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1
https://www.zdnet.com/article/encryption-has-created-an-uncrackable-puzzle-for-the-real-world/

Encryption has created an uncrackable puzzle for the real world

Encryption protects us, so maybe it's time for us to protect it. But no answer to the encryption debate is without a downside.

By Steve Ranger | August 18, 2019 -- 22:06 GMT (15:06 PDT) | Topic: Security


With a certain amount of inevitability, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are taking another swing at one of the technologies they really love to hate -- encryption.

Late last month, US attorney general William Barr warned that the use of end-to-end encryption -- which he described as 'warrant-proof' encryption -- "allows criminals to operate with impunity, hiding their activities under an impenetrable cloak of secrecy."
Security

    I installed Verizon's free junk call blocker and it seems to kind of help
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    Top 10 security extensions for Google Chrome
    Def Con and Black Hat 2019: Enterprise security is stronger than ever (ZDNet YouTube)
    The era of the $200 security camera is over (CNET)
    Data breaches increased 54% in 2019 so far (TechRepublic)

Similarly, the UK's new home secretary Priti Patel has more recently criticised the use of end-to-end encryption by messaging services like Facebook's WhatsApp.

"Where systems are deliberately designed using end-to-end encryption which prevents any form of access to content, no matter what crimes that may enable, we must act," she said.

"This is not an abstract debate: Facebook's recently announced plan to apply end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms presents significant challenges which we must work collaboratively to address," Patel added.
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Patel didn't indicate how the government would act, beyond asking Facebook and other tech companies "to work with us urgently on detailed discussions".

Governments have regularly called on tech companies to give up encryption in recent years, to little effect.

Cybersecurity Research 2016: Weak Links, Digital Forensics, and International Concerns (free, from TechRepublic Premium)

This archived TechRepublic Premium report, originally published in August 2016, is available for free to registered TechRepublic members. For all the latest research reports, 100+ ready-made policies, IT job descriptions, and more, check out TechRepublic...
Research provided by TechRepublic Premium

As Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told ZDNet: "The new home secretary repeats the errors of some of her predecessors. She seems not to understand that a general access to encrypted communications by the police and security services would effectively end those communications, because no-one could trust them."

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

"We know this government doesn't like evidence, but they really do need to understand that only a targeted, court-approved access by law enforcement and other agencies will work. If the home secretary's line is pursued, the criminals and terrorists could simply be driven underground and all the rest of us will lose the right to privacy."

Indeed, the UK government theoretically already has the powers it needs to demand that tech companies strip the encryption from their messaging services.

Under the controversial Investigatory Powers Act passed back in 2016, the government can require tech companies to remove 'electronic protection' -- encryption -- from messages in serious cases.

But in reality, that legal power is significantly limited, which is why the government hasn't used it. First, many of the biggest messaging companies are based in the US, which means they aren't particularly worried about what politicians in one medium-sized foreign market think.

Second, these companies are increasingly making security, usually underpinned by a commitment to end-to-end encryption, part of their marketing.

That's because consumers are becoming ever more aware of the benefits of security. For tech companies, offering customers the privacy of end-to-end encryption is now a competitive advantage.

Indeed, it's worth remembering this recent vogue for encryption only came about because of extensive US government overreach and snooping in the first place.

These trends make it much harder for tech firms to compromise on encryption: no company wants to offer a service that's known as 'the one the government can spy on easily'. On top of this, if you don't trust a tech company anymore (and plenty don't), then knowing it can't read your messages might make you feel slightly more comfortable using that service.

Beyond this is the technical issue, which is that these messaging companies have now designed their systems around end-to-end encryption. Breaking that model at the behest of one or two countries would be vastly expensive and weaken security for all users around the world.

SEE: Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here's why it might take 20 years (TechRepublic cover story) | download the PDF version

An alternative is to provide a separate, less secure service for some nations, which would likely be shunned.

Tech companies get demands from all sorts of regimes to turn over customer communications. Some do, some don't – but if liberal democracies start insisting on getting this data, it's very hard for a tech company to turn down demand from repressive states as well.
Legislation and enforcement

To stop the use of end-to-end encrypted messaging would require tough legislation not just in the UK, but also at least in the US (which has limited enthusiasm for such a move) and in Europe (which has very little inclination either). And then pretty much every other government in the world.

Such a concerted effort is high unlikely -- and, even then, you'd only prevent the majority of law-abiding citizens from using encrypted services. But who would enforce it, and at what cost?

For those who did not want to be monitored, for whatever reason, services would always be available -- either home-grown or international. There are a few slightly more elegant solutions to the problem, but they are limited in scope.

So why do politicians keep bringing this up? The cheap shot is to say they do it for the easy headlines. But the truth is, the costs of encryption are real -- police cannot spot criminals or terrorists plotting -- and should be acknowledged. No answer to the encryption debate is without downsides, and we need to remember and admit that.

We are living in a time of unprecedented erosion of privacy. Some of that we are doing ourselves: we're carrying smartphones that can report where we are and what were are doing to an array of corporations in real time, and filling our homes with cameras and microphones that outdo Orwell's telescreens.

Some of the privacy erosion is being done to us -- the introduction of facial recognition systems across cities is the latest way that technology is chipping away at our privacy (and just arrived: facial recognition that can spot fear). Encryption may be one of the few forms of protection left open to us.

As one privacy advocate once put it to me, we are in a golden era of surveillance and the state has most of the picture of our lives -- the battle now is to protect those last few pixels missing from the image.

It's hard to see anything in the decades ahead other than the continued erosion of privacy by the technology around us. Whenever we give up another fragment of privacy, we should not expect see it returned to us again. Don't give up those last precious pixels without thinking long and hard.
ZDNET'S MONDAY MORNING OPENER

The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

2
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-jeffrey-epstein-scandal-is-much-bigger-than-jeffrey-epstein/

Aug 15, 2019
Opinion
The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal Is Much Bigger Than Jeffrey Epstein


Jeffrey Epstein with former associate Ghislaine Maxwell. (YouTube screen grab)

What follows is a conversation between journalist Whitney Webb and Marc Steiner of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us. Jeffrey Epstein is at the top of every news cycle, and dominates our digital social media world. His trafficking of young girls, children to satisfy his and the sexual preferences of so many of the rich and powerful, are the center of all this, as are his connections to that dark world of the unseemly side of the interaction between government, business, and the intelligence world, allegedly.

Using sex as blackmail is nothing new. It goes back to the early mob, the CIA, and seems to connect the dots to Epstein. That was the story we’re going tell today, written by our guest, who wrote this for Mint Press in the three-part series called Jeffrey Epstein Scandal, Too Big to Fail. The three parts were Hidden in Plain Sight, Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era, and Mega, Maxwells and Massad: The spy story at the heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal.

Whitney Webb is a Mint Press news journalist based in Chile who has written and contributed to many, many outlets and joins us now from her home there. And welcome. Good to have you with us, Whitney.

WHITNEY WEBB Hi, thanks so much for the opportunity.

MARC STEINER So let’s begin this how this sort of journey began for you because it seems that the heart of what you’re doing here is saying what Epstein was accused of doing, what he did is nothing new in our annuls with this history that there’s using sexual blackmail. It goes way back to the mob, to Meyer Lansky, to the founding of the CIA. So talk a little about that, the genesis of this.

WHITNEY WEBB OK. So what I hope to show in my reporting is that this is not a type of operation or a scandal really that began or ends with Jeffrey Epstein now that he has died. As you mentioned, my report tries to go as far back as possible to really see where these sexual blackmail operations began in the context of this network to which Jeffrey Epstein was later connected. And from my research, it was first pioneered by Meyer Lansky and the national crime syndicate in the late thirties, he was sending Virginia Hill, who’s often been called the mistress of the mob, he was sending her to Mexico to try and lure foreign diplomats and to bug departments and use that for blackmail purposes. Not long after that, Lansky became an associate, well, he was a covert associate at the time with the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.

When they formed, the OSS formed this alliance, which they said was out of war-time necessity, right, with figures in the criminal underworld, including Lansky and some others, in what was known as Operation Underworld, which was a government operation during the war that was denied for, I think, 40 years. Afterward, that alliance, even though it was supposed to be just for the war, it continued on. It continued to grow and really proliferated, especially after the 1960s when the CIA hired several Lansky associates for assassination teams, especially in relation to their efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba and some other activities.

And during the same time we also see sexual blackmail operations with a lot of associates of Lansky and powerful people in government take office, and that really began during the anti-communist crusade of the 1950s and the McCarthy era and involved a prominent businessman who was the owner of Schenley liquors, Lewis Rosenstiel, who was a long-time associate of Meyer Lansky. It involved Roy Cohn, who was a general counsel to McCarthy during this time and also J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI at the time and very famous for his interest in acquiring large amounts of blackmail, was also involved in this ring that involved children, specifically boys and it continued for decades and eventually Roy Cohn took it over from Lewis Rosenstiel.

The relationship between Rosenstiel and Cohn was often described as father and son or that Rosenstiel was his mentor. Cohn eventually took this over what had originally been run out of Lewis Rosenstiel’s personal home and began to run it out of what became a rather infamous suite in the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, Suite 233, that was sometimes called the Blue Suite, and he would host these sorts of events there with recording equipment and all of that, that were used to blackmail powerful people, first in the McCarthy era, and later on.

And as I show in part two of my report, these sorts of networks, Roy Cohn was not the only one. There were some other ones that the CIA was running in the late ’70s that were connected to disgraced CIA agent Edwin Wilson. And then after that when, in the 1980s with Iran-Contra and Bill Casey and all of that, there were several other sexual blackmail operations or child trafficking rings that were connected to prominent players in the Iran-Contra scandal.

MARC STEINER So some of what you’re talking about here, let me just be clear about a couple of things before I ask this next question. What you’ve just described, especially about the blue room and what went on in those places, this is not alleged, there’s these facts. These are things that are corroborated, correct?

WHITNEY WEBB Right. With the Plaza Hotel, this was actually admitted. Roy Cohn actually admitted this to the face of an NYP detective that was in charge of human trafficking division at the time because Roy Cohn knew he was untouchable because of his extreme connections to the politically powerful, the media and also the criminal underworld. He basically felt like he was immune enough to be able to say that point so blankly for this person’s face. It was also private investigators in New York that looked into Roy Cohn for various reasons, also confirm the existence of this blue suite as it was called. And it was also referenced by Louis Rosenstiel’s ex-wife in divorce filings. And it also came to light during the early 1970s, a committee on crime in New York.

MARC STEINER So let me then, I want you in a, in a broad sense, say we don’t have like an hour here to do this, but I wish we did because there’s three parts. This is huge. There’s so much to pull out of there. But make for us this moment before I have other questions, the connecting the dots. You talk about Meyer Lansky and Rosenstiel, who owns Schenley Liquors and the connections to Roy Cohn and Maxwell, the man who owned the Fox News and more, and his daughter.

WHITNEY WEBB Oh, Rupert Murdoch?

MARC STEINER I meant Maxwell, actually, not Murdoch. I meant Maxwell.

WHITNEY WEBB Oh, I’m sorry.

MARC STEINER It was my fault. I misspoke. And then, and so you make these connections between these people that lead you in some senses to Epstein. So what is that arc, can you paint that arc briefly for us?

WHITNEY WEBB OK. Well there’s actually a whole bunch of different connections to Jeffrey Epstein from here. So basically I talked about the OSS. It’s believed that Donald Barr originally hired Jeffrey Epstein to work in the Dalton School and Donald Barr had previously worked at the OSS. After that, he was hired to work at Bear Stearns. Alan Greenberg was a close friend of Roy Cohn and actually was the honorary chairman of a dinner for him that was honoring Roy Cohn, I believe in 1983, and the other honorary chairmen were other close friends of Roy Cohn, including Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump.

After he left Bear Stearns in 1981 he, according to journalist, Vicky Ward, was a financial bounty hunter of sorts, looking [inaudible] money for governments and powerful people. The Evening Standard of England later reported that during that time Epstein claimed that he was working for the CIA. Vicky Ward later said that one of his clients, during that time was [inaudible]. He was known to be working for the Massad. He was also working for the CIA and he was a major player in this Iran-Contra scandal. Then in 1987, he meets up with Leslie Wexner who has connections to this Meyer Lansky crime syndicate, as I point out in part three. He also meets up with Steve Hoffenberg who he allegedly met through John Mitchell, who was the former attorney general to Richard Nixon, and Mitchell was actually cited as a friend by Craig Spence, a disgraced Washington lobbyist who was also running a sexual blackmail operation with children. That was discovered in the late 80s and Craig Spence, in some similarity to Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead under somewhat mysterious circumstances and his death was ruled a suicide.

MARC STEINER So far as we know.

WHITNEY WEBB Right, and that takes us up to 1991, which right after that, that’s the same year that Robert Maxwell died, as well as several other people that were connected to the Promis software scandal, not just Maxwell. That includes Senator Towers also died that year, as did journalist Danny Casolaro, who was investigating that scandal. And even after Robert Maxwell died, his daughter Ghislaine Maxwell, moved to New York and began her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. And as I point out in part three of my series, Robert Maxwell was known to be an operative for the Massad and did several favors for Israel over the course of his career and was also using the Daily Mirror Group, some of the funding for that, to fund Massad operations in Europe. So the intelligence links, I think, are very clear and that’s just the early history. We’re not even getting in to the 90s yet. And I’m going to be delving more into those connections in part four of my series, which I hope to be out in a few days.

MARC STEINER I’m looking forward to reading that, but let me just talk about how this all fits together and what it really means. So these last two pieces, I mean, so when you write in the piece, you say Epstein appears to have had ties to Israeli intelligence and has well documented ties to an influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. We’ll talk about that. And it was revealed that Epstein had evaded stricter sentencing 2008 due to his links to “intelligence”. It was the Massad ties to Maxwell’s daughter that alleged that Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation was sharing incriminating information with Massad. But one of the things that, in the pieces that you write, you use words like appear instead of like, we know, so what do we know? Talk about how you make these connections and what we really know and what we really don’t know. You know, what’s alleged and what’s real.

WHITNEY WEBB Okay. Well, I mean there’s a lot of claims I make in the story. So to go over all of them and say, you know, what appears to be, and like definitely what is … What we do know, right, is that our claims that Epstein made in the past, for example, that he worked for the CIA, we know from journalists that are considered reputable sources when covering Epstein, like Vicky Ward for example, that he had working for people like at [inaudible] who are known to have been linked to Massad. We know that his biggest patron, financial patron was Leslie Wexner who has been tied to organized crime syndicates according to a 1985 Columbus, Ohio murder investigation.

We know that he was recording sexual black—, that Jeffrey Epstein was recording sexual blackmail. We know that Alex Acosta claimed the reason he approved that sweetheart deal was because he had been told that Epstein was linked to intelligence, though he did not specify which intelligence agency and given the network and the associations that I’ve already laid out, which are documented, right, it certainly is an overwhelming amount of evidence, of circumstantial evidence nonetheless, but or of circumstantial evidence, I guess you could say, but the amount of it really makes a convincing case that this is a much larger network that has documented ties to operations involving sexual blackmail that preceded Epstein and that Epstein is more … because of what we know he was doing and we know he had ties to a lot of the people that had been tied to those previous sexual blackmail operations, to me, it really shows that Epstein was carrying on an operation that he did not invent, right?

This is something that did not begin and did not end with him and he was just perpetuating this and I think that’s why it’s really important once it’s [inaudible] , some of the narratives that have come out around this case, that Epstein was solely responsible for all of this activity and that he had deceived the billionaires who funded him and that this is all to be blamed on a single man. I think if we do that, we’re really doing his victims an injustice because this is something much larger than Epstein. And if the other people and other parties responsible or not pursued or held to account, this is likely to continue well into the future. And because of the, what I would say the disgusting nature of Epstein’s activities, I think most Americans have a vested interest in preventing these type of operations from continuing and especially if intelligence agencies are involved, that suggests that American taxpayer money is being used in some capacity to fund these operations.

MARC STEINER So, and finally here, I mean there’s two things, there’s so much we could talk about here, but these two things, I mean is it … a conversation I had yesterday is that, was around … conspiracy theories are great, but what we need is real reporting and intelligence work, police work and congressional investigations to see what, where’s the there there and how do you put these dots together so they become fact and not possibilities. And so, and I think that’s the important piece here is I think you made a strong point when you said you can’t just blame this all on one man, Epstein. There are too many other connections out there.

So where do you take this then? For you, what does this say in the final analysis about what might be going on here? And I know that this is in some ways conjecture and speculation, because even though you find these connections that sometimes there’s nothing really to tie them together in terms of fact yet. So where do you take this?

WHITNEY WEBB Well, I think there definitely needs to be an independent investigation. I think a lot of the people that are involved in the current investigations, including Bill Barr, I don’t think many Americans should be confident in what he will turn up.

MARC STEINER You make the Barr/Epstein connection in your third part of your series.

WHITNEY WEBB Right, yeah. But beyond that, Bill Barr also was known for stonewalling the Church committee in the late 70s, and he was particularly trying to prevent the CIA’s use of sexual blackmail operations from coming to light for the Church committee. I think that is at least like significant as is the fact that he justified the legal pardons of numerous Iran-Contra figures and including, and given the role of many Iran-Contra figures in this network that I describe in my reporting, I don’t really see him as being an impartial investigator here. And also the fact that he worked for the law firm that defended Epstein later on in the 2000s, I think is just, you know-

MARC STEINER And his father hired Epstein.

WHITNEY WEBB Right, exactly. And that he’s going to get to the, you know, that Bill Barr will get to the bottom of this. I don’t, I don’t really buy that, so I think there needs to be a more independent investigation. Concerns have also been raised about the fact that, you know, Epstein was trying to blackmail people. Now that blackmail has fallen, whoever raided Epstein’s properties, depending on who’s using that, it could even be Bill Barr that now has control over this blackmail material. It’s hard to know if he will be using it, if that will just go away or Bill Barr will use it for his own political agendas now given his history. So I think that’s something to be concerned about. And also the fact that there may be several members of Congress, if there’s a congressional investigation, that may have been tied up in this, we don’t know all the names.

A lot of the documents haven’t come out. Now that Epstein is dead, that criminal case will go away. And so a lot of the evidence uncovered during discovery will not be made public. So I think it is necessary for the public to pressure for transparent campaigns and for other conspirators in this, or co-conspirators, what Epstein was doing, especially Blaine Maxwell and Leslie Wexner, that they’d be pursued and questioned by law enforcement.

MARC STEINER Well, I look forward to talking, greatly, some more with you. And you’ve taken on a lot of very powerful names and people in your piece. I hope you feel safe in what you’re doing.

WHITNEY WEBB Yeah, I’m not worried.

MARC STEINER Yeah, but I do look forward to this fourth piece and then maybe we can get the fourth piece, we can have a more lengthy conversation and kind of try to tie these pieces together. And I want to thank you for joining us today and good luck.

WHITNEY WEBB Absolutely. Thanks again.

MARC STEINER And I’m Marc Steiner here for the Real News Network. Please let us know what you think. Take care.

3
Diner TV / 📺 Coming Attractions: System Science in Collapse
« on: August 17, 2019, 02:53:09 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/nsv1xc1qtEk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/nsv1xc1qtEk</a>

4
https://www.globalresearch.ca/reflections-on-insanity-societal-psychosis-and-irrational-violence-in-america/5686264

Reflections on “Insanity”, “Societal Psychosis” and “Irrational Violence” in America
By Jim Miles
Global Research, August 16, 2019
Region: USA
Theme: History

I thought I knew what it meant, but I looked up the definition of insanity anyway:  mentally deranged, not of sound mind; irrational [Concise Oxford Dictionary].  That is a rather broad spectrum and on more reflection includes not only Trump and his minions, but everyone else of us at least one time or another – including myself.

Irrational

How often in an argument do you hear the rhetorical question,”Are you insane?”, referring to any number of topics within human endeavors.  If “irrational” is the means by which most of us are to be judged sane or insane, then yes, we are insane due to irrational behaviour probably on a daily basis.

The reasoning is complicated by our own self definition as being homo sapiens (“wise man”), an anthropomorphic self aggrandizing, ego centered definition.  Going deeper into complications, our genetic heritage often times rewards actions that to a ‘civilized’ and ‘cultured’ homo sapien is intellectually offensive but carries great genetic weight.  Gene survival does not care much about philosophies of this or that, the gene is selfish and simply wants to be reproduced.

Given our ability to “rationalize” our own positions on different actions and ideas, anything else can be considered irrational while our own ideas assume (presume) the proper explanation, the supposedly logical explanation, as rational.  But we are fully capable of ignoring ideas – indeed reality – in order to allow our internal rationalizations to fit into  – mostly –  whatever our current lifestyle values are.

Examples species wide

A lot of what homo sapiens do is irrational but is so much ingrained into our upbringing, our culture that it is almost not evident to many, it is just normal, and that normal is used to then define or place parameters around what is irrational or rational, sane or insane.  Our daily lives are filled with ‘normal’,  but strictly speaking, irrational actions.

Living in debt is one example.  Yes, in our society debt is normal and is indeed promoted and we all use credit cards or carry loans of one kind or another.  The result is to make the rich richer and the rest of us paying their bills (in basic terms).  But as a society as a whole we (the western world specifically, but also including China as our main economic Asian partner) are many trillions of dollars in debt – with possible quadrillions according to some – in strange derivative financialized devices that simply breed more money and power to the banksters and money changers.

On a more personal level, U.S. student debt is somewhere around 1.2 trillion dollars, about the same as the known military budget, itself the largest by far in the world.  Auto debt matches that while overall personal debt (these loans plus credit cards plus mortgages) comes in over 13 trillion (2017, Investopedia).  On top of this again is government debt of over 22 trillion which can only be paid off with hyperinflation or destroyed in a major recession/depression.

Violence – rational or irrational

Homo sapiens have always used violence in order to maintain the species, it is pretty much a built in biological imperative.  However, if we are supposedly truly sapient, and our rational brains are truly rational and not used just for ‘rationalizing’ a preset disposition or belief, then certainly we should be able to overcome these tendencies.  Given also that we are overpopulating the planet and overconsuming it the biological imperative for more of us, for more people, more growth, lessens considerably – we need to recognize our limits and realize that our own biology is working against us.
Mass Murder, Violence and the U.S. Social Structure

Perhaps that would not be so bad if we were not so technologically capable (again by our own definition) having created an array of weapons that enable mass killings from what we have recently witnessed in the U.S. – or done by the U.S. elsewhere – to the potential of simply eliminating the whole species and most of the rest of the living world as a result of a nuclear war.

Rational?  Some in the U.S. believe so – Trump seems to think starting a nuclear war is okay; his infamous sidekick Bolton is all for nuking other countries that do not fall into line with U.S. policy demands, Iran in particular; Pompeo and his born again evangelical peers would be quite happy to have a nuclear war as a sign of the end times and his personal rapture, his ‘twinkling’, to be in heaven.    By their definitions, much of this is rational.  For the rest of humanity, it is simply a death sentence.

While we have for the last 70 years existed on the edge of this abyss, humans have continued in many different ways to destroy both themselves and the only environment we have that is capable of supporting them.

Societal psychosis

The U.S. is a country born of violence, racial hatred, mysogeny, slavery, bigotry, greed, and corruption.  It has a rather savage history covered over with many rationalizations, self serving platitudes, and a media system that inculcates the idea of an indispensable nation beholden to none, better than all, and necessary for global ‘peace’.  It is evident that peace in those terms is a concept which when examined logically reduces down to a large military force,  large subversive service forces, and a global financial/corporate setup – the “Washington consensus” – that allows no deviance from supporting the U.S. petrodollar.

In a reality check, the U.S. essentially suffers from a mass psychosis.

It worships its military,  its warriors – although not enough to keep the veterans healthy and alive.  The military personnel are honoured at football games, in schools, on American Idol and the Voice.  It venerates the idea of “rugged individualism” as exemplified in the writings of Ayn Rand, many Hollywood movies, and many political and business figures.  But the rugged individual rides on the backs of others without caring about others and their fortunes or misfortunes.  The veneration is a lie.

Mass murders are commonplace, creating a momentary weeping and wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth before it becomes business as usual in a week or two as the media moves on to more current newsworthy events.  But the psychosis, the paranoia, the fear runs deep and continues on.  When a motorcycle backfires in New York’s Times Square, people run in fearful panic.  A shelf falls over in a department store and the customers panic thinking they heard gunshots.  School backpacks with bullet protection are selling for school kids (but don’t look up “bulletproof” on Amazon, all you will get is product line of supposed health products as the other pages have been removed).

Life is lived as a consumer.  It is lived as an automobile.  It is lived in vapid entertainments and diversions supporting ignorance of others and the environment.  Life is lived for the short term, for the daily, weekly or quarterly gain, while the months and years after will somehow take care of themselves.

From its history, from its cultural development, U.S. society – and indeed much of western society – is based on violence of one form or another.  It is no surprise as economic and environmental conditions worsen, as the military is spread globally to use its violence on other peoples of the world, that violence will become the norm domestically.

Voices in the wilderness

Donald Trump is the real life personification of all the irrational violence of U.S. and western culture.  He exposes in his crudeness, megalomania, and outright narcissism the ugly truth about U.S. power both domestically and internationally.  Others have worked with it, softened its image, but none have ever simply left it all open for display as Trump is doing.

In a sense, our society is still very much a wilderness, even wilder and more deadly in some respects than when our ancestors had to survive in a more natural environment without all our modern technology.  There is both hope and despair in this wilderness.

The despair is obvious, but there are many doing their best to counter the hatred and violence even while immersed in the range of what is ‘normal’ for this society.  Very few of them have much if any real power, unless they can convince masses of people to some form of revolutionary action to change the way society works. Up against state violence, state tolerated violence, violent representations of national and international norms, up against the ignorance built into the system, up against a rising reactionary right wing fascism, the challenge for change is very large.

One way or another change will come.  I give my strongest regard to those challenging the system, those in the front lines against the system, people like Julian Assange, Chris Hedges, Chelsea Manning, John Pilger, Pepe Escobar, Andre Vltchek, Max Blumenthal, Ramzy Baroud, Ilan Pappe, Yves Engler, Abby Martin, Robert Fisk  and many many others who work consistently towards the goal of removing the layers of ignorance imposed by corporations, governments, and mainstream media.  More power to their writings and actions, hoping that society will wake up to its ills before it succumbs to them.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Shutterstock

5
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/16/bugatti-reveals-its-most-powerful-supercar-yet-the-10-million-centodieci.html

Bugatti reveals its most powerful supercar yet: The $10 million Centodieci

 

 
 
Autos

Bugatti reveals its most powerful supercar yet: The $10 million Centodieci

Published 4 hours ago
Key Points
  • Centodieci is Bugatti’s most powerful car with 1,600 horsepower.
  • Its design honors the Bugatti EB110 of the 1990s for Bugatti’s 110th anniversary.
  • Only 10 Centodiecis will be made at about $10 million apiece after taxes.
VIDEO01:20
Bugatti unveils the Centodieci, its most powerful supercar

Bugatti debuted its most powerful supercar at Pebble Beach on Friday: a $10 million,1,600 horsepower throwback to the ’90s that sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds.

The French carmaker is making a splash at Monterey’s annual auto week. The Centodieci is the company’s latest coachbuilt super car commemorating Bugatti’s 110th anniversary.

Unlike Bugatti’s $18.7 million La Voiture Noire, which was built for grand touring, the Centodieci was built for speed. The company is making just 10 of the Centodiecis, which feature Bugatti’s 8.0-liter W16 engine. The company added an extra air inlet to help cool the engine.

H/O: EMBARGOED until Aug 16 11:20 am pacific time: Bugatti Centodieci 2
Bugatti Centodieci
Source: Bugatti

It pays tribute to the EB110, the company’s famous supercar of the 1990s. The La Voiture Noire, which literally translates to the black car, and a white Centodieci are both on display at “The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering” car show in Monterey, California, on Friday.

“With the Centodieci we pay homage to the EB110 super sports car which was built in the 1990s and is very much a part of our tradition-steeped history,” Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said in a press release. The EB110 is the only Bugatti produced under former Italian owner Romano Artioli at a factory in Campogalliano, Italy, and not at the company’s famous chateau in Molsheim, France.

The Centodieci races from zero to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds, to 124 mph in 6.1 seconds and to 186 mph in 13.1 seconds. Like its cousin the Chiron, Bugatti electronically limited the top speed of the car to 236 mph.

H/O: EMBARGOED until Aug 16 11:20 am pacific time: Bugatti Centodieci 1
Bugatti Centodieci
Source: Bugatti

It’s about 44 pounds lighter than the Chiron. Bugatti did that with a lot of carbon fiber. The car’s windshield wipers and stabilizers both use the material, creating a power-to-weight ratio of just 2.5 pounds per horsepower. With more than 200 pounds of downforce, Bugatti said it corners like the Bugatti Divo — a car built for cornering.

The Centodieci’s design echoes the EB110′s with familiar styling cues like the five circular air intakes toward the back of the car. Bugatti also designed all-new LED headlights to further evoke the Italian wedge shape of the previous car.

“The challenge was not to allow oneself to be captivated too much by the design of the historic vehicle and work solely in retrospect, but instead to create a modern interpretation of the shape and technology of that time,” said Achim Anscheidt, head designer at Bugatti.

H/O: EMBARGOED until Aug 16 11:20 am pacific time: Bugatti Centodieci 3
Bugatti Centodieci
Source: Bugatti

The car’s white color is also no coincidence.

“With the communication paint finish in white, we’re demonstrating a powerful contrast with the La Voiture Noire – the black car just presented in March: two completely opposing yet related forces, like yin and yang,” said Winkelmann.

Bugatti made only one La Voiture Noire, which already has a buyer even though the car won’t be ready for at least 2½ years. It plans to build 10 Centodiecis, which will cost roughly $10 million after taxes.


6
The Diner Pantry / Rats!
« on: August 14, 2019, 11:53:18 AM »
One of my favorite Food Superstores, Fred Meyer in Wasilla has been closed due to Rat Infestation!   :o

RE

https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Facebook-posts-of-rodents-prompt-inspection-of-Wasilla-Fred-Meyer-540850051.html

Facebook posts of rodents prompt inspection of Wasilla Fred Meyer
By Grant Robinson |
Posted: Tue 6:47 PM, Aug 13, 2019  |
Updated: Tue 9:20 PM, Aug 13, 2019


ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Facebook videos showing rodent droppings and mice in the Fred Meyer in Wasilla prompted state health leaders to inspect the store last Friday.

"There are numerous rodent droppings throughout the store. Sticky traps are placed in areas where the rodents are likely found and rodents are being caught on a regular basis. The hired pest control company is visiting the store approximately twice per week and is regularly setting new traps," state inspectors wrote in inspection report.

Jeremy Ayers, Section Manager of the Division of Environmental Health's Food Safety and Sanitation Program said the department has received 11 complaints since the inspection on Friday.

Inspectors found two small openings to the outside of the store that could have been possible entry points for the pests. One door sweep appeared to have been chewed through, according to the report. The person in charge at Fred Meyer agreed to seal off the openings as soon as possible.

Inspectors also found spilled bird seed and dog food. The report notes that the products could be an ideal food source for the rodents.

"The person in charge agreed that they and the pest control company need to come up with a different approach to eliminating the apparent rodent infestation. Employees will all be reminded of the importance of reporting any signs of rodents to management as well as eliminating and potential food sources as much as possible," the inspector wrote.

Ayers says that the Division of Environmental Health uses Facebook and Twitter to find potential food safety risks, but social media cannot replace direct communication with the department.

The department's "Yuck Line" is a hot line set up for reporting food issues and food poisoning.

Ayers says anyone can call or text a photo or video of a potential issue, allowing the Food Safety and Sanitation Program to respond more quickly.

The number for the Yuck Line is (907) 764-YUCK.

7
Cyber Security / "Don't turn off your PC. This will take a while..."
« on: August 12, 2019, 09:39:35 AM »
You may have noticed I haven't put up my usual cornucopia of Collapse articles this morning.

The reason is my main computer, the Dell all-in-one big screen unit is currently undergoing a "Windows Update".  This is the Update from Hell.

Usually these things take 5-15 minutes or so.   I am  now at 2 hours and its still showing only 27% complete.  :o  I have high speed internet too!

This is enough time to go completely though my hard drive and run bots to check EVERYTHING.  Not to be too PARANOID here, but I think the NSA is checking me out.  I may be in trouble if they are flagging Tombstone designs.

Hopefully I get through this chcckup and will be back to normal Collapse Analysis later today sometime.

RE

8
Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Living at the Edge of Poverty
« on: August 11, 2019, 03:25:13 AM »


youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard, microphone & camera of RE



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Published on The Doomstead Diner August 11, 2019






Discuss this article at the Psychology Table inside the Diner



 



Did you ever wonder what it's like to live at the Edge of Poverty in modern Amerika?  What IS the "Edge of Poverty"?



It's the spot the Working Poor are in, the folks who make MinWage or barely above it and the folks living on fixed income Mailbox Money of Social Security.  They haven't quite completely fallen off the economic cliff, they're not Homeless People (yet!), but they are generally 1 or 2 paychecks away from that.  They live in the kind of housing I live in, federally subsidized tax credit apartment complexes that developers put up to get some tax breaks.  The rents on these places are fixed to your income and number of dependents, and they come in around 30% lower in my neighborhood than the open market housing.  To qualify for it, you have to do a full disclosure every year of how much money you make, what your assets are, blah blah blah.



I qualify for such housing because I live on the edge of poverty although I am not in my own estimation really poor.  I mean really, I'm flying down to the lower 48 AGAIN at the end of this month for yet another of my Tombstone Adventures! lol.  How do I do it?  Well to be really abstruse, I do it the way really rich people do it.  But I am not really rich and I do live on a monthly mailbox money allotment that puts me just to the north of the poverty line by a few thousand FRNs.  I'm real good at living on low amounts of income, the trick there is obvious, limit your expenses.  If you watch my SNAP Card Gourmet series on how to eat well on a SNAP Card allotment, you know what I mean.  I do not have a SNAP Card myself, although I do qualify for one of those too.  But I don't need it so I don't apply for one.  I already got more food than I can give away in the Potlatch Parking Lot. lol.



Unless you live inside this kind of milieu, you really have no clue how it goes with the social psychology of the situation.  The folks who live this life are always under non-stop psychological pressure about MONEY.  There is never enough of it around and their marriages suffer for this.  Domestic Violence of various kinds is quite common.  Various levels of dysfunction abound, particularly in the area of child rearing.  Even if they aren't downright abusive, they're often neglectful and they also often don't have a real good concept of child psychology.  I taught thousands of kids over my lifetime, and once you figure it out it's not that hard to keep a kid in line, but here you have parents who are completely clueless on this.  They themselves mostly had poor parenting and it perpetuates itself generation after generation.



This last week has been a Banner Week for all these problems, in my Potlatch Parking Lot we have had a visit every fucking night from the Alaska State Troopers for some domestic calamity.  2 people were carted off to the jailhouse, one kid was pulled by Child Protective Services, one resident made the incredibly stupid move of throwing a punch at a cop and then another one got carted off on a stretcher raving and screaming.  Either she was going into withdrawal or she had ODed on fentanyl or meth, or maybe it was alcohol withdrawal.  WTF knows?  lol.



These folks aren't strangers to me, I see them every day and I share my food with them.  It's not an abstract problem for me, not somebody else's problem, not an academic question.  It is fucking REALITY for me.  You know what Robin Williams said about reality, right?



Image result for reality is for those who can't handle drugs



The sad reality here is that this situation isn't an anomaly, it's common and I would bet it is the normal state of affairs in just about every low income housing community in Industrial Civilization, not just in the FSoA.  It's a massive dysfunction in the social organism that has evolved from industrialization and capitalism.  It's also not going to get better, it's just going to get worse as things spin down further in this collapse.



On the bright side, as an observer of Collapse, I have Box Seats on the 50 Yard Line.  It's all going on right outside my front door, every night.





9
Economics / 💳 Chase Forgiving All Credit Card Debt In Canada
« on: August 09, 2019, 08:07:25 AM »
Chump Change.

RE

https://onemileatatime.com/chase-forgiving-credit-card-debt-canada/

Chase Forgiving All Credit Card Debt In Canada
August 8, 2019 by Ben (Lucky) 15


It’s not often we hear positive stories about credit card debt, but for the first time ever many of us will be wishing we had racked up credit card debt. 😉

I always say that you should only use credit cards if you’re in a situation where you can pay your balance in full every month. With few exceptions (like if you’re in an absolute bind, or if there’s a good 0% introductory interest rate), it’s not worth financing charges on credit cards. The interest you’ll pay will negate any rewards earned.

So that brings us to what seems like a totally unbelievable story. Chase is forgiving all credit card debt in Canada. You read that right.

What happened? Chase issued credit cards in Canada for 13 years, including both Amazon and Marriott co-branded cards. However, in March 2018 they decided to exit the Canadian credit card market, because I guess it got to the point where it just wasn’t worthwhile to them anymore.

Why would they stop seeking payment of debt, though? While they haven’t said officially, presumably it’s for similar reasons that they left the market to begin with — it just wasn’t worth collecting anymore. I assume there were significant costs associated with collecting the debt in a country in which they don’t otherwise operate.

We don’t know just how much debt they’re forgiving — are we talking millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, or what?

CBC has interviews with all kinds of people who were understandably in absolute shock when they got this message.

A 55 year old with $6,157 in debt said:

    “I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face. I couldn’t believe it. It’s crazy. This stuff doesn’t happen with credit cards. Credit cards are horror stories.”

Meanwhile a 24 year old who hadn’t made a payment towards her debt in five years said the following:

    “It’s kind of like I’m being rewarded for my irresponsibility.”

I’m not sure there’s actually a moral to the story here. It’s certainly not to rack up credit card debt in hopes of it being forgiven. 😉 But it is the first feel-good story I’ve ever read about credit card debt, so there is that…

10
There's a few Refugees who would like one of these units.

RE

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/5-Hiy6KvURI" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/5-Hiy6KvURI</a>

11
"Rome didn't Collapse in a Day"

Building Community is a process oriented thing.  It happens a little at a time, but you have to work on it for it to grow.  It happens by sharing and working together.  Sharing food is a great way to start, and it can grow to other things.  Here, Doc gave Justin a model train set for his collection of models, Justin worked as my hands to get the Cripple Tank operational, and I served up some of my FABULOUS Flied Lice (Fried Rice, Chinatown Pronunciation. lol)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/-_XVRq2dzBE" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/-_XVRq2dzBE</a>

RE

12
Vids at the link.

RE

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-d-milky-galaxy-cepheids.html

August 2, 2019 report
A 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy using data from Cepheids

by Bob Yirka , Phys.org


Comparison of simulation of three main star forming episodes in the spiral arms with the currently observed Cepheid variables. Oldest stars (red) are 400 million years old and the youngest (blue) are 30 million years old. Top view of the Milky Way, simulations are shown in the left panel, observations – in the right panel. Credit: J. Skowron / OGLE / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw

A team of researchers at the University of Warsaw has created the most accurate 3-D model of the Milky Way Galaxy to date. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group explains how they used measurements from a special group of pulsating stars to create the map.

Most people imagine the Milky Way as a flat spiral—that is the way it has been shown in school textbooks for years. In more recent times, however, scientists have discovered that our galaxy is not flat at all—it is more like a wobbly uncooked pizza crust that has been tossed into the air. In this new effort, the researchers have found that our galaxy is even more wobbly than has been suspected.

To create their new map, the researchers used data from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment—a long term sky surveying project based at the University of Warsaw. More specifically, the researchers wanted data regarding Cepheids, which are a unique type of pulsating star. They were useful to the researchers because they pulse with regularity and brightness. This means that their true brightness can be calculated and compared to the brightness of them as seen here from Earth—doing so allows for very accurately measuring how far away from us they are. By amassing data from 2,431 Cepheids (collected over six years) and putting them all on a map together, the researchers were able to produce a 3-D representation of the Milky Way, at least from the perspective of Cepheids. The model they created is the first to be built using direct measurements of star distances, thus it is the most accurate to date.

In studying the 3-D model they had created, the researchers were able to see that the Milky Way is far from flat. They could also see that it gets less flat the farther from the sun it goes. They noted also that the Cepheids appeared to be grouped into clusters, suggesting that they may have formed at or near the same time. The researchers also suggest the warping was likely caused by interactions with other galaxies, dark matter or intergalactic gas.

13
History / 🌡️ Lost Cities and Climate Change
« on: August 02, 2019, 07:58:46 AM »
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/lost-cities-and-climate-change/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Lost Cities and Climate Change

Some people say “the climate has changed before,” as though that should be reassuring. It’s not

    By Kate Marvel on July 29, 2019


Remnants of the ancient city of Cahokia, in what's now southern Illinois. Credit: Steve Moses Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Not far from my grandmother’s house is a ghost city. At Angel Mounds on the Ohio river about eight miles southeast of Evansville, there are a few visible earthworks and a reconstructed wattle-and-daub barrier. There is almost nothing left of the people who build these mounds; in a final insulting erasure, the site is now named after the white settler family who most recently farmed the land.

There are traces of other dead villages along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, mounds scattered from present-day Indiana to Arkansas and Alabama. In southern Illinois, a few miles from the Missouri border, hidden among empty corn and soy fields, is the center of that dead civilization’s gravity: the lost city of Cahokia.

Cahokia was larger than London, centrally planned, the Manhattan of its day. Most people there would have come from somewhere else. There were defensive foundations, playing fields, and a magnificent temple. There would have been sacred ceremonies and salacious gossip. It must have been a very exciting place to live.
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And then, relatively abruptly, it ceased to exist. We know of the city only because of the physical traces left behind. Few stories of Cahokia have survived; it disappeared from oral tradition, as if whatever happened to it is best forgotten. The archaeological record shows traces of the desperation and bloodshed that almost always accompany great upheavals: skeletons with bound hands, pits full of strangled young women.

The North American Drought Atlas, a historical record of climate conditions pieced together from the rings of old trees, provides a hint of what might have happened. The tenth century CE, when the Cahokia civilization would have developed, marked a distinct shift in the regional climate from persistent drought to rainier conditions more suitable for agriculture, centralization, and civilization.

But the good times were not to last. In the middle of the fourteenth century, the climate swung back toward drought. This shift was likely associated with shifting temperature patterns in the ocean that affected the jet stream, pulling cool air down from the Arctic and displacing rainfall patterns. These changes are attributable to some combination of natural internal climate variability and externally forced changes from solar activity and increased volcanic eruptions. Their effects were profound.

In Europe around the same time, a confluence of natural factors perhaps related and perhaps separate from the forces drying out the Mississippi Valley caused it to rain heavily in the summer of 1314. The rains continued into the winter, and then into the next year, and then the next. Crops rotted in the fields, and the entire continent went hungry. Contemporaneous historical records complain of rain and famine, villages forced to eat dogs and cats, the dead, and even each other.

The Old World Drought Atlas, a collection of European and Mediterranean trees, shows a period of persistent wetness around the beginning of the 1300s that corroborates these historical accounts. Many of us unwittingly remember the famines in the stories we tell our children. The fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel—hungry children abandoned in a forest haunted by a cannibal witch—almost certainly dates from this time.
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Many historical events have happened against a backdrop of natural climate change. Drought in the steppes east of Hungary pushed marauding Huns west and toppled the Roman empire. Volcanic activity suppressed crop yields in pre-revolutionary France, leading hungry, desperate peasants to take drastic action. But climate is almost never the only factor in human history. The Roman empire was overextended and tenuous, torn apart as much by infighting and poor governance as outside enemies. The French underclass starved under the policies imposed by the overclass.

We humans are not passively dragged along by temperatures and rainfall patterns. Climate change did not cause the fall of Cahokia any more than it forced northern Europeans to eat their pets and abandon their children. But the adversity brought by climate change caused societies to break apart, magnified pre-existing divisions, and made desperate people easy prey for dangerous people.

“The climate has changed before,” say people who want to minimize the scale of the current challenge. I have never understood how anyone could find this comforting. The natural climate changes that have shaped human history have almost always been smaller and more regionally contained than the large-scale human-caused change we are currently experiencing. And even these changes have provoked suffering, scapegoating, and the collapse of civilizations.

14
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/01/water-not-oil-battle-cry-of-the-blue-planet/

August 1, 2019
Water Not Oil: Battle Cry Of The Blue Planet
by Jerome Irwin


It’s Mother Earth’s battle cry inspired by the world’s dire climate crisis that has been sung by many for years yet still hasn’t yet resolutely been taken up by the world as a whole. So the cry remains: what ultimately is more important: Water or Oil? The Human World is starved for both. But which of the two will ensure the ultimate survival of life on this tiny orb commonly called the Blue Planet? The dilemma of modern human civilization and plight of our Mother Earth are one and the same. The lack of water eventually will kill both, while the abundance of oil eventually will also kill them both.

There’s a very real, simple reason why every aspect of the planet’s corporate world order – and especially its corporate mainstream press, governmental bodies, political parties and energy sectors – refuse to truthfully air what underlies such a climate crisis in the first place, and what actually would have to be done – not by the year 2030, 2040, 2050 or 2100 – but Now – Today – to lower the world’s toxic emissions that are inexorably creating ever-greater planetary climate change imbalances.

Too many elitists and liars simply exist among the corporate press, its political realms and unsustainable energy sectors. They’re all part of a closed system mentality involved in the conspiracy of an entire civilizaton’s refusal to resolutely address the current magnitude of the climate crisis in the world. For a multitude of political, economic, financial and ideological reasons few will ever state for the record the magnitude of this crisis, because the basic problem lies in the fact that nothing really ever will work short of a complete revamp of modern human civilization.

But the handful of Global Power Elites at the top of the world’s heap who control everything like the current set up just the way it is, thank you very much: all the constant wars, unequal distribution of wealth, rigged elections, carte blanche control of all the monies and straight jacket on everything else. Real change can only come about once indigenous and non-indigenous peoples collectively begin to work together to pool their ancient knowledge and wisdoms to address a world that’s out of control and continues to run amok.

Yet the disinterest and contempt shown by society’s gatekeepers of consciousness to those indigenous and non-indigenous people who do make the attempt to speak truth to power about the causes and solutions to these crises too often receives in response the same deathly sound of silence as that which comes from the grave. Massive scar tissue can be seen on the heads, hearts, minds and bodies of all those who have ever tried or continue to persist in beating themselves against this unresponsive stone wall. This is the nub of the real crisis that exists within the modern world’s many closed systems.

As a result, deep, unresolved, free-floating anxiety continues to everywhere exists about so many related pressing issues: the election of authoritarian-dictatorial leaders in whatever upcoming future national elections; what some meekly call climate change, yet others deem a crisis that threatens the very continuation of life for all human and non-human species; not to mention a wide range of violated historical promises made to indigenous, aboriginal peoples to honour and respect their unique contributions to world society, as well as; the many similarly violated historical false promises that have been made by governments to non-indigenous peoples to show their citizenry that a concerted move is indeed being made to bring about the many possible creative, innovative changes that can already be realized in the near and distant future for a petroleum-free, lower emission way of life:

Yet all such promises are patently false ones and impossible to accomplish when, for instance, the world’s masses are constantly bombarded by pop-culture celebrities and society notables who demonstrably flaunt, 365 days of the year, 24/7: on every TV drama or commercial on every channel, especially during every major sporting and cultural event, or during every pre-show in every movie theatre; while heralded, as well, in every newspaper and popular lifestyle magazine; the need to buy ever-bigger, flashier, gas-guzzling automobiles and petrol-fueled products. Every day, as well, ever more gigantic cruise ships and cargo ships, poorly-regulated and unnoticed, ply the oceans of the world, each equivalent to hundreds of thousands of polluting vehicles on land, that silently poison the air and seas, killing all manner of denizens of both the earth and the deep. Such realities make a mockery of what all the children, as tomorrow’s future citizens of the world; are absurdly told what to believe it means to live “The Good Life”.

Ever since those early days of the Paris Accord Agreement it’s clear the world at large is far too embedded in its old petroleum-fixated way of life to make any significant changes beyond the half-hearted, piece meal, lip service changes that thus far have been made to dramatically change the direction human civilization continues to take. The modern world is just too deeply hooked on The Black Crude Sludge that represents the decayed detritus of a prehistoric past that existed long before humans were even on the planet.

But if the gate-keepers of the Human world truly had the will to do it, and decided to make the necessary sweeping changes required to address the existing climate crisis, it could literally be done almost over-night. Once they’d put their best and brightest minds to the task, they could mobilize the world’s resources to re-tool its entire industrial might as it once did to meet the dire threats posed by WWII, or likewise when the challenge was accepted to put a man on the moon in ten short years. As daunting as the challenge now may seem to make the monumental corrective measures needed to reshape and redefine modern human civilization’s entire raison d’etre to address these severe planetary climate imbalances, it isn’t impossible. It could be done again. If the collective will was there among the world’s all-powerful gatekeepers among such organizations as: the Bilderberg Group; World Economic Forum; The Forum of Young Global Leaders, Council of Thirty, Trilateral Commission, European Round Table of Industrialists and; the Atlantic Council it could be as easy as flipping a light switch. Were an emergency meeting of all the best and brightest in these key organizations to be held, the same truthful, sober, creative dialogue that addressed World War II or the Space Age could also come up with the same kind of immediate, dramatic, creative, workable solutions so desperately needed to finally bring about a true reconciliation with the earth – Our Mother Earth.

But to get the world’s titans and their juggernaut to move so much as even a few degrees to avoid the fatal calamity that lies ahead, though it may seem all but impossible, must be done or passively wait until whatever calamity will happen, finally happens, which it will to be sure.

Until that moment of conscious critical mass of will power and undeterred focus occurs, humanity’s modern civilization will continue to whistle in the dark, espousing whatever hypocritial doublespeak, applying whatever band aids to wherever the hurt is greatest while paying lip service to all the rest; hoping in the meantime that some monster asteroid, packing the wallop of 50 or 100 nuclear bombs, doesn’t suddenly just appear out-of-the-blue, from the blinding direction of the sun, and smack into our Blue Planet, instantly changing the whole reality of life on the planet whether we like it or not.

Meanwhile, a fatal disconnect still exists in Canada, as indeed it does everywhere else in the world, between an avowed desire to protect and care for Mother Earth’s fragile natural world, her finite resources and the opposing reality of mankind’s greedy, desperate, ever-burgeoning political-corporate-societal needs. Ever more copious amounts of oil and fossil fuels will simply be needed to continue: to run all the vehicles, planes, trains and ships; grow all the food crops for an ever-exploding population, while continuing to manufacture and sell every petroleum starved man-made thing in the modern world’s endless inter-woven, ever-expanding array of Chinese Silk Road’s that keeps the ever-burgeoning masses busy while the whole business of life continues to proliferate, however greedy, unbalanced and suicidal that may be.

This is why countries like Australia, Canada, the United States and so many others still refuse to fully and openly discuss the climate crisis issue and ongoing degradation of their nation’s pristine habitats and finite natural resources, even though in places like Australia’s New South Wales a recent report revealed that the destruction of its natural habitats, forests and woodlands have increased five fold from what the crisis was only a few short years ago, with its iconic Kaola Bear on the verge of extinction. While in the United States, ever since the violent debacle of its Dakota Access Pipeline ensued, the need to further expand the amount of barrels of petroleum flowing through that pipeline maze continues to increase with no end in sight. While in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, that province’s devastated region already has been turned into a virtual national sacrifice area.

Yet to keep mankind’s unparalleled world of greed and madness running as it is means ever greater amounts of the planet’s pure, precious, finite waters must, knowingly and willingly, continue to be consumed, polluted and destroyed to perpetuate human civilization’s hellaciously-addicted fossil-fueled way of life bent on its own self-destruction and that of all life on this, our exquisitely beautiful, Blue Planet.

It’s a trite cliché to say the time has long since past the critical tipping point when humanity can no longer have it both ways. Every human must, sooner or later, once and for all, choose which side of the debate they’re on and then accept the consequences of whichever side is chosen.

One prime example is Canada’s decision to continue to choose this fatal addiction to oil and fossil fuels by its latest decision to continue building a Trans Mountain pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia. Canada’s decision to increase the flow of toxic bitumen – one of the dirtiest of all substances known to exist – to a world hopelessly hooked on yet its next fix of the deadly black stuff flies in the face of whatever constantly re-adjusted Paris Accord Agreement or proposed grandiose Green Environmental Plan to help humanity once and for all kick this fatal attraction. Every new scheme in this direction, whether it’s a so-called aboriginal/First Nation ‘Reconciliation’ Pipeline, to get them their own ‘tiny cut of the economic pie’, or whatever other spinoff plan of the same thing boils down to a falsehood of perpetually trying to have one’s cake and eat it, too.

it’s always a curious fact to note that oil is what remains as a by-product of one of Earth’s most primitive epoch’s in its evolutionary journey yet also is perhaps the main cause of what scientists now refer to as the Anthropocene Epoch in geological history that is in the process of repeating yet the sixth great extinction of all of life on earth.

Human society must keep reminding itself that it’s by-products like bitumen that are fueling this epoch extinction and literally every aspect of the human world’s modern civilization, and that such decisions are bringing about, if not speeding up, this fatally destructive geologic epoch that, to continue to do so, must knowingly and willingly consume and destroy ever-greater amounts of the earth’s precious, finite natural sources like water that, literally and figuratively, is the very essence of life.

Water is the only real lifeline that sustains all of earth’s living things as we all travel together safely through time and space on our tiny, resilient blue orb through an incredibly harsh, unforgiving, hostile universe. One could even go so far as to say that the ancient waters that daily course through all our bodies is a holy communal fluid full of the actual hosts of ancient ancestors of all manner and kind going back to the very beginning of creation. Therefore, no matter how else one may put it: Water is the Most Sacred Substance of all that not only Protect’s but Inspires the Journey we’re on Together.

Of all the holy mantras ever sung, this should be the single-most one the people of Canada and everywhere else in the world chant to themselves as they awaken each morning to greet the new day. It’s a mantra to be repeated as a ritual on the full moon of each month as the waters in our bodies, mystically, are pulled this way and that in the same way the currents and tides cause the planet’s own waters to ebb and flow. It’s a truly sacred mantra to be repeated everytime we turn on a tap to fill up a glass of water to quench our thirst and then mindfully pause for still a moment longer to give thanks and ponder this whole wondrous story of our Mother Earth’s endless journey through time and space and her ability to sustain the thirst of every one of its lifeforms with the same waters that literally and figuratively always have been here since the beginning of time and, in some form or another, always will be to its final end.

Such awareness should give every human cause to pause for one moment longer still before quenching one’s thirst to consider how wondrous this precious, finite substance is that already has been in the bodies of so many famous or infamous humans, or taken such an eons-long circuitous journey through so many other innumerable sentient beings and lifeforms going back to the dinosaurs and beyond, and yet continues to enrich our lives as it did their’s.

Before Canadians and other peoples of the world give any further support to a woefully-disrespecting corporate world order that denies this reality they should use this daily water mantra, and the ancient indigenous adage, “Keep it in the Ground!”, to call their mind to the destructive fossil-fuelled way of life that, through the daily primitive, brutal mining and extraction of countless dirty, toxic ores and minerals poisons and destroys forever colossal amounts of this precious, finite, substance that without it our earth no longer would remain blue but instead become yet another brown lifeless hulk endlessly hurtling through space.

In a National Observer article (“The Juggernaut of corporate oil must be stopped” June 18th 2019), Giindajing Guujaaw, an Hereditary Chief Gidansta of the Haida Nation, who is an advisor to British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations, spoke out in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to approve the extension of the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia and beyond.

The words of Guujaaw – a Haida activist, leader, visionary, drummer, dancer, carver among his people – hereditary leader of the Gakyaals Kliqawaay, a Haida family of the Raven Moiety, protector of Gwaii Haanas (South Moresby), who was instrumental in the renaming of the Queen Charlotte Islands as Haida Gwaii – is one exceptionally inspirational First Nation man who represents a centuries old battle cry that has been sounded in every corner of the earth, by a multitude of fine speakers who have ever come and gone upon our earth. His lofty words should be taken as a renewed living retort to all the world’s politicans-indian leaders-energy CEO’s and voters alike who consider themselves to be part of the corporate world order as they willingly and knowingly continue to support the sacrifice of so much of the earth’s precious finite resources to be further misused to satiate whatever humanity’s immediate selfish needs rather than treat them as a sacred trust to be bequeathed as a legacy to future generations.

In light of Canada’s proposed concept of a so-called First Nation Reconciliation Pipeline, Guujaaw has taken it upon himself to call to all our minds what those basic responsibilities are that those of us of this living time in the earth’s and our own evolution now must do:

    “Through the years”, Guujaaw says, “of legal battles and a very measured examination of Aboriginal issues, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has given well-considered definition to Rights and Aboriginal Title in the context of Canada in the modern world.

    Aboriginal Rights are a far-reaching right of the collective, held not only for the present generation but for all succeeding generations. The rights also include an economic component coupled with a very deliberate and appropriate “inherent limit,” which requires that the land “not be used in a way that is irreconcilable with the attachment an Aboriginal group has with the land” nor shall it be encumbered in ways “that would substantially deprive future generations of the benefit of the land.” This is, in fact, a limit that, if applied to all, could go a long way in looking after the earth.

    In difficult times, our people stood to look after our land and restore our rights leaving us a solid legal base from which we can uphold our responsibilities. This changed the legal and political dynamic requiring governments and industries not only to consult, but to make accommodations, while the Supreme Court also called out for “reconciliation.”

    And so it began: out of the sacrifice and efforts of our champions to look after the lands when came the attention of Corporate Oil, with the tried solution of simply buying its way.

    Regardless of owner or name, a pipeline and all that comes with it crosses the “inherent limit” and certainly does not carry any Aboriginal Rights. There is none amongst us of any colour or creed that can claim a right to disregard the neighbour downstream, or who can claim a right to neglect life. There is none amongst us with the right to harm the great killer whale or the little barnacle.

    An Indian pipeline would be a business venture as any other and is not “reconciliation”; rather, an infringement and a threat.

    Be certain that the apparatus killing this planet is a nasty one and it seems intent on finishing the dirty deed. It gains strength through violence with the jack-booted obedient servants at its beck and call. It is commanding enough to recruit our cousins if not you and me. Though it is tough as hell, it’s not that smart.

    Left to its devices this Juggernaut will continue killing our planet, and without intervention our fate is sealed and we may as well prepare a dignified exit, but that would be irresponsible.

    While it must be stopped, don’t wait for the Indigenous people to lead. The Indians are few in number, battle-weary, and, along with the multitudes, distracted by the ballgames and trying to pay the bills. We are too easy to imprison, too easy to kill, and as you see, as fallible as any.

    Be assured, however, that on the front lines the Indigenous people are already standing up for the health of the planet, already standing for basic clean air and water. Most of us love this planet and respect life before money.

    Children all over the world are calling out for us to stop this careless behaviour and fix this disorder. The grown-ups still ignore the symptoms and avoid the cure.

    Reach out across the chasms to your fellow earthlings and devote some time to figuring this thing out. In each of us is some measure of good and understanding of truth, and somewhere in there is the solution. There is no need to put anyone in harm’s way.

    We, the multitudes, allowed it to come to this. We, the creators of the Juggernaut, have got to fix it together.

So with Guujaaw’s wise words, there should be nothing more left for the rest of us to say or do but for each human being in Canada and every other country to follow what their individual conscience and morality directs them to do to stop all the dirty deeds of the nasty oil Juggernaut and its jack-boots in the world that daily, steadily, are killing all our lives and that of our crystalline Blue Planet.

Each human being now must simply open up and speak truth to power every which way they humanly can in the face of whatever the next wave of propaganda yet to be unleashed that will seek to convince us all of how right or just is the adequacy of whatever niggardly actions thus far have or will be taken to reduce the world’s climate crisis while, still in denial, will yet continue to suck Mother Earth dry of all her last precious finite resources

Postscript

The prize-winning author Darren Dochuk, in his book “Anointed With Oil; How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America”, documents how oil literally has transformed virtually every aspect of American religion, business and politics, turning countries like the United States into an endless horse race for preeminent global power while, at the same time, has shaped Christianity’s modern evangelical movement and its radical Alt-Right movement. The Petroleum black stuff continues to fuel literally every major right-wing political-religious power in countries like the U.S., Isreal, Saudi Arabia and China, who also continue to be driven by a quasi-theological imperative and virtual quest for terrestrial supremacy on the planet. This same sinful marriage that exists in the minds of many world leaders, and embedded within the very fiber of their country’s make-up, between God and Petroleum is an unholy alliance that most probably never will be broken short of some catastrophic event. This means that Mother Earth’s struggle for her very survival, and need to preserve her precious dwindling supply of water, will only worsen over time as humanity’s desperate need for still more of the toxic black stuff steadily increases.

Nevertheless, even when the heaviest of headwinds might be too big to buck, it’s still possible to do some creative tacking! And it has been the idealistic youth – our own children of mere school age – who have taken upon themselves to tack any way they can in staging climate strike actions around the world to stop all the insanity. Now we, the cynical adults of the world, must join ranks with them because we all are the people who happen to be briefly alive at this moment when our choices will determine the future for tens of thousands of years ahead: how high the seas will rise, how far the deserts will spread, how fast the forests will burn. Our work, beginning on September 20th for a Global Climate Strike Action Day, now must be to protect that future.

15
History / 🏚️ America Has Passed a Point of No Return
« on: July 29, 2019, 05:51:22 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-united-states-has-passed-the-point-of-no-return/

Jul 24, 2019
Opinion
America Has Passed a Point of No Return


The Great Reckoning
A Look Back from Mid-Century
By Andrew J. Bacevich

[Editorial note: This remnant of a manuscript, discovered in a vault near the coastal town of Walpole, Massachusetts, appears to have been part of a larger project, probably envisioned as an interpretive history of the United States since the year 2000. Only a single chapter, probably written near the midpoint of the twenty-first century, has survived. Whether the remainder of the manuscript has been lost or the author abandoned it before its completion is unknown.]

Chapter 1

The Launch

From our present vantage point, it seems clear that, by 2019, the United States had passed a point of no return. In retrospect, this was the moment when indications of things gone fundamentally awry should have become unmistakable. Although at the time much remained hidden in shadows, the historic pivot now commonly referred to as the Great Reckoning had commenced.

Even today, it remains difficult to understand why, given mounting evidence of a grave crisis, passivity persisted for so long across most sectors of society. An epidemic of anomie affected a large swath of the population. Faced with a blizzard of troubling developments, large and small, Americans found it difficult to put things into anything approximating useful perspective. Few even bothered to try. Fewer succeeded. As with predictions of cataclysmic earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, a not-in-my-lifetime mood generally prevailed.

During what was then misleadingly known as the Age of Trump, the political classes dithered. While the antics of President Donald Trump provoked intense interest — the word “intense” hardly covers the attention paid to him — they also provided a convenient excuse for letting partisan bickering take precedence over actual governance or problem solving of any sort. Meanwhile, “thought leaders” (a term then commonly used to describe pontificating windbags) indulged themselves with various pet projects.

In the midst of what commentators were pleased to call the Information Age, most ordinary Americans showed a pronounced affinity for trivia over matters of substance. A staggering number of citizens willingly traded freedom and privacy for convenience, bowing to the dictates of an ever-expanding array of personalized gadgetry. What was then called a “smartphone” functioned as a talisman of sorts, the electronic equivalent of a rosary or prayer beads. Especially among the young, separation from one’s “phone” for more than a few minutes could cause acute anxiety and distress. The novelty of “social media” had not yet worn off, with its most insidious implications just being discovered.

Divided, distracted, and desperately trying to keep up: these emerged then as the abiding traits of life in contemporary America. Craft beer, small-batch bourbon, and dining at the latest farm-to-table restaurant often seemed to matter more than the fate of the nation or, for that matter, the planet as a whole. But all that was about to change.

Scholars will undoubtedly locate the origins of the Great Reckoning well before 2019. Perhaps they will trace its source to the aftermath of the Cold War when American elites succumbed to a remarkable bout of imperial hubris, while ignoring (thanks in part to the efforts of Big Energy companies) the already growing body of information on the human-induced alteration of the planet, which came to be called “climate change” or “global warming.” While, generally speaking, the collective story of humankind unfolds along a continuum, by 2019 conditions conducive to disruptive change were forming. History was about to zig sharply off its expected course.

This disruption occurred, of course, within a specific context. During the first two decades of the twenty-first century, American society absorbed a series of punishing blows. First came the contested election of 2000, the president of the United States installed in office by a 5-4 vote of a politicized Supreme Court, which thereby effectively usurped the role of the electorate. And that was just for starters. Following in short order came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which the world’s (self-proclaimed) premier intelligence services failed to anticipate and the world’s preeminent military establishment failed to avert.

Less than two years later, the administration of George W. Bush, operating under the delusion that the ongoing war in Afghanistan was essentially won, ordered U.S. forces to invade Iraq, a nation that had played no part in the events of 9/11. The result of this patently illegal war of aggression would not be victory, despite the president’s almost instant “mission accomplished” declaration, but a painful replay of the quagmire that U.S. troops had experienced decades before in Vietnam. Expectations of Iraq’s “liberation” paving the way for a broader Freedom Agenda that would democratize the Islamic world came to naught. The Iraq War and other armed interventions initiated during the first two decades of the century ended up costing trillionsof taxpayer dollars, while sowing the seeds of instability across much of the Greater Middle East and later Africa.

Then, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, killing nearly 2,000 Americans. U.S. government agencies responded with breathtaking ineptitude, a sign of things to come, as nature itself was turning increasingly unruly. Other natural disasters of unnatural magnitude followed. In 2007, to cite but one example, more than 9,000 wildfires in California swept through more than a million acres. Like swarms of locusts, fires now became an annual (and worsening) plague ravaging the Golden State and the rest of the West Coast. If this weren’t enough of a harbinger of approaching environmental catastrophe, the populations of honeybees, vital to American agriculture, began to collapse in these very same years.

Americans were, as it turned out, largely indifferent to the fate of honeybees. They paid far greater attention to the economy, however, which experienced its own form of collapse in 2008. The ensuing Great Recession saw millions thrown out of work and millions more lose their homes as a result of fraudulent mortgage practices. None of the perpetrators were punished. The administration of President Barack Obama chose instead to bail out offending banks and large corporations. Record federal deficits resulted, as the government abandoned once and for all even the pretense of trying to balance the budget. And, of course, the nation’s multiple wars dragged on and on and on.

Through all these trials, the American people more or less persevered. If not altogether stoic, they remained largely compliant. As a result, few members of the nation’s political, economic, intellectual, or cultural elites showed any awareness that something fundamental might be amiss. The two established parties retained their monopoly on national politics. As late as 2016, the status quo appeared firmly intact. Only with that year’s presidential election did large numbers of citizens signal that they had had enough: wearing red MAGA caps rather than wielding pitchforks, they joined Donald Trump’s assault on that elite and, thumbing their noses at Washington, installed a reality TV star in the White House.

To the legions who had found the previous status quo agreeable, Trump’s ascent to the apex of American politics amounted to an unbearable affront. They might tolerate purposeless, endless wars, raise more or less any set of funds for the military that was so unsuccessfully fighting them, and turn a blind eye to economic arrangements that fostered inequality on a staggering scale. They might respond to the accelerating threat posed by climate change with lip service and, at best, quarter-measures. But Donald Trump in the Oval Office? That they could not abide.

As a result, from the moment of his election, Trump dominated the American scene. Yet the outrage that he provoked, day in and day out, had this unfortunate side effect: it obscured developments that would in time prove to be of far more importance than the 45th American president himself. Like the “noise” masking signals that, if detected and correctly interpreted, might have averted Pearl Harbor in December 1941 or, for that matter, 9/11, obsessing about Trump caused observers to regularly overlook or discount matters far transcending in significance the daily ration of presidential shenanigans.

Here, then, is a very partial listing of some of the most important of those signals then readily available to anyone bothering to pay attention. On the eve of the Great Reckoning, however, they were generally treated as mere curiosities or matters of limited urgency — problems to be deferred to a later, more congenial moment.

Item: The reality of climate change was now indisputable. All that remained in question was how rapidly it would occur and the extent (and again rapidity) of the devastation that it would ultimately inflict.

Item: Despite everything that was then known about the dangers of further carbon emissions, the major atmospheric contributor to global warming, they only continued to increase, despite the myriad conferences and agreements intended to curb them. (U.S. carbon emissions, in particular, were still rising then, and global emissions were expected to rise by record or near-record amounts as 2019 began.)

Item: The polar icecap was disappearing, with scientists reporting that it had melted more in just 20 years than in the previous 10,000. This, in turn, meant that sea levels would continue to rise at record rates, posing an increasing threat to coastal cities.

Item: Deforestation and desertification were occurring at an alarming rate.

Item: Approximately eight million metric tons of plastic were seeping into the world’s oceans each year, from the ingestion of which vast numbers of seabirds, fish, and marine mammals were dying annually. Payback would come in the form of microplastics contained in seafood consumed by humans.

Item: With China and other Asian countries increasingly refusing to accept American recyclables, municipalities in the United States found themselves overwhelmed by accumulations of discarded glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, and paper. That year, the complete breakdown of the global recycling system already loomed as a possibility.

Item: Worldwide bird and insect populations were plummeting. In other words, the Sixth Mass Extinction had begun.

All of these fall into the category of what we recognize today as planetary issues of existential importance. But even in 2019 there were other matters of less than planetary significance that ought to have functioned as a wake-up call. Among them were:

Item: With the federal government demonstrably unable to secure U.S. borders, immigration authorities were seizing hundreds of thousands of migrants annually. By 2019, the Trump administration was confining significant numbers of those migrants, including small children, in what were, in effect, concentration camps.

Item: Cybercrime had become a major growth industry, on track to rake in $6 trillion annually by 2021. Hackers were already demonstrating the ability to hold large American cities hostage and the authorities proved incapable of catching up.

Item: With the three richest Americans — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet — controlling more wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire population, the United States had become a full-fledged oligarchy. While politicians occasionally expressed their dismay about this reality, prior to 2019 it was widely tolerated.

Item: As measured by roads, bridges, dams, or public transportation systems, the nation’s infrastructure was strikingly inferior to what it had been a half-century earlier. (By 2019, China, for instance, had built more than 19,000 miles of high-speed rail; the U.S., not one.) Agreement that this was a problem that needed fixing was universal; corrective action (and government financing), however, was not forthcoming.

Item: Military spending in constant dollars exceeded what it had been at the height of the Cold War when the country’s main adversary, the Soviet Union, had a large army with up-to-date equipment and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. In 2019, Iran, the country’s most likely adversary, had a modest army and no nuclear weapons.

Item: Incivility, rudeness, bullying, and general nastiness had become rampant, while the White House, once the site of solemn ceremony, deliberation, and decision, played host to politically divisive shouting matches and verbal brawls.

To say that Americans were oblivious to such matters would be inaccurate. Some were, for instance, considering a ban on plastic straws. Yet taken as a whole, the many indications of systemic and even planetary dysfunction received infinitely less popular attention than the pregnancies of British royals, the antics of the justifiably forgotten Kardashian clan, or fantasy football, a briefly popular early twenty-first century fad.

Of course, decades later, viewed with the benefit of hindsight, the implications of these various trends and data points seem painfully clear: the dominant ideological abstraction of late postmodernity — liberal democratic capitalism — was rapidly failing or had simply become irrelevant to the challenges facing the United States and the human species as a whole. To employ another then-popular phrase, liberal democratic capitalism had become an expression of “fake news,” a scam sold to the many for the benefit of the privileged few.

“Toward the end of an age,” historian John Lukacs (1924-2019) once observed, “more and more people lose faith in their institutions and finally they abandon their belief that these institutions might still be reformed from within.” Lukacs wrote those words in 1970, but they aptly described the situation that had come to exist in that turning-point year of 2019. Basic American institutions — the overworked U.S. military being a singular exception — no longer commanded popular respect.

In essence, the postmodern age was ending, though few seemed to know it — with elites, in particular, largely oblivious to what was occurring. What would replace postmodernity in a planet heading for ruin remained to be seen.

Only when…

[Editor’s note: Here the account breaks off.]
Andrew Bacevich / TomDispatch
In this article:
child detention centers climate change donald trump global warming immigration microplastics military plastic straw ban postmodernity sixth mass extinction trump trump presidency
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Jul 23, 2019
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TD originals
The Top 5 Ways to Defeat ICE Agents
comments
The Top 5 Ways to Defeat ICE Agents
An agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency keeps watch over a house in Boston in 2006. (Michael Dwyer / AP)

The Democrats and the corporate media will breathlessly tell you how Donald Trump is a racist (he is). They’ll relay the gut-wrenching horror of having your family ripped apart by Border Patrol (I’m sure it is). They’ll let you know that keeping children in cages is not what America stands for and not who we are (it kinda is). But despite all of this, they practically never tell everyone how to actually fight back against ICE raids and Border Patrol detentions.

Welcome to the paradoxical sales pitch of the neoliberal morass---"Act like you hate racism while doing almost nothing to stop racist policies that have gone on for decades!”

The reason very few in Congress and the corporate media tell the public how to fight back against the ICE raids they claim to deplore is because the elite ruling class never wants to give average Americans (and undocumented immigrants) the idea that they can question figures of authority. These liberals think it’s feasible to basically exclaim, “The ICE raids are disgusting, immoral and unjust! The president is racist, idiotic and unethical! These detention centers are deplorable, inhumane and not neighborly! But if ICE agents or police or the FBI or Border Patrol agents come to your door, welcome them in and do everything they say so that they can more easily tear up your life. Viva la resistance!”

So here, now, are 5 steps to fight back against ICE raids and deportation.

(1) If an ICE agent comes to your door, do NOT let them in. You have the right to refuse entry unless they have an arrest warrant, which they almost never do. ICE agents are like vampires and swingers—they have to be invited in, but after that, it’s no holds barred.

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by Lee Camp

The American Civil Liberties Union says that if ICE comes to your door, "Stay calm and keep the door closed. Opening the door does not give them permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door."

I find it's better to speak to any and all authority figures through a door—even if you have to bring said door with you as you walk down the streets of your town. While holding it in front of your face, just yell, "I'm sorry officer, but I can't hear you through this fine mesquite rustic oak hatchway with double-paned beveled glass!"

Point being, I know it may seem juvenile, but keeping the door closed and hiding under the bed could actually work.

(2) With the door still closed, ask if the agents have a warrant signed by a judge.

If they say they do, it's going to be tempting to ask them to slide it up their ass. But don't do that. Instead, ask them to slide the warrant under the door or hold it up to a window so that you can read it. Something you must understand is that ICE agents are tricky little fellas, and they may show you a removal or deportation form while trying to make you think it's a warrant. (Hell, they may just hold up napkins they got with their burrito from lunch and try to convince you that's a warrant.) But removal forms, deportation forms, dirty napkins, shiny badges, MVP jerseys, cowboy hats, fingerless gloves and semaphore flags DO NOT allow them to enter your residence.

(3) No matter how much they push you, do NOT sign anything without speaking with a lawyer.

If they ask you to sign something, you are likely signing away your God-given right to a hearing. (It's not really God-given. It’s more of an old-white-dudes-who-wrote-the-laws-given right to a hearing.)

If agents force their way into your home despite failing to provide a warrant, don't resist and don't—I repeat don't—spray them with spicy ketchup. That just pisses them off. I speak from experience.

(4) If they enter illegally, just keep repeating, "I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible."

That's right: Even if you're an immigrant or a refugee, you still have a right to remain silent and speak to a lawyer. ICE agents may tell you that you have no rights, but they are wrong. Something you need to know about ICE agents: They're not all very bright. So just because they tell you something does not mean it's true.

(5) If you are arrested, you have the right to talk to your consulate and speak to a lawyer.

Keep telling them you want a lawyer. Don't give up. Treat it as if you were served soup at a restaurant and they forgot to bring you a spoon. Do you just give up after a minute and dunk your face straight into the steaming-hot jambalaya? No. You start getting annoyed, yelling and creating a scene until you receive a spoon and/or lawyer. (A lawyer might be a bit overkill for the spoon situation, but some people take soup very seriously.)

If you are detained by a Border Patrol agent, that's not the same as being under arrest.

"An immigration officer cannot arrest you without 'probable cause,’&nbsp;” the ACLU points out. “That means the agent must have facts about you that make it probable that you are committing, or committed, a violation of immigration law or federal law."

To sum it all up, if you ever have to deal with ICE agents: Don't talk, don't walk, don't sign anything and don't open doors. Don't help them take away your rights and separate you from your family. Also, don't resist if they grab you, because they have large guns that they likely have no idea how to use safely.

But you should also have some sympathy for their situation. They’re not the sharpest tools in the kit, and they’re probably suffering from symptoms of steroid abuse, lack of self-confidence, insecurity, mother didn’t hug &rsquo;em, brothers picked on &rsquo;em, etc. And many of them have hemorrhoids, which they deal with by punching things. Point is, they are having a rough day too. So be cordial! (But don't speak to them, don’t invite them in, don’t sign anything and don’t help them.)

If you think this column is important, please share it. Also you can sign up for Lee Camp’s free email newsletter here.

This column is based on a monologue Lee Camp wrote and performed on his TV show “Redacted Tonight.”

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