Category Archives: General

The Second Installment of The Confessions and Polemics of Esmeralda “The Red” Chang

In this segment of my confessions and polemics I discuss the following topics: Attending the Jimmy Dore Show, The 2020 Democratic Convention, and Daoist Anarchism.

Attending the Jimmy Dore Show

As someone in her early 70s I don’t get out much, especially during the COVID quarantine. But last February before the stay-at-home orders my cousin, Robert, bagged a couple of tickets to the Jimmy Dore Show in Sacramento. So I hopped on my motorcycle and made the trip. I came back the next morning.

Robert and I are the same age. We were at Cal at the same time and we’re close. But at Cal we hung with different crowds. Like me, Robert was not into drugs. But his friends and roommates were. Some of the things his friends did were shocking, even for a person like me who was in Berkeley in the 60s.

We’re close, but there are some are some differences between Robert and me. I’ve told some of my Bay Area acquaintances that Robert is a little further left on the political spectrum than I am. So far, not one of these acquaintances has believed it. But none of them have met my cousin.

Growing up in Sacramento, Robert didn’t have the intellectual and cultural challenges I faced growing up in Bakersfield. Relative to a lot of other places, Sacramento living is easy. I was visiting my aunt once and picked up a book she had that had been published by a Sacramento Chinese cultural group. It had photos and information from the 1880s to whenever the book was published, in the 1990s or whatever. I don’t remember. The book posed the question of why San Francisco had a large Chinatown and Sacramento did not. The answer the book gave was that a large Chinatown is a sign of discrimination against the Chinese. The fact that San Francisco developed a large Chinatown meant that the Chinese were not accepted into the larger society. In fact, at one time Chinese children were not allowed to attend San Francisco public schools. The Sacramento story is as follows. The Chinese arrived during the Gold Rush and congregated at 3rd and I Streets. The Chinese merchants there supplied the miners heading to the gold fields with needed goods. When the gold rush was over these merchants opened grocery stores in the residential areas of the city. They then moved into these neighborhoods to be by their stores and they were accepted by the whites. Hence, there was never a need for a Chinatown in Sacramento.

In Bakersfield the discrimination was not just racial or ethnic. Bakersfield has a history of class discrimination. Poor whites from Oklahoma died as a result of being shot in the streets or being refused admittance to hospitals when sick. But that was in the old days. Bakersfield has gotten a lot bigger. I assume it’s changed and lost its small-town atmosphere. I don’t know. I don’t go there. Fortunately for me, living is easy on Richardson Bay.

Up to point it’s fun being with Robert. He knows where to find the balanced craft beers in the Sacramento Area microbreweries, and I appreciate that. He knows I prefer the ales of Oregon and Washington to those of California. But his anger and cynicism can become oppressive at times. That’s why I left the following morning. I feel sorry for his wife. She’s a sweetie pie but has to live with him. One night after a couple of pints Robert confessed to me that at times he finds it difficult living with himself. Later in this book I hope to write about his experiences in the army in Vietnam.

Both the Friday and Saturday Jimmy Dore shows in Sacramento were sold out. We were there Friday night. Robert and I were by far the oldest people there. Most were in their 20s and 30s. But I felt at home like I had not in some time. The place was absolutely raucous. They all seemed to love Jimmy. Most seemed to be Bernie and Tulsi supporters. In fact, the Tulsi folks seemed to be using the performance as an organizing event. I just loved it.

A few days after Jimmy’s show I heard from a friend who had attended the sold-out San Jose show. He mentioned the rage. And then I understood what we had seen in Sacramento. It was rage. A large part of the millennial generation is feeling rage. I think that’s part of why I felt so at home at Jimmy’s show. Some on the Left say that the world’s elites do not understand the forces arrayed against them. This is said to be particularly true of the American elites. For me the 60s always provides context, and so all this reminds me of the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”: “But something is happening and ya’ don’t know what it is do you, Mister Jones?”

The 2020 Democratic Convention

My partner had the TV on for the Democratic convention. I’m not sure but I think my partner might be voting for Biden. At any rate, I’d be watching the convention while we were having dinner. I did not see much of the convention, but I thought that a lot of what I did see was Orwellian.

One night I became enraged watching a singer walking through some funky urban scene. It reminded me of the old Levi jeans commercials years ago. You’d see hipsters wearing blue jeans and dancing or hanging out or whatever in a rundown urban environment. It’s always struck me that this kind of stuff, showing how hip and happy one can be as an economically downtrodden person, was a way to get people used to the increasing economic disparities in the U.S. Like who cares about the 1% when you can be so hip in the 99%? The Democrats appeared to be repeating the Levi message.

At any rate, taking my plate I left the table in a rage and began eating in the bathroom. It didn’t take me long to see the error of my ways, and I returned to the table to make two apologies. I apologized to my partner for leaving. And I told my partner that I was apologizing to myself for violating my Daoist principles. I violated Sun Tzu’s principle that one should know one’s enemy. You can’t know your enemy if you’re not watching his convention.

Tim Black was interesting in his convention coverage. Every night he “joked” that he was watching the convention so that his fans would not have to suffer through it. All “joking” aside, several comments on his Youtube channel showed that the fans really appreciated Tim’s watching the convention so that they did not have to. The fans who’d seen some of the Democratic convention were not happy with it. And I think that Tim’s take down of the convention’s last night is one of his best shows.

Meanwhile Krystal and Saagar at The Rising, as well as Kyle Kulinski, covered a bit of the fawning reaction to the convention displayed over at MSNBC. This had the effect of me changing my opinion of MSNBC. I used to watch that network many years ago but in recent years have seen it as the network for self-righteous, narrow minded, Puritanical liberals. But watching Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, and Nicolle Wallace, it struck me that it’s a network for people in some kind of cult.

Earlier I predicted that the United States has lost so much credibility in the world that it will either censor or otherwise firewall the Internet. I now make my second prediction. If Joe Biden wins the election, he will be the last Democratic president to do so. Neither he personally, nor the party he represents, is even close to being able to solve the depression the country is facing. They don’t even have a plan. They don’t see the forces arrayed against them. They are oblivious to the rage. The Democratic Party has exhausted its role in history.

Daoist Anarchism

As an old person living on a houseboat in Sausalito I’m asked, with irritating frequency: “Did you know Alan Watts?” I’m not that old. Alan Watts was born before my parents were. And, sadly, Alan Watts died at a relatively young age. I came here years after Watts had died. Watts lived on The Vallejo, which is a hotel compared to my little setup.

While Alan Watts had varied intellectual interests, he was most famous for being an adherent of Zen Buddhism. As I understand it, Zen is the Japanese cultural manifestation of Chinese Chan Buddhism, which in turn is some kind of amalgamation of Daoism and Buddhism. I am not here to insult Buddhists. I’ve always liked the Buddhists I’ve known. I don’t want to start a fight with anyone. My criticism of Intelligent Design Theory, for example, was an attempt to find the truth, not to start a fight. But as far as Chan and Zen are concerned, my question has always been: why Buddhism? Daoism is complete. I don’t know how it can be meaningfully added to. I’ve walked into book stores, opened up books on Zen, and seen that some of the stuff on death has been lifted from The Zhuangzi.

As I’ve indicated earlier, Daoism is based on empirical evidence. It is reality based. It’s a philosophy of radical liberty and human equality. Nature is considered sacred. And from this, anarchism can be derived.

Consider Yuan Yao’s landscape painting “Hall of Green Wilderness.” If you click on the photo of the painting, you can enlarge it for a better view. If you look at the foreground, you see that the hall depicted zig zags. It’s constructed so as to avoid interfering with the rocks and trees. The rocks and trees are “free.” They are free from destruction. The superior person “leaves the gold buried in the mountains and the pearls in the deep.”1

Chinese scholar gardens are, in effect, three-dimensional Chinese landscape paintings. The Chinese scholar garden in Portland, which I have not yet been able to visit, has the “Knowing the Fish Pavilion.” “Knowing the fish” is a direct reference to Zhuangzi. The photo below, taken at the Chinese scholar garden in Dunedin, New Zealand, depicts the same idea as Yuan Yao’s painting. The corridor was constructed in such a way as to avoid interfering with the rocks and bushes.

Winding Corridor (Dunedin, New Zealand)

In Daoism nature is sacred. People are part of nature and are to be respected. The individual is to be left free to live according to her nature. This is not an individualism that conflicts with the community. As long as the yin and yang are not out of harmony, there is not supposed to be exploitive relationships. “In the age of perfect virtue men lived in common with birds and beasts and were on terms of equality with all creatures, as forming one family.” (p. 134)

Throughout its centuries-long history philosophical Daoism has ranged from being anarchistic to being anarchist. This history is the subject of John A. Rapp’s book Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China (Continuum 2012). Rapp treats the history of Daoism, Chinese anarchism, and politics from centuries before the common era to Chinese Communist Party politics in the late 1980s.

In the appendix to Rapp’s book he reproduces some of the works of Daoist Anarchism. One is chapter 9 of Zhuangzi, “Horses’ Hoofs” (Rapp) or “The Hoofs of Horses” (Hochsmann & Guorong). We’re told that the nature of horses is to feed on grass, drink water, prance and leap. When they are angry they kick each other. When they are content they rub their necks together. After the horse trainer Bo Le arrived:

“Men further exposed them to hunger and thirst, trained them to gallop and race and to keep a regular pace with others. In front were the evils of the bit and the ropes, and behind was the fear of the whip and crop. Treated like this, more than half of them died.” (Hochsmann & Guorong, p. 133.) In ancient times people lived peacefully with other creatures in a classless society. (p. 133) But this harmony was broken up by those using benevolence and righteousness to govern the world. (p.134)

Daoism describes a natural anarchist-communism. It is healthier than the communism of St. Benedict. Unlike the Zen theorist, I see no reason to add to it.

Pues bueno, compañeros. Gracias por leerme. Como siempre, besos de la bahía.

Esmeralda La Roja

  1. Zhuangzi (Hochsmann & Guorong, trans. (Pearson Longman, New York 2007) p. 148. “Where a part is long by nature, we are not to cut it; where it is by nature short we are not to lengthen it.” p. 130.

The post The Second Installment of The Confessions and Polemics of Esmeralda “The Red” Chang first appeared on Dissident Voice.

It isn’t What It is … and It always Never was

President Trump and his staff of Pro-life Christians walk into a bar.

The bartender says, “Every 24 hours, COVID-19 kills another thousand people.”

“Not on my watch,” says the president, and everyone laughs.

Get it; not on my watch? No wait, that’s not it. You see, they’re all Pro-life Christians; now do you get it? No, not really? Okay, maybe it’s not funny. Maybe it’s an absurd postulation. Why, for Christ’s sake, would Pro-life Christians be hanging out with Trump? Christians are merciful, respondent to the pain and suffering of others, right? Pro-life sentiment reveres the sanctity of life, right? With Trump you can look, but you can’t see any of that morality; it’s just not in his wheelhouse. While he might pay lip service to Pro-life and Christian declarations, he blatantly lives and governs otherwise. So, in what world would Pro-life Christians chum-about with and back-slap one who exemplifies the antithesis of their professed morality?

That would be this world. Trump is surrounded and abetted by Pro-life Christians. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it’s true. Trump’s cabinet/staff includes Mike Pence, William Barr, Mike Pompeo, Kellyanne Conway, Mark Meadows, Kayleigh McEnany, Paula White and others who have displayed Christian grounding and Pro-life affirmation throughout their lives. Donald Trump is the unique outlier under the White House roof; he’s the only late-bloomer. He became Pro-life in 2012, neatly concurrent with his presidential ambitions. He went full Monty a short time later as a born-again Christian. He did what needed to be done; he put a check mark in the proper boxes and adroitly became one with a large block of voters and a supportive Christian team. So, there they now are; all united in avowals of Christian morality and Pro-life sentiment. And here we now are: an intolerant and fearful nation; backs turned to the huddled masses; offering up human sacrifice to escape the economic discomfort of COVID-19.

It’s a strange picture isn’t it; seeing them work together, seeing Pro-life Christian support for a president whose daily governance is grossly at odds with Christian idealism and concern for human life. His Pro-life pronouncements are heard and recorded, but the words don’t hide what the eyes can see. There’s the inhumane travesty taking place at the nation’s borders (and the administration’s continuous anti-immigrant, anti-DACA fervor). There’re the thousands upon thousands of COVID-19 deaths accepted as reasonable price to pay for supposed political/economic expediency (and for something as trite as anti-mask vanity). The visuals jump out at you; the inhumanity; the suffering; the dying. Alongside it is the support; Pro-life Christian support for a president who cultivates intolerance, misery, and death. It is strange fruit to nurture, isn’t it?

Why are they there? Why are Pro-life Christians giving credence to an amoral and merciless president, a president openly dismissive of human life? It’s not like it just now revealed itself; Trump’s disregard of truth, decency, and humanity was apparent long before it was amplified by COVID-19. It was on display prior to, and throughout his ongoing presidency: the lies, the veiled entreaties to violence, the overtures to racism; the cultural divisiveness; the ridicule of the disabled, the denigration of immigrants, minorities, and women; the callous imprisonment and separation of desperate families at our border. The devaluation of human life is not new, not subtle, and not ending; so why do Pro-life Christians stand with him? Why did they ever? Why do they still? It’s been four years now; four years of witnessing; four years of validating hypocrisy and disregard for human life. Somehow Trump’s Pro-life Christian supporters still talk the talk for him; still walk the walk with him. How can they be what they claim to be and still be there? What do they get from it? What’s the draw?

Is it just a matter of show-case hypocrisy; a pretense of values not truly held? Trump’s timely adoption of Pro-life Christian values can easily be seen in that light, but what of the rest? Are they all just faking it for appearance sake? Or is it something else? Does Pro-life avowal come with a nine-month expiration date? Does the high regard given prenatal life somehow allow for the disregard of postnatal life? Is it really possible that embryonic and fetal life is deemed of higher value than life outside the womb? Is that the fallback to grace? It seems a stretch, but who’s to say it can’t be made? Maybe some cognitive steps to that judgment can be imagined:

Life in the womb, particularly its latter stages, could be perceived and labeled as baby. Preventing its birth could be perceived and labeled as killing. What could possibly be worse than being labeled a baby killer? Conversely, what could possibly be better than being recognized for saving a baby – or just being for the saving of babies? Pro-life avowal grants it; the recognition and self-validation gained of being a baby savior. It has better graphics than regard for human life in general. So, with that kind of thought process, perhaps it’s possible to value embryonic life over its later stages. It might even provide a wild card of sorts; one that can trump or excuse pernicious behavior: “Yeah, but I’m still Pro-life, you can’t forget that.” Maybe Trump’s staff has arrived at such a station: “We’re Pro-life; we’re all about saving babies, future babies – the other stuff, the other lives; they don’t really matter all that much.”

So, maybe one can get there, but it still seems a stretch to struggle down that path; to actually suppose that a conscientious person can justify and facilitate the misery and death of the already born, because they’re supportive of the yet to be born.

If it’s not that; if it’s not shallow hypocrisy; if it’s not a convoluted mental process prioritizing the yet to be born over the already born, how else can it be explained? How can Pro-life Christians still abide with him? They have to be getting something from it. What’s the draw?

Christianity will have power,” Donald Trump promised as a candidate — perhaps that’s the real draw. The promise follows up on the “Christianity is under siege,” theme that he and his audience like to repeat. It’s a false and glorified claim. It’s false because in the United States there’s no one waging war against Christianity. While it may have lost some of its long-held popularity; some of its preeminence, Christianity is not under siege. “Under siege” is nothing more than glorified pretext for its slowly waning influence. And it’s only just a little. Despite some fading, Christianity continues to be the dominate religion and a dominant political power in our “secular” nation. Our leaders are still chosen accordingly (Jefferson and Lincoln were the only presidents not formally affiliated with a Christian church). There is no siege on Christianity, but there may be an assault on Washington: it’s a Christian quest for more power; more political and cultural control over the lives of all Americans.

“If I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power, you don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that,” Trump offered the Evangelicals. His offer, and its acceptance, gives credence to the notion: Christian empowerment is the real objective; “Pro-life” is simply the rebel-yell made towards getting it. Maybe that’s why they’re still there; still supportive of a president who talks “Pro-life,” while his actions trash Christian morality and the sanctity of life. Maybe that’s it, validation and power; a quid pro quo: verbal and ballot box support given in exchange for the promise of executive support. It might still be seen as hypocrisy … but at least it’s not the shallow sort. It’s deep and layered: Trump’s faithful supporters have to pretend they’re not seeing the president’s pretense as he exploits their pretension of upholding pretended Christian morality. Yeah, it gets complicated. Christianity’s dalliance with Trump exposes its Pro-life pretense. It isn’t what it is, or something like that … and it always never was.

If it were more than pretense, if Pro-life was really about the sanctity and full breadth of life, its totality would be recognized and championed – not just its presence inside a womb. It wouldn’t herald the embryonic and fetal beginnings of life, and somehow be silent (or complicit) when the lives of still breathing humans are dismissed or abused. If it were truly about the reverence of life, Trump’s Pro-life Christian staff and his Pro-life Christian supporters would not stand for the abuse of life taking place at the border; would not stand for lives needlessly given over to COVID-19.

All that groveling in a quest for power; and to think they already have it – at least as much as needed. They have the power to worship; to pray; to live a moral Christian life. They have unfettered access to what’s perceived as salvation’s path; freedom to spend their life’s journey upon it. They’re free to proselytize if the wish; to offer access to that path. Christians have the power and freedom to live their faith completely, even ostentatiously if they wish. Yet it’s not enough; it seems more than “freedom of religion” is desired. What’s still lacking; what’s being reached for appears to be this: a bit of authoritarian power to impose Christian values upon others. There’s an absurdity to it; the needless need to control more than themselves. In abiding with, and abetting an amoral president to satisfy that need, they make mockery of the morality they seek power to promote.

“I will never lie to you,” was a promise made by one of Trump’s Pro-life Christian staff members. “I will never lie to myself,” would have been a better utterance. Can it be made by a Pro-life Christian who supports this president? Can anyone with humanistic values support this president and not lie to themselves?

There’s still time to step away.

The post It isn't What It is ... and It always Never was first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Mile Markers of Tyranny

You can map the nearly 20-year journey from the 9/11 attacks to the COVID-19 pandemic by the freedoms we’ve lost along the way.

The road we have been traveling has been littered with the wreckage of our once-vaunted liberties, especially those enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

The assaults on our freedoms that began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act laid the groundwork for the eradication of every vital constitutional safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, mask mandates, surveillance, snitch lines for Americans to report their fellow citizens for engaging in risky behavior, and veiled threats of forced vaccinations has merely provided the architects of the American police state with an opportunity to flex their muscles.

These have become mile markers on the road to tyranny.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, post-9/11 and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault.

The Second Amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government, yet Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against government agents armed with military weapons better suited to the battlefield.

With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces, it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil—in violation of the Third Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The government conveniently manages to disregard the Fifth and the Sixth Amendments’ assurances of due process, a fair trial, and property rights in its so-called war on crime.

Not surprisingly, the government continues to attempt to undermine the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—under the Seventh Amendment.

The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual” punishment provides little protection from a government that condones torture tactics and the death penalty.

The Ninth Amendment’s affirmation of the people’s rights has been turned on its head by a federal government that sees itself and its powers as supreme.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I’m referring to the Deep State—the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is a government that, in conjunction with its corporate partners, views the citizenry as consumers and bits of data to be bought, sold and traded.

This is a government that spies on its citizens.

This is a government that is laying the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data.

This is a government that uses free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws to silence, censor and marginalize Americans and restrict their First Amendment right to speak truth to power.

This is a government that allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

This is a government that saddled us with the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

This is a government that has established a standing army made up of militarized domestic police.

This is a government that has allowed private corporations to get rich at taxpayer expense by locking people up in private prisons for non-violent crimes, while providing Corporate America with a source of cheap labor.

This is a government whose gun violence poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter.

This is a government that has allowed the presidency to become a dictatorship operating above and beyond the law, regardless of which party is in power.

This is a government that speaks in a language of force.

This is a government that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security, national crises and national emergencies.

This is a government that believes it has the authority to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation, the Constitution be damned.

In sum, this is a government that routinely undermines the Constitution and rides roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

This is not a government that believes in, let alone upholds, freedom.

So where does that leave us?

As always, the first step begins with “we the people.”

Those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them. Our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain freedom principles that should be non-negotiable.

It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words: “We the people.” “We the people” have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. We the American people—the citizenry—are the arbiters and ultimate guardians of America’s welfare, defense, liberty, laws and prosperity.

Our national priorities need to be re-prioritized. For instance, some argue that we need to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again.

The post Mile Markers of Tyranny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Rest in Power, Kevin Zeese!!

Kevin Zeese speaks at a rally for Chelsea Manning (by Ellen Davidson)

It is with a sad heart that I report the sudden and unexpected death of Kevin Zeese early Sunday morning. Kevin was working up until the end and died in his sleep of a possible heart attack.

There will be an online tribute to Kevin on Saturday, September 19 at 3:00 pm Eastern/12:00 pm Pacific on Zoom. Click here to register. This event will also be livestreamed at Facebook.com/PopularResistanceOrg and YouTube.com/PopularResistanceOrg.

Kevin was going to write a newsletter this weekend about the extradition trial of Julian Assange, which begins today. Kevin understood the great importance of the prosecution of Julian Assange as a battle that will define journalism in the 21st century and our right to know.

He was helping to organize an online event featuring Daniel Ellsberg, James Goodale and Chris Hedges, moderated by Sue Udry. That event will still take place. You can register for it here. The Facebook page for it is here.

You can read the June 28th newsletter we wrote about Julian Assange, “Government Attacks Media as Peoples Media Reveals the Truth.”

Please follow the trial, spread the word about it and do what you can to support Assange. I know that Consortium News will be following it closely. His partner and the mother of his two sons launched a crowdfunding campaign for legal support.

Tributes to Kevin are already being posted. Here are a few:

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/us-activist-and-friend-to-venezuela-kevin-zeese-passes-away-20200906-0005.html

https://howiehawkins.us/hawkins-press-secretary-and-activist-kevin-zeese-has-passed-away/

https://www.coha.org/coha-expresses-its-heartfelt-solidarity-over-the-death-of-attorney-and-human-rights-activist-kevin-zeese/

https://davidswanson.org/kevin-zeese-irreplaceable/

https://taskforceamericas.org/tfa-statement-on-the-passing-of-kevin-zeese/>

https://www.wpc-in.org/statements/kevin-zeese-%E2%80%94-presente-people%E2%80%99s-movement-has-lost-one-its-most-beloved-and-treasured

https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2020/09/06/kevin-zeese-rip/

Kevin fought to bring truth every day. We must not lose this struggle.

I will do my best to keep Popular Resistance going and strive to maintain the high quality that Kevin brought to it. See above for the details of the online tribute his sons and I are planning.  We are working on a fund to honor him and keep his legacy growing, as he deserves.

Rest in power, Kevin Zeese!

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For Years, Journalists cheered Assange’s Abuse: Now They’ve Paved his Path to a US Gulag

Court hearings in Britain over the US administration’s extradition case against Julian Assange begin in earnest next week. The decade-long saga that brought us to this point should appall anyone who cares about our increasingly fragile freedoms.

A journalist and publisher has been deprived of his liberty for 10 years. According to UN experts, he has been arbitrarily detained and tortured for much of that time through intense physical confinement and endless psychological pressure. He has been bugged and spied on by the CIA during his time in political asylum, in Ecuador’s London embassy, in ways that violated his most fundamental legal rights. The judge overseeing his hearings has a serious conflict of interest – with her family embedded in the UK security services – that she did not declare and which should have required her to recuse herself from the case.

 

All indicators are that Assange will be extradited to the US to face a rigged grand jury trial meant to ensure he sees out his days in a maximum-security prison, serving a sentence of up to 175 years.

None of this happened in some Third-World, tinpot dictatorship. It happened right under our noses, in a major western capital, and in a state that claims to protect the rights of a free press. It happened not in the blink of an eye but in slow motion – day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

And once we strip out a sophisticated campaign of character assassination against Assange by western governments and a compliant media, the sole justification for this relentless attack on press freedom is that a 49-year-old man published documents exposing US war crimes. That is the reason – and the only reason – that the US is seeking his extradition and why he has been languishing in what amounts to solitary confinement in Belmarsh high-security prison during the Covid-19 pandemic. His lawyers’ appeals for bail have been refused.

Severed head on a pike

While the press corps abandoned Assange a decade ago, echoing official talking points that pilloried him over toilet hygiene and his treatment of his cat, Assange is today exactly where he originally predicted he would be if western governments got their way. What awaits him is rendition to the US so he can be locked out of sight for the rest of his life.

There were two goals the US and UK set out to achieve through the visible persecution, confinement and torture of Assange.

First, he and Wikileaks, the transparency organisation he co-founded, needed to be disabled. Engaging with Wikileaks had to be made too risky to contemplate for potential whistleblowers. That is why Chelsea Manning – the US soldier who passed on documents relating to US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan for which Assange now faces extradition – was similarly subjected to harsh imprisonment. She later faced punitive daily fines while in jail to pressure her into testifying against Assange.

The aim has been to discredit Wikileaks and similar organisations and stop them from being able to publish more revelatory documents – of the kind that show western governments are not the “good guys” managing world affairs for the benefit of mankind, but are, in fact, highly militarised, global bullies advancing the same ruthless colonial policies of war, destruction and pillage they always pursued.

And second, Assange had to be made to suffer horribly and in public – to be made an example of – to deter other journalists from ever considering following in his footsteps. He is the modern equivalent of a severed head on a pike displayed at the city gates.

The very obvious fact – confirmed by the media coverage of his case – is that this strategy, advanced chiefly by the US and UK (with Sweden playing a lesser role), has been wildly successful. Most corporate media journalists are still enthusiastically colluding in the vilification of Assange – mainly at this stage by ignoring his awful plight.

Story hiding in plain sight

When he hurried into Ecuador’s embassy back in 2012, seeking political asylum, journalists from every corporate media outlet ridiculed his claim – now, of course, fully vindicated – that he was evading US efforts to extradite him and lock him away for good. The media continued with their mockery even as evidence mounted that a grand jury had been secretly convened to draw up espionage charges against him and that it was located in the eastern district of Virginia, where the major US security and intelligence services are headquartered. Any jury there is dominated by US security personnel and their families. His hope of a fair trial was non-existent.

Instead we have endured eight years of misdirection by the corporate media and its willing complicity in his character assassination, which has laid the ground for the current public indifference to Assange’s extradition and widespread ignorance of its horrendous implications.

Corporate journalists have accepted, entirely at face value, a series of rationalisations for why the interests of justice have been served by locking Assange away indefinitely – even before his extradition – and trampling his most basic legal rights. The other side of the story – Assange’s, the story hiding in plain sight – has invariably been missing from the coverage, whether it has been CNN, the New York Times, the BBC or the Guardian.

From Sweden to Clinton

First, it was claimed that Assange had fled questioning over sexual assault allegations in Sweden, even though it was the Swedish authorities who allowed him to leave; even though the original Swedish prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the investigation against him, saying “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever”, before it was picked up by a different prosecutor for barely concealed, politicised reasons; and even though Assange later invited Swedish prosectors to question him where he was (in the embassy), an option they regularly agreed to in other cases but resolutely refused in his.

It was not just that none of these points was ever provided as context for the Sweden story by the corporate media. Or that much else in Assange’s favour was simply ignored, such as tampered evidence in the case of one of the two women who alleged sexual assault and the refusal of the other to sign the rape statement drawn up for her by police.

The story was also grossly and continuously misreported as relating to “rape charges” when Assange was wanted simply for questioning. No charges were ever laid against him because the second Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny – and her British counterparts, including Sir Keir Starmer, then head of the prosecution service and now leader of the Labour party – seemingly wished to avoid testing the credibility of their allegations by actually questioning Assange. Leaving him to rot in a small room in the embassy served their purposes much better.

When the Sweden case fizzled out – when it became clear that the original prosecutor had been right to conclude that there was no evidence to justify further questioning, let alone charges – the political and media class shifted tack.

Suddenly Assange’s confinement was implicitly justified for entirely different, political reasons – because he had supposedly aided Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign in 2016 by publishing emails, allegedly “hacked” by Russia, from the Democratic party’s servers. The content of those emails, obscured in the coverage at the time and largely forgotten now, revealed corruption by Hillary Clinton’s camp and efforts to sabotage the party’s primaries to undermine her rival for the presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Guardian fabricates a smear

Those on the authoritarian right have shown little concern over Assange’s lengthy confinement in the embassy, and later jailing in Belmarsh, for his exposure of US war crimes, which is why little effort has been expended on winning them over. The demonisation campaign against Assange has focused instead on issues that are likely to trigger liberals and the left, who might otherwise have qualms about jettisoning the First Amendment and locking people up for doing journalism.

Just as the Swedish allegations, despite their non-investigation, tapped into the worst kind of kneejerk identity politics on the left, the “hacked” emails story was designed to alienate the Democratic party base. Extraordinarily, the claim of Russian hacking persists even though years later – and after a major “Russiagate” inquiry by Robert Mueller – it still cannot be stood up with any actual evidence. In fact, some of those closest to the matter, such as former UK ambassador Craig Murray, have insisted all along that the emails were not hacked by Russia but were leaked by a disenchanted Democratic party insider.

An even more important point, however, is that a transparency organisation like Wikileaks had no choice, after it was handed those documents, but to expose abuses by the Democratic party – whoever was the source.

The reason that Assange and Wikileaks became entwined in the Russiagate fiasco – which wasted the energies of Democratic party supporters on a campaign against Trump that actually strengthened rather than weakened him – was because of the credulous coverage, once again, of the issue by almost the entire corporate media. Liberal outlets like the Guardian newspaper even went so far as to openly fabricate a story – in which it falsely reported that a Trump aide, Paul Manafort, and unnamed “Russians” secretly visited Assange in the embassy – without repercussion or retraction.

Assange’s torture ignored

All of this made possible what has happened since. After the Swedish case evaporated and there were no reasonable grounds left for not letting Assange walk free from the embassy, the media suddenly decided in chorus that a technical bail violation was grounds enough for his continuing confinement in the embassy – or, better still, his arrest and jailing. That breach of bail, of course, related to Assange’s decision to seek asylum in the embassy, based on a correct assessment that the US planned to demand his extradition and imprisonment.

None of these well-paid journalists seemed to remember that, in British law, failure to meet bail conditions is permitted if there is “reasonable cause” – and fleeing political persecution is very obviously just such a reasonable cause.

 

Similarly, the media wilfully ignored the conclusions of a report by Nils Melzer, a Swiss scholar of international law and the United Nations’ expert on torture, that the UK, US and Sweden had not only denied Assange his basic legal rights but had colluded in subjecting him to years of psychological torture – a form of torture, Melzer has pointed out, that was refined by the Nazis because it was found to be crueller and more effective at breaking victims than physical torture.

Assange has been blighted by deteriorating health and cognitive decline as a result, and has lost significant weight. None of that has been deemed worthy by the corporate media of more than a passing mention – specifically when Assange’s poor health made him incapable of attending a court hearing. Instead Melzer’s repeated warnings about Assange’s abusive treatment and its effects on him have fallen on deaf ears. The media has simply ignored Melzer’s findings, as though they were never published, that Assange has been, and is being, tortured. We need only pause and imagine how much coverage Melzer’s report would have received had it concerned the treatment of a dissident in an official enemy state like Russia or China.

 

A power-worshipping media

Last year British police, in coordination with an Ecuador now led by a president, Lenin Moreno, who craved closer ties with Washington, stormed the embassy to drag Assange out and lock him up in Belmarsh prison. In their coverage of these events, journalists again played dumb.

They had spent years first professing the need to “believe women” in the Assange case, even if it meant ignoring evidence, and then proclaiming the sanctity of bail conditions, even if they were used simply as a pretext for political persecution. Now that was all swept aside in an instant. Suddenly Assange’s nine years of confinement over a non-existent sexual assault investigation and a minor bail infraction were narratively replaced by an espionage case. And the media lined up against him once again.

A decade ago the idea that Assange could be extradited to the US and locked up for the rest of his life, his journalism recast as “espionage”, was mocked as so improbable, so outrageously unlawful that no “mainstream” journalist was prepared to countenance it as the genuine reason for his seeking asylum in the embassy. It was derided as a figment of the fevered, paranoid imaginations of Assange and his supporters, and as a self-serving cover for him to avoid facing the investigation in Sweden.

But when British police invaded the embassy in April last year and arrested him for extradition to the US on precisely the espionage charges Assange had always warned were going to be used against him, journalists reported these developments as though they were oblivious to this backstory. The media erased this context not least because it would have made them look like willing dupes of US propaganda, like apologists for US exceptionalism, and because it would have proved Assange right once more. It would have demonstrated that he is the real journalist, in contrast to their pacified, complacent, power-worshipping corporate journalism.

The death of journalism 

Right now every journalist in the world ought to be up in arms, protesting at the abuses Assange is suffering, and has suffered, and the fate he will endure if extradition is approved. They should be protesting on front pages and in TV news shows the endless and blatant abuses of legal process at Assange’s hearings in the British courts, including the gross conflict of interest of Lady Emma Arbuthnot, the judge presiding over his case.

They should be in uproar at the surveillance the CIA illegally arranged inside the Ecuadorian embassy while Assange was confined there, nullifying the already dishonest US case against him by violating his client-lawyer privilege. They should be expressing outrage at Washington’s manoeuvres, accorded a thin veneer of due process by the British courts, designed to extradite him on espionage charges for doing work that lies at the very heart of what journalism claims to be – holding the powerful to account.

Journalists do not need to care about Assange or like him. They have to speak out in protest because approval of his extradition will mark the official death of journalism. It will mean that any journalist in the world who unearths embarrassing truths about the US, who discovers its darkest secrets, will need to keep quiet or risk being jailed for the rest of their lives.

That ought to terrify every journalist. But it has had no such effect.

Careers and status, not truth

The vast majority of western journalists, of course, never uncover one significant secret from the centres of power in their entire professional careers – even those ostensibly monitoring those power centres. These journalists repackage press releases and lobby briefings, they tap sources inside government who use them as a conduit to the large audiences they command, and they relay gossip and sniping from inside the corridors of power.

That is the reality of access journalism that constitutes 99 per cent of what we call political news.

Nonetheless, Assange’s abandonment by journalists – the complete lack of solidarity as one of their number is persecuted as flagrantly as dissidents once sent to the gulags – should depress us. It means not only that journalists have abandoned any pretence that they do real journalism, but that they have also renounced the aspiration that it be done by anyone at all.

It means that corporate journalists are ready to be viewed with even greater disdain by their audiences than is already the case. Because through their complicity and silence, they have sided with governments to ensure that anyone who truly holds power to account, like Assange, will end up behind bars. Their own freedom brands them as a captured elite – irrefutable evidence that they serve power, they do not confront it.

The only conclusion to be drawn is that corporate journalists care less about the truth than they do about their careers, their salaries, their status, and their access to the rich and powerful. As Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky explained long ago in their book Manufacturing Consent, journalists join a media class after lengthy education and training processes designed to weed out those not reliably in sympathy with the ideological interests of their corporate employers.

A sacrificial offering

Briefly, Assange raised the stakes for all journalists by renouncing their god – “access” – and their modus operandi of revealing occasional glimpses of very partial truths offered up by “friendly”, and invariably anonymous, sources who use the media to settle scores with rivals in the centres of power.

Instead, through whistleblowers, Assange rooted out the unguarded, unvarnished, full-spectrum truth whose exposure helped no one in power – only us, the public, as we tried to understand what was being done, and had been done, in our names. For the first time, we could see just how ugly, and often criminal, the behaviour of our leaders was.

Assange did not just expose the political class, he exposed the media class too – for their feebleness, for their hypocrisy, for their dependence on the centres of power, for their inability to criticise a corporate system in which they were embedded.

Few of them can forgive Assange that crime. Which is why they will be there cheering on his extradition, if only through their silence.  A few liberal writers will wait till it is too late for Assange, till he has been packaged up for rendition, to voice half-hearted, mealy-mouthed or agonised columns arguing that, unpleasant as Assange supposedly is, he did not deserve the treatment the US has in store for him.

But that will be far too little, far too late. Assange needed solidarity from journalists and their media organisations long ago, as well as full-throated denunciations of his oppressors. He and Wikileaks were on the front line of a war to remake journalism, to rebuild it as a true check on the runaway power of our governments. Journalists had a chance to join him in that struggle. Instead they fled the battlefield, leaving him as a sacrificial offering to their corporate masters.

The post For Years, Journalists cheered Assange’s Abuse: Now They’ve Paved his Path to a US Gulag first appeared on Dissident Voice.

My Journey to Socialism: From 9-11 through the Great Recession

Here are three questions I would propose to the people who read this article:

  • Other than being a Red Diaper Baby, what is the process by which people came to socialism and how did they handle the disapproval of their families and long-term friends?
  • How does having a framework for capitalism make it easier to understand what’s going on?
  • In spite of their grand visions, why are many American socialists so hard to be around?

I Live Two Lives

Coming out

I recently found a letter I wrote to my liberal “Friends and Family” on September 23, 2001. In it I expressed my horror at the direction in which I saw our country headed. Looking back at it now, I feel a tenderness for that little blooming flower who was just dipping her toes into the water of socialism. In this letter I talked about how horrifying it was for me to watch the mainstream media inferring that most Americans supported Bush and his policy of “wanted, dead or alive” (yes, he really did say that.) However, I still believed that we should “find our enemies and punish them, but in a civilized way. I encouraged my friends to listen to alternative media, to not shop at stores that do not practice social responsibility. I encouraged my friends to “have a dialogue” with me about it. Most of them didn’t, and I’ve lost a few along the way.

Many of my liberal friends would tell me that Bill Gates was doing wonderful things by giving much of his income to charities to make the world a better place. They never questioned why one person should be in charge of making the decisions about what charity gets what amount of money and not another. Nor do they question the very premise of why one person can have that much money.

One of the things I’ve done in order to accommodate the two worlds I straddle is to create two separate Facebook pages. One is my Suzy Creamcheese page, taken from the Frank Zappa song and proposed by my partner after I kept referring to it as my “Fit for Friends and Family” page. The other is my political page. On Suzy Creamcheese I post about personal events in my life – moves, our new home, grandchildren, social interactions, jokes and observations. On my political page, I post what I really think about what’s going on in the world, as seen through the lens of a socialist.

I created my political page in 2011 as my political views started shifting further to the left and I discovered that many of my friends and family were offended by some of my posts. I was pretty excited about sharing my involvement with Occupy, protests and other leftist groups. However, these posts received tepid response, at best. One of my friends even wrote “Barbara – you need to rest. It’s hard work being a rebel!!!” Some responses were more confrontive, questioning my involvement and actions. To these I gave often lengthy responses, usually not appreciated. In 2016 I was accused by one friend of being responsible for Trump’s election because I refused to vote for Shillery. Even though I gave that friend the boot, I decided it would be more satisfying to keep those posts to my political page.

Right now, as I watch the posts on my Suzy Creamcheese page, I’m disgusted by the numbers of friends who are ecstatic over Biden’s pick for VP – Kamala Harris. It’s hard to imagine any politician, black or white, who has done more to harm blacks through her hard-core defense of keeping people in prison even when they have been unfairly convicted because of her “tough on crime” position.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Plata that California’s prisons were so overcrowded that they violated the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Three years later, in early 2014, the state was ordered to allow non-violent, second time offenders who have served half of their sentence to be eligible for parole.1

Added to this is the liberal insistence on “Voting Blue No Matter Who”. I want to say to them – could the DNC have picked an even weaker candidate than Biden? But as he’s already said to his wealthy donors – “nothing would fundamentally change”.

I’m finding that I’m spending less and less time on my Suzy Creamcheese page and much more time on my political page. Big surprise.

From Flatland to Spaceland

Flatland is a book written by Edwin A. Abbott in 1884. The story revolves around people who are living in a two-dimensional world – Flatland. They know nothing of the third dimension. When the protagonist in the book, a square, who Abbott names Square, in a dream visits a one-dimensional world that is populated by points and called Lineland. Since the points cannot see Square in two dimensions, they try to kill him when he attempts to help them to see that there is another dimension besides the one in which they’re living. Ultimately, Square has a vision of a three-dimensional world. In the beginning he is only able to perceive a circle. In time he is able to see this world for himself – Spaceland. As he discovers that the leaders of Flatland, while being aware of Spaceland, are so fearful of letting the public know about this that anyone who tries to talk about it is considered a heretic and is either killed or sent to prison. Still, Square wants to spread the word. So, he returns to Flatland and tries to convince his fellow citizens that there’s a whole other dimension that exists called Spaceland. No one believes him, they think he’s crazy and the leaders of the state, seeing him as a threat to their power, arrest and imprison him.

Becoming aware of another dimension from which I could make sense of how our government is run, and all aspects of society, brought me into Spaceland – and there’s been no going back. My introduction to socialism taught me another way to imagine how societies could be organized which would include enough food, shelter, education, healthcare and jobs for all. There could be a world in which the citizens formed councils, with rotating members, so all decisions about societies were made by its citizens, with the focus being on taking care of all of them equally. My introduction to Spaceland came with the aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, when we were living in Oakland, CA.

I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space. Doubtless we cannot see that other higher Spaceland now, because we have no eye in our stomachs.  It fills all Space, and what It fills, it is.

— Flatland, Edwin A. Abbott, 1884

Framework for capitalism

I learned, though my studies, that there are actually two types of capitalism. The first is from the profits made on paper – the finance capital of the banks. The second is industrial capitalism that comes from the production of real goods and services, including the infrastructure.

Understanding industrial vs financial capitalism

Most people think that making profits is a good thing, not understanding that much of the wealth that is generated by these profits comes from the bets – in the form of stock options – that capitalists place on whatever company is selling the goods and services. That fictitious wealth is not backed up by anything concrete, like gold. Therefore, when confidence in a particular company or industry is lost, their value will go down and the workers will be out of jobs. All the people who are not capitalists who invested in that company will also lose all the money they invested in it. Having a framework showed me that the stock market has little or nothing to do with the real capitalist economy which is getting worse and worse.

International politics is about controlling resources

Whether the 9-11 attacks were the result of a U.S. false flag operation or not, the outcome was clear. On September 11, 2001, attacks on America killed nearly 3,000 people. Osama Bin Laden, the head of Islamist terror group al-Qaeda, was quickly identified as the man responsible. While Bin Laden was executed in his hideout in Pakistan in 2011, we’re still fighting the war in Afghanistan today, supposedly to wipe out al-Qaeda and the Taliban. However, it’s much more likely that the reason is to strengthen political and military efforts to change policy elsewhere and to say to the rest of the Middle East, a large supplier of oil to the U.S., we’re the most powerful nation on earth so don’t mess with us. Or as Donald Rumsfeld put it on the evening of 9/11, “We need to bomb something else to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kinds of attacks.”

Racism is a social product of capitalism, not a psychological problem

Within a capitalist society, racism is encouraged on the job as a way to divide and conquer the working class. It’s important for the capitalists to do that because the working class is the most likely to make a revolution, as has been proven throughout history, but this can only be done if they are united. Many people think racism is a result of stupid thinking or ignorance. Understanding capitalism within a framework helps us to understand that there is something in it for capitalists to divide the races. If the races fight each other rather than joining together to fight the capitalists, the capitalists have a much better chance of keeping wages low. We can see this division not only being kept alive today, but actually becoming much more acceptable in right-wing circles, given the openly racist views of our current president and the actions of the police against demonstrators, particularly Black demonstrators.

Different social classes have different world views – we are not all middle class

Classism can be understood as including far more than the three classes that most people think of: working class; middle class; upper class. In fact, there are at least 6 classes which include the lower class, working class, middle class, upper-middle class and upper class, the upper-upper class.

When my daughter, who was raised by me in a solidly middle-class background, was planning her wedding, she envisioned a modest ceremony followed by a small celebration. She was convinced by my upper-middle class daughter-in-law, who had never had to work for a living – that she needed instead to have a big, blow-out affair. My daughter felt shamed into trying to do that until my partner, Bruce, and I talked with her. We explained the differences in class positions between her and her sister-in-law and that, in fact, my daughter and her fiancée could not afford a huge wedding, nor could I afford to help her pay for one. Neither could they afford to take out a loan which would have to be paid back over time or worse, to pay for everything on credit. We managed to get through to her and she ended up having a wonderful wedding on the beach in Santa Cruz, officiated by a friend, with a small gathering of friends in a reasonably-priced restaurant afterwards.

Many family conflicts that occur after siblings move out can be understood as social class conflicts which people pretend do not exist because, after all, “we’re family”.

Class politics, not individual personalities, are what controls political parties

I used to think that if I just voted for the Democrats, they would do the right thing. Then I learned from reading William Domhoff’s Who Rules America that Congress is actually controlled by lobbyists. Even if when elected to office they may have principled beliefs about wanting to provide a better life for all, once they’re in office they learn very quickly that in order to stay there they must do the lobbyists’ bidding. When reforms are put into place, they are quickly weakened or overturned. As soon as FDR started introducing the wonderful reforms of the Great Depression, capitalists started working to undercut them almost immediately. That practice has only become more extreme today.

Addressing the pressing need to halt climate change is not profitable for capitalists

I used to wonder why the US was not more active in controlling climate change until I understood that it’s not profitable for the upper-upper classes that own the companies that contribute to it. Scientists have been telling us for decades that our way of life is creating global warming, particularly from gas and oil emissions. In fact:

The U.S. military produces more greenhouse gas emissions than up to 140 countries.2

While many of us watch and agonize over this, carefully composting our food scraps and using recyclables while trying to limit our driving, these actions are but a butterfly in the face of a tsunami.

Everything — everything — took on a new meaning for me and I was able to connect all of it up to the inherent problems of capitalism; gender relations, wars, police repression, the stock market. The framework within which we live is capitalism, the basis of which is to make a profit, almost always at the expense of the workers and the planet.

Framework for Socialism

Once I learned that true socialism means that the community as a whole makes the decisions about what gets produced, how much gets produced, how much the workers are paid and what is done with the profits, it was hard for me to understand why working folks would not want that. However, because the mainstream media promotes socialism as the anti-Christ, most of them fear it, or think it’s not realistic. One question I’ve frequently been asked in discussions about socialism is to name a country that has succeeded as socialist.

It’s critical to understand that a single socialist country cannot thrive on its own if most of the world is based on a capitalist system. Then I would point to some of the countries that are practicing at least some form of socialism and how they compare favorably to capitalist countries in the form of free health care, jobs for all, education for all, low cost housing and increased literacy. These countries aspire to this and include Norway, The Netherlands, Denmark, Cuba and Venezuela. As far as the lack of political diversity in parties in these countries, it is understandable that opposition needs to be limited because capitalists will use any opportunity to overthrow a socialist government. The United States, with only two parties, is not exactly a bastion on political choice. Looking around the world today I would challenge a reader sympathetic to capitalism to name one country that is capitalist and provides a better life for most people.

In order for us to win the population over to socialism is to have a plan. To simply frame it within such a broad and utopian sounding way without presenting a coherent and understandable way to bring this about will not convince anyone. In Bruce Lerro’s article “Do You Socialists Have Any Plans? Why We Need Socialist Architects“, he outlines the need for a coherent plan for socialism, in order to convince people that socialism is a better alternative than capitalism.

9-11 – No Blood for Oil

As soon as the news came of the World Trade Towers being hit, something in me changed forever. Watching the news was surreal and terrifying. Talk of war began almost immediately, with “W” putting the blame on Afghanistan – with absolutely no proof. What was even more alarming was watching how people reacted to it – many of whom jumped on the bandwagon of war.

 Making signs

Shortly after the attack, my partner, Bruce – a life-long socialist – talked me into going to my first demonstration. Together we made signs to bring with us – “No War on Afghanistan”, “War is not the Answer”. Making the signs was so much fun. We got old cardboard cartons from the grocery stores along with some long lightweight sticks from lumber stores to hold them up. We brainstormed ideas for what to write. Bruce’s signs always had much more content than mine. I went for the fewer words, the better.

First demonstration

The gathering was held in Palo Alto, CA, just outside the Stanford University Campus. We had to park our car some distance from the crowd and I felt self-conscious carrying our signs. A political science faculty member, Joel Benin, gave an impassioned speech. I don’t remember what he said, but I was captivated. It was so sane, so true. People around us began chanting and we joined with them – NO WAR – NO WAR. This wasn’t a big demonstration, only a couple of hundred people, but everyone was in agreement that we could see where this drive to war was going, and we wanted to try to stop it. I didn’t grasp the full implications of where my country was headed or what would be my involvement in the fight to stop it. Ultimately, that was the beginning of my journey to socialism.

ANSWER and San Francisco march, January 18, 2003

On my birthday in 2003, as Bush started beating the drums to go to war against Iraq, shifting the blame from Afghanistan to Iraq with no evidence, a newly formed organization called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) organized a march in San Francisco which was attended by over 200,000 people. Bruce and I worked to make new signs to carry with us –and headed off to BART to join them. I learned that this rush to war had nothing to do with protecting our country and everything to do with having access to oil.

Try to imagine getting off the train at the Embarcadero station, climbing the stairs to the streets and being immediately engulfed by thousands of people, all holding signs, all chanting. Suddenly, the crowd started to move. We couldn’t see where the crowd started or where it ended – it was enormous. Together we marched, smiling and giving the power sign to strangers, with this huge mass, up Market Street. We marched to Civic Center – a walk that would normally take about 20 minutes but on that day, it took hours. People were singing, chanting, marching. A wonderful brass band joined us and marched alongside us, with people dancing in front of them. All along the sidewalks stood police with batons lined up watching us. All I could think was “what do they think we’re going to do?” Now I understand they were protecting Macy’s, the financial district and all the other corporate properties. As I began to learn about power hierarchies, I understood that they were also probably frightened. There were a whole lot more of us than there were of them. I walked up to them and started taking pictures, which was pretty naïve of me at the time. Today we see protestors trying to film demonstrations being beaten with billy clubs, tear-gassed, dodging flash bombs and worse by what has since turned into a militarized police force, dressed in full combat gear. We, the people, have become the enemy of the state.

Alternative media

I soon came to learn that the media that everyone in the US believed, including me, which presented itself as unbiased journalism, was anything but. Because their broadcast and print media are funded by the upper-upper middle class that does not want any kind of insurrection presented as a good thing, they’re very careful about how they frame their coverage. I learned how I had been indoctrinated into believing that Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba were all bad. Nothing positive was ever reported about them.

During the time of the post 9-11 attacks, I discovered alternative media. Every morning I would listen to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on KPFA’s Democracy Now radio program. I would turn the radio on first thing in the morning to hear the latest developments of the anti-war movement, not wanting to hear them filtered by corporate media.

Waking Up 

We started attending demonstrations and talks, many sponsored by ANSWER. Through those talks I learned of the cruel, inhumane treatment of Palestinians by Israelis. A talk we went to by Elias Rashmawi was transformative for me. We met new people, made new friends and acquaintances, from anarchists to council communists to Leninist-Trotskyists.

Between 2003 and 2008 there were very few mass uprisings in the US. It was during this time that I began reading to learn more about capitalism and its alternatives – especially socialism. Some of the books that helped me to put a framework around what was happening included:

  • Romance of the American Communism by Vivian Gornick
  • Iron in Her Soul: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Left by Helen C. Camp
  • The Powers that Be: Processes of Ruling Class Domination in America by William Domhoff
  • Capitalism Hits the Fan and Democracy at Work by Richard Wolff
  • Alexandra Kollontai: A Biography by Cathy Porter
  • Parecon: Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert
  • Class by Paul Fussell
  • After Capitalism by David Schweickart
  • Introduction to Political Economy by Sackrey, Schneider and Knoedler

I bought a special bulletin board, which is still on my desk today, to hold the photographs of the radical women in history I admire and whose biographies I’ve read – Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Rosa Luxemburg.

Working at Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC)

During this period, I left my long career in management in the corporate world to get an MA in career development and start working in the non-profit sector. My first substantial job was as a career counselor at a public career center in downtown Oakland that is part of the Career One Stop system. This experience was a major adjustment for me as I found myself helping former prisoners, immigrants, disabled workers and many working-class folks. I listened to their stories of struggle and their frustrated attempts to find work. I helped them learn how to talk about their past prison records and gaps in unemployment and find job training services. This experience had an enormous impact on me and brought me out of my comfortable, middle-class life. With them, I was able to see first-hand the mess the capitalist system had made of so many lives.

Coerced furloughs at California State University

2008 brought a tsunami to capitalism in the form of the stock market crash, the international banking crisis and the fallout during what was called “The Great Recession”. Many people lost their jobs, their homes, everything they had. I had a fairly decent sized nest egg in the form of an IRA which I lost 25% of during the crash. The country and the world were reeling. Workers were reeling. But in some places it took a long time for the recession to spread. For California State University it wasn’t until 2011 that they took action.

I was working at CSU East Bay (formerly CSU Hayward State) as a career and academic counselor when we were called into a meeting of all faculty and staff. We were given no notice of this meeting and most of us had never experienced anything like this. It included everyone working at both the main and branch campuses.

As we walked from our offices or the parking lot into 3 separate auditoriums to accommodate us all, we noticed the large numbers of city police as well as campus security surrounding us. While they seemed friendly and answered in a vague way when I asked why they were there, it certainly had an air of foreboding and hostility. Once seated in the auditoriums with our workmates, we watched either live or through a monitor as the university president began speaking.

His opening remarks were fairly boiler-plate – thanking us for being there (as if we had a choice) and telling us how much he appreciated all the hard work we do. Quickly, he turned to the tanked economy and told us that funding had been cut by $500 million to the entire Cal State system.

Then – boom. He told us that there would be furloughs, pay cuts, reduced hours and layoffs. Who knows what he said after that because we were all in shock. When I came back down to earth I heard him say that everyone should now go back to their departments and campuses to learn each individual’s fate. Now it made sense why they had the cops there – preparing for workers’ reactions. But no, we all remained good little cogs in the wheel and did what we were told, in shock and silence.

As people returned to their departments, many had to wait for hours to learn they had been laid off. When they were given that notice, they were watched as they gathered their belongings and were escorted off campus. Our branch campus learned we would have a partial furlough for all of us which consisted of working 4 8-hour days, rather than five. For most of us it was a relief, but for some it created financial strain.

As the days, weeks and months wore on we learned that the layoffs and furloughs didn’t translate to less work, but more. We were still expected to fulfill all our duties – just in 8 hours less time. We were also expected to pick up the duties of others who had been laid off. The departments stopped hiring adjuncts and simply gave more classes to full-time faculty and lecturers, at the same pay. While we proles were struggling, we learned that during the 2009-2010 academic year when the budget crisis should have been addressed, the administrative executives were getting enormous raises. It didn’t take long for the anger to begin to boil. But, as with anything else in the world of academia, action came slowly. The strongest union, the CFA, organized demonstrations and pickets, all of which I took part in.

2011 – Occupy Oakland

After the 2008 financial crisis and the following recession, Occupy Wall Street burst on the scene in September 2011, sparking a fire that began to spread across the country and the world. We immediately joined with Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco. Those were some of the most thrilling – and frustrating – times of my life. One of the most encouraging things to see today is that Occupy still exists and is rumbling back to life in some cities.

November 2, 2011, Occupy Oakland coordinated to shut down west coast ports to make a statement that we would not go back to “business as usual”. The shutdown was a way of protesting the treatment of longshoremen and truck drivers, who were forced to work as independent contractors and fired for wearing union t-shirts by port owners EGT and Goldman Sachs.  We marched with 200,000 others from Oscar Grant Plaza to the ports. While the ILWU did not openly support the blockade, the rank and file and many former labor leaders did. Clarence Thomas, secretary/treasurer of the ILWU, was fully committed to this blockade, as he had been for many past blockades. I’ll never forget the power of the first speech I heard from him which began – “I’m Clarence Thomas – the REAL Clarence Thomas”. Jack Heyman, also with the ILWU, was another powerful and persuasive speaker.

We joined a few committees that came out of Occupy Oakland, including Strike Debt and the labor committee.

Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

In August 2012 as Bruce and I became more disappointed in the Occupy movement committees, many of which did not seem to embody the values of Occupy, we decided that it was time to form our own organization. At first that seemed like a lot of work to me, and I also wondered how we would get people to join us. We had many meetings, just the two of us, to hash out the answers to these questions. Our main purpose was to provide a forum for exposing capitalism and spread the word to the public.

In April 2014 our first step was to create a website, Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism. Through our Occupy contacts we found a wonderful tech guy who, with our input, created the website that we still have today. The creation of this was so much fun. The first area we wanted to cover included telling people who we are and what we’re about. It included our mission statement – which was to become one of many eddies for:

  • Exposing the predatory, incompetent and irrational practices of capitalists to direct human social life.
  • Engage in collective political actions that throw a monkey-wrench into and slow down or disrupt the profit-making mechanisms of the system.
  • Weave and expand the fabric of a growing body of workplaces under worker self-management.

How do we want to do it?

We aim to educate:

  • Electronically by posting news stories once or twice a day; writing perspectives of our own which we post frequently.
  • Engaging in face-to-face settings, either by forming groups ourselves or by joining other groups working towards our common goals.

Bruce did most of the writing while I learned – with very little instruction – how to navigate and manage the site. My strong editing skills were then put to good use. We then got serious about spreading our message through Facebook and Twitter

During that same year we also started having regular meetings in our home with people we met through Occupy and other groups. We started with a book club, then moved on to a forum. We had a core group of about 6 people. One of the most important people in our group was a friend from South Korea. He was the one who convinced us that we could have a much broader audience by focusing on our electronic outreach.

By 2016 Bruce, who had previously dismissed Facebook as trite, was persuaded by me to create his own Facebook page and exploded onto the scene, joining numerous groups and sharing our daily posts to these groups and posting his own observations of the decay of capitalism. We now have 3,300 followers on Facebook. We were able to attract a large number of followers by “promoting” our articles. However, when FB caught on to many of the words we were using – socialism, anarchism – revolution – they refused to stop taking our money to spread the word. We call it censorship, Facebook calls it moderation. 

Writing Articles

As a result of my reading books about socialism and, in particular, important women socialists, I began to write articles. My first article was written in 2016 around all the hysteria of voting for Hillary because she’s a woman. Anyone who looked at her record could see she was nowhere close to being a liberal. She was a warmonger, laughing when Gaddafi was killed even though he and Libya had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Gaddafi was a threat to US imperialism because he wanted to empower Africa and create a new African economic system. She was quoted as saying, “We came, we saw, he died” after being told of his murder.

My very first article, Feminism is Bigger Than Gender: Why I’ll be Happy in Hell Without Hillary got quite a bit of attention. It was picked up by respected leftist online journals like CounterPunch and was shared widely in social media. I got plenty of feedback, mostly good, but also some attacks. I was learning to see what life is like for an “out” socialist in a capitalist society. Being told by one FB friend that I was the reason that Hillary lost to Trump earned her the boot from my page.

That article was followed, among others, by:

Democracy at Work

We went to a talk by Marxian economist, Richard Wolff in 2015. I was amazed by how he was able to explain capitalist economics in simple terms. We read his books Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to do About It, 2009 and; Democracy at Work, a Cure for Capitalism, 2012.

In Capitalism Hits the Fan, Wolff explains how the deep economic structures in the relationship of wages to profits, of workers to boards of directors, and of debts to income account for the crisis.

In Democracy at Work he points out the lack of democracy in the economy and in politics. He proposes real democracy with workers directing their own workplaces, as the basis for a genuine political democracy. As examples, he describes worker-owned cooperatives in which the workers own the means of production and decide together what they will produce, how much they will produce, how much they will be paid and what they will do with their profits. These cooperatives exist all over the world, the largest is in the Catalan region of Spain called Mondragon. Many people think that all worker cooperatives are small – bakeries, grocery stores, artists’ coops. But Mondragon Corporation has 266 companies, employing 80,818 people. They even have their own university with 5,000 students. 

Spaceland – Having a Framework:

My participation in both the 9-11 and Occupy protests pushed me further towards understanding how capitalism is at the root of most, if not all, of the problems we’re facing in the U.S. as well as all over the world.

Once I had a framework for understanding world events through the lens of socialism, there was no going back. All the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together. That framework incorporates every aspect of human life. I couldn’t wait to meet socialists! What are these folks like who are making the revolution?

Socialists are No Bargain: Anti-social Socialists

Working with people who are socialists has been surprisingly difficult. My picture of socialists was very naïve. I imagined that they were skilled at welcoming and encouraging new people to their organizations, that they would be great at supporting each other.

We were very disappointed by the quality and organization of some of the meetings that formed from Occupy Oakland, finding many of them off-track and with members who didn’t have the basic social skills like asking a person “How are you? How are things going?” They lack skills like tracking things a person may have told you and following up with a question like “what’s happening with that project you were working on?” Or they wear either old jeans and t-shirts or mismatched, strange clothes and hats and look like something out of a movie that could be called “Your Worst Nightmare Blind Date”. They are skills like showing up to meetings on time and remembering to tell others if a meeting is cancelled.

In 2018 we moved to Olympia, WA. We didn’t know anyone here, so we started trying to build community before we got here, joining a number of socialist groups we found through Facebook. Along my journey to Spaceland, I discovered how many socialists don’t know how to be….social. Many of the members are extremely socially awkward. It’s the strangest thing and I have no answer for it, beyond thinking that their entire worlds are focused on the struggle. But over and over, from all the people we met through ANSWER, Occupy, Olympia Assembly, the IWW, United Public Workers for Action – UPWA, even in Northern California Bay Area Worker Cooperatives – NoBAWC – people seem to lack the basic social skills. One new comrade replied “nice try, FBI” when I asked him his last name.

I discovered that young anarchists can come tearing into your house, eat you out of house and home, and disappear for long periods of time. They come into your lives for a brief time, then disappear, often to resurface 18 months later. They’ll schedule a phone call with you and then forget and sleep through it. I also learned that there are many cranky old Leninists and Trotskyists who are only too happy to sell you their newspaper and then go into a rant about why whatever talk or demonstration you’re attending is a joke and why you should join their party. They’re also happy to quote long phrases from the 5th International.

I understand that many of them are so focused on helping to change the world that there’s just not room for social niceties. I want to try to convince them that, without those warm social interactions, it’s going to be hard for them to draw people into socialism. I still love all of them, though, cranky or not.

Socialists are often a combination of Pointland and Spaceland. They’re damaged, and they’ve never learned the rules and regularities for social engagement like my family and friends have on Flatland.

 Conclusion

Once you’ve entered Spaceland, there’s no going back to Flatland. So even though I still inhabit two worlds, I view everything through the lens of Spaceland – which can be very challenging. Maybe one day I’ll simply fuse my two Facebook accounts into one, sit back and watch the sparks fly. In fact, those sparks have already begun as I’ve started introducing some unwelcome views on what a joke the Democratic Party is and how far they’ve fallen from the liberalism of FDR. But I’m prepared – let the prairie fire begin!

  1. Daily Beast, February 11, 2019.
  2. Newsweek, June 25, 2019.

The Birth of a Global Nation: What Makes a Modern Rhodes Scholar?

Clinton, Talbott, Rice

In my previous article, I discussed the role of the Brookings Institute’s founder Strobe Talbott as an integrated part of the puzzle behind Russia Gate and also his indoctrination as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford alongside his room mate Bill Clinton in 1966.

I addressed the rise of the Rhodes Trust in 1902 as think tank designed explicitly to sabotage the spread of a multipolar model of sovereign republics applying “American system practices” of protectionism, national banking and internal improvements in the post Civil War era.

In this follow up article, I would like to pursue the deeper philosophical structure of the Rhodes Scholar world view as it expressed itself in Strobe Talbott’s 1992 Time Magazine manifesto “The Birth of a Global Nation” which he wrote in preparation for the new phase of his career swarming into the White House with dozens of other Rhodes Scholars who sought to define the conditions of the new unipolar age.

All Talbott quotes in this text are taken from this 1992 manifesto.

The Birth of a Global Nation

Standing on the cusp of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the rise of a unipolar era in 1992, Talbott couldn’t help but celebrate the dissolution of sovereign nations and the creation of a world government stating that within the next century “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority…”

Ignoring the fact that sovereign nation states were created as instruments to protect citizens from empires, Talbott falsely defines nationalism in the following terms:

All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary. Through the ages, there has been an overall trend toward larger units claiming sovereignty and paradoxically, a gradual diminution of how much true sovereignty any one country actually has.

This false definition of nationalism (which has become hegemonic amongst academia in recent generations) then sets up a series of false problems which he proceeds to “solve”.

In the Hobbesian system of zero sum thinking that Talbott imposes onto world history, nation states are assumed to be the natural outgrowth of selfishness, exploitation of the weak and war. Here Talbott entirely ignores all evidence that history’s wars have been artificially manipulated by a transnational financial elite and instead characterizes war as mankind’s natural state of being — thus requiring some sort of resolution of a leviathan or global force of enlightened elites from above:

The big absorbed the small, the strong the weak. National might made international right. Such a world was in a more or less constant state of war… perhaps national sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Then describing the hoped-for era of world government which he believes to be a utopian future age, Talbott lists the creation of the wonderful 20th century innovations of the League of Nations, NATO, the IMF and Globalization.

Talbott describes NATO as “history’s most ambitious, enduring and successful exercise in collective security” and then celebrates the International Monetary Fund. Talbott said “the free world formed multilateral financial institutions that depend on member states’ willingness to give up a degree of national sovereignty. The International Monetary Fund can virtually dictate fiscal policies, even including how much tax a government should levy on its citizens.”

Forecasting the Blair-Cheney R2P protocol which would soon justify the humanitarian bombings of Kosovo, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Talbott championed the destruction of national sovereignty made possible by the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 saying “the internal affairs of a nation used to be off limits to the world community. But the principle of ‘humanitarian intervention is gaining acceptance.”

Straussian Neocons vs Rhodes Scholars

So far, if Talbott’s worldview looks pretty similar to that of your typical neocon, then don’t be surprised.

The goals of a neoliberal Rhodes Scholar imperialist and a neoconservative Straussian imperialist are essentially the same. Both types ultimately seek a post-nation state world order governed by a financial oligarchy and their technocratic alpha managers, and both define “power” in absolutely Nietzschean terms of “force”.

There are, however, several important differences which may seem superficial yet are important to understand if one wishes to avoid “left vs right” traps in thinking that many well-intentioned analysts are inclined to fall into.

One primary difference is that while neocons of a Kagan-Cheney-Bolton variety are much more willing to accept the fact (at least amongst themselves) that their ideal world order necessitates constant states of asymmetric “forever wars” of each against all- managed by their alphas from above, the left-wing imperialists of Talbott’s mindset prefer to promote a more pacifist narrative which I have no doubt some of them — including Talbott himself — actually believe to be true. Theirs is an “enlightened” rainbow fascism with a democratic face and a green Malthusian veneer which Aldous Huxley once described as “a concentration camp without tears.”

The Green Path to World Government

Returning to Talbott’s manifesto, the green path to the new world order that differentiates a neo con from neo liberal is introduced along with his admiration for a powerful individual:

Last month’s Earth Summit in Rio signified the participants’ acceptance of what Maurice Strong, the main impresario of the event, called ‘the transcending sovereignty of nature’: since the by-products of industrial civilization cross borders, so must the authority to deal with them.

In a 1992 essay entitled ‘From Stockholm to Rio: A Journey Down a Generation’, Maurice Strong (whom Talbott has always revered) wrote:

The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.

Two years earlier, Strong gave an interview wherein he described a “fiction book” he was fantasizing about writing which he described in the following manner:

What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group’s conclusion is ‘no’. The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?

Much like his sociopathic counterpart George Soros, Strong’s entire career had been devoted to the cause of a green world government from his earliest days as a Canadian Rockefeller asset and vice-president of Power Corporation, to his entry into the new Liberal Government of Lester Pearson in 1963. It was here that Strong created the Canadian International Development Corporation that helped accelerate 3rd world debt slavery (granting loans to poor nations on the condition that they adhered to IMF/World Bank conditionalities which kept them forever undeveloped and colonized.) Strong’s great innovation during this time was his enforcement of the idea of “appropriate technologies” which poor nations were expected to invest in rather than advanced “dirty technology” like nuclear power which “modified natural tribal ecosystems” too much.

In many ways, Maurice Strong along with Prince Philip (who was President of the World Wildlife Fund while Strong was WWF Vice President in 1977) and Laurence Rockefeller (controlling hand behind both America’s conservation movement and UFO disclosure movement), were founders of the Green New Deal which is currently being pushed as the “solution” to the imminent economic collapse.

The ‘One and the Many’

An important philosophical concept must be tackled by all truth seekers in order to fully appreciate the imperial games and manipulations which have defined our collective history as well as our collective future. While this concept can be formulated in many ways, its most simple expression is “the paradox of the One and the Many”.

The paradox in three short steps:

  • ALL processes which are ponderable exist simultaneously as “one”, “many” and “infinites”.
  • According to the rules of logic, a thing can be either “A” or “Not A”, but it can never be both “A” and “Not A”
  • Thus, how could something simultaneously be both one, many and infinite?

Let’s get out of the abstract realm for a second by looking at a concrete example.

A human being can be conceptualized as a one (i.e; a person with one body and one identity), but also as a many (i.e; the sum total of limbs, organs, cells, bones etc…). It can also be defined as an infinitely subdivided entity of atoms, and sub-particles ad infinitum. The same goes for a building, a chair, tree, dog, a poem, a painting or even HUMANITY itself.

In his beautiful Philebus dialogue (on how we judge “Good/Evil”), Socrates describes the discovery of this trifold character of all reality as a Promethean gift which must then be harnessed responsibly:

A gift of heaven, which, as I conceive, the gods tossed among men by the hands of a new Prometheus, and therewith a blaze of light; and the ancients, who were our betters and nearer the gods than we are, handed down the tradition, that whatever things are said to be are composed of one and many, and have the finite and infinite implanted in them: seeing, then, that such is the order of the world, we too ought in every enquiry to begin by laying down one idea of that which is the subject of enquiry; this unity we shall find in everything. Having found it, we may next proceed to look for two, if there be two, or, if not, then for three or some other number, subdividing each of these units, until at last the unity with which we began is seen not only to be one and many and infinite, but also a definite number; the infinite must not be suffered to approach the many until the entire number of the species intermediate between unity and infinity has been discovered,—then, and not till then, we may rest from division, and without further troubling ourselves about the endless individuals may allow them to drop into infinity. This, as I was saying, is the way of considering and learning and teaching one another, which the gods have handed down to us.

As if to warn future lazy-minded Rhodes Scholars who prefer to skip steps in their understanding of the system of humanity which they wish to manage politically- Plato says:

But the wise men of our time are either too quick or too slow in conceiving plurality in unity. Having no method, they make their one and many anyhow, and from unity pass at once to infinity; the intermediate steps never occur to them.

The question then presents itself: How do we define the relationship of the infinite to the many and the many to the one? Is the one merely a sum-total of parts? Or is it something more?

An empiricist (or one who has enslaved their metaphysical capacities to sense perceptive rules) would have to conclude: Yes.

Since metaphysical notions like Justice, Goodness, Soul, Purpose, Creativity, etc… have no parts, are not bounded by time or spatial constraints (you can’t cut a “Justice” in half and share it) and are thus not subjected to sense perception — the empiricist asserts that they cannot actually exist in any meaningful way. Like Plato’s Callicles featured in the Gorgias dialogue or the brutish Thrasymachus in Book one of the Republic, such “abstract” concepts are just social conventions (like Talbott’s “nation states”), used for utilitarian reasons of managing society but never assumed to be true by an “enlightened” master class.

Pick up any Platonic dialogue and you will encounter rigorously dialectic treatments of this problem from a multitude of angles. It is worth the exercise.

Rhodes Scholars, Straussians, and other imperialists across the ages, have always been and will always be very aware of this paradox. All imperialists who enslave their reasoning powers to sense perception all suffer from the same inability to resolve ontological paradoxes which Socrates warned us of in the Philebus Dialogue above… They wish to rule without first having taken the time to know either the nature of the species they wish to rule, the universe they wish to rule in, and consequently they don’t even know themselves (breaking the cardinal rule of philosophy extolled by both Socrates and Confucius: “Know thyself”).

This small philosophical sojourn takes us back to Talbott’s 1992 manifesto.

Talbott’s Failed Solution to the One and the Many

Talbott ends his treatise with a telling insight into the oligarchical “false resolution” to the One and the Many paradox: describing the Balkanization process that would soon be imposed upon the Soviet Union and the larger spread of subdividing separatist movements across the world, Talbott states that they are a “basically positive phenomenon: a devolution of power not only upward toward supranational bodies and outward toward commonwealths and common markets but also downward toward freer, more autonomous units of administration that permit distinct societies to preserve their cultural identities and govern themselves. That is being defined locally, regionally and globally all at the same time.”

Defining society “locally, regionally and globally”, Talbott lays out an infinite [locally sub dividable], many [regional ever-more Balkanizable nations] and inescapable one [the global community].

Since this configuration is rooted in the belief that “wholes = the sum of their parts”, Talbott’s ilk choose to promote forms of “world federalism” that impose order onto society from above.

If humanity can be socially engineered to think locally, subdivided according to race (see: Black lives Matter), creed, micro states, genders (also infinitely sub-dividable), etc… then the slaves can happily vote for whichever local CHAZ warlord or parliamentarian on their tiny section of the board game as they see fit. In the end their choice won’t matter very much since the rules of the world game system would be forever out of their sphere of “democratic” influence.

This utopian subdivided world of micro-democracies would be “harmonized” by a global order of non-elected social engineers and enlightened elite who would scientifically manage the diminishing returns of resources to be allocated to the useless eaters in this Brave New World. The new world religion would have a decisively green tint, morality would become reduced to the liberal nothingness of “tolerating infinitely subdividing opinions and genders” and Orwell’s vision would be complete.

The only problem was the Multipolar Alliance

We have been introduced to the false resolution of the One and the Many adhered to by imperialists and technocrats. Let us now look at a more healthy resolution to the paradox which has been adopted by leaders of the Multipolar Alliance which took on a powerful character with Xi Jinping’s 2013 announcement of the New Silk Road, and Putin’s entry into Syria in 2015. Since 2015, both the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Arctic development and New Silk Road (that has seen 135 nations join) has integrated into one unified system along with an alternative multipolar financial architecture, increasingly independent from western oligarchical manipulation.

The re-assertion of national sovereignty tied to this multipolar alliance enrages technocrats like Talbott and other British Imperial deep staters to the ends of the earth for the simple reason that it is based not upon “structural controls of the many” under stasis, but on scientific and technological progress. This principle of creative change is the resolution to the ontological paradox raised in every Platonic dialogue. When one takes creative reason and its fruits into account as the defining characteristic of humanity as a One, then we come to recognize that humanity will always be more than the sum of its parts. Humanity is a self-perfectable species capable of boundless discoveries of principles of the universe, and self-reflexively translating those concepts back upon our species through scientific and technological progress which has allowed our species to leap far beyond the limits to growth bounding all other species of life, to the point of sustaining nearly 9 billion souls on the earth today.

Since this open system/creative character is intrinsically uncontrollable, and a cause of disequilibrium, Rhodes Scholars and neocons who are obsessed with godlike control can do nothing but hate and fear it.

The return of nationalistic impulses to America in 2016 after decades of neocon/Rhodes Scholar controls represented the deep state’s greatest fear and for this reason, a desperate and sloppy dossier was concocted to undo the election at all costs.

Luckily, the near-absolute controls which the oligarchy enjoyed in 1992 as it celebrated the New World Order have fast slipped away, and the jig, as they say, is increasingly up.

Today, nation states (including the USA itself) have the first chance in decades to save themselves from a new global bankers’ dictatorship by jumping on board a new system of win-win cooperation both on earth and, increasingly in space.

The first item on the agenda must be the immediate acceptance of President Putin’s call for a five-nation emergency summit followed soon thereafter by a new economic system driven by great projects, long term growth and CREATIVE CHANGE.

First published at at Strategic Culture

Restoring Free Speech and Freedom from Big Brother

Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, and Part VII.

One of the greatest obstacles to greater distribution of wealth and power, and therefore to an equitable society, is control of – and controls on – speech and the media. Most films, television, newspapers, Internet suppliers and other mass media are in the hands of large corporations. Even social media are controlled by large corporations, despite the fact that they consist almost entirely of individual expression by billions of subscribers.

The result is propaganda, censorship and repression of facts and ideas that the ruling  elite consider a threat to their wealth and power. Control of speech and the media is why the American people do not see a serious discussion of a national health care system in the media, and remain the only major world power that does not have a one.  It is why minimum wage proposals encounter so much opposition despite being far short of a living wage. It is why privatization of the post office, schooling, Social Security and pretty much everything in public hands are treated as serious proposals in the media. Institutions that can be used to transfer wealth upward from the poor to the rich – including the media themselves– will receive serious consideration and support in the press. This is because the centers of wealth and power stand to become wealthier and more powerful through privatization. To them, the American people are nothing more than profit centers, to be milked and bilked in their millions for the sake of the powerful. Proposals to transfer wealth to those who need it will be ridiculed and called “unamerican”.

Do we hear all points of view? Do we get all the facts? Or do we get largely sanitized versions of news and information, and only token counter evidence and argument? Why do the media not question the more than 800 military bases and other installations around the globe, eating up more than half of our national budget, and providing little direct benefit to most Americans? To the extent that our media tell us anything, does it rise to the level of an explanation? Why are we considered the most dangerous global threat to peace, year after year? It’s not hard to understand if we learn, for example, that the U.S. makes alliances and provides money and arms to terrorist groups around the globe to overthrow legitimate governments, or that U.S. helicopters are burning Syrian wheat fields so that Syrian families will starve.

But we are not told such things, except to small audiences in social media. Even then, such reports are likely to be censored and accounts closed for “hate speech” and “violating community standards”. The most that many people are told is that “They hate us for our freedom.” The public may suspect that they are not being told the whole story, but what other information do they have?

The voices of Blacks and other marginalized communities suffer worse than others. They receive only token representation – invariably manipulative – in the mainstream media, and minuscule audiences even in the alternate media. Native Americans, upon whose land the rest of us are trespassing, have hardly any voice anywhere.

Let’s be honest. This is mind control. Controlling the information and even the entertainment that we receive is social engineering. It teaches us what we are supposed to accept as true and false, right and wrong, and how to think and act. Propagandists of the past could not dream of the power of today’s industry.

To take one of the simplest examples of corporate control, how did we lose broadcast television, which was entirely free and required no subscription or fees? How did we end up spending as much as hundreds of dollars per household per month for much the same of programming that we used to get without cost? And how did we voluntarily come to pay for providing the means for private companies and the government to instantly know what we are watching and when? Not only are we pouring money into the coffers of services that are indoctrinating us, but also allowing those services to spy on our personal habits. Of course, broadcast television was owned by essentially the same corporations that today own cable and satellite facilities, but at least it wasn’t taking as much of our dwindling income or selling data about our individual viewing habits.

This problem is only exacerbated by use of the latest in surveillance and information technology. The government inserts surveillance programming into a variety of apps that spy on an unlimited number of mobile phone users. But even without such apps, a many electronic devices track our locations and actions wherever we go and whatever we do, including use of credit cards, bridge and highway tolls, use of rental services, subscriptions, online web use, etc. These data are then sold to advertisers and marketers or anyone willing to buy the information.

We may consider such use harmless and even useful, to offer us products and services that the data show may be of interest to us.  But the U.S. government is also a consumer of such data – in fact, the biggest consumer. There are hardly any personal data that our government doesn’t purchase and store in the gargantuan Utah Data Center, an entire city built to store and process data for government intelligence services. To this they add confidential data gathered by U.S. government agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection, law enforcement agencies of all description, entrance to and exit from government buildings, etc., so that the entire life history and activities of every human being in the U.S. and an even larger number of foreign persons outside can be called up at a moment’s notice.

I’m not suggesting that we should eliminate data collection or cable and satellite TV. That really wouldn’t provide us with more public control or a wider range of news, information and entertainment. Nor would it improve access to Blacks, indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities. What we can do is to institute greater public controls and safeguards on media and data collection, and provide more disclosure to the public of when and how their data are collected. We must also provide more opportunity for the public, and especially marginalized communities, to be heard, and not merely to be an audience.

Here are examples (many borrowed from the 2016 Green Party platform) of measures that might help to diminish government and corporate control of the media, to protect the privacy of data, and provide greater control to the people:

  1. Return ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public. End the privatization of broadcast frequencies of the airwaves. Put common media, such as cable, satellite and Internet service under public and not corporate control, with consumer boards in charge of policy and prohibition of censorship. Providers must supply consumers with the means to individually block whatever programming they don’t want.
  2. Media networks and chains must not be allowed to own local media entities. No more than three local entities may be owned by the same individual or company, none of which are in the same municipality.
  3. Media networks and chains may offer programming, services and advertising to local entities but may not control or coerce their messages, nor place conditions that restrict local voluntary control of content and programming.
  4. We must end commercial broadcasters’ free licensed use of the public airwaves. Require market-priced leasing of any commercial use of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as cable and satellite networks. Revenues derived from these license fees should be used to fund the operation of community media. Electronic advertising should be taxed to fund democratic media outlets.
  5. Expand the role of community radio, by expanding the licensing of new non-commercial low power FM radio stations.
  6. Social media networks and website hosts must not control the content of the platforms they provide, but must provide options to individual subscribers to block whatever content they don’t want and facilitate content they prefer. Similarly, cable or satellite networks will be able to make themselves available anywhere within US territory, with the same option for individuals to block anything they do not want.
  7. There will be no censorship of foreign media. If individuals find any programming objectionable they will have the option to block or filter it.
  8. Provide broadband Internet access for all US residents, so that access to information is a right, not a commodity.
  9. Classify all Internet service providers, regardless of the type of service (cable, dial-up, satellite, etc.), as telecommunications services.
  10. Privacy protections of the 4th amendment must apply to the Internet. We must eliminate bulk Internet data collection by our government. Let us fund and promote research into alternate Internet structures that would build in privacy. Hold criminally accountable all government officials, employees and contractors who illegally spy on Americans, and who provide false, misleading or incomplete testimony to Congress about surveillance of American communications by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Require disclosure to, and permission from all consumers of media and internet services for any data collection and sharing, including government agencies.
  11. Classify all Internet service providers as common carriers as used in Title II of the Communications Act.
  12. Require net neutrality so that Internet users will able to access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider or government, except for restrictions that exist to prevent spam e-mail, viruses, and similar content that will harm the provider, the network or internet access devices.
  13. Establish substantial public interest obligations for broadcasters and hold them accountable, and revoke licenses from outlets that fail to satisfy these obligations.
  14. Support Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access Television to ensure that citizens and community organizations have the opportunity to create and present their own programming on cable television.
  15. Expand the role of community radio, by expanding the licensing of new non-commercial low power FM radio stations.
  16. Promote greater opportunity for Black, women, Native American and other minority ownership of media outlets.

The proposals in this article and the others in this series have been formulated as a set of demands designed to place economic, political and social decision-making power in the hands of the people, and especially the currently disenfranchised and marginalized. In doing so we should expect our culture to change accordingly, to one of popular empowerment and mutual respect.

Forthcoming installments will look at how environment protection, expansion of free public education, empowerment of labor snd a rethinking of immigration policy fit into this view of the transformation of our society.  Last, we will address the problem of policing.

Beirut goes up in smoke

To see Beirut and its port area with a huge mushroom cloud hanging above is a truly surreal sight. But what is not surreal in battered Lebanese capital?

A big part of the downtown looks flattened, thoroughly ruined.

One of my Japanese friends based in Beirut exclaimed:

It looks like Hiroshima!

It does.

Who is behind the carnage? What really happened? Nobody is claiming responsibility. Was it sabotage, a direct attack against Lebanon, or a politically motivated terrorist act?

What is certain is that the “earth moved.” One of the explosions, equivalent to a 4.5-magnitude earthquake, ruined everything in its proximity. Blasts were heard all the way across the sea in Cyprus, while some 20 kilometers away, window panels at Rafik Hariri International Airport, got shattered.

*****

For five years, I have been observing from my window and terrace this magnificent sight: tall, often snow-covered mountains, huge bay, and vast port area with cranes, tankers, and mighty container cargo ships.

Once there was a small fire in the port, and I could see each and every detail of it. But now, everything changed. Two explosions, one relatively small and one enormous, turned the entire port area of Beirut into a war zone, a target of carpet bombing. Or the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

People running away, in horror. Women and children shouting, crying, clinging to each other. The number of casualties is still unknown. Preliminary reports speak of at least 73 persons killed, but there are most likely hundreds of those who lost their lives. There are those still buried under the rubble, burned beyond recognition. One entire fire brigade just ‘vanished.’ Red Cross reported at least 2,200 people injured. Soon after, the number shut up to 4,000. Several crew members on the UNIFIL vessel, which was docked in the Beirut port, injured. The horrible count goes up and up.

Lebanese medical system, mostly privatized and in terrible shape, cannot cope with the carnage.

Red smoke is levitating above the coast. What is it, really?

Speculations and preliminary analyses are the most alarming.

The Canadian Embassy began headcount of its staff. That fact has been confirmed.

What has been clearly a hoax is that the Embassy sent scientific/medical warnings, which are now circulating all over the social media, such as:

It’s a dropped bomb with depleted uranium (red color). Tell all your loved ones to get away and don’t inhale. Try to go in the opposite direction of the wind.

Truth is getting mixed with the fake news. Whether it was a bomb is a very legitimate question. But the Canadian Embassy definitely did not claim on its social media, that it was.

There is an “urgent message” from AUBMC (American University of Beirut Medical Center), the most prestigious medical facility in the Middle East. It even carries its logo at the top of the page. But when I contacted AUBMC, the staff strongly denied sending such messages:

Everyone in Lebanon needs to stay indoor… From the look of the flame, the explosion looks nitric acid-based. PLEASE STAY INSIDE!!!

There is a long message from AUB president, however, which begins with:

Dear members of the AUB community, I hope you and your loved-ones are safe and starting to recover from the catastrophic explosion which occurred earlier this evening in the Port of Beirut. We already know of thousands of injured and more than 67 dead. Property has been destroyed over an area of many square kilometers, including at AUB and AUBMC. Our hearts and our prayers are with all those injured or lost in this awful tragedy. We must do all we can, and some measure beyond that, to care for those injured and heal the terrible unseen wounds this has created. The AUBMC Emergency Department, our medical faculty, nurses and staff are all responding to hundreds of trauma cases, including a number of serious and critical cases, with great skill and professionalism…

Why are rumors being spread? Who is benefiting? What are the plans?

Each and every piece of information has to be now verified. Scrutinized. Double and triple checked.

Each piece of ‘fake news’ or outright fabrication may lead to yet another “explosion,’ to the worsening of the political violence. Lebanon is at the edge. And always when it is; when it feels this way, thousands of innocent people die. Everybody who has been living here, everyone who understands its history, knows that it is exactly this way here.

It is obvious that there are certain groups in the country, who are interested in spreading chaos in this long-suffering, deeply injured land.

But there are also very legitimate sources that believe that this is an attack by hostile foreign states.

Some trustworthy security sources that I approached are brief in their analyses, and their preliminary conclusions are chilling:

Nuke hit ballistic missile warehouse. The red smoke is fuel.

But I don’t know, yet; nobody knows.

The situation is incredibly confusing. Everybody is still in shock and mourning.

Some fingers are pointing at Israel. Israel denies its involvement and is offering help instead. Trump claims it was a bomb, but does not elaborate.

RT reported earlier on the day of the blasts:

The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Christian Kataeb Party, or Phalange, Nizar Najarian, has been killed.

Kataeb Party is an extremist, violent right-wing Christian party, which is in alliance with the pro-Saudi faction of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Welcome to Lebanon-style political labyrinth!

*****

Meanwhile, Beirut inhabitants are frightened. Lebanon has been faced with enormous problems, for at least one entire year. From huge anti-establishment riots which began in 2019, to the outbreak of COVID-19 followed by lockdowns, severe economic crises, and financial collapse. Eventually, the controlled exchange rate between the Lebanese pound and the U.S. dollar got abandoned, and the local currency went nose-diving; it got sharply devalued. For some time, people could withdraw only a small amount of their savings from the local banks.

Political confrontations have always been pounding Lebanon, but recently they have been on the rise. The country is home to countless political and religious parties and movements, as well as shaky and temporary coalitions. What is on the surface does not necessarily correspond with what is forming the foundations.

For instance, Hezbollah, which is an arch-enemy of Israel and which is now on the U.S. terrorist list, has been actually the most effective social organization, providing de facto social security net for both Muslims and Christians. But it is also a determined and powerful force, always ready to defend Lebanon against the Israeli invasions, therefore constantly on someone’s ‘hit list.’

Extreme right-wing Christians could always swing either way; from antagonizing mistreated Palestinians and siding with Israel, to forming coalitions with Hezbollah. For an outsider, all this makes no sense. But, somehow, it does (often in a perverse way), at least for the Lebanese, and for those of us who have spent a long time in the country.

The explosions took place just a few days before the U.N. court of justice was going to read the verdict, in absentia, against four Hezbollah members, who were allegedly involved in the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon. Some believe there is a link, but I strongly disagree, knowing Hezbollah and its political goals. This attack is definitely not Hezbollah’s ‘style,’ nor would it be in the group’s interests.

Lebanon has always been a timebomb, with dozens of real terrorist organizations forming so-called ‘dormant cells’; all over the country, and naturally all over the city of Beirut. Their proximity to each other, their antagonistic nature, could lead to a catastrophe at any moment.

*****

Al Mayadeen, a left-leaning television channel which is close to both Hezbollah and South American TeleSur, reported in its Arabic service:

“Major General Abbas Ibrahim told Al-Mayadeen that it is possible that the explosion came from the highly explosive materials that had been confiscated some time ago, adding that course of investigations cannot be anticipated and when they are finished we will circulate confirmed information.

For his part, the Director-General of Customs announced that nitrate is the cause of the huge explosion in the port of Beirut.

As for the Minister of the Interior, Mohamed Fahmy, during his inspection of the Beirut port, he said, “Investigations must be awaited to find out the cause of the explosion.”

The latest by Al-Mayadeen restated that what exploded was “Ammonium Nitrate.” And Al-Mayadeen is closely connected to Hezbollah. 

*****

Maki, a Japanese aid worker, based in Beirut, commented:

“Hope it’s not nuclear. This Mushroom shape of the smoke is very worrying.

Rana, a Lebanese U.N. staff in Beirut, shared her thoughts:

A lot of speculations are going around: an accident in the fireworks storage, an Israeli attack on Hezbollah or army weapons. Nothing is certain right now, except that there are tremendous damage and destruction.

Before the explosions, apparently, there was a drone circling above the area of the disaster.  The footage is clearly depicting its presence in the sky. People are demanding an explanation.

As no one is claiming responsibility, it appears that for at least some time, there will be many more questions than answers. But that is much better than rushed conclusions.

The tragedy is enormous. The entire country is in shock. Emotions are running high. One wrong move and this entire part of the world could go up in flames. Again.

Right now, the most important is to tend to thousands of wounded, bury the victims, and investigate thoroughly and coolheadedly.

This may be the most difficult, the most dangerous moment for Lebanon since the end of the civil war. No time for sectarianism. The country has to unite, grind its teeth, and stoically fight for its very survival.

Those of us who love and miss Lebanon, despite everything, will be suporting it, as much as we can.

*****

UPDATES:

The same day as this essay went to print, three heavy-lift Russian transport planes landed in Beirut, bringing an operation theatre, medical staff, medicine, and other equipment essential for saving lives.

President Trump retracted his statement that the explosion was caused by a missile.

President Emmanuel Macron of France arrived in Beirut, promising support, but raising fears that he may try to force Lebanon back to Western orbit. On 6 August, according to Reuters, he gave a speech in Beirut, declaring: “French aid would not go to “corrupt hands” and he would seek a new deal with political authorities, Reuters reports.”

In the latest update by RT: “The source of the explosion is believed to be almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that was stored at a port warehouse. The blast has taken the lives of at least 135 people, while 5,000 have been injured.”

• Originally published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook (a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

The WEF Knows Best: The Great Global Reset

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has just made a grandiose discovery and declared (21 July 2020) under the alarming title “This is now the world’s greatest threat – and it’s not coronavirus”. The superb discovery is listed as “Affluence is the biggest threat to our world, according to a new scientific report.”

This “shocking and revealing news” is the “main conclusions of a team of scientists from Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, who have warned that tackling overconsumption has to become a priority. Their report, titled Scientists’ Warning on Affluence, explains that “affluence is the driver of environmental and social impacts, and therefore, true sustainability calls for significant lifestyle changes, rather than hoping that more efficient use of resources will be enough.”

So as to better understand the context of the WEF statement, let’s backtrack a bit. On June 3, 2020, WEF founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, presented what the WEF and all the elites and oligarchs behind it call The Great Reset:

The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions… Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.

According to author Matthew Ehret-Kump, the gathering included elites from “the IMF, World Bank, UK, USA, corporate and banking sector” all looking “to take advantage of COVID-19 to shut down and “reset” the world economy under a new operating system entitled the Green New Deal.”

Gary Barnett writes on July 16, 2020:

…This is the most dangerous time in the history of man. The seriousness of this plot cannot be underestimated. It is not due to any threat of conventional war or nuclear decimation, it is based on the fact that this is a psychological war waged by psychopaths against all mankind, and it is being advanced by a small group of monsters that have taken control of the minds of the masses through long-term indoctrination and policies meant to breed dependency.

And, Fear is the new weapon of mass destruction, not because it is legitimate, but because the people have lost all will to be free, have lost all ability to think, and seek shelter and comfort as a collective herd only capable of existence in a society that is based on totalitarian rule.”

And finally, Longing for freedom without the courage to claim it, is a meaningless endeavor, as any real demand by the masses would leave the governing elite naked and afraid. All that is necessary to achieve liberty is to want it, and this alone can defeat tyranny.”

Gary Barnett also quotes from “The Politics of Obedience” by Étienne de la Boétie: “He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.”

Well, the WEF finally got it right. Affluence and all that creates affluence and ever bigger affluence, widens the gap, rich-poor  and creates abject poverty, misery, famine and death. According to the World Food Program (WFP), without covid, every year some 9 million people die from famine or hunger-related diseases. The WFP projects the number of people facing acute food insecurity (IPC/CH 3 or worse) stands to rise to 265 million in 2020, up by 130 million from the 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19

Death by famine is murder, according to Jean Ziegler, Swiss activist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

The WEF calls for a Great Reset.
Yes, a Reset is needed, but not WEF-style.

A Reset people-style is more what can save Mother Earth and all her sentient beings, including humanity. A Reset could start with a global Debt Jubilee (debt forgiveness), so that people who can no longer pay their rent, their mortgages because due to a Deep Dark State elite-made covid-crisis they have lost their jobs, their income, their entire livelihood – debt forgiveness, so that this ever-growing segment of people will be able to keep their shelter and hopefully their sanity.

The WEF calls for “lifestyle changes”, but fails to explain what it means, and who has to change their lifestyle – the rich or the poor? While the WEF preaches for the Great Global Reset, more justice, more environmental protection, capitalism for “stakeholders”, rather than just for shareholders – RT reports that due to the covid-depression, unemployment and poverty, in the US alone, 28 million home evictions loom. And that’s probably just the beginning. Compare this with the 10 million of the 2008/2009 also man-made crisis.

There are currently about half a million people homeless in the US. The European Union (EU) doesn’t publish these figures, but they may be at least as high and likely higher. At the same time there are 1.5 million apartments empty in the US – about three times as many as there are homeless. Add to this the 28 million homes that may become empty in the coming months.

The 2008 crisis may be an indication. It took the banks many years to sell the 10 million “vacated” homes – and many are still not sold and rot on the rotten free market. In the bottomless depression of this covid-disaster it is even unlikelier that the banks will sell their brutally confiscated loot (RT by youtube ).

How does that fit Mr. Schwab’s, the WEF’s narrative? If the WEF was serious with the grandiose Reset for more justice, they would put the money where their mouth is – and generate the funds necessary to help the jobless to keep their homes, bail them out, or ask for a government supported debt and rent forgiveness, for all who are unemployed, with a temporary basic income of, say US$2,000/month, for as long as it takes to put the economy back to work. “Temporary” – because a permanent basic income creates dependence, enslaves, and discourages the capitalist system even further from creating jobs, and use instead Artificial Intelligence (AI). This would cost a fraction from what the FED has already spent to bail out banks and financial institutions – according to the WaPo of 15 April 2020 more than 6 trillion.

In the meantime, and since mid-April, with the looming increase in corporate and banking failures, this figure may have doubled or tripled. But so what?.It’s just fiat money, new debt, never to be paid back. Under this wicket principle of bailing out the rich, the FED could easily throw in another, say, 5 trillion and bail out the poor, take away a big portion of their misery, with, say a US $2,000 monthly minimum income for several years. Now more than ever, QE (Quantitative Easing) is of the order until the economy can walk again. This, in the medium to long term, would pay back by a multiple in terms of benefits to the US macro-economy. People without anxiety, without fear, would be productive and could help in reshaping the covid-destroyed economy.

By the way, this principle of bailing out the poor applies to every capitalist country, where the first to suffer are the poor, the job-dependent people. It might also apply in developing countries, where often up to 70% of the economy is made up of the informal sector, paying the unemployed a minimum wage, regardless whether they had a contractual work arrangement or not.

Though, it doesn’t look like Mr. Schwab, alias the WEF, has this kind of justice is mind.

The amassing of extreme affluence is only possible because the west is living in a turbo-capitalist system, or in a neoliberalist scheme which is slowly but surely turning into a form of economic neo-fascism with the political consequences that will likely follow. As an example, in the two months from mid-March to mid-May 2020 – so far the worst corona crisis months, when the world was basically shut down, when unemployment and accompanying misery and famine soared to proportions never known in mankind’s history – the billionaires in the US have added another 434 billion dollars to their wealth.

Again, yes, the WEF has got it right – even saying that this has to change; the world needs a better-balanced socioeconomic system and needs to do more to protect the environment and Mother Earth altogether. Of course. Nice words. But what’s the WEF’s agenda behind the words?

A legitimate question: What is the WEF and who is behind the WEF?  What makes the WEF so omni-powerful?

The WEF was created in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German engineer and economist. As of this day, he is at the helm of this powerful club of the rich. The WEF was created and is as of this day an NGO. It was founded as a European Management Forum, with Headquarters in Cologny, a lush suburb of Geneva, Switzerland. Its legal status is a foundation, a mere NGO.

The WEF has absolutely no legal international status or role, for example, as the United Nations does, that would allow the WEF to issue edicts and rules to the world on how it should be run and behave, let alone exert control over the world’s population and decide over the fate of some 7.8 billion people (UN est. 2020 population).

Yet, that’s precisely what the WEF pretends to do and that already for at least two or three decades. And most of the western leaders – and many non-westerners of the 193 UN members – accept the WEF as a World Authority on economic policy and political thinking. They put the WEF’s authority above that of the United Nations.

Why?  Does anybody ever ask how an NGO, the WEF, assumes for itself the power to stand above the UN, above every nation in the world and dictates as a proxy for its corporate-finance-military complex membership, basically who is to live and who is to die, by imposing a globalized economic system that has brought only abject misery to the majority of people?  And will continue to do so, if we don’t stop it.

Similar statements could be made about the G7 and the G20. They are not even NGOs, but merely clubs of the self-declared richest and most powerful nations in the world. They too, not unlike the WEF which works hand-in-hand with the Great “Gs”, have taken over the role of the UN to make world economic and political policy. They pretend to call the shots over war and peace. In their elitist capitalist interest, of course. Not in the interest of the people.

This is totally illegitimate and extremely dangerous.

Now, who is behind the WEF? Who are the members and players of the WEF?

They are the cream of the crop of the elite, they are the very Affluent the WEF claims are the problem, they are those who they pretend have to ‘adjust’ so that the world can continue functioning in a “sustainable” way.  “Sustainable”, the omni-present term everywhere, overused and abused, exactly by those who chastise the world of living in unsustainable ways. They are corporate and financial magnates, former and present politicians, Hollywood personalities and more. They are the front window of the Deep Dark State.

They are the ones attempting to introduce the “New Green Deal”, a deviation from the current consumption based economy, to an economy based on “green” capitalism; electric cars (largely based on hydrocarbon-produced electricity), and GMO-based bio (sic) agriculture, “clean” Artificial Intelligence (AI), “green cities”, where workers (not yet wiped out by AI) cannot afford to live, and more of that sort of thing. A Green Agenda is good propaganda. It sells easily to the populace, who doesn’t ask any questions.

Do we all grasp it? The WEF, a little NGO of a suburb of Geneva, Switzerland, acts above the UN and has been doing so for a while. And We, The People, let it happen. We protest a bit every January when the WEF clan meets in the luxurious resort of Davos, Switzerland, to tell us what’s up their sleeves for the future of mankind and for the world. But that’s all.

Then they go “home” and disappear behind the curtain again for a year, or so we believe, and then appear again with new ideas and rules and ways to impose behavior for the 99.999% of the people of the world. And, again, this little rich NGO, without any international legal status, keeps acting like God, way above and beyond the United Nations, which, in turn, was created by nations of the world to arbitrate over conflicts for peace. Doing nothing against the WEF, letting it be and taking ever more power, means as much as accepting their rule – it means approving of its illegitimate status as a supreme world authority.

It seems that’s what we have been doing, lately — to the detriment of the world economy, harming the social fabric of our multicultural world, as imperfect as it may be — but it has a legitimate existence. Now that existence has been shred to pieces – yes, largely by the WEF and its cohorts and cronies, WHO, the Johns Hopkins University School of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are behind the corona disaster. Event 201 is the last testimony to this effect.

They are supported by a myriad of other world scene actors, and extended arms of the affluent oligarchs and institutions, who pretend to rule the world, the IMF, World Bank, FED, the globe’s pharma imperia, private banking and financial institutions; i.e., Wall Street and its international affiliates, and not to forget the world’s war industrial complex.

The Global Destruction that the WEF now wants to fix by a Global Reset, WEF style, has been – and is being caused – by an invisible enemy, a virus, a corona virus, the same that is at the base of most flu outbreaks. The western media trumpet messages of corona fear 24 x 7 into our brains, so it must be true. But, it ain’t true at all.

The corona pandemic, what is now called COVID-19, had been carefully planned, probably for decades, at least since the 2010 Rockefeller Report, which outlines the first phase of this global destruction that we are experiencing now “The Lockstep Scenario” (p. 18 of the 2010 Rockefeller Report) .

The Event 201 was the last and final important exercise, a corona pandemic simulation and its consequences – 65 million deaths in 18 months and a devastated stock market, bankruptcies no end – was the “dry run” before the outbreak, first in China, and a few weeks later throughout the world. This event was co-sponsored by the WEF, the Bill Gates Foundation and the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

A number of today’s key actors in maintaining the momentum afloat – also called the Fear Indoctrination – were also present at Event 201, such as WHO, UNICEF, the IMF, the World Bank – and representatives from various UN agencies. The UN is fully complicit in this criminal and genocidal endeavor.

It shows that the UN has no teeth; a world body created after WWII …. “The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights”.

This just shows that that the WEF, a little NGO, has more power than the UN, and has, in fact, coopeted the UN and many of its agencies to follow the dictate of the elitist oligarchs, or the Dark Deep State,  that stand behind the WEF.

Why do we allow it?

This Great Global Reset that the WEF predicts and plans is, of course, driven by another agenda than the “Good of The World”. These self-nominated masters of the universe, some of the very same affluent people the WEF claims are the biggest risk for humanity, are now turning around and giving away their riches so that there will be a better equilibrium in the distribution of Mother Earth’s wealth, more justice, more respect for human rights, less consumerism and – an absolute protection of the environment and of unrenewable resources?  Not likely.

To the contrary, as has already been proven. The planned collapse of the world economy has created unfathomable misery by bankruptcies mostly of small and medium enterprises, to be gobbled up by large corporations – and by syphoning off what was left of the social safety nets in the Global North as well as the Global South. Another enormous shift of resources from the bottom to the top as testified by the 434 billion dollars additional riches of US billionaires (see above) and this does not include the sum of additional billionaire-wealth around the globe.

Having said that affluence is the biggest threat to the world, without going into any details, the WEF argues that true sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes” and calls “for a great reset of capitalism in the wake of the pandemic.”
———

An excerpt from “In the Stranglehold of the Untruth”, by Gerd Reuther, Rubikon News – (translated from German) – may put the WEF’s agenda in yet another perspective:

A “pandemic“ of overwhelming false-positive test results, mask obligation without an increase of infection risk, Covid “mass-outbreaks” without sick people, gigantic money transfers without compensation. Corona made possible what no counter reformation or counter information was able to achieve. How many Covid-deaths did you know personally? Probably not many. In the meantime, however, almost everyone knows someone who went crazy. Societies have bypassed the planet on the way to the abyss.

We can only speculate what the Great Reset could mean for the world’s citizens. Let’s give it a try. This is what the affluent oligarchs through their corporate, finance, pharma and military affiliation, may intend to impose on the “big masses below them”.

  • To achieve the WEF’s Great Global Reset, number one is maintaining or increasing the cadence of the ongoing false fear propaganda and lies, as described above by Gerd Reuther in Rubikon.News. This has to be a relentless effort and should not be a problem, as all western Anglo-American propaganda and news outlets and their other-languages affiliates are fully coopted.
  • Another one or more lockdowns with masks and social distancing, confinement, to further diminishing human contact through isolation; a “masked society” loses self-esteem, the fear and anxiety lower people’s immune system, making them vulnerable to all kinds of diseases, especially the mask obligation which has people breathe their own highly toxic CO2 – anything exceeding the level of 1,000 ppm CO2 is above tolerance – wearing a mask may increase inhaling CO2 to a rate of 10,000 ppm, or higher.
  • Less consumerism, through extreme austerity, low-wage work, gigantic unemployment to continue, causing insecurity, anxieties and fear for survival, thus, preparing the populace’s mindset for more manipulation, more enslavement – and desperately waiting for THE VACCINE.
  • Replacing the fruit of work, namely wages for proud labor, by a universal basic income (UBI), creating a dependence on the system and demolishing human work and what’s left of self-esteem.
  • The WEF also calls for “stakeholder capitalism”. Anybody knows what it means? Google describes it as follows: Stakeholder capitalism is a system in which corporations are oriented to serve the interests of all their stakeholders. … Under this system, a company’s purpose is to create long-term value and not to maximize profits and enhance shareholder value at the cost of other stakeholder groups.”

In other words, this would be a drastic and welcome change from the neoliberal corporate shareholder capitalism, if by “other stakeholder groups” the common consumer is meant. Highly unlikely. More likely is that long-term benefits (profits) should accumulate more equally to shareholders, as every shareholder is also a stakeholder. But not every stakeholder is a shareholder. Consumers, common people, are left behind.

  • And finally, there is a strong drive to reduce the world population; Bill Gates is one of the key drivers and has said so openly on various occasions. One of his most flagrant admissions is his TED Talk in 2010, “Innovating to Zero”, in California, where he says nonchalantly, “if we are doing a real good job, we may be able to reduce “the world population by 10% to 15% . This eugenics agenda fits the WEF agenda perfectly. Less people, fewer resources. Those that remain, can be more abundantly shared among the beautiful and powerful.

To close this essay on the WEF’s Great Global Reset, let me repeat the quote from “The Politics of Obedience” by Étienne de la Boétie:

He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.