Bulletin N° 847
Paths of Glory
by Stanley Kubrick
Subject : Post-Liberal Society: The Contest between Authoritarian Fascist and Democratic Socialist Values for Our Future.
28 May 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The writings of Ferdinand Céline offer unmistakable insights into the cynical fascist culture of the 1930s that was preparing for “The End Game.” He writes towards the end of his first book, Voyage au bout de la nuit, about the apparent vested interests in the misanthropic cultural order that Dr. Bardamu observed in his morbid milieu:
One evening when my waiting room was almost empty, a priest came in to see me. I didn’t know the priest, I almost showed him the door. I didn’t like priests, I had my reasons . . . . Obviously he had something to ask of me. His voice seldom rose above a certain confidential monotone which, or so at least I imagined, came from his calling. While he was cautiously preambeling, I tried to form a picture of all he did each day to earn his calories, all his grimaces and promises, pretty much like my own… And then, to amuse myself, I imagined him all naked at his alter… It’s a good habit to get into: when somebody comes to see you, quick, reduce him to nakedness, and you’ll see through him in a flash, regardless of who it is, you will instantly discern the underlying reality, namely an enormous, hungry maggot. It’s good sleight-of-the-imagination. His lousy prestige vanishes, evaporates. Once you’ve got him naked, you’ll be dealing with nothing more than a bragging, pretentious beggar, talking drivel of one kind or another. It’s a test that nothing can withstand. In a moment you’ll know where you’re at. There won’t be anything left but ideas, and there’s nothing frightening about ideas. With ideas nothing is lost, everything can be straightened out. Whereas it’s sometimes hard to stand up to the prestige of a man with his clothes on. Nasty mysteries cling to his clothes.
This Abbé had very bad teeth, decayed, discolored, ringed with greenish tartar – in short, a fine case of alveolar pyorrhea. I was going to tell him about his pyorrhea, but he was too busy telling me things.
. . .
This kind of meticulous observation was a habit, you might say a hobby, of mine. When you stop to examine the way in which words are formed and uttered, our sentences are hard put to survive the disaster of their slobbery origins. The mechanical effort of conversation is nastier and more complicated than defecation. The corolla of bloated flesh, the mouth, which screws itself up to whistle, which sucks in breath, contorts itself, discharges all manner of viscous sounds across a fetid barrier of decaying teeth – how revolting! Yet that is what we are adjured to sublimate into an ideal. It’s not easy. Since we are nothing but packages of tepid, half-rotten viscera, we shall always have trouble with sentiment. Being in love is nothing, it’s sticking together that’s difficult. Feces on the other hand make no attempt to endure or to grow. On this score we are far more unfortunate than shit: our frenzy to persist in our present state – that’s the unconscionable torture.
Unquestionably we worship nothing more than our smell. All our misery comes from wanting at all costs to go on being Tom, Dick or Harry, year in year out. This body of ours, this disguise put on by common jumping molecules, is in constant revolt against the abominable farce of having to endure. Our molecules, the dears, want to get lost in the universe as fast as they can! It makes them miserable to be nothing but “us”, the jerks of infinity. We’d burst if we had the courage, day after day we come very close to it. The atomic torture we love so is locked up inside us with our pride.(pp.273-275)
. . .
Hurry, hurry, don’t be late for your death. Sickness, the poverty that disperses your hours and years, the insomnia that paints whole days and weeks grey, the cancer that may even now, meticulous and blood-spotted, be climbing up from your rectum.
You’ll never have time, you tell yourself! Not to speak of war, which is also, what with the criminal boredom of men, ready to rise up from the cellar that poor people shut themselves up in. Do we kill enough poor people? Not sure… It’s a moot point… Maybe all those who don’t understand should have their throats cut… And perhaps others, new poor people should be born, and so forth and so on, until we get a crowd who understands the joke, the whole joke… Just as you mow a lawn until the grass is really right, really soft.(pp.309-310)
. . .
One of the last scenes towards the end of the book is a taxi ride home, after a visit to a carnival. Dr. Bardamu was planning an orgy with a young nurse, and Robinson and his mistress, when things went terribly awry. Robinson’s girlfriend turned on the two men, accusing them of being cowards. Turning to Bardamu, she shouts:
And him there! I suppose he doesn’t squirt every time he catches me in a corner! The beast! The sex fiend! I dare him to say it’s not true! You’re all looking for something new! … You’re jaded, that’s all. You haven’t even got the courage of your vices! You’re scared of your vices!
At this time Robinson took it on himself to answer. By that time he, too, had lost his temper, and he shouted as loud as she had. “Wrong!. . . I’ve got plenty of courage, as much as you! . . . only, if you want the whole truth. . . everything – absolutely everything! – disgusts me and turns my stomach! Not just you!... Everything!... And love most of all!... Yours as much as anyone else’s! … The sentimental tripe you dish out… Want me to tell you what I think of it? I think it’s like making love in a crapper! Do you get me now?... All the sentiment you trot out to make me stick with you hits me like an insult, if you want to know… And to make it worse, you don’t even realize it, you’re the one that’s rotten, because you don’t understand! … You’ve missed the train! You’re too late! It won(‘t go down any more, and that’s that! … What a stupid thing to get steamed up about!... Why do you have to make love, considering all the things that are happening?... All the things we see around us!... Or are you blind? … More likely you just don’t give a damn! You wallow in sentiment when you’re a worse brute than anybody… You want to eat rotten meat? With love sauce?... Does that help it down? Not with me!... If you don’t smell anything, it’s your hard luck! Maybe your nose is stuffed up! If it doesn’t disgust you, it’s because you’re stupid, the whole lot of you… You want to know what it is that comes between you and me?... All right, I’ll tell you! A whole life is what comes between you and me… Isn’t that enough for you?
“My house is clean!” she comes back at him. “A person can be poor but clean, can’t they? When did you ever see that my house wasn’t clean? Is that what you’re insinuating with your nasty remarks?... My rear end is clean, Monsieur!... Maybe you can’t say as much for yourself!... Nor your feet neither!”
“I never said that, Madelon! I never said anything like that!... About your house not being clean!... You see that you don’t understand a thing!” That was all he could think of saying to calm her down.(pp.399-400)
. . .
“Would you listen to him! He insults me worse than garbage and then he claims he hasn’t said anything! You’d have to kill him to make him stop lying! Jail isn’t bad enough for a skunk like him! A lousy rotten pimp! … It’s not enough! What he needs is the guillotine!”
Nothing could stop her. I couldn’t make anything of what they were saying in the taxi. All I could hear was curses and insults amid the roar of the motor and the sloshing of the wheels in the wind and rain that came beating against our door in ferocious gusts. The air between us was charged with threats; “It’s vile!...” she said several times. She couldn’t say anything else. “It’s vile!” And then she raised the stakes double or quits. “You coming?” She said. “You coming, Léon? One… you coming? Two...” She waited. “Three?... So you’re not coming?...” “No,” he said, without moving an inch. He even added: “Do what you like!” That was an answer of sorts.
She must have moved back a little on the seat, as far as she could go. I guess she was holding the revolver in both hands, because when the shot went off it seemed to go straight into his belly. Then, almost at the same time, there were two more shots, one after the other… and then the car was full of acrid smoke.
But we kept right on going. Robinson slumped down on me, sideways, jerking and gasping: “Hep, hep!” and more of the same: “Hep, hep!” The driver must have heard.
First he slowed down a little to see what had happened. Then finally he stopped right under a gas lamp.
The moment he opened the door, Madelon gave him a violent push and jumped out. She scrambled down the embankment and beat it across the fields in the darkness, right through the mud. I tried to call her back, but she was already far away.(pp.400-401)
Soon, we find Dr. Bardamu wandering alone beside the River Seine, pondering the life of his friend, Robinson, who had just been murdered by his young mistress in a rage against his unrequited love, and now Bardamu attempted to come to terms with this reappearing figure, which represented his own alter ego and who had plagued him since they had served in the War together and had crossed paths repeatedly in Africa, America and southern France.
Maybe things were a little better than twenty years ago, nobody could say that I hadn’t made a wee beginning of progress, but there seemed no possibility of my ever managing, like Robinson, to fill my head with one single idea, just one superb one, a thought far stronger than death, and of my succeeding, just with my idea, of exuding joy, carefreeness, and courage wherever I went. A scrumptious hero!
I’d be a brimful of courage then. I’d be dripping with courage, and life itself would be just one big idea of courage, that would be the driving force behind everything, behind all men and things from earth to heaven. And by the same token there would be so much love that Death would be shut up inside it with tenderness, and Death would be so cozy-comfortable in there, the bitch, that she’d finally start enjoying herself, she’d get pleasure out of love alone with everyone else. How wonderful that would be! What a production! I was laughing to myself all along on the river bank, when I thought of all the things I’d have to do if I wanted to inflate myself like that with infinite resolutions… An idealistic toad! Fever, you know.(pp.405-406)
The 14 + items below speak to the shifting political culture in our times. The cultural technicians of the past – including artists, teachers, journalists – provide sometimes useful information to gain insights into where we are actually heading. As Noam Chomsky points out in a brief segment below, citing Mark Twain: “History doesn’t repeat but sometimes rhymes.” What is inescapable is the knowledge that we are in this system and that this system dwells within us, as well: we cannot escape it, and we cannot change it without changing ourselves. This requires considerable discussion about what kind of life we really desire and what are the actual obstacles to this kind of change.
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
Climate change: ‘We’ve created a civilization hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist
by James Dyke
How U.S. weapons ended up bombing hospitals in Yemen
by Jonathan Cook
Trump’s Annihilation Threat to Iran and WWI Déjà Vu
by Finian Cunningham
To crow about wiping out an entire nation is all but declaring war. It’s insane and criminal. Why has Twitter not shut down Trump’s account? -
The erratic US president has gone from wishing for peace with Iran to, a few days later, making a veiled threat of nuclear annihilation against the Islamic Republic.
Donald Trump got on his twitter pulpit at the weekend, warning about the “official end of Iran”.
The configuration of military power in the Persian Gulf, the heightening of tensions between the US and Iran, and the unhinged aggressive rhetoric all make a tinderbox situation.
At times, the protagonists have each said they don’t want war. But just like the slippery slope towards the First World War (1914-18), the eruption of hostilities can take on a logic of its own.
Paradoxically, assurances last week from President Trump and his top diplomat Mike Pompeo that the US “is not fundamentally seeking a war with Iran” are not in fact all that reassuring.
Neither, it must be said, are assurances from the Iranian leadership that they also do not want war with the US. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said there was “no appetite for war”. That may be so, but it’s no guarantee there won’t be one, especially because the circumstances are so precarious.
In the run-up to the First World War, European leaders were similarly adamant that war could be avoided. They thought their rationality and modernity would spare them from catastrophe. Nevertheless, the Europeans quickly plunged into a conflagration through a chain reaction beyond their control.
What bodes particularly grave today is the erratic and incendiary nature of Trump’s rhetoric. At the end of last week he was telling media that “he hoped” there would not be war with Iran. Indeed, he even alluded to the possibility of future diplomatic talks with Tehran. Then, over the weekend, Trump flipped as always and tweeted that if Iran threatened the US “it will be the official end of Iran”.
the Maine! Also the Arizona and the Maddox!
by Future of Freedom Foundation
They were three U.S. vessels that played instrumental rolls in enabling U.S. officials to embroil the United States into foreign wars.
"Trump’s war whisperer John Bolton
with Wendy Mesley
Trump’s Soft Cop-Hard Cop Routine on Iran
by Finian Cunningham
US Senate Committee Rejects Bill Requiring Congress
to Approve Military Op Against Iran
"Funding Terrorism for Peace: US Seeks to Reimburse Taliban
for Peace Talks Expenses"
The Corporate Media and the “Resistance” to Peace
by Danny Haiphong
Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs – C
by Caitlin Johnstone
‘Everyone else must take my place’: Assange in letter from British prison
Julian Assange Indictment Is an Assault on Press Freedom
The Trump administration’s position that the Espionage Act should apply here would have immediate and broadly-felt repercussions far beyond WikiLeaks. Because however you personally care to classify Assange, the acts at the heart of this latest indictment mirror those made by journalists every day. They’re the reason US citizens know about PRISM, and the Pentagon Papers, and any number of other revelations around abuses of power and governmental impropriety.
“The people leaking it are obviously violating their secrecy agreement and breaking the law, but as long as the journalist doesn’t pay the leaker, or help them hack passwords, this is what investigative journalists in the national security community do on a day-to-day basis,” says Bradley Moss, an attorney at Mark Zaid PC who focuses on national security and intelligence issues. “If they can bring this charge and convict Assange on it, they can bring it against anyone.”
That’s in part because the Espionage Act doesn’t carve out any exemptions for journalists; that protection has come from the First Amendment, and from a recognition among previous administrations that prosecuting publishers of leaks would set a dangerous precedent. In fact, Thursday’s charges deal specifically with incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2010, during the Obama administration. The attorney general at the time, Eric Holder, passed on these same charges for specifically that reason.
“It was absolutely looked at, and the department ultimately made the decision that it wasn’t appropriate to charge Assange for publishing classified information,” says former Obama DOJ spokesperson Matthew Miller. “Not because he’s a journalist—we didn’t believe he was—but that the same legal theories you would apply to him could be used against a reporter for any major media outlet. That was the driving force.”
John Demers, who leads the Justice Department’s National Security Division, attempted to draw a distinction between Assange and traditional media outlets to reporters Thursday. “Some say that Assange is a journalist, and that he should be immune from prosecution for these actions. The department takes serious the role of journalists in our democracy,” Demers said. “It is not and has never been the department’s policy to target them for reporting. But Julian Assange is no journalist.”
Unfortunately, that distinction doesn’t matter in the eyes of the Espionage Act. A successful prosecution of Assange would establish a precedent that publishing sensitive national security materials is a crime, full stop. From there, the Trump administration—and whoever follows—would be emboldened to prosecute similar journalistic acts. Not only that; they’d get to decide who counts as a journalist in the first place.
18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World
by Lee Camp
Tide of Public Opinion is Turning in Assange’s Favor
by Joe Lauria
From: Bernadette Evangelist
Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 4:04 PM
Subject: Reminder: Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning Thursday Vigil, May 30, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Our weekly vigil to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be held again this Thursday, May 30, 2019, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm.
Vigil to Free Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning
Thursday, May 30, 2019
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
British and Swedish Consulates
885 Second Avenue (NW corner @ 47th Street)
New York, NY
It is especially urgent to show our support after the egregious Espionage Act 17-count indictment issued by the US. We must stop extradition to the US. We must Free Julian Assange! Public opinion is turning in his favor. Let’s keep up the momentum. Please join us Thursday!
“,,, I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but, the days where I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over, until I am free!
“Everyone else must take my place. …”
—Excerpt from Julian Assange letter to Gordon Dimmack, May 13, 2019
Bernadette, Chuck, Zool, Eric, Patricia, and all the other Thursday vigil participants
"Guaidó Out of Gas"
with Sharmini Peries
The Western Media is Key to Syria Deception
by Jonathan Cook
The End of China Inc?
Al Jazeera English
Here's What Happens if China DUMPS Its $1 Trillion
in US Debt Amid Trade War
Yellow Vest violence boils over in Brussels as Europe
braces itself for rise of far-right
by Jack Newman
“Yellow vest” protesters pay tribute at the Communards’ Wall in Paris
Muellergate, A Report Review: Who Cooked Up
the 'Russiagate' Conspiracy?
by Ann Gerrison
Madonna's Fake Revolution: Eurovision,
Cultural Hegemony and Resistance
by Ramzy Baroud
Israeli culture minister criticises Palestinian flags at Eurovision | Eurovision
In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc
New York Times
Former NSA Whistle-blower William Binney:
Mass Surveillance State destroys Democracy
with Hanne Nabitu Herland
From: Jim O'Brien via H-PAD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, 23 May 2019 18:06:03 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: [H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 5/23/19: Links to recent articles of interest
Links to Recent Articles of Interest :
"An Oral History of Trump's Bigotry"
By David A. Graham, Adrienne Green, Cullen Murphy, and Parker Richards," The Atlantic, June issue A a very long article based on documents and interviews, going back to housing discrimination cases in the 1970s.
"The 'Forever Wars' Enshrined" <http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176567>
By Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted May 23 *Eloquent reflections on a visit to this country's only memorial to its
post-9/11 wars, created by bikers in the out-of-the-way small town of Marseilles, Illinois. The author, who grew up in the next down over from Marseilles, is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University.
"Russia's Election Meddling Is Despicable, But Don't Forget Our Own"
By Tom Engelhardt, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted May 22 *Contains an overview of U.S. election meddling and coup attempts since
"Locked in a Cold War Time Warp"
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, CounterPunch.org, posted May 21 On the *New York Times's double standard in regard to the past histories of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in regard to foreign policy. The author teaches history at Tulsa Community College.
"Ten Top Differences Between the Iraq War and Trump's Proposed Iran War"
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted May 15 The comparisons show that a war against Iran would be more difficult in multiple ways. The author teaches Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan.
"Redacting Democracy: What You Don't See Can Hurt You"
By Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch.com, posted May 14 *On the expansion of government secrecy to the point where well over a hundred million documents are unavailable to the public. The author directs the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.
U.S. Press Reaches All-Time Low on Venezuela Coverage"
By Daniel Kovalik, CounterPunch.org, posted May 13 The author teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
"Eric Hobsbawm, the Communist Who Explained History"
By Corey Robin, The New Yorker, posted May 9 A review essay on *Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History" by Richard
Evans. Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate
"Russiagate Zealotry Continues to Endanger American National Security"
By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, posted May 8 Asks, "If Venezuela becomes a Cuban Missile - like crisis, will Trump be free to resolve it peacefully?" The author is a professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and New York University.
"Notre Dame Should Not Be Restored - Let It Stand as a Symbol of a Flawed Way of Life"
By Amanda Power, The Conversation, posted May 1 The author teaches medieval history at St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford.
"The Poway Shooter Used an Age-Old Terrorist Tactic. The Media Fell for It"
By Ibrahim l-Marashi,* *Washington Post, *posted April 29 *The author teaches history at California State University San Marcos.
*Thanks to Rusti Eisenberg and Margaret Power for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions for these occasional lists can be sent to email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>.*
We Must Confront the “Ultranationalist, Reactionary” Movements Growing Across Globe
with Noam Chomsky
EU election ANALYSIS: Cut the hysteria, Le Pen is not on her way to French presidency