Saturday, January 05, 2008

I wanted to talk about Bush's failed policy in the middle east and around the world but back to stolen elections! can you count on electronic machines




I will talk about Bush's failed policies tomorrow. They are doing therir job and setting the stage for world war but we are rapidly running out of time to at least get rid of the corruptive electronic voting machines so lets discuss them again! I was stupefied when I posted on the ease elections can be stolen and no verification of what came out was what went in and someone to no surprise decried the findings which were verified and would not identify himself, Hmmm! Stolen elections The names have changed the games the same

I am finding out it is worse than I thought and many states beside California are having them removed, That is fantastic news, With the primaries upon us I hope they move quickly. I will feel a lot better about these elections if they are even held. Anyway you will find this interesting.

Jane Platten gestured, bleary-eyed, into the secure room filled with voting machines. It was 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, and she had been working for 22 hours straight. “I guess we’ve seen how technology can affect an election,” she said. The electronic voting machines in Cleveland were causing trouble again. For a while, it had looked as if things would go smoothly for the Board of Elections office in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. About 200,000 voters had trooped out on the first Tuesday in November for the lightly attended local elections, tapping their choices onto the county’s 5,729 touch-screen voting machines. The elections staff had collected electronic copies of the votes on memory cards and taken them to the main office, where dozens of workers inside a secure, glass-encased room fed them into the “GEMS server,” a gleaming silver Dell desktop computer that tallies the votes.

Then at 10 p.m., the server suddenly froze up and stopped counting votes. Cuyahoga County technicians clustered around the computer, debating what to do. A young, business-suited employee from Diebold — the company that makes the voting machines used in Cuyahoga — peered into the screen and pecked at the keyboard. No one could figure out what was wrong. So, like anyone faced with a misbehaving computer, they simply turned it off and on again. Voilà: It started working — until an hour later, when it crashed a second time. Again, they rebooted. By the wee hours, the server mystery still hadn’t been solved.

Worse was yet to come. When the votes were finally tallied the next day, 10 races were so close that they needed to be recounted. But when Platten went to retrieve paper copies of each vote — generated by the Diebold machines as they worked — she discovered that so many printers had jammed that 20 percent of the machines involved in the recounted races lacked paper copies of some of the votes. They weren’t lost, technically speaking; Platten could hit “print” and a machine would generate a replacement copy. But she had no way of proving that these replacements were, indeed, what the voters had voted. She could only hope the machines had worked correctly.

As the primaries start in New Hampshire this week and roll on through the next few months, the erratic behavior of voting technology will once again find itself under a microscope. In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. (In the 80-person town of Waldenburg, Ark., touch-screen machines tallied zero votes for one mayoral candidate in 2006 — even though he’s pretty sure he voted for himself.) Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “under vote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes.

The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe — disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks — but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens “may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.” She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting — before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat of Florida, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, have even sponsored a bill that would ban the use of touch-screen machines across the country by 2012. Can you count on these machines

2012 what about this year? We can not afford to let this happen again! There is no way to verify what comes out is what comes in and it has been proven beyond doubt that the machines change votes. We can't have another stolen election if we have one!


James Joiner
Gardner Ma
www.anaveragepatriot.com

15 comments:

Brother Tim said...

We are sooooooooooo screwed, Jim. I wish I knew the answers. I do know this much: The America we grew up loving has gone the path of the dinosaurs. Can it be revitalized? Hmmmmmmm.....

an average patriot said...

Gee Brother!
I have tried to get people to reaize for so long now what is really happening, why, and how this is all going to wash out that at this point I can only shrug I wrote a manifesto to the world that is a very long story and undeniable but I won't bother you with it now. You're a brother aren't you? Smile and lighten up.
The manifesto is sobering but right on. If you check out my past posts you know how this will wash out. It's funny, I was just on Dusty's site and she had a good post about Obama getting shot and Bush declaring martial order, He will but it won't be because Obama was killed.
I do have hope myself, is you have read another line of my conversations I am going down on the 8th to listen to a legend and converse with him. He first contacted me 7 or 8 monthe ago because of something I wrote that he googled.
After commenting on many of his stories I knew there was something different about him but I got frustrated and confronted him wanting to know if he ever read any of my other stuff because he was just to unrealistic.
Anyway what a surprise! I got an E from his son Danny who unbeknownst to me, I often corresponded with and he filled me in. Anyway Danny is 65 and his father Jerome Grossman is 90. He is a grassroots activist and organizer behind every major accomplishment since 1950.
Anyway his site is http://relentlessliberal.blogspot.com You can google Jerome Goldman or read more about the relentless liberal on the top left of his site. He doesn't answer comments he just throws the info out there. He gets about 800 hits a story.
I am really looking forward to talking with him after his lecture. I have been routinely sending them info so they know exacly what is going on right under our noses and something must be done quick. I won't bother you anymore right now but I will be writing about our meeting. Take care and stay in touch!

Larry said...

It doesn't matter what machines are used, the Tri-Lateralists will decide who is to win and we are left without a true voice.

Larry said...

Try this one for size Jim:


Journey to the Dark Side
The Bush Legacy (Take One)
By Tom Engelhardt

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-- Emma Lazarus, 1883

If you don't mind thinking about the Bush legacy a year early, there are worse places to begin than with the case of Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lilliendahl. Admittedly, she isn't an ideal "tempest-tost" candidate for Emma Lazarus' famous lines engraved on a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. After all, she flew to New York City with her girlfriends, first class, from her native Iceland, to partake of "the Christmas spirit." She was drinking white wine en route and, as she put it, "look[ing] forward to go shopping, eat good food, and enjoy life." On an earlier vacation trip, back in 1995, she had overstayed her visa by three weeks, a modest enough infraction, and had even returned the following year without incident.

This time -- with the President's Global War on Terror in full swing -- she was pulled aside at passport control at JFK Airport, questioned about those extra three weeks 12 years ago, and soon found herself, as she put it, "handcuffed and chained, denied the chance to sleep… without food and drink and… confined to a place without anyone knowing my whereabouts, imprisoned." It was "the greatest humiliation to which I have ever been subjected."

By her account, she was photographed, fingerprinted, asked rude questions -- "by men anxious to demonstrate their power. Small kings with megalomania" -- confined to a tiny room for hours, then chained, marched through the airport, and driven to a jail in New Jersey where, for another nine hours, she found herself "in a small, dirty cell." On being prepared for the return trip to JFK and deportation, approximately 24 hours after first debarking, she was, despite her pleas, despite her tears, again handcuffed and put in leg chains, all, as she put it, "because I had taken a longer vacation than allowed under the law."

On returning to her country, she wrote a blog about her unnerving experience and the Icelandic Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir met with U.S. Ambassador Carol van Voorst to demand an apology. Just as when egregious American acts in Iraq or Afghanistan won't go away, the Department of Homeland Security announced an "investigation," a "review of its work procedures" and expressed "regrets." But an admission of error or an actual apology? Uh, what era do you imagine we're living in?

Erla Ósk will undoubtedly think twice before taking another fun-filled holiday in the U.S., but her experience was no aberration among Icelanders visiting the U.S. In fact, it's a relatively humdrum one these days, especially if you appear to be of Middle Eastern background.

Take, for instance, 20-year veteran of the National Guard Zakariya Muhammad Reed (born Edward Eugene Reed, Jr.), who, for the last 11 years, has worked as a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio. Regularly crossing the Canadian border to visit his wife's family, he has been stopped so many times -- "I was put up against the wall and thoroughly frisked, any more thoroughly and I would have asked for flowers…" -- that he is a connoisseur of detention. He's been stopped five times in the last seven months and now chooses his crossing place based on the size of the detention waiting room he knows he'll end up in. It took several such incidents, during which no explanations were offered, before he discovered that he was being stopped in part because of his name and in part because of a letter he wrote to the Toledo Blade criticizing Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq.

The first time, he was detained in a small room with two armed guards, while his wife and children were left in a larger common room. While he was grilled, she was denied permission to return to their car even to get a change of diapers for their youngest child. When finally released, Reed found his car had been "trashed." ("My son's portable DVD player was broken, and I have a decorative Koran on the dashboard that was thrown on the floor.") During another episode of detention, an interrogator evidently attempted to intimidate him by putting his pistol on the table at which they were seated. ("He takes the clip out of his weapon, looks at the ammunition, puts the clip back in, and puts it back in his holster.") His first four border-crossing detentions were well covered by Matthew Rothschild in a post at the Progressive Magazine's website. During his latest one, he was questioned about Rothschild's coverage of his case.

The essence of his experience is perhaps caught best in a comment by Customs and Border Protection agent made in his presence: "We should treat them like we do in the desert. We should put a bag over their heads and zip tie their hands together."

Or take Nabil Al Yousuf, not exactly a top-ten candidate for the "huddled masses" category; nor an obvious terror suspect (unless, of course, you believe yourself at war with Islam or the Arab world). According to the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, Yousuf, who is "a senior aide to the ruler of the Persian Gulf state of Dubai," always has the same "galling" experience on entering the country:


"A U.S. airport immigration official typically takes Yousuf's passport, places it in a yellow envelope and beckons. Yousuf tells his oldest son and other family members not to worry. And Yousuf -- who goes by 'Your Excellency' at home -- disappears inside a shabby back room. He waits alongside the likes of 'a man who had forged his visa and a woman who had drugs in her tummy'… He is questioned, fingerprinted and photographed."

Despite his own fond memories of attending universities in Arizona and Georgia, Yousuf has decided to send his son to college… in Australia. Knickmeyer adds:


"A generation of Arab men who once attended college in the United States, and returned home to become leaders in the Middle East, increasingly is sending the next generation to schools elsewhere. This year, Australia overtook the United States as the top choice of citizens of the United Arab Emirates heading abroad for college, according to government figures here."

This is what "homeland security" means in the United States today. It means putting your country in full lockdown mode. It means the snarl at the border, the nasty comment in the waiting room, the dirty cell, the handcuffs, even the chains. It means being humiliated. It means a thorough lack of modulation or moderation. Arriving here now always threatens to be a "tempest-tost" experience whether you are a citizen, a semi-official visitor, or a foreign tourist. (After all, even Sen. Ted Kennedy found himself repeatedly on a no-fly list without adequate explanation.) Think of these three cases as snapshots from the borders of a country in which the presumption of innocence is slowly being drained of all meaning.

News from Nowhere

So far, of course, we've only been talking about the lucky ones. After all, Erla Ósk, Zakariya Muhammad Reed, and Nabil Al Yousuf all made it home relatively quickly. In the final weeks of 2007, a little flood of press reports tracked more extreme versions of the global lockdown the Bush administration launched in late 2001, cases in which, after the snarl, the door clanged shut and home became the barest of hopes.

Take, for example, a December 1st Washington Post piece in which reporter Craig Whitlock revealed one more small part of the CIA's global network of secret imprisonment. We already knew, among other things, that the CIA had set up and run its own secret prisons in Eastern Europe and probably in Thailand; that it had a network of secret sites in Afghanistan like "the Salt Pit" near Kabul; that it may have used the "British" island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as well as American ships, naval and possibly commercial, to hold prisoners beyond the purview of any authority or even the visits of the International Red Cross; that it ran an air fleet of leased executive jets (including some from Jeppesen Dataplan, a subsidiary of Boeing, which made it back into the news in December because of a lawsuit launched by the ACLU); that these were used to transport terror suspects it snatched up off city streets or battlefields anywhere on the planet to its own "black sites" or which it "rendered" in "extraordinary" manner to the jails and torture chambers of Syria, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and other lands whose agents had no qualms about torturing and abusing prisoners.

Whitlock, however, added a new piece to the CIA's incarceration puzzle: an "imposing building" on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. This turns out to be the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department, Jordan's powerful spy and security agency (and the CIA's closest Arab ally in the Middle East). Known as a place where torture is freely applied, it has been a way-station for "CIA prisoners captured in other countries." The first terror suspects kidnapped by Agency operatives were, it seems, flown to Jordan and housed in that building before Guantanamo was up and running or the Agency had been able to set up its own secret prisons elsewhere. There, the prisoners were hidden, even from the International Red Cross. To cite but one case Whitlock mentions:


"Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a Yemeni microbiology student, was captured in a U.S.-Pakistani operation in Karachi a few weeks after 9/11 on suspicion of helping to finance al-Qaeda operations. Witnesses reported seeing masked men take him aboard a Gulfstream V jet at the Karachi airport Oct. 24, 2001. Records show that the plane was chartered by a CIA front company and that it flew directly to Amman. Mohammed has not been seen since. Amnesty International said it has asked the Jordanian government for information on his whereabouts but has not received an answer."

Also in December, because of that lawsuit against Jeppesen, we got our first insider's account of the CIA "black sites" (and, thanks to Salon.com, even architectural plans for a few of the interrogation rooms and prison cells at those sites, all of which seem to have cameras in them). It was here that "high-value targets" were incarcerated, isolated, and subjected to various "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, a Yemeni, was picked up by the Jordanians in Amman in 2003 and tortured into signing a "full confession" (to acts he had not committed). He was then turned over to the CIA and flown to Kabul (and possibly Eastern Europe as well) where he was imprisoned. He has offered in-depth accounts that give a sense of what those "enhanced interrogation techniques" the Bush administration sponsors so enthusiastically are all about at a personal level. In the end, while in CIA custody, Bashmilah was driven to several suicide attempts, including one in which, using a bit of metal, he slashed his wrist and wrote, "I am innocent," on a cell wall in his own blood.

Here is just part of a description he offered Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! of being prepared for transport by CIA air taxi into black-site hell:


"And then they put… like little plugs inside the ears, plastic. And then they put gauze on that, on the ears. And then they taped that with very strong adhesive tape. And then they put a hood over my head. And then, on top of that, they put a headphone. This is as far as the top of my body was. And then they handcuffed me with a chain, and also they chained my ankles. Then they put a belt above the pants, and then they tied the hands and the ankles to that belt. This was after being slapped and kicked until I almost fainted."

In his cell in a secret prison in Afghanistan, "[i]n the beginning, it was totally dark. It was as if you were inside a tomb. Then, after that, they would turn a light on. Above the door, there was a camera. And there was constant loud music." From then on, neither the lights, nor the music went off. As Mark Benjamin of Salon.com wrote, "His leg shackles were chained to the wall. The guards would not let him sleep, forcing Bashmilah to raise his hand every half hour to prove he was still awake… Guards wore black pants with pockets, long-sleeved black shirts, rubber gloves or black gloves, and masks that covered the head and neck. The masks had tinted yellow plastic over the eyes. 'I never heard the guards speak to each other and they never spoke to me,' Bashmilah wrote in his declaration…

"After 19 months of imprisonment and torment at the hands of the CIA, the agency released him [in Yemen] with no explanation, just as he had been imprisoned in the first place. He faced no terrorism charges. He was given no lawyer. He saw no judge. He was simply released, his life shattered."

No charges, no lawyers, no judge. This is increasingly the norm of -- and a legacy of -- George Bush's world. In this way, the snarl at the borders melds with the screams of terror in cells worldwide.

Embedded Reports from the Dark Side

A new Pentagon term came into use in the Bush era. With the invasion of Iraq, reporters were said to be "embedded" in U.S. military units. That term -- so close in sound to "in bed with" -- should have wider uses. You could, for instance, say that Americans have, since September 2001, been "embedded," largely willingly, in a new lockdown universe defined by a general acceptance of widespread acts of torture and abuse, as well as of the right to kidnap (known as "extraordinary rendition"), and the creation and expansion of an offshore Bermuda Triangle of injustice, all based on the principle that a human being is guilty unless proven (sometimes even if proven) innocent. What might originally have seemed like emergency measures in a moment of crisis is now an institutionalized way of life. Whether we like it or not, these methods increasingly define what it means to be an American. In this manner, despite the "freedom" rhetoric of the Bush administration, the phrase "the price of freedom" has been superseded by the price of what passes for "safety" and "security."

Media coverage of such subjects reflects this. The cases above, all reported in December, barely scratch the surface of this universe. Just a glance at other December stories -- some barely attended to, or dealt with by minor outlets or in humdrum ways, but many well covered in major papers and still causing little consternation -- indicates just how normalized all this has become.

A legacy can often be framed in words. So here's a little rundown of just some areas in which, when it came to torture, kidnapping, and offshore imprisonment, 2007 ended in a deluge, not a trickle:

Destroyed Tapes: One issue connected to torture -- sorry, "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- did get major coverage last month, the revelation on the front page of the December 6th New York Times of the destruction, in 2005, of hundreds of hours of CIA videotapes of the first two major interrogations, including waterboardings, of al-Qaeda operatives -- in this case, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In the weeks that followed, responsibility for the decision to destroy those tapes has been creeping ever higher, with four key lawyers connected to the White House and the Vice President's office brought into the mix in mid-December, and reports that the chief of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, Jose A. Rodriguez, who ordered their destruction, may soon testify before Congress under immunity and implicate as yet unnamed higher-ups.

As with all such cover-up stories, this one can only get worse. It has already been reported in the Wall Street Journal that the faces of more senior CIA officials, not just low-level interrogators, may have been caught on those tapes from the administration's secret torture chambers. We are sure to learn that these were hardly the only interrogations taped by the Agency. As yet, by the way, almost all attention has gone to the destruction of the tapes, little to why they were made in the first place. As December ended, however, Scott Shane of the New York Times wrote a piece, "Tapes by CIA Lived and Died to Save Image," with this telling line from the CIA's then number three official, A. B. Krongard: "You want interrogators in training to watch the tapes." Think about that a moment. The Justice Department, which, along with the CIA's Inspector General, launched an investigation of the tape destruction under pressure, also attempted to shut down congressional investigations of the same -- unsuccessfully.

Kidnapping Is the Law: According to the British Sunday Times, "A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the U.S. Supreme Court has sanctioned it." According to that lawyer, the precedent "goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s." This applies, it seems, not just to terror suspects in extraordinary rendition cases, but to white businessmen wanted for, say, fraud. "The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington." International human rights lawyer Scott Horton writes at his No Comment blog:


"This is not U.S. law, it is a Bush Administration hallucination as to U.S. law… The sort of nightmare which refuses to recognize the sovereignty of foreign states or the solemn commitments of U.S. governments over the last two centuries in treaties and conventions. The sort of nightmare that refuses to recognize the 'law of nations' referred to by the Founding Fathers and incorporated into the Constitution."

Innocence at Guantanamo: New military and court documents were released in December, thanks to a suit by lawyers representing Murat Kurnaz, that further illuminated the case of the 19-year old German citizen who "chose a bad time to travel." Kurnaz was captured by the U.S. Army in Pakistan in 2002 and transported to Guantanamo. There, within months, according to the Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig, "his American captors concluded that he was not a terrorist." This was the consensus of intelligence officials. He was nonetheless declared a "dangerous al-Qaeda ally" by successive military tribunals at the prison and was not released until August 2006 when he was flown to freedom in Germany "goggled, masked and bound, as he had been when he was flown to Guantanamo Bay."

Evidence from Waterboarding: According to Josh White of the Washington Post, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, "[t]he top legal adviser for the military trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees told Congress… that he cannot rule out the use of evidence derived from the CIA's aggressive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding." He even refused to say that waterboarding would be illegal if used by the interrogators of another country on U.S. military personnel. In a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, like his boss Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Mark Filip, the administration's nominee for second-in-command at the Justice Department, also refused to take a stand on waterboarding, even though he called it "repugnant."

Torture Veto: In December, President Bush threatened to "veto a House [of Representatives] bill that would explicitly ban a variety of abhorrent practices. The bill would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow interrogation rules adopted by the armed forces last year."

Torturers speak out: In December, two figures connected with U.S. torture practices spoke out. John Kiriakou, a CIA agent involved in capturing top al-Qaeda operatives, gave interviews to ABC and NBC News in which he called waterboarding "torture," regretted its use ("we Americans are better than that"), and also insisted that "[t]his was a policy made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and justice department." In the meantime, Damien Corsetti, a former private in the U.S. Army who served as an interrogator in Kabul, Afghanistan (and was nicknamed the "king of torture" and "the monster" by his colleagues at Bagram prison), gave an interview to the Spanish paper El Mundo, describing the beatings and torture techniques used there. ("They tell them they are going to kill their children, rape their wives. And you see on their faces, in their eyes, the terror that that causes them. Because, of course, we know all about those people. We know the names of their children, where they live -- we show them satellite photos of their houses. It is worse than any torture.") He also claimed that 98% of the prisoners, as far as he could tell, had nothing to do with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and observed, "In Abu-Ghurayb and Bagram they were tortured to make them suffer, not to get information out of them." Both men denied themselves torturing or mistreating anyone.

Justice Moves Fast: The Justice Department, which dragged its feet on those destroyed CIA videotapes (and then tried to submarine a congressional investigation of the same), nonetheless reacted strongly to the horrors of torture in another context. Its officials moved swiftly to investigate whether former agent John Kiriakou, in giving that interview about waterboarding to ABC News, had "illegally disclosed classified information in describing the capture and waterboarding of an al-Qaeda terrorism suspect." Consider that a message about priorities from the powers that be.

Iraqis in American Jails: Latest estimates are that up to 30,000 Iraqis are now held in American prisons in Iraq. While this figure falls 10,000 short of the number of Iraqis American commander Gen. David Petraeus believed might be arrested during the "surge" months in Baghdad and elsewhere, it does add up, as Juan Cole points out at his Informed Comment website, to 0.1% of what's left of the Iraqi population, or approximately one out of every 1,000 Iraqis.

Think of these eight stories as themselves only the tip of December's melting iceberg of news on such topics. You could no less easily write about lawyer Andrew Williams, a JAG officer with the Naval Reserves, who resigned his commission in response to the unwillingness of Gen. Hartmann "to call the hypothetical waterboarding of an American pilot by the Iranian military torture." In a letter to The Peninsula Gateway of Gig Harbor, Washington, Williams wrote in part:


"Thank you, General Hartmann, for finally admitting the United States is now part of a long tradition of torturers going back to the Inquisition…. Waterboarding was used by the Nazi Gestapo and the feared Japanese Kempeitai… Waterboarding was practiced by the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison. Most recently, the U.S. Army court martialed a soldier for the practice in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict.

"General Hartmann, following orders was not an excuse for anyone put on trial in Nuremberg, and it will not be an excuse for you or your superiors, either. Despite the CIA and the administration attempting to cover up the practice by destroying interrogation tapes, in direct violation of a court order, and congressional requests, the truth about torture, illegal spying on Americans and secret renditions is coming out."


Or you could mention the news that the "Australian Taliban," David Hicks, the sole person actually convicted on terrorism charges at Guantanamo, was released after serving a nine-month sentence in Australia (and five years of non-sentence time in Cuba); or the first reports on the Internet of speculation in Washington that George Bush himself might have viewed parts of those CIA interrogation tapes, or the Washington Post report that, in 2002, four key Congressional figures, including Nancy Pelosi, had been given "a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk," including waterboarding, without objections being raised. Or… but the list is almost unending.

The Bush Legacy

As a people, we Americans have not faintly come to grips with how centrally the Bush administration has planted certain practices in our midst -- at the very heart of governmental practice, of the news, of everyday life. Many of these practices were not in themselves creations of this administration. For instance, the practice of kidnapping abroad -- "rendition" -- began at least in the Clinton era, if not earlier. Waterboarding, a medieval torture, was first practiced by American troops in the Philippine insurrection at the dawn of the previous century. (It was then known as "the water cure.")

Torture of various sorts was widely used in CIA interrogation centers in Vietnam in the 1960s. Back in that era, the CIA also ran its own airline, Air America, rather than just leasing planes from various corporate entities through front businesses. Abu Ghraib-style torture and abuse, pioneered by the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s, was taught and used by American military, CIA, and police officials in Latin America from the 1960s into the 1980s. If you doubt any of this, just check out Alfred McCoy's still shocking book, A Question of Torture. Even offshore secret CIA prisons aren't a unique creation of the Bush administration. According to Tim Weiner in his new history of the Central Intelligence Agency, Legacy of Ashes, in the 1950s the Agency had three of them -- in Japan, Germany, and the Panama Canal Zone -- where they brought double agents of questionable loyalty for "secret experiments" in harsh interrogation, "using techniques on the edge of torture, drug-induced mind control, and brainwashing."

And yet, don't for a second think that nothing has changed. Part of the Bush legacy lies in a new ethos in this country. In my childhood in the 1950s, for example, we knew just who the torturers were. We saw them in the movies. They were the sadistic Japanese in their prison camps, the Gestapo in their prisons, and the Soviet Secret police, the KGB, in their gulags (even if that name hadn't yet entered our world). As the President now says at every opportunity, and as we then knew, Americans did not torture.

Today, and it's a measure of our changing American world, a child turning on the TV serial "24" or heading for the nearest hot, new action flick at the local multiplex knows that Americans do torture and that torture, once the cultural province of our most evil enemies, is now a practice that is 100% all-American and perfectly justifiable (normally by the ticking-bomb scenario). And few even blink. In lockdown America, it computes. The snarl at the border fits well enough with what our Vice President has termed a "no-brainer," a "dunk in the water" in the torture chamber. There is no deniability left in the movies -- and little enough of it in real life.

American presidents of the Vietnam and Latin American war years operated in a realm of deniability when it came to torture and other such practices. No American could then have imagined a Vice President heading for Capitol Hill to lobby openly for a torture bill or a President publicly threatening to veto congressional legislation banning torture techniques. Call it the end of an era of American hypocrisy, if you will, but the Bush legacy will be, in part, simply the routinization of the practice of torture, abuse, kidnapping, and illegal imprisonment.

George W. Bush didn't invent the world he inhabits. He, his top officials, and all their lawyers who wrote those bizarre "torture memos" that will be hallmarks of his era chose from existing strains of thought, from urges and tendencies already in American culture. But their record on this has, nonetheless, been remarkable. In just about every case, they chose to bring out the worst in us; in just about every case, they took us on as direct a journey as possible to the dark side.

It's not necessary to romanticize the American past in any way to consider the legacy of these last years grim indeed. Let no one tell you that the institution of a global network of secret prisons and borrowed torture chambers, along with those "enhanced interrogation techniques," was primarily done for information or even security. The urge to resort to such tactics is invariably more primal than that.

Words matter more than one would think. In the Bush era, certain words have simply been sidelined. Sovereignty, for instance. If, in principle, you can kidnap anyone, anywhere, and transport that person into a ghost existence anywhere else, then national sovereignty essentially no longer has significance. This is one meaning of "globalization" in the twenty-first century. On Planet Bush, only one nation remains "sovereign," and that's the United States of America.

If you want to test this proposition, just take any case mentioned above, from Erla Ósk's landing in New York on, and try to reverse it. Make an American the central victim and another country of your choice the perpetrator and imagine the reaction of the Bush administration, no less the American media and the public (no matter what Gen. Hartmann may be unwilling to say about the waterboarding of an American serviceman).

Or consider another word that once had great resonance in American culture, not to speak of its legal system: innocence. Americans prided themselves on their "innocence" -- even when mocked as "innocents abroad" -- and took pride as well in a system based on the phrase, "innocent until proven guilty."

Despite their repeated, thoroughly worn denials about torture, the top officials of this administration remade themselves, in the wake of the attacks of 9/11, as a Torture, Inc. And their actions since then have gone a long way toward turning us, by association and tacit acquiescence, into a nation of torturers, willing to accept, in case after case, that a "war" against "terror" supposed to last for generations justifies just about any act imaginable, including the continued mistreatment and incarceration of people who remain somehow guilty even, in certain cases, after being proven innocent.

This is the American welcome wagon of the twenty-first century. If you really want to catch the spirit of the Bush legacy one year early, try to imagine the poem an Emma Lazarus of this moment might write, something appropriate for a gigantic statue in New York harbor of a guard from Mohamed Bashmilah's living nightmare -- dressed all in black, a black mask covering his head and neck, tinted yellow plastic over the eyes, a man, hands sheathed in rubber gloves, holding up not a torch but a video camera and dragging chains.

Larry said...

The North American Union and the Bigger Plan


by Dr. Dennis L. Cuddy

In order to bring about a North American Union (NAU), the public first has to be conditioned to think of themselves as North Americans. In that regard, Thomas Donohue (president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) on June 16, 2006 remarked that "for CEOs, North America is already a single market, and business decisions are no longer made with a Mexico strategy---or a Canada strategy---but, rather, with a North American strategy....I think it's pretty clear now that it no longer makes sense to talk about U.S. competitiveness and Mexican competitiveness---or, for that matter, about the competitiveness of Canada. We are all in this together---we, as North Americans."

Also relevant to this process is the publication of the NORTH AMERICAN INTEGRATION MONITOR since 2002 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Very soon, CSIS also will publish their final document on their "North American Future 2025 Project." The Project has "an emphasis on regional integration," and the year 2025 A.D. was selected "on the basis of the data presently available on overall global projections." Seven closed-door roundtable sessions have been looking at the methodology of global and North American projections, as well as labor mobility, energy, the environment, security, competitiveness, and border infrastructure and logistics.

Zbigniew Brzezinski has been a CSIS counselor, and at Mikhail Gorbachev's first State of the World Forum in 1995, Brzezinski revealed: "We cannot leap into world government through one quick step....The precondition for eventual and genuine globalization is progressive regionalization because by that we move toward larger, more stable, more cooperative units." This is why the CSIS Project has "an emphasis on regional integration." (Brzezinski also described the regions that would be formed, that Israel and the Palestinians would be part of a Middle Eastern region, how Communist China would be brought into an Asian region, and that Iran would be part of a Central Asian region which would have important oil and gas pipelines constructed.)

At this point, it is worth remembering that in Stalin's January 1913 address in Vienna, he advocated national loyalties becoming subservient to regions. And 3 years later, Lenin in 1916 proclaimed: "The aim of socialism is not only to abolish the present division of mankind into smaller states and all-national isolation, not only to bring the nations closer to each other, but also to merge them."

You may recall that in Brzezinski's BETWEEN TWO AGES (1970), he praised Marxism, and he claimed that "the nation-state is gradually yielding its sovereignty." One aspect of American sovereignty that is being yielded is ownership of American companies by Americans. In the first 9 months of 2007, 69 companies in New England alone have been sold to foreign buyers. Nationally, the French company Alcatel bought Lucent Technologies in the U.S. last year, and in September 2007 announced it will be cutting thousands of jobs.

Relevant to this, Alan Tonelson (research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council) said foreign companies are "acquiring control over the most dynamic pieces of the American economy, and they're acquiring control over America's future." Also relevant to this was the assessment by Donald Klepper-Smith (chief economist at DataCore Partners) regarding decisions made overseas and how they would effect American workers. He opined: "It raises some red flags and some real questions about our independence."

Part of the conditioning process to cause Americans to accept a NAU is the role of past and present government officials explaining the alleged economic benefits of such a union. For example, Harry Roegner in a letter titled "An economic union would be beneficial" in THE GREENVILLE (South Carolina) SUN (October 15, 2007) pointed out the large oil reserves of both Canada and Mexico that would be useful to the U.S., as well as Mexico's excess manpower who, as immigrants, would help support U.S. and Canadian economic growth. Roegner was an adviser on foreign trade issues to the U.S. Department of Commerce from 1984 to 1994, and in his letter said: "A North American economic union would provide the free flow of capital and labor across national borders needed to address many of the (aforementioned) imbalances."

Often regional economic integration into some type of union is argued on the basis of free trade. However, John Fonte (who had an office next to mine at the U.S. Department of Education) of the Hudson Institute has explained that the concept of regional economic arrangements or trading blocs actually is contrary to free trade to an extent. For example, in a NAU, there would be trading arrangements among the 3 nations which would limit the ability of the U.S. to trade freely with nations outside the NAU trading bloc.

But hasn't President Bush recently said all this talk about a NAU is nonsense? On August 21, 2007 at the concluding press conference for the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in Montebello, Quebec, Fox News reporter Bret Baier asked if the SPP is a prelude to a NAU similar to the European Union (EU), and if there are plans to build some kind of superhighway connecting all 3 countries. President Bush replied: "If you've been in politics as long as I have, you get used to that kind of technique where you lay out a conspiracy and then force people to try to prove it doesn't exist."

The truth, of course, is that the U.S., Canada and Mexico are being connected by 4 Trade Corridors. On November 20, 2007, Lt. Governor John Harvard of Manitoba delivered a "Speech From The Throne," in which he revealed: "Manitoba has been working with the Canadian government and state governments in the U.S. to protect and enhance our access to key trade markets. In response to U.S. border and security measures, Manitoba will begin offering an enhanced driver's license as an affordable and secure form of identification for travelers. The new license will be available in the Fall of 2008. Manitoba is also taking a major role in the development of a Mid-Continent Trade Corridor, connecting our northern Port of Churchill with trade markets throughout the central United States and Mexico. To advance the concept, an alliance has been built with business leaders and state and city governments spanning the entire length of the Corridor. When fully developed, the trade route will incorporate an 'in-land port' in Winnipeg with pre-clearance for international shipping."

The SPP is also an important part of the power elite's plan for a techno-feudal fascist world government because it is a "partnership." For years, the American people and their leaders have been conditioned to accept educational and other partnerships as solutions to their problems. For example, city governments strapped for funds are approached by corporations or their related private foundations with plans and funds to improve education, which the city leaders are only too glad to accept. This conditions the people eventually to accept government/corporate rule. This is a form of Socialism known as fascism, and it will be the type of world government the power elite plans ultimately to bring about and control. In this government, the power elite will control politicians who will become government leaders who will promulgate laws, rules and regulations favorable to certain transnational corporations (controlled by the power elite) and unfavorable to any possible competition to those select corporations.

So why did President Bush ridicule Bret Baier's question, especially since there are already 47 Mexican Consulates across the U.S.? Lou Dobbs in his CNN commentary "Beware the Lame Duck" (October 17, 2007) wrote: "Although many conservatives refuse to accept the reality, George W. Bush is a one-world neo-liberal who drove budget and trade deficits to record heights....President Bush has pressed hard for the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the first step toward a North American Union that will threaten our sovereignty. The administration has permitted American businesses to hire illegal aliens, encouraged the invasion of 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens and has given Mexico and corporate America dominion over our borders and our immigration policy....The assault on our national sovereignty continues....The president is urging the Senate to act favorably on our accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea....The treaty will submit the United States to international tribunals largely adverse to our interests, and dispute resolution mechanisms are stacked against the United States....The treaty would undermine our national sovereignty and act as a back door for global environmental activists to direct U.S. policy." Fortunately, in Congress, House Concurrent Resolution 40 states: "Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in the construction of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada."

If I could have followed up Bret Baier's question with one of my own, here's what I would have asked: "So, President Bush, will the massive 10-lane toll road TransTexas Corridor funded by Cintra of Spain and to be built by Zachry Construction of Texas come to a screeching halt at Oklahoma's border?" What are all the vehicles supposed to do---merge all of a sudden into a small road? I don't think so ! And by the way, Cintra is legally represented in Texas by leading Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, which also just happens to have an office in Dubai (remember Dubai Ports was about to take over operation of a number of America's largest ports) ! Perhaps before President Bush was too critical of people warning about a NAU, he should have read what Mexico's President Vicente Fox said May 16, 2002 at Club 21 in Madrid: "Eventually, our long-range objective is to establish with the United States, but also with Canada, our other regional partner, an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union" (or as Gorbachev refers to the EU, the "European Soviet").

I would also have asked President Bush at the press conference why on September 6, 2007 at 9pm did he open all U.S. highways to Mexican trucks? Earlier in the day, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio said President Bush was "_ _ _ _ bent" on getting Mexican trucks in the U.S. by stealth. Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website lists 10 Mexican carriers that are approved to transport goods throughout the U.S., and nearly 40 more Mexican carriers will soon join them on the list.

Will all Mexican truck drivers be stopped at the border to see if they can read road signs in English, if they have criminal backgrounds, and how long they already have been driving that day (U.S. law prohibits more than 10 consecutive hours)? I doubt it, since no more than 2% of Mexican trucks entering the U.S. today are inspected ! Many of these trucks will be a danger to Americans' safety, and could be used for smuggling drugs, illegal aliens, and terrorists into the U.S.

Many countries deliberately release their criminal elements into the U.S., often coming across the Mexican border. And if the criminals are caught, our federal government releases them into American society if their own countries refuse to take them back. Our government knows how to solve this problem (e.g., stop issuing visas to people from those countries), but has refused to take such action most of the time. Ask yourself why our government would release murderers, rapists, arsonists, and other criminals into our society to commit violent crimes against us. Think about it !

Returning to Bret Baier's question to President Bush about the SPP being a prelude to a NAU similar to the EU, what would we get if we became like the EU, which has certain characteristics of fascism? Mrs. Kitty Werthmann (a survivor of Hitler's reign and Soviet rule afterward) recently returned to Europe and interviewed many senior citizens. They informed her they were told conversion to the Euro would bring prosperity via free trade, lower prices for goods, etc. In reality, though, their money was devalued greatly, and they're now living on welfare and food stamps. Unemployment in Europe is high while guest workers are brought in, and the people are angry.

In terms of what is planned for Americans relevant to the EU and the Euro, Vicente Fox on CNN's "Larry King Live" show October 8, 2007 explained that what he and President Bush agreed to "is a trade union for all the Americas," and he suggested that eventually there would be a regional currency. He made similar comments on the "Daily Show" the same day. Earlier in 2007, Bolivian President Evo Morales proposed a single currency for all South American nations.

Concerning North American nations, in June 1991, Dallas Federal Reserve publication no. 9115, "Free Trade and the Peso" by Darryl McLeod and John Welch, analyzed the potential for a single North American currency. In 1999, former Canadian parliament member Herbert Grubel published "The Case for the Amero: The Economics and Politics of a North American Union," giving 2010 as the possible date for introducing the "amero" as the new North American currency. And in the Atlanta Federal Reserve's ECONOMIC REVIEW (4th quarter, 2000), Michael Chriszt (director of the Reserve's Latin America Research Group) wrote "Perspectives on a Potential North American Monetary Union" in which one reads that "the idea of a single currency for NAFTA is on the table." In July 2000, Vicente Fox had already proposed a North American common market with a continental monetary policy.

More recently, David Dodge, Governor of the Bank of Canada, in May 2007 said that a common currency with the U.S. is definitely possible. What will happen is the power elite will cause the dollar to be devalued to the point where Americans reluctantly will accept the amero. As Bob Chapman in his December 2006 newsletter, INTERNATIONAL FORECASTER, said: "(The amero) will be presented to the American public as the administration's solution for dollar recovery."

On June 14, 2007 BankIntroductions.com told their clients that in the next 10-20 years, as the global economy moves toward regional trading blocs, the amero or "North American Monetary Unit" (NAMU) will be introduced. The power elite's plan is to form regional unions with their own currencies and then link them into a world government with one global currency. Relevant to this, Reuters reporter Emmanuel Jarry on October 23, 2007 wrote "Sarkozy (French President) Calls for Mediterranean Union Launch in 2008." And the African Union's African Central Bank plans to mint the "Gold Mandela" as a single African currency by 2010 (the date the NAU is supposed to form).

If you look at the top of the website for the Single Global Currency Association (SGCA), there is a quote by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, saying: "A global economy requires a global currency." The SGCA "is dedicated to the goal of implementing a single global currency by 2025...managed by a single international central bank." I have already indicated that on the cover of THE ECONOMIST (June 9, 1988) is a picture of "The Phoenix," a global currency suggested for implementation in 2018.

Whatever the date of the global currency's introduction, it will be advertised as facilitating world trade, which the power elite will control. This will be like in the days of Solomon when he fortified Gezer, Hazor and Megiddo (the Har, or Mount, of Megiddo would be called Armageddon). Through this fortification, he controlled the Via Maris and world trade, thereby controlling the world of his day. The power elite today plans to do likewise, but in a Biblical sense their plan will lead to the Battle of Armageddon.

Larry said...

What do you think of this Jim:

THE SANE SOCIETY.

By Erich Fromm. Rinehart

According to Fromm, and in distinction to orthodox Freudianism, man’s “basic passions are not rooted in his instinctive needs, but in the specific conditions of human existence.” These are now the conditions of capitalism. In the light of the requirements of mental health, as seen by Fromm, the prevailing society may be regarded as “insane.” Although some people are more affected than others, all behave irrationally in this irrational world. In order to change this situation, Fromm suggests the transformation of capitalism into some sort of “socialism,” into a “sane society,” — the precondition for the individual’s mental health and happiness. He calls his approach to the problem of mental health and society “humanistic psychoanalysis” which appears largely as an elaboration of Marx’s concept of commodity-fetishism. It is here generalized as the phenomenon of “alienation” and, in Fromm’s view, is as old a problem as the “idolatry” against which the prophets of the Old Testament raised their voices.

In Marx’s system alienation refers to social class relations based on the divorce of the workers from the means of production in a market economy of capital accumulation. The goal of production is profit. As capital, the products of man’s past and present labor take on an “independent” character, determining both the volume and direction of social production, depression and prosperity, peace and war, therewith the condition of human existence. And thus, even though man makes history, he is not master of his destiny. He lives under the compulsion of socio-economic circumstances which circumscribe his attitudes and actions. Neither the capitalists, nor the workers, nor any other group, determine their existence but allow themselves to be determined by the dynamics of capital accumulation; in other words, by things of their own making, as if they had a separate power over them. Those, however, who own or control capital, constitute a privileged ruling class just because of this sad state of affairs. And in the interest of their exploitative class position they try to perpetuate this attitude by means of force, fraud, and ideological manipulations.


The fetishistic relationship between men and their production embraces social consciousness and dominates general behavior. With labor-power a commodity like any other, men are dealt with as if they were things, and are compared to things; the materials of production include the “human material.” With exploitation based on the possession of things, i.e. capital, survival in capitalist competition implies the increasing appropriation of capital. Social relations are thus not relations between men but relations between things; commodity-relations, at once hiding and enabling the exploitation of men by men.

II

Fromm’s “revision” of Freud with the help of Marx retains the terminology of Freudian psychology, which pretends to concern itself with biological man and his frustration in society per se. Though the concept of commodity fetishism is applied to the culture as a whole, the emphasis rests on its ideological and psychological aspects. This enables Fromm to speak of society as “we.” However, although the ruling ideology and characterology are those of the ruling classes and their retainers, responsibility for the capitalist barbarism cannot be that widely distributed. After all, there are controllers and controlled, manipulators and manipulated, which forbids the “we” when speaking of society. Precisely by being a severe criticism of “society,” of “us,” Fromm’s book turns out a rather lame criticism of capitalism.

Although a bad habit, this not too serious an error, for despite all the “we” in literature, people generally refer to “society” as “they,” to opposing interests and different modes of existence, which give society its class character. But with Fromm’s society as “we” goes the individual as “man”; not as capitalist, worker, or something else, but as “man,” whose “nature” and “history” comprises both “creation and destruction; love and hate.” And although the class-determined man remains man even if approached as a commodity, or if not approached at all as untouchable, the “common humanity” of all men tells us little as regards their attitudes and behavior under varying social and historical circumstances in a class-divided society.

III

According to Fromm, only “faith in man” allows for a sane society. He explains Lenin’s “failure,” for example, by the latter’s lacking faith in man. Lenin, however, had very much faith in some men, himself included; in people dedicated to the seizure of power for his party. He had no faith, it is true, in the Czarist ruling class, nor in the middle-class hoping for liberal capitalism, nor in the peasants striving for land and private property, nor in the mass of workers destined to work harder without living better, so as to accumulate the necessary capital for Russia’s industrialization and national existence. Though Lenin had no faith in man, he excelled in faith in minority rule, which constitutes the “faith in man” in class societies. To speak of Lenin’s “failure” is to speak of his “success,” when more than individual attentions or pretensions are considered; in this case, the existence of a Russian proletariat as yet unable to abolish with its own class position all social class relations.

Moreover, to refer to the individual leader, whose “failure” or “success” determines the direction of social development, is to speak from the position of minority-rule, of class relations, modified by a desire for leadership and control in the “interest” of the led and controlled. “Faith in man” includes faith in the leader. Self-determination, however, implies the absence of a leadership in the Leninist or capitalist sense, and would make Fromm’s “faith in man” superfluous. With Fromm’s “faith in man,” Lenin would not have been Lenin, and with this “faith in man” workers will never be able to escape the consequences of their leaders lacking “faith.” The abolition of exploitation can be actualized only by the exploited; the emphasis must be on class, not on man. It is not even “faith in the working class,” but just the working class itself, which may be able through its own emancipation to change class-society into society.

To be sure, Fromm distinguishes between rational and inhibiting, or irrational, leadership. He is for the first and rejects the second form of authority, that is, prefers the authoritative relationship between “teacher and pupil” to that between “slave-owner” and “slave,” even though both are based on the superiority of the one over the other. In Fromm’s view, the teacher’s authority is altruistic and serves the student who welcomes it, as against the antagonistic irrational authority over the slave. Rational authoritative relationships, furthermore, tend to dissolve themselves with the pupils becoming as smart as the teachers. Each of these authority situations creates a different psychological situation; one assuring sanity, the other tending towards insanity. However, neither of these situations has anything to do with the authority problem in capitalism of either the liberal, the mixed, or the bolshevik brand. Fromm’s idealized teacher-pupil relationship does not exist; what does exist is an educational market coupled to force, where the relationships between teacher and student — though possibly in subtler fashion — are as antagonistic as the social relations in general. Moreover, capitalism employs all forms of authoritative relationships, the “irrational” and the “rational,” which are intertwined in such a way that none of them can be fostered, or eliminated short of the abolition of capitalism itself.

IV

However, in Fromm’s view, capitalism abolishes itself and in so doing creates the conditions wherein it becomes possible to choose between one or another form of authoritative relationships on ethical grounds. In order to escape destruction and achieve happiness, people must be made aware of what makes for sanity and what makes for insanity. Fromm’s consistent use of the “we” with respect to society is also based on the illusion that the class-society underlying Marx’s theories has largely ceased to exist. His description of Western capitalism, for instance, repeats all the current clichés of the most ardent apologists of the “American way of life”; from the “miracle of production” to the “miracle of consumption.” Fromm asserts that the workers’ “social and economic power” has increased to a fantastic degree, “not only with regard to salary and social benefits, but also to his human and social role in the factory.”

This is sheer nonsense, of course, and does not even apply to that small minority of privileged workers whose exceptional position pre-supposes the most ruthless exploitation of the vast majority. The “American way of life,” which is not that of Western capitalism but the result of America’s domination of Western capitalism, finds its counterpart in the growing misery of the bulk of the world’s population, suffering under both the imperialist-capitalist controls and their own attempts to escape these controls. This situation, which transforms civil strife into international war, and international competition into civil war, may indicate the decline of capitalism but not its self-transformation through the disappearance of class frictions and class differentiations in the wake of an achieved general abundance. To be sure, Fromm recognizes the existence of under-privileged areas and under-developed countries and advocates reforms and foreign aid to alleviate this misery, as if this misery and the co-existing well-being of other areas and social layers were not the two sides of the same coin. The state of relative abundance does not make for general well-being and “sanity” but leads production into destructive channels, so as to maintain the social class structure and control over the means of production.

V

In Fromm’s society of abundance, the workers’ problems are no longer related to the control of capital but merely to its co-determination. He sees them hunger for a voice in the production process. Not, however, to improve their social and economic position still further but to secure their “sanity.” Fromm assumes that the workers (of all descriptions) are unhappy not so much because they are exploited and in want, but because they cannot “relate themselves to the concrete product as a whole.” They suffer on account of the specialization and abstraction of their functions. It is true that Marx, among other things, also mentioned the dehumanization of labor in capitalist production through its specialization, as against former modes of production with a less-developed division of labor. Yet, socialization of production implies the division of labor, which, by itself, need not be a dehumanizing factor. It is such under the exploitative capital-labor relationship. In a socialist society it becomes possible to choose between a further extension of the social division of labor, or its reduction by means such as interchangeability of functions. And it may turn out that interchangeability is more productive than specialization; but, then, the principle of productivity may itself give way to some manner of organizing social production which might make it more attractive.

Fromm’s emphasis on this rather minor aspect of alienation at the expense of the real problem, i.e. the class-control of the means of production, turns his “social criticism” into a media of capitalist manipulation. For what he suggests in the line of social security and co-determination is now in process of being actualized by capitalist reforms, supposed to stabilize the system. His proposed “roads to sanity” are already travelled, and even some of the by-roads he likes to see populated such as various small communal enterprises producing for (and being at the mercy of) the capitalist market, do not endanger the capitalist system but merely support the illusion of its growing humanization. If Fromm is against “bigness” and for “decentralization,” so are all those capitalists who face still bigger and more centralized competitors. And if Fromm likes to see the “instinct of workmanship” more fully satisfied, so do the capitalists now engaged in eliminating simple labor processes by way of automatization.

Fromm’s “roads to sanity” in the sphere of production are not supported in the sphere of consumption, where the growing abundance leads to cultural decay. For “man,” Fromm says, is “fascinated by the possibility of buying more, better, and especially, new things. He is consumption hungry. The act of buying and consuming has become a compulsive, irrational aim, because it is an end itself, with little relation to the use of, or pleasure in the things bought and consumed.” And it is this alienated attitude toward consumption which determines the employment of leisure time and the character of the industries devoted to it. A large part of Fromm’s book describes the emptiness and shallowness of popular culture at the expense of real art and human sensitivity — a popular culture which finds its reflection in the desire for conformity and the denial of real human relationships.

VI

Here Fromm is in his element, bewailing the “lonely crowd” of the sociology of consumption, for which leisure, not work, is the great problem. With the ending of the problem of production ends that of exploitation, of course; yet, there is still, says Fromm, so much to do for the sociologists, and religious leaders to make life meaningful despite the absence of compelling social problems. Fromm’s particular suggestion is to consume less and to work more, if only for therapeutic reasons. Idle hands and idle minds are dangerous and even to do nothing must become a kind of work, of meditation, and recreation. The mentally healthy person, in his view, “is the productive and unalienated person . . . who relates to the world lovingly, and who uses his reason to grasp reality objectively; who expresses himself as a unique individual entity, and at the same time feels one with his fellow man” — etc., etc. — as one can hear from any pulpit Sunday mornings. As the striving for mental health is “inherent in every human being . . . Not born a moral idiot,” society must be such as to offer him a chance to assert his moral nature. The chance, as seen before, is offered by “socialism,” i.e. the mixed, co-determined and politically democratic welfare economy; provided, of course, it sheds itself of such qualities as “greed, competitiveness, possessiveness, narcissism,” and lets conscience rule. As “no change must be brought about by force,” and as it must be “simultaneous change in the economic, political and cultural spheres,” it must be brought about by moral education of the inherent morality, and is thus clearly the function of “humanistic psychoanalysis,” which, then, takes its place besides the great ethical and religious systems, asserting the supremacy of the spiritual over material values, and devoted to the dignity of men, so that we may — some day — sing, walk, and dance together.

Larry said...

Here is one for you Jim:

North American Union Integration Accelerates

In a time when immigration and border security are one of many concerns on the minds of Americans, the North American Development Bank (NADbank) has spent more than $2 Billion on border infrastructure enhancement projects with Mexico. NADbank was developed under the auspices of NAFTA.

Launched in January 2001, Nadbank initially looked like a good thing for the residents of SW Texas, S. Arizona, S. New Mexico and S. California. The main goal at the time was to bring the residents of these areas up to the living standards of the rest of the US.

By signing agreement after agreement with local governments throughout the Southwest United States, NADbank has developed an extensive network of wastewater treatment facilities at taxpayers expense.This seemingly good initiative quickly turned into something far more sinister, of which NADbank doesn’t want you to know about.

Immediately following the September 11th attacks on the world trade towers, Nadbank stepped up their development schedule. Agreements were being signed so fast that nobody paid any attention to the overall ideology being set in place.

The fact that these agreements included a boundary limit some 186 miles into Mexico, was slid right under the rug at a time when most Americans were still in shock over 9/11.

In December of 2001 the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) joined with NADbank on the Mexican Rio Conchos Watershed Project. This is Canada’s first appearance on the US-Mexican border infrastructure program.What does Canada have to do with US-Mexico relations?

More important, why does Mexico and Canada have anything to do with wastewater treatment projects developed to enhance the lives of US citizens?

More than $160 million was funneled into the border program during 2001, most within 6 weeks after 9/11.

In May 2002 NADbank and the Mexican company Industrial Papelera Solar (Grupo Solar) signed a US$8.59 million loan agreement for the construction of a paper recycling facility and wastewater treatment plant in Región CincoManantiales, Coahuila.

Quote:“This loan is the second one to be signed with a private company in Mexico,” commented Raúl Rodríguez, NADbank Managing Director. “It is a good indication that we are also working hard to finance a larger number of environmental infrastructure projects through private companies interested in investing in the environmental sector.”

The $20.98 million project contemplates integrating a paper production process using cardboard waste as the principal raw material instead of virgin wood resources.After this agreement with Grupo Solar the projects in Mexico accelerate rapidly into the 186 mile boundary zone. Tijuana, Sonora, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipus are just a few of the Mexican territories covered by these border projects.

Now is when the violence among Mexican drug cartel members and NADbank project workers escalates. Kidnappings and murder are the daily norm. Mexico soon sends in their army to curb the violence and insure progress of NADbank projects.

In October of 2002 the Multilateral Development Bank hosts the 5th annual Environmental Business Opportunities Seminar. More than 100 seminar participants from the United States, Mexico, and Canada met with representatives from the North American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

The seminar represented an important opportunity to meet with several multilateral banks and agencies in one session to explore opportunities for business in Mexico, Latin America and Asia.

Quote:“There are extraordinary opportunities for United States companies to participate in projects and do business with the multilateral development banks,” said Holland. “Private sector economic growth and development is best facilitated in partnership between the U.S. and foreign firms. The development of emerging economies is of critical importance to both those economies and the U.S. economy.”

We are now almost completely removed from the original purpose NADbank was formed. Wastewater and treatment facility projects for US border citizens has turned into “opportunity” within Mexico.

Throughout 2003 the wastewater projects continue to mount. Water distribution and air quality projects are launched in Mexico using NADbank funding. The citizens of the SW United States continue to foot the bill for these projects under the guise of enhancing their own lives. An additional $160 million is funneled into projects during the first 9 months of 2003.

In June 2004 the North American Development Bank signed separate financing agreements with the water utilities in Mexicali and Tijuana, Baja California totalling over $30 million. Things are starting to slow down a bit as some projects near completion and new ones are set to begin.

August 2005 The State of Baja California and NADbank signed financing agreements totaling $9.3 million to continue construction of water and wastewater projects in the cities of Mexicali and Tecate. NADbank also announced the approval of grant funding to carry out studies for the development of future environmental projects in the state.

June 2006 the Board of Directors of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and NADbank met in San Antonio to approve the certification of eight new border infrastructure projects, and the financing of a total of 12 projects aimed at improving environmental quality in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

This was the first meeting of the newly established, single board of directors for both institutions. The role of the BECC is to assist communities and project sponsors in project planning, and to certify projects in order to be eligible for financing by NADbank.

Quote:“Today we took an important step in implementing the reform agenda agreed to by Presidents Bush and Fox in 2002. The single Board of Directors of the BECC and NADB met for the first time today. Among our decisions, we’ve approved loans today that more than double the approved lending of NADB to date” stated Board Chairman Kenneth Peel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Development Finance and Debt. “We hope our work today has put BECC and NADB on a firmer footing going forward” he added.

October 2007 $5.6 million in funding for two environmental infrastructure projects benefiting Playas de Rosarito and Tijuana is authorized by Nadbank.NADB funding consists of a US$3.04 million grant from the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as a US$1.52 million loan.

In addition, Tijuana was awarded a US$500,000 grant from NADbank’s Solid Waste Environment Program (SWEP) for the purchase of solid waste collection equipment. This project, which was certified in June, had already received a US$2.27 million loan from the Bank.

With the certification of the Rosarito project, there are now nine projects in Baja California that are receiving Bank funding. These projects represent a total investment of more than $720 million in environmental improvements with the Bank contributing $145.7 million in grants and loans.

What started out as enhancing the quality of life for the Southwest United States, has almost exclusively turned into Mexican border town infrastructure projects. Road paving, environmental projects and a vast network of what appears to be an extension of United States infrastructure, is headed into areas never thought of by the citizens with the signing of that first agreement.Kind of reminds me of what the US government has and is doing to the Native American Indians.

Incrementally, US institutions are integrating the United States and Mexico. Canada and the US are another story entirely but they are well on their way to full integration into the North American Union as well.

This is why the Bush administration will not close the border with Mexico but instead offers a “Smart Border” program, which opens the border to further integration into the Union. One thing I’ve learned over the years, “If it has smart in the title, it ain’t.”

The war on terror is obvious to most as being a front for stealing Middle East oil reserves. The North American Development Bank is only one of many fronts for the North American Union Agenda.

To date more the $2 billion has been spent on border infrastructure enhancement projects with Mexico, and the proposed border fence is still covered in red tape.

It’s time for people to understand that what we face between now and 2012 in the United States of America is more than a loss of national and cultural sovereignty. We are starring down both barrels of the fascism shotgun, on a scale never dreamed of by Adolph Hitler and his Nazi Regime.

www.naureport.com

an average patriot said...

Larry
To me it all boils down to what means will the trilateralists use to keeep themselves in power. Underhanded you can be sure of but there are an ever growing number of ways and excuses as we all know.

an average patriot said...

Larry
long story! Sadly this is still just beginning and will get a heck of a lot worse in every respect. Bush is doing it wantonly asd you know but as in every instance the public will be brainwashed into going along with the notion that it is Islam in general against the american way of life.
Sadly it is not about America's way of life but Bush's. We will as a people be forced to perform many distasteful actions bushco is doing willingly. We and our way of life are the tools and the ictims an many instances.
I said it long ago but I can see before this is over that we will be forced to banish Muslim's to their respective Nation's and monitor them from there unless it can be proven they want to be part of America and the west.
That would at least let us know where we stand, stop torture, and we can move back towards the Democracy we no longer are!

an average patriot said...

Larry
As we have discussed in the past the NAU and the Corridor from Mexico to Canada is another reality that will be denied until it is a reality. Proof to me is the call from our "friend" Harriet Meirs to increase Security on Mexico's border not with us but on their Southern Border.
You Know I have to laugh because while the idiot denies this he shows this is in fact what he is doing. While he was running to control us and follow this one market one Government plan for the world, he decried Dems as wanting a fortress America. He did so because he wants a fortress North America to compete in his desired one world economy.
With major powers continuing to want their sovereignty you do not have to guess what the future will bring!

an average patriot said...

Larry
That was very good by Fromm and right on. It is the crux or ours and the worlds problems today but we all know it. I tell you daily that it stinks that we see the problems and talk about them daily but it is all for naught until a so called expert pipes up and when they do it is too late to help.
Anyway Alienation is no longer the problem Idolitry is in that Idolitry of our leaders, past, and way of life, makes us want to trust and allows us to be used. It is faith in our leaders that has allowed us to be used and abused as our society is being used against us while a new one is being formed under our unsuspecting noses.

Todd Dugdale said...

The Republicans are in a real quandary in the '08 GE. They can't possibly voter-cage enough Democrats to pull off a win. Voter-caging only works on the margins. They can't voter-cage Independents without shooting themselves in the foot. They can try imposing strict requirements for identification, such as passports (which people couldn't get in time to vote), but that only works in states where they control the Secretary of State position.

Their options are still very open, because the FEC is powerless due to lack of a quorum, but all of them involve hurting themselves to a significant degree. However, if the GOP candidate turns out to be Huckabee, who the GOP Old Guard vehemently dislikes, they might be tempted to try very draconian measures and see how the chips fall.

A much surer tactic would be the creation of an "emergency" that would require the suspension of the election. This is the Party that lives and breathes the Gospel of 9/11 and they are stupid enough to try this, believing that the public will rally around them once again. While I doubt they are competent enough to pull something like this off, that usually doesn't keep them from trying.

an average patriot said...

Hey Todd, how ya doing? Glad to hear from you. I agree with you! The only way out for them is to steal the election one way or the other. I absolutely expect at least one more war before electione and marial order to be declared. It will be stolen one way or the other by a means he has criticezed others of doing.

Brother Tim said...

It's in his perverted genes. Just like his grandaddy, Prescott, ole Georgie-boy has sold his soul to the devil. America, and the people in it, mean nothing to him. He'd have Babs waterboarded if he thought it would help his agenda. The Chimp-in-Chief is in desperate need of mental health care. He needs to be impeached and incarcerated before he has a chance to flee to Paraguay.

an average patriot said...

Brother the more I talk to you the more I realize you sound like me. I have to laugh. You know Tuesday I am going to meet the relenless Liberal and find out wehere we stan and what is being done but I remember when the chief idiot said he would never listen to anyone even his wife and would rather listen to his dog.
He would do whatever he had to, to follow this new world order mess amd I think mental help is too late and should have come in childhiood. It's funny but Iv'e done a few stories about his 2,000 in paraguay over the Guarani aquifir one of the deepest and best protected water sources on the planet along with some of his neighbors including Ted Turner with a 100.000 acres across the border in Argentina. He won't escape though!