“The grimmest dictatorship is the dictatorship of the prevailing orthodoxy” - George Galloway
In a relativism culture of social permissiveness, the non-judgmental attitude, held out as the suitable standard for conduct, has become the politically correct behavior. One might think that anything goes under this mindset. However, the exact opposite practice and enforcement, under the most rigid conditions, is championed as necessary for enlighten and tolerant liberalists. The proliferation of demands that hate speech is the new capital crime, actually is counter iterative in building a civil society. This orthodoxy of the fanatical, proudly presents this illuminated and required deportment, as obligatory for all citizens.
So what exactly is hate for the neo-Jacobins? Obviously, whatever the “Society of the Friends of the LIVING Constitution” deems it to be, because under the color of law, the self-proclaimed pure of heart, are justified to off the heads of anyone who dares speak out in inappropriate terms. Remember “thinking progress” for the greater good, must be imposed on anyone who dare defies the wisdom of the gatekeepers for the collective.
Racism has to go, unless practiced by Negros against whites, or is the mere mention of such a term a slight to African-Americans? Once upon a time cries of anti-Semitism would be heard if Donald Sterling was made a pariah after the NAACP did an about face after awarding him for promoting civil rights. Not in today’s world, such a distasteful zealot no longer has the protection of his tribe from the scrutiny of the thought police. The almost total condemnation of his recently private remarks has the entire sports world clambering for his forced sale of the LA Clippers.
Such broad-minded fans in a league that made homies multimillionaires and took them out of the hood, must not be dis. No wonder the attraction of not just the NBA, but sports in general, have serious minded buffs of the Wide World of Sports looking for, “The Thrill of Victory…” in other arenas. Why not demonstrate that sporting enthusiasm and jock celebrity worship, by starting a grassroots campaign to install America’s favorite redneck, Phil Robertson and his Duck Dynasty clan, as the new ownership of the team.Surely, good standing Democrats should have no problem supporting a bunch of good old boys from the South. Frances Rice writes in the National Black Republicans Association site that, KKK Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party. “This ugly fact about the Democrat Party is detailed in the book, A Short History of Reconstruction, (Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1990) by Dr. Eric Foner, the renowned liberal historian who is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. Dr. Foner in his book explores the history of the origins of Ku Klux Klan and provides a chilling account of the atrocities committed by Democrats against Republicans, black and white.”
Carole Emberton, an associate professor of history at the University at Buffalo adds:
“The party lines of the 1860s/1870s are not the party lines of today. Although the names stayed the same, the platforms of the two parties reversed each other in the mid-20th century, due in large part to white ‘Dixiecrats’ flight out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By then, the Democratic Party had become the party of ‘reform,’ supporting a variety of ‘liberal’ causes, including civil rights, women’s rights, etc. whereas this had been the banner of the Republican Party in the nineteenth century.”
Fast forward to today’s conductor Eric Holder, of selective bigoted racism, when describing “his people”, who “seem to get a pass on hate crime charges when they select whites for their blood sport”, one needs to question who the real haters are. David Risselada provides a valid assessment in the essay, Hate Crimes Legislation . . . Racial Identity Politics and the Institutional Racism of the Left.
“The institutional racism that is built in our society is the responsibility of the left. Throughout history it has been the democrats who have supported segregation and slavery while continuously voting against civil rights legislation. Today, they attempt to hide their history through racial identity politics, and the creation of a system where inequality is the new equality. By creating laws based on racial preferences, the left is telling minorities that they believe they are not as capable as white men and therefore need their programs in order to stand a chance in the racist United States of America. This does little but reinforce hatred while attempting to justify black on white violence.”
Once upon a time and in a place long ago, the Democratic Party defended the rights of the individual to associate with individuals of their choosing and speak their minds openly and without concern of censor. Since the conversion to ecumenical orthodoxy, the authoritarians that gave you the New Deal and the Great Society have a long record of creating their own hatred of Free Speech. The example of the New York Times vicious attack on Cliven Bundy illustrates another trumped-up incident ripe to exploit.The New American, author William F. Jasper makes the point:
“Much of what Mr. Bundy is saying closely parallels what even many black leaders, authors and intellectuals — such as Prof. Walter Williams, Rev. C.L. Bryant, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Bill Cosby, Alveda King, Star Parker, and Alan Keyes — have been saying. But Cliven Bundy’s “sin” is that he is an elderly white man who is unschooled in traversing the minefield of political correctness — and he was careless in failing to make important distinctions and clarifications. He “sinned” by being born when he was born, and failing to keep up with the constantly changing terminology for ethnic designations. He still uses the terms “Negro,” “colored people,” and “Mexican,” instead of “black/ African American” or “Hispanic/Latino” — but then, race activists still argue amongst themselves concerning the “proper” ethnic label to apply to their lineage and group identity.”
When Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduces legislation called the “Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014,” it is another partisan concerted attempt to silence voices and views entirely protected under the First Amendment, by monitoring radio, television and Internet speech. Can one say arbitrary and capricious, or will Big Brother now prey on any convenient and moving target to label anyone as a hate monger, that does not conform to the “PC” orthodoxy?
The excellent video from Ben Swann identifies in New “Hate Crime” Bill Will Attempt To Control Speech On Internet, Radio and TV, that the real objective is to censor the internet.
Well, this development should concern any student of inquiry, but the real world often fosters political threats that seem to be so implausible, if they were not true. The case of the arrest of Paul Weston should alarm everyone. In the Michael Coren interview or Mr. Weston, the vanguard of British lunacy once again blazes new trails in the annals of hate speech. If quoting Winston Churchill is now a crime, what does that make Winnie?The British Bulldog is his own words:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property — either as a child, a wife, or a concubine — must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”
Move over denial ridden Americans; the English have a talent in leading the civilized world in false guilt. For the rest of humankind, they are perceptive enough to admit that the normal human condition acknowledges Discrimination as a Virtue.
“Discrimination has been characterized as racism. Quite to the contrary, discrimination is an ally in the struggle to end bigotry and injustice. When Liberty is suppressed in a quest for equality; hatred and revulsion breeds, for different groups, cultures and ideologies. All attempts to force equal treatment are futile, even when severe penalties are imposed.”
Condemning a person, solely by his beliefs, bias and predisposition – that fanatical frenzy will surely bring about the fall of our cherished tradition of Free Speech. For those who fear Sharia Law, you had better be more concerned about the progressive despots, who are the model for imposed intolerance through a government, which hates everyone that refuses their Groupthink.
A Time For Discernment…
I am re-reading several of R. J. Rushdoony’s books: “Deuteronomy”, ”Numbers”, “Van Til and the Limits of Reason”, “The Cure of Souls”, “The American Indian”, “Systematic Theology”, Sovereignty”, and, of course, the “Institutes”. For Christians who reverence the entire Word of God and are willing to submit to His rule, Rushdoony’s writings elicit several “Amens” per page.
In his book on Van Til, Rushdoony writes, “What did make itself clear to me was that reason is limited by its own experience, whereas the universe is far vaster than the mind of man. Moreover, God’s realm which transcends man’s narrow vision is far greater than man’s mind can comprehend.” Pg. 57
When humanistic philosophers attempt to define themselves and the universe in terms of their own reason they begin with a false premise. God created us and enclosed us in time. Our world is limited by time but He is infinite. Though we are made in His image His concepts exceed our ability.
Regardless of what they may say few Christian leaders actually position themselves under the Kingship of Christ. Most of our leaders and their followers see religion as a belief system that they accept and follow. When man makes himself the arbiter of the Faith he, like Adam, has been seduced by the Devil and is attempting to be like God.
This serious sin is so deeply engrained in us and in our culture that Christians regularly approach the Bible with the evil intention of deciding what parts they believe. Invariably God’s Law which is the core of His character is discarded in favor of a pietistic spiritualism. Famous evangelist, Billy Graham, has succeeded in calling hundreds of thousands of Christians to “accept Christ” and most of these converts still believe that the decision was theirs and theirs alone. Contemporary Christianity has man firmly entrenched in the driver’s seat.
“It is not God who speaks but, again, man’s own reason. God is either eliminated from the scene or allowed to co-exist with autonomous man on man’s own terms.” Rushdoony in the book on Van Til. Pg. 15
The rancor that follows the introduction of Dominion Theology results from the challenge it poses to man’s reason. Since individual Christians reserve the right to reconcile their faith the Christian population of the United States of America is composed of millions of individual human sovereigns whose failure to become faithful servants to the King allows murder and confusion to flourish. Humanism is deadly!
When confronted with the reality that God is the absolute ruler of His creation and of those He has created we often equivocate. Rushdoony cites the secular law involving severe punishment for “Habitual criminals” which is widely accepted as just, to the Biblical Law of turning an habitually debauched and recalcitrant son (or daughter) over to the magistrate to receive the ultimate penalty; the former is generally accepted while the latter makes most Christians cringe. We can accept the murder of millions of innocent citizens in foreign lands by our armed forces but we cannot stomach the stoning of one guilty, incorrigible son (or daughter).
We cannot know reality apart from the One True God. In “The Cure for Souls” Rushdoony writes concerning the self-righteous humanist, “By denying his sin, he denies the reality about himself. He replaces self-knowledge with illusion. This means a departure from the truth into a world of fiction. Whoever else he may delude, he has deluded himself most of all. His is a delusional existence.” Pg. 102
Delusion has permeated American society. Our ears are accosted with a constant stream of propaganda from the media, academia, the marketplace, the government, and, sadly, from the Church. This morning’s paper had an article on the confiscation (theft) of property from citizens, both innocent and guilty, by policemen who are enforcing laws passed by a delusional legislature. Our legal system has become so badly corrupted that justice is seldom a result of contact with our policemen and courts.
“A culture which is not truly Christian may plan grandly for “a new world order”. It may imagine that all problems are to be solved by its wisdom, and it has a great deal of self-admiration. Is there a major country in the world today which does not see itself as the earth’s true center? Each seeks to direct itself and the world in terms of its ostensibly superior eminence and wisdom.” Pg. 211 “The Cure for Souls”
American television overflows with sneering, self-important experts who love to discuss what should be done with other nations as if they and the government they represent created and governs everything.
According to a reliable internet source Princeton University has reclassified the United States of America from a Democracy to a nation under the control of an Oligarchy. An Oligarchy is a small, wealthy and powerful, elite group. The opinions of the governed are no longer valid in the conduct of the affairs of the nation. We are at the mercy of money and power which controls our elected representatives and the legislation they approve.
Please understand, gentle reader, that what you believe about the Christian religion must be destroyed by what God says about Himself and His Will in His Word. The One True God is our creator and our ruler. Rebellion against His rule results in spiritual death and a separation from reality – a delusional existence.
America has forsaken the God of the Bible and replaced His dominion with personal interpretations. They have substituted worship of the One True God with a humanistic religion of our own making and His Majesty is offended.
Have you attended a Bible study where the Word of God was subjected to human reason and where Truth was accepted or rejected by the evil minds of the participants? Did you think some of the human responses were brilliant and did you agree with some of them? Was the leader conciliatory with the questioners? As Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father and judges the world what do you think His reaction is to hearing His created beings judging His validity under the cover of His Church?
The capture of the United States of America by an elite oligarchy is well along and there is no apparent course that will restrain it. We are being enslaved because we have been a stiff necked people who have refused to see and accept reality. The men and women we have elected to office (in spite of adequate information to the contrary) have sold the nation into slavery.
The ruling oligarchs are both arrogant and brutal. Our failure to require obedience to God’s Law has allowed humanistic terrorists to capture the world. When God’s absolute legal structure is forgotten, man’s sinful nature will fill the void by putting himself on the throne.
In “Deuteronomy” Rushdoony quotes Dr. Joseph Morecraft III “The entire community has a responsibility when crimes are committed or injustice done. A community cannot be indifferent to any sin, crime, or injustice in its midst, or else it bears the guilt as well as the offender and is under judgment. When a community shuts its eyes to any evil in its midst and refuses to deal with it justly and in accordance with God’s law, then the whole community is under God’s condemnation.” Pg. 305
In its early years the United States of America lived under a legal structure that was heavily flavored with Biblical principles. As time has gone on we have allowed secular and often evil laws to be encoded so we have not only failed to be obedient but have failed to set a proper standard. As a result our policemen have become brutal and our courts have become arenas of bias and injustice. We are living in a nation full of lies.
We have reached our current state because we have shut our eyes to evil and refused to deal with it in accordance with God’s Law.
When defending Western Civilization, some confuse that secular humanism, practiced as the current dominate popular culture, represents that lineage. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The decadence and decline in the West is undeniable. Yet the heritage upon which European civilization is based, owes a profound debt of gratitude to the societies that developed out of the brute force of empire and adopted principles of natural law and individual dignity. A direct correlation to the gospel of Christ becomes the centerpiece of this glorious tradition of universal brotherhood, that keeps man’s inhumanity to man in check.
The well-documented failures of institutions and regimes would have been far worse if left to the devices of pagan appetites or atheist’s hubris. However, the memory of the eternal struggle is short lived in the minds of most people. Confusion reigns because of a lack of knowledge, perspective and especially will, to admit that the New World Order is the invention of satanic factions that lust for control of the entire planet and beyond.
Therefore, the extraordinary essay by Pat Buchanan, Putin vs. Cultural Marxism: Whose Side Is God on Now?, is a required penance for all those who have sinned.
“In his Kremlin defense of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Russia is a Christian country, Putin was saying.This speech recalls last December’s address where the former KGB chief spoke of Russia as standing against a decadent West:
“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”
With Marxism-Leninism a dead faith, Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.”
Before dismissing Putin as just a KGB thug, read Vladimir Putin Nemesis of the New World Order. Then do your own research on Marx and Lenin’s clan of Khazar Bolsheviks. Finally, transcend the issue just about the motives of Putin and focus on the Christian roots of the Russian population.
The Orthodox Revival in Russia by Fr. Seraphim Rose cites the experiences and significance of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Father Dimitry Dudko.Solzhenitsyn spoke of Gulag—a secular term; Fr. Dimitry speaks of Golgotha—the Christian understanding of the Soviet experience. The central part of Fr. Dimitry’s—and contemporary Russia’s—message to us is that all the sufferings inflicted by atheism have a meaning—we can find Christ in them… Here are a few passages of Fr. Dimitry’s teaching:
“In our land has occurred Golgotha; the torments of all the martyrs begin gradually to cleanse the air… The present crucifixion of Christ in Russia, the persecutions and mockings only lead to the resurrection of faith in men… This gives us strength, firmness, makes us better than we are now… Let us imagine the state of our martyrs. Did the thought of sinning occur to them at this moment? No matter what kind of sinners they may have been in this minute they become saints… And those who suffer for those condemned to death also become better. How many martyrs there have been in Russia—and therefore, how many holy feelings! Will these holy feelings really give no fruit? And perhaps we live and will live only by the feelings of the holy martyrs, being supported by them… In our country now is Golgotha. Christ is crucified. Golgotha is not merely sufferings, but such sufferings as lead to resurrection and enlighten men… Our time can be compared only with the first three centuries of Christianity, and perhaps then it was even easier; then they did not yet know all the refinements of subtle torture… If one compares the religious state here and in the West, the balance is on our side. Why? Because here we have Golgotha, and there they don’t. Does an abundance of material goods give a religious rebirth? … Here we have nothing, but if people believe they are ready to die for their faith.”
Fr. Rose provides his assessment:
“His truthfulness and fiery faith have made many enemies—sadly enough, even among Orthodox Christians. Some have found him too emotional, too apocalyptic, too messianic—and it is true that such a fiery, urgent, Orthodox preaching hasn’t been heard in Russia and probably the whole Orthodox world since the days of St. John of Kronstadt; many Orthodox people have become self-satisfied with their “correct and proper” Orthodoxy and are somehow offended when Orthodoxy is preached and communicated so warmly to everyone who will listen.”
Can you just imagine such a discussion in the western media or even among Dispensationalist Christians, who are preoccupied in taking up the sword to champion Zionism? Any comparison between the West and Mother Russia would be incomplete without the insight of the audacious Brother Nathanael Kapner, Putin’s Purge Of The Rothschild Money Changers.In a televised Christmas message on January 7 2008 Putin said:
“The Russian Orthodox Church contributes to the promotion of moral values in society. One should not completely draw a line between the culture and the church. Of course by law in our country the church is separate from the state. But in the soul and the history of our people it’s all together. It always has been and always will be.” — Here.
Brother Nathanael leaves nothing unsaid in PUTIN VS JEWS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
“By 2006 Putin had paid off Russia’s debt to the Rothschilds. Russia’s financial dependence on the Jewish financiers was now over. Putin could then establish what became his Russian Unity Party’s 2007 campaign slogan: Putin’s Plan Means Victory For Russia! This slogan continues to make the New World Order Jews very nervous…Here.”
While these sentiments are several years old, make no mistake about it, they are even truer today, with the efforts of the BRICS Development Bank to replace the IMF.
For a more current description, look to Pastor Scott Lively in Report from Moscow, and a summary of a reversal of roles, read on.
“Russia is today experiencing a Christian revival and is decidedly NOT communist. Some 30,000 churches have been built in the last year, and the ones in Moscow are reportedly overflowing with worshippers on Sundays. Most of the church is Orthodox, which is steeped in tradition, but at the same time relevant to the modern society.”
“How incredibly ironic it is that Russia is now our best hope for stopping the conquest of the world by the “progressives.” On Father Dimitri’s television show, I made the point that the Americans and the Soviets both won and both lost the Cold War. The Americans broke the Soviet system through economic strategies and tactics. But before they collapsed, the Soviets poisoned the United States with Cultural Marxism, promoting moral degeneracy and family breakdown through so-called “progressive” ideology. Today, post-Soviet Russia is re-emerging as a Christian nation, while the United States is becoming a “Gay Soviet Union.” What a strange turn of events.”
Echoing this conclusion is the report In Russia, a religious revival brings new life to Orthodox media. “After 70 years of state-imposed atheism and 20 years that have run the gamut from glasnost to post-Soviet chaos to a revival of Russian pride, Russians have increasingly embraced their Orthodox roots.” The video Christianity Grows in Russia & Declines in the West is to the point.The Latin Papacy has lost its spiritual way often over the millenniums and the Scofield Christian-Zionist apostate bible thumpers betray the Gospel of Christ with their devotion to the Talmud perversion of the Old Testament. Both need to seek repentance. Once the enemy of Christianity, when Russia was Rothschild’s USSR, today a revival of Christianity has started.
Western Secularism, which encapsulates the immoral ethos that underpins the globalist economic model, based upon a rejection of authentic Christian teaching, is the downfall of humanity.
If Russia can salvage their society from atheist communism, surely the West has the ability to humble themselves and repent for their depraved chutzpah and wicked ways. The Totalitarian Collectivism that has destroyed the Christian culture on both sides of the Atlantic must return to their traditional roots.
Michael Hoffman on ‘Usury in Christendom’ is essential, ‘…freedom from interest on money, is essentially the battle for freedom from the Money Power’. The West has become the “Money Changers”, because the temple has subverted commerce by heretical destruction of faith and separation from God. By destroying traditional Christian religious belief, the secular body is defenseless. Such a message is radical to most, because it is reactionary to the spiritual non-believer.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken of the “fruitfulness of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and government and public institutions and called the revival of Orthodox Christianity in Russian in the past two decades a miracle.” The West needs a spiritual revival of its own conception. If the Russia Bear can be tamed, what prevents the American eagle from souring once again?
Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:
– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”
Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”
None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.
Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.
– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “
The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations , that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.
– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”
In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.
– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”
The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.
Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:
The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)
How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?
Long live the Cold War
In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.”
It hasn’t happened yet.
One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.
Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy.
NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:
“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.”
Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.
One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.
But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.
Cuba … Again … Still … Forever
Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?
And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.
Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.” We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?
The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?
Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.
Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.
In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service.
Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.
The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”
On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”
USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.
- William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
- Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
- Washington Post, March 31, 2014
- “NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
- Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
- Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
- Washington Post, April 4, 2014
- Associated Press, June 2, 2009
- George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321
The freedom of the press and the freedom of religion are two of the most important elements of a free society. These were so important to America’s Founding Fathers that they were protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A free and independent press serves as watchdogs for liberty, while a free and independent church serves as watchmen for liberty. Sadly, both watchdog and watchman are, for the most part, missing in today’s America.
Just about everyone knows that the vast majority of the national press corps has a strong liberal bias. That’s a given. But, it’s actually worse than that. Instead of being watchdogs on the government, the mainstream media has become little more than lap dogs for the government. Instead of reporting the truth, most of the media is actually more concerned with covering up the truth. With precious few exceptions, investigative reporting is dead in the national news media.
Oh, sure. Republican administrations are depicted more negatively by the mainstream media than are Democrat administrations. No doubt about that. Can anyone recall the media hoopla over Vice President Dan Quayle’s misspelling of the word “potato”? The liberal media talked about that almost nonstop for months. But did you hear much of anything when President Barack Obama recently misspelled the word “respect”? I mean from media sources outside of FOX News? Nope. Nary a word.
But when it comes to investigating the truth behind what government spokesmen tell us, it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam whether it is a Republican or Democrat administration: about the only thing national newscasters know to do is to report whatever the official story of the government is. Once in a blue moon, a mainstream newspaper, such as the New York Times, will dare to print a report that questions an official government story, but not very often. And when such a report is printed, it digs only so deep. For the last several years, about the only major newspaper that has had the guts to actually do some real investigative reporting is the London Guardian. Even the Washington Times prints mostly milquetoast exposés.
CBS reporter, Sharly Attkisson, recently left the network due to its liberal bias and aversion to investigative reporting. Politico said this about Attkisson’s leaving: “Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.”
See the Politico report here:
In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, Chris Stigall reported, “Responding to comments regarding a Phoenix television reporter yesterday who initially claimed that the White House pre-screens questions from reporters, Attkisson said, ‘I wouldn’t [be] surprised if sometimes there is that level of cooperation with some questions. If I need something answered from the White House and they won’t tell me, I’ll call our White House Correspondent. They’re friendlier with the White House Correspondents in general. So the White House Correspondent may ask Jay Carney or one of his folks about an issue and they will be told “ask that at the briefing and we’ll answer it.” They want to answer it in front of everybody. They do know it’s coming and they’ll call on you. There’s that kind of coordination sometimes. I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s sometimes more coordination. I don’t think it’s everybody on every briefing, every day. I’m pretty sure it’s not. But I think people would be surprised at the level of cooperation reporters have in general with politicians.’”
See Stigall’s report here:
Attkisson was putting it very mildly. There is more than just coordination going on between the federal government and the national news media; it’s more like coziness and calculated manipulation.
Since when has the major media dared to investigate and report the truth regarding any of the major events that have transpired in this country? The last time there was even a semblance of genuine investigative reporting seen in the national press corps was during the Watergate scandal when Richard Nixon was President–and that was politically-motivated from start to finish.
The mainstream media didn’t bother to seriously investigate Ruby Ridge or Waco or the Oklahoma City bombing or TWA Flight 800 or the Sandy Hook shootings or (and especially) the attacks which occurred on 9/11/01. These events took place with both Republicans and Democrats at the helm: it didn’t matter. Government spokesmen gave the media the official story, and the media repeatedly regurgitated the official story until anyone who dared to question the official story was turned into a conspiracy nut. That’s not reporting the news, folks. That is manipulating the news to disseminate propaganda. Joseph Goebbels had nothing on the major media in America today.
Again, the modern American media are not watchdogs over government; they are lap dogs for government. Reporters who try to truly dig and investigate are seldom rewarded–just the opposite. Their stories are buried–if published at all. They are disinvited from interviewing notable dignitaries. They are passed over for promotions–or even dismissed. It doesn’t take people in the news business long to get the message that if they want to go anywhere, they must toe the line and become good little puppets. The First Amendment freedom of the press has been negated by the press itself.
Likewise, the First Amendment freedom of religion has also been negated. A free and independent clergy is essential to the maintenance of liberty. But, for the most part, America has not had a free and independent clergy in decades.
The IRS 501c3 designation for churches, along with State incorporation, has turned America’s watchmen into little more than glorified CEOs. The average pulpit is just as politically correct as the national news media. Plus, the average church is as much about the bottom line as news shows.
Did you know that there used to be a time when the major television networks expected that their news shows would not operate in the black financially? It’s true. Back then, it was more important that news shows reported and investigated the news than turn a profit. Therefore, corporate donations and government chagrin had little impact upon newscasters and reporters. Those days are long gone.
By the same token, did you know that there used to be a time in this country when most of our pastors and ministers (regardless of denomination) were more concerned about being Biblically correct than being politically correct? For example, so prominent was the role that Presbyterian pastors played in the American Revolution that as news of the rebellion spread throughout England, Horace Walpole told his fellow members of the British Parliament, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.” Of course, Presbyterians were not the only clergymen in Colonial America to champion the cause of liberty and independence from behind their pulpits.
In truth, if it wasn’t for clergymen such as John Leland (along with political statesmen such as Patrick Henry, of course), it is doubtful that there would even be a First Amendment–or the rest of the Bill of Rights, for that matter.
But, back then, pastors were not motivated by the desire to build big buildings or impress political potentates or climb ecclesiastical elevators. They were motivated by courage and commitment. And you could tell it every time you went to church. They didn’t mince words; and their sermons seldom concluded in less than an hour. They were watchmen.
Sadly, in the same manner in which the national news media have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchdogs, so, too, the vast majority of pastors have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchmen. The First Amendment protection of the freedom of the press and religion is not enough to protect the freedom of the press and religion from themselves.
To be sure, many of our pastors and ministers today are sincere, compassionate, and honorable men. But they have never been taught the Biblical principles of liberty; they have never been taught how to apply the liberty principles of Scripture to our everyday lives–including our political lives; they have never been taught the true meaning of Biblical submission in general and Romans 13 in particular. However, more and more of these men are coming awake to these things. Of course, others stubbornly refuse to even consider the truth of these matters.
But, listen up, folks! Truth will always find a way to reveal itself: the dear Lord will make sure of that. As the mainstream media became toadies of Big Government, along came independent radio talk shows, newspapers, and the Internet. And in all likelihood, more people are getting their news and information from online sources today than from network or cable news shows. As a result, more and more people are awakening to the truth every day.
And, by the same token, as many establishment churches and pastors have become toadies of the IRS and political correctness, new, independent, unorganized, non-501c3 churches and fellowships are sprouting up all over America. Some of these groups are led by ministers whom God has led out of the establishment church. Others are led by laymen who have likewise left the establishment church. I hear from these people every day. And, by the grace of God, I hope to be more personally involved in helping Christian people around the country form liberty-oriented churches. More on that soon.
The First Amendment was designed to protect America’s watchdogs and watchmen. And it is a truism that there can never be a revival of liberty in this land without a resurrection of our watchdogs and watchmen. The good news is that resurrection is already taking place.
For the last half century, the American population, subjected to the greatest dumbing down experiment of psychological manipulation in all of history, has resulted in the adoption of a cultural separation from realty and true self-interest. With all the glorious aspirations, that celebrate a diverse society, the fact that humankind shares the same planet usually is not enough to resolve disparities. While DNA similarities are the basis of the specie, the genetic differences among races, put aside and banished from polite conversation, still are true and significant. Yet the civilizations that make up this world function as if the tribal differences are often paramount in the social order.The intentional indoctrination that all races are equal rests upon a specious supposition that the goals, objectives and ambitions assign a uniform desire. Once upon a time immigration to the New World came from a European heritage. That influx of settlers provided a similar experience if not an identical cultural attitude. With the introduction of the slave trade economy, the forced transplanting of African captives, initiated a road to social dissolution as demonstrated in today’s racial conflicts.
The notion that this country is a harmonious society fails because of a very basic element that few people will admit. Blacks, Caucasians, Oriental, Native Americans and any combination of mixed races all have an opportunity to interact and grow in moral character and intellectual honesty as the sins of the past are put to rest, in the reciprocal objective of creating a mature society based upon mutual respect.
However, respect needs to be earned and is not an intrinsic ingredient automatically granted to every cultural social mind-set.
Individuals have the ability to make choices. Choosing civilization over barbarianism is within the grasps of any sincere and ethically committed person.
This object of civilized unity builds a future for the greatest numbers. Recognizing that deliberate induced racial animosity has a profound political purpose is essential to understand the motives behind distorted news reporting and the progressive policy agenda that seeks to conquer by dividing the different factions, which populate the country.
Reformist activism, usually portrayed as shaping government programs that provide for “so called” well-intentioned coercive laws and regulations, is the media narrative that insults the intelligence of any thinking person.
No better example of this televised psychosomatic pollution that inflicts a national disease of artificial guilt is MSNBC. The notorious medicine-man dispenser of this kind of poison is Al Sharpton. The Reverend has a long record of demeaning his own brothers and sisters by bring new meaning to the term, Kaffir.
In The Daily Caller, political reporter Caroline May cites Sharpton’s consistent race baiting tirades.
“MSNBC host Reverend Al Sharpton invoked race over 200 times last year, according to a new tally by the conservative Media Research Center.
According to the analysis by Katie Yoder the liberal host said “race,” “racism,” or “racist” 215 times in 2013 during his MSNBC show PoliticsNation.
“From opposition to the Obama agenda to guns and even into fashion and food, Sharpton’s finely tuned nose for racism rarely took a day off last year,” Yoder wrote.
In an example the MRC notes that Sharpton was able to invoke race five times in a single paragraph about Republican attacks on Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.”
“On Wednesday night, conservatives honed in on offensive tweet that appeared on MSNBC’s official Twitter feed. The full tweet read, “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/biracial family.”
The comment was in reference a new television commercial for Cheerios entitled “Gracie” that features a biracial family enjoying a breakfast conversation at their kitchen table. The implication by the MSNBC employee behind the tweet, of course, was that the rightwing in this country is racist, and therefore they would surely be disgusted by the visual scene of a family with one white parent and one black parent.”
Part of the story included that other mainstay of race politics and self-reproach apologist, Chris Mathews. The Hardball video, Matthews To Black Guest On Race: “I’m Speaking Now For All White People… I’m Sorry”, is a pitiful testimony.
“We got to continue this conversation, gentlemen, privately and on television. I mean a lot of people out there — I’ll just tell you one thing. And I’m speaking now for all white people, but especially people who have had to try to change the last 50 or 60 years. And they — a lot of them have really tried to change, and I’m sorry for this stuff. That’s all I’m saying.”
Tom Borelli, writes in the Liberty Alliance - MSNBC Chris Matthews Wild Race Card Attack Against Conservatives, more from this self-anointed supporter and barker for liberal delusional bigotry.
“In his foaming rant, Matthews claims voter I.D. laws are like poll taxes with the goal to suppress black voters and he adds Obama’s political opposition are the enemy that gain from hate:
“Obama’s true enemies are those who back the three dozen states now pushing voter suppression laws to make damn sure the country doesn’t go and elect another black president, or a progressive white president. You know this generation’s equivalent of poll taxes and those discredited literacy tests anything to keep minorities from their voting rights. And to this crowd the Obama haters add to them those who gnaw on the president’s health care bill with the hunger of starving rats but offer nothing in its place except their crazed notions about bringing down the government and destroying the county’s economic stature even as they deny even a penny of credit to the president for the zooming American stock market right now. These are the enemies those who stand and benefit from all the anger and hatred and indecency of the nasty right…”
Matthews is once again proving MSNBC is not a news organization but a cable outlet for political operatives whose goal is to spread progressive propaganda.”
So does this party line programming, emphasizing a racially slanted mantra, which drives wedges among the viewing public, actually help ratings? The TVNewser lists that MSNBC was down across the board compared to Nov. 2012. However, MSNBC ranked #1 among African-American viewers in both A25-54 and total viewers in all key dayparts and MSNBC ranked #1 among Hispanic viewers A25-54 in M-F primetime and M-Su primetime.Mediaite lists Sharpton #1 in Demo on MSNBC. Especially review the chart TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC comparing with the other cable news networks.
PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton was the highest-rated show in the 25-54 demo across MSNBC’s evening schedule Monday with 214K viewers. Sharpton beat fellow MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews, who had 209K viewers and Ed Schultz, who had 170K.
Matthews was #1 in total viewers on MSNBC with 844K, followed by Rachel Maddow with 729K and Schultz with 717K.
A Pew Study Finds MSNBC the Most Opinionated Cable News Channel By Far, “A full 85% of the Comcast-owned network’s coverage can be classified as opinion or commentary rather than straight news, according to the authors of the Pew Research Center’s annual State of the News Media report.”
The significance of this data is that the gap between minority identified and 25-54 viewers and all America is increasing even wider. With the 2013 Cable News Ratings: Fox News Sees Sharp Demo Decline, CNN Suffers In Primetime. The race baiters at MSNBC seems to have consolidated their niche among targeted minorities and the products of the more recent government school educated and MTV generation.Decades of liberalizing news distortion and manufactured false re-invention of history has produced a total disconnect from reality. MSNBC is used as a poster boy network for shutting out serious journalism from the medium, but it is almost impossible to find any mainstream broadcasts that are worthy of viewership.
There is a profound reason why the stuck on stupid culture is all around us. Open and rational political debate and discourse is slated for complete removal from television. Anyone who can seriously admit being a MSNBC viewer has deep seeded issues of reckoning sane behavior.
Those limousine liberals love to champion abortion as a well-tested solution of reducing population. Minorities, particularly targeted for marginalization, need to rebel against the democratic politicians and liberal class perversion, whereby NYC: More Black Babies Killed by Abortion Than Born. For those who gain a foothold on life, the media brainwashing of the likes of Rev. Al await.Fools who drink from the cup of their own racial genocide are their own worst enemy. The national interest demands that exploitation of race as a substitute for intelligent co-existence end. Compulsory Integration or miscegenation leveling has proven a massive failure. Is it not time that all tribes start a respectful dialogue and abandon the shackles of blaming race discrimination for the general failure of society? Separation by race is natural. This fact is a news topic that serious media and journalists need to address.
You have to hand it to the game-makers in the two major parties: they have done an outstanding job of putting the problems of the world into a convenient left-right paradigm. To the average conservative out there, Republican equals conservative, which equals good–while Democrat equals liberal, which equals bad. And to the average liberal out there, Democrat equals liberal, which equals good–while Republican equals conservative, which equals bad. So, all the party game-makers have to do is paint the other guys as liberal or conservative and all of the sheeple within the two parties will blindly and robotically go to the voting booth and pull the party lever, believing that they have just had a hand in defeating the “bad” guys.
But it’s not just the game-makers of the two major parties that participate in this charade; the majority of talking heads on the radio and television talk shows, as well as most newscasters from the network news shows, also participate. The entire political world is seen through the jaded lenses of left and right. Granted, liberal game-makers control the vast majority of the print and television media (with the exception of FOX News), but conservative game-makers dominate the radio talk show circuit.
So, why is it that no matter which political party wins the election (congressional or presidential), nothing changes? Nothing changes with out-of-control deficit spending. Nothing changes with foreign policy. Nothing changes with the Federal Reserve. Nothing changes with federal entitlements. Nothing changes with continuing federal encroachment on personal liberties and State sovereignty. Nothing changes. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, left or right: nothing changes. Nothing!
It is an absolute fact that, for all intents and purposes, there has been virtually no discernable difference in presidential administrations since Ronald Reagan left office. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have been nothing more than one very long and continuous administration. Yet, supposedly both the left and the right have had almost equal terms in office. But, as the game-makers in “The Hunger Games” movies use illusion and manipulation to control people, so, too, the game-makers in Washington, D.C., and New York City use illusion and manipulation to control us. The left-right, conservative-liberal paradigm is an illusion, folks.
Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly believes in limited government. Their only disagreements surround how increasing federal expenditures will be spent and who will decide how it’s spent. Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly gives two-cents for what the Constitution says about anything. Most of them never even mention the Constitution–except when they are on the campaign trail. Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly gives a tinker’s dam about the erosion of the Bill of Rights. The only time they even talk about reclaiming freedom is when the other party is in power. To most of them, tyranny is fine–as long as the tyrant is a member of their political party.
The reality of the situation is that a very real caste-system has developed in this country. Once most of them (Republican or Democrat) are ensconced in Washington, D.C., they see themselves as having become part of the ruling class. From then on, everything that happens–and I mean EVERYTHING–is designed to augment the pleasure, prosperity, and power of the ruling class. In a word, this is ELITISM. The problem is not liberalism or conservatism; the problem is elitism.
Have you noticed how much time and money is spent on campaigning? Even after a politician wins office, he or she continues to campaign. Constituents are bombarded constantly with mailers, phone calls, emails, television and radio addresses, etc. What motivates most politicians? Defending freedom? Reducing government overreach? Preserving the Constitution? Maintaining the Bill of Rights? No, no, no! A thousand times, no! The only thing that motivates the vast majority of our elected office holders is staying elected. Why? So that they might enjoy the perks of power for the rest of their lives. Honest patriots such as Ron Paul, Steve Stockman, the late Helen Chenoweth, the late Jesse Helms, and the late Larry McDonald are as rare as hen’s teeth in Washington, D.C.
Do you really think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are worrying about the medical tsunami that Obamacare is producing? Are you kidding? They, and their families, have the finest medical insurance (and care) in the world. Do you really think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are worried about whatever gun control legislation might be enacted? Were you born yesterday? They enjoy the benefits of the tightest security–including armed security–money can buy. Do you think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are concerned about your loss of liberty? Come on! They make a living exempting themselves from the restrictive laws to which the rest of us are expected to submit.
Again, the problem is elitism. Elitism dominates the politics of both major parties inside the Beltway. It also dominates the newscasters and talking heads–from both the left and the right–that you are watching on television.
Bob Costas rails against our right to keep and bear arms, while every day of his life, he is protected by a host of armed security personnel. The same is true for the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Joe Scarborough. These multi-millionaires (and billionaires, in some cases) sit in their ivory towers completely insulated from the problems that the rest of society must endure every day.
Most of the time, elitists are absolutely superb at masking their feelings of superiority, but, occasionally, one of them will slip up and put their elitism on display for all to see. Such an event happened last week on the floor of the U.S. Senate. And the only report I saw about it came from overseas: The London Guardian newspaper. Remember, the newscasters and talking heads in this country are mostly elitists, too, and they will not be quick to shame a fellow elitist–regardless of his or her political persuasion. Their brotherhood among the elite is vastly more important than whatever political disagreements they may have.
Not only was the story covered by an overseas newspaper, the man who went public with the story was none other than the man that most of the elitists declare to be a traitor: Edward Snowden.
According to The Guardian, “The whistleblower Edward Snowden accused the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee of double standards on Tuesday, pointing out that her outrage at evidence her staff were spied on by the CIA was not matched by concern about widespread surveillance of ordinary citizens.
“Snowden, the former contractor whose disclosures to journalists revealed widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency, was responding to an explosive statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein about the CIA’s attempts to undermine a congressional investigation into interrogation and detention.
“In a surprisingly combative statement on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Feinstein, who has been widely criticised by privacy experts for failing to hold the NSA to account, accused the CIA of conducting potentially unconstitutional and criminal searches on computers used by her staff.”
See the report here:
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: the public display of an angry elitist. Senator Feinstein doesn’t give a plug nickel whether the NSA (or any other government agency) is spying on the American people, but when they start spying on her–or her staff–it has suddenly become a constitutional crisis. So, why does it take a foreign newspaper and a man who fled the country for fear of his life to notice Feinstein’s hypocrisy? Again, it’s because the majority of the American media is controlled by Feinstein’s fellow elitists.
But, the story gets even more comical. According to the New York Daily News:
“California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday that her fight against the unregulated use of drones is now personal after one of the surveillance devices got a bit too close to her for comfort.
“The Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that a drone peeked into her window when a group of protestors from Code Pink recently gathered outside her house to rally against government surveillance.”
The News report continued saying,
“‘I’m in my home and there’s a demonstration out front, and I go to peek out the window and there’s a drone facing me,’ she said of the incident. ‘When is a drone picture a benefit to society? When does it become stalking? When does it invade privacy? How close to a home can a drone go?’
“According to Politico, Code Pink members have claimed that the device that flew by Feinstein’s house was just a toy helicopter.
“Feinstein, who has defended the general use of drones to gather government intelligence, nevertheless stressed the importance of regulating their operation.”
See the report at:
Now, the elitist Dianne Feinstein–the one who sees nothing wrong with the government spying on you and me–is so paranoid about the government spying on her that she mistakes a toy helicopter for a drone and goes on national television to complain about it? Someone, please help me get off of the floor!
The fact is it is not adherence to the Constitution, or commitment to liberty, or compassion for the common man that drives and motivates these elites in Washington, D.C., and New York City. It is kickbacks, and favors, and contacts, and greed, and lust, and payoffs, and wining and dining, and yacht trips, and trips to foreign countries, ad infinitum, that motivates them.
As long as the American people continue to be duped by the game-makers by falling into this left-right, conservative-liberal, Republican-Democrat paradigm, nothing is going to change in this country. Nothing! If you want to restore the republic, forget what you hear from the political and media elite. Their only job is to continue the illusion; and their only desire is to continue to bask in the benefits of being part of the ruling class.
It is being widely reported that CNN is ending Piers Morgan’s prime time television program. Here is how the story is covered in The New York Times:
“There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much–and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for ‘Piers Morgan Live’ hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
“It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate–the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt–and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
“CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.”
See the Times report here:
What I am about to say, I rarely, if ever, say about anyone–even those folks with whom I vehemently disagree. I’ve never allowed myself to let my portion of the public debate get personal. But in the case of Piers Morgan, I am willfully backsliding.
Piers Morgan is an oaf of the highest order. He is a boorish braggart, a wanna-be tyrant, and an overall pompous ass. It was British snobs like Piers Morgan that incited the Colonists to revolt. Just looking at Morgan–as he smugly peered down his nose at us freedom-loving Americans–made me want to go to war with Great Britain all over again.
Now it appears that Piers Morgan will be off the airwaves soon–at least during primetime on CNN. All I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE. I also find it amusing that while Piers Morgan is riding off into the sunset, Alex Jones continues to broadcast all over the place. The Colonists won again. Oohrah!
My comments on Alec Baldwin are going to be much softer (to the surprise of some folks). But if regular readers will think about it, they have not seen me say a whole lot–one way or another–about entertainers–although I did inform my Facebook followers that I am going to miss Jay Leno.
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In my opinion, Jay Leno was a cut above the rest of the late night television talk show hosts. For one thing, Jay and his wife have been married for over thirty years–and there has been no hint of a sexual dalliance. What a rarity that is among celebrities. Jay doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. While his jokes were sometimes crude, I never heard one that was irreverent to the things of Christianity or faith in general–unlike his CBS counterpart, David Letterman, whose personal and stage life are both filled with filth.
Leno was also the most fair and balanced comedian on late night television. He dished it out to Barack Obama and liberal Democrats as much as he did to G.W. Bush and conservative Republicans. He even dished it out to his host network, NBC. Plus, he seemed to genuinely respect Congressman Ron Paul; and Ron was a guest on Jay’s “Tonight Show” more than once.
See this Breitbart.com report on Jay Leno:
It seems that NBC executives have had it in their minds to get rid of Leno for quite a while. As you recall, they tried once before, replacing Leno with Conan O’Brien–which was a miserable failure. Now, NBC has truly pulled the trigger and replaced Jay with the likeable and funny (albeit a man who possesses a patented liberal bias, which will reveal itself more and more as he continues hosting “The Tonight Show”) Jimmy Fallon. I can’t help but believe that Leno truly incensed the network brass at NBC with his objectivity and balanced joke-telling. The media and entertainment industry leaders in this country are as about as close to a jihad mentality as you will find in America.
Normally, I don’t spend much time discussing the entertainment industry, because entertainers are–well, entertainers. It has been a long, long time since the American people expected much of anything in terms of honor and character from its movie stars. In fact, most of today’s movie star groupies don’t even know the names of such movie giants as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Clayton Moore. And while there are still several clean and wholesome men and women in the movie and entertainment industries, the media would far rather keep us up-to-date on the morally shipwrecked Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus than point the spotlight on those talents that might actually provide the American people with a role model.
Yes, everyone knows Alec Baldwin is a liberal; everyone knows he had a loud and angry shouting match over the phone with his daughter during which he said some very cruel and hurtful things; and everyone knows he has been a strong supporter, financially and otherwise, of the Democrat Party. But is there anything in the above that wouldn’t apply to the vast majority of Hollywood entertainers? For that matter, I know of a lot of professing Christians who have a host of personal and family issues, not to mention being supporters of a plethora of organizations that are equally sinister and problematic. The only difference is, they are not famous and, therefore, nobody knows or cares about it.
Alec Baldwin (no relation to this writer) recently wrote a column that initially appeared in the February 24, 2014, edition of New York Magazine. In his remarks, he gave a very honest and trenchant analysis of the corrupt and ethically-bankrupt national media.
Remember, Alec Baldwin wrote as an entertainment insider. He is one of the most successful movie stars in the world. He is a liberal. He knows the media and entertainment worlds as well as anyone. No matter. The media and entertainment elite are treating Alec Baldwin like he is public enemy number one. And to many of these folks, he is.
MSNBC dumped him; friends abandoned him; and reporters and photographers have done their best to destroy him. Why? What did Alec Baldwin do to incur the wrath of all of these folks–people who have readily recognized him to be one of the outstanding talents in the industry? Why did they turn on him? Because Alec Baldwin didn’t bow down to the god of political-correctness.
In the politically-correct temple, in which the media and entertainment elite worship, one does not dare say anything–even of a personal nature–that could be construed as being uncomplimentary of certain people who are considered untouchable. In the politically-correct world of the media and entertainment elite, anyone who is an African-American, Jew, or homosexual is absolutely out-of-bounds and may not be touched. Anyone else is fair game. To criticize or condemn a white guy, a Christian, or a heterosexual is not only admissible, but to do so only enhances one’s credibility and popularity with these worshippers of political correctness. It seems that the media elite have forgotten the words of their hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If the media elite truly believe that people are to be judged as individuals–regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation–how is it that political correctness can even exist? How is it that certain entertainers are singled out to be pilloried and ostracized?
For example, take a look at Mel Gibson. Without a doubt, Mel Gibson is one of the most successful Hollywood actors of all time. His accomplishments on the silver screen are legendary. But the media and entertainment elite now consider Gibson to be damaged goods. For the most part, they won’t touch him. What he has done of late, he has produced himself. Fortunately, for him, he has the resources to do this. Few in Hollywood have his resources.
Gibson’s troubles began when he refused to apologize to a group of homosexuals who were offended at a scene in his blockbuster movie, “Braveheart.” Then there was Mel Gibson’s production of the most politically-incorrect movie of all, “The Passion of The Christ,” which was very much a reverent and respectful (and, yes, graphic) portrayal of Christ’s death on the cross. (I suppose the only other film that could be regarded as more politically-incorrect than “The Passion of The Christ” would be Ron Maxwell’s masterpiece, “Gods and Generals,” starring Stephen Lang as General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. In my opinion, Lang should have received an Oscar for his performance. It was outstanding!) And the nail in the coffin (proverbially speaking) was when Gibson was supposedly drunk and, when in the custody of a police officer, went into an anti-Jewish rant. That was it. Mel Gibson had touched the “third rail.” Of course, had Mel gone into an anti-Christian rant, no one within the media or entertainment elite would have thought one thing about it.
For sure, Alec Baldwin always spoke his mind–and many times Alec was his own worst enemy. No doubt about it. But when Alec tore into a tirade in which what he said could be interpreted (wrongly) as being anti-gay, Alec had also touched the “third rail.” That was it. Alec Baldwin is now being compared to Mel Gibson; and the media elite are doing everything they can to ruin the man.
Baldwin’s column shines the light of day on the sinister, shadowy world of America’s national media. The national media is more than biased; it is more than liberal; it is more than Big Government. The national media is obsessed with political correctness. At the highest levels, they are evangelists of the ministry of propaganda, and they relish their role as Grand Inquisitors.
I caution readers: Alec Baldwin’s column contains no small usage of profanity. But it also reveals an even greater vulgarity: the blatant wickedness of a dishonest and dastardly national media. And, unfortunately, there is not a major network or major media outlet (including the so-called “conservative” FOX News) that is exempt from the dark side of this dragon.
Yes, in typical liberal fashion, Baldwin rants against conservative outlets such as Breitbart.com, but he also torches liberal icons such as Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper along with media opportunists such as Joe Scarborough.
Alec Baldwin has gotten a taste of the harsh realities of political correctness. He has, no doubt, grown up in liberalism and knows little else. However, it would appear that Alec Baldwin has a degree of honesty about him and is willing to call a spade a spade (as he understands it) even when his fellow liberals are in the crosshairs. I think he is reachable with the truth. I am praying for him.
Read Alec Baldwin’s column here:
Piers Morgan deserved to get sacked. No one wants someone from a foreign country looking down their nose at them and telling them how stupid they are. My personal opinion is Jay Leno was not, and will not be, equaled as a late night television comic. I believe he is genuine–a rarity in entertainment. Mel Gibson is one of my all-time favorite actors. His movies, “Braveheart,” “The Patriot,” and “Conspiracy Theory” are especially outstanding. I believe Mel is among a small handful in Hollywood who truly understands the New World Order and is vehemently opposed to it. Alec Baldwin has never been one of my favorite actors, although I do honestly acknowledge his extraordinary talent. Obviously, I do not share hardly any of his political views. However, Alec Baldwin, like Mel Gibson, is the victim of an out-of-control media jihad that intends to cut the head off of anyone who will not bow the knee to their god of political correctness.
Many benefit programs have gone high tech with debit cards and J.P. Morgan Chase and others are making a pretty penny charging users fees. What is there to be done?
The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed into law by President Obama last Friday, includes $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next decade. One way the bill proposes to accomplish these savings is by reducing food stamp fraud. When the new farm bill is enacted, many of America’s hardest working families will experience cuts in services and have trouble putting food on their family’s table. But there will be major gains for an industry that most Americans might not expect: banking.
Banks reap hefty profits helping governments make payments to individuals, business that only got better when agencies switch from making payments on paper—checks and vouchers—to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. EBT cards look and work like debit cards, and by 2002, had entirely replaced the stamp booklets that gave the food stamp program its name. SNAP is the most well-known program delivered via EBT, but they also carry payments for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF); Women, Infants and Children (WIC); childcare subsidies; state general assistance; and many other programs. EBT use is widespread, from the corner store to the supercenter. According to a 2012 USDA report, SNAP funds, averaging $133 per family member per month, can be spent at more than 246,000 authorized stores, farmers’ markets, farms, and meal providers nationwide.
Not only are the operating costs of delivering benefits by EBT lower—no paper checks to cut, envelopes to stuff, or postage to pay—but electronic forms of payment allow banks to multiply opportunities for revenue generation. Banks hold contracts with federal, state, and municipal agencies to provide EBT cards and services, collect interest on federal reserve money held for government programs (though not on SNAP funds), charge transaction fees for merchant use of bank technology and infrastructure, and levy penalties on users for EBT card loss, out-of-network use, and balance inquiries. Banks make money distributing government benefits if the economy is bad, because more people sign up for assistance; they make money if the economy is good, because rising interest rates mean more profit on the money they hold to distribute to beneficiaries.
Distributing government benefits is a lucrative industry. According to theGovernment Accountability Institute, J.P. Morgan Chase, which currently controls EBT contracts in 21 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, made more than half a billion dollars between 2004 and 2012 providing government benefits to U.S. citizens. In New York alone, J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services (EFS) holds a nine-year, $177 million EBT services contract with the State Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA). New York currently pays $0.95 per month for each its 1.7 million SNAP cases. In addition, J.P. Morgan EFS collects penalties and fees from benefit recipients: $5 to replace a lost EBT card, $0.40 for each balance inquiry, $0.50 each time their cards are declined for insufficient funds, and $1.50 per withdrawal if they use ATMs to get cash more than once a month. While information about profit margins on EBT contracts is neither collected at the national level nor released by banks, EBT is a significant growth area for big banks. Last year, the Federal Reserve Payments Study reported that the number of EBT transactions more than doubled since 2006.
Electronic benefits delivery is such a rewarding business that banks seem to fear only two things: policy changes and bad publicity. The publicity problems of EBT programs became obvious over the last three months of 2103 when three major EBT system failure scandals erupted. The threat of policy change is perhaps less visible. New regulations could take distribution of these benefits out of the hands of for-profit banks, limit the fees they are able to collect, or mandate a switch from EBT cards to different kinds of electronic funds transfer with fewer opportunities for generating revenue, such as direct deposit. But banks have nothing to fear in the new Agricultural Act; it’s only good news for the finance sector.
The new farm bill lowers benefit levels somewhat, exempts new categories of people—college students, ex-felons, and lottery winners—from SNAP eligibility, and prohibits advertising to increase enrollment of eligible individuals, like radio and television campaign launched by the USDA in 2004. But the bill’s sponsor, Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), and other members of the House Committee on Agriculture seem to trust that detecting and preventing fraud will accomplish much of the hoped-for savings. The new Act includes numerous fraud-fighting provisions, including those that:
- Require merchants to maintain unique terminal identification numbers for point of sale machines, further restrict the kinds of food that can be bought with SNAP, and bar manual sales of food items without bar codes;
- Improve procedures and technologies to facilitate state-to-state and state-to-federal information sharing;
- Invite federal-state collaborative pilot projects to “identify, investigate, and reduce fraud” by merchants; and
- Set aside $40 million to help the USDA store information, such as food purchase data from chain stores and loyalty card companies, and data-mine it, by linking store sales and EBT transaction data at the household level to uncover purchasing patterns, for example.
In short, the SNAP fraud provisions will increase the ability of state and federal agencies to track who bought what food, where, and for how much. A vast amount of information on the purchases of millions of U.S. citizens will be collected by state agencies and private entities, stored by the USDA, and data-mined for patterns of EBT use that indicate fraud.
Why will this intensified focus on fraud work out so well for banks? First, banks innovate and control the most cutting-edge technologies that detect and prevent fraud in electronic funds transfer. The financial sector employs armies of computer programmers, IT specialists, and software engineers, and banks hold dozens of patents on biometric technology, data-mining systems, and payment tracking software. State and federal agencies can develop fraud-fighting code and procedures themselves, but many lack sufficient capacity and choose instead to contract with banks. Florida, for example, piloted an eight-month EBT abuse detection project in 2012 that was staffed by both J.P. Morgan and state employees, as Peter Schweizer reported in The Daily Beast. The anti-fraud provisions of the farm bill, thus, provide a significant opportunity for more, and more lucrative, contracts for banks.
Second, fraud in food stamps, despite public perceptions, is already low, and getting from very little fraud to zero fraud is prohibitively expensive. This is especially true for trafficking—the trading of SNAP benefits for cash—the most common form of SNAP fraud. Merchants and recipients must work together to traffic SNAP benefits. Recipients approach a merchant, who might offer 50 cents on the dollar to convert food stamps to cash. The merchant runs the EBT card, hands over cash, and then reports sales for reimbursement by the Treasury. Current fraud detection and prevention focuses on suspicious patterns—merchants who claim lots of even-dollar sales, recipients who spend all of their SNAP benefits in the first week of the month—but traffickers have adjusted quickly, learning to input odd dollar amounts and to spread requests for reimbursement over time.
The USDA estimates that the amount of SNAP benefits being trafficked has been reduced by 145 percent since 1993. According to a March 2011 Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) report, for the period of 2006-2008, trafficking diverted about 1 cent of each benefit dollar. Trafficking is difficult to detect and prevent, because retailers and recipients who commit fraud adapt as fast as banks, states, and the USDA can develop new data-mining and investigative procedures. This fraud-detection arms race is expensive and time-consuming for government agencies and contractors, and adds cumbersome limits and procedures for users—both merchants and recipients—most of whom aren’t committing fraud.
What cost are we willing to bear to reduce SNAP fraud to less than a penny per dollar? Federal and state government agencies invest astronomical sums in high-tech tools to address a financially negligible problem. For comparison’s sake, while we lose $330 million a year to SNAP trafficking, Ashlea Ebeling of Forbesestimates that the U.S. government loses $40 to $70 billion a year to offshore tax evasion. Nevertheless, in 2012, the FNS conducted 4,396 undercover investigations of retail grocers suspected of fraud, at an undisclosed cost to taxpayers, identifying violations in about 40 percent of cases. In 2011, Alabama’s RFP for EBT services strongly encouraged potential vendors to “recommend the use of new and innovative technologies” to “improve detection and prevention of fraud” and integrate biometrics in their proposals for the state’s SNAP program. The five-year Alabama contract, worth $51 million, went to Xerox, the same company that denied SNAP users in 17 states access to food for several hours when they shut down their EBT system without any warning last October.
Third, only three firms handle the majority of EBT contracts with states and U.S. territories: J.P. Morgan EFS (23 contracts); Xerox State and Local Solutions, Inc. (17 contracts); and eFunds Corporation, a subsidiary of FIS Global (11 contracts). On February 10, J.P. Morgan confirmed that it plans to sell its prepaid card business, including U.S. Public Sector and EBT programs, after suffering a serious data breach on debit cards used at Target stores and facing inquiries from Connecticut and New York about its lack of sufficient privacy safeguards and high card fees. This may leave even fewer players in the mix, and that’s a bad thing, according to Michele Simon, author of the report, “Food Stamps, Follow the Money: Are Corporations Profiting From Hungry Americans?”, who provided a copy of the New York/J.P. Morgan EBT contract for this story. When so few firms control such significant market share, it implies limited competition and excessive market power. Simon suggests, in fact, that the recent changes to SNAP represent a large, mostly overlooked corporate subsidy. “The real policy challenge in SNAP is not fraud. It is the fact that we have an $80 billion a year program that does not solve hunger, and certainly does not provide good nutrition, but instead is a boon for banks, big box retailers, and junk food companies.”
If banks are secret winners, the losers are pretty clear: taxpayers, particularly those who receive nutritional support through the SNAP program. That’s one in seven Americans at this moment, and 52 percent of all Americans at some point in their lifetimes, according to Mark Rank, author of One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All. Put simply, the Agricultural Act of 2014 takes money from a program that serves the majority of Americans and gives it to banks and high-tech companies.
But it does something else. These provisions improve a system meant to collect information on the food purchases of more than half of the U.S. population, and fund the development of increasingly sophisticated technology to sift and analyze it. In the same year that we expressed shock and outrage that the NSA is collecting meta-information on our cellphone calls and Google searches, why are we acquiescing, even welcoming, a sophisticated new program to collect American consumer information? Do we really want the federal and state governments data-mining our grocery lists?
We need a solution that contains bank profits and prevents this kind of mass surveillance. The answer’s simple: stop trying to predict fraud, eliminate complicated rules about what can and cannot be bought with food stamps, and switch to direct deposit.
A key challenge of this solution is connecting benefits recipients with affordable bank accounts, because for-profit banks are not particularly interested in low-balance, high-transaction customers. But, according to Aleta Sprague, policy analyst in the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation, strategies that focus on eliminating barriers to bank accounts will provide significant benefits for poor and working Americans. Connecting benefits recipients to the financial mainstream poses real challenges to both the public assistance system and current financial practices, but there are intriguing experiments already underway. In Washington state, for example, a collaboration of the Department of Commerce and Burst for Prosperity is connecting households on public assistance with affordable banking services and requiring that no-fee accounts be included in future EBT provider contracts.
“Instead of seeking to monitor and regulate every purchase a low-income consumer makes,” says Sprague, “we should recognize and capitalize on the potential of the public assistance system to serve as a mechanism for financial inclusion. That way, rather than constructing the safety net around distrust of the poor, we would leverage the system to increase families’ financial autonomy and capabilities.”
Direct deposit is more efficient, cheaper, and requires less administrative oversight. That’s why the IRS, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance encourage us to use it. What direct deposit would not allow is paternalistic rules about how public assistance beneficiaries choose to use their resources to best support their families. Treating SNAP recipients like the reasonable, hard-working adults they are is not only simpler and less expensive; it is most just.
Are the Warring Parties Playing Round Two of Geneva II?
El Nubek, Syria – As two delegations, one representing the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, led by Bashar Assad, and the other claiming to represent the popular opposition which is seeking its overthrow, arrived in Switzerland this morning to continue with Round Two of Geneva II, there is uncertainty over the agenda and whether to extend this weekend’s 36 hour “Humanitarian pause” to allow aid into the Old City of Homs. Such a deal, which could come at any time, would bolster confidence ahead of the Round Two of the peace talks.
Some observers, including this one, predict that the ceasefire will in fact be extended as a result of a meeting on 2/10/14 being held between Syrian government officials here in Homs and UN representatives that will likely result in more civilians being allowed out of the old city later today or tomorrow.
But it is not certain. And meanwhile, on 2/10/14, the meager amounts of aid trickling into Yamouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus was stopped due to yet another breach of a “humanitarian pause” that was agreed upon last week.
The governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, has advised journalists and observers gathered in his office yesterday that the ceasefire may be extended by a further three days; to allow all those who might want to leave the chance to do so. The operation to help trapped civilians in Homs was the one concrete agreement reached at recent peace talks in Geneva, which are due to resume on Monday.
There remains much mistrust and plenty of PR jockeying from both sides as the public awaits the sound of the gavel from UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to resume discussions to end the killing in Syria. The new opposition team, at press time, is not fully identified but has announced that it wants the focus of Round Two to be solely or how to transition ( it demands a clean slate in Damascus) and nothing else.
In contradistinction, Syrian government Presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Buthaina Shaaban argues that the continuing essential problem in the search for a political solution through the Geneva track lies in the fact that “we don’t know whom is representing those who came by the name of opposition, how many, and what is their relation to Syria.” She added that the coalition delegation came to Geneva for discussing one word in the 12/12/13 Geneva I Communiqué; transition. Whereas the Syrian official delegation wants initially to discuss the first item in the Communiqué, the halt of violence, combating terrorism and the preservation of state institutions.
Whether there will be an extension of the just competed “three day” humanitarian pause cease-fire” is not yet sure. In point of clarification, the so-called “three day” partial ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to the area which for more than 600 days has experienced nearly daily bombardment of the city which is labeled by some as the ‘Birthplace of the Revolution.” is a misnomer in the extreme. The so-called “Humanitarian Pause” such as it was, never comprised three days. Rather in reality it was for less than 36 hours given that aid deliveries and evacuations were strictly limited to 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. over three days.
One spokesman for a European aid organization, attempted to enlighten this observer on the ceasefire terms by claiming that “After 6 p.m. any aid distributors within a snipers scope is fair game and they are for warned. I told them it is kind of like caveat emptor after six or before six.”
Frankly, the gentleman could not be more mistaken and he should have known better given his job. His view constitutes a shocking and fundamentally flawed edict and misstatement of applicable binding international norms anchored in black letter public international humanitarian law, including but not limited to the Geneva Conventions and other principles, standards and rule of international humanitarian law requiring protection by all belligerents of aid workers whenever and wherever they perform their humanitarian work. Nor can International customary law and treaty law on this subject be abrogated bilaterally by warring parties who may choose not to kill aid workers or civilians only during a mutually declared 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. day shift.
The aid workers in Homs, as are all civilians, are inviolate during military action. Nor is there any suggestion that either party has complied international law, which requires all warring factions to allow unconditional humanitarian access. It is no excuse, but there does appear, according to information given to these observers from local residents, that more than 30 different armed groups operate in the Old City, making any agreement among them unlikely. The Regional Advisor of UNICEF, Mr. Geoffrey Ijumba a reasonable sounding fellow, claims that “the main stumbling block is that the 30 plus militia groups inside Homs want guarantees that the aid will still be delivered to the Old City once the civilians are evacuated.” An extended ceasefire, given recent government military gains is, according to some observers monitoring developments in Homs, a rather tough precondition to expect from the Syrian government given the price it has paid for advancing militarily over the past two years in this area.
There is currently plenty of mistrust and much PR jockeying from both sides. The new opposition team, at press time not fully identified, wants the focus of Round Two to be solely transition and nothing else. Syrian government Presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Buthaina Shaaban strongly argues that an essential problem in the search for a political solution through the Geneva track lies in the fact that “we don’t know whom is representing those who came by the name of opposition, how many, and what is their relation to Syria.” She added that the coalition delegation came to Geneva for discussing one word in the Geneva I Communiqué; transition whereas the Syrian official delegation wants initially to discuss the first item in the Communiqué, the halt of violence, combating terrorism and the preservation of state institutions. For its part, Damascus has been keen to portray the humanitarian deal outside the framework of talks, with pundits and parliamentarians taking to the airwaves to tout the deal as evidence of the government’s ongoing efforts to aid civilians. It has come under pressure from its allies Russia and Iran to make humanitarian concessions.
Predictably perhaps, both sides accuse the other of violations of the claimed three-day humanitarian aid ceasefire as the Opposition team announced that its delegation to “Round Two” was being re-configured. Many observers of Genera II judged that the strong personalities and intellects of the Syrian delegation, including Foreign Minister Walid Mouallum, Dr. Bouthania Shaaban, and Minister of Information Omran Zoubi as well as Faisal Mekdad, among others, “won” Round I of the public relations challenge of G II and that the Obama Administration via John Kerry advised the opposition to that, “It had better field a stronger team or risk losing ground”.
The first civilians were evacuated from a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Homs on 2/8/14 after more than a year and half of struggling to survive. Six buses arrived with three UN vehicles and six Red Crescent ambulances to pick up women, children, and elderly. Dina Elkassaby, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, said its staff had reported that many of the evacuees were in “very, very bad shape,” with children showing signs of malnutrition.
Humanitarian workers braved mortar shells and gunfire on 2/9/14 as they pushed forward with their mission to deliver aid into besieged parts of the Syrian city of Homs through Jouret al Shayah al Qoubaisi. 12 civilians came out on the first bus from the rebel enclave.
Syria state television said four members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARCS) were wounded by ”armed terrorist groups”, on 2/9/14)as the aid workers tried to deliver humanitarian supplies to a besieged, rebel-held district of Homs city. At sunset on 2/9/14 Abu Bilal, an activist trapped in the old city since June 2012 explained: “We hope more aid will come in, and we hope the civilians can be evacuated, but we don’t know whether that will happen. We are afraid that we will only see more of yesterday’s shelling.” The Syrian Red Crescent Society told observers that it has been “a challenge” to get its staff and the UN team out of the area. SARCS official Khaled Erksoussi said the convoy came under attack from mortars and gunfire as it was leaving the Qarabis neighborhood.
Many of those evacuated on 2/7/14 looked frail and described extreme hardships inside the area, which has been under army siege for nearly a year-and-a-half. They said bread had not been available for months, and many residents were gathering weeds and leaves to eat. As the BBC’s Lyse Doucet reported: “The tide of people continued – elderly men and women on stretchers or crutches, exhausted mothers in tears, children who went straight into the arms of waiting aid officials from the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society. Water, bread, even polio vaccinations were provided on the spot. Many residents who have finally escaped speak of having only grass and olives to eat.”
On Sunday, 2/9/14, 611 civilians, an increase from 83 on 2/7/14, who were besieged for more than 600 days in the old city of Homs were evacuated, the majority being women, children and elderly. According to one of the Governate of Homs officials responsible for monitoring their evacuation, their ages ranged between 16 and 54 years of age. It is not yet clear if the warring parties will agree to a three day (36 hour) extension of the aid mission and if so that it will be honored. The governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi sated on 2/0/14 that his administration will cooperate if the UN mission and the Syrian Red Crescent are the ones delivering the aid. Food and hygiene kits and have also been distributed in the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Diwan and al-Hamidieh.
The humanitarian aid gesture in the Old City of Homs is modest, compared to the more than four million civilians living under siege across this great country, being war deprived of adequate food, water, or sanitation. In all, some 9.3 million people in Syria need some form of aid, according to the U.N.
This past week, the U.N. Security Council pushed for a resolution that would enable broad-based aid deliveries to Syria. So did France. On the morning of 2/10/14, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and other countries would present a resolution at the UN calling for greater access for humanitarian aid. He told the media in Homs and internationally, “It is absolutely scandalous that there have been discussions for quite a while and that people are still being starved every day, and so along with a number of other countries, we will present a resolution at the UN along those lines.” Yet, many in Homs voice skepticism that Moscow would allow UN Security Council Chapter Seven action given its rivalry with Washington on this and other Syria related regional issues.
Some 3,000 people are slated to receive aid during the humanitarian pause. At sunset on 2/9/14 Abu Bilal, an activist trapped in the old city since June 2012 explained: “We hope more aid will come in, and we hope the civilians can be evacuated, but we don’t know whether that will happen. We are afraid that we will only see more of yesterday’s shelling.”
It appears certain that in the coming few days the intentions of both sides will become clearer with respect to the Geneva process and their willingness to allow full humanitarian aid into Homs and the evacuation of those who want to exit the Old City.
Whichever side fails in its humanitarian duties will be harshly judged by history and quite possibly by a Special Tribunal for Syria, already being planned by some, to be held at The Hague.
Few subjects present an undisputable window into modern society than the electronic version of reality that is dispensed through television broadcasts. This technology does not require interactive skills or critical thinking acumen. Just watch and fall into a daydream trance. TV is the stealth killer that penetrates 114.7 million American households. According to Nielsen, the 2012 Universe Estimate (UE), reflects a reduction in the estimated percent of U.S. homes with a television set (TV penetration), which declined to 96.7 percent from 98.9 percent. Should this turn down suggest promise or is it merely a result of internet substitution?
With the proliferation of cable channels and 24 hour programming, the landscape of TV addiction vastly impacts perception and dramatically excludes normal interpersonal relations. Melissa Melton cites the following in her article, TV: Your Mind. Controlled.
“According to last year’s Nielsen report, the average American over the age of two years old watches more than 34 hours of television per week, plus at least three more hours of taped programming. The report also noted that the amount of time we spend watching television increases as we get older.”
This overwhelming intrusion into and over personal time and space are often called entertainment. Broadcasts that bill themselves as news or business shows claim to provide useful information. Sport coverage makes no pretense of presenting socially significant content. Yet, vast segments of the public are wrapped up in the childish exercise of false hero adoration.
Television’s reporting on politics is miserable by any coherent standard of journalism. The business of television has little to do with an accurate chronicle of events or the meaning of decisions and actions. In order to understand the objectives of the content producers and the basic purpose behind the cultural soothsayers, a review of Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media, which is a well documented source that outlines how the mass media really operates, is useful. Examine the specifics and draw your own lessons.
“Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.”
The conclusion of this account is a valid summary.
“Lippmann, Bernays and Lasswell have all declared that the public are not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.” As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE and, indeed, necessary, to insure total leadership. An ignorant population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized. Many people ask me: “Is there a way to stop this?” Yes, there is. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP AND READ A BOOK.”
Such a sensible solution as turning off the misinformation screen is not an option for most of the typical dullards that think of themselves as normal and informed citizens. Society is populated with marginally functional and enthusiastic compliant serfs. Contentment is judged by actions not merely by sentiment. An unquestioning and obedient populace perpetually distracted from serious issues and unaware of comprehending the linkage and ultimate aims behind world events, has always been the goal.
The most profound use of these media techniques usually deal with War & Peace: Media and War. Stanford University publishes this account by Johnnie Manzaria & Jonathon Bruck, Media’s Use of Propaganda to Persuade People’s Attitude, Beliefs and Behaviors.
“Propaganda is so powerful because everyone is susceptible to it. This is true as explained by Robert Cialdini, an expert in influence, because people exist in a rapidly moving and complex world. In order to deal with it, we need shortcuts. We cannot be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event, and situation we encounter in even one day. We do not have the time, energy, or capacity to process the information; and instead we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb, to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond without thinking when one or another of these trigger feature are present (Cialdini 6). While this makes people highly susceptible to a propagandist who understands persuasion, in general it is the most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary. Additionally, propaganda includes the reinforcement of societal myths and stereotypes that are so deeply embedded within a culture that it is often difficult to recognize the message as propaganda.”
The attitude that such practices are “most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary”, is most disturbing and certainly fits the mold of how TV operates.
The examples cited in this case study deal with foreign policy issues. However, the summary on How to Defend Against Propaganda, is worth a look.
“As a result of our increasing sophistication and to build our civilization, we have created and environment so complex, so fast-paced, and information-laden, that we must increasingly deal with it in the fashion of the animals we long ago transcended. Thus, from the case studies on how the media uses propaganda, we can understand that the media does more than presentation facts and information. The media has the ability to exploit persuasive tactics to the specific definition of propaganda: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.”
Now ponder the disclaimer from this academia project: “We are not advocating that propaganda is wrong; we have tried to show, that overall it is usually helpful to respond to messages mindlessly, and that the truly only way to defend against it is to be more aware of the tactics being used.”
Also referenced in this study is Phil Zimbardo.
1) Be aware of the general perspective that others use to frame the problem or issue at hand, because accepting their frame on their terms gives them a powerful advantage.
2) Be sensitive to situational demands however trivial they may seem: group norms, group pressures, symbols of authority, slogans, and commitments. Don’t believe in simple solutions to complex personal, social, and political problems.
3) In the end, it must be remembered that it is not enough to dissent vocally — one must be willing to disobey, to defy, to challenge, and to suffer any ensuing consequences of these actions.
Relate this thinking to the television broadcasts and series that occupy the gratuitous viewing of the general-public. It may be functionally realistic not to expect current event discernment from the mediocre crowd, but what motivates these distraction deprived viewers from absorbing the brainwashing message?
Escape from reality probably is the most adept answer. Nonetheless, the dependency on relinquishing individual responsibility and living under the principle of personal integrity is too difficult for most. The easy way out is to believe the junk fed from the TV screen.
Newspeak has become the dominant culture and TV is the chief vehicle for spreading the lies and deceit. Jack Blood provides a succinct summary in, TV = Mind Control (Why do you think they call it Programming?)
“Once again the system is at work, knowing how easy it is to control the minds of a dumbed down population that has been well trained, and some might say socially engineered, to never question authority, never think outside the box, never seek accountability and never think for itself. Easily manipulated, millions of people are conditioned to believe, from a very early age, that anything emanating from television is sacrosanct. Thus, everything they watch is reality and anything they hear is truth. Anchors and reporters become trusted personalities voicing reticent opinions whose veracity are seldom, if ever, questioned.
The Establishment has perfected its machination of propaganda, creating the realities it wants into society, forming whatever truth that will be of the greatest benefit, not to society, but to itself. Whatever reality it wants to create and disseminate is quickly absorbed by a population eager to feed off the mammary glands of television. The Establishment, the corporate world and government have for years told us how and what to think, how to act, who to obey and where to follow, condemning our minds to obedience, our lives to conformism and silent acquiescence.”
Is it not time to make a clean break from this self-induced imprisonment of images and sounds that spills out of the television machine?
A book review: Who Lost America? by Bromwell Ault…
Part 2: Institutional failure, loss of enforcing the rule of law, injection of incompatible diversity.
History becomes the great mentor for any civilization hoping to outlast the ages. For all its bloody conflicts, history presents every country lessons from the past on how other nations failed to survive.
But in the 21st century, America’s leaders and its citizens ignore the lessons of history. And, ironically, as America becomes less and less of its own people and more and more of dissimilar people from around the world, it won’t be able to return itself to its intellectual, cultural, linguistic and spiritual foundation.
Former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm said, “If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time.”
Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall, and that, “An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.”
In his newest book, Who Lost America?—Yale University graduate Bromwell Ault, at 86 years of age, brings enormous historical perspective to the American predicament.
“History is an excellent teacher,” said Ault. “To some degree it is infallible. It is both the messenger and message, and writes our records. In the end, it determines who survives and who doesn’t, and more importantly, what is and what isn’t. It leaves little room for argument when it is being written and even less thereafter.”
Every high school student learns how Rome fell. Every student of history knows how Easter Island’s civilization collapsed into extinction. A quick reading tells all of us why the Mayan civilization vanished. Historical records show why the Pueblo people of Mesa Verde disappeared from their homes in the rock walls of that ancient civilization.
But do you think the citizens and leaders of America in the 21st century take note of the causes of those collapsed civilizations? Do you think we Americans are taking actions to avoid our own definite collapse of our civilization? The empirical and unavoidable answer: no! In reality, we follow in the footsteps of those ancient civilizations of history that collapsed.
“The legislative branch of our government, with the power and responsibility to create and pass our laws,” said Ault, “is riven with so many divisions that its 535 members in the House and Senate are more and more to be found at the far ends of the political spectrum without a refuge of reason at the center. In our time and place, it is a catastrophe. How did it his happen and why do we permit it”
When you look at our 10 million unemployed and 7 million underemployed, or 48 million citizens subsisting on food stamps, or our $18 trillion national debt, or our $315 billion annual trade deficit to China, or our useless 10-year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—you cannot help but lament the devolvement of our country into a horrendous geopolitical hole from which we may not recover.
When you look at our racial strife that dominates the headlines or our porous borders that our Congress facilitated to allow over 12 to 20 million people to cross without invitation or legality—you cannot help but wonder who pretends to be in charge of our laws. The agony of 68 percent of our African-American children being brought up by a single mother on welfare—speaks to something terribly wrong.
Who lost America? We citizens gave our country away to power mongers, to the military industrial complex, which foments foreign wars out of fabrications of fear, and to institutional failures.
“To protect ourselves, we must change our concept of power,” said Ault, “and elect as president, not someone who merely wants power, but someone who can wield it in a moral and balanced way…the great fault of government in America today is that it is considered a means, not and end. It means our elected representatives connive in the distribution of our national political and material resources to favored areas or interests. We have badly abused our democracy and in the process have done ourselves great disservice.”
In essence, we gave the military-industrial-complex a cart blanche pass to create Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq (twice). No one questions those dishonest wars even after the evidence shows that our leaders contrived those conflicts.
What causes those manufactured wars? Answer: money. Corporations make a lot of money. A lot of kids die for that money someone else makes.
Ault said, “Money flows in almost unimaginable amounts throughout our political process and is constantly directed and redirected by the same people to the same places.”
Ault describes how conflicted religions faced each other on the battlefields with swords, spears, maces and longbows. Their cruelty such as the Christians on the Crusades against the Muslims of the 11th, 12th and 13thcenturies engaged extreme barbarism on both sides. Today, Muslims commit horrific-barbaric acts against the West, but in return, the West bombs and kills hundreds of thousands of Muslims in their own lands. With countries like Syria, Muslims shoot, bomb, poison and kill each other with prolific enthusiasm.
Ault describes Rome’s fall to its endless immigration that destroyed its cohesive military into the chaos of the Goths, Visa-Goths and Vandals. Rome lost its cultural foundation along with its language.
“As to immigration, enter the Kudzu Curve,” said Ault. “Extend it another 50 years and our America will join the Easter Island sculptures looking for help that will not come.”
What Americans don’t realize continues at breakneck speed: America will change from a 90 percent European majority to a Latino majority by 2042—a scant 28 years from now. That means our major language, English, will share center stage with Spanish. Our national ethos faces radical change.
“Can this come to pass?” said Ault. “And why is it considered a very real possibility by many Americans. For an answer, it is only necessary to look to Europe. We have seats, front and center, to observe the deadly results of unchecked immigration in France, Germany, England, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Italy where former colonial powers are being swamped by constant third world arrivals, mostly from Africa or the Near East, and mostly Muslims.
“The result has been extreme violence in the streets with random acts of murder, rape, torture and extensive property damage. To look at the European history, to listen to the arguments on both sides, to observe the results, and then to think it can’t happen here is sheer folly.”
By reading Ault’s book and watching television nightly, you cannot help but “connect the dots” on how we lost America and how fast we continue losing it even further to a peaceful, self-invited invasion via immigration.
Ironically, the latest S744 amnesty bill doubled legal immigration from 1 million to 2 million annually. If it passes, ultimately the rate of speed of immigration leading to an added 100 million immigrants by 2050 shall accelerate at twice the velocity.
Our ultimate destination places a special ring to Toybee’s words: “All great civilizations rise and fall, and that, an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.”
Part 3: Losing our national identity
Who Lost America? By Bromwell Ault
ISBN # 978-1-4634-7446-1
Price: $22.46, 284 pages softcover, Kindle $3.99
Publisher direct copies: 1 888 280 7715
“Bias in favor of the orthodox is frequently mistaken for ‘objectivity’. Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.” – Michael Parenti
An exchange in January with Paul Farhi, Washington Post columnist, about coverage of US foreign policy:
Dear Mr. Farhi,
Now that you’ve done a study of al-Jazeera’s political bias in supporting Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, is it perhaps now time for a study of the US mass media’s bias on US foreign policy? And if you doubt the extent and depth of this bias, consider this:
There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.
Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela or his successor, Nicolás Maduro; Fidel or Raúl Castro of Cuba; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?
Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon? Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? And keeps his or her job?
Who in the mainstream media treats Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning as the heroes they are?
And this same mainstream media tell us that Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. do not have a real opposition media.
The ideology of the American mainstream media is the belief that they don’t have any ideology; that they are instead what they call “objective”. I submit that there is something more important in journalism than objectivity. It is capturing the essence, or the truth, if you will, with the proper context and history. This can, as well, serve as “enlightenment”.
It’s been said that the political spectrum concerning US foreign policy in the America mainstream media “runs the gamut from A to B”.
Sincerely, William Blum, Washington, DC
(followed by some of my writing credentials)
Reply from Paul Farhi:
I think you’re conflating news coverage with editorial policy. They are not the same. What a newspaper advocates on its editorial page (the Vietnam example you cite) isn’t the same as what or how the story is covered in the news columns. News MAY have some advocacy in it, but it’s not supposed to, and not nearly as overt or blatant as an editorial or opinion column. Go back over all of your ODE examples and ask yourself if the news coverage was the same as the opinions about those ODEs. In most cases. I doubt it was.
Dear Mr. Farhi,
Thank you for your remarkably prompt answer.
Your point about the difference between news coverage and editorial policy is important, but the fact is, as a daily, and careful, reader of the Post for the past 20 years I can attest to the extensive bias in its foreign policy coverage in the areas I listed. Juan Ferrero in Latin America and Kathy Lally in the Mideast are but two prime examples. The bias, most commonly, is one of omission more than commission; which is to say it’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. My Anti-Empire Report contains many examples of these omissions, as well as some errors of commission.
Incidentally, since 1995 I have written dozens of letters to the Post pointing out errors in foreign-policy coverage. Not one has been printed.
Happy New Year
I present here an extreme example of bias by omission, in the entire American mainstream media: In my last report I wrote of the committee appointed by the president to study NSA abuses – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – which actually came up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:
“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”
“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”
So what do we have here? The NSA being used to steal industrial secrets; nothing to do with fighting terrorism. And the NSA stealing money and otherwise sabotaging unnamed financial systems, which may also represent gaining industrial advantage for the United States.
Long-time readers of this report may have come to the realization that I’m not an ecstatic admirer of US foreign policy. But this stuff shocks even me. It’s the gross pettiness of “The World’s Only Superpower”.
A careful search of the extensive Lexis-Nexis database failed to turn up a single American mainstream media source, print or broadcast, that mentioned this revelation. I found it only on those websites which carried my report, plus three other sites: Techdirt, Lawfare, and Crikey (First Digital Media).
For another very interesting and extreme example of bias by omission, as well as commission, very typical of US foreign policy coverage in the mainstream media: First read the January 31, page one, Washington Post article making fun of socialism in Venezuela and Cuba.
Then read the response from two Americans who have spent a lot of time in Venezuela, are fluent in Spanish, and whose opinions about the article I solicited.
I lived in Chile during the 1972-73 period under Salvadore Allende and his Socialist Party. The conservative Chilean media’s sarcastic claims at the time about shortages and socialist incompetence were identical to what we’ve been seeing for years in the United States concerning Venezuela and Cuba. The Washington Post article on Venezuela referred to above could have been lifted out of Chile’s El Mercurio, 1973.
[Note to readers: Please do not send me the usual complaints about my using the name “America(n)” to refer to “The United States”. I find it to be a meaningless issue, if not plain silly.]
JFK, RFK, and some myths about US foreign policy
On April 30, 1964, five months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by John B. Martin in one of a series of oral history sessions with RFK. Part of the interview appears in the book “JFK Conservative” by Ira Stoll, published three months ago. (pages 192-3)
RFK: The president … had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.
MARTIN: What was the overwhelming reason?
RFK: Just the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.
MARTIN: What if it did?
RFK: Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world. Also it would affect what happened in India, of course, which in turn has an effect on the Middle East. Just as it would have, everybody felt, a very adverse effect. It would have an effect on Indonesia, hundred million population. All of those countries would be affected by the fall of Vietnam to the Communists.
MARTIN: There was never any consideration given to pulling out?
MARTIN: … The president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there …
MARTIN: … And couldn’t lose it.
These remarks are rather instructive from several points of view:
- Robert Kennedy contradicts the many people who are convinced that, had he lived, JFK would have brought the US involvement in Vietnam to a fairly prompt end, instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years. The author, Stoll, quotes a few of these people. And these other statements are just as convincing as RFK’s statements presented here. And if that is not confusing enough, Stoll then quotes RFK himself in 1967 speaking unmistakably in support of the war.
It appears that we’ll never know with any kind of certainty what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated, but I still go by his Cold War record in concluding that US foreign policy would have continued along its imperial, anti-communist path. In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States unleashed many different types of hostility, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat; with one or more of these occurring in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil.
- “Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world.”
Ah yes, a vital part of the world. Has there ever been any part of the world, or any country, that the US has intervened in that was not vital? Vital to American interests? Vital to our national security? Of great strategic importance? Here’s President Carter in his 1980 State of the Union Address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America”.
“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.” – Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher
- If the US lost Vietnam “everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.”
As I once wrote:
Thus it was that the worst of Washington’s fears had come to pass: All of Indochina – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – had fallen to the Communists. During the initial period of US involvement in Indochina in the 1950s, John Foster Dulles, Dwight Eisenhower and other American officials regularly issued doomsday pronouncements of the type known as the “Domino Theory”, warning that if Indochina should fall, other nations in Asia would topple over as well. In one instance, President Eisenhower listed no less than Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia amongst the anticipated “falling dominos”.
Such warnings were repeated periodically over the next decade by succeeding administrations and other supporters of US policy in Indochina as a key argument in defense of such policy. The fact that these ominous predictions turned out to have no basis in reality did not deter Washington officialdom from promulgating the same dogma up until the 1990s about almost each new world “trouble-spot”, testimony to their unshakable faith in the existence and inter-workings of the International Communist Conspiracy.
Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.
As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”
Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. As some wise anonymous soul once wrote:
A person is unambivalent only with regard to those few beliefs, attitudes and characteristics which are truly universal in his experience. Thus a man might believe that the world is flat without really being aware that he did so – if everyone in his society shared the assumption. The flatness of the world would be simply a “self-evident” fact. But if he once became conscious of thinking that the world is flat, he would be capable of conceiving that it might be otherwise. He might then be spurred to invent elaborate proofs of its flatness, but he would have lost the innocence of absolute and unambivalent belief.
We have to capture the minds of these suicide bombers. At the same time we can work on our own soldiers. Making them fully conscious of their belief, their precious belief, that their government means well, that they’re fighting for freedom and democracy, and for that thing called “American exceptionalism”. It could save them from committing their own form of suicide.
A few years ago, Reuters News reported that a nationwide poll conducted of the Russian people found that former dictator Josef Stalin was voted the third most popular historical figure. Over one-third of the Russian population participated in the poll.
See the report here:
Can you imagine? Stalin just might be the greatest mass-murderer in human history. Estimates of the body count during Stalin’s reign of terror range anywhere from 20-60 million, and that doesn’t include the millions of people who were starved, imprisoned, and tortured but who didn’t die. Only China’s Mao Tse-tung rivals Stalin’s butchery. Then, again, many Chinese people still love Mao Tse-tung, too.
How is it that people can laud and honor tyrants and butchers? How can people so easily submit to slavery and despotism?
No tyrant rises to power calling himself a tyrant. Tyranny is never sold as tyranny. Every tyrannical regime of history considered itself to be patriotic and compassionate; and the people who supported and submitted to such regimes considered themselves to be patriotic and compassionate, as well. The police state is never called that by those who promote it; they call it “law and order,” “keeping the peace,” “protecting the homeland,” etc.
Ask the average American today about the possibility that our country could become a police state and the common response is, “That could never happen here.” But, ladies and gentlemen, it is already happening here. And, furthermore, it seems that the vast majority of the American people are all in favor it. Republicans love it; Democrats love it; Christians love it; politicians love it; police officers love it; pastors love it; school teachers love it; businessmen love it; everyone loves a police state.
Threaten to remove Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, and Christians and conservatives come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. Threaten to put a Nativity scene on some courthouse lawn, and Democrats and liberals come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. But propose laws that strip the American people of their God-ordained liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, and conservatives and liberals alike, Christians and unbelievers alike, think it’s just about the greatest thing since sliced bread.
You don’t believe that? Try this news story on for size:
According to a World Net Daily report, “The 2014 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.
“Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.”
The report continued saying, “Section 1021 allows the detention of anyone, including American citizens, by the military, if the president considers that person to have helped with terror.”
The report further said, “Congress specifically expressed its desire for the detention provision to apply to American citizens even on American soil by rejecting multiple amendments that would have exempted them.”
So, where are the notable leaders of the Religious Right? Where are the liberal groups? Where is the national media? Where are the talking heads from the right and the left? With precious few exceptions, they are absolutely silent on the subject. Why? Because they like it.
Liberals never met a big-government program or proposal they didn’t like. If it increases the size and scope of government, liberals love it. Conservatives love anything that smacks of “law and order.” (A word of caution: you never want to be the defendant in a courtroom where the jury is stacked with conservatives. If you do, you’re dead meat, friend.) And Christians get goose bumps up their spine about anything they think resembles Romans 13. Give government more power over our lives and listen to the Hallelujahs ringing out from the all of these 501c3 churches. And ditto for most of the talking heads on radio and television and the vast majority of the pundits and spokesmen from the national news media. Like I said, everyone loves a police state.
Well, not everyone, thank God!
The same WND report mentioned above states, “Some of the nation’s most respected legal teams are asking the Supreme Court to take up a challenge to the indefinite-detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, charging the law has created the framework for a police state.
“The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to ‘represent an enduring security threat to the United States.’
“Journalist Chris Hedges is among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.
A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case states: ‘The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.’
“The brief was submitted to the Supreme Court by attorneys with the U.S. Justice Foundation of Ramona, Calif., Friedman Harfenist Kraut & Perlstein of Lake Success, N.Y., and William J. Olson, P.C. of Vienna, Va.”
See the report here:
Believe it or not, there was a time in this country when people from both sides of the political aisle believed in freedom. I know it’s hard to imagine, but there was a time in this country when pastors from virtually every denomination believed in freedom. Not only did they believe in it; they fought for it. It seems like a long time ago.
Have you taken a close look at your State and local police agencies lately? More and more, our police officers and sheriff’s deputies resemble soldiers more than they do peace officers. I challenge you to Google “police abuse.” What you will discover will shock you. And, for all intents and purposes, the folks who live in many Northeastern states—along with California and Illinois–are already living in a State that is more controlled than many foreign countries, including some of the countries that we would call oppressive. And even our freer states are feeling the heavy hand of Big Brother more and more each day.
In fact, if you want to really get a taste of a police state, just move into some neighborhoods with their Gestapo-like Home Owner Associations (HOA). I’m telling you, some of these HOA rival anything Adolf Hitler could dream up.
Folks, take a good, hard look at reality: America is already in the beginning throes of a police state. Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World” are here. And far, far too many people seem fine with it.
I tell you the truth: I am to the point where I don’t know what to call myself. “Conservative” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “conservative” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Likewise, “Christian” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “Christian” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Oh, many “conservatives” and “Christians” might SAY they don’t believe in these things, but their actions (or lack of them) speak louder than their words.
A big THANK YOU is in order for Bill Olson, Herb Titus, Chris Hedges, et al. And THANK YOU to all of you folks out there who see what’s going on and are actively engaged in “the holy cause of liberty.” (Patrick Henry) I am your brother and compatriot, no matter what you call yourself. At this point, we aren’t conservatives or liberals, Christians or unbelievers; we are freedomists or statists.
Tyrants such as Joe Stalin and Mao Tse-tung might be popular with some people, and a burgeoning police state might be popular with some people, but there is a whole host of us in these United States who aren’t going to the gulags and gas chambers peacefully. And unlike the peasants of Europe and Asia, we aren’t surrendering our means of self-defense, either.
No, not everyone loves a police state.
Damascus - As a new workweek begins here is Damascus many citizens across a fairly broad spectrum appear to be backing, and even exhibiting a kind of pride for their diplomatic team at the Geneva II conference. It might appear flippant for this observer to suggest that returning to Damascus after recent events in his neighborhood of Haret Hriek in Dahiyeh, South Beirut sort of feels like one has arrived in a peaceful holiday local rather stress free, but others have told me the same thing once they crossover from Lebanon. Damascus is currently the most quiet and ‘normal’ appearing that I have found this historic city for more than two years.
Damascenes to a person it appears, despite differing political views, are hoping for breakthroughs that just might bring an end to the carnage that has left virtually no one unaffected and has driven 9.5 million people from their homes, killed close to 140,000 and with more than 18,000 missing. These and many more tragedies creating a major humanitarian crisis both within Syria and among this birth place of civilization’s neighbors.
At the Set al Cham (Grandmother of Damascus) a home style cooking small restaurant around the corner from the Dama Rose hotel, close to where a rocket hit 30 yards outside the front entrance of the five star hotel last week and ignited half a dozen cars and shattered windows in this ‘security zone’, there are currently animated conversations about the Geneva II conference. They focus on the prospects for a ceasefire which all here apparently agree is the first essential step to ending the carnage ravaging this country for the past three years. The apparent imminent release of women and children from the more than 500 families who have for many months been trapped in the old city of Homs, Syria’s third largest city, has created some inchoate hope. According to UN Mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi , men also will be allowed to leave once their names are vetted to screen ‘terrorists’ from slipping out, a common security measure around this region during siege lifts and mass evacuations. The population allowed to exit Homs will be received immediately by volunteers from the courageous and deeply humanitarian Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) and other humanitarian organizations that have stockpiled a range of urgently required necessities close by. As in the case with Yarmouk Palestinian camp in south Damascus, itself still under tight siege this evening with snipers on rooftops scanning the streets and alleys below through their gun sites seeking targets, baby formula is one of the foodstuff items most in demand and urgently needed in order save infant lives since their starving mothers generally are no longer able to produce milk.
With respect to Yarmouk camp, which if of grave concern here in Syria as it is internationally, this observer had an informative three hour meeting today at UNWRA HQ on Mezzeh Autostrda with Chief Field Education Program Director, Mohammad Ammouri, and Abdullah Al Laham, Deputy Director of UNWRA in Syria. These gentlemen, Mr. Ammouri from Tantura village near Haifa, and Mr. Al Laham, from Bethlehem Occupied Palestine, devote their full schedules these days trying to get aid into Yarmouk, and to bring those under siege out. Both gentlemen gave this observer some reason to believe that finally an agreement, after more than half a dozen failed ones, might just stick tonight so that tomorrow UNWRA trucks, waiting nearby with more than 40,000 aid parcels can finally enter. Each aid box, contains rice, sugar, flour, dried milk, cooking oil and other basics and are designed to feed a family of five for two weeks (families up to eight in number will get one and one-half UNWRA boxes every two weeks) can finally enter. Syrians trapped in Yarmouk, who number more than 2000, will also receive the emergency parcels from UNWRA no questions asked. Mr. Al Laham raised his eyebrow a bit and did a sort of double-take when this observer asked him if like SARCS, UNWRA distributed the well-known World Food Program (WFP) or International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) family aid parcels. “No! No. My dear. You see, we at UNWRA have our own aid parcels, in fact ours are bigger and better” he quickly exclaimed and then smiled a bit sheepishly.
Three days ago UNWRA believed they would finally be allowed to enter Yarmouk with aid but at it turned out only about 3% of the aid parcels they were trying to deliver to the more than 18,000 starving Palestinian refugees and Syrians still trapped was able to be distributed because all aid is still being blocked by various militia who themselves appear to be rather well fed, financed, and armed. We should know by tomorrow (1/28/14) if substantial aid will be allowed into Yarmouk and whether dying residents can be evacuated. UNWRA literally has the engines of its trucks idling nearby tonight and ready to move into the besieged camp on less than a minutes notice if they get a green light, this observer has just been advised.
One senses in Damascus that much of the population believes that what is happening at Geneva, are admittedly “half-steps” to use UN envoy Brahimi’s description for the progress so far in the desperate effort to save Syria, just might result in a breakthrough of sorts and then move toward a cease-fire and the opening up of humanitarian aid corridors. A few hours ago, Syrian delegation member Dr. Bouthania Shaaban commented that today’s talks had been ‘professional’. This is a modest achievement even though both sides speak only to Envoy Brahimi and tend to avoid eye contact with their “negotiating partners” while entering and exiting the meeting room from doors at opposite ends.
Syria’s delegation in Geneva is led by a seasoned, smart, deeply knowledgeable formidable delegation that includes the power-house Foreign Minister Walid Muallum, a former Syrian Ambassador to Washington who has a reputation in the West and here as wily, profoundly intelligent, tough at times and no-nonsense. “If no serious work sessions are held by [Saturday], the official Syrian delegation will leave Geneva due to the other side’s lack of seriousness or preparedness,” state television quoted Muallum as telling UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi last Friday. Mr. Muallum is credited with brokering the deal with by Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons enabling the Assad regime to present his government as a partner in the project and thus to strengthen its claim to legitimacy.
Another delegation member is Syria’s Minister of Information Omran al- Zoubi. Mr al-Zoubi has been indefatigable these past many months and is well known to the international media for his personal warmth and direct talk and incisive articulations of his government’s interpretations of the crisis. During literally hundreds of media interviews Mr. Zoubi has earned a reputation internationally and in Syria as being an insightful political analyst and a skilled lawyer, who does not mince or sugar his words but who is respectful of his audience. From Derra next to the Jordanian where the crisis began and a Sunni Muslim, the Ministers commented late this afternoon that “We will stay here until we do the job. We will not be provoked. We will not retreat and we will be wise and flexible.” And he added, anyone at Geneva II expecting the President’s removal was living “in a mythical world, and let them stay in Alice in Wonderland.”
Syrian delegation member and FM Muallum’s Deputy, Feisal Mdkdad, was described to this observer by one of his colleagues today as a deeply knowledgeable, unflappable career diplomat with deep knowledge of foreign policy issues facing Syria. Mr Makdad explained at Geneva today that his administration has been trying to send essential supplies to help beleaguered residents but not as much as they would have liked had got through, for two reasons: “The armed groups had kept firing at those who tried to take in aid and the weather has not been conducive to making the movement.” He pledges that his government will persevere. He also insisted that “we don’t hold any children prisoners at all. We categorically deny that.” He claimed that the list supplied by the opposition was full of errors. “I have studied this list; 60 to 70 per cent of the names are not in prison, 20 per cent have already been freed. About the rest, we don’t know anything.”
In one sense, Syria’s diplomatic team in Geneva is anchored by Professor Bouthaina Shaaban who is Political and Media Adviser to Syrian President Assad. Syria’s former Minister of Expatriates, she is also a mother and recently a grandmother, writer and professor at Damascus University and earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from Warwick University in the UK. Dr. Shaaban was Hafez al Assad’s personal interpreter, is well known internationally and has studied and taught in the USA and earned her Doctorate at Warwick University in the UK. She has authorized several well received books including her latest volume on Syrian diplomacy. Many media critics concede that, as the New York Times wrote, that she is stellar when explaining Syrian governments views on foreign policy. Dr. Shaaban is the most sought after delegation member from either side for interviews partly because of her quality of humanizing the conflict and her obvious love of country and dedication to stopping the carnage while possessing a quality of connecting with interlocutors emotionally and intellectually.
It would not be shocking were the Syrian delegation were to feel a bit on the defensive given the lineup of those who want them to falter, but there is so far little sign that the Syrian delegation is exuding a temerity at all similar to the defense team in The Hague trying to hold its own before the Special Tribunal on Lebanon (STL). Rather it acknowledges that it has come to represent Syria and to struggle through a cumbersome, slow diplomacy to achieve a cease-fire, open corridors of humanitarian aid, participate in prisoner’s exchanges with various militia, hold a presidential election in the spring, and begin reconstruction of the massive war damage.
We will likely learn soon if Syria and indeed can work through a myriad of opposing deeply antagonistic negotiating adversaries to achieve a sustainable cease-fire, reconciliation, and reconstruction. Its long suffering population demand and deserve no less.
A month ago, a student toting a shotgun, machete and 125 rounds of ammunition marched into Arapahoe High School in Denver, Colorado. His target: to kill the debate teacher whom he felt treated him poorly.
On his way to the teacher, he shot a beautiful girl named Claire Davis in the face. She hung on for a week before dying of her wounds. The killer, a regular 17-year-old high school student, tall and lanky, with good looks, shot himself before Swat teams could reach him.
As a former teacher who started teaching in the 1970s, my colleagues and I could not imagine such violence. But here in Denver, we suffered Columbine shootings by Klebold and Harris when they mowed down a dozen kids and teachers. Another killer shot and killed “Emily” in Bailey, Colorado a few years back. Recently, James Holmes marched into a Denver movie theater to unleash his own killing spree on a bunch of innocent movie attendees.
Even more disturbing: bullied teachers–145,100 public-School teachers physically attacked by students and 276,700 threatened with injury every year.
Over 4,800,000 women, both girlfriends and wives, suffering beatings by their men annually in the United States—a beating every 15 seconds.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women suffer rape in the U.S. annually. That’s more than 600 women everyday.
The United States carried on two ten-year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where we killed an estimated 250,000 civilians. We killed many more Muslim fighters by the tens of thousands. We destroyed their country with our bombs. Because those third world countries lack birth records, identification and death certificates—the numbers could be much higher.
In most large city in America, such as Denver, newscasters relate killings every night of the week. Chicago, Houston, Detroit and Los Angeles suffer gang killings nightly.
One in four children suffers bullying by a teen thug in high schools across America every day during school terms. In other words, our children cannot attend school without fear of being beat up, harassed, called names and demeaned by meaner, bigger students who have no other purpose in life but to manifest their thuggery.
What bothers me: we promote horrific violence via our continuous wars promoted by bankers and the military industrial complex that profit at the cost of human lives. We promote TV violence such as “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS” where lots of people commit diabolical mayhem. We support social media arcade games for kids like “Doom” and worse. Our movies feature horrific violence that pours into our kids minds and emotions. It’s like the 60s movie “Clockwork Orange” seems normal. You can watch television “Cops” where violence becomes normal. Our drones in the Middle East kill any number of humans without identity.
Today, 68 percent of African-American children grow up under the parenting of single mothers and most of them living on welfare and food stamps. Who babysits those kids? Answer: television. What do they see? Answer: violence. How do they respond? Answer: black flash mobs, “knockout” games, shoplifting and gang violence.
Over 2.3 million Americans languish in prison. We spent $1 trillion in the last 43 years on the “War on Drugs”, but a pittance for raising healthy kids. Why haven’t we spent as much money on discovering peaceful ways to rear our children as we spend on killing other people in contrived wars?
This information bothers me because Claire Davis could have been my daughter. Congresswoman Gabby Gifford could have been my friend. Your kid might be the one being bullied. I suffered bullying and getting beat up as a skinny kid in grade school and high school.
Question: are we a moral and ethical civilization or do we feature immorality and unethical behavior manifested in our wars and violence as stated above?
Today, 2014, one in six Americans faces hunger. That includes one in five children. (Source: www.feedingamerica.org)
What makes for peaceful, happy and contributing citizens? Answer: jobs for parents, homes for kids, excellent schools, playgrounds, after school activities and positive guidance by two parents.
What can we do to change course toward a moral, ethical, peaceful and happy nation?
- We need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and other countries around the world. Let our fathers come back home to be fathers instead of fighting useless wars.
- We need to limit imports from China and other nations that take jobs away from our 14 million unemployed and 48 million citizens subsisting on food stamps. We can make all those manufactured products as well as Chinese workers.
- We need to stop importing 100,000 legal immigrants every 30 days into America that take jobs away from our own working poor.
- We need turn our war machine money into production for alternative energy, conservation and environmental balance.
- We need to pay teachers and educational professionals much better salaries in order to educate our children to the highest excellence for competing in the 21st century. We need classes to teach parents how to parent with respect, loving discipline and positive living. (Source: www.LoveandLogic.com)
- We need to examine how and why we create so much violence in our society. Then, we must take action to stop it such as stopping violent video games, stopping bullying by parenting peaceful kids, stopping TV violence seen by our young and stop glorifying war, violent movies and violent TV for children.
You can think of a dozen other ideas, but in the end, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we will continue to suffer daughters, sons, fathers and mothers involved in violence and death.