Wednesday, October 25, 2006


When confronted with harsh realities, human beings have an inherent nature to do one of two things: bury their heads in the sand and say "it can't be true," or give up hope along the lines of a pessimistic austrian writer who once wrote "A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die."

Grave predictions, uncertain futures, and a feeling of powerlessness can lead people to give up hope. I won't pretend to not understand why someone in Baghdad who has lost their family to american shells and sectarian bullets would want to give up hope. Or why someone in Michigan might sigh as they look back on 2 presidential elections that should have been won, the first that was stolen blatantly and the second that produced an unimaginable result based on what seemed to be an astounding turnout of young and opposition voters, and surrender to institutional structures that they believe will never change. Or how someone, after too long under the screw of an oppressive occupation, could be left so devoid of hope that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the purpose of hurting their oppressors. I can understand these people.

But hope should never be abandoned. We as human beings have the capability to be so much more than we allow ourselves to be. I believe that human beings have the capability to forsake anger and hatred, vengence and violence, and overcome any challenge they are presented without having to sacrifice their dignity and morality. This power comes not only from our minds, but from our hearts as well.

A courageous leader once stated that "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." He also pointed out that "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

Leading scientists and intellectuals often proffer dire predictions and observations, and many of us pass along these statements without pointing out constructive solutions. It is painfully obvious that human beings have an unprecedented capability to destroy, but along with the ability to destroy comes an unprecedented ability to create, to nourish, and to improve.

We must never allow ourselves to become slaves to fear, hopelessness, vengence, or greed. We need not destroy ourselves and our environment to satisfy our primal urges, we have the capability to be so much better than that.

Hope- Changes

There are many things wrong with the world today. There is no other species that destroys its own with such ferocity and on such an immense scale. I would like to present you today with the words of unquestionably one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, Albert Einstein, with help from Bertrand Russell.

From the Russell - Einstein Manifesto:
Almost everybody who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to set aside such feelings and consider yourselves only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire.

We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it.


Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to abolish war.


"In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."

Now, I do not consider myself a pacifist. I believe that there are situations, as described in Article 51 of the UN Charter, in which military action is appropriate. However, military action as a first resort, rather than a last resort, is a danger to all of us, and a danger that can easily be avoided.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty demands that its signatories not only refrain from producing new nuclear weapons, but also take steps to dismantle existing nuclear arsenals. The Bush administration's continued simultaneous assertions to be against the proliferation of WMDs and intent development of "low yeild" "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons are not only hypocritical , but a danger to all of us. Their actions have already triggered the beginning of an arms race, and their constant war-like posturing is increasing the danger posed to all of us. Simultaneously they claim christian piety, and as such, to them and their supporters I say "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5).

On this page I had previously planned to illustrate the un-democratic nature of American governance, but not for the purpose of inspiring despair, or causing people to surrender to what they see as an unbreakable system for the "protection of the minority of the opulent," but rather because real change, for the better, is possible. In any event, a discussion of the American Republic form of government (republic, not democracy) and its implications for the world will be postponed.

Rather, at this point it is necessary to point out some key facts that are relevant to the world's current state of affairs.

The first is American Militarism. Most Americans are in fact not the militant "chicken hawks" that are so often highlighted in the media. The majority of Americans do not wish to go to war unless no other options are available. As we have seen with the collapse of all pretexts for the invasion of Iraq, those in power are not catering to the will of their people. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and "liberation," by any rational definition, does not entail 500,000 civilian deaths as a direct result. The only people who have reaped any positive benefit from the invasion are the small number of people who made a profit off of the $350billion in congressional budget appropriations for the conflict, and a profit from the redistribution of Iraq's wealth of natural resources to private companies. A well informed American would not have chosen such a course of action. A byproduct of this invasion, brought about by a militarism that is not in the wishes of a majority of the population, is an increase in support for organisations that assert their intentention to launch reprisals against what they perceive (rightly) as American Imperialism.

Another byproduct of this militarism, or resort-to-force-as-the-first-option, is that other countries are developing their own military capabilities, including nuclear weapons, as a deterrant to the American threat. This is evidenced by North Korea's recent Nuclear test. This increases a danger to us all, due to the fact that they increase the risk of provocation of a larger conflict, and as discussed by Russell and Einstein above, this would have disasterous effects for our species as a whole.

But how can this situation be changed? Because it is America that poses this threat, it is the American people who are in the best position to alleviate it. It is widely understood that the coming American election will have little or no effect on US government policy. Simultaneously, there is a pervailing sentiment (rarely articulated) that regardless of who is in charge (in the US), things will stay the same. This is partially right. Madeline Albright (Bill Clinton's Secretary of State) has intoned that every president over the past few decades has had a strategy like George Bush's in their back pocket, they just know better than to bash people over the head with said strategy. We need look no farther than the first months of the Clinton administration to see that he was more than willing to engage in military strikes as a first option, with disasterous consequences for hundreds of children holed up in a Baghdad childrens shelter.

However, a change in regime as far as the US congress is concerned could lead to additional positive moves. Most notably, the American public would likely be let in on the realities that have been so vehemently hidden from them for the past 6 years. As we all know, an ignorant population is easy to control, and the Bush administration has excersised this control to the fullest. Their unprecedented control over the flow of information to the population has allowed them to excersise unprecedented control over public discussion on major issues, many of which are not open for public discussion to begin with. A few examples:

The first that comes to mind is the recent "conflict" between Israel and the civilian populations of Lebanon and Palestine. The very limited discourse on the subject was limited to the scope of Israel's actions, proportedly against "terrorists" but realistically against civilians (in violation of the Geneva conventions), was evidenced both in the mainstream and so-called "fringe" media. I'm including in the "fringe" media blog sites and information websites, including the well known site "MyLeftWing." On that particular site I was directly threatened with expulsion from discussion by the site's owner for a comment regarding the fact that those who supported the Israeli military incursions that killed thousands of civilians, many of whom were children, was tantamount to support for murder. And this site is proportedly the epitome of "the left" in America, which it was observed to me by a source that I trust that there really is no "left" left in America, and "the right" committed political genocide against "the left" decades ago. Aprepo, though not entirely accurate. The fact of the matter is that most Americans, even those who consider themselves well versed in news and politics, and of a "liberal" bent, are inherently subject to the information control mechanisms of an overreaching Executive, which has the power to disseminate a very large volume of disinformation to the public so as to cloud any attempt at rational discourse. Supressed from the public was the fact that Israel's invasion plans were drawn up long before the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, that Israeli soldiers had kidnapped "suspected hizballah" members just days before, and the fact that the weapons used to flatten Lebanon were handed to the Israeli military with the costs deferred to the American taxpayers.

Another example that comes quickly to mind is of course the Iraq war, wherein civilian and military death tolls are surpressed to an unprecedented extent by the Bush administration. This has included going so far as to arrest Hospital personnell in Iraq for realeasing accurate but "too high" casualty figures, and barring the US media from covering the return of injured or dead American soldiers. Due to current disagreement in elite circles as to the effectiveness of the US's Iraq policy, some dissent has filtered through into the US Media (much the same as in later stages of the Vietnam conflict), and as such the issue is receiving a large amount of coverage. However, even policy makers on the democratic side of the aisle (including Chuch Schumer and Hilliary Clinton) do not disagree with the administrations stated goals, merely question the methods. Again, even a "regime change" in the US congress is unlikely to have any impact on policy.

However, that is not to say that people should give up hope in initiating change. One of the first steps for making changes is to be presented with the full picture, which influential analysts argue will increase in likelyhood with a change in those in charge (in congress) of overseeing the actions of the government as a whole, specifically the executive. It is pointed out that Democratic oversight committees would be able to share much needed information with the American public, and put them in a better position to make informed decisions, one of the most important aspects of reclaiming democracy in America.
From Unclaimed Territory:

A Democratic takeover of one or even both houses of Congress is unlikely to result in any new affirmative legislation or policies, since their control will be by only a small margin, dependent on conservative lawmakers in their majority, and subject to a presidential veto. With some exceptions (such as the power to control appropriations and cut off funding), the real power they will have will be to investigate and expose the conduct of the Bush administration and to reveal to Americans what has really been going on.

It is difficult to overstate how crucial that is for exposing what the Republican Party has become and undermining those who control it. The administration has been able to ward off even the most incriminating accusations and disclosures because they control the primary sources of information. They can deny anything, selectively release misleading exculpatory information, and operate in the darkest shadows and behind the highest walls of secrecy. As a result, disclosures about what they have done are always piecemeal and easily obscured.

Armed with a more realistic view of what's going on, Americans are put in a much better position to initiate the so-badly-needed changes that the rest of the world is screaming for. Hope for a better tomorrow always exists as long as there are those who are willing to work for it, and who are aware of the needs and opportunities involved.

Naturally, there are those whose vested interest in seeing that things continue as they are leads them to continue to take steps to quiet their opposition. The murders ("unintentional") of dozens of foreign journalists by US troops notwithstanding, the tactics employed are nothing new: maintaining claims that "everything is allright, trust us" or playing upon the most negative of emotions, fear and anger.

To give just a couple of examples, today the BBC published a report by the US Ambassador to Iraq that "success" by the US in Iraq was still possible. This was in response to the admittal by a US State Department official that the US was "arrogant" and "stupid" in Iraq, a statement claimed by the White House to have been mistranslated but verified by the BBC to have been accurate. It was also immediately following an analysis by Robert Dreyfuss, echoing the sentiments of many prominent analysists, that a coup was on the cards in Iraq.

Facing such grim news, the Bush administration reverts to its classic strategy of playing upon the fears of the American population. The latest of a virtual plethora of examples is a video recently published on the Republican party's website designed to scare the American public into obedience (much the same as Mao scared his population into obedience). The video is below:

The Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadi-Nejad had some thoughts and observations on this very subject in his letter to George Bush a few months back:
All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbors of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind. After 9.11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people -- who had been immensely traumatized by the attacks -- some Western media only intensified the climate of fear and insecurity – some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?

American citizens lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?

I think the answer is obvious. To constantly push the buttons of the population and use their fear as a tool of manipulation is an intense disservice not only to the American population, but to those against whom the fear is used to mobilise militant action. But I have hope. I have hope that Americans are as fed up with the situation as the rest of the world is. I have hope that the "elites" in the american business world are not right in their assessment that the candidate with the largest campaign war chest [must have] superior grass-roots support, the war chest referring to the amount of money they have left for their campaign. I have hope that Americans are intelligent enough to realise that the Dow Jones' record performance recently does not represent the economic welfare of their nation or themselves as individuals.

I think Americans are at a breaking point, that the situation is bad enough at this stage (domestically, for americans, and internationally) that many are coming to realise that major changes are needed, of which making a showing at their election next month is an important first step.

I have hope that the strength of morality and human decency will overpower the will of those whose greed, arrogance, and or fear have monopolised their decision making processes. I have hope for the future.

We have the power, we must only choose to use it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Next 9/11: coming soon.

I can still remember the morning of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. A close friend and then-housemate of mine, who knew me and my sleeping habits very well, woke me up substantially earlier than he would have normally done on any other day. He knew better than most that I liked to sleep through most of the morning; I still prefer to.

"You have to get up." He said to me.

I started to grumble, but there was something in his eyes I had never seen before. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it could've been, but his seriousness startled me. After just those 5 words, he left again.

"What the hell could be so important..." I muttered to myself as I staggered, in my morning haze, out from my bedroom to the common room that was centrally located for the 6 of us who were sharing the accomodation. In that room and those that ajoined it, there were a total of five televisions (I was the only one who was unable to provide one, unlike the five lads I lived with). Every one was turned on, every one was on a different channel, and every one was showing the exact same thing.

The image was one that has since been permanently burned into my memory. There stood the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In one there was a gaping hole, a hole the size of a very (very) large building. Out of that hole poured a mass of black smoke.

I was horrified. It had only been a few days since I had received the developed photos from an April trip to The City, in which there were some spectacular vistas from the Ellis Island ferry of The Towers reflecting a bautiful sunset across lower Manhattan and Battery Park.

One of my housemates, from Manhattan, immediately made a phone call to his mother, who could see the events that unfolded next while watching from her balcony.

We all looked on in shocked disbelief as a plane, a large jet of the 727 or 737 variety from Boeing, flew directly into the other tower. I lost my breath. No one spoke.

It seemed like an eternity of silence had passed when the second tower to be hit began to collapse, showering debris over nearly all of Lower Manhattan. At that moment the silence ended; people were rushing to phones to contact loved ones in the area, or emergency crews, or people they knew and trusted.

My phone began to ring: it was a call from another close friend, also from The City, whose mother had been in a car just up the street from the towers. As they went down, so did the largest mobile phone antenna in Manhattan, and as such mobile phones in the city summarily lost their signals. Her mother was just beside the towers, they collapsed, and the call ended; she was understandably in a panic.

The phone calls didn't end until I turned off the ringer of the phone at 11 that night. By that point, even MTV was broadcasting live news (for the whole day) from their Times Square TRL studio, with the famed Carson Daily playing anchorman/reporter. Stunned newscasters did their best to keep the world updated; government offices and universities were closed; many were evacuated. By the end of the day we were all still very much in shock.

When he made a televised statement late that day, the President echoed the feelings of most Americans. How could this happen to us? Why do they hate us?

The answer to that question is painfully obvious today. Less than 5 years since that horrendous act, the American government, through its actions, has more than assured that there will be a repeat of such an atrocity. They have done so by turning what was a global outpouring of support and empathy into a global wave of resentment and rage.

Since 9/11, The American Government has flattened 2 countries, killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians, interned and tortured thousands of young men, marginalised basic human rights, displayed a contempt for democracy and freedom (while simultaneously professing a love for democracy and freedom), marginalised basic human dignity, taken away personal freedoms and begun an Orwellian campaign to snuff out independent thought and rational views. They have committed unspeakable atrocities, and gone out of their way to ensure that those responsible go unpunished. All the while, they claim that all of these actions are being carried out as part of a global "War on Terror."

Why There Will Be Another Terrorist Atrocity Against America

There is an inherent human desire to see that things are put right, that justice has been served. Especially for those who are the victims, or the relatives or relations of victims, of acts of violence; we must know that those responsible have been punished.

After September 11th, Americans were told (without any evidence being provided) that their leaders were certain that those responsible were hiding in the arab nation of Afghanistan. They were served their revenge, or their punishment for those responsible, as we all watched the nation of Afghanistan be flattened to the ground. Somewhat understandably, the American media did not give much (if any) coverage to the average Afghani, who did not support those responsible for the 9/11 attack, losing their home or their lives; the american media naturally focused on what was important to Americans, that those responsible (or those viewed as responsible, or those viewed as helping those responsible) for the attack be punished.

What happened next was an act of near-criminal lunacy, from the standpoint of attempting to genuinely fight a "War on Terror." Those in charge in america summarily decided that, due to a less-than-perfect past relationship and a virtual gold mine of resources, the soverign nation of Iraq was also to be attacked.

That action, in addition to actions taken in the first war supposedly fought as part of this larger "war on terror," has been executed in such a manner as to ensure that people will be filled with so much hatred and rage towards America that they will be left no recourse but to attack, by any means necessary or available, American institutions, territories, and American Citizens. I find this absolutely horrendous.

September 11th broke my heart. People I had known, brave men who served in the Police Department and Fire Department of New York, lost their lives trying to do the right thing in a terrible situation: trying to save civilian lives. Their memories have been disrespected to the utmost by an administration that has enacted policies that lead to egregious loss of civilian life. I find that insulting beyond words.

Most disturbingly, the Bush Administration has enacted policies that all but ensure that, at some point in the not-too-distant-future, we will revisit the pain of the Ninth of September, Two-Thousand-and-One.

"Those responsible" for the attack, namely the Al-Qaida network's Bin Ladin and his associates, had this to say about why they carried out the attack:

"America is facing today is something very little of what we have tasted for decades. Our nation, since nearly 80 years is tasting this humility. Sons are killed, and nobody answers the call."

His (Bin Ladin, representing Al Qaida) anger was in relation to actions carried out by, or supported by, the American government, specifically in relation to Iraq (sanctions regime/ first Iraq war), Palesine and Lebanon (American-supported actions by Israel with American-provided military equipment), and even went back so far as to mention America's use of Nuclear Weapons against Japan in the second world war.

He explained that America had not been made to pay for its "war crimes," and as such he (and his network) would be the ones to take it on themselves to punish America.

That is an important point to note. It was American actions against civilians that were Bin Ladin's justification for the September 11th attacks. The number of things he referred to was a bit sparse in the statements that were released after September 11th, especially as it related to Americans attacking Muslims.

The American government has committed unspeakable acts, or encouraged/ allowed unspeakable acts to be carried out in their name, over the past five years. These acts engender rage, which leads people to want America to be punished. Those responsible are not being punished. It is logical to assume then, that if a small amount of support for Al-Qaida led to 9/11, then the rage against america prevalent today will lead to individuals subscribing to Al-Qaida's anti-american ideals will lead to increasing support and recruitment for them, and in turn an even larger more deadly 9/11 at some point in the near future.

For any Americans out there who still don't understand where I'm coming from, try thinking about it this way.

Imagine, for a moment, that a video surfaced of foreigners going around an American city shooting at random people. A video like the one below.

Now try to imagine how you would feel if you found out that absolutely nothing was going to happen to punish those responsible. Such as below:

"The U.S. military has concluded its investigation into a video that appeared to show private security contractors shooting at civilian vehicles driving on highways in Iraq and determined that no one involved will be charged with a crime, a military spokesman in Baghdad said."

Would that not make you really, really angry at the country responsible for bringing those people into your country, turning them loose, then ensuring that they would not be punished for their horrendous (using civilians for target practice) actions? Would you, perhaps, then turn to someone who was talking tough and promising action be taken against those responsible?

Or how about if a foreign military invaded America, then flattened entire towns, villages, and cities with carpet bombing, then proceeded to engage in the practice of executing civilians. Imagine if you saw a photo of a man holding the mangled corpse of a young child, and then you were told that those responsible for dropping the bomb that caused this
committed such an act for your own good (it was an attack on Zarqawi supporters! we swear!), and as such told you that you should thank them for having done so. Would that not insult your intelligence and lead you to contemplate ways to get back at these people for their murderous policies and justifications for them?

Or how about if a foreign military went house to house in an American city and killed the men, women, and children inside, numbering in the end nearly 25. Then lets say that representatives of those murderers started coming up with excuses and justifications for such a slaughter: one of their friends died, and they "snapped," or the bullets were fired into the rooms full of innocent people as "clearing rounds," or that the people riding in a taxi by the scen who were dragged out of their car and executed in the street were "suspected militants," and you began to realise that those responsible would get away with their crime. Would you not want to punish those responsible for allowing people to murder your countrymen?

Or how about if that military was responsible for additional such attacks and murders? If they were, as a matter of practice, breaking into homes and executing those inside, and that their superiors were saying that they "found no wrongdoing on the part of the troops." Would you not want to see those responsible punished? Or if the lives of your fellow countrymen were dismissed as "collateral" would that not anger and upset you?

Then, try to imagine seeing a video of murderous soldiers celebrating their slaughter of civilians through song; all laughing and cheering at the concept of murdering children, and at the concept of categorising an entire religion as terrorists (it was "communists" for the Nazis, it's "terrorists" for americans today), and making a big joke of your pain and suffering. Would that anger you?

Or, if your fellow countrymen were being taken from their homes and locked in prison without being charged with a crime. Then they were being humiliated and tortured during their internment. (I, for one, can say what kind of effect such policies have had in the past, in Ireland. They led to 20 years of bloodshed.) Imagine if you saw a foreign army doing this to your countrymen, to your people:

And then imagine if you found out that only about 10% of those responsible for such actions had been punished, and even they had only received a slap on the wrist. Would that not make you feel as though those responsible for these de-humanising practices were essentially telling you to fuck off, and that those who would commit such acts are to be left to continue to do so?

Imagine if these events kept repeating themselves again and again, and that those responsible were not being punished. At a certain point, wouldn't you eventually feel the need to take it into your own hands to see that those responsible are made to pay for their crimes?

Such actions incite rage. They make people want to go after those responsible. They increase recruitment and support for groups like Al-Qaida. They will eventually lead to more brutal attacks against american civilians.

The next time America is attacked by terrorists, no-one in America has the right to say "Why do they hate us?"

For more:

Osama Bin Ladin Speeches, Broadcast October 2001

US-led "war on terror" is increasing the risk of terrorist attacks and distracting governments from greater threats to global security such as climate change

The Price of Impunity from HRW
Abu-Ghraib is only the Tip of the Iceberg from HRW

Friday, June 09, 2006

Good Morning America

A new day is dawning, the sun is just starting to peek through the windows, and the sounds of the world around you coming to life are starting to make their way into your consciousness through the painfully-early morning haze. A haven't-had-that-first-bit-of-caffeine-yet America lies with its eyes half closed; the blaring of the alarm clock is barely audible as a faint background noise in the dream that hasn't quite ended, and the instinctive reach towards the snooze button has already begun...

However, as some of us realize, now is not the time to be going back to sleep. It's time for eyes to open and moves to be made to hop up out of the confort of the sleeping quarters; much more delay, and you could find yourself too late. There are deadlines to meet, promises to keep, and many miles to go before one can again contemplate a restful sleep (to paraphrase a well known American poet). But then again, who wants to wake up anyway? Who wants to leave the confort and warmth of our reverrie?

This dream is a fun place, a relaxed place, a place with no worries; full of happy images, sitcoms, and professions of neverending freedom, and always being congratulated for being so moral, mighty, and respectable. Of course, we have no wish to wake up to a world of lies, pain, death, despair, and destruction. Who would.

To stray from the normal confines of acceptable opinion these days is to be as annoying as a buzzing alarm clock interrupting a nice dream. Such opinions are hushed, as an alarm's "snooze" function, through omission or even direct attack. Many dissenting opinions (such as my own) that point out disturbing recurrant themes are summarily dismissed as "conspiracy theory" babble. Those who would seek to push dissenting opinions away with such characterisations do so because they have to; their belief structure cannot continue to justify actions that for those of us with a critical eye cannot be rationally categorised as moral while these individuals maintain a necessary self image of taking the moral high road; much the same as people who have lost a loved one fighting wars (read: Iraq) to further imperialist agendas need to believe that the death was not for this purpose and not in vain, but rather that the person genuinely died for the "cause of freedom." It is too painful for them to think about it any other way. To do so would be the equivalent of having a bucket of ice water dumped on yourself to wake up, an unacceptable jolt from their reverrie; sometimes reality can be just too hard to face.

As far as critical minds being lumped into the category of a paranoid schitzophrenic and labelled as "conspiracy theorists," this is just another way to sidestep any real dialoge on important issues. As far as any actual belief in some X-Files type conspiracy, what exactly constitutes a conspiracy anyway? According to my understanding of the word (and that of as well) a conspiracy is people working together in secret towards a shared goal. To forget the negative connutations of the phrase for a second, is one to assume that un-related people or groups who all have the same goals in mind and are all working towards those goals are not basically striving for the same end result as a "conspiracy" would have? Are you saying that, for example, the owners of the major media companies in America and other business leaders and also the business-centered leadership of the American government don't have the same goals in mind (maximising profits, increasing business share value, increasing personal wealth)? But nobody is pretending that any of this is a secret, at most it's just conveniently ignored as a facet of our "liberal" economic system (only economically liberal, not "bleeding-heart" style liberal).

To illustrate just one of the many examples of the so-called "conspiracy" outlined above, lets have a look at one of the American media giants. (1) NBC, MSNBC, etc. are all owned by General Electric (to make the situation sound sweet and nice it's referred to as the "parent company"). GE has, at a minimum, $850 Million worth of "defence" contracts developing and building weapons for the American military. As such, why would one of their business want to sabatoge another of their business. Put more literally, why would NBC want to point out problems with american military aggression: no aggression, no need for huge military expendetures, no demand for weapons systems, and GE loses a ton of money. Losing money rather than making money is the exact opposite of any definition of the "American Dream" that I have ever heard, and what American company wants to be un-American?

Dick Cheney was right when he said fairly recently that those who didn't support America's (imperialist) Iraq war were Un-American. If you hold to the belief that the pursuit of the american dream is a pursuit of material riches, then taking over a country rich in valuable resources is very much in keeping with this ideal, and his perplexion is understandable. It's more than evident in the corporate culture of America that individual lives mean little, if anything, as evidenced by the trend of layoffs-to-maximise-profits. Who cares that John Q. cannot feed his family as long as the bottom line is solid. Similarly, who cares if tens of thousands of John Q.'s or Muhammad R.'s die as long as their sacrifice brings us a large influx of cash. Empathy and compassion fly in the face of the very notion of "every man for himself" that the capitalist system embodies. We could all learn something from VP Cheney's insights; eat or be eaten.

There will be those (just west of the atlantic) who say my premises are absurd, and will proceed to call me crazy. "America wants a nuclear showdown and doesn't care about human life? Man, you're nuts" is what they will say. But lets just have a look, for a second, at what the american regime has been up to recently, since we're on the subject of sanity. And remember that, as we have been told, those in power in America are the ones that the majority of americans (supposedly) "gave a mandate to" in the last presidential election to continue what they were/are doing. As such, the world is led to believe that the wishes of the Bush regime are the wishes of the American people. Then lets take a minute to reflect upon the recent statements and actions from the Bush regime regarding China and Russia. First there was the state/non state visit by Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, where he was more welcomed by Bill Gates in the U.S. than he was by G.W., and the rhetorical attacks by the Bush administration against China regarding Human Rights abuses (an issue that America is in NO position to be lecturing on at this stage: close Guantanamo and quit flying "suspects" who haven't been charged with anything all over the world to be tortured and then MAYBE you can start talking). Then, follow those up with recent attacks against Russia about democracy (again, NOT IN A POSITION TO SAY THAT since you stole the office of the presidency in 2000 and then spent 4 years of propaganda making sure you got it for another 4 years) and their capitalistic use of their energy supplies. Ok, so, you want to pick a fight with China, pick a fight with Russia, and also threaten with devastating nuclear attacks their close partner Iran (see my previous postings on the subject at Misneach). Goading the next strongest militaries (behind the american $500 billion per year one) to yours into a fight when you can't even control defensless Iraq and protect yourselves from a humanitarian disaster created by a hurricane (read: Katrina). Picking fights with everyone in your path, but somehow it's the rest of the world that's crazy. Americans are the sane ones.
Ok guys, sure. Just remember that when the people in white come to give you a free jacket and take you to the "safe place," they're your friends.

It's no wonder that those who point out reasonable (yet terrifying) observations about the current situation are ignored or silenced (where is that snooze button!). Sadly, those of us who care about the world we leave (or don't leave) our children and grandchildren are pushed off to that tiny section of the consciousness that is overpowered by the part that wants, or needs, to stay in the dream. Who wants to wake up to a reality like this? Instead we can lose ourselves in this dream (with scrubs, and seinfeld, friends, and desparate housewives) and just assume that everything is ok: if the (fictional) characters on these tv shows can go around all day without a care in the world about a bleak future, then surely we can as well! Besides, those who "society" (based on music contracts, tv, magasines like Cosmo) tell us we should idolise keep getting younger, so perhaps those of us over the age of 20 who aren't famous millionares have outlived our opportunities anyway, so why should we fear a catastrophic end. Perhaps we should just embrace it, maybe that truly is the culmination of the dream, of the american ideal. Why worry about any of this when the powers that be have provided us with so many distractions to keep our minds from contemplating anything that could be dangerous to the status quo.

Just go back to sleep America. Stay in your dreams, ignore the alarm.

Posted at Misneach on 13.05.06
New to Highlights.

(1)A little more about the American Media
an update

GE owns NBC and other NBC-affiliates (MSNBC is a joint venture between NBC News and Microsoft) such as CNBC, Court TV, Bravo, etc.

CBS news (another of the 3 main networks in the U.S.) is part of the ownership structure of a company called Viacom (both are owned by Sumner Redstone, wealthy American businessman) which also has interests in Nuclear energy (uranium enrichment!) including many of the Westinghouse brands and a large quantity of other diverse businesses. Some of the other media venues owned by CBS/Viacom include Paramount Pictures, Spelling Television, MTV, VH-1, BET, Comedy Central, Simon and Schuster Publishing (Tom Clancy, Stephen King), Dreamworks (Stephen Spielberg), and a record label called Famous Music.

ABC news (the other of the 3 major networks) is wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company (CEO: Robert Iger). Some of their holdings include 3 major record labels, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, a book publishing house, etc. A major percentage of shares of the Disney Company is owned by Sid R. Bass, who is in the Oil and Gas investment business.

The other 2 sources of news (or "news") in television media (the biggest source for americans) are CNN and Fox News. I personally don't consider Fox News to actually be NEWS, since only about 10% of what they broadcast is Fact (90% is speculation or spin... for me a news network has to be at least 60% news to be listed as News), but it's usually counted anyway.

CNN and it's affiliated networks are owned by AOL Time Warner, which also owns Time Magazine (and other affiliated magazines like Sports Illustrated and People: Time Warner magasines have a circulation of over 130 Million), HBO, etc. AOL Time Warner is also the largest provider of Internet access in America. As of the year 2000 AOL Time Warner was the 4th largest corporation (with, again, diverse media holdings) in America.

"Fox News" is the worst of the bunch when it comes to actual news reporting. It is owned by Rupert Murdoch (whom you may have heard of), who also owns the Reuters news wire, and is the Chairman of Altria (Phillip Morris! Yup, the cigarette company!). Mr. Murdoch s is an extremely wealthy and EXTREMELY conservative individual, who also owns a HUGE number of other different businesses, including in Oil and Gas (which Iraq has alot of, as you know). He has haslo donated countless millions of dollars to the election campaigns of prominent republicans.

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