Bulletin N° 806
The Wicker Man, a pagan horror story
Subject : ‘The Banality of Evil’ in its Most Archaic, Superstitious Form.
14 June 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
We seem to be speeding backwards in time towards a neo-feudal era, where misery and insecurity are carefully engineered - both in private and in public life. A Pandora’s Box has been opened, so to speak, by neo-liberal ideologues, and the message is out: “Greed is Good!” An increasingly fearful and brainwashed population of would-be opportunists are busy buzzing around looking for new rewards. In seeking “Truth,” the aesthetics of coherency and of correspondence have given way to a perverse form of pragmatics – if it works, don’t fix it!
A submissive “peasant” class is now being produced in contemporary societies around the world by neo-liberal social engineering that prepares populations to be marginalized and managed by the superior powers of Oligarchs who ultimately set the political-economic agenda for society which their technicians then are paid to operate on their behalf. A ‘proletarian class consciousness’ is being systematically displaced by an emotional longing for “Security” – i.e. the insatiable appetite for limitless wealth, or -what is tantamount to this - for death.
The numbing effect of this environmental downward shift on the general population – both culturally and ecologically – has predictably given rise to new patterns of destructive behavior. [Please see Per Fagereng’s piece, “Dancing on the electric grid” in our December 19, 2010 CEIMSA Bulletin N° 472.]
It would appear that the downward spiral is well underway
now, and when/where it will stop is anybody’s guess . . . . Meanwhile, the "progress" we can expect to see from the Trump-Kim-Jong-Un tango this week is: 1) the abating of the probability
of a thermonuclear exchange with North Korea, a danger that was greatly exacerbated by the "Great Deal-Maker" himself; 2) the construction of a few
luxury condominiums or hotel resorts on the beaches of North Korea, which again can be produced by the "Great Builder" himself; and 3) most
certainly US exploitation of North Korea’s most prominent capital asset - a disciplined
and obedient military force in Asia - to be available at low cost in service of the
American Empire, much as the British used colonial Indian regiments to join
with the recently defeated, then rearmed Japanese fascist army in order to “pacify”
the Vietnamese after WW II and to restore French colonialism, just as Europe
and the US have used the “Israeli Defense Force” in the Middle East. (Most of us, to be sure,
have been kept blissfully ignorant of such precedents in the history of Imperial
powers, until it now seems no longer to matter.) This third accomplishment would, of course, ingratiate our "Great White Hope" in the eyes of the US military industrial complex, an indebtedness for a long time to come . . . .
The 19 items below reflect today’s barbarism that is being set to produce future generations of barbaric behavior, ad nauseam . . . . Only the capitalist investors in war will profit, and there is no shortage of lackeys who are more than willing to go along for the ride.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Headline June 11, 2018
Israeli Troops Kill 4 Palestinians & Wound 600 More
in Crackdown on Nonviolent Protest
In Gaza, Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinians and wounded 600 more during the Palestinians’ nonviolent protests Friday along the separation fence with Israel. Among those killed was a 15-year-old boy named Haitham al-Jamal. Photos also went viral of another Palestinian protester being shot in the face with a tear gas canister. He remains in critical condition. The Israeli military has killed at least 124 Palestinians and wounded 14,000 more since the Palestinians’ nonviolent Great March of Return protests began on March 30.
Sent: Thursday, 7 June, 2018 4:03:19 PM
Subject: US news outlets' selective amnesia, mass protests planned, and more...
Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist Hypocrisy
The Great March of Return is a startling, powerful expression of Palestinian identity and resistance. Thousands of Palestinians have come out, bravely and unapologetically, to say: “We refuse to remain invisible. We reject any attempt to assign us to the discard pile of history. We will exercise our fundamental right to go home.” They have done this unarmed, in the face of Israel’s use of deadly armed force against targets (children, press, medics) deliberately chosen to demonstrate the Jewish state’s unapologetic determination to force them back into submissive exile by any means necessary. By doing this repeatedly over the last few weeks, these incredibly brave men, women, and children have done more than decades of essays and books to strip the aura of virtue from Zionism that’s befogged Western liberals’ eyes for 70 years.
Voices from Gaza: June 8, 2018
No, Israel Is Not a Democracy
by lan Pappe
Gaza . . .
Debunking Myths About the Palestinian Protests
The justifications given for the deaths of Palestinian protesters just don't add up.
Israel: Apparent War Crimes in Gaza
Accountability Needed for Officials Who Authorized Lethal Force
Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty:
A Half Century Later, Still No Justice
In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel’s attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.
Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.
Soon more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns.
Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s
Stealth Takeover of America
Nobel laureate James Buchanan is the intellectual linchpin of the Koch-funded attack on democratic institutions.
Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.
James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.
The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.
Henry Giroux Puts a Lens on the Nightmare of Neoliberal Fascism
Is there a chance to defeat the forces of neoliberal fascism?
Henry A. Giroux explains why we must understand the historical and contemporary context of fascism to understand what we are up against.
Mark Karlin: Why is it important to have an historical understanding of fascism to shed light on the age of Trump?
Henry A. Giroux: The conditions leading to fascism do not exist in some ethereal space outside of history. Nor are they fixed in a static moment in the past. As Hannah Arendt reminds us, the protean elements of fascism always run the risk of crystallizing into new forms. Historical memory is a prerequisite to the political and moral witnessing necessary to successfully counter growing fascism in the United States today. As Richard Evans, the renowned historian of modern Germany, observes, the Trump administration may not replicate all the features of Germany and Italy in the 1930s, but the legacy of fascism is important because it echoes a “warning from history” that cannot be dismissed. What historians such as Evans, Timothy Snyder and others have suggested is that it is crucial to examine history in order to understand what tyranny and authoritarianism look like and how we can use the past to fight against such forces. While the United States under Trump may not be an exact replica of Hitler’s Germany, the mobilizing ideas, policies, passions and ruthless social practices of fascism, wrapped in the flag and discourses of racial purity, ultra-nationalism and militarism, are at the center of power in the Trump administration. When selected elements of history are suppressed and historical consciousness and memory no longer provide insights into the workings of repression, exploitation and resistance, people are easily trapped in forms of historical and social amnesia that limit their sense of perspective, their understanding of how power works and the ways in which the elements of fascism sustain themselves in different practices. Fascism is not unvarying and expresses its most fundamental attacks on democracy in different arrangements, which is all the more reason for people to develop what Timothy Snyder calls “an active relationship to history” in order to prevent a normalizing relationship to authoritarian regimes such as the United States under Trump’s rule. Surely, a critical understanding of history would go a long way in enabling the American people to recognize the elements of a fascist discourse in much of Trump’s racist tweets, speeches and policies.
History unexpurgated provides us with a vital resource that helps inform the ethical ground for resistance, an antidote to Trump’s politics of disinformation, division, diversion and fragmentation. Moreover, history reminds us that in the face of emerging forms of authoritarianism, solidarity is essential. If there is one thing that the important lessons of history in the work of writers such as George Orwell have taught us, it is that we must refuse to be complicit in the mockery of truth. This is especially crucial in the current historical moment, given the way the Trump administration — along with far-right media giants, such as Infowars, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Fox News and Breitbart News Network — work to aggressively propagate a vast disimagination machine. With the death of historical memory comes the nightmare we had thought was no longer possible to witness again. The lessons of history are crucial because they can readily be put to use in identifying present-day abuses of power and corruption. History not only grounds us in the past by showing how democratic institutions rise and fall, it is also replete with memories and narratives of resistance that pose a dangerous threat for any fascist and authoritarian system. This is particularly true today, given the ideological features and legacies of fascism that are deeply woven into Trump’s rhetoric of retribution, intolerance and demonization; its mix of shlock pageantry, coercion, violence and impunity; and the constant stoking of ultra-nationalism and racial agitation. Memory as a form of historical consciousness is essential in repaying our burden to the dead and the current victims by holding accountable those who … retreat from any sense of moral responsibility in the face of their reprehensible actions, if not crimes. Given the danger of right-wing populism and the incendiary rise of fascism in our time, Hannah Arendt is useful in reminding us that thinking and judging must be connected to our actions. Moreover, such thinking must grasp the underlying causes of the economic and political crisis at hand while acting collectively to fight neoliberal fascism and its embrace of white supremacy, social and economic inequality, and its hatred of democracy. That is why historical memory as a register of critical thinking is so dangerous to Trump and his acolytes.
The Corporate Media’s World of Illusions
by Jonathan Cook
For several years now, I have been writing these regular blog posts with one end in mind: to help open a door for readers and encourage them to step through. I select issues, usually those that dominate western media coverage and represent a consensus that we might term the Great Western Narrative, and try to show how this narrative has been constructed not to inform and enlighten but to conceal and deceive.
It is not that I and the many other bloggers doing this are cleverer than everyone else. We have simply had a chance – an earlier one – to step through that door ourselves, because of a jarring life experience that the Great Western Narrative could not explain, or because someone held the door open for us, or more usually because of a combination of the two.
My personal awakening
It is easy for me to identify my own process of awakening. It began with the dislocation of moving to Nazareth and being immersed in someone else’s narrative – that of the Palestinians. Then, I faced for the first time in my career as a journalist an impenetrable wall of opposition, even from my own former newspaper, the Guardian, as I tried to explain that counter-narrative. In fact, I found that the Palestinian narrative was invariably misrepresented as anti-semitism. These were dark years of disillusionment and the loss of a professional and ideological compass.
Why Venezuela and Syria Cannot Fall
by Andre Vltchek
Despite tremendous hardship which the Venezuelan people are having to face, despite the sanctions and intimidation from abroad, President Nicolás Maduro has won a second six-year term. Two weeks ago, at the Venezuelan embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, where I addressed several leaders of East African left-wing opposition, an acting Charge d’ Affaires, Jose Avila Torres, declared: “People of Venezuela are now facing similar situation as the Syrian people.”
True. Both nations, Venezuela and Syria, are separated by a tremendous geographical distance, but they are united by the same fate, same determination and courage. During the Spanish Civil War, Czech anti-fascist fighters, volunteers in the International Brigades, used to say: “In Madrid we are fighting for Prague”. Madrid fell to Franco’s fascists in October 1939. Prague had been occupied by German troops several months earlier, in March 1939. It was the blindness and cowardice of the European leaders, as well as the support which the murderous fascist hordes received from populations of all corners of the continent, which led to one of the greatest tragedies in modern history – a tragedy which only ended on May 9, 1945, when the Soviet troops liberated Prague, defeating Nazi Germany and de facto saving the world.
Gaza and the Psychopaths
Psychopathic (Adjective) 1. Suffering from or constituting a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent behavior.
This is Oxford’s best shot at describing a condition I feel quite comfortable framing within its succinct parameters the State of Israel, the vast majority of its population – if the analysis of Max Blumenthal and Norman Finkelstein mean anything – the disease of Zionism, a highly virulent form of theocratic nationalism, as well as that country’s primary enabler – the greatest purveyor of terror on earth – the United States.
The instantly iconic photograph of Fadi Hassan Abu Salah, a double amputee who lost his legs during an Israeli carpet bombing of the Gaza called Operation Cast Lead in 2008 was murdered by a sniper Monday, May 14thin the context of an Israel now completely unfettered. The 70 year genocide of Palestinians has achieved a bas relief of murderous psychosis requiring neither justification nor subterfuge. From the Nakba or catastrophe of 1948 – the forced displacement of Palestinians numbering in the many hundreds of thousands from their homes and homeland marking the genesis of Israel’s blood soaked breech birth – to the present moment, there have been, to be sure, many, many worse slaughters by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and its various precursors, but the non-violent nature of this particular act of Palestinian resistance, “The Right of Return,” has placed Israel in the untenable absurdity of ascribing kites as lethal weapons of Hamas.
In The Western World Truth Is An Endangered Species: Come To Its Support
by Paul Craig Roberts
Nowhere in the Western world is truth respected. Even universities are imposing censorship and speech control. Governments are shutting down, and will eventually criminalize, all explanations that differ from official ones. The Western world no longer has a print and TV media. In its place there is a propaganda ministry for the ruling elite.
Whistleblowers are prosecuted and imprisoned despite their protection by federal statue. The US Department of Justice is a Department of Injustice. It has been a long time since any justice flowed from the DOJ.
The total corruption of the print and TV media led to the rise of Intermet media such as Wikileaks, led by Julian Assange, a prisoner since 2012.
Assange is an Australian and Ecuadorian citizen. He is not an American citizen. Yet US politicians and media claim that he is guilty of treason because he published official documents leaked to Wikileaks that prove the duplicity and criminality of the US government.
It is strickly impossible for a non-citizen to be guilty of treason. It is strickly impossible under the US Constitution for the reporting of facts to be spying. The function of the media is to expose and to hold accountable the government. This function is no longer performed by the Western print and TV media.