*edit, April 4, 2017 – I intended to retain my original post titled “Gatekeepers” in the form I originally posted it in. However, I didn’t anticipate the radical corrections I’d be making to it. And since I’m not obligated to keep anything on my blog that I don’t want to show to others, I am doing it over. It will look the same. But it won’t be the same. The biggest change, because it meant a change in meaning, was my realization that I hadn’t fully fleshed out the implications of believing that Left and Right, politically, are not moral equivalents. My focus was going in and out here.
I’ve added a few more lines and paragraphs and links, but none of that altered the content in a meaningful way.
*edit, December 13, 2016 – deleted.
I will provide a link to the Box version, which I may update from time to time. I don’t expect that I’ll be updating this blog version that often. This post will only undergo alteration when I feel its overall integrity is broken in some way, which the above Left vs Right issue seemed to accomplish.
“Gatekeepers” in the cloud.
I decided to write out a separate explanation for gatekeepers for the reason that often enough I want to just point people to such an explanation without going through the whole explanation then and there. (Typing out just the nutshell explanation, again and again, gets tedious.) Linking to one of my posts, in which the explanation is given, is an option, but that forces the reader to dig into material the reader wasn’t looking for until that explanation shows up. If the reader was reading something else entirely, then the reader is being forced to set aside the subject he (or…) was interested in, dive into another subject temporarily and then hope to return to what he wanted to read and still be able to keep it all straight, which isn’t optimal. The link to my explanation of gatekeepers will take the reader to that explanation and nothing more.
Here’s the nutshell explanation:
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A gatekeeper is anyone who decides to opportunistically ally himself with those who are powerful and anti-democratic. (Consider: If we were one big human family, rather than the divided human race we are with so many choosing to believe in inequality [and ‘us’ and ‘them’ therefore], then there’d be no exclusion and gates wouldn’t therefore be needed. Democrats know that. True Christians know that best.) A gatekeeper can be rich or poor, educated or uneducated, professional or average Joe / Josephine, appointed or self-appointed, completely aware of his gatekeeper role (if appointed), ignorant of it or partially aware of it (if self-appointed). The gatekeeper’s role is to hinder, in any way, small or serious, those who don’t have the ‘right’ political views. The ‘right’ political views, held by the gatekeeper, can be summed up as: The way to survive is to serve and protect those who are powerful, which service ‘may’ therefore protect and/or prosper you in return for your service. Calling that democracy is required.
In an interesting aside, I’ve been visiting Off Guardian a lot relatively recently. I like and recommend it. But it’s open and, like all such websites where they practice the democracy and freedom they preach, agents of darkness will show up and attempt to cause trouble in various ways, including by masquerading as democrats opposed to darkness. (And now, with the establishment’s attack on what it calls “fake news,” the attack on democracy and light that agents of darkness are carrying out on websites like OG is from within and without.)
I was surprised, and alarmed, to find not only an attack on Chomsky by someone allowed to submit an article titled “Analysis Of The Sophistry Of Noam Chomsky,” but little pushback from other commenters. The author is Petra Liverani. The author offers us her definition of ‘gatekeeper’: “Gatekeeping is the term used to describe the process of deciding which information will go forward and which will not.” It’s not the definition I use here in my explanation of those who I call gatekeepers although it shares similarities. She’s looking at gatekeepers’ efforts to kill the messages that they choose to disagree with. I’m looking more at gatekeepers’ hinderance of the messengers, and by extension, the messengers’ messages. But the hindrance isn’t specific. The victim of such gatekeeping can be abused in any fashion, to any degree.
I don’t own the word or it’s various meanings. And I do see her point, although she seems to belong to the ‘smear Chomsky’ camp.
Chomsky, when he’s sure of a fact or position – which, here, is that who did 9/11 doesn’t matter – can be mercilessly intolerant of opposing facts and positions. And to get an idea of that there’s a video titled “Noam Chomsky discusses 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists,” on the YouTube channel of RPShredow, in which Noam discusses 9/11 with Michael Albert. He’s scathing of those who disagree with him on 9/11. He also notes, in that discussion with Albert, that there are those talking about Left gatekeepers. He seems to dismiss the idea of Left gatekeepers, which I can’t fathom. Maybe he doesn’t like the idea of Left gatekeepers because it’s not his. Maybe it stems from a view of Left and Right similar to mine. (I don’t think that Left and Right are moral equivalents.) I don’t know why the dismissal.
Gatekeepers in the mainstream Left would not be at all hard to imagine. They would actually be rightwing gatekeepers serving (malevolent) power, ultimately. (I think Chomsky may be slipping. It’s a bad sign when he’s close to the likes of class traitor Amy Goodman, whose Democracy Now is pumping out state propaganda. See their alarming shows dealing with the terrorist White Helmets. There’s any number of websites where you can get good info on the White Helmets, including 21st Century Wire. 21st Century Wire, unfortunately, is poorly laid out in some ways and relies on nasty ads which are probably the cause of a less than pleasant visit, with your browser protesting being there.)
There are gatekeepers everywhere and when they’re self-appointed they can be invisible and their presence in an otherwise good organization can probably gum it up – until they are found and tossed (which I’m guessing is rarely done). And there are pseudo progressive organizations. I know that from my own experiences with a number of them, including Democracy Now. (Judging from Noam’s dismissal of the idea of leftwing gatekeepers – Forgetting that there’s a ‘real’ Left and a mainstream Left? – I guess that there’s areas where Noam is not up to speed.) I have publicly expressed my view that it is odd that someone, namely Noam Chomsky, who would urge others to pay attention, dismisses (with qualification) those who pay attention to all things 9/11, although some of those who immerse themselves in the subject of 9/11 themselves stick their feet in doors and insist that you hear them out. And they are ready to angrily condemn you if you don’t agree with them or become, like they are, totally immersed in the subject of 9/11.
It may be that Noam is genuinely alarmed at how easily people get sidetracked and then sucked into rabbit holes when they so badly need to care and know about the terrible things (whose perpetrators and causes are reasonably easy to discern) happening all around them. He often talks about how the US is in some ways the most free nation on earth. Because, as he sees it, the United States is the biggest purveyor of terror and destruction on the planet, American citizens therefore have a special responsibility to at least try to pull their political leaders in a different direction.
But here’s the rub. Chomsky is (relatively) principled. (I say ‘relatively’, because in his approach to electoral politics, he switches, disturbingly, to pragmatism.) He absolutely believes in free speech, which he uses to great effect in speaking truth to power. Those who desire to know a thing or two about the 1% and the world in general could do much, much worse than consult the writings or speeches of Noam Chomsky. The fact of Noam’s belief in and defence of free speech can be confirmed easily enough by checking out (while still possible) videos, articles or speeches online showing Chomsky himself defending free speech. So I don’t know how, on the above author’s (Petra Liverani) own terms, her slander of Chomsky isn’t a slander. He may be intimidating, because he’s extremely knowledgeable and if he disagrees with you, strongly, that may make you pause before pitting your views against his, but there’s no one who would more vigorously support your freedom to express yourself than Noam Chomsky. So how is Noam here deciding what views go forth and what views don’t? (According to ‘my’ view of gatekeeping, such behavior ‘would’ qualify as gatekeeping, depending.)
If Noam Chomsky is indeed blocking the free flow of information by the way he vociferously challenges proponents of the 9/11 ‘inside job’ by intimidating them, then I think it’s fair to note that he doesn’t intimidate them intentionally and for evil purposes. (He really only challenges them to bring forth the evidence. I do feel that Noam is being inconsistent here, however. He wants us to pay attention and then appears to dismiss those who, in relation to 9/11, do pay attention.) Nor is the intimidation here accompanied by manipulation or deceit. In other words, Petra Liverani’s poor victims of Chomsky’s intimidation (which the author calls ‘gatekeeping’) have a problem, but it isn’t one that Chomsky is responsible for.
Finally, at the risk of presenting readers with a rather large nutshell, I just want to add that the editors of OG need to exercise caution. They have taken upon themselves the laudable task of demonstrating democracy. Everyone, pretty much, mouths ‘democracy’. OG’s editors, as their free and open discussions around 9/11 demonstrate, want to walk their democracy talk. Bravo! However, The enemy can use democracy against democrats, if they are not very, very watchful.
Should all opinions be regarded as equal? How about propaganda? Israeli state propaganda is called hasbara. Should that get equal treatment with facts? I would say that more important than whether we allow ourselves to be a channel for propaganda just by repeating it, is the issue of whether we analyze and expose that propaganda. When we accomplish that, we are not just channeling or amplifying lies, but we are exposing them. Whether people care or not is not something that we can concern ourselves with. Giving a fair hearing to opposing voices, however, ‘can’ lead to unfairness, such as when journos want to appear fair-minded about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and therefore talk about it in terms that make it appear that there’s parity between the Israelis in Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. As Ali Abunimah points out “There is no parity between occupier and occupied, colonizer and colonized.” The rightwing idea of fairness can be illustrated this way: A father has two young children. One is sick and one is healthy. He treats the sick child the same as the healthy one, because that’s fair. Or he treats the healthy one the same way he treats the sick one, which doesn’t make sense. (And maybe Chomsky should be gentler with those who find him intimidating or hard to follow, even if that’s because they haven’t been paying attention.) It’s never been the case that where you have seen rightwing politicians apply that principle, it hasn’t been in order to favor their class and disadvantage those (and/or their champions) outside it. They know better in other words.
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Read on if you want to dive into it deeper.
Obviously there’s a simple explanation of gatekeeper that requires knowing nothing more than the meaning of ‘gate’ and ‘keeper’. Someone who watches at a gate, purposefully, can be called a gatekeeper. When the term is used, by anyone, to mean something more, then the context in which the term appears will suggest that additional meaning. Usually when I talk about gatekeepers, I’m talking about politics and ideology and the way that the powerful hold on to power, which they do partly by eschewing democracy and accountability, which gatekeepers help with by serving as a wall between leaders and the people.
I’ve come around to understanding that gatekeepers, in hindering those with the ‘wrong’ political views, certainly help to get in between the unaccountable Benefactors in power and the people who they abuse, but that hindrance can also be accomplished by pacification, which is hindrance that is, in one way, painless. I’m here referring to the way the establishment and its major media keep bad advertizing, from the establishment’s standpoint, from them. If the people don’t know how rotten their political and other leaders are, because gatekeepers have been able to keep information from them (by labelling it ‘fake news’ and then establishing legal means to filter it out, which is a solution being rolled out right now bit by bit), then the abused people will have less to complain about because they simply know less. They will be less furious and less interested in battering down the palace gates in order to get answers from the corrupt deciders within.
So, In another sense, Agents of darkness are gatekeepers blocking the people from the light, as in accurate information etc.. Such (appointed) gatekeepers probably believe that they can succeed if they prevent people from getting ‘specific’ information. They would be wrong. Suppose that the rise of fascism globally, which is well underway, leads to a situation where the establishment completely took over the internet, banned books that weren’t politically correct (or, in their perverted words, banned books and all “sources of information that spread fake news” in the interests of “national security”), took over the airwaves, etc.. The fascists would ‘succeed’ here in running up against Jehovah God, who would (and will, regardless) proceed to remove them and their influence from the picture. When there’s literally no more lessons to be learned from the permission of darkness, and by extension the suffering and pain that are the accompaniment of darkness, and those are all that remain, then God would step in and stop it, for he has no more use for that than for a Biblical hell.
Ironically, I’ve been saying repeatedly, lately, that governments that the corporatocracy is targetting for regime change because their leadership isn’t sufficiently anti people and pro business need to deal with private media and they need to view private media as a threat to their national security. It’s like the establishment ‘heard’ me and decided that my advice was good advice – for ‘it’ to take.
Influential people’s champions and progressive media can become targets of appointed and self-appointed gatekeepers. That’s always been the case. When I wrote to Noam Chomsky years ago and brought up this and that (in my conversational letter), I mentioned a tv clip I’d seen in which Gore Vidal was telling someone about the establishment’s efforts to control the information flow to the people. Gore noted that Chomsky can’t get published in the US. Noam’s reply to me was that that was an exaggeration.
“On the questions you raised, Gore Vidal was exaggerating a bit if he said I couldn’t publish in the US. I can publish with marginal presses and small journals.” – Noam Chomsky (December 16, 1993)
We’ve seen just such an effort recently, with the establishment’s assault on progressive media (not all which is genuinely progressive, as Sibel Edmonds cautions us), telling all the consumers of corporate-owned media that they are going after fake news and defending freedom, which is ironic. The dullest will accept that.
Read Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article titled “The ‘Washington Post’ ‘Blacklist’ Story Is Shameful, Disgusting”.
Again, There are two kinds of gatekeepers. There are appointed gatekeepers and there are self-appointed gatekeepers.
The gates that I am usually talking about, therefore, are the gates to – access to – corporatocracy’s (unaccountable) political and other leaders. They are the gates to the powerful, namely the iconic 1% who own and run the world. The 1% eagerly (and willingly and knowingly) plays the Darwinian game of ‘riches for the strongest’ in which there must be losers. They are macho, perverted lawbreakers. They are perverted because they so often mean, very deliberately, exactly the opposite of what they say.
Think about that the next time you hear or read some official’s breathless explanation for why whistleblowers must be crushed. John Kiriakou is now (at the time of this writing) out of prison and beginning his 3 year house arrest for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s use of water boarding, torture in other words. In his interview from his home, with Amy Goodman, he notes that the horrible, terrible, dangerous leaks that his accusers talk about when they are attacking someone like him are something that they – people like CIA director Leon Panetta and General Petraeus – do on a regular basis. Panetta’s and Petraeus’s leaking of info is an example of powerful, appointed gatekeepers keeping the people away from their bosses and receiving protection from them in return for their service. Gatekeepers (especially ‘appointed’ gatekeepers) are very free, to the point where they can break laws that others can’t. And that’s how you end up with power in this world.
Think about that the next time you hear some political leader yammer on, a la JFK, about defending the free world and democracy from evil Communism. Essentially, Those loons argue that they will impose democracy on the world whether it likes it or not. They will defend freedom and democracy by crushing it. I just read a stunning account, by Yves Engler, of ‘peacekeeper’ Lester Pearson, a friend and ally of JFK, whose speechifying sounds terrifyingly similar to JFK’s. As Engler notes, with regard to Lester Pearson “the historical record has been stood on its head. For most of the intelligentsia and Canadian population Pearson has become little more than a mythical construct divorced from the man’s record.” Which is similar to what the establishment has done with Pearson’s buddy JFK (the myth of Camelot), who, incidentally, apparently helped to get Pearson elected as PM in 1963. You know something is up when Pearson makes statements like “It is inconceivable to Canadians,” because Pearson says so, “as it is inconceivable certainly to me, that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive war.” -pg 61 of “Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping – The Truth Will Hurt” by Yves Engler. But Pearson, who was actively, if not publicly, assisting JFK’s assault on Vietnam, materially and ideologically, knew that what he was telling people about freedom, peacekeeping and democracy was a lie. William Blum produced (in 2013) a list of countries where the America empire has attempted, successfully and unsuccessfully, to carry out regime change. And he appears to be keeping it updated. See The Master List.
Elites and their tools say that their policies and measures are all about protecting and extending democracy, freedom, prosperity, and law & order when the opposite is true (if you’re looking at the whole world and not just it’s 1%). How do they get away with it? Partly, It’s the ‘big lie’ effect. (See Wikipedia: Big Lie) The lying is so grand that normal people (before all of this perverts them) simply refuse to see it, as William Blum explains in his book, “America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy, The Truth About US Foreign Policy And Everything Else.” From the Introduction, the following:
…Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world, for which end it is prepared to use any means necessary. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. To express this striving for dominance numerically, one can consider that since the end of World War II the United States has
● endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected;
● grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries;
● attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders;
● dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries;
● attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
from pages 9 & 10 of “America’s Deadliest Export,” the following:
American leaders have convinced a majority of the American people of the benevolence of their government’s foreign policy. To have persuaded Americans of this, as well as a multitude of other people throughout the world – in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such as the lists of US international atrocities shown above – must surely rank as one of the most outstanding feats of propaganda and indoctrination in all of history….
A lack in the American citizenry of any of the other types of intelligence, though perhaps personally detrimental, does not kill. A widespread deficiency of political intelligence, however, can and does allow the taking of the lives of large numbers of innocent people…
The American people are very much like the children of a Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living, and don’t want to know, but then wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window.
Now why is that?
And what sort of police forces do you suppose fascist leaders like Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton, and corporatocracy governments generally, want? That’s not the same as asking what sort of police forces do you suppose corporatocracy leaders and governments ‘say’ they want. See also Peter Linebaugh’s CounterPunch article titled “Police And Plunder”.
William Blum proceeds to try to provide some answers to the question in his above statement, focussing on what he considers to be the central myth that elites depend on to get away with ongoing mass murder and terrorism, namely the myth that American leaders are what they say they are, which is Benefactors. Here, the reader should consider a revelation by Eric Lichtblau, author of “The Nazis Next Door,” concerning ‘liberator’ General Patton. He discovered information when doing research for his book, about the inmates in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. People probably assume that those gates were thrown wide open once the Nazis were defeated and the victims rescued. No, no, no. That’s not what happened nor how Patton felt about them. If one Nazi camp defeats another, Is Nazism defeated? See the Democracy Now episode (part 2 is where Patton is mentioned) where Eric talks about his discovery, here: part 1 and here: part 2.
The Jews, he wrote – this is General Patton speaking – are worse than human, they’re locusts, and they have no respect for human dignity. And he recounted taking General Eisenhower, soon to be President Eisenhower, on a tour of the displaced person camps, and he said that Eisenhower didn’t really understand how loathsome the displaced persons were, and he thinks that they have some human dignity, when really they don’t.
Blum writes, on page 13 of his above book, that “No matter how many times they’re lied to, they still often underestimate the government’s capacity for deceit, clinging to the belief that their leaders somehow mean well.” Maybe it’s easier for citizens to think like that once they’ve been corrupted themselves and once they start to behave like their gangster leaders. People who lack a moral foundation observe their political and other leaders deliberately and knowingly breaking agreements and laws and conclude that “They know what they’re doing but they’re good people. Maybe bad is sometimes good.” I call it mysterious lawlessness. The lawlessness is mysterious, but only to those who lack a moral foundation, which makes them morally mushy and susceptible to the propaganda of criminal leaders. Maybe there’s an element of Stockholm Syndrome to it.
The people don’t get, despite the ample evidence for it, the simple fact that, as Noam Chomsky says, States are not moral actors. If the world is, as Peter Dale Scott sort of said, one big criminal organization, then wouldn’t those who are smart and clear-eyed about that, but unprincipled, see success in this life as being something that comes from pleasing those in the hierarchy who have more power than they do, even if they happen to also be willing to sacrifice, work hard, educate themselves, etc.? And they set the example for the nation.
From “‘US Foreign Policy Straight Out Of The Mafia’,” by Seaumas Milne, the following:
Noam Chomsky is the closest thing in the English-speaking world to an intellectual superstar…
But the bulk of the mainstream western media doesn’t seem to have noticed… The explanation, of course, isn’t hard to find. Chomsky is America’s most prominent critic of the US imperial role in the world, which he has used his erudition and standing to expose and excoriate since Vietnam…
The veteran activist has described the US invasion of Afghanistan as “one of the most immoral acts in modern history”, which united the jihadist movement around al-Qaida, sharply increased the level of terrorism and was “perfectly irrational – unless the security of the population is not the main priority”. Which, of course, Chomsky believes, it is not. “States are not moral agents,” he says, and believes that now that Obama is escalating the war, it has become even clearer that the occupation is about the credibility of Nato and US global power.
This is a recurrent theme in Chomsky’s thinking about the American empire. He argues that since government officials first formulated plans for a “grand area” strategy for US global domination in the early 1940s, successive administrations have been guided by a “godfather principle, straight out of the mafia: that defiance cannot be tolerated. It’s a major feature of state policy.” “Successful defiance” has to be punished, even where it damages business interests, as in the economic blockade of Cuba – in case “the contagion spreads”.
Note that “credibility,” above, has a special meaning. It doesn’t mean believable or trustworthy. It means, very evidently, ‘visibly ready, willing and able to rumble should the tryant meet with any resistance’. See “Humanitarian intentions on the road to hell” by Mark Krantz. See below as well.
Surely there’s some justice here in the bad state that uncaring people end up in, since, If you choose to reject the Source of life, you should not be rewarded (and protected) for that. Caring means knowing means caring. When you care, You put your head up and look around. That’s because you care about any dangers out there to yourself and your loved ones. And obviously, I am not referring solely to literally putting your head up and looking around with your physical eyes, although that’s the same thing. When you ‘see’ what’s there, then you know. It’s that simple.
But putting your head up and looking around here has to be of the ‘lifting your little finger’ variety. Passive learning, where you absorb, without filters/guides, information pushed at you by corporate owned media is worse than knowing nothing at all. Putting your head up and gluing your eyeballs to the television – one of the 1%’s most effective weapons in its war on the people and light – is actually the opposite of putting your head up and looking around ‘meaningfully’. If corporate media offerings are all you take in, then you actually become dangerous. You can also easily slip into gatekeeper mode.
It’s no fun at all when your family members can’t process the information (or tolerate hearing it) you convey to them information about establishment shenanigans. I explained to my mother, who I dearly love and vice versa, that here in Canada they would love to privatize Canada Post. I explained that once they do, they will prioritize profit-making over society-building and I gave her the example of how a privatized post office could decide to not service a sparsely populated area, such as my younger brother lives in, because it would cost more money than it would make. Private companies can do what they want. She exclaimed her horror at that prospect with something like “Evil communism!” She’s calling the exploitative capitalists here communists. I tried to tell her, to no avail, that she had it completely backwards.
‘If’ there’s a God, Will he bless those who reject him and attempt to take his place and then try to get others to follow their example? Maybe Americans, and the wider world, have the political leadership they deserve.
For now (See “The The Issue Of Universal Sovereignty plus What Is Satan’s Goal?”), Those who are not capable of making big decisions, along with those who are and who have chosen wisely, must endure the negative consequences of millions of others, including oppressors and oppressed, who play ‘riches for the strongest’. They must endure the negative consequences of the powerful and the powerless who have bought the Lie (1. biological evolution and 2. the force belief, which posits that everyone, including God, is partly evil and partly good) and endeavor to sell it to others. But ‘now’ isn’t ‘forever’.
In this dark world, People acquire power, usually, by breaking rules. They first get together with everyone else to work out the rules by which everyone will live, with the stated aim of achieving social harmony. Then they strategically break those rules and, ‘naturally’, look down on those who, unlike them, are too weak and frightened to do what it takes to ‘succeed’, they choose to believe. (Look at the lies the US told to Russia about NATO, which has become nothing more or less than a US imperial attack force. See Ray McGovern’s Baltimore Sun article titled “When the U.S. welched on Shevardnadze”. Look at George Kennan’s (1904-2005 / US diplomat and ex Soviet Ambassador) memo, labelled PPS23, which meddlers have removed from Kennan’s Wikipedia entry (at the time of my writing this). In it, that liberal dove, on the American political spectrum, wrote “Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.” As Chomsky notes about that top secret document, it was how these proponents of freedom and democracy and human rights etc talked to each other in private.
The establishment members’ rule-breaking puts them ahead of, and over, others. From positions of dominance, the rule-breakers can then dictate. They can use their power to guarantee political and economic outcomes and ensure that they and their’s are looked after. And they now have the freedom to enjoy pursuing more power, riches and glory via destruction, terror and darkness.
“The United States is not actually against terrorism per se, only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There is a lengthy and infamous history of Washington’s support for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. At this moment, Luis Posada Carriles remains protected by the US government, though he masterminded the blowing up of a Cuban airplane that killed 73 people. He’s but one of hundreds of anti-Castro terrorists who’ve been given haven in the United States over the years. The United States has also provided close support to terrorists, or fought on the same side as Islamic jihadists, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, and Syria, including those with known connections to al-Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.” -pg 17 of “America’s Deadliest Export,” by William Blum
Noam Chomsky has recently been talking about the world’s present day greatest terrorist operation (passed on to tool Trump who follows orders from the Deep State’s neocons who will let him have his crown provided he let’s them have their ‘bloody’ way), namely President Obama’s drone murders. (See “Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Drone Program ‘The Most Extreme Terrorist Campaign of Modern Times'” by Andrea Germanos. That is a Common Dreams article. Common Dreams is a pseudo progressive website, which I began to realize when it continued to serve as a conduit for [George Bush supported] Politico and carried, without disclaimers, articles by Russia destroyer Jeffrey Sachs and CIA asset Graham Fuller, just so you know. Then there was the jaw-dropping pro White Helmets episode. See 21st Century Wire or Off Guardian for info about the UK, mainly, funded terrorists known as the White Helmets). Andrea writes: “World-renowned linguist and scholar Noam Chomsky has criticized what he sees as Western hypocrisy following the recent terror attacks in Paris and the idea that there are two kinds of terrorism: “theirs versus ours.” …Offering further proof of what he describes as western hypocrisy towards terrorism, Chomsky takes aim at Obama’s drone program, which he describes as “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” It “target[s] people suspected of perhaps intending to harm us some day, and any unfortunates who happen to be nearby,” he writes.”
William Blum, in “America’s Deadliest Export,” mentions John Brady Kiesling. Kiesling was a political counselor at the US embassy in Athens until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Just before that invasion, he resigned. What he said in his letter of resignation is noteworthy. Here’s an excerpt:
It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.
The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of
Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security…
…Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?
‘Oderint dum metuant’ means ‘Let them hate as long as they fear’. (Encyclopedia Brittanica: Lucius Accius) One, People will hate those who attack them and rob them. Two, They will fear you while you are as powerful as you are, but they will most certainly notice you when you attack them. Therefore, The glory that you seek is ensured. Powerful, uncaring special interests (mainly the defense contractors) in the US want their government to go to war (previously with Iraq, now with Russia or China or North Korea – and in fact there’s a whole stable of targets and Donald Trump is president, unhinged, and has a cabinet full of war-minded ex-generals), might ‘profit’ from such war (provided nukes aren’t launched, which can’t be counted on) while they prove to the world, again, how strong they are. (But it won’t be profitable profit.) “Credibility” is the term they usually prefer in public. See page 135 of “The New Military Humanism – Lessons From Kosovo” by Noam Chomsky, for a good explanation of what leaders like Clinton and Bush I & II and Obama mean by “credibility.” But they have made an enemy out of one who is stronger. In time, O Benefactors. In time.
“However, there also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them was considered to be the greatest. But he said to them: “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way. But let the one who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one taking the lead as the one ministering. For which one is greater, the one dining or the one serving? Is it not the one dining? But I am among you as the one serving.”” – Jesus’s words as recorded at Luke 22:24-27
The lawless law & order crowd gets its glory by taking the means of survival from others, systematically, via capitalist expansion, which involves the use of force, and in other ways. When you take the means of survival from those who are not violent and who are therefore not inclined (before they are pushed too far) to destroy their destroyers, those victims can’t help but notice. The attention that the powerful get from their victims equals glory. And they are addicted to it, which is to say that, lacking humility, they enter onto a dark path – lawlessness, fascism, imperialism – that doesn’t make those on it enlightened, but which they can’t get off of because humility, which these lost ones lack, means being able to say “I made a mistake.” And the longer one walks that path, the more abased (reduced) that person becomes, even while he holds tighter to the idea that, in fact, he (or…) is exceptional, God even.
It’s like teenagers who are caught up in fashionable consumption. Capitalists can’t lose. You can sell teens expensive ‘ripped’ jeans and (harmful in some cases) cosmetics and all manner of apparel and accoutrements that make them look like clowns or homeless or ugly or scary or all of the above, and get away with it. Why? Because, Once you’ve made the decision to follow the crowd, for approval and to fit it, false pride – which most people possess – tells you what you are doing is okay and sensible because, after all, you’re okay and sensible. If you lack the wherewithal to reflect and think critically about what capitalist society and consumerism can do to you, then when you walk out into public looking like an idiot, you will tell yourself that you look great. Or at least not bad. And when you suck on a cancer causing cigarette or have to pull up your ugly, ripped jeans every two minutes or have them fall right to the ground, That’s because you’re cool. I also call that a lack of imagination. What is imagination? It’s brain power. And people have literally been turned into zombies in a myriad of ways, while they walk around looking for imaginary Pokemon monsters. They could stay home and look in the mirror, which a lot of us who have to deal with them would prefer.
The role of gatekeepers (which some gatekeepers will understand and some won’t) is to enable trouble-making, macho leaders to ignore the people who might want them to answer for their crimes. Gatekeepers are a wall between the 1% and the abused people. The 1% wants our attention. It just doesn’t want to answer for the crimes its members commit. It’s hard to get accountability from elites, from political and corporate leaders, when you are distracted, hindered, frustrated, abused and terrorized by gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are meant to keep the people off balance, distracted and unable to organize and effectively deal with their trouble-making leaders. The trouble that gatekeepers cause runs the entire gamut, from the smallest nuisance to murder, terror and torture.
I referred to an article by Ray McGovern, above. Ray McGovern was recently arrested, improperly (as in with physical brutality), when he attempted to attend a meeting that he had a ticket to attend. Here’s an excerpt from Robert Parry’s Consortium News article titled “When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News”:
McGovern, who has become a prominent critic of recent U.S. war policies (and who writes frequently for Consortiumnews.com), called me the day before the event and said he planned to attend Petraeus’s speech with hopes that he might be able to ask a question from the audience, like he had in challenging Rumsfeld.
But someone in authority apparently got wind of McGovern’s plan – he still is curious how that happened – and he was intercepted when he arrived at the 92nd Street Y. A security guard addressed him by name, “Ray, you’re not welcome here” – and the NYPD was prepositioned to arrest him.
As the police pinned his arms behind him – wrenching his injured shoulder – McGovern screamed in pain as bystanders unsuccessfully implored the police not to behave so brutally. The arrest was captured on an amateur video (uploaded to YouTube by April Watters). It is not pleasant to watch.
Probably some Americans feel that McGovern got what he deserved for even thinking about posing a pointed question to a “hero” like retired Gen. Petraeus, who was speaking along with one of his neocon friends, Council on Foreign Affairs honcho Max Boot, who, like Petraeus, had been all gung-ho for the Iraq War.
Having briefed senior U.S. government officials for years while at the CIA, McGovern is not intimidated by some growling response from a powerful man. Nor is he scared of getting booed by an audience enthrall[ed] to a famous speaker.
So, in that sense, McGovern might well have “disrupted” the event with an impertinent question, possibly about how the Iraqi Army that Petraeus has boasted about training so well collapsed in the face of ragtag militants from the Islamic State in 2014.
That might have caused an uncomfortable moment or two, but isn’t that what democracy and freedom of speech are all about, the ability for a citizen to question the mighty? And, really, is it the job of police in a “free society” to roughly arrest a citizen who objects to being denied entry to a public event because of his perceived political opinions – and to prevent the citizen from having the chance to ask a question?
Ray could, conceivably, find this essay interesting.
One (made up) example of self-appointed gatekeepers in action might be found in the workplace:
Your political views are leftwing and others happen to overhear when you say something about Stephen Harper’s (former Canadian Prime Minister) illegal military adventure in Libya (See chapter 4, “Bombing Libya,” of Yves Engler’s book, “The Ugly Canadian.”). A short time later, your boss takes you aside and tells you to not talk politics at work. (I’ve been there, although not in relation to this subject.) Usually, in such situations, others won’t care and you’ll garner little sympathy. That’s because others do ‘not’ care and don’t have any interest in the trouble that their political leaders cause, especially if it’s toward foreigners. What’s galling, but understandable, is that in such an environment, the unsympathetic bystanders, if sufficiently propagandized (largely via the weapon of tv), will themselves spout political ideas with impunity.
Having rightwing (the ‘right’) political views, they will feel safe (or safer than the person with leftwing views) saying a little bit about things, even under a gag order, because they know that their views are not controversial nor annoying. (Think about that when you read some of Robert Parry’s reports about journalists and news reporters asking group commanders in Ukraine about the neo-Nazis in their ranks and the uniforms and helmets with swastikas and other Nazi symbols on them. See, for example, “NYT Whites Out Ukraine’s Brown Shirts.”
Adults, leftwing and rightwing, don’t like to be ‘told’ in a disciplinary manner. I know. I’m an adult. But not all adults care passionately about human rights and about right and wrong. When a group is told to shut up about politics, those in the group who hold views that they know their boss and others with power don’t like will feel more upset by the gag order, and, because they are also more concerned with human rights and democracy than their uncaring and/or rightwing co-workers, they will feel offended and alarmed. Those who care: Be prepared. And when you find the crowd turning on you for doing nothing (indecent), remember, ‘You’ are the normal person.
The conservative London Telegraph offered more details about the Azov battalion in an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiver down Europe’s spine.
“Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”
Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the reality of the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
In other words, for the first time since World War II, a government had dispatched Nazi storm troopers to attack a European population – and officials in Kiev knew what they were doing. The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]
Uncle Sam is quite pleased with the Ukraine coup government’s fighters’ efforts, which, if successful, will help rid Ukraine of all who object to and oppose Ukraine becoming a neoliberal/neoconservative ally of the US and willing to assist in the US-led effort to isolate and destabilize (or worse) Russia. That little thing about Nazis and the terrorism they’ve been conducting? (See “Burning Ukraine’s Protesters Alive” by Robert Parry) No big deal. Forget about it.
William Blum has a section in “America’s Deadliest Export” on page 50 called “a tale of two terrorists.” Blum tells us what Zakarias Moussaoui said at his trial about 9-11 victims: “the sobbing September 11 survivors and family members who testified against him were ‘disgusting’… He and other Muslims want to ‘exterminate’ American Jews… executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was ‘the greatest American,'” and more.
Zakarias Moussaoui, the only 9-11 terrorist to go to trial, said those things at his trial, which didn’t end well for him. Whereas, Orlando Bosch, who was implicated in the 1976 downing of a Cuban passenger plane that killed 73 people, some whom were young people belonging to the Cuban fencing team, conveniently wrote them all off saying “I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant… We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that everyone who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny.” The tyrant is Fidel Castro. “The difference between Zacarias Moussaoui and Orlando Bosch is that one of them was put on trial and sentenced to life in prison while the other walks around Miami a free man, free enough to be interviewed on television,” writes Blum.
One, namely Bosch, was a gatekeeper. He possessed the ‘right’ political views from the standpoint of the 1% and it’s appendages, like the New York Times. They were both terrorists and deserving of harsh justice. But Bosch didn’t get harsh justice because he possessed the ‘right’ political views.
Certainly from the standpoint of Robert Parry, normal European citizens and normal people everywhere, the hired Ukrainian killers, sporting Nazi symbols and causing trouble for Ukrainian citizens who the media calls separatists for not wanting to live under a fascist, Western-backed coup leader, are gatekeepers. From uncle Sam’s, and the New York Time’s, standpoint, they are not gatekeepers (as I define them), or bad guys, but nationalists and the good guys fighting the good fight against the commies. (That’s leaders’ line. But they know better.)
The neo-Nazis who Petro Poroshenko is using to terrorize innocent eastern region Ukrainians are doing ‘serious’ gatekeeping. The boss who once told me to not talk about politics at work was doing not so ‘serious’ gatekeeping. Another example of seemingly small-scale gatekeeping can be found in John Kiriakou’s above interview with Amy Goodman. John is a very educated man. He felt that he could be productive and stay mentally fit in prison by teaching other inmates. Consider:
AMY GOODMAN: You wanted to be a GED instructor, but were told you had to be a janitor at the chapel?
JOHN KIRIAKOU: I did. Right. I have a master’s degree in legislative affairs, a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies, and I did my Ph.D. coursework at the University of Virginia in international relations. So I thought, “Well, I’ll make some good use of my time, and I’ll teach a GED class.” But when I volunteered, they told me, in not very nice language, “If we want you to teach an effing class, we’ll ask you to teach an effing class.” And so, I spent the next two years as a janitor in the chapel…
AMY GOODMAN: What most surprised you there, John?
JOHN KIRIAKOU: I was really surprised how prisoners are treated as – as not – not treated as human beings. They’re treated as somehow subhuman, people not to be respected, people about whose health we should not be concerned [with], people who don’t deserve a fair hearing. It’s warehousing, and it’s warehousing being overseen by flunkies and dropouts from the local police academy or people who couldn’t cut it in the military. They’re the people running our lives in prison.
It’s a real pathology. If you reject God and decide to replace him with yourself, then you will acquire an inner turmoil that you will never – until your complete destruction – lose. That inner turmoil translates into trouble that the perverted lawless one makes for others in an effort to prove a Lie (biological evolution plus the force belief) that he (or…) has embraced but can’t prove. The dark soul is, once he’s made choices and accepted certain ‘truths’ that he knows are false, ever after plagued with a mental itch stemming from a disturbance that his choice has created within his soul. (It’s essentially cognitive dissonance. “I’m a good person” now conflicts with “I’ve chosen a dark path.”) The dark soul deals with the disturbance, the itch, by attempting to prove the Lie to all who he encounters, for that is also his effort to prove it to himself. And since that can’t be done, the effort, namely his trouble-making, never ends. And when the dark soul is a powerful leader or influencer, the ramifications are ‘SERIOUS’.
A good example of someone clever and influential with political leaders, who in turn each set a bad example for millions, is provided by Noam Chomsky in his book “Masters Of Mankind.” Chapter 3, “The Divine License To Kill,” examines the twisted thinking of “the official establishment theologian,” Reinhold Niebuhr. Here’s a snippet of chapter 3 of Chomsky’s book:
“Throughout [Niebuhr’s Irony of American History], Niebuhr affirms the platitudes of the period. He opens by declaring that “Everybody understands the obvious meaning of the world struggle in which we are engaged. We are defending freedom against tyranny and are trying to preserve justice” against the depredations of the Evil Empire. It was obvious then, as it is now, that reality was not quite that simple. Only a year before, Hans Morgenthau had written that our “holy crusade to extirpate the evil of Bolshevism” concealed “a campaign to outlaw morally and legally all popular movements favoring social reform and in that fashion to make the status quo impregnable to change” – a status quo highly favorable to the interests of the owners and managers of American society, and their intellectual retinue. Barely a glimmer of the evolving realities appears in Niebuhr’s diffuse and abstract presentation, just as there is hardly more than a hint that there was some slight taint in our “historical innocence.”” -pgs 67 & 68
Also, That dark soul has a need to be sure that he is right, that he can’t be corrected by the God he has rejected. “There can’t be a real God because if there is, I’m in BIG trouble!” How does he attempt to fulfill that need? He attempts to fulfill that need by calling to God – a God of love – to “Bring it!” How does he do that? Anything perverted, antisocial and vile that he might do is good, but the more horrifying or perverted the atrocities committed, the better, for if evil deeds that cause the innocent to suffer are going to get God’s attention, then you would want them to be as evil as you can make them.
“But the nations became wrathful and your own wrath came… The fifth one poured out his bowl on the throne of the wild beast. And its kingdom became darkened, and they began to gnaw their tongues because of their pain, but they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their ulcers, and they did not repent of their works.” – Revelation 11:18a;16:10,11
Imagine! Segments of the American ruling class want to do full on war, nuclear and all, with Russia and/or China! Just because. That isn’t going to bring democracy, enlightenment or liberation to anyone. Unless you are talking about liberation from life. Rational people might ask, “Have they lost their minds?” The answer is: You don’t get brighter the longer you walk on the path of darkness and the longer you lie to yourself and others. You are dangerous when you deny reality (global warming, nukes are not good – for anyone). Nuclear war with Russia can’t prove that American leaders are strong, let alone God.
“At Munich Conference, US Hawks Press for Military Escalation Towards Russia,” is the title of Sarah Lazare’s Common Dreams article. In it, she notes that “U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vigorously pressed for more western military backing of Ukraine and escalation towards Russia, openly clashing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and pointing towards a deepening transatlantic rift over strategy.” Stephen Cohen also talks to Amy Goodman about that cabal’s desire to go to war with Russia.
God is there. He has his timetable. And, for now, God needs to know who (among those capable of choosing) wants to remain when this godless world (system of things) is destroyed and who wants to be destroyed.
“But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the truth in order that they might be saved. That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them, so that they may come to believe the lie in order that they may all be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
For now, People must be very free (still within limits, although it doesn’t always seem that way) to behave the way that they want, so that they may believe what they want. (‘Clearly’ ask God to take you out of existence if you want to have an expectation that it will happen.) And those who call for God to “Bring it!” should think about that.
Gatekeepers are bad people. Look at the kinds of people who gatekeepers protect and enable! Theoretically, gatekeepers can be leftwing. But here’s the problem. If Left is not a moral equivalent to Right, which is my view, and if lawlessness is the law on the Right, which is also my opinion, then the world, while God allows it to go its own way, is going to come to be ruled by rightwing forces who are, unlike those with principles, willing to break rules, which brings you power. The idea of leftwing – referring to a ‘real’ Left – gatekeepers doesn’t have much to support it and makes little sense.
Gatekeepers are those with the ‘right’ political views, which basically just means that they, in some way, protect the powerful, who today are called the 1%, and make trouble for the 99%, namely the people (not all whom are righteous) who the exploiters and their political partners have attacked. And, as I’ve explained, they’ve also attacked God, slaughtering his standards, seeking to replace him and calling him to bring it. (We don’t know what God’s wrath, or response, namely Armageddon, will look like because God isn’t like the lawless, vicious wild beast of corporatocracy.)
Because those gatekeepers have the right political views, which can be fully or partially formed political views or just an uncritical acceptance of what (rightwing) authorities say, they will find that they have enormous freedom. Anyone can be a self-appointed gatekeeper (which doesn’t require self-awareness about one’s gatekeeper role, but doesn’t exclude it). Someone educated, professional and powerful can be a self-appointed gatekeeper. Someone who lives on the street who watches an American president, on the tv in the common room in the shelter he is in for the night, talking about war with the evil commie Russian leader (where, today, the Communist Party is the opposition, lol) and shouting out “God damn commies!” is a self-appointed gatekeeper, if he shows attitude toward those around him who see things differently. The range is wide. A self-appointed gatekeeper can also be rich and powerful, poor and powerless, or anyone in between.
Appointed gatekeepers are not likely going to be homeless people. Appointed gatekeepers will be conscious of their gatekeeper role, no doubt in varying degrees. In a mafia capitalist system, that’s just not mysterious. Please power and increase your chances of survival. Sin and survive. And, note, The powerful teach that to the people – mainly by example – even if some of them would deny it. That is reprehensible, which means that it’s worse than it normally would be because those perpetrating the crime know better and have no excuse. (President Trump publicly expressed that very principle. He will do things for people and then expect them to do things for him.) As Jesus Christ said, “If the light that is in you is really darkness, then how great that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:23)
While the YouTube video (from SyrianGirlpartisan’s YouTube account) is available:
As for self-appointed gatekeepers, They aren’t always powerless. I see no reason why they can’t be organizations sometimes. Or a number of individual gatekeepers may be brought together in order to employ their dark arts. And they can be very powerful and scary when they operate as a group, especially if the CIA or some such agency with resources backs it. Look at PropOrNot. The state is a big fan of terrorism done by its supporters. Bill Moyers recalls a story he heard from his father in his Common Dreams article titled “The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never Far Away.” (See a picture of Jesse Washington, after his murder, at the Library of Congress website). People, including those clutching Christian, and other, Bibles, and Korans, who have abandoned God (and, often, seek to replace him) are capable of committing the absolutely worst, unimaginable atrocities (Islamic terrorists for example.) Bill’s story is much like another told by Chris Hedges in his pointed and angry book “Death Of The Liberal Class.” Chris tells the story of a group of gatekeepers who got away with murder, with their defense counsel arguing that the mob had simply committed “patriotic murder.” But when the state is controlled by godless monsters, What is patriotism?
From Bill Moyers’s article, the following:
“Here is the photograph. Take a good look at Jesse Washington’s stiffened body tied to the tree. He had been sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. No witnesses saw the crime; he allegedly confessed but the truth of the allegations would never be tested. The grand jury took just four minutes to return a guilty verdict, but there was no appeal, no review, no prison time. Instead, a courtroom mob dragged him outside, pinned him to the ground, and cut off his testicles. A bonfire was quickly built and lit. For two hours, Jesse Washington – alive – was raised and lowered over the flames. Again and again and again. City officials and police stood by, approvingly. According to some estimates, the crowd grew to as many as 15,000. There were taunts, cheers and laughter. Reporters described hearing “shouts of delight.”
“When the flames died away, Washington’s body was torn apart and the pieces were sold as souvenirs. The party was over…
“Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads. Between 1882 and 1968 – 1968! – there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the US. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks…
“Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot’s horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us.”
The Jordanian pilot? In case you don’t know, even though you should: “Video Purportedly Shows Jordanian Pilot Burned Alive By ISIS” is the title of the Common Dreams article by Common Dreams staff.
From page 79 of Chris Hedges’s “Death Of The Liberal Class,” the following:
An angry mob in Van Houten, New Mexico, accused an immigrant miner of supporting Germany. The mob forced him to kneel before them, kiss the flag, and shout, “To hell with the Kaiser.” Robert Prager, a German-born coal miner, was accused in April 1918 by a crowd that swelled to 500 people of hoarding explosives outside of St. Louis. Prager, who had tried to enlist in the navy but had been rejected on medical grounds, was stripped, bound with an American flag, dragged barefoot and stumbling through the streets, and lynched as the mob cheered. At the trial of the leaders of the lynch mob, who appeared in court wearing red, white and blue ribbons, their defense counsel argued that the killing was justifiable “patriotic murder.” It took the jury twenty-five minutes to return a not guilty verdict. One jury member shouted out, “Well, I guess nobody can say we aren’t loyal now.” The Washington Post wrote that “in spite of the excesses such as lynching, it is a healthful and wholesome awakening of the interior of the country.” The explosives that Prager was alleged to be harboring were never found.”
I’m a Christian (who has no use for the beliefs and behavior, and organizations, of most of those who also call themselves Christians), so forgive me for tossing out scriptures and Christian ideas. You don’t have to believe the way I do. And if you choose not to, that won’t, in itself, be something I hold against you. Same goes for God. I will offer a last, Christian, thought about all of this.
Gatekeepers are the opposite of whistleblowers. Gatekeepers take the easy, but unprincipled road that leads to life. Whistleblowers are also interested in the good life, but for all. And they realize that a good life that comes from doing bad things doesn’t work. In the long run, it ‘really’ doesn’t work. Those who own and run the world are not just living the good life – if they are quite high up – but they are responsible for literally destroying our livable earth. They have broken agreements and rules and laws in order to get to the top, but in the course of getting there, they have broken the livable earth. Powerful special interests support each other. Among them are the polluters and fossil fuel addicts, not to mention the nuclear club. And we aren’t able to stop them. William Blum, in his book “America’s Deadliest Export,” says that deep down he believes that the people are outgunned by the 1%. I don’t know why that would be “deep down,” but, yes, we are outgunned. (But ‘we the people’ are not the 1%’s only enemy.) We read daily in the news, especially the alternative news, about how we the people are outgunned – if we properly digest what we read, which reportage often includes bravado. (Bravado is where you have a story that in fact shows the people to be outgunned but the author(s) concludes with a verbal pumping of the fist and a declaration that “The people will prevail!” Bravado is problematic. ‘Succeed’ first, rather than promise you’ll succeed. Otherwise, If you don’t succeed the way you said you ‘would’, that just ends up demoralizing people.)
Jesus told his followers to walk on the cramped road to life and to avoid the wide and spacious road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). He wasn’t saying that those who choose the wide and spacious road want destruction or discomfort. He was simply alluding to the fact that while we may all want the good life, you can’t just get it any old way. The road that is cramped isn’t unpleasant, although it easily becomes unpleasant when others, who have chosen the other road, feel judged by you for your choice and choose to punish you for it. What can be done about that? The ‘cramped’ nature of the road to life simply means that we are bound by rules, which is not a bad thing. Try crossing the street when it’s very busy. The rule is: ‘Wait until it’s clear before attempting to walk across the road because in a crash contest with a moving vehicle, pedestrians will lose’. So, You can ignore that rule or obey it. You are free to disobey that rule, but not free to avoid the consequences.
I’m reminded of a Bible story about the apostle Paul. When Paul was addressing the Corinthians, he told them, essentially, that they can get to know his words or his power. “For the Kingdom of God is a matter not of speech but of power. Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and mildness of spirit?” Those who ignore reality set themselves up for learning life’s lessons the hard way, an example set by our first human parents, Adam and Eve. (1Corinthians 4:20,21) It’s a free universe. The Kingdom of God is absolutely a matter of words, to the extent even that his Son is also called the Word, but it is absolutely underpinned by God’s irresistable power.
Along the same lines, Jesus told his followers “If anyone wants to come after me, Let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and keep following me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16: 24,25) The evidence that exists, incidentally, points to the instrument used to kill Jesus as being a stake, not a cross. But this world’s churches prefer the ‘cross’ because they are this world’s churches. Lying comforts them. It’s a badge. It’s a mark which they show to each other to gain acceptance and access. Christendom, a part of global false religion, took the easy way and partnered with the powerful (as a collective gatekeeper); in the process helping to corrupt millions of followers. But the Christian Bible, which Church leaders know (Revelation 16:10,11), clearly states that the ‘kings’ of the earth with whom Babylon The Great, the whore of false religion, commits adultery, turn on her. The ‘kings’, meaning the ‘secular realm’, are who they are. The whore is who she is.
The time to care, my friends, is ‘before’ the catastrophe, not after, which is a lesson taught by Jesus (recorded in chapter 16 of the Bible book of Luke) in a colorful parable about a rich, uncaring man who dies and meets up with Abraham and a poor beggar who used to sit on the floor where the rich man feasted, hoping for falling scraps. In death, the rich man sees the error of his ways. But it’s too late. He’s screwed. ‘Death’ here symbolizes ‘judgment’ that is known by those earn it, namely those who feel the pain of their judgment and respond, as the above scripture indicates, by cursing God, and, I might add, by calling him to “Bring it!” And that doesn’t mean that literal death isn’t involved. (See Revelation chapter 18 for information on the destruction of Babylon The Great.)
If there is a real God (not humankind), Do you suppose that gatekeepers will get a more favorable hearing before our Judge than whistleblowers?