Adventures & Reflections; Analysis of Current Affairs; Philosopher & Storyteller
Category Archives: Current World Affairs: Analysis, History, and Integration
WORLD NEWS AND ANALYSIS WITH COMMENTARIES AND FORECASTS: Humanity’s at the brink on Planet Earth. Unique and fresh viewpoints with solutions are in demand. Presented is a synthesis of Current Affairs including local events reflecting global ones with integration and analysis of political, social, military, environmental, religious, and economic events. Historical patterns are studied and blended with future trends. Multiple perspectives are merged toward a singularity of view. Sources are acknowledged when appropriate. Opinions are voiced and stands taken right or wrong. Agendas are advocated for from personal experience, education, and service. Some of these essays include my personal experiences integrated against the larger, world picture. Everything global includes the local, and all things local form the global.
If you are serious about working to end this abominable practice, then don’t even waste anyone’s time unless you seriously intend to replace the greater political and socio-economic system gerrymandering is embedded within.
What steps do we make to end American Gerrymandering? The solution itself is simple. Achieving positions of power to affect such revolutionary reforms will be difficult. Gerrymandering is embedded in our body politic as dense clusters of ticks with their heads pushed deep into the flesh of sick dogs. Gerrymandering is a loathsome, despicable, and corrupt practice. Anyone who supports and engages in gerrymandering should be arrested, and if convicted, sent far away to frigid prisons built on the Moon where they can draw as many lines in the lunar dust as they wish. Of course such a penal colony on Luna is a metaphor and rehabilitation is far more desirable. The point, however, is gerrymandering has to go and removing it poses challenges.
Gerrymandering itself is an expression of a sick, distressed economic and political system moving from systemic dysfunction towards paralysis and collapse. Rooting out these symptoms of a deeper, greater illness requires systemic transformation. U.S. Federal law must be changed to abolish gerrymandering. To do so, however, means we the people must find healthy ways to strip the two primary parties, the capitalist Democrats and Republicans, of their power. The rule of law must be by and for all people in reality, especially the working classes. The latter includes the professional middle class. The power to determine what the rule of law is must be established once and for all by and for all of the people and not merely for the wealthy neo-aristocrats of Capitalism, i.e. those who write the law to benefit those in power, i.e. themselves, not those they allegedly represent in this clever sham of a democratic republic.
The Duopoly of Republicans and Democrats is referred to as “The Two-Headed Snake” for a number of reasons. The majority of two-party members have far more in common than not including sharing positions thru the same so-called institutional revolving doors in industry, academia, finance, secret societies, the military, intelligence, non-profits, and nepotic pseudo-dynasties. Democrats and Republicans are anchored into systems rooted in capitalism, imperialism, racism, rigid religiosity, and ignorance. How many understand, for example, what the definition of “imperialism” is? This ignorance, including the ignorance of science, geography, and history, has gone on far too long already. This Duopoly puts party and power before people, country, and planet. We must allow independents and alternative parties to campaign and govern. The term “third party” needs to be dropped as the use of it maintains a collective mindset overdue to be purged. Americans can then begin to roll back Federal laws capping the size, shape, and architecture of the Legislative branch.
The solution to gerrymandering is simple. Abolish the existence of all legislative districts and the curse of their ever-mutating borders. We do not need separate legislative districts, and we don’t need them because we already have them. Simply declare our counties, parishes, and independent towns and cities to be legislative districts.
Donald Trump usurped the Presidency of the United States of America. He did so by exploiting divisions and corruption within the two dominant parties. Trump ascended to the Oval Office upon the backs of the Electoral College as the electors failed to properly vet the candidates and to vet them independent of party and state pressure. The Electoral College of the United States failed not because Trump lost the popular vote by the largest margin in history only to carry enough state delegates to win the EC vote. The EC failed America and yes, Earth, by failing to do its Constitutional duty. As such the EC failed to consider all of America’s presidential candidates, not just those from the Democrat-Republican Duopoly, i.e. the Two-Headed Snake in bed with the Giant Octopus of Big Business and Bigger Banks. Then the Electoral College failed to deliberate over the candidates’ qualifications and character. The EC electors failed to even consider any of the strengths and weaknesses of the women and men competing to become POTUS and VPOTUS to best determine who shall best execute the responsibilities and carry the burdens of such high offices. The EC was designed to prevent demagogues and their rabid mob of ignorant and dangerous goons from storming the political process to take over the country. Instead the EC allowed itself to be manipulated by the Fifty States and by two corporatocratic political parties to allow Donald Trump to usurp the Presidency. Events since January 2017, a mere four months ago, have only cemented the disastrous results of the Electoral College process as yet another example why we must abolish this institution. The country’s gone nuts in a world already on fire. It is as if the nation is seriously afflicted with the political and financial equivalent of toxoplasmosis parasites and brain tapeworms.
The Electoral College of the United States nearly fractured in early January 2017 thanks to the lack of courage and foresight among many electors. The electors allowed themselves to be intimidated by the State regimes to vote for one of the two dastardly primary party candidates. “Nearly fractured” is not the same as “fractured,” obviously, but enough EC electors threatened to vote their conscience for whom they felt would be the best for their state or threatened some kind of mutiny some were removed by their state regimes and replaced with docile go-alongers. Yes, the states suppressed elector independence as well as full vetting of the various candidates.
Imagine being told you would not be allowed to vote unless corporatocratic political party operatives in control of any one of the fifty American state regimes, a corrupt setup that would have appalled those Founding Fathers who opposed political parties in the first place, commanded you to cast your ballot for a particular candidate. And you thought you lived in a democratic republic, albeit a capitalist one.
Despite all of the obstacles placed before them, seven electors survived any attempts or threats to remove them from the EC to cast their vote for candidates other than the one from their party. Clinton received 232 Electoral College votes. Trump, however, received 306 votes. Trump carried more states and counties while Clinton carried more of the population who actually voted. None of these hundreds of electors, however, gathered as an actual college to vet all of the candidates and then deliberate amongst themselves for whom would best serve the interests of the American people and their United States. Most of them voted for the political party they represented rather than on behalf of the population of their state. They obeyed the demands and expectations projected by the political machinery and governments of the states, all controlled by the Duopoly.
Political parties were not supposed to dominate government and political systems. Yet networks of wealthy capitalist oligarchs control two of these parties. As such “their” Republicans and Democrats rule and distort the electoral process. Voting in America is a shameful and asinine mockery of democracy. Instead of voting for one despotic puppet one gets to choose between two despotic puppets cloaked with illusions of liberty, prosperity, and peace for all. The Dem-Rep Duopoly dominates all Fifty States and thus determines for whom EC electors must vote.
Enough electors cast their votes without any attempt to deliberate to thus select Donald Trump as the next President. They did so even tho Trump LOST and LOST BIG by THREE MILLION votes! In an election riddled with accusations of electoral fraud by both sides, too. Ironically much of the current evidence beginning to emerge damns the Republicans altho they’re the one crying fraud the most and the loudest as the Democrats seek to point out Russian interference in the 2016 Election. The United States Electoral College of constitutional, capitalist, quasi-democratic republic thus elected a loser as President.Continue reading “Trump Usurped the Presidency and the Electoral College Failed America” »
Silent are the many Class War dead buried beneath the myths of Camelot
Watching Jackie felt like eating jagged broken glass thru my eyes as if eyeballs were little, bloody mouths wired directly into my brains. The movie is intense, jarring, and rich with excellent and challenging performances. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Texas six days before Thanksgiving 1963 was a sucker punch to the American gut.
One could quibble about actress Natalie Portman’s attempt at Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy’s accent, but her harrowing performance rivets and horrifies. Portman becomes Jackie with such wrenching intensity it’s as if we’re invading the former First Lady’s privacy. The film portrays the Journalist, played by Billy Crudup, as an unnamed man but understood to be Theodore H. White, a historian and journalist turned propagandist and Camelot mythmaker.
The movie is in part a portrayal of a woman’s grief and shock at the public murder of her husband while at the pinnacle of their power. The film also, less convincingly but nevertheless disturbingly, illuminates the collusion between the chain-smoking former First Lady and the Journalist to control the public narrative and secure the myth of the American Camelot as “truth.” In its own unique way, Jackie reflects the legacy of Greek tragedy and Shakespearean drama enmeshed with blood and brains in the way of American movies.
What makes this collusion even more bizarre was Jackie’s sterilization of her dead husband’s true legacy. To his credit, JFK was in many ways a traitor to his class of wealthy, bourgeoisie capitalists, and this article addresses this further down. Jackie Kennedy, however, fought, plotted, connived, and strategized to elevated JFK to the lofty, neo-feudal status of Camelot. A powerful and determined person, she was also relentless and ferocious as she grabbed the helm of history.Continue reading “Jackie Screams in Silence” »
No flash in the pan protests! Sustained demonstrations are required.
Building Massive Resistance against Trump and the Alt-Right helps build a Democratic Socialist world.
Major demonstrations are being planned across the United States of America over these two days to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump as President and Mike Pence as Vice-President. Other marches and rallies in solidarity with this insurrection are planned in other cities around the world. These protests, even in the midst of winter, are expected to be huge. Already over 25,000 people took to the streets of New York City on the Thursday before Inauguration Day to demonstrate against Trump-Pence and their ugly and dangerously stupid agenda.
It would be naïve to think all these vigorous acts of defiance, resistance, unity, and courage will have much immediate effect. And with today’s technologies at our fingertips with social media, anything is possible. Even more naïve, however, is to believe we can simply pack up and go home and plop down as if OK, look how LOUD we showed Trump-Pence and the Alt-Right we roared! No. This is a long fight shaping up. We must be prepared for a long, long struggle!
Know, too, when we on the Left fight, we win in the end. To fight and win, however, we must come together to educate and organize ourselves to fight effectively.
Consider examples in American history of what efforts activists took to win. Let’s look at our own history. Struggle takes time, and the more we fight we win. Perseverance is key. The Civil Rights Movement lasted from the early 1950s all the way thru the 60s into the mid-1970s. Significant high points were the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 followed 10 years later by the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Then the Voting Rights Act and the Immigration and National Services Act passed in 1965, and the Fair Housing Act in 1968.
The anti-Vietnam War movement began protesting in 1964 and grew so vigorous President Lyndon Johnson of the Democrats was compelled to withdraw from seeking reelection in March 1968. These anti-war demonstrations also compelled the next President, Republican Richard Nixon, to withdraw U.S. forces from the Vietnam War in March 1973. These civil rights and anti-war protests merged with other movements as resistance to Nixon exploded yet again during the Watergate crisis. Nixon resigned the American presidency in August of 1974. The labor and environmental movements are other classic examples of struggles taking years to manifest a string of powerful successes.
Six Videos, the Petition, and our Stories…and it’s not over
Note this article with its compilation of videos is not marketed or sold for profit nor is anything in this article being marketed and sold for profit. This article and the videos within may be freely shared as long as various sources and authorship are acknowledged.
“There is one word missing. One word that makes all the difference. This word is ‘organized’. That is: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, ORGANIZED citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” It speaks to the power of people mobilization; the power of true change that starts from the bottom wing…there is a growing, if naïve belief that all you need is a lot of passion, a lot of commitment, a lot of good intentions and lots of mavericks, rebels, disruptors, contrarians and challengers and, alas, change will happen. It won’t.” – Activist Leandro Herrero of Spain on the necessity for activists to organize.
A workers’ revolt brewed within REI since at least 2015. Matters came to a head in July 2016 as workers rose up openly in nonviolent direct action. Among their issues at stake were demands for a living wage, for secure scheduling, and for democratic representation via a union. These demands burst open the heart of the matter to reveal whether the REI Co-op would be a truly cooperative business. Or a lie.
This is our story as a brief summary from my perspective. This is a small part of our big story. Indeed, the record of this peaceful uprising may even be your story. Much work remains to be done by we the working people. In the beginning, actions will be led by small numbers of people determined to organize and act in such a way, as the late, great anthropologist Margaret Meade liked to point out, as to change the world. They may be resisted at first by those who insist these leaders not speak for them but say, “some few individuals.” Progress cannot be stayed. Even the most peaceful revolution has setbacks and is set upon by cynics and automatic critics as well as often ignored by the apathetic and the resigned. It is OK to feel afraid, and let us move forward anyway even if scared. Don’t let fear stop us, but do let it keep us alert and on top of our game. Our revolt had repercussions benefiting many workers, although success wasn’t as widespread as initially believed.
One can trace this revolt back to the influences of the 2011 Wisconsin Insurrection followed by the Occupy Uprisings of 2011-2012. These struggles were followed by the successful Fight for $15 an hour minimum wage struggles of 2014-2016, an uprising sparked by Alaska Airline employees in SeaTac, Washington, and which spread across the country in the form of fast food strikes and other direct actions organized with assistance from Socialist Alternative and allies in the labor union movement such as SEIU.
More directly related to REI, however, were the 2014 demonstrations against sweatshop labor in making products for The North Face and against REI’s partnership with The North Face. The anti-sweatshop protests were small but loud, nationwide, and even erupted in other countries. A nationwide student labor union known as the United Students Against Sweatshops or USAS (http://usas.org) organized these demonstrations at REI and TNF stores.
Sweatshop labor is slave labor where capitalists leveraged deeply indebted people into perpetual debt bondage and exploited children with their tiny hands and fingers. Such vulnerable people were beaten, fed little, worked with little rest or sleep, sexually violated, kept terrified, and generally traumatized. People died and were maimed in these slave factories. The problem afflicts many companies as human slavery and trafficking is a worldwide wicked problem.
Patagonia and Apple were among the few to take vigorous action to tackle this problem, but the capitalist imperative to exploit resources and cheap labor for short-term profits, socio-cultural normalization, and political power makes cleaning up this mess self-defeating. The North Face, owned by VF Corporation in Greensboro, North Carolina, was one of the worst offenders. Only in 2015 did VFC and TNF start addressing sustainability and green energy issues, but still has not addressed its use of sweatshop labor.
More workers in America and more workers in other nation-states such as Bangladesh are beginning to understand this is an international issue, indeed an international working class issue. Thus an issue that demands we workers hold the capitalist class accountable as we further organize a new mass movement of the Left across the working and middle classes to build a planetary Democratic Socialist society.
Below is the first of six videos here and is from United Students Against Sweatshops. It is a part of REI history we must remember and Corporate Headquarters wants us to forget. REI HQ preferred instead to distract people’s attention by ramping up its efforts to market the petty bourgeois abomination known as “glamping.”
Before REI workers launched their own petition for real change after so many were fired in late 2015, there was an earlier petition demanding “REI, Drop North Face Sweatshops!” I signed it on Monday 2 January 2017. I am ashamed to confess I was unaware of this petition until recently and didn’t realize the true nature of the anti-North Face protests back in 2014. In 2014 I was still emerging from almost two years of being homeless or semi-homeless and ill with severe depression and a cluster of autoimmune conditions. That’s no excuse, of course, and I share to give one a sense of what I experienced. As I alluded to earlier, these struggles of solidarity for justice, equality, and liberty for working class people are far from over.
Max Silva, an REI Member, initiated the anti-sweatshop Petition for USAS with Moveon.org back in 2014. It still continues to gather signatures. Move On is financed in large part by billionaire George Soros. While I am no fan of Soros and his capitalist manipulations of geopolitics and unaware activists to fund his faction of squabbling plutocrats, Move On still charges hard as an activist NGO.
This accelerated worker and member discontent within the Co-op. The first phase of the 2015-2016 REI workers revolt culminated on the 11th of July 2016. A small group of retail workers from across the United States, although mostly from the West Coast, showed up in Seattle to go public en masse before the media. These workers were desperate, afraid, and courageous. I know as I was one of them. My coworkers and I were scared we would lose everything, and we didn’t have much left to lose as our wages and hours were so low and random. The possibility of getting fired and losing what little we had left terrified us. We stood up anyway. We workers took a stand.
We did so with the support of Councilor Kshama Sawant of the Seattle City Council and the dynamic staff of her office. We did so with the determined support of Socialist Alternative and UFCW 21. We did so with the support of many Members of the REI Co-op, and we did so with the support of larger numbers of our co-workers from all across the company who felt they had to stay discreet or anonymous but who informed us privately they were still with us.
We REI Coworkers had many, many even conflicting demands. In just a few meetings we distilled them into three primary ones. Most of our demands were met. One primary demand was not. There remains the lack of some form of organized, internal democratic representation of the workers to management. There are several different ways towards building a workers’ democracy. One way is thru a union. Another is thru cooperative ownership of the company as a true cooperative business with democratic deliberation and planning. Or a hybrid of the two. Cooperative worker ownership and/or unionization defends hard-won gains, sustains the network, and advocates for greater democracy. Clearly this struggle isn’t new but is as old as the exploited standing up to those who exploit them. Our struggles are far from over for democratic socialist representation is THE most important battle to win.
Back in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., came to recognize there can’t be any political democracy without having economic democracy and one can’t have capitalism without war. He came to champion democratic socialism. King was assassinated in April 1968 while in Memphis, Tennessee. He’d traveled there to support striking sanitation workers and their new union. The next five videos, however, demonstrate what’s possible when people from across the working classes come together to move what many thought were immovable mountains, especially REI, the mythic icon of the American Pacific Northwest and the Great Outdoors. Continue reading “Videos and Stories from the Unfinished Struggle for Workers’ Rights at REI” »
“Governments without credibility devolve into chaos. … The notion of credibility is why my political preferences don’t align with either of the candidates for president.” ~ Scott Adams
“The spread of fascism in the 1920s was significantly aided by the fact that liberals and mainstream conservatives failed to take it seriously. Instead, they accommodated and normalised it.” ~ James McDougall
Three points must be understood.
We in the United States of America are on the edge of civil war. This would be the case regardless of who “won” this election.
Few want to see or hear anything about this. Most dismiss it as alarmist rhetoric or far-right wing fantasy.
A civil war in a large, developed superpower would be catastrophic for this planet.
Let me rephrase what I just wrote, ok: A civil war in the United States of America would be a horror and incredibly stupid, so stupid I want to use the F-word.
Here’s another: People don’t want to experience extreme distress. They don’t want to see events race from unlikely possibility to likely probability. Then it’s too late. If more people saw such changes shift from bad to worse they would act to stop war by resolving conflict peacefully.
The United States is the most polarized it’s been since the American Civil War of 1861-1865. As I write these words on the 18th of November 2016, Hillary Clinton is well ahead in the popular vote, Donald Trump is well ahead in the Electoral College count, the Electoral College has not yet voted, the polls predicted Clinton to win, the media declared Trump the winner, Clinton conceded to Trump, and Trump proclaimed himself the President-elect.
Movements are underfoot to both promote and deny Clinton a victory over Trump by having the Electoral College vote align with the national popular vote. Clinton is ahead of Trump by over one million votes with about four million votes left to count. Her margin is expected to increase dramatically.
Both the Democrat and Republican parties are broken even tho their Two-Party Duopoly maintains its dominance over the elections, debates, and state electors to the national College. Independent third party candidates proved insignificant as the majority of Americans were too polarized between Lesser Evils. At the same time about half of legitimate voters even bothered to vote as the election was viewed by so many people as rigged, corrupted, and ultimately irrelevant.
Massive demonstrations were quickly organized in many cities with the majority of the demonstrators peaceful. Initially many of these marches and protests were organized by Socialist Alternative, a growing national organization of Democratic Socialists who leverage Marxist dialectical analysis, in conjunction with Socialist Youth and the Occupy Wall Street-inspired Movement for the 99%. Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Oakland, and New York City were the focal points for these protests. Other organizations quickly moved to organize demonstrations, too.
Ongoing protest movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Standing Rock Sioux against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the banks financing the corporations behind the pipeline merged with the anti-Trump demonstrations. LGBTQI people marched with those protesting degradation and violence against women and immigrants. Students from high schools and colleges walked out of class to join and in many cases lead the demonstrations.
Allegations swirl around claiming George Soros, a multibillionaire member of the so-called globalist Cabal groups and backer of Hillary Clinton, financed and influenced demonstrations against Donald Trump. So far research demonstrates he hasn’t altho he may do so in the future. He has donated millions of dollars to a broad spectrum of Leftist groups in the past, but most of them are neoliberal groups such as the Open Society Foundations.
Socialist Alternative and its allies, however, rapidly organized most of the post-Election protests on Wednesday 9 November, in multiple cities via social media as they marshaled 40,000 or more people within hours. Socialist Alternative also scorned any help from the billionaire class and refuses to accept donations from Soros and his elitist ilk.
Scattered violence ripples across the nation and appears to be escalating rather than decreasing. The Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 437 reports of “hateful intimidation and harassment” by Trump supporters from the day after the election thru the 14th of November. This includes 20 reports of assaults upon Trump supporters. Most, however, were by White racists and fundamentalist Christians upon other ethnic and religious groups including immigrants and by heterosexuals against LGBTQIs.
Other reports demonstrate a surge in bullying in the schools, increase in police violence, interruptions of work, high volatility in the financial markets, and greater unpredictability across the planet as different nations, corporations, banks, and non-state groups review their options.
Protests in support of the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors, accelerated by Trump’s declared victory even tho he continues to lose the popular vote, have since spread around the nation to include demonstrations against the 38 banks including 17 banks directly financing the corporations supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River and sacred tribal lands. Many others, however, seek to downplay the violence and bring people back to focus upon peace, compassion, positivity, and finding ways to move forward in spite of deep and ugly divides.
Meanwhile immigration hardliners among the pro-Trump Republican leadership propose the United States use World War II internment camps of Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants then in line to be naturalized as U.S. citizens as models to deal with Muslim-Americans today and track Muslim immigrants. Trump is viewed as unstable and continues to elevate White racist, sexist, and anti-immigrant extremists as well as vitriolic anti-environmentalists into positions of power.
The term, “locker room talk” doesn’t excuse anything. What many don’t get is locker room talk is another expression of rape culture. What many more don’t get is rape culture arises from capitalism.
Rape culture is so deeply embedded in patriarchal society many people aren’t even conscious and aware of its existence. Even some women dismiss locker room talk with shrugs as, “just what guys do, right?” Locker room talk is verbal violence, and verbal violence, for those still waking up to our cultural mess, is violence committed with spoken language. It’s often amplified with body language and facial expressions. Verbal violence spills over into written language where direct use of such insults may be criminalized as deadly threats, slander, and libel. When such violence is sexual, however, it’s often dismissed with eye rolls and shrugs or ignored. People who do use locker rooms are also fed up as what Trump calls “locker room talk” isn’t the norm in their locker rooms.
Donald Trump brushed off recently leaked recordings of his sexist, disgusting, and abusive comments towards women and girls as “just locker room talk.” He was called on it during the second presidential debate of this nightmarish campaign by debate co-moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN. Trump’s words were deeply disrespectful, so deeply disrespectful as to be unconscious of morals and ethics. His language described how he exploited his wealth and fame to force women to kiss and hug him. The billionaire in a fit of excited infantilism called for men to “grab” women by their genitals. Trump’s language was violent enough for others to characterize his speech as the verbal equivalent of “sexual assault.” His words are indeed violent. Trump’s talk is rape talk.
What was an incredible and informative article by one of the leading pioneers of Exopolitics became confused and tainted with disinformation from the US Navy. Dr. Michael Salla’s detailed descriptions as well as his recovery from the planted disinfo makes for rapt reading. Ultimately the errors were resolved and the resulting confusion clarified. His article, however, immediately raised a number of questions for those already familiar with the narratives of whistleblowers such as Corey Goode and Randy Cramer. These questions arose before we even get to the controversial foto of a flying saucer on the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea.
Were the so-called Nordic ETs a distinct species of actual Extraterrestrial origin, or were they one of the Inner Earth humanoid civilizations such as The Asgard Network with its Silver Fleet Corey Goode initially alluded to early on, or the Ansher Saturnalians that Corey Goode referred to later? Or even an interstellar descendent of breakaway human-like civilizations that left Earth long ago?
Remember Goode’s claims these Inner Earthers developed highly advanced inner-world civilizations, developed humanoid colonies elsewhere in the Milky Way beyond our Sol star system, and fought against the Draco Empire. They also were alleged to assist the early German Secret Societies such as the Vril, but less so the later Nazi ones. What do you think of these possible connections, Dr. Salla? Anyone else? Answering these question will give us a deeper understanding and greater grasp on a complex and fluid situation.
Dr. Michael Salla’s article presents a provocative and informative read. He’s been a significant contribution to the recognition and development of Exopolitics as a field. I am grateful to Dr. Salla for his diligence and thoroughness, but this time I wonder if excitement interfered with judgment. It’s easy to get so caught up in the testimonies of whistleblowers we forget to scrutinize and validate all of their claims. I’ve done so myself. If the bulk of their allegations are true, which does indeed seem to be the case here, that doesn’t mean everything they observe or each opinion advanced are equally valid. Dr. Salla’s efforts to resolve confusion around the mystery of the fotograf, assisted by others who came forward with inside knowledge of the foto in question, are indeed remarkable in an age of trolls and flame wars. Rather than being defensive and armed with excuses, Dr. Salla was upfront, transparent, and cleared this up with aplomb.Continue reading “A Foto out of Place: UFO Disinfo Confusion” »
Hungry. Sun blazing in my eyes. Making me squint as my belly growled low like a dog guarding a slab of meat. Hadn’t eaten since yesterday. Felt ravenous after I spent too much of the morning in the hospital being poked, pierced, measured, and explored by fantastic doctors and their curious assistants. Prodded me like a damn bug followed by quick pecks on their computers. Felt as if I was a giant insect splayed out and peeled apart in an enormous Petri dish by mad scientists and clever kids. Who behaved as if any moment they would hobble over and slather weird baby food goo all over me to see what monsters might grow. Ahhh, yes, call me…Petri Dish Man! BAM! BAM! BAM! DON’T BAN THE PETRI DISH MAN! ran thru my head over and over, tho I dared not tell anyone at the time, as it felt so strange.
Brought back memories of being in the Battle of Seattle during the so-called Anti-Globalization Revolts, and memories of being in Occupy Seattle and Occupy Olympia. Yes, even brought back memories of being homeless during the Great Global Recession after rich, capitalist pundits declared it long over. Despite being such a proficiently medically inspected man, however, I felt grateful for Obamacare’s ACA here in Washington State. Thank goodness it covered what my employer’s private health insurance plan wouldn’t cover. I shake my head funny too, as it seemed plain old common sense for 21st Century America, indeed all of Planet Earth, to have an integrated single-payer universal health care system, a democratic economic system, a socialist system.
Thus satiated on clarity of vision, I ventured hungrily into The Dish, a funky Seattle café, for a belated breakfast. Call it brunch. Time was 11:30 am. It’s a lively little café in my neighborhood. I currently live in a small, quasi-cooperative household below the landlord’s family in a house uprooted from the I-5 Corridor running north and south across the States between Canada and Mexico. The house sits beneath three immense Western redcedar trees in the Tangletown-Latona part of Green Lake up in the middle of North Seattle. At least till the rent rockets up. Only my second visit to this cafe, too. Rarely eat out anymore. Now it’s a treat! The place was abuzz, too.
Two staffers had called in sick, however, leaving the business understaffed. Only two other people were out front serving including one new worker who admitted she didn’t know how to work anything quite yet. But they were game and smiled anyway. Big, welcoming smiles, too. They bustled in and out among crowded customers, and the one cook in back paced himself as he had to. The warm smells of cooked food swirled with exuberant colors intoxicated yours truly Petri Dish Man.
The ghost of a homeless guy watched everything right over the lip of his big orange coffee cup. He was so invisible it as was if I couldn’t see him but nevertheless still sense his presence. I felt the color of his large, tattered coat fade charcoal and gray. Was his bright orange cup just a reflection of the Sun upon a glass bowl of slivered fruit? No, he wasn’t there, just a coat and a cup and the ghost of a man who gave up everything precious but his dignity and curiosity.
Rally for Bernie in the Key Arena, Seattle, WA. Foto by Kristina Katayama. Sunday 20 March 2016.
This isn’t about Bernie. It is for integrity and strategy.
Bernie, of course, is Bernard Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont who calls himself a “democratic socialist.” He’s charging forward to secure the nomination of the Democrat Party as its Candidate for the American Presidency. The state caucus is today this Saturday the 26th of March 2016.
It’s unethical to play musical chairs with the fate of our nation and go play Democrat just for one day if you have no intention of actually joining the Democrats to stay a Democrat. It’s shortsighted and self-defeating to get so caught up in Bernie’s amazing rise that one short-circuits the long-term building of a new party for the 99%. If we don’t stay focused on the new movement for the working and middle classes we’re going to end up right where we started, broken upon the altars of Lesser Evilism.
Many of my friends among the Left are crossing over into the Democrat Party to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Washington State Caucus. These people are usually independents and/or members of smaller parties outside the Democrat-Republican Duopoly. Most of those smaller parties represented are the Socialist Alternative and the Green Party with a few Libertarians. While a member of both SAlt and the Greens, I have engaged very little with either in the last couple of years due to a prolonged, chronic illness and due to my work and family schedule. Bernin’ for Bernie, however, burns all across social media.
There’re a sizeable number of my comrades among these same small parties that plan to vote for Bernie if and ONLY if he secures the Democrat nomination to run for President, or, failing to do so, launches an independent bid. They are NOT voting for Bernie in the Democrat Caucus. I am NOT voting in the caucus for Bernie either. “What? What! Why not? WTF?!” is often the response.
Global Climate Disruption as exemplified in one solitary place in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of the Washington Cascades from a hiker’s perspective
Modified from Image of Mt. Chiwawa’s Lyman Glacier melting away across 118 years between 1890 and 2008 per glaciology field research in the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project by Nichols College based in Dudley, Massachusetts.
In August 2006 and nine years later in July 2015 I climbed up Spider Gap and looked down the flanks of Chiwawa Mountain upon the dirty ice of Lyman Glacier. I was shocked to behold how much snow and ice had vanished across such a relatively short span of time. This short article is my attempt to record this one example of Global Climate Disruption in one solitary spot thru my words and pictures. Far fewer pictures exist for 2006 as most of my then-extensive fotograf collections were destroyed when my house burned down back in March of 2010. For the record, the science is clear human pollution is destructive to our planetary biosphere and affects our global climate.
Lyman Glacier melting and dropping rockslide debris into Upper Lyman Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Tuesday 28 July 2015. This and all subsequent Fotos by William Dudley Bass & are copyrighted with all rights reserved, thank you.
Older controversies regarding global cooling have already been addressed, resolved, and discarded. Now, however, newer material emerges as we’ve become aware our solar system is undergoing numerous widespread changes as it speeds thru a section of the Milky Way Galaxy currently dense in cosmic radiation. It appears this galactic-solarial interaction may be having a much greater impact upon Earth’s climate than human pollution. This process is also not understood, and our pollution clearly makes our destabilized global climate worse. In addition, long-term planetary history demonstrates periods of global warming are followed by ice ages. Which means we really don’t know what the hell is gonna happen next. Right now, however, we in the American Pacific Northwest are entering into the third year of a drought. Although snow has recently fallen in our alpine elevations, an unusually powerful El Nino system in the wake of the Pacific Blob anomaly promises a wild, warm ride into the unknown.Continue reading “Lyman Glacier Melts Away: Global Climate Disruption in One Local Spot” »
Does anyone reading this take Donald Trump seriously? Do you take Donald Trump seriously? It’s so easy to dismiss his pompous and bombastic rhetoric, shallow of substance, yet cleverly spun to hook into the emotions of frustrated and enraged people. Trump is a master showman. He’s as shameless and as tricksterish as P.T. Barnum and as bellicose and banal as Mike Tyson. He ripped off and trademarked Ronald Reagan’s slogan, “Let’s make America great again.” His followers don’t care, however, as it reminds them of a nostalgic past when White men thought they ruled the world.
For the rest of us, however, as dismayed as so many of us are with the Clinton Democrats as well as the fractious Republicans, Archcapitalist Trump and the Alt-Right presents us with an opportunity. It’s beyond time to rebuild the Left. We must find new ways to build a united front between labor and environmentalists, between indigenous tribal activists and social justice advocates, between scientists and the spiritual, between military veterans and peace advocates, for Black Lives Matter and predominantly White revolutionary Socialist groups. It’s an opportunity to build new mass movements of the Left for a major new political party to challenge the Dem-Rep Duopoly. This is an opportunity to raise working class consciousness and help organize working and middle class people for a new mass working class party of the 99% to spearhead the transition from Finance Capitalism to Democratic Socialism and away from Fascism.
Let us remember a famous book, well written yet choked with racist rants and fantastical declarations. Adolf Hitler wrote out exactly in Mein Kampf what motivated him and what he intended to do. Few took him seriously, and he was dismissed as a buffoon. Hitler went on to win democratic elections in the German Weimar Republic. He consolidated and expanded his power including leveraging false flag events such as the burning of the Reichstag. Having conquered Germany, he then moved forward in his attempt to conquer the world.
Trump is no Hitler. Not even close. Adolf Hitler was an anomaly, and Nazism is extreme tyranny. Trump much more resembles Fascist bully Benito Mussolini with their mutual love of show and pomp. Mussolini lusted for power, glory, and fame. He appreciated drama for its entertainment value as well as for its psycho-propaganda usefulness. So, too, does Trump. One who seeks power, glory, and fame can never have enough of them. As Hitler did, however, Trump wrote a modestly bestselling book in which he combined his belief systems and world view with personal memoir. The Art of the Deal, written with lots of help from Tony Schwartz, came out in 1987.
While his advice is focused on capitalist business and not politics, the book encapsulates Trump’s world view and how he approaches everything. Life is for action, and successful action is all about leveraging assets and liabilities to secure the best deal. Those with the best deals win the contest. Making winning deals and managing the results gave Trump his singular life purpose and he applies it to all areas of a life for action. Such an approach naturally fed into an addiction for more power, glory, and fame.
Mussolini, however, followed a clear ideology as a Fascist Party dictator, Il Duce, The Leader. Portraying himself as a fearless strongman and demagogue, Mussolini leveraged both the capitalist petty bourgeoisie and disaffected workers to establish a Far-Right wing Empire. Trump, by comparison, doesn’t adhere to any one ideology. He seems to view ideologies as tools in toolbox to pull any one out from as he saw fit to accomplish whatever he wanted to achieve. If anything was ideological, it was Trump’s belief making deals, especially business deals, gets stuff done. Thus deal making is both show and pomp as well as melodramatic artistry. Hence, The Art of the Deal.
The Donald is a uniquely American phenomenon. He represents the dark side of American Exceptionalism. He is the epitome of Ayn Rand’s Romantic Fascist supermen. Ayn Rand herself disdained the masses as “human parasites” and considered William Edward Hickman, a serial killer who dismembered girls and called himself The Fox, her hero.
Both Rand and Hickman are twisted products of American Exceptionalism, the kind the politicians and cheerleaders of empire refuse to even acknowledge. American Exceptionalism is the watered down U.S. version of White racism and European colonial imperialism with the latter’s emphasis upon the White Man’s burden, Protestant Christianity with its Calvinist work ethic, and fantasies of Manifest Destiny as some kind of Divine Right of Empire. It’s a belief America is inherently superior to all other nation-states, was and is chosen by God as the Chosen People for the New World.
Arising out of American Exceptionalist belief systems, Rand is the Immigrant, which is ironic as The Donald and his bellicose herd are militant anti-immigrants. Rand was born into a Russian Jewish family in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and during her early 20s immigrated to America. The Fox was as American as the Bush and Clintons. Hickman was born in Arkansas, grew up between Texas and Missouri, and spent the rest of his short life in California.
Both The Immigrant and The Fox were Exceptional Americans. From “the Dark Side,” yes, but as such they are not anomalies but as perversely normal as apple pie and guns. As such they fed the mad, crazy ugliness that captivates, hypnotizes, antagonizes, numbs, dumbs down, and distracts the mainstream public from any clear sense of unity and purpose. The lack of such vital clarity plays a significant factor in the low mass consciousness of the American working class.
Ayn Rand praises her psychopathic, slaughterhouse pedophile with language devoid of all empathy, of all sympathy, other than cold abstract admiration for her Satanic, rightwing godman:
Part 2 and follow-up to “Grexit Crisis: EU Disunion or Greater Unification?”
Sometimes the fate of the world hinges on how a seemingly local crisis is resolved or escalates. Nothing happens, however, life goes on regardless of changing circumstances, and the existence of fate itself is dismissed. So it is with Greece.
The underlying and all consuming economic and political system itself must be not changed but transformed. Today that system is Finance Capitalism triumphant. It devours all political systems from liberal democracies to despotic tyrannies, in turn leaving Corporatocratic Fascism triumphant in politics and governments. People from before Aristotle to beyond Wallace Stevens have observed everything changes yet somehow remains the same anyway. The nature of slavery has changed, and yet, we still have slavery. And so it is with Greece.
Today I received the email below from the Green Party of the United States, and I responded by writing the following letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates. I urge you as well to compose a similar letter in your own words, even if you disagree with my political views but stand for open, fair, and inclusive public debates.
In hindsight I wished I’d added a demand for rigorous and honest debate, not rehearsed campaign slogans and sidestepping speeches designed to distract voters and avoid the responsibilities of debate. Dr. Jill Stein is once again the presidential candidate for the Greens, and she is an articulate, knowledgeable, and formidable debater. Turn her and the others lose upon the public stages of America! Again, this is not about supporting Jill Stein or any one particular candidate or political party, but about opening up a closed system that in being so closed makes a mockery of the U.S.A. as a democratic republic.
Sometimes the fate of the world hinges on how a seemingly local crisis is resolved or escalates. So it is with Greece.
Greece and Europa, and yes, the world is at yet another unsteady crossroads. We look at the Grexit Crisis within the context of the Bigger Picture here in this article. The outcome of today’s Grexit Crisis may plunge us further into recession and depression, or begin to turn things around for the working class everywhere. The Grexit Crisis may trip us closer into a nuclear world war, which, seriously, already looms far closer than many realize or most want to think. Or in a much more preferable outcome so rearrange the balance of military and geopolitical power as to make such a conflagration unlikely. The European Union could fracture, as seems likely, as it is primarily a non-democratic financial treaty organization, or draw itself together into a truly democratic political federation where the working classes assert more socialist power.
The leaders of the European Union, under pressure from the Troika, today gave Greece and its Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras five more days to submit another set of proposals. The Troika demanded the new proposals be worded as if the Greek government is, ironically, responsible to save the Eurozone from financial catastrophe and possible economic collapse. It’s as if those political puppets of the capitalist plutocrats are crying, “Save us by further enriching the banksters who engineered this damn mess in the first place!”
The creditors of the Troika composed of the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission (EC as the executive body of the EU), demand repayment and greater austerity from a nation unable to do either. The Troika has manipulated and exploited Greece and sucked it dry. If anything, the banksters, those pro-Troika gangsters in business suits, praised as educated standard bearers of capitalism, behave as financial vampires. Anchored in bastions of global financial power, they are determined to uphold the domination of finance capitalism as a form of neo-fascist tyranny over Europa. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the woman who stared down Vladimir Putin and made him squirm in his chair earlier this year, comes across more and more as another cold-hearted Margaret Thatcher. We are all in a global class war, and the Grexit Crisis is a major battle in our struggle.
Much fear and paranoia has been and continues to be projected out into the mainstream mass media as well as some of the alternative ones. The pro-Troika side fears whatever they do or don’t do with Greece will set a bad example for the rest of the Eurozone. If they bail out Greece, then other nations within the EU will expect something similar. If they kick out one nation, then the others would fear being kicked out in the future, too, including for any hidden purpose with debt burdens as an excuse to cover the real reasons. If Greece exits the Eurozone, thus the Grexit, Greece exits the European Union. How else can the Greeks stay in, as the EU is not a political union of equals but the result of an economic treaty between unequal members?
“Extinction is not something to contemplate. It is something to rebel against.”
— Dr. Helen Caldicott, one of Jim’s heroines.
This is a critically important book. Its message is urgent. Democratic world government is an idea whose time is now. Our species stands at the threshold of global upheaval and possible extinction. A convergence of challenges unique in human history threatens to overwhelm us, and a cooperative worldwide response via a constitutional planetary democracy with a socially responsible economy represents the most effective way to address these issues. First, however, we must choose to create these new human systems for our planet. Jim Stark of Canada has come up with a novel yet simple approach to help us get there.
This book is a rare integration of vision and pragmatism. Jim Stark advocates a grass roots, internet-based Global Referendum along with paper mail-in ballots. The ballot proposition is simple and direct. One votes “Yes” or “No” for “Do you support the creation of a directly-elected, representative, transparent, and democratic world parliament that is authorized to legislate on global issues?” Early polls indicate a majority of people around the world and across many different religions and ethnic groups would vote yes if they could. Nation-state regimes, including the non-democratic United Nations, will also have a choice. They can work together with this movement, or be by-passed. In regions of severe repression, warfare, and socio-political-economic upheaval voting may not be possible. And it is a start. It’s start toward achieving a dream many have had for centuries.
Long overdue recognition for a nearly forgotten part of the Cold War
Image of the 2010 Amazon kindle edition cover of Jim Stark’s 1989 book.
Cold War Blues: The Operation Dismantle Story is unique. Jim Stark’s book is a rare and worthy addition to our history of this enigmatic and most dangerous war. First, this book is original history, i.e. a primary source, from the Cold War. It’s not a rehash of espionage dramas, combat ops, or Cuban Missile Crisis politics. It is a detailed account of this planet-wide conflict on a personal level from the anti-war camps. Specifically it addresses the rise and fall of the Operation Dismantle campaign of 1977 – 1985. What makes the book an especially novel read is it’s written in memoir fashion from the perspective of a Canadian pro-peace and anti-nuclear weapons activist, not those espousing American or Soviet viewpoints. One hears the desperation and hope of those within other nations compelled to choose sides in a glacial world war that more than once almost erupted into thermonuclear Armageddon.
Jim and his fellow Canadian activists carved or threatened to established a third front to challenge not just Soviet Communist totalitarianism but the hypocrisy and murderous arrogance of the Western Capitalist, anti-Communist regimes. “Yes, I managed to piss off both superpowers at times,” wrote Jim. Operation Dismantle became a major force to be reckoned with not only in Canada but also with the Americans as it came close to stopping the deployment of U.S. cruise missiles including those quietly armed with atomic warheads into sovereign Canadian territory. Continue reading “Cold War Blues: A Review” »
Pope Francis denouncing global violence as “a piecemeal Third World War” at Redipuglia Cemetery where 100,000 Italian soldiers killed in the First World War are buried in Italy near its border with Slovenia, 13 September 2014. Agence France Presse (AFP).
We have been engaged in a nearly continuous but rarely acknowledged war for thirty-five years. It began in 1979, twenty-two years before the terror attacks of 9/11. This war is fought around the globe as a patchwork of campaigns between various factions of multiple and shifting alliances. Even Pope Francis recognized this odd and gruesome conflict as a “piecemeal third world war.” Although the combat is small in scale, it has at least two characteristics of a world war: 1) the sheer number of nation-states, stateless-nations, and non-state groups engaged, and 2) fighting and bombing on every continent save Antarctica.
This war has also been called the Middle East’s version of Europe’s Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) due to its widespread, confusing, and desultory patterns of overlapping conflicts and aims. Yet this war is barely recognizable as one long war. Even fewer see the direct relationships between the capitalist system and warfare. The more people see and openly acknowledge we have been in an ongoing war for at least 35 years, the greater we experience a long, overdue change of perspective. The sooner more and more people recognize this long war and numerous others are driven largely by capitalism with its systemic exploitation of ethnic and religious divisions to better access and control natural resources and transportation routes, the sooner we develop strategies to end war. A deep shift in perspective may shift how we approach and resolve this conflict. First we need to see what we are doing.
Two days after the People’s Climate March in 2,200-2,500 cities across the planet and the morning after airstrikes and cruise missile attacks on homes and buildings destroyed by the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates in Syria with France and the U.K., already in Iraq, planning to join Dutch forces in the Syrian campaign against the Islamic State, 24 September 2014.
HUMAN-CAUSED POLLUTION, DRAMATICALLY WORSENED BY CAPITALISM, CONSISTENTLY EXCEEDS POLLUTION FROM VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS TO CAUSE SEVERE CLIMATE CHANGE INCLUDING GLACIER MELT, GLOBAL WARMING, SUPERSTORMS WITH EXTREME WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE OSCILLATIONS, AND TUNDRA THAW WITH MASSIVE METHANE RELEASE AND REVIVAL OF LONG-FROZEN PREHISTORIC MICROORGANISMS
West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier melts into Earth’s Southern Ocean.
Antarctica and Greenland
“Remember the front page of The Seattle Times one day last week, a week ago last Monday?” I asked the other participants in the room as I held up a copy from 12 May 2014. The lead article was adorned with a dramatic photograph of West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier melting in slow yet accelerating collapse into the Southern Ocean. The image was beautiful. Huge. The photo made this crisis feel Leviathan. It felt personal. Still does. For me seeing this news report was my “Oh Shit!” moment, my big “Oh Shit!” moment.
This crisis, this moment also presents an opportunity for those of us on the Revolutionary Left. We’ve been engaged in struggles to unify the working classes and others among the 99% to build a Democratic Socialist civilization atop the wreckage of our Capitalist system for a long time. This is now our time, and it will stay our time but only if we make it so. Climate change will not wait. Capitalism will not wait as it continues to bind the world into an iron net of digital tyranny and financial despotism. The logical conclusion of Capitalism is globalized Fascism and self-destruction as what’s left of our biosphere is ruined in the desperate scramble for anything to eat, steal, sell, or blame. The twin disasters of Capitalism and climate change seem slow and twisting. Yet they accelerate toward one disaster after another. Neither crisis will wait for anyone or for anything.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, the UN IPCC, released a new and disturbing report earlier this Spring of 2014. It firmly established the primacy of anthropogenic or human-made causes of climate change over other factors. The scientists involved drove home climate change is a long-term problem with a severe impact upon our biosphere. Indeed, there will be multiple severe effects. This likely will produce unexpected surprises. Perhaps the surprises won’t be as dramatic as a world war or an extreme climate yo-yo but something more subtle such as the resurrection of dormant prehistoric bacteria and viruses released from thawing tundra.
Scientists earlier this year discovered giant viruses reanimating out in the Siberian tundra. The world is warming up. The Arctic tundra is thawing out. Methane gas is escaping from the permafrost. Frozen mammoth specimens are found in spectacular condition. And the largest known viruses, so far, are reviving. The most recent one is an enormous Siberian Pithovirus 30,000 years old. These giant viruses are still alive. They’re infecting and killing the local amoeba population. Scientists consider it easily probable other prehistoric pathogens, frozen alive for tens of thousands of years, may escape as temperatures rise to cause pandemics of deadly diseases among contemporary humans, livestock, and crops as well as wild plants and animals.
Giant 30,000 year old amoeba-killing Pithovirus from Siberia. Image by Julia Baroli & Chantal Abergel, IGS, CNRS/AMU, 05 March 2014.
We are vulnerable as a species. Adaptation and preparation will prove crucial although exhausting. We’ll encounter limits as we run out of options. Most importantly, however, is we move forward with great speed and urgency to implement significant, indeed revolutionary changes. We do not have much time. We do, however, have choices and proven strategies.
A Democratic Socialist alternative, for example, will allow our species to establish a common front to address this Capitalist-induced destruction of our planet. We must first build such a unified front. Here in Seattle, those of us in the Socialist Alternative are positioned to provide leadership and inspiration to working people during this time of worldwide climate disruption. A majority of citizens recently elected Kshama Sawant, a teacher, economist, and activist in the Socialist Alternative, to the Seattle City Council in 2013 over a long-entrenched Democrat. Together with other labor activists we successfully spearheaded a rough and tumble drive to raise the minimum working wage to $15.00 an hour.
Numerous other groups are active as well in the struggle for our environment. Most of them are focused on singular issues such as stopping the coal and oil trains, tackling fracking, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, cleaning up polluted areas, and transitioning away from fossil fuels to green renewables. There has been a patchwork of local and regional successes, but many have been reduced under repeated onslaughts of Big Business as Capitalists seek to deepen their grip on our society. The Corporatocracy is relentless in its pursuit of resources to fuel its expansion of power. We’re focused, however, on local-global economic and labor issues. Yet climate change won’t wait for workers to wake up and take charge of our economy. Nor will the Capitalists in power wait for us workers to rise up. Earth’s environmental crises, however, won’t wait, not for anyone. Within the past year we Democratic Socialists achieved remarkable successes locally. We’ve been driving hard in a most difficult struggle to improve the lives of workers and their families. Economic and environmental issues are mutually intertwined. Will we take this opportunity?
Look at the picture of those melting glaciers in West Antarctica again.
James Yungel of the NASA team captured the photo. The “collapse of massive portions of the Antarctic ice sheet” appeared “inevitable.” Indeed, the speed of melting and collapse with rising seas is faster than initially feared. The epic disaster unfolding across our southernmost continent was deemed “unstoppable.” Mother Jones even shouted, “Holy Shit!”
This calamity is global. It was visible. You can see it all around without the immediate drama of human beings with their towns and cities ravaged by wars and earthquakes. Yet it could conceivably help bring an end to the current global civilization humans have built here on Earth. The melting West Antarctic ice sheets reinforce the idea global climate change, including global warming, is really global climate disruption.
Earlier this month I posted a link on one of my social media sites to an essay I wrote the night before, “Yes, $15 an hour minimum wage, NOW!” Among the people who responded along a spectrum between yes and no were two from my native state of Virginia. Let’s call one of them Brigid, which, of course, is not her real name. Brigid, a progressive liberal more radical than many and as mellow as a Summer pond at twilight, expressed concern about us activists moving too fast to raise the minimum wage. She thought proponents for $15 now would be wise to slow down and take more time. After all, why rush it and mess it up for all of us?
More captivating, however, was a wrenching inquiry from a friend of mine back East. He was a small business owner who ran a small but bustling bakery and café. My friend, let’s call him Isaac, declared raising the minimum wage up to $15 an hour “would put” him “out of business in one month.” Unless, he said, he jacked up his prices. I could hear him as he pounded his fist upon the countertop as he continued. “The socialist-workers rights-stick-it-to-the-man person in me loves it, but I am the man here. This seriously would break me,” he wrote. “Why do this if prices just rise in concert with pay?”
Fight for 15, Fight for the Working Class, Fight for Justice, Fight for Freedom. Solidarity!
Those who argue against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour do not get it. These naysayers spin broken webs of economic facts and figures rooted not in the reality of our natural environment but inside the charts and computer algorithms of a virtual world divorced from physical reality. It’s not about the money. I want to stand up and shout, “It’s not about the money; it’s about people! Real live human beings! It’s about relationships, our relationships! It’s about class war.”
Life is Struggle. The working classes get life is a struggle. So do artists and small business owners. So do the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the foreclosed, the laid off, the poorly paid, the uneducated, the overeducated, students deep in debt, the hungry, the sick, the pissed off.
This is part of our struggle to build Democratic Socialism. As such we seek to remove banksters and Corporacrats from power. Get them out of out of politics and government. We work to reclaim democracy from the grip of the rich. We intend to go further and put democracy and justice into business, into the workplace, and into the marketplace.
This struggle is part of finishing what the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., started. He knew we couldn’t have political democracy until we also have economic democracy. This is not about the stupidity of self-righteous fools who ridicule the spelling and grammar of hardworking low-wage workers such as myself, but for democracy based upon human rights and social responsibilities instead of property rights and financial violence.
We understand this is an issue of ethics and even morals. We get in a way sheltered pundits do not the Great Global Recession did not end in 2009. Indeed, this worldwide almost-Second Great Depression continues to grind on and on without any clear end in sight. These are hard times for large numbers of people from the poor to the middle.
Remember bad times don’t last forever. We must remember our victories during times of discouragement. We must remind ourselves during those moments when we just wanna quit all this will pass. So, yes, stop and rest a bit. Then get back up and keep going. Because we’ve already come a helluva long way! We learn, adapt, and adjust. Together we recalibrate, grow, and evolve. Ours is the search for what works and best serves us thru inquiry, action, results, and analysis. It is the Dialectical process.
You keep going. We all keep going. We go. Action is better than indulging in cynicism, apathy, and do-nothingism. Struggle serves to move us hard working people from enduring ever more suffering-to-barely-survive to rise up to stand in our power and thrive.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us in the last speech he made before he was assassinated he’s “been to the mountaintop,” he stood up there and looked over and saw the Promised Land. He knew all of us would get there. We will get there, and we will get there together!
William Dudley Bass
8-9 April 2014
Are our leaders mad? Are they deliberately setting the stage for a series of interlocking wars and economic collapses? All to look like accidents? Our leaders’ heartless mistakes of opportunity may indeed wipe out millions, even billions. For what? Are they are prepared to absorb extreme costs as the price to pay for extreme victory? Or are our leaders clueless? Are they just fucking stupid? Reacting with military precision directed with sloppy, nationalistic stupidity to converging crises overwhelming common sense, good judgment, and cooperative intelligence? And what the hell are We the People gonna do? Are we going to just read about it in a tweet the next day after half the world blows up? “Good morning! 1/2 earth blown up…the end looks better n movies & cool, i can still tweet!”
Violence, nonviolence, and civil disobedience are tools in the great struggle against tyranny and oppression. They have been used in the great class war against the Global Financial and Political Elites. They still are. These tools are strategies and tactics based upon values and principles. Violence and nonviolence are no more anything else than the term Global War on Terrorism is rife with misnomers. Terror is a feeling. It’s an immediate physiological response to a reactive emotion. Flight or fight or freeze and still piss your pants. Terrorism is a tactic in crime and war. It’s been pointed out repeatedly one cannot wage a military campaign against tactics. Instead, one does so with strategies and tactics against enemies using terror as a tactic.
Many of us confuse nonviolence with being a rigid “thing.” Growing numbers of people continue to feel inspired by the fierce stands Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., took for nonviolence. Ironically, both were murdered almost 20 years apart during periods of violent civil strife. Their deaths sparked even greater outbreaks of violence.
Even so, many people view nonviolence as an inviolate colonnade of pillars holding up temples of peace as if such abstractions of mind existed out in the physical world. Nonviolence, a tool, has come to be regarded as religious doctrine by many people. Instead of a tactic, however, it’s another invisible but real, to them, flying buttress supporting the invisible architecture of an abstract cathedral. By doing so, these believers in the holiness of this abstract tool risk bringing everything they stand for collapsing down upon them in bloody ruin.
The proponents of nonviolence, upholding Gandhi and King and even Buddha and Jesus, often dismiss or suppress any challenge to nonviolence. Who would dare question nonviolence? I imagine the Global Elites and the security and intelligence apparatus under their control appreciate being the only ones to dispense violence while not receiving any in turn. Nonviolence helps keeps them in power.
Don’t make any abstraction of mind so rigid an ideology it cripples effective action. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics, religion, economics, or tradition. Those nouns, those words stand for concepts with definitions held within the abstract mind. Which means we make it all up in our heads and call it “real.” If enough people agree yes, it’s real indeed, and then we label it “consensual reality.” And so we go, as brilliantly collapsed as ever. All abstractions are tools.
The most effective toolboxes have a modest variety of choices. It is the same during resistance against oppression and struggles for justice, equality, and liberty. We struggle against the class war of the financial elites, against institutionalized racism, corporatism, sexism, corruption, and fascism. We struggle for social, environmental, and economic justice. We struggle for power. Aye, we struggle for the power to determine our own lives together.
Up Close and Uncompromising! The front of one of the famous Red T-Shirts worn by volunteers for Kshama Sawant’s Socialist Alternative Campaign for Seattle City Council, Position 2, the 5th of November 2013. Photo by William Dudley Bass.
Those who argue against raising the minimum wage do not get it. The naysayers spin broken webs of economic facts and figures rooted not in the reality of our natural environment but inside the charts and computer algorithms of a virtual world divorced from physical reality. It’s not about the money. I want to stand up and shout, “It’s not about the money; it’s about people! Real live human beings!”
I really want to jump up and yell, “It’s not about money, you insert language most foul!” Such verbal intensity, however deliciously vulgar, would just rile up the troll militias, so I won’t cuss here. It’s challenging enough to feel compassion and empathy for my fellow human beings, including those who exhibit cruelty and heartless stupidity. No matter. We all suffer. Everyone single one of us experiences suffering. Life is Struggle.
The working classes get life is a struggle. So do artists and small business owners. So do the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the foreclosed, the laid off, the poorly paid, the uneducated, the overeducated, students deep in debt, the hungry, the sick, the pissed off. Reformers understand action is better than indulging in cynicism, apathy, and do-nothingism. Revolutionaries understand reform only goes so far before it dead ends in a mirage. Struggle serves to move the working classes from enduring ever more suffering to survive to rising up to stand in their power and thrive.
During these bleak but exciting times I volunteered for Kshama Sawant’s openly Socialist campaign for Seattle City Council. I joined with other veterans of the Occupy Uprisings from the Green Party of Seattle and the Seattle branches of the Socialist Alternatives to serve to get her elected. Other Socialist Alternatives ran strong campaigns elsewhere, especially Ty Moore in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It proved a tight race. Still counting ballots days after the Election. We rocked the city and made waves across the nation. Ripples were felt around the world. It was an astonishing experience. A small, highly disciplined organization raised well over $110,000 and marshaled over 300 volunteers, many of them part-time volunteers such as myself. What helped us stand out in addition to our red t-shirts was our uncompromising stand for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage.
An Analysis of the Successes and Failures of the Occupy Uprising, Occupy’s Comparison with Previous Recent U.S. Revolts, and What’s Likely to Occur Next
Occupy Wall Street! Occupy Earth! Occupy Love! What is our one Demand? WHAT IS OUR ONE DEMAND? Image altered from the Commons.
Occupy, of course, is not dead. The residue of the movement continues to smolder among the ruins of the Great Global Recession. An occasional flare-up bursts forth in protest here and there. In the underground of cyberspace, however, there lives a vibrant hum of activity. Instead of dramatic visibility in parks and streets, many in the Occupy movement carried their ideals, values, and freshly exercised practices away to their homes, farms, businesses, and neighborhoods.
A new alternative civilization is emerging from the osmosis of Occupy into the greater culture at large. A good term to describe this organic yet deliberate dynamic planetary community is the Breakthru Civilization. We’re breaking thru old paradigms and ways of being that no longer serve humanity as these obsolete ways aid in the destruction of life on Earth. Breakthru from love and respect for life to love and respect our selves, one another, and our planet. It is a difficult challenge to move forward towards hate, fear, and violence with compassion, forgiveness, and love armed with nothing more than aware minds, open hearts, and firm backbones. Yet this Breakthru accelerates the expansion of individual awareness and mass consciousness to understand and embrace Socialism as perhaps the only immediate alternative to the current system dominated by Capitalism and corporatist fascism.
The number of activists has dwindled since those promising days from September 2011 to May 2012. They certainly no longer reflect the greater 99%. Instead, Americans woke up to the reality of economic inequality and class war. Occupy called attention to this invisibly visible ugliness so vividly the topic of class warfare was debated among Republicans and Democrats during the 2012 Presidential Elections. Yet Occupy itself subsided into the nooks and crannies of local neighborhoods.
What happened? Especially after so much occurred in the beginning to astonish and galvanize people around our planet?
Before I answer those questions, we must acknowledge and celebrate Occupy’s multiple successes. Occupy left enough of a significant impact, certainly in the short term as this story has yet to run its course, to perhaps catalyze a larger and more multifaceted transformation than is often realized. It’s still too new. So let’s celebrate a few successes:
“The Extreme Inequality is Killing us – our Commons, our Democracy.” Syd Fredrickson of the Green Party in Occupy Seattle, 8 October 2011. Photo by William Bass.
The following anomalous event occurred one summer in the early 1970s in rural Prince Edward County, south-central Virginia. It remains unexplained.
This weird incident happened about five or six years after my family and I experienced an unidentified flying ship over the fields and woods behind our farmhouse. Those two experiences may have nothing to do with each other except both were strange and were dismissed, ridiculed, or explained away by our American Government.
Our paranoid Cold War fears intensified after the anomaly occurred this particular hot and sweaty summer evening. I was a young teenager back then. A group of us kids played outside in a grassy cow pasture between my house and the neighbors’. Joe, my younger brother, was running around with us, too. Our parents were out and about in their respective yards. The fireflies were already out, winking on and off along the edge of the woods bordering the field even though there was still plenty of light left. We called ’em lightnin’ bugs. We jerked alert as we found ourselves and everything around us bathed in glowing light. It happened fast. BOOM without sound.
“Whoa, look!” shouted one friend in awe. “Look at the sky!”
“What the hell is that?”
“I sure don’t think it’s Jesus comin’ back. Don’t hear no trumpets a blowin’.”
“Trumpets, shit. Maybe the Russians are bombin’ us.”
“Or aliens from Outer Space!”
“Whoa, look at that! Hey, over there, too. Oh man, the sky’s on fire!”
Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This is the second of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, those collectively regarded as the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. That’s a little more than fifteen years after the American Declaration of Independence and eight years after the Peace Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War. It became known as the “Right to Bear Arms” amendment.
Note the Constitution lacks any direct reference to individual self-defense. Instead we have a muddled Second Amendment that declares a stand for the right to bear Arms. Not swords, battle-axes, legs, or cannon, but arms as in firearms as in guns. It doesn’t proclaim a right to self-defense. Indeed, there is not any reference whatsoever to any right of self-defense. Which is interesting, isn’t it?
U.S. veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, proud of his guns, in a photo from Pierce County Sheriff Department archives. Note the high-capacity magazine clips on both firearms.
Ranger Margaret Anderson, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State. Photo from MRNP archives.
New Year’s Day 2012 began as if Doomsday had arrived way too early from out of the prophesized Mayan Apocalypse. By the time the one-man war of Army veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes ended, two people are dead with four more injured, two of them critically wounded, three children left without parents, and communities across the United States, including Mount Rainier National Park were devastated. It’s almost a year, too, after Rep. Gabby Giffords and a number of others were shot with many killed in Tucson, Arizona. Excuse my lack of professionalism, but WTF?
In grotesque mockery of its own Constitution, the United States Government continues its overreaching neo-imperial agenda. We invade Iraq for the oil, for revenge against Saddam, and to outflank Iran and thumb our noses at Russia and China. We spend more money on our military than the next 17 countries combined. Yet we don’t help our veterans. And anytime you send people into combat, battles, and wars, guess what? Real, live human beings – men, women, and children are killed and maimed, often in horrific manner. Many in our Armed Forces return with damaged minds. Not everyone, but many more than most admit.
Since our government is so deep in debt and has been played by the banksters, it implements austerity measures and cuts services. National Park services get cut. Rangers get less support.
Bankster and corporatocratic manipulation of finances, markets, political elections, and government leads to illegal wars and economic disruption.
Illegal wars are still real wars. Our young men and women kill and injure other human beings. Many of our men and women are themselves killed and injured. All survivors witness great destruction. The Americans return home, and some of them break down, fall apart, and go crazy. And usually not in ways that engender sympathy.
A government short on money begins by cutting then chopping services. “Our” Federal Government begins by eviscerating federal institutions. Not nearly enough health care is provided for our veterans and their families, especially psychotherapy and counseling. It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to build flashy new weapons and weapons systems. Other federal services get cut, including the national park service.
Benjamin Colton Barnes was a former soldier in the United States Army. He served in the Iraq campaigns of 2007-2008 during the Global Long War on Terror. A private first class, he served in communications while deployed into Iraq. Barnes was also released from the military with a misconduct discharge for a string of offenses.
At a New Year’s Eve 2011 party in Skyway, a satellite town on the edge of the Greater Seattle Pugetopolis, Washington State, a number people brought guns including military weaponry to show off, brag, and posture. The rest of us would likely call them “gun nuts,” a term I reserve NOT for those who respect the firearms they collect and the responsibilities the right to possess a firearm demands, but for those who are immature, violent, and spoiling for a fight. The latter are consumed with egoitis. Barnes was at the party with several hot dates, all of them guns.
Posturing and bragging led to bruised egos. The ego is easily wounded when one’s skin is so thin. Arguments escalated into threats escalated into a gun battle. The details remain murky, but so far it appears Barnes took on the others, big bad soldier from Iraq he is, or was. In the ensuing firefight Barnes shot four people. Two of them were grievously injured and remain in critical care.
Barnes fled the party early in the morning of 1 January 2012. He drove off in a car with guns, knives, ammo, and survival gear. He raced into Mount Rainier National Park to hide out in the middle of the Cascade Mountains. Mt. Rainier remains one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, is more massive of a mountain than any of those in the Himalayans, and soars skyward to 4,392 meters or 14,411 feet above sea level. The Mountain dominates the Pacific Northwest and is the black hole of severe winter storms. It receives astounding amounts of precipitation. Its vast slopes are blanked with heavy, deep snow, thick forests, and icy glaciers.
There are days and there are nights when the best way to face horror and tragedy is to go right into it, into the pain, and not turn away.
The recent gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, touches us all on some level as our lives are so intertwined. A young man, Adam Lanza, sick with perhaps more than one illness, shot dead 20 young boys and girls, seven adults, and then took his own life. His illnesses are termed “psychological” or “mental” even though all such disorders stem from the body as mind arises from brain activity. Reports claim he shot many of these people numerous times. He was so accurate with his gun that there were no survivors among those he shot.
Police reports claim he used a Bushmaster .223 caliber Remington AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle. It’s a demilitarized version of the Army’s Vietnam-era M16 and is categorized as an assault rifle. Our national ban on assault rifles expired in 2004. Adam Lanza also allegedly carried two handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition including high-capacity magazines for the Bushmaster. He stole these weapons from his mother, a registered gun owner, whom he killed first.
Regardless of deep emotions and strong beliefs inflamed by such murders, this massacre of schoolchildren as young as six and seven years old aroused a nation. Indeed, it aroused the world. We are once again reminded that even though we divide ourselves over politics, religion, and ethnicity, we are still one species sharing one planet.
Many issues are at stake here. What is most striking is even though so many people have staked out rigid positions on the various issues; many more are willing to engage in dialogue about them for solutions. That is good news and feels long overdue.
Let me name the dragons we finally have the courage to face as a nation. Keep in mind that to name something is to identify it and to some degree rob it of its power. To name something is to respond without reacting and thus we take on being responsible. By taking on responsibility, especially after first accepting what has happened even if we don’t like it, we become cause in the matter, not victims of circumstance.
Below I name our dragons:
This is an issue of emotionally laden language between groups of people who label each other “gun nuts” versus “gun grabbers.” The issue is the capacity and the willingness to set such divisive blame and shame language aside, or the incapacity and unwillingness for people to do so. Can we stop calling each other names?
We are at the brink of war. You won’t find this being addressed in our current run of debates between Republicans and Democrats here in America. When I say “war,” I refer to major regional or world war, not the Global Long War on Terror. The black hole of world war is opening right now in the Middle East.
Allied countries, despite their angry rhetoric with each other, are lining up against other allied countries that also squabble among themselves. Common self-interests in the midst of extreme crises have a way of polarizing nations into opposing armed camps. This whirlpool of destruction will quickly pull in a succession of nations from all over Earth. Ongoing smaller wars around the world will likely merge into a planetwide conflagration as fast as news zips through cell phones and the Internet.
You will find little news of these urgent matters in the majority of the mainstream mass media, although tidbits surface now and then. I search through military and intelligence sources, scan news from both the far right and the far left, and sift through educated opinions from ivory tower pundits to conspiracy theory gurus. There is a lot out of detailed information out there, but so little for the public to readily see.
Why is something so vitally important kept out of the public discourse?
Several reasons exist. Primarily no one in power really wants all-out war and thus they seek to ignore or deflect attention away from its buildup. Why not inform the public? We can handle the news.
Many in the know understand such a war will crash the world economy during this Great Global Recession. An economic collapse will lead to greater environmental destruction and possibly famine. Survivors will ravage our environment even further for energy and resources in order to rebuild. We’ve not as a species experienced the collapse of a complex global economy on such a scale before. No one in their heart wants this in their legacy.
Because such a war will upend significant elections such as the American electorate voting for Obama or for Romney or other candidates. No candidate wants a war on their hands in a war-weary nation. Right? After all, we’re inundated with doom and gloom and jokes about the end of the world because it’s the year 2012.
We need to establish public control of the money power. We must transition away from central bank currency such as Federal Reserve Notes to printing our own currency. Money is currently dominated and controlled by the international central banking system and national tax regimes. In the United States that means the Federal Reserve System, the Big Banks, and even the IRS. Our money is controlled, dominated, and even owned by private interests among the Global Financial Elite and their Allies behind the facade of the Fed and our banking system. Even our Department of Treasury and many government regulators are beholden to the central banks and transnational financial institutions that dominate Wall Street and thus Main Street.
Our money is not truly “our” money. Not yet. The principle of civilian control of the military power serves as a model to apply.
On June 23, 2010, American President Barack Obama relieved General Stanley McChrystal of command of global Allied forces in Afghanistan. It was a quick and decisive stroke by a President often criticized for prolonged deliberation or by war hawks as “not man enough.” The sacking of McChrystal has been compared to President Abraham Lincoln’s firing of General George B. McClellan in the U.S. Civil War and of President Harry Truman firing General Douglas MacArthur in the Korean War.
Don’t waste your vote on two-headed snakes. Do not vote for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. Vote independent.
Please don’t get me wrong, as both President Obama and former Governor Romney are fundamentally good men. They do, however, represent the lock on power the two major parties have on behalf of the Financial – Power Elite and their Allies. They already dominate our political landscape from Washington, D.C. to the most remote county. Any major party candidate, left and right, it doesn’t matter one whit, is constrained by dependence on sponsors and handlers. As such they will continue to undermine your Constitution. Their actions increase or allow for others to increase the power of the 1%ers over the rest of us 99%.
Republicans and Democrats rile us up and tear us apart over social issues and yet they differ little on true and significant reforms. There is little or no real movement to address the truly serious and potentially catastrophic issues we face today as not just Americans but as a species sharing this planet.
Instead our major politicians debate like entertainment celebrities and offer bland, band-aid solutions as they stay the course straight toward the edge of the cliff. For example, none of their ballyhooed economic and financial reforms will make a lick of difference until drastic reforms of the Fed, the international central banking system, fiat currency, the tax regime, and the ruptures between our economy, energy, and the environment are resolved.
Over the years you’ve likely heard the mantra warning citizens not to waste their votes on third party, alternative, or independent candidates. We the People are encouraged to give up and surrender to the reality that politics are a corrupt circus dominated by Big Everything – corporations, banks, political parties, special interests, and the military-industrial-surveillance complex. So we are told don’t waste our votes on any candidate who is not a Democrat or a Republican.
I say don’t waste your vote voting for the major party candidates. Save yourselves. Save your counties, towns, parishes, cities, states, territories, wards, and districts. Save your country. Save America. Save Planet Earth. Vote independent. Vote third party. Vote for liberty and the constitution. Vote against the tyranny of a gridlocked, two-party system that divides people emotionally over hot button social issues like abortion but otherwise are the same.
Yesterday morning I sat down with a cup of strong Irish tea to catch up on a ton of email. I didn’t get very far before I discovered Chris Guillebeau was scheduled to speak that night at Town Hall Seattle. I’ve never met the guy, and his writings expressing his unique way of thinking about our world provoke and inspire me. I love his blog The Art of Non-Conformity: Unconventional Strategies for Life, Work and Travel. He has a book out with the same title that also stirs the pot, your pot, with relish. It stirred my pot for sure.
Fueled up with a late afternoon cup of coffee, I hustled downtown and promptly got lost. I make the same stupid mistake every time by parking in the wrong underworld garage then meandering around in the labyrinthine maze atop the Convention Center lid over the freeways. I caught myself ranting on the phone to my wife as I tried to get her to come meet me, but she was too far away to arrive anywhere close in time.
She listened with more patience than me as I caught myself getting angry. Feeling silly, I burst out laughing at what a fool I was. I cooled off quick and chilled out. There were more important things to do than get wiggy over buses and cars, and, boom, Town Hall. Wow, I’ve never happened upon it so quickly. I could hear the Universe poking me and saying, “So, there!”
It was only $5.00 to get in to Chris Guillebeau’s presentation Downstairs at Town Hall. Wow. And between the time I paid $5.00 and scurried back from the bathroom the numbers of people in the room had swelled from about a dozen to well over a hundred folks. As more poured in the staff flung open the partition curtains and arranged more rows of chairs. And still more people arrived.
Chris Guillebeau is a tall, lean, young man who lives with his wife Jolie in Portland, Oregon. Apparently she lets him travel as long as he promises to keep coming back home to her. He’s never worked a real job and has been self-employed most of his life. Chris is a world traveler and adventurer who’s been to, as of last count, 183 nations. He’s a salesman, volunteer activist, writer, entrepreneur, networker, published author, and a blogger with a global following.
I think of Chris Guillebeau as a type of guerrilla Seth Godin as he operates on a much smaller budget than that genius on the Hudson. Chris has demonstrated he’s a man of action and vision, probably in that order, and is both proud and humble.
In person he’s courteous, friendly, easy-going, and piercing. Up on stage he is an acute, attentive listener with a quick mind. Chris bows before his mentors and his followers and acknowledges he wouldn’t be anywhere without both. He demonstrates a gift for speaking with a certain cadence right into the ears and minds of another’s listening. And his stories are … amazing. What people do to move forward when they choose to move is awe inspiring. His unique perspective on the Great Global Recession with his mix of gloomy realism and optimistic opportunism inspires. I could feel the whole room bend forward in … wow, in gladness, in hope. But don’t get your hopes up too high. Chris Guillebeau is much too pragmatic and down-to-earth to be anyone’s messiah.
Chris is on a whirlwind tour across North America to market his new book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, And Create A New Future. He presents his two primary themes: “freedom” and “value.” He is all about freedom. He is for each person establishing their freedom – if they choose to do so. It is a choice, and he points out too many people give up before they even get going as they believe being free is just too hard, too much work, too expensive, etc. And he is aware to be truly free and independent is only true within the context of our interdependent networks. Chris is also a big stand for value and redefines value as something a person creates to share with others. It doesn’t do any good to invent or create the most astounding thing only to hide it or use it for extorting extreme prices.
There are other themes, too. Our current economic hard times are truly HARD TIMES. Everywhere he goes Chris encounters many, many, way too many highly qualified, educated, and skilled human beings out of work or underemployed. Either they lost their jobs or their businesses failed. When Chris saw over 300 supereducated people apply for a low-level clerical position for $14 an hour with 0 benefits, he knew the system is broken.
Seth Godin, a master blogger and bestselling author over in New York highlighted, once posted on the tension between faith and data. First, allow me to distinguish between those two words.
I define “faith” as a belief in something without any evidence and often in the face of evidence to the contrary. Boiled down having faith is the desire to believe. And humans want to believe what they wish to be true.
Sometimes faith is a negative. Witness, for example, all the bloodshed committed and endured in the name of religions, notorious for demanding faith in many things for which there is no empirical evidence and with each religion claiming competing and opposing “truths” for faiths at odds with each other. Religious institutions demand faith from their followers.
And yet faith is what drives people to push on through great hardship and challenge to ultimately succeed. Faith inspires people to attempt and actually achieve amazing things often in the face of ridicule, harassment, even “proof” held up and waved in their faces to demonstrate their foolhardiness. Faith triumphs. But is it really important?
Almost a year after I first urged people to vote and to vote “YES!” in the Global Referendum for Democratic World Government, humanity continues to blunder toward global collapse where worse case scenarios are fast becoming the most likely scenarios. Those who sound the warnings may as well be shouting into the hurricane for even more seem eager to ignore and deny the mountainside of complex troubles avalanching down upon us.
Those who are aware wonder what more can they do if anything. Many struggle alone or in small groups in the cause of their choices, large organizations have gone deep to stay alive but focus upon only one cause, with much of their energy diverted to fundraising, while the rest of us feel resigned, cynical perhaps, apathetic, demoralized, even depressed. I call this the “whatever syndrome,” as in when you tell someone that this time the sky really is falling or the wolves are actually killing and eating the sheep they just shrug their shoulders, mumble “Whatever,” and go back to doing whatever they happen to be doing. “Whatever,” right?
Folks, there IS something positive each one of us can do.
Democracy lost on January 21, 2010. It is a significant loss in the on-going war (let’s cut to the chase here folks, this ain’t “tension” between factions within a national democracy; it’s a war for global domination between those favoring American democracy versus the transnational corporate elite).
The case in question is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The United States Supreme Court rule 5-4 in favor of Big Business and the financial elite and their power to corrupt our political elections and thus buy out our governments at all levels. The Corporatocracy won another round in its efforts to not just influence but also dominate the government of the most powerful nation-state on the planet. Little noticed in the outcry is that labor unions also achieved a victory, although unions have been in decline for decades now and are dwarfed by the financial elite.
This ruling gives more power to the principle known as “corporate personhood.” Human beings create corporations. They outlive people, often influence and dominate society at all levels from local neighborhoods to international, and are composed of people from numerous nation-states who are often not citizens of the countries in which corporate power is wielded.
The giant Indian Ocean and Asian earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, which claimed about 230,000 lives and probably more from the East African coast to the Indian subcontinent to Indonesia and Thailand, caused the entire planet to vibrate. It also elicited the first truly global response to a humanitarian disaster. We even saw two former American presidents of opposing political parties, George H. W. Bush the Republican and Bill Clinton the Democrat, working together and working together as friends to help lead the relief and reconstruction efforts.
The May 2008 Typhoon Nargis disaster in Myanmar/Burma was a potential international aid response but was thwarted by the military junta in power. There were and have been other significant disasters, many that did elicit aid from different countries responding to a crisis in another, including famines, but nothing of the scale of the global response to the 2004 tsunami.
In Haiti in the wake of the devastating January 2010 earthquake we see it again and in a more evolved fashion. The response to the quake was immediate, far more immediate by the United States, for example, than it’s response to its own 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. In fact strong aftershocks continue as I write.
Our response to Haiti’s crisis is beyond international; it is global. Fellow human beings from around the planet have rallied to support their own in a small nation-state ravaged even before the giant quake by decades of poverty, dictatorship, coups and low-level civil wars, military occupation, economic exploitation, and environmental destruction.
Atlantis the lost continent may lay buried under the mud at the bottom of the sea, but Atlantis the space shuttle soared high into Space. Captain Christopher Ferguson, United States Navy and a NASA astronaut, is the Commander of the last space shuttle. Not only is the last shuttle for America but also for the world.
The only other one was the Soviet Buran that flew once, unmanned, and then was shut down. In some ways the Buran was a superior vehicle and in other ways not. In any case, no other nation-states are positioned to launch such massive ships. The Soviet Union no longer exists, and the United States has become an overextended and nearly bankrupted empire. It now depends upon the Russian Soyuz to transport humans and supplies to the International Space Station. Unless something goes awry, Atlantis has 12 days to complete its mission.
Atlantis blasted off to cheers and tears this morning of 8 July 2011. This mission is the 33rd for Atlantis and the 135th for NASA’s shuttle program. Almost a million people came to watch the Cape Canaveral, Florida and the NASA Kennedy Space Center may well turn into Postmodern ghost towns. Thirty years of glory with its share of tragedies stirs powerful emotions. Many people remain passionate about the exploration and colonization of Outer Space. Not just Americans, but people from all around the world. Russia, China, India, Brazil, the European Union, even Iran.
The less than two hundred human nation-states of Planet Earth appear doomed to endless squabbling and bloodshed despite grand proclamations of international cooperation. And who can blame them? Our problems feel too vast and overwhelming for the average person including our politicians to understand.
It is easier to go to war and kill each other. It is easier to pollute our environment. It is easier to bail out our faux economy with made-up money. It is easier to go shopping, buy shoes for the kids, and get drunk while watching the latest celebrity scandals on television. Nuclear disarmament in an age of terrorism? Biological warfare? Global warming and climate change? Global climate disruption? Global warming leading to ice ages? Fundamentalism and extremism on the rise in most religions? Poverty? Disease pandemics, hunger, bigotry and discrimination, pollution, deforestation, desertification, overpopulation and mass extinction of species along with weapons of mass destruction freak us out. What are we to do?
In an October 2009 interview in Time Magazine, Kofi Anan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, was asked whether or not “the U.N. should be given the authority to intervene militarily in situations like Darfur.”
“I’m not sure the member states are ready to give the U.N. a standing army….It’s a question of will. And I don’t think you will see a U.N. army,” Mr. Anan replied.
As local crises converge into global crises and threaten to overwhelm us, as the movement to create a democratic world government continues to move forward, national and ethnic military forces will remain perhaps the greatest obstacle to such a government. There exist today a number of different global citizens and democratic world government parties, alliances, coalitions, and institutes.
The majority of New York’s citizens are frazzled this September 2009 by the traffic jams caused by the gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. People wished the whole crowd of dignitaries including undignified celebrity politicians and petty tyrants as well as Neocon-Neolib architects of what seemed to many as the New World Disorder would all go away to another country.
People in other cities and other countries are probably glad the U.N. is not in their town. We all need to remember, however, we may be many countries but one world, many ethnicities but one species. Our finite resources are being consumed by wars and competition between peoples rather than cooperation to address the global crises of our time.
American President Barack Obama, during his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, on 23 September 2009, noted the serious challenges confronting us all these days. He listed some of them, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, poverty, protracted wars, pandemic disease, the pursuit of peace, and the global economic recession.
Echoing similar themes of global cooperation from his Berlin Speech in May of 2008 and his Inauguration Speech in January 2009, he declared “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone. We have sought – in world and deed – a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”
Courageous people are demonstrating against corporate and bank domination of the American political process and protesting against the abomination of corporate personhood. It is an inspiring call to freedom, a nonviolent call to wake up and occupy, a call based upon a fundamental understanding corporations are not people. We the People of this country…and I would add of everywhere else on our Planet Earth, need to remember some crucial points.
Yes, corporations are not human beings. Corporations, as are any other organizations, are formed by and are composed by individual human beings working in concert and by agreement. Only individual human beings have rights. Human organizations do not have rights. Human beings have rights as individuals because they are human beings, not because individual people are a member of some organization. Human beings as social animals are people, and the people are composed of individual persons.
Corporations are not people. A corporation or any other organization, formal or otherwise, is not a person. Any law stating otherwise exercises fraudulent representations of what a person is and must be repealed. I am reminded of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s distinctions between just and unjust laws, his spotlight on the criminal abuse by authorities of just laws, and his reminder “everything Hitler did was legal.”
Massed demonstrations for Occupy Seattle/Occupy Earth/Occupy Everywhere/Occupy Love. Downtown Seattle, WA, Cascadia, Saturday 15 October 2011.
Kristina Katayama Bass going deep at Occupy Seattle/Occupy Earth, Saturday 15 October 2011.
Things are coming together even as things appear to break apart. We are blessed, as I choose to feel blessed even during these hard times, to live during a time of great ferment, upheaval, transition, and possibilities. “Yes!” is the Answer before the Question is asked. More and more of us are standing up for love, for LOVE, as we reclaim our civilization from the brink of Collapse. We can choose to THRIVE!
No to the 1%’s Breakaway Civilization! We’re building a Breakthru Civilization! For Love. Occupy your civilization. With Love. Yes!
Our human civilizations have merged to become one planetary superculture; or rather ours are in a transition of integration. We are already one species descended from many sharing one planet. We are waking up into and claiming the reality of our own interdependence, rather than the illusions of separation and independence or the tyranny of dependence. Our choices are many.
Among them are we must choose between liberty, interdependence, community, democracy, love, compassion, power, peace, sustainability, and unification worldwide. Or give in to the juggernaut of Empire and fear, of dependence and slavery, of shame and separation, of force and fundamentalism, of war and perpetual violence, of exhaustion and collapse. Which do you choose?
We can break our global civilization down into three parts. They are Mainstream Civilization, which is the host for the parasitic Breakaway Civilization, and the co-existing and emergent alternative, what I’ll call the Breakthru Civilization.
Imagine local communities in our towns and cities, in our counties and parishes, in our states and provinces, in our countries around the world voluntarily networking together in some new form of confederation, a worldwide planetary confederation. Imagine establishing new communities or transforming currently existing local communities into autonomous or semi-autonomous geo-political bioregions. Now imagine all of these same local communities and their regions networked together around the world into a global cooperative as postmodern democratic world government. Imagine what’s possible here, as in what’s really possible. Because it is.
Yes, it’s time to stop thinking in terms of the past. It’s not even yesterday anymore. We’re here now, and the future is the future. We need to reclaim our future as a blank slate, as not having occurred yet, not the projection of our past way of thinking beyond now.
Democratic World Government is a loaded term, isn’t it? Many call it DWG to distinguish it from the NWO, or New World Order. And what is government anyway? What does the word “government” mean? It’s just a word, these are all words, and we use language to influence and even create our reality. We shape and mold our individual perception of what’s real as well as agree with others as to what constitutes our consensual reality. Well, language evolves. It evolves in conversation, in writing, in speech, in dialogue, and among communities. If we learn to be mindful and present, if we practice conscious awareness, what realities can you and I create together with others?
Foreword: This essay was revised from one first written in September 2009. As such it maintains the perspective of that year.
Momentum is beginning to develop for the DWG (Democratic World Government) movements. Some individuals and organizations desire to bypass or even abolish the current United Nations. This is understandable as one considers the undemocratic structure of a large bureaucracy that continues to prop up legions of squabbling nation-state regimes.
Others, however, seek a more pragmatic approach that involves working with what already exists and reform the UN. Another group combines vision and pragmatism to go even further: 1) to not just reform the UN but transform the United Nations, and 2) couple this with the Global Referendum on Democratic World Government, a grass roots effort poised to go “viral” planet-wide.
Foreword: Written a little more than three years ago, the premise advocated for remains the same. Many twists and turns have occurred since 2009, and the world is closer than ever to the possibility of a significant regional, even “true” world war, economic demise, and socio-political turmoil. The nonprofit NGO Vote World Government has since renamed itself Vote World Parliament (VWP) and invited me to serve on its Board. I accepted the honor with gratitude. VWP’s website is now found at:
YES! Vote “Yes!” for YOUR Democratic World Government
As humanity continues to blunder toward global collapse where worse case scenarios are fast becoming the most likely scenarios, good people around the world wonder what they can do if anything. Many struggle alone or in small groups in the cause of their choices, large organizations have gone deep to stay alive but focus upon only one cause, while the rest of us feel resigned, cynical perhaps, apathetic, demoralized, even depressed. I call this the “whatever syndrome,” as in when you tell someone that this time the sky really is falling or the wolves are actually killing and eating the sheep they just shrug their shoulders, mumble “Whatever,” and go back to doing whatever they happen to be doing.
Folks, there IS something positive each one of us can do.
Vote “Yes!” for Democratic World Government. And do it now. I voted “Yes.” Tell others to do it, too. Go to the website at:
We must restructure our economy. Our human economy is out of balance with our planetary biosphere and throws our world civilization into turmoil and upheaval. There are steps we can take to make effective changes.
Temporary solutions such as so-called bailouts and stimulus plans are short-term fixes that, while they may appear necessary, may do little to stop economic collapse. They may in fact increase its severity. Especially since the short-term advantages of bailouts is wasted. Greedy banksters who chose to pack their pockets with bailout money, for example, squander the time gained to institute the necessary radical reforms.
Those who wield real power such as the superwealthy families who own or if they don’t actually “own” certainly control and influence the international bank cartel, the Corporatocracy, and the levers of government and business will find themselves atop a vast, crumbling pyramid. The ultrarich have accumulated vast power and many of them live in splendid isolation.
Foreword: First written in late 2008, this is prescient four years and a month later as 2012 is now rolling. Since then there have been more Fed-engineered bailouts of American financial institutions and corporations as well as of European Union ones. Wars continue their relentless spread around the world, and the Euro appears to be in collapse unless the EU becomes a political union by coercion, i.e. nondemocratic. Iran was rocked by revolts and the Arab Spring swept through North Africa and the Middle East. Europe erupted into anti-austerity revolts including a violent insurrection across the UK, Occupy Wall Street protests have spread across the U.S. and then the world with mass demonstrations in places as far away as Russia, China, and Nigeria.
Yet the suave talking heads of the mainstream mass media continue to reassure us things are getting better, look on the bright side, ignore the dark, ignore those stinky hippies protesting in the street (never mind many of them are unemployed and foreclosed-upon middle and upper class people), but go stand in long lines to go shopping to buy overpriced junk with credit cards instead. Things are indeed getting better. Forgive my cynicism, as I detest cynicism, but this time, I say “Yeah, right.”
Rushing into the Second Great Depression
No beast slouching to Bethlehem here, folks. We’re tearing into the Second Great Depression. We’re accelerating as we go, too. The nations of the world are racing to get through it as fast as possible. And yes, although some are using the term “Great Recession,” this event is far more complex and destructive than a mere economic downturn that drags on for a couple of quarters. We’re upon the cusp of a depression, the Second Great Depression. It will be as different from the first as the Second World War was from the First World War.
One of the most bizarre aspects of this approaching perfect storm, excuse me, we are already in it, is the number of talking heads in the mainstream mass media telling us it’s not so bad and don’t worry, as things will get better simply because we’re “resilient.” Many factors converged to trigger this economic and financial catastrophe. Pragmatic steps need to be taken fast. If not, then this growing calamity will demand a drastic and radical response.
World government is coming, one our children and grandchildren may well live in. The beginnings of it are already here. While a number of good citizens have created the blueprints and models for a variety of democratic governments for a united Planet Earth, unfortunately the dominant paradigm is the specter of Global Empire. Wake up, wake up, people! Let’s work together We People of Earth. It’s time for us to build our Democratic World Government for our Spaceship Earth.
Our choices are not between whether or not we reclaim our various national sovereignties versus establishing a world government. Our choice is what kind of world government do we allow? What manner of planetary regime do you help establish? Will it be world government by the people, of the people, for all people, or by self-selected masters over the rest of humanity? We the People of Earth, including you, have choices. We choose which way we turn.
Will our world government be one of freedom and democracy, or tyranny and dictatorship? Will it be one of openness and transparency, or one of secrecy and elitism? Will there be ongoing and increasing poverty and financial distress, or abundance of prosperity with equality of access to opportunity for all? Will it be a regime that focuses on the hard work of liberty or the illusion of security? Will this coming world government be one that plunders our common resources, accelerates climate change, and allows our environment to be destroyed or will it establish responsible stewardship for our planet?
I choose freedom and democracy. I choose liberty for all people and myself. I choose wealth over poverty. I stand for our economy to be rooted in environmental reality with ourselves in control of our own money. And I stand vehemently for an economic system that puts human beings before corporate profits. Put people before profits, and all of us profit as a rising tide lifts all boats and civilization advances. Put profits before people, however, and the corporations increase their power, the middle class is driven into poverty, capital flows into the hands of the relatively few families that compose the global financial elite, and social breakdown accelerates.
How about you? What do you choose? What do you stand for?
Frankenstein monsters of humanity’s own creation stalk the blood-soaked Middle East. In the midst of heated emotions and bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians, we often loose sight of the origins of such conflicts and end up taking sides. Instead of taking sides the world should unite and go in as a massive planetary police action to stamp out wars, arrest the perpetrators on both sides, and try them in a world court of law that recognizes war itself as a crime. We don’t have such firm institutions yet, unfortunately, and the ones we do have are not necessarily democratic or transparent.
The bloodshed in Gaza, Congo, Iraq, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere drives urgency for us to create a democratic planetary republic. We witnessed political fragmentation, ethnic strife, and economic manipulation in the name of “democracy” and “independence” during the breakup of the Soviet Empire and the shattering of Yugoslavia. We see it again in the bloody turmoil all across Africa and many other places as well from Nepal to Indonesia to the Amazon. But let us regress to the horrors nationalism and superpower plays have created in the cauldrons of the Middle East.
This is the most complex superpower mess. We will consider the hypocrisy and consequences of the Global War on Terror and how it grew out of the Byzantine power plays and insidious manipulations of the Cold War. The most damaging, complex, confusing, and dangerous area for which the whole world continues to pay a bloody price is the Middle East, that historic crossroads of humanity that stretches from North and East Africa into South and Central Asia and intrudes into the European Balkans and Caucasus. The greatest concentration of the world’s oldest civilizations lay in this region as well as the origins of many of the planet’s dominant religions. So let us look at the labyrinthine Middle East from the perspective of the Soviet-American Cold War and its consequences.
As a reminder, it must be noted that during the following series of local and global conflicts spinning out of the Middle East, at the same time the Rockefeller family and others of the financial elite were strangling the U.S. and global economies. Their primary intent was two-fold. First, to keep the U.S. dollar solvent and thus the dominant currency worldwide at great cost to Americans. Secondly, to dismantle under both Democrat and Republican presidents (Carter and Reagan followed by the Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations) the earlier anti-monopoly trust-busting reforms of Republican Teddy Roosevelt and the New Deal revolution of his cousin Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Today is Monday 29 December 2008. Already Jewish Israelis have killed more people in their airstrikes on Hamas and Palestinian Arabs in Gaza than Muslim terrorists based in Pakistan killed in Mumbai, India a month ago. While tensions between India on one hand and Pakistan and Bangladesh on the other seems to have subsided, at least for now, they have exploded between Israel and not just Hamas but the Arab and Persian streets.
It is time for the international community to unite, invoke global sovereignty, and launch a massive planetary police intervention to stop this local and regional cycle of hatred, revenge, madness, and stupidity once and for all. This situation is so serious it warrants acceleration of human cultural evolution toward democratic planetary union.
The following essay was written soon after the Mumbai attacks and massacres on Wednesday to Saturday of 26-29 November 2008. At first blame was placed upon India’s own restive Muslim population. Sporadic Hindu-Muslim-Sikh communal riots still tend to break out now and then, and Kashmiris fighting for independence from India sometimes strike India.
Subsequent investigations uncovered the terrorists were not Indian at all but Pakistani Jihadists from Lashkar-e-Taiba, based in Pakistan. The same group was responsible for the December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. Both likely involved the Pakistani ISI. In both 2001 and after the Mumbai attack India and Pakistan came close to war. Their last major war was the Kargil War of 1999. Minor yet deadly on-going wars include the Kashmiri War and the Siachen Glacier War.
Both India and Pakistan, nominal allies in the larger Global War on Terror, are on opposite sides of the battle when it comes to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and their own frontier including tribal-autonomy issues over Punjab and Sindh. In fact, soon after the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan, while denying anything to do with the attacks at first, massed troops along the border even while fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda forces along the AfPak border.
Mumbai presented humanity with a novel opportunity. It especially presented India and Pakistan such an opportunity to rise up over their ridiculously infantile yet murderous differences. Even China, Russia, and the United States and perhaps Afghanistan missed a significant opportunity with far-reaching implications to help facilitate peace between these nuclear-armed nation-states.
What follows is an in-depth view into the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, what the world came close to without much general awareness in the mainstream mass media or the populace at large, and unfolding scenarios. All-out destruction is still possible even as Mumbai recedes into the past, the situation in Kashmir remains highly inflamed, and tensions are high between India and China along their borders. The situation inside Pakistan has deteriorated so greatly many consider the nation a failed state. Perhaps more disconcerting, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan worsen with sporadic violence and open distrust breaking out between the two. Continue reading “Mumbai: Opportunities Lost” »
A holocaust has been going on under the radar of the world’s media and the canopies of the African rainforests. “Never again!” has become an empty cry as one genocidal massacre after another continues to pinball through our post-World War II history.
Little known is the on-going extermination, enslavement, and even cannibalism of the Pygmy people. Yes, you read that right. Cannibalism. While Pygmies have not risen in armed revolt against any government nor engage in combat against any armed faction in the Great African War, they are nevertheless hunted down like wild game animals, killed, and eaten. By other people. Continue reading “Remember the Pygmy Holocaust” »
Within this narrative we’ll study the rise and fall of Laurent Nkunda, a renegade general in the Congo Wars against the backdrop of Central African history. These Congolese conflicts are in turn part of the Great Central African War or the so-called African World War, a series of parallel, overlapping, and interlocking local and regional wars. Nkunda exploited the resulting chaos to set himself up as a warlord. He carved out his own little empire among the Virunga Mountains, the African Great Lakes, and other border areas of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
At the height of his power, Nkunda came close to bringing down President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, humiliated larger United Nations military forces in the region, and was wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. Some thought it possible he could unify Tutsi tribes across international borders, take over the DRC, and attempt to conquer an empire. His pride proved to be his own undoing. In a classic story evocative of Shakespeare’s plays reflecting the foibles of human nature everywhere, Laurent Nkunda was responsible for his own undoing. Continue reading “Congo: Nkunda’s Terror in the Great African “World War”” »
Veterans’ Day 2008 in the United States has come and gone now. It originated as Armistice Day to celebrate the armistice that ended combat on the Western Front in Europe in the First World War. It evolved into Veterans’ Day within the U.S.A. to honor veterans of all America’s wars. In other countries involved in the First World War it is still remembered as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. Major hostilities officially ceased with the German surrender in 1918 at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Called the Great War, the War to End all Wars, it was neither the first nor the last world war, although it was the most terrible up to that time. Nor did it end with the signing of the Armistice. The actual peace treaty officially ending the war wasn’t signed until 1919 and fighting continued on other fronts as the international slaughter morphed into a vast, interconnected network of revolutions and civil wars across several continents and included great violence in Russia, Germany, China, the Middle East, Mexico, and elsewhere.
The so-called Spanish influenza pandemic swept around the planet in the wake of the First World War and killed more people than the war itself. The wars spawned by World War I eventually converged into the Second World War such that some historians include the violence of 1914-1945 with the Great Depression in between all one monstrous war. Some go further and include the Cold War of 1945-1991 as the last phase of a truly Great War.
My grandfather, Carroll M. Bass of Richmond, Virginia, served in the U.S. Navy in the Great War. All I can remember from family stories of that time is that he was out in the Atlantic Ocean hunting German U-boats as part of an anti-submarine unit. There was always present the fear of being torpedoed, blown up and sunk in unimaginably deep, cold water. A medal lies on my desk, an old tarnished coin-like medal. Face-up is an image of what I fancy is woman in a long dress waving good-bye or hello with a smaller, encircled image of the Goddess of Justice. On the back is inscribed, “Presented by the citizens of Richmond, VA to C.M.B. (illegible) in grateful recognition of patriotic service in the World War, 1917-1918.” Continue reading “Two Days After Veteran’s Day 2008” »
Postscript as Belated Prologue:Voting for Barack Obama for U.S. President proved to be one of the biggest and most embarrassing mistakes of my life. As I write this almost five years after I voted for this brilliant, captivating, but mediocre man who waffled as much as he smiled, I’ve come to loathe Obama as much as I despised Bush I & II. I’ve since disowned the Democrats as well as the Republicans and wish them both a speedy death into the garbage cans of history.
In the wake of the still-ongoing Great Global Recession with its corresponding economic, financial, environmental, and social turmoil, I’ve also disavowed and spurned Capitalism. All attempts to reform Capitalism with the most generous and heartfelt of intentions failed. Finance Capitalism still wins out. FC is also known as Predatory, Disaster, and Crony Capitalism for a reason. Capitalism conquers Democracy and leads to Fascism and Imperialism New, reformed kinds of cooperative Socialism and Neo-Communism is far more desirable. In 2012, I voted against President Obama and for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party.
Obama won, and I became further engaged in the Green Party of Seattle. The Greens stand the best chance during these uncertain times to build pragmatic bridges between the Far Left and the Mainstream Middle where I live in the United States of America. I would say the same thing in regards to the Libertarians as building bridges between the traditional, conserve-Conservatives and Libertarians of the Far Right and the Mainstream Middle. What follows serves as the power of illusion, desperation, manipulated rebellion, and, yes, the deliberate deception and continual betrayal of the American people as well as the rest of Earth. ~ the Author, 19 July 2013.
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Barack Hussein Obama is now President of the United States of America. He was inaugurated today this Tuesday of 20 January 2009. To the relief of many, George W. Bush handed over the reigns of power without declaring martial law. After all, “W” wanted to get back to his ranch outside Crawford, Texas. Obama’s elevation to the Presidency is historic for a number of reasons, many of them obvious and oft commented on. What is not so obvious is that unofficially and energetically he is, at least for now, the de facto President of Planet Earth.
This became clear during his Berlin speech in the Spring of 2008. There he addressed throngs of people as a citizen of the world to point out nations of the world must work together to resolve the numerous challenges facing all humanity. We ARE one people. Today in his Inauguration speech he again alluded to the need for our community of nations to work together. Obama is energetically the unofficial President of the World. Take note. This is a historic first. And it is to be celebrated.
National sovereignty is as obsolete as the divine right of kings. An integration of personal and global sovereignty may well evolve to replace this outmoded and violent concept. We today have a planet of co-dependent nation-states and dependent stateless-nations. Yet nations still exist and their institutions can be leveraged in mass collaboration. We all must learn to work together to resolve a convergence of severe global crises unique in human history. Continue reading “Obama: Our First World President?” »
“Obama is a Socialist!” We heard such slogans shouted and banded about by U.S. Republicans in the waning days of the American Election of 2008. Arizona Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the respective Republican candidates for President and Vice-President, used the S-word in an attempt to fire up conservatives and scare the hell out of mainstream moderates. Few bit, however.
First, most Americans realize and accept they have some form of mixed economy where free market capitalism operates inside a container of government regulation and control and that was what saved us from the Great Depression and the Second World War. Yes, many Americans also realize their economy has a tint of socialism in it, but unlike Communist regimes the U.S. does not spout Marxist rhetoric or squash liberties and freedoms or slaughter millions of it own people like the Communist states of Soviet Russia, Red China, the Khmer Rouge, or North Korea. So McCain and Palin’s claims of “Socialism!” fell flat. Many people yawned, and many Republicans felt embarrassed.
It’s hard to yell “Socialist!” when you identify yourself as a Red Stater. Hey, hasn’t anyone else noticed that the U.S. Republican Party identifies itself with the term “Red State?” Has anyone else noticed that ultra-conservative Republicans identify as “Reds?” It must drive a conspiracy theorist wacko to think hey, the Communists actually won the Cold War after all by infiltrating and silently taking over its archenemy those U.S. Republicans. Continue reading ““How did Republicans become Communists?”” »
Postscript as Belated Prologue: Voting for Barack Obama for U.S. President proved to be one of the biggest and most embarrassing mistakes of my life. As I write this almost 5 years after I wrote the original essay, I’ve come to loathe Obama as much as I despised Bush I & II. I’ve since disowned the Democrats as well as the Republicans and wish them both a speedy death into the garbage cans of history. In the wake of the still-ongoing Great Global Recession with its corresponding economic, financial, environmental, and social turmoil, I’ve also disavowed and spurned Capitalism.
All attempts to reform Capitalism with the most generous and heartfelt of intentions failed. Finance Capitalism still wins out. FC is also known as Predatory, Disaster, and Crony Capitalism for a reason. Capitalism conquers Democracy and leads to Fascism and Imperialism New, reformed kinds of cooperative Socialism and Neo-Communism is far more desirable. In 2012, I voted against President Obama and for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. Obama won, and I became further engaged in the Green Party of Seattle.
The Greens stand the best chance these days to build pragmatic bridges between the Far Left and the Mainstream Middle where I live in the United States of America. I would say the same thing in regards to the Libertarians as building bridges between the traditional, conserve-Conservatives and Libertarians of the Far Right and the Mainstream Middle. What follows serves as the power of illusion, desperation, manipulated rebellion, and, yes, the deliberate deception and continual betrayal of the American people as well as the rest of Earth. ~ the Author, July 19, 2013.
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“Obama rocks!” my daughter Kate shouts, pumping her fist high in triumph. She’s three and a half weeks away from her 10th birthday, and she is excited about politics for the first time in her life.
I realized for the first time just how ashamed I felt to be an American under the Bush-Cheney Regime. I have both supported and opposed various policies of different administrations over the years, demanding the light of truth be shined on any and all things. Despite terrible things done by Americans over the course of U.S. history I was proud of what we achieved. I was proud of what we stood for even in the midst of our imperfections. Continue reading “Obama Stands Tall…and the World Wakes Up…in 2008” »
Postscript as Belated Prologue: Voting for Barack Obama for U.S. President proved to be one of the biggest and most embarrassing mistakes of my life. As I write this almost 5 years after I once endorsed this man, I’ve come to loathe Obama as much as I despised Bush I & II. I’ve since disowned the Democrats as well as the Republicans and wish them both a speedy death into the garbage cans of history. In the wake of the still-ongoing Great Global Recession with its corresponding economic, financial, environmental, and social turmoil, I’ve also disavowed and spurned Capitalism.
All attempts to reform Capitalism with the most generous and heartfelt of intentions failed. Finance Capitalism still wins out. FC is also known as Predatory, Disaster, and Crony Capitalism for a reason. Capitalism conquers Democracy and leads to Fascism and Imperialism New, reformed kinds of cooperative Socialism and Neo-Communism is far more desirable. In 2012, I voted against President Obama and for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. Obama won, and I became further engaged in the Green Party of Seattle.
I feel the Greens stand the best chance these days to build pragmatic bridges between the Far Left and the Mainstream Middle where I live in the United States of America. I would say the same thing in regards to the Libertarians as building bridges between the traditional, conserve-Conservatives and Libertarians of the Far Right and the Mainstream Middle. What follows serves as the power of illusion, desperation, manipulated rebellion, and, yes, the deliberate deception and continual betrayal of the American people as well as the rest of Earth. ~ the Author, 19 July 2013.
December of 2011 is half over now, and the Election of 2012 is already in overdrive. As a group, the Republicans have seen many of their candidates make fools of themselves. The Democrats demonstrate an astounding lack of spine and decisiveness. Together they antagonize the general American Public. Nor have the Green Party, the Libertarians, or even an Independent party emerged with viable candidates.
Certainly there isn’t anyone who ignites people with passion and vision. The other minor parties field extremists who may in all fairness have a few good ideas but also many terrible and certain impractical ones. New groups have emerged fielding alternative ways to choosing our leaders, such as the Americans Elect and the Win Win Revolution (see their URLs below).
The Tea Party revolt was hijacked by the ultraconservative superrich and after a great noise faded from prominence. The Occupy Wall Street movement exploded worldwide and made an even greater ruckus, initially appealed to a broad majority of American citizens. Support for OWS may be fading.
“Collapse” here refers to the process and stages a civilization descends through as it falls, crumbles, and collapses into extinction. Or manages to turn itself around at pivotal points on the way down before its too late. The term originated from the title of Dr. Jared M. Diamond’s pivotal 2005 book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
What human-made forces and institutions kill most people? History provides the answers. Political and religious institutions kill the most as they shape our beliefs, perceptions, and cultural reactions to reality. Civilizations arise within these structures. As nomadic hunter-gatherers settled down and began to congregate and work together in increasing levels of complexity, their populations expanded. Cities develop as local villages, markets, and fortifications merge and consolidate. Continue reading “Stages of Collapse” »
She stood surprisingly tall and alert but worn out and desperate. Unwashed blonde hair hung over gray-white skin. Her clothes were ragged, drab, and yet rich with color all at once. Bands of red, purple, and green zigzagged through the fibers of a dirty Sherpa hat pulled down tight. A turquoise scarf was wrapped around her neck and flung over her shoulders. Her eyes flickered between the waning control of high intelligence and the growing impulses for beastly survival. She looked real. She was real.
Upon the edge of an exit ramp off the freeway along which traffic thunders through Seattle, she stood there in mismatch boots holding up a ragged cardboard sign. It stated:
Click on any picture to enlarge the foto. Click again to diminish it.
Teachers with Occupy on the Steps of the Capitol, Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Occupy from all over in Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
With the Seattle Greens @ Occupy the Capitol, Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by a volunteer for Joe Szwaja.
Occupying the Capitol Rotunda, Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011.
Occupy the Rotunda! Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Occupying the Rotunda, Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Occupation of the Capitol Rotunda, Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011.
Massing against Gov. Gregoire in her Office. Olympia, WA. 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Early crowds massing at the State Capitol Bldg, Olympia, WA. 29/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Occupy crowds Marching toward the Capitol Bldg, 28/11/2011. Photo by William Bass.
Monday 28 November 2011
Good Morning! It’s 5:43am here in Seattle, & I’m proud to announce my oldest daughter Morgan got her first letter of acceptance to college (University of Portland in OR), my middle one Kate made straight A’s on her rc, & my youngest Talia can make a violin sing. And I’m off to help Occupy the State Capitol & Legislature down in Olympia, WA today. 5:46 am.
Crowds roaring & more buses roll in & dropping people off from all over WA. OCCUPY our Capitol & Legislature! In Olympia. 11:17 am.
American’s dislike and distrust of their government and their politicians is at an all time high. Such sentiment is echoed around the world against governments everywhere. Occupy Wall Street has exploded across the United States and across Earth. People are disgusted, fed up, mad, and scared. And we Americans are polarized between ourselves as never before, with the possible exceptions of the 1850s and 60s and a hundred plus years later the 1960s and 70s. Both were periods of intense civil strife and turmoil.
“The solution to the problem is pretty simple,” wrote Michael Scott Brooks as he expounded upon what I assumed to be his reference to our local, national, and global challenges, “People just need to grow up.”
He’s a friend and a local leader in the mythopoetic men’s movement. This is perfect synchronicity, I thought, as my wife Kristina and I had a similar conversation hours earlier. But I challenged him.
“We’re all at different levels of evolution,” I posted back. “Gotta learn to work together as we are with what we have. Now that’s hard work!” Remembering our shared love of poetry and its power through the ages to move sages, warriors, and common folk alike, I signed off with “It’s time for a Poem.”
“I think some of you are missing my point,” he retorted to all of us.
Well, y’know what? Scott’s on to something. Why the Hell can’t we grow up?
Thanksgiving: What was. What happened. What’s possible.
As an American one of my favorite holy days is Thanksgiving. Yes, Thanksgiving. And as much as I love the food and the sense of community I feel, for me it really isn’t about food, family, and friends. It’s more for being aware of and the expression of gratitude and appreciation. We give thanks on Thanksgiving.
It’s a time to pause and reflect, to slow down and be aware of what is. It’s a few moments to be thankful for all the things we take for granted.
Thanksgiving has a dark side, too. It’s often glossed over and forgotten in history books and magazine articles. For a short time Thanksgiving blended together Native American Indian and European-American traditions in celebrations rich with the fragile promise of two very different racial cultures co-creating a new, hybrid civilization. This failure ranks as one of the great tragedies of human history, and one of the greatest unsung ones.
Collapse is a choice. We can choose to work together across Planet Earth for life, liberty, health, and prosperity or for global collapse and omnicide. Wait, let me say it plainer. We can choose to work together for life or die. Remember, wherever you live right now is on the same planet in the same biosphere as people in other neighborhoods on the far side of the globe. Except, of course, for a few spacefarers who hope to come back to their beautiful and precious world below.
Our species, as far as we know, originated in East and maybe Southern Africa and has spread all over Earth and walked on the Moon. We can choose to pull together or die. Retreating into your fortress with stockpiles of supplies or fighting other people over race, religion, nationality, language, geography, resources, and violent politics will not help anyone and shall make things worse. You, yes, I’m talkin’ to you, men and women and children, must get over your rage, your shame, your fear, especially fear that is all made up in your minds as False Evidence Appearing Real. Because there are real things out there to be truly afraid of but nothing to be paralyzed by.
Our news is full of doom and gloom, from the mainstream mass media to alternatives on the furthest fringes. In the midst of all the negatives the majority of politicians and their pet economists are saying what most people want to hear and wish could be true: “Folks, things ARE getting better. These trends prove it. See, this and that are going up while that and this are going down. It is a new day for another new beginning again! Yes, times are hard, but they don’t last forever, and this is proof they’re not.”
Meanwhile many of those who know better and know otherwise, regardless of their ethnicity or their political or religious beliefs, are shaking their heads “No, you idiots!” while stomping around in circles pulling out the remains of their hair then sighing in frustration. I confess to having done some of that myself before I remind myself to breathe and wiggle and breathe again then be still. Conservatives and Liberals, Socialists and Libertarians, Progressives and Regressives; across party lines you will find a rising tide of dissent, dismay, anger, and resignation. The magnitude and reality of Collapse simply overwhelms.
It does not have to be this way. Collapse is a choice. We don’t have to be automatons to our own reptilian and mammalian brains or even our subconscious. We don’t have to react with fight or flight or freeze to what’s coming at us right now. Engaging in blame games and one-upmanship is merely another way of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as she sinks forever into the cold North Atlantic.
Hey, guess what, folks? It turns out the leaders of the United States don’t even know exactly how many American and Allied military bases exist. Furthermore, the number of wars the so-called, unofficial but still real Euro-American Global Empire is engaged in does not match the official count. Because there are more violent military and intelligence operations occurring simultaneously than Empire wants to admit. When Special Forces engage in covert hostilities behind enemy lines of a state or quasi-state we are not technically at war with, or when the CIA fires drone missiles into countries that we’re also not technically at war with, isn’t that “war?”
There are two ways the great, borderless superpower of today behaves in a similar fashion to empires of old.
During the height of many large, polyglot empires from the Roman to the Mongol to the British, the imperial Center, i.e. the homeland realms, were often in a state of prolonged peace. Except, of course, for an occasional civil war for control of the state. The majority of the population enjoyed the illusion of a peaceful world of trade and commerce free of war. What they actually meant, however, were their cities and countryside were free from invasion.
The far-flung borders and colonies of these empires, however, were often in a state of chronic warfare. These conflicts included tribal wars, local ethnic rebellions, and frontier guerrilla wars. There were unique situations where off and on border wars raged between large empires without either committing fully to what would have been a Phyrric victory. Ancient History buffs may note one case in particular, the Roman-Parthian Wars. A Modern example would be the American-Soviet Cold War, although the Soviet Empire collapsed at the end of it.
Today, the dominant region of the Euro-American Global Empire is called “the United States Homeland.” “Homeland” is a post-9/11 term that recalls a time not all that long ago when the Nazis emphasized Germany as “the Fatherland.” The Soviet Communists did the same with Russia as “the Motherland.” The focus has shifted from American liberties and protecting Constitutional rights to enforcing Homeland Security with domestic surveillance and militarization. The militaristic and ultranationalist “feel” these terms evoke is quiet different from the peaceful, loving reverence many feel for “Mother Earth and Father Sky” for example.
The second similarity is the vast number of military garrisons empires establish to maintain control of far-flung regions, whether it is political control, to promote and protect certain religions and corporations, to defend against enemies, to hold territory, or to allow for safe commerce to flow. These imperial frontiers and colonies were dotted with numerous forts, castles, and other fortifications. The First and Second World Wars destroyed the concept of “forts.” Now they are called “bases.” Forts became something preteen boys built back in the bushes from which to lob rocks and sticks at one another.
One of my most influential trainers is Harv Eker of Peak Potentials out of Vancouver, British Columbia. He constantly reminded my fellow students and me that “Your inner world creates your outer world.” OK. Thoughts and emotions lead to actions. The unconscious mind really drives the conscious mind to leverage the body to create and implement, or to regress and shut down.
Harv, dressed in black and highly animated up on stage, was dynamic. “Now stand up and say it out loud,” he urged. “Together!” We stood up from our chairs and all said together “My inner world creates my outer world.” It is as true for communities and organizations of human beings as well as for individuals. Harv went on to remind us with loud enthusiasm “How you do ANYTHING is how you do EVERYTHING!”
I live in the United States of America. A native of Virginia, I’ve lived almost two decades in the City of Seattle which overlays King County in the western part of Washington State. It is April 2011. Recently, close to midnight last Friday, April 8th, the American Federal Government narrowly averted a total shutdown. A partial shutdown was underway. The Republicans and Democrats, the two major parties that currently dominate U.S. politics, are more interested in bloodless civil war than in peaceful cooperation and bipartisanship. As large groups, they approach the art and craft of politics, including compromise, as schoolyard bullies with regressive, reactive emotional intelligence. Yes, individuals stand out for collaborative policy making, but they are run over by tsunamis of angry and divisive people more intent on destruction and ideological purity rather than creation and pragmatic innovation.
In my own state of Washington the financial warfare 3,000 miles back east has infected our state and local government. The state government is paralyzed with decisions regarding budgets, taxes, and services. The city and county governments where I live are engaged in unrelenting, neverending battles over mass transit issues and other services costing more than what is available to spend. Other governments in other areas of the world seem really shut down or in a state of warfare, from Afghanistan to Libya to Ivory Coast and elsewhere. The European Union is lurching from one financial crisis to another. The United Nations is bereft of power and agreement.
Back home Americans rail against the Government shutdown. Some even call for it, bring it on, they say; let it force us over the brink to see what happens, clean house, etc. etc. Others scramble to prevent it from happening and to maintain a status quo. Neither approach is healthy and neither is sustainable. The underlying issues, fundamentally who and what controls the Money Power, is barely recognized and not even addressed. And yet, we the people are at choice here.
We are the government, are we not? Have we abdicated responsibility to those with the money and the power and the media skills? Have we forgotten government is of the people, by the people, for the people? That the institutions of government from the global to the local are composed of fellow human beings? That “all these governments” are our governments? That the government is us?
Electoral reform is urgent. Many proposals have been presented in numerous countries including the United States over the years with few results. There is too much inertia within the Establishment. The political machines and the transnational corporations including the Big Banks controlling them easily resist such threats to their power.
It’s easy for them to do so as they control the voting: they simply vote “No!” when real change is presented. We jerk about like puppets on strings and deride one another as “sheeple” or “bloodthirsty communists” or “capitalist pigs.” Aren’t you tired of that? I’m tired of it.
What will work? It will take noisy mass movements out in the streets combined with quiet and deliberate political actions to legally and openly infiltrate the Establishment by winning at the ballot box to initiate changes. If we can actually win power even when we win an election. And it seems too late as so many challenges demanding significant transformation, not just change, are avalanching down upon us all.
Electoral reforms are a must as it will allow us to more effectively and radically address our problems. Open, free, and fair elections under the eyes of impartial observers and vote collectors and counters are vital for any functioning republic. Elections are one of the cornerstones of Democracy. This is especially so for a democracy such as the United States of America that is a constitutional federal republic.
Yet we find our political parties and the electoral process corrupted by Big Money, i.e. private control of the money power. Two dominant parties, Republicans and Democrats, work together so much to control elections at all levels from the national to the state and local they are often detested as “the two-headed snake.” Together they accept financial support from the same corporations to such a degree many politicians are generally considered “bought.” Such corporations leverage this special relationship to finance powerful lobbying groups to advocate on their behalf.
Yes, abolish political parties from electoral campaigns at every level. Ban them from lobbying on behalf of their agendas. Ban them from endorsing candidates. Ban them from organizing front organizations, shell companies, PACs, shell NGOs, and other rackets on behalf of candidates and party agendas. Ban political parties from giving money, assets, and even volunteer services to candidates.
The term “candidate” refers here to both human beings running for elected office or nominated for an appointed position as well as proposed legislation including laws, bills, referendums, etc.
Abolishing political parties and any similar organizations from the political process is a necessary, even urgent electoral reform. Many may view it as a radical reform. Which it is, especially when you consider one of the earlier meanings of the word radical is “root.” Returning to our roots, in a sense, as the American Founding Fathers abhorred the concept of political parties.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is alive and growing rapidly. It continues to expand and spread despite early cries of an early death. Even in the face of ridicule and dismissal the movement continues to defy predictions. The mainstream mass media and the punitive pundits among the 99% who’ve sided with the 1% continue to scoff at the protesters as “stinky hippies and punk rockers,” or “communists, socialists, anarchists,” even “racists.”
These lackeys for the 1% ignore the masses of families with children, middle-aged professionals, blue- collar workers, and just regular folks supporting OWS at their peril. This mass welling up of dissent and “I’m not gonna take it anymore!” protests has reached a tipping point where anything can happen.
People are pissed off! More and more people are getting pissed off! Yet they’re not retaliation in the form of mass violence and rioting. And the dismissive chattering harpies of the mainstream media reveal their own ignorance.
INTRODUCTION: This essay was first published in early August 2011. It is reprinted here with few changes such as “Harbinger of Civil War?” added to the title.
Occupy Wall Street had not yet erupted. The Arab Spring was in the throes of a Summer of Conflict. The UK was in flames and the rest of Europe was rumbling. Inside the U.S.A. disenchanted and angry people by first hundreds then thousands rallied and marched as the Tea Party in 2009, 2010, and 2011. That wave seemed to crest with rallies in Washington, D.C., some with over a million participants.
In Madison, Wisconsin in February 2011 an uprising among the workers, sparked by teaching assistants against the harsh cuts of Republican Governor Scott Walker, broke out that electrified America. It was primarily non-violent and was embraced by so many different groups of Americans including Police officers. This uprising lasted well into April and at one point over 100,000 people and then 185,000 poured into the streets. In many ways the Wisconsin Uprising was a precursor of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
As “the Empire Strikes Back” against the Occupy movement with heavy handed militarized police, we see the current escalation of violence and intimidation. At the same time Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt erupts into days of at first peaceful protests against the military dictatorship with dozens of demonstrators killed by militarized police. In the following article we revisit the underlying tensions leading to the widespread protests we see today.
Wednesday 23 November 2011
Several essays I read recently by different pundits and news analysts gave me pause. They addressed different points of the same view. Much has been written about the rising vitriol in American public discourse with the spread of far-right and far-left extremism to infect the great middle.
Note the resurgence of armed militias and racist groups with the rampant rise of violent hate groups first under President George W. Bush with many more under President Barack Obama. The tragic shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D) and others around her this past January triggered a national debate that went beyond passion to inflammatory rhetoric. We have become a nation polarized and divided that refuses to get along with itself.
There have been calls for a military coup, threats of martial law, and fears of riots. Even the specter of a possible civil war or revolution has been raised as our nation reaches levels of polarization not seen since the 1850s with the possible exception of the 1960s. The uprisings sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East with rioting and protests in Europe and elsewhere, including the American state of Wisconsin, have been hailed as harbingers of similar upheaval here at home. London burns as I write. So many cities across the United Kingdom are in flames the term “riots” has given way to “insurrection.”
My entire family of origin had a vivid UFO experience back in the mid to late 1960s. The event was exciting, even amazing, and also at moments terrifying. For years afterwards this encounter affected my family and me in unexpected ways such as the odd actions of the FBI and weird behavior among certain people involved with this incident including myself. Ever since then I’ve had a deep, personal interest in so-called “Unidentified Flying Objects” and the controversies UFOs generated.
Despite some apprehension I feel it’s time to tell my story and some of what I’ve discovered since then. My story is long overdue, too. As I stand for transparency and full disclosure, I feel strongly We the People of Earth need to know the full truth whether or not others feel we can “handle it.” Indeed, I stand for full and immediate disclosure of all information from all organizations and institutions regarding UFOs and the immense complexity of what’s alleged to have gone on in some cases for millions of years and what goes on in our current timeframe.
The list of what so many credible whistleblowers are claiming is long, overwhelming, unexpected, and goes far beyond flying saucers, galactic empires, free energy, and underground bases. They include numerous species of ETs/ESs/EDs/IDs (extraterrestrials, extrasolarials, extradimensionals, and inter- or intra-dimensionals), Majestic 12 and other hypercompartmentalized units within Earth nation-state regimes, various breakaway civilizations, ancient even prehistoric ET and human civilizations with ruins throughout the Sol System, the Secret Space Programs (SSPs), the Inner Earth civilizations, secret societies, the German role, the Cabal/Illuminati/Elitist crime syndicates and factions, black budget ops and other USAPs or Unacknowledged Special Access Programs, advanced and hidden technologies and scientific discoveries, global economic and financial manipulation and fraud on unprecedented scales, debunking and disinformation campaigns, grotesque medical and genetic experiments on many lifeforms including Earth humans, widespread human trafficking and slavery, Solarian bases, possibilities for a Star Trek-style civilization, exopolitical ramifications, orbs and plasma life forms, an apparently extreme intergalactic A.I. or Artificial Intelligence menace more omnicidal than nuclear weapons, new understandings about the nature and possibilities of consciousness, and considerations regarding densities versus dimensions and biological evolution with spiritual ascension.
The lines between so-called academic research, mainstream mass media, alternative media, and so-called conspiracy theory first dissolve into murkiness before becoming clearer. Everything one thinks they think they know regarding consciousness, compassion, health, money, politics, religion, spirituality, war, genetics, science, energy, love, relationships, and the definition of life may well be turned upside down and inside out. No, shall be. Let’s return, however, to where and how my involvement in this labyrinthine entanglement began and back to what occurred.
Our family UFO encounter happened on a warm late afternoon after I was home from grade school following a long ride on a yellow school bus. It was dinner time. I think it was early Autumn, although it could have been Spring. I sat around the dinner table with my younger siblings. They were my sister Beth and brother Joe. Our mother bustled about in the kitchen. Our kitchen was a big farmhouse kind of kitchen, and the dinner table was pragmatically placed there off to one side of the room. Dorothy Ussery Bass was my Mama’s real name, but most people who knew her called her Dot. It feels strange to me the actual events of almost four decades ago were so dramatic I remember them in great detail but, alas, I can’t recall whether it was Spring or Fall.
We had a table full of food, however, a big family dinner farmer-style. We kids began to shove food into our mouths, which annoyed Mama. My Dad, William M. Bass, known as Bill, was away where he worked up the hill at “the Barn.” As the large cow barn with the enormous hayloft dominated the center of our dairy farm as some Medieval Great Hall, we simply called it “the Barn.” The rest of the farm’s buildings circled around the hill and ridge. The family business had long been named Riverview Dairy Farm from the proximity of Big and Little Sandy Rivers as they looped around the estate. We were in the Rice – Sandy River – Green Bay belt of northeastern Prince Edward County. This area’s in turn is located in Southside Virginia, i.e. Virginia south of the James River, in the Piedmont of rolling hills, woods, ravines, and cultivated fields.
Mama was mad because we’d started chowing down before we said the Blessing. Dad wasn’t expected home until later. As we munched down into our dinner, we heard an unexpected ruckus. Daddy burst through the back door into the house.
“Come quick!” he shouted. “There’s a flying saucer out back!”
William Bass @ Occupy Seattle! Rally & March. Foto by Syd Fredrickson, Saturday 8 October 2011.
For the first time in ten years I felt We the People had Purpose. Purpose with a capital P. And greater clarity than the mainstream mass media would dare admit. As zombies staggered down Wall Street chasing dollar bills recently, at least they gave a damn.
The mainstream mass media think it’s cute when crowds of otherwise “normal people” dress in bloody rags and paint themselves up as zombies to parade about setting new zombie world records. The same media, however, heap scorn and ridicule upon all those “crazy people” costumed as zombies to protest the insane gluttony of Wall Street and its cronies. Well, at least those zombies give more than a frakkin’ hoot. They gave a damn.
When elderly war veterans, middle-age White ladies hobble together down the street with old hippies, tattooed punks, the newly homeless, Native Americans, grizzled union workers, and white-collar office workers, all getting in the way of our fellow 99-percenters willing to slave away for the Puppet Masters among the 1% superwealthy, well, we have an insurrection, folks.
A young man in Downtown Seattle held up his sign and challenged us: “GIVE A DAMN!”
GIVE A DAMN!
Bright, blue letters blazed neon from cardboard on a wooden slat stick.
It’s time. Leave the Parties behind. Coffee, tea, water, and whiskey; milk and soy, almond whatever. It’s time. Time to get to get serious.
“This land is your land, this land is my land From California, to the New York Island From the redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me.”
(Words & music written in 1940 by Woody Guthrie, 1912 – 1967.)
It’s time to dump the term “Homeland” as a synonym for America and erase it from our vocabulary. What the hell is this word anyway? A gang of vipers in suits and ties dreamed it up after 9/11, that’s what. Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs working the Rep-Dem two-headed rattlesnake. Yes, I lost a family friend from Virginia and his wife in the plane that hit and disintegrated inside the Pentagon. But I don’t support this mutant Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security.
Never mind Benjamin Franklin, one of the American Founding Fathers, wrote back in 1759 “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Or even earlier in 1738 when Franklin warned “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”
Do mind security is an illusion even today. The term “Homeland” is an abomination and so is the despotic department named after it. Dump the name, abolish its Department, and reorganized the institution into a leaner, more integrated agency which stands for freedom rather than neo-fascist tyranny in the disguise of pseudo-democracy all dressed up pretty for the election prom.
Look what fellow monstrosities inspired such a grotesque abomination as “Homeland:”
William Bass @ Occupy Seattle! Rally & March. Foto by Syd Fredrickson, Saturday 8 October 2011.
Occupy Wall Street? Why stop at the door? Occupy the Banks! They made us all poor. Seize the Fed! Think we’re dead? We’re far from beat!
The Occupy Wall Street protests are spreading across America. They’re growing in number. Other demonstrations for causes specific to different local and regional areas are merging into the national tapestry of Occupy Wall Street. Now protestors gather in the nation’s capital for Occupy Washington, D.C. A loose, leaderless web of networks with many different causes, there is one overarching theme: people are fed up with “corporate greed.” Even some individual military personnel, both veterans and those still in uniform, from different branches came out in support of the demonstrations. One old Army veteran posted one of his buddies from the Marine declared he “didn’t fight for Wall Street, but for America.”
The United States of America at its worse is a schizophrenic place. It is a constitutional democratic republic on paper with a once vibrant and prosperous economy. As such America is a beacon of hope and admiration for much of the world. The best aspects of America continue to inspire people. There is, unfortunately, the nightmare side of America with its muddied racism, genocide of Native American Indians, massive penal system, great economic disparity, out of control intelligence agencies, CIA torture in secret prisons, multitudes of military bases scattered across Earth, and gruesome clandestine medical and biochemical weapons experiments.
Our United States is also part of a growing global empire in the making. As such the U.S.A. is also the bastion of finance capitalism where corporations and big banks dominate and influence politics. The political machinery is deeply corrupted by the Corporatocracy and not just in the nation’s capital. The money gamers heavily dominate the so-called pillars of democracy, the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. What results?
Most of us, including myself from time to time, forget the significance of acknowledging today. This 11th day of November 2011 dawns as arbitrary numbers from an artificial calendar. Popularly transcribed as 11/11/11, it has become wrapped in New Age mysticism as if something prophetic is to occur simply because of how numbers line up and combine in people’s minds. It also marks Remembrance Day among the victorious Allies of the First World War (1914-1918). It began as Armistice Day and, certainly in the United States, evolved into Veterans Day. Much was lost in the process, including remembering much of the world once agreed to outlaw war.
The First World War was known simply as the Great War for many years. People simply didn’t know what else to call it. The term “world war” was used, but it wasn’t the first or the last. It didn’t begin in a vacuum either. As do many large conflicts, this Great War arose from a convergence of smaller wars. While the Armistice of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918 marked the formal end of combat on the Western Front, the war continued elsewhere around the world.
The Great War morphed into a viper’s nest of local and regional wars around the planet. They eventually converged into the Second World War with such violence many historians consider the period 1914-1945 as one war much as we look back upon prolonged and widespread conflicts of old as singular wars with multiple phases and theaters.
We’ve forgotten the horror of it all. As veterans and survivors die out our memories become those of old photographs in old textbooks. While the First World War wasn’t the first, it was the first global war of industrialized mass slaughter on a scale previously unknown anywhere in history. The horror of industrial combat shocked Europeans and the rest of humanity. Battlefields had mutated into vast human slaughterhouses filled with broken charnel.
With so many people choosing to become entrepreneurs, what does that look like? Especially during this Great Recession? What 3 trends may be developing? Trends you can jump on and drive?
Our Great Recession is far from over, and its trajectory continues to defy many experts and pundits alike. Why’s that? Many keep looking to the future while staying stuck in the past. Our current economic mess, and it is a mess regardless of what label historians will ultimately stick on it, is just as different from the “first” Great Depression as the Second World War was from the First.
Many changes are happening, and are happening faster and faster. Globalization, relocalization, sustainable economics, the linkage of environmental and social responsibility to economics and finance, integrated and mobile digital technologies, and the global long war on terrorism all squeeze the status quo.
Amid all this pressure, however, opportunities await and trends are discernable. As alchemists once believed they could transmute lead to gold and we do know intense pressure transforms carbon into diamonds, so too can you generate value from great change. Continue reading “Envisioning Future Networks Now” »
Asteroid 2005 YU55, Radar Imagery from Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, CA, 7 November 2011. Wikipedia.
A big but small asteroid rapidly approaches Earth as it karooms around our solar system. And just in time for my wife Kristina’s birthday. On its merry way Asteroid 2005 YU55 shall pass inside Luna’s orbit as our moon revolves around Planet Earth. It’s a bit too close for comfort for such a large rock barreling through space, but all government officials and NASA scientists involved are calmly warning us not to worry. It most likely won’t hit us, “too close” is not the same as “direct impact,” and besides, it won’t wipe out all life on Earth. It won’t even smack the moon. I imagine them scampering back out of sight hunched over gnawing on their fingertips. Or blissfully ordering another cup o’ Joe.
YU55 only 400 meters across, darn it. Way too small for the excited little boy in me who revels in blowing shit up. That’s the size of about four football fields lined up side-by-side. Big American football fields, too. Scientists advise us to imagine a giant bowling ball the size of an aircraft carrier, which, of course, doesn’t look a thing like a bowling ball sailing through space. It’s that big. And there were bigger ones once upon a time. And many more still out there.
The one that smashed into what’s called the Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico today to exterminate most of life on the planet including the dinosaurs was about 25 times longer and over 15,000 times more volume. Still, I can’t help but wonder if today’s my last day on Earth. At least I got to wish my wife “Happy Birthday” this morning. As I’m still a mammal with a reptile brain, I got urges to satisfy later tonight! Especially before we go extinct.
Gold has shot up again and is close to $1,790 an ounce even as the U.S. Dollar strengthens at the same time. That’s somewhat unusual. Dollars generally go up in value as gold declines, and gold strengthens as the Dollar drops. (See http://www.kitco.com/ for details). In addition both Crude Oil commodity prices are up (WTI or West Texas Intermediary, the global oil benchmark, and the Brent from North Sea deposits, but see http://www.oil-price.net/ for details).
This is not simply because the European Union is tanking over the euro, anti-austerity rebellions, and internecine squabbling between its member states. There has been a parade of recent disclosures revealing much more regarding Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, the covert war between the U.S.A./E.U./Israel/Saudi Arabia and the Iranians as well as mounting tensions between the U.S.A./NATO and Pakistan. The Libyan War winds down as Syria plunges into civil war as President Bashar al-Assad threatens to go down fighting and take the whole Middle East with him. It’s Monday, November 7, 2011.
While the mainstream mass media is preoccupied with riling up opinions over Kim Kardashian’s divorce from Kris Humphries or Justin Bieber’s alleged sexual dalliances with older young ladies, it ignores or whitewashes the massive military buildups currently underway across an expanse of territory and nations from Europe to North Africa through the Middle East into Central and South Asia. Not to mention Africa. Or East Asia. Or Latin America. Or back home on the streets of America and Europe and their Allies.
What’s going on? What’s really going on that is either being downplayed or ignored by the mainstream mass media? Or cast in a certain patriotic or threatening light?
When we first learned Bobby Kennedy was assassinated
Hot, muggy day in farm country Virginia. Late spring, not yet Summer. The Solstice was about two weeks off, but all practical purposes it was Summer with school soon to be out for the season. Humid with a hint of afternoon thunderstorms, the air was pungent with honeysuckle flowers and tree pollen and the promise of picnics in the shade and swimming in lakes.
I was outside in the yard playing. My little sister and brother were probably around somewhere, playing with me, but I don’t remember them this particular day. I just remember my Momma, and Daddy, too, a little bit.
We grew up on Riverview Dairy Farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Outside of the town of Farmville. Earlier in the late 1950s and early to mid 1960s the Civil Rights movement had swept across the South and into Prince Edward Country. Racial desegregation and integration efforts polarized whole communities, shut down the schools, and brought Mike Wallace to Farmville for the Evening News and Prince Edward County before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Vietnam and Southeast Asia burned overseas and riots and urban guerrilla warfare kept erupting all around the United States. We were still in the thick of it all, this second revolution or quasi-civil war or whatever you wanted to call these rock’n’roll times, with no end in sight. As time would tell, these Troubles would grind and rumble on till 1975. Though many in the Occupy Wall Street and Everywhere on Earth movement today claim to draw their inspiration as much from these turbulent times as from the Arab Spring.
The sharp staccato roar of the gasoline-powered farm tractor washed over us as Daddy drove it around and around the pasture out back. We were used to that awful mechanical racket, however, and other than a glance over now and then paid it no mind. It was a green and yellow John Deere 420 with a wide, adjustable-width front end manufactured back in the mid-to-late 1950s. Dad sat up in there turned sideways in the seat as was his custom, one hand on the steering wheel, the other gripping the big fin of the rear fender as he made sure the tractor and the mower and the line of hay and the lay of the land were in perfect alignment. He wore blue denim jeans, a white, short-sleeved T-shirt, and a khaki baseball cap. Back then he smoked Camel cigarettes, too.
I heard a shriek. Loud one, too. Momma! I stood up.
The back door of the house slammed open and Momma sailed down the stairs. I remember her in slow motion, dressed in white clothes, had on a white skirt or dress. Black hair thrown back. Her legs wide as a ballet dancer’s leap. She raced shouting toward my father as he rounded the side of the pasture closest to our backyard. By then I was running there, too.
“Bobby’s shot!” Momma yelled. “Bobby’s been shot!”
As I write this November of 2011 as our pie-in-the-sky economy crumbles, the tallest building yet constructed on our planet by human beings is the Burj Khalifa. It is a stunning achievement of human engineering, beauty, perseverance, collective international teamwork, and magnificent awesomeness. This skyscraper tower also reflects the ultimate distraction of egoic pride, shortsighted and archaic nationalism, and cooperative stupidity and waste. The crowning achievement of building such a giant is the perfect example of Finance Capitalism at its finest worse.
The Octopus as viewed in 1912 on the eve of the Bankers’ Coup of 1913.
Alfred Owen Crozier, an attorney and activist from Michigan, Ohio, and New York, drew the above cartoon in 1912. He warned the public of the banksters before the Bankers’ Coup of 1913 issued in the Federal Reserve System and the Internal Revenue Service. The Octopus was the first illustration to grace the interior of his 1912 book, U.S. Money vs. Corporate Money, “Aldrich Plan,” Wall Street Confessions! Great Bank Combine! In 1913, Crozier testified against the Federal Reserve System, originally proposed by the Aldrich Plan as the National Reserve Association.
The Octopus as viewed in 2011 in the midst of the worldwide Occupy revolt.
The Octopus represented the art of 1912. Almost a hundred years later, in October 2011, three complex-systems theorists crunching algorithms determined 43,000 TNCs (Transnational Corporations), represented by all the dots in the 3D image, dominated the global economy. Among these are 1,318 core companies with interlocking ownerships. The collectively controlled 20% of global operating revenues and another 60% of global real (manufacturing revenues.) Of these 147 formed a supergroup of <1% controlling 40% of the total network. The majority were Big Wall Street Banks and investment firms.
Interlocking Relationships and Web of Control in 2011. Capitalism, especially Finance Capitalism, now dominates politics, governments, academia, NGOs, markets, businesses, and finances locally, regionally, and all across the planet.
Over time we see a much more convoluted and intricate network of interlocking, non-democratic entities formed. This has grown to dominate politics and governments as well as marketplaces and businesses around the planet. Perhaps the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street and Everywhere movements can find common ground. Neither will they or anyone else, however, be successful in political, economic, and financial reforms unless we go straight to the hearts of the Beast. The foundation of radical reform is simple in concept and shall be challenging to execute: We the People of Earth must establish public control of the money power similar to civilian control of the military power. Such public control must be transparent and accountable with all information open to public audit.
NOTE: This is from a from a larger work in progress looking at the de facto Euro-American Global Empire, which may be more correctly termed a Postmodern and neo-feudal Empire of the Money Power.
William Dudley Bass
2 November 2011