Fascism

They Live!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on July 10, 2016

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Prior to reading the screed below, I suggest watching the two videos above to get a better understanding of the whos, hows & whens of the founding of the European Union.

 

Old Nazis never die, they just go into economics.

The outcome of the Brexit Vote and its aftermath over the following week caused me to do something I don't do that often, which is to actually do some RESEARCH, rather than just shooting from the hip on what I think is going on just based on seat of the pants observations of history over the course of my lifetime.  That lifetime is so far decently long by Homo Sap standards historically speaking, I'm moving up on 60 years walking the earth now.  However, that only takes me back to 1957, and those first few years I was of course pretty oblivious to Global Politics, with these issues only beginning to hit my consciousness with the assassination of JFK when I was 6 years old.

I got a decent enough intro to politics and history from the POV of approved Western Academia and Pundits during my undergraduate years at Columbia University in their required 2 semester course in Contemporary Civilizations.  Here you were required to read all the great works of people like Hume, Locke, Descartes, Machiavelli, Nietze, Aquinas, St. Augustine etc, etc, etc.  I confess to NOT reading all their seminal books cover to cover during this period, and often relied on the Cliff Notes to prep up for the exams. lol.  I was a SCIENCE major afterall, not a History major!  In terms of budgeting my time for studying, it seemed more important back then to concentrate on biochemistry, mathematics and physics, the important topics for what I thought would be my future career.  Also getting laid was a very important priority cutting into my study time.  lol.

I did however gain at least a passing knowledge of the Western/European version of history as it was being passed out in Ivy League Universities back in the 1970s, which generally seemed to promote Democracy as the great end result of all this philosophical nonsense, although Machiavelli seemed to argue against that idea, and so did Nietze.  Even so though, at the time I just didn't see a real close connection with current events of the day to ideas and shit that was published 200 or 300  or even 1000 years earlier, and stood the "test of time" as Great Works you needed to be familiar with in a good Liberal Arts Education.

Notably ABSENT from this seemingly endless parade of Great Works (and you had to read at least one of them a week AND write some kind of comprehensible paper based on the book) was anything that covered fairly RECENT history, like from around 1900-1970 at that time.  The only things I knew about WWI and WWII came from Hollywood Movies, glorifying the exploits of CMH winning HEROES like Sargeant Alvin York in WWI (portrayed by Gary Cooper in Sgt. York) and Audie Murphy in WWII (portrayed by Audie Murphy himself in "To Hell & Back").  So it waited many years here before I began to get some clue as to what REALLY went on during this period.

Have you ever seen a more blatant piece of War Propaganda?  Do you really think Audie Murphy was the Arnold Schwartzenneger/Bruce Willis/Sylvester Stallone Superrman Hollywood made hime out to be?

While I was floating along in blissful ignorance of this period for 40 years from 1970 to 2010 or so, there have been Historians going back into the records to look at who did what and when, and what sort of political outcomes and institutions we got out of that clusterfuck.

Among the most interesting outcomes of this to me now because of the ongoing clusterfuck in Europe in the aftermath of the Brexit is the founding of the European Union.  Where did that piece of shit come from, who is responsible for it and what are the principles upon which this "Union" rests?

As it turns out, the EU was born in Nazi Germany even before the end of WWII.  The principles and the constitution were all written prior to the supposed "defeat" of Fascism in Europe, and the folks who wrote this material also retained power long after the defeat of the Nazis on the military battlefield, well into the 1950s for this generation of Nazis.  Mainly German & Belgian politicians. (see the above videos at the top of the article for the full list of scumbags)

The EU Constitution as it exists today is completely anti-democratic, and this can be observed by the fact they repeatedly ignore Referendums of the people themselves and consistently undermine both national sovereignty as well as some "Human Rights" Amerikans typically take for granted like Habeus Corpus, the right to Trial by Jury, and the legal principle of Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

https://hopegirl2012.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/dc4b7-adolf-hitler-prescott-bush.jpg First off, we KNOW that Prescott Bush, Father and Grandfather respectively to 2 of our post WWII POTUSes laundered money for the Nazi Party.  By itself, their combined 16 year rule covers a nice chunk of the post-WWII period.  We also KNOW that the Clintons are servants of the Bilderberg Group, they've been card carrying members of that bunch of Fascists since their days in Arkansas.

Really though, you don't need to know ANY of this History if you just observe the OUTCOMES over time here.  Knowing the history does verify many aspects, but the progress has been right out there for everyone to witness over these years.

First of all, let us look at the end of WWII.  The Big Demon himself Adolf Hitler committed Suicide with Ava Braun in the Berlin Bunker, and so like Osama Bin Ladin, the Big Demon was Dead.  However, the Industrialists who funded Hitler needed to get rebuilt here, and with the exception of the IG Farben conglomerate being dissected up, all the industrialists in charge of the subsidiary companies remained in their positions, and with the exception of a few egregious scapegoats like Adolf Eichmann at the Nuremberg trials, the Elite in Germany post WWII was exactly the same as the Elite that signed up with Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/germanamerican-scientist-and-engineer-wernher-von-braun-born-wernher-picture-id186172281 Here in the FSoA, we imported many of the Nazi Scientists like Werner Von Braun to help us develop more and better missiles with which to deliver the wonderful new War Toy of the Atomic Bomb.  Werner is the same guy who developed the V-2 Rockets which rained down the Death From Above over London of course, but he was never held responsible for that.

In the words of Tom Lehrer…

Vonce da Rockets go UP
Who cares vere dey come DOWN
That's not my department
Says Werner Von Braun

 

So as you can see here, although we ostensibly defeated Nazi Germany in WWII, Nazism and Fascism never really died, it simply went under cover through politics & economics.  The EU as an Economic Union was created by Industrialists, for Industrialists, and it was built up over decades of time, one increment at a time with the Final Goal the very same Pan-European Goobermint led by Germans that the Nazis had tried and failed to put together militarily, mostly because they foolishly took on the Ruskies at the same time they were trying to conquer Europe.

Fast forward to today, and what is truly remarkable here is that traditionally left wing websites and pundits SUPPORT the European Union, which is exactly the type of Fascist organization that they were battling AGAINST in the Spanish Civil War and then against Mussolini and Hitler in WWII following that.  In fact the whole Brit Labor party is fracturing precisely because as a party they were pro-Bremain, but their chief Jeremy Corbyn was insufficiently enthusiastic about this choice.

Now, the argument made in favor of the European Union is that it brought Peace & Prosperity to Europe for 70 years since the end of WWII, which is probably the longest period of Peace that continent has had since the Dawn of Agriculture.  How did they accomplish this mighty feat?  By exporting War & Poverty to the 3rd World, that's how!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man.jpg/250px-The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man.jpg The European Union is the Political arm of Fascism in Europe, just as NATO is the Military arm of Fascism.  Although the main Power Base for Fascism moved to Washington in the post-WWII years, NATO and the EU were created as a means for German Nazi Industrialists and Banksters to secure their hold over the continent, supported by FSoA Nazis like the Bush family.  In both locations in the post-WWII years, both Europe and the FSoA experienced an unprecedented level of prosperity, but this was accomplished by the progressive rape of resources from South America, Africa and the Middle East.  About the only folks who did not get their resources raped at least at the beginning were the Ruskies and the Chinese.

To keep from being raped, the Ruskies went step for step in military buildup with NATO, the EU and the FSoA in the "Cold War", but sadly for them their credit card limit wasn't as high, eventually bankrupting them.  Francis Fukuyama took this opportunity to declare this the "End of History", with the FSoA and its Allies the big winners here after thousands of years of warfare.

The Chinese took another tactic, instead of letting the West rape them or attempting to go toe to toe militarily, they raped themselves!  In cooperation with the international industrialists, they turned China into the world's foremost industrial sewer, bred up a generation of one child policy slaves and worked up a huge stash of UST worthless toilet paper in return for this self-sacrifice.

In the course of this post war history, one political system got completely wiped off the map in political discourse, FASCISM.  There were no more Fascist Goobermints ANYWHERE!  Fascism was DEFEATED!  All that was left for a while were Evil COMMUNISTS!  After the Soviet Union imploded and the Chinese turned into Slaves, there were no more Political Systems left to vanquish.

However, what was the victorious Political System?  Well see, Fascism/Nazism earned a real bad Brand Name as a result of WWII, so what we have is not called Fascism, it has been Re-Branded.  Now it comes under the Brand Names of Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Conservatism, which basically are one in the same thing.  You also see all sorts of rebranding of "Capitalism", attempting to distinguish "good" Capitalism from "bad" Capitalism.  "Free Market" Capitalism = Good, Crony Capitalism & Corporatism = Bad.  With no good Communist states to bash now also, "Socialism" has become the newest Punching Bag, and the whole current failure here is being blamed not on the Fascism we have been living under since WWII, no it's Socialism that is responsible for this! lol.

Another big problem with Fascism is that people seem to have a real hard time with defining what Fascism actually is in practice.  Most people tend to associate it with virulent racism and xenophobia, not as an economic system which enriches the few at the expense of the many.  In truth, it is basically the mirror image of Communism, a reverse Robin Hood system of steal from the poor to give to the rich.  This is precisely what has occured over the years since WWII ended.

Big-LieFor the first few years of this, inside the FSoA and Europe, this did not seem to be the case.  Most people in these countries (with the notable exception of the underclasses like Blacks in Amerika) experienced a rising standard of living, and were sold also that everyone around the world was being "lifted out of poverty".  On the latter, this just was one BIG LIE.  Sure more people got electric lights and other gizmos, but huge gaps developed in the 3rd world between Haves and Have Nots.  Huge Slums developed in places like Rio De Janeiro Brazil, Calcutta India and Lagos Nigeria.  Enormous slums like these never existed before, people lived out in the countryside doing subsistence farming.  By "modern" Western standards they were rural poor yes, but at least they could feed themselves and at least they weren't packed like rats into congested slums.  This was NOT an improvement of standard of living for these folks, even though the GDP figures for Brazil or India or Nigeria appeared to be going up over the period.

http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/styles/w768/public/photos/2014-May/eliseucavalcante12-12.jpg?itok=vXgH6Odp

So here in the FSoA and over in Europe, a generation of people including myself grew up in ignorant bliss, believing many falsehoods that were regurgitated over and over in our schools and across the media.  We were taught to believe that our armies were protecting our Democracy, when what they were really doing is protecting Corporate profits.  In the words of Gen. Smedley Butler..

http://i.imgur.com/JrAe0a0.png .

How many of you ever even HEARD of Smedley Butler in any HS or College History class?  I never did, and I went to really top level schools!  I only found out about Smedley Butler during my last decade researching the roots of collapse.  Smedley was likely the greatest HERO we have ever had in the FSoA, he actually stood tall against the Banksters when he got it all figured out.

Then of course there was the material written about both the Bilderbergers and the Tri-Lateral Commission in the 1960s & 1970s.  Carroll Quigley published his seminal work "Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time" in 1966, and laid out explicitly what was going on behind the scenes, but was this ever recommended reading in any of your History classes?  It never got on any of my reading lists, although certainly there was endless material there to read from people who had been dead for over 200 years.  You were kept so occupied reading all this old shit, none of the material really IMPORTANT to understanding what was going on ever got discussed.

http://static3.businessinsider.com/image/4e4bfdfeeab8eac95200003d/the-man-behind-the-curtain-googles-google-code-name-revealed.jpg So for 99.99% of the population both in the FSoA and Eurotrashland, we were all completely unaware of the Triumph of Fascism in WWII, and sold on the idea we lived in a "Democracy".  What the Fascist Elite had learned was that as long as you put up the Window Dressing of Democracy but controlled the Marionettes running for office, you could get whatever you wanted enacted into law. It never mattered which political party was in "power", Tory or Labor, Republican or Democrat. As long as the money and bennies were flowing pretty freely through Western society, Joe Six Pack in the FSoA and Francoise Cheap Wine in France were happy to believe everything was getting better for everybody!  More cool electronics coming out all the time.  COLOR Televisions!  Muscle Cars!  Transistor Radios!  Walkmans! Personal Computers!  For a while there, it was a new toy every week coming out of Japan!  And like everyone else, I just HAD to have one of these new toys every time they got issued out.  To live was to buy & consume.

Meanwhile though, the War and Rape of the earth necessary to produce all those toys never stopped.  We had Korea and then Vietnam, which incidentally started as a French Colonial War, the FSoA just took it over after the Frogs ran out of gas.  Wars in the Middle East also non stop through the period, you had Israel-Egypt in the 60s right through to Desert Storm and now the War on Terror, which is undefined in location or country, but exists everywhere and is a danger to all good Westerners everywhere too, so be afraid, be VERY AFRAID.

Debt_VolcanoUpping the FEAR level and upping the military engagements overseas through the Bush-Obama period kept the economy rolling in the west.  The Huge Debts generated by the non-stop war translates to more money flowing through the economy, because in this economic system, DEBT=MONEY!  It works too, until you reach an inflection point and the resources you can acquire through war are less than the cost of the war, and this has been the case for at least the last decade, although possibly longer than that.

The result of this is increasing economic difficulty, both in the nations that are being bombed and the nations doing the bombing.  In fits and starts, the total economy is contracting, and that is making funding all the social welfare programs more difficult, and racking up enormous debts as countries working under the system attempt to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while it all was going swimmingly well.  One by one, they all fall off the cliff, and Failed States pop up all over the globe like Mushrooms in Kennet Square PA on a damp morning.

In the First World countries, this problem is now manifesting itself as Political Lockup.  It is not just the Tories & Labor in the UK and the Repugnants-Democreeps in the FSoA that are split and can't gain a controlling majority, this is true in MANY of these Nation-States now.  Oz has this problem, so does Spain, so does Austria, and I suspect just about any country that holds a "Democratic" election nowadays will experience the same phenomenon.  There is a polarization in the populations, no party can present a workable solution to the problems faced and so "Democracy" fails this way.  Because if no Democratically elected Goobermint can solve the problems, some other form of Goobermint crops up.

What we hear now from some intellectuals in the Elite is that the People have to be saved from themselves, if they can't make the "right" decisions, then it is up to the Elite to make the decision FOR them.  Which of course, getting back to the European Union, is precisely what this organization is designed to do!  A Goobermint of Nazis, by Nazis and for Nazis.  According to James Traub, it is time for the Elites to RISE UP against the Ignorant Masses!

Did I say “ignorant”? Yes, I did. It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them.

http://hugequestions.com/Eric/111-SC-203461_Buchenwald_ovens_14April1945.jpg Sadly of course, Nazi-lites like Traub don't have a conventionally palatable solution to resource depletion and population overshoot either, but they could of course resurrect their old "Final Solution".  Death Camps are not something Nazis advertise, even the old Nazis didn't call Auschwitz a "Death Camp", it was a "Work Camp".  What about today's Nazis?  Are they running Death Camps?  Yes they are, and in Plain Sight too and on a much bigger scale!

Today, entire countries are being turned into Death Camps.  Turkey is the largest one, but Greece is quickly catching up.  They aren't called Death Camps of course, they are called "Refugee Welcome Centers".  They don't have Gas Chambers & Ovens that we know of as of yet, but are those really necessary?  The conditions in these Welcome Centers are atrocious.  Malnutrition and Disease will do the killing job just as well as Zyclon-B did for IG Farben given just a bit of time to get rolling.  Doctors Without Borders has already reported that the Death Rate in some of the African Refugee Camps is already horrendously high, as many as 5 children/day reported in Sudan in 2012 and likely higher now.

AUGUST 2, 2012—Sudanese refugees living in appalling conditions in camps in South Sudan are falling ill and dying at rates alarmingly above accepted international standards for emergencies, the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.

Epidemiological data gathered by MSF in refugee camps in South Sudan reveal an average of five children dying per day in Yida camp in Unity State, home to 55,000 refugees. One in three children was found to be malnourished in Batil camp in Upper Nile State, where MSF is treating 1,200 severely malnourished children. Flooded terrain and inadequate sanitation are the main contributors to the devastating health conditions, MSF said.

“The number of children dying in Yida camp is appalling, and the high number of children in our feeding program in Batil camp is just the tip of the iceberg,” said André Heller-Pérache, MSF head of mission. “The majority of patients in both camps are malnourished children, who are further weakened from diarrhea, malaria, or respiratory infections, and quickly enter a vicious circle of illness leading to further complications and death. Our medical teams are working round the clock in desperate conditions trying to save lives.”

 

How long before the Death Rate in the Turkish and Greek Refugee Camps reaches these levels?  Or is it already there?  We'll never know the truth of this until long after the fact, just as the general German population did not know the truth of Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen & Auschwitz until after WWII, and that was only because they lost the War.  Had they been victorious in that war, this history never would have been written.  The victors write the history of course.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/images/nuremberg_defendants.jpg So then why did the Closet Nazis who founded the European Union allow the History of the Holocaust to be written?  Because in the aftermath of the War first off too many people who survived came out to tell the story, and second because Demonization was necessary to assuage public guilt, and Scapegoats were chosen as sacrifices to the cause.  The Nuremberg Trials were held, a big 22 people were tried and 12 were sentenced to Death.  Do you really think only 22 people were responsible for the death of MILLIONS of people? Only 12 of them deserved to die? There was a whole organization here with minimum 1000's directly involved in the operation with full knowledge of what was ongoing.

Despite the fact it could not be hidden in the aftermath of the War, whitewashing of the event has persisted over the years, to the point there are entire websites devoted to the idea it never happened at all!

I do think most people today accept that the Holocaust did in fact occur, but they also tend to believe such a thing could NEVER AGAIN happen.  People in the Western world don't believe their leadership is as sick & corrupt as the Nazis of the 1930s-40s, nor do they believe their leadership is as sick & corrupt as the many Dictatorships and Puppet Goobermints we have supported over the years, including such notables as the Shah of Iran, Muammar el-Khadafi and the entire House of Saud.  However, it takes one to know one, and all the evidence is there to show that the leadership of the FSoA and the EU is AT LEAST as sick & corrupt as all of those, if not more so by an order of magnitude.  This level of corruption is becoming increasingly more exposed, and it is one of the things motivating the Brexit Vote, along with the current polarization in many other Western Goobermints.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/Anti-Japan2.png For most people in the West, accepting that you live inside the Belly of the Nazi Beast is pretty hard if not impossible.  So no matter how much evidence you present, how much history and scholarship on the topic you dig up, they just won't believe it.  "WE" are always the GOOD GUYS!  "THEY" are the BAD GUYS!

In this case in this iteration it's not the Kikes who are the Bad Guys, or the Nips or the Krauts.  This time round, it is the Towel Heads who are being Demonized.  Forget the pronouncements of The Donald here, just cruise the commentariat of numerous websites to get a feel for the zeitgeist going down here.  Muslims are all portrayed by many people in the commentariats as sub-human ANIMALS!  Often with the coda they are in need of EXTERMINATION and we should "Nuke 'em till they GLOW" and Glaze over the entire Middle East with the full arsenal of Nukes the FSoA totes around the world on Submarines and Aircraft Carriers as the Big Swinging Military Dick on the Planet.  This is the "Final Solution" proposed by the modern Nazis if the Towel Heads don't die off fast enough in the Refugee Welcome Centers.

If you don't believe modern Nazis are ALIVE & WELL, just look at Ukraine.  Just look at The Donald.  Just look at the EU and its History and current actions.  Just READ the fucking internet.  They are here alright, in FORCE.  THEY LIVE!

   http://www.dewereldmorgen.be/images/cache/large_ar/2013/02/13/merkel-als-hitler.png   http://crooksandliars.com/files/imagecache/node_primary/primary_image/15/12/trump_as_hitler.jpg   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ca/80/f1/ca80f13f2c77feb944cb76a22aa988ad.jpg  http://religionresearch.org/closer/files/2014/03/uniform.jpg   http://www.dailystormer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/petry.jpg   https://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/431283/marine-le-pen-fn-nazi.jpg

THE BOYS & GIRLS FROM BRAZIL ARE BACK!

Bull Run

War on Trump gc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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War on Trump

 

Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 13, 2016


The Twitter-incited mob that shut down last week’s Donald Trump rally at the University of Illinois’ Chicago pavilion was the first skirmish in what is shaping up to be a civil war between a political Left that has lost its mind and a political Right that has lost its mind and its soul. The tensions between these two camps are so contorted and dishonest that even trying to unpack the issues puts the un-packer in jeopardy of being branded as one kind of thought-criminal or another.

The Left has lost its mind in a climax of zealotry over the new religion of social justice, with its sacred “victims” (blacks, LBGTQs, etc), its sacred tenets (“diversity,” “inclusion”), and its endless charges of blasphemy (renamed “micro-aggressions”) against heretics (“racists,” “homophobes”) who object to absolutist thought policing. This was nicely described by Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University in a recent podcast with author Sam Harris. (Skip to 1 hour 30 minutes in the long discussion.)

The religion got started on the campuses, where social science careerists ginned up an elaborate doctrine to justify the self-importance of their new departments in so-called race, gender, and privilege studies — the main point of which was to create new categories of sacred victims suffering spiritual torments (“traumas”) that could never be healed. These crypto-religious “studies” led to a multiplication of demons that had to be exorcized by an equal multiplication of diversity deans and committees aimed at punishing blasphemies — such as arguing against affirmative action (“racist”), or wearing a Mexican sombrero at a tequila party (“cultural appropriation” + “racist”), which happened recently at posh Bowdoin College.

The hysteria incited by the academic diversity corps spread readily and easily into Democratic Party politics, where badly-needed minority votes could be harvested to shore up the dwindling votes of traditional supporters such as labor unions, and make up for (you might say cover up) the Party’s complete surrender to both Wall Street and the war industry.

The religion of the social justice warriors, got a huge boost with the deaths, and subsequent canonization of the new mega-saints, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and other black youths who were killed under circumstances that were, at least, ambiguous, and, at most, due to their own poor judgment and misbehavior. (Pause for cries of “racist” to subside). The Michael Brown / Ferguson, Mo. incident and subsequent riots led to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, with its now secular (“the street”) and campus branches, and its vote-garnering panders (Hillary) in politics.

Possibly the worst blasphemy — which I will now state — is the idea that the new religion of social justice exists to disguise the vast disappointment over the failure of the civil rights movement to uplift — that is, raise out of poverty, illiteracy, and crime — a substantial part of the black population. In fact, much of the official policy of the civil rights era only made matters worse, especially the well-known failures of the welfare system with all its disincentives to economic striving. So, the well-intentioned people of the Left — a dying breed — are left in dismay and embarrassment, fighting demons, while black America chooses more and more remain an oppositional culture, apart, antagonistic, and increasingly bent on vengeance.

Enter Trump, perhaps the worst figure possible to call bullshit on this vast matrix of dishonesty, with his ugly cohort of “poorly-educated” white yahoo supporters. Why? Because the well-educated non-yahoos of both parties are too cowardly and too corrupt — too busy making money off the war racketeers and the medical racketeers, and the Wall Street racketeers, and the campus racketeers — to take on some of the central lies of our times, which Trump manages to do in the crudest possible ways.

What the politicians and the media and the cringing, pandering intellectuals of this country aren’t figuring is what happens when the political crisis of the moment is amped up by the financial and economic train wreck that is certain to come before the fall elections. The nation has already gone mad with the internal contradictions of its own beliefs. The next step will be when it literally goes to war with itself.

 


James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Hemingway of the Donbass 2

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 9, 2016

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Full Audio Only Interview, both parts

Watch Part 1 on the Doomstead Diner Blog or the Collapse Cafe YouTube Channel

Russell-Bentley-1In the first part of our interview with Russell, we discussed his personal history and what brought him over to Donbass to become part of the militia fighting against the Ukrainian Goobermint installed by NATO and the CIA in the anti-democratic Maidan "revolution".

Here in part 2, we look in detail at the fighting that has ensued, and what the future may hold for the people of Donbass.  Can they survive on their own as an indepent state? Will they hold a referendum to become a part of Mother Russia?  Russell offers his opinions on these questions and many more in Part 2 of "Hemingway of the Donbass".

 

 

 

 

Hemingway of the Donbass

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 24, 2016

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A couple of months ago while doing my usual web surfing to find collapse related newz stories to drop on the Diner Newz Channels and our r/globalcollapse Reddit sub, on the Greanville Post I ran into a video produced by Essence of Time telling the tale of an Amerikan who had joined up with the militia in the Donbass region of Ukraine to fight in the ongoing Civil War there, attempting to break away from Fascist rule in Kiev sponsored by the FSoA Goobermint.  The man's name: Russell Bonner Bentley. Subsequently, I found more articles about him on Greanville, and the story just fascinated me.

http://www.greanvillepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screen-Shot-2015-12-08-at-12.36.43-PM-1.jpg

80 years ago now, in 1936 there was a Civil War in Spain which pitted the forces of Fascism against the forces of Communism, a prelude to the even bigger war of WWII which followed on its heels.  It was a brutal fight, one which inspired the Guernica Painting by Pablo Picasso,memorializing one of the first aerial bombardments of a city, dropping the Death from Above that has become commonplace now in the wars fought since that day.

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/sites/default/files/obras/DE00050_0.jpg

Many more since that day of course, from the Fire Bombing of Dresden; to the Incineration of Hiroshima & Nagasaki with the Nuke Puke of Fat Man and Little Boy; to the smell of Napalm in the Morning in Jungles of Vietnam.

In Spain in 1936, fighters from all over the world came to volunteer in Spain to fight against Fascism, one of those men was Ernest Hemingway which he later recounted in a novel, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", later still to be made into a movie starring Gary Cooper and the young Ingrid Bergman.

I determined to get in touch with Russell, to get more of his back story and a better understanding of what drove him to leave his life here in the Land of Good & Plenty to go fight on the battlefields of the Donbass, to put his life on the line for people he had never known.  I tracked down his email, and after a couple of false starts I ran across a line in one of his blogs I recognized.  "No brag, just fact."  That line comes from an old television series, "The Guns of Will Sonnett" starring Walter Brennan as an aging Gunfighter.

Lot's of folks out there talk a good game, but very few actually go out and prove their courage and their convictions as Russell Bentley has.  Truly, he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk.  In the interview, I believe you will find that to be as true as I did.

My gratitude to my fellow Admin here on the Diner Surly, who compiled the clips to go along with the interview, and to Essence of Time, the video unit that did the recordings in the warzone that go along with this interview.

We will air part 2 of the interview in March.

The Human Extinction Survey

SURVEY SUBMISSIONS TO DATE: 277

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on May 17. 2015

extinction-button

05-24-human-extinction

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Discuss this Survey at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

human-extinctionEarly on when I began my journey into the World of Collapse, probably the biggest and most contentious issue that got kicked around on the Collapse forums and blogs was whether the monetary system would collapse in Hyperinflation or Deflation.  In fact here on the Diner itself this remains one of the most popular threads, with more than 30 pages of posts at this point.

Lately however, the Doom community has become more Doomerish, and what is being kicked around now is whether Homo Saps are bound for Extinction, not in some long distant future but in the Near Term.  In fact, some folks like Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last are predicting this Extinction Level Event will occur as early as 2030, only 15 years down the line from present day.  Obviously, if you are in the process of going Extinct, the monetary issues pale before that one!  LOL.  For the purposes of this survey though, we will consider anything under a Century as "Near Term".

In an effort to get a better clue on what people think will occur here (and WHEN!?) as we move along the Collapse Highway, I worked up a little Survey utilizing yet another of the numerous Plugins I have installed lately to spruce up the Diner before I Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond TM. 🙂

Before you take the Main Survey, if you haven't done so already here on the Diner, you may want to place yourself in on our Taxonomy of Doomer Types Survey.  If you have already done this survey before, don't do it again, it will skew the results.  I haven't got a way yet to stop Duplicates out by User.  I don't want to require email addys or any identification for these polls, as I think that would discourage readers from responding to them.

I came up with this taxonomy back in my days Blogging on The Burning Platform with Jim Quinn.  I had just 2 categories for it back then, now I am up to 4 with it.  Here's the old table though for some descriptions.  This goes back to 2011 BTW.

Topic

Doom Lite

Full Doom

 Dollar & Monetary System  We can fix the monetary system and rehabilitate the Dollar if we STOP PRINTING, feed Helicopter Ben to the Lions, Slash Spending, allow TBTF Banks to FAIL, Incarcerate the Criminal Banksters and use Precious Metals to underpin the currency.  The monetary system cannot be rehabilitated by any means, there will be a complete collapse of ALL Fiat money and financial instruments and commerce will for quite some time be mainly Barter.  PMs will only retain value in areas where there is a surplus of basic commodities.
Inflation, Hyper-Inflation, Deflation, Stagflation, DICK UP YOUR ASSFLATION WTF CARES ANYMORE?  WE ARE TOAST NO MATTER HOW IT COLLAPSES. WTF CARES ANYMORE?  WE ARE TOAST NO MATTER HOW IT COLLAPSES.
Energy To resolve our Energy problems, we must IMMEDIATELY begin building more Nukes, Drill Baby Drill for more Local Oil and build more Hydro Plants and Wind Farms, and eventually pick up the slack from lost energy from Imported Oil sources. Lost Energy from depleted Oil is Irreplaceable and it is far too late to stop an extensive Power Down throughout society which will halt most of our Transportation methods and bring down the Electrical Grid.  Our only choice is to prepare for a Low Energy footprint in the future.
 Goobermint  We can fix Da Goobermint if we Vote Out all the scumbag CONgress Critters and replace them with Honest Politicians who cannot be Bought who all demonstrate the Wisdom of the Founding Fathers and abide by the Constitution.  Said new Goobermint will be made much smaller with fewer Regulations and less Taxation, allowing Commerce to revive as the Free Market takes over.  Da Goobermint is inherently unfixable and corrupt and cannot be rehabilitated via the Ballot Box.  Only a Revolution can remove the current power structure, and the results of a Revolution will likely bring a new Goobermint as bad or WORSE than the current one.  The failure of the monetary sytem and energy systems will eventually render all large scale Goobermints unable to function, with the power vacuum filled by local Warlords and Dictators in most places.
Jobs We must stop the offshoring of Productive Jobs and rebuild our Manufacturing Base in order to build an export based Mercantilist economy with a Trade Surplus. The Industrial Model is FINISHED, even if we could rebuild Factories here in the FSofA, we wouldn’t have the Oil to run them anyhow, and there won’t be anyone here or abroad who could afford the products we build with them anyhow, because of the upward spiraling cost of energy measured in EROEI.
 Immigration  We must Seal the Borders and deport all Illegal Aliens and get FSofA Citizens to work at all the scut jobs at below Minimum Wage they currently fill to reduce Unemployment and reduce the liabilities of Aliens who are soaking up free Medical Care in the Emergency Rooms of our Hospitals.  We can TRY to seal the borders and deport the Illegal Aliens, but they will just be replaced by more home grown Citizens who are falling off the economic cliff and will be just as big a drain on the Medical System.  Besides that, at least on the Border with Mejico,  it will likely create an ever growing Shooting War with a Tsunami of Wetbacks seeking to escape an even worse situation in Mejico.
 Imperialism & Foreign Wars  We must STOP trying to be the World’s Policeman, bring all our Boys & Girls HOME and reduce the outrageous COST of maintaining the Big Ass Military.  As soon as we STOP running all our Imperialist adventures, we will basically be CUT OFF from the Foreign Oil still making its way across the Sea Lanes to our Refineries.  We also will crash just about the only type of “productive” thing we build here anymore, which are the Weapons of War and we will bring back a whole new crew of people to put on the Unemployment line.
 Free Shit Army & 30 Blocks of Squalor  We must end all transfer payments, all Welfare, Social Security and Medicaire which are all unfunded Liabilities we cannot afford.  Former Welfare recipients will be FORCED to go back to work and become Productive Citizens rather than Useless Eaters.  Old Folks will rely on their Savings and their Extended Families to take care of them in their dotage.  The minute we knock down all these social support mechanisms is the minute we turn into Egypt or Libya or all the rest of the 3rd World countries where the people with Nothing Left to Lose go BERSERK.  We don’t HAVE jobs these people could do, even if they were qualified to do any job, which they are not for the most part.  Most Old Folks have no savings, and the Extended Family died back in the 1950s for the most part.  The Medical Industry as a whole would COLLAPSE without Goobermint input, putting the Doctors, Nurses and Medical Records folks on the UE lines also.

China

 China will succeed long term because they are net creditors, have most of the Industrial infrastructure and have more Science and Math geniuses studying at Elite Universities.  China is TOAST because of outrageous Population Overshoot, a depleted Water Supply, insufficient arable land and insufficient local supplies of remaining Fossil Fuel energy.

 

FINAL

SOLUTIONS

 Boomers should be EXTERMINATED  Pigmen should be EXTERMINATED

 

The latest Compact Description of each of the new categories is below, and you can go HERE to take that Survey if you have not done so already.  However, don't navigate away from this page until you take the Survey below, which is much more comprehensive.

Tell Us How you Categorize Yourself

Cornucopian: You believe current problems are temporary and Homo Saps will eventually go Star Trekking
Doomer Lite: You believe we will have a Greater Depression, but eventually rebound from it
Full Doomer: You believe Homo Saps will undergo a massive Population Knockdown but will not go Extinct in this century
Uber Doomer: You believe Homo Saps will be extinct by the end of this century
 
Now, onto the Main Extinction Survey itself!
 
survey-saysAll questions in the Surveyl are Optional to answer, in fact even taking the Poll is Optional!  You're not required to leave any identifying information if you don't want to.
 
It may not appear to you that the form submission worked, because I haven't got the feedback page working yet.  However, trust me it does work! I tested it. I'll publish the Survey results after I get enough reasonably literate responses to it.  If you choose to write a really LONG answer to any question, I highly recommend that you compose it in a Text Editor on your own computer and Save It there before copy/pasting it into the Submit Box and hitting the Submit Button!  Just In Case.
 
There are Text Areas for each question, if you wish to explain your reasoning for your choice.  You are also encouraged to join us in the Diner Forum for discussion of these choices.  You can also use the Blog Commentary below for further discussion and explanation, although that will not go into the Published Survey Results.
 

the-apocalypse11

RE

Psychological Conditioning for Martial Law

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The End of the American Dream on April 29, 2015

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Discuss this article at the Geopolitcs Table inside the Diner

Are We Being Psychologically Conditioned To Accept Martial Law In America?

Martial Law - Public DomainHave you noticed that we are starting to be bombarded with images of troops in the streets?  Have you noticed that the term “martial law” is coming up a lot in movies, news broadcasts and even in television commercials?  In recent years, it seems like the solution to almost every major crisis involves bringing in troops.  In fact, it has already gotten to the point where when something really bad happens a lot of Americans immediately cry out for troops to be brought in.  And we are seeing the same patterns over and over again.  Just remember what happened in Ferguson – protesters were whipped up to a frenzy, when the riots began the police were ordered to stand down and not intervene, and finally National Guard troops were brought in as the “solution” to a crisis that had escalated wildly out of control.  This is the exact same pattern that we are witnessing in Baltimore, and as you will see below, National Guard troops all over the nation have been training for this exact type of scenario.  A couple of decades ago, many Americans would have regarded the notion of “martial law in America” as absolutely unthinkable, but these days the threat of civil unrest is causing an increasing number of Americans to embrace the idea of troops patrolling our city streets.

The anger toward the police that we see in the city of Baltimore is very real, but there also seem to be a lot of signs that the events of the past several days have been orchestrated and manipulated.   This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “12 Unanswered Questions About The Baltimore Riots That They Don’t Want Us To Ask“.  But what we have found out since then is that high school kids appear to have been “herded” by the police into the Mondawmin neighborhood in Baltimore when school was let out on Monday

When school let out that afternoon, police were in the area equipped with full riot gear. According to eyewitnesses in the Mondawmin neighborhood, the police were stopping busses and forcing riders, including many students who were trying to get home, to disembark. Cops shut down the local subway stop. They also blockaded roads near the Mondawmin Mall and Frederick Douglass High School, which is across the street from the mall, and essentially corralled young people in the area. That is, they did not allow the after-school crowd to disperse.

Even though most of the kids did not seem to have any interest in participating in the much-hyped “purge”, it looks like authorities were determined to get their “purge” one way or another.  The following was posted to Facebook by a Baltimore teacher named Meghann Harris…

Police were forcing busses to stop and unload all their passengers. Then, [Frederick Douglass High School] students, in huge herds, were trying to leave on various busses but couldn’t catch any because they were all shut down. No kids were yet around except about 20, who looked like they were waiting for police to do something. The cops, on the other hand, were in full riot gear, marching toward any small social clique of students…It looked as if there were hundreds of cops.

Another teacher seems to confirm the other accounts that you just read…

A teacher at Douglass High School, who asked not to be identified, tells a similar story: “When school was winding down, many students were leaving early with their parents or of their own accord.” Those who didn’t depart early, she says, were stranded. Many of the students still at school at that point, she notes, wanted to get out of the area and avoid any Purge-like violence. Some were requesting rides home from teachers. But by now, it was difficult to leave the neighborhood. “I rode with another teacher home,” this teacher recalls, “and we had to route our travel around the police in riot gear blocking the road…The majority of my students thought what was going to happen was stupid or were frightened at the idea. Very few seemed to want to participate in ‘the purge.’

This paints a very different picture than we are getting from the media.

But once the violence and rioting did start, the police were nowhere to be found.  In fact, it is being reported that the mayor of Baltimore actually ordered the police to “stand down” and allow the chaos to spiral out of control…

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ordered the police to stand down as riots and looting broke out across they city, a new report claims.

According to a senior law enforcement source, the embattled mayor effectively told her officers to do nothing as the city began to burn – raising questions as to whether the rioting could have been stopped.

Finally, after several hours of madness, the order was given and the National Guard was brought in to quell the rioting.

And it just so happens to turn out that National Guard troops all over the nation have recently been engaged in something called “civil unrest training”

Many of the Guardsmen are trained for a situation just like the one in Maryland.

It’s called “civil unrest training,” and it was recently completed in Tennessee with a local police department.

Troops have also trained in Maryland and Colorado.

“It really helped put it into perspective the person we are going to be up against – the rioter, the unruly person,” said one National Guard official.

The training includes gas mask training and practice with shields and batons.

Isn’t that convenient?

There are so many instances in which “training” seems to eerily correspond with actual events.  That is one of the reasons why so many people are concerned about Jade Helm and all of the other very elaborate military exercises that are being held around the country in 2015.  In fact, there has been so much concern about Jade Helm that the governor of Texas has ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm…

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor federal military exercises in Texas after some citizens have lit up the Internet saying the maneuvers are actually the prelude to martial law.

The operation causing rampant suspicions is a new kind of exercise involving elite teams such as the SEALs and Green Berets from four military branches training over several states from July 15 to Sept. 15

Called Jade Helm 15, the exercise is one of the largest training operations done by the military in response to what it calls the evolving nature of warfare. About 1,200 special operations personnel will be involved and move covertly among the public. They will use military equipment to travel between seven Southwestern states from Texas to California.

The following is a map from Jade Helm materials, and it designates Utah and Texas as “hostile territory”.  Yes, I know that this is supposed to be an “exercise”, but even so this is highly inappropriate to say the least…

Jade Helm

Lastly, I want to share with you an AARP commercial that appears to have a subliminal message in the background about martial law.

Why in the world would a television commercial aimed at senior citizens talk about martial law?

I have no idea.

If you listen very carefully to the video posted below, you will hear the following message in the background…

Riots nationwide have prompted local governments to declare martial law.

The President is asking that citizens find safety and remain calm.

Authorities are working to contain the outbreak.

Here is the video.  Watch it for yourself and see what you think…

So what in the world are we supposed to make of all this?

Remembering the Road to Auschwitz and What Made it Possible

Off the keyboard of  Jaded Prole
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Auschwitz

First Published in Veer Magazine, February, 2015.

 

                 “Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”               

– George Dmitrov

“Fascism is nothing but capitalist reaction.”
– Leon Trotsky

“Fascism is capitalism plus murder.”
– Upton Sinclair

 

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, by the Soviet army. Auschwitz was one of many extermination facilities in a large network set up by the Germans in the 1940s. There were also many smaller facilities and factories using slave labor. My parents were the children of immigrants. My mother’s extended family in Hungary were among the murdered, with only three surviving. One, a cousin I met who survived Auschwitz. The reality of this recent experience was never far from our consciousness.

I grew up personally experiencing vicious, often violent anti-Semitism and was warned by my parents that my non-Jewish friends could never be fully trusted. Red-lining and discrimination against minorities including Jews was still common during this time. I was a religious young man and my own experiences lead me to be virulently pro-Israel even supporting Rabbi Kahane’s ultra-nationalist “Jewish Defense League” whose motto was “Never Again.” Though this organization was banned in Israel, the sentiment remains understandably central. I’ve learned a great deal since then and have become a very different person but the foundation of my political consciousness is still anti-fascism.

That the memory of the Nazi holocaust has become an essential part of Jewish culture is understandable. It is important that Auschwitz remain a memorial with regular tours including the recent reunions of survivors. The horrors perpetrated on the victims of fascism, the Jews, Roma, Gays, unionists, dissidents and others should never be forgotten. Though we can recount in gruesome detail what took place there, what seems more important to me, and what is often overlooked, is how a civilized society could get to the point of committing and justifying such crimes. Examining the gradual lead up to this nightmarish state of affairs is vital in preventing it from happening again.

There have been other genocidal rampages or holocausts under many political systems. The genocide of Native Americans in our own history, the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey and the slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda come to mind. I separate genocides from other examples of mass murder, like the killing fields of Cambodia, in that genocide is by definition a conscious attempt to eradicate a particular people based on ethnicity. The Nazi genocide is unique in its industrial organization, its reach, and especially in the support and participation of educated, seemingly civilized people. That this occurred under a particular socioeconomic system called Fascism is important.

Fascism is an extreme form of capitalism in which the state is run by and for corporate interests. Its founder, Benito Mussolini described it as such, stating that, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Upon his election, he dissolved the Italian congress of regional representatives and replaced them with representatives of major industries. George Dmitrov, a Bulgarian who successfully defended himself in a Nazi court against accusation of arson in the famous Reichstag fire described fascism as “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.” In its heyday, many described its spread as a social psychosis marked by extreme nationalist fervor.

As with any disease process, there are symptoms, and it is important that they be recognized. Fascism was a reaction to and a rejection of the enlightenment ideals of humanism and rational inquiry, and especially of labor unions and of socialism with an emphasis on the latter. It emerged in a harsh economic depression when the moneyed elite felt threatened by rising desperation. While German fascism sold itself as “national socialism” what was being socialized were public institutions under the rule of corporate interests, the antithesis of actual socialism. Fascists from Goebbels to Pat Buchanan cynically use populist language to push agendas which are in reality hurtful to working people.

The acceptance and maintenance of tyranny requires enemies. Scapegoating of minorities is part of this, as is creation, identification and dehumanization of others identified as a threat to the nation. Important here is the steering and misdirection of legitimate anger by those in power away from themselves. Aside from scapegoating Jews, German fascists focused public animosity and fear on labor unions, the “liberal press,” the USSR, and on invented aggressions by Poland. They repeatedly identified non-Germans as sub-human and idealized racial purity. We see echoes of this today in the rhetoric of our own far-right, aimed at Hispanic immigrants, Gays, African-Americans, organized labor, “liberals” and the poor. We also see it in the creation and dehumanization of enemies in the Muslim world and in support of Israel’s increasingly brutal and ironically fascistic apartheid system. We see it in our own increasing polarization as well.

Nationalism and Militarism are are key symptoms. Fascism emphasizes strength as a virtue and weakness as something to be despised. The Nietzschian ideal of the heroic individual, or Übermenschtaking what is his by virtue of his strength or the Will to Power is also central to fascism, though individualism itself is made subservient to the state which, in theory, acts for all. In fascist countries, the military and police are idealized and empowered under an authoritarian state. Though our country is not nearly as tyrannically authoritarian as Nazi Germany or Chile under Pinochet, the worship of all things military, the heroization of soldiers and even of assassins, as in the new hit move American Sniper, and the visceral defense of police abuse are indicative of a fascist mentality here at home.

Control of information and repression of journalism are important aspects in the maintaining of authoritarian governments across the political spectrum. While we heard the strident support for press freedom after the recent murder of cartoonists in Paris, we have witnessed record repression against journalists and “whistle-blowers,” or those that report truths which make the powerful uncomfortable. Activist and journalist Barrett Brown is the latest example, sentenced to 5 years and ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution and fines for coming across hacked information and passing on the link while doing research for an article. There are many others.

In southeast Virginia, journalists at the Virginian-Pilot are feeling the heavy hand of repression. After what began as a revealing expose about the presence of Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, as well as the mayors of other local cities being on the board of TowneBank we might have expected more. This article raised questions about conflicts of interest and could have developed into a an important investigative series linking local business and political influence. Unfortunately, upper management, and particularly Landmark’s executive vice president and general counsel, Rusty Friddell put the kibosh on it. As reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, Friddell sits on the board of a local charity with four TowneBank directors and is a former partner of William Harrison, a private attorney for Mayor Sessoms. The same article reports, “As one veteran journalist at the paper put it: “We’re walking around with duct tape over our keyboards.” In our country, media repression is limited not only by government pressure but by the perspective and often heavy hand of corporate owners often hard to separate from the inner circles of power.

The importance of the press and of culture in shaping public attitudes cannot be understated. Every example of genocide, much less of mass murder and war, has been preceded by the coordinated repetition of exaggerations, racist imagery, fear-mongering and outright lies in major press and media. Religion comes into play as a powerful tool of emotional manipulation as well, especially when tied to nationalism. We see this among right-wing Evangelicals, Zionists, Islamists and nationalist Hindus.

Fascism doesn’t require fancy uniforms, or concentration camps. We see its most virulent expressions in those who defend corporate influence and who promote nationalism and militarism. We see it in those who are quick to stereotype minorities and cast hateful judgments at the poor. We see it in the rejection of science and rationality when they conflict with corporate profits. We see it in defense of the influence of wealth and absolute rule of money that defines and empowers corporations as “people.”

Just as German fascism developed in the hard times of the Great Depression, our own moneyed class finds similar ways to twist to their own advantage the righteous anger of those struggling economically due to unbridled corporate corruption. The Tea Party is a prime example as is the blaming of economic hardship on immigrants, unions and “big government” regulations on business. This is made more effective by the well-funded influence of extreme-right propaganda via talk radio and FOX “news.”

What fascism means for us in practical terms is endless war, the neo-liberal economics of increased austerity, the cutting of safety-net programs and even of Social Security. It means increased racial injustice and animosity. It means the disposability and criminalization of the poor, ill and elderly and the continuing growth of an intrusive militarized national security police state. It means misrepresentation, criminalization and repression of citizen political action as we saw with the Occupy movement.

Identifying symptoms allows us to address the disease, preventing its worst outcome. The separation of money influence from politics is key. We need legislation which reverses corporate person-hood and re-instates limits on corporate charters. We need stronger laws against corruption and the kind of lobbying that amounts to bribery. We need to free politicians from dependence on big money donors through electoral reform, and we need to open up our electoral system beyond the monopoly of the two official corporate parties. We need to undo the “Patriot Act” and break up the CIA/NSA. Also vital is real Press freedom which means freeing it from the stifling limitations of large corporate ownership, CIA influence, and government suppression. We need protection of our rights and of democratic citizen advocacy, including organized labor. Most of all, we need to keep ourselves informed and to be aware of how power manipulates information. We need to understand our own shared interests and to be able to identify and criticize racism, lies, and corporate propaganda when we see it. To not do this opens us up to the danger of being misled, as most good Germans were in the 1930’s, accepting lies as true and mistaking blind nationalism for patriotism.

Returning to my early awareness of and reaction to fascism, what I’ve come to understand is that the antisemitism and genocide of German fascism was only part of the picture and was the result of the brutal dictatorship of arrogant, self-serving corporate power. That “Never Again” isn’t just about Jews, it is about all of us. Never Again for Anyone.

Jaded Prole is the nom-de-plume of a freelance writer and poet as well as a publisher, and philosopher living in Virginia. His blog is hereHe also publishes The Blue Collar Review, a quarterly whose purpose is to expand and promote a progressive working class vision of culture.

http://partisanpress.org/

The Anti-Empire Report #135: American Exceptionalism and Torture

From the Keyboard of William Blum
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unint-day-against-torture

Published originally in The Anti-Empire Report December 19, 2014

American Exceptionalism and American Torture

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.

That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.

So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.

The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office.

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, amongst other torture centers employed by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business, as is the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the key Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions, amongst other charming examples of American Exceptionalism.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ … But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely and solely because they were willing and able to torture them.

Four months after Obama and Panetta took office, the New York Times could report that renditions had reached new heights.

Torture of Brinvilliers, 17th CenturyThe present news reports indicate that Washington’s obsession with torture stems from 9/11, to prevent a repetition. The president speaks of “the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era”. There’s something to that idea, but not a great deal. Torture in America is actually as old as the country. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of international torture centers, kidnaping people to these places, solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

In 2011, Brazil instituted a National Truth Commission to officially investigate the crimes of the military government, which came to an end in 1985. But Mr. Obama has in fact rejected calls for a truth commission concerning CIA torture. On June 17 of this year, however, when Vice President Joseph Biden was in Brazil, he gave the Truth Commission 43 State Department cables and reports concerning the Brazilian military regime, including one entitled “Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives.”

Thus it is that once again the United States of America will not be subjected to any accountability for having broken US laws, international laws, and the fundamental laws of human decency. Obama can expect the same kindness from his successor as he has extended to George W.

“One of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.” – Barack Obama, written statement issued moments after the Senate report was made public.

And if that pile of hypocrisy is not big enough or smelly enough, try adding to it Bidens’ remark re his visit to Brazil: “I hope that in taking steps to come to grips with our past we can find a way to focus on the immense promise of the future.”

If the torturers of the Bush and Obama administrations are not held accountable in the United States they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction.

In 1984, an historic step was taken by the United Nations with the drafting of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (came into force in 1987, ratified by the United States in 1994). Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity. We cannot slide back. If today it’s deemed acceptable to torture the person who supposedly has the vital “ticking-bomb” information needed to save lives, tomorrow it will be acceptable to torture him to learn the identities of his alleged co-conspirators. Would we allow slavery to resume for just a short while to serve some “national emergency” or some other “higher purpose”?

If you open the window of torture, even just a crack, the cold air of the Dark Ages will fill the whole room.

 

Cuba … at long, long last … maybe …

Hopefully, it’s what it appears to be. Cuba will now be treated by the United States as a country worthy of at least as much respect as Washington offers to its highly oppressive, murdering, torturing allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

It’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a country whose police force murders its own innocent civilians on almost a daily basis, and even more abroad, but Cuba needs to do it. Maybe the Cubans can civilize the Americans a bit.

Let’s hope that America’s terrible economic embargo against the island will go the way of the dinosaurs, and Cuba will be able to demonstrate more than ever what a rational, democratic, socialist society can create. But they must not open the economy for the Yankee blood-suckers to play with as they have all over the world.

And I’ll be able to go to Cuba not as a thief in the night covering my tracks and risking a huge fine.

But with the Republicans taking over Congress next month, all of this may be just a pipe dream.

Barack Obama could have done this six years ago when he took office; or five years ago when American Alan Gross was first arrested and imprisoned in Cuba. It would have been even easier back then, with Obama’s popularity at its height and Congress not as captured by the Know-Nothings as now.

So, Cuba outlasted all the punishment, all the lies, all the insults, all the deprivations, all the murderous sabotage, all the assassination attempts against Fidel, all the policies to isolate the country. But for many years now, it’s the United States that has been isolated in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the “superbugs” – if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.”

The problem, it appears, is that “Antibiotics generally provide low returns on investment, so they are not a highly attractive area for research and development.”

Aha! “Low returns on investment”! What could be simpler to understand? Is it not a concept worth killing and dying for? Just as millions of Americans died in the 20th century so corporations could optimize profits by not protecting the public from tobacco, lead, and asbestos.

Corporations are programmed to optimize profits without regard for the society in which they operate, in much the same way that cancer cells are programmed to proliferate without regard for the health of their host.

 

Happy New Year. Here’s what you have to look forward to in 2015.

  • January 25: 467 people reported missing from a university in Mexico. US State Department blames Russia.
  • February 1: Military junta overthrows President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Washington decries the loss of democracy.
  • February 2: US recognizes the new Venezuelan military junta, offers it 50 jet fighters and tanks.
  • February 3: Revolution breaks out in Venezuela endangering the military junta; 40,000 American marines land in Caracas to quell the uprising.
  • February 16: White police officer in Chicago fatally shoots a 6-year old black boy holding a toy gun.
  • March 6: Congress passes a new law which states that to become president of the United States a person must have the surname Bush or Clinton.
  • April 30: The Department of Homeland Security announces plan to record the DNA at birth of every child born in the United States.
  • May 19: The Supreme Court rules that police may search anyone if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the person has pockets.
  • May 27: The Transportation Security Administration declares that all airline passengers must strip completely nude at check-in and remain thus until arriving at their destination.
  • June 6: White police officer in Oklahoma City tasers a 7-month-old black child, claiming the child was holding a gun; the gun turns out to be a rattle.
  • July 19: Two subway trains collide in Manhattan. The United States demands that Moscow explain why there was a Russian citizen in each of the trains.
  • September 5: The Democratic Party changes its name to the Republican Lite Party, and announces the opening of a joint bank account with the Republican Party so that corporate lobbyists need make out only one check.
  • September 12: White police officer in Alabama shoots black newborn, confusing the umbilical cord for a noose.
  • November 16: President Obama announces that Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba all possess weapons of mass destruction; have close ties to the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban; are aiding pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine; were involved in 9-11; played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor; are an imminent threat to the United States and all that is decent and holy; and are all “really bad guys”, who even (choke, gasp) use torture!
  • November 21: The United States invades Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.
  • December 10: Barack Obama is awarded his second Nobel Peace Prize
  • December 11: To celebrate his new peace prize, Obama sends out drones to assassinate wrong-thinking individuals in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen.
  • December 13: Members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties, which hold several high positions in the US-supported government, goose-step through the center of Kiev in full German Storm Trooper uniforms, carrying giant swastika flags, shouting “Heil Hitler”, and singing the Horst Wessel song. Not a word of this appears in any American mainstream media.
  • December 15: US Secretary of State warns Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of wanting to re-create the Soviet Union.
  • December 16: White police officer shoots a black 98-year-old man sitting in a wheel chair, claiming the man pointed a rifle at him. The rifle turns out to be a cane.
  • December 28: The Washington Redskins football team finish their season in last place. The White House blames Vladimir Putin.

Notes

  1. Associated Press, December 11, 2014
  2. New York Times, December 11, 2014
  3. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  4. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  5. New York Times, May 24, 2009
  6. Washington Post, December 11, 2014
  7. National Security Archive’s Brazil Documentation Project
  8. Washington Post, December 10, 2014
  9. See note 7
  10. Washington Post, December 13, 2014

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

An Open Letter Of Warning To Mr. Badge

From the keyboard of BJ Ferguson
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 Police-Badge
Originally Published on Facebook September 26, 2014
(With this post I hope to introduce BJ Ferguson to Diner readers.  BJ is a writer from western New York, whose of singular voice I stumbled across on Facebook.  BJ often writes about personal challenges, motherhood, and the fabric of daily life, sometimes evoking memories of Erma Bombeck.  And every so often, she’ll publish a rant that will hit the high notes. From time to time, I will repost one of these rants on the Diner Facebook page.  I thought this particular rant worthy of bringing back to the mothership, inasmuch as it deals with the burgeoning armed, militarized police state we so often discuss. as well as the brutality it engenders. So straight, no chaser, here’s BJ Ferguson… Surly1)

An Open Letter Of Warning To Mr. Badge

You there, Mr. Badge. Yes, you….head cocked to one side, eyes narrowed, granite-jawed, and seething with anger….that rarefied air that you and your kind seem to believe you breathe, may fill your lungs with a sense of power that you and your kind seem to believe supersedes all other powers and senses, even human decency, is not as you also might believe, a license to kill. Your hands tucked into your gun-belt, as your ever-twitching fingers tap nervously against the butt of your weapon, too often the very instrument that you use without forethought or regret, should find genetic memory enough within to remember when first they held one, upon your heart, as you vowed to serve and protect, and the other, in salute to the American Flag,  to remind you to uphold the laws of the land….not your chosen belief or your patrolman’s angst. You there, Mr. Badge…you Sir, are everything that’s so horribly wrong with our world, today…..and it’s about time you realized it.

You are the violence and the violation, perpetuated by the unsubstantiated notion that what you do is somehow justified, because of perpetual violence and violation. You have morphed into a freakish version of Bad-Cop-Worse-Cop, predicated upon the juvenile code of stupidity, known as the “THEY-STARTED-IT-DEFENSE”. Nonetheless, understand this fact…treating citizens worse than rabid dogs, Mr. Badge, is STILL not part of your job description. Killing the innocent, provoking confrontations, to justify your on-the-job-angry beat-down of those who have committed no crime other than to exist in your world without your consent, and refusing to accept responsibility for your errors in judgment, as well as performance of duty, are ALL things that are STILL not part of your job description. So, Mr. Badge, I ask you: “Why the Hell are you making those things a part of our reality?” Because you can? Because you believe you have the right? That one almighty RIGHT, that therefore, means we citizens no longer have ANY?

And, for the record, it does not matter that not all of you are the same; it ceased to matter, the day you began believing all citizens ARE the same….in that NONE of us hold any worth. Our lives and the lives of our children mean nothing to you, Mr. Badge, as you barge through our neighborhoods, kicking, beating, shooting, killing, and making clear that our Constitutional Rights have been crushed beneath the tracks of your tanks and the giant wheels of your Urban Assault Vehicles. You, with your Stormtrooper tactics and military training, the tools and mindset of an invading force on foreign soil, have done more harm, wrought more destruction, and ruined more lives than any other plague American Cities have seen in well over a century. Yes, Mr. Badge; I refer to you as a plague, and surely you are….a blight upon the communities you are meant to protect….a vicious outbreak of an insidious disease, that threatens every unsuspecting citizen, of every city, township, and burg, across this nation.

And one thing more….Mr. Badge….you have made a complete mockery of what was once known as justice. A most unforgivable sin, indeed. You have completely lost all credibility, having committed more heinous crimes, to date, than most citizens could ever imagine. In truth, and you know this as well as anyone on earth, should we remove the corrupted protection of your job-title, should you no longer be operating under the bulwark and buffer of “Mr. Badge”, thus reducing you to the status of “ordinary John Q”…..the only debate, regarding your violent acts against the public, would be in whether or not your sentence would be one of life (without parole), or death. I dare say you might do well to ponder that for a moment, as you pummel your next victim, Mr. Badge, for no one can hide forever behind such a tiny shield.

With all your savagery and inhuman behavior, you may believe you are growing more and more powerful and untouchable. You may also believe your mighty Blue Wall as impenetrable as those that stand strong and high around the precinct castle, but again, as so often these days, your assessment of the situation is completely off. What you fail to comprehend, what you continue to ignore, is that human beings do not accept regressive circumstances as a matter of course. They will not allow themselves to be repeatedly beat down by jack-booted, badge-wearing thugs, without an eventual revolution.

If you doubt my words, take a moment to peruse the history books, taking special note of the many times and places where brutality was met with defiance, and unified courage, against a common scourge, allowing human decency to prevail. You will only be able to kill so many innocent men, women, and children, before you bring the entire society crashing down upon you, along with your crumbling Blue Wall….and I do believe the quota has just about been met. You will, soon enough, rue the day you chose to become a hated Public Enemy, rather than an appreciated Public Servant….mark my words. You will reap the bitter fruits of condemnation, as, one by one, every citizen of this land, rises up, to stand in unity….against you.

And THAT, you brutal, disgusting excuse for a human being, will be the story of you, and every single one, exactly like you……Mr. Badge.

 

***

munkee BJ Ferguson  is a writer in western New Yawk with long experience in the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, motherhood, and the domestic arts. Not to mention snow. Self described as “ancient” and “liberal,” this ancient liberal posts several rants per week on Facebook, and has been known to whip up a mean batch of holiday cookies.

NATO’s Options in Ukraine

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on September 1, 2014

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

September 1, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – After provoking what is increasingly a devastating and expanding conflict in Ukraine, NATO appears to be out of options as its proxy regime loses its grip on both its military campaign against its own population in eastern Ukraine, as well as political control in the capital of Kiev itself. However, despite the turn of events, with NATO apparently rudderless, those seeking to undo and reserve the damage the West has created in Eastern Europe must not become complacent.NATO still possesses several options with which it can respond to its deteriorating proxy regime and the eroding of its interests both in the region, and around the world.

Propaganda Retrenchment Before Aggressive Military Aid 

As the West has done in Syria, it now seeks to do in Ukraine – a complete retrenchment of the official narrative regarding the nature of the ongoing conflict. Previously, the Western media has gone through great lengths to obscure overt Nazism running throughout both the political front it is propping up in Kiev, as well as across the irregular forces sent alongside what remains of Ukraine’s national army. Western media outlets have briefly touched on the issue in attempts to mitigate and manage growing public concern.

Regarding the formation by the Interior Ministry in Kiev of a battalion of Nazis – the Azov Battalion – the BBC would publish, “Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden,” the Telegraph would publish, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” and Al Jazeera would publish, “Driven by far-right ideology, Azov Battalion mans Ukraine’s front line.” Each would in turn, admit that literal Nazis are fighting on behalf of the NATO-backed regime in Kiev – with the regime itself raising ultra-right, Neo-Nazi battle formations. But each would also attempt to downplay the implications and role of Nazism within the ongoing conflict.

That was until Foreign Policy magazine published its article, praising what it called, “fascist defenders of freedom.” It’s article titled, “Preparing For War with Ukraine’s Fascist Defenders of Freedom,” claims:

The Azov Battalion — so named for the Sea of Azov on which this industrial city is located — is one of dozens of volunteer battalions fighting alongside pro-government forces in eastern Ukraine. After separatist troops and armor attacked from the nearby Russian border and took the neighboring town of Novoazovsk, this openly neo-Nazi unit has suddenly found itself defending the city against what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called a Russian invasion. 

Pro-Russian forces have said they are fighting against Ukrainian nationalists and “fascists” in the conflict, and in the case of Azov and other battalions, these claims are essentially true.

Effectively, Foreign Policy finally admits that indeed, warnings that NATO was backing literal Nazis in Ukraine were more than mere “Kremlin propaganda,” but rather the unequivocal truth. Foreign Policy would continue by reporting:

Besides a strong defense, Ukraine needs the support of the West to defeat the invaders, Odnorozhenko argued. He called for the Europe and the United States to take a more aggressive stance on Russia and begin shipping weapons to Ukrainian pro-government forces.

And that is precisely what the United States and Europe are attempting to do – begin shipping more weapons and other forms of lethal aid to continue propping up the regime in Kiev. By embracing the Nazi militants fighting on behalf of Kiev, and simply claiming Russia is “worse,” the West can repeat the strategy it used in Syria after it became apparent that militants fighting the government in Damascus were hardcore terrorists driven by sectarian extremism and aligned to Al Qaeda.

In fact, it was also Foreign Policy who, in mid-2012, published an article titled, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists: So the rebels aren’t secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn’t much matter.”

The FP article also attempted to create a narrative that portrayed the Syrian government as a more pressing issue than revelations that NATO-backed militants were sectarian extremists, not the “pro-democracy freedom fighters” they were portrayed as being during and directly after the so-called “Arab Spring.” Foreign Policy would also create an array of excuses explaining why militants were extremists – a strategy expected to play out again as Kiev’s Nazism continues to emerge into greater public view.

By embracing and excusing two abhorrent ideologies and the heavily armed militant groups espousing them, NATO is able to continue backing both terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine. With the burden of covering up Nazism in Ukraine “off NATO’s chest,” it can commit to a more aggressive strategy of arming and aiding them.

Direct NATO Intervention 

The self-destructive fleeing forward of the West generally takes the form of political destabilizations, terrorism, false-flag attacks, incremental mission creep, and covert proxy wars. What it has learned from Russia in both 2008 in Georgia and again this year in Crimea, is that direct, unpredictable, bold moves can pay off.

NATO recently has been very public in stating it has no intention of intervening in Ukraine. Since NATO perpetually keeps the threat of military intervention “on the table” for all other conceivable conflicts across the planet, it is strange that both it, and its proxy regime in Kiev, have gone through extra efforts to insist such a scenario in Ukraine is neither desired, nor even “on the table.”

With NATO building up troops in Eastern Europe, and its attempts to lull Russia into a false sense of security, planners in Moscow, eastern Ukrainians confronting NATO-backed troops on the battlefield in Ukraine, and in theaters across the region, sudden NATO intervention must be accounted for, as well as a swift counterstroke to disrupt what will be a precarious proposition for Western interests unaccustomed to such a risky move, and merely depending on shock, awe, and surprise to follow it through.

Incremental Escalation 

Barring a negotiated settlement brokered by Kiev that sees its forces withdrawn from eastern Ukraine and contested provinces forfeited to rebels, it is likely NATO will continue incremental escalation combining both an increasingly aggressive strategy of arming and aiding Kiev’s forces regardless of their overt Nazism, as well as an incremental NATO build-up along Ukraine’s borders and covertly within them.

Whether NATO commits to a more desperate strategy entirely depends on whether or not this incremental escalation can continue at a quicker pace than the regime in Kiev can collapse.

With NATO and the special interests driving its agenda failing in Ukraine and floundering in Syria, the West has exhibited signs of dangerous desperation causing lapses in judgement and an overall lack of deep, coherent, strategic planning. It has gone from forcing its enemies to react to its provocations in 2011, to a series of backpedaling reactions in the face of formidable counterstrokes made in return ever since. An enemy that is desperate, is an enemy that is dangerous. Feeling it has nothing to lose, it may commit to an increasingly reckless strategy of provocations in hopes that its enemies’ caution and reason force them to back down.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

A Gazillionaire Looks to the Future: Sees Pitchforks

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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Rick Hanauer surveys his realm. On a clear day, you can see disaster.

Nick Hanauer surveys his realm. On a clear day, you can see disaster.

First published at The Daily Impact  June 11, 2014

One of the Masters of the Universe — he bankrolled the startup of Amazon.com, for example — has peered through the bubble of wealth that surrounds him and has glimpsed a terrifying future. Now, the opinions of the rich and powerful have no enhanced value because of their status and deserve no special attention; to the contrary, they are highly suspect given their destructive record. But given the almost universal tendency to defer to people who accumulate money, it’s worth quoting them on the rare occasions when, like a stopped clock, they are in fact correct.

So when Seattle entrepreneur (from the French, meaning “between jobs”) Nick Hanauer publishes an open letter in Politico to his fellow .01-percenters, warning them that unless they change their ways they will come to a bad end, well, it’s worth a listen. He’s been pretty good at seeing the future and making money from it, Hanauer allows, and now when people ask him what he sees up ahead, he tells them he sees pitchforks. “You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”

Hanauer’s apocalyptic vision is based on just one of the things that are terribly wrong with our economies today — his hair is on fire about inequality. If you drive too many people out of your mansion to starve and freeze in the dark, pretty soon they are going to burn your mansion down around your ears. Not in America, you say? You might want to ask the British about that.

Criticisms of inequality almost never come from the more equal, so Hanauer’s insights are surprising, not so much for their quality or novelty but because he had them. Among them:

  • Poor people can’t buy stuff. Rich people get and stay rich by selling stuff. So if too many people are too poor, pretty soon no more rich people.
  • “The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.” The notion that the rich are the job creators, he says, is bogus. Ordinary people with a little money to spend are the job creators.
  • “The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor,” forgetting that employees could also be customers.
  • The way to shrink government is to pay people a living wage so they don’t need food stamps and other forms of welfare.

Hanauer argues forcefully for a higher minimum wage as a way to lessen inequality and avert a harsh outcome. But really, is there any chance that from today’s paralyzed politics there will emerge a living wage for all? Of course not.

For all his insight, and refreshing candor, Hanauer misses most of the picture. Whatever wages people are paid, if they cannot buy food, water, air conditioning, lights or shelter at any price they will be in the streets. With pitchforks.  So while Hanauer’s bleak view of the future is surprising given its source, it is a considerable understatement;

“Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us [one percenters].”

***

 

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

Arab Spring, Jihad Summer

From the keyboard of Pepe Escobar

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THE ROVING EYE

caliphate

Originally published in Asia Times on July 2, 2014
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

Welcome to IS. No typo; the final goal may be (indiscriminate) regime change, but for the moment name change will do. With PR flair, at the start of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or ISIL – the Islamic State of the Levant – to some) solemnly declared, from now on, it will be known as Islamic State (IS). 

“To be or not to be” is so … metaphysically outdated. IS is – andhere it is – in full audio glory. And we’re talking about the full package – Caliph included: “the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn ‘Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra’i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship”. Or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

IS has virtually ordered “historic” al-Qaeda – yes, that 9/11-related (or not) plaything of one Osama bin Laden – as well as every other jihadi outfit on the planet, to pledge allegiance to the new imam, in theological theory the new lord over every Muslim. There’s no evidence Osama’s former sidekick, Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri will obey, not to mention 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. Most probably al-Qaeda will say “we are the real deal” and a major theological catfight will be on.


After all, in Syria, ISIL as well as Jabhat al-Nusra were initially fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda, until the brand – in spectacular fashion – decided to dump al-Baghdadi. He and ISIL went too far – with all those videos of decapitations and crucifixions and serial profanation of Shi’ite, Sufi and Christian sanctuaries. 

Al-Baghdadi, born Ibrahim al-Badri in Samarra, is an average Sunni Iraqi cleric with a degree in pedagogy from the University of Baghdad. His alter ago was born after Shock and Awe in 2003, and soon metamorphosed into a de facto serial killer – blowing up Shi’ite kids at ice-cream shops or scores of women at Shi’ite weddings. 

ISIL’s track record in Syria includes banning every flag apart from its own; the destruction of any “polytheist” temple or sanctuary (except if it is Sunni); and strict imposition of Islamically correct women wear. Most of all, it is a track record of terror. This is not an army, rather a well-trained militia of professional mujahid, European passport holders included, with battlefield experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, Chechnya. Heavy weaponizing is petrodollar-financed – the usual, wealthy “Gulf donors”, which does not exclude official connections. 

Sources of income diversified mightily when ISIL captured the oilfields surrounding Deir Ezzor in Syria; and after the recent offensive across Niniveh province in Iraq, they were able to lay their hands on vast arsenals of heavy artillery, lots of cash and gold bullion and, why not, US Humvees left behind. Their trademark, of course, are those columns of brand new white Toyota Land cruisers – free off road advertising Toyota HQ in Japan may not find particularly welcome. 

Loaded with oil and profiting from tax revenue, IS is now firmly on its way to provide (minimal) services and support a (mighty) Jihadi Army – much like the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. One may be sure IS will continue its massive “social engagement” strategy; talk about a chatty Caliphate which loves YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. No wonder they are a hit among Google generation recruits – as well as becoming fund-raising aces via gruesome videos. In thesis, indoctrination progresses hand in hand with “charity work”; residents of Aleppo, for instance, can dwell on how ISIL (gruesomely) looks and feels on the ground. 

Mission forever unaccomplished
It’s unclear how the new IS reality will play on the ground. The new Caliph has in fact declared a jihad on all that basket of corrupt and/or incompetent Middle East “leaders” – so some fierce “battle for survival” reaction from the Houses of Saud and Thani, for instance, is expected. It’s not far-fetched to picture al-Baghdadi dreaming of lording over Saudi oilfields – after decapitating all Shi’ite workers, of course. 

And that’s just a start; in one of their Tweeter accounts IS has published a map of all the domains they intend to conquer within the span of five years; Spain, Northern Africa, the Balkans, the whole Middle East and large swathes of Asia. Well, they are certainly more ambitious than NATO. 

Being such a courageous bunch, the House of Saud is now tempted to accept that imposing regime change on Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq is a bad idea. That puts them in direct conflict with the Obama administration, whose plan A, B and C is regime change. 

Turkey – the former seat of the Caliphate, by the way – remains mute. No wonder; Ankara – crucially – is the top logistical base of IS. Caliph Erdogan’s got to be musing about his own future, now that he’s facing competition. In theory, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan are all saying they’re ready to fight what would be a “larger-scale war” than that gift that keeps on giving, the original, Cheney junta-coined GWOT (global war on terror). 

And then there’s the future of the new $500 million Obama fund to “appropriately vetted” rebels in Syria, which in fact means the expansion of covert CIA “training facilities” in Jordan and Turkey heavily infiltrated/profited from by IS. Think of hordes of new IS recruits posing as “moderate rebels” getting ready for a piece of the action. 

It’s easier for Brazil to win the World Cup with a team of crybabies with no tactical nous than having US Secretary of State John Kerry and his State Department ciphers understand that the Syrian “opposition” is controlled by jihadis. But then again, they do know – and that perfectly fits into the Empire of Chaos’s not so hidden Global War on Terror (GWOT) agenda of an ever-expanding proxy war in both Syria and Iraq fueled by terror financing. 

So 13 years ago Washington crushed both al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then the Taliban were reborn. Then came Shock and Awe. Then came “Mission Accomplished”. Then al-Qaeda was introduced in Iraq. Then al-Qaeda was dead because Osama bin Laden was dead. Then came ISIL. And now there’s IS. And we start all over again, not in the Hindu Kush, but in the Levant. With a new Osama. 

What’s not to like? If anyone thinks this whole racket is part of a new live Monty Python sketch ahead of their reunion gig this month in London, that’s because it is.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

A Memorial Day Meditation Redux

Off the keyboard of Surly1

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SmedleyButler

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 28, 2012
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Memorial Day is a fitting day to reflect upon the exploits and heroism of a long gone and all-but-forgetten American her0,  Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940). Butler was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, an outspoken critic of U.S. military adventurism, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. I published a few thoughts on his career last year, and thought that there is little better proper observation of Memorial Day  than to consider what Butler told us. 

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After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Gen. Butler made a nationwide tour in the early 1930s speaking on the theme, “War is a Racket”. The speech was so well received that he wrote a longer version as a small book with the same title that was published in 1935. In it, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.

 

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

 

That last statement is as close as we are likely to come to an eternal truth about the human condition.

A little known and much obscured part of American history is the attempted Business Plot against Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the beginning of the New Deal. Not only were conservatives exercised at the notion of “creeping socialism,” they were also aggrieved by FDR’s abandonment of the gold standard, that shibboleth of the arch-conservative at all times and all places. Herbert Hoover, who had championed the standard on behalf of his sponsors,  wrote “that its abandonment was the first step toward “communism, fascism, socialism, statism, planned economy,” not to mention popery, bestiality, witchcraft and free-soilism. The forces of fascism, a group of wealthy industrialists, apparently planned a military coup to overthrow Roosevelt, and approached Butler based on his popularity with World War I veterans. (That was in itself based on his support for the Bonus Army movement, which marched on Washington for promised-and-welshed-upon back pay and was dispersed by Hoover and the General-In-Charge, Douglas MacArthur.)

The plotters quickly learned they had the wrong man. Butler reported the controversy to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional committee.  The purported plot would have had Butler leading a mass of armed veterans in a march on Washington. The individuals identified denied the existence of a plot, and the media ridiculed the allegations. The final report of the committee stated that there was evidence that such a plot existed, but no charges were ever filed. Most historians think that while planning for a coup was not very advanced, wild schemes were discussed. (Those wanting to know more could refer here.) Remember that this was in 1934-35, and American industrialists looked approvingly at the good works of Hitler and Mussolini and their penchant for efficiency. Clearly, “deniability” has had a long and ignoble history, as has control of the press and other levers of propaganda.

At the end of his book, Butler makes three recommendations, which fell on deaf ears then as now, and the disregardment of which have led us to the economic and moral bankruptcy that is now our inheritance:

1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are: “It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get”

2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited plebiscite to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.

3. Limitation of militaries to self-defence. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.

 

On this Memorial Day, at a time when neocons still hold the reins of our “foreign policy,” and are willing to fight the next war to YOUR last son or daughter, I can think of no greater tribute to the men and women in uniform than to recall the memory of General Smedley Darlington Butler, the only soldier to ever be awarded TWO Congressional Medals of Honor.

Support the troops: bring them home. All of them.

 

***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and a shifting menagerie of women both young and young at heart.

 

 

 

Whose Client State?

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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neoslavery_anthonyfreda_web
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  May 12, 2014
My country can cry all it likes about yesterday’s referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that US authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of central Asian misadventures: when you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat.

And so now they’ve had the referendum vote and the result is about 87 percent of the voters in eastern Ukraine would prefer to align politically with Russia rather than the failing Ukraine state governed out of Kiev. It’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the ethnic divide at the Dnieper River: majority Russian-speakers to the east. Second, the Kiev government, as per above, shows all the signs of a failing state — that is, a state that can’t manage any basic responsibilities starting with covering the costs of maintaining infrastructure and institutions. The Kiev government is broke. Of course, so are most other nations these days, but unlike, say, the USA or France, Ukraine doesn’t have an important enough currency or powerful enough central bank to play the kind of accounting games that allow bigger nations to pretend they’re solvent.

Kiev owes $3.5 billion to Russia for past-due gas bills and Moscow has asked Kiev to pre-pay for June deliveries. This is about the same thing that any local gas company in the USA would demand from a deadbeat customer. The International Monetary Fund has offered to advance a loan of $3 billion, of which Kiev claims it could afford to fork over $2.6 billion to Russia (presumably needing the rest to run the country, pay police salaries, et cetera). Ukraine is in a sad and desperate situation for sure, but is Russia just supposed to supply it with free gas indefinitely? As wonderful as life is in the USA, the last time I checked most of us are expected to pay our heating bills. How long, exactly, does the IMF propose to pay Ukraine’s monthly gas bill? In September, the question is liable to get more urgent — but by then the current situation could degenerate into civil war.

The USA and its NATO allies would apparently like to have Ukraine become a client state, but they’re not altogether willing to pay for it. This kind of raises the basic question: if Russia ultimately has to foot the bill for Ukraine, whose client state is it? And who is geographically next door to Ukraine? And whose national histories are intimately mingled?

I’m not persuaded that Russia and its president, Mr. Putin, are thrilled about the dissolution of Ukraine. Conceivably, they would have been satisfied with a politically stable, independent Ukraine and reliable long-term leases on the Black Sea ports. Russia is barely scraping by financially on an oil, gas, and mineral based economy that allows them to import the bulk of their manufactured goods. They don’t need the aggravation of a basket-case neighbor to support, but it has pretty much come to that. At least, it appears that Russia will support the Russian-speaking region east of the Dnieper.

My guess is that the Kiev-centered western Ukraine can’t support itself as a modern state, that is, with the high living standards of a techno-industrial culture. It just doesn’t have the fossil fuel juice. It’s at the mercies of others for that. In recent years, Ukraine has even maintained an independent space program (which is more than one can say of the USA). It will be looked back on with nostalgic amazement. Like other regions of the world, Ukraine’s destiny is to go medieval, to become a truly post-industrial agriculture-based society with a lower population and lower living standards. It is one the world’s leading grain-growing regions, a huge advantage for the kind of future the whole world faces — if it can avoid becoming a stomping ground in the elephant’s graveyard of collapsing industrial anachronisms.

Ukraine can pretend to be a ward of the West for only a little while longer. The juice and the money just isn’t there, though. Probably sooner than later, the IMF will stop paying its gas bills. Within the same time-frame, the IMF may have to turn its attention to the floundering states of western Europe. That floundering will worsen rapidly if those nations can’t get gas from Russia. You can bet that Europe will think twice before tagging along with America on anymore cockamamie sanctions. Meanwhile, the USA is passing up the chance to care for a more appropriate client state: itself. Why on earth should the USA be lending billions of dollars to Ukraine when we don’t have decent train service between New York City and Chicago?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

The Anti-Empire Report #128

From the Keyboard of William Blum

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 Obama Putin chess

Published originally in The Anti-Empire Report May 9, 2014

“The Russians are coming … again … and they’re still ten feet tall!”

So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror.

And how did this latest example of American foreign-policy exceptionalism come to be? One starting point that can be considered is what former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates says in his recently published memoir: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, [Defense Secretary Dick Cheney] wanted to see the dismemberment not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.” That can serve as an early marker for the new cold war while the corpse of the old one was still warm. Soon thereafter, NATO began to surround Russia with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members, while yearning for perhaps the most important part needed to complete the circle – Ukraine.

In February of this year, US State Department officials, undiplomatically, joined anti-government protesters in the capital city of Kiev, handing out encouragement and food, from which emanated the infamous leaked audio tape between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, former US ambassador to NATO and former State Department spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Their conversation dealt with who should be running the new Ukraine government after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown; their most favored for this position being one Arseniy Yatsenuk.

My dear, and recently departed, Washington friend, John Judge, liked to say that if you want to call him a “conspiracy theorist” you have to call others “coincidence theorists”. Thus it was by the most remarkable of coincidences that Arseniy Yatsenuk did indeed become the new prime minister. He could very soon be found in private meetings and public press conferences with the president of the United States and the Secretary-General of NATO, as well as meeting with the soon-to-be new owners of Ukraine, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preparing to impose their standard financial shock therapy. The current protestors in Ukraine don’t need PHDs in economics to know what this portends. They know about the impoverishment of Greece, Spain, et al. They also despise the new regime for its overthrow of their democratically-elected government, whatever its shortcomings. But the American media obscures these motivations by almost always referring to them simply as “pro-Russian”.

An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder: “At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”

Arseniy Yatsenuk, it should be noted, has something called the Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation. If you go to the foundation’s website you will see the logos of the foundation’s “partners”. Among these partners we find NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?

Getting away with supporting al-Qaeda and Nazi types may be giving US officials the idea that they can say or do anything they want in their foreign policy. In a May 2 press conference, President Obama, referring to Ukraine and the NATO Treaty, said: “We’re united in our unwavering Article 5 commitment to the security of our NATO allies”. (Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all.”) Did the president forget that Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO? And in the same press conference, the president referred to the “duly elected government in Kyiv (Kiev)”, when in fact it had come to power via a coup and then proceeded to establish a new regime in which the vice-premier, minister of defense, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, all belonged to far-right neo-Nazi parties.

The pure awfulness of the Ukrainian right-wingers can scarcely be exaggerated. In early March, the leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) called upon his comrades, the infamous Chechnyan terrorists, to carry out further terrorist actions in Russia.

There may be one important difference between the old Cold War and the new one. The American people, as well as the world, can not be as easily brainwashed as they were during the earlier period.

Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; the Times might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling? This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.

It was only in the 1980s when I began to do the serious research that resulted in my first book, which later became Killing Hope, that I was able to fill in the details and realize that the United States had indeed masterminded that particular coup or assassination, and many other coups and assassinations, not to mention countless bombings, chemical and biological warfare, perversion of elections, drug dealings, kidnapings, and much more that had not appeared in the American mainstream media or schoolbooks. (And a significant portion of which was apparently unknown to the Soviets as well.)

But there have been countless revelations about US crimes in the past two decades. Many Americans and much of the rest of the planet have become educated. They’re much more skeptical of American proclamations and the fawning media.

President Obama recently declared: “The strong condemnation that it’s received from around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.” Marvelous … coming from the man who partners with jihadists and Nazis and has waged war against seven nations. In the past half century is there any country whose foreign policy has received more bitter condemnation than the United States? If the United States is not on the wrong side of history, it may be only in the history books published by the United States.

Barack Obama, like virtually all Americans, likely believes that the Soviet Union, with perhaps the sole exception of the Second World War, was consistently on the wrong side of history in its foreign policy as well as at home. Yet, in a survey conducted by an independent Russian polling center this past January, and reported in the Washington Post in April, 86 percent of respondents older than 55 expressed regret for the Soviet Union’s collapse; 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 did so. (Similar poll results have been reported regularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. This is from USA Today in 1999: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.”)

Or as the new Russian proverb put it: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

A week before the above Post report in April the newspaper printed an article about happiness around the world, which contains the following charming lines: “Worldwide polls show that life seems better to older people – except in Russia.” … “Essentially, life under President Vladimir Putin is one continuous downward spiral into despair.” … “What’s going on in Russia is deep unhappiness.” … “In Russia, the only thing to look forward to is death’s sweet embrace.”

No, I don’t think it was meant to be any kind of satire. It appears to be a scientific study, complete with graphs, but it reads like something straight out of the 1950s.

The views Americans hold of themselves and other societies are not necessarily more distorted than the views found amongst people elsewhere in the world, but the Americans’ distortion can lead to much more harm. Most Americans and members of Congress have convinced themselves that the US/NATO encirclement of Russia is benign – we are, after all, the Good Guys – and they don’t understand why Russia can’t see this.

The first Cold War, from Washington’s point of view, was often designated as one of “containment”, referring to the US policy of preventing the spread of communism around the world, trying to block the very idea of communism or socialism. There’s still some leftover from that – see Venezuela and Cuba, for example – but the new Cold War can be seen more in terms of a military strategy. Washington thinks in terms of who could pose a barrier to the ever-expanding empire adding to its bases and other military necessities.

Whatever the rationale, it’s imperative that the United States suppress any lingering desire to bring Ukraine (and Georgia) into the NATO alliance. Nothing is more likely to bring large numbers of Russian boots onto the Ukrainian ground than the idea that Washington wants to have NATO troops right on the Russian border and in spitting distance of the country’s historic Black Sea naval base in Crimea.

The myth of Soviet expansionism

One still comes across references in the mainstream media to Russian “expansionism” and “the Soviet empire”, in addition to that old favorite “the evil empire”. These terms stem largely from erstwhile Soviet control of Eastern European states. But was the creation of these satellites following World War II an act of imperialism or expansionism? Or did the decisive impetus lie elsewhere?

Within the space of less than 25 years, Western powers had invaded Russia three times – the two world wars and the “Intervention” of 1918-20 – inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two wars alone. To carry out these invasions, the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets wanted to close this highway down? In almost any other context, Americans would have no problem in seeing this as an act of self defense. But in the context of the Cold War such thinking could not find a home in mainstream discourse.

The Baltic states of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were not part of the highway and were frequently in the news because of their demands for more autonomy from Moscow, a story “natural” for the American media. These articles invariably reminded the reader that the “once independent” Baltic states were invaded in 1939 by the Soviet Union, incorporated as republics of the USSR, and had been “occupied” ever since. Another case of brutal Russian imperialism. Period. History etched in stone.

The three countries, it happens, were part of the Russian empire from 1721 up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in the midst of World War I. When the war ended in November 1918, and the Germans had been defeated, the victorious Allied nations (US, Great Britain, France, et al.) permitted/encouraged the German forces to remain in the Baltics for a full year to crush the spread of Bolshevism there; this, with ample military assistance from the Allied nations. In each of the three republics, the Germans installed collaborators in power who declared their independence from the new Bolshevik state which, by this time, was so devastated by the World War, the revolution, and the civil war prolonged by the Allies’ intervention, that it had no choice but to accept the fait accompli. The rest of the fledgling Soviet Union had to be saved.

To at least win some propaganda points from this unfortunate state of affairs, the Soviets announced that they were relinquishing the Baltic republics “voluntarily” in line with their principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination. But is should not be surprising that the Soviets continued to regard the Baltics as a rightful part of their nation or that they waited until they were powerful enough to reclaim the territory.

Then we had Afghanistan. Surely this was an imperialist grab. But the Soviet Union had lived next door to Afghanistan for more than 60 years without gobbling it up. And when the Russians invaded in 1979, the key motivation was the United States involvement in a movement, largely Islamic, to topple the Afghan government, which was friendly to Moscow. The Soviets could not have been expected to tolerate a pro-US, anti-communist government on its border any more than the United States could have been expected to tolerate a pro-Soviet, communist government in Mexico.

Moreover, if the rebel movement took power it likely would have set up a fundamentalist Islamic government, which would have been in a position to proselytize the numerous Muslims in the Soviet border republics.

Notes

  1. See RT.com (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
  2. Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
  3. If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
  4. Voice of Russia radio station, Moscow, April 18, 2014; also see Answer Coalition, “Who’s who in Ukraine’s new [semi-fascist] government”, March 11, 2014
  5. RT.com, news report March 5, 2014
  6. CBS News, March 3, 2014
  7. Washington Post, April 11, 2014
  8. USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
  9. Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

What’s Been and What’s Next

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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usdollarcollapse
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  April 21, 2014

     The wonder is that more Americans are not ticked off about the state of our country than whatever is happening ten thousand miles away. For instance, how come the US Department of Justice is not as avid to prosecute the pervasive racketeering in the US economy as the State Department is for provoking unnecessary wars in foreign lands on the other side of the planet, over matters that have little bearing on life here? This racketeering, by the way, amounts to a war against American citizens.

     I’m speaking especially of the US military racket, the banking and finance rackets, the health care racket and the college loan racket, all of which have evolved insidiously and elegantly to swindle the public in order to support a claque of American oligarchs. In other civilized lands, health care and college are considered the highest priority public goods (i.e. responsibilities of government), and national resources are applied to support them under the theory that bankrupting people for an appendectomy or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is not in the public interest. In our land, that would be considered “socialism.” Instead, we “socialize” the costs of supporting Too Big To Fail banks — so their employees can drive Beemers to their Hamptons summer house parties — and a military machine that goes around the world wrecking one country after another to support a parasitical class of contractors, lobbyists, and bought-off politicians in their northern Virginia McMansions.

     Hence, the laughable conceit pinging through the news media lately that some dynastic grifter like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton will slide into the White House in 2016 as easily as a watermelon seed popped into a shot glass. I don’t think it’s going to work out that way. The US political system needs to be turned upside down and inside out, and I expect that it will be. Either it happens within the bounds of electoral politics, or you’ll see it playing out in the streets and the windswept plains.

     Just a glance around the USA these days ought to nauseate the casual observer. We have an infrastructure for everyday life that is failing in every way imaginable. Are you disturbed by the asteroid belts of vacant strip malls outside your town? Or the empty store fronts along your Main Streets?  What do you suppose these places will be like in ten years when the mirage of shale oil dissolves in a mist of disappointment and political grievance? How are Americans going to feel, do you suppose, when gasoline just isn’t there at a price they can pay, and they are marooned in delaminating strand-board-and-vinyl houses 23 miles away from anything? Does the sheer immersive ugliness of the human imprint on the American landscape not give you the shivers?

      Look at the pathetic and disgusting appearance of our cities, which for the most part present themselves as demolition derby arenas or war zones — except the strongholds of the red-white-and-blue oligarchs: Washington, San Francisco, and especially New York, Financialization Central.

      What happens at the “magic moment” when Facebook stops being a narcissistic virtual playground for “selfies” and becomes a bulletin board for political revolution? Think that can’t happen here? And what if that revolution is a kind that doesn’t appeal to you — say, a revolution of race hatred, or fascist zealotry, or Marxist gangsterism of the type that took Russia hostage for 70 years?

     All this is happening, incidentally, because the supposed best minds in our nation are paying no attention whatsoever to the most important story of our lifetime: the winding down of the techno-industrial global economy. It doesn’t really matter anymore why they don’t get it. Hubris. Greed. Distraction. Denial. All that matters is that they can’t be depended on and when that happens authority loses legitimacy. And when it comes to that, all bets are off.

     The disintegration of Ukraine would be best understood by Americans as a mirror of ourselves and our sclerotic republic, poised to sink into poverty and disorder. Everything we do and say rings hollow now. What used to be called The Establishment has run out of ways to even pretend to save itself. We have no idea what’s next, but it’s not going to be more of what’s been. 

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

TSA: The Scope-N-Grope Crowd Now Wants Weapons

Off the keyboard of Surly1

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 tsa_460x2761

 Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on date
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“Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on t’other [the other side].”

~ William Shakespeare – Macbeth

As some Diners plan to exercising their right to travel and freely associate by gathering in Italy, Texas, for the first ever Diner convocation, they will encounter the Transportation Safety Authority, or TSA. Few things inspire me to raving, spittle-flecked lunacy more than the notion of this federalized bureaucracy of former fry cooks, janitors, busboys and pederasts sucking a taxpayer-supported living from the body politic, all in the name of enacting security theater for we proles. The “screenings” performed daily by these poor method actors consist of sniggering over the semi-nude pictures of your body generated by untested and unsafe back-scatter radiation machines, fondling your naughty bits during an intrusive pat down, sexually assaulting both Granny and Little Nell, and oh, let’s not forget, rifling through your luggage for stuff to steal and fence on eBay.

The TSA is a layer of expense and bullshit laid over the already demanding and expensive process of travel in the FSoA. Now, not content to merely grope your genitals or cop a quick feel from your daughter, they wish to follow the trend of escalating weaponization. This in the wake of the shooting of TSA checkers at LAX last fall. Providing armed guards is too expensive, you see, and as we all know according to the gospel preached by The Worst People on the Planet, the only thing that deters A Bad Guy With A Gun is A Good Guy With A Gun. So now proposals are afoot to arm the equivalent of mall cops.

Madness.

TSA2

The TSA was enacted into law by Congress in 2001, within two months of the events of 9-11. The speed with which this piece of ready-to-wear legislation was approved shows that, like the grossly misnamed “PATRIOT” Act, it was already drafted and ready to be deployed against the American people as opportunity presented. TSA was transferred from Transportation to Homeland Security in 2003. From there, the agency morphed into the bloated, ineffective and corrupt bureaucracy we see today. Don’t take it from me: Wikipedia lists the “other complaints about the TSA complete with citations:

TSA agents are also accused of having mistreated passengers, and having sexually harassed passengers,[158][159][160][161] having used invasive screening procedures, including touching the genitals, including those of children,[162] removing nipple rings with pliers,[163] having searched passengers or their belongings for items other than weapons or explosives,[164] and having stolen from passengers.[116][165][166][167][168][169][170][171] The TSA fired 28 agents and suspended 15 others after an investigation determined they failed to scan checked baggage for explosives.[172]

The TSA was also accused of having spent lavishly on events unrelated to airport security,[173] having wasted money in hiring,[174] and having had conflicts of interest.[175]

The TSA was accused of having performed poorly at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration viewing areas, which left thousands of ticket holders excluded from the event in overcrowded conditions, while those who had arrived before the checkpoints were in place avoided screening altogether.[176][177]

In 2013 dozens of TSA workers were fired or suspended for illegal gambling at Pittsburgh International Airport,[178]

A 2013 GAO report showed a 26% increase in misconduct among TSA employees between 2010 and 2012, from 2,691 cases to 3,408.[180] Another GAO report said that there is no evidence that the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) behavioral detection program, with an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, is effective.[181]

A 2013 report by the Homeland Security Department Inspector General’s Office charged that TSA was using criminal investigators to do the job of lower paid employees, wasting millions of dollars a year.

In 2001-03, if you asked most people, they would say that a couple of bucks per flight was money well spent to insure that domestic air travel was more safe. A reasonable premise. Yet it seems that the TSA’s role is not to provide safety for travelers so much as to provide security theater, the performance art segment of state propaganda.

Jason Harrington, a former TSA agent, explained in Politico the everyday ridiculousness of the job, a fact that all agents simply accepted as a fact of life. Yes, TSA agents are ogling or making fun of your naked physique in the full-body scans. Yes, they are racially and politically profiling certain people for extra screening. Yes, the body scans are ineffective and can be easily manipulated. (“They’re shit,” a scan instructor said.)

But Harrington recognizes the job’s clearer purpose — to create the illusion of security. “It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show,” he writes. Later, he points to his frustration with “the theatrical quality of nearly all airport security.” Essentially, Harrington is referring to “Security Theater,” an idea security expert Bruce Schneier explained in detail to CNN in 2009:

Security is both a feeling and a reality. The propensity for security theater comes from the interplay between the public and its leaders.

When people are scared, they need something done that will make them feel safe, even if it doesn’t truly make them safer. Politicians naturally want to do something in response to crisis, even if that something doesn’t make any sense.

So now we understand the TSA’s purpose, which beyond collecting a federal paycheck and benefits, is simply to indoctrinate and degrade, and to reinforce blind acceptance and obedience to authority as the default response to increasingly bizarre searches and seizures. And as loath as I am to cite anything from Infowars, to their credit they have reposted a complaint from Jonathan Corbett, who has sued the TSA in a case challenging the constitutionality of the TSA’s nude body scanners and invasive pat-down program. The TSA has quietly admitted there is no actual “threat-addressing” basis for employing nude body scanners or invasive pat down procedures at airports in its own documents, a notion many travelers  weary of the agency’s borderline sexual molestation have long suspected but were hard-pressed to prove. The Court enjoined the blogger from publishing, but the Court failed to secure its own document, which Infowars republished.

Through Redactions, TSA Admits Terror Threats are Slim to Nonexistent

A section detailing how “The TSA Has Misled The Public As to the Likelihood of the Threat ‘Addressed’ By Nude Body Scanners and Pat Downs,” includes a blacked out portion concerning the TSA’s knowledge that “explosives on airplanes are extremely rare.”

“For example, the TSA analyzed hijackings in 2007 and found 7 hijacking incidents across the globe, but none of them involved actual explosive devices,” Corbett explains in the brief, adding that the last attempt to bring an explosive on-board an airplane through a U.S. airport occurred 35 years ago.

Read the rest here. Bad news for the scope-and-grope crowd.

Donut-eater searching for something valuable to pocket.

Meanwhile, when not rifling through your luggage for valuables to resell, TSA staffers have their own blog. A moving account wherrein eager TSA-ers track notable confiscations, while their colleagues pocket others:

Convicted TSA Officer Reveals Secrets of Thefts at Airports

It became a regular racket.

A convicted TSA security officer says he was part of a “culture” of indifference that allowed corrupt employees to prey on passengers’ luggage and personal belongings with impunity, thanks to lax oversight and tip-offs from TSA colleagues.

“It was very commonplace, very,” said Pythias Brown, a former TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey who admits he stole more than $800,000 worth of items from luggage and security checkpoints over a four-year period.

“It was very convenient to steal,” he said.

Speaking publicly for the first time after being released from prison, Brown told ABC News his four-year-long crime spree came to an end only because he tried to sell a camera he stole from the luggage of a CNN producer on eBay but forgot to remove all of the news networks’ identifying stickers.

“It became so easy, I got complacent,” Brown said.

READ: ABC News Tracks Missing iPad to Florida Home of TSA Officer

Brown is one of almost 400 TSA officers who have been fired for stealing from passengers in the past decade. According to the TSA, 381 TSA officers have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, including 11 so far in this year.

USA-SECURITY/PATDOWNSAnd if simple theft was as bad as it got, that would be one thing. But it’s not. Becky Akers wrote an inspired rant in the NY Post in 2011 exposing how the blue-glove crowd not only steals valuables but also runs drugs, and has not only failed to apprehend any terrorists, but that as many as 16 known terrorists had passed from point to point on TSA-inspected aircraft:

No doubt they were too busy groping Grandma instead.

If terrorists the TSA misses don’t bring down your next flight, the equipment it damages might. CNN reported in 2008 that one TSA inspector boosted himself into nine “commuter aircraft” by stepping on “sensitive” thermometers that help pilots “gauge the probability of icing” — the bane of these smaller planes.

“We caught it this time,” said a bemused spokesman for the airline’s pilots, “but who knows if this has happened other times … and with other planes that are out there?”

The TSA’s response? It threatened to fine American Airlines for leaving its property open to inspectors.

The agency’s also a public-health menace. Dr. Marybeth Crane, a foot-and-ankle surgeon in Grapevine, Texas, notes that airports’ filthy floors harbor the germs responsible for warts, herpes and staph — including the dreaded MRSA. Yet the TSA has forced billions of passengers over the last decade to shed their shoes and risk contagion.

Ditto for its infamous blue gloves. Screeners probe armpits and groins, often reaching beneath clothing to bare skin — without changing their mitts between victims. Not only does this satisfy the legal definition of “sexual assault” in most states, it also transfers viruses and bacteria.

Just one passenger in the early stages of flu — or something worse — could start an epidemic. Should we tolerate an agency this reckless with our health? Or one that’s killed a passenger?

Rigoberto Alpizar, a short-term Christian missionary returning to his home in Florida, changed his mind shortly after boarding his connecting flight and tried to disembark past oncoming passengers. Tragically, two TSA air marshals were already aboard; they chased him onto the jetway and shot him five times.

Not surprisingly, some voices have been raised about the waste and excess of the TSA. Worthies such as John Mica and Rand Paul has been critical of the TSA and called for its . . . privatization. If you have not left the house since the McKinley administration, “privatization” is the process by which taxpayers pay to build or create something, then cronies in government sell it to private corporations for pennies on the dollar, which such private entity enters into a long-term lease to provide the same service at a higher price, with profits guaranteed by the taxpayers. (In Virginia, this became an art form under the administration of now-disgraced ex-Gov. Transvaginal Ultrasound.)

Even those striking heroic poses about TSA corruption such as John Mica aren’t making noise because they want this useless overhead eliminated- they want it privatized. The better to line the pockets of cronies, campaign donors and to push a daughter’s professional agenda. So Mica’s outrage extends only to his inability to cut himself a piece of the grift. Steven Frishling documents his concerns here.

And no mention of the Homeland Security grift would be complete without giving Satan’s personal emissary Michael Chertoff a nod. Chertoff, you will recall, followed himself out of the government into the arms of The Chertoff Group, who happened to represent Rapiscan, a manufacturer of back-scatter radiation machines. Headlines like, “Ex-Homeland Security chief head said to abuse public trust by touting body scanners”  made the rounds:

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,” said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners.

Let’s be clear: Chertoff scarcely missed a TV camera in 2010 lobbying for employment of these untested and unproven devices on behalf of Rapiscan. Now the scanners are ubiquitous, and the outrage all but forgotten.

U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners

The scanning-technology debate illustrates just one of Chertoff’s many financial interests in the security sector. In the recent deal to break up U.S. security firm L-1 Identity Solutions among two top European defense firms, Chertoff was well-positioned: His firm was a strategic adviser to French aerospace and security conglomerate Safran, which paid more than $1.1 billion to acquire L-1’s biometrics identification units; and he sits on the board of BAE, the British defense giant which bought L-1’s government consulting and intelligence services, as reported by HuffPost’s Dan Froomkin earlier this year.

 

For the record, Chertoff and Rapiscan denied all wrongdoing, etc. etc. It always works.

As a reasonable person can conclude, that TSA has been a scam from inception: security theater for the masses, the best face of which is that “somebody’s doing something about security,” with the worst being to inculcate the American people with the habit of being cowed, queued, and intimidated. Barely competent from inception, and now under the aegis of DHS  with  little track record  of accomplishment and less purpose, TSA has metastasized. The only discussions about reform go to privatization, the point of which is who gets cut in. On that lofty note,  we wish our Diner travelers well as they descend upon Eddie’s place in West Texas, with best wishes for unshredded DNA, unfondled genitalia, and unstolen electronics.

And RE, if I were you, I’d be carrying my cameras and sound equipment onboard with me . . .

***

For those interested in additional punishment on this subject, here are some other stories that I couldn’t work in. 2500 words is quite enough, yes?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/23/fear_pays_chertoff_n_787711.html
Rapiscan  is a subset of OSI Systems — See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2013/01/rapiscan-chertoff-scanners-pulled#sthash.7C0JUwpo.dpuf

http://scrapthescanners.wordpress.com

TSA ruins DisneyLand:  http://rt.com/usa/tsa-disneyland-officials-security/

https://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/22-7

View from the inside– http://takingsenseaway.wordpress.com

http://www.infowars.com/internal-tsa-documents-body-scanners-pat-downs-not-for-terrorists/

***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, bleatings, disassociated posts and articles on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with a menagerie of women both young and young at heart.

 

 

Media War: The Battle for Crimea

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Global Research on March 17, 2014

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blackseaThe Western press has been deceiving readers, listeners, and viewers since the beginning of the so-called “Euromaidan” protests – from covering up the ultra-right wing ideology and literal Neo-Nazi flag wavers leading the mobs, to the role the West has played in organizing, funding, and equipping the protesters in the first place.  

 

With their proxies now entrenched in Kiev after violently overthrowing the elected government of  Viktor Yanukovych, the truth has begun to trickle out, and with it, Russia has gained ground against the West in its defense of the Ukrainian people from what is essentially and quite obviously a right-wing Nazi regime backed by foreign interests from the West once again occupying Ukrainian territory just as they had in World War II. And just like in WW II, the Crimea peninsula has become a pivotal battleground.

 

While there are Russia troops, permanently stationed in Crimea under a long-standing treaty, and the West has begun to posture militarily – the battle is currently being fought across the media.

 

Laying Out the Battleground in Crimea: Russia’s Case 

543Russia has defended Ukraine from fascism for decades, spending the blood of millions pushing the Nazis out of the region in the 1940′s and now again against literal Neo-Nazis occupying Kiev after yet another Western-backed coup has overthrown Ukraine’s elected government – the first being the US-engineered 2004 “Orange Revolution” (as covered in the Guardian’s article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev“).

 

Russia insists that once again, fascism threatens the lives and freedoms of the Ukrainian people with whom Russia shares a collective history, long-standing socioeconomic and even linguistic and cultural ties. This is based not on “Russian propaganda,” but on demonstrated actions already carried out by the new Western-backed regime in Kiev.

 

Immediately after seizing power, the assault on Russian-Ukrainians began. The International Business Times in its article, “Watch Your Tongue: Language Controversy One Of Fundamental Conflicts In Ukraine,” pointed out that:

 

Immediately after the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, the Ukrainian Parliament repealed a controversial law passed in 2012 that allowed the use of “regional languages” – including Russian, Hungarian, Romanian and Tatar — in courts and certain government functions in areas of the country where such speakers constituted at least 10 percent of the population. (In 1991, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly independent state of Ukraine established Ukrainian as its sole official language.)

The West’s Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would also find it necessary to condemn moves by the regime in Kiev to censor Russian media in Ukraine. A post appearing on OSCE’s official website titled, “OSCE media freedom representative concerned about new steps to restrict media plurality in Ukraine,” stated:

 

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern about demands that cable operators in Ukraine stop transmitting certain Russian television channels. 

“I repeat my call to the authorities not to initiate these repressive measures,” Mijatović said. “Banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship; national security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom.” 

On 11 March the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine demanded that all cable operators stop broadcasts of the Russian television channels Rossiya 24, ORT, RTR Planeta and NTV-Mir.

It is clear that the West’s newly created regime in Kiev is pursing a dangerous and oppressive policy that amounts to fascism. With parties such as “Right Sector,” Svoboda, and the “Fatherland Party” forming its leadership and openly espousing hatred toward Jews, Russians, homosexuals and other minorities, it is no surprise that Ukraine’s predominantly Russia regions in the east seek to disassociate and remove themselves from the current regime in Kiev. Nor is it a surprise that Russia is mobilizing resources to defend against a historically familiar threat that once again lies directly along their border.

 

The West’s Front in Crimea 

lgf01a201403091500Across the Western media, there have even been admissions that the “uprising” in Kiev was led by outright Nazis. The BBC’s short video report, “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine,” exposes this otherwise intentionally ignored aspect of “Euromaidan.” Attempts to cover up the fascist nature of the regime in Kiev by the West is intentional – and to further misled the public, they have begun fabricating narratives portraying Russia as the “Hitler-style” aggressor.

 

In Crimea in particular, the West has attempted to portray the ethnic minority Tartars as facing impending doom as a result of closer ties with Russia. In the New York Times article, “Mindful of Past, Many Tatars Fear a Russian Future,” it claims:

 

As Crimea prepares to vote on Sunday on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, the prospect of a renewed Russian presence in Crimea evokes for Tatars raw memories of Communist-era depredations. 

A Turkic Muslim minority with deep roots on the Black Sea peninsula, the Crimean Tatars see themselves as a native population, though they have had to struggle to maintain their place in their homeland. Under the Soviets, the Tatars lived through collectivization, Stalin’s purges, World War II and, in 1944, a brutal ethnic cleansing that sent nearly 200,000 into exile in the Gulag and Central Asia, unfairly accused of collaboration with the Nazis. Nearly half are believed to have died.

The West is attempting to manufacture an impending crisis by citing baseless anecdotes and deportations that occurred decades ago under Joseph Stalin and his political system that has long since ended. Buried deep within the New York Times piece is an admission that:

 

The Kremlin and the new Crimean government led by Sergei Aksyonov have expressed strong sympathy for the Tatars’ concerns. Russian leaders invited a former Soviet dissident and current member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Mustafa Dzhemilev, to Moscow, where he met with representatives of Russian Tatarstan and spoke for 30 minutes on Wednesday by phone with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the Crimean Parliament passed a resolution providing for protections of Tatar rights, including proportional representation in the new government and official status for the Crimean Tatar language.

So unlike the Western-backed regime in Kiev that has moved to oppress ethnic minorities across Ukraine, the Russian and Crimean leadership have taken steps to protect ethnic minorities in regions set to peel away from Kiev. And while the West attempts to spin, defend, or simply ignore the bigotry and oppression of their new regime in Kiev, they attempt to sow doubt and fear across the public in regards to Crimea’s closer ties with Russia.

 

While the vast majority of Crimea’s Tartars will continue living in peace with their neighbors, the West appears to be preparing to use a violent minority tied to the fascist regime now occupying Kiev to create a conflict they hope to exploit as they battle for Crimea. The New York Times, which cited Chechnya, appears to be laying the groundwork for a very unpleasant, armed destabilization orchestrated by the West.

 

Already, in the Christian Science Monitor’s article “Most Americans support Obama on Ukraine – tentatively,” calls for a wider (and armed) confrontation with Russia via Ukraine were signaled. The article reported:

 

“We may wish to believe, as President Obama has said, that we are not ‘in competition with Russia,’” Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona wrote in a New York Times op-ed column Friday. “But Mr. Putin believes Russia is in competition with us, and pretending otherwise is an unrealistic basis for a great nation’s foreign policy.” 

McCain urges sending arms and military trainers to Ukraine as soon as possible.

US Senator John McCain had taken to the stage in Kiev, side-by-side with the Neo-Nazis and bigots of Svoboda, and had previously been directly involved in the arming, funding, and political support of Al Qaeda in both Libya and Syria. His intentions to “arm” and “advise” fascist militants in Ukraine, only further vindicate Russia’s security concerns for Russian-Ukrainians within Crimea, and for security within its own borders.

 

Responsibility to Protect (R2P) 

While the West has taken the “responsibility to protect,” and abused it through a series of wars fought under fabricated pretenses, in Kiev verified Nazis are stripping the rights and liberties of Ukrainians and promoting an ideology that has already killed millions. For Russia, this is not a case of sending troops thousands of miles beyond its borders to “protect civilians,” it is a matter of maintaining peace and stability directly on its borders, within a nation its troops are already stationed in under treaty, and involving people who share the same language, culture, and history as the people of Russia.

 

The West has knowingly and intentionally placed Nazis into power – literal Nazis who are now oppressing the population both with legislation and roving bands of armed militants in the streets. Their intention is to erase Russian-Ukrainians and other “undesirables” from their culture, just as the Nazis did during World War II.

 

If ever there was a time to invoke the responsibility to protect, it would in Ukraine, and the time would be now.

Deep State Blues

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Lady-Gaga-and-Comfort-in-Vomit-Painting-at-SXSW-650x488
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 16, 2014

 

     Those of you too caught up in Lady Gaga’s latest cutting edge art project — she arranged for another woman to vomit on her while seated at the keyboard to show, well, I guess to demonstrate that not even vomit can stop the power of pop music — may have missed the latest moves in our nation’s foreign policy quest to remain Hall Monitor of the World. It appears that the Crimean peninsula has voted rather persuasively to become part of adjoining Russia, a nation that they were functionally a province of longer than the USA has been the independent and exceptional beacon of liberty that we became. Now, all that’s left are some procedural formalities, and then our side has promised to do some very bad things to punish Russia for this dastardly outcome.

     Have the Lady Gaga fans forgotten that our country set this whole fiasco in motion by promoting a tug-o-war between a proposed Russian free trade zone (the Customs Union) and the European Union (another trade zone) with Ukraine as the rope? Alas, the rope broke in the early going, leaving the Russians to try to splice it back together in some way that aligns with the ethnic composition of the territory and their treaty perquisites regarding port facilities on the Black Sea. This “crisis” has got Secretary of State Kerry pulling his hair out, perhaps in his own personal quest to achieve mature male hair equality with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Mr. Kerry has more work to do before the world will stop calling him “a haircut in search of a brain.”

     Notice that for ten years the Russians have not been jumping up and down as the USA hops from one Central Asian state to the next blowing things up and arranging affairs so that hundreds of thousands of people get killed — quite a few by our cunning model airplanes controlled by military video gamesters, who blow away “folks” on morning watch before repairing to the nearest Taco Bell for an order of Doritos Locos (and a chance to watch Lady Gaga get vomit-tagged on their iPhones). I wonder how the USA would feel if the Russian foreign ministry ginned up an operation to persuade Texas to secede from the Union (again).

     What will be the next step of the menswear model in the oval office? Is he coordinating with the EU to make sure that Russia can’t sell its products to anyone, say, the EU, which really has nowhere else to buy a great deal of the methane gas it uses every winter to keep the pipes from freezing? Of course our country has made promises that it will export liquefied natural gas to Europe from the depleting shale plays of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas — but, wait a minute (or maybe five years) because we have to build new pipelines, gas export terminals, and a fleet of compressed gas tanker ships before that’ll work. But maybe Europe will have five exceptionally mild winters until then. Note to Mr. Obama: increase National Prayer Breakfasts to once-a-month.

      Then there is the question of what Russia may offer to do to the USA in return. Perhaps nothing, because America is doing such a good job of imploding under its own fecklessness and inertia. If I were Mr. Putin — not saying I want to be, you understand, but in the spirit of conjecture — I would just kick back and tune in on the Web to watch this nation of overfed clowns and tattooed savages vomit over each other, since that is apparently now embroidered into the zeitgeist. Mr. Putin could also (in the spirit of the game of chess, which he is reputed to be good at) add some frisson to the situation by stealthily unloading quantities of Russian-held US Treasury paper, not to crash the market but just enough to turn the ten-year bond above the 3.00 percent line — a point at which the US government’s bankruptcy (that is, inability to service our debt) creeps above the horizon like a bad moon rising.

     State Department chess players are gloating at the moment that the Russian ruble has lost ten percent of its value this year. No doubt a few functionaries in the Kremlin are going boo-hoo over this. But remember: they are a nation who lost about 8.6 million soldiers to overcome Hitler. Do you think a little austerity will persuade them to cede Ukraine to the Walt Disney Company? Has anyone in the pay of America’s Deep State asked themselves whether it really matters to us who runs Ukraine? Did it matter to us before and then after the Soviet regime collapsed? What was so terrible about Ukraine joining the Russian free trade zone that we felt compelled to go in and vomit all over it?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

The Week In Doom, November 3, 2013

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964Off the keyboard of Surly1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on November 3, 2013
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

Behind the Mask

klansmen

“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”
                                                                 ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

In This Week In Doom, Pakistan is in a lather because we droned away another Taliban leader; with closing of the NATO supply routes to Afghanistan certain to follow. The funeral was held in secret, for fear of the famed “double tap”  now the USA’s calling card for drone warfare.  In Japan, TEPCO reports record profits at the same time  Fukushima waxes even more ominous. Golden Dawn provocateurs are shot in Greece. Ostensible liberal Dianne Feinstein offers a new NSA bill to codify and extend mass surveillance.  Obama’s popularity takes a hit as it turns out that some people actually don’t get to keep their health care coverage; a result almost guaranteed when you invest faith in the ethical behavior and decency of insurance companies. SNAP card  recipients take a 5% reduction in their buying power at the same time that inflation for commodities such as food nears double digits.  For that give thanks to a Congress intent on hitting America’s poorest while they’re down.  Tiny plastic beads are invading the Great Lakes. Lou Reed died. And away from the prying eyes of mere citizens, the Trans-Pacific Partnership continues to be negotiated by corporate lobbyists and free-trade charlatans. According to some, this agreement has little to do with free trade but everything to do with enabling a global corporatocracy,  and assuring the primacy of corporate rights over any others, local control or preference be damned. If you have not heard of this, give full credit to the lickspittles in charge of your loyal corporate media.

Yet for all that, this week’s thoughts are much closer to home.

For most of us, Halloween marks the beginning of a festive holiday season. For my part, ever since my daughter was too old to trek for her own candy boodle, she and a girlfriend  have made it a tradition to come to my home to pass out candy to little ones.  Likewise, for Contrary’s family, Halloween was a High Holy Day fully invested with creativity, imagination and effort. Her family went all in for Halloween. She has albums full of pictures of Halloween parties past, where every member of her extensive  family turned out in full costumed, make-up bedecked regalia.

In this context, then, for this Halloween, Contrary and her niece Sassy (who is staying with us) went all out in decorating.  I arrived home Halloween evening to find my quite ordinary home bedecked with crime scene tape, lit tiki torches,  young ladies in full costume, the works. Quickly the game was afoot: gaggles of parents and kids meeting on corners, traveling en masse from house to house to share in the season’s bounty.  it was a Halloween season ordinary in every way save one.  After the trick or treaters had come and gone, Contrary alerted me to this little bon mot,  which ended up putting this quite ordinary suburban neighborhood into the unwelcome glare of a national spotlight.

Better luck next year to the woman who will be handing out fat-shaming letters to overweight trick-or-treaters because America’s Worst Neighbor officially resides in Norfolk, Virginia.

A since-removed Craigslist post attributed to someone living in Norfolk neighborhood of Larchmont-Edgewater has riled up residents who say the sentiments expressed therein are not their own.

Writing under the headline “Reminder: Overage Trick Or Treaters Stay Out!,” the anonymous poster starts by ranting about “kids older than twelve going house to house for free candy.”

We hate seeing kids older than twelve going house to house for free candy. Doing so is illegal and this year we will be calling the police on you bastards. Overage trick or treating is a Class 4 misdemeanor and carries a $250 fine. This will also go on your criminal record if you don’t have one already.

Were it to have ended there, the post, found in the site’s “Rants and Raves” section, would be acceptably grouchy.

But it doesn’t end there. Instead, it goes from a rant, to a rave, to unabashedly racist:

And you niglets, stay the hell out! We’re a white neighborhood and we don’t want you baboons here!! You little turds better think twice going into my neighborhood or you will be legally punished.

“That`s awful, that`s awful,” Larchmont-Edgewater resident Ainel Alerth told NewsChannel3. “When I see that, I don`t know where it comes from, where all the anger comes from. Why are we using these words?”

Another resident, Timo Mitchell, agreed with the poster insofar as overage trick-or-treaters were concerned, but less so about the rest.

“I can understand if you have a 16 or 17-year-old show up without a costume, but just a blanket statement to say all kids of different colors can’t come in?” said Mitchell. “I don`t think that is appropriate for this neighborhood, because we are very eclectic here.”

Nobody wants crackers for Halloween.

One of the things I like about my neighborhood is that very little ever happens here. Here I raised a daughter, and taught her to read, to ride a bike,  play soccer, and know that she could walk to and from school in safety.  Thus to find that in this place, behind nicely manicured lawns and freshly painted doors, lurks the same sort of sentiment one generally encounters behind a tobacco barn, or on the sort of rural billboards that used to encourage the impeachment of Earl Warren, is deeply disconcerting.

 

One commenter:

Welcome to the “post-racial” South. I grew up in Norfolk, but not in that neighborhood. My wife lived there, though. It’s definitely upper-middle class, but borders on the Lambert’s Point neighborhood, which is decidedly African-American, though it’s becoming gentrified with the expansion of Old Dominion University. There are still a lot of crusty, old money bigots living in Larchmont/Edgewater. And while this saddens me, it doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s still the South, after all.

The story spread like an unwelcome fungus. A brief search search show that I could find it here, here, here, and here.

Even Wonkette, fergodsake.

One should never forget that Norfolk was one of the battlegrounds for “Massive Resistance.”  Little remembered or talked about now, “Massive Resistance” was that policy declared by Harry Byrd in 1956 to prevent public school desegregation in the wake of the Brown versus Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court in 1954.

To implement Massive Resistance, in 1956, the Byrd Organization-controlled Virginia General Assembly passed a series of laws known as the Stanley plan, after Governor Thomas Bahnson Stanley. One of these laws forbade any integrated schools from receiving state funds, and authorized the governor to order closed any such school. Another of these laws established a three-member Pupil Placement Board that would determine which school a student would attend. The decision of these Boards was based almost entirely on race. Another facet of these laws was the creation of tuition grants which could be given to students so they could attend a private school of their choice; again, in practice, this meant support of all-white schools that appeared as a response to forced integration (the “segregation academies“).

Later in 1956, the NAACP then filed lawsuits around the state in response to these laws in an attempt to force integration of Virginia schools. By 1958, things had come to a head. Federal courts ordered public schools in Warren County, the cities of Charlottesville and Norfolk and Arlington County to integrate.

Six schools in the city of Norfolk were closed,  eventually reopened by a judicial appeal. Many members of the “Lost class of ’59”  are still alive, and reside in the city even yet.

Why make such a big deal out of some garden variety ignorance?   Something has changed. And not just in Norfolk. Other unwelcome Halloween news included this

 

 

A group costume features a man dressed as Martin, wearing blackface and a blood-stained hoodie, and a man portraying Zimmerman, wearing a shirt that reads “Neighborhood Watch.” In a photo uploaded to the Facebook account of Caitlin Cimeno, the woman in the picture, the man portraying Zimmerman has fashioned a gun out of his right hand and has pointed it at the man dressed as Martin.

Cimeno’s Facebook account has since been deleted, but the photo has gone viral and elicited widespread condemnation. (Per Gawker, one of the men chose to set the photo as his Facebook profile picture before then swapping it out and setting his profile to “private.”)

According to the Smoking Gun, the men in the Martin and Zimmerman costumes are residents of Florida, where the Zimmerman case took place.

The Stir’s Lisa Fogarty takes particular issue with the pair “choosing to make light of the murder of a 17-year-old child.” She also adds that the men, aged 22 and 25, aren’t naive children who made a regrettable choice: “[T]hese men are too old to not know or understand that it’s also disrespectful to the family that is grieving for Trayvon.”

Ah, madness.   And perhaps I can hear you saying, “Yes, you old scold. It’s just a couple of young people with really bad taste.”  Sure. But these are somebody’s children. What have we taught them?

Recently, America–firsters had to endure criticism by Vladimir Putin of the notion of “American exceptionalism”   in a New York Times op-ed piece.  We understand “American exceptionalism” to be characterized by that historic sense to carry on a particular mission in the world, at all times informed by the message of freedom. Is the flipside of that old notion a negative exceptionalism, where the US has been racist, murderous, and rapacious?  Is it such a stretch to think that, while we feel ourselves entitled to deal out death from above in Yemen and Pakistan, that the old demons of racism, ignorance, and intolerance may not also feel themselves free to once again raise their heads at home?

While we may feel free to lecture the world on what its values are to be (economic and extractive), and strike our opponents from above by drones with murderous accuracy, we act as the freedom to do so is our God-given right. No… We are not special; the cavalry is not coming; there is no happy ending. The flipside of American exceptionalism is a blood drenched darkness. A darkness that requires ignorance to flourish. A darkness that just raised its snout where I live.

It’s a reminder that things are not always what they appear to be. That the order, that the sense of law, the services we take for granted, the institutions, the sense of community we think we enjoy all hang by the merest of threads.

Apparently you never know which of your neighbors has a hood in their closet.

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