Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brian Willson: Breaking Our Addiction to War

Breaking Our Addiction to War
by Brian Willson article link article link
November 28, 2010 | S. Brian Willson | Global Research

I am sick of being anti-war. Are wars inevitable? War crimes? If we really don’t want wars, it behooves us to get serious about understanding their causes, and choose to radically address them. Otherwise, what’s the point? Feeling a “rush” with like-minded folks at political actions only perpetuates our addiction to anti-war rallies, which do nothing to stop wars from occurring.

The inarticulate presidency of George Bush II successfully unmasked the US empire for everyone to see in its gruesome glory – laying bare all the lies, sordid details, and egregious consequences of unfettered greed. Then the hopium associated with Obama’s election served as a soothing tranquilizer, quieting the movement, at least for a time. Yet, no matter who is in power, wars continue ad nauseum. To learn why we must examine the vertical/hierarchical, patriarchal political-economic system to which we humans have adapted over millennia.

First, let’s look at US history. The record reveals a chronic, depressing pattern of war making – 550 direct military interventions since 1799 in more than 100 countries. More than 300 of these have occurred since World War II, including bombing of 28 countries. In addition, the US has conducted thousands of covert interventions, mostly in “Third World” countries.

The longer view: Since the advent of “civilization” around 3500 BC (55 centuries ago), there have been 14,600 recorded “decisive wars,” not counting thousands of smaller, “indecisive” ones, according to the Norwegian Academy of Sciences. This coincides with development of writing and emergence of patriarchal, hierarchical kingdoms, most of which later became empires. The rulers of these kingdoms gained power by manipulating surplus that had grown out of the agricultural revolution. Another coincidence with the advent of civilization is a notable increase in findings of human remains for which the cause of death has been attributed to warfare injuries. Archaeologists have found little if any evidence of systemic warfare prior to this time.

Since 1500 AD, war scholar Quincy Wright documents 3,000 recorded “battles” which involved casualties of at least 1,000 in land battles, and 500 in naval ones, with an additional quarter million “hostile encounters.” The US Army alone has been engaged in over 9,000 “battles and skirmishes” between 1775-1900, most against Native Americans, with the US Navy engaged in over 1,100 encounters in addition.

Efforts to prevent wars are also well established. Historical sociologist Jacques Novicow documented more than 8,000 treaties for peace between 1,500 BC and 1860 AD.

Modern efforts to impose accountability for war behavior include the Hague and Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter, and the Nuremberg Principles. The 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact renounced war altogether. Since the 1950s, the US Army Field Manual adopted provisions of international law, absolutely prohibiting targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. It has done little, if anything, to retard murder of civilians.

Attempting to understand this chronic pattern of human carnage, scholars such as Lewis Mumford, Thomas Berry, Marija Gimbutus, Riane Eisler, and James Hillman chronicle the record of more than five millennia of the four patriarchal establishments – classical empires, ecclesiastical institutions, nation-states, and modern corporations. All four can be described as male-dominated, vertical hierarchies dependent for their functioning on strict obedience from their population base.

“Civilization” is marked by a dramatic shift from long-standing decentralized, horizontal, matriarchal societies, to centralized, vertical/class-oriented, patriarchal societies, in which obedience to a King was required, and slave labor utilized to construct massive projects like tombs, irrigation and grain storage systems. Class and stratification ripped people from their historical roots as autonomous beings living in small cooperative tribal groups. This separation of people from their intimate connections with the earth produced deep insecurity, anxiety and fear in the psyche, and ecopyschologists such as Chellis Glendinning and Theodore Roszak suggest that such fragmentation created a traumatic primordial breach. Being forced to live and work in a class system generally leads to a feeling of lack of self worth. People will avoid this shame at any cost, often by adopting “defense mechanism” such as projecting demonization onto others “below,” and/or deference of authentic autonomous freedoms to belief in authority structures and adoption of their accompanying mythologies and ideologies.

For 300 generations civilization has required obedience. This has become a cultural habit enabling each of us to successfully adapt to our non-Indigenous culture. Observers such as Etienne De La Boetie have discovered that virtually all vertical power quickly becomes ego-tyrannical, inherent in concentration of political, social and economic power, whether achieved through elections (such as the USA), force of arms, or inheritance. Method of rule is essentially the same – achieving mass consent through either fear or propaganda/myth. Barbara Tuchman describes the historical folly of ego-maniacs at war in her 1984 book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam.

In essence, by being conditioned to obey the laws and mores of modern society dictated and shaped by vertical political-economic systems, we have been living contrary to our authentic nature as cooperative beings capable of self-governance in small communities without authority from above. In addition, in the West, with but 20 percent of the world’s population, we have materially benefited from 500 years of colonial exploitation at the expense of the remaining 80 percent. This is not only immoral, it is ecologically unsustainable. In the US, with but 4.6 percent of the world’s population, our insatiable consumption devours more than 30 percent of the globe’s resources. Habits of obedience to our system have historically been reinforced by our personal addiction to consumer goods, fed by the myth that our material well-being derives from our “exceptionalism” as US Americans. Our allegiance to this myth and our addiction to its benefits are what enable those dreadful wars – these are nothing more than imperial projects to assure, at gunpoint, continuation of our American Way Of Life, not to mention endless profits for the “emperor” and his entourage.

In summary, we are addicted to war because we are addicted to a materialist way of life, which requires obedience to an infrastructure of imperialism that enables business as usual. That it is totally unsustainable is only now being realized.

The prescription: Re-discover the eco-consciousness that already resides in our visceral genetic memory outside our brains. Choosing to live with less stuff in locally sufficient, food producing and simple tool making/artisan cultures can be joyful, and pockets of such revivalist cultures are cropping up in many places as people strive to re-establish their local autonomy. We are coming full circle – those we exterminated because we deemed them “savage,” were in fact authentic. We are the savages and now must turn to the authentics to help in our healing.

S. Brian Willson Articles Envisioning Nonviolent Revolutionary Alternatives
S. Brian Willson home page
Global Research Articles by Brian Willson
Global Research home page

Friday, November 26, 2010

Michael Parenti: Fascism: A False Revolution

Fascism: A False Revolution
by Michael Parenti (1996) article link
September 24, 2007 | Thomas Paine’s Corner | Dandelion Salad

[Thomas Paine's Corner Editor’s Note: Many liberals and people on the left have grown accustomed to invoking the word “Fascism” when defining just about any oppressive regime that restricts civil liberties, assaults workers’ organizations, or does the bidding for the rich. Unfortunately, there is a broad spectrum of rightwing authoritarian regimes that also do just that, without being, technically speaking, “Fascist.” In fact, both rightwing military dictatorships and fascism have similar class programs, the repression of labor being a top priority, and a number of other overlapping features, but the distinguishing trait of a genuine fascist regime is not just its reactionary, fiercely anti-communist character, but the fact that it rests on a one-party state with a mass base usually drawn from the petit bourgeoisie and the lower middle class. Fascism is therefore a type of rightwing mass movement feeding off of racism, fierce chauvinism, often malignant nativism (as manifested, for example, in anti-Semitism), and grandiose warmongering goals. The essay below, by renowned political analyst Michael Parenti, clarifies and expands many of these points. But before we go there, consider what Benito Mussolini himself had to say about the nature of fascism:

“…Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society…

After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….”

Well, so much for Il Duce’s patience with egalitarianism…..]

Fascism: A False Revolution

Fascism is a false revolution. It makes a revolutionary appeal without making an actual revolution. It propagates the widely proclaimed New Order while serving the same old moneyed interests.

Before World War I, Benito Mussolini was a socialist, but the minute the wealthy classes in Italy offered him financial support and power, he didn’t hesitate to switch sides. (We know about people who switch sides, don’t we?) And with the huge sums he got from wealthy interests, Mussolini was able to project himself onto the national scene as the leader of a movement that specialized in attacking unions, peasant farm cooperatives, socialists, communists, and anarchists. After World War I, to maintain profit levels, the large industrialists and big land owners had to slash wages and raise prices. The state, in turn, had to provide the big owners with massive subsidies and tax exemptions. To finance this corporate welfarism, the populists had to be taxed more heavily, and social welfare expenditures drastically cut. (Does all of this sound familiar?) But the government wasn’t completely free to apply harsh measures because many Italian workers and peasants had their own unions and fairly strong political organizations. With demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, factory takeovers, they won substantial concessions in wages and work conditions and the right to organize and were able to defend their standard of living. To roll back that standard of living and to get the economic changes that the plutocrats and tycoons wanted, the ruling interests had to abolish the democratic rights that helped workers and peasants defend that standard. The solution was to smash their organizations and their political liberties. The leaders of industry, along with top bankers and agribusiness associations, met with Mussolini to plan and finance the so-called “Fascist Revolution.” Within two years after seizing state power, Mussolini had shut down all opposition newspapers and crushed the socialist, liberal, Catholic, democratic, and republican parties, which together had commanded about 80% of the vote.

In Germany, there was a very similar pattern of complicity between fascists and capitalists. German workers and farm laborers had won the eight-hour day, unemployment insurance, the right to unionize. They had built very powerful political organizations, but heavy industry and big finance were in a state of near total collapse. Business wanted to cut wages and get tax-cuts and massive state subsidies to revive profit levels. The German tycoons greatly increased their subsidies to Hitler, and the Nazi party was propelled onto the national stage.

Who did Mussolini and Hitler support once they seized state power? In both countries a strikingly similar agenda was pursued. Labor unions and strikes were outlawed, union property and publications were confiscated, farm cooperatives were handed over to rich private owners, big agribusiness farming was heavily subsidized. In both Germany and Italy the already modest wages of the workers were cut drastically; in Germany, from 25-40%; in Italy, 50%. In both countries the minimum wage laws, overtime pay, and factory safety regulations were abolished or turned into dead letters. Taxes were increased for the general populace, but lowered or eliminated for the rich and big business. Inheritance taxes for the wealthy were greatly reduced or abolished. Both Mussolini and Hitler showed their gratitude to their business patrons by handing over to them publicly owned and perfectly solvent steel mills, power plants, banks, steamship companies (”privatization,” it’s called here). Both regimes dipped heavily into the public treasury to refloat or subsidize heavy industry (corporate welfarism). Both states guaranteed a return on the capital invested by giant corporations and assumed most of the risks and losses on investment. (Sounds like S&Ls, doesn’t it?)

As in all reactionary regimes, public capital was raided by private capital. As a result, in Italy during the 1930s the economy was gripped by recession, a staggering public debt, and widespread corruption, but industrial profits rose, and the armaments factories busily rolled out the weapons. In Germany, unemployment was eased somewhat because of the massive arms program and the arms spending. But generally, poverty increased. But from 1935-1943, the net income of German corporate leaders rose 46%. In both countries, the conditions of labor deteriorated greatly: speed-ups, dismissals, imprisonment for workers who complained about unsafe or inhumane work conditions, longer hours for less wages.

Much of politics is the rational manipulation of irrational symbols. In fascism, these irrational, atavistic appeals go back to the mythical roots of the people: for Mussolini, back to the grandeur that was Rome; for Hitler, the ancient volk. Then there’s the cult of the leader: Il Duce, the Führer. With leader worship and state worship came the glorification of militarism, war, and conquest-basically conservative symbols to get people distracted from their own immediate political/economic class-interests and get them galvanized into war, the conquest, militarism.

Fascist doctrines stress one people, one state, one leader. The people are no longer to be concerned with class divisions, but must see themselves as part of a harmonious, authoritarian whole, a view that supports the socioeconomic status quo. In contrast, a left agenda advocates a sharpened awareness of class injustice and class struggle, the articulation of popular demands and the self-generated participation of popular forces.

Fascism, especially the Nazi version, had an explicit commitment to racism. Human attributes are said to be inherited through blood. Genetics and biology are said to justify the existing class structure (just as our academic racists today are doing with their bell curve theories and their warmed over eugenics clap-trap.)

Fascism also supports sexual inequality and homophobia. The oppression of gays was criminal and homicidal; the oppression of women was traditionally patriarchal. “Women’s greatest calling is to tend to the needs of her husband and children, producing as many [children] as she can for the state.”

In Nazi Germany, racism and anti-Semitism were used to rechannel some legitimate grievances to irrelevant enemies (scapegoating). Many middle-class Germans knew they were victimized by powerful economic forces, but they were too bound up in the conventional social order to adopt a revolutionary course, so they went in a fascist direction and started voting for the Nazi parties.

Anti-Semitic propaganda was very emotive and irrational, but cleverly crafted to appeal to certain groups. Workers and peasants were told, “It’s the Jewish capitalists, the Jewish usurers, who are doing this.” The middle class was told, “It’s the Jewish trade union leaders and the Jewish communists who are doing this.” The superpatriots were told, “The Jew is the enemy alien, an internationalist.” This is the rational use of irrational symbols and arguments.

What distinguished fascism from ordinary right-wing autocracies was the way it attempted to cultivate a revolutionary aura and give the impression of being a mass movement. Fascism offers a beguiling mix of revolutionary sounding mass-appeals and reactionary class politics. The Nazi party’s full name was the National Socialist German Workers Party. Both the Italian fascists and the Nazis consciously tried to imitate the left: youth organizations, mass mobilizations, rallies, parades, banners, symbols, slogans, uniforms. And I think for this reason, too, many mainstream writers treat fascism and communism as totalitarian twins. But most workers and peasants could tell the difference. Industrialists and bankers could tell the difference. And certainly the communists and the fascists could tell the difference.

Western capitalist states have tolerated and cooperated with fascism. After World War II, the Western capitalist allies did little to eradicate fascism from Italy or Germany except for the Nuremburg trials, but the police, the courts, the military, security agencies, the bureaucracy have remained largely staffed by those who had served the former Nazi regimes, or their ideological recruits, and that remains true to this day. How do you murder six million Jews, a half million Gypsies, several million Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and others, and thousands of homosexuals, and get away with it? The only way you get away with it is that the very people who are supposed to look into these crimes were themselves complicit.

What happened to the U.S. businesses that collaborated with fascism? Corporations like DuPont, Ford, General Motors, ITT, owned factories in these enemy countries that produced fuel, tanks, and planes that wreaked havoc on Allied forces during World War II. After the war, instead of being prosecuted for treason, ITT collected $27 million from the U.S. government for war damages inflicted on its German plants by Allied bombings. General Motors collected $33 million. Since the war, U.S. leaders have done their part in keeping Italian fascism alive, giving millions of dollars to right-wing organizations and neo-fascist organizations in Italy.

A coalition of neo-fascist and separatist groups headed by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi won the 1994 elections in Italy. Their platform: a single tax rate for rich and poor alike, school vouchers, a stripping away of the welfare state, the introduction of private retirement accounts, and, of course, the privatization of just about everything. The Italian neo-fascists are learning from the American reactionaries how to achieve fascism’s goals under democratic forms with democratic facades-use an upbeat, Reaganesque optimism; convince people that government is the enemy (especially its social democracy aspects); strengthen the repressive capacities of the state; instigate resentments against the newly arrived immigrants; and preach the imaginary virtues of the free market.

The political center is always described as a kind of moderate place between the extremes of left and right. A closer reading of history should tell us that the center is more inclined to make common cause with the right against the left, because the center and the right share a commitment to corporate capitalism and the free market mythology. In the United States consider how gently, for generations, the murderous, lynching night riders, the Ku Klux Klan was treated by federal authorities in this country. Compare that to the way the Black Panthers were treated. Consider how the right is investigated, compared to the left. When the Center for Cuban Studies in New York was bombed by a right-wing Cuban group, which boasted, admitted, they did the act, the FBI didn’t have a clue, couldn’t find them.

Far from being moderates, as they’re always labeled, people in the political center are quite capable of the most immoderate and extremist acts imaginable. It was the Democratic Party who gave us the loyalty purges of the late 1940s. It was the Democratic Party that gave us Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Vietnam. It wasn’t the John Birch Society that tried to bomb Indochina into the Stone Age. It wasn’t the American Nazi Party that perfected napalm. Napalm was developed at Harvard. It wasn’t the Nazis who put thalidomide in the defoliants used throughout Indochina. And today, it’s not the skinheads or the Klan or the militia that maintains the death squads and other homicidal operations throughout so much of the Third World. It’s the best and the brightest of the political center, with plenty of help from the right wing. The way the mainstream shades off into the fascist right can be seen quite clearly in the Republican Party. The GOP agenda today is really not much different from the kind pushed by Mussolini and Hitler; it’s fascism without the swastika, it’s fascism in a pinstriped suit. First, break the labor unions, depress wages, and impose a rightist ideological monopoly over the media.

The rest of the GOP agenda is to eliminate cultural dissidents and the arts, attack the rights of women and gays, abolish taxes for the big corporations and the rich, eliminate government regulations designed for worker and consumer safety and environmental protection, privatize and plunder public lands and enterprises, wipe out public services-and cloak this whole reactionary agenda in a kind of a revolutionary sound. Newt Gingrich talks about the GOP “revolution.” Some revolution! It’s the same old reactionary class agenda. And today in the United States, some middle class Americans, like the middle class Germans of yore, beset by real economic difficulties, turn their anger toward irrelevant or imaginary foes: the immigrants, the Jews, the poor, the welfare mothers, people of color, feminists, gays, atheists, and others.

Growing numbers of us have lost our skepticism that “it could never happen here” because it is happening here. We are facing the Nazi-like Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Bill of 1995, which in effect suspends all Constitutional rights for anyone designated by the President as a terrorist, and anyone giving aid to those labeled terrorists. If you give money to an organization, it might go to their radical wing and you can be labeled a terrorist.

Something else explains the speed-up of reactionism in America today. For years the United States leaders and political and economic elites saw themselves in mortal combat with communism for the allegiance of peoples at home and abroad. They argued that U.S. workers enjoyed a higher standard of living than their counterparts who lived under communism. That was always a theme. “Our workers earn more, our workers live better than anybody under communism, so stick with capitalism.” Competition with an anti-capitalist system sets limits on how far to mistreat the working populace. Long before the collapse of communism they tried to break unions, they tried to depress wages, but now they’re dropping all pretenses at capitalism with a human face.

The potential threat of workers getting radicalized wasn’t the only restraining factor. It was also the working class’s ability to fight back, to win democratic victories, the eight-hour day, Social Security and various benefits. When the communist nations were overthrown in Eastern Europe, a very interesting querulous and irate note began to appear in some of the conservative publications. It went like this: “Eastern Europe is now moving toward a total free market, so why must we here in the United States still have to tolerate these collectivistic, liberal regulations and restraints that are put upon us? Now is the time to sock it to the public. There’s no reason why masses of people in this country should have a middle class living standard. It’s time these people lower their expectations, work harder, and be satisfied with less.

With the collapse of communism, there’s been a shift in policy toward the Third World too. “You’re not going to turn to Moscow now, Moscow’s in our pocket.” So they’re hitting them hard. The IMF, the World Bank, GATT, NAFTA, are undermining the sovereignty of Third World nations, plundering their markets, drastically cutting non-military foreign aid, and in some cases directly invading them and destroying the government that had any reformist tendencies or was maintaining economic development. U.S. leaders are making war against economic nationalism in countries like India, Brazil, Mexico, Iraq, Panama, South Korea, Taiwan and so forth.

A lot of people on the left still don’t get it- that these guys are playing for keeps, that they are going after you, that they are not going to leave any little bit for you. There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted-all the wealth, the treasures, and the profitable returns; all the choice lands and forests and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth; all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies; all the control positions of the state and other major institutions; all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities; all the protections of the law and none of its constraints; all of the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs. Every ruling class in history has wanted only this-all the rewards and none of the burdens.

The danger of fascism comes not from skinheads or the militia or the Christian right fanatics. It comes from the ongoing practices of the National Security State and its various enforcement agencies; it comes from the boardrooms of corporate America. But before we pronounce ourselves doomed, keep in mind that at the present time, there are people who are demonstrating and getting arrested and raising hell to protect the environment and the forests; there are others who are doing the same at nuclear submarine bases; there are people who are demonstrating for justice and against racism in the judicial system as the national protests for Mumia Abul-Jamal show. There are people protesting against nuclear testing in the South Pacific, against Medicare cuts and family assistance cuts, against the suppression of the homeless, against the anti-immigration laws, and for affirmative action. There are large majorities in this country who even support welfare, if you don’t call it welfare, if you say “Should government help the poor, should government do more for the poor?”

We have to get a lot angrier and a lot more determined. They want everything, and everything is at stake. Many people are getting angry; our job is to see that they direct their anger at the real perpetrators of their misery, and not against the very people who want to make common cause with them.

When the power of capital is increasingly untrammeled, all of us are put at risk: the environment, the sacred forests, the beautiful and mysterious creatures of the sea, the ordinary people who, with their strength and brains and inventiveness create community and give to life so much that’s worthy of our respect. The real burden to society is not the poor, but the corporate rich. We simply can no longer afford them.

Conservatives complain whenever we fight back; they say we’re engaging in “class war.” Well, I believe it is class war, but I also have another name for it. When people unite against the abuses of wealth and privilege, when they activate themselves and militantly attack the hypocrisies and lies of the powers that be, when they fight back and become the active agents of their own destiny, when they withdraw their empowering responses and refuse to toe that line, I call that “democracy.” Their first loyalty is to the dollar; our first loyalty is to democracy and to the well- being of our society and our Mother Earth.

Michael Parenti (born 1933) is an American political scientist, historian, and media critic. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and has taught at several universities, colleges, and other institutions. He is the author of twenty books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least seventeen languages. Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad. His book, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, was selected as Book of the Year (2004) by Online Review of Books. He is the father of author and The Nation magazine contributor Christian Parenti.

Dandelion Salad blog home
Michael Parenti home page

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Randall Amster: Changes in Gratitude: Eternal Thanks for a Nonviolent Future

Changes in Gratitude: Eternal Thanks for a Nonviolent Future
by Randall Amster article link article link
November 25, 2010 | Waging Nonviolence | CommonDreams

Let's be honest about this: the world has been coming apart at the seams, and we've been far too complacent about it. Sure, many of us are well aware of the apocalyptic risks of climate change, the social/environmental ravages of perpetual warfare, and the harsh realities of the rise of global corporate fascism. The era in which we live is defined by an incessant news cycle that chronicles the "end of days" trope in real time. And yet, despite occasional outbreaks of resistance, we've mostly been content to watch it play out through the lens of detached denial.

While we may laugh at climate change deniers - including the slate of potential incoming congressional chairs who will be tasked with overseeing this issue - we might also recognize a grain of personal truth in these jocular reflections. How many of us really have taken all the steps at our disposal to forestall the drivers of climate change, from zeroing our carbon emissions to refraining from the consumption of products responsible for deforestation and mounting waste? Who among us has truly stood resolute against the war machine at every turn, from open and organized tax resistance to educating tirelessly against the fallacies of recruitment? And who has completely disavowed any connection whatsoever with the corporate conglomerate that impose their will on the world?

This isn't an indictment, but more so a statement about the nature of the challenge before us. The array of nonviolent tactics for change at our disposal is vast and always growing, as Gene Sharp has documented. But there is a deeper problem at hand that works against the accrual of these tactics into an effective overall strategy, namely our incontrovertible reliance upon the very forces that we are seeking to alter or abolish. We might attend a protest but eat fast food on the way home. Perhaps we've changed our light bulbs yet still utilize fossil fuel electricity. Maybe we work with anti-war groups even as we fund war through multiple means. And so on.

We are all so thoroughly implicated in the patterns and practices of conflict and degradation that it is by now nearly impossible to extricate oneself altogether. Our utter dependency on the very system that we aim to alter necessarily imposes limits on how far we might be willing to go in order to dismantle the machinery of destruction. Metaphorically, we can liken our situation to that of being on a rapidly sinking ship and having to somehow construct a new ship out of the old materials without drowning in the process. And to make matters worse, it further appears that we are constrained to use the "master's tools" in this already long-shot rebuilding process.

This isn't intended to be a fatalistic statement. People before us have anticipated the end of the world and have found ways to stave it off. Yet we must acknowledge that our times are decidedly different: irreversible climatic thresholds are being crossed, essential resources including water and soil are being ruthlessly depleted, violence is systemic and endemic, and the carrying capacity of the planet is being pushed to the brink. All of this has happened in such short order that our moral imaginations have not been given sufficient time to catch up, as Martin Luther King, Jr. has cogently observed (YouTube):

When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast with a scientific and technological abundance. We've learned to fly the air as birds, we've learned to swim the seas as fish, yet we haven't learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.

Nearly half a century later, we now find ourselves caught in a scenario in which the problems before us are increasing exponentially, and thus could potentially trigger a downward-spiral runaway effect from which no recourse to technological fixes will save us. Indeed, as King suggests, our impoverished spirits exist in inverse proportion to the increasing technological interpenetration of every aspect of our lives, and the gap between them widens over time. Just as with the use of violence as the dominant "solution" to social problems such as terrorism and crime, likewise do we manifest this "gambler's fallacy" in our insistence that "doubling down" on current strategies will somehow avert total bankruptcy.

And yet, in this do we find ourselves with a unique opportunity to forge peace from war, abundance from scarcity, and ultimately survival from extinction: just as the repetition of flawed strategies spirals negatively, so too can constructive strategies mutually reinforce one another in a genuine "positive feedback loop." Further, we can celebrate the emerging notion that the challenges before us are not amenable to piecemeal, band-aid solutions, meaning that if we avoid self-imposed extinction it will mean that we have truly, finally, gotten our living right. Here then is a hopeful prospect: our success will be measured in the very existence of future generations, who will find themselves (if at all) in a world that is socially just and environmentally sustainable. There is no other outcome to be found beyond the creation of a fully nonviolent world, since our failure to do so will render all other matters moot.

I have two young children, and in writing this I hope to convey the sense of urgency that will be necessary in order for them to have a future on this planet. Movements for change up to now have been successful primarily in incrementally slowing the gears of destruction - which doesn't sound like much except that it has given us this narrow window of opportunity in which to act. If we squander this opportunity, the fault lies in ourselves; if we embrace it, the benefit will accrue to our progeny, and our forebears will be eternally thankful, as John F. Kennedy articulatedbefore the United Nations in 1961:

But however close we sometimes seem to that dark and final abyss, let no man of peace and freedom despair. For he does not stand alone. If we all can persevere, if we can in every land and office look beyond our own shores and ambitions, then surely the age will dawn in which the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. Ladies and gentlemen of this Assembly, the decision is ours. Never have the nations of the world had so much to lose, or so much to gain. Together we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can - and save it we must - and then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God.

Despite a tendency to moralize in my musings, this isn't a how-to guide and I'm not going to be prescriptive here. You already know what needs to be done, and as diligent practitioners of nonviolence you are steeped in how to do it. What I want to get across today is the sense of urgency of the task, the finality of our failure, and the magnitude of our success. The essence of nonviolence is rooted in an abiding respect for all life and a deep appreciation of the inherent interconnectedness of materiality. In this sense, nonviolence is an expression of mutual interdependence and profound gratitude for the miracle of existence. As oppressed peoples and besieged habitats in the present welcome our solidarity and compassion, so too does the future anticipate our awakening and stand ready to offer its thanks.

Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., teaches Peace Studies at Prescott College, and is the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is Lost In Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness (LFB Scholarly 2008).

Waging Nonviolence Articles by Randall Amster
Waging Nonviolence home page
CommonDreams home page

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chris Hedges: Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion

Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion
November 23, 2010 | Truthdig | ICH | OpEdNews

There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power. The electoral process has been hijacked by corporations. The judiciary has been corrupted and bought. The press shuts out the most important voices in the country and feeds us the banal and the absurd. Universities prostitute themselves for corporate dollars. Labor unions are marginal and ineffectual forces. The economy is in the hands of corporate swindlers and speculators. And the public, enchanted by electronic hallucinations, remains passive and supine. We have no tools left within the power structure in our fight to halt unchecked corporate pillage.

The liberal class, which Barack Obama represents, was never endowed with much vision or courage, but it did occasionally respond when pressured by popular democratic movements. This was how we got the New Deal, civil rights legislation and the array of consumer legislation pushed through by Ralph Nader and his allies in the Democratic Party. The complete surrendering of power, however, to corporate interests means that those of us who seek nonviolent yet profound change have no one within the power elite we can trust for support. The corporate coup has ossified the structures of power. It has obliterated all checks on corporate malfeasance. It has left us stripped of the tools of mass organization that once nudged the system forward toward justice.

Obama knows where power lies and serves these centers of power. The tragedy—if tragedy is the right word—is that Obama, after selling his soul to corporations, has been discarded. Corporate power doesn’t need brand Obama anymore. They have found new brands in the tea party, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Obama has been abandoned by those who once bundled contributions for him by the millions of dollars. Obama and the Democratic Party will, I expect, spend the next two years being even more obsequious to corporate power. Obama clearly loves the pomp and privilege of statecraft that much. But I am not sure it will work.

Reformers on the outside, while they remain militant and faithful to issues of justice, nevertheless depend on the liberal establishment to respond to public pressure. If these reformers cannot pressure the liberal class and the power elite to evoke real change, they become ineffectual. Our fate is intimately tied to the liberals who have betrayed us. We speak in the language of policies and issues. We will find it harder and harder, given our impotence, to compete with the impassioned calls for new glory, revenge and moral purity that resonate with a public beset by foreclosures, long-term unemployment, bankruptcies and a medical system that abandons them. Once any political system ossifies, once all mechanisms for reform close, the lunatic fringe of a society, as I saw in Yugoslavia, rises out of the moral swamp to take control. The reformers, however well meaning and honest, finally have nothing to offer. They are disarmed.

We have reached a point where stunted and deformed individuals, whose rapacious greed fuels the plunge of tens of millions of Americans into abject poverty and misery, determine the moral fiber of the nation. It is no more morally justifiable to kill someone for profit than it is to kill that person for religious fanaticism. And yet, from health companies to the oil and natural gas industry to private weapons contractors, individual death and the wholesale death of the ecosystem have become acceptable corporate business. The mounting human misery in the United States, which could lead to the sporadic bursts of anger we have seen on the streets of France, will be met with severe repression from the security and surveillance state, which always accompanies the rise of the corporate state. The one method left open by which we can respond—massive street protests, the destruction of corporate property and violence—will become the excuse to impose total tyranny. The intrusive pat-downs at airports may soon become a fond memory of what it was like when we still had a little freedom left.

All reform movements, from the battle for universal health care to the struggle for alternative energy and sane environmental controls to financial regulation to an end to our permanent war economy, have run into this new, terrifying configuration of power. They have confronted an awful truth. We do not count. And they have been helpless to respond as those who are most skilled in the manipulation of hate lead a confused populace to call for their own enslavement.

Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician from Maryland who volunteers for Physicians for a National Health Program, knows what it is like to challenge the corporate leviathan. She was blacklisted by the corporate media. She was locked out of the debate on health care reform by the Democratic Party and liberal organizations such as MoveOn. She was abandoned by those in Congress who had once backed calls for a rational health care policy. And when she and seven other activists demanded that the argument for universal health care be considered at the hearings held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, they were forcibly removed from the hearing room.

“The reform process exposed how broken our system is,” Flowers said when we spoke a few days ago. “The health reform debate was never an actual debate. Those in power were very reluctant to have single-payer advocates testify or come to the table. They would not seriously consider our proposal because it was based on evidence of what works. And they did not want this evidence placed before the public. They needed the reform to be based on what they thought was politically feasible and acceptable to the industries that fund their campaigns.”

“There was nobody in the House or the Senate who held fast on universal health care,” she lamented. “Sen. [Bernie] Sanders from Vermont introduced a single-payer bill, S 703. He introduced an amendment that would have substituted S 703 for what the Senate was putting together. We had to push pretty hard to get that to the Senate floor, but in the end he was forced by the leadership to withdraw it. He was our strongest person. In the House we saw Chairman John Conyers, who is the lead sponsor for the House single-payer bill, give up pushing for single-payer very early in the process in 2009. Dennis Kucinich pushed to get an amendment that would help give states the ability to pass single-payer. He was not successful in getting that kept in the final House bill. He held out for the longest, but in the end he caved.”

“You can’t effect change from the inside,” she has concluded. “We have a huge imbalance of power. Until we have a shift in power we won’t get effective change in any area, whether financial, climate, you name it. With the wealth inequalities, with the road we are headed down, we face serious problems. Those who work and advocate for social and economic justice have to now join together. We have to be independent of political parties and the major funders. The revolution will not be funded. This is very true.”

“Those who are working for effective change are not going to get foundation dollars,” she stated. “Once a foundation or a wealthy individual agrees to give money they control how that money is used. You have to report to them how you spend that money. They control what you can and cannot do. Robert Wood Johnson [the foundation], for example, funds many public health departments. They fund groups that advocate for health care reform, but those groups are not allowed to pursue or talk about single-payer. Robert Wood Johnson only supports work that is done to create what they call public/private partnership. And we know this is totally ineffective. We tried this before. It is allowing private insurers to exist but developing programs to fill the gaps. Robert Wood Johnson actually works against a single-payer health care system. The Health Care for America Now coalition was another example. It only supported what the Democrats supported. There are a lot of activist groups controlled by the Democratic Party, including Families USA and MoveOn. MoveOn is a very good example. If you look at polls of Democrats on single-payer, about 80 percent support it. But at MoveOn meetings, which is made up mostly of Democrats, when people raised the idea of working for single-payer they were told by MoveOn leaders that the organization was not doing that. And this took place while the Democrats were busy selling out women’s rights, immigrant rights to health care and abandoning the public option. Yet all these groups continued to work for the bill. They argued, in the end, that the health care bill had to be supported because it was not really about health care. It was about the viability of President Obama and the Democratic Party. This is why, in the end, we had to pass it.”

“The Democrats and the Republicans give the illusion that there are differences between them,” said Dr. Flowers. “This keeps the public divided. It weakens opposition. We fight over whether a Democrat will get elected or a Republican will get elected. We vote for the lesser evil, but meanwhile the policies the two parties enact are not significantly different. There were no Democrats willing to hold the line on single-payer. Not one. I don’t see this changing until we radically shift the balance of power by creating a larger and broader social movement.”

The corporate control of every aspect of American life is mirrored in the corporate control of health care. And there are no barriers to prevent corporate domination of every sector of our lives.

“We are at a crisis,” Flowers said. “Health care providers, particularly those in primary care, are finding it very difficult to sustain an independent practice. We are seeing greater and greater corporatization of our health care. Practices are being taken over by these large corporations. You have absolutely no voice when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. They tell you what your reimbursements will be. They make it incredibly difficult and complex to get reimbursed. The rules are arbitrary and change frequently.”

“This new legislation [passed earlier this year] does not change any of that,” she said. “It does not make it easier for doctors. It adds more administrative complexity. We are going to continue to have a shortage of doctors. As the new law rolls out they are giving waivers as the provisions kick in because corporations like McDonald’s say they can’t comply. Insurance companies such as WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna and Humana that were mandated to sell new policies to children with pre-existing conditions announced they were not going to do it. They said they were going to stop selling new policies to children. So they got waivers from the Obama administration allowing them to charge higher premiums. Health care costs are going to rise faster. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that after the legislation passed, our health care costs would rise more steeply than if we had done nothing. The Census Bureau reports that the number of uninsured in the U.S. jumped 10 percent to 51 million people in 2009. About 5.8 million were able to go on public programs, but a third of our population under the age of 65 was uninsured for some portion of 2009. The National Health Insurance Survey estimates that we now have 58 or 59 million uninsured. And the trend is toward underinsurance. These faulty insurance products leave people financially vulnerable if they have a serious accident or illness. They also have financial barriers to care. Co-pays and deductibles cause people to delay or avoid getting the care they need. And all these trends will worsen.”

In Manuel de Lope’s novel “The Wrong Blood,” set during the first rumblings that led to the Spanish Civil War, he writes “... nobody knew this at the time and those who had premonitions wouldn’t go so far as to believe them, because fear rejects what intuition accepts.”

But the signs are now so palpable that even fear is not working. Our worst premonitions are becoming reality. Our intuition has proved correct. We are reaching the breaking point. An explosion, unless we halt the increased pressure, seems inevitable. And what is left for those of us who cannot embrace the contaminants of violence? If the system shuts us out how can we influence it through nonviolent mechanisms of popular protest? How can we restore a civil society? How can we battle back against those who will mobilize hatred to cement into place an American fascism?

I do not know if we can win this battle. I suspect we cannot. But I do know that if we stop resisting, if we stop rebelling, something fundamental will die within us. As the corporate vise tightens, as the vast corporate system begins to break down with fossil fuel decline, extreme climate change and the expansion of global poverty, even mundane and ordinary acts to assert our common humanity and justice will be condemned as subversive.

It is time to think of resistance in a new way, something that is no longer carried out to reform a system but as an end in itself. African-Americans understood this during the long night of slavery. German opposition leaders understood it under the Nazis. Dissidents in the former Soviet Union knew this during the nightmare of communism. Resistance in these closed systems was local and often solitary. It was done with the understanding that evil must always be defied. The tiny acts of rebellion—day after day, month after month, year after year and decade after decade—exposed to everyone who witnessed them the heartlessness, cruelty and inhumanity of the oppressor. They were acts of truth and beauty. We must take to the street. We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must not make it easy for them. But we also must no longer live in self-delusion. This is a battle that will outlive us. And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and writes a column every Monday for Truthdig. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Truthdig home page
Information Clearing House home page
OpEdNews home page

Friday, November 19, 2010

Legal Schnauzer: Is Warped Christianity Threatening Our Democracy?

Is Warped Christianity Threatening Our Democracy?
November 18, 2010 | Legal Schnauzer | Open Salon | ICH

A misguided view of Christianity is chipping away at fundamental American principles, according to a new book about a shadowy religious/political organization in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Sharlet, in the new book C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, shows how the group known as "The Family" influences foreign policy, the military, and other key elements of our government.

Based on personal experience, I would say a C Street-like mindset has invaded our courtrooms and corrupted our justice system at all levels. We also suspect that many boardrooms, and even universities, are infected with a values system that gives elites exalted status over everyday folks. In the end, this bastardized form of religion might pose a greater threat to America than Osama bin Laden ever could.

This is Sharlet's second book about C Street. In 2008, he wrote The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. In an interview about his new book, with Scott Horton of Harper's, Sharlet provides some frightening insight into the C Street mindset. Much of it is based on a relatively obscure passage from the Bible, Acts 9:15: “This man is my chosen instrument to take my name… before the Gentiles and their kings.”

The original passage was about the Apostle Paul. But members of The Family evidently think it applies to them. Horton asks, "How do the men who gather at C Street interpret this passage?" Replies Sharlet:

The clue is in the emphasis the Family puts on those last two words. “Their kings” is italicized in the document from which I quote it in the book, “Eight Core Aspects of the vision and methods.” It was distributed to potential new members of the Family, the organization behind C Street, at the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast, the Family’s only public event. Every year, the Family uses American political leaders—they refer to them as “bait”—to attract foreign leaders they want to evangelize. The focus is on leaders, or “kings.” The Family twists Acts 9:15 into a justification for a complete inversion of Christianity, a faith that, whatever else one thinks of it, was born of a radically egalitarian premise. To the C Streeters, Christianity is all about elites. They pay lip service to helping the poor, but they believe the best way to help the weak is to help the strong.

The C Street mindset has played out in political scandals involving John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and Chip Pickering. Says Sharlet:

What makes C Street and the Family so unusual in the landscape of American fundamentalism is their explicit dedication to the ruling class. Help the weak by helping the strong means tending to the interests of men such as Ensign, Sanford, and Pickering. In Ensign’s case, where C Street attempted to negotiate payments for Ensign’s mistress’s family, you see the principle of what some Family leaders call “biblical capitalism” put into practice — they bargained a price for services rendered. In Sanford’s case, they actually managed his distraught wife, instructing her to refrain from any angry words—they’d take care of reprimands—and to keep her husband sexually satisfied. And Pickering, Pickering was just tawdry—they looked the other way while he rendezvoused with his mistress, a telecom heiress, in his C Street room. Such cover ups, were, to the Family, God’s work—anything to keep their chosen ones, their “kings,” in power.

I've seen a similar mindset from conservative judges in Alabama courtrooms. After being on the short end of numerous unlawful rulings, I've found myself saying, "These judges act like they are kings. They seem to think they can ignore the actual law and rule however they please."

This mindset hardly applies only to my personal situation. We've seen it at play in the Don Siegelman case, the Paul Minor case, and other Bush-era political prosecutions. I've seen evidence of it in several domestic-relations cases, where the "elite" party receives favorable treatment--and if children have to suffer because of it . . . well, that's tough.

Jeff Sharlet, I believe, has hit on an issue that has profound implications for American society. In fact, it has the power to ruin us.

Many elites, through their own selfishness or a warped view of religion (or both), believe it is more important to keep certain "chosen ones" in powerful positions than it is to uphold our democratic principles.

This kind of thinking, if unchecked, could lead to a disaster that will make 9-11 seem tame by comparison. As awful as 9-11 was, America has shown a remarkable ability to recover from it. But if we fail to see that our society is rotting from the inside . . . well, there might be no way to recover from that.

Jeff Sharlet blog home
Legal Schnauzer blog home
Open Salon home page
Information Clearing House home page

The Family: Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power article link MMr

Thursday, November 18, 2010

David DeGraw: The People against Wall Street

The People against Wall Street: The Fed`s Quantitative Easing Violates the Rule of Law
We Need A Rally To Restore The Rule Of Law And/Or The Constitution
by David DeGraw article link article link
November 16, 2010 | AmpedStatus | Global Research

The Federal Reserve represents global banking interests who have overstepped their legal authority. Their Quantitative Easing program is an explicit violation of the Constitution. By deliberately devaluing the dollar and causing the price of basic necessities to rise, the Federal Reserve is, as a matter of strategic policy, sacrificing a significant percentage of the US population for the benefit of a few global bankers. In the process, they are also igniting a global currency war that threatens the security of the American people. In clear terms, the Federal Reserve’s actions represent a declaration of war against the people of the United States.

Now that comedians like Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have demonstrated the ability to rally thousands of Americans, don’t you think it’s time to have a serious rally to restore the rule of law and the Constitution?

How much longer are we going to remain passive while global banking interests rob us of our national wealth and destroy the fabric of our society. Our nation has become a banana republic where the rule of law has become a farce and clearly doesn’t apply to one-tenth of one percent of the population. Anyone who has been paying attention realizes that an organized criminal operation has taken over the United States.

The collapse of the housing market was the result of organized criminal activity, from top to bottom. The people who committed the largest financial crime in the history of the United States were rewarded with trillions of dollars in national wealth, and continue to be rewarded as this criminal activity continues unabated.

In an attempt to drive the final nail into our coffin, five members of the Supreme Court have blatantly proven that they are beholden to these interests by ruling in favor of unlimited spending on political campaigns, which allows for a grotesque abuse of power and firmly entrenches the banking interests that have seized our nation. These banking interests have paid-off, or legally [sic] bribed, the majority of our elected officials and leaders of both parties, leaving 99% of the American population without representation.

The longer we allow them to get away with it, the more emboldened the global banking cartel is becoming. Let’s look at their latest scam…

Quantitative Fleecing: The Backdoor Bailout & Hidden Tax

On top of the many crimes already committed, their latest swindle is the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing (QE2) program. QE2 is a money printing scheme that is in direct violation of the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly gives fiscal authority to Congress. The Federal Reserve, as a group of unelected global banking interests, cannot enact this policy without the direct approval of Congress. Therefore, Congress must take immediate action to stop this illegal activity, yet they remain completely silent on this usurpation of power.

As Hussman Funds president John Hussman politely put it:

“Given that fiscal authority is enumerated by the Constitution as the sole right of Congress, and spending is prohibited by the Constitution without explicit appropriation, it seems clear - regardless of how the Federal Reserve Act is written - that monetary operations involving anything but Treasury securities contain unconstitutional ‘fiscal component,’ unless they involve repurchase agreements that would make the Fed whole even if the underlying securities were to fail. It is doubtful that when Congress drafted the Federal Reserve Act to allow the use of mortgage-backed securities, it ever dreamed that the Fed would purchase these securities outright when the issuer was insolvent. Until this issue is clarified in legislation, Bernanke will continue to see it as ‘perfectly sensible’ for the Fed to make ‘money financed gifts’ that substitute his own personal discretion for those of a democracy.

Equally disturbing is that Bernanke apparently has no problem confusing fiscal policy with monetary policy when it suits him.”

The Federal Reserve tells us that they are doing this QE2 program to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Any serious economist will tell you that this is a blatant lie. We know from a basic understanding of economics and the results of QE1 that this program is completely ineffective in accomplishing their stated goals. The Federal Reserve is deliberately devaluing the dollar to enrich a small group of a global bankers, which will cause significant harm to the people of the United States and severe ramifications throughout the world. Their actions are igniting a global currency and trade war that is endangering the security of the United States. The Department of Homeland Security should take immediate actions to protect us against these acts of financial terrorism, and that’s not a joke.

The Federal Reserve’s actions are already causing the price of food and gas to increase and will cause hyperinflation on most basic necessities. This is happening at a time when we have arecord 52 million Americans living in poverty, 42.4 million on food stamps and 77 percent of the population now living paycheck to paycheck. By deliberately devaluing the dollar and causing the price of necessities to rise, the Federal Reserve is, as a matter of strategic policy, sacrificing a significant percentage of the US population for the benefit of a few bankers - bankers who have already been experiencing all-time record high bonuses over the past two years. This is why we now have the highest and most severe inequality of wealth in US history. Not even the robber barons looted the economy as effectively as these banksters have.

Bill Gross, the head of the world’s largest mutual fund PIMCO, has said he expects the Fed’s QE2 program to cause a 20% decline in the value of the dollar. That may sound like an exaggeration to you, but many analysts are predicating an even more severe decline in value, and given the current global economic environment, with currency wars escalating, the very existence of the dollar is threatened like never before.

The bottom line is that this QE2 program amounts to a 20% tax increase for all Americans. They are not only taking an additional 20% of our annual salary, they are also taking 20% of all the money that we have in the bank. This is a backdoor bailout, a hidden tax, a way for working Americans to pay for the crimes of Wall Street. A way to cover the fraudulent toxic debt that they created in their casino Ponzi scheme that destroyed the economy in the first place.

This is the essence of taxation without representation.

We let them get away with the corrupted bailout. We let them get away QE1, which already stole 10% of our money last year. So now they are back at it, getting even bolder in their disregard for the American people and the Constitution.

The Federal Reserve represents global banking interests who have overstepped their legal authority and explicitly violated the Constitution. In clear terms, their actions represent a declaration of war against the people of the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank and their primary dealers are officially enemies of the state.

Make no mistake, Ben Bernanke is Public Enemy #1.

He represents the interests of the people who have brought overwhelming poverty and economic hardship to our doorstep. When are we going to hold him accountable for his actions?

All elected officials, civil servants and US military service members have swore an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. If Congress does not act, they will be derelict in their duties and we will have the legal authority to defend our rights. As American citizens we have a duty to protect the interests of the American people.

I am not calling for anyone to break the law. I’m demanding actions to restore the rule of law. I’m exercising my first amendment right to publicly point out that in the absence of political representation, we have an obligation to take non-violent direct action to restore the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States.

The Road Ahead…

The looting of the US economy that has occurred over the past two years is unprecedented in American history. You don’t have trillions of dollars looted from the economy and go on living business as usual. Most Americans have only a vague understanding of the collapse that we have been set up for. If you think the past two years were bad, and obviously they were, they were just a warm up to what is coming our way. After analyzing the policies in place and the current political environment, I can assure you that the next two years will be worse than the previous two.

As scary as it is to admit, I must conclude that we are only in the beginning phase of our decline. Millions more will be driven into poverty and unemployment. As this prolonged crisis continues the social safety-nets, like unemployment insurance and food stamps, the social safety-nets that have held our society together, will breakdown. Cuts to these vital social programs are going to be severe across the board. Draconian measures are just beginning to be rolled out in state after state across the country.

If you want to know where we are headed, a recent Boston Globe article by James Carroll shined a light on our dark future by revealing a well-established recent trend:

“… as federal corrections budgets increased by $19 billion, money for housing was cut by $17 billion, ‘effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the poor.’ State budgets took their cues from Washington in a new but unspoken national consensus: poverty itself was criminalized. Although ‘law and order’ was taken to be a Republican mantra, this phenomenon was fully bipartisan.”

We already have more citizens in prison than any other country in the world. Our per capita incarceration rate is now on par to the darkest days of the Soviet Gulag.

What do you think is going to happen when the 52 million Americans already living in poverty can no longer afford to get the food that they need to live?

Unless there is a major shift in political policy, riots and social upheaval are coming. The mainstream media created bubble of reality that we have been all comfortably living in is about to burst. You need to prepare yourself for it.

Until we stop being so naïve and passive and realize that our country has been taken over by a financial terrorism network, until we demand that the rule of law is actually applied, our living standards will continue on the downward spiral that has only just begun.

You may think I’m be overly pessimistic or extreme, but I’m not. Open your own eyes, it doesn’t take much intelligence to see what is happening around us, it just takes some time to do the research and connect the dots. Turn off your TV set. Go online and look at what is happening throughout the world. People are taking to the streets and fighting back all over the world, and I’m not talking about in some backwoods country that you’ve never even heard of. Look at Europe, people are storming their government offices and departments of finance. They understand what is happening and they are defending their future. When will we?

Americans across the country are waking up completely broke, in debt they will never get out of and their job prospects are dire. The wrecking ball came through once and drove 50 million Americans into poverty. It is about to swing back again and take with it another 50 million of us. Our country has been attacked, looted and burnt to the ground economically.

We need to understand that we are in an all out economic world war right now, and we are being viciously attacked without forming any resistance.

The people attacking us are only one-tenth of one percent of the population. If we can recognize this fact and organize on common ground, we can win this war.

Are you ready to fight back?

I’ve made my decision. See you on the frontlines!

David DeGraw is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research Articles by David DeGraw
Global Research home page
Amped Status home page
David DeGraw home page

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Charles Sullivan: When Fascism Masquerades as Populism

When Fascism Masquerades as Populism
By Charles Sullivan article link
November 15, 2010 | Information Clearing House

With its reliance on corporate money and financial contributions by the wealthy, the U.S. electoral system provides movement in only one direction: to the right. Traditional liberals lack the financial wherewithal to compete against free market fundamentalists. Corporations do not fund candidates who would regulate them and hold them accountable to the people. The electoral system is useless as a tool for the expression of traditional liberalism or progressive reform.

Capitalism does not empower people; it gives primacy to capital. Like the corporation, money is a legal fiction that allows bankers and financial institutions to create phantom wealth from nothing. It gives rise to privatized banking cartels and to the Federal Reserve which controls the money supply and loans it at interest to the government and to people. In effect, this gives bankers control of the government and our cultural institutions.

Free market fundamentalism was elevated to the status of religion decades ago by Milton Friedman and his disciples at the Chicago School of Economics. Its adherents regard the market as a holy oracle that takes precedence over man and nature, the diviner of social and economic status, a force more primal than the laws that govern the motion of planetary bodies and the formation of distant nebulae.

But like the phantom wealth it engenders, the existence of free markets is utter fiction. Not only are the precepts of market fundamentalism contradicted by nature; they are restrained by her. With a hunger for god-like power, capitalism and free market fundamentalism are, in fact, puny forces that are dwarfed by those of nature to which they will ultimately succumb.

Due in part to its infatuation with a particularly virulent form of capitalism, the U.S. has been descending toward fascism for decades. The persistent stream of neoconservative statesmen, stateswomen, and corporatists are the product of a corporate-funded counter-revolution that gained ascendancy during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, if not before. The counter-revolution is undoing all of the social and economic gains won through popular struggle and resistance.

Every social program that does not promote the religion of market fundamentalism is under siege: social security, pensions, public education, unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the public infrastructure, are in danger of eradication or privatization.

This is the agenda of the right-wing extremists of the two major political parties who have ascended to power by adhering to, and promulgating, the theocracy of free market fundamentalism. Traditional liberalism has always acted as a bulwark against this and other regressive ideologies. But now it is politically extinct. Traditional liberalism has given way to the ultra-conservative philosophy of neoliberalism.

As a result of the ascendancy of neoliberalism, enlightened people can no longer associate traditional liberalism with the Democratic Party. The majority of democrats are only moderately less extreme than their republican counterparts. For instance, Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal, is a passionate supporter of Zionism. She advocates imperial war and occupation. Clinton is a free market fundamentalist, as is virtually every member of Congress. Her political philosophy is practically indistinguishable from that of Barack Obama and Karl Rove.

Preoccupied with the procurement of corporate funds, politicians are oblivious to the plight of struggling workers, the chronically unemployed, and the under-employed. No legislator holding high office acknowledges the existence of an underclass that is condemned to exist in despair and poverty. The underclass has no voice, no representation, and no power. It is too preoccupied with survival to rebel.

In contrast to the specter of the underclass, the 2010 mid-term elections saw more than a billion dollars invested in it. That figure is only going to increase as political favors are auctioned to the highest bidder. With each election the nation moves further to the right and a step closer to fascism. The system does not offer a means of turning back.

As long as capital drives the electoral process, liberal influence will continue to wane. It has been so long since the American public has seen a genuine liberal that they have forgotten what one looks like. It is absurd for anyone to associate Barack Obama with progressive politics, much less call him a socialist. As his record demonstrates, President Obama is a devout capitalist, a disciple of Milton Friedman, and a pious free market fundamentalist. He is Ronald Reagan incarnate. Those who were hypnotized by his hyperbole should have known better.

The corporations that finance political campaigns will not permit reform. Fortunes are made by maintaining the status quo, by promoting war, and by curtailing civil liberties in the name of national defense. They are made by imposing austerity upon working class people and by privatizing the public domain. This is the final frontier open to capitalist exploitation.

Like capitalism itself, the electoral system perpetuates social and economic disparity; it advocates imperial war and colonization; it fosters the privatization of the public domain; and it promotes economic serfdom and debt peonage as free market democracy.

Government-imposed austerity on working people has set the stage for the emergence of radical fascists. Aggressively promoted by the commercial media, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Christine Donnelly in Delaware, and Sarah Palin in Alaska provide recent examples of emerging American fascism. These kooks and simpletons are an expression of right-wing corporatism masquerading as working class populism. Their deferential followers are not wise enough to know the difference. They are only the beginning of far worse things to come.

The legendary free market, the Holy Grail of capitalism, is wrongly equated with democracy. It liberates people from their souls and transforms them into serfs. Market fundamentalism is reified and exalted by the commercial media and the corporate state. Far from benefiting working people, the spread of this belligerent ideology will ensure the demise of the American Republic, and it will take down much of the world with it in violent military conflagration.

While operating within the capitalist system, liberals have traditionally sought to hold corporations in check and to diminish their power through regulation. By contrast, conservatives, neoconservatives, civil libertarians, and neoliberals are working to increase corporate influence because they have a financial stake in the outcome.

The working class people who have created this nation’s wealth used to be associated with liberalism, often in the form of Socialism and Communism, which rightly sought to end capitalism. Traditional liberals recognize that working people are not commodities. They are not corporate property. They have more to offer than their labor and their blood.

Contrary to the maxims of market fundamentalism, money and the political power it buys is not of divine origin. Neither is it just or humane. Social capital, investing in people and human networks, provides the means of our salvation. But it must be organized and it must act in solidarity with all working class interests in all parts of the world at all times.

This comes very close to the Wobbly’s notion of “One Big Union” that was once a powerful organizing force here and abroad. Global worker solidarity, the public ownership of capital, and revolutionary unionism is a rational response to corporate globalization and market fundamentalism. This affords the best way to create equal opportunity, provide full employment, and to promote peace. Moneyless economies must evolve to serve the needs of all people, and they should operate in harmony with nature. Local currencies that are based on barter should replace the dollar.

No working man or woman should fall to their knees and worship at the blood-soaked altar of capitalism. This is where false populism and its regressive ideology of market fundamentalism inevitably lead. History provides countless examples, but we must be able to learn from them. America is not the first nation to go down this path.

If the citizenry wants a representative government, one that safeguards human welfare from corporate depredation, we must recognize that the state and federal electoral system does not provide the means of meeting our needs. Saturated in corporate money, it can only carry us toward fascism and a Gestapo state of violent extremism.

Despite the absurd proclamations of the Supreme Court, money is not free speech, and corporations are not people. Free markets do not exist; they are always manipulated by insiders seeking unfair advantage. History attests that capitalism is kept afloat by raiding the public treasure. The elite adore capitalism because it provides them enormous wealth and political power without having to produce anything of value. It puts them in charge of the global plantation. It makes them masters of working class people because too many of us cannot distinguish between fascism and class-conscious populism.

Charles Sullivan is a naturalist and free-lance writer residing in the hinterlands of geopolitical West Virginia

Information Clearing House home page

Monday, November 15, 2010

Frank Schaeffer: How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda

The bible-thumping white underclass have given a big boost to the corporate bottom line

How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda
By Frank Schaeffer article link
November 10, 2010 | Alternet

Tens of millions of American voters got duped badly in the 2010 election. The bible-thumping white underclass thought they hit back at what they regarded as the nefarious forces trying to “take our country away.”

They were bought, paid for, sold, traded and manipulated by the most powerful in the US election: a Billionaire Lynch Mob led by Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and hundreds of millions in organize corporate cash. They peddled a fear agenda: fear of immigrants, fear of government control of our lives, fear that their country would become irrevocably changed.

Here's how it happened:

Where the fear and loathing began

A bedrock article of faith among many of the anti-Obama white voters is that America had “Christian origins,” and that today America must be “restored” to “our religious heritage.” The “Puritan heritage” of America is constantly cited as evidence for our need to return to our “biblical roots.” The Constitution is also waved around as if it too is some sort of Bible to be religiously believed in. Of course the Billionaire Lynch Mob doesn’t care about such quaint ideas as individual liberties, let alone “biblical absolutes,” but many of the people who believed the anti-Obama lies did care.

The earnest, mostly Evangelical dupes have a point: by calling for a “return to our roots” (be they biblical and/or constitutional) they are actually maintaining a grand old American tradition: religious delusion as the basis for conquest. The Puritans believed that they were importing “authentic Christianity” to America, especially as written in the Old Testament. They said that they were on a divine mission, even calling themselves “The New Israel” and a “city set upon a hill.” John Winthrop (governor of Massachusetts Bay) transferred the idea of “nationhood” in biblical Israel to the Massachusetts Bay Company. And the Puritans claimed they were God’s “Chosen People.” They said that they had the right to grab land from the “heathen.” These were the American Indians whom the Puritans thought of as the “new Canaanites,” to be slaughtered with God’s blessing and in the case of the Pequot Indians burned alive.

There are many threads in the anti-Obama tapestry but three are ignored at our peril: 1) The End Times fantasies of the Evangelicals; 2) The rise of so-called Reconstructionist theology and 3) the culture war launched over the legalization of abortion.

These “threads,” not the economy alone, are also the source of the vote where white lower class and white middle class Americans voted in droves against their own self-interest. Let’s unpick these fraying threads one at a time.

1. “End Times” Fantasies

The evangelical / fundamentalists / Republican far right is in the grip of an apocalyptic “Rapture” cult centered on revenge and vindication. This “End Times” death wish is built on a literalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. This fantasy has many followers. For instance to take one of many examples, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series of sixteen novels represents both a “reason” and a symptom of the hysteria that grips so many voters.

The “Left Behind” novels have sold tens of millions of copies while spawning an “End Times” cult, or rather egging it on. Such products as Left Behind video games have become part of the ubiquitous American background noise. Less innocuous symptoms of End Times paranoia include people stocking up on assault rifles and ammunition, freeze dried food (pitched to them, by the way, by Billionaire Lynch Mob-handmaid Glenn Beck), gold (also sold to them by Glenn Beck), adopting "Christ-centered" home school curricula, fear of higher education (“we’ll lose our children to secularism”), embracing rumor as fact (“Obama isn’t an American”) and fighting against Middle East peace iniatives, lest they delay the “return of Jesus,” for instance through Houston mega church pastor John Hagee’s Christian Zionist-centered “ministry.”

A disclosure: My late father, Francis Schaeffer, was a key founder and leader of the American Religious Right. For a time in the 1970s and early 80s I joined him in pioneering the Evangelical anti-abortion Religious Right movement. I changed my mind. I explain why I quit the movement in my book CRAZY FOR GOD -- How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All - Or Almost All - Of It Back.

John Hagee, mega church pastor and founder of Christians United for Israel said: “For 25 almost 26 years now, I have been pounding the Evangelical community over television. The Bible is a very pro-Israel book. If a Christian admits ‘I believe the Bible,’ I can make him a pro-Israel supporter or they will have to denounce their faith. So I have Christians over a barrel you might say.” The assumption Hagee makes -- that “Bible-believing Christians” will be pro-Israel -- is the dominant view among American Evangelical Christians. These are the people who goad us to make perpetual war worldwide. And these are the people who supposedly follow a teacher who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Few within the Evangelical community have dared to publically question such Haggee’s approach. The Christian Zionists led by Hagee et al even went after their very own George W Bush for backing peace talks between Palestinians and the Israeli government. So can you imagine the hatred the Christian Zionists have for President Obama, who also wants peace in the Middle East?

The momentum for building a subculture that’s seceding from mainstream society (in order to await "The End Times" has irrevocably pried loose a chunk of the American population from both sanity and from their fellow citizens. The Christian Zionist franchise holds out hope for the self-disenfranchised that -- at last -- everyone will know "We born-again Christians" were right and "They" were wrong. But here’s the political significance of the Christian Zionist dominance: the evangelical/fundamentalists’ imagined victimhood.

I say imagined victimhood, because the born-agains are hardly outsiders let alone victims. They’re very own George W Bush was in the White House for eight long, ruinous years and Evangelicals also dominated American politics for the better part of thirty years before that by enforcing a series of “moral” litmus tests that transformed the Republican Party into their very own culture wars lickspittle.

Nevertheless, the white evangelical/conservative Roman Catholic sense of being a victimized minority only grew with their successes. “You are not alone!” said Glenn Beck, playing to these “disenfranchised” “victims,” who – as the midterm results once again proved -- turn out to look more like a majority of white voters who had the power to turn Sarah Palin into a multimillionaire overnight and send the likes of Rand Paul to the Senate.

2. The Rise of Reconstructionist Theology

Where did the “victims” on the Far Right get their “theology” of perpetual damn-the-facts victimhood from? The history of theology (Christian or otherwise) is the history of people desperately trying to fit the way things actually are into the way their “holy” books say they should be. And since the facts don’t fit and never will, religious believers can either change their minds, embrace paradox, or find someone else to blame for their never-ending loss of face and self-esteem.

Most Americans have never heard of the Reconstructionists. But they have felt their impact through the Reconstructionists’ (often indirect) influence over the wider Evangelical community. In turn, the Evangelicals shaped the politics of a secular culture that barely understood the Religious Right let alone the forces within that movement that gave it its rage.

If you feel victimized by modernity (let alone humiliated by reality) then the Reconstructionists have The Answer to your angst: apply the full scope of the Biblical Law to modern America and to the larger world! Coerce “non-believers” to live in your imaginary universe! In other words Reconstructionists wanted to replace the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights with their interpretation of the Bible.

Most Evangelicals are positively moderate by comparison to the Reconstructionist “thinkers.” Most libertarians, who formed the backbone of the Tea Party (at least until the Far Right Evangelicals began to take the Tea Party over) would hate them. But the Reconstructionist movement is a distilled version of the more mainstream evangelical version of exclusionary theology that nonetheless divides America into the “Real America” (as the Far Right claim only they are) and the rest of us “sinners.”

The Reconstructionist worldview is ultra Calvinist, but like all Calvinism has its origins in ancient Israel/Palestine, when vengeful and ignorant tribal lore was written down by frightened men (the nastier authors of the Bible) trying to defend their prerogatives to bully women, murder rival tribes and steal land. These justifications probably reflect later thinking: origin myths used as propaganda to justify political and military actions after the fact—i.e., to justify their brutality the Hebrews said that God made them inflict on others and/or that they were “chosen.”

In its modern American incarnation, which hardened into a twentieth century movement in the 1960s and became widespread in the 1970s, Reconstructionism was propagated by people I knew personally and worked with closely when I too was a Religious Right activist claiming God’s special favor. The leaders of the Reconstructionist movement included the late Rousas Rushdoony (Calvinist theologian, father of modern-era Christian Reconstructionism, patron saint to gold-hoarding Federal Reserve-haters, and creator of the modern Evangelical home-school movement), his son-in-law Gary North (an economist, gold-buff, publisher and leading conspiracy theorist), and David Chilton (ultra-Calvinist pastor and author.)

Reconstructionism, also called Theonomism, seeks to reconstruct “our fallen society.” Its worldview is best represented by the publications of the Chalcedon Foundation, which has been classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to the Chalcedon Foundation website, the mission of the movement is to apply “the whole Word of God” to all aspects of human life: “It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own.

It’s no coincidence that the rise of the Islamic Brotherhoods in Egypt and Syria and the rise of Reconstructionism took place in more or less the same twentieth-century time frame—as modernism, science and “permissiveness” collided with a frightened conservatism rooted in religion. The writings of people such as Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and those of Rushdoony are virtually interchangeable when it comes to their goals of “restoring God” to his “rightful place” as he presides over law and morals. Or as the late Reconstructionist / Calvinist theologian David Chilton, writing in PARADISE RESTORED--A Biblical Theology of Dominion (and sounding startlingly al-Banna-like) explained:

Our goal is a Christian world, made up of explicitly Christian nations. How could a Christian desire anything else? Our Lord Himself taught us to pray: “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6: 10)… The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer for the worldwide dominion of God’s Kingdom… a world of decentralized theocratic republics.... That is the only choice: pagan law or Christian law. God specifically forbids “pluralism.” God is not the least bit interested in sharing world dominion with Satan.

The message of Rushdoony’s work is best summed up in one of his innumerable Chalcedon Foundation position papers, “The Increase of His Government and Peace.” He writes: “[T]he ultimate and absolute government of all things shall belong to Christ.” In his book Thy Kingdom Come -- using words that are similar to those the leaders of al Qaida would use decades later in reference to “true Islam” -- Rushdoony argues that democracy and Christianity are incompatible: “Democracy is the great love of the failures and cowards of life,” he writes. “One [biblical] faith, one law and one standard of justice did not mean democracy. The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state… Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.”

3. The Culture Wars Launched over the Abortion Debate

The significance and rise of the Reconstructionists and their (often indirect) impact on the wider evangelical subculture can only be understood in the context of the January 22, 1973 Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.

Roe energized the culture war like nothing else before or since. This war has even fed the passion that burned within the so-called Tea Party movement’s reaction to Obama’s moderate legislative health care reform predicting “Death Panels.” Roe also indirectly energized even those members of the Far Right – for instance the Tea Party’s pro-choice libertarians -- who didn’t care about abortion per se. Roe had such far-reaching effects because reactions to Roe defined the scorched-earth, winner-take-all and rabidly anti-government tone of the culture war fights since 1973.

Fast forward thirty years to the first decade of the twenty-first century: The messengers and day-to-day “issues” changed but the volume of the anti-government “debate” and anger originated with the anti-abortion movement. “Death Panels!”, “Government Takeover!”, “Obama is Hitler!” and all such “comments” were simply updated versions of “pro-life” rhetoric. And ironically, at the very same time as the Evangelicals who began the anti-abortion crusade (along with conservative Roman Catholics) had thrust themselves into bare knuckle politics over Roe, they also (I should say we also) retreated to what amounted to virtual walled compounds.

Evangelicals created a parallel “Christian America,” our very own private world, as it were, posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Our new “world” was about creating a Puritan/Reconstructionist-style holy-nation-within-our-fallen-nation.

This went far beyond mere alternative schools and home schools. Thousands of new Christian bookstores opened, countless Evangelical radio programs flourished in the 1970s and 80s, and new TV stations went on the air. Even a “Christian Yellow Pages” (a guide to Evangelical tradesmen) was published advertising “Christ-centered plumbers,” accountants and the like who “honor Jesus.” New Evangelical universities and even new law schools appeared, seemingly overnight with a clearly defined mission to “take back” each and every profession – including law and politics – “for Christ.” For instance, Liberty University’s Law School was the creation of the late Jerry Falwell, who told me in 1983 of his vision for Liberty’s programs: “Frank, we’re going train a new generation of judges and world leaders in the law from a Christian worldview to change America.” This was the same Jerry Falwell who wrote in America Can Be Saved: “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools.”

To the old-fashioned Goldwater-type conservative mantra of “big government doesn’t work,” in the 1970s the newly-radicalized Evangelicals added “the US Government is Evil!” Our swap of spiritual faith for the illusion of political power – I say “illusion” since even in the 70s and 80s the real power was in the hands of the Billionaire Lynch Mob -- meant that we would tell people how to vote, but that we didn’t want our kids going to school with theirs. We’d wind up defending not just private schools and home schooling to “protect” our children from the world, but also private oil companies and private gas-guzzling polluting cars, private insurance conglomerates and so forth.

The price for the Religious Right’s wholesale idolatry of private everything was that Christ’s reputation was tied to a cynical political party owned by billionaires from the fast-food industry, raping the earth (not to mention our health), to the oil companies destroying our climate. It only remained for a Far Right Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to rule in 2010 (Citizens United V. The Federal Election Commission), that unlimited corporate money could pour into political campaigns – anonymously -- in a way that clearly favored corporate America and the super wealthy who long since were the only entities served by the Republican Party’s defense of the individual against the government. The “individuals” turned out to be Exxon, the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, McDonald’s and Goldman Sachs et al.


It’s a question of legitimacy and illegitimacy. What the Religious Right, including the Religious Right’s Roman Catholic and Protestant “intellectuals” (like my father) did, was contribute to a climate where the very legitimacy of our government, even any government, is up for grabs. Then the internet came along and Fox News came along and Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann et all came along and no fiction was too fantastical to be believed as fact. We passed into a high tech stone age, myth superstition and outright lies gained a new currency.

Following the election of our first black President, the “politics” of the Evangelical, Roman Catholic and Mormon Far Right was not the politics of a loyal opposition, but the instigation of race-tinged revolution first and best expressed by Rush Limbaugh when he said, “I hope Obama fails.” All that happened in the midterm election of 2010 was that the corporate interests (unleashed by the Supreme Court), the Republican Party leadership and the Tea Party built on and/or cashed in on, the “biblically-based” antigovernment passion.

This was the politics that won in the Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections. This was the logical conclusion of the process of delegitimizing the Federal Government that was launched by the Reconstructionists, the anti-abortion movement and of course is fed by the “Left Behind”/Christian Zionist apocalyptic revenge fantasy.

The Billionaire Lynch Mob’s only sacrament is fear. Their reward for cashing in on white religiously-believing middle class American’s addiction to Bronze Age biblical mythology is to walk away with our country. And fear-filled white Americans don’t get anything in return, unless you count their fleeting visceral pleasure of putting “that uppity black man” in the White House in his place.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

AlterNet home page
Mammon or Messiah meta contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic, social and spiritual issues. The material on this site is presented without profit for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.