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Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

War-Ebola-Environment-Health

It makes you wonder what the real agenda is when something so simple as “refraining from war” can really help impact the environment thus keeping people healthier and stronger so that their immune systems can do what it’s supposed to do.

If you look at the countries hit hardest by this disease, you can see they have had periods of war and devastation. Classically Liberia and the Congo both have been ravished. Imagine the psychological impact and then the health impact. The weakening of the immune system can be catalyzed by simple stressors, not to mention war, killings, rapes, bombing, destruction of infrastructure etc.

I would imagine that a comparable outcome is to be expected in the middle east.  In addition to the obvious results of war, the long term effects that manifest as extreme psychosis and paranoia, birth defects, destabilization of habitable areas, farms and livestock being destroyed, and the wounded in need of emergency hospital care. Not to mention the bodies (and body parts) that need to be discarded as they too can cause an outbreak of some virulent disease. Couple that with the amount of fossil fuels used to  deploy these munitions and the amount of toxic smoke emitted after these munitions have been deployed. Are we looking at other forms of respiratory diseases in folks on the ground, the ones who survive?
On and on we can state the many consequences of war and then we could equate the impact on the health of the world… and not even by being a scientist, or doctor, or nurse, just someone with a bit of common sense and introspection. Again, it really makes you wonder what the agenda is, for we are certain that our so-called leaders are not that ignorant. I am sure they have at some point in their lives experienced some type of illness and its impact on their health, if from nothing more than a simple allergy.

No, they are not ignorant, they are not stupid, and they are not unable to see. It is by choice that they turn their heads away from the fact that they have blood on their hands from the present catastrophic decisions they have made over the lives of others, thousands of miles away. Undoubtedly, they will play with their toys and weapons of mass destruction in the air, on the ground and through their military prowess, and refuse to connect the dots. The agenda is almost unspeakable. The outcome is quite certain. And they are doing the bidding of the Overlords who control them.

People will die in numbers and this will fulfill the contract that has been made.
We can speak on this for days and more days to come, but until an awakening happens in the hearts and minds of those who pass the legislation for endless war… we will remain in this cycle of destruction till all is lost. There will be no safe haven for anyone…. I believe that is one point that is sorely missed as the ink dries on another imposition of hegemony and imperial hubris.
What’s Behind the Ebola Crises and are U.S. Americans at Risk? http://ow.ly/CfIOq

 What’s Behind the Ebola Crises and are U.S. Americans at Risk?

In an interview with Telesur’s The Global African, Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Program co-director Taha E. Taha discusses the roots of the Ebola crisis and what can be done about it. Courtesy of Telesur –   2 hours ago

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War in Our Collective Imagination

By David Swanson
Remarks at Veterans For Peace Convention, Asheville, NC, July 27, 2014.

I started seeing graphics pop up on social media sites this past week that said about Gaza: “It’s not war. It’s murder.”  So I started asking people what exactly they think war is if it’s distinct from murder.  Well, war, some of them told me, takes place between armies.  So I asked for anyone to name a war during the past century (that is, after World War I) where all or even most or even a majority of the dying was done by members of armies.  There may have been such a war.  There are enough scholars here today that somebody probably knows of one.  But if so, it isn’t the norm, and these people I was chatting with through social media couldn’t think of any such war and yet insisted that that’s just what war is.  So, is war then over and nobody told us?

For whatever reasons, I then very soon began seeing a graphic sent around that said about Gaza: “It’s not war. It’s genocide.”  And the typical explanation I got when I questioned this one was that the wagers of war and the wagers of genocide have different attitudes.  Are we sure about that? I’ve spoken to advocates for recent U.S. wars who wanted all or part of a population wiped out.  Plenty of supporters of the latest attacks on Gaza see them as counter-terrorism.  In wars between advanced militaries and poor peoples most of the death and injury is on one side and most of it — by anyone’s definition — civilian.  This is as true in Afghanistan, where war rolls on largely unchallenged, as in Gaza, about which we are newly outraged.
Well, what’s wrong with outrage? Who cares what people call it? Why not criticize the war advocates rather than nitpicking the war opponents’ choice of words?  When people are outraged they will reach for whatever word their culture tells them is most powerful, be it murder or genocide or whatever.  Why not encourage that and worry a little more about the lunatics who are calling it defense or policing or terrorist removal?  (Eight-year-old terrorists!)

Yes, of course.  I’ve been going after CNN news readers for claiming Palestinians want to die and NBC for yanking its best reporter and ABC for claiming scenes of destruction in Gaza that just don’t exist in Israel are in fact in Israel — and the U.S. government for providing the weapons and the criminal immunity.  I’ve been promoting rallies and events aimed at swaying public opinion against what Israel has been doing, and against the sadistic bloodthirsty culture of those standing on hills cheering for the death and destruction below, quite regardless of what they call it.  But, as you’re probably aware, only the very most open-minded war advocates attend conventions of Veterans For Peace.  So, I’m speaking here backstage, as it were, at the peace movement.  Among those of us who want to stop the killing, are there better and worse ways to talk about it?  And is anything revealed by the ways in which we tend to talk about it when we aren’t hyper-focused on our language?

I think so.  I think it’s telling that the worst word anyone can think of isn’t war.  I think it’s even more telling that we condemn things by contrasting them with war, framing war as relatively acceptable.  I think this fact ought to be unsettling because a very good case can be made that war, in fact, is the worst thing we do, and that the distinctions between war and such evils as murder or genocide can require squinting very hard to discern.

We’ve all heard that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  There is a parallel belief that wars don’t kill people, people who misuse wars, who fight bad wars, who fight wars improperly, kill people.  This is a big contrast with many other evil institutions.  We don’t oppose child abuse selectively, holding out the possibility of just and good incidents of child abuse while opposing the bad or dumb or non-strategic or excessive cases of child abuse. We don’t have Geneva Conventions for proper conduct while abusing children.  We don’t have human rights groups writing reports on atrocities and possible law violations committed in the course of abusing children.  We don’t distinguish UN-sanctioned child abuse.  The same goes for numerous behaviors generally understood as always evil: slavery or rape or blood feuds or duelling or dog fighting or sexual harassment or bullying or human experimentation or — I don’t know — producing piles of I’m-Ready-for-Hillary posters.  We don’t imagine there are good, just, and defensible cases of such actions.

And this is the core problem: not support for bombing Gaza or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or anywhere else that actually gets bombed, but support for an imaginary war in the near future between two armies with different colored jerseys and sponsors, competing on an isolated battlefield apart from any villages or towns, and suffering bravely and heroically for their non-murderous non-genocidal cause while complying with the whistles blown by the referees in the human rights organizations whenever any of the proper killing drifts into lawless imprisonment or torture or the use of improper weaponry.  Support for specific possible wars in the United States right now is generally under 10 percent.  More people believe in ghosts, angels, and the integrity of our electoral system than want a new U.S. war in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, or Iraq. The Washington Post found a little over 10 percent want a war in Ukraine but that the people who held that view were the people who placed Ukraine on the world map the furthest from its actual location, including people who placed it in the United States.  These are the idiots who favor specific wars.  Even Congress, speaking of idiots, on Friday told Obama no new war on Iraq.

The problem is the people, ranging across the population from morons right up to geniuses, who favor imaginary wars.  Millions of people will tell you we need to be prepared for more wars in case there’s another Adolf Hitler, failing to understand that the wars and militarism and weapons sales and weapons gifts — the whole U.S. role as the arsenal of democracies and dictatorships alike — increase rather than decrease dangers, that other wealthy countries spend less than 10 percent what the U.S. does on their militaries, and that 10 percent of what the U.S. spends on its military could end global starvation, provide the globe with clean water, and fund sustainable energy and agriculture programs that would go further toward preventing mass violence than any stockpiles of weaponry.  Millions will tell you that the world needs a global policeman, even though polls of the world find the widespread belief that the United States is currently the greatest threat to peace on earth.  In fact if you start asking people who have opposed every war in our lifetimes or in the past decade to work on opposing the entire institution of war, you’ll be surprised by many of the people who say no.

I’m a big fan of a book called Addicted to War.  I think it will probably be a powerful tool for war abolition right up until war is abolished.  But its author told me this week that he can’t work to oppose all wars because he favors some of them.  Specifically, he said, he doesn’t want to ask Palestinians to not defend themselves.  Now, there’s a really vicious cycle.  If we can’t shut down the institution of war because Palestinians need to use it, then it’s harder to go after U.S. military spending, which is of course what funds much of the weaponry being used against Palestinians.  I think we should get a little clarity about what a war abolition movement does and does not do.  It does not tell people what they must do when attacked.  It is not focused on advising, much less instructing, the victims of war, but on preventing their victimization.  It does not advise the individual victim of a mugging to turn the other cheek.  But it also does not accept the disproven notion that violence is a defensive strategy for a population.  Nonviolence has proven far more effective and its victories longer lasting.  If people in Gaza have done anything at all to assist in their own destruction, it is not the supposed offenses of staying in their homes or visiting hospitals or playing on beaches; it is the ridiculously counterproductive firing of rockets that only encourages and provides political cover for war/ genocide/ mass murder.

I’m a huge fan of Chris Hedges and find him one of the most useful and inspiring writers we have.  But he thought attacking Libya was a good idea up until it quite predictably and obviously turned out not to be.  He still thinks Bosnia was a just war.  I could go on through dozens of names of people who contribute mightily to an anti-war movement who oppose abolishing war.  The point is not that anyone who believes in 1 good war out of 100 is to blame for the trillion dollar U.S. military budget and all the destruction it brings.  The point is that they are wrong about that 1 war out of 100, and that even if they were right, the side-effects of maintaining a culture accepting of war preparations would outweigh the benefits of getting 1 war right.  The lives lost by not spending $1 trillion a year in the U.S. and another $1 trillion in the rest of the world on useful projects like environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, medicine and hygiene absolutely dwarf the number of lives that would be saved by halting our routine level of war making.

If you talk about abolishing war entirely, as many of us have begun focusing on through a new project called World Beyond War, you’ll also find people who want to abolish war but believe it’s impossible. War is natural, they say, inevitable, in our genes, decreed by our economy, the unavoidable result of racism or consumerism or capitalism or exceptionalism or carnivorism or nationalism.  And of course many cultural patterns interact with and facilitate war, but the idea that it’s in our genes is absurd, given how many cultures in our species have done and do without it.  I don’t know what — if anything — people usually mean when they call something “natural” but presumably it’s not the provocation of suicide, which is such a common result of participating in war, while the first case of PTSD due to war deprivation has yet to be discovered.  Most of our species’ existence, as hunter-gatherers, did not know war, and only the last century — a split-second in evolutionary terms — has known war that at all resembles war today.  War didn’t used to kill like this.  Soldiers weren’t conditioned to kill.  Most guns picked up at Gettysburg had been loaded more than once.  The big killers were diseases, even in the U.S. Civil War, the war that the U.S. media calls the most deadly because Filipinos and Koreans and Vietnamese and Iraqis don’t count.  Now the big killer is a disease in our thinking, a combination of what Dr. King called self-guided missiles and misguided men.
Another hurdle for abolishing war is that the idea rose to popularity in the West in the 1920s and 1930s and then sank into a category of thought that is vaguely treasonous.  War abolition was tried and failed, the thinking goes, like communism or labor unions and now we know better.  While abolishing war is popular in much of the world, that fact is easily ignored by the 1% who misrepresent the 10% or 15% who live in the places that constitute the so-called International Community.  Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come or weaker than an idea whose time has come and gone.  Or so we think.  But the Renaissance was, as its name suggests, an idea whose time came again, new and improved and victorious.  The 1920s and 1930s are a resource for us.  We have stockpiles of wisdom to draw upon.  We have example of where things were headed and how they went of track.

Andrew Carnegie took war profits and set up an endowment with the mandate to eliminate war and then to hold a board meeting, determine the second worst thing in the world, and begin eliminating that.  This sounds unique or eccentric, but is I believe a basic understanding of ethics that ought to be understood and acted upon by all of us.  When someone asks me why I’m a peace activist I ask them why in the hell anyone isn’t.  So, reminding the Carnegie Endowment for Peace what it’s legally obligated to do, and dozens of other organizations along with it, may be part of the process of drawing inspiration from the past.  And of course insisting that the Nobel Committee not bestow another peace prize on a war-thirsty presidential candidate or any other advocate of war is part of that.
World Beyond War
The case against war that is laid out at WorldBeyondWar.org includes these topics:
War is immoral.
War endangers us.
War threatens our environment.
War erodes our liberties.
War impoverishes us.
We need $2 trillion/year for other things.

I find the case to be overwhelming and suspect many of you would agree.  In fact Veterans For Peace and numerous chapters and members of Veterans For Peace have been among the first to sign on and participate.  And we’ve begun finding that thousands of people and organizations from around the world agree as people and groups from 68 countries and rising have added their names on the website in support of ending all war.  And many of these people and organizations are not peace groups.  These are environmental and civic groups of all sorts and people never involved in a peace movement before.  Our hope is of course to greatly enlarge the peace movement by making war abolition as mainstream as cancer abolition.  But we think enlargement is not the only alteration that could benefit the peace movement.  We think a focus on each antiwar project as part of a broader campaign to end the whole institution of war will significantly change how specific wars and weapons and tactics are opposed.

How many of you have heard appeals to oppose Pentagon waste? I’m in favor of Pentagon waste and opposed to Pentagon efficiency.  How can we not be, when what the Pentagon does is evil?  How many of you have heard of opposition to unnecessary wars that leave the military ill-prepared?  I’m in favor of leaving the military ill-prepared, but not of distinguishing unnecessary from supposedly necessary wars. Which are the necessary ones?  When sending missiles into Syria is stopped, in large part by public pressure, war as last resort is replaced by all sorts of other options that were always available.  That would be the case anytime any war is stopped.  War is never a last resort any more than rape or child abuse is a last resort.  How many of you have seen opposition to U.S. wars that focuses almost exclusively on the financial cost and the suffering endured by Americans?  Did you know polls find Americans believing that Iraq benefited and the United States suffered from the war that destroyed Iraq?  What if the financial costs and the costs to the aggressor nation were in addition to moral objections to mass-slaughter rather than instead of?  How many of you have seen antiwar organizations trumpet their love for troops and veterans and war holidays, or groups like the AARP that advocate for benefits for the elderly by focusing on elderly veterans, as though veterans are the most deserving?  Is that good activism?

I want to celebrate those who resist and oppose war, not those who engage in it.  I love Veterans For Peace because it’s for peace.  It’s for peace in a certain powerful way, but it’s the being for peace that I value.  And being for peace in the straightforward meaning of being against war.  Most organizations are afraid of being for peace; it always has to be peace and justice or peace and something else.  Or it’s peace in our hearts and peace in our homes and the world will take care of itself.  Well, as Veterans For Peace know, the world doesn’t take care of itself.  The world is driving itself off a cliff.  As Woody Allen said, I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen, I want to live on in my apartment.  Well, I don’t want to find peace in my heart or my garden, I want to find peace in the elimination of war.  At WorldBeyondWar.org is a list of projects we think may help advance that, including, among others:

  • Creating an easily recognizable and joinable mainstream international movement to end all war.
  • Education about war, peace, and nonviolent action — including all that is to be gained by ending war.
  • Improving access to accurate information about wars. Exposing falsehoods.
  • Improving access to information about successful steps away from war in other parts of the world.
  • Increased understanding of partial steps as movement in the direction of eliminating, not reforming, war.
  • Partial and full disarmament.
  • Conversion or transition to peaceful industries.
  • Closing, converting or donating foreign military bases.
  • Democratizing militaries while they exist and making them truly volunteer.
  • Banning foreign weapons sales and gifts.
  • Outlawing profiteering from war.
  • Banning the use of mercenaries and private contractors.
  • Abolishing the CIA and other secret agencies.
  • Promoting diplomacy and international law, and consistent enforcement of laws against war, including prosecution of violators.
  • Reforming or replacing the U.N. and the ICC.
  • Expansion of peace teams and human shields.
  • Promotion of nonmilitary foreign aid and crisis prevention.
  • Placing restrictions on military recruitment and providing potential soldiers with alternatives.
  • Thanking resisters for their service.
  • Encouraging cultural exchange.
  • Discouraging racism and nationalism.
  • Developing less destructive and exploitative lifestyles.
  • Expanding the use of public demonstrations and nonviolent civil resistance to enact all of these changes.

I would add learning from and working with organizations that have been, like Veterans For Peace, working toward war abolition for years now and inspiring others to do the same.  And I would invite you all to work with WorldBeyondWartoward our common goal.

David Swanson is Director of World Beyond War, host of Talk Nation Radio, author of books including War No More: The Case for Abolition, War Is A Lie, and When the World Outlawed War.

10 Signs We Live In a False Economy

10 Signs We Live In a False Economy

(Activist Post)
It’s time to admit that we live in a false economy. Smoke and mirrors are used to make us believe the economy is real, but it’s all an elaborate illusion.

Out of one side of the establishment’s mouth we hear excitement about “green shoots”, and out of the other side comes breathless warnings of fiscal cliffs and the urgent need for unlimited bailouts by the Fed.  We hear the people begging for jobs and the politicians promising them, but politicians can’t create jobs. We see people camped out to buy stuff on Black Friday indicating the consumer economy is seemingly thriving, only to find out everything was bought on credit.

The corporate media does their best to distract us from seeing anything real. We see the media glorify Kim Kardashian who got rich by being famous, and became famous merely by being rich. She got front page coverage on Huffington Post this week because her cat died.  Enough said.

Meanwhile the financial media makes the economy seem complicated and they ban anyone who speaks truthfully about the economy from their airwaves.

Is it any wonder why people are angry and confused about the economy?  Well, hopefully these signs that we live in a false economy will help clear up some of that confusion.

1. Fake Jobs: It’s not just that the “official” unemployment numbers are a fraud, the actual jobs are fake as well. Ask yourself how many professions actually produce something of value? 80% of jobs could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn’t affect basic human survival or happiness in the least. Yes, in our society we need money to survive – and jobs equal money – but that doesn’t mean a “job” has any actual benefit to society.  More on this in the next point…

2. Problems Create Jobs, Not Solutions: We can’t fix real problems, because it would destroy more fake jobs. We can’t end the wars and bring all of the personnel home when the jobless rate is already suffering. We can’t end the War on Drugs because where would the DEA agents, prison guards, the court system, parole officers, and the rest of their support staff work. We can’t simplify the tax code because the bookkeepers, CPAs, accounting professors, and tax attorneys would be unemployed. We cannot reduce the bureaucracy of government or streamline healthcare because paper pushers have few other notable skills. We can’t stop spying on Americans because it now employs millions of people. We can’t restrict the Wall Street casino, or hardly anyone will be left with a job. Finally, what will happen to university jobs when people either realize their product is not worth the cost or they discover they can get the same education online for nearly free? In other words, we need these manufactured problems to create phony employment.

3. Money Has No Value:  Money is the biggest illusion of all. Our money is loaned into existence with arbitrary interest rates by a private monopoly. It is an IOU. It only has value because a law says it has value, and that value fluctuates based on how much supply is in the economy which, again, is controlled by a for-profit monopoly. It’s actual value is zero since it is just a piece of paper with fancy ink on it. The only things with real value to humans are skills (labor), tools and materials, food and water, and energy.

4. The Fed Now Buys 90% of the Nation’s Debt: Speaking of money, the Federal Reserve loans money to the US government who issues bonds to cover their spending. Those bonds are sold on the open market through auctions to investors who believe in the ability of the United States to make good on those bonds. Apparently, the US has no more investors because the Fed is now buying 90% of new Treasury bonds. This is called monetizing debt, or, essentially, monetizing money. That’s what a Ponzi scheme does. This acts to keep interest rates artificially low because they’d have to raise them to attract outside “investors”.  In layman terms, our whole monetary system is a paper tiger, a house of cards, or whatever metaphor you want to use for fake.

5. What is the Value of Anything?  The price discovery mechanism, or the process to determine the value of an asset in the marketplace, has become so convoluted that determining the genuine value of anything has become nearly impossible. Between government subsidizes for things like food, fuel, education, housing, insurance and even cars; taxes, regulations and laws; the manipulation of the value of money and interest rates; Wall Street gambling on commodities; what is the real value of something? For example, why does an ounce of marijuana (a weed that can grow anywhere) cost up to $500?  Is that the real value based on labor and materials, and supply and demand? Of course not. Its value is inflated mainly due to laws and regulations.

6. Failure is Rewarded:  You know we live in a false economy when failure is rewarded and success is penalized. Citizens everywhere are being told they need to tighten their belts, work harder so we can bailout the failed government, banks, insurance companies and even car companies. And when we work harder and achieve some success, they tax it heavily to indefinitely pay for these fraudulent institutions. Yet this infinite money creation and taxation is light years from solving the root cause of the problem. The reality is that the banks’ solutions are the problem, enriching the investor class at the expense of the middle class. Global bankers are playing with taxpayer money – and the money of many future generations – in a global casino royale that is destined to fail so they can take the people’s assets. They are all-in; but their money is fake, and our assets put at risk are real.

7. Corporate entities have the same rights as humans, but not the same punishments:  When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have free-speech rights of people, it was one of the final nails in the coffin of the republic. Monied interests can now openly finance elections and buy the legislation they need to operate with impunity. Corporations may be comprised of humans, but they are not subjected to the same standard of humanity. It was profoundly argued in the article What if BP Were a Human Being? that judged by common standards of morality, decency, and previously agreed-upon definitions of criminality, BP would be judged a psychopathic killer … and immortal. Ditto for the rest leading the predatory corporate pack; the most obvious being defense contractors.  And since these corporations are now joined at the hip with government itself, what does that make government? By changing definitions, they are attempting to change reality. But that still doesn’t make it the truth.

8. People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have: In a type of trickle-down debt whirlpool, the government’s rampant spending without sufficient assets to back it up is mirrored in the behavior of the American consumer. Despite inflation, rising unemployment, and a continued collapse in real estate, it hasn’t stopped credit spending. The Associated Press just reported that for the month of October:
Americans swiped their credit cards more often in October and borrowed more to attend school and buy cars. The increases drove U.S. consumer debt to an all-time high.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October from September. Total borrowing rose to a record $2.75 trillion.

Borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans increased by $10.8 billion. Borrowing on credit cards rose by $3.4 billion, only the second monthly increase in the past five months. (Source)
Most troubling is the type of borrowing highlighted. The worst possible borrowing would be these negative-return investments such as student loans, credit cards, and cars. It is magical thinking taken to the highest degree.

9. Entrepreneurs are punished: It has become nearly impossible to make a simple living on your own. America has become a land filled with bureaucratic red tape that actively thwarts small business creation and criminalizes independence. There is perhaps no better example of this than the attacks waged against the ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor of self-reliance: the family farm. Through collectivist models such as Agenda 21, long-running family farms are being shut down and supplanted with “protected zones.” In the most recent case, a family oyster farm was shut down based on provably false scientific data that aimed to demonstrate negative environmental and economic impacts. It was completely fake, ending an 80-year local business that generated 50,000 tourists per year and employed 30 full-time local residents. In many of these cases the federally stolen property winds up in the hands of developers who have no interest in a true local economy. It is an inherent part of any false economy to create dependence where none should exist at all. A five-minute video that can be seen here sums up the American economy of illusions and the death of the American Dream.

10. Engineered Slavery: Do you think slavery died in the 1800s?  Think again. Economic hitmen (lenders) have successfully enslaved-by-debt everything from nations, entire industries, state and local governments and nearly every person on the planet. And they bought your servitude with money they never had, they simply created it out of thin air. Even if an individual doesn’t have any bank financing or credit cards, they still pay the private Federal Reserve through inflation and income taxes. As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say: the time has come for the banks to collect their “pound of flesh” from average citizens by way of higher taxes, less social services, and taking your pensions — “austerity.” For an enlightening explanation of how economic hitmen work their dark magic please watch this video.  If you’re still confused, see these 10 signs you might be a slave.  Another, more obvious, form of engineered slavery is prison labor. Laws and regulations are specifically created to add to the prison population which enriches the corporations that own them, while local communities actually become poorer and more dangerous (source).

As George Carlin said, “It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” It would be bad enough if it were contained to only one country, but we are now experiencing a global collective dreaming that fantasizes about a government figuring things out just in the nick of time. However, in the real world, the collapse has begun in earnest. Until we are committed to counter the 10 points above, we will remain in the grip of an hallucination. However, there are encouraging signs through protests worldwide, alternative currency movements, and myriad creative solutions in the most affected countries like Iceland, Greece, and Spain that people are beginning to shake off their sleep, look in the mirror and realize that the dream economy they have been sold was designed to make them seek solutions in entirely the wrong direction.

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald

On the resignation of Gen Petraeus.
It’s a mess and a rabbit hole, that goes very, very deep. I find it strange that folks can go around killing innocents, drone striking, torturing, destroying infrastructures on other people’s land, dropping depleted uranium on towns and villages, messing up the water and electric infrastructure, cause all manner of birth defects, cover up rape and abuse towards
military women, deal very poorly with the veterans upon their return, declassifying PSTD to other than a medical issue, have these veterans homeless and suicidal, fund and support terrorists militias, cover up and enhance the opium production, drop bombs on people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, arm the insurgents in Syria, yet, when they pull their little dingy out and flash it around, inserting it here and there, NOW THEY MUST RETIRE?????

Something is seriously and morally wrong with American ethics. Dude done did something else other than fool around with a drama queen, and that’s for sure!!! NB

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald
2011: Holly Petraeus (left) holding a bible as David Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director by Vice President Joe Biden. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Saturday 10 November 2012 
The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.
(updated below [Sun.])
A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.
All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal – until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.
It has now been widely reported that the affair was with Paula Broadwell, the author of a truly fawning hagiography of Petraeus entitled “All In”, and someone whom Petraeus, in her own words, “mentored” when he sat on her dissertation committee. The FBI discovered the affair when it investigated whether she had attempted to gain access to his emails and other classified information. In an interview about Broadwell’s book that she gave to the Daily Show back in January, one that is incredibly fascinating and revealing to watch in retrospect, Jon Stewart identified this as the primary question raised by her biography of Petraeus: “is he awesome, or super-awesome?”
Gen. Petraeus is the single most revered man in the most venerated American institution: the National Security State and, specifically, its military. As a result, all the rules are different. Speaking ill of David Petraeus – or the military or CIA as an institution – is strictly prohibited within our adversarial watchdog press corps. Thus, even as he resigns in disgrace, leading media figures are alternatively mournful and worshipful as they discuss it.
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell appeared genuinely grief-stricken when she first reported Petraeus’ resignation letter. “This is very painful”, she began by announcing, as she wore a profoundly sad face. Her voice quivered with a mix of awe and distress as she read his resignation letter, savoring every word as though she were reciting from the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the Rachel Maddow Show later that night, Mitchell began her appearance by decreeing that “this is a personal tragedy” and said she was particularly sorrowful for “the men and women of the CIA, an agency that has many things to be proud about: manythings to be proud about” [emphasis in original].
Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC made Mitchell look constrained by comparison as she belted out this paean on Twitter:
 For good measure, she then added:
What does all that even mean? From which glorious “battlefield” is the CIA Director now absent, and how and why are we “at a time when we need them most”? But Amanpour is reciting something akin to a prayer here, and it’s thus insusceptible to rational inquiry of that sort.
Meanwhile, Michael Hastings – whose Rolling Stone cover story ended Gen. McChrystal’s career by including numerous intemperate quotes and, in doing so, revealingly prompted widespread animosity among his media colleagues for the crime of Making a General Look Bad – was on MSNBC yesterday with Martin Bashir. Hastings explained how the media has been devoted to Petraeus’ glorification and thus ignored all the substantive reasons why Petraeus should have received far more media scrutiny and criticism in the past. In response, Bashir – who has previously demonstrated his contempt for anyone who speaks ill of a US General – expressed his anger at Hastings (“That’s a fairly harsh assessment of a man who is regarded by many in the military as an outstanding four-star general”) and then quickly cut him off just over two minutes into the segment.
Then there’s the Foreign Policy Community, for which David Petraeus has long been regarded with deity status. Foreign Policy Magazine Managing Editor Blake Hounshell, under the headline “The Tragedy of David Petraeus”, gushedthat “Petraeus’s downfall is a huge loss for the United States,” as “not only was he one of the country’s top strategic thinkers, he was also one of the few public figures revered by all sides of the political spectrum for his dedication and good judgment.” He added: “He salvaged two disastrous wars, for two very different presidents.”
Also at Foreign Policy, Thomas Ricks, formerly of the Washington Post, arguedthat Obama should not have accepted his resignation: “So the surprise to me is that Obama let him go. But the administration’s loss may be Princeton’s gain.” Like most people in the media, Ricks has long been an ardent admirer of Petraeus, even turning his platform over to Paula Broadwell in the past for her to spread her hagiography far and wide.
There are several revealing lessons about this media swooning for Petraeus even as he exits from a scandal that would normally send them into tittering delight. First, military worship is the central religion of America’s political and media culture. The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population – a dangerous fact in any democracy – and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don’t), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.
Recall the intense controversy that erupted last Memorial Day when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes gently pondered whether all soldiers should be considered “heroes”. His own network, NBC, quickly assembled a panel on the Today Show to unanimously denounce him in the harshest and most personal terms (“I hope that he doesn’t get more viewers as a result of this…this guy is like a – if you’ve seen him…he looks like a weenie” – “Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?”), and Hayes then subjected himself to the predictable ritual of public apology (though he notably did not retract the substance of his remarks).
Hayes was forced (either overtly or by the rising pressure) to apologize because his comments were blasphemous: of America’s true religion. At virtually every major sporting event, some uber-patriotic display of military might is featured as the crowd chants and swoons. It’s perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme – compelled reverence – is justifiable either. 
Yet US journalists – whose ostensible role is to be adversarial to powerful and secretive political institutions (which includes, first and foremost, the National Security State) – are the most pious high priests of this national religion. John Parker, former military reporter and fellow of the University of Maryland Knight Center for Specialized Journalism-Military Reporting, wrote an extraordinarily good letter back in 2010 regarding why leading Pentagon reporters were so angry at WikiLeaks for revealing government secrets: because they identify with the military to the point of uncritical adoration:
“The career trend of too many Pentagon journalists typically arrives at the same vanishing point: Over time they are co-opted by a combination of awe – interacting so closely with the most powerfully romanticized force of violence in the history of humanity – and the admirable and seductive allure of the sharp, amazingly focused demeanor of highly trained military minds. Top military officers have their s*** together and it’s personally humbling for reporters who’ve never served to witness that kind of impeccable competence. These unspoken factors, not to mention the inner pull of reporters’ innate patriotism, have lured otherwise smart journalists to abandon – justifiably in their minds – their professional obligation to treat all sources equally and skeptically. . . .
“Pentagon journalists and informed members of the public would benefit from watching ‘The Selling of the Pentagon’, a 1971 documentary. It details how, in the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon sophisticatedly used taxpayer money against taxpayers in an effort to sway their opinions toward the Pentagon’s desires for unlimited war. Forty years later, the techniques of shaping public opinion via media has evolved exponentially. It has reached the point where flipping major journalists is a matter of painting in their personal numbers.”
That is what makes this media worship of All Things Military not only creepy to behold, but downright dangerous.
Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington – and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal – a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair – to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: “an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about”).
Third, there is something deeply symbolic and revealing about this whole episode. Broadwell ended up spending substantial time with Petraeus when she, in essence, embedded with him and followed him around Afghanistan in order to write her biography. What ended up being produced was not only the type of propagandistic hagiography such arrangements typically produce, but also deeply personal affection as well.
This is access journalism and the embedding dynamic in its classic form, just a bit more vividly expressed. The very close and inter-dependent relationship between media figures and the political and military officials they cover often produces exactly these same sentiments even if they do not find the full-scale expression as they did in this case. In that regard, the relationship between the now-former CIA Director and his fawning hagiographer should be studied in journalism schools to see the results reliably produced by access journalism and the embedding process. Whatever Broadwell did for Petraeus is what US media figures are routinely doing for political and especially military officials with their “journalism”.
Other matters
Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, formerly with the Bush justice department, has an excellent analysis explaining why “one important consequence of President Obama’s re-election will be the further entrenchment, and legitimation, of the basic counterterrorism policies that Obama continued, with tweaks, from the late Bush administration.” He explains why an Obama presidency will strengthen these policies far more than a Romney presidency could have (as a former Bush official, Goldsmith is understandably delighted by this fact).
In Seattle tonight, I’m delivering the keynote speech to the annual Bill of Rights dinner for the ACLU in Washington; there are still a few tickets left for the event, which begins at 7:00 pm, and they can be obtained here.
Finally, I participated, along with ABC’s Jake Tapper and Lisa Rosenberg, in a report by NPR’s “On the Media’ on Obama’s first term record on transparency. My participation is in the first four minutes or so and can be heard here. I was also interviewed yesterday by NPR’s local Seattle affiliate for about 30 minutes on Obama’s foreign policy and civil liberties record, and that segment, which was quite good as it included several adversarial calls from listeners, can be heard here.
UPDATE [Sun.]: CORRECTION
I wrote above that Petraeus “sat on [Broadwell’s] dissertation committee”. This is inaccurate. Petraeus was one of Broadwell’s “dissertation advisers”.

It’s Official: Liberals and Conservatives Becoming Zombies

Anthony Freda Art

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post  
http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/its-official-liberals-and-conservatives.html

In the wake of the 2012 Presidential election, the expected gloating over Obama’s victory and sulking over Romney’s defeat by their respective supporters is taking its typical turn toward the absurd, at least for those who are aware of the true lack of choice that was presented in this election.

As every other failed presidential campaign in history has done, the Romney camp will soon come to grips with their loss. The Obama camp, however, will now be presented with four more years of a President who has been and will continue to be identical to the President they claimed to have hated for so many years.

As Obama continues to execute, for another four years, the very same policies implemented by Bush (and by Romney had he been elected), individuals who call themselves “liberals” or “progressives” will be faced with the challenge of defending what they perceive to be “their candidate” irrespective of reality, facts, and common sense.

Like the first four years, self-proclaimed progressives will continue to support the wholesale slaughter of innocent people in foreign countries, indefinite detention, banker bailouts, free trade, and a gross violation of civil liberties and Constitutional rights. While these very acts were once what liberals claimed was fueling their hatred of George W. Bush, it turns out that what passes for a progressive in 2012 is a rejection of war and totalitarianism directed by Republicans – not war and totalitarianism itself.

Indeed, when asking your average Obama fan their reason for such irrational support, one can scarcely receive an answer that does not have its root in false and divisive social paradigms such as his party, his race, or his age. Simply put, Obama supporters main reason for their allegiance to Barack Obama can be boiled down to two words – “He’s Obama!”

Even so, when Obama was first elected in 2008, and in the face of his obvious support for the banker bailout, continued war, and blatant disregard for civil liberties, we critics were met with pleas to “just give him time.” After all, he can’t fix eight years of Bush in one year of his own. This was the same statement that was repeated after Obama’s second year. And then his third. Even his fourth year as President still held echoes of the argument to just “give him time.”

Nevertheless, with Obama’s re-election there now appears a small shred of potential silver lining to this dark cloud. Namely, it will eliminate the argument posed by so-called Progressives for the last four years that Obama did not have equal time to right the wrongs of Bush or that he was not given a fair shot at the Presidency which now consists of, according to party hacks, an eight-year reign.

At the end of the Obama regime, it will be apparent to every Democrat that “their” candidate was every bit as bad as the one belonging to the “other team.”

There will be no more excuses echoed from the chambers of the Obama supporters that do not highlight an already delusional perspective and unwillingness to face reality. In 2016, like Bush supporters in 2008, the defense of Obama will appear more and more to be a mental illness than a political opinion. Unfortunately, one does not have to go much further for this to be the case.

This statement is not meant to pick on Obama supporters alone of course. In fact, Republicans and so-called Conservatives showed their own true colors this election by flocking to a full representation of the candidate they claim they are so opposed to. The differences between Romney and Obama, besides ethnicity and political party, were virtually non-existent. Indeed, those differences that did appear to exist were merely propaganda pieces for public presentation.

Republicans, by no means, have a leg to stand on when it comes to the issues mentioned above, be it economics, war, civil liberties, or any other issue for that matter.

Regardless, it is a fact that Liberals and Progressives, once the majority of the anti-war, 9/11 Truth, and freedom movements, simply dissipated with the election of Obama. What is worse, however, is that they never reappeared after Obama proved that, as President, he would not only be as bad as Bush, he would be worse.

While rumblings amongst true Liberals of Obama’s treachery are indeed beginning to take place, the fact is they have remained dormant for far too long. In truth, it is a shame that they were ever silent to begin with.

Thus, with Obama firmly locked in to another four years and with no possibility of his own re-election in 2016, Progressives are now given an opportunity to return to the principles they have neglected for the last four years. With no possibility of costing Obama the election, you can now be free to oppose the killing of innocent men, women, and children. With “your team” squarely in office, you can now meekly ask for your right to privacy, to a trial, and even to life without worrying about your chosen party losing the White House. As Obama takes over in his second term, you can now acknowledge the worldwide economic depression and perhaps take some steps to avoid a total collapse and return to real American standards of living without the fear of reflecting poorly upon “your President.”

A four-year vacation from your principles was long enough. Now, however, your country and the rest of the world needs you to return to the fight.

You can only blame “those other guys” for so long. Whether you like it or not, it is an unfortunate reality that both you and those on the other side of the falsely constructed aisle are more alike than you think. Likewise, Republicans must realize that economics, war, and civil liberties are issues that effect Americans regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in office.

Both Conservatives and Liberals are equally responsible for the moral, intellectual, and rapidly physical wasteland we now find ourselves inhabiting. Because both groups are divided only because they have been subjected ad infinitum to scientific propaganda in order to make such an environment possible, it is high time they both become responsible for repairing it.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

The Special Interests Won Again

Cory Michael Skaaren Art

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Special Interests Won Again

Paul Craig Roberts, Contributor

The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1) Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.

As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.

Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.

Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.

Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.

What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face.

Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu.

Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries.

Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.

The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election.

The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.

The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China.

Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized.

The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.

How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it?

How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

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