Tuesday, June 30, 2009
For more scientific studies that support my premise see:
The Encyclopedia of
Extraordinary Social Behavior
by Hilary Evans and Robert E. Bartholomew
From fads, crazes, and manias to collective delusions, scares, panics, and mass hysterias, history is replete with examples of remarkable social behavior. Many are fueled by fear and uncertainty; others are driven by hope and expectation. For others still, the causes are more obscure. This massive collection of extraordinary social behaviors spans more than two millennia, and attempts to place many of the episodes within their greater historical and cultural context.
By Dr. Robert Altemeyer
The greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.
Obedienc e to Authority
By Stanley Milgram
Half a century ago, social scientist Stanley Milgram carried out a series of experiments. The "teacher" is told to administer electroshocks in progressively more painful degrees to the "learner." The teacher -- unaware that the learner is an actor receiving no shocks at all -- is the real focus of the study. These controversial and criticized experiments illustrate how people will obey authority regardless of consequences.
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
By Philip Zimbardo
Social psychologist Zimbardo is best known as the father of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, which used a simulated prison populated with student volunteers to illustrate the extent to which identity is situated within a social setting; student volunteers randomly chosen to play guards became cruel and authoritarian, while those playing inmates became rebellious and depressed. With this book, Zimbardo couples a thorough narrative of the Stanford Prison Experiment with an analysis of the social dynamics of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, arguing that the "experimental dehumanization" of the former is instructive in understanding the abusive conduct of guards at the latter.
Monday, June 29, 2009
By Ian Randal Strock
Boom! Studios sends word that comics writer Mark Sable was detained by TSA security guards at Los Angeles International Airport this past weekend because he was carrying a script for a new issue of his comic miniseries Unthinkable. Sable was detained while traveling to New York for a debut party at Jim Hanley's Universe today.
The comic series follows members of a government think tank that was tasked with coming up with 9/11-type 'unthinkable' terrorist scenarios that now are coming true. (See this article for more on the series.)
Sable wrote of his experiences: 'Flying from Los Angeles to New York for a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe Wednesday (May 13th), I was flagged at the gate for 'extra screening'. I was subjected to not one, but two invasive searches of my person and belongings. TSA agents then 'discovered' the script for Unthinkable #3. They sat and read the script while I stood there, without any personal items, identification or ticket, which had all been confiscated.'
'The minute I saw the faces of the agents, I knew I was in trouble. The first page of the Unthinkable script mentioned 9/11, terror plots, and the fact that the (fictional) world had become a police state. The TSA agents then proceeded to interrogate me, having a hard time understanding that a comic book could be about anything other than superheroes, let alone that anyone actually wrote scripts for comics.'
'I cooperated politely and tried to explain to them the irony of the situation. While Unthinkable blurs the line between fiction and reality, the story is based on a real-life government think tank where a writer was tasked to design worst-case terror scenarios. The fictional story of Unthinkable unfolds when the writer's scenarios come true, and he becomes a suspect in the terrorist attacks.'
'In the end, I feel my privacy is a small price to pay for educating the government about the medium.'
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Weekend Update 19: Crooked Histories
by Russell Means
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Founded in August 2008, CameraFRAUD has been a leader in the fight against automated ticketing. Operating originally in the Phoenix-metro area, CameraFRAUD now has affiliates in seven states plus the District of Columbia.Well known for its “sign wave” demonstrations, the organization has pushed the backlash against the cameras to the forefront of Arizona politics with a complete volunteer-based campaign.
Because of enormous grassroots support, CameraFRAUD members in Arizona alone outnumber Redflex and ATS employees almost three to one, contributing to our success as an aggressive on-the-street watchdog of both companies.
Our mission is simple, our slogan basic: The Cameras are Coming Down…
Friday, June 26, 2009
“The world can only be repaired by the conscious cooperative activity of those who construct a working theory of why it broke down. Spontaneous rebellion alone is not sufficient. Without adequate advance preparation, the old world will simply reappear after any revolution, since it is embedded in the psyches of those who contrive to come to power. An authentic revolution can only occur if there is a coherent and practical mass movement of self-conscious individuals in which all of the myths and mystifications of the past have been and are being consciously swept away as they fearlessly confront the realities of the use of force with or without physical violence in a defensive and/or retributive reaction to undo the assaultive authoritarian constructs of the few over the many.” From The Empowering Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself By M.E.
"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."
--- Ernest Hemingway, “Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter” (1935)
My name is Edgar J. Steele.
The ongoing tension between tyranny and freedom is a recurring theme in my writing. More, perhaps, than any other. "The Circle of Strife" is what I have dubbed the never-ending stampeding of a populace from freedom to tyranny, and back again, in all nations down through history.
Today, we see America sliding ever more deeply into a morass of excessive institutional control of its citizens - as clear a case of mounting tyranny as ever has been seen.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
To argue about differing economic models or alternate political systems is to engage in the wrong argument altogether What I have noticed that really counts, regardless of the form of societal organization under discussion, is the degree of individualism versus collectivism.
Individualism is freedom, pure and simple. Collectivism is lack of freedom - the control of individuals by groups, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Even so, voluntary control of the individual inevitably becomes involuntary, I have noticed, the greater it expands.
Many in America today view our subjugation to the "greater good" of society to be a voluntary yielding up of individual liberty. A growing segment of the population, however, views the galloping expansion of institutional control with alarm.
The lack of understanding of the difference between individualism and collectivism was brought home to me last week by a caller to my radio show to whom, by prearrangement, I had agreed to give greater time and sway - almost a guest interview, in fact. At one point, he identified himself as a National Socialist, then went on to sing the praises of Adolf Hitler and the economic miracle wrought in pre-WWII Germany. All well and good, I noted, but Hitler did end up being responsible for wrecking Germany and there can be no dispute that he LOST, after all. And, had he won, Hitler scarcely would have given up the reins of power he had gathered into his hands.
Hitler was a collectivist of the first order. Perhaps that is why he held such contempt for Marxism: a competing collectivist, after all.
My caller/guest then suddenly claimed an admiration for Thomas Jefferson, one of my personal heroes and the very model for individualism. Jefferson advocated regular revolution, just to keep things fresh and control out of the hands of despots. Jefferson despised central government advocates like Madison.
I noted the disparity between my caller/guest's two claimed positions and received little by way of explanation. He was confused, you see. Most are. As it turned out, he really was more of an individualist claiming the National Socialist label by way of pandering to a group that he perceived to be his target audience. Many National Socialists similarly are confused. When forced to choose, they will come down on the side of personal liberty and individual freedom.
Fascism vs. Communism
Unlike many, I see fascism and communism as differing only in who nominally holds title to the assets of a nation. Communism actually is a bit more honest by claiming direct ownership, whereas fascism deals in the fiction of individual ownership, much like America today, all the while reserving the right to control anything and everything.
Think you own your house? Try not paying your property taxes and just see what happens.
I view political philosophies as lying on a circle: to the right are conservatives and to the left are liberals. Follow the conservatives far enough and you encounter fascism. Follow the liberals far enough and you encounter communism Follow fascism and communism to their roots and you find yourself on the opposite side of the circle, at precisely the same place. You begin with individualism and personal freedom and end up with total collectivist lockdown, regardless of whether you follow the liberal or conservative path.
Collectivism = Control
Collectivism of every stripe has as its gravamen the control of a nation's citizenry. Increased organization leads to greater control. Organization is necessary for control. From control springs the personal benefit to a nation's rulers, of course.
Benevolent dictators are well and good, but always there comes the day when such leaders die, only to be replaced by not-so-benevolent dictators. Both tend to line their pockets as their ultimate power leads to their own ultimate corruption.
It does not take one long in a privileged position before one begins to perceive him or herself as different, somehow - as deserving that position and its perquisites more than others. That is the path to despotism and, ultimately, personal destruction for the self-deluded and privileged few.
Evil Incarnate: The Federal Reserve Bank and the Rothschilds
Hundreds of years ago, the Rothschild family set itself up in banking and from that decision sprang an empire, nay, empires aplenty, with the same people running things at every turn. The Federal Reserve System merely is today's manifestation of that control in America. It is called something different in other countries. Here is how these people work their scheme:
Cash gets siphoned continually as it works its way through any economic system, from consumer to producer and back down again. The siphoning is done via overcharging, fraud, profits, employee stock options, bonuses, taxes and theft. The fraud, overcharging and theft occur at all points in the system. Call it what you like: graft, juice, grease, etc.
Taxes are a peculiar form of theft, thus deserving of their own classification, since some of those taxes actually end up as benefits to the consumer, unlike the outright theft that occurs at all other places (including “profits,” which go into the pockets of a select few). That is why corporate taxes can be beneficial to society: they prevent the downstream theft that otherwise would occur and inure only to the benefit of a few.
Don’t blame me. That’s how the world works.
As the corruption becomes more apparent to the population being fleeced, calls for greater control ring out. Music to the ears of the collectivists in charge because such calls present the opportunity for even more control and, thus, even more profits.
Why Controlled Citizens Call for More Control
Oddly enough, there comes a point in national corruption when a little more control actually results in a fairer distribution of the bounty of that nation's economic system, as in America's health system today, which is grossly unfair to the multitudes of uninsured and underinsured middle-class Americans.
As things now stand, medicine in America should be completely socialized if we are not going to throw out the entire system and replace it with something just slightly this side of anarchy. Call it real-world economics, if you like, as I do not believe that this recognition of reality that goes well beyond the hard-knocks school of Austrian Economics actually has a name. Edgarnomics, if you will. Yes, you just heard me construct an argument for Obama's health-care plan, believe it or not.
Very few of us end up among the insiders who ultimately benefit from the corruption endemic to any economic or political system. We are on the outside, looking in and only occasionally scrabbling for crumbs that fall from the table. Everything goes to one of those thieves. Everything. There is no “marketplace,” as argued by Libertarians, because none of us truly are equals.
Now and again, some of us stumble upon a rich vein of plunder (e.g., a government contract, a Yale law degree, a Ponzi scheme, a corporate officership, political office, etc), thus becoming one of the insiders for a time.
Normally, though, what we subsist upon are mere crumbs plus whatever portion of the loot to which we lay claim in the form of wages, commissions, social security, highway usage or whatever.
The Myth of Differing Economic Systems
Capitalism as an economic system is a myth. Communism as an economic system is a myth. There are no different “economic systems.” There is only one system and it works as I have described, regardless of the political clothing in which one dresses it. Anarchy, too, merely is a political set of clothing for this system.
This is why Zionists such as the Rothschilds so effortlessly seem to switch from one political or economic philosophy to another and still prosper – they epitomize the ultimate game players and are genetically equipped to come out on top, time and again, because they ruthlessly and continually operate for their own self interest. Idealists like us are mere cattle to be farmed by them.
Only ruthless self-dealing can neutralize ruthless self-dealing, else one resembles the fool who brings a knife to a gun fight.
Austrian economics merely comes closer than Keynesianism to describing reality. Even so, it is woefully short of the mark.
Call it greed and self interest, perhaps. That is the only enduring reality. Edgarnomics. You heard it here first
Graft and corruption trump all economic and social models, always have and almost always will, simply because they are the natural byproduct of civilization and organization.
A bright and shiny line can be drawn between the majority (us) and the corrupt “in crowd” (them) - the collectivists. Not a perfect overlay, but close enough to my perception of the two sides in all societies: the haves and the have-nots.
The haves have because they take from the have-nots in unfair measure. Always, the haves must be in the minority for this to provide for them in the manner they demand. Haves require organization in order to cut a slice from every transaction. The slice-taking in unfair measure represents the graft, corruption and untoward profit-taking to which I referred.
Anarchy as a System Overlay
Disorder, or anarchy, is anathema to the haves and to collectivism of every stripe.
As I said: to argue about differing economic models or alternate political systems is to engage in the wrong argument altogether. The real nub: individualism vs. collectivism. Without collectivism one cannot have true order and organization, from which one exacts an unfair and often-unseen advantage over others.
Anarchy is a vacuum, a lack of order, and collectivism is the pressure that relentlessly fills the vacuum. Humans yearn for order and organization and belonging and being told what to do and being free from having to make decisions. Humans yearn for the yoke, not individual freedom. This is like leaving the keys in the ignition and your car door unlocked in South-Central LA, because the collectivists are only too happy to oblige us by breaking the law, taking advantage of our naiveté and stealing the car.
Anarchy with Honor
Some argue for anarchy. They think they are true anarchists, but they are not. In reality, they argue for what I have dubbed "anarchy with honor." That honor is a set of rules that organizes anarchy, albeit in a minimal fashion. That minimal organization is the very minimum societal organization that I argue must be in place to hold the collectivists at bay. The American Constitution of 225 years ago accomplished that in grand fashion, but now has been displaced completely.
There comes a point in over-organizing that the only way to decrease the massive corruption is to organize even further, tightening down the screws – thus, my argument above for socialized medicine being more fair than what we have in America today. Yet, the real solution is found in scrapping everything and starting over - pressing the national or global Reset button.
Corruption traverses something of a bell-shaped curve versus societal freedom, which decreases linearly through time in all society forms. Theoretically, total lockdown squeezes out corruption. That is the misguided notion that Castro employed in implementing communism in Cuba. That was Orwell’s vision in 1984. Ultimately, however, total lockdown leads to total corruption and total slavery of the masses.
The real solution, of course, is to throw out the baby with the bathwater and reset the system to the start of that bell-shaped curve. That is why Jefferson proposed revolution on a regular basis.
Collectivists will not go without a fight. Yes, a civil war, dead babies in ditches and all, is inevitable, I believe.
New America - an idea whose time has come.
My name is Edgar J. Steele. Thanks for listening. Please visit my web site, www.NickelRant.com, for other messages just like this one.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Resorting to Violence
By Larken Rose
Well, I made it back alive from Michigan, and now I have lots more copies of "The Iron Web" (with fewer typos) ready to go. Actually, 300 of the 1,000 that were just printed are already out the door, so I may be ordering another printing fairly soon. If you want a copy, you might want to hurry and order. (See the link at the bottom of this message.)
On a couple of occasions, while driving back and forth to Michigan getting the books, I made myself listen to NPR (which I think stands for "New Pravda Radio"). One of the topics discussed by the collectivist brigade was "extremism" in America, and how sometimes extremists, "right" and "left," resort to violence to push their agenda.
What was most noteworthy about the show was what they did NOT say, and probably have never even considered. While talking about how, out of frustration and desperation, sometimes disenfranchised people resort to violence, they failed to mention that "government," by its very nature, ALWAYS resorts to violence. Everything "government" does is backed by a threat of brute force. Every "law" is a command--not a friendly suggestion, not a helpful tip, but a command backed by the threat of violence. But statists never seem to grasp that obvious truth.
When has any statist, after seeing a video of a SWAT team invading someone's home, referred to it as government "resorting to violence"? In fact, when do they even call it "violence" at all? Never. You see, in their eyes, "legal" violence committed by "authority" is automatically legitimate, and therefore doesn't count as violence at all. When the IRS fascists resorted to violence on May 6, 2003, sending a dozen armed thugs to my home, to force their way into my house so they could steal all of my "Theft By Deception" videos, that didn't count as violence--not in the eyes of statists, anyway. And when the local, state and federal thugs do armed invasions of many people's homes, pointing machine guns at everyone, because they think there might be a non- government-approved plant growing on the premises, that doesn't count as "violence" either. In fact, when they shoot and kill someone in the process, even that doesn't win the label "violent" (though it might qualify as an "unfortunate mistake").
Lots of people pretend to abhor violence, but most of them don't really. They complain about non-"government" violence, but are the first in line to demand that the violence of the state be used to give handouts to the poor, or build a military, or serve some other collectivist agenda. Likewise, lots of people say they hate guns, but they really don't. They don't want the common folk armed, but they want the mercenaries of the state to have all the violence they need at their disposal in order to forcibly execute the agenda of their masters. (Ask a "gun control" proponent if they would mind starting by disarming the government, and you'll find out what their real agenda is.)
The belief in "authority" so drastically distorts how people see the world that even when there's a large-scale para-military assault on a private home, resulting in the deaths of people living there, for no other reason than the allegation that someone there possessed a firearm that is not government-approved (such as happened both at Ruby Ridge and Waco), most Americans will view the residents, NOT the violent invaders, as the "violent" and "dangerous" ones.
Federal and state "tax collectors," under threat of force or by the blatant use of force, take TRILLIONS of dollars every year from those who have earned it. Yet the IRS is not viewed as "violent." Other federal and state agencies forcibly capture and lock up hundreds of thousands of people for possessing substances not approved by the politicians. But the DEA is not seen by most as being violent. Cops across the country, under threat of violence or with the open use of violence, stop, detain, interrogate, and search people by the thousands every day, without a shred of probable cause to think an actual crime has occurred. Yet that is not viewed as violence by the general public.
What IS viewed as despicable violence, and receives the scorn of the majority of Americans, is when, once in a blue moon, some target of the fascist police state decides to meet force with force, by resisting totalitarianism in the only language tyrants understand: violence. And then people wring their hands, as if THAT is some big problem--that every once in a while, someone DOESN'T put up with being treated like a slave, and fights back.
It is true that sometimes the force used by the victims of tyranny is misplaced and unjustified, including any time innocent people are targeted. But the threat which such violence poses to the general public is completely dwarfed by the "legal" violence committed in the name of "government." Anyone who thinks he has more to fear from "militia types" than he does from King Obama and his throngs of thugs needs a reality-check. Just because violence is often done in the name of "fairness," and "helping" people, and providing "benefits" and "programs," doesn't mean it's not violence. And if you still can't recognize that "government" is ALWAYS violence, try disobeying for a while, and see what happens.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"Naturally the common people don't want war.... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism." — Hermann Goering
Although this quote was indeed spoken by Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering during the course of the Nuremburg Trials, it was not part of the trial records, since these remarks were made privately by Goering in a conversation with prison psychologist and U.S. Army Captain Gustave M. Gilbert that took place in Goering's jail cell. Goering's last days were spent with Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. Gilbert kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary. The following quote was a part of a conversation Gilbert held with a dejected Hermann Goering in his cell on the evening of 18 April 1946, as the trials were halted for a three-day Easter recess: Sweating in his cell in the evening, Goering was defensive and deflated and not very happy over the turn the trial was taking. He said that he had no control over the actions or the defense of the others, and that he had never been anti-Semitic himself, had not believed these atrocities, and that several Jews had offered to testify in his behalf... Later in the conversation, Gilbert recorded Goering's observations that the common people can always be manipulated into supporting and fighting wars by their political leaders. Here is the complete quote, with a comment by Gilbert that occurred midway through it:
Nazi leader Hermann Goering, interviewed by Gustave Gilbert during the Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, 1946 April 18, quoted in Gilbert's book 'Nuremberg Diary.'
Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
War, peace, financial reconstruction, bank or corporate restructure, moral superiority, national interests, national security, suspending natural rights supposedly protected by a government limiting constitution, martial rule or martial law, it really makes NO difference what the excuse is, it IS all about control. The general public will be influenced by a group intent on achieving their goals through group manipulation/marketing/propaganda guised as information, proclamation or decree. The groups goals are the variable in the equation. Which group, which goals are the crux if the issue. The "Freedom Movement" naively believes that just by stating the "truth" people will automatically chose the "truth." The problem is that the general public has competing "truths" to chose from. Whoever has the best marketing appeal gets the support of the public. Wake up "American Freedom Movement," your time is limited! The noose is tightening, the corral is closing, you have a short time to influence the mass of befuddled populace as to which way they will acquiesce to.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
There is more and more evidence everyday that the mutated Federal Government is no longer controllable by the States that created it. Thus we have the need and want for separation. However, with new meanings of terrorism, sedition, combatant, and insurrection being proffered by recent spurious legislation, timing is of the essence. Is it the right time now for a break up? Is the American public sophisticated enough to understand the moral justifications? Would there be more or less bloodshed now or later? Could it be done peaceably? One thing that you can be assured of is that we will see secession, or our children will. How it turns out remains to be seen.
Remember that classic Beatles riff of the 1960s: “You say you want a revolution?” Imagine this instead: a devolution. Picture an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society.
There might be an austere Republic of New England, with a natural strength in higher education and technology; a Caribbean-flavored city-state Republic of Greater Miami, with an anchor in the Latin American economy; and maybe even a Republic of Las Vegas with unfettered license to pursue its ambitions as a global gambling, entertainment and conventioneer destination. California? America’s broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nation-like state might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into a trio of republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world. And while we’re at it, let’s make this project bi-national—economic logic suggests a natural multilingual combination between Greater San Diego and Mexico’s Northern Baja, and, to the Pacific north, between Seattle and Vancouver in a megaregion already dubbed “Cascadia” by economic cartographers.
Patrick Henry declares ‘give me liberty, or give me death’ in his 1775 speech urging the colonies to fight the British. - Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Devolved America is a vision faithful both to certain postindustrial realities as well as to the pluralistic heart of the American political tradition—a tradition that has been betrayed by the creeping centralization of power in Washington over the decades but may yet reassert itself as an animating spirit for the future. Consider this proposition: America of the 21st century, propelled by currents of modernity that tend to favor the little over the big, may trace a long circle back to the original small-government ideas of the American experiment. The present-day American Goliath may turn out to be a freak of a waning age of politics and economics as conducted on a super-sized scale—too large to make any rational sense in an emerging age of personal empowerment that harks back to the era of the yeoman farmer of America’s early days. The society may find blessed new life, as paradoxical as this may sound, in a return to a smaller form.
This perspective may seem especially fanciful at a time when the political tides all seem to be running in the opposite direction. In the midst of economic troubles, an aggrandizing Washington is gathering even more power in its hands. The Obama Administration, while considering replacing top executives at Citigroup, is newly appointing a “compensation czar” with powers to determine the retirement packages of executives at firms accepting federal financial bailout funds. President Obama has deemed it wise for the U.S. Treasury to take a majority ownership stake in General Motors in a last-ditch effort to revive this Industrial Age brontosaurus. Even the Supreme Court is getting in on the act: A ruling this past week awarded federal judges powers to set the standards by which judges for state courts may recuse themselves from cases.
All of this adds up to a federal power grab that might make even FDR’s New Dealers blush. But that’s just the point: Not surprisingly, a lot of folks in the land of Jefferson are taking a stand against an approach that stands to make an indebted citizenry yet more dependent on an already immense federal power. The backlash, already under way, is a prime stimulus for a neo-secessionist movement, the most extreme manifestation of a broader push for some form of devolution. In April, at an anti-tax “tea party” held in Austin, Governor Rick Perry of Texas had his speech interrupted by cries of “secede.” The Governor did not sound inclined to disagree. “Texas is a unique place,” he later told reporters attending the rally. “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.”MORE
The U.S., as envisioned by some percolating secessionist movements.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Naomi is not the first to sound the clarion on this issue. However, she may be one of the most broad based read writers to do so. The people are the source of any political power in this and any other country. Who is able to influence them to do or not do something has the implied threat of the use of public supported violence to use as leverage against dissent. It is easier to fool the generally lethargic public into supporting the status quo if moral dictums are invoked to the masses. "Obey the law," "no one is above the law," "the government is your government because you elected representatives to think for you, "the government authorities know what is going on so trust them," "the authority is from God," "Law comes from God," etc., repeat ad nauseam from cradle to grave.
The failure of the "freedom" movement is the lack thereof and apparent inability to engage in a competing advertising, marketing and dare I say it, propaganda campaign in favor of freedom versus the government sponsored status quo. The only one to come close is Saint Ron Paul who still sees the current system as something that could work well if we would just do it right. How many of his fellow representatives has he convinced to date? The problem is that the system IS systemically damaged, corrupted, broken, and failed. Until there is a well reasoned articulated marketing of the freedom philosophy to the dumbed down general public mass there will be NO lasting change. They have no reason to upset their comfort level. "Protest if you must but leave my stuff alone!"
History repeats in the broad sense because every present is slightly different enough from the past that most cannot recognize the similarities and thus do not learn from it. We hesitate to strike at the root because the tree of despotism has mutated in our generation and we hope that it isn't the same as before. We hope that we can repair it. Maybe if we just graft some "good" branches onto the tree it will sustain us for "our" lifetimes. Humbug!!! I will leave you with some links to those who wrote from the perspective of looking at their immediate past and knowing too late what should have been done at the beginnings of their turmoils.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society
From Huffington Post
By Naomi Wolf
Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.
They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.
It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.
Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.
1 Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda has noted, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."
Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.
It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.
2 Create a gulag
Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.
At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.
This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.
Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.
But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.
By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.
3 Develop a thug caste
When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution
Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.
Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".
4 Set up an internal surveillance system
In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.
In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.
5 Harass citizens' groups
The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.
Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition. MORE HERE
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
June 11, 2009
The following report first appeared at:
Written by Milagros Salazar
(IPS) - There are conflicting reports on a violent incident in Peru’s Amazon jungle region in which both police officers and indigenous protesters were killed.
The authorities, who describe last Friday’s incident as a “clash” between the police and protesters manning a roadblock, say 22 policemen and nine civilians were killed.
But leaders of the two-month roadblock say at least 40 indigenous people, including three children, were killed and that the authorities are covering up the massacre by throwing bodies in the river.
And foreign activists on the scene in the town of Bagua, in the northern province of Amazonas, report that the police opened fire early in the morning on the unarmed protesters, some of whom were still sleeping, and deliberately mowed them down as they held up their arms or attempted to flee.
In response, the activists quote eyewitnesses as saying, another group of indigenous people who were farther up the hill seized and killed a number of police officers, apparently in “self-defence.”
by Doug L. Hoffman
The lingering cool temperatures being experience by much of North America has weather forecasters wondering it we are entering a new Little Ice Age—a reference to the prolonged period of cold weather that afflicted the world for centuries and didn't end until just prior to the American Civil War. From historical records, scientists have found a strong correlation between low sunspot activity and a cooling climate. At the end of May, an international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA released a new prediction for the next solar cycle: Solar Cycle 24 will be one of the weakest in recent memory. Are we about to start a new Little Ice Age?
According to the report, Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with a sunspot count well below average. “If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,” says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. This does not mean that we won't feel the results of renewed solar storm activity here on Earth.
“Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather,” points out Biesecker. “The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013.” A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm similar to the 1859 disturbance—known as the “Carrington Event” after astronomer Richard Carrington who observed the associated solar flare—occurred today, it could cause $1 to 2 trillion in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to ten years for complete recovery. Reportedly, the 1859 storm electrified transmission cables, set fires in telegraph offices, and produced Northern Lights so bright that people could read newspapers by their glow. READ MORE HERE
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
by Jessica Pacholski
Freedom is the only thing I have ever believed in, mostly because of everything I’ve seen in my life. It’s the only thing that works. Maybe I’m a pragmatist, maybe an idealist; I’ve never really been able to sort that out due to the fact that I’ve been labeled both. I have a hard time thinking that there are people in the world who can live my life for me or have a right to dictate to me. Mostly, I feel I do a very good job of governing myself. That doesn’t mean I’m a perfect human being, far from it, but my mistakes are mine and I am the one who pays the piper. I don’t feel I have a right to blame others for my shortcomings or impose my worldview on other people, no matter how much I disagree with them.
In the twentieth century over 200,000,000 people were murdered, not by war or other citizens, but by their own governments. There is even a term for this, democide. Lord Acton’s famous axiom about absolute power corrupting almost absolutely seems to have blossomed into the full scale horror that it always promised to be with the birth of the nuclear age. At no other time in history has humanity had the ability to completely annihilate itself within a matter of minutes. In light of this you would think that people would realize that government is the most dangerous institution ever created by mankind, sadly they don’t. In fact most people cling to the idea of a benevolent government that “supports” its people and they think if you disagree with the idea that government is necessary that you are advocating chaos and lawlessness. I see this as being the complete reverse of what anarchy really is.
Anarchy is the belief in self government, that all people have absolutely equal rights under natural law and that centralized hierarchical power is eventually destructive to the causes of peace, order, and liberty. Agorist philosophy states that the marketplace is the medium of the peaceful exchange of not only goods, but of ideas and cultures. Ergo, I am a Market Anarchist or Voluntaryist. I am anti war, anti state, and pro-market capitalism.
I believe that equality, peace and liberty come through individual interaction, not by collectivist ideology. I have no delusions that I can force others to be who I think they should be. Furthermore, I don’t possess the kind of ego that tells me that I should be able to force my ideas down anyone’s throat. The very idea that you can engineer a perfect society is ridiculous on its face. What is for the good of one group usually comes at the expense of another.
Monday, June 08, 2009
If you use GPS then you need to be using this service. Beat the fascist porcine orifices at their own game. Know where they are!
From the Agitator (thanks Radley)
The Washington Post has a fun piece on an entrepreneur who’s capitalizing on the D.C.-area’s proliferation of speed cameras:
The system, known as PhantomAlert, feeds the locations of speed cameras and red-light cameras into standard Global Positioning System devices and prompts the devices to warn drivers when they are near one. PhantomAlert has subscribers throughout the nation, including more than 2,000 in the Washington region, said the company’s owner, District resident Joseph Scott.
Scott said he expects that number to rise because of a new Maryland law that permits cameras, now allowed only in Montgomery, to be installed in work zones and near schools throughout the state. “It’s going to be very good for us,” he said.
Scott correctly points out that if government officials are serious when they say speed cameras are about safety, not revenue, they should have no objections to his business. It does after all get motorists to slow down in areas where officials say speed cameras are needed to slow motorists down in the interest of public safety.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Virginia, the only state where radar detectors are illegal. In fact, it’s illegal to even have one in your car. Scott’s system isn’t technically a radar detector, but it serves the same purpose.
On June 6, near a stretch of highway known as the Devil’s Curve in the northern Peruvian Amazon, police began firing live rounds into a multitude of indigenous protestors — many wearing feathered crowns and carrying spears. In the neighboring towns of Bagua Grande, Bagua Chica and Utcubamba, shots also came from police snipers on rooftops, and from a helicopter that hovered above the mass of people. Both natives and mestizos took to the streets protesting the bloody repression. From his office in Bagua a representative for the international organization “Save the Children” reported that children as young as four years-old were wounded by indiscriminate police shooting. President Alan García had hinted the government would respond forcefully to “restore order” in the insurgent Amazonian provinces, where he had declared a state of siege on May 9 suspending most constitutional liberties. The repression was swift and fierce.
By the end of the day a number of government and the president’s party APRA offices were destroyed, 9 policemen and approximately 40 protesters were killed. Overwhelmed by the number of the wounded small local hospitals were forced to close their doors. A doctor in Bagua Grande described the repression as a “barbarian act” similar to those committed in Beirut by the Israeli occupying forces a few years ago. A Church official denounced that many of the civilian wounded and killed at the Devil’s Curve were forcefully taken to the military barracks of El Milagro. From Bagua, a local journalist declared to Ideele Radio that following the killings policemen dumped bagged bodies in the Utcubamba River. Indigenous leaders have accused García of “genocide” and have called for an international campaign of solidarity with their struggle. Indigenous unrest in the Peruvian Amazon began late last year. After an ebb of a few months, the uprising regained force again on April 9. Since then, Amazonian indigenous groups have sustained intensifying protests for more than two months, including shutdowns of oil and gas pumping stations as well as blockades of road and river traffic.
The Devil’s Curve massacre is not the only instance of repression. García recently sent in the Navy to violently break through indigenous blockades on the Napo River, also in northern Peru. But few expected such a violent reaction from the government. García says the response was appropriate and blamed the indigenous for thinking they could decide what happens in their territories: “These people don’t have crowns. They aren’t first-class citizens who can say… ‘You [the government] don’t have the right to be here.’ No way.” The president called the protestors “pseudo-indigenous.” MORE HERE
Saturday, June 06, 2009
By Bob Ellis on June 5th, 2009
From DailyTech, we have still more evidence that any warming occurring on planet earth is coming from natural sources and is cyclic in nature–NOT from the evil capitalism that Al Gore, the UN politicians at the IPCC and other socialists love to blame.
From the article:
Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest. A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth’s climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.
Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle’s peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat. According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, “Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene.”
If our media, culture and a large portion of the “scientific” community were really honest, it would be the worshippers of the religion of anthropogenic global warming who are called “skeptics,” wouldn’t it?
Because it is those pushing this silly theory that our puny SUVs and power plants are causing earth to warm up when the most obvious source of heat hangs over their head every single day.
AGW simply doesn’t pass the smell test. Nor does it line up with the objective data.
As this graph shows, solar activity has been cyclic in nature going back hundreds of years. Solar activity is also increasing, and we are coming out of the “Little Ice Age” of just a few hundred years ago. Of course the planet is warming–we’re coming out of a cold spell! The Maunder Minimum period of diminished solar activity coincided with the Little Ice Age when Europe and North America experienced bitterly cold winters.
About 1,000 years ago, Greenland was warm enough for the Vikings to colonize and grow vineyards. Today Greenland is almost entirely covered in ice. Tell me: is the earth warmer today than it was 1,000 years ago? Did they have SUVs and coal power plants in the days of the Vikings? This isn’t tough to figure out, people.
The only thing tough about the global warming debate is trying to get the facts to match the socialist agenda of the AGW proponents. Try as they might, they just can’t do it, and more and more people are starting to see that.
Things like cyclic solar data, warming occurring on other planets such as Mars and Jupiter just don’t line up with the suppositions of the AGW worshippers. They craft all manner of complex calculations and “what ifs,” but in the end the best they can do is say things like, “Well, we can’t prove it now, but by the time we can, it’ll be too late.”
And we’re supposed to watch our electric bills go up 40% and see our economy devastated on what-ifs and a bunch of garbage that not only doesn’t match the evidence but doesn’t even pass the smell test?
I’m not as gullible as these shysters seem to think I am, and I don’t believe most of the American people are either.