BIG BROTHER MAKES HIS MOVE ON JULIAN ASSANGE

14 04 2019

Julian Assange’s arrest this week was not unexpected, but it happened late enough in the week that I have been unable to come up with my own story about it. Plenty of more perceptive, more eloquent, more popular  writers and speakers  than I have, so I’ll leave it to them, at least for now, and, since this is a a Green Party show, I’ll read you the official Green Party press release, which includes the notorious “collateral murder” video,  as an example of what got Assange and Manning in hot water. This “classified document” has been viewed by over sixteen million people.

Anyway, here’s the Green Party statement:

The Green Party of the United States strongly and unequivocally condemns the arrest of Julian Assange and calls for his immediate release. Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London this morning and is being held in the United Kingdom for extradition to the United States, where he is very likely to face espionage charges. Assange is the publisher of Wikileaks, which published documents exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, human rights violations at the Guantanamo Bay prison and State Department cables that showed corporate corruption of US foreign policy.

Members of the Green Party have organized a protest today at 5:00 pm outside of the British Embassy in Washington, DC, located at 3100 Massachusetts Ave., NW at 5 pm. Another action is in New York City at 845 Third Avenue at 4:30 pm.

In April 2010, Wikileaks posted on its site the famous 17-minute video, entitled “Collateral Murder,” of an incident in Baghdad that took place in July 2007, in which the crew of a US Apache helicopter killed two unarmed employees of Reuters and gravely wounded two small children of a man who was merely attempting to assist one of the dying Reuters men. The video, seen to date by over 16 million people on YouTube, revealed to people worldwide the ugly nature of the Iraq War, which the Green Party opposed from the start, not the sanitized version propagated by the U.S. government.

Since that time, Assange has endured smears by the media and fierce condemnation by US politicians, including even calls for the death penalty. In the resulting hysteria, the dire implications of this attempted silencing of an uncompromising publisher have been ignored, even by mainstream media outlets that have the most to lose by ignoring them.

“Freedom of the Press in the 21st Century is under unprecedented attack and the arrest with the prosecution of Julian Assange represents perhaps the most dangerous manifestation of this trend,” said Kevin Zeese, member of the Maryland Green Party coordinating council and advisory board member of the Courage Foundation. “Assange is being persecuted for exposing and embarrassing US government administrations, Republican and Democrat, not, as claimed, for revealing vital secrets necessary to national security.”

Beginning under President Obama and continuing under President Trump, whistleblowers are being arrested and charged with the Espionage Act at ominously increasing levels. From the time the Espionage Act was passed in 1917 until the Obama administration took office, it was used against one person. Eight people were prosecuted by the Obama Department of Justice. The number of investigations of leaked information has tripled under the Trump administration.

Publishing the truth is not a crime. The US and international courts should be prosecuting those who committed the crimes exposed in the documents published by Wikileaks, not the media outlet who exposed such crimes.

Wikileaks has democratized the media by enabling people to expose the crimes of governments and corporations, and by anonymously leaking documents that show their activities. This innovation gives power to the people to be the media. Such power is essential at this time of corporate concentration of media, where only six companies control 90 percent of the news.

 

 





MR. MUELLER’S MARCH SURPRISE

14 04 2019

just imagine that long-eared critter is a Democratic donkey instead of a Wiley Coyote…..

First off, I have to confess that I did not expect what seems to be Robert Mueller’s core assessment: that he could find no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Turnip campaign. From my understanding of Mueller’s record, he has always been a “good soldier,” willing to do whatever The Empire needed him to do, even if it involved shady behavior. Much of it even looks like misbehavior, except that Mueller was promoted, not fired or prosecuted, after doing what he did.  That seems to indicate that somebody upstairs approved, and when I say “somebody upstairs,” no, I don’t mean God.

Mueller let Boston mobster Whitey Bulger get away with murder, and then get away completely. Bulger became a fugitive, and lived under an assumed name for a decade before finally being discovered. Mueller was willing to round up and imprison about a thousand Muslim men in New York City right after 9-11, some for as long as a year, without charging any of them with any crime, in what has been described as “an American Abu Ghraib.” Our court system decreed that his victims could not sue him or the US government for their mistreatment and disrupted lives. As FBI director, Mueller had no problem with torture of “terror suspects,” mass surveillance of US citizens, or with infiltrating anti-war groups looking for terrorists. He was willing to lie under oath and tell Congress there was no question about the Iraqis having “weapons of mass destruction.”

There’s lots more where those highlights came from, but the upshot is that I expected that Mueller, sent in to find Turnip guilty of colluding with the Russians, would find a way to charge Turnip with collusion, even though it was fairly clear to me from the outset that the whole thing was a sham. So, when Mueller’s “no collusion” assessment came out, I was as flabbergasted as any Democrat. Unlike a great many Democrats, i did not roar back with anger and denial. Instead, I did my best to find a perspective from which this turn of events makes sense. That turned out to be not so difficult. All I had to do was determine what has changed as a result of the Mueller investigation and the Russian collusion/interference publicity blitzkrieg that accompanied it, and look at what Mueller did or did not investigate, who he indicted, and what happened as a result of those indictments, and it all made sense. Read the rest of this entry »





NO SH*T, SHERLOCK–IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

10 03 2019

For me, one of the big stories of the last month continues to be the attempt to suppress  Rep. Ilhan Omar for  speaking the truth about two of America’s biggest “third-rail” issues–the things no public official wants to talk about because, as Rep. Omar has discovered, anyone who touches them will be shocked, simply shocked, by all the people who are shocked, simply shocked that you would dare mention them. In dysfunctional families, one of the primary rules is “don’t talk about what’s really going on,” and America these days is just one big, unhappy dysfunctional family, in which speaking the truth about, among many other things, Israel and US-Israeli relations is shouted down with screams of “anti-Semitism,” and bringing up a government insider’s history of lies, lawbreaking, and human rights abuses is shushed as extremism. Those two are just a couple of tips of the ol’ iceberg, but they’re the ones I’m going to focus on.

Let’s talk about “anti-Semitism” first. I was brought up Jewish. I was taught that the basis of Judaism is “the golden rule,” “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow.” The state of Israel is clearly not practising that maxim in its relations with the Palestinians or its other neighbors. Therefore it seems to me to be hypocritical for the state of Israel to wrap itself in Judaism and attack any criticism of its vicious, aggressive conduct  as “anti-Semitic.” It’s worth noting, as The Guardian did, that Congresscritters’ willingness to criticize Rep. Omar as “anti-Semitic” rises in direct proportion to the amount of money they receive from AIPAC.

After I started writing this, the UN issued a report calling what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” I think we ought to take a moment to appreciate how far the State of Israel has come. It was founded over seventy years ago as a refuge for the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and now it’s all grown up and committing war crimes and crimes against humanity itself.  Ain’t it wonderful what happens when the victims of persecution don’t adequately integrate their trauma? Let’s hear it for Israel! Read the rest of this entry »





DESTINY

10 03 2019

This is the chapter of Charles Eisenstein’s 2013 book, “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.” You can read it for free here

 

There are no facts. There are only stories.

—Whiteman (Nigerian shaman, quoted by Adebayo Akomolafe)

I speak of the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible, because our minds, steeped in the logic of Separation, so often tell us it is not. Even as we begin to accept a new logic of interbeing, still the old doubt lingers on. That is because intellectual beliefs are just an outcropping of a whole state of being. This book has explored various facets of that state of being: the habits associated with it, the wounds bound up in it, the stories that reinforce it, and the social institutions that reflect and sustain those stories. Change on all these levels is necessary in order for any one of us, and therefore all of us, to inhabit a more beautiful world.

Because this world is not possible from within the Story of Separation, it will take a miracle (by the definition of the chapter “Miracle”) to get there; in other words, we can get there only through the methods, actions, and causal principles of a new story, a new understanding of self, life, and world. By the same token, the despair that says, “We can’t make it” illuminates the deficiency of the methods, actions, and causal principles we equate with the practical and possible…..

the rest of the chapter





“MAKING THE ECONOMY SCREAM” IN VENEZUELA

10 02 2019

“We’re going to make their economy scream.”

Richard Nixon, on US plans to overthrow the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende in the early  1970’s

I am outraged about the way the US is treating Venezuela, a country whose worst crime seems to be spending its oil revenue to elevate the living standards of its poorest people, instead of feeding an oligarchy like The Great God Mammon intended.

Nicolas Maduro, and “the Bolivarian Revolution,” are just a few steps to the left of Bernie Sanders, and yet we have a bipartisan effort to overthrow them. Sanderistas, and all you other “Democratic Socialists,” please note: this is what Schumer and Pelosi really think of you.

Democrats who have fulminated for two years about “covert Russian meddling” in the US and styled themselves “the Resistance” to Pres. Turnip’s hard right agenda for the US have no problem openly colluding with a radical right politician in Venezuela, overtly sending him millions of dollars, confiscating Venezuelan state assets in the US and turning them over to this self-proclaimed, not particularly popular, “President” and US puppet, and coordinating a de-legitimization campaign against the legally, and honestly, elected government of a sovereign nation that, oh horrors, has been forthright in its criticism of US foreign policy, and, in the face of US sanctions, started selling its oil for Chinese yuan instead of American petrodollars.

Gee, I seem to remember, back during the Democratic primary debates, that Ms. Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of “supporting the overthrow of the legally constituted governments of Cuba and Nicaragua.” Apparently, she and the rest of her wing of the Democratic Party think it’s not OK to do that to legally constituted, highly oligarchic, US boot-licking dictatorships, like the Batista and Somoza regimes that once ruled over Cuba and Nicaragua. But hey, if it’s a legitimately elected, broadly popular socialist government, as in Venezuela or modern Nicaragua, or even faintly populist, like the unfortunate Mr. Zelaya in Honduras, why, go right ahead and kill it before it spreads. “Kill” is not a metaphor here. I’m assuming that’s why Elliot Abrams has been made the US government’s point man on Venezuela. He has shown no hesitation in his willingness to kill the poor in order to save the rich.

 

And saving the rich is definitely what is happening in Venezuela. The
“anti-government uprising” is largely a revolt of the middle- and upper classes, who have seen their standard of living slip as Chavez, and now Maduro,  do what they can to help the poorest members of Venezuelan society. And make no mistake about it–the upper classes in Venezuela are more European, i.e., whiter, than the lower classes, and despise Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez as “black Indians,” whose rule they resent the same way some white Americans couldn’t abide having even a lackey of the corporate system like Barack Obama as US President, because he was black. The reaction against Maduro is flat-out racist.

We Greens get a certain amount of pushback from people who think we ought to work within the Democratic Party. The Democrats’ hypocrisy around this Venezuela caper is a prime example of the kind of conduct we Greens are unwilling to tolerate. The Green Party rejects the Democrats’ hypocrisy of claiming to be opposed to racism at home, while supporting what amounts to white supremacy in Venezuela (and Palestine, too–but that’s a whole other subject.) We are an anti-imperialist party as well as an anti-capitalist party, and the Democrats’ willingness to join with the Republicans in bullying Venezuela is imperialism pure and simple–not to mention that the US government is clearly stating its intention to turn Venezuelan oil production, now managed by a mostly state owned company, over to multinational, um, “oiligarchs.” The Green Party is about freeing this country from oil addiction, while the Democrats are happy to mug one of our neighbors to make sure our oil fixes keep on coming.

I want to include a few caveats here. The first is that I, and most other supporters of Venezuela, don’t necessarily agree with every detail of their overall plan, and also can see ways in which the country’s rulers have not done a good job, even by their own standards. Nevertheless, I am broadly supportive of their intentions, which are, to quote Professor Greg Albo,

(to) deepen.. democratic proceduralism, indigenous and human rights and citizen initiatives. But it also embraced an alternate economic model in linking participatory democracy with cooperatives and worker self-management.

That’s exactly what The Green Party is about, and it’s also the program on which Bernie Sanders rose to prominence. So, when I said that those in control of the Democratic Party are willing to kill to stop democratic socialism, I think my concern is well-founded. I hope that adds to your understanding of why Greens cannot be Democrats.

The second caveat is that, of course there is corruption in Venezuela. The Bolivarian Revolution was, and remains, a political movement which pays little attention to psychological transformation. When you try to make change happen merely by passing laws, anyone who is more or less governed by the flaws in their personality–greed, jealousy, desire, selfishness, for example–will continue to do whatever they can to work the system for their personal advantage, especially when it is clear that the system is being stressed by outside parties, like the US, who want to destroy it, and that makes peoples’ lives difficult and uncertain.

The third caveat is that, from my point of view, the worst crime Venezuela has committed has been to extract all that oil….the same crime that the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and a whole lot of other countries are committing….but who’s gonna bell that cat? You can be sure our government has no intention of shutting down Venezuelan oil production for good. The administration has said outright that it intends to turn Venezuelan oil production over to US oil companies.

But of course, it’s not entirely about oil. Our government has also announced that Venezuela is just the first domino–they plan to go after largely oil-free Nicaragua and Cuba next–can Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, and any other non-submissive Western Hemisphere governments that remain be far behind? If a New Democrat-Green coalition takes over the government of Canada, will the US invade? Will British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiate the surrender of the Maduro government, and, on her return to England, tell the press that she believes her actions have brought “peace in our time”?

Read the rest of this entry »





THE VEILS OF DELUSION

13 01 2019

Before I get going with my main topic for tonight, I want to briefly address “the government shutdown,” because what I have to say about it seems obvious to me,  but I haven’t heard it from anybody else: Reactionary political organizer Grover Norquist is famous for saying he wanted to shrink the government down to such a small size that he could drown it in a bathtub, and I think that is exactly what Pres. Turnip and his friends are attempting to do–not shrink the government, but see if it’s been shrunk to the drownable point yet. In all likelihood, we are not at that point, but those attempting the drowning are not prepared to admit failure about this, or it, seems, any other issue. Don’t get all smug, Democrats–in your own way, you’re the same kind of crazy.

That gets us back to the original point of this monologue/essay, so on with the show.

I had one of those spontaneous flashes of political insight the other day, the kind of thing that sometimes pops up when I’m trying to settle in and do my own mental housecleaning. There’s nothing like stumbling knee deep through your own mental trash to hang you up when you’re trying to do something to clean up the planetary garbage crisis. Inasmuch as I don’t feel like I’ve been terribly effective in my efforts to clean up the world outside, I guess I must not have done all that well at straightening my inner world, although I can chalk up a few achievements. I navigated a divorce without my ex and I, or the friend she left me for, hating each other, and I haven’t been pushy with a woman, punched a guy, or helped myself to my friends’ peanut butter in quite a few decades. Peanut butter? Yes, I used to be a compulsive peanut  butter eater. I no longer suffer from that affliction. Long story, actually several of them, but some other time, OK? We’re here to talk politics.

The flash of political insight was, “Climate change denial is to Republicans as Russiagate is to Democrats.” Let me lay out the parallels for you. Read the rest of this entry »





CONSCIOUSNESS

13 01 2019

This is the   34th chapter of Charles Eisenstein’s book, “The More Beautiful World Our hearts Know Is Possible.” You can read the chapter, and the whole book, on line here. Please consider supporting Mr. Eisenstein’s work by buying this or another of his publications.

Work on the level of story is not only the key to creating a more beautiful world; it is also identical with what has always been called spiritual practice. Of course it is: at the bottom of our Story of the World is a Story of Self, with its delusions of separation from other people, from nature, from Gaia, and from anything we might call God.

In Sacred Economics I questioned the notion that we ought to pursue some unitary spiritual goal called enlightenment; indeed that such a thing, as one thing, even exists. The parallel is too close to money, the one thing from which all other blessings supposedly arise. In a society where, it is advertised, money can meet every need, money becomes not just a universal means but a universal end as well. Of course, when one achieves financial wealth one realizes that it cannot in fact meet every need: not, for example, the need for intimacy, connection, love, or meaning. Whether or not we are financially rich, we all know this. But then, rather than question the notion that achieving one thing will lead to all other things, we merely displace that one thing away from money and onto something else. Beholden to the dogma of separation of spirit and matter, we take this other thing to be, unlike money, something “spiritual.” Some call it God, some call it enlightenment, but we have not left the money-patterning of pursuing a unitary goal—the most important thing there is—to which one must render endless sacrifice……

…..Today, the breakout of consciousness into the Story of Interbeing is happening for the first time on such a mass level as to obviate old teachings about spiritual practice, gurus, and masters. The age of the guru is over—not because we don’t need help from the outside in order to inhabit a new story, but because the transition is happening to so many people in so many ways, no one person can, on his or her own, serve the traditional function of a guru. Those who tried to serve this role in the late twentieth century, if they hadn’t the good grace to pass away or the good sense to retire from guru-ing, generally came to ignominious ends, embroiled in scandals of money, sex, and power. This wasn’t because they were charlatans—most, I believe, were people of profound insight, mystical experience, and deep practice. But the water table of consciousness had risen to such a point that it came gushing from many new springs, and none were able to hold the energy.

To be sure, there remain many teachers today with wisdom and integrity, both within and without traditional lineages, who have much to offer. I have met quite a few of them, people far wiser than myself, but each, it seemed, needed teachers of his or her own, and many of the ones I admire the most readily acknowledge that. So it is not that we can rely solely on the inner guru, as some New Age teachings would have us think. It is that the guru, unable now to incarnate in something as small as a single person, takes the form of a group. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, the next Buddha will be a sangha. As Matthew Fox says, the second coming of Christ will be the advent of Christ consciousness in everyone. Perhaps it might be said that the millennia-long work of the saints, sages, mystics, and gurus is nearing completion—they have nearly rendered themselves obsolete..

music:

 The Beatles, “Baby You’re a Rich Man

Dr. John “You Might Be Surprised

consciousness








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