Thursday, October 30, 2014
Today's blog was originally published in Foreign Policy Journal.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The claim is often made that Zionism is based on racist assumptions. The matter is rarely discussed in any detail, since those bringing different viewpoints to the question tend to be so defensive that neither listens to the other side. Given that the only prospect for peace in the Mideast depends on resolving the conflict, it is imperative that defenders of Israel and its critics learn to engage in reasoned debate on fundamental questions such as this. Whether one’s sympathies lie primarily with Israelis or with Palestinians, it is hard to argue that the continuing violence benefits either.
The problem is not only that the two sides are starting with different interpretations of facts. It is that one or both are ignoring essential truths for understanding the conflict. These universal truths are often hidden beneath layers of unconscious beliefs that are so ingrained that they are hard to recognize. Since few people want to think of themselves as racist, they are even harder to acknowledge. Any discussion that might lead to the conclusion that one side is racist therefore breaks down before it gets to the root of the problem.
A person who feels genuine compassion for Palestinians may blame all Jews for their plight, while those worried about the survival of Israel and perhaps the Jewish people themselves may demonize all Arabs as hostile and dangerous. Both are making the mistake of assuming that all members of one or the other group are essentially all good or all bad. Most people do not fall into the trap of accepting these racist beliefs, of course. The great majority of well-meaning people who disagree on the nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict want an outcome that is fair to both. The problem is that in order to visualize such an outcome, we have to come to an agreement on what is “fair.” This is where unconscious biases lead to impasse.
The only way to a solution is to recognize and overcome the tribal mentality underlying the “us” versus “them” assumption at the root of all racist beliefs, conscious or unconscious. A common argument of defenders of Israel is that any criticism of its right to exist constitutes “anti-Semitism,” a charge that infuriates those who hold that Zionism is inherently racist. Ignoring the fact that the term anti-Semitism is a misnomer because the original inhabitants of the area were all Semitic, there is some merit to both arguments. There are among those on one side people who hate all Jews and on the other, people who hate all Arabs. It is easy to point at such examples to make the case that either group is racist, but in either case the argument itself is racist. People are individuals. Claiming that attitudes and behaviors are universal among any group ignores the reality that we are all more alike than different that it is our commonalities that make us human. Regarding an entire group of people as so evil that they deserve to be attacked because of who they are dehumanizes both the victim and the aggressor.
This is not to say that a group might not be more violent because of cultural influences. It is only an acknowledgement of the fact that such differences are culturally determined, not inherent in one group. It is in identifying with one group or the other to the exclusion of recognizing the common humanity of both that is the essence of the tribal mentality that is at the root of all racism. Thus, both groups claim that racism is endemic in the other group while denying it in theirs. The question of this essay is whether such attitudes are inherent in those who support Zionism, however.
A recent book by American reporter Max Blumenthal extensively documents that racism is rampant in Israel today. Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel traces the origins of this racism and describes how it manifests in Israeli public opinion. Blumenthal, like most prominent Jewish critics of Israel, is often called a “self-hating Jew,” which is a label intended to mark him as an extremist who does not accept his Jewishness. The fact that he does not place his ethnic background over his humanity is thus assumed to represent some sort of psychopathology. This in itself reflects the racist beliefs of rabid defenders of Israel, but is it inherent in Zionist beliefs? Clearly, not all Zionists are racists. Many are clearly humanitarians when it comes to injustice in other situations. The truth is that decent people sometimes hold some racist beliefs. It is only when they consciously acknowledge and cling to them that they deserve to be called racists.
To rationally discuss the Israel-Palestine problem, we have to admit that a Jewish state is by definition exclusionist. If Israel is “Jewish,” as it wants Hamas and the world to acknowledge, then what are its non-Jewish citizens? In a democracy, all citizens are equal. The increasing number of discriminatory laws in Israel and the Occupied Territories refutes this claim. Blumenthal makes the case that these laws, racist attitudes and anti-Arab violence are the natural result of accepting the idea that a nation based on an ethnic identify can be a democracy. Unfortunately, those who cannot see that a “Jewish democracy” is a contradiction in terms cannot see the evidence of it.
The claim that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is the slickest lie of all. A growing number of Jews, including many thousands of Israelis, no longer believe the one-sided narrative of the Israeli government concerning Gaza and the Occupation. To claim that the government of Israel represents all Jews is not just inaccurate, it is racist on its face. As former AIPAC member Rich Forer describes in Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion, A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, the ongoing pattern of violence cannot be understood until you confront the tendency to view your tribal identity as somehow distinct from your universal human identify.
The crimes of the past cannot be erased, but continuing to allow them will not lead to a solution. Trying to justify any aggression against civilian populations on the idea that use of terror by one side is acceptable because the other uses it will make neither Israel nor Palestine safer. It is wrong when Hamas does it and wrong when Israel responds with overwhelming force. However, the overwhelming superiority of the Israeli military over Hamas should lead any objective observer to ask whether Israel has any moral justification for repeatedly slaughtering thousands of civilians in the name of “defense.” If you look at the facts you find that it is Israel who has almost always broken any truce that has lasted any length of time.
Kurt Vonnegut defined a granfalloon as an artificial grouping of people who identified with something smaller than humanity itself. A nation, a religion, a racial or cultural group are all based on distinctions that are less important than those characteristics that define us as human. A survivor of the Battle of the Bulge and the Dresden firebombing, he was often depressed to see how tenaciously people cling to these false identities. If he had one great message to share, it was that only when we begin to put our humanity above all other considerations and work for justice for all can peace become possible.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Is it really democracy Hong Kongers want? Or is it a level playing field? This banner screams, “Down with Capitalism – Occupy Central”. (image by www.leela.net)
I have been watching the Occupy Central Movement with some detachment (some are also calling it the Umbrella Movement, since protestors sport umbrellas against the tropical sun and afternoon showers). The rubber stamp, Ministry of Truth-Western mainstream media is kowtowing to the Washington-London-Paris consensus, declaring that Occupy Central is hungering for Western style “democracy”, that it is bigger than Hong Kong. It all sounds so predictably déjà vu. Knowing that free-wheeling Hong Kong is gladly letting CIA front NGO National Endowment for Democracyoperate on its soil, is all we need to know. The main “non” governmental organizations (NGOs) that do the CIA’s bidding around the world are:
• American Center for International Labor Solidarity
• Center for International Private Enterprise
• Ford Foundation
• Freedom House
• International Republican Institute (IRI)
• National Democratic Institute (NDI)
• National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
• National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
• U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
• Center for International Private Enterprise
• Ford Foundation
• Freedom House
• International Republican Institute (IRI)
• National Democratic Institute (NDI)
• National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
• National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
• U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
While some do decent work, like the American Center for International Labor Solidarity fighting human trafficking, the Ford Foundation and many of its excellent programs, or USAID doing helpful infrastructure projects, they have many other darker, deep state activities that answer to a higher, nefarious power. Often, what they will do is create a local NGO, with a lofty sounding, idealistic name, and then this NGO will work to destabilize the local political structure, with the goal of overturning the government in a coup d’état or “color” revolution. This revolution will try to install a pliant Western stooge leader to do Eurangloland’s bidding. All the color/named revolutions since 1990 – China, Georgia, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, the Arab Spring and currently in Ukraine, where it has not gone as planned, and Russia and Venezuela, where the same modus operandi is simply not working, are financed directly by the CIA or through their panoply of NGOs and local NGOs.
To understand just how pervasive and cancerous the CIA’s bogus NGOs can become in a country, here is a long list of CIA financed NGOs that were in Russia in 2009. Its length is shocking, but destroying Russia is a long sought after American goal. Since then, the Russian parliament has cracked down on them. Other countries are also starting to catch on and being more vigilant. But given the chance, the United States will flood a country with millions, and in at least the case of Ukraine, billions of dollars, to overthrow national governments, in order to put in puppet leaders who, now bought and sold, will greedily turn their country into a IMF/World Bank resource and asset prostitute.
One of the classic NGO case studies is Otpor in Yugoslavia. Its template has laid the foundation for many of the CIA ginned revolutions and rebellions for the last 25 years. Otpor is heavily CIA financed and infiltrated with local CIA agents, as are all the other CIA NGO assets around the world.
And in other cases, the United States, through its CIA front NGOs, just tries to buy overseas elections. As is the case right now in Brazil, where Uncle Sam is financing a yes-woman named Marina Silva, ironically, of the “Socialist Party”. If elected, she’ll bark and do tricks for the CIA and the White House and let Wall Street, the IMF and the World Bank come in and plunder one of the world’s richest countries, as well as divorce Brazil from BRICS.
In 1949, when Mao Zedong and the Communists kicked out of China the fascist mafia KMT, the Japanese military machine as well as all the Western colonialists, including the USA, the US government, from the White House, the State Department, Congress to the CIA, all officially bemoaned the fact that the United States had “lost” China. You can’t lose something if you do not “own” it in the first place. Thus, the US and Europe believed, in all their colonial delusions, that they owned China and lost it. Even before 1949, the CIA was trying to destabilize and balkanize the People’s Republic in China via Tibet, sending spy planes, arms, rebels, and hundreds of agents from Taiwan.
Most recently, the CIA’s latest gambit is to finance the transportation and training of hundreds of Muslim Ouighers from Xinjiang to travel to the Middle East, ostensibly for religious studies. There, they are trained in the arts of terrorism, by America’s bought and paid for jihadist groups, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, ISIL/Islamic State and on and on, only to be sent back home to blow up bombs and go on public stabbing massacres, in hopes of destabilizing Baba Beijing’s rule in Northwest China. Again the goal is for the West to install a puppet leader and government to exploit Xinjiang’s trillion dollar natural resources and turn it into an IMF/World Bank debt slave. Ditto Tibet. All of this has been written about and referenced in previous articles.
And so the CIA sees a chink in China’s armor in Hong Kong. Like in the Ukraine’s conflated Maidan, Hong Kong’s citizens have legitimate grievances about their corrupt elected government. It is only natural to want a greater voice in one’s affairs, especially when one’s economic, educational and professional lives have degraded so much in the last generation. In Kiev, the CIA made sure the protesters stayed on Maidan Square for weeks on end, 24/7, while bringing in hard core local operatives, which in Ukraine’s case were and are Nazis and fascists, paying them a daily per diem of €20-30 to raise hell, commit destruction and eventually death and assassinations. This was part of America’s $5 billion dollar investment to install a stooge Ukrainian government, that the US Department of State’s Victoria Nudelman/Nuland bragged about publicly, and which I’ve also written about and referenced.
Hong Kong is no different. The middle class and poor are being decimated by the Princes of Power’s draconian, libertarian capitalist policies of pushing the Territory’s profits to the 1%, at the expense of the 99%. Students are graduating from college and finding it difficult to get good paying jobs or affordable places to live. This, in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. Hong Kong only just passed a minimum wage law in 2010 and it is a paltry US$3.20/hour, less than half of America’s slave minimum wage. Standards of living for the 99% are cratering. Like in the US, Hong Kongers are having to work 2-3 jobs and much more than 40 hours a week, just to pay the bills, never mind prosper. As fully explained by Hong Konger Ming Chun Tang, his co-citizens have no collective bargaining rights, no unemployment benefits and no pensions, which even their fellow Chinese workers all have north of the border.
So, while the CIA is fully exploiting Hong Kongers’ discontent at their status quo, it has much less to do with pangs of democracy, as it does that they, like you, me and everybody else around the planet, are being economically sodomized by the one percent’s jungle, libertarian capitalism – now the world’s permanent reality, except maybe in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and among a few other Quixotic peoples, who battle for dignity and a more level playing field.
In truth, the ball is in Baba Beijing’s court. They have the power and the ability to read the riot act to Hong Kong’s elite billionaires and their corrupt, toady politicians. All Baba Beijing needs to do is say,
OK boys, it’s time for a haircut. Your current inverted pyramid of wealth accumulation doesn’t need to be re-inverted, but it sure needs to be flattened out enough to keep the peace. Make that apex angle more obtuse, much more obtuse.
I have always said that as soon as China’s 99% begin to agitate against their billionaire class, and it is inevitable that they will one day, Baba Beijing will not hesitate to very publicly, not only give their fat cats a full-fledged sheep shearing, but take a chunk out of their backsides too, in order to maintain the Heavenly Mandate and social stability.
It’s a little dicier though, in Hong Kong. China signed a UN witnessed treaty that after Hong Kong reverted to the Mainland in 1997, it would not change the Territory’s way of life for the next 50 years – until 2047. Thus, Baba Beijing has committed themselves to not overtly interfering in Hong Kong’s local affairs. Of course they do behind the scenes, vetting and selecting who will run the government, but always with a veneer of plausible deniability. While Baba would find it next to impossible to influence Hong Kong’s billionaire class’ investments in the Territory, all of them have billions in investments on the Mainland. If Occupy Central drags on, and it undoubtedly will, with the CIA’s NGOs putting money in the protesters’ pockets to maintain the vigil, a haircut north of border might be in order to get Hong Kong’s Princes of Power to share more of the Territory’s wealth, passing laws to funnel money to the working and poor classes.
Otherwise, the United States and its CIA, which would give anything to shatter the People’s Republic into a bunch of balkanized, subservient smaller countries, just might take this chink in Baba Beijing’s armor, and rend it into a full-fledged, hemorrhaging gash. At the very least, if the CIA can get Baba Beijing to overplay its hand, by say, sending in PLA troops or declaring martial law, it would be a massive propaganda coup for the West, just as the CIA’s support and financing of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and bogus “massacre” charges are continuing to wound China on an annual basis. This is of course what the US is hoping they can get Vladimir Putin to do in Novorossiya: overreact and give the West the propaganda coup of the century, in order to destroy Europe’s and Russia’s economic and political relationship, thus guaranteeing Europe continuation as one big collective of vassal states, totally dependent on Uncle Sam’s dictates.
Just as Russia has a huge, intricate and delicate juggling act to pull off, in order to try to prevent World War III in Ukraine, the US is using its dollar printing presses to pay for the same misery in China, now starting in Hong Kong.
OK, Baba Beijing, game on? It’s the Heavenly Mandate or CIA chaos.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
It is amazing how hard some people will work to convince others that doing what is absolutely necessary is impossible. Imagine if most people chose to believe that it is too late to do anything about climate change. Even if they were right, doing nothing due to widespread acceptance of the idea would amount to humanity turning its back on its children, dooming them to live through the collapse of human civilization. As another example, the biggest obstacle to global peace is arguably the widespread acceptance of the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable. What if it became commonly understood that war is always a choice and they only benefit the corporations of the military-industrial complex that essentially dictates foreign policy to decision-makers in Washington? It is possible that war would become unthinkable, if we are willing to make that happen.
Global climate change and global peace, like nearly every issue that Congress and the White House have failed to address, are problems for all but the few who pay for the elections of our representatives in Washington. Congress and the White House routinely put the immediate interests of corporations over those of the rest of us. The short-sighted approach of the Wall Street criminals who dominate the government is setting the US and global economies up for a fall that will make 2008 look like a mild downturn. The economic devastation would leave us woefully unprepared to deal with the human crisis that would result. Well-respected experts like Helen Brown are warning us to prepare for a state of permanent martial law in the wake of the coming economic collapse.
The problem then is that until we change the US system of campaign finance, there is little hope for human civilization. There is a large and growing movement to do so through the only means that a corrupt Supreme Court has left us, a constitutional amendment. You would think that the recent 54-42 vote in the Senate would have caused naysayers some pause, but that does not seem to be the case. A recent article in Alternet made the claim that this meant the movement “collapsed with a predictable thud,” overlooking the fact that the vote itself was a historic milestone on the path to the inevitable enactment of an amendment that will be the first giant step toward establishing democracy in the US since the constitution itself.
What casual observers of the amendment movement consistently fail to recognize is that there is a specific path to passage that should be obvious to anyone who thinks through the problem of getting a corrupt Congress to pass an amendment that will undercut the very system that got most of its members into office. Any solution will clearly need to involve making support for an amendment a crucial campaign issue in Congressional elections. If voters can be made to use this issue as a litmus test for their support, we can and will elect a Congress that will pass an amendment. Such a Congress will have proven that it is willing to put the interests of its constituents over those of the corporate patrons of the current occupants of Congress. Then, they can get on to dealing with other aspects of corruption that critics of the amendment complain it would not address.
Movement leaders can take much of the blame for the failure of recognition of this clear path to victory. The idea has been floating around since before Citizens United was decided, as the Roberts Court’s call for briefs that would expand the original question to gut campaign finance reform made it obvious which way it was going to come down. After the decision, some of us immediately got to work promoting not just wider awareness of the problem, but recognition of the solution. Unfortunately, early supporters gave up on the strategy after the 2010 election failed to yield results. This was surprising, given that the lack of success in electing candidates pledged to support an amendment was predictable. Not only was the idea new, but organizers failed to achieve buy-in from many groups working on the issue. Move to Amend, which had the most boots on the ground early in the battle, rejected the idea outright and refused to work with any group that did not support the amendment they wrote or their strategy to see it passed.
In 2010, Public Citizen issued a call for pledges to support an amendment that would overrule Citizens United. I was one of dozens of candidates for the House and Senate who answered the call. We will never know how many more candidates might have been willing to take the pledge had it received wider publicity through other groups working on the issue and the “alternative” media that treated it as just one issue among many rather than the central problem halting progress on addressing the rest. People for the American Way was Public Citizens’ only partner. Its role was confined to mentioning the campaign on its website and listing candidates who had made a pledge. Despite an effort to revive interest in the idea in 2012 and the ease with which pledges were obtained, another four years passed before the idea finally began to catch on.
In 2012, both Public Citizen and People for the American Way declined to continue what came to be most widely known as the Pledge to Amend campaign, despite the obvious fact that it was a strategy that could only succeed over several election cycles. The same was true for other groups that were approached. Most of them did not seem to appreciate the significance of the idea. Although Pledge to Amend is the name of the same strategy recently adopted by Move to Amend, its steering committee explicitly rejected the idea in 2012 as premature whenever the question came up. Move to Amend is now calling for people to solicit pledges of support for an amendment that would reform campaign finance and abolish corporate constitutional rights (corporate personhood), but there is little evidence that their local affiliates around the country have responded. As a result, it appears that another election cycle is likely to be wasted.
The earliest serious effort to organize a movement around the idea of making support for an amendment a campaign issue seems to have started in Oregon in 2014. In 2013, various groups around the state came together in a successful effort to get an amendment resolution passed in the state legislature. By 2014, they were looking for another project. At that time, the national steering committee of Move to Amend had failed to provide strong leadership in giving local affiliates around the country a new objective once those who had worked passed amendments in their communities had succeeded. They suggested working on getting pledges from state legislators, seemingly ignoring the fact that the amendment had to pass Congress first. The Oregon Democracy Coalition decided to pursue what they call the Ask the Candidate strategy, first suggested by Public Citizen in 2010.
The effort is off to a slow start, but is likely to serve as a model for groups around the US by the time of the 2016 election. It is based on the idea of forming local groups in every community and empowering them to raise awareness of the issue of corruption and the way to address it in ways of their own choosing. The coalition has quickly grown from its original six members (considering all of the Move to Amend locals in the state as one group) to 29. It is reaching out to public interest organizations in the environmental, peace, economic justice, labor and other movements that have largely been working in isolation. All of these groups are realizing that their efforts will be fruitless until we have a government that puts our interests over the corporate patrons of our so-called representatives. While there have been dozens of other strategies proposed that merit support, none have the momentum of the movement to amend the constitution.
As the alternative media and activists nationwide increasingly become aware of the central role of reforming campaign finance in moving America forward, the model used by the Oregon Democracy Coalition is likely to become the nucleus of a truly grassroots movement for an amendment in communities around the country. It might even just become the way that we finally build the fabled “progressive movement” that cynics have written off as impossible to achieve.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The CIA has been using propaganda to control public perception of covert operations overseas since at least the early 50s, when it was officially given this role under Operation Mockingbird. Although this authority was given only with regard to manipulating foreign media, it quickly morphed into a means ofcontrolling US public opinion about the imperialist actions of its government. Failure to understand this is one of the main reasons that the American public has no idea what the government is actually doing in its name in other countries. Understanding how those who determine US foreign policies use conspiracy theories to control conversation about US policies abroad is crucial to understanding how to challenge their propaganda.
The most important deception of the US government is masking its imperialist policies, from Guatemala and Iran in the early 50s to the Ukrainian coup earlier this year. It took nearly 60 years before Americans were officially informed about the CIA-engineered overthrow of the democratically electedIranian government of Mossadeghin 1953. To many Americans, that is ancient history even though it has changed the course of US-Iranian relations from then until today. They still ask “why do they hate us?” when the answer is a matter of public record. Corporate pundits play their part by never making this point when commenting on the long-standing enmity between Iran and the US. Instead, they repeat without question the CIA-vetted conspiracy theory that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, in the complete absence of credible evidence. Today, this lie is repeated in public statements by both proponents and opponents of engagement with Iran
American imperialism beyond its present borders had its modest beginnings in the Spanish-American War. This was a war heavily promoted by much of the corporate media of the time, following the lead of William Randolph Hearst. The conspiracy theory of the time was that the USS Maine was sunk in Havana harbor by a Spanish mine, a lie that was repeated enough that it came to be regarded as a matter of common knowledge. This led to an initially reluctant McKinley to embrace imperialism. The story of the rise of American influence from then is one of imperialist expansion to serve the interests of international corporations. As the US grew into the most powerful military, economic and diplomatic power in world history, it eventually gave up trying to justify its aggression on the basis of false claims that it was defending itself from direct attacks.
At the end of WWII, the US adopted a new policy of making war against anyone it perceived as a possible enemy. Based on the assertion that the national interest included waging war anywhere where communism tried to take hold, Truman chose to go to war with Korea. As importantly, he did not seek Congressional approval to launch the assault. The US-controlled UN endorsed the Korean War despite the fact that it was not defensive nor intended to stop genocide, the only two exceptions to laws stating that national sovereignty is inviolable, This is a doctrine going back centuries to the Treaty of Westphalia after the 30 Years War. It served as a founding principle of the UN charter. Since then, any offensive war against a sovereign nation is against the law. However, under policies based on the notion of American exceptionalism, violation of national sovereignty is no longer considered by the US government as an impediment to involving itself in civil wars or starting wars of choice. The UN has become irrelevant except for the cover it provides NATO and its allies, especially Israel.
The Korean War was immensely unpopular, especially after it resulted in what millions of Americans considered the country’s first defeat. Although the USSR, China and communism itself were regarded by most as real threats to US security, the nation was tired of war. During the Eisenhower administration foreign intervention was mostly covert, with the CIA providing cover under policies established by Operation Mockingbird. In his final days in office, Eisenhower warned Americans about the threats posed by the growing power and economic influence of the military-industrial complex. According to James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable, the MIC was referred to as the military-industrial-government complex in the first draft of his speech. The original term was much more descriptive of the power that these corporations had come to wield over the American government, but perhaps he felt that Americans were not ready for the truth. At any rate, he was no longer in a position to do anything about the threat.
Douglass makes a compelling argument that it was Kennedy’s efforts to change America’s imperialist policies that led to his murder by what he calls “the national security state.” Kennedy was shot five months after declaring his intention to end the Cold War. This was after declaring a unilateral ban on atmospheric nuclear testing leading to a partial nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR, secretly opening discussions with Kruschev, beginning to establish a backdoor dialogue with Castro and signing three orders to develop a plan to withdraw from Vietnam beginning in 1963.
Many Americans have forgotten that it was Johnson who used the manufactured incident in the Gulf of Tonkin to escalate a war that Kennedy tried to end. A mere 10 years after the end of the Korean War, American empire builders used this ruse to gain public support for a war of corporate imperialist expansion. The failure of Americans to accept the fact that they are routinely lied to by leaders of both parties has had disastrous consequences.
In the aftermath of the JFK murder, there was a widespread belief that he was the victim of a conspiracy that the government was covering up. This led to a little-known CIA program to discredit critics of the Warren Commission report as “conspiracy theorists”while simultaneously conducting a campaign to erase from the American consciousness any awareness of everything Kennedy had done to challenge the military-industrial-government complex. The program was and continues to be a success, with the public growing increasingly skeptical of any alternative theory of JFK’s murder, despite the fact that the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared in 1977 that he was murdered as the result of a "probable conspiracy" that Congress has yet to seriously investigate..
With few exceptions, the resistance to traditional power structures in the US that escalated in the wake of the assassinations of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X has dissipated. The influence of the Vietnam antiwar movement is often overstated. The war continued until it became politically expedient to end it. The growing opposition to the war after 10 years and tens of thousands of American dead was only one consideration. What the movement did show is that Americans are capable of standing together against the government when it becomes oppressive. Occupy tried to recreate this but failed because itwas so worried about “cooption” that it refused to work with establishedorganizations and rejected calls to create a focused strategy for advancing itsobjectives.
The abdication of Congress during the Korean War of its role in deciding when the nation goes to war has been a major factor in subsequent US wars of imperial expansion. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was another example of giving away congressional war powers to the President. The Authorization for the Useof Military Force formally gave Bush almost complete authority to start wars of corporate conquest and to restrict civil liberties. That power has now devolved to Obama. To his credit, he sought congressional authorization for a directattack on Syria and may seek authorization to strike at ISIS. This does not of course excuse the fact that he continues to use the AUMF to support proxy wars in Syria as he did in Libya, commit extrajudicial executions of both foreign nationals and US citizens around the world and to extend his power to suspend civil liberties through provisions of the 2012 NDAA that gave him the power to determine Americans enemycombatants, subject to military law until the “cessation of hostilities.” The question is, if Obama truly believes that War of Terror cannot go on forever, how and when does he think it will end?
Only after Americans have a basic grasp of the imperialist nature of its government and whose interests it serves will they be prepared to understand just how ruthless the puppet masters of Congress and the White House can be. It is the nature of Empires to crush all opposition, both foreign and domestic. The means to establish a permanent police state in the US are in place to respond to any organized resistance to imperialist policies, and effective antiwar organizations are closely monitored. If Americans fail to come together as part of a grassroots united international front against fascism and war, they too will become victims of the Empire in more than just the economic sense that they already are.
This brings us to the greatest conspiracy theory ever concocted by the US government; the official explanation of 9/11. The story should not be hard to debunk, since the report has been repudiated by both co-chairs and the Chief Counsel of the 9/11 Commission. The major obstacle to the 9/11 Truth movement is the successful use of the label “conspiracy theory” to inoculate against dissent. The majority of Americans still believe that 19 Saudis with box cutters managed to fly planes into the twin towers and the Pentagon in a way that professional pilots say they cannot. They are willing to accept the story that the failure to follow up on at least three independent lines of investigation that would have revealed the plot was due to incompetence and confusion by government agencies whose job it is to protect us. The alternative is unthinkable, so they reject any more logical explanation that forces them to question the nature and intentions of their “protectors.”
The most effective way to challenge those who blindly accept the lies of their government is to tell them about a conspiracy to overthrow the government that is no theory, but established fact. Smedley Butler was a highly decorated Marine general who testified before Congress in 1933 about an plot by wealthy industrialists to stage a military coup and overthrow Roosevelt. It was the most important event in US history that most Americans have never heard of. Congress took the testimony, videos of which are stillavailable online, but did nothing to pursue the plotters. This left them free to subvert the government is less obvious ways, and to raise their children to do the same. If this is not enough to persuade doubters that the government is and has been in the hands of corporate puppet masters for decades, nothing will. If and when America is free from their influence, it is a cautionary tale we will teach our children forever after.
The next time someone calls you a “conspiracy theorist,” ask him if he has heard about Smedley Butler. Once he understand the implications of the plot Butler revealed, ask him if he knows that a third building fell on 9/11. If enough of us are willing to speak about the “unspeakable,” we can change the national conversation about what is wrong with America and what needs to be done to create a true representative democracy in the United States.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Ellen Brown recently wrote an article in which she laid out the options for essential changes in the American economic system that will be necessary to survive the coming economic collapse. She sees this as inevitable given the pernicious effects of a shadow banking system that is using wealth sucked up by bankers to create a massive pool of debt that cannot be repaid when the Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses. Many of the proposals she lays out would repair some aspects of the broken system, while others would be transformative, creating a system that could be stable indefinitely.
We cannot accomplish any of the goals Brown sets out in her article without electing a Congress that will put the needs of the People over the desires of corporations and the rich. That is why it is so important for Americans to join the growing movement to make a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance and abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue. While this would not end the corruption of the US government by banks and other special interests, in electing a Congress that will pass such an amendment, we will put in place men and women who will clearly be willing to deal with the other sources of corruption.
The Populist movement starting in the late 1800s provides useful lessons, as enumerated in Lawrence Goodwyn’s seminal work The Populist Moment, outlined here. I believe that despite its limitations, it culminated in the New Deal because the ideas it introduced into American political thinking remained at the time of the Great Depression. The changes in the system of regulation of finance in response to the economic collapse were largely responsible for the United States entering the to the greatest era of prosperity in its history. The key to the success was creating a new political consciousness that challenged the political orthodoxy that maintained a system that economically enslaved the vast bulk of Americans.
Most people regard the Populist movement as having failed because the revolution in political thought was insufficient to elect a Congress that would take on the banksters. There are two reasons I think we can overcome this at this point in history.
First, in America at that time people were used to poverty. Until they felt personally empowered and had specific political goals, they were unprepared to take collective action that would translate to political power. The goal of the Populist movement was to create a way for the working man to get credit and cash without depending on private banks who controlled the money supply. We are facing the same issues today. The difference is that Americans are not only seeing no progress in their economic well-being but for the first time since the New Deal, they are experiencing a decline in their standard of living.
Our other advantage is that we have an electronic system of mass communication that the Populists lacked. This will make the essential task of educating the public about what needs to be done to end much the corruption much simpler. The key here is for the leading voices in the modern progressive movement to focus American’s attention on the centrality of the issue of corruption and educate them about how to end it. At the same time, they must point out that since the power of the banksters is responsible for both the corruption of government and the destruction of the economy, we must institute the elements of Brown’s plan. The key reforms are to establish a national bank and take away the ability of private banks to control the money supply. While her other suggestions would put a patch on the broken economic system we have now, these would fundamentally transform the economy.
It may seem that the cause of waking up Americans is insurmountable, but we are on the edge of a great economic crash that will force us to remake our economic system. If we are prepared with a plan to elect a Congress that will do this and alternative media that will promote the idea, we can create a sea change in American politics, economics and society of a magnitude never seen before. That is our only hope for ending the economic slavery that Americans have known for most of their history and most of the world has endured throughout the history of the world.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Ukraine is where continental Europe will have its last chance to dissociate from the Anglo-American-Israeli Empire before it is too late. The clear intent of the architects of the New World Order is to isolate and dominate Russia by labeling it a state sponsor of terrorism, using unsubstantiated and unsupportable allegations that Russia was responsible for shooting down the Malaysian jetliner.
It is not in the interests of EU nations or their peoples to continue to support the US-led effort to create a global corporate New World Order. In addition to chaining Europe to the Empire's efforts at military domination of the planet, the Trans Atlantic Partnership would be another nail in the coffin of national autonomy and economic liberty. These are the neoconservative and neoliberal sides of the same coin of neofascism.
Americans have lost control of their government. It will take time to unify its people to fight for the cause of representative government, without which peace is impossible. Will Europeans be able to provide a check on the Empire by making their governments act in their interest and say "no!" to the War of Terror and its new target, Russia? Having already lived through the horrors of the last attempt at fascist global conquest, Europe must stand against its revival.
Because of both its history and its economic relationship with Russia, Germany will play a critical role in helping take down the Empire before we are all enslaved in a permanent fascist New World Order.
The following is reposted from Oriental Review,
The following is reposted from Oriental Review,
By Andrew KORYBKO (USA)