Friday, April 29, 2011
The Abrogation of Descendant Responsibility
MM Addendum 1 web page (widescreen)
MM Addendum 2 web page (widescreen)
MM Addendum 1 and 2 web page (blog)
Posted by mammonmessiah at 9:33 AM
Britain’s Royal Wedding: A Big Day For The Global Oligarchy
A Celebration of the Dictatorship of Global Capital over Democracy
by Finian Cunningham article link
April 28, 2011 | Global Research
The British royal wedding can be seen as a modern-day repeat of the “bread and circuses” policy of ancient Rome. In the waning days of that empire, the rulers sought to distract the masses from their grinding misery and the unwieldy wealth and corruption of the elite by sporadically throwing scraps of bread to the hungry public while saturating them with spectacles of gore and bloodlust at the Colosseum.
Today, the British public – grinding under massive austerity budget cuts, unemployment, poverty wages, social deprivations and crumbling services – are thrown scraps of feelgood comfort from the much-hyped wedding between Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton. William is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and son of the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles. Fawning media coverage will present it as a day of romance, nationhood, nostalgia and pride.
Meanwhile, the spectacles of gore and bloodlust – admittedly despite much public opposition – are located thousands of kilometers away in the Middle East, Iraq, Central Asia, Afghanistan, where over a million civilians have been killed in British-backed “wars against terror” that have yet to be sated even after eight and 10 years of butchery, respectively; and now the latest spectacle opens in North Africa, Libya, where over the past six weeks Royal Air Force warplanes have been bombing and killing civilians in the name of “peace” and “humanitarian concern”. The day before the wedding, the British government announced that troops are to be dispatched to the borders of Libya to provide “humanitarian corridors” for displaced civilians – many of whom will have been displaced by RAF ground attack aircraft.
Of course, the British Empire has long ago waned as a singular entity and its elite is not alone in lording over their masses. The same bread and circuses charade is being played out in varied ways by the other Western powers, the US, France, Germany, Italy, that comprise today’s global Empire of Capital.
But what should be appreciated from the display in Britain is the revelation – albeit unintended – of raw state power. Behind the translucent wedding veil, what can be seen is raw state power that blows away any vestige of illusions of parliamentary democracy, illusions that are not just peculiar to Britain, but to all the Western powers. In short, the empire of corporate and financial aristocracy that has emerged in late capitalism is now asserting itself increasingly and more blatantly as a dictatorship of Capital.
All political parties, whether Conservative, Liberal or Labour in Britain, or Republican, Democrat in the US etc., are seen to be willing servants of this dictatorship.
Bear in mind that London’s royal pageant is being imposed, without any public question, at an estimated cost of some $70 million, most of that for state security against any sign of popular protest. When the wider cost to the economy of the British government’s declared “public holiday” is factored in, the total cost may be $10 billion – this as the British exchequer is embarking on implementing austerity budget cuts of $130 billion. The bill for the royal wedding will be footed by the British public through future deeper cuts in jobs, education and health services, and social welfare programmes. This as the British government unilaterally adds to the public debt the cost of RAF bombing sorties in Libya, estimated at over $1 billion a month, and its other even more costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So where is the democracy in that? Austerity budgets imposed against public will, a deficit substantially increased from a royal pageant imposed without democratic consultation, and war expenses loaded on to the suffering public – even though these wars are opposed by the majority of voters.
That is dictatorship by elite government for an unelected elite. The same dictatorship manifests in the US and other Western powers. Ordinary Americans in particular may look at the British royal wedding pageant with mild fascination as some kind of “old Europe curiosity”. But in spite of its supposed revolution against European monarchs, the US has today reinvented its own corporate and financial aristocracy that rules and plunders without democratic accountability in alliance with the oligarchies of Europe.
The real world nexus for our global oligarchy is seen graphically in the power of oil companies and the transnational banking system. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, one of the world’s top 10 richest individuals, has a personal fortune that is reckoned to far exceed her country’s $130 billion deficit cuts. She is a major shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum – these companies along with Exxon and Chevron make up the “four horsemen” of global Big Oil.
As Dean Henderson, author of Big Oil and Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf, points out:
“The Four Horsemen have interlocking directorates with the international mega-banks. Exxon Mobil shares board members with JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Prudential. Chevron Texaco has interlocks with Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. BP Amoco shares directors with JP Morgan Chase. RD/Shell has ties with Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, N. M. Rothschild & Sons and Bank of England.”
Henderson continues: “Information on RD/Shell is harder to obtain since they are registered in the UK and Holland and are not required to file 10K reports. It is 60% owned by Royal Dutch Petroleum of Holland and 40% owned by Shell Trading & Transport of the UK. The company has only 14,000 stockholders and few directors. The consensus from researchers is that Royal Dutch/Shell is still controlled by the Rothschild, Oppenheimer, Nobel and Samuel families along with the British House of Windsor and the Dutch House of Orange.” 
Such global connections bestow on the British monarch the epithet of “the world’s ultimate insider trader”.
Scott Thompson writes: “[T]he Queen is the world's ultimate ‘insider trader’. She not only gets tips from British financiers, but also has access to all the state secrets, through the [Privy Council] ‘boxes’. Thus, if the Queen learns from among all public and private British Empire intelligence and economic warfare entities reporting to her, for example, that Nigeria is about to be destabilized, she can immediately call her broker. Under the secrecy laws of the British Empire, it would be unthinkable for anyone to consider pressing charges of insider trading and conflict of interest against the sovereign: In fact, only a handful of trusted advisers would ever know.” 
To put these connections of the House of Windsor to the global Empire of Capital in a real world context, we should factor in the following:
1. The war in Iraq, according to recent revelations from Wikileaks, and others, was most certainly about gaining access for Big Oil and British Big Oil in particular, despite the arrogant assertions by former British prime minister Tony Blair that such claims made at the time of the US/British invasion of Iraq in 2003 were “absurd”. 
2. The present NATO war in Libya has an uncanny resemblance to British and French war planning for that country several months before any sign of alleged popular uprising. 
3. NATO’s military intervention in Libya was precipitated by Muammar Gaddafi’s move to put a financial squeeze on Big Oil to compensate for more than $2 billion in reparations extracted from that country over a frame-up for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, according to former US intelligence asset Susan Lindauer.
4. The subjugation and integration of Libya’s independent financial system within the global banking system, the same system in which the British monarch is a major shareholder. 
5. Libya’s vast untapped oil wealth – the largest in Africa – was impeded by a leader considered unreliable to the long-term interests of Big Oil.
6. The reconquest of Libya by Western militarism provides a strategic bridgehead for global Capital to thwart pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa – uprising that represent threats to the profit interests of Big Oil and its shareholders, including the House of Windsor.
On the last point, it should be noted that Western governments have been aided and abetted by dictatorial monarchs from the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. The Persian Gulf monarchs are among the guest list attending the Big Day for the British royals. The delegation from the House of Saud is particularly noteworthy, given in its ongoing involvement in the vicious repression of the pro-democracy movement in Britain’s former colony of Bahrain.
But the royal wedding is not just a peculiar Big Day for the seemingly quaint House of Windsor. It is in many ways a celebration of the dictatorship of global Capital over democracy in Britain and elsewhere around the world, including the ‘Republic of the USA”. As the assorted global dictators assembled in London’s Westminster Abbey might say in harmony with the happy couple: “Till death do us part”.
by Dean Henderson, April 26, 2011
by Scott Thompson, The American Almanac, August 25, 1997
by James Ridgeway, April 25, 2011
Under an Imaginary UN Security Council Resolution 3003
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, April 16, 2011
by Ellen Brown, April 14, 2011
Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to Global Research
MySpace web page email: email@example.com
Global Research articles by Finian Cunningham
Posted by mammonmessiah at 9:22 AM
Thursday, April 28, 2011
A More Militarized CIA for a More Militarized America
by Glenn Greenwald article link
April 28, 2011 | Salon
Salon home page
... The nomination of Petraeus doesn't change much; it merely reflects how Washington is run. That George Bush's favorite war-commanding General -- who advocated for and oversaw the Surge in Iraq -- is also Barack Obama's favorite war-commanding General, and that Obama is now appointing him to run a nominally civilian agency that has been converted into an "increasingly militarized" arm of the American war-fighting state, says all one needs to know about the fully bipartisan militarization of American policy. There's little functional difference between running America's multiple wars as a General and running them as CIA Director because American institutions in the National Security State are all devoted to the same overarching cause: Endless War. ...
New Men, New Missions at Pentagon and CIA
by Alan Silverleib article link
April 28, 2011 | CNN
CNN home page
Like the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars? You'll LOVE This!
by Tom Andrews article link
April 28, 2011 | CommonDreams
If you like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan then you’ll love what Senator John McCain and Congressman “Buck” McKeon, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, are proposing: Congress should give the President and the Secretary of Defense a blank check to wage war against anyone he or she declares “associated” with al-Qaeda or the Taliban – anytime, anywhere, anyhow. ...
... It is arguably the greatest ceding of unchecked authority to the Executive Branch in modern history. Not only would this bill abdicate Congress’ authority to declare war, it would relieve the Administration of the need to seek Congressional resolutions of support or authorizations for new military actions. ...
Posted by mammonmessiah at 8:17 PM
Manufacturing Poor People
by Vi Ransel article link
April 27, 2011 | Global Research
Even as the overall population of the world continues to increase, the increase in the number of poor people outstrips that growth. How is this possible? Are the poor simply breeding like rabbits, increasing their numbers geometrically in a suicidal, lemming-like production line of poverty-stricken people? Or are they getting some outside aid in their catastrophic endeavor?
In just the past 50 years, the Rich People of the "First", or Western World have invested heavily, through their banks, industries and other corporations, in the poorest regions of the "Third" World in Africa, Asia and Latin America, home to the majority of the world's poor. Transnational corporations are attracted by the richness of these people's natural resources, the richness of profits off cheap labor, the near total lack of environmental and worker safety regulations and the non-existent benefits for said labor.
U.S. transnationals were given a push toward this pregnant profit source, this attractive and waiting richness, by the U.S. government, which subsidizes (read gives taxpayers' money to) corporations in the form of tax breaks on foreign investment and even helping them to pay their relocation expenses at the expense of not only the taxpayers, but those taxpayers whose jobs are outsourced by this support for global U.S. economic dominance.
Local businesses in the "Third" World are destroyed as U.S. transnationals penetrate and overwhelm their markets like species imported to get rid of pests which turn out to be even bigger pests themselves. Taxpayer-subsidized cartels of transnationals dump their cheap, surplus goods in these countries at below their own cost to undersell local producers, thus forcing them out of business and allowing the U.S. corporations to take over the market. (This is also Wal-Mart's favorite technique for killing the competition in local markets right here in America.)
In the case of Big Agriculture they also take over/expropriate the best pieces of land, monocrop them with products for export, and douse them with oil-based, chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides, destroying the soil. Think Dust Bowl. This leaves less land for use for those run-out-of-business farmers and their families to produce the food to feed the local population, who, along with the displaced farmers, are forced to go to work - for next to nothing - on those monocropped plantations to grow food that will be shipped out of the country or to work in American sub-contracted sweat shop factories. This also forces them to buy what food they can afford from these same Big Ag corporations. This is exactly the same scenario as in the U.S., since the bulk of the U.S. population consists of dependent consumers, unable to feed themselves, who must go to a supermarket to feed off the tit of Big Ag.
Robbing local people of self-sufficiency creates a perfect profit-making mechanism based on a labor market flooded with desperate people who can be herded into a neat, ready-to-use package, labor in a box, in slums and shanty towns which they will leave to slave for token, poverty wages - if they can find work - which are most often in violation of their own countries' minimum wage laws. This is thanks to the overarching authority of Western-created "Free" Trade Agreements enforced by the World Trade Organization in its private, unaccountable courts.
Since the U.S. is one of the few pariah nations which refuses to sign the international convention for the abolishment of child labor and forced labor, Wal-Mart, Disney and J.C. Penny were able to pay eleven cents - 11 cents - an hour in Haiti in 2007. This allows these transnational corporations, not only in the "Third" World, but here in America, to have workers as young as 12 - twelve - sustain high rates of fatalities and injuries while working for less than the minimum wage. Talk about your right to work!
The savings these transnationals - and their shareholders - are able to rack up by exploiting and further impoverishing the people of the "Third" World do not translate into lower prices for the consumers, e.g. people, of the "First", or Western World. Oh no, my pretty! Transnationals don't outsource to save their customers money. They do it to increase their profits and their payouts to shareholders. For instance, children in Indonesia in 1990 made shoes for thirteen cents an hour working a 12-hour day. The shoes cost $2.60 to make. They sold in the United States for $100.
In addition to this slick trick, any U.S. "aid" to these transnationals-impoverished countries comes with stainless steel strings attached. Besides the "aid" money being used to create an infrastructure - ports, railroads, airports, highways, refineries, utilities, etc. - which facilitates the transnationals' ability to make money at the expense of local economies, this "aid" must most often be spent on U.S. goods, thus enriching even more U.S. corporations.
The country receiving "aid" must also give investment preference to even more U.S. corporations. This causes a shift away from products produced locally and toward those imported from the West, creating more debt, dependency and hunger. Further, a lot of this "aid" slips silently into the silken pockets of the local ruling class to buy their complicity and even enlist them in the enforcement of the ongoing heist.
Hand-in-hand with U.S. "aid" comes more "help" from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The financial contributions to those organizations by countries belonging to them determines the weight of their voting power. Since the U.S. is the largest "donor", you can just guess the name of that tune. And, of course, the IMF (International Mother Fuckers) works under a cloak of secrecy (to protect the confidentiality of the donors, dontcha know) enforced by the banks and the treasury organizations of the rich nations who run it.
The World Bank loans money to a poor country to "help" in its development, to build up a part of its economy. "If", and almost certainly when (that's The Plan) the poor country is unable to pay the usurious interest on the loan because of declining exports (again, The Plan), the country has to borrow more money in order to service the debt.
The IMF extends more loans, with more of those stainless steel strings more tightly bound around the victim, er, I mean, loan recipient, trussing up the "benefiting" poor nation like a Thanksgiving turkey about to be devoured by the West, The Rich. The country which borrows money from these Fuckers must give tax breaks to Western transnationals. The country must slash wages and refuse to protect local businesses from being ravaged by cheap imports and corporate takeovers.
The country is further strong-armed to sell, at fire sale prices, all its government-owned mines, its railroads, industries and utilities to privately-owned, mostly-foreign corporations. The country must allow its forests to be clearcut and its land to be strip-mined. Money for education, healthcare, food assistance and the transportation infrastructure must be sheared back to service the debt. And the interest on the debt, through the wondrously magical Western miracle of compound interest, keeps growing and growing and growing and growing and on and on and on and on... And all the while, the people of the country are less able to feed themselves, since they are forced to grow cash crops for export to feed that debt service.
This is how the "Third" World is kept in poverty, subjugated to the "First" World, whose people purposefully, premeditatedly impoverish and immiserate the people of the "Third" World via depraved indifference in order to serve the plump, plutocratic pleasure of U.S. transnationals, their shareholders and American consumers. This debt reaches a point where nearly ALL of a country's export earnings go to debt payment, squeezing the economy like a lemon, and the poverty-making snowballs.
And while critics of these "aid" programs, most often faux-progressives, point out that these programs just don't work for "those people", the people of the "Third" World's nations, these same programs continue to receive funding from their adherents precisely because they do work, exactly as they were intended to work, to transfer the rich resources of the poor in the "Third" World to the already wealthy people in the "First" World. What an arrogant and ludicrous appellation is "First" World, self-designated by fatted, rich Western peoples to describe and denigrate the poor people of whom the scaffold supporting the American, and Western, standard of living is built.
This is how the magical, voodoo, trickle down economics of the Friedmans, the Reagans, the Volckers, the Greenspans, the Bushes, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, etc. who proselytize "free" market theology works. The people of the "Third" World are used as fertilizer to grow the fortunes of the people of the "First", or Western World. They are used like toilet paper, like disposable plastic packaging, like prophylactics (scum bags) and then discarded as if their lives meant nothing more. They are receptacles, vessels in which the rich "create" their "self-made" wealth - do their business - then casually flush these poor people - and their children - out of sight, down the polluted toilet the "First" World has made of our whole world.
Transnational corporations use the U.S. government and corporate lobbyist-written "free" trade policies, which are designed and work very well, to prevent "Third" World nations from ever "developing" sufficiently to become serious trade competitors. And this is because U.S. corporations learned the lesson of the Marshall Plan very well.
After World War II, America's major trade competitors were flattened, economically as well as physically, and America, in all its beneficence and magnanimity, offered money to Europe and Japan so they could rebuild shattered industries and infrastructure by using this "aid" money to purchase American goods and services, profiting hugely in the process. And while Europe and Japan were rebuilding, the U.S. was busy establishing itself as the world's global economic and military behemoth. Following Word War II, and up to the mid-Seventies, the United States experienced the most prosperous period, overall, in its history. And then things began to go south, as former flattened economic competitors began to recover enough to give the behemoth a run for its money, and actually overtaking the once supremely, economically dominant USA.
Well, U.S. transnationals didn't intend to ever let that happen again. There would be no more giving a real leg up to potential competitors. And thus we arrived at where we are today. And, in fact, the ruse works so well, that since the Seventies the plutocracy has been using the very same template here at home, - with an increasingly heavy hand. See U.S. auto workers, healthcare, the bank bailout, foreclosed homes, 600,000 jobs a month jettisoned, the murder of state governments, et al. Who, or what, will be next?
Vi Ransel is a frequent contributor to online political newsletters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Vi Ransel is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research articles by Vi Ransel
Posted by mammonmessiah at 5:34 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
For America's labor movement to survive, it must recommit to—and defend—the principles that once defined it
It’s Time to Revive an Old Rallying Cry: Labor Is Not A Commodity!
April 27, 2011 | CommonDreams | In These Times
During last year’s strike against Mott's, the apple juice maker, Tim Budd, an employee on the bargaining team, heard a plant manager say across the bargaining table that employees were “a commodity like soybeans and oil, and the price of commodities goes up and down.” Mott’s management quickly disavowed their errant manager’s statement. After all, comparing workers to soybeans is not smooth, even for a unionbusting employer.
The verbal slip-up did, however, reveal a fundamental belief of management which has much to do with the future of the labor movement. To management, human labor is a simply commodity—nothing more, nothing less. A commodity is an object traded in the marketplace without differentiation, such as lumber, oil, or soybeans. In this context, commodities are inputs into the production process. They are things.
To the traditional labor movement— from the 1880s up through the 1960s—the notion that human beings were mere objects to be used up during the production process was highly offensive. As Samuel Gompers, the conservative head of the American Federation of Labor in the first part of the 20th century, melodramatically stated, “You cannot weigh the human soul in the same scales with a piece of pork.”
In fact, labor activists spent decades lobbying Congress, eventually winning inclusion into the 1914 Clayton Act the simple declaration that “The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce.” While that legislation did not serve its intended purpose of stopping courts from issuing anti-strike injunctions, the ideas underlying labor’s push proved vital in reviving the labor movement during the Great Depression.
During the 1930s, a powerful form of unionism rejected the idea that workers were mere objects holding no rights to the workplaces their very labor created. According to historian Sidney Fine, during the sit-down strike at Flint, Mich., in 1937, the United Auto Workers “contended that the strike was legal since the worker enjoyed a property right in his job.” As one sit-down striker explained, “Our hides are wrapped around those machines.”
Workers took over their workplaces, blocked scabs at their plant gates, and prevented management from removing equipment from their plants. “The property right of the worker in his job,” explains Fine, “was superior to the right of the company to use its property as it saw fit since the workers had invested their lives in the plant whereas the stockholders of the company had invested only their dollars."
For the last several decades, formerly mainstream trade union principles—such as the ideas that labor is not a commodity, and that labor creates all wealth—have been marginalized within the labor movement. With rare exceptions, such as the United Electrical workers union's takeover of the Republic Windows plant in Chicago, the labor movement has failed to challenge the illegitimate, management-inspired viewpoint embedded in the legal system.
Trade unionists have come to accept a system where workers can spend their entire lives toiling in a plant, and in return, investors can ship their jobs across the world.
Unions cannot win operating under management’s framework. In Wisconsin alone, Mercury Marine, Harley Davidson, and the Kohler Corp. all extracted concessions from unions by threatening to move plants. As Working in These Times contributor Roger Bybee points out, “Without the national labor movement contesting every threat of plant relocation as an act of greed and disloyalty, workers sense no broader movement against de-industrialization and are unable to see any way out through a protracted battle.”
And it is not just in the private sector that this corporate ideology prevails. The ongoing attack on public-sector unionism is not only an attack on unions and unionism; it is an attack on the very idea of a public sphere not controlled by the market.
Anti-labor conservatives envision a world where capital reigns supreme; where the market rules every sphere of human activity. So hand in hand with attempts to gut public sector union rights, come attempts to destroy public education and public service. To anti-labor conservatives, everything should be a commodity, human labor, education, and even the water we drink.
As the struggle in Madison shows, the revival of the labor movement is about big ideas and bold action. Through heroic struggle, workers in Wisconsin transformed the terms of debate. Rather than debating public sector pay and benefits, the focus became the very right of workers to collectively bargain and issues of corporate control of the economy. The signature chant of the protesters, “This is What Democracy Looks Like,” pitted people power against a political system fueled by corporate dollars.
As long as we allow management’s ideas to prevail on the big questions—how wealth is accumulated, the role of labor in production and the rights of capital versus labor—unionism will continue to be on the verge of extinction. Successful trade unionism must, by its very nature, challenge corporate control over the economy.
© 2011 In These Times
Joe Burns, a former local union president active in strike solidarity, is a labor negotiator and attorney. He is the author of the forthcoming book Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America (IG Publishing, 2011) and can be reached at email@example.com.
Reviving the Strike blog home
In These Times home page
MM Book 1 Chapter 1-9
Being [convinced], Doing [conviction]: GOD BEING *IS* GOD-ING [Doing], *not* wanting and taking from each other, but contributing, gifting each other [the "return" on a love investment is love]; nothing [no thing] nor anybody or group is above the sanctity of a single human being !! — we must be gifted inorder to gift: love us, so that we may love … teach us … keep us … WE HAVE TO BE HEALED TO HEAL, TAUGHT TO TEACH, LOVED TO LOVE, vs. the violation of God: the commodification of life [of God], the ersatz control mechanism, “the” crime against humanity; this is the “mark of the Beast” systemic, the identifying sign, the “self-definition”, the eco-nomic social engagement !! – the “systemic” is self-defining: human beings are NOT commodities to be consumed [wasted, thrown away; used and abused]: A HUMAN BEING IS NOT A PRODUCT [to be bought, but a gift to be given: the return is love !!], NOT A RESOURCE FOR BUSINESS [human resources]; those who have “value” above their fellows must GIVE their value to those “under-valued” [a redefinition, an active and transitional re-defining into the God Family community (based on love)]; the “end-game” means of business [pillage, rape and abandonment (colonialism; the individual)] has nothing to do with God or community !! – the Holy Waters of God will be the “final liquidation” of business !!
MM Book 1 Chapter 1 web page (widescreen)
MM Book 1 Chapter 1 web page (blog)
Posted by mammonmessiah at 6:30 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
fornication [Lexicon #4202] porneia - fornication 1a) illicit sexual intercourse [metaph. BUSINESS = PROFIT, OUR NATURE OF INTERACTION]; (from 1 Cor. 6:12, we learn how leniently converts among the heathen regarded this vice and how lightly they indulged in it) 1b) metaph. the worship of idols; of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols (meat offered to idols, ie., speeches/sermons in support of the private-State/COG Inc., sanction-blessing of God claimed (CONFORMING CHRIST TO THE WORLD (KOSMOS), etc., BLIND NATIONALISM, PATRIOTISM))
The Spirit (Way) Of Life 1
by mammonmessiah article link
January 25, 2010 | MMr
The Spirit (Way) Of Life 2
by mammonmessiah article link
January 25, 2010 | MMr
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called *trees of righteousness*, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 4. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. ... 11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are *sown in it* to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause *righteousness and praise* to spring forth *before all the nations*.
Posted by mammonmessiah at 6:58 AM
Monday, April 25, 2011
The Corporate State Wins Again
April 25, 2011 | CommonDreams | TruthDig | TruthOut
When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?
The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War. Its bastard child, the war on terror, inherited the iconography and language of permanent war and fear. The battle against internal and external enemies became the excuse to funnel trillions in taxpayer funds and government resources to the war industry, curtail civil liberties and abandon social welfare. Skeptics, critics and dissenters were ridiculed and ignored. The FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA enforced ideological conformity. Debate over the expansion of empire became taboo. Secrecy, the anointing of specialized elites to run our affairs and the steady intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens conditioned us to totalitarian practices. Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.”
Corporate capitalism—because it was trumpeted throughout the Cold War as a bulwark against communism—expanded with fewer and fewer government regulations and legal impediments. Capitalism was seen as an unalloyed good. It was not required to be socially responsible. Any impediment to its growth, whether in the form of trust-busting, union activity or regulation, was condemned as a step toward socialism and capitulation. Every corporation is a despotic fiefdom, a mini-dictatorship. And by the end Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs had grafted their totalitarian structures onto the state.
The Cold War also bequeathed to us the species of the neoliberal. The neoliberal enthusiastically embraces “national security” as the highest good. The neoliberal—composed of the gullible and cynical careerists—parrots back the mantra of endless war and corporate capitalism as an inevitable form of human progress. Globalization, the neoliberal assures us, is the route to a worldwide utopia. Empire and war are vehicles for lofty human values. Greg Mortenson, the disgraced author of “Three Cups of Tea,” tapped into this formula. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan are ignored or dismissed as the cost of progress. We are bringing democracy to Iraq, liberating and educating the women of Afghanistan, defying the evil clerics in Iran, ridding the world of terrorists and protecting Israel. Those who oppose us do not have legitimate grievances. They need to be educated. It is a fantasy. But to name our own evil is to be banished.
We continue to talk about personalities—Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—although the heads of state or elected officials in Congress have become largely irrelevant. Lobbyists write the bills. Lobbyists get them passed. Lobbyists make sure you get the money to be elected. And lobbyists employ you when you get out of office. Those who hold actual power are the tiny elite who manage the corporations. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics,” point out that the share of national income of the top 0.1 percent of Americans since 1974 has grown from 2.7 to 12.3 percent. One in six American workers may be without a job. Some 40 million Americans may live in poverty, with tens of millions more living in a category called “near poverty.” Six million people may be forced from their homes because of foreclosures and bank repossessions. But while the masses suffer, Goldman Sachs, one of the financial firms most responsible for the evaporation of $17 trillion in wages, savings and wealth of small investors and shareholders, is giddily handing out $17.5 billion in compensation to its managers, including $12.6 million to its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.
The massive redistribution of wealth, as Hacker and Pierson write, happened because lawmakers and public officials were, in essence, hired to permit it to happen. It was not a conspiracy. The process was transparent. It did not require the formation of a new political party or movement. It was the result of inertia by our political and intellectual class, which in the face of expanding corporate power found it personally profitable to facilitate it or look the other way. The armies of lobbyists, who write the legislation, bankroll political campaigns and disseminate propaganda, have been able to short-circuit the electorate. Hacker and Pierson pinpoint the administration of Jimmy Carter as the start of our descent, but I think it began long before with Woodrow Wilson, the ideology of permanent war and the capacity by public relations to manufacture consent. Empires die over such long stretches of time that the exact moment when terminal decline becomes irreversible is probably impossible to document. That we are at the end, however, is beyond dispute.
The rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the neoliberals sustains the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state. The reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism will be cemented into place whether it is delivered by Democrats, who are pushing us there at 60 miles an hour, or Republicans, who are barreling toward it at 100 miles an hour. Wolin writes, “By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes” that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party “pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system.” The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism.
The systems of information, owned or dominated by corporations, keep the public entranced with celebrity meltdowns, gossip, trivia and entertainment. There are no national news or intellectual forums for genuine political discussion and debate. The talking heads on Fox or MSNBC or CNN spin and riff on the same inane statements by Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. They give us lavish updates on the foibles of a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. And they provide venues for the powerful to speak directly to the masses. It is burlesque.
It is not that the public does not want a good health care system, programs that provide employment, quality public education or an end to Wall Street’s looting of the U.S. Treasury. Most polls suggest Americans do. But it has become impossible for most citizens to find out what is happening in the centers of power. Television news celebrities dutifully present two opposing sides to every issue, although each side is usually lying. The viewer can believe whatever he or she wants to believe. Nothing is actually elucidated or explained. The sound bites by Republicans or Democrats are accepted at face value. And once the television lights are turned off, the politicians go back to the business of serving business.
We live in a fragmented society. We are ignorant of what is being done to us. We are diverted by the absurd and political theater. We are afraid of terrorism, of losing our job and of carrying out acts of dissent. We are politically demobilized and paralyzed. We do not question the state religion of patriotic virtue, the war on terror or the military and security state. We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform. As we become more insecure and afraid, we become more anxious. We are driven by fiercer and fiercer competition. We yearn for stability and protection. This is the genius of all systems of totalitarianism. The citizen’s highest hope finally becomes to be secure and left alone.
Human history, rather than a chronicle of freedom and democracy, is characterized by ruthless domination. Our elites have done what all elites do. They have found sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep us passive and make us serve their interests. The brief democratic opening in our society in the early 20th century, made possible by radical movements, unions and a vigorous press, has again been shut tight. We were mesmerized by political charades, cheap consumerism and virtual hallucinations as we were ruthlessly stripped of power.
The game is over. We lost. The corporate state will continue its inexorable advance until two-thirds of the nation is locked into a desperate, permanent underclass. Most Americans will struggle to make a living while the Blankfeins and our political elites wallow in the decadence and greed of the Forbidden City and Versailles. These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word—more. They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.
Copyright © 2011 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 8:27 AM
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The climb up Golgotha is hard. It’s a long walk to resurrection
A Time to Weep, A Time To…
by Linda Wagner Schmoldt article link
April 24, 2011 | CommonDreams
In 1944 our mother married our father, a fresh seminary graduate and moved with him from Ohio to eastern Montana. She was twenty-two, bright, pretty, and funny. Besides her upbringing in a loving, pious, church-going family, she probably knew little about what her role as a minister’s wife would entail.
At her first ladies aid society meeting she found out that they started each session by having everyone recite a Bible verse. Taken unaware, she quoted the shortest one she knew, “Jesus wept.”
Perhaps the stress of the moment blocked her memory of anything else. Maybe she didn’t know that many verses. After all, it had been years since her Confirmation as an eighth-grader when memorization of Bible verses was a weekly requirement. Or, perhaps her playful nature just took over.
I can imagine the reaction. The brief words didn’t quite meet the mark. Maybe there were a few giggles, maybe some murmurs of disapproval, a rolling of eyes.
I try to picture our father, the young, thin, bespectacled, pastor, his hair swept back in a pompadour. New to his first church, standing before those pious ladies, most, if not all, older than him and certainly older than our mother. I imagine he was a little shocked; probably embarrassed.
Perhaps they would later have words. Our mother might have wept as well. In their loneliness out there on those Montana prairies did they make-up? Make love? Was that the night their first child, our older brother was conceived?
Although our father repeated the story often (probably the shortest one he ever told), we don’t have any of those details. In each retelling, nested in a long string of other stories, he would still shake his head in disbelief.
I thought of that short verse and the story this last Thursday. It was Maundy Thursday, the night where the verse refers to Jesus as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion.
Growing up as the daughter of a minister, I often say my theological training and my theological questioning began early. There was a lot of weeping along the way. While I am an ardent believer in the teachings of Jesus, I struggle with the institutional interpretations and distortions.
In my early twenties, during the early seventies, my move into “Liberation Theology” with its view of a radical Jesus who stood for social justice was strongly influenced by the musicals, Jesus Christ, Superstar and Godspell. It was then that I first pictured Jesus, not as an old man, but as an older brother. I identified with this radical young man who stood up for the poor and the disempowered. Who stood up against the powers that be. I pictured him and his small group of friends out there every day challenging the status quo, threatening the greed of the money changers, protesting the disregard for the lepers. Countering the empire philosophy of Roman as he advocated for the peacemakers.
Although the verse, “Jesus wept,” only occurs once in the Bible, I picture Jesus weeping a lot. How frustrating his work was. Telling a violent, military occupied world to love one another, to do good to those who hate you. Telling the wealthy to sell all they have and give the money to the poor. Imagine his “press coverage.” Who was this nut? The Kingdom of Heaven was for the children?
He must have wept after the countless rallies, wondering if people really understood his message. His challenging encounters with the leaders of the Jewish society. After a day of dealing with the need for all sorts of healing. The Sermon on the Mount must have moved him to tears as well.
That night in the garden must have been a real melt-down. Even his friends, his beloved disciples didn’t seem to get it.
I wonder how much weeping Jesus would have done seeing the distortion and perversion of his words in future theological discussions. The things that are ascribed to him and the ideas that are neglected. The using of Christianity to justify so much horror and disaster in the building of empire.
Good Friday this year, was also Earth Day. Surely he would weep over the horrendous destruction of God’s creation.
Tears for the greed, the wanton consumption, the waste of resources and human potential. The violence against humanity and the cultures build on war.
Jesus would be in Washington, D.C. this week, weeping as money is stripped from the budget, taken from the poor, the sick, the elderly. From children’s education and the protection of the earth. Money channeled in the perpetuation of corporate greed and war.
But Jesus didn’t just weep. He poured his heart and soul out and then he woke his sleeping disciples and went out to face his enemies and his death.
I recently did a meditation based around a series of portraits painted by Robert Shetterly. They are collected under the theme Americans Who Tell the Truth. As I was inspired by this succession of lives, from Chief Joseph to Howard Zinn. From Sojourner Truth to Amy Goodman, I thought about the pain they all must have felt. The loneliness of being prophets of truth. The frustration of trying to get their messages across. I thought about them weeping.
When our mother uttered that short verse, “Jesus wept,” she didn’t recognize the power of those words. What it our father had said, “yes! Let us take a moment to also weep.” My God, it was 1944. The whole world needed to be wept over.
Then after the weeping, those ladies might have stood up and said, “okay! Let’s get going. Something is really wrong here. We need to steer this ship in a different direction. The war may be ending but the world needs a lot of healing.”
So, yes. We need a lot of weeping these days. Maybe we should stand before our capitals and city halls, the military recruitment centers and corporate headquarters and just weep. So bring a big handkerchief (preferably organic, free-trade cotton – no Kleenex) some sturdy walking shoes, a sun hat, an umbrella, ear muffs. We’re going to be out here a long time. Hold hands with those who tell the truth. With Jesus. He’s been through this before. The climb up Golgotha is hard. It’s a long walk to resurrection.
Posted by mammonmessiah at 9:24 AM
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Is the US Military America's Biggest Security Threat?
by Rob Kall article link
April 21, 2011 | OpEdNews
America's Military has become the biggest THREAT to US security.
The USA's military is supposed to make the US more secure. But it has become, for many reasons and in many ways, the biggest threat to American security, the American way of life and even America's future. The leaders-- both military and civilian-- have to be considered part of the threat-- part of the problem, part of the system that is endangering America.
The US Military is a huge cancer on our budget. It weakens our economy, weakens our currency, saps our ability to maintain vital infrastructure. The 700 plus military bases spread throughout the world are supposed to make us more secure. Our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are supposed to make us more secure. Instead, the wars have raised the levels of hate for the US to unprecedented levels.
Ron Paul says, today, on CNN, "We have fallen into a terrible trap, doing exactly what Osama Bin Laden wanted us to do."
And this is true. To make matters worse we have a president who, like his predecessor, fails to lead and takes orders from his generals. "I'll listen to what the Generals say," both Dubya and Obama have said. As Dennis Kucinich has observed, that is not leadership.
Of course, it's not a simple matter of telling the generals to stand down. John Perkins, NYTimes best selling author of Confessions of An Economic Hit Man, told me, in an interview about his newest book, Hoodwinked, "It's the career people who are calling all the shots and they are deeply influenced by the corporatocracy."
With the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, corporations have been handed even more power, and people like the Koch brothers, who Perkins says are guilty of sedition, are calling more and more of the shots as they buy more and more politicians ways into office.
This gets even more complicated by another problem Perkins describes how now, "There are many many ways to assassinate a person today. You don't need a bullet anymore."
Perkins points out the indisputable fact that Kennedy went against the Military and was assassinated. Eisenhower is credited with his famous speech about the danger of the military industrial complex, but Perkins points out he "spoke about the military industrial complex on last day of his presidency."
Back in those days, J. Edgar Hoover was suspected to have evidence that could "assassinate" the reputations of everyone in Washington, including the White House. Now, the CIA and FBI are agencies with minimal accountability, incredible funding from un-reported drug and gun sale operations, and that leaves out the massive, secret intelligence operations of the military which are even more unaccountable.
It's understandable that presidents are afraid to truly lead and stand up to the military threat that lurks between the lines. It may be, especially with institutionalized vote theft and with Citizens United in place, that we will be unable to use the voting system to change things. If Obama wins, \the corporations win. He's already their man. If the Koch brothers and friends win, and buy a Republican presidency, same thing-- corporatocracy continues.
For some, it's about oil, or access to shipping routes, or minerals or trade opportunities... there are many corporate uses for the US military.
Traditionally, challenges to the military are greeted with accusations of being unpatriotic. We need to change the narrative, the language and the conversation. The US military is no longer serving the needs of the American people It is serving and has long been serving the needs of the multinational corporations-- the same ones that cut jobs in the US by 2.9 million in the past decade, while increasing non-US jobs by 2.4 million, according the Wall Street Journal.
The US Military is really an arm of multinational corporations. It serves the globalization organizations that enforce the regulations and collections and monetary operations of these multinational corporations. The military may not be privatized, but it has become a form of corporate welfare-- we provide the security for their operations worldwide. I don't think they'd do it, because it would be hard to keep the illusion going, but it would be more accurate to talk about the GE Fleet, the Monsanto Army and the Boeing Air Force, just as sports and entertainment arenas are named.
John Perkins suggests that the answer may be to work through corporations. He Observes:
We've gone from a time when geopolitics was controlled by religious orgs, then governments, now corporations.... the next phase is we the people must take control. It's got to be bottom up.
If it's in our corporations, then we can really address through our shopping habits, through persuasion through embarrassing them, getting them to change. We've seen an amazing example of this in Latin America--- ten countries have voted in leaders standing up to the corporations ."
Glen Beck lost his advertisers and is not off of Fox. Boycotts have had some effects in the past. This article doesn't purport to offer all the answers. The goal is to put it out there that the American Military, as it now stands, is actually not for America and has become a dangerous liability threatening and drastically endangering our near and long term security.
We have a problem. First step is to face it. That's what this article is about. The US military is the number one threat to US security. It's leaders are part of the problem.Yes, we do need some form of military strength, but what we have is a cancerous monster that is totally unaccountable and out of control.
This has nothing to do with the brave soldiers who have volunteered to serve under tragically deceptive circumstances. They are victims just like the rest of we the people of America.
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor. He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
OpEdNews articles by Rob Kall
MM Book 1 Chapter 2-24
An economy predicated upon endless consumption, where the other fellows well-being is dependent on another’s irresponsibility [vs. stewardship] *to* him [reciprocal evil as reward], is insanity and cannot be maintained without [corporate] slavery; a consumer society can only include a small percentage of human-kind: infinite growth predicated upon finite resources is insane, an impossibility and requires the use of force to secure the increasingly scarce resources [CONSUMPTION IS A DISEASE]; mercenary [national] armed-forces in the service of the corporate is a crime against humanity [OUR ADVERSARIAL COVENANT "termed" peace, democracy, liberation] – the death of [our] human-ity to support and maintain an evil, idol systemic is a “crime against God” !! — most social “voices” just parrot the loud corporate-media voice; God is “a still, small voice” that necessitates *pause* to hear, a “Sabbath of time” to comprehend – “peace protest” utilizing confrontation and violence is a contradiction in ideology: PEACE/GOD IS NOT ADVERSARIAL [of the adversary (opposed to God)] !! – our only weapon is our refusal [our "wisdoming" the Word of God] to participate: WITHDRAWAL FROM THE CORPORATE IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES [the corporate definition: the MARK vs. our Being (Moses), our Doing (Elijah)] !!
MM Book 1 Chapter 2 web page (widescreen)
MM Book 1 Chapter 2 web page (blog)
MM Book 2 Chapter 7-16
“The role of private money in politics has become so extortionist, so gross [the "king of the lie"] – term limits increase the power of the bureaucrats and lobbyists as they are the one’s who stick around, they have the working knowledge, the memory” [NPR, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., "The Future of Democracy"] — the privatization of government [all levels], the privatization of foreign policy, etc., [ie., the military in (mercenary) service of the corporate; the MIIM] is complete – we are trained [warned] NOT to see !! — business as ** right ** [overriding right to exploit, oppress, etc.]; business as “primary concern” vs. the environment, human rights, civil rights, etc.; business as “sovereign agency” in the service of “private economy”; business as lens, as judge and jury — the unholy transmission of trauma and fear through the generations [cultural collisions; the violent convergence of class and race] — God-given human genius perverted into a weapon, potential subverted, desires extorted, common heritage expropriated; business as instrumentality of pure evil, as expression; the theft of future claim, selfish disregard of future rights; selfish means taking, violating our humanity, our obligation to our children, ie., irresponsible modes of transportation, senseless waste and pollution of our common home, the claim of right to “private” habitation and wealth; THE CLAIM OF PROFIT OVER HUMAN LIFE, THE DIVINE RIGHT OF CAPITAL = MAMMON !! – BUSINESS IS THE EXPRESSION OF OUR ** INHUMANITY ** [THE BEAST WITHIN] !! – the diminishment of our species, of our collective intelligence; WE ARE AMONG THE FALLEN !! – ** ISRAEL WAS, AND IS, AND WILL BE, A *GIFT* TO BE FREELY SHARED AND CLAIMED ** !!
MM Book 2 Chapter 7 web page (widescreen)
MM Book 2 Chapter 7 web page (blog)
Evil Growing Deeper 2
YOU CANNOT MANAGE AND CONTROL PEACE, ONLY CONFLICT; democratic-fascism has-and-will engender much "strife" in Iraq / Afghanistan, ensuring the conflict(s) needed by the corporate; media conditioned [social needs] perception(s) of Mammon will be stressed in the rebuilding process, COSTS WILL BE BORNE BY THE VICTIMIZED !! - the US/UK "military mission" has-and-will pause, and then continue "flush with new promises/claimed successes", even some opponents have-and-will be worn down/overcome by the political "promises" made [though never realized]; public opinion(s) Mammonized, the common emotive !! -- A CHRIST-IAN'S GOVERNMENT IS *OF* GOD NOT MEN, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OF LIFE BUT BY-AND-THROUGH CHRIST(-systemic) [Christ's Blood (our being) and Flesh (our doing)]; again, our "choice" is MAMMON OR MESSIAH !!
Preemptive [preemption tactic] "war on evil" claim; a "just war" theory not applicable as lie even by the best liars; the consequence of sin [terrorism], as justification - "superficial" evil focus, not the "deep" evil of complicity - economic access [material, secular thought] assured, plus the military generation of its own economy [MIIM, ref: MM Addendum 1] vs. religious/moral [thought] intervention claim(s) !! - an "America First" Foreign Policy ensures contradiction in values/political decision making, all Nation States exude arrogance [disregard, inconsistency towards common obligations]; ** NATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE IS EVIL ** - WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A LIFE ?? - many innocent Iraqi / Afghan lives sacrificed / killed [collateral damage]; Coalition Troops lives lost [misused as corporate mercenary forces], together with the initial outright massacre of Iraqi combatants by massive fire-power that could NOT be matched [A MASSIVE FIST USED] - our humanity distanced: SLAUGHTER IS A WAR CRIME, SLAUGHTER IN THE NAME OF GOD IS AN ABSOLUTE EVIL !! - Predestination division into Good [morally superior] and Evil; MORAL ARROGANCE, HUBRIS [wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excess pride or from passion], WRAPPED IN PATRIOTISM - Christ did NOT pursue the "zealot" option [iniquity purged by MERCY and TRUTH], the "identity" group passions; GOD MAMMONIZED [God Bless "Corporate" America], MAMMON AS SAVIOUR !! - THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN ALL FROM US [the commodification of life], WAGE WAR IN OUR NAMES, TO TAKE MORE !!
MM Appendix 2 web page (widescreen)
Evil Growing Deeper 2 article link MM January 30, 2010
Posted by mammonmessiah at 9:36 AM
Friday, April 22, 2011
Deep Spiritual Illness
Mammon or Messiah home page (widescreen)
Consensus Builds on Free Trade Deals, Alongside Proof of Their Toll
April 22, 2011 | CommonDreams | ColorLines
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Billionaires on Warpath to Pauperize the American Middle Class
by Sherwood Ross article link
April 21, 2011 | Global Research
Nobel Peace Drones
April 22, 2011 | CommonDreams | Salon
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Hype of America's Mainstream Media: "Giving War a Chance"
April 22, 2011 | Global Research | Consortiumnews | OpEdNews
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West Takes Over East
by Staff Report article link
April 21, 2011 | The Daily Bell
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April 22, Earth Day: We Must Stop Climate Catastrophe
by Dr Gideon Polya article link
April 22, 2011 | CounterCurrents
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Posted by mammonmessiah at 11:36 AM
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Is the World Too Big to Fail?
The Contours of Global Order
April 21, 2011 | CommonDreams | TomDispatch
This piece is adapted from a talk given in Amsterdam in March.
The democracy uprising in the Arab world has been a spectacular display of courage, dedication, and commitment by popular forces -- coinciding, fortuitously, with a remarkable uprising of tens of thousands in support of working people and democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S. cities. If the trajectories of revolt in Cairo and Madison intersected, however, they were headed in opposite directions: in Cairo toward gaining elementary rights denied by the dictatorship, in Madison towards defending rights that had been won in long and hard struggles and are now under severe attack.
Each is a microcosm of tendencies in global society, following varied courses. There are sure to be far-reaching consequences of what is taking place both in the decaying industrial heartland of the richest and most powerful country in human history, and in what President Dwight Eisenhower called "the most strategically important area in the world" -- "a stupendous source of strategic power" and "probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment," in the words of the State Department in the 1940s, a prize that the U.S. intended to keep for itself and its allies in the unfolding New World Order of that day.
Despite all the changes since, there is every reason to suppose that today's policy-makers basically adhere to the judgment of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s influential advisor A.A. Berle that control of the incomparable energy reserves of the Middle East would yield "substantial control of the world." And correspondingly, that loss of control would threaten the project of global dominance that was clearly articulated during World War II, and that has been sustained in the face of major changes in world order since that day.
From the outset of the war in 1939, Washington anticipated that it would end with the U.S. in a position of overwhelming power. High-level State Department officials and foreign policy specialists met through the wartime years to lay out plans for the postwar world. They delineated a "Grand Area" that the U.S. was to dominate, including the Western hemisphere, the Far East, and the former British empire, with its Middle East energy resources. As Russia began to grind down Nazi armies after Stalingrad, Grand Area goals extended to as much of Eurasia as possible, at least its economic core in Western Europe. Within the Grand Area, the U.S. would maintain "unquestioned power," with "military and economic supremacy," while ensuring the "limitation of any exercise of sovereignty" by states that might interfere with its global designs. The careful wartime plans were soon implemented.
It was always recognized that Europe might choose to follow an independent course. NATO was partially intended to counter this threat. As soon as the official pretext for NATO dissolved in 1989, NATO was expanded to the East in violation of verbal pledges to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It has since become a U.S.-run intervention force, with far-ranging scope, spelled out by NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who informed a NATO conference that "NATO troops have to guard pipelines that transport oil and gas that is directed for the West," and more generally to protect sea routes used by tankers and other "crucial infrastructure" of the energy system.
Grand Area doctrines clearly license military intervention at will. That conclusion was articulated clearly by the Clinton administration, which declared that the U.S. has the right to use military force to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources," and must maintain huge military forces "forward deployed" in Europe and Asia "in order to shape people's opinions about us" and "to shape events that will affect our livelihood and our security."
The same principles governed the invasion of Iraq. As the U.S. failure to impose its will in Iraq was becoming unmistakable, the actual goals of the invasion could no longer be concealed behind pretty rhetoric. In November 2007, the White House issued a Declaration of Principles demanding that U.S. forces must remain indefinitely in Iraq and committing Iraq to privilege American investors. Two months later, President Bush informed Congress that he would reject legislation that might limit the permanent stationing of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq or "United States control of the oil resources of Iraq" -- demands that the U.S. had to abandon shortly after in the face of Iraqi resistance.
In Tunisia and Egypt, the recent popular uprisings have won impressive victories, but as the Carnegie Endowment reported, while names have changed, the regimes remain: "A change in ruling elites and system of governance is still a distant goal." The report discusses internal barriers to democracy, but ignores the external ones, which as always are significant.
The U.S. and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world. To understand why, it is only necessary to look at the studies of Arab opinion conducted by U.S. polling agencies. Though barely reported, they are certainly known to planners. They reveal that by overwhelming majorities, Arabs regard the U.S. and Israel as the major threats they face: the U.S. is so regarded by 90% of Egyptians, in the region generally by over 75%. Some Arabs regard Iran as a threat: 10%. Opposition to U.S. policy is so strong that a majority believes that security would be improved if Iran had nuclear weapons -- in Egypt, 80%. Other figures are similar. If public opinion were to influence policy, the U.S. not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it, along with its allies, undermining fundamental principles of global dominance.
The Invisible Hand of Power
Support for democracy is the province of ideologists and propagandists. In the real world, elite dislike of democracy is the norm. The evidence is overwhelming that democracy is supported insofar as it contributes to social and economic objectives, a conclusion reluctantly conceded by the more serious scholarship.
Elite contempt for democracy was revealed dramatically in the reaction to the WikiLeaks exposures. Those that received most attention, with euphoric commentary, were cables reporting that Arabs support the U.S. stand on Iran. The reference was to the ruling dictators. The attitudes of the public were unmentioned. The guiding principle was articulated clearly by Carnegie Endowment Middle East specialist Marwan Muasher, formerly a high official of the Jordanian government: "There is nothing wrong, everything is under control." In short, if the dictators support us, what else could matter?
The Muasher doctrine is rational and venerable. To mention just one case that is highly relevant today, in internal discussion in 1958, president Eisenhower expressed concern about "the campaign of hatred" against us in the Arab world, not by governments, but by the people. The National Security Council (NSC) explained that there is a perception in the Arab world that the U.S. supports dictatorships and blocks democracy and development so as to ensure control over the resources of the region. Furthermore, the perception is basically accurate, the NSC concluded, and that is what we should be doing, relying on the Muasher doctrine. Pentagon studies conducted after 9/11 confirmed that the same holds today.
It is normal for the victors to consign history to the trash can, and for victims to take it seriously. Perhaps a few brief observations on this important matter may be useful. Today is not the first occasion when Egypt and the U.S. are facing similar problems, and moving in opposite directions. That was also true in the early nineteenth century.
Economic historians have argued that Egypt was well-placed to undertake rapid economic development at the same time that the U.S. was. Both had rich agriculture, including cotton, the fuel of the early industrial revolution -- though unlike Egypt, the U.S. had to develop cotton production and a work force by conquest, extermination, and slavery, with consequences that are evident right now in the reservations for the survivors and the prisons that have rapidly expanded since the Reagan years to house the superfluous population left by deindustrialization.
One fundamental difference was that the U.S. had gained independence and was therefore free to ignore the prescriptions of economic theory, delivered at the time by Adam Smith in terms rather like those preached to developing societies today. Smith urged the liberated colonies to produce primary products for export and to import superior British manufactures, and certainly not to attempt to monopolize crucial goods, particularly cotton. Any other path, Smith warned, "would retard instead of accelerating the further increase in the value of their annual produce, and would obstruct instead of promoting the progress of their country towards real wealth and greatness."
Having gained their independence, the colonies were free to ignore his advice and to follow England's course of independent state-guided development, with high tariffs to protect industry from British exports, first textiles, later steel and others, and to adopt numerous other devices to accelerate industrial development. The independent Republic also sought to gain a monopoly of cotton so as to "place all other nations at our feet," particularly the British enemy, as the Jacksonian presidents announced when conquering Texas and half of Mexico.
For Egypt, a comparable course was barred by British power. Lord Palmerston declared that "no ideas of fairness [toward Egypt] ought to stand in the way of such great and paramount interests" of Britain as preserving its economic and political hegemony, expressing his "hate" for the "ignorant barbarian" Muhammed Ali who dared to seek an independent course, and deploying Britain's fleet and financial power to terminate Egypt's quest for independence and economic development.
After World War II, when the U.S. displaced Britain as global hegemon, Washington adopted the same stand, making it clear that the U.S. would provide no aid to Egypt unless it adhered to the standard rules for the weak -- which the U.S. continued to violate, imposing high tariffs to bar Egyptian cotton and causing a debilitating dollar shortage. The usual interpretation of market principles.
It is small wonder that the "campaign of hatred" against the U.S. that concerned Eisenhower was based on the recognition that the U.S. supports dictators and blocks democracy and development, as do its allies.
In Adam Smith's defense, it should be added that he recognized what would happen if Britain followed the rules of sound economics, now called "neoliberalism." He warned that if British manufacturers, merchants, and investors turned abroad, they might profit but England would suffer. But he felt that they would be guided by a home bias, so as if by an invisible hand England would be spared the ravages of economic rationality.
The passage is hard to miss. It is the one occurrence of the famous phrase "invisible hand" in The Wealth of Nations. The other leading founder of classical economics, David Ricardo, drew similar conclusions, hoping that home bias would lead men of property to "be satisfied with the low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations," feelings that, he added, "I should be sorry to see weakened." Their predictions aside, the instincts of the classical economists were sound.
The Iranian and Chinese “Threats”
The democracy uprising in the Arab world is sometimes compared to Eastern Europe in 1989, but on dubious grounds. In 1989, the democracy uprising was tolerated by the Russians, and supported by western power in accord with standard doctrine: it plainly conformed to economic and strategic objectives, and was therefore a noble achievement, greatly honored, unlike the struggles at the same time "to defend the people's fundamental human rights" in Central America, in the words of the assassinated Archbishop of El Salvador, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the military forces armed and trained by Washington. There was no Gorbachev in the West throughout these horrendous years, and there is none today. And Western power remains hostile to democracy in the Arab world for good reasons.
Grand Area doctrines continue to apply to contemporary crises and confrontations. In Western policy-making circles and political commentary the Iranian threat is considered to pose the greatest danger to world order and hence must be the primary focus of U.S. foreign policy, with Europe trailing along politely.
What exactly is the Iranian threat? An authoritative answer is provided by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence. Reporting on global security last year, they make it clear that the threat is not military. Iran's military spending is "relatively low compared to the rest of the region," they conclude. Its military doctrine is strictly "defensive, designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities." Iran has only "a limited capability to project force beyond its borders." With regard to the nuclear option, "Iran's nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy." All quotes.
The brutal clerical regime is doubtless a threat to its own people, though it hardly outranks U.S. allies in that regard. But the threat lies elsewhere, and is ominous indeed. One element is Iran's potential deterrent capacity, an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that might interfere with U.S. freedom of action in the region. It is glaringly obvious why Iran would seek a deterrent capacity; a look at the military bases and nuclear forces in the region suffices to explain.
Seven years ago, Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld wrote that "The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy," particularly when they are under constant threat of attack in violation of the UN Charter. Whether they are doing so remains an open question, but perhaps so.
But Iran's threat goes beyond deterrence. It is also seeking to expand its influence in neighboring countries, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence emphasize, and in this way to "destabilize" the region (in the technical terms of foreign policy discourse). The U.S. invasion and military occupation of Iran's neighbors is "stabilization." Iran's efforts to extend its influence to them are "destabilization," hence plainly illegitimate.
Such usage is routine. Thus the prominent foreign policy analyst James Chace was properly using the term "stability" in its technical sense when he explained that in order to achieve "stability" in Chile it was necessary to "destabilize" the country (by overthrowing the elected government of Salvador Allende and installing the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet). Other concerns about Iran are equally interesting to explore, but perhaps this is enough to reveal the guiding principles and their status in imperial culture. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s planners emphasized at the dawn of the contemporary world system, the U.S. cannot tolerate "any exercise of sovereignty" that interferes with its global designs.
The U.S. and Europe are united in punishing Iran for its threat to stability, but it is useful to recall how isolated they are. The nonaligned countries have vigorously supported Iran's right to enrich uranium. In the region, Arab public opinion even strongly favors Iranian nuclear weapons. The major regional power, Turkey, voted against the latest U.S.-initiated sanctions motion in the Security Council, along with Brazil, the most admired country of the South. Their disobedience led to sharp censure, not for the first time: Turkey had been bitterly condemned in 2003 when the government followed the will of 95% of the population and refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq, thus demonstrating its weak grasp of democracy, western-style.
After its Security Council misdeed last year, Turkey was warned by Obama's top diplomat on European affairs, Philip Gordon, that it must "demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West." A scholar with the Council on Foreign Relations asked, "How do we keep the Turks in their lane?" -- following orders like good democrats. Brazil's Lula was admonished in a New York Times headline that his effort with Turkey to provide a solution to the uranium enrichment issue outside of the framework of U.S. power was a "Spot on Brazilian Leader's Legacy." In brief, do what we say, or else.
An interesting sidelight, effectively suppressed, is that the Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal was approved in advance by Obama, presumably on the assumption that it would fail, providing an ideological weapon against Iran. When it succeeded, the approval turned to censure, and Washington rammed through a Security Council resolution so weak that China readily signed -- and is now chastised for living up to the letter of the resolution but not Washington's unilateral directives -- in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, for example.
While the U.S. can tolerate Turkish disobedience, though with dismay, China is harder to ignore. The press warns that "China's investors and traders are now filling a vacuum in Iran as businesses from many other nations, especially in Europe, pull out," and in particular, is expanding its dominant role in Iran's energy industries. Washington is reacting with a touch of desperation. The State Department warned China that if it wants to be accepted in the international community -- a technical term referring to the U.S. and whoever happens to agree with it -- then it must not "skirt and evade international responsibilities, [which] are clear": namely, follow U.S. orders. China is unlikely to be impressed.
There is also much concern about the growing Chinese military threat. A recent Pentagon study warned that China's military budget is approaching "one-fifth of what the Pentagon spent to operate and carry out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," a fraction of the U.S. military budget, of course. China's expansion of military forces might "deny the ability of American warships to operate in international waters off its coast," the New York Times added.
Off the coast of China, that is; it has yet to be proposed that the U.S. should eliminate military forces that deny the Caribbean to Chinese warships. China's lack of understanding of rules of international civility is illustrated further by its objections to plans for the advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington to join naval exercises a few miles off China's coast, with alleged capacity to strike Beijing.
In contrast, the West understands that such U.S. operations are all undertaken to defend stability and its own security. The liberal New Republic expresses its concern that "China sent ten warships through international waters just off the Japanese island of Okinawa." That is indeed a provocation -- unlike the fact, unmentioned, that Washington has converted the island into a major military base in defiance of vehement protests by the people of Okinawa. That is not a provocation, on the standard principle that we own the world.
Deep-seated imperial doctrine aside, there is good reason for China's neighbors to be concerned about its growing military and commercial power. And though Arab opinion supports an Iranian nuclear weapons program, we certainly should not do so. The foreign policy literature is full of proposals as to how to counter the threat. One obvious way is rarely discussed: work to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the region. The issue arose (again) at the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at United Nations headquarters last May. Egypt, as chair of the 118 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, called for negotiations on a Middle East NWFZ, as had been agreed by the West, including the U.S., at the 1995 review conference on the NPT.
International support is so overwhelming that Obama formally agreed. It is a fine idea, Washington informed the conference, but not now. Furthermore, the U.S. made clear that Israel must be exempted: no proposal can call for Israel's nuclear program to be placed under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency or for the release of information about "Israeli nuclear facilities and activities." So much for this method of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.
Privatizing the Planet
While Grand Area doctrine still prevails, the capacity to implement it has declined. The peak of U.S. power was after World War II, when it had literally half the world's wealth. But that naturally declined, as other industrial economies recovered from the devastation of the war and decolonization took its agonizing course. By the early 1970s, the U.S. share of global wealth had declined to about 25%, and the industrial world had become tripolar: North America, Europe, and East Asia (then Japan-based).
There was also a sharp change in the U.S. economy in the 1970s, towards financialization and export of production. A variety of factors converged to create a vicious cycle of radical concentration of wealth, primarily in the top fraction of 1% of the population -- mostly CEOs, hedge-fund managers, and the like. That leads to the concentration of political power, hence state policies to increase economic concentration: fiscal policies, rules of corporate governance, deregulation, and much more. Meanwhile the costs of electoral campaigns skyrocketed, driving the parties into the pockets of concentrated capital, increasingly financial: the Republicans reflexively, the Democrats -- by now what used to be moderate Republicans -- not far behind.
Elections have become a charade, run by the public relations industry. After his 2008 victory, Obama won an award from the industry for the best marketing campaign of the year. Executives were euphoric. In the business press they explained that they had been marketing candidates like other commodities since Ronald Reagan, but 2008 was their greatest achievement and would change the style in corporate boardrooms. The 2012 election is expected to cost $2 billion, mostly in corporate funding. Small wonder that Obama is selecting business leaders for top positions. The public is angry and frustrated, but as long as the Muasher principle prevails, that doesn't matter.
While wealth and power have narrowly concentrated, for most of the population real incomes have stagnated and people have been getting by with increased work hours, debt, and asset inflation, regularly destroyed by the financial crises that began as the regulatory apparatus was dismantled starting in the 1980s.
None of this is problematic for the very wealthy, who benefit from a government insurance policy called "too big to fail." The banks and investment firms can make risky transactions, with rich rewards, and when the system inevitably crashes, they can run to the nanny state for a taxpayer bailout, clutching their copies of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
That has been the regular process since the Reagan years, each crisis more extreme than the last -- for the public population, that is. Right now, real unemployment is at Depression levels for much of the population, while Goldman Sachs, one of the main architects of the current crisis, is richer than ever. It has just quietly announced $17.5 billion in compensation for last year, with CEO Lloyd Blankfein receiving a $12.6 million bonus while his base salary more than triples.
It wouldn't do to focus attention on such facts as these. Accordingly, propaganda must seek to blame others, in the past few months, public sector workers, their fat salaries, exorbitant pensions, and so on: all fantasy, on the model of Reaganite imagery of black mothers being driven in their limousines to pick up welfare checks -- and other models that need not be mentioned. We all must tighten our belts; almost all, that is.
Teachers are a particularly good target, as part of the deliberate effort to destroy the public education system from kindergarten through the universities by privatization -- again, good for the wealthy, but a disaster for the population, as well as the long-term health of the economy, but that is one of the externalities that is put to the side insofar as market principles prevail.
Another fine target, always, is immigrants. That has been true throughout U.S. history, even more so at times of economic crisis, exacerbated now by a sense that our country is being taken away from us: the white population will soon become a minority. One can understand the anger of aggrieved individuals, but the cruelty of the policy is shocking.
Who are the immigrants targeted? In Eastern Massachusetts, where I live, many are Mayans fleeing genocide in the Guatemalan highlands carried out by Reagan's favorite killers. Others are Mexican victims of Clinton's NAFTA, one of those rare government agreements that managed to harm working people in all three of the participating countries. As NAFTA was rammed through Congress over popular objection in 1994, Clinton also initiated the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border, previously fairly open. It was understood that Mexican campesinos cannot compete with highly subsidized U.S. agribusiness, and that Mexican businesses would not survive competition with U.S. multinationals, which must be granted "national treatment" under the mislabeled free trade agreements, a privilege granted only to corporate persons, not those of flesh and blood. Not surprisingly, these measures led to a flood of desperate refugees, and to rising anti-immigrant hysteria by the victims of state-corporate policies at home.
Much the same appears to be happening in Europe, where racism is probably more rampant than in the U.S. One can only watch with wonder as Italy complains about the flow of refugees from Libya, the scene of the first post-World War I genocide, in the now-liberated East, at the hands of Italy's Fascist government. Or when France, still today the main protector of the brutal dictatorships in its former colonies, manages to overlook its hideous atrocities in Africa, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy warns grimly of the "flood of immigrants" and Marine Le Pen objects that he is doing nothing to prevent it. I need not mention Belgium, which may win the prize for what Adam Smith called "the savage injustice of the Europeans."
The rise of neo-fascist parties in much of Europe would be a frightening phenomenon even if we were not to recall what happened on the continent in the recent past. Just imagine the reaction if Jews were being expelled from France to misery and oppression, and then witness the non-reaction when that is happening to Roma, also victims of the Holocaust and Europe's most brutalized population.
In Hungary, the neo-fascist party Jobbik gained 17% of the vote in national elections, perhaps unsurprising when three-quarters of the population feels that they are worse off than under Communist rule. We might be relieved that in Austria the ultra-right Jörg Haider won only 10% of the vote in 2008 -- were it not for the fact that the new Freedom Party, outflanking him from the far right, won more than 17%. It is chilling to recall that, in 1928, the Nazis won less than 3% of the vote in Germany.
In England the British National Party and the English Defence League, on the ultra-racist right, are major forces. (What is happening in Holland you know all too well.) In Germany, Thilo Sarrazin's lament that immigrants are destroying the country was a runaway best-seller, while Chancellor Angela Merkel, though condemning the book, declared that multiculturalism had "utterly failed": the Turks imported to do the dirty work in Germany are failing to become blond and blue-eyed, true Aryans.
Those with a sense of irony may recall that Benjamin Franklin, one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, warned that the newly liberated colonies should be wary of allowing Germans to immigrate, because they were too swarthy; Swedes as well. Into the twentieth century, ludicrous myths of Anglo-Saxon purity were common in the U.S., including among presidents and other leading figures. Racism in the literary culture has been a rank obscenity; far worse in practice, needless to say. It is much easier to eradicate polio than this horrifying plague, which regularly becomes more virulent in times of economic distress.
I do not want to end without mentioning another externality that is dismissed in market systems: the fate of the species. Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don't, someone else will.
This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood.
If such things were happening in some small and remote country, we might laugh. Not when they are happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world. And before we laugh, we might also bear in mind that the current economic crisis is traceable in no small measure to the fanatic faith in such dogmas as the efficient market hypothesis, and in general to what Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, 15 years ago, called the "religion" that markets know best -- which prevented the central bank and the economics profession from taking notice of an $8 trillion housing bubble that had no basis at all in economic fundamentals, and that devastated the economy when it burst.
All of this, and much more, can proceed as long as the Muashar doctrine prevails. As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. His most recent books include: Failed States, What We Say Goes (with David Barsamian), Hegemony or Survival, and the Essential Chomsky.
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