The leader of the government regularly sits down with his senior generals and spies and advisers and reviews a list of the people they want him to authorize their agents to kill. They do this every Tuesday morning when the leader is in town. The leader once condemned any practice even close to this, but now relishes the killing because he has convinced himself that it is a sane and sterile way to keep his country safe and himself in power. The leader, who is running for re-election, even invited his campaign manager to join the group that decides whom to kill.
This is not from a work of fiction, and it is not describing a series of events in the Kremlin or Beijing or Pyongyang. It is a fair summary of a 6,000-word investigative report in The New York Times earlier this week about the White House of Barack Obama. Two Times journalists, Jo Becker and Scott Shane, painstakingly and chillingly reported that the former lecturer in constitutional law and liberal senator who railed against torture and Gitmo now weekly reviews a secret kill list, personally decides who should be killed, and then dispatches killers all over the world — and some of his killers have killed Americans.
We have known for some time that President Obama is waging a private war. By that I mean he is using the CIA on his own — and not the military after congressional authorization — to fire drones at thousands of persons in foreign lands, usually while they are riding in a car or a truck. He has done this both with the consent and over the objection of the governments of the countries in which he has killed. He doesn’t want to talk about this, but he doesn’t deny it. How chilling is it that David Axelrod — the president’s campaign manager — has periodically seen the secret kill list? Might this be to keep the killings politically correct?
Can the president legally do this? In a word: No.
The president cannot lawfully order the killing of anyone, except according to the Constitution and federal law. Under the Constitution, he can only order killing using the military when the U.S. has been attacked, or when an attack is so imminent and certain that delay would cost innocent American lives, or in pursuit of a congressional declaration of war. Under federal law, he can only order killing using civilians when a person has been sentenced lawfully to death by a federal court and the jury verdict and the death sentence have been upheld on appeal. If he uses the military to kill, federal law requires public reports of its use to Congress and congressional approval after 180 days.
Religion, Finance, Entertainment, Government, Education, peer pressure…. all illusions of the “matrix” – step outside to see the truth. And… quit conforming to paradigms, dogma, and controlled belief systems. YOU are a unique INDIVIDUAL… not a receptor in the hive mind. Groupthink is your Soma. Live your life – don’t live mine, or theirs, or your neighbors, or your boss’s – freedom starts within yourselves.
Using fear and the threat of insecurity to manipulate the people, corporate media, in bed with government, over the years having become the mouthpiece of government control, unleashes a barrage of propaganda, in images and pro-war commentators, to arouse in the population the false sense of security that justifies military action. This way, debate is silenced and dissent is disappeared on the airwaves as once again the corporate media, the gatekeepers of information, allow us only to see and hear the point of view they want us to incorporate into our psyche. Voices of reason and of intelligence are ignored, banished from imparting important thoughts of wisdom, thus making it virtually impossible for the population to ever know there are other options besides the horror of war.
With corporate anchors, journalists, reporters, commentators and executives pushing into our homes an exclusively pro-war, jingoistic viewpoint, blitzkrieging us with their propaganda-laced images and opinion, over months of constant threats of fear and insecurity, denying the public from ever seeing or hearing truths and realities, it therefore becomes rather easy, with a population addicted to television viewing, to mobilize a nation for war. With the marriage of government and corporate power, truth disappears just as much as falsity prospers. With both entities profiting from the spoils of war, it is in each other’s best interest to work together to disseminate the seeds that will invariably spawn the rebirth of a dormant war culture.
Once again the system is at work, knowing how easy it is to control the minds of a dumbed down population that has been well trained, and some might say socially engineered, to never question authority, never think outside the box, never seek accountability and never think for itself. Easily manipulated, millions of people are conditioned to believe, from a very early age, that anything emanating from television is sacrosanct. Thus, everything they watch is reality and anything they hear is truth. Anchors and reporters become trusted personalities voicing reticent opinions whose veracity are seldom, if ever, questioned.
It is designed to manipulate and control at once, transforming the population into a sedentary herd of sheeple who never question what is told them. Over the years millions of citizens have used this most dangerous drug to escape lives of frustration, unhappiness, desperation, depression and loneliness, never realizing that with every hour they watch, with every show they are glued to, with every channel they surf their minds are turned to mush, becoming conduits of ignorance, molded into muscles in desperate need of gossip and sensationalism, no longer thinking for itself.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition to hear a lawsuit calling for an end to another case challenging the constitutionality of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.
This Orwellian (and unconstitutional) surveillance scheme was established in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and was explicitly authorized by an act of Congress passed in 2008.
Naturally, the Obama administration is pleased by the high court’s announcement, as it has followed the tack laid down by the George W. Bush White House that holds that the federal government’s monitoring and recording of the private communications of American citizens is not subject to legal scrutiny.
At issue in the case is the interpretation of the Federal Information Securities Act (FISA) Amendments Act, which has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil rights watchdog groups. The FISA Amendments Act purports to permit the intelligence and security agencies of the United States government to eavesdrop on the electronic communications routinely carried on among citizens of this Republic and those residing overseas.
It’s not the eavesdropping that’s the most egregious violation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (such activities are conducted by law enforcement all the time for legitimate purposes), but it’s the indefensible fact that the federally empowered snoops conduct this surveillance without a probable cause warrant so long as one of the parties being monitored is located outside the territory of the United States. The justification being that if an American is talking, texting, or e-mailing a foreigner then something might be said that would aid in the acquisition of “foreign intelligence information.”
This policy is such a shameful disregard for our long history of individual-based human and civil rights (including the freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures) that it shocks the conscience even when the source is considered.
Apocalyptic fever is running high. A friend in the Bible Belt, who recently became “born again,” called me excitedly to tell me she was leaving me her house. “In case I suddenly vanish,” she confided.
Of course. She would be raptured up and I, a hardcore “One God” believer, would be left behind. How sweet of her to make preparations for the damned.
But as the projected date for the rapture came and went and disappointed, my friend abandoned her newfound religion.
Not so fast for the 2012-ers, however. The end of the world is still scheduled for December 21, 2012 according to those who buy into the Mayan prophecies, Planet X, Niburu, exponential solar flares – did I miss anything?
The scenarios are stunning -- tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, as the world comes crashing down around us. And should we awaken the morning of December 22 to find ourselves still alive, the ratcheting up of doomsday prophecies will deflate like a spent balloon.
And we just may find ourselves sucker-punched. But, lurking right under our noses is the specter of what may occur in 2013
Alongside DHS’s vague definition of terrorism and the broader prerogatives of police state ideology and practice, “violence” may be conceived in a number of ways, such as a person with of a certain racial demarcation peacefully sitting in the front of a segregated bus, or a concerned citizen occupying the lobby of a zombie bank.
In reality the actual target of such policing metrics is the small percentage of the population that have somehow escaped the enforced process of “de-radicalization”—those who, in other words, still possess the capacity to think and act critically on meaningful political matters.
Indeed, it is not beyond reason to point out that America is one serious terrorist attack or mass civil disturbance away from the implementation of policies to seriously limit or curtail the traffic of ideas, made all the more easy for authorities through the internet’s centralized configuration. Society will then be left with the corporate media and their custom inability (or refusal) to honestly examine and publicize the corrupt nature and practices of the national security state.
With alternative media outlets providing a broad spectrum of analyses and perspectives the tiny demarcation between critical thinking and terrorism outlined in the government’s missives is understandable. Minds not fully regulated and that risk awakening (radicalization) through an intellectual epiphany triggered by a professor, journalist, or author prone to encouraging thought crimes may become "radicalized" and carry out “terrorist” activities. They may, for example, recognize and critique the “war on terror” as an extravagant and monstrous deception.
Moreover, individuals capable of possessing, articulating, and acting upon meaningful ideas and information—of exercising an informed and self-determined opinion in furtherance of their shared security and welfare—have no need for a police state to "protect" them, which in all likelihood is why critical thought and public opinion are the New World Order’s greatest enemies.
Go to Google and type in “H.R. 4133.” You will discover that, apart from a handful of blogs and alternative news sites, not a single mainstream medium has reported the story of a congressional bill that might well have major impact on the conduct of United States foreign policy. H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, was introduced into the House of Representatives of the 112th Congress on March 5 “to express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the president to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) reportedly helped draft the bill, and its co-sponsors include Republicans Eric Cantor and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrats Howard Berman and Steny Hoyer. Hoyer is the Democratic whip in the House of Representatives, where Cantor is majority leader. Ros-Lehtinen heads the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The House bill basically provides Israel with a blank check drawn on the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over all of its neighbors combined. It requires the White House to prepare an annual report on how that superiority is being maintained. The resolution passed on May 9 by a vote of 411–2 on a “suspension of the rules,” which is intended for non-controversial legislation requiring little debate and a quick vote.
A number of congressmen spoke on the bill, affirming their undying dedication to the cause of Israel. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the only one who spoke out against it, describing it as “one-sided and counterproductive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria.” Paul also observed that “this bill states that it is the policy of the United States to ‘reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.’ However, according to our Constitution, the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country.” Paul voted “no” and was joined by only one other representative, John Dingell of Michigan, who represents a large Muslim constituency.
It is interesting to note what exactly the bill pledges the American people to do on behalf of Israel. It obligates the United States to veto resolutions critical of Israel, to provide such military support “as is necessary,” to pay for the building of an anti-missile system, to provide advanced “defense” equipment (including refueling tankers, which are offensive), to give Israel special munitions (i.e., bunker-busters, which are also offensive), to forward deploy more U.S. military equipment to Israel, to offer the Israeli air force more training and facilities in the U.S., to increase security- and advanced-technology-program cooperation, and to extend loan guarantees and expand intelligence-sharing (including highly sensitive satellite imagery). Actually, there’s even more included, and I may have missed the kitchen sink. But the objective is to provide Israel with the resources to attack Iran, if it chooses to do so, while tying the U.S. and Israel so closely together that whatever Benjamin Netanyahu does, the U.S. “will always be there,” as our president has so aptly put it.
A tipping point is where physical momentum, inclined in one direction, reverses its course, stabilizes, and then begins to move the opposite way. Those of us who have been arguing for a sane United States foreign policy in the Middle East have well understood that the odds on shifting the prevailing narrative have been heavily against us thanks to the overwhelming resources possessed by a powerful domestic lobby. Ten years ago in America, it was impossible to place even a letter in a mainstream newspaper or magazine that was in any way critical of Israel. Apart from Pat Buchanan, no one on television provided a critique of Israel and its policies. In the U.S. media, Israel was ever the beleaguered little democracy surrounded by savage Arabs.
But then, all of a sudden, the conspiracy of silence began to break down.
It began with the revisionist history of the antecedents of the Iraq War as that conflict continued to drag on. Many began attributing Washington’s initiation of the fighting, at least in part, to Israeli interests. Philip Zelikow, chief counsel for the 9/11 Commission Report, famously noted in March 2004 that the war was “to protect Israel,” surely an exaggeration but containing more than a kernel of truth. Many also began to observe that the agitation for a new war with Iran was following the same pattern, with supporters of Israel leading the charge.
In 2006, former President Jimmy Carter published Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It provoked considerable outrage and highly publicized resignations from the board of the Carter Foundation together with charges that Carter was supporting Palestinian terrorism. But the big breakthrough came with the publication of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in the following year. It became a New York Times best-seller, and it suddenly became acceptable to talk about Israel without the usual bromides. For the first time, people in America were taking notice of the power of the Israel lobby and the inherent downside for U.S. national interests.
Driven by the prospect of unending warfare in an attempt to remake the Muslim world by force, letters and op-eds critical of Israel and its policies began to appear in the mainstream media. There weren’t a lot, mind you, and they were always “balanced” by more numerous contrary commentaries, but there were enough to demonstrate that a shift was taking place. Mainstream Jewish organizations, always vigilant in defense of what they have perceived as Israel’s interest, resorted increasingly to discrediting critics by calling them “anti-Semites.” Indeed, they succeeded in equating any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and even managed to pass legislation in Canada and several European nations that made any criticism of Israel ipso facto a hate crime.
Living in America is becoming very difficult for anyone with a moral conscience, a sense of justice, or a lick of intelligence. Consider:
We have had a second fake underwear bomb plot, a much more fantastic one than the first hoax. The second underwear bomber was a CIA operative or informant allegedly recruited by al-Qaeda, an organization that US authorities have recently claimed to be defeated, in disarray, and no longer significant.
This defeated and insignificant organization, which lacks any science and technology labs, has invented an “invisible bomb” that is not detected by the porno-scanners. A “senior law enforcement source” told the New York Times that “the scary part” is that “if they buil[t] one, they probably built more.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that “the plot itself indicates that the terrorists keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people.” Hillary said this while headlines proclaimed that the US continues to murder women and children with high-tech drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Africa. The foiled fake plot, Hillary alleged, serves as “a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant at home and abroad in protecting our nation and in protecting friendly nations and peoples like India and others.”
FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress that the fake plot proves the need for warrantless surveillance in order to detect–what, fake plots? In Congress Republican Pete King and Democrat Charles Ruppersberger denounced media for revealing that the plot was a CIA operation, claiming that the truth threatened the war effort and soldiers’ lives.
Even alternative news media initially fell for this fake plot. Apparently, no one stops to wonder how al-Qaeda, which has become so disorganized and helpless that it is on the run and left its revered leader, Osama bin Laden, in a Pakistan village alone and unguarded to be murdered by US Navy Seals, could catch the CIA off guard with an “undetectable” bomb, to use the description provided by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, who was briefed on the device by US intelligence personnel.
Ron Paul’s treatment by mainstream media, other Republican hopefuls, and the punditry makes me think the W.B. Yeats lines “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” also describe the year 2012 in the United States. Indeed, Paul’s experience in the nomination campaign suggests U.S. politics lacks reasoned substance, common sense, and an understanding of what America’s Founding Fathers intended.
Open up any newspaper to see the mess America has sunk itself into around the world: for example, facing off with China over a lone, non-American dissident whose safety has no relation to U.S. security. Yet today, Paul’s call for staying out of other people’s wars unless genuine U.S. national interests are at stake is deemed radical, immoral, even anti-American. Amazing.
If elected president, Paul’s most valuable contribution to a prosperous and secure American future might well lie in his application of a noninterventionist foreign policy, following the wishes of George Washington and the other founders.
Before explaining why Paul’s foreign policy would benefit the United States, it is worth rebutting those ill-educated jackasses in politics, the media, and the academy who denigrate the founders as “dead white males.” To them, the modern world is so different from Washington’s time that nothing the founders said or wrote pertains to contemporary foreign-policymaking. Such self-serving and ahistoric attitudes allow their advocates to pursue policies negating the Constitution, piling up debt, and fueling relentless intervention abroad.
Several years ago, Georgetown University’s distinguished professor emeritus Daniel Robinson cogently explained that the founding generation did not prescribe specific policies for unforeseeable future problems, but, rather, conducted a prolonged and profound seminar on “the nature of human nature.” They examined history and their own experiences and devised a set of principles true not only in their own era and in ancient Sparta, but also for the unknowable American future: Human nature never changes; man is not perfectible; individuals and governments must live within their means; man is hard-wired for conflict; and small government, frequent elections, and secure private property best protect liberty. Most crucial today is the principle that foreign interventions when no genuine U.S. interest is at risk will yield lost wars, deep debt, and decreased domestic liberty. These common-sense principles were the key to national security in the early republic and would regain that status in a Paul presidency.
A Russian general has threatened military action if the US and its NATO allies go ahead and build a “missile shield” in Eastern Europe: “A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” say Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov. That the “shield” is of dubious effectiveness, and is mainly a cash cow for US defense companies, are not factors the Russkies are willing to take into consideration: their main beef seems to be the implied insult of Washington claiming the shield isn’t designed to protect against future aggression emanating from Moscow, but against an alleged Iranian missile threat to Europe. Hey, they seem to be saying: what about us? Aren’t we a threat, too?
Well, no – they aren’t. Russia’s population is falling rapidly, and their economy isn’t doing too hot, either. What the oligarchs didn’t loot and spirit out of the country has been either seized and mismanaged by the state, or else is part of the burgeoning black market. The last thing Moscow needs is an empire: they can barely manage what they already have. That hasn’t stopped Washington from manufacturing a phony narrative that imagines a “resurgent Russia” motivated by revanchism and a desire to refight the cold war.
So here we have the spectacle of a phony threat being uttered as a response to yet another phony threat: the Russians aren’t going to preemptively attack Poland, and neither they nor the Iranians represent a real danger to the West. Yet the actors in this little drama are intent on playing out their roles to the end, no matter how disconnected from reality their actions and pronouncements may seem.
Welcome to the foreign policy Theater of the Absurd.
While this absurdist trend has long dominated our domestic politics, it is lately taking over the foreign policy realm: just look at the machinations over Chen Guangchen, the blind Chinese dissident who can’t seem to make up his mind about where he wants to live. First he escapes from house arrest and travels hundreds of miles to the US embassy in Beijing, where he claims asylum. Then he leaves the embassy, saying he doesn’t want to live in exile – but changes his mind almost as soon as he’s out the door, demanding from his hospital bed to be flown “in Hillary Clinton’s plane” to the US with his family. His latest stunt: phoning his demands in to US congressional hearings, with Republican legislators at the other end of the line. This has our State Department in the uncomfortable position of negotiating not only with the Chinese authorities but also with Chen, hoping he will shut up long enough for the public to forget how they allowed themselves to become his captive.
In typical fashion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that five self-styled left-wing anarchists arrested late Monday for allegedly trying to blow up a bridge near Cleveland were actually shepherded through every step of the supposed plot by government agents. The FBI later claimed nobody was ever in real danger because the federal government gave the alleged “terrorists” fake bombs.
The five anti-capitalist dupes — most of them in their twenties — ostensibly sought to attack the bridge in an effort to send a message and hurt the “One Percent.” Apparently they were disillusioned with the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” movement for not being violent enough in its effort to kill what little remains of the free-market system.
"They talked about making a statement against corporate America and the government as some of the motivations for their actions," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach explained when he announced the arrests. “The defendants chose the target. The defendants went to the bridge to do recon. The defendants went to a hotel room to purchase what they thought were C-4 explosives.”
The group was taken into custody on April 30. An indictment unsealed Tuesday charged them with “conspiracy” and “attempted use of explosive materials to damage property affecting interstate commerce.” A U.S. District Court Magistrate decided to jail them without a bond, at least until a hearing next week.
According to prosecutors, the five defendants allegedly planted the fake explosives provided by the FBI on the bridge late Monday. They then left the area and entered the bogus “codes” to detonate the phony “bombs” before being arrested. If convicted of the fake plot, the anarchists could face more than 20 years in prison.
When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “[A]t times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”
The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.
When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.
The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands [were] owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism.
Marx, though he placed a naive faith in the power of the state to create his workers’ utopia and discounted important social and cultural forces outside of economics, was acutely aware that something essential to human dignity and independence had been lost with the destruction of pre-modern societies. The Iroquois Council of the Gens, where Indians came together to be heard as ancient Athenians did, was, Marx noted, a “democratic assembly where every adult male and female member had a voice upon all questions brought before it.” Marx lauded the active participation of women in tribal affairs, writing, “The women [were] allowed to express their wishes and opinions through an orator of their own election. Decision given by the Council. Unanimity was a fundamental law of its action among the Iroquois.” European women on the Continent and in the colonies had no equivalent power.