Thursday, November 28, 2013

How to alienate oneself from God

“Nationalize as much as possible” to “make men love their country before their states.  All private interests, all local interests, all banking interests, the interests of individuals, everything, should be subordinate now to the interest of the Government.”
–Senator John Sherman, 1863 (Cited in Heather Cox Richardson, The Greatest Nation on the Earth, p. 87

Pretty disgusting, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lawrence Vance pens another good one, help from Erasmus

Erasmus on the Wickedness of Soldiers

“Who could possibly tell how many hardships these idiots of soldiers put up with in their camps? And they deserve worse just for being willing to put up with them.” ~ Erasmus
In the first of my articles on Erasmus (“Erasmus on the Evils of War”), I wrote a brief introduction to Erasmus and his works on war and peace that should be read to better understand what Erasmus has to say here about the wickedness of soldiers.
No matter what subject he is writing about, Erasmus has absolutely nothing good to say about soldiers. Indeed, as the translator and annotator of one of Erasmus’ Colloquies wrote: “Erasmus seldom missed an opportunity to satirize soldiers or to attack their wickedness.”
In a 1514 letter to Antoon van Bergen asks us to consider the instruments of war: “I pray you: murderers, profligates devoted to gambling and rape, and the vilest sort of mercenary soldiery to whom pay is dearer that life. These are splendid material in war; for then they earn rewards and glory for doing what they were doing at their own peril before. These are the dregs of mankind whom you must welcome into your countryside and towns alike if you have a mind to make war. In brief, if we seek to take vengeance upon another, to such as these must we enslave ourselves.”
In his A Declamation on the Subject of Early Liberal Education for Children, Erasmus disdains the practice of instilling in young children the desire to be soldiers: “Among some peoples it is a practice that children who are still fresh from their mother’s womb are reared in the arts of cruel warfare. They are trained to put on a savage face, to love weapons, and to deal blows. After these preliminaries, they are assigned to a teacher. We should not be surprised that these children, who have imbibed evil along with their mother’s milk, are completely insensitive to good.”
In his The Education of a Christian Prince, Erasmus describes mercenaries as “no class of men more abject and indeed more damnable.”
“Our sinful soldiers” Erasmus further describes in his War Against the Turks: “Their mercenary outlook incites them to every outrage, as they set out for war intent on plunder and return to plunder more, sometimes more ruthless towards their own folk than towards the enemy, carting their whores with them, drunkenly dicing in camps, swearing, quarrelling, brawling. Does anything attract them to war except the freedom to transgress and the expectation of plunder?”
“At the first mention and whiff, as it were, of a campaign,” says Erasmus in his Panegyric:
The dregs of humanity are roused to come out of their hiding-places, and collect like bilge-water from all over the world: men burdened by disgrace or debt or fearful of the threats of the law on account of their misdeeds, or men who are conscious of their crimes and so think they cannot be safe in time of peace, or who have dissolutely squandered their capital and are now led astray by sordid poverty to the worse crime of robbing others. Finally, there are men whose evil disposition and evil mind so act on them (as if they were born for crime) that they would have dared to do such things at the risk of their lives even without the prospect of going unpunished or the offer of pay. Wars have to be carried on with these sweepings of humanity; such dregs have to be received into cities and homes, although a whole generation will hardly be enough to clean the stink from your citizens’ morals. If indeed we learn nothing so easily as depravity, there is also nothing so difficult to forget.
In his The Handbook of the Christian Soldier, Erasmus discusses the motives of soldiers:
In these insane wars that men wage against each other through brutish savagery or harsh necessity do you not see that once the spirit of the soldiers has been spurred on by the promise of abundant booty or the terror of the enemy’s cruelty in victory or the reproach incurred by cowardice or by the desire for praise, they accomplish with cheerful alacrity whatever labours have been imposed upon them? How cheap they esteem life and how they vie with one another to rush upon the enemy! And yet, I ask you, how paltry is the reward these miserable creatures aspire after at such risk and with such fervour? to be congratulated by some insignificant officer and feted with some crude ditty amidst the uproar of the camp, or to be crowned with a garland of grass or oak leaves and take home a little more pay.
In the second book of his Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Erasmus is aghast that “there is actually in Germany a class of persons whose chief glory it is to have slaughtered the greatest number of their fellow-men; and this, while bestial in itself, is made all the more foul by their doing it for pay, like some butcher hired for money to run a slaughter-house.”
In one of his most celebrated works on war and peace, A Complaint of Peace, Erasmus describes soldiers as villainous men whose spirit and conduct are better suited to “serpents, wolves, and tigers.” He mocks the idea of marching under the banner of the cross, participating in divine worship, partaking in the sacraments, and praying. He describes “hired mercenaries” as “criminal dregs” who feed on people’s misery. Because one of the lessons of war is murder, Erasmus reasons: “Who will shrink from killing one man in hot blood when he has been hired for a pittance to slaughter so many?” And because “war has most need of those whom in time of peace you would nail to the cross,” Erasmus asks: “For who will be better at leading troops through hidden tracks than a trained brigand? Who will be bolder at plundering houses and despoiling churches than a housebreaker or tomb-robber? Who will be so eager to strike down and disembowel a foe as a gladiator or murderer? Or so suitable for setting fire to cities and engines of war as an incendiary? Who will defy the waves and hazards at sea like a pirate trained by a lifetime of plundering?” To “see clearly how immoral a thing is war, you have only to look at the agents it employs.”
In another of his notable works on war and peace, his extended comments on the adage “War is a treat for those who have not tried it,” Erasmus expresses no sympathy for what soldiers have to put up with:
Who could possibly tell how many hardships these idiots of soldiers put up with in their camps? And they deserve worse just for being willing to put up with them: food at which a Cyprian ox would turn up its nose, sleeping quarters that would be scorned by a dung-beetle, few hours of sleep and those not of their own choosing, a tent that lets in the wind from every direction, or no tent at all. They have to endure an open-air life, sleep on the ground, stand in their arms, bear hunger, cold, heat, dust, rain. They have to obey their commanders, they have to bear floggings with rods; for no slave’s bondage is more humiliating that soldiers’ service. Add to this that when the fatal signal is given you have to go and face up to death, either to kill mercilessly or to fall miserably. We undergo all these woes in order to get to the most wretched part of all. We afflict ourselves first with these countless woes, just in order to inflict them on others.
Erasmus objects to the glory given to soldiers returning home that is so prevalent today:
We loath an executioner because he is hired by the legal authority and puts to death the guilty and the condemned; but men who abandon their parents, wives and children and rush off to war of their own accord, nor hired but asking to be hired for some wicked butchery, are almost more welcome when they go home than if they had never been away. They think they have won some sort of nobility from their villainies. The man who has stolen a garment is infamous; the man who has robbed so many innocent people while he was on his way to join the army, while he was serving as a soldier and when he was coming back is considered a respectable citizen. And the soldier who has conducted himself with the most brutality is thought worthy to play the commander in the next war.
In his Colloquies, Erasmus has three exchanges that relate to soldiers.
In “Military Affairs,” Thrasymachus is a soldier and Hanno is his questioner.
Thrasymachus: I saw and did more wickedness there than ever before in my whole life.
Hanno: Has a soldier’s life any attraction at all?
Thrasymachus: Nothing’s more wicked or more ruinous.
Hanno: Then what possesses those men—some hired for pay, others for nothing—who run off to war as if they were going to a party?
Thrasymachus: I can only suppose they’re driven by devils and have given themselves over wholly to an evil spirit and to misery in such a way as to go to hell before their time.
Hanno: But how will you make good what you’ve taken as plunder?
Thrasymachus: I made it good long ago.
Hanno: To whom?
Thrasymachus: Whores, wine merchants, and men who beat me at dice.
Hanno: The old army spirit! It’s fitting that ill-gotten gains should be lost in a worse way. But you did refrain from sacrilege, I suppose?
Thrasymachus: Not at all. Nothing was sacred there, nothing spared, sacred or profane.
Hanno: How will you make amends for that?
Thrasymachus: They say you don’t have to make amends for what’s done in war; whatever it is, it’s right.
Hanno: The law of war, perhaps.
Thrasymachus: Exactly.
Thrasymachus: I heard from professors that everyone has a right to live by his trade.
Hanno: A splendid trade—burning houses, looting churches, violating nuns, robbing poor people, murdering the innocent!
In “The Soldier and the Carthusian,” two vocations are contrasted. Carthusians were an order of monks.
Carthusian: You left a young wife and children at home and off you went to the army, hired for a trifling wage to cut men’s throats, and that at risk of your own life. For you were dealing with armed men, not toadstools or poppies. Which in truth do you think is more lamentable, to butcher a Christian—who never harmed you—for a little pay or to send yourself body and soul to eternal perdition?
Soldier: It’s lawful to kill an enemy.
Carthusian: Maybe it is if he attacks your country. Then it does seem righteous to fight for wife and children, parents and friends, hearth and home, and for civil peace. But what has this to do with your mercenary soldiering? Had you died in this war, I wouldn’t have given a rotten nut for your soul’s chances.
Soldier: No?
Carthusian: No, so help me Christ! Now which do you think is harder, to obey the good man we call prior, who summons us to prayers, to the lesson in Sacred Scripture, to holy instruction, to the singing of God’s praises in psalms, or to take orders from some barbarous officer who often calls you out for long night marches wherever he pleases and orders you back again, who exposes you to bullets or commands you to stand your ground where it’s either kill or be killed?
Carthusian: Would you had turned this way when you were running off to that accursed army! But why such poverty?
Soldier: You ask why? Whatever I got by way of pay, booty, sacrilege, theft, and pillage was spent on wine, whoring, and dice.
Carthusian: Wretched man! Meanwhile your dear wife, for whose sake God bade one leave father and mother, was mourning at home, deserted, along with her little children. And did you imagine you were enjoying life in such great wretchedness and sin during that time?
In “A Fish Diet,” the butcher laments the status that some give to someone so wicked as a soldier: “No one would think it proper to bestow his daughter on the public executioner, who carries out the law for a salary, just as the judge himself does, and yet we do not abhor a marriage with a soldier, who so often—against his parents’ wishes and sometimes against the law—has taken himself off to a mercenary war and is defiled by many whorings, robberies, sacrileges, murders, and other crimes commonly committed in the army or in marching to and from war. Him we accept as a son-in-law; him, a man worse than a hangman anywhere, the maiden dotes on.”
I have tried to let the powerful words of Erasmus on the wickedness of soldiers speak for themselves. Let all potential soldiers and their defenders take heed.

An answer I advance in a FB post

The evils of government ARE structural, my point exactly. Government is Hate as God is Love and IS the anti-Christ. It IS the tempter that falsely promises answers if people only pray to it. The 'going along to get along' is of this nature and  comprises worshiping false gods/serving (at least lip service) two masters. So, ---------- -----, yes, you are volunteering to serve Hate when you vote, pay taxes, get a drivers license and/or call yourself a national citizen (accept Social Security payments or make them). God created us as free beings tasking us to respect the freedoms of our fellows and the integrity of His world. To accept a slavish existence is to reject God and His promise of Heaven. Your choice. God will accept that choice at Judgment. Every choice is a decision between a moral one and an immoral one. Verily, you have been taught and must now conform your life to that of Christ.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A scientific study indicating that Lord Acton was right in saying "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutly

Powerful Lies

Most people become stressed when lying, but new research shows that people with power feel just fine when lying — and are better at getting away with it.

Lying is costly, extracting physiological and cognitive tolls from most people. The body of research on lying consistently shows that people become stressed when they do not tell the truth. The speed with which they process information slows down, possibly because lying requires keeping track of the lie and the truth while simultaneously trying to suppress nervous habits or other signs that might give the liar away. (So-called lie-detector tests, or polygraphs, can’t actually determine if people are lying, but they can identify signs of physiological stress that are consistent with lying.)
Professor Dana R. Carney, who studies social judgment and decision making, noticed that in a different area of scientific study, psychologists have observed that power — defined as control over others’ social or monetary outcomes and always accompanied by feelings of power — enhances cognitive functions and makes people feel good. The effects of feeling powerful are precisely the inverse of those that most people experience when they lie.
“The overlap is remarkable. When you feel powerful, you feel good, you’re a little smarter in that you process information more quickly and are better at multitasking, and some evidence suggests you may be more physiologically resilient,” Carney says. “When you lie, you feel bad, your cognitive systems are overworked, and you are physiologically taxed. What if you put lying and power together? It’s a match made in heaven or a match made in hell.”
Carney worked with Andy Yap, Brian Lucas, and Pranjal Mehta of Columbia University to see what they could learn about the differences in the physiological and cognitive responses of both high- and low-power liars.
Previous research has shown that the mere act of assigning subjects leadership roles and subordinate roles is sufficient to produce feelings of power and subordination. Several parts of the researchers’ experiments here were designed to intensify those feelings. Subjects first completed a survey intended to make them believe they would be assigned a role as a leader or subordinate based on their answers. In fact, subjects were randomly assigned their roles. Each leader was shown to an expansive, comfortable office, while each subordinate was relegated to a small, windowless space.
Next, each pair met face-to-face in the leader’s office, and was asked to review a set of résumés and decide how to allocate a small pool of bonus funds. They also had to divide a small amount of bonus money between themselves. The conditions of the experiment gave the leader control in three significant areas: social control of the interaction, control over the final outcome of the assigned task, and control over how the monetary incentive was divided between the leader and the subordinate.
Once the first phase of the study was complete, the subjects were separated and asked to wait, alone, in another room, where they were led through an exercise that asked certain leaders and subordinates to steal money (hidden in the room) and lie to the researchers about having done so.
Subjects had saliva samples and other measures of physiological stress taken at key points during the experiment — for example, before beginning the survey and after being asked to lie. All participants also completed a reaction-time test at the end of the experiment designed to measure their cognitive capacity.
The researchers found that subjects assigned leadership roles were buffered from the negative effects of lying. Across all measures, the high-power liars — the leaders —resembled truthtellers, showing no evidence of cortisol reactivity (which signals stress), cognitive impairment, or feeling bad. In contrast, low-power liars — the subordinates — showed the usual signs of stress and slower reaction times. “Having power essentially buffered the powerful liars from feeling the bad effects of lying, from responding in any negative way or giving nonverbal cues that low-power liars tended to reveal,” Carney explains.
It’s an unsettling finding that prompts a number of questions, the first of which is, if powerful people can lie without suffering consequences, are they prone to lie more? “Even a very ethical person who suddenly finds herself in a position of power is probably going to notice on a conscious or unconscious level that lying no longer feels bad,” Carney says. “We can’t say empirically that power makes a person lie more, but the evidence does suggest that power would make you lie more easily and therefore more often.”
Carney emphasizes that these results don’t mean that all people in high positions find lying easier: people need only feel powerful, regardless of the real power they have or their position in a hierarchy. “There are plenty of CEOs who act like low-power people and there are plenty of people at every level in organizations who feel very high power,” Carney says. “It can cross rank, every strata of society, any job.”
Dana R. Carney is assistant professor of management at Columbia Business School.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Responding to a response to a post by Al Cronkite

Christianity certainly encompasses SOME truth, universal truth, like God is love. The whore that it is dressed up like with 501 (c) 3 status, no, not truth. Near truth is a lie. Phillip Bliss wrote Almost Persuaded. There is an uncomfortable truth. God has never stopped telling us to love our fellow man and that ALL are our fellows. Since we are to live IN this world and not OF this world, what does "the culture" have to do with you as an individual? You have to answer that yourself as I have. We face Judgment alone, NOT as a society. No hiding in a crowd, right? Questions; do YOU practice non-violent civil disobedience, refuse to pay tribute, refuse to ask permission of the state to carry out your life, refuse to self-identify with the state, forgive those who do you harm, give generously of your earthly goods, place yourself in harms way in behalf of victims of state oppression, conform your behavior to that of Christ?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Three types of people: bullies, cowards and those who hold their ground

Bullies are "addicted" to lying, FI, about why they had to/have to do egregious things. That applies to nations, certainly. As Izzy Stone wrote, All Governments Lie, so are they all bullies.  How do YOU respond to this? Endure it, accede to it, promote it? Makes one a coward, doesn't it? Is that how you want to live, face your Maker at Judgment? Brings to mind the old saying, A brave man would rather die on his feet than live on his knees and A coward dies a thousand deaths and a hero dies but one. It is my belief that God would have us be as little children which are inherently brave (until taught to be fearful by adults).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Original content from ME, one of my today's Facebook posts

Socialism; what IS it? Socialism is the mental disease that causes people to want EVERYONE to pay for (socialize) their favorite causes. "'WE' HAVE to take care of the ________ (fill in the blank)." To believe this way devolves into the cowardice of "As long as I get what I want, I'll put up with those vile programs that THEY want." Evil, folks, nothing but. If you vote, pay tribute or participate at all with earthly government, you have blood up to your neck and are fully complicit in EVIL. Drop out of the matrix, be free and stop  being part of the problem. THEN participate in non-violent civil disobedience and be part of the solution.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Latest from Steven Lendman


Written by
Stephen Lendman
Date: November 15, 2013
Subject: Afghanistan
US Atrocities in Afghanistan
by Stephen Lendman
US drones murder Afghan civilian men, women and children. American grounds forces do it up close and personal.
US inflicted death, torture and other atrocities reflect daily life. Ordinary Afghans suffer most. They struggle to survive. American aggression is one of history's greatest crimes.
War criminals remain unpunished. Accountability is denied. Conflict persists. It's Washington's longest war. It's longer than WW I and II combined. It shows no signs of ending.
Trillions of dollars go mass slaughter and destruction. They're spent for unchallenged global dominance.
Vital homeland needs go begging. Targeted countries are ravaged and destroyed. Imperial lawlessness operates this way.
Its appetite is insatiable. It ignores rule of law principles. It does whatever it wants. It does it where, when, by what means, and under whatever pretexts it contrives.
It does so unapologetically. It targets one country at a time or in multiples. It wages direct and proxy wars. It does so without justification. It lies claiming otherwise.
Atrocities are virtually de rigueur. All US wars are dirty. In March 2012, 20 US forces murdered 16 Afghan men, women, and nine children aged two to 12.
Children were massacred while they slept. Two women were raped before soldiers killed them. Pentagon officials and media scoundrels whitewashed what happened.
One soldier was blamed for crimes 20 US forces committed. Nineteen got off scot-free. Cold blooded murder and other atrocities persist. They do so with disturbing regularity.
On November 12, Reuters headlined " 'Lack of US Cooperation halts Afghan probe into civilian killings," saying:
"Afghanistan's intelligence service has abandoned its investigation into the murder of a group of civilians after being refused access to US special forces soldiers suspected of involvement, according to a document obtained by Reuters."
War crimes were committed. US forces raided Wardak province. They did so from October 2012 to February 2013.
Seventeen Afghan men were detained. They disappeared. Residents found 10 buried in shallow graves. They were several hundred meters from where US forces are based.
"In the report authored by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence agency, investigators said they had asked the United States for access to three US Green Berets and four Afghan translators working with them but were rebuffed," said Reuters.
On September 23, NDS published its report. "Despite many requests (it made, America hasn't) cooperated," it said. "Without (its) cooperation, this process cannot be completed."
Pentagon officials routinely whitewash serious war crimes. So do US commanders on the ground. Doing so is longstanding US policy. Rare exceptions prove the rule.
Under a decade long military agreement, Afghan officials can't charge US forces with war crimes. Whatever they do, they're immune.
Zakeria Kandahari is an Afghan translator. He works with US Green Berets. He's done so for nine years.
Documents Reuters obtained explained how US interrogations are conducted. Kandahari witnessed Sayid Mohammed's treatment.
He was murdered. Kandahari named three US Special Forces responsible. He kicked Mohammed," he said. He beat him. He threatened him.
"I handed him over to Mr. Dave and Mr. Hagen, but later I saw his body in a black body bag," he said.
Wardak residents accuse US forces of abducting Afghan men and boys. Interrogations involving torture follows.
Karzai is a US installed stooge. He's done nothing to stop what's persisted throughout his tenure. Failure to act responsibly reflects complicity.
Russia Today interviewed journalist Matthieu Aikins. He spent five months investigating the Wardak incident.
Local residents bore testimony. They supplied credible evidence. War crimes were committed. According to Aikins:
"The special forces team was deployed to an isolated valley west of Kabul, where the Taliban and other insurgents groups have a very heavy presence."
"Over last winter, the locals started complaining that the forces team and their translators were murdering people, abducting them, trotting them, and disappearing them."
"Just extraordinary allegations that at the time were essentially unproven."
In November 2012, residents first complained about a so-called Special Forces ODA 3124 unit.
When it withdrew in April, human remains were discovered near America's Nerkh district base.
Local authorities determined that ODA 3124 operations bore full responsibility.
Survivor testimonies confirmed it. Victims described being severely beaten and tortured.
ICRC representatives obtained more evidence. Because of an alleged US investigation, details weren't disclosed.
According to Aikins:
"In the five months that I spent reporting this story, not a single one of the witnesses that I spoke to had ever been contacted by the US military investigator."
"So it does really beg the question whether these investigators are actually going to be able to establish any sort of accountability of what happened."
It bears repeating. Pentagon officials routinely whitewash serious war crimes. So do US commanders on the ground.
Unaccountability is standard practice. US forces guilty of rape, torture and murder go unpunished.
On November 6, Aitkins headlined his Rolling Stone article "The A-Team Killings."
"Last spring," he said, "the remains of 10 missing Afghan villagers were dug up outside a US Special Forces base - was it a war crime or just another episode in a very dirty war?"
Six months after US Special Forces arrived in Wardak province, allegations of torture and murder surfaced.
Locals said 10 civilians were abducted. They disappeared. US Special Forces were responsible.
They killed another eight Afghans during their operations. Perhaps more bodies remain to be discovered.
On February 16, "a student named Nasratullah was found under a bridge with his throat slit," said Aikins.
Family members said US Green Berets abducted him. Other bodies were found. In July, Col. Jane Crichton lied, saying:
"After thorough investigation, there was no credible evidence to substantiate misconduct by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) or US forces."
According to Aikins:
"(O)ver the past five months, Rolling Stone has interviewed more than two dozen eyewitnesses and victims' families who've provided consistent and detailed allegations of the involvement of American forces in the disappearance of the 10 men, and has talked to Afghan and Western officials who were familiar with confidential Afghan-government, UN and Red Cross investigations that found the allegations credible."
"In July, a UN report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan warned: 'The reported disappearances, arbitrary killings and torture - if proven to have been committed under the auspices of a party to the armed conflict - may amount to war crimes."
Aikins recounted Gul Rahim's killing. He spoke to three of his neighbors. They saw US Special Forces arrive.
They heard gun shots. When they left. They saw Rahim's "bullet-ridden body lying among the apple trees, his skull shattered."
A man identified only as Omar was targeted. He witnessed Rahim's killing. He survived.
He was taken to America's Nerkh base. He was put in a plywood cell. Interrogations began the next morning.
His hands were bound above his head. He was suspended and beaten. Afghan translator Zakeria Kandahari was involved.
Two Americans interrogated him. He said he knew nothing about Rahim and local Taliban commanders.
Beatings intensified. Sessions lasted for two days. "At one point," said Aikins, "Kandahari held a pistol to Omar's head and told him that he would kill him as easily as he had killed his friend."
He was certain he'd die. At night, he was shackled in his plywood cell. Americans handed him over to Afghan forces. He realized he was being freed.
" 'I promised that I would kill you,' he says Kandahari told him, 'and I don't know how you're getting away alive."
Wardak is an intense battleground. It's "littered with bomb craters and burned-out tanker trucks," said Aikins.
Many disappeared Afghans "were rounded up by the Americans in broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses."
Aikins obtained credible testimonies. Mohammad Hazrat Janan is deputy head of Wardak's provincial council.
US forces terrorize people, he said. They do it "because they could not defeat the insurgents."
People abducted weren't Taliban, he explained. "(B)ut even if they were, no one is allowed to just kill them in this way."
Nerkh district feels besieged, said Aikins. It's a "hotbed of guerrilla resistance." It's close to Kabul. It's a "staging ground for suicide attacks on the capital."
US forces are stationed at Combat Outpost Nerkh. Green Beret units are called Operational Detachment Alpha, ODA, or A-Team. The Nerkha-based one is called ODA 3124.
It's involved in counterinsurgency operations. They part of what's known as "white" Special Forces. So-called "black" ones launch night raids.
CIA elements are involved in local operations. Insurgents control Nerkh rural areas. US forces are vulnerable to ambushes or roadside blasts.
Nerkh incidents didn't occur in a vacuum, said Aikins. "Over the past 10 years human rights groups, the UN and Congress have repeatedly documented the recurring abuse of detainees in the custody of the US military, the CIA and their Afghan allies."
According to Human Rights Watch Asia advocacy director John Sifton:
"The US military has a poor track record of holding its forces responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes."
"There are some cases of detainee deaths 11 years ago that resulted in no punishments."
Aikins said a former ODA 3124 interpreter named Farooq said he "routinely witnessed abusive interrogations during his time with the A-Team, involving physical beatings with fists, feet, cables and the use of devices similar to Tasers."
When Obama begins drawing down US forces, Green Berets and CIA will remain. According to Aikins, they'll be even less oversight than now.
Based on what he's seen and gotten from witnesses, "the fight in Afghanistan may get even dirtier."
Covert war may continue interminably. Afghans have enjoyed rare times of peace. They've had none for over three decades. Future prospects look grim.
For centuries, Afghans experienced what few can imagine. Marauding armies besieged cities. They slaughtered thousands. They caused vast destruction.
Imperial Britain and Czarist Russia vied for control. Local warlords exerted their own dominance. When Soviet Russia withdrew in 1989, a ravaged country remained.
Living Afghans can't remember peace, stability and tranquility. Endless conflicts persist.
Post-9/11, America's attack, invasion and occupation followed. Millions died. Countless others suffer horrifically.
It bears repeating. Nothing ahead looks promising. America came to stay. Permanent occupation is planned.
Afghanistan is strategically important. It straddles the Middle East, South and Central Asia. It's in the heart of Eurasia.
Occupation projects America's military might. It targets Russia, China, Iran, and other oil-rich Middle East states.
It furthers Washington's imperium. It prioritizes unchallenged global dominance. It seeks control over Afghan's untapped natural gas, oil and other mineral resources.
In June 2010, The New York Times headlined "US Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan," saying:
They're worth an estimated $1 trillion. Estimates are notoriously inaccurate.
Whatever they're worth, they include "huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium - are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe."
An internal Pentagon memo calls Afghanistan the "Saudi Arabia of lithium." It's a key material needed to produce "batteries, laptops and BlackBerrys."
Years of development are needed. Huge potential exists. Heavy investment is likely. An economic bonanza awaits profiteers.
Don't expect ordinary Afghans to benefit. Surviving concerns them most. Violence continues unabated.
Living conditions are deplorable. Vital services are lacking. Millions have little or no access to clean water.
Many don't get enough food. Life expectancy is one of the world's lowest. Infant mortality is one of the highest.
Extreme poverty, unemployment, human misery, and constant fear reflect daily life. Washington prioritizes conquest, colonization, plunder and dominance.
War without end rages. Human needs go begging. Wherever America shows up, death and destruction follow. So does unrelieved dystopian harshness. No end in sight looms.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chris Hedges again

The Origins of Our Police State

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Posted on Sep 16, 2013
Illustration by Mr. Fish



Written by
Stephen Lendman
Date: November 12, 2013
Subject: WAR: About that War
Veterans Day Hypocrisy
by Stephen Lendman
Some people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. They're both federal holidays. The latter remembers combat related dead service personnel.
The former honors war and peacetime veterans. It largely thanks living ones. It does so disingenuously.
Veterans Day was formerly Armistice Day. It commemorates the war to end all wars. In 1918, guns on both sides largely fell silent. They did so on the 11th hour of the 11th day of 11th month.
In 1919, remembrance began. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it, saying:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
In 1938, Congress declared Armistice Day a legal holiday. It called it "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."
In 1954, Congress changed its name. Dwight Eisenhower endorsed it. He signed legislation designating November 11 henceforth as Veterans Day.
He issued a presidential order. It called on VA officials to form a Veterans Day National Committee. It mandated them to organize and oversee a national remembrance day.
Parades and public ceremonies commemorate it. They ignore what's most important. They glorify wars. America doesn't wage them for peace. Washington considers it abhorrent.
Veterans Day dishonors living and dead veterans. It ignores longstanding US imperial lawlessness. It airbrushes from history decades of what matters most.
It includes militarism, raw aggression, permanent wars on humanity, mass killing and destruction, exploiting resources and people, seeking unchallenged global dominance, and creating unspeakable human misery.
Depravity defines America's agenda. War is a national obsession. It's a longstanding addiction.
It's got nothing to do with national security. It's not about making the world safe for democracy. Americans are systematically lied to. Young men and women are enlisted on false pretenses.
Propaganda glorifies wars in the name of peace. Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.
Nations are destroyed to liberate them. Plunder is called economic development. Imperial lawlessness is called humanitarian intervention.
Ruthless dominance is called democracy. Monied interests alone benefit. Making the world safe for banksters and other corporate crooks matters most.
Youths are cannon fodder. They're used, abused and ignored. America's imperial appetite is insatiable. One war follows others. Nations are ravaged and destroyed one at a time or in multiples.
Veterans Day should condemn wars. It should feature ways to end them. It should prioritize never again. It should expose America's real agenda.
It should remember Lincoln at Gettysburg, saying:
"(W)e here resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
War raged months longer. Ending one leads to others. A destructive cycle of violence continues.
Remembrance should be contrition. It should pledge peace. It should honor anti-war activism. It should turn swords into ploughshares.
It should back rhetoric with policy. It should combine Veterans and Memorial Days. It should change them to Peace Day. It should pledge never again and mean it.
On November 9, Obama's weekly address ignored what's matters most. He didn't surprise. He lied like he always does. He's a serial liar.
He began saying "(t)hank you to that greatest generation who fought island by island across the Pacific, and freed millions from fascism in Europe."
"Thank you to the heroes who risked everything through the bitter cold of Korea and the stifling heat of Vietnam."
"And thank you to all the heroes who have served since, most recently our 9/11 Generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan."
He failed to say Korea, Vietnam, and all other US post-WW II wars were lawless. They were premeditated aggression.
They're responsible for crimes of war, against humanity, genocide, and unspeakable human suffering.
No one involved in them has reason to be proud. Past and present administration and Pentagon officials are war criminals. So are complicit congressional members and bureaucrats.
Obama claimed his "top priority" is assuring veterans "never have to fight for a job when (they) come home."
He "made sure" it wouldn't happen, he said. He lied. Unemployment is at Depression era levels.
Labor Department figures are manipulated. They're fake. Most jobs created don't pay enough to live on. Millions struggle to get by. So do vets.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates around 63,000 homeless veterans on any given night.
Over the course of a year, it says, double that number experience homelessness. Numbers are increasing, it adds.
Uncaring government officials bear full responsibility. Services provided are meager at best. Nothing is done to address unemployment.
US resources go for war. Helping returning vets doesn't matter. They're replaced with new recruits sent off to fight. They're lied to about reasons why. They're largely ignored on returning home.
A previous article addressed record numbers of US military and veterans suicides. Most people don't know. Little gets reported.
Obama ignores it. He's preoccupied with waging wars. He's got others in mind. He's mindless about shocking numbers of active duty personnel and vets taking their own lives.
Unbearable emotional pain consumes them. Daily trauma builds. So does intolerable stress. Relief is desperately sought. Suicide is chosen. It's a last option. Others were exhausted.
Daily stress is bad enough. Combat exacerbates it. It's intolerable for many. America consumes its own.
Epidemic post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) levels affect hundreds of thousands of combat forces and vets.
Official numbers understate the problem. It's huge. Independent reports say up to half of Afghan and Iraq vets have emotional and/or physical combat injuries.
They'll never be the same again. They're traumatized. Many can't cope. Their suffering goes largely unnoticed. Many needing help don't get it.
Left untreated, things worsen. Able-bodied youths become physically and emotionally crippled. War is hell and then some.
Horrifying flashbacks persist. PTSD prevents normal functioning. Artificial limbs aren't like nature's.
Damaged emotions aren't made whole. Broken psyches aren't easily repaired. Shattered lives stay that way. Shocking suicide numbers explain best.
So do Depression level numbers of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and left on their own vets. Despair defines their condition.
They suffer out of sight and mind. They die the same way. America treats its own with disdain.
Countless numbers of vets are at risk. Suicide levels may increase. Advancing America's imperium matters most.
All federal holidays reflect hypocrisy. Commemorations hide vital truths. America's dark side stays out of sight and mind.
All politicians lie. Obama exceeds the worst of others. He prioritizes war on humanity and then some. He sanitizes his real agenda. Don't expect him to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at
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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Robert Higgs writing on Love, a favorite topic of mine

The Power of the State vs. the Power of Love

For thousands of years, philosophers have argued that society must invest great power in the rulers because only great power can hold back the forces of evil — violence, plunder, and disorder. They have often conceded, however, that this solution has a down side: powerful rulers may themselves resort to violence and plunder.
In any event, society’s positive, productive forces always resided within the people themselves. All the genuine peace, cooperation, production, and order the society enjoyed sprang from them. So the state was never a solution to a problem the people could not solve for themselves, but itself a problem masquerading as the only solution to problems whose real solutions already lay close at hand, if they existed at all.
Given that wealth destruction undermines social well-being, how did it come to pass that the state — an institution based on violence and plunder — has overridden peaceful cooperation as the dominant factor in social life virtually everywhere on earth? Although this simple question requires a complex answer, we know that the rulers have used fear — of themselves and of other dangers known and unknown — to terrorize the people and convince them that they are incapable of providing security, that only the state can provide it. First through fear alone, then through complementary religion, and ultimately through complementary ideology, the people’s convictions were twisted into forms compatible with the rulers, the priest/ideologists, and the military elite’s living at the expense of the plundered masses, who were kept in line more by false beliefs than by raw force.
So it remains today. Is any feasible alternative conceivable?
Hardheaded people mock the idea that “love is the answer” to the people’s dire situation. They insist that evil forces and evil men are afoot in the world, men who care nothing for love and seek only vile ends, and that such malevolence can be fended off effectively only by meeting it with adequate force and violence. Thus does the perceived “security gap” fuel a race to the bottom in which the ostensible protectors become more and more indistinguishable from the evil men who allegedly seek to hurt us. By meeting evil only with the rulers’ upward ratcheting force and violence and their upward ratcheting suppression of our liberties and our means of self-protection, the ultimate goal — a social environment of real security and peaceful cooperation — recedes ever farther from realization.
Jesus declared, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Of course, people — even most Christians, no doubt — will say that this admonition, however lovely it might sound in a sermon, is utterly impractical, that behaving in accordance with it would leave us entirely at the mercy of those who seek to harm us. Perhaps it would.
Yet, here we are, inhabiting a world divided in countless ways by mutual misunderstandings, hatreds, and yearnings for vengeance. Because each society is subject to a state whose own interests are served by keeping this vicious pot boiling, we have no prospect of ever breaking out of the endless cycle of evil, violence, and retribution. In the process, the whole world forgoes the immense blessings that would flow from mutual cooperation, peace, and tolerance.
Individuals may rest their personal lives on love and thereby find the peace that seemingly evades all philosophical and sociological understanding of social affairs. Whatever wise men and women may know and practice in their own lives, however, essentially Hobbesian analysis holds the great thinkers in its iron grip, and those who recommend love are dismissed as muddle-headed and simplistic. Yet, to repeat, here we are, inhabiting a world made no better by our hanging on the words of the greatest political philosophers, statesmen, and international-relations experts. In their view, the state is a given, and their analyses take for granted its nature and conduct. Perhaps this point of departure is their root error: that they readily accept what most needs to be challenged.
So long as the state exists, with its intrinsic violence, plunder, and insolence, and we seek solutions to our pressing social problems through it or in its dark shadow, we are doomed not to second-best or third-best solutions, but to make-believe solutions that are, at best, momentary rest stops on the road to our worsening degradation and ultimate demise. Destruction is what states do (or threaten to do); it is the nature of the beast. As technological changes augment state powers, the culmination of this terrible sequence may be our absolute annihilation.
Love turns us in the opposite direction. It seeks to build up, whereas the state seeks to overawe and kill in the service of the self-interested elites who control it at the expense of the people at large. Love has no need to flex violent muscles or seek vengeance time and again. Love intends the good of the other for its own sake, not as a means toward the end of one’s own aggrandizement. Love is patient and long-suffering; power is impatient and easily provoked.
Love does not keep score; international rivals do so in numerous dimensions. Love leads to inner peace and cordial relations with others, whereas the state remains always at war, if not against other states, then certainly against its own subjects, on whom it preys ceaselessly in order to sustain itself and to gratify the rulers’ insatiable ambitions for personal acclaim and unchecked power.
Hardheaded people will say, of course, that in socio-political life, love just doesn’t work. In sharp contrast, they insist, power in the hands of the rulers does work. And indeed it does. That’s the trouble.
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Robert Higgs [send him mail] is senior fellow in political economy at the Independent Institute and editor of The Independent Review. He is also a columnist for His most recent book is Neither Liberty Nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government. He is also the author of Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy, Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11 and Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society.