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Ukraine: CIA coup, geopolitical analysis, and WWIII

Posted in activism, American politics, analysis, Barack Obama, books, Brzezinski, Bush, class, corporatism, coup, democracy, elite, empire, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, imperialism, money, Obama, peace, police state, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, right, Russia, sovereignty, U.S., war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by jtoddring

Important facts about Ukraine, 2014 – that the major media won’t tell you

 

We often hear, at least from the more reputable businesses out there – and there are some, despite the trends in the opposite direction, led by the ruling corporate oligarchs – that you should “do your research before you buy.” How much more important is it that we do our research before we buy the official story told by political elites and their media presstitutes, than doing our research before we buy a new car? We need to look behind the headlines and the sound-bites – and this is arguably more important with regards to the situation in Ukraine, than it was even before the launch of the war in Iraq. We saw what a fiasco the war in Iraq turned out to be, what a quagmire it became, and what lies were spun to rationalize and justify the US invasion of a sovereign nation – over oil reserves and corporate profits for the already astronomically rich ruling 0.001%. Over a million people were killed in Iraq – mainly women, children and innocent civilians – as a result of war, devastation of critical infrastructure and brutally inhumane sanctions. The case with Ukraine is even more ominous. Ukraine could become the flash-point, quite literally, for WWIII. We, the people, absolutely must be aware of what is really going on there. The stakes are immeasurably high, and the situation is in a critical state, right now, as we speak.

When I first saw headlines and images about popular protests in Ukraine, I thought, “Wonderful – the people are standing up for democracy in Ukraine, and exercising their democratic power;” but I immediately thought afterward, “We’ve seen events misrepresented and completely distorted in the Western media many times before, so I will not assume anything, until I look into it more deeply for myself.” Being busy with a number of things already, and it being an impossibility to follow every event, or even every major event, in every country around the world, it took me some time to get around to digging behind the headlines of the mainstream media. When I finally did, I was not surprised at what I found; but what I found was troubling, and very disturbing, to say the least. Here are my findings from a first look behind the curtain of the media spin machine.

But from the outset, let me say this. The more I look behind the headlines into what is actually going on in Ukraine, the more I wonder if the neo-cons who still rule Washington – Obama being the leading offender and buffoon-in-chief – are actually trying to create a war between Russia and NATO: which would be, of course, the beginning of WWIII. They may just be that mad. Certainly, they are risking the outbreak of world war, whether that was the intention or not. This is sheer madness. And the Western media will give you no honest information about it.

 

Important facts about Ukraine, 2014:

1. The United States and Western Europe – or at least, the business, financial and political elite who rule this part of the world – have been trying to restore Russia to its traditional role as a purposefully underdeveloped backwater colony of the West – a resource base and source of cheap labour – ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917. And ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Western powers have been encircling Russia militarily, as NATO has encroached further and further East, swallowing up 12 nations into its sphere of influence that had formerly been aligned with Russia. Now, in Ukraine, the Western powers are on Russia’s doorstep, and Russia is not very happy about it, and with good reason. If we do not understand this larger context, then we understand nothing about what is happening in Ukraine, or anywhere in Eurasia, for that matter.

2. The basic game, the primary motives and modus operandi for the American Empire, for the European great powers, and for the Western corporate empire, which has now swallowed both of the former, has not changed. Money rules, and the prime concerns are the pursuit of ever greater wealth and power for the few at the top – the richest 1%, or more accurately, the 0.01% who are the plutocrats, the oligarchs, the business and financial elite who rule the Western world, and who dominate the globe – with no concern and nothing more than rhetoric, pretty speeches and public relations gestures for the overwhelming majority of the people, the other 99.99%, the environment, or the future of life and human beings on Earth.

Obama took the neo-con agenda of the Bush-Cheney regime, and took their core two policy goals – increased militarism and imperial warfare abroad, in order to further the interests of the ruling corporate elite; and a full-scale attack on democracy and freedom, not just around the world, in pursuit of ever greater riches and power, but even more critically, at home, in the heart of the empire, with a full frontal assault on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, civil liberties, democracy and freedom in the United States, in order to protect the ruling plutocrats and their political prostitute cronies from the increasingly restless and discontent populace, by creating a quite literally fascist police state at home.

(See Jonathan Turley, American Constitutional law expert, or Naomi Wolf, Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedges or Gerald Celente, among numerous other solid and thoughtful observers.)

“Let’s call it like it is – it’s fascism.”
 – Gerald Celente, the world’s leading trend analyst

With the passing of the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, the United States ceased to uphold the Constitution or Bill of Rights, or any meaningful, substantive sense of either democracy or freedom, and descended into what is, by any legal definition, a fascist state.

The pretense of freedom and democracy still remain – but that is to be expected. The United States is now an Orwellian society run by and for the business elite of Wall Street and London. For the moment at least, democracy in the United States, is dead.

When habeus corpus is suspended, and even the Magna Carta overturned, throwing out 800 years of rule by law, along with all civil liberties and the very foundation of all human rights and freedoms; when arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention become permitted and routine, when torture is made legal and becomes institutionalized, when universal and global surveillance becomes the established norm, and when extrajudicial summary execution, either through drone strikes, illegal and unconstitutional police or security force actions, mercenaries, military tribunals or CIA black sites, then there is no other word for it: this is fascism.

So no, we should not expect something different from Obama than we what saw from Bush. In fact, Obama has expanded Bush’s wars abroad; he has intensified the Bush-Cheny/neo-con/Wall Street attack on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, freedom and democracy at home; and he has escalated and accelerated the drive towards a police state in America. This is your champion of “hope and change.” He is a Wall Street hireling – a whore to the military-industrial-security complex and the bankers who rule the land.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. By his actions – pretty speeches notwithstanding – Obama is at least as bad as Bush and Cheney, if not worse. He is a crypto-fascist, working hard to ensure the continued rule and ever-expanding wealth and power of the ruling business elite – the people, the Constitution, freedom, democracy and the Earth be damned.

We should not be surprised at cynical, deceitful, Machiavellian or Orwellian maneuvers, regime changes and power plays undertaken by Washington under the figure-head of Obama’s “presidency.” The real rulers, the Wall Street and international banking and corporate elite, are still in charge – and their game plan has not changed: it is still, divide and conquer, subjugate and rule. Or as Adam Smith called “the vile maxim of the masters” – “All for us, none for anybody else.”

Fascism won’t come to America dressed in swastikas and accompanied by goose-stepping soldiers in the streets. It will come draped in the flag, wrapped up nicely in ribbons and bows, all smiles, as loveable and American as mom and apple pie – Orwellian to the core, and deeply camouflaged. It will be the full institutionalization and consolidation of a global corporate rule: and the well-paid public relations industry, and its most influential arm, which is the major media networks and the media prostitutes which staff its rank ranks, will put a happy face on it, and make it look sparkling and wonderful to any and all who are foolish enough not to look behind the thin veneer which covers over the ugly truth.

And fascism is not coming to America – it is here.

Obama is just the latest pawn, the latest face of the now globally dominant Western corporate empire. And he does not take his direction or his orders from the American people, anymore than he has any genuine concern for freedom, democracy or human rights anywhere on the planet – including at home, in the United States, much less in Europe or Ukraine.

3. The recent events in Ukraine were portrayed in the Western media as a popular democratic uprising against a corrupt political leader, and a yearning by the people to have stronger ties with the EU. It is true that a large percentage of the people of Ukraine felt this way, although it seems that this may have been a minority opinion; but in any event, that is a small part of the picture. There is also a large element of neo-Nazis that were involved in the protests and the ouster of the democratically elected government – neo-Nazies who trace their histories back to the Nazi sympathizers who murdered up to two million Jews, Communists and Russians in Ukraine during WWII.

And in case anyone is inclined to dismiss this element as fringe and inconsequential, it should be noted that the newly installed government in Kiev, under Wasington’s direction, has put the leaders of the neo-Nazi parties, Svoboda and the Right Sector, in charge of the military, the police and the judicial system. The neo-Nazi element, therefore, is in power. They are holding the big stick. And they have made it clear that they are not afraid to use it.

“For anyone in the Western propagandistic presstitutes from James Kirchick for the Daily Beast to the BBC to the Washington Post to Foreign Policy to the Guardian, as well as the Western regimes who have tried odiously over the last three months to whitewash the Right Sector (Ukraine’s Far Right paramilitary group that played a part in toppling the government), I give you their young, intelligent, eloquent, photogenic, charismatic, fluently English-Speaking, philosopher and press spokesperson – Olena Semenyaka – an open, proud, unrepentant, Nazi Swastika-waving, Hitler-saluting fascist.”
– Occupy London
(When I learn how to overcome my all-thumbs approach to digital technology and know how to use WordPress better, I’ll include the photo of Semenyaka proudly waving the Nazi flag and giving the Nazi raised-arm salute. Until then, you can easily find it on OccupyLondon’s facebook page.)

This large neo-Nazi element is, of course, anything but democratic – not to mention, racist, fascist, antisemitic and violent. And this is the element that US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was recorded in a phone call as saying she wanted intimately involved the US putsch which just occurred in Kiev.

Yes, what just happened in Ukraine was “a text-book CIA coup” – according to former CIA analyst and specialist on Russia, Ray McGovern; as well as the University of Ottawa professor of economics and founder of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky; and Francis Boyle, professor of international law in Illinois.

We have seen such regime changes over and over, ever since the US staged a CIA-orchestrated coup in Iran to install the Shaw – and the CIA even has a manual on how to go about such things. And yes, the US political and business elite will work with anyone who will get the job done for them, and act as puppets in their grand imperial game.

Look at the US support for Al Queda in Syria, in the efforts to overthrow the government there, or in Lybia, where US-backed Al Queda forces successfully overthrew that regime. The fact that neither regime is or was desirable is not the point – the point is that the US business and political elite will work with any goons they find useful to their purposes, and who will help them overthrow the governments of their choosing. Imperial ambition has no scruples, and will resort to dirty means and dirty allies and pawns, whenever it is expedient to do so. The US and Western business and political elite, and the new global empire they rule over, are no different. As Chomsky said, “International politics haven’t changed significantly since the time of Ghengis Kahn.”

It was the leaders of the US-backed neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine that turned the peaceful protests into a violent confrontation and a putsch to overthrow a democratically elected government. Worse yet, the leaders of the neo-Nazi parties in Ukraine have openly made death threats against the “Jewish-Russian” conspiracy, and have said that they will gun down the Jews, Communists and Russians in the streets. With over half of the people in Eastern and Southern Ukraine being native Russian speakers – to say nothing of political and religious freedoms, or the appalling renewal of antisemitism in Europe – we are talking here about very real threats of genocide. And these are the goons that Washington and the Western business elites have decided to make their allies and puppets, for the sake of imperial ambition and power politics. We should be deeply alarmed, and deeply concerned.

4. The tipping point in Ukraine came when the democratically elected president – a fact never mentioned by the Western press – who was thrown from power by a Washington-orchestrated coup – another fact which is never mentioned in the Western press – with the critical aid and allegiance of neo-Nazis – which is a third fact that is not mentioned in the Western media – President Viktor Yanukovych, reversed his former decision to accept a trade deal with the EU. That is when the gloves came off, and the coup was set in motion by Washington and its allies in Europe.

The reason that Yanukovych reversed his decision and rejected the trade deal with the EU, from all indications, is two-fold. Firstly, the billionaire oligarchs of Ukraine realized that if this deal went through, then they could quite reasonably fear that the bigger, badder, and more powerful billionaires of Europe, and the corporations they control, would move in and carve up Ukraine, and leave them with only a few remaining crumbs – so they pulled out their support for the deal.

The second major reason was that there was a little known clause in the trade deal, which would in the end, bring Ukraine into the NATO alliance – which would mean a tectonic shift of allegiances for Ukraine, from Russia and the East, where it has traditionally been for centuries, to Europe and the West: and Yanukovych apparently decided that that might not be the best move, all things considered.

So, Yanukovych killed the deal – Yanukovych had to go. The putsch was on.

It was a very similar, almost earily similar pattern to what we saw leading up to the war in Afghanistan. And in both Afghanistan and Ukraine, a critical factor was a pipeline, and a deal that fell through, with dramatic reprecussions. (Keystone XL activists, make note of this. The oil giants are ruthless and vicious. Be unafraid, be brave, be bold, but do be alert.) The Taliban had been best buddies and allies with Washington, and there are photos of a grinning Donald Rumsfeld, I believe it was, shaking their leader’s hands – or was that Saddam Hussein? I’m making a joke, but it is deadly serious. Rumsfeld and his neo-con cronies were the best of friends with the Taliban, just as they had been with Saddam, and armed and funded them both, for various economic and geopolitical reasons. But Saddam got out of line, and forgot who buttered his bread and who ruled over him, so his masters in Washington took him out.

It’s a familiar pattern. Noriega in Panama was on the CIA payroll – until he disobeyed orders, and had to be taken down. The Taliban were favourite allies of Washington, until they refused the offer of large sums of cash in return for protecting a US oil company’s pipeline (UNOCAL) which was to run from the Caspian Basin through Afghanistan to the sea, for shipment to Chinese markets. The talks between US government representatives and Taliban leaders were transcribed and leaked, and the negotiator for Washington was recorded as saying, just before the US invasion of Afghanistan, “You either accept our offer of streets paved with gold, or we will bury you.” The Taliban refused, and the rest is history.

Former National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter, “Zbig” Brzezinski, even bragged, in an interview in Paris, abut how he created the Islamic terrorist networks based in Afghanistan. It was a plan, he openly stated, to draw the Soviet Union into “their own Vietnam,” in order to weaken and destabilize the USSR. And he was proud of the fact that the plan worked, and lead to or at least contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union, and he scoffed at having created a rabid terrorist network in the process, saying, “What’s a few worked-up Muslims?” That’s bloodless geopolitical power politics for you.

So yes, the US, or rather, the Washington political elite, and the business and financial elite for whom they work, have been engaged in highly deceitful, duplicitous coups, treachery and regime changes for a very long time. Yanukovych is merely the last in a very long line.

According to William Blum, who used to work for the US State Department, but resigned in protest over the war in Vietnam, and author of Killing Hope – a history of the CIA: the US has engaged in coups or regime changes, putsches and the like – however you prefer to call the overthrow of a foreign government – 77 times prior to this latest putsch in Ukraine.

The CIA is now very good at this sort of thing. However, freedom and democracy are always the victims, along with the people, and the blow-back is usually severe as well. Such wild, brazen arrogance on the part of the US is making the American people less safe and more in danger, because of the hate it creates, and it is simply morally appalling and utterly unacceptable, as well as a straight up violation of international law, all democratic principles and principles of freedom, and all basic human rights, of course, at the same time.

The idea with the trade deal with the EU was to plop this economic basket case of Ukraine onto the EU’s lap, in order to a) bring Ukraine and its assets into the control of Western bankers, plutocrats, corporations and business elites; b) more specifically, to overturn Russia’s control of critical gas pipelines through Ukraine going into Europe, for greater control over, profits from and security of energy resources; and most critically, to sever Ukraine from Russia, not just economically, but also militarily, in order to further weaken, surround and isolate Russia.

But, again, Yanukovych killed the deal, so he had to be removed. The fact that neo-Nazis were chosen as the pawns to do the job, and to effectively replace him, makes no difference in the eyes of the Western imperial powers. They are used to such nefarious allegiances. They are the world’s leading terrorist powers, as Chomsky has said, and has documented in great detail. Why would they quibble or wince at working with, or putting in power, some small-fry terrorists in Afghanistan (the Taliban), or a thug in Iraq (Saddam), or neo-Nazies in Ukraine? It’s all just business as usual to them.

And again, of course, the Western media and their loyal presstitutes will tell you nothing of these critical details, the history behind them, or their critical significance in the events of the past few days and months in Ukraine.

5. Ukraine literally sits on top of critical pipelines bringing natural gas from Russia to Central and Western Europe. The big Western oil giants are looking to unseat Gazprom, the giant Russian national oil and gas company. We are looking at another battle over control of the world’s energy resources. In a nutshell, Russian billionaires are competing with Western billionaires for control over the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel sales in Europe.

We have seen, across the Middle East, what lengths the Western oligarchs are prepared to go to secure such riches and power. Over 1 million people have died in Iraq alone in the bloody wars over oil and gas. The Western plutocrats have no conscience – mass murder does not faze them; and of course, they have no interest in either democracy or freedom, grand rhetoric aside. The Russian oligarchs have acted no better – although they are primarily concerned, as Putin is, with stablizing and securing their empire, and not expanding it, as the Western powers seem intent on doing. In any case, a confrontation between billionaires from the East and those from the West, would be anything but peaceful or pretty, if it comes to a head: it would be, quite literally, WWIII.

That being said, the Western expansion Eastward, economically and also militarily, through NATO, its encircling of Russia, and its recent putsch in Ukraine, is not just about oil and gas profits, as enormously significant and motivating as that may be for the Western plutocrats – and is. It is also about global geostrategic dominance, and global hegemony for the West.

The Western elite seem hell-bent on an extraordinarily dangerous gambit, and seem to want to retain and consolidate their present global dominance, by any means necessary or expedient – even at the risk of global war and the extinction of humanity. The madness has no equal, either now, or at any time in the history of humankind.

As Chomsky clearly elaborated in one of his many major works, Hegemony or Survival, the dangers of this current path which we are being led down, cannot be overstated. We face a critical juncture for humankind. Either we swear off of empire and all its grandiose and horrifying games of power politics, or we watch as the power-mad destroy the world, and all future for human beings on Earth. Our choices have indeed become that stark.

7. Russia will not, and furthermore, feels it cannot, back down. Russia not only has deep, long-standing historical ties with Ukraine, but further, the Eastern and Southern portions of Ukraine were historically a part of Russia, and 60% of the inhabitants of the region are native Russian speakers who still retain strong ties to Russia.

And the bonds of allegiance go both ways. Ukraine, and especially the Crimean Peninsula, are very close to the hearts of the Russian people, for reasons of history, and also because the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea is the principle Russian vacation land and Club Med. Watching the West and NATO make gestures towards moving Ukraine, or even the Crimean Peninsula alone, into the sphere of Western dominance, would be something akin to Russia taking over Florida and Ellis Island at the same time. One could imagine what kind of response that would arouse among Americans. The analogy is, of course, imperfect, as all analogies are, but the point remains. Both Russia and also the people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine wish to keep their close ties with one another, and no threat to this long-standing relationship will be easily endured.

Ukraine is also, to repeat, the major route for Russian oil and gas pipelines to Europe. Russia will not surrender one of its most vitally important export routes, for one of its most vitally important industries.

Furthermore, Russia has critically important strategic naval bases on the Crimean Peninsula, giving them vitally important access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. And again, after watching NATO and the Western powers expand East and encircle Russia militarily, while taking away important economic allies, piece by piece; and with Ukraine at Russia’s southern border and doorstep, and further, being in a strategically critical geographic location, Russia was bound to draw a red line in the sand.

The Russian people back Putin in his move to put troops into the Crimean Peninsula in order to prevent any moves by the West to encroach any further, and also, to protect the Russians living in Ukraine against the neo-Nazis in Kiev who have made public death-threats against them. Putin had no choice, politically, according to Russian specialist, Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus from NYU and Princeton. Had Putin not made this move, his credibility in Russia would go from low, to shattered. Russia will not allow the West to take Ukraine. That is, and should have been, as Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and another specialist on Russia has said, “a known-known.”

As the leading intellectual and long-term geostrategic planner for the Western elite for the past forty years, “Zbig” Bzrezinski has said, Central Eurasia has always been critical to control, if the Eurasian continent is to be controlled. And since the Eurasian continent contains the majority of the people, markets and resources on the planet, it is critical to control Eurasia, and hence, Central Eurasia – if, like Bzrezinksi and the Western elite, one is above all concerned with global dominance.

All imperial strategy rests, centrally, upon control of this strategically critical area of the world, as the wars in the Middle East indicate and make clear – yes, they are about oil, but more importantly, they are about global geostrategic hegemony and control.

Central Eurasia is the linch-pin. As “Zbig” said, in The Grand Chessboard, historically, whoever controls central Eurasia, controls the continent, and whoever controls the continent, dominates the world.

That is why Brzezinski argued for the “projection of force” in the Middle East, why he argued for the necessity of a large crisis in order to get the American people to agree to or at least tolerate such “projection of force,” and why he armed, funded, trained and created the Islamic terrorist network based in Afghanistan, to use as a puppet in the region – the same terrorist network that is alternately an official enemy, say, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, after the pipeline deal went sour, that is, or, in Libya and Syria, unofficial friends, who suddenly become recast as “freedom fighters” – exactly as the Taliban were called, before they became official enemies, and while they were still loyal allies and puppets.

Does all of this sound confusing? It is straight-forward, when you understand the operating principles: anyone we control, is a friend. Anyone we can’t control, is an enemy. Simple as that. Sometimes Al Queda can be used and manipulated for our own imperial objectives – and by our, I mean Western business elite objectives – in which case they are eagerly embraced and gladly used, and are official or unofficial friends and allies. Sometimes they get out of line, as servants sometimes do, and then they become official enemies, and must be decried, shot like disobedient dogs who turn on their masters, or simply cast to the wayside, or thrown in prison, like Noriega. It all depends on whether they are considered useful, or in the way – and that can change, literally, from one day to the next.

Yes, central Eurasia is considered geostraticially critical, and Ukraine is in the heart of it. Putin certainly knows this, as do the Western oligarchs. That is yet another reason why Putin is not going to give up Ukraine, or access to the Black Sea. The balance of power globally may well rest upon it.

Putin is trying to secure and stabilize a great nation, Russia, that is, of course, which has collapsed twice in the past century: once in 1917, and once in 1991. His aim, from all evidence, is not expansion, but protection of Russia.

He may be vicious and corrupt, and he is. He was head of the KGB, after all, so what else would we expect? He was the head of the Soviet goon squad. But, what is important here to note, is not his character, or his domestic policies in Russia, but his international relations: and his primary interest, from all indications, is in stability and security for Russia, not the expansion of its territory. And Putin has every reason to be concerned with Western powers staging a coup on his Southern doorstep – clearly. He would have to be a fool not to be concerned; and Putin may be many things, but he is no fool.

Considering the recent expansionist actions of the West, which go back decades and even centuries, the Russian people are rightfully concerned about having Washington, NATO and the Western bankers and oligarchs on their doorstep, and staging yet another regime change – this one, as close as it could get, without actually crossing the Russian border.

Putin will not back down. He can’t. The US and the EU can back down, and have or foster a cooperative relationship with energy-rich Russia, but Russia cannot back down. The expansion of Western powers has now reached its limit. Any further, and there will be world war. I don’t believe there is any question as to these most essential facts.

The neo-cons and their plutocratic overlords and masters in the corporate and financial world, who, it must be repeated, still control Washington, hopefully have some trace of sanity left in them. So far – with Russian troops deployed in the Crimean Peninsula, protecting the Russian people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine, as well as their naval bases on the Black Sea, facing down the very real threat from Western-backed neo-Nazis in Kiev – not a shot has been fired. A diplomatic resolution could still be reached. But this could change at any moment. If this turns into a shooting war between Russian forces and a Western-backed proxy army of neo-Nazis, Al Queda forces, or whomever the West deems its latest favourite pawn, then, as Stephen Cohen has said, “All bets are off,” and anything could happen – including the unthinkable, which is the extermination of the human species on Earth. Pray that sanity prevails.

6. As Stephen Cohen said recently, US options are “Zero. Zero options, unless they want to go to war. Russia is holding all the cards.”

Russia holds all the cards politically, since, a) the Russian people back Putin in drawing a line in the sand against further Western expansionism on Russia’s doorstep – as it is quite rightly perceived; and more essentially, because b) the people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine are primarily native Russian speakers, with strong historical ties and a strong allegiance to Russia, as well as a very legitimate fear of what the neo-Nazis now installed in Kiev might unleash upon them, in the form of literally genocidal acts, not to mention oligarchic and despotic rule; and c) the evidence is clear that the newly installed government in Kiev was put in place, installed, that is, by the US and its Western allies, through a Washington staged regime change, a coup, and therefore has no legitimacy.

Russia also supplies 30% of Europe’s natural gas. The EU will not likely press the matter, believe me. Russia could simply turn off the taps, and Europe will freeze. Europe is now arguably far more dependent on Russia than Russia is on Europe.

The global balance has shifted. Just as China now holds the US by the purse strings, holding its debt and being its principle banker, as well as having American trans-national corporations deeply dependent upon Chinese manufacturing plants, and with the Chinese economy about to surpass that of the United States as the biggest economy in the world, Russia is fast-arising as a global economic super-power, while Europe is on the edge of insolvency, and is struggling economically, to put it mildly.

Europe and the United States are sinking, at least in relative terms, if not also in absolute terms, while the BRIC nations, and especially Russia and China, continue to soar. Europe is in no position to play it rough.

Europe is a sinking ship, as is the US. These declining world powers can no longer afford to engage in boyish imperial games, much less hollow sabre-rattling. The world is increasingly interdependent and also poly-centric. If Washington and the Western elite persist in pursuing 19th century policies in the context of 21st century realities, to paraphrase the hopelessly hypocritical John Kerry, they will not only harm others, but will very likely destroy themselves, and quite possibly all of humanity along with them.

And it is not just in terms of energy and gas that Europe is far too dependent upon Russia to do anything more than bellow in idle gesturing. Russian billionaires and plutocrats now store their money and riches in Europe – in Swiss bank accounts, London real estate and secretive Jersey Island financial havens for the world’s super-rich. Europe’s big money is now intertwined with Russia’s big money – and Russian billionaires have more mobility, by all indications, at least in terms of this relationship is concerned. The European oligarchs don’t dare to press the matter, or any matter, for that matter, with the great and increasingly powerful Russian bears.

Europe is simply far too addicted to Russian gas and Russian wealth to do anything more than make hollow public relations statements, which will in all likelihood amount to absolutely nothing more than PR. And without European Allies, a weakened American empire with a struggling US economy would be foolish in the extreme to press the matter – even more foolish than if they had the full support of Europe, which they most decidedly do not.

As Ray McGovern said, anyone who had any understanding of Ukraine and its place in the relationship between Russia and the West, could have known that Russia will not back down and allow its most critical satellite and borderland to fall into the Western military and economic orbit. In McGovern’s words, this was “one regime change too many,” and Washington “has bit off far more than it can chew.”

The putsch in Ukraine is a classic case of imperial hubris and imperial overshoot. Declining empires always tend to behave the same way, and such foolish arrogance tends to put the final nail in the coffin, and seal the fate of the decaying empire. We will see what Washington chooses to do, but it would be wise to acknowledge the facts, and bow out gracefully, to return to the business of rebuilding its own economy and its own crumbling infrastructure and decimated industrial base, and forget about ruling the world or changing regimes around the globe – which will be the end of the nation as well as the empire, if they persist in it.

Obama’s only options now, as both McGovern and Cohen have made clear, are to back down, and quietly acknowledge the mistake, even if it means demonstrating the growing weakness of the United States and its Western allies; or, start what may well be the beginning of WWIII. Let us hope that some shred of remaining sanity prevails.

 

A final note on the US – being the principle antagonist in this very dangerous, still unfolding situation in Ukraine:

The US has more than enough problems of its own for it to be meddling in the affairs of other nations. Are the Washington elite and their Wall Street masters on crack? The US has been de-industrialized through corporate globalization. It has decimated its manufacturing base, and its economic base, through off-shoring of production and profits. It has a trade deficit running into the billions of dollars a day. It has gone, in a few short decades, from being the leading creditor in the world, to the leading debtor. It has squandered its natural resources and stripped itself of its economic powers, through a short-sighted greed by the ruling few, at the expense of the people and the nation. The end of American hegemony is clearly in sight, if it is not already here; and yet, the ruling elite continue to push as hard as they can towards full, unbridled disaster.

Poverty and inequality are skyrocketing across the US – as a result of globalization and the off-shoring of production and profits, and the extraction of wealth from the many to the few, in what can only be described as a conscious and systematic class warfare, waged by the super-rich against the nation and the rest of the population. Meanwhile, while the middle class is being eviscerated and liquidated, and driven into the growing sea of an underclass.

There is more poverty, and also greater inequality, in the US now than at any point in its history – even during the Great Depression. Half of the people in the United States now live below, at, or just above the poverty line – and poverty continues to rise daily. Living conditions in most US inner cities are now worse than many of the poorest third world nations.

For any country, and especially for the richest country in the world, this state of affairs would be an utter disgrace – and it is.

The United States continues to spend over a trillion dollars a year on the military-industrial-security complex, on war and war preparations, on foolish imperial stratagems and adventures, and on the build-up of a police state at home – more than enough money to rebuild the crumbling economy and infrastructure, create jobs for all, eliminate all poverty in the nation, and put the country on track towards true environmental stability and sustainability. But the military-industrial-security complex must be fed – even if it is with the people’s own blood, and the blood of their daughters and sons: it is demanded by the ruling super-rich, so the folly must continue, it seems – at least until the American people rise up and say, “No more.”

Meanwhile, the richest 1% have grown ever richer and more powerful, while the other 99% face ever-increasing material insecurity and disenfranchisement, their voices silenced and their future raped of all hope, as the political elite in power continue to serve the ruling robber barons and the Wall Street plutocrats – or kleptocrats, as they should more accurately be called. This situation is reaching a breaking point, and rapidly so. America should take care of America, before it goes telling, or imposing on others, its magnanimity and wisdom. Put your own house in order, Washington.

And this is just an overview of the severe and growing economic and social problems in the United States, to say nothing of the deepening political crisis. America, under the rule of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchs, has gone from freedom to fascism in short order. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are in tatters and flames. The people of America grow more weary and more frustrated daily, not only with the rapidly increasing inequality and poverty which they face, not only with the bankrupting of the nation by an imperial fetish among the reigning elite that is out of control, but even more so, by the increasing attack on freedom, civil liberties, democracy and basic human rights at home. They will not take much more, I assure you.

The US is truly a powder keg, and revolution is brewing, as leading trend forecaster Gerald Celente and others have said. But the Wall Street oligarchs and their political prostitutes carry on merrily, singing a chorus of “Let them eat cake.” This hubris we have seen before, and we know where it leads.

Revolution is not always pretty, but it is sometimes unavoidable, and moreover, simply necessary. And the ruling elite in the US are making sure that it is, in fact, unavoidable: through sheer arrogance and contempt for the people. I pray that it will be peaceful, but that it will come, is by now, a virtual certainty.

Mr. Obama, you have more than enough work to do at home. Stop meddling in the affairs of other nations. If you persist in this madness any further, it will be the end of America. Enough is enough. It is time for peace, and for prosperity and freedom for all.

No more regime changes. No more games of empire. Take care of your own people – or step aside, and let the people renew their own democracy, and their land.

Conclusion: On empire or survival

Empires have always been brutal, bloody, aggressive, violent, war-like, and inherently anti-democratic, oppressive and tyrannical; and there have always, therefore, been good and strong reasons to resist and oppose them. At this point in time, however, empire is no longer just an extreme offense to every decent human value and an oppressive weight on human beings. At this time in our history, the nature of empire has become quite simply suicidal.

The present rulers of the world, the oligarchs and plutocrats of both East and West, believe that they are engaged in what they call political “realism.” It is anything but. What they are engaged in, is imperial folly, which has been shown in every age to be a fool’s errand, a lust for power which harms and oppresses human beings widely and profoundly, and an enterprise which, in the end, always turns to dust.

The mongers of empire are engaged in deep self-deception, and in delusions of grandeur. It is the values of freedom, democracy, the self-determination of peoples, and the love of one’s neighbor which are the basic tenets of both, basic sanity, and also a sane and truly sustainable, as well as a just and free society.

At this point in human history, we either re-assert these principles of basic sanity and common sense, or we will simply cease to be. This is realism. The rest is pure fantasy, pure delusion.

Madmen now hold the power, but the greater power always resides with the people. When, and if, the people stand up, and stand for their rights, then, and then alone, will the world have a chance at true peace, at justice, at real freedom, at democracy, and at simple survival.

We are now faced with a clear choice: end the age of empires, and let democracy and freedom truly reign; or let the errors of our past be repeated in new and more hideous ways than ever before, sowing, not only a dark age, but our own self-destruction, until human beings are no more, and the light goes out for the entire human race.

Our choice is clear. There is no choice. Empires must end now. This madness must cease, or humanity will simply cease to be.

Again, the billionaires of the East are battling the billionaires of the West for oil and gas money, and the domination of the globe. And I have to say to that, “You childish, reckless, mad putzes – stop endangering us all with your foolishness and utter insanity. Are you completely mad?”

This is a richly abundant planet, and as Gandhi said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but for no one’s greed.”

It is time for these games of greed, power lust, empire and egomania to come to an end – and now.

The situation in Ukraine could end up being among the final notes of our collective demise, or it could be a warning call that awakens the people of the world, and catalyzes the movements for democracy, freedom, and a better world for all. The choice, is entirely up to us.

The power is always in the hands of the people. Let us use it wisely – and now.

No more war. No more empire.

Stop the madness now.

Stand.

J. Todd Ring,
March 5, 2014

 

For further details please see the references below. The first rule to finding out or knowing anything about what is truly going on, is to turn off the major media – both the corporate and state media. The second rule is to read widely, and dig for verifiable information. The third rule, is to seek out and discover selectively chosen, reliable sources, that you have learned from experience and from verification with both reason and evidence, to be highly accurate, if not at all times perfect.

As to reliable sources, you must think for yourself, and discern for yourself. Take no one’s word on anything. As the Buddha said, examine things for yourself. But as a starting point, I would recommend a few, generally excellent sources. They have their faults and their blind spots, but generally they are excellent – and certainly they are in an entirely different league, many leagues above and beyond the major media outlets. Among the best sources for news and analysis that I have found, are the following. Most of the rest, with few exceptions – and even those that portray themselves as “alternative media” or “independent media” or “public broadcasters” – either chronically miss the heart of the matter, and skirt about the surface of things merely, or else offer pretty much the same spin, PR, lies and illusions as you would find in the thoroughly corrupt corporate and state-run media. But again, above all, think for yourself. Examine things for yourself.

Trends Research / Gerald Celente

Centre for Research On Globalization / Global Outlook / GRTV

Project Censored

Z Communications / Z Magazine

The Kaiser Report

Dandelion Salad

CounterPunch 

A few excellent articles on the situation in Ukraine (my apologies that this is not more neatly presented – time seems like it may be critical):

Ukraine – Recent developments and contextual analysis:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/05/chronology-of-the-ukrainian-coup/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/is-the-u-s-backing-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/ukraine-one-regime-change-too-many/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/u-s-has-zero-options-in-ukraine/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-was-a-playbook-cia-coup-detat/5371296
http://shar.es/RnwvN
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-backstory-to-the-russia-ukraine-confrontation-the-us-nato-encirclement-of-russia/5371776
http://shar.es/RnjiU
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/lighting-the-fires-for-chaos-in-ukraine-by-bruce-gagnon/#more-158787
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/ukraine-the-dangers-of-dealing-with-delusional-western-leaders-putin-holds-aces-obama-deuces/
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/russia-vladimir-putin-the-west-104134.html

(The last article is the weakest, but I will include it, since it does add some important points on Russia’s wealth being stored in Europe, and on the hypocrisy of Europe’s ruling elite – and because of the lead photo of Putin staring down Obama, and Obama trying hard not to blink. Two thoroughly corrupt oligarchs posturing like they are the saviours of humanity, and looking like two pre-pubescent school boys caught up in childish bravado – such is the current state of the world, and this photo sums it up.)

A few excellent books for an overview of the state of the world:

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

The Ecology of Freedom – Bookchin

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Mutual Aid – Kropotkin

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de la Boite

New studies show babies have basically decent impulses and are strongly driven by moral imperatives

Posted in analysis, anarchism, anthropology, books, class, common ground, consciousness, democracy, elite, empowerment, freedom, Hobbes, inspiration, Kropotkin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, must-read, people's movements, philosophy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, psychology, reading, science, social theory, sociology, the world's other superpower, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by jtoddring

More research shows once again that compassion, empathy and mutual aid, and an instinct toward cooperation, are innate in human beings, confirming what the great Russian biologist and anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin had already amply demonstrated over a hundred years ago, in his monumental work, Mutual Aid. My but our cherished ideological self-deceptions die slowly.

The dark view of human nature presented by Hobbes and many others, is still alive and well, despite the growing mountain of evidence to the contrary. The ideology of social Darwinism, hatched by Herbert Spencer, and not, emphatically, by Darwin himself, still holds considerable sway, especially among the power elite, to use C. Wright Mills term, who use this grand self-deceit as a rationalization for their callous and frankly sociopathic behaviour.

But, as Chomsky has said, the great majority of people have basically decent impulses. Since this is the case, and since those who gravitate to positions of great power tend to be power-mongers and sociopaths, far more often than altruistic benefactors or true leaders, we should question our learned obedience to government and other elites and power structures, and trust our own common sense, and ourselves, far more.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/as-babies-we-knew-morality/281567/

J. Todd Ring,
November 18, 2013

The Lion’s Roar: Cutting through illusion to the heart of the matter

Posted in analysis, books, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, must-read, ontology, peace, philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, psychology, quotes, religion, religious philosophy, social theory, spirituality, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by jtoddring
“There is no difference between theism and non-theism, basically speaking. Declaring an involvement with any kind of ‘ism’ turns out to be a matter of self and other. In fact, the whole question of self and other can then become very important. But if you really pursue any spiritual path, you will discover, surprisingly, that self and other are one thing. Self is other, other is self.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Speaking of Silence

It is extremely rare to hear anyone speak of spirituality or philosophy who actually gets to the heart of the matter, and does not merely flit about the surface. Chogyam Trungpa and a handful of others are the exception to the rule. In a sea of noise and dross, confusion and illusion, such voices of basic sanity are profoundly refreshing to hear.

The atheists and the theists are both off the mark – the former probably more so than the latter, admittedly. But that is alright. They will figure it out sooner or later. Reality will dawn on all, eventually.

“The number of minds in the universe is one.” – Erwin Schrodinger

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

More from Trungpa Rinpoche:

GREAT COMPASSION IS PAINFULLY REASONABLE

“With great compassion, because you have developed clarity, you do not have doubts and you are not unreasonable. You realize that the best way to be skillful is to be reasonable. When you are fully reasonable, actually reasonable—and to a certain extent, painfully reasonable—you begin to experience the genuineness of situations and act accordingly, in a way that is appropriate to the situation.”

—The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two, by Chögyam Trungpa http://www.shambhala.com/the-bodhisattva-path-of-wisdom-and-compassion.html

The second central truth to all authentic spiritual paths, is that, since self and other are intimately related, interconnected, interdependent, and in truth, one, therefore, love, kindness and compassion are not just nice, pleasant, virtuous or noble, but simply a matter also of enlightened self-interest.

If we are awake, then we will live with compassion. That is the central teaching of all the great religions. It is also the central premise of the Enlightenment – the central underlying value which underpins and is the foundation of the core Enlightenment values of liberty, equality, solidarity and democracy. This is the foundation for an enlightened life, and also, an enlightened society.

J. Todd Ring,
November 13, 2013

For further reading, see Ken Wilber, No Boundary; Alan Watts, The Book; Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy; Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe; Renee Weber, Dialogues With Scientists and Sages; Holgar Kalweit, Dreamtime and Inner Space; Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self; The Diamond Sutra, The Heart Sutra, The Prajnaparamita Sutra, The Uttaratantra; The Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu; The Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyers Transl; Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Harvard Divinity School Address; and the writings of Chogyam Trungpa – as a good start.

Are we alone? More importantly, are we even awake?

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anthropology, books, collapse, consciousness, conservation, cosmology, crash, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, end-game, environment with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2013 by jtoddring

The “man the life boats and head for the stars” answer to our present human dilemmas is simply delusional. We can and should explore space, but if we don’t get our act together here on this planet immediately, we’re dead – extinct: plain and simple.

A recent book seems once again to miss that point entirely, sadly, judging from an interview with the author in The Atlantic, titled, Are We Alone?

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/are-we-alone/280706/

A better question might be, Are we awake? Because at present, all indications are that we are sleep-walking into our own self-annihilation, as David Suzuki, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond and others have said.

The Atlantic asks, “What are the big intellectual questions today?” Well, we can say this much: the big intellectual questions do not include asking how we can build a space ship to fly a handful of the richest people on Earth to some fantasy space colony and leave behind billions of our fellow species and the vast majority of our fellow human beings to slowly drown in the excrement we have left as our legacy.

Even if this were technologically possible within the remaining time-span before our civilization’s infrastructure crumbles under the weight of our own self-created ecological holocaust – which it is not; it would be grossly irresponsible, inhuman, obscenely callous and cold-hearted, and unethical in the extreme.

And by the way, if the scientists who are star-struck and mesmerized by these dreams of escape into space from a world we are actively destroying, think for a moment that their seat on the grand interstellar lifeboat is secure, they had better think again.

Firstly, space colonization is, by all reasonable assessments, 50 years off, if we are wildly optimistic, and more realistically, 100 to 200 years away: but, by World Bank and other estimates, at our present pace of ecological destruction, we will be extinct in 50 years – and our civilizations infrastructure, including our capacity to build or utilize advanced technology, will have collapsed quite some time before that. So it is pure fantasy to begin with.

And second, even if this somehow did magically come to fruition, there would only be a few seats available, in all likelihood – and they would, of course, go to the super-rich who will fund such projects and who can afford the seats. The rest of us may get lip service, but will simply be left to go down with the ship. And the scientists will be shoved out the door when their job is done, have no doubt; and will be left behind like the rest of us – were such fairy tales ever to become reality at all.

But let’s return to the first point: the basic facts as to our present capacity for colonizing space.

Firstly,do we remember the project to build a self-contained and self-sustaining miniature ecosystem on earth? I forget what it was called, but it is forgotten, and not mentioned, and the reason is, that it was a complete failure. We have no idea how to set up a self-sustaining ecosystem that would support even the simplest forms of life, much less human beings.

As geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki has said, our understanding of life is still very rudimentary. Optimism is great, but if it is not grounded in reality, in an honest assessment of where we presently stand, then it is not optimism at all, but sheer foolishness.

We are far from having the knowledge to create the life-support systems that would replicate another earth. So all such talk is grand speculation, and such feats are at least generations away, even if they are possible or desirable.

Secondly, the study of other earth-like, potentially habitable planets, or exoplanetology, is in its infancy. We are at least decades away, in all likelihood, from even discovering a potential candidate for a new planet to call home – to say nothing of finding the means to get there, and then, to successfully colonize it.

Thirdly, even if we somehow found what appears to be a perfect candidate for a second home on some distant earth-like planet, we are a century or more away, if we are lucky, from developing the means even to travel there, much less to live there.

So we are really talking science fiction here, and would be better off watching Star Trek, and munching on popcorn, than devoting serious time and energy to such things, when we are approaching impact with a civilization-shattering and possibly species terminating ecological cataclysm of our own creation.

At least if we are watching Star Trek, we are not distracting or misguiding anyone with our drivel about how we’re going to save humanity by such ungrounded fantasies of colonizing space before the ship of our civilization is sunk by our own hands.

No, if we are to have lifeboats, as we wisely should, they must be earth-bound. We need contingency plans, fall-back plans, but they will be earth-based, or they will be merely whimsical, and based in sheer self-deceit and illusion.

I would say that we have a better chance of being beamed up and rescued by friendly aliens than we have of building a starship and colonizing space in time, before our civilization collapses and such questions are mute, as the technological capacity for them has been laid to waste, even if the theoretical know-how is achieved.

Dream of the stars, but live on the earth. We will go to the stars one day, most likely, but not in this generation, and not for several generations to come – and no human beings will live to see it unless we get our act together and learn how to live on this planet, and in very short order.

The big questions today do not revolve around grand schemes of techno-fantasy and the colonization of space. They are grounded in the real world, here on planet earth.

The big questions today – aside from the perennial questions, the deeper questions, of who we are, what is real and what is the true nature of our own being – the most pressing of questions today, are these:

1. How do we survive the next 25 to 50 years without going extinct?

And,

2. How do we live in justice, harmony and peace on this small, fragile, beautiful planet we call home?

If we fail to answer these two questions, and answer them in practice, and not just in theory, then we will have failed our children, our grandchildren, and all of our fellow human beings – not to mention the rest of the living beings we share the planet with.

And if we insist upon obsessing about other, ultimately more trivial matters, then we are either sleep-walking toward our collective suicide, or else, we are sociopathic, or simply mad.

First things first. End wars and empire. Restore or create authentic citizen’s democracy, with freedom and human rights for all. End poverty and injustice. (There is more than enough money and resources to accomplish this – it is simply a matter of will, and resource distribution.) And find ways now to live on this earth without destroying the basis of all life on the planet.

By this time, we really would have to be wilfully ignorant, if not simply self-deluding, to believe that there are other, more pressing issues – or any way around these issues, than to confront them directly.

Time to wake up.

We have run out of time for daydreams and technophilic fantasies. We need to learn how to live in peace and ecological balance on this planet, right now.

The writing is clearly on the wall. We have run out of time for obfuscations, reality-avoidance, or waiting to see what happens. It is time for decisive and clear-minded action.

Now.

J. Todd Ring,
October 18, 2013

 

The Key of Keys

Posted in analysis, books, Buddha, Christianity, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, Jesus, must-read, Nag Hammadi, ontology, peace, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reading, religion, religious philosophy, resources, science, spirituality, theology, truth, wellness, world religions with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by jtoddring

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates:

There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across him, and recognized him in his dirty rags and filth. He exclaimed, “My prince! Your father has been worried sick about you! What are you doing? You must come home at once!”

The Upanishads tell a similar story. There once was a god who dreamed he was a pig. For years he wallowed in the muck and the mud, oblivious to who he was. After a long time, the other gods became pained by his confusion and his delusion, and called out to him: “You are not a pig – you are a god! Stop this madness, and remember who you are!”

Or again, from the Uttara Tantra: There once was a poor farmer, desolate in his impoverishment and despair. Daily he ploughed his fields, eking out a meagre existence, never knowing there was a great treasure buried right beneath his house.

Or as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

Or as Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German Christian mystic, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”

Or as Lao Tzu phrased it: Return to the source – return to your original nature. There you will find peace, joy, liberation, the ultimate happiness, and your authentic self – your true nature.

Or William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”

This is the perennial wisdom. It has surfaced in all cultures in all times. It is the timeless wisdom. It is the voice of wisdom leading you home to yourself.

Know thyself. You are not less than you think you are, but inconceivably more. Your being is commensurate with the universe itself. Awaken!

Don’t be absorbed in yourself. Everyone has pain; everyone suffers. Life is full of suffering, as well as beauty and joy. Shift the focus from your own happiness to that of others. If you do, you will be surprised, maybe even amazed – and you will find happiness.

It is not always easy, no doubt: it takes effort, and practice, but it is worth it, and it pays off. And it pays off the most when you seek nothing and expect nothing. Love others, and peace and joy will come flowing in. It is a matter of a subtle shift of perspective – that is the entire answer to everything: a subtle shift of perspective. Parallax is the word. Shift the perspective, and everything becomes clear.

And remember, the yin – to use the Eastern terms  – that is, the receptive, is in certain important ways superior. The yang, the assertive principle, is useful, and also essential, vitally essential; but the yin is the foundation.  Knowing and opening to the yin, the receptive, will allow you to harmonize with others, and with life and nature: and that is the basis of relative happiness, ordinary happiness.

Deeply opening to the yin, the receptive, is the gateway to true knowledge, to prajna, to wisdom, to knowing who you are, and to returning to the source, the true nature of your own being.

Therefore, protect and nurture the yin, just as you respect and embrace the yang. Harshness will damage the yin, as the Taoists have rightly remarked. Beware of aggression, which is the exaggeration of the yang principle of assertion – either in others, or especially in yourself. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. There are times for firmness, and times even for fierceness; but gentleness is the best general rule.

With gentleness as the general rule, not only will you avoid harming others, not only will you avoid the blowback and negative repercussions that come from harming others, but you will avoid harming yourself – and avoid harming your vision, which is most important. To sow your own suffering is tragic, ill-advised and unwise. To cut out your eyes and perpetuate your own blindness, is worse by far.

Don’t rush, and don’t hesitate. Rushing is an imbalance toward the yang, and leads to aggression and strife, as well as stress, strain and exhaustion. Hesitation is an imbalance toward the yin, an excess of yielding or receptivity which creates a collapse into passivity, which leads to self-disempowerment and a loss of vitality, as well as a loss of satisfaction and joy. Find the middle way. Not too tight; not to loose. When in doubt, be gentle, and pay attention: the cues to action will reveal themselves in their own time.

Remember also, as the Zen saying goes: Before enlightenment, the dishes. After enlightenment, the dishes. The little things matter. Show care in all you do. And enjoy the journey.

Seek. Contemplate. Combine method and wisdom, effort with seeing – like the two wings of a bird, which give it flight. Then glimpse. Taste. Meditate. Know. Understand. Have confidence. And abide in your true nature, which is the infinite ground of being itself, commensurate with the entire cosmos in all its vastness, emptiness and glory. There is no more to be said. This is the key of keys.

J. Todd Ring

Sept 16, 2013

(See Lama Yeshe, Namkai Norbu or Sogyal Rinpoche for further reading, along with The Power of Myth, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Uttara Tantra, The Mother of the Buddhas, The Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers, transl.), The Perennial Philosophy, The Divinity School Address, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Michael Talbot’s The |Holographic Universe, Holgar Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, and Alan Watts’, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.)

The Mayans, the ecological crisis and the end of the world: a little sanity please

Posted in analysis, anthropology, books, collapse, consciousness, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, environment, history, political philosophy, politics, science, sustainability, tipping point, world religions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2012 by jtoddring

It seems like a lot of people are going to extremes with regards to the Mayan predictions – and I mean the skeptics as well as the fanatics. Some are dismissive of the Mayans altogether, while others are taking a very literal and grossly overly simplistic view, and thinking the world will end on a specific day in the near future: December 21, 2012. The Mayans never said anything of the sort – and at the same time, they were also far too intelligent, thoughtful and sophisticated in their understanding of the cycles of time for us to dismiss them altogether.

The Mayan prophecies do not speak of the end of the world in a literal sense. The Mayans said that the world has ended four times before, so clearly, they are not talking about the end of the physical world, or even the end of the human species. They are talking about the end of a civilization – a social collapse, and the end of an era. And that is something we cannot so easily dismiss, because we have seen civilizations collapse in the past – Sumer, Easter Island, and the Mayan civilization itself, for example (the Mayan urban civilization, that is). (See Jared Diamond, Collapse, Ronald Wright, A Brief History of Progress, or Mathew Stein’s When Technology Fails.) We are also seeing our infrastructure beginning to crumble, while the environmental crisis is accelerating. Clearly, the collapse of our current civilization is not something far-fetched, but a clear and undeniable possibility – and we seem hell-bent on ensuring that it happens.

The Mayans were, furthermore, too subtle and sophisticated in their thinking with regards to the cycles or patterns of time to believe that things will come to an end in a single day, I would think. They mark the passage of time in great cycles of 500 years, and larger cycles of roughly 26,000 years. To think that the Mayans believed everything would end on a single day would seem to me like a gross over-simplification, and a serious misunderstanding. It would be akin to Christian fundamentalists taking an extremely literal reading of the Bible, and believing that the world was literally created in seven days.

I would say it would be unwise to be categorically dismissive of the BIble, just as it would be equally foolish and confused to take it on an overly simplistic or literalist reading or interpretation. The same is true for the predictions of the Maya and their rich and unparalleled calendrical knowledge and understanding of the cycles of time. We do have the intellectual capacity, one would hope, for something a little more refined and a little more subtle than a knee-jerk reaction to either reject and dismiss them out of hand, or to embrace them in a literalist and overly simplistic way.

What is likely is that the Mayans meant that December 21, 2012 would mark the beginning of the end for a certain civilization or world order – ours – and the beginning of its collapse and replacement by a new civilization. The changes that they predicted may come swiftly, but they are not likely to come all at once, in the span of a mere 24 hours. It is possible, but it is unlikely. But that doesn’t mean that the Mayans were wrong – it means we shouldn’t be so crude and sloppy in our thinking, or so presumptuous or arrogant.

Consider this. The Maya had predicted for centuries that on a given year, month and day, one cycle of 500 years would end, and another cycle of 500 years would begin. They said that on that day, the balance would shift from light being predominant, to darkness being predominant. This was a prediction that had been passed on for generations. Well, as it turned out, the prediction coincided to the day with the first conquistador stepping foot on the mainland – Cortez.

If we were to look at the last, say two thousand years of the history of the Americas, we would most certainly mark the arrival of the first conquistador on the mainland as the beginning of an entirely new and radically different era for all of the Americas. How did the Mayans foresee this great shift, and predict it for hundreds of years in advance? Surely we cannot look at this fact and then dismiss the Mayans. Somehow, they have made stunningly accurate predictions, and although we cannot understand how that was possible, it is proven beyond any doubt. To dismiss the Maya considering this, would simply be irrational in the face of the evidence.

Take acupuncture as another example: we don’t know how acupuncture works, and Western medicine is baffled by Traditional Chinese Medicine, which gave rise to acupuncture, but one thing we do know for certain: acupuncture works. It is the same with the Mayan predictions: we cannot understand how they could make such startling accurate predictions, but we know for certain that they have. Therefore, although we may not understand it, we cannot dismiss the predictions of the Maya when they have demonstrated such stunning accuracy in the past.

What is the scientific approach? The truly scientific approach would not be to say, well, nobody can predict the future, so the Mayan prophecies must be rubbish. No, the scientific approach would be to look at the actual evidence, and not make foregone conclusions. And what does the evidence say? The evidence says that somehow the Mayans were able to predict major shifts or bifurcation points, major junctures in time, with stunning accuracy. Just because this does not fit into our current theory or ideology does not mean it is wrong. The facts are the facts, and the scientific approach is not to dismiss the facts when they discomfortingly fail to conform to our theories, but to change our theory and our view to conform with the facts. Anything else is pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific, and is pure bigotry and blind dogmatism and ideological fixation. The facts say that the Mayans were able to predict certain major changes in history, centuries before they happened. Our theories and our views obviously need modification. But more immediately, the facts require that we take an attitude towards the Mayan predictions which is one of curiosity and respect, and not derisive dismissiveness.

Consider another example: gravity. We know that gravity exists, and we know that it works, but scientists still don’t really understand how it works. But simply because we don’t know how gravity works doesn’t mean we say, well, gravity must not be real. Again (to belabour the point for the benefit of the chronically closed-minded and pseudo-scientific) the same is true for the Mayan predictions: we don’t know how they are possible, but we know that they were correct. Do you “believe” in gravity? No, nobody “believes” in gravity – you don’t have to: just drop an apple, or trip on the stairs, and it is proven. The broken nose and the bruised apple are proof enough. Belief has nothing to do with it. Believing or not believing in the Mayan prophecies is the same: they are proven accurate; and it is evidence, not belief, which is all that matters.

Furthermore, considering that not only the Maya, but also the Hopi, the Ojibwa, and many other native peoples have predicted essentially the same thing – that there would come a time when the people become wooden, and lose their natural feelings of empathy and compassion, caring and responsibility for one another and for the broader web of life, and that as a result, calamity would follow, and their civilization will collapse – and considering that is now obvious that we are fulfilling such predictions, it would seem very unwise to disregard their warnings. Complacency, now as always, is a much greater danger than is precaution. We don’t have to run screaming for the hills, but we do need to deal with our environmental crisis, or our civilization will surely collapse, exactly as predicted – maybe not in a single day, but over the course of the coming decades or years.

Consider the fact that other native elders are on record for having predicted, before the start of the first Persian Gulf War in Iraq, that it would be a horrible environmental disaster, as well as a humanitarian one: and they said they had had visions of a black rain falling from the sky. Well, what happened? Saddam Hussein’s troops set fire to the Kuwaiti oil wells when they retreated, and black rain fell across the region. How do we dismiss such proven predictions?

In fact, we should have listened, and prevented war with Iraq. Let those who have ears hear. Let those who have eyes see. The deaf blind will have to accept that they will continue to fall into ditches and injure themselves, for they are heedless, and cannot be guided or forewarned. Pity them for their stubbornness and ignorance.

Consider the most famous proven prediction of all, or certainly one of them. Months before the assassination of JFK, Jean Dixon repeatedly warned the White House that the president’s life was in danger. She particularly urged him not to travel to Texas during that period of time. How such things are known, we do not know – but we know that some people at least do have such fore-knowledge of events: knowledge which transcends mere perspicacity or ordinary foresight.

Consider the stories told for generations by a certain native tribe in Northern Canada about a certain lake, which they said was very evil, and which they warned the people to avoid at all costs, without exception. The native people living nearby had a prediction, a prophecy, that one day men would come and take stones from the lake, then they would use those stones, and a large bird would then fly and drop fire from the sky with material from those stones. That lake is now called Uranium Lake, and it was the site of the first uranium mined for the first nuclear weapons, and the first bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima. How is that for uncanny? If that does not send a shiver down your spine, or at least make you wonder, then as Einstein said, you are as good as dead.  How can we dismiss such fore-knowledge when it is proven beyond all doubt?

Or consider the prophecies of the Inca, which said that if the great white brother came from across the ocean carrying a cross, there would be trouble. Well, the first conquistadors came bearing crosses, and there certainly was trouble, and a lot of it.

Considering all of this and more – and this is just the briefest list of examples, and barely scratches the surface – to be dismissive of native prophecies is simply foolish, and also irrational and unscientific. We know they knew, even if we have no idea how that is possible. Our frankly racist and ethnocentric presumptions must fall in the face of the evidence. The simple fact is: prophecy works, or at least it certainly has at certain times in the past. Just as the Western medical establishment, with its severely flawed and out-dated biological-reductionist and mechanistic medical model has been forced to admit that acupuncture works, despite not being able to understand it, so too must all seriously scientific or even rational modern people admit that prophecy is real – whether that is baffling to us or not – and the Mayans in particular have proven their accuracy in these matters.

Considering the way we are undermining the basis of life on earth, and pushing our civilization to the point of collapse as a result, it would seem unwise, if not simply foolish to dismiss the Mayan predictions entirely. At the same time, to think that the world will end on a certain day this month, is in all likelihood foolish as well. The reality is somewhere in between, in all probability, and we had best heed the warnings of the Maya, and take care of our environment, or we will see, not the end of the world, but the end of the world as we know it, and the collapse of our civilization. And that may be closer than we think.

It is time for us to get it together, environmentally speaking, and make some very real and urgently needed changes now, or bear the consequences of our apathy and denial. This world order will most definitely end. But that will not be the end, but only a new beginning. And the sooner this predatory, anti-ecological, suicidal and grotesquely unjust order ends, the better.

Of course I could be wrong, and it is conceivable that the Mayans somehow foresaw a cataclysmic event that would happen on a certain day, which would wipe out our civilization – if not instantly, then over the months that follow – and many millions or billions of people with it. That would be horrific to contemplate, but it is possible – anything is possible. It is, however, extremely unlikely.

What is not unlikely however, and what is in fact absolutely certain, is that if we do not change course, we will continue to drive ourselves into the ground, through a simple lack of common sense and ecological wisdom, until our infrastructure collapses under the weight of a crisis we have created for ourselves, and our civilization itself collapses. If that happens, then billions of people will suffer greatly: and that will happen, unless we take bold and decisive action now, and without delay. But whether we see a crushing collapse of our current civilization, and have to scramble to survive afterward, and rebuild from scratch, starting with pre-industrial, medieval levels of technology, in small communities barely hanging on; or whether we make the bold moves to transform our present civilization before such a collapse, is entirely up to us.

There is no fate in this. It is a matter of choice. The power is in our hands. It is a matter now of whether we will boldly do what is obviously necessary, and make the needed changes swiftly and without delay, or whether we continue to drift on our present course until collapse hits.

We can still make a relatively peaceful transition to a new and better world, even though we will certainly have to weather a great storm of our own making which has already been set into motion; or, we can wait until change is forced upon us, in which case, the transition will be painful in the extreme.

It is our choice. Humanity will survive in either case. What is in our power to determine is how painful and traumatic, or how peaceful the transition is. But whether we make a major change, is not an option. We will do it willingly, or the environmental crisis will force it upon us.

Better to act freely, and with foresight, and now.

And you don’t have to be a prophet to see that.

JTR,
December 17, 2012

Reclaiming democracy for the common good – and for the survival and future of our children: the political economy of environmental sanity and democratic renewal

Posted in activism, AFA, AFC, alternative, alternatives, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, analysis, books, capitalism, Chomsky, class, climate change, common ground, consciousness, conservation, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, democratic deficit, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, Eric Fromm, fascism, Feudalism, fossil fuel, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, imperialism, inspiration, money, must-read, national democracies, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, oil, peak oil, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, renewable, resources, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by jtoddring

September 27, 2011, the Global Footprint Network declared as Earth Overshoot Day: the day that humans have used up all renewable resources available for the year. Not good. This obviously cannot continue. Limitless growth in material consumption and “production” clearly cannot be sustained on a finite planet. (We can have limitless growth in culture, the arts, science, the mind, spirituality and quality of life, but not in material production and consumption.) We are depleting our collective inheritance: which should rightfully be shared equitably, through democratic popular control of the commons to which we all share usafructory rights – despite our present unjust and unwise socio-economic, legal and cultural norms – as well as used wisely and compassionately, and not squandered. We are rapidly draining nature’s capital, to put it in crass economic terms, which are the only terms most politicians and pundits and corporate elites seem to understand. We are racing towards ecological bankruptcy at an ever-accelerating rate, and will see our children live as beggars in an ocean of toxic waste if we don’t change our course, and fast. Of course, most people – aside from the business and political elite – understand this by now. But awareness is not enough. It is high time for much more serious action.

“Climate change — human-made global warming — is happening.  It is already having noticeable impacts…. If we stay on with business as usual, the southern U.S. will become almost uninhabitable…. It is time for all of us to get Tea-Party-angry about what our political system has become and about the intergenerational injustice being perpetrated on young people.”
– NASA’s leading climatologist

Addressing the present and rapidly escalating environmental crisis which humanity undeniably faces will require more of us than a simple act of recycling or “buying green.” It will require, above all, a restoration and a renewal of democracy – a reclaiming of democracy from the ruling and highly pathological corporate elite. We must reclaim our democracy, or the earth will not be a habitable place for any human beings to live, in just a few short decades or less. If you want a future for humanity on this planet, reclaim your democracy now, or there will be none. This is the reality of our time. Let us do what needs to be done.

Why don’t we have a massive infusion of investment of public funds in clean, renewable energy? Because the big oil, gas and coal companies don’t want it: they are profiting from the status quo, they have a vested interest in the status quo, so the answer is an emphatic, “No.” If we shifted the subsidies that are presently given out to the oil, gas and coal giants, and put it into clean, renewable solar, wind, co-generation and geothermal energy instead, we would be making rapid progress, by leaps and bounds every year, not only in greening our energy and transportation systems and becoming a truly sustainable society, but also in terms of energy self-reliance, economic strength and job creation. But Exxon and company have our politicians by the, um, purse strings: and so they pull the strings, and we the people, as well as the earth, lose out.

Why are we the people being treated as guinea pigs while the earth is being treated as a laboratory, when hundreds of responsible scientists have warned that genetically engineered foods and crops pose serious and largely unforseeable dangers to human health and the environment, and that such practices are unethical, irresponsible, highly imprudent, highly reckless and highly dangerous? The majority of people are rightly wary about genetically modified food and crops, and are generally opposed to these: but the biotech giants have the clout in our political arenas; they pull the purse strings of our politicians, and so, what big money wants, big money gets –  democracy and the people be damned.

Why don’t we shift our tax system from taxing employment through payroll taxes, which works directly against job creation, and also shift the tax burden off of small and medium businesses, the poor and the middle class, and instead tax pollution, thus easing the burden on the majority of families and businesses while creating incentives to pollution reduction? We don’t have sane and effective, just and fair and environmentally sensible tax laws, because while this would benefit the great majority of the people, create jobs and economic vitality, help clean up the environment and steer us in the direction of true sustainability – while improving the quality of our air, soil, food and water and also strengthening small business – it is not what the corporate giants want: so again, it is a no go.

Why do we not have a smog tax for vehicles that get less than 30mpg, and a government rebate for vehicles that get better than 40mpg or have ultra-low or zero emmissions? Because this would require the auto industry and the car manufacturing giants to improve their standards, and worse, it would mean that the oil companies wouldn’t make their usual obscenely stratospheric profits. Big oil and big auto says no, so again, this is a no-go, and the politicians defer as usual to their masters.

Why do we have massive farm subsidies benefitting mainly the agribusiness,  petrochemical, biotech and junk food giants, and an escalating war on organic farming? As Richard Heinberg has said, petro-chemical industrial agriculture has been nothing short of an ecological catastrophy – it is utterly unsustainable. We need to shift to clean, healthy and sustainable organic agriculture en mass, and as rapidly as possible, just as we need to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and switch to clean, renewable energy. But do we see a shift in the multi-billion dollar subsidies anywhere on the horizon? No, we do not, and the reason we do not is that the current government policies benefit the petrochemical, biotech, agribusiness and processed food giants. Monsanto, MacDonalds, Nestle and Kraft are making a killing on the existing system, quite literally as well as figuratively, and if they say no, our political elites say, “Ok boss – whatever you say.” Poison the people and the planet, just don’t cut off my re-election financing.

Why was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gutted over the past decade? Because that is what big business wanted, and what big business wants, big business gets – at least unless and until we the people reclaim our democracy, and push back the vested interests of the corporate elite so that democracy can function, and not simply be a hollow shell run by and for the ruling business elite, with little more than a rubber stamp action on the part of the bought and paid for political elite.

It is not widely known, but it is a fact: when the tar sands are counted, and the exaggerated claims of the Saudi reserves are corrected for accuracy, Canada has the largest remaining oil reserves in the world. And while Canada is rapidly expanding its environmentally devastating oil extraction from the tar sands and plans for a new pipeline are being laid to suck the black gold from out under the people’s feet, and the oil companies are raking in many billions of dollars a year in profits, why is it that it is unspeakable and unthinkable to charge a fair and just price for the extraction by these companies in the form of royalty payments made to the Canadian people? When certain Scandinavian countries charge $8 a barrel in extraction fees, paid as royalties to the people of the land, and Canada charges less than a dollar a barrel – while massively subsidizing the already profitable oil giants – something is clearly awry. Why is it that a fair price for extraction of a public resource, a resource of the commons, a resource that belongs to the people, paid to the people in return for the very lucrative opportunity to carry off this national treasure to whomever will pay the highest price abroad, is an utterly inexpressible, unutterable thought, and nary a word is whispered of this most obvious and patently just and sensible notion by the political elite or the mass media? The answer is as clear as the profits are exorbitant: big oil dominates the capital and the political process, and none dare speak the truth that stares us daily in the face, let alone challenge the situation and right the wrong. Raising the extraction rates by seven dollars a barrel would still leave the oil companies with large, fat profits, although admitedly, the tar sands might be less lucrative, and possibly not feasible economically for some few years, until the price of oil rises further on the world stage, as it will. Such a modest and completely justified increase in extraction rates, as decided upon and enacted by a democratic government of the people, by the people, for the people, would flood the public coffers with funds, making ample money available for the development and creation of a clean and green, renewable energy and transportation system for the nation, as well as for social programs such as health care, education, day care and affordable housing. But while this should be an obvious and immediate step that is taken at once to bolster funding for a transition to a green and just society as well as the funding of much loved and overwhelmingly popular social programs, it is not even possible to mention the idea without immediately being excommunicated from the mainstream political discourse, raising the fevered ire of the corporate elite, and possibly risking a burning at the stake. Oil companies rule this fair and gentle land, and once again, the people and the earth be damned.

Why do we not have a massive and much-needed investment by governments in infrastructure, creating not just the groundwork and foundation for an ecological society, but truly enormous job creation and economic stimulus in the process, launching continent-wide energy-efficient light rail, mass transit networks and a clean, renewable solar-hydrogen infrastructure? California put in place the first leg of a hydrogen highway, at a cost of $100 million. For under $20 billion we could have a zero-emmission, clean, renewable solar-hydrogen fuel and transportation network that spans all of North America – this may sound like a lot of money, and it is, but it is just 10% of the annual cost of maintaining the imperial wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone have now cost over $2.5 trillion. That is approximately 100 times the amount needed to build a zero-emmission, clean, renewable, energy self-reliant solar-hydrogen infrastructure for the entire continent of North America. The U.S. federal government has admitted that over $1.2 trillion goes missing every year into black ops – Congress is unable to trace it, but it is acknowledged. Get rid of the military-industrial complex and the CIA and there will be over $1.5 trillion a year for green infrastructure, environmental protection and remediation, and also funds to help the rapidly sinking great majority of the American people and create jobs through such green infrastructure projects. Why don’t we have an enormous and urgently needed green infrastructure program right now? Because vested interests oppose it – because the Wall St. kleptocrats and their political allies have pillaged the nation to the extent that the country is now on the brink of bankruptcy, and more importantly, because the corporate elite insist upon ongoing, astronomically expensive and murderous wars for oil and other natural resources, thus entailing an absolute paucity of funds for anything that matters in terms of ecological sanity or human well-being. Bringing the troops home and ending wars for oil and other natural resources would save more than enough to build a continent-wide clean and renewable, green transportation infrastructure, massively stimulating the economy and creating millions of jobs in the process – and it would still leave many hundreds of billions a year left over for funding schools, health care and other human needs. But we don’t have a green transportation infrastructure on the table, because this is not what the big oil, gas, coal, automotive and military-industrial giants want. Again, the people and the earth lose, because money rules over our politics, and not common sense, human decency, or environmental sensibility or even basic sanity.

Why do we still have millions of people dying and being killed in wars for oil and other minerals, bankrupting the country and draining off critically needed funds that could and should be used to create a green economy and infrastructure, employing millions of people in the process, and pulling the people out of a financial and economic tail-spin? Because the oil and military-industrial complex corporate giants want it this way, and the people and the earth can go to hell, as far as they are concerned – and because Wall St. dictates the policies of Washington, Ottawa, Paris and London. If we want a green economy, a full employment economy, a just economy, an end to poverty, an end to imperial wars, or a future for our children, we will have to wrest control over our democracy from the corporate elite that now dominate it and severely limit and constrain our policy choices.

Our financially dependent political elite are in the pockets of the oil, gas, coal, biotech, agribusiness, petrochemical and other corporate giants, so policies and programs that are good for the environment and for the people are just not on the table – regardless of whether they would be good for human well-being, regardless of whether they would stimulate the economy and create jobs, regardless if they are arguably necessary for human life to continue beyond the next couple of decades on this planet, and regardless of whether the majority of the people want them – which they do. The great majority of people now want stronger environmental policies, programs and legislation – as well as peace, social justice and meaningful democracy, human rights and civil liberties. The corporate giants do not, so the people get the shaft. This is not about being anti-business; it is about democratic control of our environmental policies and programs, our economy and the commons, for the benefit of all. Corporate influence is in the way. They are the barricade in the hall. They must be moved aside – and firmly if necessary.

You don’t have to be anti-business to be opposed to corporate rule, by the way: to be opposed to rule by corporate elites is simply to favour democracy; and frankly, to call it as it is: to oppose fascism. Corporatism, as Mussolini himself defined, is the merger of business with the state. Anyone who values freedom or democracy must therefore oppose corporatism: which is the unchecked power of business elites, and an empire of corporate dominance over all aspects of society, including the economy, politics, culture and the media. To be anti-corporatist is not to be anti-business: it is simply to understand that any form of unchecked power invariably leads to tyranny and the destruction of freedom; and therefore, to be opposed to such unchecked powers by any kind of elite.

You don’t have to be anti-business to oppose the take-over of democratic government by business elites – you simply have to be sane. You can be pro-business and anti-corporatist: and anyone who truly values democracy must, of logical and practical necessity, be anti-corporatist, regardless of their views on business. I am belabouring the point because the corporate-owned and dominated media repeatedly portray any kind of critique of unchecked corporate powers as leftist lunacy. Here is breaking news for anyone who still buys into this red-scare propaganda that lingers from the McCarthy era, like a can of rotting tuna stinking up the entire house and driving the people to nausea and revulsion: people on the right and the left and in the centre politically are, by an overwhelming majority, in favour of constitutional democracy, and opposed to any kind of dominance over the democratic political process by any kind of elite, including the now globally dominant business elite.

“America’s political classes would do well to listen to the grievances of those involved with Occupy Wall Street, for they undoubtedly represent a set of anxieties shared by a great deal of the population. The corporate take-over of the American political process has not gone unnoticed, neither has the disparity between continued Wall Street profits and the cuts to the welfare state. As unemployment continues at high numbers, resentment surely stirs among those whose lives are slowly being drained at the expense of the corporate state. Recently, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that there would be riots in the streets if Washington does not create more jobs, warning of an American Arab Spring.”
– Emily Manuel, In These Times

“There has been a corporate takeover of politics. You have something called ALEC—the American Legislative Exchange Council—where corporations literally will pay huge sums of money to get together with politicians, draft model legislation that is, then put across the US through state legislation, which is easier to pass than federal legislation.”
– Global Comment writer Anna Lekas Miller

Where once we had to wrest power from the church and the aristocracy who were overstepping their bounds, in order to secure democracy, human rights and freedom, we now must wrest power from an unwieldy and overbearing, frankly tyrannical and self-serving business elite – and everybody who is in the least way sane and rational, who is not neck-deep in denial and who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past fifty years, knows it.

Support for constitutional democracy and checks on corporate power, and the resultant or concomitant opposition to corporate rule, now cuts across the political spectrum. The people are no longer fooled by the red-scare tactics, nor by the broader corporate spin which seeks to mask the obvious: the emperor has no clothes, and everybody knows it – corporations have usurped democratic political powers, and are far over-stepping their proper bounds. Conservatives, liberals and progressives alike now understand this, and know this quite viscerally – and are rightly concerned and rapidly running out of patience in the face of an intolerable situation of corporate oligarchy that seeks limitless powers for itself, while undermining every human value and endangering our very survival on this earth.

We now have grassroots populist conservatives such as Ron Paul and Alex Jones, along with Texas Republicans and the Mainstreet Alliance of Small Business Owners saying the same thing as progressives and people on the left: corporations are out of control, pillaging the nation and the planet, threatening democracy and running rampant – and they need to be reigned in; the people must reclaim their democracy. It is clear now that what I had called for four years ago, which is a coalition of the grassroots, a new union of the people to restore democracy, is not only feasible – it is being born. And that is precisely what we need now.

The reality, which virtually everyone knows, is that the democratic governments of the world are now in hoc, in debt, in dependency and in servitude to a globally dominant international business elite; and virtually all of the major political parties are now the servile lackeys to the ruling corporate empire. Meanwhile, the people increasingly see through this whole pathetic charade, and are becoming quite fed up with it.

You don’t have to lean toward the left politically to be opposed to corporate rule: and at the level of the grassroots, people from the right and the left, conservatives, liberals and progressives, are now beyond wary of unchecked corporate powers – and wish to see democracy reclaimed by the people. What is needed now is a coalition of all those who favour democracy over corporate empire and corporate rule. This is beginning to emerge, and none too soon.

The suicidal kleptocracy of our presently reigning global order of neo-feudal corporatism must end – and now, before we extinguish ourselves from this small and beautiful, fragile, little blue planet. Democracy must be restored: and with power returned to the people, where it rightfully belongs, the commons can once again be protected and shared, wisely and judiciously, for the benefit of all.

If we wish for survival, for a future worth living, or for any future for our children and the children of the earth, then it is absolutely necessary that democracy be reclaimed by the people. This is the most urgent necessity of the time. If Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington or Voltaire were alive today, they most assuredly would be urging it. We should heed their call, the call of their distant but ever-near voices of reason and common sense, and reclaim our power. Restore democracy now. Bring the power back to the people, and let us begin again.

Let it begin. The great turning is here. A new renaissance is being born. Let us work together to bring about a better future and a better world for all. The power is in our hands. We must simply own it, and acknowledge that it is ours.

We have run out of time for idle chit-chat, partisan zealotry and pleasant euphemisms, for polite evasiveness and meek avoidance of the realities that we face. Let us now renew and reclaim our democracy: and we shall in the process, and by this means only, renew and reclaim the commons, for the common good of all. It is this, or it is a dark age ahead – make no mistake. Make your choice wisely. Our future, and our children’s future, depend upon the choices we make now.

Be bold I say, and let us reclaim our future, and the future of humanity – if not for ourselves, then most certainly and assuredly, for the sake of the children of this earth. Their lives and their future cannot be written off, even if we are willing to write off our own. Act now.

“The other superpower” is beginning to stir: humanity is beginning to awake. And nothing, no reactionary force, can stop the rising tide of an awakened humanity. The future is in our hands. I urge all of us now to embrace that power, and to act together to reclaim our future and our world, by first reclaiming our democracy and our power.

Unite now, and let us restore democracy to its proper place – in the hands of the people. Our future and our children’s future hangs in the balance. Let us not hesitate now – we cannot afford to do so. Let us begin, or begin again with renewed energy and a deepened commitment: for we shall succeed, and humanity shall have a new day.

I would like to end this conversation, which I hope will be only the beginning of an ongoing conversation, and more importantly, the basis of strong, bold and dedicated collective action, with one of my favourite quotations, which seems ever-fitting – and especially so now:

“There is more day yet to dawn.
The sun is but a morning star.”
– Henry David Thoreau

And a second, which is equally powerful, equally apt, and equally appropriate to our time:

“It is within our power now to begin the world anew.”
– Thomas Paine

And one last quote: one that is oft-used, and yet profoundly underappreciated – and also extremely relevant to our time and to the task at hand:

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately….
United we stand, divided we fall.”
– Benjamin Franklin

As Arundhati Roy so eloquently and beautifully put it, another world is not only possible: she is already being born. Go now – reflect, read, ponder and discuss: then let us act together to bring in a new day and a new dawn for humanity and this earth. I urge you, act now. It is not too late, and what we do or fail to do now, will decide our future, and the future of humanity.

Above all, unite the people to reclaim their democracy. This is the most pivotal and most urgent of tasks at hand. Unite now, and let democracy reign!

The people will reclaim their power. It has already begun. The writing is on the wall. The corporate empire – the last of a series of empires that have risen and fallen through the past five thousand years of history, the clay feet that David spoke of – is teetering and about to fall. It is a wounded and dying, and still yet a dangerous beast, to be sure, but this latest of empires is now crumbling – even while it flails madly in its death throes to preserve its life and maintain its power, and flaunts its power with brazen disregard and sheer contempt for humanity, democracy and life on earth. Its legitimacy is destroyed, by its own acts of malfeasance and abuse of power; and it is only a matter of time before its final demise. The people should see and clearly recognize the opportunity, and reclaim their power and their democracy now.

Rise now and unite. It is time for the full flowering of democracy, and the healing of this fair earth and all our communities. Unite! And let us take back our democracy, for the benefit of all, and for the future of all life on earth, including our own children, and our children’s children. Act now. The time has come for a new dawn.

JTR,
September 28, 2011

 

See Daly and Cobb, For the Common Good, as a prime example of economics that are not insane.

See also:

The Corporation – Joel Bakan (Canadian constitutional lawyer)

Power To the People (In Suits) – Paul Bigioni on Z Net

A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamond

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Power Down – Richard Heinberg

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

The Poverty of Affluence – Paul Watchel

Small Is Beautiful- E. F. Schumacher

Year 501 – Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

Global Showdown – Maude Barlow

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude – Etienne De La Boittee

The Great Turning – David C. Korten

Links: videos, films, books and articles

Leading trend analyst Gerald Celente on economic crisis, plunder, corporate fascism and the emerging renaissance – YouTube

NASA’s Hansen: “If We Stay on With Business as Usual, the Southern U.S. Will Become Almost Uninhabitable.” | ThinkProgress

Power to the People (In Suits) How a whole new kind of business lobby is a threat to democracy by Paul Bigioni

Fears of a corporate police state – David Sirota – Salon.com

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? | Rolling Stone Politics

Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal

Main Street Alliance Open Letter To Obama On Jobs

It’s Time to Unstack the Money in Politics Deck

Three Things That Must Happen for Us to Rise Up and Defeat the Corporatocracy | Truthout

Occupy Wall Street: Creating Political Change? — In These Times

Big Ideas That Changed The World : DemocracyTony Benn

Talk – David Korten – The Great Turning – YouTube

Joanna Macy on The Great Turning – YouTube

The Corporation (complete, chapters 1 to 23) – YouTube

Life and Debt [HQ Full Movie] – YouTube

The Yes Men – Trailer – YouTube

The Secret Government: The Constitution In Crisis (1 of 9) – YouTube

The Shock Doctrine (2009) — Naomi Klein – YouTube – full length film

“The End of America” Full Length HQ Film – YouTube

Jared DiamondCollapse! part 1 – YouTube

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (9780743247443): Joel Bakan: Books

The Corporation Film: About the Book

Orwell Rolls in his Grave (Full 3HR Documentary) – YouTube
Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Mass Media – 1/17 – YouTube
Confronting the Empire, by Noam Chomsky (Talk delivered at the III World Social Forum)
The Take – Trailer – YouTube
The Take (La Toma) English subtitles (1/9) – YouTube
The Project Gutenberg eBook – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

#Science Earth’s Annual Resources Used Up Today, Group Says bit.ly/n8flsq

Amazon.com: For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future (9780807047057): Herman E. Daly, John B. Cobb Jr.: Books