Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Brief Rant Triggered by the phrase "Normally Sincere People"

I guess I have a problem with "normally sincere people".
We had this politician in New Zealand, became Prime Minister, now works for the UN I think (reward for services rendered, etc, one supposes) ... the smartest politician we've ever produced, IMHO. She lectured on politics at Auckland University for years before she became a politician. She's an absolute genius.

But still she advocated, in her role as leader of the Labour Party, for policies she damn well knows do not produce the effects she claims to want. Claims to be determined to achieve.

Now, for a lot of the feelgood advocates of such policies, I can forgive a degree of naivete and wish-fulfillment fantasizing, because we're all stuck in that same quagmire to (possibly) varying degrees, and none of us can see ourselves clearly enough to be dogmatic about how much, or how much relative to anyone else.

But I cannot so glibly excuse people who have no excuse for not knowing. if the most experienced, intelligent, and educated politician we have, cannot be challenged on her ideological commitment to policies that dont work, because "normally sincere", then nobody can. Everybody gets a free pass to paper over their intellectual self-contradictions with claims of sincerity.

And I cannot abide that.

I cannot tolerate people who think that the strength of their personal feelings is sufficient warrant to impose their will on everyone else, by force if necessary.

My fucking sister - a nurse, midwife, and lactation consultant, a fucking pacifist, a wonderfully kind, generous, incredibly intelligent, well educated and sincere person - is running around advocating for a no-fly zone over Syria, "because Aylan". Because the Syrian government is "killing their own people!" 

No fucking clue that the no-fly zones over Iraq and Libya only achieved eventual total destruction of those countries (which was always the aim, but it has to be introduced with humanitarian claims, exactly as above, even as the people introducing them KNOW full well they do not produce the claimed desired effects!). 

No fucking clue that the complete destruction of Syria IS the aim. That a million more Aylans is the necessary and unavoidable consequence of that aim, and of the nominated method. 

No fucking clue that we said that Saddam was gassing his own people, throwing babies out of incubators, that Gadaffi was "killing his own people!" and we have to go to war to save them. 

Just no fucking clue.

Not because any of this is secret. No, just "normally sincere" people whose ACTUAL interest is not to help anyone, not to make a difference in the world in actually PREVENTING another murderous war crime against an entire country .. no, just a sincere determination to feel fucking good about themselves for signing an online petition and joining a fucking Twitter outrage fest.

No fucking clue because they don't want uncomfortable truths. They prefer comforting fantasies, like the murderously risible notion that we could save Vietnam by bombing it to rubble then bombing the fucking rubble.

The equally murderously risible notion that we could save Vietnam by making Laos the most intensively bombed nation in history. (Laos! for fuck's sake!)

That we could save Iraqis by destroying their entire nation.

That we could save Afghanis by destroying their entire nation.

That we could save Libyans by destroying their entire nation.

That we can save Yemenis by bombing their own strip of rubble. Again. 

That we can save Syria by fucking it so completely it will be a thousand years before another civilisation will arise there.

Fuck the normally sincere people, the feckless useless wastrel fuckheads. The people with the most glorious opportunities anyone on the planet has ever had, and THAT's the best they can do? 

Fuck them. 

Fuck them all.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Media's Unexamined Pro-power Spin

In the Guardian today, Simon Jenkins writes on the recent spectacle of spy chiefs colluding with parliamentarians to completely gerrymander the enquiry into their criminal activities.

To give you a flavour of how woefully miscast this article is, here's a headline:

The days of believing spy chiefs who say 'Trust us' are over

Firstly, I dont know about you, but I never trusted either the spies or their chiefs. I never thought it made sense, for example, to trust someone whose entire reason for existing is to deceive, to lie, to dissemble, to mislead, and misdirect.

Now, I understand why politicians employ such people, but I never thought anyone should or would be fool enough to trust them. (Indeed, I dont believe the politicians ever did trust them; that's just another of the impolite fictions they promulgate against us. More on that later, maybe.)

And understanding this, I never trusted the assurances given to us by the politicians, that these people are totally under control, that politicians have rigorous knowledge of and oversight of their activities, and etc.

It's simply not credible, ever, that people selected, trained, legally empowered and funded, for their ability to deceive, can be trusted to be honest with their employers. This is especially true when their employers - the political class - are not exactly the most morally upright people to ever walk the earth, themselves.

But wait! - it gets worse:
The world now faces total electronic penetration, with huge power to those who control it. After Edward Snowden, we would be deluded to accept any assurances.
 After.  After Ed Snowden, we'd be deluded to 'accept any assurances'.

What about before Edward Snowden, Mr Jenkins? Would an intelligent, educated, informed, rational, prudent and cautious person, have accepted the bland and blithe assurances of the second-most dishonest class of people ever to walk the earth - politicians - before Edward Snowden's revelations?

The same people who lied us into invading Iraq, who lied about their reasons for invading Afghanistan, who are still lying about Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Vietnam, and Korea?

Would assurances from these people have been acceptable if Edward Snowden had stayed on the reservation?

No, Mr Jenkins, no, these assurances were never credible, never onvincing, and never could be. They were never believable and no thoughtful person ever believed them.

In point of fact, no person in a position of public power should ever be trusted. The laws, the constitutional documents and customs, the checks and balances of democratic mechanisms, exist because we recognise explicitly that no person in a position of public power can ever be trusted.

We cannot afford to trust in such cirumstances. The probability of corruption is too high: approaching 100% over time, and the consequences of error are too great. As more of us are now realising; right, Mr Jenkins?

But wait! - it gets worse:
Any claim that "everyone knew these things were going on" is rubbish.
Quite. Not everyone knew because not everyone wanted to know. But some of us knew, not because we had the documentary evidence that Mr Snowden has now supplied, but because we had the evidence of history and of human nature, that history supplies to anyone who cares to look. Plus we had a lot of clues revealed by other events and stories, like this one.

Given what Mr Snowden has now revealed, who was talking rubbish before his revelations, Mr Jenkins?


Dont get me wrong, I agree with a lot of Mr Jenkins' views on any number of questions. He's often written excellent analyses subsequently published in the pages of the Guardian, and I've told him so in comments there.

The problem with Mr Jenkins' view on this point is that it continues and fosters the "oh dear, mistakes were made" dissembling of the most habitual and consequential criminals on our planet. Therefore, today he is my stalking horse for the whole of the establishment media.

I never made the mistake of accepting the blithe assurances of rigorous oversight by elected members.

The elected members themselves - with perhaps a very few very naive exceptions - never made this mistake.

Both I and they knew full well that the spies cannot ever be trusted.

So why does Mr Jenkins even attempt this pallid whitewash?

Why does an intelligent, informed, educated, and erudite man apparently believe that the Snowden revelations reveal something entirely unanticipated?

I dont believe Mr Jenkins is a consciously bad person. I dont believe he consciously intends to deceive. Quite the opposite, I believe in his good intentions.

But I also believe he is living a life of unexamined predispositions that have blinded him to otherwise very obvious truths, such as those I have described above regarding the innate untrustworthiness of those weilding great power in secret.

It's not like Mr Jenkins hasn't heard of Lord Acton and his famous dictum, is it? Surely he hasn't forgotten the destruction of Iraq? I mean, it's not entirely over yet, is it?

What Mr Jenkins is guilty of is not examining - and then rejecting - these predispositions when there is (A) an overwhelming wealth of historic and current evidence that they are false, and (B) no chance at all that Mr Jenkins has been ignorant of this evidence, and (C) no chance that Mr Jenkins lacks the ability to comprehend it's import.

Mr Jenkins' major guilt lies in his position of privilege: he not only has access to the relevant facts, access to the pertinent history, and is possessed of the intellect and training to deal with them, but he occupies the position of a protected purveyor of political analysis. In other words, he's a journalist whose explicit function is to critically examine these questions, these predispositions, and make public judgements on them.

It seriously calls into question his fitness for the role if he tries to claim he has not seen the necessity to first apply that critical examination process to himself.

The article he produces is thus true in the most limited sense: after Snowden, nobody should trust the bland assurances of the spies or the politicians who claim to have them under tight control.

We now know, without any possibility of error, that both of these assurances are false.

What the article gets wrong is that Mr Jenkins claims we didnt know this before Snowden. He further implies hat we couldn't anticipate the falsity of these assurances. That the corruption of those weilding enormous power in secret was neither inevitable nor predictable.

But we did know this before Snowden.

We could - and many of us did - anticipate the falsity of these assurances.

We knew without any possibility of error that the corruption was inevitable and we did predict it.

If Mr Jenkins didn't know this, and didn't anticipate it, what right has he to any audience today? What credibility does he have left as an informed and honest analyst of the weilding of public power?

The issues he has "overlooked" and left unexamined are the most critical issues facing us all today. If Mr Jenkins lacks the ability or the will to examine them critically then what good is he to us?

Mr Jenkins, your essay has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Your performance is a pretty good marker for the state of your entire profession:

E minus: capable of far better.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Thoroughly Corrupted, Thoroughly Corrupting

We start with a relatively simple and demonstrable premise:
Our political systems in the self-styled western liberal democracies are thoroughly corrupted and, therefore, thoroughly corrupting.
In particular, the Party systems that dominate every democracy on this planet are the repositories of concentrated power and therefore – as per Lord Acton – concentrated corruption.

The most emphatic demonstration of the thorough corruption of our political systems is the utter dominance of imperial mercantilist policy over many decades, in spite of regular changes of governments between the major parties. These parties are nominally ideological opposites, allegedly implacably hostile to each others political philosophies and therefore policies.

In reality they maintain a continuity of policy that reveals the Kabuki theatre aspect of their existence; the opposition is fake, the hostility as genuine as a World Wrestling Federation match, the philosophical differences a matter of rhetoric over reality, of style over substance.

A further demonstration of the corruption of the Party system is the internal contradictions of each Party's policy positions.

The self-styled conservatives in both Britain and America (and their allies) have talked fiscal responsibility for decades, while simultaneously running up the largest deficits and debts the world has ever seen. They have spoken of peace, of humble foreign policy, and of a clear-eyed perspective on the limits of military power, while indulging in a horrific sequence of aggressive wars of choice against helpless foes, based on totally invented pretexts.

The self-styled liberals, their erstwhile opposition, have enthusiastically joined in both the economic and political adventures of the conservatives. In total abandonment of their rhetorical policy of peace they have escalated wars they previously (and somewhat cravenly) categorised as gross strategic blunders. In similar abandonment of their rhetoric of economic responsibility they have doubled down on the profligacy of the conservatives, reverting to their historic “deficits dont matter” spending practices but unmatched by their historic high tax policies, thereby increasing the already eye-watering indebtedness of their citizens.

In perhaps the worst betrayal of all, they have continued to talk like ACLU activists while actively participating in the building of the most intrusive and abusive global surveillance state imaginable, a system of executive over-reach that is inherently irreconcilable with any part of liberal philosophy.

Put plainly, there is nothing either conservative or liberal in the ongoing destruction of western civilisational norms perpetrated by both the major political parties that lay claim to these labels.

The self-applied labels have become false flags of convenience, tribal affiliation designators, and nothing else.

In short, they are lies. They are deliberate untruths designed to entrap the unwary.

The corrupting influence of these corrupt organisations is also apparent in the results they produce. The uniformity of policy across successive administrations displays the absolute abandonment of principle which is incumbent upon any potential candidates who want the support of the Party machinery which is typically necessary to challenge for high public office.

This is especially so when the candidate doesn't bring substantial amounts of their own funding, or funding sources, to the table. In other words, the history of Prime Ministerial and Presidential campaigns is that the most financially independent candidates have shown the most 'personality', the most steadfast adherence to their own personal beliefs, whereas the least financially independent have been the most craven servants of power.

(As Obama is rumoured to have "joked", this may be why he's still alive while JFK is not.)

We dont know, and will likely never know in specific individual cases, all of the reasons why it is that political candidates speak so eloquently and forcefully on their principles, values and beliefs during their campaigns, and then abandon those principles immediately on attaining office.

It may be they are willing deceivers from the beginning, or it may be that they are gradually corrupted over time as they reach successively higher offices and the price of Party support rises with each step they take on the ladder of power.

Whichever it is - and it is likely both in most cases - we see clearly in the sheer monotony of this pattern that the Party system itself is the primary corrupting agency. It is the source of selectorial favours, of public relations favours, of funding and other support (e.g. oratorial coaching, speech-writing expertise, etc).

Most significantly, the Party machine is the mechanism by which the money lobby purchases political influence. It is the conduit through which funding flows from vested interests into the public offices they seek to pervert in their favour.

It is the avenue through which influence flows into legislation, into executive political appointments, and into judicial advancement. In other words, the party machinery is the vector through which the pursuit of financial self-advancement has infected every branch of government.

None of the above is especially surprising or noteworthy, particularly to those who've been paying attention to politics and political systems for some time. But the implications of these two simple ideas – that our political systems are both thoroughly corrupted and thoroughly corrupting – most often escape notice, or at least public comment.

It is hardly surprising that the ardent supporters of Barrack Obama have themselves been most surprised by the ever-lengthening list of betrayals of his campaign positions (and thus the principles on which they rested). It is somewhat more surprising that even his most determined critics have been surprised by the scale and content of this list. Particularly in the areas of civil liberties and domestic welfare, where he was quite rationally expected to deliver real progressive policy, the Democrat Obama has been markedly worse than his Republican predecesssor, Bush.

If we look at the British situation we find an odd contrast allied to an even stronger congruence. Here the Conservative candidate Cameron campaigned on rolling back the national security over-reach of his Labour predecessor Blair. He vigorously talked up the necessity for doing so in the interests of a free and liberal society such as is necessary for a modern liberal democracy to prosper both materially and spiritually. This seems, at first glance, like a very strange contrast to Obama's campaign, given that Cameron's Conservative Party is the UK's equivalent to George W Bush's Republican Party, and therefore we might expect Cameron to sound more hawkish on military and national security matters than Obama. It appears that the labels have been flipped, or the players have changed sides.

However, the apparent paradox is resolved when we note that, rather than presenting any kind of real change in policy relative to Tony Blair's Labour government, Cameron and his coalition partners continue to pursue the War on Terror abroad and its associated domestic tyrannies with every bit of the blind stupid zeal of its original architects.

In very similar manner to Obama, they have in fact doubled down on the domestic tyranny front, copying play for play the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers, on journalists, and on any public dissent against authority.

The striking parallel is further emphasised when we consider that George W Bush himself could have used the very same speeches made by the candidate David Cameron, seeing as he campaigned on a humble foreign policy, no nation building adventures such as those of Clinton, and tight fiscal responsibility.

If you go further back and look at Tony Blair's campaign speeches you find a strikingly similar pattern: a vigorous denunciation of the financial profligacy of the previous government, of its thorough corruption through an extended hold on power, of its foreign policy blunders and domestic tyrannies.

Rather than changing sides, what this shows is that the players are all on the same side.

But while this cries out for public analysis and comment, I have not found any.

In the 90's UK a corrupt Conservative government is opposed by a crusading Labour Party candidate who rails against its many injustices, thefts, authoritarian aggressions, and habitual over-reach.

In the 90's USA a corrupt Democrat government is opposed by a crusading conservative Republican candidate who rails against its many injustices, thefts, authoritarian aggressions, and habitual over-reach.

After the successful candidates disastrously embrace and extend the worst excesses of their predecessors, the two parties change sides and:

In the USA a corrupt Conservative government is opposed by a crusading Democrat candidate who rails against its many injustices, thefts, authoritarian aggressions, and habitual over-reach.

In the UK a corrupt Labour government is opposed by a crusading Conservative candidate who rails against its many injustices, thefts, authoritarian aggressions, and habitual over-reach.

And, after these successful candidates have disastrously embraced and extended the worst excesses of their predecessors, what kind of deal will the voters be offered next?

Does one have to be Norman Einstein to predict the character and tone of the next election campaign in each nation?

It is plain from these examples (and the many many similar examples before them) that the Parties in each country long ago perceived their voters' weakness for the Man on the White Horse theory of politics. For the messianic figure, and the associated sugar daddy fantasy-mythologies of the secular salvation story.

What this means is that we as voters must grow up and stop pursuing these fantasies if we actually want real change, in a positive direction, to ever happen. We must abandon the Cult of Personality and all its attendant baggage, if we are ever going to build any kind of liberal society such as we say we want.

Some of this we will not enjoy. Some of it we will steadfastly resist.

For example, we will not like the idea that our favoured candidates are corrupted long before they're presented to us as candidates for high office. We will readily accept it of the candidates we typically oppose, but we will not want to accept it of those we've typically supported.

We will not like the idea that the individuals concerned are largely irrelevant to the process. The fact that corrupt political parties employ corruptible candidates to advance their own interests is as dull and unsurprising as the fact that hospitals employ doctors and fire departments employ firefighters. But we're very emotionally wed to the idea that the individuals are important. That their personalities, character, individual beliefs, and moral principles, are vital aspects of their campaigns and thus to their anticipated manner of government once elected.

(We will stubbornly resist acknowledging how devastating the pattern described above, of constant betrayal of every such avowed principle, is to this notion.)

We will especially resist even contemplating how this reality affects our interpretation of past events.

As difficult as it will be for many to accept, however grudgingly, that such a pattern clearly exists and that its existence unequivocally shows that Obama has not been turned after his election but has been a willing tool of corruption for many years prior to his ascendance, and that his individual character and personality are almost totally irrelevant to the policies pursued by his government, it will be nearly impossible for these same people to acknowledge that historic individuals like Hitler and Stalin were equally irrelevant to the policies pursued by their governments.
(Just think about that for a moment. Let it sit awhile.)
We might be persuaded to admit, grudgingly, that the secular salvation story of the Man on the White Horse is a childish myth that we should abandon if we want to grow up as citizens and construct truly liberal systems of government, but we will never be able to abandon it if we cannot simultaneously let go of its mirror image, the Man of Sin of the secular Devil Incarnate story.

To relinquish one is to relinquish, by logical necessity, the other.

To hold to one is, necessarily, to hold to the other.

No doubt I should point out here that I am not defending Stalin and Hitler. They were not nice people, and they were not well-intentioned or naive or misunderstood. 

They were bloody tyrants

The point is, so too are Cameron and Obama.

So too were Blair and Bush.

Neither their penchant for expensively tailored suits, nor the mechanism by which they achieved power, has any bearing on that fact.

They were, at some point prior to their selection as candidates, thoroughly corrupted by the thoroughly corrupt Party machinery that enabled their political careers. That they may or may not have been heinously corrupt individuals prior to this selection is utterly irrelevant.

As doctors are to hospitals, as firefighters are to fire departments, so are the corrupt and corruptible to our political parties. If the parties are the root, the candidates are the branches.

The salient fact is that if Buddha or Jesus were to enter into the same processes that gave rise to these political careers, only two results would be possible:
  1. They would fail to make the necessary accomodations, and be rejected, or
  2. They would compromise themselves and become indistinguishable from any modern candidates.
Indeed, what Obama and Bush both demonstrate - albeit in dramatically divergent fashion - is that the better the raw material, the smarter and more telegenic and charismatic the candidate, the more effective the tyrant he becomes.

So this is what we face; two-party systems that are thoroughly corrupt and thoroughly corrupting. In sum, the party machines of the modern democracies have become self-perpetuating engines of destruction, deceit, and despair.

They must be destroyed, root and branch.

As above, there are only two possibilities open to us; either we destroy them or they destroy us.

Either we find and found a better system that is protected against the corrupting influences presently assaulting our civilisation and attendant liberties, or those influences will continue to erode the foundations of our civilisation until it no longer exists.

Already much has been lost.

How much more we can lose before the course we are on becomes impossible to reverse without widespread long-running bloody violent revolution, I cannot say, but I strongly suspect the answer is, not much.

There isn't that much left.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Corporate Terrorism is Legal; Journalism is Not

From a recent Guardian piece on the ongoing David Miranda oppression:

The detention of the partner of a former Guardian journalist has triggered fresh concerns after it emerged that a key reason cited by police for holding him under terrorism powers was the belief that he was promoting a "political or ideological cause".
Also noted in that piece is that the security services asked the Police to detain Miranda, and to make it look like a 'normal' event (whatever that means in an era when it is normal for liberal democracies to murder remote strangers on a weekly basis).

But the key element of the Police representation is that David Miranda qualifies as a terrorism suspect because he is engaged in promoting a political or ideological cause.

Now for those who've been saying for many years now that the US government and its many-tentacled agencies are the world's biggest terrorist organisation, this might come as a somewhat ironic validation, given the source and the surrounding context.

But the people who work in the State Department might also wonder what will happen to them next time they visit England ... or simply pass through on the way to elsewhere.

On that note, I recall that it was the USA that began the assault on international law & custom in this matter, unilaterally repealing the established practice which recognised that a person passing through "in transit' and not entering the country via Customs, is not actually on local soil for legal purposes and not subject to the jurisdiction of the local Police forces but remains under the jurisdiction of the captain of the aircraft.

In other words, a political refugee could not be returned to those who would persecute them simply by means of a refueling decision made in some airline head office half a world away. There was a time when our governments claimed that this was an important principle.

But, in time-honoured imperial fashion, the satellite vassal states almost immediately adopted the same practices, with most of the subsequent differences - as in the case of the UK - being only to make things worse.

However, we all know - as do, no doubt, the people who work at State - that they're not going to encounter the same problems Miranda did. As his partner Glenn Greenwald has rigorously highlighted, the law in our modern liberal democracies operates in a neo-feudal two-tiered manner; there is one law for the wealthy and powerful and those connected thereto, another for the poor, powerless and unconnected.

It is plain, too, that the Chief Executive of Nissan Motors knows this. Because here he is, without a shred of irony or indeed apparent awareness of any kind, flagrantly threatening his British employees and the entire United Kingdom, should they pursue a political course he finds distasteful:

The head of Nissan has warned the car maker would reconsider its future in the UK if a push to leave the European Union succeeds.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the Japanese motoring company, told the BBC his company would re-evaluate its position if the UK were to leave the EU.
Before anyone asks me if I am surprised - I'm not - there's no real mystery about the utter silence and inaction of MI6 and GCHQ in response to this blatant act of international corporate terrorism. Such threats are par for the course for those with wealth, power, and the political patronage that goes with them.

But I would love to hear them try to explain exactly what the difference is.

Perhaps if there are any journalists still working at the Guardian, one of them might be persuaded to ask?

Tell you what: I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Quick Response to Russell Brand at the New Statesman

In his recent New Statesman editorial Russell writes very eloquently and perceptively and humorously ("it's long, there are jokes") of the rational apathy of most citizens toward their political process:

There’s little point bemoaning this apathy. Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people.

Apart from the implication of that "no longer", which I will get to in a moment, this is a worthy point and, imho, an accurate and useful insight into the declining political participation rate in all the self-styled liberal western democracies.

Where it really humps the mako, though, is this bit:

A system that is apathetic, in fact, to the needs of the people it was designed to serve.

Yes, it is true that we're all sent to government-designed schools that teach us government-mandated curricula, that tell us of our glorious government-approved democratic history and how the wonderful system of government we have today - about which we've just agreed few of us give a shit, so indifferent is it to us -  was designed to serve us.

The problem is, it wasn't.

It is not true that the system was designed to serve us, and nor has this ever been true.

The system was designed to serve the designers of the system, and that wasn't and isn't us.

As wonderful a document as the US Constitution is, it was designed by a handful of people to serve the interest of their own class: the very narrow class of white, educated, wealthy, privileged land-owners.

It still does this today, as it has done since 1789.

As great as the ramifications of the Magna Carta have been for the English speaking peoples of the world, it was designed by a handful of barons to serve the interests of barons. They never intended it to apply to their serfs - their property - and could not imagine that it ever would.

In spite of the progress that our fore- fathers and mothers wrested from the cold bloody hands of their lords and masters, it still serves as the public relations theme for a system that ignores us in between trampling on us.

(It's interesting that in every other context in which these barons are discussed, other than the Magna Carta, they're referred to universally as "robber barons". Only when the great charter is the subject are they, somewhat idiotically, revered for accidentally betraying their entire class by using overly ennobled language in their mutual-defence pact with the divinely appointed Monarch.)

You can tell that the system was designed to serve the interests of those already wealthy and powerful enough to impose their wills on the design, because that is what it has always done. If you only look at the fact that it does this today, you might naively conclude that it's original intent has been somehow perverted, that slowly the corrupting effects of power have twisted the original design into its present malign character.

But if you look into history you find that the system has always served the interests of the few, the designers - the Deciders, as then-President GWB styled himself and his class - at the expense of the many.

There are corrupting effects of power - the 'interests' of the powerful are growing, they are individually and collectively becoming more ruthless and less reticent in their use of the system to extract wealth and power from us all, but the nature of the system remains unchanged.

Its purpose, the principles of its design, the character of its operations, remain unchanged.

If you're going to be a radical, and strike at the root of the political corruption in our society, then you're going to have to give up the authorised history you've been taught, along with the implicit allegiance to the system that taught it to you, which goes with that history.

It's kind of a package tour.

Isn't that exactly the message of your own refusal to participate in the sham of voting?

Why then participate in the sham of a history that never happened?

Anyway, not to carp; the rest of the article was superb. Even where I disagree with you on some minor point, I applaud the passion and the perception that went into it. The fire in the heart is unmistakable and very welcome.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Global War of Eco-Terror

As I trudged through the snow* on my way to work this morning, contemplating the eternal verities, and/or the notion that there’s only a few more years until we never have any more snow (depending on your pov), I thought of you guys.

I pondered how I might explain to you precisely how and why you’ve been suckered by the Global War of Eco-Terror. I thought the Global War of Terror might make a useful stalking horse. Just like the Global War of Terror, the Global War of Eco-Terror has consequences directly opposite to the objectives claimed by its proponents.

You see, on the one hand we have this enormous military power, the United States of America, which has divided the world into satraps, vassals, and enemies-du-jour. Its military regional command structure explicitly states that it has interests it must 'defend' in all parts of the globe. There is nothing that happens anywhere on the entire planet that is not somehow its business.

Its notion of 'defense' is adventurous to say the least; brutal, bloody, and unrecognisable to anyone familiar with Webster’s but unfamiliar with American Realpolitik.

Ranged – nominally – against this barbarous behemoth is Al Qaeda, a ragtag assemblage of the fanatical, the foolish, the frustrated and fraught families and friends of the victims of our first protagonist. Its resources are few, its military capabilities non-existent, the threat it presents in statistical terms similarly invisible; both in terms of other threats to the life of the average westerner (more likely to be stung to death by killer bees) and in terms of the demonstrably global and indiscriminate lethality of its enemy (which has incontrovertibly killed millions during AQ’s brief existence, to AQ’s highly-disputed hundreds).

The first openly states that global domination is its sole objective and prerogative; the aims of the second are far less ambitious.

The first openly threatens defectors and dissenters with pre-emptive nuclear attack, and is presently at open war in 6 or 7 sovereign nations; the second has not managed an unqualified successful terror operation in over a decade (perhaps longer [?], depending on who or what you believe about 9/11).

But, ignoring the many orders of magnitude of distinction between these two parties on every quantifiable dimension, our political class has managed to successfully sell the narrative that the first is benign, benevolent, and beautiful, while the second is deadly, dangerous, and despicable - in the words of the idiot hordes, an existential threat to all of western civilisation.

Many many people [claim to] believe this narrative, although it is patently untrue, obviously concocted for pure political purposes, and frankly stupid.

The other pungently relevant detail is what a friend of mine calls the “X ... therefore, tyranny” game. The answer to any problem, any threat real or imagined, any decline in our own wealth (relative or absolute), or any perceived public issue whatsoever, is always to hand more power over to the people already abusing it for their own larcenous ends.

Al Qaeda ... therefore, tyranny.

Poverty ... therefore, tyranny.

Unapproved drugs ... therefore, tyranny.

Ecological damage ... therefore, tyranny.

Biodiversity loss ... therefore, tyranny.

Crime ... therefore, tyranny.

Public debt ... therefore, tyranny.

Dissent and disobedience ... therefore, tyranny.

Shonky elections ... therefore, tyranny.

We were attacked by persons unknown ... therefore, tyranny.

Any feckin half-saleable excuse whatsoever ... therefore, tyranny.

Our governments are not the only people running this kind of 'David & Goliath ... therefore, tyranny' scam.

Monsanto, for example, like to crack on and on about how they’re genetically engineering an end to famine. Problem is that what they’re actually doing is trying to corner the market on food crop reproduction, and to achieve this they need to create artificial scarcity. For this to work, their genetically modified frankenfoods have to be the only available option. (That’s how a good capitalist arsehole maximizes return on investment, don’t ya know?). So, what they are actually aiming at is to create a global famine. It's the same principle as above: submit or die. Pay or starve.

The pharmaceuticals are in the same racket. They like to crack on and on about healthy living and life extension, but their shameless bribing of doctors, at the expense of public health funds, to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics, is creating killer bacteria resistant to every-fuckin-thing. If we don’t hang some of them soon they’re going to kill us all. Their bird-flu and swine-flu scams are not only the same game but interact enthusiastically with many governments also playing the same game, using the same invented pretexts.

Both of these examples are predicated on the same bullshit scenario peddled by our governments. In response to a problem which is either (A) largely illusory, and/or (B) the direct consequence of prior political/economic idiocy – in other words, in response to problems that shouldn’t exist anyway – they’re busy making even bigger problems and calling them solutions, seeding the ground for the next cycle of the same narrative exploit.

They spend enormous marketing dollars to scare up the small problem, and to minimise the larger problems they’ve created as ostensible solution thereto, just so they can kick the can down the road a few feet and continue playing the game. There are many other examples of this practice that you can identify if you start looking. The Left / Right major parties in every western democracy play this exact same game within the larger game, using each other as the scary dangerous problem to be solved, and themselves and their own policies as the lethally stupid but nominal solutions thereto.

Coming back to the Global War of Eco-Terror, otherwise known as anthropogenic global warming / climate change / extreme weather events / bullshit label du jour: the relativities are exactly aligned. There are massive, serious, ongoing, and visibly-degrading-as-we-speak environmental and ecological problems in our world. A lot of them we have caused and we are making worse every day. Many of them are the consequence of irresponsible industrial practices that would make Mephistopheles blush. Few of them are getting any public attention because the overwhelming narrative, and thus the overwhelming attention capture, that is being blasted at full volume across the planet, is global warming. But global warming is a crock. It’s a fake alarum designed to distract from the real issues and secure further tyranny (and funds, of course). It is a fantasy concocted with deliberate malice aforethought, designed from the ground up to defraud the general public and enrich the few.

There simply isn't any evidence that global warming is presently outside of normal variation, nor that increased warming would be catastrophic, nor that damaging the technological underpinnings of our civilisation would do anything effective to avert the predicted ecological consequences.

These are just the elements of the narrative being used to stampede us into giving more power to our abusers.

And it is manifestly working.

It is not working for you and I, of course, who are merely the suckers paying for it.

It is working for the same clique of political shysters and industrial robber barons that the left / liberal / libertarian / progressive axis rage against every day. Funding in the tens of billions and global political power is flowing towards the centre and away from the periphery, as a direct consequence of the global warming hysteria.

Cui bono, mofos?

Bullshit mumble bullshittherefore, tyranny. Here's a classic example, from a comment at the Guardian:

@TheGreatBarzoni - I read Glenn all the time and come away ALL the time with the thought that he is the most eloquent formulator of thought on Constitutionally based civil liberties and due process I have ever read.
How can I think that, be a card carrying progressive and yet understand how someone like Dick Cheney (whom I loathed) or the President Obama (whom I love) infuses the presidency with extra judicial power in not necessarily the time of just any war but THIS war. Why is this different? It is different because the technological means exist and the US opposition is still patiently determined to certainly hurt and in a long term goal use any weapon it can to destroy our nation. Now if you love to argue ideological ideals while Washington and our nation burns as our opposition would simply love to do, then fine. But I would prefer that this nation survive. I am rather fond of breathing thank you very much and love this country with all its flaws. I think President Obama saw when he took office just how great the threat really is and it is HIS job and his alone to protect the nation. What did Cheney say? The Constitution be damned...well I do NOT say that exactly but I DO see a kind of expediency and unitary power of the executive at certain times that few see while behind a computer sitting in a nice warm house with the electricity running.
Do you know, can you realize what it would mean for our nation's foes to get their hands on devices which send a chill down my spine? I am sorry but I think so far at least the president has kept us safe. ... I hope. Am I sure? Hell no but I surely hope he has and will. I LOVE our nation's Constitution and its civil liberties for all crimes EXCEPT those crimes where the subject is dedicated to the eradication of our way of life.
I know some of you were, just a couple of years ago, commenting in Greenwald threads that the gulf oil spill could wipe out all life on Earth. I bring this to your attention here, not to embarrass you but simply to point out the additional parallel between the manifestly idiotic chicken little fear expressed in the quoted text above - that all western civilisation stands in peril of destruction from terrorists - and the same fear-driven emotional excess you displayed in that time.

Your fears are being manipulated, multiplied, and used against you. And some of you, some of whom are otherwise intelligent, thoughtful, and benevolent people, have allowed this to happen to you. It is not that your concern for our environment is wrong - we are certainly not taking care of it as we ought - but that your concerns are being manipulated, multiplied, and used against you.

Al Gore is not your friend; he is an integral part of the same system of which the Obama administration is merely another part. The UN is not your friend nor protector. It is, too, merely a part of that same system. The IPCC is not trying to save the world, merely feathering its own (temporary) nest. Nancy Pelosi is not saving the world, she is a part of what is destroying it.

We are being distracted from real and immediate dangers by high-volume, constant, raging noise about dangers that are remote, illusory, and/or invented.

Please give this some consideration. Note the parallels I have drawn. Ask yourself if there could be any merit to this idea. Dont take my word for it. Check it out for yourselves. Do the leg-work, read the material, and think about the evidence.

If nothing else, you will at least have some understanding of how I see these things. Maybe we could start a conversation from there ...

[*written earlier this year, as an intended response to a Guardian CiF comment]

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SSA Question for KTFW

Thanks. I am thinking specifically of the special issue securities used to replace actual money in the SS (ahem) lock box. Any idea? The treasury issues them, so would a gov agency underwrite them, would a bank underwriter, or would the trust itself, in this case SSA?
The SSA refers these questions to the Bureau of the Public Debt (part of Treasury), which refers to the FFB (Federal Financing Bank, est 1973(!)) and to the Monthly Statement of the Public Debt, and associated FAQs. Treasury also provides a monthly statement on federal trust funds, including the Federal Old Age Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the same for the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund. These seem to indicate that the securities are issued directly by Treasury and that they form the total of fund assets (or close enough to it as makes no odds). i.e.
make up 2.660 trillion of a total assets of 2.667 trillion for the FOASI Trust Fund, and and 103.8 billion of a total assets of 104.5 billion for the FDI Trust Fund. These are occasionally referred to as special securities, but their special nature is (apparently) only in the conditions under which they are issued, and who is authorised to issue and purchase them, and not in their backing. Like other Treasury-issued securities they are backed by the "full faith and credit of the US government", whatever that is worth.

In turn, Treasury raises funds in the open market by the sale of notes, bonds, and etc ... as you know.

According to them, these - currently totalling 16.9 Trillion - are owned about 1/3 by the Fed (i.e. the banking cartel), about 1/3 by foreign governments/investors, and about 1/3 by "private investors", the vast majority of which are large domestic financial, insurance, and retirement fund businesses.

As far as I can see, like so many things that started in and around 1973, the whole thing works as a giant machine to redistribute wealth upwards, but under the guise of insuring your pension. The federal government is now owned by foreign governments and big businesses, by the largest international banks, and by domestic big businesses, about 1/3 each.
"The borrower is servant to the lender"
-Solomon, King over Israel, ~950BC
Hence, the current state of congress, the executive, and the courts ...