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*edit – August 28, 2014 – WP has come around to undoing – so far as I can tell – the big ‘improvement’ it made to it’s editor. I’m talking about what everyone is calling ‘the internal scrollbar’. There’s a window with the editor page, where the post content is displayed. It had it’s own scrollbar, in addition to the page’s scrollbar, which meant that needed features, buttons, on the right, were always handy. The content field could be scrolled independently of the rest of the page and the controls to the right, a system that I would call normal and instinctive. Then they removed that internal scrollbar, leaving only the page’s scrollbar, and forcing the user to scroll the entire page, with all of it’s controls, to get to the bottom of a growing post. Quickly, Your control buttons disappear, above. I will attach a few screen shots of the WP forum discussion where a spokesperson for WP announced the reversal of the ‘improvement’.
I am thrilled to see Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and other progressive figures together under one roof socking to it power. First Look Media is that roof. I’m not thrilled that for that to happen, it took a billionaire with questionable loyalties to become the funder. How’s that old saying go?: ‘Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer’.
From “Revealed: Visitor logs show full extent of Pierre and Pamela Omidyar’s cozy White House ties,” by Paul Carr, the following:
Speaking to the Daily Beast, documentary maker Jeremy Scahill mentioned his boss explicitly when comparing the cozy relationship between other news organizations and the White House. First Look, he insisted, would be different…
I think that the White House, whether it is under Republican or Democrat, they pretty much now [sic] who they are dealing with. There are outlets like The Daily Beast, or The Huffington Post that have risen up in the past decade, but they are very quickly just becoming part of the broader mainstream media, and with people that have spent their careers working for magazines or newspapers or what have you, and the White House believes they all speak the language on these things. With us, because we want to be adversarial, they won’t know what bat phone to call. They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post. With us, who are they going to call? Pierre? Glenn?”
Scahill’s question is a good one — and it’s also very easy to answer: If the White House has a problem with First Look, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll pick up the phone and call Pierre Omidyar.
After all, according to records made available under Obama’s 2009 transparency commitment, Omidyar has visited the Obama White House at least half a dozen times since 2009. During the same period, his wife, Pamela Omidyar, who heads Omidyar Network, has visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at least four times, while Omidyar Network’s managing partner, Matthew Bannick, has visited a further three. In all, senior Omidyar Network officials made at least 13 visits to the White House between 2009-2013. (In fact the logs indicate that, on several occasions, Omidyar visited the White House more than once in the same day. To avoid unfairly inflating the numbers, I’ve removed same-day duplicates from all the totals cited in this article.)
To put the numbers in perspective, Omidyar’s six visits compare to four visits during the same period by NBCUniversal chief Stephen Burke, two by Fox News boss Roger Ailes, two by MSNBC’s Phil Griffin, one by New York Times owner Arthur O Sulzberger, and one each by Dow Jones’ Robert Thompson, Gannett/USA Today’s Gracia Martore and Omidyar’s fellow tech billionaire turned media owner, Jeff Bezos.
Why do we not see much about this in major media? Imagine the following headline in either the New York Times or The Toronto Star: “Pierre Omidyar’s new ‘speak truth to power’ org, with progressive stars like Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald on board, may be undermined by Omidyar’s cozy White House connection” People would be going “Huh? What’s that about? Progressives have been tricked?” If they didn’t have the concept of ‘progressive’ even in their minds before, that would have planted it there, along with the idea that ‘progressives’ are good and ‘good progressives stand up to the bad White House’. Corporate-owned media isn’t in the business of attacking it’s class. It’s not in the business of attacking the system it’s a part of, in a positive sense.
I was trying to comment on one of the blog posts on The Intercept (part of the First Look organization), but don’t remember which one exactly, when I found myself being jettisoned to the top of the post after posting. At first, I was disoriented. It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. Who has time for this crap? It never fails to amaze me how poorly websites are designed. After all these years! And these are websites by people and organizations that have the money to pay for their construction. My free WordPress.com website is more useful and organized than many of them, although I have to qualify that since WP has recently done a nasty ‘improvement’, a la Microsoft (windows 8), that has made it less efficient to desktop users, who I didn’t think, collectively, were that ‘small’ in the grand scheme of things.
Then again, We are living under corporatocracy. Search as you may for the democracy in it, you won’t find it. If hardware makers make more money making smaller devices (less material, same or greater prices to consumers), and if they don’t give a crap about the zillions of desktop users out there who get left behind as software gets tweaked for the newer, smaller devices, So what? Why can’t there be more than one kind of market, in computers, for capitalists? I can only speculate that the owners just couldn’t be bothered. They are only prepared to work so hard at scamming us, as they evade taxes, and the democratic factor isn’t a factor. (And from the 1%’s standpoint, Anything that introduces into society manageable chaos is a plus. Keep the people weak – which we are when we can’t communicate effectively – and that will keep the corporatocracy strong.) And if orgs like WP don’t care about that, What can people like myself do about it? Yes, I use WP for free, but I’d be happy to cough up something for the old WP.com which was more amenable to my laptops. (I’d be happy to cough up for a lot that I don’t cough up for, but I don’t earn a living wage. Actually, As of yesterday, I don’t earn any wage. The site transfer that I asked for from my company, G4S, and which was granted, hasn’t come through, even though they’ve got my replacement doing my old job and I’m left without work and nervously twiddling my thumbs. They aren’t communicating with me! Corporations can do what they like. If they don’t like you, they can abuse you – more than they already do.) WP spokespersons don’t discuss it. They just bullcrap us about their new improvements that some (You’ll see them in the WP forums. Who are they?) say we’ll get used to.
Note the number of comments for the WP ‘improvement':
A screenshot of my email to Lynn Oberlander at First Look and her reply follows, to be followed by a clearer repeat of the content of those emails:
Lynn Oberlander to me:
Dear Arrbyy: Thank you for your email. You raise a good point about having a contact for website issues. I am going to forward your email to the relevant party and also raise the question of a webmaster.
My email to Lynn (which was a contact I just randomly selected from the few provided):
Hello. I am entirely supportive of all that The Intercept is doing. (I’m not sure about it’s owner however.)
Why, why, why doesn’t TI have a contact for webmasters in order to receive feedback on website issues? That’s why I’m bothering ‘you’. Who the hell am I supposed to contact out of that short list that you (whoever ‘you’ refers to) provides? I just want to note that, while I truly like the ‘function over form’ approach taken here, the functionality should look at all users of the site, creators and visitors. I replied to another reader’s comment and was unceremoniously jettisoned to the top of the page. WHO HAS TIME for that?!!!
I sent my email to Lynn on August 4, 2014. I just popped into First Look today, August 15, to see whether anything’s changed in their contact list. Everyone’s busy. I know that. Still…
and a little further down the page…
This looks like the original site: Abby Martin at Disclose TV
The Nazis, beloved by Western nations, especially their ruling classes, until Hitler went out of control (like Saddam Hussein and other former ‘strong man’ leaders) and attacked certain wrong parties, sent millions of Jews, and many others (including Jehovah’s Witnesses) to the gas chambers. But it’s important to remember that there was that flip in the marketing. (Marketing is about ‘selling’, not ‘the truth’.) It happens all the time. One day you’re an ally, a great friend and a good guy to uncle Sam, and the next day you’re evil incarnate, which happens when you make the mistake of disobeying the Godfather, the US ruling class (which, remember, has political and corporate components). So where in fact do Western nations stand on Nazism? They stand in support of it, since Nazism, at it’s core, is about corporate rule and capitalist expansion. Noam Chomsky talks about it in his book, “Deterring Democracy,” and Naomi Klein’s piece for Rolling Stone magazine, titled “China’s All-Seeing Eye,” illustrates Western priorities and principles nicely. (When she wrote her prescient article, we had not yet been regaled with the information made available by Edward Snowden and others.) Western corporations helped the evil communist China regime to build it’s security/surveillance network, Golden Shield, in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As Klein points out, the Western capitalists were eager to do the same in the US where citizens who actually believe in democracy pose a thorny problem for corporatist leaders who feel that the best form of capitalism is the one they are observing in China, where the state sits, unapologetically, on it’s people and they – the citizens who the state hasn’t convinced that repression ‘is’ democracy – know enough not to get out of line and clamor for democracy.
“China today, epitomized by Shenzhen’s transition from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize society. Sometimes called “market Stalinism,” it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism…
“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cellphones, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Tsingtao beer and UPS delivery (to name just a few of the official sponsors of the Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed under the unblinking eye of the state, without the threat of democracy breaking out. With political unrest on the rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement like the one that grabbed the world’s attention at Tiananmen Square.” – Naomi Klein
“A 1937 State Department report concluded that “Fascism is becoming the soul of Italy,” having “brought order out of chaos, discipline out of license, and solvency out of bankruptcy,” the reporter continued. Furthermore, like Germany under Hitler, Italy was standing in the way of Russian influence in Spain during the Civil War. Washington had adopted a form of “neutrality” that amounted to a tilt toward Spanish Fascism against the liberal democratic republic, while joining in the uniform hostility of the West and Stalin to the popular libertarian revolution.
“In the major academic study of the topic, David Schmitz points out that the model developed for Italy, with “moderate” Fascists holding the middle ground between the dreaded left- and right-wing extremists, was applied to Nazism as well. Here, Hitler was chosen as the representative of the moderates who promised “social order, anti-Bolshevik laws, and protection for foreign capital,” Schmitz observes. The American chargé d’affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that the hope for Germany lay in “the more moderate section of the [Nazi] party, headed by Hitler himself… which appeal[s] to all civilized and reasonable people,” and seems to have “the upper hand” over the violent fringe. In 1937, the State Department saw fascism as compatible with US economic interests. A report of the European Division explained its rise as the natural reaction of “the rich and middle classes, in self-defense” when the “dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the left.” Fascism therefore “must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the left.” Not until European Fascism attacked US interests directly did it become an avowed enemy. The reaction to Japanese Fascism was much the same.
“Though the Axis powers became enemies during World War II, the general framework of thinking never really changed.”
As for defeated Germany in World War II…
“The United States was determined to prevent expropriation of Nazi industrialists and firmly opposed to allowing worker-based organizations to exercise managerial authority. Such developments would pose a serious threat of democracy in one sense of the term, while violating it in the approved sense. The US authorities therefore turned to sympathetic right-wing socialists, as in Japan, while using such means as control of CARE packages, food and other supplies to overcome the opposition of rank-and-file workers. It was finally necessary to “wall-off” the Western zone by partition, to veto the major union constitutions, forcefully to terminate social experiments, vetoing state [Laender] legislation, co-determination efforts, and so on. Major Nazi war criminals were recruited for US intelligence and anti-resistance activities, Klaus Barbie being perhaps the best known. A still worse Nazi gangster, Franz Six, was pressed into service after his sentence as a war criminal was commuted by US High Commissioner John J. McCloy. He was put to work for Reinhard Gehlen, with special responsibility for developing a “secret army” under US auspices, along with former Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht specialists, to assist military forces established by Hitler in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in operations that continued into the 1950s. Gehlen himself had headed Nazi military intelligence on the Eastern front, and was reinstated as head of the espionage and counterespionage of the new West German state, under close CIA supervision.
“Meanwhile, as in Japan, the burden of reconstruction was placed upon German workers, in part by fiscal measures that wiped out the savings of the poor and union treasuries. “So thoroughgoing was the U.S. assault on German labor that even the AFL [American Federation of Labor] complained,” [Carolyn] Eisenberg comments, though the AFL had helped to lay the basis for these consequences by its anti-union activities. Union activists were purged and strikes were blocked by force. By 1949, the State Department expressed its pleasure that “industrial peace had been attained,” with a now docile and tractable labor force and an end to the vision of a unified popular movement that might challenge the authority of owners and managers. As Tom Bower describes the outcome in study of the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals, “Four years after the war, those responsible for the day-to-day management of post-war Germany were remarkably similar to the management during the days of Hitler,” including bankers and industrialists convicted of war crimes who were released and restored to their former roles, reversing their collaboration with US corporations.” – pages 42, 341 & 342 of “Deterring Democracy” by Noam Chomsky
For a long time afterward, the victorious allies in WWII would refer to the evil of Nazism and make statements like “Never again.” But that sort of thing is easy. The meaning, mainly, that people are to, or were to, take away from that position, and statements like “Never again,” is that powerful evildoers will never again be allowed to plunge the world into war. The civilized nations would be on guard against that and not allow it. Except that there were too many uncivilized nations then, including the victors, and there are even fewer now. And the nasty ones are nastier. What’s more, the political world has changed. Most nation states are part of a network, the corporatocracy, presided over by it’s most powerful and brutal member, the United States, which has (re) launched a war on terror, a ‘global’ war on terror. But the terrorists, it turns out, are a very varied lot and include most of the planet’s law-abiding (mostly), regular people. And I’m not saying that they’re all righteous. Still…
What the corporatocracy really feels must be “never again,” was made clear when the Trilateral Commission, unimpressed with citizens taking their freedom for granted and believing in democracy, had, from the 1%’s standpoint, too damn much to say about matters affecting them, which the Commission’s members referred to as a “crisis of democracy.” They decided to use their considerable clout to sideline citizens and have largely been successful. We can talk, but without democratic, political representation and a willingness to completely rebel against the theft of democracy and the political process, we are powerless as the exploiters go, literally, crazy.
The US has invaded other countries frequently. But the American Empire is different than previous empires. Mostly, It’s imperial conquests are done via economic hit men, the CIA, the World Bank, the IMF and assorted organizations (USAID, IRI, NDI, NED – Third World Traveler articles looking at those orgs: http://bit.ly/X0Vx39) that destabilize target nations. It bankrolls coups all over. They only have a chance of failing when a country’s population (or enough of it) enjoys solidarity with it’s elected leader. Efforts at destablization, in other words, ‘can’ fail, not in the sense that no trouble is caused by the US, but because democratic forces are strong enough to rebuff the coup plotters, as we saw in Venezuela. So, When Western leaders and others mouth “Never again,” the only appropriate response is “What is to be never again?” Democracy? The idea that Nazis are evil?
Evil, which powerful states and their propaganda organs, including major media, have their own definitions for, was once identified with Hitler’s Germany. What would you expect? But dogs eat dogs. The war effort of the allies was portrayed by them in the most righteous, moral terms, as was the war effort of the axis powers.
“One should bear in mind that the US government, like any actor in world affairs, will always be publicly advocating diplomacy, not force. That was the US stance while seeking to bar negotiations and political settlement in Vietnam and Central America, and has always been the public posture with regard to the Arab-Israel conflict, even as the US has been leading the rejectionist camp. Whatever the US position may be, the media depict it as a yearning for diplomacy and peaceful means. Thus we read of “the American effort to keep attention focused on diplomacy and sanctions, not the drums of war” – when in fact the effort is to block the diplomatic track, reject negotiations, and keep to force and coercion – under an international cover if possible, otherwise alone. As in other cases, it is a point of logic, immune to fact, that Washington is seeking to resolve the problem peacefully, without the use of force.” – Noam Chomsky, page 205 of “Deterring Democracy”
“Stephen Harper describes World War I as a noble conflict. It was not…
“Citing wartime prime minister Robert Borden, Harper said Canadians went to battle in 1914 “for the cause of honour, to maintain solemn pledges, to uphold the principle of liberty.
“”I say nothing has changed,” Harper went on, an apparent reference to his government’s rock-solid support of Israel and equally rock-solid opposition to Russia. “Canada is still loyal to our friends, unyielding to our enemies.”
“Let’s hope some things have changed.” – Thomas Walkom (“Harper fails to see the Great War as a mistake” Toronto Star, August 6, 2014
If powerful leaders capable of committing genocide and plunging the world into war are what was to never again be, then why did the world continue to acquire such leaders and genocides? True, We didn’t get another world war since WWII, but, one, we have been relatively lucky and, two, the world is no longer the simple world of individual nation states that it was. There are nation states, but their sovereignty is limited. (Mostly, Corporatist leaders are okay with that – namely those who aren’t on uncle Sam’s ‘to be erased’ list – and ruling classes, today, knowing only the capitalist order created by America, look to the dominant world power to maintain their capitalist system, which the 1% benefits from. What it means for the people is trouble in the form of austerity and division and neighbors turning on neighbors. But corporatist leaders are okay with that too.) Leaders today know that the world has changed and they are aware of who runs it, their place in the pecking order and the limits of their ability to plot an independent course that does not involve feeding their citizens to the wild beast’s offspring, the World Bank and the IMF, which limits they ignore at their own peril. Most leaders, then, aren’t. And they do feed their citizens to the corporatocracy’s vicious offspring. Chomsky notes that John Kennedy and his admin presided over a paradigm shift in which the US government no longer regarded, at least in private, foreign armies (including the all powerful, all evil nutmeg capital of the world, Grenada) as being the enemy, which isn’t to say that powerful states stop worrying about each other. (Anyway, You can have more than one enemy at any given time.)
Now the main enemy was “internal.” The enemy, as you would expect looking at things from neoliberal capitalists’ standpoint, is now the people who stand in the way of their own exploitation as free trade agreements, transferring political power (democracy) from them to unaccountable corporations, are lobbed at them. Such adjustments (redesigning governments to make them less responsive to the people and social justice movements and more responsive to the needs of transnationals and investors) are vital to the kind of capitalism that leaders have chosen to embrace, namely a capitalism based on exploitation and inequality, accomplished partly by strangling the voice of the people, which they once had, to a degree, in the form of political representation. In other words, Governments have been captured in the class war and the people are seriously hobbled as a result. Undemocratic neoliberal capitalism is threatened by democracy and it’s agents act accordingly.
“Tax havens are merely a flagrant example of a much larger and exceedingly complicated political agenda – the politics of escape. Transnational commerce, either to defend against price competition or to minimize the potential returns of globalization, has aggressively campaigned over three or four decades to free itself from various social controls imposed by home governments. These political contests, commonly described as deregulation, continue, and the issues generate great controversy across virtually every sector of public policy, from environmental protection to wage-and-hour laws, from food-safety regulation to interest-rate controls and banking codes.” – page 33 of “One World, Ready Or Not – The Manic Logic Of Global Capitalism”
Welcome to neoliberal capitalism and the politics of escape. The powerful only care about laws to the extent that they can use them to control people. Free trade agreements are not about trade, but about a transfer of political power that frees corporations to do what they want. Capitalist expansion includes a geographic dimension. Resources don’t come from off-planet. And getting them means having to deal with the people who live where they are. We could just peacefully talk about that, but why respect people’s rights when considering taking their resources if you can just take them by force, including via legal means such as free trade agreements, and in the case of First Nations, via rigged treaty negotiations? In other words, corporations, aided and abetted by the political class which was gradually corrupted as members got bought off and others simply sold their souls, have successfully (since the efforts of the Trilateral Commission) escaped from rules and responsibility. They walk on the wide and spacious road to destruction. There are no rules (including in the sense that their governments can make, break or alter them as they wish, regardless the consequences to the wider society), which is how that road is wide and spacious. For the powerless majority, especially those who have the ‘wrong’ political views (such as a belief in democracy), there are lots of rules. This, though, is where it gets tricky.
“But to be able to rely on its alliances and to have any influence on them, Canada has to give something back to them. As military and political leaders argue, Canada has to be a contributor and not just a sponge on the security resources of others. Moreover, what if Canadian interests somewhere are threatened independently of those of other capitalist powers?…
“Indeed, you cannot understand Canadian security policy without considering First Nations: Canada’s military and paramilitary forces were in fact first forged in wars against indigenous people. Just as Canadian capitalist expansion begins at home, so does Canadian security policy… And military power is not the only way in which security is being pursued by Canadian capital and the state… local police forces, paramilitaries and mercenaries (now called private military companies) are increasingly being used to defend Canadian interests…
“It is not an overstatement to suggest that over its relatively short history the Canadian state has viewed indigenous struggles as one of the most pressing security challenges it faces, if not the most pressing. Indigenous people’s continued existence within Canada as nations is a reminder of the fragility of the Canadian state project; every demand for or defence of land, every assertion of political sovereignty, is a threat to that project and a sharp reminder of its irreconcilability with First Nations’ aspirations for liberation from colonialism.
“Military and paramilitary assaults against indigenous nations have been a formative part of Canada’s development. The military and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (in a previous incarnation the Northwest Mounted Police [NWMP]) cut their teeth fighting First Nations for their land, resources and political and economic sovereignty…
“As the pressures of capitalist expansion have picked up in the neoliberal era, so too has the recourse to force in an effort to subdue indigenous resistance.” – pages 278 & 279 of “Imperialist Canada” by Todd Gordon
Being a victim doesn’t automatically make you righteous. And that’s kind of a secret weapon of the corporatocracy. Only a very few among the 99% actually walk a narrow road – namely one having rules that can’t be broken solely for personal gain – that leads to life. In other words, The corporatocracy doesn’t meet with the fullest opposition that it merits, due to the fact that victims are often compromised and can’t muster the appropriate response to corporatocracy-inspired destruction. However, Pushed too far, victims will overcome their reticence and they will want to push back. Not having water to drink or wash dishes with or bathe in for example, can make people anti-corporatocracy, no matter how indoctrinated they are to view environmentalists as commies and terrorists and capitalists as the good guys.
What is the current attack on Gaza about? It’s racist, for sure. Conscientious Israeli soldiers cited that as one reason they refused to join in the slaughter of Gazans. Israelis, the ruling class and the general public, have embraced darkness. That darkness includes racism. The nature of darkness is that, if those who embrace it start off clever, breaking agreements for gain but taking steps to make it look like they are not, they sure don’t finish clever. How can you?
From the article titled “Outrage” by Noam Chomsky:
“Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. It has adhered to that policy ever since, making essentially the same judgment as South Africa did in 1958.
“In the case of Israel, if the US decided to join the world, the impact would be far greater. Relations of power allow nothing else, as has been demonstrated over and over when Washington has demanded that Israel abandon cherished goals. Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, a course it is pursuing with blind determination today in its resolute march towards moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.
“Could US policy change? It’s not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored. For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. US law requires that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years. That is why Amnesty International, in the course of Israel’s murderous Cast Lead operation in Gaza, called for an arms embargo against Israel (and Hamas). Senator Patrick Leahy, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational, and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively. That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions not only to punish Israel for its criminal behavior, but also to compel Washington to become part of “the international community” and to observe international law and decent moral principles.
“Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.
(*Gazonto, by John Greyson, was added today, August 27, 2014)
Darkness includes lying and deceit. Embracing those practices doesn’t make you clever. It cripples you and you disconnect from reality. If I see a bus coming down the street which I’m walking across and tell myself that there is no bus there, Guess what the outcome will be? Neoliberal capitalists are like that, but if they have their way, they will be putting all of us in front of a speeding bus with them. Just look at the biggest capital intensive industrial project on the planet underway right now in Alberta Canada. They are absolutely nuts! The government of Canada had not even bothered to estimate the water use and availability to the impossibly thirsty tar sands extraction projects operating (in which water use is 3x greater than water use in conventional oil extraction projects), let alone those projects planned for, while cities in the US are drying up and citizens in one city are being treated to water shut offs by an appointed (!) emergency city manager who is overseeing the imposition of austerity on Detroit citizens so that, as actor Mark Ruffalo notes, that manager and his 0.1% class can enjoy prosperity. In another American city, Toledo Ohio, people couldn’t use their water for anything for a time due to toxins caused by “dangerous levels of microcystin, a toxin created by algae blooms that likely stem farm fertilizers used in the region.” Well, That’s okay, because only pinko socialists do organic farming.
Folks without jobs and incomes and folks whose work isn’t properly paid for – austerity and joblessness stemming, partly, from de-industrialization stemming from traitorous, disloyal CEOs who always want cheaper labor – are victimized for being victims when the same sick governments tell them to pay their water bills or else lose their water. Water! This is in a country whose representatives tell the rest of the world that they should be democratic, like the United States! This is from a state, joined by other Western states, that takes the view that some third world people hate them because they are jealous of their fantastic way of life!
From Bill Moyer’s interview of John R. MacArthur, author of “The Selling Of Free Trade – NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy,” the following:
BILL MOYERS: Just a week ago the Bush administration and the new Democratic leaders in Congress announced they had made a big breakthrough: a new bi-partisan trade agreement. Billed as an “important first step” -
SPEAKER PELOSI: It is progress – it is historic – we have to know make it work for America’s working families…
BILL MOYERS: The President gets the ‘free trade’ he wants for wall street, Democrats get the ‘fair trade’ they want for main street…namely, some protection for workers whose jobs are being shipped overseas…and protection for the environment that is often trampled by the trade winds of capitalism.
Sounds like a win-win, right?…
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: Well, the main thing to know is that this is an initiative, as far as I can tell from my own reporting, from the leadership of the House, which is– Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. And this is like the– NAFTA campaign of the ’90s, an attempt by the Democratic leadership– in those days it was the Clintons — to raise money from Wall Street. They’re trying to compete head to head with the Republicans in their own pool.
BILL MOYERS: Why now? What’s the advantage of acting on this at this very moment? What do you see as the strategy?
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: It’s simply because we’ve got a big election coming up.
BILL MOYERS: Well, not for–
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: They’re gearing up for 2008. And Rangel has got to beat the Bushes for money. He’s gotta shake down the bankers and the private equity people. And he’s gotta have something to show to them.
BILL MOYERS: But there has been a deadlock on trade for some years now. There has been great disaffection with NAFTA, what’s happened in Mexico, the number of jobs lost in this country. And the Republicans haven’t wanted to give on these issues of labor standards and environmental standards. Could this possibly be a breakthrough?
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: No, because it’s just like the NAFTA side agreements in the ’90s. They guaranteed all sorts of things in the side agreements: labor rights, environmental protection in Mexico. And none of it got done. Virtually none of it got done. Now, in these agreements, they’re saying that these countries are suddenly going to start respecting labor rights. That countries like Peru, which can only survive by selling us their cheap labor. In other words, that’s all they’ve got– are going to raise their labor standards that would kill the very justification for set– for setting up a factory in Peru. It’s the same thing in Mexico. It’s the same thing in China.
BILL MOYERS: How do you explain that so many people embrace this so heartily so quickly?
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: Well, the people who embraced it: the media, the pundits, the elites– the heads of– banks and of investment banks, and the leadership of the two parties. That’s not the people. The people are sold this– idea of free trade over and over again, as though it were good for them. I mean, what do we have to cite? The statistics speak for themselves. More than half a million jobs officially lost because of NAFTA. The other thing to remember, of course, is that it’s not just the brokerages and the financial business. It’s the retail and restaurant industry likes it. Wal-Mart and Wall Street are now allied in this unholy pro-free trade alliance.
BILL MOYERS: How so? Why Wall Street and Wal-Mart?
JOHN R. MACARTHUR: Because Wal-Mart has dedicated factories in China manufacturing at the cheapest possible rate. People working for 15, 20, 25 cents an hour, making stuff to sell in Wal-Marts in the United States. Generally speaking, they want the cheapest labor possible making – goods at the cheapest possible rates so that they can buy them cheaply and sell them more cheaply. In exchange, we get $8.00, $9.00 an hour jobs at Wal-Mart. That’s what the people are faced with.
Which brings me around to where I started here. Actions speak louder than words. The words can really change meaning of course. At one time, “Nazi” was okay. Then it wasn’t. And now, it’s starting to become okay again. Why? The people need to be divided in order for them to be more easily conquered. Capitalist expansion isn’t going to stop. That’s how capitalism works; produce and sell until the resources needed for production literally don’t exist. And armies that depend on oil (the extraction of which uses water and natural gas) aren’t going away voluntarily. Iraq illustrates the problem nicely. The world’s dominant superpower needs to stay dominant. It’s army needs oil, like all armies. It’s army needs a LOT of oil, because no other military comes close to it in size. And oil is at the center of the US’s national security policy. The US stole Iraq for it’s oil, which, as the world’s largest military power, it must have for it’s military and it’s entire society (even if one of your objectives is to control oil and ensure that the entire global capitalist system, dependent on it, isn’t held hostage by powers that might act to break that US-designed system). The securing of oil, and other resources, is regarded by US planners as a ‘national security’ issue. Okay, So you use that big military machine to help you steal the oil that you (and the corporatocracy you lead) need, meaning that your military’s thirst for oil ramps up, while the people who you’ve attacked become, necessarily, potential enemies of the state (which tries to conflate it’s interests with the wider population’s interests), which in turn means more tax dollars for a military in order to deal with (not so shadowy) threats to ‘national security’. It’s absolutely mad. And godless. And temporary – if there’s a real God, which I believe there is.
“Every nation with a significant need for imported energy is contributing to the intensity of this struggle, but there can be no ignoring the dramatic impact of China’s soaring growth rates. As recently as 1990, China accounted for a mere 8 percent of global energy consumption while the United States was absorbing 24 percent of the available supply and the Western European nations 20 percent. But China’s growth in the past decade and a half has been so vigorous that, by 2006, its net energy use had jumped to 16 percent of total world consumption. If its growth continues at this torrid pace, China will hit the 21 percent mark by 2030 – exceeding all other countries, including the United States. The challenge for China, of course, will be to procure all that additional energy. To succeed, the Chinese leadership will have to oversee a substantial increase in the yield of its domestic energy production while obtaining staggering quantities of imported fuels, especially oil. But the nature of things, this can only happen at the expense of other energy-starved nations. No wonder the rise of China has produced such alarm among older industrial powers.” – Michael Klare, “Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet – The New Geopolitics of Energy” page 12
No wonder we are all here. ‘Leaders’ didn’t possess a lick of wisdom. Or godliness. Now here we are. No nation can stand down and quit oil without risking being devoured by some other armed and dangerous corporatocracy state. The nation that can least afford to do that is the one that has been the most violent and attacked the most countries, namely the United States. Therefore it won’t. Combining a lack of imagination, a lack of principles, a lack of wisdom and, now, the constrictions of a mafia capitalist system – in which the weak are preyed upon – means that perhaps China ‘must’ challenge the US for global dominance. If it runs out of gas on the oily, neoliberal highway, every wolf will come out of the woods and devour the passengers, with the biggest wolf getting the choicest body parts. That too, is what the Chinese government tells its people ‘national security’ means. It doesn’t mean a world in which nation states cooperate, peacefully co-exist and consider, wisely, the fact that mankind is an interdependent proposition. But this is a ‘no win’ situation. The nation that wins the resource wars, loses, along with the burning, dying planet and every life form on it. Unless God steps in.
Corporatocracy states are the beastly creatures they are. They won’t change, clearly. The crap they tell their people about national security as they get nastier due to their desperate efforts to preserve not the good life of all people everywhere, but the good life for their class, will have to accomplish a number of objectives. A level of chaos will keep the people distracted, frightened, unfocussed and, hopefully, not thinking about what leaders are really up to. A program will be needed that will indoctrinate the people while dividing them. A segment of the population will be susceptible to the indoctrination and help with the dividing of their own class. You have to teach them that capitalism, not communism, is the true religion. There will be no space in the face of hostility, terror and fear for citizens, pro-corporatocracy and anti-corporatocracy alike, to think critically so as to know that they have all been victims of bedarkened leaders and the 1%’s perverted and suicidal priorities. (Individuals are another matter. There will always be individuals, here and there, who understand what’s going on. They will be outnumbered and unable to influence the course of events.) People won’t be in the mood to hear explanations for how we got here, how today’s capitalists aren’t capitalists and how today’s capitalism isn’t capitalism. There will be no time for thoughtful reflection. The only dialog there will be will be angry accusations of “Nazis!” and “fascists!” on one side and vicious accusations of “commies!” and “pinkos!” and “Left side!” on the other side.
From elites’ standpoint, You have to do whatever it takes to break the people’s resistance to your rapaciousness and your methods will include conflating the good (fossil-fuelled) life that the people in Western countries enjoy with the armies that guarantee that, just as Thomas Friedman does. You have to promote the idea that Western fossil-fuelled civilization is godly and evolved. Only barbarians can’t see it. Then you push it further. The barbarians will attack you because they don’t agree with you. So you should attack them. They are trying to deprive you of your hard-earned paradise and drag you into their dark hell. How to deal with that? Don’t let them! Fight back. Defend national security and your way of life that’s no threat to anyone. And if you have the power to do so, then all the better. They can pay for attacking you with their resources.
Indeed, Imperialism – aggression by one or more countries toward one or more countries, for gain – is conveniently seen by many as positive. People, like Canada’s Michael Ignatieff, argue for it. But the point is, the Nazi ideology, like a cigarette, was an effective delivery mechanism. Cigarettes deliver the drug nicotine. Nazi ideology delivers the drug of benevolent, righteous imperialism. Indoctrinate the people and focus their their thoughts on proper things. And motivate them. With slick images and symbols (the swastika and newer fascist symbols), sometimes welded to nationalism, to help with the sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people, you can rally people to the cause of fighting the enemy and preserving your enlightened civilization and evolved way of life. You can rally your people to the imperialism you do for the benefit of yourself and your relatively tiny, privileged class – until you no longer have food because your Nazi-loving Bayer corporation has killed the bees, and until you have superstorms caused by a boiling earth because your Nazi-loving corporations don’t care whether they are causing catastrophic climate change, and until you have to kill each other for the last remaining fresh water because you’ve polluted it and wasted it to get the oil you needed for your armies and minerals to continue building your hellish capitalist paradise.
That’s what the rehabilitation of Nazism is all about. It’s not about revising history to make the bad Hitler into a good guy. (But let’s see.) It’s about focussing the mind of those who are willing to believe in you when you earnestly preach nonsense about a clash of civilizations and the need to defend yourself and your way of life from those who hate you because you’re ‘deserving haves’ instead of ‘undeserving have-nots’. That so many of those – the appointed and self-appointed gatekeepers (thugs, mercenaries, terrorists) – who get caught up in the imperialist corporatocracy-inspired adventures (taking Gaza and it’s oil or Ukraine and it’s rich agricultural land or taking Canada and it’s oil, water and minerals) won’t personally benefit from the plundering, the way their bankrolling and propagandizing 1% instigators will, isn’t on their minds as they vent their often racist rage at the pinkos and the terrorists and the evil Left, feeling comforted and/or thrilled by the Nazi and fascist symbols on badges and clothing that they wear (and which can be purchased from a plethora of vendors), reminding them that they belong to the right camp, the strong camp, the rich camp that deserves it’s rewards.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Chris Hedges follows:
The Israel Defense Forces website is replete with this black propaganda. “Hamas exploits the IDF’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel entrances in mosques,” the IDF site reads. “In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields,” the site insists.
“… [Israeli] officers are tasked with an enormous responsibility: to protect Palestinian civilians on the ground, no matter how difficult that may be,” the site assures its viewers. And the IDF site provides this quote from a drone operator identified as Lt. Or. “I have personally seen rockets fired at Israel from hospitals and schools, but we couldn’t strike back because of civilians nearby. In one instance, we acquired a target but we saw that there were children in the area. We waited around, and when they didn’t leave we were forced to abort a strike on an important target.”
Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a Big Lie of his own, said last month at a conference of Christians United for Israel that the Israeli army should be given the “Nobel Peace Prize … a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
Do those Israelis, in the above YouTube videos (the bottom one which I added today, August 27, 2014), look like champions of human rights who are deserving of a peace prize?
Really, the propaganda and the contradictory actions that speak louder just won’t faze most people. Most people don’t care. Caring is knowing. The people passively learn what they learn, sucking up the offerings of bloody corporate-owned media, owned in some cases by larger conglomerates involved in the production of weaponry and profitting from slaughter like that which is happening Gaza.
Dolts can see for themselves the behavior of Israeli Nazis. But they won’t bother to look at alt media where reporters like Hedges and Glenn Greenwald report on behind the scenes stuff that also paints a picture of barbarism that contrasts with the view that the barbarians would like to convey, as Chris notes, to the dolts who will then support the aggression of the lawless actors and to the victims (and potential victims) who are terrorized by the knowledge that their racist, violent attackers act with impunity. Enablers, like the US government, are okay with the lies that the Israeli state tells and it tells it’s own. It’s not enough to physically destroy those who you have decided, for many reasons, to make enemies. You must torture them to death. You must destroy them inside, breaking their minds and spirit. It’s all good. Even godly. And so it goes. For now.
The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article:
President Obama, in his press conference on Friday, said ”it is heartbreaking to see what’s happening there,” referring to the weeks of civilian deaths in Gaza – “as if he’s just a bystander, watching it all unfold,” observed Brooklyn College Professor Corey Robin. Robin added: ”Obama talks about Gaza as if it were a natural disaster, an uncontrollable biological event.”
Each time Israel attacks Gaza and massacres its trapped civilian population – at the end of 2008, in the fall of 2012, and now again this past month – the same process repeats itself in both U.S. media and government circles: the U.S. government feeds Israel the weapons it uses and steadfastly defends its aggression both publicly and at the U.N.; the U.S. Congress unanimously enacts one resolution after the next to support and enable Israel; and then American media figures pretend that the Israeli attack has nothing to do with their country, that it’s just some sort of unfortunately intractable, distant conflict between two equally intransigent foreign parties in response to which all decent Americans helplessly throw up their hands as though they bear no responsibility.
“The United States has been trying to broker peace in the Middle East for the past 20 years,” wrote the liberal commentator Kevin Drum in Mother Jones, last Tuesday. The following day, CNN reported that the Obama administration ”agreed to Israel’s request to resupply it with several types of ammunition … Among the items being bought are 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers.”
“And when facts no longer matter, when there is no shared history grounded in the truth, when people foolishly believe their own lies, there can be no useful exchange of information. The Big Lie, used like a bludgeon by Israel, as perhaps it is designed to be, ultimately reduces all problems in the world to the brutish language of violence. And when oppressed people are addressed only through violence they will answer only through violence.” – Chris Hedges
*edit, August 4, 2014 – I wasn’t going to bother, because my meaning still comes through, but the garbled first part of my online response to the linked-to article is bugging me. I am going to clean it up. I’ll leave the original, but immediately following the quoted online response, I’ll give you a fixed version of the first paragraph – just so you know that I’m not that bad with English.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Gianluca Mezzofiore follows:
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks.
The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in Hebrew) on Monday.
“The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped,” said Kedar on Israel Radio Bet…
Kedar served for 25 years in the military intelligence, where he specialised in Islamic groups. He is currently a researcher at the right-wing Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan but previously worked for a shadowy organisation, the Israel Academia Monitor, which fights left-leaning academic professors.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
The corporatocracy is out to rehabilitate Nazism, which is a premier ideology of imperialists. When you steal others’ countries, which requires you to terrorize, rape, dehumanize and kill other people, with varying degrees of ease, you want to feel motivated. The Nazis had that down and their symbols were so cool. Those symbols and similar terrifying symbols, like the one seen on shirts in Nazi Israel that read ‘Good Night Left Side,” as did rightwing thugs in Europe recently, are intended to terrify peaceful protesters and silence other (neighbors, fellow citizens – all betrayed) who might have thoughts about protesting what is in fact imperialism for gain for the benefit not of the dying planet or the many millions who aren’t rich or born to the rich, but those who are disdained for their choice to care about a meaningful law and order. There’s that most cherished rightwing concept of ‘choice’ in action! Choose right or else! (http://bit.ly/1nYnfZz)
It tracks. Leaders with a fascist or Nazi past (almost in Indonesia, done in Honduras, Haiti, India) who win election (or much support even when they lose, as in Indonesia) are only mirroring their indoctrinated population. All so that the capitalist class can continue to do bloody business as usual. (Capitalist expansion, as Todd Gordon explains in “Imperialist Canada,” has a geographical component to it. First Nations in Canada are the first victims of recent, extra aggressive capitalist expansion of the oil industry.)
Talk about idiocracy! Sane people, if they care enough to notice, won’t want children in this dark world. The rest are rutting like rabbits. They do believe (perhaps not fully), like Smith in The Matrix, that ‘more’ means ‘winner’ and ‘right’ and ‘righteous’. Individuals, who have no intention of showing humility and admitting that all of this godless behavior is, well, godless, will instead get fired up by the moral support they draw from increasing numbers of neighbors who also think that Nazism is cool.
I call it hell.
fixed version of the first paragraph of the above quote of my online response:
The corporatocracy is out to rehabilitate Nazism, which is a premier ideology of imperialists. When you steal others’ countries, which requires you to terrorize, rape, dehumanize and kill other people, with varying degrees of ease, you want to feel motivated. The Nazis had that down and their symbols were so cool. Those symbols and similar terrifying symbols, like the one seen on shirts wore by rightwing thugs in Nazi Israel, which were also wore on clothing of rightwing thugs attacking peaceful protesters in Greece and Ukraine and that read “Good Night Left Side,” are intended to terrify peaceful protesters and silence others (neighbors, fellow citizens – all betrayed) who might have thoughts about protesting what is in fact an incredibly evil, vile attack on defenseless people, fuelled by racism. And the Gazan atrocity is also an example of imperialism, which is aggression by a state, not in self-defense, but for gain. And the gain here isn’t for the Israelis who aren’t rich or born to the rich. The thugs are attacking those who are disdained by the 1% within Israeli society who believe, conveniently, in neoliberal capitalism and inequality and exploitation. The thugs, who want to side with the perceived winner, namely the powerful 1%, will imitate – as a way to signal to the 1% their acceptance of it’s programs so as to gain it’s approval – that 1% in it’s disdain of others for their choice to care about a meaningful law and order. There’s that most cherished rightwing concept of ‘choice’ in action! Choose right or else! (http://bit.ly/1nYnfZz)
I read “By Way Of Deception,” by Claire Hoy and Victor Ostrovsky, when it was published in 1990. Reading about the Israeli professor who is okay with rape as a weapon against Israel’s (unnecessary) enemy, the Palestinian people who Israel imprisons and tortures and about the brave Israeli soldiers who are speaking out about the darkness gripping their country reminded me of the report in this book about the culture of the Mossad, which I guess reflects (certainly now) the wider culture of Israeli society.
“We were exhausted. We still had reports to do for Kauly… Then Yosy said there was a woman down the street he’d promised to visit…
“”Don’t you love your wife?”
“”At least twice a week,” he said…
“Many people, when they know you work for the Mossad, are impressed. It shows you have a lot of power. These guys were doing their thing by using their Mossad connection to impress women. That was dangerous. That was breaking all the rules. But that was their game. They were always boasting about their conquests…
“Everyone in the building knew about it. By being straight, I missed out on a lot of contacts. There was a bond developed between men who screwed around. What disappointed me was that I’d thought I was entering Isael’s Olympus, but actually found myself in Sodom and Gomorrah. It carried through the entire work. Virtually everyone was tied to everyone else through sex. It was a whole system of favors…” -pages 111 & 112
And I see from flipping through the pages of my book that I marked a page (81) that included an interesting mention of the way the entire country was dangerously sliding to the right! What’s interesting about that tidbit is that Claire Hoy is rightwing!
“Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” – Jesus Christ at Matthew 5:5
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
This fight would be the ultimate battle with Hamas, he implied.
“There is no more just war than this one that our sons are fighting,” he said. Israel is under attack. The rockets fired by the Palestinian militant group Hamas daily have to be silenced. The “terror tunnels” blown up, he said.
For many in the Israeli press, it’s not enough.
Deaths on the other side, in Gaza, are not a big consideration in the media or social media here. The fact that several dozen civilians died the previous day, or that the overall toll among Palestinians has surpassed 1,100 — a total overwhelmingly civilian, according to the UN — is not in the headlines. It is mentioned in passing, and dismissed as “entirely the fault of Hamas,” according to Netanyahu, because the militant group chooses to put its rocket launchers amid the population and it has neglected to build shelters against Israeli missiles for its people…
Some other Israelis do disagree. But in today’s Israel, they express that at their own risk…
Several left-wing activists have been beaten up severely, ending up in hospital. After a round of duelling demos in Tel Aviv this past weekend, where extreme right-wing youths shouted down and then attacked those opposed to the war in Gaza, one outspoken demonstrator, Elizabeth Turkov, tweeted, “Numerous protests were held in Tel Aviv against the war for the past three weeks. ALL of them ended with racists attacking us.”
The only terror tunnel I worry about is the one where Benjamin Netanyahu’s poisonous, racist, imperialist words pour out. Then again, in a world – under corporatocracy – where journalism, and journalists, are under attack everywhere, and state propaganda, as Jeremy Scahill stated recently on Democracy Now, is all that corporatocracy leaders will allow to be safely in the public realm, Netanyahu’s incitement to murder will be called a righteous call to arms in the defense of the nation against terrorists and their terror tunnels. The Israeli leader’s mouth, like his state’s torture and murders of Palestinians, just won’t stop. There is no fear on the part of the warmonger that he may be called to justice, for in this upside down world, where the lawless and cruel rule, and they say what truth, and everything, is, justice can be injustice and terrorism can be holiness.
To repeat, my disappeared online comment, in larger text:
We know what the corporatocracy is, wants and does. Israel has been bought and paid for by the US, the corporatocracy’s Godfather. Therefore, In return for being a very important strategic asset, Israel can have… Palestine. And it’s resources, including the gas they’ve found off shore in Gaza (http://bit.ly/1rYm1gN). When you’re going to do evil things, you’re not going to do them in a principled way. You will deceive and lie to any who you need to support you. You’ll lie to yourself as well. It’s frightening to see the rehabilitation of Nazism globally. If you’re actually a Nazi regime and you actually (conveniently) treat the people like the enemy, it only makes sense to make it easier to do imperialism by indoctrinating the people against abhorrence toward Nazism and fascism. Get all of that accusation and defense stuff out of the way. “You’re Nazis!” “No we’re not!” Protesters, human beings, who object – Ukraine, Israel, Greece – can now expect to be met by indoctrinated neighbors who proudly sport the Nazi label and symbols and proudly terrorize those who champion human rights (http://bit.ly/1lFXB5X).
To be clear, I have no issue with Sasa’s article. But the people who run the ‘captured’ CBC can care about democracy, when we are looking and when we are not, or not.