Tag Archives: Commentary

Let’s Turn it Around

Sort of a reblog.  Artist illustration demonstrating how backward and ignorant this society really is.

 

Personally I titled this one “Capitalism Feeds Consumerism… and vice-versa”

There’s more at  http://awarenessact.com/theses-disturbing-art-illustrations-show-just-how-backwards-our-society-really-is/

Enjoy the artist’s alternate viewpoint, well worth the time.

Some Thoughts Today

I changed my header image today, replacing the colourful Steller’s jay I had taken a picture of in the back yard with a picture of a Merlin, or Pigeon Hawk (small northern falcon) taken on top of a housing complex in Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Alberta, on the day I was leaving there.

There’s a story behind this.  Some months ago I had decided to join up with a construction/re-building volunteer organization to go up to Fort McMurray and help re-build some of the 2400 homes that were destroyed by last year’s wildfires.  Some 1500 other constructions were also either totally destroyed or badly damaged by the rampaging fires (2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire – Wikipedia)  of last May.

So, my partner, Vic Janzen and I drove my van the 1500 km to Fort McMurray from Chilliwack, B.C., doing the drive in two days – easy stretches – had the power steering pump not sheared its shaft 300 km south of our destination.  So the rest done with armstrong steering and since the pump also runs the power breaks, some interesting moments practically standing on the pedal to bring the vehicle to a standstill.  It’s doable, and we did it without incidents.

This was meant to be a somewhat long term involvement but we literally ran out of work after two weeks of steady labour and long hours.  We got three basements formed, cement poured and basically ready to receive the “ready to move” pre-built homes that are being trucked in from southern Saskatchewan where another group of volunteers built them with help and donation of materials from a local firm.

I met one of the people whose house our group is replacing.  Lots of teary emotions as these are proud people who never thought they’d be in such a situation, having to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of “charity” from complete strangers. I was reminded again of how little we can rely on what we believe to be certain.  Even with all our fancy technology, our way of life can be taken from us literally in hours; all that we’ve worked a lifetime for gone, just like that.  All is ephemeral.

So, we came back, without incidents this time except for the “check engine” light and “check oil” light constantly popping on and off.  This has yet to be analyzed and corrected… will it be another $1000 repair job… or worse?  I suspect a leaking head gasket, but what do I know about modern vehicles and their convoluted engines, except to drive them?

Would I do that again?  Sure, only I hope it’s closer to “home” next time!  I hear there’s been flooding in the Okanagan valley in central B.C.  That would be only 600 km from here.  Would I go back to Fort McMurray?  Only if there was better organization and my time was better allocated, as in productive long term work.

Anyway, the other side of … ~burning woman~ … eager to make this planet a better world for all.  We do what we can, eh?  🙂

 

Little Big Man – Into the Whirlwind – By Tom Engelhardt (a reblog)

I know, most are really getting tired of hearing about “The Donald” and US political troubles, or squabbles, but nobody writes up a good exposé as does Tom Englehart.  So, if you have a few minutes to spare, have a look.  (Sha’Tara)

Message (Re-Blog)

 Little Big Man 

Into the Whirlwind 
By Tom Engelhardt

He’s huge. Outsized. He fills the news hole at any moment of any day. His over-tanned face glows unceasingly in living rooms across America. Never has a president been quite so big. So absolutely monstrous. Or quite so small.

He’s our Little Big Man.

I know, I know… he induces panic, fear, anxiety, insomnia.  Shrinks in liberal America will tell you that, since November 2016, their patients are more heavily medicated and in worse shape.  He’s a nightmare, a unique monster.  It’s been almost two years since he first entered the presidential race and in all that time I doubt there’s been a moment when the cameras haven’t been trained on him, when he wasn’t “breaking news.”  (By May 2016, he had already reportedly received the equivalent in “earned media” of nearly $3 billion in free advertising.)  He and his endless controversial statements, flubs, tweets, lies, insults, boasts, tales from outer space, and over-the-moon adjectives are covered daily the way, once upon a time, only Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was.

Think of him as the end of the world as we, or maybe anyone, including Vladimir Putin, knew it.  To me, that means one thing, even though most of you won’t agree: I think we owe Donald Trump a small bow of thanks and a genuine debt of gratitude.  He’s teaching us something invaluable, something we probably wouldn’t have grasped without him.  He’s teaching us just how deeply disturbed our American world actually is, or he wouldn’t be where he is.

A Quagmire Country

Think of him as a messenger from the gods, the deities of empire gone astray.  They sent us a man without a center, undoubtedly because 17 years into the twenty-first century our country lacks a center, and a man without a fixed opinion or a single conviction, except about himself and his family, because this country is now a swirling mess of contradictory beliefs and groups at each other’s throats.  They sent us our first billionaire president who left countless people holding the bag in his various, often failed, business dealings.  He brings to mind that classic phrase “those that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind” just as we’re now reaping the results of the 1% politics that gained such traction in recent years; and of a kind of war-making, American style, that initially seemed aimed at global supremacy, but now seems to have no conceivable goal.  We’re evidently destined to go on killing ever more people, producing ever more refugees, cracking open ever more nations, and spreading ever more terror movements until the end of time.  They sent a man ready to build a vanity wall on the Mexican border and pour more money into the U.S. military at a time when it’s becoming harder for Americans to imagine investing in anything but an ever-more powerful national security state, even as the country’s infrastructure begins to crumble.  They sent a billionaire who once deep-sixed a startling number of his businesses to save a country that couldn’t be more powerful and yet has proven incapable of building a single mile of high-speed rail.

Into this quagmire, the gods dispatched the man who loves MOAB, who drools over “my generals,” who wants to build a “big, fat, beautiful wall” on our southern border, but was beyond clueless about where power actually lay in Washington.

He’s a man with a history but without a sense of history, a man for whom anything is imaginable and everything is mutable, including the past.  In this, too, he’s symptomatic of the nation he now “leads.”  Who among us even remembers the set of Washington officials who, only a decade and a half ago, had such glorious dreams about establishing a global Pax Americana and who led us so unerringly into an unending hell in the Greater Middle East?  Who remembers that those officials of the George W. Bush administration had another dream as well — of a Pax Republicana, a one-party imperial state that would stretch across the American South deep into the Midwest, Southwest, and parts of the West, kneecapping the Democratic Party for an eternity and leaving that artifact of a two-party past confined to the country’s coastal areas.  Their dream — and it couldn’t have been more immodest — was to rule the world and its great remaining superpower for… well… more or less ever.

They were to dominate America and America was to dominate everything else in a way no country in history — not the Romans, not the British — had ever done.  As they saw it, in the wake of the implosion of the Soviet Union, there would be no other superpower, nor even a bloc of great powers, capable of obstructing America’s destined future.  They and their successors would see to that.

The United States would be the land of wealth and power in a previously unimaginable fashion.  It would be the land that made everything that went bang in the night — and in that (and perhaps that alone) their dreams would be fulfilled.  To this day, Hollywood and its action films dominate planetary screens, while American arms merchants have a near monopoly on selling the world their dangerous toys.  As our new president recently put it, their energies and those of the U.S. government should remain focused on getting countries across the globe to engage in “the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment.” Indeed.

As for the rest of their dream of geopolitical dominance, it began to come a cropper remarkably quickly.  As it turned out, the military that American presidents regularly hailed in these years as the “greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known” or “the finest fighting force in the history of the world” couldn’t even win wars against lightly armed insurgents or deal with enemies employing roadside bombs that could be built off the Internet for the price of a pizza.  The U.S. military (and its allied warrior corporations) turned out not to be a force for eternal order and triumph but, at least across the Greater Middle East and Africa, for eternal chaos and the spread of terror movements.  They were the whirlwind, which meant that neither that “pax” nor that “Americana” would come to pass.

While Rome Burned…

Meanwhile, back at home, a gerrymandered, near-one-party state did indeed come into existence as the Republicans swept most governorships, gained control of a significant majority of state legislatures, nailed down the House and the Senate, and finally, when Little Big Man entered the Oval Office, took it all.  It was a feat for the history books — or so it briefly seemed.  Instead, the result has been chaos, thanks in part to a Republican Party that is actually three or four parties and a president barely associated with it, as a war of all against all broke out.  None of this should have been surprising, given a congressional party that had honed its skills not on ruling but on blocking rule.  In the last months, it has largely proved incapable even of ruling itself, no less the wild man and his unpredictable team of advisers in the White House.

From his “big, fat, beautiful wall” to his “big league,” “phenomenal” tax plan to his “insurance for everybody” healthcare program, the president promises to be the living proof that the long dreamed of Pax Republicana is just another form of war without end on the domestic front.

His victory was, in a sense, a revelation that both political parties had been hollowed out, as every Republican presidential candidate except him was swept unceremoniously off stage and out of contention in a hail of insults.  Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, by now a remarkably mindless (and spineless) political machine without much to underpin it, came to seem ever more like the domestic equivalent of those failed states the war on terror was creating in the Greater Middle East.  In short, American politics was visibly faltering and, in the whirlwind that deposited Little Big Man in office, a far wider range of Americans seemed in danger of going down, too, including Medicaid users, Obamacare enrollees, meals-on-wheels seniors, and food stamp recipients in what could become a slow-motion collapse of livable lives amid a proliferation of billionaires.  Think of us as a nation in the process of consuming itself, even as our president turns the White House into a private business.  If this is imperial “decline,” it’s certainly a curious version of it.

It was into the growing hell that passed for the planet’s “sole superpower” that those gods dispatched Little Big Man — not a shape-shifting creature but a man without shape and lacking all fixed ideas (except about himself).  He was perfectly capable of saying anything in any situation, and then, in altered circumstances, of saying the opposite without blinking or evidently even noticing.  His recent trip to Saudi Arabia was a classic case of just that.  Gone were the election campaign denunciations of the Saudis for their human rights record and for possibly being behind the 9/11 attacks, as well as of Islam as a religion that “hates us”; gone was his criticism of Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf on her visit to Riyadh (Melania and Ivanka did the same), and of Barack Obama for bowing to a Saudi king (he did, too).  Out the window went his previous insistence that any self-respecting American politician must use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which he carefully avoided.  And none of this was different from, say, swearing on the campaign trail that he would never touch Medicaid and then, in his first budget, offering plans to slash $880 billion from that program over the next decade.

Admittedly, Donald Trump — and yes, that’s the first time I’ve used his name, but there was no need, was there? — has yet to appoint his horse (or perhaps his golf cart) as a senator or, as far as we know, commit acts of incest in the tradition of Caligula, the first mad Roman emperor.  Yet in many ways, doesn’t he feel something like an updated version of that figure or perhaps of Nero who so famously fiddled — actually, according to historian Mary Beard in her book SPQR, played the lyre — while Rome burned?

Fortunately, unlike every psychiatrist in town, I’m not bound by the “Goldwater Rule,” which prohibits a diagnosis of a public figure you haven’t personally examined. While I have no expertise in whether Donald Trump has a “narcissistic personality disorder,” I see no reason not to say the obvious: he’s a distinctly disturbed individual. That he was nonetheless elected president tells us a good deal about where we are as a country today. As Tony Schwartz, who actually wrote his bestselling book The Art of the Deal, put it recently, “Trump was equally clear with me that he didn’t value — nor even necessarily recognize — the qualities that tend to emerge as people grow more secure, such as empathy, generosity, reflectiveness, the capacity to delay gratification or, above all, a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong.”

Now, that should be frightening. After all, given who he is, given his fear of “losing,” of rejection, of not being loved (or more accurately, adulated), of in short being obliterated, who knows what such a man might do in a crisis, including obliterating the rest of us. After all, he already lives in a world without fixed boundaries, definitions, or history, which is why nothing he says has real meaning.  And yet he couldn’t be more meaningful. He’s a message, a warning of the first order, and if that were all he were, he would just be an inadvertent teacher about the nature of our American world and we could indeed thank him and do our best to move on.

Unfortunately, there’s another factor to take into account. Humanity had, in the years before his arrival, come up with two quite different and devastating ways of doing ourselves in, one an instant Armageddon, the other a slow-motion trip to hell. Each of them threatens to cripple or destroy the very planet that has nurtured us these tens of thousands of years. It was not, of course, Donald Trump who put us in this peril. He’s just a particularly grim reminder of how dangerous our world has truly become.

After all, Little Big Man now has unparalleled access to the most “beautiful” weapons of all and he’s eager to update and expand an already vast U.S. arsenal of them. I’m talking, of course, about nuclear weapons. Any president we elect has, since the 1950s, had the power to take out the planet. Only once have we come truly close.  Nonetheless, for the control over such weaponry to be in the hands of a deeply unpredictable and visibly disturbed president is obviously a danger to us all.

It could be assumed that the gods who sent him into the Oval Office at such a moment have a perverse sense of humor. Certainly, on the second of those deadly dangers, climate change, he’s already taken action based on another of his fantasies: that making America great again means taking it back to the fossil-fueled 1950s. His ignorance about, and actions to increase the effects of, climate change have already taken the U.S., the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet, out of the climate change sweepstakes and into uncharted territory. These acts and the desire to promote fossil fuels in every way imaginable will someday undoubtedly be seen as crimes against humanity. But by then they will already have done their dirty deed.

If luck doesn’t hold, Donald Trump may end up making Caligula and Nero look like statesmen.  If luck doesn’t hold he may be the Littlest Big Man of all.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Tom Engelhardt

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FAKE NEWS: THE UNRAVELLING OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE FROM WITHIN

***This is a re-blogged article*** (see credits below)

My introductory comments: Yes, this is a very long article, and yes, probably few will read it through, or to the end.  But I will say this in its defense, and why I am re-blogging this entire article on my own blog,   ~burning woman~   I may be a nobody, and what I think or say doesn’t amount to a hill of beans as they say, but as an observer of world events, particularly of that part of the world I live in, I found this article right on the money about the many situations we find ourselves embroiled in and helpless to do a thing about it.  Well worth the read.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Prof. John McMurtry, Global Research, 2017
http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/john-mcmurtry

Setting the Stage of the Press-President War

US ruling ideology and Washington power have become unstuck as never before. A war of opposing certitudes and denunciations is waged day to day between the long-ruling US corporate media and the White House. Both continuously proclaim ringing recriminations of the other’s ‘fake news’. Over months they both portray each other as malevolent liars.

US bully pulpits are now beyond show disagreements and successful media inquisitions of the past. Slanderous accusations long confined to vilifying the designated Enemy have crept into accusations of the President himself. ‘The Russians are coming’ is returning as the final recourse of smear to stop deviations from the global program of hugely profitable enemy hate and perpetual preparations for foreign war.

The ruling big lies of the US money party and corporate globalization have divided into opposing camps. The Press and the President denounce each other non-stop on the public stage, while US dark state agents take sides behind the scenes.

Fake news is the medium of battle.

Tracking the Real Fake News Built into Corporate Globalization

Beneath the civil war of official narratives, cognitive space opens for truth long suffocated by ‘the Washington Consensus’. Even the US-led G-20 has recently agreed not to automatically condemn ‘protectionism’ as an economic evil. The battle slogan of transnational corporate rule over 30 years has been quietly withdrawn on the global stage.

Is the big lie of ‘free trade’ finally coming to ground? It has long led the hollowing out of societies and life support systems across the world in a false mass promotion as “freedom and prosperity for all”.  In fact beneath the pervasive fake news, a closed-door transnational corporate command system forces all enterprises across borders into a carbon-multiplying trade regime with thousands of rules to protect the transnational corporate looting and ruin of home economies and environments as the only rights enforced.

Propagandist names and fake freedoms are proclaimed everywhere to conceal the reality. The corporate-investor regime has stripped out almost all evolved protections of workers, ecologies and social infrastructures. Non-stop liquidations and roboticizations of local jobs and enterprises are reversed in meaning to ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ and ‘higher living standards’, the very opposite of the facts. Destabilization and bombing wars attack resource-rich and air-defenceless societies outside the circle of treaty subjugation.

False news allows every step. Even the happy-face Trudeau regime is taken aback by the tidal shift to national priorities. Its ministers scuttle around the US in near panic to find common cause for restoring the unaccountable regime. Multiplying carbon, disemployment and ecological plunder are ignored throughout in the longest standing fake news of all –‘economic growth”.

In fact, there is no real economic growth in universal life necessities or reduction of waste. The only growth is of volumes and velocities of transnational money exchanges, foreign commodities, and private profits to the top.

‘More prosperity for nations and the world’ means, decoded, more transnational corporate-state treaties to deprive nations of their rights to organization and production for citizens’ real needs as well as organically regulated protection of environments and ecosystems.

The consequences covered over by pervasively false cover stories are speeded-up ecocidal extractions, permanent disemployments, and wastes hemorrhaging into cumulatively more polluted oceans, air, atmosphere and life habitats. Corporate-state solutions of carbon markets for pollution rights have nowhere reduced any of these life-and-death crises, but only further and selectively enriched transnational corporations.

As for the Obama solution, “we need more Canadas”, fake news again conceals the reality. Beneath the global celebrity hype covering empty and broken promises, Canada’s Trudeau  regime is essentially a brand change of PM rhetoric to advance transnational corporate dictates as ‘free trade’ and to ensure oil pipelines out of the most polluting oil basin in the world, Alberta’s tar-sands, are built through water basins and indigenous lands across Canada and the US. One cannot help but observe this is Trump’s plan too, and overrides Trudeau’s promises to protect Canada’s first peoples.

I recently sent a letter to my local MP requesting evidence for what PM Trudeau promises over months of repetition that “more free trade” means “a better life for those in the middle class and those wanting to join the middle class”. As always, there is no evidence to support the non-stop false news from the PMO. Revealingly, the “middle class” turns out to be people making $180,000 a year slated to get significant tax cuts.

Trump’s rogue elephant charge on Washington-led lies, war, and dispossession of the working class is no solution to life-blind corporate globalization. Trump in office is a US nationalist oligarch commanding policies even more blindly rapacious in despoliation of the environment and transferring far more public wealth to the rich.

The common ground of all our lives, collective life capital, does not exist for any government in ‘the free world’ or any policy of ‘globalization’.  The lies that must be promulgated to advance the private corporate agenda are built into its transnational command system from the beginning.

Out of the Ruling Memory Hole with the Internet Commons

Joining the dots shows that every step of US money-party ‘globalization’ has, in fact, been driven by fake news.

No corporate media tolerance has been given in a quarter of a century to any voice demanding accountability to the common life-ground of citizens. A new game of numbers has proceeded instead. At most, a euphemistic ‘climate change’ has been endlessly debated while the totalizing destabilization of human and planetary life cycles remains without a name or collective response. Only more profitable market panaceas which do not reduce any pollution continue to divert from the deepest degenerate trends destroying the planetary life host.

On the upside, the big lies of ‘free trade’ and ‘humanitarian wars’ have been called into official question for the first time by the Trump presidential campaign, and he has been elected against the official line. Yet opposing camps are still at each other’s throats. So the perpetual fallback on accusing the long-designated foreign enemy is triggered by the fallen establishment. The fake news chorus of Russia’s aggressions now includes collusion of the Trump administration with its officials to win the US election. This mainspring diversion from reality is called back from the dead witch-hunts of the past. As then tool, facts do not count, only accusations do. The official media line is almost predictable: Russia is behind Trump’s election victory. As always, reverse projection is the mass-psyche operation to blame an official Enemy to divert attention from the life-and-death facts. The Enemy is once again accused of doing what the US has always done worse as the reason for attacking It. Russia is the usual placeholder in this reverse-blame operation. The 2016 US election of Trump is the latest variation.

Meanwhile throughout the election and its aftermath, the new transnational internet commons including Wiki-leaks over a decade has increasingly laid bare the greatest propaganda machine in history now in many-leveled crisis. The long normalized half-truths, one-sided slanting of the facts, and non-stop fallacies of inference are coming out into the open as never before.  The pretexts and lies for US imperial bullying and war are exposed beyond any corporate-media gate.

This time the accusation is “interference and attack on the US presidential election” with no evidence of wrongdoing or vote manipulation whatsoever. Yet as in the long past, the method is smear with no evidence for the accusations. Ever more media repetition and shadowy insinuation does the job. It has always worked before, why not again since all the other media buttons pushed on taking down the Trump peace initiatives with Russia and opposition to globalization of US jobs have failed.

Having wondered during the election campaign whether we could be “friends with Russia” and promoted diplomatic relations into his administration, Trump can be named as the enemy in hiding to be rooted out. The real problem the fake news never mentions is that he threatens the cornerstone of the US war state over 70 years.

So when Trump won the election with his heresy still intact, the ever-ready accusation of evil-Russia connection moves into high gear although the target is the opposite of communist and an epitome of capitalist riches and connections. We see here the historical mind-lock compulsion to blame the Enemy Russia and smear whoever dissents from it, even if it is a bully-capitalist president. There are very big stakes in keeping the game going.

Yet the no-profit and unpaid analyses from the internet commons have no such ulterior motive and interest in false accusations. With more objectively informed analysts than the commercial press and unimpeachable facts like WikiLeaks going to tens of millions of readers across the world, the genie is out of the bottle. The official grand narrative and its normalized big lies are coming apart at the seams.

So blame as usual is diverted onto the accepted Enemy, now conniving with Trump to attack the 2016 US presidential election. Beneath the fake news, the fact is that positive diplomatic relations with Russia not only threaten to stop the highly profitable permanent war against it, but spike the longest pretext for US war and military domination now moving through Ukraine.

The free internet commons cannot be gagged for telling the truth. Freedom of speech in the US cannot be openly stopped without fatal loss of legitimacy of rule.

So the rest follows. All the non-corporate and non-profit messages from the critical sites on the internet commons which are speaking against the US war state inside are now vilified as ‘fake news’. A third, unofficial protagonist has entered the battle with no private profit or career motive or corporate boss to serve and a wealth of proven professional knowledge and talent at work. It has to be denounced to sustain the big lies of the ruling money-war game which is in deepening crises and conflicts all the way to the unprecedented US President-Press civil war.

The Harvard Proclamation of a New Memory Hole

The innermost fount of US ideology and war, Harvard University, has now stepped in. It is officially naming and denouncing US-critical internet sites for ‘fake news’.

Not even the medieval Church went so far in its Index Librorum Prohibitorum of prohibited writings. It was at least innocent of scientific method and openly declared its dogmas. Not Harvard.

Underneath notice, all the sites it attacks are internet commons, and none are financed by private corporate donors and captive institutions while Harvard and the corporate media are. This is the real battle agenda underneath, the long war  to privatize the news for profit as everything else with anti-establishment internet criticism now the target.

In the background, Harvard University has long propagated an unexamined academic method. It normally cuts off any faculty or learned source of opposition to the private corporate rule of America and the wars of aggression to impose it on the world.  Accordingly, the underling grand narrative equations of the US is Good and the designated Enemy is Evil is not questioned. It is presupposed. Malevolent motives are always assumed of the designated Enemy, down to Harvard-produced geostrategic economic and war models. So when a host of internet commons sites challenge the grand narrative framework, Harvard and satellites denounce them to stop people reading them. A long list of critical sites is accused without criteria, proof or evidence as all spreaders of ‘fake news’.

What is not recognised here is that only on the internet commons can the process of truth be free from ruling pressures to control message for external sponsors.

Here there is no commercial-profit condition to speak and write, and no livelihood dependence on private profit. There is no inducement to avoid life-and-death issues in academic obfuscation or ad-vehicle style. Internet authors not on the payroll can be free of the game of all games behind the scenes – enriching the rich further with no life-coherent criterion of truth.

These underlying conditions of the internet commons and free speech itself cannot be recognised by the academy or the corporate press without undercutting their proclaimed status as the only legitimate founts of truth. The internet commons is a new world of competitive capacities to research, understand and disseminate not bound by private money patronage (as over centuries in Harvard University).

When challenged in this way, Harvard (and the official press) are set back on their heels. They cannot think the facts through because their instituted presumptions have long been what they must presuppose and not question to acquire their credentials and pay for public speech. They must attack what calls all this into question if it effectively speaks truth to power to expose or de-legitimate the ruling system narrative as false. Harvard and the US press thus follow the reigning method of reverse projection. They accuse the effective opposition of ‘fake news’.

The most revealing fact here is that Harvard authority as other academic administrations proceed in name-calling without any valid argument or demonstration – the very basis of reasonable conclusion. Yet this is such a long tradition of presumptive accusation allowed against anyone designated as the Enemy, and anyone else exposing the falsehood of the ruling US story of moral superiority over all others and God’s blessing to lead the world by force or money.

This is why only dissenting sites from the official storyline of US freedom and rightness in all things are accused as ‘fake news’. Accusation of opposing positions is so well-worn into conditioned brains that endless repetition locks it in as self-evident. This is why attributions of vile motive are automatic from Harvard or the New York Times for any outside leader opposing US interference in their countries including elections. US hypocrisy here is staggering, but unreported. In fact, Harvard’s life-blind elite of war criminal geo-strategists, economic modellers and so on are fawned upon within the wider corporate rule they serve.

None can engage critical facts and thought challenging the US moral superiority assumptions because they have never been required to consider them. So they denounce them as once the Church denounced apostasy. In the end, US system worship is a war-state religion. It eliminates all enemies to its right to rule. Its globalizing system institutes the market laws of God. War crimes are God-blessed justice.

Freedom of Speech, the Process of Truth, and the US Constitution

Led by senior academics, journalists and technical expertise, the internet commons provide for the first time impartial witness and free speech open to public examination and circulation across borders. They are free from corporate-rank dictate and private copy-right control.

In consequence, the internet commons are liberated from private corporate profit as controlling goal. Those who know what they are talking about can speak truth to dogma and power without words to appease editors, business boards and ad revenues. Truth itself is not defined, but its principle of process is a more inclusively consistent taking into account towards life-coherent conclusion

Despite Google black-holing of radical legal facts, CIA penetration of Wikipedia, and so on, the internet commons’ freedom of speech is far beyond anything guaranteed in the US constitution. In fact, the ‘sacred US Constitution’ that all presidents give oath to “preserve, protect and defend” guarantees in the end only freedom of public speech to private money demand.

Long before the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision reverse-titled as “Citizens United”, the US constitution was structured to one overriding end –  to remove prior limits to private-money right over all else,including to begin, the rule of British law and  the lands of the first nations West of the Appalachians.

This is why no common life interest exists in the US Constitution from the start. People’s universal human life necessities of water, food, protection and liveable environment are ruled out a-priori.  This is why civil rights themselves were first federally enforced by the ‘commerce clause’ protecting freedom of commercial bus passengers including blacks to cross borders.

It is also why the Fourteenth Amendment to protect the equal rights of freed slaves ended up being the legal basis for private-profit corporations and wealthy funds to acquire the constitutional rights of living persons (e.g., to freedom of speech for big money to buy elections and to avoid government access to financial records).

Even the iconic rights of “life, liberty and happiness” turn out to be in fact only private market rightswhich allow corporate ‘fictive persons’ to unlimited money wealth, protection against public redistribution, and the freedom of private wealth alone to  speak to America by buying corporate self promotions and election attack ads.

The US Constitution fix goes all the way back to 1787. As professor of constitutional law at Chicago’s iconic Kent College of Law, Matthew Stanton, explains in personal correspondence:

“[The fix] goes all the way back to the 1787 coup where the 39 signatories to the Constitution sequestered themselves in a Philadelphia meeting house, with locked doors and shuttered windows, to ostensibly make adjustments to the Articles of Confederation, but instead delivered an entirely new document that enabled creating a federal system centralizing control of the economy by  propertied wealth”.

Russia the Enemy: the Deus ex Machina of Fake News

We may recall that the corporate-press and Wall-Street-enriched candidate for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, started the accusation of ‘fake news’ to explain her defeat. As establishment mask of the politically correct masses with the money-war party as her paymaster, Clinton blamed her fall in the 2016 US election on the new enemy she saw arising against the official story and herself. When the ‘glass mirror’ story line did not take, she joined forces with the corporate media on another plane. ‘Fake news’ misled Americans. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the TV Networks, and other establishment tale tellers saw pay-dirt far beyond Clinton’s failed bid for president.

In fact, the corporate mass media were losing marketability by the escalating appeal of free social media. The once all-powerful press propaganda system has been increasingly deserted. The ‘fake news’ story provided a media base to condemn free internet news and commentary as immoral. The 2016 election became the leverage for a big market grab back.

Very soon it was not just ‘fake news’ to spike news cycles and subscriptions. War as peace and corporate globalization as freedom found its long place of rule – the enemy of Russia to blame. Now the news can be that Russia hacked and attacked the lost 2016 election. Russia may be a hollowed-out shell by global corporate and oligarch dispossession. But it can still continue as pretext for US-NATO war crimes and aggression reverse-blamed on it. As the European breadbasket and newly discovered fossil-fuel rich nation, Ukraine is a very big prize. Now in Ukraine’s US-led coup aftermath and ethnic civil war, evil Russia can be an ace card again to accuse for attacking the US election.

Since Russia led by Putin is drawing the line as in Crimea to support the Russia-speaking region against US-led war crimes under international law (documented in previous articles), all roads connect. “Russia’s uncontrolled aggression” is  reverse-projected onto the victim again in  a glorious new use. Reverse blame it  for interference in the US election of Trump and kill Russia-US peace initiatives at the same time. No fact is required to verify the accusation, and no law broken is needed to insinuate treason of whoever relates with Russia’s officials in peace initiative. It can work even against an elected US president.

At the same time, the US’s own record attacking other nations’ elections and societies is thereby erased as well – continually orchestrating mass-murder and dictatorship to sabotage the electoral process from Vietnam and Chile to Ukraine in 2010 and Latin America social democracies since.

If it were a story of reverse projection by a mass-murderous psychopath, it would be too much to believe. Yet it now runs the US news cycle as the big story unfolding with no evidence of US illegality, force, or non-compliance with international law. The accusations run by themselves in US media culture and across the empire. So as 2017 Spring breaks, endless media insinuations of treason seep into the populace from corporate media sites across borders with backrooms and Congress setting up for another presidential inquisition.

It is interesting to observe two precedents. Past inquisitions were unfolded soon after Bill Clinton said in India, “it’s time to level up rather than down in global trade” and Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protections Agency, stopped corporations from outsourcing US jobs, and made peace with China as Trump sought with Russia.

The ludicrous hypocrisy, factual vacuum, and war-drums of blame-the-enemy go into high-volume operation again, led by an attack-dog media against the elected US president whose only action has been to have business-like relations with Russia. Few observe the immense stakes of the US media and war establishments in this process. Cui bono? – who benefits? – is the question never asked.

What’s new?  The perpetual red herring of ‘Russia aggression’ takes everyone’s eyes off the ball – including the continuing US-drone mass murder and ecological wars built into the Trump agenda. Canada’s oil and mining corps and big banks sneak behind the pervasive fake news with a smiling Trudeau front. NATO demands more money behind Trump now fulsomely praising what he earlier campaigned on as “obsolete”, as he has done with the CIA he also condemned. Those hoping for a new departure under Trump from the big lies and war crimes as normalized operations watch in a combination of horror and hilarity.

Who connects the dots? Beneath official notice, the ruling goal of US empire is blind to its consequences of human and planetary life ruin. It has to cover itself in false news to carry on. This is why fake news is not a temporary phenomenon of the Trump era. It is the necessary veil of illusion of an eco-genocidal system. The symptoms and trends are everywhere. But a US-led prism of false inversions of reality regulates consciousness, perception and reaction to ‘steer the course’.

This is true of both sides of the Trump divide, and also in corporate Canada as the US’s largest trading partner, branch-plant and resource cornucopia. What is new is that the ruling illusions are divided against themselves at the top of the US political and ideological system. The Trump phenomenon reflects the rupture. The US empire is in deep crisis from its cumulative destruction of social and natural life support systems. Its carcinomic multiplication of private money demand with no tie to the production of means of life is the reality beneath all the false news.

Nothing is life secure. The ‘global security system’ protects only money values and sequences through life hosts. Peoples everywhere compete to make it go faster to survive. The ruling concept of ‘economy ‘inverts the systematic depletion, degradation and despoliation of the life capital of organic, social and ecological life. Universal necessities of human and fellow life are stripped, polluted and wasted as ‘efficiencies’.

President Trump has gone into the political ring to fight it out with the political establishment on a nationalist capitalist level. He is losing money in the short term. But his program in office is completely eco-blind, and the opposing mass media follow suit. All they can focus on is demonizing normal relations with the official Enemy Russia. Meanwhile Trump has all but abolished the EPA and cut off all federal funding for restoration of the Great Lakes, the most important source of fresh water heritage on the planet.

These supreme crimes under international law are recognised by none on stage. In Canada, a Nazi progeny and neo-Nazi supporter of the violent coup and civil war in Ukraine is made Foreign Affairs Minister and hustles her connections throughout the US to keep the attack-Russia juggernaut going as in the past under  a continuous barrage of ethnic prejudices and fake news.

The pattern is clear but unspoken. The Enemy Russia is the auto-pilot of fake news to divert from US and client leadership failure on almost every level. Relations of mutual respect with Russia’s ambassador are ‘collusion’ and taboo.

The Reality Beneath the Questions not Asked

How does disclosure of Hillary’s Clinton’s apparatus theft of the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders get blamed on Russia? The question is not asked. The Washington mass media and visible Congress focus instead on accused “collusion with Russia” with very big stakes in the new inquisition show. Suspicions without substance run free in the mass media once the designated Enemy is smeared onto the target, even if elected president.

Who knows that the US joined the armed forces of Britain, colonial Canada and Japan to crush the 1917 Russian Revolution on behalf of the Czarist autocracy and Western capitalism? More deeply, who names the governing objective behind all the shows of force and accusation over a century since? To be managed successfully, attention must be diverted from the facts of US-led war crimes and public looting within and without US empire proclaimed as ‘world freedom’.

The new President and his Exxon Secretary of State seek business-like relations with Russia. Very big powers are coming into conflict over business and war within the US empire. Big oil in both leviathan countries are pitted against the US Enemy-and-smear establishment which has long run the show with big oil formerly leading it. Now transnational big oil in the US and Russia are leading out of the blind alley of war against each other which has so totally failed to bring benefits to either side in the long term, and has almost reversed civilization.

The dots again are not joined. The completely counter-productive war against Russia to keep the US money-war state going is deepened by Wall Street. The falling price of oil is driven beneath notice by Wall Street which has successfully short-future-traded oil down to establish its money-printing powers by debt as supreme over its rival substitute, while diverting everybody’s attention from the greatest fraud in history still going. Observe that Wall Street remains untouched even from its multi-trillion dollar heist from public and pension coffers from 2007 on.

Blame Russia is the normal chorus which Wall Street benefits from as the ultimate leader of the ruinously anti-productive money-war system. It pays off so well to the money party in more public dollars appropriated by its control and issue of money debt for everything that exists; the pervasive military-industrial complex which never gets reversed even in the peace after the planned destruction of the ‘Evil Empire’; and the corporate mass media in front turning the fake news system over continuously to promote, idealize and divert from the global empire’s war and occupation powers. The neo-con and neo-liberal war strategists alike are built into the dark state as managers uniquely dependent on Russia as the Enemy.

So it is in all their self-maximizing interests to sustain perpetual accusations of some enemy’s evil as the great cover-up story of US empire and it inherited war-crime system. Joined to despotic local oligarchies, this axis dismantles ever more societies for corporate, bank and military plunder and jackal payoffs everywhere (including the academy). There is no limit or borders to the established system invasion, and all is at the expense of public treasuries and of life support systems across domains.

President Trump does not break the fatal ruling cycle. He demands that vassal states should pay for their US military protection, a new global extortion supporting new NATO oligarchies against change which accompanies his stripping of environmental protections to pay for more war powers. Trump behind his populist bluster is a paradigm example of instituted US capitalist greed and aggression. Yet the fact that hate of the Enemy is smeared even onto him for not hating Russia too reveals the ultimate pretext of the US-NATO war machine. Behind the US-led perpetual arms build-up, border threats and bombings of mostly innocents across the globe while blaming the terrorists for the horrors now built into the global ‘growth’ system is fake news as continuous cover story. The war-criminal drone mass murders continue on unnoticed. The bank looting of public wealth is instituted more broadly. The universities, health systems and public infrastructures are privatized for profit with no life criteria of outcomes.

Trump is dispossessing the American common wealth for big US money in line with the Reagan public-looting machine before him. It drained  public revenues into a black hole of US debt, blamed acid rain on trees, and portrayed orchestrated mass murderers of socialists in Afghanistan and Nicaragua as ‘freedom fighters’. What has changed in the corporate media’s fake-news today?

Trump in office is the opposite of the anti-establishment candidate he promised to be. He wars on the US Environmental Protection Agency (its only collective life protective organization). He fractions corporate taxes in a giveway to the rich beyond Reagan’s $500-billion tax cut. He privatizes the public’s falling infrastructure for speculators and developers’ long-term private tolls, profits and control for private profit at taxpayers’ expense.

Who in the corporate media or Congress questions any of it?

The Trudeau  regime to the north imitates the new massive scheme of privatizing public infrastructure. But it disguises it in terms of public investment in public goods. The big banks and speculators on both sides of the border are the winners whatever the corporate media and state cover story. The common wealth is sold off under pervasive fake news masquerading as responsible and for the public good. But the drive-wheel policy mechanisms for ever more dismantling of the living earth and redistribution of more public wealth upwards to the rich march on beneath conscious comprehension.

Trump does not hide the privatization for profit of America’s public infrastructure and stripping of public health and environmental protection policies once he has rising stockholder support in office. The Trudeau Liberal party masqueraded as the social democrat NDP in promising whopping public investment to win the election, but when in office lets the giant privatization boondoggle trickle out in sunny  avoidance of the facts.

The monumental schemes of robbing the commonwealth at every level are led by slanted and selective reports through every step across ever more domains. But a constant across US empire is Russia the Enemy to justify it all. In the deepening life support crises of this ruling axis, Russia’s projected ‘attacks’ still lead the show.

The Life-Blind Moral DNA of US Rule

With no common ground but belief in God’s blessing over all nations and the greatest killing machine in history to enforce it, US ideology may seem to be a psychopathic rationalization writ large.

Yet the US national morality tale governs perception so that the a-priori life-blindness is not recognised even by philosophers. The US continues to be ruled at home and abroad without life-value ground or compass. So as the US-led global market system multiplies its demands on organic, social and ecological life systems, it moves inexorably towards a few multibillionaires with more wealth than 99% of the population, steering planetary depredation to ruin as freedom and growth.

How else would a global cancer system behave? Yet almost none recognise that this system overrides life requirements at every level. The reformer Trump selects for even more wealth and power to the home rich. He attacks evolved environmental research and regulations with no better alternative. He seeks to repeal Obamacare with no public option considered. His nationalist and cost-cutting program is essentially life-blind.

The baseline of crisis goes all down to the moral DNA of the US project and its evolved economic, political and ideological system. The innermost value driver is long presupposed without question by even US moral philosophers and social scientists as the first principle of their models. Atomic self-maximization towards more private money-value without limit is the meta-program.

In consequence, the ‘global free market’ the US leads and imposes has no feedback loops to protect human or planetary life against hollowing them out for transient commodities, private profit and wastes on every level. The ruling system is structured only to ensure more money demand and commodities to those who have money to pay. Any accountability to universal life necessities is ruled out a-priori from the US Constitution, ruling market doctrine, and received theories.

As I have commented in articles prior to his presidency, “Trump is America come to meet itself”. But the US cover story has not yet been decoded in its master functions of legitimation and idealization. What makes the eco-genocidal system acceptable to human consciousness is an ultimate story line and moral syntax that transforms it into heroic liberty, individualism and moral supremacy.

This moral syntax has been imprinted into US empire since its original revolution against Britain to invade the America West to the Pacific Ocean to appropriate and  destroy all the life and life support systems of the developed first peoples there as ‘freedom’, ‘development’ and ‘self-defense’. What is required for the grand narrative’s success is to hide the reality of continuous eco-genocide by continuous false representations as the virtue and truth others fail to understand.

This first principle the justifying morality tale entails the second – that an alien Enemy must always be blamed for the system’s destructive attacks on barriers and resistance to it. Conversion of all life and life support systems to limitless self-maximization of the US system and its richest citizens then proceeds under cover of fake news with wars of acquisition and control represented as courageous and beneficent for all.

For-profit private corporations are the ever more empowered legal vehicles of this transnational system which is set to select for systematic self-maximization of the rich by all market, state and war means that can be constructed to enable it, starting with the US Constitution (as explained above). This set-point is built into the legislative, judicial and executive branches so that today the system outcome is a constitutionally ordered money-party control of all three branches of government as well as the funding systems of social sciences and philosophy.

Fake news in the widest sense provides a continuous cover story to mask and justify the underlying program which is not seen – the money-war party’s limitless take from life within and without the US that depends on a designated Enemy as perennial pretext to strip the US and global commonwealth against effective opposition or change.

Prof. John McMurtry FRSC is the author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Solution  and the three-volume study, Philosophy and World Problems,  UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Paris-Oxford. 

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof. John McMurtry, Global Research, 2017

 

There Are Times…

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

There are times when, as I read stuff, I wish I was an Android with a hard drive instead of a leaky human brain so I could store all the information and have it “there” at my fingertips (so to speak) when I think about something, or quote something I’ve read, with full ability to regain the context of it.  “Sigh!” – it doesn’t seem to be happening.  Oh well, at least I have learned to speed things up in collecting information; to turn my email program (that wonderful Microsoft Outlook 2002 which nothing can touch for clarity and efficiency) into a library of congress sort of filing system…

Here are a few “odds ‘n ends” from my eclectic collection of thoughts and ideas and word imagery.

CRONY CAPITALISM is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

THEREMIN:  electronic musical instrument played without touching, invented by a Russian physicist, Leon Theremin circa 1919 (patented in 1928).  Used in popular music of many movie soundtracks.

ANODYNE PHRASE is a weak statement intended to hide an ugly truth. Another name for that would be political correctness.

UTILITARIANISM: Doctrine that the useful is the good; especially as elaborated by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill; the aim was said to be the greatest happiness for the greatest number. (Imagine that!  The more you slave for your elites, the happier you will be!)

THE EASIEST WAY to solve a problem is to deny its existence (Isaac Asimov)

ELECTRICITY is NOT an energy SOURCE.

IF THE CIA ever told the truth, it would genetically implode (David Icke)

THE GREAT PYRAMID weighs 6 million tons; covers 13 acres; is 750’ per side; 481’ tall and contains over 2.5 million individual blocks of stone.  None of this answers my question: why was it built, and by whom?

AMERICAN EXEPTIONALISM:  the US’s power to make and break deals world-wide with no accountability to results.

I AM WRITING the book of human sins.  When I’m done I’ll cast it into the fire and all their sins will be gone. (The Island – Russian movie)

THE UNTIED NATIONS – once known as the United Nations…

BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, S. Africa.

IDIOCRACY:  It’s hard to be smart with so many dopamine-producing distractions and so much online approval for our uneducated opinions. (from a Joel Stein article in Times magazine)

DONALD TRUMP, proud President of Saudi America.

EGREGIOUS:  conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible (and didn’t I just mention Donald Trump?)

ECONOMICS is not a science, it’s a set of values pretending to be science.

IT’S DISCOURAGING to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit (Noel Coward)

IT IS MY OPINION, subject to change only under extreme duress, that mankind (Earthians as my Teachers call them) were genetically engineered and remain unnaturally so.  That tends to explain a few ridiculous things the species clings to as if its survival depended on them, like Religion, Politics and Money. 

SOME WORDS that need re-defining:  salacious means lust or moral looseness whereas pulchritude means a physically beautiful woman.  I would turn those definitions around.  Salacious sounds so much nicer than pulchritude, I mean, really…

PRECARIAT: the growing majority population whose lives are marked by precariousness, lack, anxiety and fear.

USSA, acronym for United Slave States of America.  Another acronym that needs no interpretation: UKKKA.

PSYCHIATRY is the science of lies. (Thomas Szaz)

FEDERAL RESERVES is a parasite.

THE SUREST SIGN that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us. (Bill Waterson)

WHY THE MILITARY needs so much money to accomplish so little is explained by this military description of a screwdriver – “rotational torque-adjustable fastener applicator.” 

WHEN FACTS don’t fit preconceptions, deny the facts.

US DIPLOMACY can be fully explained in three words: Convert, Co-opt, Conquer.  

A FORTNIGHT is 14 consecutive days, or two weeks.  (Go figure that one out!)

DEMOCRACY is a chimera invented to keep the bottom dwellers in their place without having to resort to police state brutality or chancing violent revolutions.  Democracy and Capitalism are diametrical opposites, but who notices these little things?

PEOPLE in general have an innate need to find something larger than themselves to be a part of. (Matthew Quirk)

CANT: stock phrases become nonsense through endless repetition.

AD HOMINEM: appealing to personal considerations rather than to facts or reason.

TUGAREZ VRAS means “Thank you” in Breton.  (That should be my mother tongue but my parents didn’t use it so defaulted to French.  Life can be so unfair…)

… and finally, let’s give full credit to computerization when it is due.  In looking up the word “eclectic” in my Wordweb dictionary using the control-right click sequence, this was the result: word not found:  “Lrzlililfiwlectiifrzlfilnrs”  – I couldn’t make that up!  (Maybe I should re-think that android brain?) 

 

The Dance of Death – article by Chris Hedges – from “Truthdig”

My short intro to the article, “The Dance of Death”

Have we entered into another “millennium madness” when the powers that be have destroyed society and we are about to plunge headlong into the terror that immediately precedes and follows the inadmissible truth: that society has lost it’s raison d’être and needs to destroy itself in order to begin again with a new modus operandi?  As the article below describes vividly, have we entered into the spirit of Thanatos, the death instinct of a global civilization?

If that is the case, what does one do, here and now? If society is going to commit suicide and nothing can stop it, is there any point in struggling against the elites’ madness which can only give them more time to enjoy their immoral pursuits purchased through every sort of illegal shenanigan and millions of deaths?

What would a truly wise person do, knowing this is indeed the case; having admitted that global society is in exponential decline and once again dancing the dance of death?

{Posting the entire article here to save you having to jump through the “link hoops” of web surfing…}

_______________________________________________________________

The Dance of Death | Truthdig

“…Sigmund Freud wrote that societies, along with individuals, are driven by two primary instincts. One is the instinct for life, Eros, the quest to love, nurture, protect and preserve. The second is the death instinct. The death instinct, called Thanatos by post-Freudians, is driven by fear, hatred and violence. It seeks the dissolution of all living things, including our own beings. One of these two forces, Freud wrote, is always ascendant. Societies in decline enthusiastically embrace the death instinct, as Freud observed in “Civilization and Its Discontents,” written on the eve of the rise of European fascism and World War II. …”


Chris Hedges

The Dance of Death  (Chris Hedges)

Posted on Mar 12, 2017

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military “virtues” are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch. Education is designed only to instill technical proficiency to serve the poisonous engine of corporate capitalism. Historical amnesia shuts us off from the past, the present and the future. Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages. State repression is indiscriminate and brutal. And, presiding over the tawdry Grand Guignol is a deranged ringmaster tweeting absurdities from the White House.

The graveyard of world empires—Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian—followed the same trajectory of moral and physical collapse. Those who rule at the end of empire are psychopaths, imbeciles, narcissists and deviants, the equivalents of the depraved Roman emperors Caligula, Nero, Tiberius and Commodus. The ecosystem that sustains the empire is degraded and exhausted. Economic growth, concentrated in the hands of corrupt elites, is dependent on a crippling debt peonage imposed on the population. The bloated ruling class of oligarchs, priests, courtiers, mandarins, eunuchs, professional warriors, financial speculators and corporate managers sucks the marrow out of society.

The elites’ myopic response to the looming collapse of the natural world and the civilization is to make subservient populations work harder for less, squander capital in grandiose projects such as pyramids, palaces, border walls and fracking, and wage war. President Trump’s decision to increase military spending by $54 billion and take the needed funds out of the flesh of domestic programs typifies the behavior of terminally ill civilizations. When the Roman Empire fell, it was trying to sustain an army of half a million soldiers that had become a parasitic drain on state resources.

The complex bureaucratic mechanisms that are created by all civilizations ultimately doom them. The difference now, as Joseph Tainter points out in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” is that “collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”

Civilizations in decline, despite the palpable signs of decay around them, remain fixated on restoring their “greatness.” Their illusions condemn them. They cannot see that the forces that gave rise to modern civilization, namely technology, industrial violence and fossil fuels, are the same forces that are extinguishing it. Their leaders are trained only to serve the system, slavishly worshipping the old gods long after these gods begin to demand millions of sacrificial victims.

“Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes, which in turn create even more dangerous messes,” Ronald Wright writes in “A Short History of Progress.” “Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism.”

The Trump appointees—Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Rick Perry, Alex Acosta and others—do not advocate innovation or reform. They are Pavlovian dogs that salivate before piles of money. They are hard-wired to steal from the poor and loot federal budgets. Their single-minded obsession with personal enrichment drives them to dismantle any institution or abolish any law or regulation that gets in the way of their greed. Capitalism, Karl Marx wrote, is “a machine for demolishing limits.” There is no internal sense of proportion or scale. Once all external impediments are lifted, global capitalism ruthlessly commodifies human beings and the natural world to extract profit until exhaustion or collapse. And when the last moments of a civilization arrive, the degenerate edifices of power appear to crumble overnight.

Sigmund Freud wrote that societies, along with individuals, are driven by two primary instincts. One is the instinct for life, Eros, the quest to love, nurture, protect and preserve. The second is the death instinct. The death instinct, called Thanatos by post-Freudians, is driven by fear, hatred and violence. It seeks the dissolution of all living things, including our own beings. One of these two forces, Freud wrote, is always ascendant. Societies in decline enthusiastically embrace the death instinct, as Freud observed in “Civilization and Its Discontents,” written on the eve of the rise of European fascism and World War II.

“It is in sadism, where the death instinct twists the erotic aim in its own sense and yet at the same time fully satisfies the erotic urge, that we succeed in obtaining the clearest insight into its nature and its relation to Eros,” Freud wrote. “But even where it emerges without any sexual purpose, in the blindest fury of destructiveness, we cannot fail to recognize that the satisfaction of the instinct is accompanied by an extraordinary high degree of narcissistic enjoyment, owing to its presenting the ego with a fulfillment of the latter’s old wishes for omnipotence.”

The lust for death, as Freud understood, is not, at first, morbid. It is exciting and seductive. I saw this in the wars I covered. A god-like power and adrenaline-driven fury, even euphoria, sweep over armed units and ethnic or religious groups given the license to destroy anything and anyone around them. Ernst Juenger captured this “monstrous desire for annihilation” in his World War I memoir, “Storm of Steel.”

(Page 2)

A population alienated and beset by despair and hopelessness finds empowerment and pleasure in an orgy of annihilation that soon morphs into self-annihilation. It has no interest in nurturing a world that has betrayed it and thwarted its dreams. It seeks to eradicate this world and replace it with a mythical landscape. It turns against institutions, as well as ethnic and religious groups, that are scapegoated for its misery. It plunders diminishing natural resources with abandon. It is seduced by the fantastic promises of demagogues and the magical solutions characteristic of the Christian right or what anthropologists call “crisis cults.”

Norman Cohn, in “The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation Europe and Its Bearing on Modern Totalitarian Movements,” draws a link between that turbulent period and our own. Millennial movements are a peculiar, collective psychological response to profound societal despair. They recur throughout human history. We are not immune.

“These movements have varied in tone from the most violent aggressiveness to the mildest pacifism and in aim from the most ethereal spirituality to the most earth-bound materialism; there is no counting the possible ways of imagining the Millennium and the route to it,” Cohen wrote. “But similarities can present themselves as well as differences; and the more carefully one compares the outbreaks of militant social chiliasm during the later Middle Ages with modern totalitarian movements the more remarkable the similarities appear. The old symbols and the old slogans have indeed disappeared, to be replaced by new ones; but the structure of the basic phantasies seems to have changed scarcely at all.”

These movements, Cohen wrote, offered “a coherent social myth which was capable of taking entire possession of those who believed in it. It explained their suffering, it promised them recompense, it held their anxieties at bay, it gave them an illusion of security—even while it drove them, held together by a common enthusiasm, on a quest which was always vain and often suicidal.

“So it came about that multitudes of people acted out with fierce energy a shared phantasy which though delusional yet brought them such intense emotional relief that they could live only through it and were perfectly willing to die for it. It is a phenomenon which was to recur many times between the eleventh century and the sixteenth century, now in one area, now in another, and which, despite the obvious differences in cultural context and in scale, is not irrelevant to the growth of totalitarian movements, with their messianic leaders, their millennial mirages and their demon-scapegoats, in the present century.”

The severance of a society from reality, as ours has been severed from collective recognition of the severity of climate change and the fatal consequences of empire and deindustrialization, leaves it without the intellectual and institutional mechanisms to confront its impending mortality. It exists in a state of self-induced hypnosis and self-delusion. It seeks momentary euphoria and meaning in tawdry entertainment and acts of violence and destruction, including against people who are demonized and blamed for society’s demise. It hastens its self-immolation while holding up the supposed inevitability of a glorious national resurgence. Idiots and charlatans, the handmaidens of death, lure us into the abyss.

 

Thanks for all the Likes and the Comments

Thoughts from   ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara

That reminds me of Douglas Adams’ book title, “So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish” only this isn’t about fish, it’s about pink elephants, but I’ll get to that.

OK, I’m not saying, “So long” – at least not yet… I like blogging, such as I do it, and learning day by day by following a lot of other blogs and practicing the great art of flattery which is imitation.

First I’d like to say, once again, THANKS FOR ALL THE LIKES, AND ALL THE COMMENTS.  Hopefully by watching carefully, and engaging periodic skirmishes with Akismet, (and no, I’m not talking about the conquest of Jerusalem, just the fight over spam) I get most of your comments, and comment back in turn.  If I don’t return a comment, let me know, or fire another over the wall, I might respond with more alacrity knowing I’m under siege…  

That being said of first importance, here’s a secondary matter that needs saying… again.  Some bloggers get frustrated with me.  I think it’s the way I state things as if they were facts, written in stone.  You spend enough time in politics, whether environmental or social, and certainly in organized religion, you develop a certain amount of “declared certainty.”  When you are making a point on a public forum you can’t afford to be wishy-washy about it.  Either you know what you’re on about, or you don’t.  Most of the time, I do know what I’m on about.  Or, I do, but it’s only MY PERSONAL OPINION, ALL OF IT unless it’s a reblog from someone else.  All of what I write is wide open for re-interpretation.

So listen here, before you lose any more sleep over my fiats, I’m not stating, or claiming, that I’m right.  Being sure isn’t the same as being right.  Stating something in a way it comes out as if it was a fact does not make it a fact and I’d be the first to laughingly admit that.  Actually I don’t care if what I say is right or wrong: there is no right or wrong here.  There’s just a point or two being made using words as props.  Unless I’m losing my mind and memory I don’t recall ever defending a point of view, ‘cause one’s point of view is either self-evidently “right” or it’s out in left field.  More often than not when it’s more philosophical than “factual” the same point of view wanders happily from left field to right field to the open fields without being in the least bothered.  That’s true freedom of expression.  

So no need, or point, getting one’s thong in a knot on this blog.  This is an opinion/rant place.  Not just for me, but for anyone who wants to just “Like” or agree or disagree.  Just give me (us) a good argument for or against, hey?  But let’s forget the right or wrong of what we think about something.  I’ll tell you this, I believe that Unicorns exist, as do flying pink elephants.  I’ve never seen either, but then I’ve never seen Donald Trump either (maybe I should be thankful from what I hear?) but the point is we can discuss things that don’t exist in some particular dimension if we realize that when we mention these non-existent “things” we bring them alive, but in a different, usually a private, dimension and context.  My Unicorns won’t crap on your birthday cake if you fail to fight for their non-existence.    

I say flying pink elephants exist.  You say they don’t exist.  Philosophy goes one better and says, can either of you use the concept, pro or con, to make your own life, or your world, a better place?  Does the idea of a pink elephant help or hinder your life’s goal, or purpose, or are you just being childish by insisting such exists, or such does not, cannot, exist?  That’s the bottom line, isn’t it.  All our ideas, thought, verbalized and finally acted upon, should they not all serve but one purpose: to make ourselves, and our world, a better place for all?

That’s where the “right” and “wrong” comes into play: my (your) interaction with others.  To help or to harm.  To protect or abuse.  To give or to steal.  To take responsibility or act irresponsibly.

As Forest Gump would say in his inimitable simple way, “That’s all I gotta say about that.”