Archive for analysis

Prospects for America: Sanders vs Civil War

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2016 by jtoddring

(And that is not a threat, of course, but a prediction)

An analysis of the present state and future prospects of the nation

~

An open letter in response to Daily Kos,

and to anyone concerned with either justice, or peace

The article I recently wrote and published on Daily Kos, Prognosis for America: Sanders or Civil War, (January 26, 2016) seemed to cause quite a stir, and quite a backlash. I will repeat again, to clarify, that I merely made a prediction, based on sound evidence, and what are, to me, obvious and undeniable facts.

What I said was that the US now has such extreme and growing levels of inequality and internal divisions, that tensions are high and mounting, and that if real positive social change is not soon forthcoming, the country is at serious risk of descending into a nightmare of civil war.

This may be shocking to some, but anyone who is paying attention to what is going on should not be shocked in the least. These things should be obvious. Even members of the corporate elite are warning of it. They too are afraid that the country could explode into civil war.

And they should be afraid. Civil war is a horror which any sane person should wish to avoid. But it is heading for the US, I believe, if real change continues to be blocked, and long-standing and legitimate grievances among the people are not addressed.

I clearly did not, and do not advocate civil war, but urged that it be recognized as a serious risk, and that it be averted. I clearly did not say that either Bernie Sanders or his supporters are going to launch a civil war – something that should not need be said.

What I said was that the popular movement that is now coalescing around Bernie Sanders’ Presidential candidacy represents the only serious hope for real social change on the present horizon, and if that route to change is blocked, or does not bear fruit, then the country could be in real danger, due to its own unaddressed and growing internal tensions.

To repeat, I believe the tensions within the United States have reached such a high degree, that only three options present themselves.

One is revolution – and I am speaking here of the kind of revolution that Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. would launch or advocate: bold, passionate, determined, but strictly non-violent. That is the most intelligent option for the American people at present, I would say, given the circumstances, and given the fact that the corporate elite and the billionaire class of de facto oligarchs have taken over the political process, the government, the economy, most of the media, and the nation in general.

That is the response which I have been passionately urging for a long time now. But, unfortunately, I do not see evidence to believe that the American people are ready for it yet. So that option, at the present moment, appears to be closed. Things could change quickly, but for the time being, I do not think that revolution, at least in the near term, is something we should count on.

The second option is reform. And by reform, I do not mean pretty speeches that lead to no real change. Nor do I mean merely changing the window dressings. I mean real social change that comes about by political, economic and social reforms, such as bringing about serious election financing laws, invoking serious anti-trust legislation to break up the big banks and other corporate cartels and oligopolies, removing big money from politics, and returning power to the people, and thereby, at the same time, restoring some greater degree of equality and justice in the land.

There are many people, many movements, and many organizations working to accomplish such goals, but again, at present, the only serious hope for accomplishing such mild, moderate, but extremely important and urgently needed reforms in the short term, in any way that is at all commensurate with the scale of changes needed, is with the movement surrounding Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton is not going to do these things. That is perfectly clear, or at least it should be. Hillary is owned by Wall Street, to put it frankly and most bluntly. And nor do I see any other person or any other movement that at present has enough popular backing and popular power to have any hope, at least in the near term, of accomplishing these goals, other than the movement surrounding Bernie Sanders.

I do think the Green Party and also the Occupy movement, along with the co-op movement, the re-localization movement, and other popular movements for social change, show great promise; but they still do not have the necessary support of a wide enough or impassioned enough popular backing to create the necessary changes of the necessary magnitude – not yet. Maybe they will soon, and I hope they do, but at present, Bernie Sanders and the movement that is building around his leadership, is our best, and probably only hope, for real, substantial change in the short term.

The third option for the United States is to continue on its present course, without revolution, and without any serious reform, or any real change. That option will, I guarantee you, lead to disaster.

So yes, I stand by my premise and my prediction, which is, that if serious change does not occur very soon in the US, either by revolution or by reform – and Bernie Sanders’ campaign and the popular movement surrounding it, being the only real hope for serious reform at present – then the US faces a very real and growing risk of descending, or even exploding, into civil war.

*

Sometimes uncomfortable truths must be spoken. Sometimes controversial statements must be made. In 2001, it was controversial to say that invading, bombing or otherwise attacking Afghanistan or Iraq, would be morally unconscionable, a violation of international law, a war crime, and furthermore, a disaster. But these were the facts of the matter, and they had to be said, whether or not the speaking of the truth made a great many people uncomfortable. And of course, it turned out that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were all of these things, and they were a disaster in moral, fiscal and human terms.

When Henry David Thoreau wrote his landmark essay, On Civil Disobedience, in the 1830’s, it was controversial to say that slavery was an abomination, and one which must be abolished. But these controversial statements, of course, had to be made, whether they were viewed by some as controversial or not.

And and ever since that short, great essay of truly monumental import and significance, and still to this day, it has been and continues to be controversial to say that there are times when the law must be broken and civil disobedience becomes a moral obligation, because both the law as well as the norm, are in not only in the wrong, but further, it is unconscionable to obey them. And yet, it is vitally necessary that we speak such controversial thoughts, and demand that laws and norms which are unethical in the extreme be disobeyed, and civil disobedience be undertaken as a matter of moral principle.

During the Suffragette Movement, it was controversial to say that women deserved the right to vote. But it had to be said, and today most people would agree that it had to be said, and said with passion, until the message was heard and acted upon.

During the Civil Rights Movement, especially at the early stages of it, it was controversial to say that racial segregation was morally repugnant, as well as socially divisive and destabilizing, and therefore had to be overturned and abolished. But these things had to be said in any case – even if they were controversial, and even if there was a violent backlash against such statements of simple truth.

From the birth of the environmental movement, in the 1950’s and ’60’s, until the present, and especially in the early stages of the movement, it was controversial, and to many people it remains controversial, to say that human beings are affecting the earth, and all life on it, in disastrous as well as highly unethical ways. And yet, these truths needed to be spoken, and still need to be spoken today, be they controversial or not.

The movement to end racial discrimination and racially-based police violence – a movement which has long and deep roots, but which is now coming to a greater prominence – has extremely important things to say, but much of what it has to say is viewed as controversial by many people. And yet, these things must simply be said, whether or not they make some people uncomfortable.

And in the present moment, the same is true with regards to my warning that the US is in serious danger of descending into civil war. It makes people uncomfortable to say such things. It is controversial, perhaps, to some minds at least, to say such things. But it is an uncomfortable truth which must be spoken nevertheless.

Believe me, a warning is much less discomforting than a full-scale disaster – and that is what we are facing, hurtling towards us at 100 miles an hour, if we do not make major changes, and now.

“… an open society may also be threatened. … from excessive individualism.

Too much competition and too little cooperation can cause intolerable inequities and instability. …

The present situation is comparable to that at the turn of the past century. …Yet the free-market regime that prevailed a hundred years ago was destroyed by the First World War. …

How much more likely the present regime is to break down unless we learn from experience!”

– Toward a Global Open Society, by George Soros

Atlantic Monthly, January 1998

As the Dalai Lama said, “If the poor become too envious and too frustrated, the frustration turns into anger, and that anger turns into violence.” Again, this should be obvious to all. We are headed for disaster if we do not address the rising levels of poverty and inequality in our society, and in the world more broadly, and very, very soon. These are the simple facts of the matter, whether we like it or not.

*

I like what my favourite monk had to say about writing, and it is relevant here.

“If you’re afraid of writing something that might offend someone,

why write anything at all?”

– Thomas Merton

And by the way, simply because someone says something that is controversial, does not mean they are “trolling” for a fight. They may be simply saying something that is controversial, but which needs to be said.

I despise bickering, quarrelling, rancour, and especially, thoughtless divisiveness – which the popular internet expression, “troll” represents: a term that is often justly used, but at other times, frequently thrown about in a thoughtless or reactionary manner, in which case it has the effect, either intended or unintended, of deterring and thwarting any serious discussion, or expression controversial statements or views diverge from the standard media-driven narrative.

It was not “trolling” for a fight to simply speak my mind, but merely a moral obligation, to me, in the face of such extreme injustice, human suffering, and great dangers facing the people. Smarmy and smug, sardonic comments are not helpful to our discussion, nor to the people of the United States or the world. Hurling accusations of “troll”, at least in this case, simply shows that the attacker has no intelligent argument to bring to bear, but must instead resort to hurling insults. Let us try to rise above that.

If we want to look at controversial statements that could be labelled as “trolling” – and mislabelled as trolling, since they were simply sincere statements, representing an attempt to spark thoughtful reflection and discussion, here are a few by some truly great Americans which we would do well to consider. Compared to these statements, the statements I made in the above essay were very mild indeed.

“The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.”

– Alexander Cockburn

“I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished by the help of my fellow men. Their minds would first have to be placed in a kind of powerful vice, to squeeze their old ideas out of them.”

– Henry David Thoreau

“If the Nuremberg laws were applied today, every US president since WWII would be hanged.”

– Noam Chomsky

“Today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that

takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government

owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

“I hope we shall crush the new moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for it already bids defiance to our laws, and bids a contest of strength with our democratic government.”

– Thomas Jefferson, 1812 (Note that he said this in 1812!)

Let us try to keep things in perspective. Not everything can be sugar coated, dumbed down, skirted or perennially avoided. Sometimes we have to speak the frank and honest truth, even if it is painful to hear, or to say.

Nor do I find my predictions for, or analysis of, the United States, to be hyperbole of any sort. I think it is quite shocking – or it would be shocking, if I did not know that many people are deeply steeped in denial – that the statements I made would shock anyone. Have a great number of people been living under a rock for the past three decades? Apparently so. The United States is not what it used to be, and it is in great danger – from its own internal divisions, above all, as well as from the corporate elite who are rapidly devouring it, along with the world, the middle class and the poor.

If stating obvious truths, or simply making controversial statements, makes some people uncomfortable, and perhaps very upset, I am willing to live with that. That goes with the territory.

But if stating obvious truths, or even simply making controversial statements, gets me banned from Daily Kos, then this journal, this forum, has some serious problems with freedom of speech and openness to diverse and thoughtful discussion – and that is quite dismal.

I suspect that the problem here, with regard to Daily Kos banning me on my first day as a member – maybe a new record – was simple partisan politics: Daily Kos is by an large a dyed in the wool and staunch supporter of the Democratic Party establishment, from what I can see, although there is some dissent within the broader forum. Hillary is the anointed candidate of the Democratic Party establishment. Any serious challenge to the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate by more genuinely democratic political movements or voices, are frowned upon, at the least, and possibly even banished from Daily Kos, as has apparently happened before. But that is beside the point. The editorial actions of Daily Kos remain a gross violation of the principles of free speech and free and open debate, and as such, are repugnant, no matter what the motivation or rationalization may have been.

In fact, if the editors at Daily Kos are going to ban me from this forum, which they did, and they have yet to rescind or reverse their decision, then not only do they have serious failings with regards to free and open discussion, and basic freedom of speech, but they do not qualify for the term “progressive”, much less the high and vaulted self-annointment of presenting themselves as the leading voice of progressive America.

But we are facing much bigger and far more important issues than the editorial policies or current state of Daily Kos, of course.

*

During the Great Depression, FDR, who I believe was a man of conscience, came to realize that there was not only a moral crisis facing the United States, but also a social and political crisis. It was realized then by the ruling elite, that tensions were high, and if serious changes were not made to address the people’s legitimate concerns, then there was a serious risk of revolution.

The political elite, and at least a portion of the business elite, knew that concessions had to be made. Smedley Butler had blown the lid off of The Business Plot, so the corporate-led fascist coup which was planned, and which Congress documented after General Butler’s testimony, seemed to no longer be an option, at least for the moment; and so, concessions were viewed as necessary and unavoidable.

(See my essay, Smedley Butler and the Business Plot, on WordPress.)

That was the beginning of The New Deal, and the beginning of major programs and initiatives to address poverty and inequality in America. And today, once again – after four decades of rising corporate powers, not only effectively having taken over the political process, government, finance and the economy, but also, rolling back many of the gains that had been made by the people over the past several decades and more – poverty is high and growing, inequality is higher than at any time in history, tensions are high, and if serious political, economic and social change is not made soon, the results are very likely to be a conflagration of one kind or another.

Again, I think these things should, by now, to obvious to just about everyone. The Occupy Wall Street movement was just the beginning. Real change is coming, and as John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

And that is not a threat. It is a prediction, and it is a virtual certainty – if we fail to make the needed changes in time. Neither JFK nor myself were making a threat: it was simply an observation of the obvious facts, and a very sound and reasonable prediction based on the facts.

I have written about these things before, and extensively, and my writing and analysis is based upon thirty years of intensive research, study and reflection. (And I will freely mention my other writing here, and quite legitimately, because it is relevant to the subject at hand, above all; and because it has merit, because it should be widely read, and because I do not have a PR or marketing firm working on my behalf, or even an agent, and so, must, by necessity, promote my work myself, if it is to have the kind of positive impact I hope for it, or any impact at all.) My recent essay, Pre-Revolutionary France and America:1785 and Now; and my recent book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium, cover the subject in greater depth.

Remember also, that I predicted the economic crash of 2008, at a time when virtually everyone was saying that things are just rosy, and would remain so for the foreseeable future. There is good reason, therefore, to take these present predictions as to the current dangers facing the United States, quite seriously, and with all due thoughtfulness.

We should note also, that people as diverse as billionaire financier George Soros, who single-handedly brought the British Pound to its knees, before finishing his breakfast one fine morning; along with South African tycoon Johann Rupert, the fifth richest man in Africa; and multi-billionaire Nick Hanauer, who recently penned an open letter addressed, “To My Fellow Zillionaires”, warning, The Pitchforks ARE Coming…For Us Plutocrats; to David Sirota, the progressive democrat, veteran journalist and activist, and author of the book, The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington; to Jacques Attali, leading intellectual in residence to the French elite, and author of the book, Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order, among many others, have all warned essentially of the same thing: a great confrontation and great turmoil is brewing in America, if not also the world, and it is plain to see for anyone who cares to look. To me it has been so plainly obvious for so long, that, again, it is almost shocking that some still cannot see it. The writing is clearly on the wall.

Peaceful change through political, economic and social reforms is urgently needed, and world-wide, or we will face a crisis of truly terrible proportions – and the US is in the lead in terms of rushing headlong into disaster, if these changes are not made quickly, and now. This should be so plain as to go without saying. It is a testimony to the fact that large segments of the population remain asleep, or stubbornly and foolishly in denial, that such things need to be stated at all.

Let’s hope serious positive change comes to the United States, or rather, is actively brought about in the United States, and soon, is all I can say. People can take these warnings, and heed them, or brush them aside. But if they choose to ignore them, I assure you, it will be at their peril.

*

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, at another time of rising crisis, “We must face the fierce urgency of now…..There is such a thing as being too late.”

Two hundred years ago, the business elite backed the democratic revolutions of France and America, because they rightly saw it as a means to break the back of the ruling monarchy and aristocracy. But ever since, they have been, at best, ambivalent about democracy, and have sought an undeclared oligarchy, with themselves as the new ruling god-kings, pharaohs or tsars. (Chomsky documents this very well, in what is perhaps his most important book, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies – a book should be considered essential reading for every informed person.)

And today, after two hundred years of exponentially rising powers, the business elite is not only the principle obstacle to real and authentic democracy, and rule of the people, by the people, for the people; but they are, in fact, engaged in an aggressive and determined war against democracy, as with the people and the earth.

The business elite, who are now firmly in control, both in the United States and in most nations around the world, foolishly believe that they can have a grand global showdown against the people, and win. I would remind them that any such foolish notions and foolish responses to a very real and growing social crisis, will not end in peace, and nor will they end quickly. Such an attitude will result only in a long and protracted state of civil war, in which the toll on all sides is truly horrific, and devastating.

The stubborn, and quite foolishly smug refusal among the business and political elite to embrace change, must be overcome. And even more importantly, the excessive docility and obedience of the majority of the people, and their continued insistence on voting for the candidates of the business elite, such as Hillary Clinton, must be overcome.

I realize that there are some very thoughtful critics of Bernie Sanders’ policy platform, and I also realize that his proposed policy changes are not thorough enough or radical enough for some people. But I will say again, that Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy, and more essentially, the popular movement for social change that is coalescing around it, is the best hope we have for real, substantive change at this time. And at least at this time, I think it is probably true: we have a choice between a Sanders’ presidency, or civil war for America.

Let the voters decide. But let us realize, the hour is very late, and change is needed urgently, and now.

In hope and in peace,

J. Todd Ring

February 10, 2016

 

Further reading:

“The pitchforks ARE coming” – A billionaire warns his fellow Oligarchs what is coming down the pipe

By MinistryOfTruth – Daily Kos, Friday Jun 27, 2014

“The pitchforks are coming . . . for us Plutocrats” – Nick Hanauer, Politico Magazine, 6/26/2014

Luxury Goods CEO Billionaire Warns Of Imminent Violent Uprising Of The Poor

By Joe Clark, July 15, 2015, Liberal America

http://www.liberalamerica.org/2015/07/15/billionaire-ceo-warns-of-imminent-violent-uprising-of-the-poor/

Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World – August 20, 1991
by Jacques Attali

http://www.amazon.com/Millennium-Winners-Losers-Coming-World/dp/0812919130/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455111111&sr=1-2&keywords=Jacques+Attali+millennium

 

The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington,

by David Sirota, 2008

http://www.amazon.com/The-Uprising-Unauthorized-Populist-Washington/dp/B006Z39Q4W

 

Six Responses To Bernie Sanders Sceptics – An excellent, short, three minute video by Robert Reich

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/02/08/6-responses-to-bernie-sanders-skeptics/

 

Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think,

Scientific American,

By Nicholas Fitz, March 31, 2015

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/economic-inequality-it-s-far-worse-than-you-think/

 

Davos’ Blind Eye: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-davos-blind-eye-how-the-rich-eat-the-poor-and-the-world

 

 

 

CBS South Carolina Poll: 100% of 18-29 year-olds think Bernie is honest and trustworthy,

Daily Kos, February 14, 2016

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/14/1485191/-CBS-South-Carolina-poll-100-of-18-29-year-olds-think-Bernie-is-honest-and-trustworthy-Nice

 

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium: Volume One: Introductory Essays in Political-Economy, Social Analysis & The State of the World

By J. Todd Ring

http://www.amazon.com/Enlightened-Democracy-Millennium-Introductory-Political-Economy/dp/1481074776/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455111715&sr=1-1&keywords=ring+enlightened+democracy

Blessed be the gadflies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by jtoddring

Metaphorically speaking, and only with regard to issues of the greatest importance, I wholeheartedly agree:

“When confronting your enemy, go for the jugular, and never back down.”
– Alexander Cockburn
(A journalist with a rare quality – a spine)

Alexander Cockburn: born in Scotland, raised in Ireland – of course he was a scrapper. And I love him for it.

He reminds me of my greatest literary hero, Henry David Thoreau.

“I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished by the help of my fellow men. Their minds would first have to be placed in a kind of powerful vice, to squeeze their old ideas out of them.”

Ferocious, honest, and also true.

Blessed be the gadflies. Jesus forgot to mention that one, but I think it was implied.

JTR,
January 26, 2016

Confronting Evil: Not with a bang, but a whimper? Neither, I say

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by jtoddring

Yes, it is best to be cordial, courteous, friendly and respectful, and to avoid harsh words and harsh speech, generally speaking. But when it comes to confronting power, when it comes to addressing the power elite and their willing vassals, servants, prostitutes in high office, and other shills, we must be fierce, and uncompromising – particularly when lives are at stake; or worse, when, as at present, the future of humanity and all life on earth is at stake, and the rulers and their peons are actively destroying, not only the quality of life for the great majority, but even the possibility of the continuation of life at all.

Then, the gloves must come off, and we use language as a weapon, as well as a means of informing, inspiring and uplifting.

Sometimes, evil must simply be defeated, and while I would not go so far as to say, “by any means necessary,” I would say that there are times for dispensing with civilities, and driving a stake through the heart of the lies and illusions which surround and enchain us – or we will never be free, and our future will be bleak.

If we need any further encouragement to stand up and speak out — and with passion and boldness, and not mousy obedience, meekness or timidity — I would say that Henry David Thoreau’s, On Civil Disobedience, Etienne de la Boite’s, The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude, Erich Fromm’s, Escape From Freedom, and the writings and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., should top the list of essential works to read or re-read for inspiration. As Dr. King said, we must face the fierce urgency of now — there is such a thing, as being too late.

Stand up, and speak out – for justice, for peace, for freedom, and for a better world for all: courteously whenever possible, but ferociously when necessary.

J. Todd Ring,
January 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders: The backlash is on – surprise, surprise!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by jtoddring

Bernie Sanders was effectively silenced and blacked out of the media, by and large, for a long time, until he became too popular and too prominent to ignore. Now, the only candidate who is not a Wall Street hireling, hack or shill, the only candidate who is willing to take on the central problem of our society, which is its take-over by big business, has become prominent and powerful enough that the business elite and their loyal prostitutes in politics and the media are gunning for him. And of course, many among the bleating herd – including many seemingly intelligent commentators, pundits and members of the public – will simply believe anything they are told, and will trot along in obeisance to the growing propaganda/disinformation campaign that is being mounted against the only true progressive – or democrat, for that matter – in the US presidential race. But, fortunately, too many people have retained or recently rediscovered the lost art of thinking for oneself. Bernie will not be easy to defeat. In fact, he just might win.

Go Bernie.

J. Todd Ring,
January 26, 2016

Cancer Treatments and Cures – Natural and Conventional: An Overview

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by jtoddring

 

Here’s a thorny, delicate, controversial subject – but then again, when have I ever been known to shy away from such things? Peoples’ lives and well-being are at stake. We cannot afford to be tepid, mousey or weak-minded.

According to a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, chemotherapy was found to be *partially* effective in less than 3% of cases. So why is it still used? A combination of ignorance and greed are the only explanations.

Chemotherapy is toxic, destroys the immune system, and is largely ineffective in treating cancer. It is used out of ignorance, on the part of doctors, and out of sociopathic greed on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

Surgery, the other standard treatment for cancer, is also fraught with risks and negative side effects – such as colostomy bags or loss of breasts – and rarely removes all of the cancer: which is why chemotherapy is always used in conjunction with surgery.

So conventional medicine takes two drastic, and dangerous methods to confront cancer, neither of which are very effective, and says that that is the best we can do. Well, it is not.

Herbal medicine, including the well-proven Essiac formula, along with dietary changes – principally, eliminating meat, dairy, processed foods and sugar – in conjunction with beta glucans (found naturally in shitake mushrooms), has been shown repeatedly to have a much higher success rate in treating cancer, and far more safely.

Read, and do your own research before you bow down to the gods in white coats, and the pig-headed, out-moded, and profit-driven medical establishment.

Generally speaking, integrative medicine is the way of the future, but in some certain areas, and at some times, the best recourse is either conventional or natural treatments on their own. If you break your leg skiing, you should go to a hospital and get the conventional treatment. If you have a car accident, and have had physical trauma, lesions, broken bones, etc, then you should go to the hospital for conventional treatment (and take arnica and healthy foods to speed healing, I would recommend.) If you have cancer, the case may not be so clear cut. The evidence is abundantly clear to me, but each person should have the freedom to decide for him or herself what course of health care they will take. All I urge, is that you research before you decide, and think for yourself. It’s your body and your health – it’s your choice. Just don’t be bullied into anything you don’t feel comfortable with – it’s your life.

JTR,
January 21, 2016

 

Standard disclaimer:

Think for yourself. Do your own research. Oh yes, and consult a health professional (of your own careful choosing) before taking any conventional or natural medicine or course of treatment. This article is not meant to replace the advice of your health care professional, naturally.

http://www.realfarmacy.com/70-year-old-man-beat-late-stage-terminal-colon-cancer-naturally/

Revolution and Uniting the People: Bernie Sanders, Thomas Jefferson and FDR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2016 by jtoddring

 
I would say that Bernie Sanders is not only a good candidate for US President, and beyond that, the only serious candidate for the people, since he is the only one who is not thoroughly indebted to the Wall Street money masters, owned by Wall Street, and in service to Wall Street; but he would be the best US president since FDR, and arguably, since Thomas Jefferson.
 
Of course, it is Congress which holds the greater power, and not the President, but having a true populist progressive in the White House would be an enormous stride in the right direction – especially when it is one who is so passionately and fiercely determined to reign in Wall Street and get big money out of politics.
 
I realize that conservatives tend to despise FDR, or at least despise his policies, but they should remember that it was FDR’s policies which got the US out of the Depression, put millions of Americans back to work, and, along with the labour movement, helped to create the middle class – which is now being systematically eliminated by the neoliberal/neo-fascist/globalization policies of the super-rich billionaire class of business elites, the very people that both FDR and Bernie Sanders so fiercely oppose.
 
(And no, war did not end the Great Depression, as some people imagine. The policies of FDR, and his very real stimulus package, which built or re-built the US infrastructure and put millions of people back to work (unlike the current neoliberal “stimulus” packages which rob billions and trillions of dollars from the treasury and the people and give it to the super-rich banking elite) is what began the long road to US and global economic recovery. Once the economic recovery was underway, WWII began, and the US prospered from it – mainly for three reasons: one, the US did not suffer the disastrous effects of waging a war on its own soil, as the European powers did; two, after the war, the US emerged as the world’s “first truly global super-power” and globally dominant power, precisely because war had left the great powers of Europe in ruins; and three, because US business elites profited handsomely by trading with the enemy, (that includes George Bush’s grand-daddy, Prescott Bush) and by selling to both sides – for example, IBM providing the office machines and data management for the extermination camps and gas chambers. War is disastrous to economies invariably, except for these very unusual conditions, and in any event, the economic recovery was well under way before the war even began.)
 
More to the point, the majority of Americans, well over 70%, are not conservatives, but center-left in their views, as poll after poll has shown for decades – so if Bernie Sanders does become the next President of the United States, conservatives will simply have to – pardon my expression – suck it up.
 
But it is also a fact that many sensible conservatives, and even many sensible Republicans – and yes, there is such an animal, believe it or not – support Bernie Sanders, or at least respect and admire him for his integrity, and his honesty and courage. They may not like all of his policies, but they realize that he is the best choice available at this time, and the only candidate who is willing to stand up to the greatest threat facing the country and the world – Wall Street and the international corporate elite. The more sensible also recognize that the Republican candidates, along with Hilary, represent the interests of the same crypto-fascist (and more and more brazenly fascist) corporate oligarchs and plutocrats. In short, Bernie is not only the best the people have at this time – he is all the people have at this time, at least in terms of presidential candidates.
 
“Before you Republicans and Hillary supporters say anything about Bernie, let’s look at his history. He was the only one in Senate to stand up for gay soldiers in 1995. He actively participated in the Civil Rights Movement along with Martin Luther King Jr. He voted against the Iraq War. (Which Hillary still considers a “mistake”.) He practically predicted the Wall Street Crash of 2008.He has been consistent with his political views for the past 30 years [and] ever since he joined the senate. He is the longest serving independent in Senate history. He believes climate change is the most threatening problem we have today. He has over a million individual donations from actual people donating whatever they can to support the campaign without any Super PACs. (Rest of the candidates would be struggling to equal Bernie’s collections without SuperPac money.) I just have to say Bernie is the real deal. Believe it or not.” – Arnav Garg
 
Actually, it’s 2.5 million individual donations now, which Bernie has raised, averaging less than $30. (And Bernie is setting all new records for the fastest rate of raising individual donations in US history.) All the other candidates are deeply indebted to Wall Street, and in service to Wall Street. Bernie is the only serious candidate for the people. Period.
 
‪#‎FeelTheBern‬
What is more, now that Bernie Sanders has begun to unite progressives, liberals, the left, environmentalists, labour, large segments of the black community, including, most notably, leading black American scholar and activist Cornel West, along with many sensible conservatives – due to his fierce opposition to Wall Street, big money in politics, and the increasingly fascist police state which Bush and Obama have created – Bernie stands a serious chance, not only of winning the next US presidential election, but winning by a landslide – as he should.
This is enormously significant: Robert F. Kennedy, leading black American activist and scholar Cornel West, and now, the major US progressive organization, Move On, amongst many others, including diverse figures ranging from actor John Cusack, UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have come forward to endorse US President – oops – US Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.This could be the straw the breaks the back of the ruling political elites and their Wall Street masters, and puts a true progressive populist democrat into the White House. Let us pray we are so lucky – or so determined.
 
“MoveOn has spent more than 17 years bringing people together to fight for progressive change and stand up against big money interests. MoveOn’s fight to give the American people a voice in our political system was reflected in the group’s internal democratic process. I’m humbled by their support and welcome MoveOn’s members to the political revolution.”
– Bernie Sanders, As reported by Fortune Magazine
(I would like to see Bernie seek out and receive the support of Ron Paul, by the way: the maverick, anti-establishment conservative Senator who consistently fought for the people, and against the same crypto-fascist, pro-war, neo-feudal big money interests which Bernie so strongly opposes – a person who has tremendous integrity, and who also has tremendous support among conservatives and many thoughtful people on the grassroots right. This, Sanders should do, and do immediately, and this support he should gain. Someone please notify Ron Paul that his help is needed here, and now.)
I also realize the some people on the left are very critical of Bernie Sanders, feeling that he is not radical enough for their liking. But while such individuals have valid points to make, and useful criticisms, they too will, I am afraid to say, and will bluntly say, have to suck it up, because the policies of Bernie Sanders, while they do not go far enough in some important ways, not only represent a very good starting place, but are also supported by the majority of Americans.
The criticisms from individuals on the left with regards to Bernie’s foreign policy, where he is admittedly weak, are particularly valid and important; but frankly, despite that valid criticism, I think that Bernie’s critics on the left are not only throwing the baby out with the bath water, but are simply out to lunch, and out of touch with reality. And there is one simple reason for that statement.
At this time, when a crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy has taken over the nation, as well as the economy, the financial system, the monetary system, most of the media, the culture and the political process, there are only two options available to the American people – at this moment at least. One is revolution – and as much as I have been urging revolution, I do not think that there is reason to believe that the American people are yet ready for it. The other is Bernie Sanders. Say what you will about Bernie, but he is the best hope for America at this time.
Do I think that Jill Stein would make a better president than Bernie Sanders? Possibly she would. Do I think that Jill Stein has any chance of becoming president at this time? No. Therefore, I will support Bernie Sanders, as the only legitimate choice amongst candidates who stand any chance of winning the election – and again, a person who would make the best president since FDR, if not Thomas Jefferson. Is he perfect? No, but I, for one, am not looking for a messiah, but simply a person who will serve the people, as Bernie Sanders has done for over 30 years, and will continue to do. There will always be critics. Let’s just get the job done, shall we, and get on the with urgent business of creating, at least a starting point, for some urgently needed social change.
What would be wise for Bernie to do is to continue to reach out to the black and Hispanic communities, immigrants, progressives, labour, environmentalists and the left, as well as independents; but also to reach out to sensible conservatives and people on the grassroots right, who share his passionate opposition to the domination of Wall Street and corporate America over the economy, the political process and the country.
If he does this, Bernie Sanders may very well become the next president of the United States. And that, I would say, would be a very good thing, and the beginning of some very hopeful, and very real change.
J. Todd Ring,
January 12, 2016
 
For more analysis and social commentary, see my recently published book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium – available now on Amazon.com.

The Paris Attacks In Contex

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2015 by jtoddring

Propaganda, hysteria, ultra-violence and imperialism, as usual

A people unaware of its myths is likely to continue living by them.”

– Richard Slotkin

 

Frankly, to even mention terrorism without putting it into context, is irresponsible in the extreme. It indicates, either a profound ignorance of history and what is happening in the world, or a profound lack of honesty and moral courage. So we will not deal in commentary and “analysis” by way of sound-bites and jingoism. (We are not news readers, but news makers, not sheep or pawns, but collective world-shapers.) In stark contrast to the ever plummeting norms of Western journalism, academia and political “leadership”, we will instead ask the deeper questions that need to be asked. That is the only way, in this or any other subject, that any clarity, and hence, any effective response, is at all possible. Otherwise, we are simply flapping our gums wildly, and parroting what we have been told (or scripted to say) and nothing good will come of it.

Our response to the horrors of terrorism is not only a moral question, but also a strategic one. If, in our rage, our fear, and our pain, we seek to destroy the terrorists, we should not go about it in ways that also destroy ourselves. But that is precisely what we are doing. Worse, we are destroying the foundations of our civilization, in the attacks on human rights, civil liberties, equality, democracy and freedom, while sowing even greater suffering and misery for both ourselves and others, and increasing the volatility, danger and instability in the world, and while further inflaming and escalating the levels of terrorism world-wide. These are the actions of madmen, not leaders. This is patently insane.

Bombing for peace is a failed strategy, both morally and also in terms of its results, as Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other examples should have taught us by now. But we are repeating the mistakes of history gleefully, like Pavlov’s dogs reacting to the sound of a bell, and we wonder why the violence in the world keeps rising, and the world becomes more unstable and dangerous, and not less.

The war-mongers like to talk about “bombing them into the stone age” – well here is news: we are bombing ourselves into the stone age. Our response to terror has been terrifying and terrible – that is, terribly insane and counter-productive. But we seem intent, and hell-bent even, upon repeating the same failed strategies, presumably, until we destroy every shred of our civilization, or at least all of the best and most noble parts and foundations of it: such as our freedom, our civil liberties, our democracy, our human rights, and our very humanity.

Bravo for Dr. Strangelove. He is in power in Washington, London and Paris, and in many other nations as well, and the world is in a horrible state precisely because of it.

I have been too horrified by the predictably violent and insane reaction of the Western powers to the violent and insane attacks in Paris to delve deeply into them until now; but I have been watching the global trends closely since 9/11, and long before, and I knew immediately what direction and what response the West would take. We are moving rapidly in precisely the wrong direction.

We are confronting a man with a flame-thrower, and our response is to throw gasoline on him, and immolate ourselves as well as our adversary in the process. This is hardly intelligent behaviour. This is categorically insane.

Our patterned response of bombing for peace is predictably disastrous, and everyone who has any sense of history or recent events knows it, or should know it, very well. We are not only shooting ourselves in the foot – we are burning ourselves to the ground.

A very thoughtful friend, commenting on the attacks on Paris, summed it up this way. Civil liberties and freedom are dead in France – and if they are dead in France, they are dead in Europe and the Western world. This is far more ominous than even the most heinous of terrorist attacks – this is the destruction of our civilization, by our own hands.

But let’s get right to the heart of the matter, shall we? We bemoan terrorist attacks in Paris, but commit our own terrorist attacks on a weekly basis: with routine drone strikes, extrajudicial summary executions and kill lists, and by routine “regime changes” – that is, coups – along with mass bombings of civilian populations. This is disgusting behaviour, and hypocritical in the extreme, but typical of those presently in power, and the majority of those that have been in power in most nations for a very long time. And of course, such heinous and extreme acts of violence on our part, not only fail to halt terrorism, but in fact further inflame it.

Real change is needed, and urgently so. And it will not come from bombing campaigns, but from democratic revolution – at home.

Terrorism is always horrific and cowardly – so we should stop participating in it, and stop funding it; and stop pretending that bombing civilians is a reasonable response to the bombing of civilians, or that our response is anything other than another, and larger form of terrorism.

“It’s not a pretty picture of western humanity in crisis. Narcissism is not a wholesome trait. The West feels righteous in bombing; it doesn’t seem to know what else to do.”

– John Grant, Learning How Not To Rule The World, November 17, 2015

“French delusions aside, pitiless counterism is a stupid doctrine. If an insane person attacks a town, the answer is not for the entire town to become insane. If one hundred persons are killed, the remedy is not to kill a hundred thousand people. If a building is razed, the solution is not to erase an entire village. Firing bullets to alleviate pain is quack medicine. Sometimes, absorbing pain is indispensable for restoring well-being. Sometimes, even a proportionate counterforce is counterproductive. Wisdom has rarely been the forte of the war-addicted West.

Two eyes for one eye and all teeth for one tooth is the manual of sick minds. The human species cannot be surrendered to vengeful masters of any race, religion, or national anthem. We need no fiends to show us the way.”

– L. Ali Khan, Sick Over-Reactions to Islamic Terrorism, CounterPunch, November 19, 2015

“It is a cliché, of course, but there is no doubt about its truthfulness: for every terrorist we kill, ten others take his place.

Unsurprisingly, the agitators now beat the drum of war more than ever before. They argue for more violence, ‘until the last terrorist is eliminated.’ But the last terrorist is a fiction; the system will always breed new ones.

September 11, 2001 has changed our world in many ways. Above anything else, it brought to the fore questions of what governments can and must do in order to prevent acts of violence. Answers were given, but they were the wrong answers. Limitless spying and surveillance of people, torture and imprisonment in Guantánamo and other places, such as secret prisons, and the unlawful drone killing operations led to the dismantling of the rule of law and our constitutional rights and liberties on a scale that was considered unimaginable and impossible thirty years ago.”

– Heiner Flassbeck, The Attacks in Paris and Our Responsibility to Work Toward an Open and Tolerant Society, CounterPunch, November 19, 2015

“Just as America learned to distinguish between nationalism and Communism in Vietnam, so it will need to learn the difference between nationalism and terrorism in the post 9/11 world. To win the fight against terrorism requires accepting that the world has changed, that the old colonialism is no more and will not return, and that to occupy foreign places will be expensive, in lives and money. America cannot occupy the world. It has to learn to live in it.”

– Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror

“There are two ways to do this [that is, to learn how to live in the world, and to respond intelligently, and not stupidly, to terrorism]. One, as in Vietnam, we can follow the tired old Rudy Guilianis and the young, energetic Marco Rubios and pursue a very costly 21st century military conflagration in which all parties fall prey to a learning curve that begins with terrorist acts like Paris and a relentlessly vengeful imperial reaction. Decades hence, after a great many dead and much destruction, Mamdani’s lesson will become fact for those who survive. And people will write books — like they do about World War One — on how tragically stuck in the past world leadership was circa 2015.”

– John Grant, Learning How Not To Rule The World

In our extremely short-sighted, and starkly delusional, militaristic response, we are invoking the worst and most disastrous of policies, both foreign and domestic. This alone should be enough to make us radically re-think and re-evaluate our actions, our utterly failed strategies, and our utterly failed response. But if we are to truly understand what is going on in the world, post 9/11, then we must look even deeper than this.

While Washington and its criminally complicit and morally bankrupt allies in Paris and London continue to undermine democracy and freedom around the world with covert and overt imperial warfare, as well as economic and financial terrorism (see Chomsky, Chossudovsky, Celente, Max Keiser and Paul Craig Roberts), they continue to support the neoliberal, neo-feudal imperial agenda of the corporate elite who rule the US, the EU and most of the globe. And while terrorism is real, and despicable, the “war on terror” is primarily a distraction, designed to keep the people looking elsewhere, while their nations, their rights, their freedoms, their civil liberties, their environment, their communities and their lands, their treasuries, and their futures, are systematically looted and destroyed by a rapacious and predatory corporate oligarchy, who despise democracy and care only about their own power, wealth and self-aggrandizement. This is the central fact of the matter, for all who care to see.

As Ralph Nader has said, the creeping corporate coup represents the biggest power-grab in history – and the people are being distracted from this most pressing and most threatening reality, by any means necessary or expedient. The shrill cry of terrorism just happens to be most expedient at the moment.

As Orwell knew, perpetual war is necessary for perpetual tyranny, for the people must be distracted from the real enemy at home, by a lesser enemy, or if necessary, a manufactured enemy, abroad.

(ISIS are gnats compared to the giant US military-industrial complex and its global reach, or compared with the predatory evil of Monsanto, or the giant vampire squid of Goldman Sachs, as Matt Taibbi accurately and graphically portrayed that company, to make just two comparisons from the ruling corporate elite, and a note as to their chief hired thug, which is the US military and intelligence apparatus. But hysteria and propaganda have so gripped the minds of the majority that, for the moment at least, they cannot possibly assess the dangers and threats in any remotely realistic fashion.)

The “war on terror” is the smoke screen and pretext, the justification and the cover, for on-going wars of conquest and empire abroad, and for a war on democracy and freedom, both globally and also at home.

The “war on terror” propaganda and cover must be revealed for what it is: a pretext for ruthless global hegemony and violent domination by the currently reigning corporate elite and their political servants, or prostitutes, in high office.

But if we insist on focusing on the (of course) very ugly, very horrible reality of “their” terrorism, and not our own, which dwarfs theirs many times over, then let’s at least try to deal with reality. As US intelligence agencies made clear before the invasion, occupation and mass bombing of Iraq, such actions of mass bombings, occupation and military intervention in response to terrorism (or so it was claimed to be the motive) will only increase terrorism. And this prediction proved to be entirely correct, as was absolutely predictable. Mass bombings tend to create hatred, and that fuels terrorism. You do not fight terrorism by fuelling terrorism. That much should be clear. Let us try to learn from history, shall we? Or do we wish to be forever doomed to repeat it?

“To repeat the same actions, expecting different results, is the very definition of insanity.”

– Albert Einstein

If we truly wish to deal with terrorism, and to reduce it, we will first have to begin by dealing with reality, and cease to flee ever more deeply into fantasy and delusion. That is step one. We can do nothing but harm ourselves, as well as others, until this most critical step is taken; and that will require the moral courage to look into the mirror, and to listen to the teachings and experience of history, rather than ceding our power to the dark forces of fear, vengeance and hate, and to habitual responses which have been proven to bring nothing but failure and mutual destruction.

Presently, we seem to have learned nothing from history, and so, to paraphrase Goethe, we are living hand to mouth, and worse, are sowing our own destruction. Clearly, we need to reflect deeply, and re-think our current presumptions, because every time we repeat the mistakes of history, the stakes grow higher and higher.

J. Todd Ring,
November 20, 2015

For further details and analysis see my recent articles:

Reality Check, and, Danger and Delusion: From ISIS To Ebola

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