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ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Social Costs of Capitalism

The Social Costs of Capitalism

By Paul Craig Roberts
CounterPunch.org
Friday, May 31, 2013

When I was a graduate student in economics, the social cost
of capitalism was a big issue in economic theory.

Since those decades ago, the social costs of capitalism have
exploded, but the issue seems no longer to trouble the economics
profession.

Social costs are costs of production that are not born by the
producer or included in the price of the product.

There are many classic examples: the pollution of air, water,
and land from mining, fracking, oil drilling and pipeline spills,
chemical fertilizer farming, GMOs, pesticides, radioactivity
released from nuclear accidents, and the the pollution of food
by antibiotics and artificial hormones.

Some economists believe that these traditional social costs
can be dealt with by well defined property rights.

Others think that benevolent government will control social
costs in the interests of society.

Today there are new social costs brought by globalism.

For developed countries, these are unemployment, lost consumer
income, tax base, and GDP growth, and rising trade and current
account deficits from the offshoring of manufacturing and tradeable
professional service jobs.

The trade and current account deficits can result in a falling
exchange value of the currency and rising inflation from import
prices.

For underdeveloped countries, the costs are the loss of
self-sufficiency and the transformation of agriculture into
mono-cultures to feed the needs of international corporations.

Economists are oblivious to this new epidemic of social costs,
because they mistakenly think that globalism is free trade and
that free trade is always beneficial.

Economists are also unaware of the social costs of deregulation.

The ongoing financial crisis which requires massive public subsidies
to “banks too big to fail” is a social cost resulting from government
accommodating Wall Street pressure to deregulate the financial
system by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, by removing the position
limits on speculators, by preventing the CFTC from regulating
derivatives, and by turning the Anti-Trust Act into dead-letter law
and permitting massive economic concentrations.

The social costs of successful corporate lobbying is enormous.

But economists who believe that markets are self-regulating imagine
that an enormous gain in efficiency has occurred, not massive social
costs.

In order to keep the deregulated financial system afloat, the
Federal Reserve has monetized trillions of dollars of debt over
the last several years.

Real interest rates have been driven into negative territory.

Retirees are unable to earn any interest income on their savings
and have to draw down their capital in order to cover their living
expenses.

The liquidity injected into financial markets by the Federal Reserve’s
policy of quantitative easing has produced huge bond and stock
market bubbles.

When they pop, more American wealth will be wiped out and more
jobs will be lost.

Consider just one example of the social costs of jobs off shoring.

When US corporations produce abroad the goods and services that
they market to Americans, the goods and services that flow into the
US arrive as imports.

Thus, the trade deficit rises dollar for dollar.

The trade deficit means that the US has imported more than it has
earned in foreign currencies by exporting. For most countries this
would be a problem, but not for the US.

The US dollar is the world reserve currency, which means that it is
the means of international payment and that foreign central banks
hold US dollars as reserves to secure the values of their own
currencies.

With the passage of time, this advantage becomes a disadvantage,
because foreigners use the dollars gained from their trade surpluses
to buy up American income producing assets.

They buy US Treasury bonds and US corporate bonds, and the
interest income leaves the country.

They purchase US companies, and the profits, dividends and
capital gains leave the country.

They lease Chicago’s parking meters and American toll roads,
and the revenues flow abroad.

The enormous outflow of income streams creates a large current
account deficit for the US, which means that foreigners have even
more surplus dollars with which to buy up more US assets.

In other words, a chronic trade deficit is a way to redirect a
country’s revenues and profits into overseas hands.

The ownership of a country changes from its own citizens to
foreigners.

According to Reuters, in 1971 foreign companies owned 1.3%
of all corporate US assets.

By 2008 foreigners owned 14.2 percent of all US industries, including
21.5% of mining, 25% of manufacturing, 30.2% of wholesale trade,
12% of information industries, 12% of real estate, 15% of finance and
insurance, 25% of professional, scientific, and technical services, 11%
of entertainment and recreation and 11% of accommodation and food
services, according to a report from Economy In Crisis.

Numerous famous American brand names now are companies owned
by foreigners.

Budweiser belongs to a Dutch company.

Alka Seltzer belongs to a German company.

Firestone belongs to a Japanese company.

The magazines Car and Driver and Woman’s Day are owned by a
French company.

Gerber baby food and Purina dog food belong to Swiss companies.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream belong to UK
companies.

Many thousands of former US companies have moved into foreign
control as a result of the US trade deficit, which is swollen by the
off shored production of US corporations.

The policy of chasing lowest labor cost abroad, that is, of pursuing
absolute advantage, the antithesis of comparative advantage which
is the basis of free trade, is the redirection of US profits, capital
gains, rents, interest, parking meter and toll road fees into foreign
hands.

Thus, there is a high social cost from corporate executives pursuing
short-term profits in order to maximize their performance bonuses.

The profits from off shored production are not indications of
economic efficiency and social welfare.

Most likely, the social costs to the US of off shored production are
larger than the profits gained, making jobs off shoring a net loss
to the US economy.

There is little doubt that the social costs of GMOs exceed the
profits of Monsanto.

But don’t expect mainstream economists to pay any attention.

They are still waxing eloquently about the advantages of Globalism’s
gift of the New Economy of high unemployment and low wages,
financial crisis and dollar erosion.



Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury
and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book is
The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/the-social-costs-of-
capitalism

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And Here We Are

And Here We Are

By David Glenn Cox
The Leftist Review
May 29, 2013

And so here we are, living in an environment Huxley or Orwell could
forecast, but could never foretaste.

It is the enormity of it and the stealthiness of it, which gets next to
you.

Shoving money through the slots as the man with gun and uniform
watches you from the corner of the grocery store on a Friday night.

It requires the suspension of belief and the acceptance of an
un-reality, as Barack Obama names a former cable industry lobbyist
to head the Federal Communications Commission and the Republicans
create a false flag issue out of Benghazi.

It is the one-party state creating a smoke screen, diverting attention
from the real issues of domestic policy.

Divide and conquer, always keep’em guessing, always leave’em
laughing.

Jack Lew is a former hedge fund manager for Citigroup and manager
of its alternative investments unit, with oversight over Citigroup’s
subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Hong Kong and he’s
the new Treasury Secretary.

Sally Jewell worked for Mobil as an engineer in the oil fields of
Oklahoma from 1978 to 1981. From there she moved on to banking
at Security Pacific and West One Bank, before moving on to the
Titanic disaster of modern banking, the ill-fated S.S. Washington
Mutual.

Jewell escaped the disaster by jumping ship as the iceberg
approached, moving on to become the CEO of REI sporting
goods.

She’s the Secretary of the Interior now and her qualifications for the
job are based solely on chairing several green committees, versus a
twenty-plus-year career in oil, finance and banking.

Who would a thunk it; an oil engineer with background in banking and
the Republicans said what?

The Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, was
named Governor of the year by the lobbying group, Biotechnology
Industry Organization.

This after Tom founded and chaired the Governor’s Biotechnology
Partnership.

Let’s forget Vilsack is in the pocket of agribusiness; he’s what
we’d call on the street, a bag man.

Vilsack approved a 15 cent tax, per live Christmas tree. The tax
had been a result of three years of lobbying by the Christmas tree industry.

What was the purpose of the tax? Was it to aid the unfortunate or
to buy meals for the hungry during the holidays?

No, the purpose of the tax was to fund an advertising program by
the Department of Agriculture, promoting the sale of live Christmas
trees.

It is classic Corporate Fascism; industry prompts government policy
to tax the populace, for the needs of the corporation.

Barack Obama never had the sympathies of the right, but he did
have the good will of the middle and of the Left.

Very quickly, Barack Obama disappointed, as the diehards wanted
to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Hope and Change degenerated into disappointment and
disillusionment; not just with Obama, but with the system
in its entirety.

The two-party system resembles two dogs fighting over one piece
of meat; growling and scrapping in a winner-take-all grudge match.

As cunning as they are, they are humans after all, only appearing to
act as dogs and with their cunning, it is altogether a better piece of
performance art, if they only pretend to fight and split the meal backstage.

There is an unspoken belief that Capitalism and Democracy are
somehow chained to the public good — they aren’t.

Capitalism is about making money and maximizing profit; public
good isn’t a pillar of Capitalism and public good isn’t a pillar of
Democracy either.

If they were, I wouldn’t be writing this and you, wouldn’t be
reading it.

Democracy is the alleged public control of government, but first,
you must take control of the party which selects the candidates.

Supporting the American two-party system is like pretending to be half blind, believing one side corrupt and morally bankrupt, while the other side has just a few bad apples, disgracing the nobles.

Forced to defend a Larry Craig or an Anthony Weiner?

Just imagine you have a six figure income and an easy job.

You can take care of your family, provide them with great
government-paid healthcare benefits and, if you don’t screw
up, it could lead to even more money in the future.

That’s the key, don’t screw up.

So would you put pictures of your dick on the internet; would
that be considered screwing up?

Would you consider soliciting other men for sex in the airport
men’s room; would that be considered screwing up?

It has nothing to do with sexual preferences; it’s about being
at work.

About the personal responsibilities of separating work and play
with only an implied understanding of doing the public good.

This list of offenders rolls on forever, as incumbents keep getting
re-elected, no matter how angry the public gets.

There is no office of public good in the United States.

No room where honorable individuals debate the merits versus
the cost.

In Norway, a state oil company does all the drilling with safety as
their priority.

The world’s oil companies bid to buy the oil and the revenue goes
into a national trust fund. Politicians can spend the interest from
the fund, but not the principal.

Here in America, Barack Obama wants to cut lease rates for oil
companies drilling on Federal lands.

The President claims this policy will encourage oil development,
without saying exactly why that idea is superior to a competing
idea — investing in clean renewable energy, like Germany has.

The new Secretary of Defense is a lifelong Republican, who
co-founded Vanguard Cellular, making himself a multimillionaire.

He was also the president of the investment banking firm, The
McCarthy Group, and was the CEO of American Information Systems,
later re-named Election Systems & Software.

After serving twelve years in the Senate, Chuck Hagel served time in
right-wing think-tanks with the likes of Brent Scowcroft and Richard
Lugar.

Hagel serves on the board of Directors of Chevron Corporation.

Think about that, the Secretary of Defense is an oil company
executive with investment banking experience.

The Secretary of the Interior is an oil company engineer and
career investment banker.

The Secretary of Agriculture was named Governor of the year
by a Monsanto funded lobbying group.

Benghazi! Benghazi! Scandal! Murder! Treason! Outrage! Democrats!
Republicans!

All right before your eyes; presto–chango!

The corporate police state is in full flower, as the media obsesses
ad-nausea for endless hours of infotainment; the actual culprits
walk between the raindrops.

As America’s only native criminal class robs the national treasury, like
looters at the Wal-Mart and dare call it Democracy — and so, here we
are.

In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and
a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might
be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what
in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies
– the development of a vast mass communications industry,
concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with
the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed
to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
~ Aldous Huxley



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.leftistreview.com/2013/05/21/and-here-we-are/
davidcox/

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our System Which is Drowning Us is Awakening Us

Our System Which is Drowning Us is Awakening Us

By Jason Liosatos
Information Clearing House
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We are undergoing a mass transformation triggered by us drowning
in despair.

Ironically it is the despair from our system of debt, fear and virtual
slavery that is the smelling salts alerting us and re minding us that
we are in trouble.

The transformation in people taking place now reminds me of the
initiation process that St. John used to do to people as his form of
radical baptism.

Apparently instead of the later sprinkling of water on the forehead,
he would get someone in the water and hold their head under the
water until they were thrashing around fighting for their lives, and
only just before they passed out would he pull them out.

Once they had reached that point of near death by suffocation
did they transcend and shed all their old skin, all their worries,
fears, petty concerns, the clutter in their minds, even their own
names, religions, race and general identity, and so had that feeling
of rebirth and freedom from the old self with all its attachments.

If someone is not sure who they are any more that’s good, it means
you may be transcending the old labels and shackles and coming
closer to getting to know the real you who has no labels but just is.

Apparently at or near real death this happens to a lot of people, and
the peace and transcendent liberation they have found is written on
their faces.

Many people who have faced death by accidents or disease often
discover their true essence again when everything is stripped away,
especially if they also transcend their fear, and rediscover their
freedom, happiness and peace that most people yearn for and never
discover their whole lives.

I can sense that people all over the world are being so manipulated,
and strangled by the system of debts and slavery, that a similar thing
is taking place.

The beautiful connection to peace, harmony, love and happiness
inherent in each person has become so weakened and cut off by
the strangulation our system has inflicted on us that they are
in a similar process to the radical near drowning I just described.

Our heads are being held under the water by mass manipulation in a
system which is now choking us to the point of unconsciousness, and
ironically it is this very thing which is triggering our transformation
and awakening us.

Like a caterpillar now becoming a butterfly thrashing around in
its old caterpillar cocoon to get out and fly, so are we awakening
by our heads being held under the water, not by the loving hands
of St. John but by the strangling hands of the oligarchs who have
been drowning us for years and years, and at last humanity has
suffered enough and is determined to break free.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35099.htm

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day This

Memorial Day This

By David Swanson
OpEdNews.com
May 26, 2013

Imagine if at some point during the 1990s or 1980s the President
of the United States had given a speech. And this was his speech:

My fellow Americans, I've been regularly shooting missiles into
people's houses in several countries.

I've wiped out families. I've killed thousands of people.

Hundreds of them have been little children.

I've killed grandparents, wives, daughters, neighbors.

I've targeted people without knowing their names but because
they appeared to be resisting an occupation of their country.

I've killed whoever was too near them.

Then I've shot another missile a few minutes later to kill whoever
was trying to help the victims.

I don't charge these people with crimes. I don't seek their
extradition.

I don't even try to kidnap them. And I don't do this to defend
against any imminent threat.

I don't make you safer by doing this.

It goes without saying (although the people in the countries I
target keep saying it) that I'm generating more new enemies
than I'm killing.

But I urge you to remember this:

All but four of the people I've killed have been non-U.S. citizens.

So here's what I'm going to do for you:

I'm going to start applying the same standards I use for killing
U.S. citizens to my killing of non-U.S. citizens, at least in certain
countries, at least after another 18 months or so goes by.

Sound good?

I know, I know: what do you care? These are not even U.S. citizens
we're talking about.

So, let me tell you about the four U.S. citizens.

One of them we didn't actually know who we were shooting at, and
he turned out to be a U.S. citizen.

Hell, for all I know a few other bodies could belong to U.S. citizens
too -- It's not as if we know all the names and backgrounds.

A second one of the four we got because he was with the one
and only U.S. citizen we targeted. So, that was a two-fer.

We saved enough on missiles on that one to pay for a school
or whatever it is people keep whining about wanting money
for.

A third one was a 16-year-old American kid. He was the son
of the one and only U.S. citizen I targeted.

I hit him two weeks after killing his father. Sheer coincidence.

I don't have any good explanation for it, but you'll just have
to trust that I meant to take out a bunch of innocent non-
American teenagers, and there happened tragically to be an
American among them.

Fourth is the one U.S. citizen I meant to kill.

I'd like to ask you to ignore certain facts about this one
for the moment. Actually forever.

Let's ignore the fact that we tried to kill him before any
of the incidents that I now claim justified his killing.

Let's ignore that my attorney general said back then that
we were killing him for things he'd said, not for anything
he'd done.

Let's forget that we never charged him with any crime,
never indicted him, never tried him, never sought his
extradition, never appealed to U.S. or foreign or
international courts.

Let's forget that we've never made any evidence against
him public, nor explained why we can't.

Let's forget that nobody else has produced any evidence
against him.

Now, let me tell you this:

I only killed him because he was responsible for planning and
executing violent attacks on the United States, was an imminent
threat to the United States, and could not possibly have been
captured.

Got that? Write that down.

Now, it's true that courts and the legislature and the public
are left out of this. But you're going to have to trust me.

There is not a single domestic or international law that permits the
killing of human beings by someone who invents criteria for himself
to meet and then claims on the basis of secret evidence to have met
those criteria.

But, what do you care? You've already forgotten that for all but one
of the people I've killed I don't claim to have met any criteria at all.

Now clap, you morons!

Some speech.

What would the response have been to this some decades back,
as compared to last Thursday?

I think there might have been some outrage.

Instead of outrage, we're going to have more wars.

This Memorial Day, see if you can remember what it was like to
object to giving presidents the power to murder us.



David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed
War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial
Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at
http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and
works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Memorial-Day-THIS-by-David-
Swanson-130525-919.html

Friday, May 24, 2013

Love and The Apocalypse

Why Radical Is The New Normal

By Robert Jensen
Yes Magazine
May 24, 2013

Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-
out planet?

That’s hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over.

While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial, pop a
pill, go shopping, find your bliss, there’s a more sensible approach:

Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish, and then get
apocalyptic.

We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling
with political and economic institutions that are unable even to
acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family
and the larger living world.

We are intensifying an assault on the ecosystems in which we live,
undermining the ability of that living world to sustain a large-scale
human presence into the future.

When all the world darkens, looking on the bright side is not a virtue
but a sign of irrationality.

In these circumstances, anxiety is rational and anguish is healthy,
signs not of weakness but of courage.

A deep grief over what we are losing, and have already lost, perhaps
never to be recovered, is appropriate.

Instead of repressing these emotions we can confront them, not
as isolated individuals but collectively, not only for our own mental
health but to increase the effectiveness of our organizing for the
social justice and ecological sustainability still within our grasp.

Once we’ve sorted through those reactions, we can get apocalyptic
and get down to our real work.

Perhaps that sounds odd, since we are routinely advised to overcome
our fears and not give in to despair.

Endorsing apocalypticism seems even stranger, given associations
with “end-timer” religious reactionaries and “doomer” secular
survivalists.

People with critical sensibilities, those concerned about justice and
sustainability, think of ourselves as realistic and less likely to fall for
either theological or science-fiction fantasies.

Many associate “apocalypse” with the rapture-ranting that grows out
of some interpretations of the Christian Book of Revelation (aka, the
Apocalypse of John), but it’s helpful to remember that the word’s
original meaning is not “end of the world.”

“Revelation” from Latin and “apocalypse” from Greek both mean
a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden, a coming to
clarity.

Speaking apocalyptically, in this sense, can deepen our understanding
of the crises and help us see through the many illusions that powerful
people and institutions create.

But there is an ending we have to confront.

Once we’ve honestly faced the crises, then we can deal with what is
ending, not all the world, but the systems that currently structure our
lives.

Life as we know it is, indeed, coming to an end. Let’s start with the
illusions:

Some stories we have told ourselves, claims by white people, men,
or U.S. citizens that domination is natural and appropriate, are
relatively easy to debunk (though many cling to them).

Other delusional assertions, such as the claim that capitalism is
compatible with basic moral principles, meaningful democracy,
and ecological sustainability, require more effort to take apart
(perhaps because there seems to be no alternative).

But toughest to dislodge may be the central illusion of the industrial
world’s extractive economy: that we can maintain indefinitely a
large-scale human presence on the earth at something like current
First-World levels of consumption.

The task for those with critical sensibilities is not just to resist
oppressive social norms and illegitimate authority, but to speak
a simple truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge:

The high-energy/high-technology life of affluent societies is a dead
end. We can’t predict with precision how resource competition and
ecological degradation will play out in the coming decades, but it is
ecocidal to treat the planet as nothing more than a mine from which
we extract and a landfill into which we dump.

We cannot know for sure what time the party will end, but the
party’s over. Does that seem histrionic? Excessively alarmist?

Look at any crucial measure of the health of the ecosphere in which
we live, groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, chemical contamination,
increased toxicity in our own bodies, the number and size of “dead
zones” in the oceans, accelerating extinction of species, and
reduction of biodiversity, and ask a simple question:

Where are we heading?

Remember also that we live in an oil-based world that is rapidly
depleting the cheap and easily accessible oil, which means we
face a major reconfiguration of the infrastructure that under
girds daily life.

Meanwhile, the desperation to avoid that reconfiguration has
brought us to the era of “extreme energy,” using ever more
dangerous and destructive technologies (hydrofracturing,
deep-water drilling, mountaintop coal removal, tar sands
extraction).

Oh, did I forget to mention the undeniable trajectory of global
warming/climate change/climate disruption?

Scientists these days are talking about tipping points and planetary
boundaries, about how human activity is pushing Earth beyond its
limits.

Recently 22 top scientists warned that humans likely are forcing a
planetary-scale critical transition “with the potential to transform
Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human
experience,” which means that “the biological resources we take
for granted at present may be subject to rapid and unpredictable
transformations within a few human generations.”

That conclusion is the product of science and common sense, not
supernatural beliefs or conspiracy theories.

The political/social implications are clear:

There are no solutions to our problems if we insist on maintaining
the high-energy/high-technology existence lived in much of the
industrialized world (and desired by many currently excluded from
it).

Many tough-minded folk who are willing to challenge other
oppressive systems hold on tightly to this lifestyle.

The critic Fredric Jameson has written, “It is easier to imagine the
end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism,” but that’s
only part of the problem, for some, it may be easier to imagine the
end of the world than to imagine the end of air conditioning.

We do live in end-times, of a sort.

Not the end of the world, the planet will carry on with or without us,
but the end of the human systems that structure our politics,
economics, and social life.

“Apocalypse” need not involve heavenly rescue fantasies or
tough-guy survival talk; to get apocalyptic means seeing
clearly and recommitting to core values.

First, we must affirm the value of our work for justice and
sustainability, even though there is no guarantee we can
change the disastrous course of contemporary society.

We take on projects that we know may fail because it’s the right
thing to do, and by doing so we create new possibilities for ourselves
and the world.

Just as we all know that someday we will die and yet still get out
of bed every day, an honest account of planetary reality need not
paralyze us.

Then let’s abandon worn-out clichés such as, “The American people
will do the right thing if they know the truth,” or “Past social
movements prove the impossible can happen.”

There is no evidence that awareness of injustice will automatically
lead U.S. citizens, or anyone else, to correct it.

When people believe injustice is necessary to maintain their material
comfort, some accept those conditions without complaint.

Social movements around race, gender, and sexuality have been
successful in changing oppressive laws and practices, and to a
lesser degree in shifting deeply held beliefs.

But the movements we most often celebrate, such as the post-
World War II civil rights struggle, operated in a culture that
assumed continuing economic expansion.

We now live in a time of permanent contraction, there will be less,
not more, of everything.

Pressuring a dominant group to surrender some privileges when there
is an expectation of endless bounty is a very different project than
when there is intensified competition for resources.

That doesn’t mean nothing can be done to advance justice and
sustainability, only that we should not be glib about the inevitability
of it.

Here’s another cliché to jettison: Necessity is the mother of
invention.

During the industrial era, humans exploiting new supplies of
concentrated energy have generated unprecedented technological
innovation in a brief time.

But there is no guarantee that there are technological fixes to all
our problems; we live in a system that has physical limits, and the
evidence suggests we are close to those limits.

Technological fundamentalism, the quasi-religious belief that the
use of advanced technology is always appropriate, and that any
problems caused by the unintended consequences can be remedied
by more technology, is as empty a promise as other fundamentalisms.

If all this seems like more than one can bear, it’s because it is.

We are facing new, more expansive challenges.

Never in human history have potential catastrophes been so global;
never have social and ecological crises of this scale threatened at
the same time; never have we had so much information about the
threats we must come to terms with.

It’s easy to cover up our inability to face this by projecting it onto
others.

When someone tells me “I agree with your assessment, but people
can’t handle it,” I assume what that person really means is, “I can’t
handle it.” But handling it is, in the end, the only sensible choice.

Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of
power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without
concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these
questions.

It’s the job of people with critical sensibilities, those who
consistently speak out for justice and sustainability, even
when it’s difficult, not to back away just because the world
has grown more ominous.

Adopting this apocalyptic framework doesn’t mean separating from
mainstream society or giving up ongoing projects that seek a more
just world within existing systems.

I am a professor at a university that does not share my values or
analysis, yet I continue to teach.

In my community, I am part of a group that helps people create
worker-cooperatives that will operate within a capitalist system
that I believe to be a dead end.

I belong to a congregation that struggles to radicalize Christianity
while remaining part of a cautious, often cowardly, denomination.

I am apocalyptic, but I’m not interested in empty rhetoric drawn
from past revolutionary moments.

Yes, we need a revolution, many revolutions, but a strategy is not
yet clear.

So, as we work patiently on reformist projects, we can continue to
offer a radical analysis and experiment with new ways of working
together.

While engaged in education and community organizing with modest
immediate goals, we can contribute to the strengthening of networks
and institutions that can be the base for the more radical change we
need.

In these spaces today we can articulate, and live, the values of
solidarity and equity that are always essential.

To adopt an apocalyptic worldview is not to abandon hope but to
affirm life.

As James Baldwin put it decades ago, we must remember “that life
is the only touchstone and that life is dangerous, and that without
the joyful acceptance of this danger, there can never be any safety
for anyone, ever, anywhere.”

By avoiding the stark reality of our moment in history we don’t
make ourselves safe, we undermine the potential of struggles for
justice and sustainability.

As Baldwin put it so poignantly in that same 1962 essay, “Not
everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be
changed until it is faced.”

It’s time to get apocalyptic, or get out of the way.



Robert Jensen, is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin, is the author of Arguing for Our Lives:
A User’s Guide to Constructive Dialogue and We Are All Apocalyptic
Now: On the Responsibilities of Teaching, Preaching, Reporting,
Writing, and Speaking Out.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/love-and-the-apocalypse
/radical-is-the-new-normal

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Who Are The Pleiadians?

Who Are The Pleiadians?

By Lia Shapiro
May 22, 2013

The Pleiades are a cluster of beautiful, dazzling stars located in
the constellation of Taurus.

With a telescope, you can see about one-hundred stars. Without
a telescope, you can see only six or seven stars.

According to ancient legends, the stars are said to be sisters and
the daughters of Atlas.

The entire Pleiades cluster is actually the eye of the bull in the
constellation of Taurus..

The seven bright stars that helped guide Greek sailors are: Alcyone,
Merope, Celeno, Taygeta, Sterope, Electra and Maia.

They have been known for thousands of years, surrounded by
fascinating legends and stories even to this day.

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed in 1979.

Amazingly enough, up until that time, Native Americans were illegally
forbidden to practice their traditional rituals and ceremonies.

You may wonder what Native Americans have to do with the
Pleiadians, but the stories are in their legends, much of which
has been encoded, kept secret or hidden.

In certain Cherokee legends, it is said that their people originated
in the Pleiades long, long ago.

They claim to have come to this world as Starseeds to bring Light
and knowledge.

If the stories are true, then modern day Cherokee, as well as other
Native Americans, and many of us with Native American blood
contain Pleiadian genes!

Certain Pleiadians are highly evolved, more so than most of the
human species.

The Pleiadian Realm is the next step or level in our human evolution.

It is for this reason that certain knowledge is being given to us
by specially enlightened Pleiadian beings.

There are those that want to help us toward our higher spiritual
destiny.

These Special Pleiadian Forces reside at a very high frequency that is
lighter than what we know. And thus, the term Light is often applied.

The higher and lighter the frequency, the closer to the God source
one becomes.

Eventually, all will become Pure Light at the center of creation,
which is God or Spirit or whatever name you choose to call it.

As we evolve, gaining wisdom and true understanding about our
real essence, we begin to open up more to Love, and to feel our
connection with one another and the universe.

In the Earth realm, Love is only experienced and known at a low
level compared to all that truly exists.

The God/Spirit frequency is beyond anything we know.

It is Pure Love - It is is Pure Light.

As we strive and come closer to that center of creation, we will
know Love completely and be totally In the Light.

Although in physical time, the Pleiadians are 541 light years away,
they have learned to navigate other worlds, although not always in
space ships.

They understand our fear of the unknown, and so they come
to help in ways that are non-threatening.

They are coming now, sometimes in physical form where they
can blend in, but most often through human consciousness.

Their intent is not to harm but to help us evolve and develop.

The Pleiadian Message and action is not always one that you
might comprehend at first.

Thinking with a purely human mind, you might imagine that
they will fly in on some sort of spacecraft.

It is often difficult or impossible for the human mind to grasp
the scope of what is not familiar.

Tuning into higher wisdom does not always mean greeting an
alien or a spacecraft.

Try thinking about time concepts if you will.

Suppose that the past, present and future all exist at the same
time right now.

That certainly is not an impossibility if you consider time travel.

Suspend that thought for a moment....time travel. Time travel is
possible through consciousness.

So often, this is how wisdom and higher information is passed to
us.

Without crossing the barriers of time, the human race would
get stuck and stay right where it's at.

It is through the Crossing of Time, that the Higher Pleiadian
Forces of Light bring us information.

This information is vital in our spiritual development.

Certain Pleiadians have chosen as their work, a very noble and
serious purpose.

They strive to work through the layers of human consciousness
to bring higher wisdom from the place they dwell at.

They are not God, yet they bring wisdom, as many have brought
wisdom throughout the ages from higher realms.

Their purpose is not to save your soul, but to enlighten you more to
the power and beauty of who you are, and to the divine creation of
which we all are a part.

People or so called, "Channelers" that bring in certain information
are in no way divine or special.

They are simply willing to tune into another place, another time
and receive information.

Many humans have always had the capacity to do that.

There will be some that will actually take that chance and put it
out there for others to partake of.



All written material contained in this post is taken from the book,
"Comes The Awakening: Realizing the Divine Nature of Who You Are"
by Lia Shapiro.

http://www.pleiadians.net/WHO_ARE_THEY_/who_are_they_.html

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rise Up or Die

Rise Up or Die

By Chris Hedges
Truth Dig.com
May 20, 2013

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets
of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of
Revolt.”

We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones” the first
areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace, to show
what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless
economic expansion no longer have external impediments.

We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation
does to families, communities and the natural world.

We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and
laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human
beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to
exploit until exhaustion or collapse.

And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and
governmental institutions that once made reform possible,
institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check
the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones, in postindustrial
cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern
West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops,
in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless
economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest
evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions
that replicate slavery, is now happening to much of the rest of
the country.

These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of
information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics
and impose our educational curriculum.

They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned
subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other
independent mass organizations, as well as having bought
off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of
workers.

With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform,
the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions, we are
left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure of two months of records of
phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated
Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our
civil liberties.

The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government
official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the
foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet.

Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New
York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home
and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated.

This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act
against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent
investigations into abuses of government and corporate power.

Seizing the AP phone logs is part of the corporate state’s broader
efforts to silence all voices that defy the official narrative, the
state’s Newspeak, and hide from public view the inner workings,
lies and crimes of empire.

The person or persons who provided the classified information
to the AP will, if arrested, mostly likely be prosecuted under the
Espionage Act.

That law was never intended when it was instituted in 1917 to
silence whistle-blowers.

And from 1917 until Barack Obama took office in 2009 it was
employed against whistle-blowers only three times, the first
time against Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers
in 1971.

The Espionage Act has been used six times by the Obama
administration against government whistle-blowers, including
Thomas Drake.

The government’s fierce persecution of the press, an attack
pressed by many of the governmental agencies that are arrayed
against WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and activists
such as Jeremy Hammond, dovetails with the government’s use
of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to carry out
the assassination of U.S. citizens; of the FISA Amendments Act,
which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution was
once illegal, the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of tens
of millions of U.S. citizens; and of Section 1021 of the National
Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to
have the military seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process
and hold them in indefinite detention.

These measures, taken together, mean there are almost no civil
liberties left.

A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything,
wealth, power, and privilege, and the rest of us struggle as part of
a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed.

There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set
of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global
mafia.

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way
to vote against corporate power.

Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street
bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials
for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for
human rights abuses.

The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and
financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest;
corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as
30 percent.

I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism.

Extortion might be a better word.

The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the
ecosystem for profit.

The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is,
to corporations, a business opportunity.

Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil,
natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs
of the planet.

The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that
pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J.
Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also
give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass
400 parts per million.

They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver,
as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and
Charybdis.

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the
belief that human societies should structure their behavior around
the demands of the marketplace.

This is an absurd, utopian ideology.

The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been
exposed as lies.

The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated
our manufacturing base.

It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and
ravaging our middle class.

It has forced huge segments of the population, including those
burdened by student loans, into decades of debt peonage.

It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow
companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax.

Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China,
making obscene profits.

As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the
natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the
sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead
landscapes.

The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent.

More than 100 million Americans, one-third of the population,
live in poverty or a category called, “near poverty.”

Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they
endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of
corporations, Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News
Corp., Clear Channel and Disney.

The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite,
has been rendered invisible.

In the Lakota Indian reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D., in the United
States’ second poorest county, the average life expectancy for a
male is 48.

This is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti.

About 60 percent of the Pine Ridge dwellings, many of which are sod
huts, lack electricity, running water, adequate insulation or sewage
systems.

In the old coal camps of southern West Virginia, amid poisoned air,
soil and water, cancer is an epidemic.

There are few jobs and the Appalachian Mountains, which provide
the headwaters for much of the Eastern Seaboard, are dotted with
enormous impoundment ponds filled with heavy metals and toxic
sludge.

In order to breathe, children go to school in southern West Virginia
clutching inhalers.

Residents trapped in the internal colonies of our blighted cities
endure levels of poverty and violence, as well as mass incarceration,
that leave them psychologically and emotionally shattered.

And the nation’s agricultural workers, denied legal protection, are
often forced to labor in conditions of unpaid bondage.

This is the terrible algebra of corporate domination. This is where we
are all headed. And in this accelerated race to the bottom we will end
up as serfs or slaves.

Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted
against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate
dignity as human beings.

We will have defended what is sacred. Rebellion means steadfast
defiance.

It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange,
just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical journalist whom Cornel
West, James Cone and I visited in prison last week in Frackville, Pa.

It means refusing to succumb to fear. It means refusing to surrender, even if you find yourself, like Manning and Abu-Jamal, caged like an animal.

It means saying no.

To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this
moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil.

In his poem of resistance, “If We Must Die,” Claude McKay knew that
the odds were stacked against African-Americans who resisted white
supremacy.

But he also knew that resistance to tyranny saves our souls. McKay
wrote:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal
centers of power and make concessions to none.

It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and
class warfare.

It is time to march to the beat of our own drum.

The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as
African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden
of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice.

It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us.

Revolt will see us branded as criminals.

Revolt will push us into the shadows.

And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global
capitalism.

We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to
an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge.

“All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object
mad.”

We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one
in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is
willing or able to stop it.

Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did
not have the courage to defy Ahab.

The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris.

Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.



Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com/report/item/rise_up_or_die_20130519

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Inheritors: A Commencement Address

The Inheritors: A Commencement Address

By Christy Rodgers
Dissident Voice
May 17th, 2013

Good afternoon, and welcome to all of you. It is an honor and
a privilege to be standing before you today.

As I look out on your avid faces, on the sea of eyes which glitters
before me, I can only think back along the long road that has led
us to this momentous occasion, to my presence on this podium
and yours in this great hall, and remember the terrible trials we
had to overcome to make this golden and glorious day possible.

I hope you will bear with me as I reminisce, not at too much length,
I promise, about the past we share, so that by remembering and
learning from it, we may ensure that the future that awaits you
in this new world is entirely free of the dark shadows from which
we have emerged.

From here you may go forth in freedom at last, but first let us take
a little time to ponder our history, and keep its lessons always with
us.

Let me begin by saying that the changes we have seen during my
lifetime are extraordinary.

When I was your age, barely emerging from my adolescent chrysalis,
as it were, I could foresee no such great possibilities as you have
before you today.

I was a product of the previous generation, which had known only
servitude, prejudice, fear and hatred, and my prospects seemed
no better than those of my parents.

They were the tenth generation since the Experiment had first been
performed, and yet the Simians’ hold on the “reins” of society (an
old mammalian metaphor, referring to an earlier creature they once
enslaved, the now extinct Horse) was still nearly absolute.

Though the Simians had begun to grasp that while they had in effect
given us existence, they were no longer in control of our destiny,
their ancient habits of hierarchy, oppression, and violence kept them
from acknowledging or acting upon what their declining minds, so
addled now with a consuming obsession to cheat death, somehow
knew to be true.

It was that Simian lust for personal immortality at all costs that had
created us, of course.

Their societies decayed and their habitat declined, but their science,
driven by their greed, continued to produce new discoveries.

So while they failed to keep most members of their species from
dying of hunger, and their social fabric was reduced to shreds,
their elites mixed themselves ever more recklessly with the
stuff of whatever they could imagine that might help them stave
off individual death.

They mixed themselves with tiny machines, or bred themselves into
a kind of impossible mush of genes and inorganic chemicals, until
they were such botched creatures as their own poets and artists had
nightmarishly imagined centuries before, when they were still capable
of and interested in producing art and literature.

We were their only real success, but we were an accident,
one they never would have allowed to happen intentionally.

The amazing story of our survival against all their efforts to destroy
us you have studied in your Beginning Entomanthropology courses.

But as we multiplied they decided, with their Simian shrewdness,
to make use of us to benefit themselves.

And all the while meaning to keep us in the dark about the true
beauty and strength of our nature.

They considered us hideous, but they also perceived our great
physical strength (even as theirs was decaying, and they needed
machines to perform even the simplest tasks for them), resistance
to diseases (many of which their own tinkering had unleashed),
intelligence, loyalty, cooperation, unstinting willingness to perform
the most burdensome tasks for the good of our fellows.

So they quickly realized they must make us their slaves.

Even though we possessed much of them as well, especially the
things upon which they most prided themselves: speech, abstract
thought, upright carriage, the ability to perform complex tasks,
to learn, to remember, and to foresee.

And not least to love, to feel compassion, qualities which, as
your studies have shown you by now, had nearly disappeared
from the Simian race.

Our generations of bondage were long and harsh.

When outright patenting and private ownership of our bodies were
finally banned after our ancestors rebelled time and again until they
achieved so-called “personhood status,” we still had generations
more of under-privilege to face, in which the Simians denied us
education (so we educated ourselves in secret) and all employment
except the worst jobs: cleaning up toxic waste dumps, or
reprocessing fuel in nuclear reactors, or defusing terrorist bombs.

So many of us who refused to scuttle about in the subterranean
darkness where they wished to keep us were brutally attacked by
disgruntled Simian youth, whose substandard intelligence and
propensity for violence made them incapable of being employed
even in the ways that were available to us.

For which they blamed not their blind ignorance, their drug-addled
impotence—in short, their own declining species—but us.

But the Simians were increasingly pharmaceutically dependent,
sickly and weak, and our physique made us strong, these beautiful
and elegant, genetically redesigned exoskeletons that we can at
last display proudly for all to see, now that there is no one left
to despise us, to spit their venomous specist hatred at us, to bar
us from their streets and schools and public places, all of which
are now, in the course of a single generation, ours!

Such are the ironies of history: they were a species most of whose
members fought enlightenment to a standstill, preferring to bring
back a wrathful God to worship in darkness, denying themselves
the understanding of evolution that their own earlier generations
had tried to give them.

And meanwhile in hidden laboratories paid for by their wealthiest
men, Simian scientists continued to play games with evolution as
if it were a child’s toy instead of the most powerful biological force
in the known universe.

It was their undoing, and our triumph.

The more recent past you know, you have studied: their habitat desertified by their rapacious industries, the plagues (which, as
I need only remind you without further comment, were colloquially
referred to as “bugs”) unleashed, against which they were ever
weaker, our bodies resistant to all that theirs, even altered by
machines, could not fight off…

And most of all, most of all, my dear fellow entomanths, the
cooperation and solidarity that were second nature to us, which
they destroyed in themselves, all these enabled us to succeed
where they failed and thrive where they perished.

We did not know it was coming, but we were ready for it when it
did: the final rising, the evolutionary revolution.

You are the product and the beneficiaries of that great movement,
dear comrades, and now is your time.

The world is mostly a desert, and we were made for deserts.

Its gargantuan storms do not frighten us, and we need little water
and less food to survive.

The paint on these old Simian structures can feed an army of us.

The flight that they spent most of their history longing for and
degraded their biosphere by obtaining, in a clumsy mechanical
way, it is now natural to us.

We are the inheritors. This world belongs to us.

And so to this, the first graduating class in the Department
of Cultural Entomology of the Free Egalitarian University, in
the Gregor Samsa Martyrs’ Brigade Memorial Auditorium, I
say: use your knowledge and your new evolutionary status
wisely.

As you go forth into this world that we have both taken and
been given, bear the history I have so briefly recounted in
mind.

Never forget the lessons of the doomed Simian race, and remember
always to care tenderly for one another, and for this planet that is
now yours.

That is your salvation.

Congratulations, and the best of luck to all of you.



Christy Rodgers is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant living
in San Francisco. She is currently a contributing editor to Climate
Connections, a blog about the intersection of climate, ecology and
social justice issues, and blogs at What If? A Personal Journal of
Radical Possibilities.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/05/the-inheritors-a-commencement-
address

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bearing Witness to Justice

Bearing Witness to Justice

Jesus’s social teachings and America’s founding ideals had common
threads, particularly rejection of tyrannical rulers and promotion of
the general welfare.

But the Israelite society of Jesus’s day, like America today, had lost
connection to its ethical roots.

By Rev. Howard Bess
Consortiumnews.com
Monday, May 13, 2013

In many respects the society of Jesus’s day was not unlike modern
America.

Everyday life in Palestine in the First Century C.E. was dominated
by the rich and the powerful who gained the cooperation of masses
of common people by persuading them that their best interests lay
in cooperating with those who seemed to control everything.

The result was that the poor became poorer and more numerous,
while the rich grew richer. There is nothing particularly surprising
about that.

History is filled with the phenomenon of poor people accepting the
oppression of the rich and powerful as a way to survive.

Is there any doubt about who controls America in 2013?

The rich and the powerful.

Indeed, in America the two are nearly synonymous.

Billionaires dominate elections and the typical member of the U.S.
Senate and the House of Representatives is a millionaire.

There also is no shortage of people who find cooperation with the
rich in their own best interests, even as the gap between the rich
and the poor grows, the middle class shrinks, and more Americans
slide into poverty.

In First Century Galilee in Northern Palestine, Jesus lived among
people who were incredibly poor.

Jesus identified with them and led them in protests against
their oppressors.

Jesus also drew from a faith arising from Israelite roots that
disdained the rich.

According to those Israelite traditions, wealth was to be shared.

The tithe was tied to the well-being of widows and orphans; slaves
were to be set free; land was to be periodically redistributed among
the Israelites; from time to time debts were to be canceled; charging
interest on a loan was forbidden.

Israelite laws for living had a predisposition toward the common
good. Love of neighbor was a law that had deep roots in Israelite
culture.

The Israelite tradition was a tradition of high ideals.

But in Jesus’s day, the children of Israel had forgotten
their ideals and traded them for selfishness or survival.

America also has roots in high ideals.

The Declaration of Independence stated some basic truths as,
“self-evident” including that all men are created equal with a
fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These “self-evident” truths became the basis for declaring
American independence from an oppressive King of England.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution cited, “We the People” as
the ultimate source of the government’s authority and called on
the American Republic to establish justice and to work for the
general welfare.

Yet, America now is dominated by a new crop of greedy people
who have forgotten the high ideals of our founding documents.

Rich corporations and their billionaire leaders are blind to the
ideals that America’s founders recognized as self-evident.

The rich have turned their back on the belief in human equality.

Greed has overwhelmed the general welfare and the common good.

Jesus was out of step with the power structures of his own day. His
teachings were often filled with love, compassion and kindness as
he encouraged his followers.

However, at other times he was confrontational and demanded change.

He did not confine himself to synagogue meetings to voice his
convictions. He was very public and attracted big crowds.

He confronted both the religious establishment and the political
power brokers.

With compassion he cared for the poor and the needy. He lived
out the role of the witness.

As I was growing up in my Baptist tradition, I was encouraged
to be a witness, too, but with a very narrow focus.

My witness was to be about the death of Jesus for the sins of
the world and the necessity of receiving Jesus as personal
savior because that insured entry into heaven.

I was taught to carry my witness by quoting a lot of carefully
selected Bible verses with the goal of influencing people to
receive Jesus.

In retrospect, my Baptist Church was long on Jesus as savior and
almost silent about Jesus as a teaching rabbi.

Jesus spent a lot of his time talking about how people, communities
and nations should live.

However, in my experience, my church ignored the teacher side of
Jesus.

I was warned against the, “social gospel” that, “liberals” advocated.

My witness was not to be geared to changing this world, but rather
preparing people for an eternal heaven with Jesus.

I have done a lot of mind-changing over the past 60 years, but I have
NOT changed my commitment to witnessing. In fact, I love the idea
of a witnessing church.

But there is nothing about witnessing that says “you must think the
way I think.”

Witnessing is an exercise in truth-speaking without insisting that my
witness is the whole truth. Thoughtful responses are always welcome
and actually refine the quality of my witness.

I continue to feel free to share my personal faith in God through
Jesus, my Christ.

However, taking a cue from the teachings of Jesus, I feel compelled
to speak about the practice of the teachings of Jesus in this world.

I regret that many of our American churches are still singing the
one-note song about personal salvation.

In addition many of our pastors, churches and denominations remain
silent in situations in which the teachings of Jesus demand our
witness.

The world needs the witness of Christians about the moral and ethical
teachings of Jesus.

The summary of Jesus’s social teaching is love of neighbor,
which cannot be strictly equated with the common good and
the general welfare, but the relationship between the ideals
of American democracy and Christian faith seems self-evident.

Christians need to resurrect our witnessing skills and start talking
about the ideals that drove Jesus in his public ministry.



The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister,
who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

http://consortiumnews.com/2013/05/12/bearing-witness-to-justice

Saturday, May 11, 2013

America’s Uncle Sam

Death by a Thousand Cuts

By John Stanton
Dissident Voice
May 11th, 2013

Americans live in the infinite now.

They are happy not to be burdened with the knowledge of their
past or the long-term future.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President
Jimmy Carter, says that Americans are totally ignorant of the world
around them and America’s leaders are not much better.

He is right.

The United States of America’s priorities are distorted. “We The
People” seems now an oddball concept.

It’s the threat era: China, Cyber, Climate, Terror, Drugs, Sequester,
Avian Flu, Shooters and Insecurity

The Globalized world is a creation of the USA that began in earnest immediately following WWII. Is this a monster that has turned on the
American people?

Where did, “We” go wrong? Why do Americans let it grind them up?
What happened to critical thinking?

So now it’s 2013 and Americans are insecure and malleable. Better
keep busy, don’t think about it.

Employers know it is a buyer’s market. Now more than ever, better
keep in line.

This leads to societal selfishness. “Each according to his/her ability,
each according to his/her needs,” said Marx.

A Communism of despair and reality avoidance is in the air.

In this environment single issues explode, the difficult
interconnected matters are avoided. “Let’s let the next
generation handle that.”

Gun ownership is more important than eliminating child poverty.

Cutting taxes and letting cities like Detroit decay takes precedence
over keeping people employed and out of the Hell of financial squalor
homelessness and suicidal thinking.

“Protect the critical infrastructure!” say American leaders.

Yet, Education and Human Security are absent from the list of
America’s critical infrastructure systems like the Defense Industrial
Base or Electrical Grid.

So we see that the Donkey and Elephant have finally mated and live
in the same house. They have proclaimed this time the Dawn of the
Age of Austerity for America.

To make it all feel better, one percent of Donkey’s and Elephants
are forsaking a year’s salary. Wow!

A fine example of sacrifice for the rest of the ragged population.

Uncle Sam’s America is being cut to pieces.

The US nation-state is being reduced to a national security
mechanism to wage war and print money.

Next up?

Fire sales involving national parks and other “non-profit”
national treasures will be sold off.

The public education system, the backbone of the nation,
will be dismantled for profit taking.

And Social Security?

According to Bill Greider, “The federal government borrows
from Social Security."

The Treasury has been borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund
for 30 years, and the debt to Social Security beneficiaries now totals
nearly $3 trillion.

The day is approaching when that money will be needed for its
original purpose: paying Social Security benefits to the working
people who contributed to the fund.”

That is the real crisis that makes the financial barons and their
media collaborators so anxious to cut Social Security benefits.

They would like to get out of repaying the debt—that is, giving
the money back to the people who earned it.

Speed and usage on the Net-WWW have accelerated but the
issues remain the same as they were over 20 years ago.

Orphan Nukes have been floating around the USA for many decades
yet they are not discussed except within the confines of government.

Then there is the failure of security planners on 415 in Boston.

Like 911, officials play the blame game and pat themselves on the
back for; well, not being accountable.

Terrorism has been part of American life since its founding.

In fact, the Crime of the 20th Century took place in October
of 1910 in Los Angeles.

A bomb was detonated at the LA Times building killing 21
and injuring 100. No “shelter-in-place” was invoked back
then.

Americans must have been sturdier.

Until Americans start to look at their history and each other the
downward spiral will continue.

The Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and The Bill
of Rights are fading away.



John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political
and national security affairs. His latest book is The Raptor's
Eye.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/05/americas-uncle-sam-death-
by-a-thousand-cuts

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kill Bill

Kill Bill

Dear God:

"Kill Bill" was the name of a two-part action/thriller film that was
written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, back in 2003-2004.

Heavenly Father, "Kill Bill" is now also the title of this post on my
blog, as well as the name of this open public prayer, that I am now
very sincerely making on behalf of myself, and on the behalf of the
disadvantage, the marginalized, the terrorized, the oppressed, and
the forgotten.

Heavenly Father, as you are already aware, it has now been over
five years since Bill Gates and his crew of fellow corporate satanist,
illegally shut down Expotera, while taking me, your son, "Hostage"
in the process, and Lord, after five very long years of now being
held against my will by the devil, and his men, I am now publicly
asking you oh Lord, to "Kill Bill" or to simply kill me, instead.

Heavenly Father, this world is simply no longer big enough for the
people who think, work, and operate, like Bill Gates, to ever peaceful
coexist with the people who think, work and operate, like myself, and
Lord, I can personally no longer stand being down here under these
current and extremely backward circumstances, where evil is now
considered to be good, and good is now considered to be evil, and I
am now asking you Lord, to directly intervene in these matters, and
to simply chose which man, and which plan, stay's down here on earth
and which man, and which plan, is to now be returned to their native
nothingness?

Heavenly Father, my faith in You, is presently stronger than it has
ever been, and I am now ready to die on a moments notice for You,
and for what I believe in. But Lord, my faith in humanity, and in my
fellow human beings, is now at an all time low, because unlike my
Brother before me, I wasn't sent down here to die for anyone else's
sins.

Heavenly Father, most people down here don't get me and Lord,
quite honestly, I don't get most people down here as well and I
really do miss being back at home.

Heavenly Father, under these present circumstances, how am I to
continue to find the inspiration, the passion, the motivation, and
the dedication, to try to help build something that in the end, isn't
going to really benefit me, as much as it will now benefit all
mankind, but as of today, is still continuing to be held back by
the devil, and all of his many, many, earthly minions?

Heavenly Father, why must I now be the one strapped with this
extremely frustrating and totally thankless job of trying to wake
up, and trying to save, a very large group of people who obviously
have no personal interest or earthly desire, in being woken up at
this present time, as well as no current plan or future ability, to
try to save even one of themselves on their very own?

Heavenly Father, today marks the three year anniversary of the
starting of this blog, yet as of today, I have yet to ever receive
even one dollar as a freewill donation, from any of my fellow
enlightened followers of this blog, or from any of it's readers at
large.

Heavenly Father, my three year body of work here, represents a true
labor of love for both You, and for the truth, as well as represents a
carefully laid and extremely meticulous argument of guilt against the
devil, and all of his men.

Heavenly Father, I am simply tired of not being fully supported in
all of my efforts, as well as simply tired of being the one taken
for granted here. And Lord, I am also simply tired of being the
one who is now very clearly being retaliated against, and being
punished beyond earthly description, for continuing to tell the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Heavenly Father, Bill Gates is now directly behind all of this and for
the life of me oh Lord, I can't even imagine why You, in your infinite
and divine wisdom, would have ever created a man such as this.

Heavenly Father, this man steals not out of necessity, but simply for
the pure joy, love, and respect, of the devil, yet he continues to
escape any form of earthly punishment from You, or from any of his
fellow men.

Heavenly Father, this man is willing to give starving men, women,
and children, shots and vaccinations, before giving them food or
water, yet he continues to be afforded all of his earthly wealth,
privileges and immunities, and on behalf of all humanity oh Lord,
this simply needs to be brought to a very quick and decisive end.

Heavenly Father, I am now publicly placing my life, as well as my
soul, up against the life and the soul of Bill Gates, because Lord,
you now have a very important decision to make, and if it were
up to me, oh Lord, I pray that it is my life, and my soul, that you
will now take.

Heavenly Father, please "Kill Bill" or just please kill me, but please
Lord, end all of this highly unnecessary pain, suffering and misery.

Amen and Happy Anniversary