Saturday, November 21, 2015

Holiday Ruminations For A Benighted World

It's that time of year again when millions of turkeys are losing their lives in order to fuel a feast of consumption here in the U.S., and retailers and manufacturers of gadgets, trinkets and toys (many of them for adults and many of them electronic) are using every enticement known to man in order to lure  adults with fattened wallets to financial slaughter at various Black Friday and pre-Holiday sales and movie theaters.  Only, there are not many adults with fattened wallets this season - and their numbers are rapidly diminishing.  (Maybe there's an economic "plague" among the "cattle.")

Me, I am again abstaining from spending money this season.  My reasons include the unresolved reasons of last year, and the knowledge that the owners of the present economic and political order would like to use my participation in that order in order to expand their robbery and oppression not only people of color here in the U.S., but citizens of poor nations abroad.  So this year end, as I did last year end, I am not buying anything for Christmas except food, unless a critical thing (like a refrigerator or water heater) breaks and I have to replace it.  (No "upgrades" either.)  And no movies or any other form of paid entertainment.  Whoever reads this can join me, if you'd like (and even spread the word, if you feel inspired).  Let your conscience be your guide.

To help guide your conscience, if you're open to guidance, I am also providing a link to some entertainment you can download for free.  Here is a complete audio dramatization of A Canticle for Leibowitz, a Roman Catholic science fiction novel written by Walter Miller, Jr., back in the 1950's and published in 1960.  It nicely and powerfully illustrates the role that original sin plays in the behavior of nations.  Its ending makes me think of these present days, when the governments and great and wealthy men of a number of nations are employing every weapon including outright lying to try to hold onto their endangered power and prestige.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

For The First Time In Respectable Company...,

Regarding the recent terror attack in Paris, the term "false flag" has finally made it into respectable mainstream discourse, via a senior official in the German government.  According to the Huffington Post, "In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin that a Syrian passport found with one of the Paris attackers with the name Ahmad al Mohammad may have been a false flag intended to make Europeans fearful of refugees. (Just as I said.)  The passport showed registrations in Greece, Serbia and Croatia, which he described as 'unusual.'"  The publishing of this statement also marks the first time I know of that the concept of a false flag operation has been discussed in a mainstream media outlet in anything other than a dismissive tone.

So if elements of the German government are now admitting that the perpetrators may not be the agents named by the French government in the first minutes after the attack, why is France still extremely hot on bombing Syria and taking over the Sahel in West Africa?  I can't give a definite answer, but I want to point out that there is oil there - and China has already established a presence in Chad, where the Sahel is located.  There are also other minerals there.  Something to think about as stressed people watch the remains of their counrtries' resources seized and their infrastructure destroyed to feed Western rage.  Pray that some of these may be able to find a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Munchausen's Empire: A False Flag Primer

France is using last Friday's "terror attack" exactly as I predicted in my most recent two posts.  Indeed, they seem to be almost exactly copying the script the U.S. followed after the 9/11 "terror attacks", except that they are more rabid and vehement and less interested in appearing to be "compassionate" conservatives.  They intend to target "ISIS" in West Africa as well as Syria, Libya and Iraq.  This should lead the serious student of world affairs to ask what natural resources, and especially mineral resources reside in the Sahel of West Africa.  That will give students a clear idea as to why France decided that ISIS is a "threat" there.  (Serious students can also look at Haiti's natural resources and the percentage of that country owned by foreign interests, and decide what the U.S. was really trying to "protect" when it sent thousands of troops there after the devastating earthquake in 2010.)

I have noticed that there are two audiences of this blog.  The first consists of those who have studied the impact of resource depletion on industrial societies and the global economy.  I am flattered by your readership, especially since many of you know much more than I do about these things.  The second audience is more recent, and consists of those who have been interested in my analysis of the dysfunctional psychology of an empire in decline.  Some in the second audience may be unfamiliar with terms familiar to the first group.  One of those terms is "false flag operation."

For those of you who want to know what that means, and why it matters (especially why it matters whether the Paris attack was a false flag operation), here are a few links to help introduce you to the subject.

This Wikipedia article defines the term, and provides historical examples of false flag operations.

This article examines some disturbing characteristics of the Paris massacre.  (Language warning.)

This article provides testimony from a retired member of the U.S. military concerning American uses of false flag operations.

This article provides background information on the origins of Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Here and here are articles listing several admitted false flag operations that were either planned or planned and executed by various governments.  See where the U.S. is in this list.  Here is an article describing Turkey's role in false flag operations in Syria.

And lastly, here is an article describing Munchausen syndrome, a serious personality disorder.  (Munchausen's by proxy is even worse.)

These sources should provide a few hours of riveting, yet macabre, reading.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Guess At Motives, Part 2

After yesterday's post, I thought about further information on the Paris attacks.  This was information I had not considered while writing yesterday's post.  One item of information is that Syrian refugee passports just happened to turn up near the attack scene.  It has also been revealed that these passports are probably fake.  The second is that the attack occurred during efforts by Russia to negotiate a political settlement to the Syrian war.  The third is that French attack aircraft have stricken Raqqa, which is in a major oil-producing region in Syria.  It may well be that Washington, Paris and Brussels, who have been intent on overthrowing Syria since 2006, may have "found a reason" to launch a retaliatory fight against "terror" which will conveniently also secure (or at least destroy) Syria's oil production, as well as derailing Russian efforts to stabilize the region.  The "Empire" seems hell-bent on seizing and smashing Syria, no matter what it has to do to engineer a pretext for doing so.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Trying To Win A Fight By Punching Yourself In The Face

A co-worker ran into me yesterday afternoon in the office kitchen. “Did you hear what happened in Paris?,” he gravely asked. “I can't hear a word you're saying,” I replied, and groped to turn down my headphones. (Headphones are a sanity saver in an open office environment.) Once my co-worker saw that I could hear him, he proceeded to tell me about a supposed terror attack in France that had killed 27 people. That was the only information I received at the time about the attack; yet it got me thinking about a few things. (Today I see that the death toll has gone up.)

One of the first things I thought of was intuition and the role it plays in helping people formulate an accurate mental picture of the world. I will define two types of intuition. Taking things backward, I call the first “Type B intuition”, and the second I call “Type A intuition.” By Type B intuition I mean the very natural ability to make a complete mental picture out of incomplete parts. A simple example of this is answering the question “2 + x = 4. What is x?” Type A intuition is what we arrive at when we ask a person to make a complete mental picture of a situation out of fewer and fewer parts. Those who are able to form accurate mental pictures as the number of parts approaches zero are either prophets or magicians. Prophets are Divinely appointed, and magicians are playing with fire and in danger of getting burned. My interest in this post is with neither, so I will not write further of Type A intuition here.

Type B intuition, on the other hand, arises out of the interplay of left-brained and right-brained thinking. It can be honed and sharpened by experience and practice (although it can be dulled and short-circuited by prejudice). It often plays a key role in the practice of medicine, engineering and the sciences. The reason it can be honed with practice is because a major part of this kind of intuition consists of the art of pattern recognition. A very important application of pattern recognition, and hence of intuition, lies in learning to recognize human predators. Unfortunately, the development of this kind of intuition usually involves repeated exposure to painful experiences.

As I trace the development of this aspect of my own intuition, I think of how I was exposed to an abusive church many years ago when I was young and inexperienced, and how reluctant I was to see the pattern of abuse and hypocrisy in that church. But once my eyes came fully open, it became easy to see the same pattern repeated in other settings, both sacred and secular. One element of the pattern I saw was a leader who was roundly praised by his lieutenants and sycophants as a man of unquestionable virtue who just happened by accident to be the head of an organization that somehow wound up hurting people for reasons that no one in charge seemed to be able to figure out. The shattering of our leader's virtuous picture came when the evidence of the dirty dealings of the leader and his family was unearthed. Then I began to see that church for what it was: a whitewashed tomb full of folks who put on a beautiful public face, yet whose leader and lieutenants had a hidden and hurtful agenda.

That knowledge stayed with me during the middle years of the last decade, and began to have an unsettling effect on some of my political convictions. I had become a Christian many years ago, and while I am still most definitely a Christian, I have to say that my initial faith was tainted by teaching, books and “Christian” media which reflected a white American cultural captivity. So I was groomed to equate patriotism with godliness, and to be a good little Republican. Therefore, I was overjoyed by George W. Bush's capture of the White House. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I was glad that we had such a strong leader to guide this nation through “dangerous times.”

But then the Iraq war happened, and a funny thing happened along with it, namely, that no evidence of weapons of mass destruction was ever found in Iraq. And the threat of WMD's had been a main reason for Bush's decision to invade Iraq. And after that came the resignation of Colin Powell, the uncovering of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, and the shooting deaths of unarmed Iraqi civilians by Blackwater. As these things came to light, the nation was treated to a recurring spectacle of a President who seemed to be all heart and all sincerity, yet who just happened by accident to be the head of an administration that somehow wound up hurting people for reasons that no one in charge seemed to be able to figure out. Repeatedly, we all kept hearing that he “just wanted to get to the bottom of things, to just get the facts,” and that he would most certainly fix things so that people didn't keep getting hurt by Americans working to make the world “safe from terrorism.”

And it kept getting better, as 2005 rolled around, and Hurricane Katrina rolled around with it, and the world saw what a train wreck the Bush administration made of the disaster response effort. We also got to see how severely people of color suffered as a direct result of the guidance and direction of National Guard troops and FEMA officials whose guidance and direction seemed deliberately designed to hurt these people. Once again, we all saw Bush's mug on TV screens and newspaper front pages as he praised his FEMA director for doing a “heckuva job” while promising to get to the bottom of some unfortunate lapses in FEMA's performance. But I began to get the uncomfortable feeling that I was seeing a repeat of a whitewashed tomb full of folks who put on a beautiful public face, yet whose leaders had a hidden and hurtful agenda.

So it was that in the fall of 2006, as I was traveling on business, I finally began to question allegiances that had heretofore been unquestioned, and to entertain the voices of critics whom I had heretofore dismissed as being part of “the liberal media.” And so I spent a couple of very late nights in a hotel room reading Wikipedia accounts of the run-up to the Iraq war (including the yellowcake uranium story (see this also) which was debunked by the husband of Valerie Plame, and the Bush administration's retaliation against her), and I read about how Lewis Paul Bremer, appointed by George Bush as the provisional governor of Iraq after the U.S. invasion, helped the United States to steal everything that wasn't nailed down (and a great deal that was nailed down) from the Iraqi people during his “reign.”  (There's this also, but unfortunately, it's behind a paywall.)  The Wikipedia articles I read all contained publicly available knowledge, including documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

That information helped to complete a mental picture for me – a picture of the true motives and the actual agenda of the United States concerning Iraq and the Mideast from the beginning of the Bush presidency onward. For I saw that the rape and plunder of Iraq were the result of deeply laid plans, and not some spur-of-the-moment reaction to external events. I saw how 9/11 had been used as a tool for implementing those plans, and thus 9/11 fell into perspective as well. As a result, I became deeply suspicious of the official narrative concerning the 9/11 attacks – and this happened without any input from the “truthers”.

That same mental picture has guided my view of the destruction of Libya (whose leader was murdered by NATO) and the attempted destruction of Syria. For in the case of Libya and Syria, I saw a repeat of the same pattern that led up to the destruction of Iraq by the U.S. Key elements of that pattern were the branding by the U.S. of the leaders of Libya and Syria as “supporters of terrorism” who “opposed democracy” and thus “had to go”. This branding was used as the justification for U.S. and NATO intervention which destroyed the infrastructure of those countries and made much of their oil available for seizure by the U.S. and Europe. In the case of Syria, incidents were conveniently manufactured by certain “actors” in order to demonize Bashar Assad and to mobilize popular support for U.S. efforts to overthrow him. Those efforts began as long ago as 2006 – four years before the onset of the Syrian civil war, by the way.

So then, with this mental picture in place, how should I interpret this most recent terror attack? What kind of mental picture should my intuition create? I think the answer to that question is that there are now so many verified pieces to this picture that intuition is no longer necessary; instead, we have moved to the realm of analysis which engineers call “trending.” Intuition is as superfluous here as driving in broad daylight with your headlights on. (Consider for instance the evidence that ISIS and the “moderate Syrian opposition” are one and the same entity, funded willingly and knowingly by U.S. dollars.) So I think the picture that is emerging is influenced by certain factors, listed below:

What's at stake now in the Mideast and Europe
The situation: We now have three and a half smashed countries (not to mention the sub-Saharan African countries which have been perennial targets of exploitation), hundreds of thousands of victims now turned into refugees, and a number of vampire nations on a couple of vampire continents which have benefited from the smashing. As the victims of the smashing seek refuge in the countries that did the smashing, many of the vampire citizens of these vampire nations are loudly declaring that they want no part in helping the refugees and victims they have created. But there is one Mideastern country now being rescued by Russia from further smashing and exploitation, and this rescue is a situation which threatens to upset the balance of power in the Mideast and possibly lead to the rescue of other smashed nations from the vampires now feeding on them.

Patterns: Note the similarities with 9/11, the Charlie Hebdo attack, and the Boston bombing. One such similarity is that either the accused are never brought to trial because no bad guys are taken alive, or that if suspects actually are arrested, they are subjected to secret, non-televised trials, the results of which are reported to us by word of mouth from monopolistic mainstream media outlets. There is no publicly available evidence for examination by members of the public who might want to decide on their own the guilt or innocence of accused parties. The mainstream media outlets always cast the supposed perpetrators as a monolithic Hollywood stereotype bad guy entity whose soul and inner workings we never get to see, except that it ontologically “hates our freedoms!!!” and speaks with a foreign accent. Once that Hollywood bad guy has done his work for the day, he is pulled back behind the stage curtain until his next required appearance.

Motive: So whose interests benefit from a supposed Islamist terror attack in Europe now? To answer that question, you have to ask whether the perpetrators of the attack are really as stupid as they're being made out to be. If, as many right-wing racist neo-Nazi types would have us believe, the attacks were perpetrated by Arab Muslim terrorists who sneaked into Europe with the wave of Syrian, North African and Afghan refugees, what would they stand to gain from such an attack? The answer is obviously nothing. Such an attack would only hurt their interests by making it easier for right-wing elements in Europe to justify inhumane treatment and expulsion of refugees, and by making it easier for Western war-hawks to justify the ongoing destruction of the home countries of these refugees. I don't think that the Arab refugees, Muslim or otherwise, are stupid enough to start a fight that they cannot win. On the other hand, consider how much the racist elements in Europe and the warmongers leading the West have to gain from such an attack. Especially given that some of them were predicting that just such an attack would arise from allowing Arab refugees into Europe.  Ever heard of a guy named Nero?

Objective: So what use will be made of this terror attack? Here, I will let informed intuition guide me. I think we will see (and are already beginning to see) loud calls for retaliation against ISIS by the leaders of France, NATO and the United States. Iraq will be identified as the place where the targets of retaliation should be located. This will be for two reasons: first, that expanded Western intervention in Syria cannot be justified due to the denial of Syria as a target by Russian and Syrian forces; and secondly, in order to try to seize enough of the assets of Iraq to prevent Russia, Syria and Iran from removing Western agents from Iraq. I think this attack will also be used by wealthy Westerners such as Rupert Murdoch and his European counterparts to mobilize an intense racist backlash against the refugees now seeking to enter Europe. This makes the deaths of people in yesterday's attack all the more tragic, yet not nearly as tragic as the suffering which the West is about to unleash against people who are not guilty of any crime against the West, yet who have already suffered horribly at the hands of the West.

The picture that emerges, then, is not some sinister attack by a radicalized, non-European savage race of impure souls, but rather, a narcissistic empire so overcome by fear at its impending demise that rather than accepting that demise gracefully, it seeks to rally its citizens to a last unjust fight by creating a last outburst of self-inflicted drama. And that's what that picture looks like.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Resilience, Healthcare and Cooperation

Here is a link to a post I did over five years ago concerning the Cuban health care system and the ways in which it is both different from and better than the U.S. health care system.  That post also contains an audio interview I conducted with Rachel True, who is a member of the staff at MEDICC, a health care education cooperative group which has partnered with Cuba to train doctors for the developing world and for underserved communities in the United States.  In that interview we discuss the Latin American School of Medicine, a medical school founded by the Cuban government under Fidel Castro to provide free medical education to prospective students from poor countries and communities who would not be able to afford tuition at medical schools in developed countries such as the U.S.

The Cuban medical system is a prime example of the good that can arise in a society that is founded on cooperation and collaboration and not on ruthless Calvinist cut-throat competition.  For that reason, such an arrangement is not likely to arise in mainstream Anglo-American society unless that society undergoes a radical change.  Until then, we in the U.S. will have to content ourselves with window-shopping (or, for the richest among us, with medical tourism.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Not Just An Anglo-American Disease

Many Europeans are becoming quite upset at the refugee crisis in Europe.  There is increasingly violent rhetoric being directed against the refugees, along with increasing acts of violence.  The perpetrators conveniently forget that the refugee crisis is the result of by Europe's collusion with the United States in the destruction of Iraq and Libya, and the attempted destruction of Syria.  In other words, Europe has brought this on itself.

Europe is finding out (as the U.S. is also finding out) that you can't wreck other people's countries and steal their resources without eventually having them show up at your doorstep. Do "pure" Europeans (especially the northern Europeans) and "pure" White Americans want to curb their "immigration problem"? Then let them live within their means. If you leave other people alone and don't enslave them, wreck their homelands or conquer them in order to steal their stuff, they won't feel any pressure to migrate to your homeland. It really is that painfully simple. When Europe participated in the wrecking of Syria, Libya and North Africa, they knew that the present crisis would be a likely outcome.

We are indeed heading toward a future in which a small minority of the world's population will no longer be able to command the lion's share of the world's resources.  When that happens, at least one reason for mass migrations will go away.  This is resulting in a fair amount of existential fear in many members of the privileged small minority, and the fear is being expressed as a rabid ferocity which seeks to demonize those who are different from the members of the minority.  Today I found two refreshing antidotes to the demonizing voices:
Take them by eye, as often as needed, for relief from selfishness, willful blindness, and xenophobia.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

For Those Who Want To Take Charge Of Their Own Growth

I am very busy with grad school just now, so I won't be able to write a new post this week.  However, grad school (and self education in general) line up nicely with a post I wrote a few months ago, a post which I have decided to share again with interested readers who are trying to improve themselves in the midst of a society that is trying to scapegoat and destroy them.  Here then, for your enjoyment and edification, is Not Someone Else's Bonsai.