“Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” – Jesus Christ at Matthew 15:14
The first thing to consider here is the word “progressive.” Just because a label is affixed to a product, that doesn’t mean that the truth is being told by that label about that product. Look at John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress for example. Kennedy’s AFP was bogus. It had nothing to do with a concern for those less fortunate or in need of assistance or democracy or any of the other wonderful things that are suggested by the political statements of its promoters. Kennedy’s AFP was about counterrevolution and the health of American capitalism, period.
From pages 414 & 438 of “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001” by Howard Zinn:
Before the war was over, the administration was planning the outlines of the new international economic order, based on partnership between government and big business. Lloyd Gardner says of Roosevelt’s chief adviser, Harry Hopkins, who had organized the relief programs of the New Deal: “No conservative outdid Hopkins in championing foreign investment, and its protection.”
The poet Archibald MacLeish, then an Assistant Secretary of State, spoke critically of what he saw in the postwar world: “As things are now going, the peace we will make, the peace we seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a piece of shipping, a peace, in brief… without moral purpose or human interest…”
During the war, England and the United States set up the International Monetary Fund to regulate international exchanges of currency; voting would be proportional to capital contributed, so American dominance would be assured. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was set up, supposedly to help reconstruct war-destroyed areas, but one of its first objectives was, in its own words, “to promote foreign investment.”
The economic aid countries would need after the war was already seen in political terms: Averell Harriman, ambassador to Russia, said in early 1944: “Economic assistance is one of the most effective weapons at our disposal to influence European political events in the direction we desire…”
When John F. Kennedy took office, he launched the Alliance for Progress, a program of help for Latin America, emphasizing social reform to better the lives of people. But it turned out to be mostly military aid to keep in power right-wing dictatorships and enable them to stave off revolutions.
From pages 16 & 17 of “War Without End – American Planning for the Next Vietnams” by Michael Klare (published 1970, 1971, 1972):
Any discussion of American investment in the Third World must be qualified by taking into account a recent shift in attitude on the part of U.S. businessmen, particularly the most established and secure among them. In the past decade there has been a trend toward increased investment in manufacturing enterprises and consumer industries. This trend has been accompanied by calls for enlightened social and economic progress in the Third World: agrarian reform, diversification, tariff reform, the creation of regional common markets, and the development of a prosperous middle class. (These are the themes, for instance, that emerge from John F. Kennedy’s plan for the Alliance for Progress and Nelson Rockefeller’s 1969 report to President Nixon, Quality of Life in the Americas.”) The impetus behind these progressive prescriptions is not so much a humanitarian concern for the peoples of the poorer nations as an acknowledgment of the changing needs of the American economy. The Third World is no longer exclusively seen as a source of raw materials but as a potentially vast market for the changing products of American industry, including heavy machinery, high-technology goods, and expensive consumer items.
Major reforms will be necessary for the Third World to absorb new products and investments. The old mechanisms which caused ever-increasing impoverishment must be modified and replaced with new structures that permit the retention of some local wealth and encourage the development of a consumption-oriented middle class. Hence the “progressive” attitudes of some U.S. businessmen that have surfaced – the willingness to invest in local industrial enterprises, to employ more foreign managers and technicians, and so forth. These trends, and the new ideologies of “modernization” with which they are celebrated, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that current U.S. economic practices – no less than those of the past – are designed to service the metropolitan economy by controlling the inputs and outputs of Third World economies.
Elsewhere in “War Without End,” Klare explains that while he uses the conventional phrase, ‘Third World’, that is, in fact, a misnomer. Originally, it meant The West, plus the Soviet Union, plus the rest of the world which was behind the West in development. The Soviet Union was still there when Klare published this book, but he explains that there is a problem with the phrase for the reason that it implies that the undeveloped, or developing, countries were independent and their stage of development was a result solely of their own decisions and actions, when, in fact, they were (and are) only as developed as the US needs them to be for the US-designed and -dominated global capitalist system to function optimally, from the US’s standpoint. Where does that leave us now? There’s only one superpower that dominates the world, even if that dominance has to be constantly maintained with a lot of effort (and taxpayer dollars). And even if there are States here and there that resist absorption into the wild beast of Corporatocracy which the US – the wild beast that ascends out of the earth – leads, It still ‘does’ lead, or maintain and dominate the Corporatocracy system. (Part of what enables the US to continuing to dominate the world is its easy recourse to violence and terror. If the US ruling classes had any loyalty to law & order, That is to say if their rhetoric about law & order wasn’t just rhetoric and if they believed in law & order on principle, then not only would other States and peoples not be threatened, and, here and there, destroyed, by uncle Sam, but uncle Sam could be a meaningful force for law & order on the planet due to its power and influece.) There’s lots of chatter about how the era of the US superpower’s dominance is over, but that era isn’t over yet. Furthermore, from a (Christian) Bible standpoint, the US superpower will be this dark world’s last superpower before Armageddon (which does ‘not’ destroy the liveable earth) and the end of this evil system of things. Do you suppose that if the US was truly knocked off of its perch, then the rest of this Godless world would suddenly embrace equality and peace and security for all? The great powers, without missing a beat, would jockey for the position of ruler of the world.
As Noam Chomsky says, on page 63 of “Deterring Democracy,” “…the term “aid” is a euphemism for methods by which the taxpayer funds business efforts to enhance market penetration and investment opportunities.” And it’s not pretty when the ‘progressive’ capitalists have no principles nor normal human compassion, for which reason Chomsky and Edward Herman, in “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism,” on page 67, state that “Terror keeps the neo-colonial elites in power and the investment skies sunny.”
It is a common theme that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal…is in decline, ominously facing the propspect of its final decay.” This theme, articulated in the summer 2011 issue of the journal of the Academy of Political Science, is indeed widely believed – and with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. The decline has in fact been underway since the high point of U.S. power shortly after World War II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the decade of triumphalism after the Soviet Union imploded was mostly self-delusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary – that power will shift to China and India – is highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite America’s decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power.” -pg 57 of “Who Rules The World?” by Noam Chomsky
Now, What do we say when well-intentioned people, who call themselves progressives, get it mostly right, but now and then just choose – knowingly and willingly – to get it wrong? (Is that okay?) I see that all the time. The ‘wrong’ is sometimes serious. Craig Murray, a popular progressive up and one day does a blog post about what a good guy George Soros is. Craig’s post (“Scruton and Soros”) ignores the evil that George has done. He instead mentions the time that George bought him a whole pizza. I am sure that most of the monsters we learn about in our history books will be found to be okay neighbors, and, when not plotting destruction, friendly and engaging. So what? (“The Beer President,” by Kurt A. Gardinier, makes that point. Other points he makes in his HuffPost article aren’t very good. HuffPost is ‘not’ a progressive news and info source.) Also, There are other self-identified progressives, such as Frank Barat and Ben Hayes, who support George Soros. Those two authored a Transnational Institute article titled “Europe’s offensive against people helping refugees.” They may be defending a position taken by George Soros rather than George Soros specifically, but I note that TNI is funded in part by a Soros entity called “Open Society Institute.” I mention this in my ‘about’ titled “Who Is Arrby?”
“Mozilla Joins George Soros’s Efforts In Launching A Strike Against “Fake News”” by Aaron Kesel (Activist Post)
“Soros Plays Both Ends in Syria Refugee Chaos” by F. William Engdhal
“Avaaz: clicktivist heroes or Soros wolf in woolly disguise?” by BlackCatte (This article is on the Off Guardian website, where I was attacked by an editor who didn’t like my objection to The Saker’s anti-human rights position on homosexuals. See my previous blog post titled “Off Guardian’s Vaska attacks me for pointing out that Saker’s rules for posting include a ban on pro-homosexual ‘ranting’!”) Have a look at The Saker’s “Moderation Policy (UPDATED May 30th, 2018,” below. Right click to see the image and then click again on the magnifying icon to see it clearly. (Use the back button to return to this post.) He (Andrei Raevsky) doesn’t get human rights. I won’t say that he doesn’t care about them, because I’m sure that he does. But he doesn’t get them, even though he seems smart enough. He really strikes me as sort of nasty. He invites visitors to his site who don’t support him almost 100% to buzz off, in so many words. I have no desire to visit his website and groan when something I’m reading links to a Saker article. One (unexplained) example of his weirdness/harshness: “13) New! I am banning any and all references to use of tactical nuclear weapons, including alleged use of tactical nukes by Israel in Syria or Lebanon, or by anybody (including the USA or Israel) in Yemen. In fact from now on, I am the ONLY person allowed to report the use of tactical nuclear weapons.”
The Saker provides a link to EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), no doubt supposing that it’s a progressive organization. I did myself until a short time ago. The privacy browser, Tor, was created, funded and is sill funded by the US government. Yasha Levine uncovers all of this in his book, “Surveillance Valley.” Those, like Edward Snowden, who push Tor, are a part of the problem (of the abusive State and its war against the people and privacy), rather than part of the solution. Writes Levine;
“The first big flag was its Silicon Valley support. Privacy groups funded by companies like Google and Facebook, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight For The Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most dedicated backers. Google had directly bankrolled its development, paying out generous grants to college students who worked at Tor during their summer vacations. Why would an Internet company whose entire business rested on tracking people online promote and help develop a powerful privacy tool? Something didn’t add up…
“What wasn’t clear, and what became apparent as I investigated Tor further, was why the US government supported it.
“A big part of Tor’s mystique and appeal was that it was supposedly a fiercely independent and radical organization – an enemy of the state… But as I analyzed the organization’s financial documents, I found that the opposite was true.”
And so on. Fake progressive outlet, The Intercept, attacked Yasha Levine for investigating and reporting all of this. The Intercept is part of billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s First Look organization. Pierre Omidyar is another George Soros. He’s a player and a trouble-maker. He helped fund the EuroMaidan movement in Ukraine that led to its becoming a full-fledged Nazi nation, forcing Russian-speaking Crimeans to seek aid from Russia, which then annexed it – with a majority of Crimea’s residents supporting the move. Nazis hate Russians. Ukrainian nazis hate Russian-speaking people, whether they are Ukrainian or not. And that’s why the US helped nudge this awful progression of events to the point where Nazis are back in power in Europe and rampaging; It is part of the US’s war against Russia.
“One consequence of the US incorporating the Nazi war machine was the deep-chilling effect on Western-Soviet relations. The Soviet Union had borne the brunt of Nazi aggression during the Second World War, with as many as 50 million of its citizens killed. It is not hard to imagine how the redeployment by the US of Nazi spies, intelligence, commandos and Eastern European puppets must have appeared then to Moscow. It was an unspeakable betrayal and de facto declaration of war by its former war-time ally.” – Finian Cunningham
“Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show” by Mark Ames (Pando Daily)
“On the importance of keeping investors out of the newsroom, and not treating your readers like fools” by Paul Bradley Carr (Pando Daily)
“Revealed: Visitor logs show full extent of Pierre and Pamela Omidyar’s cozy White House ties” by Paul Bradley Carr (Pando Daily)
Also, I’ve been watching in horror for the last few years as progressive orgs (The Intercept for example), and progressives, switch sides completely, betraying the progressive community that they helped build. I’m not talking about mistakes by imperfect human beings. I was at work some time ago and a new hire (for the company I do security for) was cleaning where I happened to be and we were both chatting and listening to Democracy Now which happened to be on the radio that the girl was listening to. The girl had told me that she’s a progressive but didn’t know a whole lot. She peppered me with lots of questions. I told her that until that very moment I would have recommended Democracy Now as a good source of info. The show we were listening to, to my horror, was presenting White Helmets propaganda. I explained to the new girl that that was a big fail and I explained to her why, telling her that she could get information about the White Helmets from any number of genuinely progressive sites. I don’t remember whether I recommended 21st Century Wire, but I probably did, since they’re most likely the best progressive site for that. (I’d also recommend Vanessa Beeley’s site, “The Wall Must Fall,” although it’s a poorly organized site. Sites where, instead of a search feature, you are given a chronological list of dates called “archives,” are simply not otpimally or usefully organized. We’re supposed to do random research, an oxymoron, apparently.) They have a dedicated section on the White Helmets terrorists, who George Clooney wants to do a movie about because not only is that what Hollywood/CIA/Pentagon/NSA does, but Clooney himself is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization that is as evil as they come. In These Times (online and print) was one of my first encounters with alternative media. (I bought many printed issues of In These Times magazine back in the day.) The magazine self-identifies as progressive. It carried an article praising Clooney’s acceptance into the CFR, but you won’t find it now. They’ve scrubbed it.
There’s a couple of things I will say about the sad reality of progressives and progressive organizations going over to the dark side.
One, When progressives, who know better, choose to be evil, then onlookers who don’t possess a moral foundation (for whatever reason) observe that behavior and it mystifies them. What conclusions do those mystified people come to about behavior from people who they know know better? The logical conclusion would be: “I guess bad must sometimes be good.” Do people who acquire such a belief now find it easier or harder to do evil themselves? I would imagine that the progressive purveyors of mysterious lawlessness simply tell themselves (in an effort to rationalize and justify) that they’ve done more good than bad and that’s all that matters. Well, We all have to live with ourselves.
Also, There is no rule that says that good people can’t, at any point in time, up and decide to be evil. In this system of things, not only can people decide to be evil – which we will forever be free to do – but evildoers are then allowed to influence society around them. In the system of things to come, people will be free to reject God and his standards, as they are free to do now, but they won’t be able to influence society around them. (See my essay titled “The Issue Of Universal Sovereignty plus What Is Satan’s Goal.”) Now, Even if we were we able to elect good people – which we can no longer do, due to the fact that electoral systems have been captured by powerful, uncaring special interests – there is nothing preventing those politicians from up and deciding to switch sides, to leave the light and enter the darkness. In the new world to come, those who embrace evil will simply die in disgrace, unable to influence society around them and unable to extricate themselves from the fate that they have chosen. But in this system of things, politicians who sell their souls – and only God can judge whether that’s actually happened – can go on to cause a lot of trouble. That reminds me of the Minister/President of Wallonia, Paul Magnette, who, because of EU rules about ratifying trade deals, was able to hold up the pernicious CETA (trade deal) by refusing to sign on, until he changed his mind. See my blog post titled “The Complexities And Pathology Of The Neoliberal/Neconservative Order.” And I recently came across a report by James Corbett about Nicolas Maduro’s decision – ‘if’ the report is true – to foist a Chinese-designed ID card plus on Venezuelans that would allow the Venezuelan government to track citizens ‘and’ reward them for good behavior or punish them for bad behavior. I have read nothing else about this, but if it’s true, then it’s awful and an example of a good person, and leader, suddenly switching sides and joining the camp of evildoers.
Let’s call that camp, as the prophet Ezekiel seems to, “Gog’s Crowd.” (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39) ‘Gog’, meaning ‘darkness’, is another name for Satan and is given to him in order to call attention to his new role, in these last days, which sees him launching an all-out (think of Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley,” or James Bamford’s “The Shadow Factory”) psychological/spiritual attack on humankind that results in a unique darkness and an actual physical assault on all religionists, including the small handful of religionists who have actually stayed loyal to Jehovah God (which is what brings Jehovah and Jesus into the picture in an active way that results in the destruction of this system of things.) And in the same way, Gog’s attack sees the wild beast of Corporatocracy going all-out to kill communication between citizens that it doesn’t like, branding real news as fake and vice versa. When the Corporatocracy State (which includes officially non government actors like the companies that make up Silicon Valley) succeeds in that, then what’s left is propaganda, or, in other words, darkness. (Gog’s Crowd may be, specifically, those – among the resource-rich Right – who actively create and push the fake news that is branded as authentic. It would be acceptable, in my view, to associate regular people who don’t care about any of that with Gog’s Crowd.) It is reacting to the education and information power of the internet, which has allowed regular people to finally get a good look at both the inner workings of States that do imperialism, with taxpayer dollars that benefits only 1% of the citizens, and it doesn’t like that. Wikileaks has played a big role in enabling people to know what their governments are up to, although that alone won’t make people care. That’s an individual choice and too many regular people also don’t care. That’s why I often refer to the 1% of the 99%. The 99% percent may be victims of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, but that doesn’t automatically make them righteous. And they’ve proven to not be.
It’s impossible to know when a betrayal of the people is done under special duress. The Christian Bible makes it clear that we are all under compulsion to get the mark of the beast, which beast I refer to as the wild beast of Corporatocracy, for that is was that beast has become. In ancient times, slaves were branded. Those who knowingly and willingly choose to work for the wild beast of Corporatocracy and its invisible master, Satan, aka Gog, are those who therefore possess the slave’s mark of 666. The number 6, in the Bible, symbolizes missing the mark from God’s standpoint, while the number 3 symbolizes emphasis. We know that from the way those numbers are used in the Bible. We are all cogs in the machinery of the Corporatocracy, but not all of us are willing cogs who don’t resist or at least speak out against the evil of this system of things. The Christian Bible talks about supporters of Jesus among his opposers (such as Nicodemus), who, for fear of what their associates would do if they knew, kept quiet. They sometimes found small ways to resist the murderous, vicious false religionsts whose camp was also their camp. Paul himself was a Pharisee but found the courage to come out about it, although I wonder about Paul. Some point to his writings as proof that Paul’s thinking and writing undermined Christ’s message and, in some cases, I can see their point. Presenting the secular authorities as being approved by God doesn’t work for me. Is Paul only saying that God allows the secular authorities to exist, for a good purpose? That’s a different thing. I’d have to read all of Paul’s writings, again, to know. It’s been a while since I read the Bible that way. (See Romans chapter 13) Jesus wisely counselled others to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s but he did not in any way suggest that Caesar was divinely appointed. Paul, unfortunately, seems to enter such territory. (I can’t call the Christian Bible perfect. But I’m not ready to say that it’s not inspired, even if that part of it that was inspired has had manmade material attached to it. As well, It’s plain stupid to posit that the Christian Bible is ‘not’ a historical record, for it most certainly is.)
John Perkins, in his (very flawed) “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man,” which was published in 2016, tells the story of his friend and former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Rafael was determined to not let the Corporatocracy get to him and cause ruin to Ecuadorian society and its Amazonian rainforest. He was determined to resist the pressure to allow oil companies into Ecuador to plunder. But he later reversed himself and attacked an organization that John was involved with called Fundación Pachamama, which organization was engaged in trying to keep out the oil companies.
“In 1994, my Ecuadorian friend Daniel Koupermann had insisted that I meet with Achuar leaders deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Achuar, like the Tunduam and the Shuar, belive that the world is as you dream it, and they’d had a communal dream. They asked me to help them form a partnership with people from the countries whose oil and other corporations threatened to destroy Achuar lands and culture – and, they said, the entire human presence on this planet.
“I had delivered that message to a person I’d recently met, who impressed me as a powerful activist, Lynne Twist. In 1995, she, her husband Bill, and I took a small group of people into the jungle, to the Achuar. At the end of that trip, those people donated more than $100,000 to start the nonprofit that became the Pachamama Alliance.
“After that, I had pretty much dropped out of the picture… By the time I had my postoperative mind-set change, in 2005, the Pachamama Alliance was doing more than just helping the Achuar; its offspring, Fundación Pachamama, an Ecuadorian nonprofit, was committed to keeping oil companies off lands inhabited by many other indigenous nations…
“Soon I was back in Ecuador. The Fundación Pachamama office in Quito was buzzing. During the past decade, the country had suffered many political upheavals… Now a very different type of politician had emerged.
“His name was Rafael Correa…
“This new presidential candidate was very much a man of the world. Handsome, intelligent, and charismatic, he spoke English, French, and Quechua in addition to his native Spanish. His wife was Belgian, and was very familiar with both European and American politics. He understood the dangers of the system he faced when he advocated a platform of reforms that included reining in big oil and protecting the rain forests.” -pages 228 & 229 of “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man”
Then there’s the story of Barack Obama, who, before becoming president, said amazing, progressive, things. “idealistic Candidate Obama” said, in 2007: “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America.” The “tame and reluctant President Obama,” David Macaray notes, “has never used the bully pulpit to lobby for what is, undeniably, the country’s heart and soul, not to mention its largest voting block: working people.” (from the entry titled “Friends Without Benefits: Obama and Organized Labor” in “Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion,” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair & Joshua Frank, published in 2012. That book contains 54 proper entries by 49 different authors, including the editors.) Obama broke virtually every promise he made when he was campaigning to become president. One other example of the character of Barack Obama, the traitor, is offered by Ronnie Cummins in his entry for “Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.” Consider: “Like Obama’s campaign promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; like his promises to bring out-of-control banksters and oil companies under control; like his promises to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution and create millions of green jobs; Obama has not come through on his 2008 campaign promise to labe GMOs. His unilateral approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa, overruling the federal courts, scientists, and the organic community, offers the final proof: don’t hold your breath for this man to do anything that might offend Monsanto or Corporate America.”
Macaray has far less reason to believe that “In trying to account for Obama’s stunning betrayal of labor,” we should imagine that it was only a consequence of Obama being “simply a political lightweight, a dilettante,” than we have to believe that Rafael Correa willingly betrayed his principles (which, before he broke, he actually demonstrated) and his people. I think that David Macaray is going in the wrong direction when he vehemently denies that “Obama is way more conservative and establishment-minded than he made himself out to be” and is in fact “a closet aristocrat and union-hater.” At least Macary acknowledges that that explanation is “not wholly implausible.” (See “Pro-Clinton Probe of 2016 Reveals That, Yes, Democrats Have a ‘Wall Street Problem'” by Lauren McCauley [Common Dreams])
Incidentally, I find it interesting that after reading “Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion,” I later had reason to find fault with one of the editors, namely Jeffrey St. Clair, and one of the contributors, namely Sibel Edmonds. I blogged about both incidents. And I note that other commenters online have found Jeffrey St. Clair’s CounterPunch to be not solid, even if it still carries some great authors, like Paul Street and Yves Engler. (See “Never meet your heroes they say. Is this why?” and “The Destruction, Or Self-Destruction, Of Newsbud.”) The interesting thing about those betrayers is that, before their betrayals, if they had suddenly decided to run for office and I was able to vote for them – even though I have no use for captured electoral systems – I’d consider it. If someone like Noam Chomsky ran for political office, until now I would have absolutely voted for him were I able to. Can we fix things – this (money) system of things – on our own? If our – progressives – education has led us to believe that we can, then, I would argue, our education has been seriously flawed and we haven’t made the kind of progress that we need to make in that important area. We need to not only look before we leap, but see clearly. And, Who are we?
“Unless Jehovah himself builds the house, It is in vain that its builders work hard on it.” – Psalm 127:1a
“Although the attempted coup against Correa had failed, on another level it had succeeded… Correa had reversed his previous position and had posted “for sale to oil companies” signs on more than six million acres in thirteen areas of the Amazon, known as blocks…
“During this same period, the indigenous people launched their own campaigns. Supported by Fundación Pachamama, they marched… to the capital… and demanded that Correa cancel the oil auction…
“Correa was in a bind. His presidency and perhaps his life hung in the balance. In December 2013, needing a scapegoat, he sent his police to the offices of Fundación Pachamama. Dressed in street clothes, looking like ordinary citizens, fifteen officers suddenly appeared at the door, flashed their badges at Executive Director Belén Paez, ordered the dissolution of the organization, and drove everyone out. They locked the doors and sealed them with stickers that accused the organization of destabilizing the government. Then the police demanded that Fundación Pachamama donate its computers, its desks – all its assets – to other organizations. Although the government never arrested any of our staff, on several occasions they followed and harassed Belén and other individuals.” – pages 255-257 of “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins
Without denying that progressives do progressive work, sometimes, perhaps often, I would say that they can’t make the kind of progress that matters – if they don’t possess faith. I’ve noticed that progressives who are forced to consider the question of faith in God but seemingly have never entertained the possibility that they need that faith, seem quite impressed with their own wisdom. It tracks. We all have to live with ourselves. Whether we choose a wrong course, which we are then forced to rationalize and justify and live with, which normalizes that errant thinking, or a right course, in humility, recognizing the Creator and his authority and not supposing that he is us, we will have to live with ourselves.
But we can be happy being happy or happy being miserable. And I am sure that those who choose a course that they know is wrong, who must afterward rationalize, or make appear good, that course – because they lack the humility to admit their error – can’t completely get rid of the miserable itch of cognitive dissonance that results from embracing an obvious Lie. We are God? Really?!!! Those who create an inner disturbance, a disturbance within their souls if you like – whether they are ‘progressive’ or rightwing – by embracing a Lie that one cannot prove to oneself or to others – lose their peaceableness and it expresses itself in startling ways, such as by acting out; by overstepping certain boundaries; by cursing and swearing – acting cool in their (rationalizing) minds – in public for example, and in more serious ways. (Some respect boundaries, like law & order rules, because they believe, on principle, that they are needed. Others, who are not completely ruined, respect them partly because it is too incovenient – paid work depends on certain behavior for example – not to. And then some respect boundaries ‘only’ when and because they have to.) They become bad examples and, often, trouble-makers. The inner disturbance becomes outer trouble-making, which can be mild or severe. (And there’s two ways to get attention: 1. Be attractive, not just physically, but by being helpful, friendly, and loyal, or 2. Force others to notice you by being outrageous in some manner, which can involve serious criminality or simply annoying behavior.)
Regarding the idea of boundaries; I’m in a minority who think that, while a lot of Beatles music was awesome, the Beatles were mentally and spiritually ruined. How thoroughly? Only God knows. Consider the following from Albert Goldman’s (no doubt true) account of John Lennon:
“…Lodged in a couple of unlit cubicles at the back of the Bambi Kino, a cheap movie house near the Indra, the Beatles had fallen into the habit of having a ball every night after work. Pete Best describes how the boys would return to their digs at two or three in the morning to be greeted by the smell of perfume in the dark and the giggling of invisible girls. Often without seeing the girls, the Beatles would begin their nightly romp. “There were usually five or six girls between us,” recalled Best. “During the proceedings there would come an echoing cry from John or George along the corridor enquiring of Paul and me, ‘How you going? I’m just finishing. How about swapping over?’ Or: ‘How you two doing? I fancy one of yours now!'” On the most memorable night the Beatles had eight girls and contrived to screw them each twice! All this from a band that subsequently got famous singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand”!
On the one hand, So what? On the other, That does serve to illustrate how money and career considerations made those lads sing about holding hands with a girl rather than orgying, although in John’s case, I’m not sure that he’d hesitate to do the latter as well.
Just as Democrats (the US political party) are not the solution to Republicans, so too, those who call themselves progressives are not, absolutely, the solution to those who we identify as rightwing. I call myself a progressive, but I’m in an impossibly tiny minority, disliked by rightwingers and progressives alike. It’s not absolute. I get enough likes when I comment here and there on the internet, which is not an activity that I can engage in often. Not only do rightwing orgs, such as corporate owned media and even our Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, dislike reader feedback that includes views that they and their associates don’t want to see aired, but supposedly progressive orgs do their own censorship or they force visitors to their websites who want to comment on this or that article to go to Facebook, which I will never do. My most recent disappointment with leftwing censorship comes from The Real News Network. See my blog post titled “Reality Includes Hidden Crap.” Since writing that post, I have attempted numerous times to contact TRNN about it. They are deliberately hard to reach. The only email address I could find was via their online contact form. Using that has been a waste of time. Either it’s crippled and they don’t know it, which would make them uncaring (since they must notice that they get no activity via their contact form but we see no change), Or else they are ignoring me. I’ve also tried numerous times to comment on TRNN, including responding to someone who responded to something I was previously able to post, but none of my comments show up. They get the ‘awaiting moderation’ flag and then nothing.
I live in Toronto, Canada. The Toronto Star, which rightwingers hilariously label ‘socialist’ (which I call the rightwing ratchet), some time ago killed commenting altogether. The Globe And Mail (Canada) actually forced readers to answer certain questions in order to determine whether they were worthy to have their comments accepted and publicly shown. I refused to participate in their fascist arrangement and I don’t know whether the awful Globe still employs that ‘purity of thought-check’. Western authorities can be fascist and criminal but if targets of Western imperialism, whether deserving or not, engage in such behavior then all of the corporate media wail about it. See the above linked-to article by James Corbett about Nicolas Maduro’s proposed (reportedly) citizens’ ID plus card.
The good news is that there are perfect politicians. They are a mix of angels (and God) and humans (who take on angelic form). There will be, as the Christian Bible tells us, a new heavens and a new earth for mankind. There will be, in other words, a new (single) government and a truly progressive earthly society under that government. Jehovah’s Kingdom isn’t in our hearts (only or primarily). It’s literal. The same source that informs us about Jehovah’s Kingdom – the central theme of the Bible, which Christendom fails to educate people about, while lying to children about a Santa Claus, and more – informs us that that kingdom to come is real. Will society progress under those new heavens? Absolutely. For one thing, You won’t have leaders who suddenly change their minds about being righteous and then go on to cause grief. Those who, in heaven or on earth, choose to go their own way in the post-Armageddon universe, will do so but they will not be allowed to destroy God’s good work, including his ‘project earth’. Self-identified progressives who can’t tell people the above good news fail to tell people the best news that there is. Progressives who fail on a regular basis, on their own terms, inspire me to invest in a sure thing, namely Jehovah’s Kingdom and his appointed savior for imperfect mankind.
“And he tells me, “Write: Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.” Also, he tells me: “These are the true sayings of God.” At that I fell down before his feet to worship him. But he tells me: “Be careful! Do not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of your brothers who have the work of witnessing concerning Jesus. Worship God! For the witness concerning Jesus is what inspires prophecy.” – “A Revelation To John,” 19:9,10
The wisdom of John Perkins
I appreciate John Perkins’s revealing more of his personal history in his updated “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man,” but still have to report honestly on what I find therein. I did, indeed, find the book informative, although I had already read half of it. But I also found it deeply disappointing in small and big ways. The biggest disappointment came with John’s contracitory advice to be revolutionary, like his ancestor Thomas Paine, and to just keep using the tools given to us by the Corporatocracy, along with New Agey tools like positive thinking etc, in order to carry out that revolution. That says it all. That says what I’m trying to say about leaders – in this case an intellectual leader in the progressive camp – who reject faith in God and his plan of salvation for imperfect mankind and replace it with stinted solutions, reflecting human as opposed to Godly thinking, that prove to be no solution at all. The thing is, If you can’t accept Jehovah God’s plan of salvation for imperfect humankind, then you will be forced to look to imperfect humans for salvation. That can’t work. You can pick the best of a bad lot and hope for the best. You can, if the system fails to keep out actual good candidates at election time, choose one those good candidates, but they will still not be perfect and there’s no guarantee. If anything, What is the record in that regard? I have voted a couple of times in my life. I was let down both times. David Miller (Toronto’s former mayor) went to Beijin to make nice with an evil Chinese ruling class and Jack Layton (former Toronto City councellor who became leader of the New Democratic Party) steered the NDP in a rightward direction.
With regard to elections and voting, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to legitimize a harmful charade. We are supposed to believe that if we have elections and can vote, then we have not lost democracy and therefore do not need to look for it. And I’m not suggesting to progressives that they don’t vote, if they truly have candidates that they believe in. I’m only advocating that they do not see gains in the electoral or revolutionary arenas as the final goal, for if it were, then there’d be, in the end, no gains at all.
It’s ironic, to me anyway, that a fellow who has done so much to expose the gangster element of the Corporatocracy and who wrote that he can’t help but think that “future historians would look back on the post 9/11 era as an even darker era,” also wrote that “It isn’t about changing the mechanics of economics. It is about changing the ideas, the dogmas that have driven the economics for centuries… It is about revolution.” As John wraps up, he proposes all sorts of solutions that seem reasonable, but are in fact a mix of New Agey buzz phrases and non revolutionary actions that any scammy politician on the hustings might suggest. (“Understand that love really is all we need,” writes Perkins. What does John mean by ‘love’? Does he reject the Source of love while preaching love? God’s love is agapē love, which means love based on principle. It informs, and is therefore boundary-setting for, all other forms of love.) For example, John writes: “Include in your goals and mission statement a commitment to serving the public, the natural environment, social harmony, and justice.” That’s ‘exactly’ what politicians on the hustings sound like! What do they do after we vote for them? Without knowing about the real John Lennon (apologies to Lennon worshippers), John Perkins thinks a summit of progressive thinkers inspired by John Lennon’s ideas is a great idea. John Perkins may not know the real John Lennon (because most people, including most authors, only praise him), a forgivable thing, but John’s now and then reference to the inspirational Thomas Paine, even if he is related to him, is less forgivable. That’s because Howard Zinn, who Perkins refers to often in his book and who he cites as a mentor, reveals just what Thomas Paine was all about, and it’s exactly the opposite of what Perkins would have his readership believe. How could Perkins not know?
pg 304 of “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man”: “Participate in or create campaigns that affect government, politics, and corporate policies. Run for office or support candidates who do, join consumer movements, or take whatever path draws you to be a full time participant in the democratic process. Realize that this is not just part of being a true advocate of democracy; it also is deeply rewarding and fun.”
Democratic process? John’s taking some interesting drugs or something, possibly plant-based and courtesy of friends among the Shuar or Tunduam, if he thinks there even is a democratic process. Not that I like the God-bashing Greg Palast, but John could profitably have a discussion with him about our captured electoral systems (the United States and Canada).
pg 305 of “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man”: “Form or join consumer movements, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations that promote businesses that serve a public interest – the 99.99 percent rather than the 0.01 percent. Call and/or send e-mails to your local and national representatives, urging them to support these movements and to vote for such reforms.”
All of which will be, and is being, manipulated by the Corporatocracy which John writes about. Here’s where John could profitably sit for an hour or three with F. William Engdahl, who has written a book about NGOs and their use to the Corporatocracy. See “F. William Engdahl interview: The US Empire, the CIA and the NGOs” by Ludwig Watzal. An excerpt from Ludwig’s interview with F. William Engdahl follows:
The following interview focuses on Engdahl’s latest book in German Secret files NGOs (Geheimakte NGOs). It’s conducted by Dr. Ludwig Watzal, journalist and editor, who lives in Bonn, Germany, and runs the bilingual blog.
Watzal: I guess we could agree upon the fact that the CIA is the world’s worst terror organization. After WW II, hardly any coup d’état or organized uprising happened without the helping hand of the CIA. As I understood your book, in the last 25 years, the CIA got quite a few so-called little helpers in the form of NGOs. Please, could you elaborate on that?
Engdahl: During the Reagan Presidency very damaging scandals were becoming public about CIA dirty operations around the world. Chile, Iran, Guatemala, the top secret MK-Ultra project the student movement during the Vietnam War to name just a few. To take the spotlight away from them, CIA Director Bill Casey proposed to Reagan creating a “private” NGO, a kind of cut-out that would pose as private, but in reality, as one of its founders the late Allen Weinstein said in a later interview to the Washington Post, “doing what the CIA did, but privately.” This was the creation of the NGO named National Endowment for Democracy in 1983. Soon other Washington-steered NGOs were added like the Freedom House or the Soros Open Society Foundations, the United States Institute of Peace and so forth.
The money was often channeled via USAID of the State Department to hide its origin. Every major regime attack by the US Government since then including the Solidarnosc in Poland, the Yeltsin CIA-backed Russia coup, the 2004 Ukraine Orange Revolution, the 2008 Tibet riots, the Arab Spring of 2011 to today – all have been done by this group of very select “democracy” NGOs. Little wonder that countries like Russia and China or Hungary act to ban them as “undesirable NGOs.”
The only NGO John Perkins has blown the whistle on is the one which he worked for, namely MAIN. In fact, like so many other progressives, John blithely quotes NGOs, like Human Rights Watch, in a positive way, which would be fine (if what is being reported is factual) if he also qualified his statements or at least elsewhere spoke and wrote about their wrongdoing. But he does not. HRW is run by a fellow named Kenneth Roth, who has attacked Noam Chomsky. See Vanessa Beeley’s linked-to article below to get an idea what a dispicable person Kenneth Roth is. Amnesty International is awful as well. Here’s one example: “Amnesty International Admits Syrian “Saydnaya” Report Fabricated Entirely in UK” by Tony Cartalucci.
“Sex was just one of the recreations offered free to the Beatles. Another was drink, with which the whole district was awash. Cases of beer and Sekt, the sweet German champagne, would be deposited directly before the bandstand, with the implicit demand that the boys guzzle the stuff down before their smiling patrons. John had threatened to become a drunkard at the time of his mother’s death. Now he fulfilled the threat. In Hamburg he went for weeks without sobering up. He learned to do everything needful while drunk: eat, screw, change the strings on his guitar. One night, while climbinga flight of stairs, he smashed his leg so badly that he bore the mark for the rest of his life. There was no use of drugs during this first season at Hamburg; according to Best, the Beatles’ heavy reliance upon Prellies (Preludin, a kind of speed) dates from their second residence in Hamburg.
“As the bitterly cold and dreary winter of North Germany came on, with the icy wind off the North Sea digging its talons into the thinly clad Beatles, the boys began to hurt. They needed cash to buy warm clothes and nourishing food. For a young man like John Lennon, who had always been a hitter and who had long entertained criminal fancies [fantasies?], the solution was obvious. Time and again John had seen waiters taking the money out of the pockets of drunken sailors. Why shouldn’t the Beatles turn the same trick?
“One night a beefy German sailor, who had been plying the Beatles with drink during their show, bougt the boys a meal. Riveted by the size of the sailor’s wallet, the Beatles decided on the spur of the moment to roll him. When the hit the street, however, George and Paul chickened out. That left John and Pete to make the attempt.
“The two toughest Beatles jumped the German in a parking lot. John smashed the sailor in the face, dropping him to his knees. Pete dove for the man’s wallet. The sailor was a strong man. Even as Pete fumbled for the wallet, the German regained his feet and knocked Lennon to the ground. Then he thrust his hand into the back of his pants and pulled out a gun. There was no telling from the look of the gun whether it shot bullets or tear gas. Frantically both boys pitched themselves headfirst at the burly German, toppling him while he fired wildly over their heads. John and Pete then beat their man until they were sure they could make their escape, racing up the dark street with their eyes smarting from tear gas.
“After running three miles, John and Pete staggered breathless into their quarters at the Bambi Kino. Paul and George were waiting up. “What’d you get?” barked George from his bed.
“Not a bloody penny gasped Lennon.
“The wallet had been lost in the scuffle. Paul and George burst out in derisive laughter. But the escape from immediate danger didn’t relieve the muggers of their fears. All the next day they were on edge, fearful that the sailor would turn up with his mates, seeking revenge. After a week elapsed, the boys were finally able to relax. They never saw the sailor again, nor were they troubled by the police, until the Beatles were deported from Hamburg after Bruno Koshmider had accused them falsely of setting fire to their quarters. (Koshmider was enraged because the Beatles had gone to work for a rival club owner.) So the matter ended.
“John Lennon disclosed in 1974, in the course of a conversation with his favorite guitarist and handout buddy, Jesse Ed Davis, that the mugging was not an isolated act but one of a number of adventures in which John had been involved. His victims had not been Germans but English sailors, whom he chose to make it appear had been attacked by nasty [racist?] Germans. One attack lay heavy on his conscience because he had gone mad and beaten the sailor so badly that John feared he had left the man for dead. Lennon’s language was roughly, “God knows if he ever got up again.”
The Beatles were motivated by love, but it wasn’t God’s (agapē) love. John Perkins wants us to be motivated by bullcrap lyrics from famous songsters.
On page 206, Perkins wrote “Each of us can take his or her own path – as long as we all head for the same destination: an economy that works for everyone. American history offers a great lesson in this. Tom Paine did not try to lead armies… Tom Paine had a passion for writing. George Washington has a passion for leading men. Martha Washington had a passion for organizing women to make clothes for soldiers. They took separate paths and headed for the same destination: getting out from under the yoke of British tyranny.” And they may have all lived happily ever after but did the people? How did the working class fare? How did First Nations fare?
Is that pathetic (and incomplete reportage) or what? Anyway, Here’s Zinn’s take on Thomas Paine:
From Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States,” the following:
“Could class hatred be focused against the pro-British elite, and deflected from the nationalist elite?…
“Especially in Philadelphia, according to Nash, the consciousness of the lower middle classes grew to the point where it must have caused some hard thinking… even among leaders of the Revolution…
“In the countryside, where most people lived, there was a similar conflict of poor against rich, one which political leaders would use to mobilize the population against England, granting some benefits for the rebellious poor, and many more for themselves in the process…
“Land-hungry farmers in the Hudson Valley turned to the British for support against the American landlords; the Green Mountain rebels did the same. But as the conflict with Britain intensified, the colonial leaders of the movement for independence, aware of the tendency of poor tenants to side with the British in their anger against the rich, adopted policies to win over people in the countryside…
“The Regulators [mostly white farmers being abused by overtaxing government] saw that a combination of wealth and political power ruled North Carolina, and denounced those officials “whose highest Study is the promotion of their wealth.”…
“The Regulators did not represent servants or slaves, but they did speak for small owners, squatters, and tenants…
“…The biggest problem was to keep propertyless people, who were unemployed and hungry in the crisis following the French war, under control…
“…The leaders of the Independence movement wanted to use that mob energy against England, but also to contain it so that it would not demand too much from them…
“Many of the Sons of Liberty [who were class conscious middle and upper class people opposed to British rule] groups declared, as in Milford, Connecticut, their “greatest abhorrence” of lawlessness, or as in Annapolis, opposed “all riots or unlawful assemblies…”…
“In Virginia, it seemed clear to the educated gentry that something needed to be done to persuade the lower orders to join the revolutionary cause, to deflect their anger against England…
“It was a problem for which the oratorical talents of Patrick Henry were superbly fitted. He was, as Rhys Isaac puts it, “firmly attached to the world of the gentry,” but he spoke in words that the poorer whites of Virginia could understand…
“Patrick Henry’s oratory in Virginia pointed to a way to relieve class tension between upper and lower classes and form a bond against the British. This was to find language inspiring to all classes, specific enough in its listing of grievances to charge people with anger against the British, vague enough to avoid class conflict among the rebels, and stirring enough to build patriotic feeling for the resistance movement.
“Tom Paine’s Common Sense, which appeared in early 1776 and became the most popular pamphlet in the American colonies, did this…
“Paine himself came out of “the lower orders” of England… But his great concern seems to have been to speak for a middle group. “There is an extent of riches, as well as extreme poverty, which, by harrowing the circles of a man’s acquaintance, lessens his opportunities of general knowledge.”
“Once the Revolution was under way, Paine more and more made it clear that he was not for the crowd action of lower-class people – like those militia who in 1779 attacked the house of James Wilson. Wilson was a Revolutionary leader who opposed price controls and wanted a more conservative government than was given by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. Pain became an associate of one of the wealthiest men in Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, and a supporter of Morris’s creation, the Bank of North America.
“Later, during the controversy over adopting the Constitution, Paine would once again represent urban artisans, who favored strong central government. He seemed to believe that such a government could serve some great common interest. In this sense, he lent himself perfectly to the myth of the Revolution – that it was on behalf of a united people.” – from pages 62-70 of “A People’s History Of The United States” by Howard Zinn
John Perkins is informative. Is he a good guide? I would say, now, not at all. He’s a good source of (limited) information and nothing more. That’s often how it is when it comes to progressives. Even progressives who I consider good guides, and there’s plenty of them, can one day up and switch sides. There’s no guarantees within the progressive community (let alone the wider society), which is comprised of imperfect human beings living in a time when one person’s spiritual failure can harm not only that person but also many around him or her. Even those with the very best reputations, like Noam Chomsky, can fail. Noam Chomsky’s reputation is very good, and deservedly so. I have more books on my shelf by, and about, him than any other author. But (here we go again) Chomsky in the last few years has deviated from his righteous path. And I’m not talking about the fact that he does not (by ‘choice’) believe in God. When he told me that personally years ago, my only thought was that if there’s anyone out there who God for sure forgives for not professing belief in him, it would be Noam Chomsky. Things have changed in that regard.
In recent years, I’ve been coming across the odd article by Chomsky or others talking about his views, that alarmed me. But a recent book by Noam Chomsky, titled “Who Rules The World?” disappointed me greatly. It was, in fact, the first Chomsky book I have read that I would call bad. Where it’s good, it’s very good. But the fails are awful. There’s not many and the actual passages are meager. But you don’t have to use a lot of words to say a lot.
“North Korea may be the craziest country in the world; it’s certainly a good competitor for that title.” -pg 132 of “Who Rules The World?” by Noam Chomsky
Why would Chomsky say that? In a perfect non sequitur, he goes on afterward to explain that North Korea has been very deliberately destroyed by true crazies. Chomsky doesn’t give us any reason for calling North Koreans crazy, so, Noam, Don’t call North Korea crazy because it isn’t and neither are, and were, its leaders. What does Noam get from calling North Korea (which means ‘all’ of North Korea if you don’t specify its leadership) crazy? It’s so unhelpful at a time when N Korea is among a basket of countries openly threatened by the powerful, lawless and hyper-violent United States.
From the conclusion of Stephen Gowans’s “Patriots, Traitors And Empires, we get the following:
“In his 1900 pan-African statement, W.E.B. Dubois wrote that “The problem of the twentieth century” is that of white supremacy – the “tacit but clear modern philosophy which assigns to the white race alone the hegemony of the world and assumes that other races … will either be content to serve the interests of the whites or die out before their all-conquering march.” This can be re-stated for the current century: the problem of the twenty-first century is the problem of US supremacy – the tacit but clear modern philosophy which assigns to the United States hegemony over the world and assumes that other countries will either be content to serve the interests of the United States’ dominant economic class or die out before its all-conquering march.
“Korean patriots, who have long struggled for freedom, will not die out before US supremacy’s all-conquering march. Korea remains divided, its southern half under the control of a US-puppet state. Tens of thousands of US troops continue to occupy the country, successors to a preceding Japanese occupation. And the US empire – unprecedented in scope and reach, as Zbigniew Brzezinski described it – remains undiminished in its resolve to smash the anti-imperialist patriot state based at Pyongyang – one of the few top-to-bottom alternatives to capitalism and the interests of the Wall Street politicos. For decades, Washington has waited for the DPRK to collapse, certain its efforts to bring about the end of North Korea would pay off. But the patriot state endures. Kim Il-sung recognized that Korea’s fight for freedom might last hundreds of years. But it would succeed. “India won its independence from England after 200 years of colonial enslavement,” he observed. “The Philippines and Indonesia won their independence after 300 years. Algeria after 130 years. Sri Lanka after 150 years and Vietnam after nearly 100 years.” It may take 200 year, maybe 300, but Koreans will one day be free. And one day, all of us, too, will be free from US supremacy’s all-conquering march. The path to freedom is being blazed by Koreans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Syrians, Chinese, Zimbabweans, and others who stand in a direct line of descent from the democratic revolution inaugerated in France in 1789, pushed forward by the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917, and advanced by the national liberation struggles of the twentieth century.
“On September 1, 1920, the communist movement, which had unspired Kim Il-sung and countless other Koreans, issued a manifesto at the close of a congress of peoples of the East, held at Baku. The congress had observed that the Western empires had handed over Korea – “that flourishing land with a thousand-years-old culture … to the Japanese imperialists for them to tear to pieces, and [the Japanese] are now with fire and sword making the Korean people submit to” exploitation by Japanese masters. Harking to the “fraudulent” holy war which governments “under the green banner of the Prophet” had, during the Great War, used to mobilize Muslims to serve “only the interests of … self-seeking rulers,” the congress called for “the first real holy war” – a war to be waged under a red banner “for the ending of the division of mankind into oppressor peoples and oppressed peoples, for complete equality of all peoples and races, whatever language they speak, whatever the color of their skin and whatever the religion they profess.” This would be a war, the manifesto declared, “to end the division of countries into advanced and backward, dependent and independent, metropolitan and colonial.” It would be a “holy war for the liberation of all mankind … for the ending of all forms of oppression of one people by another and of all forms of exploitation of man by man.” Koreans joined the holy war when it was proclaimed at Baku – indeed, before that. And they have never disengaged from it. Koreans, of both the north and south, forever united as one people despite the political division forced upon them by Washington, continue their fight for freedom against the successor to the Japanese occupation, the United States, the “last powerful imperialist predator” which has “spread its dark wings over” the whole world.”
Well, the battle between the forces of darkness and light, namely Armageddon, will be fought, not by people and with guns, but by God and against this dark world’s invisible ruler. Exactly what form that will take, I do not know. (We are given some clues about ‘when’.) But imperfect humans, especially those who don’t know or who reject Jehovah, will not accomplish through any amount of struggle the liberation of mankind. But there’s much about the communist declaration of war against evil, above, to admire. The drafters of the above manifesto may not have known Jehovah or they may not have known him properly, but they were marching in the right direction. They were progressives. Correction is coming – for all of us. The trick is to not be so ruined that we can’t survive it.
Chomsky did a huge disservice to the Koreans by his equating them with the US-led Corporatocracy. He sort of lets the US off the hook with such a statement. He labels both the North Koreans and those menacing them as aggressors, which just isn’t true. “The pattern is well-known. You can read it in straight, mainstream scholarship,” which is so pure and a good source of guidance. “What they say is: it’s a pretty crazy regime, but it’s also following a kind of tit-for-tat policy. You make a hostile gesture, and we’ll respond with some crazy gesture of our own.” I find Chomsky’s treatment here to be ironic, considering how he treats Iran on page 50. Chomsky there quotes Martin van Creveld, who says “the world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy,” finishing with his own thought about it: “particularly when they are under constant threat of attack, in violation of the UN Charter.” (pg 133)
Noam Chomsky isn’t the only progressive who says that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was illegal, but I have not read a single line of explanation, by Chomsky or anyone, for that claim. What I have read tells me that the idea is without basis. Chomsky writes: “Thus, if a journal runs an opinion piece denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the criminal act of taking over the Crimea, it surely does not have to run a piece pointing out that, while the act is indeed criminal, Russia has a far stronger case today than the United States did more than a century ago in taking over south-eastern Cuba, including Guantánamo, the country’s major port…” (pg 160) I’m glad to see that Chomsky qualified his statement, and it’s not clear, to me, that he was suggesting that the hypothetical journalist in his statement views Russia’s annexation as illegal or that he holds the view that Russia’s actions here were illegal. In which case, he needed to be clear about it. As for the establishment’s mighty efforts to convince the public that the Russians hacked the 20016 American election, Chomsky properly derides it.
Noam Chomsky is simply missing in action on Syria. I know from his earlier writing that he knows the score in regard to the US’s geostrategic goals for the region. He knows that democratic, secular, socialist Arab States are a target. So his pro establishment statements on Syria are unfathomable. He mentions Russia’s intervention into Syria, but omits the fact that Bashar Assad has invited them in to assist in pushing back the attack, via terrorist proxies, that began with the CIA’s phony people’s revolution there. He talks about bombing by Russian fighter jets that is killing people, but doesn’t mention that those people are terrorists attacking regular Syrians, who overwhelmingly support their president (who I don’t claim is perfect). Neither Russia, nor Assad, are bombing the Syrian people. Nor is Israel uninterested and uninvolved in Syria, as Noam has suggested. In “Noam Chomsky on Syria: A “Grim” Set of Alternatives,” by Daniel Falcone and Saul Isaacson, Chomsky actually pushes the totally debunked lie that Assad barrel bombed his own people. I don’t know exactly what Chomsky has said or written about the chemical attacks that did and didn’t happen. None of them were by Assad’s forces, as numerous journalists have reported, with support for their debunking from experts.
There’s a terrible confluence here, it seems to me, of negative elements, with Noam getting older and probably doing less original work and with his friendship with class traitor Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, leading to her milking him for cred, as Kim Petersen explains, and with Noam’s apparent dislike of the internet and alternative media. I never find him quoting alternative media. (Truthout is alternative media, but not different, as in progressive, which is the issue.) I’m sure he has quoted supposed alternative media (I never kept perfect track) in the past, but I don’t ever recall him quoting the alternative media with which I’m familiar. He gets mentioned, often in a positive way, by the alternative media I’m familiar with (not all which is solid). But he doesn’t return the favor. Noam is looking more and more like establishment these days, I’m afraid. (I am only speculating about Noam’s slowing down and relying more on assistance – research and gathering information – from others. But then, What is the explanation for his big fail on Syria?) Democracy Now pushes out White Helmets propaganda, which I’ve never heard Noam say boo about. Which tracks, since he’s decided to let Washington off the hook for Syria. Either Chomsky is being misled by others who he’s relying on in his old age, or he’s switched sides.
From Daniel Falcone’s & Saul Isaacson’s interview with Noam Chomsky:
With the recent insertion of Russian military power into Syria and the continued use of American air power in the region, the situation in Syria has gotten tenser than ever, especially since the allegedly accidental September 17, 2016, attack on a Syrian military position that killed dozens, followed by the dismissive comments about the incident that US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power made at a UN press conference on September 17. Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell recently said, “The Russians and Iranians need to pay a little price for their actions in support of Assad.”
In light of these developments, New York City teachers Saul Isaacson and Daniel Falcone recently sat down with Professor Noam Chomsky in his MIT office to discuss Syria and US foreign policy.
Saul Isaacson: In light of recent developments in the media propaganda blitz against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are you concerned that a Clinton presidency would seek to confront Russia, on Syrian soil — are we now seeing the opening salvos?
Noam Chomsky: I pretty much doubt it. The Russians have an impregnable position. What they’re doing is pretty horrible, but there’s no way to impede it except by a nuclear war, which no one’s going to do. So I think the West will watch.
You don’t see Syria as the next place to install a democracy or seek “regime change,” as they call it?
Only if you want to destroy the world. There is a major Russian military presence, and you can’t confront that.
So it’s the old Cold War doctrine: when the Russians move one step forward, American policy must be prepared to move one step back, and vice versa. There is a great deal of concern among progressive writers that this doctrine will lead to a confrontation with the Russians.
There is, but I think it’s misplaced. I mean, I don’t like Clinton at all, but I think she’s really being demonized. She’s no worse than the European leaders, for example. So, for example, in Libya she was terrible, but [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and [former UK Prime Minister David] Cameron were worse. And on some things, she’s surprisingly dovish…. There’s a leak of a private discussion that she had with a couple of anti-nuke people, national security specialists who were critical of the nuclear buildup — not [defense secretary for President Bill Clinton] William Perry, but [former Defense Department official] Andrew C. Weber — and she was probably accommodating to them, but the statements that she made were not bad — if you hold her feet to the fire and make her pursue that, it would make sense.
So she expressed some skepticism about Obama’s trillion-dollar nuclear modernization plan. She came out in opposition to the most dangerous part of it — the development of smaller nuclear-tip missiles, which can be adapted, scaled down for battlefield usage. She opposed that and made a couple of other reasonable comments, which were probably in reaction to her audience, since politicians say what people want to hear, but it’s something that she could be pressed on by popular movements — “OK, you’re on the record for this, so stop this.”
Do you believe that Syria and Assad are being demonized as well by the press? Do you believe barrel bombs, for example, are dropped by Assad?
There’s strong evidence for that. He’s pretty horrible. In this case, I don’t think he’s really being demonized. It’s pretty awful.
Many observers are coming to the defense of Assad (for example, see Mike Whitney’s discussion of Putin’s “progress” in Syria) and saying this is not a place to build a new regime, and sometimes they give the example of Libya and Iraq.
That’s a separate question. [Muammar] Gaddafi was not a nice guy either, but it was no reason to destroy the country. However, in this case, it’s not even an option. Because if you tried anything like what was done in Libya, you’d have a world war.
“Because if you tried anything like what was done in Libya, you’d have a world war.”? What is happening in Syria is exactly the same thing as what happened in Libya, or would have been. Thankfully, things haven’t gone as Washington and Israel hoped they would. “The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya.” – Seymour Hersh, “Military to Military”
Regarding Hillary Clinton, Chomsky says “And on some things, she’s surprisingly dovish…” We have arrived at the point where Chomsky can find nice things to say about warmongers like Hillary Clinton, while demonzing Washington’s enemies. Clinton wasn’t at all dovish about Syria, as Robert Parry reminds us in his Consortium News article titled “A Media Unmoored from Facts”: “While in office, Clinton sabotaged chances to get Iran to surrender much of its nuclear material – all the better to keep the “regime change” option in play – and she lobbied for a covert military intervention to oust Syria’s Assad.”
“Report Confirms Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years” by ? (ZeroHedge via Mint Press News)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Earlier, when discussing why the Syrian “rebels” fighting Assad are in “turmoil”, we said that as a result of the ongoing Qatar crisis the various Saudi and Qatari supply chains supporting the rebels, both in terms of weapons and funding, had dried up due to the diplomatic fallout involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia…
That, however, may have been premature as it was missing a key piece of data, one which was just revealed by the WSJ [Wall Street Journal] and which many had suspected. According to the Journal, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been aligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, “with Israel supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”
“Israel Sides with Syrian Jihadists” by Robert Parry (Consortium News)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Israel’s pronouncement that it wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad toppled even if al-Qaeda-aligned rebels replace him puts into sharper focus the intensifying lobbying and P.R. campaigns underway in the United States to get President Obama to engage militarily against Syria and ultimately against Iran.
Until the declaration by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren on Tuesday, Israel’s precise position on the Syrian civil war was ambiguous, but now it is clear that Israel again is lining up with its new de facto ally, Saudi Arabia, in a regional conflict to undermine Iranian influence.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview scheduled for publication on Friday but excerpted by Reuters on Tuesday.
“SYRIA: Consign “Barrel Bombs” to the Propaganda Graveyard” by Vanessa Beeley (21st Century Wire)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
It is surely time to put the barrel bomb to bed? It is now an outdated and debunked, mass produced myth. 50 earthquakes per day of an 8.0 magnitude would have obliterated the entire region. Enough of these theatrics designed to obfuscate the very real bloodshed that is being witnessed daily in Syria as a result of the dirty war being waged against it by the US neocons and war hawks, hell-bent on regime change and the weakening of the sovereign nation to please their Israeli allies in the region.
“Beware of White Helmets Bearing News” by Ann Wright (Consortium News)
At the center of the controversy over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7 are the White Helmets, a self-described rescue operation about whom an Oscar-winning documentary was made.
Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.
Blumenthal writes, “When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited ‘social media’ in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed, ‘We have our own intelligence.’ With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets.”
The reference to social media as evidence in the most serious decision a leader can make—to engage in an act of war—is part of a disturbing trend.
“Is Noam Chomsky Manufacturing Consent for Regime Change in Syria?” by Kim Petersen (American Herald Tribune)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
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One might well expect the corporate/state media to twice be complicit for the gas attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime scenario. One would hope, however, that media independent of the state and corporate sponsors would apply a higher journalistic standard. Yet Democracy Now! has been pushing the imperialist agenda for regime change in Syria. Tendentious recent reports from DN make this abundantly clear. The so-called independent DN has also lured octogenarian professor Noam Chomsky to criticize the “Assad regime.”
DN begins with the leading statement of “worldwide outrage mounts over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, which was reportedly carried out by the Assad government…” No evidence is presented to support the accusation, and the accusers also are unnamed. What kind of journalism is this?
It would be completely nonsensical and insane for Syria to use chemical weapons while the war is turning in its favor. And, of course, there is evidence that refutes the allegation…
The professor tells DN: “Syria is a horrible catastrophe. The Assad regime is a moral disgrace. They’re carrying out horrendous acts, the Russians with them.”
How about a dose of skepticism? After all, Chomsky speculated recently of a Donald Trump-orchestrated false flag. Chomsky’s opening omissions speak loudly. He goes straight at the Syrian government; he does not mention involvement by the US, Israel, and other western states. He does not mention the western, Saudi, and Qatari-backed terrorist mercenaries that seek to topple a foreign government through violence.
Moreover, to criticize “the Assad regime” seems starkly at odds with a fundamental tenet of Chomsky’s philosophy: that his concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by his own state, the USA.
Chomsky is even on record as denying American-Israeli intent at regime change in Syria. If Chomsky is correct, then that would signal a profound change in American imperialist direction. In 2007, former US general Wesley Clark, told of a classified memo describing the US “tak[ing] out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”
DN asks Chomsky: “Why the Russians with them [the ‘Assad regime’]?”
Replied Chomsky: “Well, pretty simple reason: Syria is their one ally in the whole region. Not a close ally, but they do have—their one Mediterranean base is in Syria. It’s the one country that’s more or less cooperated with them. And they don’t want to lose their one ally. It’s very ugly, but that’s what’s happening.”
That is Chomsky’s assessment, but it is factually inaccurate. Iran and Hezbollah are helping fight the terrorists in Syria. Also Chomsky does not discuss an important point: that Russia was invited to aid the Syrian government, as were Iran and Hezbollah. The US is uninvited and Syrian president Assad calls US forces in Syria “invaders.”…
Says Chomsky, “Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, [Italics added. Again Chomsky borrows from the imperialist lexicon. Why not characterize, then, western groups as “crusaders”?] which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated…. the country is simply being destroyed. It’s descending to suicide.”
Suicide? When US invaders are in Syria, when western governments and operatives are arrayed against the Syrian government, when Saudi and Qatari governments are supporting terrorists, and when Syrian people are being killed and made into refugees, then why describe this as a “suicide”? Does Chomsky want to imply that the Syrian people bear responsibility for the horror and decimation imposed upon them from outside? It sounds absurd.
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From Noam Chomsky’s “Who Rules The World?”
“In Syria, the number of direct conflict fatalities more than tripled after the West initiated air strikes against the self-declared Islamic State and the CIA started its indirect military interference in the war – interference which appears to have drawn the Russians in as advanced US anti-tank missiles were decimating the forces of their ally Bashar al-Assad.” -pg 256. Chomsky completely omits a few important facts here. Russia was invited into Syria by Bashar al-Assad and Syria’s and Russia’s forces in Syria proceeded to respond militarily to the assault on Syria by terrorists armed by the West and assorted middle east allies. “While the US and Turkey bomb and strafe Syria without as much as ‘by your leave’ from the legitimate government of the state, Russia is coming by permission and by invitation of the Syrian authorities as their ally. There is a Mutual Defence Treaty between Russia and Syria. Syrian government offered Russians its facilities, airports and harbours for the defence purposes,” writes Israel Shamir in his article titled “Russia Embarks on Expansion of its Military Presence in Syria.”
“…Syria before it imploded…” -pg 256. Syria didn’t implode. Syria was targetted by Washington. This is incredible trash talk from the very last person on earth who I would have expected it from. “Says Chomsky, “Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, [Italics added. Again Chomsky borrows from the imperialist lexicon. Why not characterize, then, western groups as “crusaders”?] which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated…. the country is simply being destroyed. It’s descending to suicide.” Suicide? When US invaders are in Syria, when western governments and operatives are arrayed against the Syrian government, when Saudi and Qatari governments are supporting terrorists, and when Syrian people are being killed and made into refugees, then why describe this as a “suicide”? Does Chomsky want to imply that the Syrian people bear responsibility for the horror and decimation imposed upon them from outside? It sounds absurd.” See the above linked-to article by Kim Petersen. That is where the above quotation comes from.
I came across an article looking at the various responses of establishment and government figures to the resignation of Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis. I failed to bookmark it and for the life of me can’t find it again, even though I was confident I could retrace my steps. What I found especially interesting about it was the way those establishment figures could only talk about how things could be done better with Mattis gone and what they meant by ‘better’ was worse. I had built the larger part of this essay by then and what struck me was that here’s a great example of people who are exactly the opposite of progressive. I’ve always said that darkness is its own reward. And I’ve always explained that to mean that while self-modified people – we are all free to self-modify and jettison our humanity, our Godly qualities of honesty, compassion and belief in justice – may start off clever, that isn’t how they will end. Caitlin Johnstone’s article, “Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy” illustrates my point. You can’t deny reality – lie to yourself and others – on a regular basis and not eventually become dumb as a post, after doing much evil of course. As liars and manipulators and rule-breakers, which qualities enable the self-modified ones to get ahead and on top of others, the self-modified ones now possess twisted values and desires and are the most eager players in the great game of ‘riches for the strongest’, a game tailor-made for psychopaths who have to beat and rob and rape others in order to have meaning in their life. They seek not God’s will, while they use him, but their own glory, along with riches and power. Whitney Webb penned “Both Leading Candidates to Replace Mattis are Maximum War Hawks” for example. And Stephen Lendman’s article about Mattis, titled “The Notion of Grown-Ups Deserting Trump Is Utter Nonsense” and he’s absolutely right, and this, again, illustrates what I mean about the opposite of progressive. (Ha, ha. I think that this was the article I thought I couldn’t find!)
Stephen, in his above linked-to article, wrote that
“There’s nothing “grown-up” about hawkish militarism and belligerent wars of aggression – or letting Wall Street run US domestic policymaking.
“America’s three leading broadsheets are enraged over Trump’s announced withdrawal of US forces from Syria and partial pullout from Afghanistan – the NYT, neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post and Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.
“They and virtually the entire US major media establishment support policies benefitting privileged interests exclusively at the expense of ordinary people everywhere.
“They endorse and cheerlead US wars of aggression against nations threatening no one – the highest of high crimes, making them complicit in what’s going on, accessories before, during and after the fact.
“The self-styled newspaper of record NYT is a national disgrace – like other major media, featuring disinformation, Big Lies and fake news on issues mattering most, notably geopolitical ones.
“Its editors lied claiming James Mattis “worked to shield the world from President Trump’s worst impulses.” He wasn’t nicknamed “mad dog” for nothing. He’s a thuggish unindicted war criminal – uncaring about rule of law principles and human suffering.
“He once told his troops to “have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” In Iraq, he was responsible for massacring countless thousands civilians, his high crimes well documented, including against residential areas, schools, hospitals, and mosques.”
I actually wanted to spend more time with this essay, but it’s long and I can always do a part two. I’ll conclude with my typo-corrected comment which I attached to the above linked-to Caitlin Johnstone article. It sort of sums up what I’m trying to say about progressives. I’m not perfect and this essay won’t be therefore. Obviously, I’m looking at things from my Christian standpoint, but I like to think that I’m rational and that others who self-identify as progressive can take something from my ideas, even if they can’t take everything from them.
“In an even marginally sane world, the fact that a nation’s armed forces are engaged in daily military violence would be cause for shock and alarm, and pulling those forces out of that situation would be viewed as a return to normalcy. Instead we are seeing the exact opposite.”
In other words, here’s the opposite of ‘progressive’. But, hopefully, Those who find the lovers of war (as peace) to be going in the wrong direction aren’t, themselves, following. The Christian Bible urges people to self-examine. It’s good advice.
What is a progressive? The question engages me. I don’t fit into either the Left camp or the Right camp. I don’t and don’t want to fit into the rightwing camp. That camp is simply evil. I have issues with the leftwing camp, but there’s much there that I find attractive. And, as a human being, it’s nice to have friends, which I need and want, like everyone. But I won’t have them at the expense of my principles, although words are always easy.
I believe in democracy, but not the way that most leftwingers, who reject God (unless he is humankind), do. Lots of things about democracy – fairness, compassion, absence of racism – is Godly. But democracy as most people know it, is not our final destination. How do I know? We are all imperfect. The best leaders (Do we need ‘leaders’?) that progressives can bring to power do not come with a guarantee. They can’t free themselves from the imperfection that we all possess and which we inherited from our first human parents (which anti-God leftists choose to disbelieve). None of us can free ourselves from the imperfection that leads to all kinds of folly, including serious folly and folly that isn’t so serious. Beyond that problem lies a solution that the haughty, Right and Left, reject, namely a Creator, who is the Source of life and can apply the value of Christ’s sacrifice to loyal followers and raise them to the perfection that was meant for us. That is to say, There is such a thing as human perfection. Humans were designed by a perfect Being and have, therefore, their own perfection, according to that design. We chose to learn the hard lesson of independence from the Source of life, who designed humans to be children in a family that included God.
John Perkins (who I have issues with) writes in his (very flawed) updated “Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man,” about his friend (former?) Rafael Correa, who defended progressives, including those who wanted to protect the Amazon and keep oil company predators out of Ecuador, until he changed his mind and attacked them. Nicolas Maduro has done nothing but show solidarity with his people, but, reportedly, has changed his mind and will now issue a national ID card plus, designed in China and enabling the State to punish those with the ‘wrong’ political ideas.( And I really, really hope that there’s more to this story. I hope that the reports I’ve read are simply not telling us everything. But there’s a point to be made here. If it isn’t true, it ‘could’ be.) I also remember Paul Magnette of Wallonia, who held up the European ratification (or acceptance in some fashion) of the pernicious CETA free trade deal (between Canada and Europe), until he simply up and changed his mind.
I consider myself a progressive (but don’t agree with certain leftwing positions and beliefs that both the Left and Right hold about how life arrived on earth) and I will never urge people to view the election of imperfect human beings to political office who can one day, out of the blue (more or less) up and decide to switch sides, leaving the democratic camp for the evil camp, as the final destination of all our activism. There will be no possibility of new heavens (government) under human rulership that is not free the infection of imperfection which WE can’t cure.