Saturday, January 31, 2004

More on Kelly

I think David Kelly was murdered. Here is a letter from some U.K. doctors who think so as well. Kelly Death

Friday, January 30, 2004

So THAT Explains It...

Dear readers, you may wonder why I do not yet have a lucrative career writing scripts for situation comedies. It's quite simple really. The funniest stuff I can put on this site is always true. I don't make it up. If I COULD make it up, then we'd be talking six-figure salary (not counting the zeroes after the decimal .)

Case in point: Here is an article about a panel held by the United Auto Workers. On the panel were representatives of the national news media. I'll give you the punch line first. One panelist said, "I didn't realize people were so angry." Well, hey, you probably would if you were a journalist...err...wait...

The panelists were filled with HILARITIOUS and PITHY COMMENTS. My favorite were the two reasons why there were over 13,000 news stories about Bill Clinton's draft dodging and only 46 on George W. Bush's much clearer AWOL status. You can't prove that Bill was dodging the draft (no matter what you might think) but you can easily prove George skipped out on his already cushy service commitment.

Reason number one for this imbalance: People were weary of all that scandal and stuff.

Reason number two (I SWEAR ON THE GHOST OF I.F. STONE THAT I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP): George didn't comment on the stories, so they couldn't run them. Wow! So that's how it works. You can do whatever you want, but if you don't COMMENT to the press about it, then they give you a free ride.

I don't know what is worse, the state of journalism or the EXCUSES for the state of journalism. Izzy....I hope you aren't watching all of this.

Here's the whole article: UAW Media Panel

Special note to some of my readers

I'm getting more and more email from you. I love it! So far, I've had time to respond to all of them.

As I read them, I find out you are a diverse lot. I'm happy to welcome in those who have a more religious perspective and might, even be labeled part of the "religious right". The story above, though, is an example of, in my opinion, how the religious right was manipulated extensively to go after Bill Clinton. What he did in office (at least the stuff that the press went after) PALES in comparison to Dubya's activities. I believe the anti-Bill and Hillary furor was a product of a vast, rightwing conspiracy. That doesn't mean I like the Clintons, but my opinion of them has nothing to do with interns and cigars.

The corporate rightwing owns many of the radio stations that broadcast the anti-Bill propaganda. They whipped the country into a furor, and now that a fascist is in office, they fall silent or CONTINUE to blame Clinton.

There were great reasons to go after Clinton: NAFTA and globalization (his wing of the corporate party is called "neo-liberal", which means all the world domination, one-third the war), WACO, and lest we forget, much of what became the Patriot Act. But that is not what the right went after (at least not in the most visible of ways. It was odd finding myself in agreement with Pat Buchanan on such issues). They went after a toke on a joint and a stain on a dress. What a waste of grassroots energy! Yes, Clinton was a liar. ALL Presidents are liars. How else do you think they get to BE president?

These are confusing times. The media is in, shall we say, less than objective hands, and that includes Joe Talk-show host in your hometown. For example, Clear Channel here in Nashville owns a station which organized "support the troops" rallies. It looked like a spontaneous grassroots outpouring of appreciation for the folks risking their lives to protect ours. Actually, it was simply a corporate directive.

The corporations use the religious right. I don't know how else to say it. They get them worked up over non-issues and worse yet, get working class Christians agitated AGAINST the very sorts of things that would make their lives a little easier.

Let me give an example: Universal healthcare on the Canadian model is not, in fact, part of a SATANIC PLAN TO TAKE OVER THIS GREAT NATION. It is a program, like Social Security (may it rest in peace) which simply provides health insurance to everyone, regardless of ability to pay or medical condition. You pay a bit more in taxes, but pay less in insurance costs. And PUHLEEEEEEZE do not give me any bullshit about how inefficient the government is. HMO's are ridiculously inefficient...allowing lawyers and accountants to make healthcare decisions. You can't sue them and the doctors are having such a hard time dealing with paperwork from so many different health plans even some of THEM are calling for national health insurance. And don't give me even MORE bullshit about "the government making all your choices" blah blah blah. You only get choice in the private insurance world if you are rich enough to afford the very highest end plans. Below that, it's lawyers and accountants who decide everyone you can see and everything those doctors can do.

But those talk show hosts bellowed and thundered and many working class people, Christian and otherwise, bought every line of it. As you can tell, this is a personal issue for me. My wife has an uninsurable condition. there's some CHOICE for you. She will be forced to go on our state healthcare program soon. It won't be any cheaper, since we have the ability to pay (actually, it will cost a great deal more than the current insurance we are using through COBRA), but it will cover her. Oh, but did I mention...the rightwingers in this state are trying to destroy that program.

I'm sorry for that rant. I'm just frustrated that there are so many Americans who are manipulated into doing things against their own interests. I hope I have not offended the readers to whom this entry was addressed, but I thought you at least ought to know where I stand.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

How to Read the News: Lesson 1

I ran across an article on CNN that has all the points I'd want to make about how to read disinformation. It was kind of them to think of me in this regard.

I am reprinting the entire article with my comments. I think that the educational value of this exercise will be clear, so there should be no copyright problems. Here is the original link: Afghanistan.

U.S. eyes spring offensive in Afghanistan
Hunt for bin Laden focuses on eastern Afghanistan

Hey, didn't we get him already? Oh, that was Saddam. Nevermind...on with the lesson.

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
Thursday, January 29, 2004 Posted: 1:42 AM EST (0642 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military is planning a spring offensive against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, a senior Defense Department official has said.

First off, I may be no Clausewitz, but is the U.S. the only country in the world that ANNOUNCES ITS MILITARY PLANS BEFORE THE ATTACK? Seems like that whole element of surprise thing might get lost with that strategy, no?

Clearly, there is no military advantage in making this announcement. Therefore, one must look for other reasons. It's speculation of course, but coming on the heels of David Kay saying "there ain't no weapons, folks" and mainstream media finally beginning to use the technical term "lie" when describing the Bush rationale for war, perhaps this announcement is a diversion.

Note, this does not mean I don't think there will be some military action (and as we shall see, it's not really even if Afghanistan so much as Pakistan itself that is their focus) it just means that this announcement has zero value in terms of predicting future events.

The second thing to notice is one that has become so common you might have overlooked it. Go back to the paragraph and find out who made this announcement. Who was it? Our old friend, "senior Defense Department official". I actually went to journalism school, for all the good it did me. (Annenberg bought it while I was there. Such irony in my life.) Using anonymous sources should be a RARE event. Why on earth can't they tell us the name of this official who is obviously not LEAKING these military plans. He's just putting them out there for everyone to see.

On with the story.

Authorities have ordered troops, supplies and logistics into place to carry out the operation, the official said Wednesday, without detailing whether the new offensive would require more troops.

The news comes amid increased violence in Afghanistan and on a day in which the U.S. military said it thinks it will find Osama bin Laden and fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in eastern Afghanistan.

Okay, kids. You've spotted my next point already, haven't you? It's one thing to announce your war plans, but now they are telling Mr. bin Laden exactly where they expect to find him. (Well, not exactly...that comes further down.)

Assuming that they don't already have bin Laden sitting around waiting to be trotted out when it gets closer to election time, this story can only assure us that they aren't serious about capturing him.

"Uh....Osama? I read here on CNN that they know you're here. Maybe we should move to WESTERN Afghanistan for awhile."

Now, we all know that Osama was not only trained by the CIA but was (or at least his brothers were) in business with the Bushes. So all of this is a charade anyway. I'm just pointing out how the media plays along.

The manhunt for bin Laden is now in its third year but a military spokesman said confidence is high that he will be captured.

"I can say that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar represent a threat to the world, and they need to be destroyed and we believe we will catch them in the next year," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a coalition spokesman, said Wednesday.

As I time for the elections.

In December, the U.S. military said it was launching a major offensive against al Qaeda and the Taliban, sending troops into the southern and eastern parts of the country along the Pakistan border, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

Operation Avalanche was an attempt to catch Taliban and al Qaeda guerillas before they hunkered down for the winter, Hilferty said in December. (Full story) That offensive continues.

Nothing worse than a "hunkered down" terrorist.

The guerillas typically form small groups once warm weather arrives, the official said Wednesday. The new offensive is designed to keep opposition forces from regrouping after laying low during the winter, the official said.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban, which had provided haven for al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

About 8,500 Americans are among the 11,500 international troops that remain in Afghanistan. Separately, 5,000 troops under NATO command act as peacekeepers in the capital, Kabul.

The intelligence sources on bin Laden pointed to the tape made five years ago that was shot at a terrorist camp near the city of Khost and said he was thought to have revisited that area sometime recently.

Bin Laden's biographer, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, told CNN he had heard similar information from Arab fighters he encountered in Afghanistan late last year.

"Those Arabs said he is roaming between southern Afghanistan and eastern Afghanistan. And according to them, he spent some time in Khost, he spent some time in Gardez, he spent some time in Kunar (province)," Mir said.

Mir said he believes the most recent videotape of bin Laden, which was released last September, was actually shot in the Gardez region of Afghanistan in the spring of 2003. (Full story)

Okay. Now they are telling us EXACTLY where they are going to look for him. Maybe they simply assume bin Laden doesn't read CNN?

Intelligence sources also have told CNN that they believe bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was also seen on that video, is now often traveling separately from bin Laden. (Al-Zawahiri's taped message)

The Taliban has enjoyed a resurgence in areas of Afghanistan, along the rugged Pakistan border.

Second mention of the Pakistan border. Are you starting to get the picture?

In an interview last week with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said al Qaeda is operating on both sides of the border and was likely behind recent attempts to kill him. But he said he did not think that the Taliban was regaining strength. (Full story)

"The story is different to what is being told by the media," he said. "Attacks are on the wane, and they are tactical in nature. They are not strategic in nature. There is no strategic threat."

Musharraf has not publicly given permission for U.S. military operations in his country. CIA and special operations forces occasionally have entered Pakistan on classified missions. I'll bet they have. What's a border between friends?

U.S. officials said they will respect Pakistan sovereignty.

Well, maybe not. This is contradicted at the end of the story. Back in the old days, they used to have something called "editors" that would catch such things.

As for the assassination attempts on Musharraf...I, a lone nutcase with a free weblog, could give you my theory that the attacks were staged specifically in order to justify US military action in Pakistan, but let's let the Times of India make the case for me. Musharraf Faked Bid on Life (Note: The Times of India does not take orders from me. I have no connection with them. I like Indian food, but I don't think that counts.)

Surging violence has claimed more than 60 lives in the country this month.

In the latest violence, an explosion Wednesday in Kabul killed a British soldier and wounded four other soldiers -- all part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, the British Ministry of Defense confirmed. The blast occurred outside of a British base in the Afghan capital.

Yes, don't let's quarrel, Britain. Be a sport and use this bombing to justify more British troops. There's a good lad.

It was the second deadly bombing in two days. A suicide bomber struck a NATO truck convoy Tuesday in Kabul, killing a Canadian soldier and an Afghan civilian. Three other Canadian soldiers were hurt.

Hours after that attack, NATO's military commander told a U.S. Senate panel the organization will be ramping up operations and troop strength.

The bombings follow a Monday ceremony in which Afghanistan's first post-Taliban constitution went into effect.

The news of a spring offensive was first reported in Wednesday's Chicago Tribune. The newspaper said the U.S. military planned to enter Pakistan with the goal of destroying al Qaeda.

I thought you said they were going to respect Pakistan's borders. Oh, they are going to respect them as they CROSS them. Gotcha. See, there's two meanings of "respect" and I was making a joke that....oh nevermind.

The paper said the military was concerned about two recent assassination attempts on the Pakistan president as well as signs that al Qaeda and the Taliban are regrouping in Afghanistan.

All right, that's the lesson for today. I'm going to leave you with a quote from a reader about "conspiracy theorists." We have little in the way of hard evidence for much of what is going on, but we can look for patterns and make predictions based on those patterns. Here is how he put it:

And so I would liken our small band of theorists to cryptoanalysts. In the deciphering of code there appears to be such cut and dried explanations about the intended meaning in the signal traffic we intercept yet we are capable of disagreeing about its interpretation. For instance if this is WW2 and we are US naval personnel listening to Japanese Naval signals one of us may suggest the last signal was the go-ahead for Pearl Harbor and another may believe it was an order to return to port. Regardless of who is correct, there most certainly was a definite and specific intent behind that signal traffic. Such is the technique of our own government officials who relay their intentions in code (Project for a New American Century, The Grand Chessboard etc. in relation to 9/11). I suggest that theoretically a skilled code breaker could have read those policy planning guides as the directives/suggestions to colleagues/subordinates that they actually were.

Look for more from this reader. He has interesting thoughts and expresses them well.

Till next time, remember: The mainstream news may be lies, but often the lies point to the truth.

Squawkbox Down

I enjoy reading your comments, but at the moment the feature that allows you to post those comments is down. I'm checking into it, but just wanted folks to know that it wasn't my doing, even though Daniel did accuse me of being drunk yesterday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Shout Out to my MAN, Billy Frist

I think I went to school with you, Billy. And now you are a big Senator. And majority leader, too? Wow! Some very small news items caught my eye about you, Billy. Since you are a Tennessee Senator, and these were in Tennessee papers, I thought they'd be a little bit larger and better placed. But they were there.

Looks like one of your "assistants" was hacking into Democratic computer files to check out what they were up to. You copy the best, Billy. That's what Nixon was doing, too! Of course, back then, it was illegal and caused something called WATERGATE which was not a conspiracy, because conspiracies don't exist, so SHUT UP! But it did happen. And it shows that when you break the law, bad things can happen to you can get a presidential pardon, or, if you are the actual burglar, you can go to jail and then get a radio talk show. These are serious consequences, Billy, but you didn't shirk from your duty. You put up just the barest amount of plausible deniability. It wasn't was your ASSISTANT. Yeah, you were too busy to hack into computers...too busy with your wife...Morgan Fairchild...yeah, that's it, that's the ticket.

Here is the link though not from our local paper. I couldn't even find a mention on their website.

How I Know the World Trade Center Attack was Staged by US Government Evildoers

Yes, EVILDOERS. Let's use Bush's term, since they are, after all, his friends.

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that the US Military simply did not follow procedures that day. NORAD was simply not contacted in time to stop the planes. They didn't notice when transponders were turned off. It's at least possible, though why no one has been fired yet is a mystery.

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that the FBI named all the hijackers within 48 hours and yet had not done anything to stop them BEFORE the hijackings. Bloody bad law enforcement, but it COULD be true.

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that jet fuel, which burns at approximately the temperature of kerosene, could melt or "substantially weaken" steel designed to withstand 2 and a half times that temperature, though I certainly won't be investing any money in Coleman Kerosene Lanterns for my next camping trip. I like the fire to stay INSIDE the metal lantern, thank you very much.

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that World Trade Center building 7 collapsed just as neatly as the other two, despite not having been hit by a plane,, I never actually have heard a reason for that one. So, I'll have to get back to you on that.

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that the hijackers left a flight manual (in Arabic!) in their car. I mean, we've all had to cram before, right?

I can accept the POSSIBILITY that Bush just sat there listening to a story about goats for half an hour after the second plane hit and America was declared by Andrew Card to be "under attack." Bush is barely conscious anyway. Quick decisions in a time of crisis, albeit a very LARGE crisis, are not going to be his strong point.

But there is one possibility that, when I heard it, and before I'd thought much about alternative explanations for the attack, started me on my highly skeptical path. It was in the news again today. After the plane slammed into the building and burst into flames, one item survived the ensuing conflagration and fell to earth to be discovered "minutes" later. That item? A passport of one of the alleged hijackers. This discovery was in the mainstream news. This linkis to a recent story, and it isn't clear to me if this is the same passport mentioned days after the attack, but it seems to be. (Two passports? If that turns out to be the, they couldn't be THAT sloppy.)

Think about this for a minute. You saw the plane hit. Even if the very flammable passport survived, you mean someone was walking around looking for some free office supplies and just happened to notice the passport there?

"Oooh, watch out for that falling body, there, Betty. Hey POST-ITS! Wait, what's that next to them? A passport? I'd better turn this into the AUTHORITIES."

For me, this is where the story started to unravel. I can't think of any way this could have happened. And the news stories that reported this NEVER seemed to address the unlikely nature of this discovery. They report it the same as reporting that it was a clear day that September 11th.

There are lots of 9-11 skeptics out there. More and more of them creeping into the mainstream. That was the item that put me in that camp. What was yours?

Monday, January 26, 2004

My Dad, Walmart and the State of the World

My Dad is not political. In fact, when he asked if I was doing any writing, I was real vague and did not provide a link to this site. After all, as my dad, I think he could still legally have me committed!

He's a a branch in a small town. No Rockefeller, he. He understands that as a graduate of a local public college and not being from the one of the "right" families, he was always limited in how far he would advance.

So, in his own life, he sees how the world works. He sees "conpiracies" in action. For example, he lent some money to a couple of real-estate guys. "Rich people always get inside information," he explained. These guys knew that Wal-Mart was going to be putting in a new store in a certain part of town. So, they bought some land in order to sell it to WalMart. They had no doubts that the parcel they owned would be the parcel WalMart bought. (People, don't shop there. They treat their workers like crap and put more ethical businesses out of business. In addition, certain theological perspectives posit that the omnipresence of WalMarts is a SIGN OF THE END TIMES. (Okay, maybe I made that last part up, but hyperbole is a time honored literary device.))

Back to our story. Dad asked these guys if they were at all concerned about all the opposition to the proposed Wal-Mart. The councilman for the district was on record as opposing the deal. These guys just smiled and said, "We're not worried. We'll just need the loan for 90 days." You know how the story ends. Despite fairly well organized opposition, the councilman switched his vote, and the WalMart was a done deal.

Out in his own small town, he attended a council meeting in which dozens of locals spoke out against a proposed plan to expand the city limits. They'd have to pay a lot of money to hook into the sewer system, for one thing. Speaker after speaker rose to oppose the idea. After they all spoke, the mayor held the vote...unanimous FOR the proposal. As my dad told someone next to him: "If you don't think this was already a done deal, you are naive about politics."

Is anyone picking themselves from the floor after passing out in shock from these little stories? I doubt it. You know this is how things get done. I bring it up because MOST people know this is how things get done. What I don't get is the disconnect between the knowledge and their actions based on this knowledge. Those who still participate in electoral politics follow the debates, vote and act like THAT is the way things are decided in this country. They know it doesn't work that way in their own neighborhoods. They know it doesn't work that way in their own places of work. And yet, somehow, to suggest that the country as a whole is run in the same fashion is "conspiratorial" or at least "cynical."

I am also fascinated by the fact that many people who are very "anti-Washington" are drawn in by right-wing talkshows and end up supporting agendas that are right off of some corporate lobbyists' hard drives. One reader suggests that the "left's", refusal to deal with issues such as the regressive payroll tax is responsible. Good point. The right seems to be the ones trying to get rid of those taxes. Problem is, they get rid of the WRONG taxes. They get rid of the corporate taxes and taxes that affect primarily the very wealthy.

What's going on here? People consistently voting against their own interests...why? Well it is not ignorance of their own interests. People know they are unemployed, or underemployed. They know they don't have health insurance. They know their rent is past due.

There are a few reasons, I think. First of all, the propaganda in play here, while appearing crude to us (think Rush, think Fox) is actually VERY sophisticated. It is not for nothing that the defense department had some officers from its Psychological Operations department "interning at CNN." In addition, because corporate and government interests are pretty much the same, all that corporate money and PR expertise gets put into play as well.

The study of propaganda is a fascinating one, and I am no expert and won't go into great detail. None of us is immune, however. Take stock in your own kitchens and pantries and see how many brand names you bought, just because you recognized the label. (Actually, readers of this site, I imagine, are less susceptible to that, but you get my point.)

Now, think about the way the corporate media marginalizes politicians. Kucinich, for example, is not a "brand name" so we won't be purchasing that particular product. (Translator's note: "brand name" in commercial advertising = "electable" in election PR.)

How centralized is the planning of all this propaganda? I have no idea, but it really doesn't have to be. Just like individuals know what is in their own interests, corporations do as well. Acting under some unified "conspiracy" or simply following their individual agendas and cooperating as needed amounts to pretty much the same thing.

But we are asking why people act against their own interests and buy into a system that they know, on some level, to be corrupt. I think a second reason is that if you really step back and allow yourself to understand how it works, it is quite difficult to find any peace of mind, any glimmer of hope. We like to imagine that our vote is the one thing that keeps these powers at least somewhat in check. Unfortunately, it will take a lot more than voting to stop these guys. They are extemely good at what they do and there are enough redundancies in the system that even when they screw up, there are lots of other options for them. I am having a sinking feeling, for example, that Kerry may be an example of this. All of sudden he's the frontrunner? Oh, he thought the Iraq war was a good idea? Oh, he wants to ADD 40,000 to those already in Iraq? So maybe Kerry is the insurance policy in case Bush is just TOO much of a liability (I thought that was what Clark was for). Who knows. The main point is, these guys have different ways to get things done.

I don't have a solution to this phenomenon of denial on the one hand and supporting agendas contrary to one's own interests on the other. I don't really have hope for the "educate the masses" or "raise awareness" approaches. I think information is great for those who are, for their own reasons, beginning to question, but it does little for those who are still "trapped in the matrix" so to speak. I think perhaps that more people will awaken as the conditions deteriorate enough that they realize they are being had. Enough of their sons and daughters come home in body bags. Enough neighbors are out of work. Enough family members are without good medical care. Enough violent repression of formerly legal protest activities. Enough "Waco's". Enough plane crashes. Eventually...maybe, a critical mass will be reached and the scales will tip. What happens then? In the words of that famed revolutionary, Bette Davis: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

Friday, January 23, 2004

What things may come.

I often picture the readers of my site as similar to myself. Though I have a long history of (not particularly effective or spectacular) activism, these days I mainly comb the web for information, feeling somewhat isolated in my perspective. That's a nice way to say that I don't really talk about what I think is going on even to those on the same "side" as me. You see, you get that, response. You know the one. The glassy eyes and the noncommittal "I don't know about that..." or the quick change of subject. This blog, in fact, is my way of putting out (usually uncensored and unedited) those thoughts that don't find much of a sympathetic ear around here.

Well, THAT'S gonna defeat fascism. Woohoo! I'm gonna blog my way to revolution! Now, of course, as has been noted before, it is quite possible that historians of the future, if there is to be a human future, may find the tipping point in the salvation of humanity was the publication of this blog. Hey, it could happen.
But in case not, I had promised some folks that I'd start musing aloud as to what the resistance to the increasing repression might look like, and help us all to start thinking about what role we might play.

"M", in a previous post, was making the case that there will probably need to be some component of armed struggle, and as such he was disturbed by anti-gun laws. It was an interesting and often unheard perspective, as the "left" in the U.S. tends to be the soft and cuddly kind while anti-gun control activism is often associated with the right. His analysis and historical perspective were persuasive and interesting.

However, I am going to take the point of view on this site that THEY (as I've noted before, I don't spend a whole lot of time trying to identify exactly who THEY are. There are bad guys runnin' the place. 'Nuff said for now.) have bigger guns than we could ever have. In addition, there are other philosophical reasons for my perspective on nonviolence (among which, of course, is that I am philosophically opposed to going to jail, which advocating armed revolution might facilitate, though of course, we are only talking about a resistance to a FASCIST TAKEOVER of the country, and since that is purely harm, no foul.).

However, one of the movements I have been most impressed with in the last 40 years is the EZLN or Zapatista Army of National Liberation, an armed movement in Mexico. EZLN information in English (I know nothing of who runs this site. The EZLN used to have a page in English, but I couldn't find it. This page is good, though.) I thought I'd talk a bit about how they've operated and what lessons I think they hold for us. I am no expert, of course, so I hold this out as inspiration, not instruction.

In 1994, the Zapatista Movement emerged from the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico and onto to the world stage. Their first and only offensive military campaign was succesful but shortlived,as the Zapatistas controlled several small cities in Chiapas and its capital for several days. There have been many skirmishes, "peace talks" and even peace accords since that time, and I refer you to the link above for some basic information if you aren't already aware of these folks.

My own involvement with the Zapatistas came about as a result of working with the Humanitarian Law Project in Los Angeles. A small U.N. NGO, HLP specialized in the law of armed know, all those silly rules the U.S. ignores when it bombs civilians and their infrastructure. We somehow got ourselves into the business of being foreign observers to Mexican elections starting in 1994. As you may know, the Mexican political system is not exactly the entry you'd find if you look up "democracy" in the dictionary. Although an "opposition" party (the conservative PAN) holds power now, for over 70 years, the PRI (Party of the Institutionalized Revolution) held power through force, intimidation and (important point for US activists) electoral fraud. (If I recall, in 1988, opposition presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was leading in the electoral votes until a computer crash. The computers came back up, and his lead had vanished. This sound familiar to anyone else?)

The justification for HLP doing election observation was that clean elections would be one avenue toward ending the armed conflict. Despite what the press reported, we didn't actually really see any clean elections, but it was a good idea, anyway.

In the process of becoming involved with Mexico, we began to have contact with representatives of the EZLN. In 1996 we somehow ended up escorting Oliver Stone into the Lacandon jungle for a meeting with EZLN spokesperson, the enigmatic philosopher/revolutionary "Subcommandante" Marcos. He denied it, but Stone was there to explore creating a Zapatista film. It was a media spectacle, and images of Stone wearing the trademark Zapatista skimask on horseback next to Marcos were splashed across the world press.

I could say more about Stone, but his visit was ultimately helped bring some needed publicity to the Zapatista cause, so I won't bash the man. Some of what I'd say would get me sued, anyway. Not that I dislike Stone (he'd call me "Tyler"...not my full name. When I explained that my name was simply "Ty" he just shrugged and said Tyler was a better name.), but there was a lot of Hollywood there in the jungle with us on that trip. Also, please note: the U.S. left has a history of putting more energy into bashing each other than bashing the powers that be. Stop that, people. We're gonna need all the allies we can get.

My only other claim to fame in association with the EZLN was a trip to a computer store with Marcos' main assistant who was visiting Los Angeles. One of the things I'm going to talk about is how the EZLN and their political wing, the FZLN, was the first revolutionary group to make full use of the internet to spread their message and create an international network. This fellow was needing some parts for the computers they used. I have no idea where these computers were kept. The extent of technology in La Realidad, the nearest village to the Zapatistas jungle "headquarters," consisted of a single light bulb. In any event, as we shopped for computer parts, it looked for all the world like this guy was trying to ditch me. When I finally got him to tell me what the problem was, he said that the "Sub" needed a video game. You could see why this might cause a bit of an image problem, so he was hesitant to admit this little side mission of his. Luckily, it was me. Not only did I sympathize, I had the perfect game in mind. (If you are a gamer, it was the original MDK, I think.)

So as you can see, Marcos and I are practically roommates. I am therefore officially authorized to offer a few insights into the Zapatista movement and what we might learn from it here.

You Gotta Have a Base

One of the most enlightening things I noticed in Mexico was how left and opposition groups had a real base among the people. In the U.S. many of the left groups I've been around seem to do a great deal of navel gazing and "struggling" over how their "line" is superior to that of the next group. I'm sure this happens all over, but the Zapatistas and other organizations we met with represented the concerns of REAL LIVE PEOPLE! Brilliant! You look at where the people are, their wants and needs and go from there. In fact, the Zapatistas had a very complex process of consulting with folks all around Chiapas before taking action and issuing demands. Maybe it was just hype, but I really believed that the EZLN acted less like some revolutionary vanguard and more like representatives of the people. They weren't out "raising the awareness" of the populace about what the problems were. If the problems are real, the people are quite aware of them already, thank you very much. A campesino may not be able to tell you exactly which politician signed which bill that took their land away, but they know when their land has been taken.

I think the lesson here is pretty obvious. As conditions deteriorate, despite all of the propaganda and disinformation, there will be a base of dissatisfied or angry or frightened people who may not read Z Magazine, but know a fucked up situation when they see it. We can lecture them about "class warfare" or speculate about the Bilderbergs or Skull and Bones, or we can find ways to build a movement. I should note that, of course, there are already many people suffering in the U.S. from poverty and oppression. There is ALWAYS a base. I think, though, that we are shifting into a different gear historically, in which the economic deterioration will be met by more and more overt repression. The base will grow. An important task, therefore, is to help people find each other and build alliances around their mutual and real-world needs, and not waste time converting people to our points of view.

Focus on the shared vision

I believe, but don't know, that Marcos has a Marxist perspective and would probably have liked to create a movement that would overthrow the Mexican government and institute some form of socialism. That, however, is not the agenda of the EZLN. In fact, calling them a revolutionary group is probably a misnomer. Their primary call is to honor the EXISTING Mexican constitution, particularly around guarantees of land for the campesinos rather than OVERTHROWING the government and taking power. It's a brilliant stroke, really, in that its hard for the politicians to be AGAINST their own constitution. In addition, it's the number one concern for the poor in Chiapas and throughout Mexico. If you are a subsistence farmer, then the lack of land is what in political science is called a "very big deal."

There's a great lesson in that for us. I have my own views about what I'd like to see happen in this country. It's different from my neighbor's, I'm sure, and maybe different from yours. However, the bad guys are COMPLETELY TRASHING the one document that most of the country identifies with: our constitution. You find concern about this on leftwing sites, sure. But there are a lot of "conservatives" out there who are getting it as well. After all, if a conservative is not out to "conserve" the constitution, what the heck ARE they conserving?

I believe that many, many people who are not "activists" are also understanding the role of huge corporations in shaping our country and our world. While rightwing demagogues try to misdirect the growing discontent towards immigrants or gays, or whatever, many people can look at both the news and their own lives and see who's really to blame. You don't have to know about the Council on Foreign relations to know that you have no health insurance or that your son just got killed protecting an oil field.

So there is a base, and the base will continue to grow. We should look for ways to help that movement, and not so much for ways to convert them to our specific agenda.


The Zapatistas did a phenomenal job of building international solidarity. They did not simply create solidarity for themselves, but connected into an already growing movement against "globalization" (that means "corporate world domination" in English). Marcos is always providing this international context when he speaks and writes about the crisis in Mexico. The struggle over land, for example, is really against the power of the huge corporations to take what they want, use it up, and toss it out.

The anti-globalization movement is out there. I think that movement will continue to grow. One thing I'm certain of is that we can't do this alone. We will need international allies. The power of the corporations and world elite crosses all borders and the resistance will have to as well.

I have not participated in any of the anti-globalization protests so far. I follow them with interest, and note with concern but not surprise, the increasing level of repression and violence used against them. I'm going to start finding ways to plug in to this movement and I hope you will as well. You don't have to dress like a turtle, though you might want good health insurance if you actually participate in the protests. The main thing is to get plugged into a worldwide network now, before the coming crackdowns make it more difficult. Which brings us to:

The Internet: Use it while ya got it.

As I've said before, this blog is really just my cry in the wilderness, a way for me to sort out my thoughts in a manner that maybe others will find interesting or at least amusing. So, despite my delusions of grandeur, I don't imagine that this site will be the locus of resistance in this country. However, the internet is powerful and the Zapatistas demonstrated that brilliantly. Using its power to broadcast messages and communiques as well as organize conferences and demonstrations, the EZLN and FZLN really paved the way for modern activists. Think about how many stories you've read that you would NEVER have found out about just 20 years ago without the internet.

Of course, there are problems with the internet. There's lots of garbage out essence, TOO much information. But it's a great tool for an "emergency broadcast system": In the event of a real revolution, you will be instructed where in your community to turn for more information.....

I don't know how much longer we will have access to the internet in its current form. The corporations on one side and the government on the other (heh...yeah, they're on DIFFERENT sides, see....)are trying to commercialize, sanitize, homogonize, monitor and maim the power of a free internet. I have predicted in my Nostradamus piece (see sidebar on right) that around election time or soon after we'll have a rash of powerful new viruses out there, or some other impediment to succesful use of the internet for communication and organization. I'm not completely sure how it will work as so much commercial activity takes place on the net now, but they'll find a way. Already, all kinds of new laws are in place to allow them to monitor pretty much any internet communications they want to. Carnivore, anyone?)

But we've got it now, despite its flaws. Use it. In fact, if you think you will be an active member of the coming resistance (where did I find all this optimism all of a sudden?) you may want to make friends outside of the US...just in case you have know...leave...or something.

Don't be romantic

Don't tell my wife I said that, but I think it is easy to romanticize the idea of a resistance. Let's be clear. Even with a nonviolent resistance, the lessons from history are quite unambigous: People will go to jail. People will be "disappeared." People will die. I wish I had better news than that, but there is no other way around it.

Our movements will be monitored. Our movements will be infiltrated (See Big Brothers M.O. on sidebar). They are extremely skilled at dividing people. There are entire groups on the left (and far right) that are splinter groups completely created by FBI infiltration. We'll never know who all the agents are. We'll never know when we are being monitored. We can take precautions (I'm learning about internet security right now, though I'm not quite ready to switch to Linux.) but let's face it, they have a huge budget and lots of people whose job it is to think of ways to mess with our minds and disrupt our activities. We will be frightened, but we must not become paranoid

But the Zapatistas have shown that the forces of oppression are not all-powerful. They are human. They make mistakes. They fight with each other. And though I don't expect those at the top to have a change of heart, many of the bureaucrats and functionaries of the system are human, too. The idea of a nonviolent resistance is to put your bodies on the line to oppose injustice and thereby hold that injustice up for the world to see. Evil doesn't like the light. It never has. With some luck or divine intervention, as your own worldview allows, a critical mass will be reached and the walls, so to speak, will come tumbling down.

Will we win? Do we even know what victory will look like? The EZLN have been out in the jungle for 10 years now. Have they won? Hardly. But they have not lost. And for now, that is all that matters.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Zionism

After receiving a link to a site called "Jewwatch", (I wish I was making that up) I began to panic that this site was attracting anti-Semites. So, to's okay to bash Israel and Zionism, but if you think Jewish people are the root of all evil, you need some therapy. Here's a link to an article by an anti-Zionist Israeli Jew. Anti-Semitism

Readers Write: Brown Befuddled

I've just been told to kiss someone's ass. The sentiments from this correspondent were centered around the "Paranoid Shift" article by Michael Hasty which is reprinted below. The writer of the email noticed that Hasty said he worked at the CIA as a clerk. Therefore, says my critic, the letter was "inserted" onto my site in order to "normalize" the idea that there are at least some good CIA agents out there. Go read the article and see exactly which parts of the article give you warm and fuzzies about the CIA. Let me know if you find any.

His main sentiment, to beware anyone claiming "former" CIA status is a good one, but most agents planting stories in the media don't identify themselves. For an idea how this works, check out "Deadly Deceits, by Ralph McGehee." He's a former agent who now maintains a database on the CIA. Maybe he IS still working for the agency...maybe people can't change sides. But at least he gives a lot of information about how it works. Really, I think we need to spend worrying more about the undercover CIA media. Check out this article about Project Mockingbird I've linked to before. I know nothing of the writer, so you'll have to use your own critical skills to evaluate it, though it draws on congressional records and mainstream sources for much of its info. Mockingbird. Oh, it's posted on about which another reader claimed is a cryptofascist site. Sigh. How hopelessly duped I am.

Speaking of hopelessly duped, somebody else sent me a bunch of links. This guy really doesn't like Jews. I'm not going to respond to most of what he said, but I will point out that the "prophecy" from Ben Franklin that warns about Jews taking over the world is a bullshit forgery that emerged, conveniently, in the thirties. And to the writer of these emails, no, I don't want you to do my horoscope either. Sounds like you have your hands full learning how to research the FUCKING VALIDITY OF EXTREMELY INFLAMMATORY QUOTES BEFORE SENDING THEM TO COMPLETE STRANGERS. Did I say that out loud?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Wes Clark, Making America Better for...Axciom?

I've been trying to figure this Wes Clark thing out. Pretty much a straight Republican up until he entered the Presidential race...what's his motivation? My theories involved his being a stalking horse to keep things in Republican control. However, maybe it's simpler than that. In these anxious times, what better way for a securty technology company to get federal contracts than to have their lobbyist be President of the US?

This from the Center for Public Integrity: link

Two weeks after declaring his intention to run for president, Clark was still registered to represent a high tech contractor, Acxiom Corporation, giving him the rare distinction of seeking the White House while registered as a lobbyist. Shortly after Clark announced his candidacy, a company spokesman said the general no longer lobbied for Acxiom, but, according to the Senate Office of Public Records, Clark had not filed any termination papers.

Clark has been lobbying for the firm since January 2, 2002; Acxiom has paid more than $830,000 for Clark to advance its agenda and meet with government officials. Clark also serves on the company's board of directors.

According to federal disclosure records, Clark lobbied directly on "information transfers, airline security and homeland security issues," for Acxiom, which sought funding to do controversial informational background checks on passengers for airlines. Privacy advocates have criticized the program, called the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System II, because of concerns that the data collected would be an overly invasive violation of individuals' rights to privacy. The public outcry has been so strong that there is a bi-partisan effort to create more oversight for the program to protect privacy interests if CAPPS II is implemented.

Clark lobbied the Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Transportation for the company. Clark also reported, on his lobbyist disclosure forms, that he promoted Acxiom to the Senate and the executive office of the president. According an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report, he even met personally with Vice President Richard Cheney.

He also made a pitch for the kind of tracking that the company's wares can perform while acting as a commentator on CNN. On January 6, 2002, four days after filing as a lobbyist for Acxiom, Clark told an interviewer, in response to worries that private planes could be used for terrorist attacks, "We've been worried about general aviation security for some time. The aircraft need to be secured, the airfields need to be secured, and obviously we're going to also have to go through and do a better job of screening who could fly aircraft, who the private pilots are, who owns these aircraft. So it's going to be another major effort."

Naturally, he did not reveal to CNN's viewers that the company he lobbied for had a substantial stake in this issue.

Guess Wes went to the same business school as Dick Cheney.


Before I post anything else, I felt like it was time to address this issue. As you know, there is a comments section after each posting and I don't have control over what comments people may leave there. This site also has as a premise that there are real conspiracies behind certain world events. Of course, the number one target of conspiracy theories throughout history has been the Jews. In fact, as an anti-fascist site, it would be an oversight not to note that anti-Jewish propaganda and belief in a powerful, world-dominating Jewish conspiracy has been at the heart of many fascist movements.

I have been in correspondence with one reader who seems rather left politically but does have the feeling that at the heart of much of the world's evils are the Jews, or at least Orthodox Jews. She does not confine herself to criticism of Israel or its government which is certainly fair game in my view, or even of Zionism as a political movement, trickier game, though still fair.'s the Jewish religion itself...inherently racist in her view, that is particular cause for her ire.

I bring this out, because I see a line that is crossed on occasion on many websites that seem to make the same generalizations, either explicitly or with a nod and wink to the reader "in the know." The Protocols of the Elders of Zion will simply not die.

I can start by saying what anti-Semitism is not. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. I'm very critical of Israel. I was less so when Rabin was PM...does that mean I was less anti-Semitic during his term, or does it mean I have a political disagreement with Israeli policies? This is clear. There are many Jewish publications and individuals who criticize Israeli policy. There are Jewish soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. Clearly these are not anti-Semites unless you twist the term into something utterly meaningless.

Is it anti-Semitic to be anti-Zionist? I suppose it depends on what you mean by Zionist. If you mean by Zionist a worldwide plot of global domination by the Jews, then that would certainly be anti-Semitic and irrational. I can speak with confidence because I am certain that if there were a worldwide Jewish conspiracy for global domination my wife, Jewish by matrilineal tradition, would have told me. We have that kind of relationship. We don't keep important things like involvement in global conspiracies from each other. In addition, the arguments for such are intellectually lazy. For example, the fact that one finds Jews across the political spectrum from the far right, such as some of the current neo-cons, to the far left, such as Marx, is proof to the anti-Semite, not that Jews are like humanity as a whole in their diversity of beliefs, but that their plot is so all encompassing that they are responsible for all government actions AND all opposition movements to those government actions. In technical terms, this is called a "stupid argument". It's easy to do. Find something you don't like in the world and keep looking for connections to someone who is Jewish and voila, you have "evidence."

But that is not what anti-Zionist means to most. And although some Jewish writers are irresponsibly and I think even dangerously equating arguments against Zionism (a political movement to which many Jews were and continue to be opposed) with anti-Semitism, they are simply not the same thing. This was said much better than I could in the following article in the Nation. And while the author acknowledges that some (I'd say politically unsophisticated) anti-Zionist beliefs grow into anti-Semitism, it is simply not true that it is anti-Semitism that is at the heart of all or even most anti-Zionist beliefs. Here's the article: Myth of the New Anti-Semitism

Back to my correspondent. In what I think is telling, she sent me links to a site of someone she said was pointing out the inherent racism in Judaism, particularly Talmudic Judaism. I checked out these links, and though I haven't read them thoroughly, it certainly seems to be an attack on Israeli policy and Zionist ideology. Check it out for yourself: Shahak Interview He is not renouncing his Judaism, he's saying Zionism is racist, wrong and, ultimately, bad for Jews. She also sent me a link linkto a Jew, Israel Shamir, who converted to Christianity who goes on about the Zionist occupied government, or ZOG. The belief in ZOG is the belief that because there are Jews involved in the government, they control the government, and therefore you can go kill radio talk show hosts. Or something like that. He suggests that the Iraq war was simply to serve Israel. His evidence? Iraqi oil will not make America rich, therefore it must have been done to satisfy Israel. No...this is wrong. First off, documents were just released (on Sixty Minutes, no less) which show the plans for dividing up the Iraqi oil fields after the war. The fact that these plans were made before 9-11 is telling. Secondly, the U.S. doesn't just want Iraqi oil...they want it all, so Iraq is to be a permanent U.S. military base to keep an eye on all the OTHER oil. T

The ZOG argument is abohorrent and is also sloppy thinking, and his use of the term ZOG is frightening. A Jew, even one converted to Christianity, should know WHO uses that particular term and what they plan to do about it. I have, until Shamir's website, never seen that term used by an organization that was not far more concerned about the racial purity of America than they were about subtleties in U.S. foreign policy. Am I being too abstruse? Let me be clearer: the people who use the term ZOG want to kill Jews for being Jews. They are Nazis. I can't imagine what is going on in Shamir's head that he would embrace such a term.

This is not EVIDENCE, people. You can find someone to say pretty much anything. I'm sure, somewhere, there is a person of African descent who will justify slavery. In fact, there's probably someone like that on the U.S. Supreme Court.

All right, enough of this. I just wanted to explain that I'm aware that conspiracy theory can be fertile ground for TRUE anti-Semites but that we most also not confuse anti-Semitism with opposition to Israeli policies.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Good stuff keeps coming

I know, dear reader. You grab a cup of coffee, perhaps a nice biscotti and settle in to read what surely you know will be the most insightful and informative site on the web. And yet, what you are finding these days? I am posting other writers. Am I unselfish...or lazy? Actually, neither. There are folks out there who think like us, and they are starting to be heard. This article is quite good, so please follow the link. Here is a quote to whet your appetite.

The Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other US secret services spend more than $30,000,000,000 a year on espionage and covert operations. Do opponents of conspiracy theories think that this money is given to the Langley, Virginia Cats’ Home?

Ready for the rest? Enjoy your biscotti...I Believe in Conspiracies

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I'm actually starting to think I'm NOT paranoid...

"Leafing through the CIA documents, Mr O'Neill was astonished to read plans for covert assassinations around the globe designed to remove opponents of the US Government. The plans had virtually no civilian checks and balances."

This is from an article about the O'Neill book. This part of the book got no press in the U.S. link

Are people understanding this? They kill their opponents. This is YOUR government (for my U.S. readers).

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


This guy rocks...hard. I'm going to check into seeing if it is possible to sue someone for writing the article I SHOULD HAVE written. Until then, this is the article that you link to for your friends who are on the edge, who are just becoming open to the ideas I assume many of this blog's readers share. The article is from Online Journal and the link is there, but the author gives permission to reprint with attribution, so I'm putting it right here so those of you who may be too exhausted for one more mouse click can read it in its entirety. Take this article and send it out to everyone you can. I'm also going to write to him and thank him and I hope you'll do the same. What's that sparkly stuff I see on the dim horizon? That couldn't be....hope...could it?

Paranoid shift

Taken from Online Journal and reprinted by consent of the author.

By Michael Hasty
Online Journal Contributing Writer

January 10, 2004—Just before his death, James Jesus Angleton, the legendary chief of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, was a bitter man. He felt betrayed by the people he had worked for all his life. In the end, he had come to realize that they were never really interested in American ideals of "freedom" and "democracy." They really only wanted "absolute power."

Angleton told author Joseph Trento that the reason he had gotten the counterintelligence job in the first place was by agreeing not to submit "sixty of Allen Dulles' closest friends" to a polygraph test concerning their business deals with the Nazis. In his end-of-life despair, Angleton assumed that he would see all his old companions again "in hell."

The transformation of James Jesus Angleton from an enthusiastic, Ivy League cold warrior, to a bitter old man, is an extreme example of a phenomenon I call a "paranoid shift." I recognize the phenomenon, because something similar happened to me.

Although I don't remember ever meeting James Jesus Angleton, I worked at the CIA myself as a low-level clerk as a teenager in the '60s. This was at the same time I was beginning to question the government's actions in Vietnam. In fact, my personal "paranoid shift" probably began with the disillusionment I felt when I realized that the story of American foreign policy was, at the very least, more complicated and darker than I had hitherto been led to believe.

But for most of the next 30 years, even though I was a radical, I nevertheless held faith in the basic integrity of a system where power ultimately resided in the people, and whereby if enough people got together and voted, real and fundamental change could happen.

What constitutes my personal paranoid shift is that I no longer believe this to be necessarily true.

In his book, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," William Blum warns of how the media will make anything that smacks of "conspiracy theory" an immediate "object of ridicule." This prevents the media from ever having to investigate the many strange interconnections among the ruling class—for example, the relationship between the boards of directors of media giants, and the energy, banking and defense industries. These unmentionable topics are usually treated with what Blum calls "the media's most effective tool—silence." But in case somebody's asking questions, all you have to do is say, "conspiracy theory," and any allegation instantly becomes too frivolous to merit serious attention.

On the other hand, since my paranoid shift, whenever I hear the words "conspiracy theory" (which seems more often, lately) it usually means someone is getting too close to the truth.

Take September 11—which I identify as the date my paranoia actually shifted, though I didn't know it at the time.

Unless I'm paranoid, it doesn't make any sense at all that George W. Bush, commander-in-chief, sat in a second-grade classroom for 20 minutes after he was informed that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center, listening to children read a story about a goat. Nor does it make sense that the Number 2 man, Dick Cheney—even knowing that "the commander" was on a mission in Florida—nevertheless sat at his desk in the White House, watching TV, until the Secret Service dragged him out by the armpits.

Unless I'm paranoid, it makes no sense that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sat at his desk until Flight 77 hit the Pentagon—well over an hour after the military had learned about the multiple hijacking in progress. It also makes no sense that the brand-new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sat in a Senate office for two hours while the 9/11 attacks took place, after leaving explicit instructions that he not be disturbed—which he wasn't.

In other words, while the 9/11 attacks were occurring, the entire top of the chain of command of the most powerful military in the world sat at various desks, inert. Why weren't they in the "Situation Room?" Don't any of them ever watch "West Wing?"

In a sane world, this would be an object of major scandal. But here on this side of the paranoid shift, it's business as usual.

Years, even decades before 9/11, plans had been drawn up for American forces to take control of the oil interests of the Middle East, for various imperialist reasons. And these plans were only contingent upon "a catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," to gain the majority support of the American public to set the plans into motion. When the opportunity presented itself, the guards looked the other way . . . and presto, the path to global domination was open.

Simple, as long as the media played along. And there is voluminous evidence that the media play along. Number one on Project Censored's annual list of underreported stories in 2002 was the Project for a New American Century (now the infrastructure of the Bush Regime), whose report, published in 2000, contains the above "Pearl Harbor" quote.

Why is it so hard to believe serious people who have repeatedly warned us that powerful ruling elites are out to dominate "the masses?" Did we think Dwight Eisenhower was exaggerating when he warned of the extreme "danger" to democracy of "the military industrial complex?" Was Barry Goldwater just being a quaint old-fashioned John Bircher when he said that the Trilateral Commission was "David Rockefeller's latest scheme to take over the world, by taking over the government of the United States?" Were Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt or Joseph Kennedy just being class traitors when they talked about a small group of wealthy elites who operate as a hidden government behind the government? Especially after he died so mysteriously, why shouldn't we believe the late CIA Director William Colby, who bragged about how the CIA "owns everyone of any major significance in the major media?"

Why can't we believe James Jesus Angleton—a man staring eternal judgment in the face—when he says that the founders of the Cold War national security state were only interested in "absolute power?" Especially when the descendant of a very good friend of Allen Dulles now holds power in the White House.

Prescott Bush, the late, aristocratic senator from Connecticut, and grandfather of George W Bush, was not only a good friend of Allen Dulles, CIA director, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and international business lawyer. He was also a client of Dulles' law firm. As such, he was the beneficiary of Dulles' miraculous ability to scrub the story of Bush's treasonous investments in the Third Reich out of the news media, where it might have interfered with Bush's political career . . . not to mention the presidential careers of his son and grandson.

Recently declassified US government documents, unearthed last October by investigative journalist John Buchanan at the New Hampshire Gazette, reveal that Prescott Bush's involvement in financing and arming the Nazis was more extensive than previously known. Not only was Bush managing director of the Union Banking Corporation, the American branch of Hitler's chief financier's banking network; but among the other companies where Bush was a director—and which were seized by the American government in 1942, under the Trading With the Enemy Act—were a shipping line which imported German spies; an energy company that supplied the Luftwaffe with high-ethyl fuel; and a steel company that employed Jewish slave labor from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Like all the other Bush scandals that have been swept under the rug in the privatized censorship of the corporate media, these revelations have been largely ignored, with the exception of a single article in the Associated Press. And there are those, even on the left, who question the current relevance of this information.

But Prescott Bush's dealings with the Nazis do more than illustrate a family pattern of genteel treason and war profiteering—from George Senior's sale of TOW missiles to Iran at the same time he was selling biological and chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, to Junior's zany misadventures in crony capitalism in present-day Iraq.

More disturbing by far are the many eerie parallels between Adolph Hitler and George W. Bush:

A conservative, authoritarian style, with public appearances in military uniform (which no previous American president has ever done while in office). Government by secrecy, propaganda and deception. Open assaults on labor unions and workers' rights. Preemptive war and militant nationalism. Contempt for international law and treaties. Suspiciously convenient "terrorist" attacks, to justify a police state and the suspension of liberties. A carefully manufactured image of "The Leader," who's still just a "regular guy" and a "moderate." "Freedom" as the rationale for every action. Fantasy economic growth, based on unprecedented budget deficits and massive military spending.

And a cold, pragmatic ideology of fascism—including the violent suppression of dissent and other human rights; the use of torture, assassination and concentration camps; and most important, Benito Mussolini's preferred definition of "fascism" as "corporatism, because it binds together the interests of corporations and the state."

By their fruits, you shall know them.

What perplexes me most is probably the same question that plagues most paranoiacs: why don't other people see these connections?

Oh, sure, there may be millions of us, lurking at websites like Online Journal, From the Wilderness, Center for Cooperative Research, and the Center for Research on Globalization, checking out right-wing conspiracists and the galaxy of 9/11 sites, and reading columnists like Chris Floyd at the Moscow Times, and Maureen Farrell at Buzzflash. But we know we are only a furtive minority, the human remnant among the pod people in the live-action, 21st-century version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

And being paranoid, we have to figure out, with an answer that fits into our system, why more people don't see the connections we do. Fortunately, there are a number of possible explanations.

First on the list would have to be what Marshal McLuhan called the "cave art of the electronic age:" advertising. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Karl Rove, gave credit for most of his ideas on how to manipulate mass opinion to American commercial advertising, and to the then-new science of "public relations." But the public relations universe available to the corporate empire that rules the world today makes the Goebbels operation look primitive. The precision of communications technology and graphics; the century of research on human psychology and emotion; and the uniquely centralized control of triumphant post-Cold War monopoly capitalism, have combined to the point where "the manufacture of consent" can be set on automatic pilot.

A second major reason people won't make the paranoid shift is that they are too fundamentally decent. They can't believe that the elected leaders of our country, the people they've been taught through 12 years of public school to admire and trust, are capable of sending young American soldiers to their deaths and slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, just to satisfy their greed—especially when they're so rich in the first place. Besides, America is good, and the media are liberal and overly critical.

Third, people don't want to look like fools. Being a "conspiracy theorist" is like being a creationist. The educated opinion of eminent experts on every TV and radio network is that any discussion of "oil" being a motivation for the US invasion of Iraq is just out of bounds, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist." We can trust the integrity of our 'no-bid" contracting in Iraq, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist." Of course, people sometimes make mistakes, but our military and intelligence community did the best they could on and before September 11, and anybody who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist."

Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of JFK, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist."

Perhaps the biggest hidden reason people don't make the paranoid shift is that knowledge brings responsibility. If we acknowledge that an inner circle of ruling elites controls the world's most powerful military and intelligence system; controls the international banking system; controls the most effective and far-reaching propaganda network in history; controls all three branches of government in the world's only superpower; and controls the technology that counts the people's votes, we might be then forced to conclude that we don't live in a particularly democratic system. And then voting and making contributions and trying to stay informed wouldn't be enough. Because then the duty of citizenship would go beyond serving as a loyal opposition, to serving as a "loyal resistance"—like the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, except that in this case the resistance to fascism would be on the side of the national ideals, rather than the government; and a violent insurgency would not only play into the empire's hands, it would be doomed from the start.

Forming a nonviolent resistance movement, on the other hand, might mean forsaking some middle class comfort, and it would doubtless require a lot of work. It would mean educating ourselves and others about the nature of the truly apocalyptic beast we face. It would mean organizing at the most basic neighborhood level, face to face. (We cannot put our trust in the empire's technology.) It would mean reaching across turf lines and transcending single-issue politics, forming coalitions and sharing data and names and strategies, and applying energy at every level of government, local to global. It would also probably mean civil disobedience, at a time when the Bush regime is starting to classify that action as "terrorism." In the end, it may mean organizing a progressive confederacy to govern ourselves, just as our revolutionary founders formed the Continental Congress. It would mean being wise as serpents, and gentle as doves.

It would be a lot of work. It would also require critical mass. A paradigm shift.

But as a paranoid, I'm ready to join the resistance. And the main reason is I no longer think that the "conspiracy" is much of a "theory."

That the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was "probably" the result of "a conspiracy," and that 70 percent of Americans agree with this conclusion, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Bay of Pigs fiasco, "Operation Zapata," was organized by members of Skull and Bones, the ghoulish and powerful secret society at Yale University whose membership also included Prescott, George Herbert Walker and George W Bush; that two of the ships that carried the Cuban counterrevolutionaries to their appointment with absurdity were named the "Barbara" and the "Houston"—George HW Bush's city of residence at the time—and that the oil company Bush owned, then operating in the Caribbean area, was named "Zapata," is not "theory." It's fact.

That George Bush was the CIA director who kept the names of what were estimated to be hundreds of American journalists, considered to be CIA "assets," from the Church Committee, the US Senate Intelligence Committe chaired by Senator Frank Church that investigated the CIA in the 1970s; that a 1971 University of Michigan study concluded that, in America, the more TV you watched, the less you knew; and that a recent survey by international scholars found that Americans were the most "ignorant" of world affairs out of all the populations they studied, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Council on Foreign Relations has a history of influence on official US government foreign policy; that the protection of US supplies of Middle East oil has been a central element of American foreign policy since the Second World War; and that global oil production has been in decline since its peak year, 2000, is not "theory." It's fact.

That, in the early 1970s, the newly-formed Trilateral Commission published a report which recommended that, in order for "globalization" to succeed, American manufacturing jobs had to be exported, and American wages had to decline, which is exactly what happened over the next three decades; and that, during that same period, the richest one percent of Americans doubled their share of the national wealth, is not "theory." It's fact.

That, beyond their quasi-public role as agents of the US Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Banks are profit-making corporations, whose beneficiaries include some of America's wealthiest families; and that the United States has a virtual controlling interest in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, the three dominant global financial institutions, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That—whether it's heroin from Southeast Asia in the '60s and '70s, or cocaine from Central America and heroin from Afghanistan in the '80s, or cocaine from Colombia in the '90s, or heroin from Afghanistan today—no major CIA covert operation has ever lacked a drug smuggling component, and that the CIA has hired Nazis, fascists, drug dealers, arms smugglers, mass murderers, perverts, sadists, terrorists and the Mafia, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the international oil industry is the dominant player in the global economy; that the Bush family has a decades-long business relationship with the Saudi royal family, Saudi oil money, and the family of Osama bin Laden; that, as president, both George Bushes have favored the interests of oil companies over the public interest; that both George Bushes have personally profited financially from Middle East oil; and that American oil companies doubled their records for quarterly profits in the months just preceding the invasion of Iraq, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the 2000 presidential election was deliberately stolen; that the pro-Bush/anti-Gore bias in the corporate media had spiked markedly in the last three weeks of the campaign; that corporate media were then virtually silent about the Florida recount; and that the Bush 2000 team had planned to challenge the legitimacy of the election if George W had won the popular, but lost the electoral vote—exactly what happened to Gore—is not "theory." It's fact.

That the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was deceptively "cooked" by the Bush administration; that anybody paying attention to people like former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, knew before the invasion that the weapons were a hoax; and that American forces in Iraq today are applying the same brutal counterinsurgency tactics pioneered in Central America in the 1980s, under the direct supervision of then-Vice President George HW Bush, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That "Rebuilding America's Defenses," the Project for a New American Century's 2000 report, and "The Grand Chessboard," a book published a few years earlier by Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, both recommended a more robust and imperial US military presence in the oil basin of the Middle East and the Caspian region; and that both also suggested that American public support for this energy crusade would depend on public response to a new "Pearl Harbor," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, in the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously approved a plan called "Operation Northwoods," to stage terrorist attacks on American soil that could be used to justify an invasion of Cuba; and that there is currently an office in the Pentagon whose function is to instigate terrorist attacks that could be used to justify future strategically-desired military responses, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That neither the accusation by former British Environmental Minister Michael Meacham, Tony Blair's longest-serving cabinet minister, that George W Bush allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen to justify an oil war in the Middle East; nor the RICO lawsuit filed by 9/11 widow Ellen Mariani against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Council on Foreign Relations (among others), on the grounds that they conspired to let the attacks happen to cash in on the ensuing war profiteering, has captured the slightest attention from American corporate media is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the FBI has completely exonerated—though never identified—the speculators who purchased, a few days before the attacks (through a bank whose previous director is now the CIA executive director), an unusual number of "put" options, and who made millions betting that the stocks in American and United Airlines would crash, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the US intelligence community received numerous warnings, from multiple sources, throughout the summer of 2001, that a major terrorist attack on American interests was imminent; that, according to the chair of the "independent" 9/11 commission, the attacks "could have and should have been prevented," and according to a Senate Intelligence Committee member, "All the dots were connected;" that the White House has verified George W Bush's personal knowledge, as of August 6, 2001, that these terrorist attacks might be domestic and might involve hijacked airliners; that, in the summer of 2001, at the insistence of the American Secret Service, anti-aircraft ordnance was installed around the city of Genoa, Italy, to defend against a possible terrorist suicide attack, by aircraft, against George W Bush, who was attending the economic summit there; and that George W Bush has nevertheless regaled audiences with his first thought upon seeing the "first" plane hit the World Trade Center, which was: "What a terrible pilot," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, on the morning of September 11, 2001: standard procedures and policies at the nation's air defense and aviation bureaucracies were ignored, and communications were delayed; the black boxes of the planes that hit the WTC were destroyed, but hijacker Mohammed Atta's passport was found in pristine condition; high-ranking Pentagon officers had cancelled their commercial flight plans for that morning; George H.W. Bush was meeting in Washington with representatives of Osama bin Laden's family, and other investors in the world's largest private equity firm, the Carlyle Group; the CIA was conducting a previously-scheduled mock exercise of an airliner hitting the Pentagon; the chairs of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were having breakfast with the chief of Pakistan's intelligence agency, who resigned a week later on suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 attacks; and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States sat in a second grade classroom for 20 minutes after hearing that a second plane had struck the towers, listening to children read a story about a goat, is not "theoretical." These are facts.

That the Bush administration has desperately fought every attempt to independently investigate the events of 9/11, is not a "theory."

Nor, finally, is it in any way a "theory" that the one, single name that can be directly linked to the Third Reich, the US military industrial complex, Skull and Bones, Eastern Establishment good ol' boys, the Illuminati, Big Texas Oil, the Bay of Pigs, the Miami Cubans, the Mafia, the FBI, the JFK assassination, the New World Order, Watergate, the Republican National Committee, Eastern European fascists, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the United Nations, CIA headquarters, the October Surprise, the Iran/Contra scandal, Inslaw, the Christic Institute, Manuel Noriega, drug-running "freedom fighters" and death squads, Iraqgate, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, the blood of innocents, the savings and loan crash, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the "Octopus," the "Enterprise," the Afghan mujaheddin, the War on Drugs, Mena (Arkansas), Whitewater, Sun Myung Moon, the Carlyle Group, Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States, is: George Herbert Walker Bush.

"Theory?" To the contrary.

It is a well-documented, tragic and—especially if you're paranoid—terrifying fact.

Michael Hasty is a writer, activist, musician, carpenter and farmer. His award-winning column, "Thinking Locally," appeared for seven years in the Hampshire Review, West Virginia's oldest newspaper. His writing has also appeared in the Highlands Voice, the Washington Peace Letter, the Takoma Park Newsletter, the German magazine Generational Justice, and the Washington Post; and at the websites Common Dreams and In January 1989, he was the media spokesperson for the counter-inaugural coalition at George Bush's Counter-Inaugural Banquet, which fed hundreds of DC's homeless in front of Union Station, where the official inaugural dinner was being held.

Permission to reprint is granted, provided it includes this autobiographical note, and credit for first publication to Online Journal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Careful, Paul

Does anyone else find the Paul O'Neill situation eerily reminiscent of the David Kelly affair. If you will recall, Kelly said some stuff to the BBC about the war in Iraq and the government hung him out to dry. Then he conveniently decided to take his own life, allowing Blair a few more pathetic months in office. This, of course, after he mentioned to a friend that "dark actors" were playing games with him and if the invasion happened, they'd find him "dead in the woods."

Now comes O'Neill. Said some stuff to the press. White House out to get him, accusing him of using classified material. O'Neill is trying to backtrack a little. I don't know. All I can say to Mr. O'Neill is...stand your ground! And don't take any walks in the woods. Or rides in small planes, for that matter.

Saddam's Cancer

Maybe it was from inhaling all those chemical agents that Donald Rumsfeld sold him, but it has been announced that Saddam has conveniently contracted cancer. I boldly predicted on this site (precognitive link)that Saddam would never be allowed to actually testify publicly. Not really the biggest underdog pick of the week, I'll grant you. I had posited an Arab Jack Ruby to take care of the problem. It seems they've found a more subtle solution. Delay the details of the trial until he dies from cancer. Are YOU gonna be the one to call for an autopsy? I didn't think so.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Letters from "M"

What follows is great stuff. A few days ago, I began an email correspondence with a reader of this blog. His comments are extremely insightful and caused me to clarify my thinking in places and my writing in others. I hope you will indulge this rather longish post in which I present most of the body of his emails to me. I've done some editing and include a few of my comments and his responses. It goes to the very heart of what is happening in our country today.

I call these "Letters from M" for three reasons:
  • He does not want any identifying information in these postings.
  • The first letter of the pseudonym he uses when writing me is "M".
  • It sounds really know, kinda James Bondish. "I've just received a new communication from "M".

First, I must make a few introductory comments. His long messages were in response primarily to my characterization of as "conservative" because of the website owner's comments against taxes and in favor of guns. M caused me to rethink some of my positions, and clarify much that I left unsaid. But if you think this is just about guns and taxes, think again. This dialogue really goes to the heart of the crisis we find ourselves in today. No, not the crisis of the Titans losing in the play-offs...the other crisis...that whole fascist takeover thing.

Bear with my introductory comments a few lines longer, patient reader. Because I did not develop my responses as fully as M did his arguments, I could look, well...kinda dumb. But really, I'm only going to include the responses I made that elicited further comment from M. However, you should know a little bit about me to understand what I left unsaid.

I have been politically active since I was a teenager. My first efforts in a teen-run organization, were led, unbeknownst (I finally got to use that sounds so scholarly) to me, by local members of a national communist party. As I learned about their beliefs, I joined them, and though, by definition (almost) a communist party felt that a violent revolution was inevitable, or at least very necessary, I don't think anyone was actually forming any "leftwing militias." Their stance on gun control, however, was decidedly in league with M's.

I also spent many years in nonviolent political activity. I stayed for 8 months at the Open Door Community in Atlanta, a community of Christians who actually read Jesus's words about how one treats the poor and relates to those in power. I even spent a few days in jail as a result of a nonviolent action protesting the opening of a huge new mall, the development of which led to even more suffering of the city's homeless. I got off easy, as I believe protesting a mall opening these days is cause for a trip to Guantanamo bay.

I even spent six months walking halfway across the country with a Japanese Buddhist monk (you've seen these guys if you've been to anti-war protests in many of the major cities. Yellow robes and prayer drums. Can't miss them.) That was a profound experience in many ways, including a very direct visual comprehension of how militarized the south is. I can't even remember how many military convoys passes us by during our journey.

I've also been associated with movements that were not nonviolent in their philosophies, though mainly through association with those more directly involved with such movements as the Sandanistas in Nicaragua and the FMLN in El Salvador. I have even had the great privilege of chatting with Subcommandante Marcos of the EZLN (Zapatistas) in Mexico. He's not an easy guy to have a meeting with...and given that Oliver Stone was also involved...well, I'll leave that story for another time.

All right, I don't want to try your patience any longer. I just wanted to point out that I am open to revolutionary/oppositional movements of various types and my "anti-gun" comments were decidedly simplistic. But it is not my views that are on display here, today. So let's get on with M's thoughts. I am posting his original email, and comments from me when those comments elicited further thoughts from M. There is an important dialogue about the use of technology that I'm omitting for now, but it will show up, I think, in some future post. I need one of my famous disclaimers, however. This site does not recommend the violent overthrow of the American government. It is a crime to do that. In fact, there is a young man in jail right now simply for linking to an anarchist article that had information on bomb building. Go here for more info on his case: Sherman Austin. M and I are merely engaging in philosophical discussions. Please do not come arrest me. Please. They don't defer student loans based on jail sentences.

Letter from M

My comments in maroon

I found your site through the "Center for an Informed America" site,
which I regularly read, as it is free from the usual disinformation and
bullshit disseminated by the fake/controlled left. Perhaps this is where
your "unexpected influx of virtual guests" is coming from. In its
recommendation of your site, it says "Leave him your comments on his
postings to let him know that his efforts are appreciated" -- so here
they are. Aren't you lucky. I wonder which category I'll fall into --
"informed" or "nuts"?

Regarding , you said "clearly a conservative. He often has comments about taxes and guns (against and for) that
identify him as such."
I think that's a fair assessment of the politics
of that site. However, when I read comments like this coming from people
who claim to be "a tad to the left", I usually conclude that the author
belongs to the above-mentioned fake/controlled left and stop reading.
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, since you obviously share my
suspicion of "leftists" who accept the official story of the JFK
assassination, 9/11, and other Establishment fairy tales.

Thanks for noticing.

I am not a conservative -- quite the opposite. I do not enjoy being a
slave for the corporations and their wholly-owned subsidiary, the
capitalist state. Since the origin of class society thousands of years
ago, the ruling class and the state have always tried to disarm the
people they wished to exploit and oppress, for obvious reasons. It's a
historical invariant. The only mystery is why, starting in the last
third of the twentieth century, the leaders of the slaves have decided
that it would be a good idea to comply with this demand. It's especially
odd to hear this from people who believe that "the fascists have won in
this country."

Regarding income tax -- we already get ripped off by the employer at the
point of production, and now we're supposed to believe that having a
large fraction of our wages confiscated by their enforcement and
extortion apparatus, the state, is a good thing? It used to be the case
that the meagre social services provided by the government were largely
paid for out of corporate taxes. For the last thirty years (at least),
the continuous decline in taxes paid by the corporations and the people
that own them has been matched by a corresponding decline in the social
welfare system, and in working-class real income after taxes. Income tax
is a mechanism which redistributes wealth from ordinary people to the
rich, at gunpoint. Surely this is the major purpose of the $400
billion/year Pentagon budget. The nifty hardware used for suppressing
the Imperial colonies is just an (important) side effect.

The difference between a slave and a wage-worker is that the wage-worker
is free to quit her job and try to get a better deal from another
employer; the slave doesn't have this right. But once the government
asserts that it has the right to confiscate thirty or forty percent of
your wages, you're back to being a slave again, because you can't escape
from them. The only thing left to decide is the exact degree of
enslavement. Even for actual chattel slaves, the rate of exploitation is
not one hundred percent, because the slaveowner still has to provide
them with food, clothing, and shelter, or else they will quickly cease
to provide him with any return on investment. Many wage-workers receive
little more than this after the state extortion agencies are finished
with them. Through trade union organisation, it's sometimes possible to
negotiate a wage increase from the employer, but it's impossible to
negotiate with the government taxation gangsters. They'll just
confiscate most of your wage increase through their "progressive income
tax" racket and hand it back to your (and their) boss in the form of
corporate tax cuts, if not direct payouts and subsidies. See how that
works? "Progressive income tax" actually isn't anything of the sort,
because the ruling class pays a much lower rate of tax on capital gains
and stock dividends than the working class pays on wages, even when they
don't hide it in offshore accounts and other semi-legal scams.

The (deliberate?) failure to understand these issues is both a cause and
a symptom of the pathetic condition of the North American "left". The
reactionary, pro-state position of "progressives" on these two issues,
income tax and gun prohibition, drives large numbers of people who could
and should be leftists into the arms of the populist right. This
explains much of the mass base of the Republican Party -- otherwise it
would only appeal to racists, anti-abortionists, homophobes, evangelical
bigots and other scum.

I don't wish to be a slave, and it seems to me that "gun control" and
wage confiscation are part of the techniques by which the corporate
slavemasters prevent any meaningful liberation from occurring -- surely
it's not a coincidence that the state began to seriously pursue these
policies just at the point when effective trade unions, the civil rights
movement, Vietnam war resistance, womens' equality, and other social
liberation movements presented a real challenge to capitalist hegemony.
"Income tax" is slavery, "gun control" is fascism, and they were both
deliberately instituted to reinforce the corporate power system. I don't
think that I'm the only one who feels this way, and if the fake
social-democratic "left" thinks that these opinions make me a
right-winger, or even a "conservative", then they can kiss my ass.

I particularly appreciated your "Nostradamus"and "End of Democracy" posts. These things need to be said loudly and often, to counteract the
hypnotic drone of the "anti-conspiracy" establishment left. (It's only a
conspiracy if you claim that the government did it. The Official Story,
wherein four airplanes are simultaneously hijacked by terrorists under
the direction of a crazed Islamic fanatic living in a cave in
Afghanistan, is not a Conspiracy Theory.) Also, your explanation of "How
to Attract Government Goons Without Really Trying"
brought back fond
memories of, as you put it, my "fairly futile history of political
activism". I find it's particularly hard to distinguish between insane
people, insane people under the control of the cops, and cops posing as
insane people. What fun, indeed.

What followed was some discussion on technology which I'm omitting for now. I do need to apologize for my use of the word "geek" regarding Linux users. It was meant to be tongue in cheek and self-effacing. I call myself a geek because of my computer interests and my twice a month evenings with a friend to play video games I call "geek night." I wish I could use Linux but I get so frustrated with having things not work, that even though I know Linux is better than Windows...I've never been adventurous enough to switch to or dedicated enough time to learn Linux. It should be noted also that the tech savvie will have an important role in whatever resistance emerges in the coming years.

Now back to M. I made a few responses in an email back, which got some great responses back. I'd love to hear from more readers on this conversation. Here it goes.

(My comment to start) What you say (about taxes) is right, and true progressives have campaigned for lowering or repeal of payroll taxes and putting the burden back on the corporations. "Conservatives" for lack of a better term as you've given good reasons to mistrust such labels, often say that lowering taxes on the rich is as or more important than that on the poor. Trickle down...etc. Often, I see many "conservatives" using rhetoric such as yours (and I don't mean that your own views are not sincere or well informed) but supporting "tax breaks" that are clearly designed for corporations.

Well, as you say, surely the distinguishing factor between the
conservative and left-wing positions on this issue is what is proposed
to be done about corporate taxes. I think we can agree that trickle-down
economics is bullshit corporate propaganda. One might also inquire as to
the economic status of the individual making the proposal; those who
derive their income from wages are more likely to be sincere in their
beliefs than those who subsist on corporate dividends.

All this "grass roots" stuff is a show, usually quite well orchestrated by corporate interests.

The term "grass roots" is almost certainly intended to obscure the class
issues in question and divert people in the direction of right-wing
populism. This is why I don't use it, except maybe when initially
talking to people who don't understand what social classes are.

I am always saddened to see working people side with the very forces that want to keep them down. We have a lovely talk radio station
owned by Clear Channel, here in Nashville. They whip up HUGE anti-tax
demonstrations. It is the folks who think like you who are the rank
and file of these demos, but the policies that result are decidedly
anti-working class.

This is *exactly* my point. The working-class population knows from
their own experience that state confiscation of their wages is a serious
issue, but the predominantly middle-class leadership of the so-called
"left" has abandoned class politics in favour of "identity politics" and
similar foolishness. Seeing that the "left" doesn't care about the
issues that matter to them, many workers come to identify with the only
visible political culture which pretends to take such things seriously,
the populist right. The results are exactly as you described. Worse,
once politically unsophisticated people have been attracted to the
talk-radio demagogues and Republican front organisations on the basis of
issues like income tax, this is used as the thin end of the wedge to
sell them a bunch of logically unrelated right-wing opinions about
immigration, unions, minority rights, foreign policy and other issues.

Over the last thirty years, the concerns of the mainstream "left" have
diverged so completely from the issues that matter to the majority of
the population, with such disastrous results for the possibilities of
resistance to corporate hegemony, that it's hard to believe that this
happened accidentally. I suspect that it's at least partly the result of
a long-term ruling-class strategy, implemented through academia and the
"philanthropic" foundations (Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc). I'm not
the only one who thinks this.

I have similar views about the merging of Christian ideology with
capitalist ideology, especially as manipulated by the

My understanding is that "Christian ideology", at least in its finished
form, was formulated under the Roman Empire either by superstitious
loons under the control of the secret police, or by secret police posing
as superstitious loons, because the existing ideological control
mechanisms were no longer up to the job. This happened several centuries
after the supposed lifetime of the mythological founder of the religion,
"Jesus Christ". It's not an accident that Christianity has served the
interests of the ruling class so well for the last two thousand years;
that's what it was designed to do.

For a particularly blatant example of this, refer to the Book of Romans,
chapter 13, wherein we're told that God commands us not only to obey the
state authorities, but also to pay taxes. There you have it, from The
Man himself. How stupid do they think we are? (The following comment was not in my email to M, but is worth noting. We are also told that slaves should obey their masters. It is worth noting that all of these references come from Paul. Paul never met Jesus (save for as a mysterious light) and Paul NEVER quotes Jesus. I've always said (tongue in cheek???) that Paul was a Roman agent sent to disrupt the Christian movement (if there really was much of one at that early stage.) Contemporary evangelical Christianity is primarily Pauline in its outlook. Jesus has import as a PERSONAL savior the social teachings have been largely ignored. This certainly dovetails nicely with the state interests. However, even in Paul we are urged to fight the "principalities and powers." Go figure.)

(Back to the email conversation.) My identity as "left" means "anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist". I don't know what you mean by the "fake" left, but what passes for
left in this country is centrist most other places.

That's what I mean by "left", too, with the important addition of
"anti-state". I don't see how you can be anti-capitalist and
anti-corporatist for very long without realizing whose side the state is
on, regardless of which political party is currently in office.

In this context, what I mean by "fake left" is people and organisations
such as the social-democratic parties which exist in every
industrialized country in the world, except the United States. In the
receding past, these parties used to produce real reforms, such as
public healthcare, old-age pensions, and unemployment
insurance. Nowadays, they are manifestly incapable of even defending
previous reforms, let alone generating any new ones. They claim to
represent the interests of the working class, but the actual effect of
their activity is to even further entrench state control over the
majority of the population. They don't see this as a problem, because
they claim to believe that the state is or should be socially neutral,
whereas all historical experience shows that the state is a machine
which the economically dominant class uses to politically and militarily
subjugate those who they wish to exploit.

I guess that's my definition of the "fake left" -- people who claim to
be pro-working-class while their actual political activity helps to
further entrench the power of the capitalist state over the working
class. I consider "leftists" who support income tax (at least as applied
to wages and salaries) and gun prohibition (except as applied to persons
with a prior history of criminal violence) to be paramount examples of
this phenomenon.

It wouldn't be fair to describe the US Democratic Party as "fake left",
since they don't pretend to be leftists of any sort. Their class
allegiance is transparently obvious to everyone but the willfully blind.

Guns. I just watched Bowling for Columbine (you may insert your Michael Moore is a fake leftist remark here.)

Done. I've been wondering about him for a while, but the whole Wesley
Clark episode pretty much settles it as far as I'm concerned.

(Another aside. I have a friend who has a "liberal" talk show in DC. He is endorsing Clark. He also told me recently he has lots of friends in the CIA. You do the math. If Clark isn't some kind of CIA plant or Republican stalking horse, I'll do Rush Limbaugh's laundry for a year. Wheels within wheels, you know.)

(back to the dialogue)...and was interested that Moore was not taking the position that guns were the problem. Moore compared gun ownership with rates in Canada. They are similar, but murders in Canada are rare.

I think he contradicted himself rather deeply in this film. He starts
off by demonstrating quite convincingly that:

-- the violence in American culture is intimately connected with the
violence of US foreign policy

-- in the specific case of the six-year-old child in Michigan who shot
another child at school, that if his whole family hadn't been forced
into poverty the incident would never have happened

-- with the Canada example, that the availability of guns does not in
itself cause violence

He then proceeds to ignore these important findings and finishes the
movie with an irrational rant about Kmart and the National Rifle
Association. He tries to smear the NRA by associating it with the racist
terrorist organisation of former slaveowners, the Ku Klux Klan, whereas
in fact the NRA was founded by Union army officers who had just defeated
the slaveowners in the Civil War, and who continued to suppress the
southern racists for the following twelve years.

Sorry, Mike, what point were you trying to prove, exactly?

However, overall, I find the idea that if I own a handgun I can keep
myself free from oppression rather laughable. Yeah, I can shoot
myself after the standoff, but I think the swat teams are a bit better
armed. So do I need body armor and automatic weapons? Grenades?
Even then, these are useless items without some organized movement.

When you express the idea like that, it does sound
ridiculous. Unfortunately, most of the Second Amendment libertarians are
unable to formulate any theory much more coherent than this, because
their politics don't reflect how society actually works.

It's a fact that prior to the twentieth century, the explicit purpose of
American gun control laws was to disarm black people who were either
trying to free themselves from slavery, or resisting terrorists who
wanted to return them to that condition.

During the twentieth century, this objective expanded to encompass the
disarmamant of the entire working class population, regardless of race
or ethnicity.

It's interesting to notice that while the vast majority of gun violence
in the US is carried out with handguns, this is the category of firearms
that the government has the LEAST interest in suppressing. It
necessarily follows that reducing criminal violence is not the main
objective of current gun control campaigns.

What the gun grabbers are really excited about is what they call
"assault weapons". This is actually a meaningless term of their own
invention, intended to scare people, but it appears that what they mean
by it is automatic and semi-automatic military rifles. Not
coincidentally, these guns are statistically the least likely to be used
in crimes, but are the only type that are likely to be of much use in
large-scale organised resistance to fascism.

More than this. It used to be the case that you could buy a Chinese
military-surplus semi-automatic rifle for less than $150. When the
government noticed that these were becoming popular, they banned further
importation of them. On the other hand, you can easily buy an exactly
equivalent, recently-manufactured American rifle for $800, even one that
fires the same cartridge, if you have the money. The government has gone
so far as to ban the reimportation into the US of M1 semi-auto rifles
made here during WWII and later exported to other countries, even though
the ones which never left are still perfectly legal. Again, these used
to be cheap, but since the import ban the price has gone up

In other words, the government has no problem with the upper-middle
class and the rich having guns of any type. The purpose of gun control
is to deprive the working class of specifically those weapons which
might be useful in defending themselves against the class enemy. If guns
are of no potential use for this purpose, then what is the capitalist
state worried about?

Your point about guns being useless for resisting oppression in the
absence of an organised movement is of course quite correct. But
consider the converse. When the Nazi (Republican?) death squads start
kicking in our doors, if we don't have any guns, then the existence of
even a large and well-organised movement is not going to be of any more
help than it was for the members and supporters of the German Communist
and Social-Democratic parties after the Reichstag fire. If you think
this is a hypothetical issue, ask any refugee from El Salvador.

And if such an armed revolutionary movement is succesful, do I want THEIR revolution. I won't be able to argue with them, of course, because, well, they have all these guns.

I think that at this point in time, worrying about what might happen
after the revolution is a little bit less of a pressing issue than
considering our response to the fascist counterrevolution which you have
predicted on your website, don't you? But then, you already think that
"the fascists have won in this country." (Aside again. By this, I meant they are in power now. I assume there will eventually be resistance (or implosion with just the right 9-11 document making it out, for example. Long odds, that.). The added issues we face now as opposed to past resistance movements, however, are the existence of both technology capable of world destruction and the issue of "peak oil" which will be addressed in a future post.)If so, maybe it would have been prudent for the left to have taken these issues more seriously in the past. Amen. On the off chance that the fascists haven't already won, perhaps it would be an opportune time to reconsider previous attitudes.

Notice that your point about not being able to argue with people who
have guns applies at least as much to the armed nonrevolutionary
movement known as the capitalist state. People who attempt to argue with
the sharp end of the state rarely live long enough to regret this
decision. Just ask the survivors of the Waco massacre. (oops, now you'll
never believe I'm not a closet right-winger.) Not at all. The day it happened my good and very "leftist" friend called and said in horror, "They just burned them all!" We both understood what was going on there.

What I'm saying is that my position on these and other issues
is very similar to what anyone who considered themselves a "leftist",
"socialist", "revolutionary", "anti-capitalist", or whatever term you
like, anywhere in the world, probably prior to 1945, but certainly prior
to 1914, would have said. If you had told anyone in the
late-nineteenth-century left that in the late-twentieth-century North
American left, support for state confiscation of working-class wages and
weapons would become some kind of political litmus test for
distinguishing "progressives" from "conservatives", they would have
reacted the same way they did when they heard that the social-democratic
parties had voted in favour of the First World War: they would have
refused to believe it.

The Paris Commune was established when the French army tried to
confiscate the *artillery* of the Paris militia, which had been
purchased with voluntary contributions from the working class. This
resulted in a two-month civil war and a huge counterrevolutionary
massacre perpetrated by the ruling class. This must be one of the
largest nineteenth-century experiments in gun control and working-class
resistance thereto.

Right now, if you went to Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Turkey,
Guatemala, Iran, the Philippines, Greece, or any number of other
countries which have suffered under CIA-inflicted terrorist
dictatorships, and told even *liberals*, let alone leftists, that the US
"left" spends its time lobbying the government to take people's guns
away, they wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry. They'd think you were
out of your fucking mind (pardon my French), and they'd be right.
Operation Condor and the Phoenix Program are coming here too.

The terms "left-wing" and "right-wing" originated in the French
Revolution and had well-established meanings by the middle of the
nineteenth century. My politics and my usage of these terms are
completely consistent with what most leftists in North America and
Europe believed prior to 1945 and with radical-left opinion in the rest
of the world up until now. Anyone who calls themselves a leftist but is
in favour of granting these kinds of powers to the capitalist state has
a completely different definition of what "left-wing" means than the
original one. They're the ones who have abandoned traditional left-wing
politics, not me.

At this rather critical juncture in the development of the international
class war, I think I'd prefer to maintain a healthy distance from any
"leftists" who are still suffering from the delusion that the state is
their friend. Such people are dangerous. If they want to commit suicide
by being run over by tanks, that's their business. I don't.

Well, that's about it. I apologize for any errors in my transcription. I wanted to get this up fast. I've also not checked out all the links, so let me know if one is broken or links to a porn site. I've been looking for a good porn site. Comments, as always, are welcome. Meanwhile, be thinking..what role are YOU prepared to take in the coming resistance? What is your own view about the best way to oppose power? Do you have hope or are you resigned that we're in for a catastrophic end? Let me know.