Archive for media analysis

“Unprecedented” – Reality vs Delusion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2020 by jtoddring

Every day, 25,000 people die of hunger. Every day, more than 25,000 people die from degenerative diseases caused by toxins, pollution, obesity and poor diets. Nobody is sounding the alarm about these two killers, which dwarf all others. Madness has gripped the world.

Every 100 days, over 5,000,000 people die of poverty and hunger, junk food and obesity. Nobody notices. But a virus kills 200,000 in the same time span, with less than 1/20th of that death toll, and it’s a global panic and hysteria, with a fascist global lockdown, a police state invoked, and global house arrests, as everyone chants the cultish chorus, “unprecedented!”

Unprecedented madness, is what it is. What’s next, the Inquisition?

Watch for it.

Every year a tragic event happens. 300,000 to 600,000 people die globally of the flu. Most are very old, very ill, or immune compromised, but it is still tragic, of course. In 2020 fewer people have died of a novel coronavirus (a new form within the cold and flu family of viruses) than from previous years’ typical flu deaths.

Let me repeat that. Fewer people have died from this new flu, or flu-like respiratory infection, to be precise, called covid-19, than have died this year from the flu, and fewer than the number that die every year from the flu.

More people die in a typical year, year after year, from the flu – yet we did not invoke a global fascist police state, mass global house arrests, sweeping unconstitutional powers for governments, and suspension of constitutional rights and freedoms for the people, in response to the previous 300,000 years of human history, when we faced typically higher death rates from the annual flu.

Simple logic and common sense fails the people, and the intellectuals, alike. Nobody fact checks? Reason has fled them.

Clearly the numbers don’t add up. This is not about public health. It is a power grab, with an extremely exaggerated relatively minor health issue used as the propaganda narrative to justify and cover it up. It is staring us in the face, like the emperor with no clothes, but people can’t see it before their eyes. They are being severely brainwashed, virtually every second, by a truly unprecedented global propaganda campaign. And it is working with unprecedented success.

If the business and political elite were truly interested in human health, the US would already have a universal public health care system; Britain would not be trashing the NHS; Big Pharma would be strictly regulated and monitored, not put in the driver’s seat; poverty, hunger and malnutrition would be eliminated; war would be stopped; toxic pesticides and other pollutants would be banned; and the fast food and processed food industries would be heavily taxed, to drive up their prices, deter their food-like products from being consumed, and fund mass public education on what truly healthy food and lifestyles look like – to make just a partial and incomplete list.

None of that is happening. This is not about human health. It’s about elite power. The Davos set wants it all.

What is unprecedented is a billionaire, Bill Gates, Mr. Pharma, and his billionaire pals at Davos, using their financial control over the World Health Organization and world governments, along with their financial control – or in most cases direct ownership – of the media, to drive an agenda of mass global house arrest, shutting down the bulk of the global economy, knowing it would demolish the global economy, which would cause vast suffering for the 99% and a feeding frenzy and boon for the 1%, and would cause a Great Depression of unprecedented proportions, in what is an act of global economic warfare of the 0.1% against the great majority of the people.

(How are these things not obvious to everyone – not even to the intelligensia?!)

A virus did not do that. A virus did not demolish the global economy. The Davos plutocrats and their political minions took a wrecking ball to the global economy, in order to force a mass restructuring, knowing it would cause mass global death and suffering, but would be a further vast transfer of wealth and power to themselves.

Some concern for health that is.

Yet the bleating flock and intelligentsia alike, all blame a virus for the economic wreckage – which is about to make the 2007-2009 Global Financial Crisis look like a child’s picnic – when it was self-evidently a planned demolition of the global economic system. That is a stunning, unprecedented level of propaganda success.

Psyops success of unprecedented proportions, is what that is. No wonder Bill Gates looks like a grinning, gloating ghoul. It’s a feeding frenzy for the super-rich, and a self-coronation, as the 99% are gutted, and liberty and democracy are destroyed.

There is nothing unprecedented about this “pandemic” – other than the hysteria and fascist measures surrounding it. We must get clear on these basic facts.

Our minds have been high-jacked by a psyops campaign of social engineering designed quite simply to consolidate the power of the ruling corporate elite and their political and technocratic minions, and to destroy democracy, freedom and constitutional rule in order to accomplish that goal.

“Unprecedented”. If I hear one more blinkered unthinking idiot utter that word, I think I’m going to throw up on their shoes. What’s unprecedented is global fascism, sheep!

Check the numbers. Compare the death toll to the flu, which is still a higher death toll. The mindlessness and unquestioning blind obedience to authority are almost unfathomable. And yes, it is disgusting, and vastly more dangerous than any germ.

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There are two great dangers in human society above all. They are: the truly grave dangers posed by power mongers, and by obedient sheep – and the sheep are by far the greater danger. It is the collusion of cowardice which endangers us above all else.

The power hungry few are only dangerous because the docile majority yield up their power to them. Otherwise, the power hungry never rise to anything more than petty tyrants, swindlers and thugs. 

All the truly great dangers are avoided if the people simply embrace their power. But they are taught to mistrust themselves, and that is the root of the problem.

What is unprecedented now, in 2020, is the extent to which the great majority have surrendered and abandoned, and disavowed, their own common sense and basic intelligence, and have blindly succumbed to a propaganda narrative designed to brazenly swindle them of all their remaining power, democracy, rights and freedom, in order to turn the oligarchs in Davos, Wall Street, Brussels, Basel and the City of London into God-kings. That is unprecedented, and that is extraordinarily dangerous.

We are now facing a second wave of fascism; but this time, the people are asleep. That is unprecedented, and that is gravely dangerous. That must change very soon, or freedom and democracy, all our rights and liberties, and the future of our species, will be effectively terminated. 

Think! Think for yourself, and question everything. Then unite the people, and embrace your power; and as Bob Marley said, stand up for your rights.

*

In 2020, the vast majority of people, politicians, governments, bureaucrats, health authorities, business and political leaders, media pundits, academics, activists and intellectuals, across the political spectrum and around the world, have swallowed an elite-manufactured propaganda narrative that has severely misled, deceived, deluded, manipulated, and virtually lobotomized them all, save for a handful of exceptions, dissidents and rebels.

I have never seen anything remotely like it, nor did I expect dissidents, intellectuals and activists to be so easily neutered, intellectually eviscerated, and rendered political eunuchs, serfs and slaves, all spouting the official party line.

The intellectuals of the centre, left and right would be highly prescient, alert and aware, forward-thinking and well-informed as to what is happening and what is unfolding – if this was 1970. But it’s not.

We’ve had 50 years of a slow-motion neoliberal global corporate fascist coup, and it is now coming to completion. But the intelligensia, the left, and the people in general, remain oblivious, as if this was 1970, 1980, or even 1990 or 2000. It is not. This is end game. And the people had better wake up very soon, including their popular “leaders”, or we are doomed to slavery under neofeudal global fascist corporate rule.

Rouse the people, and their leaders, now. The hour is late, and liberty, democracy, and the people, are under full frontal attack.

Know your enemy, and know yourself, and you will be victorious in a thousand battles, said Sun Tzu, the unrivaled master of strategy. Well, it would appear that the people do not understand themselves, for they do clearly do not trust themselves, and have no confidence, but bow down before the elite, and roll over like trained poodles. Nor do they or their popular leaders and intellectuals understand the enemy. That too, is undeniably clear.

The only enemies, in truth, are ignorance, greed and hate. But, that being said, there are opponents: individuals and groups who stand in the way of a better, freer, greener, more just, and yes, healthier world. The principle enemy in that sense, far and away, and with no comparisons, is the ruling oligarchy or cabal of corporate elites, and their servile political minions, dupes and hirelings. And the business elite, the plutocrats, are led by a cabal of their own, mainly bankers, Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Tech, who are truly sociopathic, and who are quite simply fascist: they are in love with power. This is nothing new; nor is it particularly surprising. It is, however, extremely dangerous.

To under-estimate the global power elite now would be disastrous – in a tragically unprecedented, cataclysmic, and horrific way. But that is precisely what the people, and their leaders and intellectuals, are busy doing. Never before have they been in greater danger; and never before have they failed to recognize or understand the real danger, so thoroughly and completely.

Wake them now.

Echoing and accepting the elite narrative, that a virus caused a global lockdown, and a virus destroyed the economy, hands them victory in their fascist coup by propaganda war. Stop handing your slavers their power! You are imprisoning yourselves.

What would Jefferson, Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. say to us now? I am sure they would say, “What are you waiting for? Unite the people, and stand!”

JTR,
May 3, 2020

Post-Script:

The left better wake the fuck up, to put it starkly and most frankly. Here is a prime example. Ann Pettifor, along with Michael Hudson, Ellen Brown, Max Keiser and a few others, clearly understands finance, banking, money and economics, at least to a high degree. She clearly does not understand politics, and, like most intellectuals, and the great majority of the people, radically misunderstands what is going on with coronavirus 2020. This is what is truly dire – not a germ, not even elite power games. Good-hearted Ann needs to go back to square one and understand politics, sociology, class, and above all, the systems dynamics and machinations of the global power elite. Most intellectuals are failing utterly in terms of grossly and dangerously misunderstanding what is going on with the corona event, so she is not alone. She illustrates my point perfectly here:

Ann Pettifor on Coronavirus Capitalism – YouTube

See also:

Peter Hitchens: We’re destroying the nation’s wealth – and health

Piers Robinson – Geopolitics & Empire Podcast

Medical Martial Law – The Corbett Report

The Boiler Room with TruthStream Media

21st Century Wire

Global Research

Giants: The Global Power Elite – Peter Phillips

The New Rulers Of The World – John Pilger

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

and

Gerald Celente – The Herd Mentality

along with some of my other essays:

Importing From China: A Virus? Or A Totalitarian Social Model?

Any Enemy Will Do

Sinking All Ships

Geopolitics 2020

The Death and Rebirth of Democracy

Flash-Drive Revolution

And more than a dozen others on my blog on this topic.

Never surrender. It ain’t over ’till it’s over.

And download, save and share all of these references. Censorship is rising fast.

Cutting through the crap, with Matt Taibbi

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

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

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

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

Perfect summary.

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

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

Yep.

Now, what are we gong to do about it?

JTR,

April 30, 2020

See also (among other important works):

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

Second choice: by typed or hand written letter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JTR,

April 30, 2020

 

See also:

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

And the writings of Orwell, Huxley and Thoreau

No Question: We Have Returned To The Dark Ages

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Witch burning, anyone?

Suspicion equals proof.

Indefinite detention on suspicion alone.

Maybe we should break out the rack, the Inquisition, and a little Hieronymus Bosch, and really get this party going.

Or maybe we’d prefer a little sanity….

Listen to the world’s most reliable trend analyst:

“Media Fear Machine in High Gear

As reported in detail in the Trends Journal, data from around the world confirms the vast majority of those who have died from COVID-19 had serious pre-existing illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic heart conditions, and lung diseases (99 percent in Italy, over 86 percent in New York City).

In Italy, the Italian Health Institute reported the average age of those dying was about 80 years old.

According to the CDC, in the U.S. “a mortality rate of 10% to 27% for those ages 85 and over, 3% to 11% for those ages 65 to 84, 1% to 3% for those ages 55 to 64, and less than 1% for those ages 20 to 54.”

Also underreported is the significant amount of those dying from COVID-19 being smokers. This virus attacks the lungs, and a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found Chinese coronavirus patients who smoked to be twice as vulnerable to serious infection and death from COVID-19 than those who didn’t smoke.

Yet the mainstream media, ignoring these hard facts, continues to pump out their tabloid headlines. For example, despite the fact stated above by the CDC that less than one percent of those between 20-54 years of age are dying from COVID-19, we get this 9 April headline from the Washington Post: “Hundreds of young Americans have now been killed by the coronavirus, data shows.””

The article states, “At least 759 people under age 50 across the United States who have perished amid the deepening pandemic, according to a Washington Post analysis of state data. These deaths underscore the tragic fact that while the novel coronavirus might be most threatening to the old and compromised, no one is immune.”

What’s left out of this junk journalism, which hyper-inflates the “deepening pandemic,” is that in the U.S. there are over 200 million people under the age of 50. Therefore, the 759 “under age 50” who have “perished” from the coronavirus represent around 0.0000038 percent.

Included in the Pandemonium Panic Awards for “Most Fear-Mongering Headline” was this one from Newsweek on 9 April: “CORONAVIRUS BECOMES NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF DEATH PER DAY IN U.S., SURPASSING HEART DISEASE AND CANCER.”

This headline was picked up by media across the nation… despite the fact that it’s “dead” wrong.

[Actually, it’s a bald-faced lie – something the media is very good at. Remember Saddam’s WMDs?]

Even if the current highest estimate of 60,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus were reached, it pales in comparison with the number of deaths each year from heart disease (over 650,000, according to the CDC) and cancer (over 600,000, according to the American Cancer Society).

Also left out, as we’ve been making the case in the Trends Journal, is that the numbers of COVID-19 deaths in America can’t even begin to compare with the number of U.S. deaths each year from other health issues, such as obesity and smoking.

According to the National Institute of Health, it is estimated that obesity causes the premature death of around 300,000 Americans every year.

And, according to the CDC, in the U.S., there are 480,000 deaths annually from smoking… yet smoking has not been banned.”

– The Numbers Don’t Add Up, COVID-19 Special Trend Report, Trends Journal, April 14, 2020

Deaths from the common annual flu are still higher than deaths from coronavirus. Are we going to put the world under fascist lockdown and mass house arrest for six months every year from now on? How did we avoid that for the past 300,000 years? Reason, anyone?

Deaths from junk food and obesity are higher than deaths by coronavirus, by a factor more than ten-fold. Yet MacDonald’s and other junk food restaurants are not banned.

That would be a strong reaction, a heavy-handed reaction, but at least a rational one – and fundamental civil rights would not be suspended. Mortality rates would plummet. I’m not suggesting we do that, but at least it would be sane – and it would not be a fascist response, but merely a heavy handed one.

Spending trillions of dollars to create a real jobs program, a green jobs program, would slash poverty and stress, and thus slash mortality rates. But the concern here, among ruling elites, is not health. It is power.

Has anyone noticed that the US elite always scream there is no money for universal public health care, while a trillion dollars a year is spent on war, the military industrial complex and the new global surveillance and police state?

Yet the people blindly believe that now the business and political elite suddenly have a deep concern for public health?

Yes, that’s why they are engaged in economic warfare against the 99% – which is one of the real reasons for the lockdown – and which will kill far more than the virus. The elite are deeply concerned with your health.

Concern for public health also explains why the Wall Street elite are giving themselves trillions of dollars in relief, while the 99% get crumbs.

Yes, it is a deep concern for public health that clearly motivates the Western and Eastern oligarchic elite – or so it seems if you are delusional, or otherwise insane.

Mass house arrest of billions of healthy people is a socio-economic and public health disaster, incomparably worse than the virus itself, utterly unjustifed by science or common sense, and the preamble to fascism. Do you get it now?

The people had better snap out of their stupor of group-think and blind obedience soon. They are in grave danger, and it has nothing to do with a virus.

JTR,

April 19, 2020

Media Failure, Again

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Remember the Iraq War? Remember the lies that were passed off by the elite, and repeated by the media without question, without any fact-checking or investigation? Well, it’s happening again.

But every time we repeat the mistakes of history, the stakes get higher.

*

On the eve of the US war against Iraq, the corporate and state media all lined up to dutifully play the role of echo chamber for the official narrative created by the Western elite: Saddam has WMDs, Saddam is linked to Al Qaeda, Saddam was behind 9/11 – all three points later being proven to be lies. 

The war on Iraq was always about the oil. But the people had to be lied to and manipulated into supporting the war. The media willingly complied.

None of the major media questioned the official narrative of ruling elites. None bothered to investigate or check the facts. The embarrassingly mistitled alternative media and independent media, with few exceptions, also lined up to repeat the official narrative of the new “War On Terrorism” – which was and is a global imperial war for oil and other resources, and a war on democracy and freedom at home and abroad.

And it is happening again. 

All the major media, state and corporate, spout the official narrative: the coronavirus is extraordinarily dangerous – contrary to the facts, which are: 11,000 deaths to date from coronavirus vs 50,000 deaths PER DAY from hunger and obesity; therefore, mass quarantine, effectively mass house arrests, suspension of basic civil rights and constitutional rule, and draconian/authoritarian/police state responses, are necessary and justified – again, contrary to both prudence, and also the facts, since the Italian government’s own study shows there is virtually zero risk of contagion unless you are either very old or already sick and immune compromised.

And not only have all the major state and corporate media lined up to unquestioningly repeat the official government and elite narrative, but so have virtually all the so-called alternative and independent media. This is appalling, as well as criminally negligent, complicitous, and extremely dangerous.

The real dangers are two: power-mongers (that is, fascists), and lies.

The major media, along with most of the alternative media, were, and are, complicit in mass murder during the war on Iraq, and the on-going wars across the Middle East. Now they are colluding and complicit with the full scale war on basic civil rights, freedom, democracy, and constitutional rule, and the instituting of a new global fascist police state.

Bravo.

I spent 35 years doing intensive research, study and analysis in politics, philosophy and world issues, and in the process collected some of the best sources and resources on the planet. Most of my best sources are failing now. That is deeply disturbing. 

Only a handful of sources are getting it right on the coronavirus event: Gerald Celente and Trends Journal, The Corbett Report, GreenMedInfo, and myself. Just four sources world-wide getting the story right, from what I have seen? That is deeply disturbing. I haven’t done a thorough survey or assessment of the alternative media, but what is clear and undeniable is that both the major media, and the so-called alternative media, are failing, again.

We need to be very thoughtful now, especially about our sources of news, information and analysis. Above all, we need to question everything, and everyone, and think for ourselves. Now more than ever.

JTR,

March 24, 2020

Media Analysis & Research 101: Assessing Sources

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 17, 2020 by jtoddring

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
– the Buddha

~ * ~
People need to learn how to evaluate sources. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine is a somewhat reliable source of information on health. Facebook chat groups are not. Better still, generally speaking, are Andrew Weil and GreenMedInfo, for science-based health information that is not based on hysteria, fads, corporate manipulations, marketing or whitewash, government disinformation, or out-dated models, information and ideas. Remember, no one is infallible. Question ALL sources.
*
In terms of media, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, CBC, and the establishment media in general, are simply not reliable. And that is an extraordinarily mild way to put it.
*
They are unreliable at best. More generally, they parade lies, half-truths and illusions (as Thomas Jefferson described the media of his time, and it has not changed since) and market this as “the news”, or informed commentary and analysis.
*
It’s not news. It’s propaganda. Read Chomsky: Necessary Illusions. Or just look beneath the surface, question, and look to the actual facts – do some fact-checking.
*
Go to multiple sources. See what other people are saying – people outside of your clique or milieu included. And venture beyond the establishment media.
*
80% of the major media in the world is now controlled by six corporations. This is not “news”. It is an echo-chamber of disinformation narratives, spun by the ruling elite, for the benefit of the ruling elite.
*
Question everything.
*
Question what your family, friends, clergy, teachers, professors, and neighbours believe, and question what you believe, and what you assume to be true.
*
Question every assumed fact, and every assumed truth, every authority and every source. Then, piece by piece, glimmers of truth will appear, and slowly become clarified. Slowly, the fog will part. But only if you question; and dig for the truth.
*
And when you find one good source, that leads to an explosion of new information, new perspectives, and new ideas, which leads to other new sources, and more information, new perspectives and new ideas.
*
But remember, the new wonderful source may be wonderful only for a short while – until you strip away more layers of illusion yet.
*
The Huffington Post, for example, may seem like a wonderful improvement over CNN, MSNBC or Fox, and maybe it is, at times. But that is a pretty abysmally low standard to beat. That’s like winning a contest in integrity with sewer rats, and strutting around bragging about it.
*
When you begin to see deeply held illusions that are pervasively held at that source as well, and deeply held cognitive bias, deeply skewed “reporting” that omits major facts and major elements of the story, and worse, adopts the greater part of the standard official narrative that is being put out by the echo-chamber of the major corporate-state media, then you might come to realize that the Huff and Puff is only marginally better than the big corporate news empires, and only by a very slim margin at that.
*
Keep digging.
*
Where to begin? Start with Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies. It’s a book, also available in audio, and I think the grand old dissident may have made it available free online. That is essential reading. Then look to John Pilger: one of the few honest, or even, real journalists left in the world, as we move into a Brave New World that would make Orwell shudder, as the new global corporate fascist empire takes hold.
*
Between Pilger and Chomsky, you will have an excellent head start. And you don’t have to agree with them on everything. Just listen to what they have to say.
*
Above all, think for yourself – and question everything.
*
JTR,
March 17, 2020
*
(Now, if only WordPress would stop being buggy – which it usually is not – and let me format my writing without use of stars to separate paragraphs! Techno-savvy I am not…)
And Happy St. Patty’s Day! I’m going for brunch with my boy. And remember what Public Enemy said: “Don’t believe the hype.”
*
Post-Script:

Want to know what’s happening? Listen to John Pilger and Gerald Celente. What to understand the deeper patterns and big picture? Listen to Chomsky. Between Pilger, Celente and Chomsky you will understand the world very well. No one is infallible, but they’re 99% right, 99% of the time.

#Coronavirus.hype=fascist.machinations

 

Further reading – big picture analysis:

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies,
Year 501: The Conquest Continues,
Class Warfare, and
Requiem For The American Dream: The Principles Of Concentration Of Wealth & Power
George Orwell, 1984
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Jack London, Iron Heel
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World
Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns
John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World
John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, and
The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite
Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom
Bertrand Russell, Roads To Freedom
Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self
Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

Obama’s Vision and Legacy: A retrospective look at the Obama presidency – before we lose all sight of recent history, as our culture is wont to do

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2016 by jtoddring

 

Here are three short articles which I wrote between 2011 and 2015 which sum up the Obama presidency, and the Obama vision and legacy. We should remember, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let us review now the torturous two terms of “Mister Hope and Change” – the man who escalated and consolidated the Bush-Cheney program of intensified imperial warfare abroad, and the building of a police state at home – and all with a smiling face, and lofty, pious speeches proclaiming noble, lofty things.

I must say, as an aside, that the following articles were written and posted as comments, via Discus, to certain “alternative media” sources; and they present a scathing, and justifiably, fact-based, and much-needed, scathing critique of the alternative media.

In short, the alternative media, so called, and with only a handful of exceptions, provided a gloss to Obama’s presidency, and lent cover to his high crimes and his war crimes, for the first seven years of his presidency. Only recently has a sliver of critical commentary about the Obama administration begun to flow out of these generally hollowly pretentious “news” sources.

And secondly, almost all of them failed completely with regards to honest and thoughtful reporting on the crisis in Ukraine, and instead of serious journalism, simply mouthed the standard narrative, and gave further life and credibility to the lies and propaganda that the mainstream media routinely present as “the news”.

So in short, the alternative media failed utterly and completely, with only rare exceptions on the part of a few writers and a few websites, in regards to two of the biggest geopolitical subjects of the past decade: the US presidency under Obama, and its global and domestic implications; and the growing US-Russian cold war.

Having said that, and having lost most of my trust and confidence in these media sources, The Real News Network has seriously upped its game, and I would say, from what I have seen, that it is now one of the best sources of news and analysis in the Western world.

So there is hope for the alternative media. They simply have to have the courage to admit when they were wrong, and to stand up, and speak the truth, regardless of how popular or unpopular the truth may be.

And it is also helpful here for us to remember – and not just the alternative media, but also the broader public, who were, by and large, also duped by Mister Hope and Change – the words of Emerson:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Let us be willing to admit when we were mistaken, and learn from our mistakes, and let us learn from our history, before we are doomed to repeat it yet again.

*

We should also note that Obama’s legacy includes, not only expanded imperial wars overseas, and an accelerated pace of the Bush-Cheney project of turning America into a police state, but also under Obama, we saw the crash of 2008, from which the US and the world in general have yet to recover. (See Paul Craig Roberts: There Was No Recovery, and There Will Be No Recovery.)

The warm and fuzzy propaganda and spin continues to stream out of the White House and the corporate media, telling us everything is rosy, but the figures speak for themselves, and tell a different story. The middle class is being driven under and is sinking, and shrinking, and as a result, consumer spending is crashing, which means that the global economy continues to sink. It’s not rocket science. A 10 year old could understand it. It just requires a willingness to deal with the facts, and that seems rare these days.

The middle class is being wiped out, while poverty and inequality soar, and only the rich are doing well – extremely well, in fact. This is another part of Obama’s legacy – he presided over the continued and accelerating process of the rich devouring the poor, the middle class and the world. And most critically, he acted as the lead PR man to cover over and hide what is really going on, and tell us that everything is fine, while the people and the planet continue to be eaten alive. I think he should sell snake oil. It would be a more honest job.

“In order to have a thriving middle class, we need good paying middle class jobs.  Unfortunately, our economy has been bleeding those kinds of jobs quite rapidly.  For example, Halliburton just announced that it is eliminating 5,000 more jobs after getting rid of 4,000 workers at the end of last year.

During the Obama years, good paying middle class jobs have been getting replaced by low paying service jobs.  At this point, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

And there is no way that you can support a middle class family with children on $30,000 a year.

We have an economy that is in the process of failing.  We can see it in the explosion of subprime auto loans that are going bad, we can see it in the hundreds of retail stores that are shutting down, and we can see it in the tens of thousands of good paying energy jobs that are being lost.

During the Obama years, interest rates have been pushed to the floor, the Federal Reserve has created trillions of dollars out of thin air, and the size of our national debt is getting close to doubling.  Despite all of those desperate measures, our economy continues to crumble.”

– Economic Recovery? 13 Of The Biggest Retailers In America Are Closing Down Stores
By Michael Snyder, February 25, 2016

Hallelujah. Praise be to the profits.

And let them eat cake.

JTR,
February 25, 2016

 

Obama’s brilliantly successful, and disastrous vision

A recent article by Andrew Bacevitch
which was published by Moyers and Company laments that Obama has
failed to accomplish anything of substance since taking office. This
is not true. Obama has continue the Bush-Cheney war on democracy,
freedom, civil liberties, human rights, the Bill of Rights and
Constitution at home, while carrying on with the noble work begun by
the Bush administration of creating a police state in America; thus,
hopefully, securing the wealth and power of the elite at the expense
of the great suffering and diminished wealth, security, dignity,
rights and freedom of the other 99% of the population. So yes, Obama
has accomplished a great deal. He simply accomplished all the wrong
things. And he did so, because he was working for the wrong people.
He has been working for Wall Street since the beginning. The people
simply failed to see it.

The article is excellent, but for this
point, and one other important point. The author states that Obama
has no foreign policy vision, and never did. That is untrue.

Obama inherited and fully embraced the
foreign policy vision of the neocon Project for a New American
Century and the Bush-Cheney cabal: that is, intensified imperial
warfare abroad for the sake of maintaining global hegemony in a time
of an empire in rapid decline – and, of course, for the ever-present
ultimate objective, which is ever higher corporate profits and wealth
for the super-rich, ruling elite.

So Obama has a vision – it’s just not a
vision which accords with the great majority of Americans, or people
anywhere in the world. But it is a vision which is favoured, and
fiercely, rabidly, aggressively pursued, by the foreign and domestic
elite who rule over Washington and decide its policy choices and
agenda.

Has Obama’s vision succeeded? Well, the
rich are richer, aren’t they? Corporate profits are high. Trillions
of dollars have flowed from Main Street to Wall Street, via the US
government and the US Treasury. And the billionaire class now has an
even more formidable military-industrial-security complex, and police
state apparatus, with which to protect itself from the rabble. Obama
has succeeded brilliantly, at least for the moment – he simply had
the wrong vision: and for that, we should all lament deeply. The
people were duped.

J. Todd Ring,

February 7, 2015

Discussion on Chris Floyd – Empire Burlesque 26 comments

 

And here is my response to another article from the “alternative media” which also helped to give Obama a fresh gloss and a patina of legitimacy:

New Obama Campaign Commercial Is BRUTAL!

prajnaseek

prajnaseek 4 years ago (2012)

The amazing shelf-life of Obamamania:

Half rotted, to say the least; made as appealing as possible by a dedicated PR
machine;
and now highly distasteful to a growing majority –
yet still being hocked by “progressive” media outlets nation-wide.
What gives?!

I am increasingly amazed that otherwise thoughtful, well-informed and
intelligent individuals and media outlets such as AlterNet, who seem to have
both brains and integrity, continue to support Obama. Do we have to recount his
record of actions over and over again? He presented himself – with the aid of a
powerful, multi-million dollar PR machine – as a populist, a democrat, a man of
peace, and a man of the people. I warned people before he was elected in 2008 that he
was none of the above, but merely another shill for Wall Street. His actions since
his election have proven this is in fact the case, and proven it abundantly, beyond
any shadow of a doubt. Shall we at least glance at the record? Do the facts
matter, or are we utterly swayed and won over – deluded – by the mesmerizing
powers of rhetoric, spin and pretty speeches? Do the facts matter or not?

A populist? Obama was put into office through the major backing of Wall Street,
then of course, returned the favour – “donations” from the reigning
plutocratic elite do not come free, nor without strings attached, as David
Sirota said of Obama and his backers: returned the favour by stacking his
government with his Wall Street buddies, and then handed over hundreds of
billions of tax payer dollars to his Wall Street banker friends, as part of the
greatest mass transfer of wealth from the American people to the financial
elite in history. To cap it all off, he aggressively pushed for legislation
that would permanently make his Wall Street criminal friends immune from any
future prosecution or legal action. (See Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibi for an
honest accounting of Obama.) Populist? No, Obama is Wall Street’s man – or one
of them. He is no friend of the people.

Democrat? Obama voted twice for the Constitution-, Bill of Rights- and
civil liberties-shredding Patriot Act; the second time, voting to make 14 of
its provisions permanent. He has done nothing to overturn the quite literally –
by any legal definition – fascist legislation brought in by Bush, and has in
fact greatly extended and increased it. The Military Commissions Act has not
been overturned, and Obama has not even attempted to do so, and this act alone
defines the United States now, in strict legal terms, as a fascist nation. (See
Keith Olbermann on the Military Commissions Act, for an honest and unflinching
assessment – and remember, Obama has continued to support it since Bush left office.)
Under the NDAA, which Obama also signed, the President, or Chief Executive
Officer on hire to the ruling financial elite who own the country, can now
imprison anyone indefinitely, and has sweeping unchecked powers beyond that,
including execution or assassination without trial. (Obama even brags of his
ability to kill anyone with his fleet of killer drones.) These legal undoings
of constitutional democracy, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and civil
liberties, along with the extreme and unchecked powers now aggregated to the
executive, by any reasonable or legal definition constitute fascism, and Obama
has supported and furthered this slow strangulation of democracy, freedom and
civil liberties, every step of the way. He has defended the use of
“extraordinary rendition,” CIA black sites, torture and
disappearances, systemic wire-tapping and a global surveillance state. To call
this man a democrat would be the most insane, or else Orwellian statement
possible. He is a crypto-fascist in populist liberal democratic disguise – and
the disguise is so thin by now that only the wilfully blind cannot yet see
through it.

Peace-lover? Obama made rosy speeches about vague sentiments and even more
vague goals, such as “hope” and “change,” but as the New
York Times said before his election, it was hardly likely he would change
anything in terms of foreign policy, and his foreign policy is, as the Times
predicted, virtually indistinguishable from that of Bush. In fact, his foreign
policy record has been worse than Bush’s, as Chomsky and others have pointed
out. He positioned himself as a man of peace, and then went on to expand the
wars in the Middle East, and to launch new wars in Northern Africa. He is now
sabre-rattling with relation to Iran, and gearing up the propaganda and
rhetoric for an attack on Iran, which would be utterly insane, as well as a war
crime under international law, since Iran is in a military and economic
alliance with China and Russia, two nuclear super-powers, and hence, attacking
Iran literally risks the start of WWIII. Anyone who would attack Iran under
such circumstances must therefore be certifiably insane, as well as criminally
negligent in the highest magnitude describable. But even aside from the
question of Iran, Obama is already, and again, quite literally, guilty of war
crimes, by strict definition of international law, and crimes against humanity,
as well as guilty of simply expanding and perpetuating the obscene and
bankrupting wars of empire, and continuing the multi-decade policy of
subservience and service towards the military-industrial complex. This is no
man of peace. This man is owned almost as much by the industrial-military
complex and the war-profiteers as by Wall Street.

So why are there still articles on AlterNet and other seemingly, and often
genuinely intelligent media outlets, coddling and massaging Obama’s image and
PR face, if not outright supporting him? If someone at AlterNet cares to
answer, I would love to hear the response.

It is 1931 Germany in the USA, as I have been saying for
some time, as a growing minority and possibly by now a majority of Americans
are aware, and as your better writers and commentators have also noted. Why
then does anyone still pretend that Obama is anything but a crypto-fascist
puppet on hire to the ruling corporate and financial elite? Why?!

Enough! End this nonsense now, and let’s get on with real
change, and the healing of this world.

Hope and change will come from the people. The leaders –
so-called – of both major parties have betrayed the people. Let’s face the
facts, and get on with it. Lead yourself, people. It’s time for a revolution.

J. Todd Ring
(prajnaseek on Twitter)

P.S.: AlterNet editors: If you wish to retain any
credibility as a progressive, or even an independent media outlet, then strip
out the references to AlterNet here – I don’t wish to single out AlterNet,
which is excellent in other regards, since the problem is widespread in the “progressive”
media – and publish this article. You
can contact me via Twitter to let me know your response. If it is silence, then
I will know where you stand: and if that is the case, as I hope it will not be,
then I must conclude that either you are blinkered partisan zealots, or else
are owned by the same plutocratic and oligarchic forces who own Obama. I am
sorry to put the matter so bluntly, but democracy in America is being drowned,
and Obama has been, and continues to this day, to be an active and willing
accomplice in that most heinous and grotesque of crimes. The time has long
passed for the mincing of words. I await your response. Please exercise courage
and thoughtfulness. It would be a shame to see your legitimacy and your aid die
along with all former hopes for Mister Hope and Change.

 

And one last response to yet another “alternative media” gloss of Obama:

The GOP’s CIA Playbook: Destabilize Country to Sweep Back Into Power | News & Politics

prajnaseek

prajnaseek mmckinl 5 years ago (2011)

Well put – straight to the point. Here is my response to Parry’s “critique.”

Obama:pseudo-populist, crypto-fascist, corporatist, globalist

A rebuttal to Robert Parry’s glowingly pro-Democrat, slavishly partisan diatribe

Nice story line – for a fantasy novel… Excellent analysis, and totally one-sided: can anyone think critically about both wings of the party of the corporate elite – the Democrats and the Republicans? Some few can, but it seems rare.

Robert Parry’s article, “The GOP’s CIA Playbook: Destabilize Country to Sweep Back Into Power” is a fair enough analysis of the Republican party machine, but it breathes not a peep of criticism of the Democratic party apparatchiks or the Obama administration, and expresses not even a whisper of critical thought with regard to the latter. We are forced to conclude that either he is a completely blinkered partisan, or else a willing tool of the ruling elite, playing the same old game of divide and conquer in order to maintain the hegemony of the ruling class. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume for the moment that his highly counter-productive “critique,” which further divides the people, thus thwarting any possibility of real change, is a product of his being simply out to lunch.

“Pseudo-populist?” What do you think Obama is? He’s also pseudo-democratic, pseudo-progressive, pseudo-anti-war , pseudo-pro-civil liberties and pseudo-constitutional, in case anybody still hadn’t noticed. He’s expanded war in the Middle East, stood up for CIA “extraordinary renditions” and torture, failed utterly to even attempt to repeal the literally fascist and
completely unconstitutional Patriot and Military Commissions Acts, and instead
continued to support them, to name but a few points showing him to be anything
but a democrat – and he backed the biggest transfer of wealth in history from
ordinary people to the super-rich with the Wall St. banker “bail-out.”

Spell it out: this is by definition a crypto-fascist corporatist. (As Mussolini himself defined fascism, it is the merger of the powers of big business with the powers of the state: it is corporatism.) Just
how thick does anyone have to be to still think that Obama is a democrat, a populist, a man of the people, an anti-war activist, or anything other than a whore to the military-industrial complex, the Wall St. Banking elite, and the global corporate empire? Please! This is getting rather tiring.

Nearly 60% of Americans now believe Obama should not be re-elected. Also fortunately, the majority of Americans have also lost faith in the Republican establishment as well. Fortunately, the Republican establishment destroyed its credibility with most Americans under the Bush
administration, and the Democratic (sic) establishment has destroyed its credibility with the majority of the people since taking power in Congress and the White House.

Fortunately, such wilful ignorance – of believing that either the Republicans or the Democrats are the saviours of the nation, or even the friends or allies of the people – is waning in the land. There are a few Democrats and Republicans with integrity, such as Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, but the two big party machines are, by all indications of an overwhelming body of evidence, bought and owned, and run by and for, the corporate elite. Of course there are rival factions among the ruling elite, but the fact is that they share a highly similar corporate agenda – “the vile maxim of the masters,” as Adam Smith called it: “all for us, none for anybody else.”

The hard reality in the United States today is that it is a one-party state: a corporatocracy run by the super-rich and the corporate and banking elite, with the nearly complete complicity and eager
servitude of both wings of the party of the corporate police state. The polls have been showing for some time that there is a deep and growing popular awareness of this fact. The crisis of legitimacy is now nearing critical mass, and will quite likely explode into revolution within a short period of time, as the CIA has also predicted.

Unfortunately, if it is a violent uprising, the ruling elite will use this as a justification for repression, and to dispense with every last remnant of democracy, freedom, human rights and civil liberties. If this happens, the Corporate Police State will have arrived in full, hideous flowering.

People are beginning to realize more and more that the corporatocracy rules both major political parties in the U.S. Real change will happen when more people drop the stunned state of denial, and face the undeniable and overwhelming evidence of this fact. When will this happen? Sooner
than one might think.

Let us hope that awareness grows quickly, the people unite in defence of their country and future against a very Machiavellian corporatist order, and the response of the people is along the lines of Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi, and not unthinking violent reaction.

The future is in our hands. Clarity of mind is the first step to securing a better future however. We must first know where we stand. The battle line is not between Republicans and Democrats, it is between those who value constitutional democracy, justice and freedom – true (small d, small r) democrats and republicans – and an entrenched and power hungry elite who wish for unchecked and unfettered power and hegemony over all. In short, the people must unite, or we are lost. Build bridges now, or kiss your country and your freedom goodbye.

J. Todd Ring,
June 10, 2011

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

“The News” – Jefferson, Chomsky, propaganda, and alternatives

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by jtoddring
As I keep saying, stop watching, reading or listening to “the news.” It is misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, distortion, lies and illusions, mass distraction and mass manipulation – psychological warfare, to put it in the terms of the “intelligence” community – mixed together with a healthy dose of sheer trivia, sensationalism and fluff ( also largely a form of psychological warfare).
Thomas Jefferson was right, “He who does not read the newspapers is better off than he who reads them, because it is better to know nothing, than to have your mind filled with lies, half-truths and illusions.”
Chomsky also summarized it perfectly well. The mass media acts as a propaganda system, working on behalf of the ruling elite, by a great number of well-trained, deeply indoctrinated, self-censoring individuals along with simple liars, creating “necessary illusions” and “manufacturing consent” so that the business elite who rule the society can keep the masses controlled, alienated, divided, demoralized and distracted, while they rob and pillage the nation and the world.
If you want to know what’s going on, go to the library, and read a book. If that doesn’t seem enough, which it is, and more than enough, if the books are well-chosen, then go to CounterPunch, Global Research (Centre for Research on Globalization), the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Trends Research Institute or Gerald Celente. Unlike the vast majority of media outlets, journalists and commentators (including most of the so-called “alternative”, “progressive”, and “independent” ones), they don’t lie and they don’t have their heads up their asses. They will tell you what’s really going on. With only a rare few exceptions, virtually all of the rest are pure drivel at best.
JTR,
January 26, 2016
See:
Necessary Illusions – Chomsky
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Mass Media
and my own recently released work:
Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium – on Amazon now.

 

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

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