Freedom – A Condition of the Human Heart

Freedom

By Kingsley L. Dennis

Source: Waking Times

Loving freedom, to me, means having the freedom to love yourself deeply, others deeply, and accepting the never-ending truth of change. It means having the freedom to be happy on your own and happy with others as they come in and out of our lives. It means having the freedom to connect wonderfully with those you meet and deal successfully with those who are difficult to relate to well.” – Owen Fitzpatrick

In my previous ‘Reflections’ article (Toward Synthesis), I noted how the humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm viewed the modern world as suffering from the  contradictory struggle between having and being. The human need to find meaning, well-being, and personal growth was in conflict with a different type of world external to us. For Fromm, the resolution of this conflict was to be found in ‘a radical change of the human heart.’ For me, the issue of personal well-being revolves around the perception and experience of freedom. The ability to recognize, and internalize, well-being is fundamentally linked to how a person experiences their freedom.

Freedom is not simply a condition linked to battlefields, nations, and human rights. On an essential level it concerns the freedom within the self, and our battle to maintain this personal freedom within our everyday life. Erich Fromm himself wrote much on our human fear of freedom[i]. Fromm concluded that our in-born fear of pursuing freedom against social conditioning originates in our human birth process. The helplessness of the newly born child and the need for extra long dependency upon protection continues into adulthood in our need for human security. Fromm views our susceptibility to social conditioning as thus based upon a biological predisposition. This can perhaps explain why we often reach out to an outside authority (parent, teacher, partner/lover) as a power or force to recompense us for a sense of personal isolation. Modern society has exploited this tendency by approving and supporting our dependency upon external social systems. In the same way, our cultures often disapprove of those individuals that show high levels of self-reliance and independence. In a world moving toward greater connectedness, collaboration, and shared compassion, the presence of personal freedom is critical. For too long we have been focused upon the play of freedom as it is exhibited outside of us – by external powers – whilst blinded to the inner restraints of personal freedom. For me, freedom is nothing if it is not a freedom of the heart.

We often talk about freedom, or hear other people talk about it, in terms of having. In this way it becomes a value of possession. We either have it or we don’t; other people have it, or manipulate it, or control it, etc. In our modern understanding of freedom we have turned it into a commodity – a material object that we bargain with. In many situations and for many people this has been true. Also, if a person has been kidnapped, or held in prison/confinement, then freedom becomes a very real physical reality. Yet this is just one manifestation of the essence of human freedom. For my purposes I wish to discuss freedom as a state of being.

On an interior level freedom is not about what we have; it is more about where we are and what we do. It is about having the right attitude and perspective. In this context freedom is a process: we need freedom from something or freedom to something. We don’t have or possess freedom – we do freedom. It is important we create a freedom to move into, otherwise where are we going? We can create our freedom from the past – and even the present – if we wish to move toward a different place or state of being. For example, our past should not define how we wish our present to be. We can learn from it, and develop from its experience; yet if it is no longer useful, or even detrimental, then we need to learn how to leave it behind. We all have this choice of where we want To Be.

If we are unable to create this freedom within ourselves then we become, in the words of Doris Lessing, the ‘prisons we choose to live inside.’[ii] Let us not forget also that our interior freedom goes with us wherever we go. If we feel a lack of true freedom within then this will still travel with us whether we are in a meditation retreat in India, or in the Andes of South America. After all, we cannot escape from our very self. It is thus essential that we have the freedom to deal with the events that affect us on a daily basis. We cannot control what events happen to us, yet we do have the freedom of choice to choose how we respond to them. By progressing through our experiences, and by choosing connections and situations that are aligned with our heart, we can become an intentional traveler rather than a random one. The fundamental question to ask ourselves is: how do we want to live?

For me, how we answer this question is part of what I call the ‘living work’ – the work we do inside ourselves to prepare us and make us better for living in the outer world. This is where both aspects of freedom converge – at the intersection where interior and exterior worlds meet. This is where our image of the world and the physical reality of the world also merge. If we can realize that we only experience the world as ‘we are’, then the freedom we find in the world is but a reflection of the freedom we consciously – or unconsciously – perceive within us. In other words, our sense of freedom is as near or as far away as we make it. It may sound contradictory, yet what we need to achieve is the liberation of our own perceptions of freedom. The reason why many of us do not stop to consider this, or perhaps we don’t see it as necessary, is because we do not yet have the freedom to assess the state of our own freedom! As I stated earlier, freedom is not a possession, it is a process – an action – and therefore something to be worked for, to be involved with. Our own freedom is a participatory process.

Perhaps this process involves the freedom to do the small things that are important for our lives; not necessarily the freedom to ‘save the world’ or make a grand gesture. What we need within ourselves is the freedom to make a choice; to act as we feel best; to create moments of joy that can be shared. Or it could be the freedom to begin making a change by changing one thing at a time. Our lives are part of a grand human, living tapestry. By making one small change we can influence change in many other ways through countless visible and invisible connections. Freedom is about having the choice to make these changes, and to take responsibility for our participation in the living tapestry that is life.

Personal freedom is also an expression of intelligence: not intellectual learning but rather social intelligence, spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and instinctive intelligence. All this is the intelligence of personal freedom. I am reminded of Rumi who wrote of the difference between instinctive and acquired intelligence: ‘There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired/as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts/from books and from what the teacher says, collecting information from the traditional sciences/……There is another kind/…one already completed and preserved inside you./A spring overflowing its spring box. A freshness/in the center of the chest…/This second knowing is a fountainhead/from within you, moving out.’ This second knowing – our instinctual intelligence – is already within each one of us. As a human being we inherently have this knowing. For me, freedom is being able to connect with this internal knowing – and to act from it. In the end, true freedom is a condition of the human heart.

[i] See his book ‘Fear of Freedom’

[ii] See Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose To Live Inside (1987)

About the Author

Kingsley L. Dennis, author of The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousness. Visit him on the web at http://www.kingsleydennis.com/.

 

Posted in consciousness, culture, Philosophy, Psychology, society, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Matinee: Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?

VilenessFats

From Wikipedia:

The Residents had begun a movie in 1972 called Vileness Fats. The concept of the movie was to shoot it on a new media form (reel-to-reel video) and tell most of the story through music. The story itself was about a village under siege by bandits stealing the meat supply, forcing the population to exist on vegetables. Unbeknownst to the population, the leader of the bandits is their own spiritual leader. To take care of things, the village hires Siamese twin tag-team wrestlers to be their saviors. Unfortunately their saviors also have other problems, including an Indian princess whose lovers always die.

The film itself, despite over 14 hours of footage, was never finished. In 1984 it was edited to approx. 32 minutes and released on a VHS videocassette titled Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?; the companion soundtrack was also released the same year. Another re-edited version (approx. 17 minutes) of the footage was released on the Icky Flix DVD in 2002.

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Music Video, Saturday Matinee, Video | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

HEAD of the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation Says the Whole Thing Was a SHAM

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Source: Washington’s Blog

Agent In Charge of Amerithrax Investigation Blows the Whistle

The FBI head agent in charge of the anthrax investigation – Richard Lambert – has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire FBI investigation bullsh!t:

In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.

Executive management at FBI Headquarters assigned responsibility for the anthrax investigation (code named “AMERITHRAX”) to the Washington Field Office (WFO), dubbing it the single most important case in the FBI at that time. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI’s charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI’s San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an “Inspector.” While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff’s efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO’s executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley – all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.

On July 6, 2006, Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303. Reports of mismanagement conveyed in writing and orally included: (a) WFO’s persistent understaffing of the AMERITHRAX investigation; (b) the threat of WFO’s Agent in charge to retaliate if Plaintiff disclosed the understaffing to FBI Headquarters; (c) WFO’s insistence on staffing the AMERITHRAX investigation principally with new Agents recently graduated from the FBI Academy resulting in an average investigative tenure of 18 months with 12 of 20 Agents assigned to the case having no prior investigative experience at all; (d) WFO’s eviction of the AMERITHRAX Task Force from the WFO building in downtown Washington and its relegation to Tysons Corner, Virginia to free up space for Attorney General Ashcroft’s new pornography squads; (e) FBI Director’s Mueller’s mandate to Plaintiff to “compartmentalize” the AMERITHRAX investigation by stove piping the flow of case information and walling off task force members from those aspects of the case not specifically assigned to them – a move intended to stem the tide of anonymous media leaks by government officials regarding details of the investigation. [Lambert complained about compartmentalizing and stovepiping of the investigation in a 2006 declaration.  See this, this and this]

This sequestration edict decimated morale and proved unnecessary in light of subsequent civil litigation which established that the media leaks were attributable to the United States Attorney for the District of the District of Columbia and to a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s National Press Office, not to investigators on the AMERITHRAX Task Force; (f) WFO’s diversion and transfer of two Ph.D. Microbiologist Special Agents from their key roles in the investigation to fill billets for an 18 month Arabic language training program in Israel; (g) the FBI Laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab’s initial refusal to perform comparison testing; (h) the FBI Laboratory’s refusal to provide timely and adequate scientific analyses and forensic examinations in support of the investigation; (i) Defendant Kelley’s erroneous and subsequently quashed legal opinion that regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) precluded the Task Force’s collection of evidence in overseas venues; (j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.

Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions. Plaintiff further objected to the FBI’s ordering of Plaintiff not to speak with the staff of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes or investigative journalist David Willman, after both requested authorization to interview Plaintiff.

In April 2008, some of Plaintiff’s foregoing whistleblower reports were profiled on the CBS television show 60 Minutes. This 60 Minutes segment was critical of FBI executive management’s handling of the AMERITHRAX investigation, resulting in the agency’s embarrassment and the introduction of legislative bills calling for the establishment of congressional inquiries and special commissions to examine these issues – a level of scrutiny the FBI’s Ivins attribution could not withstand.

After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.

Exonerating Evidence for Ivins

Agent Lambert won’t publicly disclose the exculpatory evidence against Ivins. As the New York Times reports:

[Lambert] declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.

But there is already plenty of exculpatory evidence in the public record.

For example:

  • Handwriting analysis failed to link the anthrax letters to known writing samples from Ivins
  • No textile fibers were found in Ivins’ office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes
  • No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes
  • Samples of his hair failed to match hair follicles found inside the Princeton, N.J., mailbox used to mail the letters
  • No souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder cases
  • The FBI could not place Ivins at the crime scene with evidence, such as gas station or other receipts, at the time the letters were mailed in September and October 2001
  • Lab records show the number of late nights Ivins put in at the lab first spiked in August 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacks

As noted above, the FBI didn’t want to test the DNA sample found on the anthrax letter to Senator Leahy.  In addition, McClatchy points out:

After locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.

Anthrax vaccine expert Meryl Nass. M.D., notes:

The FBI’s alleged motive is bogus. In 2001, Bioport’s anthrax vaccine could not be (legally) relicensed due to potency failures, and its impending demise provided room for Ivins’ newer anthrax vaccines to fill the gap. Ivins had nothing to do with developing Bioport’s vaccine, although in addition to his duties working on newer vaccines, he was charged with assisting Bioport to get through licensure.

***

The FBI report claims the anthrax letters envelopes were sold in Frederick, Md. Later it admits that millions of indistinguishable envelopes were made, with sales in Maryland and Virginia.

***

FBI emphasizes Ivins’ access to a photocopy machine, but fails to mention it was not the machine from which the notes that accompanied the spores were printed.

FBI Fudged the Science

16 government labs had access to the same strain of anthrax as used in the anthrax letters.

The FBI admitted that up to 400 people had access to flask of anthrax in Dr. Ivins’ lab.  In other words, even if the killer anthrax came from there, 399 other people might have done it.

Moreover, even the FBI’s claim that the killer anthrax came from Ivins’ flask has completely fallen apart. Specifically, both the National Academy of Science and the Government Accountability Office – both extremely prestigious, nonpartisan agencies – found that FBI’s methodology and procedures for purportedly linking the anthrax flask maintained by Dr. Ivins with the anthrax letters was sloppy, inconclusive and full of holes.  They found that the alleged link wasn’t very strong … and that there was no firm link.  Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences found that the anthrax mailed to Congressmen and the media could have come from a different source altogether than the flask maintained by Ivins.

Additionally, the Ft. Detrick facility – where Ivins worked – only handled liquid anthrax.  But the killer anthrax was a hard-to-make dry powder form of anthrax.  Ft. Detrick doesn’t produce dry anthrax; but other government labs – for example Dugway (in Utah) and Batelle (in Ohio) – do.

The anthrax in the letters was also incredibly finely ground; and the FBI’s explanation for how the anthrax became so finely ground doesn’t even pass the smell test.

Further, the killer anthrax in the letters had a very high-tech  anti-static coating so that the anthrax sample “floated off the glass slide and was lost” when scientists tried to examine it.  Specifically, the killer anthrax was coated with polyglass and each anthrax spore given an electrostatic charge, so that it would repel other spores and “float”.   This was very advanced bio-weapons technology to which even Ivins’ bosses said he didn’t have access.

Top anthrax experts like Richard Spertzel say that Ivins didn’t do it. Spertzel also says that only 4 or 5 people in the entire country knew how to make anthrax of the “quality” used in the letters, that Spertzel was one of them, and it would have taken him a year with a full lab and a staff of helpers to do it. As such, the FBI’s claim that Ivins did it alone working a few nights is ludicrous.

Moreover, the killer anthrax contained silicon … but the anthrax in Ivins’ flask did not.  The FBI claimed the silicon present in the anthrax letters was absorbed from its surroundings … but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories completely debunked that theory. In other words, silicon was intentionally added to the killer anthrax to make it more potent.  Ivins and Ft. Detrick didn’t have that capability … but other government labs did.

Similarly, Sandia National Lab found the presence of iron and tin in the killer anthrax … but NOT in Ivins’ flask of anthrax.

Sandia also found that there was a strain of bacteria in one of the anthrax letters not present in Ivins’ flask. (The bacteria, iron, tin and silicon were all additives which made the anthrax in the letters more deadly.)

The Anthrax Frame Up

Ivins wasn’t the first person framed for the anthrax attacks …

Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country. And see this.

People don’t remember now, but the “war on terror” and Iraq war were largely based on the claim that Saddam and Muslim extremists were behind the anthrax attacks (and see this and this)

And the anthrax letters pushed a terrified Congress into approving the Patriot Act without even reading it. Coincidentally, the only Congressmen who received anthrax letters were the ones who were likely to oppose the Patriot Act.

And – between the bogus Al Qaeda/Iraq claims and the FBI’s fingering of Ivins as the killer – the FBI was convinced that another U.S. government scientist, Steven Hatfill, did it.  The government had to pay Hatfill $4.6 million to settle his lawsuit for being falsely accused.

Ivins’ Convenient Death

It is convenient for the FBI that Ivins died.

The Wall Street Journal points out:

No autopsy was performed [on Ivins], and there was no suicide note.

Dr. Nass points out:

 

FBI fails to provide any discussion of why no autopsy was performed, nor why, with Ivins under 24/7 surveillance from the house next door, with even his garbage being combed through, the FBI failed to notice that he overdosed and went into a coma. Nor is there any discussion of why the FBI didn’t immediately identify tylenol as the overdose substance, and notify the hospital, so that a well-known antidote for tylenol toxicity could be given (N-acetyl cysteine, or alternatively glutathione). These omissions support the suggestion that Ivins’ suicide was a convenience for the FBI. It enabled them to conclude the anthrax case, in the absence of evidence that would satisfy the courts.

 

Indeed, one of Ivins’ colleagues at Ft. Deitrich thinks he was murdered.

Whether murder or suicide, Ivins’ death was very convenient for the FBI, as dead men can’t easily defend themselves.

 

 

Posted in 9/11, black ops, Conspiracy, False Flag, FBI, History, Psy-ops, Science, State Crime, Technology, war on terror | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game Over

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The Jargon of Game Theory

By

Source: Soul of the East

While suffering under the information barrage wrought by mass media, a question arises in one’s mind: exactly how many words are there in the media vocabulary? For, when it comes to treatment of serious subjects like the economy and politics, the words in use are reduced to surprisingly few, so that even purported media analysis or commentary comes to resemble a mantra or nursery rhyme. Furthermore, it is notable that this “linguistic drain” occurs precisely at the moment when “serious” matters come into focus, and in spite of all the loftiness of the talking heads – our designated hierophants and media oracles – we are bombarded with rather frivolous terminology. One can only be perplexed at why, for instance, economic and political agents are called players? Why does the philosophy professor speak about the strategy of Nietzsche’s arguments? What exactly does it mean to have a cultural strategy? On what grounds does the literally critic assume that James Joyce employed a narrative strategy?

Why are all those serious things spoken about as if they were some kind of game?

On the face of it, the answer is surprisingly easy to deduce. Game or game-play jargon originates in global epistemic dominance of thought models derived from mathematical game theory. Its various abstract and complex forms (so called ‘models’ or ‘modules’), as well as their global application to all aspects of life, build the spiritual framework of our time to a significant extent, although they are rarely discussed outside of academia. However, game theory is not merely a mathematician’s plaything. If we bear in mind that the world stage – with all those global players – is also the home to all sorts of people who are well aware that they are being played, but have no idea of true nature of those playing them, then it is clear that the fundamentals of game theory should be subjected to critical scrutiny. The task is all the more urgent – and all the easier – if we bear in mind that the peculiarity of game theory, in contrast to other mathematical models, lies in the fact that it is founded on all-encompassing and simultaneously incredibly simple – one could say simple as in ‘dim witted’ – explanation of man and the world in general.

Game theory is a metaphysical doctrine, i.e. its ambition is to encompass everything, both the nature of man and the nature of universe. And there is a one special rule to every game of metaphysics, namely this: when the abstract and esoteric professional language of science is put aside, the game is potentially understandable to all parties – both those who are playing and those who are being played. It is an unspoken rule, an ancient assumption of all world-view con-games: in order for half-truth to hold sway over everybody, it must be spoken in common language. So let us examine, aided by some elementary concepts, what game theory is exactly and what it means for someone who is not a player, only played.

At its core, though, game theory is an explanatory model of decision making. It defines its subject as rational activity whose purpose is an increase in well-being of the deliberating individual or collective. Any behavior seemingly pursuing different purpose is only a roundabout way to achieve this goal more rationally, or it is simply “irrational.” Tertium non datur. Obviously, we are dealing with, broadly speaking, a “liberal” definition of man, although it is in fact the legacy of Ancient Greek Sophists. Bearing in mind that an individual is always in the midst of other individuals and that in order to achieve its goals it must collaborate or come into conflict with them, society must be rationally modelled in order to minimize conflict. That old bogeyman of political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes, conceived such a thing as possible only through the absolute sovereignty of the State, for was convinced that all those self-centered atoms were more prone to play at some iteration of Total War than that of Sims.

Proponents of game theory try to evade this fairly consistent inference of universal war or use it to prove something else: atomized individuals do not strive toward all-out conflict but towards equilibrium. The term denotes a state of conflict turned latent, in the sense of permanent threat or warning, but having ceased to be destructive; it is, in a word, a rational conflict, a war that grew cold. Namely, rational behavior is primarily strategic, i.e. it endeavors to accomplish its objective despite possible resistance by anticipating the strategies of that resistance. The healthy society is the one in which unavoidable conflicts are being channeled into relative harmony, regulated by the rules of the game, because the players realized that relative equality is more expedient than playing an ‘all or nothing’ game. Hence, game theory has a notably militaristic nature, affirmed by its history: it flourished inside military think tanks during the first years of the Cold war, only to be later unleashed on civil societies throughout the West.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

At this level, some peculiarities are also notable. The term ‘game’ is made distinct but is not clearly defined, i.e. it is obviously artificially narrowed. For instance: since when does the game have to be competitive? Moreover, it is usually understood as a leisure activity, an escape from labor and conflict. Game by its nature doesn’t require winners and losers. It can be – and it usually is – a completely self-sufficient activity. In that sense, dances, visual and linguistic creative activities, fine or liberal arts, are all forms of playing a game. Those are all activities that, deprived of any calculated purpose outside themselves, remain autonomous and, therefore, free. However, game theory, without further clarification, presumes that games are always forms of competition implying conflict, binary division on winners and losers, elements of chance and power relations, domination and submission. So game theory is concerned with power plays. This is best illustrated in that most famous of game theory modules, the “Prisoner’s Dilemma.”

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is an imagined situation that game theoreticians apply to reality, and it has many variations with according levels of complexity. It can be described, using the so-called static model, in the following way:

Two criminals are brought to a police station for questioning. They committed the crime, but if the police fail to get the confession from one or either of them, they’ll walk. They are put in separate rooms and isolated from one another. A confession is demanded from each one. A situation develops in which the rules of the game provide them with a limited number of possible strategies: each one could or could not confess. If both confess, their pay-off is equally small, but if only one confesses, his pay-off is small, but bigger than the pay-off of his accomplice. If neither confesses, the pay-off is equally big for both of them, yet so is the risk of losing everything. Two key factors are in play: the prisoners are completely isolated from one another – they only know the game’s rules and the pay-offs by which they model their respective strategies, and each one only wants to maximize his own pay-off. The game-theory endeavor to use this module to explain real-life situations and foresee the decisions to be made by opponents (for instance, by Soviets in the Cold-War era) or to offer the best course of deliberation to its users. In the dynamic model of The Prisoner’s Dilemma, the main difference is in access to information, because players are allowed to confer before they are isolated.

A striking feature of such models must be noted. More often than not, the agents of decision-making in game theory modules are described as criminals. Sometimes they are jewel thieves, sometimes it’s a fugitive escaping the posse, and one encyclopedia’s game theory module is illustrated by the act of tossing the incapacitated opponent into precipice. It is interesting that the author uses the pronoun he for the victim while the criminal in the dilemma is denoted as she, in strict obeisance to the rules of political correctness. Bearing in mind that victimhood, imaginary or not, proves to gain a rather abundant pay-off, it seems that even the game theoretician is faced with a Prisoner’s Dilemma.

The Game Myth

This feature leads us to key weak point of game theory, i.e. its flimsy definition of rationality. Namely, the “big players”, of whose moving and shaking the media hierophants inform us unceasingly, are implicitly denounced as criminal organizations, and not by the frustrated and confused public – the notion appears incorporated into the very definition of their enterprises. Every player seeks exclusively his own maximal gain, and that which is considered to be “one’s own,” therefore rationally desirable, seemingly private, comes dangerously close to being privative. Bearing in mind that such exclusive economic players are prone to merge with their playmates in politics – which is, after all, the elementary definition of fascism – one must reach the conclusion that in the foundations of seemingly supra-private bodies, be it corporations or governments, not only private but also privative interests are embedded, and that the very process of democracy can be seen as a means of accomplishing this.

In that sense, it is no wonder that what is now called liberalism is a form of strange metaphysics. Namely, it appeals to ‘human nature’ and ‘natural rights’, but has in fact always been infected with an urge for escapism, clearly visible in so-called “state of nature” and “social contract” theories, mythical stories about a historical event that never happened in a historical age that never was, which man escaped by a decision he never made. Game theory metaphysics transforms this myth and enriches it, but it certainly doesn’t dispel it. The myth is sold, against all reason and the wealth of human imagination, as the veritable image of truth, i.e. a valid world-view, the prism through which the entire contemporary landscape is transmitted before our eyes. However, this picture, no matter how coherent and self-sufficient, is in fact rather fragile.

The persuasive power of the myth is proportional to the verity of its images of truth, while the persuasive power of the lie stems from its appellation to weaknesses of thought – to an inertia delighted with the ease of passing flippant judgment. The mythology of the rational playground falls precisely into this second category, because it assumes the pretense of a necessary and all-applicable system, thereby subverting the transcendental, robbing it of its very possibility while replacing it with a simulacrum. However, in moments of crisis – etymologically equal to moments of judgment – its frailty is all the more obvious, and its ability to maintain the illusion ever more inadequate to the task. The notion of man as a ‘selfish information processor’ is in fact a careless distortion of the classical understanding of elementary human solidarity, founded on love of one’s own transferred to another, best explained in Aristotle’s Book VIII of Nicomachean Ethics, where it is defined as ‘friendship’ (filia) in the broadest sense. The progressive concentration of power in the hands of players, at the expense of those who are played is more likely to push the losing side into the irrational decision of giving up on selfishness, of declaring: “I will not play anymore.”

Ghosts in the Machine 

We face the following eventuality: the choice of irrational decision sheds more light on a crucial system error in the definition of man and game that this pseudo-metaphysics imposes on us. The term ‘irrational’ is never really defined in the framework of game theory. And rationality fared only slightly better, though at least it can serve as a foothold for via negativa deduction of what is not irrationality. For the game theoretician, irrational behavior is not behavior at all; it is a pseudo-behavior deprived of deliberation. Bearing in mind that game theory yields a considerable pay-off in microbiology, where genes are conceived as rational players in the game of survival of the fittest, we can’t even say that irrational players are making monkeys of themselves. So how, using this sophisticated net, does one catch this elusive mutant who won’t play games, strategize, steal, or bow to political religion?

Let’s define him. This “ghost in the machine” could be someone whose moral sentiment forces him to irrationally decline profitable professions or profitable occasions, such as employing his talents in mass propaganda or advertising. Furthermore, in order to achieve his objective, perhaps writing a novel penetrating the depths of human condition, for example, he irrationally decides to always be close to death, because only then he can really reach the heart of his subject, while at the same time he knows that the pay-off will probably come after he is long gone. Is there any conceivable rational agent who can assume that he rationally planned all this? Or are all those “whistleblowers” really rational players; people who rationally decided to confront corruption, and now enjoy the pay-off by being unemployed or jailed, crucified between responsibility towards their conscience and their families?

After all, were the lines you now read calibrated for a payoff? “Irrationality” is what you were seeking the entire time.

Game theory views the irrational as its own confinement; the razor wire lining the playground fence or an unforeseen eventuality breaking the rules of game-play, its strict order. Bearing in mind that we are talking about world order – and world-encircling razor wire – the deprecation of the irrational is absolute inasmuch as the myth of the rational is absolute. Endemic, logically indescribable specimens are reduced to occasional noise in communication channels between players. Yet those endemic specimens are in fact the majority of our respectably populated planet, and so the noise grows to permeate our societies. It even begins to obstruct the tranquility of academic think tanks, and we know that devising complex and abstract logical, not to mention mathematical, models demands focus, a certain withdrawal from the world in the isolation of one’s paneled office – that parody of the monk’s cloister. Could it be that the hum of the irrational is evolving into an unpredictable, unbearable roar of chaos whose source is too powerful for even the valiant forces of campus security to subdue?

Is it only rational to predict that a creature of grand scale is much too big for nets weaved from a flimsy conceptual framework, unfit for catching even butterflies? What happens when the net breaks? Because the enemy is irrational, and therefore unthinkable. It is the great Unknown, something equal to an extraterrestrial invasion. Can the controllers’ sorcery of half-truth, half-philosophy, half-culture, and half-living keep our eyes wide shut for much longer? Among the faceless and unprepossessing shall awaken the beast of the irrational, its inner abyss suspending man between the angelic and the infernal. Game over.

See all of Branko Malic’s writings on philosophy, culture, and deep politics at Kali Tribune.

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Deepwater Capitalism

gulf-oil-spill17

Reflections on the Fifth Anniversary of One of the Biggest Oil Spills in History

By Quincy Saul

Source: Counterpunch

In memory of Gabriel García Márquez, March 6, 1927-April 17, 2014.

In September of 2009, the BP corporation dug the deepest oil well in history. The 35,055-foot deep Tiber prospect, 300 miles off the Texas coast, promised six billion barrels: one of the largest oil fields ever discovered in the country. So of course, they kept looking for more: They moved their massive drilling rig named Deepwater Horizon fifty miles south of the Louisiana coastline, to a prospect called Macondo, named after the setting of the famous book 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez.

On April 20, 2010, as they began to seal the well, something went wrong: a mix of oil and gas escaped, rushing up through earth and water, blowing up the Deepwater Horizon, and killing eleven workers, whose bodies were never recovered. Over the next eighty seven days, the whole world watched as over 200 million gallons of oil erupted from the ocean floor into the Gulf of Mexico.

It was the largest oil spill in history – more than ten times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. The images of animals covered in oil began to haunt our screens again, and the scale of death was so great it still seems impossible to quantify – estimates of the number of birds killed within the first hundred days ranges between 100,000 and one million. But the real nightmare was offshore, as riptides and hired hands collected thousands of animal carcasses into “death gyres”. Riki Ott explains:

“Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen managed to get the only footage of what I came to call the ‘death gyres.’ the rip currents that collected dead animals offshore. The Incident Command – BP and the US Coast Guard – kept the media 1,500 feet up in the air so the press couldn’t really capture the situation there. The animal carcasses were corralled, taken out to sea, and dumped at night, according to fishermen who were involved with so-called ‘Night-time Operations.’ Offshore workers reported ‘thousands of dolphins, birds too numerous to count, sea turtles too numerous to count,’ and even whales in the death gyres.” (Earth at Risk, Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planetedited by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith, p. 49)

Five years later, what can we say? If hindsight is 20-20 then presumably we can learn from our mistakes. How did it happen? Was it BP’s fault? Or is there a bigger picture to blame? Five years later, the common sense of this tragedy has yet to dawn, as if the oil has clogged our hearts and minds along with our oceans and beaches. Like the pioneers of Márquez’s Macondo, searching for a way through the swamp, we seem lost, desperately hacking our way through nature and through our own nature. And the past, like the path, seems to always be disappearing behind us.

“…and the cries of the birds and the uproar of the monkeys became more and more remote, and the world became eternally sad. The men on the expedition felt overwhelmed by their most ancient memories in that paradise of dampness and silence, going back to before original sin, as their boots sank into pools of steaming oil and their machetes destroyed bloody lilies and golden salamanders. . . . They could not return because the strip that they were opening as they went along would soon close up with a new vegetation that almost seemed to grow before their eyes.” (Márquez, p. 11-12)

How did it Happen?

“The main thing is not to lose our bearings.” (Márquez, p. 12)

Whodunit? What was the crime scene, and who are the criminals? What murder weapon spawned gyres of death? Five years later, we must look through the tangled jungle of events which have grown up behind us, and remember how we got here. Michael Klare’s insightful blow-by-blow of the events leading up to the accident is worth revisiting. 

“When BP first deployed the rig at the Macondo prospect in January 2010, it set a target date of March 7 for completion of that well. However, due to a series of geological obstacles and technical mishaps, drilling was not completed until April 19, producing a cost overrun on the project of approximately $58 million. It is not surprising, then, that BP’s site managers felt particular pressure to seal the well and move the Deepwater Horizon, to its next scheduled location. In their rush, the site managers made several last-minute decisions. . . . When preparing for the final cementing that would prevent natural gas from leaking into the wellbore, for instance, they decided to use only six “centralizers” to position the well’s steel casing, whereas the original design had called for twenty-one centralizers. They also went ahead with the sealing of the well even though several ‘negative-pressure’ tests suggested a dangerous buildup of gas in the wellbore. . . . the desire to complete the job swiftly and move the expensive drillship to its next assignment certainly contributed to the disaster.” (The Race for What’s Left, The global scramble for the world’s last resourcesKlare, p. 47-8)

One way to solve this crime is to blame the workers – the crime scene is the workplace, and the murder weapon is the botched job. They failed to follow industry regulations; using less than half of the recommended number of centralizers, and ignoring the test results indicating a dangerous buildup of gas. But this explanation is not sufficient, and hides another suspect. If the workers pulled the trigger, who gave the order?

As Klare explains, the workers were in a rush. It was the BP site managers – their cost overrun, their “pressure to seal the well and move,” and the “desire to complete the job swiftly,” which created the conditions in which the oil workers made their fateful decisions. So is BP the murderer? Is the crime scene the BP board room?

 

Inside BP

At the dawn of the 21st century, BP had a tabloid affair with alternative energy. John Browne, its CEO from 1995 to 2007 re-branded the company, from “British Petroleum” to “Beyond Petroleum”, and urged its shareholders and broader public “to look beyond oil and gas to fuels which can be produced locally and which do not threaten the sustainability of the world’s climate.” In 2008, Browne was replaced by Tony Hayward, whose more sober vision re-branded the company simply “BP”, and clarified that “the energy of the future will be more than oil, but oil will still be a major part of it.” In 2010 he closed BP’s “alternative energy office.” (Klare, p. 41)

Perhaps the public relations team from that office had all been moved to the Gulf Coast, where it has been working overtime since 2010. This has included classroom visits with “hands-on” experiments, substituting cocoa for oil and dish soap for chemical dispersant, to win young hearts and minds to the efficacy of BP’s cleanup efforts.[1] According to the company, the case is closed. A recently released report from BP concluded: “BP has seen no data to suggest a significant long-term population-level impact to any species.” In fact, “BP is claiming that wildlife in the Gulf is thriving and more abundant since the disaster.” (Jensen and Keith, p. 61) In a recent press conference, BP’s executive vice president for response and environmental restoration in the region Laura Folse said “I personally have no concern about oil washing in from the offshore to the shoreline.”

BP is preparing for the punchline, because currently pending in court is the case which will decide how much money BP has to pay in damages for the disaster. While BP is a giant – listed by Fortune magazine as the fourth largest publicly held company in the world – some on Wall Street have expressed fear that the court’s decision could kill the company. This panic began almost immediately after the spill, and BP began to sell off assets all over the world, in Colombia, Egypt, the US, Canada and Argentina. (Klare, p. 215, 216)

But according to forensic accounting expert Ian Ratner who testified recently on the case, BP “actually, has a better balance sheet today than it had before the spill.” Despite around $40 billion in oil spill liabilities, the company is financially better off than before the disaster. What’s more, they are back at the scene of the crime: “We expect to be back and actively drilling during the second half of the year,” said BP Chief Financial Offcer Byron Grote in April 2011. And he kept his promise: like Colonel Buendía in Márquez’s novel, BP gives orders for execution but is isolated and naive about to the results: “Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction.” (Márquez, p. 171) BP seems both all-powerful and powerless, returning to the scene of the crime like a dog unto its vomit, at the mercy of some god or godlessness which demands more drilling.

There is more than meets the eye in this case. Is BP the only culprit on trial? If the workers pulled the trigger, and BP gave the order, who put the gun in its hand? And who made the gun? There is an African saying that “if you want to get at the root of the murder, you have to look for the blacksmith who made the machete.” (Anthills of the SavannahChinua Achebe, p. 159)

The World System

“That was perhaps the only mystery that was never cleared up in Macondo. . . . A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta’s chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.” (Márquez, p. 135)

What was the blacksmith that built and blew the Deepwater Horizon? Like the mystery of Macondo in Márquez’s story, the trail of blood climbs and descends, turns corners and crosses paths, taking us from the work place, to the board room, to the stock exchange, and from there it seems to flow into the ocean of normal every-day modern life. As Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America said, “the deepwater is indispensable to the world’s energy future.” (Klare, p. 69) The trail doesn’t go cold, it goes everywhere. Like the war of Colonel Buendía, our search for justice in the death gyres seems to get stuck in a stalemate of business as usual: “’Everything normal, Colonel.’ And normality was precisely the most fearful part of that infinite war.” (Márquez, p. 171)

In the early 2000s, the deep sea drilling industry boomed. All the big oil corporations competed to dig the deepest wells, at depths and conditions that boggle the imagination – deeper than Mt. Everest is tall, under thousands of feet of water (and pressure). These projects out-compete space exploration in the audacity of their engineering and in their cost: Shell built a rig called Mars that was three times more expensive than the Mars Pathfinder mission, with arguably more complex technology. (Klare, p. 44) While their locations are industry secrets – no one knows how many or where they all are – they are everywhere, from the Falkland Islands to the Arctic Circle, from South America to West Africa.

A 2010 report by energy expert Michael Smith estimated that big oil would spend $387 billion on offshore drilling between 2010 and 2014 – 33% more than over the previous five years – building 20,000 offshore wells in ever deeper waters. (Klare, p. 44-45) The Deepwater Horizon explosion, which came nineteen days after President Obama announced plans for more offshore drilling, did little or nothing to change the plan. Three days after the explosion, with Macondo still gushing, a White House spokesperson assured that increase in offshore drilling would continue, promising that it would be done “safely, securely, and without harm to the environment.” (Klare, p. 51)

Before Deepwater Horizon, regulations on the industry had been lax. In the United States, the Interior Department’s Mineral Management Service (MMS) took a hands-off approach to the industry, never, for instance, setting any criteria for minimum-pressure tests, which had such fateful consequences in the Gulf. (Klare, p. 50) After a six month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf after the disaster, oil companies began to lobby the courts to being reissuing permits. A new set of safety rules was established, and by April 2011, one year after the disaster, deep drilling in the Gulf, by BP and others, was back online. (Klare, p. 52) Everything normal, Colonel.

This is the normalcy of the infinite war on mother earth: While the fallout of the disaster continues to inflict irreparable damage to the Gulf, the industry which created the crisis is allowed to resume the activity which created it. And the same agencies that failed to regulate the industry before are being trusted to do it right this time. How can this be?

The answer can be found by following the money, like the trickle of blood in Macondo, from the scene of the crime, and out into the world-system. In an energy analysis report from several years ago, it was predicted that due to declining reserves of conventional oil, offshore oil output would contribute 35 percent of global supplies by 2020. By 2015, the report continued, deep-offshore fields would be “the only source of growth to power the world’s expanding economy. . . . Any energy firm that intends to continue being involved in the production of hydrocarbons must, therefore, establish a significant presence in the major deepwater drilling zones.” (Klare, p. 45)

In other words, the industry is too big to fail – even if does fail. Big oil cannot be too strictly regulated or restricted – or punished. Their alibi is the world-system; the modern way of life. This logic was recently re-asserted by Justice Department attorney Steve O’Rourke in the buildup to the court case that will decide BP’s punishment, who said that the penalty “has to be high enough that companies of this size won’t let a spill like this ever happen again. But, again, not so high as to be ruinous to their operation.” In the great state of Louisiana, individuals who murder get capital punishment, but corporations who murder get rehabilitation. Questioned about whether the company would attempt to drill at Macondo again, BP senior vice president Kent Wells responded that “there is a good reservoir there,” and there was no reason to rule it out, because if BP didn’t, someone else would. (Klare, p. 52)

And so BP and the Gulf and all of us have come full circle, back to the scene of the crime. As death approaches for Márquez’s Ursula Buendía, so does the realization for all of us: “time was not passing. . . . it was turning in a circle.” (Márquez, p409) As big oil races ever faster and ever deeper, time somehow seems to stand still. The rush put on the workers is the rush put on the managers, is the rush put on the CEOs, is the rush put on the shareholders, is the same rush put again upon the workers. And in this “race for what’s left,” as Michael Klare calls it, we are left standing still, watching death approaching, as the drilling rigs, like monster space-age vultures, circle Macondo once again.

We must ask again, and answer again, to keep our bearings, and to clear a path to the truth: Is the crime scene the workplace, or is it the board room? The stock exchange, or the gas station down the street? Like the trickle of blood weaving through the town of Macondo, the evidence leads everywhere; back to normal modern life. The crime scene is everywhere. The murder weapon is the world-system. The criminal and the culprit is deepwater capitalism.

Deepwater capitalism is a terminal stage in the global metastasis of a social cancer we call the economy. Capitalism has gone to deep water, as it has gone to the hearts of mountains and into the depths of the earth. Offshore oil drilling is but one horseman, in a world-wide apocalypse of extreme resource extraction. The others are fracking, tar sands, and mountaintop removal. If imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, then today’s resource extraction apocalypse reveals the highest stage of imperialism – genocide and extinction.

Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, the insane captain of a whaling ship – distant ancestors of today’s offshore oil rigs – speaks for the system: “all my means are sane, my object and my motive mad.” (Melville, p. 177) With sane means and mad motives, Captain Ahab is both a model and a metaphor for today’s economy, whose command will sink civilization. It is the immense power without direction, the normal infinite war, the gravity at the center of a world-wide death gyre.

 

Conclusions

At the beginning of the road into the swamp they put up a sign that said ‘Macondo’ and another larger one on the main street that said ‘God exists’.” (Márquez, p. 49)

Five years later we owe it to ourselves and to the world to come to some conclusions. It may take millions of years for the ecosystems of the Gulf to recover, but in the meantime we must recover our hearts and our minds from a modernity in which such disasters are normal aspects of every-day life. We must come to some conclusions about this world-system, and about the generations of people who will live and die on the front lines of an infinite struggle against an infinite war.

Regardless of the severity of the punishment BP receives, the fact that it is back at the scene of the crime, drilling, gives us an indication of the real scale of the problem. If BP is a psychopathic recidivist criminal, it is not alone. The global economy which depends on this kind of extreme resource extraction, which gives corporations like BP orders and alibis, and which bends executive, legislative and judicial power to its needs, is on the move, and it will strike again. Bhopal, Macondo, Fukushima – the beat will go on until we pull the emergency break. Michael Klare writes in conclusion to his comprehensive global survey of our doomsday terrain: “As the race for what’s left gains momentum, this sort of predatory behavior will become more frequent and more brutal. . . . Only if we abandon the race altogether . . . . can we hope to avoid calamity on a global scale.” (Klare, p. 218 and 210)

To abandon the race: This is the conclusion to which we must come. It will, however, require much more of us than the reformist measures Klare proposes – increasing efficiency, developing alternative energies, and supporting “green” versus “brown” capital. These will only buy Captain Ahab more time. It’s time for mutiny. It’s time for the emergency break. It’s time for revolution.

Conclusions on the local level in the Gulf are more difficult. Big picture political conclusions will not bring back the fish and the birds, will not restore livelihoods and dreams swept away by poisoned waters. In a region that the federal government has all but abandoned, the future is wholly in the hands of the common people of the Gulf coast.[2] It is an immense burden for any people, let alone those who are still recovering, ten years later, from Hurricane Katrina, and who live trapped between “cancer alley” and rising ocean levels, with the ground literally sinking under their feet. Thus the struggles of the people of the Gulf symbolize for the entire world a last stand for meaning, in a civilization on the brink of oblivion: “It was the last that remained of a past whose annihilation had not taken place because it was still in a process of annihilation, consuming itself from within, ending at every moment but never ending its ending.” (Márquez, p409) After them, the flood.

Like children, many of us are afraid of the dark. We hide from the creeping annihilation even as it seeps ever closer to home. We close off our hearts to the horror, and mute our minds before the madness, even as it consumes us and enlists our complicity. As John W. Tunnell, witness for BP, recently testified, “The images of those dead birds that were oiled, like pelicans, stick in people’s minds more, and so it’s easy to get emotionally involved in those things. . . . you have to step back and critically and unemotionally, objectively to look at what’s going on.”

While BP’s witnesses, as personifications of capital, would have us immerse ourselves in the infamous “icy waters of egotistical calculation,” some people in the Gulf prefigure a different path to the truth. A documentary titled My Louisiana Love chronicles the story of Monique Verdin, a young Native American woman in search of love and life amidst death and indifference: “I want to keep living on our land, but I’m inheriting a dying delta.” She sets out fearlessly into a landscape of annihilation with an open heart, an open mind, and open hands, and in her story there is a universal story.

It is a story of salvation blossoming next to damnation, a story which promises like Holderin that “where danger threatens, that which saves from it also grows.” Like jewelweed growing next to poison ivy, like women’s liberation in Rojava alongside to the patriarchal crusade of ISIS, like God next to Macondo: There is hope here, perhaps the only kind of hope that is real in a world where everything is at least partly toxic, where dioxin swirls in breast milk, and death gyres spiral in the oceanic cradle of life. It is a story that slumbers in a world consumed with cynicism, a world awash in the icy waters of ego. But like the people of Macondo, we await only the right magnet to re-ignite our wonder. As the gypsy proclaimed, “things have a life of their own. . . . It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.” (Márquez, p. 2)

Quincy Saul is the author of Truth and Dare: A Comic Book Curriculum for the End and the Beginning of the World, and the co-editor of Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. He is a musician and a co-founder of Ecosocialist Horizons.

REFERENCES

100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006

The Race for What’s Left, The global scramble for the world’s last resources, by Michael T. Klare, Metopolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, NY, 2012

Earth at Risk, Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet, edited by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith, Flashpoint Press, 2012

Anthills of the Savannah, by Chinua Achebe, Anchor Book, 1998

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, St. Botolph Society, 1892

“Suffering a Sea Change,” by Joel Kovel, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Volume 21, Issue 3, September 2010

Notes.

[1]  “NOAA and BP teamed up to visit eighth-grade classrooms in the Gulf to show children how to safely clean up an oil spill. They spilled cocoa powder in a little aquarium to mimic an oil spill – cocoa powder, right? Yummy. They sprinkled in Dawn dish soap to ‘disperse’ the oil. ‘See children? Dispersant works to clean up the oil, and we’re going to save the world. It’s OK.’ (Riki Ott, in Jensen and Keith, p52) Chemical dispersants can best be described with the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, “where we, even where we mean to mend her, we end her”: the toxicity of chemical dispersants – arguably more dangerous than the oil they purport to clean up – has been analyzed and documented by many organizations.

[2]  “It really is all up to us. In the Gulf, it didn’t take people twenty years like with the Exxon Valdez spill to realize the federal government was not in control of the situation; it took them two months.” -Riki Ott (Jensen and Keith, p52)

 

 

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Two for Tuesday

Public Enemy

Ice-T

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Hillary Clinton: The International Neocon Warmonger

06

By Webster G. Tarpley

Source: Voltaire.net

Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy for President of the United States. While the European press showers her with praise without thinking, Webster G. Tarpley recalls her balance sheet: in all circumstances, she supported war and corporate interests.

As the National Journal reported in 2014, even the pathetically weak anti-war left is not ready to reconcile with Hillary given her warmongering as Secretary of State. And with good reason. Scratching just lightly beneath the surface of Hillary Clinton’s career reveals the empirical evidence of her historic support for aggressive interventions around the globe.

Beginning with Africa, Hillary defended the 1998 cruise missile strike on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, destroying the largest producer of cheap medications for treating malaria and tuberculosis and provided over 60% of available medicine in Sudan. In 2006 she supported sending United Nations troops to Darfur with logistical and technical support provided by NATO forces. Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi was outspoken in his condemnation of this intervention, claiming it was not committed out of concern for Sudanese people but “…for oil and for the return of colonialism to the African continent.”

This is the same leader who was murdered in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya; an attack promoted and facilitated with the eager support of Mrs. Clinton. In an infamous CBS news interview, said regarding this international crime: “We came, we saw, he died.” As Time magazine pointed out in 2011, the administration understood removing Qaddafi from power would allow the terrorist cells active in Libya to run rampant in the vacuum left behind. Just last month the New York Times reported that Libya has indeed become a terrorist safe haven and failed state— conducive for exporting radicals through “ratlines” to the conflict against Assad in Syria.

Hillary made prompt use of the ratlines for conflicts in the Middle East. In the summer of 2012, Clinton privately worked with then CIA director and subversive bonapartist David Petraeus on a proposal for providing arms and training to death squads to be used to topple Syria just as in Libya. This proposal was ultimately struck down by Obama, reported the New York Times in 2013, but constituted one of the earliest attempts at open military support for the Syrian death squads.

Her voting record on intervening in Afghanistan and Iraq is well known and she also has consistently called for attacking Iran. She even told Fareed Zakaria the State Department was involved “behind the scenes” in Iran’s failed 2009 Green Revolution. More recently in Foreign Policy magazine David Rothkopf wrote on the subject of the Lausanne nuclear accord, predicting a “snap-back” in policy by the winner of the 2016 election to the foreign policy in place since the 1980s. The title of this article? “Hillary Clinton is the Real Iran Snap-Back.” This makes Hillary the prime suspect for a return to the madcap Iranian policies that routinely threaten the world with a World War 3 scenario.

Hillary Clinton is not only actively aggressing against Africa and the Middle East. She was one of the loudest proponents against her husband’s hesitancy over the bombing of Kosovo, telling Lucina Frank: “I urged him to bomb,” even if it was a unilateral action.

While no Clinton spokesperson responded to a request by the Washington Free Beacon regarding her stance on Ukraine, in paid speeches she mentioned “putting more financial support into the Ukrainian government”. When Crimea decided to choose the Russian Federation over Poroshenko’s proto-fascist rump state, Hillary anachronistically called President Putin’s actions like “what Hitler did in the ‘30s.” As a leader of the bumbled ”reset” policy towards Russia, Hillary undoubtedly harbors some animus against Putin and will continue the destabilization project ongoing in Ukraine.

Not content with engaging in debacles in Eastern Europe, she has vocally argued for a more aggressive response to what she called the “rollback of democratic development and economic openness in parts of Latin America.” This indicates her willingness to allow the continuation of CIA sponsored efforts at South American destabilization in the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil.

It is one of the proud prerogatives of the Tax Wall Street Party to push out into the light the Wall Street and foundation-funded Democrats. The final blow to Hillary’s clumsy façade comes directly from arch-neocon Robert Kagan. Kagan worked as a foreign policy advisor to Hillary along with his wife, Ukraine madwoman Victoria Nuland, during Hillary’s term as Secretary of State. He claimed in the New York Times that his view of American foreign policy is best represented in the “mainstream” by the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton; a foreign policy he obviously manipulated or outright crafted. Kagan stated: “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue…it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.” What further reason could any sane person need to refute Hillary? A vote for Hillary is a vote for the irrational return to war.

The “Giant Sucking Sound”: Clinton Gave US NAFTA and Other Free Trade Sellouts

“There is no success story for workers to be found in North America 20 years after NAFTA,” states AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Unlike other failures of his Presidency, Bill Clinton can not run from NAFTA. It was Vice President Al Gore, not a veto-proof Republican congress, who lobbied to remove trade barriers with low-wage Mexico.

The record of free trade is clear. Multinational corporations and Wall Street speculators realize incredible profits, wages remain stagnant in the US, poverty persists in the developing world, and the remaining industrial corporations in America and Canada are increasingly owned by Chinese, Indian and other foreign interests.

America’s free trade policy is upside down. Besides Canada, Australia and Korea, most of our “free” trade partners are low-wage sweatshop paradises like Mexico, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Bahrain and Oman. The US does in fact apply tariffs on most goods and on most nations of origin – rates are set by the US International Trade Commission (USTIC), a quasi-public federal agency.

Since a German- or Japanese-made automobile would under USITC’s schedule be taxed 10% upon importation, Volkswagen and Toyota can circumvent taxation by simply building their auto assembly plants for the US market in Mexico. In Detroit, an auto assembly worker is paid between $14 and $28/hour, ($29,120-$58,240/yr); hard work for modest pay. In Mexico, the rate varies from $2-5/hour.

In China, all automobile imports regardless of origin are tariffed as high as 25%. This allows the Chinese to attract joint ventures with Volkswagen and Toyota, and to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “keep the jobs, the cars and the money.”

NAFTA-related job loss is not a question of productivity, currency manipulation, “fair trade,” environmental standards, etc. While these issues are not trivial, free trade – as Lincoln’s advisor Henry C. Carey proved – is a matter of simple accounting. Can an American family survive on $4,160/year ($2/hr)? If not, cars and their components will be built in Mexico. If we want cars built in the United States, the only solution is a general tariff (import tax) reflecting the difference between those wage standards, like the very tariffs repealed by Bill Clinton.

In the United States the “runaway shop” under NAFTA and CAFTA has sent trade deficits and unemployment soaring while wages drop relative to the cost of living. Yet Mexico and other “partners” receive no benefit either. Many manufacturing sectors in Mexico pay wages lower than the equivalent sector in China. Mexico is now the world leader in illegal narcotics exportation and weapons importation. The poverty level between 1994 and 2009 remained virtually identical. (52.4% – 52.3%). The shipping of raw materials to Mexico comprise the majority of so called American “exports”. The finished products from these exports are assembled and sold back to the United States at slave labor prices.

Don’t expect Hillary to behave differently with the coming “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which seeks to replace an ascendant China with less-developed Vietnam and Malaysia. Vietnam would overtake India-allied Bangladesh in the global apparel trade, and Malaysia has a high-tech manufacturing sector poised to rival China’s. With America’s manufacturing economy in shambles, the Clinton machine can now be redirected to geopolitical maneuvers.

 

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How Tommy Chong Beat Cancer with Homegrown Cannabis Medicine

tommy

By Alex Pietrowski

Source: Waking Times

As the movement for the liberation of cannabis gains momentum, and attitudes toward this relaxing and healing plant evolve, we are witnessing an explosion in innovation around how cannabis is used, both as a medicine and for recreational purposes. Finally overcoming its reputation as a mind-bending, psychoactive drug that makes you stoned, lazy and useless, cannabis is being celebrated for its healing benefits.

Pioneers in the field of medical marijuana are discovering that much of the medicinal value of cannabis is packed away in its non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

“The Cannabis plant contains over 60 cannabinoids, which are carbon-containing terpenophenolic compounds concentrated in the viscous resin of the glandular trichomes on the cannabis plant bud. There are psychoactive cannabinoids, such as Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while others, such as cannabidiol (CBD), have no psychoactive effects while offering profound healing properties.” (Source)

Due to the Schedule I criminal status of the cannabis plant, for many decades it has been difficult for marijuana researchers to understand the relationship between the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant and its psychoactive effects. Yet, today, you don’t have to “get high” to benefit from the healing power of cannabis, because, over the last decade many CBD-rich strains are being grown for and by medicinal marijuana users. The CBD compound in cannabis can actually counter the psychoactive effects of THC.

“Knowledge about the therapeutic potential of cannabis products has been greatly improved by a large number of clinical trials in recent years. … There is now clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions.” ~ Investigators from the nova-Institute and the Hannover Medical School in Germany (Source)

Although most medical establishments and professionals would not dare to admit it, many people believe that cannabis, particularly organic CBD oil, can be used to treat, and perhaps even heal, cancer.

Additionally, hundreds of research studies have shown that cannabis-based medications, such medical marijuana, cannabis oil and marijuana edibles, can be used to relieve symptoms of chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy, loss of appetite in HIV/Aids, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain (nerve pain).

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy” – Dr. Sean McAllister (source: The Daily Beast)

“CBDs hold the most promise for the use of cannabis in the treatment of serious medical conditions. CBDs have been tested in the treatment of cancer cells and are found to significantly inhibit cancer cell growth. They also assist in the uptake of other cancer drugs, increasing their effectiveness.” (Source)

In a high profile case of the healing power of CBD’s, famous actor, comedian, and marijuana advocate, Tommy Chong shocked his fans in 2011 when he announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As a challenge to the world at that time, he stated his determination to cure his cancer with medical cannabis, and began a journey to do just that. By changing his diet and consuming, CBD rich cannabis oil Tommy beat cancer, which he announced in 2013.

In a recent interview in 2014, Tommy talked in greater detail about how he came to the decision to try hemp oil, and how the process worked for him. Remarkably, he mentions that he had his CBD oil made from plants that he legally grew on his own rooftop, bred to have a high CBD count.

While non-psychoactive CBD rich hemp oil is gaining in renown as a natural medicine, Tommy Chong believes that the high potent sedative and calming effects of the oil, the psychoactive component, is also a very beneficial part of the healing process.  He talks about the nature and benefits of cannabis and why so many of the major cancer treatment centers are ignoring the evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment.

While much of this is certainly good news for the public and for those in search of healing from cannabis, the US federal law (as well as law in many countries) continues to categorize cannabis as a Schedule I drug.

Numerous medical research studies and real life examples of the plant’s healing power continue to surface, yet politics have been slow and bureaucratic in responding, likely swayed by heavy lobbing dollars of the pharmaceutical industry, to the quickly evolving landscape of new discoveries when it comes to natural plant medicines.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.

Related Podcast: Rick Simpson: The Cannabis Conspiracy, Hemp Oil Healing and Rockefeller Medicine (The Higherside Chats)

http://thehighersidechats.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/THC-Rick-Simpson-Free.mp3

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