The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
 Robert Bonomo BlogviewTeasers
Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Directed by George Romero

“I have always liked the ‘monster within’ idea. I like to think of zombies as being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.” – George Romero

The most heinous thing a human can do is eat another human. Fear of cannibalism along with the other two great taboos, incest and inter-family violence, are the bedrocks of human culture. Without these taboos there is no human civilization, yet zombie cannibals are everywhere, from the most popular TV shows in the US and Europe to the most played PC games. Everywhere we look there is a zombie dragging his feet looking for human prey. The ubiquitous nature of this meme of semi-human creatures that survive only by breaking the most fundamental of human taboos is a clear indicator of a collective cultural pathology.

Humans must not only kill and eat plants and animals to survive, we must make sure they keep coming back so they can be killed and eaten again and again. Life needs death; we must kill to live, and eventually we all wind up as someone else’s food. This paradox lies at the core of the world’s religions and mythologies and the fear/repulsion of eating other humans is the keystone of our culture, without it we turn on ourselves and self-annihilation ensues. The zombie meme is a modern myth pointing to a deep fear of self-destruction.

The great psychologist and mystic Carl Jung was asked if a myth could be equated to a collective dream and he answered this way, “A myth…is the product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who ‘mythologizes,’ that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream.”

If a person had a recurring nightmare that she was eating her family it would be a clear symptom of a profound psychological disturbance. Cultures don’t dream, but they do tell stories and those stories can tell us much about the state of the collective psyche.

Many of the themes in our popular culture are conscious story telling devices with the definite purpose of social engineering/control, but others seem to just emerge from the collective unconscious like the stuff of dreams. The zombie meme is clearly of the latter variety. It’s pointing to a fear that something has broken in our culture and what awaits us is a collective psychotic break of apocalyptic proportions.

In the 1950’s there were widespread fears of a communist takeover that expressed themselves through films like The Village of the Damned or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But the zombie meme exposes something much darker in our collective psyche. The fundamental taboo around cannibalism is a pillar of human culture, yet the zombies are obsessive cannibals and we can’t seem to get enough of them.

What does this new archetype of a cannibalistic apocalypse reveal about out culture? By nature archetypes point to transcendent themes that evade definition. They are not symbols that have a clear equivalent, they can only point in the general direction which in the case of the zombie meme is the inverting of some of our most sacred myths and the embracing of our most horrid taboos.

The Walking Dead - The most watched TV show
in the 18 to 49 year old demographic in the United States.

The zombie meme emerged onto the American consciousnesses with George Romero’s 1968 cult classic, The Night of the Living Dead. The archetype was invigorated with Danny Boyles’s 2002 film, 28 Days Later which introduced an important new element: the apocalypse.

The meme reached maturity in 2010 when AMC launched The Walking Dead, now the number #1 show on US television for viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. The Walking Dead was created by Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, and is based on a comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The key to the success of The Walking Dead is the dystopian zombie apocalypse in which the story unravels, allowing it to outperform even the ultimate social opiate, Sunday Night Football.

This is not simply an American phenomenon. In France the series The Returned (French: Les Revenants) has been very popular with both viewers and critics. The Returned puts a fascinating twist on the return of the dead- they just start walking home after having been dead for many years as if nothing had happened. The BBC’s In the Flesh focuses on reintegrating zombies, victims of PDS (Partially Dead Syndrome). World Z had Brad Pitt save the world from fast moving zombies on the big screen and Mel Brook’s son Max even wrote a book titled The Zombie Survival Guide.

The Inverted Christian Mythos

In one episode of The Walking Dead the zombies are seen shuffling under the arch of an episcopal church inscribed with a passage from the gospel of John, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. Over a billion Catholics in the world regularly transform bread and wine into what they believe is the actual flesh and blood of their savior, Jesus of Nazareth, and eat him. Catholics believe this sacramental right gives them eternal life. In the zombie meme, the infected humans die and are born again but not unto salvation but into a hell of insatiable appetites and mindless meandering.

The Christian myth is agricultural; Christ is killed, buried, and comes to life three days later as the seed emerging from the ground, just as the moon hides for three days behind the sun each month, only to be born again. Christ’s body is the ‘sacred’ meal, the sacrificial food of the gods, his blood is their elixir. The Catholic acts as the god receiving the sacred meal and by doing so gains the eternal qualities of the gods by breaking the most embedded of human taboos – the eating of human flesh. It’s certainly a curios paradox that the sins of man are forgiven by committing cannibalism, as Catholic doctrine clearly states that Jesus was both man and God and the transubstantiation of the Catholic mass physically changes the bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Jesus.

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 

Let’s do a thought experiment and imagine that the Arabs had gotten the better of the Israelis in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and after years of conflict, all that was left of Israel was the Gaza strip.

Assume for a moment that instead of Palestinians, over 1.8 million Jews were crammed into the 11 mile Gaza strip and the state of Palestine, subsidized and supported by a superpower, was administering the calories to the Jews in Gaza, keeping them to a limit of 2,300 a day.

Imagine that instead of Palestinian children, it was Jewish children living under a Palestinian embargo that denied them toys, books, music and until a few years ago, even pasta. How do you think the world would react? Imagine if it were Palestinian commandos who had assaulted a peaceful cargo ship attempting to break the embargo to bring supplies to Jews in Gaza, killing nine, including one American. Do you think 85 US Senators would have signed a letter supporting the embargo on Gaza and the deadly attack on the cargo ship if that ship had been on a humanatarian mission to help Jews in Gaza?

NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin reported first hand the death of four boys playing on the beach in Gaza. “The attack – and its heartrending aftermath – was witnessed by NBC News. Moments earlier, the boys were playing soccer with journalists on the beach. The four victims were named as Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both 10 years old, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, 11, and Ismael Mohamed Bakr, 9.” Ayman Mohyeldin, who is Egyptian-American, was later ordered by NBC to leave Gaza.

Glenn Greenwald reported that, “numerous NBC employees, including some of the network’s highest-profile stars, were…indignant,” and that Mohyeldin had been removed from Gaza allegedly due to pressure from Neo-con quarters which claimed Mohyeldin had been soft on Hamas.

It’s almost impossible to imagine that Mohyeldin would have been replaced if he had been reporting on the death of four Jewish youngsters at the hands of a Palestinian gunboat. What we see repeatedly in Gaza is how the media values Palestinian lives differently than Israeli ones.

The day after the attack, Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations, began her comments this way:

“The United States is deeply concerned about the rocket attacks by Hamas and the dangerous escalation of hostilities in the region. In particular, we are concerned about the devastating impact of this crisis on both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.”

It’s unimaginable that if a Hamas rocket had landed in a park and killed four Israeli children that Ms. Power would have begun her remarks this way:

“The United States is deeply concerned about the Israeli incursion into Gaza and the dangerous escalation of hostilities in the region…”

Why is this inconceivable? Because Ms. Power and the government she represents support Israeli apartheid and simply do not value the lives of Palestinian children the same way they value the lives of Israeli children.

As reported by MSN, CNN reporter Diana Magnay was removed from Gaza because:

“Magnay was reporting live on the air as a group watched the Israeli bombardment of Gaza around her. After the report was over, she wrote on Twitter: ‘Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong.’ Scum.’ CNN said in a statement Friday that Magnay was referring specifically to those who threatened her. CNN said the network and Magnay are sorry if anyone was offended. The network said Magnay has been reassigned to Moscow.”

If the people on the hill above her had been Arabs cheering on a Palestinian artillery battery hammering Jews, would Ms. Magnay have been reassigned to Moscow for calling those who threatened her ‘scum’? Unlikely.

World renowned Israeli novelist Amos Oz, who supports the war calling it “justified, but excessive”, asked the following questions during an interview to explain why he supports the Israeli offensive:

QUESTION 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap, and starts shooting machine-gun fire into your nursery?

QUESTION 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

Maybe the question for Mr. Oz should be: What would you do if your entire neighborhood was forced to live in a giant outdoor prison where your children were denied books, toys and forced to live on a bare minimum of calories? Would you fight back? Would your rhetoric become extreme?

Over 400 hundred Palestinian children have been killed during the current fighting in Gaza, children who during their short lives had been denied the basic necessities for having committed the crime of being born in the land of their ancestors. No one had more of a right to live in Palestine than did those children, yet Bob Scheifer of CBS News said the following:

“In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause – a strategy that might actually be working at least in some quarters.”

Scheifer can only blame the Palestinians for ‘provoking’ the IDF.

Of course in Europe, the coverage is somewhat more balanced, but Roger Cohen of the NY Times let’s us know what’s behind that. He begins by quoting poet James Lasdun, “There is something uncannily adaptive about anti-Semitism: the way it can hide, unsuspected, in the most progressive minds.” Then Cohen continues, “…the war has also suggested how the virulent anti-Israel sentiment now evident among the bien-pensant European left can create a climate that makes violent hatred of Jews permissible once again.” What Mr. Cohen is saying is that if one applies the full measure of moral outrage towards the Israeli slaughter of children, as the Europeans are doing and the Americans refuse to do, then you are toying with anti-Semitism of the National Socialist variety.

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Gaza, Israel/Palestine 

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”

His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to. Few if any of these were ever negotiated- they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.

But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt? He has been told what to do, believe, think and feel since he can remember. A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable. They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes and rarely get out of line. When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.

One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man’s predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep and pigs who wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through his entire life. How is this accomplished? Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them. Once this is accomplished the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, originally organized in groups with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150- it was easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure such as God, King, President, CEO etc.

The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from which few ever escape. The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can’t accept the ‘complexity of modern life’, i.e. conspiracy nuts.

Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave, where people only see man made shadows of objects, institutions, Gods and ideas:

“–Behold! human beings living in an underground cave…here they have been from their childhood…necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance…the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets… and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall…”

It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other. Before language, every sensation was directly felt through the senses without the filter of words. But somewhere around 50,000 years ago language began to replace reality and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix. As soon as the words began to flow the world was split, and from that fracturing was born man’s angst and slavery. The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen onto which the images from Plato’s cave were cast. Gurdjieff said it well, “Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself.”

It’s no accident that in Hesiod’s ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver age, and by the time we reach the Bronze age the dominant theme is toil and strife. The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language and agriculture. In the hunter gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well placed fastball to the head. Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible, and hence enslavement inevitable.

The search for enlightenment rarely if ever bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities. Almost all traditions point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening; they are the true antidotes to modern slavery. As Aristotle wrote, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

So from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through the seven layers of the Matrix.

Education
There are things we are born able to do like eating, laughing and crying and others we pick up without much of an effort such as walking, speaking and fighting, but without strict institutional education there is no way that we can ever become a functioning member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which of course is school. How else could you take a hunter and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony and uniformity?

Children naturally know who they are, they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of schedules, rules, lists and grades which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren’t. We drill the little ones until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent and endure submission. They learn they aren’t free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names and languages.

It can’t be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity. What child when she first goes to school isn’t taken back to hear herself referred to by her full name?

It’s not as if language itself isn’t sufficiently abstract- nothing must be left without a category. Suzy can’t just be Suzy- she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots, armies, uniforms, currencies and languages. Once all the mascots, tag lines and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin to be taught. The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes which have come down through the ages cement this matrix into the child’s mind.

Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her. An apple will never again be just an apple- it will become a noun, a subject, or an object. Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child in Matrixese.

We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery- not how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh or play. We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats.

Government

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology 

As gold broke below the psychologically important level of $1,200 an ounce late in December of 2013, the mainstream financial media burst with headlines like this one from Marketwatch, “Gold’s Safe-Haven Role is Over“. The Nobel prize winning economist from The NY Times, Paul Krugman, penned a wicked missive on the ‘barbarous relic’ by invoking Keynes and the absurdity of miners going to “great lengths to dig cash out of the ground, even though unlimited amounts of cash could be created at essentially no cost with the printing press.”

The basis of a vibrant and dynamic society is an open and free marketplace where people ‘vote’ with their decisions on where to spend money, where to live, what to read, who to vote for, etc. In the United States, a good example of what occurs when decisions are centralized is healthcare and education- the key decisions are made outside the mainstream of the marketplace and the country ranks far below the rest of the developed world, even behind countries with considerably less economic wealth. As central planning and regulations remove potential players and solidify the positions of special interests, the quality of education and healthcare has plummeted.

So what does this have to do with the price of gold? Everything.

What is Money?

Gold is money. Federal Reserve Notes are not money on one important score; they are a poor long term store of value. One ounce of gold in 1938 was worth just about $35 and a new car was worth $860. If a new car dealer took the money from the sale of a new car in 1938, converted it to gold and gave that gold to his new born son, when the boy turned 75 in 2013 he could have bought a brand new Toyota Camry with the gold his father had given him. If instead, the father had given him the cash, he could have gone out and bought himself a fancy new bicycle with the dollars he’d held on to for 75 years.

If the old man, feeling flush, tossed in an extra ounce of the ‘barbarous relic’ for gas in 1938 his son could have bought about 350 gallons of gas for the ounce of gold. If the kiddo had held on to the gas money in the form of gold, he could have, in 2013, bought almost the exact amount, 360 gallons. But if the youngster had made the mistake of converting his ounce of gold into dollars, he could have, in 2013, bought a good bottle of Spanish wine with the Federal Reserve Notes he received in 1938 for his ounce of gold.
.
Money is a means of exchange, AND a store of value. The dollar is a great means of exchange but it’s a pitiful store of value.

In essence, money is work. If someone wants to sell 1,000 kilos of wild salmon for $10,000 he might find a few buyers who, if they wanted to proceed, would ask about delivery. If the seller pointed toward the cold waters off the Alaskan coast and indicated that the fish were out there swimming around, he wouldn’t have any buyers at any price. When someone pays for fish, they are not paying money for the fish, they are paying money for the work involved in finding them, catching them, and transporting them to market. Money is a means of exchange- the fisherman exchanges his work (the fish) for money and he uses the money to maintain the value of his work and later exchange it for the work of others. That is money for the working man.

The Sucker, the Conman and the Shill


Imagine the fisherman decides he needs a new boat and wants to finance the entire purchase price. He will go to his local bank and, if approved, will be given the funds to purchase the boat in exchange for signing a promissory note for the amount and terms of the loan.

When the fisherman signed the promissory note, he assumed that other fishermen, or their equivalents in productive society, worked, earned money, deposited that money in a bank to earn interest and that’s the interest he was going to pay on his boat loan, plus the margin for the bank. The interest rate he was paying seemed reasonable, 7%. The guy who deposited the money needs a return, and so does the bank. In fact, it seemed cheap to him. He probably wouldn’t continue fishing if the best he could do was make what the bank or the depositor made, say about half of his interest rate, 3.5%. For that, he would sell everything and buy a ten year bond that paid close to 3% and call it a day. But he’s not a banker and he assumes they’re making money some other way.

The banker is thrilled. He did take some deposits and put them in reserve (about 10% of the loan amount) and he will be paid interest (.25%) on that amount by the Fed. Then he created, out of thin air, the entire loan amount to give to the fisherman. The money he gave the fisherman never existed before the fisherman signed the promissory note. The banker is making more than 70% on the money he has left in reserve, for which is also earning interest. Worst case, if the fisherman goes belly up, the banker will sell the boat. He can’t lose much.

The PhD Nobel Laureate, writing for a one of the world’s great newspapers, never a word he speaks of this, for if he did, only for Zero Hedge would he write and not a penny would he see for his poetic prose. So instead he writes about Democrats and Republicans and higher taxes on the fisherman to pay for the bigger deficits he is so fond of. More deficits, more debt, he exclaims. Just print the stuff like it’s going out of style and we’ll all be living high on the hog.

The fact is, only the fisherman actually does something worthwhile for society, while the banker stuffs his pockets and the PhD stuffs his ego while filling the masses with fantasies.

So what does this have to do with gold going below $960? Everything.

The Script


To survive as a human being in the United States, as well as in most corners of this world, one needs money. Money to put a roof over one’s head, money to buy food, money to heat one’s house, money to put a shirt on one’s back. The banker’s script says that fiat money (dollars, yen, euros, etc.) is real money, the same as gold. Money is work, and gold stores the value of work. Fiat money is a claim on future work- it’s not work itself.

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Gold 

Bill Keller, editorialist for The NY Times and former executive editor of the paper, has recently penned a strong attack on Vladimir Putin arguing that Putin’s leadership “deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West”, describing the Kremlin’s policies as “laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as ‘foreign agents’, expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions.”

Keller, who during his tenure as executive editor of The NY Times argued for the invasion of Iraq and wrote glowingly of Paul Wolfowitz, makes no mention of Moscow’s diplomatic maneuvers that successfully avoided a US military intervention in Syria or the Russian asylum given to Edward Snowden. Keller, who had supported the US intervention in Syria by writing, “but in Syria, I fear prudence has become fatalism, and our caution has been the father of missed opportunities, diminished credibility and enlarged tragedy,” also made no mention of Seymour Hersh’s stinging dissection of the Obama administration’s misinformation campaign regarding the sarin attacks in Syria. Hersh’s piece, which drives grave doubts into the case against Assad actually having carried out the attacks, was not published in The New Yorker or in The Washington Post, publications that regularly run his work.

Keller focuses on a Russian law that bans the promotion of gay lifestyles in Russia, a far cry from “giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians”, while failing to mention that according to his own paper, 88% of Russians support the law.

Putin did expel the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from Russia, cutting off the $50 million in aid, most of which went to pro-democracy and anti-corruption groups. The Kremlin believed that much of this money wound up supporting the protest movement against Putin that emerged in 2011. If Russian funding had been suspected in the Occupy Wall Street Movement would The New York Times have supported Putin for promoting social equality in the US? If the punk band Pussy Riot had broken into a prominent Jewish temple in New York, instead of a Moscow cathedral, and defamed it to call attention to the millions of Palestinians living in refugee camps, would the young ladies have done some time? And if so, would they have received support from all corners of stardom?

The European Model

William Browder

Quoting Dmitri Trenin, Keller argues that Putin sees Europe in decline, “it’s national sovereignty… is superseded by supranational institutions.” Is Putin mistaken in his assumption? Maybe ask the people of Greece,Spain or Ireland? Keller also mentions “limits on foreign adoptions” but fails to mention the cause, the Magnitsky Act, which imposed “visa and banking restrictions on Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses.” The Kremlin saw this law as the perfect example of US meddling in internal Russian affairs.

The heart of the Magnistsky saga was the death in Russia, while under custody, of an attorney for Hermitage Capital, a hedge fund run by British citizen William Browder. Browder made billions in Russia before running afoul of Russian authorities. His Hermitage Capital was funded by the Lebanese national Edmond Safra and eventually claimed to have lost $300 million after having moved billions out of Russia. Browder, who has renounced his US citizenship, lobbied hard in Washington to have the Magnitsky Act passed. Why was the US involved in passing a law to protect Lebanese and British capital and a Russian prisoner? America hasn’t enough trouble with its own prison system that it needs to legislate on the Russian penal system? Are there no American politicians who have been implicated in human rights abuses?

Keller’s final point is that Putin is being heavy handed over the Ukrainian/EU integration crisis, but Keller avoids discussing the deep historic and ethnic links between Russia and Ukraine. Most Americans would agree that Russia should stay out of NAFTA negotiations, seeing North America as clearly not within the Russian sphere of influence. Ukrainians are deeply divided over the integration with Europe, so why not let the Ukrainians and Russians work out their trade relations without the American government getting involved?

Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Probably more than any other topic, The NY Times has repeatedly published articles in defense of the long imprisoned and recently freed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a man whose rise to power was filled with unsavory schemes to appropriate businesses which were once the property of the Russian people. The NY Times Sabrina Tavernese wrote in 2001 that he had “orchestrated a series a flagrant corporate abuses of minority shareholders unparalleled in the short history of modern Russian capitalism.”

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Classic, American Media, Russia 

Criminals leave signatures. There is consistency in their motives, methods, alibis and techniques. A detective from the Spanish National Police said that investigators knew within minutes of reaching the mangled remains of commuter trains in Madrid where almost 200 commuters were killed that the Basque terrorist group ETA had not carried out the attack- a fact which was concealed by the Spanish government for several days in a vain attempt to save an election. The investigators immediately saw that the signature was wrong; it just didn’t smell right.

President Kennedy was murdered on November 22, 1963 and less than two years later American Marines entered South Vietnam beginning the US intervention that would end ten years later with the fall of Saigon and millions dead. Less than two years after the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington, the United States began the Iraq War, which would end eight years later with the withdrawal of the coalition forces, leaving Iraq destabilized and clearly within the sphere of Iranian influence.

Apart from the similar aftermaths, both events have common elements both in their buildup and execution as well their social ramifications.

Precision Beyond the Apparent Capacity of the Perpetrators

The Warren Commission argues that Oswald fired on the President’s motorcade from a distance of about 80 meters, getting off three shots in 8.3 seconds with an Italian bolt action rifle made in 1940 which he bought for $19.95. On behalf of the Warren Commission, Army rifleman were not able to reproduce Oswald’s feat and Italian tests on the rifle determined it would have been impossible to get the shots off in such a short time span.

The Marine Corp rates shooting ability on the following scale:

Expert: a score of 220 to 250.
Sharpshooter: 210 to 219.
Marksman: 190 to 209.

Oswald was last rated in 1959 and scored 191, barely reaching the lowest level of marksmanship. Marine Colonel Allison Folsom interpreted the results by explaining that Oswald “was not a particularly outstanding shot”. If Oswald did in fact fire all the shots, it was a highly unlikely, even extraordinary feat.

Hani Hanjour was considered a terrible pilot and neither he nor the other two pilots who successfully guided their jets into buildings on that day had ever flown a jet before. According to 9/11 Commission Report, “To our knowledge none of them [the hijackers] had ever flown an actual airliner before.” Yet they were able to commandeer the aircraft, and on their first time ever in the cockpit of an actual jetliner, navigate towards their destinations, maneuver the planes under extreme conditions in terms of velocity and altitude before guiding the airliners perfectly into their targets.

One of the air traffic controllers from Dulles said the following when describing Hani Hanjour’s maneuver which brought American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon, “The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane. You don’t fly a 757 in that manner. It’s unsafe.”

CBS News described Hanjour’s maneuver this way:

“…flying at more than 400 mph, was too fast and too high when it neared the Pentagon at 9:35. The hijacker-pilots were then forced to execute a difficult high-speed descending turn. Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes. The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it’s clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed. The jetliner disappeared from radar at 9:37 and less than a minute later it clipped the tops of street lights and plowed into the Pentagon at 460 mph.”

And retired Navy pilot, Ted Muga, explained it this way:

“The maneuver at the Pentagon was just a tight spiral coming down out of 7,000 feet. And a commercial aircraft, while they can in fact structurally somewhat handle that maneuver, they are very, very, very difficult. And it would take considerable training. In other words, commercial aircraft are designed for a particular purpose and that is for comfort and for passengers and it’s not for military maneuvers. And while they are structurally capable of doing them, it takes some very, very talented pilots to do that… to think that you’re going to get an amateur up into the cockpit and fly, much less navigate, it to a designated target, the probability is so low, that it’s bordering on impossible.”

Yet Hani Hanjour, one month before the attacks, was not allowed to fly a Cessna alone after a test flight with instructors. As reported by NewsDay, his instructors stated that “they found he had trouble controlling and landing the single-engine Cessna 172.”

Oswald could have hit the President in the upper body on two out of three shots fired within 8.3 seconds, and Hani Hanjour could have made an exceptional maneuver moments before his death the first time he ever flew an airliner, but it takes a leap of faith to believe amateurs actually carried out these actions with such professional precision. More importantly, it casts enough doubt on the official version of events for a reasonable person to have reasonable doubts about the accepted view of what happened on those fateful days.

Immediate Identification of the Villains

Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended seventy minutes after the assassination when his supervisor at The Texas School Book Depository alerted the police that he had gone missing. By that evening he had been charged with killing police officer J.D. Tippit and assassinating the President. Oswald’s troubled and short life would end two days later when he was killed by Jack Ruby, a man with significant ties to organized crime. This terrible murder with many potential culprits was solved in 90 minutes and justice was served in two days. Oswald is a true enigma, so complex a figure, so multi-layered that it’s almost impossible to separate the real from the surreal, the man from the hologram.

Two days after the 9/11 attacks Colin Powell identified Bin Laden as the key suspect in the attacks and the following day the FBI released the names of the hijackers. Apparently, there was no need for an investigation, evidence or witnesses to tie Bin Laden to the crime.

The two most horrendous, violent, and nebulous events in American history are officially solved within hours, yet years later they continue to confound.

Silenced Suspects who are Never Tried

The institutions of government so clearly saw the truth that neither perpetrator was ever tried. For a society based on rule of law, it’s ironic that Americas’s two greatest crimes were resolved by politically appointed commissions and not courts of law.

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Classic, 9/11 

September was not a good month for the U.S. dollar. The world’s reserve currency is sustained in large part by the Petrodollar, the agreement by the Saudis and OPEC to price oil in dollars and only accept dollars for payment. The US gets a guaranteed demand for its fiat currency and in exchange the US has agreed to protect militarily Saudi oil fields. However, after President Obama was forced to back off his plans to attack Syria in support of the Saudi backed insurgency fighting the Assad regime, one of the pillars of the Petrodollar scheme was shaken to its core.

If America has no more stomach for war in the Middle East, how certain can the Saudis be that America will protect the regime militarily if the need arises? Now that the President has acquiesced to public opinion in his decision on whether to use military force, can he be counted on in the future to hold up his end of the bargain in the Petrodollar scheme? The United States may have by far the world’s largest military, but what use is it if it can’t be used? And even when it is, seven years of war in Iraq has done little more than bring the country under the influence of Iran.

Another major problem for the dollar is the fact that the Fed has spent five years printing money and its balance sheet, at about 3.4 trillion dollars, is almost a quarter of US GDP. When Bernanke let the world know he was going to tap on the brakes, interest rates soared and the equities markets got spooked. He, like the President, had to back off.

And to finish the month we get an exercise in game theory galore with the House leadership playing high stakes chicken with the President by offering him only two solutions to the debt-ceiling, both of which would leave him devastated politically. He can either postpone implementation of his signature accomplishment, Obamacare, or shut down the government- it seems Mr. Boehner has taken a page from Mr. Putin’s playbook. After the foreign policy debacle with Syria, can the President afford to reside for long over a shutdown government? His other option is to be made politically irrelevant. One would think that his opponents will feel emboldened to hold their ground.

The dollar is backed by a military that has been left neutered by an incalcitrant home front, by a Federal Reserve Chairman who has no idea how to stop printing money by the trillions, and by an executive and legislative branch who spend billions on election campaigns yet are unable to renew the credit card used to pay the monthly bills of the government they supposedly serve.

It seems difficult to fathom that gold will not recover its march toward $2,000 an ounce and beyond while the dollar’s stature as a secure store of value continues to be gutted by an inept and irresponsible national leadership.
 

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Dollar 

The Tide has Changed

Since 9/11 the state’s power has grown exponentially and it’s ability to wage war and infiltrate a digitized populace has reached epic proportions, but the pendulum has reached its apogee. The Obama Administration has made a terrible miscalculation regarding the public’s reaction to it’s proposed military intervention in Syria and it appears the President will not be able to garner the votes needed in congress to pass the resolution in support of his plan to attack Assad.

As Private Manning sits in a prison cell and Eric Snowden lives in exile, AIPAC is working tirelessly to lobby congress to pass the war resolution, but the public’s heart is with Snowden and Manning, not Netanyahu. If Obama and AIPAC lose this vote their grand plan to confront Iran’s nuclear aspirations will crumble. If Americans reject a military intervention in order to punish Assad for his supposed use of WMD’s, how will they ever support taking on the Iranian regime for just having them? This is not the same America that re-elected George Bush in 2004.

Kerry’s Case

Secretary of State John Kerry made a forceful argument in favor of intervention:

“In an increasingly complicated world of sectarian and religious extremist violence, what we choose to do — or not do — matters in real ways to our own security. Some cite the risk of doing things. We need to ask what is the risk of doing nothing.

It matters because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity even after the United States and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.”

Many Americans would have rallied to this call for war in the early years of this century, but not now. They know that President Obama has killed hundreds of innocent civilians with drones, some of them even Americans. They know that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s were killed under false pretenses. Not only were innocents killed and money wasted, but strategically Iraq has moved under the influence of supposed arch enemy Iran while the Taliban are simply waiting for the NATO troops to leave before making their final assault on the puppet government installed in Afghanistan.

What was also conspicuous in Mr. Kerry’s speech was what he didn’t mention. Are the Saudis, the Qataris, and the CIA also ‘thugs’ for financing, training and facilitating a civil war that has killed over a hundred thousand people? And why are the Saudis and Qataris doing this and why don’t we stop them? Apparently Mr. Kerry believes there is something ‘sectarian and religious’ about bringing natural gas from Qatar to Europe through a proposed pipeline through Syria. Since almost 25% of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russia’s Gazprom, the Russian angle becomes clear. But if Americans aren’t buying the WMD story, it’s even more unlikely they would support a war to reduce Gazprom’s market share in Europe.

The Danger

Democracy is a messy business and if we had one, we would be reminded of it constantly. However, we live in a plutocracy where public opinion is created through corporate media. The fabricated message being sent is that Muslims are the enemy and Israel is our closest ally. Israel, however, does have a real problem with its Muslim neighbors, especially Syria, Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian state it occupies. In a democracy there would be a stormy debate as to whether Israel’s security has any bearing on America’s well being and it would be openly argued for America to jettison the ‘special relationship’ with Israel.

This debate never occurs in America because it’s corporate media has a strong pro-Israel bias and questioning the ‘special relationship’ with Israel is taboo. Both those in and outside the US Government who strongly believe that America must stand by the Jewish state are being faced with the reality that the moment for action has passed and the pendulum is beginning a long journey back toward isolationism and cynicism regarding the state security apparatus.

Syria is their last chance and it is quickly slipping through their fingers. If there is no attack on Syria, the chances of attacking Iran will quickly fade to zero. If one believes that there is a grand strategy then we have reached a critical and dangerous moment. If Obama backs down and doesn’t attack, he will lose enough international credibility to make him a de-facto foreign policy lame duck just as the Iranians cross the nuclear threshold. This is unacceptable to those bent on protecting Israel’s monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

It seems highly unlikely that this group of people will allow President Putin to become the new voice of reason in the region. The absurdity of Assad committing this gassing, Putin’s argument, is now also being supported by intelligence as reported in a Huff Post article which quoted a report that seems to contradict the Obama Administration’s claim that Assad was the perpetrator of the gas attack. It would be catastrophic to the US standing in the world if it were proved that this was a false flag attack by the rebels in Syria, and more importantly it would make it almost impossible to make a case for the ultimate target, Iran.

No Exit

It’s difficult to fathom that those who brought us the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, the NSA surveillance apparatus, The Department of Homeland security and the drone war will simply take their bows and fade away. Their only options at this point are either to force the issue in Syria and quickly escalate it through their time honored method of rallying the home front with images of horrors committed on innocents, or throw up their hands and accept defeat.

God help the innocent.

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Syria 

The Trayvon Martin affair was one of the most important media events in recent memory. The major networks spent endless hours of prime time discussing it, but what made the episode so exceptional was who benefited from the incredible amount of coverage.

At the heart of the story were two young men who both made poor decisions- one died, and the other almost wound up in prison for life. But is this so exceptional in America?

In fact, it’s all to common. Data from 2008 shows that more than four minors (under 18 years) were murdered a day in the US- four Trayvons a day. Was it the racial aspect of the case that was so exceptional? Yes, but not for the obvious reasons. More than 80% of interracial violent crimes are black on white, which would make one think it more likely that a black on white crime would galvanize the nation, but that wasn’t the case.

Most reasonable people probably saw the tragic elements as the most outstanding feature of the Trayvon/Zimmerman encounter. Both young men let their pride get the better of them. If only Zimmerman had stayed in the car, if only Trayvon had not began an altercation. The story is filled with the regret of how we weave our own demise- true tragedy. But the media wanted to make this a racially charged issue, but for whose benefit?

For the African American community this case poured salt on deep wounds and they were rightly angered in a profound way. Nonetheless, white on black crime is not a grave problem for blacks in contemporary America. But for the white community, for whom interracial crime is an issue, the Trayvon circus created deep resentments and reinforced negative stereotypes.

One has to wonder, apart from ad revenue for the networks, why it was decided to make the Trayvon case the immense public spectacle it became. The decision to bombard the country with the Trayvon tragedy was a decision. But what if some other issues had been given the same media coverage?

During the Trayvon case the NY Times published an article describing how 30% of the price of oil is due to speculation- “an internal Goldman memo suggested that speculation by investors accounted for about a third of the price of a barrel of oil. A commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal regulator, subsequently used that estimate to calculate that speculation added about $10 per fill-up for the average American driver.” What if CNN and Fox had spent two weeks during which three hours a day of prime time were dedicated to discussing how African Americans AND white Americans are paying a 30% gasoline tax to Goldman Sachs? Would it have divided us racially or would it have put the spotlight on the very 1% that created the Trayvon circus in the first place?

The United States has become a third world nation in regards to wealth distribution, scoring abysmally on the CIA calculated Gini coefficient. As described in The Atlantic, “The U.S… with a Gini coefficient of 0.450, ranks near the extreme end of the inequality scale. Looking for the other countries…with comparable income inequality: Cameroon, Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda, Ecuador… Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Serbia.” Surprisingly, China, Russia and India all had more equitable distributions of wealth. But for the major networks Travyon and Zimmerman were much more interesting.

What about corporate profits, is that worth taking a few hours of prime time to discuss? According to the NY Times, wages are at their lowest in recorded history in terms of percent of GDP, while corporate profits are at all time highs for percent of GDP, “it appeared that wages and salary income in 2012 amounted to 44 percent of G.D.P., the lowest at any time since 1929, which is as far back as the data goes. The flip side of that is that corporate profits after taxes amounted to a record 9.7 percent of G.D.P. Each of the last three years has been higher than the earlier record high, of 9.1 percent, which was set in 1929.” This would not only anger African Americans, but their white brethren as well. But putting the onus on the 1% is not part of the corporate media’s script.

What about discussing the oath that the generals running the NSA took, to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Could CNN spend a few hours of prime time discussing whether said generals, and maybe even the commander and chief, have betrayed that oath?

It is very unlikely that any of these topics will be given anywhere near the attention that the Trayvon episode did making the real question, cui bono? If, for a moment, we assume that what is emphasized in corporate media is not guided by random upsurges in public interest, but selected by an interested few, then a coherent scenario emerges.

The editorial influence on corporate media from the financial interests that own them is unmistakable. It’s much more in the interest of the powers that be to encourage race tensions between the have-nots than to instigate a united front against the 5% in power that control over 60% of the wealth in the nation. When anyone brings this very obvious point up they are almost immediately relegated to the rubber walled basement of marginalized media.

There has been no better example of the Matrix in action than the Trayvon/Zimmerman media orgy. It exemplified the kind of social control that has dumbed down the TV watching, flag waving, Bible thumping masses to a point dangerously close to slavery.

As Goethe put it, “No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.”

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Classic, Trayvon Martin 

A very small yet conscious minority has come to the realization that the current world regime is one giant corporate infomocracy that needs to be terminated with “extreme prejudice”, disengagement being the weapon of choice. The next revolution will not be carried out by mobs of angry people, guerrillas, terrorists or, god forbid, politicians. It will be accomplished by a small (10%) militant minority that will simply unplug the matrix.

A Very Condensed Case for Revolution

An enormous, dictatorial corporate cartel is ruling the world through its proxies in government, banking, academia and media. Our entire western culture has become an insidious farce with the sole purpose of maintaining the enslaved masses in their conjured up democracies, religions and histories. Two developments have increased its control exponentially: globalisation and the information revolution.

The world is entering the final acts of a great social, political and economic shift. The international currency regime, the keystone of control, is peering into the abyss; the middle east is being turned upside down; the bankrupt United States government is fighting several wars and maintaining more than 560 military bases in over 120 countries. The insatiable greed and desire for world control have created a breach in the system. People are becoming aware while their masters scramble for control as the chaotic climax approaches.

Violence, crackdowns, massacres and all out wars are erupting from Libya to Bahrain. As Yeats put it , “the centre cannot hold”. The Arab Spring will soon reach the Wall in the West Bank and when it does the possibility of a large scale conflict and the eventual involvement of Iran are almost inevitable. How the west reacts when this conflict erupts upon us will be the inflection point for the entire period.

The great strides made in western liberal societies since the Enlightenment have been firmly based on the Greco/Christian tradition. It should be no surprise that the purveyors of consumerist agnosticism firmly reject this tradition within the western democracies. By pulling the spiritual rug out from under Euro/American culture, they have left a black hole that can only be filled by their circus and gadgets. We have not only paid, but have in fact indebted ourselves, to worship at the feet of their materialist God. This has nothing to do with theology and everything to do with culture. The West is paying a very dear price for having stopped thinking critically and educating its children.

The great European experiment (much more than simply the EU), thought by many to be the light of the world, is sinking like the Titanic. With a total disregard for traditional culture, the ruling elites have turned our schools, universities, arts and mass media into a giant propaganda machine promoting political correctness, pseudo history & economics and the new world religion: debt based consumerism. Anyone who questions their version of science, world history or monetary policy is immediately branded as a malcontent and removed from the public discourse. They control the message by controlling the money.

Many look at the twentieth century as a time of great economic and technical advance, but history, while recognizing the the technical innovation, will condemn this century as the most vile in man’s history. The miracle that began in Greece, expanded in Rome, flourished in the Renaissance & Enlightenment and finally found its modern form in the western liberal democracy has been been gutted by a century of materialism, enslavement, slaughter and greed.

The Corporation and Infomocracy

There is no better example of fascism in today’s world than the major corporation: decisions made by a select group of insiders, bureaucratic conformism, communications ripe with propaganda, and the cult of power. There is nothing democratic about the boardrooms of these behemoths, so how can we expect the governments they rule to be democratic? They have created a two party charade with news programs, talking heads and opposing media facing off in faux battles to conjure up their infomocracy.

The corporations control the creation and distribution of our money, our foreign policy, entertainment and news. The only way to put a wedge between these monoliths and the liberty of individuals is to completely disengage from them. They manipulate news and opinion to the extent that actual issues are never discussed, only the distractions are debated.

Two Examples – Health care and Iraq

The United States has by far the most expensive health care system in the world, and a decidedly unhealthy population. Something is clearly wrong with this system. The debate is carefully divided into those who want to maintain the status-quo – Republicans, and those that want to enhance the status quo – Democrats. All of the actors fall into line and go either shirts or skins, but the truth is never discussed.

The Federal Government subsidizes the corporate health care system and the over payed doctors by regulating the market out of the system and creating a closed corporate hegemony over the industry. The media and academic shills stick to their subsidized scripts and the real solution is never discussed because that solution would destroy the bottom lines of the corporate players.

Simply deregulate. Remove ALL regulations on who can practice medicine and how. Any drug can be sold in the US, period. End the FDA. Private FDA’s will sprout up, vouching for the validity of drugs. Some will be better than others, but the consumers will decide which ones work. Any doctor can practice medicine and many private organizations will appear vouching for their credentials. As long as there is a judicial system that can pass judgement on reasonable claims, the system will work out its kinks and we will have, without a doubt, the cheapest most effective health care system in the world. It’s that simple. The only thing the government is doing in healthcare is subsidizing corporate profits.

Those preferring universal health coverage can certainly make their case at the local level without imposing it on a nation of over 300 million people.

The war in Iraq was started by taking advantage of the fear and confusion from 9/11 with the intention of creating a safer Middle East for the state of Israel. While this idea is far from novel, it’s not allowed to enter the mainstream discussion of the issue. The truth is taboo because the consequences of accepting it would be beyond the pale for those who conceived of and pushed the country to war; too much blood to be laid at the feet of the guilty. The motives and consequences of Vietnam were argued in academia and the mainstream media ad nauseam, but you will not see a Pentagon Papers come out of The New York Timesregarding Iraq because the repercussion would reverberate too close to home. How can the purveyors of morality be nothing more than war mongers?

THE CONTROL MECHANISMS

Artificial Scarcity

(Reprinted from CactusLand by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Classic, Government Surveillance 
Robert Bonomo
About Robert Bonomo

Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and esotericist. He has lived and worked in Madrid, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Kamchatka, Miami, Valencia, Cartagena, New York and a few other not so interesting places. He has toiled as a writer, blogger, car salesman, land surveyor, media buyer, spice salesman, transportation salesman, teacher, advertising salesman, marketing manager and consultant (of course he had to be a consultant too). He has done some other things but asked that we not mention them here.

Robert is a late blooming anarchist and has been published in some of the leading alternative media sites including LewRockwell.com, INFOWARS.com, Global Research.com, Activist Post, Business Insider, Pravda, RINF, Astrological News Service, Occidental Observer and Henry Makow. When the smoke clears, the tyrants are vanquished and liberty is restored, he will have done his part, God willing.