ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dr. King’s ‘Four Catastrophes’

Dr. King’s ‘Four Catastrophes’

By Laura Finley
August 31, 2013

The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington has seen reflections and conversations about the
nation’s progress toward achieving Dr. Martin Luther King’s
dream of the beloved community.

Not surprisingly, the focus has been on assessing racial equality,
as many know Dr. King largely for his work on this issue.

Dr. King’s vision and advocacy, however, was much broader in

As his writings and speeches show, Dr. King was concerned about
what he called, “four catastrophes:” militarism, materialism,
racism, and poverty.

Dr. King described militarism as an, “imperial catastrophe.”

King, and others before him, critiqued not just the United States
engagement in violent conflict but also the values that underlie
militarism: hierarchy, obedience, discipline, and power over others.

King exclaimed in his April 4, 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” “I
knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence
of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly
to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own

Yet, despite Dr. King’s warnings, the U.S military remains the
greatest purveyor of violence, with the largest military in the

We spend more on our military than China, Russia, UK,
France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Brazil

The U.S. is also the leader in global weapons sales.

As I write, President Obama continues to use drones to kill
innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and other places and
is poise to authorize some form of military action in Syria.

To Dr. King, racism is a moral catastrophe.

This moral catastrophe continues, as racial profiling,
disparate access to education, wage differentials, and
more, remain intractable problems.

All are exacerbated by Supreme Court decisions, such as the
Court’s June 2013 announcement that “enough progress has
been made” to overturn key parts of the Voting Rights Act
that are intended to help ensure adequate civic participation
by people of color.

Materialism, according to Dr. King, is a spiritual catastrophe.

Instead of caring for one another, we are taught that it is
buying things that make us who we are.

Often referred to as “affluenza” it really is like many of us
are sick with the need to buy things bigger, better, faster,
and always, more, more, more.

Poverty is the economic catastrophe.

King’s later work, fighting for worker’s rights, was what
scared those in power the most.

A recently released report documented the over-payment
of CEOs, at the expense of laborers.

Additionally, the report found that almost 40 percent of the
men on the list of the 25 highest-paid corporate leaders in
American between 1993 and 2012 have led companies that
were bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, had been fired for poor
performance, or led companies charged with some type of

This while 46.2 million Americans remain in poverty.

Until we move beyond seeing Dr. King as just an icon of racial
equality, it will be hard to fully engage the interrelated four
catastrophes he found so problematic.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department
of Sociology & Criminology.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Has Happened Here – What Now?

It Has Happened Here – What Now?

By Luke Hiken
Dissident Voice
August 29th, 2013

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a satirical novel entitled “It Can’t
Happen Here.”

In the book, a democratically elected President transforms the
country into a totalitarian, ruthless regime, relying upon patriotic
rhetoric and fear to dominate and control a docile populace.

Just as Lewis predicted it would, it has happened here:

1) Those who identify and expose government misconduct are
labeled as traitors and criminals.

2) The bankers and corporations who gambled with the money
entrusted to them get off Scot free for the theft of untold
trillions of dollars, while the world’s people are forced into
conditions of austerity and economic survival. The poor are
prosecuted for trying to survive, while the rich are immunized
from any negative consequences for their crimes.

3) The U.S. government spies on its entire population, and
arrogantly insists upon the right to do so.

4) The U.S., and its overseas puppet, NATO, wage war upon
every nation that opposes U.S. economic hegemony over the
world. The presence of hundreds of U.S. military bases on
every continent bolsters U.S. control over the world’s people.

5) Result-oriented judges, appointed by obedient politicians,
immunize transnational corporations and military aggressors
for every abuse inflicted upon the working and poor people of
the world.

6) Health care, education, and retirement security are reserved
solely for the rich, while the poor, minorities, and elderly are left
to die and suffer in poverty.

7) The so-called “political parties” are merely servants
and handmaidens to transnational corporations, serving
their economic masters at the expense of everyone else.

8) The mass media mouths the corporate propaganda of
the moment obediently and without question.

9) Prisons, violence and war are the primary vehicles used by
the State to control an ever more rebellious and dissatisfied

10) Civil rights, voting rights and personal freedoms are
viewed as privileges reserved for the rich.

11) Dissent equals treason, and those who oppose authoritarian
rule are labeled enemies of the state.

In Lewis’ novel, a disillusioned citizenry eventually rebels and takes
up arms against the dictatorial regime that has seized control of the
United States.

In the book, the ultimate outcome is left in doubt.

For those of us who fear the parallels between Sinclair’s nightmare,
and the current military-industrial cabal that runs today’s world,
the question arises as to whether the military resistance described
by Sinclair is the only avenue of recourse available against the
government’s common enemy.

If so, we are in serious trouble in this country.

The Pentagon is not only complicit with the corporate-controlled
state, but it’s main proponent.

In Sinclair’s book, it is a rebellious faction of the military that
fights back against the repressive state.

That has not been the case for other revolutionary struggles
almost anywhere during the last century.

Instead, revolutionary cadres, underground organizations and
unorganized rebellious citizens have initiated struggles against
the state, and only when the masses came to their assistance
were the revolutionaries able to create and sustain an armed
force capable of fighting those in power.

In virtually all of the successful revolutions of the last century,
there was a political leadership that put forward a vision of
what an alternative state would look like, and how it could
avoid the fascist tendencies of the current oligarchy.

For many struggles, the resistance adopted the mantle of
communist revolution (Russia, China, Cuba), in others it
was a nationalist, democratic vision that was put forward
(South Africa, Venezuela).

But in the U.S., there is no unity as to what a different form
of government would or should look like.

Americans realize that our present government represents only
the interests of the rich, and uses the “electoral process” as a
charade to force the poor to act against their own interests
and support the racist, reactionary program put forth by their
corporate owners.

Nonetheless, Americans are years away from unifying around a
politics that would replace those in power with a more democratic

In spite of the reality facing us every day, Americans still believe
that the problem lies not with our form of government, but with
the people we “elect.”

That level of naiveté deserves the beating it is taking.

In fact, there are no forms of government that cannot be twisted
to serve the interests of the few against the needs of the many.

What is needed is a social consciousness as to how to create a
democratic, participatory process that meets the needs of the
society as a whole, and not merely a handful of billionaires.

It is not so much a question as to what structure will enforce such
principles, but rather how to unite the masses of people to pursue
a common goal.

Doug Lummis, in his brilliant treatise “Radical Democracy” analyzes
the various contexts in which democratic principles can flourish.

It is not structures or institutions that determine how the democratic process functions; rather, it is the relationship between people and power.

Thus, he demonstrates how totally disparate circumstances have
produced some of the most democratic struggles in history: the
student movements of the 60s; the civil rights movement; the
anti-apartheid struggles throughout Africa; and, Chinese peasant
movements, both before and after Mao Tse-Tung.

The list of how and why democracy prevails is as long as the
history of social uprisings, themselves.

The ossified, self-perpetuating autocracy that the U.S. government has become is not an indicia of the success of the “American dream,” rather it is the essence of why the citizens of this country are disenfranchised, disillusioned, and ignored by a corporate autocracy, loyal only to its own class interests, and not to any particular nation.

Throughout the world today, one nation after another is rejecting
American domination – in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa,
Russia, China and elsewhere.

As the Pentagon attempts to coerce the international community to
support its repressive efforts against those who speak out against
U.S. imperialism, a growing number of nations offer sanctuary and
asylum to U.S. “enemies.”

The American people themselves would honor and applaud the Bradley
Manning's and Eric Snowden's of the world, if this government did not
manipulate and monitor the propaganda campaigns against them.

Sinclair’s predictions parallel those of all great writers from Socrates
to Marx, to the effect that totalitarian regimes sow the seeds of
their own destruction.

The oligarchs who have placed themselves above and beyond the
laws that apply to the rest of us, should heed the words of Shelley’s
prophetic poem:

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Forward looking Americans will reject the patriotic tripe urged upon
us by the corporate media and join with other progressive forces
worldwide, who seek to dismantle the stranglehold that transnational
corporations and their G8 allies hold over the governments of the

Such actions don’t constitute treason; they represent the only means
by which working people internationally can regain democratic control
over our lives.

Saluting the flag, honoring our mercenaries, and glorifying the rich,
are nothing short of collective suicide.

The corporate military coup has already happened here, and the true
patriotic response is to recognize it and overthrow it.

Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of
criminal, immigration, and appellate law.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who Are The Terrorists?

Who Are The Terrorists?

Everyone is talking all about crime, crime; But tell me: who are
the criminals? – Peter Tosh, “Equal Rights”

By Gene Glickman
August 28, 2013

To paraphrase Peter Tosh, everyone is talking about terrorism;
but who are the terrorists?

These two words – “terrorism” and “terrorist” – have come into
common usage, but their meanings often vary, depending on who
is using them and to what ends.

Here is my working definition:

“Terrorism” is an act or series of acts designed to create feelings of
terror in a target population, thereby influencing and/or inhibiting its
actions; a “terrorist” is an individual or a member of an organization
which perpetrates such an act or series of acts.

Many have spoken about the courage of recent whistle-blowers.

Others have spoken about the lack of documented evidence of the
effectiveness of government anti-terrorism policies in preventing
or discovering terrorist actions.

It’s time to put these two together.

If whistle-blowers require courage to reveal government lies and
abuses, then there must be a reason: a fear they need to overcome
when they decide to come forward.

The two latest prominent cases – those involving Pfc. Manning and
Mr. Snowden – are stark examples of what happens to those who do.

Manning has been called many names disparaging his actions,
intentions, emotional state and character.

Snowden has suffered similar abuse.

In his case they range from pseudo-psycho-babble (“narcissist”)
to the moralistic “hypocrite” for seeking asylum in Russia, whose
government is regarded by some as being less open to criticism
than the U.S. government.

All rhetorical guns have been trained full force on these two

But it wasn’t merely rhetoric; punitive treatment was the order
of the day.

Manning was subjected to torture in several forms prior to the
show trial.

Moreover, the government ignored the defendant’s constitutional
right to a speedy trial.

Snowden, learning from Manning’s experience, chose to avoid,
successfully so far, though not without travails of its own, the
tentacles of American justice.

Since Snowden wasn’t available in person for torture or detention,
the government was reduced to depriving him of his passport
(without so much as a hearing) as the most punitive action it could
muster (aside from stopping and frisking the Ecuadoran presidential

It made sure to do this promptly.

In both instances, the government was perfectly willing to break
domestic and/or international law in its desire to come down as
heavily as possible.

At Manning’s sentencing hearing, the prosecutor said, in calling
for a heavy sentence, that an example had to be made of Manning,
thus revealing the primary aim of the prosecution: to act as an
admonitory lesson for other possible whistle-blowers.

While the 35 years Manning received was less than the 60 the
prosecution had asked for, it certainly is a daunting sentence.

Many believe Manning should have been released without having
to serve any additional time.

Thus we see the people of the United States being shown, through
their government’s words and actions, that potential whistle-blowers
should think twice, or thrice, before taking this risk: real and
extreme negative consequences flow from attempting to illustrate
publicly governmental malfeasance.

The government’s actions, in order to dissuade people from
indulging in, or even contemplating, whistle-blowing, are
carefully designed to create terror in their minds.

All this is in aid of preventing the truth from coming out.

This explains why the administration has shown such a penchant
for “classifying” as much as possible: most of the secrets are
being kept, not from the terrorists, but from the people.

Nevertheless, while many might be dissuaded from revealing these
secrets, inevitably someone, another Snowden, will come forward
because his/her conscience will not rest while they remain hidden
from us.

On another hand, this same government, which claims to be using surveillance as a necessary tool to detect terrorists’ plans, (rather
than detecting details about us) has not demonstrated much success
in doing so.

They had been alerted to the Boston Marathon bombers’ tendencies
by the Russian government; it didn’t help.

They had been warned about aircraft being used as bombs before
9/11; it didn’t help.

On a third hand, this same government staged an unprovoked attack
on Iraq, based on lies, leading to widespread destruction in that
country, including much loss of life and huge population displacement.

This same government sends drones that kill and wound people, both
alleged terrorists and non-combatants – currently mostly in Pakistan
and Yemen, two countries with which the United States is not at war.

Unlike the President, sitting in comfort in the White House while he
decides on who should die that week thousands of miles away, and
for the drones’ operators, who feel they are “playing video games”
for those in the target countries this is deadly serious business.

To them, being on the drones’ receiving end has had the natural
effect of creating widespread fear and hatred of the United States
in those countries and elsewhere.

But, similar to the whistle-blowers, while many will suffer from a
fear-induced paralysis, some will become anti-U.S. terrorists and
thus, future targets of drones.

I am deliberately not differentiating between the Bush and Obama
administrations, nor between the Democrats and the Republicans.

When it comes to these policies, the two parties are pretty much
indistinguishable and the latter administration is a continuation
and extension of the former.

The mindset that produced “shock and awe” in Iraq is much the
same in its desire to create terror as is the more current use of

But the capacity of the U.S. identified “terrorists’” to do damage
is dwarfed by that of the U.S. military.

It is the latter that has ready access to almost unlimited and
up-to-date weaponry, which it either employs as a threat or
actually puts to use.

This assorted weaponry kills, wounds and terrorizes large segments
of populations, not merely “the terrorists.”

When innocents are harmed, and such euphemisms as “collateral
damage” are called into service, the reasons may be ignorance
rather than malice on the part of the U.S. military, but the
effect on the local population is the same: fear and paralysis
in uneasy tension with rage and the desire for retribution.

It should be pointed out that U.S. use of terrorism as a tactic is
not new, though the term itself was not applied until recently.

The easy use of the military option was what led Martin Luther King,
Jr. to say that his own government was the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world.

Earlier on, in 1945, the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima
and Nagasaki were an example.

They were designed to terrorize not the Japanese, who had
already recognized they had lost the war, but the Soviets, in
the then nascent Cold War to come.

In sum, the use of surveillance to discover terrorists’ plans
and forthcoming actions has been mostly ineffective.

But the use of U.S. military power, while undoubtedly effective in
inflicting great damage, including killing some who may well have
been terrorists, has had the overall effect of creating terror in the
populations of wide swaths of Asia and the Middle East.

Ultimately, however, it will also produce in some the opposite effect:
swelling the ranks of those who the U.S. government then describes
as “the terrorists.”

Thus, the U.S. government is using terrorism as an instrument
of its foreign and domestic policy: in its foreign policy, through
its widespread use of military force, domestically, through its
punishment of whistle-blowers.

Let us now turn our attention more directly to surveillance.

How does surveillance fit into the U.S. government’s terrorist

Since surveillance has not been notably successful in accomplishing
its stated purpose, keeping an eye on terrorists, could something
else be its actual purpose?

In practice, surveillance, both domestically and abroad, has created
fear in the world at large as well as in the minds of virtually everyone
inside the United States.

The government line on this is:

“If you’re innocent of wrong-doing, you have nothing to fear.”

Surveillance is but one of many governmental terror tactics.

Here are some others:

a) people are put on airplane watch-lists with no possibility of

b) people, such as David Miranda, are stopped and questioned
for hours while in transit;

c) grand juries are used to harass peace activists, as their organizations are infiltrated;

d) the Occupy Movement and similar resisters are targeted by
the police;

e) employees of the NSA are “encouraged” to spy on each other.

The more such practices become part of our daily experience,
the more ordinary citizens come to realize that anyone and
everyone can be treated as dangerous by a paranoid official
of a paranoid government.

Perhaps it could be argued that the government did not intend
for the Snowden disclosures to become public knowledge, and
that it therefore did not want the populace to be terrorized.

But even if the facts had not appeared as rapidly as they actually
did, they would have eventually come out in dribs and drabs (if
in no other way, then through planned leaks from “unidentified
government sources”), as they had been doing prior to Snowden’s
flight to Hong Kong.

Snowden himself has said that his primary purpose was not to
reveal facts, but to encourage discussion.

The government wanted at least some of the facts to emerge but
without engendering the nationwide discussion that Snowden’s
disclosures did.

They wanted the terror without the outrage.

The government has demonstrated a marked tendency toward
concealment, or, rather, controlled disclosure, such as the outing
of Valerie Plame, while simultaneously proclaiming its desire for

This is coupled with treating the citizenry’s hostility toward
government surveillance as a mere problem of public relations
to be remedied by lying and obfuscation to Congress and the
public, and rewarding, rather than punishing, those officials
who participate in such distortion and concealment, whether
or not their attempts are successful.

In fact, the U.S. government has thoroughly perverted certain
words in the language.

“Transparency” masks concealment, “supporting whistle-blowers”
becomes attacking them, “non-surveillance of U.S. citizens” turns
into their total surveillance, and “spying on and attacking foreign
terrorists” morphs into spying on and attacking domestic resisters.

All this is in aid of a government bent on tyranny over our minds
and spirits, a government afraid of its own people.

U.S. government domestic and foreign policies thus operate
in tandem.

Except for the elites, all of us, inside and outside the country,
are the enemy.

Citizens and foreigners alike are subject to similar treatment.

The hallmark of this treatment is the production of fear.

In order to achieve this, the Terrorism State is aiming to acquire
the God-like qualities of omniscience and omnipotence.

It hasn’t quite managed this as yet, but it is diligently and single-
mindedly working toward it.

Have you become reluctant to speak out?

Do you know of others who are now cautious about speaking
their minds in public?

Have you or others begun to hesitate to organize against a
government with whose policies you disagree?

This is the real purpose of the use of terrorism as a scare tactic.

The “world-wide fight against terrorism” is being used as a
smokescreen by the US government, the most formidable terrorist
outfit of all, as a technique to cow us: to inhibit us from challenging

But there will always be those whose conscience insists they rebel.

It is to them we must look.

It is they we must encourage, support and emulate.

Gene Glickman is a retired college professor of music. He now
conducts a progressive chorus, called “Harmonic Insurgence,”
and makes choral arrangements for it and other choruses.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sense, Cents, and Sensibility

Sense, Cents, and Sensibility

By Ernesto Raj Peshkov-Chow
August 26th, 2013

It makes no sense we blow billions buying bombs, or bailing out
banks, but can’t afford to end world hunger.

It makes no sense we pay to see a movie and then are forced to
sit through commercials before it starts.

“It makes no sense.”

I’m using these words more and more often.

The tyranny of idiot capitalism has become so ridiculous that it
must be a sign the system is in crisis.

The outrageous lies and distortions told to defend it have got to
mean capitalism is finally obfuscating on thin ice.

At a minimum, please tell me other people have noticed the same
absurdities that make me feel like smacking every sycophantic shill
for the ruling class across the side of the head and screaming:
“You’ve got to be kidding me!

This is the best system possible? This is the height of human achievement?

What do you take us for? Utterly brainwashed fools?” (And then I
think it takes one to know one.)

Capitalism means freedom.


For the ever-greater proportion of people working in precarious
part-time jobs paying peanuts?

For the 70-year olds behind counters selling Big Macs or greeting
Wal-Mart shoppers?

For the tens of millions who have had their pensions chopped?

For the garment workers toiling in life-threatening conditions in
Bangladesh or Haiti or Honduras to earn $5 per day?

For the millions of suburbanites who spend a quarter of their income
and their waking hours on and in the vehicle that takes them to their
shitty job?

For the tens of thousands who have been recently bombed into “our
way of life” by the greatest or one of the lesser capitalist powers?

For the generations to come who will face climate change caused
by profits earned spewing ever more carbon into the atmosphere?

Don’t interfere with the free market.

You mean the same “free” market that has destroyed millions of
good working class (what the scared-of-the-socialist-bogeyman
Americans call “middle class”) jobs in order to enable a few dozen
multi-millionaires to become billionaires?

The market that had to be saved by bailouts to the very companies
that caused its crisis, but which can’t afford good free public
education for all?

The market that gives us ever more processed food made from
genetically modified plants fed to animals that graze in slashed
and burned rainforests then shipped ten thousand miles but can’t
provide nutritious meals of locally grown real food for every child
on the planet?

The market that is so efficient it requires hundred of billions
of dollars to be spent on advertising to convince us to buy its

The market that gives us plenty of $80,000 cars and $10,000
watches, but can’t give billions, proper sewage and water

The market that enforces patents owned by huge corporations,
instead of the right for all to access affordable life saving medicines?

A market free from government controls, which when you really
think about it means a market whose rules are made by and for
the rich instead of through democratic decision-making?

Yes, we live in an absurd world. A world all about making cents,
not sense.

The apostles of greed claim competition and choice are the only
rights worth fighting for, as if we are all only consumers.

But the vast majority of us are workers too.

What about our rights at work?

They are ignored, trampled upon and denied because that is what
the “free” market requires.

Yes, we live in an absurd world but it can’t possibly get any worse.

Can it?

It will, if we don’t fight back.

It can and it will get worse unless millions of people join together
behind a common vision of an alternative to this system of one
dollar, one vote, called capitalism.

Once upon a time we did have a vision of an alternative economic
and social system.

Once upon a time a movement of hundreds of millions of ordinary
people with that vision was created to build a better world and
it was successful in many places, winning the universal franchise,
public education, the 8-hour day, pensions, health and safety
legislation, public health programs, daycare, laws against
discrimination and more.

Pretty much every reform that was listed in the Communist
Manifesto 165 years ago.

But the unions and political parties that came out of that movement
never won the most important thing: equality of power, the right
of everyone to participate in running both our economic and political

It never fought for and won something best described as
economic democracy.

It left power in the hands of tiny minorities who ultimately
run the world in their self-interest.

And now these self-serving minorities are rolling back the
reforms our mothers and fathers struggled so long and hard
to win.

Yes we live in an absurd world.

And it will get worse unless we come together to change it.

It’s time we showed some collective sensibility.

Ernie Peshkov-Chow is the author of Great Multicultural North - A
Canadian Primer for Hosers, Immigrants and Socialists, recently
released by Fernwood Publishing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Challenging Obama on Manning

An Open Letter To President Obama

By Norman Solomon
August 22, 2013

Dear President Obama:

As commander in chief, you’ve been responsible for the treatment of
the most high-profile whistleblower in the history of the U.S. armed

Under your command, the United States military tried, and failed,
to crush the spirit of Bradley Manning.

Your failure became evident after the sentencing on Wednesday,
when a statement from Bradley Manning was read aloud to the

The statement began:

“The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for
my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of
9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy
that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due
to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks
posed to us and our way of life. I initially agreed with these methods
and chose to volunteer to help defend my country.”

From the outset, your administration set out to destroy
Bradley Manning.

As his biographer Chase Madar wrote in The Nation:

“Upon his arrest in May 2010, he was locked up in punitive isolation
for two months in Iraq and Kuwait, then nine more months at the
Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Prohibited from lying down
during the day or exercising, he was forced to respond every five of vhis waking minutes to a guard’s question: ‘Are you OK?’ In his final
weeks of isolation, Manning was deprived of all clothing beyond a
tear-proof smock and forced to stand at attention every night in the

More than nine months after Manning’s arrest, at a news conference
you defended this treatment, which the State Department’s chief
spokesman, P.J. Crowley, had just lambasted as “ridiculous,
counterproductive and stupid.” (Crowley swiftly lost his job.)

Later, the UN special rapporteur on torture issued a report on
the treatment of Manning: “at a minimum cruel, inhuman and

At a fundraiser on April 21, 2011, when asked about Manning,
you flatly said: “He broke the law.” His trial would not begin
for two more years.

Bradley Manning’s statement after sentencing on Wednesday said:

“It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on
a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were
doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the
risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity.
We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and
Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the
enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed
innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct,
we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified
information in order to avoid any public accountability.”

Public accountability is essential to democracy.

We can’t have meaningful “consent of the governed” without
informed consent.

We can’t have moral responsibility without challenging official
hypocrisies and atrocities.

Bradley Manning clearly understood that.

He didn’t just follow orders or turn his head at the sight
of unconscionable policies of the U.S. government.

Finding himself in a situation where he could shatter the numbed
complacency that is the foundation of war, he cared, and he took
action as a whistleblower.

After being sentenced to many years in prison, Manning conveyed to
the American public an acute understanding of our present historic

“In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition
of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without
due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and
executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless
other acts in the name of our war on terror."

“Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts
are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism
drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American
soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived

Clearly, Mr. President, you have sought to make an example
of Bradley Manning with categorical condemnation and harsh

You seem not to grasp that he has indeed become an example, an
inspiring example of stellar courage and idealism, which millions of
Americans now want to emulate.

From the White House, we continue to get puffed-up sugar-coated
versions of history, past and present.

In sharp contrast, Bradley Manning offers profound insights in his
post-sentencing statement:

“Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues
of democracy, the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision,
McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps,
to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions
since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light. As
the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large
enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’”

Imagine. After more than three years in prison, undergoing
methodical abuse and then the ordeal of a long military trial
followed by the pronouncement of a 35-year prison sentence,
Bradley Manning has emerged with his solid humanistic voice
not only intact, but actually stronger than ever!

He acknowledged, “I understand that my actions violated the law;
I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It
was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people.
When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a
love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”

And then Bradley Manning concluded his statement by
addressing you directly as President of the United States:

“If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time
knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to
live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means
we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty
and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men
are created equal.”

You failed to break the spirit of Bradley Manning.

And that spirit will continue to inspire.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding
director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Military Madness: Has Our Species Become Insane?

Military Madness: Has Our Species Become Insane?

By Jim McCluskey
Global Research
August 20, 2013

Helen Caldicott is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a world
renowned campaigner against nuclear weapons.

She says that our species is ‘mentally sick…

"The whole society is sick. We are in the grip of a death wish."

She points out that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths with ‘no moral
conscience’ and these are the people who rise to the top; who
are in charge.

Is she right? Have we really become insane?

There is good reason to believe so.

By insane behavior I am referring to avoidable behavior which will
result in our own destruction and would be seen as such if we were
‘in our right minds’.

There are many reasons for the belief that much of our behavior
has become insane.

Here are some of them.

1. Nuclear Weapons on High Alert

2000 nuclear weapons are held ready for launch at the press of
a button.

This could happen by accident, misunderstanding or malicious

It came within hours of happening in 1962 during the Cuban Missile

It came within seconds of happening when the drunkard President
Yeltsin had his finger on the button after being told Russia was
under nuclear attack.

It could happen now at any time. Is this sane?

2. Nuclear Arsenals

There are seventeen thousand nuclear weapons in existence; enough
to incinerate everyone on the planet many times over as well as
destroying most of the other nine million species we share the planet

Is this sane?

We are not told the destructive power of the weapons being deployed
but we do know, for example, that the 180 B61 American bombs
now in Europe, can be 30 times more destructive than the Hiroshima

President Obama has recently put $537 million in his 2014 budget
proposal (total cost is expected to be $10 billion) to upgrade these
bombs and make them more accurate!

Each bomb can destroy a major city the size of London or New York.

Is this sane?

All this is totally unnecessary.

A perfectly sane alternative is available, an enforceable treaty
banning nuclear weapons.

The existence of a feasible sane option compounds the madness.

Harboring arsenals of nuclear weapons undermines our very

As the Nobel Laureate in Literature, Kenzaburo Oe, declared, “The
most terrifying monster lurking in the darkness of Hiroshima is
precisely the possibility that man might become no longer human.”

3. Nuclear Power and Radiation

Contamination from a single failure at Chernobyl spread right
across Europe.

The struggle to keep the lethal emissions at bay is going on still,
27 years later.

At Fukushima three complete meltdowns of reactor cores have been
emitting radioactive material for over two years and nobody knows
how to stop it.

If the wind had been blowing the other way when the disaster
started Tokyo would have had to be evacuated and a large part of
Japan would have become uninhabitable for 300 hundred years.

If another earthquake occurs the cooling ponds of reactor 4 (loaded
with fuel rods) could lose their coolant releasing sufficient radiation
to pollute the entire northern hemisphere.

Two and half years after the triple meltdowns started the general
manager of TEPCO, the responsible corporation, announced,
referring to the discharge of radioactive cooling water into the sea,
“We understand that this discharge is beyond our control and we do
not think the current situation is good.”

Humanity is refusing to abandon a technology which can, through
a single accident, pollute countries and continents.

Is this sane?

4. The Arms Trade

The arms trade fuels the world’s wars. It is a major cause of
human suffering.

Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms sales are agreed.

The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia,
France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and
Italy account for around 85% of the arms sold between 2004 and

Most arms sales (something like 75%) are to developing countries.

The leaders of selling countries are shameless.

Prime Minister Cameron recently led a bevy of arms dealers on a
selling spree to Saudi Arabia (the only likely use of weapons sold
to the Saudi government will be against their own citizens when
the Arab Spring finally arrives).

Senior UK Minister Dr Cable MP took another ‘defense delegation’
to India.

Dr Cable publicly justified the UK government’s behavior by saying
"If we didn’t do it, someone else would."

This does not earn a reprieve for other criminal activities like
robbing banks.

Another common justification is ‘The arms industry creates jobs’
– jobs for killing people.

Can any of this be considered rational behavior by mature human

5. Wars

Global military spending is over $1.7 trillion dollars; more than
two-fifths of this is by the US.

The western powers purport to be "peace-loving."

The only countries on the planet who currently routinely invade
other countries and kill their citizens are the UK and the US.

The western powers claim to be "law-abiding.

Yet the United Nations forbids armed attack on other states.

The 1970 UN Declaration on Principles of International Law declares:

‘Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from
the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with
the purposes of the United Nations. Such a threat or use of force
constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the
United Nations and shall never be employed as a means if settling
international issues’.

Clear enough?

In order to stop terrorism we invade other countries where we think
there might be terrorists and slaughter their families.

Like dousing a fire by throwing petrol on it.

Despite thousands of years of experience to the contrary our leaders
still behave as though the best way of solving a dispute is to kill the


6. Global Warming

The planet is warming (up 0.8° F since start of 20th c).

Scientist are over 90% sure the primary cause is human activities
such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation.

Lowest estimate of rise is 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2 to 5.2 °F); highest
estimate 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F).

Acceptable level of rise is generally considered to be 2.0 °C.

Our response is to continue with a system of fossil fuel dependency
for billions; a system which is expanding round the globe.

A 2012 report in the Guardian states ‘The first phase of Kyoto, the
only international binding treaty on emissions cuts, has failed to
slow global carbon emissions’.

A recent World Meteorological Organisation Report (WMO) gives
current actual trends based on measurements.

The report confirms the upward trend of temperatures.

The recent decades was the warmest ever recorded for
the northern and southern hemispheres.

This is true of both land and sea temperatures.

The rate of temperature rise in the past two decades has been
unprecedented and moreover the rate of sea level rising is

The extreme weather of recent years which has caused countless
deaths is believed, by most meteorologists and climate scientists
to be an indicator of what is to come from climate change.

The fact that climate change is happening and that pollution is a
contributing factor has overwhelming scientific support.

Yet our species is in a state of denial.

There is a lack of political will and denial is encouraged by powerful
economic interests.

Excessive increase in global temperature will result in famine, floods,
water shortages, large population movements, and land and resource

Surely a rational sane world would ensure that this does not happen
due to human pollutants by agreeing and imposing necessary limits
on polluting emissions.

7. Sociopathic and Psychopathic Leaders

The gratuitous wars started and waged by the US and UK
governments result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands
of people.

These governments support and/or turn a blind eye to kidnap,
torture, and terrorizing innocent villagers in Afghanistan and
Pakistan with drone attacks.

Both governments authorize the use of the nuclear agent depleted
uranium which deposits radiating materials injurious for thousands
of years and which condemn the unborn to a lifetime of suffering.

Since the war there has been a huge increase in cancers and
the number of deformed babies born in Iraq.

In Fallujah doctors have advised women not to have babies
because of the terrible risk.

Deeds which would be prosecuted as major crimes if performed
by citizens are routinely enacted by our leaders yet they take no
responsibility for these crimes and exhibit no remorse.

They act without conscience; they are sociopaths and, in some
cases, psychopaths (occupying the extreme end of the sociopathic

Sociopaths and psychopaths are characterized by their lack of
empathy or ability to experience the feelings and emotions of

Guilt and remorse are a foreign land.

They are both irresponsible and have an overblown sense of

Nothing is ever their fault.

All these are characteristic which we can readily recognize among
the power elites of our mad world; in politics, in banking, and in
the world of ‘defense’.

At one time psychopathology was called "Moral Insanity" an apt
term ripe for reinstatement.

As stated above 1 in 25 people are sociopaths and like oil in water,
they pollute the top layer of society; their ruthless drive facilitates
their access to power.

The renowned US writer and journalist William Blum declares, in
an article referring to ‘Washington’s endless bombings and endless
wars’ and Kerry’s hounding of whistleblowers, that we are witnessing
"Unlimited power in the hands of psychopaths" and He adds, "My own
country truly scares me."

Corporations which in some cases seem to be more powerful than
governments are also reported to suffer from the same malaise.

We are told that people like Thom Hartmann have suggested that to
be the head of a fortune 1000 corporation, one must be a sociopath.

A researcher on corporate psychopaths puts the numbers between three and 12 percent of managers.

The book "Snakes in Suits" by the psychologist Robert Hare, is about
psychopaths in the world of corporations.

The psychopathic behavior of our political and corporate leaders is
clear for all to see, but what about ourselves, the citizens.

There are very many more of us than there are of them.

Why do we tolerate their crimes?

Is our passivity not itself a form of madness?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Politics of Cruelty

America’s Descent Into Madness

By Henry A. Giroux
Information Clearing House
Thursday, August 15, 2013

America is descending into madness.

The stories it now tells are filled with cruelty, deceit, lies,
and legitimate all manner of corruption and mayhem.

The mainstream media spins stories that are largely racist,
violent, and irresponsible, stories that celebrate power and
demonize victims, all the while camouflaging its pedagogical
influence under the cheap veneer of entertainment.

Unethical grammars of violence now offer the only currency with
any enduring value for mediating relationships, addressing
problems, and offering instant pleasure.

A predatory culture celebrates a narcissistic hyper-individualism
that radiates a near sociopathic lack of interest in or compassion
and responsibility for others.

Anti-public intellectuals dominate the screen and aural cultures
urging us to shop more, indulge more, and make a virtue out
of the pursuit of personal gain, all the while promoting a
depoliticizing culture of consumerism.

Undermining life-affirming social solidarities and any viable notion of the public good, right-wing politicians trade in forms of idiocy and
superstition that mesmerize the illiterate and render the thoughtful
cynical and disengaged.

Military forces armed with the latest weapons from Afghanistan
play out their hyper-militarized fantasies on the home front by
forming robo SWAT teams who willfully beat youthful protesters
and raid neighborhood poker games.

Congressional lobbyists for the big corporations and defense
contractors create conditions in which war zones abroad can
be recreated at home in order to provide endless consumer
products, such as high tech weapons and surveillance tools
for gated communities and for prisons alike.

The issue of who gets to define the future, own the nation’s
wealth, shape the reach of state resources, control of the
global flows of goods and humans, and invest in institutions
that educate an engaged and socially responsible citizens has
become largely invisible.

And yet these are precisely these issues that offer up new categories
for defining how matters of representations, education, economic
justice, and politics are to be defined and fought over.

The stories told by corporate liars and crooks do serious harm to the
body politic, and the damage they cause together with the idiocy they
reinforce are becoming more apparent as America descends into
authoritarianism, accompanied by the pervasive fear and paranoia
that sustains it.

The American public needs more than a show of outrage or endless

It needs to develop a formative culture for producing a language of
critique, possibility, and broad-based political change.

Such a project is indispensable for developing an organized politics
that speaks to a future that can provide sustainable jobs, decent
health care, quality education, and communities of solidarity and
support for young people.

At stake here is a politics and vision that informs ongoing
educational and political struggles to awaken the inhabitants of
neoliberal societies to their current reality and what it means to
be educated not only to think outside of a savage market driven
commonsense but also to struggle for those values, hopes,
modes of solidarity, power relations, and institutions that infuse
democracy with a spirit of egalitarianism and economic and social

For this reason, any collective struggle that matters has to
embrace education as the center of politics and the source of
an embryonic vision of the good life outside of the imperatives
of predatory capitalism.

As I have argued elsewhere, too many progressives are stuck in the
apocalyptic discourse of foreclosure and disaster and need to develop
what Stuart Hall calls a “sense of politics being educative, of politics
changing the way people see things.”

This is a difficult task, but what we are seeing in cities that stretch
from Chicago to Athens, and other dead zones of capitalism
throughout the world is the beginning of a long struggle for the
institutions, values, and infrastructures that make critical education
and community the core of a robust, radical democracy.

This is a challenge for young people and all those invested in
the promise of a democracy that extends not only the meaning
of politics, but also a commitment to economic justice and
democratic social change.

The stories we tell about ourselves as Americans no longer speak
to the ideals of justice, equality, liberty, and democracy.

There are no towering figures such as Martin Luther King Jr.,
whose stories interweave moral outrage with courage and vision
and inspired us to imagine a society that was never just enough.

Stories that once inflamed our imagination now degrade it,
overwhelming a populace with nonstop advertisements that
reduce our sense of agency to the imperatives of shopping.

But these are not the only narratives that diminish our capacity to
imagine a better world.

We are also inundated with stories of cruelty and fear that undermine
communal bonds and tarnish any viable visions of the future.

Different stories, ones that provided a sense of history, social
responsibility, and respect for the public good, were once circulated
by our parents, churches, synagogues, schools, and community leaders.

Today, the stories that define who we are as individuals and as a
nation are told by right-wing and liberal media that broadcast the
conquests of celebrities, billionaires, and ethically frozen politicians
who preach the mutually related virtues of the free market and a
permanent war economy.

These neoliberal stories are all the more powerful because they
seem to undermine the public’s desire for rigorous accountability,
critical interrogation, and openness as they generate employment
and revenue for by right wing think tanks and policy makers who
rush to fill the content needs of corporate media and educational

Concealing the conditions of their own making, these stories
enshrine both greed and indifference encouraging massive
disparities in wealth and income.

In addition, they also sanctify the workings of the market, forging
a new political theology that inscribes a sense of our collective
destiny to be governed ultimately and exclusively by market forces.

Such ideas surely signal a tribute to Ayn Rand’s dystopian society,
if not also a rebirth of Margaret Thatcher’s nonfiction version
that preached the neoliberal gospel of wealth: there is nothing
beyond individual gain and the values of the corporate order.

The stories that dominate the American landscape embody
what stands for commonsense among market and religious
fundamentalists in both mainstream political parties:

Shock-and-awe austerity measures; tax cuts that serve the rich
and powerful and destroy government programs that help the poor,
elderly, and sick; attacks on women’s reproductive rights; attempts
to suppress voter ID laws and rig electoral college votes; full-fledged
assaults on the environment; the militarization of everyday life;
the destruction of public education, if not critical thought itself; an
ongoing attack on unions, on social provisions, and on the expansion
of Medicaid and meaningful health care reform.

These stories are endless, repeated by the neoliberal and
neoconservative walking dead who roam the planet sucking
the blood and life out of everyone they touch, from the millions
killed in foreign wars, to the millions incarcerated in our nation’s

All of these stories embody what Ernst Bloch has called “the
swindle of fulfillment.”

That is, instead of fostering a democracy rooted in the public
interest, they encourage a political and economic system controlled
by the rich, but carefully packaged in consumerist and militarist

Instead of promoting a society that embraces a robust and inclusive
social contract, they legitimate a social order that shreds social
protections, privileges the wealthy and powerful and inflicts a
maddening and devastating set of injuries upon workers, women,
poor minorities, immigrants, and low and middle-class young people.

Instead of striving for economic and political stability, they inflict on
Americans marginalized by class and race uncertainty and precarity,
a world turned upside-down in which ignorance becomes a virtue
and power and wealth are utilized for ruthlessness and privilege
rather than a resource for the public good.

Every once in a while we catch a brutal glimpse of what America has become in the narratives spun by politicians whose arrogance and
quests for authority exceed their interest to conceal the narrow-
mindedness, power hungry blunders, cruelty, and hardship embedded
in the policies they advocate.

The echoes of a culture of cruelty can be heard in politicians such as
Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, who believes that
even assistance to those unemployed, homeless, and working poor
suffering the most in his home state should be cut in the name of
austerity measures.

We hear it in the words of Mike Reynolds, another politician from
Oklahoma who insists that government has no responsibility to
provide students with access to a college education through a state
program, “that provides post-secondary education scholarship to
qualified low-income students.”

We find evidence of a culture of cruelty in numerous policies that
make clear that those who occupy the bottom rungs of American
society, whether low-income families, poor minorities of color and
class, or young, unemployed, and failed consumers, are considered
disposable, utterly excluded in terms of ethical considerations and
the grammar of human suffering.

In the name of austerity, budget cuts are enacted that fall primarily
on those individuals and groups who are already disenfranchised, and
will thus seriously worsen the lives of those people now suffering the

For instance, Texas has enacted legislation that refuses to expand its
Medicaid program, which provides healthcare for low-income people.

As a result, healthcare coverage will be denied to over
1.5 low-income residents as a result of Governor Perry’s
refusal to be part of the Obama administration’s Medicaid

This is not merely partisan politics; it is an expression of a new form
of cruelty and barbarism now aimed at those considered disposable in
a neo-Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest society.

Not surprisingly, the right wing appeal to job killing and provision
slashing austerity, now functions as an updated form of medieval
torture, gutting myriad of programs that add up to massive human
suffering for the many, and benefits for only a predatory class of
neo-feudal bankers, hedge fund managers, and financiers that feed
off the lives of the disadvantaged.

The general response from progressives and liberals does not take
seriously the ways in which the extreme right-wing articulates its
increasingly pervasive and destructive view of American society.

For instance, the views of new extremists in Congress are often
treated, especially by liberals, as a cruel hoax that is out of touch
with reality or a foolhardy attempt to roll back the Obama agenda.

On the left, such views are often criticized as a domestic version
of the tactics employed by the Taliban, keeping people stupid,
oppressing women, living in a circle of certainty, and turning
all channels of education into a mass propaganda machine of
fundamentalist Americanism.

All of these positions touch on elements of a deeply authoritarian
agenda. But such commentaries do not go far enough.

Tea Party politics is about more than bad policy, policies that favor
the rich over the poor, or for that matter about modes of governance
and ideology that represent a blend of civic and moral turpitude.

The hidden order of neoliberal politics in this instance represents
the poison of neoliberalism and its ongoing attempt to destroy
those very institutions whose purpose is to enrich public memory,
prevent needless human suffering, protect the environment,
distribute social provisions, and safeguard the public good.

Within this rationality, markets are not merely freed from
progressive government regulation, they are removed from
any considerations of social costs.

And where government regulation does exits, it functions primarily
to bail out the rich and shore up collapsing financial institutions and
for what Noam Chomsky has termed America’s only political party,
“the business party.”

The stories that attempt to cover over America’s embrace
of historical and social amnesia at the same time justify
authoritarianism with a soft edge and weakens democracy
through a thousand cuts to the body politic.

How else to explain the Obama administration’s willingness to
assassinate American citizens allegedly allied with terrorists,
secretly monitor the email messages and text messages of its
citizens, use the NDAA to arrest and detain indefinitely American
citizens without charge or trial, subject alleged spies to an
unjust military tribunal system, use drones as part of a global
assassination campaign to arbitrarily kill innocent people, and
then dismiss such acts as collateral damage.

As Jonathan Turley points out, “An authoritarian nation is defined
not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to
use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on
his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary
grant subject to executive will.”

At the heart of neoliberal narratives are ideologies, modes of
governance, and policies that embrace a pathological individualism,
a distorted notion of freedom, and a willingness both to employ
state violence to suppress dissent and abandon those suffering
from a collection of social problems ranging from dire poverty
and joblessness to homelessness.

In the end, these are stories about disposability in which growing
numbers of groups are considered dispensable and a drain on the
body politic, the economy, and the sensibilities of the rich and

Rather than work for a more dignified life, most Americans now work simply to survive in a survival-of-the-fittest society in which getting
ahead and accumulating capital, especially for the ruling elite, is the
only game in town.

In the past, public values have been challenged and certain groups
have been targeted as superfluous or redundant.

But what is new about the politics of disposability that has become a
central feature of contemporary American politics is the way in which
such anti democratic practices have become normalized in the
existing neoliberal order.

A politics of inequality and ruthless power disparities is now matched
by a culture of cruelty soaked in blood, humiliation, and misery.

Private injuries not only are separated from public considerations
such narratives, but narratives of poverty and exclusion have become
objects of scorn.

Similarly, all noncommercial public spheres where such stories might
get heard are viewed with contempt, a perfect supplement to the
chilling indifference to the plight of the disadvantaged and

Any viable struggle against the authoritarian forces that dominate
the United States must make visible the indignity and injustice of
these narratives and the historical, political, economic, and cultural
conditions that produce them.

This suggests a critical analysis of how various educational forces
in American society are distracting and mis-educating the public.

Dominant political and cultural responses to current events, such as
the ongoing economic crisis, income inequality, health care reform,
Hurricane Sandy, the war on terror, the Boston Marathon bombing,
and the crisis of public schools in Chicago, Philadelphia, and other
cities, represent flashpoints that reveal a growing disregard for
people’s democratic rights, public accountability, and civic values.

As politics is disconnected from its ethical and material moorings, it
becomes easier to punish and imprison young people than to educate them.

From the inflated rhetoric of the political right to market-driven
media peddling spectacles of violence, the influence of these
criminogenc and death-saturated forces in everyday life is
undermining our collective security by justifying cutbacks to social
supports and restricting opportunities for democratic resistance.

Saturating mainstream discourses with anti-public narratives,
the neoliberal machinery of social death effectively weakens
public supports and prevents the emergence of much needed,
new ways of thinking and speaking about politics in the twenty-
first century.

But even more than neutralizing collective opposition to the growing
control and wealth of predatory financial elites, which now wield
power across all spheres of U.S. society, responses to social issues
are increasingly dominated by a malignant characterization of
marginalized groups as disposable populations.

All the while zones of abandonment accelerate the technologies
and mechanisms of disposability.

One consequence is the spread of a culture of cruelty in which human
suffering is not only tolerated, but viewed as part of the natural
order of things.

Before this dangerously authoritarian mindset has a chance to take
hold of our collective imagination and animate our social institutions,
it is crucial that all Americans think critically and ethically about the
coercive forces shaping U.S. culture, and focus our energy on what
can be done to change them.

It will not be enough only to expose the falseness of the stories
we are told.

We also need to create alternative narratives about what the
promise of democracy might be for our children and ourselves.

This demands a break from established political parties, the
creation of alternative public spheres in which to produce
democratic narratives and visions, and a notion of politics
that is educative, one that takes seriously how people interpret
and mediate the world, how they see themselves in relation to
others, and what it might mean to imagine otherwise in order
to act otherwise.

Why are millions not protesting in the streets over these barbaric
policies that deprive them of life, liberty, justice, equality, and

What are the pedagogical technologies and practices at work that
create the conditions for people to act against their own sense of
dignity, agency, and collective possibilities?

Progressives and others need to make education central to any
viable sense of politics so as to make matters of remembrance
and consciousness central elements of what it means to be critical
and engaged citizens.

There is also a need for social movements that invoke stories as
a form of public memory, stories that have the potential to move
people to invest in their own sense of individual and collective
agency, stories that make knowledge meaningful in order to make
it critical and transformative.

If democracy is to once again inspire a populist politics, it is crucial
to develop a number of social movements in which the stories told
are never completed, but are always open to self and social
reflection, capable of pushing ever further the boundaries of our
collective imagination and struggles against injustice wherever they
might be.

Only then will the stories that now cripple our imaginations, politics,
and democracy be challenged and hopefully overcome.

Mr. Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair
Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural
Studies Department and he is a Distinguished Visiting Professorship
at Ryerson University.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Moral Imperative of Activism

The Moral Imperative of Activism

By Ray McGovern
Common Dreams
August 13, 2013

That America is in deep moral and legal trouble was pretty much
obvious to everyone before Edward Snowden released official
documents showing the extent to which the U.S. government has
been playing fast and loose with the Fourth Amendment rights of
Americans to be protected against unreasonable searches and

Snowden’s revelations, as explosive as they are, were, in one sense,
merely the latest challenge to those of us who took a solemn oath to
support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all
enemies foreign and domestic.

That has been a commitment tested repeatedly in recent years,
especially since the 9/11 attacks.

After all the many troubling disclosures, from torture, to
”extraordinary renditions” to aggressive war under false pretenses,
to warrantless wiretaps, to lethal drone strikes, to whistleblowers
prosecutions, to the expanded “surveillance state” it might be time
to take a moment for what the Germans call “eine Denkpause,” a
“thinking break.”

And it is high time to heed and honor the Noah Principle:

“No more awards for predicting rain; awards only for building arks.”

This is our summer of discontent. The question we need to ask
ourselves is whether that discontent will move us to action.

Never in my lifetime have there been such serious challenges to
whether the Republic established by the Founders will survive.

Immediately after the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin told
a questioner that the new structure created “a Republic, if you can
keep it.”

He was right, of course; it is up to us.

So let’s face it. The Obama White House and its co-conspirators
in Congress and the Judiciary have thrown the gauntlet down at
our feet.

It turned out that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

As Annie Dillard, one of my favorite theologians, has put it,
“There is only us; there never has been any other.”

And as one of my favorite activists/prophets continued to insist,
“Do not say there are not enough of us. There ARE enough of us!”

Besides threats to basic constitutional rights and gross violations
of international law, there are other pressing issues for Americans,
especially the obscene, growing chasm between the very rich and
the jobless (and often homeless) poor.

There is widespread reluctance, even so, to ask the key questions?

Is it right to fire teachers, police and firefighters; to close libraries;
leave students in permanent debt; gut safety-net programs, all by
feigning lack of money?

Yet, simultaneously, is it moral to squander on the Pentagon and
military contractors half of the country’s discretionary income from
taxes, an outlay equivalent to what the whole rest of the world put
together spends for defense?

It seems we are guided far more by profits than by prophets.

And without prophetic vision, the people perish.

Profit Margin

America’s lucrative war-making industry operates within a
fiendishly, self-perpetuating business model:

U.S. military interventions around the world (including security
arrangements to prop up unpopular allies and thus to thwart
the will of large segments of national populations) guarantee
an inexhaustible supply of “militants, insurgents, terrorists or
simply ‘bad guys’ a list that sometimes comes to include American

These troublemakers must be hunted down and vaporized by
our remote killing machines, which inflict enough destruction
and stir up enough outrage to generate even more “militants,
insurgents, terrorists or simply ‘bad guys.’

And, in turn, the blowback toward the United States, the
occasional terrorist attack creates enough fear at home to
“justify” the introduction of draconian Third Reich-style
“Enabling Act” legislation not very different from the
unconstitutional laws ushering in the abuses in Germany
80 years ago.

With only muted murmur from “progressive” supporters, the
Obama administration has continued much of the post-9/11
assault on constitutional rights begun by George W. Bush,
and in regard to Barack Obama’s aggressive prosecutorial
campaign against “leakers,” Obama has taken these
transgressions even further.

Are we to look on, like the proverbial “obedient Germans,”
as Establishment Washington validates the truth of James
Madison’s warning:

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in
the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

Yet, while countless billions of dollars are spent on “security” against
“terrorism,” little attention is devoted to the truly existential threat
from global warming.

Can we adults in good conscience continue to shun the dire
implications of climate change?

This question was again brought home to me personally on Aug. 6, as
our ninth grandchild pushed her way out into a world with challenges
undreamed of just decades ago.

When she is my age, will she rue joining us last Tuesday?

I can only hope she will forgive me and my generation for not having
the guts to face down those whose unconscionable greed, continues
to rape what seemed to be a rather pure and pleasant planet when I
made my appearance seven short decades ago.

Prophets On The Margin

And, then there is the worship of “free market” idolatry which has
savaged America’s Great Middle Class and expanded the ranks of
the desperate poor.

The late Rabbi Abraham Heschel had challenging words for us:

Decrying the agony of the “plundered poor,” Heschel insisted
that wherever injustice takes place, “few are guilty, but all are

He added that, “Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., warned:

“A time comes when silence is betrayal … We must speak with all
the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must
speak…. There is such a thing as being too late…. Life often leaves
us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity…. Over
the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic
words: ‘Too late.’”

Amid these daunting challenges, endless war, encroachment on
liberties, environmental devastation, and economic disparity,
there is also the question:

Are our churches riding shotgun for the System.

As truly historic events unfold in our country and abroad, I often
think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who founded the
Confessing Church as an alternative to the overwhelming number of
Catholics and Lutherans who gave priority to protecting themselves
by going along with Hitler.

How deeply disappointed Bonhoeffer was at the failure of the
institutional church in Germany to put itself “where the battle

This is the phrase Martin Luther himself used centuries before:

“If, I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every
portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which
the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not
confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where
the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to
be steady on all the battlefield, except there, is mere flight and
disgrace if one flinches at that point.”

No one has put it better than a precious new friend I met on a
“cruise” in June/July 2011 hoping to reach Gaza, author and
poet Alice Walker, who said:

“Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”

As some of you know, that attitude found her a passenger on
“The Audacity of Hope” the U.S. Boat to Gaza.

On July 1, 2011, we made an activist break for the open sea and
Gaza but were able to sail only nine nautical miles out of Athens
before the Greek government, under strong pressure from the
White House, ordered its Coast Guard to intercept us, bring us
back to port, and impound our boat.

Okay to be Angry?

Recalling the anger I felt at the time, I was reminded that, all
too often, people are conflicted about whether or not to allow
themselves to be angry at such injustice, whether it be in Gaza,
on the Aegean, or elsewhere.

I had been in that category of doubt, until I remembered learning
that none other than Thomas Aquinas had something very useful
to say about anger.

In the Thirteenth Century, Aquinas wrote a lot about virtue and
got quite angry when he realized there was no word in Latin for
just the right amount of anger, for the virtue of anger.

He had to go back to what Fourth-Century Doctor of the Church
John Chrysostom said on the subject:

“He or she who is not angry, when there is just cause for anger,


Because as John Chrysostom put it, “Anger respicit bonum justitiae,
anger looks to the good of Justice, and if you can live amid injustice
without anger you are unjust.”

Aquinas added his own corollary; he railed against what he called
“unreasoned patience,” which, he said, “sows the seeds of vice,
nourishes negligence, and persuades not only evil people but good
people to do evil.”

Frankly, I have not thought of us activists being virtuous, but
maybe we are, at least in our willingness to channel our anger
into challenging and changing the many injustices here and around
the world.

There should be no room these days for “unreasoned patience.”

One saving grace peculiar not only to the ancient prophets and
theologians but to the Alice Walkers and Medea Benjamins of
today is that they did not get hung up on the all-too-familiar
drive for success.

That drive, I think, is a distinctly American trait.

We generally do not want to embark on some significant course of
action without there being a reasonable prospect of success, do we?

Who enjoys becoming the object of ridicule?

The felt imperative to be “successful” can be a real impediment
to acting for Justice.

One prophet/activist from whom I have drawn inspiration is Dan

I’d like to share some of the wisdom that seeps through his autobiography, To Dwell in Peace.

Berrigan writes that after he, his brother Phil, and a small group of
others had used homemade napalm to burn draft cards in Catonsville,
Maryland, in May 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, Dan mused
about why he took such a risk:

“I came upon a precious insight. … Something like this: presupposing
integrity and discipline, one is justified in entering upon a large risk;
not indeed because the outcome is assured, but because the integrity
and value of the act have spoken aloud. …

“Success or efficiency are placed where they belong: in the

They are not irrelevant, but they are far from central. I was in need
of such reflections as we faced the public after our crime. … All sides
agreed, we were fools or renegades or plain crazy. …

“One had very little to go on; and one went ahead nonetheless. …
The act was let go, its truth and goodness were entrusted to the
four winds. Indeed, good consequences were of small matter to
me, compared with the integrity of the action, the need responded
to, the spirits lifted.”

The more recent prophets and activists I have known have generally
been able to do this, to release the truth of the act to the four winds.

And I am sure that helps them avoid taking themselves too seriously.

Anticipate The Jut-Jaw

Here’s how Dan Berrigan recounts the immediate aftermath of the
action at Catonsville:

“We sat in custody in the back room of the Catonsville Post Office,
weak with relief. … Three or four FBI honchos entered portentously.
Their leader, a jut-jawed paradigm, surveyed us from the doorway.
His eagle-eye lit on Philip. He roared out: ‘Him again! Good God,
I’m changing my religion!’

“I could think of no greater tribute to my brother.”

The Berrigans help affirm for me that this God of ours
is a God of laughter, and we are the entertainment.

And that’s just one reason a light touch seems to be required.
Will we be successful? Wrong question.

The right one is will we be faithful? Will we dare to go with the
Berrigans to where the battle rages.

I am very much looking forward to being able to refresh my spirit,
and also my sense of humor, with some later-day prophets at
the upcoming Conference on the Moral Imperative of Activism,
Aug. 16-17, at the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda,
New York.

Let me close with a poem written by the German writer
Peter Gan, in 1935 during the Third Reich.

I think it summons us in a thoughtful way to contemplate
who we are and what we are called to do, today.

But first the most important thing:

“What are you doing in these great times?

“Great, I say, for times seem great to me, when each man
driven half to death by the era’s hate, and standing in the
place he’s given,

“Must willy-nilly contemplate no less a thing than his own BEING!
A little breath, a second’s wait May well suffice, you catch my meaning?”

Ray McGovern was an Army officer and a CIA analyst for 30 years,
and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Mass Awakening

Flood of Information Will Cause Mass Awakening When Media
Control Ends

By Golden Age of Gaia
Sunday, August 11, 2013

Control of the mainstream media appears to persist.

When control of the media is overcome, we can expect a flood
of information that will result in a great mass awakening.

Jesus through John Smallman tells us that the media remains
under the control of those whose interests lie in dominating

“[The] media is owned and controlled by those who would control
you, and it is obviously not in their interests to inform you of what
is truly occurring."

Nevertheless, they no longer have a stranglehold on the
dissemination of information, and the truth is coming out
despite their best efforts to contain it.” (1)

SaLuSa tells us that “the media is aware of what is happening but
hold back for fear of the consequences.

That will change in short time, as we must have an informed public
before we can consider open contact.” (2)

The Pleiadian High Council through Wes Annac tell us that the
reasons for media suppression of the news are often invented
out of thin air.

“All those who know of revolutionary things are not allowed to
talk, for reasons made out of thin air when the real reasons
behind the suppression of so very many things are for control
and for a sustained feeding of the elite class and of a presumed
‘betterness’ on the part of your dark than the rest of humanity.” (3)

Matthew Ward sees the decline of media censorship as a good
indicator of the light’s progress:

“Because the dissemination of accurate information is crucial,
another good indicator of the light’s progress is that mainstream
media censorship clearly is on the decline.” (4)

Action is occurring but it isn’t being reported on, SaLuSa tells us.

“Action is taking place but as you have realized it still does not hit
the main Press outlets."

The news will become so important that a point will come when it
can no longer be hidden or ignored.

Governments like to be in control and have always tried to cover up
news about demonstrations or rebellions amongst the people.

However, once the media gets hold of the real truth behind what is
happening, they will take the side of the people.” (5)

The impact of the truth getting out via the alternative press is that
more and more people will wake up, Jesus says.

“As more and more information about how you have been lied
to and betrayed by those who have claimed to be working on
your behalf becomes generally known, so more of you will feel
that nudge to awaken, to change the insane reality in which
you apparently have to live your lives, and to join collectively
together to change the nightmare of your illusory reality into
a pleasant and harmonious dream from which awakening will
be easy, enticing, and entrancing.” (6)

Wanderer of the Skies says the truth revelation will cause the
greatest “Mass Awakening” to date.

“Prepare for great movements of information all over your globe
that will focus those who are not in tune with what you have been
accomplishing all this while."

This will be the next, and greatest to date, mass awakening of
individuals who have been asleep through the process thus far.

This information will come from many sources, including your media,
which has even now begun to unravel the Illuminati control about it.

“Truth is rolling over those that resist, and those who have always
wanted this information to ‘get out’ now see no impediment to their
actions to make it so."

This trickle will now become the floodgates of information that are
a precursor to disclosure.” (7)

SaLuSa describes the work of the Earth allies in getting information

“There are a number of trusted allies that are in the forefront of
releasing information that makes clear what our intentions are."

"In short time we will also play our part in bringing out the facts
directly to the public. … Many atrocities have taken place that
you are unaware of, but the truth cannot be concealed.” (8)

He predicts a sudden wealth of information soon.

“Each project is underway and that will result in a sudden wealth
of information reaching you."

Events are such that the facts can no longer be kept hidden, and
with that there will be an explosion of people coming forward to
tell what they know.

It may take longer where the Vatican is concerned, as it is akin
to a secret society that has kept its dark secrets hidden well

However, nothing will remain concealed for too long, as you are
entitled to know the truth and the extent to which you have been
deceived.” (9)

He describes how eventually the star nations will provide
news directly but for now they rely on the Internet, despite
the presence of some deliberate disinformation.

“Eventually we will provide our own services to ensure our
actions are not misrepresented, but meantime we welcome
and thank those of the Light who are in the forefront of
revelations through the Internet."

“Sometimes the reports are somewhat speculative, which
means that you must still be discerning in how you interpret

By and large they will be reliable, but you must still watch out
for deliberate disinformation.” (10)

At that time it will be shown that the galactics are here at the
request of the councils that look after this planet’s development,
he says.

“You near the time when our actions and that of our allies will
be reported in the media.

With it will come explanations for what takes place, and it will
be made clear that our intervention has been authorized by the
High Councils that look after your evolution.

“Normally you would be left to determine your future, and that
is still true where your Ascension is concerned.

However, we talk of the greater picture, and our responsibility to
carry out the Divine Decree that you shall all have the opportunity
to ascend.” (11)

So we can expect the opening of the floodgates of information
as the media yields its censorship of the news.

When it happens, whistleblowers will come forward and the
galactics will provide their own services to get the news out.

The flood of information will cause the greatest mass awakening
to date as we move forward towards the date of Ascension.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An Open Letter to General Buchanan

Bradley Manning’s Judge

By Peter Hollings
Information Clearing House
Wednesday, August 7, 2013

General Buchanan,

You have it within your power to set the sentence for Bradley

I am a former military officer having served two tours of duty
in Vietnam.

I recall my oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

It is not an oath to support any particular group of people, or a gang
of criminals exercising authority outside Constitutional boundaries.

What kind of country would we live in if political and military leaders
could do what they wished while suppressing public information and
without legal restraint?

Bradley Manning has, in my opinion, bravely risked his life
and freedom as a matter of conscience to help Americans
restore the rule of law in their society.

He has revealed crimes committed by our government that we,
the people, did not, and would not have authorized.

This is a matter that cries out for justice.

If we continue to pass legislation favoring certain financial elites
and punishing those who reveal the crimes of state in service of
those same elites we will have an unfair and unstable society.

The same is true in the application of what is called justice.

You have an opportunity to obey your oath of office and duty
to the Constitution to free Bradley Manning.

That might come at some professional cost in the short term,
but, believe me, the American people would remember and
forever respect your act of courage.

I believe that it should never be a crime to disclose a crime
committed by a public official and every public official should
be accountable for crimes committed in office.

The American people have not agreed to hire criminals to
conduct their affairs of state and would not do so if posed
with such a choice.

Please choose the right thing. We will remember this.

I will personally lobby our government to strip all who committed
or condoned crimes while in office of all government benefits,
including retirement.

We (the American people) will not reward people for committing

Peter Hollings

Please note that General Buchanan can be contacted at:

If any reader of this message feels moved to also contact him,
this e-address is the venue to use.

Peter Hollings is a former military officer.