Archive for April, 2020

Cutting through the crap, with Matt Taibbi

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 30, 2020 by jtoddring

Along with John Pilger, Abby Martin, & the handful of honest journalists left standing, I love Matt Tabbi. Here he sums up what’s wrong with politics & the media, in a few short lines.

“Klobuchar is a pure distillation of “electability,” i.e., a Washington reporter’s idea of what a Midwesterner finds charming. She isn’t funny, but her tireless marketing of her funniness matches the reportorial concept of what a “sense of humor” is in politics.

Her ability to speak at length without revealing deep ideological belief is also prized by our kind. This is what Washington for decades told people they wanted, instead of health care, peace, job security, etc.”

Perfect summary.

Contemporary neoliberal/neoconservative politics – two wings of the same plutocracy:

All BS and PR, hiding the ugly face of a crypto-fascist, deeply corrupt and authoritarian globalist corporate oligarchy.

Yep.

Now, what are we gong to do about it?

JTR,

April 30, 2020

See also (among other important works):

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

And the writings of Matt Taibbi, Piers Robinson, Orwell, Huxley and Thoreau

The end of Bernie, the beginning of the Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2020 by jtoddring

I was and am a supporter or Bernie Sanders, like Ron Paul before him, because he truly represents the interests of constitutional democracy, and the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, versus the Wall Street/Davos/Brussels/City of London oligarchy and their minions in the military industrial security complex. But it appears he is now politically dead – by political suicide, it would seem. That doesn’t mean the revolution is over. It means it has just begun.

Matt Taibbi wrote, on February 8, right after Iowa:

“Coinciding with the flatulent end of the party’s impeachment gambit, and the related news that Donald Trump is enjoying climbing approval ratings, the blue party was exposed as an incompetent lobby for doomed elites, dumb crooks with nothing left to offer but their exit.”

So it seemed. But the bipartisan corporate fascist coup and entrenchment of the oligarchy could have been predicted – and was by a few people, myself included.

It’s amazing how long ago it seems that a populist democrat was on the verge of defeating the establishment elite – a mere three months and another world away. It’s also amazing to see how swiftly fascism can be established (even to fanfare!). The corporate oligarchy was not ready to let go of power. (Closet authoritarians and oligarchs always have a plan B. We should too.)

But remember this: it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

JTR,

April 30, 2020

Video Calls: Communication In A Hyper-Connected & Deeply Dissociated Society

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2020 by jtoddring

Thoughtful commentators to the Smithsonian and BBC recently “recommended limiting video calls to only those that are necessary. Petriglieri adds that positioning the video screen to your side may make it feel like you’re in a nearby room instead of under scrutiny. University of Québec psychologist Claude Normand tells National Geographic that turning off your camera and, if possible, taking the call by phone while going for a walk might be more productive.”

Re-read Orwell and Huxley now. We are being conditioned to accept the all-pervasive panopticon telescreen of Orwell’s dark vision, and a new global technocratic corporate police state. Resist. Seek the truth. Speak the truth. And disconnect in order to more truly connect.

We are increasingly disconnected, alienated, manipulated, and dissociated from reality, by our society’s norms; which are, increasingly, severely unhealthy for body and mind, for the body politic, and for our countries and our communities; as well as being increasingly authoritarian, crypto-fascist, technocratic and neofeudal. In this context, unplugging from the digital-electronic mesh is priority one, along with reflection, quiet time, reading, and reconnection with one another, nature, our bodies, hearts and spirits, on a deeper, more authentic and more richly meaningful level.

When possible, I would urge, we prioritize communications this way:

Some people will say the following is impractical or idealistic; but note that I said these should be choice rankings, not imperatives that can never be bent or strayed from.

We can make compromises. But we should also keep a clear set of values, goals, and guidelines in mind; otherwise, we succumb to the global race to the cultural and sociological, health and psychological bottom, where we will be nothing but hollow dead shells, and lifeless, mindless drones, in a neofeudal technocratic gulag society that would make Orwell shudder.

We are certainly well on our way to such a dark destiny. We need to change course, or further down will be our path.

*

First choice: face to face communication – in an office, board room, classroom or cubicle, if you must; but far better, when possible, outdoors, in a clean, green, quiet, natural setting. This is often achievable, with planning, if we value it enough to simply choose it.

Second choice: by typed or hand written letter.

Third choice: email – with courtesy, warmth, respect, full sentences, maybe even decent grammar.

Fourth choice: digital text or messaging – but please, with warmth, respect, full sentences, and attentiveness: not manic hyperactivity and inability to concentrate, focus, or show basic human warmth, civility or common courtesy.

Variable choice: Telephone is sometimes preferable to some people, over any of the above, at least for certain times. That may be fine for some people, but not all. It may further be deemed a necessary compromise at times; but face to face remains best; and often, letters and email are also better than the phone. (Corded, wired landlines are best, because evidence has been accumulating that artificial emfs, like artificial chemicals, do indeed increase health risks and cause harm. Speaker phones are second best.)

Last choice: Generally speaking, though there may be exceptions of course, video calls are worst – for stress, for health, and for human alienation and dissociation, despite surface appearances and corporate marketing PR.

Disconnect to reconnect, I say – at least sometimes, and much, much more than is the current norm.

Two hours a day, maximum, would be a wise limit on staring into any and all electronic screens – including cell phones, computers, video games and TV. Beyond this level, we are unquestionably degrading and decaying our bodies, our health, our relationships, our spirits and our minds, and are sowing dissociation and disconnection from one another, from nature, from our deeper selves, and from reality.

Dissociation, disconnection, alienation and division are poisoning us and our society, mentally, spiritually, politically and socially. We must reverse this trend, or it truly is a dark age ahead.

Remember, as the brilliant philosopher and social psychologist Erich Fromm said, “Normal only exists in relation to a profoundly abnormal norm.”

When the norm becomes toxic, it is time to change the norm.

JTR,

April 30, 2020

 

See also:

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

And the writings of Orwell, Huxley and Thoreau

Work and Workaholism: Puritanism – and, A Day Off

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

A few thoughts aloud, for anyone who might be interested – with a little philosophical, historical and political reflection in the midst:

This morning when I got up, feeling exhausted again from the on-going 30-year stint of sleeplessness and insomnia, I thought, I should take a day off – considering I pretty much never take a day off.

(Some people imagine that writers and philosophers sit around all day staring at their navels. Obviously they have never lived the life.)

But, despite my good intentions, shortly after mid-day I realized that my, admittedly joyous and quiet, “day off”, had consisted, so far, of readings in philosophy, politics and history, and the writing of three new essays. Then, as usual, I feel guilty for not accomplishing more. I’m not boasting – I am complaining to myself gently, that I don’t know how to stop or take a break, even when faced with physical and mental exhaustion. This is not a virtue – it’s simple idiocy.

I’m as stubborn as a mule, as the saying goes (though I hear that is unfair and inaccurate with regard to these noble, gentle beasts). And I realize again, what I have realized recently (we are a mystery to one another, by and large, and even to ourselves, at least for a long time): that I am indeed, and always have been, a workaholic.

Again, that’s nothing to be proud of. It is sheer stupidity. My Puritan up-bringing and cultural indoctrination – which everyone north of Paris and the Mexican border, and from Switzerland and Germany, at least, West to the Pacific Ocean, has been condemned with from birth for some few hundred years now – is hard to shake; even with decades of highly conscious efforts!

(I have gotten far better at life balance, but it is a definite work in progress. From purism and ascetic minimalism, and being exceedingly in my head and always lost in thought, to trying to balance that out and in turn becoming, unintentionally, a certified bon vivant, and then back again more moderately in the other direction, and finding, finally and at last, a bit of a better balance…but still definitely working it out…)

And so I say to myself, as a reminder (and to anyone who feels it may apply to them – and I would say it applies to virtually everyone in the North-West quadrant of the globe called The West, and more recently, The North, and to most urbanites outside this capitalist-Puritan empire’s heartland – and to the Japanese and Koreans, as well.):

First of all, unplug. Take a break, at least once in a while. Then…

Go outside! Remember what it is like just to sit and watch the birds and squirrels, the leaves and the grass, the trees in the wind, the sky and the clouds, and to simply be alive. And at least for a few minutes a day, sit or walk outdoors, with no music, no podcasts, no reading, no talking – just silence and nature.

Breathe. Just sit and breathe – for five minutes, at least. Do nothing but breathe, and pay attention to your breathe, as a focal point simply, letting your thoughts and your mind do whatever they like, but gently guiding them back to your breathe, every time they wander. Just sit (or walk) and breathe. And maybe smile as you do.

I am not joking, nor am I being pretentious. I am reminding myself to meditate daily – at least for five minutes, if not twenty minutes or an hour. It is simple, it is uncomplicated, it is something anyone can do, and it is powerful beyond all medicine, at least in the most important of ways: gradually, slowly, over time, grain by grain, it brings peace, calm, and clarity of mind, as well as openness of heart, and a simple joy of being alive. Just sit, and breathe. It is that simple.

Don’t over-complicate things. As my Swiss aunt liked to say, “Complicated works too.” But then, why choose complicated, when simple generally works better, or at least as well.

Take a walk in the forest (see Forest Bathing, if that inspires you, or the writings of Thoreau); or walk by the water – or at least around the block! (No headphones or earbuds, of course, preferably – if you possibly can be quiet for a few minutes, without distraction. Some people can’t. Or think they can’t. Fortunately, that I can do.)

Take a sauna, sweat-bath or steam – or a hot bath (ideally with Epsom salts).

Read a book for sheer pleasure – not out of duty, not for work, not even joyful seriousness (which is my normal reading), but sheer pleasure.

(A Wizard Of Earthsea, I have meaning to get to! Ah, how I love high fantasy, a la, Tolkien – and I love Ursula Le Guin!)

This corner of the world, which is Northern Europe and North America, north of the Mexican border, came, largely through a series of historical accidents (and brutal, genocidal conquest, followed by violent colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism) to dominate the globe for the past 500 years. (The declining relative power of the North-Western elite and their empire is now bringing a tectonic, fascistic, Orwellian, world-endangering power struggle into play, by the way, as some alert few have realized.)

That conquest mentality was a horrific mistake, as well as a horrific crime against humanity and nature. But the conquest began at home, we should realize. The mass of men, women and children in Europe, and in what became Canada and the United States, were first colonized, conquered, dominated and subjugated (incompletely and temporarily) by the ruling domestic elite, before that same elite sent them off to fight and die, to subjugate, colonize, conquer and dominate other peoples in other parts of the globe.

(The 99% great majority of the settler-colonial culture was being subjugated internally while its elite were busy with conquest, subjugation, slavery and genocide of the cultural “other” in the Americas, Africa and Asia. But the internal subjugation of the many by the few began first, and was necessary for the latter to occur at all. In short, we were pawns. We still are pawns. But no free man or woman is content to live as a pawn – much less as a pawn in some evil man’s game.)

The mechanisms of this foreign and domestic conquest and subjugation were, and remain: elitism in its various forms and its ideological rationalizations, subtle or overt authoritarianism, the sowing of fear, mistrust, paranoia, alienation and division, materialism and consumerism, the “manufacture of consent” and “necessary illusions”, along with thought control, PR and propaganda; and yes, Puritanism – and, not only a radically unbalanced way of life and approach to life, which arises from it, and a secretly self-loathing masochistic martyr complex and eagerness to be virtual slaves; along with a radical mistrust of nature, one another, and ourselves – which is the root of alienation, division, disconnection, dissociation and dualistic delusion, and is pure spiritual, intellectual, psychological, political and sociological poison.

This, among other things, is what we must unearth and exhume from our collective subconscious, this rattling skeleton, or rotting corpse, which not only haunts the world, but to a large degree controls, through insidiously, through stealth, the modern Western mind – up to and including the present day. By bringing it into the light of day, the light of consciousness, we strip it of its power; and thus, liberate ourselves, our societies, and our world: so that we can be free, and the world can indeed be born again.

And Thomas Paine was right: it is within our power to begin the world again.

As Arundhati Roy said,

“A better world is not only possible; it is already being born. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathe.”

Balance, re-connection, re-integration, re-examination, reflection, de-cluttering of the mind, simplifying of our lives and our approach – and with these things, and from these things, empowerment: this is what is needed now.

Time for a greater balance. We are too busy, yet, also put up with too much. We settle for too little. Bells and baubles and trinkets, distractions and entertainment, we have galore – we’re drowning in it. It is a sea of shiny, glittery sewage, and our world is drowning in it. But the things we need most, and which give our lives the greatest richness, meaning, and joy, we are impoverished in; or, as with liberty and democracy, and our basic human rights and freedoms, we are losing before our eyes.

We must now disconnect, in order to re-connect. Slow down, in order to re-balance. Do less, in order to regain a greater clarity, heart-centredness, and inner power. Then, begin again – with more power, more clarity, and more openness of heart; and all will be better, you can be assured.

At least, we can know this: lacking these things, and not taking time for such replenishing and re-focusing and re-connection, we can and will do less, and accomplish less – and will do it all with less clarity, and possibly with disastrous results, due to a lack of clarity.

Slow down, and sometimes, simply stop. Pause. Take a breath. The world will go on. Or it won’t. Being forever frenetically busy will not help anything. It will only cloud the issues, cloud the mind, and sow exhaustion and ill-health, while depriving your life of richness, meaning and joy – as well as many a great potential accomplishment.

Slow…down.

Breathe.

Life is not a race – no matter the conditions, or what is going on.

No matter the urgency, no matter the stakes: never hesitate, and never rush.

Remember the words of Rumi, and Emma Goldman:

“Ours is not a caravan of despair.”

And,

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

Amen, sister.

Moreover, if we do not slow down and find a better balance, our chances of success in anything important – including rescuing humanity from suicidal ecological destruction, or from slavery to the new global neofeudal corporate empire – will be slim.

Nourish yourself in body, spirit and mind. Slow down. And know when to take a break!

Peace.
JTR,
April 29, 2020

See also:

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice and the Blade – Rianne Eisler

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Psychotherapy East and West – Alan Watts

Choosing Reality – Allan Wallace

Stolen Continents – Ronald Wright

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Pathology Of Normalcy – Erich Fromm

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Walden, and On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boetie

The speeches and writings of MLK and Gandhi

 

The Real Resistance: Lessons From History

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

 

It does not require a majority to defeat tyranny and defend liberty, but only a small and dedicated minority – as we saw in the American and French Revolutions, and in the defeat of the first wave of fascism, which arose in the 1930’s (and was greatly loved and applauded by Western elites) and was defeated in WWII. We now face the second wave of fascism, though the sleep-walking great majority see it not.

Actually, this is the third wave of fascism. The second wave was installed by Washington and its allies around the world between 1944 and 2019 – the most obvious, or at least well-known example, being the CIA-backed coup in Chile, September 11, 1973, when democracy and freedom were destroyed, and the neoliberal corporate fascist police state of Augusto Pinochet was installed – which both brutalzed and effectively enslaved the people, and also destroyed the economy. (Sound familiar?)

Now, the Third World fascist model, having been perfected by Washington and its allies over the past 75 years, is being brought home. 

Don’t we all feel safer now? 

“We’re all in this together.”

Yes, lemmings, we all sing the joyous praises of our shackles and chains and mass house arrest, and sing the praises of the benign and all-saving aristocracy of the ruling oligarchy and crypto-fascist elite.

Orwell would shudder. Freedom and democracy are dying before our eyes, and as George Carlin and Jonathan Turley said, no one seems to care.

While it does not require a majority to defeat tyranny and to defend freedom, it does, however, require courage, and a spine – at least among a few. 

JTR,

April 29, 2020

See:

Piers Robinson – Geopolitics & Empire podcast

Robert Epstein – Geopolitics & Empire

America Has Created A Global Dystopia – Noam Chomsky, Scheer Intelligence

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Herd Mentality – Gerald Celente

The French Resistance and Vichy France – The Smithsonian (subject only: not exact title)

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boetie

Writings and speeches of Gandhi and MLK

Glenn Gould On Orwell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

Yo, listen up, blokes!

(He says, in order to mash and mangle and generally have fun with various voices, inflections, accents and colloquilisms, as Gould was fond of doing himself, rather playfully, but with very serious thought and musings injected into his playfulness – very much like the dark humour of the Orwellian film, Brazil.)

Glenn Gould was an eccentric genius, but he was eminently sane; unlike his society, and ours, which is fundamentally insane, and becoming (in some ways)  steadily more so – especially in its drift towards authoritarianism, neofeudal globalist corporate oligarchy and a police state; which the prescient saw well in advance, while the lemmings still can’t see it when it slams them between the eyes, as it is doing right now.

Glenn Gould, one of my heroes (and my favourite musician), speaks ironically here in this short audio clip about Orwell and the love of freedom, versus the love of prison – and battleship grey. How utterly fitting now, in 2020, as the people beg for their chains.

(Read, or read again: Necessary Illusions, The Shock Doctrine, Escape From Freedom, 1984, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited – and, On Civil Disobedience, The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude, the writings and speeches of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., the story of Jesus driving the money changers out with a whip, and, The Herd Mentality, by Gerald Celente.)

Liberty and constitutional democracy die now, unless the people refuse to be stripped of their freedom and their rights, and effectively shackled and chained. We cannot afford to underestimate the gravity of what is taking place before our eyes. It is a technocratic corporate fascist coup, and nothing less.

(We need a million Churchills now, despite his glaring faults; or at least, the humiliating defeat of the ubiquitous Chamberlains, Quislings and Vichys.)

What we are seeing is simply the fulfilment of what Adam Smith called, “the vile maxim of the masters”, which, as he  said, is, “all for us, nothing for anybody else.”

Or as George Carlin put it, speaking of the plutocratic oligarchs, the ruling 0.01%: “They want it all.”

Or as the world’s leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente put it:

“Let’s call it like it is. It’s fascism….This is as old as history.  The money changers have taken over. That’s all this is about.”

Well, what are we going to do about it? Pray for prison, and demand our cells be painted grey?

Or perhaps something more sanguine, and sane.

JTR,

April 29, 2020

Recommended listening:

Chomsky on global dystopia – Scheer Intelligence podcast

Piers Robinson and Robert Epstein on the Geopolitics & Empire podcast

The Boiler Room podcast – on destroying America for the sake of AI supremacy

Pink Floyd – Sheep

The speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

And Glenn Gould, on Orwell and the love of freedom, versus the love of prison, and grey:

Covid & the Left: An open letter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

It matters not what group it was this letter was addressed to. What matters is the content. Please read:

(Note that WordPress randomly gets buggy on me and will not let me make paragraph spacing properly: hence the strange use of stars. * And WordPress strangely made my signature invisible as well. Sorry I am all thumbs with tech or I would fix it, somehow.)

*

With much respect, and solidarity, I urge you to check your facts.
*
You wrote, “On Friday, May 1, an ongoing General Strike campaign begins. This campaign could become the most powerful movement in the United States and reset the national agenda. It comes when the failures of the US political system have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered an economic collapse in a presidential election year.”
*
This is the beginning of a bold plan, which could be transformative – yet it is also based in delusion, due to lack of fact checking, and the succumbing to an elite-crafted propaganda narrative.
*
I am not going to argue my case again here. I have argued it many times already. Please see the articles on my blog: J. Todd Ring on WordPress. If that is not sufficient, please check the facts at Trends Journal.
*
If you base a major strategy, a key strategy, on a radically misinformed view, you will likely be discredited later for being revealed to have been terribly and dangerously  naive.
*
Worse yet, by supporting the standard narrative that covid-19 CAUSED an economic collapse and an  authoritarian lockdown, which is an obviously irrational and foolish view, since a virus cannot quarantine anyone, much less entire nations, then you are lending support to what is in truth a simple fascist power grab, a fascist coup, by a bipartisan neoliberal and neoconservative global power elite.
*
How this is not clear to the left is almost inconceivable to me. You need to rethink and do some basic fact-checking, immediately.
*
Under 200,000 people have died from covid-19, versus 300,000 to 700,000 ANNUAL deaths from the common flu. How is it that these numbers justify extreme authoritarian measures? Can you not see the obvious big lie in this? The covid-19 virus is not even an epidemic if the annual flu is not considered an epidemic with 2-3 times higher yearly death toll. Are these things not obvious?
*
Read my blog, see Trends Journal, and please, think again.
*
YOU ARE PLAYING INTO THE HANDS OF  FASCIST OLIGARCHS, BY UNQUESTIONINGLY ACCEPTING AND SUPPORTING THEIR NARRATIVE!
*
Peace,

J. Todd Ring

*

See:

The Herd Mentality – Trends Journal

Piers Robinson

GreenMedInfo

My essays, including: Any Enemy Will Do

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