Category Archives: Crimes against Peace

Will Organized Human Life Survive?

Professor Noam Chomsky’s lecture at St. Olaf College on 4 May 2018. This lecture continued with lots of questions and answers, and is available on Youtube, in case anyone wants to continue the transcription. It’s a very detailed but depressing summary of where he thinks we are with respect to the threat of nuclear war and the collapse of the environment. What 20-year-old students thought of this monotone and pessimistic soon-to-be 90-year-old professor talking about “two minutes to midnight” I have no idea! How much doom and gloom can a young person absorb and still want to continue with life and struggle?
Transcribed by Felton Davis, c/o Catholic Worker

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Quite a number of interesting and important topics were raised by the students who invited me here, and I wish that there were time to talk about all of them. I hope you will feel free to bring them up in discussion, but I thought what I would try to do rather than trying to review those briefly is to focus on just one question, the most important question that’s ever been asked in human history, a question that should be uppermost in everyone’s mind. It’s been hanging over our heads like a “sword of Damocles” for many years, becoming more urgent every year, and it has now reached the point where the question will be answered in this generation.

It’s your challenge to answer it, it can’t be delayed. The question is whether organized human life will indeed survive, and not in the distant future. The question was raised clearly to everyone with eyes open on August 6, 1945. I was then roughly your age. I happened to be at a summer camp, where I was a counselor. In the morning an announcement came over the loudspeaker saying that the United States had obliterated the city of Hiroshima with a single bomb, the atom bomb. People listened, a few expressions of relief, and then everyone went on to their next activity: a baseball game, swimming, whatever it might be.

I was horrified, both by the news, and also by the casual reaction. I was so utterly horrified that I just took off and went off into the woods for a couple of hours to think about it. It was perfectly obvious if you thought about it for a second, not only about the horror of the event, but that humans in their glory had achieved the capacity to destroy everything. Not quite at that time, but it was clear that once the technology was established it would only develop further and escalate and reach the point of becoming what Dan Ellsberg in his recent book — central reading incidentally — calls “the doomsday machine,” an automatic system set up so that everything becomes annihilated, and as he points out, we have indeed constructed such a machine and we’re living with it.

Coming forward until today, leading specialists in these topics echo much the same double concern, but now in more stark and urgent terms than 1945. One of the leading nuclear specialists, former defense secretary William Perry, has been touring the country recently, with the message that he is, as he puts it, doubly terrified, terrified by the severe and mounting threat of nuclear war, and even more so by the lack of concern about the possible termination of organized human life.

And he’s not alone. Among others, General Lee Butler — formerly head of the US Strategic Command, which controls nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy — he recently reflected with deep remorse on his many years of service, in implementing plans for what is sometimes called “omnicide,” a crime far surpassing genocide, the crime of wiping out every living organism. He writes that “We have so far survived the nuclear age by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”

And he adds a haunting question, “By what authority do succeeding generations of leaders in the nuclear weapons states usurp the power to dictate the odds of continued life on our planet? And most urgently, why does such breathtaking audacity persist at a moment when we should stand trembling in the face of our folly, and united in our commitment to abolish its most deadly manifestations?”

And again, Ellsberg in his most recent book — and I urge that you read it, if you haven’t already — describes the record that he reviews, mostly from inside the government at the highest planning level for many years, he describes it as a chronicle of human madness, and that’s accurate enough. Repeatedly, we have come very close, ominously close, to terminal disaster. The record should really be studied carefully, it’s shocking. Sometimes it is due to the reckless acts of leaders, sometimes our leaders, very often through sheer accident. I’ll give you a couple of examples, there are actually hundreds, literally.

Take one in 1960, when it was discovered that the Russians might soon have missiles, the first early warning system was set up to detect a missile attack. The first day it went into operation it provided to high leaders the information that the Russians had launched a missile attack, with 99.9 percent certainty. Fortunately, people did not react the way they were instructed to react, and it turned out that there had been some miscalculations, and the radar had hit the Moon and bounced back, when it wasn’t expected to bounce back. That’s one case.

A couple of years later, in 1962, during what’s been called rightly the most dangerous moment in history — the Cuban Missile Crisis — the background is worth studying. I won’t have time to go into it, but it is reckless acts of leaders, including our own leaders. At the peak moment of threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis — which came extremely close to terminal disaster — at that moment there were Russian submarines outside the quarantine area that [President] Kennedy had established, and they were under attack by US destroyers that were dropping depth bombs on them. The conditions in the submarines were such that the crew could not really survive much longer, [because] they were not designed for service in the Caribbean , they were designed for the far north. The US did not know it at the time, but they had missiles with nuclear warheads, and the crew at some point decided, “Look, since they’re dropping bombs on us…” — they had no contact with anyone else, and thought there must be a nuclear war — “we might as well send off the ultimate weapon.” That would have been the end. There would have been a retaliation, and then we’re finished. To send off the missiles required the agreement of three submarine commanders. Two agreed, and one refused — Vasili Arkhipov — one of the reasons why we’re still here.

Many other cases. In 1979, the national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was literally on the phone ready to call President Carter, saying that there was definite information of a massive Russian missile attack, when he got a call saying there was an error. So he didn’t call him.

A year later, [President] Ronald Reagan came into office, and one of his first acts was to start a program to probe Russian defenses. The objective was to determine what kind of defenses the Russians had against our attack, if we had one. The official wording was “to practice command and staff procedures with particular emphasis on the transition from conventional to non-conventional operations, use of nuclear weapons.” The idea was to simulate air and naval attacks on Russia , with all of this made as public as possible to the Russians, because they wanted to see how they would react, including simulated nuclear attacks.

At the time it was thought that the Russians would probably figure out that it was simulated and would not react. Now that the Russian archives came out, it turns out that they took it pretty seriously, just as we would certainly have done. In fact one of the leading US intelligence analyses that recently appeared concludes from the record — it’s title is “The War Scare Was For Real” — that they took it extremely seriously. Right in the midst of this — the Russian detection systems which were far more primitive than ours — they did detect an ongoing US missile attack. The protocol is for the human being who receives it — his name happened to be [Stanislav] Petrov — he’s supposed to take that information and send it up to the Russian high command, and then they decide whether to release a totally destructive missile attack on us. He just decided not to do it. He decided it was probably wasn’t serious — another reason why we’re alive. You can add him to the roll of honor.

This goes on time after time. There have been literally hundreds of cases that came very close. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as you probably know, established what they call “the doomsday clock” shortly after the atomic bombing. What they do is that every year a group of physicists, nuclear specialists, political and strategic analysts, get together and try to assess the state of the world and threats to the world, and set the minute hand of the doomsday clock a certain number of minutes before midnight. “Midnight” means say goodbye, we’re finished. The first setting, in 1947, was seven minutes to midnight. It reached the most frightening setting, just two minutes to midnight, in 1953, when what was easy to anticipate in 1945, had happened. First the United States, and then the Soviet Union, carried out tests of hydrogen bombs, vastly more destructive than atom bombs. In fact, an atom bomb is just used as a trigger to set it off, with huge destructive capacity.

That meant that human intelligence had reached the point where we could easily destroy all life, no problem. And the minute hand reached two minutes then. Since then it has oscillated, but in recent years it’s been approaching midnight again. In January 2017, right after President Trump’s inauguration, the minute hand was advanced to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. Last January [2018], after a year of Trump in office, it was advanced another half minute, to two minutes to midnight. That’s a sign that we have now matched the closest point to terminal disaster in the nuclear age, ominously close. That was January. A couple months later, President Trump’s nuclear posture review was released, and raises the dangers further. I presume that if the clock were set now, it might be moved another half minute to midnight.

I will return to current crises, which are very real, how they are being handled, and what we might do about them, to avoid disaster. But first something else. Since 1945, we have been somehow surviving the nuclear age, actually miraculously, and we can’t count on miracles going on forever. What we didn’t know in 1945 was that humans were entering into another epoch, a new one, which is no less ominous. It’s what geologists call the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in which human activity is destroying the environment.

There have been debates among scientists about when to date the onset of the Anthropocene [epoch]. But last year the World Geological Society determined that a proper time to set it is right after World War II, the same time as the nuclear age. The reason is because of the sharp escalation at that point in human activities which were significantly damaging and will soon destroy the environment for organized life. We might add that the Anthropocene carries with it automatically a third major epoch which is called “the sixth extinction.” If you look through millions of year of history there have been periods in which some event caused a mass extinction of animal life. The last one was [65 million] years ago, when an asteroid hit the Earth, and destroyed about 75 percent of animal life, ending the age of the dinosaurs, and actually opened the way for small mammals to survive. They ultimately became us, and we are determined to become another asteroid, intent on destroying all or most animal life on Earth, and we’re well advanced in that process.

So there are three major epochs that we’ve been living with: the nuclear age, the Anthropocene, and the sixth extinction, all accelerating. So let’s just ask how dangerous is the Anthropocene? I’ll give you a couple of illustrations from some of the leading scientific journals, and recent articles, starting with Nature, a British journal, the leading scientific article. The title of the article is “Global Warming’s Worst Case Projections Look Increasingly Likely.”

[Reading from the article]: “A new study based on satellite observations finds that temperatures could rise nearly five degrees centigrade by the end of this century. The odds that temperatures could increase more than four degrees by 2010, in the current scenario, increased from 62 percent to 93 percent.”

In other words, pretty near certain. If you go back to the Paris negotiations of December 2015, the hope was in the international negotiations that the temperature rise could be kept to 1.5 degrees centigrade rise, and they considered that maybe 2 percent would be tolerable. Instead we’re heading to 4 or 5 percent, with very high confidence.

Here’s one from a recent World Meteorological Organization: “Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016” — the last figures they have — “to the highest level in 800,000 years. The abrupt changes in atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years” — the Anthropocene — “are without precedent in the geological record. Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached over [410?] parts per million, up from just 400 parts per million in 2015,” which has been considered the upper tolerable limit, so we’re now beyond it.

“The concentrations of CO2 are now 150 percent above the pre-industrial level. Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in climate systems, leading to severe ecological and economic destruction.”

The last time the Earth experience a comparable concentration of CO2 was somewhere around 3 to 5 million years ago. At that point the temperature was 2 to 3 degrees centigrade above now, and the sea level was 30 to 60 feet higher than it is now. That’s what we’re moving to in the near future. In fact we’re going beyond because the prediction is 4 to 5 degrees centigrade. Well, I’ll leave the effects to your imagination.

Here’s a final example, from Science, one of the leading American science journals: “Even slightly warmer temperatures, less than anticipated, in coming years, can start melting permafrost, which in turn threatens to trigger the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in ice. There’s twice as much carbon in permafrost as in the atmosphere. This will release huge amounts of methane which is actually far more lethal than CO2, although of shorter persistence. And that accelerates other processes that are already underway, like the rapid melting of polar ice. Polar ice, as it melts, reduces the reflective surface for the Sun’s rays, and creates more absorbent surfaces than dark seas. So that accelerates warming, and could lead to a non-linear process in which everything blows up. It’s leading among other things to the breaking up and melting of huge Antarctic ice caps. One of them, West Antarctica , contains enough ice to raise sea level more than 10 feet.

Pretty easy to continue… In brief the prospects are extremely serious, in fact they’re really awesome, which raises an obvious question: what are we going about it, how are we reacting? Well, the world is actually taking some steps, inadequate, but at least something, there’s a commitment. And states and localities in the United States are also taking steps, which is quite important. But what is of prime importance, of course, is the federal government, the most powerful institution in human history.

So what is it doing? It’s withdrawing from the international efforts, but beyond that, it’s committed to increasing the use of the most destructive fossil fuels. So our federal government, for which we are responsible, is dramatically leading our race to destruction, while we sit and watch. That’s pretty astounding. That ought to be the screaming headline in every day’s newspaper, ought to be the main topic you study in every class. There’s never been anything like it. And it is astounding, as is the lack of attention, another doubly terrifying phenomenon. We should be asking, among other things, what this tells us about our society, and about our culture, what we are immersed in. And remember, all of this is imminent, we’re approaching this rapidly, this century, your task is to do something about it, and we’re ignoring it. We’re racing towards it, and we’re ignoring it.

Meanwhile our chief competitor in destroying the planet, the Saudi Arabian dictatorship, has just announced plans to spend 7 billion dollars this year, for 7 new solar plants, and a big wind farm. That’s part of an effort on its part to move from oil, which destroys everything, to solar, renewable energy. This is Saudi Arabia. And that highlights how lonely we are in our race to destruction. Even the extreme reactionary dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, which lives on oil, refuses to join us in our unique insanity, which is dedicated to destroying organized human life.

And it’s not just the current administration. The entire Republican Party leadership agrees. If you go back to the 2016 primaries, every single candidate denied that what was happening is happening, with the exception of those who were called “sensible moderates.” Jeb Bush, who said it’s all kind of uncertain, but we don’t have to do anything about it, because we’re producing more natural gas, thanks to fracking, in other words making it worse. The other sensible moderate, an adult in the womb as he was called, was John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, he’s the one person who agreed that anthropogenic global warming is taking place, but he added, “We’re going to burn coal in Ohio , and we’re not going to apologize for it.” On ethical grounds, that’s the worst of all, when you think about it.

Well, what about the media? They totally ignored this spectacle. Every crazy thing you can imagine was discussed extensively in the massive coverage of the primaries, but not the fact that the entire leadership of the party was saying, “Let’s quickly destroy ourselves.” Nothing — go back and check. Almost no comment about it. The denialism of the leadership is having an effect on public opinion.

So Republican voters have been climate change skeptics for a long time, way beyond anything in the world, but it’s gotten far more extreme since Trump took office. And the numbers are pretty shocking. So by now, half of Republican voters deny that global warming is taking place at all. And only 30 percent think humans may be contributing to global warming. I don’t think you can find anything like that among any significant part of the population, anywhere in the world. And it should tell us something. One thing it should tell us is that there’s a lot to do for those who hope that maybe organized human life will survive. We’re not talking about a remote future. Just think about the numbers I gave you before. We’re talking about something imminent.

Well let’s put [climate crisis] aside for a moment and go back to the growing threat of nuclear war. Are these ominous developments inexorable? So should we just throw up our hands in despair, and say okay, we’re finished, have a nice time, good-bye? That’s not at all true. There are very plausible answers in every single case that exists: diplomatic options are always open, and there are straightforward general principles that can be quite effective.

One principle is quite simple: obey the law. Not a particularly radical idea. Almost unheard of, but it could have some consequences. So what is the law? Well there is something called the US Constitution which people are supposed to honor and revere. The Constitution has parts, Article Six for example. Article Six of the Constitution says that valid treaties are the supreme law of the land, and every elected official is required to observe them.

What’s the most important treaty of the modern period? Unquestionably it’s the United Nations Charter. Article One of the Charter requires us to keep to peaceful means to resolve international tensions and disputes, and to refrain from the threat or use of force in international affairs. And I stress “threat” because that is violated all the time by every president and every high political leader. Every time you hear the phrase “all options are open,” that’s violating the supreme law of the land, if anyone cares.

Let’s take a couple of examples. Let’s take Iran, an important example. A good deal of the talk about the possibility that Iran may be violating the joint comprehensive agreement — the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the “Iran deal” — there’s absolutely no evidence for that. US intelligence says they’re observing it, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] that carries out repeated inspections says they’re observing it completely.

There’s a lot of discussion about it, but there’s no talk about something else: is the US violating the agreement? Try to check to see if anybody’s talked about that. The answer to that is pretty simple: the US is radically violating the agreement and has been all along. The agreement states that all participants — meaning us — are not permitted to impede in any way Iran’s re-integration into the global economy, particularly the global financial system, which we pretty much control, since everything works through New York. We are not permitted to interfere in any way with the normalization — I’m quoting it — the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran. We’re doing that all the time, and in fact are proud of it. All violations of the agreement. But it’s ignored on a principle that’s kind of interesting, the prevailing tacit assumption that the United States just stands above the law, including its own laws. So we don’t have to observe our laws, or any other laws, because we’re just unique, we do what we like.

See if you can find an exception to that in the discourse on this topic. Well, in a couple of days as you know President Trump will probably withdraw from the treaty, possibly. That’s a gift to the hard-liners in Iran , it tells them that maybe they should return to nuclear programs. That’s an opening for the new national security advisor John Bolton, or Binyamin Netanyahu, both of whom have called for bombing Iran right away, even while they fully respect the terms of the agreement that we’ve already violated quite publicly, there’s no secret about it. And the consequences could be horrendous. But there happens to be a way of blocking those consequences, namely, by the very simple device of respecting our own law, in fact the supreme law of the land. Again, see if you can find the suggestion to that effect.

Are there peaceful options? Pretty obviously, in this case, we could join the rest of the world, and permit the agreement to continue to function. Or better, we might turn to improvement of the agreement. That’s one thing that Trump has vociferously demanded. And there’s good ways to do that. One obvious proposal for improving the agreement, which is ignored entirely, is to move towards establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in the region. There are such agreements in various parts of the world, in Latin America, for example, and it’s a step towards mitigating the threat of disaster.

So what about a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East? If that were established, it would end any conceivable Iranian threat that you could imagine. So is there a problem of establishing it? Actually there is one problem, but it’s not the one that comes to mind. There’s certainly no problem convincing Iran because they have been calling for this for years, vociferously. Certainly not any problem with the Arab world, they’re the ones who initiated the proposal 25 years ago. And the rest of the world agrees as well. There’s one exception: the United States refuses to allow this, and it comes up every couple of years in the annual review meetings of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, countries in which it’s continually brought up, and continually vetoed by the United States , most recently by President Obama in 2015.

And the reasons are perfectly clear to everyone. The US will not permit Israeli nuclear weapons even to be examined by the International Agency [IAEA], let alone be dismantled. So therefore we can’t proceed with this very simple way of eliminating any nuclear threat from Iran or anyone else in the region.

And also not discussed is that the United States and Britain have a special obligation, a unique obligation to pursue a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. The reason is United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 — you can look it up on the internet — which was initiated by the US. This was the resolution that was initiated when the US and Britain, back in 1991, a resolution which called on Iraq to terminate any nuclear weapons programs. The US and Britain relied on this resolution in 2003 when they were trying to concoct some pretext for their planned invasion of Iraq. So they appealed to this resolution and said, we think Iraq is violating it, which in fact they weren’t, and they knew they weren’t.

But if you read that resolution and go to Article Fourteen, it commits the signers to work for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. So the US and Britain are uniquely committed to working for this by the Security Council resolution that they initiated. Again, check to see if it ever discussed.

So in short, US willingness to observe US law could bring this crisis to a very quick end, and could even move on to a better solution. For example, if we were willing to observe Security Council resolutions that we ourselves have instituted to end the illegal threats of force by every recent president and other high officials, and to end our constant violations of the Iran nuclear agreement.

So there’s an easy answer to this crisis, really simple: obey the law. Okay? That would end the crisis. Again, I would advise you to search to see how often this is discussed, and what that implies about our educational system, our culture, our media, our universities, and so on.

Well, let’s turn to the other major threat, North Korea. There has been a proposal on the table for some years about how to reduce the threat in northeast Asia. It’s called a double-freeze. It was initiated by China, supported by North Korea, supported by Russia, general support throughout the world. The idea is that North Korea should freeze its weapons and nuclear programs, and in return the United States should call off the threatening military maneuvers that the US constantly carries out on North Korea’s border, including flights on the border by our most advanced nuclear-capable bombers, warning of the threat of total obliteration of North Korea, constantly happening.

It’s no joke for the North Koreans — they have a little memory that we may want to forget, but at the end of the Korean War when it was more or less settled, US bombing was so intensive that there was nothing left to bomb, literally. So the Air Force General MacArthur started destroying dams, major dams, and if you read the Air Force history they exult about this. It happens to be a crime for which people were hanged at Nuremberg, but again, we’re above the law. But the North Koreans can remember, and when these advanced nuclear-capable bombers are flying they evoke some memory.

So double-freeze is one possibility. Double-freeze could easily open the way to further negotiations, and at this point, the record becomes important, and you can find it, in the scholarly record, not in the press, but in the scholarly record. There have been successes in negotiations. The major one was in 2005. The Bush administration was pressured by international pressure to return to negotiations, and the negotiations were extremely successful. North Korea agreed — I’m quoting the final document — agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing weapons programs, and to allow international inspections. In return for that the US agreed to establish a consortium that would provide North Korea with a light-water reactor for medical use. The US would also issue a non-aggression pledge and an agreement that the two sides would respect each others’ sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize relations.

Instantly, the Bush administration renewed the threat of force, froze North Korean funds that were in foreign banks, and disbanded the consortium that was to provide North Korea with a light-water reactor. The leading US Korea scholar, Bruce Cummings, writes that the sanctions were specifically designed to destroy the September pledges, and to head off an accommodation between Washington and Pyongyang. That was 2005, and I’ve been searching the press for some time to see if these facts could even be reported, breaking the constant refrain that North Korea has broken all agreements and so can’t be trusted. We can’t review it now, but I urge you to try, you’ll learn a lot.

That path could be pursued again, but as we know, there are even better options, and it’s worth taking a close look at them. On April 27 [2018], North and South Korea signed a remarkable historic document — the Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity, Unification of the Korean Peninsula — and it’s worth reading carefully. I urge you to do that. Not the commentary, the actual words. In this declaration, the two Koreas “affirm the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord.” On their own accord. Continuing, “to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, to actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, to carry out disarmament on a phased level manner, to achieve the common goal of realizing through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations, as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.” And they further agreed “to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community,” which means the United States, “for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

It’s important to read those words, their import is very clear. What they’re saying is, the US should back off and allow the two Koreas to achieve peace, disarmament, unification and complete denuclearization on their own, “on their own accord,” in the words of the declaration. So we, the United States, should accept the call for support and cooperation in this endeavor by the two parts of the Korean nation to determine their destiny “on their own accord.” To put it more simply, the declaration is a polite letter saying, “Dear Mr. Trump, declare victory if you want to prance around in public, but please go away and let us move towards peace, disarmament, and unification without disrupting the process.”

That plea could hardly be more clear, and the general interpretation here is quite revealing. The general interpretation is that this complicates Washington ‘s strategy. As the New York Times explains, “Mr. Trump will find it hard to threaten military action against a country that is extending an olive branch.” Okay? That’s the liberal side. It’s entirely true that threatening military action, which happens to be a criminal act, us hard when the target is extending an olive branch, so we have some problems.

Well, case after case — and I won’t go through other cases — we find that there are peaceful diplomatic options. We can’t ever be certain that they will work, but they should always be prioritized, in accordance with our international obligations, in fact, in accord with the supreme law of the land. Is this hopeless? No, far from it, we have plenty of evidence for that.

So let’s go back to that very important date in modern history, November 8, [2016]. Huge coverage of that date, and several events happened that are significant. The least significant of those was the one that gets most of the coverage, the election of Donald Trump. It’s a little bit unusual, but not that far out of the norm, that a billionaire with a huge amount of campaign spending and huge media support wins the presidency. That’s kind of within the norm. But something really surprising did happen, the Sanders campaign broke with nearly all of American political history. For well over a century, American elections have been mainly bought, literally. You can predict the outcome of an election with almost complete certainty by just looking at campaign funding — there’s extensive, detailed, academic study of this, both for president and congress. What happened in November 2016 was different. For the first time, a candidate came very close to winning the nomination, and would have won the nomination, probably, if the Democratic Party managers hadn’t manipulated affairs to keep him out and he did it without any campaign funding from any of the major sources. No corporate funding, no wealth, no media support — he was either ignored, or denigrated in the media. That’s a real breakthrough. What’s more he ended up by becoming by far the most popular political candidate in the country. Take a look at the polls. You can see it on Fox News in fact, well above any other figure in popularity.

In a democratic society the most popular political figure in the country just carried off a remarkable break in well over a century of political history, you’d hear him once in a while. Okay, I urge to you to take a look and make your own decisions. That’s a more important event that took place on November 8, 2016 .

There’s another one that doesn’t get covered, but should. At that time the world was carrying out the successor negotiations to the Paris negotiations on climate change of December 2015, aimed at a verifiable treaty to do something about this ominous threat. They couldn’t reach a treaty, for one reason, the Republican Party would not permit it. So they couldn’t have a treaty, it was a voluntary agreement. The following year, 2016, they were meeting again to try to put some teeth into the treaty. On November 8th, the day of the American elections, the World Meteorological Organization — this was taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco — where the World Meteorological Organization released a study on the very dire state of the climate, the kind of thing that I gave a couple of samples of before. Then the election results came in, and the meeting basically stopped. The question before the international world is: can the world survive when the most powerful county in history is taken over by a political party that not only denies that what is happening is happening, but is committed to accelerate the race to destruction?

And they kind of hoped that maybe China would save the world from disaster. Just think about that for a moment: maybe China will save the world from the disaster that the Republican Party is bringing to the world. I’ll let you think about that. But the fact is that there are plenty of things that can be done, and the success of the Sanders campaign and particularly in the aftermath, lots of things are going on that fed from it that could make a difference. But it doesn’t happen on its own — it takes serious engagement.

Well, to go back to the beginning, your generation — that’s you — is facing the most awesome question that has ever arisen in human history. The question is: will organized human life survive? And we’re talking about the near future, can’t escape it. There are plenty of opportunities, but like it or not, it’s up to you to determine the fate of the human species. It’s an awesome responsibility, one that cannot be evaded. Thanks.

Fathi Harb burnt himself to death in Gaza: Will the world notice?

Fathi Harb should have had something to live for, not least the imminent arrival of a new baby. But last week the 21-year-old extinguished his life in an inferno of flames in central Gaza.

It is believed to be the first example of a public act of self-immolation in the enclave. Harb doused himself in petrol and set himself alight on a street in Gaza City shortly before dawn prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

In part, Harb was driven to this terrible act of self-destruction out of despair.

After a savage, decade-long Israeli blockade by land, sea and air, Gaza is like a car running on fumes. The United Nations has repeatedly warned that the enclave will be uninhabitable within a few years.

Over that same decade, Israel has intermittently pounded Gaza into ruins, in line with the Israeli army’s Dahiya doctrine. The goal is to decimate the targeted area, turning life back to the Stone Age so that the population is too preoccupied with making ends meet to care about the struggle for freedom.

Both of these kinds of assault have had a devastating impact on inhabitants’ psychological health.

Harb would have barely remembered a time before Gaza was an open-air prison and one where a 1,000kg Israeli bomb might land near his home.

In an enclave where two-thirds of young men are unemployed, he had no hope of finding work. He could not afford a home for his young family and he was about to have another mouth to feed.

Doubtless, all of this contributed to his decision to burn himself to death.

But self-immolation is more than suicide. That can be done quietly, out of sight, less gruesomely. In fact, figures suggest that suicide rates in Gaza have rocketed in recent years.

But public self-immolation is associated with protest.

A Buddhist monk famously turned himself into a human fireball in Vietnam in 1963 in protest at the persecution of his co-religionists. Tibetans have used self-immolation to highlight Chinese oppression, Indians to decry the caste system, and Poles, Ukrainians and Czechs once used it to protest Soviet rule.

But more likely for Harb, the model was Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in late 2010 after officials humiliated him once too often. His public death triggered a wave of protests across the Middle East that became the Arab Spring.

Bouazizi’s self-immolation suggests its power to set our consciences on fire. It is the ultimate act of individual self-sacrifice, one that is entirely non-violent except to the victim himself, performed altruistically in a greater, collective cause.

Who did Harb hope to speak to with his shocking act?

In part, according to his family, he was angry with the Palestinian leadership. His family was trapped in the unresolved feud between Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. That dispute has led the PA to cut the salaries of its workers in Gaza, including Harb’s father.

But Harb undoubtedly had a larger audience in mind too.

Until a few years ago, Hamas regularly fired rockets out of the enclave in a struggle both to end Israel’s continuing colonisation of Palestinian land and to liberate the people of Gaza from their Israeli-made prison.

But the world rejected the Palestinians’ right to resist violently and condemned Hamas as “terrorists”. Israel’s series of military rampages in Gaza to silence Hamas were meekly criticised in the West as “disproportionate”.

The Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where there is still direct contact with Israeli Jews, usually as settlers or soldiers, watched as Gaza’s armed resistance failed to prick the world’s conscience.

So some took up the struggle as individuals, targeting Israelis or soldiers at checkpoints. They grabbed a kitchen knife to attack Israelis or soldiers at checkpoints, or rammed them with a car, bus or bulldozer.

Again, the world sided with Israel. Resistance was not only futile, it was denounced as illegitimate.

Since late March, the struggle for liberation has shifted back to Gaza. Tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinians have massed weekly close to Israel’s fence encaging them.

The protests are intended as confrontational civil disobedience, a cry to the world for help and a reminder that Palestinians are being slowly choked to death.

Israel has responded repeatedly by spraying the demonstrators with live ammunition, seriously wounding many thousands and killing more than 100. Yet again, the world has remained largely impassive.

In fact, worse still, the demonstrators have been cast as Hamas stooges. The United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blamed the victims under occupation, saying Israel had a right to “defend its border”, while the British government claimed the protests were “hijacked by terrorists”.

None of this can have passed Harb by.

When Palestinians are told they can “protest peacefully”, western governments mean quietly, in ways that Israel can ignore, in ways that will not trouble consciences or require any action.

In Gaza, the Israeli army is renewing the Dahiya doctrine, this time by shattering thousands of Palestinian bodies rather than infrastructure.

Harb understood only too well the West’s hypocrisy in denying Palestinians any right to meaningfully resist Israel’s campaign of destruction.

The flames that engulfed him were intended also to consume us with guilt and shame. And doubtless more in Gaza will follow his example.

Will Harb be proved right? Can the West be shamed into action?

Or will we continue blaming the victims to excuse our complicity in seven decades of outrages committed against the Palestinian people?

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago

Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled.

The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin.

Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.

In the letter, Einstein, and others, described Herut (Freedom) party as a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to Nazi and Fascist parties.”

For a letter of this nature to appear a mere few years after the end of World War II and the devastation of the Holocaust is a profound indication of the clear chasm that existed among Jewish intellectuals at the time: the Zionists who supported Israel and its violent birth, and those who took the high moral ground and objected to it.

Sadly, the latter group – although still in existence – had lost the battle.

Herut later merged with other groups to form the Likud Party. Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize and the Likud is now the leading party in Israel’s most right-wing government coalition. The ‘Nazi and Fascist’-like philosophy of Herut have prevailed, and it now engulfs and defines mainstream society in Israel.

This right-wing tendency is even more pronounced among young Israelis than previous generations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of Begin’s party, the Likud. His current coalition includes Russian-born Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, founder of the ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu.

In response to ongoing popular protests by besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and in justification of the high number of deaths and injuries inflicted on the unarmed protesters by the Israeli army, Lieberman argued that “there are no innocent people in Gaza.”

When the Defense Minister of a country espouses this kind of belief, one can hardly be shocked that Israeli snipers are shooting Palestinian youngsters, while cheering on camera as they hit their target.

This kind of discourse – Fascist par excellence – is by no means a fringe narrative within Israeli society.

Netanyahu’s coalition is rife with such morally-objectional characters.

Israeli politician, Ayelet Shaked, has often called for the genocide against Palestinians.

Palestinians “are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads,” she wrote in a Facebook post in 2015. “Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs  … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

A few months after the publication of the statement, Netanyahu, in December 2015, appointed her as the country’s Justice Minister.

Shaked belongs to the Jewish Home Party, headed by Naftali Bennett. The latter is Israel’s Minister of Education and known for similarly violent statements. He was one of the first politicians who came out in defense of Israeli soldiers accused of violating human rights at the Gaza border. Other top Israeli politicians followed suit.

On April 19, Israel celebrated its independence. “The Nazi and Fascist” mentality that defined Herut in 1948 now defines the most powerful ruling class in Israel. Israel’s leaders speak openly of genocide and murder, yet they celebrate and promote Israel as if an icon of civilization, democracy and human rights.

Even cultural Zionists of old would have been terribly horrified at the creature that their beloved Israeli has become, seven decades after its birth.

Certainly, the Palestinian people are still fighting for their land, identity, dignity and freedom. But the truth is that Israel’s biggest enemy is Israel itself. The country has failed to part ways with its violent politics and ideology of yesteryears. On the contrary, Israel’s ideological debate has been settled in favor of perpetual violence, racism and apartheid.

In the supposed ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, the margin of critique has grown very limited.

It is the likes of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennett and Shaked who now represent modern Israel and, behind them, a massive constituency of right-wing religious and ultra-nationalists, who have little regard for Palestinians, for human rights, international law and such seemingly frivolous values as peace and justice.

In 1938, Einstein had contended with the very idea behind the creation of Israel. It runs counter to “the essential nature of Judaism,” he said.

A few years later, in 1946, he argued before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Palestinian issue: “I cannot understand why it (meaning Israel) is needed … I believe it is bad.”

Needless to say, if Einstein was alive today, he would have joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which aims at holding Israel accountable for its violent and illegal practices against Palestinians.

Equally true, he would have surely been branded anti-Semitic or a ‘self-hating Jew’ by Israeli leaders and their supporters. Today’s Zionists are, indeed, unfazed.

But this painful paradigm must be overturned. Palestinian children are not terrorists and cannot be treated as such. They are not ‘little snakes’, either. Palestinian mothers should not be killed. The Palestinian people are not ‘enemy combatants’ to be eradicated. Genocide must not be normalized.

70 years after Israel’s independence and Einstein’s letter, the country’s legacy is still marred with blood and violence. Despite the ongoing party in Tel Aviv, there is no reason to celebrate and every reason to mourn.

Yet, hope is kept alive because the Palestinian people are still resisting; and they need the world to stand in solidarity with them. It is the only way for the ghost of Herut to quit haunting the Palestinians, and for the ‘Nazi and Fascist’ philosophies to be forever defeated.

Palestine: All the Gods are with You, but None Dares Scream Murder

Imagine! The western monotheistic world worships all these gods – never mind the contradiction in monotheistic –  and variations of gods – the Jewish god, the Muslim god, the variety and shades of Christian gods, stretching from the god substitute in Rome, to the reformist gods of Calvins, Luthers, Zwinglis, and, of course, the god of the Freemasons – and surely many more – but none of these gods has the stomach, the courage, in fact, to scream murder for what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for the last 70 years no end. None.

They are all silenced in awe. Let alone the people who follow these gods. They pray to them, they go to their masses and churches, all begging for the good of their souls, not even realizing that long ago — ages ago, centuries ago — they have seized having souls. Their emptiness is yawning. Yawning so big, it’s gotten dark – a darkness ready to swallow the world, the western world that is, because only the western world has all these powerful gods.

And all these gods are gods of love and compassion. Imagine – a god of love that doesn’t dare tell his or her disciples and followers to stop hating, to stop killing, to love each other. Are they hypocrites, or just don’t have the guts to stand up and scream?  Aren’t they Almighties with endless powers inspired by endless love, by the godly spirit that is supposedly in all of us?

This godly spirit that allegedly besets us all, is killing helpless and unarmed Palestinians, oppressed and raped for decades, deprived of their dignity and human rights, living in abject misery. Palestinians are slaughtered every day — 17 the other day — a real massacre of Palestinians. Where are the gods? They shut up. Do they even realize that they have the power, the godly power, to holler and yell and shout for Love and Peace? For stopping the killing? Where are the gods that watch over Palestine?  Are they all sitting in armchairs, above the clouds, zipping beer and watching CNN, BBC, CNBC, DW et all… reporting on the love played out on mother earth by the gods’ disciples?

Haven’t they noticed, these gods, are they too blind from comfort to see that love, their love, is running amok, that their disciples have forgotten what love is – the very love that is supposed to be guiding us all since we all are part of you gods?

Gods, wake up! Palestine cannot wait. Palestine is being murdered, every day a little bit. And you, gods, say nothing. Your silence is assassination. Your silence, dear gods, disqualifies you from godliness. You don’t want that. You don’t want to lose the power of love and let evil reign. Do you?

If only one of you powerful gods would stand up, rise up and stand above Palestine with a fist full of roses screaming and yelling so loud that Israel would shrink back into the space they were graciously allocated out of love by you gods, that they would respect the lives of others, these Zionist-Israelis and all these Anglo-Zionists and their vassals, that they would respect the voice of love, the voice that rules their gods’ kingdoms.

Just one god must have the courage to stand up with all his might and shout, NO! But no, there is no such god.

Do we finally resign ourselves to recognize that there is no god, that they are all fakes, that they are all excuses for us to keep murdering in the name of god, yes, in the name of god, because all we ever do by worshipping is promising that we follow the ways of god, god’s word, that we will love as god demands but god never speaks. So, where is he gone?

Where is our protector, the protector also of Palestine, our father in heaven, to whom we pray to give us peace, every day we pray for peace and love? Where is he? Yet, the merciful god, never stands up to defend the rights of the powerless, those that have been deprived of their very right to live a decent life.

Palestine – you are loved in silence, by gods that have no voice, by gods that have no guts, by-god! By gods that have no soul. One asks, do they even exist, these gods of silence? Palestine, your heart wrenching suffering is watched day by day by all these gods, and not one takes his power in his hands, heaves it above his head and shows the world that he IS god, because he knows what justice and love means, and he protects you, Palestine.

Palestine, you are on your own. There is no god to protect you, to bring justice to your people, Palestine, there is no god. Period. You live in a godless, loveless world, devoid of justice. Palestine, until we, the fake disciples of fake gods wake up to our soullessness and go searching for the lost spirit, the conscience that went floating away with our souls following greed and lust.  Until then, Palestine, you are alone. And only YOUR love for each other and YOUR soul which you haven’t lost will salvage you.

Little by little, some men and women of this godless world, will realize that the only god that has power is the god that lives – again – in us, if we allow him the space that he had when we were born. Only then, Palestine, with these men and women, who are willing to awaken to this dire reality, will you find solidarity and voices that dare to shout, to act as they shout, and bring re-birth to Love, the LOVE and PEACE you deserve, dear Palestine.

The Trials of Africa and the Real Dr. King They Want Us to Forget

On January 15, millions of Americans commemorated Martin Luther King’s Day. His famous speech, ‘I Have a Dream’ was repeated numerous times in media outlets as a reminder of the evil of racism, which is being resurrected in a most pronounced way in American society.

But that is only one version of Dr. King that is allowed to be broadcast, at least in polite company. The other, more revolutionary, radical and global King is to remain hidden from view.

Exactly one year before he was assassinated, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King delivered a truly scathing speech that challenged not only the state apparatus by the liberal hierarchy which posed as if they were his allies. It was called: “Beyond Vietnam“.

“We must stop now,” he said, his voice thundering. “I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted.”

Then, he added these words, which sent much alarm among those who sought to isolate anti-war efforts from King’s own struggle:

“I speak of the – for the – poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam.”

Unlike the more famous speech ‘I Have a Dream’ – delivered in the 1963 ‘March on Washington’ – ‘Beyond Vietnam’ pushed past the boundaries of what is acceptable by ‘liberal’ America into whole new territories, where Dr. King’s anti-war and global solidarity values were unapologetically linked to the fight against racism and poverty at home.

On that day, the American civil rights struggle courageously broke free from the confines of American exceptionalism, to join a worldwide movement of struggles against racism, colonialism and war.

Unsurprisingly, Dr. King’s speech angered many members of White communities who were directly or indirectly affiliated with the Washington establishment.

Merely three days after the speech, the New York Times countered in its editorial: “There are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial justice in this country. Linking these hard-complex problems will lead not to solutions but to deeper confusion.”

In fact, there was no ‘confusion’, but total and complete clarity and coherence. To be truly meaningful, human rights values cannot be sectionalized and isolated from one another.

Yet, what alarmed the so-called liberals is the intellectual growth and awareness of the civil rights movement at the time, which matured enough to the point of pushing for greater integration among all struggles.

A more vibrant and empowered King, aged only 38 years at the time, seemed to have fully fathomed the link between the oppression of poor, Black Americans at home and the oppression of poor Vietnamese peasants abroad. They were all victims of what he dubbed the “giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.”

Right there and then, King had achieved a revolutionary and terrifying idea that might have contributed to his assassination a year later, for many of his allies outside the Black communities began disowning him.

But this passage in particular gave me a pause, as I reflected on the plight of millions of refugees and poor migrants forced to leave their homes in Africa and the Middle East, driven by wars, corruption and extreme want.

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies,” he said.

“On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day, we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway.”

The metaphor of the road – to salvation, freedom, safety – was particularly emotive and foretelling.

If Dr. King was alive, he would have certainly placed the refugees as a top priority in his “revolution of values.”

Africa, in particular, is being robbed. Tens of billions of dollars are being siphoned out of the continent, while Black men and women are being sold for slavery, in Libya and elsewhere.

Libya was torn apart by the NATO-led war that left the country without a government. The war on Libya channeled massive armaments to neighboring African countries, leading to new wars or resuscitating old conflicts.

According to the United Nations, there are nearly 700,000 African refugees in Libya who hope to reach Europe. The latter, which has fueled the Libya conflict, has taken no responsibility for the crisis.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 2,550 refugees and migrants died trying to cross to Europe from the Libyan coast in the first 9 months of 2017. One of every 50 persons who embarks on the journey dies on that tragic “Jericho Road.”

They do so while knowing the risk, because staying in Libya or going back home could mean a far  worse fate.

While in Libya news reports speak of ‘slave markets’, in Israel, the country’s immigration ministry is offering civilians lucrative jobs to ‘locate, detain and monitor’ African refugees, who are all being pushed outside the country and thrown into other perilous regions.

In the US, the government and media selectively exploit the legacy of Dr. King, but behave in ways that are completely contrary to the true values of that noble man.

The US military is expanding its operations in Africa faster than in any other part of the world. This means more weapons, more political instability, coups, wars and eventually millions more of poor men, women and children being driven to flee, often to their own demise.

The legacy of Dr. King, as presented in mainstream media, has become about the whitewashing of a racist, militaristic and materialistic system, although King himself has championed the exact opposite.

“Now let us begin,” he concluded in his anti-war speech. “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.”

Fifty years after his assassination, maybe it is time to truly listen.

If Ever There Were Deplorables . . . .

They – those Clintonistas-Kissingeristas-Friedmanistas-Obamaistas-Romneyistas-Adelsonistas-Sorosistas-Trumpistas-Zbigniew Brzezinskistas — are the deplorables. Really, for 60 years on this planet, in this precarious walkabout, I have trudged through the sooty rain of capitalism plaguing the land, as the rich and the generals call to duty the soldiers of pain, yearning to be enforcers, witnesses to the dystopia of their dreams. Money changers, bureaucrats, oh they are Eichmann’s. Israeli Jews, many Little Eichmann’s all encapsulated in post-pre-future chrysalis of genocide. The leeches and the lechers, USA-EU-Canada-Japan-Australia, fat-cats in bankers’ suits, their armor forced arbitration clauses, decapitating mortgages, foreclosures on both physical minds and the civic body. Is it a flash mob shock we have many connotations for the money changers in Houston, as they might like to see themselves, landlords, or the lords of penury? They have been calling in next month’s rent for the laid to waste humanity after Harvey. It doesn’t matter if the child is on chemo or the grandmother is freshly buried, these debt bond holders extract each microgram of fungible fleck from the newborn or vegetative.

These masters of the bank-roll call in the chips, with SWAT teams at their beck and call. One week after Harvey’s Houston devastation, the plague of predatory capital comes in like syphilis ($99 for bottled water, arresting poor for breaking into stores for water and food, etc.) – threatening to call in the debt police, chiding the homeless now with bad credit reputations. The money-mongers are calling in IOU’s, rents and debts one week after the plague of rain-wind-petrochemicals, “all natural,” with the Anthropocene pushing headwinds heavily. All those 40,000 Homo Sapiens Sapiens annually coming to Baghdad on the Bayou, Houston, nomads with no home roots, looking for scratch and mortgages in the land of oil, plastic, hardened polymers, tints, paints, glues, resins – the magic of better living through carcinogenic chemistry.

How many now in Portland or Boise or Santa Fe recriminate the misbegotten wanderers for settling into the black heart of evangelical Texas? I’ve heard, “It’s their fault for living on a floodplain . . . their fault for living in hurricane alley . . . their fault for . . . .” How many boast of their little and big cities/suburbs being oh so clean and green and planned and resilient (not-not-not-not!)? The lunacy of the controllers and money grabbers is we are now all the same, all living in unplanned, poorly planned, money interest planned Houstons/variations on a theme. We are all Haiti and plastic tarp habitation; we are all the mother of all dead zones Gulf of Mexico; we are glacierless, desiccating Peru; and we are all barrier reef bleaching Australia and burning Greenland.

Yet, the educational building blocks – oh say ye schools – have been transformed into factories, prisons, held captive by the trite and superficial this, and the agnotology that; and the coin of the school realm is money, that is, getting it, scheming for it, living for it; derivatives that kill entire countries’ economies (people); cost basis analyses and economies of scale until we are all thinking about Mars as the New America; schools about throughputs, and gouging money through the intended consequences of pollution, wage slavery, unprotected workplaces, neutron bombed public services/public amenities/public commons!

The great Heil Hitler stiff arm isn’t just Heil Trump or Heil Duterte or Heil Ukraine or Heil Deplorable Stars and Bars Lovers. The Heil is more forcefully thrown to the military, the Heil is raised to the madness of Rambo police stations, and Heils begrudgingly lifted to the insanity of four-hour single occupancy vehicle round trips, daily, to jobs doling out $15 an hour. Heil Heil Capitalism!

The Heil Hitler is thrown to Koch Brothers (Home Depot, Georgia Pacific, et al) and Walmart and Baskin Robbins and Chevron and United Grocers and JP Morgan Chase and Facebook and PayPal and Boeing and Marriott and UPS and Amazon and, well, those are the fascists, the deplorable companies who extract slave labor from humanity, who tilt the balance of fairness like giant tapeworms, eating at the Mom and Pops, eating at the bricks and mortars, eating at every Small-town USA, eating at Corn Cultures in Mexico, eating at every tribe and un-American culture on planet earth. The Heil Hitler is to the data servers, cloud servers, Google, the giant NSA-CIA-Mossad-Interpol captains and majors sucking the soul from humanity’s collective ability to think on our own, stand on our own, and do on our own.

I am always in awe of the death of each politician, and how each one is both zombie and devil, court jester and able middle man – count the number of attorneys general wanting the DACA (Dreamers) program ended (suing the bumbling Chapter 11 President as a volley over the bow – pure theater) – and another governor, all republican, all (except two of the eleven originating from Idaho) citizens of that boomerang of Confederacy.

Each one (each politician) is a plague unto his or her constituency. They all exhibit the sociopath’s wile, and all politicians possess no disgrace at living in a world of Dow-DuPont, Boeing and Raytheon, Monsanto and Exxon. No spines, and the jig was up a century ago, or way before, as each and every legislative lord and romping representative has sold more than soul and spirit to the devil. They have become the devil’s offal, the leftovers of engorgement, and they are all the same, these conservatives-libertarians-liberals-lefties-righties-capitalists.

Imagine how solid their pedigrees are, as they let cities burn, witness the heavy metal lead impregnating souls, turn a blind eye to the towers of pig shit and lakes full of chicken guts, and deny the power of perchlorate from phalluses of destruction (rockets/missiles/bombs bursting in air) misting crops and water and lungs to eventually seize the cognition of generations of children and dry up the intellect of unborn children of the poor, even robbing the immune systems of the kids of the middle classes.

No scandal, no dirge for the polluters, no indictment for the facilitators of cancers and spiritual abandonment. These people who see the world (the 80 percent of us) as deplorables get kudos, raises, promotions and their own little bankrolled slices of heaven while the deplorables – us — duke it out for the few bits of support from the vestiges of a social contract that was never ratified, nor signed, but just hinted at when the robber barons and thieves of Wall Street-Mining-Finance came rolling in with their wagons of snake oil and withering prestidigitation blared loudly in-on-over their Media.

The politicians have the blood of shaved glass coursing through their veins, the very blood the lawyers’ guild has learned to thrive on, and then, well, litigation and silencing and jailing when some of us bray and call a spade a spade. We are double- and triple-deplorables when we reference the United States as Un-united (they love it that way, ununited workers, ununited students, ununited radicals, ununited citizens, ununited neighborhoods, county votes, state constituencies, that is, the TRUE deplorables of NSA-Demo-Publicanism-Fortune 1000-ers).

Daily, the veil of this society as a true satellite of Israel interests comes immolated off, yet, here we are, Zionists-White Supremacists in Office, and tilting the right to be, the right to breathe if we dare call out the scam!

Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa,  a young populist politician who is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has been forced off a gubernatorial ticket that he only recently joined, after coming under fire for his ties to DSA and the group’s support of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement.

Ramirez-Rosa joined Democratic state senator Daniel Biss’s gubernatorial ticket in late August — setting up Biss’s campaign as the unapologetic left edge of a Democratic primary in a field that includes a billionaire and a member of the Kennedy family.

Ramirez-Rosa came under fire this week from a prominent member of his state party, but not for his support of democratic socialism. Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider penned a Facebook post on September 3 citing the alderman’s views on Israel and particularly his “affiliation with a group that is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel” — namely, DSA — as a cause for concern. He wrote that he had spoken to both Biss and Ramirez-Rosa and decided to withdraw his endorsement of the campaign.

Ramirez-Rosa’s statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been critical of the status quo but hardly extreme. “You know, for too long the U.S. government has subsidized the oppression of the Palestinian people, and it’s time that that’s stopped,” he told the Real News Network during an interview in June 2016. “And we have seen a shift internationally in favor of justice for the Palestinian people. You know, people stand with Israel, but they also want to make sure that Palestinian people have [justice].”

As if a picture, this one slice of the Democratic Party, doesn’t paint a thousand words. This is the new normal in the new millennium, in this Loose Change kind of post-9/11 world where the AIPAC and Southern Poverty Law Center  are the coin of the same realm – we have this sophisticated and thuggish kettling of criticism against war-monger Israel, their duplicitous connections to fascism and genocide. Erasure, a convenient system ramified by Madison Avenue-War Parties-Lords of War. Put Israel in that Group of Dozen Globe Topplers: and one headline is worth a thousand books on The Holocaust:

Israel Revokes Citizenship of Hundreds of Negev Bedouin, Leaving Them Stateless: Some were citizens for 40 years, served in the army and paid their taxes, but had their status canceled with a single keystroke and no further explanation

The controllers, all those after-America-contact USA war racketeers, they have gestated a rare family line and in-lock-step breed of people and followers of the MBA-legal-Madison Avenue kind. There are tomes and miles upon miles of history written about their fine crafty ways, and how they form as colonies of disease to deploy the weapons of mass destruction AKA structural violence and parasitic capitalism.

They have in common through the centuries of their manipulation and madness a collective belief in the deplorables’ (our) vulnerability or unworthiness. We are their marks, and we are worthy of every Ponzi-Pyramid-Adjustable Rate Mortgage scheme, felony, rip-off, scam, financial ruination dreamed up by their MBAs and lawyers and titans of ledgers and transnational extortion. Today, 2017, they have cloned themselves to do incredible global nanosecond speed feats of prestidigitation seeding the air and crops and food staples and mind calories with the fogging and disease-generating tools of a society dovetailed into treating the diseases they promulgate and ruling the system that can only be fairly called failed state and disaster state predatory capitalism.

How many books, radio feats and book TV episodes are we going to read, hear and view about those ex-generals or captains or LGBTQ lieutenants/soldiers, who now have turned a new leaf? What sort of breed are we in America, when, I, as a 16-year-old in 1973 had read those words from Mr. Butler, AKA Major General Smedley Butler, “War is a Racket”? That’s 1935, fellow travelers! when it was published. Every high school student, college plebe should have been given the transcript, or have had it tattooed on their foreheads if each one even feigns to deviate from the thesis of this piece, a chunk of writing by a war monger turned plowshares pusher.

This two-star general’s pulled quote easily bookends my essay’s main thrust – we can be rotten soldiers and detritus in these shadow governments’ and Star Chambers’ machinations, OR, we can resist, any way possible: underhandedly, as Antifa, in the hacktivist style, suckling our newborns, in the offices, in the schools, on the streets, in the courtrooms, on the battlefields, in the monkey-wrenching corridors, maybe in the boardrooms, but hardly ever in the chambers of the politicians.

Chapter One — War Is A Racket

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge
fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war
millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun
bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

 

Will Tony Blair Finally Stand Trial for his Part in the “Supreme International Crime”?

I think most people who have dealt with me, think I’m a pretty straight sort of guy, and I am.
— Tony Blair, BBC “On the Record”, 16th November 1997.

On 30th November last year, Michael Gove, currently UK Environment Minister, pretty well unloved by swathes of the population whatever Ministry he heads, declared at the post-Chilcot Inquiry debate in Parliament regarding Tony Blair’s role in dragging the UK into a monumental tragedy for which history will not forgive: “History, I think will judge him less harshly than some in this House do.” Deciding whether or not to illegally invade Iraq was a “finely balanced act”, fantasized Gove.

It was not. It was a pack of lies, many of which came from the Blair regime, as confirmed by Colin Powell’s delusionary address to the UN on 5th February 2003, in subsequently unearthed correspondence and, of course, the Chilcot Inquiry.

On 15th September 2004, the then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in an interview with the BBC World Service, when asked if the invasion was illegal, stated: “Yes, if you wish.” He continued without caveat: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN Charter. From our point of view and from the Charter point of view it was illegal.”

Blair, his Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw and his Attorney General Lord Goldsmith did not face a Nuremberg type trial – and surreally, Blair, after his 2007 resignation was appointed Middle East Peace Envoy. Straw and Goldsmith went back to business as usual.

However, after fourteen years, maybe two million deaths, the decimation by ISIS, the US, and the UK of Iraq’s (Mesopotamia’s) history, culture stewardship and witness, over millennia, to one of the world’s great, ancient civilizations, there is a chance that Antony Charles Lynton Blair, Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith may yet face a Court of Law.

In April this year the UK Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, intervened in an attempt to halt a private prosecution of the three brought by General Abdul-Wahid al-Ribat, former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein’s government.

The Attorney General argued that the basis of the case, the crime of aggression “the supreme international crime” as enshrined in the Nuremberg Tribunals, did not apply in British law and that the former Prime Minister, Blair and his Ministers had “implied immunity as former Head of State and government Ministers, therefore offence not made out … Allegations involve potential details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act for which Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions consent are required.” The implication seemingly being that those consents would not be forthcoming.

However, in direct contradiction, relating to the argument regarding the crime of aggression: “In his 2003 memo on the legality of the Iraq war (Lord) Goldsmith, then Attorney General, appeared to concede the key point of those now seeking his prosecution. ‘Aggression is a crime under customary international law which automatically forms part of domestic law’ “, he wrote in an advice to then Prime Minister Blair prior to the invasion.

Nevertheless the case was dismissed by the Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court. The legal team for General al-Ribat, led by Michael Mansfield QC and lawyer Imran Khan are not easily deterred.

Mansfield has been described thus: “The radical lawyer has become an icon in a disenchanted age … (Mansfield’s) high profile victories take on a hallowed significance: the good guys against the rotten state … with a flourish of his insolence and a refusal to shut up they flock to him … and he looks after them all. The Establishment loathes him.”1 Imran Khan “is one of the most highly regarded human rights layers in the country” and “a rebel with many causes.”2 “My objective is to make sure the State is held accountable”, he is quoted as saying.

This week, on Wednesday, 5th July, General al-Ribat’s case returned to the High Court in an appeal which is being heard by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and Mr. Justice Ouseley.

The General had been motivated, Mansfield told the Court, by the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry that the Iraq invasion was unnecessary and undermined the United Nations.

‘Mansfield summarised the report’s findings as: “Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to the UK, intelligence reporting about [Iraqi] weapons of mass destruction was presented with unwarranted certainty, that the war was unnecessary and that the UK undermined the authority of the UN Security Council.”

“Nothing could be more emphatic than these findings,” he said. “It was an unlawful war.”

He further argued that in 1945: “… when the British prosecutor, Sir Hartley Shawcross, opened the cases against Nazi leaders at the Nuremburg war crimes trials at the end of the second world war, he acted as though the crime of aggression had already been assimilated into English law.”

James Eadie, QC. representing the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, stated that: “The crime of aggression is not known to English law” and does not exist in the statute book.

Sabah al-Mukhtar, of the Arab Lawyers Network, commented of the case: “This is just looking at whether the first Court was right in refusing to entertain the case.

“The Magistrates Court dismissed it on the grounds that Tony Blair had immunity and that the crime of aggression was not part of English law. Many think they were not correct on that.”

The case can be brought in Britain since the British were part of the occupying forces in Iraq, thus General al-Ribat, now living in exile is “under the European Convention on Human Rights, deemed to have been within the jurisdiction at a relevant time.”

The High Court’s decision has been reserved to allow a further week for the General’s legal team to make “additional specified submissions.” If the Appeal is not dismissed “the issue of whether the crime of aggression exists in English law will be sent up to the Supreme Court to decide.”

It has not been Blair’s week. In the light of the Court hearing, Sir John Chilcot – who headed the seven year Inquiry into the decimating attack on Iraq and found that the Blair Cabinet’s decisions on the matter had been “far from satisfactory” – broke a year long silence in an interview with the BBC.

Asked if the former Prime Minister had been as truthful with him and the public as he should have been, Sir John replied:

Can I slightly reword that to say I think any Prime Minister taking a country into war has got to be straight with the nation and carry it, so far as possible, with him or her. I don’t believe that was the case in the Iraq instance.

Millions would surely agree, including a swathe of the media, as encapsulated by media correspondent Roy Greenslade exactly a year ago, on the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry. The sub-heading was: “Without exception, the ‘feral beasts’ of the press tear the former Prime Minister apart over the Iraq invasion, leaving his reputation in tatters.”

A few front page examples were: “Chilcot Report into Iraq war delivers harsh verdict on Blair” (Financial Times); “A monster of delusion” (Daily Mail); “Weapon of mass deception” (Sun); “Blair’s private war” (Times); “Blair is world’s worst terrorist” (Daily Star) and “Spinning on their graves” (Independent). The Mail cited: “the duplicitous, dishonest, secretive, shallow and incompetent conduct of Tony Blair…”

In November 2011: “In Kuala Lumpur, after two years of investigation by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC), a Tribunal (the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, or KLWCT) consisting of five Judges with judicial and academic backgrounds reached a unanimous verdict that found George W Bush and Tony Blair guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the Iraq War.”

Relevant to this week’s case may be that The Tribunal also added several recommendations to its verdict:

1) Report findings in accord with Part VI (calling for future accountability) of the Nuremberg Judgment of 1945 addressing crimes of surviving political and military leaders of Nazi Germany;

2) File reports of genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague;

3) Approach the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution demanding that the United States end its occupation of Iraq;

4) Communicate the findings of the tribunal to all members of the Rome Statute (which governs the International Criminal Court) and to all states asserting Universal Jurisdiction that allows for the prosecution of international crimes in national courts; and

5) Urge the UN Security Council to take responsibility to ensure that full sovereign rights are vested in the people of Iraq and that the independence of its government be protected by a UN Peacekeeping Force.

It is ten years nearly to the day (27th June 2007) since Blair left Downing Street, left Iraq bathed in blood and tears and walked off to make £millions and a joke of all peace stands for, as a “Peace Envoy.”

Perhaps, at last, justice may have a chance, one which might set a precedent and also deter any politician or leader from embarking on the “supreme international crime”, ever again. Here’s fervently hoping.

  1. Guardian, 25th October 1997.
  2. The Lawyer, 17th June 2015.

Free Trade, War and Debt: All Branches of the Same Tree

Free trade, debt and war are all part of the same package, each feeding off the other. They are – each of them – rackets in their own right and they are all symptoms of the same problem. That problem has to do with the fact that our government  – along with the rest of the world  – has entirely forgotten the basic concept of how a national economy actually “earns” its way to prosperity.

The American colonists understood this in a very visceral way.  For example, Benjamin Franklin once remarked that there are only three ways a nation can become wealthy. (1) It can engage in war and war profiteering. (2) It can reap unearned profits through exploitation of wage and price differentials, under cover of “free” trade. OR (3) It can create new, earned wealth through a balanced domestic exchange economy.

Franklin, like the other colonists, knew whereof he spoke, having witnessed firsthand the shenanigans of the British East India Company, which not only began using slave labor for its operations by the 1620’s but which required England to continually bail it out, heaping extra debt on the English people and forcing England to look for tax revenue from her increasingly disgruntled American colonies.

But bailing out the East India Company was not the real reason why England was in debt. That state of affairs must be attributed to the fact that England had, in 1666, relinquished her prerogative to issue the nation’s money – a prerogative sanctified by the world famous Mix’t Moneys case of 1604. Instead of maintaining that prerogative for the benefit of her people, England was persuaded, through bribery, intrigue and various forms of subterfuge to surrender that prerogative over to private hands – those hands being those of the British East India company, through the Mint Act of 1666.

The East India Company thus was given the right to coin – or issue –  its own money, allowing it to reap handsome profits for the privilege. Still not satisfied, the merchants of the Company, together with London bankers, then instigated the creation of the Bank of England and a permanent national debt along with a method for expanding the private debt of England’s citizens, all to the financial advantage of these private interests.  . .

The “money question” which the East India Company had seized for the benefit of itself and not the public was the actual source of England’s growing debt, and the reason behind her endless wars waged on behalf of commerce.

The British East India company was created in 1600 by charter from Queen Elizabeth, for the purpose of plundering the planet. To carry out this deed, England also provided the British East India Company with military and financial support, forcing the government to bail the Company out a number of times before 1800, thereby helping it to eventually build its very own empire in India.  British colonialism carried out by the East India Company was brutal, and included the forceful seizure of land and deposing of rulers. It also included taxes and loyalty tributes that were extracted from average citizens through methods that included torture.  

The deeper in debt England became the harder she looked for revenues – with her own people being among those most imposed upon. Jefferson comments in an 1816 letter to Wm. H. Crawford, and in so doing he almost eerily predicted today’s multiple crises:

No earthly consideration could induce my consent to contract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness, as that laboring sixteen of the twenty-four hours, they are still unable to afford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or potatoes as will keep soul and body together. And all this to feed the avidity of a few millionary merchants and to keep up one thousand ships of war for the protection of their commercial speculations.

The problem, as Jefferson and company could see, was that England had chosen to elevate herself above all other nations based on John Locke’s philosophy called “the rights of conquest” and so was dependent upon the plundering and pillaging of the British East India Company. With England’s cooperation, the Company was, by 1800,  supporting its very own army of 200,000 – more than most European states at the time. It also had begun financing its tea trade with illegal opium exports to China, eventually igniting the infamous Opium Wars.

The company also established its own feeder college in 1806, known as Haileybury College or East India College, for the express purpose of staffing the Empire. It trained the soldiers, businessmen, and missionaries –  and by these means it came to inventory the planet and its resources. The man in charge was the head of the Department of Economics, one Thomas Robert Malthus, philosopher and a minister of Christian Doctrine.

Malthus had a population theory based on the idea that the planet would be overtaxed with population. New life, he held, expanded geometrically, whereas the food supply acquired new efficiency only on an arithmetic basis. Therefore some life was superfluous. Malthus was soon joined by followers of Charles Darwin, who argued for survival of the fittest. The fittest had divine right to survive.

This was the philosophy that set the Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and finally the English on a course of conquest until each coveted acre, each sandbar, each spit of land on earth was accounted for. One might say that our modern-day CIA Fact Book, which can be viewed online, has taken over this task, but I digress.

It was at the juncture during which the slave trade was just expanding, around the mid-1700s, that the talent scouts of what was to become Haileybury College availed themselves of the services of a Scottish gentlemen by the name of Adam Smith, who fit into the mental prototype for the East India company’s enslavement pursuits. Smith was in effect made an intellectual prostitute. In his well-known Wealth of Nations, Smith posits a deceptively appealing argument in favor of “free” trade by warning against the necessity of domestic producers seeking protectionism. Smith might just as well have been called the father of “Free” trade as the father of modern economics.

In due course the English pronounced expendable any population they could bully. Except for Continental wars, the British rarely fought an enemy that wore shoes, the American colonies excepted… A certain mindset thus developed among the world’s leading countries which held that it was the role of a few traders to control manufacturing for the entire world and to monopolize its reproductive power; and – as one historian put it – to keep all other countries in a state of industrial vassalage.

Given all this is it any wonder that Thomas Jefferson, expressing the views of his allies and compatriots, would write in 1815 that he hoped that “we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. The banks, for Jefferson, were the corporations of utmost concern.

You might say that all of this proves that history may rhyme, as Mark Twain famously said, but history also repeats.

It’s no secret that war is very good for business, but war is also good for “free” trade advocates – who always include the multinational corporations and by extension the investment class and most importantly the banks – who in point of fact make it all happen.  Smedley Butler may have said it best in his 1935 book appropriately titled War Is a Racket:

I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. . . . For a great many years as a soldier I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out. Again [the nations of the world] are choosing sides. . . All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people, not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

Recall that this book was written in 1935, but I digress again.

The untold truth is that America consigned herself to endless and ever-escalating “wars of commerce” the moment she followed in the steps of England by handing over her prerogative to issue the nation’s money to the private banking and financial interests in 1913.  Those private interests then moved to further coalesce their profits and consolidate their power through an integrated world system of finance under the structures created by the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1945 – all built on the fact that, by that time, most nations of the world had relinquished their right – and responsibility as sanctified by the Mix’t Moneys case of 1604 – to coin (or create) their own money for the benefit of the people and not private interests.

Today, the world economic system actively and aggressively promotes military economies over civilian economies, relentlessly and increasingly pushing national economic policies toward military spending. Globalization, through a long parade of so-called “free” trade agreements, has seriously weakened the powers of even the most powerful nations on earth while at the same time freeing corporations to move profits and operations across national boundaries. As Jefferson foresaw, and as the East India company foreshadowed,  corporate interests now dominate those of the state.

Popular New York columnist Thomas Friedman somewhat inadvertently characterized the strategic relationship that has developed between corporations and militaries when he famously remarked that “the hidden hand of the [“free”] market cannot flourish without a hidden fist.” Predictably, the reach along with the strategies and techniques employed by that hidden fist have been greatly refined and extended since the days of the East India Company.

For example, corporations no longer have their own private armies. Instead they employ the services of multinational corporations such as Dyncorp, KBR, the British Erinys International, Asia International and Blackwater, currently known as “Academi.”

These and similar companies offer their services on the world market, services that include risk advisory, training of local forces, armed site security, cash transport, intelligence services, workplace and building security, war zone security needs, weapons procurement, armed support, air support, logistical support, maritime security, cyber security, personnel and budget vetting, weapons destruction, prisons, surveillance, propaganda tactics, psychological warfare, covert operations, close protection and investigations. 

How, it may be asked, do we talk ourselves into financing – i.e. going into debt – for all this stuff?

Surprisingly the services of these companies are used not only by governments around the world but also by corporations, humanitarian groups and NGOs, media personnel, and the UN. Moreover, the conflict in Iraq led to an unprecedented proliferation of private military companies and nonmilitary contractors.

Today, contractors make up a second, private army that’s larger than the entire U.S. military force. Some estimates suggest that more than 180,000 individual contractors of many nationalities work for the U.S. government in Iraq, doing an assortment of jobs for which the U.S. has paid more than $100 billion. While private military companies represent  a worldwide phenomena, the United States and Great Britain – predictably – account for over 70% of the world’s market for the services of these private military services companies.

Then we have the international arms trade, which is considered to be one of the three most corrupt businesses in the world. And reminiscent of the British East India Company, open slave markets have begun to appear in Libya, this at the same time that women in Bangladesh are selling their organs to pay off their internationally financed micro-loans and farmers in India routinely commit suicide because they cannot pay their debt to Monsanto and company. Examples go on and on.

All of this and more is the direct result of overwhelming debt among nations that have relinquished their prerogative to coin (or create) money for the public advantage and instead have handed it over to private hands. Most of the resulting debt is financed by the international investment banks, including those of the World Bank Group created out of the Bretton Woods agreement of 1945.

Meanwhile, as our own local police get “weaponed up” with things like Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, battering rams, armored vehicles and much more, more and more state and local governments are being forced into bankruptcy. Other governmental entities manage to escape at least temporarily by simply finding ways to pay higher interest and insurance rates as they float more bond debt to remain in operation.

Still others look for ways to “privatize” public assets – an arrangement that allows government and business to co-own a former public asset which had been built by you and me – with associated fee structures locking out the disadvantaged and squeezing the middle class. These arrangements, known as PPP or public/private partnership projects, are made by investment bankers around the globe, who themselves are rushing to benefit from the tidy fees they know will be realized through the privatization of all manner of public infrastructure including highways, water departments, schools, prisons and more.

As the British East India company showed, control over money creation and credit is an integral part of economic conquest; it is the basis upon which countries are colonized. A recent article in the online ZeroHedge showed that about 80% of the population are net payers of interest, due to the fact that the cost of interest is always embedded within the cost of the products we buy. The other 20% of the population are net receivers of interest, and of that 20% only 4% receive most of the interest on our cumulative debt.  All of which means that the wealthy own interest-yielding assets, while the rest of us owe interest on the debt. This fact alone explains how and why the system as it stands produces the widening gulf between the haves and have-nots. It also is the reason why our national debt hovers around $20 trillion, give or take a trillion or two, and our private debt hovers around $57 trillion, give or take a trillion or two.

Obviously more debt will not resolve debt. The assets created by our labor cannot simultaneously be a liability we owe to ourselves at interest. At the core of it all is that we have entirely forgotten the basic concept of how a national economy actually “earns” its way to prosperity – and have instead been persuaded by the best prostituted intellectuals and academics that money can buy to believe that the best way to prosperity is to become an interest receiver.

Nearly buried in the trash heap of history, a team of like-minded and highly credentialed raw materials economists uncovered a natural law of physics and arithmetic that helped them prove beyond all doubt that raw materials income, particularly that of agriculture, governed national income unless the latter was expanded by debt. Their data also made it clear that when trade is expanded beyond what the nation itself can consume, the internal domestic U.S. economy is destabilized. This is the process by which, as Charles Walters said, the nation that degrades either the production or the income of its agriculture through “free” trade thereby condemns itself to war.

Suggested Resource:1

  1. The Untold Story of the American Struggle Against the Money Power with a selected list of references provided in the last slide

Waiting for Godot: Any God-forsaken Sane Sign!

The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. It is true the population has increased.
— Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

At the rounded tune of $1.0 million each. Times 59 missiles shot from the belly of American beasts of war — that is, as of Saturday April 8. That’s the wonderful thing about parasitic, predatory, military-IT-prison-legal-punishment-media complex America. Stocks go up as missiles kill Syrian civilians. The replacement value of those racist missiles (Calling them Tomahawks? Do white Americans think a 600 mph, computer-guided, white supremacy manned projectile with flesh, brain, innards busting-burning-imploding explosives is akin to a hand-to-hand, look-in-the-eyes-of-your-enemy weapon of real warriors?)… think of a new Tomahawk 2.0, costing us  $1.5 million a piece!

Think about this country’s 20 percent – the ones making it, in their Uber rich and Uber upper middle class bullshit ways. Working as engineers, software designers, paper-pushers, personnel middle men/women for Raytheon, or for one of the other thousands upon thousands of industries and high tech places that put screw and hard drive and turbine and pneumatics and shrouding and decals to these perversions of the modern USA-EU-Star-of-David-Aussie warring coalition of the dead!

The 20 percent, oh, that bullshit meme of “We Are the 99,” gone into the wind of a Republican-Democrat sulfur-infused bellowing that has come to symbolize USA since before 1776. These are the directors of non-profits, the tenured faculty, the industrialists, the managerial-dean-admin society. The planners and doctors, the investor (sic) class, the money managers (thieves), the insurance sellers (rip-off artists), the mid-level hierarchies of   fortune 1000 companies.

All big and little Eichmanns, for sure, and I can say I have met and spoken with so many in so many fields, who are bred from the libertarian, neo-liberal, faux humanitarian, fake intellectual class of white Americans who have always looked down on the OTHER(s).

Yet, those missiles launched by the perverted-thinking/acting/living  president with the superstructure and management teams of the military and generals, they symbolize the death of this culture way beyond a Truman bombing Japan, or leveling Korea, or the chorus of others attempting bombing back to the Stone Age in Vietnam, or the parade of Yale-Harvard misanthropes like Bushes-Clinton-Obama who helped launch dozens of penetrating “wars” in Latin America, Middle East, Eastern Europe. Police actions, Reagan and his sick mind and war games, Trump and his frontal cortex atrophying before our eyes.

The military are the mercenaries, guns for hire, vigilantes, from private up to Colonel, with their supreme commanders and retired triple-dipping generals colluding with the arms dealers, all those graduates of tech programs, colluding with the war inventors, all those chemicals and kill switches and job-stick hero-makers, the American scum rising to the top of the proverbial Capitalist barrel.

Yet your everyday American gets teary eyed thinking about those mercenaries in Navy whites off-shore launching death to people missiles. American might and right and never a naysayer allowed to breathe in any position of power!

So these scions of industry, these propagandists on TV, sketched in movies, scribing in print, gesticulating on airwaves, punishing in the HR departments, in the schools, in the courtrooms, & in the boardrooms, after decades of unfettered access to the hearts and minds of the masses (not all of us, mind you), we have come to a point where people daily just stick chin to sternum and go about their days as number pushers, scribes of structural violence, or call them “intellectual workers,” never lifting a finger or raising a voice in their overly PC-ed worlds of American business, blue-pink-white-camo-black collared, it doesn’t make a difference.

The masses have sucked the high fructose corn syrup of the controllers, the great Doctor Jekyll-Mengele-Moreau-Frankenstein juice of our age: consumerism as gateway drug to insomnia, obesity, unhappiness, prescription abuse, disassociative behavior, ADD, on-the-spectrum birth, allergies, racism, hatred of the other, mis-education, functional illiteracy, exceptionalism, boredom, ennui, madness, insanity, delusion, walking dead-ness!

I tried to fire up something, yesterday (April 7), just in our weekly meeting of so-called social workers. You know, ice breakers for thirty people supposedly in the game to not only assist the homeless, the drug-addled, the psychologically different, but to change the culture of hate toward the poor, criminally defined, homeless, displaced. Oh, so, one social worker, me, plays the ice breaker differently: “What’s your favorite movie, your dream vacation, your favorite band, your favorite hobby, etc.?” they ask us. “My hobby, my movie, my band, my vacation is about politics, and today, I am angry this country – us – have once again bombed another country with the power of yet another mis-elected, perverted LOTFW (sic): leader of the free world (sic).”

No solidarity, no discussion, no support, not even rebuttal or nuancing: just sticking chins to sternums and moving on.

This is the culture of the walking wounded, dead people, one paycheck away from hawking it all, one misstated thing in the workplace away from the two-hour-and-you-are-gone firing. My fellow social workers at this place I perform miracles, for the most part, go to college, get MA’s not for the love of inquiry, not for the robust nature of a social work graduate program, not for the heady stuff of revolutionary practice, not for the communicative skills needed to think outside the box or articulate through a wet paper bag. They go to school for a raise above the $18 an hour with paid time off.

And they can’t mourn for the death we heap upon nations, can’t mourn for the bloated, perverted illegal, disgusting budgets of the militarists, and can’t rebel against the perversion of yet another rotten leader with golf blistered hands pushing the button for more ship-to-surface (human flesh and bone) launched madness.

The USA has billions of dollars invested in, AKA, ripped off of the state-municipal-county coffers for those perversions called Tomahawks. And now the chorus of nobodies on TV and in the Press (sic) chant “war-war-war makes the shitty little casino-hotel magnate (bankruptcy queen, AKA, welfare king) look and sound and smell presidential.”

Ahh, the smell of napalm, cordite, nitrogen soaked TNT, black powder, white phosphorus in the morning makes a TV pundit and White House stalker orgasmic. Here, from yet another perversion of American think-talk-discourse, Popular Mechanics, on the Tomahawk:

While the basic design has been around for decades—they were used as far back as the 1991 Gulf War—the Tomahawk has seen numerous upgrades over the years. This new tweak could improve the Tomahawk’s striking power through the power of what you might call extreme mixology. It’s all about fuel-air explosions.

Ordinary high explosives such as TNT do not require any oxygen. The big molecule simply breaks apart, releasing energy. By contrast, a fuel-air explosion is a form of combustion in which the fuel combines with oxygen in the air and burns more rapidly. As any gearhead will tell you, the fuel-air mixture is all-important for efficient combustion.

If one reads on in the article —  that is, one  who is both anti-establishment/revolutionary and critical of this regime and the empire of illusion vis-à-vis the corporate war lens  – it’s an easy rhetorical analysis of how war and bombs and that shit-hole of vaunting military and explosive might (all channeled in youth through violent movies and video games) gets embedded in everything the mass media produces, even Popular Mechanics (or especially PM).

Nary a word about civilians paying the price (their implosions) of USA-EU-Star-of-David perversions of war and war games. My own team would rather find out the favorite movie in an icebreaker than ask, as social workers, how we are taking yet another mass manufactured consent of illegal warring, whereupon every stitch in the safety net is unraveling not just by-because-for Trump, but because of the chin-to-the-sternum PC lobotomized ignorance the so-called educated  class has self-served for decades!

The emotional and spiritual lobotomies occurred decades ago. Each muted mouth in the face of slavery, in rallying around Indian War campaigns, in the obscenity of that theft of lands here and abroad have created the state of the United States of Nothingness. That lingering perpetual stupidity of a collective consciousness in this cheating nation of Capitalists has reached its low water mark with the perversions of this man-sexual assaulter prez spewed from the belly of the beast we all know is unchecked casino capitalism and the narcissism of an eroded culture. There’s no mistaking these people I call fellow Americans—they have all been created through the gun-sights of the insane: generals, captains of industry, money leveragers, the big and small-time Media, cultural perversions and insignificance.

Do we prols worry about anything other than which side the butter on the bread gets spread, about mortgages, about how to self-actualize with this or that perversion of hobby-past-time-distraction? ls this where we are now, an endless pipeline of heads in the sand “liberals,” great social cause followers who speak no evil, but who hear-see-feel all the evil that is the root of the cause – the white race’s perpetual supremacy, the white race’s busy-body brains wanting more land raped, more cultures smashed, more ideas outside the narrow business-techno mind meld quashed? Is this country and the other white countries —  monarchs ablaze on flags, Star of David handkerchiefs used to shine the holy cross of Christianity – destined for collective dementia because of the nanosecond of pain inflicted with both physical and structural assaults?

I try and understand the chin to the sternum complacency and fear and perpetual non-involvement of people on the margins, including one might expect to know better: social workers, those with liberal arts educations, people who once were poor or are still struggling with marginality. I have to give it to Gandhi’s grandson, whereupon his basic premise is peace begins with our children – teaching them the light of what it means to be human outside the world of drug-addled consumerism and Predatory Capitalism:

Once there was a great king and he wanted with all of his heart to know the meaning of peace. He called people from his kingdom from all walks of life, but no one could satisfy him with their explanation.

One day, a man from another kingdom came to the king and told him that if he wanted to know what peace was, he would have to ask a very old sage who was no longer able to travel long distances, so the king would need to leave his kingdom and visit the sage in his own home. The king agreed and off he went on his journey. When he met the old sage, the king asked him to please, finally, give him the meaning of peace. The sage put something into the king’s hand. It was a grain of wheat.

He took the grain back to his kingdom and put it in a box. He then called upon the man who told him to visit this sage in the first place.

He gave me a grain of wheat. Now I need you to tell me what this has to do with the meaning of peace?

The visiting king replied, Peace is like this grain of wheat. If you plant wheat, one day you will have a great field of it. If you keep it in a box, for yourself, it benefits no one. If you keep your peace locked up in yourself, it does not fulfill its purpose, it does no good, for you or for others. But when you nurture it, it grows and spreads, nourishing all who come by it.

The folly of our age is ignorance – planned, coopted, codified. This self-glorified ignorance is manifested at the so-called top, from Trump to Tillerson, from  the pundits to the think tanks, from the managers to the CEOs, and from the controllers to the prols who have no time for smarts but are fully throttled for  just doing, scraping by and razing earth and systems of humaneness, bent on building, pushing brooms and pushing papers. This is a country with no time for thought, for discourse, for energized education, outside the parameters of work or doing something that makes the engines of capitalism and earth destruction hum and synchronize.

So I am schooled everyday, aged 60, once more steeled to think of how corrupt and corrosive this society is, more ready to engage the acts of stopping physical violence and structural and systems assault by using the Molotov, the very thing Doctor King spoke of 50 years ago: how we are the most murderous nation on earth, and maybe King saw the deeper structural homicidal pathways of Capitalism as more deeply death-incurring than the blasting of lung cavities of the children of Vietnam with civilian-manufactured munitions and university-invented chemical weapons and corporate-sold biological arms. Here, his anti-America-the-military-punishment-psychopath speech:

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years–especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action; for they ask and write me, “So what about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.

Ahh, in the future, ever-approaching future, when I have time in between my hard-assed social work job, and the job of looking to move on from this agency to another, from the Seasonal Affective Disorder of living in Portland, Oregon, which is experiencing more rain and overcast days in 100 years, I plan a decent interview of John Steppling – playwright, ex-pat, intellectual of the uncommon kind – and posting it here at DV, but for now, I end this diatribe with his words just posted in his piece yesterday,

The average white American, that educated thirty percent who cling, ever more tenuously, to what passes for middle class life, is seemingly motivated most by hatred. Propaganda works because it grants permission to hate. Now, Trump provides the perfect figure to hate right here at home. His appointments are horrible, no question. But as I’ve written before, Obama’s were horrible, too. Only just a bit less horrible. Tim Geithner? Rahm Emanuel? Hillary Clinton? Joe Biden? Scott O’Malia or William Lynn? I mean Hillary Clinton’s under secretary Victoria Nuland is married to arch neo con Robert Kagen. How can one hate Bush and the neo cons but heap praise on Hillary Clinton? But as much as Trump is hated, the figure of the Muslim terrorist is even more hated. And even more than Muslims, Vladimir Putin is hated. But where does this sense of entitlement to meddle in the affairs of other countries come from? It is remarkable how little questioned is the practice of involving the U.S. state in the matters of other countries. Russia elected Putin. Syria elected Assad. And even if, EVEN IF, the elections were fraudulent (they weren’t, but this is a thought experiment) what concern is that of the United States? (Not to mention U.S. elections were not exactly models of probity of late).

The U.S. has 800 plus military bases around the world. There is no corner of the globe where you will not find the U.S. military. Do Americans think other countries WANT the U.S. military on their soil? I suppose some do, the fascistic current regime in Poland probably does. And even here in Norway, a nation of inestimable achievements and daily sanity, the general feeling is that having U.S. and NATO around serves as protection. But protection from what? This is really the question, or rather two questions. Who can possibly be thinking of invading Poland or Norway or Japan? The U.S. has bases in Italy, South Korea, Djibouti, Spain, Bahrain, Kuwait, Greece, it has 38 bases in Germany, and bases in the Bahamas, and in Brazil and Honduras and Singapore and Belgium. The list just goes on and on and on. Why does the U.S. have a base in Bulgaria? The answer is, global hegemony. Total and absolute control of the world. That is the goal. And yet this topic is never ever raised in electoral debates or in mainstream media. Never ever.

Why did the U.S. go into Haiti to remove Aristide? Why was there a coup in Honduras? Why was Gadaffi murdered again? Does anyone care?