Monday, December 29, 2008

May we no longer be silent

According to the London Times (December 28), “Britain and the United States were on a collision course with their European allies last night after refusing to call for an end to Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. The wave of attacks marked a violent end to President George W. Bush's sporadic Middle East peace efforts. The White House put the blame squarely on Hamas.” The British government also blamed Hamas.

For the US and UK governments, Israel can do no wrong. Israel doesn't have to stop withholding food, medicine, water, and energy, but Hamas must stop protesting by firing off rockets. In violation of international law, Israel can drive West Bank Palestinians off their lands and out of their villages and give the stolen properties to “settlers.” Israel can delay Palestinians in need of emergency medical care at checkpoints until their lives ebb away. Israeli snipers can get their jollies murdering Palestinian children.

The Great Moral Anglo-Americans couldn't care less.

In his 2005 Nobel Lecture, British playwright Harold Pinter held the United States and its British puppet state accountable for “the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought.” Everyone knows that such crimes occurred in the Soviet Union and in its East European empire, but “US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognized as crimes at all,” this despite the fact that “the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.”

Soviet crimes, like Nazi ones, are documented in gruesome detail, but America's crimes “never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

America's is “a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think.”

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Everybody's Kitchen in the Bayou



Everybody's Kitchen, a group of volunteer chefs who retrofitted an old school bus into a self-sustained, solar-powered kitchen that they use to travel the country feeding the homeless and providing disaster-relief meals.

http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/newsletters/ho/everybodys.html


Samuel Huntington, seer of 21st-century cultural conflicts

For millions of ordinary readers, as for conservative politicians and pundits, Samuel Huntington was the man who predicted the grand narrative of the 21st century.

But long before bloggers and book groups were discussing The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1993), Huntington had been among the US's most influential political scientists for decades. In an era when many academics were content to hoe narrow specialities, he bestrode whole disciplines, writing seminal works on international relations, comparative government, political theory and American politics.

In the early 1990s, a colleague asked the Harvard professor, then writing the work that would make him a household name, why he had chosen to focus on civilisation. Huntington shrugged: "It was simply the biggest thing I could think of."

The Clash of Civilizations was a hard-headed look at what political scientists had traditionally dismissed as a soft subject: culture. Originating as a 1993 article in the policy journal Foreign Affairs, and published three years later as a book, it argued that the key sources of post-Cold War conflicts would not be national or ideological but cultural. It was Huntington's riposte to those who thought the fall of communism meant the universal triumph of Western values. The West's arrogance about the universality of its own culture would blind it to the ascent of "challenger civilisations", particularly Islam and China.

Shot through with cautions about Western decline, the book counsels Europe and the US to unite: "The prudent course of the West is not to attempt to stop the shift in power, but to learn to navigate the shallows, to endure the miseries, moderate its ventures, and safeguard its culture." Exporting American pop culture and trainers was easy; exporting values of freedom and democracy far harder.

"Somewhere in the Middle East," Huntington wrote, "a half-dozen young men could well be dressed in jeans, drinking Coke, listening to rap, and between their bows to Mecca, putting together a bomb to blow up an American airliner."

After the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001, Huntington was hailed as a seer. The Clash of Civilizations was translated into 33 languages and seized on by Western and Muslim hawks, who read in it the historical inevitability of conflict between Islam and the West. When a pirated translation appeared in Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards ordered half the 1000-copy print run. Huntington's critics attacked it as a crude Manichean world view, penned by an old Cold Warrior in need of new enemies.

In many ways, Huntington - a Wasp with an Ivy League chair who had advised two White Houses on foreign policy - was the ultimate East Coast insider. But his conservatism on subjects from Vietnam to immigration made him a counter-cultural figure in academia. A lesser man might have sought sanctuary at a right-wing think tank. Not Huntington, whose devotion to scholarship and the academy kept him at Harvard for the better part of five decades.

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Greek riots 2008 - agent provocateur cops caught red handed

Cops in disguise like anarchists are burning and breaking shops in athens.In the video you can see the "anarchists" talking with other cops in uniforms like nothing happens.This video was taken by a greek tv show.

~ Watch video here ~

150 years of the use of 'Libertarian'

This year, 2008, marks the 150th anniversary of the use of the word “libertarian” by anarchists.

As is well known, anarchists use the terms “libertarian”, “libertarian socialist” and “libertarian communist” as equivalent to “anarchist” and, similarly, “libertarian socialism” or “libertarian communism” as an alternative for “anarchism.” This is perfectly understandable, as the anarchist goal is freedom, liberty, and the ending of all hierarchical and authoritarian institutions and social relations.

Unfortunately, in the United States the term “libertarian” has become, since the 1970s, associated with the right-wing, i.e., supporters of “free-market” capitalism. That defenders of the hierarchy associated with private property seek to associate the term “libertarian” for their authoritarian system is both unfortunate and somewhat unbelievable to any genuine libertarian. Equally unfortunately, thanks to the power of money and the relative small size of the anarchist movement in America, this appropriation of the term has become, to a large extent, the default meaning there. Somewhat ironically, this results in some right-wing “libertarians” complaining that we genuine libertarians have “stolen” their name in order to associate our socialist ideas with it!

The facts are somewhat different. As Murray Bookchin noted, “libertarian” was “a term created by nineteenth-century European anarchists, not by contemporary American right-wing proprietarians.” [The Ecology of Freedom, p. 57] While we discuss this issue in An Anarchist FAQ in a few places, it is useful on the 150th anniversary to discuss the history of anarchist use of the word “libertarian” to describe our ideas.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social. Somewhat ironically, given recent developments in America, it was published in New York between 1858 and 1861 by French communist-anarchist Joseph Déjacque. The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France. [Max Nettlau, A Short History of Anarchism, pp. 75-6, p. 145 and p. 162]

It should be noted that Nettlau's history was first written in 1932 and revised in 1934. George Woodcock, in his history of anarchism, reported the same facts as regards Déjacque and Faure [Anarchism: A History of libertarian ideas and movements, p. 233] Significantly, Woodcock's account was written in 1962 and makes no mention of right-wing use of the term “libertarian.” More recently, Robert Graham states that Déjacque's act made “him the first person to use the word 'libertarian' as synonymous with 'anarchist'” while Faure and Michel were “popularising the use of the word 'libertarian' as a synonym for 'anarchist.'” [Robert Graham (Ed.), Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, p. 60 and p. 231]

Which means, incidentally, that Louise Michel is linked with anarchists both using the term “libertarian” to describe our ideas and with the black flag becoming our symbol. Faure subsequently wrote an article entitled “Libertarian Communism” in 1903.

In terms of America, we find Benjamin Tucker (a leading individualist anarchist) discussing “libertarian solutions” to land use in February, 1897. The Individualist Anarchists attacked capitalist (i.e., right-“libertarian”) property rights in land as the “land monopoly” and looked forward to a time when “the libertarian principle to the tenure of land” was actually applied. [Liberty, no. 350, p. 5] The 1920s saw communist-anarchist Bartolomeo Vanzetti argue that:

"After all we are socialists as the social-democrats, the socialists, the communists, and the I.W.W. are all Socialists. The difference - the fundamental one - between us and all the other is that they are authoritarian while we are libertarian; they believe in a State or Government of their own; we believe in no State or Government." [Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti, p. 274]

Interestingly, Rudolf Rocker's 1949 book, published in Los Angeles, states that individualist anarchist Stephan P. Andrews was “one of the most versatile and significant exponents of libertarian socialism.” [Pioneers of American Freedom, p. 85] It should also be noted that 1909 saw the translation into English of Kropotkin's history of the French Revolution in which he argued that “the principles of anarchism . . . had their origin . . . in the deeds of the Great French Revolution” and “the libertarians would no doubt so the same today.” [The Great French Revolution, vol. 1, p. 204 and p. 206]

The most famous use of “libertarian communism” must be by the world's largest anarchist movement, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT in Spain. After proclaiming its aim to be “libertarian communism” in 1919, the CNT held its national congress of May 1936 in Zaragoza, with 649 delegates representing 982 unions with a membership of over 550,000. One of the resolutions passed was “The Confederal Conception of Libertarian Communism” [Jose Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 103-10] This was resolution on libertarian communism was largely the work of Isaac Puente, author of the widely reprinted and translated pamphlet of the same name published four years previously. That year, 1932, also saw the founding of the Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias (Iberian Federation of Anarchist Youth) in Madrid by anarchists.

The term “libertarian” has been used by more people than just anarchists, but always to describe socialist ideas close to anarchism. For example, in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s Maurice Brinton and the group he was a member of (Solidarity) described their politics as “libertarian” and their decentralised, self-managed form of socialism is hard to distinguish from anarchism. So while “libertarian” did become broader than anarchism, it was still used by people on the left who aimed for socialism.

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Up against the wall motherf**ker!: A memoir of anarchism in the '60s

I grew up in a Manichean world. Fascism was the expression of the irrational; reason was its opposite. The distinction was clear and unambiguous. By the time I reached junior high school I had already reached the conclusion that our home was the clean well-lighted citadel of reason and I was an irrational foul-smelling insect befouling it. I became obsessive and introverted.

In becoming a Motherfucker I renounced my commitment to ordered discourse, the traffic in abstractions, respect for explanations, the demand for coherence, and the subordination of impulse and emotion -- all of which I thought of as characteristic of a life committed to reason. I grew fierce in my scorn for theory. I felt most alive when running in the streets with no thoughts in my head but where the cops were and how to avoid them. But my apostasy was never complete. As the Mafia don longs for respectability, as the dealer in prostitutes and drugs can be the staunchest proponent of family values, so I, the rebellious child of reason, longed for the respectable cloak of rationality and pledged allegiance to reason even as I plunged headlong into the irrational.

I'm no longer a Motherfucker and childhood is a distant memory, but I still think of reason somewhat vaguely as a universally applicable method for determining truth and validating judgments. I have never been really sure what it is, but I appeal to it anyway.

Reason or revelation. How else do we decide what's right and wrong? Some of us appeal to the one, some of us to the other. But both have their problems. God has too many spokespeople, each certain he's the chosen mouthpiece, none making a credible argument in the age of cell phones, black holes, concentration camps, weapons of mass destruction, mad cow disease, and reality television. Reason has got some of the same problems God has: too many people appealing to it for too many different purposes. Far too often the powers that be who ask us to be reasonable and not rock the boat act as if they were stark raving mad, hell bent on incinerating their enemies, polluting nature, promoting inequality, and grabbing as much loot for themselves as possible. What they call progress is destruction. What they call democracy is subjugation. The tools for the alleviation of want are turned into the means for its perpetuation.

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Robert McNeil: You say you want a revolution, well, let's start with some stouter rope at Homebase

In Greece, hopeful slogans about "The Coming Insurrection" hint at a wider agenda, with the stultifying capitalist economy overcome and replaced with something more allotment-based. At night, the protesters gather round campfires, but it's a brave man who would stand up there and try to sing "ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha ging gang goo". No, the tenor of the discussions is more about revolutionary change and that sort of thing.

However, you can bet your bottom ten pence that, even now, the whole enterprise will be collapsing under the weight of its own jealousies and internal tensions. Soon, someone will have to take command of the situation. And, lo, they will be back to square one: authority. Young people are just old people who can remember where they are. They are doomed to commit all the same old mistakes.

In this country, campaigners against aeroplanes have been hitting the headlines, though their tactics are more genteel than those of the heat-crazed hotheads abroad. Activists from Plane Stupid Scotland unfurled a banner at the controversial Scott Monument in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, they made the crucial tactical error of flying their banner with rope bought at Homebase and, not unnaturally, the rope snapped. The protest was halted after ten seconds. Still, they got at least one point across: they found something at Homebase, which is more than I've ever done.

As usual, academic commentators are hoping such protests will herald a return to the halcyon days of the 1960s, when we were all looked after by the state and the trade unions. Even critics of that sweet, colourful decade are reviewing their stances. Professor Gerard de Groot, for example, wept on his podium when he recanted his previous cynicism towards the 1960s. He said the current recession validates the irritation of the old protesters at the shallowness of the consumer capitalist dream. "What was wrong with the 1960s was maybe they were a little too early," he concluded.

This could be correct or, alternatively, incorrect. Certainly, the 1970s, 80s and 90s were all awful, as has been this decade so far. The 1930s and 40s were also dreadful. So, the 1960s may have been a blip out of time. The 50s were different. No-one had any freedom then, but they were happy and could go out at night without locking their doors. They didn't have anything worth stealing.

One elderly lady fainted and two had to be rescued from The Crags, Edinburgh, after seeing photos of Prince William with a beard.

The future inheritor of Britainshire had appended the disgraceful fuzz to his phizog before going forth to battle heroically against the fearsome pheasant, using only metal and bullets against the mighty feather-based force of nature.

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The Office Series, Day Three: Kafka

In 1887, four years after Kafka's birth, the Empire implemented its policy of workers' accident insurance, and founded its Institutes. Unlike in the Reich, the Empire's insurance was organized according to geographic territories, and not by types of trades. Whereas Germany established a Metalworkers' Trade Association and a Textileworkers' Trade Association, the Empire established Prague's Bohemia branch, which covered all trades throughout Bohemia, and which accepted Kafka for employment after he was finished insuring the best boats, and wealthiest companies, of Trieste (Assicurazioni Generali's was the oldest type of insurance: Modern commercial insurance was founded two centuries earlier in London to indemnify the first private firms interested in international maritime shipping).

Now, however, Kafka worked not for the mutual benefit of large industry and the Crown, but as a mediator between the concerns of the working class and its management, between that management class and the Institute, and, lastly, between the Institute and Kaiser Franz Joseph in Vienna. Initially, Kafka's Institute job was as a deputy clerk, or assistant secretary, but he was eventually promoted to become Senior Legal Secretary—an Obersekretär —the indispensable righthand man, a sort of Court Jew, to the organization's Director, Doctor Robert Marschner (a note about titles: in the office he was always addressed as "Herr Doktor Kafka"). As Obersekretär, Kafka's responsibilities included risk classification (which involved evaluating the degree of danger of a certain job, and so setting the level of premium to be paid by business owners), and improving the Institute's efforts at accident prevention. The latter duty required Kafka to dabble in public relations, writing informative bulletins and even popular newspaper articles—his chief outlet was the proletarisch, large-circulation Tetschen-Bodenbacher Zeitung—hoping to educate management, labor, and the general public in advances in workplace safety.

“The blades of the square shaft are screwed directly to the shaft, and their exposed cutting edges spin at 3800–4000 revolutions per minute.”

While at night Kafka was writing stories about the infinite and eternal construction of The Great Wall of China, and about a Flying Dutchman set adrift on a deathship, floating forever amid ports of call, during the day he was writing interminable pages about the perils of wood-planing machines (“the introduction of the cylindrical safety shafts in wood-planing machines is finally progressing well”), the perils of chimney-sweeping, and brandy consumption in quarries, problems with automobile insurance (as the majority of cars were then driven by chauffeurs, the vehicles themselves had to be classified as businesses), and the risk classification quandaries posed by the recently electrified elevator (Where is the electrical generator stored? Who, exactly, has access to the elevator's switches?).

To read these 18 examples of office writing without the context of Kafka’s other work, without knowing who, in fact, Kafka ever was, is essentially to go to work. Here is a sampling of their titles, some provided by the book’s three editors, and others by Kafka himself, or by his newspaper editors: “Fixed-Rate Insurance Premiums for Small Farms Using Machinery”; “On the Examination of Firms by Trade Inspectors”; “Petition of the Toy Producers’ Association in Katharinaberg, Erzgebirge”; and “Help Disabled Veterans! An Urgent Appeal to the Public." Their style, even more so than the style of Kafka’s stories and novels, is neutral. Their subject matter is expectedly worse: specialist, abstruse, culled from the most humdrum and desiccated of corporate genizahs.

Then again, we should remember that nobody asked us to read them. Sigmund Freud’s laundry lists probably aren’t any better (though they might prove equally as revealing). Indeed, to read the office writings as one is supposed to, like a good student of the Kafkaesque, or a diligent K.-like worker, is instructive: it is to understand Kafka’s art anew, and to be reminded of the discreet, double-life of modern working man, whose true, pleasure-giving interests lie almost entirely outside of the workplace. The Office Writings are the Ur texts to Kafka’s extracurricular fiction, Kafka’s precursors as much as Talmud (which he did not know well), and Hasidic wonder stories, Hamsun and Kierkegaard and von Kleist and Flaubert, Dostoyevsky’s psychological murderers, and Dickens’ urban grotesquerie and grit.

The examples of this connectivity are simple—of how the work-work influences the artwork—but the interpretations, and the ramifications, are not. In the aforementioned “Measures for Preventing Accidents from Wood-Planing Machines” of 1910, Kafka argued that the square shafts that supported the blades used to plane wood were responsible for a regrettable number of accidents and maimings, including the loss of parts of fingers, or, rarer, the severance of entire appendages. Because these shafts were square, gaps would appear between the blades screwed to a turning shaft and the lip of a worktable. A worker’s finger would become stuck in these gaps—four gaps for each single revolution of a square shaft, revolving 3800 to 4000 times per minute—resulting in debilitating injuries. Kafka’s solution was innovative, but seems elementary: He proposed to introduce a newly patented model of cylindrical shaft—a round shaft (with its blades hidden under flaps or between wedges) that obviously lacked sharp quadrilateral corners, and so lacked the gaps that would trap, and — in the days before plastic surgery—irreparably harm. Kafka describes how his solution would benefit workers and management (workers would be healthier, and so more productive; the cylinders were even more “cost-effective”), while emphasizing the carnage of such accidents with what, at the time, was a novelty: images, illustrative plates showing both injured hands, and multiple views of the cylindrical shaft. This commissioning was one of the first uses of illustrations in a business report—Franz Kafka, father of multimedia.

This report can be convincingly linked to Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony.” In that story of inscription as incision, a convicted felon is punished by torture, and death. The vast, unwieldy apparatus that accomplishes this punishment inscribes on the body of this convict the exact nature of his transgression; the sin becomes internalized through the medium of the flesh, in a mark of Cain for the Machine Age. While no introduction of “cylindrical shafts” could overturn such a metaphysical damnation, there is no doubt that the image of a body inscribed by technology springs from Kafka’s arbitrating experience with traumatized workers. Kafka’s deskbound milieux of inscription and accountancy is also where we first hear about the first primitive computer, a variety of calculator known as the Hollerith machine, used for the processing of statistical data using the technology of the “punch card” (the machine’s process was inspired by the practice of punching a railway ticket, and so encoding it with information; the Hollerith’s best success was with the Nazis, in their use of it to schedule the train deportations of European Jewry). In Kafka’s fiction the human body is the Punch Card of Modernity. In modern life, the body has become the storage, “the muscle memory,” and so the casualty, of the workplace—both physiologically, and psychologically.


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Could Greek mob rule take root on streets of Ireland?

It cannot all be about the shooting of one wretched youth, tragic though that may be.

What, then, we ask ourselves, is the root of this great and destructive rage which consumes so many people -- mostly but not exclusively young, and not by any means all radical anarchists? And further, I ask myself, could this happen in Dublin? And if not, why not?

Well, it has to be said that, in many ways, Greek standards of propriety in politics and public administration make us in Ireland look pretty good, despite our various shortcomings.

It pains me to say it, this being the cradle of democracy, but in some ways Greece retains more than a whiff of the Middle East, or even of the Third World, in its public life.

It is a widespread perception that nepotism and corruption prevail in politics, not only among the ruling New Democracy Party (which has neo-conservative tendencies), but also in its predecessor, the socialist PASOK (despite its creditable record in ridding the country of the junta).

The public services are pervaded with inefficient and self-serving functionaries (Athens garbage collection, for one thing, rivals that of Naples, despite recent outsourcing). And as for the police, they are poorly trained, boorish, and badly paid -- and thus prone to corruption, as well as internal discontent. So we are not just talking about the shooting of one rather foolish lad -- for the record, Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, son of a bank manager -- who should not have been doing whatever he was doing.

The disaffection goes a lot deeper than that, and it has now, coming up to Christmas, dealt a hammer blow to a Greek economy which was already reeling, as is ours, from foolish building and banking practices, inflation, and the over-extension of credit.

The successful calling of a general strike on Wednesday indicates a more general undercurrent of sympathy with the rioters, appalling though their behaviour has been.

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What war with India could mean for Pakistan

War between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan over last month's militant attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai is seen as highly unlikely.

Nevertheless, with tension rising between the neighbours who have fought three wars since 1947, conflict cannot be ruled out.

Experts say millions of people would be killed on both sides in exchanges of nuclear weapons. Here is a look at some possible scenarios for Pakistan in the event of a conventional war:

POLITICAL

- War would bring a wave of patriotism and national unity, analysts say. However, the authority of the civilian government that came to power this year after nine years of military rule, and had been trying to improve ties with India, would be undermined as the military would take charge of key decision-making.

- At the end of a war, the government would be under huge pressure to deal with the economic consequences.

- Efforts to establish stable and sustainable civilian rule could be set back years.

- India could try to stir up trouble in regions such as the energy-rich province of Baluchistan, where Pakistan says India has been meddling for years in support of separatist rebels fighting a low-key insurgency. 

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America en route to military rule

28 Dec, 2008

Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates.

The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.

~ Federalist Paper No. 8, in which Alexander Hamilton displayed an atypical ardor to defend liberty against state power.

"We no longer have a civilian-led government."

This ominous conclusion comes to us from Thomas A. Schweich, who held the title of deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement affairs in the Bush Regime, by way of a December 21 Washington Post op-ed column. Lamenting "the silent military coup d'etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media," Schweich describes the infusion of the military "into a striking number of aspects of civilian government" as "the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration."

Schweich is not an advocate of limited-government who managed to burrow deeply into the Bu'ushist Welfare/Warfare State; he is an advocate of "soft power" imperialism, the supposedly benign variety that focuses more on hectoring foreigners about their shortcomings, rather than unceremoniously bombing them into blood pudding. Oh, sure – even "soft power" imperialism involves the threat and occasional practice of bombing, but usually only amid cries of anguished reluctance following the performance of the proper multilateralist sacraments. (For useful examples, consult the Clinton-era bombing campaigns in the former Yugoslavia.)

Schweich seems particularly miffed that the military shouldered aside the State Department's efforts to train civilian "law enforcement" personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Pentagon's habit of Bogarting all of the boodle set aside for "reconstruction" projects.

But even though his protests have the sectarian flavor of bureaucratic in-fighting, Scweich validates his shocking announcement of the demise of civilian government with some very solid examples. For instance, the military's domination of law enforcement training in Iraq and Afghanistan have created police forces that "have been unnecessarily militarized – producing police officers who look more like militia members than ordinary beat cops. These forces now risk becoming paramilitary groups, well armed with US equipment, that could run roughshod" over civilian governments.

While this and other "military takeovers of civilian functions" took place "a long distance from home," Schweich elaborates, the same all-devouring militarism is at work here as well.

Witness the huge and expanding role played by the military in narcotics enforcement, including the hugely expensive "Merida Initiative" through which the Bush Regime has collaborated with Mexico's narcotics syndicates (which are, to use a common term on this side of the border, public-private partnerships) to propagate unprecedented violence and misery in that country.

The most important example Schweich lists is the Pentagon's plan "to deploy 20,000 U.S. soldiers inside our borders by 2011, ostensibly to help state and local officials respond to terrorist attacks or other catastrophes. But that mission could easily spill over from emergency counterterrorism work into border-patrol efforts, intelligence gathering and law enforcement efforts – which would run smack into the Posse Comitatus Act…. So the generals are not only dominating our government activities abroad, at our borders and in Washington, but they also seem to intend to spread out across the heartland of America."

While Schweich's concern and candor do him credit, his warnings are tantamount to urging that we secure the barn door long after the prize stallion has fled, been butchered, and graced a Frenchman's dinner table.

The military "spill-over" into domestic law enforcement that he warns against began as a trickle in 1981 with passage of the Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Act. That trickle is now a cascade as voluminous and consistent of any found in Niagara Falls. Once again, this is chiefly – but not entirely – due to the so-called War on Drugs.
      
      The eyes of the military are upon you: Active-duty military personnel collect photographs of anti-war activists during a 2002 Washington, D.C. protest against the then-impending Iraq war.
      

For some time, military involvement in domestic intelligence gathering has included personal surveillance of political activists; more recently, this has expanded to the use of spy satellites to monitor political protests on behalf of militarized law enforcement bodies. While Schweich is properly alarmed by the way the Pentagon has created Iraqi and Afghan police forces that are little more than miniature armies of occupation, he apparently hasn't noticed that the same process is well underway here in the United States as well.

In some ways, Schweich's jeremiad is a good update and companion piece to Brig. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap's prescient essay "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012," published in the Winter 1992–93 issue of the U.S. Army War College journal Parameters.

Written in the form of a smuggled prison letter composed by "Prisoner 222305759," condemned to death for "treason" by the American military junta of Gen. E.T. Brutus, Dunlap's essay described many trends that he feared would culminate in "a military that controls [the American] government and one that, ironically, can't fight."

As government corruption and ineptitude grew, "The one institution of government in which people retained faith was the military," explained Dunlap's literary stand-in. The military was thus burdened with countless tasks unrelated to warfare – from law enforcement, to supplementing the work of doctors and teachers, from environmental preservation efforts to bolstering the financially stricken airline industry. (Dunlap, incidentally, extensively documents how the military was either active, or planning to become involved, in all of those missions by the early 1990s.)

Likewise, the military's missions abroad were increasingly Operations Other Than War (OOTW), a term that came into vogue subsequent to publication of Dunlap's essay. At the same time, a cultural dissonance grew between the military and the public it was supposedly serving.

The structural defects in this new model military were displayed to painful effect in what the author describes (by way of prediction, remember) as "the wretched performance of our forces in the Second Gulf War," particularly following Iran's intervention in 2010: "Preoccupation with humanitarian duties, narcotics interdiction, and all the rest of the peripheral missions left the military unfit to engage an authentic military opponent."

While the military was no longer well-suited to fight and win wars (including, of course, patently unjust wars of aggression), its subtle and thoroughgoing integration into every element of domestic life made it perfectly suited to carry out a coup: "Eventually, people became acclimated to seeing uniformed military personnel patrolling their neighborhood. Now troops are an adjunct to almost all police forces in the country. In many of the areas where much of our burgeoning population of elderly Americans live – [military dictator] Brutus calls them 'National Security Zones' – the military is often the only law enforcement agency. Consequently, the military was ideally positioned in thousands of communities to support the coup."

Very little of consequence separates the speculative world described by Dunlap from the one in which we presently live. One institutional impediment is the Posse Comitatus Act (or whatever remains of it), which was intended to prevent direct involvement of the military in domestic law enforcement.

But this measure, which was always a tissue-paper barricade at best, is all but extinct as we near the end of the Bush era. And the ranks of military scholars are planted thickly with people devising arguments to destroy whatever may remain of the Posse Comitatus proscriptions.

In a paper published by the US Army War College in early 2006, Lt. Col. Mark C. Weston of the U.S. Air Force Reserve points out that the Posse Comitatus Act has been perforated with "exceptions" practically since it was passed in 1878. (Just weeks after signing the act – passage of which was part of a deal that ensured his presidency – Rutherford B. Hayes deployed the Army to carry out police functions in New Mexico.)

One of the biggest exceptions deals with what could be called the use of "civilian" police as military proxies, since the Pentagon is permitted "to provide equipment, transportation, training, supplies, and services to law enforcement officials as long as it does not directly and actively participate in law enforcement tasks," writes Weston. Which is to say that it's permissible to militarize the police, as long as troops aren't actually the ones pulling triggers and conducting arrests. This is, once again, exactly the same procedure being used to create the Afghan and Iraqi "militias" described by Thomas Schweich.

There are six formal exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act listed in Title 32, Sec. 215.4 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Weston writes. To that list, he rather audaciously adds "One final exception worthy of discussion [namely] the concept of martial law." Referring to the Supreme Court's 1866 Ex Parte Milligan decision, Weston insists that martial law can properly be said to exist only in "the absence of order, courts, and constitution…. Martial law is the use of force by the military to maintain order by acting as the police, the court, and the legislature…. If the courts are open then [use of the term] martial law is not appropriate."

Most domestic deployments of the military don't cross the threshold of martial law, Weston maintains, and he eagerly recommends making it easier for the military to carry out such missions by repealing the Posse Comitatus Act (or PCA). From Weston's perspective, the PCA, which was never a good idea, has long since fallen into desuetude. He insists that the Act should either be repealed outright or modified in such a fashion as to make it entirely inconsequential.

Posse Comitatus, Weston writes, is "a significant obstacle to unified action on homeland security … an impediment to agility and adaptability of the military to national defense … [a hindrance to] national values and national purpose." Yet he prefers to "modify" the Act rather than abolish it, apparently to maintain – for now – the useful fiction that military and police powers remain separate, with civilian officials firmly in control of the former.

In an October 2000 essay entitled "The Myth of Posse Comitatus," Major Craig T. Trebilcock, a JAG officer in the U.S. Army Reserve offers an assessment quite similar to that of Lt. Col. Weston: The PCA is useless but not harmless, and best ignored if it can't be dispensed with.

The only value of the PCA, according to Trebilcock, is the fact that "it remains a deterrent to prevent the unauthorized deployment of troops at the local level in response to what is purely a civilian law enforcement matter." For example, it can result in administrative punishment or even criminal prosecution of "a lower-level commander who uses military forces to pursue a common felon or to conduct sobriety checkpoints off of a federal military post."

As of December 12 – when active-duty U.S. Marines conducted a joint highway sobriety checkpoint with California Highway Patrol officers – that example can be crossed off Trebilcock's list.

In his book An Empire Wilderness, Robert D. Kaplan describes a strategic planning session held at Ft. Leavenworth's Battle Command Training Program shortly after the April 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing (a tragedy directly facilitated by several of the Regime's three-letter agencies). One of the participants, a Marine Major named Craig Tucker, predicted that the threat of terrorism and domestic turmoil suggested that the military would have to "go domestic."

While that prediction has been fulfilled, the process has yet to be fully consummated. On the continuum described by none other than Gen. George S. Patton – who considered domestic military deployment as the "most distasteful" form of service – we are presently somewhere between routine involvement of military personnel "in connection with Domestic Disturbances" and "Martial Law." That continuum ends with "Military Government," which differs from Martial Law in that it represents the complete abolition of civilian authority, as opposed to the enforcement of a civilian ruling elite's will through direct military force.


God forgive us, if He can: Iraqi mourners display the lifeless body of an infant killed during a chemical weapons attack by US occupation troops. The burn marks on the child's body are the result of an attack using white phosphorous munitions. In a 1932 essay on domestic military deployments, Gen. George S. Patton – who ironically took care to avoid needless civilian casualties during World War II – recommended the use of white phosphorous to suppress insurrection.

In administering either Martial Law or Military Government, Patton – predictably enough – prescribed the pitiless application of lethal force. He digested his doctrine of domestic military missions into what he called "The Law and the Prophets of Riot Duty," a canon that includes the following directives:

    *  "Take no orders from civil officials – federal, state, or municipal."

    * "You may and should cooperate with police or state troops who may be present; but you and not they are the judge of the amount and character of this cooperation."

    *  "Should some orator start haranguing the crowd and inciting them to violence, grab him even if it brings on a local, small fight. Small fights are better than big ones. Words cunningly chosen change crowds into mobs."

    *  "Warn newspapers, theaters, and churches that if they encourage the mob, they are guilty of aiding them and that their leaders will be held personally accountable. Freedom of the press cannot be construed as 'license to encourage' the armed enemies of the United States of America. An armed mob resisting federal troops is an armed enemy. To aid an enemy is TREASON. This may not be the 'law,' but it is fact. When blood starts running, the law stops."

    *  "If you have captured a dangerous agitator and some 'misguided' federal judge issues a writ of Habeas Corpus for him, try to see the judge to find out what he is liable to do…. There's always the danger that the man might attempt to escape. If he does, see that he at least falls out of ranks before you shoot him. To be soft hearted might mean death to your men. After all, WAR IS WAR."

    * "As in all military operations, information is vital. By the use of detectives, soldiers in civilian clothes, and friendly citizens, get all possible information about the condition within the city."

    * "The use of gas is paramount…. While tear gas is effective, it should be backed up with vomiting gas."

    * "Although white phosphorous is incendiary, it is useful in forming a screen for the attack of barricades and defended houses."

    * "If you must fire, DO A GOOD JOB. A few casualties become martyrs; a large number becomes an object lesson."


These admonitions, remember, were issued with respect to the use of military force against American citizens by a man revered as a patriotic hero by millions (including some lately given to second thoughts) – and who, ironically enough, was almost certainly assassinated by the same State he served with such ruthlessness.

Patton's model for a domestic counter-insurgency "war" during the last depression would probably resemble the approach used by the military in dealing with serious internal upheaval in the depression that has just begun.

Significantly, Patton's tactics track very closely with those employed to enforce US occupation of Iraq – including the use of hideous white phosphorous munitions. That occupation is supposedly slated to end in 2011 – the same year, incidentally, when the military's 20,000-man Homeland Security force is supposed to be fully deployed.

If the conclusion voiced by Thomas Schweich and other very credible analysts is correct – if, indeed, we are living under a de facto military junta, the nature of which will become clear as the economic collapse strips away all politically comfortable pretenses – we may soon learn, in the most painful way possible, that our military missions abroad have been carefully training the occupation force that will extinguish whatever remains of our liberty. W N Grigg

~ Daily Pakistan ~

Did Bush Sr. kill Kennedy and frame Nixon?

Russ Baker's new book presents an account of the U.S. government that is both remarkably new and extensively documented. According to this account, George H. W. Bush, the father of the current president, devoted his career to secret intelligence work with the CIA many years before he became the CIA director, and the network of spies and petroleum plutocrats he began working with early on has played a powerful but hidden role in determining the direction of the U.S. government up to the current day.

New research and newly highlighted information assembled by Baker presents at least the strong possibility that Bush was involved in assassinating President Kennedy, and that Bush was involved in staging the Watergate break-in (and the break-in at Dan Ellsberg's psychiatrist's) with the purpose of having these break-ins exposed and the blame placed on President Nixon. In this account, those in on the get-Nixon plot included John Dean and Bob Woodward. While this retelling of history would make a certain Robert Redford movie look really, really silly, it would -- on the other hand -- make Woodward's performance during Watergate fit more coherently with everything he's known to have done before and since. It would also give new meaning to Dean's recent book title "Conservatives Without a Conscience." I would love to see either of these men's response to Baker's book.

Many readers of this review may now be rushing off to declare Baker either profoundly insane or (probably in fewer cases) indisputably correct in his views regarding the removal of Kennedy and Nixon from the White House, but I would strongly urge reading the book before doing so. It's called "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It In The White House, And What Their Influence Means for America."

Those of us who have pushed for years now to have Bush Jr. impeached or prosecuted have heard all imaginable excuses and then some. One has been this: "Punishing the figurehead puppet president would amount to excusing the real powers behind the throne." And, of course, some of us have never doubted that such powers existed, but considered letting Bush and Cheney walk free as a surer way to protect other guilty parties than punishing them would be. There are guilty parties in Congress too, of course, but how the pervasiveness of guilt justifies letting everyone off the hook has always escaped me. The arrests have to begin somewhere. In any case, I bring up the image of presidents as puppets because Baker provides a new variation on that theme. In his account, Bush Jr. is indeed not the driving force, but a clique centered around his father is.

Baker does not focus on Bush Jr.'s grandfather, Prescott Bush, and does not even mention his role in the plot to overthrow President Roosevelt in 1933 ( http://davidswanson.org/node/1337 ). Baker's focus is on Poppy, although Prescott and his anger toward Kennedy are in the background. It is not a completely new idea to suppose that Kennedy was killed because he angered the CIA and powerful Americans with business interests in Cuba. It is, as far as I know, new to show, as Baker extensively documents and then summarizes, that:

"Poppy Bush was closely tied to key members of the intelligence community including the deposed CIA head with a known grudge against JFK; he was also tied to Texas oligarchs who hated Kennedy's politics and whose wealth was directly threatened by Kennedy; this network was part of the military/intelligence elite with a history of using assassination as an instrument of policy.

"Poppy Bush was in Dallas on November 21 and most likely the morning of November 22. He hid that fact, he lied about knowing where he was, then he created an alibi based on a lead he knew was false. And he never acknowledged the closeness of his relationship with Oswald's handler George de Mohrenschildt.

"Poppy's business partner Thomas Devine met with de Mohrenschildt during that period, on behalf of the CIA.

"Poppy's eventual Texas running mate in the 1964 election, Jack Crichton, was connected to the military intelligence figures who led Kennedy's motorcade.

"Crichton and D. Harold Byrd, owner of the Texas School Book Depository building, were both connected to de Mohrenschildt -- and directly to each other through oil-business dealings.

"Byrd brought in the tenant that hired Oswald shortly before the assassination.

"Oswald got his job in the building through a friend of de Mohrenschildt's with her own intelligence connections -- including family ties to Allen Dulles."

~ more... ~

Revolution in the Rainbow Nation?

On 16 December 2008, disgruntled members of the African National Congress, the party which has guided the most prosperous African nation from apartheid and international isolation to political and economic success, will launch a new political party. The split comes at the end of a very bitter and public feud between former South African President Thabo Mbeki and his rival and likely successor Jacob Zuma. It is the most serious split in the ANC's 96-year history. Certainly, the formation of any party capable of seriously challenging the political hegemony of the ANC and moving South Africa closer to a true multi-party democracy must be welcomed as a very good thing. But is there also a chance that the bad blood between the two factions will spill over into violence during the elections, due in April next year?

In speaking recently with South Africans (both expatriate and local), I found plenty of reasons to be optimistic. However, I also found plenty more reasons why the situation should be watched closely. The world cannot afford to lose South Africa, in the same way it has lost Zimbabwe and as it almost lost Kenya.

REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC

1) A credible opposition is exactly what the ANC and South Africa need:

One big reason to be optimistic is the incredibly positive change a strong opposition could bring about in South Africa. After 14 years of virtually unchallenged rule, the ANC has become corrupt, nepotic and intolerant of opposition. A significant political rival is needed to prevent South Africa from sliding into yet another post-liberation African autocracy. To quote Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "… democracy flourishes where there is vigorous debate."

~ more... ~

What 'revolution' meant to the French nobility

'Revolution' is strictly defined as 'a forcible overthrow of government or social order, in favor of a new system or set of conditions.'1 This meaning of revolution is not the same for everyone, however. Nor are the interpretations or effects of a revolution the same for everyone.

The French revolution had many different meanings for different people, and one such group was the French nobility. But whilst the revolution treated all nobles in generally the same way, this is not to say that all French nobility saw the revolution in the same light.2 Differences in the degree of wealth, status and power obviously existed from noble to noble, but many privileges still remained.3 Prior to the revolution of 1789-1799 the nobility occupied a position of high stature and authority, generally based on landed wealth. The nobles distributed portions of their estates to the landless peasants in exchange for their services or the payment of taxes [often in the form of a large payment of their produce]. Cowie points out, however, that- "As decades passed, many lords demanded a cash payment instead of, or as well as, the payments in produce."4 The nobility also enjoyed considerable legal privileges,5 and could impose restrictive tariffs and tolls on trade that generally operated to the detriment of France's internal economy.6 Thus with so many powerful privileges open to the nobility, it is no surprise that " … the nobility exasperated not only the middle class but also the peasantry."7

Therefore it may appear as no surprise that the Third Estate was pushed into revolution in 1789 because of the domineering nature of the nobility. However such an observation may be too simplistic, and for a number of reasons. Attempts by Louis XIV's ministers [Calonne and Necker], to reform the existing system [1787-8], and to provide a source of revenue to aid the acute financial problems of the empire resulted in placing a heavy tax burden upon the nobility,8 and in leaving the nobility with "little effective power."9 As a result many nobles became highly dissatisfied with the existing system, and hoped for a restoration of their privileges [thus the summoning of the Estate's General]. Alison Patrick expands on this point and asserts that the revolution had different meanings for different nobles. To the growing number of dissatisfied nobles a revolution may have meant a revival of the old order and a restoration of privileges. Others may have supported the existing monarchy, and others still, as Patrick points out, may have been "liberal nobles".10

~ more... ~

William Rees-Mogg: A credit crunch is the first step to revolution

One may reject Marxism as crude oversimplification of the complexity of the historic process. Nevertheless, these major revolutions do have some things in common. They were preceded by periods of economic stress.

If one took the French Revolution as a pattern for revolution itself, the 1780s were a decade of worsening economic crisis in which the unfortunate king, Louis XVI, made increasingly desperate attempts to avert the bankruptcy of the French monarchy. He eventually summoned parliament, a fatal move. England's Charles I had to summon the Parliament of 1642, which destroyed him.

Patterns of power have to reflect underlying changes in economic production. Economic failures, such as the crises in France in the 1780s or England in the early 1640s, are a normal prelude to political change. That much of Marxism seems to be valid.

The economic cycle is somewhat clearer than the cycle of revolutions. Economists have tended to divide the economic cycles into three groups: short-term or accidental, medium-term and long-term.

These three types were named by Joseph Schumpeter, the early 20th Century economist, as Kitchins, Juglars and Kondratievs, after the economists who first proposed them.

Joseph Kitchin was an American, Clement Juglar was French, Nikolai Kondratiev was Russian. Indeed, Kondratiev was probably the most original economist Russia has produced; Stalin murdered him.

The periods of these crises are approximately four years for Kitchins, ten years for Juglars and 50 years for Kondratievs.

How do these three types of economic crisis influence political power? A Kitchin is simply part of the short- term rhythm of economic life. The global economy adjusts to it.

A Juglar is more significant. It is strong enough to have decided General Elections; in 1960 the downturn in the ten-year cycle may have decided the election of John F. Kennedy to the White House.

Juglar claimed that his economic cycle influenced the revenues of 19th Century railways, tramways, theatres and even the figures for marriages. Most of us have survived several tenyear economic crises without disaster.

The Kondratiev has an impact that goes far beyond railway revenues or marriages; it affects the structure of the global economy.

Every 50 years or so, the big wave comes along. It can be delayed but when it comes it shakes every structure and knocks down the houses that have been built on sand.

Some economists think these cyclical crises rise from the nature of human psychology, some have thought that they are caused by climate, some deny that they even exist at all.

The Kondratievs are the big economic crises that occur perhaps twice a century. They are more intense and last longer than ordinary recessions. They cause serious unemployment. They can also cause revolutions.

In the very long course of history, revolutions can serve a positive purpose; by pulling down obsolete structures, they open up new opportunities.

~ more... ~

Call for action to stop nuclear arms buildup in Europe

Russia now is threatening the U.S. and making plans for missile deployment in their territories while the U.S. is sitting back and refusing to change course on their plans to "defend" Europe against Iran - a "rogue state- who may not even have the capacity or desire to attack Europe.  The whole MDS too may well not be an effective deterrent against an attack, as it has not been proven capable to intercept an incoming missile, decoy or more than one missile at a time.  Some have called the system money making sham or boondoggle for the military industrial complex to the tune of $100 billion over the last 10 years or so.

With the Bush administration having only a  few weeks left in government, it will be up to the Obama administration to take up this issue of missile defense.  We, as the activist-disarmament-peace-  anti-war community need to step up and convince the Obama team and Congress ( the committees and subcommittees who work with the MDS , the military and appropriations) the absolute necessity of fostering diplomacy now - as soon as possible - in order to avert war, or possible a nuclear war, as these missiles have nuclear warhead capability.

Russia has threatened to send missiles to the northern border of Poland if the U.S. and Poland start to build an interceptor base there which would only be a few hundred miles away, well within range of Russia's missiles.  Lately though Russia has made the offer to hold off doing so if the U.S. stops the plans for building the system.  Unfortunately the U.S. keeps turning down their goodwill offer. Consequently our challenge is to convince our government to foster diplomacy, to talk with Russia and calm things down and withdraw our plans to defend Europe against an attack by Iran.

We need to make this effort and utilize the power as a community who has studied, written, protested and lobbied for disarmament and change to more peaceful ways of settling troubled problems in the world.  It may well be best that no one group or organization lead the way but more of a broad coalition of forces making efforts from resources- contacts and networks-  and experience already gained from years of work and activism. For groups to work on their own and/or with other groups to mobilize their memberships and the public to work with the media and government to press diplomacy efforts as prevention against more conflict and possible war.

~ more... ~

'Hair' restoration

But even though none of the actors in Arizona Theatre Company's new revival was around during the '60s, they don't see the show as just an exercise in Baby Boomer nostalgia. To them, America in 2008 looks much like it did 40 years ago. The nation is divided by war, both real and cultural, but also buoyed by a new hope for change.

"We don't have to invent any of that," says Morgan James, the New York actress playing Sheila, chief political activist in the "tribe" of hash-smoking free-loving draft-dodging hippies.

Raised by a pair of hippies herself, James says she inherited the peacenik values embodied by Hair.

"When I go into those protest scenes, it's not a stretch," she says. "It's very much a part of my heart."

Arizona Theatre Company is pulling out all the stops for a production they expect to be one of their biggest hits in years. Artistic director David Ira Goldstein flew to New York to cast the show and made sure to hire top talent behind the scenes, including Abe Jacob, the "godfather of sound design" - who worked on the original Broadway show 40 years ago.

In the beginning . . .

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical was created by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, two actors with one foot in the counterculture and one in the mainstream. Rado had originated the role of Richard Lionheart in The Lion in Winter on Broadway, but he knew Ragni from the experimental-theater scene, where they starred together in an off-Broadway musical protesting capital punishment.

Although they cast themselves in the starring roles of Claude and Berger - two points in the bisexual love triangle at the heart of the play - they weren't genuine hippies, already being (gasp!) older than 30. But they believed in the hippie message of peace and love, a message that they thought was being distorted by the establishment media.

"We were writing about the moment, we were writing about the war," says Rado, who has had a hand in several Hair revivals over the years. "We were putting onstage what was so emotional and powerful out on the streets. We wanted to extend that message and that feeling to audiences."

~ more... ~

'Terrorist' nuns spotlight homeland security

Frightening questions: Who's watching you and what lists are you on?

The two Dominican nuns had mixed it up with the feds before. For more than 30 years they've worked against U.S. militarism. They've each spent several years in jail for acts of non-violent civil disobedience. They know what it is to be under surveillance.

But for Sr. Ardeth Platte, 72, and Sr. Carol Gilbert, 61, being listed as terrorism suspects in a federal data base was escalation of another order. This latest twist to their long story of resistance has played out internationally as a kind of absurdist tale -- the terrorist nuns -- of the Homeland Security era.

~ more... ~

Unheralded Coup

It's All About Control

By James L. Secor
26-28 Dec, 2008

Around the world, military regimes are arising as if it were the latest fad and every State is vying for Faddist of the Year. In all of these countries, when the military takes over, the populace rebels--and suffers horribly. No one knows exactly what these military dictatorships are seeking: it can't be pure, naked power for power's sake, for this is not a stable or satisfying end but is fraught with anxiety and justifiable paranoia: someone will always want to take it away. And a neverending cycle of a debauchery of violence is the result, the people paying the price, one way or another. Is there something else, something so great and wonderful to have that makes the cavalier subjugation and life-taking a necessity? What, in truth, was New Orleans' Katrina debacle all about? To resort to coarse barbarism, there must be something these people are frightened of losing. And losers fight like hell to not be made the losers.

Unfortunately, in one country in the world, the populace has not rebelled. Indeed, there has been little reaction at all, even to the raising of the ante from 4,000 crack troops to 20,000. These Army personnel are to help the various local, State, Federal and mercenary police forces with crowd control using, of all things, non-lethal weapons of destruction that include biological and chemical weaponry going far beyond pepper spray. Internationally, these are WMD and are illegal in the game of war; using them internally, on a State's own population is apparently acceptable. Where is the humanity? As with all hypocrisy, it lies in the rhetoric, the carefully crafted word. And the press keeps passing off this coup in rosy tones, as if it's just what's right and good for your own safety and well-being. Please believe, it's for your own good to have rifles and tasers and mortars and clubs pointing at you.

When the military is called in to control the population in order for the State to maintain its power hegemony, it is called a coup. And, again, this is usually accompanied by widespread violence. Except in the United States of America where the coup has happened right out in public, in the press. As if it's just a natural occurrence, like flowers, sap and peccant humor. Despite its violation of homeland law (Posse Comitatus), the military presence is hailed as if it is a step forward--in the name of humanity. Be so afraid, America, of the outside world that you will overlook the danger--the terror--within. Be so afraid, America, that you let your government do to you what it does to others in the name of freedom. Be so afraid, America, of the conspiracy even though conspiracy theories are hogwash. It's easy to count coup on people if they've been prepared, like a farmer tilling his field before planting the seeds that grow the crop. Pesticides like Roundup® do the chore of weeding and vermin control. And there is a plethora of vermin out to ruin your life. They're everywhere!

When an entire population is paranoid, paranoia is no longer a mental illness because it is normal; the non-paranoid becomes the illness. That is, normalcy becomes abnormalcy. Paranoia is an irrational fear, an unfounded fear: a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. These kinds of people are obsessed with vigilante looking out at the world around them for clues and signs to prove they're right. If you look hard enough, you'll find what you're looking for. Ask the police, they find trouble wherever they go. Some say they make it, for job security. The DSM-IV-TR:

    this disorder [paranoia] is characterized by a pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent. . .as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

        * Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
        * Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
        * Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
        * Reads benign remarks or events as threatening or demeaning.
        * Persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
        * Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack.

This is paranoid personality disorder, not paranoid schizophrenia. A personality disorder involves a severe disturbance in behavior nearly always associated with considerable personal and social disruption. Society has been disrupted for the past eight years, right? So, you have a right to be paranoid, America, because the irrationality, the imaginary, is materialized, not simply a state of mind. It is in your backyard. It's not a secret fantasy any more.

When this first became manifest, this rise to military overlordship, there was an outcry from the left, which is really no more than impotent disenfranchised and disgruntled middle classniks who have, for the most part, never been on the streets, active in their activism, putting their safety on the line. They write. They blog. They puke cliché and old hat sentiment, leftist jingoism. After a two week spate of outrage at the military presence in the country, this left became silent. In mid-December, Atlantic Free Press produced an article on the increase in the military presence and their array of death defying (but non-lethal) weaponry, noting the glee of the generals (With Shot and Shell, or "Modular Crowd Control Munitions").

The coup in the United States of America is still silent, a bloodless revolution. With the economic downturn--to be polite for this situation--and the almost total lack of a social network of support for the population, can you say, "North Korea II"? The crowd that's in need of controlling, the crowd that is threatening the ruling hegemony is a jobless, hungry lot and when they are pushed to the limit, they will become irrational, like those people who fight eviction from their foreclosed homes--and them commit suicide. This crowd needs to be controlled in order to corral such rational outbreaks of the deluded who can't see this is the best of all possible worlds. They will be abused, dehumanized for daring to question their lot: who do they think they are!

But the rise to a military state began before the assignment of the Army to help enforce the law--an action that evinces a foreknowledge of general unrest and the need for force. This surety of the need for control saw practice runs via great sweeps and round ups of people, from a few thousand to 10,000 in one go. Just recently, gloriously reported in the press, the Army and police forces went on manoeuvres, practicing for the upcoming spectacle of trouble. In general, the US population has not responded, not with awe, not with outrage--because the media, but for one town's plight, glossed over the stings as with a comedian's throw-away line. And, of course, these people arrested and jailed and then forgotten were characterized as undesirables. For such massive stings to be successful and so very well-coordinated, the various police forces not only had to have known where all these people would be at a specific time but the sting had to have been planned well in advance: the military already knows. As frightening as this kind of knowledge from surveillance is, more frightening is the fact that the US populace took these mass raids stride, saw them as nothing untoward, nothing out of the ordinary. A sign of victory for the military machine: apathy in the face of a purge.

The government, the rulers discovered that they could get away with murder, disappearance already being irreproachable and, therefore, acceptable, as if to say: shit happens. If there are so many pests, vermin and bad sorts around, it is not out of order that a military force would be required to help an over-extended civilian police force control them; i.e. save us. Any detractors--already labeled lefties--are so marginalized that, even if their outrage made it into the newspapers, their voices are co-opted. So. . .the authorities know nobody will complain and they are free to do whatever they want at any time they want. This is a coup. A take-over. And America has let it happen.

Wilhelm Reich noted that when "the state apparatus sets itself up to be the master. . .of society, if it claims autonomous power for itself, then it becomes the arch enemy of society. . ." (The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Pocket Books edition of 1976, p. 262). The US government is of such unfettered autonomy that it violates its own and international laws with impunity. Nobody does anything outside of the disenfranchised left singing to the chorus about the impropriety. . .the chorus does nothing but sing back. Grandmas do more in the US than anyone on the so-called left, a catch-all term that really means anybody who doesn't agree with the ruling authority.

As Karl Jaspers maintained in his The Question of German Guilt, we're all guilty. He included himself and I include myself, my expat status being the result of "on the street" activism. And state corruption. I ran to stay alive. Dead, or at least made socially impotent, my voice is stilled. So that now I am shrieking at the chorus in frustration because this fact of a military take-over really needs to be thrust in the faces of the couch potatoes, the rednecks and people like my family who subscribe to right wing "news" outlets and The Drudge Report (The Dredge Report?) and I am not there to take it to the streets: I am only a gadfly. They, my family, think I'm nuts and that I need to be on drugs to straighten my thinking out. . .like most Americans, it seems, I should be drugged into apathy. One drug or another is fine, one obsession or another--it's of no concern what it is as long as it works.

It's all about control. Controlled people find nothing wrong with the unfettered surveillance that presages military action. . .because they have nothing to hide, not realizing that having nothing to hide is neither important nor the issue. When everyone knows your business, you have no private life. Indeed, you have no life at all, no freedom to act because everyone is watching you. And you know it. Small town life: everybody knows everyone else's business. It doesn't matter whether you're actually being watched or not, the possibility is there because the fear, the news report of somebody being caught, is ever a ready rationalization. Where's the humanity?

Reich also writes that the "use of police clubs and pistols to create a semblance of peace can hardly be called 'a solution to social problems' " (p. 265). Who's the problem? Unification via force is an illusory unification. But the illusion has the look of reality. It is, nevertheless, a delusion. Insanity rules! As indeed seems to be the case when anything from the enjoyment of sex to the collecting (hoarding) of things is labeled psychotic. Ernst Cassirer, in his The Myth of the State, concurs: it ain't real, folks. But what can you expect of a cowed populace so inundated with propaganda in the form of news or regular TV programming or commercials or scandal sheets or urban myths and conspiracy theories (that don't exist)? Media communication is no more than a series of clichés "that numb our powers of attention by sheer pervasiveness" (Marshal McLuhan, From Cliché to Archetype, p. 57). Clichés help us to not think and ultimately lead to dogmatic proclamations, dogma being intellectual laziness (Cf. Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations). In the 1960's, Jacques Ellul foresaw the rise of the propaganda era (Cf. Propaganda), so that, as thoroughly as Skinner's rats, the US population has been prepared so that it will respond as wanted (needed). Where's the humanity?

Whenever anyone tries to control another (others), that person is lying. In order to control others, you must lie, for no one wants to be controlled. There is no need for truth, as long as the lies are truth-like, because only "one thing is sufficient for them--that they should yield calculations which agree with observations" (Andreas Osiander as quoted in Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, p.131). And so the lying grows and grows and its irrationality and obviousness are lied away, like a manic Pinocchio reveling in his proboscid elongation. If the lie is exposed, so what? Confession is good for the soul. The lied-to are satisfied that their belief that they were lied to is real: see? I toldja. And somehow that satisfaction of having been right all along is enough; there's never more than a token of action to right the wrong or put a stop to the lie and the liars. Self- satisfaction is a powerful drug. It makes you feel good. . .and when times are bad, feeling good is euphoria. Kind of like lying to yourself. So, the controllers, the liars, are hiding right out in the open. Everyone sees them. Everyone knows who they are. Everyone asks them to reform themselves. Eventually, the lies cannot continue to be rationalized, fail to satisfy and pacify, and then the military is let loose like a sounder of slavering mad dogs out rabbit hunting. Once the fear of god-like authority is put into the crowd of upstarts, it's business as usual.

What is the business?

Ernst Cassirer believed it was the thwarting of change, that these dictators with their lie of democracy and freedom know they are about to be upset because the world is changing--but in a kind of ennui fashion--and are fighting to preserve their status quo (The Myth of the State). These are the rich and powerful, the authorities, the authors of society and culture and right and wrong. With the world run at authoritarianism via the manacled fist of the military, perhaps Cassirer is correct. The power elite are about ready to lose their status, their world is collapsing, and they are fighting for their lives. At any cost. The cost is other people's lives, which is of little concern as long as it's not their lives. This is humanitarianism: they are human, everyone else is not. "The fascist dictator declares that the masses of people are biologically inferior and crave authority, that, basically, they are slaves by nature. Hence, a totalitarian authoritarian regime is the only possible form of government for such people" (The Mass Psychology of Fascism, p. 308; italics in the original). Have the ruling elite been telling you they know what you want, what's good for you? My fellow Americans, for how long have you been told you don't know what you want? How long have you been told that they know better? Which means you are inferior. Folks, you've been enslaved. In the name of security.

Nobody wonders whose security.

I remember attending a weekend seminar on Entrepreneurship for the Independent Living Organization (ILO). I am disabled (sub-human) and I fought for disabled (sub-human) autonomy. I remember sitting at a large round table, like all the other tables, listening to some enlightened businessman (i.e., someone who understood that the sub-human can be useful) expound the fact that in a few years, in the US, whites would no longer be in the majority and they (the power elite) had to think of how to handle this situation. Meaning that it was an intolerable situation, to these white people. (I am white.) Meaning that non-whites are not as good, that is, inferior. I looked at the black man sitting next to me: no reaction. I looked about the huge Marriott ballroom: no reaction. Not from the blacks. Not from the Latinos. Not from nobody. And yet it was such a racist remark. Well, folks, welcome to the solution. The white hegemony, of which Obama is a part, is afraid of losing control and is using any means possible to maintain their position at the top of the pyramid. Look to New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. Look to Seattle and Miami (and The Miami Model). Look to the new immigration solution. Do you think the people's army will not fire on its own? No? Look to Tiananmen Square. Look to Kent State. Look to the world of Abraham Maslow (Obedience to Authority).

The world, the US, is looking at the end of inhumanity, dehumanization, at the end of class and racial exceptionalism--the weltanschauung of the power elite; but the dying beast must flail about a bit before it actually dies. But die it will. And what will replace the old ways? If the petty left have any say in the matter--they've been yelling for over 100 years--more of the same under a different name. Marxists are as blind as religious fanatics and as difficult to argue with: have you no faith? Well, actually, no. No Marxian revolution has gotten anything other than dictatorship, authoritarianism. No Marxian revolution has succeeded. The argument that they weren't done right is akin to the argument that you didn't get god's grace because you didn't pray right. So do it some more. Somebody's gonna win the lottery!

(Once, in the US, the workers' revolution was being done right; it was coming from the grassroots. This was the Union movement. Big business with government collusion squelched it.)

State control of all resources: isn't that like a monarchy? an oligarchy? an aristocracy? a monopoly?

Working for the State--and you must work: isn't that like slavery? Forced labor.

The workers' battle never being over means it's a losing battle or, at best, a no-win situation. So you always need a leader, right? To keep you on track, telling you what to do, what is right and what is wrong. Isn't that authoritarianism?

The argument that you must have government by authority is what dictated the perversion of the Iroquois constitution by the Fathers of our Country, the Sons of Liberty. Because white Europeans could not conceive of such a thing while staring it in the face. But, then, Indians are barbarians and therefore inferior; white men are civilized. Indians, nigs, spics, chinks, gooks, camel jockies. . .all inferior sorts.

So tell me. . .what's so different in the Marxian government from what the US has got now? State control of resources because big business controls the State, which means people are working for the State. And the military is on call to maintain order, to keep people on track; that is, making sure you know your place. Doesn't America already have the Marxian State? Like Russia and China and North Korea and Vietnam? It's certainly got the military to make sure you behave!

The coup was silent, bloodless. People don't want to think about it, either. Don't ask, don't tell. Slogans. Obedience. Hear no evil, see no evil (Cf. The Question of German Guilt).

The weak link in controlling behavior, in lying, is that people are not predictable. There are ever a few disaffected. And that disease kind of spreads.

Still. . .the question remains: what's the replacement? If you don't have an end clearly in sight, you'll just get chaos--or more of the same. Popper urges us to "work for the elimination of concrete evils rather than for the realization of abstract goods. Do not aim at establishing happiness by political means. Rather aim at the elimination of concrete miseries. . . .fight for the elimination of poverty by direct means. . . .the evils are with us here and now" (Conjectures and Refutations, p. 484). A military presence and combat fatigue from constantly being on guard due to constant surveillance, always waiting for the boom to drop, are evils.

James L. Secor is a retired professor, a writer-playwright living out on the edge of the Gobi Desert where the skies are clear, the air fresh and the water possibly the only non-polluted water in the country: mountain run-off from the year-round snow-capped Qilian Range, which he can see from his front patio. He can be reached at znzfqlxskj@gmail.com
any time night or day.

~ Counterpunch ~

The Peace Alliance announces creation of educational institute

The Peace Alliance, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization leading the growing grassroots movement active in all 50 states for creation of a U.S. Department of Peace, announced last week it is in the process of creating The Peace Alliance Educational Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focusing on violence prevention education and research.

"We chose the name 'The Peace Alliance Educational Institute' because we feel it most accurately describes both the tone and nature of the work we intend to do through the new organization," said Peace Alliance Executive Director Lynn McMullen. "'Institute' demonstrates the serious, practical, pragmatic and scientifically-based nature of effective peacebuilding."

~ more... ~

I Want Peace On Earth

Worldwide peace petition


Presentation of the Petition




December 28th 2002

The idea of the Petition came from a simple observation : The reality presented in the media and the one most of us are confronted with is not the same. Everywhere, you can meet good people.

The ambition of this Petition is not to change the world. Its aim is just to remind each of us that in fact, we, ordinary human beings, all aspire to the same thing : to live in a peaceful world. By agreeing with the sentence "I want peace on earth", each of us sign for the peace they understand.

This Petition does not judge anything or anybody. There is no "anti" something intention in it. It is not even a war to the war. It only asks beligerents to drop their guns. It is not concerned with politics, religion or economy. It is addressed to ordinary human being living on our planet, in order to remind us that the greatest majority of us are pacifist. My neighbour, the passer-by, the foreigner visiting my country. or the person living on another continent, doesn’t want to harm me. If he sometimes has a behaviour that I do not understand, it’s because he himself is the victim of information which leads him to believe that he should fear me of envy me .

This Petition doe not forget the other problems that human kind has to face today. It can only stress that all the actions taken worldwide, as a relief from ignorance, injustice, illness, hunger and thirst, to savegarde our ecological heritage and for the improvement of human relationships, etc., are efficient only if they are taken in a peaceful environment.

Our challenge : collecting 1.5 bilion Signatures within ten years to prove that at least one out of five human beings share the same will. At least that number of people are not fighting each other and live their everyday life in peace.

When handing out the Signatures to the united nations, we will ask [for] a worldwide Armistice day on the 28 December 2012 so that we could celebrate together the first day ever in history without any conflicts.

Planned for the last days of the year this Armistice will allow us to go into the following year conscious that the existing conflicts can and must be settled rapidly and in an intelligent way.

In order to be signed by as many people as possible this Petition needs the help that each person can give, according to his personal motivation. People are free not to sign.

I Want Peace On Earth.

Roland'O

Roland Höhn

Initiator

Begin :
End :
Objective :

Contact :
Phone :
Home :
Email :
Website :
Decembre 28 2002
Decembre 28 2012
Collect 1'500'000'000 for a global armistice on 28th of decembre 2012

+41(0)76 530 7277
Clos 14 – 1207 Genève Suisse
roland@petitionmondialepourlapaix.org
www.petitionmondialepourlapaix.org

Athens Adbusters

From the Acropolis once again; the West’s democratic reclamation

Written by Newropeans Magazine   
26 Dec, 2008


Amidst wave after wave of gruesome news for the world economy came the curious headlines of riots in Athens and throughout Greece. While initial reports concentrated on ramped vandalism and street battles between hooded youths and riot-control police, the real headline emerged the days that followed.

Insiders of Greek society understand that the nightly exchanges of Molotov cocktails and teargas canisters around the Athens Polytechnic occur with a regular frequency and are almost ceremonially executed. Rather, what was unprecedented in these December events happened in daylight and encompassed mainstream Greek society. The shocking death of fifteen-year-old Alexandros Gregoropoulos by police fire in a bohemian neighborhood of the capital on the festive night of St. Nicholas was the ultimate signal to many that the state was running itself in spite of the people. Together with the organized protests, spontaneous displays of civil disobedience could be observed in the most unlikely of places. In one instance, Athenians in business suits crowding downtown cafés got up from their cappuccinos to hiss and boo away a police patrol that happened to be passing by.

The shear breadth and common acceptance of the demonstrations leave no doubt that the unrest has been kindled by long running discontent in Greece. The current government, voted into power on a pledge to fight corruption that plagued previous administrations, has itself been marred by scandal. With the financial crisis staring them in the face, Greeks see the economic platforms of the major parties becoming indiscernible with conservatives and socialists blaming each other for lacking a plan. At a time when creative alternatives are needed, economic policy increasingly appears adrift on globalized market forces, while directives come from a source that is yet farther from the people: EU bureaucrats. This has made even the prospect of an early call to the polls seem more like a pseudo-dilemma for the electorate. Greeks don't feel they have a say in a future vision for their society. It's no wonder that the reaction came Athenian-style; citizens converging onto the 'polis' to voice their discontent.

The factors behind the unrest though are not characteristically Greek. Discontent over politics offering merely a choice of administrators rather than a choice in the substance of policies resonates throughout the western world. The message came from the Acropolis where a banner draped at its foot called for “resistance” in different languages. The symbolism given by the backdrop of the monument embodying the origins of democracy and western civilization was hard to miss. On December 20th, demonstrations, albeit unimpressive in size, were planned in over forty cities across Europe and America in response to this call. The “Mileuristas” of Spain, the “Generation Praktikum” of Germany and the “Generation of 700” in Greece, recognizing themselves as the same social unit of graduates with high qualifications and mediocre prospects, have joined students to express their discontent.

It won't be the first time that Greece erupts as a symptom of a wider crisis. The Greek civil war was one of the first violent conflicts of the cold war. So, could these Greek demonstrations be a manifestation of an ensuing global surge to reclaim democracy? Don't expect the world to blow over in solidarity protests. Rather, public expressions of discontent from mainstream social groups, indeed groups that form a political majority and can have their way through the democratic process, comprise a recurring motif that can be expected to intensify.

Early examples are the 2005 referenda where discontent in France and the Netherlands derailed the ratification of a European constitution. In the United States, mounting discontent coincided with elections driving masses to the ballot to bring on the anticipated radical change in US policies promised by a future Obama administration. There too, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Chicago and other cities, albeit in celebration, but with the spirit of uprising.

These events signify a new period where activists and the mainstream alike gear towards the reclamation of democracy from runaway autopilot administrators and governing institutions distant from the people. The financial meltdown came to painfully exemplify what can happen when these are left without checks. As was the case in Greece, the economic crisis can surely function as a powerful catalyst for popular unrest.

In a world of increasingly complex institutions, it is difficult for the layman to propose policy. There is, however, some vision for the future that even non-participating groups share. What exactly this vision entails may be ill defined. What it does not is often clearer, and regular cycles of growth and recession, for one, are probably not it. When the mayor of Athens fervidly relit the Christmas tree in replacement of one turned into a bonfire during riots, groups of students interspersed with would-be holiday shoppers were incessantly chanting “wake up”. The next day found the tree with garbage bags replacing the gift-wrapped boxes underneath. The message was clear, business as usual just won't do.

Alexandros Poulopoulos
Göttingen - Germany

~ Newropeans Magazine ~

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