What did you do today? What are your plans for tomorrow? Normal stuff? Go to work? Pick up the kids? Preparing dinner? Maybe a drink in the bar with some friends, or stay at home with the latest blockbuster movie? If so, then you are doing pretty much the same thing as billions of other people around the world, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Life goes on after all. Or does it? I mean, will normal life go on indefinitely? You see, I was checking the news today and… well, "oh boy" is the best way I can describe it.

Let me make it clear, I didn't go looking for bad news. I have no masochistic tendencies that lead me to seek out and play up the uglier side of life on earth, far from it. All I did was peruse the headlines from various news sources.

Take a gander for yourself.
Prepare yourself for the unthinkable: war against Iran may be a necessity

London Times
27 Jan 06

The unimaginable but ultimately inescapable truth is that we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran. Being of a free-speaking, free-thinking disposition, we generally find in the West that hand-wringing, finger-pointing and second-guessing come more easily to us than cold, strategic thinking. Confronted with nightmarish perils we instinctively choose to seize the opportunity to blame each other, cursing our domestic opponents for the situation they've put us in.
This one came from the right wing London Times. The Times editors seem eager that the world should just accept the 'fact' that Iran is toast, and we all need to just deal with that 'fact'. I suppose part of reconciling ourselves to this "truth" is that that we should ignore those other Truths that: Iran has never claimed that it wanted a nuclear bomb. Iran has never invaded another country or even threatened to do so. The obvious real reason for a US or Israeli-lead attack on Iran is that Israel wants to maintain its dominant position as the only nuclear nation in the Middle East. That Iran as "rogue state" is being subjected to the very same process of demonisation that Iraq suffered and which lead us all to support the illegal and wholly unnecessary invasion of Iraq. Of course, we didn't know we were being lied to about Iraq, but now that the same people are saying the same things about Iran, should be believe them? But maybe you are thinking that at least we still have Democracy, that there is still some accountability. That in the case that Bush and his advisers really do pose a danger to all our futures, the Democratic system would safeguard the interests of the people over those of the elected representatives. After all, we have Congress and the Senate, the judicial system.

Swinging by the UK independent we read:
Blair and Bush 'conspired to go to war regardless of United Nations'

The Independent
29 January 2006

Tony Blair knew that George Bush was only "going through the motions" of offering support for a second UN resolution in the run-up to the Iraq war, it was claimed last night.

According to reports in The Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister and the US President decided to go to war regardless of whether they obtained UN backing. The allegations will undermine claims that the final decision to go to war was not made until MPs voted in the Commons a day before military action. It will also bolster claims that the President and Mr Blair decided to go to war months before military action began.
What we are being told in the above is that a decision to wage a needless and illegal war on Iraq (leading to the deaths of several thousand American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians) was made by the American and British governments in very much the same way as it would be made under a dictatorship. Is the average American or British citizen aware of this?But still, our normal lives remain intact, there is no obvious sign of a dictatorship in the American or British heartland. Not yet, perhaps. But over at the UK Guardian we read:
Iran crisis 'could drive oil over $90'
So incase any of us were thinking that we could just ignore an attack on Iran as yet one more 'something' happening 'over there' and get on with our normal lives; oil at over $90 a barrel will mean skyrocketing gasoline and other fuel prices and the inevitable shortages. How will you pick up the kids when all the gas stations have run out? Take the bus? There may be no gas to run the buses either. How long will it take to walk to your kids school? You might have to skip that drink at the bar or the movie for the foreseeable future. What other effects on the faltering American economy would a massive increase in the cost of American industry's life-blood entail? Ford just laid off 36,000 workers, and this was just the latest in a series of such redundancies in what were once secure American job sectors. The mainstream news papers are telling us that this scenario is coming, and coming soon, and that it is only the beginning.

But then, maybe this is all just media rhetoric, maybe there will be no attack on Iran, no oil price explosion. Sadly, browsing over to United Press International we read:
BMD Watch: Trident Subs Will Fight Terror

Jan 25, 2006

The U.S. Navy is converting some of its prized nuclear strategic submarines to launch precision, conventional munitions strikes against terrorist bases and similar targets.

Four ultra-stealth Ohio-class SSBNs are having their 24 Trident II D-5 nuclear ballistic missiles removed and replaced with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, Defense Industry Daily reported Jan. 18.
It doesn't exactly sound like the U.S. military is planning to reduce world tensions, now does it? Note that these subs and Tomahawks will be used in the "war on terror", that is to say, against an undefined enemy who, it is claimed, exists in bases in countries all over the globe. Which means that we can expect many more unprovoked violations of national sovereignty by the US government, but this time it will be with Submarines and Tomahawks rather than unmanned drones and smaller missiles. What might that do for world peace do you think? But the U.S. military doesn't even need to stir things up directly, because as the Washington Post informs us:
Pentagon Can Now Fund Foreign Militaries

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Congress has granted unusual authority for the Pentagon to spend as much as $200 million of its own budget to aid foreign militaries, a break with the traditional practice of channeling foreign military assistance through the State Department.

The move, included in a little-noticed provision of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act passed last month, marks a legislative victory for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who pushed hard for the new powers to deal with emergency situations.

But it has drawn warnings from foreign policy specialists inside and outside the government, who say it could lead to growth of a separate military assistance effort not subject to the same constraints applied to foreign aid programs that are administered by the State Department. Such constraints are meant to ensure that aid recipients meet certain standards, including respect for human rights and protection of legitimate civilian authorities.
Which means that the very same U.S government department that gave us the cooked up evidence that lead to the Iraq invasion, now has the authority to funnel millions of dollars to arm any group it wants, in any country it wants. Not only that, but the previous restrictions that prevented such funding ending up in the coffers of armies that opposed the established civilian government will no longer apply. In essence, the American Congress has given Donald Rumsfeld the authority to send money to terrorist groups, if Rumsfeld thinks it is in the 'national interest' to do so.

Meanwhile, as if the threats to attack Iran were not enough to push the world closer to the brink of destruction, things in the Israel/Palestine conflict have taken a new turn for the worse:
Hamas rejects donor 'blackmail'


A senior Hamas leader has rejected demands that the Islamic militant group must renounce violence to prevent aid cuts for the Palestinian Authority.

President George W Bush warned US aid, worth $400m (£225m), could be cut following Hamas' surprise poll win.
The Palestinian elections could not have turned out a worse result for the Palestinians, or a better result for Israel. For the past 50 years, successive Israeli governments have been attempting to cast the Palestinians as 'terrorists' with varying degrees of success. Now, with the election of Hamas, the Israeli establishment has achieved that goal. Things could not have gone better if the Israelis themselves had been directing Palestinian policy. Of course, there is evidence to suggest that, via Hamas, Israel has been directing Palestinian policy for many years, which certainly helps us to understand how the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has reached its current impasse and how Israel seems to have realised its long-held goals. For example, what better gift could there be to Israeli hardliners in their dealings with the new Palestinian government than to be permitted to assassinate it's leaders?
Ex-Israeli spy chief: Hamas ministers may be hunted

The architect of Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian militants said on Sunday Israel should hunt down wanted Hamas leaders even if they become ministers in a newly elected Palestinian government.
So what to do? How do we stop the Middle East conflict from boiling over into a massive bloodbath? Can we rely on the U.S. to mediate? The Norwegian Daily Aftenposten dispels such an idea with the story:
USA threats after boycott support

30 Jan 2006

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened Norway with "serious political consequences" after Finance Minister and Socialist Left Party leader Kristin Halvorsen admitted to supporting a boycott of Israeli goods.
So we see that, far from acting as a calming force, the U.S. government is determined to ensure that Israel will be allowed to do as it pleases in the Middle East, and it will not tolerate any attempts by any other nation to interfere with the process of auto-destruct upon which Israel seems to have embarked.

Some Americans are indeed noticing that all is not well. A recent poll informs us:
Zogby People's Poll; 100% of Blacks Oppose Alito and Think Iraq War Unjustified
Yet hot on the heels of that little snippet, from Yahoo News we discover:
New Orleans May Lose 80 Percent of Blacks

January 28, 2006

The city of New Orleans could lose up to 80 percent of its black population if people displaced by Hurricane Katrina are not able to return to damaged neighborhoods, according to an analysis by a Brown University sociologist.
Meanwhile if the idea of manipulated inevitable war and death does not make you sit up and take notice, realise that mother earth can hardly be said to be at peace either:
Hurricanes Shape New Natural Order

Stark warning over climate change
And thanks again to the U.S. government, we may never know the real extent of the threat to our normal lives from our once benevolent environment, at least not until it is too late:
Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
What I am trying to show here is that the time when we were protected from, and could ignore, what was going on in the world around us and just let our leaders get on with taking care of us has long since passed. The facts that prove the truth of this are screaming at us from the front pages of our mainstream newspapers. While we were all busy getting on with normal life over the past few decades, it seems that our leaders were quietly creating a new reality for us. The 9/11 attacks constituted the first peek behind the curtain on that new reality, and if the intimations in the daily newspapers are anything to go by, the full unveiling is yet to come.

As suggested by the above-mentioned Times of London article, today as we go about our normal daily lives, the truth of that new reality is unimaginable to most of us, but the plans have been very carefully laid to ensure that, as the Times also suggests, none of us will be able to escape it. The only thing left that is within our power to decide is how traumatised we will be by the 'sudden' unveiling of this new reality. Will we be so overwhelmed that we will be unable to function and forced to blindly follow the dictates of those leaders that subtly manipulated us into this position in the first place? Or will we take the time and effort to prepare now, to sit up and take notice, to accept the fact that to continue to live our normal lives to the exclusion of the broader reality is to hand control of our future to people who have made it very clear that their vision is one of global death and destruction. The choice is yours. Take your time. But do not take too long. The writing is on the wall and all over the papers.