June 17, 2014
LETTERS AT 3AM –
Austin Chronicle – June 13, 2014
In The Four-Gated City, Doris Lessing wrote: “In any situation anywhere there is always a key fact, an essence. But it is usually every other fact, thousands of facts, that are seen, discussed, dealt with. The central fact is usually ignored, or not seen.”
A central fact stirs little debate but sets the terms of our days.
May 20, 2014
The war’s long shadow
Why had the war led to a bipolar world? Look at the war’s results. Japan and Germany, the prime opponents, had been economically and militarily flattened. Equally exhausted were Italy, the third Axis power, which had been defeated in 1943, and France, which had emerged on the winning side under Charles DeGaulle, after defeat in 1940, and Great Britain, the only power to fight the entire war from September 1939 to September 1945.
The Soviets had lost 20 million people in the war, and had had most of their industrial heartland destroyed, either by Germans or by their own hand in “scorched earth” tactics. But the Red Army of 1945 far outnumbered American troops on the ground in Europe, and even outnumbered the troops of the Americans combined with their European allies. The West feared that the only thing preventing the Red Army from conquering its way to the Atlantic was America’s possession of the atomic bomb.
The Soviets feared that a continued American monopoly of atomic bombs, then hydrogen bombs, would sooner or later lead to an attack such as the one Hitler had made a few years earlier. Similarly, the Americans feared another Pearl Harbor, this time with atomic warheads. Hence, the arms race, and what came to be called the balance of terror. Hence, too, Soviet and American rivalry among what came to be called the Third World – the African, Asian, and Latin American countries whose alliance might amount to a flank attack by whichever power or social system captured their allegiance.
It was a long, expensive conflict. True, it was cheaper than another hot war would have been, but it was expensive enough. America’s triad of forces included a strategic air command that kept bombers in the air 24 hours a day, fleets of nuclear-powered attack submarines and carrier forces, and ground forces and Marines stationed in various countries around the world.
What was perhaps more expensive, in some ways, was that America – or rather, the people who got hold of the levers of power — whether elected officials, military officers, behind-the-scenes operatives of covert agencies, or other people whose money or connections bought them a passing measure of control — got into the habit of thinking that it was America’s right and responsibility to control events. Domestically, this led to ever more intrusive surveillance and manipulation of American citizens. Internationally, it led to ever more assertive efforts to influence other countries’ popular opinion, elections, and policies, and led to the pursuit of ever larger ability to project American military power – that is, to threaten. America had come a long way from its pre-World War II isolationist position.
May 25, 2012
Who would have guessed, prior to November, 1963, that this was the world we were heading toward? In those innocent days, we thought this was the outcome we were trying to avoid. I suppose it’s a case of becoming like the worst in those you fight.
NATO. “1984” Revisited. When “War is Peace”
By Ross Ruthenberg
Global Research, May 21, 2012
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30954
Considering the current state of world peace and NATO’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P) policy and to maintain a proper sense of balance, George Orwell’s book “1984” should be reviewed periodically. In the spirit of the NATO Summit in Chicago, I present a few quotes from that textbook-for- tomorrow:
* “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happened-that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.”
* “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to your, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
* “All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers.”
* Then the face of Big Brother faded away again and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”
* Once when he happened in some connexion to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, ‘just to keep people frightened’. This was an idea that had literally never occurred to him.”
* The object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war.
* The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
* The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely.”
* He also said they were wrong in equating the military alliance to a “war machine.” “If that’s the basis for the protests, it’s actually based on lack of knowledge. our organization is a peace movement.
[Oh wait! That’s not the Ministry of Truth speaking, that’s NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen!  ]
December 17, 2011
OCCUPY THE FUTURE
– Austin Chronicle – December 16, 2011
“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”
The person who created that sign in Zuccotti Park put her or his anonymous finger on the heartbeat of Occupy.
Many wonder what Occupy stands for and why Occupy has not made specific demands – as though it’s not enough that, in Occupy’s brief existence, its participants have emblazoned the difference between the 1% and the 99% upon the consciousness of America. As my longtime colleague Ginger Varney said, “They’ve changed the conversation.”
July 21, 2011
Any similarities to our own reality, or at least our own fears of the projected trends already reflected in our reality, are, of course, illusory. We hope.
Fulfilling Orwell’s prophecy: 15 futuristic films you should see
By John W. Whitehead
July 18, 2011
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”—George Orwell
It has been over 60 years since George Orwell published his novel 1984. Described as political satire, it is, in reality, a political prophecy—one that is being fulfilled in our own times.
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. And people are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”
June 27, 2011
Came across this study by way of the ever-helpful SchwartzReport. The original of this article
(http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2036/worldwide-evangelical-christian-leaders-poll-lausanne-congress) contains some very interesting graphics.
Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders
June 22, 2011
Although its historical roots are mostly in Northern Europe and North America, evangelical Protestantism is a global phenomenon today. In 1910, by one estimate, there were about 80 million evangelicals, and more than 90% of them lived in Europe and North America. By 2010, the number of evangelicals had risen to at least 260 million, and most lived outside Europe or North America. Indeed, the “Global South” (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) is home to more evangelicals today than the “Global North” (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand).
June 23, 2011
Have you heard of this organization? No? Your television news broadcasts must not have had time to tell you.
DeMarco’s Law states, “They Always Go Too Far” — regardless which “they” we refer to. It looks to me as though NATO and the people who are using US foreign policy for their own economic and other purposes have, once again, overstepped, and are calling forth the counter-force that will balance them. This in itself is all to the good, but there’s the genesis of many a war here, if all goes wrong.
From the Asia Times http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/MF18Ag01.html via a friend.
SCO steps out of Central Asia
By M K Bhadrakumar
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marked its 10th anniversary at the summit meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday. Anniversaries divisible by five or 10 are almost sacrosanct occasions in international politics – especially for Central Asian countries and the adjacent capitals of Moscow and Beijing that have been weaned on the formalism of Marxism-Leninism. Much expectation was placed on the occasion at Astana.