Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Peak Of The Oil Wars - 8

Here's the deal Barry
This month, December, was the month that the Mideast nuclear weapons-free zone conference was scheduled to take place.

Iran was in agreement to having such a nuclear weapons-free zone, as were all the other Muslim nations in the area.

That treaty involves the idea that no nation in that region will have any nuclear weapons.

It is somewhat similar to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty signed by Iran and all of those nations -- except one -- Israel.

Iran and other significant nations in the area signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty years ago --  a treaty which gives any nations that are signatory to it the legal right to use nuclear power plants to generate electricity for their citizens.

To add insult to injury, the government of Israel, backed by the U.S. government, has cancelled its participation in the talks:
High-level talks between Israel and its Muslim neighbors regarding a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East have been cancelled by the US and Israel.

A nuclear weapons-free zone has been repeatedly proposed, only to have Israel – the only state in the region with nuclear weapons – reject it in favor of maintaining this nuclear monopoly, further destabilizing the region, and keeping the threat of others’ nukes as a primary excuse for its militarism.

Diplomats tell the Associated Press that the US, one of the organizers of the meeting on this latest NWFZ proposal, would likely make a formal announcement of its cancelation soon, claiming that “the time was not opportune.”

While Iran is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has publicly pledged its opposition to nuclear weapons development, has subjected itself to thorough international inspections, and in fact has exactly zero nuclear weapons, Israel has done none of the above and has approximately 200 nuclear warheads. Iran is being severely punished and threatened with attack, Israel is supported with unparalleled economic, military, and diplomatic support.
(Anti War, quoting AP). This is rank hypocrisy on steroids and is a foreign policy debacle that is sure to diminish the good standing of the U.S. in the eyes of the other nations.

You may be wondering what this has to do with oil or with oil wars, so let's tie it together.

For decades the foreign policy of the U.S. in the region has been one of controlling the oil reserves for western use:
QUESTION: Is there a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?

CHOMSKY: Yes. There's been a very consistent U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, at least since the Second World War, whose primary concern has been to ensure that the energy reserves of the Middle East remain firmly under American control. The State Department noted in 1945 that these reserves constitute "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."

Basically it is a policy meant to keep Saudi Arabia, which has by far the largest known stores of petroleum, under American control. This has been quite explicit since World War II. In fact, during the war the government tried to expel Britain, and later France, from the region. There were forms of chicanery used to achieve that end, which was achieved, certainly, by the formation of ARAMCO [Arabian American Oil Company] in 1947.

Given U.S. control over Western Hemisphere resources, the United States thus effectively controlled the major energy reserves of the noncommunist world, with all that implied with regard to the organization of international society. A number of years later, the American position in the Middle East was extended. Following the CIA-backed coup in Iran in 1953, American oil companies controlled 40% of Iranian oil. By the mid 50s, American dominance of the region and total dominance of Saudi Arabia was virtually complete.

American penetration of the Saudi economy and military has been extensive. There are now about 30,000 Americans in Saudi Arabia, mostly ARAMCO employers. U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia and Iran amounted to $28 billion each in 1976, with sales to Saudi Arabia projected to reach $4.8 billion in 1977.
(Chomsky, 1977 interview). Chomsky, over thirty years ago, envisioned exactly what was taking place then, and why it was taking place, referring in a footnote to:
U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States. 1945, viii, 45, cited in Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The limits of power, Harper & Row, 1972, which provides a comprehensive analysis of the development of U.S. policy at the time.
(ibid, 1977 interview, footnote 1). Likewise, he foresaw what is taking place in foreign policy today which we currently read about and hear in the media:
Suppose the U.S. had 100% of its own energy right here. That wouldn't affect in the least American desire to control the Middle East because we want to make sure that nobody else has access to those cheap resources of energy. One of the ways the U.S. keeps control over Europe and Japan is by having a stranglehold on their energy supply. Therefore, if there was a solar energy or shale breakthrough, giving the U.S. its own energy supply completely independent of Middle East oil, we still would want to ensure control over that region as long as Middle East oil remained cheap and accessible.
(ibid, 1977 interview, emphasis added). Solar energy and shale fracking for oil is a common theme in the media today, consistently presented in the context of U.S. oil independence (pro fracking here; contra fracking here).

Yet, as Chomsky presciently said thirty five years ago, the U.S. and Israel do not want to give up the nuclear weapon advantage because they want use it to help control the lifeblood of economies of the world - oil.

That is why the U.S. and Israel will not attend the nuclear weapons-free zone talks that were to take place this month.

Chomsky reiterated this reality in a recent speech (see video at Epigovernment: The New Model - 2).

Other Dredd Blog series give additional information on these subjects (see Series Posts under "OIL").

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Epigovernment: The New Model - 2

This is the season of soft spoken reflection.

So, in today's post let's all focus on the soft spoken but well equipped Noam Chomsky in a video address that we have referred to previously.

But you won't grasp the reason that elders of his ilk are filled with value unless you engage in listening to his sharing of his view of global governmental dynamics (epigovernment?).

Especially the discussion about the middle east nuclear free zone wherein any nuclear weapons or systems involved in their development are to be held in violation of international law.

[Only the U.S. and Israel are opposed to that nuclear free zone, Chomsky intimates, unless of course Israel gets to keep their nuclear WMD (let's pretend Israel is inside the U.S. instead of in the middle east).

This is soooo Emperor Hadrian, who built an art center extraordinaire as well as building "Hadrian's Wall" in Britain (to keep out the "terrorists").]

Check it out:

Video index to "Who Owns The World"

(min:sec topic):

01:05 Adam Smith describes power structure of British Empire

02:15 "all for ourselves and nothing for other people" ... motto of masters

02:50 U.S. greatest economic and military power in history

04:00 U.S. "unquestioned power" took over lands of the British Empire

05:20 A common theme now in foreign policy journals is "American Decline"

05:40 "Is America Over" on front page of prestigious foreign policy journal

07:50 "we lost China" in late 40's ... elite think they own the world

08:40 when nations gain independence, elites call that "loosing them"

09:50 mass slaughter in Indonesia done by west called "a gleam of light in Asia"

10:40 Kissinger: we have to prevent the virus of independence from spreading

11:50 the "loss of South America" by U.S.

13:35 U.S. policy was "if we control Mideast oil we control the world"

13:45 U.S. engendered coup of Iran in 1953 to control oil in the region

14:20 a central U.S. foreign policy is the control of oil

16:21 "it takes genius not to see it" ... (U.S. oil imperialism)

16:45 decline over the past 50 years is self inflicted

17:45 two issues that determine human fate: global warming and nuclear war

18:50 governments haven't responded to dangers with requisite concern

19:10 rather, their response has been to accelerate the catastrophe

19:15 government policy reflects willingness to sacrifice human life for oil

19:50 Ernst Mayr said the evolution of human "intelligence" is ominous

21:20 "intelligent" humans are hell bent on self destruction right now

21:50 critical issues politicized, insuring catastrophe

22:25 right wing wants to stop funding climate science

23:10 Obama is into securing 100 years of "American oil independence"

23:45 issue of nuclear war

25:15 U.S. / Israel at odds with rest of world RE: Iranian power plants

26:12 Gen. Lee Butler: "dangerous in the extreme" giving Israel nukes

26:35 Israel is considered most dangerous nation on Earth in European polls

27:45 elite want dictators, not democracy, for Arab populations

28:38 Mideast people see Israel as rogue nation backed by U.S.

29:10 NY Times: Golan Heights "disputed territory"; U.N. condemnation

29:40 Iran in hundreds of years only invaded two tiny Arab islands (Shah)

30:45 UN Charter bars threats against nations; U.S. and Israel threaten anyway

36:55 intellectual praise for Kennedy during missile crisis is inadvisable

39:45 Nuclear weapons free zone in Mideast ... opposed by U.S. and Israel

42:45 U.S. domestic issues: 23 million people unemployed or underemployed

47:00 U.S. financial system runs "doomsday cycle"

50:15 Working people under constant attack ... especially unions

53:20 political structure: republicans for rich; democrats for the rest

54:05 U.S. more per capita fundamentalists than other countries

57:50 "Failure By Design" shows rich richer; citizenry worse off (by design)

58:05 overcoming the plutocratic coup requires a "New Deal" type activism

61:05 world is composed of the plutonomy and the precariat





For those who don't have the time to listen, and would rather read this material, there are some posts that contain some or all of the material in the video:
Plutonomy refers to the rich, those who buy luxury goods and so on, and that’s where the action is. They claimed that their plutonomy index was way outperforming the stock market. As for the rest, we set them adrift. We don’t really care about them. We don’t really need them. They have to be around to provide a powerful state, which will protect us and bail us out when we get into trouble, but other than that they essentially have no function. These days they’re sometimes called the “precariat” -- people who live a precarious existence at the periphery of society. Only it’s not the periphery anymore. It’s becoming a very substantial part of society in the United States and indeed elsewhere. And this is considered a good thing [by plutocrats].
(Life In The Ferengi Home World - 2, quoting Chomsky). More at this post:
Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons

I’ve kept to domestic issues, but there are two dangerous developments in the international arena, which are a kind of shadow that hangs over everything we’ve discussed. There are, for the first time in human history, real threats to the decent survival of the species.

One has been hanging around since 1945. It’s kind of a miracle that we’ve escaped it. That’s the threat of nuclear war and nuclear weapons. Though it isn’t being much discussed, that threat is, in fact, being escalated by the policies of this administration and its allies. And something has to be done about that or we’re in real trouble.

The other, of course, is environmental catastrophe. Practically every country in the world is taking at least halting steps towards trying to do something about it. The United States is also taking steps, mainly to accelerate the threat.  It is the only major country that is not only not doing something constructive to protect the environment, it’s not even climbing on the train. In some ways, it’s pulling it backwards.

And this is connected to a huge propaganda system, proudly and openly declared by the business world, to try to convince people that climate change is just a liberal hoax. “Why pay attention to these scientists?”
(Tom Dispatch, Chomsky). The video is worth watching, to say the very least.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is The Empress Taking Off Her Clothes? - 4

Shrek's #1 House Member
Not many people will argue with you when you say that the federal government seems to be going through a comic book episode where they fight for Shrek's Weenie.

Not much else makes a lot more sense out of the babbling and goings on over in Tinsel Town.

The republicans declare that they know the best way to screw up everything, and once again the democrats are becoming more and more tempted to go along with them.

Most of the time recently they have been in a vicious fight over whether it is really Shrek's Weenie the Empress is holding, or whether it is just a rare form of a rubber duckie from Speaker Boner's collection.

If Shrek wants his weenie back he has to bang Big Bird in the White Old House is the latest counter offer.

There are other ways to look at it, for instance the last episode of this series.

Ok, so on with the show for your perusal, here is the post from this date in 2010:

We have asked this question before, because there are enough preposterous little local realities in this day and age to fill a book or so.

The Keystone Komplex of MOMCOM is but one of many complexes found in the encyclopedia of preposterosity authored by homeworld "security" propagandists ("I can see security from my house").

Their attention to gore, blood & guts, hate, mass murder, and deceit 24/7 keeps us busy, since it makes it hard work for anyone to keep focused on that preposterous realm.

That is especially true of the MSM, the preposterous propaganda-pabulum realm that really isn't trying to do journalism anyway.

Our MOMCOM series shows how the war college industry partners with the MSM industry (the propaganda arm of MOMCOM), to whoop it up for the home team:
The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous.
(The Big Taboo, NY Times). Can you imagine, more high school type marching bands (notice they have even attached "marching", a military concept, to high school bands) than those who work for good "foreign relations" in the U.S. State Department.

The betrayalized general intellectual warmongers voice a philosophy constantly these daze, an ideology that is a la neoReaganism (a.k.a. paingyrics, a.k.a. panegyrics), which fundamentally wants to make "government" small enough "to drown in a bath tub".

Note, in bold words, that "government" in their mind does not include the military, it only includes the judicial, legislative, and administrative branches of "the gummit".

BTW, I read somewhere that Obama is reading up on Reagan (The Age of Reagan by Sean Wilentz perhaps?) over the xMass holiday vacation.

I am reading an xMass gift, a book, also written by Sean Wilentz, a noted American historian, entitled "Bob Dylan In America".

Obama shows us, by doubling down on the W compass, a.k.a. "doin' thuh Reagan", that he runs a front - yes, a coverup of his "real politik".

Take for example his inviting Bob Dylan to perform at the White House.

Then afterward he studies up on Reaganomics and waronomics, like he is reading a script from that old useless relic the Schizophrenic Dance of the Doomed, instead of the American Tradition which Bob Dylan has now mastered.

I only wish Dylan had performed Masters of War instead of The Times Are A Changin when he sang at the White House, because the fundamental 800 lb. gorilla in the room issue for this era is:
We face wrenching budget cutting in the years ahead, but there’s one huge area of government spending that Democrats and Republicans alike have so far treated as sacrosanct.

It’s the military/security world, and it’s time to bust that taboo.
(The Big Taboo, NY Times). The author of that NYT post, Nicholas D. Kristof, says we spend "almost" as much on warmongering as all the other nations put together.

Regular readers of Dredd Blog know that we believe that we spend more than all of the rest put together, not just "almost as much", because the gigantic spy industry is part of that "it".

As we pointed out recently, nobody knows where the edges of that spy realm are (are there any?), nor does anyone know where all the bank accounts of that realm are or where they "end".

In closing, remember that this nation could have avoided "gore, blood & guts, hate, mass murder, and deceit 24/7", together with endless doom-bringing deficits, by listening to Dylan instead of taking off the nation's constitutional clothing:
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
(Masters of War, Bob Dylan). In his post, Mr. Kristof called American Imperialism "sacrosanct", which is just another way of saying "jihad", which means "holy war".

Who was it that said "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword"?

Peace.


End of the review of the last episode.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Social Dementia Causes Heated Misunderestimations - 3

Who are "Just US?"
In this series we have been focusing on the source of dementia in the U.S.eh? with a special emphasis on looking at places where it is not hard to find it.

That would be the realm of officialdom (see e.g. Etiology of Social Dementia through Etiology of Social Dementia - 8, and this).

A group, nation, or civilization cannot be considered sane and at the same time have the same psychotic symptoms that individual people have when those individual people are diagnosed as suffering from dementia of one sort or the other.

Three well-known individuals of history have pointed this out, each in their own unique way:
"I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness." - Sigmund Freud

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
(see e.g. The Life and Death of Bright Things). We can sanely and properly deduce that it is time for a check up, time for psychoanalysis, yes time for the U.S.eh? in particular, civilization in general, to do some deep and serious soul searching -- like individual people do from time to time.

But there are rules against the psychoanalysis of the untouched:
I write this despite the so-called Goldwater Rule, an ethical standard the American Psychiatric Association adopted in the 1970s that directs psychiatrists not to comment on someone’s mental state if they have not examined him and gotten permission to discuss his case. It has had a chilling effect. After mass murders, our airwaves are filled with unfounded speculations about video games, our culture of hedonism and our loss of religious faith, while psychiatrists, the ones who know the most about severe mental illness, are largely marginalized.
(NY Times, emphasis added). But how would a psychiatrist "touch" a group, nation, or civilization with the reality of its condition anyway?

Better still, how would the American Psychiatric Association touch a group, nation, or civilization with the reality of its condition?

Here again, Freud was ahead of the curve enough to give us a starting point:
I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness.
...
The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities.
(MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5, quoting Freud). The problem is exacerbated by the reality of the definition of schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to:
  • Tell the difference between what is real and not real
  • Think clearly
  • Have normal emotional responses
  • Act normally in social situations
(Schizophrenia - PubMed). One would think that fits the current national policies, as well as those of civilization itself, quite accurately.

Which is exacerbated by the added dementia of exceptionalism, morphing the discussion into one of "my dementia is better than yours because it has been blessed by the priests of the bully pulpit."

The previous post in this series is here.

"oh no I've said too much ... "



"I haven't said enough ..."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On The Origin of The Bully Religion

With God on our side
When West Point cadet Blake Page wrote "Why I Don't Want to Be a West Point Graduate" on Huffington Post, it caught the eye of many readers.

Likewise, when John Dear wrote Christmas 'Peace on Earth' Means 'No More War' on that same blog, it also caught the eye of many readers.

Very clearly, those two pieces at Huffington Post draw a very bright line distinction between the religion that military evangelists teach and practice at West Point, and the one that John Dear says is the actual teaching of Jesus the Christ.

"What does that have to do with the origin of 'The Bully Religion'?" you may be asking.

You may also be asking "just what is this bully religion you are talking about Dredd?"

Fair enough, today's post is for you, so keep reading.

Regular readers know that there have been a series of Dredd Blog posts concerning this notion of bully worship (see e.g. Bully Worship: The Universal Religion through Bully Worship: The Universal Religion - 4 , Doing the Right Thing - Mithraism, and The Dogma of The High Priest In Chief).

One quote from one of those listed posts will set the stage:
Not everyone has heard of Eric Arthur Blair, who wrote under the pen name George Orwell, but many have heard of his book "1984."

He evidently coined the phrase "bully worship" which he called a "universal religion."

Originally it was directed at a philosophy of imperialistic militarism that was affecting the thinking of various leaders just prior to the outbreak of WW II.
(Bully Worship: The Universal Religion). Yes, the one and only George Orwell was quite observant of authoritarhttps://web.archive.org/web/20120302002630/http://www.hums.canterbury.ac.nz/clas/ejms/index.htmianism and despotic movements in the nations of the world.

Regular readers who have read those posts know that Dredd Blog equates the religions of any military empire with Mithraism, which to most observers, including young cadets, is indistinguishable from what the military calls Christianity.

"Mithraism was quite often noted by many historians for its many astonishing similarities to Christianity" (Mithraism - Univ. of Chicago).

But so that we don't put the nuts and bolts of today's post off any longer, the contrast in the two Huffington Post pieces mentioned above can be drawn into full strength with the following information that compares historical Mithraism with historical Christianity:
1) Mithras was “the Light of the World“ (Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12).

2) Mithras was a member of a Holy Trinity (“Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ … ‘The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.’ St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 9, Exp. symb.: CCL 103, 47″; see also Mt 28:19).

3) Mithras was born of a virgin (Jesus was born of a virgin. see Matthew 1:18-25).

4) Worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell (“The Bible speaks clearly of the existence of Heaven … Hell is also spoken of in the Bible, but its nature is even more sketchy. When Jesus described the destiny of sinners who refused to change their ways, he compared it to Gehenna, which was a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem. People in wretched poverty picked their way through it to find scraps, and fires burned”).

5) Worshippers of Mithras believed they would be given endless life (“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” I Cor 15:53).

6) Worshippers of Mithras believed in a final day of judgement in which the dead would resurrect (“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” I Cor 15:12).

7) Worshippers of Mithras believed in a final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things (“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army” Rev 19:19; “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” Rev 16:16).

8) Mithras worshippers believed that a ritualistic baptism was required of the faithful (“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …’” Matthew 28:18-20).

9) Mithras worshippers took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of Mithras (“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body’” Matthew 26:26; “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many” Matthew 26:26-28).

10) Mithras worshippers believed that Sundays were held sacred (“the majority observance of Christian Sabbath is as Sunday rest” - Wikipedia).

11) The birth of Mithras was celebrated annually on December the 25th (“Christmas … is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by billions of people around the world” - Wikipedia).

12) Mithras took part in a Last Supper with his companions before ascending to heaven (“The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.” Wikipedia; “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11)
(see Mithraism - Univ. of Chicago, Mithraic Mysteries - Wikipedia, Journal of Mithraic Studies, and Prof. David Ulansey's work). The first reaction a lot of people have is "well, what is the difference then?"

According to John Dear, in his post mentioned above, this is what the fundamental difference is:
When the nonviolent Jesus was born two thousand years ago into abject poverty to homeless refugees on the outskirts of a brutal empire, the story goes that angels appeared in the sky to impoverished shepherds singing, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!"

Peace was coming to the world! They were so excited, they couldn't contain themselves.

That's what Christmas is about -- the coming of "peace on earth."

That child grew up to become, in Gandhi's words, "the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world." Jesus taught peace, lived peace and blessed peacemakers. "My peace is my gift to you," he said. When we refused to learn "the things that make for peace," he broke down and wept. He took action to end systemic injustice, and he did it in a nonviolent way and, for his civil disobedience, he was brutally executed by the Roman Empire and died forgiving his killers.
(Christmas 'Peace on Earth' Means 'No More War'). Did you notice the last sentence containing "he was brutally executed by the Roman Empire", and did you read up-thread that Mithraism was the religion of the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus?

The differences between the two essences are as stark as the 12 similarities listed above, according to a quote that describes the habits of those Roman soldiers:
“Polybius claimed that the Romans deliberately caused as much destruction as possible, slaughtering and dismembering animals as well as people, to deter other communities from resisting Roman demands to surrender; mercy. Male inhabitants were usually slaughtered, women raped, though only in exceptional circumstances killed in the initial orgy of destruction. After that, as tempers cooled and the desire for profit took over, prisoners would be taken for sale as slaves, though at times any considered to have a low market value, such as the very old, were still massacred.”
(Complete Roman Army, Goldsworthy, 197, see also 172-73). The bully religion is Mithraism, it is not the religion of Jesus, the one Mahatma Gandhi is quoted up-thread describing as "the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world."

The next post in this series is here.


Season's Greetings


















Monday, December 24, 2012

The Illusion of Environmental Security - 3

The rise of the sea
The U.S. government is intensifying its fettish for spying on its own citizens.

It is now rolling out the drones for domestic spying.

In so doing the government ignores very real threats to the security and well being of the nation.

The threat that Dredd Blog is focusing on in today's post, which for all practical purposes has been ignored by the government for years, is the green house gas pollution that causes global warming induced climate change.

The deaths of "over 100 million people by 2030" because of that pollution is the 800 pound gorilla clearly visible in the room.

Here at Dredd Blog it has been said over and over that one of the most often seen phrase is "worse than previously thought", a phrase that brought some 2,290,000 Google hits ("worse than previously expected" and similar phrases add to the count).

Well, today there is another case of "worse than previously thought", which goes like this:
West Antarctica is warming almost twice as fast as previously believed, adding to worries of a thaw that would add to sea level rise from San Francisco to Shanghai, a study showed on Sunday.
...
The western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought," Ohio State University said in a statement of the study led by its geography professor David Bromwich.

The warming "raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise," it said. Higher summer temperatures raised risks of a surface melt of ice and snow even though most of Antarctica is in a year-round deep freeze.

Low-lying nations from Bangladesh to Tuvalu are especially vulnerable to sea level rise, as are coastal cities from London to Buenos Aires. Sea levels have risen by about 20 cms (8 inches) in the past century.

The United Nations panel of climate experts projects that sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 cms (7-24 inches) this century, and by more if a thaw of Greenland and Antarctica accelerates, due to global warming caused by human activities.
(Reuters, emphasis added; see this also). Twice 24 inches is 4 feet, but what if it also means a rise sooner than expected?

New York felt the results of sea level rise, as did New Jersey and other Eastern Seaboard states, with the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy this year and Hurricane Irene last year.

The storm surge on top of sea level rise and high tides there were too much for those states that have ignored the dangers for too long.

Nevertheless, as Dredd Blog recently mentioned, the current national energy policy activity, which should be an emergency policy to prepare for additional future climate catastrophe, is instead a furious effort by the fossil fuel industry heavily subsidized by government, to acquire and burn even more dirty oil.

The previous post in this series is here.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Peak of The Oil Lies - 3

In this series the issue is whether there is any such thing as "peak oil", a time when we reach the point where we have used up one half of the finite resource called petroleum.

It seems to be common sense that any finite resource that is not renewable will eventually be exhausted.

That is what the book "Peak Everything" by Richard Heinberg is all about, the inherent limit of finite resources, including fossil fuels, as the graph above indicates.

Thus the argument that renewable resources are a safer bet.

The fossil fuel industry has been spending a lot of money to get us to believe that we need not concern ourselves about running out of oil.

Never mind that even if it were true it would still present civilization with calamity as was discussed in the recent post "Embryonic Look At Civilization's Future - 5."

There are observers who do not accept the fossil fuel industry's protestations about peak oil:
When people read about a long-term forecast of world oil supply--say, out to 2030--they often believe that the forecasters are merely incorporating our knowledge of existing fields and figuring out how much oil can be extracted from them over the forecast period. Nothing could be further from the truth. Much of the forecast supply has not yet been discovered or has no demonstrated technology which can extract or produce it economically. In other words, such forecasts are merely guesses based on the slimmest of evidence.
(C.S. Monitior). That is contrary to what we hear lately in the McTell News where there is no mention of the dangers civilization faces whether peak oil is true or whether it is false.

It is a Catch 22 situation, because if we have enough to continue to use fossil fuels and warm the Earth up another 4 degrees there will be hell to pay.

But if we reach peak oil where what civilization needs to keep functioning is not available at affordable prices, there will be hell to pay as well.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Embryonic Look At Civilization's Future - 5

The fog of warm
This is a series that deals with the scientific reality of civilization's known future in the context of pollution.

The definition of "civilization", for the purposes of this series, is defined by two posts "What Do You Mean - World Civilization?", and "Confusing 'Civilization' With 'Species'."

A peer reviewed report written for The World Bank and prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics has been circulated since about November of this year.

The title of that report is "Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided", and is available for download in a link that follows.

One of the first questions that naturally arises is "where did they get the four degree celsius ("4°C") figure?"

The answer to that question is in the report itself:
It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency.

This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.
(Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided, emphasis added). Ok, so the scientific establishment came up with the four degrees, so let's look further to what else they said:
The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics;
Coastal cities are endangered
substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity [species], including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.

The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.

It is clear that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming ...
(ibid, emphasis added). In other words they are saying it would be bad beyond the beyond, but could even be surprisingly worse than that in some ways.

The previous post in this series is here.

The lyrics to the following song are here.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Elections of Pontius Pilots - 4

News Conference: "You can't remember what I meant?"
This series now concerns the President's confusion and/or conflation of the meaning of the word "compromise" with the meaning of the word "capitulation", which was originally carried in the series Mystery of Compromise v Capitulation.

In the previous post we used the term "Alchemy" to describe this American political technique.

Having become lost in the maelstrom of propaganda, the President seems to think that because the right wing neoCons scare the hell out of those in America who are still sane, and therefore will not vote for those neoCons, he can abuse the election accountability process to now cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid without there being any negative connotations for so doing -- that wee the people will simply roll over and play dead.

All roads lead to WTF
All the while letting the warmonger military budget continue to increase, cause deficits, cause foreign policy problems, and ultimately bankrupt more and more people in America.

This is the kind of claptrap that reinforces the notion of epigovernment, a notion that something other than the American people is influencing the federal government in a direction that is damaging to the people, who are metaphorically being treated as if they were the traditional "stepchildren in an abusive home."

This type of politically correct lying, a.k.a. spin, is the talk of psychotics like Ayn Rand, heroine of the right, and Edward L. Bernays, hero of those who are not able to know the truth about the people.

Anymore, it seems that "the powers that be" are people who are the foundational pillars of this type of government illusion, delusion, and sicko warmongering, no longer respecting the visionaries who founded our great republic.

The Plutocracy prefers, instead, that we sing the only form of religion they think is good and appropriate for us and for them:



The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland? - 2

Poppa's Got A Brand New Bag
In this series we have been looking at group dynamics within nations, specifically the social dynamics that derive from psychological relationships between the citizenry and their government.

Even more specifically, we have been looking at the dynamics involved when the citizenry sees the government as a parental figure.

That may sound strange to those who have not read up on it, but according to those who labor in this realm, as professors and social scientists, it is generally understood to be a real cultural phenomenon:
Have you ever noticed how many "family" words are associated with the concept of "nation" in literature, politics, and government?

A quick check of a few relevant metaphors (forefathers, father of the constitution, Uncle Sam, motherland, fatherland, homeland, father of the nation, founding fathers, mother of the nation, family of nations, etc.) makes me want to look at perhaps the key source-metaphor for this notion:
... a common metaphor, shared by conservatives and liberals alike -- the Nation-as-Family metaphor, in which the nation is seen as a family, the government as a parent and the citizens as children ...
(The Nation-as-Family Metaphor). To expand upon this concept a bit, consider these comments:
It’s no accident that our political beliefs are structured by our idealizations of the family. Our earliest experience with being governed is in our families. Our parents “govern” us: They protect us, tell us what we can and cannot do, make sure we have enough money and supplies, educate us, and have us do our part in running the house.

So it is not at all surprising that many nations are metaphorically seen in terms of families: Mother Russia, Mother India, the Fatherland. In America, we have founding fathers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uncle Sam, and we send our collective sons and daughters to war. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the voice of the totalitarian state was called Big Brother.

As George Lakoff discussed at length in his 1996 book, Moral Politics, this metaphorical understanding of the nation-as-family directly informs our political worldview. Directly, but not consciously. As with other aspects of framing, the use of this metaphor lies below the level of consciousness.
(Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?). When the government evolves in a direction from left to right, the citizenry will in general also have that tendency.

Obviously we are not talking about an axiomatic, direct, and robotic response, but what we are talking about is social tendencies involved when and where there is that type of a psychological framework.

Following the 9/11 attack this "below the level of consciousness" dynamic could be observed more easily as the nation became "the homeland", as seemingly endless wars began, as military spending practically bankrupted us, and as the nation evolved toward the dynamics of bullying.

Since then suicide is the number one cause of injury death in the citizenry as well as in the military in America, many such suicides occurring after the mass killing of innocents by the one who then takes their own life.

If we cast the notion of epigovernment into this discussion, then apply these same dynamics, is seems as though metaphorically we are stepchildren in an abusive home.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Evolution From Left to Right - 5

American cranium and brain changes
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has a series of posts under the heading or title of today's post.

This series primarily deals with an increase in violence across the land as well as the source of that violence.

The killing of children and adults by a young gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary last week is yet another episode in the ongoing "American social evolution."

In this context by "evolution" I mean social change within the nation.

The type of social change where the characteristics traditionally attributed to Americans by the other nations, and even by our own citizens themselves, noticeably changes over time.

We are not talking about more roads, cars, planes, cell phones, computers, or things of that sort, no, we are talking about change of heart, change of mind, and change in civility of a sort that characterizes a nation.

One simple example might be a movie in this Christmas season that glorifies torture (Zero Dark Thirty) compared to a traditional American Christmas season movie (It's a Wonderful Life).

The national debate at the moment, by pundits and advocates alike, is divided into groups of those who think gun control will and will not solve the problem of the mass murder of innocents.

That focus is misplaced, because the problem is with the direction in which our nation has been going, from a kinder, gentler society into a bullying society where the stronger among us oppress the weaker among us.

This has spilled over into our foreign policy where a cascade of invasions and occupations of weaker nations has been ongoing.

Our national attitude is not looked upon with the favor that it once was in the world community, evidenced by a recent case handed down the day before the Sandy Hook massacre:
A European court issued a landmark ruling Thursday that condemned the CIA’s so-called extraordinary renditions programs and bolstered those who say they were illegally kidnapped and tortured as part of an overzealous war on terrorism.
(“Heroine” Outed, see also this and this). Another court within the nation indicated "an overzealous war on terrorism" that has evolved in the wake of 9/11 to cloud our national mind as it were:
By proceeding on the terrorism theory, the People were able to introduce evidence about numerous alleged criminal acts committed by members of the SJB gang over the course of three years. Without the aura of terrorism looming over the case, the activities of defendant's associates in other contexts would have been largely, if not entirely, inadmissible. Based on the record, it is apparent that the volume of proof regarding unrelated assaults, murders and other offenses created a reasonable possibility that the jury's findings were prejudicially influenced. Hence, the spillover effect requires reversal and a new trial on the underlying offenses.
(People v Morales). What one lawyer sees happening is an evolution in our social concept of justice:
What the court is admitting here is amazing. It is saying that when someone is accused of terrorism, the rules governing trials and law completely change. All sorts of things that the state is normally barred from doing on the grounds that it is unjust suddenly become permissible when someone faces terrorism charges. Indeed, so "prejudicial" are these special rules of "justice" for terrorism cases that anyone convicted under these rules is, by definition, treated unfairly if terrorism is inapplicable.

But if these special rules for terrorism cases are prejudicial and unfair when applied to murder defenders, then they are unfair for everyone. It means these rules are inherently unfair. But that's what has happened in the post-9/11 era: a whole new system of "justice", with all new rules designed to ensure convictions and long prison terms, have been invented exclusively for those facing "terrorism" charges. And since the term "terrorism" has no discernible meaning other than "acts of violence committed by Arabs and/or Muslims against westerners", this illustrates why New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal was exactly right when, under the headline "Liberty and Justice for non-Muslims", he wrote:
[I]t's rarely acknowledged that the [9/11] attacks have also led to what's essentially a separate justice system for Muslims. In this system, the principle of due process is twisted and selectively applied, if it is applied at all."
It's a separate system of justice so intrinsically unjust and unfair - designed to ensure that Muslims accused of "terrorism" have basically no chance of acquittal - that any trial that proceeds under its warped rules for non-terrorist defendants must be thrown out in its entirety, said the New York Court of Appeals. That's extraordinary.
(Glenn Greenwald). The truth is getting to be "extraordinary" as our society evolves from one personality into another.

Traditionally the U.S. was fair to other religions, even making that tradition the supreme law of the land by putting freedom of religion in the U.S. Constitution.

When a Muslim, following his election to the U.S. Congress, took the oath of office on a Koran, which was once owned by President Thomas Jefferson, it outraged some people who have evolved in a direction away from traditional values.

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog places blame on propagandists who have engineered this evolution from left to right.

The problem is more serious than you might think, because what is evolving is the physical brains of the populace, which cannot be remedied by mere elections or statutes.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, December 14, 2012

Agnotology: The Surge - 3

So say two conservatives
In this series we are looking at the social science called Agnotology, which looks for then studies "ignorance generators" within American culture.

That discipline is focused on "particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data", which implicates the right wing Republican Party.

Today's Dredd Blog post is timely because in the aftermath of the 2012 election one consistently hears news reports about the "dumbing down" of the Republican party.

For example the book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks", written by two conservatives.

Whether they knew it or not, those authors practised Agnotology when they focused on neoCon extremists as if they were aliens to the traditional American government.

Their work clearly indicates that Republicans are "an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

They also criticized McTell News for false equivalence, false framing, and a general gloss over of those extremist views.

We discussed a somewhat similar book "The Party Is Over", written by Republican Mike Lofgren, in the Dredd Blog post NeoCon Planet: Magic Teflon Vagina Juice, which focused on The Akinoids.

The previous post in this series discussed the notion of "the cultural Amygdala" and how it can be formed as we become biased one way or another, or how it can be better formed when we are objective and open minded (see e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 12).

Another book source involving Agnotology, which generated a lot of "interest," was the book "The Republican Brain" by Chris Mooney.

A lot of paper and ink in the media concerning that book, both pro and con, is reflected in the following list:
Pro:

A Chat With Chris Mooney, Diagnosing the Republican Brain, The Republican Brain by Chris Mooney, The Republican Brain on the Republican Brain, Inside the Political Brain, David's Book Club: The Republican Brain

Contra:

Republicans Have Bad Brains?, The Beaker And the Ballot, The New Phrenology, Science and the Republican Brain
A more general article by Eugene Robinson is Republicans must Wise Up.

A wising-up should not be impossible because even though "A conservative believes nothing should be done for the first time" - Thomas Fuller, one can argue that they have wised up in the past, so it won't be the first time.

Furthermore, they may soon see that U.S. extremism is damaging our reputation in the world (The UN voted against Israel and the U.S., America's Worst Enemy).

As long as they stay away from the influences of the criminally minded Oil-Qaeda in the epigovernment, they have some chance of a homecoming.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

If I Die Before They Wake

The following lyrics, sung by by The Fugs in the video at the bottom of this post, were written by Tuli Kupferberg in 1966 on Bleeker Street in New York City, U.S.A.

My interpretation is that these are the lyrics in a song sung by the dying Earth --- sung while visiting the grave of Venus, a long lost friend.


Morning, Morning

Morning morning
Feel so lonesome in the morning
Morning morning
Morning brings me grief

Sunshine and the sunshine
Sunshine laughs upon my face
and the glory of the growing
Puts me in my rotting place

Evening evening
Feel so lonesome in the evening
Evening evening
Evening brings me grief

Moon shine moon shine
Moon shine drugs the hills with grace
and the secret of the shining
Seeks to break my simple face

Nighttime nighttime
Kills the blood upon my cheek
Nighttime nighttime
Does not bring me to relief

Starshine and the starshine
Feel so loving in the starshine
Starshine starshine
Darling kiss me as I weep



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warless Commander In Chief, President - 2

Military suicides @all time high
This is supposed to be a season of peace, so today we review an issue we talked about in a Dredd Blog post on this date in 2009.

One of our presidents warned us that war was an illness, yet in our War Colleges we are taught that war is an art.

Since that warning from President Madison and a later one from President Eisenhower, we have gone from having no standing army to having a military that has war bases in 191 countries around the world.

We were the number one arms dealer last year, and the longest war in U.S. history continues even in the face of it being very unpopular.

Anyway, here is that post from December 2009:

It may be hard to believe, but some of the Presidents of the United States did not partake in wars during their time in office.

Here is a list of non-wartime Commanders In Chief whose military was at-ease, yes, U.S. Presidents who could focus on helping their own people, their own nation, at home:
* John Adams (2nd)
* John Quincy Adams (6th)
* Zachary Taylor (12th)
* Millard Fillmore (13th)
* Franklin Pierce (14th)
* Andrew Johnson (17th)
* Ulysses Grant (18th)
* James Garfield (20th)
* Chester Arthur (21st)
* Grover Cleveland (22nd)
* Benjamin Harrison (23rd)
* Grover Cleveland (24th)
* Theodore Roosevelt (26th)
* William Taft (27th)
* Calvin Coolidge (30th)
* Herbert Hoover (31st)
* Jimmy Carter (39th)
(Wikipedia). This is roughly 39% of those holding that office.

Which means that roughly 61% of the time U.S. Presidents are influenced by war, which James Madison (2 yr War of 1812, 4th President) called our greatest enemy.

Equally of note is that since Jimmy Carter left office, on January 20, 1981, we have been involved in wars.

That is about 28 years in a row with presidents involved in war and the war ideology, our worst enemy.

As we proclaim to the world that we are the exceptional nation of peace, our war budgets involve more war money than all of the rest of the nations of the earth combined.

Is it any wonder that we have a serious credibility problem?

In addition to that 2009 post above, also consider the following video which discusses why we're now a nation of continual warfare:


Meanwhile a U.S. Naval attack force has moved off the coast of Syria, which has a mutual defense pact with Iran.

Both Russia and China are on the side of Syria and Iran, and have warned of serious consequences should current U.S. intervention become an invasion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Epigovernment: The New Model

An earlier Dredd Blog post had a graphic to show the structure of the U.S. Federal Government.

That graphic has been modified for this post so as to illustrate the concept of "epigovernment."

Before we get into to the post completely let's first review some definitions and set some definitions within a useful context.

For the purposes of this post "government" means the realm of officials who are elected into office, as well as those they then hire or appoint to non-elected offices.

It also means what those government officials do while on official business.

And finally, for the purposes of this post, "epigovernment" means the layer above government that actually sets the policy and direction of government.

Thus, epigovernment is a concept like epigenetics in the sense that epigenetics is "above genetics," because epi means "above" or "over" in this context, which is a context declaring that genes are no more controlling (see The "It's In Your Genes Myth) than government is (see MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4).

Thus, epigovernment is to government what epigenetics is to genetics.

The premier American propagandist Edward Bernays described the concept of the epigovernment quite well:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
...
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Bernays). In this concept the tentacles of the epigovernment reach the people through the mechanism of the media:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
"...
(The Deceit Business, quoting Chomsky). The way the epigovernment is able to direct government is also known, which is control through the use of the power of wealth, i.e. through money.

That money is controlled by known international corporations that own stock in each other so as to "keep it in the family":
A University of Zurich study 'proves' that a small group of companies - mainly banks - wields huge power over the global economy.

The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them - and created a 'map' of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy.

The study found that 147 companies formed a 'super entity' within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks - the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. [Bank of America is in the top 25]
(MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 3, quoting Daily Mail & report, emphasis added). This concept of epigovernment should probably be a required chapter in Civics Textbooks, because the physical dynamics can be observed, measured, studied, and discussed in pre-college classes as well as in university level classes.

Terms like "global economy" can be explained to civics and economics students via the concept of a plutocracy, which is the essence of the global epigovernment.

Another good thing about the concept of epigovernment is that it can be taught without getting into boogie man "conspiracy theories" that tend to scare properly trained citizens away.

The next post in this series is here.

Maybe not as American as you think ...