Category Archives: General

A Political Fairy Tale

Once there was a democracy that had lost its way. Two irreconcilable views of government were tearing it apart. The first maintained that a democracy should be about more than creature comforts. A soulless democracy can also have such things. A true democracy, however, was about much more than this.

It has to do with life’s imponderables, the things of the spirit, the sacrosanct nature of each human person as an end in itself, not as a beast of burden to be used, exploited, and then cast aside. It has to do with human rights, equality, care for its poor and children, its sick and aged, ideals and values that make life worth living.

Food, clothing, shelter, and health care for all are also essential, but until that happens, it is not a democracy despite sumptuous dining, costly apparel, and mansions for the few.

What makes a democracy are old-fashioned virtues like compassion and kindness, concern for others and the common good, fairness and decency and social justice, for where there is justice, there is no need for charity.

These ideals cannot be measured for they are the measure of everything else that goes to the heart of what it means to be human and what makes life worth living for: the values that sustain a free people as civilized beings and give their lives joy.

Once a democracy loses its reverence for the human person, no matter what creed or color, ethnicity or lifestyle, it loses its soul, forsakes its humanity, and is already dead — however impressive its GNP. The infallible sign of a true democracy is the deepest concern for morality about every aspect of human existence for people come first, last, and always.

Enter Thrasymachus

Thrasymachus

The second view of democracy mocks at all this. It ignores everyone save the Rich and Powerful for they alone matter since democracy is their slave, ensuring that only they prosper, spending little on the people, but billions on themselves.

The people see this government as waging class war against them, and as more dangerous than any foreign enemy met in the field. One wonders why anyone but the Rich and Powerful would vote for these leaders, since this is their creed:

The world is a slaughterhouse in which the Poor and the Sick, the Weak and the Helpless, the Aged and Children should go to the wall. They are expendable and a burden on the Rich and Powerful, who alone rule the Earth.

Who decides what is moral?

The Rich and the Powerful!

What, then, is moral?

Whatever increases their riches and power!

And the justification for saying this?

Their Riches and Power! Whatever advances their interests is moral, for the law of life is the law of the jungle! There is no objective morality, just the eternal silence of an indifferent universe. 

Thus spoke, in paraphrase, the sophist Thrasymachus and his heirs down the ages in Plato’s Republic, Book One. In essence, this is his case to Socrates in this Dialogue, which has been read and pondered for 24 centuries. It is the argument of “Might Makes Right” that threatens every democracy that ever existed.

How keep Thrasymachus and his kind from coming to power? This is a problem that has never been solved for if the people are enchanted by his sweet-sounding promises, they will make him their leader, and he will destroy their democracy. He lives only in the moment with no thought for tomorrow and cares nothing for the devastation he leaves in his wake.

He and his enablers are Social Darwinians with no concern for the people whom they see as inferior and the world as a jungle of the survival of the Richest. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who prey on the weak. They want luxury for themselves in their gated communities, and penury and misery for others outside their gates. They are psychopaths for their lack of empathy toward those living now and for future generations, to whom they will leave a dead planet.

Books Eight and Nine deal with this Tyrant, who begins as a demagogue beguiling the people because they are oppressed by the Rich and the laws that protect them. They have bribed those in government to ignore the people, who want a Strong Man to lead and protect them.

Enter the Demagogue, who tells them that he alone can help them, be their Savior, and make their Country Great Again. Spellbound, the people make him their Leader, but, once in power, he turns on them and becomes a Tyrant, who stops at nothing to have his own way.

We have seen him before in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany where a free press is silenced and replaced with lies. Americans can see the same thing happening on Fox News.

If Thrasymachus and his GOP enablers come to power in 2024, this is what they will do: Slash health care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment and Accident Insurance, and food stamps for the poor. How the elderly, grandmothers, grandfathers, the sick, starving and homeless will survive is impossible to say since after shredding this safety net, these GOP leaders will divert those billions to the Rich and Powerful themselves, whose taxes will be lowered while those of everyone else will be raised.

Regulations on gun ownership, consumer protection, workplace safety, pollution, and climate change will all be rolled back, making life for Americans increasingly precarious and our planet unlivable when your children and grandchildren come of age.

Just reflect for a moment what kind of leaders would do this to those they have taken an oath to protect? What kind of human beings would impose such suffering on over three hundred million of their fellow citizens? Once you grasp the scope and magnitude of what will begin to happen in only two years, you will realize the nightmare that will descend on America.

Regarding global warming about which these new leaders will do nothing, only you and other young people can stop this from happening, since those responsible for unleashing this catastrophe will all be dead. The alternative is trying to survive for your descendants on an uninhabitable planet.

Voters in a democracy take pride in electing leaders who will protect and defend them. However, what they forget is that democracy is only an ideal, and ideals change nothing in this world unless there are men and women in government who themselves embody those ideals and are willing to risk their lives to protect them.

Our democracy must be carefully guarded by those you choose as your leaders, especially when it is under attack by a would-be dictator. To prevent this from happening, voters must choose their leaders from the best kind of people, not from the dregs of humanity.

Moreover, there are always those in public office who don’t believe in democracy, but as some of the present GOP politicians at the federal, state, and county levels want to destroy it from within. They merely pose as patriots while depriving millions of their fellow citizens of their right to vote from fear that they’ll vote “the wrong way.”

Americans who fought and died in two World Wars to protect our democracy could never have imagined that only a few generations later America might choose as president an unstable fascist dictator.

Just as incredible is that all three branches of government could collude to do precisely what they were designed to avoid doing by the separation of powers. Not that every Supreme Court justice or member of Congress is guilty of this collusion, but enough of them were and are to enable the former president to undermine these supposedly independent institutions.

We are dealing today with a far different kind of person than once filled the ranks of an honorable GOP party, men and women of integrity who in governing were open to compromise for the good of the country. Today, however, this party has been overrun with ideologues, extremists, and right-wing fanatics, who don’t want to govern in the old-fashioned manner by working with their Democratic colleagues in moving America forward.

They want only to wear down, frustrate, and obstruct their colleagues, refusing to listen, show good faith, or find common ground; fomenting division and hatred, while disillusioning voters, who may want nothing to do with the political process and withdraw from the fray — the ultimate game plan for this new breed of Republican to have the political field all to themselves.

They have already knelt to kiss the ring of this modern Thrasymachus in repudiation of those democratic principles they once espoused. They have hitched their wagon to a wannabe dictator, a Barnum & Bailey Bunkum Artist, who would destroy our democracy by spreading lies for personal gain.

His enablers at all levels of government are political chameleons, alive and well in every age, forever in search of the golden ring of opportunity to advance their own interests. They have shown by word and voting record that they reject the will of the people by their obdurate refusal to enact their wishes into law.

This raises the question of how do we know that we can trust those running for office since there are always voters who want to be lied to, as there are always scoundrels who want to oblige? These same voters long to abase themselves before any charlatan with the chutzpah to proclaim himself their Long-Awaited-Savior who will dry their tears and lead them into Paradise. But what if they follow this “Savior” over a cliff?

In Hitler’s Germany the mantra was, Führer, befiehl! Wir folgen dir bis in den Tod! Leader, command!(We follow you unto death!) How much political thinking in Germany at that time was a blind surrender to communal madness?

It is true because my Führer says it’s true! (And I believe in him because he is my Lord and Savior, who cannot be wrong, who cannot do wrong!) Sound familiar? If America succumbs to this level of infantilism as many do today for Trump, God help us for we are doomed!

Gebt mir zehn Jahre Zeit und ihr werdet Deutschland nicht wiedererkennen.” (“Give me ten years and you won’t recognize Germany”), boasted Hitler to the German people in promising to make Germany Great Again. They gave him twelve — and it was leveled to the ground.

The post A Political Fairy Tale first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The shifting baseline syndrome requires today’s people disavowing things written 10 years ago, even five years ago, but those books, articles, whitepapers and radio broadcasts are actually ahead of their time . . .

And what is that expiration date for good, sound, righteous news and writing and broadcasting?

I see more and more young people, and older ones, relying on up-to-the-minute news and up-to-the-minute authors to set the stage of their own personal collapse. Who do you need to hear, watch and rarely debate to help frame collapse?

Analysis paralysis, climate change fatigue, and, alas, the insanity of echo chambers and the constrant high pitched whine of the mainstream news, the mainstream thinkers and all the handlers of us, including the gatekeepers, those are today’s diseases, much more than mental malaise.

This is the groundhog day show, when people today think they are in the know because of some piece of ProPublica, investigative new or news feature, because of another hundredth documentary consumed in a year, and all the noise coming from these script readers and yellers and scammers we call the mainstream media.

For instance, how do we feed out kids, get our roads fixed, live healthy, and pull down the system, end the system, with stories like this?

Meet the Billionaire and Rising GOP Mega-Donor Who’s Gaming the Tax System

Susquehanna founder and TikTok investor Jeff Yass has avoided $1 billion in taxes while largely escaping public scrutiny. He’s now pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers.

by Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke

There is no difference between Tucker or Rachel. They are in it for the money, the accumulation of power, and the attention. Narcissim, and neglecting context and history and mutliple points of view, definitely defining characteristics of this day and age.

And so many wagons are circling, so many lobbies running the America citizen into the ground. So much is broken and wrong about the way the USA operates, that we are at the point of living in a world of thirty five adult, full-grown clowns coming out of the VW Bug or compact car.

I have these conversations daily about how much the average person has abandoned sanity or any faith or confidence in systems meant for The People, meant as entitlements for WE The People. That the pigs of commerce are gouging Americans on every leveL, that the housing crisis is more crises, that all those bombs and bullets and balistics are shipping to the Zionist Zelensky, that all of that is happening, but, oh, my, what to do about it?

We have insane people in positions of power, positions of middling influence, and then, of course, policy makers are in the pockets of the millionaires and billionaires, and then, we are at a point where, say, the community where I reside, Waldport and Newport, the dam holding our water source is crumbling and any action on it has to wait until the lottery numbers come in. Casino capitalism. Money for infrastructure gained through gaming the system, through gambling addiction.

Newport City Council approved $600,000 from federal relief funds for design tasks to replace the Big Creek dams, keeping the project moving while the city awaits state lottery bond funds and hopes for a much larger contribution from the federal government.

Last year, the Oregon Legislature approved a budget with $14 million appropriated for design and replacement of the earthen Big Creek dams, which are vulnerable to failure from relatively minor seismic event and showing signs of internal seepage. Those funds would bring the city through the design process and might contribute some to initial construction. (Source)

The incredible darkness of their lies, all of them, until here we are, stuck in a loop with Pig Trump and Pig Biden and all the Pigs of Politics.

How much money is funneled into the so-called Pentagon?

Really, how dependent is this country, USA, on the military machines? Military is everything — logistics, air, water, land, space, burgers  and buttons, and trillions of dollars spent to prop up the welfare queens and kings of profiteering. War mercenaries, and profit players.

And what is this new green economy? What is this divestment from hydrocarbons? Americans and many in the Woke UK and EU, they live in a make-believe world, fully Disneyfied. Absolutely stupid greenies in terms of how things are made — think steel and aluminum and concrete and, well, embedded energy and life-cycles of products all embedded in oil!

Oh the headlines:

Tryzub: The National Revolution Fantasized by Ukranian Nationalists

‘Ukraine Fatigue’ Intensifies as Sanctions Boomerang Ravages Western Economies

Western Media and Politicians Prefer to Ignore the Truth about Civilians Killed in Donetsk Shelling

Southern Ukraine is the Priority in NATO’s Planning

Most African Countries Support Russia

The Ukraine Crisis Will Be the END of NATO

I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.

— Malcolm X, , 1925-1965

So here we are: young people have no idea how the old days were the days of now, where solutions to the many problems were in the hands of communities, with farming, arts, communitarian spirit, sharing economy, mutual aid, rebuffing all those powers, all those instruments of suppression and oppression. The good old days were never put into play to the point of mass movements to oust the purveyors of pain, from militaries, to the government, to the corporation.

The good old ways, that is, those that embodied a spirit of honor and sharing, what the the Iroquois Great Law of Peace was about: a constitution that established a democracy between five Iroquois-speaking tribes—the Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, and Mohawk. This group of five nations, called the Iroquois Confederacy, was established around 1450.

Making decisions now that will affect seven generations out originated with the Iroquois – Great Law of the Iroquois – which holds appropriate to think seven generations ahead (about 525 years into the future, which is counted by multiplying the 75 years of an average human lifespan by 7) and decide whether the decisions they make today would benefit those unborn generations.

In 1744, the Onondaga leader Canassatego gave a speech urging the contentious 13 colonies to unite, as the Iroquois had at the signing of the Treaty of Lancaster. This cultural exchange inspired the English colonist Benjamin Franklin to print Canassatego’s speech.

“We heartily recommend Union and a good Agreement between you our Brethren,” Canassatego had said. “Never disagree, but preserve a strict Friendship for one another, and thereby you, as well as we, will become the stronger. Our wise Forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations; this has made us formidable; this has given us great Weight and Authority with our neighboring Nations. We are a powerful Confederacy; and, by your observing the same Methods our wise Forefathers have taken, you will acquire fresh Strength and Power; therefore whatever befalls you, never fall out one with another.”

He used a metaphor that many arrows cannot be broken as easily as one. This inspired the bundle of 13 arrows held by an eagle in the Great Seal of the United States. (source)

The Great Seal of the United States ca. 1917 - 1919

Their constitution, recorded and kept alive on a two row wampum belt, held many concepts familiar to United States citizens today.

Iroquois Confederacy and the Great Law of Peace United States Constitution
Restricts members from holding more than one office in the Confederacy. Article I, Section 6, Clause 2, also known as the Ineligibility Clause or the Emoluments Clause bars members of serving members of Congress from holding offices established by the federal government, while also baring members of the executive branch or judicial branch from serving in the U.S. House or Senate.
Outlines processes to remove leaders within the Confederacy Article II, Section 4 reads “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and the conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Designates two branches of legislature with procedures for passing laws Article I, Section 1, or the Vesting Clauses, read “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” It goes on to outline their legislative powers.
Delineates who has the power to declare war Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, also known as the War Powers Clause, gives Congress the power, “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
Creates a balance of power between the Iroquois Confederacy and individual tribes The differing duties assigned to the three branches of the U.S. Government: Legislative (Congress), Executive (President), and Judicial (Supreme Court) act to balance and separate power in government.

Oh, those old ways, no? Ignored: Native American democratic principles focus on the creation of strong kinship bonds that promote leadership in which honor is not earned by material gain but by service to others. Read again — honor not earned by material gain but service to others.

Imagine that tattoo on the foreheads of these evil politicians.

Check out my old stuff, long form interviews, over the radio. Here, on my Word Press site:

Yes, old stuff I uploaded, and, who the hell listens to old radio shows in this day and age? Who would care about my own education during these 56 minute episodes? People like authors, scientists, food experts, activists, etc.?

Check it out — Tipping Points: Voices from the Edge, Spokane, low power community radio! Here, my preamble. Note that I am not a greenie weenie, and I have always doubted the sustainability arena, the New Urbanism crap, all of that, really, since all of what I have learned in courses and certifications and degrees is that CAPITALISM is the bulldozer and the media manipulator of any possible bottom up way to solve myriad of problems, not just tied to resource piracy, biopiray, land grabs, resource thefts, pollution-pollution-pollution, toxicity-toxicity-toxicity.

Podcast list — Paul’s radio show from the mid-2000s. Ironically, poets, thinkers, scientists, community engagement experts, and book authors talked to me with an open mind. I engaged in exchanges of ideas. I was not a stenographer, and yes, I do jump in and have my own spin or take on things. I, of course, have changed my way toward enlightenment compared to the period of 2001 – 2011 I was in Spokane, writing, creating columns, teaching, and involved in activism. I am more grounded in my socialism and my communism. Working anywhere in the USA, Amerikkka, means covering up or masking one’s true self. Capitalism is a form of totalitarianism, and fascism in its own way. I have witnessed colonization of formerly independent thinkers, then a hive mentality take over and then just Plain Jane Stockholm Syndrome seeping into the collective, at large, especially within Democratic Party supporters. Academics. Woke folk. Et al. Enjoy these people, these historic and cutting edge long-form radio conversations!

Note: Realize that the greenie weenies, the Green New Deal (not for nature and people) proponents, the end of fossil fuel folk, all those liberals in the liberal managerial class, please, realize, that I was up against them. For this radio station, this low power community radio station, I had back-stabbers and retrogrades. If you realize the value of this body of work, in a span of two years (and I did work for a living, since this was a gratis gig), then you might understand where I am now, listening to and observing the rot, smelling the putridity, and all the monetizing of some really bad show. Good ones, too, thank goodness, supported me, but I was already deeply victimized by cancel culture. Some of the worse are the compliant ones, the herd, those that call themselves green and organic. However, many of those types hated my show, hated my work, and, well, many loved the work, but those are not the pied piper types. It’s the haters who come out from their dirty sheets at night like an army of bedbugs.

The post Out with the Old, In with the New first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Very Special Human Being

I’ve attended a lot of special ceremonies over my lifetime remembering or honoring people I know. Most memorable ones include my mom and dad’s retirement dinner in 1966 in Bangor, Maine, my son’s graduation from Rutgers University in 2005, the funerals of my (many) aunts and uncles and my parents, and two dinners in New York City in the 1980s honoring anti-racist, southern, progressive leaders Anne Braden and Victoria Gray-Adams.

Today’s special ceremony across the street from my house at the Demarest local elementary school was different. This one honored Dominick Delli Paoli, retiring after 22 years as a crossing guard at the age of 92. For all of those later years of his life, he helped to get kids between the ages of 5 and 11 safely across Broughton Avenue in Bloomfield, NJ every school morning and afternoon.

But Dominick was so much more, and that is why he was honored in the elementary school gym today by hundreds of excited, appreciative and beautiful children, as well as the school principal, teachers, other staff and a few neighbors.

Up until the last couple of years when his health declined, Dominick usually didn’t go home after the morning shift. He went inside the school, volunteering to help in any way he could. If the custodial staff needed an extra hand for something he was available. He often helped out teachers by reading to their students; he also assisted in the cafeteria. When school was dismissed, he returned to his work as a crossing guard before he returned home.

Dominick came to work early, and what he did while waiting for the kids to arrive was to walk past the homes across the street from the school. If there was a newspaper that had been thrown onto a driveway he would pick it up and put it next to the front door.

I remember a time when I saw Dominick after returning from one of my early morning bike rides. I was feeling down, feeling as I sometimes do the weight of our wounded and struggling world, wondering if the work that I and many others are doing to change it is ever going to yield significant results. I had ridden my bike into the garage where I park it, and as I came out Dominick surprised me by being right there. In his hands was our daily-delivered newspaper, and he offered it to me. I took it, mumbled a thank you and went inside.

Immediately, I started feeling different. That small act of Dominick’s, knowing it to be something he does regularly out of the goodness of his heart, really affected me. It was as if he were an angel being there to pick me up in my hour of need, my need for inspiration. I was very touched, and changed.

At today’s retirement ceremony Dominick was presented with one plaque from the school and at least 100 handmade cards and posters from the Demarest children. After the brief ceremony honoring him, Dominick didn’t speak, too overwhelmed to do so he said later. But he acted. He began walking down the aisle, shaking hands and hugging any of the children who wanted that personal contact. Many, many did.

After the kids and their teachers left the auditorium back to their rooms, a few of us who knew him and the principal talked for a few minutes. Dominick reminisced about the many things which he did as a volunteer in the school for so many years. He talked about how much he enjoyed doing so, how much he loved the children. That was why he did what he did.

Dominick is a very special person, but he’s not alone. There are people like him everywhere, in every country, every city, every town, every neighborhood. They are the salt of the earth people who give hope, who quietly and modestly hold things together by their example and their love. Long live the example of Dominick Delli Paoli!

The post A Very Special Human Being first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Cindy Sheehan, Mickey Z. and Weird “Activist” Karma (part 1)

Mickey Z.: Recently, Cindy Sheehan and I appeared on each other’s podcasts (Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Newsletter and Post-Woke). While talking off-air, Cindy suggested we collaborate on an article related to our experiences with the Left — particularly since March 2020. To follow is the first part of that conversation.

MZ: About a month or two ago, a subscriber to my Substack described it as a “conservative blog.” She did so while pointing out how “unexpected” it is that someone running a conservative blog also runs a one-man program to help homeless women. Strangely, I didn’t flinch or feel any need to defend or explain myself. Welcome to 2022.

For the record, I am not a conservative. I’m also not a liberal. These days, I doubt I qualify as anything traditionally “left” or “right” and I’m not sure it matters in any ideological sense. But it certainly matters in an interpersonal sense. For the crime of pointing out the lies and contradictions in the Covid narrative, I’ve lost friends and family members. And that sucks. Again, welcome to 2022.

Cindy Sheehan: I have had similar experiences with people for the past two years, as my comrade, Mickey. If I had a nickel for every time someone called me a “Trumper,” or “Proud boy,” or even the ultimate 2020’s slur: Anti-vaxxer, I’d have hundreds of nickels!

As someone who has stood fast on her principles of peace, economic equality, and working-class solidarity, for almost two decades in the public eye, I thought I had earned some caché, or that I had piled up some credits in the Cindy Sheehan Bank of Trust. But as soon as a ¡VIRUS! hit our shores with a bigger P.R. push than George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq, my star faded in the eyes of former friends, colleagues, and comrades, while the stars of such criminal exploiters like Trump, Biden, Fauci, and Gates (not an inclusive list) went SUPER-NOVA in their galaxy.

MZ: I hear you, Cindy, and I’ve certainly always seen you that way. Whether or not I agree with you (and I most often do!), I know where you’re coming from and I recognize the hard work you do before reaching conclusions. It’s heartbreaking to witness the divisive power of fear in action. We got more than a little taste of it after 9/11 — when I also lost friends, comrades, and family members. Since March 2020, however, the programming went nuclear and has (so far) proven more potent than decades of reputation-building, friendship, and community.

In the meantime, as you and I have mentioned on our respective podcasts, we’ve made some new allies. So, how do you see yourself building on these new connections and addressing the very urgent issues of the moment (censorship, the Great Reset, etc.) — all while sustaining your commitment to principles of peace, economic equality, and working-class solidarity?

CS: As an illustrative example, Mickey and I had a falling-out in 2016 over the presidential elections. It took Mickey reaching out this year for us to re-establish a connection. When we both realized we had the same ideas about the current situation, I know I was elated to be back in touch, but dismayed at the lost opportunity we had to work together to oppose the neo-fascism we were all experiencing. I tell this story because before the ¡VIRUS! I was very guilty of applying the “purity test” to my activist relationships.

I mean, there are times when there are chasms that cannot be crossed, but when it comes to revolutionary victory over the global ruling class, we all need to grasp the fact that no matter how loony your neighbor may appear to you — right, left, or center — we have more in common with any of them than we do with the ilk of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. If we continue obsessing on how anyone voted in 2016, or 2020, and making the profoundly corrupt electoral process our litmus test, we cannot even begin to address anything that is not a wedge issue (guns/abortion) like imperialism and diseased capitalism.

Where do you see we can build a movement across political divides without compromising our values?

MZ: I very much hope I finally and fully learned the purity test lesson, too! But I agree that some chasms are best left alone. Better to use that time and energy to connect with someone with whom there’s some kind of starting point. As for your question, here’s my long attempt at answering it:

Ten years ago, I was still heavily involved with Occupy Wall Street. I was at several protests, events, and demos each week — often, I was the one speaking. I gave talks on a regular basis and even led teach-ins in NYC parks. My old Facebook page was a frenzy of radical activity.

That said, I have no interest in participating in the same old virtue signaling, exhibitionist, futile “activism” now. Even if I was, the vast majority of the people I worked with back then have since rejected me. First, it was my examination of “activist” tactics. Then I dared to question the trans agenda. Finally, pandemic politics became the proverbial last straw.

So, I had to go back 20 years for inspiration. I had a huge global audience thanks to the books I was writing and my non-stop articles on sites like Z Net and Counterpunch. I even jumped on the blog bandwagon to further solidify my standing in that pre-social media world.

What I’m doing today is both similar to this and new. I’m still engaged in 24/7 self-education and relentlessly sharing what I discover. But I’ve lost most of my comrades and now, social media censors me. This led me to create a Substack and jump on the podcast bandwagon. My approach is to talk with a wide spectrum of guests on the podcast while posting about just as wide a spectrum of topics in my written posts. All of this is in the name of exposing my readers and listeners to viewpoints that would be erased on any site governed by an algorithm.

CS: It’s interesting to me, Mickey, that our experiences are essentially the same, moving through separate spaces. Is it because of who we are as humans, or how the “movements” are?

I never imagined before my son Casey was killed in Iraq in April of 2004, that I would become an activist, never mind all of the attention my activism got (Camp Casey in Crawford pre-dated the OWS movement by six years?).

I was such a noob when I decided that I would, with my sister-comrade Dede Miller (RIP), go to Crawford, Texas in August of 2005 to ask George W, Bush “What Noble Cause?” To say I was stunned at the response is an understatement. People poured into poor Crawford by the thousands, and we had many thousands of people around the world in solidarity with us. It was obnoxious how much media scrutiny I came under.

My first mistake in my “career” was thinking that everyone who came to Crawford that summer wanted the post-9/11 wars to end: Afghanistan and Iraq. I had so much support that summer that I felt blessed by the universe and I felt that we were really going to end the wars. All of my energy and positivity would come to a crashing halt though when the Democrats regained a majority in Congress and they did nothing to end the wars. So, I left the party, and more than half of my support left me. Fake-lefty online spaces like The Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Democracy Now, Democrats.com, TruthOut, and CommonDreams left me and dropped me like the proverbial hot potato.

By the time the ¡VIRUS! struck in 2020, I was down to a handful of really strong anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist comrades. I thought if they were still with me after I left the War Party; opposed Obama’s wars, and still held Democrats to the same standard I held the Republicans, then they would be my comrades FOR LIFE — no matter what. However, I think I lost more than half of those people to the shining examples of sacrifice and morality: the previously mentioned criminals. All of a sudden, instead of being a person of integrity and courage, I became a pariah in my own community. Ironically, the same people who castigated me for not hating Trump enough were now castigating me because I was hesitant to inject his Operation Warp Speed juice into my body.  In 2020,  then candidates Sloppy Joe Biden and Kopmala Harris are on the record as saying that they would NEVER inject something in their bodies that was propagated by Trump — until they became the neo-fascists in charge of it, then even the most ardent Trump haters lined up for their jabs. In my humble opinion, no matter how we personally feel about the Covax, it should be no one’s business what medical procedure we decide to take, or not — from vaccines to abortions.

How can we triumph over the paradigm of war and profiteering over people that we have in this country when we always have to play the “Blue No Matter Who” Game? Look where that has led us: to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

MZ: Wow, Cindy, it appears you and I have accumulated a lot of weird “activist” karma. What shadow work do we need to do? Why do we seem to be condemned to so much acceptance-then-rejection? (Personally, I’ve always related to the Cassandra myth.)

I’ve also always flinched at decades of claims that I “never offer a solution.” I even have a stock answer to this charge. Here goes: Way too many people imply that unless a critic expounds a specific strategy for change, their opinion is worthless. This reaction misses the essential role critical analysis plays in a society where problems — and their causes — are so cleverly disguised.

Perhaps it’s time for me to toss that answer into the dustbin of history and try a new approach. Perhaps it’s also time for us to make this a two-part article? Part 2 could be a discussion of possible steps to, as you say above, “build a movement across political divides without compromising our values”? Or do you wanna keep going here?

CS: Mickey and I are hoping that this contribution to the current state of activism, or lack thereof, will begin a conversation about how we can “build a movement across political divides without compromising our values.” We need everybody to stop the world’s rapid slide into all-out war and environmental devastation. We are asking for your comments, thoughts, experiences, and solutions to incorporate into Part 2 of this conversation and to begin to build the movement we need to undermine the capitalists, profiteers, and imperialists.

The post Cindy Sheehan, Mickey Z. and Weird “Activist” Karma (part 1) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why is Everything Broken?

Begin then with a fracture, a cesura, a rent; opening a crack in this fallen world, a shaft of light.

— Norman O. Brown, Love’s Body

Being sick for the past few weeks has had its advantages.  It has forced me to take a break from writing since I could not concentrate enough to do so.  It has gifted me with a deeper sympathy for the vast numbers of the seriously ill around the world, those suffering souls without succor except for desperate prayers for relief.  And it has allowed thoughts to think me as I relinquished all efforts at control for a few miserable weeks of “doing nothing” except napping, reading short paragraphs in books, watching some sports and a documentary, and being receptive to the light coming through the cracks in my consciousness.

I suppose you could say that my temporary illness forced me, as José Ortega Y Gasset described it, virtually and provisionally to withdraw myself from the world and take a stand inside myself – “or, to use a magnificent word which exists only in Spanish, that man can ensimismarse (‘be inside himself’).”

But as I learned, being “inside myself” doesn’t mean the outside world doesn’t come visiting, both in its present and past manifestations.  When you are sick, you feel most vulnerable; this sense of frailty breaks you open to strange and familiar thoughts, feelings, dreams and memories that you must catch on the fly, pin with words if you are quick enough.  I’ve pinned some over these weeks as they came to me through the cracks.

“Broken flesh, broken mind, broken speech,” wrote Norman Brown when he argued for aphoristic truth as opposed to methods or systematic form.  These days the feeling that everything is broken is the norm, that madness reigns, that truth is being strangled and all we have are lies and more lies. Carefully constructed arguments fall on deaf ears as dissociation of the personality, post-modern attention-disorder, gender confusion, and corporate/intelligence mass media propaganda techniques are used daily to sow confusion.  In simple colloquial language, people are badly fucked up.

Much of the world is suffering from megrims.  Bob Dylan puts it simply:

Broken lines, broken strings
Broken threads, broken springs
Broken idols, broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Who can disagree?  Everyone’s mind seems to be at the end of its tether.

Why?  There are obvious answers, and while so many are true, they are insufficient, for they usually scratch the surface of a worldwide crisis that has been developing for at least a century and a half.  That crisis is spiritual.  Many can feel it rumbling beneath the surface of world events. It’s a rumbling in the bowels. It’s unspoken. It’s something very dark, sinister, and satanic. It seems to be a form of systemic evil almost with a will of its own that is sweeping the world.

For many decades I have studied, written, and taught in an effort to grasp the essence of what has been happening in our world.  My tools have been philosophy, theology, literature, art, and sociology – all the disciplines really, including a careful study of popular culture.  It was always a personal quest, for my “career” has been my vocation.

Being trained in the classics from high school through college, and then the scientific method and textual analysis, I adhered for the most part to logical analyses in the classical style.  Such an approach, while possessed of a certain elegance and balance, has serious limitations since it suggests the world follows a neat Aristotelian logic and that there is a method to the world’s madness that is easy to capture in logical argumentation.  Romanticism and existentialism, to name two reactions to such thinking, arose in opposition.  Each offered a needed corrective to the reductive, materialist nature of a scientific method that became deified while dismissing God, freedom, and the spiritual as leftover superstitions from olden times.

But I have no sustained argument to offer here, just some scraps I gathered while enduring weeks in the doldrums.  I sense these bits of seemingly digressive little flashes in the dark were telling me something about what I have been trying to understand for many years: the grasp the demonic has on our world today.

It is easy to dismiss the use of such a word, for it sounds hyperbolic, and it easily plays into the ridiculous themes of popular Hollywood and tabloid entertainment, which have also become staples of the formerly “serious” media as well.  It’s all entertainment now, life the movie, the unreality of endless propaganda, sick, sordid, and what can only be termed “The Weirdness,” a term my friend the writer and playwright Joe Green has suggested to me.  I think it would be a serious mistake to dismiss the demonic nature of the forces at work in our world today.

  • Like Rip Van Winkle, I awoke one recent day, a few weeks after I wrote my last article before I got sick, to see that the corporate media/intelligence narrative on the war in Ukraine had taken an abrupt turn. I had written on May 13, 2022 that certain leftists were parroting the official U.S. propaganda that Russia was losing its battle with the Ukrainian forces.  Noam Chomsky had claimed the U.S. media were doing a good job reporting Russian war crimes in Ukraine and Chris Hedges had said that Russia had suffered “nine weeks of humiliating military failures.”  Now The New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. – mirabile dictu – have suddenly changed their tune and the Russians are winning after all.  Who was asleep?  Or was it sleep that prompted such obviously false reporting?  For the Russians were clearly winning from the start.  Yet we can be assured the authoritative voices will continue to flip the switch and play mind games, for shock and confusion are keys to effective propaganda, and American exceptionalism with its divine mission, its manifest destiny, is to demonically try to destroy Russia.
  • The slogan that I learned when I was a Marine before becoming a conscientious objector came to me when I was feverish. “My rifle is my life.” I never thought so, but I did recall how when I was ten-years-old my cousin killed his brother with a rifle, and how I heard the news on the radio while talking with my father.  The New York Times reported: “A 9-year-old boy was fatally wounded last night by his brother, 7, while the two were playing with a rifle in a neighbor’s apartment in the northeast Bronx….[the rifle] “was secreted in a bedroom” [under the bed] and was loaded.
  • Report: Don McLean cancels his singing performance at the National Riffle Association’s convention following the Uvalde school shooting. What an act of moral courage!  Ah, Don, “Now I understand/What you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/And how you tried to set them free/They would not listen, they did not know how/Perhaps they’ll listen now”  Let’s hope not to you.
  • Watched the new documentary about George Carlin – “George Carlin’s American Dream.” I have always had a soft spot for George, a fellow New Yorker with a Catholic upbringing, and a good-hearted guy who generously offered to help me years ago when I was fired from a teaching position for ostensibly playing a recording of his seven words that you can never say on television.  The real reasons for my firing were that I was organizing a teacher’s union and had brought well-known anti-war activists to speak at the school.  But what struck me in this interesting documentary was George’s facile dismissal of God – “the God bullshit,” as he put it.  Funny, of course, and correct in certain ways, it was also jejune in significant ways and threw God out with the bathwater.  It was something I had not previously noticed about his routine, but this time around it hit me as unworthy of his scathing critiques of American life.  It got laughs at the expense of deeper and important truths and probably has had deleterious effects on generations who have been beguiled and besotted by how George’s God critique consonantly fits with the shallow arguments of the new atheists.  George was overreacting to the ignorance of his superficial religious training and not distinguishing God from institutional religion.
  • Half-awake on the couch one day, I somehow remembered that when I was teaching at another school and involved in anti-war activities, a fellow teacher stopped me on a staircase on a late Friday afternoon when no one was around and tried to get me to join Army Intelligence. “You are exactly the type we could use,” he said, “since you are so outspoken in your anti-war positions.”  I will spare you my reply, which involved words you once could never say on TV.  But the encounter taught me an early lesson about distinguishing friend from foe; how treachery is real, and evil often wears a smiley face. The man who approached me was the head of social studies curricula for the Roman Catholic Brooklyn Diocese of New York.
  • Al Capone, while speaking to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. in 1931: “People respect nothing nowadays….It is undermining the country. Virtue, honor, truth, and the law have all vanished from our life.”
  • I also read this from Literature and the Gods by Roberto Calasso: “… all the mythologies now pass a largely indolent life in a no-man’s-land haunted by gods and vagrant simulacra, by ghosts and Gypsy caravans in constant movement. They learn only to tell their stories again …. Yet it is precisely this ability that is so obviously lacking in the world around us. Behind the trembling curtains of what passes for ‘reality,’ the voices throng. If no one listens, they steal the costume of the first person they can grab and burst onto the stage in ways that can be devastating.  Violence is the expedient of what has been refused an audience.”
  • Lying in bed after a feverish night early on in my sickness, I looked up at the ceiling where a fly was buzzing. I remembered how years ago, when my father was in the hospital after a terrible car accident in which he smashed his head, he told me he was seeing monkeys all over the ceiling of the hospital room.  Later, when I was out of bed, I heard the news reports about monkeypox and thought I was also hallucinating.  I started laughing, a sardonic laughter brought to a feverish pitch after more than two years of Covid propaganda.  These are the same people who hope to create a transhuman future – mechanical monkeys.
  • On a table lay the third volume of a trilogy of books – Sinister Forces – by Peter Levenda. I opened it to a bookmarked page.  Anyone who has read these books with a half-way open mind will be shocked by the amount of documented history they contain, history so bizarre and disturbing that reading them is not advisable before bedtime.  Sinister forces that run through American history, indeed, but Levenda presents his material in a most reasonable and fair-minded way.  I read these paragraphs:

The historical model I am proposing in these volumes should be obvious by now. By tracing the darker elements of the American experience from the earliest days of the Adena and Hopewell cultures through the discovery by Columbus, the English settlers in Massachusetts and the Salem witchcraft episode, the rise of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Mormons via ceremonial magic and Freemasonry, up to the twentieth century and the support of Nazism by American financiers and politicians before, during, and after World War II, and the UFO phenomenon coming on the heels of that war, we can see the outline of a political ectoplasm taking shape in this historical séance: politics as a continuation of religion by other means. The ancillary events of the Charles Manson murders, the serial killer phenomenon, Jonestown, and the assassinations of Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Marilyn Monroe are all the result of the demonic possession of the American psyche, like the obscenities spat out by little Regan [The Exorcist], tied to her bed and shrieking at the exorcists. It is said that demonic possession is a way of testing us, and making us aware of the real conflict taking place within us every day….

The more I looked, however, the more I found men with bizarre beliefs and involved in questionable, occult practices at the highest levels of the American government, and buried deep within government agencies. I also discovered that occultism was embraced by the American military and intelligence establishments as a weapon to be used in the Cold War; and as they did so, they unleashed forces upon the American populace that cannot be called back….

One inevitably was forced back to the CIA and the mind-control experiments that began in the late 1940s and extended nearly to the present day [no, to the present day]. Coincidence piled upon coincidence, indicating the existence of a powerful, subliminal force working at the level of chaos – at the quantum level – and struggling to manifest itself in our reality, our consciousness, our political agenda.

If that all sounds too bizarre for words, unbelievable really, I suggest that one read these books, for if only a minority of Levenda’s claims are true, we are in the grip of evil forces so depraved that fiction writers couldn’t imagine such reality.

As I finish these notes, I am sitting outside on a small porch, watching the rain subside.  The sun has just emerged.  It is 5:30 P.M. and across the driveway and a lawn of grass, eight foxes have come through the bushes.  The parents watch as the six kits jump and scamper around the ground level porch of a cottage that is unoccupied.  The foxes have a den under the porch, and every day for a few months we have been privileged to watch them perform their antics in the mornings and evenings. Cute would be an appropriate word for the kits, especially when they were smaller.  But they are growing fast and suddenly one sees and seizes a squirrel and worries it to death by shaking it in its mouth.  Soon they are ripping it to pieces.  Cute has turned deadly.  But as the aforementioned Ortega Y Gasset says, while people can be inside themselves, “The animal is pure alteraciόn. It cannot be within itself.”  This is because it has no self, “no chez soi, where it can withdraw and rest.”  Foxes always live in pure exteriority, unlike me, who is sitting here with a small glass of wine and thinking about them and the various thoughts that have come to me over these past few weeks.

Before I came outside, I read this from a powerful new article by Naomi Wolf – “Dear Friends, Sorry to Announce a Genocide” – “It is a time of demons sauntering around in human spaces, though they look human enough themselves, smug in their Italian suits on panels at the World Economic Forum.”

In this piece she writes about what is in the 55,000 internal Pfizer documents which the FDA had asked a court to keep under wraps for 75 years, but which a court has released as a result of outside pressure.  These documents reveal evil so depraved that words would fail her if not for her moral conscience and her growing awareness – that I share – that we are dealing with a phenomenon that demands an analysis that is theological, not sociological.  She writes:

Knowing as I now do, that Pfizer and the FDA knew that babies were dying and mothers’ milk discoloring by just looking at their own internal records; knowing as I do that they did not alert anyone let alone stop what they were doing, and that to this day Pfizer, the FDA and other demonic “public health” entities are pushing to MRNA-vaccinate more and more pregnant women; now that they are about to force this on women in Africa and other lower income nations who are not seeking the MRNA vaccines, per Pfizer CEO Bourla this past week at the WEF, and knowing that Pfizer is pushing and may even receive a US EUA for babies to five year olds — I must conclude that we are looking into an abyss of evil not seen since 1945.

So I don’t know about you, but I must switch gears with this kind of unspeakable knowledge to another kind of discourse.

That discourse is religious, for Naomi has realized that our world is in satanic hands, and that only a recognition of that fact offers a way out.  That those who wield weapons both medical and military can only be defeated by those who realize that a key part of the killers’ propaganda has been a long campaign to convince people, not only that God does not exist, but that Satan doesn’t either.  This, while they assume the mantle of the evil one.

She says:

This time could really be the last time; these monsters in the labs, on the transnational panels, are so very skillful; and so powerful; and their dark work is so extensive.

If God is there — again — after all the times that we have tried his patience — and who indeed knows? – will we reach out a hand to him in return, will we take hold in the last moment out of this abyss, and simply find a way somehow to walk alongside him?

We will, but only if we also recognize the deeper forces informing our hidden history and haunting our present days.  Sometimes an illness can crack you open to being receptive to shafts of light that can lead the way.  Yet to do so we must go deep into very dark places.  And since everyone and everything seems broken now – let’s say everyone is just sick in some way – maybe courage is what we need, the simple courage to open ourselves to the voices of the hungry ghosts that haunt this country.  Norman O. Brown referred to them and our stage set this way:

Ancestral voices prophesying war; ancestral spirits in the danse macabre or war dance; Valhalla, ghostly warriors who kill each other and are reborn to fight again. All warfare is ghostly, every army an exercitus feralis (army of ghosts), every soldier a living corpse.

The U.S.A. and its allies are waging war on many fronts.  It is a form of total war – cold, hot, medical, military, mind-control, spiritual, etc. – that demands a total response from us.  None of us is completely innocent; we are all part of the deep evil that is happening all around us.  But if we listen carefully, we might hear God asking for our help.  For we need each other.

I watch in horror as the cute foxes kill their prey.  I must remind myself that that is their nature.  As for my fellow humans, I know that it isn’t nature that drives them to kill, maim, hurt, lie, etc.

Everything is truly broken, and I’m not joking.

But someone is laughing.

It’s not God.

The post Why is Everything Broken? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time

In the 16th Century, French essayist Etienne de la Boetie, amazed at people’s obedience to perceived authority, penned Discourse On Voluntary Servitude. It wasn’t obedience per se that disturbed him, but that he saw people as “driven to servility,” when refusal to comply would end their servitude: “(I)f, without any violence [tyrants] are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing.”

For Boetie, being free is the natural state for humans, and he wanted to understand “…. how it happens that this obstinate willingness to submit has become so deeply rooted in a nation that the very love of liberty now seems no longer natural.” He was ruthless in his assessment of the people he saw: “[T]he essential reason why men take orders willingly is that they are born serfs and are reared as such.”

Boetie’s “… and are reared as such” alludes to intergenerational relationships: “It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to.” This is as we’ve seen since early 2020, as the young developed world views while watching a terrified parental generation yield when commanded to mask up, to isolate and to keep distance from other humans. Given the direction of society, coming generations will certainly see increasing levels of submission to authority as normal. No longer will it be “new” normal. Just normal.

And what is ’normal’ to be? Let transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari explain that people now may be the last generations of Homo sapiens, because “elites” (his word) have the technology to hack our bodies, as one might hack a computer, because after all, individual persons, we are told, are just algorithms. Therefore, they can be engineered en masse, with genetic code “edited” according to “our” intelligent design, and not the design of “some god above the clouds”. Concepts of soul and free will, he tells us, are over, and IBM and Microsoft clouds will now drive evolution. A new regime of mass surveillance from “under the skin” is emerging.

Harari’s “under the skin” mirrors the predictions of Klaus Schwab, guiding figure of the World Economic Forum, seen here explaining the coming fusion of people’s physical, digital and biological identities. Microchips will soon be implanted within bodies, this allowing direct connection between brains and the digital world. Individuals and the cloud, you see, are to be essentially one. And when you add to this the editing of human (for the time being) DNA, the sky truly is the limit.

But really, hasn’t “predictive programming” been habituating us with years of messaging in cultural and entertainment outlets? But of course! — such a claim would naturally be denounced as “conspiracy theory” by establishment interests, but that alone is reason for a closer look. One finds that “nudge units”, governmental programs employing platoons of psychologists and marketing experts, created to influence public perceptions and behavior, are not only acknowledged, but are so successful that countries all over the world are creating their own. The goals of predictive programming and those of nudge units are in perfect synch. That being so, any argument that nudge units would overlook the power of predictive programming to familiarize the public with oncoming conditions is absurd.

Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel is noteworthy for his opinion — a particularly interesting “nudge” — that humans attaining age 75 should cease clinging to life which, by then, is “faltering and declining”, transforming “… how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us.” He doesn’t advocate suicide, just a withholding of major attempts at the preservation of life. This has implications for the passage of information within a civilization over time. Whereas cultures everywhere, and through time, have revered elders as narrators of cultural history, for Emanuel the wisdom acquired by the very old from their unique view of the passing of generations is not, in itself, important enough to cherish.

Emanuel’s position fits well with the coming techno-utopian world conceptualized by Harari, in which a great “useless class” is created: “What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?” Superfluous! Thus is utilitarianism as an underlying techno-utopian value established. And because the rest of the technophilic pyramid of power prays to the God of Efficiency in the Church of Artificial Intelligence, the only logical path forward would be to disappear the useless bottom layer. The logic inherent in AI would make it unavoidable.

In 1956, psychologist Carl Jung, in The Undiscovered Self, wrote that making people functions of the state “externalizes” them, causing the loss of “their extramundane point of reference …. relation to an authority which is not of this world”. Jung speaks of the importance of a spiritual connection, not based on learned religious dogmas, but internally sourced, “which alone can protect …. from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass”. How radically opposite that is to Harari’s mocking reference to anything not definable algorithmically.

66 years before psychiatrist Mattias Desmet referred to the collective reaction to the Covid19 ‘Pandemic’ as “mass formation”, Jung was describing the “collective possession” that “displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations.” Referencing the Nazi’s Third Reich, Jung wrote that it would not be surprising “if another civilized nation succumbed to the infection of a uniform and one-sided idea. America ….. is perhaps even more vulnerable than Europe, since her educational system is the most influenced by the scientific Weltanschauung [worldview] with its statistical truths.”

It is doubtful that Jung foresaw the fatal dangers of transhumanism, the very melding of consciousness with the digital sphere, but for him the purely scientific existence, dominated by cold technical logic, was dreadful enough: “In this reality man is the slave and victim of the machines that have conquered space and time for him.” Nevertheless, his optimism remained intact: “Slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates”.

But here’s the rub: “Inseparable” would no longer apply in the planned-for transhuman experience. Slavery could be guaranteed, because rebellion could easily be — and certainly would be — rendered impossible if the Great Reset’s promise to a cloud-connected humanity were ever to be fulfilled: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” For how could any form of rebellion possibly arise from hackable algorithms engineered to experience happiness regardless of conditions? Techno-utopian engineers would naturally create nothing but models of obedience perfectly content with whatever their situations might be. This prospect is what our descendants will face.

The post Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time

In the 16th Century, French essayist Etienne de la Boetie, amazed at people’s obedience to perceived authority, penned Discourse On Voluntary Servitude. It wasn’t obedience per se that disturbed him, but that he saw people as “driven to servility,” when refusal to comply would end their servitude: “(I)f, without any violence [tyrants] are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing.”

For Boetie, being free is the natural state for humans, and he wanted to understand “…. how it happens that this obstinate willingness to submit has become so deeply rooted in a nation that the very love of liberty now seems no longer natural.” He was ruthless in his assessment of the people he saw: “[T]he essential reason why men take orders willingly is that they are born serfs and are reared as such.”

Boetie’s “… and are reared as such” alludes to intergenerational relationships: “It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to.” This is as we’ve seen since early 2020, as the young developed world views while watching a terrified parental generation yield when commanded to mask up, to isolate and to keep distance from other humans. Given the direction of society, coming generations will certainly see increasing levels of submission to authority as normal. No longer will it be “new” normal. Just normal.

And what is ’normal’ to be? Let transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari explain that people now may be the last generations of Homo sapiens, because “elites” (his word) have the technology to hack our bodies, as one might hack a computer, because after all, individual persons, we are told, are just algorithms. Therefore, they can be engineered en masse, with genetic code “edited” according to “our” intelligent design, and not the design of “some god above the clouds”. Concepts of soul and free will, he tells us, are over, and IBM and Microsoft clouds will now drive evolution. A new regime of mass surveillance from “under the skin” is emerging.

Harari’s “under the skin” mirrors the predictions of Klaus Schwab, guiding figure of the World Economic Forum, seen here explaining the coming fusion of people’s physical, digital and biological identities. Microchips will soon be implanted within bodies, this allowing direct connection between brains and the digital world. Individuals and the cloud, you see, are to be essentially one. And when you add to this the editing of human (for the time being) DNA, the sky truly is the limit.

But really, hasn’t “predictive programming” been habituating us with years of messaging in cultural and entertainment outlets? But of course! — such a claim would naturally be denounced as “conspiracy theory” by establishment interests, but that alone is reason for a closer look. One finds that “nudge units”, governmental programs employing platoons of psychologists and marketing experts, created to influence public perceptions and behavior, are not only acknowledged, but are so successful that countries all over the world are creating their own. The goals of predictive programming and those of nudge units are in perfect synch. That being so, any argument that nudge units would overlook the power of predictive programming to familiarize the public with oncoming conditions is absurd.

Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel is noteworthy for his opinion — a particularly interesting “nudge” — that humans attaining age 75 should cease clinging to life which, by then, is “faltering and declining”, transforming “… how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us.” He doesn’t advocate suicide, just a withholding of major attempts at the preservation of life. This has implications for the passage of information within a civilization over time. Whereas cultures everywhere, and through time, have revered elders as narrators of cultural history, for Emanuel the wisdom acquired by the very old from their unique view of the passing of generations is not, in itself, important enough to cherish.

Emanuel’s position fits well with the coming techno-utopian world conceptualized by Harari, in which a great “useless class” is created: “What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?” Superfluous! Thus is utilitarianism as an underlying techno-utopian value established. And because the rest of the technophilic pyramid of power prays to the God of Efficiency in the Church of Artificial Intelligence, the only logical path forward would be to disappear the useless bottom layer. The logic inherent in AI would make it unavoidable.

In 1956, psychologist Carl Jung, in The Undiscovered Self, wrote that making people functions of the state “externalizes” them, causing the loss of “their extramundane point of reference …. relation to an authority which is not of this world”. Jung speaks of the importance of a spiritual connection, not based on learned religious dogmas, but internally sourced, “which alone can protect …. from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass”. How radically opposite that is to Harari’s mocking reference to anything not definable algorithmically.

66 years before psychiatrist Mattias Desmet referred to the collective reaction to the Covid19 ‘Pandemic’ as “mass formation”, Jung was describing the “collective possession” that “displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations.” Referencing the Nazi’s Third Reich, Jung wrote that it would not be surprising “if another civilized nation succumbed to the infection of a uniform and one-sided idea. America ….. is perhaps even more vulnerable than Europe, since her educational system is the most influenced by the scientific Weltanschauung [worldview] with its statistical truths.”

It is doubtful that Jung foresaw the fatal dangers of transhumanism, the very melding of consciousness with the digital sphere, but for him the purely scientific existence, dominated by cold technical logic, was dreadful enough: “In this reality man is the slave and victim of the machines that have conquered space and time for him.” Nevertheless, his optimism remained intact: “Slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates”.

But here’s the rub: “Inseparable” would no longer apply in the planned-for transhuman experience. Slavery could be guaranteed, because rebellion could easily be — and certainly would be — rendered impossible if the Great Reset’s promise to a cloud-connected humanity were ever to be fulfilled: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” For how could any form of rebellion possibly arise from hackable algorithms engineered to experience happiness regardless of conditions? Techno-utopian engineers would naturally create nothing but models of obedience perfectly content with whatever their situations might be. This prospect is what our descendants will face.

The post Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Mass Shootings: The Vicious Cycle Fueled by America’s Toxic Cult of Violence

Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that relies on violence to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Given the profits made by arms manufacturers, the defense industry, gun dealers and the lobbyists who represent them in Congress, it comes as no surprise that the culture of violence cannot be abstracted from either the culture of business or the corruption of politics.

— Professor Henry A. Giroux

We are caught in a vicious cycle.

With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a heartbreaking spate of violence that terrorizes the populace, fractures communities, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

Mass shootings have taken place in schools, on college campuses, movie theaters, nightclubs, grocery stores, concert venues, bars, workplaces, churches, on military bases, and in government offices. In almost every instance, the shooters were dressed in military-style gear and armed with military-style weapons.

Take the latest shooting that took place in Uvalde, Texas, when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, wearing body armor and carrying a rifle, walked into Robb Elementary School and opened fire, leaving at least 19 children and two teachers dead.

This Uvalde shooting took place ten days after another 18-year-old man, heavily armed and wearing tactical gear (including a tactical helmet and plated armor), opened fire in a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y, killing 10 people.

In 2018, a 19-year-old former student armed with a gas mask, smoke grenades, magazines of ammunition, and an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle opened fire on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., leaving 17 people dead.

Ten years ago, 20-year-old Adam Lanza—wearing body armor and black clothing, and armed with military-style weapons—opened fire on students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., leaving 26 dead. Prior to the shooting, Lanza reportedly spent his days “playing violent video games amid posters showcasing military equipment.”

According to an FBI report issued the day before the Uvalde shooting, these kinds of “active shooter attacks” have doubled in recent years.

As expected in the wake of such tragedies, there has been a vocal outcry for enacting more strident gun control measures, more mental health checks, and heightened security measures.

Yet surely there’s more to these shootings than just easy access to weapons and mental illness.

Ask yourself: Why do these mass shootings keep happening? Who are these shooters modelling themselves after? Where are they finding the inspiration for their weaponry and tactics? Whose stance and techniques are they mirroring?

When you start to connect the dots, they lead right back to the American police state and the war-drenched, violence-imbued, profit-driven military industrial complex, both of which continue to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

The United States is the number one consumer, exporter and perpetrator of violence and violent weapons in the world.

Violence has become America’s calling card.

We are a military culture engaged in continuous warfare.

We have been a nation at war for most of our existence.

We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

We are being fed a steady diet of violence through our entertainment, news, sports and politics.

All of the military equipment featured in blockbuster movies is provided—at taxpayer expense—in exchange for carefully placed promotional spots aimed at boosting civic pride in the military, recruiting for the military, and churning out profit-driven propaganda for the military industrial complex. Even reality TV shows have gotten in on the gig.

It’s estimated that U.S. military intelligence agencies (including the NSA) have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows.

Then there are the growing number of violent video games, a number of which are engineered by or created for the military as recruitment tools, which have accustomed players to interactive war play through military simulations and first-person shooter scenarios. As Esther J. Cepeda writes for The Washington Post, “Violent video games alone do not cause people to go off the rails, arm themselves and open fire on innocent people in public places. But there’s also no question that there is something wrong with a multibillion-dollar video game industry that sells to young men the ability to virtually assassinate a foe as an escape from real life.”

The media, eager to score higher ratings, has been equally complicit in making (real) war more palatable to the public by packaging it as TV friendly. The military has also been firmly entrenched in the nation’s sports spectacles, having co-opted football, basketball, even NASCAR, “tying the symbols of sports with the symbols of war.”

This is how you acclimate a population to war.

This is how you cultivate loyalty to a war machine.

This is how, to borrow from the subtitle to the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, you teach a nation to “stop worrying and love the bomb.”

This is how you sustain the nation’s appetite for war.

As journalist David Sirota writes for Salon, to those who profit from war, it is “a ‘product’ to be sold via pop culture products that sanitize war and, in the process, boost recruitment numbers.”

No wonder entertainment violence is the hottest selling ticket at the box office. As professor Henry Giroux points out, “Popular culture not only trades in violence as entertainment, but also it delivers violence to a society addicted to a pleasure principle steeped in graphic and extreme images of human suffering, mayhem and torture.”

No wonder the government continues to whet the nation’s appetite for violence and war through paid propaganda programs (seeded throughout sports entertainment, Hollywood blockbusters and video games)—what professor Roger Stahl refers to as “militainment”—that glorify the military and serve as recruiting tools for America’s expanding military empire.

No wonder Americans from a very young age are being groomed to enlist as foot soldiers—even virtual ones—in America’s Army (coincidentally, that’s also the name of a first-person shooter video game that was produced by the military and used as a pivotal recruiting tool for 20 years).

Explorer scouts, for example, have been one of the most popular recruiting tools for the military and its civilian counterparts (law enforcement, Border Patrol, and the FBI). Writing for The Atlantic, a former Explorer scout described the highlight of the program: monthly weekend maneuvers with the National Guard where scouts “got to fire live rounds from M16s, M60 machine guns, and M203 grenade launchers… we would have urban firefights (shooting blanks, of course) in Combat Town, a warren of concrete buildings designed for just that purpose. The exercise always devolved into a free-for-all, with all of us weekend warriors emptying clip after clip of blanks until we couldn’t see past the end of our rifles for all the smoke in the air.”

No wonder America spends more money on war than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy and Brazil. America polices the globe, with 800 military bases and troops stationed in 160 countries. Moreover, the war hawks have turned the American homeland into a quasi-battlefield with military gear, weapons and tactics. In turn, domestic police forces have become roving extensions of the military—a standing army.

You want to stop the gun violence?

Stop the worship of violence that permeates our culture.

Stop treating guns and war as entertainment fodder in movies, music, video games, toys, amusement parks, reality TV, sports and more.

Stop distributing weapons of war (weapons that have no business being anywhere but on a battlefield) to the local police and transforming police into extensions of the military.

Stop exposing young people to the military industrial complex’s pervasive propaganda.

Stop falling for the military industrial complex’s psychological war games.

Salvador Ramos may have pulled the trigger that resulted in the mayhem in Uvalde, Tex., but something else is driving the madness.

We’ve got to do more than react in a knee-jerk fashion.

Those who want safety at all costs will clamor for more gun control measures, widespread mental health screening of the general population and greater scrutiny of military veterans, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more CCTV cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do random bag searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more surveillance of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time.

Yet as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, all of these measures play into the government’s hands by locking down the nation without doing anything to address the underlying causes of this madness.

What we need is a thoughtful, measured, apolitical response to these shootings that takes aim at the violence plaguing our nation by lowering the levels of violence here and abroad, whether it’s violence we export to other countries, violence we glorify in entertainment, or violence we revel in when it’s leveled at our so-called enemies, politically or otherwise.

Our prolonged exposure to the toxic culture of the American police state is deadly.

Read also: “What’s missing from the gun debate [sic]? (almost everything you know is wrong)

The post Mass Shootings: The Vicious Cycle Fueled by America’s Toxic Cult of Violence first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Reality Privileged: Orwell/Huxley/McLuhan on Steroids

You can go through life with a thousand epigrams or deep quotes that you might come back to over two, four, six decades. Then, the disrupters pop up, those techno fascists, the tinkers and culture blasters.

These sociopaths who get the limelight then become part of a new set of epigrams, but not grand ones, but totally emblematic of a new normal of Triple Speak, Capitalism Porn, and the Stiff Arm to the Coders and their Masters.

It’s sad, really. Here, quality ones of very different and varied origins:

  • Timothy 6:10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
  • Pierre Joseph-Proudhon: “Property is Theft.”
  • Karl Marx: “Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it – when it exists for us as capital.”
  • “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”
    ― Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
  • “It is capitalism, not Marxism, that trades in futures.”
    ― Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right

We don’t think you fight fire with fire best; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism. We’re stood up and said we’re not going to fight reactionary pigs and reactionary state’s attorneys like this and reactionary state’s attorneys like Hanrahan with any other reactions on our part. We’re going to fight their reactons with all of us people getting together and having an international proletarian revolution.
― Fred Hampton (source: “Fred Hampton Speech Transcript on Revolution and Racism” ) 

“Only from a capitalist viewpoint being productive is a moral virtue, if not a moral imperative. From the viewpoint of the working class, being productive simply means being exploited.”
― Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle

One might wake up after two decades of capitalist slumber and feel like Rip Van Winkle while observing how deep the slide into those circles of capitalist hell we have all ended up. Exhumed from the grave all the felons, high and midddling, and then see that the world is still valorizing . . . Kissinger, Albright, Bush, Trump, Biden, Obama, et al. Shocks to the system every nano second. Capitalism with a gun, with a drug, with a bank.

Here, McLuhan:

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly. (Marshall McLuhan rocketed from an unknown academic to rockstar with the publication of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Manin 1964.)

Concentrated power — information age, and now, it’s even so much worse, 60 years later.

Get these people’s aims and goals. These are the powerful, work with the powerful, are armies unto themselves, and they take no prisoners. We are all Luddites if we resist their machinations, their totalitarianism in skinny jeans, on the spectrum, vegan and all.

I’ll let the guy’s words flow here, longish. Monsters, really:

Marc Andreessen (“The Internet King on why the Internet is a force for good, on media conformity, the inevitable triumph of the WEIRD, Crypto, ‘Retards,’ etc. — Source) breaks down Reality Privilege:

Your question is a great example of what I call Reality Privilege. This is a paraphrase of a concept articulated by Beau Cronin: “Consider the possibility that a visceral defense of the physical, and an accompanying dismissal of the virtual as inferior or escapist, is a result of superuser privileges.” A small percent of people live in a real-world environment that is rich, even overflowing, with glorious substance, beautiful settings, plentiful stimulation, and many fascinating people to talk to, and to work with, and to date. These are also *all* of the people who get to ask probing questions like yours. Everyone else, the vast majority of humanity, lacks Reality Privilege—their online world is, or will be, immeasurably richer and more fulfilling than most of the physical and social environment around them in the quote-unquote real world.

The Reality Privileged, of course, call this conclusion dystopian, and demand that we prioritize improvements in reality over improvements in virtuality. To which I say: reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don’t think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build—and we are building—online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.

Here’s a thought experiment for the counterfactual. Suppose we had all just spent the last 15 months of COVID lockdowns *without* the Internet, without the virtual world. As bad as the lockdowns have been for people’s well-being—and they’ve been bad—how much worse would they have been without the Internet? I think the answer is clear: profoundly, terribly worse. (Of course, pandemic lockdowns are not the norm—for that, we’ll have to wait for the climate lockdowns.)

Is this an easy target? Am I just poking fun at culture, the new masters of the metaverse? Are we speaking two very “man who fell to earth” languages? Or, is this fellow above, misanthrope on a very pathetic scale? We know he’s got hundreds of millions, and he is the guru, and governments and the Titans of Media all have his ear.

Oh, I have old people whispering how they feel for today’s kids, how they feel for the young adults who are stuck in this bubble inside a bubble. I hear them while they have grand machinations of flipping a home into a bank account and some smaller home. Too expensive in Pacific Northwest or California? Then, sell sell sell, and end up in Appalachia. Lewisburg. Get a home and two acres for $250K, and bank the rest, and be damned, the rest of the world.

Me-myself-I, that’s the reptilian brain angle these Titans of the Screen/Black Mirror in the Hand have going for them (not a great term, really, repitilian, but you get the picture — food, sex, water, fight or flight, flash, rest, run, jump, gobble, hump).

Indonesia cancels Komodo island closure, saying tourists are no threat to dragons | Indonesia | The Guardian

Get these stats, mom and pop, uncle and aunt, cuz:

In Chain Reactions, he writes about how stunning the scale of the internet has become; every minute on the internet:

  • Netflix users stream 404,444 hours of video
  • Instagram users post 347,222 stories
  • YouTube users upload 500 hours of video
  • Consumers spend $1,000,000 online
  • LinkedIn users apply for 69,444 jobs
  • TikTok is installed 2,704 times
  • Venmo users send $239,196 worth of payments
  • Spotify adds 28 tracks to its music library
  • Amazon ships 6,659 packages
  • WhatsApp users send 41,666,667 messages
  • And 1,388,889 people make video and voice calls

Every minute. American adults spend over 11 hours interacting with digital media every day. Daily media consumption on mobile has grown 6x from 45 minutes in 2011 to 4 hours and 12 minutes in 2021.

The Brains Development - The Cavern

The “entire world is a stage” is played out minute by minute, in Ukraine by the Zionist Comic Nazi-loving Jew (not-not), or the charades of Biden and the gang (media). Now? Every man, woman, child is an island — connected to the WWW — unto him-her-them SELF:

Biden mocks himself and roasts Trump

This is it, while the crocodile tears are spewing for the poor Ukrainians, and the trillion$ soon for guns, nukes, these idiots try a Jon Leibowitz Stewart thing: White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday night. The dinner was shunned by Trump and canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But then, they all are misanthropes, and again, the optics, man, the optics of the USA decaying while Biden shits his pants: “I’m really excited to be here with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have,” Biden joked to the Washington, DC crowd, referring to his own sub-40% polling and to surveys showing just 36% of Americans trust the mass media.

This is insane, of course, on many levels. It is the inside joke, and the giant overt joke. This is the spokesperson for the free world, and these are the minutes they spend in their spare time. All puppets, all wind-up dolls, and the media, they are the lever pullers. Behind the media? Oh, man, you don’t need a recap on who the monster men (a few women, too) are?

Okay, now down the other rabbit hole: Go to Alison McDowell’s work (Wrench in the Gears (dot) com) recently in Salt Lake City, following the LDS/Mormons capitalization of transhumanism, blockchain, social impact investing, cyber everything, internet of bodies, brains, babies. Slide show/stack here, Ignorance is Bliss?

Check out 36 videos looking into this dispicable system of mind-matter-money control: Transhumanism, CIA Enslavement, Faith and Technology, Digital Education. YouTube.

I have those discussions now, with former students, who want to know from me, what I think of Zoom Doom Rooms, or where I think education, both K12 and higher (sic), is going. Of course, the language we use is not always in synch, since I think the systems of education were flawed from the beginning, and that capitalism and fascism as it is delineated by GloboCap, set people up to accept lies, and the systems of oppression are about getting people to learn how to lie to themselves.

I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
― John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

I talked recently with a teacher who knew me, and wondered where I was, in the substitute teacher stable. I informed her that this county, the school district, has banned me for pushing high school students to think about their own lives tied to stories like Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm, two books the teacher of record was having me, the substitute of record, work with. Amazing, I was frog marched out of the classroom and school, and there was zero recourse, no audience to be gained, and alas, I couldn’t defend myself: this is how one system of oppression works.

This fourth grade teacher went on and on about how oppressive it is to be that elementary grade teacher in this district, and how the higher ups, the school board, they have scorn for the teachers, the paraeducators, the staff.

Hell, I was teaching a community education class, and it took me more than a month and a half to be paid by the community college. This is the new normal, but not so new. This is the mentality whichruns the world. And, more and more people want to be their own boss, but their options are limited — really, a cinnamon roll shop, beads, candles, more deep fried oysters?

Capitalism is lovely, so creative, open, available for smart small and tiny entrepeneurs. Wrong!

Disdain, just like the fellow announcing that Reality Privilege is dead. The world of games, the world of on-line shopping, dating, hunting, driving, hiking, that is it for the world from here on in. Get on the phone, six hours a day, at least. Plug in.

Zoom Zelensky from Britain or Poland. Watch Sean Penn or Pelosi fly into some staged area, then, long-live the ZioLenksy Nazi, and then, more dialing for dollars. Stage left, masks on, start themusic, do the edits, cut cut cut, and then let the lies fly.

Reality. Here, from Farnam Street Articles!

“The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts,” wrote McLuhan. Rather they “alter patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.”

In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, McLuhan proffered,

“A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.”

We see this today as newspapers transition to a digital world and how the medium—the internet—remakes the papers to fit its own standards. Not only have newspapers moved from physical to virtual but now they are hyperlinked, chunked, and embedded within noise. If he were alive (and healthy) McLuhan would argue these changes impact the way we understand the content.

McLuhan foresaw how all mass media would eventually be used for commercialization and consumerism:

 “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”

Carry on:

CM 170: Nicholas Carr on What the Internet Does to Our Brains

And, finally, reality is reality, all those down-home chemicals, cancers, catastrophies. A new outfit with the Environmental Working Group, The New Lede.   PFAS, Monsanto, other pesticides, all covered by investigative journalists. You can attempt to “virtual reality” away the reality world. These are freaks!  However, a hero like Carey Gillam has spent more than 25 years reporting on corporate America. She is the managing editor at The New Lede. Watch her over at RFK Jr’s site!

Reality for Us, the Unprivileged.

For a visitor to this rural part of eastern Nebraska, the crisp air, blue skies and stretch of seemingly endless farm fields appear as unspoiled landscape. For the people who live here, however, there is no denying that they are immersed in an environmental catastrophe researchers fear may impact the area for generations to come.

The signs of a silent poisoning are everywhere: A farmhouse has been abandoned by its owners after their young children experienced health problems; a pond once filled with fish and frogs is now barren of all life; university researchers are collecting blood and urine from residents to analyze them for contaminants; and a local family now drinks water only from plastic bottles because tests show chemical contamination of their drinking well.  — Source, Carey Gillam

No matter how many hours you might be connected to a gamefied world, virtual and augemented, the chemicals will still bore their toxins into your cells until no amount of AI-VR-AR can save you!

Listen to these monsters . . .

And then, four hours learning about this global brain mentality. Good work by Wrench In the Gears:

And how many people are willing to go down these blockchain, decentralized technologies, social impact and reality priviledge and digital ID and crypo-funding? The Church of LDS is into Transhumanism. Keep your eye close on these folk, synthetic biology eugenics freaks.

The post Reality Privileged: Orwell/Huxley/McLuhan on Steroids first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Fake Freedom and the Paycheck Nomad

Rural workers of the early 20th century caught their sleep in boxcars and meals in the open air. Lured by labor agents’ promises of steady work, they drifted broke and hungry from camp to camp, huddling beneath tents and hastily built shacks, strangers to plumbing and doctors, but all too familiar with illness, accidents, and back-breaking extraction in the mines.Wages, low as they were, rarely even reached their hands. Company managers advanced credit for food, shelter and tools at vastly inflated prices, then submitted workers a bill after they had toiled for months in life-threatening conditions.  The longer they worked, the more indebted they became.

Only with tortuous discipline did some workers manage the miracle of putting aside a few dollars. Such victories were short-lived, however, as the urgent need to forget one’s misery quickly saw the savings squandered on cheap booze.

In the larger towns employment offices operated in cahoots with the saloon owners, who delivered hung-over workers to labor contractors, starting the cycle of anguish anew.

Urban workers fared no better. Their homes were dark, unventilated slum tenements called “slaughterhouses,” where a small mob of workers cooked, washed, and slept in a single room. Outside, the air reeked of chemicals and industrial gases, and open sewers flowed through muddy streets strewn with tin cans, bottles, rocks, and garbage.

Overworked and underfed, they suffered epidemics of asthma, tuberculosis, measles, bronchitis, cholera, rickets, and pneumonia. Widespread lead poisoning left them with blue gums and no teeth.

Every job bred a characteristic affliction – rheumatism, muscle paralysis, hernia, ulcers.

In the steelworks, mills, mines, railroads, and building trades, men were ruined by their early forties. Missing limbs were as common as sunburn at the beach.

The perpetual “speed up” of production lines turned workers into human wrecks, regularly overcome by the “shakes.” Meals had to be taken in spasmodic gulps.

Drained of vitality by their early forties, then replaced by teenagers, lucky workers were hired back at reduced pay as sweepers or night watchmen.  Unlucky ones fell dependent on their children, sank into destitution, or died shortly after being declared useless.

This was the great legacy of worker freedom in the self-proclaimed greatest democracy the world has ever seen, a generation before the Great Depression made their lot considerably worse.

In what came to be known as the progressive era, American “patriots” boasted of their New World liberty, allegedly so different from Old World tyranny and oppression.

In the USA, after all, workers were free to put their working lives to traffic and submit to any terms chronic desperation allowed them to get.  Hallelujah!

They were free to quit a job anytime they wanted, and briefly go anywhere and do anything until their money ran out. Then hunger overtook them, and they were free to rent themselves all over again.

They were also free to keep company with anyone they liked, so long as it didn’t include union organizers.

They were free to dream of owning property priced well beyond their wages, and to impotently rage at the cycle of recessions and depressions that routinely crushed their more modest ambitions.

They were free to speak their minds in democratic debate, though the brutality of the workday usually left them without time or energy to even follow the events of the day.

They were free to ingest the barrage of industry propaganda that masqueraded as news, leaving them ignorant of what they most needed to know.

They were free to parrot the views of those who profited off their ignorance, and vote for their candidates at the ballot box.

If they chose to band together in collective action and demand more pay, less work, and decent conditions, employers were free to have them beaten, shot, and starved back to work on the same rotten terms. On the remote chance that they were able to overcome all this, employers were free to induce a depression, so that soaring unemployment, savage wage-cuts and prolonged lockouts destroyed the financial basis of worker resistance altogether.

And, of course, the ultimate employer trump card was to start a war and draft workers into slaughtering each other, the only occasion on which full employment has ever been contemplated under the reign of capital.

More than a century after the progressive era workers now find themselves being forced back down the wealth pyramid after a brief flirtation with middle-class respectability (1945-1975).

Digital feudalism has replaced industrial feudalism, and proliferating “right to work” laws celebrate workers’ inherent right to scrounge.

Banks selling worthless paper are “too big to fail,” and unions are too few to matter.

Platforms replace markets, and Lords of Tech awash in hundreds of billions of dollars coin personal data into limitless profit, which their customers eagerly give them, toiling endless hours on the Internet for free.

Sources:1

  1. Rural workers: Page Smith, America Enters The World – A People’s History of the Progressive Era and World War I, (McGraw Hill, 1985, pps. 29-31); Urban workers:  Noel Kent, America In 1900, (M. E. Sharpe, 2000, pps. 78, 81-3, 87); and Worker “freedom”: Irving Stone, Clarence Darrow For The Defense, (Signet, 1941, pps. 150, 159).
The post Fake Freedom and the Paycheck Nomad first appeared on Dissident Voice.