Saturday, December 31, 2005
Predictions for 2006
For one list of predictions, you can read this. Here are exactly 25 of my own, many of which I admit are fairly general.
(1) The Federal Government will grow larger.
(2) The national debt will continue to skyrocket.
(3) CAFTA will go into effect and begin costing even more Americans their livelihoods, continuing the New World Order goal of crushing America's middle class. The defenders of "free trade" will continue to claim globalization creates prosperity.
(4) Measured in real terms, Americans will be on the average poorer on December 31, 2006, than they are now. On that date, no economist or mainstream media lapdog will describe Americans as poorer than they were a year ago.
(5) The housing bubble will continue to deflate, causing what the mainstreamers will describe as a "mild recession" and leaving many of those naive enough to buy those McMansions on credit stuck with huge debts they cannot pay.
(6) There will be no bird flu pandemic.
(7) The enviro-wackos will still be going on and on about global warming.
(8) Unchecked immigration will continue to cause problems both in Europe and in the United States.
(9) The Bush Administration will remain mired in Iraq. Neocons will continue their mindless prattle about "nation building" and "democracy."
(10) Either Israel or the Bush Administration will attack Iran--probably before the end of March 2006. What happens after that is anyone's guess.*
(11) The nations of Europe will continue to lose their sovereignty. There will be populist resistance of the sort that refused to sign onto the EU Constitution; globalist Eurocrats will continue to ignore this resistance.
(12) America's "conservative" masses will continue to believe, against all reason, that George W. Bush is one of their own, and not a globalist.
(13) America's Christians will continue to believe, against all evidence, that Bush is one of their own, and not an unscrupulous opportunist who is using Christianity to bring about non-Christian ends.
(14) The hassles involved in traveling in the U.S. will continue to worsen.
(15) Evidence of Sustainable Development will continue to turn up everywhere, in every city, town and community in America--but since it will almost never be called that, it will be evident only for those who know what to look for ("smart growth," "visioning" sessions, public-private partnerships, etc.)
(16) The diversity police will continue to control academia. We will see a few more real victims hung out to dry for saying something politically incorrect.
(17) Government schools will continue to turn out civic illiterates, who will not be called civic illiterates. The latter will continue to feel good about themselves.
(18) North American elites will continue their Fabian gradualist efforts to dissolve national borders.
(19) Congress will renew the USA Patriot Act.
(20) Privacy for Americans will continue to diminish. Identity theft will remain a problem.
(21) Commercial television will get even stupider. The mindless focus on celebrities will continue unabated.
(22) Athletes' salaries will remain ridiculously high, indicating where Americas' masses' priorities really lie.
(23) Second parties such as the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party will continue futile efforts to run candidates for elective office in our one-party system, proving that they don't understand how the latter works. These parties may even be joined by a few new ones.
(24) I will still be an adjunct instructor of philosophy on December 31, 2006, though will still more of my writing in print. Most academic philosophy will continue to be a waste of time.
(25) I will still be single on December 31, 2006.
*If either the Bush Administration gets us into an escalating war or there is a massive terrorist attack in at least one American city, then all bets are off, although I am sure (25) will remain true.
Happy New Year!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Feds Launch Probe ... Of the Media, Not the Feds Own Spying on Law-Abiding Citizens
This is scary! It indicates where we are, at the end of 2005--living under a system in which Government expects Media to be Lapdog, not Watchdog, and will launch an official investigation if Media ever drops its role of Lapdog and becomes Watchdog. It will not investigate, that is, illegal and unconstitutional spying on law-abiding citizens, but will investigate the leak to the New York Times that exposed this regime's illegal activities to the light of day.
Justice Dept. Probing Domestic Spying Leak
By TONI LOCY
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush's secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday.
The officials, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, said the inquiry will focus on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Times revealed the existence of the program two weeks ago in a front-page story that acknowledged the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.
Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the paper will not comment on the investigation.
[Read the rest here.]
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Your Child Vs. Our Brave New Police State
The Drugging Of Our Children
by Gary Hull
Michael Moore, Neil Bush. "A mother (Diane Booth) loses her son to government officials for refusing to put him on drugs."
I am Vincent Booth's mother. Vincent has been an inmate in a California "mental health" facility for five years. He was wrongfully apprehended from me on July 29, 1999 at age 6 without a warrant, without a court order and without an investigation, after a referral to social services from his teacher/school. Vincent was totally normal until the County of Santa Clara forced dangerous psyche meds on him. His human rights were/are terribly violated, and my due process and human rights were horribly violated. I rescued Vincent and came to Canada and applied for refugee status. Vincent was again apprehended by the FBI who returned him to the same abusive institution. I remained in Canada for a few years then returned to California and served a total of eight months for my "crime" of rescuing my own child from abuse and imminent death. No one has seen or heard from him and there are no recent reports in the court records regarding his well being.
Many reforms have been implemented. Many new laws were passed, including, The Amendment Prohibiting Forced Drugging, signed by President Bush, and the new foster care laws signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, yet Judge Leonard P. Edwards still refuses to allow me to submit evidence to the court, and he refuses to let my son testify on his own behalf! I never received the court-ordered recent photograph of my son, and the last report to the court was in 2002, and it was heavily blacked out.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in exposing the FRAUD of the exploitation of children and families for profit.
Still, I have no word whether my son is alive or dead or any information concerning his well being. This is a crime against humanity.
I have numerous letters from Vincent in which he clearly states his wishes to return to his mom, yet he is denied his right to speak on his own behalf in court, although he is now 12 years old.
Please visit my website. Children as young as 2 are being ripped from their parents and placed in institutions and put on dangerous psyche meds,. Many are sexually abused and exploited. Many are missing and some are dead.
A new film documentary starring Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) and Neil Bush (The President's brother) explore the dangers of drugging by child protective services in The Drugging of Our Children.
Click on PICTURES, pages 1-4 on the web site below.
Peace and Justice,
Monday, December 26, 2005
Bush's Remarks on the Constitution: Is Skepticism Warranted?
My initial response was that the liberals in the media haven't picked up the story because their belief in / loyalty to the Constitution is probably less than Bush's; the Democrats hate Bush because he's not international-socialist enough.
But here's a portion Doug Thompson's own response to the query, worth noting since he was the one who first broke the story.
Are we that good? Damn right we are
By DOUG THOMPSON
Capitol Hill Blue
Dec 26, 2005, 04:08
“Why is it,” the emailer who signed their name only as “skeptical” wanted to know, “that your story about President Bush’s remarks about the Constitution has not been reported by any other news media? That convinces me that it must be untrue. Why is it that you have sources that no one else seems to have? Are you that good?”
In a situation like this, false modesty usually kicks in and I say something like “well, sometimes we just get lucky” but to hell with false modesty. Luck had nothing to do with this story just as luck has had nothing to do with many other stories that we all too often break long before the so-called “mainstream media.”
Are we that good? Damn right we are.
On January 22, 2003, before President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, we ran a story, Role reversal: Bush wants war, Pentagon urges caution. Among the points in that story:
But conversations with sources within the Bush administration, the Pentagon, the FBI and the intelligence community indicate a deepening rift between the professionals who wage war for a living and the administration civilians to want to send them into battle.
Sources say the White House has ordered the FBI and CIA to “find and document” links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
“The implication is clear,” grumbles one longtime FBI agent. “Find a link, any link, no matter how vague or unproven, and then use that link to justify action against Iraq.”
We followed that story up the next day, January 23 with this one: Intel pros forced to fabricate Iraqi intelligence:
U.S. intelligence professionals, under pressure from the Bush administration to provide proof needed to justify war with Iraq, say they have been forced to fabricate evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction as well as the location of non-existent hidden chemical weapon warheads.
The fabricated documentation, shared for the first time with the White House on Thursday, provides the basis for material the administration requires to justify an attack on Iraq.
It was two years, repeat two years, before the same information appeared in mainstream media.
[Read the rest here.]
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Under Fire For Teaching History: The Case of Joe Enge
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 8:23 PM
Subject: Under fire for teaching history
"Issues and Action in Education"
December 20, 2005
"Issues and Action in Education" is an e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization.
Under fire for teaching history
According to a Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach in Nevada:
"Joe Enge is an award-winning veteran history teacher in Carson City, Nevada. Three years ago, Joe blew the whistle on the school district which was pushing a curriculum that "truncated" U.S. history. Instead of teaching ALL of U.S. history to ALL students, the 11th-grade U.S. history course began with Reconstruction - leaving out the colonial-era and Revolutionary War periods or relegating them to "review" status at the beginning of the school year. Unless you were an advance-placement student - in which case you were taught about our nation's founding in depth in the 11th grade. Ever since Joe raised this issue, the school district has been trying to get rid of him." (From The Enge Files)
Following is an op ed piece wrtitten by Mr. Enge printed in History News Network last month. Joseph Enge teaches history at Carson High School, Carson City, Nevada.
A High School History Teacher Under Fire for Teaching Facts Speaks Out
By Joseph Enge
The Carson City (NV) school district says 11th-grade history teachers should start teaching American history at the Civil War period and move forward. But one experienced, award-winning teacher is standing up to this History-Lite policy and is insisting on teaching about our nation's colonial and Founding eras. And he might lose his job over it. Citizen Outreach is asking people to sign an online petition to save his job. -- Petition to Save Joe Enge's Job
What is the historian’s version of the Hippocratic Oath? Herodotus as “The Father of History” has not left us one as far as I know. Given the disturbing trends towards disparaging the teaching of historical facts in public schools, we may want to consider writing such an oath regarding the sacred duty history teachers have to impart our heritage to the next generation. Perhaps it could read, “I will not water down history content or the methodology of teaching history to conform to any given educational fad or political correctness that slashes and burns through our subject. Our foremost duty is to the integrity of history facts and the best interests of our students.”
In addition to our new oath, we could consider forming the history police to investigate pressures put on history teachers in public schools to cut corners lest they rock the boat. I am only half joking. One has only to watch The Tonight’s Show “Jaywalking” where Jay Leno asks people on the streets the most basic of history questions to concur our graduates of public schools do not know historical facts.
In reality and to the astonishment of many, teachers are told not to be “fact-fixated” when teaching of history. The word “facts” is almost used as an expletive in modern education. We are told students need to have a “feel” for the period and jump right into critical thinking and dialog with each other. “Facts” we are told only promote lower order thinking and are a waste of time as facts change in an ever changing world. Wow! What nonsense.
Whisper the nonsense part if you are a history teacher in a public school. Those of us fixated on facts are labeled “Neanderthals” and “dinosaurs” in American public education’s version of the Cultural Revolution. Today’s educational Young Turks are taught to look with disdain on the factual dinosaurs by the schools of education that control the licensing of teachers.
Another disturbing trend in modern education is the focus on social history to the point that students can receive good grades on a historical topic and never learn or cover the major events. Jay Matthews, in the Washington Post (May 28, 2004) article: " Students Don't Know Much About WW II Except the Internment Camps," gave such an example. Teachers are pressured to cover these issues at the expense of the dates, battles, and leaders to the point that many of the history teaching staff have weak backgrounds in these basics. This in turn reinforces the trend not to cover the MolotovRibbentropp Pact, Pearl Harbor, and Stalingrad in any detail or with real meaning.
I currently find myself in a rather interesting predicament of resisting the cutting of U.S. history content and being forced to apply questionable educational methods. I have been told to “play ball or else” by school district authorities. I rock the boat of public school history education in my little part of the world because I know how to swim. I understand others in the boat resent it being rocked, but wonder where compromise begins and selling out ends. We all have different beltlines. Mine has been reached.
I pointed out serious errors of my school district in addressing the state history standards (which I helped author) . In retaliation school officials have rated me unsatisfactory and are intent on making me an example of what happens when a teacher steps out of line. My years of experience including being a Fulbright teacher and Madison Fellow have been denigrated by district administration as not relevant to being a good teacher in their attempt to marginalize me and my objections. The two history textbooks I have written in the last two years are dismissed as simply having to do with “content” and are also considered irrelevant to what they call education.
While this appears backwards and rather confusing to most, it makes perfect sense in the minds of too many in public education. It is a fundamental ideological struggle for the control of the teaching of history, a struggle between content-oriented historians versus the educational methodologists that are set to apply their process style of teaching that manipulates content at will. They have the tail wagging the dog with the allure of not having to bother with the years of historical study required to be (formerly) fully competent to teach history.
The premise of traditional historical education is to learn the key people, places, and events and only then build upon these solid foundations toward “real” critical thinking regarding the topic. This teacher-centered model of instruction is considered “bad” teaching by student-centered theorists.
With student-centered teaching, students “share” their ideas and feelings in groups, as Heather MacDonald wrote in her 1998 work, The Flaw in Student-Centered Learning:
In such a classroom, the teacher is not supposed to teach, since teaching is considered too hierarchical and authoritarian. Worse, traditional lecturing presumes that the teacher actually knows something the students don't, an idea that is anathema to ed-school egalitarianism. The ideal student-centered classroom lacks a fixed curriculum. The student's own interests determine what he or she learns, with the teacher acting as mere "facilitator."
The use of the word “facilitator” exposes the key ideological difference of the methodology. While states still issue “teaching” licenses, the new teachers are not being trained to teach, rather facilitate. I can assume the people on the streets interviewed by Jay Leno were facilitated and not taught history.
Admittedly, forming a history police may be too far-fetched. They would be unnecessary if we had historical ethics and stood by them. Let’s toy with the idea of a historian’s oath. We should definitely look towards taking the power of licensing history teachers from schools of education and require them to obtain the stamp of approval from hard core history Neanderthals like us, assuming there are any of us left.
[Reprinted with permission of the author.]
CAFTA: The Initial Effects
Our so-called leaders, including in the Carolinas, were warned!!
CAFTA blamed for layoffs at Edenton textile plant
December 3, 2005
EDENTON, N.C. --More than 200 employees will lose their jobs at an Edenton manufacturing plant when the company moves most of its operations to Central America in the coming year.
Edenton Town Manager Anne-Marie Knighton said the decision by George C. Moore Co. is the result of the recently adopted Central American Free Trade Agreement.
The first 30 of the 203 employees at the plant are expected to be laid off in April, with the remainder let go by the end of 2006, according to a company news release.
[Read the rest at the above URL--or, in case that link quits working, click here.]
If You're Alive, You're A Suspect
If You're Alive, You're a Suspect
Today's comment is by Mark Nestmann, a member of the Sovereign Society Council of Experts and author of The Lifeboat Strategy, a book on privacy rights and tax planning.
You might not know it, but when you establish a relationship with a US bank or broker, thereafter you're being watched--continuously.
US law requires financial institutions and many other businesses to spy on their customers, and report any "suspicious transactions" of US$5,000 or more to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US Treasury Department's "Financial Intelligence Unit."
The definition of "financial institution" was at first restricted to banks and credit unions, but has now been extended to money transmitters and securities brokers. And the obligation to report suspicious transactions also applies to securities brokers, mutual fund companies, pawnshops, travel agents, jewel and precious metal dealers, car, boat and airplane dealers, insurance companies, real estate agents and title companies.
Businesses that fail to report transactions they should have regarded as "suspicious" face fines, and, in the case of banks, loss of their banking charters. Their owners or employees can also be jailed. And it's against the law for the bank or business to inform the customer that they are under suspicion or that a report has been filed -- forever.
As a result of all these legal threats to banks and businesses, FinCEN receives tens of thousand of suspicious activity reports, or "SARs." The total number of SARs filed nationwide has more than tripled since 2001, surpassing 685,000 in 2004.
What happens if a bank thinks you've done something "suspicious?" You might lose access to the assets in your account unless you can convince your bank -- and the US Treasury -- that you're not a crook. I know of one situation in which a bank depositor mistakenly deposited a large personal check in his business account. He immediately transferred the proceeds to his personal account. A few hours later, he tried to withdraw money from this account at an ATM. He couldn't -- the account was frozen. It took several days of frantic phone calls to get access to his funds. It seems the deposit and transfer of his own legal funds was "suspicious" enough to freeze his cash.
If a filed SAR claims that you broke a law -- knowingly or unknowingly -- the results could be even worse. For instance, federal law requires that cash transactions over US$10,000 with a "financial institution," or with many types of businesses, be reported to FinCEN. Every day, FinCEN receives about 13,000 of these reports.
Some uninformed people make the mistake of "structuring" large cash transactions by breaking them into smaller amounts to avoid the reporting requirements. That's a very bad idea. Structuring is a criminal offense, punishable by fines, imprisonment and confiscation of "all funds" involved. That might not just be the $11,000 you split into two $5,500 transactions to avoid the reporting requirement, but also the entire $100,000 account in which you deposited it! There's no requirement that you know that structuring is illegal in order to be convicted of this offense. In fact, the US Congress removed a requirement that structuring be "willful" in order to be convicted of this offense.
Aside from "structuring" a cash transaction, what's suspicious? Turns out, just about everything! The SAR rules provide that any transaction must be reported as suspicious: "if the bank knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect...The transaction ...is not the sort of transaction in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage..." That's a pretty big range. Aside from obvious triggers, such as attempting to wire transfer funds to Osama bin Laden, the definition is remarkably broad. When the FBI tried to design a profile of how a bank might be used by terrorists it only came up with one main characteristic: large deposits with withdrawals of cash in a series of small amounts. That's not particularly helpful, since this profile matches the account activity of around 25% of US bank customers.
So it's no exaggeration to say, if you're alive, you're a suspect.
Since businesses don't know in advance which customers, if any, are engaged in illegal activity, all customers are subjected to pervasive, systematic and continuous surveillance. Software companies now promote programs used by almost all banks that scan millions of transaction records for triggers that might indicate a problem. Promoters hold seminars teaching businesses how to analyze customers' behavior to determine whether or not it's suspicious. Other companies create profiles of suspicious customers that financial institutions and businesses covered by these rules might wish to avoid. One firm, World-Check, offers a list of more than 300,000 people who, in their opinion, may present a "heightened risk" to financial institutions.
What can you do to protect yourself?
First and foremost, banks -- and the expensive software they use to track suspicious transactions -- tend to pay the most attention to transactions that don't fit the general profile of a customer or his or her past pattern of use of the account. For example: Say that you have an average balance in your bank account of US$2,500. One day, you sell your car for US$7,500 in currency and deposit the proceeds in your bank account. Is the transaction suspicious? Yes, because it exceeds $5,000 and it's "not the sort in which the particular customer would be expected to engage." Still, the bank isn't obligated to report the transaction as suspicious if you can provide a reasonable explanation as to what occurred. When you deposit the cash, inform the teller -- or preferably, a bank officer -- that the transaction is a one-time event, and be prepared to show proof where the money came from.
Yes, this strategy implies consent to a hugely unjustified violation of privacy by the government. But it could avoid your account being frozen, or your arrest for trying to protect your financial privacy.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
In the meantime, a new development in the offing: a new Blog from yours truly, its purpose different from the present one. Tentatively entitled What Happened Before?, its intent is to probe unconventional history, archeology, geology, biology, cosmology, etc., documenting where possible those discoveries that cannot be fitted into either the conventional evolutionary framework of thought, or, more broadly, those which seem to support a Biblical interpretation of events. Obviously, the issue between proponents of Evolution and proponents of Intelligent Design are relevant here.
Our theme: that most science today is government science--sponsored according to the Rockefeller principles of "scientific giving": every dollar has strings attached to it. This follow-the-money-trail approach springs from the same basic outlook that propells the present blog, adding that truth is often more easily concealed than revealed within today's institutions. A research program into which huge quantities of government and foundation money are flowing is bound to generate more "results" than one which has been deliberately strangled or left to wither on the vine without said support.
Anyone with news items, references or recommended readings, websites, other source materials or suggestions that will make What Happened Before? an interesting, intellectually engaging and successful Blog, please feel free to respond here or contact me privately at FreeYourMindinSC@yahoo.com.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
From National Socialism to Power Elites
Joe Sobran's latest, more penetration beyond our "real matrix" where we see that managerial or bureaucratic socialism has become the unofficial and unrecognized political and organizational philosophy of America--and has been, for a long time. (Philosophy? What's that?!)
National Socialism Comes to America
Sobrans: The Real News of the Month
November 24, 2005
In 1956, at the height of the Cold War, the historian John Lukacs smiled skeptically at the notion that it was a contest between the opposing principles of capitalism and communism. Actually, he said, it was a rivalry between two broadly similar states, Russian and American, both of which might be more accurately described as “national socialist.”
Unfortunately, that term had already been taken, and nobody wanted it after 1945. But Lukacs was far from the only one who saw that it fit most of the regimes that had survived World War II. In his influential 1941 book, The Managerial Revolution, the former Communist James Burnham argued that the American, German, and Russian systems, despite superficial differences, were all variants of a new type of bureaucratic state, in which the actual control exercised by the burgeoning new “managerial” class was separate from nominal ownership.
John T. Flynn saw Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal as an American transposition of Fascism. Garet Garrett, another critic of Roosevelt, understood that the United States was undergoing a revolution — of the kind Aristotle had called “revolution within the form.” America was not so different from its enemies as most Americans liked to believe. By now it’s a little late for conservatism; most of the things worth conserving were destroyed a long time ago.
Still, “superficial” differences can be important. If all modern states are versions of national socialism, I’d rather live under one with habeas corpus and freedom of the press than under one without them. I’d rather be permitted to speak my mind than forbidden to.
But let’s be clear about this. Americans are still permitted to do a great many things, though not as many things as their ancestors could take for granted. Fine. But permission isn’t freedom. The privilege of a subject isn’t the right of a free man. If you can own only what the government permits you to own, then in essence the government owns you. We no longer tell the state what our rights are; it tells us.
Such is the servitude Americans are now accustomed to under an increasingly bureaucratic state. Permission, often in the form of legal licensing, is the residue of the old freedom; but we’re supposed to think that this is still “the land of the free,” and that we owe our freedom to the state, its laws, and especially its wars. The more the state grows — that is, the more it fulfills the character of national socialism — the freer we’re told we are.
President Bush, who is not exactly your philosopher-king type, would probably react with surprise, indignation, and bafflement if you called him a national socialist, since, after all, he thinks a fair amount of capitalism should be permitted, even encouraged; and he’s really not all that different from most of our rulers. But that’s the point. Few of these men really know what they think; they came in late in the game, and they play by the rules they see others playing by. What’s philosophy got to do with it? (That was an elective course, wasn’t it?)
Let’s put it this way. If our rulers were all shipwrecked on a desert island with no means of escape, they might eventually build monuments and skyscrapers; but can anyone imagine them creating free institutions? What sort of Republic would this be if it had been founded by the Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys, Bidens, and McCains? Its rallying cry would have been something along the lines of “Give me Medicare benefits or give me death!”
This is not to insult them, merely to point out their shared premise: they all think from the perspective of power, of the rulers and not the ruled. They may be benevolent, in their way; but when they want to do something for their subjects, it goes without saying that they also reserve the right to do something to those same subjects. Controlling the nation’s wealth, even under the guise of “capitalism,” is always the main thing. It’s “our” wealth, isn’t it? Monarchy is so over, but rulers still love the first-person plural. As in “We owe it to ourselves.”
And even when the subjects criticize the rulers — which is permitted — the criticism itself assumes the same premise and perspective. After all, we’re told that in a democracy the subjects themselves are the ultimate rulers. Hence the taxpayers themselves may wish for higher taxes to pay for their privileges, calculating that these will be chiefly exacted from others.
And freedom? Well, under national socialism, freedom is where you find it.
Also published today is the latest grand slam home run by Patrick Wood (The August Review). Unfortunately I cannot reproduce this in its entirety; it is too long. But here is the first few paragraphs; you know what to do with the link at the bottom.
AMERICA PLUNDERED BY GLOBAL ELITE
PART 1 of 2
December 13, 2005
In 1978, this writer's book Trilaterals Over Washington revealed the global strategy of the Trilateral Commission and it's co-founders David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski, in particular, provided the intellectual reasoning and political strategy for the "New International Economic Order".
Brzezinski was also an astute political operator. He is credited as the first person to take interest in Jimmy Carter, to mentor him in globalism starting in 1973 when Carter was chosen to be part of the Trilateral Commission. Upon Carter's election victory in 1976, Brzezinski was appointed National Security Advisor. By the end of 1976, Carter had appointed no less than 19 members of the Trilateral Commission to high-ranking government positions. These 19 members represented just under 20% of the entire U.S. delegation of the Trilateral Commission.
The stage was now set for their power to become permanently embedded. Each successive Administration has been disproportionally dominated by members of the Trilateral Commission: George H.W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, Richard B. Cheney. Each administration filled top posts from the Trilateral Commission. Think-tanks connected to the Trilateral Commission cranked out volumes of studies that droned on and on about the New International Economic Order, interdependence and the need for political change.
Looking backward to Brzezinski, however, is necessary because he most clearly and lucidly embodied the heart and soul of the rush to globalism. He created the watershed that initiated the plundering of America and the buildup of the global corporate elite. This issue intends to quantify the extent of this plundering.
[It does, too! Read on here.]
Monday, December 12, 2005
Bill Gates of Microsoft Sells Out to the UN
(Edited addition: Schlafly is right about your not being able to print the document she links to for future reference. You cannot do it; I tried, and the print function simply refuses to work. Moreover, the document itself is full of annoying distractions--a blue line rising up around all the margins, and text that flashes on and off as you scroll down, making this thing extremely difficult to read online. I believe this is the point. Most people will give up their efforts in the face of such annoyances, not read the document and so not know what is really in it. Doubtless this is precisely what its signees want.)
Bill Gates Teams Up With UNESCO
by Phyllis Schlafly
Nov. 30, 2005
President Bill Clinton made a speech on January 22, 1997 to a suburban Chicago audience so friendly that it interrupted him with applause 29 times. One line in his speech, however, was greeted with stony silence: "We can no longer hide behind our love of local control of the schools."
Clinton is gone from the White House, but the federalization laws of his Administration-—Goals 2000, School-to-Work, and Workforce Investment-—are still in place. President George W. Bush, who says the federal government has "a role to play in education," has merely substituted labels more comforting to Republicans: standards, tests, and accountability.
Now we find that the process is no longer just federalization; it's globalization. Who would have guessed that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) would be positioning itself to design curriculum for American schools?
President Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO on December 31, 1984 because it was corrupt, anti-Western, and a vehicle for far-left propaganda. Unfortunately, President George W. Bush rejoined UNESCO in 2003.
UNESCO's efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to influence U.S. school curriculum were unsuccessful. But now UNESCO has found a sugar daddy.
On November 17, 2004 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, UNESCO signed a 26-page "Cooperation Agreement" with Microsoft Corporation to develop a "master curriculum (Syllabus)" for teacher training in information technologies based on standards, guidelines, benchmarks, and assessment techniques. The Agreement states that the Syllabus will "form the basis for deriving training content to be delivered to teachers," and "UNESCO will explore how to facilitate content development."
Bill Gates initialed every page in his own handwriting. You can read the Agreement at www.eagleforum.org/links but Microsoft has fixed it so you can't print it out.
Following the signing of the Agreement, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura explained it in a speech. One of its goals, he said, is "fostering web-based communities of practice including content development and worldwide curricula reflecting UNESCO values." No doubt that is agreeable to Bill Gates because the Agreement states that "Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO's Constitution."
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to finance the National Governors Association plan in Idaho to train students to work in the global economy. Idaho is one of six states selected by the National Governors Association for pilot projects.
The National Governors Report of December 2004 (when Virginia Governor Mark Warner was chairman) makes clear that the purpose is to use the public schools to build a planned economy. The report speaks approvingly of "using schools to feed workers into selected corporations," "identifying their state's key industries and needs for skilled workers in order to define a common agenda between their workforce and economic development programs," "the integration of education, economic development, and workforce development policies," "seamless connections between the components of the [education] system and with the skill demands of the workplace," and "connecting workforce development to economic needs."
It's hard to see any difference between the 2004 National Governors Association plan and the earlier plans floated when Bill Clinton was President. The plan uses a lot of mumbo-jumbo to change America from free enterprise to a planned economy, and to turn public school students into a compliant workforce for multinational corporations.
The new buzzwords are "career pathways," "education pipeline," "redesigning high schools," "smaller learning communities," and "cluster-based economic development strategies." Recycled buzzwords from prior years include "school-to-work," "workforce development system reform," "business-education partnerships," and "meaningful outcome measures."
Six public hearings on the proposals were held in Idaho in October, and 500 people showed up at the Boise hearing. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative from both parents and teachers.
The Idaho Board of Education announced this month that after receiving "hundreds of comments," it has made "modifications to Idaho's plan to redesign high schools and middle schools," but those changes are minimal. The original plan would have required all 6th-grade students to select their learning plan for a specific career pathway and choose "career focused electives" to enter the workforce.
Under the revised plan, students will have to do this only by the 8th grade. But how many 8th graders do you know who can (or should) map out their career pathway and narrow their education options to meet that single goal?
And what about the colossal conceit of the politicians and businessmen who think they can predict the jobs that 8th graders can or will want to fill in their future years? Planned economies are always a failure, and students should be educated to reach their potential whatever it is.
Read this column online.
PO Box 618
Alton, IL 62002
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Martial Law in the U.S.: Contingency Plans Exist
Pentagon devising scenarios for martial law in US
By Patrick Martin – World Socialist Web Site
According to a report published Monday by the Washington Post, the Pentagon has developed its first ever war plans for operations within the continental United States, in which terrorist attacks would be used as the justification for imposing martial law on cities, regions or the entire country.
The front-page article cites sources working at the headquarters of the military’s Northern Command (Northcom), located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The plans themselves are classified, but “officers who drafted the plans” gave details to Post reporter Bradley Graham, who was recently given a tour of Northcom headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base. The article thus appears to be a deliberate leak conducted for the purpose of accustoming the American population to the prospect of military rule.
According to Graham, “the new plans provide for what several senior officers acknowledged is the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could quickly overwhelm civilian resources.”
The Post account declares, “The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement.”
A total of 15 potential crisis scenarios are outlined, ranging from “low-end,” which Graham describes as “relatively modest crowd-control missions,” to “high-end,” after as many as three simultaneous catastrophic mass-casualty events, such as a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons attack.
In each case, the military would deploy a quick-reaction force of as many as 3,000 troops per attack—-i.e., 9,000 total in the worst-case scenario. More troops could be made available as needed.
The Post quotes a statement by Admiral Timothy J. Keating, head of Northcom: “In my estimation, [in the event of] a biological, a chemical or nuclear attack in any of the 50 states, the Department of Defense is best positioned—-of the various eight federal agencies that would be involved—-to take the lead.”
The newspaper describes an unresolved debate among the military planners on how to integrate the new domestic mission with ongoing US deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign conflicts. One major document of over 1,000 pages, designated CONPLAN 2002, provides a general overview of air, sea and land operations in both a post-attack situation and for “prevention and deterrence actions aimed at intercepting threats before they reach the United States.” A second document, CONPLAN 0500, details the 15 scenarios and the actions associated with them.
The Post reports: “CONPLAN 2002 has passed a review by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and is due to go soon to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top aides for further study and approval, the officers said. CONPLAN 0500 is still undergoing final drafting” at Northcom headquarters.
While Northcom was established only in October 2002, its headquarters staff of 640 is already larger than that of the Southern Command, which overseas US military operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
About 1,400 National Guard troops have been formed into a dozen regional response units, while smaller quick-reaction forces have been set up in each of the 50 states. Northcom also has the power to mobilize four active-duty Army battalions, as well as Navy and Coast Guard ships and air defense fighter jets.
The Pentagon is acutely conscious of the potential political backlash as its role in future security operations becomes known. Graham writes: “Military exercises code-named Vital Archer, which involve troops in lead roles, are shrouded in secrecy. By contrast, other homeland exercises featuring troops in supporting roles are widely publicized.”
Military lawyers have studied the legal implications of such deployments, which risk coming into conflict with a longstanding congressional prohibition on the use of the military for domestic policing, known as posse comitatus. Involving the National Guard, which is exempt from posse comitatus, could be one solution, Admiral Keating told the Post. “He cited a potential situation in which Guard units might begin rounding up people while regular forces could not,” Graham wrote.
Graham adds: “when it comes to ground forces possibly taking a lead role in homeland operations, senior Northcom officers remain reluctant to discuss specifics. Keating said such situations, if they arise, probably would be temporary, with lead responsibility passing back to civilian authorities.”
A remarkable phrase: “probably would be temporary.” In other words, the military takeover might not be temporary, and could become permanent!
In his article, Graham describes the Northern Command’s “Combined Intelligence and Fusion Center, which joins military analysts with law enforcement and counterintelligence specialists from such civilian agencies as the FBI, the CIA and the Secret Service.” The article continues: “A senior supervisor at the facility said the staff there does no intelligence collection, only analysis. He also said the military operates under long-standing rules intended to protect civilian liberties. The rules, for instance, block military access to intelligence information on political dissent or purely criminal activity.”
Again, despite the soothing reassurances about respecting civil liberties, another phrase leaps out: “intelligence information on political dissent.” What right do US intelligence agencies have to collect information on political dissent? Political dissent is not only perfectly legal, but essential to the functioning of a democracy.
The reality is that the military brass is intensely interested in monitoring political dissent because its domestic operations will be directed not against a relative handful of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists—-who have not carried out a single operation inside the United States since September 11, 2001—-but against the democratic rights of the American people.
The plans of Northcom have their origins not in the terrible events of 9/11, but in longstanding concerns in corporate America about the political stability of the United States. This is a society increasingly polarized between the fabulously wealthy elite at the top, and the vast majority of working people who face an increasingly difficult struggle to survive. The nightmare of the American ruling class is the emergence of a mass movement from below that challenges its political and economic domination.
As long ago as 1984—-when Osama bin Laden was still working hand-in-hand with the CIA in the anti-Soviet guerrilla war in Afghanistan—-the Reagan administration was drawing up similar contingency plans for military rule. A Marine Corps officer detailed to the National Security Council drafted plans for Operation Rex ’84, a headquarters exercise that simulated rounding up 300,000 Central American immigrants and likely political opponents of a US invasion of Nicaragua or El Salvador and jailing them at mothballed military bases. This officer later became well known to the public: Lt. Colonel Oliver North, the organizer of the illegal network to arm the “contra” terrorists in Nicaragua and a principal figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.
As for the claims that these military plans are driven by genuine concern over the threat of terrorist attacks, these are belied by the actual conduct of the American ruling elite since 9/11. The Bush administration has done everything possible to suppress any investigation into the circumstances of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—-most likely because its own negligence, possibly deliberate, would be exposed.
While the Pentagon claims that its plans are a response to the danger of nuclear, biological or chemical attacks, no serious practical measures have been taken to forestall such attacks or minimize their impact. The Bush administration and Congress have refused even to restrict the movement of rail tank cars loaded with toxic chemicals through the US capital, though even an accidental leak, let alone a terrorist attack, would cause mass casualties.
In relation to bioterrorism, the Defense Science Board determined in a 2000 study that the federal government had only 1 of the 57 drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tools required to deal with such an attack. According to a report in the Washington Post August 7, in the five years since the Pentagon report, only one additional resource has been developed, bringing the total to 2 out of 57. Drug companies have simply refused to conduct the research required to find antidotes to anthrax and other potential toxins, and the Bush administration has done nothing to compel them.
As for the danger of nuclear or “dirty-bomb” attacks, the Bush administration and the congressional Republican leadership recently rammed through a measure loosening restrictions on exports of radioactive substances, at the behest of a Canadian-based manufacturer of medical supplies which conducted a well-financed lobbying campaign.
Evidently, the administration and the corporate elite which it represents do not take seriously their own warnings about the imminent threat of terrorist attacks using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons—-at least not when it comes to security measures that would impact corporate profits.
The anti-terrorism scare has a propaganda purpose: to manipulate the American people and induce the public to accept drastic inroads against democratic rights. As the Pentagon planning suggests, the American working class faces the danger of some form of military-police dictatorship in the United States.
Support the Constitution? You Might Be a Terrorist Suspect!
Do you support the constitution? YOU'RE A TERRORIST SUSPECT!
From those same lovable folks who brought you the crimes and abuses of COINTELPRO comes the following brochure, printed at taxpayer expense by the FBI and intended to be issued to law enforcement, requesting that the Joint Terrorism Task Force be called in the event suspicious behavior is witnessed.
And what is "suspicious behavior"? Defending the Constitution!
[Read the rest here. Have a good look at the back or inside of the FBI flier. Suspects include: defenders of the U.S. Constitution against the federal government and the UN--that's a direct quote--labeled as "right-wing extremists"; also "common law movement proponents" described, among other things, as refusing to identify themselves, requesting authority for a stop, making numerous references to the U.S. Constitution, attempting to police the police (no questioning authority in the authoritarian United States of the 21st century, no sirree!), and under "single issue terrorists": lone individuals.]
Condi Rice Warned by Gary Hart Five Days Before 9/11 Attacks
Condoleezza Rice Warned
Sept. 6 About Imminent Terror Attack
Wednesday, May 29, 2002 12:15 a.m. EDT
Five days before Sept. 11, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was warned that a terrorist attack inside the United States was imminent, a former U.S. senator who headed up a blue-ribbon commission on terrorism revealed late Tuesday.
"I've known the national security advisor, Professor Rice, for about 20 some years," former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart told WABC Radio's John Batchelor and Paul Alexander. "She was a supporter of mine in my first presidential campaign as a graduate student in Denver."
After giving a speech on the terrorist threat in Montreal on Sept. 5, Hart said he requested an urgent meeting with Dr. Rice in Washington.
"I said to her, 'You must move more quickly on homeland security. An attack is going to happen.'
"That was Sept. 6, 2001," Hart told WABC, without characterizing Dr. Rice's reaction.
The night before, Hart said, he issued the same warning to an air transportation group in Canada.
Three years ago Hart and former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman co-chaired the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, which warned specifically of a domestic terrorist attack.
In a Sept. 15, 1999 report, the Hart-Rudman Commission concluded, "America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and Americans will lose their lives on American soil, possibly in large numbers."
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Bush on the Constitution: "just a g**d***** piece of paper"
Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'
By DOUG THOMPSON
Dec 9, 2005, 07:53
Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.
Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.
GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”
And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the s*** that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, while still White House counsel, wrote that the “Constitution is an outdated document.”
Put aside, for a moment, political affiliation or personal beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. It doesn’t matter if you support the invasion or Iraq or not. Despite our differences, the Constitution has stood for two centuries as the defining document of our government, the final source to determine-–in the end–-if something is legal or right.
Every federal official-–including the President-–who takes an oath of office swears to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he cringes when someone calls the Constitution a “living document.”
“"Oh, how I hate the phrase we have—a 'living document,’” Scalia says. “We now have a Constitution that means whatever we want it to mean. The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake.”
As a judge, Scalia says, “I don't have to prove that the Constitution is perfect; I just have to prove that it's better than anything else.”
President Bush has proposed seven amendments to the Constitution over the last five years, including a controversial amendment to define marriage as a “union between a man and woman.” Members of Congress have proposed some 11,000 amendments over the last decade, ranging from repeal of the right to bear arms to a Constitutional ban on abortion.
Scalia says the danger of tinkering with the Constitution comes from a loss of rights.
“We can take away rights just as we can grant new ones,” Scalia warns. “Don't think that it's a one-way street.”
And don’t buy the White House hype that the USA Patriot Act is a necessary tool to fight terrorism. It is a dangerous law that infringes on the rights of every American citizen and, as one brave aide told President Bush, something that undermines the Constitution of the United States.
But why should Bush care? After all, the Constitution is just “a goddamned piece of paper.”
© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue
Who is this Thompson guy anyway?
The Rant Archives
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Christianity, Capitalism, Reason and Science
My only qualm (perhaps the obvious one): if only the moneylenders Stark mentions at one point had remained honest and refrained from developing fractional reserve banking into the pseudo-wealth-generating machine of central banking capable of buying entire countries! This crowd has been responsible for the lion's share of economic mischief over the past 250 years, having bankrolled the rise of the Western power elite--which adopted and then bankrolled those atheistic and naturalistic aberrations, including corporatism, Marxism, Nazism, Deweyan progressivism, and all the rest.
Thanks to Edward J. Wolfrum for sending this out.
How Christianity (and Capitalism) Led to Science
The Chronicle of Higher Ecucation
When Europeans first began to explore the globe, their greatest surprise was not the existence of the Western Hemisphere, but the extent of their own technological superiority over the rest of the world. Not only were the proud Maya, Aztec, and Inca nations helpless in the face of European intruders, so were the fabled civilizations of the East: China, India, and Islamic nations were "backward" by comparison with 15th-century Europe. How had that happened? Why was it that, although many civilizations had pursued alchemy, the study led to chemistry only in Europe? Why was it that, for centuries, Europeans were the only ones possessed of eyeglasses, chimneys, reliable clocks, heavy cavalry, or a system of music notation? How had the nations that had arisen from the rubble of Rome so greatly surpassed the rest of the world?
Several recent authors have discovered the secret to Western success in geography. But that same geography long also sustained European cultures that were well behind those of Asia. Other commentators have traced the rise of the West to steel, or to guns and sailing ships, and still others have credited a more productive agriculture. The trouble is that those answers are part of what needs to be explained: Why did Europeans excel at metallurgy, shipbuilding, or farming?
The most convincing answer to those questions attributes Western dominance to the rise of capitalism, which took place only in Europe. Even the most militant enemies of capitalism credit it with creating previously undreamed of productivity and progress. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proposed that before the rise of capitalism, humans engaged "in the most slothful indolence"; the capitalist system was "the first to show what man's activity can bring about." Capitalism achieved that miracle through regular reinvestment to increase productivity, either to create greater capacity or improve technology, and by motivating both management and labor through ever-rising payoffs.
Supposing that capitalism did produce Europe's own "great leap forward," it remains to be explained why capitalism developed only in Europe. Some writers have found the roots of capitalism in the Protestant Reformation; others have traced it back to various political circumstances. But, if one digs deeper, it becomes clear that the truly fundamental basis not only for capitalism, but for the rise of the West, was an extraordinary faith in reason.
A series of developments, in which reason won the day, gave unique shape to Western culture and institutions. And the most important of those victories occurred within Christianity. While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guides to religious truth. Christian faith in reason was influenced by Greek philosophy. But the more important fact is that Greek philosophy had little impact on Greek religions. Those remained typical mystery cults, in which ambiguity and logical contradictions were taken as hallmarks of sacred origins. Similar assumptions concerning the fundamental inexplicability of the gods and the intellectual superiority of introspection dominated all of the other major world religions.
But, from early days, the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase understanding of Scripture and revelation. Consequently Christianity was oriented to the future, while the other major religions asserted the superiority of the past. At least in principle, if not always in fact, Christian doctrines could always be modified in the name of progress, as demonstrated by reason. Encouraged by the scholastics and embodied in the great medieval universities founded by the church, faith in the power of reason infused Western culture, stimulating the pursuit of science and the evolution of democratic theory and practice. The rise of capitalism also was a victory for church-inspired reason, since capi-talism is, in essence, the systematic and sustained application of reason to com-merce — something that first took place within the great monastic estates.
During the past century Western intellectuals have been more than willing to trace European imperialism to Christian origins, but they have been entirely un-willing to recognize that Christianity made any contribution (other than intolerance) to the Western capacity to dominate other societies. Rather, the West is said to have surged ahead precisely as it overcame re-ligious barriers to progress, especially those impeding science. Nonsense. The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians. Unfortunately, even many of those historians willing to grant Christianity a role in shaping Western progress have tended to limit themselves to tracing beneficial religious effects of the Protestant Reformation. It is as if the previous 1,500 years of Christianity either were of little matter, or were harmful.
Such academic anti-Roman Catholicism inspired the most famous book ever written on the origins of capitalism. At the start of the 20th century, the German sociologist Max Weber published what soon became an immensely influential study: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In it Weber proposed that capitalism originated only in Europe because, of all the world's religions, only Protestantism provided a moral vision that led people to restrain their material consumption while vigorously seeking wealth. Weber argued that, before the Reformation, restraint on consumption was invariably linked to asceticism and, hence, to condemnations of commerce. Conversely, the pursuit of wealth was linked to profligate consumption. Either cultural pattern was inimical to capitalism. According to Weber, the Protestant ethic shattered those traditional linkages, creating a culture of frugal entrepreneurs content to systematically reinvest profits in order to pursue ever greater wealth, and therein lies the key to capitalism and the ascendancy of the West.
Perhaps because it was such an elegant thesis, it was widely embraced, despite the fact that it was so obviously wrong. Even today The Protestant Ethic enjoys an almost sacred status among sociologists, although economic historians quickly dismissed Weber's surprisingly undocumented monograph on the irrefutable grounds that the rise of capitalism in Europe preceded the Reformation by centuries. Only a decade after Weber published, the celebrated Belgian scholar Henri Pirenne noted a large literature that "established the fact that all of the essential features of capitalism — individual enterprise, advances in credit, commercial profits, speculation, etc. — are to be found from the 12th century on, in the city republics of Italy — Venice, Genoa, or Florence." A generation later, the equally celebrated French historian Fernand Braudel complained, "All historians have opposed this tenuous theory, although they have not managed to be rid of it once and for all. Yet it is clearly false. The northern countries took over the place that earlier had so long and brilliantly been occupied by the old capitalist centers of the Mediterranean. They invented nothing, either in technology or business management." Braudel might have added that, during their critical period of economic development, those northern centers of capitalism were Catholic, not Protestant — the Reformation still lay well into the future. Further, as the Canadian historian John Gilchrist, an authority on the economic activity of the medieval church, pointed out, the first examples of capitalism appeared in the great Christian monasteries.
Though Weber was wrong, however, he was correct to suppose that religious ideas played a vital role in the rise of capitalism in Europe. The material conditions needed for capitalism existed in many civilizations in various eras, including China, the Islamic world, India, Byzantium, and probably ancient Rome and Greece as well. But none of those societies broke through and developed capitalism, as none evolved ethical visions compatible with that dynamic economic system. Instead, leading religions outside the West called for asceticism and denounced profits, while wealth was exacted from peasants and merchants by rapacious elites dedicated to display and consumption. Why did things turn out differently in Europe? Because of the Christian commitment to rational theology, something that may have played a major role in causing the Reformation, but that surely predated Protestantism by far more than a millennium.
Even so, capitalism developed in only some locales. Why not in all? Because in some European societies, as in most of the rest of the world, it was prevented from happening by greedy despots. Freedom also was essential for the development of capitalism. That raises another matter: Why has freedom so seldom existed in most of the world, and how was it nurtured in some medieval European states? That, too, was a victory of reason. Before any medieval European state actually attempted rule by an elected council, Christian theologians had long been theorizing about the nature of equality and individual rights — indeed, the later work of such secular 18th-century political theorists as John Locke explicitly rested on egalitarian axioms derived by church scholars.
All of this stemmed from the fact that from earliest days, the major theologians taught that faith in reason was intrinsic to faith in God. As Quintus Tertullian instructed in the second century, "Reason is a thing of God, inasmuch as there is nothing which God the Maker of all has not provided, disposed, ordained by reason — nothing which He has not willed should be handled and understood by reason." Consequently it was assumed that reason held the key to progress in understanding scripture, and that knowledge of God and the secrets of his creation would increase over time. St. Augustine (c. 354-430) flatly asserted that through the application of reason we will gain an increasingly more accurate understanding of God, remarking that although there are "certain matters pertaining to the doctrine of salvation that we cannot yet grasp ... one day we shall be able to do so."
Nor was the Christian belief in progress limited to theology. Augustine went on at length about the "wonderful — one might say stupefying — advances human industry has made." All were attributed to the "unspeakable boon" that God has conferred upon his creation, a "rational nature." Those views were repeated again and again through the centuries. Especially typical were these words preached by Fra Giordano, in Florence in 1306: "Not all the arts have been found; we shall never see an end of finding them."
Christian faith in reason and in progress was the foundation on which Western success was achieved. As the distinguished philosopher Alfred North Whitehead put it during one of his Lowell Lectures at Harvard in 1925, science arose only in Europe because only there did people think that science could be done and should be done, a faith "derivative from medieval theology."
Moreover the medieval Christian faith in reason and progress was constantly reinforced by actual progress, by technical and organizational innovations, many of them fostered by Christianity. For the past several centuries, far too many of us have been misled by the incredible fiction that, from the fall of Rome until about the 15th century, Europe was submerged in the Dark Ages — centuries of ignorance, superstition, and misery — from which it was suddenly, almost miraculously, rescued; first by the Ren-aissance and then by the Enlightenment. But, as even dictionaries and encyclopedias recently have begun to acknowledge, it was all a lie!
It was during the so-called Dark Ages that European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world. Some of that involved original inventions and discoveries; some of it came from Asia. But what was so remarkable was the way that the full capacities of new technologies were recognized and widely adopted. By the 10th century Europe already was far ahead in terms of farm-ing equipment and techniques, had unmatched capacities in the use of water and wind power, and possessed superior military equipment and tactics. Not to be overlooked in all that medieval progress was the invention of a whole new way to organize and operate commerce and industry: capitalism.
Capitalism was developed by the great monastic estates. Throughout the medieval era, the church was by far the largest landowner in Europe, and its liquid assets and annual income probably exceeded that of all of Europe's nobility added together. Much of that wealth poured into the coffers of the religious orders, not only because they were the largest landowners, but also in payment for liturgical services — Henry VII of England paid a huge sum to have 10,000 masses said for his soul. As rapid innovation in agricultural technology began to yield large surpluses to the religious orders, the church not only began to reinvest profits to increase production, but diversified. Having substantial amounts of cash on hand, the religious orders began to lend money at interest. They soon evolved the mortgage (literally, "dead pledge") to lend money with land for security, collecting all income from the land during the term of the loan, none of which was deducted from the amount owed. That practice often added to the monastery's lands because the monks were not hesitant to foreclose. In addition, many monasteries began to rely on a hired labor force and to display an uncanny ability to adopt the latest technological advances. Capitalism had arrived.
Still, like all of the world's other major religions, for centuries Christianity took a dim view of commerce. As the many great Christian monastic orders maximized profits and lent money at whatever rate of interest the market would bear, they were increasingly subject to condemnations from more traditional members of the clergy who accused them of avarice.
Given the fundamental commitment of Christian theologians to reason and progress, what they did was rethink the traditional teachings. What is a just price for one's goods, they asked? According to the immensely influential St. Albertus Magnus (1193-1280), the just price is simply what "goods are worth according to the estimate of the market at the time of sale." That is, a just price is not a function of the amount of profit, but is whatever uncoerced buyers are willing to pay. Adam Smith would have agreed — St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) did. As for usury, a host of leading theologians of the day remained opposed to it, but quickly defined it out of practical existence. For example, no usury was involved if the interest was paid to compensate the lender for the costs of not having the money available for other commercial opportunities, which was almost always easily demonstrated.
That was a remarkable shift. Most of these theologians were, after all, men who had separated themselves from the world, and most of them had taken vows of poverty. Had asceticism truly prevailed in the monasteries, it seems very unlikely that the traditional disdain for and opposition to commerce would have mellowed. That it did, and to such a revolutionary extent, was a result of direct experience with worldly imperatives. For all their genuine acts of charity, monastic administrators were not about to give all their wealth to the poor, sell their products at cost, or give kings interest-free loans. It was the active participation of the great orders in free markets that caused monastic theologians to reconsider the morality of commerce.
The religious orders could pursue their economic goals because they were sufficiently powerful to withstand any attempts at seizure by an avaricious nobility. But for fully developed secular capitalism to unfold, there needed to be broader freedom from regulation and expropriation. Hence secular capitalism appeared first in the relatively democratic city-states of north-ern Italy, whose political institutions rested squarely on church doctrines of free will and moral equality.
Augustine, Aquinas, and other major theologians taught that the state must respect private property and not intrude on the freedom of its citizens to pursue virtue. In addition, there was the central Christian doctrine that, regardless of worldly inequalities, inequality in the most important sense does not exist: in the eyes of God and in the world to come. As Paul explained: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor fee, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
And church theologians and leaders meant it. Through all prior recorded history, slavery was universal — Christianity began in a world where as much as half the population was in bondage. But by the seventh century, Christianity had become the only major world religion to formulate specific theological opposition to slavery, and, by no later than the 11th century, the church had expelled the dreadful institution from Europe. That it later reappeared in the New World is another matter, although there, too, slavery was vigorously condemned by popes and all of the eventual abolition movements were of religious origins.
Free labor was an essential ingredient for the rise of capitalism, for free workers can maximize their rewards by working harder or more effectively than before. In contrast, coerced workers gain nothing from doing more. Put another way, tyranny makes a few people richer; capitalism can make everyone richer. Therefore, as the northern Italian city-states developed capitalist economies, visitors marveled at their standards of living; many were equally confounded by how hard everyone worked.
The common denominator in all these great historical developments was the Christian commitment to reason.
That was why the West won.
Rodney Stark is university professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. This essay is adapted from The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, to be published in December by Random House. Copyright © by Rodney Stark.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Flashback: For Pearl Harbor Day
December 7, 1941: A Setup from the Beginning
December 7, 2000
Robert B. Stinnett
As Americans honor those 2403 men, women, and children killed—and 1178 wounded—in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, recently released government documents concerning that “surprise” raid compel us to revisit some troubling questions.
At issue is American foreknowledge of Japanese military plans to attack Hawaii by a submarine and carrier force 59 years ago. There are two questions at the top of the foreknowledge list: (1) whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his top military chieftains provoked Japan into an “overt act of war” directed at Hawaii, and (2) whether Japan’s military plans were obtained in advance by the United States but concealed from the Hawaiian military commanders, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short so they would not interfere with the overt act.
The latter question was answered in the affirmative on October 30, 2000, when President Bill Clinton signed into law, with the support of a bipartisan Congress, the National Defense Authorization Act. Amidst its omnibus provisions, the Act reverses the findings of nine previous Pearl Harbor investigations and finds that both Kimmel and Short were denied crucial military intelligence that tracked the Japanese forces toward Hawaii and obtained by the Roosevelt Administration in the weeks before the attack.
Congress was specific in its finding against the 1941 White House: Kimmel and Short were cut off from the intelligence pipeline that located Japanese forces advancing on Hawaii. Then, after the successful Japanese raid, both commanders were relieved of their commands, blamed for failing to ward off the attack, and demoted in rank.
President Clinton must now decide whether to grant the request by Congress to restore the commanders to their 1941 ranks. Regardless of what the Commander-in-Chief does in the remaining months of his term, these congressional findings should be widely seen as an exoneration of 59 years of blame assigned to Kimmel and Short.
But one important question remains: Does the blame for the Pearl Harbor disaster revert to President Roosevelt?
A major motion picture based on the attack is currently under production by Walt Disney Studios and scheduled for release in May 2001. The producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, refuses to include America’s foreknowledge in the script. When Bruckheimer commented on FDR’s foreknowledge in an interview published earlier this year, he said “That’s all b___s___.
Yet, Roosevelt believed that provoking Japan into an attack on Hawaii was the only option he had in 1941 to overcome the powerful America First non-interventionist movement led by aviation hero Charles Lindbergh. These anti-war views were shared by 80 percent of the American public from 1940 to 1941. Though Germany had conquered most of Europe, and her U-Boats were sinking American ships in the Atlantic Ocean—including warships—Americans wanted nothing to do with “Europe’s War.”
However, Germany made a strategic error. She, along with her Axis partner, Italy, signed the mutual assistance treaty with Japan, the Tripartite Pact, on September 27, 1940. Ten days later, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum, a U.S. Naval officer in the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), saw an opportunity to counter the U.S. isolationist movement by provoking Japan into a state of war with the U.S., triggering the mutual assistance provisions of the Tripartite Pact, and bringing America into World War II.
Memorialized in McCollum’s secret memo dated October 7, 1940, and recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the ONI proposal called for eight provocations aimed at Japan. Its centerpiece was keeping the might of the U.S. Fleet based in the Territory of Hawaii as a lure for a Japanese attack.
President Roosevelt acted swiftly. The very next day, October 8, 1940, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, was summoned to the Oval Office and told of the provocative plan by the President. In a heated argument with FDR, the admiral objected to placing his sailors and ships in harm’s way. Richardson was then fired and in his place FDR selected an obscure naval officer, Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, to command the fleet in Hawaii. Kimmel was promoted to a four-star admiral and took command on February 1, 1941. In a related appointment, Walter Short was promoted from Major General to a three-star Lieutenant General and given command of U.S. Army troops in Hawaii.
Throughout 1941, FDR implemented the remaining seven provocations. He then gauged Japanese reaction through intercepted and decoded communications intelligence originated by Japan’s diplomatic and military leaders.
The island nation’s militarists used the provocations to seize control of Japan and organized their military forces for war against the U.S., Great Britain, and the Netherlands. The centerpiece—the Pearl Harbor attack—was leaked to the U.S. in January 1941. During the next 11 months, the White House followed the Japanese war plans through the intercepted and decoded diplomatic and military communications intelligence.
Japanese leaders failed in basic security precautions. At least 1,000 Japanese military and diplomatic radio messages per day were intercepted by monitoring stations operated by the U.S. and her Allies, and the message contents were summarized for the White House. The intercept summaries were clear: Pearl Harbor would be attacked on December 7, 1941, by Japanese forces advancing through the Central and North Pacific Oceans. On November 27 and 28, 1941, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were ordered to remain in a defensive posture for “the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act.” The order came directly from President Roosevelt.
As I explained to a policy forum audience at The Independent Institute in Oakland, California, which was videotaped and telecast nationwide over the Fourth of July holiday earlier this year, my research of U.S. naval records shows that not only were Kimmel and Short cut off from the Japanese communications intelligence pipeline, so were the American people. It is a coverup that has lasted for nearly 59 years.
Immediately after December 7, 1941, military communications documents that disclose American foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor disaster were locked in U.S. Navy vaults away from the prying eyes of congressional investigators, historians, and authors. Though the Freedom of Information Act freed the foreknowledge documents from the secretive vaults to the sunlight of the National Archives in 1995, a cottage industry continues to cover up America’s foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor.
Robert B. Stinnett is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. and the author of Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (Free Press).
This article is adapted from Robert B. Stinnett's presentation before the Independent Policy Forum, “Pearl Harbor: Official Lies in an American War Tragedy?”, held May 24, 2000.
Reasons for America's Failed Iraq Strategy
A Failed Strategy
by Charley Reese
December 7, 2005
I listened to the president's speech last week at the Naval Academy. It was pretty much what he has said all along. He believes that democracy can be implanted at the point of a gun and that, once implanted in Iraq, it will spread to the rest of the Middle East.
He's wrong, in my opinion. If we analyze what makes us a free nation, we will see where he is wrong.
First and foremost, we have a 200-year tradition of the military bowing to civilian rule. Yes, I know it's in the Constitution, but the Constitution is just words on parchment. If the military men didn't believe it, they could easily take control of the country. They never have. They have never even tried or thought about it seriously. That is to their very great credit.
There is no such tradition in Iraq or in any of the Arab countries. A willingness to obey the civilian authorities even though you have the guns and they don't is not something that can be taught in a few weeks of training. Maybe this Iraqi army we are creating will stay in its barracks and maybe it won't. Any old Middle East hand would bet that it won't.
Freedom of speech is another characteristic of our culture, which predates the American Revolution. Even we, however, sometimes infringe on free speech, especially in time of war. Again, there is no such tradition in Iraq or in the other Arab countries. Their tradition is that you are free to speak if the ruler says you can speak. Neither of Iraq's temporary governments – the one we appointed or the one the Iraqis elected – has been especially tolerant of Iraqi criticism.
Ironically, the greatest example of free speech and a free press in the Middle East is Al-Jazeera television, which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush both seem to hate. They hate it because it reports what they don't want reported, which is, after all, the essence of a free press. To our everlasting shame, we bombed Al-Jazeera's offices in Afghanistan and in Baghdad. The official lie that they were both accidents doesn't hold a teacup of water. The idea that two small offices in different countries but belonging to the same company could be hit from 15,000 feet by accident is improbable as hell.
Another irony, if you are into that sort of thing, is that the only democratically elected government in the Muslim part of that region is Iran's, and again, our government is definitely not happy about that.
A third characteristic of a free society is that the authorities must respect the rights of individuals. Even with our long tradition, that is a constant battle for us. Witness the charges of police brutality, the occasional cases of prisoner abuse, not to mention what our military has done in Iraq and Afghanistan. But then again, there is no such tradition of respecting the rights of individuals at all in Iraq. Recently, the former prime minister said that abuses of citizens under the present Iraqi government are just about as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein. It requires extraordinary restraint for people in authority not to abuse their authority, especially when they believe they are right and the person abused is wrong.
It took several centuries for the ideas of freedom to take root in the United Kingdom and its offspring, which includes us. These are not ideas and traditions that can be forced on people. It's true that everyone longs to be free – free to do as he or she pleases without regard for the rights of anyone else.
The president has bought into the neoconservative idea that we can spread democracy in the Middle East and now appears to believe he's God's man doing God's will. That's part of the tragedy of human history – people with good intentions doing bad things. As long as he defines victory as a permanently free and democratic Iraq, then all he will ever know is defeat.
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Charley Reese Archives
Carroll Campbell, former S.C. Governor, dies at age 65.
He was only 65.
Campbell was Governor when I moved to this state, and though I didn't agree with everything he did and everything he stood for, he seemed to stand a full head above everyone who's sat in that office since.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Warning from Frosty Wooldridge; Other Recent Worthwhile Reads
SQUALOR, SUPERSTITIONS AND FATALISTIC SLOTH
By Frosty Wooldridge
December 5, 2005
“You don’t know my people—the squalor, superstitions, the fatalistic sloth that they’ve wallowed in for generations. You don’t know what you’re in for if that fleet of brutes ever lands in your lap. Everything will change in this country of yours. They will swallow you up.” Jean Raspail, Camp of the Saints
The author served notice to his beloved France 30 years ago with that incisive novel. The French didn’t listen. The United States isn’t listening, either!
After the past dozen terror attacks around the world such as 9/11, Madrid train bombings, London bombings, nightclub bombings and Theo Van Gogh stabbed in the streets of Amsterdam--last month, Paris, France burned. Their ‘fatalistic sloth’ rose up with Molotov cocktails that torched over 5,000 cars.
America’s own suicide stands SO self-evident through Raspail’s words when he talks about Europe proceeding toward its own peril when it allowed the rate of immigration to exceed the rate of assimilation. They swallowed the deadliest scorpion in the Middle Eastern desert by inviting a stone-age culture and religion into their advanced European culture.
Raspail said the immigrants were, “righteous in their loathing of anything and everything that smacked of present-day Western society, and boundless in their love of whatever might destroy it.”
[Read the rest here.]
Do Americans care if America survives? Read Nancy Levant:
DO AMERICANS CARE IF AMERICA DIES?
by Nancy Levant
December 1, 2005
It’s an interesting question, and one that I was asked just today. I have pondered the question for years, and have come to the conclusion that those born after the mid to late 1960’s are not patriotic citizens by the same definition as those born prior to the 60’s. In fact, I’ve heard many 20, 30, and even 40--somethings claim that they held no particular allegiance to the United States, as they consider their country to be Imperialistic, dishonest, exploitive, and devious.
But we older citizens must realize that the younger generations have not had the benefit of time, wisdom, and many have not had the experience of warfare and soldiering. Nor have they had the benefit of an educational system that taught “Republic” vs. “Democracy.” They believe their country to be a democracy, and at the same time, know very well that it is not. They have also been raised on a steady dose of unscrupulous and lying governance, and this they know, as well.
Younger generations are not enamored with Capitalism, politics, democracy, or faith. Today’s younger generations are largely atheistic and disgusted with leadership, religion, and their lies. Sometimes we tend to think they are simply disinterested and apathetic, but the fact is, they are all too savvy when it comes to the joke of American governance.
[Read the rest here.]
The latest on Education for Sustainable Development in government schools:
COWARDS, COMMUNISM & EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY
By Holly Swanson
November 17, 2005
This message is dedicated to every child in America and to all who love them. The current push to infuse ‘Education for Sustainability’ into schools nationwide is not what it appears to be. There is a partisan political agenda attached to Education for Sustainability. Every parent, teacher, student and citizen needs to understand this agenda now before teaching Green politics becomes the new mission of public education.
The concept of sustainability, the idea of leaving the world a better place, is not the issue. The problem is that public support for the general concept of sustainability is being used to impose the Green’s political agenda. A prime example of this is Education for Sustainability. This program, although presented as non-partisan, reflects the goals of the international Green parties.
Political extremists in the Green movement, from environmental groups to the Democratic left, are using Education for Sustainability to target America’s youth, from kindergarten on, for political gain. The Greens know if they can brainwash the majority of America’s children to vote Green they can control America’s future.
[Read the rest here.]
Finally, have a look at this NewsWithViews.com debut from Linda Schrock Taylor, long a voice of criticism of government schools on LewRockwell.com (check out her article archive over there). A reminder of when Biblical literacy was a sign of, well, literacy.
LITERACY AS THE PLUMBLINE TO BIBLICAL STANDARDS
by Linda Schrock Taylor
December 4, 2005
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land--not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." --Amos 8:11
With a plumb line to measure the nation against His perfect standard, God showed Amos the underlying crookedness of the people. Although Israel was economically prosperous, it was morally bankrupt. Without the Written Laws, "the people were left in a spiritual vacuum in which they lacked a written standard by which to judge behavior."
Were Amos to measure America at this point in her history, he would again find a country out of plumb with too many communities, churches, families, and individuals thirsting for the words of the Lord.
"On Judgment Day, lovely young girls will faint of Word-thirst, robust young men will faint of God-thirst…Their lives will fall to pieces. They'll never put it together again."
America is in the midst of a literacy crisis and our youth thirst for words. Millions of children being educated in public schools, or in private and parochial schools that have chosen to adopt public school values, standards and curriculum as their own, are not learning to read at any level that will allow them to function as literate persons. "According to the Nation's Report Card, 31 percent of 4th graders and 36 percent of 12th graders are proficient readers. Minority students score lower - just 16 percent of African American and 22 percent of Hispanic 12th graders are proficient readers." (U.S. Department of Education, Nation's Report Card, 2002)
This decline worsens with each graduating class, thus lowering the overall literacy level of the nation. An illiterate population cannot contemplate, confirm, or correct the crookedness in America, nor bring the nation back to plumb. An illiterate population cannot read and understand founding documents that detail the rights and responsibilities of Americans; cannot act to protect those rights; cannot fulfill those responsibilities.
This was not the case in colonial and revolutionary America. "In New England, the literacy rate was over 50 percent during the first half of the Seventeenth century, and it rose to 70 percent by 1710. By the time of the American Revolution, it was around 90 percent, certainly the highest on earth." New Englanders, Puritans believing in the importance of being able to read the Bible, taught their young children to read and mandated that primary schools be established in every town; grammar schools in some. Boys attended town schools while girls attended Dame Schools, (similar to a neighborhood homeschool.) In 1750 nearly 90 percent of women and virtually all men could read and write.
It was expected that everyone read and study the Bible since it was upon Biblical Law that communities and families were grounded. To ensure Biblically literacy, early churches established colleges and universities--Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth--to provide communities and colonies with highly literate leaders, ministers, and laypersons.
[Read the rest here. Can you imagine Harvard, Yale, Brown or Dartmouth establishing a Biblical view of the world or even defending the right of such to exist today???
For a gold mine of information on the superelite (or Global Elite, if you prefer), check out Patrick Woods's The August Review, signing up if you haven't already.