This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today's blog is by one of today's most insightful commentators on both American and international politics, Tony Carlucci. As usual, he takes an observation that many people have noted and examines it a bit deeper, resulting in some important conclusions.

Despite starting out unifying people around concern about a growing police state, Ferguson became a source of division as people fell into their self-selected roles as defenders of "conservatism" and "liberalism." In the end, the massive protests just reflect the divisions that were already there, and protesters asking for justice from a system built on injustice are opposed by half of America.

Carlucci makes a strong argument for an alternative to protest against the system, one that has the potential to unify citizens. Instead of focusing on tearing down the existing system, he argues that we need to devote our energy to building a parallel system that will displace it.
This article appeared in nsnbc news.

Ferguson and the False Promise of Revolution

Tony Cartalucci (LD) When faced on the battlefield with a numerically superior enemy, one must attempt to divide his enemy into smaller, more easily dispatched opponents, or even more ideally, divide them against one another, and have them defeat each other without ever drawing your sword. For Wall Street's 0.1%, divide and conquer is a way of life.
Divide and Conquer  - Never in human history has there been a more effective way for tyrants to rule over large groups of people who, should they ever learn to cooperate, would easily throw off such tyranny.
Image: Zululand lies in flaming ruins, its legendary army decimated, but the British were not about to take any chances of allowing them to unite and resit again. They divided the defeated nation into 14 chiefdoms each headed by leaders harboring dislike for the others ensuring perpetual infighting and a divided, weakened Zululand never again to rise and challenge British subjugation.
Image: Zululand lies in flaming ruins, its legendary army decimated, but the British were not about to take any chances of allowing them to unite and resit again. They divided the defeated nation into 14 chiefdoms each headed by leaders harboring dislike for the others ensuring perpetual infighting and a divided, weakened Zululand never again to rise and challenge British subjugation.
At the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, the British despoiled Zululand, divided it into 14 separate cheifdoms, each led by a proxy obedient to the British Empire. The British ensured that these 14 cheifdoms harbored animosities toward one another and fostered petty infighting between them to ensure British interests would never again be challenged by a unified Zulu threat. Before the British, the Romans would employ similar tactics across Germania and Gual.
In this way, the British Empire and the Romans managed to not only decimate their enemies, but by keeping them perpetually infighting, divided, and at war with one another, manged to keep them subservient to imperial rule for generations.
But one would be mistaken to believe that imperialism is only waged abroad. Imperialism is as much about manipulating, controlling, and perpetuating subservience at home as it is projecting hegemony abroad. For the imperialist, all of humanity represents a sea of potential usurpers. The systematic division, weakening, and subjugation of various social groups along political, religious, class, or racial lines has proven an ageless solution for the elite.
One remembers the infamous use of Christians as a scapegoat for the corruption of Roman Emperor Nero, deflecting public anger away from the ruling elite and unto others among the plebeians.
This is a game that has continued throughout the centuries and continues on to this very day. While racial, religious, and political divisions are aspects of human nature, they are viciously exploited by the ruling elite to divide and destroy any capacity of the general public to organize, resist, or compete with established sociopolitical and economic monopolies.
Ferguson_USA_SP_OC_Nov 2014_Burned HouseFerguson - Playing America Like a Fiddle - Before protests began breaking out in Ferguson, Missouri, and even after the first of the protests in August, many across America's polarized "left/right" paradigm began to find a common ground, shocked at the level of militarization the police had undergone and the heavy-handed response they exercised amid protests. Even among the generally pro-police and military "right," there was concern over what was finally recognized as a growing and quite menacing "police state" in America.
Politicians, the corporate media, and security agencies set off to work, dividing America's public down very predictable lines. Convenient "revelations" that the police were connected with the ultra-racist Ku Klux Klan, coupled with growing choruses across the right to circle the wagons in support of the militarized police attempted to place those who converged on this common ground back into their assigned places on the "right" and "left" of America's ultimately Wall Street-controlled political order.
Regardless of its success, attempts to intentionally provoke violence, confusion, and division on both sides is an attempt by the establishment to keep people divided and weak while maintaining their position of primacy over the country and the expansive "international order" it imposes globally. It was this establishment, in fact, that intentionally militarized the police, intentionally cultivates both institutional racism as well as sociopolitical and economic rot in America's inner cities, creating breeding grounds of violence and crime. So busy is America managing the predictable conflict amongst themselves, they have neither the time nor the energy to recognize their true tormentors.
In reality, the police and protesters and those across America and around the world "picking sides" have more in common with one another than the government and corporate-financier interests that reign in Washington and on Wall Street.
Get Off the Hamster Wheel  - One cannot accomplish anything by burning down one's own community, killing one another, or complaining and protesting endlessly. Real revolution is not taking to the streets and destroying a political order, it is creating a new order that displaces the old.
The American Revolution, for instance, occurred after the colonies established their own economic system, as well as their own militias, political networks, and infrastructure. The violence broke out only after the British tried to reassert themselves amid the steady process of being displaced. By the time shots were being fired, the real revolution had already occurred - the subsequent war was to defend its success.
Today, the establishment constitutes unchecked, unwarranted power and influence held by the corporate-financier elite - an establishment we are in fact paying into daily every time we patronize their businesses, use their services, associate with their institutions, and pay in attention and time to their propaganda and political agenda we ourselves should be setting and executing. Ironically many of both the police and protesters clashing in Ferguson on opposite sides of the "conflict" have homes full of Wall Street's goods, and subscriptions to many of their services.
Indeed, Walmart ends up filling our homes with most of the consumer products we depend on in America. A handful of agricultural giants feed us. A handful of pharmaceutical giants medicate us. A handful of energy monopolies light our homes and fuel our vehicles. You could fill a single sheet of paper with the names of corporate-financier interests that rule over nearly every aspect of our lives.
Such monopolies exist because they have extinguished competitors. Ensuring that competition remains extinguished means creating a society that is incapable of producing individuals or paradigms capable of challenging their established order. This includes sabotaging the education system, creating a socioeconomic system that encourages unsustainable dependence rather than self-sufficiency and independence, and rigging rules, regulations, and laws against any potential upstarts.
The notion of Ferguson protesters demanding justice from a system created of injustice, upon injustice, is as absurd as trying to squeeze apple juice from a lemon. It is the definition of fantastical futility.
Revolution_vegetables_violence_USAInstead of demanding justice, jobs, education, healthcare, food, and other necessities and desires from a system with no intention of ever empowering the people - a system that in order to continue perpetuating itself must by necessity never truly empower the people - we must begin working together locally to empower ourselves.
Power stems from infrastructure and institutions - and locally this can be accomplished in innumerable ways. Already farmers' markets, organic cooperatives, makerspaces, churches, community centers, community gardens, and charities along with innovative small businesses leveraging technology to do locally what once required global spanning industry to accomplish, all constitute the seeds of this shifting paradigm. For communities unlucky enough not to have one of these above institutions, or a lack of them, instead of baying for blood in the streets, burning building down, or clashing with police, build them.
The alternative media itself is proof of what power people have when they stop depending on others, stop demanding others to do their jobs properly, and instead take up the responsibility themselves. Expanding this paradigm shift to other aspects of our daily lives, from agriculture to energy, to education, will be key to true and enduring change.
Ferguson teaches us that real change in the mind of many is still far off. America isn't on the edge of revolution. A hamster wheel endlessly spinning has no "edge." Those picking sides and bickering over the events in Ferguson are playing into an elementary strategy of divide and conquer. We are divided, Wall Street has conquered.
At the end of it all, Wall Street comes out even stronger. Because in the smoking remnants of our communities after all is said and done, we have even less with which to build an alternative to the system we live trapped within. Divided, we have half the people we should be joining together with, collaborating and building together with, to build the world we want to live in tomorrow.
Build, don't burn. Collaborate, don't complain. Don't simply "resist" the system, replace it altogether.
Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report

Wednesday, November 12, 2014



Explaining Democratic midterm losses by pointing to President Obama’s performance confuses cause and effect.   While many voters are tired of Obama and voted Republican to register their protest, what really matters is that people are also disgusted with members of Congress from both parties. There is a historical tendency for voters to blame the President and his party and to vote accordingly, hoping that a change in party leadership will fix the problem. There was a time when politicians responded to the will of voters. In the post-Citizens United era, campaign contributions by special interests carry more weight than the wishes of the electorate. That is why voters support Democratic policies yet vote Republican.

America has divided along ideological lines, yet neither party is really guided by the basic principles they espouse. Republicans are arguably more honest, since they claim corporate profit is the source of America’s prosperity despite all evidence this has not led to economic benefit for workers.  Democrats acknowledge the economic disparities resulting from unchecked corporate power, but fail to challenge the chief source of their campaign contributions. Both parties kowtow to a Wall Street oligarchy focused on short-term profits. This rewards corporate executives who put immediate gain over the long-term interests of their companies and the national economy. Since CEOs have a responsibility to produce maximum profits, only regulations designed to protect the public interest can reverse the disastrous economic trends of recent years.

The root problem of corruption of campaign finance is obscured not only by partisan rhetoric but by a corporate-controlled media earning billions selling commercials marketing candidates like toothpaste. Given this incentive, broadcasters and newspapers largely owned by the same corporations are unlikely to highlight the problem. The result is voters who want to go with a winner choose between the well-funded candidates of the two major parties. Third party candidates are assumed to be incapable of winning. As long as this remains accepted wisdom, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

With an electorate evenly divided between red and blue, elections are decided by the small minority of truly independent voters. Their votes swing control of Congress back and forth between the major parties in a vain attempt to change the outcome without addressing the real problem.  Presidents beholden to powerful individuals cannot stop Congress from putting business interests over those of the rest of us.  Only when a Presidential agenda aligns with that of the interests of powerful corporations does it succeed. There is rarely gridlock when corporate interests collide with those of the People.

Faced with a choice between candidates whose important policy positions are getting more difficult to tell apart in congressional races funded by the same business interests, more voters walk away in each election. Those who remain tend to be the hard core partisans who feel they have no choice but to go along with their corporate candidates, lest the country fall into ruin even faster. Despite the obvious truth that it’s the corrupt system that is responsible for our dysfunctional Congress, they continue to assign blame solely to politicians of the other party. This tendency is reinforced by a corporate media that does not question the false framing of major issues by candidates to justify their corporate-friendly positions. Treating election coverage like horse racing leads to confusion among voters about who might be willing to put their interests over those who control the strings of puppet politicians in Washington.

The only solution is to be found in making willingness to deal with corruption the litmus test for voters in 2016. Move to Amend’s Pledge to Amend campaign is an essential step in that direction, calling on candidates to take a position on a constitutional amendment to declare that money is not speech and corporations are not people. Over the next two years, statewide coalitions such as Oregon Democracy CoalitionWAmend in Washington State and Money Out-Voters In (MOVI) in California will be organizing locally around the country to raise the prominence of the issue among the electorate with a goal of making support for a strong amendment the deciding factor in determining who they send to Congress. When we educate enough people about why they need to make this the most important issue to consider when casting their votes, we will elect a Congress that will pass the amendment. The time it will take to succeed will depend on how many are willing to get involved in the campaign. With global climate change setting an upper limit on how long we have to accomplish the goal, we have to start building those coalitions now. 
For more information, contact the author at or (541) 217-8044