Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another Step Toward Fiscal Collapse---The Deep State's Bogus "Iranian Threat"

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By David Stockman and originally published at davidstockmanscontracorner.com

Yesterday we identified a permanent fiscal crisis as one of the quadruple witching forces arising in October 2017 which will shatter the global financial bubble. Today the Donald is on the cusp of making the crisis dramatically worse by decertifying the Iranian nuke deal, thereby reinforcing another false narrative that enables the $1 trillion Warfare State to continue bleeding the nation's fiscal solvency.

In a word, the whole notion that Iran is a national security threat and state sponsor of terrorism is just as bogus as the Russian meddling story or the claim that the chain of events resulting from the coup d' etat fostered by Washington on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 is evidence of Russian expansionism and aggression.

Likewise, it's part of the same tissue of lies which led to Washington's massive, destructive and counterproductive interventions in Syria and Libya -- when neither regime posed an iota of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland.

To the contrary, all of these false narratives are the cover stories which justify the Warfare State's massive draw on the nation's broken finances. We will get to the Big Lie about Iran momentarily, but first it is useful to demonstrate just how enormously excessive the nation's defense budget actually is, and why the denizens of the Imperial City---especially the neocon ideologues----find it necessary to peddle such threadbare untruths.

Spoiler alert: Iran has actually never attacked a single foreign nation in modern history whereas Washington has chosen to unilaterally intervene in or arm virtually every surrounding country in the region.

Here's some historical context that dramatizes our point about Washington's hideously excessive spending on defense. Back in 1962 on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US defense budget was $52 billion, which would amount to $340 billion in today's (2017$) purchasing power.

Needless to say, the world came to the brink of nuclear Armageddon at a time when the Soviet Union was at the peak of its power and was armed to the teeth. In addition to thousands of nuclear warheads deliverable by missiles and bombers, it had 50,000 tanks facing NATO and nearly 4 million men under arms.

The now open Soviet archives, of course, show that the Soviets had far more bark than bite and never conceived of attacking the US or even western Europe; they didn't remotely have the wherewithal or the strategic nerve.

Nevertheless, by 1962 false moves and provocations by both sides had created a state of "cold war" that was real. Yet even then, the $340 billion military budget was more than adequate to deter the Soviet threat. Nor is that our view as an armchair historian.

The 1962 defense budget was essentially President Dwight D. Eisenhower's budget, and it is one that he had drastically slashed from the $500 billion (in today's dollars) he had inherited from Truman at the end of the Korean War.

That is to say, the greatest general who ever led American forces had concluded that $340 billion was enough. And that came as he left office warning about just the opposite----the danger that the military/industrial complex would gain inordinate political power and pursue foreign policies which required ever larger military spending.

Unlike standard cold warriors, Ike believed that the ultimate national security resource of America was a healthy capitalist economy and that excessive government debt was deeply inimical to that outcome.

That's why he balanced the Federal budget three times during his tenure and presided over a fiscal consolidation---thanks to sharply reduced defense spending---that generated an average deficit of hardly 1 percent of GDP. That's an outcome scarcely imaginable at all in the present world.

Even then, the Soviet empire with all the captive republics that have become independent nations since 1991 (e.g. Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan etc.) had a GDP in 1960 that was estimated to be 50 percent the size of the US. So Ike's bet was that capitalist growth over time was the ultimate source of national strength; that a healthy domestic economy would eventually leave the centralized command-and-control Soviet economy in the dust; and that ultimately the Kremlin's brand of statist socialism and militarism would fail.

He was right. Russia today is a shadow of what Ronald Reagan called the Evil Empire. Its GDP of $1.3 trillion is smaller than that of the New York metro area ($1.6 trillion) and only 7 percent of total US GDP.

Moreover, unlike the militarized Soviet economy which devoted upwards of 40 percent of output to defense, the current Russian defense budget of $60 billion is just 4.5 percent of its vastly shrunken GDP.

So how in the world did the national security apparatus convince the Donald that we need the $700 billion defense program for FY 2018----12X bigger than Russia's---- that he just signed into law?

What we mean, of course, is how do you explain that---- beyond the fact that the Donald knows virtually nothing about national security policy and history; and, to boot, is surrounded by generals who have spent a lifetime scouring the earth for enemies and threats to repel and reasons for more weapons and bigger forces.

The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of "threats" that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We'd actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter.

For crying out loud. Why is Russia considered a threat to the American homeland when it doesn't even have a blue water navy or any other basis to project offensive power to the North American continent?

Indeed, its "attack" fleet consists of a  single, 40-year old smoke-belching aircraft carrier that could never get out of the Mediterranean bathtub ringed by overwhelming US forces.

Beyond conventional offensive power there is the non-power of its 1500 or so deployable nuclear warheads. Whatever you may think of Vlad Putin's kleptomania and hard-edged suppression of internal dissent, he is surely the "Cool Hand Luke" of the modern world. Do you think he would be rash or suicidal enough to threaten the US with nuclear weapons?

Or for that matter that Russia with its pipsqueak $1.3 trillion GDP and limited military capacity actually intends to invade and occupy Europe, which has a GDP of $17 trillion and sufficient military force---even without the US----to make such a project unthinkable

Likewise, so what if the Chinese want to waste money building sand castles (i.e. man-made islands with military uses)in the South China Sea. It's their backyard---just as the Gulf of Mexico is ours.

Besides, the great Red Ponzi is utterly dependent upon exporting $2 trillion per years of goods to the US, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea etc. Without those markets its massively leveraged, speculation-ridden, malinvested bubble economy would collapse in 6 months or less. So does anyone really think that the PLA (People Liberation Army) will be bombing 4,000 Wal-Marts in America any time soon?

The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it,  there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so.

Indeed, to continue with our historical benchmarks, the American homeland has not been so immune to foreign military threat since WW II. Yet during all those years of true peril, it never spent close too the Donald's $700 billion boondoggle.

For instance, during the height of LBJs Vietnam folly (1968) defense spending in today's dollars was about $400 billion. And even at the top of Reagan's utterly unnecessary military building up (by the 1980s the Soviet Union was collapsing under the weight of its own socialist dystopia), total US defense spending was just $550 billion.

That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon's in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war's end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation's 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian's never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran's foreign policy---something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional allliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Bagdad; the Alawite/Shitte regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon(Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shitte of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saud Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

In tomorrow's installment we will address the details of the Iran nuke agreement and why the Donald is making a horrible mistake in proposing to decertify it. But there should be no doubt about the consequence: It will reinforce the neocon dominance of the Republican party and insure that the nation's $1 trillion Warfare State remains fully entrenched.

Needless to say, that will also insure that the America's gathering fiscal crisis will turn into an outright Fiscal Calamity in the years just ahead.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Our Protected, Predatory Oligarchy: Dirty Secrets, Dirty Lies

If you want to understand why the status quo is unraveling, start by examining the feudal structure of our society, politics and economy

By Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com
The revelations coming to light about Hollywood Oligarch Harvey Weinstein perfectly capture the true nature of our status quo: a rotten-to-the-core, predatory, exploitive oligarchy of dirty secrets and dirty lies protected by an army of self-serving sycophants, servile toadies on the make and well-paid legal mercenaries. Predators aren't an aberration of the Establishment; they are the perfection of the Establishment, which protects abusive, exploitive predator-oligarchs lest the feudal injustices of life in America be revealed for all to see.
The predators reckon their aristocratic status in Hollywood/D.C. grants them a feudal-era droit du seigneur (rights of the lord) to take whatever gratifications they desire from any female who has the grave misfortune to enter their malefic orbit.
Anyone who protests or makes efforts to go public is threatened by the oligarch's thugs and discredited/smeared by the oligarch's take-no-prisoners legal mercenaries. (Recall the Clintons' Crisis Management Team tasked with crushing any Bimbo Eruptions, i.e. any eruptions of the truth about Bill's well-known-to-insiders predation of the peasantry.)
The dirty secret is that the oh-so-hypocritical power elites of Hollywood and Washington D.C. circle the wagons to protect One of Their Own from being unmasked. The first weapons of choice in this defense are (as noted above) threats from thugs, discrediting the exploited via the oligarchy's paid goons and lackeys in the mainstream media and dirty lies about what a great and good fellow the oligarch predator is. The last line of defense is a hefty bribe to silence any peasant still standing after the oligarchs' onslaught of threats, smears and lies.
Should the worst happen and some sliver of the truth emerge despite the best efforts of the thugs, corporate media, legal mercenaries and PR handlers, then the playbook follows the script of any well-managed Communist dictatorship:the oligarch predator is thrown to the wolves to protect the oligarchs' systemic predation and exploitation of the peasantry/debt-serfs.
Just as in a one-party Communist dictatorship, an occasional sacrificial offering is made to support the propaganda that the predators are outliers rather than the only possible output of a predatory, exploitive feudal status quo comprised of a small elite of super-wealthy and powerful oligarchs at the top and all the powerless debt-serfs at the bottom who must do their bidding in bed, in the boardroom, in the corridors of political power, and in the private quarters of their yachts and island hideaways.
Media reports suggest that the real reason Mr. Weinstein has been fired is not his alleged conduct over the past 27 years but his loss of the golden touch in generating movie-magic loot for the oh-so-liberal and politically correct Hollywood gang that was pleased to protect Mr. Weinstein when he was busy enriching them.
What's truly noteworthy here is not the sordid allegations and history of payoffs--it's the 27 years of intense protection the Hollywood/ media /D.C. status quo provided, despite hundreds of insiders knowing the truth. Just as hundreds of insiders with top secret clearance knew about the contents of the Pentagon Papers, and thus knew the Vietnam War was little more than an accumulation of official lies designed to protect the self-serving elites at the top of the power pyramid, only one analyst had the courage to risk his career and liberty to release the truth to the American public: Daniel Ellsberg.
Why are we not surprised that Hollywood, the corporate media and Washington D.C. lack even one courageous insider?
If you want to understand why the status quo is unraveling, start by examining the feudal structure of our society, politics and economy, and the endemic corruption, predation and exploitation of the privileged oligarchs at the top.
Then count the armies of self-serving sycophants, toadies, lackeys, hacks, apologists, flunkies, careerists and legal-team mercenaries who toil ceaselessly to protect their oligarch overlords from exposure.
Open your eyes, America: there are two systems of "justice": one for the wealthy and powerful oligarchs, and an overcrowded gulag of serfs forced to plea-bargain in the other. If John Q. Public had done the deeds Mr. Weinstein is alleged to have done, Mr. Public would have long been in prison.
As Orwell observed about a totalitarian oligarchy, some are more equal than others.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Problem of Proximity

By Nathan Rittenhouse and originally published at rzim.org
When was the last time that you saw the Milky Way? We live on a planet that has a stellar view of the night sky. Our historical records show us that from our earliest drawings and writings humans have been gazing into the infinite expanse above our heads and pondering our own significance. Even though we all should be able to peer into the depths above us, there is actually a good chance that you have not clearly seen the night sky for quite some time. There are reasons for this. The first is that many people live in places that have enough smog to block our view of anything beyond what we have made. The second reason is that most of our time is spent bent forward consuming digital material on our devices rather than leaning back to enjoy the grandeur that transcends us. The third and final reason is the problem of proximity. The reason that most of us do not have a clear view of the stars is light pollution. We simply cannot see into the heavens because of all of the light that is constantly around us. Very few of us are ever in total darkness because there is always a light somewhere nearby or in our pocket.
This is all a bit silly. Just think, there are thousands of visible stars above my head that are incomprehensibly bright, and yet, I cannot see them because of a streetlamp 18 feet above my head that is a negligible fraction of a single star’s brilliance. There is a world of untold splendor twinkling above my head that the ancients stared into for years, and yet I can’t see the reflection of this beauty in my hand because of the dim glow of my phone. My inability to see this beauty is not a problem with the brilliance of their lights; rather it is the problem of my proximity to lesser lights.
Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, oil on canvas, 1889.
The greater lights do not impose. They beckon our attention from a distance, but that means that they are often pushed to the margins of my thoughts by the little lights of life. This is light pollution.
We wouldn’t blame the indiscernibility of the greater lights on their distance. That would also be silly. It is actually a great blessing to live at a great distance from a star. If we were much closer to our nearest star, the sun, we would burn up in its all-consuming fire. I like to look at the sun, but never want to travel to there. It would cause too much pain.
People often ask, “Why isn’t God more obvious?” It could be smog. It could be sin. It could be that the byproducts of the brokenness we have produced in this world block our view of anything beyond what we have made. It could be that most of our time is spent bent forward distracting ourselves with the problems of our day rather than leaning back to ponder if there is a Grand One who transcends us and solves problems. It could be the problem of proximity. The majesty of an all-powerful God shines forth in creation and in our hearts but fades out in the little lights of items that beckon us to worship them.
This is all a bit silly. Just think, there is an all-powerful God that is the foundation of love and loves eternally, and yet I cannot see this God because of little loves in my proximity which function at a negligible fraction of divine love. There is an all-knowing eternal God that desires for me to know Him as God, but I cannot grasp it and so God seems distant because God isn’t provable within my definition of knowledge.
The Eternal Light, the one that specializes in creating order out of chaos, does not impose immediately. God calls for our unforced attention, but God’s voice is often pushed to the margins of my thoughts by the chaos of my life. This is light pollution.
It is actually a great short-term blessing to live at a great distance from a Holy God. If we were much closer, we would likely burn up in the all-consuming light of God’s holiness. I like to look at God, but I hesitate to want to be with God. It would cause too much pain. And yet, it seems that I was both made to “be with” and to want to “be known.” The problem of proximity is twofold. I cannot see clearly when I’m only close to little lights and I cannot live if I am too close to a big light. For me to truly live, either God must come to me in a form that I can handle, or God must do something to me to enable me to withstand his presence. It could be both. After all, “that which our hands have touched” also said, “I am the light of the world.”

Nathan Rittenhouse is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Big Banks in Big Trouble, Syria/NK Update, Trump Tax Cuts Update


By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says there are nine big global banks in big financial trouble. These nine banks represent $47 trillion in assets. Gregory Mannarino of TradersChoice.net says these nine banks could all be the equivalent to Lehman Brothers that imploded the financial markets in 2008.  The IMF agrees and warns it will only take one of the nine named banks to cause global “systemic stress.”  Citigroup is the only U.S. bank named by the IMF as a struggling global bank.
Turkey, a NATO ally, is siding with Russia and Iran in Syria. That is going to be a big problem for the Trump Administration as the U.S. is backing the Kurds, which are an enemy of Turkey.  Meanwhile, in North Korea, the signs are that a new ballistic missile test is coming.  How will the Trump Administration respond?
The Trump tax cuts are facing big headwinds in Congress. Some want more cuts and some want less.  Conservatives do not want the deficit to explode, and some Democrats agree.  The potential Trump tax cuts are one of the big reasons the stock market is hitting new highs.  Some predict if the tax cuts fail to pass, the markets will crash.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.
(To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Patriots and Protesters Should Take a Knee for the Constitution


“Seems like in the past 15 years or so the idea of patriotism has changed some. More polarized, more tied to political or ideological views. I’ve never seen patriotism or the flag connected to either; I see the flag more as the symbol of a nation that allows the freedom to express those ideas. That alone deserves my respect.”— Macy Moore, U.S. Marine
By John W. Whitehead and originally published at rutherford.org
By all means, let’s talk about patriotism and President Trump’s call for “respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem.”
At a time when the American flag adorns everything from men’s boxers and women’s bikinis to beer koozies, bandannas and advertising billboards (with little outcry from the American public), and the National Anthem is sung by Pepper the Parrot during the Puppy Bowl, this conveniently timed outrage over disrespect for the country’s patriotic symbols rings somewhat hollow, detracts from more serious conversations that should be taking place about critical policy matters of state, and further divides the nation and ensures that “we the people” will not present a unified front to oppose the police state.
First off, let’s tackle this issue of respect or lack thereof for patriotic symbols.
As the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, Americans have a right to abstain from patriotic demonstrations (West Virginia State Board of Ed. v. Barnette, 1943) and/or actively protest that demonstration, for example, by raising one’s fist during the Pledge of Allegiance (Holloman ex rel. Holloman v. Harland, 2004). These First Amendment protections also extend to military uniforms (worn to criticize the military) and military funeral protests (Snyder v. Phelps, 2011).
Likewise, Americans have a First Amendment right to display, alter or destroy the U.S. flag as acts of symbolic protest speech.
In fact, in Street v. New York (1969), the Supreme Court held that the government may not punish a person for uttering words critical of the flag, writing that “the constitutionally guaranteed ‘freedom to be intellectually . . . diverse or even contrary,’ and the ‘right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order,’ encompass the freedom to express publicly one’s opinions about our flag, including those opinions which are defiant or contemptuous.”
The case arose after Sidney Street, hearing about the attempted murder of civil rights leader James Meredith in Mississippi, burned a 48-star American flag on a New York City street corner to protest what he saw as the government’s failure to protect Meredith. Upon being questioned about the flag, Street responded, “Yes; that is my flag; I burned it. If they let that happen to Meredith, we don’t need an American flag.”
In Spence v. Washington (1974), the Court ruled that the right to display the American flag with any mark or design upon it is a protected act of expression. The case involved a college student who had placed a peace symbol on a three by five foot American flag using removable black tape and displayed it upside down from his apartment window.
Finally, in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the Court held that flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment.  The case arose from a demonstration near the site of the Republican National Convention in Dallas during which protesters marched through the streets, chanted political slogans, staged “die-ins” in front of several corporate offices to dramatize the consequences of nuclear war, and burned the flag as a means of political protest.
In other words, if freedom means anything, it means that those exercising their right to protest are showing the greatest respect for the principles on which this nation was founded: the right to free speech and the right to dissent. Clearly, the First Amendment to the Constitution assures Americans of the right to speak freely, assemble freely and protest (petition the government for a redress of grievances).
Whether those First Amendment activities take place in a courtroom or a classroom, on a football field or in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is not the issue: what matters is that Americans have a right—according to the spirit, if not always the letter, of the law—to voice their concerns without being penalized for it.
Frankly, the First Amendment does more than give us a right to criticize our country: it makes it a civic duty.
Second, let’s not confuse patriotism (love for or devotion to one’s country) with blind obedience to the government’s dictates. That is the first step towards creating an authoritarian regime.
One can be patriotic and love one’s country while at the same time disagreeing with the government or protesting government misconduct. As journalist Barbara Ehrenreich recognizes, “Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
Indeed, I would venture to say that if you’re not speaking out or taking a stand against government wrongdoing—if you’re marching in lockstep with anything the government and its agents dole out—and if you’re prioritizing partisan politics over the principles enshrined in the Constitution, then you’re not a true patriot.
Real patriots care enough to take a stand, speak out, protest and challenge the government whenever it steps out of line.
There is nothing patriotic about the lengths to which Americans have allowed the government to go in its efforts to dismantle our constitutional republic and shift the country into a police state.
It’s not anti-American to be anti-war or anti-police misconduct or anti-racial discrimination, but it is anti-American to be anti-freedom.
I have come to realize that what many refer to as polarization—certainly, what the government refers to as “extremism”—is actually Americans challenging the status quo, especially the so-called government elite. Martin Luther King Jr. put it best when, after being accused of extremism, responded, “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremist will you be?”
How many times over the years have I been criticized for being anti-American and unpatriotic, reprimanded for being too negative in my views of the government, admonished to have “faith” in our leaders, and ordered to refrain from criticizing our president because Americans still live in the best country in the world?
Is this really what patriotism or loving your country is all about? If so, then the great freedom fighters of history would be considered unpatriotic.
Too many Americans seem to think that faith in the government and a positive attitude are enough to get you through the day… that you’re not a good citizen if you criticize the government… and that being a good citizen means doing one thing: voting.
The problem we face today, however, is that America requires more than voters inclined to pay lip service to a false sense of patriotism. It requires doers—a well-informed and very active group of doers—if we are to have any chance of holding the government accountable and maintaining our freedoms.
After all, it was not idle rhetoric that prompted the Framers of the Constitution to begin with the words “We the people.” In the words of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, “there is an implicit assumption [throughout the Constitution and Bill of Rights] that we, the people, will preserve our democratic rights by acting responsibly in our enjoyment of them.”
This ultimate responsibility for maintaining our freedoms rests with the people.
Third, we need to stop acting as if showing “respect” for the country, flag and national anthem is more important than the freedoms they represent.
Listen: I served in the Army. I lived through the Civil Rights era. I came of age during the Sixties, when activists took to the streets to protest war and economic and racial injustice. As a constitutional lawyer, I defend people daily whose civil liberties are being violated, including high school students prohibited from wearing American flag t-shirts to school, allegedly out of a fear that it might be disruptive.
I understand the price that must be paid for freedom. None of the people I served with or marched with or represented put our lives or our liberties on the line for a piece of star-spangled cloth or a few bars of music: we took our stands and made our sacrifices because we believed we were fighting to maintain our freedoms and bring about justice for all Americans.
As such, responsible citizenship means being outraged at the loss of others’ freedoms, even when our own are not directly threatened.
The Framers of the Constitution knew very well that whenever and wherever democratic governments had failed, it was because the people had abdicated their responsibility as guardians of freedom. They also knew that whenever in history the people denied this responsibility, an authoritarian regime arose which eventually denied the people the right to govern themselves.
All governments fall into two classifications: those with a democratic form and those that are authoritarian, ruled by an individual or some oligarchic elite.
Acting responsibly, however, means that there are certain responsibilities and duties without which our rights would become meaningless. Duties of citizenship extend beyond the act of voting, which is only the first step in acting responsibly. Citizens must be willing to stand and fight to protect their freedoms. And if need be, it will entail criticizing the government.
This is true patriotism in action.
What this means is that we can still be patriotic and love our country while disagreeing with the government or going to court to fight for freedom. Responsible citizenship means being outraged at the loss of others’ freedoms, even when our own are not directly threatened. It also means remembering that the prime function of any free government is to protect the weak against the strong.
Love of country will sometimes entail carrying a picket sign or going to jail or taking a knee, if necessary, to preserve liberty and challenge injustice. And it will mean speaking up for those with whom you might disagree.
Tolerance for dissent, we must remember, is a vital characteristic of the citizens of a democratic society. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought--not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”
Loving your country does not mean being satisfied with the status quo or the way government is being administered. Government invariably, possibly inevitably, oversteps its authority. As human beings are not perfect, governments, because they are constructs of human beings, will necessarily be imperfect as well.
Love of country, it must be emphasized, is always strengthened by both a knowledge of history and of the Constitution and, when need be, acting on that knowledge. “If we have no appreciation of the past,” Justice Warren recognized, “we can have little understanding of the present or vision for the future.”
The problems facing our generation are numerous and are becoming incredibly complex.
Technology, which has developed at a rapid pace, offers those in power more invasive and awesome possibilities than ever before. Never in American history has there been a more pressing need to maintain the barriers in the Constitution erected by our Founders to check governmental power and abuse.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re at a very crucial crossroads in American history. We have to be well-informed, not only about current events but well-versed in the basics of our rights and duties as citizens. If not, in perceived times of crisis, we may very well find ourselves in the clutches of a governmental system that is alien to everything for which America stands. And make no mistake about it, the mass of citizens will continue to be misinformed, and as astute political leaders have recognized in the past, they can be easily led.
Therein is the menace to our freedoms.
Stop falling for the distractions. Stop allowing yourself to be fooled by propaganda and partisan politics. Stop acting as if the only thing worth getting outraged about is whether a bunch of football players stand or kneel for the National Anthem.
Stop being armchair patriots and start acting like foot soldiers for the Constitution.
Remember, it’s all a game, a ruse, a dance intended to keep you in line and marching to the government’s tune instead of freedom’s call. In this age of spin doctors and manipulation, those who question the motives of government provide a necessary counterpoint to those who would blindly follow where politicians choose to lead.
Past regimes understood well how to manipulate and maneuver. As Hermann Goering, one of Hitler’s top military leaders, remarked during the Nuremberg trials:
It is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Disaster Myth Narrative: No One Panics, No One Loots, No One Goes Hungry

By Daisy Luther and originally published at The Organic Prepper
"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ~ George Orwell
A few years back, I was doing some research about the aftermath of some natural disasters that took place here in America. I was shocked to find that the articles I was looking for – ones that I had read in the past – were pretty hard to find, but articles refuting the sought-for pieces were rampant.  Not just one event, but every single crisis aftermath that I looked up, had articles that were written after the fact stating in no uncertain terms that the hunger, chaos, and unrest never happened.
Apparently we, the preparedness community, are all wrong when it comes to the belief that after a disaster, chaos erupts and civic disorder is the rule of the day. That is only a disaster myth, and the public narrative belies it all.
Listen to the “experts” and they will confirm, it never happens.
looters2
Panic?  What panic?
According to newspaper articles written after Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast and after Hurricane Katrina caused countless billions in damage in New Orleans, people were calm, benevolent and peaceful.  Heck, they were all standing around singing Kumbayah around a campfire, sharing their canned goods, calming frightened puppies, and helping the elderly.
Apparently, studies prove that the fear of anarchy, lawlessness, and chaos is nothing but the “disaster myth”.  Reams of examples exist of the goodness and warmth of society as a whole after disaster strikes. All the stories you read at the time were just that – stories, according to the mainstream media:
Yet there are a few examples stubbornly fixed in the popular imagination of people reacting to a natural disaster by becoming primal and vicious. Remember the gangs “marauding” through New Orleans, raping and even cannibalizing people in the Super-Dome after Hurricane Katrina? It turns out they didn’t exist. Years of journalistic investigations showed them to be racist fantasies. They didn’t happen. Yes, there was some “looting” — which consisted of starving people breaking into closed and abandoned shops for food. Of course human beings can behave atrociously – but the aftermath of a disaster seems to be the time when it is least likely. (source)
Looting? Only hungry people getting food from unmanned stores. Who wouldn’t do that?
Beatings and assaults? Didn’t happen. Disturbed people made these stories up for attention.
Gang rapes? No way. You watch too much Law and Order: SVU.
Murder, mayhem, and gangs of youth on the streets? Silly readers – we just made that up.
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The Disaster Myth is a narrative created by the establishment and delivered by their stoolies in the mainstream media.  The Disaster Myth points fingers at many of the things that are commonly believed to be true by the preparedness community.  Included in this narrative:
  1. People do not panic after a disaster – instead, they pull together.
  2. The official government response is always speedy and appropriate – unless you are a person of color, in which case you will be denied assistance based on your race, because racism is the current agenda
  3. You will be taken care of if you simply comply peacefully with authorities.
  4. There is little increase in post-disaster crime.
These statements all stand in direct opposition to the stories we hear from news sources during the crisis.  We heard terrible stories from eyewitnesses who suffered from hunger, thirst, and unsanitary condition in the Superdome after Katrina.  We heard about citizens being robbed of their 2nd Amendment rights by police after the crisis, and we heard about gang rapes, looting, and mayhem.  Fast forward to Sandy where people were defecating in the hallways of their high rise apartments and digging through garbage to find food just a few days after the storm.  As for the official response, who can forget the FEMA shelter that closed because of inclement weather?  Of course, the weather was inclement – it was a freaking weather-related disaster!
Mac Slavo of SHTFplan wrote of the unrest, discomfort, and mayhem after Superstorm Sandy ransacked the East Coast:
For tens of thousands of east coast residents that worst case scenario is now playing out in real-time. No longer are images of starving people waiting for government handouts restricted to just the third-world.
In the midst of crisis, once civilized societies will very rapidly descend into chaos when essential infrastructure systems collapse.
Though the National Guard was deployed before the storm even hit, there is simply no way for the government to coordinate a response requiring millions of servings of food, water and medical supplies
Many east coast residents who failed to evacuate or prepare reserve supplies ahead of the storm are being forced to fend for themselves.
Frustration and anger have taken hold, as residents have no means of acquiring food or gas and thousands of trucks across the region remain stuck in limbo.
Limited electricity has made it possible for some to share their experiences:
Via Twitter:
  • I was in chaos tonite tryin to get groceries…lines for shuttle buses, only to get to the no food left & closing early (link)
  • I’m not sure what has shocked me more, all the communities around me destroyed, or the 5 hour lines for gas and food. (link)
  • Haven’t slept or ate well in a few days. Hope things start getting better around here soon (link)
  • These days a lot of people are impatient because they’re used to fast things. Fast food, fast internet, fast lines and fast shipping etc. (link)
  • Glad Obama is off to Vegas after his 90 minute visit. Gas lines are miles long.. Running out of food and water. Great Job (link)
  • Went to the Grocery store and lines were crazy but nail salon was empty so I’ve got a new gel manicure and some Korean junk food (link)
  • So f*cking devastated right now. Smell burning houses. People fighting for food. Pitch darkness. I may spend the night in rockaway to help (link)
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At the time of the event, even the mainstream reported on the affluent East Side residents dumpster diving in search of food. Was this NBC report, complete with video, a work of salacious fiction?
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As far as civil unrest is concerned, the Twittersphere was jammed with people planning looting sprees in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  Those who were already of criminal leanings saw the disaster as a great opportunity. In the great North American Edit, however, these tweets are said to be part of the myth – apparently, they were just kids playing aroundSome reports pooh-poohed the very idea that looters had run amok.
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This article from Prison Planet refutes all of the refuting and says that the civil unrest DID occur and that it generally does, given evidence from past events.
Legends from the past? Every single extreme weather event in recent years in the United States has been followed by looting.
As MSNBC reported at the time, looting during Hurricane Katrina was so prevalent that it “took place in full view of police and National Guard troops.”
Residents described the scenes as being like “downtown Baghdad” as looters filled garbage cans full of stolen goods and floated them down flooded streets.
As Forbes’ Erik Kain points out, “looting and rioting…occur after most natural disasters,” including after Hurricane Irene as well as Hurricane Isaac.
Looters also targeted victims of the Colorado wildfires earlier this year.
Does this sound familiar?
This revision of inconvenient history will sound quite familiar to anyone who has read George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 (which was not meant to be an instruction manual, by the way.)  In the novel, the main character, Winston Smith, worked for the Ministry of Truth, which was actually a department of propaganda whose job it was to rewrite any faction of history that did not make the government look omniscient.
In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truthis Oceania’s propaganda ministry. It is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. The word truth in the title Ministry of Truth should warn, by definition, that the “minister” will self-serve its own “truth”; the title implies the willful fooling of posterity using “historical” archives to show “in fact” what “really” happened. As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, truth is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants.
The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong. (source)
We are watching narratives being created in front of our very eyes with the Vegas massacre. Every time something terrible happens, there’s a spin and that spin a) keeps us in the dark. b) encourages us to be dependent, and c) benefits someone.
But….WHY????
So why the vast effort to expunge tales of mayhem and to make it seem like our own national disasters really weren’t that bad? There are a few reasons, like pandering to an audience that wants to be blissfully unaware, but primarily, it’s about control.
Those who live a self-sufficient lifestyle are a threat to the status quo that those in power would like to see.  If you don’t NEED them, then there is no leverage to force you into compliance.  You don’t NEED to go to Camp FEMA in order to have 3 squares a day.  You don’t NEED to give up your guns in order to have a roof over your head and government supplied security.  You don’t NEED to get some kind of chip implanted in your arm to be scanned in order to receive “benefits” like medical care, food, and even money.
Self-sufficiency means freedom.  When you can feed yourself, clothe yourself, shelter yourself, and protect yourself, you are far less likely to need to cede your freedoms in order to stay alive. And in a police state that is frantically trying to withdraw our constitutional rights, this just won’t do.  They need leverage.
So the establishment has created a narrative that tells us what we are doing is silly and unnecessary.  They are rewriting history even though we only lived that history in the past decade.  Even though we know the truth of the matter because we watched it live, they are changing the facts to make us doubt our own perceptions. They are catering to the people who have no interest whatsoever in taking care of themselves.
This narrative was created to make a society of anti-preppers – of people who believe that all will be right with the world, the government is kind and benevolent, potential disasters aren’t really that big of a deal, and those crazy preppers are stark raving lunatics.  They want us to be perceived as extremists so that others are less likely to follow our examples. If they need a crazy bad guy at whom to point the finger, all they have to do is call someone a “Doomsday Prepper”. (Remember how poor Nancy Lanza was vilified after the Sandy Hook shooting?)
But…
If this civil unrest is not occurring, why is the National Guard called to keep the peace?  Why are state police riding around on tanks wearing body armor? Why were the guns of law-abiding citizens taken away in the aftermath of Katrina?
SWAT TEAM
Which version of reality are you going to believe?  The one that you actually witnessed or the perverted rewrite that the mainstream media is trying to push upon you?
Remember the things happening right now.
We have recently been hit with disaster after disaster in the United States. The aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the mainland amidst stories of looters and people standing armed to protect homes and businesses. In the Carribean, lawlessness was rampant, and after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the danger from armed people robbing those who still had some supplies was constant. As I write this, there are uncontrolled wildfires tearing through California wine country, and looters are striking the homes of evacuees.
Of course, we are seeing reports of this now, but later will these stories be “debunked” by “experts” like the stories from Katrina and Sandy?
It’s entirely likely because most people would prefer to live smug in the belief that the police are only seconds away, their neighborhoods are immune to looters and vandals, and that America is a place of exceptional order and civilization. It comforts them to believe these things.  They use it as ammunition so they can scoff at “doomsday” preppers and call them “conspiracy theorists.”
But we know differently, and today, bloggers and alternative media are also documenting these stories before history is erased. I have watched for years as supplemental links in stories I have written have disappeared. I have witnessed the changing narratives, and if you’re reading this, you probably have too.
So, don’t be discouraged in your efforts when you read all the “good news” stories that inevitably show up after a disaster. To be sure, there are some wonderful people out there helping their neighbors, but there is also a dark side that the media prefers to ignore.
You saw it when it was happening. You know the truth, even if the disaster myth narrative would have you believe otherwise.