Friday, June 06, 2008

The Brutal, 'Iraqi' Education That Awaits John McCain

McCain was and remains on the wrong side of the unwinnable war against Iraq. He will and deserves to lose a race against any opposition and, most certainly, that of Barack Obama. McCain, typically, states a false dilemma --not unusual for the GOP, a party that has made its 'living' spreading lies, fallacies and propaganda.
In the wake of Scott McClellan's scathing indictment of the Bush regime's sprint to war, some administration pundits argue that to continue to debate why and how our country went to war some five years ago is a distraction from the more crucial issues at hand. The details and minutia of the complex decision to invade Iraq is better left to the historians to untangle. Rather, we should concentrate our efforts and attention on how best to capitalize upon the more recent "successes" of the "new" military strategy in Iraq.

Even were such optimism regarding the surge warranted, however, what these pundits fail to realize, is that military success and improved strategy does not of itself afford a moral and legal basis for continuing the occupation. Understanding how and why we invaded Iraq is relevant not only to ensure the accuracy of the historical record but, more importantly, to decide whether to continue the occupation in the hope or achieving a yet to be defined "victory," or in the words of John McCain, to "surrender," accept defeat and withdraw.

--Whether to Achieve Victory in Iraq or "Surrender"
The war is already lost and the GOP would not recognize victory if they saw it. They most certainly cannot define it.

There is NO 'victory' to be had when wars are waged upon lies and deceptions. Will 'lies' suddenly become true? Not a war but a crime, Iraq, like Viet Nam, was characterized by the lack of battlefields or fronts. It will be forever associated with quagmire and a 'resistance' that simply refused to line up and be shot like little tin soldiers. Apparently --nothing was learned in Viet Nam. The endless repetition of failed strategies is typical of both idiocy and insanity.

This 'war' was lost before it was begun. Secondly, there is simply no yardstick or standard now or ever by which victory is determined or even recognized. Does victory consist of killing every Iraqi who disagrees with the naked aggression against his country? Does victory consist of brainwashing Iraqis into believing the same pack of lies that were, until recently, believed by brainwashed Americans? Does victory consist of Halliburton getting all the oil it wants, raising the price of oil to every American still dependent upon fossil fuel vehicles? Does victory consist of a 'peace' (read: occupation) that an American presence is required for 100, perhaps, as McCain has suggested, 10,000 years? I don't think so, McCain!

If McCain should think so, then I suggest he get his ass to Iraq now. He has a very, very long education of some 10,000 years ahead of him.

Victory in Iraq? Forget about it! There is not now nor will there ever be victory in Iraq short of a decree by God himself that what Bush did in Iraq was right! As long as anyone lives to denounce the crimes and genocide and murder perpetrated by one George W. Bush, that war is lost to the US and lost forever to history.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

'Genocide by design?' Bush Administration Plans to 'Stay' in Iraq for the Oil

Just as Bush's attack and invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with WMD, the Iragi resistance has nothing to do with 'terrorism'. The original code name --Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) --gave the game away and was changed. Never called 'resistance', the Orwellian linguists inside the Bush White House called the resistance 'insurgents'. a term which implies an opposition to a 'legitimate' authority. But there is nothing legitimate about the US occupation, in fact, a theft of Iraq's most valuable natural resource. The US presence is, in fact, a war crime. Those resisting the US occupation are, therefore, not terrorists nor are they 'insurgents'

The Bush regime is responsible --legally and morally --for the deaths of some 1.2 million Iraqis and some 15,000 who die each month. [See: Michael Schwartz, Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is It More?]. The US, under Bush, is a terrorist nation and outlaw. Iraqi resistance, by contrast, is that of 'patriots' defending a 'homeland' against the crimes of mass murder, terrorism, and grand larceny.

The opposition by Iraqis is therefore legal and justified under international conventions. Even before the US attack and invasion, the Bush administration was laying the groundwork for one of his most pernicious lies: that the US is opposed in Iraq by terrorists. There is simply no reason whatsoever to believe that any part of that statement is true. The opposition to the US 'occupation' is, in fact, legitimate. It is the right of every people to defend a homeland against an aggressor and that is precisely what the Iraqi people have done in Iraq. As William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, put it when his mother England was at 'war' with rebellious colonies on the American continent:
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms -- never! never! Never!”

--William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech in Parliament on the Excise Bill
It is stupid of the Bush administration to expect the Iraqi people to abandon their country to Halliburton or Exxon-Mobil. But that appears to have been forced upon them.
Thursday, 5 June 2008, Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

--Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control
It is a recognized principle of international law that citizens have a right to take up arms against forces of aggression and occupation. Even America's delusional right wing must know that.
The Americans had not brought what they’d promised: a new order. The war wasn’t over, Iraq had no government, the liberators had become occupiers, and the occupation was slapdash, improvised, and inadequate—at best, a disappointment, and more often an insult.

So, in the fever heat, month after month of a hundred and ten and a hundred and twenty degrees, alienation set in. Frustration gave way to hostility, hostility gave way to violence, and by summer’s end the violence against Americans was increasingly organized. It was demoralizing. Every Iraqi might be the enemy.

What was the point of being there, unwanted? Nobody from the 372nd was killed in Al Hillah, but on patrols there was shooting, in the night there were explosions, and Sabrina had her nightmare. At least the picnic tables had seemed to her fanciful, the random furniture of dreamscapes—until she got to Abu Ghraib, and there they were.

--Exposure, Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, New Yorker
War crimes --wars of naked aggression --may be as unfair to the military forces required to fight them as to the victims of the aggression. Still --it is the Iraqi people's whose homeland was attacked and invaded who have the moral high ground. We have every right to judge Bush by his record of war crimes and lies. We have every right to suspect that Bush is lying now to begin yet another 'resource' war against the people of Iran. Bush could never had gotten away with it, if he had not been assisted by a cancerous growth upon the body politic: the 'mainstream media'.
And when discussing media consolidation, someone might tumble to the fact that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the world's largestarmaments manufacturers in 2006 and among the six largest media conglomerates. GE makes and maintains engines for the F-16 Fighter jet, Abrams tank, Apache helicopter, U2 bomber, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), A-10 aircraft and numerous other military equipment, including planes, helicopters, tanks and more.

Is it reasonable to expect NBC to report critically on the status and duration of the Iraq occupation? Or is it predictable that NBC's occupation coverage will tell us that the "surge" is working, that US troop deaths are down, that the Iraqi puppet regime is gaining traction and, if we can hang on for another decade, things should turn out hunky-dory.

Well, it's certain that extending the US presence in Iraq by a decade will have a very positive impact on GE's profit and loss statements. It's probably going to be somewhat less beneficial for the people who actually have to fight this insane proxy war on behalf of GE's bottom line.

But that's okay, since war is the optimum business condition for many industries -- banks, weapons makers, raw materials suppliers, machine tool makers and so on -- GE looks to sell many billions of dollars more of its killing machinery, all the while telling Americans via NBC how peace is just 10 or so years down the road.

And GE is just one of the main offenders. We'll leave for another day a discussion on how thoroughly Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has polluted the national discourse. Or how the acquisitive tentacles of Viacom, CBS, TimeWarner and Disney have managed to take a relatively engaged population and, in 30 short years, turn it into a nation of compliant, ill-informed, politically illiterate chowder heads content to consume their quota of goods, services and ideologies with an equally uncritical eye.

American mass media lost the thread of the story decades ago and are now only qualified to dish pop culture infotainment masquerading as news; report breathlessly on the latest D-class celebrity screw-up; and act as stenographers and cheerleaders for the latest batch of official Bush administration lies.

Among other insults, this explains why John Stossel is a network star while Bill Moyers is on PBS.

--Warren Pease, The Internet must die, Online Journal Contributing Writer
There is every reason to believe that Bush and the oil consortium that supports him intends to maintain a military presence, perhaps, forever. As John McCain said --for '10,000 years'.
Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors. A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilized Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

--Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control, THE INDEPENDENT
It would seem that Bush, the GOP, neocons, and the Military/Industrial Complex studied Orwell --not as a cautionary tale, but a 'textbook', a 'how to' re-invent the language such that their lies become 'true' and black is white.
Although they did not know it at the time, the lack of experience and training in handling prisoners in wartime made the soldiers of the 372nd ideally suited to Abu Ghraib, where almost nothing was run according to military doctrine. Since May, 2003, America’s war in Iraq had been waged as a chapter in the war on terror, and the military’s long-standing rules for running prisons in wartime had largely been ignored. By midsummer, the great majority of prisoners of war who were seized during the invasion had been released. Those who remained in captivity—along with all new prisoners seized by the military—were designated “security detainees,” a label that had gained currency in the war on terror, to describe “unlawful combatants” and other prisoners who had been denied POW status and could be held indefinitely, in isolation and secrecy, without judicial recourse.

--Exposure, Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, New Yorker
But these 'categories' were entirely made up by the Bush regime and the Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. There are no exceptions to the codes of military conduct. There are no exceptions for a 'war' that is not a 'war'. There are no exceptions to the rights accorded 'prisoners of war', taken into custody during what was called a 'war' on terrorism --a war that is a war when it is convenient for Bush to be at war but not a war when being at war requires of Bush standards mandated by the treaties and conventions to which the US has agreed and is bound by treaty and US Codes. Why are crimes against Americans punishable by death and the same crimes perpetrated against Iraqis are not? In fact, under law, Bush is culpable and must be 'brought to book'!

Pitt also said: "Where law ends, tyranny begins". I often wonder if Pitt were truly prescient to have foreseen the Bush administration, certainly the most lawless administration in America history, and, perhaps the world.
The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter,—but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

--William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech in Parliament on the Excise Bill
Pitt would not have liked George Bush who represents everything that Pitt detested --state arrogance, arbitrary rule, state subversions of the rule of law, lies, hypocrisy, mass murder and stupidity!

Additional rsources

Barack Obama's First Test: Will He Confront Proposed 'New Powers to Spy on Americans'?

As the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama faces his first real leadership challenge. The choice is this: Obama will either support or he will oppose GOP attempts to grant George W. Bush and the GOP 'new powers to spy on Americans'. If one is either a part of the solution or a part of the problem, this is Obama's first opportunity to prove himself a part of the solution. [See: National Journal ]

The measure at issue 'immunizes corporations' retroactively for crimes they've already committed. These are giant telecoms who broke the law when it was clearly illegal. Now --the GOP with Democratic complicity --proposes to flout the Constitutional ban on ex post facto law by writing into law a draconian measure that absolves the corporations of responsibility for the laws they've already broken.
The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat disclosed late Tuesday that he is ready to accept a Republican-brokered deal to rewrite the nation's electronic surveillance laws, signaling that a long-running congressional impasse could soon be coming to an end. House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes told CongressDaily that he is "fine" with language offered by Senate Intelligence ranking member Christopher (Kit) Bond and other Republicans to overhaul the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Notably, the GOP language, which was offered a day before the recent congressional recess, would leave it up to the secret FISA court to grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have helped the Bush administration conduct electronic surveillance on the communications of U.S. citizens without warrants [...] "It's about finding middle ground and we have middle ground," Reyes said of the compromise offered by Republicans. "It's not going to please everyone but let's get on with it." Reyes said he believes enough Democrats will support the proposal to pass it in the House.

--House Chairman Open To Republican Compromise On FISA, Congress Daily
Barack Obama could put an end to this today if he wanted. He could tell his colleagues in the House and the Senate that they should not work so hard to codify into law what his opponent is calling for - the ability for an executive to secretly spy on Americans.

There is no compelling need for the legislation because there is no compelling need to 'spy on Americans'! We were told that the 'turrsts' were Islamic extremists who just 'hate freedom'. They lived in caves (we were told) and would be 'smoked out' and 'brought to jestice'. None of that has turned out to have been true. Bush was lying then as he continues to lie now. There is not now nor was there ever any rational justification whatsoever for Bush's 'Big Brother' style campaign of domestic surveillance. Bush's case was bullshit then; it is bullshit now.

Listen up, folks: Bush's wars --his 'war on terror' and his war against the people of Iraq --are criminal frauds that were intended to provide cover for his numerous capital crimes, war crimes begun upon the lies he told the American people. Now --the GOP with Democratic support proposes to pass new legislation rewarding the criminal for his crimes!!! The big headline on Time reads: US Justice on Trial at Gitmo! Clearly --if there is no justice at GITMO, there is no justice in America. Will the Congress conspire with Bush and McCain to make of the US Constitution 'just a Goddamned piece of paper'?

That question may be decided --not in a Bush kiss up court, but in the campaign of Barack Obama. Obama has a perfect opportunity to lead a 'revolutionary' wave! By contrast, John McCain will never repudiate Bush, having become of Bush's enablers. John McCain will simply continue the frauds and lies perpetrated upon the American people. Just like Bush, a McCain administration will run its own warrantless wiretapping program!

McCain --like Bush --believes an absurd 'theory': the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight! It's an absurd theory --bogus on its face! There is no language in the Constitution which may be so construed. Secondly, a 'state of war' does not, cannot exist --under law --until it has been declared by Congress.

Certainly, that is not the case with Iraq. At last, the term 'war on terror' is as nonsensical as the 'war on porn' or the 'war on drugs' or the 'war on Blue Meanies'. It's GOP sloganeering, propaganda, bullshit, nonsense. It is impossible to wage a wage a war upon a tactic or a movement with military methods'. At last, every Bush 'reason' for war has proven to be fraudulent! To cite them, then, in support of additional powers or legislation is just downright absurd, fraudulent, possibly criminal in intent!

As there are no legitimate reasons for blanket, warrantless surveillance of Americans, only lies remain. I submit that laws passed upon bald-faced, demonstrable lies are not 'laws; and, in fact, must not be obeyed. To obey the products of crime is, at least, morally reprehensible, it may violate valid laws.

The Congress must not abrogate its Constitutional responsibilities. To do so makes 'accomplices' of Bush's hard case support in the Congress. When the war crimes indictments are handed down, the case must be made that his culpable support in congress must share the dock.

This week, McCain spokesman Holtz-Eakin issued statements making it clear that McCain's views on warrantless wiretapping are identical to those of George W. Bush --the arch war criminal who came up with them.
Neither the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. [...]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution."

The Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush's longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration's analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001.
I have a message for Holtz-Eakin as well as George W. Bush: the Bush position on 'warrentless surveillance', justified as they are not by law but by Bush's illegal war of naked aggression, will be germane to the war crimes (capital crimes under US CODES: Title 18,2441. War crimes) case against Bush and against McCain should he win and should he continue to prosecute the war. In the addendum, you will find authoritative links to both US Codes and international treaties to which the US is bound.

There is a prima facie case against Bush now. Yet the GOP plots still more crimes against the people. Certainly, a case of complicity in Bush's capital crimes can now be made against members of the Bush administration as well as influential 'neocons', architects of the Bush policy of 'pre-emption', i.e, 'war of aggression'. Certainly, the GOP leadership to include John McCain must be held to account.

The American people simply must rise up to demand that Bush and the 'telecoms' apologize for having violated the rights of every American. It is time to organize to investigate, document and prosecute. If corporations persist in breaking the law, then 'corporate pershonhood' --that loop hole that grants them the privileges of 'personhood' without the responsibilities -- then they should be either denied 'corporate personhood' or tried en masse like any individual similarly charged.

The era of corporate privilege must end! Any Federal Judge can, upon his own motion, convene a Grand Jury to hear the case against Bush. Any Grand Jury already convened can upon his own volition subpoena anyone inside the Bush administration now! I urge any such panel to do so. It is time to bring this 'reign of terror' to an end.

Certainly, the powers claimed by Bush enabled him to wage war upon the people of the US. He has threatened them with imperious and arbitrary imprisonment, denied them phone calls, habeas corpus, the right of counsel. There is another, precise legal term to describe the actions of a 'government' that wages war upon his citizenry. That word is high treason. In the venerable past, those breaking that law were either hanged or decapitated!

McCain's position on widespread domestic surveillance does not differ from the Bush position. Rather than 'going along', the Democrats must draw a line in the sand. Obama must demonstrate now that he is of 'Presidential' material. Obama must demonstrate that he represents change, a breath of fresh air, a new birth of freedom in a country that has been tyrannized --not by 'terrorists' who may or may not exist --but by a criminal junta inside the White House! Now Democrats must stand for change or they become a part of the problem. Indications that they may 'go along' with the McCain/Bush position are ominous.

Obama faces a 'dangerous opportunity'. A wrong decision now threatens his campaign at the outset. A correct decision represents an opportunity for both Obama, his future, and that of the nation. A wrong decision will expose the rotten underbelly of the Democratic party. A correct decision will redeem it by saving the nation, all but lost under Bush. We have but one Constitution and, it would appear, but one chance to save it.

Additional resources

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Psychopaths Rule the World

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The psychologist Carl Jung estimated that in every 'society' could be found a 'psychopathic' thirty percent. It's sobering to think that over 60 percent of every society --even those we think most cultured --may be largely 'ruled' by about thirty percent who are utterly lacking the restraints that most of us associate with personal maturity, social cohesion, civilization itself.

A recent article by Dr. Kevin Barrett explores the dysfunctional underbelly of civilization which he says is "... largely the creation of psychopaths: all civilizations, he claims, are built upon 'slavery and mass murder'.

As I have written of Rome: it was in the death business having outsourced the more odious tasks to its 'Military/Industrial Complex' --the Praetorian Guard. Psychopaths, Dr. Barrett claims, are 'hard-wired to lie, kill, cheat, steal, torture, manipulate, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse, in order to establish their own sense of security through domination.' [See: Is George Bush A Psychopath?]

Earlier the psychologist Carl Jung estimated that as many as thirty percent of any population may be certifiably psychopathic. Similarly, Dr. Gustav Gilbert, whose task it was to keep Nazi war criminals alive until they could be hanged, summed it up simply: evil, he said, was the utter lack of empathy. Hannah Arendt (The New School, New York) wrote of the 'banality of evil'.

It has been pointed out that 'normal people do not function like the Bushes, Clintons, Keetings, Stalins or Hitlers'. Dysfunctional and/or psychopathic GOP behaviors include 'authoritarian' GOP habits, repeating failed strategies, indulging self-reinforcing delusions, and reversing the normal sequence of 'cause and effect'. The Bush administration, for example, will cite its own wars of aggression as justification for increasing military spending. The Reagan administration cited increased poverty to justify tax breaks for the rich. It will 'trickle down', we were told.

There is always the hope that as more become aware of this, steps may be taken to ameliorate the more overt and horrific effects which include the acts of genocide, heinous war crimes, indeed, war itself. [See: Of Bush and Evil: The Nature of his Crime Against Humanity]

There are some reasons for optimism. The GOP 'base' consists, interestingly, of about 30 percent of the population. I've often thought that 30 percent hard-core, GOP support to be the psychopaths described by Jung. Unless, the GOP can appeal to 'sane' people, it is sunk. In my article, I have made the case, that lately the GOP is losing support even among the thirty percent base (of Jung's description?). See: GOP Front-Runners Run Out of Wiggle Room

Is there hope that the world will achieve what author Henry Miller hoped would be a 'quantum leap'?

Until someone comes up with a 'silver bullet', the 'sane majority' must fight back with sanity itself. As the world witnessed at Tiananmen Square, the psychotic, totalitarian state simply crushes dissent with tanks, brute force and more insanity [See: 1989: Massacre in Tiananmen Square].

The same thing has happened in America. In 1932, under orders from Herbert Hoover, George S. Patton lead a cavalry charge against World I veterans encamped on the mall. Their only demand was that they be paid the 'bonus' money that 'our' government had promised them for their service in World War I
By 4:45 P.M. the troops were massed on Pennsylvania Ave. below the Capitol. Thousands of Civil Service employees spilled out of work and lined the streets to watch. The veterans, assuming the military display was in their honor, cheered. Suddenly Patton's troopers turned and charged. "Shame, Shame" the spectators cried. Soldiers with fixed bayonets followed, hurling tear gas into the crowd.

By nightfall the BEF had retreated across the Anacostia River where Hoover ordered MacArthur to stop. Ignoring the command, the general led his infantry to the main camp. By early morning the 10,000 inhabitants were routed and the camp in flames. Two babies died and nearby hospitals overwhelmed with casualties. Eisenhower later wrote, "the whole scene was pitiful. The veterans were ragged, ill-fed, and felt themselves badly abused. To suddenly see the whole encampment going up in flames just added to the pity."

-- The Bonus Army]
Later, during the commission of the war crime called 'Viet Nam', the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students who were not even protesting at Ohio State University. Four students were killed. There is now evidence that the Guard had been under orders to shoot and certainly, the guns were loaded with real bullets --not rubber!

What tactics are left the people when 'insane' governments monopolize military force and weaponry. For the longer term, the people must realize that governments have no powers but those given them by the people. This is as true for totalitarian states as it is for democracies. As was said in the sixties: drop out! Don't feed the beast. Secondly, as we have seen, passive resistance is no guarantee that the 'establishment' will not murder in the name of the state --a mere 'legal abstraction'. One of the most cogent strategies that I have seen recently was found on OpEd News:
I will not work for you, buy from you, fight for you, or die for you, until the criminals are gone from the halls of our government."
That is a strategy that I have adopted; it will, at least, assuage your conscience. Many, however, don't have the luxury of going 'cold turkey'. Even so --there is little excuse for enriching Wal-Mart. There is NO excuse whatsoever for watching Fox or patronizing its advertisers. With any luck and some publicity, we might even begin an advertisers' boycott of Fox. That will change things in the Fox boardroom. The sound of money 'walking' is the sound of people 'talking'. And telling the truth.

With a bit of study, consumers should seek out local merchants and local companies while boycotting multi-nationals that are clearly a part of the problem.

The 'corporate' structure of American society is, itself psychopathic. A corporation is utterly unfeeling and unrestrained by ethics. A corporation has no conscience. Despite what is written by economists with regard to 'economies of scale', local firms often do a better job than multi-national conglomerates whose only purpose is the enrichment of some one percent of the population, perhaps another elite in another country. Local firms put money back into the community by hiring local talent and expertise. Local firms were once the backbone of the nation and the soul of viable communities where, now, we have only bedroom suburbs and Potemkin villages. Corporate society is a fascist cancer.

These days, it is possible to get a lot of information about companies on the 'net. Boycott any business having anything to do with the Military/Industrial complex. The obvious boycotts are the oil companies. Unless a car is absolutley essential, get a bike or use public transportation. Some cities, like Houston, have come around to the use of trams but very late in the game. Still --late is better than never. Because the Republican machine is a little, how do you say, out of control in the Hoosier state?

Perhaps this is due to the fact that the state of Indiana claims to have more terrorist targets than any other state. More than New York. More than California. More than anywhere.

Obviously when Indiana Rethuglicans rig their presidential vote yet again this year, they're expecting the black and Democratic communities to riot in the streets. Or try to examine the voting machines. Or something UnAmerikan.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The 'Conspiracy of Rich Men' That Threatens the Peace, the World and the Environment

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

America is ruled and held hostage by what Sir Thomas More would have called a 'conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth'.

This fascist domination of American life and debate is made possible only because people have bought a pernicious notion: 'corporate personhood', which makes possible and winks at More's 'conspiracy of rich men'. Because mere legal abstractions are accorded rights that should belong only to real, living, flesh and blood people, corporations are given license to lie about misdeeds, incompetence and corporate criminality. More would have described this ruling cabal a 'conspiracy of rich men!

Let's take these ruinous, disastrous effects in turn but, first, this point: the theft of America's wealth was accomplished by corporate influence upon a civilian structure that left alone is relatively benign. The problem is not so much government itself but 'K Street', a major thoroughfare in Washington where the numerous think tanks, lobbyists and advocacy groups maintain offices! 'People' themselves cannot be heard through the din they throw up. Until 'K-street' and the 'legal personhood' of corporations is smashed, the actual offices of government are beyond the reach of the people they were intended to serve. K-street will be served ---but not you! If Mr. Smith could see Washington today!!

The world that might be changed drastically if 'green energy' were made a high priority. But because 'green energy' threatens the corporate establishment, it will take nothing less than revolution to create a world supplied and powered by it. 'Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion' (OTEC) has been around for years, at least since the middle 70s. It is a source of virtually unlimited, green energy. Over a period of at least 30 years nothing has been done to develop and implement it. I can only conclude that that is the case because big corporations --More's 'conspiracy of rich men' --have not yet figured out a way to enrich themselves with it. Until they do, it is a threat to them.
Ocean waves are already being used as a source of renewable energy, but could differences in water temperatures in the sea be our next source of green power? A decade old idea to generate renewable electricity for the globe with offshore, floating ‘Energy Islands’ could soon become a reality. The concept - creating artificial islands to collect wind, wave and solar power in the tropics - is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist, who envisioned the idea of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.

Inspired by Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis, his son Alex Michaelin (also an architect), and Trevor Cooper-Chadwick are developing a new technique called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) that takes advantage of differences in temperature between the ocean surface sea (up to 29°C in the tropics) and water a kilometer down (which is typically 5°C). Here’s how it works: warmer surface water is used to heat liquid ammonia, converting it into vapor, which expands to drive a turbine — which in turn produces electricity. The ammonia is then cooled using cold water from the ocean depths, returning it into a liquid state so the process can start all over again.

Their goal is to build a network of “energy islands”: floating hexagonal-shaped platforms of reinforced concrete and corrosion-resistant metals that would generate electricity via wind, wave, and solar in addition to having an OTEC plant. It’s estimated that each island complex could produce about 250MW, and that 50,000 “energy islands” could meet the world’s energy requirements (as well as provide two tons of fresh water per person per day for the entire world population — desalinated water is one byproduct of the OTEC process). OTEC plants work best when there’s a temperature difference of 20°C between water at the surface and the water below, making tropical and sub-tropical seas the best candidates for energy islands.

--Artificial Energy Islands Could Power The World
As a fledgling network correspondent, I reported on a model of OTEC scaled down, floating and generating electricity in the swimming pool of the legendary Shamrock Hotel in Houston, TX. It is not hard to imagine entire communities built around combinations of OTEC, Solar, and even land versions of OTEC in which sub-surface water is used in place of ocean water. The best part of it is this: OTEC is green

OTEC apparently never got off the ground because corporations could never figure out how to make it profitable for them. Over the course of some thirty years, the technical 'kinks' have been worked out. There is no reason other than fear and greed that prevents OTEC from saving the world.

The very concept is a threat to corporations. Typically, corporations have it the wrong way 'round. If corporations can't find a way to make a profit from OTEC, then the problem is not with OTEC but with the concept of 'corporation'. If 'corporate person-hood' is the last hang up to green energy, then the time has come to throw off the corporate yoke and free humankind.

'Corporate person-hood' gives corporations all the rights of individuals but none of the responsibilities. When an 'individual' commits a heinous crime, he or she is simply charged, tried, and punished for the crime. Corporations, by contrast, go to court and pay a measly fine which is written off. The corporation walks!

The word 'corporation' puts them above laws that apply to people. Check out the history of Union Carbide with regard to the Bhopal disaster. Recall the slap on the wrist given Exxon for the Valdez disaster. Those are just the most memorable and most highly publicized disasters for which corporations are rarely held to account.

If OTEC and other green methods by which mankind can live in peace on this planet require the absolute abolition of corporations, then let's get on with it! Corporations have gotten us to the point of extinction. Perhaps the time has come to consider the forced extinction of corporations. It's an idea whose time has come. The era of the 'corporation' should be brought to an end.

OTEC was not covered widely by the corporate media, when, in fact, it should have been a big lead story. Again --it's time to turn the conventional wisdom on its head. If corporate media will not cover or report the truth, then it's time for the people to take back the media! It's time to break up and re-distribute the corporate 'ownership' of media.

The public ownership of the airwaves had been a well-established legal principle, upheld by law and court decisions until it was all overturned during the administration of Ronald Reagan. It was in the Reagan years that the laws were re-written to make possible the big media monopolies, the concentration of ownership by Clear Channel et al. It was under Ronald Reagan that the Fairness Doctrine made possible the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. It was under Ronald Reagan than a pernicious 'right wing revolution' --what St. Thomas More would have called a 'conspiracy of rich men' --stole the people's airwaves and made possible Bush's dictatorship.

It's time to wage the revolution. A line in Shakespeare's Henry VI reads: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!" In this case, we spare the lawyers if they will but help us take back the media! The first thing we do is take back the media.

A good second step involves smashing the 'media' lobby on K street. We need to get over the idea that corporations have a right to lobby the government! Corporations are not people and, as far as I am concerned, have no rights whatsoever. Someone, show me a principle of science or law which credibly equates living tissue with legal abstractions and cubicles!

Thanks to Ronald Reagan and the GOP, one is hard pressed to find in any US market, a locally owned radio station or TV outlet. Before Reagan, it was not unusual to find locally owned radio and TV stations in small to major markets across the nation. Now ---it seems --all are owned by some five to seven major conglomerates.

If we, the people, should declare it so, corporations themselves might just be written out of existence. And good riddance! Real people have 'rights'. Legal abstractions do not. The idea that an artificial, legal construct --a 'conspiracy of rich men' --has inherent or inalienable rights is pure bullshit. It's absurd on its face. How did this idiotic idea become so ingrained?


We --a revolution of the people --shall make the laws under the common law and ancient principles that declare people not only have rights but are, in fact, sovereign! Should we the people so decree, Fox and the handful of huge corporations that presume to tell us what to do and what to believe, have neither right nor privileges, then Fox and the handful of huge corporations will be either shut down or taken over!

Begin by organizing and insisting upon an FCC with teeth! Insist upon restoring the Fairness Doctrine! Insist upon limitations to corporate ownership of media or prohibiting corporation ownership outright! Remember --'legal abstractions' have NO rights and certainly not those of 'real people'. Insist upon ownership rules that break up the media monopolies. Measures like this existed before Ronald Reagan began an assault upon the rights for the benefit of abstractions, before the GOP conspired with More's 'conspiracy of rich men'.

More generally, the people have paid for Reagan/GOP fascism with the truth itself. Therefore, wage revolution against corporate 'person-hood'. In the absence of corporate influence, government will simply have no choice but to respond to real people or just disband. Certainly, as the fall of Rome proves, ineffective, top-heavy bureaucracies whose only purpose is the waging of wars of self-perpetuation and aggression, are simply not needed.

As useless wastes of human resources, the US government of treasonous militarists and fascist bureaucrats whose only jobs are self-justification, should be dismantled, re-invented, and re-assembled! Precise language --to be added to the Constitution --will make fascist government of and by corporations impossible; corporations themselves will be made impossible and constitutionally illegal.

A good beginning would be to focus the attention of some national organizations on the bogus idea of 'corporate personhood'. If large organizations like et al would zero in on the source of out national malaise, much good would come of it. Instead of playing 'whack-a-mole' with every cockamamie right wing idea that comes up, more could be accomplished by going for the jugular --the corporations themselves.

Corporations --as legal abstractions --should, by right, have no influence on government. Corporations will resist green energy because there are no profits in it. But the corporate argument is circular and assumes the correctness of the 'profit motive'. Who says corporations deserve or need a profit? Only corporations!

In America, the concept of 'profit' itself is simply 'assumed' to be correct as are the numerous economic shibboleths that make up right-wing orthodoxy. It is time to re-examine the gestalt of assumptions, myths, and articles of propaganda that make up 'right wing' economics. It's time to reassess 'profit' or perhaps abandon the concept entirely.

No corporation will produce 'green energy' just as no big corporation can be trusted to tell you the truth on the evening news. The problem is not 'green energy' itself but rather the pro-corporate prejudice that prevents its development, indeed, any rational critique of 'right wing economics'.

Not surprisingly, the corporations have it the wrong way around again. Green energy is NOT the problem; it is rather the solution. It's corporations that resist or block the development of 'green energy' that are the problem. As I learned in broadcasting --if you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. In America, the corporations ARE the problem. The very concept of 'corporation' is institutionalized mental constipation, a block against reason and inquiry.
...when I consider and weigh in my mind all these commonwealths, which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely, without fear of losing, that they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labour of the poor for as little money as may be. These devices, when the rich men have decreed to be kept and observed for the commonwealth’s sake, that is to say for the wealth also of the poor people, then they be made laws.

But these most wicked and vicious men, when they have by their insatiable covetousness divided among themselves all those things, which would have sufficed all men, yet how far be they from the wealth and felicity of the Utopian commonwealth? Out of the which, in that all the desire of money with the use of thereof is utterly secluded and banished, how great a heap of cares is cut away! How great an occasion of wickedness and mischief is plucked up by the roots!

--Sir Thomas More (1478–1535), Utopia, Of the Religions in Utopia

Sunday, June 01, 2008

American plans to loot Iraqi oil and other Bush war crimes

Though Bush has given every other lie and cover story to justify the US war of aggression against Iraq, the real reasons for the 'war' are now openly admitted. An article in American Daily proposes that the oil fields of Iraq be seized and plundered to pay off America's national debt of some 9.3 trillion dollars. I am shocked by the implication that they haven't been so plundered already! I am outraged that the author expects the victims of US aggression pick up the tab for Bush's capital crime! The article proposes that the US commit yet another war crime.

As immoral as anything put forward by Bush/Cheney, this plan differs only in the distribution of booty. Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force would conspire to further enrich the robber barons of big oil, themselves now war criminals under international conventions to which the US is legally bound whether Bush likes it or not! The alternative plan is a 'neat' rationalization and equally reprehensible.
We should create a taxpayer-owned oil company (Perhaps, call it US Oil?). It would require a long-term (maybe a 99 year) lease on a portion of Iraq’s oil fields. The price of such a lease?...The spilled blood of American servicemen!

Since the oil fields are up and running, that oil should be sold on the open market for $20 a barrel. The revenues from the oil sales would go directly and solely to pay off our debt. In addition, with a large volume of the world’s oil being sold at $20 a barrel, the price would plummet worldwide, translating into affordable fuel prices once again.

The taxpayers would be repaid for the treasure we have lost in Iraq, and a long-term solution to our growing need for oil would be accomplished without any further drilling in this country. It would also provide time to increase long-overdue and meaningful fuel efficiency standards in our automobiles, as well as making alternative energy solutions practical to most Americans.

--Dave Gibson, Analysis with Political and Social Commentary
American Daily has proposed the immoral theft of resources that do not belong to the United States. Bluntly, Mr. Gibson, what you have proposed is a war crime.
b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

--Declaration of the Jury of Conscience, World Tribunal on Iraq - Istanbul, June 23 - 27, 2005
Secondly, Dick Cheney's cronies --consisting of Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil, BP America Inc, having lied, schemed and waged bloody war --would never agree! Dick Cheney and George W. Bush did not invade Iraq in order to pay off the national debt; nor did Dick Cheney and George W. Bush conspire with the elite base in order to lower the price of gasoline at the pump. Moreover, the transcript of US Ambassador April Glaspie's 'interview' with Saddam Hussein proves that the US 'lured' Saddam into attacking Kuwait because Saddam had wanted to lower the price of oil. Hussein's attack of Kuwait was the pretext needed by Bush.

Bush was determined to wage war on Iraq. Nothing could have been done to prevent it. The UK Daily Mail reported that Hussein had agreed to exile for a paltry $1 billion but Bush, hellbent on war, refused. It was, in fact, the inevitable result of war fever and greed. Investors, smelling 'oil profits' and 'defense contracts', bid up the prices of Boeing and Raytheon stocks. It was a heady time for war profiteers and robber barons.

That the author of the 'American Daily' article believes that his proposed 'oil lease' is already paid for with the 'blood of American soldiers misses the point that aggressive war is aggressive war, that the theft of a nation's resources is a war crime whether it is perpetrated by Dick Cheney's consortium or by a collective of 'the people'! Theft is theft and, in this case, it is also a war crime. That the US finds itself in a position in which it must scheme to plunder is proof that the US is poised for collapse as was Rome when its mercenaries sought out the foreign booty to be looted in Briton, Dacia, and other resource rich targets of conquest.

As Gore Vidal pointed out in his book --The Decline and Fall of the American Empire --the founders sought to create an oligarchical state in which two wings of a single party would preside over the distribution of 'bread an circuses'. That's certainly what we got. The only issue of concern to a ruling class, Vidal writes, is whether 'to coerce or to bribe' a powerless majority. Vidal is correct. The fall of American empire will resemble that of Rome in every major trend.
  • Like Rome, American society is increasingly characterized by absurd inequalities of wealth and income
  • Like Rome, modern America is beset by weird and kooky cults
  • Like Rome, America's biggest export is conquest and death
  • Like Rome, America distracts its teeming citizenry with 'bread and circuses'
  • Like Rome, America's currency, by the time of its ultimate fall, will be utterly worthless
Warnings go unheeded. The American robber baron class is assured the greater part of the spoils of aggressive war. For quite a long time, the middle class indulged the belief that, one day, they too would achieve great riches, wealth would trickle down, and a hollow, corporate culture of SUVs and suburbs would rule forever. It was all smoke and mirrors. Since Ronald Reagan offered up a vision of a right wing 'promised land', wealth has failed to 'trickle down'. They have not fallen off the ladder, the ladder itself simply slips into an economic black hole that swallows it from the bottom up. So called 'middle class tax cuts' are meaningless.

The middle class is disappearing. Already, the upper one percent of the population is worth more than everyone else combined. They are America's imperialist establishment which now openly proposes that the oil resources of Iraq be plundered for their benefit. Thus --America became a banana republic ruled by ruthless oligarchs --an imperial establishment like that of Rome --whose living is made by industrialized murder. The apparatus of state has been bought and paid for. 'Democracy' is but the illusion that pacifies us. It will take a real revolution to change things.
In 1968, Robert Kennedy sought to rescue the party and his own ambitions from the threat of real change that came from an alliance of the civil rights campaign and the anti-war movement then commanding the streets of the main cities, and which Martin Luther King had drawn together until he was assassinated in April that year.

--From Kennedy to Obama: Liberalism’s Last Fling
That 'threat' of real change is as close as this nation had come to real revolution. I am asked if 'ailing' empires ever recover. The fate of western empires indicates --no! The 'nation' might 'recover' ---but not the empire. Rome, for example, is often said to have 'survived' but in the form of the Catholic Church. America will not be that lucky. There is no 'American' church to survive its fall. There is no analogous American institution that might survive a total economic melt-down. When a future 'Gibbon' writes a multi-volume, analytical history of America's short-lived empire and precipitous fall, the 'religious establishment' will share the blame but will not survive as an institution.

The fall of American empire shares many characteristics with that of Rome. Like Rome, 'America' has become an enterprise for which death is a 'product'. Our Praetorian Guard is called 'Blackwater'. It is in the Military/Industrial complex that one finds the larger analogy to Rome.
It had been able to dominate the Italian peninsula. But Rome as the ruler of the entire civilized world was a political impossibility and could not endure. Her young men were killed in her endless wars. Her farmers were ruined by long military service and by taxation. They either became professional beggars or hired themselves out to rich landowners who gave them board and lodging in exchange for their services and made them “serfs,” those unfortunate human beings who are neither slaves nor freemen, but who have become part of the soil upon which they work, like so many cows, and the trees.

--Hendrik van Loon, The Story of Mankind
Of America's fall, Gore Vidal implies that the manner of our fall is implicit in our beginning.
Our only political party has two right wings, one called Republican, the other Democratic. But Henry Adams [Brooks' older brother] figured all that out back in the 1890s. 'We have a single system,' he wrote, and 'in that system the only question is the price at which the proletariat is to be bought and sold, the bread and circuses.'"

--Gore Vidal, The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Rome as a military power house was finished by the time the last emperor was driven off the 'throne' in the year 475. Rome was in serious decline by the time the Battle of Adrianople was fought almost one hundred yeas earlier in 378. The Emperor Valens could not even raise an army of Romans; the battle consisted of pro-Roman barbarians under Valens command vs anti-Roman barbarians arrayed against him. Adrianople was Rome's worst defeat since Hermann's German victory of AD 9 in the Teutoburg forest. For many it seemed as if the world had ended. St. Ambrose called it "the end of all humanity, the end of the world."

Adrianople is often said to have been the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire though there is evidence that Rome's decline had begun much earlier. In Nero's day, the slums of Rome were a picture of a top heavy society in decline, dependent upon conquest to sustain a spoiled 'nobility'. By the time the Praetorian Guard (Blackwater of its day) auctioned off the empire to a 'nobleman', one Didius Julianus, the sale was completed in Greek Drachmas --not worthless Roman sestercius.

These several 'themes' are found today in Bush's America. It was said of Nero that he 'fiddled' while Rome burned. In fact, there were no 'fiddles' at that time; Nero played a lyre and often boasted that, if forced to, he could make a living at it. While New Orleans drowned, Bush cannot be said to have 'played' a guitar. He punished it but punished New Orleans worse.

Long before starting this blog, I wrote elsewhere that 'terrorism' was a tactic --not an enemy that could be defeated militarily. 'Terrorism' is not a nation against whom war can be waged and won. 'Terrorism' is not an ideology against which propaganda may or may not be effective. 'Terrorism' is the means by which those who have been marginalized, robbed, made helpless or shut out fight back!

Events have borne this out. Bush's ham-fisted Bush approach, like that of every other GOP regime, has made terrorism worse and I have the cold, hard verifiable stats to prove it. [See: Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes] But those facts mean nothing to Straussians and neocons and other cults embraced by the GOP. The Bush administration is, rather, a 'hologram' controlled by a 'man behind a curtain'. The goal was the theft of oil and the 'plan' is now openly discussed in the wake of Bush's trillion dollar blunder in Iraq.

Like that of Rome, America's imperialist establishment is dependent upon conquest. The US, a nation once rich in resources, no longer leads the rest of the world in the production of steel, cars, electronics or even service 'industries' like computer programming. In most areas, we now pull up the rear. How then are the lifestyles of the rich and famous to be paid for? The old fashioned, Roman way. Conquest and plunder.

2,973 humans died with the attacks of 9/11. "Bin Laden" and "Al Qaeda", the Bush clan cried. The world believed themm. In the meantime even scientists doubt the Bush version. Now, Swiss university professors Albert A. Stahel and Daniele Ganser raise new questions.

"Something is not correct", says strategy expert Stahel in "World Week", and here he refers to the "incomplete" official US Government 9/11 Report of 2004.

The university professor confirms his criticism in BLICK: "Osama Bin Laden cannot be 'the large godfather' behind the attacks. He did not have enough means of communication".

Dr. Stahel doubts that a passenger airliner crashed into the Pentagon: "For trainee pilots it is actually impossible to crash into the building so exactly. Seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, the World Trade Center Building 7 next to it also collapsed. The official version: It burned for a long time. Nothing at all is clear."

Raising questions along with Stahel is historian Dr. Daniele Ganser, his colleague at the University of Zurich. Dr. Ganser also calls the official US version "a conspiracy theory".

--Largest Swiss Newspaper Asks if Bush Was Behind 9/11
The L-Curve graph represents income, not wealth. The distribution of wealth is even more skewed. Quoting from a recently-published book by political philosopher David Schweickart, "If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.)

See: US Income Distribution, 'The L-Curve'.