Showing posts with label anti-war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anti-war. Show all posts

3/31/2015

A Private Murder and a Public Genocide


A multi-millionaire, New York City real estate mogul's wife goes missing.  Friends and family suspect foul play, but the case gathers dust as a missing person mystery never to be solved.  Twenty years later, a stool pigeon reignites the authorities' interest in the disappearance, this time setting their eyes on the husband who just might have gotten away with murder.  The couple's former house is swept for clues, divers search the lake for a body, and just days before the primary person of interest can be interviewed for the first time - unbelievably - she is executed at point blank range in her home at the opposite end of the country.

Less than a year later, the man that was suspected but never charged with committing two murders is arrested for dismembering his elderly neighbor in Galveston, Texas.  He's caught red-handed, with knives and saws in the back seat of his car.  Without realizing the true identity of their suspect, the police grant him a $250,000 bail, which is promptly paid the next day.  He goes on the run, a nationwide man-hunt is issued, and he's busted for stealing a chicken salad sandwich with $500 cash in his pocket.

This is story of Robert Durst - so sensational, so bizarre, that it proves the idiom "truth is stranger than fiction".  Of course it became the subject of a major motion picture, and that's when things took another unexpected turn.  Apparently Durst was so moved by the film that he contacted the director, Andrew Jarecki, and asked him if he'd be interested in interviewing him and working together on another project.  That was the beginning of The Jinx, which was a word Durst used to describe himself when asked why he was adamant about not having children, and in retrospect of his perfectly timed arrest on the eve of the season finale, it's a fitting title for many of his inexplicable actions.

For countless viewers, The Jinx has set a new standard in the young genre of confronting suspected killers in the documentary form.  For many, there's nothing like it: a chronicle of 3 murders over 4 decades with the assistance of the suspect himself.  Key information is revealed throughout each episode, culminating in a shocking pseudo-admission when Durst forgets about his microphone while in the bathroom.  "What the hell did I do?  Killed them all, of course."  Jaws drop, ratings soar!  It's received coverage on every major publication, and undoubtedly, the trial will consume media attention for months to come.

While there are plenty of haters, kudos to director Andrew Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling.  They smelled their rat and followed it through, potentially bringing a murderer to justice while creating a truly engaging and unforgettable television experience in the process.  They couldn't have invented a more perfect villain: a guy that was born into millions of dollars and got away with admittedly chopping up his neighbor into little pieces.  In the era of the 99% and an unhealthy focus on income inequality, it's hard to say which is the bigger crime - but with Durst we get the perfect combination of both.

However, for all the press this event is receiving, and giving fair credit to The Jinx for a job well done, this reminds me of another documentary that exposed crimes far greater by orders of magnitude, and yet, got a fraction of the coverage.  Not only that, but while Mr. Durst was accidentally recorded while talking to himself in the privacy of a bathroom, which is hardly equivalent to a true confession, this other documentary is overflowing with footage of individuals bragging about killing hundreds of people.  In one case, a triple homicide suspect is swiftly brought to trial, but in the other, the criminals continue to not just roam, but rule the streets with impunity.  Why the double standard?  What's the lesson to be learned?  Perhaps Mr. Durst's real crime was murdering without a government uniform.

The Act of Killing

"In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military.
Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a communist: union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and the ethnic Chinese.

In less than a year, and with the direct aid of western governments, over one million "communists" were murdered.
The army used paramilitaries and gangsters to carry out the killings.
These men have been in power - and have persecuted their opponents - ever since.

When we met the killers, they proudly told us stories about what they did.
To understand why, we asked them to create scenes about the killings in whatever ways they wished.
This film follows that process, and documents its consequences."
These are the opening words to The Act of Killing, the only historical background we are given to a genocide that claimed 500,000 to 3 million lives in a single year.  With the most widely accepted estimate at half a million deaths, it didn't pass the threshold to be included in Rummel's catalog of democides, Death By Government.  With the United States merely supporting the Indonesian government with money and weapons as part of its overall anti-communist policy, but not actively orchestrating the overthrow of their government, the military counter-coup did not make Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow.  Not only has this event gone down the memory hole in the western world, but the events of 1965-1966 are a forgotten page in the Indonesian history books as well.  This is the reason Joshua Oppenheimer went to Indonesia - to meet with the survivors and document the genocide so that it can be rightly included with the other great sins of the 21st century.  However, there was one problem with this approach: the people that committed the genocide are still in power, ruling their victims by fear and terrorizing them from speaking out.  When it seemed that the government would be successful in preventing their story from being told, the survivors gave Oppenheimer one last request: go interview the killers and the executioners, see if they will talk to you.  He did so, and it resulted in arguably the most unique, powerful, and universally important documentary… ever.


Ever?  A case could be made, not because of the importance of the genocide itself, but because Oppenheimer has done something totally unprecedented and amazing in the history of film.  He was able to capture government murderers bragging about their horrendous crimes while still in power.  It's like a real-life House of Cards; like footage from a Man in the High Castle parallel-world with Nazi's bragging about carrying out the holocaust with the smug assurance that nothing will ever be done about it because they won the war.

These people are free, heroes in their country, totally sanctioned by their government, media, and history books - and yet they brutally killed hundreds of people by their own hands.  It can't be overstated enough - they were complicit in the murders of thousands, tens of thousands, likely over 2 million collectively, and they brag about it!  With the innocence and naiveté of a child, the leading subject of the film, executioner Anwar Congo, will demonstrate how he was inspired by American gangster movies to pioneer a cleaner and more efficient way of killing people by strangling them with wire, and in the next moment he'll show off his dancing ability with the cha-cha-cha.  It's absolutely surreal, and Anwar's Jekyll / Hyde persona is perfectly contrasted with fellow executioner Adi Zulkadry, who, rather than being a strange and inexplicable figure, is someone we know all too well.


Anwar and Adi: Reflections of the Statist Mind

As Oppenheimer has explained in several interviews, The Act of Killing is made possible by Anwar Congo's willingness to explore the crimes of his past to satisfy his conscience.  Anwar suffers from nightmares; he sees the open eyes of the people he killed, their ghosts haunting his dreams.  If Anwar can create a "beautiful family film", then maybe he can finally justify his actions and bring closure to his guilt and suffering.  It's a logical goal, as there are dozens of films that try to paint the ugly truths of war and violence as beautiful and heroic every year, some of them winning prestigious awards.

Anwar ultimately expresses guilt and takes some responsibility for his actions while simultaneously maintaining that "he did what he had to do", but fellow executioner Adi Zulkadry holds no such incompatible delusions.  If Anwar represents the American vet suffering from PTSD, ashamed and conflicted with the crimes he committed while "serving his country", then Adi is the stalwart officer of the law, 100% committed to his justifications and convinced that he was "only doing his job".  Combined, they represent the range of the statist mindset.  Neither of them can ever truly face the reality of their crimes: the fact that a government uniform did not alter the morality of their acts by one iota.  But on one extreme, Anwar is at least conflicted and suffers guilt, even although he does not understand it.  On the other end, Adi is a Javert like character that has accepted every statist lie and has nowhere else to go in this life.

The interplay between Anwar and Adi makes for some of the most memorable moments in the film.  When Anwar discusses his nightmares, suggesting that they are caused by the people he strangled, Adi will hear none of it.  "You feel haunted because your mind is weak", he tells Anwar.  According to Adi, they have nothing to feel sorry about, so all he needs to do is meet with a neurologist, get a prescription for "nerve vitamins", and he'll be a true believer once again.  Adi explains his ability to accept his acts without remorse or regret in a chillingly straightforward way:
"Killing is the worst crime you can do.  So the key is to find a way not to feel guilty.  It's all about finding the right excuse.

For example, if I'm asked to kill someone, if the compensation is right, then of course I'll do it, and from one perspective it's not wrong.  That's the perspective we must make ourselves believe.  After all, morality is relative."
Throughout the film, Anwar demonstrates that he does not agree with Adi's belief in relative morality.  When visiting the site where he tortured and killed hundreds of people, he is overcome with emotion, saying, "I know it was wrong - but I had to do it." He has a physical reaction, throwing up a little, and continues, "Why did I have to kill them?  I had to kill… My conscience told me they had to be killed."  In this instance he confuses his conscience with his friends in government and the Pancasila Youth - they were the ones that painted the "communists" as savages and sub-humans that deserved torture and death.  However, it is his recognition of the inherent immorality of his acts that allow him to identify the defining characteristic of government on par with the great Lysander Spooner:
"...Parliament should be the most noble place in society, but if we see what they do there, they're really just robbers with ties."
Yet again, Adi has a different perspective that reflects an attitude that is all too common in the west.  In one of Oppenheimer's most confrontational moments in the film, he asks Adi what he'd do if he was sent to the Hague and charged with war crimes.  The executioner responds indignantly:
"I don't necessarily agree with those international laws.  When Bush was in power, Guantanamo was right.  Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  That was right according to Bush, but now it's wrong.

The Geneva Convention may be today's morality, but tomorrow - we'll have the Jakarta Conventions and dump the Geneva Conventions.

'War Crimes' are defined by the winners.  I'm a winner.  So I can make my own definitions.  I needn't follow the international definitions."
When John Oliver interviewed Oppenheimer on the Daily Show, he specifically referred to this scene, saying, "You can't argue with him".  Well of course you can!  But if you did, you'd be forced to confront Adi's ugly truth.  A more honest statement from Oliver would be that you can't logically denounce the mass killings in Indonesia while justifying the crimes of other nations like the United States, such as dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities, killing 500,000 children through sanctions, or torturing sheepherders in Guantanmo Bay.  In both instances, actions that would be deemed as wrong by an objective moral code are dressed in the cloak of "authority" and magically change their moral status.  The only difference is that we can't accept the authority of the Indonesian government when viewed through Oppenheimer's lens.  Lucky for the libertarian viewer, there are several other learning opportunities in The Act of Killing that demonstrate the true nature of government.

A Look Behind the Curtain: The Nature of Government

One of the most eccentric characters in The Act of Killing is Herman Koto, a gangster who spent his entire life in the ranks of the Pancasila Youth paramilitary organization.  A large man with a simple mind and a penchant for cross-dressing, Herman is as brutal of a killer as any and takes his directorial duties very seriously, second only to Anwar.  So it seemed too good to be true when Herman Koto decided to run for parliament because he's "well known".  Three cheers to Oppenheimer, the few minutes of the film covering Herman's campaign didn't move the story of the 1965 genocide, but it does offer the clearest and most honest insight into the mind of a politician outside of the fictional series House of Cards.


Once Herman dresses up for campaign photos and plasters his image all over his campaign car, he's ready to shake hands and kiss babies.  After practicing his best Obama impression, he rides down the street, yelling "Long live the Businessmen and Workers Party!  I am Herman - ready to fight for worker's rights!"  But in the next scene he reveals his real ambitions for elected office.  Herman explains:
"If I get elected and get on the Building Commission - I can get money from everyone.  For example, if a building is 10 cm too small, I can demand "Tear down the building!"

They'll say, "Please don't report us, Here's your money"

Even if nothing's wrong with the building, if I threaten them they'll give me money anyway.

Not just a little money, in a block of 10 buildings if each pays $10,000, just do the math - that's already $100,000.  That's only one neighborhood!"
The Act of Killing doesn't just show the true motivation behind code enforcement, it also tackles eminent domain.  Haji Anif, a paramilitary leaders and businessmen, looks across his vast acreage of land and explains that he gave it to the birds because it makes him happy.  To show what a clever and powerful man he is, he explains how he got the land:
"Everybody's terrified of the paramilitaries… When a businessman wants land where people are living , if he just pays for it, it's expensive.  But we can solve his problem.  Because people are terrified of us, when we show up - they say, 'just take the land.  Pay what you like.'"
What refreshing honesty!  Who needs libertarian class analysis with such candid political elites?  For all the horror and the trauma that the Indonesian people have been through, at least they can clearly identify their enemies.  In these moments, The Act of Killing highlights many of Hoppe's arguments in Democracy: The God that Failed, as a government this openly corrupt doesn't suffer from the army of useful idiots parroting "we are the government".  That said, there is at least one moment in the film when a government official thinks he may have gone too far and considers his public image.  Before filming the attack on Kampung Kolam, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Sakhyan Asmara makes a special appearance to give the actors a pep talk, and before long he's in the middle of a foaming-at-the-mouth blood rage.  "Crush the comments!  Wipe them out!  Slaughter them!  Kill them all!  Don't let any escape!  Take no prisoners!  Destroy them all!  Burn down their houses!  Kill the communists!  Chop them up!  Burn them!  Kill them all!"  It's pretty intense, so Sakhyan Asmara decides to give a disclaimer:
"Now I'm speaking as a leader of Pancasila Youth.  What we've just shown is not characteristic of our organization.  We shouldn't look brutal, like we want to drink people's blood.  That's dangerous for our organization's image.  But we must exterminate the communists.  We must totally wipe them out - but in a more humane way."
So there we have it.  When it comes to official government policy, it's important to be humane when you kill a million or so people.  This is the primary reason why the Indonesian government requires paramilitaries like Pancasila Youth.  By all objective accounts they certainly meet the criteria of the state; they are an integral part of the "monopoly of violence".  They kill, rob, shake-down, and commit all sorts of other crimes with total impunity.  Not only do they receive privileges usually reserved for government enforcers, but top members of the government are also members of Pancasila Youth!  But just in case any "uncharacteristic" event spins out of control they always have plausible deniability.  Vice President of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, explains the importance of Pancasila Youth this way:
"The spirit of Pancasila Youth, which people accuse of being gangsters...  Gangsters are people who work outside the system - not for the government.

The word 'gangster' comes from 'free men'.  This nation needs 'free men'!

If everyone worked for the government - we'd be a nation of bureaucrats, we'd get nothing done.  We need gangsters to get things done."
If there was ever a reason to take a step back and consider the pros and cons of Obama's call for a civilian security force, this would probably be it.


Conclusion

The Act of Killing brings about such a sense of unease in the viewer because it goes to the heart of a commonly promoted superstition: that the human species is going ever onward and upwards - righting wrongs, learning from mistakes, and making progress.  Footage of Nazi's bragging about their crimes wouldn't elicit the same reaction, the take away would be that they lost the war because they were evil and got what they deserved in Nuremburg.  But here you have to contend with an unjust world, one where a group of mass-murdering gangsters won control over their government, put down their opposition, controls the masses through fear and propaganda, and are still in charge today.  It is a film that shows that crime pays - only if the crime is big enough.

Inevitably, having to contend with this reality begs the question - if the Indonesians still live in a country ruled by mass-murderers and brainwashed with a corrupt media that portrays villains as heroes - what can I say for sure about my own government?  Is it possible my "duly elected leaders" have the same contempt for me?  In this way Oppenheimer is able to open a window into the true nature of government for anyone watching it - regardless of what country they come from.  A Stockholm Syndrome defense mechanism would kick in if you showed someone a film attacking his own government; all the years of childhood indoctrination ensures that one can always double-think out of any unpatriotic thought.  But the Act of Killing lowers those defenses, it captures the imagination by showing a world far removed from our day to day life, and the anxiety we feel when watching it is a long-dormant moral compass awakening and challenging the inherent illogic of living in a modern state.

The Jinx may be a ratings success for HBO, and undoubtedly the trial of Robert Durst will receive significant airplay for months to come, but in the end, Durst is a sloppy piker compared to the likes of Anwar Congo.  Sure he's got millions of dollars, but what is that compared to the power of government?  What are 3 murders compared to a genocide of 3 million?  If the answer is "a million times worse", then shouldn't Oppenheimer's masterpiece still be receiving the attention it deserves?  Unfortunately, The Act of Killing's temporary rise and fall just goes to show that when it comes to judging the importance of a murder, the most important criteria is whether or not it was done with the authority of the state.

7/04/2013

Our Most Shameful Holiday

Today is the 4th of July.  It is a little known fact that we get off work not because it's the 4th day of the 7th month, or because the government declared this holiday to stimulate the boating, fireworks, and alcohol industries, but because it commemorates Independence Day.  If you know this refers to the year 1776 when the delegates of the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to formally break their ties with Great Britain and kick-start the American Revolution, then good for you.  Your neck must hurt from carrying around your giant brain.  It's painful to watch, but man on the street interviews like this show just how clueless the average person is when it comes to basic American history.  We declared independence from China in 1976 when Jesse Ventura signed the Declaration of Independence?  Sure, why not?

However, it is not just the gross ignorance of the American booboisie that makes me ashamed to celebrate the 4th of July.  Indeed, no matter how educated you are or what you believe, I don't think anyone can be proud of this holiday.  No celebration should be had.  Take the day off, drink some beer, eat some hot dogs, but don't salute the flag, shed a tear at the national anthem, or speak fondly of the freest country on Earth.  The most appropriate action would be one of mourning, like pouring out a beer for a dead homie.

Proud of our Government?

Proud of our "democracy"?  We're spreading freedom throughout the globe after all.  Are you one of the 56% of Americans that think NSA spying is a good thing if it keeps us safe?  Do you thank your TSA officer after he gives you a thorough pat-down?  It must be a hard job to have to touch people like that, but good for them, our security is their priority.  And 4 out of 10 Americans agree: giving up some of our liberties is a good thing if it makes us safer.  Are you one of the 66% of Americans that approve of our use of drone strikes across the globe?  Hey, Obama didn't start the war, but he's got to finish it, right?  What else is a Nobel Peace Prize winner to do?

Do you feel that justice is served when drug dealers, prostitutes, tax-evaders, gun nuts, and other breakers of law and order are arrested and go to jail?  When Randy Weaver's son was gunned down and his wife executed while holding her infant baby in her arms at Ruby Ridge, did you comfort yourself by reflecting that anyone that breaks a gun law and resists arrest gets what is coming to him?  When Delta Force and Bradley tanks ended the siege in Waco, Texas and 76 Branch Davidians were burned alive, did you shrug off this event as they were nothing but cultists?  Do you think Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden are spies, terrorists, or otherwise enemies of America that should be locked up without a trial?  When martial law, I mean, shelter-in-place, was declared in Boston and the suspected teenage terrorists were killed and brought to justice, did you cheer "USA, USA, USA"?

Alright then.  You have no business celebrating the 4th of July.

After all, just what exactly are you celebrating?  Who were these founding fathers and what was the Declaration of Independence?

Even if we celebrate the actions of terrorists, at least our children will know better.

Ask this FEMA trainer, and he'll tell you that the founders were America's first home-grown terrorists.  The Declaration of Independence was a traitorous, secessionist document.  The first shots at Lexington and Concord were those of criminals murdering the police and soldiers of their lawful government!  Thankfully, our public schools are beginning to identify these domestic extremist's actions, like the Boston Tea Party, as acts of terrorism.  And there is no debating it, they are correct.

As Larken Rose eloquently spoke of the so-called founding fathers in front of Independence Hall on July 4th, 2009:
"In short, they committed treason.  They broke the law.  They disobeyed their government.  They were traitors, criminals and tax cheats.  The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open lawlessness.  Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were even cop-killers.  At Lexington, when King George's "law enforcers" told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded with, "No, you're not the boss of us!"  And so we had "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," widely regarded as the beginning of the American Revolution.

Looking back now, we know the outcome.  We know who eventually won, and we don't mind cheering for the rebels.  But make no mistake: when you cheer for the founders of this country, you are cheering for law-breakers and traitors.

...

Suppose a group in this country today did what the founders did 233 years ago?  Suppose they wrote a letter to the United States government, a letter to Congress and the President, and said "We will not pay your taxes ever again.  We will not obey your laws ever again.  We do not acknowledge your right to rule us at all ever again, and when you send your thugs to enforce your will on us we will resist".

How many Americans dare to even think that?  And what would most Americans think of any group that did that?  Horrible criminals and traitors and fringe lunatics and we can't have that!  Why do we have this double standard?  Why does the whole country have these huge celebrations over Independence Day when a bunch of criminals broke the law, committed treason, and resisted authority?"
Indeed, why celebrate the 4th of July at all?  For someone that is pleased with the American government, celebrating Independence Day is as grotesque and inappropriate as celebrating the anniversary of the Trail of Tears, the Tuskegee Experiments, the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and other blemishes on our country's history.  Have we no shame?

Proud of the Founders?

So let's look at the other side of this coin.  Are you a conservative that admires the founding fathers?  Do you consider yourself a constitutionalist and think it was a document inspired by God?  Even without going to that extreme, do you like the idea of limited government, free markets, and the rule of law?  Do you think taxes are too high or regulations too tight?  Do you think you have natural rights as opposed to privileges conferred by government?  Do you feel we have moved away from principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to our own detriment and peril?

If that's the case, then you should celebrate the 4th of July like you would celebrate the funeral of your mother.

Read Gary North's article "Tricked on the Fourth of July".  Did you ever realize how good the British people had it?  1% - 2.5% of the national income went to taxes, that's all?  No income tax?  No property or sales taxes, just a measly excise tax on tea?  I can only dream of being as free as an American colonist under the "tyranny" of King George!

Read Jacob G. Hornberger's article "The Real Meaning of the fourth of July".  How quaint.  So you're telling me this holiday is about all men having fundamental and unalienable rights, with a lawful government's only role as the protection of those inherent rights?  And if the government becomes destructive towards those rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it?  Pure treason and lunacy in this day and age.  The real kicker is when he speaks of a limited government which only has the powers enumerated within the Constitution.  Apparently he's never heard of "Necessary and Proper", the "General Welfare", or "Interstate Commerce".  Everyone knows that the government can pass any law that can command us to do, not do, buy or not buy, just about anything under these provisions.  The gods in black robes called the Supreme Court said so!

In all seriousness, for anyone that cherishes the principles that America was founded on, it is a daily exercise to keep from sinking into depression, let alone on a day meant to celebrate those principles.

In Eric Peter's article "The fourth of July: Why Bother?", he touches on just a few of the freedoms this day is supposed to celebrate, and contrasts them with our grim reality.  Since analyzing the supposedly constitutionally protected rights that are violated daily is a child's exercise, he looks at rights not enumerated in the Bill of Rights that would fall under the 9th Amendment such as the right to travel, the right to associate, the right to own property and the right to buy or not buy health insurance.  But the list could go on and on, so why not?  A disease cannot be treated until it is diagnosed, and we don’t do ourselves any favors by wearing rose-colored glasses to disguise just how far we've fallen from the founder's America.

Not codified in any founding documents, but an American principle nonetheless, was America's attitude towards foreign wars.  In George Washington's farewell address, he warned against the "insidious wiles of foreign influence" and to "steer clear of permanent alliances", as our true rule of conduct with foreign nations is in "extending our commercial relations" and "to have with them as little political connection as possible".  On July 4th, 1821 John Quincy Adams spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives and said:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.
The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force....
She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....
[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice."
So much for all that.  America has 700 military bases in 120 different foreign countries, and our troops are involved in 74 different wars.  And yet, with as many troops as we have fighting "terrorists" in other countries, we are losing more troops to suicide then to combat, some 22 a day, just about 1 an hour.

So when we're asked to support our troops this Independence Day, as false analogies compare our murderous adventures abroad to a defensive war at home, remember the suicide letter of Daniel Summers, a veteran of the Iraq war:
"The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe.  War crimes, crimes against humanity.  Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.  I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind.  These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand.

...

The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand.  How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle?  If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so."
This July 4th support the troops and their innocent victims at the same time: protest our wars.

 It's bad enough that our young pups are turned into vicious dogs of war to commit "crimes against humanity" in the words of the late Mr. Summers, but if that was the end of our descent then at least we could still selfishly get by while the consequences of our actions are a world away.  But what goes around comes around.  The founders were very fearful and distrustful of a standing army.  Jefferson said that a central bank is more injurious to the liberties of the people than a standing army, and now we have both!  However, even with our standing army, Posse Comitatus was supposed to ensure that our military would never be used to enforce state law or police the American people.

Soldiers are trained to kill enemies at any cost.  Peace officers are supposed to protect the rights of Americans and… keep the peace.  The two professions are mutually exclusive and the training one receives in the military cultivates the exact opposite traits one would like to see in an Andy Griffith peace officer.  Yet not only do we have our PTSD-ridden soldiers coming back from foreign wars to primarily serve as police, but the last bits of respect for Posse Comitatus have finally gone out the window with the passage of anti-terrorism bills such as the Patriot Act, NDAA, and the Military Commissions Act.  However, it's one thing to see it on paper, it's another to see full-blown martial law declared in an American city, let alone the city famous for the revolutionary Boston Tea Party.

Attention Boston: Stockholm called, it wants its syndrome back.

If there was ever a time and place to be ashamed, it is this day in the city of Boston.  The American revolutionaries were hard-core.  So convinced in the rightness of their cause, they were willing to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor by openly declaring war against their lawful government.  When the British imposed excise taxes so small it would be a rounding error on our current tax burden, those men did everything from tar and feather the tax collectors to raiding British ships and throwing their tea into the ocean.  Finally, when the British said lay down your arms, they gave them to them, one bullet at a time.  These were men that would rather die on their feet then live on their knees, and the most powerful military on earth couldn't weaken their resolve to fight till the end.

The American revolutionaries, including many Bostonians, knew their rights, were willing to vigorously defend them, and could tell when someone pissed on their leg and told them it was raining.  And what do we see in Boston today?  A home-made explosive kills and injures some people, 2 teenagers are on the loose, and somehow we've gotten to the point where the proper response is for the government to forcibly and completely shut down a city of 1 million people.  The word martial law was avoided as much as possible, but it's hard to find a difference between martial law and "shelter-in-place" when no one is allowed out of their homes or offices while tanks and soldiers in Darth Vader costumes with fully automatic weapons are patrolling the streets going door-to-door.  Was there outrage at this ridiculous display of bravado and hubris by the part of our government masters?  Did the invaded home owners say "Wait here dammit, this is my private property, and you're not allowed here without a warrant specifically describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized!"  No, the Bostonians meekly emerged from hiding readily equipped with American flags and eager to chant "USA! USA! USA !"

Conclusion
 
If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, then congratulations.  You're unburdened by the dilemma of thinking through the consequences of the 4th of July.  You don't need to worry about sticking out by abstaining from the festivities while everyone else enjoys their day off work.  Eat your hot dogs, drink till you're stupid, and enjoy the fireworks.  If some blame-America-firster gets in your face, tell them "God Bless 'Merica, and if you don't like it, you can geeet out".  You have no reason to feel ashamed by celebrating Independence Day.  The only thing you have to be ashamed of is yourself.

3/01/2012

Sharia Hysteria

Introduction

I was forwarded an e-mail with a video encouraging me to take 14 minutes out of my busy day to educate myself on an anti-American conspiracy that has infiltrated our schools and universities.  The video is a speech given at an anti-Sharia conference by Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT! for America, an organization for Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam.

After listening to her speech I had to agree with the e-mail, this is an important video and an "absolute must watch."  Not because I agree with a single thing she said, far from it.  Instead, I see this video and her message as a brilliant example of multi-dimensional propaganda that spreads unfounded fear, revels in ignorance, and promotes turning the war on terror against American citizens while at the same time feeding the anti-Muslim hysteria that may very well may lead America and the predominately Christrian countries of the west into a third World War.


Some key messages I took away from this video:
  1. Home grown terrorism is on the rise, even blonde-haired blue-eyed Americans born into Christrian homes could be turned against America.  Be Afraid.
  2. Anyone that would "blame America" for anything was brainwashed by a radical Islamic / Sharia conspiracy, and could potentially be a home-grown terrorist.  Proceed with caution.  Be Very Afraid
  3. Not only do "we know they want to attack us", but part of the radical Islamic / Sharia conspiracy involves a takeover of our schools and universities.  In these "occupied territories" our children learn "America is bad" and the term "jihad" means "a struggle by muslims against oppression, invasion, and injustice", which is a talking point of Al-Qaeda. In other words, muslims have no legitimate grievances, have not been oppressed, invaded, or been the victims of injustice.  They hate us for our freedom don't-ya-know?  Such talk constitutes "blame-America-ism", see points 1 and 2.
  4. Finally, she brilliantly concludes that if you don't like it, you can geeeeet out!
Keeping these messages in mind, let's explore how this video spreads fear and ignorance, plays into the narrative of the new threat of home-grown terrorism to justify the growing police state and the loss of civil liberties at home, and strokes the flames of racism, intolerance, and blind hatred that will lead America and its western allies into new wars in the middle east.

"We know they want to attack us"

After watching the crowd clamorously applaud Gabriel as she tries to unite America against our common radical Islamic / Sharia enemies, it suddenly became clear why Ron Paul was booed by Republicans when he suggested that we apply the golden rule to foreign policy.  Far from promoting a Christian ideal, he was a brainwashed dupe under the influence of a diabolical conspiracy!

Ron Paul's blasphemous "Imagine" speech applying the Al-Qaeda-golden rule

As Rick Santorum said in the 3rd GOP debate in August 2011, Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979.  Not so fast.  I seem to recall reading a book about a certain CIA operation Ajax that happened a few years before 1979.  Assuming this memory isn't a result of university-Sharia-brainwashing, it involved a 1953 coup against a western-educated democratically elected prime minister, one who was Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year', and in his place the CIA installed the Shah of Iran, giving his secret police force Savak the tools and the techniques to torture, imprison, and execute tens of thousands of political prisoners over the next 26 years.  Who knows, the author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror might also be a pawn under the influence of the radical Islamic conspiracy, but this story seems to reveal much needed background on the claim that it was Iran that declared war on America.

If accepted history and declassified CIA documents are a nuisance to this they-hate-us-for-our-freedom world view, add a little bit of geography and you have an intellectual death sentence.  Does the below picture indicate a country on the verge of attack?

I'm shaking in my boots.  If only a government agent would stick his hands down my pants to save me.

But again, remember Brigitte Gabriel's message - the Muslim countries have NOT been the victims of oppression, invasion, or injustice.  It is they who are attacking us!  Not only are they on the perpetual verge of obtaining nuclear weapons to wipe us all out, but they have infiltrated our schools and universities to turn our own children into home-grown terrorists!  Whenever any poor victim of this brainwashing claims that America has been involved in anything less than exceptional and heroic, just repeat the magic words: they hate us for our freedom.

Pulling the switch

In a previous post I asked the question, what is so great about America?  I answered by suggesting that America's greatness lies in her libertarian heritage, where men fought a revolution to approach the ideal of government based on consent, limited in power by a constitution, and instituted to protect natural rights.  Isn't it ironic then, that in the name of defending America we have seen it destroyed by allowing the government to break free of its constitutional chains and enact new departments and legislation that violate American's natural rights.

I'm intrigued when a man predicts the future, and say what else you want about Alex Jones, but since I first discovered his controversial message years ago, I have seen one of his predictions come to pass with uncanny accuracy.  His warning has been that all of these new police state laws that reject our American heritage of due process and unalienable rights, such as the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the American-assassinating-authorizing NDAA are not, and never were, designed to be used against the "Muslim threat".  While radical Islam was the necessary scapegoat to bring them in, their ultimate purpose has always been to be used against American citizens as the necessary requirement to keep "law and order" and "continuity of government" during times of civil unrest.

Using history and the laws of economics as our guide, it is predictable that America's inflationary monetary policy will eventually have negative consequences.  When foreigners are tired of playing a sucker's game of throwing good money after bad the chickens will come home to roost in the form of an inflationary depression, which will mean a major fall in the American standard of living.  Predictably, Americans will take to the streets in protest, and these police state laws will be there just in time to take care of them.  The American people are the target, the Sharia hysteria is the excuse to get those laws on the books and to set the precedent that this behavior by government is not only acceptable, but pure Americana.

An early warning sign that the new laws supposedly passed for fighting terrorism were being turned against Americans with unpopular views was found in the leaked 2009 MIAC strategic report on the modern militia movement.  This document went out to law enforcement officers across the country describing dangerous right-wing movements composed of extreme Christians, white supremacists, sovereign citizens, anti-abortionists, tax and illegal immigration protestors, as well as members of the Constitution Party, the Campaign for Liberty, the Libertarian Party, and supporters of Ron Paul.  They can be identified by the Gadsden Flag or other libertarian emblems, and this report claims that they are highly trained, capable of complex attacks, and view all military, National Guard, and law enforcement as a threat.  Their message to law enforcement officers: "You are the Enemy".

Fast forward to today and it's even more clear that the trap is being set for average Americans.  Everyday federal terrorism laws are being used to prosecute crimes that would previously have fallen under local state jurisdiction, if you can call them crimes at all.  Case in point, Bernard von NotHaus, founder of the voluntary gold and silver backed barter currency "Liberty Dollar", was convicted of domestic terrorism in 2011 for minting his own currency.

The FBI press release stated:
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict.  “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added.  “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”
The paranoia has almost become comical as Big Sis has taken over the checkout lines in Wal-Mart to warn the public to "see something, say something" when they see suspicious activity.  In one of many examples of these homeland security public service announcements, we see a Caucasian woman in a business suit targeted by a federal snitch after leaving her purse on a bench, while another suspected enemy combatant is a Caucasian male wearing blue jeans who opens and closes the trunk of a taxi.  Terrifying.


Now that just about any crime can be considered domestic terrorism, and public speakers like Brigitte Gabriel are feeding the narrative of the increasing threat of blonde-haired blue-eyed homegrown terrorists, the final act is to set the precedent that those guilty of terrorism can be executed by executive order without the benefit of their due process rights to be faced by their accuser, charged of a crime, and convicted guilty by a jury of their peers.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently spoke of nuclear scientists in Iran ending up dead, and described it as a "wonderful thing."  He went on to boast, "if people say, well, you can't go out and assassinate people, well tell that to al-Awlaki.  Ok?  We've done it.  We've done it to an American citizen."

We sure have Rick.  The precedent has been set.  Hold on to your butts.

It's a Trap!

While some Christians believe that a third world war fitting a description found in the book of revelation would trigger the second coming of Christ and the rapture, I'd like to present an alternative scenario that should be much less appealing to Christians of all stripes.

One of the most interesting books I've read is Pawns in the Game by William Guy Carr, an Intelligence Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy who served in World War II.  In this book, written in the 1950's, he describes how the Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society founded on May 1st, 1776, has been responsible for numerous conspiracies since its inception.

The part of this book that always stuck with me was his description of a letter written by Albert Pike on August 15th, 1871 describing in surprising detail how three world wars would bring about a New World Order.  Albert Pike was a lawyer, a highly ranked Freemason, the only Confederate Officer or figure to have a statue in Washington DC, author of Morals and Dogma: Of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and, according to Carr, a one time leader of the Illuminati.

This letter, supposedly written in 1871, and described by Carr in the 1950's, is quoted as follows:
"The First World War must be brought about in order to permit the Illuminati to overthrow the power of the Czars in Russia and of making that country a fortress of atheistic Communism.  The divergences caused by the "agentur" (agents) of the Illuminati between the British and Germanic Empires will be used to foment this war.  At the end of the war, Communism will be built and used in order to destroy the other governments and in order to weaken the religions."
"The Second World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences between the Fascists and the political Zionists.  This war must be brought about so that Nazism is destroyed and that the political Zionism be strong enough to institute a sovereign state of Israel in Palestine.  During the Second World War, International Communism must become strong enough in order to balance Christendom, which would be then restrained and held in check until the time when we would need it for the final social cataclysm."
"The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World.  The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other.  Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion...  We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil.  Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view.  This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time."
Whether this letter was written in 1871 or not is impossible for me to verify.  William Guy Carr claims he copied the letter while it was on display at the British Museum Library in London, but other sources disavow that claim.  Either way, what I do know for a fact is that Pawns in the Game was written in the 1950's, and for the sake of argument accepting that Carr forged the letter and made it all up during that time, it is still an eerily prescient prediction of the purpose and description of a third world war.

While I would never suggest this should be taken as any kind of evidence, I do think it is food for thought, and a possibility that Christians should keep in mind as they get whipped up with Sharia hysteria to support bombing another Muslim country.  Whether or not Christianity will be ultimately vilified and extinguished from the globe following a horrendous world war, I already see it being discredited today.  Looking for the anti-war Christian message of peace, forgiveness, tolerance, and brotherly love, it's hard to find a 501c3 corporate church that doesn't support war in conspicuous silence or outright blessings.

As Mark Twain showed in his anti-war classic The War Prayer, there is a hidden, unspoken request in any prayer.  When you pray for rain to save your crops, you may be praying for a rain that will destroy your neighbor's crops.  When you pray for the protection of your soldiers and a swift victory in a foreign country, you are praying "to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells", "cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead", "lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire", and "stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet".  There is a reason The War Prayer was published posthumously.  Mark Twain said, "I have told the truth in that... and only dead men can tell the truth in this world."

Conclusion

I imagine this post could confirm the beliefs of a person that would applaud Brigitte Gabriel's Anti-Sharia speech and boo Ron Paul's plea to apply the golden rule to foreign policy.  Because I can point to a historical episode and say that America's behavior was less than divine, or because I am against wars in foreign countries with people that I believe pose no threat, does that mean I too have been brainwashed by the radical Muslim / Sharia conspiracy?  Am I a blame-America-first-potential-home-grown-terrorist?

No.

As an engineering major I was not subject to the radical Muslim / Sharia brainwashing allegedly going on in our schools and universities.  But here are few things I did learn in college that I consider very much a part of an anti-American conspiracy:

I took intro to macro-economics, where I learned that the laws of classical economics do not apply outside the world of "full employment", and that the Keynesian prescription of printing money and deficit spending is the cure when there is a "lack of aggregate demand" because of "animal spirits".

I took intro to political science, where I learned that what makes America great is our "living constitution".  Silly me, I thought America was a Republic with a constitution that limited the federal government to the 17 enumerated powers granted in Article 1 Section 8, with all other powers belonging to the states, or to the people.

Mirabile dictu, I learned that we didn't create a Republic, but a Democracy!  And the Federal government isn't constrained by some old piece of paper.  Far from it, the government can do anything it wants as long as it is "necessary and proper" or supports the "general welfare" or has anything to do with "interstate commerce".  It doesn't matter what the constitution says, it only matters how we interpret it, because it is a "living document".

Now that is something we should be worried about, that is an anti-American conspiracy in our universities!
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