Friday, December 31, 2010
2011 Is Here (Almost): Where to Next, Fellow Citizens?
By Kevin Gosztola article link
December 31, 2010 | OpEdNews
As 2011 begins, it is clear that many who long for radical change are increasingly desperate for that change. Good-hearted citizens who have been following American politics and the regular conduct of the U.S. government closely for decades are either wholly cynical or are seeking out ways to cope with the current situation. It is not that they have given up on the idea of resistance and change, but they just want to resist and work for change in a way that will help them not be torn to shreds by the talons of a system that continues to support the wants and needs of the top 1% at the expense of those at the bottom.
The collective American population has given up much ground to business or corporate interests. They have allowed political leaders to shift from being representatives of the people to being representatives of financiers, which fund their brand as politicians in Washington. They have conditioned themselves to accept piecemeal change or reform as all that they can get out of this system and they have even developed a keen ability to take measures that are labeled with the word "reform" and celebrate that measure even if it doesn't really reform anything at all. (For example, health "reform," which delivered customers to private insurance companies by making it mandatory for citizens to have health insurance under penalty of law.)
The consistency with which the American people give in to power cannot continue without producing more dire consequences. It cannot continue without certain minorities, like Muslims or Latino immigrants, being persecuted more. It cannot continue without the few social programs that government allows citizens to lean on in order to survive being lost entirely. It cannot continue without corporations taking more control of politicians and making politicians more indifferent to the misery and poverty of people suffering from the rot, which those in power have created over the past decades.
Thankfully, a small percentage of the American population do not tolerate the coalescing of power, which the military industrial-complex, the security industrial-complex, the congressional industrial-complex and other complexes in this country. They continue to put sacrifice before greed. While many Americans live a life seeking out materials, consumer goods or some kind of social status that can satisfy their ego and make them feel like they have some worth, a number have given up a quest for all that. They are putting their future and well-being on the line by first being curious and asking questions and then often acting upon that curiosity and any information gained by engaging in protest -- acts of resistance.
2011, like every year, has the potential to be a year of resistance. Many instances of resistance happened in 2010, but as is typical, they went unreported or under-reported.
As the TSA stepped up its totalitarian invasion of people's privacy through pat-downs and body scanners and claimed it was a response to a Christmas Day bomber last year, many Americans resisted this turn toward totalitarianism and pledged to not fly or refuse to be groped. In the face of health "reform," single-payer healthcare advocates pledged to double their efforts in working for real healthcare for all, some of them committing to engage in protest and civil resistance. Tens of thousands of Americans gathered in Detroit for the U.S. Social Forum and spent five days developing agendas or plans around key issues in America that desperately need to be confronted by citizens.
The BP Gulf Oil Disaster saw Gulf residents in and around the Gulf area standing up to BP and the government cover-up. They worked to get out the truth about what the disaster had done to the environment and the Gulf seafood, which fishermen had depended on for their livelihood (many of those residents continue to fight).
A number of people stood strong in New York City and in other parts of the U.S. against the bigotry that was on display as a proto-fascist faction of the population worked to prevent Muslims from building a "mosque" at Ground Zero. They responded to the toxic dialogue being promoted by this faction and sought to defend the property rights of all Americans in this country. But, more importantly, they called out the government for continuing wars in Muslim countries, which have turned many Americans into fearful individuals who are suspicious of Muslim people.
Over a thousand people were in Washington, D.C. in October for "Appalachia Rising," a conference and protest event which ended with people from Appalachia calling for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining in an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House where 100 were arrested. And, a couple months later, an act of civil resistance took place in front of the White House. Veterans led the act as 135 were arrested, including Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Ray McGovern, and other notable antiwar leaders.
Unreported in the media, the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history took place in Georgia in the middle of December. The strike was organized through cellphones. They were protesting the living and working conditions they are forced to endure. Most frightening to those in power was probably the fact that different groups in the prisons that are normally fighting against each other were able to lay aside any problems, unite and engage in resistance.
Mega-rallies took place on the National Mall. Glenn Beck had Tea Partiers out by the tens of thousands to "restore honor." Liberals had liberals out calling for "one nation working together." Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had tens of thousands of people out to "restore sanity." The "Restore Honor" rally was frightening in the same way that viewing newsreels of Weimar Republic leaders before they called themselves Nazis would probably be frightening. The "One Nation Working Together" wound up being virtually useless, a waste. It was a poor pathetic attempt at unity rather than an event aimed at taking a stand. The "Restore Sanity" rally was illuminating of the reality that celebrity comedians cannot be expected to save America. Unless willing to risk their careers entirely, they will promote compromise and pragmatism in politics instead of truly taking on the dangerous forces that have lined up against the people of this nation.
WikiLeaks had a big impact. As the Obama Administration maintained a military escalation in Afghanistan and sought to preserve a permanent troop presence in Iraq (that would be left behind after a "withdrawal" from the country), WikiLeaks released a "Collateral Murder" video, showing the US military falsely claiming to have been fired at and then laughing at those they killed -- two of them Iraqis working for Reuters as journalists. While the Obama Administration ignored the immorality and illegitimacy of its wars in six different areas of the world (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Colombia, and the Horn of Africa), WikiLeaks exposed what the U.S. had really been doing during its years of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through two sets of "War Logs." And, as the government engaged in saber-rattling with Iran and North Korea, WikiLeaks made it difficult for the United States to make any aggressive moves before 2010 was over by releasing the U.S. Embassy or diplomatic cables, which put focus on everything the U.S. has done diplomatically in the past decade.
The 2010 Election was instructive. The pendulum in American politics swung back toward the GOP yet polls indicated that most Americans were not all that convinced the Republican Party would lead them to better times. Liberal voters did not get out the vote for Democrats like the Democratic Party had wanted. They did not turn out to vote like Vice President Joe Biden and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had chided and commanded them to do. So, the Tea Party helped the GOP deliver huge losses to the Blue Dog Democrats and New Democrats in Congress while around ninety percent of "progressive" Congress leaders kept their jobs. This indicated electoral energy in the future could serve the Democratic Party if they ran "progressive" candidates instead of corporate Democrats.
Instead of making bleak predictions about the future (much of which would be similar to the ones found in this article and this article), it seems more valuable to pose some questions. The future year presents these dilemmas, which should be deliberated over contentiously:
1) How do we convince more Americans of the need to resist or engage in protest? If they agree that this country has problems, what can be done to motivate them to take action and not wait for government to bring them their deadly brand of change?
2) How do we overcome the fear Americans have that we might not be able to reverse certain government agendas or policies? How do we convince them that they should not become survivalists but instead activists or moral citizens who take action to defend values and principles in this country?
3) How do we plan to defend those who are fighting the hardest for values and principles, which we hold dear? How do we plan to defend those who are being subject to a witch-hunt by the FBI in Chicago and Minneapolis? How do we plan to defend those we consider heroes and not pariahs so that they can continue to be of use to us and can we defend them without falling back on bankrupt identity politics, which got us a President Barack Obama?
4) Additionally, how do we plan to preserve assets that we need to wage struggle -- assets like OpEdNews and others who are part of independent media, assets like the United Antiwar Committee with many organizations that will be invaluable to any struggle for peace and justice in this country?
5) What plans do we have to prioritize issues and discuss maturely what we must align ourselves against first in order to truly make progress? Liberal activists are spread thin. We are each aligned behind one cause. But, we may, for example, need to choose militarism and consciously organize to address how that has perverted America.
6) What do we plan to do with elections, which often siphon away or dissolve energy that has coalesced to support protest and resistance?
7) How do we plan to tap into the power of art and culture and promote the creation and spread of art and culture which is not purely abstract, consumerist, and narcissist but powerful in the way that it comments on government, society or culture--powerful because it allows for discussion on key issues that must be discussed openly in order for consciousness to be shifted and in order for radical change to take shape?
Kevin Gosztola is a multimedia editor for OpEdNews.com. He follows media & activism, religions and their influence on politics, and sometimes writes movie reviews for OEN. His work can be found on Open Salon, The Seminal, Media-ocracy.com, and a blog on Alternet called Moving Train Media. He can be heard on a weekly radio show called the "Saturday News Hangover." He is a 2009 Young People For Fellow and a documentary filmmaker who graduated with a Film/Video B.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring 2010. In April 2010, he co-organized a major arts & media summit called "Art, Access & Action," which explored the intersection of politics, art and media and was supported by Free Press. He is also a member of the Media Democracy Day Think Tank in Chicago.
OpEdNews Articles by Kevin Gosztola
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2011: Time for a New Clear Vision
by Randall Amster article link
December 31, 2010 | CommonDreams
CommonDreams home page
Hope in 2011: Peoples, Civil Society Stand Tall
by Ramzy Baroud article link
December 30, 2010 | Global Research
Global Research home page
How We Can Mobilize the Unemployed for a Massive Economic Movement
By Frances Fox Piven article link
December 30, 2010 | The Nation | AlterNet
The Nation home page
AlterNet home page
Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:20 AM
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Congress, The Military, Corporations: The Collusive Alliance That Fuels America's Wars
By Michael Payne article link
December 30, 2010 | OpEdNews
America has undergone a dramatic, radical change in the past three decades as the power and influence of the military and corporate America have grown exponentially. These very potent entities are aided and abetted in their closely connected agendas by a combination of the wealthiest Americans, the financial sector, the Congress and the executive and judicial branches of our government. The people of America and our democracy have become subservient to this powerful controlling force.
This is an alliance in which each element takes care of its partners. When the Pentagon demands more funds for its wars, the Congress rubber stamps their requests without condition or debate. When giant defense corporations lobby for more weapons business, the Pentagon readily rewards them with multi billion dollar contracts. When members of Congress face reelection Corporate America feeds them unlimited campaign contributions, thanks to the Supreme Court's infamous ruling in the Citizens United court case.
Washington D.C., once the respected, prestigious seat of the U.S. government has now become so infested with greed, corruption, collusion and incompetence that even an army of exterminators could not take away the stench. The interests of the American people no longer have a place in the halls of Congress which is now under the control and domination of Wall Street, Corporate America, and the military. There is no important, meaningful legislation that comes before Congress that can be enacted without the tacit approval and involvement of one special interest group or another. A large part of the lobbyists that influence and pressure the decisions in Congress are the special representatives of the defense industry and the banking sector of our nation.
Check out this highly informative Article that clearly shows the close relationship between the military, the defense industry and the financial sector of America. It clearly illustrates how a revolving door exists for retiring generals to obtain lucrative jobs with defense corporations. Many of these generals and colonels also have side jobs as military analysts on Fox News, CNN or other TV news organizations. In the final paragraphs of the article, retired general Wesley Clark, now a lobbyist and investment banker, makes what's happening in America crystal clear when he says, "It is the militarization of the economy.'' That is a truly frightening thought.
America now finds itself in a deep economic crisis in which cities, states and citizens are under siege and fighting for their very survival. Those in power and control from the White House on down have virtually no positive, innovative ideas on how to stop the hemorrhaging and restore some semblance of stability in America; they are preoccupied with war.
As the bleeding continues to sap the economic strength of America and the future grows ever bleaker, we are hearing the voices of "fiscal responsibility" putting forth their negative messages of how to address and solve our problems. Just listen to this latest example of this type of thinking on what should be done to solve our fiscal problems. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, generally referred to as "Dr. No", the spending hawk, warned recently that America would experience "apocalyptic pain" with 15-18 percent unemployment and the "middle class destroyed" if it didn't get its fiscal house in order.
He said "everything should be on the table for cost cutting." When have we heard that one before? Does he mean everything to include the monumental costs of the Pentagon and its $1.3 trillion annual budget, the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the more than 750 military installations around the world and the myriad of other costs associated with pursuing a never ending agenda of perpetual war? Or is he a typical Republican that will simply concentrate on cuts to Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, and all other entitlements?
President Obama's deficit commission and many Republican senators have been very vocal about the need to reduce our monumental deficits but they speak with forked tongues. The just extended tax cuts for the ultra rich of America were not a part of this deficit discussion, yet they will contribute mega billions to deficit growth. The Congress approves funding for the Pentagon and the wars time and time again with absolutely no debate whatsoever about how it relates to the deficits.
How can our current president continue to let these incompetent, so-called representatives of the people allow the tax cuts for the rich and the costs of the wars to get a pass on the issue of deficit reduction and, at the same time, remain passive and silent as they threaten to cut social security, Medicare and other important entitlements? Mr. Obama is doing a great disservice to the American people and this nation when he allows these obvious supporters of the Military-Industrial-Corporate America Complex to dominate the discussion and the debate.
Yes, of course, America needs a strong military to protect its citizens; Yes, America needs a strong industrial sector to fuel its economy. But what America does not need and can no longer afford is a combination of the two whose common objective is to pursue needless and extremely costly wars in foreign lands and to continue to produce weapons of destruction to fuel those wars. America also needs a strong Congress to solve our many problems but it does not need a Congress that is totally subservient to the demands of the military and corporate America.
One way or another America must free itself of the stranglehold of this powerful alliance and the agenda of permanent war by which it sustains itself. It cannot allow Corporate America and the military, with the aid of this Congress to dominate and determine this nation's national agenda and direction. We must find the ways to restore a viable democracy in America.
The last thing that America needs right now is an economic collapse but that may be inevitable if this powerful alliance continues to control this nation's agenda and waste the remaining wealth of America on war. Such a dismal thought may be very unnerving for Americans to contemplate but it may be the only way that the funding for the military-industrial machine can be ended, and the only real solution for this terrible ongoing dilemma we face.
Michael Payne is an independent progressive who writes articles about domestic social and political matters as well as American foreign policy. His major goal is to convince Americans that our perpetual wars must end before they bankrupt our nation. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and websites around the world.
OpEdNews Articles by Michael Payne
Washington Uses Arms Sales To Achieve Global Supremacy
December 29, 2010 | Stop NATO | OpEdNews | Global Research
Stop NATO blog home
Posted by mammonmessiah at 2:16 PM
Incipient Fascist State: America Has Gone Away
December 29, 2010 | Global Research | OpEdNews
Anyone who doesn’t believe that the US is an incipient fascist state needs only to consult the latest assault on civil liberty by Fox News (sic). Instead of informing citizens, Fox News (sic) informs on citizens. Jason Ditz reports (antiwar.com Dec. 28) that Fox News (sic) “no longer content to simply shill for a growing police state,” turned in a grandmother to the Department of Homeland Security for making “anti-American comments.”
The media have segued into the police attitude, which regards insistence on civil liberties and references to the Constitution as signs of extremism, especially when the Constitution is invoked in defense of dissent or privacy or placarded on a bumper sticker. President George W. Bush set the scene when he declared: “you are with us or against us.”
Bush’s words demonstrate a frightening decline in our government’s respect for dissent since the presidency of John F. Kennedy. In a speech to the Newspaper Publishers Association in 1961, President Kennedy said:
“No president should fear public scrutiny of his program, for from that scrutiny comes understanding, and from that understanding comes support or opposition; and both are necessary. . . . Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed, and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian law makers once decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment.”
The press is not protected, Kennedy told the newspaper publishers, in order that it can amuse and entertain, emphasize the trivial, or simply tell the public what it wants to hear. The press is protected so that it can find and report facts and, thus, inform, arouse “and sometimes even anger public opinion.”
In a statement unlikely to be repeated by an American president, Kennedy told the newspaper publishers: “I’m not asking your newspapers to support an administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, for I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.”
The America of Kennedy’s day and the America of today are two different worlds. In America today the media are expected to lie for the government in order to prevent the people from finding out what the government is up to. If polls can be believed, Americans brainwashed and programmed by O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh want Bradley Manning and Julian Assange torn limb from limb for informing Americans of the criminal acts of their government. Politicians and journalists are screeching for their execution.
President Kennedy told the Newspaper Publishers Association that “it is to the printing press, the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news, that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: Free and Independent.” Who can imagine a Bill Clinton, a George W. Bush, or a Barack Obama saying such a thing today?
Today the press is a propaganda ministry for the government. Any member who departs from his duty to lie and spin the news is expelled from the fraternity. A public increasingly unemployed, broke and homeless is told that they have vast enemies plotting to destroy them in the absence of annual trillion dollar expenditures for the military/security complex, wars lasting decades, no-fly lists, unlimited spying and collecting of dossiers on citizens supplemented by neighbors reporting on neighbors, full body scanners at airports, shopping centers, metro and train stations, traffic checks, and the equivalence of treason with the uttering of a truth.
Two years ago when he came into office President Obama admitted that no one knew what the military mission was in Afghanistan, including the president himself, but that he would find a mission and define it. On his recent trip to Afghanistan, Obama came up with the mission: to make the families of the troops safe in America, his version of Bush’s “we have to kill them over there before they kill us over here.”
No one snorted with derision or even mildly giggled. Neither the New York Times nor Fox News (sic) dared to wonder if perhaps, maybe, murdering and displacing large numbers of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen and US support for Israel’s similar treatment of Lebanese and Palestinians might be creating a hostile environment that could breed terrorists. If there still is such a thing as the Newspaper Publishers Association, its members are incapable of such an unpatriotic thought.
Today no one believes that our country’s success depends on an informed public and a free press. America’s success depends on its financial and military hegemony over the world. Any information inconsistent with the indispensable people’s god-given right to dominate the world must be suppressed and the messenger discredited and destroyed.
Now that the press has voluntarily shed its First Amendment rights, the government is working to redefine free speech as a privilege limited to the media, not a right of citizens. Thus, the insistence that WikiLeaks is not a media organization and Fox News (sic) turning in a citizen for exercising free speech. Washington’s assault on Assange and WikiLeaks is an assault on what remains of the US Constitution. When we cheer for WikiLeaks’ demise, we are cheering for our own.
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, How The Economy Was Lost, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.
Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted by mammonmessiah at 2:09 PM
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Is an economic collapse being prepared? If so, for whose benefit?
By Richard Clark article link
December 28, 2010 | OpEdNews
"From now on, depressions will be scientifically created."
-- Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., 1913
What follows is an essay that is largely based on information from an article which recently appeared at Zerohedge.com (source article: Neithercorp Press).
Because we subconsciously associate the continuance of our life with the variable health of the particular economic structure in which we live, we tend to become unwitting devotees to its continued existence -- even if an abundance of evidence shows that it is hopelessly corrupt and condemned to failure. We foolishly deny that this corrupt system (and the currency that supports it) is doomed because, even though it has beaten us bloody, we have never known anything else.
Because of this entrenched way of perceiving things, it is difficult to convince most people that the economic system in which they live is actually being used, in ways they cannot easily understand, to destroy their futures completely. And so, to try and explain to them that this very economy, which they naively regard as theirs, is being prepared, by persons unknown, to self-destruct, and take them down with it-- well, that is a very difficult task indeed.
Many people hit a proverbial wall on this issue because they simply cannot fathom that certain groups of men (globalists and central bankers) view money and economy in completely different terms than they do.
The average American lives within a tiny conceptual box when it comes to the mechanics and motivations of finance. They think that their monetary desires and drives are exactly the same as a globalist's. But, what they don't realize is that the very "box' they think in . . was BUILT by globalists. This is why the actions of big banks, and the decisions of our mostly corporate-establishment-run government, seem so insane in the face of common sense. We try to toss off their behavior as "idiocy," but the reality is that their goals are highly deliberate, and are so far outside what we have been taught to expect, that many of us can't begin to understand what they are doing and why.
In the past we have covered numerous instances in which global bankers have admitted to fraud on a massive scale -- fraud the consequences of which are now in the process of crushing our already fragile economy. Most of us have read about how the privately held Federal Reserve knowingly facilitated the creation of the housing bubble, as well as how it is now inflating a Treasury bubble which is soon to implode. We have all read about Goldman Sachs and its efforts to promote and sell toxic derivatives all over the world while at the same time betting against those derivatives on the open market. We have read about the manipulation of gold and silver markets by companies like JP Morgan, which have recently been exposed by whistleblowers and GATA investigations. And, most importantly, we've heard about the growing weakness of the U.S. dollar and the possibility of severe currency devaluation.
These revelations raise questions, which is natural, but they also elicit misconceptions and reckless knee-jerk reactions, especially when broaching the fact that the illegal strategies of international banksters are part of a larger agenda, namely to engineer an economic collapse.
* * *
Examined below are some of the most common narrow-minded responses to the proposition that banksters are about to attempt, or are in the process of attempting, an engineered economic collapse. After each listing, an explanation is provided as to why the response is narrow minded.
Narrow minded response #1: The economy is too complex to be controlled by just a handful of people"
This response often comes from people who are inclined to make quick presumptions about our economic system, rather than actually taking the time to educate themselves on how the system really works. From the outside looking in, the world of finance appears chaotic -- a mixture of mathematical and legal standards swirling in a maelstrom of mass psychology. Many Americans are either frightened off by this seemingly complicated field of study, or they too quickly find it "boring" and "not worth" their time. This, however, does not stop them from making knee-jerk presumptions about how the system works.
The problem is that just because a person participates in his economy daily, it does not mean he has any useful or real understanding of how the larger system actually operates. An analogy: Many watch television on a daily basis, but few have any real idea how the picture actually gets onto the screen, or how to fix a television once it stops working. Sadly, our egocentric culture has led a substantial portion of the public to imagine that they are experts on EVERYTHING, and thus, true researchers in the fields of economics and globalism get reactions like the one above, constantly.
At bottom, once all the quasi-technical biz-babble used by mainstream talking heads is removed from the equation, economics is really rather simple. Supply and Demand will always be at the center of any and every economy, regardless of the political atmosphere it exists in. These two fundamental factors can be manipulated to a point -- by the creation of artificial supply, or the conjuring of false demand. This manipulation, by way of artificial supply and the conjuring of false demand, is achieved in many ways by global bankers, but primarily through the domination that comes by way of their ability to do three things:
* issue currency,
* change interest rates at will,
* inject, or remove, incredible sums of money, into and from, any market.
A perfect example is the suppression of silver prices by JP Morgan.
Another good example of economic manipulation is the Federal Reserve's strategy, during the "90s, under Alan Greenspan, of artificially lowering interest rates, thus allowing banks to issue credit at historical low levels for over a decade. Linked here is an article from Ron Paul's "Texas Straight Talk' dated March, 2007 (before the housing market even began its full swan-dive). In it, Paul discusses the Federal Reserve's direct role in the creation of the housing bubble.
Men like Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente, Jim Rogers, and many others were able to predict, long beforehand, that the Federal Reserve's actions were creating an explosive mortgage and credit bubble, yet we are supposed to believe that the Federal Reserve had "no idea" that their actions would result in a debt implosion? This is not plausible.
Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the first Bush Administration stated that the mortgage bubble was absolutely not an accident, and that she had witnessed outright and deliberate fraud on the part of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve Bank in creating the bubble. The fact that disturbed her most, however, was her discovery that only a small handful of international banks were responsible for the perpetuation of toxic mortgage debt, not just in America, but around the world:
Goldman Sachs (one of the primary globalist banks involved in the igniting of the debt crisis) was caught red-handed selling toxic derivatives to investors and governments all over the planet while at the same time betting against those derivatives on the market. Goldman even bet against mortgage securities the bank itself created!
This is like a car manufacturer selling vehicles with brake lines known to be faulty, and then placing bets in some casino that a significant percentage of their customers will crash and burn. Essentially it is blatant and sociopathic fraud! Goldman's actions directly contributed to credit collapses in numerous countries, including Greece, and here in the U.S.
The idea that global banks can turn the economy on and off like a light switch may be a stretch, but the vast majority of evidence shows that they do have the ability to shift the direction of markets to a point, as well as the ability to spur the growth of bubbles that eventually lead to recessions, depressions, and beyond. In fact, if one examines the U.S. economy from the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913, one finds that the past century has been nothing but a series of engineered equity bubbles designed to slowly hobble, but not completely cripple, our financial system and our currency. But why?
Now that we have established that market collapses can be created by a small handful of bankers and that it is done knowingly and strategically, lets move on to the next most common sheeple-like talking point.
Narrow minded response #2: Yes, international banks triggered the meltdown, but the "greed of Capitalism" is truly to blame, or, as a variant, "it's all the Republican Party's fault.""
Barack Obama received far more in corporate campaign donations (including donations from BP and Exxon) than McCain did. Obama has consistently surrounded himself with banksters and corporate lobbyists, including various hobgoblins from the bowels of Goldman Sachs. BOTH major parties are owned and operated by global banks. This is the cold hard and undeniable truth of our current political-economic system. There is no way around it. Learn it, accept it as reality, and stop trying to blame one party or the other for problems that both sides helped create! (If you cannot do this, your view of our current state of affairs will always be badly skewed and your insights on our socioeconomic problems will be worthless.)
Since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913, all markets and even our own currency have become more and more vulnerable to manipulation by our bankster elite. We have lived our entire lives in a rigged market, not the "free market" we've been brainwashed into believing in. To blame capitalism for our current dire circumstances is not only naïve, it is dangerous.
Narrow minded response #3: Global banks would never engineer the collapse of the U.S. economy or the dollar -- it makes them too much money"
This often-heard song and dance ties in with the #2 comment above. Again, here, the assumption is that the globalists only do what they do out of an "uncontrollable greed for money." The problem with this is twofold:
1) the end concern for the Elite is NOT the accumulation of riches. Central bankers have the ability to PRINT all the money they want from thin air! Remember, the Federal Reserve has never been subjected to a full audit, meaning they could easily create billions if not trillions without any oversight whatsoever. Greed for money, to them, is surely an absurd notion. What they do want, more than anything else, however, is power over people, institutions and society as a whole. Essentially they want control over every living human being. All other concerns are secondary.
2) the U.S. economy is NOT indispensable to global banks. While we see the economy as an extension of our culture and ourselves, the Elites see financial systems as mere tools in the pursuit of a greater goal: World Government. To better understand this, imagine you are building a house. Once your saw has fulfilled its intended role of cutting up all the boards, do you cling to the saw, or do you throw it aside and pick up a hammer to begin assembling the carefully prepared parts? This is how globalists look at financial systems. They are perfectly willing to cast off the U.S. economy like a snake shedding skin -- if it brings them closer to attaining their ultimate aim.
The same goes for the dollar. The Greenback may be the premier world reserve currency right now, but that can, and likely will, change very quickly over the next couple years. The dollar is a device that has outlived its usefulness as far as global bankers are concerned. The IMF has on several occasions made it clear that they eventually intend for the SDR (Special Drawing Rights) to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency, and they have openly admitted that it (the SDR) will one day be established as a global currency. IMF press releases make this development sound far off and away, but SDR accumulations by countries around the world have risen dramatically in the past year. This along with other factors we will cover (namely China's preparations to dump their U.S. T-bond holdings) show that IMF actions indicate they are preparing for a collapse of the dollar now!
Narrow minded response #4: China would never dump U.S. Treasuries because it would hurt them as much as it hurts us"
The theory that China is somehow fused to the U.S. in a kind of symbiotic seesaw relationship that can never be broken is so ingrained among mainstream American financial analysts it simply will not die, regardless of how much contradictory evidence you show them. It really is like a mental disease which causes mainstream media pundits to go into involuntary Tourettic convulsions every time you mention the words "Treasury bond dump."
America and China are not conjoined twins, and one can survive without the other. Simply stated, China has re-engineered its economy towards consumption and importation rather than relying on exports. The IMF has talked about this on many occasions with apparent excitement.
China has also finalized the ASEAN trading bloc which has combined export markets that are at least equal to that of the US -- meaning, China already has another place to send its exports besides America.
Most importantly, China must increase their currency's value if their new consumer-based system is to survive. Allowing the Yuan to rise sharply in value will revitalize the buying power of the Chinese populace, making greater consumption possible. Indeed, China MUST dump their Treasury holdings and pump up the Yuan if they are to hold their economy together. And, the Federal Reserve has given China every reason to turn its back on Treasuries through its (the Fed's) never ending liquidity injections. This is not to say that a U.S. collapse will not affect them; it would negatively affect the entire world. However, China has positioned itself to survive, and perhaps even thrive with their economic expansions into Africa and even Afghanistan, and their new financial agreements with Germany.
Finally, the Chinese have been very forthcoming over the past week about plans to drop Treasuries. China has dumped nearly 8% of their U.S. T-Bond holdings just since January, with recent record-breaking monthly T-bond dumps. They have openly admitted to a plan to diversify away from the dollar.
Narrow minded response #5: Sure, bankers took advantage, but it's really the American people's fault for getting suckered"
Yes, a sizable portion of the American public can be gut wrenchingly stupid. The problem with this argument, however, is that when it is taken too far it becomes an attempt to divert blame away from the criminals and place it on the victims. If you knowingly leave your front door unlocked in a bad neighborhood and you find your home ransacked the next day, then you are partly responsible. But, we cannot forget that the neighborhood is "bad" in the first place because of the criminals, not because of the people who don't lock their doors.
Just because global banks can sucker the public doesn't mean they should, or that they cannot be judged for it. The crime ultimately rests on those men who made the conscious effort to destroy this country, and the blame rests with them as well. One sees this attempt to parlay the economic collapse into the lap of the American people very often lately, especially from bankers who now claim that it's the American public's fault entirely. Why the people's fault? Because they will not spend more, they will not take on more debt, they will not take on more risk, and they will not believe hard enough in the recovery that never was. (Imagine a serial rapist behind a podium admonishing women for carrying pepper spray! The American people were only protecting themselves, just as women do with a canister of pepper spray. Going ever further into debt -- to satisfy the banksters?! -- would have been foolhardy.)
Narrow minded response #6: Ok, maybe the banks are causing a collapse, but to say the government is helping them is just crazy conspiracy theory"
Then why is it that the Federal Reserve has never been fully audited? Why is it that when Ron Paul tried to pass the HR 1207 Federal Reserve Transparency Bill, it was muddled in committees and then eventually derailed? Why is it that banks like Goldman Sachs have been caught, yes caught, setting the stage for an economic implosion in this country, yet no government indictments have been formed to criminally prosecute them? Why are these men still roaming free, like locusts, to continue pillaging at will? Are we supposed to feel lucky that we get table scraps like seeing Bernie Madoff get put behind bars, while the Federal Reserve commits Ponzi fraud on a scale that dwarfs his?
Our government (both major parties) is owned lock stock and barrel. This is why there are no satisfactory answers for the questions posed above. Elements of the U.S. Government, including almost every president since 1912, have not only turned a blind eye to Globalist activities, they have offered their full support to the bankers.
Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard in 1971 giving the Fed free reign to print as much fiat currency as they wished, without limitations. In 1980 the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act was passed essentially placing all banks under the rules of the Federal Reserve. The Glass-Steagall Act, which had since the Great Depression kept investment banks and depository banks separate, was recklessly repealed under a Republican majority in the Senate, its approval finalized by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1999.
Thirty years ago, banks that held your home mortgage were for the most part required to keep that mortgage until it was finally paid off. However, a series of government decisions spanning that period, and influenced by global banks, allowed for the "securitization" (bunching, slicing and dicing and then peddling the pieces) of mortgages, leading to the creation of "derivatives," which were then used by corporate mobster/banksters like Goldman Sachs in a way that began to destroy our financial system.
Last, but certainly not least, both the Bush and Obama Administrations pressured Congress into passing highly unpopular bailout legislation which basically rewarded the same banks that created the credit crisis with trillions in taxpayer dollars (yes, the bailouts are now actually in the trillions, not billions). This led to the coining of the term "too big to fail" (or "too big to jail"). Our Government has been nothing but complicit in the banker takeover of this country. To debate this is to invite embarrassment.
I haven't even scratched the surface of government involvement in the collapse of our economy. Cases like the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980's led to serious prosecutions and jail time for more than 1100 criminal bankers, but this only caused the government to respond by changing investigation rules so as to make it even more difficult to catch the high-level fraudsters in the act! Linked here is a videotaped discussion between Max Keiser and bank regulator Prof. William K. Black who outlines our government's complicity in the breakdown of the country it is mandated to protect.
Elites destroy cultures to make way for new philosophies -- their philosophies. Its not so much "conspiracy theory" as it is a widely admitted methodology. Corporate globalists believe in global government on their terms and they barely try to hide it. If someone thinks this sounds "fantastical," then they haven't been paying the slightest attention. When one understands how Elites view the economy, and realizes their primary motivations, the fact that they purposely triggered a collapse is perfectly logical.
Nothing, besides all out war, inspires more fear and desperation in a society than a financial upheaval. Such upheavals allow changes in our collective psychology that were not possible previously. Most people tend to falter under such an overwhelming threat, and turn towards any authority (or fake authority) they think will save them from harm. Some people scoff at this idea, but it is likely they have never actually been in the wake of a real national catastrophe before. Men, especially those who know little of themselves, can change quickly in the face of calamity. The Elites recognize this, engineer tragedy, then waltz into the aftermath to merrily lord over the rubble, emerging stronger and more powerful than ever before. At the profound expense of everyone else.
Will their plan work this time? I think not, but I'm an optimist (no, really). The pursuit of total control and total power is, after all, rather infantile, albeit on an impressively psychotic level. However, if those who want to make us forget who the real enemy is, are successful in that quest, then I think our corrupt elites do have a chance at success. In fact, that is how they have remained successful to this point.
Only now does the average man have such immense knowledge at his fingertips that there's a chance that the most intelligent amongst them will be successful in ending the line of behind-the-scenes despots and tyrants that have reigned for centuries. If only the average man was not so easily deterred by WMD's (Weapons of Mass Distraction), our chances of victory would be much better, but we must work with what we have, and hope for the best.
The Elites will likely ignite some wars, tempt us into in-fighting, and fabricate enemies like alQaeda out of the ether. Whatever happens, our eyes must remain fixed on the root of the problem: the banksters, and nothing else.
Globalists are not invincible, they are not untouchable, they are not even all that brilliant. They are human, and they have made many mistakes. In some ways, the engineering of an economic meltdown really changes nothing. Hired thugs, useful idiots, corrupt officials, even hyperinflation -- all are tiny obstacles when considering the world we could have if the Elites were finally made to face the reckoning they deserve.
Americans once took on the greatest empire on Earth. We once took a feared king to task. Are a bunch of frothing corporate banksters really so daunting? All that is needed is a principled movement with the will to see justice done, and I believe we have that already.
Richard Clark: Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've always been more interested in political economics and what's going on behind the scenes in politics, than in mechanical engineering, and because of that I've rarely worked more than 6 months a year, devoting much of the rest of the year to reading and writing about that which interests me most.
OpEdNews Articles by Richard Clark
Neithercorp Press home page
Posted by mammonmessiah at 12:04 PM
Failure to Obey a Lawful Order
by Leah Bolger article link
December 29, 2010 | CommonDreams
Imagine you are taking a walk in a park and you witness a mugging. What would you do? Would you look the other way or would you try to stop it? If you are one who would try to stop it, then what would you do when it is your government that is committing the crime? As citizens we are told that we should call our Congressman or write a letter to the editor when we are dissatisfied with our government. But writing a letter to the editor is no more effective at stopping the crimes of our government than it is at stopping a mugging.
On December 16th, 2010, I participated in an act of civil resistance in an attempt to stop my government from continuing to commit crimes—namely the ongoing wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the middle of a heavy snowstorm, I was arrested along with 130 other people in front of the White House who refused to move off the sidewalk when ordered to by the police. We were not violent, we carried no weapons, and we damaged no property. We were, however, willing to disobey the police as an act of resistance to our government; as a way of saying “No” to the senseless slaughter of innocent people; “No” to outrageous war profiteering, “No” to our government’s flagrant disregard of international law, ”No” to the squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Although it is we who were treated like criminals—handcuffed, arrested and charged, we are not the ones ordering drone strikes or sending in troops. We are not the ones using illegal weapons and poisoning the earth. We are not the ones with blood on our hands. The real criminals continue unabated, shamelessly claiming that they are “making progress,” and unabashedly announcing that they plan to continue their crimes for many years to come.
None of us expected that these illegal wars of aggression would immediately stop due to our simple action, but we did hope that we would send a message--a message that there are citizens who do not support our government’s illegal wars and occupations; a message to the world that we are shamed by the actions of our government and we will do everything we can to stop it. It is our sincere hope that this action will be a spark that ignites the consciousness of others; that our refusal to obey and willingness to put our liberty on the line will give them the courage of their own convictions and they will also begin to act in resistance as well.
We will continue to defy and disobey, to resist and to rebel. We will not stop until the real criminals have been stopped. We will keep pushing the public to wake up to the horror of war and to take responsibility for ending it. We will rail against these crimes of inhumanity with all the force we can muster. We will continue to try with our voices and our bodies, to throw ourselves onto the machine of greed and killing.
“Failure to Obey a Lawful Order” is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $1000 fine. So what is the penalty for failure to obey international law?
Leah Bolger spent 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2000 at the rank of Commander. She is currently a full-time peace activist and serves as the National Vice-President of Veterans For Peace.
CommonDreams home page
Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:51 AM
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
2011: "Dissent is what rescues Democracy"
December 27, 2010 | Global Research | ICH
”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”--Lewis H. Lapham
The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.
2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.
If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.
In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”
As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.
Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and coverups of the Bush regimes’ crimes to the New York Times.
With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by US troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.
The lawlessness of the US government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.
As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the US government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.
America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.
Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House home page
Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:29 AM
Monday, December 27, 2010
The Dream Of Democracy
by Ralph J Dolan article link
December 27, 2010 | Global Research
Finally it must be recognized that lying is an essential ingredient of statecraft in these times. Governments lie in an attempt to uphold their legitimacy in the hearts of the people.
Democratic governments do not exist. Not in this world. Many attempts have been made, many faltering half-measures. All ultimately have failed to live up to the dream. But the people hold the dream of democracy close to their hearts. The people understand that systems of justice are a sham without democracy. Governments lie in order to create the illusion of democracy so that the people are more willing to comply. Governments create an illusion and then act in ways that advance the political and economic interests of a small group.
This is the political and economic reality of these times.
In the eyes of politicians the people are mere clay to be molded to be compliant to whatever governments do. The people do not understand political realities. The people are incapable of understanding what is in their best interests. The people are worn down by the day-to-day burdens of survival. They do not have the time nor the leisure to cast a critical eye upon the behaviors of their governments. This is exactly where governments want the people to be. Overburdened, distracted, desperate, voiceless, disorganized people are more easily led.
Such a phenomenon as an enlightened populace is possible. Such a phenomenon as a populace with enough leisure time, enough energy left over after the basic necessities of life are met, is quite possible. Already the modern world has the understanding of economic systems that tend to create a society in which the people are relatively content, enlightened and prosperous so that they can be engaged in the political, economic and social issues of the day. An equitable distribution of the wealth of a nation among all the people is a basic necessity of such a society. In such a society the idea of democracy has a chance of coming to fruition.
Why do we not see democratic governments thriving among the nations of the world? It is because, despite the flowery rhetoric about freedom and brotherhood, the world has not yet outgrown totalitarian political and economic ideologies.
Asserting that a totalitarian political and economic ideology still dominates our world suggests that there exists a ruling class. How can it be denied? From country to country one sees ruling families, juntas, crony capitalism, brutal regimes, fat oligarchs amidst vast squalor, domination of the political and economic mechanisms by small, wealthy, entrenched, ruthless, privileged groups.
This is the global ruling class. They are an elite club. They look out for each others' political and economic interests. They lead double lives. They are all double agents. They pretend to serve one master but actually serve an entirely different master. They wear masks. In public they sing of the glories of the idea of democratic governance, of the march toward the liberation of the human race from tyranny and oppression. In private they ridicule such notions, despise the people and seek to manipulate the dumb masses to augment their own power, wealth and prestige.
These are the gods of the ruling class: power, wealth and prestige. They vie with each other to see who can gain the uppermost pinnacle of the global economic pyramid. They all individually seek to make of their own individual selves into a Sun God to whom all the masses bow in adoration.
The very last thing the ruling class wants is to create a political and economic landscape in which the people are well-educated, liberated from the day-to-day grind for survival and engaged in the issues related to their own governance. If the people are thriving, then too much of the wealth of the nations is being squandered. If the people are thriving, then they may grow into such engaged citizens that they challenge the political leadership, make them accountable, demand openness and honesty, infiltrate the entrenched political mechanisms with the attitudes and demands of a true democracy.
In order to preserve the interests of the ruling class the people must not thrive. The people must not have economic security, good schools, good health care, fair bargaining powers in the work place, clean, safe non-oppressive working conditions, strong healthy families, vibrant communities, equal justice for all. These characteristics of a good life, of a healthy, strong, unified, happy populace are well within reach. The resources are there in abundance. But it does not happen. The wealth of nations is sucked up to the top of the economic pyramid into the hands of the ruling class. They have no intention of sharing it with the dumb masses. The dumb masses must be kept in a state of want, desperation, subservience.
The dumb masses are the many. The ruling class is the few. How is it that the few so effectively dominates the many?
Those who accumulate the wealth, by whatever means, own everything and can bend the political and economic conditions to their advantage. They run governments from 'behind the scenes' by putting up the money and using political and social leverage to get people who do their bidding into the seats of power. Thereby do governments and supreme courts become 'business friendly.' Thereby economic mechanisms are created that willfully deprive the people of the fruits of their own labor, willfully extort those fruits in the name of offering the people the privilege of working for a pittance. The rulers rule! The rulers have a right to rule by the mere fact that they rule. Their wealth allows them to buy protection. They maintain standing armies of mercenaries. They create strong, well-equipped, obedient police forces to protect their properties, to protect the very idea of private property. Might makes right! The people are there to be manipulated, to be exploited, to be worked to death and then thrown in the garbage heap. The history books are filled with the false heroics and the false humanity of tyrants.
The ruling class is composed of individuals in all the countries of the world who get together in lush conference rooms and lay out in detail how they will manipulate the political realities so that the people are always afraid. Some enemy is about to 'come over the wall' to rape and pillage. A fearful populace is more likely to acquiesce to the implementation of draconian and costly policies which claim to be necessary to keep the people safe. The individuals that comprise the ruling class get together and lay out economic conditions that are widely advertised to be in the best interests of the people. But the inevitable outcome of these policies is that the people are not made safe nor do they prosper but rather are increasingly cowering, increasingly impoverished, increasingly subservient. The inevitable outcome is that those in power have even more control, more wealth, more undisputed dominance over the people.
This is the game plan!
Every human being who chooses to step into a position in the ruling class has chosen to wear a mask, to be a double agent, to say one thing and do something completely different, to live a lie. These human beings have agreed that in order to advance their own interests they must take on the mantle of ruthlessness. They must turn their hearts into stone. Their eyes must no longer reflect the light. They have agreed to offer their lives in service to a brutal machine - a government, to do everything in their power to advance the interests of that machine and to dispose of anyone who dares get in the way. They must lie continuously. They convince themselves that the atrocities that they perpetrate or condone are for the 'greater good' of the people, that the people are too innocent, too naive to understand, that they in the ruling class itself are the chosen ones to carry the heavy burden of leadership. For them democracy is an impossibility. As a form of governance democracy is ludicrous, laughable. But the game of democracy must be played on the surface of brute reality because the hearts of the people have been infected by the dream of democracy.
The people are like a powerful, slumbering dragon. Even as it slumbers this dragon is filled with a sense of injustice. None of the pomp and grandeur of the contemporary mechanisms of jurisprudence are able to cause it to be blinded to the pervasive, underlying injustice that prevails in the world. A small, seemingly insignificant event, some last straw like the imposition of harsh governmental austerity programs, might be the breeze that awakens the dragon. Once awakened it begins to unfold its wings and feels a hunger in its belly. One small act of courage, of standing up to the powers-that-be, can inspire other acts of courage. One brave individual like Rosa Parks may be looked upon as creating the spark that grows into a conflagration. But the conflagration is a cumulative mass movement. In the process tyrants are bought low and the will of the people begins to assert itself. It is true that in this vulnerable time some new tyrant may come and take the place of the old tyrant. But the fear of this happening again cannot prevent new experimentation. What is life, after all? What is all this cosmic evolution if not one experiment laid on top of another experiment? At some point the people will hit the exact, right cord. The critical mass will have been attained. The collective consciousness will have arrived at that blessed plateau where justice 'flows down like water' and true brotherhood prevails.
This dream is embedded in the hearts of all humans and cannot die.
Ralph J Dolan, Vietnam Veteran
Global Research Articles by Ralph J Dolan
Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:59 AM
2011: A Brave New Dystopia
December 27, 2010 | TruthDig | CommonDreams
The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.
We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.
Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.
The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”
The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”
Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.
Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:
“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.
“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”
He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.
The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.
We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.
The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.
“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.
Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.
“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”
Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.
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Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:53 AM
Journalism of Appeasement. Corruption, Smoke and Mirrors
December 27, 2010 | AmpedStatus | Global Research
Here’s a brief summation of my recent reporting:
If we continue to let our politicians and wealthy members of society live in comfort, free from the consequences of their actions, we are complicit in our own demise.
Our country is so overrun with corruption, we cannot remain passive and expect things to get any better.
The economy is propped up by smoke and mirrors and will inevitably collapse. Without immediately breaking up the banks and holding the thieves accountable, we will continue on our downward spiral with increasingly severe and devastating consequences.
These are extremely unpleasant truths that we are now forced to confront. We have to act now. If you are not calling for revolution or organizing, you are either unaware of what’s happening around you, horribly naïve or a fascist sympathizer.
In response to statements like those above, I’ve been exchanging emails with colleagues (journalists and news editors) who have become “uncomfortable” with my reporting style and been saying some variation of the following: “You’re being too radical. This is too extreme for us to publish.”
While I appreciate their opinions, I want to make something 100% clear. I am fully aware that these words are harsh, and may turn off some people. However, in extreme times, telling the truth will make you sound extreme. Ultimately, I don’t mind if you think I sound “too extreme,” I don’t care if I make people “uncomfortable,” or if, in your opinion, I’ve become “too radical.” Try telling that to the 52 million Americans who are now living in poverty. Tell that to the millions of American families who have lost their homes and jobs. Tell that to the 59 million people who can’t afford health insurance. Tell that to the overwhelming majority of the population who are stressed out, living paycheck to paycheck, buried in debt they will never get out of and desperately struggling to make ends meet.
Try telling that to all the people who have emailed me explaining their dire situations due to this economic crisis. Tell that to all the people I personally know who have taken major pay cuts.
I will not participate in the journalism of appeasement.
What has to happen for you to stop being a status quo supporting naïve journalist and realize that we are in the middle of a war? More accurately, it is a slaughter. An all-time record-breaking slaughter.
I refuse to “normalize the unthinkable.”
Here’s a list of stats that I am sure you are already extremely sick of hearing, what we have already passively accepted as “the new normal,” some new ALL-TIME RECORDS for you:
* 3 million families foreclosed upon;
* 30 million people in need of employment;
* 43 million people on food stamps;
* 52 million people in poverty;
* 59 million people without healthcare;
* 239 million living paycheck to paycheck;
* $144 billion in Wall Street bonuses;
* $13 Trillion in investible wealth within 1% of US population.
Ask yourself this question: How sick and depraved of a society do you have to live in to get an outcome like this?
We now have the highest and most severe inequality of wealth in the history of the United States. We have witnessed an economic shock and awe campaign, acts of financial terrorism have impoverished tens of millions of people and put our future prospects in an urgently dire situation. We know who is responsible for it, yet nothing is done to hold them accountable, and most astounding of all, the people responsible for this (a financial terrorism network) are still in power!
This is the largest criminal racket in world history. We need prosecutions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, right now!
Another important point in response to emails that I get: when I write that Obama is a puppet, some people still get upset with me. Are you kidding me? What kind of president allows this to happen without holding people accountable? What kind of president allows our tax dollars to be taken and handed out as all-time record-breaking bonuses while we have an all-time record-breaking number of people living in poverty? What kind of president puts career-long preeminent economic imperialists Tim Geithner and Larry Summers in charge of our economy, and supports Ben Bernanke’s reconfirmation as Fed Chairman? This is all absurd and inexcusable! These three people would be in prison if we lived in a nation ruled by law. Obama is a bullshit artist - Period, Full Stop.
This is a quintessential banana republic ruled by a puppet president. If that truth is too much for you to handle, stop reading this right now and go retreat into your “reality TV” world while you still can.
Let me defer to Senator Bernie Sanders. He recently said what I’ve been screaming about and gave us one of those very rare moments when truth was actually spoken on the Senate floor:
“There is a war going on in this county and I’m not referring to the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan. I’m talking about a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country against the working families of the United States of America, against the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country.
The reality is that many of the nation’s billionaires are on the war path. They want more, more, more. Their greed has no end, and apparently there is very little concern for our country or for the people of this country if it gets in the way of the accumulation of more and more wealth, and more and more power….
Today… the crooks on Wall Street… the people whose actions, illegal actions, reckless actions, have resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes, their savings… After we bailed them out, the CEOs today are now earning more money than they did before the bailout…. While the middle class of this country collapses and the rich become much richer… the United States now has, by far, the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on earth.
When we were in school, we used to read the text books which talked about the banana republics in Latin America… about countries in which a handful of people owned and controlled most of the wealth in those countries. Well, guess what? That is exactly what is happening in the United States today.”
What will it take to make you understand this? Don’t you get it? This is a war! This is a mass slaughter carried out by economic policy. This is the elimination of the existence of a middle class. These are financial terrorists committing crimes against humanity. Our country is being attacked! My family is under attack! My child is under attack! I am under attack!
We are under attack!
I know that TV news propaganda confuses people, but on a basic and profound level, whether people want to admit it or not, the overwhelming majority of the population knows that our nation has been taken over by a global banking cartel. We know that our future has gone up in flames. We know that both political parties have been paid off and don’t represent us. If the politicians don’t drastically change course and start representing the people, we have a duty, a Constitutional commitment and obligation to launch a revolution.
If you are not calling for revolution or organizing, you are either unaware of what’s happening around you, horribly naïve or a fascist sympathizer. If we continue to let our politicians and wealthy members of society live in comfort, free from the consequences of their actions, we are complicit in our own demise.
Our country is so overrun with corruption, we cannot remain passive and expect things to get any better. The economy is now propped up by smoke and mirrors and will inevitably collapse. Without immediately breaking up the banks and holding the thieves accountable, we will continue on our downward spiral with increasingly severe and devastating consequences. These are extremely unpleasant truths that we are now forced to confront. We have to act now.
People who still delude themselves into apathy by clinging to the belief that giving trillions of dollars to the banks had to be done, are buying into a baseless propaganda line. Use your commonsense. What kind of fool would think that the best way to solve the economic crisis would be to give trillions of dollars to the people who are most responsible for causing it. That is absurd! Instead of holding them accountable for the crimes they committed, they were given trillions in taxpayer funds which they used to further consolidate power and give themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses - and they deliberately impoverished tens of millions of people in the process. People are either confused as to what happened or they are in denial and afraid to confront the colossal crime committed. Whatever the case may be, there is no escaping the consequences. The implications are staggering. If you think it’s been bad over the past two years, get ready, you haven’t seen anything yet.
So are we going to start fighting back, or should I just move my family to another country? Most everyone who understands our economic and political situation are having this debate now and contemplating moving outside the country. Is that what we should do? Should we just leave the country and let it collapse?
Those who are aware have reached the point where our survival instinct is kicking in. Fight or flight?
I’m ready to fight, but I’m not ready to fight a losing battle. We all need to do what is best for our family.
Are you with me? Or should I start packing now?
David DeGraw is the founder and editor of AmpedStatus.com. He is the author of The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States. His new book is The Road Through 2012.
Global Research Articles by David DeGraw
Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:26 AM
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