ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dollar to the Giant

Dollar to the Giant

By Robert Hall
November 30, 2013

Echoing rust. Factory line.
Dead-child memory of another time.

The sign said this spot was USA–
Too young to know it didn’t have to be this way.

Sweat-stain genius, practical hands,
built factories, built the goods, built the land.

First steps forgotten. History blind,
We’re connected to our roots by a credit line.

Wakening giant. Hunger and rice.
Caught the scent of our money, knew we wouldn’t fight.

Slippery giant. History wise.
Put down his guns, put on a friendly disguise.

We closed our eyes

And the Giant from the East woke up from a sleep,
hunger for the heads of our young.
No suspicion of war, through the open door,
manifest of Mao Tse-Tung.

Ulterior plans in the giant’s hands,
steel cages hit our shores in a flood.
And all we received for a moment of greed,
was paid for with our children’s blood.

We gave up our future, families and friends.
Dollar to the giant, dollar never seen again.

Agreeable climate: pickpockets and noise.
The bankers jumped to the giant like little boys.

Economy experts selling their time,
But nothing made nothing.
Can you spare a dime.

Productivity’s children sleeping in chains.
Giant kept our credit up, kept us entertained.

Fear-fallen children couldn’t say no,
Wouldn’t read label made in Chinese.
Where did the money go?

Detoured discussion about manufacturing trade.
Instead we’re led to every trap the giant made.

The future decided at the giant’s store–
Took every dollar we had and loaned us money for more.

Who are we doing this for?

The Giant from the East, a billion-head beast,
feeding on the hopes of our young.
No resemblance of war,through the open door,
mannequins of Mao Tse-Tung.

Invisible plans in the giant’s hands,
temptation hit our stores in a flood.
And all we received for bargains we believed,
was paid for with our children’s blood.

We traded in our future, families and friends.
Dollar to the giant, dollar never seen again.

Reckoning rust. Factory line.
Lost-dream memory of a better time.

All the signs say this choice was Made in USA–
Too numb to know it didn’t have to be this way.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Waitress

The Waitress

By Atmosphere
November 29, 2013

A city full of people and my favorite is that waitress
And she treats me like some type of common vagrant

I see her everyday, but there's nothing to say
Unless I decide to step inside of that cafe

I only get to sit if I buy something to eat
Otherwise it's best to keep my feet moving down that street

And damn she's a hard bitch
Talks at me like I'm the bad dog that got into the garbage

Yeah I know that the toilet is for customers
You ain't got to tangle up the strings to make this puppet work

It doesn't have to be a game of patty cake
But it ain't like you don't know I sleep in that alleyway

And by the way, I can see it in your eyes
You're angry with your life, not a stranger to the fight

I bet you hate every man that you date
And you're probably addicted to all types of escape

You take it out on me that you're all alone
When you know you got your own closet full of hollow bones

Watch the tone when you speak to old folks
I'm grown, just trying to get out of this Minnesota cold

Look lady, I'm homeless, I'm crazy
I'm so hopeless, I'm suicidal daily

If you and I can't coexist, let's fake it
'Cause I ain't got the energy it takes for this relationship

I'm waiting for a city bus to flatten me
And transport me to the ever after happily

Maybe reincarnated with luck
Come back to Earth as a cockroach in your tip cup

She said she's had it up to here
She's gonna call authorities if I don't disappear

I love her threats, it rejuvenates my breath
I give her stress for the reaction that it gets

I got a pocket full of panhandled money
On a cup of bad coffee and a stale honey bun

In front of everyone she calls me bum
But she notices my absence on them afternoons I don't come

So here I am, thorn in her hip
Holding down the corner table all morning with some corn chips

Ignoring the insults and evil eyes
I feed off of 'em, I wonder when she'll realize

That she's the only reason I visit
The only woman in my world that acknowledges my existence

And if my ship ever comes, I'll miss it
Because I'm getting old and I ain't got much left to give it

So there it is and I have to live with it
I had the chance to make a difference, but I didn't

In the cafe bathroom drinking free tap water
Thinking, damn, I should have been a better father to my daughter

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We Gather Together to Ask ...

We Gather Together to Ask ...

By Rosemary and Walter Brasch
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Segued into a 10-second afterthought, smothered by 60-second
Christmas commercials, is the media acknowledgement of
Thanksgiving, which nudges us into a realization of all we are
thankful for.

But the usual litany, even with the omnipresent pictures of the
less fortunate being fed by the more fortunate, doesn’t list well
this year.

Our thanks seem to be at best half-hearted or at least insensitive
and shallow.

All of us might be thankful for peace if America still hadn’t been
involved in two recent wars.

The Iraq war lasted almost nine years; the other, in Afghanistan,
has lasted more than 12 years and is the nation’s longest war.

And now it appears that we will be in Afghanistan for several
more years.

When we first went there in 2001, it was to capture Osama
bin Laden. We can be thankful that has been done.

But why are we still there? And why should Americans still be
getting wounded and killed?

There were 4,486 killed and 32,000 wounded in Iraq, an unnecessary
war that was launched with bravado and no long-range plans.

In Afghanistan, there have been 2,292 killed, almost 18,000

American children who are 12 years old years and under have
never been able to be thankful for peace!

We used to say some Irish children never knew peace, now it’s us.

We know there are thousands of veterans who have committed
suicide or are trying to overcome the aftermath of traumatic
head injuries, loss of limbs, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The care has been so abysmal that combat veterans, who were
given excellent care by combat medics in the field, are dying in
VA hospitals while waiting for simple surgeries or treatment for
more serious health issues.

We remember to say thanks for their service, and attempt to salve
our collective conscience with charitable funds, flowery words, and
flying flags.

But it must be hard for those who served to be truly thankful to a
nation that holds parades on Main Street without acknowledging
that many of those honored sleep on that same street every night,
with no affordable decent housing available to them.

And they hope for something warmer than an American flag to
wrap themselves in.

More than one-fourth of all adults who are homeless are veterans.

Is our one line of thanks really enough?

In addition to our country’s homeless vets, whole families are
also homeless, many direct victims of corrupt banks and semi-
corrupt politicians, who never thought twice before foreclosing
on the homes those families cherished, leaving them on the
street, while not one executive had to give up his or her opulent
office for a prison cell, despite the crimes they committed
against the people.

For those foreclosed upon who managed to find a new way of life,
to find shelter, to find work, their reward is a worthless credit
rating despite having excellent credit before companies downsized
and outsourced to “maximize their profits” and banks foreclosed
upon them.

Unlike major financial institutions and corporations that
squandered funds and went into bankruptcy and then were
bailed out by the Congress, families can’t even get small
loans to pay security deposits on their downsized apartments.

Many families are living in one room in cheap motels, so many
that schools have redirected bus routes for stops for the many
school children living like this.

Those families would surely be thankful for a secure home.

Who should we direct all our thanks to?

Many of the executives who sit on bank boards are heads
of companies, the same companies that have chosen not
to recycle their profits by expansion.

That, of course, would provide new jobs, something so
many Americans would be truly thankful for.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs are grateful as
we gather around our holiday tables and give thanks for the bounty
before us.

Unless, of course, we’re the working poor.

For them, the horn of plenty may be empty this close to the end
of the month, and every month.

Many, including those working minimum wage jobs, have to rely
upon food stamps to help provide food; Congress, willing to spend
fortunes on junkets, now plans to cut foodstamps.

There are those who earn upper-class incomes who decry the
“welfare” recipients who they believe are predators of tax funds.

There are some who are welfare cheats, but most just want a job
and enough income to feed and clothe their families and have some
left over for other basic necessities.

If the politicians would hire more caseworkers, there would be
better care for the nation’s underclass, and far fewer people
scamming the system because there would be better oversight.

Many charitable organizations struggle mightily to get enough
funds to feed more and more of our nation’s hungry as more
and more workers are forced to accept part-time jobs at
minimum wage.

Full-time jobs could provide benefits, but Congress and our
state legislatures, always willing to raise their own salaries,
won’t raise the minimum wage to at least a few cents above
poverty levels.

The reason? The working poor have no lobbyists.

And yet both houses of Congress have dozens of committees,
including ethics committees, that seem to be more of a way to
showboat their politics than to meet the needs of the country.

Maybe we need one more committee, this one made up of people
who aren’t millionaires and aren’t able to parlay lobbyist money
into November victories.

This committee, made up of the working poor, will advise all
of us of what the problems are, and what the solutions can be.

If on this Thanksgiving Day our thanks seem hollow, perhaps it’s
the hollow victory of our veterans surviving combat only to be
subjected to problems at home, or the hollow sound of an empty
house that has been foreclosed upon, or the hollow growling of
a worker’s empty stomach, or maybe the hollow pain of those who
should seek medical assistance but can’t because there are some
among us who want to destroy federal law, which allows those who
are less fortunate to have adequate medical attention.

Most Americans want to help others; there are some politicians
who mouth the words but say nothing.

May we all remember that when the basic needs are filled for
all Americans, only then can we be truly thankful for the day.

Rosemary Brasch is a former Red Cross national disaster family
services specialist, secretary, union grievance officer, and labor
studies instructor. Walter Brasch’s latest book is the second edition
of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Problem is Civil Obedience

The Problem is Civil Obedience

1970 from the Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press

By Howard Zinn
Information Clearing House
Monday, November 25, 2013

I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that
things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the
wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power
and the wrong people are out of power, that the wealth is
distributed in this country and the world in such a way as not
simply to require small reform but to require a drastic reallocation
of wealth.

I start from the supposition that we don't have to say too much
about this because all we have to do is think about the state of
the world today and realize that things are all upside down.

Daniel Berrigan is in jail-A Catholic priest, a poet who opposes
the war, and J. Edgar Hoover is free, you see.

David Dellinger, who has opposed war ever since he was this high
and who has used all of his energy and passion against it, is in
danger of going to jail.

The men who are responsible for the My Lai massacre are not on
trial; they are in Washington serving various functions, primary
and subordinate, that have to do with the unleashing of massacres,
which surprise them when they occur.

At Kent State University four students were killed by the National
Guard and students were indicted.

In every city in this country, when demonstrations take place, the
protesters, whether they have demonstrated or not, whatever they
have done, are assaulted and clubbed by police, and then they are
arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Now, I have been studying very closely what happens
every day in the courts in Boston, Massachusetts.

You would be astounded, maybe you wouldn't, maybe you have
been around, maybe you have lived, maybe you have thought,
maybe you have been hit at how the daily rounds of injustice
make their way through this marvelous thing that we call due

Well, that is my premise.

All you have to do is read the Soledad letters of George Jackson,
who was sentenced to one year to life, of which he spent ten
years, for a seventy-dollar robbery of a filling station.

And then there is the U.S. Senator who is alleged to keep
185,000 dollars a year, or something like that, on the oil
depletion allowance.

One is theft; the other is legislation.

Something is wrong, something is terribly wrong when we ship
10,000 bombs full of nerve gas across the country, and drop
them in somebody else's swimming pool so as not to trouble
our own.

So you lose your perspective after a while.

If you don't think, if you just listen to TV and read scholarly things,
you actually begin to think that things are not so bad, or that just
little things are wrong.

But you have to get a little detached, and then come back and
look at the world, and you are horrified.

So we have to start from that supposition that things are really

And our topic is topsy-turvy: civil disobedience.

As soon as you say the topic is civil disobedience, you are saying
our problem is civil disobedience.

That is not our problem.... Our problem is civil obedience.

Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who
have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and
have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this

And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front
where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war.

Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the
face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty.

Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of
petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country.

That's our problem.

We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem
there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler.

People obeyed; that was wrong.

They should have challenged, and they should have resisted;
and if we were only there, we would have showed them.

Even in Stalin's Russia we can understand that; people are obedient,
all these herdlike people.

But America is different. That is what we've all been brought up on.

From the time we are this high and I still hear it resounding in
Mr. Frankel's statement you tick off, one, two, three, four, five
lovely things about America that we don't want disturbed very much.

But if we have learned anything in the past ten years, it is
that these lovely things about America were never lovely.

We have been expansionist and aggressive and mean to other
people from the beginning.

And we've been aggressive and mean to people in this country,
and we've allocated the wealth of this country in a very unjust

We've never had justice in the courts for the poor people,
for black people, for radicals.

Now how can we boast that America is a very special place?

It is not that special. It really isn't.

Well, that is our topic, that is our problem: civil obedience.

Law is very important.

We are talking about obedience to law-law, this marvelous
invention of modern times, which we attribute to Western
civilization, and which we talk about proudly.

The rule of law, oh, how wonderful, all these courses in
Western civilization all over the land.

Remember those bad old days when people were exploited by

Everything was terrible in the Middle Ages, but now we have
Western civilization, the rule of law.

The rule of law has regularized and maximized the injustice that
existed before the rule of law, that is what the rule of law has done.

Let us start looking at the rule of law realistically, not with that
metaphysical complacency with which we always examined it before.

When in all the nations of the world the rule of law is the darling
of the leaders and the plague of the people, we ought to begin to
recognize this.

We have to transcend these national boundaries in our thinking.

Nixon and Brezhnev have much more in common with one another,
than we have with Nixon.

J. Edgar Hoover has far more in common with the head of the
Soviet secret police than he has with us.

It's the international dedication to law and order that binds the
leaders of all countries in a comradely bond.

That's why we are always surprised when they get together, they
smile, they shake hands, they smoke cigars, they really like one
another no matter what they say.

It's like the Republican and Democratic parties, who claim that
it's going to make a terrible difference if one or the other wins,
yet they are all the same.

Basically, it is us against them.

Yossarian was right, remember, in Catch-22?

He had been accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, which
nobody should ever be accused of, and Yossarian said to his friend

"The enemy is whoever is going to get you killed,
whichever side they are on."

But that didn't sink in, so he said to Clevinger:

"Now you remember that, or one of these days you'll be dead."

And remember? Clevinger, after a while, was dead.

And we must remember that our enemies are not divided
along national lines, that enemies are not just people who
speak different languages and occupy different territories.

Enemies are people who want to get us killed.

We are asked, "What if everyone disobeyed the law?"

But a better question is, "What if everyone obeyed the law?"

And the answer to that question is much easier to come by,
because we have a lot of empirical evidence about what happens
if everyone obeys the law, or if even most people obey the law.

What happens is what has happened, what is happening.

Why do people revere the law? And we all do; even I have to
fight it, for it was put into my bones at an early age when I
was a Cub Scout.

One reason we revere the law is its ambivalence.

In the modern world we deal with phrases and words
that have multiple meanings, like "national security."

Oh, yes, we must do this for national security!

Well, what does that mean?

Whose national security? Where? When? Why?

We don't bother to answer those questions, or even to ask them.

The law conceals many things.

The law is the Bill of Rights.

In fact, that is what we think of when we develop our reverence
for the law.

The law is something that protects us; the law is our right,
the law is the Constitution.

Bill of Rights Day, essay contests sponsored by the American
Legion on our Bill of Rights, that is the law. And that is good.

But there is another part of the law that doesn't get ballyhooed,
the legislation that has gone through month after month, year
after year, from the beginning of the Republic, which allocates
the resources of the country in such a way as to leave some
people very rich and other people very poor, and still others
scrambling like mad for what little is left.

That is the law.

If you go to law school you will see this.

You can quantify it by counting the big, heavy law books that
people carry around with them and see how many law books
you count that say, "Constitutional Rights" on them and how
many that say "Property," "Contracts," "Torts," "Corporation

That is what the law is mostly about.

The law is the oil depletion allowance, although we don't have
Oil Depletion Allowance Day, we don't have essays written on
behalf of the oil depletion allowance.

So there are parts of the law that are publicized and played up
to us oh, this is the law, the Bill of Rights.

And there are other parts of the law that just do their quiet work,
and nobody says anything about them.

It started way back.

When the Bill of Rights was first passed, remember, in the first
administration of Washington? Great thing.

Bill of Rights passed! Big ballyhoo.

At the same time Hamilton's economic program was passed.

Nice, quiet, money to the rich, I'm simplifying it a little, but
not too much. Hamilton's economic program started it off.

You can draw a straight line from Hamilton's economic program to
the oil depletion allowance to the tax write offs for corporations.

All the way through that is the history.

The Bill of Rights publicized; economic legislation unpublicized.

You know the enforcement of different parts of the law is as
important as the publicity attached to the different parts of
the law.

The Bill of Rights, is it enforced? Not very well.

You'll find that freedom of speech in constitutional law is a
very difficult, ambiguous, troubled concept.

Nobody really knows when you can get up and speak and when
you can't.

Just check all of the Supreme Court decisions.

Talk about predictability in a system you can't predict what will
happen to you when you get up on the street corner and speak.

See if you can tell the difference between the Terminiello case
and the Feiner case, and see if you can figure out what is going
to happen.

By the way, there is one part of the law that is not very vague,
and that involves the right to distribute leaflets on the street.

The Supreme Court has been very clear on that.

In decision after decision we are affirmed an absolute right to
distribute leaflets on the street.

Try it. Just go out on the street and start distributing leaflets.

And a policeman comes up to you and he says, "Get out of here"
And you say, "Aha! Do you know Marsh v. Alabama, 1946?"

That is the reality of the Bill of Rights.

That's the reality of the Constitution, that part of the law which
is portrayed to us as a beautiful and marvelous thing.

And seven years after the Bill of Rights was passed, which said that
"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,"
Congress made a law abridging the freedom of speech. Remember?

The Sedition Act of 1798.

So the Bill of Rights was not enforced.

Hamilton's program was enforced, because when the whiskey
farmers went out and rebelled you remember, in 1794 in
Pennsylvania, Hamilton himself got on his horse and went
out there to suppress the rebellion to make sure that the
revenue tax was enforced.

And you can trace the story right down to the present day,
what laws are enforced, what laws are not enforced.

So you have to be careful when you say, "I'm for the law,
I revere the law."

What part of the law are you talking about?

I'm not against all law. But I think we ought to begin to make
very important distinctions about what laws do what things to
what people.

And there are other problems with the law.

It's a strange thing, we think that law brings order.

Law doesn't.

How do we know that law does not bring order?

Look around us. We live under the rules of law.

Notice how much order we have?

People say we have to worry about civil disobedience
because it will lead to anarchy.

Take a look at the present world in which the rule of law obtains.

This is the closest to what is called anarchy in the popular mind
confusion, chaos, international banditry.

The only order that is really worth anything does not come
through the enforcement ... of law, it comes through the
establishment of a society which is just and in which
harmonious relationships are established and in which you
need a minimum of regulation to create decent sets of
arrangements among people.

But the order based on law and on the force of law is the order
of the totalitarian state, and it inevitably leads either to total
injustice or to rebel lion eventually, in other words, to very great

We all grow up with the notion that the law is holy.

They asked Daniel Berrigan's mother what she thought of her
son's breaking the law.

He burned draft records, one of the most violent acts of this
century, to protest the war, for which he was sentenced to
prison, as criminals should be.

They asked his mother who is in her eighties, what she thought
of her son's breaking the law.

And she looked straight into the interviewer's face, and she said,
"It's not God's law."

Now we forget that. There is nothing sacred about the law.

Think of who makes laws.

The law is not made by God, it is made by Strom Thurmond.

If you nave any notion about the sanctity and loveliness
and reverence for the law, look at the legislators around
the country who make the laws.

Sit in on the sessions of the state legislatures.

Sit in on Congress, for these are the people who make
the laws which we are then supposed to revere.

All of this is done with such propriety as to fool us.

This is the problem.

In the old days, things were confused; you didn't know.

Now you know. It is all down there in the books.

Now we go through due process.

Now the same things happen as happened before, except
that we've gone through the right procedures.

In Boston a policeman walked into a hospital ward and fired
five times at a black man who had snapped a towel at his
arm and killed him.

A hearing was held.

The judge decided that the policeman was justified because if
he didn't do it, he would lose the respect of his fellow officers.

Well, that is what is known as due process, that is, the guy
didn't get away with it.

We went through the proper procedures, and everything was
set up.

The decorum, the propriety of the law fools us.

The nation then, was founded on disrespect for the law, and
then came the Constitution and the notion of stability which
Madison and Hamilton liked.

But then we found in certain crucial times in our history
that the legal framework did not suffice, and in order to
end slavery we had to go outside the legal framework, as
we had to do at the time of the American Revolution or
the Civil War.

The union had to go outside the legal framework in order
to establish certain rights in the 1930s.

And in this time, which may be more critical than the Revolution
or the Civil War, the problems are so horrendous as to require us
to go outside the legal framework in order to make a statement,
to resist, to begin to establish the kind of institutions and
relationships which a decent society should have.

No, not just tearing things down; building things up.

But even if you build things up that you are not supposed
to build up, you try to build up a people's park, that's not
tearing down a system; you are building something up, but
you are doing it illegally, the militia comes in and drives
you out.

That is the form that civil disobedience is going to take more and
more, people trying to build a new society in the midst of the old.

But what about voting and elections?

Civil disobedience we don't need that much of it, we are told,
because we can go through the electoral system.

And by now we should have learned, but maybe we haven't, for we
grew up with the notion that the voting booth is a sacred place,
almost like a confessional.

You walk into the voting booth and you come out and they snap
your picture and then put it in the papers with a beatific smile on
your face.

You've just voted; that is democracy.

But if you even read what the political scientists say, although who
can, about the voting process, you find that the voting process is a sham.

Totalitarian states love voting.

You get people to the polls and they register their approval.

I know there is a difference, they have one party and we have
two parties.

We have one more party than they have, you see.

What we are trying to do, I assume, is really to get back to the
principles and aims and spirit of the Declaration of Independence.

This spirit is resistance to illegitimate authority and to forces that
deprive people of their life and liberty and right to pursue
happiness, and therefore under these conditions, it urges the right
to alter or abolish their current form of government and the stress
had been on abolish.

But to establish the principles of the Declaration of Independence,
we are going to need to go outside the law, to stop obeying the
laws that demand killing or that allocate wealth the way it has
been done, or that put people in jail for petty technical offenses
and keep other people out of jail for enormous crimes.

My hope is that this kind of spirit will take place not just in this
country but in other countries because they all need it.

People in all countries need the spirit of disobedience to the state,
which is not a metaphysical thing but a thing of force and wealth.

And we need a kind of declaration of interdependence among
people in all countries of the world who are striving for the same

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Kennedy Assassination 50 Years Later

The Kennedy Assassination 50 Years Later

By Paul Craig Roberts
November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013, is the 50th anniversary of the assassination
of President John F. Kennedy.

The true story of JFK’s murder has never been officially admitted,
although the conclusion that JFK was murdered by a plot involving
the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been
well established by years of research, such as that provided by
James W. Douglass in his book, JFK And The Unspeakable.

Ignore Douglass’ interest in the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and
Merton’s prediction and focus on the heavily documented research
that Douglass provides.

Or just turn to the contemporary films, taken by tourists watching
JFK’s motorcade that are available on YouTube, which show clearly
the Secret Service pulled from President Kennedy’s limo just prior
to his assassination, and the Zapruder film that shows the killing
shot to have come from President Kennedy’s right front, blowing off
the back of his head, not from the rear as postulated in the Warren
Commission Report, which would have pushed his head forward, not

I am not going to write about the assassination to the extent that
the massive information permits.

Those who want to know already know.

Those who cannot face the music will never be able to confront the
facts regardless of what I or anyone else writes or reveals.

To briefly review, the facts are conclusive that JFK was on terrible
terms with the CIA and the Joint Chiefs.

He had refused to support the CIA organized Bay of Pigs invasion
of Cuba.

He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ Operation Northwoods, a plan to
commit real and faked acts of violence against Americans, blame
Castro and use the false flag events to bring regime change to Cuba.

He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ case that the Soviet Union should
be attacked while the US held the advantage and before the Soviets
could develop delivery systems for nuclear weapons.

He had indicated that after his reelection he was going to pull US
troops out of Vietnam and that he was going to break the CIA into
a thousand pieces.

He had aroused suspicion by working behind the scenes with
Khrushchev to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, leading to
claims that he was “soft on communism.”

The CIA and Joint Chiefs’ belief that JFK was an unreliable ally
in the war against communism spread into the Secret Service.

It has been established that the original autopsy of JFK’s fatal
head wound was discarded and a faked one substituted in order
to support the official story that Oswald shot JFK from behind.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and President Johnson knew that
Oswald was the CIA’s patsy, but they also understood, as did
members of the Warren Commission, that to let the true story
out would cause Americans to lose confidence in their own
government at the height of the Cold War.

Robert Kennedy knew what had happened.

He was on his way to being elected president and to holding the
plotters accountable for the murder of his brother when the CIA
assassinated him.

A distinguished journalist, who was standing behind Robert Kennedy
at the time of his assassination, told me that the killing shots came
from behind past his ear.

He submitted his report to the FBI and was never contacted.

Acoustic experts have conclusively demonstrated that more shots
were fired than can be accounted for by Sirhan Sirhan’s pistol and
that the sounds indicate two different calibers of firearms.

I never cease to be amazed by the gullibility of Americans, who
know nothing about either event, but who confidently dismiss the
factual evidence provided by experts and historians on the basis
of their naive belief that “the government wouldn’t lie about such
important events” or “someone would have talked.”

What good would it do if someone talked when the gullible won’t
believe hard evidence?

Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist, author, columnist,
former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and former editor and
columnist for corporate media publications.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Hero and The Villains

The Jeremy Hammond Sentence

By Alfred Lopez
Counter Punch
November 20, 2013

This past Friday, Internet activist Jeremy Hammond stood in
a federal courtroom and told Judge Loretta A. Preska why he
released a trove of emails and other information uncovering
the possibly illegal and certainly immoral collaboration of
a major surveillance corporation called Stratfor with our

He also stressed what followers of his case already knew: that
his activities were encouraged, organized and facilitated by an
FBI informant turned operative.

In short, his partner in these “violations of United States law”
was the government of the United States.

He acknowledged that the Judge could sentence him to 10 years
in jail but he never apologized for his actions or questioned their
validity as political activism.

And, in a statement remarkable for his courage and political
principle (after 20 months in jail on this case), he established
himself as one of the heroes of the struggle over for freedom
and justice.

In a world in which people often seek to defend themselves in
court by questioning whether they did what they are accused
of, Hammond defended himself by saying that he did what they
said he did and more, and that he was right to do it.

“The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being
sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community
and equality that have guided my life,” he told the court.

“I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government
institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was
against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal
prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose
and confront injustice–and to bring the truth to light.”

Expecting justice from Judge Preska was probably a stretch.

She had previously refused to recuse herself from the trial after it
was learned that her husband was one of the targets of Hammond’s
Stratfor hacks.

But when she hit him with the maximum jail sentence, a decade,
and then churlishly hit him with three extra years of probation
upon release during which he can’t use encryption on the Internet,
which essential forbids him from living a modern life, she put
the exclamation point on the statement this case makes about our

While conducting surveillance on all its citizens (and using drones
and agents and wars to trample on the human rights of people
world-wide), it also uses elaborate stings and agent strategies to
lure Internet activists into gathering information it wants but
can’t legally obtain and then puts them in jail to shut them up.

It is, without question, a chilling story.

At the age of 29, Hammond is already a seasoned, experienced
and “struggle-weathered” political activist.

He was an anti-war activist in High School at 18 when he launched
the legendary website HackThisSite [2], “a free, safe and legal
training ground for hackers to test and expand their hacking skills”
that remains one of the most popular and respected hacking
education on-line communities.

His history during the last decade is sprinkled with a series of
arrests during protests against the Iraq war, the trampling of
gay rights, the erosion of democratic rights and the disruptive
activities of extreme right-wing groups.

He’s been beaten and arrested on more than a half dozen occasions
for these actions.

In fact, in 2007, Hammond was imprisoned for hacking into
the website of the right-wing group Protest Warrior, known
for attacking anti-war demonstrations.

The hack captured all kinds of information and brought the website

Some of that info included credit card numbers for contributors to
Protest Warrior and, although no card was ever used or charged to
as a result, the government charged Hammond with what amounts
to card theft and jailed him to two years.

When he was released he returned to protest but, he told the
court, “The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to
close Guantanamo Bay.”

Believing more direct action was needed, he returned to hacking
and began targeting police departments and law enforcement
agencies “because of the racism and inequality with which
the criminal law is enforced” and hitting military and police
equipment manufacturers as well as surveillance and security

Then he met Sabu.

Hector Xavier Monsegur (known on-line as Sabu) was the most
visible figure in LulzSec, a hacker collective known for several
high-profile hacks of of government and corporate sites.

Monsegur, who lived in the Jacob Riis Projects of New York’s
Lower East Side, had a reputation among activists as a prankster
who seemed to hack power sites more for enjoyment and rebellious
“rush” than for principled politics.

His statements and tweets were, in fact, never that political.

It’s safe to say that many on-line activists were wary of Sabu
and that was well-founded because Sabu was working for the

As Assistant U.S. Attorney James Pastore said at a secret bail
hearing on Aug. 5, 2011 about a month after Sabu was arrested by
the FBI, “Since literally the day he was arrested, the defendant has
been cooperating with the government proactively.”

Sabu wasn’t just a snitch (although he appears to have given the FBI
every name, email and detail about hackers and activists he knew),
he was an active provocateur, using his LulzSec “cover” to ensnare
other Internet activists in criminal acts.

Using FBI servers, he coordinated hacker projects that would land
Internet activists, including almost the entire LulzSec collective,
in jail, the equivalent of committing crimes in the FBI’s offices.

He targeted dozens of other activists and even tried to involve
Nadim Kobeissi [3], the respected Canadian technologist and
author of the secure communication software Cryptocat, but
Kobeissi rebuffed those overtures and that ensnarement project
was dropped.

In December, 2011, Sabu hit the jackpot.

He obtained exploits (programs that allowed entrance into a server)
to the credit card database of Statfor, a security and surveillance
contractor that works for a literal who’s who of corporations.

Under FBI supervision, Sabu logged onto a private chatroom run by
the hacker collective AntiSec (of which Hammond was a member)
and began distributing links and passwords to Statfor’s servers.

Hammond got involved, spending a week attempting access
to Stratfor’s email systems and then loading the information
he and others gleaned onto servers owned and run by the FBI.

The resulting information, mostly released by Wikileaks, was

The emails showed that Stratfor had spied on movements in other
countries, movements and organizations in the U.S. and individual

It targeted PETA, the political “prankster” organization the
YesMen and activists involved in the campaign against Dow
Chemical over the catastrophic Bhopal, India gas leaks.

It conducted, in cooperation with the government, a remarkable
campaign of intense surveillance and infiltration of the Occupy

“And,” as journalist Chris Hedges said in an interview with the Real
News Network [4], “we also found from those email exchanges that
there was a concerted attempt on the part of security officials both
inside the government and within the private security contracting
agency, to link, falsely, nonviolent dissident groups with terrorist
groups so that they could apply terrorism laws against these groups.”

According to his statement, after the Statfor hack, Hammond
continued using Sabu’s information to hack corporate sites and
several official government sites.

He also supplied Sabu and other hackers with information
similarly used.

“I don’t know how other information I provided to (Sabu) may
have been used,” Hammond says, “but I think the government’s
collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.”

Part of his statement, stricken by the Judge after Prosecution
objections but made available at the Pastebin site [5], reads
like a spy novel:

“Sabu also supplied lists of targets…At his request, these websites
were broken into, their emails and databases were uploaded to
Sabu’s FBI server, and the password information and the location
of root backdoors were supplied. These intrusions took place in January/February of 2012 and affected over 2000 domains,
including numerous foreign government websites in Brazil, Turkey,
Syria, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nigeria, Iran, Slovenia, Greece,
Pakistan, and others. A few of the compromised websites that I
recollect include the official website of the Governor of Puerto
Rico, the Internal Affairs Division of the Military Police of Brazil,
the Official Website of the Crown Prince of Kuwait, the Tax
Department of Turkey, the Iranian Academic Center for Education
and Cultural Research, the Polish Embassy in the UK, and the
Ministry of Electricity of Iraq.”

According to Hammond, Sabu also infiltrated a group of hackers
that had access to hundreds of Syrian systems including government
institutions, banks, and ISPs.

“The FBI took advantage of hackers who wanted to help support the
Syrian people against the Assad regime, who instead unwittingly
provided the U.S. government access to Syrian systems undoubtedly
supplying useful intelligence to the military and their buildup for

“All of this happened under the control and supervision of the FBI.”
he adds.

“…However, the full extent of the FBI’s abuses remains hidden.
Because I pled guilty, I do not have access to many documents
that might have been provided to me in advance of trial, such
as Sabu’s communications with the FBI. In addition, the majority
of the documents provided to me are under a ‘protective order’
which insulates this material from public scrutiny…I believe the
documents will show that the government’s actions go way beyond
catching hackers and stopping computer crimes.”

Sometimes the stunning nature of a story actually blinds us to its
real meaning and this may be one such case.

What shines here is, of course, that the U.S. government engaged
in criminal behavior.

One of its agents facilitated Hammond’s “crime” by giving
him necessary information, then encouraging him to use it
and supporting him as he did.

The government itself helped Hammond load the huge amount
of information by giving him access to government servers.

The FBI then encouraged and facilitated Hammond’s continued
hackactivism against many other sites including those of other
governments, there’s no way of telling how much information
on other governments it ended up with but, given recent NSA
surveillance revelations, nothing would surprise.

If you did what the government did, you would be in jail.

After doing what it did, the government is throwing someone
else in jail.

But the more important issue is why.

It’s clear that the U.S. government was using Hammond and other
progressive activists to spy and gather data on other governments

Coupled with recent revelations about the NSA’ Muscular and
Prism programs, these facts paint a picture of a government
that conducts surveillance on the world through the Internet
circumventing the normal channels of law and courts that are
built to restrict this kind of activity.

While information providers like Chelsea Manning and Edward
Snowden have demonstrated how the government uses information
technology to spy on the world (and its own citizens), Hammond’s
revelations show that it uses Internet activists to do the same and
then, to shut them up, punishes them for doing it.

What’s more, Hammond’s case exposes the almost non-existent
lines between intelligence agencies of this government and the
network of contractors it hires to do some of its work.

While the government can be slapped for ignoring the laws of
privacy that it has consistently violated, these companies are
immune to such criticism because they don’t operate under those

Finally, though, it’s not what Hammond did but what he is and
what he represents.

Other well-known whistle-blowers are often people working for
governments or involved in Internet data work who suddenly see
the sins of the United States’ immoral and destruction policies,
and then act on those light-bulb moments.

But Jeremy Hammond is an activist first and foremost, a person
whose activities have been as much “on the streets” as in front
of a computer.

In that sense, he is much more representative of the Internet
activists who serve the progressive movement of this country and
others throughout the world: people who believe in democracy and
justice and then use their computer skills as a logical extension of
those beliefs.

To a repressive government likes ours involved in a frenzied search
for a way to maintain its control over a decaying and dismantling
system, they are the greater danger.

Whether through hack work like Hammond’s or through the
facilitating of movement communications and organizing on-
line, these are the people who manage, design and protect the
tools of movement communication.

Jeremy Hammond’s arrest and conviction appear to be a chilling
message to us but the most powerful message is the warming one
he gave us in his court statement.

“I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when
will the government be made to answer for its crimes?” he told
the court. “The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to
justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex,
but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively
prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of ‘law
and order’ and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured
by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct
action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must
be broken in order to make room for change.”

A person who makes that statement facing ten years in jail is a “hero”…without qualification.

Alfredo Lopez writes about technology issues for This Can’t Be

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Money Monopoly

The Money Monopoly

By Mike Krauss
November 19, 2013

In a masterful study of the Federal Reserve, Secrets of the Temple,
William Greider observed that the average American farmer in 1880
knew more about banking and money than most U.S. college graduates today.

Let me prove that.

Take a bill from your wallet or purse. Read the side with the

It says very clearly at the top, "Federal Reserve Note."

The Federal Reserve is not a part of the federal government.

It receives no appropriation from Congress.

It is a private corporation and its stock is privately traded.

The stockholders are the member banks of the regional Federal
Reserve Banks, so its major stockholders are the largest banks
and their owners.

Historically these have been the powerful Wall Street and European
banking families: think Rothschild, Warburg, Morgan, Rockefeller.

All the bills and coins in circulation today are a tiny fraction of the
supply of money in the American economy.

All the rest is credit, created on the books of the banks "ex nilo" --
out of nothing.

This money comes into circulation at interest paid to the banks
that create it.

A central bank like the Federal Reserve creates the money supply
of the United States, at interest.

The Bank of England was the first privately owned central bank to
control a nation's currency.

One of its owners, of the Rothschild family well understood what
that meant and said: "Give me control of a nation's money, and
I care not who makes the laws."

Big money.

The colony of Pennsylvania escaped the clutches of the Bank of
England and its tax on money by printing its own.

It was pure genius.

Writing in The Wealth of Nations in 1776, Adam Smith noted:

"The government of Pennsylvania, without amassing any treasure
[gold or silver] invented a method of lending, not money indeed,
but what is equivalent to money. By advancing to private people
at interest " paper bills of credit " legal tender in all payments "
it raised a moderate revenue which went a considerable distance
toward defraying the whole ordinary expense of that frugal and
orderly government."

Until the mid 1750s there was broad prosperity in Pennsylvania.

On a trip to London, Ben Franklin let the cat out of the bag.

He noted the widespread poverty he saw there and explained how
by printing their own money and avoiding the need for the notes
of the Bank of England to conduct their commerce, the people of
Pennsylvania insured their own prosperity.

The private owners of the Bank of England went the 1700s version
of ballistic and lobbied the King and Parliament (Sound familiar?)
to outlaw this colonial "script."

The depression that followed was the cause of the American

Franklin wrote, "In one year the conditions were so reversed that
the era of prosperity ended, and a depression set in, to such an
extent that the streets of the Colonies were filled with unemployed."

He concluded, "The Colonies would gladly have borne the little tax
on tea and other matters, had it not been the poverty caused by
the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament
[Again, sound familiar?]: which has caused in the Colonies hatred
of England, and the Revolutionary War."

The bankers got control.

Hamilton fronted for them in the young United States.

Jefferson and Jackson fought them.

Lincoln fought them.

Lincoln was assassinated, the bankers once again had control and
the war for control of the nation's supply of money raged on.

After decades of planning and massive PR and propaganda, having
bought up the support of Ivy League scholars, journalists and the
requisite number of votes in Congress, the Wall Street cartel and
their foreign allies pushed creation of the Federal Reserve through
Congress and got complete control of the nation's money and credit.

Before you pay your taxes, the money you pay with has already
been taxed by the owners of the Federal Reserve, which for over
100 years have diverted trillions of dollars of interest payments
on our money from the American people into their own pockets.

That is what "central banks" are designed to do: extract wealth
from nations by monopolizing the supply and cost of money and

The debt ceiling, sequestration, austerity and budget deficit are
a diversion.

The U.S. Congress can slash the debt by taking back control of our
money from the Federal Reserve monopoly and returning it to the
U.S. Treasury and the American people, as the Constitution (Article
I, Section 8) wisely provided.

Mike Krauss is a Director of the Public Banking Institute,
Chairman of the Pennsylvania Project, and Author of the
forthcoming novel, "Pursuits of Happiness."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Ends of Capitalism

The Ends of Capitalism

By Rob Urie
Counter Punch
November 17, 2013

In the midst of the unfolding economic and financial catastrophes
of 2009 Barack Obama, the new President of the U.S., entered
office with the broad political support needed to lead the
country away from the war, militarism, and economic pillage of
the George W. Bush years.

The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had left those countries
in ruins with over a million Iraqis killed and four or more million

In contrast to the outcomes imagined in the deluded hubris of
neo-con ‘think tanks,’ these wars demonstrated both the limits
of American military power as means of geopolitical suasion and
the absolute moral bankruptcy of America’s ‘leadership’ class
from the Bush/Cheney ‘team’ all the way down to the local flag

The economic calamity underway was the broadest and deepest
since the Great Depression and shared that human-economic
catastrophe’s genesis in runaway finance and its result in a
socially untenable and politically incapacitating divide between
rich and poor.

The ‘world’ Mr. Obama inherited wasn’t ‘working’ for large
majorities in the West.

The level of employment of the working age population had
begun declining in 2000 and it had fallen off of the proverbial
cliff by late 2008.

The illusion of prosperity in some evidence in the mid-2000s
courtesy of the monetization of the preponderance of U.S.
housing equity, the collective savings of home ‘owners,’ to
fund purchases of wide screen televisions, 3rd, 4th, and 5th
automobiles, and new porch furniture, had shown its
foundations in mass delusion.

On Wall Street the gig was up, the financial ‘system’ was in full
collapse from the weight of its own ‘bounty’ and only had left its
brethren in financial ‘innovation’ to plunder.

The economic ‘efficiencies’ of thirty years of pirate capitalism
had shown themselves in the pockets and bank accounts of
America’s few hundred richest families and in its residual,
the smoldering ruins of an economy that had once made things,
for better and/or for worse, as well as in the emergent ‘micro’
economy of the formerly employed trading piece work and stock
tips on the Internet to keep the foreclosure wolves at bay.

In theory and in human capacity Mr. Obama had ‘options’ outside
dedicated restoration of the system of political economy that had
been so recently repudiated through his very own election and
through its own emergent facts.

Mr. Obama’s artifacts of American social ontology, ‘black,’
‘liberal,’ ‘thoughtful,’ were/are in theorized opposition
to the beloved/reviled baby Bush whose ‘aw shucks’ isms
were/are the coded populism of the business class in Atlanta,
Houston and of the rapidly expanding sputtering pissed right.

Rendered invisible in the public politicking was that Messrs.
Obama and Bush went to the same schools, ate at the same
restaurants with the same corporate representatives and
saw/see their interests as deeply tied to the existing order.

To the extent human agency ‘is,’ history will deal with each
man for the social space they occupied.

And that social space includes embodying the ‘hopes and
aspirations,’ however implausibly, of the people they only
encounter in passing on their way to or from meetings, lunches,
golf outings with their ‘peers’ whose competence at traversing
the social divide for long enough to bring back the bounty has
been demonstrated.

For those to whom this ‘embodiment’ is important, its motorcade
just drove past you on its way to a bankers convention in Geneva,
a United War Profiteers of America ski outing in Jackson Hole or
the annual Drone Murder and Torture shindig in San Diego.

However, and with apologies in advance for being the bearer of bad
news, as metaphor the ‘rollout,’ such as the term is operationally
applicable, of Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act is rough measure of
where you stand in the order of things.

In clear contrast, no systems other than the one that mattered
capitalism, crashed in 2009.

According to the income distribution data the restoration of banker
bonuses, executive pay, and the gaping chasm between the
beneficiaries of ‘free-market’ corporate welfare and its victims,
went off without a hitch.

There were no reports of J.P. Morgan’s Jamie Dimon or
Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein having trouble logging on

No doubt it is easier to transfer a few trillion dollars to a few
hundred families than it is to support and maintain the most
radically dysfunctional health care system in the ‘developed’
world, but don’t they teach technocratic competence at Harvard?

While all this is now just so much water over the windmill or
some such, the system that crashed in 1990, 2000 and again
in 2008 is still the one ‘we’ have.

And its reach into the world that we, the ‘driven by,’ live in
increases with every passing calamity

There was speculation when Mr. Obama appointed the primary
Clinton administration architects of the 2008 financial economic
catastrophe, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, to key
positions in his administration that he was doing so because
they knew ‘where the bodies were buried.’

Left unconsidered was that the practical, actual, factual effect
of the then unfolding calamity on the ‘people who matter’ was
their being forced to listen to annoying talking points on cable
business shows and having to forego a few moments of moving
and shaking to transfer their financial ‘assets’ of ill repute onto
the public accounts.

It wasn’t that different paths forward were considered and
decided against; they never entered the decision making

There are points of dispute here, enthusiastic ‘debate’ was
reportedly held inside the Obama administration around the
questions: should Citibank and Bank of America be ‘nationalized,’
should Wall Street be ‘reined in’ through re-regulation and most
fundamentally, should the ‘stimulus package’ have been larger.

Of relevance is that the institutional prerogative of the politically
‘feasible’ was the unifying characteristic of all of these ‘debate’

But to be clear, this realm that of the politically feasible, is
utterly unrelated to the circumstance of the ‘driven by’ it is
coded reference to the politically, economically embedded,
in no way to be confused with the ‘hopes and aspirations’

The saying is that Mr. Obama inherited difficult circumstances
when he came into office.

But what he inherited was a particular stage in an historical
trajectory, one of what are regularly recurring crises in the
ascendance of global capitalism.

Within this trajectory catastrophes such as that of 2009 are
as much a part of political economy as the times of ‘prosperity.’

The view from the ‘inside’ from Washington and Wall Street,
averages prosperity with catastrophe to come to an ‘average’
conclusion about the political-economic viability of this capitalism.

Mr. Obama, or any other successful politician within the modern
understanding of success, ‘embodies’ the hopes and aspirations
of ‘average’ Americans in the same way that the average of
catastrophe and prosperity reach them in their lives.

Mr. Bush before him embodied the hopes and dreams of ‘long
suffering’ war mongering white, Christian Pentecostals and Mr.
Obama has his liberal progressive constituency, the average of
the two which form different ‘sides’ of an outside, the ‘driven

This isn’t to discount the difference, but rather to ask: who
exactly is making bank on it?

As circumscribed by those whose fortunes have been restored
since Mr. Obama took office, the difference that matters
remains between the embedded and the embodied, between
those whose fortunes are foregone conclusions and those who
wave as the motorcade passes.

The passions that surround Western political economy are
reactive for a reason.

Mr. Obama was assumed to represent antithesis because history
called for it.

The unmitigated disaster of the (baby) Bush years was evident to
even the dullest of his supporters as the incontrovertible ‘proof’
of calamity, falling stock prices, was underway.

But ‘change’ holds forth no promised direction. And more
fundamentally, from what possible logic would true antithesis

Within the static anti-historicism of capitalism antithesis always
and everywhere exists in the ‘driven by,’ in the ‘failure’ needed
to demonstrate the truth determining power of ‘success’ through
wealth and profits.

Restoration of the fortunes of the already rich was restoration
of this static antithesis, the only one visible to Mr. Obama’s

The problem of re-thinking capitalism, not that anyone in the
recent history has tried, is that within its logic no catastrophe
is effective repudiation and outside of it either the whole project
goes into the garbage heap or none of it does.

A real catastrophe confronted the peoples of the West as
Mr. Obama entered office.

But the difference between having a billion dollars in the bank or
‘only’ five hundred million dollars was the problem that confronted
the people who brought Mr. Obama into office.

That problem calls for a different set of solutions than being cold,
hungry and unemployed.

And that is the problem Mr. Obama set about fixing.

Western economists view the sequential crises of 1990, 2000 and
2008 as unrelated events to be ‘solved’ through reactive responses,
through Keynesian stimulus or with ‘more’ capitalism.

However, within each subsequent economic ‘recovery’
the political economy of catastrophe grows.

The evidence of social dysfunction, radically skewed income
distribution, the increasingly sharp divide between those on
the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of political economy, political
incapacitation and a collective inability to solve even the
most basic social problems, is but the detritus of the thread
that carries these crises through ‘normal’ times.

In the terms of those moving comfortably along in the motorcade
there are ‘recessions’ and ‘recoveries,’ life’s facts whose average
may impact ‘the people’ differently, but only through the secular
god of capitalism’s discriminating hands.

The ‘driven by’ wave to themselves, to their ‘embodiment’ that
‘could have been them’ under some alternate order of the universe.

If ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are their own ‘proof’ of the efficacy of
capitalism as god’s hand in human affairs then so is its attendant
social dysfunction, if the rich are busy ‘making money’ and the
poor are their own ‘proof’ of their inability to be ‘successful’
then what conceivably could be the point of political reconciliation?

In choosing to ‘save’ the ‘system’ he so willingly entered, Mr.
Obama, like those before him, chose the sides inherent in that

The government money used under Mr. Obama’s direction to buy
Wall Street’s garbage ‘assets’ was/is unified in its ‘moneyness’ with
that needed to salve the lot of the ‘driven by,’ those dispossessed
by birth, race, gender or more general circumstance, economic

To paraphrase the cliché, ‘if you teach a man to borrow he eats
for a day, if you give the bank the money to lend to the man he
eats for a day and repays the borrowed money for a lifetime.’

Alternatively, and following from that theoretician of ‘system’
John Maynard Keynes, if you give people the money they need
to eat and live indoors they spend it and the system of
capitalism survives.

Given the choice, banks or their ‘customers,’ what system exactly,
precisely was it that Mr. Obama saved by choosing the banks?

In either case the system of capitalism would be ‘saved.’

To pretend for a moment that the question hasn’t already been
answered, why choose bankers, the ‘embedded,’ over ‘the people,’
those whose hopes and aspirations Messrs. Bush and Obama so
readily ‘embodied?’

The system to be so regularly saved is that of the perfectly ordered
universe, every man, woman and child in his or her God determined

How does one know their proper place?

Which side of the motorcade are you on?

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist in New York. His book "Zen Economics" will be published by CounterPunch / AK Press in
Spring 2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's Going On

What's Going On

By Marvin Gaye
November 15, 2013

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying

Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying

You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Father, father
We don't need to escalate

You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate

You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket sign
Don't punish me with brutality

Talk to me
So you can see

Oh, what's going on
What's going

What's going on
What's going on

Right on
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong

Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long

Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality

Come on talk to me
So you can see

What's going on
What's going on

Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you ya, what's going on

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Greatest Generation?

The Greatest Generation?

A Poem

By Francis A. Boyle
November 12, 2013

The Greatest Generation?

Oh really?

If they were so great

Then why did they send

Their Sons so willingly

Off to die

In Vietnam

A war they started

While we suffered from

58,000 young men

Of my generation

Were murdered

By The Greatest Generation

Hundreds of Thousands

Of our Lives were destroyed

Plus 3 million genocided Vietnamese

Not that “gooks” mattered to The Greatest Generation

Then neither did we their Sons

Why didn’t The Greatest Generation

Rise up as One

And tell the American Empire

That you will not have our Sons

Over our dead bodies!

Hell no!

They will not go!

Why did The Greatest Generation

Not fight for US their Sons

Against the American Empire

As they did against the German and Japanese Empires

We the Sons of the Greatest Generation were not worth it

They said they were liberating Peoples in Foreign Lands

Then why did The Greatest Generation send their Sons

To fight and die

In that God-forsaken Land?

And to murder millions living in their own Land?

Was this some blood-sport

we had to play

With them as pony riders

and US as buzkashi goat carcasses

Was it reverse Freudian Oedipal Complex

Them killing us off

before we got to them

And took their place

Were we blood-sacrifice to Moloch

With them as Priests

And we as sacrificial lambs

Were we their Abrahams

Actually murdering US their Isaacs

In a Holocaust

To their Genocidal Yahweh

Hard to say

What was going on

In the Minds of The Greatest Generation

If anything at all

Mindless Patriotism

The last refuge of them Scoundrels!

They knew all about War

then sent their Sons marching off

Into the Valley of Death

Charge of the Light Brigade

The result was predictable

A Decimated Generation

A Shattered Generation



The Greatest Generation?

Hell no!

A Pathetic Generation!

May they ever be tormented

By Their Own Son’s Souls

Francis Anthony Boyle is a professor of international law
at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Long Terror

Russell Brand and the Need for Planetary Adjustment

By Elliot Sperber
Information Clearing House
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Russell Brand’s recent political essay, viral BBC interview, and
ongoing comedy tour – The Messiah Complex – raise important
political and philosophical questions concerning, among other
issues, the nature of justice, the importance of voting, and the
need for radical, revolutionary change.

These deserve serious consideration.

Since at least the time of the Athenian statesman Solon (c. 638 BC
– 558 BC), whose reforms are credited with setting the historical
stage for the emergence of democracy in ancient Athens, the
concept of law has contained a crucial ambiguity.

While the law is rightfully recognized as an instrument of Order –
legitimizing and maintaining a status quo – it is not restricted to
this function.

Beyond this conservative function is its more vital dimension.

In addition to its retentive, conservative aspect, Law has a
protentive, metamorphic aspect.

Law may even be likened, in this respect, to DNA; it not only
clones, it mutates.

For, along with maintaining Order, law (or, the spirit of the law)
is also employed in pursuing that which disrupts Order (that is,

This latter, law-nullifying aspect of Law is what allowed Solon
to not only nullify the law of Draco – abolishing people’s debts,
freeing debt-slaves, and constraining the power of Athens’ ancient
oligarchy, according to Plutarch – but enabled a relatively
egalitarian redistribution of the social world of the ancient
Athenians as well.

And while it is important to note that this egalitarianism did
not extend to women, slaves, and other excluded people, and
so exposes the limitations of Athenian democracy, it does not
diminish this emancipatory aspect of the law.

In many respects, law – as such – is constituted by this very

Unstable, it is forever adjusting (a term which, by the way,
literally means toward the just).

Unlike the dead letter of the law that Order appeals to for support
and legitimacy, Justice, the spirit of the law, is the living, vital
aspect of the law – the truth of the law as opposed to its mere

Among other things, this ambiguity of the law has a corollary in
the contemporary French philosopher Jacques Ranciere’s concept
of the political.

According to Ranciere, like law, the political has two dimensions.

On one hand it is the maintenance of Order – what he terms politics
as police.

On the other hand, corresponding to justice, is actual politics.

Actual politics disrupts the Order maintained by the politics as police.

As he defines it in his Disagreement, actual politics only arises when
“the natural order of domination is interrupted by the institution of
a part of those who have no part” (11).

That is, politics proper only emerges with this disruption of Order
by this striving toward an egalitarian redistribution of the social
sphere – the adjustment toward the Just.

It is in this context that we should situate Russell Brand’s recent
statements concerning politics and justice in general, and voting
in particular.

While many have criticized and mocked Brand for dismissing the
practice of voting, it is paramount to recognize (that is, to cognize
and to re-cognize) that, according to Ranciere’s formulation, of
itself voting is not necessarily a political act at all.

In general it is a function of politics as police – the maintenance
of Order.

Indeed, insofar as it signals one’s consent to be governed, voting
is a largely acclamatory gesture – applauding a particular character
in what is political theater more than actual politics.

While voting is intrinsically problematic, however, this does not
mean that it is necessarily or essentially anti-political in Ranciere’s

In theory, one could acclaim (and go beyond acclamation) an
entirely new type of distribution of the world – a distribution
of the world according to egalitarian priorities.

Instead of the priorities and rules of the inertial Order busy
dividing and conquering and distributing and consuming and
desecrating the world, in theory voting could acclaim a Just
distribution of the world – one that subordinates the dictates
of profit to the actual well-being of the people and the
environment – an adjustment that does not stabilize into some
new inertial Order, but rather is stable only insofar as it
continues to adjust.

Needless to say, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party,
among the other institutions that represent and manifest the
interests of the present Order, are existentially hostile to any
meaningful adjustment; for such would involve a significant
redistribution of the cultural and physical wealth of the world,
produced thus far by humanity as a whole, from their control.

In other words, in spite of all the sanctimonious blather regarding
Democracy, no such thing exists.

In this so-called “representative democracy” a very narrow slice
of “interests” is in fact represented.

And politics in any meaningful sense is in part dream, in part

Contrary to the repeated assertions of Jeremy Paxman, Russell
Brand’s interlocutor, as well as countless others, we do not live
in a democracy.

We in fact live in a political arrangement more properly described
as a plutocracy.

Ploutos (wealth), not the demos (the people), is in charge.

While this claim may not jibe with the hegemonic doxa, it is a
matter of simple observation that one cannot even participate
in a non-marginalized manner in the political theater unless one
is backed – supported – by the rich.

Before votes are ever counted, money determines the outcomes
of elections.

It acts as a gatekeeper.

Excluded from ballots, and debates, third party candidates with
millions of supporters are effectively barred from participating.

Millions of supporters matter less than millions of dollars.

Unless backed by the rich one cannot compete in campaigns that
cost fortunes.

And once in office, the constant need to raise funds ensures that
those who deviate from the desires of the rich are cut off, and cut

This is not to say that a sufficiently popular political and social
movement could not overcome these barriers.

It is placing the proverbial cart before the horse, however, to
suppose that such support could be achieved by the ballot.

In order to overcome the institutional barriers to the political
stage, a person – or group, or party – would have to possess an
enormous amount of popular support in the first place.

And even if some hypothetical candidate prevailed in some
contest for some office, unless enough like-minded people
occupied comparable positions, very little could be accomplished.

To meaningfully change the design of the existing Order, the laws
that function to maintain the Order and preclude the Just need to
be changed or dissolved.

All of which is to say, if a social movement were large enough to
allow for an actual takeover of congress, such a movement would
already enjoy a degree of support sufficient to force congress to
step down without having to step into congress’ shoes – those shoes
of the old Order – in the first place.

If, for example, a political movement enjoyed enough popular
support to change the constitution (to include such mild, though
necessary, alterations as a positive right to housing, education,
a guaranteed universal income, health care, debt forgiveness,
not to mention more radical, structural changes) – if such a
movement had a measure of popular support sufficient to overcome
the onerous hurdles placed before amending the constitution,
why even bother?

For the sake of tradition (i.e., the old Order)? Why not just write
a new constitution altogether?

Perhaps this is what Jesus of Nazareth meant when he reputedly
said that he would not change a jot of law.

Rather than changing the law of Order, he would leave it to rot.

The actual law, the law of justice, is a different matter.

Notwithstanding the above, and in spite of the fact that it
has received so much attention, it is important to consider
the fact that Russell Brand’s main point was not “don’t vote.”

In his New Statesman essay, and in his BBC interview with
Jeremy Paxman, Brand’s position vis-a-vis voting was ancillary
to his main argument: political change must be preceded by
a change of consciousness; before an actual politics can even
arise a recognition of not only the pure arbitrariness of
the existing Order, but its concrete harmfulness and injustice,
needs to take place.

People must see the cold hard fact that poverty and profit
– the infernal conditions of the slums of Kibera, outside
Nairobi, not to mention the slums of the Bronx, and the
decadent excess of plutocratic luxury – are two sides of the
same coin.

Each creates, and recreates, the other.

Just as profit is not generated without a corresponding loss
somewhere, wealth creates poverty and vice versa.

Beyond the horrors inflicted by the inertial Order on billions
throughout the world, there is also the fact that, in a world
with finite resources, it is patently self-destructive to maintain
a political-economy based on waste and exploitation.

The net result of our collective work, our “economic production,”
is a world that is being steadily deformed into toxic refuse.

And, contrary to the reigning ideology, it does not have to be
this way.

Existing conditions are neither natural nor inevitable.

Slums, poverty, war, third world as well as first world indentured
servitude – these things are made by people, and as such can be
unmade by people.

Among the many reactions to Brand’s argument for revolutionary
change, a particularly pervasive one is that revolutions are
dangerous and reap more harm than good.

In advocating radical change, these people maintain,
Russell Brand is little more than a dangerous fool.

For example, in Russell Brand: Good Pundit, Bad Thinker,
Parker Brown argues in The Atlantic that revolutions are
generally accompanied by terrors, and that these terrors
tend to leave people worse off.

Citing multiple horrors, Brown argues that radical change is too
dangerous to seriously consider. Best to forego such radicality.

Aside from the esteemed historian Arno Mayer’s findings in The
Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions
that, more often than not, the resistance to revolutionary change
is what heightens violence, contrary to Brown’s contention, many
revolutions do not experience any terror phase at all.

Indeed, the US revolution is only one among many revolutions that
experienced no revolutionary terror.

Of course, one must not overlook the fact that after the US
Constitution was ratified, and the ongoing terror of slavery
was cemented into law (a body of law that also paved the way
for the systematic removal and annihilation of the continent’s
indigenous population), terror abounded.

From this perspective, “reign of terror” takes on a decidedly different meaning.

It is a gruesome irony that Brown raises starvation as a key example
of revolutionary harms, noting that during the Chinese Revolution
hunger was so severe that the exhumation and consumption of
corpses was widespread.

Because, while horrific levels of starvation did occur in China,
as well as in Stalin’s USSR, among other places, the spectacular
nature of eating corpses should not blind us to the fact that, as
these words are being written, extreme starvation is rampant
throughout much of the world today – and this is caused, in large
part, by the very neoliberal economic Order that people like Parker
Brown defend.

In Haiti, for instance, systemic famine is so severe that people
regularly resort to eating dirt.

And though malnutrition has been rising precipitously in Haiti in
the years following the massive 2010 earthquake, it remains less
severe than in Guatemala, and parts of Africa, among other places.

As Mark Twain wrote in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s
Court, as bloody as the terror of the French Revolution, and
other revolutions’ terrors, may have been, there is another
terror whose horrors far surpass these.

Of these two types of terror, one, like that which sprouted from the
French Revolution, is short. Lasting months, it claims thousands of

The other type of terror is long. Lasting thousands of years, it
enslaves and brutalizes and reaps the lives of hundreds of millions.

While both of these terrors are anathema to justice, Twain raises
an urgent point – a point that is largely congruent with what Brand
refers to when he writes of his trip to the slums of Nairobi.

The long terror that Twain described is by no means over.

Neither anomalous, nor an aberration, it is necessarily produced
and reproduced along with the rest of our political-economy, and
inextricable from the present Order.

While Russell Brand is by no means perfect, and among other things
exhibits a considerable deal of disturbing behavior - rape jokes, and
other forms of sexism that both stem from patriarchal privilege,
and reproduce the existing patriarchal Order of domination – he is
nevertheless entirely correct in pointing out both the need for what
the ever-problematic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche referred to as
a “revaluation of all values,” and a radical deviation from the
present, ecocidal Order.

Though characterized as a sort of simpleton savant spouting the
need for violent change, rather than advocating violence, Russell
Brand may be more accurately characterized as agitating for the
recognition of the need for an end to what the philosopher Walter
Benjamin referred to as the systemic “law-preserving violence” of
the present violent Order.

Without raising him to the status of anything above a fellow fallible
human being, we ought to support Russell Brand’s call for replacing
the political-economy cannibalizing the planet with an actual politics.

While remaining critical of his shortcomings, and the power his
celebrity visibility wields, we nevertheless ought to encourage
and support the popularization of his call for a radically
egalitarian redistribution of the cultural and physical wealth of
the world.

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and contributor to