Category Archives: Injustice

The Problem with Freedom, by George Monbiot

Comment to this “reblog” article:

We, as a word species, possess some great buzz-words we love to use as much as possible.  They are “feel good” words that are so deeply traditional that they require no thinking at all…none.  That they are a Pandora’s box of confused meaninglessness doesn’t enter our mind in the least.  These are feelings and conversation boosters prescribed by our Matrix to explain everything that evidence, observation and common sense would have the nerve to tell us, isn’t so.  Enter the fix-it words: love, family, nation, God, democracy, motherhood, freedom.  Claim to be in league with any of the above, or on a mission to uphold these concepts, and shut up, or crush, all opposition.  Great words, until you set them down, one at a time, and start examining them, their meaning; your relationship to any one of them.  Of course we’re not supposed to ever do that.  If we did, it would indicate that we actually doubt these great concepts, we’re not sure that they are truly absolute in value.  “Do Not Enter” says the Matrix sign.  Believe, don’t think. 

But what if you do think about them?  As George Monbiot points out here, what is the real meaning of freedom?  Well, it depends who is talking about it.

The Problem With Freedom – monbiot.com


The Problem With Freedom

Posted: 07 Apr 2017 01:05 AM PDT

Freedom is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 5th April 2017

Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it puts themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought.

When thinktanks and the billionaire press call for freedom, they are careful not to specify whose freedoms they mean. Freedom for some, they suggest, means freedom for all. In certain cases, this is true. You can exercise freedom of thought and expression, for example, without harming other people. In other cases, one person’s freedom is another’s captivity.

When corporations free themselves from trade unions, they curtail the freedoms of their workers. When the very rich free themselves from tax, other people suffer through failing public services. When financiers are free to design exotic financial instruments, the rest of us pay for the crises they cause.

Above all, billionaires and the organisations they run demand freedom from something they call “red tape”. What they mean by red tape is public protection. An article in the Telegraph last week was headlined “Cut the EU red tape choking Britain after Brexit to set the country free from the shackles of Brussels”. Yes, we are choking, but not on red tape. We are choking because the government flouts European rules on air quality. The resulting air pollution frees thousands of souls from their bodies.

Ripping down such public protections means freedom for billionaires and corporations from the constraints of democracy. This is what Brexit – and Trump – are all about. The freedom we were promised is the freedom of the very rich to exploit us.

To be fair to the Telegraph, which is running a campaign to deregulate the entire economy once Britain has left the EU, it is, unusually, almost explicit about who the beneficiaries are. It explains that “the ultimate goal of this whole process should be to … to set the wealth creators free.” (Wealth creators is the code it uses for the very rich). Among the potential prizes it lists are changes to the banana grading system, allowing strongly curved bananas to be categorised as Class 1, a return to incandescent lightbulbs and the freedom to kill great crested newts.

I suspect that the Barclay brothers, the billionaires who own the Telegraph, couldn’t give a monkey’s about bananas. But as their business empire incorporates hotels, shipping, car sales, home shopping and deliveries, they might be intensely interested in the European working time directive and other aspects of employment law, tax directives, environmental impact assessments, the consumer rights directive, maritime safety laws and a host of similar public protections.

If the government agrees to the Telegraph’s proposed “bonfire of red tape”, we would win bent bananas and newt-squashing prerogatives. On the other hand, we could lose our rights to fair employment, an enduring living world, clean air, clean water, public safety, consumer protection, functioning public services and the other distinguishing features of civilisation. Tough choice, isn’t it?

As if to hammer the point home, the Sunday Telegraph interviewed Nick Varney, the chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, in an article claiming that the “red tape burden” was too heavy for listed companies. He described some of the public protections companies have to observe as “bloody baggage”. The article failed to connect these remarks to his company’s own bloody baggage, caused by its unilateral decision to cut red tape. As a result of overriding the safety mechanism on one of its rides at Alton Towers, which was operating, against the guidelines, during high winds, 16 people were injured, including two young women who had their legs amputated. That’s why we need public protections of the kind the Telegraph wants to destroy.

The same ethos, with the same justification, pervades the Trump administration. The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is seeking to annul the rules protecting rivers from pollution, workers from exposure to pesticides and everyone from climate breakdown. It’s not as if the agency was over-zealous before: one of the reasons for the mass poisoning in Flint, Michigan was its catastrophic failure to protect people from the contamination of drinking water by lead: a failure that now afflicts 18 million Americans.

As well as trying to dismantle the government’s climate change programme, Trump is waging war on even the most obscure forms of protection. For example, he intends to defund the tiny US Chemical Safety Board, which investigates lethal incidents at chemical plants. Discovering what happened and why would be an impediment to freedom.

On neither side of the Atlantic are these efforts unopposed. Trump’s assault on public protections has already provoked dozens of lawsuits. The European Council has told the UK government that if it wants to trade with the EU on favourable terms after Brexit, companies here cannot cut their costs by dumping them on the rest of society.

This drives the leading Brexiters berserk. As a result of the Pollution Paradox (the dirtiest corporations have to spend the most money on politics, so the political system comes to be owned by them), politicians like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have an incentive to champion the freedom of irresponsible companies. But it also puts them in a bind. Their primary argument for deregulation is that it makes businesses more competitive. If it means those businesses can’t trade with the EU, the case falls apart.

They will try to light the bonfire anyway, as this is a question of power and culture as well as money. You don’t need to listen for long to the very rich to realise that many see themselves as the “independents” Friedrich Hayek celebrated in The Constitution of Liberty, or as John Galt, who led a millionaires’ strike against the government in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Like Hayek, they regard freedom from democracy as an absolute right, regardless of the costs this may inflict on others, or even on themselves.

When we confront a system of propaganda, our first task is to decode it. This begins by interrogating its sacred value. Whenever we hear the word freedom, we should ask ourselves, “freedom for whom, at whose expense?”.

http://www.monbiot.com

Dear Miss Liberty

(Thoughts du jour)

IRQGIRL

In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq
Whichever one or was it the Gulf War
Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Palestine?
Or is it just the endle$$ War?
Africa’$ in there somewhere

 

Mourn, mourn!
For the thousands
fleeing from their homes
when the bombs dropped
and death rained from torrid skies;

Mourn, mourn!
For those pulverized in the streets
mixing blood and sand,
steel and plastic –
fusing burning human flesh and glass
in depleted uranium.

~*~*~*~

Becoming one
with all that is: what a simple feat
that children, dogs, mice and blades of grass
can accomplish with ease
when war falls
from the oppressor’s lips
and its fire spews from heaven –

did you not hear the monster pray
before he gave the word?

~*~*~*~

Mind dead, heart blind
the power-butchers kill the innocent
claiming it their divine right,
no, more: their sacred duty.
It’s a matter of interpretation
(not to be confused
with questions of morality
or basic human decency):

~*~*~*~

Did not a Master once say
the kingdom of heaven
belongs to little children?
There you have it: kill them now
while they remain children
and give them back to God –

kills two birds with one smart bomb:
gets them out of the way
so they don’t grow up to be terrorists
against the invader –
sorry, against the Chosen Ones.

~*~*~*~

If this seems an oxymoron –
what’s your take on it?
Where were you
when prayers aimed at heaven
rained back down as cluster bombs
upon the innocent
?

~*~*~*~

“Now, Mi$$ Liberty,
How do you wish to pay for those bombs?
American Expre$$?
Of course: thank you.
A pleasure doing busine$$!”

($mile!)

Stop Grasshopper: where are you going from here?

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

If I were a betting kind of person, I’d bet a substantial amount of my pension check, say $100, that the main question on most people’s minds these days would be something like, “where are we going from here?”  At least in the Western world, faced as it is with some quite serious political and economic changes and challenges. 

Imagine what it’s like to live in a world built almost exclusively on slave labour and stolen resources from Third World nations, or any nation that can’t defend itself against political graft, military superiority and financial corruption, and having that cornucopia gradually go empty? 

The growing number of war costs and bodies on the ground (take that metaphorically or literally) is making itself felt.  Cheap resources and cheaper labour are not delivering their quota of expectations.  Prices are rising, as is discontent, chaos, confusion and fear. Damn, but it’s really quite annoying, this constant discomfort.  It’s like the Western world is suffering from sciatica; it can’t find any comfortable position to put itself back to sleep. 

Never mind the MSM (I understand that to mean something like “Multi-Slime Media” but I could be wrong, it’s probably something much worse), I’ve been reading “alternative” media, or just a lot of blogging on various subjects such as Trumpism, war, global injustice, climate change… or sometimes switching to war, climate change, global injustice and Trumpism.  Nothing like variety, is there.  So, big picture, what am I reading?

I’m reading the confused thoughts of people enmeshed in a net of anti-human corruption called predatory capitalism.  The concept is a real-life Game played with real people who live and die at the hands of the players.  The Game itself is completely artificial, having nothing whatsoever to do with natural life as it was meant to be lived, either on this world, or on any sane world.  The tokens used are called money, and while they all serve the same purpose, they have different names in different parts of the globe.  Dollars is a popular name; rubles, yens, yuan, shekel, rupee, pound, it doesn’t matter, they are just tokens, some “worth” more than others. 

When you sign up for the Game, in very fine print at the bottom of the form, on page 198, there is a cautionary line: If you have some tokens, you may gamble and if Lady Luck favours you, you may get more, but the moment you lose your last token, your life is forfeit to the Game and you and your family must die or go into life-long slavery. 

How seriously do Earthians take this global Game?  Enough to play it 24/7, on every part of the planet.  Enough to gamble away everything they own, even their nation.  Enough to willingly enslave themselves to those who have the most tokens because they control the Game and have enough power to change to rules so the Game always benefits them.  Enough to sacrifice their children on the board and to die by the millions through a variety of preventable causes to keep the Game going.

Pathetic?  Beyond pathetic.  But if that isn’t sad enough, try to imagine billions of semi-intelligent creatures believing that if they stopped the Game they and their world would suddenly die. Billions, even those who have given up believing in invisible sky wizards called gods, believe in, and promote the Game as if all of life on earth depended on an endless exchange of tokens, either in a physical form or increasingly, over the internet. 

I taught myself the rules of the Game when I was very young because I sensed how it was designed to enslave people by forcing them to become addicted to it.  I didn’t want to play the Game because it is disgusting to me, but I needed to know it so I wouldn’t get ensnared by it; so I wouldn’t become tempted to worship in its churches called banks and gambling casinos or shopping plazas.  Furthermore, as I realized that each day of my life the Game was claiming more and more of the world and there would soon be no place left where anyone could live without holding a playing card and having a minimum number of tokens, I needed to know how to pretend to play so I wouldn’t be banished from its all-encompassing zone of control. 

I finally realized that the only place outside was through suicide but after a “half life” of playing with the thought and a couple of attempts, I gave that up.  I was offered a challenge: to live within the Game while despising it and doing everything I could to expose it as nothing but a death-dealing addiction, the number one addiction on the planet.  I could live with that. 

Once in a while I stop long enough to look at this world, and its addiction to the Game; to money.  I realize how everything, and I mean absolutely everything that has any value has been put up as an ante, a forced bet, on the Game’s table.  I see billions of players looking on in dismay, having lost everything, knowing that death is now mandatory for them.  I see the piles of bets in front of the few bloated players who only want more having no other reason to play but addicted to having more.  What do I compare this to?

I imagine a world where everyone is addicted to watching the Bugs Bunny, Road Runner Looney Tunes cartoons on TV.  It’s all they’ve ever watched, all they’ve ever seen, all they know, all they believe in.  The Game is played between Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.  It goes on and on and on, and all those people spend their entire lives convinced that one day, one time, Wile E. Coyote will win over the Road Runner.  They spend everything betting on the coyote, despite the fact that he’s never, ever won.

That is pathetic.  That is capitalism. 

Who does the Road Runner represent?  Bill Gates (Microsoft), Amancia Ortega (Inditex or Zara), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathway), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Koch brothers (Koch Industries), Carlos Slim (Grupo Carso), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Elllison (Oracle), Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA).  These ten richest multi-billionaires in order of value, are each worth over 40 billion Game tokens.  With his endless failed attempts at beating the Road Runner, it’s easy to figure out who Wile E. Coyote represents. 

Tell me again, intelligent people of earth, why you are absolutely convinced that you must play this really stupid “Hunger Game” and sacrifice everything of value to it?  Why you believe that the Game is worth more than the very world you depend upon for your life?  I’m not sure I quite understand your reasoning.  In fact I know I don’t.

Now listen to some pertinent lyrics sung so beautifully by Blackmore’s Night, food for thought:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbJ89efvKqM

 

Blogger’s Swan Song, or Change of Direction?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

This is for the few who follow, and participate in, this particular blog.

The title isn’t spurious.  I’ve been doing much thinking about blogging in the last while, and questioning my motives for doing so.  I’ve traveled the “blogosphere” in politics, economics, religion, real life stories, news reporting, fiction, poetry, well, just about every category.  And I’ve thrown in quite a few comments on many blogs, many not exactly popular nor politically correct: I have a habit of challenging and questioning, pushing the envelope, see what comes out.  I don’t accept “stuff” easily, due to a long time of experience and observation on this world of “easy believism” and that has paid off many a time.

Bluntly, I’m tired of reading about “stuff” I already know about, some since I was a teenager (political, medical and banking corruption for example).  I’m tired of reading about global issues I can’t do a thing about, or so little it wouldn’t make an iota of difference even if I gave my life to it.  Off the top: how many people remember Rachel Corrie and Kayla Mueller or why they should be remembered?  I’m tired of reading really great essays, articles and reports on matters I know can only be dealt with by those “in power” and knowing that it is those very people who are the prime movers of the disparity, injustice, oppression, exploitation, environmental destruction that the articles are addressing.  I’m tired of the usual false hope and cautions included “de rigueur” at the end of almost all of them, such as, “the youth are waking up” or “we’re all in this together and we can solve this” or “we better do something soon before it is too late.”

If I decide to continue blogging, I am going to return to my original thought on why I engaged this process.  My idea was that first, the blog being mine, I could express whatever I wanted on it.  And what I wanted was to propose real solutions to what appears to be insolvable, irresolvable and insurmountable social problems of global injustice, war and anthropogenic climate change which affects everyone and everything on this tiny world.  I wanted to address and discuss how people collectively interact with each other, with fellow creatures and their natural environment and propose solutions, or a solution.

I didn’t want to play with tried and failed concepts or solutions.  Anything tried and failed is obviously a non solution.  If it didn’t take before, it won’t take now.  So we need to “source” our particularly Earthian problems to find source solutions.  Then we need to apply those solutions and always remember that any other already experienced “solutions,” if they seem to work, are localized and temporary at best.  We must also remember that the Matrix learned how to defeat such “solutions” in the past and will viciously denounce and effectively attack and neutralize such. We must also remember that apart from the Matrix and its elites, the more vociferous and dangerous enemies of social solutions will be, as always, the slaves of the Matrix, the majority sheeple: the believers, the voters, the patriots.

Yes, the Status Quo, the “System,” the “Matrix,” and its bureaucracies, that power is public enemy number one, regardless of what form it manifests under.

Here are some thoughts my blog was going to address, hopefully discuss:

When you go to vote, or support a particular political party, regardless of what it claims to stand for, you are voting and supporting your enemy, your family’s enemy and your world’s enemy.  There are no exceptions.

When you go to work for a wage, you are empowering your enemy.  There are no exceptions.

When you take out a loan, buy on credit, use a credit card, or take a mortgage, you are paying your enemy to despoil you.  There are no exceptions.

When you go to a church, or a mosque, or a temple, when you pray to, bow down to, kneel to a god or gods, praise them or glorify them or give them credit for your life in some way, you are empowering your archenemies.  There are no exceptions.

The programming that Earthians exist under is quasi-absolute.  Many who escape the clutches of Religion immediately fall into other forms of idolatry such as political ideologies, science and technology, particular philosophies, esoteric ancient or New Age teaching; Darwinism, environmentalism, and hedonism as in the single-minded pursuit of success, health, riches, pleasure.  These are a different sort of idolatry but idolatry nonetheless.  None address the fundamental problem of programming, brainwashing, dependency or reliance on old systems that poisons the Earthian mind.  I have yet to meet one individual who was fundamentally changed by engaging in any of the above.  Repeat: fundamentally changed, i.e., had her/his very nature changed.

It comes down to lifestyle.  To performance.  I have annoyed so many people who have “offered” me solutions to practically everything that doesn’t work by stating: don’t tell me, show me.  Demonstrate.  I want to see it, and I want to participate in your personal engagement to your solution(s) – how much of “you” is in the solution, how little of “you” remains outside of it.  I need to see it work for you, by you.  No assurances, no claims.  I don’t buy pigs in a poke. (Meaning. An offer or deal that is foolishly accepted without being examined first.)

Can’t demonstrate?  Don’t bother with the reams of philosophical and technical reasons why it can’t work “that way” when you claim that it theoretically can.  I’m not interested in excuses any longer.  I’m done with the endless bullshit; with empty feel-good promises.  I don’t care if your particular god is going to save your ass from hell because you say you believe in him or it.  I don’t care if your precious NASA is taking some of you to Mars in the near future, or to the end of the universe for that matter.  I don’t care if you did or did not, ever, make it to the moon; if what the world witnessed on a lying TV system was performed in studios or in low orbit.  I don’t care if you’re about to build the next highest ever skyscraper hotel. I don’t even care if your national debt is in the trillions of dollars or if your entitled youths can’t afford university.  I don’t care if you’re seriously considering blowing yourselves up in a long-expected and hoped for nuclear show down.  If you’re going to do it, do it.  Don’t keep talking about it and titillating yourselves with the idea of spending Christmas at ground zero (and thanks, Weird Al, for that idea.).

All of the above are spurious and detract from the main issue: life on a normal, natural, non-violent, safe, clean world.  That’s what we, as a people, need to not just address, but bring about.  We have the means, we just don’t have the dream, vision, or desire to do it.  We’ll believe any lie by our leaders but we won’t believe what we know to be true for every one of us.

There is a very simple, practical and universal, as well as universally applicable, solution to man’s social problems.  This particular solution (notice I am not putting it in quotes) will – notice that little word: will – guaranteed – end all wars; end all oppression and exploitation of one-another; end all corruption; end every sort of crime imaginable; end lust for violence in race, gender, nation, religion, class.  Most importantly it will end lies.  That is, it will end the brainwashing.  Once people realize they can think for themselves as individuals and make their own decisions, take responsibility for their place in the world, they will change their ways and their world will change accordingly.  All the crap that makes life here unbearable, frightening, scary, horrible, murderous, unsafe and demeaning will turn to fertilizer.

“You” are so close.

The current elitist madness; the need to control national economies; the drive for globalism and totalitarianism world-wide: these are the indication that the Matrix is running scared, out of time and its servants, the elites, are panicking.  Unlike ordinary people you won’t see them in mobs running about the streets setting their stores on fire and killing each other.  You will see them retrenching from the body politic, securing resources behind lines of militarized police and military forces, cutting back on social services through control of governments.  You will see them demanding absolute allegiance from their privileged protectors, smashing the faces of the poor that they find contemptible because they hate and fear them.  They are scared and the more scared they are the more bluster they need to show, the more they need to strut their power, the more blood they need to shed and show to the world.  The Hunger Games, remember that story, you’re now a participant in it.

And, let me repeat this: the solution to all of our problems is simple.  It is the simplest solution anyone could imagine.  Does it work?  Yes.  I know because I’ve tested it and I live by it.  So I know that if it works for me it will work for anyone: I’m as anybody as they come.

What could possibly prevent such a wonderful solution from being lived and applied to current problems by everybody?  I know it isn’t because they aren’t aware of its availability.  It’s because of collective cowardice.  When it comes to confronting their enslaving Powers Earthians are certifiable cowards.  They choose slavery and call it freedom because it lets them exist within controlled enclaves without wearing chains.

They’re afraid of the solution; afraid of its effectiveness; afraid of how it would change everything they believe in and have forced themselves to be comfortable with.  To the average Earthian the solution is more frightening than climate change or the prospect of nuclear war and that makes it the most dangerous revolutionary idea ever.

You know what I’m talking about.  It’s been walking behind you, beside you, sometimes even in front of you, and trying to talk to you since you were born.  And you’ve deliberately ignored it because you have been listening to your programming, to the voice of the Matrix.  That makes you willing agents of the Matrix; accomplices in the destruction of your world, yourselves and your so-called loved ones.  You really, bottom line, don’t care.  You think you do, say you do, but if you did you’d be desperately applying the solution to every aspect of your life, lives.  Why? Because you have nothing else.  Nothing.

So, do I continue blogging, I wonder?  Right now it doesn’t seem important at all.  Right now what seems more important is to look within and make sure that all is well there.

 

What’s Wrong with Today’s Earthians?

I wrote the following article in response to this one:

Over 4,000 Migrants Have Drowned In The Mediterranean This Year

Which can be read at:  https://talesfromtheloublog.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/over-4000-migrants-have-drowned-in-the-mediterranean-this-year/

Although my article is a response, it isn’t addressing the migrant article per se, but the nature of people in today’s world.  (Re-copied from “Tales from the Conspiratorium”)

What’s Wrong with Today’s Earthians?

Posted by Sha’Tara on November 29, 2016

The following can be considered a harsh response to the refugee plight touched upon in the original article but I’m not apologizing for it.  The following point desperately needs to be made.  

Of course my heart goes out to these refugees, and I feel my own frustration, and anger. But deep down, as a student of history I’m reminded of those incredibly brave Russians who stuck it out in Stalingrad against the German onslaught and heroically held on against all odds, suffering unimaginable horrors throughout an unusually harsh winter.  They didn’t run.  So many didn’t run, they stood up to their would be conquerors and fought back by every means the human mind can conjure up.  They died in horrible conditions, of famine, of typhus, or frost bite, of untreated wounds.  They died by the thousands defending their homes and their honor as human beings.  How many people remember these people were offered a chance to escape, to withdraw deep into the wilds of Siberia?  They chose to stand and fight, men, women and children… mostly women and children! 

It happened wherever the war raged.  It happened in Greece, in Italy, basically throughout Europe as it happened throughout the spread of Japanese terror troups, as it had happened in Spain during the Spanish civil war which the Fascists and Nazis won only because of overwhelming force garnered from arms and support received (as in the case of IS and other terror groups now in the Middle East) from the American military industrial complex.  (And let’s not forget it was the same American MIC that had armed the Japanese also.)

My own parents in the French Resistance during WWII didn’t attempt to flee to England though they lived on the coast with a very narrow channel between them and freedom, and they were fisher folk with access to boats, they could have easily done it.  No, they held their ground and they fought back.  For every German that was killed, the Germans retaliated by killing anywhere from ten to a hundred hostages.  Still, they persevered.  That’s how people were “made” in those pre-boomer, pre-entitlement years.

 Isn’t that what you would do if groups of nut jobs invaded your country and began to systematically spread terror among your own people, perhaps even taking your daughters, lovers, wives as sex slaves, burning your homes, forcing your sons into their madness as suicide bombers, torturing and killing your neighbours?  Tell me that you wouldn’t fight back, even if it meant using broken shards of glass, throwing rocks or ripping their faces off with your bare hands!  I certainly know I would, tooth and nail, as there always comes that time when a certain kind of vile violence can only be countered with same because THERE IS NO LONGER A CHOICE.  Either you oppose them, you become like them or you are sheep for the shearing and slaughter, political footballs and hostages to self-serving psychopaths.  

Excuse me, but is the word, “freedom” just another politically correct term now? 

What’s wrong with these people that they can’t stand and fight for themselves but can only think of running to hopefully save their own skins?  I don’t get this.  Has the human race so quickly become dis-empowered, turned into cattle, as were the Jews in Nazi Germany, meekly and silently walking to their slavery and death in concentration camps without making any attempt to help themselves?  When you know you are going to die regardless, why whimper into it?  That’s just not normal, nor natural!  What’s wrong with these people that they can only rely on power groups for their survival? Don’t they have a life, that innate rage to live free?  Are they drugged? 

It isn’t just Syrians.  Look how few people are standing boldly against the DAPL predators and their government armed and legitimized supporters when the entire nation of free individuals should be standing with them, either at Standing Rock or in front of every capitol,  every corporate HQ’s and every bank that funds the “Damn All Pipe Lines” monstrosity.

There is a connection throughout these current events clearly showing that people in general have become mindless cowards, thralls on their way to abysmal slavery to State and Banksterism.  There is no more stand and fight, only run for your life or hunker down and wait for the storms to pass in the hope that they won’t affect you.  Is that THE sign that humanity knows it’s doomed already and has no heart left, sees no point in fighting back against oppression and oppressors everywhere?

Perhaps T.S. Eliot said it best in his poem, The Hollow Men, “This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.” 

 

Tomgram: Mattea Kramer, You Don’t Leave Home Without It

Post election blues, or exhaustion?  May I offer the following then.  No, it isn’t going to make you feel better, particularly if you happen to be American.  The good news in the following Tom Dispatch article by Mattea Kramer is that if you are an EDUCATED American (and an educated anyone else) the following will not be news at all.  You know all of this, but maybe not in this particular configuration, and yes, our news may all have the same source these days, but their interpretations, that staggers the imagination.  So, another independent journalist’s viewpoint about being an American in today’s world at this moment.  Should we, Canadians, feel smug?  Or Brits?  We’re in no way better, nor any less guilty because by and large, exception such as myself noted, we support US foreign policy or do nothing about it, which is probably even worse.  For once I would agree, “We’re all in this together” and it behooves us to find our way out: this is the crisis of our time.

(I would have simply “reblogged” but there’s no such convenience on their site and the times I queried them about that and other things, I got the silence of the lambs in return.)

Tomgram: Mattea Kramer, You Don’t Leave Home Without It

Posted by Mattea Kramer at 7:30am, November 17, 2016.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.

Not long before Election Day, but thousands of miles away in the Afghan village of Bouz Kandahari, 30 to 36 civilians died (including a significant number of children and infants).  Those deaths took place in a war Americans had largely filed in the library of forgotten events, though the conflict there is still fiercely underway. In a firefight with the Taliban near the northern provincial city of Kunduz, two U.S. Special Forces advisers died and American air power was called in, evidently killing those innocent Afghans. Within days, there were protests by angry villagers burying their dead.  As Mawlawi Haji Allahdad told a Reuters reporter, “My brother and three of his children were killed. My brother had no connection to any group.  He was a laborer. Did you see which of those infants and children who were killed by the Americans were terrorists?”

Behind this incident lies a 15-year-old pattern evident at least since the U.S. wiped out much of a wedding party, killing more than 100 villagers in Eastern Afghanistan in late December 2001.  It was certainly well documented in those 50 shock-and-awe “decapitation” strikes the Bush administration launched to take out Saddam Hussein and his Baathist Party leadership in March 2003 as the invasion of Iraq began.  Those strikes killed not a single targeted leader, but — according to Human Rights Watch — did kill “dozens of civilians.”  (In the following two months, almost 3,000 Iraqi civilians would die under American bombs and missiles.)

In these years, this American version of “precision bombing” has never ended in the Greater Middle East, which means that it was an ongoing reality of Election 2016, not that you would have known it.  For instance, since September 2014 when the Obama administration sent U.S. air power against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, just as the American primaries were first gearing up, Amnesty International reports that at least 300 Syrian civilians have died (including, of course, children).  Other groups monitoring the situation have put the toll significantly higher — at up to 1,000.  (The Pentagon has acknowledged only “a few dozens” of civilian deaths in both countries in this period.)

More recently, there were the 15 civilians killed in a late September drone strike aimed at ISIS supporters in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, but which evidently struck a celebration of a tribal elder’s return from his pilgrimage to Mecca.  Some weeks later, there were civilians killed or wounded (again including children) in an air attack on what was believed to be the home of a Taliban commander in the same province. There were also the 15 to 20 civilians killed when a funeral procession on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk was hit, evidently by planes from the U.S. coalition.

If none of this crossed your radar screen, don’t beat yourself up for it.  Such stories aren’t significant news in America.  The eight wedding parties reportedly wiped out by U.S. air power between 2001 and 2013 in Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, to offer but one example, passed almost unnoticed here.  (Just imagine the 24/7 media attention that would be given to a terrorist attack on a single American wedding, no matter the casualties.)  Despite the impressive efforts of groups like the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there is essentially no way of knowing how many civilians in and out of official war zones U.S. air operations have killed across the Greater Middle East and Africa in the last decade and a half.  Not that it matters, since it’s a reality about which Americans could care less — and yet, as with those angry villagers in Bouz Kandahari, the air war on terror has proven to be a powerful recruitment tool for extremist groups spreading across that disintegrating region.

It’s not that we never pay attention to such deaths.  The Russian air attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, for example, have gotten real attention here.  They were even part of the election discussion, as well they should have been.  The Russians entered the Syrian conflict in the American fashion by letting “precision” air power loose against schoolshospitals, and civilian targets of all sorts (with a significant number of children dying).  In the American media, these are often termed “war crimes,” but similar acts by Americans naturally fall into a different category, so no point in dwelling on them.  You can count on one thing, though: this isn’t going to end in the “new” Trump era soon to be upon us.  So it seems appropriate amid the post-election rancor and uproar to offer some space for TomDispatch regular Mattea Kramer to think about what it really means to be an American in such circumstances. Tom

On the Road With Our American Selves 
Or How to Feel Like a Jerk in Mombasa 
By Mattea Kramer

The fluorescent circus of Election 2016 — that spectacle of yellow comb-overs, and orange skin, and predatory pussy-grabbing, and last-minute FBI interventions, and blinking memes hewn by an underground army of self-important Internet trolls — has finally come to its unnatural end.  I had looked forward to this moment, only to find us all instantly embroiled in a new crisis.  And unfortunately, it’s easy to foretell what, or rather who, will move into the bright lights of our collective gaze now: we’re going to (continue to) focus on… well, ourselves.

We are obviously not, for instance, going to redeploy our energies toward examining the embarrassing war that we’re still waging in Afghanistan, now in its 16th year — something that went practically unmentioned during election season, even as fighting heated up there. (You can be sure that Afghans have a somewhat different perspective on the newsworthiness of that war.)  We are also not going to spend our time searching for the names of people like Momina Bibi, whom we’ve… oops… inadvertently annihilated while carrying out our nation’s drone kill program.

For his part, Donald Trump has pledged to “take out” the families of terrorists, a plan that sounds practically ordinary when compared to our actual drone assassination program, conceived by President George W. Bush and maintained and expanded by President Obama.  And while I don’t for a moment pretend that Trump’s electoral victory is anything less than an emergency for our republic — especially for the most vulnerable among us, and for every American who believes in justice, equity, or basic kindness — it’s also true that some things won’t change at all.  In fact, it’s prototypically American that an overlong and inward-looking election spectacle (which will, incidentally, have “big-league” international implications) will be supplanted by still more inward-looking phenomena.

And it jogs my memory in a not very pleasant way.  I can’t help but recall the moment, years ago and 8,000 miles away, when I was introduced to my own American-centered self.  The experience left an ugly mark on my picture of who I am — and who, perhaps, so many of us are, as Americans.

No, Not Us…

Eight years before I heard about a guy in Yemen whose cousins were obliterated by an American drone strike in a procession following his wedding celebration, I gleefully clicked through the travel site Kayak and pressed “confirm purchase” on one-way tickets to Kathmandu.  It was 2008, shortly before Barack Obama would be elected, and my boyfriend and I, a couple of twenty-somethings jonesing to see the world, were about to depart on what we expected to be the adventure of our lives.  Having worked temporary stints and squirreled away some cash, we packed our belongings into my mom’s damp basement and prepared ourselves for a journey meant to last half a year and cross South Asia and East Africa.  What we didn’t know, as we headed for New York’s Kennedy Airport, our passports zippered into our money belts, was that, whatever we had left behind at my mom’s, we were unwittingly carrying something far heftier with us: our American-ness.

Adventures commenced as soon as we stepped off the plane.  We glimpsed ice-capped peaks that rose majestically out of the clouds as we walked the lower Everest trail.  Then — consider this our introduction to the presumptions we hadn’t shed — we ran into a little snafu.  We hadn’t brought along enough cash for our multi-week mountain trek; apparently we’d expected Capital One ATMs to appear miraculously on a Himalayan footpath.  After we dealt with that issue through a service that worked by landline and carbon paper, we took a bumpy Jeep ride south to India and soon found ourselves walking the sloping fields of Darjeeling, the leaves of tea shrubs glinting in the afternoon light.  Then we rode trains west and south, while through the frame of a moving window I looked out at fields and rice paddies where women in red or orange or turquoise saris worked the land, even as the sun set and the sky turned pink and reflected off the water where the rice grew.

Things would, however, soon get significantly less picturesque, as in some strange, twisted way, the farther we traveled, the closer to home we seemed to get.

We arrived in Mombasa, Kenya, in January 2009, on a day when thousands of the city’s residents had flooded its streets to protest a recent, and particularly bloody, Israeli attack on Gaza. Hamas, firing rockets into southern Israel, had killed one Israeli and injured many others.  Israel retaliated in an overwhelming fashion, filling the Gazan sky with aircraft and killing hundreds of Palestinians, including five girls from a single family, ages four to 17, who were unlucky enough to live in a refugee camp adjacent to a mosque that an Israeli plane had leveled.

As I hopped off the matatu, or passenger van, into the scorching Kenyan heat, I was aware that 50,000 angry protesters had gathered not so far away, and certain facts became clear to me.  For one thing, the slaughter of hundreds of civilians, including several dozen children, in what was, to me, a faraway land, was a big effing deal here. That should probably go without saying just about anywhere — except I was suddenly aware that, were I home, the opposite would have been true.  Those deaths in distant Gaza (unlike nearby Israel) would barely have caused a blip in the American news.  What’s more, if I had been at home and the story had somehow caught my eye, I knew that I wouldn’t have paid it much mind. Another war in a foreign country is what I would’ve thought, and that would have been that.

At that moment, though, I didn’t dwell on the point, because — let’s be serious — I was scared poopless. There was a huge, angry protest nearby and we’d just gotten word that the crowd was burning an American flag.  Israel, it turned out, had used a new U.S.-made missile in its assault on Gaza. According to the Jerusalem Post, it was a weapon designed to minimize “collateral damage” (though tell that to the families of the dead). The enraged people who had taken to the streets in Mombasa were decrying my country’s role in the carnage — and I was a skinny American with a backpack who’d arrived in the wrong city on the wrong day.

We got the hell out of there as soon as we could. Early the next morning we climbed aboard a rusty old bus bound for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I felt a wave of relief once I’d settled into my seat. I was looking forward to a different country and a new vista.

That new vista, it turned out, materialized almost at once. Our bus was soon barreling along a rutted dirt road, the scenery whipping by the window in a distinctly less-than-picturesque fashion.  In fact, it passed in such a blur that I realized we were going way too fast.  We already knew that bus accidents were common here; we’d heard about a recent one in which all the passengers died.

When we hit what undoubtedly was a yawning pothole on that none-too-well kept road, the windows shook ominously and I thought: we could die. By then, my slick hands were gripping my shredded vinyl seat.  I could practically feel the heat of the crash-induced flames and had no trouble picturing our charred bodies in the wreckage of the bus.  And then that other thought came to me, the one I wouldn’t forget, the one, thousands of miles from home, that seemed to catch who I really was: No not us, we can’t diewas what I said to myself, pressing my eyes shut.  I meant, of course, my boyfriend and I; I meant, that is, we Americans.

It was then that I felt an electric zap, as the events of the previous day had just melded with the present dangers and forced me to see what I would have preferred to ignore: that there was an unsavory likeness between my outlook and the American credo that thousands had been protesting in Mombasa.  Wecan’t die, was my thought, as if we were somehow different — as if these Africans on the bus with us could die, but not us. Or, just as easily, those Palestinians could die — and thanks to U.S.-supplied arms, no less — and I wouldn’t even tune in for the story.  Clutching my torn bus seat, I was still afraid, but another sensation overwhelmed me. I felt like a colossal jerk.

Of course, as you know because you’re reading this, we made it safely to Dar es Salaam that night. But I was changed.

Apologizing to Ourselves

I’d like to say that my egocentricity about which lives matter most is uncommon among my countrymen and women.  But if you spool through the seven-plus years since I rode that bus, you’ll notice how that very same mindset has meant that Americans go wild with panic over lone wolf terror killings on our soil, but show scant concern when it comes to the White House-directed, CIA-run drone assassination campaigns across the world, and all the civilian casualties that are the bloody result.  The dead innocents include members of a Yemeni family who were riding in a wedding procession when four missiles bore down on them, and Momina Bibi, that Pakistani grandmother who was tending to an okra patch as her grandchildren played nearby when a missile blasted her to smithereens. And don’t forget the 42 staff members, patients, and relatives at a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killed in an attack by a U.S. AC-130 gunship.  Depending on which tally you use, since 2009 we’ve killed an estimated 474 civilians, or perhaps 745, outside of official war zones (and far more civilians, like those dead in that hospital, within those zones), although the horrifying truth is that the real numbers are likely much higher, but unknown and unknowable.

Meanwhile, duh, we would never fire a missile at a suspected terrorist if innocent U.S. civilians were identified in the vicinity. We value American life far too highly for such wantonness.  In 2015, when a drone struck an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan, it was later discovered that two hostages, one of them an American, were inside. In response, President Obama delivered grave remarks: “I offer our deepest apologies to the families… I directed that this operation be declassified and disclosed… because the families deserve to know the truth.”

But why so sorry that time and not with the other 474 or more deaths?  Of course the difference was that innocent American blood was spilt.  We don’t even try to hide this dubious hierarchy; we celebrate it.  In that same speech, President Obama reflected on why we Americans are so darn special.  “One of the things that makes us exceptional,” he declared, “is our willingness to confront squarely our imperfections and to learn from our mistakes.”

If you hailed from any other country, it might have seemed like an odd, not to say tasteless, time to wax poetic about American exceptionalism.  The president was, after all, confessing that we’d accidentally fired missiles at two captive aid workers.  But I can appreciate the sentiment.  Inadequate though the apology was — “There are hundreds, potentially thousands of others who deserve the same apology,” said an investigator for Amnesty International — he was at least admitting that the United States had erred, and he was pointing out that such admissions are important.  Indeed, they are.  It’s just… what about the rest of the people on the planet?

The Trump administration will probably espouse a philosophy much like President Obama’s when it comes to valuing (or not) the lives of foreign innocents.  And yet there’s part of me that must be as unworldly as that twenty-something who flew into Kathmandu, because I find myself dreaming about a new brand of American exceptionalism in our future.  Not one that gives you that icky feeling when you’re riding a speeding bus in another hemisphere, nor one at whose heart lies the idea that we Americans are different and special and better — which, history tells us, is actually a totally unexceptional notion among powerful nations.  Instead, I imagine what would be truly exceptional: an America that values all human life in the same way.

Of course, I’m also a realist and I know that that’s not the world we live in, especially now — and that it won’t be for, at best, a very long time.

Mattea Kramer, a TomDispatch regular, is at work on a memoir called The Young Person’s Guide to Aging, which inspired this essay. Follow her onTwitter.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2016 Mattea Kramer

The Gathering

                    [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

The Ancient surveyed the group with his mind.  “I see we are all gathered – let us proceed.  Agenda, please, Orija.” 
 
Orija closes her eyes and intones: “This Great Gathering, ninth of a series of ten, is called to decide the fate of Earth as it is called — or that part of it that lies within our jurisdiction.  It is the only item on the agenda.”
 
“Very well.  Begin.  I recognize Volarian Mosl as the first delegate.”
 
“The Volarians are, hm, have been, quite uncomfortable with the energies emanating from the Sol planet.  We are proposing a terminal solution before the discomfort spreads further.  It is known to us that some Belgelian great houses have offered limited space folding capabilities to a segment of Earthian humans who claim descendance from those known as the Nibiruans.  We know the Belgelians are ready to establish space stations in the vicinity of earth to entice Earthians to train as crew for their trading vessels.  As a result of this technically illegal move, we of Volar have been forced to strengthen our shields against the possibility of a sudden eruption of Earth humans — whom we consider to be corrupted beyond redemption — within our space. 
 
The situation among my people is volatile as we have not had to deal with outer world aggression in long ages.  Even our oldest mages cannot remember the days of war.  We are asking, once again, and for the last time, that this august Gathering do something definitive to resolve the issue of Earthian aggression.  We will not wait for another Gathering.  If nothing is done now, our space guild will take action as it sees fit to protect both our space and our trade routes.  Since our worlds are closest to this potential source of galactic war, our solution may be the final and complete eradication of the Earthian cancer.  Our scientists have developed a fast-acting virus that will wipe out the Earthian pseudo-humans completely but leave the rest of that world essentially intact to heal itself in time.
 
“Thank you Volarian Mosl.  Your position has been made abundantly clear to us.  Who else wishes to express thoughts on the Earthian problem?”
 
“I, Jessik, ambassador for the autarch of Narssis wish to express our thoughts on the matter?”
 
“Yes, ambassador Jessik, you may speak freely.”
 
“Thank you.  I have a question to pose to the gathering.  Regarding the Earthian pseudo-humans, as a species evolved on only one world, with limited intervention from outer world peoples, can it be said here, before this august gathering, that over the time we have watched and studied them they have been freely given all the necessary information needed to move in a direction,  or should I say, to develop in a way consistent with that of the rest of the Galactic family?  My point is this: can any Earthian claim that we, in some way, failed to give them all the necessary support to develop their minds and their hearts in accord with the Galactic aim of cooperation and mutual support for the sake of all life as we know it?
 
This is of paramount importance to us Narssisians as adjudicators of the Galactic Code.  Once Earthians discover the workings within the Galaxy after leaving their planet, they may be legally instructed by their galactic sponsors to put in a planetary claim that critical information was withheld from them and  further claim that whatever crime they could to be charged with, such as genocide or planeticide, would not apply since they were ignorant of the basic requirements of the Galactic code?”
 
“The question has been heard and entered.  Would the Guardian Angels respond to ambassador Jessik’s question?”
 
“We are the Angels of Aglamar, guides and guardians of all newly-evolved intelligent, sentient and self-aware species within the galaxy,” responds in perfect unison a chorus of voices from unseen entities scattered throughout the Gathering, “We fully understand the question and our response will be truthful and final.  
 
Since the beginning, the Earthian pseudo-human species has been observed, guided, taught and shepherded by the very best of our specially trained Guardians.  Nothing was held back from them.  Many of our agents went and lived on Sol planet Earth as teachers.  It was not unexpected that the earlier Guardians would be treated unfairly and unkindly by the fearful, hate-filled creatures.  It was however quite unheard of that this treatment would continue and intensify.  After waves of persecution of those who heard and obeyed the teachings of the Guardians, it was decided not to send any more.  We chose instead to contact Earthians through the use of thought forms, or visions if you prefer, awakening empathy in some of them.  It was our thought that Earthians would be more likely to listen to their own.  But again experience gained on other worlds failed us here.  They did not listen.  No, let us rephrase that: they emphatically refused to listen to the wisdom expressed by their own teachers.   
 
They used the knowledge brought to them to develop an inhuman form of technology that made them insensitive and brutish.  What limited knowledge of the good we sowed among them over the millennia was apparently and for all practical purposes, lost.  Few there are of Earth who today understand even a little of what life is about.  We have made plans with the Galactic Space Guild to attempt a rescue of this remnant. 
 
As Angel Guardians, it is our intent at this juncture to withdraw ourselves from any further involvement with that species of pseudo-humanity.  Sadly we conclude they are lost.  There is nothing more we can do to awaken their lost sense of empathy.  We regret to so inform the Gathering.”
 
“Ah, thank you Angel Guardians of Aglamar.  The darkness of deep sorrow clouds our thoughts.  Do we wish to continue this Gathering?”
 
“Representative Weill-Straat from Qobel.”
 
“Yes, representative.  Qobel is recognized.
 
“Qobel resents the implication that Earth is of no value.  We have put much energy to develop a plan for adding Earth to our inter-planetary trade franchises.  Qobellian trade ships are orbiting the planet, out of the range of their scanners and shielded, of course, and await the results of several delegations sent surreptitiously to many of the greater Earthian trading houses which they call Capitals, Banks and Corporations.  As always we are advocates of free trade.  We believe that the Earthians are uniquely adapted to the concept of trade and understand its function better even than some Qobellians, to our shame.  There is a native trait in the Earthians that renders them immune to any suffering their trading may bring to life, including the life of members of their own species.  They understand the value and necessity of trade.  In fact, one of their most admirable traits is their willingness to sacrifice any number of lives for the benefit of trade and to go to war to protect and enhance trade on their world.  To us, the Earthians demonstrate the only hope for further advancement of civilization. The wish of Qobel is that we be given a free hand to fully interact with Earthian trading houses.  We wish, in fact, to enter them as trading partners.
 
“Thank you, representative Qobel.  Your request is entered, though you may realize, causes a great strain on this Gathering.  Please re-think your position in regards to the Earthians and present it at our final Gathering on this issue.  Is there anyone else here who wishes to address this issue?”
 
“Yes, I would please.  My name is Luenia Echabak.  I am, huh, was, from Earth.”
 
“Luenia Echabak from Earth.  You are recognized and may freely address the Gathering.”
 
“Thank you.  I wish to say something profound on behalf of my world but after listening to the delegates, I am afraid my voice will seem rather small, frail and distant.  Perhaps even confused.  Yes, I am confused.  I wish to speak for Earth but everything said here about the people is, sadly, quite correct.  They have been given all the knowledge needed to live up to the demands of the Galactic Code.  I know because my tribe lived according to the code and we were happy and healthy for long years.  It was because of our adherence to the Code that my tribe was enslaved and finally destroyed.  Earth was an abundant planet.  No one ever needed to go without either food or shelter.  It was known, even to the technos that peace was better than war – but never quite as profitable.  It was known to all that health was better than disease, but also not as profitable.  It was known that cooperation was superior to aggression, but again, not as profitable. 
 
I have a complaint to voice at this Gathering and that is, when the predator/prey concept was introduced to Earth, where were the Angel Guardians then?  Did you not know that such a concept would bring horror upon a world designed originally to be a simple paradise of loving interaction between all the species of life upon it?  Or did you know but choose to do nothing to prevent this deadly poison from being brought to us?  My people revered all of life.  We did not kill for we found abundance of food among the plants of the wilds.  We never experienced hunger or lacked for anything.
 
I will tell you what happened to my world and to my people.  Both were given free will and free choice much sooner than they were able to understand their implications and responsibilities. The freedom came before the knowledge was given.  So it turned to lust and degradation.  When the knowledge was finally introduced, it was too late.  The poison was burning in every heart and every mind.  Only those scattered in small tribes in deserts, mountains or small islands on the seas escaped for a time.  But it came to them also, and when it did, they died by the millions.  I myself was a victim of the earliest of earth’s techno civilizations. 
 
Perhaps it is not entirely the Earthians’ fault that they are as they are.  Perhaps they are not redeemable, and certainly this Gathering cannot pay heed to Belgelian and Qobel desires to take advantage of their inhuman traits, their lack of empathy and their innate greed.  Better to let them destroy themselves and cause their planet to simply go to sleep under them, holding back her seasonal bounties until all surface life is gone.  Perhaps that would be the most compassionate thing to do. 
 
To bring them out of their world at their current state of understanding would be to plunge the galaxy in endless wars.  They are a mindlessly competitive species. To allow them to proliferate more would be to increase the level of suffering the many must endure to support the luxuries of the few.  There is no balance on Earth.  What love there is, if it can be called that, is of a sexual or parochial nature – and predatory. 
 
Since those of us who were willing to demonstrate a better way; who would have made a difference, are not wanted on Earth and since the Angel Guardians have decided to abandon their efforts on behalf of those who were once my people – but are no longer – I don’t know what else to say.  I am not condemning; I am not accepting.  I am simply allowing.  Please understand I do not seek redress, vengeance or justice for myself in this.  I only wished to share my awareness and experience.  May this Gathering act wisely in this grave matter.”
 
“Thank you, Luenia Echabak, ambassador for Earth.  Your thoughts are felt and understood by the Gathering.  We weep and mourn with you.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Earth humans are a pretty smug species.  That such as the above could actually be taking place, seems of no consequence here.  It’s business as usual.  That over 30,000 innocents die each day of preventable causes is acceptable collateral damage for the sake of free trade.  “The spice must flow” as is said in Dune (the reference is from the Dune books science fiction series by Frank Herbert).  Whatever the cost, resources must flow to the factories, and the goods must flow to the stores and from thence, to the homes to be turned into garbage.  That such garbage and effluent require the living sacrifice of 30,000 innocents – mostly babiesyoung children and their mothers – each and every day, is cool with most.  It is not shocking revelation, just more “so what”.  And once again this world stands on the brink of nuclear war, and what’s the general reaction to this real danger?  Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die…?
 
Do we possess the knowledge to make our world into a paradise but simply refuse to do so?  Are we without empathy for those who suffer and die because of the system we support for our selfish ends?  Are we doomed?  Are we an irredeemable species marked for eradicationIs there no longer any choice, or are we simply unwilling to pay the price necessary to make the required change? 
 
And what is that price?  What does life demand of us?  Of me in particular