ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Big Bang Mindbend

The Big Bang Mindbend

By Drew Degen
February 27, 2015

So you say you want a revolution … well … which one?

Eviscerate neo-liberal corporate capitalism with its “personhood”
succubus birthing unlimited political power?

Or Cliven Bundy/2016?

Topple dictators, tyrants, presidents-for-life, Communists, putrified
Socialists  —  all bubble-wrapped, encapsulated and immune to

Exterminate world-engulfing jihad superheroes (pick your preferred
holy tripetrip)?

Actually end endless warfare?

Explode gluttonous consumerism elevated to existential

Repulse onanistic hedonism sold as life’s fulfillment and obligation
(poor Epicurus, Bentham and Mill)?

Vaporize vapid entertainment nakedly marketed as art?

Halt global environmental trashing before we are all living on
oceanic garbage gyres as the glorious culmination of 3.8 billion
years of life’s evolution?

Feed the starving?

Homeland the homeless?

Surmount the ramparts of wealth inequity  — 99 to 1
and still ravenously yawning?

Extirpate racism  —  the taint that never washes out
quite white enough?

Perfume ethnocentrism —  the primordial stink that
clings to every “superior” culture’s rancid inhumanity?

Demolish the hubris of speciesism inexorably leading to extinction
(50% of the world’s wildlife have perished in the last 40 years)?

Retreat from the joke of “genius” adulation that permits solo
hyperinflated, single-note dwarves who allocate health,
government, development and financial policies for the rest
of us (Yeah, you … Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Zuckerberg and every
other one-trick pony strutting the champion’s lap).

Dare to drop your meth-fueled connectivity helmet impatient for
the imminent Kurzweillian universal virtuality download and sit
in the dark under a full harvest moon and think, imagine, invent,
create, fantasize and struggle for self?

Burn your XBox and shooter “games” and sleep in the snow
with the aurora borealis as your widescreen?

Clinically treat the delusion that stimulation is knowledge,
knowledge is Google and kill social networks that breed
more psychiatric pathology than human contact?

For all you sexting dualists, reconnect the mind to the body?

Neuter sexism?

Nuke homophobia?

Knit the anarchist multicolored coats of confusion?

Fumigate the formulaic?

Confiscate drum magazine assault weapons
and Saturday night specials?

Design a chic line of HazMat fashions  —  resilient in the face
of Ebola, Dengue, plague, HIV, smallpox, Chickungunya, SARS,
MRSA and all antibiotic resistant bacteria? Etc., etc.

So many revolutions to sign up for!

All of them metastasizing.

All of them intertwined and fecundatingly intermingling.

All of them terminal to human touch.

All of them must be won.

How about concentrating the fusillades on the political, religious,
ethnic, hidebound, moral obstruction and obtuseness of our
addiction to growth at any cost.

The Big Bang Mindbend.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Written In Stone

Written In Stone

Via - Lutz Doll
By Rob Homrich
February 26, 2015

A riddle in stone
In front of your eyes
Hiding the truth
Deception and lies

Look at it closer
And you will believe
Change your perception
Of what you perceive

They're fooling the masses
About the design
Of a powerful city
With powers divine

Ever so sacred
It's geometry
Loaded with symbols
From mythology

The square and the compass
The key to it all
Unlock it's true secret
And shrouds will soon fall

Squaring the circle
It's hard to digest
Just look at the master
Da Vinci knew best

Vitruvian Man
Proportions derived
Encoded in concrete
His secrets disguised

Great is the structure
The heart of the land
More ancient than Egypt
It rests on its sand

These are the templates
For which you will need
To master this knowledge
A code you will read

To the wounds of Christ
The pyramid points
On Vitruvian Man
The one who anoints

Sexual union
Can also be found
A vesica piscis
On monumental ground

The bloodline of Christ
Encrypted in stone
For two hundred years
So let it be known

To enlarge this image simply right click directly on the image 👌

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The A.I. Hail Mary

The A.I. Hail Mary

By Douglas Haddow
February 25, 2015

“Unexpected item in the bagging area,” says a prerecorded voice
from inside the machine.

The woman in front of me at the self-service check-out is confused.

She wipes her brow and repositions her groceries.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area,” the voice says again,
as if to gently scold.

The woman looks around, her eyes pleading,
but there are no clerks to be found.

Help is not coming.

I stand there silently, spacing out as if I were watching some muted
opera about man’s struggle against himself.

This was not the future we were promised, but everyday it’s feeling
more and more like the one we’re going to get — Kafkaesque, only
without the humor and with more explosions.

And it’s moments like these that make one rather suspicious that
we’ve reached a turning point in human history.

Or at the very least, a fork.

Ours is a present dominated by confusion.

A world where the official explanation of events has become so
corroded by cynicism and manipulation that conspiracy theories
have become more attractive than the truth.

A non-linear war is spreading like wildfire across Europe and the
Middle East and the existential threat of artificial intelligence is
incubating on our laptops.

The final outcome is the stuff of Stephen Hawkings’ nightmares:
when the singularity hits, we conjure up an all-powerful techno god
that kicks our species-wide death drive into turbo and off a cliff.

But, as I’m watching this woman in front of me struggle against
some glorified cash register, none of it feels inevitable.

And while fantasies of judgement day are inexplicably alluring,
you can see an opportunity ahead.

For the past few hundred years, the systems we build for ourselves
have become increasingly complex.

Recently, they’ve accelerated to a point where they are beyond
our capacity to comprehend, and in some cases, even recognize.

If we allow ourselves to be passive subjects and merely stand aside
and bear witness as artificial intelligence comes into being, we will
have truly lost the plot as far as our liberty is concerned.

The endgame will, as Hollywood has warned, be played out by a
handful of corporate beings, which will gradually ease into the
post-national dystopian roles that they are being groomed for.

But if we view artificial intelligence as a sort of grand public works
project or the next great phase of democracy, a different future
appears over the horizon.

If we truly are able to create some new intelligent life form
that can harness the potential of the human mind then perhaps
it can also invigorate, rather than enslave, the human spirit?

It’s become apparent that crises such as climate change
are beyond our ability to effectively confront and address.

Our political cycles are just too crude to allow us to think
past the next election, or budget.

So maybe AI is the Hail Mary we’ve been looking for.

Ours is a turning point, not a dead end.

Not yet anyway.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Money To Burn

Money To Burn

While millions can't even afford to feed their kids, the super rich
are hiring a Swiss company to name theirs.

By Sam Pizzigati
February 24, 2015

Someday soon, will all our jobs involve keeping extraordinarily
rich people entertained?

These days, that prospect doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

“The rich,” as journalist Chanelle Tourish notes, “seem to be
willing to pay almost any price for outstanding service and

And plenty of people are rushing to provide them.

Tourish, a reporter who watches wealth in the Middle East luxury
hub of Dubai, recently gave us a peek at how inventive today’s
serve-the-rich set can be.

In Dubai this month, for instance, one gilded hotel is bouncing
guests — by helicopter — from one local restaurant to another
for an evening of fine and flying dining. Just $5,000 per couple.

Some super rich don’t particularly enjoy going out on the town.

These homebodies can now bring the town — or at least the world’s
top celebrity chefs — into their own homes.

For the right price, agencies in the United States and the UK will
arrange for the world’s top cooking superstars to cater your next
dinner party.

The right price?

That can run up to $65,000 per meal.

But food only takes you so far.

You need music, too, to pull off a memorable soirée.

Not a problem if you have the bucks.

Lots of bucks.

Talent agencies no longer just book their clients into arenas
and nightclubs.

They book their talent into mansions, too.

Want a stud like Ed Sheeran singing at your personal shindig?

Count on paying somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000
for the privilege.

Or you can go in a slightly more ambitious direction.

You can book a superstar for your own private party and then
reserve an entire nightclub as your party site.

One club in Dubai even offers a valet service for helicopters.

Match that, Manhattan!

A really rich life, of course, must have more than parties.

Today’s ultra rich have a serious side, too.

They like to reflect on the lives they’re leading — and make sure
the rest of us realize just how diligently they’ve been reflecting.

A company called My Special Book can help here.

The expert staff at this global service will actually write your
autobiography for you.

This book-birthing process typically takes six to ten months for
just around $150,000.

And if you’d rather birth a kid than a book, the serve-the-rich
crowd has another innovative little service for you.

A Swiss company, Erfolgswelle, will happily research a unique
name for your new addition to humankind.

This name comes guaranteed not to belong to anyone else on

Expect to pay north of $30,000 for your one-of-a-kind moniker.

How many people can afford services like these?

Researchers at Wealth-X and Sotheby’s International Realty have
just counted up 211,275 people worldwide with personal fortunes
over $30 million.

These “ultra high net worth individuals” — the financial industry’s
polite label for the filthy rich — typically hold about 30 percent of
their net worth in houses, yachts, and other fixed property assets.

That leaves a lot of liquid assets sloshing around in their portfolios
for renting divas and figuring out what to name their kids.

Do these ultras, we wonder, ever stop to think about the millions
of people on our planet who can’t even afford to adequately feed
their kids?

Probably not too often.

Fortunately, we have other people on our planet who do think
about this stark contrast between the super rich and everybody
else — like the folks at the global charity Oxfam.

These good people have launched an international, "Even It Up"
campaign that’s seeking through vehicles like taxes on financial
speculation and wealth, to put some of those dollars now spent
on helicopter joy rides to some more productive uses.

More productive uses, I suspect, won’t be especially hard to find.

OtherWords columnist Sam Pizzigati, an Institute for Policy Studies
associate fellow, edits the inequality weekly Too Much. His latest
book is The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over
Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Inequality: A Matter of Conflict?

Inequality: A Matter of Conflict?

Inequality is inevitably a matter of conflict between the 1 percent
and the 99 percent.

By Peter Marcuse
February 23, 2015

Social inequality is caused not by any technical developments or by
agreement that it is just or because the people wanted it but rather
by the 1 percent who have the power to impose it.

How do they impose this power?

Through exploitation, dispossession, and incorporation.

Inequality is inevitably a matter of conflict between the 1 percent
and the 99 percent.

Any serious effort to reduce inequality must deal with this simple

It should be clear that we are talking about social inequality,
inequalities in social relations reflecting hierarchies of power and
wealth, not individual differences or inequalities in strength,
wisdom, inherent abilities, virtues.

It is of course what Jefferson meant in the Declaration of
Independence’s ringing declaration: “all men are created equal.”

They obviously differ in size, weight, talent, strength, desires, etc.;
it’s the social relations among them that is in question.

But what are the concrete processes that create social inequality,
that permit the 1 percent to impose social inequality in society to
their benefit?

The answer, again, can be given in a few words:

Exploitation, Historical Dispossession, Capitalist Dispossession
(Expropriation), and Incorporation.

Historic dispossession actually came first, in primitive societies
and pre-feudal monarchies and empires and autocracies.

The 1 percent—the established rulers, chieftains, monarchs—simply
were entitled to take possession of what they wanted from anyone
in their power.

They did this through the exercise of brute force: slavery, where
the masters took possession of anything of the slaves that they
wished; and war, where the spoils of the war were simply taken
by the victors from the losers.

The practice persisted well into feudalism, with the divine right of
kings (even Mozart built on its recognition in Figaro’s objection to
the exercise of the Rights of the Seigneur in 1786).

And the dispossession of villagers’ use of the traditional commons
for grazing, what we would now call privatization, was a significant
part of the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

Exploitation is a widely understood concept that focuses on the
processes by which one person or group obtains the benefits of
someone else’s labor through the payment of wages that do not
equal the value of that labor.

The profits accruing to the employer in that relationship accrue to
capital, are a “return to capital” in Piketty’s sense, a conspicuously
non-judgmental phrase for a relationship that could raise some
questions of justice but which clearly benefit the 1 percent and the
expense of a major part of the 99 percent.

As capitalist forms of production expand and globalize,
the result is mounting inequality.

Capitalist dispossession, however, accompanies the drive for ever-
increasing profit (what Marx calls primitive accumulation and David
Harvey calls accumulation by dispossession).

Colonialism is its manifestation at the international level,
but that is paralleled at the national level.

Rosa Luxemburg spoke of “The right to take possession, oppression,
looting, are openly displayed without any attempt at concealment,
and implemented by force if necessary.”

But in its mature capitalist form it is put forward as a right, and a
right available to anyone, not merely of a chieftain or king exerting
a hereditary or divine right to its exercise.

Foreclosing on a mortgage effectively dispossesses the “owner”
of the house, and expropriates the house to the bank or financial
institution that holds the mortgage.

The force behind it is state sanctioned and applied, if not under
specific legislation then by execution of judgments in courts of

The Sheriff will enforce the order of eviction a court grants
and forcefully put the owner’s property on the street.

Contemporary dispossession (expropriation) differs from both
its preceding forms, historic and capitalist, in two major ways;

Contemporary dispossession is much less focused on physical
dispossession, and involves a whole range of broader goods
and assets, including property rights in all sorts of values
which are included when one speaks of inequality.

Contemporary dispossession might more properly be called
expropriation, the taking of some key rights in that bundle
of rights called ownership, key rights that go into the
composition of wealth and power that Piketty, unlike Marx,
lumps together in the term capital.

The most obvious, of course, is the right to income or a share
in the profits from an investment.

Expropriation here is not the taking of the physical stock
certificate, but the justification for not honoring a supposed
“right” to a proper return on the investment.

The right to an education, the right to health care, the right not to
be discriminated against, the right to security of the person, the
right to the sanctity of the home free of trespass, the right to vote,
are all rights the 1 percent take for granted, but that large parts
of the 99 percent find are barely available to them, if at all.

The effective elimination of those rights in practice leads directly
to the relative reduced wealth and income of the 99 percent
and the expansion of the wealth and income of the 1 percent,
increasing inequality by the most conventional of measures, and
in a quite fundamental way.

As an example, every reduction in the progressivity of taxes used
to make such rights meaningful goes directly in the pockets of the
1 percent and the expense of those in need of those rights.

Contemporary dispossession in fact largely creates
those very rights and values it then expropriates.

Ironically, when the “owner” of a home among the 99 percent loses
it in foreclosure, his or her very ability to purchase it was enabled
through high credit by the institutions of the 1 percent, who end up
unharmed by the foreclosure.

The bank owner, surely among the 1 percent, itself enabled the
creation of the owned homes of many of the 99 percent which it
helped finance, and then through foreclosure dispossesses the
homeowner of that home to its own benefit, widening the gap
between the two.

The whole process of financialization, and the credit bubble it
engendered has caused harm to the 99 percent from which the
1 percent have benefited, so that their share of the society’s
wealth has increased while that of the 99 percent has decreased.

How could the 1 percent get away with this, in an advanced

It couldn’t happen without support, including much active support,
from a large part of the population, at least in the so-called
“advanced democracies.”

Incorporation is the best term I can think of for the answer.

Not in the sense of forming a corporation, of course, but in the
sense of absorbing any potential resistance within it, making
the resistance itself part of the system it attempts to criticize.

Co-optation might be an easier term, but it is co-optation at a
fundamental level, deliberately provoked and nurtured out of

But then internalized as natural, inevitable, and indeed desirable
by the majority whose interests are in fact badly served by it.

If the key cause of inequality is what was theorized at the
opening here:

Social inequality is caused, not by any technical developments or
by agreement that it is just or because the people wanted it, but
because it directly serves the interest of the 1 percent who have
the power to impose it.

The question becomes how have the 1 percent amassed that power,
and why are the 99 percent not able to resist it?

But that question is simply missing from mainstream discussions
of inequality, and rarely raised even in critical discussions about
economics from the left where it might be expected.

Instead what critical analysis exists is incorporated in a mainstream
analysis that neglects fundamental conflicts and instead pokes at
the edges of the problem sometimes with sensible but limited
suggestions for reform.

And as the discussion veers away from these conflicts at the
ideological level, the political attitude towards inequality likewise
veers away from unsettling proposals and ends up incorporated
within the mainstream in at best mild reforms at its edges and at
worst celebrating its existence.

Such incorporation into the mainstream is produced by the
combination of two factors:

1) at the discourse level, suppression of the reality of conflict:
public analysis of the issues incorporated into an acceptable
mainstream blind to the conflict-laden causes and alternatives,
and spread through media practices and institutional support
into the popular consciousness; and

2) at the political level, consumerism leads to acquiescence: the
strong lure of artificially induced consumerism, as reality and as
hope, smothers criticism and incorporates the potential critic into
the mainstream of acquiescence.

At the discourse level the public discussion of inequality is
strangely limited.

It not only circles around partial or simply wrong answers,
inequality is indeed spoken of in public, and even makes the best
seller lists (i.e. Piketty), but the public discussion fails to address
the right questions, or acknowledge the conflicts of interests and

Peter Marcuse is Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia
University in New York City. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School
and a Ph.D. in planning from the University of California at Berkeley.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Humanity For Palestine

Humanity For Palestine

By Peter Cohen
Via - Facebook
February 22, 2015

Dear Friends,

Those of you who are real friends of mine and not just Facebook
‘Friends’ know that last summer I fell off the face of the earth
during the horrific Israeli attack on Gaza.

I realized that I was surrounded by thousands of people who were
as appalled as I was but had no idea of how to take action.

If all that potential could only be canalized into effective action,
I realized that we could flip public opinion in the West and make
Palestine the South Africa of our time.

I realized that my social position as a Jewish American gave me an
edge in effecting the discourse that I didn’t have on other issues.

I believe that each one of us has to stand up as a global citizen and
take responsibility as an individual for the tremendous mess we’re
all in, of which the brutal occupation and siege of Palestine is only
a part and lead our ‘leaders’, rather than waiting for them to lead

As a Jewish American, I also felt a special obligation to oppose a
system of racist oppression justified in my name and paid for with
my tax dollars.

Humanity for Palestine was my answer to my obligation as someone
who has been to Palestine and seen the brutal reality that is hidden
from most of Western publics.

I always wanted to give back to the wonderful people I met there
and Protective Edge was the moment I finally plunged into making
good on that commitment.

H4P was a social experiment to see if we could turn social media
from a massive waster of our time into an effective tool for
mobilizing people into concrete positive actions for change.

Now the dream has come true and H4P is an actual organization
that is having an impact in the real world right out of its
headquarters on Facebook.

And it so happens we are busy preparing our biggest action ever
right now:

A 4-day program of ‪#‎ShutDownAIPAC‬ events in DC with some of the
most important organizations and figures in this movement starting
this Saturday.

The information being circulated against us now is false – no true
hack by.

Anonymous as claimed, but simply a few photo shopped screen
shots and invented emails intended to discredit us, accompanied
by personal threats to and harassment our members intended to
demoralize and scare us.

This is cowardly and unseemly behavior, and it’s saddening
to see how little it is questioned.

There are legitimate ways to criticize and question.

Publicly slandering individuals with accusation is not one
of them – and even less so when the accusations are false.

We know who’s behind this and I refuse to hate or attack them.

I would rather see H4P go down remaining true to its ideals
than survive while betraying the.

Hatred, anger and revenge are never good and we must all respect
everyone, no matter how much we disagree with their actions.

This latest attack has now lasted two days now and I cannot keep responding to each new slander.

I have an obligation as founder of H4P to ensure that #ShutDownAIPAC is a success and that we do right by all the people who have worked so hard to make it happen, to all of our partner organizations and leaders in the movement who have supported and believed in us, and above all to the Palestinian people, for whom we are all doing this.

We are an action group and we will ultimately be judged by our actions.

If #ShutDownAIPAC is the last thing H4P does, let us do it as well as possible and leave the biggest dent we can in AIPAC’s hold on Congress, the mainstream media, and. US public opinion.

That’s all that really matters.

A big splash in DC may inspire more people to try new and better
things until the racist and murderous system that is crushing the
Palestinian people finally goes the way of Apartheid, Jim Crow,
and all the other ethno-religious supremacist movements before

So I implore each and every one of you: please let us work.

We are a tiny organization of volunteers, we’re all overstretched,
we’re all doing our best to focus on our work, and there is simply
no way we can fight on two fronts simultaneously.

To have such a major attack on our group literally one week
away from such an important action is potentially disastrous.

Even if you don’t like us, why sabotage a multi-institutional
event designed to counter AIPAC?

Given that this is not only about a dozen other organizations
and the Palestinian cause, I only ask that we all unite and
focus our energies for the next 9 days to shut down AIPAC.

After that, feel free to go ahead and shut down H4P
if that’s what you want.

May Palestine be free of racist and brutal occupation and
may humanity be free of hatred and ego in all its forms,
so that we can get to the real work of healing the world
at this most critical moment in our history as a species.

Thank You for Your Understanding,

Peter Cohen

Friday, February 20, 2015

Parking Space Terrorism

Parking Space Terrorism

By Ramzy Baroud
Axis of Logic
Feb 20, 2015

The murder of three American Muslims at a University of North
Carolina condominium on Tuesday, 10 February, was no ordinary
murder, nor is the criminal who killed them an ordinary thug.

The context of the killings, the murder itself and the media and
official responses to the horrific event is a testimony to everything
that went wrong since the United States unleashed it’s long-drawn-
out “war on terror”, with its undeclared, but sometimes declared
enemy, namely Islam and Muslims.

Horrific as it was, the killing of a husband and wife, Deah Shaddy
Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, by
homegrown terrorist, Craig Stephen Hicks, is the kind of violence
that can only fit into a greater media and official narrative,
which designates millions of innocent Muslims, in the US or across
the world as enemies or potential terrorists.

Countless television hours and endless space in numerous media
has been dedicated to vilify and demonize Muslims throughout
recent years.

Muslims’ attempts to distance themselves from every militant
grouping, ideology and tendency has done them no good.

A Muslim is a terrorism suspect until proven innocent, especially
if a bearded, brown man, or a headscarf-clad woman.

The end result of that dehumanization has been racism,
racial profiling, extra-judicial killings and war.

It was only a matter of time before that violence reached
the nominally safe Muslim communities in the US itself.

The episode of dehumanization is long, complex and protracted;
also, quite clever, for it involves billion-dollar media outfits and
Hollywood itself, which already has an awful track record regarding
negative and stereotypical representation of Arabs and Muslims.

The outcome is a whole industry that is predicated
on double standards and half-truths.

The ongoing enthusiasm for more military interventions means
that supposed “moral awakening” inspired by the advent of
President Barack Obama rarely registered in the collective
psyche of the nation.

While there is ample evidence that Americans are “tired” of war,
that very war fatigue should not be conflated with a departure
of the type of dialectics that rationalized war in the first place.

In fact, while the cheerleaders for war might change political
camps, ideology or even religious philosophy, ultimately, they
are the same breed of people: a mostly white, male dominated
and chauvinistic tribe of well-funded politicians and media
pundits, with an unquenchable thirst for “intervention”.

Hicks, the terrorist who killed the three young Muslims, subscribes
to a school of thought known as New Atheism, what religious
scholar Reza Aslan refers to as the school of “anti-theism”.

It is, in part, another hate-filled platform, and despite its supposed
disdain for all religions, their malicious energy mostly targets

They, of course, are different from the majority of atheists,
who don’t use that designation to foment hate against a
specific religious group.

The anti-theist idols include the likes of Richard Dawkins and
Sam Harris, who, according to Aslan, respond “to religion with
the same venomous ire with which religious fundamentalists
respond to atheism”.

In one of his Facebook posts, Hicks, a lover of guns, quoted

“The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as
I watched the ‘Day of Prayer’ in Washington Cathedral,
where people of mutually incompatible faiths united in
homage to the very force that caused the problem in the
first place: religion.”

But of course, not any religion, but Islam.

Let alone that such ignorant breed pay no heed to any relevant
political context, they so foolishly blame a whole religion for
what is essentially a political conflict.

Did they ever pause to wonder if it might be possible that invading
countries, killing, raping, pillaging, destroying mosques and
churches, and urinating on the dead, have something to do with
why many Muslims hate US foreign policy and are willing to use
violence in response?

Hicks too hated the three Muslim kids based on that same foolish,
murderous logic.

But hating Muslims is not your everyday racism and prejudice,
which has been “as American as apple pie and Napalm” (a funny,
sad line from the American comedy, M.A.S.H).

It is a readily available fodder for the ongoing war and future war
in Muslim countries. It is the required amount of dehumanization
needed to wage war.

This is why Islam and Muslims are equated with terrorism, and
why terrorism is used almost exclusively to describe violent acts
committed or allegedly committed by Muslims.

The same champions of this invalid logic are those who
constantly push the line:

"All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

The assumption might be inane, but the intention is anything but.

It absolves the war criminals, who planned, executed and justified
the war; the soldiers who did the fighting, and those who ensured
that there can be no legal accountability for its numerous awful
deeds – millions being killed, maimed and all.

Instead, it puts the onus on ordinary Muslims who are set up to
prove their innocence to no avail, to absolve themselves from a
crime they never committed, in fact, to answer for someone else’s

But Hicks, who walked into the flat of three students in Chapel Hill,
NC and shot them, execution style, was not a Muslim.

He comes from Christian heritage.

He is not black or brown, but white.

His name is not Ahmed, but Craig.

That changes everything.

Neither the police nor the media would describe his crime as a
hate crime, let alone terrorism, although his terrorism is unique
in a way.

His type resides on the top of the food chain in terms of race, gender and other criteria.

Yet, somehow he is politically frustrated.

Go figure.

He is not a member of a radicalized generation born into
oppression, foreign invasion, poverty and other untold humiliation.

If that was the case, one can, at least to a degree fathom the hate,
deconstruct the anger, or even rationalize that violence is a natural
outcome of a certain reality.

Hicks is of the Fox News demographic, gun touting unreasonably
and immeasurably angry, white American.

Self-proclaimed atheist or otherwise, it matters little.

So Hicks, we are told, killed the students “execution style”
because of a dispute over parking spaces.

The same way that Chris Kyle – “The American Sniper” - made 164
confirmed “kills” in Iraq, targeting “savages” because that’s what
national heroes do.

And US wars and sanctions on Iraq killed, starved and wounded
millions to bring democracy to the Arabs.

This selectively insane logic will persist however, because there
are millions of unrepentant politicians, extremist media pundits
and well-armed men and women who refuse to see the recklessness
of their “logic”.

They will continue to feed violence - which unlike what Hicks is
led to believe - didn’t start on 11 September 2001 - and spit out
the most dangerous of militant phenomena: al-Qaeda, IS and all
the rest.

It is time for Muslims to demand that Obama issue more than a
statement, but call the United States government and hate-filled
media to account.

These outrageous double standards must end, before more innocent
lives are taken.

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a
media consultant, author of several books and the founder
of His latest book is My Father Was
a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

“Please Don’t Feed the Cannibals!”

“Please Don’t Feed the Cannibals!”

I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation
are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms
of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil. – Jack D. Forbes

By Butler Shaffer
Information Clearing House
February 18, 2015

It is an unavoidable fact of nature that living beings can survive
only by consuming other forms of life.

Neither dirt, sand, nor rocks, nor other lifeless matter, can provide
nourishment to maintain the continuing renewal of energy upon
which living things depend.

It is the mark of civilized people to reject the consumption
of human life in this endeavor.

Vegetarians and vegans would like to extend this exception to other
animal life forms, a choice that does not negate the underlying fact
that living organisms must sustain themselves at the expense of
other forms of life.

They have simply chosen to confine their dietary choices
to “vegetable” rather than “animal” categories.

So rare is the practice of cannibalism in America that the occasional
case that does arise attracts a long-standing public curiosity.

In 1873, the notorious Alferd G. Packer confessed to cannibalizing
men he had taken on a hunting trip in Colorado.

In 1968, students at the University of Colorado gave the student
cafeteria the name it still bears: “The Alferd G. Packer Memorial

Nor has the memory of Jeffrey Dahmer’s epicurean preferences

But feasting on human flesh is not the only expression of the cannibalistic behavior that plagues mankind.

The verb “cannibalize” is often used in commerce, industry, and technology to refer to the practice of using parts from one system to repair or construct another system.

In wartime, badly-damaged airplanes would often have their usable parts removed to repair other planes.

A business firm that puts out a significantly improved product is said to have “cannibalized” its earlier products.

One dictionary defines “cannibalize” as to cut into; cause to be reduced; or to diminish.

In some cannibal cultures, the practice of eating another human being is thought to transfer to the cannibal the spirit, strength, power, or other energies of the victim.

Modern Western cultures reject such direct exploitation of people, but do embrace the forms of meatless, ersatz cannibalism that nonetheless consume these qualities of being human.

When individuals are conditioned and compelled to substitute institutional interests and purposes for their own, are they not devoured by the insatiable appetites of abstract systems?

What could be more dispiriting than to be forcibly deprived of the control, direction, and meaning of one’s life; qualities that go to the essence of being human?

Is not cannibalism a perfect metaphor for the state depriving individuals – through its powers of taxation and regulation – of the products of the energies that are essential to maintaining one’s life?

And how can wars and genocidal practices be looked upon as anything but feeding the machineries of power at the expense of what institutions regard as collective, fungible “assets” and “resources” to serve their ends?

When, in 2006, White House press secretary Tony Snow casually dismissed the deaths of 2,500 American soldiers in the Iraqi war as “it’s a number,” his words reflected the indifference of human costs in calculating political purposes.

He could just as perfunctorily have been commenting on the number of cattle slaughtered at a meat-packing plant in a given period of time.

So, too, did former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright express her disregard for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a consequence of the Clinton administration’s economic boycott of that country.

“The price was worth it,” she publicly proclaimed, as though she was commenting on the beef bourguinon at her favorite French restaurant.

Of course, as with all political programs, the costs are always borne by others, never by those who institute and profit from them!

Such is the character of cannibalism.

The cannibalistic nature of the established order manifests itself in so many other ways: churches and schools that do not inspire, but squelch curiosity and punish children for the spontaneity that fires the human spirit.

In a year in which one of the most popular films lionizes the American Sniper, the quantum change in how human life is valued is rather evident.

When snipers and drone operators, who kill on behalf of the state and from great distances, are treated as “heroes,” the life-destroying character of our erstwhile civilization is no longer in question.

Plato provided a politically-structured model for human society that has long been embraced by Western culture.

His pyramidal design envisioned, at the highest level, the men of gold, whose wisdom would make them ideal rulers; at the next level were the men of silver, who were the soldiers and other enforcers of the legislation established by the rulers; at the bottom level were the men of brass or iron, i.e., the farmers, laborers, artisans, and other producers of the goods and services that would allow the society to sustain itself.

For my purposes, I would transpose Plato’s characterization of a political hierarchy into these levels: the ruling cannibals, who will be the principal beneficiaries of the coercive transfer of energy and other resources from others; the vultures, (the soldiers, police, bureaucrats, judges, and other functionaries of the state) whose function is to forcefully harvest the zombies (the productive people) of their energies, wealth, other resources, and obedience to state authority.

Members of the zombie class must, of course, be conditioned in the virtue and necessity of accepting their subservient role of producing the wealth that others will consume!

Within the vulture class will also be found members of academia and other teachers, the mainstream media, writers, and others who will provide the conditioning.

Plato’s own words reveal just how irrelevant his 2,400 year-old ideas are to modern society.

He declared: “A state comes into existence because no individual is self-sufficing; we all have many needs.”

The industrial revolution made evident to intelligent minds that free markets, not the supposed wisdom of philosopher-kings, was the most effective system in which “individuals” with their “many needs” can each pursue their respective interests and, in such a pluralistic process, generate an abundance of material wealth that elitist rulers will always be incapable of matching.

Twentieth-century experiences with centrally-planned economies revealed to intelligent minds – with the same certainty as the proposition of 8 being the square root of 64 – that the liberty, spontaneity, and respect for private property that are implicit in marketplace systems, is the most effective means of fostering human well-being.

The study of physics informs us of the fundamental truth that actions have consequences.

Those who fail to understand the causal connections that allow men and women to produce the values – be they material, spiritual, aesthetic, or otherwise – upon which civilized society depends, hold mankind hostage to their ignorance.

Franz Oppenheimer’s distinction between the “economic means” and the “political means” of acquiring wealth, has particular meaning here.

The economic means is premised on the production and voluntary exchange of resources through which people endeavor to maximize their respective self-interest-driven well-being.

The political means, on the other hand, is nothing more than a system of spoliation, with force being used to transfer resources from productive to non-productive persons.

To enervate the creative energies of some in order to allow the privileged despoilers to sustain themselves at the expense of the productive, is but to engage in a sophisticated form of cannibalism.

Slavery, conscription, eminent domain, asset forfeiture, war, taxation, govt.-mandated insurance, the state’s creation of rules for uniformity and standardization of products and behavior, involve some living at the expense of others through forced transfer of resources and energy.

There is more than just hyperbole involved in regarding such behavior as a form of “cannibalism.”

That so many of these practices are carried out by people who self-applaud themselves as “public servants” should remind us of the Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man,” in which aliens from another planet come to Earth with promises to end wars, hunger, resolve health problems, and other benefits to humanity.

They have brought with them a book, titled “To Serve Man,” that earthlings try to translate.

As a number of humans are being loaded onto the spaceship to take them to the alien’s planet, one man figures out that “it’s a cook book.”

“Serving mankind” is a political mantra that could be inscribed on every cannibal pot!

A business firm that begins to consume its own investment capital is on the way to extinction.

So, too, is a culture that undertakes to consume the principles, values, expectations, and other conditions that foster its vibrancy.

The health of a civilization depends upon its being able to produce the values that sustain it, a truth acknowledged by a number of eminent historians.

Arnold Toynbee observed that the collapse of a civilization arises from a “loss of creative power in the souls of creative individuals;” a movement “toward standardization and uniformity” ending with a “forcible political unification in a universal state.”

Will and Ariel Durant concluded that the health of a civilization depends upon “creative individuals . . . capable of effective responses to new situations.”

Jacob Burckhardt advised that “the way of annihilation is invariably prepared by inward degeneration,” while William von Humboldt stated that civilized cultures depend upon “human development in its richest diversity.”

More recently, historian Carroll Quigley offered an analysis demonstrating how the structuring of societies to achieve equilibrium weakens and destroys the “instruments of expansion” i.e., the systems that produce the values that sustain the health of a civilization.

The erstwhile centers of industrial production in America that have devolved into the current “rust belt,” provide a concrete example.

If the assessments of such historians are correct, it should be clear that cultures whose foundations are deeply set in violence, war, centralized power, fear, disrespect for life, along with the looting and scavenging which, alone, can sustain a privileged caste of cannibals, are fated for collapse.

When cannibals have finally despoiled the well-conditioned zombies of the life-force and other energies upon which all of life depends, they will, like other parasites, have to look for new hosts upon which to feed their voracious appetites.

Butler Shaffer teaches at the Southwestern University School of
Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade:
The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated
Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, and
Boundaries of Order.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Terrorist Feels No Shame

The Terrorist Feels No Shame

By Mats Svensson
Dissident Voice
February 14, 2015

It is crowded on the Gaza Strip. Very few playgrounds.

Besides being crowded, it is also dangerous.

Traps everywhere.

Houses that were bombed to rubble during
the last war have not been reconstructed.

Children playing in the rubble get injured.

Walls collapse, unexploded ordinances detonate when played

Everything is missing to recreate the home that disappeared
during the bombing.

There is no cement, iron bars, aggregates, pipes, tools, wood.

There is no electricity, water or sewage management.

Everything must be imported and the tunnels are few and narrow.

Now the war has restarted.

The young cousins meet outside the house. A mother asks them
to take it easy, but it is not easy to remain calm.

After days of waiting and hiding, they must now and then be
children and break the rules.

They run out and sneak off. Children do this.

They leave the dilapidated houses, houses that have become
targets just like everything else.

For the terrorist, everything is lawful and the kids do not have
the energy to care anymore, they have already cared for so long.

They leave the sad and the insecure.

They hope that it will be quieter down by the beach,
sand and sea.

They want to get away from the danger,
away from boredom; they want to laugh.

They play the same game that I played when I was their age.

With my cousin I played Native Americans and cowboys.

For them it has become Arabs and Israelis.

They laugh.

It is serious but it is also a game.

They can be heard shouting, how they capture the enemy
and put him in prison.

They are someone else; they are somewhere else.

Soon they will play football. They will be in Liverpool,
playing at Anfield against Manchester United.

They never get that far.

A few adults pass by on the road above the beach, thinking
that they were recently there.

They played the same role-plays.

They had strong legs. Everything was possible.

That was before the neighbor took all their rights, before he
got all the rights, before he could kill freely.

The journalists have front row seats at Al-Deira’s hotel terrace.

They look out over the Mediterranean.

The war is underway just behind the hotel. But right now,
everything is quiet.

And then it ends.

They never really had enough time.

Everything went so fast.

Everything happened right in front of them.

A journalist who demonstrably sat in the front row reports
in The Guardian.

Everything happened in the daylight.

The beach was like a movie set.

As if a Hollywood director staged a bloody scene of the
Christmas bombings in Vietnam.

It is as if someone wanted the whole world to be a part
of it.

Not in secret, not in the dark.

The terrorist strikes in the open.

Four dead cousins on the Mediterranean shore who had been
playing the same game that boys play all over the world.

The terrorist knows that he is doing wrong but feels no shame.


She has returned. Could not stay away from Palestine.

It is the first time in many years that she returns to Gaza.

Passes through the gate of humiliation.

Goes through the ghetto of despair.

She immediately sees how terror has hit, destroyed,
razed to the ground.

The war has been going on for 48 days.

Now it is supposed to have ended.

When she was here last time there was a slow reconstruction
going on.

Nothing remains.

She passes by bombed houses, clinics, hospitals and schools.

She thinks about photos she has seen of Dresden and from

What would never happen again.

She photographs, documents.

The newly purchased camera for a short while becomes a form
of protection.

She notes that this is so much worse than anything she has ever
seen before.

She has earlier been several times in Gaza, lived in Hebron and in
refugee camps in eastern Chad, worked with displaced persons in
the Congo, stayed in villages in Senegal, lived many years in
Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

She compares all images inside of her with what she is seeing.

Everything here is so much worse.

The destruction has been methodical, thought through.

Clinics and hospitals that have been constructed to save lives,
schools and homes where people felt safe have been bombed.

The destruction has happened with a purpose, it has been planned.

It becomes so clear that what is happening here is not happening
by chance.

The terror is well thought out.

Meanwhile, the world looks on.

Condemns gently but does not seem to understand the extent
of the massive terrorist attacks.

The world does not really seem to care.

Instead, it deepens the relationship with those who have killed,
killed and killed.

She feels strong emotions, anger, despair.

What she had not had to feel for so many years.

Now the feelings are back.

The war had not ended.

It is still quiet in the afternoon.

When darkness begins to fall the bombs begin to drop.

She has lived her whole life in different countries.

Often in difficult circumstances.

For the first time she feels worried.

The explosions seem to be so close.

She leaves the window cracked open so that it does not shatter
in case of a nearby explosion.

She tries to make the room as dark as possible. Lies down on a
mattress on the floor in the office.

She tells herself that she should be safe here.

For a moment she believes it but reality cannot be shut out.

She thinks about how UN schools sheltering children have been

In the dark, she begins to the get the feeling that no one in
the Gaza Strip can be sure.

Here, everyone is a target; here, the only one you can blame
is yourself.

The night is long. She keeps looking at her watch.

Thinking of the more than 2000 people who have been killed
in the past seven weeks, that is more than 40 people per day.

Most of them completely innocent.

Their only crime was to remain, that they could not move.

Hundreds of women and children.

She thinks about all the children who have been orphaned, all
the women and men who recently had a baby, the funerals,
the injured, the mutilated.

But when the bombings end, she mostly thinks that she is afraid.

The minutes pass so slowly.

The bombs are so many.

At three am, she wakes up and notices that a full hour has passed.

She is surprised that she could fall asleep despite the bombs.

It is a bit calmer in the morning. She eats a simple breakfast.

Had brought some extra things in her backpack.

Cannot escape the thought that she lived through the night,
a whole night, just one night.

That it was so powerful, so diabolical, that she could be so scared.

Only one night.

Thinks of this “only” when she sees the children carefully peering
out of their windows.

Sees children that are only seven years old, who have lived through
not only one but three wars.

Who have wakened up every night when the murderers have
released their bombs.

Thinks about children who have seen their siblings killed, mothers
who did not return, fathers who have been carried home with blood
flowing from their bodies.

Walks out on the street, sees people who walk away from her,
who walk towards her, people who all carry a story.

Thinks that she could randomly select any person and each person
could tell a story of deep joy, sorrow, hopes and dreams on hold.

That every person carries the deepest secret thoughts
that most of them would probably be unable to share.

This is when she begins to wonder if she wants to stay,
if she is a good fit for this, if she is the right person.

Whether she wants to sit at Al-Deira and see children blown up.

Does she want to be the one who constantly writes reports about

Compiles reports about what should be rebuilt, while negotiating
with those who just recently were the ones bombing, destroying,
killing and deep inside knowing that nothing will happen.

Reports will be read and circulated.

Many will be shocked by the pictures she takes,
will ask if they can use her photos.

For a moment she will feel proud, for a little while… before
the war begins again.

How much will be rebuilt before the destruction will restart?

How many will be killed the next time?

How long will the terrorist be able to continue without shame?

Mats Svensson, a former Swedish diplomat, came first to Palestine
in 2003, and followed the Occupation until 2009. Since then he
has been working as a documentary writer and photographer. He
is now working on his second book about Palestine. The first
was named Crimes, Victims and Witnesses: Apartheid in Palestine,
and was published in South Africa by Real African Publishers.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Brian Williams and Baghdad Bob

Brian Williams and Baghdad Bob

By Pierre Tristam
The Smirking Chimp
February 9, 2015

In 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton lied when she claimed that she’d
run across an airport tarmac in Bosnia to avoid sniper fire.

It was left up to the comedian Sinbad, who was on the same trip
with Clinton, to set her straight when he recalled that the only
scary part of the trip was where they could all eat next.

Ronald Reagan actually told an Israeli prime minister that he’d
been among the American troops liberating Auschwitz, when in
reality the old liar had spent World War II making movies Stateside
for the military’s First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, Calif.

Not nearly as big a deal as the lies he told to hide his role in the
Iran-Contras, hostages-for-arms dealings that should have ended
his presidency, and instead only turned another inveterate liar,
Oliver North, into a cult hero.

Lyndon Johnson’s lies could drown Texas.

When he became president, Helen Gahagan Douglas, the actress,
Congresswoman and one of LBJ’s many mistresses, said she was
certain that “we had heard the last frank response to a question
from the press.”

She knew her liars: she’d lost to Richard Nixon in a Senate race
13 years earlier.

As for GWB, all we have to say is WMD.

That politicians lie is not a surprise. For some it’s part of the
job description.

Reporters and news anchors know that. They report on lies daily.

Brian Williams of NBC news reported those of Clinton and Bush.

He’d also just become anchor of NBC’s nightly news when he
reported on the retirement of Dan Rather from CBS, a retirement
hastened by Rather’s blundered report on Bush’s suspicious military

Rather never lied. He just reported a sloppy story that was
never backed up by solid evidence.

And soon after that, Rather was in essence fired when CBS
refused to renew his contract. Williams reported on that, too.

When reporters lie, they break the industry’s equivalent
of a Hippocratic oath.

They do great harm to their organization’s credibility, but
also to the people they cover and the audiences who trust

Williams, it turns out, is an outright liar.

He’s been telling a story about being shot down in a helicopter
in the early days of the Iraq war.

Totally false.

Veterans and Stars and Stripes, the military’s newspaper,
corrected him.

He was forced to apologize.

He lied even in his apology. He claimed he’d been following
the helicopter that was struck. He hadn’t.

His helicopter was forced to land because of a sand storm.

Only later was Williams able to speak to the crew of the copter
hit by an RPG round, when that aircraft landed in the same place.

He claimed he’d “conflated” some events in a “bungled attempt”
to publicly thank a veteran on the PA system at a New York Rangers
game (another one of those moments of choreographed pandering
the television camera and its distortive effects love so much).

That was a lie too because two years ago on Letterman Williams
marked the 10th anniversary of that bogus story by going on the
show and boasting about it.

Williams originally told his tall tale in a NBC report when
Tom Brokaw was in the anchor chair.

“A colleague Brian Williams is back in Kuwait City tonight after
a close call in the skies above Iraq,” Brokaw told his audience
in that report. “Brian, tell us what you got yourself into.”

“In the end Tom,” Williams replied, “it did give us a glimpse
of the war being fought as few have seen it.”

He was right in one respect:

Williams’s report was part of a series of surreal, fictional, bogus or
fabricated stories that poured out of the front in those early weeks,
whether it was the way the media invented Jessica Lynch’s bogus
heroics or choreographed the felling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in
Fidros Square as it all led up to the mother of all fictions, Bush’s
“Mission Accomplished” moment on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

All befitting a war born of a lie.

In a way, singling out Williams for contributing to mass chest-
thumping at home may seem a bit unfair: his lie was minor
compared to the overt and far more consequential lies the
nation’s leading news media were peddling on behalf of the
Bush regime.

Those early days of the war as Williams was supposedly behind
enemy lines in his shot-down helicopter, American television
screens were often filled with the hilarity of Baghdad Bob, the
Iraqi information minister who became famous for giving Iraq its
own version of the Pentagon’s Five O’Clock Follies in Vietnam as
he stood on one corner or another, claiming that American troops
were committing suicide, their invasion thwarted even as you
could hear the rumble of American advances nearby.

But again, "Baghdad Bob" was only a less sophisticated version
of the Bush propaganda machine, which America’s news media
happily oiled and broadcast.

Embedding was seen as an honor, rather than, as the word
explicitly means, being in bed with the government.

Williams was an embed when he told his lie, too.

Maybe Williams and Baghdad Bob had a beer somewhere
along the way.

But there’s a limit to Williams’s hilarity.

Getting shot at isn’t the sort of thing you conflate with anything.

It either happened or it didn’t.

The rest is Hollywood, which TV reporters are often closer
to than truth of any depth.

Equally troubling, as a pile of analysts have pointed out, is the fact
that Williams was accompanied by an NBC crew whose members
never said a word to correct him, including his producer, who’s
essentially his fact-checker and editor.

Even more troubling is NBC’s reaction: There hasn’t been any.

Until the end of the week Williams was in his anchor chair,
blathering on in faux-gravity about this and that scandal
while NBC did its best to hide the herd of elephants in the

Now we’re led to believe that it was Williams who pulled himself
off his newscast, not NBC President Deborah Turness who removed
him, though the network finally came around to an investigation of
the Iraq lie and possibly others in the Williams oeuvre.

When reporters are caught plagiarizing or fabricating stories
(different denominations of the same deceptive currency)
they’re fired.

Stephen Glass of the New Republic, Jayson Blair of the New York
Times, Janet Cooke of the Washington Post (she won a Pulitzer in
1981 after fabricating a tale about an 8-year-old heroin addict).

Willful sloppiness is no excuse, either, as the New York Times’s
Judith Miller found out after her fiction-filled WMD coverage
(naturally she took refuge for a while at Fox, where fiction’s
courtesans always have a home), and of course as Dan Rather
found out.

But Williams so far gets to decide his own fate. He’s not like
other reporters.

He’s media’s equivalent of too big to fail: a $10 million-a-year
man still delivering ratings.

His memo announcing his brief hiatus left no doubt about his
intentions, or his inability to gauge his error:

“Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be
worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

That “career-long” and “effort” no longer belong in a Williams
sentence is a minor point.

So is the presumption of that upon my return, from the allegedly
most self-deprecating man in network news.

But that the anchor of the nation’s leading newscast thinks it’s still
up to him to return begs the question: who was in charge at NBC
when Williams filed his original fabrication, and who’s in charge

Politicians and public love to bash media.

Often enough the wounds are self-inflicted, but also corrected,
we hope.

If Williams does return, it’s difficult to imagine how the credibility
of NBC News can survive when it’s played in the same sandbox as
Baghdad Bob.

Pierre Tristam is the editor of FlaglerLive, a non-profit news service
in Florida.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Sociopath As Hero

The Sociopath As Hero

By Paul Edwards
Information Clearing House
February 4, 2015

The box office big winner of the moment is a movie about a military
man who kills people from a distance, unseen by his victims.

He enjoys his “job” because he hates them, imagining an entire
nation his enemy: “savages” who kill his buddies, and are
collectively guilty, deserving assassination.

This point of view is not new in the psychology of men in war.

Remarque examined it in WWI in All Quiet On The Western Front;
Tolstoy, before him in War and Peace; Mailer, after, in The Naked
and The Dead. In Vietnam, I heard hardassed combat grunts say,
“Kill ‘em all; let God sort ‘em out”.

American movie audiences have long loved violent heroes who, in
morally iffy circumstances, cut through insoluble complexities of
relentless evil by ending them in more or less justifiable murder.

In the more intelligent, ethical versions, these heroes are good
men, trying to do the right thing until they run out of options and
have to kill.

It ends for them, not in triumph or exaltation, but in an emotional
downdraft that looks much like regret or remorse.

Gary Cooper grimly leaves the town that betrayed him; Shane,
called back by a heartbroken boy, knows that boy’s world is
forever spoiled for him by what he had to do, and rides away.

In the simple-minded, morally ugly varieties, the dynamic remains
the same but the nature of the hero is completely altered.

The key change, obvious but unclear to, or intentionally ignored
by, the ethically obtuse, is that the hero’s character is vicious.

All that matters is that revenge and retribution are ferocious and
absolute. In other words, in an infantile mutilation of the idea of
the classic hero’s journey, the whole game turns here on brutal,
sadistic and complete destruction of “evildoers”. (A phrase of our
erstwhile imbecile President, not used otherwise since the days of
Cotton Mather.)

The kind of film-making that uses this latter formula–simplistic,
cartoonish, and vacuous–is far more appealing to people of lower
intelligence and undiscriminating taste, which is to say, the
majority of moviegoers.

The list of examples is long but Dirty Harry movies clearly define
the category.

Clint Eastwood–film’s Sociopath Emeritus–chose in American Sniper
the perfect vehicle to manifest his intelligence, his politics and his

Perfect because what it displays–besides a retailing of baldly
ridiculous ideas long universally discredited, and a politics rooted
in deep, indomitable ignorance and a form of stupidity that prides
itself on denial of irrefutable reality–is the sleazy depravity of a
mind that can craft a mawkish, fawning tribute to a diseased serial
killer from a biography in which the killer himself spells out in
appalling detail his own disgusting sickness.

So much has been written about this paean to a subhuman monster,
much of it on whether or not it is moral and heroic to murder
people wholesale for flag and country, that the only truly important
thing about its success has not been articulated.

That is the grossly ugly fact that such a huge number of Americans
jubilantly support this morally dirty film and its message.

Of course, an audience that embraces films featuring all kinds
of vicious, repulsive, sadistic murderers–cannibals, necrophiles,
zombies, vampires, can be expected to flock to any flick that
promises to satisfy its craving, and promotion for American Sniper
puts it right in their wheelhouse.

What is profoundly disturbing culturally but should not be
surprising is that, unlike goofy trash about chainsaw maniacs,
anthropophagous esthetes, and midnight bloodsuckers, American
Sniper glorifies a real self-confessed serial murderer, and its
supporters don’t care.

It makes no distinction, that is, between imbecile fantasy
and appalling truth.

The fact that the “hero” and much of his story was real
only enhances his glamour in their eyes.

What gives the film its fierce attractive power for them is that
the relentless propaganda of “the Global War on Terror” has
imbued them with the same hateful, furious, kneejerk, Nazi-style
“patriotism” that Kyle embodied.

As long as the tag-team of our “news” media and the Hollywood
War Porn industry continues, the fan base for U.S. military
ubermensch horror films will grow.

As Germany learned in the deadly 1930s, there is nothing quite
so dangerous to a nation’s liberty as a furious, stupid, violence-
addicted, enemy-fixated underclass.

The monster that a culture creates and keeps in its basement
can sometimes break its chains, to rend and dismember it.