons everywhere have known since way back in JFK’s day, that when you play in neo-con Big Leagues, you gotta toe the current party line or else. But at least Sharon, there toward the end, might possibly have tried at long last to do the Right Thing toward establishing peace with Palestine — perhaps knowing full well that doing so would cause him to tangle with the Shin Beth. Perhaps I should give Sharon snaps for that. Taking on the Shin Beth is not for the timid of heart.
Perhaps Sharon finally wanted to atone for being the Butcher of Sabra and Shatila. Hey, it could happen.
But, if so, Sharon must have also forgotten the Number One neo-con rule: “Cross us and you are a dead man. We eat our young.” Sucks to be you, Ariel Sharon!
Anyway. We may never know the whole story. Neither Sharon nor Rabin are talking. And neither is the Shin Beth.
Israeli politics are so much fun to watch — almost as much fun as watching American politics. Which brings me to the subject of Chris Christie. “What did he know and when did he know it?” seems to be the big question on everyone’s lips. But, for me, the real question here should be, “Why the freak do Americans continue to passively put up with all of America’s constant and soul-killing traffic jams in the first place?”
If Christie and/or his loyal staff hadn’t caused the Fort Lee traffic jam, then something else would have caused it.
There are traffic jams all over America right now, night and day. 24/7. And nobody seems to even notice or care. We all just passively endure wasting hours and hours of our life each day that we will never get back.
For instance, the new San Francisco bay bridge is awesome to look at, but as a vehicle-mover, it sadly fails. The old bridge handled up to one-third more cars-per-hour than this new, spectacular one.
But all these new bridges and old bridges and freeways and rush-hour traffic jams all beg the huge major question, which is: “What kind of harsh air-pollution hazards are all these idling, gridlocked vehicles creating? And when are we going to finally take climate change seriously and start eliminating the use of pollution-causing motor vehicles entirely?”
This new scandal regarding Governor Christie and Fort Lee might be offering us a really good opportunity to start a national dialogue with regard to, first, the development of more public transportation options in order to alleviate traffic jams and save the air, and, second, finally doing something about the limited safety and diminishing returns of using cars themselves in this disastrous day and age of life-threatening climate change.