Dwight was Right-Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address

Eisenhower’s famous farewell address speech. People were stunned when the military genius and American Hero offered this sober critique of the emerging Military Industrial Complex.

From the speech:

“… we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.”

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to recognize its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or our democratic processes”

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“The End of America” Naomi ‘Never Cry’ Wolf

Naomi Wolf’s documentary, “The End of America” is a disturbing and detailed outline of the ‘Ten Steps To Fascism’ the United States has taken in the last ten years following the events of 9-11-01. The doc is based on her book of the same name which came out in 2007. The video has been available online since 2008.

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/the_end_of_america/

Not only do these steps mirror some of the laws and procedures taken by Nazi Germany and other 20th Century fascist regimes, but the GW Bush administration even had the chutzpah to use the direct translation of the terms the Third Reich used in their ‘War of Terror’ as Borat famously quipped.

Ms. Wolf resounds the warning bell of creeping fascism in the US and shows the disturbing similarities to the social and political tactics of The Third Reich.

The Nazi similarities are frightening and upsetting to say the least. Germany was a modern city/state with a vibrant art and political scene when the Nazi’s gained power. The Nazi’s took power by usurping the German Constitution in a time of crisis and using propaganda and fear to gain control of it’s population.

The Establishment Media love to put Nazi and Hitler iconography in our face constantly yet refuse to go into detail about the very sophisticated propaganda and political manipulation that evolved there. Germany was in financial crisis and Europe was still simmering after WWI, but the media and much of academia mainly focus on the ‘evil’ of the Nazi regime. Of course the Holocaust is usually a main focus as it should be.

While some of the historical context and psychological aspects of the German ‘psyche’ are touched upon by the media-usually some inherent belief in a German superiority with ‘Triumph of the Will’ iconography-less credence is given to the propaganda, political misdirection and theater that was at the heart of the Nazi regime.

The ‘theater’ is there to distract the public from seeing the behind the scenes nefarious ‘lawful’ activity. Without the implementation of these laws and tactics that Wolf outlines here, the Nazis would not have gained power and been able to wield and exert such force. Maybe there was a ‘perfect storm’ in which they ascended power so quickly, but it wasn’t effortless. Despite the media focusing on the ‘high German ideal’, the inherent cultural and genetic belief in a Germanic superiority, fascism can happen anywhere as the 20th Century bears out. Even here in the United States circa 21st Century Fox.

From Wikipedia: “The Gestapo controlled the German populace with some 100,000 spies and informers, thereby were aware of anti-Nazi criticism and dissent. Happy with Nazi prosperity, most Germans remained silently obedient, while political opponents, especially the Communists, Marxists, and international socialists were imprisoned; “between 1933 and 1945, more than 3 million Germans had been in concentration camps, or prison, for political reasons”. “Tens of thousands of Germans were killed for one or another form of resistance. Between 1933 and 1945, Sondergerichte (Nazi “special courts”) killed 12,000 Germans, courts martial killed 25,000 German soldiers, and civil justice killed 40,000 Germans. Many of these Germans were part of the government, civil, or military service, a circumstance which enabled them to engage in subversion and conspiracy, while involved, marginally or significantly, in the government’s policies.”

Bush did not use the language or have the linguistic finesse and showmanship of a Hitler or Mussolini, but he got the job done. If the US ever tilts far right again and elects a very charismatic right-wing leader we are in big trouble, the laws are already in place.

The Obama administration may not take full advantage of these measures to shut down public outcry completely, but even they will use it to gain political control. And an administration is not one person, it can be corrupted from within or without. The point is to have very thorough checks and balances on the powers that be in order to assure that major nefariousness is subdued. Without these checks and balances, justice is tilted haphazardly towards those in power and privilege at the expense of the needs and desires of the general populace.

Naomi begins by explaining why and how she wrote the book, “And I realized from my reading that intently, strategically, systematically, a small group of people set out to undermine the constitution, open the door for the horror to come”

She saw,”the similarity between all of these regimes in the 20th C, Germany, China, Chile, where a slow but purposeful eroding of the constitution takes place. Leaders learn from one another and have developed a blue print for closing down an open society.”

Naomi, then outlines 10 steps which 20th Century fascist governments such as the Third Reich and Stalin’s Russia implemented to close down an open society. These “Ten Steps to Fascism” describe ten political tactics that fascist regimes use to control the populace. Why is the US doing this when other countries who suffer ‘terror’ do not.

I will use Roman numerals to make it look classier. And away we go!

Step I. Invoke and internal and external threat

We experienced an attack on our ‘Homeland” in 2001 of course, but other countries such as Spain or England who also had major terrorist attacks still kept their citizen’s rights. They did not bypass their constitution, to ‘protect themselves from the ‘enemy’.

The Bush league raised fear levels as high as possible. The Department of Homeland Security was created and the Patriot Act was passed.

The actual events surrounding the 2001 attacks are still considered inconclusive, and enough evidence has been presented for the government to open a thorough and transparent investigation into what transpired on ‘911’. Many of our progressive congressman want an open investigation but to no avail. Therefore, all the evidence that points to a ‘False Flag Operation’ is ignored and ‘911’ still remains a frustrating mystery for all except those who blindly wave the flag. It is our patriotic duty to fully investigate the attacks and hold those responsible, whether it be for treason, or just plain negligence.

How do you separate 9/11 and 911? To put a link to the impetus for our War on Terror and link it ass to ass to our euphemism for emergency seems suspicious. 911 is something we yell instead of Help!, or Emergency! It is basically means emergency. Seeing and hearing that number over and over again makes a strong and permanent link, which I believe is purposeful.

By October 2001 the White House and Congress drove the Patriot Act through Congress. It was printed at 3am and had to voted on by 11 am. This allowed the government to wiretap, use electronic surveillance, go through medical and bank records, credit card statements and library book records without warrant or probable cause.
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The Bush league was able to do this because they helped create such a storm of fear.
“We cannot wait for the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud” said Cunning-linguist Rice from the White House right before Iraq War. Although Colin Powell’s regrets his statements at the UN now, his now famous “yellow cake” speech was a big part of the false build up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

And As much as Cheney denied it, he was quoted on national television as saying these exact words,

“There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

“No doubt!” he emphasized more than once. He backpedaled furiously after that, even denying that he said the words, and the media allowed him to squirm out of it.
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“No Doubt!”, he assured trusting Americans. Not, “Saddam used them on the Kurds” or “we thought we had reliable intelligence” or “we had satellite photos, yellow cake, known suspect informants”. Not “we have the receipt” for the weapons.

When Cheney was pressured further to answer the allegation that none of the evidence so far was conclusive, he assured the reporter and the American people that from the intel privy only to him which was an issue of national security, he was giving the American people his word that Saddam was a real threat. Not to Kuwait, or Iran. Not in 10 years, but now.

Cheney has been discredited to all but the true believers. His pushing for the war for ideological reasons and silencing of war critics in the Pentagon and elsewhere is well known. How you go from, “shut up, I am right!” to “oh gee, I thought I was” with this much at stake and many experts within his administration telling him he was wrong and remain a credible figure in the Mainstream Media is sign that things are very wrong.

He lied, they died. With what is now known, all the knowns that were previously unknown in the Donald Rumsfeld Defense Department and Dick Cheney White House, if it wasn’t for the political turmoil and outing of everyone involved, these guys would be tried for treason. As it is, they cannot travel to many countries for fear of arrest under international war crime law.


Step II:SECRET PRISON SYSTEM

Secret here means unaccountable.We know Guantanamo Prison is there, but we are not allowed to find out what is really going on. From all reports Guantanamo was using torture tactics right out of the Russian gulags. These tactics are against the Geneva Convention and our previous government and military stances.

Bush signs Military Order #1. The government can pick up anyone it wants and hold them as an ‘enemy combatant’. They are then not official ‘prisoners of war’ and are not eligible for the protection of the Geneva Convention

Secretary of Defense Donald ‘Duck You Suckers’ Rumsfeld personally sought to redefine torture as only “organ failure” or “severe pain and suffering with specific intent”. He expands the 16 rules of interrogation to 35. Nice guy. Favorite exercise, running his chainsaw. I kid you not.

The Nazi’s used the exact same term ‘Enhanced Interrogation’, ‘Verscharfte Vernehmung’. Sounds better in German actually. Many other disturbing Third Reich linguistic similarities. Why was this done? There were enough smart people in the White House to catch this, and it was brought to their attention immediately when made public. So what kind of sick and twisted Skull and Bones bullshite we got here?

The White House memo for 2-7-02. “Geneva does not apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda, detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war” Good ole GWB doing his patri-idiotic duty.

From all reports, torture is known to provide much wrong and distorted information. People will say anything to make it stop. The reason for invading Iraq was based on false evidence obtained by torture.

The Military Commission Act of 2006 which:

-Stripped Habeas Corpus-the right to a speedy trial and to see the evidence against you.

-expands the definition of enemy combatant

-gives power to detain indefinitely

-gave legal jurisdiction to military commissions that could be try and execute without public knowledge.

-can be tried as ‘terrorist’ or ‘enemy combatant’, somewhat nebulous terms.

Bush was able to push threw these measures because he was a good ole’ boy. Americans like their fascism with a beer and ballgame.

STEP III. CREATE A PARAMILITARY FORCE

Blackwater gives 2.4 million to Republicans. 500 million then awarded in no bid security contracts. Blackwater hires killers and torturers from foreign countries. Reporter Jeremy Scahill saw them in Katrina patrolling in HumVees with machine guns. On the Blackwater website they are hyping US Protest Control, which is very frightening. It is way for them to bypass the military code that prohibits domestic use of the military, especially for crowd control.

“You cannot close down an open society without a paramilitary,” says Naomi. Blackwater is a very right wing dis-oriented organization with very strong right-wing Christian religious ties, even more so than the American military.


STEP IV: SURVEIL ORDINARY CITIZENS

FISA-Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the government to spy on it’s own citizens without warrant.

Very similar to the East German Stazi Force after WWII. They had similar powers to surveil and had checkpoints everywhere. A modern police state where the first casualty is freedom of speech and assembly, especially from the left, as the right can always be co-opted with patriotic lingo.

The List. No Fly List which has one million people on it. An interview with Colonel Antoon, who’s entire family shows up on the watch list for political or bureaucratic reasons. Many military personnel are on list. Many academics and socio-political leaders are prevented from entering the US. This also works as ‘soft pressure’, preventing many people from speaking out through threat of “extreme inconvenience”.

The FBI was blocked from investigating any allegations of wrongdoing by the State Department and White House.

Severe weakening of ‘posit comatatis’, the police are supposed to be accountable and have civilian oversight.

STEP V: INFILTRATE CITIZEN GROUPS

Groups like the Quakers are on the watch list and there are numerous reports of peaceful and law abiding groups being infiltrated. While there are leftist groups such as Earth First! who have damaged property in order to defend their cause, there is no real violence or credible threats unless you count the so called young ‘anarchists’ who break Starbuck windows. But the media and the corp/state portray the mostly pacifist and harmless organizations as violent and ideological threats to Western Civilization.

Police illegally spied on protesters in NYC rally, but the FBI is not allowed to investigate.

Cointelpro, which is short for Counter Intelligence Program, had been a big part of the FBI ever since J Edgar Hoover put on a dress. Infiltration is also a big psychological pressure point, you aren’t sure who is who, it changes the perception of reality.

As Naomi says, “To make them unable to stand up for themselves, even trust their own reality.”

STEP VI: DETAIN AND RELEASE ORDINARY CITIZENS

Again intimidation is a big factor. Who wants to go to jail? Who wants to protest and get beat up or even worse.

James Yee was a Chaplin in the US Military. He was being detained and accused of being a terrorist spy, due mostly to a term paper he wrote about Islam. He says, “religion is being used as a weapon.” by the US Military.

In Charlestown, S.C. there is a prison for citizen enemy combatants.

Maher Arar, a Canadian who the US govt sent to Syria to be tortured for 10 months with no charges filed and others who are held in American prisons and not allowed redress.

STEP VII: TARGET KEY INDIVIDUALS.

They target key individuals who are powerful social or political critics. The Bush League boycotted the Dixie Chicks through their friends at Clear Channel. The Cd burnings that Clear Channel and it’s conservative backers sponsored evoked the book burnings of old as well as the burning of Beatles albums back in the early sixties, due to their “commie ways”.

Dan Rather was fired with White House pressure and of course Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent, both due to critical views of the White House.


STEP VIII: RESTRICT THE PRESS

White House started to prosecute reporters again under the espionage act of 1917, which made it illegal to criticize the war or express dissent. Yes, Librarians et al were arrested and beaten back in the day, and expressed solidarity with their sisters in recent years by refusing to release information.

The marginalization of populist politician Eugene Debs who was given a 10 year prison sentence for speaking out against US involvement in WWI, cast a pall over civil society and silenced political debate for decades.

Bilal Hussein detained two years, a photographer for a major news organization.

Josh Wolf, an American freelance journalist was sent to prison for a full year. Longest in history for a US journalist. The government was so desperate to identify the protesters in Josh’s video that they prosecuted this case. Again, intimidation and this is a case where the FBI was barred from investigating.

Without confidentiality, sources will not come forward and journalists will be seriously hindered in pursuing investigative stories about government or corporate corruption. Not to mention the effect this has on what journalists will cover. The mob uses intimidation all the time, but when the state uses it, it ain’t funny.

STEP IX: RECAST CRITICISM AS ESPIONAGE AND DISSENT AS TREASON.

At the 2008 St Paul Republican convention, 400 people are arrested for protesting, many journalists including Amy Goodman. Hundreds are illegally arrested in a round up at a local park. Eight Americans were charged with terrorism.

HR 1955 which passed the House would have basically criminalized free speech. The “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” of 2007 which would allow the government to classify many types of political activity as terrorism is still alive in the Senate according to Joe Lieberman.

STEP X: SUBVERT THE RULE OF LAW

The Bush league subverts laws of Congress with 110 signing statements all overriding the Constitutional authority of Congress.

Bush administration targeted high ranking attorneys who did not fall in. Even purging of the entire staff was discussed, a tactic that Goebbels employed.

It is now much easier to declare Marshal Law with all of these laws in place.

In 2008 an American combat brigade was stationed with 3-4,000 troops, mostly to be trained and used for ‘civil disobedience’. Again, this is against the long standing prohibition of using military for crowd control.

At the end of the documentary it asks us to support the ‘American Freedom Agenda’ act which would reverse all of the dangerous laws of the Patriot Act.

Remembering Ed Abbey.

American Heroes like these will classified as ‘terrorists’ or ‘enemy combatants’ and dissent and public dialogue will be discouraged. People have already exhibited a tendency to pop pills and engage in mind and soul numbing activities. While the template for this type of control of the masses is more Huxleyan , Orwell is right there below the surface and in the bureaucracy if you dare to look.

When I was a kid I saw the “Elephant Man” and was struck by the cruelty of the desperate and uneducated English population versus the dignity and beauty that such a man possessed. Matched against the horror and cruelty that the so called best and brightest of us commit and take part in on a daily basis, I was struck by the sado/masochistic tendencies that are at the center of any culture that has such extremes of wealth and poverty.


These are the types of tendencies that undemocratic governments like to manipulate in order to gain control. I spent enough days in the sales/marketing world to know the banal evil of consumerism.

The things we need are held hostage. Our natural resources, our food and water supply. Our energy and education. On and on. These things are state and corporate controlled and are used as big wedges to divide society. The US is an expansive land inhabited by many different peoples and environs, when you add religion and tribalism in the mix , along with class, race and sex with all of their historical implications, you see all of the fears and confusion that ensue.

It is a self-hate that comes about when you detach, both physically and emotionally from the natural world. It is a self-loathing and pessimistic view that leads to unraveling of all that is sacred around us, and a corporate state loves it, a fractured and exhausted populace ready to be manipulated.

The incredibly emotive John Hurt received an Oscar nomination for his raw and heart-breakingly sensitive portrayal of Sir Joseph Merrick in the David Lynch film. Hurt was also the main character in “1984”, the 1984 British film by Michael Radford based on the Orwell book.

Two very important movies. One more human revelation, the other political. Both coalescing around the amazing and brave work of Sir John Hurt. Both exemplifying the darkness of the human condition and how it relates to our downfall as social and political creatures.

Mario Savio’s 1964 Berkeley ‘Gears’ Speech and the 2009 Remembrance and Reaffirmation

December 2, 1964 Mario delivers his famous ‘Gears’ speech at Sproul Hall UC Berkley. The video shows the last 1:26 of a short 3-4 minute opening salvo by Savio. He then introduces Joan Baez at the podium and shortly thereafter, leads his fellow students in a peaceful sit-in of a building or two on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.

Transcript from the very end of speech:

“We have an autocracy which runs this university. It’s managed. We asked the following: if President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn’t he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received — from a well-meaning liberal — was the following: He said, “Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?” That’s the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw material[s] that don’t mean to have any process upon us, don’t mean to be made into any product, don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!”

[Wild applause.]

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

[Prolonged applause.]

“Now, no more talking. We’re going to march in singing “We Shall Overcome.” Slowly; there are a lot of us. Up here to the left — I didn’t mean the pun.”

One of the great moments from the Berkley/San Francisco scene.  Mario was old school, the son of a New York Sicilian steel worker who had the mettle to make rousing and heartfelt speeches like this. Mario is speechifying at a Berkley Free Speech Movement rally on the steps of Sproul Hall on the UC Berkely campus.

He introduces Joan Baez before he gives up the mike.  Saint Joan was there every step of the way along the road to civil rights. She was MLK’s white angel. She stopped the cops from letting loose the water cannons but she was arrested quite a few times. Saint Joan the Archangel of Bohemia.

Mario was a bit of a saint too. He became the de facto leader of the FSM after he jumped atop a police car to speak in defense of a fellow student who was being arrested for passing out CORE literature on campus. CORE, or The Congress of Racial Equality had a very radical agenda. They were a congregation of people who wanted racial equality.

Mario took his shoes off before he climbed up on the police car. He was afraid that the heels of his shoes would dent the roof. Mario wanted to be a priest all his life and he almost went to divinity school. My guess is that he felt more of an affinity for the divinity of man than anything else.

He graduated from Manhattan and Queens College and moved with his family to Los Angeles. He enrolled in Berkeley and had already been arrested for civil disobedience in support of civil rights in San Francisco when he joined the Freedom Summer projects in Mississippi. He helped register black people to vote and taught at a Freedom school for black children.  When he returned to Berkeley he found that all political activity and fund raising had been banned. So he carpe diemed it and jumped on the police car and peacefully staged a 32 hour sit in right thar.

But Mario’s ‘Gears’ speech is his shining moment. A brilliant paré, he uses the shallow metaphor that Dean Kerr thought would shut the students up and turns it into one of the greatest turns of phrase and poetic undoing of dry cold propaganda in the history of western civ.

Here is the dean’s cognitive dissonance which I guess was just a smarmy way for him to shush the pesky students questioning his authority.

“Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?”

Dr Kerr.

Dr Kerr issued this statement of ridiculousness that addressed the students objection to their free speech being inhibited, to their voices being silenced,  because the regents, the bored mis-directors don’t want their corporate donors, or the conservative parents to stop giving them money. The fact is though, that they would get more money from the left if people from the right, or corporations backed out. But it is not just about money, it is also about control.

Well Mario, being the good catholic Sicilian was incredulous that the dean would just ‘blow them off’, using the parlance of the day, and the words he spit back were some of the most inspired in the annals of Beserkley or anywhere else in the universe of saying what needed to be said.

If Dr Kerr’s words were a direct hit to the midsection of the rights and freedoms of students at Berkley, then Mario’s were a thousand beautiful ninja stars of light into the hearts and minds of those in attendance and radiating exponentially on. Inspired and delivered with the emotional intensity of a young warrior poet he thrust back:

“That’s the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw material[s] that don’t mean to have any process upon us, don’t mean to be made into any product, don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!”

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

 

Well, not only did Super Mario rebut Kerr’s reptilian-brained metaphor, he showed Mr Kerr and the world what an insult his metaphor was to the intelligence and depth of the Free Speech Movement and the Berkley students. Mr Kerr’s reply was a patronizing and small-minded response to the students desire to express their support for the Civil Rights Movement.

Not only did Mario show that the students that Kerr dismissed were a bright and determined bunch but he delivered a powerful metaphor that still resonates today. The University need not be run like a firm, a factory, or a corporation where profit was the highest motive and free speech and constitutional rights were subjugated to a corporate like board of directors.

And Mario’s eloquence was a poetic display of the power of protest, of civil disobedience. They were going to lay down on the gears, lay down in the street to show that they were exercising their constitutional rights. They demanded debate. It was a metaphor for walk-outs and sit-ins and peaceful run-ins with the law. Mario, with his religious upbringing came up with this metaphor and it’s sacrificial imagery.

Mario was saying that his generation was willing to lay upon the machine to stop it. They would find out if those in charge were willing to sacrifice our children to the needs of the machine. Was the machine that odious? Were those in charge that cruel and calculating? I think we have been shown the answer. The metaphor of man vs machine cut to the heart of the matter.

A few years later Pink Floyd announced ominously, “Welcome to the Machine”. I am sure that was inspired by Mario somehow.  Playing at the psychedelic juke joints with the Yippie and Beat scene in high gear at the high end of the free love scene, Pink Floyd were stalwarts on the Haight in the late sixties, creating space travel and ascension  music and vibrating the place to a higher consciousness. Floyd warned us about the danger of the machines, and money and becoming ‘Comfortably Numb’.

What about now? Are we somehow enslaved by machines? Is their some hope on the horizon? Will the people finally rise up once and for all and demand that their rights be respected. For some, many, it is a matter of life and death. Even for some of our neighbors or friends, people we know and see in the bad part of town, or in a bad place in their life. Illness, poverty, depression. The death by thousand cuts.

Here is the video from the Remembrance and Reaffirmation December 09.

Is their a possibility of a resurgence in free love and a willingness for collective peace and justice even if we feel uncomfortable some times? Is it worth having to go to town hall meetings once a month to not have a fascist government run by corporations? Tough call I guess for most, but when it comes down to it, that is all it would take. Town by town referendums. Go door to door. Take a year, take two. If it were the actual will of the people it would get done.

But I guess that is crazy. People are resilient. They can bear the burden of capitalism, they will trudge on like good soldiers. Besides, we are waiting for the miracle, the miracle to come.

These videos and the millions of other works of ecstatic life art will be a testament to our collective struggle for the democratic ideal of  “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It is a flame that cannot be extinguished.

And these cats in Berkley, in 2009, young and old are keeping the torch lit. Paying tribute to these giants that too many of us smugly stand on with our entitlements and our digitized and plasticized disposable culture.

Saint Mario stood like a giant and spoke. He became a heroic figure to those who dare mythologize this world. Remember the Titans.

“The Terror-Industrial Complex” by Chris Hedges

 

“The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security comes not from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.”

Thus opens Mr Hedges article, and while most of the article space is dedicated to this particular and seemingly tragic case, “The Terror-Industrial Complex” according to Hedges and others, is a new leviathan to be reckoned with. The title of the article takes it’s cue from “The Military Industrial Complex”, in which  Daniel Guérin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business, about the fascist government support to heavy industry defined as:

an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs

Chris Hedges received the Pulitzer for terrorism reporting and he and others see the emergence of a Terror Industrial Complex that feeds on itself as do the Military and Prison Industries in this country. He elucidates further:

“I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.”

Another:

“Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain. “”

And again:

“These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat
posed by Islamic radicals.”

Mr Hedges is alluding to the very real present and future danger of a Military Industrial Complex that focuses on terror to further it’s profits and domination of the anti-terror market. The “Terror Industrial Complex” consists of all of the companies that may profit off of “The War on Terror”. This includes almost every company that has industrial and electronic business ties. Pharmaceutical companies can now be immune from lawsuits because they also manufacture drugs for the military.

And the list goes on and on, this is why they call it a “complex”. It becomes so complex that it has a mind of its own and becomes a complex of which the complexity is perplexing. And it is not just cold hearted capitalism that this monster is feeding on. It is also eating from our old fears of religion and race.

A dirty secret is that our military has been infiltrated by evangelical Christians who are swelling the ranks and filling the tanks. Add to that the lengthy history of US and western imperialism and economic enslavement of many developing nations, and it is no wonder that we don’t encounter more violent opposition around the world.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_terror-industrial_complex_20100208/

PEACE

The G20 Protests and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The G20 Summit is in Pittsburgh from September 20th-25th and much is at stake.

The G20, which is formally known as Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, is an annual forum where the world’s 20 most economically powerful countries meet with other institutions and shoot the breeze.

According to Wikipedia:

“The G-20 is a forum for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. It studies, reviews, and promotes discussion among key industrial and emerging market countries of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.”

What is disturbing is that much of what goes on there is never made public and there seems to be no oversight of the festivities. That is a key point. Of course ‘national security’ is the main reason given for keeping things so secretive, but why not some oversight and at least some public accountability? It is an undemocratic institution that is compromised of mostly elected officials and therefore should have some accountability.

This big circus is rolling into Pittsburgh, PA in September and of course citizens and community groups are going to want their voices heard and try and get the media and officials to address their concerns regarding the G20. People not only want a healthy economy but they want to make sure that things like human rights and other concerns such as global warming or debt relief are addressed in a non-offhanded manner.

So the stage is set. The Summit is just around the corner, September 20th to the 25th. Although the city of Pittsburgh seems to be handling things well, the National Guard will most likely be called in to handle crowd control. If you go to the Pitt Post-Gazette site they have a link to the G20 articles that I am gleaming some of this information from. I think Pittsburgh is a good liberal blue-collar city and I don’t think there will be any major clashes but the presence of the National Guard is always a bummer. Your city is turned into a demilitarized zone, it puts a damper on the festivities.

Here is an excerpt from another article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. An activist is explaining why it is not cool to call in the National Guard unless it is necessary. It would be as if you went to a meeting and everyone had on boxing gloves and had vaseline under their eyes. It would change the dynamic a little.

“There is no state of emergency in Pittsburgh, there is no natural disaster,” he said, “only the placing of military combat troops in the Steel City, which will repress and intimidate democratic free speech and dissent.”

He is right. There is no reason to turn the city into a mosh pit if there is no threat. For what? A few broken windows? Please! It was probably a plainclothes officer anyway.

So, according to the reporter:

‘Lt. Col. Cleaver responded that the nature of the National Guard’s work has changed somewhat as a result of 9/11, taking on a more proactive role for security needs such as protecting airports and nuclear facilities.

“I would view this as a core mission of the National Guard,” he said of G-20 security.’

Ouch! That is what scares me. “A more proactive role for security,” is very scary. And that crowd control is a “core mission” of the National Guard when it is unconstitutional to have the military used in this fashion, is just reprehensible.

Using the  military, even the National Guard for crowd control purposes is unconstitutional. It is part of an effort to “secure our Homeland” as they so eerily put it. It is just awful that a government that can’t get it’s act together to help a city recover from a Hurricane can mobilize around every damn protest and intimidate, harass and abuse old ladies and kids. Just shameful.

It is very hard to protest. It is hard to get permits. It is difficult to get close to the meetings or organizations you are protesting. Pretty soon the ‘Free Speech Zone’ will be your couch. Without a permit you are subject to arrest. With a permit, you are escorted and controlled by officers in riot gear who are trained to treat you like suspected terrorists. It is a pretty dismal affair. People do not want to go to these things. Only the diehards will be out to subject themselves to abuse and have their voices drowned out in the media by the latest Primate Fiasco.

How and why the main stream media have us all atwitter over Iran

by jasondylan@wordpress.com

We hear lots of cheer leading about how Twitter or Utube is the new savior of democracy here and abroad and I think we should take a closer look.  One has to be cautious of course before jumping on any bandwagon. One should have a thorough look see into said bandwagon. Take it from Borat,”There may gypsy lurking in shadow and will cast spell! I love America! Go US n A! Yak cie masz!”

I think we need to be very skeptical when the MSM (main stream media) is hyping something. They have a sad and long history of kowtowing to corporate interests. One example of this is that none of the top progressive reporters or academics are allowed to participate in the debate. Noam Chomsky has documented this thoroughly, and although he is one of the leading scholars on the geopolitical scene,  he never gets invited on a major news channel. The  views expressed on the MSM are very narrow. The type of questions asked are jingoistic and the jargon is just the lingo in between the jingles.

This is more in line with what you would expect from a public relations firm than from a free and investigative press. Whether you are watching CNN or MSNBC it matters very little. From analyzing the situation you could surmise that Fox News is allowed to exist just to make the others look good.  “Sure, things are tough all over but now that Bush is gone and Obama is in, things are headed in the right direction.”  So goes the narrative on cable news.

But for the average American it is a different story. We want and need to see real change.We want a media that is not just all pablum and pagaentry but is a real watchdog and critic of the domestic and foreign scene. A changing of the guard is great but the majority of the population is not happy with what is going on. But the cheer leaders in the media seem to not care very much and are either infighting all the time or seeming to be playing to the lowest common denominator.

It is like going to a car dealership and wanting an economical and reliable vehicle for your family only to be told that the only thing available is a sports coup.  You have the choice of  getting it in red or black, but it is neither what we want or need. We break down and buy it and maybe it gives us a thrill now and then, but this is definitely not what you need and really not what you wanted. You might have some fun with it but at the end of the day you would much rather have something more practical and useful. But it is sexy!

Let’s take the current Iran crisis for example.  The MSM holds to their dominant narrative which is, “The Iranians are rising up because of a fixed election and if we the USAns twitter enough about it, then we can help Iran achieve more independence somehow by putting pressure on so and so to be more open and free and then the Iranians will get to enjoy all of our great freedoms like eating at the fast food restaurant of their choice, or choosing from the 100’s of channels of unlimited quality entertainment that is only a click away!”  Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Pass me the Extra Cheesy Doritos please!

I will now point to a few of the more subtle ways that the MSM goes about their daily “business'”, and it is business, and try to explain some of the reasons that the media might have for these dastardly deeds.

For example, I  recently overheard someone from the CIA talk about the lack of intelligence in Iran and how this was because it is such a closed off police state and people don’t have the right to protest, they crack down on dissenters and so on. This was on NPR (National Public Radio) by the way, supposedly an independent and left-leaning liberal station, but in reality you will not hear one story, one point of view that truly questions the authority of USAn hegenomy or what in the old days was referred to as ‘Imperialism’.

This CIA intel fella also mentioned  how not being able to have people on the ground in Iran is also what happened in  Iraq. He stated that having bad intelligence was what led them to trust the word of these informants that ended up being unreliable,  but the facts are otherwise. These informants were discredited by many experts in the CIA before the report was written. Think Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations with that vial of  “yellow cake” that was in reality a big hoax.

Even Mr. Powell has stated that he now feels he was used to push forward a false rationale for the Iraq War. Think “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and the outing of  Valerie Plame and the “smoking gun in a form of a mushroom cloud”, and you will have the gist of it. And to top it all off, the guy who put this piece of propaganda together is now working on a anti-populist campaign to help give Wall Street a face lift and counter the populist rage that is brewing  on main street. Yucky stuff.

You wont see someone like Noam Chomsky or even a less imposing figure such as Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! on NPR debunking these people, which they could do much more eloquently and forcefully than I can. Nor will they be on to talk  about the  irony of someone in the CIA mentioning the police state in Iran. I mean, if you replace live bullets with rubber bullets, tear gas and tasers, that is of course not a police state.  You probably wont get gunned down by the police if you protest here, but the police  in the states have a long and illustrious history of brutality that is well documented.

But you have to search for it on the net or take  political science courses at a liberal university to get this information. It is not available in the main stream media. It does not align with their corporate owners bottom line. It is not some crazy conspiracy to think that a business wants to make money and protect it’s shareholders interests. It is just a giant shame that our democracy is held hostage because of it and that people really suffer.

Then we have something like what happened recently on ‘The Daily Show’ with John Stewart. You have a young charismatic guy like Reza Aslan come on. He is obviously well versed on the situation in Iran. He is Iranian, he has written a book on the middle east and has great credentials. He talks a really good game. He seems passionate, he is playing to the audience but what does he really say? He says that there is all this infighting and it is one mullah versus the other and the outcome will probably not be good. But some very important points are being swept under the Persian rug.
He says it doesn’t matter now if the election was fixed or not. But it matters very much. If there was not a theft of the election then we are supporting a minority of the population in overthrowing the majority. This is imperialism. This is not cool. There was a very real and public psy-ops operation on the ground in Iran not so long ago, not to mention other not so public operations that were part of a US  program for destabilizing Iran. These were started by the Bush administration and these operations have been part of  our foreign policy, like forever. Now it is unclear whether Obama is continuing these operations, but if they are discontinued, why not say so.

These operations in Iran are talked about in the MSM. They are not secret and it is because of these operations and a long history that the US has in “meddling” in the affairs of Iran as Reza ironically put it, that it matters very much whether the Iran election was stolen or not. And there is real and verifiable information from reliable sources that seems to back up the case that maybe Achmadenijad did actually win in a fair democratic election.    For instance there was at least one poll taken right before the election by an independent firm showing that Ahmadinejad was leading by a wide margin. Ahmadinejad  campaigned for years and Mousavi jumped in quite late in the race. This doesn’t prove anything but at least it should be up for discussion.

So here is Reza on “The Daily Show” with this great platform, he could say stuff he can’t say on CNN or elsewhere. You can sneak stuff in here under the guise of comedy and get away with it.  Instead he plays the crowd like some young and flashier hipster version of NBC’s Brian Williams.

“Thank God for Obama” says Reza.” “You know, Barack Hussein Obama”, as he leans in and raises his eyebrows in mock disbelief,  as if we are all in on the fact that because Obama is a man of color with a Middle Eastern name he is of course going to bring real peace and stability to the region. You know, this is not “John Wayne McCain”, so of course he is not going to just do the corporate bidding and go on with business as usual. .  How you could come to these conclusions in the face of all of the recent disappointments in health care, finance and the environment  is beyond me but you know, he and Barack are like that.

What matters now, says Rezla, is that the protests are about a new Iran and that people want more freedoms. But nothing about how there is a possibility that this is being egged on at least a little by the west because the wolves of capitalism can smell the raw meat. Nothing about how Israel will feel better about having a kinder and gentler Iran that is more malleable to western interests.

And why are  we celebrating the Iranian situation and  neglecting what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan? There are already attacks under way in villages and thousands and soon to be hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced. It is becoming a humanitarian crisis but nary a twitter. What is the difference? First and foremost the US government has a very large stake in a free and democratic Iran. I think we all know what that means. The Bulls and Bears fighting over control over the people’s resources, corporate and political control through the machinations of capitalism with not much concern over the rights or needs of the population. Kind of like what we have here.

And the real question that needs to be asked is, what is going to happen from all of this fanfare? Until we take control of our own government, until  “we the people” have at least as much power as corporations to influence the political process, then what ever the slogan du jour  is, be it “audacity of hope” or “utube and twitter are helping the Iranian people achieve democracy”, matters very little.