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Mon, 25 Sep 2017
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Better Earth

Bell's Superstorm and The Death of Millenniumitis


The day after tomorrow... might only have been a movie but it has happened repeatedly in the past.
This weekend I happened upon a publisher's closeout sale at a local mall. A Tom Clancy hard cover dominated the first clearance table past the front door and his 500-page Into the Storm was slashed to $2.00 (publisher's price $27.50.) On the next table, another thick stack of fire sale hard cover books rose above all others. It was the The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell, Whitley Strieber for $7.00 (publisher's price $23.95.) In terms of effort and value, Clancy deserved a better break because Superstorm is long on speculation and short on value. However, the rapidly fading interest Superstorm is more than a failed publishing venture, because it also serves as a fitting tombstone for the cold corpse of millenniumitis.

The Decade of Millenniumitis

During the last decade, the prospect of end-times catastrophes in the year 2000 plagued many with fear about an uncertain future. Yet, there was a tangible public concern that the year 2000 would bring disaster.

This fostered a consensus of fear that was aptly coined "millenniumitis" by the media and this social event was focused on a set date. As we came closer our fears escalated at a geometric rate.

In the midst of all this came books like Superstorm, which offered a loosely structured, populist speculation that relied more on the public notoriety of the authors for credibility than upon quality research and organization. Nonetheless, the central premise of Superstorm still remains a valid point of discussion for those interested in the process view of catastrophe, as opposed to those who prefer the populist event-driven view.


On war lovers in a pathological society and manufacturing the American legacy

American Foreign Policy - Have our war lovers learned anything?

Over the past four decades, of all the reasons people over a certain age have given for their becoming radicalized against US foreign policy, the Vietnam War has easily been the one most often cited. And I myself am the best example of this that you could find. I sometimes think that if the war lovers who run the United States had known of this in advance they might have had serious second thoughts about starting that great historical folly and war crime.

At other times, however, I have the thought that our dear war lovers have had 40 years to take this lesson to heart, and during this time what did they do? They did Salvador and Nicaragua, and Angola and Grenada. They did Panama and Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and Iraq. And in 2012 American President Barack Obama saw fit to declare that the Vietnam War was "one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of military history".1

So, have they learned nothing? When it comes to following international law, is the United States like a failed state? The Somalia of international law? Well, if they were perfectly frank, the war lovers would insist that the purpose of all these interventions, and many others like them, was to keep the atheists out of power - the non-believers in America's god-given right to rule the world - or to at least make life as difficult as possible for them. And thus the interventions were successful; nothing to apologize for; even the Vietnam War achieved its purpose of preventing that country from becoming a good development option for Asia, a socialist alternative to the capitalist model; precisely the same reason for Washington's endless hostility toward Cuba in Latin America; and Cuba has indeed inspired numerous atheists and their alternatives for a better world.

Snakes in Suits

Meet Zbigniew Brzezinski, Conspiracy Theorist

Conspiracy theorists like Zbigniew Brzezinski believe that organizations of interest work behind the scenes to manipulate world politics. They believe that false flag terror events are used to justify wars of aggression on political enemies. They believe that humanitarian rhetoric is used to mask military aggression, as in Syria. In short, they are realistic observers of world politics, just like Zbigniew Brzezinski. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we hear all about the conspiratorial view of history straight from the horse's mouth.

Comment: This is the same Zbigniew Brzezinski who personally saw to it that the information contained in Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil, Adjusted for Political Purposes, would not see the light of day for another 20 years:
Once the book was completed in 1984 and a suitable translation made into English, he was unable to get it published. The psychology editors told him it was "too political", and the political editors told him it was "too psychological". He enlisted the help of his compatriot, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had just previously served as President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser and who initially praised the book and promised to help get the book published. Unfortunately, after some time spent corresponding Brzezinski became silent, responding only to the effect that it was a pity it hadn't worked out. In Łobaczewski's words, "he strangled the matter, treacherously".18

'Ponerology 101: Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology'
A particularly useful chink in the conspirators' armor is knowledge about how they think.

For all his wishful thinking and unflinching self-belief, Brzezinski apparently realized this (well, maybe 'sensed' is a more appropriate term) ...

They have already figured out what makes us tick. That's why they deploy 'shock therapy', 'perception management' and 'limbic warfare' against whole populations all the time. This is, after all, what 'psychological operations' are all about.

To stand a fighting chance of meeting them on the battlefield of ideas, it is crucial that we arm ourselves with knowledge of what psychopaths are and how psychopathy infects everything.

Eye 2

Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of U.S. citizens

© Reuters
The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.

Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".

When the New York Times back in April, 2010 first confirmed the existence of Obama's hit list, it made clear just what an extremist power this is, noting: "It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing." The NYT quoted a Bush intelligence official as saying "he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president". When the existence of Obama's hit list was first reported several months earlier by the Washington Post's Dana Priest, she wrote that the "list includes three Americans".


'Death of a Prisoner': Obama's hypocrisy continues

When President Obama pledged to close the Guantánamo Bay prison on his first day in office as president in 2009, I believed the country had shifted direction. I was wrong. Four years later, President Obama has not only institutionalized Guantánamo and all the horrors it symbolizes, but he has initiated new extrajudicial programs, like the president's secret kill list.

In September 2012 I read the news that another prisoner at Guantánamo had died, and I knew I had probably met his family. I traveled to Yemen in 2007 with the idea of making a film about a Guantánamo prisoner. I went there with the Guantánamo lawyer David Remes. He met with families and delivered the news of their sons, brothers, fathers and husbands. I had hoped to film the journey of someone being released from Guantánamo and returning home. Five years later, I find myself making that film, but under tragic circumstances.

Stock Down

Be afraid, very afraid, of the tech crisis: Social media will not save us from a cosmic rock on course to hit Earth

What are you doing here?" The software billionaire choked in astonishment when I told him I was a physicist. The reaction was informative: it was as if he had encountered a seasonal labourer at our meeting place, the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Between networking, self-promotion and all the other things politicians and financiers normally do (including skiing), the distinguished crowd at Davos last month discussed the poor health of the global economy. Heads of state saw the cure in better governance; central bankers, in better financial controls; investment bankers, in the markets. Economists offered new theories and internet entrepreneurs put their trust in social media. The only thing they shared was a belief that a quick fix was available.

The advantage of ivory towers is that they allow a view beyond immediate problems. Where one sees banking crisis, debt crisis, currency crisis or some other crises, academics may see even more worrying developments. We are in the midst of a technology crisis. Disruptive technologies now appear less frequently than steady economic growth requires. Even bankers complain about a dearth of new technologies in which to invest.

Look back to the second half of the last century and it was packed with technological advances. The silicon revolution led to computers, microchips, mobile phones and the web. There was also Sputnik, lasers, the Moon race, the Global Positioning System. In the past two decades, apart from social media, it has been less about disruption, more about honing the same gadgets.

Bizarro Earth

White House calls drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil 'legal,' 'ethical' and 'wise' - even without evidence of a pending attack


The White House is declining to explain its criteria for directing drone attacks against American citizens working abroad with terrorists
The White House today defended the use of targeted drone strikes against U.S. citizens abroad suspected of high-level terrorist activity, but declined to detail the criteria for ordering such an attack.

"Sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, to prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise," he said.

Administration lawyers found it is lawful to kill an American citizen if a "high-level" government official believes the target is an operational leader of al Qaeda who poses "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States" and if capture is infeasible, according to a newly disclosed Justice Department document.


'Judge, jury and executioner': Legal experts fear implications of White House drone memo

Legal experts expressed grave reservations Tuesday about an Obama administration memo concluding that the United States can order the killing of American citizens believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida - with one saying the White House was acting as "judge, jury and executioner."

The experts said that the memo, first obtained by NBC News, threatened constitutional rights and dangerously expanded the definition of national self-defense and of what constitutes an imminent attack.

"Anyone should be concerned when the president and his lawyers make up their own interpretation of the law or their own rules," said Mary Ellen O'Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and an authority on international law and the use of force.
"This is a very, very dangerous thing that the president has done," she added.

Light Saber

De-propagandizing the 'North Korea bogeyman': South Korea still occupied, Real threat to world is U.S.

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on the North Korean threat, the US government's expanding terror programs, and the implications of intervention in Mali.

Like Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet

Follow Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

Episode Breakdown: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to the national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, Brian Becker, about North Korea's nuclear drive, its tense relations with the US and the rationale of harsh rhetoric coming from the International community.

Abby then talks to editorial board member for Liberation News, Eugene Puryear, about the efficacy of the 'bombing for peace' strategy by French troops in Mali, given the volatility of a nation already stricken with poverty and violence. BTS wraps up the show with a look at the global network the US has employed to carry out extraordinary rendition as well as the recently leaked memo outlining the government's expansive power as it relates to drones and kill lists.


U.S. control is diminishing, but it still thinks it owns the world

© Photograph: Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images
'We "stabilise" countries when we invade them and destroy them.'
The United States has long assumed the right to use violence to achieve its aims, but it is now less able to implement its policies
This piece is adapted from 'Uprisings', a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to US Empire, Noam Chomsky's new book of interviews with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books). The questions are Barsamian's, the answers Chomsky's.
Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab spring is limited, but it's not insignificant. The western-controlled dictatorial system is being eroded. In fact, it's been being eroded for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources - the main concern of US planners - have been mostly nationalised. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.

Take the US invasion of Iraq, for example. To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq not because of our love of democracy but because it's maybe the second- or third-largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy-producing region. You're not supposed to say this. It's considered a conspiracy theory.

Comment: Is it a deeply entrenched religious belief at the root of the American Establishment's megalomania... or is it deeply entrenched psychopathology?

From Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski:
The pathological face [of a country hellbent on ruling over everyone] must be hidden from the world somehow, since recognition of the deviant rulership by world opinion would be a catastrophe. Ideological propaganda alone would then be an inadequate disguise. Primarily in the interests of the new elite and its expansionary plans, a pathocratic state must maintain commercial relations with the countries of normal man. The pathocratic state aims to achieve international recognition as a certain kind of political structure; and it fears recognition in terms of a true clinical diagnosis. (p.197) [Emphasis in the original]