Saturday, August 30, 2003
43% of U.S. foreign debt is controlled by China and Japan. That's pretty alarming, especially upon reading this interview with Bernard Lietaer, who "co-designed and implemented the convergence mechanism to the single European currency system (the Euro), and served as president of the Electronic Payment System in his native Belgium. He also co-founded one of the largest and most successful currency funds." In this interview, he is impressively candid, cogent, and, curiously, hopeful, particularly about "private monetary systems." There is a small system in place in Berkeley, for example, and the founder of Visa is working with others to set up a larger-scale alternate currency, as well.
It's a chicken and egg story: unstable currency equals unstable government. There is practically no way today for a developing country to have a reasonable monetary policy within the current rules of the game. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics and formerly head economist at the World Bank, makes the same claims in his book Globalization and Its Discontents (Penguin, 2002). Whether you fix your currency to the dollar or let it float, you end up with an unmanageable monetary problem, like Brazil, Russia or Argentina have experienced. Eighty-seven countries have gone through a major currency crisis in the last 25 years. Their fiscal policies are imposed by an International Monetary Fund (IMF). I am afraid that if the United States had to live by the rules that are imposed on, say, Brazil, the United States of America would become a developing country in one generation. It's the system that is currently unstable, unfair and not working.
The majority of humanity has gone through a recent monetary crisis at least once already. We'e living here, in America, in an island of perceived stability. And even that is an illusion. We could have a run on the dollar under the current rules.
We are dealing with an unstable system, an ailing system. Back in 1975, I had come to the conclusion that there would be a systemic series of monetary crashes, starting with Latin America. And that's why I wrote my book on how the money system was not working and its impact on Latin American development, Europe, Latin America and the Multinationals (Praeger, 1979). I predicted that the first crash in Latin America would be in the early 1980s. It actually happened in 1981 in Mexico. Since then we have had more than 80 other countries undergoing similar monetary crises.
Now the point is: there are many new agreements being made within communities as to the kind of medium of exchange they are willing to accept. As I said, in Britain, you can use frequent flier miles as currency. It's not a universal currency, it's not legal tender, but you can go to the supermarket and buy stuff. And in the United States, it's just a question of time before privately issued currencies will be used to make purchases. Even Alan Greenspan, the governor of the Federal Reserve and the official guardian of the conventional money system, says, "we will see a return of private currencies in the 21st century."
Maureen Dowd goes after Super Villain Dick Cheney: It has also now become radiantly clear that we have to drag Dick Cheney out of the dark and smog. Less Hobbes, more Locke.
So far, American foreign policy has been guided by the vice president's gloomy theories that fear and force are the best motivators in the world, that war is man's natural state and that the last great superpower has sovereign authority to do as it pleases without much consultation with subjects or other nations.
We can now see the disturbing results of all the decisions Mr. Cheney made in secret meetings.
The General Accounting Office issued a report last week noting that the vice president shaped our energy policy with clandestine advice from "petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, electricity industry representatives and lobbyists."
Favoritism to energy pals led to last week's insane decision to gut part of the Clean Air Act and allow power plants, refineries and other industrial sites to belch pollutants.
Another Bush-Cheney energy crony is Anthony Alexander of Ohio's FirstEnergy Corporation, which helped trigger the blackout after failing to upgrade its transmission system properly since deregulation. He was a Bush Pioneer, having raised at least $100,000 for the campaign.
This logrolling attitude has led to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing Halliburton — which made Mr. Cheney a rich man with $20 million worth of cashed-in stock — to get no-bid contracts in Iraq totaling $1.7 billion, and that's just a start.
All this, and high gas prices, too?
When he wasn't meeting secretly with energy lobbyists, Mr. Cheney was meeting secretly with Iraqi exiles. The Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi and other defectors conned Mr. Cheney, Rummy and the naïve Wolfowitz of Arabia by playing up the danger of Saddam's W.M.D.'s and playing down the prospect of Iraqi resistance to a U.S. invasion.Who's Losing Iraq?
The headline says it all...Case of 19 terrorists unravelling
[It is] Canada's most sensational -- and most controversial -- terrorism case in recent years.
After they were jailed on the grounds that they could pose a risk to Canada's national security, the case made headlines around the world as the news media quoted a government official's now infamous words: 'I guess the easiest way of putting it is there is a suggestion they might, in fact, perhaps be a sleeper cell for Al-Qaeda.'
Other Immigration officials raised allegations that some of the men may have been in search of diagrams and schematics of the CN Tower and other prominent Toronto landmarks.
However, the case of the terrorists among us began to unravel almost as soon as the detention reviews began, with the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada distancing themselves from the idea that the men posed a clear threat to security.
The RCMP, which is just beginning to sift through 25 boxes of files and 30 computers seized in the raid that netted the 19 men, said this week there is no evidence that Canada's national security is at risk. Immigration officials underlined that they are investigating only the possibility of such threats.
'I can comfortably say there is no known threat; what is being investigated is a reasonable suspicion,' said Giovanna Gatti, spokesperson with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 'It's taken the spin that it has taken in the media for whatever reason.'"
Yeah, that damned irresponsible media, doing its usual spin thing... I wonder why they got so excited about nineteen immigration violations? I guess the easiest way explaining it, or of putting it, was the suggestion they might, in fact, perhaps 'be a sleeper cell for Al-Qaeda.'
Friday, August 29, 2003
TOP TEN REJECTED DAVE EGGERS TITLES
10.) Some Go Up But Me I Like It Down Here on the Couch Where It's Warm
9.) We Ran to the Park and There Got VD
8.) Once We Were Kings (Albeit with Really Big Hair)
7.) We Fought the Wind Until It Died Down and So Did We
6.) Genius? You Bet I Am!
5.) One Day I Went Running and Then I Got Hit By a Car
4.) Hold Still While I Empty Your Wallet
3.) Me and Ms. Kay Act Like Three Small Bitches
2.) I Crapped In the Parlor and Ten Publishers Came A-Runnin'
1.) I Lost My Stick and Then I Was Sad
Paying for war crimes - $16 billion to restore Iraq's water
A big story
this week is that it is going to cost us (and I do mean us - you and me, assuming you're a U.S. taxpayer) $16 billion to fix the problems with the Iraqi water system. Most news stories just leave it at that, but at least one TV report I heard added that this was the results of 13 years of neglect.
But what was it that happened 13 years ago, and what was it that was happening during the last 13 years? You won't find out listening to or reading the U.S. mainstream media, not a word. What happened 13 years ago, in fact, was that a major war crime was committed, on a scale of staggering proportions - the U.S. deliberately and systematically destroyed the Iraqi water system. Article 54 of the Geneva convention states:
"It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."
And what was it that was happening during the last 13 years of "neglect" of the Iraqi water system? Of course, it was the UN sanctions, kept in place that entire time by the refusal of the US and UK to consider their repeal, and with the US and UK repeatedly vetoing attempts by Iraq to import "dual-use" chemicals which were needed to repair the water filtration system. And the consequences? An estimated half million Iraqi children
died because of the lack of clean drinking water.
Was this an accident? A surprise to the U.S.? Any civilized person might like to think so, but, sadly, the answer is absolutely no. In 2000, Professor Thomas Nagy of George Washington University managed to obtain military documents written before the Gulf War. These documents make absolutely clear that the U.S. had studied in detail all aspects of Iraq's water system, had planned a strategy for preventing Iraq from reconstructing that system (via the sanctions), and knew in advance that "this could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease."
What happened in Iraq during the Gulf War was a deliberate war crime, one of the greatest in history, without any question. A half million children died as a result of that war crime, and now the people of the U.S. will end up paying $16 billion to pay for that crime. The war criminals, meanwhile, continue to be "respected" citizens.
From Left I on the News
Thursday, August 28, 2003
An emerging whodunit in Central Oregon hovers amid the smoke draping the east side of the Cascade Range.
Can it be pure coincidence, locals are asking, that two wildfires sprang up in view of the spot where President Bush planned to promote his plan to thin forests for wildfire prevention?
And that they both appeared just as his plans emerged?
"I think everyone in the community here is wondering that," said Judy Wattier, who works at the KOA Campground just east of Sisters, where business is in the doldrums because of the blazes that have covered almost 40,000 acres in the nearby Deschutes National Forest. "Everyone I've mentioned it to can talk about it for hours." [more]
"Bush posing with the environment is like Ted Bundy posing with pretty women."Bill Moyers
The facts on the ground. I'm a journalist, reporting the evidence, not an environmentalist pressing an agenda. The Earth is sending us a message and you don't have to be an environmentalist to read it. The Arctic ice is melting. The Arctic winds are balmy. The Arctic Ocean is rising. Scientists say that in the year 2002 -- the second-hottest on record -- they saw the Arctic ice coverage shrink more than at any time since they started measuring it. Every credible scientific study in the world says human activity is creating global warming. In the face of this evidence, the government in Washington has declared war on nature. They have placed religious and political dogma over the facts. [more]
Fox news wags discuss the proliferation of anti-Bush sites (including counterpunch.org, takebackthemedia.com, bushbodycount.com) on the internet.
From the Charlotte Observer
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, reportedly plans to introduce legislation in September to further expand federal police powers.
The Hatch bill, entitled the Victory Act (Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act), is seen by some to be a substitute for the so-called Patriot Act II -- the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- which was leaked and caused a furor in Congress as well as among liberal and conservative civil liberties groups. A draft copy of the Victory Act has been posted on the Web (www.libertythink.com
The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.Reposted from Metafilter
where there are additional links and a discussion thread.
And from an article entitled Nation Builders for Hire:
"By July 2000, Cheney claimed on ABC's ''This Week'' that neither Halliburton nor its subsidiaries dealt with Iraq at all. 'Iraq's different,'' Cheney said at the time. ''I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal.'' But in fact from 1997 to 2000, when Cheney was running Halliburton, two of its subsidiaries sold Saddam Hussein's government a total of $73 million in oil-field supplies. The deal didn't violate U.S. sanctions because the subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company, were foreign. KBR/Halliburton, then, has rounded the bases when it comes to Iraq. It got rich doing business with Iraq, it got rich preparing to destroy Iraq and it's now getting rich rebuilding Iraq
Also, see All in the Family
, a recent 60 Minutes report on Cheney and Halliburton.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Friend of the Devil?
Now I can't definitively say, due to the paucity of my theological background if Mr Bush is the Anti-Christ, (He does seem to be the anti-Prince of Peace and a pretty polar opposite to the fellow who is called "The Truth and The Way) but I can state with confidence he is the Anti-Life.Mother Jones
has the lowdown on just how anti-life. Consider his pillaging of the EPA, Clean Water
and Clear Air
acts or look at just who has been appointed
to regulate what- there is a strange confluence of folks with strong corporate ties, a rabbit guarding the carrot patch melee that is costing "We the People" our very health and natural world. Check out some of these figures:
Tons of additional air pollutants permitted to be released by 2020 under Bush's "Clear Skies" plan:
Estimated number of premature deaths that will result:
Estimated amount that Clear Skies-related health problems will cost taxpayers, per year:
Days after Bush took office that he reneged on his campaign promise to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants:
Days after the U.S. Geological Survey released a 12-year study indicating that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would pose "significant harm to wildlife" that the agency reversed itself:
Years that the Bush administration says global warming must be further studied before substantive action can be taken:
Number of members of the 63-person energy advisory team Bush convened early in his administration who did not have ties to corporate energy interests:
Amount that energy team members gave to Republican candidates in the 2000 election:
Do you see a trend here?
Mr Bush, you and your other so called "Christian" cronies are obviously serving Mammon
. Here's a quick quote from your own Scripture:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
--Matt 6:19-24 RSV
in your autobiography, "A Charge to Keep" that you have read the Bible through and through.
As I studied and learned, Scripture took on greater meaning, and I gained confidence and understanding in my faith. I read the Bible regularly. Don Evans gave me the "one-year" Bible, a Bible divided into 365 daily readings, each one including a section from the New Testament, the Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I read through that Bible every other year. During the years in between, I pick different chapters to study at different times.
As a lapsed Catholic but active Panentheist I ask you Mr Bush to follow the First of the Ten Commandments you publicly claim to adhere to.
You shall have no other gods before me
Kick Mammon to the curb and turn a new leaf, Sir. You'll save your soul and help to keep our world livable. And think of the moral
support you'll be offering Judge Ray Moore
Maybe your buddy and spiritual mentor Billy Graham can clear things up for you. Because Mr Bush, it really is simple:
If I obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, will I go to heaven when I die? I don't think I've broken any of them, but what would happen if I did? -- M.C.
Only one thing will keep you out of heaven, and that is sin. And just as only one teaspoon of sewage would be enough to make a barrel of pure water undrinkable, so only one sin would be enough to keep you out of heaven.
Now don't you want to reconsider and support the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts?
Young people at the call centres are helping robots to phone American citizens to enlist their support and money for the political party, with plans to extend the scheme if they whip up enough donations. [more]
Rory McCarthy returns to Baghdad after two months to find electricity and water still in short supply, aid workers leaving, and insecurity growing.
Corporate/Vote Count Nexus
Black Box Voting. "Foolproof" electronic voting, touted to not be as "messy" as paper voting machine ballot collecting, you know, with hanging chads and all. Now in the book "Vote Scam
" back in '92 we were offered just how easily vote fraud could occur with a paper trail
, speaking of proprietary computer algorithm's tabulating the votes and all. These new high tech voting systems are unfettered by anything that would insure "We the People" of their accuracy. Check out Bev Harris'
Black Box Voting site (or read a to the point digest at Online Journal
) to see a story worthy of a summer blockbuster movie- A Saudi Electronic voting company that never turned a profit bought up by what used to be Arthur Anderson to tally up our votes... This same offshore company being used to tally our service peoples internet
votes. All the elements of a horror story but with PR, a sort of mega Florida debacle
redux. Read the links, I only offered a teaser.Stop the Florida-tion of the 2004 election.
You don't hear about this stuff much
in the media. Spread the word.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
For the percentage that thinks...
'My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it,' he once explained. 'People need somebody to watch over them.... Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.'
Gleaned from Atrios
Take 40 minutes or so to hear about the case of Ed Forchion- see his censored by Comcast commercial. Freedom is not something given, it is something we claim. Go to NJWeedman.com
(realmedia file) and see a "little guy", a regular Joe standing up to the juggernaut of Government.
Consumer or Patriot, it is a personal choice we all make...
Check out ReconsiDer.org
, visit their links page as you navigate around the site.
Remember we live in the land of the Free and the home of the Brave. How do we go about realizing these lofty thoughts?
Visit the site of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics
and download their report On Medical Marijuana and Cognitive Liberty
(it is a .pdf file). It will help clear your head of any of the sensationalist BS the mainstream media blasts at you. Plus it offers perspective to counter the hype on MM for when you discuss the issue with folks. CCLE has an amazing links resource too.
Where do Democratic candidates for President stand on the issue of Medical Marijuana? Granite Staters
for Medical Marijuana can show you. I'll give you a clue, some of the great slightly "left of center" hopes are quibbling...
The Christian Science Monitor has put together a fantastic interactive resource of information about neoconservatism. They have a background/primer section called Neocon 101
, and a quiz
so you can find out if you're
a neocon. There is also an index
of neocon institutions and publications. Hopefully, we are about to see more of this kind of site. The web and hyperlinks make a great medium for explaining a topic with so many tangents and relevant personalities.
Already, there have been several attempts by individuals to build a sort of central clearinghouse of information on neoconservatism, though before most of them were focused on the Project for the New American Century
:PNAC.infoPNAC Revealedand I made one, too... PNAC Primer
But the CSM's site, while it may match these other amateur sites in terms of its goal and purpose, emboldens this inquiry in two key ways. Initially, the fact that the CSM is a respected periodical--especially as regards international matters--and it lends some credibility to what was too easilly dismissed as "conspiracy theory" before. It was all too easy to dismiss questions about neoconservatives by pretending the term itself had no meaning. More importantly, though, the Empire Builders
site--created in an environment now tempered by Irving Kristol's recent neocon coming out
--moves the discourse forward and away from criticism of one think thank and one group of individuals and towards a sort of public vetting of an ideology.
Monday, August 25, 2003
This remarkable journal comes from a female programer in Iraq. Full of great writing and fascinating commentary from a girl living under US occupation in Baghdad. Recommended by Relton DuPiniot of Le Blogeur.
Laying the groundwork for the next (?) war
Two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and still very much in progress, but the ground is being prepared for the next (?) war, this one against North Korea. One thing that paves the way for such a war, just as in Iraq, is a constant drumbeat about the "evil" nature of the leader of another country (the "next Hitler" syndrome). With North Korea, the drumbeat is particularly loud and comes from all directions. Unless you're a reader of Workers World
newspaper, you're unlikely to have read a single positive statement about North Korea in your entire life.
Appearing on the Larry King show yesterday, Bill Maher referred to Kim Jong Il as "Little Kim," (I know Maher is a comedian, but this kind of figurative and in this case literal belittlement is hardly limited to him) and told how a German doctor returned from North Korea and claimed that a "holocaust" was taking place there. Maher talked about people "starving to death," but of course, if they were just starving due to a poor economy or drought or similar reasons, the proper response would be for the world to rush in food aid to prevent people from dying. But to Maher, what is happening in North Korea is "evil" we can't "tolerate," which, when coupled with a German referring to a "holocaust," certainly gives the listener the impression that the government is systematically killing or "ethnically cleansing" its own people. Of course nothing of the kind is happening in North Korea.
Meanwhile, over in the San Jose Mercury News, Karl Schoenberger (the Mercury News' Asia-Pacific correspondent who has covered Korea and Japan for the past 20 years), has his own "fun," asking whether North Korea is like the country in "The Mouse That Roared," pretending it has the "Q-bomb" in order to get aid and attention. Here are some of the phrases we find littered throughout this deadly (potentially, quite literally) article: "threaten[ing] the world with nuclear blackmail," "Kim's paranoia," "kicking out weapons inspectors in a tantrum," "recklessness," "obstreperous mouse." This kind of juvenile language is what passes for serious journalism on the subject of North Korea - the article was accorded the respect of nearly a full page in the "Perspective" section of the paper, starting on the first page on the upper right.
"Nuclear blackmail"? North Korea has never once threatened to use nuclear weapons except in self-defense. Only one country in the world has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in a first-strike situation - you guessed it, the United States.
"Paranoia"? I hate to state the obvious, but "maybe you're not paranoid, maybe they really are out to get you" as the saying goes. Surely, given the American record in Afghanistan and Iraq (and a host of other countries before that), thinking that there is a possibility that the U.S. might attack North Korea and, if you are North Korea, trying to do something about that could hardly be considered "paranoia."
A "tantrum"? North Korea is a country, who made a decision that they thought was in their best interests. It's the Bush administration which has been throwing its toys (unfortunately, deadly weapons) around the world like a baby out of control.
"Recklessness"? Let's see, let's name all the countries North Korea has invaded in the last 40 years. Hmm, let me think. OK, it's coming to me...none. OK, now let's name all the countries that the U.S. has invaded, bombed, or helped in the overthrow of their government in just the last decade or two: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty more. And we're going to say that it's North Korea who is reckless?
"Obstreperous mouse"? Let's see, "noisily and stubbornly defiant, "aggressively boisterous." Just which country is it that fits those descriptions? North Korea, who has been peacefully minding its own business? Or the U.S., which insists on describing North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" that must be dealt with and clearly is threatening military action? The "mouse" goes right along with Maher's "Little Kim" and George Bush calling Kim a "pygmy" - the kind of insults we expect to find in the third grade, not in serious political discourse.
I saved the best and most serious (although in some ways the funniest) section for last. Schoenberger writes this:
What's required is a willingness to chip away at Kim's post-Iraq paranoia by responding seriously to his shrill and unbending demand for a "non-aggression pact.'' No U.S. president would sign such an agreement, and Congress would never ratify it. But the U.S. delegation could break the ice by making an unambiguous statement that America does not intend to strike militarily at North Korea.
The statement would carry more weight than past assurances because it would be witnessed in a formal context by North Korea's sympathetic former benefactors, China and Russia, who are party to the talks along with U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.
A "shrill and unbending demand" for a "non-aggression pact"? What a downright dastardly, bellicose thing to ask for! It speaks volumes that North Korea is asking for such an elementary thing, and that the author thinks that "No U.S. president would sign such as agreement and Congress would never ratify it." And then, almost laughably, he procedes on to claim that we could solve this problem not with a "non-aggression pact" but with a "statement from Congress that was "witnessed in a formal context." This just has to be the funniest thing I've read in quite a while. The U.S. tears up treaties
(e.g., the ABM treaty) it decides are no longer in its best interests, it has its president sign treaties which it then renegs on (e.g., the international criminal court). And Schoenberger thinks that a "statement from Congress" would be worth anything more than the paper it's printed on?
Readers can make up their own minds about the nature of the North Korean state, I won't address that here. But whatever your opinion on that front, you should be aware that the ground is being prepared, and your minds are being prepared, to make North Korea the next "enemy" "threatening our national security" and "putting us at great risk" who we "must" invade or take other military action against immediately. It is up to those of us who can see through these lies to make sure this doesn't happen.
Followup: Oops! I don't know how I misread that quote, but it's actually worse than I thought! Schoenberger didn't say a "statement from Congress" was the answer, he says that a statement from the "U.S. delegation" would do it. Carrying even less weight on the already weightless scale.
From Left I on the News
Deceiving the Public
Deceiving the public to consolidate power and influence U.S society and culture has roots reaching back America's Industrial Revolution- well, at least ever since there has been a corporate elite enriched by American industry.
The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.....
If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartels, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.
This quote is from Henry Wallace
in the year 1944. He was Secretary of Agriculture under FDR and then Vice President in Roosevelts second term in office. This writing is timeless. Sad to say, it seems what Wallace forecast has come to pass- we can see the results of a "purposeful coalition" as we see our air and water poisoned, our natural resources sacked for corporate gain. An illegal war prosecuted at the hands of an appointed President, whose largest campaign contributors, the energy and defense industries in collaboration with the media they own making a mockery of Democracy by denying the citizenry the accurate information needed to allow the political system to actually and effectively exist. Deliberate poisoners of public information? One can see by the present Administrations' employ of Iran/Contra criminals its disregard for even an appearance of honesty; while Mr Bush employed outright lies in his State of the Union Address of all things, as did his minions before the UN Security Council as well as before the people repeatedy on television "Talking Head" shows. KKK type demagoguery? O'Reilly with his "wetbacks" and Savage with his "turd world nations" and slurs against gay folks and the disabled along with Limbaugh joining them, lying left and right to get folks to hate even themselves, that special interest group "the working poor" that constitutes the vast majority of Americans, and a majority of his listener
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
Alright, so today there is little talk of isolationism, Mr Bush and his neocon Administration have used fear based propaganda to stoke up a love of Empire, of a so-called Pax Americana among the less well informed, with media complicity the present US regime has done all Mr Wallace ascribes to the American Fascists of his day. I find it truly amazing that the masses of Americans would be so easily led to vote and act out
against their own best interests.John Taylor Gatto
can offer a few well footnoted clues as to why the majority of our populace seems to have difficulty in cutting through the smoke and mirrors that comprise what we call "The News" Why it seems the masses of us are not bothered by contradictory statements coming from those who govern us. Why "we the people" sit passively by for the most part as Mr Bush tells baldfaced lies that even our entertainment drenched short term memories realize are pure BS. I'd ask you to go to your local independent bookstore and grab two things, one, the September edition of Harpers that has a Gatto piece as the "headliner"(subscribe to Harpers, trust me on this one) , two, get yourself a copy of "Everything You Know is Wrong" (edited by Russ Kick of the indispensable website The Memory Hole
) that has another more extensive version covering the same subject- just what are the aims and philosophical underpinnings of 20th century compulsory schooling? And who has financed and promoted
this new compulsory education?
Between 1896 and 1920, a small group of industrialists and financiers, together with their private charitable foundations, subsidized university chairs, university researchers, and school administrators, spending more money on forced schooling than did the government itself. Carnegie and Rockefeller, as late as 1915, were themselves spending more. In this laissez-faire fashion a system of modern schooling was constructed without public participation. The motives for this are undoubtedly mixed, but it will be useful for you to hear an excerpt from the first mission statement of Rockefeller's General Education Board as it occurred in a document called Occasional Letter Number One (1906):
In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple ... we will organize children ... and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.
The above quotation is from "Some Lessons from the Underground History of American Education
by John Taylor Gatto. His references to the "experts" of their day are truly frightening- and eye opening. As we see the gap between the richest and the majority
of Americans steadily widening, outright lying to the populace an accepted tool of governance and the acceptance of the Corporate/Government nexus as normal in our lives it seems these far seeing social engineers are, long after their individual deaths, well on the way to realize their anti-American goal of an elite comfortably riding roughshod over the majority of us. Plantation USA.
If you have a hard time believing this revolution in the contract ordinary Americans had with their political State was intentionally provoked, it's time to meet William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906. Nobody else who rose out of the ranks of professional pedagogues, other than Cubberley, ever had the influence Harris did. Harris standardized our schools and Germanized them. Listen as he speaks in 1906:
Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.
-The Philosophy of Education (1906)..
Listen again to Harris, giant of American schooling, leading scholar of German philosophy in the Western hemisphere, editor/publisher of The Joumal of Speculative Philosophy which trained a generation of American intellectuals in the ideas of the Prussian thinkers Kant and Hegel, the man who gave America scientifically age-graded classrooms to replace successful mixed-age school practice:
The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.
-The Philosophy of Education (1906)..
Nearly a hundred years ago, this schoolman thought that self-alienation was the secret to successful industrial society. Surely he was right. When you stand at a machine or sit at a computer, you require an ability to withdraw from life, to alienate yourself without a supervisor. How else could that be tolerated unless prepared in advance by simulated Birkenhead drills? School, thought Harris, was sensible preparation for a life of alienation. Can you say he was wrong?
What was your experience of public school? Unbridled learning or boredom and disaffection with the whole process? My sense was that we moved on slowly overall, only to cover much the same material the first half of the next year. I remember the popular kids, dumb kids, the scapegoat kids, the poor kids. the weird kids- the pecking order. I'm guessing I was one of the weird kids, the ones that liked art, that read too much. One book I read in high school gave me a philosophical base to argue with instructors that cared about why I thought the whole school experience seemed largely like a waste of time was Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society
. I offer it as food for thought because it came to mind and I found it in its entirety here on the 'Net. Interesting to see after twenty-something years have passed.
I hope Gatto and Illich offer some insight, a jumping off point for ones own thought- most of us have been through public school and through that commonality can rate the writers accuracy. What do you think?
The thought of masses of kids running in the streets or being impressed into underpaid factory jobs just like many of their Moms and Dads used to have; well they had them before "Free Trade" sent most U.S factory work to China scares me. I offer no options, just hope that seeing what the wellsprings of education are in the U.S moves you and helps strengthen your resolve to keep active in the larger struggle of taking America back and working toward our nations promise.
I see my good friend's beautiful daughter's misspelled writing, some letters backwards, hung up and am told it is ok, "they" want the student to feel comfortable expressing themselves, even if it is in a non-standard way. I see the same child rushing to get an electronic calculator to do simple math. This is a very bright wonderful young person. I did some work for a newspaper near one of the largest military bases in America which featured articles written at only a sixth grade level. I see the stupidity of what passes for a majority of television entertainment is obvious, but people stare at the "idiot box" unable to entertain themselves. I see masses of folks that can just about sign their paycheck listening to Rush Limbaugh and effectively being led to hate their own class as well as anyone who is different, whether that difference is in ones race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or intellectual functioning level. If you listen to the blowhards of hate you'll find that thinking is elitist. When I see these things I see America's promise denied. One more quote from Gatto:
Since Aristotle, thinkers have understood that work is the vital theater of self-knowledge. Schooling in concert with a controlled workplace is the most effective way ever devised to foreclose the development of imagination. But where did these radical doctrines of true belief come from? Who spread them? We get at least part of the answer from the tantalizing clue Walt Whitman left when he said that "only Hegel is fit for America." Hegel was the protean Prussian philosopher capable of shaping Karl Marx on one hand and J.P. Morgan on the other; the man who taught a generation of prominent Americans that history itself could be controlled by the deliberate provoking of crises. Hegel was sold to America in large measure by William Torrey Harris, who made Hegelianism his lifelong project and forced schooling its principal instrument in its role as a peerless agent provocateur.
Harris was inspired by the notion that correctly managed mass schooling would result in a population so dependent on leaders that schism and revolution would be things of the past. If a world could be cobbled together by Hegelian tactical manipulation, and such a school plan imposed upon it, history itself would stop. No more wars, no civil disputes, just people waiting around pleasantly like the Eloi in Wells' The Time Machine. Waiting for Teacher to tell them what to do. The psychological tool was alienation. The was to alienate children from themselves so they couldn't turn inside for strength, to alienate them from their families, religions, cultures, etc. so no countervailing force could intervene.
Indoctrination and alienation as tools of social control. Americans "controlled by the deliberate provoking of crises" "They cultivate hate and distrust..." "If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings..." Welcome to 21st century America. We can diagnose the sickness and together, work for the cure.
Share what you learn.
Another John Taylor Gatto resource: Spinning Globe Gatto Page
Sally Baron hailed as hero by many
The story of Sally Baron, a Stoughton woman whose obituary asked that memorial funds go toward the removal of President Bush, was catching hold across the country as her family held memorial services Friday.
Dozens of people from around the United States have written to The Capital Times saying they will make donations to various organizations in her name, and the request was aired on national TV Thursday night. Baron's story is also being hotly discussed
on online bulletin boards, among both liberals and conservatives.
Baron "has become a sort of poster girl for all of us who despise George Bush," wrote Nancy Tonies of Appleton.
Baron raised six children, one of whom died of leukemia at age 21, in the timber and mining country of Iron County. Her husband was crushed and nearly killed in a 1969 mining accident and died seven years ago, shortly before Baron moved to Stoughton.
Her family described how their mother - a waitress, cook and factory assembly worker - was furious with Bush for what she saw as a stolen election and dishonest statements. Baron's favorite nickname for Bush, which she used to shout at the TV, was "whistle ass."
The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.
The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel.
Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important source of revenue for the country. This line has been damaged by sabotage twice in recent weeks and is presently out of service.
In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.
Sources in Jerusalem suggest that the American hints about the alternative pipeline are part of an attempt to apply pressure on Turkey.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
To see how many US and UK soldiers Bush has killed in Iraq with his lies, click here
Cost of the War in Iraq
"America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
"Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless versimilitude can set that line straight."
--James Ellroy, American Tabloid