Tuck away the many horror stories of the wrong limbs being amputated, things being left in surgery patients, terrible infections picked up in hospitals and totally wrong diagnoses. More relevant is a bureaucratic hospitalization horror that far too few Americans covered by Medicare are aware of.
Odds are that you do not know a key question to ask if you ever find yourself in a hospital for an overnight stay that could last from one or two days, or perhaps much more. What you and anyone accompanying you want to know is whether you are being classified as “under observation.” This means that legally you are not an inpatient. If the former, then you are likely to find yourself owing the hospital a large amount of money, because your Medicare or other health insurance will not provide the benefits associated with inpatient status. Many, many Americans nationwide that were classified as under observation have faced unexpected bills of many tens of thousands of dollars.
So pay very close attention to what you are about to read.
If you in a hospital, possibly in an emergency room, then you or family or friends should ask some tough questions of hospital staff if you are kept in the hospital after being handled in the emergency room. Ask if you will be kept in as an inpatient. If told that you will be in the observation category, then you might seriously consider whether you should stay in that hospital, or perhaps seek another one if you are not in immediate need of medical attention beyond what was received in the emergency department.
Indeed, ordinary Americans should recognize what Medicare does, namely that the decision made by the hospital to classify a patient as under observation for billing purposes is a “complex medical judgment.” What that means is that different interpretations and decisions can be made, either by someone else in the hospital or professionals in a different hospital. The critical decision to use the observation classification, with so much potential negative impact for patients, is “open to widely variable interpretation” as physician Steven J. Myerson has noted.
Because you may be in a very stressful state resulting from facing some medical condition, it is imperative that family and friends also need to become educated. Realistically, you may not be in a clear enough mental state when you enter a hospital to ask questions and demand good answers about how the hospital is classifying your stay.
Understand this: Nothing is crazier than entering a hospital for one or more nights and being designated as under observation, which amounts to being an outpatient, rather than an inpatient. Despite coverage by Medicare you will not have expected benefits.
Beyond hours in the emergency department, you can spend days in a hospital bed, receive regular nursing care, be given drugs and all kinds of tests. You might even spend time in a critical care or intensive care unit. But you can still be officially designated an outpatient in observation status. Even though you might stay in the hospital for more than just one or two nights, unless officially designated an inpatient you face major financial liability.
Under Medicare this means you are not covered by Part A which provides the best hospital coverage, but rather covered under Part B with far inferior coverage. This practice is as bad as anything you have ever heard about awful health insurance coverage. Furthermore, Medicare does not cover post-discharge care for Part B observation stays. For example, a patient in observation status for a broken bone will have to pay the full cost of rehabilitation or a nursing home. But for an inpatient Medicare pays for skilled nursing care following at least three consecutive inpatient days. Also, observation patients pay out-of-pocket for the medication they receive in the hospital and Subtitle D drug coverage may not cover these costs.
Hard to believe but your personal physician may not know that their patient has been classified by the hospital as outpatient or under observation. Though it would be very smart for you to raise this issue and make it clear that you do not want to stay in a hospital unless you are being admitted as an inpatient. But starting in an emergency room makes it difficult to push this issue, but not impossible.
Even the key public document from Medicare makes clear that “You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services, observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, or X-rays, and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you to the hospital as an inpatient.” Regardless of what a doctor has said, however, hospitals have the power to classify you as under observation. The government advises “If you’re in the hospital more than a few hours, always ask your doctor or the hospital staff if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient.” Note the word “always.” That is terrific, critically important advice.
You or your accompanying relative or friend must be prepared to challenge a decision of observation status and even raise the possibility of immediately leaving the hospital. Remember, this is after any actions given in an emergency department. Being prepared to challenge an observation status decision requires that you fully understand the considerable downside of this hospital classification.
Actually, Medicare maintains a one way communication street. Medicare doesn’t require hospitals to tell patients they are “under observation,” though many will do so. It only requires hospitals to tell patients they have been downgraded from inpatient to observation.
To be clear, if you are not classified as an inpatient, then you officially have not been admitted to the hospital though you have entered it. Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy has noted that “People have no way of knowing they have not been admitted to the hospital. They go upstairs to a bed, they get a band on their wrist, nurses and doctors come to see them, they get treatment and tests, they fill out a meal chart – and they assume that they have been admitted to the hospital.”
How much of a problem is observation status? In recent years, hospitals have increasingly classified Medicare beneficiaries as observation patients instead of admitting them, according to a Brown University nationwide analysis of Medicare claims. From 2007 through 2009, the ratio of Medicare observation patients to those admitted as inpatients rose by 34 percent. Worse, more than 10 percent of patients in observation were kept there for more than 48 hours, and more than 44,800 were kept in observation for 72 hours or longer in 2009 — an increase of 88 percent since 2007.
A recent New York Times article noted that under Medicare: “the number of seniors entering the hospital for observation increased 69 percent over five years, to 1.6 million in 2011.” And from 2004 to 2011, the number of observation services administered per Medicare beneficiary rose by almost 34 percent, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, while admissions per beneficiary declined 7.8 percent. In other words, this observation issue is not a trivial or minor issue affecting just a few people.
Data showing far greater use of the observation status option than widely reported were in a 2013 report to Medicare by the Health and Human Services Inspector General for 2012 hospitalizations. Some 2.1 million hospitalizations were designated observation status with 11 percent three nights or more and 80 percent originating in emergency departments, but another 1.4 million were long term outpatient stays that could and perhaps should have been coded as observation status. There were also 1.1 million short term inpatient stays (less than two nights) that also could have been coded as observation status. With increased enforcement by Medicare and penalties for hospitals, therefore, there is the possibility of 4.6 million or more annual observation status stays. Medicare patients should be aware of large differences among hospitals.
AARP did its own study and found that from 2001 to 2009 both the frequency and duration of observation status increased. Although only about 3.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were in this class in 2009, Medicare claims for observation patients grew by more than 100 percent, with the greatest increase occurring in cases not leading to an inpatient admission. The duration of observation visits also increased dramatically. Observation service visits lasting 48 hours or longer were the least common, but had the greatest increase, almost 250 percent for observation only and more than 100 percent for observation with inpatient admission.
According to a survey by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) in 2013 more than 80 percent of US geriatric care managers reported that “inappropriate hospital Observation Status determinations were a significant problem in their communities and 75 percent noted that the problem was growing worse.
A University of Wisconsin study found that 10.4 percent of hospitalizations in 2010 and 2011 were in the observation status category and 16.5 percent of them exceeded 48 hours and concluded “observation care in clinical practice is very different than what CMS [the Medicare agency] initially envisioned and creates insurance loopholes that adversely affect patients, health care providers, and hospitals.” In an Invited Commentary on the Wisconsin study, physician Robert M. Wachter of the Department of Medicine at the University ofCalifornia, San Francisco, summed up the observation issue as having “morphed into madness.”
Note that Medicare guidelines recommend that observation stays be no longer than 24 hours and only “in rare and exceptional cases” extend past 48 hours. Obviously, this is nearly meaningless in the real world.
Why are hospitals placing more patients in observation status?
Like so much in American society, the answer is money.
Hospitals are at risk from Medicare audits that declare patients wrongly defined as inpatients. Payment is then rejected, potentially large amounts of money. The government has increased audits to such a degree that since 2009 four recovery firms have reviewed bills from hospitals and physicians nationwide and recuperated $1.9 billion in overpayments. Billion!
Two physicians writing in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said: “When observation is used as a billing status in inpatient areas without changes in care delivery, it’s largely a cost-shifting exercise – relieving the hospital of the risk of adverse action by the RAC [Recovery Audit Contractor] but increasing the patient’s financial burden.”
To cut its spending, Medicare has accused hospitals of over-charging by “admitting” patients instead of putting them on “observation” status. For example, in July 2013, BethIsrael New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston paid Medicare $5.3 million to settle claims over this issue.
A new wrinkle under Obamacare is that hospitals can be penalized for readmitting patients in less than 30 days. But observation patients cannot be counted as readmissions if they happen to return because they were not officially admitted in the first place. To avoid this risk of financial loss, more patients can be classified as under observation.
A new Medicare rule taking effect April 1, 2014 requires doctors to admit people they anticipate staying for longer than two midnights, but to list those expected to stay for less time as observation patients. Many medical professionals doubt that this will improve things. Physician Ann Sheehy of the University of Wisconsin closely examined how this rule will work and concluded: “We found that four of five diagnosis codes were the same across length of stay, indicating that the cut point is arbitrary and really does not distinguish different patient groups, even though insurance benefits will be different based on length of stay.” Time, not medical condition or hospital actions, is being used. She also noted that the government will not count nights spent at different hospitals, and that 9 percent of their observation were transfers.
Dr. Sheehy made this great point: “Observation is an outpatient designation, which implies all services delivered could be done in an outpatient setting. This is totally not the case, which is why observation status is so frustrating.”
Because there is essentially no upside to being put into observation status, it is critically important for you or your advocate to be very assertive when entering the hospital. What actions can you take after you are in the hospital and you are likely in a better mental state to address this problem? Nothing that is likely to work for you.
The imperative is to check your status each day you are in the hospital and remember that it can be changed (from inpatient to observation, or vice versa) at any time by various hospital doctors or officials. Sadly, in many cases a patient may not be informed that they have been in observation status until the discharge process. That is why it is very important to ask the hospital, either through a doctor or nursing staff, what your status is and, if observation, to formally reconsider your case. Ask if there is a hospital committee that could review your status. Definitely ask your own doctor whether they are willing to press your case for inpatient status based on medical factors. In theory, you could appeal observation status with Medicare after you leave the hospital, but that is difficult and few have succeeded.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy makes available a Self Help Packet for Medicare “Observation Status.” This is definitely worth keeping handy and it would be great if hospitals distributed it. This group has an active legal case challenging the government’s policy of allowing hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries to be placed in “observation status,” rather than formally admitting them, and depriving them of their Part A coverage in violation of the Medicare statute and other laws. This group makes this important observation: “Neither the Medicare statute nor the Medicare regulations define observation services. The only definition appears in various CMS manuals.”
What is really needed is action by Congress to eliminate observation status for any overnight stay, but this is unlikely unless many millions of Medicare beneficiaries demand it. The ugly truth is that this observation status was a bureaucratic tactic to reduce Medicare spending. It puts hospitals in the difficult position of putting their patients in a very bad financial situation. In a real sense hospitals are being blackmailed into serving as agents to implement this awful observation policy. A vigorous national campaign by AARP demanding congressional action is needed.
Over the last half century, the public school establishment in America has achieved enormous results, if the intention was to dumb down the population. The term public is archaic, since the current age promotes an internationalist interdependency culture, where the state defines institutional roles and sanctions accepted standards. The public plays virtually no effective role in this process. For this reason the proper term to use is government indoctrination centers. Bringing back the McGuffey Readers as the alternative to the state syllabus of common core is a step in the right direction.Our Dysfunctional Public Education Is No Accident essay lays out the correct standard.
“Education needs to be about teaching the tools, methods and process of “How To Think”. The mission of the instructor is one of developing the intuitive nature of inquiry that is natural in every person. Training the intrinsic urge of curiosity as the means of discriminating and rational thought is the prime goal for the educator. But to achieve this level of tutoring the teacher must be founded in their own understand in logic and analytical thinking. In today’s classroom, social engineering has replaced Aristotle, Locke and Kant with the latest celebrity of multiculturalism.”
The Common Core site attempts to outline the purpose and worthiness of their education standards. Sounds like a noble goal; however, what is the reality?
“As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to define college and career readiness, the Standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.”
Dr. Susan Berry presents a wealth of information and resource links in her article, Common Core Rooted In Math Class Social Justice Indoctrination “While proponents of the Common Core claim that the new standards are focused on “college and career readiness,” more evidence is surfacing that a central purpose of the initiative is social justice and income redistribution indoctrination.” This one example sums up the dilemma.
“Radical Math boasts over 700 lesson plans, articles, charts, books, and websites that cover a wide range of socio-political issues including redistribution of wealth, discrimination against the poor by whites, corporations, banks, etc., and the message that widespread racism against blacks continues in the United States today.”
Now compare this critical appraisal to the lofty mission of math back in the Common Core mission statement. How can this statement below square with the above practice?
“For over a decade, research studies of mathematics education in high-performing countries have pointed to the conclusion that the mathematics curriculum in the United States must become substantially more focused and coherent in order to improve mathematics achievement in this country. To deliver on the promise of common standards, the standards must address the problem of a curriculum that is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” These Standards are a substantial answer to that challenge.”
Integration into a 21th century business and social model is the ultimate intent of the common core objective. Nowhere is there a debate of what kind of future mankind wants or the kind of reality that all human beings are intrinsically part of. Those questions require the study in humanity education and liberal arts training that are quite different from the instruction in algorithm programming.
The world view of this common core inculcation presupposes that society accepts their premises as a fait accompli. Their technocrat approach to instruction demands that authentic education must be marginalized if not outright eliminated. The traditional Christian cosmology has no place in this brave new world. In the article, Common Core’s Negative Impact on Education and Biblical Literacy, explains the destructive nature of this dehumanizing standardization.
“The central organizing theme of the Common Core ELA standards is that study of creative literature must be diminished in favor of nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is that students should be drilled in the types of documents they are more likely to encounter in their entry-level jobs (and make no mistake, Common Core is a workforce-development model, not an education model).
The fundamental problem with the Common Core approach is that, to achieve its job-training goals, it recognizes no difference between one “complex” text and another “complex” text. A great work of literature has value far beyond the complexity of the words used – it allows students to understand the eternal human condition; it allows them to confront human challenges that recur throughout the ages; it teaches empathy, prudence, forgiveness; it transports the readers to places and times not their own. The Common Core ELA standards are, quite simply, indifferent to this type of education. Training, not educating, is their goal. They are not interested in helping students become the people God created them to be; they are interested in creating workers.”
You can just hear the profane condemnation from the American Federation of Teacher and the National Education Association opposing the mere mention of God in their secular temples of perdition. Irony excluded how biblical revelation dare be debated in a non-judgmental culture of relativism. At the heart of the government school establishment is an unending choir of fallen angels that preach their vision of paradise, while demanding ever higher budgets and far greater control over the indoctrination of their impressionable guinea pigs.
America is now a country stuck on stupid, greatly because of this unholy and apocalyptic system that dooms our society. Gee, moving to a common core curriculum has the intent to eliminate the last remnants of independent school boards. Home Schooling is also threatened as the article, What Homeschool Parents Need to Know about the Common Core argues.
“One factor is the century-long effort to nationalize and standardize American education. The standardization efforts have their roots in Dewey, Cubberley, and the schools of education at Stanford and Columbia. They picked up steam in the 1960s and 1970s as the national teachers’ unions gained more power. They strengthened more when President Jimmy Carter fulfilled a promise to the NEA by creating a separate, cabinet-level Department of Education.
The educrats dream of a day when every student in America will receive exactly the same education, using the same textbooks and lesson plans. Those textbooks and lesson plans will, of course, be developed by the best and the brightest, who will pass them down on tablets of stone. The worker bees and drones will be programmed to follow them exactly. This is a nightmare scenario, one which anyone who believes in individual rights, local control, and federalism should oppose at every opportunity. The Common Core Standards become dangerous when they form a stepping stone which helps to move the educrats’ vision forward.”
Top down control always is intended to eradicate the voice of the individual. Under a national coordinated imposition of federal funding, local school districts have become dependent upon the conditional requirements of conformity to keep the money flowing.
So what is the solution? From the Dysfunctional Public Education Is No Accident article.
“Reform is no long possible. A Federal Department of Education hastens central controls for social compliance. At this point, an education free from public schools, has more value than going through the disinformation that is currently being taught. The errors that are learned in childhood are more difficult to overturn, then if they were never acquired in the first place. So what exactly is the advantage in an education under government approved instructors? If you want to reverse the decay in moral aptitude, you must find alternatives for the education of your children.”
Common Core pronouncements sound so nice. In spite of this, the key question is whether their program of study teaches the principles of developing good citizens. Lest we forget, a good citizen is an independent thinking and rationally responsible trained advocate of liberty and moral values. Maintaining and expanding a structure of mindless and obedient state compliance is ridiculous.
Our founding fathers were distinguished, well spoken and skilled in the understanding of human nature. Today’s specimens, hatched from government schools, are chicken-livered dimwits that aspire to the lowest paradigm that a common core can establish. The miserable failure of the taxpayer collective education system is undeniable by any judicious measure. RIP before the entire nation dies.
A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.
1. Mainstream media exists solely to make profit
What´s the purpose of the mainstream media? Saying that the press exists to inform, educate or entertain is like saying Apple corporation´s primary function is to make technology which will enrich our lives. Actually, the mass media industry is the same as any other in a capitalist society: it exists to make profit. Medialens, a British campaigning site which critiques mainstream (or corporate) journalism, quotedbusiness journalist Marjorie Kelly as saying that all corporations, including those dealing with media, exist only to maximize returns to their shareholders. This is, she said, ´the law of the land…universally accepted as a kind of divine, unchallengeable truth´. Without pleasing shareholders and a board of directors, mass media enterprises simply would not exist. And once you understand this, you´ll never watch the news in the same way again.
2. Advertisers dictate content
So how does the pursuit of profit affect the news we consume? Media corporations make the vast majority (typically around 75%) of their profit from advertising, meaning it´s advertisers themselves that dictate content- not journalists, and certainly not consumers. Imagine you are editor of a successful newspaper or TV channel with high circulation or viewing figures. You attract revenue from big brands and multinational corporations such as BP, Monsanto and UAE airlines. How could you then tackle important topics such as climate change, GM food or disastrous oil spills in a way that is both honest to your audience and favorable to your clients? The simple answer is you can´t. This might explain why Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times- sponsored by Goldman Sachs- is so keen todefend the crooked corporation. Andrew Marr, a political correspondent for the BBC, sums up the dilemma in his autobiography: ´The biggest question is whether advertising limits and reshapes the news agenda. It does, of course. It’s hard to make the sums add up when you are kicking the people who write the cheques.´ Enough said…
3. Billionaire tycoons & media monopolies threaten real journalism
The monopolization of the press (fewer individuals or organizations controlling increasing shares of the mass media) is growingyear by year, and this is a grave danger to press ethics and diversity. Media mogul RupertMurdoch´s neo-liberal personal politics are reflected in his 175 newspapers and endorsed by pundits (see Fox news) on the 123 TV channels he owns in the USA alone. Anyone who isn´t worried by this one man´s view of the world being consumed by millions of people across the globe- from the USA to the UK, New Zealand to Asia, Europe to Australia- isn´t thinking hard enough about the consequences. It´s a grotesquely all-encompassing monopoly, leaving no doubt that Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. But as the News International phone hacking scandal showed, he´s certainly not the most honorable or ethical. Neither is AlexanderLebedev, a former KGB spy and politician who bought British newspaper The Independent in 2010. With Lebedev´s fingers in so many pies (the billionaire oligarch is into everything from investment banking to airlines), can we really expect news coverage from this once well-respected publication to continue in the same vein? Obviously not: the paper had always carried a banner on its front page declaring itself ´free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence´, but interestingly this was dropped in September 2011.
4. Corporate press is in bed with the government
Aside from the obvious, one of the most disturbing facts to emerge from Murdoch´s News International phone hacking scandal (background information here ) was the exposure of shady connections between top government officials and press tycoons. During the scandal, and throughout the subsequent Leveson inquiry into British press ethics (or lack of them), we learned of secret meetings, threatsby Murdoch to politicians who didn´t do as he wanted, and that Prime Minister David Cameron has a very close friendship with The Sun´s then editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks. How can journalists do their job of holding politicians to account when they are vacationing together or rubbing shoulders at private dinner parties? Clearly, they don´t intend to. But the support works both ways- Cameron´s government tried to help Murdoch´s son win a bid for BSkyB, while bizarrely, warmongering ex Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch´s daughter Grace. As well as ensuring an overwhelming bias in news coverage and election campaigns, flooding newspapers with cheap and easy articles from unquestioned government sources, and gagging writers from criticizing those in power, these secret connections also account for much of the corporate media´s incessant peddling of the patriotism lie- especially in the lead-up to attacks on other countries. Here´s an interestinganalysis of The New York Times´s coverage of the current Syria situation for example, demonstrating how corporate journalists are failing to reflect public feeling on the issue of a full-scale attack on Assad by the US and its allies.
5. Important stories are overshadowed by trivia
You could be forgiven for assuming that the most interesting part of Edward Snowden´s status as a whistleblower was his plane ride from Hong Kong to Russia, or his lengthy stint waiting in Moscow airport for someone- anyone- to offer him asylum. Because with the exception of The Guardian who published the leaks (read them in fullhere), the media has generally preferred not to focus on Snowden´s damning revelations about freedom and tyranny, but rather on banaltrivia – his personality and background, whether his girlfriend misses him, whether he is actually a Chinese spy, and ahhh, didn´t he remind us all of Where´s Waldo as he flitted across the globe as a wanted fugitive? The same could be said of Bradley Manning´s gender re-assignment, which conveniently overshadowed the enormous injustice of his sentence. And what of Julian Assange? His profile on the globally-respected BBC is dedicated almost entirely to a subtle smearing of character, rather than detailing Wikileaks´s profound impact on our view of the world. In every case, the principal stories are forgotten as our attention, lost in a sea of trivia, is expertly diverted from the real issues at hand: those which invariably, the government wants us to forget.
6. Mainstream media doesn´t ask questions
´Check your sources, check your facts´ are golden rules in journalism 101, but you wouldn´t guess that from reading the mainstream press or watching corporate TV channels. At the time of writing, Obama is beating the war drums over Syria. Following accusations by the US and Britain that Assad was responsible for a nerve gas attack on his own civilians last month, most mainstream newspapers- like the afore-mentioned New York Times- have failed to demand evidence or call for restraint on a full-scale attack. But there are several good reasons why journalists should question the official story. Firstly, British right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail actually ran a news piece back in January this year, publishing leaked emails from a British arms company showing the US was planning a false flag chemical attack on Syria´s civilians. They would then blame it on Assad to gain public support for a subsequent full-scale invasion. The article was hastily deleted but a cached version still exists. Other recent evidence lends support to the unthinkable. It has emerged that the chemicals used to make the nerve gas were indeed shipped from Britain, and German intelligenceinsists Assad was not responsible for the chemical attack. Meanwhile, a hacktivist has come forward with alleged evidence of US intelligence agencies´ involvement in the massacre (download it for yourself here ), with a growing body of evidence suggesting this vile plot was hatched by Western powers. Never overlook the corporate media´s ties to big business and big government before accepting what you are told- because if journalism is dead, you have a right and a duty to ask your own questions.
7. Corporate journalists hate real journalists
Sirota rightly points out the irony of this: ´Here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.´ Sirota goes on to note various examples of what he calls the ´Journalists against Journalism club´, and gives severalexamples of how The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has been attacked by the corporate press for publishing Snowden´s leaks. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest, while NBC’s David Gregory´s declared that Greenwald has ´aided and abetted Snowden´. As for the question of whether journalists can indeed be outspoken, Sirota accurately notes that it all depends on whether their opinions serve or challenge the status quo, and goes on to list the hypocrisy of Greenwald´s critics in depth: ´Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. (The Washington Post´s David) Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. (The Washington Post´s Bob) Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. (The Atlantic´s Jeffrey) Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. (The New York Times´s Thomas) Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstated assumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity.´
8. Bad news sells, good news is censored, and celebrity gossip trumps important issues
It´s sad but true: bad news really does sell more newspapers. But why? Are we really so pessimistic? Do we relish the suffering of others? Are we secretly glad that something terrible happened to someone else, not us? Reading the corporate press as an alien visiting Earth you might assume so. Generally, news coverage is sensationalist and depressing as hell, with so many pages dedicated to murder, rape and pedophilia and yet none to the billions of good deeds and amazingly inspirational movements taking place every minute of every day all over the planet. But the reasons we consume bad news are perfectly logical. In times of harmony and peace, people simply don´t feel the need to educate themselves as much as they do in times of crises. That´s good news for anyone beginning to despair that humans are apathetic, hateful and dumb, and it could even be argued that this sobering and simple fact is a great incentive for the mass media industry to do something worthwhile. They could start offering the positive and hopeful angle for a change. They could use dark periods of increased public interest to convey a message of peace and justice. They could reflect humanity´s desire for solutions and our urgent concerns for the environment. They could act as the voice of a global population who has had enough of violence and lies to campaign for transparency, equality, freedom, truth, and real democracy. Would that sell newspapers? I think so. They could even hold a few politicians to account on behalf of the people, wouldn´t that be something? But for the foreseeable future, it´s likely the corporate press will just distract our attention with another picture of Rhianna´s butt, another rumor about Justin Bieber´s coke habit, or another article about Kim Kardashian (who is she again?) wearing perspex heels with swollen ankles while pregnant. Who cares about the missing$21 trillion, what was she thinking?
9. Whoever controls language controls the population
Have you read George Orwell´s classic novel1984 yet? It´s become a clichéd reference in today´s dystopia, that´s true, but with good reason. There are many- too many- parallels between Orwell´s dark imaginary future and our current reality, but one important part of his vision concerned language. Orwell coined the word ´Newspeak´ to describe a simplistic version of the English language with the aim of limiting free thought on issues that would challenge the status quo (creativity, peace, and individualism for example). The concept of Newspeak includes what Orwell called ´DoubleThink´- how language is made ambiguous or even inverted to convey the opposite of what is true. In his book, the Ministry of War is known as the Ministry of Love, for example, while the Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda and entertainment. Sound familiar yet? Another book that delves into this topic deeper is Unspeak, a must-read for anyone interested in language and power and specifically how words are distorted for political ends. Terms such as ´peace keeping missiles´, ´extremists´ and ´no-fly zones´, weapons being referred to as ´assets´, or misleading business euphemisms such as ´downsizing´ for redundancy and ´sunset´ for termination- these, and hundreds of other examples, demonstrate how powerful language can be. In a world of growing corporate media monopolization, those who wield this power can manipulate words and therefore public reaction, to encourage compliance, uphold the status quo, or provoke fear.
10. Freedom of the press no longer exists
The only press that is currently free (at least for now) is the independent publication with no corporate advertisers, board of directors, shareholders or CEOs. Details of how the state has redefined journalism are noted here and are mentioned in #7, but the best recent example would be the government´s treatment of The Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks. As a side note, it´s possible this paper plays us as well as any other- The Guardian Media Group isn´t small fry, after all. But on the other hand- bearing in mind points 1 to 9- why should we find it hard to believe that after the NSA files were published, editor Alan Rusbridge wastold by the powers that be ´you´ve had your fun, now return the files´, that government officials stormed his newsroom and smashed up hard drives, or that Greenwald´s partner David Miranda wasdetained for 9 hours in a London airport under the Terrorism Act as he delivered documents related to the columnist´s story? Journalism, Alan Rusbridge lamented, ´may be facing a kind of existential threat.´ As CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wrote: ‘We have few princes and earls today, but we surely have their modern-day equivalents in the very wealthy who seek to manage the news, make unsavory facts disappear and elect representatives who are in service to their own economic and social agenda… The “free press” is no longer a check on power. It has instead become part of the power apparatus itself.’
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and a freelance feature writer for various publications on society, activism and other topics. You can read more of her stuff here.
Source: True Activist
It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the Truth and expose lies. — Noam Chomsky.
My book, The Wizards of Ozymandias, was dedicated “To the memory and spirit of Sophie and Hans Scholl and the White Rose, who reminded us what it means to be civilized.” These wonderful young people — most in their teens or twenties — lived in Germany during the Hitler regime, and spent much of their time writing and distributing leaflets exposing and criticizing the policies and practices of the Nazi state. They were found out; brought to trial; found guilty of treason, the demoralization of the troops, and abetting the enemy, and summarily beheaded. Sophie’s Gestapo interrogator raises the same arguments one hears directed against such modern speakers of truth as Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and others. Those whose moral and intellectual standards can rise no higher than to whine “the law is the law,” would do well to consider the exchange between Sophie and her prosecutor. The Nazi functionary declares: “Without law, there is no order. What can we rely on if not the law?” Sophie responds: “Your conscience. Laws change. Conscience doesn’t.”
Our Western culture is in a state of total collapse. Our institutionalized world is increasingly hostile to any utterances of truth that would be upsetting to the status quo. The mainstream media and most of academia long ago gave themselves over to propagandizing on behalf of defending and/or enhancing the coercive power structure of the state. When war policies are under discussion, retired Army generals or officials from “think-tanks” funded by the national defense industry, are trotted out to “debate” such non-issues as how many troops to send in, who to attack, etc., etc., all to maintain the pretense of having a “fully-informed” public. But when was the last time you saw a Robert Higgs, Noam Chomsky, Lew Rockwell, Amy Goodman, Justin Raimondo, Angela Keaton, Karen Kwiatkowski, Chris Hedges, or other critic of the war system allowed to raise the kinds of questions that are not supposed to be asked in this best of all possible worlds? Do you recall the insult to human intelligence perpetrated by the GOP (Grand Old Pettifoggers) in its efforts to prevent Ron Paul from expressing his contrary views?
Noam Chomsky’s above quote doesn’t go far enough: it is the responsibility of all thinking people — not just so-called “intellectuals” — to speak the truth and to expose lies! To this end, increasing numbers of people understand that the sources to whom they have been conditioned to look for truth, analysis, and understanding, have largely failed in their roles. To put the proposition more frankly: more and more people have grasped the fact that the free flow of information is disruptive of the interests of the institutional order, whose established position depends upon suppressing or destroying all evidence of the lies, conflicts, contradictions, and destructive nature upon which its primacy depends. This is why so much of the media and academia are peopled with those unable or unwilling to shed light on the dysfunctional nature of the well-ordered madness of the world; men and women who remain content to tread water at the shallow end of the human gene pool!
The political establishment has implicitly embraced the mindset of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels:
The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.
This is why the state is so threatened by such modern technologies as the Internet, as well as by the “whistleblowers” who insist on exposing the state’s embarrassing truths to the general public. It is also why the classic The Emperor’s New Clothes needs to be read to every child — as well, perhaps, to adults.
Cable news channels continue providing platforms for those who remind us that the whistleblowers “broke the law,” and need to be punished. They recite their bromides with the kind of self-assurance that comes from the delusion that they are actually saying something profound. I find it particularly amusing to hear such babbling coming from lawyers who ought to know that all laws are meant to be broken. Imagine what would happen if every legal dictate were to be obeyed by everyone: no speeding or reckless driving; no illegal drug use; no murders, rapes, or robberies; no discriminatory hiring practices; no zoning violations; etc. What would be the likely consequences? Men and women might then begin to ask the kinds of questions the state could not afford to have asked: why do we need the police, or courts, or prisons? In the world of realpolitik, those who are driven not by a need for social order, but by the ambition for coercive power over their neighbors, would have to dream up new “wrongs” to be policed. The mania that underlies political programs based on “climate change” is just one example of how those who want power over others must invent more and more “conflicts” with which to rationalize their coercive ambitions. It is this sense that Edmund Burke had in mind when he characterized lawyers as “the fomenters and conductors of the petty wars of village vexation.” The habit is not confined to lawyers!
This also explains Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state.” The war system — whose schemes and chicanery the whistleblowers have been exposing — depends upon the kinds of endless conflicts with the rest of the world that will cause Boobus Americanus to part with his liberty, wealth, and life.
Sophie and Hans Scholl and their White Rose friends had minds capable of distinguishing what was legal and what was right, a skill that depends upon separating what is popular from what is true. Sophie’s insights were reflected, years later, in Hannah Arendt’s observation: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions, but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
Butler Shaffer teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, andBoundaries of Order. His latest book is The Wizards of Ozymandias.
Source: Butler Shaffer | LewRockwell.com
The Legend of “Nostradamus, Jr.” continues…
Most predictions about the future are risky attempts at guessing. If one is fortunate, they come across a clairvoyant, who has a long established record of forecasting political prospects. In the long tradition of prognostication, by the one and only, Nostradamus, Jr., William B. Kaliher presents his 2014 prophecy. The yearly feature on the EtherZone site produced a loyal following of eager future deprived junkies. Taking pleasure in continuing this esteem exercise in sarcasm, Stuck on Stupid offers commentary on a sample of these mystic omens, which can be found on “Nostradamus, Jr.” Kaliher’s Annual Top 101 Predictions for 2014
10. A new danger this year will be Progressive heads unexpectedly exploding. Study of the syndrome will reveal after mistakenly reading a reputable publication, damaged and unused synapses in Progressives will heal sufficiently to realize even after six years imitating a president, Obama’s resume and accomplishments still don’t measure up to superwoman Sarah Palin.
Such an admission that NeoCon Palin has more accomplishments means there is an antidote to government school brainwashing.
14. Communist Mijail Gorbachov will be recognized as more enlightened than Abraham Lincoln for allowing bullied states to secede.
The realization of self-determination impacts Europe, while still unknown in the Disunited States of Amerika.
18. The original Birthers, the Hillary Clinton camp, will feed more information to their front man Donald Trump to find the grave of the real Barry Bin Hussein Obama who was born dead.
When the CIA creates one of their own Manchurian Candidate’s they better use MI6 to forge the documents.
20. Quivering Chris “Fatty” Matthews, will admit the Obama administration is the most corrupt in American history, but insist Obama is so sexy it’s no wonder the media overlooked his failures.
MSNBC casting couch requires an interview with Bill Gates and a test of how far the Feeling and Thrill Goes up the Leg.
23. Facing questioning on her failures concerning the Benghazi disgrace America’s favorite crone, H. Rodham Clinton, will harken back to her infamous Selma days, and employ her “colored voice” in an effort to claim the Senators questioning her are racist.
When under attack the best defense is a rally of all the Boyz n da Hood.
25. Newt Gingrich will change parties and be re-elected to the House as a Congressman from New Jersey.
Closet DeomcoRATS strip off their GOP garb and get down to their real roots.
27. Eric Holder’s, of Fast & Furious shame, next false flag operation in Mexico will involve sending the drug cartels 15,000 automatic rifles as well as an undetermined amount of anti-personnel and anti-tank weaponry.
Preparing for the final invasion of the borders requires the deployment of the heavy infantry.
39. Progressives and their lackeys will fail to understand why Conservatives find it hilarious the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street operation was underwritten by corporate offices on Wall Street.
The grunts that camp out to protest the international bankers are collecting their sustenance from debit cards.
44. Illegal alien and famed American clown, Barack Hussein Obama, will handle the Iranian nuclear crisis by sending Chicago Community Organizers, commanded by dingle-berry-eating Janeane Garofalo, to pow-wow with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Chicago outfit will make a deal that they can’t refuse. Just ship some of the same nuke fuel that previously went to Israel.
45. When Hillary Clinton finally sobers up and recovers from her, (ha-ha-hee-hee-hee), concussion to testify concerning the Benghazi disgrace, she will claim the failure was because her security man, Craig Livingston, of Filegate fame, wasn’t on the job.
The queen of mean never gets dirty when a Mr. Clean crew is on duty. In this case, they were in rehab.
46. Liberal/Progressive/Democrats will be so embarrassed over being played for fools and buying snake oil salesman Albert “Carbon Footprint” Gore’s “man-made Global Warming” farce; he will no longer feel safe in England.
Brits will disclose that Gore is the programmer of the NSA information leak that exposed the global warming hockey stick.
48. It will be revealed Chucky “Sanctimonious” Schumer, Democrat, N.Y., suffered bouts of depression because 193 fellow Progressives beat him for television face time to decry the second amendment before the blood dried after the Connecticut school shootings.
Schumer’s press agent gets him a booking on the spin off the biggest loser for “POLS”.
51. Chinese diplomats will defend North Korea and the sanity of former leader and world class golfer, Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong-un, explaining, “With Obama in office the Jong’s aren’t the craziest leaders around. They’re actually reasonable and stable in comparison.”
Jong addresses the UN and condemns Obama for crimes against humanity.
61. Obama will confuse opponents about the tax money his thirty-plus czars take from the poor via the public trough by naming Mijail Gorbachov as the first non-Marxist in the group.
Twitter posts the first news that an IPO is ready from the bankrupt TARP interests to refloat their operations.
65. Satan’s more evil son,108 year-old Nazi George Soros, will be given command of both Obama’s first armed FEMA brown-shirt graduates http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/10/federal-goverment-graduates-first-class-of-homeland-youths/ and their armored personnel detachment.
The neo-Stasi brigade infiltrates resisting neighborhood to enforce DNA collection.
71. Democrat Party fact-falsification operation, Snopes, will deny the media quit covering Darfur, homelessness, Club Gitmo and environmental problems after Mr. Obama’s election.
Politico and the Huffington Post win pulitzer prizes for blaming Bush for ongoing Obama decisions.
72. Caring Liberals, (are there any other kind?) will band together to discover what evil is preventing tax escape artist Warren Buffet, from voluntarily and patriotically paying more taxes.
Buffet announces that Berkshire Hathaway invested into underwriting the next cycle of Democrat candidates.
80. Progressives will quit their war on Christmas when new birth questions force Obama sycophants to claim Barry was born in a manger.
Valerie Jarrett heads up the acquisitions of the CTN, TBN and the TCT networks to facilitate an orderly transition into the Church of Obama.
87. The DNC will give a special award of merit to John Boehner for his work in passing Democrat legislation.
Boehner get a CNN gig now that Gingrich joined the Democratic Party.
92. By June over half the American population will think Vladimir Putin cares more about American democracy than the administration.
Inquiries begin to see if a foreign born can become U.S. President.
95. Joe Biden will refer to the Prez using the “N” word and fellow liberals will justify his racist remark by claiming Biden has grown in office.
Obama claims he has matured as a white in office and is now under attack by his former brothers.
96. Some liberal Democrats will be removed from management positions in the Republican National Committee.
The GOP big tent collapses as a failure.
100. Barry Obama will set new records funding Green companies, including Alaskan Palm Orchards, Ltd., Arizona Cactus From South Georgia Swampland, Inc., Sliced & Diced Rare Birds of Yet-More Wind Propellers, Corp., owned by friends and political allies.
Obama reaches out to Gore to fund his retirement and provide the ex-VP with protection.
This list was selected as the tame examples. If you are daring, read the entire 101 items. A serious analysis and critical review of politics is mostly ignored by the general public. The popular culture is made up of people who cannot learn, of fools who repeat their mistakes time and again, and persons who constantly screw up.
The art in satire varies with the source and even more with the audience. Mr. Kaliher’s perspective may seem twisted to an apologist for the establishment. It might seem downright hostile to the statist, who places trust in government. However, the continual absurdity, year after year, just grows.
Both in the irony of the illustrations and in the intensity of the deranged circumstances, what comes out of the political class of illusionists, is even more frightening. Truth is stranger than fiction. Yet the refusal to admit the con game that is played on citizens is the primary reason that it never ends.
Accepting a corrupt system as normal or inevitable is defeatist to the core. Each generation of public officials move closer to act as irrelevant puppets and lap dog administers for the dictates of perverted elites. Is there humor in this act or is it beyond the abilities of the system to provide a correcting mechanism to reverse the unwavering descent into the ridiculous.
So what are the reasonable expectations for 2014? Will the Republicans take the Senate? Will an amnesty immigration bill pass? Or will the administration find a magic medicine to cure Obamacare? The score card usually misses the final outcome of the game.
When drawn together, all the Nostradamus, Jr. Predictions for the last ten years, the picture seems far more enlightening than entertaining. The sorry state of affairs, when considered as a continual trend towards a loss in quality of life, is the only conclusion possible. Only a lazy meathead refuses to face the facts and adjust behavior when the seer speaks.
“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you cannot face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says It.” – Malcolm X
I have been reading political commentary on Black Agenda Report (BAR) regularly of late. The site, which purveys a black leftist perspective, regularly excoriates President Obama, as well they should. BAR has become a trusted source in my quest to understand history and current events. This is the home of the real left, not the pseudo left that pervades the corporate airwaves masquerading as champions of equality. Here, no one is paying homage to Obama or calling him a liberal or progressive simply because he is a black democrat. No one is calling him a socialist, either. The political commentators at BAR hold Obama to the same standard to which they held George W. Bush and his fascist predecessors.
Most of the self-proclaimed liberals who castigated Bush and Cheney for their neoconservative polices are giving Obama, whose polices are no less regressive or extreme than those of his precursors, a free ride. This is because the president belongs to the Democratic Party, which continues to be associated with traditional liberalism in the minds of contemporary faux progressives and liberals, rather than the neoliberalism that defines its policies.
Those who continue to support Obama and his backsliding pro-corporate regime obviously have no conception about what classical liberalism and progressivism are. They are at least half a century behind the times.
Although I may lack the political acumen to concisely define terms such as liberalism, progressivism, and leftist, which are somewhat subjective anyway, it is apparent to me that neoliberalism, the form of liberalism that is actually practiced by today’s Democratic Party, bears much in common with the neoconservatism that is associated with contemporary Republicans. There is nothing progressive about either ideology, and nothing in them that is beneficial to workers. To call Obama a liberal or a socialist, as so many people do, is beyond farcical. It strains one’s credulity to the breaking point.
I distrust Barack Obama for the same reasons that I spurn George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Clintons, and any other war mongering capitalist. My criticism has nothing to do with race or gender. It stems from ideological differences, class conflict, and radically dissimilar values from the ruling clique.
Among some black folk, charges of racism are leveled against any white folks who criticize the black president in the same way that charges of anti-Semitism are used against anyone who is critical of Israel’s Zionist polices of apartheid that, with the aid of the U.S., are being carried out against the Palestinians. This is not to deny the racism that is directed against the president. It is to philosophically and morally disassociate myself from any and all groups of white supremacists engaged in bigotry.
If a policy is morally reprehensible and unjust, just people have a moral obligation to criticize it, regardless of who is responsible for formulating and enacting such policies. Every socially conscious human being has an ethical responsibility to take action against criminal government or any corporation that is harming one’s community, or for that matter, the planet.
From my perspective, BAR and WPFW’s Jared Ball are ethically consistent and accurate in their critiques of Barack Obama and American capitalism. These venerable warriors are true leftists who do not compromise their principles for political expediency, cost them what it may.
The virtually defunct radical left was once a formidable and organized political force in the U.S. Today’s leftists are treated like pariahs by the pseudo left and its neocon brethren. Radical leftists pose a viable threat to the established orthodoxy. Anyone who refuses to carry forth the performative role assigned to them by the dominant culture is a threat to those in power. As true combatants for justice, today’s leftwing dissidents are worthy of being associated with iconic revolutionaries like Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, and Mumia Abu Jamal, all of whom happen to be black.
By contrast, Barack Obama, who mouths an endless stream of pseudo liberal platitudes, is an unabashed disciple of Milton Friedman and the market fundamentalism he revered. This identifies the president as a corporate fascist and thus a promoter of inequality. It allies him with America’s ruling class. Obama and his supporters should not be identified in any way, shape or form with thereal left. Whatever minutia one uses to differentiate between contemporary neoliberals and neoconservatives is akin to splitting hairs.
The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are not mortal enemies, as portrayed in the corporate media; they are in collusion against the world’s working class and the poor. Together, they are raping and pillaging the Earth Mother and repressing workers through economic violence and imposed austerity. Like costumed wrestlers performing on television, the acrimony is not real; it is vitriolic political theater, an enthralling puppet show for diehard believers.
We must somehow move beyond party politics, beyond the simplicity of liberal versus conservative dichotomy, beyond left against right, and see things as they really are rather than as we wish them to be.
Voting doesn’t change anything in a system flush with corporate money. The structures that put the money into politics cannot be used to extract it. Without proportional representation or corporate money, third parties are not a viable option in state and federal elections. They are just another distraction from reality, a mild form of symbolic protest. Voting for justice does nothing to actually attain it. Direct action directly applied to a problem offers the best hope for revolutionary change.
Conversely, political dualism keeps us fighting the wrong people. It has us believing in people and institutions that do not promote justice and do us harm. These institutions are not what they purport to be. They are at best a mirage; something that appears real but only exists in the mind of the beholder.
Belief in the American Dream and perverted systems of power as a means to justice provides a method for directing and cajoling the masses to do the biding of the super-wealthy and all-powerful corporate state. Faith, hope, and belief in phony people and bogus institutions function as a form of mass hypnosis that keeps the people from organizing in class struggle against a common oppressor—the capitalist system.
Despite reams of contradictory historical evidence, most people in the U.S. continue to associate democracy with capitalism. It is reckless of us to allow anyone to use these terms interchangeably without contesting them at every opportunity. Let me be clear: Democracy is the antithesis of capitalism! But capitalism is the product the U.S. government, the Pentagon, and the commercial media are marketing to us as democracy. And thus the inequality gap, the disparity between rich and poor, is growing wider rather than shrinking.
The nemesis of all working people, regardless of where they live or their political affiliation, is capitalism and its linear, hierarchal, male-dominated power structures. This is why we must have a truthful critique of capitalism and patriarchy and create alternatives that promote the public wellbeing above corporate profits. Many promising alternatives, such as Professor Richard Wolff’s Worker Self-Directed Enterprise (http://www.democracyatwork.info), already exist.
When the richest and most powerful people on earth, the primary beneficiaries of capitalism, invest so many resources into demonizing and subverting the writings of one man—Karl Marx—and the various economic and philosophic alternatives to capitalism, inquisitive minds want to know why. There are elements of Marxism that makes the power elite quake in their shoes. This is what led me to read Marx years ago. I have been reading him ever since.
Marx has helped me to comprehend why capitalists fear and loathe him. Deep down, they know that he was right. If workers understood capitalism from a Marxist perspective, not one in ten thousand would voluntarily accept their performative role in this exploitative economic system. There would be widespread conflict and social upheaval. There would be global revolution. The power elite spends trillions of dollars to maintain the façade of capitalism as a manifestation of democracy. In fact, I would argue that nothing could be more opposed to democracy than American capitalism.
The key point to understand is that capitalism, a system based upon the ruthless exploitation and commodification of workers and the relentless rape of our Earth Mother, stifles and represses democracy. Capitalists abhor all forms of egalitarianism. Marx embraced them. The mere possibility of an empowered work force troubles the capitalist’s sleep, as did the possibility of slave rebellion, albeit it small, distress the slaveholder.
Consider the vitriol, not to mention counter revolutionary forces that are levied against the alternatives to capitalism. What is their source? Who but wealthy capitalists fund America’s propaganda apparatus? Working people in the U.S. are conditioned to reflexively recoil against ideas they do not understand. They are psychologically programmed to detest that which could potentially set them free. American workers are led to believe that economic servitude and wage slavery is freedom.
Why does a government that calls itself a democracy systemically spy on its citizens? Why does it punish its whistle blowers but materially reward the vilest white-collar criminals? Why is the majority of the U.S. budget spent on funding an insatiable war machine? Why do we raise classrooms of meat puppets rather than critical thinkers and political dissidents? It is all done for the benefit of capitalists at the expense of society.
It is by these means that capitalism survives and spreads like an aggressive malignancy to every organ of the planet. Furthermore, the majority of the wealth produced by labor is subverted to prop up the capitalist system and to indoctrinate and oppress the worker. To the detriment of us all, freethinking and critical analysis are discouraged and often reprimanded in academia and elsewhere. And thus hundreds of millions of human beings are transformed into herd animals that are led to slaughter in the military and the world’s sweat shops. We celebrate our freedom and patriotism on our march to the scalding pots, singing “God Bless America.” There is no fight in us. We go too quietly and too obediently into the good night of eternity.
Yet, despite everything and the repressive weight of history, Americans still have a propensity to believe in myths and fairy tales. Hope and faith in phony leaders and bogus institutions keep us servile and docile. Irrational faith requires nothing from us. Delusion has become the norm because too many of us are incapable of grappling with reality. We can and must do better than capitalism or we are doomed to an ignominious fate.
In his book “Truth and Transformation” Indian Christian Vishal Mangalwadi tells of the yearly journey to the Ganges River by thousands of low class Hindus. Every year the priests rob them of their money and treat them despitefully. In spite of the harsh treatment they continue to return each year. They return because they believe the Ganges River has healing qualities. Belief, even irrational belief, is powerful and difficult to correct
Freedom for the masses was a product of particular Christianity. It was not created by Biblically based expository preaching. Nothing wrong with expository preaching but it will not maintain or retrieve freedom. It cannot be produced through evangelism or through electing Christian men and women to public office. It is not a product of obedience to the Constitution or of the election of political parties.
World history overflows with exploitation of the masses by individuals with superior power. Karl Marx wrote famously and extensively about the perennial class struggle in the Communist Manifesto. He was right about the struggle but hopelessly wrong about the solution.
I am not a theologian but I have been writing about the condition of Christianity for over a decade. It is not only a tragedy for Christians but an affront to the triune God of All Creation that His world has become a humanistic cesspool.
Apathy is rampant in the United States of America. Many of our citizens feel helpless. They do not know how to fight the evil juggernaut. Some believe they should enjoy themselves today because tomorrow they may die; they use our fleeting freedom selfishly. Others like the political game and stubbornly work to get promising candidates elected. Some buy guns and accumulate food in order to survive the coming chaos. A few wealthy citizens spend millions of dollars constructing underground homes that could sustain them in luxury for long periods. Millions of Evangelical Christians actually support the destruction of our nation with hope that Jesus will come again soon. Like the Hindus belief in the Ganges, with feckless abandon they follow a false doctrine.
We are living in an era built on a foundation of scurrilous mendacity. While our church leaders work to convert pagans into organizations that are both heretical and useless, our news is both censored and distorted, our entertainment supports evil practices, and our elected representatives conduct their affairs on false premises with devious intent. All of this has come about because we have allowed sinful human beings to accumulate unaccountable power.
I have been a Christian for over fifty years. When God rescued me I hoped that our society would be changed by the Charismatic revival I was born into. Early on, I thought that the love Christians showed for each other might attract secular society and that our institutions would be transformed by the Love of God. I expected good fruit. This hope was shattered when Christians claimed to love God but acted no different than their secular neighbors. Leadership was emphasized and competition for advancement was fierce. Feelings were hurt, people left and churches split. God’s shepherds seemed to care more for the size of their church and the number of their followers than for the redeeming power of God’s love. Sermons were designed to attract members by promising “growth” and “blessing”. Like the story that Nero fiddled while Rome was burning, Christian Churches entertained their people with healing, tongues, and emotional music while America was being destroyed.
Much of this tragic lethargy was a result of a widespread conviction that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. The Biblical warning that no one can know the time was ignored and many leaders agreed He was “coming soon” and some actually predicted exact dates. This disobedient foolishness marred the reputation of the Church and replaced the confrontation that might have turned the secular tide. The excitement helped grow some churches but it created slovenly Christians and heretical churches.
Now, more than a decade into the Twenty First Century, Our Savior has tarried, our nation is corrupt, and we are on the verge of tyranny. The voice of concern can be heard but Christians have strayed so far from the Truth that remedies evade them.
A secular war is being waged against Christianity and the secular army is winning. Make no mistake it is a religious war and the time has come for Christians to wake up and begin to use the weapons God has provided.
Christians are called to live under a different government. We have a King, his name is Jesus. He was crowned King by His Father and given the responsibility to reign over the world. Christians will begin to fight in the battle for control of the world when they bow before their King and obey his Commandments. Let me repeat: Freedom will not be produced by Biblically based expository preaching nor will it come through evangelism or through electing Christian men and women to public office. It is not a product of obedience to the Constitution or of the election of particular political parties! Freedom is a product of the Kingship of Jesus and obedience to His Commandments.
King Jesus contends with the deification of humanity. Human rule is despotic because all human beings are sinners. They are incapable of bringing consistent righteousness to leadership. Leaders who fail to work under the legal standards of the Bible will eventually produce oppressive government. Freedom comes from obedience to God’s Law by both rulers and ruled.
Kingless Christianity produces no challenge to rampant humanism. When humanists enthrone man as king, Dispensational Christians are theologically without remedy and man’s dominion continues to grow. When man’s dominion is challenged by King Jesus and His Law Word, order, peace, prosperity, and blessing present a challenge to the disorder, war, poverty, and fear of secular humanistic tyranny.
The hour is late and the task is difficult. American churches are not used to seeing themselves as servants to King Jesus and proponents of God’s Law. Church entertainment must be replaced by preaching on obedience and sacrifice. Christians must begin to serve their King as soldiers in the war against evil.
Guns are useful in protecting ones family but they are useless in the battle for dominion. The later conflict is spiritual and the model is Jesus and the blood of the Saints who have previously sacrificed their lives that the Gospel might grow and flourish.
My wife Patty and I thank God for each peaceful day. We thank Him that we are living in a nation that still enjoys the embers of Christian peace and freedom. Sunday mornings are tranquil. Traffic is light and there is a noticeable calm. The Sabbath of the God of the Bible is the source of that calm.
Americans are a generous people. They are willing to sacrifice their wealth and their time to help those less fortunate. Altruism is a result of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are still honest people in our nation. Lost wallets are still returned with money left in them – not always but often. Honesty is an ember of Christianity.
In the United States of America we have grown up in a culture that is kind and thoughtful. Often we have not realized that this gentleness is a result of the Christian religion. In spite of many useless wars Western civilization has maintained a conscience that can occasionally define evil.
Today we are watching the rapid disappearance of gentility. Torture has become acceptable in high circles of our government. Murder and theft have become regular fare on our television screen. Chivalry is long gone and many women seek to overpower men. Our policemen have become tyrannical bullies who regularly beat citizens into submission. While our armies murder millions of innocent civilians abroad, at home we murder millions of our children by abortion. Instead of respecting and caring for our elderly government panels will soon decide when they should die. Actions that were unspeakable in more refined times are now accepted and promoted. Shame has become anachronistic!
It is the duty of our churches to confront evil. Like John the Baptist, the confrontation must be specific and personal. Righteousness is not a product of physical force but of spiritual victory. That victory required the life of our Savior and the lives of millions of saints who died so the Gospel might be sustained into our time. We must be willing to make the same sacrifice.
The blessed event of the Second Coming must be left to God. We are in the midst of a war and it is time to fight. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and judges the world. He is the King and we are His subjects. King Jesus is our Commander. Christians live in a different nation with a different ruler. We live by His law and seek to bring the world under His Kingship. Our duty is to preserve the pure Christian Gospel in its best historic form.
Evangelism is not the complete Gospel of Jesus Christ nor is praise and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life changing, society changing, and world changing. It is spiritual but it is also governmental. King Jesus rules over His creation and His people obey His commandments. Only when His rule is established will peace and prosperity return to the world.
The freedom we have enjoyed in the United States of America is a product of Christian insistence that both rulers and ruled must live and act according to the Law of God. Samuel Rutherford wrote Lex Rex (The Law is King). He was condemned to death for challenging the divine rule of kings but died before he was indicted. God’s Law is King. His Law requires our obedience. When an evil nation encodes evil law, God’s people must disobey that law.
The entire world is now in danger of coming under the humanistic rule of powerful, ambitious men. It is the duty of The Church of Jesus Christ to challenge their authority. God seeks Christian leaders who are willing to lay down their lives in the battle.
We need a new Christian church that understands the nature of the battle and is willing to commit itself to victory. A church properly ordered cannot lose for God is on our side!
“This century has seen the moral paralysis of men and nations. The crisis will not go away automatically; no historical pendulum swings men and nations back to health when they are wilfully committing suicide. The crisis deepens daily, and the popular solutions are more and more ridiculous and inane. We have bought disaster; we will have nothing unless we turn to God’s law and way.” R. J. Rushdoony, “Numbers” Pg 214
In March of 1836, a young man of twenty-three years of age took his sword out of its scabbard and drew a line in the sand in front of an old mission outside of San Antonio, Texas, and called on the men defending that mission who were willing to stay on the ramparts and face an opposing army more than ten times their number to signify their commitment by stepping across the line. Of course, the young man was William Barrett Travis and the old mission was the Alamo. He could not have known it then, but Travis’ line in the sand would forever become the benchmark by which all future acts of commitment would be measured. In a mystical way, but, then again, in very real way, Travis’ line in the sand is being drawn again. Oh, it may not be a line in dirt drawn by the point of a sword; it is a line in the hearts of men being drawn by the Spirit of God.
My last three columns (not including the column promoting THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS) generated more responses than any three columns I have ever written, and I have been writing this column for some fifteen years. At first, the responses were mostly negative and often vitriolic. But this past week, responses have been over 90% positive and very enthusiastic. I am confident that the manner in which these columns have brought out intense emotion and determination on both sides is a microcosm of what is happening nationally. A line in the sand for freedom is being drawn once again.
This line in the sand for freedom is separating people in a major way. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In the same way that God commanded Abram to separate from his home and kin, so, too, the Spirit of God is separating people many times from their friends, their neighbors, their kinfolk, and, yes, their church families. I seem to recall that during the period of the early church, the conflict of principle forever separated the apostles Paul and Silas. And during America’s War for Independence, the conflict of principle separated Benjamin Franklin and his son William–as it did tens of thousands of others.
Perhaps not since the days of Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, et al., have Americans been forced to deal–intellectually, reasonably, emotionally, volitionally, and spiritually–with the fundamental issues of liberty as we are being forced to do today. For way too long, Americans have taken freedom for granted. For way too long, our educational and religious institutions (not to mention our homes) have not taught the fundamental principles of liberty. This negligence has brought our country to the brink of oppression and despotism. And, just as was the case in Colonial America, a line in the sand for freedom is being drawn in the hearts of men.
This internal line in the sand is being drawn irrespective of a person’s education, temperament, upbringing, intelligence, or faith. While some men seem to be content to live under the heel of governmental oppression, many others have an innate thirst for freedom that all of the armies in the world cannot quench.
In truth, the thirst for freedom is part of Natural Law. A horse is not broken without a fight; a tiger or lion will pace its cage as long as it can walk looking for an avenue of escape; a bird will fly around its cage ten thousand times looking for an opening to return to the sky. Yes, animals can be broken–and so can be some men, unfortunately. But the innate desire for freedom is born in the soul of every man.
However, the desire for comfort, ease, and material pleasure is a handsome tempter that many people find more attractive than the harsh and weather-torn face of liberty. Plus, the further liberty slips out of view, the more vague the memory of it becomes. And before we realize it, the face of liberty is only seen in the irrelevant relics of the songs and statues of history. But it is exactly at this point that the Spirit of God begins to renew in the hearts of men the Natural thirst for liberty. And that is precisely what is happening now.
All over America, and, yes, all over the world, people’s hearts are beating fast for freedom. I am receiving thousands of letters and emails from people all over the globe. Unfortunately for many of these people, they do not live in a country in which the governmental and political foundation and structure is conducive to the reclamation of liberty. But in the United States, it is not a matter of government; it is a matter of will. Do the American people yet have the will to reclaim liberty?
While it would appear that the majority of today’s Americans have allowed ignorance, materialism, and false Bible teaching regarding the principles of liberty to suppress their love of liberty, I am absolutely convinced that the spirit of liberty is swelling in the hearts of teeming millions of people. Highly educated and high school dropouts, affluent and average, Christians and unchurched, men and women, young and old: their hearts are ablaze with the love of liberty. And they are no longer content to surround themselves with those who would allow the chains of servitude to be clamped around their necks.
Are we patriots or loyalists? That question had to be answered by every man and woman in Colonial America. The same question must be answered by every American today. Are we going to bravely fight for the principles of liberty as did our patriot forebears, or are we going to be loyal to a corrupt and tyrannical system that is literally choking the life out of our freedoms? And how each of us answers that question will determine the direction and destination of our lives and futures.
The freedom to separate is a Natural right. Forced union is not a union at all; it is enslavement. The current world and U.S. maps are testimonies to the right of Natural separation. Pat Buchanan recently wrote:
“In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.
“Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
“Transnistria then broke free of Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free of Georgia.
“Yugoslavia dissolved far more violently into the nations of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo.
“The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia.”
Buchanan also notes that in the U.S., “Four of our 50 states–Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, West Virginia–were born out of other states.”
See Pat’s column at:
Think of this, too: the most fundamental and sacred union of all is the union of a man and woman in marriage. Had Adam and Eve not fallen into sin, there would, no doubt, be no right or reason for separation. (Matthew 19:8) But with the fall of man into sin came all kinds of abuse. As a result, the Scriptures grant divorce (separation) on the grounds of both adultery (Matthew 19) and abandonment (I Corinthians 7). While never preferred, few among us would deny the right of a husband or wife to separate under certain circumstances. Because not every man is willing to be governed by the Natural and revealed laws of God, men are granted the right to separate themselves from those who would violate the fundamental principles upon which the union is based. This is true maritally, ecclesiastically, spiritually, socially, and politically.
In 1836, Will Travis drew a line in the sand to separate those who were willing to defend the liberty of Texas on the ramparts of the Alamo from those who were not. And I am convinced that God is drawing a line in the hearts of men today for the same reason: to separate those who are willing to give their lives in the defense of liberty from those who are not. And, ironically, the freedom of everyone–including the ones who are not willing to defend it–depends on the willingness of the ones who are. I guess it’s always been that way.
I know which side of the line I am on; and after the deluge of correspondence I have received over the past couple of weeks, I know I am not alone.
Way back in 1972, I found myself really struggling to find a place for myself in the new Nixon America, both philosophically and economically. The 1960s were clearly over and nobody wanted to hire me — either as a hippie single mother or as a female city planner with a masters degree from Cal. The days of Johnson’s Great Society and Urban Removal were gone completely and monies that used to go to improve our urban infrastructure had all been consumed in a fire called the Vietnam War. Plus planning departments throughout the land were mostly hiring only men “because they had families to support”. Hey, me too!
And so I decided to go to a hypnotist who would then ask my subconscious mind for advice on the subject of, “What should I do with my life?” What am I good at? And the answer came back so definitively clear that it startled me.
“You are a WRITER,” screamed my subconscious. Go figure. Or maybe it had said, “Righter,” meaning a person who seeks justice and to put things to right. Or perhaps both.
And 40 years later, here I am — constantly writing my little heart out. So my subconscious mind was clearly on target. And I am also now living in a city that is famous for its writers (and Righters too): Berkeley, California. So I decided to go for a walk and check out the places where these famous waiters had lived.
Alan Ginsberg lived at 1624 Milvia Street when he wrote “Howl”. And he also used to come over to visit my friends at the Woolsey Street House and hang out with Country Joe McDonald, Chogyam Trungpa and the Floating Lotus Magic Opera.
Jack Kerouac lived at 1943 Berkeley Way. Philip K. Dick lived at 1126 Francisco Street and worked at the Lucky Dog pet shop http://www.berkeleyside.com/
But then I got to thinking about all the other residents — writers, Righters or not — currently living in Berkeley who do NOT have any homes. James, the writer who lives on the sidewalk in front of Jon’s ice cream shop, for instance. He has no home. And there are many, many, many others too — writers or not — who now live on our streets, unprotected and constantly at the mercy of weather, economic downturns, criminal minds and bad luck.
And these are only the homeless people in Berkeley that I’m talking about. All across America today there are thousands — probably even millions — of potential writers (and Righters) who are now (involuntarily) On The Road.
The strange and cancerous growth of homelessness in America since Jimmy Carter should surely give me something to write about. And should give you something to write about too. For instance, you could write to your congressional representative and tell him or her to stop spending our money on sleazy bank bailouts and stupid wars and start spending it on housing and schools instead. Who knows? Perhaps somewhere out there, homeless and afraid and without an education, is America’s next William Faulkner, Mark Twain or Janet Evanovich! http://www.ted.com/
PS: Didn’t Mark Twain live in Berkeley too? Or at least visit here a lot? I know that he left his memoirs to the University of California.
“The white man wanted what we had, our land, but he didn’t want us. We wanted what the white man had his improvements, his guns, his modern conveniences – but we didn’t want him. And so we fought, each wanting what the other had but not wanting the other and trying to eliminate him; and we lost. That’s the story.” A mid-Twentieth Century account by an old Indian at the Owyhee reservation in Nevada. From “The American Indian” R. J. Rushdoony
The late Rousas Rushdoony was born to immigrant parents and raised in an Armenian society on a farm in California. He was a Christian truth-seeker with a brilliant mind, a photographic memory, and a work driven disposition. His perspective on the American culture was not maligned by popular partisan descriptions and his accurate evaluations were often prophetic.
Though we never met his writing transformed my understanding of Christianity.
Truth steps on the toes of those who live and defend fantasy and Rushdoony had big feet. Arminianism denuded Christianity. It is a ubiquitous heresy and Rushdoony brought the full weight of his mighty intellect against it. He exposed the sinful insanity of claiming to follow Christ while refusing to obey His legal standards. As it always does his true pronouncements dragged him into controversy.
Ross House Books recently released “The American Indian” a paper-backed book of slightly over 100 pages. It chronicles Rushdoony’s mission to the Shoshone and Paiute Indians at the Owyhee reservation in Nevada from 1944 to 1953.
Rushdoony’s portrays the Indian differently than the dream laden pictures presented in our movies and history books. He found the older Indians to be astute, realistic, and pragmatic. They were quick to notice that White American Christians did not actually believe in the religion they were trying to transmit; they did not practice it, their schools did not teach it, and their government did not follow its principles. This sad reality resulted in the subtitle of the book, “A Standing Indictment Against Christianity and Statism in America.
Rushdoony liked and admired the Indian character. They were realists and so was he. Yes, they were savages capable of shocking cruelty but they were also open to technical advances and were more willing to offer others hospitality than most Christians. An Indian was never without food and shelter since every family would unquestionably provide it whether to a stray adult or an orphaned child.
The book vividly portrays the devastation that results from dependence on government handouts. Tribal life centered on survival and since the government provided everything they needed the core of their life was destroyed. The result is wide spread debauchery, gambling, alcoholism, sexually immorality, and rape.
A tendency to addiction combined with the malignancy of government dependence contributed to the alcohol problem. The old Indians called it “The Whiskey Religion”. They reasoned that what Christians look for in Christ, alcoholic Indians (Whites too) find in the bottle. Alcohol was not the only problem: Peyote, a narcotic, was worshiped and used extensively with devastating results.
Indian children were coddled; never disciplined. Rushdoony reasoned that such leniency resulted in an inability to withstand frustration and this weakness contributed to widespread alcoholism. When the doctrine of original sin is missing discipline is usually lacking.
Indians were trained to be valiant. The old Indians remembered in past times young Indians entered manhood through a ritual that involved cutting open and exposing back muscles that were then thonged and tightened to keep the initiate on his tiptoes. They were forbidden to acknowledge pain and urged to dance around a pole for three days and nights. If they passed out they ruptured their back muscles and waited at least another year to enter manhood.
Before the arrival of the White man survival was the primary objective of Indian culture. The story of Jenny Owyhee showcases Indian spiritism, savagery, and intent to survive. Jenny and Rushdoony arrived on the Reservation about the same time. Jenny had worked for a family named Riddle. Grant Riddle died at the age of eighty. He said Jenny had worked for his family before he was born and had grown children when he was a child. She remembered the tribe being marched to the Reservation and would have been close to 120 year of age. Rushdoony writes, “Jenny told me that her first four babies were girls. At the birth of the fourth, her husband broke the power of the spirits by grabbing the new-born girl and braining her on a rock. Jenny’s next child was a boy. She was a kind and thoughtful woman. For her, the killing of the girl was a sad necessity in order to insure a boy – for a boy meant survival in the wilderness.”
Rushdoony had great respect for Indians warriors. He believed Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians was the “greatest military strategist the North American continent has ever produced. He writes that Chief Joseph with a “handful” of warriors defeated the U. S. Army several times while transporting and protecting a large number of women and children. Superior numbers and superior equipment were needed to defeat the resilient Indians who refused to give up.
Indians were never enslaved; they fought or they ran away. They could not be converted to servant hood. The older Indians viewed Negros as inferior because they allowed themselves to become slaves.
Both the writer and the Indians had great respect for realism. Sentimentality is condemned and there is no reference to repentance. Rushdoony expresses disdain for recounting past offenses instead of concentrating on current behavior. He recounted the indiscretions of both the Indians and the White settlers. The White settlers bore additional guilt because they were supposedly Christians but there is nothing about the incursion of European civilization into what had previously been Indian occupied territory.
Important information about this period of Rushdoony’s ministry is mysteriously missing. His first wife, Arda, bore him four children (Rebecca, Joanna, Sharon, and Martha) and they adopted an Indian child (Ronald). Arda is not mention in his writing nor is her image found in the several pictures taken at the Owyhee Reservation. Following a divorce she became a non-person. Dorothy Rushdoony, his second wife, who after giving birth to a son (Thomas Kirkwood, Jr.), had also been divorced, took Arda’s place as if she never existed. I could find only one reference to Arda on the Internet. Read it here.
There may be good reason for the dearth of information on Arda and Ronald Rushdoony; but since information is not available the mystery remains. These events certainly influenced the family.
An appropriate ending to this essay comes from a story Rushdoony recounts about a Whisky religion renegade Indian who had been in the armed services and occupied various jails around the country. In the midst of a session of bragging about his brawls he became serious and said, “Look at those people of mine. They’re no good. They’re like me, just no account. All they are fit for is a reservation where someone puts a fence around them. That’s it. They are not fit for anything else.”
“But,” he went on, “I’ve been across the country two or three times now in the last few years, and I’ve learned something: the white man isn’t much better. He has reservation fever now. He wants someone to put a fence around the whole North American continent and take care of him. He wants the government to give him a handout and look after him just like Uncle Sam looks after us. And he is going to get it. If some outfit doesn’t come in and do it for him, some foreign country will turn the whole United States into a reservation: he’ll to do it to himself. You wait and see. ‘Cause he’s got reservation fever.”
There’s nothing like a glass of cool, clear water to quench one’s thirst. But the next time you or your child reaches for one, you might want to question whether that water is in fact, too toxic to drink. If your water is fluoridated, the answer may well be yes.
For decades, we have been told a lie, a lie that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the weakening of the immune systems of tens of millions more. This lie is called fluoridation. A process we were led to believe was a safe and effective method of protecting teeth from decay is in fact a fraud. For decades it’s been shown that fluoridation is neither essential for good health nor protective of teeth. What it does is poison the body. We should all at this point be asking how and why public health policy and the American media continue to live with and perpetuate this scientific sham.
The Latest in Fluoride News
Today more than ever, evidence of fluoride’s toxicity is entering the public sphere.The summer of 2012 saw the publication of a systematic review and meta-analysis by researchers at Harvard University that explored the link between exposure to fluoride and neurological and cognitive function among children. The report pooled data from over 27 studies- many of them from China- carried out over the course of 22 years. The results, which were published in the journal Environmental Health Sciencesshowed a strong connection between exposure to fluoride in drinking water and decreased IQ scores in children. The team concluded that “the results suggest that fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development at exposures much below those that can cause toxicity in adults.” 1
The newest scientific data suggest that the damaging effects of fluoride extend to reproductive health as well. A 2013 study published in the journal Archives of Toxicology showed a link between fluoride exposure and male infertility in mice. The study’s findings suggest that sodium fluoride impairs the ability of sperm cells in mice to normally fertilize the egg through a process known as chemotaxis. 2 This is the latest in more than 60 scientific studies on animals that have identified an association between male infertility and fluoride exposure.3
Adding more fuel to the fluoride controversy is a recent investigative report by NaturalNews exposing how the chemicals used to fluoridate United States’ water systems today are commonly purchased from Chinese chemical plants looking to discard surplus stores of this form of industrial waste. Disturbingly, the report details that some Chinese vendors of fluoride advertise on their website that their product can be used as an “adhesive preservative”, an “insecticide” as well as a” flux for soldering and welding”.4 One Chinese manufacturer, Shanghai Polymet Commodities Ltd,. which produces fluoride destined for municipal water reserves in the United States, notes on their website that their fluoride is “highly corrosive to human skin and harmful to people’s respiratory organs”. 5
The Fluoride Phase Out at Home and Abroad
There are many signs in recent years that indicate growing skepticism over fluoridation. The New York Times reported in October 2011 that in the previous four years, about 200 jurisdictions across the USA moved to cease water fluoridation. A panel composed of scientists and health professionals in Fairbanks, Alaska recently recommended ceasing fluoridation of the county water supply after concluding that the addition of fluoride to already naturally-fluoridated reserves could pose health risks to 700,000 residents. The move to end fluoridation would save the county an estimated $205,000 annually. 6
The city of Portland made headlines in 2013 when it voted down a measure to fluoridate its water supply. The citizens of Portland have rejected introducing the chemical to drinking water on three separate occasions since the 1950’s. Portland remains the largest city in the United States to shun fluoridation.7
The movement against fluoridation has gained traction overseas as well. In 2013, Israel’s Ministry of Health committed to a countrywide phase-out of fluoridation. The decision came after Israel’s Supreme Court deemed the existing health regulations requiring fluoridation to be based on science that is “outdated” and “no longer widely accepted.”8
Also this year, the government of the Australian state of Queensland eliminated $14 million in funding for its state-wide fluoridation campaign. The decision, which was executed by the Liberal National Party (LNP) government, forced local councils to vote on whether or not to introduce fluoride to their water supplies. Less than two months after the decision came down, several communities including the town of Cairns halted fluoridation. As a result, nearly 200,000 Australians will no longer be exposed to fluoride in their drinking water.9
An ever-growing number of institutions and individuals are questioning the wisdom of fluoridation. At the fore of the movement are thousands of scientific authorities and health care professionals who are speaking out about the hazards of this damaging additive. As of November 2013, a group of over 4549 professionals including 361 dentists and 562 medical doctors have added their names to a petition aimed at ending fluoridation started by the Fluoride Action Network. Among the prominent signatories are Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson and William Marcus, PhD who served as the chief toxicologist of the EPA Water Division.10
The above sampling of recent news items on fluoride brings into sharp focus just how urgent it is to carry out a critical reassessment of the mass fluoridation campaign that currently affects hundreds of millions of Americans. In order to better understand the massive deception surrounding this toxic chemical, we must look back to the sordid history of how fluoride was first introduced.
How to Market a Toxic Waste
“We would not purposely add arsenic to the water supply. And we would not purposely add lead. But we do add fluoride. The fact is that fluoride is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic.” 11
These words of Dr. John Yiamouyiannis may come as a shock to you because, if you’re like most Americans, you have positive associations with fluoride. You may envision tooth protection, strong bones, and a government that cares about your dental needs. What you’ve probably never been told is that the fluoride added to drinking water and toothpaste is a crude industrial waste product of the aluminum and fertilizer industries, and a substance toxic enough to be used as rat poison. How is it that Americans have learned to love an environmental hazard? This phenomenon can be attributed to a carefully planned marketing program begun even before Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first community to officially fluoridate its drinking water in 1945. 12 As a result of this ongoing campaign, nearly two-thirds of the nation has enthusiastically followed Grand Rapids’ example. But this push for fluoridation has less to do with a concern for America’s health than with industry’s penchant to expand at the expense of our nation’s well-being.
The first thing you have to understand about fluoride is that it’s the problem child of industry. Its toxicity was recognized at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when, in the 1850s iron and copper factories discharged it into the air and poisoned plants, animals, and people.13 The problem was exacerbated in the 1920s when rapid industrial growth meant massive pollution. Medical writer Joel Griffiths explains that “it was abundantly clear to both industry and government that spectacular U.S. industrial expansion and the economic and military power and vast profits it promised would necessitate releasing millions of tons of waste fluoride into the environment.”14 Their biggest fear was that “if serious injury to people were established, lawsuits alone could prove devastating to companies, while public outcry could force industry-wide government regulations, billions in pollution-control costs, and even mandatory changes in high-fluoride raw materials and profitable technologies.” 15
At first, industry could dispose of fluoride legally only in small amounts by selling it to insecticide and rat poison manufacturers. 16 Then a commercial outlet was devised in the 1930s when a connection was made between water supplies bearing traces of fluoride and lower rates of tooth decay. Griffiths writes that this was not a scientific breakthrough, but rather part of a “public disinformation campaign” by the aluminum industry “to convince the public that fluoride was safe and good.” Industry’s need prompted Alcoa-funded scientist Gerald J. Cox to announce that “The present trend toward complete removal of fluoride from water may need some reversal.” 17 Griffiths writes:
“The big news in Cox’s announcement was that this ‘apparently worthless by-product’ had not only been proved safe (in low doses), but actually beneficial; it might reduce cavities in children. A proposal was in the air to add fluoride to the entire nation’s drinking water. While the dose to each individual would be low, ‘fluoridation’ on a national scale would require the annual addition of hundreds of thousands of tons of fluoride to the country’s drinking water.
“Government and industry especially Alcoa strongly supported intentional water fluoridation… [it] made possible a master public relations stroke one that could keep scientists and the public off fluoride’s case for years to come. If the leaders of dentistry, medicine, and public health could be persuaded to endorse fluoride in the public’s drinking water, proclaiming to the nation that there was a ‘wide margin of safety,’ how were they going to turn around later and say industry’s fluoride pollution was dangerous?
“As for the public, if fluoride could be introduced as a health enhancing substance that should be added to the environment for the children’s sake, those opposing it would look like quacks and lunatics….
“Back at the Mellon Institute, Alcoa’s Pittsburgh Industrial research lab, this news was galvanic. Alcoa-sponsored biochemist Gerald J. Cox immediately fluoridated some lab rats in a study and concluded that fluoride reduced cavities and that ‘The case should be regarded as proved.’ In a historic moment in 1939, the first public proposal that the U.S. should fluoridate its water supplies was made not by a doctor, or dentist, but by Cox, an industry scientist working for a company threatened by fluoride damage claims.” 18
Once the plan was put into action, industry was buoyant. They had finally found the channel for fluoride that they were looking for, and they were even cheered on by dentists, government agencies, and the public. Chemical Week, a publication for the chemical industry, described the tenor of the times: “All over the country, slide rules are getting warm as waterworks engineers figure the cost of adding fluoride to their water supplies.” They are riding a trend urged upon them, by the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Dental Association, the State Dental Health Directors, various state and local health bodies, and vocal women’s clubs from coast to coast. It adds up to a nice piece of business on all sides and many firms are cheering the PHS and similar groups as they plump for increasing adoption of fluoridation.” 19
Such overwhelming acceptance allowed government and industry to proceed hastily, albeit irresponsibly. The Grand Rapids experiment was supposed to take 15 years, during which time health benefits and hazards were to be studied. In 1946, however, just one year into the experiment, six more U.S. cities adopted the process. By 1947, 87 more communities were treated; popular demand was the official reason for this unscientific haste.
The general public and its leaders did support the cause, but only after a massive government public relations campaign spearheaded by Edward L. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud. Bernays, a public relations pioneer who has been called “the original spin doctor,” 20 was a masterful PR strategist. As a result of his influence, Griffiths writes, “Almost overnight…the popular image of fluoride which at the time was being widely sold as rat and bug poison became that of a beneficial provider of gleaming smiles, absolutely safe, and good for children, bestowed by a benevolent paternal government. Its opponents were permanently engraved on the public mind as crackpots and right-wing loonies.” 21
Griffiths explains that while opposition to fluoridation is usually associated with right-wingers, this picture is not totally accurate. He provides an interesting historical perspective on the anti-fluoridation stance:
“Fluoridation attracted opponents from every point on the continuum of politics and sanity. The prospect of the government mass-medicating the water supplies with a well-known rat poison to prevent a nonlethal disease flipped the switches of delusionals across the country as well as generating concern among responsible scientists, doctors, and citizens.
“Moreover, by a fortuitous twist of circumstances, fluoride’s natural opponents on the left were alienated from the rest of the opposition. Oscar Ewing, a Federal Security Agency administrator, was a Truman “fair dealer” who pushed many progressive programs such as nationalized medicine. Fluoridation was lumped with his proposals. Inevitably, it was attacked by conservatives as a manifestation of “creeping socialism,” while the left rallied to its support. Later during the McCarthy era, the left was further alienated from the opposition when extreme right-wing groups, including the John Birch Society and the Ku Klux Klan, raved that fluoridation was a plot by the Soviet Union and/or communists in the government to poison America’s brain cells.
“It was a simple task for promoters, under the guidance of the ‘original spin doctor,’ to paint all opponents as deranged and they played this angle to the hilt….
“Actually, many of the strongest opponents originally started out as proponents, but changed their minds after a close look at the evidence. And many opponents came to view fluoridation not as a communist plot, but simply as a capitalist-style con job of epic proportions. Some could be termed early environmentalists, such as the physicians George L. Waldbott and Frederick B. Exner, who first documented government-industry complicity in hiding the hazards of fluoride pollution from the public. Waldbott and Exner risked their careers in a clash with fluoride defenders, only to see their cause buried in toothpaste ads.” 22
By 1950, fluoridation’s image was a sterling one, and there was not much science could do at this point. The Public Health Service was fluoridation’s main source of funding as well as its promoter, and therefore caught in a fundamental conflict of interest. 12 If fluoridation were found to be unsafe and ineffective, and laws were repealed, the organization feared a loss of face, since scientists, politicians, dental groups, and physicians unanimously supported it. 23 For this reason, studies concerning its effects were not undertaken. The Oakland Tribune noted this when it stated that “public health officials have often suppressed scientific doubts” about fluoridation.24 Waldbott sums up the situation when he says that from the beginning, the controversy over fluoridating water supplies was “a political, not a scientific health issue.”25
The marketing of fluoride continues. In a 1983 letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, then Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, Rebecca Hammer, writes that the EPA “regards [fluoridation] as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem. By recovering by-product fluosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized and water utilities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them.” 26 A 1992 policy statement from the Department of Health and Human Services says, “A recent comprehensive PHS review of the benefits and potential health risks of fluoride has concluded that the practice of fluoridating community water supplies is safe and effective.” 27
According to the CDC website, about 200 million Americans in 16,500 communities are exposed to fluoridated water. Out of the 50 largest cities in the US, 43 have fluoridated water. 28
To help celebrate fluoride’s widespread use, the media recently reported on the 50th anniversary of fluoridation in Grand Rapids. Newspaper articles titled “Fluoridation: a shining public health success” 29 and “After 50 years, fluoride still works with a smile” 30 painted glowing pictures of the practice. Had investigators looked more closely, though, they might have learned that children in Muskegon, Michigan, an unfluoridated “control” city, had equal drops in dental decay. They might also have learned of the other studies that dispute the supposed wonders of fluoride.
The Fluoride Myth Doesn’t Hold Water
The big hope for fluoride was its ability to immunize children’s developing teeth against cavities. Rates of dental caries were supposed to plummet in areas where water was treated. Yet decades of experience and worldwide research have contradicted this expectation numerous times. Here are just a few examples:
In British Columbia, only 11% of the population drinks fluoridated water, as opposed to 40-70% in other Canadian regions. Yet British Columbia has the lowest rate of tooth decay in Canada. In addition, the lowest rates of dental caries within the province are found in areas that do not have their water supplies fluoridated. 31
According to a Sierra Club study, people in unfluoridated developing nations have fewer dental caries than those living in industrialized nations. As a result, they conclude that “fluoride is not essential to dental health.” 32
In 1986-87, the largest study on fluoridation and tooth decay ever was performed. The subjects were 39,000 school children between 5 and 17 living in 84 areas around the country. A third of the places were fluoridated, a third were partially fluoridated, and a third were not. Results indicate no statistically significant differences in dental decay between fluoridated and unfluoridated cities. 33
A World Health Organization survey reports a decline of dental decay in western Europe, which is 98% unfluoridated. They state that western Europe’s declining dental decay rates are equal to and sometimes better than those in the U.S. 34
A 1992 University of Arizona study yielded surprising results when they found that “the more fluoride a child drinks, the more cavities appear in the teeth.” 35
Although all Native American reservations are fluoridated, children living there have much higher incidences of dental decay and other oral health problems than do children living in other U.S. communities. 36
In light of all the evidence, fluoride proponents now make more modest claims. For example, in 1988, the ADA professed that a 40- to 60% cavity reduction could be achieved with the help of fluoride. Now they claim an 18- to 25% reduction. Other promoters mention a 12% decline in tooth decay.
And some former supporters are even beginning to question the need for fluoridation altogether. In 1990, a National Institute for Dental Research report stated that “it is likely that if caries in children remain at low levels or decline further, the necessity of continuing the current variety and extent of fluoride-based prevention programs will be questioned.” 37
Most government agencies, however, continue to ignore the scientific evidence and to market fluoridation by making fictional claims about its benefits and pushing for its expansion. For instance, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “National surveys of oral health dating back several decades document continuing decreases in tooth decay in children, adults and senior citizens. Nevertheless, there are parts of the country and particular populations that remain without protection. For these reasons, the U.S. PHS…has set a national goal for the year 2000 that 75% of persons served by community water systems will have access to optimally fluoridated drinking water; currently this figure is just about 60%. The year 2000 target goal is both desirable and yet challenging, based on past progress and continuing evidence of effectiveness and safety of this public health measure.” 38
This statement is flawed on several accounts. First, as we’ve seen, research does not support the effectiveness of fluoridation for preventing tooth disease. Second, purported benefits are supposedly for children, not adults and senior citizens. At about age 13, any advantage fluoridation might offer comes to an end, and less than 1% of the fluoridated water supply reaches this population. And third, fluoridation has never been proven safe. On the contrary, several studies directly link fluoridation to skeletal fluorosis, dental fluorosis, and several rare forms of cancer. This alone should frighten us away from its use.
Biological Safety Concerns
Only a small margin separates supposedly beneficial fluoride levels from amounts that are known to cause adverse effects. Dr. James Patrick, a former antibiotics research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, describes the predicament:
“[There is] a very low margin of safety involved in fluoridating water. A concentration of about 1 ppm is recommended…in several countries, severe fluorosis has been documented from water supplies containing only 2 or 3 ppm. In the development of drugs…we generally insist on a therapeutic index (margin of safety) of the order of 100; a therapeutic index of 2 or 3 is totally unacceptable, yet that is what has been proposed for public water supplies.”39
Other countries argue that even 1 ppm is not a safe concentration. Canadian studies, for example, imply that children under three should have no fluoride whatsoever. The Journal of the Canadian Dental Association states that “Fluoride supplements should not be recommended for children less than 3 years old.” 40 Since these supplements contain the same amount of fluoride as water does, they are basically saying that children under the age of three shouldn’t be drinking fluoridated water at all, under any circumstances. Japan has reduced the amount of fluoride in their drinking water to one-eighth of what is recommended in the U.S. Instead of 1 milligram per liter, they use less than 15 hundredths of a milligram per liter as the upper limit allowed. 41
Even supposing that low concentrations are safe, there is no way to control how much fluoride different people consume, as some take in a lot more than others. For example, laborers, athletes, diabetics, and those living in hot or dry regions can all be expected to drink more water, and therefore more fluoride (in fluoridated areas) than others. 42 Due to such wide variations in water consumption, it is impossible to scientifically control what dosage of fluoride a person receives via the water supply.43
Another concern is that fluoride is not found only in drinking water; it is everywhere. Fluoride is found in foods that are processed with it, which, in the United States, include nearly all bottled drinks and canned foods. 44 Researchers writing in The Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry have found that fruit juices, in particular, contain significant amounts of fluoride. In one study, a variety of popular juices and juice blends were analyzed and it was discovered that 42% of the samples examined had more than l ppm of fluoride, with some brands of grape juice containing much higher levels up to 6.8 ppm! The authors cite the common practice of using fluoride-containing insecticide in growing grapes as a factor in these high levels, and they suggest that the fluoride content of beverages be printed on their labels, as is other nutritional information. 45 Considering how much juice some children ingest, and the fact that youngsters often insist on particular brands that they consume day after day, labeling seems like a prudent idea. But beyond this is the larger issue that this study brings up: Is it wise to subject children and others who are heavy juice drinkers to additional fluoride in their water?
Here’s a little-publicized reality: Cooking can greatly increase a food’s fluoride content. Peas, for example, contain 12 micrograms of fluoride when raw and 1500 micrograms after they are cooked in fluoridated water, which is a tremendous difference. Also, we should keep in mind that fluoride is an ingredient in pharmaceuticals, aerosols, insecticides, and pesticides.
And of course, toothpastes. It’s interesting to note that in the 1950s, fluoridated toothpastes were required to carry warnings on their labels saying that they were not to be used in areas where water was already fluoridated. Crest toothpaste went so far as to write: “Caution: Children under 6 should not use Crest.” These regulations were dropped in 1958, although no new research was available to prove that the overdose hazard no longer existed. 46
Today, common fluoride levels in toothpaste are 1000 ppm. Research chemist Woodfun Ligon notes that swallowing a small amount adds substantially to fluoride intake. 47 Dentists say that children commonly ingest up to 0.5 mg of fluoride a day from toothpaste. 48
This inevitably raises another issue: How safe is all this fluoride? According to scientists and informed doctors, such as Dr. John Lee, it is not safe at all. Dr. Lee first took an anti-fluoridation stance back in 1972, when as chairman of an environmental health committee for a local medical society, he was asked to state their position on the subject. He stated that after investigating the references given by both pro- and anti-fluoridationists, the group discovered three important things:
“One, the claims of benefit of fluoride, the 60% reduction of cavities, was not established by any of these studies. Two, we found that the investigations into the toxic side effects of fluoride have not been done in any way that was acceptable. And three, we discovered that the estimate of the amount of fluoride in the food chain, in the total daily fluoride intake, had been measured in 1943, and not since then. By adding the amount of fluoride that we now have in the food chain, which comes from food processing with fluoridated water, plus all the fluoridated toothpaste that was not present in 1943, we found that the daily intake of fluoride was far in excess of what was considered optimal.” 49
What happens when fluoride intake exceeds the optimal? The inescapable fact is that this substance has been associated with severe health problems, ranging from skeletal and dental fluorosis to bone fractures, to fluoride poisoning, and even to cancer.
When fluoride is ingested, approximately 93% of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. A good part of the material is excreted, but the rest is deposited in the bones and teeth, and is capable of causing a crippling skeletal fluorosis. This is a condition that can damage the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and result in muscle wasting, limited joint motion, spine deformities, and calcification of the ligaments, as well as neurological deficits.
Large numbers of people in Japan, China, India, the Middle East, and Africa have been diagnosed with skeletal fluorosis from drinking naturally fluoridated water. In India alone, nearly a million people suffer from the affliction. 39 While only a dozen cases of skeletal fluorosis have been reported in the United States, Chemical and Engineering News states that “critics of the EPA standard speculate that there probably have been many more cases of fluorosis even crippling fluorosis than the few reported in the literature because most doctors in the U.S. have not studied the disease and do not know how to diagnose it.” 50
Radiologic changes in bone occur when fluoride exposure is 5 mg/day, according to the late Dr. George Waldbott, author of Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma. While this 5 mg/day level is the amount of fluoride ingested by most people living in fluoridated areas, 51 the number increases for diabetics and laborers, who can ingest up to 20 mg of fluoride daily. In addition, a survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture shows that 3% of the U.S. population drinks 4 liters or more of water every day. If these individuals live in areas where the water contains a fluoride level of 4 ppm, allowed by the EPA, they are ingesting 16 mg/day from the consumption of water alone, and are thus at greater risk for getting skeletal fluorosis. 52
According to a 1989 National Institute for Dental Research study, 1-2% of children living in areas fluoridated at 1 ppm develop dental fluorosis, that is, permanently stained, brown mottled teeth. Up to 23% of children living in areas naturally fluoridated at 4 ppm develop severe dental fluorosis. 53 Other research gives higher figures. The publication Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride, put out by the National Academy of Sciences, reports that in areas with optimally fluoridated water (1 ppm, either natural or added), dental fluorosis levels in recent years ranged from 8 to 51%. Recently, a prevalence of slightly over 80% was reported in children 12-14 years old in Augusta, Georgia.
Fluoride is a noteworthy chemical additive in that its officially acknowledged benefit and damage levels are about the same. Writing in The Progressive, science journalist Daniel Grossman elucidates this point: “Though many beneficial chemicals are dangerous when consumed at excessive levels, fluoride is unique because the amount that dentists recommend to prevent cavities is about the same as the amount that causes dental fluorosis.” 54 Although the American Dental Association and the government consider dental fluorosis only a cosmetic problem, the American Journal of Public Health says that “…brittleness of moderately and severely mottled teeth may be associated with elevated caries levels.” 45 In other words, in these cases the fluoride is causing the exact problem that it’s supposed to prevent. Yiamouyiannis adds, “In highly naturally-fluoridated areas, the teeth actually crumble as a result. These are the first visible symptoms of fluoride poisoning.” 55
Also, when considering dental fluorosis, there are factors beyond the physical that you can’t ignore the negative psychological effects of having moderately to severely mottled teeth. These were recognized in a 1984 National Institute of Mental Health panel that looked into this problem.
A telling trend is that TV commercials for toothpaste, and toothpaste tubes themselves, are now downplaying fluoride content as a virtue. This was noted in an article in the Sarasota/Florida ECO Report, 56 whose author, George Glasser, feels that manufacturers are distancing themselves from the additive because of fears of lawsuits. The climate is ripe for these, and Glasser points out that such a class action suit has already been filed in England against the manufacturers of fluoride-containing products on behalf of children suffering from dental fluorosis.
At one time, fluoride therapy was recommended for building denser bones and preventing fractures associated with osteoporosis. Now several articles in peer-reviewed journals suggest that fluoride actually causes more harm than good, as it is associated with bone breakage. Three studies reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed links between hip fractures and fluoride. 575859 Findings here were, for instance, that there is “a small but significant increase in the risk of hip fractures in both men and women exposed to artificial fluoridation at 1 ppm.” In addition, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that people given fluoride to cure their osteoporosis actually wound up with an increased nonvertebral fracture rate. 60 Austrian researchers have also found that fluoride tablets make bones more susceptible to fractures.61 The U.S. National Research Council states that the U.S. hip fracture rate is now the highest in the world. 62
Louis V. Avioli, professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, says in a 1987 review of the subject: “Sodium fluoride therapy is accompanied by so many medical complications and side effects that it is hardly worth exploring in depth as a therapeutic mode for postmenopausal osteoporosis, since it fails to decrease the propensity for hip fractures and increases the incidence of stress fractures in the extremities.” 63
In May 1992, 260 people were poisoned, and one man died, in Hooper Bay, Alaska, after drinking water contaminated with 150 ppm of fluoride. The accident was attributed to poor equipment and an unqualified operator. 55 Was this a fluke? Not at all. Over the years, the CDC has recorded several incidents of excessive fluoride permeating the water supply and sickening or killing people. We don’t usually hear about these occurrences in news reports, but interested citizens have learned the truth from data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Here is a partial list of toxic spills we have not been told about:
July 1993 Chicago, Illinois: Three dialysis patients died and five experienced toxic reactions to the fluoridated water used in the treatment process. The CDC was asked to investigate, but to date there have been no press releases.
May 1993 Kodiak, Alaska (Old Harbor): The population was warned not to consume water due to high fluoride levels. They were also cautioned against boiling the water, since this concentrates the substance and worsens the danger. Although equipment appeared to be functioning normally, 22-24 ppm of fluoride was found in a sample.
July 1992 Marin County, California: A pump malfunction allowed too much fluoride into the Bon Tempe treatment plant. Two million gallons of fluoridated water were diverted to Phoenix Lake, elevating the lake surface by more than two inches and forcing some water over the spillway.
December 1991 Benton Harbor, Michigan: A faulty pump allowed approximately 900 gallons of hydrofluosilicic acid to leak into a chemical storage building at the water plant. City engineer Roland Klockow stated, “The concentrated hydrofluosilicic acid was so corrosive that it ate through more than two inches of concrete in the storage building.” This water did not reach water consumers, but fluoridation was stopped until June 1993. The original equipment was only two years old.
July 1991 Porgate, Michigan: After a fluoride injector pump failed, fluoride levels reached 92 ppm and resulted in approximately 40 children developing abdominal pains, sickness, vomiting, and diarrhea at a school arts and crafts show.
November 1979 Annapolis, Maryland: One patient died and eight became ill after renal dialysis treatment. Symptoms included cardiac arrest (resuscitated), hypotension, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and a whole gamut of intestinal problems. Patients not on dialysis also reported nausea, headaches, cramps, diarrhea, and dizziness. The fluoride level was later found to be 35 ppm; the problem was traced to a valve at a water plant that had been left open all night. 64
Instead of addressing fluoridation’s problematic safety record, officials have chosen to cover it up. For example, the ADA says in one booklet distributed to health agencies that “Fluoride feeders are designed to stop operating when a malfunction occurs… so prolonged over-fluoridation becomes a mechanical impossibility.” In addition, the information that does reach the population after an accident is woefully inaccurate. A spill in Annapolis, Maryland, placed thousands at risk, but official reports reduced the number to eight. 65 Perhaps officials are afraid they will invite more lawsuits like the one for $480 million by the wife of a dialysis patient who became brain-injured as the result of fluoride poisoning.
Not all fluoride poisoning is accidental. For decades, industry has knowingly released massive quantities of fluoride into the air and water. Disenfranchised communities, with people least able to fight back, are often the victims. Medical writer Joel Griffiths relays this description of what industrial pollution can do, in this case to a devastatingly poisoned Indian reservation:
“Cows crawled around the pasture on their bellies, inching along like giant snails. So crippled by bone disease they could not stand up, this was the only way they could graze. Some died kneeling, after giving birth to stunted calves. Others kept on crawling until, no longer able to chew because their teeth had crumbled down to the nerves, they began to starve….” They were the cattle of the Mohawk Indians on the New York-Canadian St. Regis Reservation during the period 1960-1975, when industrial pollution devastated the herd and along with it, the Mohawks’ way of life….Mohawk children, too, have shown signs of damage to bones and teeth.” 66
Mohawks filed suit against the Reynolds Metals Company and the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) in 1960, but ended up settling out of court, where they received $650,000 for their cows. 67
Fluoride is one of industry’s major pollutants, and no one remains immune to its effects. In 1989, 155,000 tons were being released annually into the air, and 500,000 tons a year were disposed of in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. 68
Numerous studies demonstrate links between fluoridation and cancer; however, agencies promoting fluoride consistently refute or cover up these findings.
In 1977, Dr. John Yiamouyiannis and Dr. Dean Burk, former chief chemist at the National Cancer Institute, released a study that linked fluoridation to 10,000 cancer deaths per year in the U.S. Their inquiry, which compared cancer deaths in the ten largest fluoridated American cities to those in the ten largest unfluoridated cities between 1940 and 1950, discovered a 5% greater rate in the fluoridated areas. 69 The NCI disputed these findings, since an earlier analysis of theirs apparently failed to pick up these extra deaths. Federal authorities claimed that Yiamouyiannis and Burk were in error, and that any increase was caused by statistical changes over the years in age, gender, and racial composition. 70
In order to settle the question of whether or not fluoride is a carcinogen, a Congressional subcommittee instructed the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to perform another investigation. 71 That study, due in 1980, was not released until 1990. However, in 1986, while the study was delayed, the EPA raised the standard fluoride level in drinking water from 2.4 to 4 ppm. 72 After this step, some of the government’s own employees in NFFE Local 2050 took what the Oakland Tribune termed the “remarkable step of denouncing that action as political.” 73
When the NTP study results became known in early 1990, union president Dr. Robert Carton, who works in the EPA’s Toxic Substances Division, published a statement. It read, in part: “Four years ago, NFFE Local 2050, which represents all 1100 professionals at EPA headquarters, alerted then Administrator Lee Thomas to the fact that the scientific support documents for the fluoride in drinking water standard were fatally flawed. The fluoride juggernaut proceeded as it apparently had for the last 40 years without any regard for the facts or concern for public health.
“EPA raised the allowed level of fluoride before the results of the rat/mouse study ordered by Congress in 1977 was complete. Today, we find out how irresponsible that decision was. The results reported by NTP, and explained today by Dr. Yiamouyiannis, are, as he notes, not surprising considering the vast amount of data that caused the animal study to be conducted in the first place. The results are not surprising to NFFE Local 2050 either. Four years ago we realized that the claim that there was no evidence that fluoride could cause genetic effects or cancer could not be supported by the shoddy document thrown together by the EPA contractor.
“It was apparent to us that EPA bowed to political pressure without having done an in-depth, independent analysis, using in-house experts, of the currently existing data that show fluoride causes genetic effects, promotes the growth of cancerous tissue, and is likely to cause cancer in humans. If EPA had done so, it would have been readily apparent as it was to Congress in 1977 that there were serious reasons to believe in a cancer threat.
“The behavior by EPA in this affair raises questions about the integrity of science at EPA and the role of professional scientists, lawyers and engineers who provide the interpretation of the available data and the judgements necessary to protect the public health and the environment. Are scientists at EPA there to arrange facts to fit preconceived conclusions? Does the Agency have a responsibility to develop world-class experts in the risks posed by chemicals we are exposed to every day, or is it permissible for EPA to cynically shop around for contractors who will provide them the ‘correct’ answers?” 74
What were the NTP study results? Out of 130 male rats that ingested 45 to 79 ppm of fluoride, 5 developed osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. There were cases, in both males and females at those doses, of squamous cell carcinoma in the mouth. 75 Both rats and mice had dose-related fluorosis of the teeth, and female rats suffered osteosclerosis of the long bones.76
When Yiamouyiannis analyzed the same data, he found mice with a particularly rare form of liver cancer, known as hepatocholangiocarcinoma. This cancer is so rare, according to Yiamouyiannis, that the odds of its appearance in this study by chance are 1 in 2 million in male mice and l in 100,000 in female mice. He also found precancerous changes in oral squamous cells, an increase in squamous cell tumors and cancers, and thyroid follicular cell tumors as a result of increasing levels of fluoride in drinking water. 77
A March 13, 1990, New York Times article commented on the NTP findings: “Previous animal tests suggesting that water fluoridation might pose risks to humans have been widely discounted as technically flawed, but the latest investigation carefully weeded out sources of experimental or statistical error, many scientists say, and cannot be discounted.” 78 In the same article, biologist Dr. Edward Groth notes: “The importance of this study…is that it is the first fluoride bioassay giving positive results in which the latest state-of-the-art procedures have been rigorously applied. It has to be taken seriously.” 71
On February 22, 1990, the Medical Tribune, an international medical news weekly received by 125,000 doctors, offered the opinion of a federal scientist who preferred to remain anonymous:
“It is difficult to see how EPA can fail to regulate fluoride as a carcinogen in light of what NTP has found. Osteosarcomas are an extremely unusual result in rat carcinogenicity tests. Toxicologists tell me that the only other substance that has produced this is radium….The fact that this is a highly atypical form of cancer implicates fluoride as the cause. Also, the osteosarcomas appeared to be dose-related, and did not occur in controls, making it a clean study.” 79
Public health officials were quick to assure a concerned public that there was nothing to worry about! The ADA said the occurrence of cancers in the lab may not be relevant to humans since the level of fluoridation in the experimental animals’ water was so high. 80 But the Federal Register, which is the handbook of government practices, disagrees: “The high exposure of experimental animals to toxic agents is a necessary and valid method of discovering possible carcinogenic hazards in man. To disavow the findings of this test would be to disavow those of all such tests, since they are all conducted according to this standard.” 73 As a February 5, 1990, Newsweek article pointed out, “such megadosing is standard toxicological practice. It’s the only way to detect an effect without using an impossibly large number of test animals to stand in for the humans exposed to the substance.” 81 And as the Safer Water Foundation explains, higher doses are generally administered to test animals to compensate for the animals’ shorter life span and because humans are generally more vulnerable than test animals on a body-weight basis. 82
Several other studies link fluoride to genetic damage and cancer. An article in Mutation Research says that a study by Proctor and Gamble, the very company that makes Crest toothpaste, did research showing that 1 ppm fluoride causes genetic damage.83 Results were never published but Proctor and Gamble called them “clean,” meaning animals were supposedly free of malignant tumors. Not so, according to scientists who believe some of the changes observed in test animals could be interpreted as precancerous. 84 Yiamouyiannis says the Public Health Service sat on the data, which were finally released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 1989. “Since they are biased, they have tried to cover up harmful effects,” he says. “But the data speaks for itself. Half the amount of fluoride that is found in the New York City drinking water causes genetic damage.” 46
A National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences publication, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, also linked fluoride to genetic toxicity when it stated that “in cultured human and rodent cells, the weight of evidence leads to the conclusion that fluoride exposure results in increased chromosome aberrations.” 85 The result of this is not only birth defects but the mutation of normal cells into cancer cells. The Journal of Carcinogenesis further states that “fluoride not only has the ability to transform normal cells into cancer cells but also to enhance the cancer-causing properties of other chemicals.” 86
Surprisingly, the PHS put out a report called Review of fluoride: benefits and risks, in which they showed a substantially higher incidence of bone cancer in young men exposed to fluoridated water compared to those who were not. The New Jersey Department of Health also found that the risk of bone cancer was about three times as high in fluoridated areas as in nonfluoridated areas. 87
Despite cover-up attempts, the light of knowledge is filtering through to some enlightened scientists. Regarding animal test results, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, James Huff, does say that “the reason these animals got a few osteosarcomas was because they were given fluoride…Bone is the target organ for fluoride.” Toxicologist William Marcus adds that “fluoride is a carcinogen by any standard we use. I believe EPA should act immediately to protect the public, not just on the cancer data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity, and other effects.” 88
The Challenge of Eliminating Fluoride
Given all the scientific challenges to the idea of the safety of fluoride, why does it remain a protected contaminant? As Susan Pare of the Center for Health Action asks, “…even if fluoride in the water did reduce tooth decay, which it does not, how can the EPA allow a substance more toxic than Alar, red dye #3, and vinyl chloride to be injected purposely into drinking water?” 89
This is certainly a logical question and, with all the good science that seems to exist on the subject, you would think that there would be a great deal of interest in getting fluoride out of our water supply. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. As Dr. William Marcus, a senior science advisor in the EPA’s Office of Drinking Water, has found, the top governmental priority has been to sweep the facts under the rug and, if need be, to suppress truth-tellers. Marcus explains 90 that fluoride is one of the chemicals the EPA specifically regulates, and that he was following the data coming in on fluoride very carefully when a determination was going to be made on whether the levels should be changed. He discovered that the data were not being heeded. But that was only the beginning of the story for him. Marcus recounts what happened:
“The studies that were done by Botel Northwest showed that there was an increased level of bone cancer and other types of cancer in animals….in that same study, there were very rare liver cancers, according to the board-certified veterinary pathologists at the contractor, Botel. Those really were very upsetting because they were hepatocholangeal carcinomas, very rare liver cancers….Then there were several other kinds of cancers that were found in the jaw and other places.
“I felt at that time that the reports were alarming. They showed that the levels of fluoride that can cause cancers in animals are actually lower than those levels ingested in people (who take lower amounts but for longer periods of time).
“I went to a meeting that was held in Research Triangle Park, in April 1990, in which the National Toxicology Program was presenting their review of the study. I went with several colleagues of mine, one of whom was a board-certified veterinary pathologist who originally reported hepatocholangeal carcinoma as a separate entity in rats and mice. I asked him if he would look at the slides to see if that really was a tumor or if the pathologists at Botel had made an error. He told me after looking at the slides that, in fact, it was correct.
“At the meeting, every one of the cancers reported by the contractor had been downgraded by the National Toxicology Program. I have been in the toxicology business looking at studies of this nature for nearly 25 years and I have never before seen every single cancer endpoint downgraded…. I found that very suspicious and went to see an investigator in the Congress at the suggestion of my friend, Bob Carton. This gentleman and his staff investigated very thoroughly and found out that the scientists at the National Toxicology Program down at Research Triangle Park had been coerced by their superiors to change their findings.”91
Once Dr. Marcus acted on his findings, something ominous started to happen in his life: “…I wrote an internal memorandum and gave it to my supervisors. I waited for a month without hearing anything. Usually, you get a feedback in a week or so. I wrote another memorandum to a person who was my second-line supervisor explaining that if there was even a slight chance of increased cancer in the general population, since 140 million people were potentially ingesting this material, that the deaths could be in the many thousands. Then I gave a copy of the memorandum to the Fluoride Work Group, who waited some time and then released it to the press.
“Once it got into the press all sorts of things started happening at EPA. I was getting disciplinary threats, being isolated, and all kinds of things which ultimately resulted in them firing me on March 15, 1992.”
In order to be reinstated at work, Dr. Marcus took his case to court. In the process, he learned that the government had engaged in various illegal activities, including 70 felony counts, in order to get him fired. At the same time, those who committed perjury were not held accountable for it. In fact, they were rewarded for their efforts:
“When we finally got the EPA to the courtroom…they admitted to doing several things to get me fired. We had notes of a meeting…that showed that fluoride was one of the main topics discussed and that it was agreed that they would fire me with the help of the Inspector General. When we got them on the stand and showed them the memoranda, they finally remembered and said, oh yes, we lied about that in our previous statements.
“Then…they admitted to shredding more than 70 documents that they had in hand Freedom of Information requests. That’s a felony…. In addition, they charged me with stealing time from the government. They…tried to show…that I had been doing private work on government time and getting paid for it. When we came to court, I was able to show that the time cards they produced were forged, and forged by the Inspector General’s staff….”
For all his efforts, Dr. Marcus was rehired, but nothing else has changed: “The EPA was ordered to rehire me, which they did. They were given a whole series of requirements to be met, such as paying me my back pay, restoring my leave, privileges, and sick leave and annual leave. The only thing they’ve done is put me back to work. They haven’t given me any of those things that they were required to do.”92
What is at the core of such ruthless tactics? John Yiamouyiannis feels that the central concern of government is to protect industry, and that the motivating force behind fluoride use is the need of certain businesses to dump their toxic waste products somewhere. They try to be inconspicuous in the disposal process and not make waves. “As is normal, the solution to pollution is dilution. You poison everyone a little bit rather than poison a few people a lot. This way, people don’t know what’s going on.”
Since the Public Health Service has promoted the fluoride myth for over 50 years, they’re concerned about protecting their reputation. So scientists like Dr. Marcus, who know about the dangers, are intimidated into keeping silent. Otherwise, they jeopardize their careers. Dr. John Lee elaborates: “Back in 1943, the PHS staked their professional careers on the benefits and safety of fluoride. It has since become bureaucratized. Any public health official who criticizes fluoride, or even hints that perhaps it was an unwise decision, is at risk of losing his career entirely. This has happened time and time again. Public health officials such as Dr. Gray in British Columbia and Dr. Colquhoun in New Zealand found no benefit from fluoridation. When they reported these results, they immediately lost their careers…. This is what happens the public health officials who speak out against fluoride are at great risk of losing their careers on the spot.”
Yiamouyiannis adds that for the authorities to admit that they’re wrong would be devastating. “It would show that their reputations really don’t mean that much…. They don’t have the scientific background. As Ralph Nader once said, if they admit they’re wrong on fluoridation, people would ask, and legitimately so, what else have they not told us right?”
Accompanying a loss in status would be a tremendous loss in revenue. Yiamouyiannis points out that “the indiscriminate careless handling of fluoride has a lot of companies, such as Exxon, U.S. Steel, and Alcoa, making tens of billions of dollars in extra profits at our expense…. For them to go ahead now and admit that this is bad, this presents a problem, a threat, would mean tens of billions of dollars in lost profit because they would have to handle fluoride properly. Fluoride is present in everything from phosphate fertilizers to cracking agents for the petroleum industry.”
Fluoride could only be legally disposed of at a great cost to industry. As Dr. Bill Marcus explains, “There are prescribed methods for disposal and they’re very expensive. Fluoride is a very potent poison. It’s a registered pesticide, used for killing rats or mice…. If it were to be disposed of, it would require a class-one landfill. That would cost the people who are producing aluminum or fertilizer about $7000+ per 5000- to 6000-gallon truckload to dispose of it. It’s highly corrosive.”
Another problem is that the U.S. judicial system, even when convinced of the dangers, is powerless to change policy. Yiamouyiannis tells of his involvement in court cases in Pennsylvania and Texas in which, while the judges were convinced that fluoride was a health hazard, they did not have the jurisdiction to grant relief from fluoridation. That would have to be done, it was ultimately found, through the legislative process. Interestingly, the judiciary seems to have more power to effect change in other countries. Yiamouyiannis states that when he presented the same technical evidence in Scotland, the Scottish court outlawed fluoridation based on the evidence.
Indeed, most of Western Europe has rejected fluoridation on the grounds that it is unsafe. In 1971, after 11 years of testing, Sweden’s Nobel Medical Institute recommended against fluoridation, and the process was banned.93 The Netherlands outlawed the practice in 1976, after 23 years of tests. France decided against it after consulting with its Pasteur Institute64 and West Germany, now Germany, rejected the practice because the recommended dosage of 1 ppm was “too close to the dose at which long-term damage to the human body is to be expected.” 84 Dr. Lee sums it up: “All of western Europe, except one or two test towns in Spain, has abandoned fluoride as a public health plan. It is not put in the water anywhere. They all established test cities and found that the benefits did not occur and the toxicity was evident.”94
Isn’t it time the United States followed Western Europe’s example? While the answer is obvious, it is also apparent that government policy is unlikely to change without public support. We therefore must communicate with legislators, and insist on one of our most precious resources pure, unadulterated drinking water. Yiamouyiannis urges all American people to do so, pointing out that public pressure has gotten fluoride out of the water in places like Los Angeles; Newark and Jersey City in New Jersey; and 95Bedford, Massachusetts. 46 He emphasizes the immediacy of the problem: “There is no question with regard to fluoridation of public water supplies. It is absolutely unsafe…and should be stopped immediately. This is causing more destruction to human health than any other single substance added purposely or inadvertently to the water supply. We’re talking about 35,000 excess deaths a year…10,000 cancer deaths a year…130 million people who are being chronically poisoned. We’re not talking about dropping dead after drinking a glass of fluoridated water…. It takes its toll on human health and life, glass after glass.” 96
There is also a moral issue in the debate that has largely escaped notice. According to columnist James Kilpatrick, it is “the right of each person to control the drugs he or she takes.” Kilpatrick calls fluoridation compulsory mass medication, a procedure that violates the principles of medical ethics. 97 A New York Times editorial agrees:
“In light of the uncertainty, critics [of fluoridation] argue that administrative bodies are unjustified in imposing fluoridation on communities without obtaining public consent…. The real issue here is not just the scientific debate. The question is whether any establishment has the right to decide that benefits outweigh risks and impose involuntary medication on an entire population. In the case of fluoridation, the dental establishment has made opposition to fluoridation seem intellectually disreputable. Some people regard that as tyranny.” 98
Source: Dr. Gary Null, PhD
The following is the text of a talk I gave at the Seek, Speak and Spread Truth Conference in London last Saturday, 23 November, 2013.
History, we are told, is an attempt to narrate the past. But in reality, more than often history has little to do with revealing the past. It is instead an orchestrated and institutional attempt to shove the shame deep under the carpet.
Much Jewish history texts, for instance, are there to divert the attention from the peculiar and tragic fact that along their history, Jews have managed to bring on themselves an endless chain of disasters. But Palestinian history at large, is no different. After more than a century of liberation struggle, the situation in Palestine is worse than ever, yet Palestinian scholarship, as we will soon see, is drifting away from any possible understanding of the circumstances that led to their ongoing disaster.
Although the Brits have many war crimes attached to their names, the British Imperial War Museum decided to allocate a whole floor to the Jewish Holocaust instead of featuring one of the British-made genocides. The Brits, like everyone else, prefer to conceal their shame.
Historical accounts are commonly there to suppress the truth and conceal our shame. Yet, it is far from clear who is in charge, who decides what must be covered up and which path must be taken in order to suppress the truth.
Apparently, restricting the terminology and limiting freedom of expression by means of (political) correctness are probably amongst the most popular methods. Sadly enough, Palestine solidarity discourse is a spectacular test case in that regard.
A brief examination of each of the terminological pillars and the principles that shape our vision of the conflict, of its history and of its possible solution are there to conceal the obvious causes, ideologies and belief system that drive the crimes in the Middle East in general and in Palestine in particular.
We’ll now scrutinize the terminology and notions that are involved in the debate over Palestine and expose once again the deceitful nature that is unfortunately intrinsic to the contemporary progressive discourse.
Zionism – Palestinian solidarity members are required to avoid the ‘J’ word and to use the word ‘Zionism’ instead. I recently revealed that Ali Abunimah, one of my current arch detractors, advised me a few years ago to refer to Zion when I really think Jewish so he and I “might find grounds for a lot of agreement….” In fact Abunimah was not alone. Jewish Voice For Peace approached me with a pretty much similar offer about the same time.
The truth of the matter is that Israeli politics has little to do with Zionism. Israelis are hardly familiar with Zionist ideology, nor they are concerned or motivated by Zionist praxis. Zionism is largely a Jewish Diaspora discourse that vows to establish a Jewish National home in Palestine and to civilize the Jew by means of nationalism. Israel is obviously the product of the Zionist project; however, the Israelis see themselves as post-revolutionary subjects – they transformed the Zionist dream into a practical reality.
Thus, criticism of Zionism per se hardly touches Israelis or Israeli politics. If anything, it actually diverts the attention from the crimes that are committed by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people.
But then, why do we use the term Zionism instead of referring to Jewish power, Jewish politics or the Jewish State? Simple: we do not want to offend the ‘anti-Zionist’ Jews and Jews in general. We consciously choose to let Israel off the hook. Apparently we much prefer to target a phantasmic imaginary object that means very little rather than simply calling spade a spade.
Colonialism – Palestinian solidarity activists are expected to pepper their sentences with different permutations of the word ‘colonial’ with the hope that the more they use it the more it is likely to stick eventually. Consequently, activists and scholars commonly refer to Israel and Zionism as a ‘colonial project’. But they are obviously wrong.
Colonialism is traditionally defined as a clear material exchange between a ‘mother State’ and a ‘settler State’. Israel is no doubt a settler state, yet, no one can suggest who exactly was or is her mother.*
So why do we refer to Israel and Zionism as a colonial project? Simple: it saves us from admitting that the Jewish national project is indeed a unique project with no precedent in history. It would save us from admitting that we do not understand this project nor do we know where it aims. The Left and the so-called ‘anti-Zionist’ Jews cling to the colonial paradigm because it locates Israel and Zionism within a model they and their audience are slightly familiar with. The colonial paradigm suggests that the Jewish national project is as vicious as the British or French colonialism. But the grave truth is that we are dealing here with a unique form of abusive nationalist, racist project.
Settler Colonialism – in recent years a new terminological spin popped up within the Palestine solidarity ranks, namely ‘settler colonialism.’ I guess that my criticism of the colonial paradigm has shaken a few of the so-called progressive and ‘anti’ Zionists intellectuals, and they were pushed to revise their theoretical narrative. Their effort brought to the world a new deformed dysfunctional theoretical baby. But sadly enough, ‘settler colonialism’ also hardly explains a thing. It is rather a desperate attempt to further conceal the truth of the Jewish National project.
Settler Colonialism refers to the situation in which Super Power ‘A’ facilitates the settlement of Ethnic Group ‘B’ on Land ‘C’. Such an event may lead eventually to some grave consequences as far as indigenous population ‘D’ is concerned.
But here is the problem. This historical scenario A-B-C-D has nothing in common with Zionism, Israel or the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In reality, it was Zionists (B) who actually persuaded Britain, at the time a super power (A), that a Jewish Homeland in Palestine (C) is the right way forward. It was also Zionists (B) who promised to help pushing America into World War One that led Lord Balfour to commit the British empire (A) to the Zionist cause. In short, instead of the A-B-C-D chain of events, when it comes to Zionism, what we easily detect is a B-A-C-D chronology. It is the ethnic group ‘B’ that pushes Super Power ‘A’ to act in its favour.
But then we may want to ask ourselves why is it that Palestinian solidarity activists such as Ben White are consciously lying when they speaks about “settler-colonial past and present.” Unfortunately White is not alone, the list of academics and scholars who participate in the dissemination of this false narrative is pretty impressive.
Why do they deceive, is it because they are an ignorant bunch? Not at all, they are actually dedicated scholars, it is just intellectual integrity that they lack, and severely.
Spreading the ‘settler colonialism’ narrative is, once again, intended to divert the attention from the embarrassing fact that already in 1917 the Jewish Lobby was amongst the strongest lobbies in the land. Such an admission could easily offend many Jews within the Palestine solidarity movement. Seemingly, we really do not want to offend anyone but intelligence.
Apartheid – Solidarity activists are inclined to refer to Israel as an apartheid state. They obviously let the Jewish State off the hook. Apartheid is commonly defined as a racially driven system of exploitation. But Israel is not Apartheid, it is not interested in exploitation. Israel is far worse, it wants the Palestinians gone. Israel is a racially driven, nationalist ethnic cleanser. In that regard, Israel is very similar to Nazi Germany. But this is exactly the equation we are supposed to avoid because it may hurt the Jews and even confuse the Left.
Two State / One State Debate – The philosophy behind the ‘one state solution’ is obviously ethical and universal. But there is one slight problem. It finds no political partners or supporters within the Israeli society. Why? Because Israel is the Jewish State and the notion of Peace is totally foreign to Israeli and Jewish culture. The word ‘Shalom’ that is commonly translated as peace, reconciliation and harmony, is understood in Hebrew as ‘security for the Jews’.
Accordingly, it was very embarrassing to read Palestinian prominent intellectual Joseph Massad make some gross mistakes misinterpreting the word ‘peace’ in the context of the Zionist ideology and Israeli politics.
In a recent article named Peace Is War: Israeli settler-colonialism and the Palestinians Massad wrote: “Waging war as peace is so central to Zionist and Israeli propaganda that Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which killed 20,000 civilians, was termed ‘Operation Peace for Galilee’”.
If Massad had committed to proper scholarship he would probably find out that, as far as Israelis are concerned, operation ‘Shlom Ha-Galil’ really meant ‘security’ for the Galilee rather than ‘Peace for Galilee’. Massad could have saved himself this intellectual blunder if he had read The Wandering Who rather than attempting to burn the book, whose author actually delves into the topic occasionally.
Israelis would support the One State Solution as long as it is One Jewish State. As Paul Larudee suggested recently, the Israelis would also support the Two State Solution as long as it is Two Jewish States. Yet the only question that bugs me is, why would a Palestinian blogger such as Ali Abunimah go out of his way to stop us from looking into the tribal and racist culture that drives the Jewish State?
Is it possible that some of the prominent Palestine voices also do not want to offend the Jews? I will let you judge.
Is it really the Right of Return? or 1948? For many years I was convinced that the Nakba was at the core of the Palestinian plight. But then monitoring BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction of Israeli goods, culture and academia) politics taught me that I could have been deluded.
When BDS was formed in 2005 this was its first goal:
1. Ending its (Israeli) occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; (2005)
But then, without any attempt to discuss the matter publicly, BDS headquarters in Ramallah changed its first goal. It now reads:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
Some efforts have been made to make sure that Palestinian organisations are aware of this crucial change. Adding the 1967 made it clear that BDS de facto accepted the existence of a Jewish State over Palestine.
Interestingly enough, not many Palestinians were really outraged by BDS dropping the 1948 and accepting Israel as a fact. I guess that the meaning of it is simple. As far as Palestinians in exile in the West are concerned, 1948 and the Right of Return are not the real topic. I guess that such an agenda is not driven by the concern for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon or Syria. I assume that refugees in Gaza and Jenin may also be outraged but, as things stand, we can hardly hear their voices anyway. I guess that BDS is there to appease the ‘Jews in the movement’ and even liberal Zionists. This is hardly surprising considering the embarrassing fact that liberal Zionist George Soros who funds the Light Zionist J-Street also funds BDS as well as many other Palestinian NGOs.
As we can see; Zionism, Colonialism, Settler-Colonialism, Apartheid, BDS and even The One State Solution are all misleading concepts and they are shaped to not offend the anti Zionist Jews and even Jews in general. This surreal and macabre political act explains why the solidarity movement has failed to deliver on every and each front, except one of course. With the support of liberal Zionists such as Soros, Palestine solidarity is now a little industrial affair that is pretty successful in maintaining itself. The absurd outcome is that the newly emerging Palestine solidarity industry actually benefits from the constant escalation of the crisis in Palestine – the worse is the situation on the ground, the more funding is pumped through the industry.
I guess that if we want to grasp what is behind this constant regression, concealment and repression are obviously the key words.
Concealment and repression lead towards stagnation. This is exactly what we see in Palestine and for more than a while – 100 years of struggle that led to a complete failure. Palestinian Solidarity is now farther than ever from understanding Zionism, Israel and the conflict. The so-called ‘movement’ is entrenched within a muddy terminological swamp that results in intellectual and spiritual paralysis.
This is exactly the point where truth and truth seeking come into play. The role of the intellectual and the artist is to unveil the concealed. To look into the pain and to dig into the essence. This search for essentiality is similar to the role of the psychoanalyst who delves into the realm of the unconscious.
When it comes to Palestine we have to grasp, once and for all, what the Jewish State stands for. We have to understand what Judaism and Jewishness are. We have to grasp who are the Jews, what unifies them and vice versa. We must learn the relationships between these distinct categories and Zionism and only then may we be ready to form some pragmatic and practical thoughts on Zionism, the Jewish State and its lobbies. By the time we are ready to do so, we may as well grasp the role of Jews-Only groups within the solidarity ‘movement’. We may comprehend how they have been shaping the discourse and suppressing the truth by dominating our language and restricting our intellectual liberties. By the time we are familiar with Jewish tribal culture ideology and politics, we may as well grasp the role of the ‘Sabbath Goy’, the caretaker who performs the services Jews prefer to leave to theGoyim.
But our role doesn’t end there. We also must grasp what Palestine means. How is it possible that Palestine scholarship is withdrawing rather than progressing. How is it possible that in the 70’s Palestinians were the world’s leading guerrilla fighters but not anymore. What happened and why? What is it that the Palestinians want? Can we even talk about Palestinians or are they a fragmented society that is split geographically, culturally, spiritually, politically and ideologically? And if they are divided, who is it that keeps them divided? Is there anything that can unite them?
I believe that the Jewish progressive politics together with the non-dialectic Left are to be blamed for this political disaster and terminological impotence. We are dealing with a concealment apparatus that forsakes the future just to sustain a remote echo of a decaying 19th ideology. It is there to nourish the forgetting of Being. It is there to make us aloof to the grave reality we are living in by means of intellectual and spiritual suppression.
When 1984’s Orwell wrote about Newspeak, he had Britain in mind. He foresaw the devastating impact of the so-called progressive minds around him. He could predict where The Guardians of correctness might be leading us all. And, for a reason, he made Immanuel Goldstein, the imaginary false dissent icon.
My message to you today is simple – true liberation is the ability to learn how to think, to learn how to be intrigued and irritated. Liberation is to unveil the concealed, to think and re-think, to view, re-view and revise. To think is to aim at the essence, at the bottom of things, at the categorical. To think is to be able to distinguish between the symptoms and the disease. Liberation is to burn bridges compulsively and enthusiastically and to bear the consequences. Liberation is to pursue truth relentlessly. This is exactly the moment when pain becomes pleasure.
“Repo has a flaw: It is vulnerable to panic, that is, ‘depositors’ may ‘withdraw’ their money at any time, forcing the system into massive deleveraging. We saw this over and over again with demand deposits in all of U.S. history prior to deposit insurance. This problem has not been addressed by the Dodd-Frank legislation. So, it could happen again.” – Gary B. Gorton, Professor of Management and Finance, Yale School of Management (lifted from Repowatch)
Subprime mortgages did not cause the financial crisis, nor did the housing bubble or Lehman Brothers. The financial crisis originated in a corner of the shadow banking system called the repo market. That’s where the bank run occurred that froze the secondary market, sent prices on mortgage-backed assets plunging, and pushed the financial system into a death spiral. In the Great Crash of 2008, repo was ground zero, the epicenter of the global catastrophe. As analyst David Weidner noted in the Wall Street Journal, “The repo market wasn’t just a part of the meltdown. It was the meltdown.”
Regrettably, the Federal Reserve’s nontraditional monetary policies (ZIRP and QE) have succeeded in restoring the repo market to it’s precrisis level of activity, but without implementing any of the changes that would have made the system safer. Repo is as vulnerable and crisis-prone today as it was when the French bank PNB Paribas stopped redemptions in its off-balance sheet operations in 2007 kicking off the tumultuous bank run that would eventually implode the entire system and push the economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. By failing to rein in repo, the Fed has ensured that financial crises will be a regular feature in the future occurring every 15 or 20 years as was the case before banks were more strictly regulated and government backstops were put in place. Repo returns us to Wild West “anything goes” banking.
Why would the Fed be so reckless and pave the way for another disaster? We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s give a brief explanation of repo and how the system works.
Repo is short for repurchase agreement. The repo market is where primary dealers sell securities with an agreement for the seller to buy back the securities at a later date. This sounds more complicated than it is. What’s really going on is the seller (primary dealers) are getting short-term loans from money market funds, securities firms, banks etc in order to maintain a position in securities in which they’re suppose to make markets. So, repo is like a loan that’s secured with collateral. (ie–the securities) It is a “funding mechanism”.
What touched off the Crash of 2008, was the discovery that the collateral that was being used for repo funding was “toxic”, that is, the securities were not Triple A after all, but subprime mortgage-backed gunk that would only fetch pennies on the dollar. So, when PNB Paribas stopped redemptions in its off-balance sheet operations on August 9, 2007, the rout began. Cash-heavy investors (like money markets) turned off the lending spigot, which reduced trillions of dollars of MBS to junk-status, precipitated massive fire sales of distressed assets that were dumped on the market pushing prices further and further down wiping out trillions in equity and reducing the financial system to a smoldering pile of rubble. That’s why the Fed stepped in, backstopped the system with explicit guarantees for both regulated and unregulated financial institutions and set about to reflate financial asset prices to their precrisis highs.
Newly appointed Fed chairman Janet Yellen summarized what happened in the panic in a speech she gave earlier this year. She said:
“The trigger for the acute phase of the financial crisis was the rapid unwinding of large amounts of short-term wholesale funding that had been made available to highly leveraged and/or maturity-transforming financial firms.”
In other words, the crisis began in repo. Unfortunately, Wall Street has fended off all attempts to fix the system, because repo is a particularly lucrative area of activity. And we are talking serious money here, too. Tri-party repo alone–which is a small subset of the larger repo market–represents “about $1.6 trillion in outstanding repos daily.” That means that the prospect of a big dealer dumping his portfolio of securities on the market at a moment’s notice igniting another panic, is never far away.
Why do banks borrow in the unregulated, shadow system instead of conducting their business in the light of day where regulators can check the quality of the underlying collateral, oversee the various transactions on public trading platforms, and make sure that capital requirements are maintained?
It’s because the banks want to deploy all their capital, leverage up to their eyeballs and play fast-and-loose with the rules. Here’s what the New York Fed has to say on the topic:
“One clear motivation for intermediation outside of the traditional banking system is for private actors to evade regulation and taxes. The academic literature documents that motivation explains part of the growth and collapse of shadow banking over the past decade…
Regulation typically forces private actors to do something which they would otherwise not do: pay taxes to the official sector, disclose additional information to investors, or hold more capital against financial exposures. Financial activity which has been re-structured to avoid taxes, disclosure, and/or capital requirements, is referred to as arbitrage activity.” (“Shadow Bank Monitoring“, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, September, 2013)
In other words, the banks are conducting their operations in the shadows because it’s cheaper. That’s what this is all about. Here’s more from the same report:
“While the fundamental reason for commercial bank runs is the sequential servicing constraint, for shadow banks the effective constraint is the presence of fire sale externalities. In a run, shadow banking entities have to sell assets at a discount, which depresses market pricing. This provides incentives to withdraw funding—before other shadow banking depositors arrive.”
Okay, so when there’s a run on the local bank, the bank may have to offload some of its illiquid assets (real estate, commercial property, etc) to meet the increased demand of depositors who want their money, but they can also rely on government backing. (deposit insurance). But with shadow banking–like repo– it’s a bit different; the problem is fire sales. For example, when repo lenders–like the big money markets–demanded more collateral from the banks in exchange for short-term funding; the banks were forced to dump more of their assets en masse pushing prices lower, eroding their equity and leaving many of the banks deep in the red. This is how the panic wiped out Wall Street and cleared the way for the $700 TARP bailout. It all started in repo.
The point is, had the system been adequately regulated with the appropriate safeguards in place, there would have been no fire sales, no panic, and no crisis. Regulators would have made sure that the underlying collateral was legit, that is, they would have made sure that the subprime borrowers were creditworthy and able to repay their loans. They would have made sure that repo borrowers (the banks) had sufficient capital to meet redemptions if problems arose. And regulators would have limited excessive leveraging of the securitized assets.
Regulation works. It provides safety, stability, and security as opposed to panic, bankruptcy and severe recession which is the scenario that Wall Street’s profiteers seem to prefer. Now check this out from the NY Fed:
“While leveraged lending collapsed in 2008 from a peak of $680 billion in 2007, it has rebounded very quickly, and is now at record levels of volume, projected to be larger than $1 trillion in 2013…” (NY Fed)
How’s that for progress, eh? So, Bernanke’s reflation efforts have effectively restored the same shabby, poorly designed system to its former glory putting all of us at risk again. Here’s more:
“One area of concern, however, is the significant increase in the fraction of covenant lite loans, which have increased dramatically from 0 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2013. This deterioration in loan underwriting has come hand-in-hand with an increased presence of retail investors in the leveraged loan market, through both CLOs and prime funds, as relatively sophisticated investors, like banks and hedge funds, are exiting the asset class.” (New York Fed)
Great. So now we are seeing the same problems that emerged in 2004 and 2005 with subprime mortgages, that is, there’s so much liquidity in the system–thanks to the Fed’s zero rates and QE– that investors are dabbling in all-types of risky garbage that you wouldn’t normally touch with a 10 foot dungpole. Check this out from Testosterone Pit:
“Shadow banking loans are estimated to have reached $15 trillion in the US. And among them is a particularly hot category: lending to highly leveraged companies with junk credit ratings. … the NY Fed found that these loans are increasingly issued in a loosey-goosey manner, with low underwriting standards. And issuance has soared…
Layered into these crappy and risky loans are the crappiest and riskiest of all loans, namely “covenant-lite” loans. Their covenants are so watered down and so full of holes that investors have few if any protections in case of default. If the Fed ever allows reality to set, and these companies stumble under their load of debt or can’t refinance it at ridiculously low rates, investors can kiss their money goodbye.” …
these desperate small investors…have unknowingly made a quantum leap in risk – allowing the smart money, which hears the hot air hissing from the credit bubble, to bail out. This must be one of the proudest moments in Chairman Bernanke’s glorious tenure.” (“Fed: Hedge Funds, Banks Sell Crappiest Debt To Small Investors (Before Credit Bubble Blows Up) ” Testosterone Pit)
Nice, eh? So the big boys are planning to vamoose before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Meanwhile, Mom and Pop are about to get reamed for the umpteenth time when the Fed “tapers” and these covenant lite IEDs blow up in their face taking another sizable chunk out of their retirement savings. Way to go, Bernanke. Here’s more from the NY Fed report:
“Shadow credit transformation increased from only 5 percent of total credit transformation in 1945 to a peak amount of 60 percent in 2008 before declining to 55 percent in 2011.”
So now the shadow players are generating more than half of all the nation’s credit via their dodgy, unregulated operations. Why? So a handful of ravenous banks can make bigger profits.
According to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) “credit intermediation that takes place in an environment where prudential regulatory standards and supervisory oversight are either not applied or are applied to a materially lesser or different degree than is the case for regular banks engaged in similar activities.” (FSB, 2011).
Read that over again. What they’re saying is that it’s a completely ridiculous, insane system. We’ve given the banks this outrageous privilege of creating private money out of thin air, (credit) and they spit in our face. They won’t even follow a few simple rules that would make the process safer for everyone. Keep in mind, that Dodd Frank does nothing to remedy the problems in repo.
One last thing (from the NY Fed):
“Intermediaries create liquidity in the shadow banking system by levering up the collateral value of their assets. However, the liquidity creation comes at the cost of financial fragility as fluctuations in uncertainty cause a flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets. The collapse of shadow banking liquidity has real effects via the pricing of credit and generates prolonged slumps after adverse shocks.”
Repeat: “liquidity creation comes at the cost of financial fragility as fluctuations in uncertainty cause a flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets.”
Can you believe it? The Fed doesn’t even try to deny what’s going on. They admit that letting the banks ratchet up their leverage increases “financial fragility ” which could precipitate another crash. (“flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets.”) In other words, the Fed KNOWS the system is nuts, just like they know that it’s only a matter of time before the whole bloody thing blows up again and the economy goes off the cliff. Still, they’re not going to lift a finger to change the system.
You know why.
Because a few fatcats at the top like the way things are now, that’s why.
If that doesn’t make your blood boil, I don’t know what will.
Only a week ago, the consensus among most mainstream economic analysts and even some alternative analysts was that a government shutdown was not going to happen. The Republicans would fold in the shadow of President Barack Obama’s overwhelming drive for socialization, spending would continue to grow unabated, and the debt ceiling would be vaulted yet again to feed the bureaucratic machine with more fiat. Today, there is no consensus, very few people continue to be so blithely self-assured and even the mainstream is beginning to wonder if a much bigger game is afoot here.
As I discussed before the shutdown in a recent article, it is important to take all facets of this situation seriously, or risk being bitten by hidden dangers while entranced in one’s own arrogant cynicism.
One rule I try to follow whenever possible is to always be open to possibilities beyond the expected and never assume that today’s dynamic will be the same as tomorrow’s dynamic. Even the Liberty Movement can at times be susceptible to group think. In a world of staggering political and economic manipulation, one has to grasp hold of certain fundamental truths in order to survive. In my time working within the liberty movement and outside of the mainstream, these are a few of the cold, hard truths that have served me well.
It’s Always About Globalization
Every action the elites within our government take pushes the U.S. closer to globalism and away from sovereignty. We may not always see the bigger picture in the heat of the moment, but a look back tells us much. Seemingly simple changes in financial legislation render devastating fiscal shifts a decade later (as with the progressive erasure of Glass-Steagall). Shocking disaster events that appear random suddenly open doors for totalitarian legislation that had been prepared years in advance. Wars end with further calls for world “unification.” Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens within government that does not revolve around the desire of establishment oligarchy to achieve total global economic, political and social control.
The Bankers Did It
Central banks and international banks are the bedrock of globalization, and all greater political decisions eventually stand on this bedrock. One need only examine the cabinets of the past four U.S. Presidents; there you will find a regular carnival freak show of banking elites who would go on to revolve in and out of government and back into the international financial sector. Private central banks like the Federal Reserve dominate the very currency (and thus the economy) of most nations on the planet. Most wars and man-made disasters of the past several centuries have served only to further enrich and empower the merchant class, and the same holds true today. If you want to understand why a certain calamity has occurred, first look to who benefited most. Invariably, you will find the banker class smiling when all is said and done.
America’s Two-Party System Is Actually A One-Party System
If you do not yet understand that the elite of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party share the same foundational philosophy of globalism, then you will NEVER understand why our government does what it does. Public battles of words and legislation are nothing but rhetorical cinema. Ultimately, the goals of neocons and neolibs revolve around the centralization of power. All legislation is used either to further centralization or as a smokescreen to confuse the public while centralization is taking place. When has the leadership of either party, for instance, ever demanded a full audit of the Federal Reserve? When has the leadership of either party ever attempted to dismantle the Patriot Act or the despotic provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act or the President’s openly admitted assassination list? They may seem to disagree violently at times, but do not be fooled. The disagreement is likely just another means to gain more dominance.
The Goal Is To Destroy The American Economy
What you believe to be political blunders are often actually calculated and engineered events. What you believe to be chaotic disasters of coincidence are often actually deliberate acts of attrition warfare against the common people disguised as random catastrophe. Those you believe to be heroes are actually villains in friendly masks. Those you are told to be villains are actually good men and women who refused to be enslaved by the system. That which you see and hear is never exactly as it appears.
Nearly every concrete action our government and central bank have taken in the past several decades has led to the further erosion of the American economy. If this is all just the consequence of “stupidity” or “childish greed,” you would think our so-called leadership would have at least made a few good decisions by mistake; but they are incredibly adept at choosing all the wrong paths.
The reality is that collapses on the scale we are now witnessing in America rarely happen by accident.
The destruction of Glass-Steagall was a carefully crafted coup. The Federal Reserve deliberately and artificially lowered interest rates in order to allow banks to generate massive toxic debt through the derivatives markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission did little to nothing to stop the spread of cancerous mortgage instruments and ignored numerous calls for investigation. Ratings agencies like Moody’s and Fitch examined all of these toxic assets, knowing exactly what they were, and rated them AAA anyway. And banks like Goldman Sachs, knowing that the market was a sham, sold these bad assets around the world and then secretly bet AGAINST them later. Either this is economic warfare implemented with precision, or it’s all a string of coincidental blunders. I don’t believe in such coincidences.
America is being destroyed by design to make way for a new global system administered by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as a new global currency tied to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights.
If you are able to accept this, the confusion surrounding events like the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate withers, and everything becomes clear. With that clarity in mind, we can now examine the possible outcomes of the shutdown theater.
Republicans Surrender At The Last Minute
Of course, since both parties are essentially one party, the idea of “brinksmanship” on the part of either is absurd. The GOP will surrender, or “stand fast,” because its serves the interests of the globalist establishment. There is no political battle here, only the empty chest-beating of a staged wrestling match.
Bets on a last-minute Republican reversal were in the majority for the past week of the shutdown, but that is slowly changing — and for good reason. Obama has stated that the Affordable Care Act is off the table in negotiations, while Republicans like Ted Cruz and John Boehner are now stating with surprising candor that debt default is on the table if Obama refuses to compromise.
Gee, it would seem we are at an impasse.
In the meantime, the GOP is also moving to wrap the debt ceiling debate into the shutdown fight, making a “diplomatic compromise” even less likely to make sense to the public. (Those who argued that the shutdown and the debt ceiling were two entirely separate issued should accept this reality and move on.)
If I were writing this bit of fiction, I would say I was writing myself into a corner and that a last-minute Republican white flag would be illogical to my audience. That said, not all stories are well-written stories, so a Republican rollover remains an option for the time being. The primary reason I can see for the establishment to instruct the GOP to retreat would be to set the stage for a new stimulus event, like a war, which still leaves the U.S. dollar on track to lose its world reserve status — just not as fast a track.
Default Occurs By Winter
This plot twist makes far more sense to me given the way our story has progressed so far. Why? Because it provides perfect cover for an economic collapse that was going to occur anyway, except in this version the banking elite avoid all blame.
Just look at all the angry rhetoric being thrown around in the mainstream media; red team versus blue team has returned as the pervasive American sitcom.
Conservatives blame liberals and Obama. Liberals blame conservatives and the Tea Party. We’re all too happy to blame each other. Certainly, both elements of our government share responsibility for any debt default or subsequent collapse. But who started this avalanche to begin with? What about the Federal Reserve? What about Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citigroup, etc.? What about the globalists?
Debt default is no small matter. Such a disaster would indeed fuel a flight from U.S. Treasuries by foreign investors and eventually lead to the complete abandonment of the greenback as the world reserve standard. Austerity measures would be implemented at break-neck speed. Cuts to entitlement programs, pensions, State funding, etc. will hit the American people like a freight train.
The way in which the MSM is already painting “Tea Party” conservative as saboteurs should a default occur is actually a very practical strategy. Not only do the elites get their economic collapse, but they manipulate the general public to believe that Constitutional conservatives, their mortal enemies, were the CAUSE of the pain, rather than the banks.
Order From Chaos
Should the establishment decide this is the moment to pull the plug on our financial structure, expect some rather insane-sounding solutions to be presented as rational alternatives. When Obama was asked by reporters if he considered the 14th Amendment as an option to end the debt ceiling debate, Obama did not rule out the idea.
This should raise some eyebrows. By the 14th Amendment I can only surmise that they mean Section 4, which states:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Some people, including CNBC’s Jim Cramer, think that this gives the President the power to raise the debt ceiling regardless of what Congress decides.
And Obama doesn’t appear to be dismissing the notion either. However, Section 5 of the 14thAmendment says:
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Nowhere in Section 5 does it say that the President has the power to enforce the provisions of the 14th Amendment, but this may not stop the White House from twisting the law to insinuate more expansive controls.
Beyond the 14th Amendment, there are numerous executive orders and continuity of government programs that the White House could cite as authority to implement national emergency standards. This would probably start as a kind of “soft” martial law, and then grow from there. Each action will be rationalized as necessary for the greater good of the country, but will serve only the interests of the establishment oligarchy.
On the Republican side, there is another disturbing development that may be presented as a solution in the face of crisis — namely, the idea of instituting a Constitutional convention.
A Constitutional convention is essentially a complete rewriting of the document (which they call “amending”) in the name of rebooting a government that has strayed too far from the wishes of the people. The concept is being promoted avidly by certain neocon talking heads and scholars, even on the FOX News circuit.
It sounds very noble on the surface, and neocons use very pretty language to candy coat the idea for legitimate Constitutionalists; but it is truly the most foolish action our country could take, opening the door to a complete erasure of Bill of Rights protections while offering no assurances that any meaningful provisions will be respected or afforded by the Federal government. The people are given the illusion of potential redress when in reality a Con-Con produces only more centralized theater for the masses. If the liberty movement is suckered into a Constitutional convention, we will have been lured into writing our own destruction.
Another scenario could involve the Federal Reserve moving to take what they often call “extraordinary measures”. The Fed, being a private bank, may use the shutdown as an opportunity to paint itself as an economic “hero” (as unbelievable as that may sound), by instituting stimulus measures to the Federal Government regardless of Congressional or presidential impasse. Given enough public desperation in the midst of default, the Fed may attempt to assert unprecedented financial authority in the name of “saving the country from it’s own government”. The bankers then establish their role as the wise saviors and high priests of the fiscal universe, and cement private dominance over American political decisions as “acceptable” in the minds of the citizenry.
The most dangerous solution that will inevitably be paraded for the public will be a petition for aid from the IMF. The IMF has a long history of loansharking to indebted nations and then subsuming them and their natural resources in the process. The ignorant illusion that the United States is the sole power behind the IMF will be exposed all too late when a defaulting American Treasury is told to collateralize infrastructure to pay off creditors, while the dollar is bled completely dry and absorbed by the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket currency.
Whether default occurs or is avoided, watch vigilantly over the next few weeks. Do not blink. Do not be conned, and do not let fear or bias blind you to the bigger picture. The shutdown could amount to nothing immediate, or it could amount to everything we have warned about for the past five years. I personally believe the month of October may be a major turning point in America’s history. Whether it be for good or ill depends on how mentally and physically prepared we are.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
America’s ‘New’ Reality of Non-Self and Madness…
In the wake of the insurrection against the living, personal God of Revelation that began during the Renaissance eventuating in the proclamation of the death of God and cataclysmic eruptions of fire, brimstone and rivers of blood during the 20th century, ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn said the world had never before known,
“…godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.” (goodreads.com)
In his analysis of Marxist Communism and its’ alter ego, scientific materialism, Frank Meyers, an early conservative intellectual concluded that Communism is the state form,
“….taken by a materialist faith determined to rule the world.” Godless Communism is the “final synthesis of all heretical tendencies that have pervaded Western civilization for many centuries.” It is materialist scientism of which, “Communism is the culminating hubris of the Promethean man who reaches out for the world and means to remake creation. It is scientism gone political.” (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 251-252)
Both scientific evolutionary materialism and its new age evolutionary pantheist counterpart belong to the family of ‘new’ pagan or modern naturalism. Modern naturalism refers to a one-dimensional view of reality grounded in a monist pagan philosophy holding that only void, matter and evolutionary (developmental and change-making) energies exist. Therefore void, matter and energy are the Ultimate One Substance of which the universe consists and with which all life is in continuity, thus “all is one” and “everything is perpetually evolving and ascending.”
The main difference between these two views resides in whether matter is thought to be physical (i.e., Greek Atomism) or spiritual (Hinduism). However, both views share in common the following:
- Hatred of the supernatural God of Revelation and of man as His spiritual image-bearer
- One dimensional views of reality
- An inverted account of origins and history lending itself to the notion that since there was no fall then Lucifer is not the devil and men are not sinful but rather evolving into gods
- Scientific materialism or its’ New Age spiritual science counterpart
- Evolutionary conceptions. These serve two main functions. First, as a mechanical process of development and second, as a mechanism for purification of matter
- The nihilism of Buddha
Jesus Christ to Buddha,
“…you took God away (and) your espousal of an absence of self is the most unique and fearsome claim you made.” (The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Ravi Zacharias, pp. 59, 67)
Life is only with the living God of Revelation, the creator and upholder of the life and being (soul/spirit) of men. But if He does not exist, it logically follows that there is no ultimate source for life, conscious being, meaning and purpose; or for the sanctity of human life, worth, dignity, individual liberty and personal property. Without God the Father Almighty unalienable (God given) human rights are as meaningless as America’s founding documents have become in our Godless pagan society.
If man is not God’s spiritual image-bearer then he is less than nothing, a conclusion Buddha reached long before Jesus Christ God Incarnate walked this earth:
“Six centuries before Jesus Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either…Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one’s psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one’s being.” Thus your sense of self becomes illusion, “Reality is nonself…You don’t exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence.” (The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi, p. 6)
Naturalism: the Antithesis
Modern naturalism is in every way the antithesis of God’s Revelations and Christianity, the spiritual and moral foundation of Western civilization. For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America had affirmed the biblical view of total reality. In this historically unique view total reality consists of two interfacing, interactive halves: the seen (natural) and the unseen (supernatural).
According to this view, man faces both unseen and seen and interprets truth against these two interfacing halves of reality. Thus Paul declares that as men live out their lives they are spectacles, “unto the world, and to angels and men.” (1 Cor. 4:9)
In opposition to modern naturalism’s one dimensional view, Paul affirms that total reality consists of two halves, hence this earth (the seen) is really a theater and men are actors on its stage observed not only by other men (the seen) but by the Spirit of God and angels (the unseen).
Though men cannot see the Spirit of God and very rarely see angels they can see, hear and interact with men. The Spirit of God opens our eyes to understanding (Ps. 118: 34, 125, 144), tests our hearts, knows out secrets, motives, and thoughts (Psa. 17:3; 44:21; 139:1-4).
Both holy and unholy angels are all around us, watching, listening, helping and protecting if holy, if unholy then binding the disobedient to their power. Just as the Lord of Hosts gives His Holy Spirit to those who love and obey Him, He can send evil spirits upon those who are rebellious, live in persistent sin, practice occult arts or men who in their pride, covetousness and envy reject and hate Him as was the case with Karl Marx and Nietzsche, the apostate Christian philosopher who proclaimed the death of God. Unto these men the Lord of Hosts sent evil spirits just as He sent one to King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14). The evil spirit influenced and disordered Saul’s thinking, afflicted him with obsessions and paranoia, befouled his conscience, and inflated his disordered passions thereby, “filling him with unrest, anger, fear and murderous intent.” (Occult Bondage and Deliverance, Kurt E. Koch, p. 137)
Dr. Kurt Koch (1913-1987) was a highly respected German minister who pastored, counseled and delivered in excess of twenty thousand people suffering from demonic subjection. According to Koch, demonic subjection is an increasingly common occurrence in post-Christian Western and American society. Most people have little or no clue that they are in fact demonically subjected while some people, such as Marx, Nietzsche, Hitler and Stalin seem to possess a limitless supply of demonic energy, especially when engaged in imposing their will over the wills of others.
There are many underlying causes of demonic subjection. Koch delineates some of the leading ones common to apostatizing America:
“If a person blatantly lives a life of sin and persistently resists the Spirit of God and remains completely unrepentant, or…carries the sin of murder or abortion on his conscience, or has committed perjury or practical incest, if he has cursed his fellow men or blasphemed against the cross or against Christ, the Holy Spirit, or God, then he will have laid himself open to the devil’s attacks. Every curse is in fact a cry to the devil, and can…lead a person into bondage.” (Koch, p. 138)
“….God created man in his own image…..male and female created he them.” Gen. 1:27
According to the uniquely Christian view of total reality, the essence of the human is not the body and brain (the seen) but the unseen…the soul/spirit:
“It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves…For the sake of the soul…the Son of God came into the world…” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
Building off of the view of man as embodied spirit, St. Augustine (AD 354-430) affirmed that as all men are the spiritual image bearers of the supernatural Triune God in three Persons, then it logically follows that each man is a person; a trinity of being comprised of soul/spirit (unseen), and body, brain (seen).
The citadel of the soul is spirit (heart). Spirit is immortal and self-aware. It can will and think and is responsible for what it wills, thinks, speaks, and acts on while in this world.
Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes soul from the material body in which it is fully embedded. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend the natural dimension in order to access the third Heaven. By way of prayer and petitions the spirit of man’s mind allows him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, spirit is renewed over time, thus enabling man to more perfectly orient the manner of his thoughts, passions, words and actions in this world in preparation for eternity in Paradise.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit (self) and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no ‘self,’ hence no person.
The key to personal liberty in the natural or sensory half of reality is man’s spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically pre-programmed animal-like orientation. Animals have souls but not spirits, the basis of intelligence, sensitivity, imagination, self-consciousness, reflection back and forward into time, and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.
A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend his material brain to access the Spirit of the Lord as Paul affirms:
“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17)
Vishal Mangalwadi, India’s foremost Christian intellectual observes that this historically unique concept of man as God’s spiritual image-bearer gave birth to the “belief in the unique dignity of human beings,” and this is the force,
“…that created Western civilization, where citizens do not exist for the state but the state exists for the individual. Even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and army generals cannot be allowed to trample upon an individual and his or her rights.” (Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations, Mangalwadi, pp. 12-13)
One-Dimensional Godless Naturalism: the Reality of Non-Self
Modern naturalism, whether of materialist or pantheist permutation positing a non-existent immanent conception of deity (i.e. Omega, Gaia) is at bottom Godless, and said Ravi Zacharias, absolutely nothing,
“… has a more direct bearing on the moral choices made by individuals or the purposes pursued by society than belief or disbelief in God.” Key issues of the day “whether it be…sexual orientation and practice, or life in the fetal stage, sooner or later filter down to whether there is a God, and if so, has he spoken?” (The Real Face of Atheism, Zacharias, p. 21)
In “The Gnostic Religion,” Hans Jonas provides a full-scale study of the heretical world of pre-Christian and Christian era pagan Gnostic nihilism together with its modern variants: materialist and pantheist naturalism.
Jonas writes that while ancient Gnostic pagan man was thrown,
“…into an antagonistic, anti-divine, and therefore anti-human nature, modern man (is thrown) into an indifferent one.” (p. 338)
The ancient gnostic conception was still anthropomorphic despite the nihilism, hostility and demonic. But its’ modern counterpart with its’ indifferent nature, its’ completely godless, soulless, anti-human, demonic nature, represents the “absolute vacuum, the really bottomless pit.”
At least the ancient Gnostic dualism, as fantastic as it was, was at least self-consistent, as there was the illusion of a source for ‘self’ (being). Not so for its’ modern counterpart:
“So radically has anthropomorphism been banned from….nature that even man must cease to be conceived anthropomorphically if he is just an accident of nature. As the product of the indifferent, his being, too, must be indifferent. Then the facing of his mortality would simply warrant the reaction, ‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” (ibid, p. 339)
“…modern nihilism (is) infinitely more radical and more desperate than gnostic nihilism ever could be for all its panic terror of the world and its defiant contempt of its laws. That nature does not care, one way or the other, is the true abyss. That only man cares, in his finitude facing nothing but death, alone with….the objective meaninglessness of his projected meanings, is a truly unprecedented situation.” (Jonas, p. 339)
In other words, the death of the living God of Revelation means there is neither source for life and ‘self’ (soul/spirit) nor for higher truth and morality, purpose, meaning, salvation and eternity. For depersonalized man, the evolved ape or bag of chemicals, there is nothing—no heaven above, no hell below and no,
“…. vast mind behind the framing of the world; no transcending voice giving counsel to this world…no light at the end of the tunnel (hence only) the loneliness of existence in its most desolate form.” (Zacharias, p. 27)
The determined assault against the living Holy God that began during the Renaissance gained speed and force with the materialist implications of Darwin’s neo-pagan theory. The idea that humans evolved by chance and natural selection from non-life bearing chemicals lay the axe at the very foundation of the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo. On the heels of Darwin’s theory Christianity came under forceful attack allowing a one-dimensional worldview draining into nihilism to be declared a scientifically supported reality.
Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published in 1859 and instantly and uncritically accepted by people such as Karl Marx, T.H. Huxley, Herbert Spencer, Ernst Haeckel in Germany and large numbers of clergy more eager to be thought scientific and modern than to defend the faith once given.
For materialist and pantheist alike, Darwin’s theory was a wish come true and so became the center of their respective one-dimensional worldviews.
The demonized Karl Marx hated the God of Revelation and his exuberance for Darwin’s idea prompted him to consider dedicating his Das Kapital to Darwin, an honor which he declined. Since Marx favored scientific materialism the rationale behind his invitation to Darwin was that he saw how Darwin’s materialist theory provided a scientific framework to support the economic infrastructure on which Marx could build his godless communist utopia.
Darwin’s materialist theory and Marxist materialist presuppositions (economic theory based on envy and hatred of God) together with Freud’s materialist-based analysis of religion and human sexuality threw faith in God and Christianity “over the wall of civilization,’ said Zacharias:
“With such abusive attacks directed at religious belief coming from so many directions, it was left for someone to cast this creature called theism completely out, and exorcise the world of all such influence. The one who did that was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.” (p. 25)
By the time of Nietzsche, perceptive thinkers had already been expressing apprehension at the prospect of multitudes of unsuspecting Westerners who would eventually be cruelly exploited by anti-human haters of God.
With Nietzsche, dreadful apprehension deepened into certainty, for Nietzsche despised religion in general, but upon Christianity he poured his unbridled fury:
“I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of
revenge, for which no means are too venomous, too underhanded, too underground, and too petty.” (Nietzsche in “The Life of Nietzsche,” Faru Forster Nietzsche, 1921, p. 656)
However, rather than mindless infatuation for Darwin’s idea, Nietzsche (1844–1900) harshly criticized it:
“What surprises me most when I survey the broad destinies of man is that I always see before me the opposite of that which Darwin and his school see or want to see today: selection in favor of the stronger, better-constituted, and the progress of the species. Precisely the opposite is palpable … I incline to the prejudice that the school of Darwin has been deluded everywhere…” (Nietzsche: The evolutionist who was anti-God and anti-Darwin, Russell Grigg, creation.com)
Nietzsche was not anti-evolution but rather had his own evolutionary conception which he called “the will to power.”
While Darwin received his idea from his pantheist grandfather Erasmus Darwin, Nietzsche’s conception was preceded by mystical ecstasy. Nietzsche experienced two mystical encounters with the first one taking place in August, 1881.
Charles Andler writes that previous to his scientific reasoning, Nietzsche received revelations during mystical encounters just as Spinoza did. Mystical ecstasy,
“…. preceded (Spinoza’s) system and his geometric form, thus, with Nietzsche mystical ecstasy preceded his scientific reasoning.” (Charles Andler cited by Henri De Lubac, “The Drama of Atheist Humanism,” p. 481)
According to Henri De Lubac, secret knowledge was revealed to Nietzsche that he was “….the first of men to know.’ The shock of it was sudden and profound. Though no direct document relates his experience sure evidence is found in an agitated page of Ecce Homo where Nietzsche wrote:
“Suddenly, with sureness, with indescribable delicacy, a thing makes itself seen, makes itself heard. It shakes you, it overwhelms you right to your innermost depths. You hear it…You let it fill you….A thought blazes forth like a flash of lightening…It imposes itself as a necessity…I never had to choose it. It is an ecstasy….You are enraptured, taken outside of yourself…All of this…is accompanied by a tumultuous feeling of liberty, of independence, of divinity…There you have my experience of the inspiration.” (Lubac, p. 472)
In the months that followed he remained silent about the knowledge he received. But in August of 1882 he discussed his experience with Lou Salome. Salome writes that Nietzsche spoke of his encounter only in obscure words and with hushed voice. Giving “every indication of the most profound horror” Nietzsche described the terrible and marvelous revelation he had received with two words: Eternal Return. (ibid, p. 473)
In the autumn of 1882 he experienced his second encounter which he described in the poem Sils Maria:
“I was sitting and waiting, without waiting for anything/Beyond good and evil, tasting Light sometimes and sometimes shade/Absorbed by this brew…When suddenly…what was one became two, And Zarathustra passed before me…” (ibid, p. 475)
It was a vision without a doubt, precise and sudden:
“I could tell you the day and the hour….Zarathustra has fallen on me, he assaults me..” (ibid)
Zarathustra was an evil spirit who confirmed to Nietzsche the ‘truth’ of the revelations already received, which included man’s evolution from worms:
“You [mankind] have made your way from worm to human, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now the human being is still more of an ape than any ape is.” (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra’s Prologue section 3, trans. by G. Parkes, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, p. 11)
Henceforth, Nietzsche is an inspired prophet who knows for certain that the God of Revelation is dead, that man’s evolution from worms is absolutely true, and that he is Jesus Christ’s successor, the ‘new’ Christ. Within ten days he drafted by way of automatic writing the whole first book of his prophecy. He called his finished work Zarathustra, the new Bible of scientific evolutionary naturalism, and told the world to throw away all other books, for now you have my Zarathustra, “a new Holy Book.”
It was Nietzsche, the ‘new’ Christ, who saw that the death of the personal God had already begun to cast its first dark shadows over Europe, and though,
“the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people’s power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them,” still its advent was certain, and it was men like Nietzsche, the ‘new’ Christ who were “the firstlings and premature children of the coming century,” the century of the “triumph of Nihilism.” (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 44)
Nietzsche was the first apostate Christian to gaze fully upon man’s loss of faith and its terrifying consequences. With no living God ‘up there’ to obstruct his vision, the nihilism he saw was agonizing. As there was no longer any Light from God above, there was only darkness in the hermetically sealed world below. The paralyzing darkness that overtook the mind of the ‘new’ Christ was spiritual. It was not so much,
“….an exterior phenomenon crowding inward but rather an inner blinding that spread outward.” (Ravi Zacharias, p. 27)
This was precisely Nietzsche’s point. With the death of the personal God of Revelation the darkness of objective meaninglessness
Speaking through the writings of the ‘new’ Christ, Zarathustra went on to say that because God had died in the 19th century there would follow two terrible consequences beginning in the 20th century. (Romans 1:18)
First, the 20th century would become one of the most evil century’s in history, and second, a universal madness (Romans 1:21, 22) would break out and turn the once glorious W. Europe and America upside-down.
Though apostates and the apostatizing professed themselves wise, their cognitive thought processes would become darkened (vain) and with their conscience dead to sin they would become fools, meaning they would accept and publicly profess incredibly stupid conceptions of themselves (i.e., man is an evolved worm, ape or robot; man is evolving into god).
“And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them.” Isaiah 3:4
In turning away from the Spirit of God and the truth He has given, ‘wise’ males will become effeminate cowards and females mannish. They will be adolescent emotional-tyrants in adult-size bodies: sinister, greedy, spiteful, vindictive, treacherous, back-stabbing sophists. They will celebrate Lucifer (the devil) and in their madness actively seek the way of Luciferian initiation because they will be spiritually blind in regard to total reality. Like demons they will flee from the cross of Jesus but exalt the devil as the first free thinker, the genetic creator of man, the seething energy and angel of evolution. Truth will be lies, evil will be good, unfaithfulness will be faith and the ‘wise’ will preach and blaspheme from pulpits, exercise political power, enact legislation, and wield broken law to plunder, punish, and ruin.
Zarathustra has been right on both counts. First, apostatizing W. Europe and America, though dotted here and there by small islands of Light, decency and sanity, are becoming darkened, satanically inverted places ruled by the ‘wise,’ hence boiling over with madness, particularly Hollywood, academia, mainstream media and the highest, most powerful political offices in the land. Second, Nietzsche was made to show the ‘wise’ what is in store for them by spending the last eleven years of his life insane.
That appears to be a career-killing No- No.
Denison first became concerned as to the hanky panky going on in State Probate courts via her involvement in the adult guardianship of Mary G. Sykes. Sykes was put under an adult guardianship, without apparent legal jurisdiction by the Cook County Court. Neither Mary Sykes nor her adult daughter, Gloria, were served with notice of the proceedings. The court- appointed guardians have subsequently isolated the elderly woman from family and friends for roughly four years.
This is sadly not unusual in guardianship/conservatorship cases. When a concerned family member or friend attempts to intervene in what is often abuse of the “protected person” by the court- appointed guardian, the protesting party often gets treated most severely by the court. Restraining orders are passed out in these cases like salt water taffy, and more often than not there is a lack of due process involved in the restraining order hearings.
Meaning, in lay terms, that the restrained person does not get a hearing.
There also appears to be questionable financial actions taken by the guardians, Adam Stern and Cynthia Farenga, in the Mary Sykes matter. Over a million dollars in gold coins have been unaccounted for by the guardians. Once again, this is– unfortunately– business as usual in probate court. While one of the primary functions of a guardian is to conserve the estate, many guardians tend to look at OPM–”Other People’s Money” as a free pass to whoopee it up on someone else’s dime. Guardians “forget” to do inventories, “lose” valuable artwork and antiques and in some cases “misplace” entire bank accounts.
Denison, however, found all this abuse and embezzlement to be…..inappropriate. She began a blog, marygsykes.com, which has featured articles by attorneys, award-winning journalists and bloggers as well as her own commentary on what is happening on a widespread basis in probate courts across the country. She has faithfully posted the legal documents relevant to the Sykes case.
And for this public service, Denison may lose her license to practice law.
Going into the complaint, which was filed by Jerome Larkin of the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (IARDC), one finds that Denison is being tried for exercising her right to informed free speech. Larkin cites a number of quotes from Denison on her blog as evidence of the following:
a) Making a statement which a lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge…..
b) conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation….
c) conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice…
d) presenting, participating in presenting, or threatening to present criminal charges to obtain an advantage in a civil matter….
e) conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.
I happen to think that Mr. Larkin over extended himself when he constructed this list. I have personally been reading the marygsykes blog for some time and am unaware of JoAnne Denison making any false statements. I am aware, however, that her criticisms of the malfunction of justice in these proceedings could well be considered in the category of someone declaring that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes….
In other words, JoAnne Denison speaks politically inconvenient truths.
The complaint details some of the posts by Ms. Denison concerning the failures of the court to honor Mary Sykes’ constitutional rights as well as concerns about the dispensation of her funds. Here are a couple of the posts which Larkin found objectionable:
A July 28,2012 blog entry entitled “My fax to Diane Saltoun, Executive Director
at the Illinois Atty General,” stating:
While the above case has a long, long history, much of which is
documented on a blog to be found at www.marygsykes.com. the
reality of the situation is that this probate proceeding boils down to
garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and mal feasance by
attorneys and the court. ..
Please look at the attached and all the information I will fax you
shortly. This is a case that could be bigger than Greylord-what is
being done to deprive grandma and grandpa of their civil rights and
how the Probate court (routinely) operates.”
Yep, them is fighting words, you can bet your booty on that. The fact that Ms. Denison’s post references concerns that have been brought to the attention of the court—a million missing dollars in gold coins, for starters–must have gotten Mr. Larkin all worked up. Because look at what else he has found objectionable in Ms. Denison’s blog:
An April 19,2012 blog entry entitled “Ken Ditkowsky’s answer to the complaint
filed against him by the ARDC via Cynthia Farenga,” wherein Respondent suggests
that the GALs and the Guardian ad Litem stole Mary Sykes’ money by stating:
Kend (sic) Ditkowsky and I have been caught up in all of this because
we have been working tirelessly on this blog and to inform others of
this situation–and those attorneys who will churn fees at hundreds of
dollars per hour-want us silenced. They apparently have a lot of clout
in Probate and even with the ARDC …
Jumping Jehosophat!! You mean an attorney can now be cited for misconduct for reporting that a guardian and attorneys have committed embezzlement and are exercising what is commonly called “undue influence”? Isn’t that what courts and the media are supposed to do? Provide a forum (a public one, to remind the reading audience) wherein acts of criminal misconduct and corruption can be ferreted out?
Or was Larkin’s real concern that Denison discussed the clout that miscreant attorneys have with both the Court and his employer, the IARDC? Was Denison hitting too close to home for his comfort?
Attorney Ken Ditkowsky has also been subject to IARDC proceedings for his involvement in the Sykes case. Ditkowsky, who has been sending out emails to Attorney General Eric Holder and others, requesting an honest and complete investigation of the Sykes case, has been recommended for four years suspension from the practice of law. Ken Ditkowsky has been licensed to practice law since the early 1960’s.
The IARDC complaint against Ditkowsky references the attorney’s efforts to investigate the Sykes matter and also his efforts to represent Mary Sykes, as requested by Mary (the court had previously declined to appoint her counsel). In addition, the complaint also references statements Ditkowsky has made relating to the integrity and qualification of judicial officers.
Since the IARDC has recommended his suspension, Ditkowsky has continued to contact federal officials with his concerns about the Sykes case. If anything, he has become louder and more insistent concerning the deprivation of rights inflicted upon Mary Sykes and others.
Ditkowsky is now referring to these cases as “elder cleansing,” a clear reference to what happened in another genocide, the first launched under Hitler, which cleansed Germany of hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled ethnic Germans. Ditkowsky has also coined the phrase “ethics cleansing,” to refer to the removal from the Bar register attorneys who object to the abuses being administered via probate guardianships.
A letter from Guardian ad Litem Cynthia Farenga to the IARDC has since surfaced. In the letter, dated November 20, 2011, Farenga asks the IARDC for an investigation of Ditkowsky and Denison due to a blog post which appeared on Probate Sharks in 2011. In the blog post, Ditkowsky and Denison call for a State and Federal investigation of the Sykes case.
The Farenga letter confirms the very perception, memorialized on her blog, for which Denison is now under disciplinary proceedings. The fact that Farenga and others in the probate cabal do have torque with the ARDC should exonerate Denison from prosecution for saying so. But it has not.
It is of interest that the judge in the Sykes case, Judge Jane Louise Stuart, has deep financial ties to President Obama. http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/obama-mansion-rezko-william-miceli-probate-judge-jane-l-stuart-harvey-wineberg-kenneth-j-conner-fired/
Given that Ditkowsky has repeatedly emailed officers in the Obama administration concerning this case, one must ask if favors were requested by Stuart, who appears to own Obama’s mansion.
The website for the State of Illinois states that:
The Elder Abuse and Neglect Act provides that people – who in good faith report suspected abuse or cooperate with an investigation – are immune from criminal or civil liability or professional disciplinary action. It further provides that the identity of the reporter shall not be disclosed except with the written permission of the reporter or by order of a court.
This should exonerate both Denison and Ditkowsky from disciplinary action for the reasons stated by the IARDC. Possibly the law does not apply when the judge is a financial supporter of President Obama.
In any event, the word is getting out: Ethical lawyering has gone the way of the Stegosaurus.
And the First Amendment? It doesn’t specify who has free speech and who does not. One more Constitutional protection is being thrown under the bus.
James Grogan, Deputy Director for the IARDC, declined to comment on whether the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act offered protection for Denison and Ditkowsky, stating he cannot comment on pending cases. When asked if, given the fact that the judge in question appears to own President Obama’s home, there might have been some federal directives issued in these two cases, Grogan also declined to comment.
Other lawyers who have been under the gun due to their attempted defense of conservatees include Grant Goodman, AZ; Margie Mikels, California; Jim Reiss, California.