Leaves of Grass
How many presidents owned slaves at some point in their lives?
With kind permission from Philip at http://pmespeak.com
Dec. 9, 2013
“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both…No nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established. They are read in every page which records the progression from a less arbitrary to a more arbitrary government, or the transition from a popular government to an aristocracy or a monarchy.”—James Madison, “Political Observations,” April 20, 1795
James Madison was an aristocrat and slave owner. Wondering if—America’s founding-fathers did spin tales from double tongues and savage intentions…Mile wide emptiness and growing. Those few will soon not see us or hear our cries. Will they still expect our deaths for causes and foundations and reasons and rhythms we ultimately will not understand? The hungry and the sick and the tired sometimes raise to revolution and another chance for real freedom—not songs and bells and another war for no reasons but ‘maybe…’ America is the only nation on this sweet world to ‘nuke’ two living cities into rubble. Must have made a statement or two and when time becomes hard-times nothing better than another war to keep us regular folk; fearful-busy-sad-productive and confused.
Write now about the left-right write side of life and sometimes-some—days that go and leave and stay and come into worlds of our own self of self-sided dreams and other things all—better than good and also bad but not too bad to do again or leave behind in dusted bins of trash-can ways and dusted evening skies. And! Under moons of double lights as the fours of daylight fade into rising sun flash…dusted bins of trash searched through to save twin scraps—surviving again for use by others—then again discarded or lost to dust to rust and ruin.
The loves of men and the loves of women and freedoms’ sweetest notions must not be divided by the capital of greed and the power of stalled legislation—an impotent executive branch—and a purchased judicial robe. Sweet truths are beliefs…that all life is equal life— that all women and men—rich or poor are above borders of wherever boarders for non-reasons and are never judged by color—big guns—atomic death—and that eternal diatribe of isolation—individuality and Fear…
We are not notions to kill or die. We wear different packages of cloth and color and need and we all bleed red same—as liquid and air mix and body same moves across these places or other spaces in motions to exist together without pride or prejudice or of religions to-take-to-hate or to replace irreplaceable life. Poverty is a never Crime—Greed is a Crime against all Humanity.
Know of beautiful colors through both the eyes and with our fingers. Hear a lover’s voice touch heart before substance becomes words of meaning or reason or other notions. Know silence—as silence fills all senses with thunder and noise and music and notes chaotic or symphonic simplicity as duality ceases and singularity melts into universal unity and truth.
Give us a world—where women walk in day/night safety and no one understands a word called ‘war’…Where love is love and where force does not occur…Where there are no dark places called ‘heaven’ or ‘hell.’ A place where life does belong and life is good everyday…Heaven or Luck… No! We create worlds—we maintain worlds and we all Love our Children—For the magic and mischief-of-life—Gods are not required…
Philip K. Dick ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ may have discovered that without our machined ghosts we could not dream. With our Spirit-flight we do care that our sheep are electric and our dreams are android hopes and that our loves—do kiss away our sparkling tears and fears…And! Androids do dance into Electric nights and love does lead shifting-shapes through the darkest frights and into those sweetest lights. Shadow-touch across ceilings of moon dust and spaces of time-without-races and inside these moments—Life is an Almost-Maybe.
Osho (11 December 1931 – 19 January 1990) was an Indian mystic, guru and spiritual teacher who has an international following. A professor of philosophy, he travelled throughout India during the 1960s as a public speaker and has spoken on timeless issues such as meditation, freedom, love, happiness, and enlightenment. Osho states that one of his main reasons for his talks is to give people an experience of meditation and silence.
by bmc, Dec 8, 2013
Some time ago, I discovered that there exists something like the ‘Jain attitude to life’. I don’t know whether to call it religion. It’s similar to Buddhism but in a more extreme way.
Jains believe that there is life and consciousness in everything, and thus believe that everything is capable of suffering and consciousness including inanimate objects, single-celled life forms, insects, animals, and humans. Because of this Jains are extremist believers in non-violence and austerity. Jainism rejects the belief in a creator God. They believe that the universe in eternal, that it has always existed, must continually change, and in that change structure arises on its own.
I think, in our time – in a violent world of corrupt politics, population enslavement and materializm – it is a real challenge to follow such a path and I wondered how Jains manage their day in the modern life. This question lead me to a document of Priyanka Jain describing a typical Jain day and I found some really useful advices in it. Here are some of them:
|Brush/Shave||Do not leave the water running. Turn the lights off. Save energy.|
|Shower||Seven minute shower (with non-animal tested soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.).|
|Driving||Take three deep breaths when pulling out of your driveway (or home). Drive with mindfulness, relax in traffic, and avoid road rage. Look forward to a red light—it will give you an opportunity to relax.|
|Each Hour||Relax, stretch the body once every hour and do deep breathing (15 seconds long) several times each hour.|
|Work/Study||Respect others’ views; keep Non-Absolutism in mind; control anger and criticism; be humble, friendly and compassionate.|
|Dinner||Eat a healthy, tofu, protein-based balanced meal. Eat until you reach only 75% of a full stomach. Eat fresh vegetables/meals when possible. Avoid garlic, onions, and if possible, potatoes (bmc: one of the reasons is that insects and other small creatures are harmed when harvesting root vegetables).|
|Recycling||Recycle every little item (newspaper, boxes, plastic bottles, cans, office papers, etc.).|
|Media||Watch educational shows, light comedy, and news on TV/Internet. Avoid violent and scandalous shows.|
|Pollution in your town||Be aware of the air you breathe and toxins in your community. See what precautions you can take.|
Neverthelesse, living the ‘real’ Jain way is even more than challenging. Jains not only avoid to eat meat and root vegetables, take the long way to avoid trampling the grass and ask for forgivness when coming across roadkill. Some cover their mouth to avoid breathing in small life forms from the air or give up jogging because they are afraid of killing ants. They also care about microorganisms and feel a pang of conscience when they are supposed to take antibiotics. Is it even possible to be a pure Jain?
Yesterday I came across Bostrom’s paper on Simulation Argument and it fascinated me. Nick Bostrom is an Oxford philosopher whose research interests include philosophy of science, foundations of probability theory, ethics, and emerging technologies. He is the director of the Future of Humanity Institute. http://www.simulation-argument.com/
Bostrom’s paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true:
(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage;
(2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof);
(3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.
I recommend the following video to you in which Bostrom discusses The Simulation Argument. It’s easy to follow his explanations as the idea behind The Simulation Argument is based on simple logic. Out of it, the possibility that we are living in a computer simulation seems very likely. That would mean: you and I are not ‘real’. A very interesting topic that will lead you to questions that probably didn’t cross your mind yet.
To Sion, with love.
Take a cat, add some philosophy and some dark humor, the end result is a work of art…Lou
Sep 29, 2013
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
“Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
“When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.”
You may know Mark Twain for some of his very popular books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He was a writer and also a humorist, satirist and lecturer.
Twain is known for his many – and often funny – quotes. Here are a few of my favourite tips from him.
1. Approve of yourself.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behaviour and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want.
This can, in a related way, be a big obstacle in personal growth. You may have all the right tools to grow in some way but you feel an inner resistance. You can’t get there.
What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of. They might tell you that you aren’t really that kind of person that could this thing that you’re attempting.
Or if you make some headway in the direction you want to go you may start to sabotage for yourself. To keep yourself in a place that is familiar for you.
So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time.
2. Your limitations may just be in your mind.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.
And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself.
If you, on the other hand, don’t mind then people tend to not mind that much either. And if you don’t mind then you won’t let that part of yourself become a self-imposed roadblock in your life.
It is, for instance, seldom too late to do what you want to do.
3. Lighten up and have some fun.
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
Humor and laughter are amazing tools. They can turn any serious situation into something to laugh about. They can lighten the mood just about anywhere.
And a lighter mood is often a better space to work in because now your body and mind isn’t filled to the brim with negative emotions. When you are more light-hearted and relaxed then the solution to a situation is often easier to both come up with and implement. Have a look at Lighten Up! for more on this topic.
4. Let go of anger.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Anger is most of the time pretty pointless. It can cause situations to get out of hand. And from a selfish perspective it often more hurtful for the one being angry then the person s/he’s angry at.
So even if you feel angry at someone for days recognize that you are mostly just hurting yourself. The other person may not even be aware that you are angry at him or her. So either talking to the person and resolving the conflict or letting go of anger as quickly as possible are pretty good tips to make your life more pleasurable.
5. Release yourself from entitlement.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing.It was here first.”
When you are young your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older you may have a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something.
This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something.
You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want.
6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
I think this has quite a bit of relevance to self-improvement.
If you start to change or do something different than you usually do then people may react in different ways. Some may be happy for you. Some may be indifferent. Some may be puzzled or react in negative and discouraging ways.
Much of these reactions are probably not so much about you but about the person who said it and his/her life. How they feel about themselves is coming through in the words they use and judgements they make.
And that’s OK. I think it’s pretty likely that they won’t react as negatively as you may imagine. Or they will probably at least go back to focusing on their own challenges pretty soon.
So what other people may say and think and letting that hold you back is probably just fantasy and barrier you build in your mind.
You may find that when you finally cross that inner threshold you created then people around you may not shun you or go chasing after you with pitchforks. They might just go: “OK”.
7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
What you focus your mind on greatly determines how things play out. You can focus on your problems and dwell in suffering and a victim mentality. Or you can focus on the positive in situation, what you can learn from that situation or just focus your mind on something entirely else.
It may be “normal” to dwell on problems and swim around in a sea of negativity. But that is a choice. And a thought habit. You may reflexively start to dwell on problems instead of refocusing your mind on something more useful. But you can also start to build a habit of learning to gain more and more control of where you put your focus.
8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
This may be a bit of a counter-intuitive tip. But as I wrote yesterday, one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make someone else feel good or to help them in some way.
This is a great way to look at things to create an upward spiral of positivity and exchange of value between people. You help someone and both of you feel good. The person you helped feels inclined to give you a hand later on since people tend to want to reciprocate. And so the both of you are feeling good and helping each other.
Those positive feelings are contagious to other people and so you may end up making them feel good too. And the help you received from your friend may inspire you to go and help another friend. And so the upward spiral grows and continues.
9. Do what you want to do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Awesome quote. And I really don’t have much to add to that one. Well, maybe to write it down and keep it as a daily reminder – on your fridge or bathroom door – of what you can actually do with your life.
This article is reprinted here with permission. Henrik Edberg is a writer who lives on the east coast of Sweden. He is passionate about happiness and personal development and writes about it every week on The Positivity Blog and in his free newsletter.
During the latest episode of the Washington farce that has astonished a bemused world, a Chinese commentator wrote that if the United States cannot be a responsible member of the world system, perhaps the world should become “de-Americanized” — and separate itself from the rogue state that is the reigning military power but is losing credibility in other domains.
The Washington debacle’s immediate source was the sharp shift to the right among the political class. In the past, the U.S. has sometimes been described sardonically — but not inaccurately — as a one-party state: the business party, with two factions called Democrats and Republicans.
That is no longer true. The U.S. is still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction: moderate Republicans, now called New Democrats (as the U.S. Congressional coalition styles itself).
There is still a Republican organization, but it long ago abandoned any pretense of being a normal parliamentary party. Conservative commentator Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute describes today’s Republicans as “a radical insurgency — ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition”: a serious danger to the society.
The party is in lock-step service to the very rich and the corporate sector. Since votes cannot be obtained on that platform, the party has been compelled to mobilize sectors of the society that are extremist by world standards. Crazy is the new norm among Tea Party members and a host of others beyond the mainstream.
The Republican establishment and its business sponsors had expected to use them as a battering ram in the neoliberal assault against the population — to privatize, to deregulate and to limit government, while retaining those parts that serve wealth and power, like the military.
The Republican establishment has had some success, but now finds that it can no longer control its base, much to its dismay. The impact on American society thus becomes even more severe. A case in point: the virulent reaction against the Affordable Care Act and the near-shutdown of the government.
The Chinese commentator’s observation is not entirely novel. In 1999, political analyst Samuel P. Huntington warned that for much of the world, the U.S. is “becoming the rogue superpower,” seen as “the single greatest external threat to their societies.”
A few months into the Bush term, Robert Jervis, president of the American Political Science Association, warned that “In the eyes of much of the world, in fact, the prime rogue state today is the United States.” Both Huntington and Jervis warned that such a course is unwise. The consequences for the U.S. could be harmful.
In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, the leading establishment journal, David Kaye reviews one aspect of Washington’s departure from the world: rejection of multilateral treaties “as if it were sport.”
He explains that some treaties are rejected outright, as when the U.S. Senate “voted against the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1999.”
Others are dismissed by inaction, including “such subjects as labor, economic and cultural rights, endangered species, pollution, armed conflict, peacekeeping, nuclear weapons, the law of the sea, and discrimination against women.”
Rejection of international obligations “has grown so entrenched,” Kaye writes, “that foreign governments no longer expect Washington’s ratification or its full participation in the institutions treaties create. The world is moving on; laws get made elsewhere, with limited (if any) American involvement.”
While not new, the practice has indeed become more entrenched in recent years, along with quiet acceptance at home of the doctrine that the U.S. has every right to act as a rogue state.
To take a typical example, a few weeks ago U.S. special operations forces snatched a suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi, from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli, bringing him to a naval vessel for interrogation without counsel or rights. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry informed the press that the actions are legal because they comply with American law, eliciting no particular comment.
Principles are valid only if they are universal. Reactions would be a bit different, needless to say, if Cuban special forces kidnapped the prominent terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Miami, bringing him to Cuba for interrogation and trial in accordance with Cuban law.
Such actions are restricted to rogue states. More accurately, to the one rogue state that is powerful enough to act with impunity: in recent years, to carry out aggression at will, to terrorize large regions of the world with drone attacks, and much else.
And to defy the world in other ways, for example by persisting in its embargo against Cuba despite the long-term opposition of the entire world, apart from Israel, which voted with its protector when the United Nations again condemned the embargo (188-2) in October.
Whatever the world may think, U.S. actions are legitimate because we say so. The principle was enunciated by the eminent statesman Dean Acheson in 1962, when he instructed the American Society of International Law that no legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its “power, position, and prestige.”
Cuba committed that crime when it beat back a U.S. invasion and then had the audacity to survive an assault designed to bring “the terrors of the earth” to Cuba, in the words of Kennedy adviser and historian Arthur Schlesinger.
When the U.S. gained independence, it sought to join the international community of the day. That is why the Declaration of Independence opens by expressing concern for the “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”
A crucial element was evolution from a disorderly confederacy to a unified “treaty-worthy nation,” in diplomatic historian Eliga H. Gould’s phrase, that observed the conventions of the European order. By achieving this status, the new nation also gained the right to act as it wished internally.
It could thus proceed to rid itself of the indigenous population and to expand slavery, an institution so “odious” that it could not be tolerated in England, as the distinguished jurist William Murray, Earl of Mansfield, ruled in 1772. Evolving English law was a factor impelling the slave-owning society to escape its reach.
Becoming a treaty-worthy nation thus conferred multiple advantages: foreign recognition, and the freedom to act at home without interference. Hegemonic power offers the opportunity to become a rogue state, freely defying international law and norms, while facing increased resistance abroad and contributing to its own decline through self-inflicted wounds.
The upheavals of the early 21st century have changed our world. Now, in the aftermath of failed wars and economic disasters, pressure for a social alternative can only grow
Friday 19 October 2012
In the late summer of 2008, two events in quick succession signalled the end of the New World Order. In August, the US client state of Georgia was crushed in a brief but bloody war after it attacked Russian troops in the contested territory of South Ossetia.
The former Soviet republic was a favourite of Washington’s neoconservatives. Its authoritarian president had been lobbying hard for Georgia to join Nato’s eastward expansion. In an unblinking inversion of reality, US vice-president Dick Cheney denounced Russia‘s response as an act of “aggression” that “must not go unanswered”. Fresh from unleashing a catastrophic war on Iraq, George Bush declared Russia’s “invasion of a sovereign state” to be “unacceptable in the 21st century”.
As the fighting ended, Bush warned Russia not to recognise South Ossetia’s independence. Russia did exactly that, while US warships were reduced to sailing around the Black Sea. The conflict marked an international turning point. The US’s bluff had been called, its military sway undermined by the war on terror, Iraq and Afghanistan. After two decades during which it bestrode the world like a colossus, the years of uncontested US power were over.
Three weeks later, a second, still more far-reaching event threatened the heart of the US-dominated global financial system. On 15 September, the credit crisis finally erupted in the collapse of America’s fourth-largest investment bank. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers engulfed the western world in its deepest economic crisis since the 1930s.
The first decade of the 21st century shook the international order, turning the received wisdom of the global elites on its head – and 2008 was its watershed. With the end of the cold war, the great political and economic questions had all been settled, we were told. Liberal democracy and free-market capitalism had triumphed. Socialism had been consigned to history. Political controversy would now be confined to culture wars and tax-and-spend trade-offs.
In 1990, George Bush Senior had inaugurated a New World Order, based on uncontested US military supremacy and western economic dominance. This was to be a unipolar world without rivals. Regional powers would bend the knee to the new worldwide imperium. History itself, it was said, had come to an end.
But between the attack on the Twin Towers and the fall of Lehman Brothers, that global order had crumbled. Two factors were crucial. By the end of a decade of continuous warfare, the US had succeeded in exposing the limits, rather than the extent, of its military power. And the neoliberal capitalist model that had reigned supreme for a generation had crashed.
It was the reaction of the US to 9/11 that broke the sense of invincibility of the world’s first truly global empire. The Bush administration’s wildly miscalculated response turned the atrocities in New York and Washington into the most successful terror attack in history.
Not only did Bush’s war fail on its own terms, spawning terrorists across the world, while its campaign of killings, torture and kidnapping discredited Western claims to be guardians of human rights. But the US-British invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq revealed the inability of the global behemoth to impose its will on subject peoples prepared to fight back. That became a strategic defeat for the US and its closest allies.
This passing of the unipolar moment was the first of four decisive changes that transformed the world – in some crucial ways for the better. The second was the fallout from the crash of 2008 and the crisis of the western-dominated capitalist order it unleashed, speeding up relative US decline.
This was a crisis made in America and deepened by the vast cost of its multiple wars. And its most devastating impact was on those economies whose elites had bought most enthusiastically into the neoliberal orthodoxy of deregulated financial markets and unfettered corporate power.
A voracious model of capitalism forced down the throats of the world as the only way to run a modern economy, at a cost of ballooning inequality and environmental degradation, had been discredited – and only rescued from collapse by the greatest state intervention in history. The baleful twins of neoconservatism and neoliberalism had been tried and tested to destruction.
The failure of both accelerated the rise of China, the third epoch-making change of the early 21st century. Not only did the country’s dramatic growth take hundreds of millions out of poverty, but its state-driven investment model rode out the west’s slump, making a mockery of market orthodoxy and creating a new centre of global power. That increased the freedom of manoeuvre for smaller states.
China’s rise widened the space for the tide of progressive change that swept Latin America – the fourth global advance. Across the continent, socialist and social-democratic governments were propelled to power, attacking economic and racial injustice, building regional independence and taking back resources from corporate control. Two decades after we had been assured there could be no alternatives to neoliberal capitalism, Latin Americans were creating them.
These momentous changes came, of course, with huge costs and qualifications. The US will remain the overwhelmingly dominant military power for the foreseeable future; its partial defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan were paid for in death and destruction on a colossal scale; and multipolarity brings its own risks of conflict. The neoliberal model was discredited, but governments tried to refloat it through savage austerity programmes. China’s success was bought at a high price in inequality, civil rights and environmental destruction. And Latin America’s US-backed elites remained determined to reverse the social gains, as they succeeded in doing by violent coup in Honduras in 2009. Such contradictions also beset the revolutionary upheaval that engulfed the Arab world in 2010-11, sparking another shift of global proportions.
By then, Bush’s war on terror had become such an embarrassment that the US government had to change its name to “overseas contingency operations”. Iraq was almost universally acknowledged to have been a disaster, Afghanistan a doomed undertaking. But such chastened realism couldn’t be further from how these campaigns were regarded in the western mainstream when they were first unleashed.
To return to what was routinely said by British and US politicians and their tame pundits in the aftermath of 9/11 is to be transported into a parallel universe of toxic fantasy. Every effort was made to discredit those who rejected the case for invasion and occupation – and would before long be comprehensively vindicated.
Michael Gove, now a Tory cabinet minister, poured vitriol on the Guardian for publishing a full debate on the attacks, denouncing it as a “Prada-Meinhof gang” of “fifth columnists”. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun damned those warning against war as “anti-American propagandists of the fascist left”. When the Taliban regime was overthrown, Blair issued a triumphant condemnation of those (myself included) who had opposed the invasion of Afghanistan and war on terror. We had, he declared, “proved to be wrong”.
A decade later, few could still doubt that it was Blair’s government that had “proved to be wrong”, with catastrophic consequences. The US and its allies would fail to subdue Afghanistan, critics predicted. The war on terror would itself spread terrorism. Ripping up civil rights would have dire consequences – and an occupation of Iraq would be a blood-drenched disaster.
The war party’s “experts”, such as the former “viceroy of Bosnia” Paddy Ashdown, derided warnings that invading Afghanistan would lead to a “long-drawn-out guerrilla campaign” as ”fanciful”. More than 10 years on, armed resistance was stronger than ever and the war had become the longest in American history.
It was a similar story in Iraq – though opposition had by then been given voice by millions on the streets. Those who stood against the invasion were still accused of being “appeasers”. US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted the war would last six days. Most of the Anglo-American media expected resistance to collapse in short order. They were entirely wrong.
A new colonial-style occupation of Iraq would, I wrote in the first week of invasion, “face determined guerrilla resistance long after Saddam Hussein has gone” and the occupiers “be driven out”. British troops did indeed face unrelenting attacks until they were forced out in 2009, as did US regular troops until they were withdrawn in 2011.
But it wasn’t just on the war on terror that opponents of the New World Order were shown to be right and its cheerleaders to be talking calamitous nonsense. For 30 years, the west’s elites insisted that only deregulated markets, privatisation and low taxes on the wealthy could deliver growth and prosperity.
Long before 2008, the “free market” model had been under fierce attack: neoliberalism was handing power to unaccountable banks and corporations, anti-corporate globalisation campaigners argued, fuelling poverty and social injustice and eviscerating democracy – and was both economically and ecologically unsustainable.
In contrast to New Labour politicians who claimed “boom and bust” to be a thing of the past, critics dismissed the idea that the capitalist trade cycle could be abolished as absurd. Deregulation, financialisation and the reckless promotion of debt-fuelled speculation would, in fact, lead to crisis.
The large majority of economists who predicted that the neoliberal model was heading for breakdown were, of course, on the left. So while in Britain the main political parties all backed “light-touch regulation” of finance, its opponents had long argued that City liberalisation threatened the wider economy.
Critics warned that privatising public services would cost more, drive down pay and conditions and fuel corruption. Which is exactly what happened. And in the European Union, where corporate privilege and market orthodoxy were embedded into treaty, the result was ruinous. The combination of liberalised banking with an undemocratic, lopsided and deflationary currency union that critics (on both left and right in this case) had always argued risked breaking apart was a disaster waiting to happen. The crash then provided the trigger.
The case against neoliberal capitalism had been overwhelmingly made on the left, as had opposition to the US-led wars of invasion and occupation. But it was strikingly slow to capitalise on its vindication over the central controversies of the era. Hardly surprising, perhaps, given the loss of confidence that flowed from the left’s 20th-century defeats – including in its own social alternatives.
But driving home the lessons of these disasters was essential if they were not to be repeated. Even after Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on terror was pursued in civilian-slaughtering drone attacks from Pakistan to Somalia. The western powers played the decisive role in the overthrow of the Libyan regime – acting in the name of protecting civilians, who then died in their thousands in a Nato-escalated civil war, while conflict-wracked Syria was threatened with intervention and Iran with all-out attack.
And while neoliberalism had been discredited, western governments used the crisis to try to entrench it. Not only were jobs, pay and benefits cut as never before, but privatisation was extended still further. Being right was, of course, never going to be enough. What was needed was political and social pressure strong enough to turn the tables of power.
Revulsion against a discredited elite and its failed social and economic project steadily deepened after 2008. As the burden of the crisis was loaded on to the majority, the spread of protests, strikes and electoral upheavals demonstrated that pressure for real change had only just begun. Rejection of corporate power and greed had become the common sense of the age.
The historian Eric Hobsbawm described the crash of 2008 as a “sort of right-wing equivalent to the fall of the Berlin wall”. It was commonly objected that after the implosion of communism and traditional social democracy, the left had no systemic alternative to offer. But no model ever came pre-cooked. All of them, from Soviet power and the Keynesian welfare state to Thatcherite-Reaganite neoliberalism, grew out of ideologically driven improvisation in specific historical circumstances.
The same would be true in the aftermath of the crisis of the neoliberal order, as the need to reconstruct a broken economy on a more democratic, egalitarian and rational basis began to dictate the shape of a sustainable alternative. Both the economic and ecological crisis demanded social ownership, public intervention and a shift of wealth and power. Real life was pushing in the direction of progressive solutions.
The upheavals of the first years of the 21st century opened up the possibility of a new kind of global order, and of genuine social and economic change. As communists learned in 1989, and the champions of capitalism discovered 20 years later, nothing is ever settled.
This is an edited extract from The Revenge of History: the Battle for the 21st Century by Seumas Milne, published by Verso. Buy it for £16 at guardianbookshop.co.uk
With permission from Truthout.org
Monday, 28 October 2013
“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”
Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.
It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public’s imagination.
Revolution usually erupts over events that would, in normal circumstances, be considered meaningless or minor acts of injustice by the state. But once the tinder of revolt has piled up, as it has in the United States, an insignificant spark easily ignites popular rebellion. No person or movement can ignite this tinder. No one knows where or when the eruption will take place. No one knows the form it will take. But it is certain now that a popular revolt is coming. The refusal by the corporate state to address even the minimal grievances of the citizenry, along with the abject failure to remedy the mounting state repression, the chronic unemployment and underemployment, the massive debt peonage that is crippling more than half of Americans, and the loss of hope and widespread despair, means that blowback is inevitable.
“Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot ‘make’ a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle,” Berkman wrote. “It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is.”
Revolutions, when they erupt, appear to the elites and the establishment to be sudden and unexpected. This is because the real work of revolutionary ferment and consciousness is unseen by the mainstream society, noticed only after it has largely been completed. Throughout history, those who have sought radical change have always had to first discredit the ideas used to prop up ruling elites and construct alternative ideas for society, ideas often embodied in a utopian revolutionary myth. The articulation of a viable socialism as an alternative to corporate tyranny—as attempted by the book “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and the website Popular Resistance—is, for me, paramount. Once ideas shift for a large portion of a population, once the vision of a new society grips the popular imagination, the old regime is finished.
An uprising that is devoid of ideas and vision is never a threat to ruling elites. Social upheaval without clear definition and direction, without ideas behind it, descends into nihilism, random violence and chaos. It consumes itself. This, at its core, is why I disagree with some elements of the Black Bloc anarchists. I believe in strategy. And so did many anarchists, including Berkman, Emma Goldman, Pyotr Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin.
By the time ruling elites are openly defied, there has already been a nearly total loss of faith in the ideas—in our case free market capitalism and globalization—that sustain the structures of the ruling elites. And once enough people get it, a process that can take years, “the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent,” as Berkman wrote. “Evolution becomes revolution.”
This is where we are headed. I do not say this because I am a supporter of revolution. I am not. I prefer the piecemeal and incremental reforms of a functioning democracy. I prefer a system in which our social institutions permit the citizenry to nonviolently dismiss those in authority. I prefer a system in which institutions are independent and not captive to corporate power. But we do not live in such a system. Revolt is the only option left. Ruling elites, once the ideas that justify their existence are dead, resort to force. It is their final clutch at power. If a nonviolent popular movement is able to ideologically disarm the bureaucrats, civil servants and police—to get them, in essence, to defect—nonviolent revolution is possible. But if the state can organize effective and prolonged violence against dissent, it spawns reactive revolutionary violence, or what the state calls terrorism. Violent revolutions usually give rise to revolutionaries as ruthless as their adversaries. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Violent revolutions are always tragic. I, and many other activists, seek to keep our uprising nonviolent. We seek to spare the country the savagery of domestic violence by both the state and its opponents. There is no guarantee that we will succeed, especially with the corporate state controlling a vast internal security apparatus and militarized police forces. But we must try.
Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves.
Our shift to corporate totalitarianism, like the shift to all forms of totalitarianism, is incremental. Totalitarian systems ebb and flow, sometimes taking one step back before taking two steps forward, as they erode democratic liberalism. This process is now complete. The “consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. Barack Obama cannot defy corporate power any more than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton could. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Bush, who is intellectually and probably emotionally impaired, did not understand the totalitarian process abetted by the presidency. Because Clinton and Obama, and their Democratic Party, understand the destructive roles they played and are playing, they must be seen as far more cynical and far more complicit in the ruination of the country. Democratic politicians speak in the familiar “I-feel-your-pain” language of the liberal class while allowing corporations to strip us of personal wealth and power. They are effective masks for corporate power.
The corporate state seeks to maintain the fiction of our personal agency in the political and economic process. As long as we believe we are participants, a lie sustained through massive propaganda campaigns, endless and absurd election cycles and the pageantry of empty political theater, our corporate oligarchs rest easy in their private jets, boardrooms, penthouses and mansions. As the bankruptcy of corporate capitalism and globalization is exposed, the ruling elite are increasingly nervous. They know that if the ideas that justify their power die, they are finished. This is why voices of dissent—as well as spontaneous uprisings such as the Occupy movement—are ruthlessly crushed by the corporate state.
“… [M]any ideas, once held to be true, have come to be regarded as wrong and evil,” Berkman wrote in his essay. “Thus the ideas of the divine right of kings, of slavery and serfdom. There was a time when the whole world believed those institutions to be right, just, and unchangeable. In the measure that those superstitions and false beliefs were fought by advanced thinkers, they became discredited and lost their hold upon the people, and finally the institutions that incorporated those ideas were abolished. Highbrows will tell you that they had ‘outlived’ their ‘usefulness’ and therefore they ‘died.’ But how did they ‘outlive’ their ‘usefulness’? To whom were they useful, and how did they ‘die’? We know already that they were useful only to the master class, and they were done away with by popular uprisings and revolutions.”
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
Oct 20, 2013
Russell Brand answers the question “What Is The Ultimate Truth?”
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Adam Ziaja
In the halls of Congress and the Pentagon, it’s business as usual, if your definition of “business” is the power and profits you get from constantly preparing for and prosecuting wars around the world. “War is a racket,” General Smedley Butler famously declared in 1935, and even now it’s hard to disagree with a man who had two Congressional Medals of Honor to his credit and was intimately familiar with American imperialism.
War Is Politics, Right?
Once upon a time, as a serving officer in the U.S. Air Force, I was taught that Carl von Clausewitz had defined war as a continuation of politics by other means. This definition is, in fact, a simplification of his classic and complex book, On War, written after his experiences fighting Napoleon in the early nineteenth century.
The idea of war as a continuation of politics is both moderately interesting and dangerously misleading: interesting because it connects war to political processes and suggests that they should be fought for political goals; misleading because it suggests that war is essentially rational and so controllable. The fault here is not Clausewitz’s, but the American military’s for misreading and oversimplifying him.
Perhaps another “Carl” might lend a hand when it comes to helping Americans understand what war is really all about. I’m referring to Karl Marx, who admired Clausewitz, notably for his idea that combat is to war what a cash payment is to commerce. However seldom combat (or such payments) may happen, they are the culmination and so the ultimate arbiters of the process.
War, in other words, is settled by killing, a bloody transaction that echoes the exploitative exchanges of capitalism. Marx found this idea to be both suggestive and pregnant with meaning. So should we all.
Following Marx, Americans ought to think about war not just as an extreme exercise of politics, but also as a continuation of exploitative commerce by other means. Combat as commerce: there’s more in that than simple alliteration.
In the history of war, such commercial transactions took many forms, whether as territory conquered, spoils carted away, raw materials appropriated, or market share gained. Consider American wars. The War of 1812 is sometimes portrayed as a minor dust-up with Britain, involving the temporary occupation and burning of our capital, but it really was about crushing Indians on the frontier and grabbing their land. The Mexican-American War was another land grab, this time for the benefit of slaveholders. The Spanish-American War was a land grab for those seeking an American empire overseas, while World War I was for making the world “safe for democracy” — and for American business interests globally.
Even World War II, a war necessary to stop Hitler and Imperial Japan, witnessed the emergence of the U.S. as the arsenal of democracy, the world’s dominant power, and the new imperial stand-in for a bankrupt British Empire.
Korea? Vietnam? Lots of profit for the military-industrial complex and plenty of power for the Pentagon establishment. Iraq, the Middle East, current adventures in Africa? Oil, markets, natural resources, global dominance.
In societal calamities like war, there will always be winners and losers. But the clearest winners are often companies like Boeing and Dow Chemical, which provided B-52 bombers and Agent Orange, respectively, to the U.S. military in Vietnam. Such “arms merchants” — an older, more honest term than today’s “defense contractor” — don’t have to pursue the hard sell, not when war and preparations for it have become so permanently, inseparably intertwined with the American economy, foreign policy, and our nation’s identity as a rugged land of “warriors” and “heroes” (more on that in a moment).
War as Disaster Capitalism
Consider one more definition of war: not as politics or even as commerce, but as societal catastrophe. Thinking this way, we can apply Naomi Klein’s concepts of the “shock doctrine” and “disaster capitalism” to it. When such disasters occur, there are always those who seek to turn a profit.
Most Americans are, however, discouraged from thinking about war this way thanks to the power of what we call “patriotism” or, at an extreme, “superpatriotism” when it applies to us, and the significantly more negative “nationalism” or “ultra-nationalism” when it appears in other countries. During wars, we’re told to “support our troops,” to wave the flag, to put country first, to respect the patriotic ideal of selfless service and redemptive sacrifice (even if all but 1% of us are never expected to serve or sacrifice).
We’re discouraged from reflecting on the uncomfortable fact that, as “our” troops sacrifice and suffer, others in society are profiting big time. Such thoughts are considered unseemly and unpatriotic. Pay no attention to the war profiteers, who pass as perfectly respectable companies. After all, any price is worth paying (or profits worth offering up) to contain the enemy — not so long ago, the red menace, but in the twenty-first century, the murderous terrorist.
Forever war is forever profitable. Think of the Lockheed Martins of the world. In their commerce with the Pentagon, as well as the militaries of other nations, they ultimately seek cash payment for their weapons and a world in which such weaponry will be eternally needed. In the pursuit of security or victory, political leaders willingly pay their price.
Call it a Clausewitzian/Marxian feedback loop or the dialectic of Carl and Karl. It also represents the eternal marriage of combat and commerce. If it doesn’t catch all of what war is about, it should at least remind us of the degree to which war as disaster capitalism is driven by profit and power.
For a synthesis, we need only turn from Carl or Karl to Cal — President Calvin Coolidge, that is. “The business of America is business,” he declared in the Roaring Twenties. Almost a century later, the business of America is war, even if today’s presidents are too polite to mention that the business is booming.
America’s War Heroes as Commodities
Many young people today are, in fact, looking for a release from consumerism. In seeking new identities, quite a few turn to the military. And it provides. Recruits are hailed as warriors and warfighters, as heroes, and not just within the military either, but by society at large.
Yet in joining the military and being celebrated for that act, our troops paradoxically become yet another commodity, another consumable of the state. Indeed, they become consumed by war and its violence. Their compensation? To be packaged and marketed as the heroes of our militarized moment. Steven Gardiner, a cultural anthropologist and U.S. Army veteran, has written eloquently about what he calls the “heroic masochism” of militarized settings and their allure for America’s youth. Put succinctly, in seeking to escape a consumerism that has lost its meaning and find a release from dead-end jobs, many volunteers are transformed into celebrants of violence, seekers and givers of pain, a harsh reality Americans ignore as long as that violence is acted out overseas against our enemies and local populations.
Such “heroic” identities, tied so closely to violence in war, often prove poorly suited to peacetime settings. Frustration and demoralization devolve into domestic violence and suicide. In an American society with ever fewer meaningful peacetime jobs, exhibiting greater and greater polarization of wealth and opportunity, the decisions of some veterans to turn to or return to mind-numbing drugs of various sorts and soul-stirring violence is tragically predictable. That it stems from their exploitative commodification as so many heroic inflictors of violence in our name is a reality most Americans are content to forget.
You May Not Be Interested in War, but War Is Interested in You
As Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky pithily observed, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” If war is combat and commerce, calamity and commodity, it cannot be left to our political leaders alone — and certainly not to our generals. When it comes to war, however far from it we may seem to be, we’re all in our own ways customers and consumers. Some pay a high price. Many pay a little. A few gain a lot. Keep an eye on those few and you’ll end up with a keener appreciation of what war is actually all about.
No wonder our leaders tell us not to worry our little heads about our wars — just support those troops, go shopping, and keep waving that flag. If patriotism is famously the last refuge of the scoundrel, it’s also the first recourse of those seeking to mobilize customers for the latest bloodletting exercise in combat as commerce.
Just remember: in the grand bargain that is war, it’s their product and their profit. And that’s no bargain for America, or for that matter for the world.
Wu Wei is accepting life and not forcing it. It is being aware of the ebb and flow of the seasons, aware of the spirituality of all things, aware that in the great abundance of the God-Force, there is no time.
It is knowing when to act, and not acting until you know. You can wait forever if you have to. You are eternal.
Wu Wei is being content with what you are, with who you are, and with what you have now. It’s knowing that abundances and relationships of real worth, come only when and if you’re settled. When you’re balanced, the universe provides; more will always be there. But Wu Wei is the act of not pushing, not forcing.
Be the silent controlled person who is moving relentlessly toward freedom and away from restriction – toward your goals, one step at a time, in an organized patient way.
Wu Wei is also the ability to get around the blocks you experience as you try to materialize ideas and goals.
When life doesn’t want to dance to your tune, start by asking yourself these questions:
Am I in the right place? Am I too early or too late? Am I going too fast? Do I need more patience?
Do I need time to consolidate, to create an energy within myself that is compatible with my goal? Am I trying for something that’s too far in the distance? Do I need to set a goal closer to where I am now?
Is what I want appropriate?
Does my plan infringe on other people?
Does it require them to be something they don’t want to be, to do things they don’t want to do?
If I’m involving other people, what’s in it for them? ( Maybe the resistance comes from the fact that you’ve forgotten to include them.)
Have I looked after and honored everybody – made sure they are happy and ready to perform?
Is what I want self-indulgent?
Will it assist me in growing and becoming a better person, in achieving a more fulfilling life?
Or am I just indulging myself?
Remember, many of the things you want are, in fact dead weights – prisons you create for yourself. More often than not, material things weigh you down – because you have to look after them and worry about them.
Sometimes the deeper spiritual part of you, the infinite self within, protects you from disaster. You’ll head off, trying to achieve something that the inner spiritual you, the deeper subconscious self, doesn’t actually want. So it will make sure you arrive late, or the person you seek will not be there, or the check bounces, and things generally don’t work.
If things really are not working, and they turn out to be a mess, you have to think, Hey, is this because of something deep inside me – do I really want what I think I want? Am I committed to the idea or not? What are the consequences, obligations, and energies involved? Am I investing too much of myself in the idea? Perhaps it won’t mean much when I get it.
I’m sure you’ve had the experience of going for something and getting it, then realizing that the prize wasn’t worth the energy you expended; it was a disappointment. So be careful that you don’t hurtle off up some path just to prove what a hotshot you are, without thinking through your actions, whether they actually do anything for you.
The other question to ask yourself is:
Are my actions powerful and appropriate?
A few small, powerful actions are worth a hundred hours of diddling about. There’s a school of thought that says: When faced with an obstacle, whack your head against it until the thing breaks. Then move to the next obstacle, and whack it with whatever part of your skull still remains. I’m not keen on that idea; it seems to lack finesse.
When you’re faced with an obstacle, step back and take a long, hard look at what it is telling you. More often than not, you can adapt and walk around it. Sometimes you have to wait while you raise your energy enough to flow over the obstacle effortlessly.
Don’t whack your head against it. Stop. Get inside your power. Plot how you’re going to get around it, how you’re going to materialize the sales you need, for example, and how you can more effectively present your information to people.
No, don’t use your head to power yourself forward, by whacking it on things. Instead, use it silently, to feel out where your strongest path lies.
That is silent power.
© 2013 Stuart Wilde — Stuart Wilde.Com
The spiral galaxy IC 2560 in the constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) is what astronomers call a Seyfert-2 galaxy, a kind of spiral galaxy characterized by an extremely bright nucleus and very strong emission lines from certain elements – hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen.Picture: NASA/REUTERS
August 23, 2013
It’s been that way from inception. America’s history reflects violence. It’s blood-drenched. It glorifies war. It does so in the name of peace.
America believes war is peace. It’s part of the national culture. Eventuallyit’s self-destructive. Today’s super-weapons make the unthinkable possible.
Hyman Rickover knew. He knew decades ago. He founded America’s nuclear navy. In 1982, he told Congress:
“I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation. Then you might ask me why do I have nuclear powered ships?”
“That is a necessary evil. I would sink them all. I am not proud of the part I played in it. I did it because it was necessary for the safety of this country.”
That’s why I am such a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war. Unfortunately limits – attempts to limit war have always failed.”
“The lesson of history is when a war starts every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available.”
“Every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for billions of years.”
“I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.”
In his Der Ring des Nibelungen operas (The Ring of the Nibelungen), Richard Wagner portrayed his apocalyptic version. He did so musically. Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods) prophesied the end of the world.
Einstein feared it. He didn’t know what WW III weapons would be used. He said “World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Bertrand Russell was an Einstein contemporary. He knew. He warned. No one listened. He asked:
“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war.” It’s the only way to live in peace. The alternative is annihilation.
The choice is clear. The wrong one assuresdisaster. America’s heading humanity toward it. A slow-motion train wreck looms. The big one. There’s no second chance. There’s no coming back.
Historian Harry Elmer Barnes (1889 – 1968) once said:
“If trends continue as they have during the last fifteen years, we shall soon reach this point of no return, and can only anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace.”
Historian Arnold Toynbee worried about WW III. Only pigmies in remote jungles, apes and ants might be left to carry on “the cultural traditions of mankind,” he said.
According to HG Wells:
“If we don’t end war, war will end us.”
Mushroom shaped cloud finality threatens humanity. Enough of them causenuclear winter. They block out sun for years. Doing so endslife on Earth. It’s possible. It’s chilling. It’s not science fiction. It’s real. It bears repeating. There’s no coming back.
America wages permanent wars. It does so against enemies it creates. During the Cold War, Active Defense and AirLand Battle prepared strategies for how America would fight.
Soviet Russia was targeted. Today’s it’s modern day Russia. It’s China. AirSea Battle targets both countries. More on that below.
In 1998, US Space Command: Vision for 2020 discussed America’s grand strategy.
In 2000, DOD Joint Vision 2020 called for “full spectrum dominance” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems.
It did so with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary. Nuclear and other mass destruction weapons would be used preemptively.
“All things are global, indeed cosmic, for the memory of all things extends to all places and all times. The physical world is a reflection of energy vibrations from more subtle worlds that, in turn, are reflections of still more subtle energy fields. Creation, and all subsequent existence, is a progression downward and outward from the primordial source.”
Dr Charles Alexander Eastman~
born Ohiyesa of the Santee Sioux, in 1858
~Concerning the Paradox of Christian Civilization~
There was undoubtedly much in primitive Christianity to appeal to Indians, and Jesus’ hard sayings to the rich and about the rich would have been entirely comprehensible to him. Yet the religion that is preached in our churches and practiced by our congregations, with its element of display and self-aggrandizement, its active proselytism, and its open contempt of all religions but its own, was for a long time extremely repellent.
To his simple mind, the professionalism of the pulpit, the paid exhorter, the moneyed church, was an unspiritual and unedifying, and it was not until his spirit was broken and his moral and physical constitution undermined by trade, conquest, and strong drink, that Christian missionaries obtained any real hold upon him. Strange as it may seem, it is true that the proud pagan in his secret soul despised the good men who came to convert and to enlighten him!
Nor were its publicity and its Phariseeism the only elements in the alien religion that offended the red man. To him, it appeared shocking and almost incredible that there were among this people who claimed superiority many irreligious, who did not even pretend to profess the national.
Not only did they not profess it, but they stooped so low as to insult their God with profane and sacrilegious speech! In our own tongue His name was not spoken aloud, even with utmost reverence, much less lightly or irreverently.
More than this, even in those white men who professed religion we found much inconsistency of conduct. They spoke much of spiritual things, while seeking only the material. They bought and sold everything, labor, personal independence, the love of woman, and even the ministrations of their holy faith!
The lust for money, power, and conquest so characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race did not escape moral condemnation at the hands of his untutored judge, nor did he fail to contrast this conspicuous trait of the dominant race with the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus.
He might in time come to recognize that the drunkards and licentious among white men, with whom he too frequently came in contact, were condemned by the white man’s religion as well, and must not be held to discredit it. But it was not so easy to overlook or to excuse national bad faith.
When distinguished emissaries from the Father at Washington, some of them ministers of the gospel and even bishops, came to the Indian nations, and pledged to them in solemn treaty the national honor, with prayer and mention of their God; and when such treaties, so made, were promptly and shamelessly broken, is it strange that the action should arouse not only anger, but contempt? The historians of the white race admit that the Indian was never the first to repudiate his oath.
It is my personal belief, after thirty-five years’ experience of it, that there is no such thing as “Christian Civilization.” I believe that Christianity and modern civilization are opposed and irreconcilable, and that the spirit of Christianity and of our ancient religion is essentially the same.”
Excerpts from “The Soul of the Indian,” 1911