All posts tagged: Essays

Showtime in America: Idiots’ Delight – A Quasi Review

Edward Curtin The making of a journalist: no ideas and the ability to express them.” Karl Kraus, Half-Truths & One-and-a-Half Truths Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Mark Twain All cats die. Socrates is dead. Socrates is a cat.” Eugene Ionesco, Rhinoceros If believability is your gauge for discerning truth, you are living in a fantasy world. But that is the reality of life in the United States today. This is the land of make-believe in which actors and audiences are engaged in a vast folie à deux full of sound and fury signifying a nothingness that passes for intelligence. Assertions made convincingly enough are the new facts for a population hypnotized by a stage-managed reality show. The recently closed Kavanaugh/Blasey Ford Show that mercifully had a short run at the National Comedic Congressional Theater is the latest case in point. The believability of the actors was said to be the key issue. In other words, who seemed to be telling the truth. Demeanor …

Who Doesn’t Love Identity Politics?

CJ Hopkins If there is one thing that still unites Americans across the ever more intellectually suffocating and bitterly polarized political spectrum our imaginations have been crammed into like rush hour commuters on the Tokyo Metro, it’s our undying love of identity politics. Who doesn’t love identity politics? Liberals love identity politics. Conservatives love identity politics. Political parties love identity politics. Corporations love identity politics. Advertisers, anarchists, white supremacists, Wall Street bankers, Hollywood producers, Twitter celebrities, the media, academia … everybody loves identity politics. Why do we love identity politics? We love them for many different reasons. The ruling classes love identity politics because they keep the working classes focused on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and so on, and not on the fact that they (i.e., the working classes) are, essentially, glorified indentured servants, who will spend the majority of their sentient existences laboring to benefit a ruling elite that would gladly butcher their entire families and sell their livers to hepatitic Saudi princes if they could get away with it. Dividing the …

End of an Era: Big Agriculture and the Fall of American Dairy

J Birchfield The ongoing American dairy farmer debacle deeply bothers me, and every time I see another reference to it I’m forcing myself to think it through. Extra cheap milk in which to dunk your Oreos it would seem is the new cultural norm, along with some of the highest suicide rates farm families have ever seen. Disturbing. Social media posts, written articles, viral videos are all so eager to put on display the ‘been doing it for half a century’ old and broken head of the family farm, his wrinkled face crying, hugging a few of his closest family members, heads hung low and shoulders slouched, all taking in their last few moments of existence as tough, gritty, incredibly consistent, and innovative American dairy farmers. Over time, you either tune it out or embrace the collective nostalgia that for some has turned to anger and depression, crying out through the ripped and torn cultural fabric almost as intensely as a mamma cow mourns a dead calf. Of course, all along generating the buzz that …

Book Review: Propaganda Blitz – How Corporate Media Distort Reality

We’ve heard a good deal of late about Western democracy, and I for one don’t knock it. I think it an excellent idea, but wouldn’t it require an informed electorate? And wouldn’t that require a media untainted by power and unfettered by any ties other than to truth? Truth in the sense of accuracy and immunity from entrenched interest; truth in the sense of facts and interpretations offered with neither fear nor favour on matters vital to the common good – like climate change, waging war, and levels of inequality both morally indefensible and socially dysfunctional?

9/11 Unmasked: A Remarkable Review

David Ray Griffin The book 9/11 Unmasked, which I wrote together with Elizabeth Woodworth, has received several excellent reviews. But the most remarkable of these was written by Philip Roddis, who in 2016 had written with vitriol (his term) about the idea that 9/11 was an “inside job.” He wrote: “9/11 Truthism is not only seriously crackers but reactionary too.” What is remarkable about Roddis’ 2018 review is the extent to which he reversed his previous position. Introduction Roddis’ reversal began after seeing responses to his 2016 piece. Most of the responses simply confirmed Roddis’ long-held “contempt” for 9/11 truthers. He had felt this contempt – he recently realized – because he had been “exposed only to lazy, simplistic and epistemologically naive truthers.” Put otherwise, Roddis admitted that his “exposure to truthism had come from armchair conspiracists too idle or brain fogged to put together a decent argument.” Given his long-held certainty that the truthers could not be taken seriously, he had felt no need to “engage with evidential flaws in the official account.” So …

The Cell Phone and the Virgin: A Montreal Odyssey

Edward Curtin And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever While Suzanne holds her mirror” Leonard Cohen, “Suzanne” Before this historical chasm, a mind like that of Adams felt itself helpless; he turned from the Virgin to the Dynamo as though he were a Branly coherer. On one side, at the Louvre and at Chartres, as he knew by the record of work actually done and still before his eyes, was the highest energy ever known to man, the creator of four-fifths of his noblest art, exercising vastly more attraction over the human mind than all the steam-engines and dynamos ever dreamed of; and yet this energy was unknown to the American mind. An American Virgin would never dare command; an American Venus would never dare exist.” Henry Adams, “The Dynamo and …

The Sexual Passion of Winston Smith

There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life.

There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where “Big Brother” poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity.

Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World

Most suicides die of natural causes, slowly and in silence.

But we hear a lot about the small number of suicides, by comparison, who kill themselves quickly by their own hands. Of course their sudden deaths elicit shock and sadness since their deaths, usually so unexpected even when not a surprise, allow for no return. Such sudden once-and-for-all endings are even more jarring in a high-tech world where people are subconsciously habituated to thinking that everything can be played back, repeated, and rewound, even lives.

If the suicides are celebrities, the mass media can obsess over why they did it. How shocking! Wasn’t she at the peak of her career? Didn’t he finally seem happy? And then the speculative stories will appear about the reasons for the rise or fall of suicide rates, only to disappear as quickly as the celebrities are dropped by the media and forgotten by the public.

Of Fake News and History Suborned (In War and Peace)

Brief: The gulf dividing established institutions—governments, political parties, academia, the judiciary, legislature, bureaucracies, the national security state, think-tanks, lobby groups, and especially the mainstream media—and those within and across the broader body politic, particularly those who’d challenge the chokehold such institutions seek to impose on the information and knowledge that forms the foundation of our political discourse as well as that of the official historical record, is expanding at a rate of knots. With a focus on one man who saw it all coming, it’s time to reflect on the backstory of this bourgeoning, perilous impasse, and what the implications might be for geopolitical stability and security, and indeed, the future of humanity.

New Year’s Message and Warning from a War Correspondent

Sometimes it is useful to take a break from news bulletins and newspapers, and even from ‘friendly’ Internet publications. Occasionally it is good to realize that there are actually two parallel realities that are constantly competing for the ‘hearts and minds’ of people living all over the world. There is real life and ‘fake life’. There is reality and elaborately manufactured pseudo-reality, which is designed to appear more real than the reality itself. It is like that chemically produced green apple shampoo that smells more authentic than the fruit itself.

A Partisanship Of The Heart: Interior Measures Towards A Re-Visioning Of Capitalism’s Imperium Of Death

by Phil Rockstroh According to a nationwide study [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm] conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a greater number of U.S. Americans died (approximately 65,000) from drug overdoses last year than were killed during the course of the Vietnam War. All part and parcel of capitalism’s war against life itself. The emotional and physical pain, anxiety, and depression inflicted by the trauma inherent to a system sustained by perpetual exploitation has proven to be too much for a sizeable number of human beings to endure thus their need to self-medicate. The root of addiction is trauma. The soul of the nation is a casualty of war. There is not an Arlington Cemetery for these fallen, no hagiographic ceremonies will be performed over their graves nor statues erected in memoriam. Their ghosts will howl through the long, dark night of national denial. Listen to their wailing. It is an imprecatory prayer. A curse and augury … that admonishes, our fate and the fate of the nation will converge … as the nation will …

Thanksgiving for JFK

by Edward Curtin If he had lived, President John F. Kennedy would have been 100 years old this year. At Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, his family would be raising a glass in his honor. But as we all know, he was murdered in Dallas, Texas on this date – November 22nd – in 1963. A true war hero twice over, he risked his life to save his men in World War II, and then, after a radical turn toward peace-making in the last year of his life, he died in his own country at the hands of his domestic enemies as a soldier in a non-violent struggle for peace and reconciliation for all people across the world. But we can still celebrate, mourn, and offer thanksgiving for his courageous witness. When we gather tomorrow to give thanks, we should remember today – the profound significance of the date – and the absent presence of a man whose death, dark and bloody as it was, is a sign of hope in these dark times. For if John …

Haunted by the Ghosts of War

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

International Systems of States and Global Security Models

by Dr Vladislav B. Sotirovic Introduction The fundamental aim of the text below is to deal with the concept and models of global security as one of the crucial topics of global political studies. We have to keep in mind that a term and notion of security usually imply a kind of sense of protection and safety from different possible harms coming from „outside“. Therefore, it can be generally acceptable and understandable that the states want to protect their own territories by expanding great resources in making their territorial safe. Security topics are of very different kind, ranging from the causes of conflict between states to deterioration in the global climate or women’s rights in global politics. The question of Security Studies as an academic discipline within the scope of Global Politics has been the subject of much debate and one of the most prosperous ways to deal with global security is firstly to analyze different standpoints which are existing within the research discipline. The article, in one word, will try to provide the readers …

Force and Fraud

Niccolò Machiavelli Italian politician, Writer and Author, adviser to the Medicis
It seems now overwhelmingly apparent that the ‘West’ has entered a phase of terminal decline – a multifaceted and ongoing deterioration at multiple levels: cultural, political, ideological and economic. Such is the way with all civilizations, particularly those based upon empire. This is not a novel phenomenon; indeed, has become something of a cliché (1). But the process appears to exhibit a recurring historical leitmotif.

A Brief History of Mass Theft

by Darren Allen Our institutionalised brand of democracy goes by the name of capitalism. In such a system the word democracy, as Noam Chomsky points out actually means, run by the business classes. If it’s not run by business, it simply doesn’t count as democratic. Capitalist democracy is one in which all capital is privately, albeit indirectly, owned by a tiny club of psychologically stunted monsters. It is a democracy that asks us to vote, every four or five years, for people who have almost zero influence over the totalitarian corporate structures that actually run the planet and in which we spend most of our actual lives; a democracy that can only survive by making its members as stupid, anxious, greedy and hateful as possible so that they continue to vote for the owners and managers who sit at the bottom of the democratic money-funnel with their golden buckets, laughing like this: It’s worth asking, I think, how we could get to such a state. Ask yourself this; what do these six things have in …

On the Nature of the US and American Foreign Policy

In order to properly understand the post-Cold War global hegemony foreign policy by the US Administration, it is necessary to realize the very nature of the US as a state. Basically, the US foreign policy of global hegemony is shaped by two most important internal processes which have existed from the very beginning of US independent statehood (declared in 1776)

Escaping the Iron Cage of Hopelessness

By Edward Curtin Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved” Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism In this frightful round of unchecked means, nobody knows any longer where they are going, purposes are forgotten, and ends are overtaken. Human beings have set off at astronomically high speeds toward nowhere.”Jacques Ellul, Presence in the Modern World In a previous article I argued that those who think science can solve our major social problems – in particular, world destruction with nuclear weapons and the poisoning of the earth’s ecology and atmosphere – were delusional and in the grip of the myth of science and technology. These problems were created by science when it became untethered from any sense of limits in its embrace of instrumental rationality. Once it became wedded to usefulness and the efficiency of technical means, it lost its original aim: the search for truth. (Obviously this doesn’t include all scientists.) In embracing means as ends, it produced …

Marching in Circles: Faustian Thinking and the Myth of Science

The recent marches on April 22nd to promote science and to celebrate Earth Day were perhaps well-intentioned, but they were delusional and conducted without any sense of irony. They served power and its propaganda. Obviously science has benefited us in certain ways, but it has become untethered from any sense of moral limits in its embrace of instrumental rationality and its unending efforts to sabotage faith in human freedom by rationally “proving” its illogical deterministic credo.

Fake News: The Unravelling of US Empire From Within

by Prof. John McMurtry, via Global Research Setting the Stage of the Press-President War US ruling ideology and Washington power have become unstuck as never before. A war of opposing certitudes and denunciations is waged day to day between the long-ruling US corporate media and the White House. Both continuously proclaim ringing recriminations of the other’s ‘fake news’. Over months they both portray each other as malevolent liars. US bully pulpits are now beyond show disagreements and successful media inquisitions of the past. Slanderous accusations long confined to vilifying the designated Enemy have crept into accusations of the President himself. ‘The Russians are coming’ is returning as the final recourse of smear to stop deviations from the global program of hugely profitable enemy hate and perpetual preparations for foreign war. The ruling big lies of the US money party and corporate globalization have divided into opposing camps. The Press and the President denounce each other non-stop on the public stage, while US dark state agents take sides behind the scenes. Fake news is the medium …