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Monday, March 31, 2014

Ethics and Morality At The End of History

Ethics and Morality At The End of History

By Pete Dolack
Information Clearing House
Tuesday, March 31, 2014

"Systemic Disorder" -- Strange, isn’t it, that the system supposedly
representing the apex of human development — even the end of
history — has no place for ethics or morality.

Perhaps this becomes inevitable when an ideology develops to
the point where the economy is considered to be outside the environment.

From that dubious, to put it overly modestly, vantage point, the
journey to seeing the environment, and the natural resources and
life it contains, as nothing more than a cow to be milked at will is
not a long one.

A forest counts as nothing unless it can monetized, which often
means knocking it down.

Clean air? Clean water?

Luxury items for those who can afford them, and thereby profits
for those who can bottle it and create a market for them.

A thoughtful article in the May 2009 issue of Monthly Review
caused me to think more about this.

The authors of this article, “Capitalism in Wonderland,” written
by Richard York, Brett Clark and John Bellamy Foster, discuss the
models used by mainstream economists, which vary only on the
degree to which they discount future life.

Yes, that is as cold-blooded as it sounds.

Neoclassical economists base their increasingly insane conclusions
that global warming is no big deal and, at worse, will cause little
economic damage, on the convenient, self-serving assumption
that future generations will be wealthier and therefore it will be
cheaper for our descendants to clean up our messes than it would
be for us.

The authors write:

“Where they primarily differ is not on their views of the science
behind climate change but on their value assumptions about the
propriety of shifting burdens to future generations. This lays bare
the ideology embedded in orthodox neoclassical economics, a field
which regularly presents itself as using objective, even naturalistic,
methods for modeling the economy. However, past all of the
equations and technical jargon, the dominant economic paradigm
is built on a value system that prizes capital accumulation in the
short-term, while de-valuing everything else in the present and
everything altogether in the future.” [page 9]

From that, orthodox economists slide down a slippery slope in
which some humans are valuable and others are without value.

Such a mentality is exemplified by Lawrence Summers’ infamous
memo when he was chief economist for the World Bank, in which
he wrote:

“I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste
in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up
to that. … The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as
the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost.
I’ve always though that under-populated countries in Africa are
vastly UNDER-polluted.”

Summers’ attitude, although usually not expressed in such a direct
way, is not out of step with his profession.

The “Capitalism in Wonderland” authors lay bare the ramifications
of this type of thinking:

“[H]uman life in effect is worth only what each person contributes
to the economy as measured in monetary terms. So, if global
warming increases mortality in Bangladesh, which it appears likely
that it will, this is only reflected in economic models to the extent
that the deaths of Bengalis hurt the [global] economy. Since
Bangladesh is very poor, economic models … would not estimate it
to be worthwhile to prevent deaths there since these losses would
show up as minuscule in the measurements. … This economic
ideology, of course, extends beyond just human life, such that all
of the millions of species on earth are valued only to the extent
they contribute to GDP. Thus, ethical concerns about the intrinsic
value of human life and of the lives of other creatures are
completely invisible in standard economic models. Increasing
human mortality and accelerating the rate of extinctions are to
most economists only problems if they undermine the ‘bottom
line.’ In other respects they are invisible: as is the natural world
as a whole.” [page 10]

This is the irrationality and immorality that underlies industrialists’
and financiers’ drive to allow the “market” to make all social
decisions.

Markets are nothing more than the aggregate interests of the
largest and most powerful industrialists and financiers.

They in turn, through their stranglehold on the world’s economic
heights, are able to have decisive sway over governments, which
are not disembodied entities somehow floating above society but
rather are a reflection of the relative strengths and weaknesses of
social forces.

The modern corporation has a legal duty only to provide
the maximum profit for its shareholders.

In other words, it is expected to act to further its own
interest without regard to anything else.

The corporation is considered a legal person under U.S.
law — one that has no biological limits nor barriers to its
growth.

Joel Bakan, in the introduction to his book The Corporation: The
Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, summed up capitalism’s
dominant institution this way:

“The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue,
relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest,
regardless of the often harmful consequences it might
cause to others. As a result, I argue, the corporation is
a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the
great power it wields over people and societies.”

Even without “corporate personhood,” however, the relentless
competition of capitalism would induce this behavior, and the
winners of that competition are those most willing to crush all
obstacles, human, and environmental, while foisting the costs
onto others.

Really, we can’t do better than this?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38116.htm

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Burning Our Bridges

Burning Our Bridges

By Bruce K. Gagnon
OpEdNews.com
March 30, 2014

Burn baby burn
the flames leap into the sky
day or night
feel the heat
see the light

We keep burning the bridges
and villages
and hardening hearts
burn baby burn

When George Washington's army
entered the country of the Six Nations (Iroquois)
the Seneca called him Hanadaguyus
means "Town Destroyer"
the name destroyer still lives
sailing the empire's sea lanes
burn baby burn

Wounded Knee,
Philippines, Korea,
Vietnam,
Dominican Republic, Panama
Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Guatemala,
Granada, Haiti
Iraq,
Afghanistan, Iraq again
Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Pakistan,
Ukraine
burn baby burn

The flame of 'exceptionalism'
and arrogance
never goes out
it just moves on to another village
burn baby burn

We are burning our bridges
isolated from the true spirit
of humanity
once linked to our earth mother
our connection is broken
and charred

Don't tell me this!
Don't force my eyes onto these flames!
There is a cost to knowing
and a bigger cost to acting
Leave me in my 'innocent' state

Yes my soul hurts
but I can manage by staying
in the shadows
while the fires rage
burn baby burn



Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against
Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. Between 1983 and 1998
Bruce was the State Coordinator of the Florida Coalition for
Peace & Justice.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Burning-Our-Bridges-by-
Bruce-K-Gagnon-Afghanistan_Army_Arrogance_Bridge-Collapse-140330-448.html

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Obama Paradox

Continuity and Change ... For the Worse

By Andrew Levine
Counter Punch
March 29, 2014

Barack Obama ran for office promising change; he delivered continuity.

But then, continuity brought change – for the worse.

In 2008, “change” meant whatever voters wanted it to mean.

Like the candidate, the word was a Rorschach inkblot.

Many, probably most, Obama voters had no clear idea what kind of change they expected.

All they knew was that, under George W. Bush, the country had veered dramatically off course.

They thought Obama would fix that.

Some voters did have more specific expectations.

Some thought that Obama would wean the country off neoliberalism.

With a financial and economic meltdown raging, the time was ripe.

Some expected him to restore the rule of law at least to pre-9/11 levels; many hoped and expected that Bush era war criminals would be brought to justice.

Others thought that the Democratic Party would become more like what it had been before the Clinton's, had their way with it.

The list goes on.

Of course, nobody knew what “change” meant to Obama.

Perhaps Obama didn’t know either.

He could hardly have been more vague.

On one point, though, everybody, except perhaps the candidate himself and his close advisors, agreed:

Obama would transform the post-9/11 Bush-Cheney regime beyond recognition.

They could not have been more wrong.

Perhaps he had other ideas; perhaps he was overcome by what the ancient Greeks called akrasia, weakness of will.

Perhaps there was never any "There" there.

Obama’s most ardent supporters, the ones who stuck by him as it became clear that change wasn’t happening, blamed the Republicans; many still do.

Corporate America gives them a nightly forum; they call it MSNBC.

But they are fooling themselves.

Even in the face of Republican obstinacy and determination, the Obama administration didn’t have to be as Bush-Cheney-like as it turned out to be.

Still, the apologists have a point; Republicans really are pieces of work, and they really have dedicated themselves to making sure that the Obama presidency would fail.

Therefore Obama’s apologists are not exactly deluded.

They just give their man, and his opponents, too much credit.

Who knows what Obama really thinks about the issues of the day or how he understands the relation between his words and his intentions.

All we can say for sure is that his words are noncommittal and vague; and that, for all practical purposes, he and his fellow Democrats are on the same page as the Republicans.

This is hardly surprising; they feed from the same trough.

Their antagonism is tactical, not strategic or ideological.

To be sure, racism shapes Republican attitudes, along with other status anxieties and base ideological convictions.

Democrats, on the whole, are nicer people. But ultimately what both parties want is to win the next election.

For them, it is all about who gets to serve "The One Percent."

This is bad news for the ninety-nine percent of us about whose interests, and well being, they could care less.

But that is the least of it.

When our leaders, regardless of party, fix their gaze beyond our (increasingly policed and militarized) borders, the whole world suffers.

Even so, one would expect that there would be a level of competence in the White House and throughout the foreign policy establishment commensurate with the tasks at hand.

Remarkably, this expectation has been confounded by Democratic and Republican administrations for the past quarter century.

When James Baker and Brent Scowcroft left office, who would have guessed that they would outshine all who would follow in their wake?

And, earlier still, who would have imagined that the days of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger would seem like a Golden Age when giants walked upon the face of the earth!

Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, before him, put a bunch of clueless, stumble bums, in charge of throwing America’s weight around in the world.

Predictably, they keep getting in over their heads.

In Bush’s case, the mess was so bad that not even his Poppy could straighten it out.

Then the “change” President came along to continue his work.

The empire’s victims have suffered enormously as a result, but so far the empire itself has survived unscathed.

It is too big to fail. But, even so, there are limits.

The Obama administration almost exceeded those limits twice.

Vladimir Putin saved Obama both times.

He saved him from being dragged into a potentially catastrophic war against Iran and he saved him from getting America bogged down in the on-going civil war in Syria.

But America’s arch-enemy du jour, is not likely to be similarly helpful when the geniuses at Foggy Bottom and in the National Security Council focus their machinations on Russia itself.

Putin’s foreign policy establishment outclasses Obama’s by every measure.

Should it be in their interest to stop helping Washington out, Obama’s luck will run out faster than in a New York (or Moscow) minute.

Was it better under Bush and Cheney? No.

But the world has changed, partly in consequence of the policies Obama has continued.

This is why, for the most part, those policies are even more toxic now than they were in the Bush-Cheney days.

In this sense, we did get change after all.

But when the reckoning is made, we will likely find that we would have been better off with less than we got.

Bush and Cheney trampled due process and privacy rights in the name of security.

When they were in charge, Constitutional constraints were only a minor inconvenience that they felt free to ignore.

This is how it has been for Obama too.

But, in carrying on their work, Obama made the situation qualitatively worse.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have some idea how bad it was, and how much worse it became.

We do not know how much, if any, terrorism Bush and Cheney – or Obama — actually stopped.

What we do know is that they increased the supply of potential terrorists many-fold.

Invading foreign lands will do that; so will terrorizing civilian populations by unleashing murder and mayhem upon them.

Obama notched the terror level up, even as he diminished the overall level of violence.

His predecessors used assassins and drones too.

But bombers and soldiers were more to their liking.

For the most part, they did their foul deeds the old fashioned way.

Obama, the peace candidate, kept their wars going; he even escalated them for a while, the better to repackage the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

But his preference has always been to kill covertly, by making the most of assassins and drones.

And so, he did change America’s military posture.

From a moral point of view, he made it worse.

Now terror is no longer only the last recourse of the powerless; it is also the first choice of a super-power equipped with a military juggernaut as large as the rest of the world’s combined.

In taking up where Bush and Cheney left off, the Nobel laureate let loose the functional equivalent of an army of suicide bombers, casting large swathes of the Muslim world into a perpetual reign of terror.

His drones are especially onerous.

For one thing, they are even worse than suicide bombers because they terrorize civilian populations more efficiently.

Ordinary people can avoid places suicide bombers are likely to target; no one can steer clear of those drones.

And, from a moral point of view, killing with drones is plainly more reprehensible.

Suicide bombers sacrifice their lives for their cause.

When their workday is over, drone operators spend evenings at home with their families.

Their superiors, the ones who order the killings, are even less involved.

Obama decides whom to kill, his underlings decide where and when, and then their underlings push the buttons.

The higher up the chain of command, the more pleased with themselves they seem to be.

On environmental issues, Obama has made things worse just by continuing the do-nothing policies of his predecessors.

Meanwhile, ecological changes already underway are rapidly ratcheting up the peril.

His administration has made a few changes for the better: for example, on fuel emissions standards.

But on the main causes of global warming, Obama has done nothing significant.

Meanwhile, with each year that passes, points of no return approach and are exceeded.

Then there is Obama’s penchant for enhancing the harm done by his predecessors’ policies through more effective implementation.

One would think that when those policies target key Democratic constituencies, he would at least think twice.

But all he does is talk an earful.

For example, Obama has spoken out frequently in favor of immigration reform; yet his record on deportations is far worse than Bush’s.

Organized labor has fared no better.

In a similar vein, Obama has had nary a bad word to say about government transparency or the importance of a vigorous and adversarial press.

To hear him speak, one would think that he is the whistleblower’s best friend.

Yet, on this too, he has been worse than Bush and Cheney or indeed any other president before him except perhaps Richard Nixon.

The man plods on.

No doubt, on domestic issues, he has his reasons, good or ill.

But on the diplomatic front, there seems to be no coherent thought behind what he does; he and his minions have no clue.

This is why the world now seems even more perilous than it did when Obama took office.

The problem is not just that the War on Terror, and its continuation under Obama, has been stupendously counter-productive; that it has conjured up terrorists faster than assassins and drones and “Boots on the Ground” can kill them.

It is becoming just as clear that the Bush-Obama wars have destabilized the entire region, from Libya, to Pakistan, and lately, under Obama’s aegis, from the banks of the Tigris, to the Mediterranean Sea.

East Africa and Muslim areas as far away as the Pacific Ocean have also felt the brunt, and are worse off for it.

The Bush-Obama wars have also strengthened Iran’s role as a regional power.

Whether or not this is a good thing, it is hardly what the United States and Israel had in mind.

Of course, cluelessness is a two-edged sword.

Latin America has benefited enormously from the fact that the United States is mired down in several Middle Eastern quagmires.

While Bush and Obama were otherwise distracted, popular democratic movements in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Uruguay, were able to flourish and even come to power.

The governments of Brazil, and Argentina, veered leftward as well.

And, despite several attempts since 9/11 – the latest still underway, the United States has been unable to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela.

America’s never-ending war against Cuba has gotten nowhere either.

South of the border, the 9/11 attacks, or rather the American reaction to them, were, so to speak, a godsend.

It is now becoming clear that, in at least one respect, it has been the same for the rest of the world too.

America’s counter-productive maneuverings throughout the Muslim world brought American and European plans to bring the EU right up to Russia’s borders, and to encircle it with NATO bases, to a temporary halt.

That plan was proceeding apace in the Clinton days.

Russia then was hardly in a position to resist, not with kleptocrats running the country, and with the vast majority of Russians undergoing the hardships and social dislocations brought on by the restoration of a retrograde economic system.

America’s and Europe’s (mainly Germany’s) success in dismembering Yugoslavia provided valuable lessons and also encouragement.

With a new millennium dawning, it looked like full speed ahead.

But then came 9/11 and priorities changed.

Now, it seems they are changing back.

Evidently, our foreign policy wallahs have come to believe that in addition to carrying on in the Middle East, central Asia, and the Indian sub-content, it is time to put Russia back in the crosshairs as well.

This too may be about oil, at least to some extent; but that is not the main thing.

And it goes far beyond the exigencies of running a global empire or making the world safe, or safer, for Western capitalists.

Western capitalists don’t need a revival of eastern European fascism and anti-Semitism any more than the rest of us do.

Neither do they, or we, need Al Qaeda-like movements to flourish throughout the Middle East, or central and southern Asia.

But that is where our leaders’ policies lead.

Needless to say, it is not what they have in mind.

But then what do they have in mind?

Nothing remotely coherent, most likely; they know not what they do.

Yet onward they go.

With the old Soviet “Satellites” currently ensconced in America’s and Europe’s ambit, all that is left is to bring the EU and NATO into the old Soviet Union itself.

The idea is ludicrous, and not just because Russia now is far stronger than it was in the nineties.

If the American empire were in competent hands, it wouldn’t be happening.

Overthrowing recalcitrant governments is old hat for the empire’s stewards.

Their timeworn method was perfected first in Latin America.

After World War II, it was deployed around the world.

The formula is simple: spend serious money stirring up chaos. Then, when the time is right, discreetly support coups d’état perpetrated by clients or friends.

This is what they are doing right now, so far unsuccessfully, in Venezuela.

But, until now, our leaders always had the good sense to confine their machinations to American spheres of influence or to peripheral areas that did not raise serious security concerns for other major powers.

After World War II, no power was more major than the Soviet Union.

Encouraging dissidents there and in Eastern Europe was acceptable.

But no sane leader would actively encourage “Regime Change”; not with the possibility that a nuclear war would result.

Eisenhower’s role in the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 was exemplary in this respect.

Post-1991 Russia was still able to reduce the world to rubble.

Therefore, even Bill Clinton showed some restraint.

Circumstances emboldened him, but not to the point of recklessness.

And he got away with it.

It is unlikely that his First Lady had much to do with plans for enlarging the EU or for bringing NATO up to Russia’s borders.

That doesn’t seem to have been on her to-do list when she was Obama’s Secretary of State either.

But Hillary Clinton is quick to jump on whatever bandwagon is passing by, and so she has lately taken up the cause.

In her opening salvo, she famously likened Vladimir Putin to Hitler.

A dumb remark; though, considering the source, that is only to be expected.

Obama went beyond dumb.

Speaking in Belgium after meeting with the leaders of the G7 (plus and now minus 1), he went out of his way to insult his (dis-invited) Russian counterpart, calling him a leader of a regional power whose actions betoken weakness.

Obama calling Putin weak! How did he keep a straight face?

But then how does he keep a straight face when he accuses Putin of violating international law?

The man continues to amaze.

Is reviving Clinton-era policies towards Russia his idea too?

Or should we blame lesser eminences like John Kerry or those dreadful “Humanitarian Interveners” Obama empowered?

Whoever is at fault, putting Russia’s security interests in jeopardy is the worst idea that has come along since George W. Bush left the White House in ignominy.

It was for not being associated with ideas like that that it used to be possible to argue that Obama really was the lesser evil in 2008, when he ran against John McCain.

Despite McCain’s inclination of late to put his recklessness and bad judgment on display, it now looks like it was more of a tie.

In any case, it is already plain that the Americans and Europeans, and the Ukrainian nationalists whose “Revolution” they encouraged, lost in at least one key respect; Russia’s annexation of the Crimea will hold.

For all their faults, Putin and his crew so far outclass Obama and his that when they set their minds to it, they get their way, even when their hand is weaker.

Fortunately, they are not only smarter; they are also wiser.

They know when not to push their luck; and also, let us hope, how to deal with opponents who are as clueless as theirs are.

This is why we will probably dodge the bullet this time too; the perils Obama et. al. let loose upon the world by setting their sights on Ukraine will probably stay contained.

Unlike the United States, Russia does have legitimate security interests in goings-on in the former Soviet republics.

Obama and the others are therefore like little kids playing with matches.

Fortunately, though, it seems that the Russians also know how to resist egregious provocations.

Because provoked they have been, and will continue to be.

Obama could always decide to put a lid on it, but so far he has been doing just the opposite.

In recent days, anti-Russian animosity seems even to have overcome Washington’s gridlock.

And where Democrats and Republicans go, so go the mainstream media.

The usual suspects are busily doing all they can to whip up a ruckus.

Not since the build-up to the Iraq War has so much wrong-headed, pro-regime propaganda, spilled forth from their quarters.

NPR has become especially unbearable.

I, for one, can no longer keep it tuned in for background noise.

If the Russians were to stoop to Obama’s level by taking his bait, the consequences would be dire.

And the prospects would be no better if they acquiesce.

Team Obama gets its way so seldom than when they do it only encourages them.

Therefore, if they are not stopped in their tracks, their provocations will continue and become increasingly dangerous.

There are other former Soviet republics out there, after all; and we should not forget that Obama is still itching to “Pivot Towards Asia.”

In other words, he has China in his sights too.

Too bad he doesn’t also have prudence in his head.

How ironic and pathetic, that our best hope for avoiding the consequences of Bush-Obama policies lies with a conservative Russian strong-man, a leader with autocratic inclinations, but also with political skills, a sense of history, and the wisdom not to act out foolishly.

This is not how it is supposed to be in a democracy; it only shows how distant our democracy is from the ideal.

But with inept and clueless leaders at the helm, and a political system too corrupt and degraded, to provide the change voters want, this, for the time being, is where “hope” resides.



Andrew Levine is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/28/the-obama-paradox

Friday, March 28, 2014

Empathy In The Time Of Numbness

Empathy In The Time Of Numbness

"Nobody feels any pain, tonight, as I, stand inside the rain."
- Bob Dylan

By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III)
Axis of Logic
March 28, 2014

Aside from, or perhaps along with, the recent polar vortex
phenomenon there is a coldness at the heart of world affairs.

Upon reading the news day after day, is there such thing
as an appropriate response?

At one level one may react numbly (or with pseudo-Buddhist
detachment) so as to protect a sense of self, maintain
equilibrium.

Yet one might burst into tears, become depressed, or rant
angrily at the various atrocities and perpetrators, from drone
bomb killings to the devastating side-effects of wars and
the manipulated economic sanctions and neo-liberal policies
skewering various sectors of the globe.

Wait, that sounded like numb journalistic propaganda, not
“various sectors of the globe,” rather, actions affecting
human beings, various critters, and Mother Earth.

Professor, author, and activist Howard Zinn serves as a
fine example of someone who woke up from the numbness:

“Eager to fight fascism, Zinn joined the U.S. Army Air Force
during World War II and was assigned as a bombardier in the
490th Bombardment Group, bombing targets in Berlin,
Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. As bombardier, Zinn dropped
napalm bombs in April 1945 on Royan, a seaside resort in
southwestern France. The anti-war stance Zinn developed
later was informed, in part, by his experiences. . . . On
the ground, Zinn learned that the aerial bombing attacks
in which he participated had killed more than 1000 French
civilians as well as some German soldiers hiding near Royan
to await the war’s end, events that are described ‘in all
accounts’ he found as ‘une tragique erreur’...”1

One of the great dangers of the current booming techno-gadget
military complex is that the opportunities for long-distance,
video-gamesque death machines have increased.

“On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old
intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad,
was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly
speaking to an unfaithful journalist). . . . The video, shot
from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the
unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his
rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were
also seriously wounded.”2

The imprisonment of Bradley, now called Chelsea Manning, is
a prime example of the macho numb-nuts’ attempt to keep the
doors of empathy closed so as to continue to perpetuate their
inhuman and profitable atrocities in cold blood.

"The vagabond who’s rapping at your door, is standing in
the clothes, that you once wore." - Bob Dylan

Various psychological studies depict sociopaths as lacking
any empathy, thus they continue on pathologically.

The military-politico-bankster elite is loaded with such types.

A subtler form of numbness has to do with so-called foreign
affairs.

If the war or the devastation is way over there in another
country, or on an Indian reservation, for examples, it is
easier to say, “Not my problem.”

Out of sight, out of mind . . . and emotion.

Yet becoming a world citizen and taking on a "One Earth"
perspective, can be a gateway drug to compassion, and
empathy.

On a personal level, one can learn a lot from pain.

Having learned a lot that way myself and then trying to
put it all in a non-sadistic framework, I came up with
this phrase:

Pain is a great teacher that wants the student to graduate
to a more pleasurable experience.

Whether experiencing pain directly or simply witnessing it,
also a form of experience, each individual has a reason for
a turning point.

The reasons may be many, yet at the core is a caring, a not
wanting to cause any more pain or harm, and a not wanting
to see any more pain or harm caused.

Recognizing another as a form of self can also flip the
switch.

Literature often provides an outlet of expression for the
author as well as a potential turning point for the reader.

Kurt Vonnegut is a prime example:

“Vonnegut was one of a group of American prisoners of war to
survive the attack in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker
used by the Germans as an ad hoc detention facility. The Germans
called the building Schlachthof Fünf (“Slaughterhouse Five”) which
the Allied POWs adopted as the name for their prison. Vonnegut
said that the aftermath of the attack was 'utter destruction' and
'carnage unfathomable.' This experience was the inspiration for
his famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and is a central theme in
at least six of his other books. ”3

Other of Vonnegut’s firsthand experiences affected him deeply:

“Vonnegut made a damn good entertainer, but there should be
no mistake: Kurt Vonnegut wasn’t standing at all those podiums
talking just to earn his (sizable) fee. He had a purpose, and that
purpose was to testify about what he witnessed and what he
learned as an American soldier and prisoner of war in Germany
near the end of World War II."

“Vonnegut spent ten painful days in a packed boxcar with his
fellow prisoners before finally arriving in the grand old German
city of Dresden, and he was there on February 14, 1945, when
an experimental new type of incendiary bombing created a
firestorm that destroyed the entire city in a single day, claiming
more lives than the first atomic bomb would six months later in
Hiroshima. Vonnegut and his fellow prisoners remained in Dresden
for the aftermath, dragging corpses (mostly women and children,
since the German men were all fighting) from the ruins.

“No 20th-century American writer—not Ernest Hemingway in
Europe, not Norman Mailer in the Pacific, not Matthew Eck in
Somalia—can tell a war horror story like this one. (Though Beat
poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is close, having landed in Nagasaki
with a U.S. Navy force a month after the atom bombing. It’s
worth noting that Ferlinghetti also became an extreme pacifist.

From an interview:

Christopher Bollen: You served in World War II and you actually
visited Nagasaki right after the bomb was dropped there.

Ferlinghetti: I was there seven weeks after the bomb was dropped.
It was just like walking around in some landscape that wasn’t on
Earth. It was an unearthly feeling. The site had been cleaned
up—somewhat—or they wouldn’t have let us in. I was just off my
Navy ship down in southern Kyushu, and we had a day off and went
up by train to Nagasaki. It was pretty horrible to see. And that was
just a toy bomb compared to the ones that are available today.

Bollen: Did that experience have anything to do with your deciding
to become a poet? I imagine those images burned into your brain.

Ferlinghetti: No, I was a poet long before. But I wasn’t political
before that. Besides, I was a good American boy. I was a Boy
Scout in the suburbs of New York—trustworthy, loyal, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and
reverent.

Bollen: And have you stuck to all of those principles?

Ferlinghetti: Of course.

"Time is an ocean, but it ends at the shore, you may
not see me tomorrow." – Bob Dylan

It would take a larger scope to determine the origins of the
penchants for tragedy but one historical clue can be derived
from the following, from James W. Loewen's book Lies My
Teacher Told Me:

“Britain exterminated the Tasmanian aborigines; Germany pursued
total war against the Herrero of Namibia. Most western nations
have to face history. We also have to admit that Adolf Hitler
displayed more knowledge of how we treated Native Americans
than American high schoolers who rely on their textbooks.
Hitler admired our concentration camps for Indians in the west
‘and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of
America’s extermination by starvation and uneven combat’ as
the model for his extermination of Jews and Gypsies. ”6 . . . .
And others.

In 2009, David Swallow, Jr., a Traditional Lakota Spiritual Leader,
wrote:

“In 1876, the Indian Appropriations Act demanded the Sioux give
back the Black Hills or starve under siege. Then they ordered
the destruction of all the buffalo herds. By 1889, the Federal
Government had forced the Lakota into prisoner of war camps
which they now call Reservations. According to government
documents, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is prisoner of war
camp #344. . . . We are the longest prisoners of war in the
world’s history. It must change. We need to be set free so
we can deal with our own people and our children and their
children. ”7

Another angle for un-numbing comes from Ehren K. Watada:

“a former First Lieutenant of the United States Army, best known
as the first commissioned officer in the US armed forces to refuse
to deploy to Iraq, in June, 2006. Watada refused to deploy for his
unit's assigned rotation to Operation Iraqi Freedom, saying he
believed the war to be illegal and that, under the doctrine of
command responsibility, it would make him party to war crimes. . .
On October 2, 2009, the Army discharged Ehren Watada. Watada’s
defense attorney stated that in his opinion, ‘the Army came to
the conclusion that it was not going to be able to prevail in a
prosecution, and when the new solicitor general came in, her
office had a fresh look at it, and as it was not bound by any of
the decisions that had been made previously, they saw fit to put
a stop to the appellate process.’ ”8

People tell me it’s a crime, to feel too much at any one time."
- Bob Dylan

For some whistleblowers it has become an Orwellian crime to feel
and reveal various information and truths. Manning, Snowden, and
Assange, are some of the high-profile cases.

It is left to each reader of daily news to determine what levels of
empathy, action, and/or compassionate witnessing serve the best
purpose.

"When I was deep in poverty, you taught me how to give."
- Bob Dylan

As the proverbial sun shines on both the good and evil,
it is perhaps when one is standing "inside the rain" and
wondering why "nobody feels any pain" that a turn-around,
or transformation, is ripe for the happening.

While the bringing down of the walls of un-empathetic fascist
empires may be left to the masses or when a chunk of time
has run its weary course, each human being has the ability to
experience redemption, to display forgiveness amidst pain,
to feel the cold rain on the skin and instead of taking revenge,
know that the sun will shine again.



Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on
Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small
press publisher and Turtle Islander.

http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_66365.shtml

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The World Turned Upside Down

The World Turned Upside Down

By David Glenn Cox
The Smirking Chimp
March 26, 2014

The world is turned upside down; grass eats cows, and Fox,
reports news.

You just don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Radio Shack is closing 1,100 stores, Staples the nations
largest office supply retailer is closing 225 locations.

J.C. Penny is closing 33 stores laying off 2,000 workers.

IBM is laying off, JP Morgan Chase plans up to 4,000 lay offs.

Sears/Kmart plan to close 100 more stores after a disastrous
Christmas season.

The President told us in his recent State of the Union Address:

“Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment
rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A
manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since
the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest
of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty
years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time
in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared
that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest;
America is.”

FOR SALE: Suspension Bridge, located in Brooklyn, New York
serious inquiries only!

Winston Smith is a rank amateur in this made for TV reality
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in
order to assert your interests, this is an act of aggression
that is completely "Trumped-Up" in terms of its pretext.

It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
~ John Kerry

John Kerry isn’t a stupid man, but he plays one on TV.

The Vietnam vet who once asked passionately, “How do
you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Now makes a mockery of his office and himself, but he’s
not alone in this group think, or non-think.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the
’30s,”Clinton said Tuesday, according to the Long Beach Press-
Telegram.

“All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans
by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania
and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated
right. I must go and protect my people, and that’s what’s gotten
everybody so nervous.” ~Hillary Clinton

The events in the Ukraine have nothing to do with Hitler
or ethnicity.

This is about oil and gas, isn’t always about oil and gas
in this country?

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin agreed to disband
the Warsaw Pact, after an agreement with Bill Clinton, not to
expand NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries.

What did the US then do?

It expanded NATO into former Warsaw Pact Countries.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the US missile defense is a gun,
pointed at the heart of Russia.

If you look at a map of the Middle East, the US has military
dominance across the region, from Saudi Arabia to Iraq,
in effect building a wall around the world’s major energy
region.

Revolutions in Libya, and Algeria, have put pro-western
governments in power.

It was Hillary Clinton herself who said of Moammar Qaddifi’s death,
“We came, we saw, and he died” as she smiled gleefully, and rubbed
her hands together in satisfaction.

This was the Secretary of State of the United States of America, joyously celebrating murder.

Recent uprisings in Venezuela, plan Columbia’s $9 billion dollar
price tag, is more about protecting oil pipelines, than stopping
the flow of drugs.

Those were $9 billion public dollars spent to protect private interests.

Can you believe it’s a coincidence, another uprising in another
oil transporting state sharing a border with Russia?

While Ukraine does not produce the oil, it is Russia’s highway
to sell its oil on world markets.

It moves US interests closer to Russian borders, it is the partitioning
of Czechoslovakia, but it isn’t Vladimir Putin playing the role of
Hitler in this scenario, it is the United States.

Vidkun Quisling was a petty Norwegian official, before the Second
World War his right-wing philosophy had gained little traction, until
the German invasion.

Quisling was installed in a coup backed by the Nazis as Minister
/President.

The Nazi’s needed Norway to protect their shipping lanes and to
have access to the North Sea.

Quisling was their puppet and his name has become synonymous
with corrupt puppet regimes the world over.

Nouri al-Maliki was installed as Iraqi Prime minister in 2006,
after Ibrahim al-Jaafari failed to meet US objectives.

Nouri al-Maliki was elected of course, but under International law,
elections held or sanctioned, by an invading power, are null and
void.

Nouri al-Maliki was a "Quisling" and the proof is in the
pudding.

In 2007, both Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice,
complained al-Maliki should be removed from office.

al-Maliki responded they were acting were acting as if Iraq
were “their property” they should “come to their senses”
and “respect democracy” but you see, Iraq is our property
as far as our government is concerned and democracy under
Neo-Liberal Capitalism, is a joke.

Hamid Karzi is also a "Quisling" of the highest order.

Arguably, Karzi is one of the most corrupt leaders on the
world stage today, siphoning off billions of US tax dollars.

The US asks no questions of Karzi, as long as he does as
he’s told.

But Karzi’s term is growing short and the US is pressuring
him to sign a new forces agreement and Karzi resists, why?

The agreement exempts US armed forces and agents
from criminal prosecution, but does not exempt Karzi.

He will be on the US hook forever, potentially the next
"Manuel Noriega."

Opium production in Afghanistan, is at record highs under
US occupation, so who should we prosecute?

Today in Afghanistan, investors wish to build a railroad across
the country to make possible the exploitation of Afghanistan’s
mineral riches with an estimated value of $3 trillion dollars.

Karzi claims its closer to $30 trillion dollars, $30 trillion which will
go into the pockets of transnational corporations, and crooked
politicians, leaving Afghanistan, just as poor, and backwards, as
it ever was.

The National Endowment for Democracy is a nonprofit think tank
paid for with $135.5 million of your tax dollars each year.

It is an Orwellian inversion of the word Democracy; it promotes
American corporate interests around the word and doesn’t give
a damn about Democracy.

The NED is affiliated with various right-wing think tanks.

Just a quick list of NED project countries includes Iran, Ecuador,
Venezuela, Ukraine, Georgia, Chechnya, Serbia and Slovakia.

Please note how many of these nations are on Russia’s boarders.

This is what "FASCISM" is all about!

“The common elements of fascism, extreme nationalism, social
Darwinism, the leadership principle, elitism, anti-liberalism,
anti-egalitarianism, anti-democracy, intolerance, glorification
of war, the supremacy of the state and anti-intellectualism.”
~ Ian Adams

What does this have to do with jobs?

“There are no exceptions to this rule — fascism comes only when
the working class shows complete incapacity to take into its own
hands the fate of society.” ~ Leo Trotsky

“WAR IS PEACE,”

“FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,”

“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

~George Orwell

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/daveparts/54818/the-
world-turned-upside-down

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh, The Humanity

Oh, The Humanity

By Karen Garcia
TruthOut.org
March 25, 2014

If CNN devoted even a hundredth as much time covering our
hijacked economy, as it does covering that missing airplane,
we might just be getting somewhere and afflicting the
comfortable.

But, since a marathon reality show featuring an international
scavenger hunt with overtones of terror, intrigue, and anguish
is proving to be a ratings magnet, the most trusted name in
news is only too happy to sate our appetites.

The Saga of Flight MH370 must and will take dramatic precedence
over that other truly epic humanitarian crisis playing out right now,
in our own backyard.

That's because unrelenting coverage by cable news of the tragedy
of chronic, soul-killing, suicide-inducing mass unemployment
would likely be box office poison.

But to be fair to CNN, they did run a story on depression,
suicide and joblessness in 2012.

Jobless people themselves would probably just as soon
forget their own woes.

Between interviews to nowhere and staring at their silent phones,
they too can sit glued to the TV, watching stories of people even
more missing-in-action and possibly dead than themselves.

That is, if they still have cable, given the rapid rise in
subscription rates.

But just in case they're couch-surfing at a connected friend's,
or relative's, they can at least feel grateful to be alive and
situated on dry land where they can be found if needed,
economically disposable, as they've been deemed to be.

There were 239 people aboard that ill-fated airplane.

We have learned the life stories of just about every
single one of them in the past couple of weeks.

There are now some 5.66 million missing workers in the
United States, neither counted nor accounted for.

To notice them would be to raise the unemployment rate to
at least 10%, up from the official 6.5%. and that would not
jibe with the narrative of "The Recovery."

Although the human wreckage of poverty and unemployment is
littered all over the American landscape, how it got there in the
first place (plutocratic greed and political corruption) is not an
exciting mystery, requiring detection of the prized black box
with expensive high tech toys and satellite imagery.

The detritus has been out there in plain sight and hearing for so
long that it's become either ignored background noise, or just
part of the decor.

The popular style of understated catastrophe, which took off like
a shot around 2008, has for all practical purpose just been dubbed
Shabby Sober New Normal Chic by a group of Ivy League fashion
critics.

From the Los Angeles Times:

"In a sobering new study, three Princeton economists found that
only 11% of the long-term unemployed in any given month found
full-time work a year later."

(snip)

"Despite an improving economy, the proportion of people who
have been unemployed for more than six months still exceeds
the previous peak set in the early 1980s, the economists said.
That's why the overall unemployment rate is still well above
average."

"According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number
of people unemployed 27 weeks or longer rose by 203,000 in
February, reaching 3.8 million."

(snip)

"New in the paper was a more detailed breakdown of who
exactly makes up this group. The economists found that in
2012:"

-- More than 30% of those out of work for extended periods are
50 or older, compared with 20% of the short-term unemployed.

-- 55% of the long-term unemployed are men.

-- 44% of the long-term unemployed have never been married
and nearly 20% are either widowed, separated or divorced.

-- Blacks represent 22% of the long-term unemployed, a rate
higher than their share of the population.

-- More than half of the long-term unemployed are white.

Oh, and if you're over the age of 50 and have been out of work
for awhile, you might as well forget about ever getting another
job for the rest of your life.

Not that you really matter in the grand scheme of things, or so
coldly proclaim the Three Fashionistas of the New Normal Study.

And since they're part of the Establishment (Alan Krueger worked
in the Obama administration) they hasten to add that miserable
Americans are still not as badly off as the crushed Europeans.

And there is even more than a hint of that dreaded "Lack of
Skills" labor supply-side bunkum excuse in their report, designed
(inadvertently of course) to make the miserable feel even worse
and the architects of the misery more complacent as they continue
to rake in more than 90% of the gains made in the "Recovery."

Interspersed among the myriad charts, graphs and mathematical
formulas from the centrist Brookings Institution, report is some
rather condescending language, seeming to put the onus on the
worker rather than the boss: (parentheses mine)

Even in good times, (sniffs, looks down nose) the long-term
unemployed are on the margins of the labor market, (real low-
life fringe-dwellers, they) with diminished job prospects and
high labor force withdrawal rates, (what else can you expect
from impotent withdrawal-prone Marginals?)

And as a result they exert little pressure (they're diminished!)
on wage growth or inflation.

They never counted anyway, so why are we even bothering
with this purely academic exercise?

Because the plutocrats running this establishment pay us
handsomely to so expertly say what they want to hear,
that's why!

And what a lot of them want to hear is another excuse to
not extend unemployment benefits for more than two million
long-term jobless people.

According to Krueger and Co., there's also that annoying
historical tendency of the Marginals to just up and quit
their jobs:

Although the long-term unemployed have about a one in ten
chance of moving into employment in any given month, when
they do return to work their new jobs are often transitory.
(itinerant, hobo-ish)

After 15 months, the long-term unemployed are more than twice
as likely to have withdrawn (they studiously avoid saying laid off,
fired, aged out, became sick or were injured) from the labor force
than to have settled into steady, full-time employment.

And when they exit (without, apparently, a swift kick in the butt
from their boss to help them on their way) the labor force, the
long-term unemployed tend to say that they no longer want a job,
suggesting that many labor force exits could be enduring.(once a quitter, always a quitter.)

Words matter.

And this is the part about the subset of the chronically unemployed
that the moralizing Caligula Caucus will most likely pounce upon.

Congress, of course, is now in the throes of debating
unemployment benefit extensions.

As long as there are some lazy bums who are deliberately quitting
jobs and are unlikely to ever to work again for the rest of their
lives, why extend the help?

As Paul Ryan might say, it only encourages them to remain
strung out in their hammocks of dependency.

The sadistic lower House is balking at even a brief stay of
execution, despite the outrageous CEO-friendly Senate
compromise allowing employers to "temporarily" withhold
contributions to current workers' pension plans and the
additional regressive tax on airline travelers.

Although the Brookings charts do show that educated, professional people are just as likely suffer prolonged unemployment as the less educated, the authors of the study for some reason do not include these findings in their coldly written summary.

Nowhere do we hear a story about the 50-something engineer
laid off from a Fortune 500 company a year ago, and who has
since given up even looking for work because of untreated
clinical depression.

Instead, according to the wonkishly dry economic report, he has
"exited the work force" and has a "tendency" to not even want a
job.

He and millions of people like him shall remain nameless
as they are rendered into statistical insignificance.

The Social Darwinist subtext goes something like this:

If we simply ignore the chronically unemployed, they will magically
disappear from our radar screen. No more pings, no more blips.

As Binyamin Applebaum of the New York Times puts it:

"The basic argument made by the news paper, and others like it, is
that the long-standing relationship between movements in inflation
and unemployment, which appeared to break down during the
Great Recession and its aftermath, can be restored by writing off
long-term unemployment. The Phillips curve, a description of this
relationship, predicted a decline of one percentage point per year
between 2009 and 2013. The actual average was just 0.2
percentage points."

Adjust for – which is to say, ignore – long-term unemployment
and voila!

The difference almost completely vanishes.

And President Obama and Congress are not about to pledge the full
bureaucratic or financial support of the United States government
to search for and rescue this particular group of vanished, doomed,
expendable passengers.

Looking for miniscule glints of metal in a million square mile locus,
though? That, says the president, is now "among America's top
priorities."

There isn't an ocean too deep, or a mountain so high it can keep
them away.... away from thumping their chests and strutting their
all American exceptional stuff in their never ending quest to
become CNN Heroes.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22648-oh-the-humanity

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alleged Problems: Real Solutions

Alleged Problems: Real Solutions

By Frank Scott
Dissident Voice.org
March 23, 2014

There are more than 300 million people in the USA.

492 of them are billionaires.

That represents roughly 16 millionths of 1%.

In decimal form that’s 0.0000016, or as a fraction,
16 over 1 million.

This is not the 1% the Occupy Movement imprinted on
(some of) the national consciousness.

Even an innumerate person can understand that represents a
teeny, tiny, microscopic portion of our supposedly democratic,
equal opportunity, propaganda spouting world’s most deadly
military killing machine in history.

But hey, we’re a free enterprise system, right?

Those less than 500 of us are brilliant, industrious, hard working
people who’ve earned every penny of that money by getting up
early and getting off to the foundry, office, factory, school,
hospital and sundry other places where people work, while the
rest of us - roughly 99.9999984% – are loutish chumps (except
for a small professional elite who were smart enough to become
servants to that 16/millionth) who, if we work much harder,
regularly attend religious services and even more regularly take
good drugs, can also hope to join them up at that fractional
faction, of a factional fraction, at the top.

Someday. Sure.

It’s in the Constitution. Or the Declaration. Or the bible?

Well, maybe a comic book?

Meanwhile, at the other extreme of our population, far more
people, actually tens of thousands, live in and on the street.

They sleep in shelters, which put them up for the night if they
are lucky enough to get in, and put them out in the morning.

Or they sleep in cars, doorways, under bridges, and on park
benches, if there is no room at the inn – oops – shelter.

But not to worry, theirs is not complete despair, abject misery
or living death by comparison to the opulence enjoyed by the
top fraction and its servant class.

Our bottom dwelling humans who absorb the most extreme loss that
ultimately benefits upper level private profits can avail themselves
of free food dispensaries at least once a day.

And free health clinics and hospital emergency rooms when their
economically and elements weakened state brings on illness or
disease.

And if they drop dead in the street and are not claimed by
relatives, they are guaranteed publicly financed burial in
Potter’s Fields.

That’s after their bodies have been used to train future doctors and
nurses, assuming the ravages of their lives haven’t reduced them to
former human but now garbage offering no useful parts or organs as
tools for medical education.

We also have tens of millions of pet dogs and cats which live in
warmth and comfort, are often loved as members of our human
families, are very well fed and have health care from thousands of
pet clinics staffed by educated veterinarians, including oncologists.

This in a nation where some die in the street and no one even
knows they had cancer until their unclaimed bodies are used for
medical experiments.

Those may seem uncommon extremes of the social order, but they
are factual and not the healthiest sign for a nation and culture in
which many still believe that we are superior to others, and if not
a master race of people, at least an exceptionally wonderful place
to have a family, raise a dog, tap a phone or aim a drone.

Given that and the fact that the overwhelming majority of what is
called the scientific community warns us that our treatment of the
planet’s human and other resources is bringing us closer to a failure
and possible breakdown of society previously inconceivable, what
would you say we should be most concerned about?

What happened at Downton Abbey?

The outcome of the NCAA March Madness?

The chances that Miley Somebody’s twerky tongue will grow
a foot longer?

That Pussy Riot will move to America and host next year’s
Academy Awards?

Nope, nothing that important. Guess?

Putin, and Russia’s attempt to take over the globe and make
us all eat evil black bread!

You’d think as much if you read, watch, listen to and especially
believe what you’re told by our nation’s corporate ministry of
disinformation, which has been beating the drums of war for
years now but most recently over this alleged renewed threat
from Russia.

And where is the evil Cossack saber poised to strike at the burgers,
fries, Fox TV and PBS series we so love, cherish and would die for?

Right on our very borders at the Ukraine!

Well, though it actually borders on Russia and parts of it like the
Crimea have actually been in Russia and millions of its population
identify with and speak Russian you might think it was in downtown
Dallas, or uptown New York, for the way it has been treated by our
sometimes, telegenically attractive, brain dead media mind
managers, and their pin headed mentors, in our Hollywood-for-ugly-
people Government.

This would be laughable if not hysterically so, but for the fact that
what passes for leadership, like the president, secretary of state, a
wannabe president, and half wit critics of those dim bulbs because
they aren’t warlike enough, dominate what passes for discussion on
an issue that could lead to even greater stress on a failing system,
if not a blunder into a war that might just bring on collapse that
much sooner.

There has never have been a better time to totally disregard
corporate media and to be extremely careful about what passes
for its “alternative”.

Study a map of the world and also look at the material reality
of the USA that’s neglected by those who tell us about it rather
than allowing us to experience it.

Learn to respect your neighbors and turn anger at those who
allegedly represent you but are owned and operated exclusively
for the benefit of that top minuscule minority and their servants.

Demand and create social transformation before these people
and their system destroys us all.

Hurry.

You can call that process democracy, revolution, or lunch.

The substance is what matters, not the label.



Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print in
the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at the
blog Legalienate.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/alleged-problems-real-solutions

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Last BEST Question?

The Last BEST Question?

As we purge the last lies from our being, the lies we tell ourselves,
every day, the "TRUTH" appears, subtle, powerful, overcoming all,
that was, for all, that is, "The Last Best Question."

By Cynthia Piano
OpEdNews.com
March 19, 2014

As I watched a press conference the other day, this query came
to me.

It mattered not if I watched a judge, a press agent, a journalist,
a sports reporter, a lawyer, a priest, a "lover", a teacher, a
corporate executive, a child, a scientist, a government leader,
a parent, a police officer...

"Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies," says the famous
quote.

What does this mean?

Should we ask Oliver Goldsmith, B. B. King, or Johnny Thunder?

How many questions do we ask in our daily lives, having to
discern the truth?

How much time and energy is wasted trying to "figure it out"
or FEEL it?

What if everyone told the truth, or we could automatically "know"
it without doubt?

Would we ask questions anyway?

How would that change politics, religion, education, government,
business, relationships and life itself?

What lies do we tell ourselves?

The mind can deliberately tell a lie, spoken in word or deed.

Just WHERE did we learn that, anyway?

Can we pinpoint the exact moment we learned to lie?

Who taught us?

And then learned that it was accepted as a human practice?

Is it?

What IS the truth, really?

Is my truth your truth?

If they are not the same, when does your become mine,
and mine yours?

Can the heart tell a lie?

Can the deep knowing of the human soul misrepresent?

What if we turned the tables on everything we were
taught about deception?

What if we could trust everyone?

What if all we had to do, was to go inside of our hearts to
find all truth?

Why do we need to rely on mechanized technology for truth?

When does the price become too great for untruth?

Must we spend trillions to save all the lies,
just to discern the truth?

Will saving all the lies, mixed with the truth,
cost us some harm?

Or total destruction?

When can we stop asking?

And just "know" all?

When will we trust enough, love enough, and BE enough,
to go forward in peace and prosperity?

Perhaps THAT is the only question worth asking.



Cynthia Piano is Founder of Oneness House ~ A Spiritual Spa;
Writer, Visionary, Spiritual Life Mastery Mentor, Inspirational
and Transformational Healer/Teacher/Speaker.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/The-Last-BEST-Question-
by-Cynthia-Piano-Business_Change_Corporate_Education-
140318-407.html

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Enemies of Delusion

The Enemies of Delusion

By David Glenn Cox
The Smirking Chimp
March 14, 1014

I’ve been rereading Albert Speer’s book “Inside the Third Reich”
it is a fascinating historical document.

It is an illustration of a totally dysfunctional government.

As the Reich’s industrial base collapsed all around from Allied
bombing and invasions, Hitler planned a scorched earth defense
of Germany, simply to extend the life of the regime, a few more
days.

Speer’s job as armaments minister required he submit production reports to Hitler and by January 1945, the outlook was bleak.

The Fuehrer accepted his reports without comment, but took exception to Speer’s conclusion that the war was lost.

Military conferences went on and despite the advancing Allied
armies on all fronts; the talk was still of ultimate victory.

In February of 1945, less than ninety days from a total German
defeat, a military conference was held to discuss plans for a
new four engine jet bomber.

No fuel for the tanks or air planes already available, with little
or no ammunition at the front.

Military units consisting of recently rounded up untrained boys
and old men.

The ministers were living inside of a fantasy.

Outside the conference room some were more circumspect, but
inside, they still played along with the game, because it was all
they knew.

All of their work and plans had ended in the unnecessary deaths
of over 80 million people and the destruction of Europe.

None of them, not one, had the courage to say, “We have been
wrong and must change our policies.”

Wedded to their positions, prestige and power, they were willing
to look away from their crimes and hold themselves blameless.

Imagine shouldering that burden, your policies in a criminal regime,
caused a suffering which would never be forgotten.

Your policies had helped to destroy a vibrant and educated nation.

Modern pop culture holds that Hitler was a mad man, but that’s
too easy.

Such thinking erases the crimes of the ministers, department heads
and business executives or were they all mad?

The era draws into sharp focus the responsibilities of the people to
government and of government to their people.

Obviously, killing your own people to prolong your regime is wrong,
but Hitler’s scorched earth policy required the wholesale
destruction of rail lines, factories and power stations.

The German people would be allowed to starve or freeze to death
in the cold.

Inside their fantasy there would be no postwar Germany, because
admitting to a postwar world was admitting defeat.

How is their delusion any different from that of our own
government?

In December, extended unemployment benefits ended for
1.8 MILLION Americans.

They’ve been turned loose to starve or freeze to death in
an economic scorched earth policy.

This after, and in addition to, cuts to the SNAP (Food stamp)
program, unemployment benefits are subsistence wages designed
to keep people from falling into destitution.

On average, 72,000 Americans lose their unemployment benefits
each week, how will they live and where will they live?

How can government live in such a fantasy, as to simply ignore
the people’s suffering?

“An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient
cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off
foreign oil.” ~ Barack Obama

Hello?

The American auto industry, once responsible for one in ten
jobs in this country is gone!

And when our new four engine jet bombers reach the front,
we can turn things around!

The German public was force-fed a steady diet of positive
propaganda, but you can only convince the cold they’re
warm for so long and here we are.

Wal-mart has begun a new ad campaign with a sixty-second
commercial entitled “I am a Factory.”

Reuters USA: “UN Human Rights Commissioner urges prosecution
of North Korean Crimes”

“In a statement on Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State
Department said Washington looked forward "to thoroughly
reviewing the report and discussing its recommendations with
our partners, who share our deep concern about the human
rights situation" in North Korea. The report "provides compelling
evidence of widespread and systematic human rights violations"
by North Korea, where the rights situation was "among the world's
worst," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.”

Obviously the North Korean’s aren’t saints, but are their crimes
so compelling, have they invaded other nations setting up puppet
regimes?

Are they jailing political dissidents, without charge?

Did they outsource their workers jobs to enrich the ruling clique?

Have they forced millions of their own people into destitution for
private personal gain?

We have no such similar “deep concerns” for the workers inside
sweat shop factories in China, India or Latin America.

Wedded to their positions, prestige and power, they are willing
to look away from their crimes and hold themselves blameless.

In his last hours, Hitler complained, the German people had failed
him, rather than the other way around.

Bloomberg: Teenagers Spurn Working as School in US takes Priority

“Jobs traditionally held by teens are “in declining industries --
where workers are being replaced by technology and/or outsourcing
-- or in growing industries that appear to be employing other types
of workers, such as young adults or immigrants,” the Boston Fed
report said.”

Grass cutting and hamburger flipping are declining industries?

And when our new four engine jet bombers reach the front,
we can turn things around!

There is madness in every direction, a delusional belief that this
charade can continue indefinitely, while the thud of heavy artillery
can be heard in the distance.

The recent death rattle cough of emerging market economies
combined with a slowing Chinese economy means time grows
short; the enemies of delusion are at the gate.

The Federal Reserve continues pumping between $65 and $75
billion each month in freshly printed dollars into a corpse, which
the media and the government call “the recovery.”

Retail sales fell in January after December sales barely beat
the rate of inflation.

The Christmas season has ceased to exist, but soon, our new
four engine jet bombers will make things right again.

The adherents of Free Trade have destroyed the economy,
turning our cities into wastelands.

These adherents of Neo-liberalism are Fascists, who believe
themselves superior to the untermunchin population of 307
million.

They practice economic terrorism against the American people,
in nothing less, than a scorched earth policy.

Subsidizing the low–wage gulags, waiting for the new four engine
jet bombers to turn things around before the Chinese bubble
bursts.

You cannot abandon a part of the people; to abandon one is
to abandon all.

Be it playing air guitar while people drowned in New Orleans
or by cutting unemployment benefits.

It is nothing less than Capitalist terrorism, leaving millions
of Americans destitute and then blaming them for it.

The poverty of the multitudes destroys the fantasy and acknowledging their poverty is admitting defeat.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/daveparts/54678/the-enemies-of-delusion

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If

If

By Rudyard Kipling
Poem Hunter.com
March 11, 2014

If you can keep your head when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream, and not make dreams your master;
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph, and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth, you've spoken,
Twisted by knaves, to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up, with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew,
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you,
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings, nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes, nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute,
With sixty seconds' worth of a distance run,
Yours is the Earth, and everything that's in it,
And, which is more, you'll be a Man, my Son!

Rudyard Kipling



Joseph Rudyard Kipling, (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. Kipling
was one of the most popular writers in England, in both
prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/if

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Raise The Flag

Raise The Flag

By X Clan
Rap Genius.com
March 8, 2014

Descending from the tribes of Africa,
Inspired by the Great Black Leaders.

Vanglorious

This is protected,
By the Red, the Black, and the Green,
With a key,
Zoom.

Dynamic,
Articulate,
Perceptive,
Courageous,
Outspoken.

One man is not a nation, Brother builds a Clan,
Certer than the circle creates the better man.

The colors, the brothers, the key, the motherland,
This causes to assemble this blackman.

Red, Black and Green are the colors of the flag on the rise,
Cause a nation should be guised.

Another flowing, as I comfort sons and daughters,
Knowledge leads the way, so I flow like Nile's waters.

African-American rebel of authority,
Majority, while I'm so-called minority.

Sometimes they ask me, "Why are you the rebel?
Is that the way you choose, attain the bass and treble?"

Yup - "Brother, don't get deep," that's what they tellin me,
Just like a sell-out, white society.

Gets stronger and stronger, my race gets weaker and weaker,
Maybe I can make a difference through a mic and a speaker.

So my lyrics flow different than a hip-hop be bop,
Mic controller who turns out to be the flop.

My wisdom God-given, excercised 'pon a rhythm,
Power postive and strictly Bible, that's how I'm livin.

Fortress we establish high, so none attack it,
Back to the ways of our mathmatic blackness.

They can't solve it, it's somethin they can't catch,
Took respect off our lives, so now I'm snatchin it back.

Power flows in the nation, there is life in the key,
Let us all bind together in the Red, the Black, the Green.

One vanglorious way, through the heart, unified,
And that should be the guide.

For the younger nation, so they can build the tribes,
After and beyond keep the colors alive.

A message through lyrics and beats composed,
Bring composure outstanding direct to those.

Who understand what was taken, xeroxed and stripped naked,
Today's pig shall be tomorrow's bacon.

Education brings false words, what do they teach?
Everything that I learned I had to self-reach.

What do you know of a race that's dyin hourly?
The smartest men in the world, they in a bowery.

Or either trapped or brain-washed on a come-up,
Kicked to the butt, wake up, are you some kind of nut?

Are you blind, can't you see what's never seen?
We need some unity within the colors of the Red, Black and Green.

Garvey-like brotherhood flows with the vibe,
And with the key, the flag is kept alive.

The sense of power, native to a different land,
Originality, fact that I understand.

A black fist, black power and a black man,
X Clan take a stand with the other hand.

Using this as a gimmick, yo man, I'll catch you,
Fetch you, kick my foot and then direct you.

In the right path, succotash,
Don't ask me 'bout the aftermath.

You do what? Don't make me laugh,
Dummy, I am protected by forces beyond you.

Think before you step before the rebel, silly mortal,
You wearin Mother's tags, and you don't know what they mean.

All you are concerned with is greedy man's green,
Sportin your medaillons, cause they matchin with your outfit.

Your posse's wearin it, man, that's so illegit,
Without definition you represent the fraudulent.

Blessed with blackness, but now you're just doggin it,
Tooth for tooth, and a man for man.

Ignorance take a pause and we'll all understand,
Independence is one thing when unity is stronger.

No one to realize the pressure last longer,
I'm just one man who fears for the worst.

Cause if we don't take a stand someone will step first,
And then...

No justice, no peace,
Father Moses, Osiris, Oisis.

Patrice Lumumba,

Malcolm X,

Marcus Garvey,

Sonny Carson,

The Blackwatch,

Sissy!



X Clan, is a hip hop group from Brooklyn, New York, originally
consisting of Grand Verbalizer Funkin' Lesson Brother J, Professor X
The Overseer, Paradise the Architect, and Sugar Shaft the Rhythm Provider.

http://rapgenius.com/X-clan-funkin-lesson-lyrics