Archive for politics

Essential Reading: A Very Short List

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2020 by jtoddring
Here is a short letter (email) I just sent to a few friends. It has a very short list of a few of the books I would consider essential reading. (I’m still working through some of them, while reading others as well.)
*
With these few books, an excellent understanding of the world will crystalize. Enjoy. Happy reading, and happy digging.
*
JTR,
March 24, 2020
*
Hi folks,
*
I heard Morris Berman interviewed on the excellent geopolitics & Empire podcast recently. His book, Dark Ages America, along with David Sirota’s Uprising, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Wolf’s The End of America, John Pilger’s The New Rulers of the World, John Perkins’ A Game As Old As Empire, and The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman, David C. Korten’s Great Turning, Chomsky’s Necessary Illusions (and more), Vandana Shiva’s Earth Democracy, Murray Bookchin’s The Ecology of Freedom, Maude Barlow’s Global Showdown, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, among other works of major importance – my own first two books included, Enlightened Democracy, and The People vs The Elite, I would humbly submit – looks like a true must-read.
*
Peace, love,
And eternal vigilance.
It ain’t over ’till it’s over.
*
Todd
(JTR)
*
J. Todd Ring on WordPress, Blogger, Amazon, Barnes&Noble
@prajnaseek on Twitter
*

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-ages-america-morris-berman/1100622604?ean=9780393078312
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-ages-america-morris-berman/1100622604

Sent from ProtonMail Mobile
*
*** My apologies again for the strange formatting, with stars….WordPress gets quirky sometimes and won’t let me format to have spaces between paragraphs, for some reason. Very annoying….

Political-Economy 101

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 22, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Governments and corporations, and the state-corporate media they control, systematically distort or conceal the truth, peddle illusions and starkly deceitful false narratives, and lie. (Does anyone remember Iraq’s WMDs?) This is political-economy and media studies 101. Unsurprisingly, vested interests tend to serve their own narrow interests – and routinely lie to advance the agendas and interests they serve.

Would governments, politicians, corporations or the media lie? Would business and political elites act in concert with the major media they control, in ways that cause mass human suffering and death? We just need to look at the history, including recent history, to answer that question with a definite yes. (See Chomsky, Year 501, Class Warfare, and Necessary Illusions; John Perkins, The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman; William Blum, Killing Hope; or Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine.)

Recently the most powerful investment banking firm in the world, Goldman Sachs, which Matt Taibbi fittingly called “the vampire squid on the face of humanity”, announced to its sharedholders and the elite investment class that it is not maximally profitable to heal the sick – it is more profitable to let the sick stay sick, and sell them pharmaceutical drugs to “manage” their symptoms. If that is not predatory, parasitic, morally bankrupt, ghoulish and vampiric, I don’t know what is.

“The market also discriminates against healthful products unless they promise more profits. _The British Medical Journal_ reported in July 2003 that a daily low-cost pill made up of six known drugs resulted in an 80-per-cent reduction of heart attacks in everyone over 55 – ‘a greater impact on the prevention of disease in the Western world than any known intervention’. Pharmaceutical corporations had little interest because the drugs involved were inexpensive and out of patent. Governments fail to produce the pills themselves because they would be pilloried by corporate PR campaigns for ‘undermining the free market’ – just as public healthcare is still demonized in the US as ‘socialist’.”

Business and political elites have proven they have no interest in public health. Their interests have been demonstrated – they are profits and power.

“In 2004 the US derailed a UN Food and Agriculture Organization campaign to educate consumers about healthy and unhealthy foods. The media subsequently ignored a warning by the US Surgeon-General in March 2006 that ‘the obesity epidemic is a bigger world problem than terrorism’.” 

   – John McMurtry, Myths of the Global Market, 

    New Internationalist

20,000 people die a year world-wide from terrorism (“theirs” – ours is by war and economic strangulation, which kills far more). Even more die from poverty and hunger, and more still from obesity and unhealthful diets. But still, the people are lost in hysteria and panic, and semi-voluntary mass quarantine and house arrest, over a virus that to date has killed just over 1% of the annual death toll from the common flu, and fraction of the number that die in bathtub drownings every year. Reason has fled them. Propaganda and psyops to usher in fascism, are winning.

Any pretext will suffice in the elite drive to concentrate and consolidate power in their hands. The machinations of the power hungry, in this as is all generations, are extremely dangerous – far more dangerous than terrorism or any virus. Freedom and democracy, versus fascism and a police state, are what’s at stake. The people must cease to be so easily distracted, deceived, manipulated, divided, and corralled. 

JTR,

March 22, 2020

 

Further Reading:

Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Class Warfare, and Year 501 (These three in particular)

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, & The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

Naomi Wolf, The End of America

John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World

Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns

C Wright Mills, The Power Elite

Peter Phillips, Giants

and I would recommend my two first published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions for A New Millennium

and,

The People vs The Elite:
A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,
Or, Survival In The 21st Century And Beyond

The Most Dangerous Epidemic Of All

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, consciousness, corporate fascism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Just over 100 deaths in the US from the coronavirus, and what is the government response? Fascist lockdown. The pattern is the same across the Western world, mirroring the police state which is China. Fascist lockdown. People are hysterical over a virus that kills fewer than bathtub drownings, motor vehicle accidents, air pollution, or MacDonalds – or the common flu. But they’re utterly complacent and obliging when their rights are stripped away, people are placed under mass house arrests, travel restrictions are invoked, and with restrictions on freedom of assembly, divide and conquer is the clear modus operandi, with the urgings to “social distancing”, while entire cities and nations are sealed off, closed down, and “quarantined”.

And no one is worried about the clear moves towards fascism – which, for anyone who has been paying attention, has been the undeniable trend since 9/11, 2001, when the “war on terrorism”, which everywhere has been a war on democracy, was officially launched, and the Western police state construction began.

Erich Fromm (echoing Aldous Huxley and others) was also right: people will take flight from reality if their reality becomes too unpleasant to them, or too painful – due for example to harsh economic conditions – among other, deeper reasons – and they will seek to escape, not only from reality, but also from freedom. Fascism is the result. (See Fromm’s classic of social psychology, Escape From Freedom, published in 1941, in the midst of WWII and the fight to defeat the Nazis and the first wave of fascism.)

Robert Bly was right. By the late 20th century, people in the modern Western world had not only been “dumbed down” by the mass media, advertising, the corporatization of the culture and society, paternalistic and increasingly authoritarian governments, entertainment addiction, mass distraction, materialism and consumerism, and the harmful effects of these on people’s psyches and intellects; but further, the majority had regressed to the state of adult children. And this is clearly, and sadly, the case.

Bly became wildly popular overnight with his book, Iron John. But when his later book, The Sibling Society, portrayed our society as a society of adolescents, suddenly he was dropped from all discourse, and disappeared, almost instantly, from popular culture, and from memory and mind.

People – a lot of people at least – don’t like the truth. The truth is often uncomfortable. Being comfortable is preferable.

Escapism, fantasy and denial are preferable to the truth. Comforting illusions are preferable to the truth. Almost anything is preferable to having to face the truth of our present reality. Apparently even fascism is preferable to having to face the truth, and having to deal with reality.

*

25 years ago I was at an international development conference in Holland. The topic for discussion at the conference was encapsulated in the conference title, which had a catchy, thought-provoking word-play in Dutch (which I am probably misspelling, going solely from memory, and my few words of Dutch): Minder Mensen Of Minder Wensen? Which translates as, fewer people, or fewer wants?

(See Views From the South, for an excellent overview of the central issues.)

The central question of the conference was and is the central question of international development issues, and global issues generally. It asks the question raised by Malthus, and reasserted by the Neo-Malthusians (such as Bill Gates and the Rockefellers, along with other powerful elites, and the Western elite in general). The question is this: Is the central problem in the world over-population, or over-consumption?

The international development community, with people and organizations from around the world, with quite literally hundreds if not thousands of years of combined experience and research behind them collectively, concluded in general agreement and consensus, that the answer was unquestionably the latter: over-consumption is the primary problem, as the figures show perfectly well, and conclusively, beyond all doubt.

By that time already, roughly 20% of the world’s population (mainly, but not exclusively, in North America, Europe and Japan) – the affluent 20% – had come to consume 80% of the world’s resources, and produce 60% of its pollution and waste. The over-consumption of the affluent, and the inequality and disparity of wealth globally, have only grown exponentially since then.

Over-consumption is the overwhelmingly central cause of our problems on Earth, with fossil fuel dependency and war coming a close second and third. Over-population will become a problem soon if left unchecked, but we will discuss the clear, and humane, answers to that, below. But in any case, we cannot be distracted from the conclusions which the facts demand: the richest few are consuming the planet. Period.

The findings of decades of efforts at international development and poverty relief have certain conclusive results. Among them, are this key finding, which everyone in the international development community knows to be a proven fact: Population growth quickly stops, and even reverses, when two criteria are met: a) poverty is eliminated; and b) women are educated and empowered. In the southern India state of Kerala, the twin objectives were met with decisive efforts, and population growth was halted in just a few years.

We now know without doubt, and have known for some decades now, that population growth can be stopped, and stopped quickly, and without harsh, inhuman, or draconian methods. The problem is, it requires a systems change: a sharing of wealth and power – and the elite do not want that.

So yes, population growth, if left unchecked, would certainly become a crippling global ecological problem. However, population growth can be halted very quickly, and reversed, by eliminating poverty and empowering women. The Western elite know these facts as well as the international development community. They simply don’t want to take this course of action.

That would mean sharing the wealth, and worse, the power. They don’t want that. They seem intent on fulfilling what Adam Smith called, “The vile maxim of the masters”, which, as he said, is, “All for us, none for anybody else.”

*

The elite want it all. They are not content to be rich and powerful. There seems to be no end to their greed. The richest three individuals in the US – Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates – now have more wealth than the poorest half of Americans. And they want more.

The richest eight people in the world now have more wealth than the poorest half of humanity. And the trend is accelerating, as inequality continues to soar. As the Canadian philosopher, John McMurtry has said, the super-rich are devouring the middle class, the poor, and the Earth.

We are being eaten alive. And yet, the elite still pose as our saviours, our only hope. Don’t believe the lie. The illusion must be wearing pretty thin by now.

So, sharing wealth and power is out of the question – depopulation is on the table, however, in the eyes of the elite.

And what is furthermore unquestionably on the table, and in play, is fascist lockdown.

As of early 2001, when the global poll of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, came back, the ruling plutocrats, the billionaire club at Davos, knew that they faced a global crisis of legitimacy which was deep, and growing, and would sweep them from power, just as a crisis of legitimacy dissolved and collapsed the Soviet Union like a house of cards – unless they took immediate decisive action.

That was early 2001. Nearly 20 years later, we now have a global surveillance and police state, while freedom and democracy are under full scale attack.

*

Facing the present deep and growing crisis of legitimacy, world “leaders” – or more neutrally put, elites – have three choices:

1. Respond to the people’s wishes, and compromise; and not be quite so greedy for privilege, wealth and power. This is the path of equity, compromise, and democracy. (A deeply unpopular choice among ruling elites, both historically and today.)

2. Get ready to abandon power, and to lose all power. (Elites seldom wish to lose power. Today’s global corporate empire is no different.)

3. Respond with intensified propaganda – and with a resort to force: prepare for lockdown, repression, and fascism.

The Western elite have made a clear choice. It has been made perfectly clear since 2001. And it becomes ever more stark with time – particularly now, in March of 2020, when the test run for full-fledged global corporate fascism is floated, or the final fascist lockdown has begun (at this point, it is uncertain as to which it is, but it is unquestionably one of the two).

The elite certainly do not want to lose power, or be swept from power by the global awakening of humanity that is occurring, along side the growing crisis of legitimacy for the ruling elite. They are in no mood to compromise, and they have repeatedly shown their contempt for democracy and freedom, and their preference for fascism and dictatorship, as US foreign policy spanning more than 100 years, for example, has shown. (See Chomsky and William Blum on the history of US and Western elites’ very strong, clear preference for fascism and dictators since WWII.)

Yielding power is out. Compromise is out. That means democracy is out.

What it means is, the elite are saying to the people, “Let them eat cake.”

Since losing power is out, and sharing power – which means equity, compromise and democracy – is out, that leaves only one choice: the choice of the elite has been made clear: it is fascism, and lockdown.

That is the context to what is happening now – but not even the “alternative media” seem to recognize it, and the people are asleep.

“What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real?

Meak and obedient you follow the leaders

Down well-trodden corridors

Into the valley of steel

What a surprise!

A look of terminal shock in your eyes!

Now things are really what they seem –

No, this is no bad dream”

– Pink Floyd, Sheep

*

Late 20th century and early 21st century modern society has become a society of mass addiction, as well as mass distraction, mass propaganda, mass illusion, and mass escape from reality, above all.

The opioid crisis is just the most obvious tip of the iceberg. When you look at the gamut of addictions, it becomes quite startling: drugs, alcohol, smoking, shopping, consumerism, materialism, status seeking, power addiction, video games, pornography, workaholism, social media addiction, internet addiction, entertainment addiction, media and infotainment addiction (“news” junkies – very similar to people who like to watch car accidents and train wrecks), sex addiction, compulsive eating, pharmacuetical addiction (sometimes necessary, or at least helpful, but often of dubious value)…the list goes on and on.

What drives this mass addiction is a mass, pandemic impulse to escape from reality. (It’s worst in the most “advanced” and “leading” industrial nations of North America and Europe, but it is spreading fast.) And the impulse to chronically and systematically escape from reality is an extremely dangerous impulse, if left unchecked – because reality always wins in the end: whether we face it, or not. We either deal with reality, or reality will deal with us.

Materialism has created a society that is filled with stress and hurry, worry and anxiety, alienation, loneliness, insecurity, inequality, tyranny and toil, meaninglessness, inner poverty, escapist addictions, numbness, and quiet despair. The response of the majority has been to increase ever further the fixation on material consumption, entertainment, distraction, and things. It is a viscous cycle, and there is no bottom to it. It leads to hollow minds, hollow hearts, hollow souls, social decay, decline, and collapse – but not before fascism and a new dark age takes hold, if we are foolish enough to allow this course to continue.

Ann Wilson Schaff remarked, in her book, When Society Becomes An Addict that the root of addiction is the will to escape from life, in order to escape life’s pain. It never works. The attempt to escape life, in order to escape life’s pain, results in an escape from love, intimacy, connectedness, aliveness, wholeness, integration, inner peace, joy, personal freedom and empowerment, meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment, as well as responsibility, adulthood, and reality. It results in alienation, loneliness, boredom, inner poverty, and a restless insatiable hunger for that mysterious something which is always missing. It results in perpetual distraction, self-delusion and escape from reality being the core compulsion. And that is a psychological, sociological, political, economic, and ecological disaster.

And the stakes keep getting higher, with every year of avoidance of reality. Hard core drinkers, drug addicts, gamblers and other users and addicts, come to know the pattern, and its costs. Its costs, sooner or later, become total self-degradation, self-emiseration, deepening dependency, various forms of slavery, decline, decay, numbness, deepening self-delusion, and finally, death.

Now, the core impulses of the majority, which used to be love, compassion, creative work of various kinds, from parenting to carpentry to art, to some other form of meaningful work, along with solidarity and mutual aid; have instead become comfort, the illusions of security, conformity, obedience, herd instinct, and sticking with the herd at all costs – even, and above all, in terms of shared beliefs, which generally means shared delusions.

Mass addiction to entertainment, and infotainment, mass compulsive distraction, mass avoidance of reality, and mass escape from reality, have become the true epidemics – and the most dangerous epidemics of all.

*

While the elite devour the poor, the middle class, and the Earth, at ever-increasing speeds, the mass of people live in denial of reality, escapism, and avoidance of the problems we face. This, by far, is the greatest of dangers. Nothing comes even close – not SARS, not Ebola, not swine flue, not bird flu, not H1-N1, not COVID-19, all of which are minuscule in death toll compared to the mass deaths from fast food, junk food, obesity, poor diets, poverty, hunger, war, traffic accidents, or even bathtub drownings.

If we care about human health, or human well-being, then we should start by facing reality. And the greatest dangers facing humanity, in the early 21st century, are these:

1. War, and the very real and growing threat of nuclear war

2. Ecological cataclysm, due, among other reasons, to our continued addiction to fossil fuels

3. Economic collapse, due to the games-playing of elites who have wildly destabilized the economy

4. Fascism – which, by the looks of things, is here, now.

What will allow these dangers to persist, and to go unmet, unresolved, or to bear bitter fruit, and horrible human suffering? Only denial and aversion to reality on the part of the people can allow the worst to come to fruition. When we face reality together, we can solve virtually any problem. But not until we face the problems squarely, and deal with them honestly and soberly.

The most dangerous epidemic of all, therefore, is the pandemic of denial.

Safety can never come through a denial and escape from reality, nor from lies, from illusions, or from self-deceit or self-delusion. That much is certain. When we have the courage to face the truth, then a greater well-being, health, safety, and aliveness and quality of life, can become possible. Not before.

While the global awakening of humanity is real, and is accelerating, it is also true that it is a minority of humanity, albeit a rapidly growing minority, which is waking up; while the majority remain stubbornly fixed upon denial and avoidance of reality, and ever more desperate efforts to chronically and permanently escape from reality.

The result of a chronic habit of escape from reality, is, of course, a narcissistic regression to an infantile state. This, tragically, and very dangerously, is the current trajectory of the majority. And nothing compares to the danger of this – not the coronavirus, not even the power games of the elite.

Only the wilful avoidance of reality can truly sink or destroy humanity. But the majority of the people seem intent on making that happen. If this does not change, and very, very soon, then dark times most definitely lie ahead.

The Western elite have repeatedly used crises to their advantage – regardless of whether they were natural or manufactured, exaggerated, fictitious or real – from 9/11, and the “war on terror” which instantly became a war on democracy, and a smokescreen for the global war to control oil and other resources, to the economic crisis of 2007-2010, and the trillions of dollars stolen by the elite from the people in the form of bailouts, “stimulus” packages and QE, as well as before and after these major turning point events. In the process of exploiting crises to their advantage, the elite have been destroying the economy, the middle class, democracy, constitutional rule, civil liberties, human rights, and freedom, as well as the planet, in their wake.

We must resist and refuse their claims as being our heroes and saviours. They are not. The elite have become what Hilary Clinton called, “super-predators”. We are being played. This is point number one to realize. Until the people realize this. We are in a truly dire state, and in far greater danger than any terrorist group, rogue state, hackers, petty thugs, or virus can ever pose.

I’ve always been far more interested in two things above all: helping people and other living beings on Earth, and working for social change; and the pursuit of the truth, as the primary tool in seeking to help others, and in working for positive change; much more than in any concern for what other people may think, or how they may react. As Thoreau said, above all, give me truth. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, however; and mass distraction, and escape from reality, have become the norm.

Human beings are innately intelligent, as well as empathetic, and highly cooperative, as science has confirmed. (See Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization, Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, along with Rianne Eisler’s The Chalice And The Blade, and Murray Bookchin’s, The Ecology Of Freedom.) But we are also highly social in darker ways – seeking the comfort of group-affiliation, with conformity and obedience to authority, and the acceptance of commonly held “herd illusions”, as the dark results. Whether the former set of qualities comes to the fore, or the latter predominates, will determine the course of the next few years, and decades, as well as the fate of the Earth; and whether we live in a police state, in a new dark age, determined to destroy ourselves along with the Earth, or in a free and green society – and moreover, whether we continue to live at all.

JTR,
March 19, 2020

Post-Script:

Someone with a brain, a heart, and courage (remember the Wizard of Oz: these are good values!): Canadian philosopher John McMurtry, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism – which I have been meaning to read, and must read right away.

Here is a very short list of people worth listening to most thoughtfully, or reading – when almost everyone seems to have lost their minds, their capacity for clear or rational thought, or their ability to cut through the fog of propaganda, mass distraction and illusion, which have enveloped the world:

(a very incomplete list, of course: I am keeping it intentionally very short)

Noam Chomsky

John McMurtry

John Perkins

Naomi Klein

Gerald Celente

Joanna Macy

Vandana Shiva

Turn off “the news”. Get the facts. Read a well-chosen book. Forget the drivel, and the hysteria. Read. And question everything.

Political Philosophy 101: Democracy vs Elite Rule

Posted in democracy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, freedom, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, people's movements, philosophy, police state, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2020 by jtoddring

Use anything and anyone to gain and maintain power. That is the Machiavellian philosophy which rules the minds of the power elite, both East and West, as Howard Zinn has indicated as well. Public health, human well-being, conscience, principles, morals, freedom, democracy, other high ideals, have nothing to do with it.

We are not preschoolers. Let us not take the attitude of preschoolers.

Most people, the great majority, as Chomsky has said, “have basically decent impulses”. The power elite, however, have gained, and maintain their power, generally speaking, and with few exceptions, by abandoning all morals, (see the text of NSC-68, for example) and becoming, by and large, sociopaths. We must resist them, and dethrone them. Democracy is vastly preferable to fascism, to be sure; but fascism is what we will have if the people do not question more, and take their democracy back. And the hour is late.

JTR,

March 17, 2020

 

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

 

A Royal Wedding, Or A Royal Life, And A Royal World?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by jtoddring
 
 
Some find a royal wedding moving and beautiful. But I disagree. Beautiful would be taking the vast fortune of the “royal” family of England and sharing it with the five billion people on Earth living in poverty, one billion of whom live in extreme poverty. Until that happens, the beautiful words and noble sentiments spoken are hollow, and not just a sham, and a farce, but an insult to our intelligence, and to humanity, and to all that is decent and good in the world. It is a lie. Maybe the young couple being married are too naive to understand these things, but their elders are not – they are simply callous: and that is despicable.
 
I do agree, however, and to put it plainly, that the celebration of royal privilege is bullshit, to quote a plain-spoken friend who has the aptitude and the common sense to get straight to the heart of the matter.
 
“Royalty” should not be celebrated or venerated, but pitied at best, for the hollowness it represents; and more often, shunned and chastised, for the corruption, vanity, egotism and greed it represents.
 
It always pains me to feel that my words may upset some people, but I always feel immediately, as well, that sometimes things must be said, even if they are unpleasant truths to hear. And I am reminded of the words of the most venerated monk and contemplative of the past 100 years in the West, Thomas Merton, whom I respect very much. He said, “If you’re afraid of writing something that might offend someone, why write anything at all?” And I heartily concur.
 
To read a fantasy novel is one thing; or to watch a fantasy movie. That may be a harmless, and even rejuvenating break from the stress and strain of daily life. But we know we are dealing with fantasy in that case. Things become problematic when the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred, as they are in the media’s fixation on spectacles and the worship of celebrities. Then fantasy becomes, not a healing break from stress and strain, but something pathological.
 
A royal wedding is broadcast on television world-wide? I couldn’t be less interested. Bread and circuses: keep the people entertained and distracted. And celebrity worship doesn’t do us any good either.
 
And weren’t we supposed to have left feudalism and the worship of monarchy behind some 250 years ago? Are we moderns, or are we, as John Lennon said, “still fucking peasants as far as I can see”? I think the answer is obvious.
 
I like a line from the film, Slaves of New York. We don’t have heroes anymore. We have people who are known for their knownness. Precisely.
 
If Martin Luther King Jr. was giving a speech, I wouldn’t miss it. But I wouldn’t cross the street to see a “royal wedding”.
 
Rather than listening to, reading, or watching drivel and pap – for example, royal galas, in an orgy of voyeurism and vicarious living, which only shows the hollowness of our souls – I think we would be better off listening to this: American Dream – one of the great speeches by the reverend (and that is not a title, but a quality of spirit) Martin Luther King Jr., or any of the words of the truly great souls of humanity.
 
The words of great leaders, thinkers, scholars and sages should be our focus, along with meaningful action based in love; not flights of fantasy into celebrity fixation, or some other trivia that the media is peddling, like opium laced with cyanide.
 
I have a dream, and it is not to be a princess or a prince, but to see the world live in peace, as brothers and sisters, in justice and freedom, in ecological sanity, under constitutional democracy, and with wisdom and love.
 
I think that is a dream worth having, worth holding dear, and worth working toward and fighting for. And I think dealing with reality is preferable to living in fantasy, for it is only by dealing with reality that such a dream can, and will, become manifest.
 
I think we should turn away from celebrity worship and vicarious living, and live our own lives, and make them regal and majestic, with dignity and humility in balance, and with an awareness of the equality of all men and women: and build a better world for all – not in the fantasy world of our imaginings, but in reality.
 
That is a dream worth celebrating. And television fantasies and princess fairy tales, or prince fixations, or other forms of celebrity worship and distraction, can never, and will never, accomplish that.
 
JTR,
 
May 19, 2018
 
 

 

 

What Do I Want? (Or, What is to be done, if we are to have any future worth living?)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2018 by jtoddring

What do I want? Well, I would like to see us move immediately to a libertarian socialist society, along the lines that Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, Rudolph Rocker, or Murray Bookchin have described. Or better: an anarchist communist society, such as Kropotkin described. But I don’t see that as something that is likely to happen in the near future. I don’t think the people are ready for that kind of radical change. Too many people are deeply indoctrinated and ensconced in dead and dying ideologies, consumerism, materialism, slave-mentality, scarcity-consciousness, illusions of powerlessness, voyeurism and escapism and vicarious living, TV culture, and a habitual, docile obedience to authority, conformity, and to the ruling dogmas (or delusions) of our time.

I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I don’t think it’s likely that we would see a near-term shift to a libertarian socialist or anarchist communist society — at least, not en masse. It will be our future, if we choose it; and it is not only completely viable, but would be a vastly better society than what we have now: but I just don’t think that is something we are going to see in the short term.

So, we keep our ideals high and our dreams alive, and work toward smaller, more immediate goals, while never forgetting our values or our dreams, and never losing sight of the long-term perspective.

For example, I think we should immediately depose and dethrone the currently ruling global power elite. That would not simply be a good thing to do — it is, by now, a matter of survival.

In the short term, as in, right now, I would be happy to see the robber barons removed from power. And I think that is a clear and obvious, undeniable necessity. What does that mean? It means removing the banking elite and other corporate elites — the billionaire class — from their current position as de facto rulers of the Earth.

That, in turn, requires a renewal, a revitalization, and a rebirth of democracy. And that, in turn, requires nothing short of revolution. We are now left with no other choice.

The choices facing us now, in early 21st century society, are either revolution, or slow death. The current order, the latest in a series of empires, is one of global neo-feudal, crypto-fascist corporate rule: and it is devouring the poor, the middle class, and the Earth — and with increasing speed. If we do not find the courage for revolution, then slow death it is.

We had best be serious about this, and honest with ourselves. Our choices have narrowed to two. What will it be, world? The choice is ours. And the hour is late.

JTR,
February 14, 2018

 

 

Brexit Madness: Propaganda and Hyperbole

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2016 by jtoddring

 

The media is screaming that the world will end if Britain really does leave the EU. The absurdity of this now-standard narrative should be clear from the outset to anyone of sound mind. But in case it is not, let us say this.

The EU has been taken over by the European Central Bank and the Western banking elite. The EU has proven it is not only an undemocratic organization, but a positively, and rabidly, anti-democratic organization.

To repeat what should be obvious and known to all, but which has been glossed over and completely ignored, the actions of the EU against Greece, and especially Italy, have proved beyond any trace of doubt that the EU is rabidly anti-democratic.

The troika, as they are called, which is the de facto government of the EU — the European Council, the European Central Bank and the IMF — were not satisfied with a right wing billionaire as prime minister of Italy. He was not right wing enough, and not compliant enough with the banking elite who now rule over Europe and most of the world. So they overthrew the democratically elected government of Italy, and installed a government appointed by the troika, composed, not surprisingly, of unelected banking elites, loyal to the EC, the ECB and the IMF, and in complete contempt for both democracy and the people of Italy.

Given these undeniable facts, and given that the EU has proven itself to be fiercely anti-democratic, and the enemy of democracy, the EU must be opposed, and all other considerations are flatly irrelevant.

Putting the question of Brexit, or a British exit from the EU, into this context, and in light of these most central facts, we should be able to see that whatever the risks of leaving the EU, in terms of possible negative economic effects, for example — which, by the way, are all hyper-inflated, and vastly exaggerated, and largely a lot of hot air and hyperbole — the risks cannot outweigh the value of democracy: if, that is, we value democracy at all.

If you value democracy, you must oppose the EU. If you value democracy and support the EU, then I would say you are living in a dream world.

So the question is, what is the bigger danger: an exit from the EU, with potential, though far from certain, negative effects; or effective rule by the ECB and the banking elite, and the effective nullification and destruction of sovereignty, democracy and freedom? I think any sane person can answer that question instantly, and without hesitation.

Leaving the EU presents a far lesser risk than remaining subservient to and subjugated by the ECB and the banking elite. Leaving the EU will not immediately grant freedom or independence from the banking elite, but it is one step closer to it; while remaining in the EU guarantees that the troika will continue to rule, the ECB, the IMF and the banking elite will continue to rule, and sovereignty, democracy and freedom will all continue to be eviscerated and crushed.

As Public Enemy said, “Don’t believe the hype.”

As an aside, and as a secondary consideration, we can say this about the economic prospects for Britain, either in or out of the EU.

Membership in the EU has not proven to be the holy grail of economic miracles, as it was proclaimed to be. In fact, entrance into the EU has brought nothing but economic stagnation for many nations. Italy, for example, is about to follow the path of Greece, and is in serious trouble economically — Italy, a once-great economic power. For the past decade Italy’s economy has been almost completely stagnant — in fact, it now ranks in the bottom three nations for economic stagnation globally. All sing the praises of the EU now. The central, and fundamental questions of democracy, sovereignty and freedom aside, any perceived or imagined economic benefits that might be derived from membership in the EU are dubious at best — and purely fictional at worst, and in most cases.

Secondly, if any negative economic fallout does happen in a serious or major way as a result of Britain leaving the EU — beyond the market correction for the ill-advised speculation and wide-spread gambling on the part of investors that Britain would vote to remain in — it will most likely be the result of the Western elite punishing the people of Britain for their defiance of the troika and the ruling cabal, and seeking a path to greater independence.

Thirdly, and most important, in terms of economic considerations at least, Britain’s economic woes are exactly the same as those shared by virtually every other Western nation: namely, they are the result of neoliberal policies of corporate globalization. Remaining in or leaving the EU has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is neoliberalism and corporate globalization which are the roots of the problem, both in terms of democracy, and also in terms of simple economics.

Look at the numbers.

Since the economic crash of 2007–2008 — which I predicted, by the way, while virtually everyone was saying that things are just rosy, and would continue to be rosy — 95% of the new wealth created has gone to the richest 1%.

The trillions of dollars in “stimulus” programs and bail-outs, which in reality represent a mass theft, and one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the people to the elite in history, has done nothing but line the pockets of the already astronomically rich — mainly the banking elite and their cronies.

A recent systems analysis from Switzerland confirmed the obvious: a small group of large corporations, roughly 40, mainly banks, effectively control the global economy.

A recent study from Princeton also confirms the obvious: the US is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy, and the bottom 99% of the population have little to no influence on public policy — exactly as with Britain, the EU, and most nations of the world, where transnational corporate powers have effectively taken over the nation-states.

And a report released by Oxfam this year confirms that neoliberalism and corporate globalization has failed utterly in its stated aims of lifting all boats, benefiting all people, and reducing poverty: the poorest half of humanity lost nearly half its wealth in the past few years alone — to the richest 1%, who now control 99% of the wealth of the planet, while the richest 68 people on earth now have as much wealth as the poorest half.

We are being driven at break neck speed, by corporate globalization and neoliberalism, or class warfare enacted by the super-rich upon the rest, to put it more directly, into a global neo-feudal order and a new dark age. And of course, in that context, it is the merger of business and the state which is central — which, as Mussolini said, is corporatism, or what he called, the proper term for fascism. This is the central context, and anyone who does not see it yet must be living under a rock.

If Britain had someone like Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, or Tony Benn, then some serious economic stimulus and economic recovery could become a real possibility, and a reality, along with a recovery of sovereignty, democracy, and freedom from virtual serfdom under the neo-feudal banking cartel. But instead, Britain has had forty years of the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of neoconservatism and neoliberalism, which are two sides of the same coin of corporate rule, and that is why the economy, like the democratic process, is shattered, and in dust and ruin.

Britain, like the US and Canada, has for the past 40 years gone head-long into a corporate-style globalization, where manufacturing, production, and profits, are off-shored, and shipped to China and other low-wage nations, for the sake of higher corporate margins and yields, and greater wealth for the elite who control them. The results have been predictable: de-industrialization, massive unemployment, the destruction of the middle class, soaring poverty and inequality, and the general “third-worldization” of the formerly wealthy Western nations, as Noam Chomsky has called it.

In other words, it is the feeding frenzy of the elite and the policies enacted by their political prostitutes which have wreaked economic devastation on Britain and the rest of the world. Blaming Brexit for such structural and systemic problems is utterly foolish, or else utterly deceitful.

The greatest danger facing the world today is the Western power elite — namely, the banking elite, the other corporate elites, and the Western political elite in the US, the EU and Canada, among other nations, who loyally serve their corporate masters. They are at war with democracy, civil liberties, freedom, constitutional rule, international law, the overwhelming majority of the people, and the earth itself. Not only that, but the war on democracy, the people and the earth, which is escalating daily to ever greater levels, and which is global, not only threatens to destroy and eliminate all remnants of democracy, sovereignty, civil liberties and freedom, along with justice and equality, and not only is it racing towards a dark age of neo-feudalism, and to the total destruction of any decent future for humankind on earth, due to severe and growing ecological malfeasance and environmental pillaging; but furthermore, the same rabidly anti-democratic elite are pushing us ever closer to world war, and to nuclear holocaust.

In this context, to pander to paranoia on lesser issues, almost trivial issues by comparison, or at least, comparatively minor issues, such as whether or not Britain leaves or remains in the EU, is not only foolish in the extreme, but positively insane — that, or it is simple propaganda. On these facts we should be perfectly clear.

J. Todd Ring,
July 13, 2016

 

 

%d bloggers like this: