BREAKING NEWS

ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Illusion of Democracy

From People’s Rule To A Broken Social Contract

By Gilbert Mercier
News Junkie Post
Oct 31, 2014

It is ironic, considering democracy’s pitiful state worldwide that, in accordance to its etymology, it literally means “common people’s rule” or, more simply, “people’s power.”

The English term democracy and the 14th-century French word democratie come from the Greek demokratia via the Latin democratia.

The Greek radical demos means “common people,” and kratos means “rule, or power.”

How did we manage to pervert such a laudable notion of power to the people and diametrically turn it into a global system of rule at large under the principles of oligarchy and plutocracy?

Everywhere we look, from east to west and north to south, plutocrats and oligarchs are firmly in charge: puppet masters of the political class.

They have transformed democracy into a parody of itself and a toxic form of government.

The social contract implied in a democratic form of governance is broken.

At the start of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, written in 1762 and one of the inspirations for the French revolution 27 years later, the Enlightenment philosopher wrote: “Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chain.”

The key argument of The Social Contract is that only those governments that function with the express “consent of the governed” have a legitimate right to exist.

Further, Rousseau introduced the fundamental and revolutionary notion of sovereignty of the people, as opposed to sovereignty of the state or the rulers.

For Rousseau, the only legitimate form of political authority is the one agreed upon by all the people in a social contract with full respect of everyone’s natural birthrights to equality, freedom and individual liberty.

The electoral process is an essential part of “the consent of the governed” defined by Rousseau.

In almost all of the so-called democratic countries, however, the important act of voting to elect the people’s representatives has become an exercise in futility.

Today politicians, who still have the audacity to call themselves public servants, are the obedient executors of the trans-national global corporate elite.

These politicians are actors who are cast to perform in opaque screenplays written by top corporate power brokers and marketed to the public like products.

In this sad state of affairs that passes for democracy, citizens have become blind consumers of products, which are political figureheads working for global corporate interests.

For any organism to remain healthy, it must be able to excrete.

The same applies to our collective social body, but instead of regularly eliminating our political residue and flushing it away, we recycle it.

Neoliberal Corporate Imperialism: A Global One-Party System

Mark Twain wrote: “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

This quote from the gilded age has never been more accurate than it is today. A vote implies real choice, and we have none.

From France to Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, India and of course the United States — all of which pass for great democracies — political choices have become largely reduced to two electable political parties with different names to accommodate the local cultural flavors.

This comforting idea of an option between left and right that spices up democracies’ voting menus is a farce.

For example, in France, the so-called socialist Francois Hollande and his right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy are both docile servants of neoliberal and imperial policies dictated from elsewhere.

Both, Sarkozy and Hollande, are proponents of austerity measures imposed by financial institutions (IMF, World Bank, etc.), and also imperialist actions such as rejoining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and intervening militarily in Libya (Sarkozy) and Mali (Hollande).

The United Kingdom offers the example of the phony difference between Labor, the party of warmonger in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tony Blair, and Tory, the party of warmonger in Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, David Cameron.

This observation extends, of course, to the fake choice between Democrats and Republicans in the United States: the names change periodically, but the neoliberal imperialist policies remain the same.

In reality, the pseudo two-party system accommodates a one-party power structure that is financed and ruled by the same people everywhere and serves identical interests.

This fake two-party system maintains the appearance of democracy by giving people the impression that voting matters.

If voting makes no difference, then what can be done?

Power To The People: Challenging Unelected Global-Governance Institutions

Although there is rampant dissatisfaction with politicians globally, few people are willing to admit that democracy is broken or take direct action to create a new system.

According to an October 2014 poll, only six percent of US voters think that their Congress is doing a good job, and 65 percent rate its performance as being poor or very poor.

Even more telling of the popular sense of an assumed general political corruption, 63 percent of US voters think that most members of Congress are willing to sell their votes for either cash or campaign contributions.

In France, President Hollande’s approval rating has crashed to 13 percent: the lowest for any president since the early 1960s.

Despite France’s revolutionary history, the country’s constitution gives its president the power to remain in office until the full term of his five-year mandate and, if necessary, to rule by decree.

In our current supra-national world order, however, to focus popular dissatisfaction on interchangeable figureheads such as Francois Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Narendra Modi, Dilma Rousseff, Angela Merkel, etc., is a largely counterproductive undertaking.

All are expendable.

Instead, the global public opinion should contest the legitimacy of unelected global-governance institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, United Nations, World Trade Organization (WTO), and other powerful non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and consortia like the World Economic Forum.

These institutions dictate global policies, draft secret treaties such as the trans-pacific partnership agreement (TPP) concerning billions of people, and largely constitute the global elite.

Such global institutions would have to be elected by the world citizenry for global governance to be viewed as being remotely democratic.

All Revolutions Need Revolution

“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it” wrote Howard Zinn.

People worldwide are fed up with their politicians, and they are protesting.

Yet, as if most are suffering from a collective Stockholm syndrome, they are not sufficiently pro-active to rid themselves of their abusers by all means necessary.

Voting was meant to be a sacrosanct civic duty in a democracy, but it has become the unconscious action of sleepwalkers.

In 1789, toppling the monarchy was a tall order in France.

The intellectual inspiration for this revolution came from the works of Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu, who can be viewed as the founding fathers of modern democracy.

If the veneer of the Enlightenment philosophers’ discourse has survived time, the spirit of it has been gutted out.

The elite of corporate global governance have trampled the social contract.

People who had gained their freedom during 200 years are everywhere back in chains.

Although an increasing number of people realize that a drastic systemic change is imperative, few are willing to admit that nothing short of a global revolution can challenge the entrenched plutocratic world order.

In the aftermath of such a revolution, or ideally before it, we must redefine the parameters of what should guarantee representative governance in real democracy with common people’s rule.

Real democracy works best on a small scale.

In ancient Greece, for example, democracy worked because its scale was limited to small communities in which citizens personally knew their politicians.

Today, pushes for autonomy in regions such as Catalonia and Scotland represent the aspirations of people for smaller governance and their reactions against globalization and the threat to their cultural identities.

On the other hand, global problems such as pollution, the squandering of limited resources, climate change and the current mass extinction, must be dealt with globally to have any impact.

Therefore a type of direct democracy is also needed to deal with global issues; this could consist, for example, of global referendums on critical issues.

The current systems of supposed democratic governance are corrupt and decayed; after we demolish them and reconstruct democracy for our times, it might finally, for us, become true to its name.

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/10/27/the-illusion-of-democracy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rise Up America, Rise Up!

Rise Up America, Rise Up!

The time has come when America must rapidly transform its values
through a more inclusive and spiritual vision, based upon a just
sharing of the world’s resources.

It is up to you, the youth of America, to lead the way by organizing
a non-stop demonstration in every state, until that nationwide
wave of peaceful protest eventually catches on globally.

By Mohammed Mesbahi
Common Dreams
October 30, 2014

What has caused the United States of America, such a great nation,
to sink to the depths of turmoil and confusion that it finds itself in
today?

A country that was founded upon the ideals of freedom, justice and
democracy, but that has increasingly lost its way and degraded
these noble concepts – to the extent that the Statue of Liberty
should really bow her head and reassemble her broken shackles,
and let go her flaming torch.

Those shackles should represent the ugly and imprisoning idea of
the American Dream as it manifests in a highly commercialized and
divided society, with such dire repercussions for the rest of the
world.

An idea that breeds more and more division, fear and injustice,
and that has led successive American governments to arrogantly
domineer other nations.

An idea that continues to debase the goodwill of ordinary
Americans and push the entire country towards catastrophe,
unless it dramatically changes course with all humility and
a sense of urgency.

"In love there is freedom in the truest sense – a freedom from
the old, from injustice, from the grand theft and corruption
that has blighted America’s profounder greatness for so many
years."

Why don’t most of us perceive the dangers inherent in pursuing
the American Dream?

Everyone understands its meaning in a general sense, in terms
of the desire to be successful, rich and happy.

But few of us reflect on how this dream has progressively misled
the people of America from sustaining the true values of their
nation - indeed a dream that was originally built on theft from
the indigenous peoples that rightfully inhabited the continent.

For underlying the American Dream is the drive for profit through
an ever intensifying path of commercialization, which is the
necessary basis for fulfilling America’s desire to have a wealthy
and superior way of life.

The American Dream was not abducted by commercialization,
but freely given to it ever since its inception.

And in that process the Land of Liberty has become the chief
proponent of a market forces ideology that it ruthlessly exported
throughout the world, leading to social upheaval in almost every
country and escalating international tension.

From an inner or psychological perspective the American Dream
should really be perceived as a self-centered and harmful concept,
in that it leads so many people to seek wealth and success as a
means to finding an ever elusive happiness, regardless of the
consequences for others.

It is a big lie that millions of young people continue to fall for, one
that poses a very effective tool for the forces of commercialization
to manipulate and misguide us.

Because in our desire to become a ‘somebody’, to become ever
more wealthy and perhaps even famous and powerful, it is not long
before our personalities are influenced by greed and indifference
which inevitably causes a dysfunction of our emotional intelligence.

When perceived inwardly it is greed per se that separates us from
the reality of the heart and its attributes, and directly influences
us to become indifferent to the suffering or well-being of others.

Even if we do not yearn to become rich and successful by dint of
our fame or achievements, the social conditioning of the American
Dream still causes us to distort our life purpose through the narrow,
materialistic and selfish pursuit of our individual happiness.

Rarely does the question then occur to us: what about the others
who didn’t make it? Does the American Dream mean that we have
to cancel them from America?

The Reality of One Humanity

The one who is heavily conditioned by the American Dream is
subject to a form of mental blindness in which they see only
themselves, and not the spiritual reality of our interconnected
lives among seven billion people.

Their love is often crushed in such a way that they are proud to
call themselves a patriotic American, even in the midst of other
people living in loneliness and misery all around them.

This pernicious conditioning also encourages children to grow up
with the idea that America is the most important country in the
world (if not the only continent that exists), leading them to enter
into adulthood with little awareness of the extreme poverty and
hardship that is experienced by the people of other nations.

It is not uncommon for those who live in the United States to have
absolutely no idea where Africa is situated on a world map, for
example, let alone any notion of how devastating American foreign
policy is for countless innocent people in far-away regions.

The very phrase ‘American Dream’ is divisive and divorced from
spiritual reality, a phrase that is sustained by a wrong devotional
attachment to an aspirational idea.

And that idea has always been nurtured by an emotional sense of
pride that has misguided generations of ordinary Americans from
perceiving the reality of One Humanity.

No matter how the American Dream is defined in a dictionary, from
an spiritual point of view that idea will always be associated with
division and injustice as we have seen in evidence throughout the
twentieth century, and still continue to see.

It is in fact a peculiarly self-centered idea in that is only
unconsciously tinted with spiritual aspiration, for if it was
inspired by a truly spiritual vision then it would have been
the One Humanity Dream, and nothing else besides.

As a consequence the American Dream has always separated itself
from the highest ideal of the commons; that is, the common good
of One Humanity.

It’s natural for the people of America to love their country and
their way of life, if they find they can fit into that way of life
and close their minds to the world’s problems.

But the American Dream of individual prosperity and happiness is
not connected to reality anymore, not in light of all the crises and
mass injustices that plague the Earth today.

To carry on repeating the Pledge of Allegiance every morning is a
narrow-minded and meaningless gesture in this respect, so long as
America fails to open her arms to the rest of the world.

Can you imagine pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States
of America with your hand on heart, while your other hand holds a
copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which declares
that everyone in the world has the right to liberty and justice, and
not only Americans?

Would that make any sense, and how would that feel knowing that
millions of people are needlessly dying from hunger and poverty
each year, while so much of the world’s resources are hoarded and
wasted in affluent countries, particularly within the United States?

Notwithstanding the dire poverty that is quietly experienced by
millions of people within America itself, who are mostly unheard
of and hidden as if they didn’t exist.

The true American Dream – a dream that represents the soul of the
nation as a whole – is to help and uplift the world in cooperation
with other countries.

But that is very different from the old idea of the American Dream
that has crystallized over many generations, and exists with its
polar opposite in the form of socialism and communism.

A true and noble concept should be inclusive and not exclusive, and
yet both the capitalist and communist nations have failed to live up
to their respective visions of equality and justice, and have instead
violated human rights on a colossal scale and instigated widespread
global conflict.

Despite all the pain and suffering these ideologies have caused
both before and after the two World Wars, none of the major
powers have learned the necessary lesson of sacrifice or adopted
a true path of multilateral cooperation and economic sharing.

And in the unique case of America, whose presidents still espouse
their role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity, it has
continually chosen to go the opposite way by pursuing an aggressive
self-interest that is thinly disguised as national security.

A Deceiving World Philanthropist

We may argue that the United States has given so much in overseas
aid, but it really assumes the role of a deceiving world
philanthropist by first exploiting other countries through unjust
trade and illegal wars, thereafter donating a tiny proportion of its
ill-gotten gains to help alleviate the suffering that it also caused.

And that aid represents utter hypocrisy when billions of dollars are
given to help poor or distressed foreign countries, while millions of
citizens within the United States are sadly ignored by their government.

Why has America recently given a billion dollars of aid to Ukraine
in Eastern Europe, for example, while it abandons the poor and
marginalized people of its own in Detroit?

As any activist knows, it is because the federal government
primarily serves its strategic self-interest and opportunities
for profit, which is the game of commercialization that has
gradually fused with the old idea of the American Dream until
both are now virtually synonymous.

For too long has America been guided by this harmful concept that
is sustained by the pursuit of profit and power, thereby damaging
the lives of other nations with scant regard for its self-professed
values of democracy, freedom and justice.

If nothing else, the sorry state of America today shows that political
and business leaders need a total re-education along more spiritual
lines, based on the principle of right human relationship.

America has to drastically change its priorities, towards itself and
towards the world, so that common sense, humility and compassion
become the shining hallmarks of its government and society.

Yet even to state this unavoidable truth sounds like a fantasy
when most of those in a position of power are held sway by the
forces of commercialization, in which context the basic spiritual
values of humanity almost appear to be utopian.

Unless America radically changes its ways it is about to go down
a dark and dangerous alley for some time to come, one in which
riots, violence and all kinds of social upheaval could increasingly
take place.

Such is the by-product of continuing to follow an individualistic
and divisive idea of progress, as evidenced in all the neuroses,
hatred and crime that has long been rampant across the nation.

The political process in the United States has become so corrupt
and profit-oriented, together with a national debt that is clearly
unpayable, that a prolonged period of financial turmoil will
undoubtedly worsen in the years ahead.

And the prospects are dire for a nation that still trains its citizens
to believe in, with pride, their right to achieve an extravagant level
of personal wealth and material comfort, no matter what the cost
in terms of environmental ruin and the exploitation of poorer
countries.

Now that the prospect of indefinitely sustaining the American way
of life has become a palpable absurdity, many citizens across the
nation are beginning to question with a sense of deep foreboding:
‘where is the hope that our leaders vainly promised, and what is
the fate that will soon befall us?’

There is no question that the people of goodwill throughout
America must rise up in unison together, and peaceably resist
against the government’s polices as it profits from wars and
defends corporate interests, instead of helping ordinary people
in their approaching time of greatest need.

Who is going to help Detroit now that it is bankrupt, for example
will it be the Pentagon or the CIA, who usurp so much of the
nation’s income and resources?

America has become like a dysfunctional family in which,
by analogy, the children are being abused and neglected
until they are eventually forced to leave home and look
after themselves.

In a similar way, the government in Washington is like the parent
who is failing to look after all her children – namely the fifty states,
many of whom like Detroit may soon fall into crisis as the economy
melts.

Is it not inevitable that many of these states will ultimately
abandon Washington completely?

Because it is the people of Detroit who made Detroit, the people
of New Orleans who made New Orleans, and not Washington.

The popular demonstrations that spread across the United States in
2011 revealed how many intelligent young people have had enough
of the American Dream and all it represents, even if that awareness
is felt unconsciously.

And that act of demonstrating as one in peaceful protest is actually
an expression of love and maturity, as well as intelligence.

Because in love there is freedom in the truest sense – a freedom
from the old, from injustice, from the grand theft and corruption
that has blighted America’s profounder greatness for so many years.

Those who stand in the streets and uphold the real meaning of
liberty and justice are the ones who Americans should be duly
proud of, instead of clinging onto a false pride in the so-called
American way of life.

The Real Heroes of America

Many of the Occupy protesters perceived with common sense how
the American Dream has misled and divided an entire nation, and
given America a vulgar reputation on the global stage.

They are the real heroes of the nation, the ones who should be
standing on top of the Statue of Liberty and lighting her torch.

They are the ones who want to live with maturity and
responsibility, rather than allowing their free will to
be constantly manipulated by big corporations and self-
serving politicians.

They are the ones who are denouncing the forces of
commercialization that hide behind the American Dream,
and that incessantly try to misdirect our attention by
telling us what to think and what to do, instead of
allowing us to live freely in the moment of now with
honesty and detachment.

Of course there are many others who still strongly believe in
the American Dream with a misplaced sense of pride, and who
therefore looked at the tents in Zuccotti Park with bewilderment
and misunderstanding, and even felt that the protesters were
betraying the American way of life.

But the hour is coming when all the people of America will have to
ask themselves: what is the meaning of this way of life, and where
is it leading us?

The government and police may believe that they have eliminated
those tents from public areas, but they do not realize that they
cannot eliminate all the tents that remain in the hearts of
America’s youth.

The politicians are gravely mistaken if they believe those tents
will not return, because they are already multiplying more and
more, silently and gradually from heart to heart.

It may seem as if nothing is happening right now, but it is
foreseeable that sooner or later there will not be just one
encampment of tents in a city park, but an entire nation of
tents that cannot be dismantled by even the national guard.

Thus perhaps the hour is also coming when the police must ask
themselves what justice really means, and what is the meaning
of law and order.

Perhaps they should set up a special body within the Department of
Justice to study the political causes of social unrest, and then tell
the government to stop causing that unrest through their harmful
policies and wrong priorities.

For if the government is creating disorder and injustice, does it
make any sense that it calls on the police to bring back order and
stand for justice?

When the many people on the streets are compassionate
and intelligent, and out of love they leave their homes to
demonstrate for justice in accordance with its true meaning?

Should the police continue to arrest and bully their fellow citizens
who valiantly march with such goodwill, or should they turn their
attention towards the government and say: enough is enough!

We are human beings and not machines, and we will no longer
follow your corrupt orders to stand against our own people!

For the time being, the predominant laws of commercialization
have swept away those tents and protests from our towns and
city squares.

But if we look carefully within ourselves, we can see that
a planetary tent has begun to vibrate in our consciousness.

Now is the time for us to begin constructing this planetary tent in
a collaborative endeavor, and to build it in such a way that finally,
when we look up into its dome, we can see the reflection of all the
faces of every human being around the world.

Now is the time for the youth of America to show us the way, and
to call upon the youth of other nations to help build this planetary
tent together.

Let the youth of America seize upon the old idea of the American
Dream, and transform it by aligning their hearts and minds with a
more inclusive and spiritual vision.

Let them take it to the river of freedom and justice, and like
a child that places a paper boat on a running stream, let them
release the American Dream onto its destined course.

It can be done, it should be done, and it must be done with
urgency! For the world is changing now with rapid speed, and
a new hope for humanity is emerging.

It is up to you, the youth of America, to show us the way by
organizing a non-stop demonstration in every state, until that
nationwide wave of nonviolent protest eventually catches on
globally.

All those groups who seek a just and sustainable society based on
right human relationship should quickly come together, mindful
of the fact that it will take time to structure a common vision of
change.

Do not be discouraged by the pundits in ties and suits who speak
on television about your marches and sit-ins, saying that you have
no leadership or clear demands.

Most of those complacent critics have no idea what is taking
place in the hearts and minds of America’s youth today.

And it is to be expected that an inclusive call for justice and freedom cannot be structured to begin with, because the forces of commercialization are like a powerful magnet that constantly overwhelms and pulls us in different directions.

So do not worry about how to structure your call through formal demands or institutional arrangements, but instead continue untiringly with your creative demonstrations, and in this way try to inspire the rest of the world to join you.

Perhaps this is the surest way to structure love in the minds of all of us, where common sense and goodwill will be the norm in our relationship to each other and to the world.

Sharing Is The Master Key

Through the unification of our efforts we may quickly realize that the principle of sharing is the master key for structuring our expression of love in society.

One of the foremost attributes of this mistaken and neglected principle is to bring people together in freedom and joy, which was beautifully if transiently realized in the spontaneous protest movements of recent years within many cities worldwide.

Compared to many violent revolutions witnessed throughout modern history, we can feel that something new has arisen in the expression of these huge demonstrations in their togetherness and joyful celebration, away from all the ‘isms’ of the past and the divisive poison of commercialization.

And that new factor is the releasing of the heart en masse among many thousands of people, by simply allowing the heart to speak and express itself into the world.

If we empty our minds of intellectual content and look at the world through the perception of the heart, the first thing we see is not injustice but solely a lack of love.

Indeed it is the non-expression of love in a body politic that brings about the expression of injustice per se, which can only be remedied through human processes and governmental policies that are predicated upon the principle of sharing.

The youth of America must know that freedom has never, and will never exist without love and sharing.

Today we live in such complex and commercialized societies that even love has become a wounded, sorrowful and meaningless word.

And yet our lives together could be so joyful, liberated and creative if only we shared the world’s resources more equitably among us all.

Therefore it is imperative that we set aside some time to reflect upon the meaning of sharing in relation to the political economy and our everyday lives, for sharing is our trustiest guide to the expression of a healthy, sustainable life with justice.

We are not talking about socialism, or communism, or any other political ism; we are talking about the universal principle that, when implemented into social and economic policies by our governments, can finally heal our ailing societies and solve so many of the world’s problems.

Why are we demonstrating after all, if not for the love and joy that has been taken away from all of us?

Why are we demonstrating, if not for the extremes of poverty and wealth that has divided us from one another in a world of plenty, where millions starve while only the few live in excessive luxury?

Why are we demonstrating, if not for the ideologies and isms that are constantly thrown at us in such a polarized and demoralized society, where each day feels the same as every other day in its soullessness and anxiety?

Surely the occupy protests were not only initiated to change politics and reform the economy, but also to regain our joy of living and spiritually re-occupy our hearts.

Are we only fighting for the sake of our children and future generations, or also because we yearn for something better for ourselves – to live each day afresh and new with a sense of connectedness and purpose, free from the constant stress and money-making that suppresses who we truly are?

Even from a strictly rational perspective it is strategically advantageous to be among masses who call for the principle of sharing to be implemented by our governments, rather than to engage in an endless fight against capitalism or the system.

The youth should also know that when we assume a position of anti-capitalism, we immediately fall into the mouth of the wolf that is commercialization.

The system wants us to adopt the mind-set of ‘anti’ and ‘isms’, because capitalism itself is a very clever and sophisticated ism that voraciously feeds off our opposition and antagonism.

While we have the right to express anger and oppose the systemic causes of injustice, it is futile to fight against the system because the forces mobilized to defend it are so formidable and apparently within the law.

The moment we oppose those forces they will immediately bring us down and humiliate us, and cunningly push us towards violence.

And that violence will beget further violence, which is exactly what the system wants in order to defend and perpetuate itself.

We should therefore be very cognizant of falling into this trap, and should not even entertain a thought in our minds of being ‘against’ or ‘anti’ the inequities of our society.

We should rather work with our heart, because this is where the forces of commercialization cannot get in.

It is the heart and not the idea itself that unites us, for within the wisdom of one human heart lies the wisdom of all humanity.

A revolution that is instigated via ideology invariably leads
to further social division and violence, but a revolution that
originates via the engagement of the heart will naturally lead
to common sense, togetherness, sharing, and of course love.

Could it be that through millions of people coming together and
calling for sharing as the means to achieving justice, even the
establishment pundits and the police will eventually come and
join us?

Sharing, Freedom and Justice For All

So let’s permanently gather in the streets and wisely articulate
the yearning of our hearts, away from all the isms and our wrong
education of the past.

Let’s not demand that our government restructures itself and the
economy in the name of socialism, capitalism or any other ism,
but rather in the name of who we are – that is, in the name of we
the people who are born with an equal right to evolve in freedom,
dignity and peace.

This is the shift in consciousness that is necessary to change
America and the world, which can only arise in the absence
of any thought of ideology or personal self-interest.

We know that all the problems in society are escalating day by day,
and it is impossible to go on living as we did before: we are tired
of those selfish and materialistic ways, we don’t want to return to
that bygone era, and besides we can no longer afford to.

So let’s demand a just sharing of resources and not be concerned
when the pundits call us naïve, knowing that the call for sharing
comes from the heart when fused with common sense and reason.

Let’s refuse to conform any longer to the maleficent game of
commercialization, and instead let’s demonstrate for a new
way of life, a new world and a new dispensation.

We don’t need to stand against this or that, but only for sharing,
freedom and justice.

This should be the triangle of our demands, in that same order:
for the sharing of wealth and power, freedom in every meaningful
sense - political, economic and civil, and thence social justice for
one and all.

A new era for America will never begin with a complicated list
of policy demands, however, but only through a concerted and
continuous call for everyone in the country to be fed, sheltered,
educated and protected with universal access to the basic
necessities of life, including healthcare and social security.

Such is the straightforward nature of the demands that we can ask
our governments to meet on a nationwide level: to prioritize the
daily concerns of ordinary people, and to stop acting like private
accountants who preside in office merely to negotiate contracts
for big corporations.

Which means, at the very least, that our elected leaders must stop
pouring billions of dollars into the machinery of war, and instead
redirect the nation’s resources towards securing peoples’ essential
needs and creating useful employment.

What demand can be more simple: to serve the populace in its
entirety, or to immediately get out and make way for those who
will!

At the same time let’s be aware that there is no such thing
as an American justice, but only justice per se.

And the concept of freedom does not represent or belong
to America alone – it represents life, wherever you are, and
belongs to love itself.

Such has it always been, and always will be.

In this way our demands should not be confined to American
national interests, which was a crucial mistake of the Occupy
movement in its first manifestation.

Why don’t we also uphold a vision of sharing, freedom and justice
for our brothers and sisters in other countries?

Why say we are the 99% of all the people in America, and not the
99% of all the 7 billion people throughout the world?

We have already focused on our national priorities for as long as
we can remember, but now is the time for our shared concerns to
embrace the needs of the world as a whole.

It’s time to ennoble ourselves with dignity when we go out in
peaceful protest, and to expand our consciousness to the global
level on the basis of our morality, empathy and compassion for
those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Clearly the problems that are happening in America are also
happening across the world, as reflected in the mass protests
that are now periodically erupting in diverse countries on an
unprecedented scale.

By hailing our common demands from a truly international
perspective of justice and equality, we will therefore be more
encouraged to see other groups doing the same in other cities
overseas, and vice versa.

Together we will galvanize each other to carry on participating in
around-the-clock demonstrations, which is why we must protest
with an urgent sense of global priorities in order to gain more and
more support.

This is how the youth of America can inspire the rest of the world
to join them, and how the call for sharing can rapidly grow on a
worldwide scale: by upholding the concerns not of the 99% of 300
million people in America, but of the 99% of 7 billion people with
whom we share our planetary home.

Resurrecting Article 25

From this understanding we should adopt as our slogan Article 25
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will naturally
structure our uprisings at home and light the way for
demonstrations in other countries.

As the venerable Article states:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food,
clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services, and
the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness,
disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in
circumstances beyond his control.”

Nowhere in the world are these basic rights fulfilled for everyone,
and for the evident reasons we have acknowledged above such as
the laws that protect the interests of elite privilege and
commercialization, and the politics of international competition
that effectively renounces the founding vision of the United
Nations.

The covert manoeuvrings of American foreign policy is, in itself,
the denial of Article 25 for many millions of the world’s people,
in conjunction with the self-interested and divisive economic
strategies of all the other major powers.

Yet still the United States government shamelessly professes that
it stands for global justice and human rights, in the midst of 40,000
people dying every day from preventable diseases and poverty.

Do they take us for fools, or shall we continue to remain silent
while this daily massacre endures?

If we identify ourselves with the common good of One Humanity,
it is thus appropriate that we uphold Article 25 as a slogan that
represents the hearts and minds of everyone in the world.

We all want peace, we all want justice, we all want a clean and
safe environment; but before we ask for that peace and justice for
ourselves, we want to see an irrevocable end to the blasphemy of
hunger and penury in a bountiful world.

It is not only a question of morality and justice, but of strategy
and common sense in relation to our awareness and intelligence.

We’ve been fighting capitalism and the system for hundreds of
years, and yet the situation is getting worse and worse for the
majority poor and excluded: hence now is the time to change
our tactics by advocating for Article 25 as a universal approach
for transformative world change.

With millions upon millions of people in every country calling for
this Article to be guaranteed by our respective governments, we
cannot underestimate the uplifting effect it will have on our
societies and our collective consciousness.

Never before have we witnessed vast numbers of people in the
street calling for the abolition of extreme poverty, as expressed
in ceaseless worldwide actions of solidarity and massed goodwill.

Can we envision what may happen if American activists lead the
way in advocating, by this means, for international governmental
policies based on the principle of sharing?

We can be sure that New York City will be full of tents and non-stop
protest activity, because the poor will also join in and strengthen
the call for their basic rights to be fulfilled.

And above all, billions of people will heed the call in other
continents, from Africa and Asia to South America, because
then we are talking about their lives too.

So let this be our resounding call: not to instigate a revolution
‘against’ this rotten system we live in, which becomes a nonsense
when our voices get lost in the interminable fighting of ideologies
and isms.

The system is here to stay, in one form or another, so we should
rather transform it through a wholly inclusive, indefatigable
demand for what is most urgent and important: which is to
immediately guarantee the human rights in Article 25 for every
man, woman and child in every nation.

Just imagine how easily this could be achieved if our governments
were impelled by overwhelming public pressure to completely
reorder their priorities, and to work in genuine cooperation with
other nations to share the resources of the world.

As history has often revealed, even a handful of people can create
unbelievable changes on this Earth if they are in the right place at
the right time with an idea whose time has come.

And now is the time for us to breathe life once again into The
Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, until she drops her
torch in protest and holds up a giant banner that reads:

“Article 25: The True American Dream!”

RISE UP, AMERICA, RISE UP!

I miss those tents and those occupiers who lifted my hopes upwards
into the light.

Where are you people?

I can still feel your pain and your aspirations.

I can still hear your voices in the heat of the night.

I miss your faces, your joy, your call for a new life. I miss you all.

Where are you people?

For you are the hope of all the world, if only you knew.



Mohammed Mesbahi is founder and chair of Share the World's
Resources, a London-based independent civil society organization
campaigning for a fairer sharing of wealth, power and resources
within and between nations.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/30/rise-america-
rise

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In The Shadow of Repression, We Fear No Evil

In The Shadow of Repression, We Fear No Evil

By Mateo Pimentel
Dissident Voice
October 28, 2014

There exists the undying fear that a social, economic, and political
revolution would fetch us Americans more harm than good.

Still, some would ask to whom the word “us” even refers.

A keen, and important query, the fear in question nonetheless
persists, and it is important to entertain.

What might actually become of us if we abandon ourselves to
radical change, casting our nets about a sea of anarchy and
socialist endeavors?

Might the benefits yet outweigh the costs? Revolution will have its
doubters…

For centuries, thinkers and the disillusioned alike have doubted
even their own existence; they have punished themselves with
(perhaps) unknowingly privileged quandaries, and philosophical
pursuits.

But what of those desperate and afflicted individuals today, such
as the ones who experience homelessness?

Does the woman who fishes from the dumpster doubt her existence?

Might revolution seem better than the status quo to her?

Were we even considering her when we invoke the word “us”—or
“American”—in the foregoing prose?

Regardless of what the marginalized, such as the homeless, might
want for themselves as free, or would-be free social agents (if not
as human beings), the popular rebuttal often goes that “people
choose to be poor because they are lazy.”

Two things.

First, a single person divided into a denominator of three-hundred-
plus million cannot be judged by her actions alone; there is far too
much to also consider before condemnation becomes marginally
approachable.

Second, if all Americans (excluding the rich) committed to
a general strike and stopped laboring—the chimera that the
super rich sustain the economy would putrefy instantaneously.

It would die a thousand deaths in a very loud, public instant.

The majority of Americans who victim-blame when it comes
to assessing the misery of those around them are not, in fact,
members of the plutocracy; they themselves count-in with the
repressed.

The wealthiest, on the other hand, understand that the nuclear
essence of freedom itself can be purchased with capital (which
takes many forms) once they reach that apex in the social
dimension.

Of course, for the bulk of society, the state does as little
as possible to keep life easy enough to be a trap.

The poor, and the ever-shrinking middle class, simply seem
the unluckiest sort.

After centuries of toil, disenfranchisement, and even the
enslavement of certain groups, what have the second-class
citizens, the immigrants, and all the oppressed to gain from
clinging to the emperor’s robe, hoping for something else?

Many are active, and already agitate. They blow whistles and
they fight for freedom deep within the belly of the beast.

That should not be discounted, as it already builds momentum
for what is to come.

The honest truth—the one that scares our political overseers
with night terrors—is that we have a chance.

We are the closest to the floor, the closest to pulling out the
rug from underneath the table from which we are excluded.

We have a chance to harness our capacity for production,
community, and solidarity.

A sound revolution of unparalleled political magnitude can,
and must, take place.

It may not seem fair for some to have to relinquish whatever
suspends them above the rest; but at least our revolution, which
the whole world needs to hear us declare soon, will be for
everyone.

Everyone’s freedom is at stake.

Just as the alienated within our boarders terrify the powers that
be, the outside aggressors—the main opponents in the people’s
mind—loom on the horizon of our borders, waiting like god-awful
harbingers of death who want to “kill us for what we stand for…”

Or so the rhetoric commonly goes.

But if Americans stood in unison, looked the fascist, totalitarian,
and domestic embedded power in the face and said, “No more,”
then would not the whole world have our true measure in an
instant?

Could we not count on them after this?

Even if a threat should emerge, who could possibly stand to oppose
our revolution, or our newfound sorority with other peoples, and
expect to emerge victorious?

The answer is “none.”

There are millions of American hands that grip, tear, sew, slice,
pound, lock, drill, hammer, write, harvest, weed-eat, teach and
pray—every single day.

There are callouses and sores, and sometimes a finger or two go
missing.

But these silent makers of wealth, these adroit builders of
technology, movers of capital—how quickly they may join together
to halt the repression that drowns the majority with a slow death
of shrinking rights and economic woe.

How quickly, it should be noted, they may tightly clench and make
themselves into hard fists.



Mateo Pimentel lives on the Mexican-US border, writing for many
alternative political newsletters and Web sites.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/10/in-the-shadow-of-repression-
we-fear-no-evil

Monday, October 27, 2014

Government Failure Is Baked In

Government Failure Is Baked In

By Veronique de Rugy
Reason.com
October 27, 2014

On July 14, The New York Times reported that scientists at the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had mishandled
dangerous strains of anthrax and bird flu, failed to follow correct
safety procedures after employees were exposed, and neglected
to notify the appropriate supervisors for about one month.

This is not the first time we've heard about lax oversight and
dangerous disregard at the CDC.

In 2006, for instance, the agency "accidentally sent live anthrax
to two other labs, and also shipped out live botulism bacteria."

Inadvertent biological warfare sounds bad enough, but the CDC's
errors are really just an amuse-bouche in the banquet of
government failures.

In the past year alone, we've seen the amazingly botched rollout of
Obamacare's website exchange, the Department of Veterans Affairs'
inept handling of health care for former members of the armed
forces, and the Internal Revenue Service politicizing right-wing
groups' applications for nonprofit status.

All of which took place against the background hum of death and
disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the nation's attention tends to be narrowly focused on the
day-to-day problems related to each of these disasters, they
comprise only the most recent and visible signs of the fundamental
flaws that plague government intervention.

In July, Brookings Institution scholar Paul Light published a report
on this topic, called "A Cascade of Failures: Why Government Fails,
and How to Stop It."

The study identifies 41 major federal screw-ups that took place
between 2001 and 2014, examines the official government reports
written in the wake of each, and classifies them by leading cause-
insufficient funds, bad policy design, or extreme difficulty.

Such an exercise requires a variety of judgment calls, and
sometimes Light misclassifies the problems behind the failures.

For instance, he blames the financial crisis on lax oversight rather
than government policies such as the Federal Reserve's low interest
rates; housing policies that encouraged larger, riskier mortgage
loans; risk-based capital rules for banks that incentivized them to
hold certain types of assets (including mortgage-backed securities);
and the existence of credit insurance.

Still, the paper is useful and packed full of information, including
the conclusion that the most common factor among failed federal
policies is poor design.

The underlying issue has long been observed by economists:
Government means bad incentives and insufficient knowledge,
regardless of the administration in charge.

The academic work of public choice economists, such as Nobel
laureates James Buchanan, George Stigler, and Vernon Smith,
helps us understand these government failures.

These economists have shown that even a government with nearly
unlimited resources and the best of intentions will enact "solutions"
that are not only unlikely to solve most of our problems but often
destined to make the situation worse.

Elected officials and bureaucrats, whether pure of heart or rotten
to the core, are not rewarded when they maximize taxpayer value.

Nor are they punished when they take unnecessary risks or fail to
minimize costs.

Quite simply, bureaucrats are rewarded for being good bureaucrats.

As Ludwig von Mises notes in Bureaucracy (1945):

"The bureaucrat is not free to aim at improvement. He is bound to
obey rules and regulations established by a superior body. He has
no right to embark upon innovations if his superiors do not approve
of them. His duty and his virtue is to be obedient."

Government officials are rarely fired, even when their bloopers
are catastrophic.

Who got a pink slip after the disastrous Obamacare exchange
rollout?

Not Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
She was carried out of office on a raft of praise and parties.

The CDC supervisor who wound up dousing his employees with bird
flu was shown the door, but it's unlikely that the blame truly rested
with a single individual.

It wasn't until at least 40 veterans died while waiting to be seen
by health care providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs
(V.A.) that Congress could muster the will to pass a reform bill
finally enabling the agency's secretary to fire incompetent
managers.

We can only hope that future secretaries will be competent enough
to adequately prune their pencil-pushing ranks.

The government is a famously poor steward of taxpayer dollars,
especially in its dealings with con-tractors.

How else to explain that a discredited company, CGI, won a massive
$678 million contract for building the glitchy Obamacare website
even though the firm was already infamous for its terrible job on
Canada's diabetes registry?

One key problem is that elected officials, voters, and bureaucrats
all operate with limited knowledge.

Private sector actors are far more likely to use the information
embedded in prices to guide their decisions.

When the price of a good or service goes up, businessmen with
an eye on the bottom line look for a cheaper substitute.

Government decision makers have no comparable mechanism.

They seek goods and services that correctly fill the specs provided
to them by their superiors, and they have very little reason to
worry about how much those things cost.

What's more, they cannot account for the costs that their
decisions create for others.

The twin problems of poor incentives and limited knowledge
create a recipe for persistent failure.

Interest groups exploit this environment to further their own
goals, often at the expense of the public welfare.

The U.S. Farm Bill, for example, is rubber-stamped by Congress
each time it comes for a vote despite vocal opposition from
economists of all ideological stripes.

This menu of insurance subsidies and price supports to farms
artificially raises your grocery prices while boosting profits for
big agribusinesses.

Corporate beneficiaries have the money and influence to
successfully shepherd each bill through Congress; average
Americans simply don't have the time or power to fight back.

Cronies relish concentrated benefits, taxpayers and consumers
suffer diffused costs, and politicians get to enjoy support from
both groups.

There are subtler forms of cronyism, too.

Occupational licensing, for instance, is sold to the public as
common-sense regulation to promote safety and quality.

In reality, the practice artificially raises the wages of incumbent
hairdressers and taxi drivers at the expense of low-income
Americans who seek gainful employment in those industries.

Interestingly, economists have suggested that politicians reward
interest groups more when they do so under the guise of working
for the public good.

This helps explain why the health care law was designed to expand
health insurance coverage rather than to improve health outcomes.

That difference benefited the insurance industry without
necessarily producing better and more affordable health
care supply.

It also helps explains why the benefits of Obamacare, like the
benefits of Medicare and Medicare Part D, accrue mostly to older
(voting) Americans at the expense of young and healthy citizens
who are less likely to vote.

One response to government failure is to argue that the problems
could have been avoided with more money or better leadership.

This sounds good in theory, but is very unlikely to be true in
practice.

Government institutions are inherently unable to perform complex
tasks, no matter how smart, compassionate, or well-funded their
bureaucrats may be.

Not only do many government programs fail to fix the problems
they were concocted to solve, but their solutions become failures
in their own right.

Consider the war on drugs.

This barbaric policy has not merely failed to curb drug consumption
and trafficking; it has destroyed hundreds of thousands of families,
increased the corruption in law enforcement, spurred a profitable
black market ruled by murderous cartels, and cost taxpayers
billions of dollars.

As the state grows and undertakes bigger projects, the trend of
failure will continue or even accelerate.

The best single way to limit government failure is to shrink the
scope and scale of government intervention.

Unless that happens, expect a huge tax bill if not a vial of anthrax
to show up soon in a mailbox near you.



Veronique de Rugy, Ph.D., is a senior research fellow at the
Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a monthly
columnist for the print edition of Reason.

http://reason.com/archives/2014/10/27/government-failure-is-
baked-in

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Occupy The Synagogue

Occupy The Synagogue

By Michael Lesher
Z Net
October 23, 2014

Well before the Jewish New Year had arrived last September, it
was already clear that American rabbis across the denominational
spectrum were going to use their pulpits, for the most heavily-
attended sermons of 2014, to endorse one of the bloodiest
massacres of Palestinians in Israel’s history.

Rabbi Rachel Ain of the (Conservative) Sutton Place Synagogue in
New York told the New York Jewish Week’s Steve Lipman that “the
wider effects of the war” – “war” was her word for the virtually
one-sided slaughter in which more than 2,100 Palestinians died
(including over 500 children), six Gaza hospitals were attacked,
over 150 mosques were leveled, and some 10,000 Palestinian homes
destroyed – had prompted her congregation to “reaffirm its strong
commitment to the people, state and land of Israel.”

War fever ran just as high at the “left” end of mainstream rabbinic
opinion, with Rabbi Richard Block, president of the Reform
movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, insisting that
what’s at stake is “Israel’s very existence, which Hamas seeks to
eradicate, and Jews everywhere, whom Hamas aspires to
exterminate.”

How Hamas plans to do all this without armor, a navy, an air force
or any heavy weaponry remains unexplained.

And what about the Orthodox – who, after all, represent the very
sort of Judaism that early Zionists explicitly repudiated?

Rabbi Zvi Romm, spiritual leader of the Lower East Side’s
Bialystoker Synagogue, spoke of “soul-searching” in response to
the devastation of Gaza; but the “soul-searching” he had in mind
for Orthodox Jews “needs to include our asking ourselves how we
can do more for Israel.”

And so it went.

Activists for justice in Palestine often stress that their campaign
is aimed at Israel, not at Jews – an understandable position,
particularly in light of Israeli propaganda’s manic insistence that
every criticism of Israel is, by definition, an expression of anti-
Semitism.

But as a religious Jew myself, I cannot shrug off Israel’s “Jewish
connection” so easily.

Jews claim pride in a religious tradition that, as the dissident
Israeli historian Ilan Pappe once wrote, has been “the bedrock
for cosmopolitanism, socialism and universalism.”

But when such a tradition is conscripted by warmongers, as it
clearly has been, how can other religious Jews escape the sin
of complicity if we allow their abuse of our shared religion to
pass without protest?

The hypocrisy of ignoring our clergy’s role in Israel’s derelictions
seems particularly acute, at least to me, after Benjamin
Netanyahu’s latest hallucinatory address to the United Nations,
in which he suggested that every child blown to bits in Gaza was
really a blow struck on the Syrian battlefield against ISIS.

Since the only possible “link” between the two is that most Gazans
are Muslims, and since Netanyahu’s assignment of religion-based
collective guilt passed with little comment in the West, it’s hard to
see how religious Jews can claim immunity when their leadership
(unlike most Gazans) actually endorses large-scale war crimes.

And the situation is really worse than that.

Mainstream Jewish publications have been virtually unanimous
in endorsing religious jingoism.

Just for example, the Jewish Press, the most widely read English-
language Orthodox Jewish periodical in the United States, recently
offered fulsome praise for an “inspirational” letter written by the
commander of Israel’s Givati Brigade on the eve of his troops’
invasion of Palestinian territory.

The Jewish Press was delighted that Colonel Ofer Winter, the same
officer whose orders would later cause the slaughter of more than
150 victims on a single day (after the fighting was supposed to have
stopped), informed the soldiers about to enter Gaza that its people
“dare to curse, blaspheme and scorn the God of Israel.”

This sort of thing would be bad enough if the Jewish Press took
a favorable line towards all jihadis, but in fact it frequently
condemns them – the Muslim variety, that is.

Only when a Jewish commander called the civilians his soldiers
were about to massacre the enemies of God, and urged his troops
to take appropriate vengeance, did the newspaper approve.

How many Jews noticed this hypocrisy, let alone condemned it?

I would like to dismiss the Jewish Press as an aberration, but my
experience tells a different tale.

During the assault on Gaza, traditional Jews observed an annual
fast commemorating the destruction of the Holy Land thousands
of years ago.

I took that opportunity to post a brief comment to an on-line news
site lamenting “the horror of watching Jews slaughter the innocent
and hearing other Jews cheer them on.”

In response, one Jewish blogger lectured me that the fast is
actually meant to mourn “the destruction of the Temple whose
site has been stolen by Muslims” though of course there were
no Muslims when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.

Another commented that I had “unbridled chutzpah” even to
raise the subject.

“[E]ither you are a messianic jew,” he wrote, “in which case you
are no jew at all or you’re just a misguided fool…who knows zero
about his religion.”

It’s hard to know how many religious Jews were reading this
exchange, but I do know that not one posted a criticism of the
bloggers who denounced me.

If that example seems too personal, perhaps you will remember
how, about fourteen years ago, Israel’s prominent Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef called Palestinians “snakes despised by God.”

Actually, if you get your information from Jewish media, you
may not remember those words at all, Jewish sources scarcely
mentioned them.

But another phrase in the same sermon, implying that Jews killed
by the Nazis were atoning for sins committed in an earlier life,
prompted what the New York Jewish Week’s Eric J. Greenberg
called “a firestorm of negative reaction” from the American Jewish
Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, and the president of something called the Memorial
Foundation for Jewish Culture.

So the problem wasn’t that Jewish organizations didn’t value
“Holocaust memory.”

The problem was that Jewish “memory,” under the auspices of
supposedly religious authority, was being appropriated for the
benefit of Jews alone.

Can one belong to the same religion and let that sort of swindle
pass in silence?

Obviously, the answer is no.

For me, as a religious Jew, it is simply impossible to avoid a
critique of Jewish attitudes that affect the oppression of Palestine.

The corollary of that proposition is that justice for Palestine
requires, among other things, questioning both the leadership
and the shortcomings of my own religion.

Where to begin?

Well, Jews need to ask, for instance, why we have allowed the
genuinely humanitarian strands of our tradition to be obscured
by chauvinism and paranoia.

We need to admit that while Jews have demanded (rightly) that
Christians jettison their religion’s anti-Semitic heritage, we have
so far been remarkably complacent about the bigotry toward non-
Jews contained in our own religious history.

We need to confront how the double standard built into too many
aspects of Talmudic law-making, one ethical rule for Jews, a
different rule for others, has induced religious Jews to accept the
sinister double standard Israelis apply to Palestinians.

These are not easy questions, and I do mean to be glib in
summarizing them.

But we owe it to ourselves, as well as to Palestinians, to
tackle them.

“No one could ignore anymore,” wrote Ilan Pappe in 2008,
retrospectively, about the groundbreaking work of Israeli
dissident Israel Shahak, “the fundamental role the Jewish
religion plays in the making of Israel’s criminal policies.”

But if the role of religion in supporting “criminal policies” is
“fundamental,” then it isn’t enough for Jews concerned about
Palestine to criticize the Israeli government.

As long as Jewish leaders join in the chorus of Israeli propaganda,
we have to speak out against them, too – and we have to challenge
the religious ideology that has made that unholy alliance possible.

In the end, in fact, we have to do more than that.

Those of us who care about Judaism have to reclaim it
from the manques who have corrupted it.

We must occupy the synagogue, so to speak, until the
synagogue truly becomes ours – and what it should be.

Only then can we truly speak for humanity elsewhere.

http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/occupy-the-synagogue

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Confronting Battered Citizen Syndrome

Confronting Battered Citizen Syndrome

By Professor James Tracy
The Sleuth Journal
October 21, 2014

State-sponsored terrorism poses a significant challenge to the
psychological well-being of the body politic.

While evident in many geopolitical locales, this condition arising
from such government abuses is especially prevalent in the West.

Such a disorder is comparable to the psychological manipulation
recognized on a micro-level in some spousal relationships.

Indeed, the 13-year-old “war on terror” has contributed to a
grave societal malady that might be deemed “battered citizen
syndrome.”

As the project of a transnational New World Order is laid out, the
psychological constitution of the polity must necessarily experience
perpetual crises and the threat thereof.

Genuinely non-conventional political communication, organization
and activism are among the few substantial means of combating
battered citizen syndrome and the spiritual and psychological
slavery it perpetuates.

Battered citizen syndrome is an extremely damaging psychological
condition impacting individuals who are collectively subjected to
emotional abuse and political disenfranchisement by the
psychopathic types that all-too-frequently occupy public office in
an era of political and socio-economic decay.

The condition is often the result of “false flag” terrorism initiated
by a tyrannical state that has long grown unresponsive to the
citizen’s actual needs.

This syndrome subdues individuals’ awareness of their own
historical and political agency, and discourages them from seeking
assistance for and ultimately remedying their unsafe situation.

There are various stages one will experience as a result of this
condition.

When persons in the singular or aggregate undergo the threat or
experience of state violence in the form of false flag terror (i.e.,
political assassinations, seemingly spontaneous bombings or
shootings, gigantic skyscrapers falling inexplicably at free-fall
speed, CIA-sponsored terror bogeys such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, and
perhaps even deadly plagues) they will find it expedient to deny
such exploitation and decline to admit they are being manipulated
by a paranoid and psychopathic state.

Corporate-owned or controlled mass media routinely propagating
the notion of “free choice” and personal agency by touting the
supposed integrity of electoral processes and political institutions
actively aid in this denial.

Once a victim accepts the fact that such manipulation is taking
place, they will feel remorse.

Victims will often believe that the abuse is their fault and not
the fault of criminal governance.

Eventually, a victim of state terror and violence will realize that
they are not to blame for the cruelty they are being subjected to.

Despite this realization, the individual will typically choose to
remain in the abusive relationship.

It may take some time, but eventually the truly self-respecting
citizen-victim will understand that in order to defend themselves
and their loved ones from harm they must escape their injurious
relationship.

These stages can be observed in many of the victims who have
ultimately recognized and escaped their relationships with an
abusive state.

DENIAL

The first stage of battered citizen syndrome is denial.

Denial occurs when a victim of abuse is unable to acknowledge
and accept that they are being subjected to political violence in
the form of false flag terror and contrived events.

During this stage, a victim of such psychological abuse will not only
avoid admitting the mistreatment to their friends and their family
members, but they themselves will not acknowledge the brutality
from which they suffering.

They will fail to recognize any problems between themselves
and their government.

There are numerous factors that may contribute to such
steadfast denial.

In many instances, an individual does not realize they are
being subjected to such calculating state violence.

This is largely due to the manipulative and coercive behavior
of the offending government.

The acts of abuse may be so subtle that they do not appear
to be harmful or damaging.

In other instances, a victim of Machiavellian offenses may suppose
that denial is the most effective way to avoid being subjected to
further violence and cruelty.

Whatever the cause, denial is extremely unhelpful to the victim.

Until citizens individually and collectively admit and confront
the abuses they are experiencing, they will not be able to
secure necessary psychic and material aid and protection.

GUILT

After a citizen experiences the denial period they will move on the guilt stage.

During this phase, victims of such coercive violence will undergo feelings of extreme guilt and dishonor by being fingered as potential terrorists themselves.

Through the suggestion that they may also be terrorists, citizens will believe they may have somehow caused the harm that in reality elements within their exploitative government has subjected them to.

Abusive governments stage false flag terror events not only to create confusion, but also induce guilt in their subjects.

Professional political and opinion leaders prompt feelings of guilt through similar rhetorical appeals.

Those of the liberal or “progressive” sort in particular claim that such events are the result of “blow back,” due to the given nation’s foreign policy and imperialist overreach.

Similarly, conservatives assert that the nation has been victimized because it has been too forthright in parading its “freedoms.”

Once internalized, “war on terror” guilt ideation is reinforced via the messaging slogans of state agencies.

Typical messaging may include communications such as, “Is your neighbor or coworker a homegrown extremist?”

“Keep your luggage with you at all times,” “Step this way after removing your shoes and valuables,” and so on.

Regardless of guilt stimulus, feelings of culpability are used to exert further control via rituals of submission, such as enacting excessive and unwarranted security measures to partake in travel, gain access to a public building, or withdraw cash from one’s bank account.

Along these lines, the offending government will convince the victim that it must resort to physical violence in order to punish the citizenry for their negative qualities or behavior.

They may threaten or enact violence to teach the citizen not to take part in the activities of which it disapproves or finds inconvenient, such as public demonstrations and civil disobedience.

In addition to such acts, tyrannical governments strip citizens of their civil liberties and establish or strengthen a police state in order to further expand their control.

As a result, the citizen’s already low self-esteem and depression will accelerate downward.

Once this occurs, it is not difficult to convince the victim that they are being subjected to abuse due to their own faults and inadequacies.

If they could only be more dependent on the state and live up to its expectations, they would not be experiencing state terror and exploitation.

Victims of such manipulation will believe this. Therefore, they will not contest the abuse being experienced because they have rationalized that their abusive government is not to blame for such cruelty.

ENLIGHTENMENT

One of the most important phases of the battered citizen’s syndrome is enlightenment.

This occurs when a target of abuse recognizes how they are not to blame for their ill-treatment.

They will begin to understand that no one deserves to be subjected to state-inflicted terror and violence regardless of their personal characteristics or perceived shortcomings.

The fact that the state seeks to manipulate their subjects and exhibits disapproval of their victim’s behavior does not justify exposing the victim to the trauma prompted by terrorist threats and violence.

During this stage, a citizen will begin to acknowledge that most states are abusive, violent, overseen by psychopathic personalities, and thus the violence experienced is the result of an external socio-political condition and not inherent in themselves.

It is now that a victim begins to realize the importance of coming to terms with their situation and holding those in power accountable.

Despite the realization that their fear, anxiety, and loss of civil
liberties likely stem from the broader designs of treacherous
individuals in power, victims will continue to accept overzealous
state power and commit themselves to saving the seriously flawed
relationship.

They will often use various reasons in order to justify this decision.

However, individuals who choose to remain in such an environment
will soon find that in most cases the tyrannical government will
only increase the severity of its abuses.

RESPONSIBILITY

Once a citizen recognizes how the psychological torment and
terroristic violence they are suffering from is the fault of their
government, it is only a matter of time before these victims
understand the importance of taking responsibility and escaping
their current situation.

In the majority of cases, state violence does not improve over time.

Most governments subjecting their citizens to violence and brutality
are “repeat offenders” and will continue to reinforce control by
exposing subjects to heightened abuses.

When an individual acknowledges this, they will understand that
their safety, and the safety of their loved ones, depends on
establishing new modes of governance.

During the responsibility stage of the battered citizen’s syndrome, a
victim of state violence may experience a vast array of difficulties.

It is essential that an individual plan their escape well.

Citizens who have decided to depart from their unfavorable
situation should avoid the enticements of major political parties
that are usually the root cause of battered citizen syndrome.

If a victim would like support and advice about leaving their
abusive relationship they may wish to contact or support a third
party candidate running for public office.

Citizen violence shelters in the form of information derived from
alternative news media, meaningful political discussion and debate,
and grassroots and independent political organizing can also provide
victims with the necessary support to make a clean break from
tyrannical state power that will ultimately lead toward the forging
of more constructive political realities for themselves and their
fellow citizenry.



Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies
at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history,
politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic
journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets.

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/confronting-battered-citizen-
syndrome

Saturday, October 18, 2014

American Unawareness

American Unawareness

By Denis A. Conroy
Dissident Voice
October 18, 2014

Is America’s folk image of itself derived from a cinematic narrative
that defines its national character as one representing a ‘can-do-
force’ fostering trade in the world for the common good?

To date, American settler culture has tried to mould the rest of the
world — unsuccessfully — into this ‘productive’ image of itself via
hard power.

The more the American Empire Enterprise garrisons the globe with
military bases, the more skeptical the world community becomes.

The time has come, it seems, for the spirit and energy of the
American people to address itself more diplomatically to the
world community.

The task of creating a whole new soft power for the purpose of
defining its relationship with the rest of the world is long overdue.

The tertiary educated servants administering the status quo
have let the system down by being merely compliant.

Their focus, and that of the nation, has been too narcissistic
for too long.

Perhaps the Hollywood Wax Museum is the real church of the
American imagination, personifying the nation’s pioneering
achievements in ways that aggrandize the power of individual
identity and wealth, a value system John Wayne personified,
a whole way of thinking about America.

American cinema, in true Hollywood fashion, quickly applied itself
to the task of crafting an ideological pedigree based on hard-power.

John Wayne was called “The American”.

His style was muscular can-do, cold, calculated and macho in
a way that stated what his fans would want America to be.

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Dick Chaney and Barack
Obama were some who recalibrated their cultural stem cells to
produce a working image of themselves that was compatible with
America’s no nonsense unilateralism.

Hubristic masculinity became necessary in order to maintain a
metaphoric bridge between the oval office and America-The-
Movieland — currently morphing into a video game.

For historians, the realisation that we can change the script-writer,
but the folk context remains the same, is academic.

We all star in the same movie, but for most of us, it is merely a bit-
part or nothing at all.

In cinematic parlance, America floats all boats…or so was the case
until billionaire capitalism sucked the marrow out of the system.

Who, then, are the heroes who make it to folk status by virtue of
their ability to mesmerized an audience by tapping into the desires
and expectations inherent in this shared narrative?

The protagonist-hero, in the American folk milieu has a God-given vright to traverse any boundary, disregard the sovereignty of any
state, in his or her fortune-hunter’s self-righteous commitment to
profiteer in the name of enterprise.

This cinematic logic was developed in the twentieth century in
America as a means of capturing the populist heartbeat and
steroiding the national character into achieving fighting-fitness
for the purpose of establishing Mr. Joe Sixpack as action hero
with appeal for every Dirty Tom, Dick and Harry.

The seeds of American exceptionalism were sown in a technological
medium that projected the message of super celebrity status and
action-hero mythology via the silver screen to Mr. Joe Sixpack and
Miss Plain Jane.

Later, when corporate America came along to introduce
the expert as hero, the narrative went into free-fall.

The individual was abstracted, the “expert” became the medium
within the message, a moving-finger-that-wrote the prescription
that would separate the ‘folk’ from the shared narrative.

Thus a new alienated world came into being for the masses.

As the 20th century developed, John Wayne’s — “Talk low, talk
slow and don’t say too much” — remained ‘par for the course’,
at a time when boots-on-the-ground meant swaggering into town
with two Colt 45’s at the ready and justice in the eye of the
beholder.

But along the way, American hard-wear became airborne and boots-
on-the-ground gave way to a cock-pitted John Wayne version of
sheriff America as lawman.

Replete with aerial steed and super-duper-fast-action Hellfire
Missile Colt replacements, the sheriffs of the sky were soon
targeting civilians in the bad-lands that hadn’t as yet come
under American control.

Muslim and Asian populations were targeted in order to loosen
their hold on assets that were potentially available to the
American behemoth.

Come 1979, the cinematic narrative that mesmerized America,
gave us Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW, starring
Marlon Brando.

John Wayne turned sociopath — to great acclaim.

That it was applauded as a seminal moment in America’s
introverted love of self via cinema and deemed culturally,
historically or aesthetically significant, is significant in itself.

No insights into why America was bombing the shit out of a
military and political movement supported by the majority
of the South Vietnamese peasantry, were ever offered.

The mesmerized American public, comfortable on their couches
in the stalls, and agog at the actions on the big silver screen,
remained ignorant of what was happening off-screen.

Over time, the actions of the covert intelligence agencies,
PR machines, cankerous lobbyist groups and other forms of
institutional borse-creep became harbingers of secrecy, thus
keeping classified information hobbled to the expert’s need
for control in the elite echelons.

The sense of centre that the silver screen had evoked, soon fell
foul to the bunkered paranoia mentality of the Military Industrial
Complex, a ‘big brother’ controlling the imaginative energy of a
people through surveillance, meant that the ‘folk’ were pushed
off the page.

Intelligence agencies alone now cost the American tax-payer
in excess of $60 billion a year.

Obama’s drone program is something else again and done in
the name of cross-border security.

From his oval hole, the peace laureate acts in secret, dispensing
and remitting extrajudicial killings with a lurid contempt for
accountability, while slaughtering innocents in far away places in
order to make the homeland safer ..and like an institutional Wayne,
comes across as self-contained and a big man doing a big man’s job.

Wayne’s on-screen persona was always backed up by fire-power as
has been the case with all recent Presidents who so freely deferred
to the bloviated military to project law and order, American style,
outside its own borders.

Wayne…”The American” was both impregnable and intractable.

He stood like a force of nature.

He relied on brute strength to win the day, so he never softened
or capitulated .

He didn’t much believe in community sensitivities either.

Henry Kissinger must have had a ‘Wayne’ moment when he bombed
the poor defenceless Cambodian peasants to smithereens?

Richard M. Nixon once said that Wayne’s “Chisum” was a model
for law and order.

Nixon didn’t stay around long enough to see a Day-of-The-Triffids
surveillance culture impose blindness on all who were seduced by
the security-experts-de-jure-machine.

So then,what’s new in the new-fashioned Eastern-Midwestern-far-
Western-Middle-East that can have any meaning to your average
Joe or Jane when it comes to understanding humanitarian homicide
as a means of achieving peace in countries such as Afghanistan,
Iraq, Libya etc?

Why does America continue to produce more than its fair share of
wacky individuals? — piano-playing Condoleezza Rice, serendipity-
painter George Bush, potty-mouth Dick Cheney — “Go f*ck
yourself.” — to Sen. Patrick Leahy …and “There are things we don’t
know we don’t know.”

Donald (15 watt globe) Rumsfeld, as well as wolf-in-sheep-clothing
AIPAC the Zionist muse—we-advise-on-regime-change. And you
better listen because we get to wreak havoc in the Middle East.

Were allowed to shock and awe the bejesus out of Muslim countries
under the rubric of liberation, while underhandedly sequestering
their oily assets with venomous stealth.

So what does it take to begin to extricate ourselves from “There
are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

To acknowledge that American soft-power, at home and abroad, is
on life-support because of the failure of the mesmerized multitude
to deal with hard-power, requires immediate attention.

To go along with the notion that experts are in charge — of
everything — telling us what economic system to accept, or
what foreign policy we must support, is to miss the point.

If we were to stop and think for a moment, we would find
that most experts are deficient in imagination.

They are there to defend the status quo that feeds them.

They are generally found wanting because they are talking
from that place where the sun never shines.

The above collection of buffoons and their scriptwriters would
have been laughed out of town in Shakespeare’s time.

It was common practice to attend Elizabethan Theatre with a stash
of over-ripe fruit for the purpose of hurtling squishy tomatoes at
those who appeared egregiously callow, vain, or just plain stupid.

Neo-Con-American Foreign Policy and its enablers come to mind
as a deserving target to receive the fruity defecations of an irate
public trapped in their stalls and captive to a monochromatic
screen that only runs the shibboleths of the war party.

Maybe the lesson we can learn from all this is, if we can’t throw
squishy tomatoes at these mediocre people, we can at least work to
throw them out of office and into the dumpster where they belong.

What has become apparent over time, is that America has near
zero understanding of what constitutes the Middle East.

Dick Cheney is on record as saying “We go where the business is.”
When alluding to Iraq and its oil.

What he didn’t say was — after we overcame their resistance.

We cannot fathom why the Muslim world might hesitate to forfeit
their customs for ours.

So John Wayne has left the building, but his folk-imprimatur is still
at the heart of the American Empire.

The spirit of John Wayne is currently in every cockpit now over Iraq
and Syria, serendipitously bombing the shit out of everything that
moves in the hope of vanquishing all resistance to American
hegemony.

We don’t really know who we are bombing, but quantitatively
speaking, there’s a lot to bomb, because there’s a lot of oil down
there.

So when did ‘expertise’ — as in leave it to the specialists — become
antithetical to the voice of the people; how did the social glue that
kept the narrative alive, so easily slip into a fascination for
celebrity-observation that left the masses mesmerized by the life-
styles of the rich and famous.

With screens of one kind or another proliferating, the mesmerized
multitude slid seamlessly into anonymity as they ogled off the vapid
lives in the entertainment loop. Entertainment relieved boredom
while commodified reality became mesmerizedly desirable.

Then finally, what is the value of this American-style democracy
that is being touted across the world?

If it works as badly as it seems to do on its home patch, why would
the rest of the world want to experience the grave inequality that
renders so many of its citizens irrelevant?

In February of this year, $24 billion was cut from the food stamp
programme while $67 billion was added to the military as a way
to BOMB away the national treasure.

But a final thought: maybe there is an awareness of some kind
stirring in our better selves?

A new mood formulating a cinematic trailer for the national psyche.

A new form of born-againness waiting in the wings to reclaim a
common shareable speech that consensually recognizes the need
for a change of direction.

After all, we are a people, not a machine, and along the way, we
might just discover that Muslims are people too, not amorphous
collateral.



Denis is a retired businessman and journalist, and a voracious
follower of matters political outside of the mainstream arena.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/10/american-unawareness