Friday, February 7, 2014

American Feudalism - 8

Better Diplomacy Needed
What happens when a nation that is slipping continually into modern feudalism detects that slide, and then tries to do something about it?

First, comes a conversation, a dialogue, and perhaps a debate about when or how to change it.

Then comes the realization that is not easy to figure out how to get a grip.

How to stop the slide, and to then try to undo the policy that has caused the misdirection; nevertheless, there are signs that some in the U.S. Government want the U.S. to regain foreign policy and domestic policy stability.

To steer the ship of state into a more traditional and a more successful American direction and practice:
The US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, on Saturday underscored the Obama administration's intention to shift the focus of its foreign policy away from military might toward diplomacy.

Speaking at the Munich security conference, Hagel said he and the secretary of state, John Kerry, "have both worked to restore balance to the relationship between American defence and diplomacy".

Hagel, in prepared remarks, stressed that the US was "moving off a 13-year war footing" as the war in Afghanistan winds down and as Washington seeks to avoid getting involved in additional military conflicts overseas.

Hagel's remarks echo those of President Barack Obama, who in his annual state of the union address this week said the US could not rely on its military power alone, promising to send US troops to fight overseas only when "truly necessary".

In recent years, the US has shown its eagerness to wind down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the military dominated traditionally civilian-led activities such as development aid. US officials have also sought to avoid becoming involved in new on-the-ground military action in places like Syria and Libya.

"Foreign policy had become too militarised over the last decade or so," a senior US defence official said on condition of anonymity. "It's time for us to be in a supporting role when it comes to the execution of this country's foreign policy."
(Hagel / Kerry signal change from Imperialism). These desired changes will not be easy, and in fact will be difficult, because American neoFeudalism is by now embedded very, very deeply into the culture of America (American Feudalism - 6).

There are many things that threaten the security of the U.S. more than the military outfits in other nations or terrorists (Terrorism We Can Believe In? - 3).

Our addiction to oil is the most difficult, and it is in full steam ahead mode:
But things are looking up for this Arctic conurbation halfway between Europe and China. Over the next 30 years climate change is likely to open up a polar shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, cutting travel time to Asia by 40% and allowing Russia's vast oil and gas resources to be exported to China, Japan and south Asia much faster.

Nadym stands to benefit from a warmer climate more than any other Arctic city – the Russian government plans to connect it by road and rail to other oil and gas centres; Gazprom, the world's largest gas company, is building a port nearby with French oil major Total; and if the new northern sea route is open for even six months of the year, Nadym will find itself on the 21st-century equivalent of the ancient silk route.

"The entire centre of gravity of the world economy is shifting to Nadym," said the mayor, Stanislav Shegurov, a former gas worker, at a recent meeting of Arctic leaders in Norway.

Expectations are high that the route will complement the Suez canal as a key waterway for trade to and from Asia. "The Arctic is our home and our future. We will make full use of the northern sea route. We are building infrastructure, we are making history. We have ambitious plans," said Anton Vasiliev, Russian ambassador for the Arctic.
(New Arctic Melt, cf. Has The Navy Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?). Nations with arctic ports know that the Arctic is melting because of global warming induced climate change, and they are preparing for it, as is our own Navy.

Being far behind, due to endless war ideology and endless denialism, makes for difficulty when trying to change our current heading to a different, better course.

That is, annulling our seemingly endless bondage to oil war (Viva Egypt - 2).

One thing to watch (the one which will be the biggest clue to the government's seriousness about a course correction) is the Keystone XL pipeline decision (The Red Green Show of Ed Shultz).

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

Results of American Feudalism:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Red Green Show of Ed Shultz

Ed Shultz says Frack it!
I sure love Ed Shultz of MSNBC.

A man of the Middle Class and Poor, a man for the Middle Class and Poor, and a very good one at that; and he understands economics from that class perspective, which is the better perspective these days, at least in those who think that citizens call the economic shots.

But his environmental understanding comes from another planet, a planet whose life will never be snuffed out by Oil-Qaeda, a planet that is not inhabited by endangered species and endangered civilization, a planet not called "Earth."

He argued in favor of the "Keystone Oil Pipeline" on his show today, which is not unusual.

What was unusual was that he argued as if the debate about our dying civilization is about how we ship the poison that is killing our civilization.

It is as if he infers that "we have to kill ourselves by pipeline", as unrighteously indignant Oil-Qaeda encourages, and "not by rail car" says Ed!

Really Ed? What is important about the damaged Global Climate System is how we ship those poisonous products that have damaged it, are damaging it, and to quote you Ed, "will continue to" damage it?

No, Ed, the reality for life is this: we must stop killing ourselves by all means, whether by pipeline, by rail, by air, or by media nonsense!

The way to do that is to stop putting what is poisoning our sustenance of life into pipelines, rail cars, or anything else.

We must leave it in the ground.

To signal that we get it, to signal that we grasp that morbid reality, we will not sanction the Keystone Pipeline as you do. (UPDATE: last night on The Ed Show, Mr. Shultz reflected on all the evidence and therefore urged President Obama to not approve the pipeline because of the grave danger to the Ogallala Aquifer).

Because, such a policy is The Red Green Show level of a lack of understanding of what the problem is:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

California Dying, Not Dreaming - 2

Dr. Chu a.k.a. Dr. Who?
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog, every once in awhile, reflects back on history by viewing the history of Dredd Blog posts.

To show that things we discuss are not of the Kardashian species, things momentary, things only in the commercial moment.

No commercials, just the reality we continue to live in even though it is not a likable reality for those with their eyes wide open.

The post we are going to re-post today was first posted on Dredd Blog on this date, in 2009, five years ago.

That story from five long years ago is not some dim ink-on-paper that will fade with time and become irrelevant to our reality, no, Dredd Blog ink gets more and more bold as time goes on:
Cities and institutions across California are resorting to exceptional measures to deal with a worsening drought, from mandatory water restrictions in beachside Santa Cruz to voluntary cutbacks in Los Angeles.

Santa Cruz, which relies on rainfall rather than mountain runoff or imported water, won’t permit residents to drain and refill swimming pools or hot tubs and has barred restaurants from serving water unless specifically requested.

The Metropolitan Water District, the Los Angeles-based utility for 19 million people in Southern California, is asking customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. Hearst Castle, one of the state’s top tourist attractions, is getting about one-sixth of its usual water from mountain springs and is diverting resources from its outdoor swimming pools to irrigate 137 acres of gardens and grounds.

“People do know about this and are becoming convinced that there’s a statewide crisis,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. “The biggest thing with calling it ‘mandatory’ is that it sounds worse than ‘voluntary.’ The people of California are well down that path already.”

About two-thirds of California is gripped by “severe” or “exceptional” drought, the most severe conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website. Nine percent of the state -- all in the San Joaquin Valley -- is considered exceptionally dry, according to the website, which is updated weekly. It’s the state’s most severe drought since at least 1977, according to Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District.
(Bloomberg, now! today!). Anyway, here is the post from today's date on Dredd Blog --five years ago:

Nobel laureate, and now Secretary of Energy, pulls no punches:
California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming ...
(LA Times, emphasis added). A Secretary of Energy that calls it like he sees it. He is not afraid to deal with "global warming is the greatest hoax ever" republican senators.

Do we need to be reminded that if we were to make a list including California as if it were a nation, along with actual nations, it would be in the top ten economies of the world in that list?

California is in dire straights to say the least. Some ask is California bankrupt? Now Dr. Chu says it is in danger of loosing its sources of income while others point out California's water crisis.

It is an emergency, and it is our problem. To be sure, as goes California so goes the United States, because it is the most populous state with the largest economy (compared to the other states).

If California is in that much trouble while the republicans in the congress manoeuvre to take the glory of these disasters instead of the blame and shame like they should, we may not recover as a nation.

Remember that post from five years ago when everyone in the blind establishment celebrates our dying civilization with a new oil pipeline to nowhere, like the Keystone.

And remember that five years from now the truth will still be the same.

The California water "pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles."

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Tale of Coup Cities - 8

A writer at the Emptywheel Blog points out that the U.S. statutes and laws, which the military NSA cites to as its authority for spying on all Americans, does not apply to the military NSA.

Instead, those statutes and laws apply only to the civilian FBI.

Those who do not understand that the NSA is a military outfit, and that the FBI is a civilian outfit, may not comprehend the import of this observation --at first.

More of that later, but first let's set the stage for analyzing this astute observation of the blogger emptywheel, by first noticing and discussing the purpose for keeping the military separate from the civilian authorities, in terms of setting both domestic and foreign policy.

And more importantly, keeping the military in subjection to the civilian authorities, an issue that even the emptywheel blogger didn't address.

The emptywheel blogger quotes the FISA statutory language in Section 215:
[T]he Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things ...
(Empty Wheel, "Wrong Agency ...", cf. The Tell). The argument which emptywheel then makes is that the text of the statute allows only one agency of the federal government to make applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Further, that one authorized agency is the civilian FBI, not the military NSA.

Now, why that is important to the point of "what if there was a coup and no one noticed" is the overarching issue in this "A Tale of Coup Cities" Dredd Blog series.

Here at Dredd Blog, as regular readers know, we have isolated and then pointed out writings and declarations by our greatest statesmen who have for hundreds of years warned us about the grave dangers of overindulgence in military thinking.

When that thinking reaches the point of mixing civilian policy with military power and doctrine, the once-free nations that do it tend to cease to exist as free nations (see e.g. The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?, Beware of The Military Oil Complex).

In the current series, we have pointed out that a coup has taken place over time to the point that our greatest power is no longer civilian democracy bringing common prosperity to the middle class, poor, and wealthy alike.

Rather, we are degenerating into a feudal society guided by a plutocracy of the few (American Feudalism, The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy).

Three other Dredd Blog series that coincide with this series, and which you should read to complement this post and this series, are Will The Military Become The Police, A Decline Of The American Republic, and Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids?

First, let's emphasize that the NSA is a military outfit:
In accordance with Department of Defense Directive 5100.20, dated December 23, 1971, the Director of the NSA must always be a commissioned officer of the military services. Because the assignment is currently part of a tri-hatted position, the Director of the NSA is appointed to the grade of a four-star general or admiral during the period of his incumbency. The Deputy Director is always a technically experienced civilian.

The current director is General Keith B. Alexander, USA.
A. Subject to the provisions of NSCID No. 6, and the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and pursuant to the authorities vested in the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Agency is a separately organized agency within the Department of Defense under the direction, supervision, funding, maintenance and operation of the Secretary of Defense.
F. The Director and Deputy Director of the National Security Agency shall be designated by the Secretary of Defense, subject to the approval of the President. The Director shall be a commissioned officer of the military Services, on active or reactivated status, and shall enjoy not less than three star rank during the period of his incumbency.

G. The Director, National Security Agency/ Chief, Central Security Service shall report to the Secretary of Defense.
(On The Origin of Security - 2, quoting "DoDD 5100.20"). The military Department of Defense, the military Pentagon, where the military NSA is located and commanded, is not directed by, commanded by, or overseen by the civilian FBI.

Thus, the military NSA has no authority to ask the FISC for permission to spy on all Americans, or any Americans, under Section 215 of the FISA laws quoted near the top of this post.

Only the civilian FBI is given that statutory authority.

Now, let's discuss why a coup is more often than not a result of mixing military ideology with our civilian constitutional democracy in a manner that skews balance:
Military influence increases when officers assume positions of authority in non-military organizations. Finally, the influence of the officer corps obviously increases when the public possesses a favorable opinion of the military.
(Civilian-Military Relations, p. 35, PDF). Dredd Blog has pointed out that the public possess the most favorable opinion of the military, over any other American institution:
In the first post of this series, we pointed out that most Americans polled in an annual Gallup Poll think that the military is the most competent institution in America.

In that post we perused Gallup Poll figures from 2009, as shown on the graphic to the left (red lines added).

Today in 2011, the military is still seen as the most competent American institution, according to this year's Gallup Poll, even though the wars they are prosecuting are not at all popular.

Let's take a look for reasons and realities as to how it is that the military, once considered the lackey for the tyranny of the tyrants, has come full circle to invade and occupy the hearts of a once freedom loving people.
(Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? - 2). The second prong of that formula, military officers assuming positions in civilian organizations, for example the appointment of active military officers over the CIA (e.g. Gen. Hayden).

There is also the revolving door between the military Pentagon and war profiteering corporations such as General Electric, Lockheed, Boeing, and on and on.

Today, we considered one military science article "Civilian-Military Relations" which is quoted from and linked to above.

In the next post of this series we will look at traditional military-civilian relationships as depicted in historical books such as "The Soldier and the State", by Samuel P. Huntington, depicted in the graphic at the top-left of this post.

That will be done in order to compare "then" with "now" so as to see if and/or how things have changed, a technique discussed in A Tale of Coup Cities - 4.

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

The following video features Gen. Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO, who says that a policy coup has taken place in the U.S.