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Writings of J. Todd Ring



Independent research and analysis, essays in politics and philosophy.



Updated: 2015-09-16T15:03:44.521-05:00

 



A Short Rebuttal of Hobbes

2008-04-26T15:53:25.685-05:00

Freedom, Democracy and the Delusions of Power For all his faults and the faults of the endeavour he was involved with, Jefferson was right on the essential point, in terms of political theory, which is the rebuttal that lays waste to Hobbes, the fantasy which still imprisons our minds and world, and that is: "If you can't trust men to govern themselves, how can you trust them to govern others?" The core premise that I am addressing, the premise that you can't trust human beings, is the root of the Hobbsian fallacy. There are strong reasons to disagree with this premise, and I do, but let’s accept it for the moment for the sake of argument. Assuming, for the moment, that you can't trust people, who then, do you propose to govern people? The argument put forth by Hobbes, and accepted by so many scholars, politicians and business men, though it is clearly ridiculous, is this. You say you don't trust people, therefore you give some people enormous power. This should strike us as patently absurd, if not simply delusional. If you do not trust people with a little power, the power over their own lives, then why would you entrust them with overwhelming great power? Is not Lord Acton more sensible here? “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the issues of power in society, and the implications - as we have seen in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, China, Russia, Cambodia, and across the "Third World" in so many brutal, soulless, self-serving dictatorships - are extreme. It seems to me that if you are afraid of people, if you take it as a basic assumption that you cannot trust people, then you have basically two choices - assuming there is no place to go to get away from people, or that you choose not to do so. One choice, is the path of Hobbes: seek, cozy up to, or align yourself with some great power, in order to feel safe(r). But as we saw with Stalin, to name just one example, cozying up to power is no guarantee of protection, and as we see in all dictatorships or tyrannical regimes, of either right or left, seeking the protection of such powers leaves one in great danger from the very same powers. And seeking power oneself, when it is not a cozying up as a courtesan underling, or a mousy tugging at the coat tail for protection from above; when it is a grasping at the highest level of power, ie: becoming top dog oneself, this too is fraught with the greatest of danger, both from external and internal threats. The latter course leads generally to a life of paranoia, as it is always a reality that such power is impossible to guarantee, and even powerful emperors and empires fall to dust, invariably. Therefore, the three variations on the first strategy - seek, serve/cozy up to, or align with a great power, is totally unreliable, and cannot ensure safety - far from it. In fact, this strategy opens the doors to even greater dangers. The alternative to looking to power - your own or someone else's - to protect oneself, which is the essence of the Hobbesian hypnosis, or delusion, is to disarm - both oneself and others. This is what Jefferson aimed to do, I would say. And this is the basic premise of classical liberal democracy. (Jefferson was simply more coherent and consistent with regard to such views than many others at the time or since – though he too had his contradictions.) To make an analogy: if you are afraid of people, you can get a gun - better yet, become a mob boss, a big gun - or you can lick the boots of the mob boss who has the guns, hoping he'll protect you, and won't get angry for some unforeseen reason one day and feed you to his dog. This is basically the power-seeking/power cozying-up/protect me mister powerful man set of patterns. Become a mob boss, or lick the boots, or whatever else is required, of the mob boss, and hope this strategy keeps you safe. It doesn't. And moreover, it should be repulsive to anyone to do either. The alternative to becoming a mob boss, or licking the boots of the mob boss, is to eliminate[...]



A few quotes, by way of introduction

2008-04-26T11:35:35.697-05:00

A few quotes, to introduce myself, and to give some glimpse into who I am, what I value, and what has inspired me: Compiled for a publisher, and reprinted here as an introduction to this blog and this writer, and also as a sort of short-hand preface to my (first) book, which should be released shortly.My apologies for the chaotic mix of fonts - Blogger must be one of the worst digital publishing platforms available, but I have put too much effort into this site to easily switch, and have neither the technical savvy nor the patience to labor over its bugs. Sooner or later I do transfer all articles from this site to the far superior format at Wordpress, so you can check there for a more esthetically soothing format if you like. (I would transfer the entire site to Wordpress in an instant if I knew how to transfer the enormous body of links and resources that have been compiled on the Blogger site. For now, there are two sites - one that works well, and one with an excellent resource directory. Maybe someone more technically literate can help me figure out how to bridge the two.) Wordpress: Writings of J. Todd Ring I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. – Thomas Jefferson For reasons I do not fully understand, fiction dances out of me. Non-fiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning. – Arundhati Roy There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. - Henry David Thoreau The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as non-fiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they're engaged in….I believe that the accumulation of vast unfettered power by a State or a country, a corporation or an institution -- or even an individual, a spouse, friend or sibling -- regardless of ideology, results in excesses such as the ones I will recount here. – Arundhati Roy Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. – Thoreau If necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us. – Henry David Thoreau In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident. – Thoreau I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind. - Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. - The Buddha Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein A single step on the path of enlightenment is greater than being the ruler of the universe. - The Buddha When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. - Thoreau It is never too late to give up your prejudices. - Thoreau Life is rounded by a little sleep. - Shakespeare Only that day dawns to which we are awake. – Thoreau A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. – Thoreau (TV is perhaps the most ugly, pathetic and vacuous example, next to heroine. - JTR) As if you cou[...]



The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You

2008-03-16T20:08:53.317-05:00

The Missing Scriptures: The Gospel of ThomasIt was from a reference by Joseph Campbell, whom I greatly admire, that I first heard of The Gospel of Thomas. Joseph Campbell's quotation from the lost scripture made me rush out to order the book immediately.I guess I was fortunate, because it turned out to be Marvin Meyer's translation. It is wonderful.I can't put words to what this gospel says to me. It rings true in accordance with the writings of sages the world over, East and West, as well as with the generally ignored passage in the New Testament: "The kingdom of heaven is within you."It is not surprising that Emperor Constantine chose to crucify the Gospel of Thomas - worse, attempted to erase its memory by burning all copies he could find, and killing anyone who spoke of it - along with other scriptures he disliked: it leaves no need for a gatekeeper to heaven - neither emperor, as self-appointed ruler under God, nor church hierarchy - but only a direct communion with truth, through the wisdom of His words. Power seekers do not like to be left out of the loop.The Gospel of Thomas is a revelation. Were it not for Emperor Constantine's self-anointed appropriation of the position of God's editor in the 4th century CE, we would have a very different, and expanded Bible. The Gospel of Thomas would certainly be one part of that more complete cannon. Only the most rigorously dogmatic can fail to recognize its authenticity.Alas, such as these are always the ones drawn most to positions of "authority" within hierarchical social institutions, such as academia and the church. Jesus has a blunt retort to such men and women, recorded in the Gospel of Thomas: "The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat.""I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind." - Jesus, Gospel of Thomas. Who knew the church could be so afraid, even of the words of its root and inspiration? The door is now open, however, for all who "wish to see.""The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not," Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospel. If we could begin to realize that, there would be a spiritual and social revolution on earth, and "on earth, as it is in heaven," would not be mere words of piety, but actual visible fact.Marvin Meyers translation, I later discovered, only through direct comparison to others, is by far the superior in the field, from the translations I have seen.Do not miss this text. It is one of profound wisdom.JTRWritings of J. Todd Ring: The Kingdom of Heaven is Within YouAmazon.co.uk: The Gospel of St Thomas: Marvin W. Meyer:Writings of J. Todd Ring: Thomas Merton: My Favorite MonkWritings of J. Todd Ring: The Truth About Christianity: What Jesus Really SaidWritings of J. Todd Ring: Earth 101: Essential ReadingAmazon.com: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Karen Armstrong: BooksAmazon.com: The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions: Huston Smith: BooksAmazon.com: The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell,Bill Moyers: BooksAmazon.com: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell (III),Bill Moyers: Movies & TVAmazon.com: Varieties of Religious Experience: William James: BooksAmazon.com: Mysticism: East and West: Rudolf Otto,Bertha L. Bracey: BooksPowell's Books - The Perennial Philosophy (Perennial Classics) by Aldous HuxleyPowell's Books - The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan W. WattsNo Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth (978-1-57062-743-9) - No Boundary[...]



The death of democracy in America: Time for a re-awakening

2008-02-16T19:28:09.802-05:00

Let us start with a look at the current US presidential election. The patterns emerging are clear. Fascism is unfolding in America, and the coming elections promise to be utterly irrelevant. McCain, Clinton, Obama – Good, Solid Republicans All The far right is screaming that Republican Party US Presidential candidate John McCain is too liberal – remember, this is the man who said he’d keep troops in Iraq for the next hundred years – while warm words are spoken from the corporatist talking heads about both Clinton and Obama. It would seem we have a three-way race between good solid Republican candidates. More aptly, it is corporatist empire mouthpiece and military-industrial complex shill, numbers one, two or three. Door number one, door number two, or door number three? Surprise! All three lead to fascism. Aren’t you lucky. This would not be the first time the Democratic Party allowed itself to be virtually indistinguishable in substance from the Republicans, sounds bites and PR scripts aside. The supposedly liberal Democrat Bill Clinton was referred to by former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan as “the best Republican candidate we’ve had in a long time.” Greenspan, acting unofficially as the voice of corporate America, went on to say that he agreed with Bill Clinton on about 80% of his policies. Lefty-liberal Democrat and “human rights” president Jimmy Carter approved the Brzezinski plan of using the CIA to arm, fund and train militant Islamic extremists in the Middle East in order to destabilize the Soviet Union. CIA drug trading was further institutionalized under his watch, allowing billions of dollars in drug money to be funneled into black ops and Wall Street banking houses. Hand picked by the business elite’s own exclusive clubs, both the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group, this liberal “democrat” stacked the executive branch with other elite club members, making the transition to Reagan and Bush largely a matter of changing the guard out front, while the real powers remained the same. Under Lyndon Banes Johnson, mass bombing of civilians in South-East Asia continued, and the Great Society pronouncements were revealed to be hollow rhetoric and deceitful cover for brutal imperial crusades. Under LBJ the infamous Gulf of Tonkin lie was made to pass an unwitting populace, and the mass slaughter was escalated under grand and deceitful pretext. An estimated 80,000 Americans and 3 million people of South-East Asia, mainly peasants, were to liquidated for the empire. We can go back further, but the record is clear enough. What corporate America wants, corporate America gets – at least as far as the Democratic and Republican party machinery goes. Dissenting voices within the parties are silenced, side-lined, or pushed into obscurity. The corporate controlled network media are of course happy to comply. There have always been truly noble, virtuous individuals within the two major parties in the US, and for the most part, they have not held power. The record is not impressive. But let us return to the present farce of an election. While McCain is slammed as being too soft, a glowing chorus surrounds the Democratic front-runners. You’d almost expect an angelic choir to be invoked by the mainstream media in support of the supposedly democratic candidates. Even the far right screaming harpie, corporatist toadie Ann Coulter, has said she’d actually support Hillary Clinton over Republican John McCain, “because she’s more conservative than he is.” What does this say about Clinton? Ann Coulter thinks anything to the left of Mussolini is dangerous ground. Now she’s speaking warmly of Hillary Clinton. Obama meanwhile is getting praise from the corporatist right as well. One telling statement was, “We can work with him.” Remember, both Clinton and Obama voted for the war on Iraq, voted repeatedly to fund the war in Iraq, refused to back effort[...]



Global warming reality: images, data and cartoons

2008-02-14T17:54:30.661-05:00

A picture is worth a thousand words. Let's look at the data, the graphs, and the images.Projected temp changesLong term carbon variationsCarbon History and Flux Rev.png - Global Warming ArtCarbon Dioxide Emissions Scenarios.png - Global Warming ArtIPCC Scenarios for 2100.png - Global Warming ArtGreenhouse Gas by Sector.png - Global Warming ArtMajor greenhouse gas trends.png - Global Warming ArtGlobal Surface Map January.jpg - Global Warming ArtGlobal warming during the 20th century.Image:Sea Level Projections.png - Global Warming ArtImage:Louisiana Sea Level Risks.png - Global Warming ArtImage:Florida Sea Level Risks.png - Global Warming ArtImage:Bangladesh Sea Level Risks.png - Global Warming ArtImage:North Sea Sea Level Risks.png - Global Warming ArtHurricane Katrina is believed to have triggered a substantial increase in public concern for environmental issues, and is credited as the motivation behind Vanity Fair's Green Issue.Graph of the annual and accumulated changes in average glacier thickness during the last 50 years.Image:Boulder Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Grinnell Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Athabasca Glacier Runoff.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Easton Glacier Terminus.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Gangotri Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Glacial lakes Bhutan.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Northwestern Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Pedersen Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Muir Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:McCarty Glacier.jpg - Global Warming ArtPartially Bleached Coral.jpgImage:Annual Average Temperature Map.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Global Warming Predictions Map.jpg - Global Warming ArtImage:Global Warming Predictions.png - Global Warming ArtImage:Risks and Impacts of Global Warming.png - Global Warming ArtImage:Sea-ice 1950s-2050s.gif - Global Warming ArtImage:Larsen B Collapse Size Comparison.png - Global Warming ArtGlobal Warming Art:About - Global Warming ArtBlue Marble.jpgFurther doubts?David Suzuki Foundation: Climate Change SkepticsA selection of cartoons:BushHoax.gif (image)A greenhouse nightmare2006-547-global-warming-sceptics.jpg (JPEG Image, 510x392 pixels)CARTOON-global-wm-Bush.bmp (BMP Image, 381x360 pixels)global warming in Veniceglobal2a.gif (GIF Image, 510x333 pixels)Spratti-GW-toon.jpg (JPEG Image, 500x417 pixels)Google Image Result for http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/ksm/lowres/ksmn2088l.jpgGlobal warming.jpg (JPEG Image, 470x352 pixels)Flat earth - This Modern Worldcartoon_200201.JPG (JPEG Image, 320x509 pixels)Google Image Result for http://www.pritchettcartoons.com/illustration/global.gif[...]






McCain, Clinton, Obama – Good, Solid Republicans All

2008-02-12T18:27:30.678-05:00

Or, The death of democracy in America: Time for a re-awakening Let us start with a look at the current US presidential election. The patterns emerging are clear. Fascism is unfolding in America, and the coming elections promise to be utterly irrelevant. The far right is screaming that Republican Party US Presidential candidate John McCain is too liberal – remember, this is the man who said he’d keep troops in Iraq for the next hundred years – while warm words are spoken from the corporatist talking heads about both Clinton and Obama. It would seem we have a three-way race between good solid Republican candidates. More aptly, it is corporatist empire mouthpiece and military-industrial complex shill, numbers one, two or three. Door number one, door number two, or door number three? Surprise! All three lead to fascism. Aren’t you lucky. This would not be the first time the Democratic Party allowed itself to be virtually indistinguishable in substance from the Republicans, sounds bites and PR scripts aside. The supposedly liberal Democrat Bill Clinton was referred to by former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan as “the best Republican candidate we’ve had in a long time.” Greenspan, acting unofficially as the voice of corporate America, went on to say that he agreed with Bill Clinton on about 80% of his policies. Lefty-liberal Democrat and “human rights” president Jimmy Carter approved the Brzezinski plan of using the CIA to arm, fund and train militant Islamic extremists in the Middle East in order to destabilize the Soviet Union. CIA drug trading was further institutionalized under his watch, allowing billions of dollars in drug money to be funneled into black ops and Wall Street banking houses. Hand picked by the business elite’s own exclusive clubs, both the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group, this liberal “democrat” stacked the executive branch with other elite club members, making the transition to Reagan and Bush largely a matter of changing the guard out front, while the real powers remained the same. Under Lyndon Banes Johnson, mass bombing of civilians in South-East Asia continued, and the Great Society pronouncements were revealed to be hollow rhetoric and deceitful cover for brutal imperial crusades. Under LBJ the infamous Gulf of Tonkin lie was made to pass an unwitting populace, and the mass slaughter was escalated under grand and deceitful pretext. An estimated 80,000 Americans and 3 million people of South-East Asia, mainly peasants, were to liquidated for the empire. We can go back further, but the record is clear enough. What corporate America wants, corporate America gets – at least as far as the Democratic and Republican party machinery goes. Dissenting voices within the parties are silenced, side-lined, or pushed into obscurity. The corporate controlled network media are of course happy to comply. There have always been truly noble, virtuous individuals within the two major parties in the US, and for the most part, they have not held power. The record is not impressive. But let us return to the present farce of an election. While McCain is slammed as being too soft, a glowing chorus surrounds the Democratic front-runners. You’d almost expect an angelic choir to be invoked by the mainstream media in support of the supposedly democratic candidates. Even the far right screaming harpie, corporatist toadie Ann Coulter, has said she’d actually support Hillary Clinton over Republican John McCain, “because she’s more conservative than he is.” What does this say about Clinton? Ann Coulter thinks anything to the left of Mussolini is dangerous ground. Now she’s speaking warmly of Hillary Clinton. Obama meanwhile is getting praise from the corporatist right as well. One telling statement was, “We can work with him.” Remember, both Clinton an[...]



Powder Keg USA: US heading toward fascism and civil war

2008-02-10T14:32:33.097-05:00

“In the long run it is far more dangerous to adhere to illusion than to face what the actual truth is.” – David Bohm It is very important that we now divest ourselves of any remaining willful ignorance. It is too late, and the stakes too high, for denial and wishful thinking to persist. Dream of better times, generate and hold fast to a more noble vision, but do not let our view of reality be skewed by a fear of facing the truth. A year and a half ago I came across information pertaining to a number of very large issues, and was compelled to research them, and their inter-relationships, implications, and probable outcomes, and then to summarize as concisely as possible these research findings and analyses. What I concluded then, in October of 2006, was that a number of very large patterns were in motion which, as they unfold, will profoundly affect the US and the world, and further, that the United States was a powder keg, set to explode. Less than eighteen months later, we can see that the analysis was clearly correct, in all major facets, and the US is even more clearly, a powder keg waiting to explode. Here’s why, and here are some of the implications. The patterns are of profound significance and are unfolding rapidly, with increasing speed, therefore understanding them and forming appropriate responses is of urgent necessity. From the October 2006 research summary: A number of points which are now either undeniable, or at least have increasing and very strong evidence to support them: The United States is in a deep and growing crisis of legitimacy, a serious and deepening internal political crisis, with the result of very significant and mounting instability – a crisis which will only get worse by ignoring it, and will be further exacerbated by the other related unfolding crises, both manufactured and otherwise. The following inter-related dynamics will affect the growing US political crisis profoundly. The US is on the verge of economic collapse. 14 months later, this now is admitted by nearly everyone. When economic collapse hits the US, the political crisis will move from deeply serious to explosive as public discontent reaches a flashpoint. US elites are most certainly taking actions in advance to deal with the deepening political crisis. Peak oil is about to hit globally, with profound economic, social and political implications for the US and the world. That was the best analysis in fall 2006. It now has hit, and is unfolding, as is being admitted. As predicted, oil prices rose dramatically, causing global economic shock and downturn. Oil prices went from US$ 50 a barrel in 2006 to US$ 100 a barrel in 2007. Between 2002 and 2007 world oil prices rose from US$ 20/barrel to US$ 100/barrel – a five-fold increase, again, as predicted. The economic ramifications are severe and growing as energy costs for all manufacturing and shipping rise exponentially. In case you haven’t been watching: World oil production is expected to decline sharply by 2030: report EWG_Oilreport_Summary_10-2007.pdf (application/pdf Object) A political scandal of simply tectonic magnitude is unfolding rapidly within the US – speaking from October 2006 - on top of the already precarious situation of a long-standing and slowly deepening political crisis. (Remember that the slowly deepening crisis of legitimacy which unfolded over decades within the Soviet Union led ultimately to a “tipping point” in which the entire structure collapsed, virtually overnight.) In September and October 2006 two things happened which moved the US domestic political crisis from deep and growing, to precipitous and potentially cataclysmic in terms of its ef[...]



HEY YOU! Lefties, liberals and progressives – Listen up

2008-02-04T08:28:02.580-05:00

I know Obama is the darling of many of you, and I realize that some even like Hillary, but let us consider this most crucial fact. There were only three candidates in the US presidential race with demonstrated integrity in terms of that most essential criterion for becoming the next president of the world’s most powerful nation state – or any other nation for that matter: upholding civil rights and the rule of constitutional democracy during a time when these are under escalating and highly deliberate attack. Many of you will know immediately who I mean. Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Ron Paul. These were the only three candidates with proven records of defending constitutional rights and freedoms, as well as the rule of democracy, against the by now undeniable assaults on the same. Mike Gravel, honorable as he is, I do not believe has a chance of winning. Dennis Kucinich has now dropped out of the race. This leaves us with only one serious candidate – that is, one serious candidate if we are serious about protecting civil rights and constitutional democracy. He is US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. If we look beyond the rhetoric for a moment, it becomes undeniable that the commitment of the others to upholding or even abiding by the Constitution, is highly questionable, at best. Obama and Hillary both voted in favor of the Patriot Act, which strips away critical liberties, nullifies much of the Bill of Rights, and is an abomination to democracy and the Constitution. Not only did these two chameleons vote in favor of the Patriot Act, but they voted a second time to make 14 of its provisions permanent. Hillary and Obama both voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act, voting in favor of making torture legal in the United States. These are not the actions of democrats. These two are not democrats: they have chosen to side with an assault on democracy. In the now unfolding battle between the corporatocracy and the people, they have shown where they stand. And it is not with the people, however pleasing their slippery rhetoric may appear. Obama and Hillary have both shown their allegiance, moreover, to the military-industrial complex, to the on-going wars of empire – despite high-sounding words – and to unremitting deaths and destruction in support of global imperial ambition. They have both said, in regards to Iran, “Everything is on the table.” So pre-emptive war and nuclear attack are on the table. This is not only pro-empire, it is dangerous in the extreme, and risks an ecological and humanitarian disaster of the greatest magnitude. Both Obama and Hillary voted in favor of the war in Iraq – repeatedly, voting to fund it every time Congress was asked. Now they talk of peace. This is sheer hypocrisy. Only Kucinich and Gravel on the Democratic side showed genuine integrity on the issue of war. Obama and Hillary will most likely become a united love-in ticket for the military-industrial complex, and I would advise you in the strongest of terms to re-examine them, and most crucially, their demonstrated records of action, their voting records, before endorsing Mr. and Mrs. corporate war establishment. If you still have some doubts as to Hillary and Obama, consider also who they have chosen as their key advisors. It will reveal, if we are willing to look, a portrait in imperial criminality. Each of them have chosen as their key advisors, long standing establishment figures, all with blood on their hands, all with grave records of war crimes, crimes against humanity or mass murder. This is not the peace ticket, my friends. This is the ticket to a deepening hell of empire-fetish. Hillary has named Madeleine Albright as a key advisor, the woman who single-handedly blocked the efforts to halt the genocide in Rawanda, endorsed the sanctions against Iraq, and when questio[...]



Money, Banks and Democracy: The reality beneath the ideological fantasies and spin

2008-02-03T21:42:58.349-05:00

"Power follows property." The Golden Rule, as cynically applied by the financial elite: "He who holds the gold makes the rules." Of course, if you can dispense with the need for gold, and still make the rules, that's even better. I think the evidence is enormously strong that democratically elected governments need to have greater control over their national currencies, not less. The "independence" of a privately owned central bank means economic policies which benefit the private bank's shareholders, rather than the people of the nation. There is simply overwhelming evidence to support this view. Without democratic control of national currency, via democratically elected bodies such as Congress, sovereignty becomes an impossibility. We need to be dealing with reality here, not ideology. Central banks that are privately owned - that is, controlled by large corporations or small groups of financial elites - tend to damage national economies while benefiting the financial elite, and more critically, undermine all ability of democratic governments to hold real power on behalf of the people, giving power to the bankers and corporations, and removing effective power from parliament or Congress. Allowing private empires, such as those who control the FED, to "manage" the nation's money is pretty much letting the wolves guard the hen house. Democratically elected governments have the right, the mandate and the power to print and control the nation’s currency. To forgo this right and pass this power to highly concentrated financial dynasties, is both unwise and highly dangerous. Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln knew this, and fought to prevent the handing over of control of the nation's currency to a private bank. They were far more prescient than most people or politicians today. Their advice on keeping the central bank public and democratically controlled should have been heeded. Having failed to heed their warnings, we must today correct our mistake. The issue of control over national currency is absolutely central. All talk of freedom or democracy is meaningless and hollow if this is not addressed. William Lyon Mackenzie King Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nations laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile. Thomas Jefferson I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world - no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”-President Woodrow Wilson Lord Acton The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks. James Madison History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue[...]



The Truth About Christianity: What Jesus Really Said

2008-02-03T19:11:57.807-05:00

Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” I have come to show you the deeper things, which you have forgotten, and which now must be uncovered. It is time for the secrets to be revealed. And they were only ever secrets for two reasons: one, it was not Jesus who kept them secret, but those who would conceal or destroy the deeper teachings of Jesus, namely, the Roman Emperor Constantine and his collaborators; and more essentially, it has always been that the secrets will be revealed when you yourself learn to see. I will now tell you of the true history of the Christian church, and of the lost teachings. The Christian church lost its deeper teachings when in the 4th century the emperor Constantine decided to edit the scriptures. There was no official cannon at that point. There were a number of scriptures, but no official cannon. Constantine took it upon himself, as holy emperor, to decide that this scripture stays, this one goes. “Mark, I like, Thomas, no.” Having selected the scriptures he liked, he set out to purge the land of the scriptures he didn’t like. The scriptures he didn’t agree with were burned, wherever they could be found. Those who held them or spoke of them were killed. It was a religious cleansing, through state terrorism, backed by the newly minted Christian church, as a church hierarchy formed around the emperor Constantine. This is the creation of the official gospels. This is the beginning of Christianity as most people have come to know it. But this is only a chapter. At that point, when a church hierarchy formed around the emperor, and selected scriptures were enshrined as cannon, while others were burned and destroyed, Christianity lost its depths, or most of it, and went into literalism. It was at that point that the deeper teachings of Christianity were buried. Literalism triumphed with Constantine, very early in the history of Christianity, less than four hundred years after the death of Jesus. Also at that point, the newly created orthodoxy of the Christian church aligned itself with the empire – essentially, aligned itself with a police state of vast proportions. You do not maintain your integrity when you align yourself with a police state – you lose it. (This is an important point to remember today as well.) What is surprising, in light of the Christian church aligning itself with a bloody, brutal empire, is not that Christianity was corrupted, which would seem to have been inevitable, given such a choice as to unite with the empire, but that there remained any integrity at all. The fact that the teachings of Jesus can still, to this day, cut through two thousand years of fog and smoke and mirrors, is almost amazing. The laity and the monks and nuns, in spite of the church hierarchy, kept alive as much as they could of the original spirit and teachings of Jesus. It is they, not the clergy, who deserve the credit, although, to be fair, there have always been the best and the worst among the clergy, and the failings of Christianity are tied in some very significant degree to ordinary Christians, and not only to the hierarchy of church institutions. (The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials, the conquest of the Americas, the slave trade, the pogroms, the protection of Nazi war criminals, the continuing and present support for empire and wars of conquest, the silence on the current war of robber barons against the people of the earth….) On the whole, however, the spirit and teachings of Jesus have been kept alive by the hearts and minds of the people, in spite of the failings of the institution, ever since the time of the great conversion of that holy editor under God, Constantine. The priests and ministers, with few exceptions, as Jesus said, have been “dogs tha[...]



The Logan Act: Secrecy, Sovereignty, Democracy and Freedom of Speech

2008-01-30T15:10:08.240-05:00

The Logan Act (US federal law, 1799), like the US Fourteenth Amendment (1868), falls into the category, I would say, of ambiguous legislation, which may be applied to serve the interests of the people, or alternately, to strip the people of their rights and deprive them of their interests. It must therefore be amended, as with the Fourteenth Amendment, in order to clarify its intent and application. I am not a lawyer or legislator, but these are my thoughts, and I believe they are worthy of serious consideration. The Logan Act should allow citizens to hold discussions or correspondence with foreign nations' peoples, governments or representatives, but not as official representatives of the US government unless duly authorized, and not in secret – this would thereby give the protection of sovereignty which was intended, while upholding freedom of speech, assembly and association. Allowing small groups of powerful men to meet secretly to discuss affairs of state pertaining to one or more nations is undemocratic and unwise, and leads easily to the tyranny of the few over the many. The closed door meetings of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which seek to integrate the laws, regulations, economies, military, security and intelligence of Canada, the US and Mexico, as well as the secretive meetings of elite clubs such as the Bilderberg group, CFR and Trilateral Commission are four clear examples of such meetings which undermine the democratic process and leave open wide, the door to oligarchic anti-democratic rule. Absence of checks on such extra-parliamentary, unaccountable and anti-democratic concentrations of power constitute grave and immediate threats to the functioning of democratic processes, to national sovereignties, as well as to the rights and freedoms of citizens in the US and other nations. Let the super-rich and corporate elite have their clubs. But let us not be so foolish as to allow them secretive meetings pertaining to national and international affairs of the greatest importance. Open the doors, if they wish to discuss. Power confers responsibility, not the prerogatives for skirting and avoiding accountability. This applies equally to economic power as to political power, if not more so – or, at least it will when we choose to exercise our common sense. At the same time, banning citizens’ discussion with foreign nations or foreign citizens is clearly in violation of basic principles of human rights and freedom. To say for example that a US Senator, or any US citizen, is forbidden to speak with a member of a foreign government, and will be sanctioned, censured or imprisoned for doing so, as some tried to impose recently, is clearly draconian, unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, anti-democratic and antithetical to the principles of freedom. The clarification recommended here would resolve both dilemmas. Alternately, the previously proposed HR 6252 would vacate the law, rendering it next to useless, while Steve King’s proposed amendment would make it, as described above, draconian and unconstitutional as well as incompatible with basic rights and freedom. This is a law which presently may be of service or of harm to the people, and no clarity is presently available within its current framing. It must therefore be amended, and it can be argued compellingly, immediately so. The significance of the act is in terms of two not unrelated realms, that of basic freedoms, and that of unchecked concentrations of un-elected and unaccountable, undemocratic powers. It is vital that both of these be addressed, and this act must be amended, along with other measures which must be taken, in order to accomplish this. In the meantime, if the Logan Act can be utilized to protect[...]



HR 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

2008-01-22T15:08:35.507-05:00

What is HR 1955, and why should we be interested? Here is a short introduction. More than we may imagine rides on the peoples' response to this newest development in the war on democracy. Passed by a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with a vote of 404-6, October 23, 2007. Freedom of speech, association and assembly will be illegal in the US once the Senate and President sign on – and neither oppose it. With this law, dissent will be illegal. The unmistakable import of this new law is the criminalization of dissent. The FBI’s infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) stated clearly, in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that, “through counter-intelligence, it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble makers (sic) and neutralize them.” J. Edgar Hoover said of his COINTELPRO operation that his intent was to “neutralize political dissidents.” The FBI’s COINTELPRO operated illegally. HR 1955 now makes legal the mechanisms for neutralizing dissent. Expressing an opinion or view that is not favourable to the current ruling powers may be met with repression. America is now officially a fascist state. The bill is moving rapidly through Congress, and may be signed into law by February. Dissent and debate in the US House of Representatives was virtually non-existent. The media networks have been silent. Spread the news: the internet and face to face communication seem to be the only means to get this critical information out. "Legislation such as this demands heavy-handed governmental action against American citizens where no crime has been committed," Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul stated to the House in December, after missing the vote while campaigning. "It is yet another attack on our constitutionally protected civil liberties. It is my sincere hope that we will reject such approaches to security, which will fail at their stated goal at a great cost to our way of life." "It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding," Paul predicted in his House speech. "But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties." It is, he concluded, an "unwise and dangerous solution in search of a real problem." "If you understand what his bill does, it really sets the stage for further criminalization of protest," said Dennis Kucinich. "This is the way our democracy, little by little, is being stripped away from us." “There is no way to overstate how crucial this piece of legislation is. We are at a turning point, and without the restoration of the rule of law the "blueprint" for what I have called a "fascist shift" -- the closing down of democracy -- calls for scarier recriminations against citizens, greater tightening of social controls -- the ever-growing, disturbingly political TSA watch list is, alarmingly, due to go from the airlines' administration to that of the TSA itself -- and more corruptions of the electoral process. Blackwater is a truly terrifying wild card. Without the rule of law we will be powerless as each of these assaults on liberty continue to escalate. With it we can fight back.” – Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America, and American Fascism, in 10 easy steps. “The most pressing liberty Ron Paul, the ACLU, Dennis Kucinich and pretty much most left- and right-leaning organizations fear outright is a restriction on the right of internet access, since the House Subcommittee hearings and text of the resolution seized upon it with almost draconian intent. "The Web as a Weapon?" The question begs another: How do you disarm that weapon?” - Punishin[...]



America: A Fork In the Road

2008-01-20T23:03:28.194-05:00

"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd American President "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference."- Robert Frost "As an American who long ago realized that the US military is used as a corporate security force to protect globalist assets and interests overseas, and the "wars" and "police actions" are mounted whenever global capital interests are threatened, I felt Dr. Paul deserved further investigation as a viable candidate."You might think this is the statement of a liberal or leftist, but this is a voice from conservative America. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, if you oppose the war in Iraq, if you would not like to see the further escalation and spread of war across the cauldron of the Middle East, would like to see the body count, on both sides, end, or would like to see America stop acting like the world's policeman, and stop wars of empire and aggression, or even if you would simply like to see the US avoid bankruptcy through $1 trillion a year in imperial warfare expenses, then please Google Ron Paul. If you are American, look at this long shot who just might win. If you are not from the United States, tell your American friends to Google Ron Paul. Key words: Ron Paul, US, war, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, preemptive war, aggression, empire, CIA, Mossadegh, Mujahadeen, Brzezinski, Musharraf, ISI, blowback, bankruptcy, dollar crisis, Middle East, foreign policy, election, 2008, YouTube, Ron Paul 2008, constitution, voting record, freedom, non-intervention, republic Ron Paul: Basic principles - first things first: Stop the use of US military as global corporate security force.Restore civil liberties and constitutional rule at home. In a nutshell:Save the republic, renounce empire. My American friends, there approaches a fork in the road. The choice is becoming increasingly clear: empire or freedom. Everyone talks of freedom, democracy - like mom and apple pie, such words bring nods of approval, and everyone wants to be associated with them. But words can be hollow, even deceptive, as Orwell warned. In terms of freedom and democracy, one would expect a political candidate to support and adhere to the Constitution, and in practice, not just in speeches. Yet leading Democratic Presidential candidates (Clinton and Obama) voted for the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, which together nullify the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and in fact, abolish the 800 year old foundation of all rights under the rule of law, habeas corpus, allowing arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, without trial, indefinitely and without recourse to a lawyer or defense, and allow torture and extra-judicial execution by order of the executive or his representative. Only Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, among the US Presidential candidates, voted to protect the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to protect freedom and civil rights, and to protect democracy from excessive and arbitrary executive power. The other candidates literally voted in favour of demolishing the Constitution, Bill of Rights, civil liberties, freedom, democracy and the Republic, and in favour of arbitrary rule by Presidential decree. America has entered a terrifying new phase of its history. Only Paul and Kucinich among the candidates speak to the truth of this new reality, and only these two men speak and also act to defend the freedom, rights and democracy that are fundamental. Orwell would be nauseous over the rest.Many speak of peace, few have shown their words have any[...]



Smedley Butler and the Business Plot

2008-01-19T02:04:51.309-05:00

How corporate America nearly destroyed democracy in the United States in 1933It is unsurprising that powerful vested interests in business and government, as well as many within the media and academia who are devoted to these powers, attempt to shape perceptions, distort or conceal information, and do so with considerable success, even in relatively free and ostensibly democratic societies. What is almost amazing, however, is that at least one event of the greatest significance in the past one hundred years, was successfully erased from history and the peoples' awareness almost completely. I am talking about the little known "Business Plot" of 1933, in which a number of the most powerful of the American business elites, including individuals from General Motors, Prescott Bush, grandfather of George Bush Jr., J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller dynasty, attempted to seize the White House by military coup, and to install a fascist regime in America. Americans as well as people across the Western world, indeed, the world as a whole, should know about his dark scheme by the business elite to destroy democracy, a scheme which would have been successful but for the integrity and courage of U.S. Major-General Smedley Butler.We are extraordinarily fortunate that the business elite chose the wrong man for the job - that Smedley Butler, very intelligently, listened to the plotters' plans and went along with them long enough to find out who was involved, and then went immediately to Washington, and testified before Congress as to the atrocity which was being planned by some of the most powerful U.S. citizens and business "leaders."This was the last straw for the highly decorated General. He wrote what should be required reading for all high school students, "War Is A Racket," in which he declared he has been a "gangster for capitalism" for over thirty years, on three continents. After having been corporate America's man for so long, leading the charge to secure territory, resources, cheap labour and markets for U.S. business interests, he was asked to go one step further in the betrayal of his conscience, and perform the same function at home: destroy democracy and install a business-friendly dictatorship. His stomach turned, his conscience revolted, and the rest, is history - or it would be, if it had not been erased.In order to correct this dark and dangerous silence, it is important that Smedley Butler's tale now be told. In his own words:“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism....“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have giv[...]



NAFTA with Guns - Defeating the SPP

2007-08-18T22:19:02.532-05:00

SPP Forum and Protest August 19-21The SPP threatens our environment, social programs, civil liberties, sovereignty and the foundations of democracy. The MAI was killed, and full corporate rule averted. Now we must do the same with the SPP. Time to act! Get informed. Get involved. Send this to everyone you know.The RCMP, Surete du Quebec and US Army, who are providing security for the SPP meeting between Bush, Harper and Calderone this Sunday to Tuesday (Aug.19-21), have prevented a public discussion forum from being held in the nearby town of Papineauville. This is a good indication of the anti-democratic nature of this "Security and Prosperity Partnership." Fortunately, we still have freedom of speech. So speak up while you can. The internet is now the most powerful media and communications tool the public has. Let's use it.JTRThe best overview I've seen to date:The SPP Meeting in August -- and Preparations to oppose itFor further background search this blog for other SPP articles.Integrate This!Call to Action Against the SPP! August 19-21http://www.canadians.org/integratethis/Poster: Share, print and post this everywhere!http://www.canadians.org/integratethis/summit/Forum_Aug07.pdfAttention law students, lawyers and legal professionals:BCCLA Call for Legal Witnesseshttp://www.bccla.org/montebello.htmRide-Share to Ottawa & Montebello, Aug. 19http://www.canadians.org/integratethis/summit/travel.htmlAn activist camp and gathering: Un Campementhttp://www.uncampement.net/?q=enStill in doubt? Read the following:Canadian Sovereignty in Jeopardy: The Militarization of North Americaby Michael Chossudovsky, Center for Research on Globalization,August 17, 2007http://www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleId=6572Related article, reprinted from PEJ.org:The RCMP, the rogue states, and the SPP SummitPej.org news - Joan Russow (PhD) Global Compliance Research Project. It is reported by the Council of Canadians (see below) that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and U.S. Army have blocked a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) which was to take place during the SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec on August 20 and 21. If the RCMP is ever going to be credible in the eyes of the public, the RCMP must be perceived to be the enforcer not of the whims of the corporate sector but of fundamental peremptory norms to which most states in the world adhere.www.PEJ.orgAfter months, if not years, of the RCMP engaged in range of questionable practices which culminated in the resignation of the Commissioner Zacardelli, the New RCMP Commissioner William Elliot is taking the RCMP to a newlevel of ignominy. Before assuming the position of Commissioner of the RCMP, William Elliot, -a “terrorist expert” - in his various capacities, under Transport and Public Safety ministries has been playing a sycophantic role to his US counterparts. Now, with his first act as the RCMP Commissioner he demonstrates that, rather than enforcing the rule of law, he is willing, by denying the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association, to violate both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights instruments, such as the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights to which Canada, US and Mexico are signatories. .If the RCMP is ever going to be credible in the eyes of the public, the RCMP must be perceived to be the enforcer not of the whims of the corporate sector but of fundamental peremptory norms to which most states in the world adhere. . The RCMP should be concerned that the SPP summit that the RCMP is so intent on protecting is one with at least two leaders who have seriously violated fundamental[...]



Hydrogen: Cutting Through the Mental Smog

2007-06-27T01:47:54.187-05:00

An Overview: Where we stand with hydrogen fuel now1. We need to get off polluting fossil fuels asap. This is obvious to just about everyone now.2. Biofuels are better than fossil fuels - lower emissions for example - but with the possible exception of celulosic bio-ethanol, they amount to the burning of food for the morally questionable purpose of hauling our asses around in 2 tons of steel and glass. Unless celulosic bio-ethanol makes major advances, biofuels are a very poor answer. Presently, biofuels are biocidal: they amount to mass starvation if implemented widely. Biofuel may be better than fossil fuel, but not by much.3. Both hydrogen and electric vehicles offer zero emissions from the tail pipe (with H2 ICEs - internal combustion engines - there is a tiny amount of NOXs, but practically zero when compared to dino-juice burners). These two technologies are presently available, but only on micro-scale: mass implementation is urgently needed.4. Hydrogen and electric vehicles are demonstrated and proven viable. However, we cannot wait for mass production of electric or hydrogen vehicles. The auto industry is too slow, and besides, there are over 1 billion fossil fuel-burning vehicles on the planet now, with a median life expectancy of 17 years. We cannot wait to retire and replace these vehicles. We must begin converting all existing vehicles to green energy systems now, and as quickly as possible.5. Hydrogen or electric? Electric cars are better than fossil fuel burners, but the power grid is heavily polluting and heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Electric cars are only clean if they are re-charged with an off-grid clean, renewable energy system. The same is true for the sourcing of energy for hydrogen vehicles: hydrogen from fossil fuels is not a smart answer - unless you're an oil and gas company. Hydrogen only makes true environmental sense when it is derived from clean, renewable wind or solar power, using waste (methane from sewage, landfills or compost) or water - via reformation or electrolysis. In either case, a distributed, decentralized green energy supply is what is needed, along with immediate vehicle conversions. There are passionate supporters of both green-tech camps, but the fact is, both are viable and ready to go now, and either would be clean, renewable, and infinitely preferable to fossil fuels, so long as they are implemented intelligently.Re: Hydrogen generation through electrolysis requires more energy input than you get out. (A reply to comments on Autoblog)If we erroneously view hydrogen as an energy source, then this is an insurmountable problem: an energy source is not an energy source if it consumes more energy than it produces - obviously. There may be ways to harness hydrogen energy aside from electrolysis that are net energy producing processes, however, the point here is that hydrogen produced by electrolysis is not an energy source, but an energy carrier - like a battery. You don't say, well, batteries are only energy carriers, not an energy source, therefore electric cars are non-feasible. You don't say batteries defy the second law of thermodynamics because they require more energy than they produce - of course, because they do not produce energy; they merely store it.Hydrogen produced by electrolysis likewise is a means to store energy - in hydrogen - for a hydrogen vehicle for example, just as a battery stores energy in an electric vehicle. In either case, the battery or the hydrogen is simply an energy storage medium, and either requires a primary energy source - ideally, solar or wind. Is this not clear enough? It is amazing ho[...]



An Outbreak of Democracy in America?

2007-05-17T16:53:28.445-05:00

The Republican Party and corporate media are scared - actual democracy is threatening to break out in America. Ron Paul is under attack by the Republicans - because he is a serious threat to business as usual. Who is Ron Paul? He is a maverick Republican candidate for the up-coming U.S. presidential election, and perhaps the only hope that the U.S. has of averting a full-blown police state. That may sound extreme, but it is quite possibly the case. No other candidate that stands a chance of winning the coming U.S. presidential election has any spine when it comes to abolishing the draconian and anti-democratic thrust of the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, which, along with executive signing statements and other maneuvers, have gone a long way toward institutionalizing executive privilege and the of undermining constitutional democracy. Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton both voted not only to instate the Patriot Act, which effectively nullifies the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also, more recently, to extend it and to make 14 of its provisions permanent. The mainstream Republican candidates are no better. Anyone who has kept abreast of U.S. politics should know that America is in crisis, and democracy is at stake. Ron Paul needs and deserves support. If there are American citizens reading this, please learn more about Ron Paul. Whether or not you support him, if you value democracy or freedom of speech, then you must defend his right to participate in the electoral and democratic process without being blackballed, silenced or buried under the weight of corporate media influence. The grassroots love him, and he is apparently in the lead in polls for the GOP nomination. Speak now. Time is short. With the corporate media shutting out the legitimate candidates in the American presidential race - the only ones with integrity, such as Kucinich and Paul - the internet has become the primary political organizing tool. If you are reading this, you are in the thick of it. Make it meaningful. Below is the full email sent from the social networking Facebook group, Dr. Ron Paul for President. Action Alert: Keep Ron Paul In The DebateNeo-Con Republican Elite Seek To Silence Front-runnerSign the petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/r0npaul/petition.html), jam the phone lines (1-202-863-8500), save free speech and the electoral processPaul Joseph Watson & Alex JonesPrison PlanetThursday, May 17, 2007 From Fox News, to GOPAC to factions of the Republican Party, the Neo-Con elite have sworn to crush free speech, kill the electoral process and kick the clear frontrunner - Congressman Ron Paul - out of the debates. Only by taking immediate action can we fight back against these anti-American enemies of freedom. Ron Paul’s message of limited government, personal liberty, abolishing the IRS and bringing U.S. troops home for good resonates with the mass body politic of the American people - which is exactly why the establishment are attacking the Congressman and attempting to smear him from every angle. Now the Michigan chapter of the Republican party wants to kick Ron Paul out of the debates altogether, despite the fact that he won both debates, crushed his nearest rivals in the polls and is clearly the frontrunner for the candidacy. This is akin to an analogy where the Mafia owns nine of the ten horses in a race. The only horse that isn’t owned by them is the frontrunner and is a full length ahead. Now the mob boss simply wants to rig the race by shooting that horse dead in broad daylight. Let these enemie[...]



The Right Kind of Confusion: Conservative Divisions and the Collapse of the Right

2007-05-16T13:59:45.254-05:00

The Conservative Party of Canada seems to be a strange mixture of competing and conflicting ideologies, as Devin Johnston pointed out in Countdown Until the Conservative Party Disbands Again. His post sparked reflections on the state of conservative parties and alliances in Canada and the U.S. Here are a few thoughts. To begin with, I think it’s helpful to distinguish some of the ideological or philosophical currents that are lumped together under the label of “the right” or “conservative”. The first that comes to mind for many is crass servility to corporate power, however, there is of course, much more complexity to the right than that. One element within that loose category called “conservative” or “the right” is the current which comprises social conservatism. As Devin again, nicely summarized: “Social conservatism is the premise that there is one “right” way of living in a community and one “right” set of values, beliefs and ideals. Social conservatives advocate the suppression of the rights and freedoms of minorities through the state imposition of white male Christian heteronormative values. [In Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, it would be Arab male Islamic heteronormative values; and in both cases, class prejudice and class warfare are more than a little present – they are in fact central.] Classical liberals precisely reject any attempt by the state to dictate beliefs and values to citizens.” Well put. You could say it is Thomas Hobbes versus Thomas Paine. Another current is populist, with strong values of grassroots democracy. Closely related but more emphatic in its wariness of centralized power is the libertarian current. Populists may be social conservatives, although there is an uneasy tension in this inherent contradiction; but any genuine libertarian will disavow state interference in the lives of citizens, including same sex marriage, de-criminalization of marijuana and other hot-button issues for social conservatives. Classical liberalism places a high value on freedom, and distrusts what libertarians call the “nanny state.” Libertarians therefore have an uneasy alliance with the right, as the right is uncomfortably full of social conservatives who want to regulate everything from who you sleep with to how you brush your teeth. Libertarians can for these reasons be found forming alliances with the left when conditions are right. (No pun intended.) It is not necessarily that they are fickle, but more that they are looking for political representation within a system and political climate that is far more statist, centralist, elitist and authoritarian than they would like to see. Depending upon the policies - or promises - of the right or left, they may go either way, and this can at times be an informed and intelligent choice. Thus, libertarians have more in common with classical liberals - or even left libertarians, who are in truth their estranged cousins - than with social conservatives. It is the espoused values of limited government, freedom, populism, and fiscal conservatism of the right that has attracted the support of libertarians, but if we look to the actual record of the right in Canada and the U.S. we can see that these values were only for public consumption, not for actual practice. Libertarians, populists, fiscal conservatives and advocates of freedom have been sold a bill of goods. More directly, they have been lied to. The U.S. became the world’s biggest debtor under Reagan, who ballooned the debt to record levels with his tax cuts for the rich and corporations, com[...]



On Libertarianism: Right & Left

2007-04-15T14:17:58.954-05:00

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” ~Albert Einstein Libertarianism is a term that has come to be identified with the right, with limited government, ideals of freedom, free market capitalism and laissez fair economics, however, the term originally meant libertarian socialism, a libertarianism of the left. The distinction of two kinds of libertarianism, or more appropriately, a spectrum of views within what is called libertarianism, is important. Both right and left libertarianism have a deep skepticism about excessive concentrations of state power, encroachments of government power in the lives of individuals and communities, and a belief that ultimately, “That government is best which governs the least.” Beyond this agreement, there are considerable differences between libertarianism of the right and that of the left. But before the distinctions between left and right libertarianism can be discussed, we need to clarify just what is essential to a libertarian perspective, and also, to distinguish between the ideal and the immediate in terms of advocating or working towards specific goals for human society. Thoreau expresses a very clear and lucid view of the subject, recognizing the ideal, yet also the immediate reality: ideally, and “when men are ready for it,” no government, which we shall have, and which shall be a degree of liberation not yet seen or imagined; but in the immediate sense, not “no government, but at once, a better government.” In other words, work toward and keep in mind the ideal – freedom from state power messing up and intruding on the peoples’ lives, liberty and communities, but also seek more limited victories in the short term: a better government. I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. - Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience Bertrand Russell also came to the same conclusion. His cool, rational conclusion, after a very fair-minded and objective analysis, was that anarchism – from the Latin, an-archos, meaning absence of an over-arching power, not chaos – is likely the best form of human society (as well as the full and self-consistent application of libertarian values), but we are not likely ready for it; in the short term, what he called libertarian socialism is the best order for society to which we can aspire. By that he meant limited government, with all government power kept as close to the community as possible, and as close the hands of the people as possible – as Jefferson urged – but also with strong values of voluntary free association and human cooperation for mutual aid and benefit (a la Kropotkin). Ideally, and in the short term, he recommended we work toward a society where power lies primarily, not in the hands of a few bureaucrats and lobbyists in a far away capital where power is centralized, but in the hands of the[...]



Favourite Quotes

2007-04-14T22:28:50.731-05:00

I. While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. - Thoreau, WaldenIf necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us. - Thoreau, Walden "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” - Walden, Henry David Thoreau There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. - Thoreau, Walden Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. - The Buddha Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~Albert Einstein There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy. - Shakespeare It is better to follow one’s own dharma, no matter how imperfectly, than to follow that of another. - The Upanishads (Dharma in this context means one’s true nature, one’s true path.) Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished with the help of my fellow man; you would have to put their minds through a kind of powerful vice first, to squeeze their olds ideas out of them. - Thoreau, Walden Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living. - Thoreau, Walden When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. - Thoreau, Walden It is never too late to give up your prejudices. - Thoreau, Walden I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. - Thoreau, Walden Life is rounded by a little sleep. - Shakespeare Only that day dawns to which we are awake. - Thoreau, WaldenI do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to find I had not lived. - Thoreau, Walden We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. - Thoreau The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anyth[...]



Earth 101: Essential Reading

2008-03-11T15:06:42.775-05:00

So many good books, so little time….....…but so few truly great books.Here’s a short list – author’s picks: some of the best books and articles for both breadth and depth of awareness.Essential readings for early 21st century human beings on this small blue speck in space. 38 books, 9 essays – one hell of a tour of human existence. “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” - Henry David Thoreau “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” - Henry David Thoreau J. Todd Ring April 2007 Links to all texts not online are listed below Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau - full text Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies - Noam Chomsky Year 501: The Conquest Continues - Noam Chomsky The Dispossessed - Ursula Leguin Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance - Ronald Wright The Chalice and the Blade - Riane Eisler The Ecology of Freedom - Murray Bookchin Roads to Freedom - Bertrand Russell Escape from Freedom - Erich Fromm The Power Elite - C. Wright Mills The Corporation - Joel Bakan A History of God - Karen Armstrong The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell No Boundary - Ken Wilber Dialogues With Scientists and Sages – Renee Weber Dreamtime and Inner Space – Holgar Kalweit The Holographic Universe – Michael Talbot Mysticism and the New Physics – Michael Talbot World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra with Commentary – Jamgon Kontrul and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso The Mother of the Buddhas – Lex Hixon The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche The Gospel of Thomas – Marvin Meyer, transl. Tao Te Ching – Jane English, transl. Chuang Tsu: The Inner Chapters – Gia-Fu Feng, transl. Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Harvard Divinity School Address Thoreau's Walden Tao: The Watercourse Way – Alan Watts The Way of Zen – Alan Watts The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Watts Psychotherapy East and West – Alan Watts The Art of War – Sun Tzu (Shambhala Dragon Edition – translation matters!) The classic text on both strategy and conflict management: decidedly anti-war. A Short History of Progress - Ronald Wright Ancient Futures – Helena Norberg-Hodge The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies - Richard Heinberg Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance - Noam Chomsky Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War - Christopher Simpson The CIA’s Greatest Hits - Mark Zepezauer The Threat of a Good Example - Chomsky Example Odonian A Marxist Threat to Cola Sales? Rollback Drain The Swamp And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes - Chomsky The Responsibility of Intellectuals Scientific American: The Samaritan Paradox Their Libertarianism And Ours Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa Where to find them: full links below, or search with these tools Powell's Books Alibris: Used, Rare & Out-of-Print Books AbeBooks: New & Used Books, Textbooks, Rare & Out of Print Books The Internet Classics Archive: 441 searchable works of classical literature Internet Sacred Text Archive Earth 101:[...]



Ron Paul: Honest Abe Lives

2007-04-11T11:28:37.900-05:00

“Congress' premier defender of the Constitution” Why on earth would a left libertarian who admires democratic socialist Hugo Chavez favour a conservative Republican candidate? The answer is simple: I see no other contender who is willing to seriously challenge the drift toward fascism. The preservation of constitutional democracy is the first and most urgent task at hand. All other issues can be debated once the basics are secured: preserve democracy. “Ron Paul stands for populist ideals that the country is screaming out for after seven years of hell under Bush. Paul unites opposition to the war and the police state at home across the entire political spectrum…from libertarians through anti-war Democrats. Ron Paul is a constitutionalist who votes based on principles that support our rights as individuals. But it is how he does is that makes him a HERO. He consistently stands undaunted in the face of opposition. He is dedicated to protecting “the good.” He is uncompromising in his standards, valiant in his efforts, and he does it all with a quiet nobility that is inspiring. He does what is right. He tells us the Truth. It is this that defines him as a HERO for our times.” I would urge all who oppose the slide into corporatocracy and a police state to stand up now, speak up now, across the spectrum, from liberal and progressive to conservative or libertarian, social democrat or libertarian socialist – all who oppose tyranny and who would prefer democracy to fascism – and support Ron Paul. The stakes are high, and the time is short.Texas Congressman Ron Paul has announced he is running for U.S. President in 2008: I think he would be far superior as a president than either Bush was, or Hilary Clinton would be. Bush goes without saying. Hilary Clinton has expressed her support for expanding the Middle East war into Iran. She has consistently voted in favour of massive funding for unconstitutional imperial war in the Middle East, thereby helping to get thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, while bankrupting the country. She also voted in favour of the draconian and dangerous Patriot Act. She boldly voted to limit the Military Commissions Act to 2011. What’s four years of abuse of power among friends? Barrack Obama is admired by many, but I could not possibly support such a man who would speak against war, and simultaneously continue to fund it, voting in favour of over $580 billion for military appropriations in 2006 alone – much of this specifically targeted to increased funding for the war in Iraq. On December 21, 2005, Senator Obama voted in favour of the $450 billion Defense Department FY 2006 Appropriations Bill – including $50 billion specifically tagged for continued war in Iraq and Afghanistan. On May 4, 2006 Senator Obama voted in favour of $67 billion in “emergency supplemental appropriations” for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On June 15, 2006, Senator Obama voted in favour of $70 billion in “emergency supplemental appropriations” for the “Global War on Terrorism.” On June 22, 2006, Obama voted in favour of over $500 billion in military spending for the fiscal year of 2007. Now that I know the voting record of Hilary and Obama, whenever I think of either of these two “doves” I think of the line by The Who: “Meet the new boss – same as the old boss” (Won’t Get Fooled Again). If we are to judge by acti[...]



The SPP: Stealth Coup?

2007-04-11T01:42:38.862-05:00

The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is an issue that is heating up rapidly among grassroots popular movements as well as the general citizenry - ironically, on the right in the U.S. and on the left in Canada.

The SPP is an agreement signed in March, 2005 by then heads of government of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, George Bush, Paul Martin and Vicente Fox. According to the official U.S. government SPP website, the agreement is not a treaty or trade deal, but a "dialogue."

Documents obtained from the Pentagon under the Freedom of Information Act state that the SPP is "a broad and ambitious" plan to create "full regulatory harmonization" and "deep integration" of the economies, military, intelligence, laws and regulations of the three nations.

A council of 30 CEOs - 10 to represent each nation - has already been created: the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). The NACC will form policy and "brief" Congress and Parliament.

In the U.S. and Canada, citizens groups are beginning to take notice, and are appalled. The SPP is being viewed by critics, both on the right and the left of the political spectrum, as a serious threat to sovereignty and democracy. All evidence points in this direction. The fact that it is being carried out in very secretive ways, with no Congressional or Parliamentary debate or oversight, only adds to the perception that this is a deeply anti-democratic agenda.

J. Todd Ring

April 11, 2007

For more information on the SPP, here are a few of the best articles and resources available:

INTEGRATE THIS! A Citizen’s Guide to Fighting Deep Integration

* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

*** ZNet |Economy | Power to the People (In Suits)

Fast-Track to Fascism: The SPP in a Nutshell





Towing the Line with the Mainstream Media

2007-04-13T12:39:44.890-05:00

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." - Benjamin Franklin“The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.” Noam ChomskyAs Chomsky accurately pointed out – merely stating what should be obvious – the major media set the boundaries of acceptable discussion. They serve the function, among others, of saying in effect, “Thus far, and no further.” To step outside these parameters is thus implicitly portrayed as stepping off the edge of the earth. Beyond these bounds we enter the irrational, lunatic fringe. However, as also should be obvious, the bounds of discussion are extraordinarily narrow. Five corporations control network media in the U.S., six in Canada. They share a common perspective and present an extremely narrow range of views. Major issues are framed within a common lens of spin, omission of certain critical, salient facts, and outright distortion. Other major issues are not covered at all, or buried on page 39, in a minor note, right next to a recipe for oatmeal porridge or some other riveting feature. It should go without saying that if we allow the corporate media to set the parameters of discussion, we are lost. Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the media. Noam ChomskyIt is now a matter of public record that the U.S. government has contracted out to Haliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention centers in America. KBR itself announced this in their own press release, stating that the contract is “open-ended” in terms of time-frame and scale. This should be worrisome. We remember that detention centers have been built – and used – before. In the U.S. and Canada during the second world war, the Japanese detention centers left a horrible and grotesque legacy. And of course, we have the chilling memory of the Nazi prison camps. When the U.S. government, already moving rapidly in the direction of fascism, as any sane observer recognizes, starts building detention centers, we should take this as noteworthy. This is newsworthy, or nothing is. But if the major media don’t cover it, then we all feel it is unacceptable to talk about it. It is now a matter of public record – not theory – that the executive branches of the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments, along with at least three extremely powerful corporate lobby groups, have begun, under the signed agreement called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), what is being called a “dialogue” to create “full regulatory harmonization” and “deep integration” within “Fortress North America” in “the new security environment.” This is a program that is far more broad and ambitious than NAFTA, CAFTA or the FTAA, yet it is being met with almost complete silence by the mainstream media. Are we to then accept that such a major program, which is being carried out without Congressional or Parliamentary oversight or debate, which will redefine the economies, military and security structures, laws, regulations, borders and political process of the three nations, is not fit for public discussion, is not a legitimate topic of debate or dialogue, is beyond the range of acceptable discourse? The answer is, of course - o[...]