AuthorTopic: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis  (Read 30033 times)

Online Eddie

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #330 on: February 19, 2018, 08:41:52 PM »
One can have an opinion that differs from yours without being brainwashed. I'm not in a position to prove anything about Putin, nor do I feel I need to. I have respect for Mr. Putin, and perhaps as statesmen go he's the best around at the moment. I had some hopes for Obama but he turned out to be quite a disappointment.

I am naturally skeptical about the intentions of all elites, including Putin. I expect nationalism from Putin and attention to self-interest,  just like I expect it from Clinton or Trump or May, or Macron or any of them. And I think they all have more in common with each other than they have with me.

Anarchist...what a shit term. Might as well call yourself a Unicorn.





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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #331 on: February 19, 2018, 09:45:58 PM »
Quote
Anarchist...what a shit term. Might as well call yourself a Unicorn.

Anarchy = rule by "no leaders"
It has some examples of working quite well - for example: Catalans during Civil War of 1930s.
I cannot visualise what the first local meeting would be like here - most problems are fixed by leaders agreeing to put the problem aside as a problem to be fixed later. Nothing at all to do with the government.  Some say the islands aren't even a country!  For survival, I reckon on staying right out of it, and agreeing with my leader/landowner family head.

As for your old Empire, I reckon it will be banditry.

"The State is a body of armed men."

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #332 on: February 20, 2018, 01:04:57 AM »
One can have an opinion that differs from yours without being brainwashed. I'm not in a position to prove anything about Putin, nor do I feel I need to. I have respect for Mr. Putin, and perhaps as statesmen go he's the best around at the moment.

In the first POTW Poll, I voted for Vlad the Impaler, because he is by FAR the most savvy and competent of the bunch of criminals in charge of the major countries today.  However, he is still completely corrupt.

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‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
« Reply #333 on: February 20, 2018, 01:36:21 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/02/19/peace-through-strength-is-a-racket/

‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
February 19, 2018 avenger27

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.


by SHELDON RICHMAN
No matter how absurd and overblown the concept, the US military has the money to develop it.
Donald Trump has embraced the popular “peace through strength” doctrine (PTSD) with his characteristic panache:

    “I’m going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody — absolutely nobody — is gonna to mess with us,” Trump says. On other occasions he’s said similar things: “We want to defer, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength” (same link) and, a year ago, “Nobody is going to mess with us. Nobody. It will be one of the greatest military build-ups in American history.”

I will acknowledge that the PTSD has surface appeal. Why not show the world the United States is so awesomely powerful that no one in his right mind would even think to get on its wrong side? It seems to make sense in a practical sort of way.

Once people believe that, of course, they are softened up to accept unlimited military spending and the concomitant deficits and debt. As John T. Flynn used to say, military spending is a favorite of big-government types precisely because the conservatives won’t object. Conservatives rail against even small amounts of so-called foreign aid and welfare, but they drool over monstrous sums for the armed forces and spy agencies. (Thankfully, some conservatives don’t.) Progressives, by the way, are not immune to the allure of military spending. When a Pentagon budget cap was debated a few years ago, Rep. Jim Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, a leading progressive, and a Black Caucus leader, opposed it because he feared losing jobs in his district. Military spending thus has something for nearly everybody: strength for conservatives; economic stimulus for progressives. The conservative Keynesians like both justifications.

It takes only a few minutes to see that the PTSD is a racket intended (by some of its advocates at least) to gull the unsuspecting populace into supporting whatever the war party and the Pentagon want. It is handy for parrying the antimilitarist’ charge that its espousers are dangerously reckless, if not outright warmongers. “We’re not warmongers,” they can reply. “A military second to none will prevent war and promote peace. We’re the peaceniks. You doves are the promoters of war.” They are also likely to quote (without knowing the source) Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus’s De re militari, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

Brilliant! — but the doctrine encases a racket just the same, much as “war is a racket,” as the highly decorated U.S. Marine Maj. Gen Smedley Butler put it. (Please follow that link.) I’d like to meet the grifter who thought it up.

At least one thick book could be written on the flaws in the doctrine. I can sum them up by invoking the law of unintended consequences and the law of perverse incentives, by which I mean the well-established public-choice problems regarding policymaking and voter interest. People may have the best intentions in supporting the PTSD, but they have absolutely no reason to believe the policy would be carried out as they envision. We must expect the worse, or as David Hume charmingly wrote, “Political writers have established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government, … every man ought to be supposed a knave.” Had we listened to Hume, many fewer things would have gone awry.

Trump’s deployment of the PTSD suggests that the U.S. military isn’t already powerful enough to deter an attack. But that is balderdash. The government now spends more on the military than the next 12 countries combined. The recent increase alone was bigger than Russia’s entire military budget.

But that is an understatement because the Pentagon budget is far from the total amount the U.S. government spends on “national security.” Robert Higgs wrote in 2007:

    Hardly anyone appreciates that the total amount of all defense-related spending greatly exceeds the amount budgeted for the Department of Defense. Indeed, it is roughly almost twice as large….

    Lodged elsewhere in the budget, however, other lines identify funding that serves defense purposes just as surely as—sometimes even more surely than—the money allocated to the Department of Defense. On occasion, commentators take note of some of these additional defense-related budget items, such as the Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons programs, but many such items, including some extremely large ones, remain generally unrecognized.

Thus when George W. Bush formally proposed to spend $583 billion on the military in fiscal 2008, Higgs calculated the real tab at $934.9 billion. The story is the same today. We may reasonably ask: how can Trump know the military isn’t already powerful enough to deter any would-be attacker and how can he know that spending less would make Americans less safe? What we have here is a knowledge problem, which politicians and bureaucrats are likely to exploit in favor of more spending. By PTSD standards, no amount of spending is enough: “If I’m wrong,” the militarist will say, “we’ll blow a few bucks. If you’re wrong, we’ll be speaking Russian, Chinese, Arabic, or Farsi.”

The war party tries to bolster its case by claiming the U.S. military was hollowed out by Barack Obama; thus we must rebuild. Bullfeathers! As Nick Gillespie of Reason pointed out a year ago:

    There’s little doubt that the military is exhausted. Since 2001, we’ve been waging endless wars, including in countries against whom we’ve never officially declared war. We’re still in Afghanistan and Iraq, of course, and all signs point to boots on the ground in Syria sooner or later. War footing isn’t simply expensive (even if we’re spending less on “overseas contingency operations” that we did in the mid-Aughts), it introduces incredible strain and stress throughout the military and society at home.

    But depleted, underfunded, undersized, unready? Please. Defense spending ratcheted up during the Bush years in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq. It hasn’t come close to coming back down. In a nation that has supposedly wound down two of its longest wars and where the principal threat to the homeland is a group of religious extremists who live thousands of miles away (and are, lest we forget, a byproduct of our own failed occupation of the Middle East), we always need more money for defense, right?

To be sure, Trump has doubled down on all the Bush-Obama wars, but those have nothing to do with the safety of Americans. Therefore the personnel could be brought home and the military budget cut.

To put things into perspective, when Dwight Eisenhower was president, at the start of the Cold War, his annual military budgets for seven out of his eight years were under $400 billion (in 2012 dollars) — less than Harry Truman bequeathed him. So why does Trump need $716 billion today (to use the official but incomplete figure) when the Soviet Union is long gone, Russia’s military gets only $47 billion, and China, which spends $192.5, is a major trading partner? (We’ll get to Iran and North Korea shortly.)

Another objection to the PTSD is the temptation the overgrown military establishment presents to policymakers. This was best articulated by Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who recounts in her memoir how — in the late 1990s, as Clinton was looking to intervene against Serbia — she asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell, “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Here was the supposed chief diplomat more or less saying, “We’ve got this big hammer, so why not see every problem as a nail.”

Government officials, hiding behind classified material, can easily inflate and even create so-called threats, and they have an obvious incentive to do so. Moreover, a big military is going to be a menacing military because it will conduct war games close to other countries; when governments respond, they can be accused of provocation and aggression. (In contrast, American moves are never provocative.) And yes, politicians and bureaucrats lie, especially in foreign policy. War is a lie, to appropriate David Swanson’s book title. Post-Vietnam, we should not have needed to be reminded of this danger, but we sure got a reminder with Iraq in 2002-03.

Who do the PSDT advocates think would attack the United States unless it has a bigger military? Who presents an existential threat? Some will say we no longer need to fear a conventional attack or invasion by a nation-state. What then? Terrorists? What is more ridiculous than the contention that a terrorist organization would be deterred by an even more powerful U.S. military? Osama bin Laden hoped the U.S. government would respond to 9/11 by invading the Muslim world and spending itself into bankruptcy. And does anyone seriously believe a domestic lone wolf, having been “radicalized” after looking at al-Qaeda websites or seeing news accounts of U.S. atrocities in the Middle East, would take the size of the U.S. military into account when plotting retaliation?

Perhaps before we dismiss the nation-state threat we ought to ask if Iran and North Korea are special cases. The leaders of Iran have been called “mad mullahs,” and Kim-Jong Un has been described as insane. But this poses a problem for the PTSD. If those rulers are indeed mad, how can we expect them to be rational enough to do calculate the costs and benefits of an attack? On the other hand, if they are not mad — and we have no reason to believe they are — we may reasonably assume they know they would gain nothing from an attack. A larger U.S. military would not change that; neither would a dramatically scaled-back military. But the large national-security apparatus the United States already has is a daily threat to Iran and North Korea. These so-called threats have been manufactured in Washington, D.C.

For the record, Trump’s military brain trust says the biggest national-security challenges come from Russia and China, not terrorism. “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” the new National Defense Strategy’s unclassified summary states.

Finally, military spending takes money out of the pockets of taxpayers, who, it’s safe to say, have personally important uses for that money. Instead of labor and resources flowing into industries that make consumers better off, they go to politicians, bureaucrats, and all the businesses that long to sell things to the government. This is the infamous military-industrial complex, which is far more pervasive than anything Eisenhower ever had nightmares about. The deep distortion of economic activity is part of the incalculable cost of the national-security state. We literally don’t know what we’re missing because of it.

The way to achieve peace is not to prepare for war but to reject militarism and empire, and embrace nonintervention. Prophecies of war are too easily self-fulfilling. Thus, as a pioneer of modern libertarianism,  F. A. Harper, put it many years ago, “It is now urgent in the interest of liberty that many persons become ‘peace-mongers.’”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 Sheldon Richman, author of America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.
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Online Eddie

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #334 on: February 20, 2018, 05:25:21 AM »
Quote
Anarchist...what a shit term. Might as well call yourself a Unicorn.

Anarchy = rule by "no leaders"
It has some examples of working quite well - for example: Catalans during Civil War of 1930s.
I cannot visualise what the first local meeting would be like here - most problems are fixed by leaders agreeing to put the problem aside as a problem to be fixed later. Nothing at all to do with the government.  Some say the islands aren't even a country!  For survival, I reckon on staying right out of it, and agreeing with my leader/landowner family head.

As for your old Empire, I reckon it will be banditry.



Let's see how you're doing in 6 months after the boat stops coming. If you survive that long, then maybe you'll be fine. I make no predictions about what will happen here, but I suspect it'll be less banditry and more widespread starvation and despair and grinding poverty. Just a guess.

Anarchy....we're all anarchists temporarily going along to get along. Nobody doesn't want freedom. Control over your own destiny, a desire to be left alone. These are fundamental desires. And yet we're all at the mercy of somebody.

Here we live at the behest of the empire. There, it's whomever the local Big Cheese tribal patriarch happens to be, and that's subject to change in a hurry, in a SHTF scenario. No place is not a country. But yes, the smaller and less important your island, the better off you are, because whomever has dominion over it might not care enough to exercise it, or be spread too thin to bother you much.

Freedom is inversely proportional to population density, and so is self reliance. I'd learn to fish if I were you, if you aren't already.Or how to do something to contribute to the group effort.

When I think of anarchists I think of all the scam artists on the net trying to promote it for the price of a Doug Casey newsletter. They want to sell you a 2nd passport or a condo in Uruguay...but mostly they sell useless how-to information that you won't be able to use. It sounds good. Anarchy is the ultimate pipe dream.
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For All Practical Purposes, the American System of Government Is Failing. How an
« Reply #335 on: February 28, 2018, 03:36:30 AM »
https://www.globalresearch.ca/for-all-practical-purposes-the-american-system-of-government-is-failing-how-and-why/5630522

For All Practical Purposes, the American System of Government Is Failing. How and Why?
By Prof Rodrigue Tremblay
Global Research, February 28, 2018
Region: USA
Theme: History, Law and Justice, Police State & Civil Rights


“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of a private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd American President (1933-1945), (in ‘Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies’, April 29, 1938)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist, statesman, and author.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you super add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.” Lord Acton (John E. Dalberg) (1834-1902), English historian, politician, and writer.

“The truth is there are very few members [of the U.S. Congress] who I could even name or could think of who didn’t at some level participate in that system [of bribery and corruption in Washington D.C.].” Jack Abramoff, professional lobbyist and onetime power broker for the elite of Washington, D.C. (during a CBS’s 60 Minutes interview, Sunday November 6, 2011)

“Now [the United States] is just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and Congress members. … So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors. …The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.” Jimmy Carter (1924- ), 39th U.S. President (1977-1981), (in a radio interview, Tues. July 28, 2015)

*

On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969),34th President of the United States, (1953-1961), and a five-star general, gave a Farewell address that has echoed through the years. He not only warned his fellow citizens about the danger of a “military-industrial complex”, which could “endanger our liberties or democratic processes”, but he also issued a wish in saying that “we want democracy to survive for all generations to come.”

Observers have noticed, however, that since the 1980’s, something big has occurred in the United States: the political system and its processes have fallen into the hands of an unscrupulous money establishment in a way that has left a majority of Americans deprived of the basic services they are entitled to receive from their government.

This can be explained by the workings of a political cycle of corruption, through which big money increasingly corrupts basic political institutions and practices.

Before the 1980s, the U.S. system of government had functioned reasonably well along the lines dictated by the U.S. Constitution and following the democratic principle eloquently summarized by President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) when he said that the U.S. government is the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” as dictated by the vote of citizens who elect officials and who favor the adoption of common good policies.

The U.S. Constitution is one of the oldest

The United States is an old democracy. Its Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world. It was approved on September 17, 1787, after three months of debate, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and it became effective on March 4, 1789.

It is a federal constitution, which created a strong federal government, but according to the principle of separation of powers. At the federal level, it establishes an intricate system of checks and balances between an executive branch headed by a President, a legislative branch with two houses forming the U.S. Congress and a judicial branch consisting of a U.S. Supreme Court and other courts. The purpose was to prevent tyranny. The fifty American states delegated certain powers to the federal government, but undelegated powers are reserved to the states.

This founding document guarantees constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, as spelled out in twenty-seven amendments. The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and they were ratified and adopted in 1791, while the other seventeen amendments have been adopted over time, between 1795 and 1992.

Basically, the U.S. Constitution was a compromise between the political ideas of Alexander Hamilton (New York) and Thomas Jefferson (Virginia). Hamilton and the Federalists favored a centralized federalism, and were supported by merchants and manufacturers. Jefferson and the anti-federalists rather favored the principle of a decentralized federal system; they supported states’ rights and agriculture. Over time, economic and technological developments and various court decisions tipped the balance in favor of Hamilton’s espousal of a strong, even aristocratic, central U.S. government.

The electoral reforms enacted by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt

Since the 1980s, there has been a fundamental change in the way political institutions function in the United States. And this is not only a matter of change in the governance approach to providing public services, as some have pointed out. It is a profound change in the way ordinary citizens choose their elected representatives and in the way they convey to public officials their demands, wishes and needs. Their influence has greatly diminished over the years.

For most of the twentieth century, a century during which the American standard of living rose substantially, there existed in the United States a system of laws and practices that protected the sanctity of the voting system as an expression of the choices of the citizenry. Legal entities, such as corporations, banks or other organizations were prevented from using their huge access to money to subjugate the voice of the electorate and debase democracy.

President Theodore Roosevelt

In 1905, for example, President Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919), a Republican, in his annual address to Congress spelled out the democratic principle that “all contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.” In 1906, Roosevelt was even more explicit, saying: “I again recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party… Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly. ”On January 26, 1907, President Roosevelt signed the Tillman Act of 1907, which was the first legislation in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.

How the U.S. Supreme Court has subverted the American electoral system

However, on January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president. The more than century-old Roosevelt principle which had prevailed until then according to which “no corporation shall be considered to be a person who is permitted to raise or spend money on federal, state, or local elections of any kind” was crudely abolished and thrown into the trash.

Indeed with their judgment in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Chief Justice John Roberts and four other justices created a major revolution in the American electoral system. They rejected historic precedents and judicial restraint in order to put a radical pro-corporate spin on the First Amendment, which protects free speech. They declared that “corporations” and other legal organizations are indeed “persons”, entitled to the same human rights as living, breathing persons, and that they can spend unlimited sums of money during electoral campaigns.

Consequently, since the 2010 decision of the U.S. Court, the Preambule of the U.S. Constitution that says “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…” should more appropriately be changed now for “We, the business corporations of America…etc.”, in order to fully reflect the new political philosophy of the five-member majority of the Roberts Court. Indeed, with the decision of Jan. 21, 2010, the type of government the majority of the Roberts Supreme Court wished to establish is essentially ‘a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations’.

Nowadays, the U.S. Government is more centralized and more corrupt than ever

Indeed, over the last quarter century, there has been a quiet political coup in the United States, with far right money interests taking over the American system of government, and this not only includes the U.S. Congress; it includes also the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court. Billionaire oligarchs have taken control in the United States and they pretty much do what they want with the government, irrespective of what the people think or want. This is a throwback to the later part of the 19th Century when Robber Barons could buy out politicians, pile up the public debt and plunder the public purse at will, while unscrupulously rigging markets and abusing consumers.

People want peace, but the oligarchs—and that includes Donald Trump—want war, permanent war, and they want to be free to line their pockets with the war industry profits all over the world.

People want social services and want to reduce poverty, but the oligarchs want to reduce the influence of government, cut taxes and keep politicians corrupted.

People want their children to be secure, safe and not the target of guns when they go to school, but the oligarchs, manufacturers and extremist organizations want to be able to sell military-style assault weapons to everybody who can afford to buy them. Indeed, cowardly American politicians refuse to ban military-style assault weapons, as they are controlled in most countries.

People want to live in a clean environment, but the oligarchs want to be free to pollute and pursue their own private interests.

Most people stand for the rule of law and for democracy, but the oligarchs prefer a system closer to plutocracy, in which their money can call the shots, etc.

The potentially corrupting influence of money has become more and more dominant in U.S. politics, and it has been openly encouraged by numerous decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, especially, as we have seen, by the Roberts U.S. Supreme Court, in favor of the wealthy, the powerful and private interest groups, and against the common good.

As a consequence, popular trust in the U.S. government has declined steadily over the last half century. According to the Pew Research Center, while 73% of Americans were said to have trust in the federal government in Washington D.C., in 1958, that percentage had fallen to a mere 18%, in 2017. This represents a huge erosion of public trust in government in a bit less than sixty years. This is a generational shift of great magnitude and the sign of a profound disgust.

What are the consequences of that shift toward less democracy?

    Americans are the least likely to exercise their right to vote: in the 2016 election, only 55.7% of eligible voters bothered to vote, as compared to an average of 75% in other OECD countries.

    In the U.S., politics has become a rich man’s game: In practice and in most cases, no American citizen who is not rich can expect to be elected in the current American political system, unless he or she is willing to become a political prostitute to big money interests. Moreover, ordinary citizens cannot entertain any hope, on their own, of being able to redress the situation.

    More importantly perhaps,it has become harder and harder to encourage government to pass legislation to enhance the common good and to promote the general welfare of ordinary citizens. Wealthy lobbies, corporations and mega banks, supported by a very concentrated and partisan media, hold the upper hand in anything the government does. These powerful lobbies push the United States to spend more on its military sector than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined.

    Not surprisingly,income and wealth disparities in the United States are indecent and growing. The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality has ranked the United States dead last among the 10 richest countries on that score. Half of the U.S. population lives presently in poverty or is low-income, according to U.S. Census data, while the American middle class is losing ground, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center. To compare income and wealth inequality that prevails in the U.S. today, it is necessary to go back 100 years, just before the Great Depression. Presently, there is less social mobility in the United States and the social fabric is increasingly disorganized.

Social cohesion is threatened in a country when income and wealth inequalities become exceptionally wide. This has been a big problem in South America for many years. Now it has become a growing social and economic problem in the United States.

    The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Cuba, El Salvador, Turkmenistan, the Russian Federation and Thailand. Its rate is almost 5 times higher than the OECD average.

    An ominous sign:Life expectancy at birth in the United States fell for the second consecutive year in 2016, due to a dizzying 21% increase in the death rate from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, this is the first time since 1962 and 1963, two years in which the flu caused an unprecedented number of deaths, that the United States experienced two consecutive years of declining life expectancy.

Conclusion

Since the 1980s, a vicious cycle of political corruption in the United States has become more and more powerful and has had negative social consequences. It is a cycle of corruption that has allowed the money establishment to tighten its grip on the major American institutions of the Presidency, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a cycle of political corruption is self-reinforcing, and as it becomes more and more comprehensive and entrenched, it also becomes very difficult to break up and reverse.

*

This article was originally published on The New American Empire.

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of “The New American Empire”.  Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site: http://www.thenewamericanempire.com.
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🌎 The U.S. Is a Failed State
« Reply #336 on: March 05, 2018, 03:12:45 AM »
https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-is-a-failed-state/5630070

The U.S. Is a Failed State
By Paul Yesse
Global Research, March 02, 2018
Region: USA
Theme: Law and Justice, Media Disinformation, Militarization and WMD


Author’s note: This article contains over 100 hyperlinks. It is suggested that you read the text of the article first then go back and explore the linked sources at your leisure.
.

Social Collapse

The U.S. cannot and will not protect its citizens against attacks by violent armed assailants, especially as politicians are being bought off by gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.

The U.S. will not provide jobs or a living wage to a significant proportion of its population, especially youth and racial minorities.

The refusal of Congress to pass national single-payer health insurance is genocidal for the poor, the young, the elderly, and the underprivileged.

U.S. industry is poisoning the natural environment as the bee population is killed off by glyphosate and fungicides and the food supply is degraded with GMOs and GE foods.

Chronic disease is skyrocketing due to rising economic stress, unaffordable health care, and food supply degradation.

The pharmaceutical industry gets rich as it kills millions of people annually by facilitating misuse, overuse, and abuse of prescription medication.

The economy has become genocidal to the elderly by eliminating pensions for most and eroding the value of Social Security and other sources of fixed income.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol and an associated growth in crime is a major effect of the collapse of job and income security.

Life expectancy is less than that of many other developed countries and is falling.

Militarism and Foreign Policy

The U.S. military constantly wants more money to further its aims to conquer the globe while society at home disintegrates.

American weapons of mass destruction have the power to destroy all life on earth many times over, yet the military wants bigger and better weapons.

The military thrives on war and has no interest in promoting peace with other nations.

The military must always come up with new and more frightening enemies to justify its bloated budgets.

The “War on Terror” was an excuse for the U.S. military to engage in multiple wars of conquest.

The military is developing new secret weapons to wage war in space.

The elevated position of the military and its immunity from political control propagate the falsehood that force and violence are the legitimate way to solve problems.

Influence on Hollywood by the military exploits and glorifies violence and is a major propaganda tool.

Video games, supported by the military and corporate interests, teach young people that killing is fun.

The military cares nothing for the excessive national resources it consumes at the expense of socially beneficial uses.

The U.S. military is one of the world’s largest environmental polluters.

A major purpose of the military is to provide the muscle for stealing other nations’ resources.

The stealing of resources began with the assault by white Americans on Native Americans and the theft of their lands and continues today in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and around the world.

The U.S. military and police are conditioned to regard reformers and protesters as enemies of the state, not people exercising their rights.

War is being waged against Russia and other countries through economic sanctions and military threats without any constitutional declaration by Congress.

U.S. foreign and military policy is based on a gigantic lie—9/11.

Economics

The U.S. is an oligarchy where the economy, politics, and media are controlled by the rich.

Tax policies favor the rich over working people.

Working people are no longer readily allowed to organize through labor unions for fair wages and working conditions.

The minimum wage is too low for people to live on.

Wall Street creates and destroys businesses for the sake of financial profits regardless of the impact on individuals, families, and society.

The U.S. economy is not driven by honest business enterprise such as manufacturing but is kept afloat artificially by bank and government-created bubbles, including the debt-driven bubble of military spending.

The elimination of the gold standard in favor of bank-controlled fiat currency debased the national currency and has led to a half-century of inflation.

Panic has set in as other nations steer away from the use of inflated U.S. dollars in the petroleum markets and as a reserve currency.

Student, housing, and consumer debt are creating a society of debt-slaves.

People are being sent to jail for non-payment of debt. Some with out-of-control debt commit suicide.

The federal government’s national debt is a growing burden to society that can never be paid off. George W. Bush with his wars doubled the national debt in eight years. It doubled again during the Obama eight-year war period.

The lack of decent jobs drives huge numbers of people into cybercrime, drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal pastimes simply as a mode of survival.

The court system unfairly targets the poor.

The Deep State and Government

Agencies of the Deep State, starting with the CIA, are instruments used by the oligarchy to control the government and society and ultimately take over the rest of the world.

Lying and concealment are a way of life for all levels of government, especially the Deep State.

The government has never come clean about crimes of the past committed by the Deep State, including 9/11 and the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK.

The Deep State continues to engage in targeted assassinations against U.S. citizens and people of other nations.

The CIA and other agencies of the Deep State work in secrecy to undermine other nations abroad and eliminate honest dissent at home.

The Deep State seeks to maintain total electronic surveillance of all individuals.

The Deep State tries to overthrow any government abroad that undertakes to reform itself in the direction of greater fairness to its own population.

Secretive government vastly increased its powers by setting up the Department of Homeland Security and passing the Patriot Act after the false flag of 9/11.

One of the CIA’s major abuses is its self-admitted role in the international drug trade.

The Deep State, the media, and the military foment hatred of countries like Russia and China in order to conceal their own abuses and consolidate their power.

The Deep State controls government at all levels—federal, state, and local.

The government seeks to foster Nazi-like practices in raising a cult to worship the flag, and by promoting wars abroad and oppressive police practices at home.

The government has militarized local police forces in order to oppress the poor and racial minorities.

All levels of government, including the police, are corrupted by political contributions, payoffs, bribes, and special privileges.

The Media

The media destroy freedom of thought by using its powers, including those of advertising, to regiment, control, and censor public opinion.

Government uses the media to deliver its own constant propaganda messages.

The media spew forth hatred and lies through such outlets as Fox News.

The media are controlled by a handful of oligarchic interests that suppress honest news reporting while attacking independent journalism at every turn.

The corporate-orchestrated attack on net neutrality seeks to eliminate independent opinion on the internet as was done in the past on cable TV.

Major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and the national TV broadcast networks are controlled by the oligarchy and Deep State which use them as propaganda organs for their pro-war, corporate agendas.

The media-driven lie of the U.S. as “the exceptional nation” is a particularly pernicious piece of propaganda that has been used to justify abuses inflicted on other countries.

Political Parties

The Republican Party, which at present controls the federal government along with a majority of state and local governments, has become a racist/genocidal cult funded by oligarchs.

The Republican Party and its base blame the victims of economic collapse for their inability to find jobs and earn a decent living.

The Republican Party could not exist as it does at present without the support of fundamentalist Christian churches that support war and racism.

The Democratic Party lost touch with its historic populist mission by being taken over by the pro-corporate Clinton wing in the 1990s.

The Democratic Party has been manipulating people by frantically pushing the myth that the Russians got Donald Trump elected president in 2016.

The Democratic Party, including its so-called progressive wing, is as pro-war and controlled by the Deep State as the Republican.

The U.S. electoral system prevents any effective third-party reform movement from arising.

No politician has a chance who wants fundamental reform such as reducing military spending, terminating the policy of endless wars, changing the monetary system, or basic economic fairness for all levels of society.

Social Life

The oligarchy, the media, the government, the political parties, and the Deep State all foster hatred and division among segments of society in order to preserve their rule.

Racism against people of color and other nationalities remains deeply lodged in the national psyche and is used by the oligarchy as a means of control.

The higher educational establishment is controlled by the corporate/military state and offers little or no resistance.

The nation’s churches have been co-opted or cowed into silence and likewise offer no meaningful alternatives.

The drift to create a totalitarian American police state is well-advanced.

Conclusion

Can the U.S. survive as a nation for another generation? It seems doubtful without a major reform movement dedicated to correcting ALL the above-mentioned abuses. But before the U.S. destroys the planet it may simply collapse from its internal failures or through its policies of endless war and the guilt this has produced.

Yet none of this report is to denigrate the millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide who are awake to the present peril and are praying and working for a better future.

At present a major war between the American empire and the Eurasian nations seems a real possibility, though it would be much better if the U.S., Russia, and China came together in a positive alliance.

Miracles do happen if, paradoxically, people work for them.

*

Paul Yesse is the pen-name of a former U.S. government analyst.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Paul Yesse, Global Research, 2018
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🚀 WHY THE WEST CANNOT STOMACH RUSSIANS
« Reply #337 on: March 10, 2018, 12:22:21 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/03/08/why-the-west-cannot-stomach-russians/

WHY THE WEST CANNOT STOMACH RUSSIANS
March 8, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt


Prince Alexander Nevsky’s legendary defat of the Teutonic Knights on a frozen lake in the 13th century has always captivated and inspired the Russian people in their struggles against foreign invaders, especially from the West.

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. BREAKING THE EMPIRE'S MEDIA MONOPOLY IS UP TO YOU.

When it comes to Russia or the Soviet Union, reports and historical accounts do get blurry; in the West they do, and consequently in all of its ‘client states’. Fairytales get intermingled with reality, while fabrications are masterfully injected into the sub consciousness of billions of people worldwide. Russia is an enormous country, in fact the largest country on Earth in terms of territory. It is scarcely inhabited. It is deep, and as a classic writer once wrote: “It is impossible to understand Russia with one’s brain. One could only believe in it.”

The Western mind generally doesn’t like things unknown, spiritual and complex. Since the ‘old days’, especially since the crusades and monstrous colonialist expeditions to all corners of the world, the Westerners were told fables about their own “noble deeds” performed in the plundered lands. Everything had to be clear and simple: “Virtuous Europeans were civilizing savages and spreading Christianity, therefore, in fact, saving those dark poor primitive souls.”

Of course, tens of millions were dying in the process, while further tens of millions were shackled and brought to the “New Worlds” as slaves. Gold, silver, and other loot, as well as slave labor had been (and still are) paying for all those European palaces, railroads, universities and theatres, but that did not matter, as the bloodshed was most of the time something abstract and far away from those over-sensitive eyes of the Western public.

Westerners like simplicity, particularly when it comes to moral definitions of “good and evil”. It matters nothing if the truth gets systematically ‘massaged’, or even if the reality is fully fabricated. What matters is that there is no deep guilt and no soul-searching. Western rulers and their opinion makers know their people – their ‘subjects’ – perfectly well, and most of the time, they give them what they are asking for. The rulers and the reigned are generally living in symbiosis. They keep bitching about each other, but mostly they have similar goals: to live well, to live extremely well, as long as the others are forced to pay for it; with their riches, with their labor and often with their blood.

Culturally, most of the citizens of Europe and North America hate to pay the bill for their high life; they even detest to admit that their life is extremely ‘high’. They like to feel like victims. They like to feel that they are ‘used’. They like to imagine that they are sacrificing themselves for the rest of the world.

And above all, they hate real victims: those they have been murdering, raping, plundering and insulting, for decades and centuries.

Recent ‘refugee crises’ showed the spite Europeans feel for their prey. People who made them rich and who lost everything in the process are humiliated, despised and insulted. Be they Afghans or Africans, the Middle Easterners or South Asians. Or Russians, although Russians fall into their own, unique category.

*

Many Russians look white. Most of them eat with knife and fork, they drink alcohol, excel at Western classical music, poetry, literature, science and philosophy.

To Western eyes they look ‘normal’, but actually, they are not.

Russians always want ‘something else’; they refuse to play by Western rules.

They are stubbornly demanding to remain different, and to be left alone.

When confronted, when attacked, they fight.

They rarely strike first, almost never invade.

But when threatened, when assaulted, they fight with tremendous determination and force, and they never lose. Villages and cities get converted into invader’s graves. Millions die while defending their Motherland, but the country survives. And it happens again and again and again, as the Western hordes have been, for centuries, assaulting and burning Russian lands, never learning the lesson and never giving up on their sinister dream of conquering and controlling that proud and determined colossus.

In the West, they don’t like those who defend themselves, who fight against them, and especially those who win.

*

It gets much worse than that.
Teutonic Knights, as depicted in S. Eisenstein’s 1938 classic Alexander Nevsky.

Russia has this terrible habit… not only it defends itself and its people, but it also fights for others, protecting colonized and pillaged nations, as well as those that are unjustly assaulted.

It saved the world from Nazism. It did it at a horrific price of 27 million men, women and children, but it did it; courageously, proudly and altruistically. The West never forgave the Soviet Union for this epic victory either, because all that is unselfish and self-sacrificing, is always in direct conflict with its own principles, and therefore ‘extremely dangerous’.

The Russian people had risen; had fought and won in the 1917 Revolution; an event which terrified the West more than anything else in history, as it had attempted to create a fully egalitarian, classless and racially color-blind society. It also gave birth to Internationalism, an occurrence that I recently described in my book The Great October Socialist Revolution: Impact on the World and the Birth of Internationalism.

Soviet Internationalism, right after the victory in WWII, helped greatly, directly and indirectly, dozens of countries on all continents, to stand up and to confront the European colonialism and the North American imperialism. The West and especially Europe never forgave the Soviet people in general and Russians in particular, for helping to liberate its slaves.

That is when the greatest wave of propaganda in human history really began to roll. From London to New York, from Paris to Toronto, an elaborate web of anti-Soviet and covertly anti-Russian hysteria was unleashed with monstrously destructive force. Tens of thousands of ‘journalists’, intelligence officers, psychologists, historians, as well as academics, were employed. Nothing Soviet, nothing Russian (except those glorified and often ‘manufactured’ Russian dissidents) was spared.

The excesses or contextual errors of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the pre-WWII era were systematically fabricated, exaggerated, and then engraved into the Western history textbooks and mass media narrative. In those tales, there was nothing about the vicious invasions and attacks coming from the West, aimed at destroying the young Bolshevik state. Naturally, there was no space for mentioning the British, French, U.S., Czech, Polish, Japanese, German and other’s monstrous cruelties.

Soviet and Russian views were hardly ever allowed to penetrate the monolithic and one-sided Western propaganda narrative.

Like obedient sheep, the Western public accepted the disinformation it was fed. Eventually, many people living in the Western colonies and ‘client states’, did the same. A great number of colonized people were taught how to blame themselves for their misery.

The most absurd but somehow logical occurrence then took place: many men, women and even children living in the USSR, succumbed to Western propaganda. Instead of trying to reform their imperfect but still greatly progressive country, they gave up, became cynical, aggressively ‘disillusioned’, corrupt and naively but staunchly pro-Western.

The most absurd but somehow logical occurrence then took place: many men, women and even children living in the USSR, succumbed to Western propaganda. Instead of trying to reform their imperfect but still greatly progressive country, they gave up, became cynical, aggressively ‘disillusioned’, corrupt and naively but staunchly pro-Western.

It was the first and most likely the last time in the history, Russia got defeated by the West. It happened through deceit, through shameless lies, through Western propaganda.

What followed could be easily described as genocide.


Gorbachev: supremely, unaccountably, criminally
foolish when dealing with the most ruthless mafia
the world has ever seen.


The Soviet Union was first lulled into Afghanistan, then it was mortally injured by the war there, by an arms race with the United States, and by the final stage of propaganda that was literally flowing like lava from various hostile Western state-sponsored radio stations. Of course, local ‘dissidents’ also played an important role.

Under Gorbachev, a ‘useful idiot’ of the West, things got extremely bizarre. I don’t believe that he was paid to ruin his own country, but he did almost everything to run it into the ground; precisely what Washington wanted him to do. Then, in front of the entire world, a mighty and proud Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics suddenly shook in agony, then uttered a loud cry, and collapsed; died painfully but swiftly.

A new turbo-capitalist, bandit, pro-oligarch and confusedly pro-Western Russia was born. Russia which was governed by an alcoholic Boris Yeltsin; a man loved and supported by Washington, London and other Western centers of power.

It was a totally unnatural, sick Russia – cynical and compassionless, built with someone else’s ideas – Russia of Radio Liberty and Voice of America, of the BBC, of black marketers, of oligarchs and multi-national corporations.

Is the West now daring to say that Russians are ‘interfering’ in something in Washington? Are they out of their minds?

Washington and other Western capitals did not only ‘interfere’, they openly broke the Soviet Union into pieces and then they began kicking Russia which was at that point half-alive. Is it all forgotten, or is Western public again fully ‘unaware’ of what took place during those dark days?

The West kept spitting at the impoverished and injured country, refused to honor international agreements and treaties. It offered no help. Multi-nationals were unleashed, and began ‘privatizing’ Russian state companies, basically stealing what was built by the sweat and blood of Soviet workers, during long decades.

Interference? Let me repeat: it was direct intervention, invasion, a grab of resources, shameless theft! I want to read and write about it, but we don’t hear much about it, anymore, do we?

Now we are told that Russia is paranoid, that its President is paranoid! With straight face, the West is lying; pretending that it has not been trying to murder Russia.

Those years… Those pro-Western years when Russia became a semi-client state of the West, or call it a semi-colony! There was no mercy, no compassion coming from abroad. Many of those idiots – kitchen intellectuals from Moscow and provinces – suddenly woke up but it was too late. Many of them had suddenly nothing to eat. They got what they were told to ask for: their Western ‘freedom and democracy’, and Western-style capitalism or in summary: total collapse.

I remember well how it was ‘then’. I began returning to Russia, horrified, working in Moscow, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Leningrad. Academics from Akadem Gorodok outside Novosibirsk were selling their libraries in the bitter cold, in dark metro underpasses of Novosibirsk… Runs on the banks… Old retired people dying from hunger and cold behind massive doors of concrete blocks… unpaid salaries and starving miners, teachers…

Russia under the deadly embrace of the West, for the first and hopefully last time! Russia whose life expectancy suddenly dropped to African Sub-Saharan levels. Russia humiliated, wild, in terrible pain.

*

But that nightmare did not last long.
Monument to Prince Alexander Nevsky, the incarnation of Russian indomability.

And what happened – those short but horrible years under both Gorbachev and Yeltsin, but above all under the Western diktat – will never be forgotten, not forgiven.

Russians know perfectly well what they do not want, anymore!

Russia stood up again. Huge, indignant and determined to live its own life, its own way. From an impoverished, humiliated and robbed nation, subservient to the West, the country evolved and within a few years, the free and independent Russia once again joined the ranks of the most developed and powerful countries on Earth.

And as before Gorbachev, Russia is once again able to help those nations which are under unjust and vicious attacks by the Western empire.

A man who is leading this renaissance, President Vladimir Putin, is tough, but Russia is under great threat and so is the world – this is no time for weaklings.

President Putin is not perfect (who is, really?), but he is a true patriot, and I dare say, an internationalist.

Now the West, once again, hates both Russia and its leader. No wonder; undefeated, strong and free Russia is the worst imaginable foe of Washington and its lieutenants.

That’s how the West feels, not Russia. Despite all that was done to it, despite tens of millions of lost and ruined lives, Russia has always been ready to compromise, even to forgive, if not forget.

*

There is something deeply pathological in the psyche of the West. It cannot accept anything less than full and unconditional submission. It has to control, to be in charge, and on top of everything; it has to feel exceptional. Even when it murders and ruins the entire Planet, it insists on feeling superior to the rest of the world.

This faith in exceptionalism is the true Western religion, much more than even Christianity, which for decades has not really played any important role there. Exceptionalism is fanatical, it is fundamentalist and unquestionable.

It also insists that its narrative is the only one available anywhere in the World. That the West is seen as a moral leader, as a beacon of progress, as the only competent judge and guru.

Lies are piling on top of lies. As in all religions, the more absurd the pseudo-reality is, the more brutal and extreme are the methods used to uphold it. The more laughable the fabrications are, the more powerful the techniques used to suppress the truth are.

Today, hundreds of thousands of ‘academics’, teachers, journalists, artists, psychologists and other highly paid professionals, in all parts of the world, are employed by the Empire, for two goals only – to glorify the Western narrative and to discredit all that is standing in its way; daring to challenge it.

Russia is the most hated adversary of the West, with China, Russia’s close ally being near second.

The propaganda war unleashed by the West is so insane, so intense, that even some of the European and North American citizens are beginning to question tales coming from Washington, London and elsewhere.

Wherever one turns, there is a tremendous medley of lies, of semi-lies, half-truths; a complex and unnavigable swamp of conspiracy theories. Russia is being attacked for interfering in U.S. domestic affairs, for defending Syria, for standing by defenseless and intimidated nations, for having its own powerful media, for doping its athletes, for still being Communist, for not being socialist anymore; in brief: for everything imaginable and unimaginable.

Criticism of the country is so thorough and ludicrous, that one begins to ask very legitimate questions: “what about the past? What about the Western narrative regarding the Soviet past, particularly the post-Revolutionary period, and the period between two world wars?”

The more I analyze this present-day Western anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda, the more determined I am to study and write about the Western narrative regarding Soviet history. I’m definitely planning to investigate these matters in the future, together with my friends – Russian and Ukrainian historians.

*

In the eyes of the West, Russians are ‘traitors’.

Instead of joining the looters, they have been standing by the ‘wretched of the world’, in the past, as well as now. They refused to sell their Motherland, and to enslave their own people. Their government is doing all it can to make Russia self-sufficient, fully independent, prosperous, proud and free.

Remember that ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and many other terms, mean totally different things in distinctive parts of the world. What is happening in the West could never be described as ‘freedom’ in Russia or in China, and vice versa.

Frustrated, collapsing, atomized and egotistic societies of Europe and North America do not inspire even their own people, anymore. They are escaping by millions annually, to Asia, Latin America, and even to Africa. Escaping from emptiness, meaninglessness and emotional cold. But it is not Russia’s or China’s business to tell them how to live or not to live!

In the meantime, great cultures like Russia and China do not need, and do not want to be told by the Westerners, what freedom is, and what democracy is.

They do not attack the West, and expect the same in return.

It is truly embarrassing that the countries responsible for hundreds of genocides, for hundreds of millions of murdered people on all continents, still dare to lecture others.

Many victims are too scared to speak.

Russia is not.

It is composed, gracious, but fully determined to defend itself if necessary; itself as well as many other human beings living on this beautiful but deeply scarred Planet.

Russian culture is enormous: from poetry and literature, to music, ballet, philosophy… Russian hearts are soft, they easily melt when approached with love and kindness. But when millions of lives of innocent people are threatened, both the hearts and muscles of Russians quickly turn to stone and steel. During such moments, when only victory could save the world, Russian fists are hard, and the same is true about Russian armor.

There is no match to Russian courage in the sadistic but cowardly West.

Irreversibly, both hope and future are moving towards the east.

And that is why Russia is desperately hated by the West.

[originally published by New Oriental Outlook/ NEO]

About the Author

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are his tribute to “The Great October Socialist Revolution” a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter. [/su_box]
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 12:23:58 AM by RE »
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🏭 Western Civilization: The Final Crossroads
« Reply #338 on: March 12, 2018, 12:14:30 AM »
Like most if not all political analysts, Cook completely misses the fundamental problems of Resource Depletion and Population Overshoot.

RE

https://www.globalresearch.ca/western-civilization-the-final-crossroads/5631494

Western Civilization: The Final Crossroads
By Richard C. Cook
Global Research, March 10, 2018
Theme: History

Overview

What is “Western civilization”? Why might it end soon? What can be done to prevent that?

These are the questions that face both the U.S. and Russia in the current standoff. The stakes could not be higher. Relationships between the two nations are the most important geopolitical issue, and the most volatile, facing the world today.

But first, some history, including concepts that may be controversial.

Speaking globally, the West is that part of the world settled by people of European descent. Racially, the original peoples of the West stem from those classified as Indo-European, though people of that race and language family also long ago penetrated into Asia, including Northern India and Persia.

Over the centuries, Western civilization has incorporated people of other races whose lands the Europeans conquered, such as the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the peoples of Siberia and parts of central Asia taken over by the Russians.

Some nations of the West transported people as slaves from Africa. All Western nations today also include people who have freely migrated from other parts of the world, such as India, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia. Many of these immigrants have come from countries the Western nations colonized. There have also been vast migrations from Europe to the Americas, including a large Jewish influx from Eastern Europe and Russia.

Regarding the question of whether the Indo-European conquest of lands occupied by other races was just and fair, we would have to say that it was not. But it is a fait accompli. All parties must now make the best of it.

Certainly the fact of conquest imposes obligations that are still far from being adequately recognized, as in the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rain forest and its indigenous cultures. Indigenous peoples everywhere have been badly mistreated and often subjected to genocide, including in the Western outposts of Australia and New Zealand.

But in spite of the endless variations in local and regional demographics, it yet remains possible to speak of Western civilization as a cultural and geopolitical entity, just as we can speak of an Islamic civilization stretching from Morocco to Indonesia, and a civilization of the East that includes India, Japan, China, and other Asian nations. The predominant religions of the East are Hinduism and its offspring Buddhism. In China, Buddhism melded with a compatible substrate of Confucianism and Taoism.

Western Culture

What defines a civilization is not only race but also its shared culture. The principal factor that identifies Western civilization as a unit is the historic prevalence of the Christian religion. Without Christianity, the concept of Western civilization would be meaningless.

But the West is divided among numerous nation-states that speak diverse languages. Its population includes many who see themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “spiritual but not religious.” Nevertheless, the West is culturally defined by the historic presence stated in the creeds of both Catholic and Protestant sects of “one holy catholic and apostolic church” (all words lower-case).

In this sense, the actual founders of Western culture are four men who personified the Judeo-Christian faith as expressed in the Old and New Testaments; namely, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and St. Paul. Yes, they were Hebrews/Jews.

In Biblical parlance, the peoples of the West who adopted Christian teachings were the “Gentiles,” starting with the Greeks and Romans.Western civilization is largely what the Gentiles forged after their conversion to a common faith.

Of course there are many who reside in Western nations who would dispute these generalizations. But what is described here is true enough and gives us something concrete to work with. History cannot be understood otherwise, including what is happening in the world today.

No matter what observers believe or disbelieve, the West still lives under laws based on the Ten Commandments and, at its best, ideals rooted in the Sermon on the Mount. From this perspective, the destiny of Western civilization can be analyzed in terms of the tension between the influence of its spiritual mentors and the characteristics of its much older tribal make-up.

Struggles for Dominance

The peoples of the West have been fighting each other since they can first be sighted in prehistory.The earliest Indo-European cultures tended to be local or regional, structured tribally, including those of the Celts, the Germans, the Slavs, and the Greeks and Romans. Tribal warfare within, between, and among these groupings was a constant. They all appealed to their tribal gods for victory.

But around 2,000 years ago, attempts began to be made to consolidate the West under centralized systems of governance, the first being the Roman Empire. Once Christianity took root, the culture of the West became that of the Roman Catholic Church, which by the High Middle Ages exercised its presence throughout much of Europe.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, today’s nation states had taken shape and had begun to compete for dominance both on the European continent and in the acquisition of colonies, filling a vacuum left by the decline in the power and prestige of the Papacy that resulted in the splitting of the West through the Protestant Reformation. The Wars of Religion that ensued were ghastly in their carnage.

Russia and parts of Eastern Europe had already split from Catholicism through religious schism, creating the culture of Orthodoxy. Also, for a millennium, Europe fought on its borders against Islam for survival. But with the Reformation thrown in the mix, the glue that held the West together dissipated, leading the most powerful nations—Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia, the German principalities, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden—to fight each other in wars of great savagery.

The areas of Italy and Germany remained disorganized until their unification in the 19th century. Those nations then took part in the prevailing struggles for supremacy and were joined by the U.S., the growing colossus across the Atlantic Ocean that had achieved unification through the American Civil War.

The political relations among the nations of the West since around 1500 can be fairly described as an almost continuous state of intra-civilizational civil war—with ostensibly Christian nations slaughtering each other’s populations in the millions.World Wars I and II were a phase of an old pattern.

But due to the rise of science and technology, these wars were unprecedented in their carnage and cruelty. During the modern history of the West, there were never any “good wars.” Rather it was “tribalism on steroids.”

Today’s Insanity

Today it seems incredible that given the exponential growth in the power of science to create weapons of mass destruction sufficient to destroy all life on earth many times over, we stand on the brink of yet another phase in the unending saga of war among Western powers, lining up with the U.S. and Western Europe on one side and Russia on the other. We might even see in this division the residue of the Great Schism of a thousand years ago.

Both sides, of course, are marshaling allies from other parts of the world, with China and Central Asia tending to align with Russia, and the U.S. exerting tenuous control at present over Western Europe, Latin America, and nations on the Asian fringe, such as Japan and South Korea, along with Australian and New Zealand.

It does not take a great deal of insight to realize, when we approach the situation from this macro-historical perspective, that the present-day standoff between the U.S. and Russia is insane. Instigating the insanity are American financial, political, and military leaders. Cheering them on have been the truly dangerous partisans of the U.S. mainstream media.

A war between the U.S. and Russia would have to involve use of nuclear weapons, unless Russia totally surrenders to U.S. hegemony in advance. But Russia is not going to do this.

The U.S. believed that Russia had in fact capitulated through the collapse of the Soviet Union and the aftermath in the 1990s. But the rebirth of Russian autonomy in the two decades since then has proven these assumptions totally wrong.

In the hiatus between the end of the Soviet Union and the rise of a new Russia, the U.S. launched its massive series of wars against the Islamic nations in a continuing attempt to curb and control any movement toward economic and political independence in that part of the world. Russia, straddling as it does both Europe and Asia, had been ambiguous about these wars, finally taking a stand against them by supporting the government of Syria in the assault on that nation by U.S. proxies.

Meanwhile, at home, U.S. society and its domestic economy have been falling apart under the astronomical expense of endless warfare along with financial legerdemain and moral corruption. The credibility of the U.S. government has been fatally compromised by the rise of the “Deep State,” the control of government by secretive cadres of militarists and assassins, and the lies told about the false flag of 9/11.

Meanwhile, the military’s leading generals have become powerful warlords who control vast resources, extend their tentacles throughout civilian society, and trumpet provocative political pronouncements and threats that should be the sole purview of political leaders. Most of the latter are puppets who humiliate themselves by throwing ever-increasing amounts of dollars at the feet of their uniformed darlings.

Sometimes trillions of these dollars just disappear down Pentagon black holes. The tendency to fawn over the military is likely to increase, as many of the Democratic Party candidates for contested seats in the 2018 House elections are likely to be former military-intelligence operatives.

The West is staggering today under the burden of its inability to bring centuries of internecine warfare to a halt through some kind of humane and rational settlement of differences. The main beneficiary of this chaos has been China, which appears to be solving many of the problems that have baffled the West and is poised to assume global leadership by peaceful growth of its economy and the success of its social system under its oriental—some say Confucianist—brand of communism.

Thus the West is facing another tragedy that likely will be its last. There is no way out by continuing to pursue the dark byways of economic exploitation and war with which the West has been obsessed for centuries.

This obsession has been channeled through the demonic force of nationalism, abetted by hubris, greed, fear, and hatred. All movements throughout history founded upon the elevation of one nation above the rest have opened the floodgates to hell.

Every aggressor has seen itself as “exceptional.” Nationalism, always rooted in racial myths, is just a latter-day phase of the most barbaric tribalism of the ancient past—sadism and human sacrifice in the thinnest of disguises.

The best example of this throwback tribalism was Nazi Germany. In the U.S. today, we are seeing “Nazification” at work on many levels, not just through the erection of a military/police state, but also including genocidal policies against the poor, the elderly, and racial minorities.

The Anglo-American Empire

Another factor is how the U.S. has inherited the centuries-old policy of Britain to oppose by force of arms the arising of any great power on the European continent that might threaten its hegemony. In the 18th century and continuing through the wars against Napoleon, the enemy was France. After the rise of Germany and continuing through the two World Wars of the 20th century, Britain demonized and sought to crush the German nation.

Contrary to the usual misconceptions, World War I was instigated by Britain to undermine a burgeoning trade rival. World War II followed as a matter of course after Germany was forced to shoulder the entire burden of guilt for starting the previous conflagration.

After World War II, the Soviet Union was branded as the next continental enemy, beginning with the Cold War and resuming today. Of course Britain had defeated France on its own through an anti-Napoleon coalition. To defeat Germany, Britain had to rely on the U.S. To take on the Soviet Union—now Russia—the U.S. gladly assumed the lead, its elites greedily anticipating the wealth and power that would ensue.

Today the U.S. stands at the head of what we all know is essentially an Anglo-American empire, with its oligarchy living high on the hog for the last few generations. But it’s an unnatural empire that carves out a piece of the West dominated by English-speakers and claims it’s the whole. But to insist now on the supremacy of this arrangement for all time is suicidal for Western civilization. The empire must be given up.

Seeking a Solution

The solution is not for the U.S. to continue to escalate conflict with Russia, while Britain, with its retrograde“Brexit,”from the European Union, eggs us on, as does the Anglo-American client state of Israel. Of course after its intended conquest of Russia, which can never happen,the empire wants to move on to an ultimate showdown with China for global control.

But such control is an illusion. East is East and West is West, and so they shall remain. Survival of humanity on earth depends on a harmonious equilibrium between the two, with the Islamic world balanced in between.

It is time for those of us in the West to search deeply within our own souls to find the solution. Meanwhile, the cybernetic revolution has introduced an entirely new factor into the equation with instantaneous worldwide communication, combined with the ease of international travel.

Not to mention the unfathomable destructiveness of today’s weaponry and the systems available to deliver these weapons to the homes of all civilian populations on earth. This is what our misuse of the gifts to mankind from scientific knowledge has brought us—an opportunity to do even more evil on a gigantic scale.

The Time Has Come for Epochal Change

Today the nations of the West must unite in peace, with the U.S. and Russia aiming to achieve a meeting of minds across the negotiating table. But they can only do so through realization of their common spiritual heritage, not by force. Force has failed. I repeat: force has failed.

Unfortunately, conservative elements within the Western nations, including those within the dominant Christian churches, are pulling in the opposite direction, away from negotiation, unity, and peace. Fear, arrogance, and hatred are retrenching, as the demons of destruction await their next turn on the stage.These demons couldn’t care less if humanity destroys itself.

The one nation that seems to be acting otherwise is in fact Russia. If a return to earlier attempts at rapprochement is to take place, the initiative must doubtless come from Russia, as it did with Gorbachev in the 1980s.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be doing just that today by responding firmly but open-mindedly to U.S. hostility, including the “Russiagate” farce that the U.S. Deep State is engineering. Despite daily provocations, Putin continues to refer to the West as “partners.”

But the U.S. must now respond in kind. We have already shown the ability to cooperate with Russia on a small but highly symbolic scale through joint work on the International Space Station.

As of this writing, a glimmer of hope has emerged through a letter from U.S. senators Markey, Merkley, Feinstein, and Sanders to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for a strategic dialogue made urgent by President Putin’s recent announcement of a new generation of conventional and nuclear weapons.

The senators write that despite “policy rifts” and “significant” disagreements, “… the United States should urgently engage with Russia to avoid miscalculation and reduce the likelihood of conflict.”

Certainly the Trump administration should respond positively to this request. But going further, President Donald Trump should act boldly by sending a bipartisan commission to Moscow to talk with the Russian government about immediate action across a much broader front to defuse the present crisis by working together toward a peaceful future for Spaceship Earth.

A Dream: A Council Convened to Save Western Civilization

International councils can be keys to solving problems and starting afresh. An example was the councils leading to the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years War in 1648 and created the patterns and arrangements under which modern Europe emerged.

It is suggested that the main topic of discussion of the meeting between U.S. and Russian counterparts mentioned above be the convening of a major Council to take place at a central location, such as Paris, in the year 2021. This Council should encompass all the nations of the West, from those of the Americas, to the nations of the European Union, to Russia.

Such a Council should consist of three main sections: 1) political/military; 2) economic;and 3) religious/cultural.

Political/military: Discussion should start with an agreement by the member nations of NATO to dissolve that entirely unnecessary relic of a sad history. Also called for would be a goodwill gesture by the U.S. to cut its military expenditures by at least half within five years. Discussion of political issues would then follow.

Economic: The focus should be on sustainable economic development, equity for all levels of society, and protection of the natural environment.Global warming should be addressed. A basic income guarantee for all citizens of the West should be instituted, as should a common international circulating currency of gold and silver monetary units.This currency could be issued by a new network of national public banks under a charter that would supplement or replace the post-World War II Bretton Woods agreements.

Religious/cultural: All religious denominations of the West should be invited. As a good faith gesture, the Roman Catholic Church should alter the main practice that historically has divided it from the rest of Christendom and announce that from now on its clergy will be allowed to marry.

The goal of the Council would be to take steps toward uniting those elements of Western civilization that today are obsessed with destroying each other. A major objective would be to find ways to include in the benefits of civilization the lower income levels that are threatened with genocide by economies that mainly augment the already bloated incomes of national oligarchies.

Conclusion

I know that many readers are pointing at the foregoing proposals and asking, “Who are you kidding?” But I am quite serious. Unless matters are addressed at this level, nothing can be expected but more catastrophe.

A start can and should be made. Deep within the spiritual history of the West, the memories, ideas,and energy are present for deep transformation to take place. These memories, ideas, and energy will eventually break through in their dazzling light, perhaps sooner than we think. The signs are all around.

It is the task of those who care to work in peace to prepare the ground. And part of the work is to keep the present travail of the West under the microscope of constructive criticism.

*

Richard C. Cook is a retired U.S. federal government analyst. In his 32-year career he worked for five civilian agencies and the Carter White House. While with NASA he documented the flaws with the space shuttle solid rocket boosters and testified before the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Unable to return to NASA after his testimony, he spent the rest of his career with the U.S. Treasury Department. On retirement in 2007, he published “Challenger Revealed,” the definitive account of the multiple layers of cover-up surrounding the disaster. He went on to publish a book on monetary policy entitled “We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform,” along with dozens of internet and print articles on public policy issues. He may be reached at monetaryreform@gmail.com.
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Russian Exile With Ties to Boris Berezovsky Found Dead in U.K.
« Reply #339 on: March 13, 2018, 02:39:33 PM »
Not a good week to be in the spy bizness.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/russian-exile-with-ties-to-boris-berezovsky-found-dead-in-uk

Russian Exile With Ties to Boris Berezovsky Found Dead in U.K.


Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was close friends with the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was found dead in his London home Monday night. His body was discovered by family and friends, and the cause of death is not yet clear. According to a statement from the Metropolitan Police, the department's Counter Terrorism Unit is “leading the investigation as a precaution because of associations that the man is believed to have had.” So far, there is “no evidence to suggest a link” to the attack on fellow Russian Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, authorities said. Glushkov, 68, was granted political asylum in the U.K. after working for Russian state airline Aeroflot and Berezovsky’s car company. While living in Russia, he was sentenced to five years in jail for money laundering and fraud in 1999, as Berezovsky fell out with Vladimir Putin and fled to the U.K. In 2011, Glushkov also gave evidence to British courts that were ruling on a lawsuit Berezovsky had filed against another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, who has been on good terms with the Kremlin. The judge dismissed Berezovsky’s lawsuit, and Glushkov filed a formal appeal of the case. Berezovsky was found dead in his ex-wife home's in 2013. Last year, Glushkov was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Russian court in “a trial in absentia” for allegedly stealing $123 million from the car company. This comes as Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence corporal and spy for the British, was attacked by a nerve agent in a mall in South England—triggering reactions from Prime Minister Theresa May, now-former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and U.S. President Donald Trump.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #340 on: March 18, 2018, 12:16:46 AM »

So its not just me:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-16/second-cold-war-has-begun-and-we-only-have-ourselves-blame
The Second Cold War Has Begun... And We Only Have Ourselves To Blame
03/17/2018

Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via TheAntiMedia.org,

At this critical juncture in modern history where tensions run at an all-time high between world powers that possess extensive nuclear weapons supplies, the United States and the United Kingdom would do well to re-educate themselves on the art of diplomacy.

Instead, the United Kingdom has put its foot on the throttle, openly blaming Russia for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. Together with France, Germany and the United States, this western alliance has called on Russia to explain the military-grade novichok nerve toxin attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. They both remain in critical condition.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was one of the first to openly blame Russia for the incident, calling it a “brazen” act and expelling 23 Russian diplomats almost immediately. She also cut off high-level contact with Moscow for the attack on U.K. soil.

U.S. President Donald Trump also came out behind the U.K., stating it “certainly looks like the Russians were behind” the incident. Apparently, Trump is happy to believe conspiracy theories regarding Russian interference as long as he is not the subject matter.

Do we know the full facts regarding what happened to Skripal? No. But the minute western governments not only claim to know what happened but also take further action to demonize the state in question, we should immediately be skeptical.

Let’s take a hypothetical scenario. Supposing someone wanted to kill Skripal but hoped to make it look like the Russian government was behind it, would it really be that hard for someone else to use the novichok nerve toxin in the commission of the killing?

    “Could somebody have smuggled something out [of the Soviet Union]?” Amy Smithson, a U.S.-based biological and chemical weapons expert, queried to Reuters. “I certainly wouldn’t rule that possibility out, especially a small amount and particularly in view of how lax the security was at Russian chemical facilities in the early 1990s.”

If this is a possible scenario as Smithson has intimated, it should be ruled out as a possibility before the U.K. expels Russian diplomats who may or may not have been involved in an assassination attempt.

Diplomacy is an art form. Right now, we don’t need world powers escalating tensions and blaming Russia for every single thing that goes wrong across the globe.

Just how powerful is Russia, exactly? We are not only supposed to believe that the former Soviet Union can elect presidents at whim in the world’s most powerful country, but that it is also openly going around trying to assassinate people on British soil using chemical weapons that would directly implicate itself as the perpetrator.

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray wrote in a blog post:

    “The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian ‘novochok’ nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was ‘only.’ She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been ‘developed by’ Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.”

Murray also referred his readers to an article in Foreign Policy that laid out Israel’s quietly advancing chemical and biological weapon capabilities. If we want to talk about evidence, it’s actually worth noting that Israel is reportedly in the business of launching assassination attempts, even on scientists and researchers. Israeli operatives have even been caught during their assassination attempts whereas, as Murray notes, Russia has never actually killed a “swapped spy” before. Of course, this is not to say that Israel is responsible for the crime in question, but until hard evidence is produced that directly implicates the current Russian leadership, it is worth considering that other countries also have the power to launch assassination attempts.

Regardless, more allegations against Russia are still mounting. The U.S. recently accused Russia of a wide-ranging cyber assault on its energy grid and other parts of its infrastructure, gearing up to impose more sanctions in response.

Now, after years of constantly being painted as the enemy, Russia just declared via Twitter that a “Cold War II” has, indeed, begun. And who can blame them?

It is time for these countries to go back to the drawing board and teach themselves diplomacy. Nikki Haley is not a diplomat, the essential requirement of her job at the U.N. She is a warmongering neoconservative who is incapable of asking for basic evidence. The only high-level politician calling for diplomacy is the U.K.’s Jeremy Corbyn, the same man who is persistently demonized by the local and worldwide media, even while he has continued to be on the right side of history regarding almost every conflict since he became a politician.

    “This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services,” Corbyn said.

    “To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.”

    He also said that his Labour party is “of course no supporter of the Putin regime, its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption” but “that does not mean we should resign ourselves to a ‘new cold war’ of escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent.”

While the calm voice of reason, Corbyn to this day is vilified by the corporate media.

The hostility towards Russia is one thing, but the double standards and hypocrisy are completely mind-blowing.

The U.S. and its allies are the most meddlesome entities on the planet, but whenever something moves that can be blamed on Russia, Syria, North Korea or Iran, they take immediate action against adversarial states before a full investigation can ever be completed.

It is a shoot first, ask questions later type of approach, and it needs to stop.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #341 on: March 18, 2018, 12:30:54 AM »
https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2018/03/1984-is-not-the-future/
1984 Is Not The Future
Raul Ilargi Meijer
03/17/2018

The Guardian ran an article yesterday by one of its editors, David Shariatmadari, that both proves and disproves its own theme at the same time: “An Information Apocalypse Is Coming”. Now, I don’t fancy the term apocalypse in a setting like this, it feels too much like going for a cheap thrill, but since he used it, why not.

My first reaction to the headline, and the article, is: what do you mean it’s ‘coming’? Don’t you think we have such an apocalypse already, that we’re living it, we’re smack in the middle of such a thing? If you don’t think so, would that have anything to do with you working at a major newspaper? Or with your views of the world, political and other, that shape how you experience ‘information’?

Shariatmadari starts out convincingly and honestly enough with a description of a speech that JFK was supposed to give in Dallas right after he was murdered, a speech that has been ‘resurrected’ using technology that enables one to make it seem like he did deliver it.

An Information Apocalypse Is Coming. How Can We Protect Ourselves?


    “In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason, or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality, and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.”

    John F Kennedy’s last speech reads like a warning from history, as relevant today as it was when it was delivered in 1963 at the Dallas Trade Mart. His rich, Boston Brahmin accent reassures us even as he delivers the uncomfortable message. The contrast between his eloquence and the swagger of Donald Trump is almost painful to hear.

Yes, Kennedy’s words are lofty ones, and they do possess at least some predictive qualities. But history does play a part too. Would we have read the same in them that we do now, had Kennedy not been shot right before he could deliver them? Hard to tell.

What’s more, not long before JFK was elected president America had been in the tight and severe grip of J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign, in which lots of reality was replaced with rhetoric, something Kennedy undoubtedly had in mind while writing the speech. JFK was not just addressing future threats, he was talking about the past as well.

But the writer slips into a much bigger faux pas right after: injecting Trump into the picture. It’s fine if someone doesn’t like Trump, but naming him there and then, in an article about ‘information apocalypse’, also means confusing objectivity with regards to your topic with subjectivity concerning your political ideas. While the Kennedy speech item relates to -advancing(?)- technology, a valid part of the apocalypse, mentioning Trump has nothing to do with that apocalypse, at least not objectively. Back to David Shariatmadari:

    The problem is, Kennedy never spoke these words. He was killed before he made it to the Trade Mart. You can only hear them now thanks to audio technology developed by a British company, CereProc. Fragments of his voice have been taken from other speeches and public appearances, spliced and put back together, with neural networks employed to mimic his natural intonation. The result is pretty convincing, although there’s a machine-like ring to some of the syllables, a synthetic stutter. Enough to recognise, if you already know, that this is a feat of technology, not oratory.

    We like to think of innovation as morally neutral. We empower scientists and engineers to range freely in the hope they might discover things that save labour and lives. The ends to which these are put aren’t the responsibility of the researchers. The agile robots produced by Boston Dynamics might look like they could cheerfully pin you up against a wall and snap your neck, but do we really want to close off this avenue of research? After all, they might equally be capable of performing life-saving surgery. The methods used to resurrect JFK can also help people with illnesses such as motor neurone disease – like the late Stephen Hawking – that affect their ability to speak.

It’s certainly true that we are so ‘geared’ towards progress, we ‘conveniently’ forget and ignore that every next step carries its own shadow side, every yin comes with its yang. ‘Progress’ and ‘innovation’ – and related terms- ring so positive in our eyes and ears it borders on -wilful- blindness. That blindness is set to play a major role in our future, and in our acceptance as gospel of a lot of ‘information’.

    “Dual use” of technology is not a new problem. Nuclear physics gave us both energy and bombs. What is new is the democratisation of advanced IT, the fact that anyone with a computer can now engage in the weaponisation of information; 2016 was the year we woke up to the power of fake news, with internet conspiracy theories and lies used to bolster the case for both Brexit and Donald Trump.

Ouch! See, he does it again. This is not an objective discourse on ‘information disinformation’, but a way to make people think -through a method he’s supposed to be exposing- that ‘fake news’ led to Brexit and Trump. That’s a political view, not a neutral one. Yes, there are many voices out there who connect ‘fake news’ directly to things they don’t like, but that’s just a trap.

And as I said, it may have to do with the fact that the writer works for a major newspaper, which of course he wants to, and wishes to, see as some kind of beacon against fake news, but if he lets his own personal views slip into an objective treatment of a topic this easily, it automatically becomes self-defeating.

There is no proof that Trump and Brexit’s success are down to fake news more than their opposite sides, ‘fake news’ is everywhere, and that very much includes the Guardian. The coverage of the UK government accusations against Russia in the poisoning case proves that more than ever.

You can be anti-Trump, anti-Brexit and anti-Putin all you want, but they don’t define fake news or an information apocalypse, any more than ‘commies’ did in the days of Hoover and McCarthy.

    We may, however, look back on it as a kind of phoney war, when photoshopping and video manipulation were still easily detectable. That window is closing fast. A program developed at Stanford University allows users to convincingly put words into politicians’ mouths. Celebrities can be inserted into porn videos. Quite soon it will be all but impossible for ordinary people to tell what’s real and what’s not.

That is am almost bewildering line. Does the writer really think ‘ordinary people’ can today tell apart what’s real and what’s not? If his paper had honestly covered his country’s, and his government’s, involvement in the wars all over the Middle East and North Africa over the past decades, would his readers still be supportive of the politicians that today inhabit Westminster?

Or does the paper prefer supporting the incumbents over Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, because it owes its reputation and position and revenues to supporting the likes of Theresa May and Tony Blair? Yeah, I know, with a critical view, yada yada, but when has the Guardian labeled any UK politician a war criminal? Much easier to go after Farage, isn’t it? The question is: what part of this is fake, and what is not?

    What will the effects of this be? When a public figure claims the racist or sexist audio of them is simply fake, will we believe them? How will political campaigns work when millions of voters have the power to engage in dirty tricks? What about health messages on the dangers of diesel or the safety of vaccines? Will vested interests or conspiracy theorists attempt to manipulate them?

This appears to make sense, but it does not really. We are way past that. ‘Ordinary people’ have already lost their capacity to tell truth from fiction. Newspapers and TV stations have long disseminated the views of their owners, it’s just that they now have -newfound- competition from a million other sources: the blessings of social media.

The core issue here is that 1984 is not some point in the future, as we for some reason prefer to think. We are living 1984. Perhaps the fact that we are now 34 years past it should give us a clue about that? People tend to think that perhaps Orwell was right, but his predictions were way early. Were they, though?

Also: Orwell may not have foreseen the blessings and trappings of social media, but he did foresee how governments and their media sympathizers would react to them: with more disinformation.

    Unable to trust what they see or hear, will people retreat into lives of non-engagement, ceding the public sphere to the already powerful or the unscrupulous? The potential for an “information apocalypse” is beginning to be taken seriously.

This is a full-blown time warp. If it is true that people only now take the potential for an “information apocalypse” seriously, they are so far behind the curve ball that one must question the role of the media in that. Why didn’t people know about that potential when it was an actual issue? Why did nobody tell them?

    The problem is we have no idea what a world in which all words and images are suspect will look like, so it’s hard to come up with solutions.

Yes, we do have an idea about that, because we see it around us 24/7. Maybe not with images as fully fabricated as the JFK speech, but the essence is manipulation itself, not the means by which it’s delivered.

    Perhaps not very much will change – perhaps we will develop a sixth sense for bullshit and propaganda, in the same way that it has become easy to distinguish sales calls from genuine inquiries, and scam emails with fake bank logos from the real thing.

David, we ARE all bullshitters, we all lie all the time, for a myriad of reasons, to look better, to feel better, to seem better, to get rich, to get laid. It’s who we are. We lie to ourselves most of all. A sixth sense against bullshit and propaganda is the very last thing we will ever develop, because it would force us to face our own bullshit.

    But there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to defend ourselves from the onslaught, and society could start to change in unpredictable ways as a result. Like the generation JFK was addressing in his speech, we are on the cusp of a new and scary age. Rhetoric and reality, the plausible and the possible, are becoming difficult to separate. We await a figure of Kennedy’s stature to help us find a way through. Until then, we must at the very least face up to the scale of the coming challenge.

We are not 'on the cusp of a new and scary age', we are smack in the middle of it. We haven’t been able to separate rhetoric and reality, the plausible and the possible, for ages. What’s different from 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, is that now we are faced with an information overload so severe that this in itself makes us less capable of separating chaff from wheat.

So yes, that perhaps is new. But bullshit and propaganda are not. And labeling Trump and Brexit the main threats misses your own topic by miles. You could make an equally valid point that they are the results of many years of bullshit and propaganda by old-style politics and old-style media.

Maybe they’re what happens when ‘ordinary people’ switch off from an overload of bullshit and propaganda forced upon them by people and institutions they grew up to trust. And then feel they were betrayed by. A sixth sense after all.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #342 on: March 18, 2018, 01:06:15 AM »

So its not just me

Nobody ever said it was.  Saker takes this POV, Dmitry, Pepe and numerous others.

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #343 on: March 18, 2018, 10:07:13 AM »

So its not just me:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-16/second-cold-war-has-begun-and-we-only-have-ourselves-blame
The Second Cold War Has Begun... And We Only Have Ourselves To Blame
03/17/2018

Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via TheAntiMedia.org,

At this critical juncture in modern history where tensions run at an all-time high between world powers that possess extensive nuclear weapons supplies, the United States and the United Kingdom would do well to re-educate themselves on the art of diplomacy.

Instead, the United Kingdom has put its foot on the throttle, openly blaming Russia for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. Together with France, Germany and the United States, this western alliance has called on Russia to explain the military-grade novichok nerve toxin attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. They both remain in critical condition.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was one of the first to openly blame Russia for the incident, calling it a “brazen” act and expelling 23 Russian diplomats almost immediately. She also cut off high-level contact with Moscow for the attack on U.K. soil.

U.S. President Donald Trump also came out behind the U.K., stating it “certainly looks like the Russians were behind” the incident. Apparently, Trump is happy to believe conspiracy theories regarding Russian interference as long as he is not the subject matter.

Do we know the full facts regarding what happened to Skripal? No. But the minute western governments not only claim to know what happened but also take further action to demonize the state in question, we should immediately be skeptical.

Let’s take a hypothetical scenario. Supposing someone wanted to kill Skripal but hoped to make it look like the Russian government was behind it, would it really be that hard for someone else to use the novichok nerve toxin in the commission of the killing?

    “Could somebody have smuggled something out [of the Soviet Union]?” Amy Smithson, a U.S.-based biological and chemical weapons expert, queried to Reuters. “I certainly wouldn’t rule that possibility out, especially a small amount and particularly in view of how lax the security was at Russian chemical facilities in the early 1990s.”

If this is a possible scenario as Smithson has intimated, it should be ruled out as a possibility before the U.K. expels Russian diplomats who may or may not have been involved in an assassination attempt.

Diplomacy is an art form. Right now, we don’t need world powers escalating tensions and blaming Russia for every single thing that goes wrong across the globe.

Just how powerful is Russia, exactly? We are not only supposed to believe that the former Soviet Union can elect presidents at whim in the world’s most powerful country, but that it is also openly going around trying to assassinate people on British soil using chemical weapons that would directly implicate itself as the perpetrator.

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray wrote in a blog post:

    “The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian ‘novochok’ nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was ‘only.’ She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been ‘developed by’ Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.”

Murray also referred his readers to an article in Foreign Policy that laid out Israel’s quietly advancing chemical and biological weapon capabilities. If we want to talk about evidence, it’s actually worth noting that Israel is reportedly in the business of launching assassination attempts, even on scientists and researchers. Israeli operatives have even been caught during their assassination attempts whereas, as Murray notes, Russia has never actually killed a “swapped spy” before. Of course, this is not to say that Israel is responsible for the crime in question, but until hard evidence is produced that directly implicates the current Russian leadership, it is worth considering that other countries also have the power to launch assassination attempts.

Regardless, more allegations against Russia are still mounting. The U.S. recently accused Russia of a wide-ranging cyber assault on its energy grid and other parts of its infrastructure, gearing up to impose more sanctions in response.

Now, after years of constantly being painted as the enemy, Russia just declared via Twitter that a “Cold War II” has, indeed, begun. And who can blame them?

It is time for these countries to go back to the drawing board and teach themselves diplomacy. Nikki Haley is not a diplomat, the essential requirement of her job at the U.N. She is a warmongering neoconservative who is incapable of asking for basic evidence. The only high-level politician calling for diplomacy is the U.K.’s Jeremy Corbyn, the same man who is persistently demonized by the local and worldwide media, even while he has continued to be on the right side of history regarding almost every conflict since he became a politician.

    “This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services,” Corbyn said.

    “To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.”

    He also said that his Labour party is “of course no supporter of the Putin regime, its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption” but “that does not mean we should resign ourselves to a ‘new cold war’ of escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent.”

While the calm voice of reason, Corbyn to this day is vilified by the corporate media.

The hostility towards Russia is one thing, but the double standards and hypocrisy are completely mind-blowing.

The U.S. and its allies are the most meddlesome entities on the planet, but whenever something moves that can be blamed on Russia, Syria, North Korea or Iran, they take immediate action against adversarial states before a full investigation can ever be completed.

It is a shoot first, ask questions later type of approach, and it needs to stop.

You had me with the Chris Martenson article.

I always want to know what REALLY happened in these assassination attempts, but it's seldom actually knowable. I even read an article suggesting that the attack was aimed at Skripal's daughter, and carried out by her Russian mother-in-law, who doesn't seem to like her much.

Now THAT sounds like Russian internet trolling to me. LOL.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #344 on: March 22, 2018, 08:21:46 PM »
Orlov has gone behind a paywall of $1/month.  This is the free teazer.

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Migrants Wanted—for What?
March 22, 2018

In their stirring rendition of “In the Year 2525” (based on the 1969 tune by Zager and Evans) Laibach predicted: “Rivers of people flow like blood.” But there is no reason for us to wait that long; it is happening already, and has been happening for some time. Already in 2017 over a quarter of a billion people were displaced from their native lands, wondering the globe in search of refuge. Much of this had to do with the increase in failed states. Back in 2013, I wrote:

“The World Bank publishes a list of nations lacking effective sovereignty. In 1996 there were eleven entries; in 2006 there were twenty-six. Not a year goes by that another nation-state does not get shunted to the weak/defunct track: last year it was Libya; this year, Syria. How far behind is Greece?... It is too early to tell whether the increase in nonviable nation-states is linear or exponential, but a simple projection shows that if this trend continues to accelerate at the same rate there will be zero viable nation-states left by 2030 or so.” [p. 150, The Five Stages of Collapse, New Society Publishers, 2013]

Since then, Syria has recovered somewhat, and refugees are going back to Damascus, while Libya is still in chaos. In the meantime, Yemen has definitely joined the defunct column, thanks to Saudi/US bombing and blockade. And the Ukraine is definitely nearing failed-statedom, with a majority of its population either fleeing or living in poverty and with armed groups of nationalist thugs running rampant. Under the careful tutelage of the US government, its Central American protectorates of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador remain crime-riddled basket cases, generating a steady flow of migrants, and anyone in the US who points out that perhaps doing something about the huge population of homeless people (especially in California) should take priority over helping strangers from faraway lands get shouted down as racist-fascist-whatever. Venezuela is in full-blown collapse under the weight of US sanctions, while propaganda mouthpieces in the US claim that its problem is socialism. But the rapid progression nation-states toward failed-statedom has slowed down somewhat since 2014, and I think I know why.


In their stirring rendition of “In the Year 2525” (based on the 1969 tune by Zager and Evans) Laibach predicted: “Rivers of people flow like blood.” But there is no reason for us to wait that long; it is happening already, and has been happening for some time. Already in 2017 over a quarter of a billion people were displaced from their native lands, wondering the globe in search of refuge. Much of this had to do with the increase in failed states. Back in 2013, I wrote:

“The World Bank publishes a list of nations lacking effective sovereignty. In 1996 there were eleven entries; in 2006 there were twenty-six. Not a year goes by that another nation-state does not get shunted to the weak/defunct track: last year it was Libya; this year, Syria. How far behind is Greece?... It is too early to tell whether the increase in nonviable nation-states is linear or exponential, but a simple projection shows that if this trend continues to accelerate at the same rate there will be zero viable nation-states left by 2030 or so.” [p. 150, The Five Stages of Collapse, New Society Publishers, 2013]

Since then, Syria has recovered somewhat, and refugees are going back to Damascus, while Libya is still in chaos. In the meantime, Yemen has definitely joined the defunct column, thanks to Saudi/US bombing and blockade. And the Ukraine is definitely nearing failed-statedom, with a majority of its population either fleeing or living in poverty and with armed groups of nationalist thugs running rampant. Under the careful tutelage of the US government, its Central American protectorates of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador remain crime-riddled basket cases, generating a steady flow of migrants, and anyone in the US who points out that perhaps doing something about the huge population of homeless people (especially in California) should take priority over helping strangers from faraway lands get shouted down as racist-fascist-whatever. Venezuela is in full-blown collapse under the weight of US sanctions, while propaganda mouthpieces in the US claim that its problem is socialism. But the rapid progression nation-states toward failed-statedom has slowed down somewhat since 2014, and I think I know why.

Read more ...
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