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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Obama Variations

Democrats Complicity in Political Murder

By Norman Pollack
Counter Punch
February 28, 2013

The New York Times (Feb. 21) featured an article on White House
strategy for pushing through John Brennan’s appointment as CIA
Director, with a photograph of him standing alongside an admiring
Diane Feinstein, aka Madame Apologist for CIA-JSOC Paramilitary
Operations, a truly dynamic duo, symbolizing the Executive-
Congressional consensus on permanent war through means which
makes the garden-variety war criminal’s hair stand on edge.

America, under Obama, has no precedent in this nation’s past;
sure, the Bush II-Cheney arrogance and purposeful criminality.

But we expect that.

This time is different, the liberalization of moral turpitude,
not only in foreign-military policies, but also from top to bottom,
demonstrating, hopefully even to the obtuse, the charitable, the
few authentic liberals and progressives mired in an earlier time-
warp, that all policy is interconnected: failure on climate change
and murdering children from the skies via an armed drone go
together, one not possible without the other.

Worshipping on the altar of deregulation, so that bankers and
hedge fund operators can score illegitimate gains in the millions
if not billions (while the bottom one-third to one-half in America
know want, insecurity, and distress) is also to worship—hardly
missing a step—on the altar of militarism, so that CIA can enjoy
wider latitude in covert actions.

Special Ops can bask in presidential prestige as America’s answer
to Third World death squads, and the poisons of militarization
spread throughout the culture itself.

Mental divestiture from the fakery of Democratic politics-as-usual
is the first step to moral sanity.

I began writing for CounterPunch with recalling Melville’s deeply disturbing short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener, the Story of Wall
Street,” because then it already appeared clear that Obama, a
cardboard creation of market fundamentalism and pro war doctrine
and practice, had played treacherously with well-meaning American
sympathies for socioeconomic decencies.

Now, even more, he has stepped out of the cardboard to become a
full blown menace in his own right, synthesizing the powers of his
creators to put capitalism to the test of its own inner spirit: wealth
inequality, a government wedded to the private sector at the expense
of the public interest, and the criminalization of all dissenting views.

At this point, he appears to be succeeding admirably, with a
narcotized public still shouting hosannas of praise, and John Brennan,
the proud face of an America that can act with impunity at home and
abroad on behalf of its most affluent, more familiarly known in an
earlier day as the ruling class (although I would settle for C. Wright
Mills’s “Power Elite”).

But to rub salt in the wounds of the affronted, this is not the
work of nefarious, imbecilic Republicans, but the straight-
forward, consciously-realized policy-framework of the Democrats.

Bartleby, faced with the selfish corruption of a society that hemmed
in its people with the walls of alienation (yes, Melville was brilliant,
a century ahead of his time in identifying the moral questions
Americans have ever since shoved under the rug), simply and
eloquently responded to every entreaty to be sucked in, “I prefer
not to.”

Today the Bartlebys of this world would be rolled over by the vast
construction machinery, the mammoth bulldozers, designed to
eliminate the unwanted, to be removed to make way for the
hundred-percenters, the patriots, the noble warriors keeping down
distant enemies, and .. who knows when, to be turned on those at
home.

Obama has a thirst for command, after first placating the military
and intelligence communities to the extent of proving his admiration
for them—one increasingly reciprocated by those communities.

Each decision, portrayed as pragmatic, altogether necessary
compromise to get through anything, actually constitutes a
consecutive record of achievement in the wrong direction the
further fascisization of the social structure, from a growing
concentration of wealth and its corollary, widening differentials
of income, status, and power, to the open sesame of capital
accumulation fully assisted by not compliant but actively
sympathetic government.

I am not one to offer solutions, which, in any case, seem
presently under the radar or off the charts.

But it would be good to hark back to Bartleby’s “I prefer not
to,” as evidence of washing our hands of pseudoliberalism
(never really much to begin with, at least after 1945), spitting
in the eye of our would-be democrats, saying, we see through
you, your wars, your pollution, your contempt for the poor,
your prostitution to wealth, your betrayal of the people.

And maybe, through the power of example, the negation of
political murder, ruthlessness, me-too billionaireism, others
will pick up the tune, and someday an awakened people will
come into the sun as their earned and proper destiny.

The Feinstein-Brennan photo says it all–how cozy Democrats
themselves have come to the table of war crimes, repression,
torture, and bow at the waist of their leader.

The Assassination President, asking only for a fig leaf to cover
their treachery, i.e., the publication of legal memos to justify
Obama’s barbaric program of political murder, as though these
memos, even assuming their existence, could somehow prove
exonerative.

Eric Holder meet John Yoo; the OLC is rotten to the core.

The so-called “leak” to NBC was a contrived act to make
Brennan’s appearance before Senate Intelligence go more
smoothly.

Why even try to reason with Obama supporters, they
have abdicated all moral responsibility for a bloodthirsty
president and administration, whose Terror Tuesdays are
a Mardi Gras celebration of death and the prowess of
America’s paramilitary operations.

International law has been flushed down the toilet.

The killing of noncombatants (defined by Obama via specious
criteria as combatants), women, children, funeral attendees,
first responders, is a deliberated and heinous act intended
for the sole purpose of cowing a people into submission–the
Obama variant of GENOCIDE.

Progressives of today have become the apologists for fascism.
Period.

The litmus test of any humane, democratic standard, is the
absolute rejection of Obama and his administration.

Lesser-evil arguments are a means to accommodate ourselves
to EVIL itself.



Norman Pollack is the author of “The Populist Response to Industrial
America” (Harvard) and “The Just Polity” (Illinois), Guggenheim
Fellow, and professor of history emeritus, Michigan State University.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/22/democrats-complicity-
in-political-murder

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lords of Disorder

Billions For Wall Street, Sacrifice For Everyone Else

By Richard Eskow
Our Future.org
February 27, 2013

The President’s “sequester” offer slashes non-defense spending
by $830 billion over the next ten years.

That happens to be the precise amount we’re implicitly giving
Wall Street’s biggest banks over the same time period.

We’re collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our
generosity.

Instead we’re demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled,
the poor, the young, the middle class – pretty much everybody, in
fact, who isn’t “too big to fail.”

That’s injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval
caste-privilege flavor.

The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented
with spreadsheets and powerpoints, rather than with scrolls and
trumpets and kingly proclamations.

And remember: The White House represents the liberal side of
these negotiations.

The Grandees

The $83 billion ‘subsidy’ for America’s ten biggest banks first
appeared in an editorial from Bloomberg News – which, as the
creation of New York’s billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, is
hardly a lefty outfit.

That editorial drew upon sound economic analyses to estimate the
value of the US government’s implicit promise to bail these banks
out.

Then it showed that, without that advantage, these banks would
not be making a profit at all.

That means that all of those banks’ CEOs, men (they’re all men)
who preen and strut before the cameras and lecture Washington
on its profligacy, would not only have lost their jobs and fortunes
in 2008 because of their incompetence, they would probably lose
their jobs again today.

Tell that to Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, or Lloyd Blankfein of
Goldman Sachs, both of whom have told us it’s imperative that we
cut social programs for the elderly and disabled to “save our
economy.”

The elderly and disabled have paid for those programs, just as
they paid to rescue Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, and just
as they implicitly continue to pay for that rescue today.

Dimon, Blankfein and their peers are like the grandees of imperial
Spain and Portugal.

They’ve been given great wealth and great power over others,
not through native ability but by the largesse of the Throne.

Lords of Disorder

Just yesterday, in a rare burst of candor, Dimon said this to investors
on a quarterly earnings call: “This bank is anti-fragile, we actually
benefit from downturns.”

It’s true, of course. Other corporations in fact, everybody else has
to survive or fail in real-world conditions.

But Dimon and his peers are wrapped in a protective force field which
was created by the people, of the people, and for … well, for Dimon
and his peers.

The term “antifragile” was coined by maverick financier and analyst
Nassim Taleb, whose book of the same name is subtitled “Things
That Gain From Disorder.”

That’s a good description of JPMorgan Chase and the nation’s
other megabanks.

Arbitraging Failure

Dimon’s comment was another way of saying that his bank, and
everything it represents, is The Shock Doctrine made manifest.

The nation’s megabanks are arbitraging their own failures, and
the economic crises that flow from those failures.

These institutions are designed to prey off economic misery. They
suppress genuine market forces in order to thrive, and they couldn’t
do it without our ongoing help.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are making it
happen.

We who have made these banks “antifragile” have crowned their
leaders our Lords of Disorder.

Once Dimon told reporters that he explained to his seven-year-old
daughter what a financial crisis is “something that happens … every
five to seven years,” which “we need to do a better job” managing.

Thanks to fat political contributions, Dimon manages them well. So
do his peers. Misery is the business model. And by Dimon’s reckoning
another shock’s coming any day now.

Money For Nothing

Bloomberg’s use of the word ‘subsidy’ in this instance can be slightly
misleading. Public institutions don’t issue $83 billion in checks to
Wall Street’s biggest banks every year.

But they didn’t let them fail as they should have through an orderly
liquidation after they created the crisis of 2008 through fraud and
chicanery.

Instead it allowed them to prosper from it, creating that $83 billion
implicit guarantee.

As we detailed in 2011, the TARP program didn’t “make money,”
either.

Banks received a free and easy trillion-plus dollars from our public
institution, on terms that amounted to a gift worth tens of billions,
and possibly hundreds of billions.

That gift prevented them from failing.

In private enterprise, this kind of rescue is only given in return for
part ownership or other financial concessions. But our government
asked for nothing of the kind.

Unpaid Debts

Breaking up the big banks would have protected the public from
more harm at their hands. That didn’t happen.

Government institutions could have imposed a financial transaction
tax, whose revenue could be used to repair the harm the banks
caused while at the same time discouraging runaway gambling.

They still could.

They could have imposed fees on the largest banks to offset the
$83 billion per year advantage we’ve given them. They still could.

But they haven’t.

This one-sided giveaway is the equivalent of an $83 billion gift for
Wall Street each and every year.

Cut and Paste

$83 billion per year: Our current budget debate is framed in ten-
year cycles, which means that’s $830 billion in Sequester Speak.

You’d think our deficit-obsessed capital would be trying to collect
that very reasonable amount from Wall Street.

Instead the White House is proposing $130 billion in Social Security
cuts, $400 in Medicare reductions, $200 billion in “non-health
mandatory savings,” and $100 billion in non-defense discretionary
cuts.

That adds up to exactly $830 billion.

No doubt there is genuine waste that could be cut. But $830 billion,
or some portion of it, could be used to grow our economy and brings
tens of millions of Americans out of the ongoing recession that is
their daily reality, even as the Lords of Disorder continue to prosper.

It could be used for educating our young people and helping them
find work, for reducing the escalating number of people in poverty,
for addressing our crumbling infrastructure, for giving people
decent jobs.

It’s going to Wall Street instead.

Trillion-Dollar Tribute

The right word for that is tribute. As in, “a payment by one ruler
or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission …” or “an
excessive tax, rental, or tariff imposed by a government, sovereign,
lord, or landlord … an exorbitant charge levied by a person or group
having the power of coercion.” (Courtesy Merriam-Webster)

In this case the tribute is made possible, not by military occupation,
but by the hijacking of our political process by the corrupting force
of corporate contributions.

The fruits of that victory are rich: Bank profits are at near-record
highs.

Most of the country is still struggling to dig out from the wreckage
they created but, as Demos’ Policy Shop puts it, “for the banks it’s
2006 all over again.”

On Bended Knee

“Millions for defense,” they said in John Adams’ day, “but not
one cent for tribute.”

Today we’re paying for both.

That doesn’t leave much for the elderly, the disabled, the
impoverished, the children, or anybody else who doesn’t
“benefit from disorder.”

Nobody’s fighting for them in this budget battle.

That leaves the public with a clear choice:

Demand solutions that are more just and democratic or submit
willingly to the Lords of Disorder.

http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130227/lords-of-disorder-as-seniors-
sacrifice-more-billions-for-wall-street

Monday, February 25, 2013

Global Elitism

The Character Traits Of Truly Evil People

By Brandon Smith
Activist Post
February 25, 2013

The first dangerous mistake the average person makes is the
assumption that “evil” is a kind of subjective or “gray” concept.

We would love to believe that all destructive and malicious behavior
is merely a product of bad environment, bad upbringing, or mental
psychosis.

Deviance in the name of misguided “profit” or “status” is often vmore acceptable to the public; as long as there is a reason we can
easily understand and grasp.

What frightens the average American today is not the abhorrent
action of criminality; rather, it is criminality without easily definable
reason.

What frightens the common citizen is the possibility that some
people hurt others not because mommy and daddy “mistreated”
them, or because they have a psychological deficiency that clouds
their judgment, but because they fully and consciously ENJOY doing
what they do.

Our society is desperate to make excuses for the monsters of our
era, perhaps because we would rather not entertain the possibility
that there is a dark side to humanity as a whole, that if left
unchecked, could take control in a deliberate and calculated way.

This is why the greatest crimes of our time often go ignored by
the public.

The idea, for instance, that international financiers and political elites would purposely create economic disparity, social chaos, and
global war out of a desire for centralized power and a disturbed
sense of superiority is simply too much for many to handle.

Surely, these terrible events throughout our modern history are
merely the result of random coincidence and human error…right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

In fact, the majority of catastrophic cultural policies and tragedies
can be traced directly back to a particular subset of people, who use
their positions of influence for ill purpose, and knowingly engineer
calamity not just for personal gain, but the gain of their “social
class”.

In the Liberty Movement, we often refer to this group as “Globalists”
or “Elitists”.

They permeate the upper echelons of our nation, and they do indeed
have a culture that is entirely separate and disparate from our own.

If one studies their literature, their initiatives, and their motives,
he would discover another world, driven by outlandish goals and an
even more outlandish brand of religious fervor.

Here are some of the character traits and beliefs that make these
people easy to identify….

Xeno-Fascism

Global Elitists tend to see themselves as a separate breed of human
being; a superior class with superior faculties, and thus, born to
“rule” over the rest of us.

In their writings they often espouse the teachings of Plato’s Republic,
and the concept of the “Philosopher Kings”.

They believe that some men and women are endowed with a genetic
predisposition to leadership, and that the average person does not
have the intelligence to determine his own destiny.

They see the rest of humanity as a blank canvas, and themselves as
the artists. We are to be “molded” and our social dichotomies are to
be manipulated.

In reality, they are no smarter than the rest of us. Rather, they inherit positions of wealth and influence, and automatically assume
this makes them superior.

Their ability to mold society is derived entirely from their extensive
capital and their complete lack of morality.

If they were not in the top .1% of the world's rich, they would be
treated like common criminals for their behavior; but, sadly, in
our day and age money often buys undue respect.

Imagine a private club of John Wayne Gacys or Charles Mansons,
except with 80% of the world’s wealth at their disposal and the
means to purchase good publicity and legal immunity.

That is essentially what we are dealing with….

Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between
rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different
species.

"A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized
insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."
- Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society (1953) pgs.

Speaking of a future at most only decades away, an experimenter
in intelligence control asserted, "I foresee a time when we shall
have the means and therefore, inevitably, the temptation to
manipulate the behavior and intellectual functioning of all the
people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of
the brain." - Zbigniew Brezinski, Between Two Ages, America's
Role in the Technotronic Era 1970

Pursuit Of Zero Conscience

Elitists believe that conscience is a hindrance to success, instead
of a worthwhile virtue.

They knowingly and deliberately abandon their moral compass
because they see it as an unnatural restriction, an obstacle
that makes getting what they want more difficult. Conscience,
however, never quite disappears in anyone.

In order to reconcile their wretched mindset with that distant nagging
sensation of guilt, they claim that their actions are “for the greater
good of the greater number”.

They desperately want to believe that they are serving the future
of mankind, and that we should “appreciate” their guiding hand,
even though the things they do seem far more hateful than helpful.

They would condescend to call this “tough love”.

For in a world of moral relativists, the man with a conscience
becomes the criminal, the outcast; and the elites become the
heroes they always wanted to believe themselves to be.

In the meantime, they will often resort to costume and theater,
wrapping themselves in a particular belief system and playing
the role of the “saint”.

The mask rarely comes off until they think their position of power
is assured.

"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." - Adolf
Hitler

"Do you really believe the masses will be Christian again? Nonsense!
Never again. That tale is finished. No one will listen to it again. But
we can hasten matters. The parsons will dig their own graves. They
will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of
their miserable jobs and incomes…" - Adolf Hitler

"The tenth rule of the ethics of rules and means is that you do what
you can with what you have and clothe it in moral arguments. …the
essence of Lenin’s speeches during this period was “They have the
guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the
ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.” And
it was." - Saul Alinsky

Barack Obama taught the amoral philosophies of Alinsky as an
organizer in Chicago. Hillary Clinton made Alinsky the topic of
her undergraduate thesis.

Promote Collectivism

Top globalists are not necessarily collectivists themselves. In fact,
they often swing far to the other end of the spectrum into an
aberrant form of individualism.

As discussed above, they even see conscience as a restriction on
their personal freedom, and rebel against it as if rebelling against
enslavement.

What they do not grasp is that the inherent nature of conscience
is a gift, one which has so far kept humanity away from the brink
of total self-destruction, at least to this point.

It is not a prison. Rather, it is protection from ourselves.

The elitist’s insane ideal of “pure individualism” without self
discipline is a private matter they rarely discuss.

In public, they constantly promote the collectivist lifestyle and
admonish individualism in common people as “selfish” or
“narcissistic”.

People often confuse “collectivism” with “community”. This is
caused by a lack of understanding as well as a lack of experience.

Community is a voluntary gathering of individuals for the purpose
of mutual aid.

Collectivism is the gathering of people by threat of force or loss,
for the purpose of consolidating power into the hands of a few.

It is the act of destroying individualism in the name of “protecting
the group”.

In America today, we have a disappearing sense of real community,
while the “advantages” of collectivism are being sung to the rooftops
by global elites.

If the population can be convinced that they are devoid of inherent
qualities and characteristics, and that their environment is the
totality of their existence, then they will hand over all power to
anyone who promises them the best possible surroundings.

That is to say, when we have no faith in our own individualism
and self-responsibility, we will automatically seek protection,
usually from a nanny government or dictatorship.

This process of wrenching self determination from the populace
has an ultimate end goal: World Governance and total dominance.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim,
nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in
private hands able to dominate the political system of each country
and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be
controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world
acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent
meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the
Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private
bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were
themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to vdominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to
manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic
activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by
subsequent economic rewards in the business world." - Carroll
Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from Tragedy And Hope

"In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states
will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn't
such a great idea after all." - Strobe Talbot, President Clinton's
Deputy Secretary of State, as quoted in Time, July 20th, 1992.

The "Noble Lie"

Elitists are very adamant about the idea of the “noble lie”; the
use of a lie to attain a “positive goal”.

In their view, average citizens lack the capacity to understand
the bigger political and social picture, so we must be lied to in
order to make us do what is best for ourselves.

Of course, their version of what is best for our culture always
seems to include first and foremost what is best for them.

The noble lie is a logical fallacy of epic proportions, and I often
wonder if global elitists secretly doubt its legitimacy, or if they
really buy into their own tripe.

If you need to lie to people in order to get them to accept your
ideas, then there must be something terribly wrong with your
ideas.

Ideas with vitality and honesty do not need to be “sold” to the
public through chicanery; the truth takes on a life of its own.

Only destructive philosophies need a foundation of lies in order
to take root.

"We are at present working discreetly with all our might to wrest this
mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local
nation states of the world. All the time we are denying with our lips
what we are doing with our hands." - Professor Arnold Toynbee, in a
June 1931 speech before the Institute for the Study of International
Affairs in Copenhagen.

"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide
they ought to have." - Richard Salent, former president, CBS News,
Bill Clinton: Friend or Foe

Population Reduction

One of the centerpieces of the globalist religion is the concept of
population reduction.

They not only see themselves as a separate species with superior
genetic makeup and a propensity for rulership, they also see the
rest of us as cockroaches and “useless eaters”; a herd that needs
to be “culled”.

The funny thing about population reductionists is that they always
want OTHER people to die in order to save the planet. They never
offer their own lives as a sacrifice for the “greater good”.

This is because they assume they are “too important” (ostensibly
because they think they are intelligent), while many of us are
“expendable”.

Of course, overpopulation today is an oversold myth that has been
debunked in many scientific circles. Population expansion is also not
necessarily a bad thing.

Greater population means more minds working on more problems. It
drives technological advancement and forces us through the survival
imperative to invent more efficient methods of production. There
are indeed advantages to growth.

In the end, though, global elites do not care about the Earth.

They do not believe in population reduction because they want to
reduce pollution, our so-called “carbon footprint”, save the poor
endangered animals, or even to protect finite resources.

They want population reduction because first, they are Eugenicists
who see some people as genetically inferior to others; and, second,
because a culled population is easier to dominate.

Again, less minds working means less problems solved, and less
individuals to rock the boat when the state abuses its power.

"A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline
from present levels, would be ideal." - Audubon magazine, interview
with Ted Turner, 1996

"A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child,
despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than
vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize
men......The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that
could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is
desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control.
The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable,
with official permission, for a limited number of births." - John P.
Holdren (Top Science Adviser To Barack Obama)

"Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is
electing to transcend…One-fourth is ready to so choose, given the
example of one other…One-fourth is resistant to election. They
are unattracted by life ever-evolving. One-fourth is destructive.
They are born angry with God…They are defective seeds…There
have always been defective seeds. In the past they were permitted
to die a ‘natural death’…We, the elders, have been patiently waiting
until the very last moment before the quantum transformation, to
take action to cut out this corrupted and corrupting element in the
body of humanity. It is like watching a cancer grow…Now, as we
approach the quantum shift from creature-human to co-creative
human—the human who is an inheritor of god-like powers—the
destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body.
We have no choice, dearly beloveds. Fortunately you, dearly
beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in
charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects,
we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death. We come
to bring death to those who are unable to know God…The riders
of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they
will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful
period in the history of humanity…" - Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard
(featured in the film THRIVE, a collectivist propaganda piece falsely
presented as an attack on the elitist establishment…in other words,
controlled opposition)

The Source Of Our Pain

Now, globalists are not the only source of our social pain. We
bear some responsibility.

When we are not vigilant, when we deny our own ignorance and
refuse to learn, when we lie to ourselves, when we cater to
personal superficial desires rather than taking the future into
account, we open the door for the devil, as it were.

Evil, like conscience, resides in us all. That said, globalists are
not just terrible people in a random sense.

They have constructed an entire culture of deviance. They are
organized evil, and this is a problem that we must deal with soon.

Good men are defined not only by their adherence to the inner
voice of truth, but also their willingness to act when the truth
is threatened.

We must educate others, and when the time comes, put ourselves in
harms way to remove the globalist ilk, before they destroy everything
in a raging elitist fervor….



You can contact Brandon Smith at: brandon@alt-market.com Alt-
Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded
activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network
and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.

http://www.activistpost.com/2013/02/global-elitism-character-
traits-of.html

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Illusion of Freedom

The Illusion of Freedom

By David Glenn Cox
The Smirking Chimp
February 23, 2013

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to
continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too
expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they
will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs
out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the
theater.” — Frank Zappa T

hat time is nie upon us; John Boehner can no longer control his own
party. The Republicans are splintered by tea party factions, the gun
lobby and Bible thumpers.

Barack Obama is the new crowned King / seat warmer / tragic figure
head / corporate functionary. Barack Obama is no more a Democrat
than Herbert Hoover gave lap dances.

It all appears so muddled, the fiscal cliff and the budget negotiations,
only it isn’t muddled at all.

It’s all fixed up, just the way they wanted it fixed up, just the way
they like it. Let confusion reign, they like it like that.

Oh yeah, sure, first there was a public option, then there wasn’t,
then there was, then, presto chango abracadabra, nothing.

So what does the fiscal cliff deal mean? It means watch out; the
devil is in the details

Everything which has been done to the American public over the
past thirty years has been done intentionally.

“Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their
immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty
who are ready to be deceived.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

There are no more Republicans and there are no more Democrats;
they are merely stage props to create the illusion of an open political
system.

Mitt Romney was the bad cop and Barack Obama was the good cop, vbut still, a cop is a cop? It is nothing but an illusion to elicit your
participation.

The philosophy of Neoliberalism demands belief in concrete vabsolutes, privatization, free trade, deregulation, denationalization, vfree markets and private property.

The last is the first, as private property is the golden calf of
Neoliberalism.

In the neoliberal school of thought, property rights are the only rights
which actually exist; all of the other rights of man are imaginary or
simply transparent phantoms.

If you hear a politician advocate for these policies, they are neither
Republicans nor Democrats, they are Neoliberalists.

In 1989, an economic conference of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the US Treasury developed what has come to be called the Washington Consensus, in response to Latin American instability.

The Washington Consensus was designed as an off-the-rack
economic formula, the roadmap to a new dark age.

Neoliberalism is the religion of money, the philosophy of mass
exploitation and if Jesus saves, he’d better hurry up.

The Washington Consensus

1. Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP; 2. Redirection of public spending from subsidies (“especially indiscriminate subsidies”) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

3. Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

4. Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

5. Competitive exchange rates;

6. Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular
emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing,
etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively
uniform tariffs;

7. Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

8. Privatization of state enterprises;

9. Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market
entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on
safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and
prudential oversight of financial institutions;

10. Legal security for property rights. — Wikipedia

Fiscal policy, which the politicians are discussing that right this
minute, requires draconian budget cuts in social programs and
redirection of public spending toward a broad based key pro-
growth activity.

You’d have to be pretty dumb not to know what tax reform
means in this day and time.

Thirty years of trade liberalization have brought only disaster to
the American worker, but try to find a single leading Republican
or Democratic politician who will admit the truth, that Free Trade
is the 21st century equivalent of the wooden nickel.

Notice anything missing from this new Ten Commandments?

See any concern for say, human rights? See any concerns
for the environment or improving the human condition?

See any concern with anything, save making more money?

Do you remember when the Deep Water Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, after British Petroleum pressured the staff to hurry the well into production?

Apparently, that wasn’t justified on safety, environmental or consumer protection grounds.

This is their “Mein Kampf”. It is dark and sinister and is no less
than the face of evil.

When combined with the overt nationalist and adventurous American foreign policies advocated by neo-conservative politicians, we are left with a clear picture of the American political landscape.

Not all neo-liberals are neo-cons, but all neo-cons are neo-liberals.

And there is one commandment shared between them as a sacred covenant complete with secret handshake.

“The ends justifies the means” — Niccolò Machiavelli

So what’s to be done when the game is fixed in a deck of fifty one?

First and above all, we must understand that there is no turning back. Tomorrow beckons us like Sirens on the shore.

“I also know — and this won’t alter the course of history or your personal view of me — that you will die with a clenched fist and a tense jaw, the epitome of hatred and struggle, because you are not a symbol (some inanimate example) but a genuine member of the society to be destroyed; the spirit of the beehive speaks through your mouth and motivates your actions. You are as useful as I am, but you are not aware of how useful your contribution is to the society that sacrifices you.” — Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Che is speaking of our humanity, speaking to a society which has now drawn back that final curtain; of fiscal cliffs, amputated social services, broken unions and grinding poverty, only so that those with much…can have even more.

It is a brave new world we face, where the title deeds of the rights of man passed down through centuries have been abrogated, where you as a person mean nothing, where your children mean nothing, where the planet means nothing, outside of its maximum profit potential.

"An army of detectives, thugs, and murderers were equipped with badge and bludgeon and turned loose; old hulks of cars were fired; the alarm bells tolled; the people were terrified; the most startling rumors were set afloat; the press volleyed and thundered; and over all the wires sped the news that Chicago’s white throat was in the clutch of a red mob; injunctions flew thick and fast, arrests followed, and our office and headquarters, the heart of the strike, was sacked, torn out and nailed up by the ‘lawful’ authorities of the federal government; and when in company with my loyal comrades I found myself in Cook County jail at Chicago with the whole press screaming conspiracy, treason and murder… I had another exceedingly practical and impressive lesson in Socialism.

The Chicago jail sentences were followed by six months at Woodstock and it was here that Socialism gradually laid hold of me in its own irresistible fashion. Books and pamphlets and letters from socialists came by every mail and I began to read and think and dissect the anatomy of the system in which workingmen, however organized, could be shattered and battered and splintered…" – Eugene Debs, November 11, 1887

We have seen what society looks like in a neoliberal regime under Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Pinochet in September of 1972, led a CIA backed coup d’état overthrowing a democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende.

Pinochet was named the President of the ruling military junta and quickly took harsh measures against opponents of his unelected military dictatorship.

Thousands were murdered or disappeared, thousands more were tortured and still thousands more were jailed. The Chilean coup d’état had two branches of government, its military and its neoliberal policies, which worked together hand and glove.

The government cut tariffs, opened Chile’s markets to global trade. The government restricted labor unions, privatized Social Security and then privatized all of the state owned industries.

The Pinochet Junta also placed on “indefinite recess” all other political parties, before banning them outright.

The Chilean people were free at gun point, as long as they kept
their mouths shut, showed up for work on time and didn’t
complain.

The illusion of freedom, free to work as a cog, as a tool in someone else’s machine, for whatever they offer to pay; for whatever hours are offered or whatever conditions, take it or leave it.

We see this neoliberal machine working today in Greece, Portugal
and Spain, where bankers are trying to overthrow the peoples velected governments with nothing more than scribbled bits upon paper.

Neoliberal philosopher and economist Friedrich Hayek said the following:

“Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human
life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of
the means for all our ends.”

In this country, we have seen a peaceful Occupy movement
suppressed; we have seen state legislatures take up laws to
suppress labor rights, all while the Federal Government
eviscerates our original Bill of Rights.

There is no longer any mystery in this, their goal is clear: the
brick wall is now plainly in sight.

“If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t
have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.” — George Orwell

“The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things: Of
shoes and ships and sealing-wax; of cabbages and kings. And why
the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.” — Lewis Carroll



David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award
winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel,
“The Servants of Pilate”.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/daveparts/47591/the-
illusion-of-freedom

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Deranging America

Deranging America

By Linh Dinh
OpEdNews.com
February 21, 2013

The coarsening of a people doesn’t happen overnight. When I came
to the States in 1975, the Gong Show was about as rude as it got on
television.

Some earnest sap would get bumped for crooning, “Feelings, nothing
more than feelings,” but no one ever got screamed at, had their wig
knocked off or made to sob in public.

No tune ever urged murder, and even a group named War only sang,
“Why can’t we be friends?” The year’s top hit was The Captain and
Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

Compared to now, it was a cheesy time, for sure. American cheese.

Then came Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Springer, etc.
Before Stern made it nationally, he was only big in the DC area,
where I happened to live at the time.

In 1982, an airliner crashed onto the 14th Street Bridge, killing
78 people, so Stern called Air Florida the next day to book a flight
from National Airport to the 14th Street Bridge.

Many kids at my school, Jefferson High, thought it was brilliantly
funny, and I’m not sure now if I laughed along, but even then, I could
sense that not only Stern, but the country itself had crossed a line.

If 78 corpses in a freezing river is an occasion for any kind of
collective mirth, then we’re certainly fucked. Stern’s reputation
has been built on such jokes, remember, and he’s no fringe
character but one of our most popular radio personalities. Ever.

By 1989, I was standing on a ladder, house painting while subjected
to my boss’ radio always tuned to Stern in the morning, then Rush
Limbaugh in the afternoon.

It’s a miracle I still have live brain cells.

A Limbaugh show would start with a sustained burst of gunfire and
hand grenades exploding. Now, I have nothing against “shock” per
se, or black humor, but we’re not talking about Celine, Artaud, Henry
Miller, Charles Bukowski or Andy Kaufman, but simply crass idiocy.

Loutish Limbaugh became so popular, he was asked to be a
commentator on Monday Night Football.

Violence, always violence. From infancy, Americans are conditioned
to enjoy violence, then lured or pressured to support it at every stage
of life.

Merely by voting, Americans sanction carnage against foreigners,
and to have a healthy stock portfolio, one should also invest in mass
murder.

Even holding on to a job can mean implicit or explicit participation
gratuitous violence. Let’s say you’re an honest and mild-mannered
cop, but if your colleagues were kicking a prone suspect, LAPD style,
you’d arouse suspicion and ridicule for not joining in.

What are you, a snitch? Who do you think you are, Christopher
Dorner?

And in war, massacres and mass rapes are initiation rites and
bonding rituals, what bona fide heroes indulge in, for to abstain
is to be a queer or a pussy.

What are you, a snitch? Who do you think you are, Bradley Manning?

With preemptive wars, drone hits, extrajudicial killings and torture,
illegal violence has become institutionalized in the USA, and as we
normalize such outrages against humanity, we become more corrupt
on every level, for if one can justify greed-driven, random or even
recreational or therapeutic killing, what Limbaugh called, “letting
off steam” in regard to Abu Ghraib, then one can justify any other
immorality.

In all spheres of our public life, governmental, media, entertainment,
sports and even academic, violence and corruption have taken over.

CEOs bankrupt millions, while TSA flunkies lift cash and electronics
when not fingering nuts.

To watch bouncing balls, we must thank the troops repeatedly.
Our jocks are lying junkies. Gotta gain that edge, you know.

To keep their jobs, even elementary school principals and teachers fix grades.

In such a foul swamp, the honest man or woman is a fool, at best,
and may soon be out of a job, if not already.

Corroding individuals and nations, corruption weeds out the honest vand competent, while abetting the ruthless yet servile, towards
inferiors and superiors, respectively.

With so much corruption in high places, even the bought media
must acknowledge that there is unprecedented mistrust in the
entire system, but feeling impotent, all the hoi polloi can do is
cheer when one of their own fight back.

Seventy-year-old private contractor Arthur Harmon was hired by vFusion Contact Centers, and when it tried to stiff the old man after
he had done his work, he shot its CEO, Steve Singer, and Singer’s
lawyer, Mark Hummels. Harmon then committed suicide.

With public trust plummeting, poor Capitalism will suffer, the media
lament, but what about the contagion of so much lying, cheating and
unchecked violence?

Our grinning Prez continues to kill so casually, so often, after joking
about drones.

Our Secretary of State gleefully chirped, “We came, we saw, he
died!”

It should come as no surprise, then, that hardly a week goes by
without at least one multiple shooting where innocents are killed
for no reason, beyond the fact that the shooter may have had a
bad day, week or life.

And as the heavy-weights steal big, us straw-weights shoplift, filch
from work or barter our boss’ merchandises. Gotta supplement those
starvation paychecks.

Barista, I’ll give you a free cappuccino, smart blonde-blended amaro
joe, in exchange for a frankenchicken enchilada from your minimum
wage shack of employment.

Or take this schmuck working at Ross, the Dress for Less store. For
a while now, he’s been sneaking shirts, wallets and belts into the
trash, to recover then peddle for cheap.

Last May, 47 U.S. Marines and 21 civilian accomplices were charged
with stealing assault rifles, bullets, night vision goggles and $800.00
flash lights to sell on eBay and Craiglist, at garage sales and through
direct meetings.

Buyers included domestic gangs and foreign agents. Since the country
itself is, by far, the world’s biggest arms dealers, why shouldn’t its
lowly grunts get in on the action?

Last April, six US Army soldiers were arrested for selling stolen
weapons, trafficking cocaine and offering murder for hire, “wet
work,” with a hit costing $50,000, plus five kilos of coke.

Your gang’s initial could be carved, free of charge, into the deceased
individual.

In an AT&T commercial, a suited guy asks a bunch of kids,
“Who thinks two is better than one?” All the kids shout, “Two!”
Suit continues, “Now, what’s better, being able to shoot two
lasers out of your eyes at the same time, or just one laser out
of one eye?”

A kid then explains, “It’s just fun. One beam, OK, it does a little
bit of damage. Two beams, it makes something explode!”

So there you have it.

To sell a gadget that allows you to bungle two activities
simultaneously, they use cute, goofy kids to gush over a
futuristic weapon, as fired by a cyborg.

We subject our children to maddening, nonstop and inhuman
stimuli, then wonder why they’re suffering from attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder. With them going apeshit inside
their No Dummie Left Behind cages, we drug them some more,
as if there weren’t enough toxins already clogging their veins.

Our media push violence and stupidity on us, then justify it by
saying this is exactly what we want, since we are belligerent morons,
more or less, but it’s clear we haven’t always been this way, and
don’t think I’m just using the cheeze whiz 70’s as a benchmark.

In 1927, “I’m Looking Over a Four Leave Clover” was a huge hit,
and you don’t have to understand its lyrics to know that it’s not
about banging some ho.

In 1929, Fats Waller scored with “Ain’t Misbehaving.”

Even as Al Capone’s boys were mowing them down in Chicago,
Americans were singing along to, “I don’t stay out late, don’t
care to go / I’m home about eight, just me and my radio / Ain’t
misbehavin’, I’m savin’ my love for you.”

Compare that with 50 Cent’s “remember the good times, the chips
we stacked / the clips we packed / and all the bricks we cooked
from coke to crack.”

Or, “Y’all can love me, or hate me, or suck my dick / I like my hoes
just like Summer, no class.”

Good Lord, and I thought smoking unfiltered Camel, drinking half a
six pack or making out with a girl outside the 7-Eleven (after working
eight hours at McDonald’s) was badass. Forgive me, Ice-T, for I’ve
wasted my corn syrupy teens.

A question worth asking: Who benefits from a more compulsive,
hence more violent, population?

Well, if you’re pushing eternal warfare, which we are, you’ll need
a pool of nutcases who are willing to shoot anyone for any reason,
or none at all, and more deranged oafs at home to go “Rah! Rah!”
over any bombing run or drone hit.

Are we going into Mali next? Why not? Where is it, by the way?

There has never been a country fighting so many wars without a
serious debate about any of them.

And if you want people to buy first, think later, to rack up life-
wrecking debts to satiate all ephemeral cravings, then you ply
them with poison, flickering television and thumping music.

You don’t want a population capable of deliberating, reflecting,
thinking clearly or even listening attentively, much less reading, but
one that can be jerked around by any sexy come-on or dumbed down slogan.

In Allentown, I saw a hand drawn sticker featuring a large, “HAPPY”
pill, with this caption, “POLITICS IS THE ART OF CONTROL. GO BACK
TO SLEEP.”

Americans are the most drugged and indebted people on earth, with
the highest rates of teen pregnancy and childbirth among developed
nations.

We don’t think much about the future, nor can we envision what it
might bring.

With no universal health care, many of us don’t even dare to think
about our own bodily decline or vulnerabilities.

“Kicking the can down the road” has become our mantra.

Each speech by the President is a vapid pep talk with no correlation
to reality, yet, clouded by virtual or real narcotics, many of us still
clap and cheer.

Others mumble that it’s time we fight back, but with our enemy
ill-defined or out of reach, we’re reduced to shooting innocents or
ourselves.



Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, and a just released
novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating socialscape
through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Deranging-America-by-Linh-
Dinh-130220-674.html

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fear By Another Name

Fear By Another Name

By Michael Brenner
Counterpunch
February 19, 2013

Assassination of American citizens by presidential dictate, blanket
suspension of habeas corpus indefinitely, massive wiretapping and
surveillance with and without warrant, torture as the official policy
of the United States government these are trademarks of the “war
on terror” pursued since 9/11.

This despite the absence of a single serious attack over the past
twelve years and the scattering of a defanged al-Qaida – the only
group that once had the potential capability to do us major harm.

The extraordinary trashing of our cherished civil liberties and ethical
standards is matched by the stunning acceptance of these actions by
our political class, by our professional elites, by the populace.

Approval, not just passive acceptance, is the most common attitude.

No prominent politician denounces these insults to American
principles except the few who very late in the day ponder the
desirability of introducing a tame court review of demands to
execute the “kill list” as a fig leaf (when citizens are the targets).

The American Bar Association assumes a low-key, guarded pose.

The American Medical Association avoids addressing the role of
doctors in advising on torture techniques.

The long catatonic universities do not bestir themselves.

The American Psychological Association collaborated with private
consultants in organizing workshops on behavioral change under
induced extreme stress.

Some anthropologist slap on side arms to provide an escort service
for Special Forces in Pashtun villages.

The scholarly societies are silent. The think tank and foundation
worlds closely follow the score in playing accompaniment to official
policies.

A couple of established churches make feeble declarations while
restricting themselves to a few anodyne homilies.

As for the media, they consistently have been accomplices, giving
either active (in most cases) or passive backing to doing “what is
necessary” to “safeguard” the American people.

Even The New York Times, self-proclaimed pillar of journalistic
integrity and defender of our freedoms from government abuse,
repeatedly bent its standards to accommodate successive
administrations ever ready to break the rules.

Transmission belt for the falsehoods that paved the way for the
invasion of Iraq, withholder of information about illegal electronic
surveillance on the eve of the 2004 election, discrete on Guantanamo
abuses, and Johnny-come-lately to the assassination on Oval Office
command scandal, the Times and kindred members of the “quality”
press have been enablers of the distressing practices of our
government at home as well as abroad.

Explanation of this failure by persons and institutions throughout
our democracy is imperative. It has not been forthcoming.

The “why’ question is an important as the question of the
implications from this dereliction. For it forces us to come
to terms with the hyper sensitive issues of who we are and
what we have become as a society.

Fear and dread, deep and pervasive, are the abiding feature of
these times.

Existential threats from mysterious forces with no fixed address
are most scary because they are not resoluble by focused action
taken against a clear target.

They gnaw at you as well as frighten you. That produces dread.

Dread is free floating fear – it fixes on what might be, thereby
magnifying fears of experiencing one more horrific events of
the past.

American actions in the ‘war on terror’ have been driven by
dread at home and abroad.

Dread that it may happen again, dread of the unknown, dread of
the alien. It explains not only the radical thrust of Washington’s
conduct in the Greater Middle East but also the dulling of critical
faculties.

That pertains to torture, kill lists and illegal surveillance as well
as the ready resort to military power.

This is all basic psychology. But it leaves unexplained why the
effect has endured so long. Why hasn’t it worn off? The reasons
are identifiable.

For one thing, dread has been assiduously cultivated by leaders
who have exploited fear for their own ends political or ideological.

They have been assisted in this dubious enterprise by claques
of dogmatists and professional fear-mongers and by a legion
of careerists riding the wave.

Moreover, our leaders skillfully have drawn the country into the
vortex of shameful misdeeds.

By casting every exceptional act as essential to a crusade to
protect America, by scorning criticism as un-patriotic, by
relentless propaganda, they have tainted and compromised
nearly everyone.

In effect, a classic “line of blood” has been drawn between
Americans on one side of it, and truth/integrity/principle on
the other side. That has been the “war on terror’s” historic
accomplishment.

Collective betrayal of our ideals, tarnishing our self-identity,
has left Americans bereft of the self-respect nurtures virtue
and generates the courage to confront lapses.

Torture as a demonstrable matter of fact, torture as the official
policy of the White House, torture without reasonable cause has
no precedent in America.

Nor does assassination.

Their routine occurrence in the ‘war on terror’ testifies to the
amorality of those managing the country’s affairs.

Its tolerance by the public, by Congress, and the accessory role
played by the enabling courts before, during and after the fact
add up to a national pathology.

For decades, Americans looked back on the internment of fellow
citizens of Japanese ancestry as an aberration which never could
happen again. Now, no such assumption can be made.

Imagine this picture:

Iranian armies have conquered the Middle East and have reached
Morocco; an Iranian armada has sunk most of the country’s Atlantic
fleet at anchor in Norfolk; and a few hundreds of thousands of
American citizens of Iranian descent live clustered on the
Northeastern seaboard. Is there reason to doubt that their treatment
would be such as to make them envy the condition of the Nisei during
WW II?

The United States nowadays is a country of false bravery. Its
self-image of daring individualism persists even as timid conformity
relegates it to the realm of legend.

Persons whose inquisitive dedication to the truth challenges
convention about public matters are shunned.

Worse, they are punished. For they threaten to expose sins of
omission or commission – we cannot allow ourselves to admit.

We cannot because to do so means undermining the national myths
and legends that sustain us – as a people and as individuals.

Of course, all societies live by myths and legends. They abbreviate
the universe for us. That is a crucial contribution to maintaining
the emotional and mental stability that allows us to function.

Humans have only so much tolerance for the truth. Considerations
of convenience and comfort are the main reason.

Both dictate sublimation and avoidance in the shameful aftermath
of the terror decade.

In America, cognitive dissonance among those with some awareness
of the national predicament is handled not by resolution, but rather
through coping mechanisms. They keep inconsistencies below a
certain pain cum embarrassment threshold.

That artless strategy has proven viable in part because Americans,
beguiled by their leaders and the country’s entire political class,
have learned to live in a virtual reality.

The actual and the imagined have become fused so that the
former has no clear precedence in its hold on the individual and
collective mind. The mythic and the real are interchangeable.

Thus, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo.

Thus, the fabricated yet fabled hero David Petraeus; countries
manufacture the heroes they need – and that they are prepared
to pay the price for.

Thus, the ‘success’ of the surge in Iraq.

Thus the solemn pronouncements that judgment on our tragic
adventures there and in Afghanistan must “await the verdict
of history” just as the historians’ jury is still out on Krakatoa.

Moreover, a collectivity of the self-worshipful militates toward
the same outcome.

In America today, a vague patriotism, itself an abstracted form
of national self-worship, is the only sealant that bonds otherwise
separate egoists.

It's effect is made all the more powerful by the common experience Vof being accessories to the shameful acts of their government. This
phenomenon is at once cause and reinforced effect of our flight from
information and knowledge.

A queer feature of contemporary American life is the equation of
ignorance and freedom. New information is instinctively seen as a
threat instead of something carrying possible value to be embraced.

For it asks engagement, some mental effort, and it promises the
pain of owning up to behaviors we cannot stand contemplating.

Most people, therefore, find it intolerable to admit either that their
earlier judgments about the necessity to go to war (and of all those
other things) or that they had been so easily and completely duped.

Why are the facts of how a substantial majority of Americas are
being bamboozled unwelcome?

One reason is that seeing them for what they are entails revelation
of distressing realities. Those realities include participation in one’s
own deception. After all, it is well known that the stubborn resistance
of a buyer of counterfeit art to admitting that he has been duped is
in proportion to how much he has paid.

Things that happen to unexceptional nations are not supposed to
happen to America – an America born under a lucky star. For many,
the Star of Bethlehem.

When mishaps do happen, they sow disquiet, incomprehension and
a search for scapegoats. The planets are out of alignment. That is
something frightening and quite dreadful.

The “war on terror” bears several unpalatable truths: our attempt
at putting the Iraqis on the path to peace and prosperity has failed
America is thwarted; the Iraqis and Afghans are not grateful and
most of the world dislikes/hates us – Americans expect and need
to be loved for our natural virtue; the terrorist threat is still there
to bedevil us – America is unnaturally unsafe;

Americans have been deceived by two consecutive Presidents
the bond of trust central to our civic religion has been broken;
we torture and we abuse others.

America’s moral leadership is gone; we have subverted our own
liberties we have panicked in an unmanly manner. Taken together,
these failures and transgressions are a heavy load on the collective
national psyche.

An America that is not able, that is not moral, that is not smart,
that lies, that lies to itself, that America is incompatible with the
myths that sustain us.

Therefore, better that the truth not be told.

We have been living in a morbid fear for whose release we will
sacrifice our freedoms,a people whose timidity in acknowledging
their failings is fear by another name.



Michael Brenner is a Professor of International Affairs at the
University of Pittsburgh.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/18/fear-by-another-name

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Colosseum Syndrome

Colosseum Syndrome

In the forenoon men are thrown to lions and bears; at noon, to the spectators. They order those who have made a kill to be thrown to
others who will kill them, the victor is kept for fresh slaughter. The
conclusion of every fight is death; no quarter is given…. Then comes
the intermission: ‘Let’s have a little throat-cutting; we must have
some action.

— Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 B.C.-65 AD)

By William Manson
Dissident Voice
February 17, 2013

Human beings, to the extent that they still can defiantly assert
their “humanity,” resent being treated as objects—objects to be,
“employed” worked with maximal “efficiency,” and then discarded.

The “un-employed” person is deprived of whatever dignity and
status are conferred by the responsibilities of a job title.

Yet ironically, a job, with all the daily frustrations it entails, can
itself be degrading and humiliating—indeed, a mild form of,
“torture.”

Torture has its gradations: from the most extreme forms
(waterboarding) to more subtle displays (such as passive-
aggressive obstructionism in relationships).

In its most heinous forms, torture consists of confining a helpless
victim, who is subjected to physical pain and torment, emotional
abuse, and various other degrading humiliations.

Prohibited by both international and domestic laws, the torture of
suspected, “terrorists” is nonetheless now widely condoned by most
American citizens (or so it seems).

A kind of,“torture-of-the-week” riveted the audience of the popular
TV series “24.”

Why, so many critics have asked, do Americans today tolerate (or
even approve) of the illegal torture so routinely administered by their
own government?

Of course, Americans have long been desensitized to violence.
Everyday life is in itself brutalizing to humane sensibility.

The average U.S. employee is stripped of her dignity on an
almost-daily basis: penalties for lateness, nit-picking performance
reviews, reprimands and unfair demands, chronic worry about job
security, mandatory overtime and so on.

Without strong union representation (increasingly rare in the
retrograde U.S. workplace), the individual often feels trapped
and demoralized—with few (if any) options for escape.

Under such degrading conditions, human beings strive to preserve
and protect a vestige of dignity, self-respect and autonomous action.

What do such frustrated, beleaguered Americans feel?

Quite often: resentment, even rage–and a desire for vengeance.

But who to blame?

Why not suspicious “foreigners,” such as job-stealing immigrants
or “subversive” Muslims? (Of course, such scapegoating is nothing
new.

In the aftermath of defeat in World War I, with its devastating
reparations, economically strained Germans blamed the minority
Jewish population—not the Kaiser or Krupp Armaments.)

Those mistreated may seek to deny their helplessness and
humiliation through an, “identification-with-the-aggressor.”

Why not stockpile assault weapons, and at least enjoy the
Rambo-esque fantasy of exacting retribution?

From the demeaning feeling of being a, “loser” in a winner-take-
all economic system one may vicariously feel a satisfying surge
of, “power-over” those who can conveniently be scapegoated.

At the same time aggressive rage is vented and displaced onto
those who can be blamed for threatening one’s, “way-of-life.”

Let us not forget the grinning, even exultant faces of the
perpetrators at Abu Ghraib.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/02/colosseum-syndrome

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Obama's Failed State

Obama's Failed State

By Stephen Lendman
Information Clearing House
February 14, 2013

Obama's State of the Union address didn't surprise. It reflected
rogue leadership. It was beginning-to-end demagogic boilerplate.

Defending the indefensible took center stage.

Rhetoric substituted for progressive policies. Bombast assured
business as usual.

Priorities include waging war on humanity, force-fed austerity,
ignoring public needs, institutionalizing a repressive police state
apparatus, and cracking down hard on non-believers.

Doing so assures growing despotism, lawlessness, poverty,
unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and deprivation.

Obama's address targeted Medicare.

He called "medical care for the aged….the biggest cause of the
nation's longterm debt."

He lied. Military spending, imperial wars, Wall Street bailouts,
other corporate handouts, and tax cuts for the rich and business
bear full responsibility.

Falsely blaming Medicare for Washington's malfeasance reveals
bipartisan rogue leadership. It's indicative of what's to come.

In 2009, Obama prioritized cutting healthcare costs and, "restoring
fiscal discipline." He made doing so the top, "pillars" of his agenda
saying:

"We've kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of
the road and are not in a position to kick it any further."

"We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of
the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's."

"The big problem is Medicare. Its cost is unsustainable."

"Let's not kid ourselves and suggest that we can solve this problem
by trimming a few earmarks."

"The biggest cost drivers in our budget are entitlement programs
like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which get more
and more expensive every year."

"If we want to get serious about fiscal discipline - and I do - we will
have to get serious about entitlement reform."

Medicare and Social Security aren't entitlements. They're insurance
programs.

They're funded by worker/employer payroll tax deductions. They're
contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify.

Obama did what he does best. He lied. He's a serial liar.

He supports wealth and power. He’s beholden to powerful monied
interests. They own him. He spurns popular needs. He prioritizes
letting them go begging on his watch.

He proposed massive Medicare cuts. In 2010, 2011, and last
November he urged more. He's waging class war on Americans.

He wants fundamental social benefits destroyed. He wants
ordinary people hung out to dry. He wants them on own sink
or swim.

In 2010, his Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal
Responsibility and Reform (NCFRF) recommended deep Medicare
cuts, higher Medicaid co-pays, and restrictions on filing malpractice
suits.

It urged other ways to end Washington's responsibility for healthcare.
Obama's address reiterated support. Implementation assures disaster
for millions.

Healthcare for millions already is unaffordable. Implementing
Simpson-Bowles makes it more so when most needed. Illnesses
will go untreated. Pain, suffering, and early deaths will follow.

Rogue leadership assures it. Obama reflects the worst of
irresponsible lawless leaders.

His jobs proposals reveal more. His address rehashed old schemes.
His September 2011, "American Jobs Act" promised, "putting more
people back to work" with no plan to do it.

It showed contempt for ordinary households. It was same old,
same old. It concealed another thinly veiled wealth transfer
scheme.

It included a laundry list of corporate handouts.

Excluded were ways to create jobs, stimulate growth, reinvigorate
Main Street, strengthen America's middle class, and help growing
millions of impoverished, disadvantaged households most in need.

Obama's address claimed trade deals offshoring jobs to low wage
countries create them. He urge support for current ones being
negotiated.

He wants the nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
adopted. It's a trade deal from hell. It's a secretive, multi-nation
agreement.

Adoption assures unrestricted trade in goods, services, rules
of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures,
technical barriers, government procurement and competition
policies, and intellectual property (IP).

Obama want secretive provisions established with no public
oversight or knowledge of their destructive harm. TPP aims
to rewrite global IP enforcement rules. It includes numerous
other anti-populist mandates.

National sovereignty is at stake. Signatory countries must
change domestic laws, regulations, and other policies to
comply.

What's known subverts US laws. Congress is left powerless.
Supranational TPP authority overrides national sovereignty.

Investor rights are prioritized over public ones.

Obama called for replicating TPP with EU countries. He urged
establishing a Trans-Atlantic Partnership. He prioritizes corporate
empowerment over human rights and needs. He's got much more
in mind.

He supports extrajudicial killing. He's got kill list authority. It's
official US policy. Drones are his weapon of choice. He appointed
himself judge, jury and executioner.

He wants anyone he targets assassinated. US citizens are included.
Rule of law protections don't apply. Summary judgment has final say.
No one's safe anywhere. There's no place to hide.

His address made clear where he stands, saying:

"Where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue
to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest
threat to Americans."

Police states operate that way. Murder, Inc. is official policy.

He claimed he "forge(d) a durable legal and policy (enforceable)
framework." He usurped diktat authority.

Doing so subverts fundamental international, constitutional, and
US statute laws. They're null and void. His say overrides them.

Unchecked power is policy. Full-blown tyranny's a hair's breath
away. Congressional leaders are supportive.

Obama's entire address reflected rogue leadership.

He wants public schools modernized by privatizing them.

His immigration proposal mocks notions of welcoming tired,
poor, wretched masses yearning to breathe free.

His energy program prioritizes drill, drill, drill.

His cybersecurity scheme involves no-holds-barred cyberwar.

His notion of economic prosperity is greater corporate
empowerment and enriching America's privileged.

His housing program lets bankers scam ordinary people.

His minimum wage proposal falls way below the poverty line.

His Afghanistan plan is permanent occupation.

His budget-cutting program targets vitally needed domestic
programs. His entire agenda reflects rogue leadership.

He's got much more in mind. He's four more years to wage
war on humanity. Expect him to take full advantage.



Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and his new book is titled
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33945.htm

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Choice For Corporate America

Are You With America or The Cayman Islands

By Senator Bernie Sanders
The Huffington Post
February 11, 2013

When the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street
drove this country into the deepest recession since the 1930s,
the largest financial institutions in the United States took every
advantage of being American.

They just loved their country - and the willingness of the American
people to provide them with the largest bailout in world history.

In 2008, Congress approved a $700 billion gift to Wall Street.

Another $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans and
other financial assistance came from the Federal Reserve.

America. What a great country.

But just two years later, as soon as these giant financial institutions
started making record-breaking profits again, they suddenly lost their
love for their native country.

At a time when the nation was suffering from a huge deficit, largely
created by the recession that Wall Street caused, the major financial
institutions did everything they could to avoid paying American taxes
by establishing shell corporations in the Cayman Islands and other tax
havens.

In 2010, Bank of America set up more than 200 subsidiaries in the
Cayman Islands (which has a corporate tax rate of 0.0 percent) to
avoid paying U.S. taxes.

It worked. Not only did Bank of America pay nothing in federal
income taxes, but it received a rebate from the IRS worth $1.9
billion that year.

They are not alone. In 2010, JP Morgan Chase operated 83
subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens to avoid
paying some $4.9 billion in U.S. taxes.

That same year Goldman Sachs operated 39 subsidiaries in
offshore tax havens to avoid an estimated $3.3 billion in
U.S. taxes.

Citigroup has paid no federal income taxes for the last four years
after receiving a total of $2.5 trillion in financial assistance from
the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.

On and on it goes.

Wall Street banks and large companies love America when they
need corporate welfare.

But when it comes to paying American taxes or American wages,
they want nothing to do with this country.

That has got to change. Offshore tax abuse is not just limited to
Wall Street.

Each and every year corporations and the wealthy are avoiding more
than $100 billion in U.S. taxes by sheltering their income offshore.

Pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly and Pfizer have fought to
make it illegal for the American people to buy cheaper prescription
drugs from Canada and Europe.

But, during tax season, Eli Lilly and Pfizer shift drug patents and
profits to the Netherlands and other offshore tax havens to avoid
paying U.S. taxes.

Apple wants all of the advantages of being an American company,
but it doesn't want to pay American taxes or American wages.

It creates the iPad, the iPhone, the iPod, and iTunes in the United
States, but manufactures most of its products in China so it doesn't
have to pay American wages.

Then it shifts most of its profits to Ireland, Luxembourg, the British
Virgin Islands and other tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Without such maneuvers, Apple's federal tax bill in the United States
would have been $2.4 billion higher in 2011.

Offshore tax schemes have become so absurd that one five-story
office building in the Cayman Islands is now the, "home" to more
than 18,000 corporations.

This tax avoidance does not just reduce the revenue that we need to
pay for education, healthcare, roads, and environmental protection,
it is also costing us millions of American jobs.

Today, companies are using these same tax schemes to lower
their tax bills by shipping American jobs and factories abroad.

These tax breaks have contributed to the loss of more than
5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs and the closure of more than
56,000 factories since 2000.

That also has got to change.

At a time when we have a $16.5 trillion national debt; at a time when
roughly one-quarter of the largest corporations in America are paying
no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at
an all-time high; it is past time for Wall Street and corporate America
to pay their fair share.

That's what the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S.250) that
I have introduced with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is all about.

This legislation will stop profitable Wall Street banks and corporations
from sheltering profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens to
avoid paying U.S. taxes.

It will also stop rewarding companies that ship jobs and factories
overseas with tax breaks.

The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated in the past that the
provisions in this bill will raise more than $590 billion in revenue over
the next decade.

As Congress debates deficit reduction, it is clear that we must raise
significant new revenue.

At 15.8 percent of GDP, federal revenue is at almost the lowest point
in 60 years.

Our Republican colleagues want to balance the budget on the backs
of the elderly, the sick, the children, the veterans, and the most
vulnerable by making massive cuts.

At a time when the middle class already is disappearing, that is not
only a grossly immoral position, it is bad economics.

We have a much better idea.

Wall Street and the largest corporations in the country must begin to
pay their fair share of taxes.

They must not be able to continue hiding their profits offshore and
shipping American jobs overseas to avoid taxes.

Here's the simple truth.

You can't be an American company only when you want a massive
bailout from the American people.

You have also got to be an American company, and pay your fair share of taxes, as we struggle with the deficit and adequate funding for the needs of the American people.

If Wall Street and corporate America don't agree, the next time
they need a bailout let them go to the Cayman Islands, let them
go to Bermuda, let them go to the Bahamas and let them ask those
countries for corporate welfare.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/a-choice-for-
corporate-am_b_2652176.html

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tribalism and Agreed-Upon Lies

Tribalism and Agreed-Upon Lies

”History is a set of lies agreed upon”, - Napoleon Bonaparte, quoting
Fontanelle

By John Scales Avery
Information Clearing House
Friday, February 08, 2013

It seems to be a part of human nature to behave with great kindness
towards members of our own group.

By contrast we often exhibit terrible aggression towards other groups
that are perceived to be competing with or threatening our own.

This profile of intra-tribal altruism and inter-tribal aggression is easy
to understand if we remember that our remote ancestors belonged to
small, genetically homogeneous tribes, competing for territory on the
grasslands of Africa.

Because all the members of a particular primitive tribe had closely
similar genes through intermarriage, the tribe as a whole was the
unit upon which evolutionary forces acted.

The tribe as a whole either survived or perished, and those groups
with the strongest, “team spirit” survived best.

Later in history, the invention of agriculture made it possible for
humans to live in larger groups, and ethical rules were invented
to overwrite raw human nature so that genetically inhomogeneous
cities, nations and even empires could exist with social cohesion
and without internal strife.

Because of ethics, cooperation became possible over larger and
larger areas.

Human culture was able to blossom, and the vast accumulation
of knowledge upon which modern civilization depends began to
accumulate.

Nevertheless, narrow tribalism remains today in the form of religious
bigotry and fanatical nationalism.

We urgently need a global ethic, which will unite all humans.

Members of tribelike groups throughout history have marked their
identity by adhering to irrational systems of belief.

Like the ritual scarification which is sometimes used by primitive
tribes as a mark of identity, irrational systems of belief are also a
mark of tribal identity.

We parade these beliefs to demonstrate that we belong a special
group and that we are proud of it. The more irrational the belief is,
the better it serves this purpose.

When you and I tell each other that we believe the same nonsense, a
bond is forged between us. The worse the nonsense is, the stronger
the bond.

Sometimes motives of advantage are mixed in.

As the Nobel Laureate biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi observed,
evolution designed the human mind, not for finding truth, but for
finding advantage.

Within the Orwellian framework of many modern nations, it
is extremely disadvantageous to hold the wrong opinions.
The wiretappers know what you are thinking.

Also, people often believe what will make them happy.

How else can we explain the denial of climate change in the
face of massive evidence to the contrary?

But truth has the great virtue that it allows us to accurately
predict the future.

If we ignore truth because it is unfashionable, or painful, or
heretical, the future will catch us unprepared.



John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an
M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical
chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D.
there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at
the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33879.htm

Monday, February 4, 2013

Have We Lost Our Humanity?

Have We Lost Our Humanity?

By Robert Wolff
Op Ed News Op Eds
February 04, 2013

Our scientists are renowned. We know so much. But we know more
about the universe and about bacteria and viruses than we know
about ourselves.

Certainly, we know more than ever about the functioning of our
physical selves.

We have multiple imaginations about who we are and where we fit
into the biosphere, for instance. But somewhere we have lost
ourselves as humans.

We, meaning the western, "we" assume and accept that we are
totally apart from the earth and all other creators. We believe we
own the planet.

Most of humankind still knows that we are Mother Earth's children,
as the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said. We are not the boss;
we do not own the world. If anything, the planet owns us.

Humans everywhere have rituals and beliefs that strengthen their
cohesion as a cooperative community.

We westerners, modern humans, have grandiose and unreal beliefs
about our unlimited power to do what we want. What we do with all
our power endangers our own survival and that of many other species.

I think that is because we know so much about matter, and so little
about the spirit that is the essence of life.

We have come to think that, "spirit" is unmeasurable and therefore
not scientific, not worth thinking about.

Perhaps because we think spirit is religion, and so outside the realm
of science that deals only with matter, another form of energy as
Einstein formulated.

The only rational something to pay attention to.

But to me the word, "spirit" does not mean religion. Religion is the
package, what we create around spirit. Religion is a form we give
spirit and we can make hundreds, thousands of forms.

It is hard to talk about, or define, "spirit" in a culture that accepts
only matter as real.

To me spirit is more real than matter. It is the awe that is at the
core of life.

Spirit is in what we call love, compassion.

Spirit is the indomitable something of the people who struggled to
reach the poles despite inhuman odds, climbed the highest mountains
of the Himalayas.

Spirit is what makes children surviving a cyclone in Burma take care
of each other, when in the confusion no adults are around.

Spirit is what makes people all over the world make sometimes great
efforts to raise baby animals orphaned by hunters or poachers who
killed the nursing mother tiger, or elephant.

Spirit is the mysterious something we feel on a lonely beach when
happening upon an unusual, almost unreal, sunrise on a far horizon.

Spirit, I imagine, is what the first space traveler felt when he saw
the earth, the whole earth and understood the miracle of this ball of
matter that is alive, held in a trajectory around the sun by invisible
forces.

I'm not sure that only humans have spirit.

I wonder what animals feel at sunset: usually no wind, fading light,
birds who chatter loudly in a tree suddenly silent. Even the roosters
here stop crowing.

I remember a time when a friend and I were at a rocky beach. Her
dog could not stop bounding from one rock to another sniffing and
playing with the waves. Until it began to get dark. When a blood-
red sun lit up the sky at the far horizon the dog sat frozen at our
feet, as enraptured as we were.

Hiding, ignoring, or denying spirit makes a cruel culture. It leaves
us searching for ideals. Something greater, more important, than
the fear which drives us today.

A majority of, "We the People" chose the ideals so eloquently
spoken, but some politicians did not hear and perhaps had
more power through worshipping money.

The irony, of course, is that money is an illusion.

A piece of paper printed with the words, "ten dollars" is not worth
anything but the price of a printed piece of paper.

But seller and buyer accept the belief that it can buy ten dollars
worth of stuff.

History is full of occasions when suddenly people woke up and no
longer believed the worth of a piece of paper.

The wealth of the super rich is as illusional, it consists of numbers
in a computer that we let it intimidate us.

Maybe you think spirit is as illusionary as money because it does
not buy anything. Oh, but it does!

It does not buy material things, but spirit makes us human.

Spirit is what gives compassion.

Com-passion: with-feeling. Not doing to others what we do not
want others to do to us.

Isn't that the exact opposite of what our current culture does?

We do to others what we don't want them to do to us.

It is a law of nature, a law of the universe perhaps, that the
more we kill others the more the others will kill us.

But what do I know? I'm a 20th Century man, I don't understand
this century.

But I do know that a culture based on fear is not healthy. If
everyone and anyone is suspected of being a possible danger,
we make ourselves the danger.

A healthy culture is based on trust. It seems to me that is what
this Republic was meant to be by the Fathers.

Trusting that, "We the People" were honorable human beings,
trusted to want the best for all of us.

Yes, flawed because at the time slaves were not considered quite
human (although human enough to bear half white children). But
we corrected that.

Now we are plagued with the disease of mistrusting people of
another religion, another color, other thoughts. Distrust does
not a healthy society make.

We have lost the human.

Humans are not all alike, humans have unique qualities and talents;
that make ours a unique and talented society.

We cannot forget or ignore that humans have spirit even when it is
hidden behind one or more masks.

Anyone remember Dune, by Frank Herbert? Famous science fiction
of the second half of the last century. This is from that book the
first, the original:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death
that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it
to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will
turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there
will be nothing. Only I will remain."

(The Litany of Fear, Bene Geserit rite, from DUNE, by Frank Herbert,
c. 1965)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Have-We-Lost-Our-Humanity-
by-robert-wolff-130201-608.html