Archive for the ‘Political Incompetence’ Category

via The most perilous time in world history got worse

The Most Perilous Time In World History Just Got WORSE! Posted By Luther Blissett: By Stephen Lendman: Intrepid Report 03/19/18: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/19/the-most-perilous-time-in-world-history-got-worse/ Or: https://randrewohge.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/the-most-perilous-time-in-world-history-just-got-worse/

Events ongoing should terrify everyone—things likely heading for greater war than already.

Most Americans, Brits, and others in NATO countries are unaware of the danger posed by hardline Western extremists in charge of policy-making—notably in Washington, London and Israel, the Jewish state an alliance Mediterranean Dialogue member.

Businessman Trump was co-opted to be a warrior president—neocon generals in charge of geopolitical policies, their agenda hardened by Mike Pompeo replacing Rex Tillerson at State, along with torturer-in-chief Gina Haspel appointed new CIA director.

An unholy alliance of US extremist policymakers allied with like-minded ones in partner countries risks war winds reaching gale force, a terrifying prospect if confrontation with Russia, Iran or North Korea occurs—the possibility increased by recent events.

Earlier this week, US Defense Secretary Mattis and UN envoy Haley threatened Russia and Damascus.

Russia vowed to retaliate against US attacks on Syrian forces in East Ghouta or elsewhere endangering its personnel in the country.

Anti-Russia hysteria in Britain over the Sergey Skripal poisoning affair, most certainly Moscow had nothing to do with, soured bilateral relations more than already.

In response to British PM Theresa May demanding swift Russian answers to questions posed about the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (speaking for her government) replied sharply saying, “One does not give 24 hours notice to a nuclear power,” adding the “Skripal poisoning was not an incident but a colossal international provocation,” adding not a “single international legal mechanism [exists] to probe the Skripal case.”

Russia’s embassy in London said “Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring.”

“Britain must comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention which stipulates joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready.”

“Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia.”

“Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.”

“Not only is Russia groundlessly and provocatively accused of the Salisbury incident, but apparently, plans are being developed in the UK to strike Russia with cyber weapons.”

“Judging by the statements of the prime minister, such a decision can be taken at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Security Council.”

Given the gravity of the situation, the above comments by Russian diplomats were uncharacteristically strong.

Sergey Lavrov warned Washington that “[i]f a new [US] strike . . . takes place [against Syrian forces], the consequences will be very serious,” adding, “I simply don’t have any normal terms left to describe all this.”

What’s coming remains to be seen. Hostile rhetoric from US and UK officials, along with hawkish extremists Pompeo in charge at State and Haspel appointed new CIA chief likely signal more war, not less.

What’s ongoing assures no possibility of improving dismal bilateral relations with Russia, China, Iran and other sovereign independent countries.

Talks with North Korea could either be scuttled or confrontational if they take place.

Given very disturbing ongoing events, the perilous state of world conditions reached a new low.

Be scared about what may follow—be very scared!

Advertisements

The United States Had No Corner On The Campaign To Erase Indigenous Peoples-The Crown’s Actions As Late As The 60’s And 70’s Do Not Give British Canada A Pass:

Image result for Rhymes For Young Ghouls

On Violence & Vengeance-Rhymes for Young Ghouls & The Horrific History Of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools [https://decolonization.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/on-violence-and-vengeance-rhymes-for-young-ghouls-and-the-horrific-history-of-canadas-indian-residential-schools/]

The Movie On Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80014891?trackId=14170060&tctx=1%2C1%2Cc4485e4b-788c-4ce0-ab03-66ff10ece802-78944943

OCTOBER 24, 2014 by Sean Carleton

** Editor’s note: If you have not seen the movie Rhymes for Young Ghouls, this article likely contains spoilers. **

PDF: https://decolonization.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/violence-and-vengeance-pdf-1.pdf

Written and directed by Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, Rhymes for Young Ghouls offers an unflinching fictional account of Indigenous agency in the face of the horrors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. Set in the 1970s on the Mi’gmaq Red Crow reserve, known as the Kingdom of the Crow, the film stars Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs as Aila, a tough teenage girl with artistic aspirations and a deep-seated hatred for the sadistic Indian Agent, Popper (Mark Antony Krupa). Popper runs the St. Dymphna’s Residential School and the Red Crow reserve with an iron fist and his heavy-handed tactics mobilize a group of Indigenous youth led by Aila to exact revenge. In the end, Aila’s courageous actions free her consciousness and disrupt the colonial order of Red Crow society. In many ways, Rhymes for Young Ghouls dramatizes the process of decolonization that anti-colonial thinker Frantz Fanon outlines in his chapter “On Violence” in The Wretched of the Earth.

Indeed, Rhymes for Young Ghouls is less about reconciliation, per se, and more about vengeance as a means to deal with colonial trauma; its Fanonian “the last shall be first” energy offers a unique perspective.[i] Barnaby’s film is a kind of revenge fantasy that taps into the wide-spread outrage by Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples over continuing reports of the abuse children experienced in residential schools. In fact, only a few weeks before the film’s limited release in Canada in January 2014, news broke of an Ontario judge ordering the Government of Canada to hand over documents related to an investigation into extreme forms of abuse at the St. Anne’s Indian Residential School. The abuse Indigenous students were subjected to St. Anne’s—ranging from harsh beatings and sexual attacks by teachers to children being forced to eat their own vomit and shocking students in a homemade electric chair—makes the abuse depicted at the fictional St. Dymphna’s school in the film seem all the more real and disturbing to watch.

Image result for Rhymes For Young Ghouls

Rhymes for Young Ghouls is a heavy and profoundly troubling film, but one that deserves a wide audience. In Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada, political theorist Paulette Regan argues that Canadians must learn to confront the hidden and horrific history of Indian Residential Schools as a starting point to build greater awareness of, and meaningful relations with, Indigenous peoples today. She claims that such a strategy of unlearning national myths and narratives that ignore Canadian colonialism or portray it as peaceful or benevolent, which she calls a process of “unsettling,” can contribute to the larger project of decolonization.[ii] Thus, Rhymes for Young Ghouls is a timely film about violence and vengeance with “unsettling” potential; it will undoubtedly shock audiences as well as raise greater awareness about the horrors of residential schools. As such, Rhymes for Young Ghouls is not only exceptional but is arguably one of the most important films to be released in Canada in recent memory.  RFYG 1Colonialism & the Kingdom of the Crow

Rhymes for Young Ghouls begins with five year-old Aila and her younger brother Tyler attending a party with their parents. Aila’s parents, like many Red Crow residents, engage in drugs and alcohol as part of “the art of forgetfulness” in an attempt to block out their experiences of abuse in St. Dymphna’s residential school. On the way home from the party, Tyler is mistakenly killed by Anna (Aila’s mother played by Rosanne Supernault) in a drinking-and-driving accident. The next morning, Aila awakes to find her mother dead hanging from a rope on their porch and her father, Joseph (Glen Gould), being arrested. Alone, Aila is left in the custody of her uncle Burner (Brandon Oakes) who, as the film quickly fast forwards ten years, successfully recruits her into a life of drug slinging in the reserve’s underground economy. Selling drugs is a means to an end for Aila. The film explains that, by law (quoting the Indian Act), every Indigenous child between the ages of 5 and 16 who is physically fit must attend an Indian Residential School. The opening credits clarify: “Her Majesty’s attendants, to be called truant officers, will take into custody a child whom they believe to be absent from school using as much force as the circumstance requires. A person caring for an Indian child who fails to cause such a child to attend school shall immediately be imprisoned, and such person arrested without warrant and said child conveyed to school by the truant officer.”

Historically, truancy—the intentional absence from compulsory education—posed a direct threat to the assimilationist aims of Canada’s Indian Residential School project and was thus heavily monitored, often by Indian Agents. On the fictitious Red Crow reserve, however, the Indian Agent Popper is so corrupt that he will accept a “truancy tax” to exempt those able to pay, and Aila manages to earn enough money selling drugs with her uncle to keep her temporarily out of St. Dymphna’s. But one day Aila’s drug money is stolen and her father suddenly returns from jail. All at once, Aila’s freedom from life inside “St D’s” is jeopardized. With the help of three friends, Aila decides to break into the school and steal the required money from the Indian Agent. However, the plan is quickly discovered by Popper, who cracks down on Joseph and takes Aila to St. Dymphna’s. The conditions at the school are abusive and coercive. Popper and a priest are portrayed intimidating new students to the school. Popper, in particular, is aggressive and antagonistic and he barks orders under threat of violence: “From here on in, it’s the Queen’s fucking English. Relish it!” Upon arrival at the school, Aila is taken into custody and stripped of her clothes by two nuns who cut off her braids and roughly wash her before giving her European clothes and shoving her into a dark cell.RFYG 2 

Before the reality of being locked away in the residential school breaks her spirit, Aila is sprung loose by a local boy who has discovered a secret entrance. With her temporary freedom, Aila resolves to carry out her revenge. Popper must pay. Dressed in Halloween costumes, Aila and her friends break into the school at night. After attacking one of Popper’s guards and managing to release Aila’s father, whom Popper had taken into custody, the gang descend on Popper’s office and steal $20,000. With their new riches, the group decides to flee the school. However, it is not long before Popper tracks down Joseph and Aila. In the middle of a heart-to-heart conversation between father and daughter, in which Joseph opens up to Aila and confides in her that she is not responsible for the intergenerational effects of residential schools, Popper abruptly breaks onto the scene and knocks Joseph unconscious with a rifle. Popper then beats Aila extensively before trying to rape her. Popper’s assault is stopped, however, when the young boy that sprung Aila from St. Dymphna’s confronts him and shoots Popper in the face, killing the Indian Agent with his own rifle. In the end, Joseph takes the fall to protect Aila and the boy from persecution, symbolically giving the new Mi’gmaq generation a chance at freedom.  

RFYG 3Toward an “Unsettling” Pedagogy

Rhymes for Young Ghouls augments existing films on Canada’s Indian Residential Schools such as We Were Children (2012) and Muffins for Granny (2008), but adds a different perspective. Rhymes for Young Ghouls aims to shock audiences not just with the violence of the schools but with the ability for Indigenous peoples to violently resist and fight back. Filmmaker Jeff Barnaby has said that his goal in making the film was to push the envelope with a kind of “bare knuckles cinema,” and he certainly pulled no punches. The film is drenched in a kind of violence that emphasizes Indigenous agency. In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon argues that: “Decolonization is always a violent event. In its bare reality, decolonization reeks of red-hot cannonballs and bloody knives. For the last can be first only after a murderous and decisive confrontation between the two protagonists.”[iii] Indeed, for Fanon decolonization occurs as a result of a colonized person’s realization that the “deployment of violence,” in different forms, is often crucial for liberation.[iv] In Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Aila exacts vengeance with the violent killing of Popper which, indeed, opens a space for Aila and others on the Red Crow reserve to step outside the shadows of colonialism.

Rhymes for Young Ghouls, then, contributes to an “unsettling” pedagogy by directly confronting Canadian colonialism and the horrors of Indian Residential Schools. Pursuing such a pedagogy is important because, as Mohawk scholar Taiaiake Alfred has suggested, “Canadians are in denial, in extremis” about the history and ongoing legacies of colonialism.[v] It is hard to argue with Alfred. Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, speaking at the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, proudly proclaimed to the world that Canada has “no history of colonialism.” In challenging people to learn more about the damaging effects of colonialism in Canada and about the horrific history of residential schools, films like Rhymes for Young Ghouls create opportunities for what Regan deems necessary for decolonization: for “all Canadians to fundamentally rethink our past and its implications for our present and future relations.”[vi]

Rhymes for Young Ghouls will prove invaluable to the many efforts to educate Canadians about the history of residential schools already happening across the country. In terms of integrating the film into classrooms, however, caution should be taken to fully flesh out the contours of Canada’s history of colonialism and education. It is perhaps easy to be outraged by the oppressive and inexcusable actions of one individual such as Popper, but it is important to emphasize the overall violence of the Indian Residential School system which, for over one hundred years, generally sought to “kill the Indian in the child.”[vii] It is also important to develop a historical consciousness about the ways in which residential schools in Canada were but one part of Canada’s larger strategy of dispossessing Indigenous peoples from their lands to create a capitalist settler society.[viii]

Overall, films like Rhymes for Young Ghouls are significant because they can used by historians, teachers, and activists as accessible methods in which to confront Canada’s horrific history of colonialism and to create decolonizing dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples about how to establish more positive relations in the present and future.


NOTES [i] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 2. For more on how Fanon’s ideas might be applied to the Canadian context see Glen Sean Clouthard’s new book, Red Skins, White Masks Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014). On violence and the colonial history of the Americas see, for example, Ned Blackhawk, Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) and Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010).

[ii] Regan, Unsettling the Settler WithinIndian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 2010), 13.

[iii] Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 2004 [1963]), 1 and 3. [iv]Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 21.

[v] Alfred, Forward, ix.

[vi] Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010), 4.

[vii] Stephen Harper (11 June 2008), House of Commons, Edited Hansard 142 (110), 39th Parliament, 2nd session, 1515.

[viii] See, for example, E. Brian Titley, “Schooling and Civilization” in A Narrow Vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986), 75-93; J.R. Miller, Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1996); John Milloy, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879-1986 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999); Mary-Ellen Kelm, “A Scandalous Procession”: Residential Schooling and the Reformation of Aboriginal Bodies” in Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia, 1900-1950 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1998), 57-80; Ian Mosby, “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942-1952,” Histoire sociale/Social History XLVI, no 91 (Mai/May 2013): 145-172; James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life(Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013).


Sean Carleton is an activist and educator living in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), Ontario, Anishinaabe Territory. He is a PhD Candidate in the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies at Trent University and he studies the history of colonialism, capitalism, and education in Canada.

Thursday, 01 April 2010 11:08

Image result for residential schools in canada

[https://indianinthemachine.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/the-strange-story-of-the-queen-and-the-children-who-disappeared-from-native-residential-schools/]

Signed statement by survivor witness followed by copy of letter already given to the Queen in January, 2008 by residential school survivors in Canada.

Statement of William Arnold Combes

I am an Interior Salish spirit dancer and am 58 years old. I live in Vancouver, Canada.

I am a survivor of the Kamloops and Mission Indian residential schools, both run by the Roman Catholic church.

I suffered terrible tortures there at the hands especially of Brother Murphy, who killed at least two children.

I witnessed him throw a child off a three story balcony to her death.

He put me on a rack and broke some of my bones, in the Kamloops school basement, after I tried running away.

I also saw him and another priest burying a child in the school orchard one night.

In September 1964 when I was 12 years old, I was an inmate at the Kamloops school and we were visited by the Queen of England and Prince Phillip.

Image result for canadian genocide

I remember it was strange because they came by themselves, no big fanfare or nothing.

But I recognized them and the school principal told us it was the Queen and we all got given new clothes and good food for the first time in months the day before she arrived.

The day she got to the school, I was part of a group of kids that went on a picnic with the Queen and her husband and school officials, down to a meadow near Dead Man’s Creek.

After awhile, I saw the Queen leave that picnic with ten children from the school, and those children never returned.

We never heard anything more about them and never saw them again even when we were older.

They were all from around there but they all vanished.

The group that disappeared was seven boys and three girls, in age from six to fourteen years old.

I don’t remember their names, just an occasional first name like Cecilia and there was an Edward.

What happened was also witnessed by my friend George Adolph, who was 11 years old at the time and a student there too

__________ _______ __
William Arnold Combes
(signed and witnessed in the original)

February 3, 2010
Vancouver, Canada

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ———
Media Advisory:

Queen of England Issued a Letter of Demand, Possible Lawsuit by Indian Residential School Survivors

Evening of Thursday, January 24, 2008
Unceded Squamish Territory (“Vancouver, Canada”)

Elizabeth Windsor, the Queen of England, was issued a Letter of Demand yesterday that requires that she identify the fate and burial sites of all the children who died in Indian Residential Schools established under the authority of the Church of England and the British Crown.

The Letter was handed personally to Governor-General Michaelle Jean by aboriginal elder Carol Martin at the Downtown Eastside Womens’ Centre in Vancouver in the afternoon of Wednesday, January 23. Ms. Martin asked the Governor-General to deliver the Letter of Demand to the Queen on behalf of residential school survivors, and the Governor-General accepted the Letter and assured her that she would.

As a Common Law Notice, the Letter requires that the Queen comply with the request to identify the grave sites and cause of death of these children within thirty days, or face possible legal action.

“The buck stops at Buckingham Palace” commented another aboriginal elder and residential school survivor. “The Queen, and the Pope, are the ones responsible for the genocide their government and churches did to my people. She has to be held accountable. She has the power to help bring our children home, finally.”

In recent weeks, similar Letters of Demand have been issued to officials of the Canadian government and the Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada by residential school survivors. Karl Ratzinger, Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, is scheduled to be issued a similar Letter of Demand soon.

A national press conference to announce the next stage in this Truth Campaign will be held on Monday, February 4 at 10:00 am outside the Prime Minister’s Office at 80 Wellington street in Ottawa. Organizer Kevin Annett (Eagle Strong Voice) will be present at this event.

For more information contact:

The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared
(Chief Louis Daniels, Anishinabe Nation, Patron)
c/o 1-888-265-1007 (pager) or:
hiddenfromhistory@ yahoo.ca

Public Notice

Letter of demand from the Elders and Members of the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared

23rd January 2008

To: Elizabeth Windsor, aka “Queen of Great Britain”

Buckingham Palace

London, England

(Transmitted through the office and person of Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada)

Dear Ms. Windsor,

This Public Letter of Demand is issued to you, Elizabeth Windsor, as one who claims the title and fiduciary responsibility of Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and Head of the Church of England in Canada, aka the Anglican Church.

We, as the friends and relatives of tens of thousands of children who died or were murdered in Indian Resedential Schools in canada established and run by your Church of England and the British Crown from 1867 to 1996, do hereby demand that you, Elizabeth Windsor, in your capacity of Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and head of the Church of England, publicly disclose the cause of death and whereabouts of the buried remains, of all children who died in Indian Residential Schools operated by the Church of England in Canada, aka the Anglican Church.

This Common law Notice also requires that you, Elizabeth Windsor. arrange the immediate repatriation without conditions of the remains of thesen persons to their holes for a proper burial.

This Common Law Notice also requires that you, Elizabeth Windsor, publicly name and surrender all persons in or employed by the Government of Canada and the Anglican Church who are responsible for or complicit in these deaths and disappearances, and all documents and evidence related to the same.

This Common Law Notice also requires that you, Elizabeth Windsor, compel Canada through its Governor-General to comply with these requirements of natural justice and international law.

If you, Elizabeth Windsor, fail to comply with these requirements within thirty(30) days of you recieving this notice through the medium of the Governor-General of Canada, it will be assumed that you do not dispute these claims contained herein, and legal action may be commenced against you.

Sincerely

Jeremiah Jourdain

on behalf of the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared

isssued under the Tribal Land Law Juristiction of the Squamish Nation on unceded Squamish Territory

Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website:www.hiddenfromhistory.org , and watch Kevin’s award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT on the same website.
UNREPENTANT: Kevin Annett and Canada’s Genocide
— Winner, Best Foreign Documentary Film, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, March 2007, Best Director of a Foreign Documentary, New York Independent Film Festival, October 2006
— Winner, Best Canadian Film, Creation Aboriginal Film Festival, Edmonton, 2009

“Kevin is more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than many who have received it in the past.” – Dr. Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“As a long time front line worker with the Elders’ Council at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, I stand behind what Kevin Annett is trying to do for our people. The genocide that continues today and which stemmed from the residential schools needs to be exposed. Kevin Annett helps break the silence, and brings the voice of our people all over the world.”
Carol Muree Martin – Spirit Tree Woman
Nisgaa Nation

“I gave Kevin Annett his Indian name, Eagle Strong Voice, in 2004 when I adopted him into our Anishinabe Nation. He carries that name proudly because he is doing the job he was sent to do, to tell his people of their wrongs. He speaks strongly and with truth. He speaks for our stolen and murdered children. I ask everyone to listen to him and welcome him.”
Chief Louis Daniels – Whispers Wind
Elder, Turtle Clan, Anishinabe Nation
Winnipeg, Manitoba

By Jon Jeter 02/02/18 [https://www.mintpressnews.com/its-not-the-dow-stupid-underpaid-workforce-imperils-us-and-global-economies/237090/]  https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3530

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe — all but eradicating inflation, and radically devaluing work relative to capital.

NEW YORK — “It’s Not a Roar,” read the first-edition headline for the New York Times business article published January 27, “but the Global Economy is Finally Making Noise.”

A death rattle, perhaps?

Try as they may, the mainstream media simply cannot prepare for public viewing the gaping wound to the head that murdered the U.S. economy.

Never mind the Dow, the Fed Funds rate, or Apple’s latest earnings report, the cause of death is really quite simple: work is underpaid.

If we are to raise the economy from the dead, the American worker needs a raise.

For all intents and purposes, when adjustment is made for inflation, workers in the private sector haven’t had a pay increase in nearly 30 years.

That’s not just a problem for wage-earners who find they have too much month left at the end of their paycheck, but for an entire global economy that depends on consumer demand in the U.S.

With our paychecks shrinking, the workforce in the U.S. has resorted to borrowing more and more money — to buy a new car, fix a broken tooth, or finance the kids’ college education — to make up for the loss in buying power. Such forced borrowing, at the interest rates typically charged by lenders, only deepens the consumer cash crunch.

Poor & Getting Poorer

Said Jane, who raises chickens with her husband at their central Texas ranch: “Everyone I know is poor and getting poorer.”

As we struggle to pay down the mountains of credit-card debt, monthly insurance premiums, car loans, or skyrocketing utility bills, we spend less and less on new stuff.

Rosa Luxemburg called this cycle “underconsumption;” more modern economists call it debt deflation.

What it all means is that Laura of New Jersey makes very few new purchases these days.

The monthly premiums on the state exchange she, her husband and two sons enrolled in increased last month from $1,750 to $2,350.

Well actually, that’s not quite true. It would’ve cost that much had she and her husband continued with the same plan but, with college tuition for their second son bearing down on them, they decided to downgrade to a less expensive plan, which costs only $2,000 a month.

And that’s only for catastrophic coverage; they have a $6,000 deductible — and, even when coverage does kick in, it only pays for half their health care costs.

“So we send our kids to the doctor,” Laura told MintPress. But she and her husband “do not go.”

When her oldest son went off to college four years ago, he was fortunate enough to receive scholarships that paid about half of the $50,000 annual bill, leaving Laura and her husband to foot the rest.

Her youngest son starts college in the fall, and they are looking at adding possibly another $60,000 in annual expenses.

“Most of our woes came from the economic crash of 2008,” she said, when her husband lost his job in publishing.

“We just never recovered.”

Only creditors have. Since onerous debts triggered the 2008 meltdown, households, businesses and governments have merely borrowed 43.8 trillion more dollars, Sonja Gibbs, Senior Director of Global Capital Markets for the Institute for International Finance, told MintPress.

Happy Days Are Here Again-For Whom?

The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have joined President Trump in his State of the Union Speech in cuing up “Happy Days are Here Again” because their high-rolling advertisers and constituents are heavily invested in restoring consumer confidence — if not income levels — and encouraging more shopping sprees to grease the wheels of a dried-up demand economy.

The contradiction is that the mainstream media have consistently been a cheerleader of the very policies that have robbed American consumers of their buying power.

Despite their proclamations to the contrary, the country has never recovered from the financial ruin of 2008 that was triggered by the collapse of an overpriced real estate market.

It is true, as the Obama Administration claimed, that many banks had become “too big to fail,” although he failed to mention that that development was the result of laissez-faire government enforcement of antitrust and anti-monopoly regulations.

But rather than force banks to accept a “haircut” or write down the loans on their balance sheets to help jumpstart consumer spending, Obama’s Treasury department did just the opposite — effectively pouring gasoline on a fire by loaning the banks billions in low-interest loans to re-inflate the asset bubble that popped in 2008.

The result is the best-of-times, worst-of-times quality that characterizes the relationship between the country’s wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else, with stock market indexes — and poverty rates — at or near historic highs.

The Plutocrats Rearrange The Financial Universe

What’s important to note is that the dispossession of workers in the U.S. is a man-made catastrophe, and is the culmination of the plutocrats’ concerted 45-year effort to undo the stagflation crisis of 1973, and, if possible, ensure that it never happened again.

At the heart of the crisis was inflation, caused by pay hikes for the U.S. workforce, that was running as high as nine percent year-over-year at that time.

Workers, generally, don’t mind moderate levels of inflation because they have more cash in their pockets — and indeed, poverty levels in 1973 were at an all-time low.

Conversely, creditors consider inflation a type of financial fraud in which they loan a borrower $100 but get only $95 back.

“It is clear to me,” David Rockefeller wrote in 1971 to his fellow Chase Manhattan board members, “that the entire structure of our society is being challenged.”

As many labor historians — most notably, Kim Phillips-Fein – have documented, today’s savage inequalities are rooted in that epoch when labor unions were strong, factories were humming, oil prices high, and wages were causing inflation to climb.

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe, all but eradicating inflation, which hasn’t increased by more than 3 percent annually in nearly 30 years.

But, as theorists as diverse as Hegel and Luxemburg have noted, this reversal of fortune is a case of Wall Street biting its nose to spite its face.

As the Marxist economist Richard Wolff notes in describing Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, an employer reflexively moves to pay his workers as little as possible, and yet his prosperity is wholly dependent on workers earning enough money to buy his products and services.

With workers’ buying-power in decline, big business has had to resort to smoke-and-mirrors to generate profits.

Stock prices for companies such as Apple, for example, aren’t skyrocketing because of robust sales, but because the company is borrowing money at low-interest rates to repurchase its own stock and drive up the price.

One Great Economic House Of Cards

In his latest book, The End of Normal, University of Texas Economics Professor James Galbraith — the son of the great Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith — asserts that the 2008 crisis wasn’t just part of a normal macroeconomic cycle but the culmination of a political economy that lost its way beginning in the 1980s. Galbraith told MarketWatch last month:

I think there are really major changes in the structure of the economy going forward.

The share of business investment has been quite low, share of construction has been very low, and that means the economy is being driven increasingly by the consumer.

The consumer is dependent upon the access to debt, auto loans, consumer loans and student loans.

Those things will build up over time until such time as there is a crack and households decide that they no longer wish to access the credit — at which point this phase of the expansion will end.”

It might, in fact, be time to ask the New York Times the question that a reporter for Fortune Magazine, Bethany McClean asked Enron’s Chief Financial Officer in March of 2001.

Suspecting that the now-discredited energy-services firm was cooking its books, McClean — according to the 2005 documentary on Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room — asked the chief financial officer in a telephone call a question he could not answer, setting in motion a chain of events that revealed that the whole enterprise was a house of cards:

“How exactly does Enron make its money?”

via Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

Posted By Luther Blissett 01/22/18 [https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/01/22/financial-tyranny-we-the-people-are-the-new-permanent-underclass-in-america/]

By John W. Whitehead-The Rutherford Institute

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French Economist

Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why.

That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them. [https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/medical-bills/530679/]

This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny.

Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills.

They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills.

They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.
[https://www.thenation.com/article/the-devastating-process-of-dying-in-america-without-insurance/]

To be clear, my definition of “affordable healthcare” is different from the government’s.

To the government, you can “afford” to pay for healthcare if your income falls above the poverty line.
That takes no account of rising taxes, the cost of living, the cost to clothe and feed a household, the cost of transportation and communication and education, or any of the other line items that add up to a life worth living.

As Helaine Olen points out in The Atlantic [https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/medical-bills/530679/]:

“Just because a person is insured, it doesn’t mean he or she can actually afford their doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, and other medical bills. The point of insurance is to protect patients’ finances from the costs of everything from hospitalizations to prescription drugs, but out-of-pocket spending for people even with employer-provided health insurance has increased by more than 50 percent since 2010.”

For too many Americans, achieving any kind of quality of life has become a choice between putting food on the table and paying one’s bills or health care coverage.
It’s a gamble any way you look at it, and the medical community is not helping.

Healthcare costs are rising, driven by a medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industry that are getting rich off the sick and dying.
[https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/us/health-insurance-affordable-care-act.html]

Indeed, Americans currently pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html]

We spent more than $10,000 per person on health care in 2016.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html]

Those attempting to shop for health insurance coverage right now are understandably experiencing sticker shock with premiums set to rise 34% in 2018.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/25/most-popular-obamacare-plans-cost-average-of-34-percent-more-for-2018.html]

It’s estimated that costs may rise as high as $15,000 by 2023.

As Bloomberg reports [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/rising-health-insurance-costs-blunt-employees-paycheck-gains]:

“Rising health-care costs are eating up the wage gains won by American workers, who are being asked by their employers to pick up more of the heftier tab… The cost of buying health coverage at work has increased faster than wages and inflation for years, pressuring household budgets.”

Appallingly, Americans spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/08/us-health-care-spending-is-high-results-arenot-so-good.html]

We don’t live as long, we have higher infant mortality rates, we have fewer hospital and physician visits, and the quality of our healthcare is generally worse.

We also pay astronomical amounts for prescription drugs, compared to other countries.

Whether or not you’re insured through an employer, the healthcare marketplace, a government-subsidized program such as Medicare or Medicaid, or have no health coverage whatsoever, it’s still “we the consumers” who have to pay to subsidize the bill whenever anyone gets sick in this country.

And that bill is a whopper.

While Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) may have made health insurance more accessible to greater numbers of individuals, it has failed to make healthcare any more affordable.

Why?

As journalist Laurie Meisler concludes: “One big reason U.S. health care costs are so high: pharmaceutical spending. The U.S. spends more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country.” [https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-health-care-spending/]

One investigative journalist spent seven months analyzing hundreds of bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical equipment manufacturers.

His findings confirmed what we’ve known all along: health care in America is just another way of making corporations rich at consumer expense. [https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/wildly-overinflated-hospital-costs/]

An examination of an itemized hospital bill (only available upon request) revealed an amazing amount of price gouging. [https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/wildly-overinflated-hospital-costs/]

Tylenol, which you can buy for less than $10 for a bottle, was charged to the patient at a rate of $15 per pill, for a total of $345 for a hospital stay.

$8 for a plastic bag to hold the patient’s personal items and another $8 for a box of Kleenex.

$23 for a single alcohol swab.

$53 per pair for non-sterile gloves (adding up to $5,141 for the entire hospital stay).

$10 for plastic cup in which to take one’s medicine.

$93 for the use of an overhead light during a surgical procedure.

$39 each time you want to hold your newborn baby.
[http://mbamedical.com/10-rediculously-overpriced-hospital-charges/]

And $800 for a sterile water IV bag that costs about a dollar to make.

This is clearly not a problem that can be remedied by partisan politics.

The so-called Affordable Care Act pushed through by the Obama administration is proving to be anything but affordable for anyone over the poverty line. [https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/09/feds-obamacare-site-does-biggest-business-yet-while-half-people-can-pay-0/847903001/]

And the Trump administration’s “fixes” promise to be no better.

Indeed, for too many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle just to get by, the tax penalty for not having health insurance will actually be cheaper than trying to find affordable coverage that actually pays for care. [https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/us/obamacare-affordable-care-act-tax-penalties.html]

This is how the middle classes, who fuel the nation’s economy and fund the government’s programs, get screwed repeatedly.

When almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings [http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/12/pf/americans-lack-of-savings/index.html] and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement, and yet they are being forced to pay for government programs that do little to enhance their lives, we’re not living the American dream. [https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/13/heres-how-many-americans-have-nothing-at-all-saved-for-retirement.html]

We’re living a financial nightmare.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

George Harrison, who died 16 years ago this month, summed up this outrageous state of affairs in his song Taxman:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

In other words, in the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than indentured servants and sources of revenue.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

Consider:

The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.

Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.

And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property. [https://fee.org/articles/john-locke-natural-rights-to-life-liberty-and-property/]

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War.

As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.” [https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/yourtaxes/irwin-schiff-fervent-opponent-of-federal-income-taxes-dies-at-87.html]

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894.

Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived.

Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. [https://www.npr.org/2010/12/08/131913228/A-History-Of-Income-Tax]

Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.
[http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/09/business/supreme-court-ruling-supports-tax-protester.html]

Irwin A. Schiff was one of the nation’s most vocal tax protesters.

He spent a good portion of his life arguing that the income tax was unconstitutional.

He paid the price for his resistance, too:

Schiff served three separate prison terms (more than 10 years in all) over his refusal to pay taxes.

He died at the age of 87 serving a 14-year prison term.

As constitutional activist Robert L. Schulz noted in Schiff’s obituary [https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/yourtaxes/irwin-schiff-fervent-opponent-of-federal-income-taxes-dies-at-87.html]:

“In a society where there is so much fear of government, and in particular of the I.R.S., [Schiff] was probably the most influential educator regarding the illegal and unconstitutional operation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s very hard to speak to power, but he did, and he paid a very heavy price.”

It’s still hard to speak to power, and those who do are still paying a very heavy price.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

The national debt is $20 trillion and growing.
[http://www.usdebtclock.org/]

The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross national product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/17/5-facts-about-the-national-debt-what-you-should-know/]

We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that debt annually. [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/17/5-facts-about-the-national-debt-what-you-should-know/]

And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds.

As The Atlantic reports: [https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/09/cost-wars-iraq-afghanistan/499007/]:

“For 15 years now, the United States has been putting these wars on a credit card… U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed and undeterred in its money grabs.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the police state is spending our hard-earned tax dollars to further entrench its powers and entrap its citizens.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” [http://www.newsweek.com/how-many-trillions-war-has-cost-us-taxpayer-911-attacks-705041]

That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

That price tag keeps growing, too. [http://www.futurity.org/post-911-costs-of-war-1602682/]

The 16-year war in Afghanistan, which now stands as the longest [http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/21/news/economy/war-costs-afghanistan/index.html]and one of the most expensive [https://theconversation.com/iraq-and-afghanistan-the-us-6-trillion-bill-for-americas-longest-war-is-unpaid-78241]wars in U.S. history, is about to get even longer and more costly, thanks to President Trump’s promise to send more troops over. [https://www.vox.com/world/2017/9/19/16227730/trump-afghanistan-3000-troops-mattis]

In this way, the military industrial complex will get even richer, and the American taxpayer will be forced to shell out even more funds for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech:
[http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/ike_chance_for_peace.html]:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.
[http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/ike_chance_for_peace.html]

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. […] Is there no other way the world may live?

This is still no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The government isn’t taking our money to make our lives better.

Just take a look at the nation’s failing infrastructure, and you’ll see how little is being spent on programs that advance the common good.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

We’ve become so invested in identity politics that label us based on our political leanings that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the powers-that-be want to pit us against one another. [https://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-America-War-American-People/dp/1590793099]

They want us to adopt an “us versus them” mindset that keeps us powerless and divided.

Trust me, the only “us versus them” that matters anymore is “we the people” against the police state.
We’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words:

“We the people.”
The message is this: there is power in our numbers.

That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace.

It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might).

As Patrick Henry declared in the last speech before his death:

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions … or … exhaust [our strength] in civil commotions and intestine wars.”

This holds true whether you’re talking about health care, war spending, or the American police state.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/sc3iOtFsyIM

A groundbreaking new docu-series called “GMOs Revealed” launches today. You can register to view it at this link. [http://www.naturalnews.com/GMOs-Revealed.html]

The eye-opening documentary series delivers 9 episodes that reveal hard-hitting truths about GMOs, glyphosate, genetic pollution, Monsanto, seed monopolies, crop collapse and many other topics.

This is the “can’t miss” docu-series on GMOs that every person who eats food — which probably includes us all — needs to see.

Pope Condemned GMOs As A Scheme To Serve And To Enrich Multinational Corporations. [https://politicalvelcraft.org/2017/07/23/vatican-refuses-cartel-pressure-to-support-genetically-modified-foods-condemned-gmos-as-a-scheme-simply-to-serve-and-to-enrich-multinational-corporations/]

Link: https://youtu.be/PcGKARReZgY

GMOs Revealed was produced by Dr. Patrick Gentempo, Dr. Beau Pierce and Jeff Hays, a highly accomplished filmmaker who also produced “Bought” and “Doctored.”

Some of the food experts interviewed for the film include David Wolfe, Sayer Ji, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Zen Honeycutt, Vani Hari, Stephanie Seneff, Mark Kastel and over a dozen more.

I was also interviewed for the docu-series — my segment airs this Friday — covering food science, laboratory testing and herbicide chemistry.

You can view all nine episodes for free at this link. [http://www.naturalnews.com/GMOs-Revealed.html]

Watch the trailer to see for yourself how powerful this docu-series really is.

The truth is all coming out about Monsanto’s crimes and the dangers of GMOs

Monsanto, Cancer, & Science: Montana Steve Daines Against Informing Public If Food Chain Contains GMOs [https://politicalvelcraft.org/2017/04/13/monsanto-cancer-science-montana-steve-daines-against-informing-public-if-food-chain-contains-gmos/]

In case you haven’t seen the explosive, bombshell revelations over the last few weeks from the California court case, Monsanto’s lies are being exposed by the day. [http://monsanto.news/]

Not only was Monsanto caught ghostwriting “independent” reviews  [http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-14-another-monsanto-bombshell-company-caught-ghostwriting-its-own-independent-safety-reviews.html]that falsely claimed its poisons were safe; the company also got caught colluding with government regulators to distort the science and hide the fact that its products are killing people by the millions, worldwide. [http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-02-new-monsanto-papers-add-to-questions-of-regulatory-collusion-scientific-mischief.html]

At the same time, all the “negative P.R.” operatives who spend millions of dollars smearing clean food advocates like myself, Doctor Oz and the Food Babe have been exposed as being linked to Monsanto. [http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-20-neil-degrasse-tyson-joins-with-violent-wife-beater-jon-entine-and-convicted-felon-ringleader-of-acsh-to-produce-monsanto-propaganda-film-called-food-evolution.html]

Even Monsanto’s criminal front group — the ACSH [http://acsh.news/]— has been exposed as being lead by a criminal felon who takes money to smear food scientists who are blowing the whistle on the dangers of glyphosate and GMOs. [http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-26-quack-pr-group-acsh-and-their-felony-committing-leader-push-corporate-poison-money-american-council-science-health.html]

Monsanto is now being exposed for its fake science and toxic products in the same way that Big Tobacco was eventually exposed.

The truths are coming out, and the more you learn and share these truths, the more quickly we can topple the biotech fraudsters and end their “poisoned food holocaust” that’s murdering millions across the globe.

That’s why this “GMOs Revealed” docu-series is an absolute must-see. It’s not airing on Netflix or Amazon Prime, either.

It’s not available on YouTube.

It’s only available through the GMOs Revealed website.

Episodes begin airing TODAY, and a new episode airs each day.

You can catch my interview this Friday.

Video: https://youtu.be/eO63Ih0UAWE

By John Michael Greer, www.thearchdruidreport.blogspot.comAug 28, 2015

Photo: Jeb Bush, George HW Bush and Barack Obama

There are certain advantages to writing out the ideas central to this blog in weekly bursts. 

Back in the days before the internet, when a galaxy of weekly magazines provided the same free mix of ideas and opinions that fills the blogosphere today, plenty of writers kept themselves occupied turning out articles and essays for the weeklies, and the benefits weren’t just financial: feedback from readers, on the one hand, and the contributions of other writers in related fields, on the other, really do make it easier to keep slogging ahead at the writer’s lonely trade.

This week’s essay has benefited from that latter effect, in a somewhat unexpected way. 

In recent weeks, here and there in the corners of the internet I frequent, there’s been another round of essays and forum comments insisting that it’s time for the middle-class intellectuals who frequent the environmental and climate change movements to take up violence against the industrial system. 

That may not seem to have much to do with the theme of the current sequence of posts—the vacuum that currently occupies the place in our collective imagination where meaningful visions of the future used to be found—but there’s a connection, and following it out will help explain one of the core themes I want to discuss.

The science fiction author Isaac Asimov used to say that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. 

That’s a half-truth at best, for there are situations in which effective violence is the only tool that will do what needs to be done—we’ll get to that in a moment.

It so happens, though, that a particular kind of incompetence does indeed tend to turn to violence when every other option has fallen flat, and goes down in a final outburst of pointless bloodshed. 

It’s unpleasantly likely at this point that the climate change movement, or some parts of it, may end up taking that route into history’s dumpster; here again, we’ll get to that a little further on in this post.

It’s probably necessary to say at the outset that the arguments I propose to make here have nothing to do with the ethics of violence, and everything to do with its pragmatics as a means of bringing about social change. 

Ethics in general are a complete quagmire in today’s society. 

Nietzsche’s sly description of moral philosophy as the art of propping up inherited prejudices with bad logic has lost none of its force since he wrote it, and since his time we’ve also witnessed the rise of professional ethicists, whose jobs consist of coming up with plausible excuses for whatever their corporate masters want to do this week. 

The ethical issues surrounding violence are at least as confused as those around any of the other messy realities of human life, and in some ways, more so than most.

Myself, I consider violence enitrely appropriate in some situations. 

Many of my readers may have heard, for example, of an event that took place a little while back in Kentucky, where a sex worker was attacked by a serial killer.  

While he was strangling her, she managed to get hold of his handgun, and proceeded to shoot him dead. 

To my mind, her action was morally justified. 

Once he attacked her, no matter what she did, somebody was going to die, and killing him not only turned the violence back on its originator, it also saved the lives of however many other women the guy might have killed before the police got to him—if they ever did; crimes against sex workers, and for that matter crimes against women, are tacitly ignored by a fairly large number of US police departments these days.

Along the same lines, a case can be made that revolutionary violence against a political and economic system is morally justified if the harm being done by that system is extreme enough. 

That’s not a debate I’m interested in exploring here, though.  

Again, it’s not ethics but pragmatics that I want to discuss, because whether or not revolutionary violence is justified in some abstract moral sense is far less important right now than whether it’s an effective response to the situation we’re in. 

That’s not a question being asked, much less answered, by the people who are encouraging environmental and climate change activists to consider violence against the system.

Violence is not a panacea. 

It’s a tool, and like any other tool, it’s well suited to certain tasks and utterly useless for others. 

Political violence in particular is a surprisingly brittle and limited tool. 

Even when it has the support of a government’s resource base, it routinely flops or backfires, and a group that goes in for political violence without the resources and technical assistance of some government somewhere has to play its hand exceedingly well, or it’s going to fail. 

Furthermore, there are many cases in which violence isn’t useful as a means of social change, as other tools can do the job more effectively.

Pay attention to the history of successful revolutions and it’s not hard to figure out how to carry out political violence—and far more importantly, how not to do so. 

The most important point to learn from history is that successful violence in a political context doesn’t take place in a vacuum. 

It’s the final act of a long process, and the more thoroughly that process is carried out, the less violence is needed when crunch time comes. 

Let’s take a few paragraphs to walk through the process and see how it’s done.

The first and most essential step in the transformation of any society is the delegitimization of the existing order. 

That doesn’t involve violence, and in fact violence at this first stage of the process is catastrophically counterproductive—a lesson, by the way, that the US military has never been able to learn, which is why its attempts to delegitimize its enemies (usually phrased in such language as “winning minds and hearts”) have always been so embarrassingly inept and ineffective. 

The struggle to delegitimize the existing order has to be fought on cultural, intellectual, and ideological battlefields, not physical ones, and its targets are not people or institutions but the aura of legitimacy and inevitability that surrounds any established political and economic order.

Those of my readers who want to know how that’s done might want to read up on the cultural and intellectual life of France in the decades before the Revolution. 

It’s a useful example, not least because the people who wanted to bring down the French monarchy came from almost exactly the same social background as today’s green radicals: disaffected middle-class intellectuals with few resources other than raw wit and erudition. 

That turned out to be enough, as they subjected the monarchy—and even more critically, the institutions and values that supported it—to sustained and precise attack from constantly shifting positions, engaging in savage mockery one day and earnest pleas for reform the next, exploiting every weakness and scandal for maximum effect. 

By the time the crisis finally arrived in 1789, the monarchy had been so completely defeated on the battlefield of public opinion that next to nobody rallied to its defense until after the Revolution was a fait accompli.

The delegitimization of the existing order is only the first step in the process. 

The second step is political, and consists of building a network of alliances with existing and potential power centers and pressure groups that might be willing to support revolutionary change. 

Every political system, whatever its official institutional form might be, consists in practice of just such a network of power centers—that is, groups of people who have significant political, economic, or social influence—and pressure groups—that is, other groups of people who lack such influence but can give or withhold their support in ways that can sometimes extract favors from the power centers.

In today’s America, for example, the main power centers are found in what we may as well call the bureaucratic-industrial complex, the system of revolving-door relationships that connect big corporations, especially the major investment banks, with the major Federal bureaucracies, especially the Treasury and the Pentagon. 

There are other power centers as well—for example, the petroleum complex, which has its own ties to the Pentagon—which cooperate and compete by turns with the New York-DC axis of influence—and then there are pressure groups of many kinds, some more influential, some less, some reduced to the status of captive constituencies whose only role in the political process is to rally the vote every four years and have their agenda ignored by their supposed friends in office in between elections. 

The network of power centers, pressure groups, and captive constituencies that support the existing order of things is the real heart of political power, and it’s what has to be supplanted in order to bring systemic change.

Effective revolutionaries know that in order to overthrow the existing order of society, they have to put together a comparable network that will back them against the existing order, and grow it to the point that it starts attracting key power centers away from the network of the existing order. 

That’s a challenge, but not an impossible one. In any troubled society, there are always plenty of potential power centers that have been excluded from the existing order and its feeding trough, and are thus interested in backing a change that will give them the power they want and don’t have. 

In France before the Revolution, for example, there were plenty of wealthy middle-class people who were shut out of the political system by the aristocracy and the royal court, and the philosophes went out of their way to appeal to them and get their support—an easy job, since the philosophes and the nouveaux-riches shared similar backgrounds. 

That paid off handsomely once the crisis came.

In any society, troubled or not, there are also always pressure groups, plenty of them, that are interested in getting more access to the various goodies that power centers can dole out, and can be drawn into alliance with a rising protorevolutionary faction. 

The more completely the existing order of things has been delegitimized, the easier it is to build such alliances, and the alliances can in turn be used to feed the continuing process of delegitimization. 

Here again, as in the first stage of the process, violence is a hindrance rather than a help, and it’s best if the subject never even comes up for discussion; assembling the necessary network of alliances is much easier when nobody has yet had to face up to the tremendous risks involved in revolutionary violence.

By the time the endgame arrives, therefore, you’ve got an existing order that no longer commands the respect and loyalty of most of the population, and a substantial network of pressure groups and potential power centers supporting a revolutionary agenda. 

Once the situation reaches that stage, the question of how to arrange the transfer of power from the old regime to the new one is a matter of tactics, not strategy. 

Violence is only one of the available options, and again, it’s by no means always the most useful one. 

There are many ways to break the existing order’s last fingernail grip on the institutions of power, once that grip has been loosened by the steps already mentioned.

What happens, on the other hand, to groups that don’t do the necessary work first, and turn to violence anyway? 

Here again, history has plenty to say about that, and the short form is that they lose. 

Without the delegitimization of the existing order of society and the creation of networks of support among pressure groups and potential power centers, turning to political violence guarantees total failure.

For some reason, for most of the last century, the left has been unable or unwilling to learn that lesson. 

What’s happened instead, over and over again, is that a movement pursuing radical change starts out convinced that the existing order of society already lacks popular legitimacy, and so fails to make a case that appeals to anybody outside its own ranks. 

Having failed at the first step, it tries to pressure existing power centers and pressure groups into supporting its agenda, rather than building a competing network around its own agenda, and gets nowhere. 

Finally, having failed at both preliminary steps, it either crumples completely or engages in pointless outbursts of violence against the system, which are promptly and brutally crushed. 

Any of my readers who remember the dismal history of the New Left in the US during the 1960s and early 1970s already know this story, right down to the fine details.

With this in mind, let’s look at the ways in which the climate change movement has followed this same trajectory of abject failure over the last fifteen years or so.

The task of the climate change movement at the dawn of the twenty-first century was difficult but by no means impossible. 

Their ostensible goal was to create a consensus in the world’s industrial nations that would support the abandonment of fossil fuels and a transition to the less energy-intensive ways of living that renewable resources can provide. 

That would have required a good many well-off people to accept a decline in their standards of living, but that’s far from the insuperable obstacle so many people seem to think it must be. 

When Winston Churchill told the British people “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” his listeners roared their approval. 

For reasons that probably reach far into our evolutionary past, a call to shared sacrifice usually gets a rousing response, so long as the people who are being asked to sacrifice have reason to believe something worthwhile will come of it.

That, however, was precisely what the climate change movement was unable to provide. 

It’s harsh but not, I think, unfair to describe the real agenda of the movement as the attempt to create a future in which the industrial world’s middle classes could keep on enjoying the benefits of their privileged lifestyle without wrecking the atmosphere in the process. 

Of course it’s not exactly easy to convince everyone else in the world to put aside all their own aspirations for the sake of the already privileged, and so the spokespeople of the climate change movement generally didn’t talk about what they hoped to achieve. 

Instead, they fell into the most enduring bad habit of the left, and ranted instead about how awful the future would be if the rest of the world didn’t fall into line behind them.

On the off chance that any of my readers harbor revolutionary ambitions, may I offer a piece of helpful advice? 

If you want people to follow your lead, you have to tell them where you intend to take them. 

Talking exclusively about what’s going to happen if they don’t follow you will not cut it. 

Rehashing the same set of talking points about how everyone’s going to die if the whole world doesn’t rally around you emphatically will not cut it. 

The place where you’re leading them can be difficult and dangerous, the way there can be full of struggle, sacrifice and suffering, and they’ll still flock to your banner—in fact, young men will respond to that kind of future more enthusiastically than to any other, especially if you can lighten the journey with beer and the occasional barbecue—but you have to be willing to talk about your destination. 

You also have to remember that the phrase “shared sacrifice” includes the word “shared,” and not expect everyone else to give up something so that you don’t have to.

So the climate change movement entered the arena with one hand tied behind its back and the other hand hauling a heavy suitcase stuffed to the bursting point with middle class privilege. 

Its subsequent behavior did nothing to overcome that initial disadvantage. 

When the defenders of the existing order counterattacked, as of course they did, the climate change movement did nothing to retake the initiative and undermine its adversaries; preaching to the green choir took the place of any attempt to address the concerns of the wider public; over and over again, climate change activists allowed the other side to define the terms of the debate and then whined about the resulting defeat rather than learning anything from it. 

Of course the other side used every trick in the book, and then some; so? 

That’s how the game is played. 

Successful movements for change realize that, and plan accordingly.

We don’t even have to get into the abysmal failure of the climate change movement to seek out allies among the many pressure groups and potential power centers that might have backed it, if it had been able to win the first and most essential struggle in the arena of public opinion. 

The point I want to make is that at this point in the curve of failure, violence really is the last refuge of the incompetent. 

What, after all, would be the result if some of the middle class intellectuals who make up the core of the climate change movement were to pick up some guns, assemble the raw materials for a few bombs, and try to use violence to make their point? 

They might well kill some people before the FBI guns them down or hauls them off to life-plus terms in Leavenworth; they would very likely finish off climate change activism altogether, by making most Americans fear and distrust anyone who talks about it—but would their actions do the smallest thing to slow the dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the resulting climate chaos? 

Of course not.

What makes the failure of the climate change movement so telling is that during the same years that it peaked and crashed, another movement has successfully conducted a prerevolutionary campaign of the classic sort here in the US. 

While the green Left has been spinning its wheels and setting itself up for failure, the populist Right has carried out an extremely effective program of delegitimization aimed at the federal government and, even more critically, the institutions and values that support it. 

Over the last fifteen years or so, very largely as a result of that program, a great many Americans have gone from an ordinary, healthy distrust of politicians to a complete loss of faith in the entire American project. 

To a remarkable extent, the sort of rock-ribbed middle Americans who used to insist that of course the American political system is the best in the world are now convinced that the American political system is their enemy, and the enemy of everything they value.

The second stage of the prerevolutionary process, the weaving of a network of alliances with pressure groups and potential power centers, is also well under way. 

Watch which groups are making common cause with one another on the rightward fringes of society these days and you can see a competent revolutionary strategy at work. 

This isn’t something I find reassuring—quite the contrary, in fact; aside from my own admittedly unfashionable feelings of patriotism, one consistent feature of revolutions is that the government that comes into power after the shouting and the shooting stop is always more repressive than the one that was in power beforehand. 

Still, the way things are going, it seems likely to me that the US will see the collapse of its current system of government, probably accompanied with violent revolution or civil war, within a decade or two.

Meanwhile, as far as I can see, the climate change movement is effectively dead in its tracks, and we no longer have time to make something happen before the rising spiral of climate catastrophe begins—as my readers may have noticed, that’s already well under way. 

From here on in, it’s probably a safe bet that anthropogenic climate change will accelerate until it fulfills the prophecy of The Limits to Growth and forces the global industrial economy to its knees. 

Any attempt to bring human society back into some kind of balance with ecological reality will have to get going during and after that tremendous crisis. 

That requires playing a long game, but then that’s going to be required anyway, to do the things that the climate change movement failed to do, and do them right this time.

With that in mind, I’m going to be taking this blog in a slightly different direction next week, and for at least a few weeks to come. 

I’ve talked in previous posts about intentional technological regression as an option, not just for individuals but as a matter of public policy. 

I’ve also talked at quite some length about the role that narrative plays in helping to imagine alternative futures. 

With that in mind, I’ll be using the tools of fiction to suggest a future that zooms off at right angles to the expectations of both ends of the current political spectrum. 

Pack a suitcase, dear readers; your tickets will be waiting at the station. 

Next Wednesday evening, we’ll be climbing aboard a train for Retrotopia.

https://www.popularresistance.org/the-last-refuge-of-the-incompetent/