Puppet MastersS


Sheeple

Best of the Web: Chris Hedges: Welcome to the Asylum

People collect scraps from a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India.
© AP/Mahesh Kumar A.People collect scraps from a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India.
When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki's pregnancy, Hulk Hogan's sex tape and Kim Kardashian's denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. "At times when the page is turning," Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in Castle to Castle, "when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!"

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society's version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression - which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of "primitive" societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet's ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.

Handcuffs

Davis Dozen: UC Davis Students and Faculty Face up to 11 Years in Prison for Peaceful Anti Bank Protest

The pepper spraying of UC Davis students shocked the nation, but the persecution that the Davis Dozen protesters face is far worse.

UC Davis protest
The pepper-spraying of University of California Davis protesters on November 18, 2011 promised to be a galvanizing moment for the student movement after University Police Lieutenant John Pike used military grade pepper spray at point blank range on seated protesters who had peacefully assembled to demonstrate against tuition hikes at UC Davis. The world took notice. Not only did the Lieutenant Pike pepper-spray "meme" spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter, major news outlets gave the event coverage, to varying degrees of depth and understanding.

But it seems that the University administration has successfully evaded scrutiny of the role it played in a series of events that began in January at UC Davis when 12 protesters, some of whom had been pepper-sprayed in November, staged another peaceful sit-in at the campus branch of US Bank. The sit-in was an important political action in defense of public funding of the University and against the replacement of that funding by private contracts with corporations. The protestors won an enormous victory when US Bank closed it University branch on February 28, possibly breaking its agreement with UC Davis.

Alarm Clock

Best of the Web: Financial Apocalypse: 25 Horrifying Statistics About the U.S. Economy That Obama Does Not Want You To Know

Barak Obama
The human capacity for self-delusion truly is remarkable. Most people out there end up believing exactly what they want to believe even when the truth is staring them right in the face. Take the U.S. economy for example. Barack Obama wants to believe that his policies have worked and that the U.S. economy is improving. So that is what he is telling the American people. The mainstream media wants to believe that Barack Obama is a good president and that his policies make sense and so they are reporting that we are experiencing an economic recovery. A very large segment of the U.S. population still fully supports Barack Obama and they want to believe that the economy is getting better so they are buying the propaganda that the mainstream media is feeding them. But is the U.S. economy really improving? The truth is that it is not. The rate of employment among working age Americans is exactly where it was two years ago and household incomes have actually gone down while Obama has been president. Home ownership levels and home prices continue to decline. Meanwhile, food and gasoline continue to become even more expensive. The percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at an all-time record high and the U.S. national debt has risen by more than 5 trillion dollars under Obama. We simply have not seen the type of economic recovery that we have seen after every other economic recession since World War II.

The horrible statistics about the U.S. economy that you are about to read are not talked about much by the mainstream media. They would rather be "positive" and "upbeat" about the direction that things are headed.

But lying to the American people is not going to help them. If you are speeding in a car toward a 500 foot cliff, you don't need someone to cheer you on. Instead, you need someone to slam on the brakes.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was four or five years ago.

We have never come close to recovering from the last recession and another one will be here soon.

The following are 25 horrible statistics about the U.S. economy that Barack Obama does not want you to know....

Bad Guys

US and Allies Ramp Up Plans for Military Intervention in Syria

Syrians protest
© ReutersSyrians protest against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in Kafranbel near Idlib.
Accusations that the Syrian government is either wholly or mainly responsible for breaches of the United Nations' ceasefire are meant to provide a pretext for military intervention by the imperialist powers and their proxies.

The US and European media, meanwhile, is acting as a barely concealed propaganda instrument tasked with preparing public opinion for the latest criminal adventure in the Middle East - a war for regime change in Syria to follow those waged in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturation coverage was given to an explosion in Hama, with "opposition" sources cited to claim that a Scud missile attack had destroyed a building, accompanied by the usual inflated casualty figures. The more believable explanation that the explosion was due to an accident at a building used as a bomb factory was relegated to an aside.

The same holds true of the widespread reporting of "shock footage" of a journalist supposedly being "buried alive" by Syrian troops - a video so obviously staged and badly scripted that even supporters of the opposition have deemed it as a fake.

In contrast, a campaign by the opposition to create the conditions for a military intervention through systematic violations of the cease-fire has been downplayed or portrayed as staged provocations by the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

Eye 1

British Security State to patrol London skies with snipers during Olympic Games

Image
Military marskmen are being trained to combat any potential terrorist threats from the air during the tournament

Military snipers are to be deployed in helicopters during the London Olympics and if required will shoot pilots of low-flying aircraft that might be involved in terrorist attacks, it emerged on Monday.

A team of seven snipers is being given "comprehensive on-the-ground and in-the-air training" as part of the all encompassing security operation being undertaken by the police and the army.

General Sir Nick Parker, who is in charge of co-ordinating the armed forces during the 2012 Games, described the role of the snipers as he revealed the six sites where anti-aircraft missiles may be based as part of the security operation.

Eye 1

British Security State to erect missile launchers on top of London buildings 'to protect Olympics'


London residents were startled to discover that their housing complex was to be used as a military base to lodge a missile system. The UK Defense Ministry says it's all part of an effort to counter a terror threat during the London Olympics.
Coming to a neighborhood near you

Instead of their morning mail, residents of the upscale Bow Quarter residential complex received leaflets from the Defense Ministry. It was a worthy read: a high-velocity missile (HVM) battery is to be installed on the rooftop of the Lexington Building Water Tower. The surface-to-air rockets are capable of shooting down airplanes within a five kilometer range, and are aimed at preventing a terrorist strike during the London Olympics.

Why did the military select a residential block as the location for the missile battery?

Comment: BBC report on the psychopaths' latest insane move:




Satellite

Spy in the Sky: Is It Only a Matter of Time Before Drone Technology is Used in Civil Society?

drone cartoon
© n/a
Their killing power is immense and the surveillance possibilities are endless. Perhaps it's no wonder that the awesome potential of unmanned aerial vehicles is now being so energetically explored - from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the London Olympics.

The world's first glimpse of a killer drone in action was over the English Channel: a Royal Navy patrol boat reported "a bright horizontal flame" in the sky. The device emitting the flame had stubby wings and was shaped like a rocket, and was travelling from the French coast at more than 200mph. Too small and too fast to be intercepted, it arrived in England's Home Counties without warning; as it plunged earthwards the low drone of the motor cut out and there were three seconds of silence before the massive explosion. Where it exploded, the human beings at the epicentre simply disappeared, vaporised.

Of course, for all the similarities, this was not a Reaper or a Predator, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) used in action by British and US militaries today. The most glaring difference is that modern drones don't self-destruct, except by mistake. This was the Vergeltungswaffe, the V-1, known affectionately to its German makers as the Maybug and to its terrorised British targets as the "doodlebug". The Nazis had experimented with making it radio-controlled, but in the end its navigation system was crude. Yet this PAC (pilotless aircraft) - Hitler's last, desperate throw of the dice as the Allies swarmed towards Berlin - marked the start of a new era in warfare as decisively as did "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", which plummeted towards Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few months later.

The Predator and the Reaper and their rivals and relatives, some developed at Cranfield Aerospace ("Innovation at its Best") in Bedford, are crucially different from the Maybug because they target their victims so precisely. The 186 men, women and children vaporised by a doodlebug in the New Cross branch of Woolworth's in London's East End one November Saturday in 1944 had no idea what was coming their way, and no reason to feel more than normally apprehensive. By contrast, many of the intended victims of today's drones experience the very specific fear of being killed by them. In US Department of Defense videos with titles such as "UAV Kills Heavily Armed Criminals" and posted on YouTube, the visceral terror of the turbaned figures about to die is palpable. (Drone pilots call the moment of the kill a "bug splat" because of the way it looks on their screens.)

For what the US authorities call "personality strikes" - high-value targets - that specific fear can last for months, even years. Friends and relatives of the Islamist militant and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had such strong grounds to fear his assassination by drone that the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in August 2010 on behalf of his father, Nasser al-Awlaki, to try to stop it happening. The judge eventually dismissed the case, arguing that Nasser al-Awlaki would have no grounds to pursue it unless and until his son was actually killed. And so it came to pass: on 30 September 2011 in southern Yemen, the bearded American became one of at least four US citizens, to date, to be deliberately assassinated by US drones.

Arrow Down

Europe Seeks to Restore Calm After Spanish Downgrade

Mario Draghi
© Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, called for a “ growth compact” consisting of structural changes and improvements in competitiveness to enhance the fiscal pact.
European leaders will seek to restore market calm this week after Spain was cut by Standard & Poor's and a German-led austerity agenda to resolve the debt crisis came under fire ahead of elections in France and Greece.

With Spain's largest unions leading marches involving thousands of protesters in 55 cities yesterday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government battled to prevent Spain from becoming the next country to seek bailout aid. In France, the final round of presidential elections on May 6 and the prospect of victory for Socialist candidate Francois Hollande steered debate toward whether a focus on budget cuts worsens the crisis.

"Watching Spain now is exactly like watching Ireland around October 2010 before Ireland was forced into its bailout," Megan Greene, a senior economist at Roubini Global Economics LLC, told Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart" on April 27. "The government can't win no matter what it does."

X

Cameron Denies News Corp. Collaboration

David Cameron
© David Moir/Reuters
London - U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday there was no agreement between him and Rupert Murdoch, or his son James Murdoch, to support News Corp.'s NWSA -0.15% business interests in return for the media company's support of Mr. Cameron's Conservative Party.

"The idea there was some grand bargain between me and Rupert Murdoch - that is not true," he said in an interview with BBC television, in which he also defended the government's austerity measures after economic data last week showed the U.K. slipped back into a recession in the previous two quarters.

The government's links with media groups, in particular News Corp., have come under renewed scrutiny this week after the special adviser to the culture minister resigned over his close contacts with the Murdoch-run company during its efforts to take full control of pay-television operator British Sky Broadcasting Group BSY.LN +0.90% PLC last year.

Opposition lawmakers have called for Jeremy Hunt, the minister for culture, media and sport, to also resign over the allegations he was too close to News Corp. while he handled the regulatory process over the BSkyB bid.

Mr. Hunt has said he acted with "scrupulous fairness throughout" the process and pledged to give evidence on the matter before Brian Leveson, a government-appointed judge who is conducting a public inquiry into British media practices.

Info

Ex-Libyan Oil Minister Found Dead In Danube Near Vienna

Shukri Ghanem
© unknownShukri Ghanem
The body of former Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem was found in Danube river near the Austrian capital Vienna on Sunday.

Media reports quoting police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said Ghanem's body was found floating in the river on Sunday morning and it bore no external signs of violence. The cause of death could be determined only after a post-mortem examination, he added.

Ghanem, 69, was last seen by his daughter on Saturday night in their apartment in a Vienna suburb. She went to bed and when she woke up he was not in the apartment. She alerted the police who told her the body of her father was found in the Danube, 20 meters from the shore, close to the apartment in Copa Cagrana, a popular waterfront dotted with bars and restaurants.