We are the first species on Earth that will have to limit itself for its own survival and that of all life.
This picture was designed in 1985 by Germain Dufour, and represented at the time the vision of the world in 2024. The picture was all made of symbols. At the back is "the wall" where a group of people are making sure those coming in have been properly check out before being let in. Many of the requirements for being let in have already been defined and described over time in many of the monthly Newsletters published by Global Civilization. In the middle is a couple with a child actually going through the screening process. At the front people from all over the world are waiting to be checked in as global citizens. The 2 star like objects that seem to be flying above the people are actually drone-like objects keeping peace and security.
Theme for this month
Table of Contents of June 2018 Newsletter
- I) Global Civilization.
- a) Introduction
- b) Global Civilization offers a new global order with a vision of hope and love away from despair and social chaos.
- c) What Global Civilization stands for?
- d) Humanity's new vision of the world.
- e) Global security.
- f) Global rights.
- g) Global justice.
- h) Global law.
- i) Global Protection Agency (GPA).
- j) Protection of the global life support systems.
- k) Planetary biodiversity zone.
- l) World overpopulation and overconsumption.
- m) Business ethics: corporate global citizens responsibility and accountability.
- Global Ministries.
- n) Short and long term solutions to saving the world, the Scale of Global Right and Global Parliament.
- o) Conclusion
- II) Global citizenship.
- III) Global Governance.
- IV) Management of Global Resources.
- V) Global Ministries.
- VI) Global economy and trade.
- VII) Business and trade.3.0 New way of doing business
4.0 Profit-based conservation practices
5.0 Do not become a member of the WTO
6.0 Global trading practices
7.0 The policy of private-enterprise solutions to global warming
- VIII) Societal sustainability.8.0 Food production for Global Community
9.0 Sound solutions to help manage and sustain Earth
10.0 A global sustainable development
11.0 Portal of sustainable development
12.0 A democratically planned global economy - Societal Sustainability
13.0 Long term well-being as a solution to world sustainable development
14.0 Sustainable Economic Development
- IX) Global Government of North America (GGNA).
- a) GGNA with its governing institutions and bodies.
- b) Global Rights within the GGNA.
- c) GGNA proposals.
- d) Canada wants a veto power.
- e) GGNA principles.
- f) Global Constitution.
- g) We can do better together united as a Global Government
- h) Global Parliament.
- i) Global Justice.
- j) Canada requires to be the custodian leader of the Artic region.
- X) Background research for this paper: historical facts, principles, standards, articles, ways of doing things in the past, issues, etc.Canada Northwest Passage geographical site
History of the Northwest Passage
Dispute over Hans Island
Canada - United States Northwest Passage water dispute
Natural resources of the North
North America security and strategic issues
Requirements of an international sea waterway
Canadian sovereignty of the Northwest Passage and Nunavut
Management of the Northwest Passage
The Canadian Inuit community and Nunavut
Letter to all Canadians concerning the Northwest Passage and sovereignty of Nunavut
Letter to the Honourable Paul Okalik, Premier of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, concerning the Northwest Passage and sovereignty of Nunavut
Criteria for a global community to exist
The Earth, and all its natural resources, are owned by Global Community, along with all the "global communities" contained therein
Global Community of North America (GCNA)
The building of Global Communities for all life
To create a biodiversity zone in the North by way of Earth rights and taxation of natural resources
GCNA Global Emergency, Rescue and Relief Centre (GERRC)
Global Protection Agency (GPA)
Agency of Global Police (AGP)
Becoming a global citizen
Participate in group discussions on global issues related to Nunavut and the Northwest Passage
The Falklands War, also called the Falklands Conflict/Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands
Promoting the creation of new human settlements in Nunavut
Russia claims North Pole by planting a flag on seabed August 2, 2007
Website of Global Community of Nunavit
No one could own the Moon, planet Mars, or America just by going there and back
No one could own Mount Everest in the Himalayas just by climbing to the top
Kings and Princes of Saudi Arabia
Who owns the Earth? Movement for taxation of all Earth natural resources
Global Protection Agency (GPA)
To shut down the war industry
Israel is not a Global Community
Deep integration of Canada by the United States
Global Community perspective on the control of the Northwest Passage, Canada sovereignty of Nunavut and 'blood resources'.
Politics and Justice without borders: Canada and the U.S.
Sheshu Babu,Jessica Corbett, Robert Costanza, Finian Cunningham (2), G. Reginald Daniel, Dr Andrew Glikson, Ghali Hassan, Richard Heinberg, Jay Janson, Dr Arshad M Khan, Naomi Klein, Joseph Loe-Sterphone, Brian McGavin, Dan Robitzski, Rachel Rye, Thomas Scheff, Eric Zuesse.
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|May 21, 2018||
Selfish US Diktats Could Push Europe to Develop Ties With Russia, China & Iran.
by Finian Cunningham, Information Clearing House
May 21, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cordial reception for German leader Angela Merkel in Sochi last Friday made for a pleasant contrast to the boorish way that Washington is acting towards its European allies.
On a sun-lit day at the Black Sea resort, Putin greeted the German chancellor with smiles and a bouquet of roses. After discussions, the two leaders told reporters about the need for cooperation and dialogue to resolve various international issues, including the Ukraine crisis, conflict in Syria, and the Iran nuclear deal.
Three days before Merkel visited Sochi, the Americans delivered yet another snub to their supposed European allies. US envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker went to the Kiev-controlled side of the conflict zone in the eastern Donbass region, where he declared American military support for retaking the breakaway self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The envoy also said that President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis were “on the same page” concerning the Ukraine policy.
Volker’s hardline message was a revelation of Washington’s role in the four-year-old Ukraine conflict, which has seen the US-backed Kiev regime launch an offensive on the breakaway republics. The eastern areas declared independence following the illegal overthrow of the Ukraine government by US-backed factions in February 2014. The factions that came to power characteristically espouse anti-Russian sentiments and Neo-fascist politics, which the ethnic Russian people of Donbass repudiated.
Washington – which made its first delivery of lethal military equipment to Kiev forces last month – is thus standing in direct violation of the Minsk Peace Accords that were negotiated in 2015 under the so-called Normandy Format brokered by Russia, Germany and France.
In Sochi, Merkel and Putin restated the importance of abiding by the Minsk agreement.
Washington is thus audaciously snubbing the Minsk process and its European allies, in particular Germany and France.
Hours before Merkel arrived in Sochi, there was a surge in ceasefire violations along the contact line in Donbass, reportedly committed by the US-backed Kiev forces.
It seems certain that given the recent supply of US weaponry and the American envoy’s gung-ho rhetoric about retaking the breakaway republics, the Kiev forces were emboldened to send Merkel a message ahead of her meeting with Putin. The message being: to hell with Minsk and dialogue.
It also seems plausible that the Americans gave the Kiev regime a tacit green light to step up the violence to coincide with Merkel coming to Sochi. Merkel may be talking about dialogue and adhering to the Normandy Format with Russia, but in effect Washington is giving the orders for more aggression.
The upsurge in ceasefire violations is exactly what Moscow warned of if Washington proceeded with supply of Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Putin and Merkel also emphasized ongoing cooperation on the Nord Stream 2 project delivering natural gas to Europe via Germany. The $11 billion, 1,222km pipeline under the Baltic Sea is estimated to double the gas supply to Germany by 2019. It represents a major joint venture investment by Russia and Germany, as well as other European energy companies.
Another area of cooperation concerns the Iran nuclear accord. Merkel and Putin said Europe and Russia remain committed to the 2015 UN-ratified accord, despite the Trump administration’s abrupt withdrawal earlier this month.
Again, Washington has strained transatlantic relations on both counts. While Merkel was in Sochi, Washington reiterated threats that it would impose sanctions on Russia and Germany if they proceed with the Nord Stream 2 project. The US has justified invoking sanctions on “national security grounds” owing to alleged Russian meddling in its 2016 presidential elections, as well as due to the crisis in Ukraine, which Washington blames on Russian interference.
The Trump administration has also warned that European companies and banks could be liable for secondary sanctions if they continue to do business with Iran under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump’s tearing-up of the JCPOA comes with the US re-imposing sanctions on Iran which were supposed to have been cancelled through the earlier signing of the accord by the Obama administration. If Trump follows through with threats of secondary sanctions on European firms, it could cost the Europeans billions of dollars’ worth of investments and trade.
The intensifying disputes between the US and Europe reach back to several other broken understandings, including the Paris climate accord, which Trump ditched last year, as well as Washington playing hard ball over trade tariffs and financial contributions to NATO military spending.
What seems to be emerging is the US using high-handed tactics to unilaterally push European partners into accepting Washington’s strategic priorities. In particular, sanctions are being wielded by the Americans to coerce others into conforming with US economic interests.
The Nord Stream 2 project is a perfect example. The US wants to dislodge Russia as the gas supplier to the vast European energy market. But American gas would cost 20-30 percent more than Russian supplies. In order to warp market forces in its favor, the Americans are using sanctions under dubious pretexts. The upshot is the Europeans will pay more for energy supply, which will have widespread inflationary knock-on impacts.
For the Europeans, recent geopolitical developments represent a harsh learning curve. Following Washington’s policy has already cost the Europeans bitterly in terms of the Ukraine crisis and the US-led sanctions on Russia. The biggest loser in terms of exports and jobs is Europe.
That crisis has led a precarious decline in relations between Europe and Russia from the buildup of US-led NATO military forces. If a war were to break out, it would be Europe that would bear the brunt of catastrophe.
What seems clearer than ever is Washington’s arrogant disregard for European interests. Threatening sanctions on European businesses over legitimate participation in the Iran nuclear deal and jeopardizing regional security are just two examples of how little Washington actually cares about so-called allies.
Then when Europe’s strongest leader, Germany’s Merkel, makes a cordial visit to Russia, Washington blatantly delivers a slap to her pronouncements on cooperation and dialogue for finding peace in Ukraine, or on the future of European energy security from working with Moscow.
Europe is learning the hard way that it has much more to gain from developing amicable relations with Russia than from pursuing Washington’s self-serving policy of hostility.
That has long been the case, arguably. But what is making the case increasingly palpable and urgent is the way Washington is riding roughshod over Europeans, inflicting economic and material pain on their livelihoods. That harsh experience of Washington’s selfish diktats will inevitably drive Europe to asserting more independence and possibly seeking more normal relations with Russia, as well as China, Iran and others.
Some cynics in Western media pooh-poohed Putin’s bouquet of flowers to Merkel, snidely saying the Russian leader was condescending. How irrational. What’s wrong with showing a little human kindness and respect? American politicians seem to have no idea about that. Giving orders and cynicism is all they seem to know.
|May 22, 2018||
Washington Holds Gun to North Korea’s Head.
by Finian Cunningham, Information Clearing House
The prospects for peace diplomacy between the US and North Korea took a sudden hit after President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary threat to Kim Jong Un. It was in effect a death threat.
Trump warned last week that if the North Korean leader does not comply with Washington’s demands for complete denuclearization, then Kim would “end up like Gaddafi”. Trump added that North Korea would be “decimated” if it did not give up its nuclear weapons.
Arguably, Trump’s rhetoric of violence towards another state is a violation of international law and the United Nations charter.
It was not the time first time the American president has engaged in criminal intimidation of the northeast Asian nation. Last September, he told the United Nations general assembly that North Korea would be “totally destroyed”.
Yet US news media are spinning the latest row by blaming North Korea for being devious, and backtracking “in typical fashion” from negotiations, allegedly in order to extract more concessions.
US media are ignoring the glaringly obvious fact that Washington is holding a gun to North Korea’s head, and in Mafia-style, making an offer it thinks Pyongyang “can’t refuse”.
All of a sudden, the much-anticipated summit between Trump and Kim – scheduled for June 12 in Singapore – has been thrown into doubt. North Korean state media have cautioned that the summit will be cancelled if the US insists on unilateral nuclear disarmament by Pyongyang.
The Trump administration responded by saying it is continuing with plans for the Singapore meeting. However, American and South Korean officials are reportedly in a tizzy to ascertain North Korea’s position in order to keep the summit on track. No doubt, Trump is anxious not to be deprived of his moment of glory.
Two developments have undermined North Korea’s willingness to engage with Washington. After the apparent breakthrough of Trump and Kim putting their previous belligerent rhetoric aside and agreeing to hold a face-to-face summit, North Korea has gone cold.
Pyongyang has cited the public comments made by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton in which the latter said that Washington was looking to the “Libya model” as a guideline for how it is preparing to deal with North Korea. Bolton was referring to when former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to unilaterally terminate his nuclear weapons program in 2003-2004 in order to appease the George W Bush administration.
It was an audacious reference point by the sinisterly hawkish Bolton given how seven years later, Gaddafi’s government was overthrown by an illegal US-NATO war which resulted in the Libyan leader being murdered on the streets.
North Korea had previously cited the case of Libya and Iraq as examples of how countries without an insurance policy of weapons of mass destruction are liable to be subjected to American regime-change attack.
Now with notorious Bush-era regime-change architect John Bolton explicitly referring to Libya as a “model” – on the cusp of supposed diplomatic engagement – it is no small wonder that North Korea has decided to snap back.
The other development is the going ahead of annual military exercises this month conducted by US forces and their South Korean ally. Currently, both militaries are carrying out “Max Thunder” maneuvers reportedly involving warplanes and warships near the North Korea border which, as usual, looks to Pyongyang like preparations for invasion. How is that supposed to be “confidence-building” for North Korea?
While warning that the meeting with Trump might not take place, North Korea also abruptly cancelled high-level talks last week with South Korean counterparts, citing the ongoing joint US military exercises as reason for the cancellation. North Korea hit out at South Korea for being “foolish and incompetent” over the continuation of military exercises.
Again, that was another dramatic reversal in diplomacy. Only a few weeks ago, North Korea’s Kim held a historic meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In at the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries since the end of the Korean War (1950-53). Both leaders vowed a new era of cooperation and their intention to sign a formal peace treaty to finally mark the end of the war.
Western media interpretation of North Korea’s vacillation is misplaced and unnecessarily cynical. This is not about Pyongyang playing mind games and gouging for concessions, as the media imply.
It is simply a reflection of the United States revealing its real and reprehensible agenda of expecting North Korea to unilaterally disarm without any reciprocation from Washington. In short, capitulation and surrender.
Added to that demand is the very grave underlying threat of Washington then moving on to regime change when North Korea is deemed “safe”, that is, defenseless.
Trump’s keenness to hold a “historic summit” with Kim is not about seeking a mutual peace settlement. The real-estate-tycoon-turned-president is all about glitzy spectacle and vainglorious success. He has even talked about how he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
Of course, a globally televised handshake with Kim totally plays to Trump’s ego and the former reality TV star’s craving for ratings.
That’s why Trump appeared to slap back Bolton last week by trying to reassure North Korea the “US wasn’t using the Libya model”.
But then in the same moment Trump blundered even further by going on to say, bizarrely, that North Korea would end up like Libya if it did not give up its nuclear weapons.
The morally decrepit warmonger John Bolton and CIA torture-supporter Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State are very sound reasons for why North Korea appears to be turning its back on proposed talks.
With Trump then showing his ignorance and brutish instincts there is even more reason for Pyongyang to be wary.
Peace for the Korean Peninsula is a multilateral formula. North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons is only one part of the equation. Another indispensable part is Washington removing its military forces, signing a peace guarantee with Pyongyang, ending its economic warfare, and permitting the two Koreas to pursue reconciliation without interference.
But, as noted previously in this column, Washington’s strategic interests in maintaining military force in the Asia-Pacific towards Russia and China are such that it is anathema for the US to agree to a genuine peace settlement in Korea.
Beneath the superficial American diplomacy, Washington’s agenda is for North Korea’s surrender to Uncle Sam.
Telling North Korea to “negotiate or else” is like holding a gun to its head. No nation with any self-respect would comply.
Pyongyang is just right to give Washington short shrift due to the latter’s bad faith and arrogant ignorance about its obligations. Trump’s backsliding on the Iran nuclear deal is another object lesson for North Korea.
Ominously, though, Uncle Sam is going to get very nasty after having had his nose tweaked.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
This article was originally published by "Strategic Culture Foundation
|April 21, 2018||
Syria: Another Victim of U.S.-led Barbarism.
by Ghali Hassan, in Imperialism, Countercurrents.org
“I would clarify here that the history of these three states [U.S., Britain and France] is built on using lies and fabricated stories to wage aggressive wars in order to occupy states, seize their resources, and change governments in them by [genocidal] force.” Dr Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian Ambassador to the U.N.
On 14 April 2018, the U.S., France and Britain committed another barbaric act of aggression against the majority-Muslim nation of Syria. Donald Trump, Emmanuelle Macron and Theresa May claim that their combined aggression was in response to the alleged “chemical attack” in the Damascus suburb of Douma (in the Ghouta district) by the Syrian Government. The aggression was an act of state terrorism in flagrant violation of UN Charter, the principles of international law and civilised norms.
The attacks targeted a University building, the Higher Institute for Applied Science and Technology (HIAST). Before the attack, the building is used to produce pharmaceutical products and testing toys for safety for a nation under criminal sanctions. By targeting a university and a research centre, the U.S.-led criminals were apparently trying “to destroy Syria’s scientific capabilities as the Centre was pursuing various civilian-use [research] objectives,” said Anton Utkin, a Russian chemical weapons expert. It is a deliberate war crime. The building was previously used by the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The other targets were empty storage facilities near Homs, and the Dumayr airfield. The timing of the aggression came just hours before the OPCW experts were set to arrive in Syria – at the request of the Syrian government – to visit the suburb of Douma on Saturday to establish whether chemical weapons had been used there last week. It is possible that the attacks were aimed at sabotaging the OPCW mission and preventing a serious investigation. Tampering with evidence is a U.S. tradition.
The reaction of the Russian government to U.S.-led aggression was restrained, despite having considerable military forces, including advanced military aircrafts and ant-aircraft missile batteries, legally deployed in in Syria. With the usual “civilised” rhetoric towards Western leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin rightly observed that, the attacks were, “an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against international terrorism”. One thing the aggression on Syria proves, is that the U.S., France, and Britain are acting as air force for the terrorists, protecting them and facilitating their terror advances.
Meanwhile, the Syrian and Iranian governments condemned the aggression as a “barbaric” and “criminal” violation of Syria’s sovereignty that would only embolden the remaining terrorists there. “The attitude of the French, British and Americans is the same attitude, which used by Adolf Hitler in 1939 to enter into World War Two,” said senior German politician (CDU,) Mr Willy Wimmer. The difference is that, the U.S and its vassal-state allies (namely Britain, France and Israel) are far more dangerous and pose greater threat to world’s peace and humanity than Germany under Hitler. The U.S.-led reign of terror is holding the whole world hostage.
While the world’s eyes have been glazed over by the propaganda of chemical attack in Syria, little notice is given to the on-going massacre of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators by the Israeli army. They were protesting on their own land occupied by the Israeli fascist regime. On “Good Friday”, Israeli soldiers deliberately and in cold blood murdered more than 20 unarmed Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Concentration Camp, many of them shot in the back. The U.S. gave the Israeli terrorists the green light to shoot to kill peaceful Palestinian protesters. The massacre of Palestinians was endorsed by most Jewish organisations, including the fifty-two Major Jewish American Organisations, who control the U.S. Congress. It is certain that the U.S.-led aggression on Syria was at the Israeli regime’s behest to divert attention away from the regime war crimes against the Palestinians.
The U.S., Britain and France pretend to be concern about “human rights” in Syria in the same way Hitler used human rights to justify his aggression and war crimes. Trump, Macron and May claimed that the aggression against Syria was in retaliation to what they alleged a chemical attack by the Syrian Government on civilians in the city of Douma, which was until recently occupied by Western-backed international terrorists (ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jaish al-Islam and their affiliates). They did not provide any evidence to substantiate their allegation. More on this later.
Since when these three outlaw imperialists became concern about civilians? In fact, in all their wars and genocidal sanctions against sovereign nations, the civilian population were the main target. The U.S., Britain and France have killed far more civilians in the countries they attacked than any other military power. The mass murder of innocent Iraqi civilians is a case in point.
The U.S., Britain and France are the greatest violators of human rights. Their imperialist hands are stained with the blood of African, Iraqi, Syrian, Afghan, Libyan, Palestinian and Yemeni women and children. The U.S. and its attack dog Israel have used chemical weapons to attack civilians in Vietnam, Iraq, and Palestine. Only the most naïve people in the world would buy into such a cock and bull story. Their compassion for the victims of their imperialist wars stops at their borders. For example, the U.S. has admitted no more than 40 Syrian refuges to settle in the U.S. this year, a more than 99% decrease from the 5,800 admitted last year (Washington Post, 12 April 2018). Britain, France and other U.S. vassal-state allies are not better when it comes to human rights of refugees.
There was no chemical attack in Douma. According to on the ground reports by German n-tv and Robert Fisk of the Independent newspaper, People were suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss because of dust clouds created by the terrorists’ intense shelling (YouTube Video). The morally-corrupt U.S., Britain and France are falsely accusing President Bashar al-Assad of “gassing his own people”. They did not provide a single shred of evidence to support this dirty propaganda. Indeed, on 12 April 2018, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. government does not have any evidence that sarin or chlorine was used by the Syrian forces, and that he was still looking for evidence. Furthermore, the Syrian forces have no reason to use chemical weapons. Having liberated Ghouta and Douma from the Western-sponsored international terrorists, who were recruited, armed, funded and defended by the U.S. and its allies (Anderson, 2016), it is increasingly unlikely that the Syrian forces would use chemical weapons against their compatriots, mostly women and children.
There are overwhelming evidence that the allegation of chemical attack was a false flag terrorist attack staged by Western-sponsored terrorists and Western media as detailed by Gregory Shupak, Fair, and Virginia State’s Senator Richard Black. Moreover, former Britain’s Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford told BBC Radio Scotland, that the chemical attack in Douma “has been staged”. False flag terrorism is a Western tradition. The false flag attack was coordinated with the British intelligence services, the C.I.A. and Western-funded NGOs, such as “White Helmets” (a.k.a. al-Qaeda). The “White Helmets” are funded by the C.I.A. and the British Foreign Office, while the “Syrian-American Medical Society” or SAMS is funded by the USAID and the State Department. Both NGOs are propaganda organs working on behalf of the terrorists (Max Blumenthal, Mint Press). They fabricate lies as a provocation to mislead public opinions and justify aggression against Syria, and of course whip up anti-Russia hysteria. They have unfettered access to Western media to disseminate anti-Syria propaganda. Western NGOs are funded, not because of their “humanitarian” work. They are funded to shape the way abuses and crimes are reported. They are funded because they are cheerleaders for Western aggression. For example, in the West, the “White Helmets” group is known as a humanitarian NGO, but in Syria, it is a terrorist group that committed atrocities against Syrian civilians living under the terrorists imposed reign of terror.
The Syrian government destroyed all its chemical stockpiles several years ago. In 2013, Syria’s stockpiles were handed over to the U.S. and Russia as part of a joint international deal and were destroyed aboard U.S. naval vessel. It was verified by OPCW inspectors. Hence, Syria is clean of chemical weapon. It is important to remember that, in 2003, the U.S. and Britain used the same fabricated lies – accused Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction – to justify a premeditated and indiscriminate barbaric attack on Iraq. The illegal military invasion and subsequent military occupation of Iraq caused the death of more than 2.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians and left Iraq lies in ruins. Iraq remains under Nazi-like U.S. military occupation. Today’s Iraq has practically no domestic industry, most Iraqis are living below the poverty line and the literacy of the population has never been as low as it is today. The looted country has become a dumping ground for cheap and outdated U.S. products. Only immoral people will want Syria to suffer the same reign of terror and suffering inflicted on Iraq.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Web Site, Zero Hedge: Out of the 103 or 105 Tomahawk “smart” missiles used by the three aggressor states against Syrian targets, 71 were successfully shot-down by the Syrian Arab Army using out-dated 30 year old Soviet era anti-aircraft systems. In addition, the French Navy confirmed that several French missiles failed to fire. The Dumayr airfield, one of the coalition main targets, emerged completely unharmed. The aggression was nothing more than a hollow show of force that failed to produce Trump’s so-called “perfectly executed mission”. It is a political charade. Independent media reports from Syria after the attacks show Syrians dancing in the morning following the Syrian military’s successful repulsion of an attempted Western aggression on their nation. The “Syrian people are celebrating a historic victory in a battle that threatened to take the entire world to war”, writes Venessa Beeley, an independent correspondent for 21stCentury Wire. The silence of Western media designed to cover-up a different reality, which if it is exposed it will destroy U.S.-Western fabricated image of military “invincibility”.
The U.S. and its vassal-state allies have no interests in Syria. Their primary interest is to destroy and occupy Syria for Israel. The destruction of Syria is part of a planned U.S. aggression to destroy seven Muslim-majority nations, starting with Iraq, moving to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. The perpetrators of this criminal plan are the pro-Israel U.S. neo-Nazis, better known as the “Neocon cabal”. Their aim is to destabilise the region to safeguard Israel’s fascist interests. It is important to remember that, Trump, Macron and May were put in their positions by big corporations and wealthy pro-Israel Zionists, “the Deep State”, which controls most Western regimes. The deep State constitutes of wealthy and influential (special interests) Jews who control the Western media, the Internet (Google and Facebook), Hollywood industry, and world’s financial system, including Wall Street, and Rothschild Bank. In fact, Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s most enthusiastic supporter of terrorism today, was groomed and put in office by pro-Israel wealthy Jews, including his former employer, Rothschild Bank. It follows that, the barbaric aggression against Syria – like all other U.S.-led wars on Muslim-majority nations – is a war for the fascist state of Israel. The aggression against Syria was an attempt by both Macron and May to show their loyalty and win the approval of the pro-Israel Zionists who put them in office.
As professor Tim Anderson writes: “Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.” The U.S.-led aggression against Syria is another clear case of barbarism. It is paramount that the force of lies and propaganda be exposed and defeated to save world’s peace. Trump, Macron and May should be held accountable in court of law for their barbaric aggression on Syria.
Anderson, T. (2016). The Dirty war on Syria, Global Research: Montreal, Canada.
|April 24, 2018||
We don’t have any time left.
by Naomi Klein, in Counter Solutions, Countercurrents.org
Our planet is radically changing and this requires a radical rethink by all of us. It requires an economic, social and environmental revolution.
Each day we delay bold climate action, sea levels continue to rise, forests continue to burn in record-breaking heat and the fossil fuel industry continues to put profits ahead of human health and safety.
We need to think big if we are to have any hope of preserving a habitable planet, and that begins with taking action for climate justice right now. We cannot wait another year, or two years, or pin our hopes on just the presidency. Projects like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s “Marshall Plan” for Puerto Rico, and bills to ensure 100 percent clean energy from Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Tulsi Gabbard, and Raul Grijalva deserve our support, and the support of our elected officials in Congress, state houses, and governors’ mansions across the country.
You belong to this revolution because you already know we need to organize early and often to identify, support, and elect candidates who share our priorities to put people before profits. You also know that we need to connect the dots between climate collapse, racial exclusion, and corporate profiteering. That means we need to invest in grassroots groups who are laying the foundation for change through community organizing, direct action, and local leadership to set our priorities. The candidates will follow our lead.
We need a revolution in clean energy.
We do not have the luxury of weighing our planet’s survival against the financial solvency of ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and other major polluters. This year’s Atlantic hurricane season starts in just two months, and it could well carry more record-breaking storms. Already, the New York subway system floods from rainstorms. The Mississippi Delta is rapidly disappearing into the sea. The streets of Miami are underwater on sunny days. Wildfires rage across the western United States and Canada. Clean water is running out in cities as large as Cape Town, South Africa.
Meanwhile, at home, our government props up dying industries but cannot be moved to end the poisoning of Flint’s residents by supplying clean water or to take the measures necessary to keep the lights on in Puerto Rico. Climate disruption is already a major driver of armed conflicts and mass displacement—with much more on the way.
This may sound apocalyptic, but it is not hyperbole. Sen. Bernie Sanders was absolutely right when he declared climate change the single greatest threat to national security during his campaign for president.
And if you can, spend a little time outdoors, noticing the natural forces that sustain and protect each and every one of us—and resolving to do more to return the favor!
I look forward to continuing to partner with you to implement these changes and more in our quest for a political revolution.
Naomi Klein is a writer in the USA and is well known for her writings on disaster capitalism
|April 25, 2018||
HSBC To Stop Tar Sands Funding. Who’s Next?
by Rachel Rye, in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents.org
We need to seize this momentum right now!
The movement is working! Last week, banking giant HSBC, the seventh largest bank in the world, announced it will no longer provide finance for new tar sands projects, including financing for the Keystone XL and Line 3 Expansion pipelines. This is a huge step towards stopping this disastrous pipeline for good!
This move by HSBC, following pressure from Greenpeace and allies around the globe, is the most recent indication that the financial community has begun to see the increasing risk in funding pipelines. This is the latest HUGE commitment from a major investment institution to defund controversial tar sands projects — and the momentum is only growing.
If this news tells us anything, it’s that together, we can stop new pipeline projects and keep tar sands in the ground.
We know that tar sands are devastating for our climate and threaten precious water resources, the environment, and Indigenous rights — it’s clear that there are significant risks in investing in these projects. As more and more people are coming together to oppose these destructive, dirty, and controversial pipelines, the investors bankrolling those projects are feeling the heat, noticing how risky these investments are, and are backing off. If enough investors follow HSBC’s lead, we know that oil pipeline companies will have a hard time raising the money needed to complete these controversial projects.
Right now, is a critical time for this campaign and we need your urgent support. Here’s the plan:
Double down on organizing efforts in the Pacific Northwest to oppose Kinder Morgan’s Trans mountain pipeline. Kinder Morgan has put construction spending on hold while it assesses risks and we need to use this moment to stop the pipeline once and for all.
Scale our campaign demanding Chase stop funding dirty oil pipelines in the lead up to its May 15 shareholder meeting.
Continue to resist Trump and do everything we can to protect the planet. We are at a turning point for the environment!
The movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground has become a force to be reckoned with. Under the Obama Administration you mainstreamed this vision. You helped push Shell to cancel its Arctic drilling plans, prevent the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from being approved the first time and protect much of our coastline from risky offshore drilling. The Trump Administration and its fossil fuel allies are attempting to roll back all the progress we made, but they are meeting fierce resistance at every turn. Keep it up. I know that we will win.
Please help support all of Greenpeace’s important work … With your help, we can stop these pipelines for good!
This movement is working and we can’t stop now. Please … support all of Greenpeace’s important work!
Rachel Rye Butler is a Tar Sands Campaigner, Greenpeace USA
|April 26, 2018||
Big Issues We Ignore at Our Peril
by Brian McGavin, in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents.org
Environment, Overpopulation, Fantasy Economics, a Resource Crisis
Our leaders display little or no strategic vision in a world dominated by corporate power, ignorance, denial, faith and greed. At this crucial time in human history, politics could not be in worse hands. The sheer ignorance and innumeracy of so many powerful people who should know better is astounding. (Abridged, Dr J Coulter)
The global economy treats natural resources as if the Earth were a business in a liquidation sale, undermining the life-support systems of our planet. There is little long-range thinking in a world where propaganda and big money have undermined governance and the media.”(Brent Blackwelder, ex-president Friends of the Earth USA
We are eradicating all other species. We are destroying climate balance, we are endangering ourselves. We have 10,000 more people on the Planet EVERY hour. If governments won’t talk population, then they are not serious about cutting emissions, managing food supplies and a secure quality of life for people. (Brian McGavin, writer/ environmentalist)
Many commentators who worship at the altar of perpetual growth and whose incredible skills of issue avoidance are given the credibility of regular space in mainstream media,fail to see the big picture.They ignore warnings, blind to the long-term consequences, not because there is no evidence, but because they do not fit with their long-held convictions. (Jeremy Grantham, global investor)
At the heart of green politics is the simple premise that our prosperity depends completely on a healthy, functioning planet. Go on abusing the planet, go on ignoring climate change, go on ignoring population growth, and all else fails – including our deepest yearning for social justice and human rights.(Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist)
The UN projects that if we continue at our current birth rate there will be over 26 billion people on the planet by 2100, not the 11 billion in its ‘medium variant’ assumption. Yet this is barely mentioned! (Brian McGavin)
A Sustainable World is one with a stable population living within planetary limits. Those who talk up a country’s economic dividend facing a population explosion are fantasy optimists. In Africa, many countries already have massive unemployment and not enough food. How will they provide all the schools, jobs and food to sustain populations set to more than double in size in 30 years? Governments will be struggling with millions of unemployed and hungry people attracted to violence and extremism. (Brian McGavin)
The Ageing Population Scare – a transition not a crisis
Population ageing in advanced economies is the manageable consequence of positive developments. By contrast, rapid population growth in many poorer countries poses a severe threat to human welfare. The pressure of conservative religious authorities and politicians under the delusion that rapid population growth will drive national economic success is by far the most important demographic challenge facing the world today. Worrying about population decline in advanced countries is a meaningless diversion. (Adair (Lord) Turner, economist, 2015)
“Our food reserves are at a 50-year low, but by 2030 we need to be producing 50% more food, we will need 50% more energy, and 30% more fresh water. They are dramatic problems, all intimately connected.”
(Professor JohnBeddington, UK govt. Chief Scientist, 2009).
The Netherlands is a prosperous country of 17 million people. The problem is our footprint. The Netherlands imports worldwide resources. Its environmental footprint is eight times the actual area of the country. (Abridged, Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network)
(And Global Footprint data takes no account of the decline in non-renewable resources)
Climate discussionconferenceshave taken place in a conceptual fantasy world in which climate change is the only global crisis that matters much; in which rapid economic growth is still an option; in which fossil fuels are practically limitless; and in which the subject of human over-population can barely be mentioned.” (Abridged, Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute)
A Food Crisis
Ninety five percent of our food comes from the soil. If current rates of degradation continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. (UNFAO, Dec, 2014)
Media and political blindness
Many people are left in fact-based ignorance. A combination of political blindness and political correctness, religious dogmatists and an economic mind-set of ‘out with limits’, has undermined common sense. (Brian McGavin)
The entire political and economic system is inherently unstable, built on debt, fuelled by speculation; robbing the future to fuel the present; demanding perpetual growth on a finite planet. A system destined to destroy everything. (Abridged, George Monbiot)
“Do we want to be remembered as the generation that saved the banks and let the biosphere collapse?” (George Monbiot, columnist, The Guardian)
Compiled by Brian McGavin, writer, environmentalist. 2018
|April 29, 2018||
The Methane Time Bomb And The Future Of The Biosphere.
by Dr Andrew Glikson, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org
The extraction and transferfrom the earth crust to the atmosphere of every economically available molecule of carbon, including coal,oil, tar sand oil, shale oil, methane gas, coal seam gasand other forms of hydrocarbon, constitutes the most significant shift in composition of the atmospheresince the PETM hyperthermal event about 56 million years ago[i] and the K-T extinction of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago[ii]. Methane, the most potentcommon greenhouse gas, billions of tons of which are stored inArctic permafrost, lakes, shallow seas and sediments, is emitted as the Arctic warms byan average of 3-8 degrees Celsius. This releasethreatens to melt the large polar ice caps, leading to tens of meters sea level rise and disappearance of species a rate two orders of magnitude faster than they would have without human interference[iii]. Compounding this effect is extensive drilling for coal seam gas, perforating the crust in several parts of the world andreleasing commercial andfugitive emissions of methane to the atmosphere. Having sent young generations to kill and die in wars, the powers to be are now presiding over the greatest mass extinction of nature since 66 million years ago.
The accumulation of many hundreds of billions tons of unoxidized methane-rich organic matter in Arctic permafrost and of methane hydrates in shallow Arctic lakes and seas (Figure 1), before and since Arctic glaciation about 2.6 Ma-ago, as well as in tropical bogs, has created a reservoir of carbon whose release to the atmosphere may have catastrophic effectson the biosphere.According to the global carbon project[iv][v] up to 1400 GtC (1400 billion tonnes carbon) on land and ~16,000 GtC in the oceans (Figure 1), much of which may be potentially released upon a significant rise in temperatures, wouldcause widespread melting and defrosting of the polar ice sheets. This would ensue from major warming feedback effects from further combustion of fossil fuels from recoverable resources,estimated as at least >1100 GtC, and potentially from estimated resources of near 2000 GtC (Figure 2).
Even the release and dissipation of some ~500 to 1000 GtC to the atmosphere as methane, which has 25 to 75 times the greenhouse effect of CO2[vi], may exceed the atmospheric greenhouse concentration of ~500-700 ppm CO2e, leading to further extensive melting of the large ice sheets and major sea level rise and to a mass extinction event such as the PETM[vii] (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) or even the Permian-Triassic major mass extinction event[viii].
Figure 1.Vulnerable carbon sinks. (a) Land: Permafrost – 600 GtC; High-latitude peatlands – 400 GtC; tropical peatlands – 100 GtC; vegetation subject to fire and/or deforestation – 650 GtC; (b) Oceans: Methane hydrates – 10,000 GtC; Solubility pump – 2700 GtC; Biological pump – 3300 GtC (After Canadell et al. 2007 GCTE-IGBP Book series; The Global carbon cycle; UNESCOSCOPE policy briefs; Vol. 2. Courtesy P. Canadell)
Figure 2Estimates of fossil fuel resources and equivalent atmospheric CO 2 levels, including (1) emissions to date; (2) estimated reserves, and (3) recoverable resources (1 ppm CO 2 ~ 2.12 GtC) (Hansen et al. 2012)[ix].
Methane release from permafrost
Early warnings are manifest. Expeditions along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in 2011 led by the Russian scientists Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakova identified a large number of km-size sea bed structures from which methane plumes were bubbling[x]. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is reported to be highly perforated and close to thawing. Reported release of methane from this region estimated as 150 megatons carbon per year[xi] drove atmospheric methane to 2500 ppb.At higher atmospheric altitudes up to ~8 km peak methane values are higher than 2000 ppb and up to a 2241 ppb, while global mean methane levels range from 1768 to 1795 ppb[xii]
Shakova et al. (2014)[xiii]indicate the temperature of submarine permafrost on the ESAS range from −1.8 to 0 °C. Sonar data indicate methane bubbles escaping the partially thawed permafrost inject 100–630 mg methane m−2 d−1 into the overlying water column. Due to storms a significant drop of methane levels occurs in the water column as a consequence of escape of the gas to the overlying atmosphere.
By winter of 2013, satellite measures were showing an increasing overburden of methane in the atmosphere above the Arctic (Figures 3 – 5). By summer of 2013, Peter Wadhams, a polar researcher with more than 30 years of experience studying Arctic sea ice from the vantage of British navy submarines, published in Nature an article titled “Climate science: Vast costs of Arctic change”[xiv], projecting the economic costs of a catastrophic 50 GtC methane emission from the ESASover the coming decades. In reply the climate scientists David Archer and Gavin Schmidt suggested it will take centuries or perhaps thousands of years for a significant volume of methane to be emitted from the Arctic. However, Wadhams suggested that once the ice cover melts water turbulence will warm the underlying sediments by significant amount, up to 7degrees Celsius. The intense methane bubbling[xv]and caving of permafrost in Siberia[xvi] (Figure 6) hints at a potential catastrophic disintegration of large tracts of Arctic permafrost
Figure 3a.A.Nov. 18, 2014.NASA ultra-high-resolution computer model displaying the distribution and migration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.NASA Goddard Space Flight Center[xvii]. In the NH winter absorption by cold water reduces atmospheric CO2 while in the NH summer atmospheric CO2 is reduced by photosynthesis; B. Monthly average atmospheric methane for January 2016 reaching >1900 ppb at pressures of 400 hPa (about 4500 meter height)[xviii].
Figure 3b. Variations inconcentrations of atmospheric methane over the last 800,000 years and during 1840-2016, displaying the extreme rise from about 800 ppb to over 1800 ppb CH4.[xix]
The concentrations of atmospheric methane in the Arctic have been rising sharply during 2009-2013 (Figures 3b and 4), reaching values above >1800 ppb CH4,as compared to values below <800 ppb before 1840 and about 400 ppb during the last glacial period. Hot spots of methane hydrate emissions occur in several parts of the Arctic Ocean (Figure 5). Field evidence for melting of permafrost and methane explosion vents and craters abounds in Siberia (Figure 6).
About one-fifth of the increase in radiative forcing by human-linked greenhouse gas emissions since 1750 is due to methane. The past three decades have seen prolonged periods of increasing atmospheric methane, but the growth rate slowed in the 1990s. From 1999 to 2006the level of atmosphericmethane was nearly constant while strong growth resumed in 2007[xx] (Figure 3b). Between 2000 and 2006 the annual methane peak was about 1740 ppb and since 2007 it has increased by 4-11 ppb per year, peaking at 1803 ppb in September 2015. Since 2007, methane in the atmosphere has steadily increased worldwide[xxi].
Figure 4.Variations in atmospheric methane concentrations during 2008 – 2013 mapped by Leonid Yurganov, Senior Research Scientist, JCET, UMBC, and member of AMEG, using IASI/METOP satellite data (EUMETSAT)[xxii].
Figure 5.Methane hydrates release locations. WWF Arctic feedbacks[xxiii].
CSG fugitive emissions
As if the release of hundreds of GtC carbon from the Arctic permafrost and shallow water bodies would not be disastrous enough, drilling for hydrocarbons in the Arctic Sea has commenced and drilling for coal seam gas is spreading over the continents (Figure 7). The techniques used to extract natural gas trapped in coal seams, tight sandstone or shale formations, may allow significant methane leakage and in 2012 it was reported emissions associated with unconventional gas production in the US were thought to exceed those previously believed[xxvi]. A paper “Enrichment of Radon and Carbon Dioxide in the Open Atmosphere of an Australian Coal Seam Gas Field” reported that in 2013 fugitive emissions over Australian coal seam gas (CSG) field (Surat Basin, Tara region, Queensland) yielded atmospheric CO2 concentrations of ∼390 to ∼467 ppm, the latter near the centre of the gas field, and a∼3 fold increase in maximum of radon (222Rn), used as a tracer for fugitive emissions[xxvii].
Venting of methane from underground coal mines in the Hunter region of New South Wales has reached an atmospheric level of 3000 ppb, with levels of 2000 ppb extending to some 50 km away from the mines[xxviii]. Thus the paper “Fugitive methane emissions from natural, urban, agricultural, and energy-production landscapes of eastern Australia” (Kelly et al., 2015)[xxix] states: “In the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, open-cut coal mining district we mapped a continuous 50 km interval where the concentration of methane exceeded 1800 ppb. The median concentration in this interval was 2020 ppb. Peak readings were beyond the range of the reliable measurement (in excess of 3000 ppb). This extended plume is an amalgamation of plumes from 17 major pits 1 to 10 km in length. Adjacent to CSG developments in the Surat Basin, southeast Queensland, only small anomalies were detected near the well-heads. Throughout the vast majority of the gas fields the concentration of methane was below 1800 ppb. The largest source of fugitive methane associated with CSG was off-gassing methane from the co-produced water holding ponds. At one location the downwind plume had a cross section of approximately 1 km where the concentration of methane was above 1800 ppb. The median concentration within this section was 1820 ppb, with a peak reading of 2110 ppb.”
|May 12, 2018||
As CO2 Levels Soar Past ‘Troubling’ 410 ppm Threshold, Trump Kills NASA Carbon Monitoring Program.
by Jessica Corbett, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org
As the Trump administration charges forward with its war on science by canceling a “crucial” carbon monitoring system at NASA, scientists and climate experts are sounding alarms over atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) that just surpassed a “troubling” threshold for the first time in human history.
“The reading from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii finds that concentrations of the climate-warming gas averaged above 410 parts per million [ppm] throughout April,” Chris Mooney wrote for the Washington Post. “The first time readings crossed 410 at all occurred on April 18, 2017, or just about a year ago.”
While the planet’s concentrations of carbon dioxide fluctuated between roughly 200 ppm and 280 ppm for hundreds of thousands of centuries, as the NASA chart below details, CO2 concentrations have soared since the start industrial revolution—and, without urgent global efforts to significantly alter human activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions, show no sign of letting up.
“As a scientist, what concerns me the most is not that we have passed yet another round-number threshold but what this continued rise actually means: that we are continuing full speed ahead with an unprecedented experiment with our planet, the only home we have,” Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, told Mooney.
While CO2 levels have passed 400 ppm in the Earth’s history, “it has been a long time. And scientists are concerned that the rate of change now is far faster than what Earth has previously been used to,” as Mooney explained:
As climate scientists continue to warn about the global consequences of rising levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases—such as more intense and frequent extreme weather events—the Trump administration has pursued a multi-pronged anti-science agenda that includes rolling back regulations that aim to limit emissions and blocking future research.
News of the record-high levels of atmospheric carbon came as Science reported that the Trump administration “quietly killed” NASA’s $10-million-a-year Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), which “has helped stitch together observations of sources and sinks into high-resolution models of the planet’s flows of carbon”—because, as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben remarked sarcastically, “what you can’t see can’t cook you.”
Citing a NASA spokesman, Science explained: “The White House has mounted a broad attack on climate science, repeatedly proposing cuts to NASA’s earth science budget, including the CMS, and cancellations of climate missions such as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3). Although Congress fended off the budget and mission cuts, a spending deal signed in March made no mention of the CMS. That allowed the administration’s move to take effect.”
Canceling CMS likely has global ramifications, Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of Tufts University’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, pointed out, because the system monitors the Earth’s CO2 levels as nations that have signed on to the Paris climate agreement—from which Trump plans to withdraw—pursue policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“If you cannot measure emissions reductions, you cannot be confident that countries are adhering to the agreement,” Gallagher said, calling the decision to kill the system “a grave mistake.”
Originally published in CommonDreams.org
|May 13, 2018||
The Eclipsing Iran Deal-Truth And Consequences.
by Dr Arshad M Khan, in World, Countercurrents.org
International treaties and agreements are between countries — not between leaders or governments, for if that were the case they would not be worth the paper they were written on. The Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union was signed in 1972. Bush II withdrew unilaterally in 2001 citing a changed world. On June 1, 2017, Donald Trump announced the U.S. will cease all participation in the Paris Climate Treaty signed two years earlier. On Tuesday last he quit the Iran deal.
Two days later, the White House released the date and location of Mr. Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-Un. One can only wonder what Kim is thinking. The last person voluntarily giving up nuclear weapons received a bayonet colonoscopy — hardly anyone’s preferred exit from this world — and that at the hands of the allies of a Nobel Peace Laureate US president. Fortunately, the circumstances in North Korea’s case are quite different: the other party, South Korea, is stable, seeks closer relations, in fact is the prime mover in the current initiative.
On the Iran deal breakup, the fallout is telling. The major European countries (UK, France and Germany) have the most to lose economically — a huge Airbus airplane contract is just one example. Always intended as a bargain, the deal offered Iran re-entry into world commerce in exchange for giving up nuclear ambitions. The U.S. now threatens reprisals against any companies violating its edict: obey U.S. sanctions or else … . The Europeans could choose to present a united front and protect their companies through legislation and similar reprisals. But who wants such an economic war? The companies themselves are likely to have commercial interests in the U.S. dwarfing anything in Iran.
The European hope lies now in a Trumpian disaster for the Republicans in the November midterm elections followed by ignominious defeat in the presidential election. But elections turn on the unexpected, and these countries’ pusillanimous responses only exposes them to the world as true US vassals.
Terminating a peace agreement inevitably raises the prospect of war. It would be a disaster. Iran commands the Strait of Hormuz and a blocked Persian Gulf could see a quadrupling or more in the price of oil, bringing the current economic and stock market boom to a crashing end. Missile attacks from Iran and its ally Hezbollah would cause havoc in Israel’s cities; asymmetric warfare in Syria and Iraq would cost American lives.
Doubtless, Iran would be drawn closer into the Russian-Chinese orbit and might even sign a defense pact with Russia — perhaps earlier still if it felt the approaching winds of war.
For all these reasons, war may appear to be a long shot, yet Trump’s advisors, notably, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo harbor an irrational hatred towards the country and Benjamin Netanyahu imagines it to be the last viable threat to neutralize. He also has a corruption indictment hanging over him, while Trump has his own legal troubles.
On the other hand, a bellicose Trump is just that … bellicose. As with North Korea, he could well be seeking a deal on better terms, namely, more restrictions for Iran in the future. Iran will not surrender its missiles; it might be more accommodating on future enrichment of nuclear fuels.
Let’s hope reason prevails … sometimes it does. Look at North Korea!
Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.
|May 13, 2018||
Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy.
by Robert Costanza, in Counter Solutions, Countercurrents.org
Our current economic systems have become addicted to “growth at all costs”, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [i]. They assume that GDP growth is synonymous with increasing wellbeing and prosperity. However this approach has led to growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, and the depletion of natural and social capital. We are no longer generating genuine progress[ii]. Our approach to economics and development needs fundamental transformation.
A global movement is coalescing among a large number of individuals and organizations around the need to shift economies away from a narrow focus on marketed goods and services (i.e. GDP) to one more broadly focused on ‘sustainable wellbeing’. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a step in this direction, encompassing a broad set of 17 goals that go far beyond GDP growth, and include eliminating hunger and poverty, reducing gender and overall inequality, urgent action on climate change, and restoring marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
At a meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, in Oct. 2017, a group of governments including Scotland, Costa Rica, Slovenia, and New Zealand committed to creating an organisation through which to share good practice in wellbeing policy making and to champaion wellbeing as the goal of development. In time, it is hoped this alliance will be an alternative to conventional groupings such as the G8 or G20. This initiative is supported by a wide-ranging global Wellbeing Economy Alliance that brings together the many organizations, networks, academics, businesses, NGOs, and individuals that are already working on elements of the new economy. The purpose of WE-All is to coordinate, facilitate, and catalyse the wide range of ongoing efforts around the shared goal of creating a sustainable wellbeing economy.
So what is a wellbeing economy?
A wellbeing economy has the fundamental goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing with dignity and fairness for humans and the rest of nature. This is in stark contrast to current economies that are wedded to a very narrow vision of development—indiscriminate growth of GDP.
A wellbeing economy recognizes that the economy is embedded in society and nature. It must be understood and managed as an integrated, interdependent system.
Wellbeing is the outcome of a convergence of factors, including good human mental and physical health, greater equity and fairness, good social relationships and a flourishing natural environment. Only a holistic approach to prosperity can therefore achieve and sustain wellbeing. A system of economic governance aimed at promoting wellbeing will therefore need to account for all of the impacts (both positive and negative) of economic activity. This includes valuing goods and services derived from a healthy society (social capital) and a thriving biosphere (natural capital). Social and natural capital are part of the commons. They are not (and should not be) owned by anyone in particular, but make significant contributions to sustainable wellbeing.
True freedom and success depend on a world where we all prosper and flourish. Institutions serve humanity best when they foster our individual dignity while enhancing our interconnectedness. To thrive, all institutions (including businesses) and society must pivot toward a new purpose: shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.
To achieve a wellbeing economy, a major transformation of our world view, society and economy are needed to:
There are many individuals and groups who have espoused versions of these basic ideas for decades. They may have used different approaches and different languages, but all share common approaches and, above all, a common goal. Perhaps more important are the many individuals and groups already putting the ideas of a wellbeing economy in practice. These include millions of activists and social entrepreneurs of various types from around the world.
The challenge is to acknowledge these many diverse initiatives and harmonize these voices, while allowing a diversity of language to communicate with a variety of audiences. WE-All is fundamentally an effort to do just that – to catalyse a cooperative, harmonized, and unified approach to creating a wellbeing economy.
Here are a few examples of the many new directions, experiments, and models of the wellbeing economy already happening around the world.
An economy based on the overriding goal of GDP-growth inevitably crashes through the boundaries of planetary capacity[iii]. By affording no value to unexploited resources and assets, and by making no judgments about the quality or meaning or consequence of production and consumption, its growth conflicts with natural and social equilibria.
In contrast to this destructive path, the wellbeing economy model specifically strengthens social and natural capital while generating human development. A ‘virtuous circle’ can be created whereby value that is measured in terms of wellbeing feeds the improvements in the human and natural capitals upon which the creation of value depends. The negative impact on the environment will be greatly reduced as the ‘circular economy’ model of resource recycling and systems for up-cycling are integrated into mainstream business models. The ecosystem services that the GDP model considers free of charge will become fully valued components of society’s infrastructure, supported by new common asset governance institutions that connect people more closely to natural ecosystems. Economic ‘growth’ in this model lies not in the exploitation of natural, social, and human resources but in improving the quality and effectiveness of human-to-human and human-to-ecosystem interactions, supported by appropriate enabling technologies.
In order to achieve the transformation to the new economy and society we all want, we need to work together as a unified front. The new Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WE-All) is designed to help facilitate that transformation.
By Robert Costanza, Elizabeth Caniglia, Lorenzo Fioramonti, Ida Kubiszewski, Henry Lewis, Hunter Lovins, Jacqueline McGlade, Lars Fogh Mortensen, Dirk Philipsen, Kate Pickett, Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir, Debra Roberts, Paul Sutton, Katherine Trebeck, Stewart Wallis, James Ward, Michael Weatherhead, Richard Wilkinson
[i] Costanza, R., P. Atkins, M, Bolton, S. Cork, N Grigg, T. Kasser, and I. Kubiszewski. 2017. Overcoming Societal Addictions: What Can We Learn From Individual Therapies? Ecological Economics. 131:543–550
[ii] Costanza, R., I. Kubiszewski, E. Giovannini, H. Lovins, J. McGlade, K. E. Pickett, K. V. Ragnarsdóttir, D. Roberts, R. De Vogli, and R, Wilkinson. 2014. Time to leave GDP behind. Nature. 505:283-285
[iii] Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, Å. Persson, F. S. Chapin, III, E. F. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, J. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. de Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley. 2009. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461:472-475
Robert Costanza is Chair of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. He has authored or coauthored over 350 scientific papers, and reports on his work have appeared in Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, The New York Times, Science, Nature, National Geographic, and National Public Radio
|May 15, 2018||
Victory Day! Russians Remembered Their 26 Million Dead Unaware of USA Having Armed Nazis to Invade?
by Jay Janson, in World, Countercurrents.org
Russians parading in celebration of the anniversary of their costly victory over Nazi Germany. Millions marched throughout Russia, holding photographs of their fallen family members in bittersweet remembrance. There was no public reminder that Hitler’s armed forces were built up by the West in open violation of the Versailles Treaty’s prohibitions in expectation of Hitler fulfilling his threats to invade the Soviet Union.
This past weekend saw Russians parading in celebration of the anniversary of their costly victory over Nazi Germany. Millions marched throughout Russia, holding photographs of their fallen family members in bittersweet remembrance. To this archival research peoples historian’s knowledge there was no public reminder that Hitler’s armed forces were built up by the West in open violation of the Versailles Treaty’s prohibitions in expectation of Hitler fulfilling his threats to invade the Soviet Union.
There is simply no way impoverished Nazi Germany could have on its own built its Armed Forces up to number one military in the world during the first seven years of Hitler’s rule without the colossal and crucial investments in, and joint venturing by, top US corporations in low wage Nazi Germany- in outright evasion of the Versailles Treaty prohibition of German rearmament. There is no way Hitler could have begun a world war and multi-nation Holocaust when he did without the mega enormous financial help he received from the USA.
In a world deep in the chaos of the Great Depression, a dismal failure of rule by the banks of the capitalist colonial powers, Nazi Germany was to be a loaded gun pointed, and eventually fired, at the intolerably successful socialist Soviet Union. Good to remember that all this investment and joint venturing took place while Hitler ranted publicly about his intentions regarding communists, socialists and Jews. Hitler openly threatened along with anti-Jewish hate, anti-socialist, anti-communist, anti-Soviet plans, emphasizing Germany’s need for ‘Lebensraum’ (‘living space’) and threatening to make Germany’s 19th century motto ‘Drang Nach Osten’ (‘push to the East’) a term designating German expansion into Slavic lands, a reality.
Below are excepts from British American Anthony B. Sutton’s ‘Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler,’ Chapter One – ‘Wall Street Paves the Way for Hitler.’ ( Anthony Sutton was research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1968 to 1973.)
“The contribution made by American capitalism to German war preparations before 1940 can only be described as phenomenal. It was certainly crucial to German military capabilities. For instance, in 1934 Germany produced domestically only 300,000 tons of natural petroleum products and less than 800,000 tons of synthetic gasoline; Yet, ten years later in World War II, after transfer of the Standard Oil of New Jersey hydrogenation patents and technology to I. G. Farben, Germany produced about 6 1/2 million tons of oil — of which 85 percent was synthetic oil using the Standard Oil hydrogenation process.
Germans were brought to Detroit to learn the techniques of specialized production of components, and of straight-line assembly. The techniques learned in Detroit were eventually used to construct the dive-bombing Stukas …. later I. G. Farben representatives in this country enabled a stream of German engineers to visit not only plane plants but others of military importance. Contemporary American business press confirm that business journals and newspapers were fully aware of the Nazi threat and its nature.
The evidence presented suggests that not only was an influential sector of American business aware of the nature of Naziism, but for its own purposes aided Naziism wherever possible (and profitable) –with full knowledge that the probable outcome would be war involving Europe and the United States.
Synthetic gasoline and explosives (two of the very basic elements of modern warfare), the control of German World War II output was in the hands of two German combines created by Wall Street loans under the Dawes Plan.
The two largest tank producers in Hitler’s Germany were Opel, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors (controlled by the J.P. Morgan firm), and the Ford A. G. subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company of Detroit. The Nazis granted tax-exempt status to Opel in 1936, to enable General Motors to expand its production facilities. Alcoa and Dow Chemical worked closely with Nazi industry.
General Motors supplied Siemens & Halske A. G. in Germany with data on automatic pilots and aircraft instruments. As late as 1940, Bendix Aviation supplied complete technical data to Robert Bosch for aircraft and diesel engine starters and received royalty payments in return.
In brief, American companies associated with the Morgan-Rockefeller international investment bankers were intimately related to the growth of Nazi industry. It is important to note ” that General Motors, Ford, General Electric, DuPont and the handful of U.S. companies intimately involved with the development of Nazi Germany were — except for the Ford Motor Company — controlled by the Wall Street elite — the J.P. Morgan firm, the Rockefeller Chase Bank and to a lesser extent the Warburg Manhattan.”
No one will regret the time spent in reading Anthony Sutton’s Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler 1976, available at
Sutton was economics professor at California State University, Los Angeles and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute from 1968 to 1973
Given the general public ignorance regarding Wall Street responsibility for WW II, Sutton’s chapter headings invite our flabbergasted attention:
General Electric Funds Hitler; General Electric in Weimar, Germany; General Electric & the Financing of Hitler; Technical Cooperation with Krupp; A.E.G. Avoids the Bombs in World War II;
Standard Oil Duels World War II; Ethyl Lead for the Wehrmacht; Standard Oil and Synthetic Rubber; The Deutsche-Amerikanische Petroleum A.G.;
I.T.T. Works Both Sides of the War; Baron Kurt von Schröder and I.T.T. Westrick, Texaco, and I.T.T.; I.T.T. in Wartime Germany;
Henry Ford and the Nazis; Henry Ford: Hitler’s First Foreign Banker; Henry Ford Receives a Nazi Medal; Ford Assists the German War Effort;
Who Financed Adolf Hitler? Some Early Hitler Backers; Fritz Thyssen and W.A. Harriman Company; Financing Hitler in the March 1933 Elections; The 1933 Political Contributions;
Putzi: Friend of Hitler and Roosevelt; Putzi’s Role in the Reichstag Fire; Roosevelt’s New Deal and Hitler’s New Order;
Wall Street and the Nazi Inner Circle; The S.S. Circle of Friends; I.G. Farben and the Keppler Circle; Wall Street and the S.S. Circle
The Myth of “Sidney Warburg;”Who Was “Sidney Warburg”? Synopsis of the Suppressed “Warburg” Book; James Paul Warbur’s Affidavit; Some Conclusions from the “Warburg” Story;
Wall Street-Nazi Collaboration in World War II; American I.G. in World War II;
Conclusions: The Pervasive Influence of International Bankers; Is the United States Ruled by a Dictatorial Elite? The New York Elite as a Subversive Force; The Slowly Emerging Revisionist Truth.
That the Second World War was a ‘good war,’ a clear fight against what a madman had brought about, has been a major and fundamental deception solidified in Wall Street owned media and movies. World War Two represented the most profitable investment ever made. When WW II ended, the only major industrial plant standing was that owned by Wall Street. Wall Street and the US government Wall Street controlled, had become the first single world superpower in history. A further boon for Wall Street was that the cities of Wall Street’s designated archenemy, socialist model USSR, lay half in ruins with twenty-six million of its citizens dead, which represented nearly half of all the deaths during all of WW II in Europe, Africa and Asia. Seven years before the outbreak of WWII, during this rearming of Nazi Germany, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the last aristocratic insider US President, wrote to his confidant Colonel House “as you and I know, this government has been owned by a financial element in the centers of power since the days of Andrew Jackson.” (Jackson was US president a hundred years earlier).
The target for the Western sponsors of the Nazi war machine was an attack on the Soviet Union in order to destroy, in their view, the source of international revolutionary socialism. In the 1930s, the very existence of capitalism was teetering on the edge amid the Great Depression, massive poverty and seething popular discontent in the US, Britain and other Western countries. The entire Western capitalist order was under imminent threat from its own masses.
This is the historical context for the Western-backed rise of European fascism. Look at some of the undisputed figures from the Second World War… Some 14 million Red Army soldiers died in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany, compared with less than 400,000 military each from the US and Britain. These Western armies lost less than 4 per cent of personnel of the Red Army’s casualties.
These figures tell us where the Nazi German war effort was primarily directed towards – the Soviet Union, as the Western imperialist rulers had hoped in their initial sponsoring of Nazi and other European fascist regimes during the 1930s. [Quoted from Finian Cunningham’s article World War II Continues… Against Russia, PressTV, 5/10/2014 (underlining added)]
Why had Soviet leaders and writers, even during the onslaught of lies in anti-Soviet propaganda during the Cold War, never held the West responsible for WW II in having rearmed Germany, intending (as Hitler’s threatened) the destruction of the USSR? This has been a mystery to this archival research peoples historian. All the investments and joint venturing of US (and European) corporations building up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to the world’s number one military in only six years are documented in both business records and the tax records of US, German and other nations and are in great part located on the Internet with quite comprehensive statistics.
The only plausible answer that occurs to those of us investigating, is the shame of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. However, given the obviousness of the colonial powers heavily arming Nazi Germany under such a pathetic excuse as to make Nazi Germany only a “bulwark against communist Soviet Union,” and then refusing all entreaties of the Soviets to form an protective alliance in the face of Hitler’s ever increasing belligerence, Stalin’s surprise signing a non-aggression pact seems like a last resort defense of Russia.
Were the Soviets to wait for Hitler’s attack, openly prepared by US, UK and France’s rearming of Germany against the terms of the Versailles Treaty and refusing to unite with the Soviet Union in opposing Hitler.
In 2009, Vladimir Putin, then the Russian Prime Minister, condemned the Nazi-Soviet pact as “immoral,” but said France and the UK had destroyed any chance for an anti-fascist front with the Munich Agreement. On November 6, 2014, UK’s Daily Telegraph headlined “Vladimir Putin says there was nothing wrong with Soviet Union’s pact with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany” By Tom Parfitt, Moscow. “At a meeting with young historians in Moscow, Putin urged them to examine the lead-up to the war. Mr Putin said that Western historians today try to “hush up” the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which France and Britain — led by Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister — appeased Adolf Hitler by acquiescing to his occupation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland. ‘Compromise with an aggressor in the form of Hitlerite Germany was clearly leading to a large-scale future military conflict, and some people understood that.'”
In his book, Mission to Moscow, (later a film as well), US ambassador to Russia from 1936 to 1938 Joseph Davies chronicles the desperation of the Russians in 1937, unable to get a defensive alliance with England and France, and fully aware that the rearming of Germany was directed at the Soviet Union most certainly not meant to be only a ‘bulwark.’ By the surprise non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, Stalin derailed for the moment the West’s plan to have Hitler invade the USSR. This gained the Soviet Union the time to build the tanks in the East that would later defeat the Nazi invasion. What Hitler called “a war of extermination” in Western Poland began only one week after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Hitler would again call for “a war of extermination” with the German invasion of the USSR, June 22, 1941, and at the same time called for the eradication of Jews.
All the German crimes, the crimes that were committed by Stalin and those committed by the US and Britain in fire bombing entire cities happened during the world war that was made possible by the enthusiastic rearming of Germany for a singular purpose. When we recall films and photos of skies filled with warplanes, of seas filled with warships and of thousands of tanks engaged in deathly conflict on land, we best remember a lot of upper class people in business suits were gleefully counting their profits from investments in the manufacture of weapons, uniforms, munitions and coffins. The Second World War Wall Street made possible ended with the Wall Street owned United States of America the mega wealthy single super power, while its socialist nemesis, the Soviet Union lay half devastated, its major cities half destroyed and 26 million of its citizens dead.
What might have been different all these years, if the whole world had known that investments and joint venturing by America’s large corporations had made the Second World War and the Holocaust possible? Would the world have reacted differently as Americans invaded dozens of nations and killed millions of men, women and children also in the name of anti-communism? Would it be so easy for Wall Street owned media to drum up war against a Russia in order to mask America’s military destroying and exterminating whole nations with the help of US financed terrorists, some labeled freedom fighters?
With Nazi Germany gone, but not the United States of America, now openly an antagonist of Russia again, how differently would millions of Russians have felt as they marched last weekend with photos of their dead loved ones. Those who remember the history of USA-Russian relations will recall that Red-scared America declared itself an enemy of Soviet Russia and subsequently prepared Germany for war against it; after Germany declared war on the United States, America made Soviet Russia an ally of convenience; with the end of the war, USA returned to being a Red-baiting enemy of Communist Russia; Today, the US sanctions Russia as an enemy once more.
What would the world be like today, if this truth had been present in the minds of people the world over, especially people in majority humankind that is called the Third World and is still being plundered by the still colonially powered First World that rearmed Germany.
Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and in the US by Dissident Voice, Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents and others; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign, and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign, which Dissident Voice supports with link at the end of each issue of its newsletter.
|May 15, 2018||
America Spends About Half of World’s Military Expenditures.
by Eric Zuesse, in Imperialism, Countercurrents.org
The National Priorities Project headlines “U.S. Military Spending vs. the World” and reports: “World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total.” But it can’t be believed, because, even if other nations aren’t under-reporting their military expenditures, the U.S. certainly is — under-reporting it by about 50%. The reality is approximately twice the official figure, so that America’s current annual military expenditures are around $1.5 trillion, which is to say, almost equal to that entire global estimate of “more than $1.6 trillion in 2015.”
America’s actual annual military budget and expenditures are unknown, because there has never been an audit of the ‘Defense’ Department, though an audit has routinely been promised but never delivered, and Congresses and Presidents haven’t, for example, even so much as just threatened to cut its budget every year by 10% until it is done — there has been no accountability for the Department, at all. Corruption is welcomed, at the ‘Defense’ Department.
Furthermore, many of the military expenditures are hidden. One way that this is done is by funding an unknown large proportion of U.S. military functions at other federal Departments, so as for those operations not to be officially “‘Defense’ Department” budget and expenditures, at all. This, for example, is the reason why Robert Higgs, of The Independent Institute, was able to report, on 15 March 2007, “The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here”. He found that America’s military expenditures, including the ones he could identify at other federal agencies, were actually already nearly a trillion dollars ($934.9 billion) a year:
“To estimate the size of the entire de facto defense budget, I gathered data for fiscal 2006, the most recently completed fiscal year, for which data on actual outlays are now available. In that year, the Department of Defense itself spent $499.4 billion. Defense-related parts of the Department of Energy budget added $16.6 billion. The Department of Homeland Security spent $69.1 billion. The Department of State and international assistance programs laid out $25.3 billion for activities arguably related to defense purposes either directly or indirectly. The Department of Veterans Affairs had outlays of $69.8 billion. The Department of the Treasury, which funds the lion’s share of military retirement costs through its support of the little-known Military Retirement Fund, added $38.5 billion. A large part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s outlays ought to be regarded as defense-related, if only indirectly so. When all of these other parts of the budget are added to the budget for the Pentagon itself, they increase the fiscal 2006 total by nearly half again, to $728.2 billion.”
Furthermore, “Much, if not all, of the budget for the Department of State and for international assistance programs ought to be classified as defense-related, too. In this case, the money serves to buy off potential enemies and to reward friendly governments who assist U.S. efforts to abate perceived threats. … [As regards] Department of Homeland Security, many observers probably would agree that its budget ought to be included in any complete accounting of defense costs. … The Federal Bureau of Investigation … devotes substantial resources to an anti-terrorist program. The Department of the Treasury informs us that it has ‘worked closely with the Departments of State and Justice and the intelligence community to disrupt targets related to al Qaeda, Hizballah, Jemaah Islamiyah, as well as to disrupt state sponsorship of terror.’”
But, almost everything there relied upon mere estimates, because the Congress and the President always supply to the public numbers that are sadly uninterpretable by anyone who wants to know what percentage of the federal government is actually military.
For example, on April 3rd, the White House, as required by law, sent to Congress “the Seven-Day-After report for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141). The President signed this Act into law on March 23, 2018.” That’s the current authorized spending for the entire U.S. federal Government. It was broken down there into twelve categories, some of which were for multiple federal Departments, in order to make the reported numbers as uninterpretable as possible — for example, nothing was shown for the Treasury Department, but something was shown for “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations” and it didn’t even mention the “Treasury” Department. And nothing was shown for the Justice Department, nor for the Commerce Department, but something was shown for “Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies” (whatever those are). However, as bad as this is, the military (or invasions) department is even less fathomable from the publicly available reports than those other ones are. The ‘Defense’ Department is the only one that’s still “unauditable” so that in one of the attempts to audit it:
“The audits of the FY 1999 DoD financial statements indicated that $7.6 trillion of accounting entries were made to compile them. This startling number is perhaps the most graphic available indicator of just how poor the existing systems are. The magnitude of the problem is further demonstrated by the fact that, of $5.8 trillion of those adjustments that we audited this year, $2.3 trillion were unsupported by reliable explanatory information and audit trails or were made to invalid general ledger accounts.”
Largely as a consequence of this, Wikipedia’s “Military budget of the United States” is a chaotic mess, though useful for links to some sources (all of which are likewise plagued as being uninterpretable).
On 1 March 2011, Chris Hellman headlined “The Real U.S. National Security Budget: The Figure No One Wants You to See”, and he estimated (using basically the same approach that Higgs had done in 2007, except less accurate than Higgs, due to failing to base his numbers on “the most recently completed fiscal year, for which data on actual outlays are now available” but instead using only the President’s budget request) that at that time, the U.S. Government was spending annually on ‘Defense’, “$1,219.2 billion. (That’s more than $1.2 trillion.)” That amount was far less than the totals that the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense had been reporting, in some of its periodic investigations (such as the one just cited), to have been missed or undocumented or falsely ‘documented’ as having been spent, by that Department; but, for some mysterious reason, the American people tolerate and re-elect ‘representatives’ who ‘debate’ and rubber-stamp such corruption, which is of enormous benefit to corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, whose sales and profits depend upon the U.S. Government and its allied governments. Any such privatization of the ‘Defense’ industry, in America or any other country — treating its military operations so as to produce profits for investors (investors in mass-murder) — thus guarantees that the national-security function will be heavily loaded with lobbying and graft, because the military industry’s entire market is to one’s own government and to its allied governments: it’s not a consumer market, but a government one. Thus, privatized military suppliers grow virtually to own their government; democracy consequently becomes impossible in such nations. And, one outcome from that is the uninterpretable financial reports by America’s government, regarding ‘Defense’.
For example, probably fewer than 1% of Americans have even been informed by the press as to what the currently authorized annual federal spending for the ‘Defense’ Department is. When the Washington Post, on 23 March 2018, reported their main story about the FY 2018 federal spending authorizations (“In late-night drama, Senate passes $1.3 trillion spending bill, averting government shutdown”), the figure for the ‘Defense’ Department was buried inconspicuously in a 52-word passage within that 1,600-word ‘news’-report, which was otherwise loaded with distractive trivia. This buried passage was: “The legislation funds the federal government for the remainder of the 2018 budget year, through Sept. 30, directing $700 billion toward the military and $591 billion to domestic agencies. The military spending is a $66 billion increase over the 2017 level, and the nondefense spending is $52 billion more than last year.” That’s all. For readers interested in knowing more, it linked to their 2,200-word article, “Here’s what Congress is stuffing into its $1.3 trillion spending bill”, and all that it said about the military portion of the new budget was the 27-word passage, “defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to jump $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending favored by Democrats rises by $63 billion.” Though 23 categories of federal spending were sub-headed and summarized individually in that article, ‘Defense’ wasn’t one of them. Nothing about the budget for the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ — which consumes more than half of the entire budget — was mentioned. However, the reality was that, as Defense News reported it, on 7 February 2018 — and these figures were unchanged in the bill that President Trump finally signed on March 23rd — “Senate leaders have reached a two-year deal that would set defense spending at $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.” This year’s $700 billion Pentagon budget thus is 54% of the entire $1.3 trillion FY 2018 U.S. federal budget. Another article in Defense News on that same day, February 7th, noted that, “‘I’d rather we didn’t have to do as much on non-defense, but this is an absolute necessity, that we’ve got these numbers,’ said the Senate Armed Services Committee’s No. 2 Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Oklahoma.” So: 54% of the federal budget wasn’t high enough a percentage to suit that Senator; he wanted yet more taken out of non-‘defense’. How can people (other than stockholders in corporations such as Raytheon) vote for such a person? Deceit has to be part of the answer.
Using similar percentages to those that were employed by Higgs and by Hellman, the current U.S. annual military expenditure is in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion. But that’s more than the total authorized federal spending for all departments. Where can the extra funds be coming from? On 5 February 2018, CNBC bannered “The Treasury is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year”. Then, charts were presented on 10 May 2018 by Dr. Edward Yardeni, headlined “U.S. Government Finance: Debt”, in which is shown that the U.S. federal debt is soaring at around a trillion dollars annually; so, that extra money comes from additions to the federal debt. Future generations of U.S. taxpayers will be paying the price for the profligacy of today’s U.S. aristocracy, who receive all the benefits from this scam off the public, and especially off those future generations. But the far bigger losses are felt abroad, in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine, where the targets will be suffering the consequences of America’s invasions and coups.
Notwithstanding its pervasive corruption and enormous uncounted waste, the U.S. military is, by far, the U.S. institution that is respected above all others by the American people. A great deal of domestic propaganda is necessary in order to keep it that way. With so many trillions of dollars that are unaccounted for, it’s do-able. All that’s needed is a tiny percentage of the huge graft to be devoted to funding the operation’s enormous PR for ‘patriotism’. And this treasonous operation has been sustainable, and very successful (for its ultimate beneficiaries), that way, in the U.S., at least for decades.
I have previously explained why specifically military corruption has come to take over the U.S. Government, but not certain other governments. And the result of its having done so has by now become obvious to people all around the world, except in the United States itself. Furthermore, ever since the first poll was taken on that matter, in 2013, which showed that globally the U.S. was viewed as the biggest national threat to peace in the world, a subsequent poll, in 2017, which unfortunately was taken in fewer countries, showed that this negative impression of the U.S. Government, by the peoples in those fewer countries, had actually increased there during the four intervening years. So: not only is the situation in the U.S. terrible, but the trend in the U.S. appears to be in the direction of even worse. America’s military-industrial complex can buy a glittering ‘patriotic’ image amongst its own public, but America’s image abroad will only become uglier, because the world-at-large dislikes a country that’s addicted to the perpetration of invasions and coups. Just as bullies are feared and disliked, so too are bully-nations. Even if the given bully-aristocracy becomes constantly enriched by their operation, economies throughout the world suffer such an aristocracy, as being an enormous burden; and, unfortunately, the American public will get the blame, not America’s aristocracy — which is the real beneficiary of the entire operation. This deflection of blame, onto the suckered public, precludes any effective response from the publics abroad, such as boycotts of U.S.-branded products and services might be. Instead, American tourists abroad become increasingly perceived as ‘the ugly American’. The restored ‘Cold War’ — this time with no ideological excuse (such as communism) whatsoever — could produce a much stronger global tarnishing of America’s global reputation. The beneficiaries, apparently, just don’t care.
|May 15, 2018||
Wild Fires, Tornadoes and Floods — Oh My!
by Sheshu Babu, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org
Sally Dugman shares:
For many years, it has been known by some people that the world or at least a huge portion of it is going literally to hell in a handbag, the place that holds money and credit cards to support shopaholic tendencies across the world. It is due to the economic system largely being at odds with the natural world remaining intact. It’s quite the collision course with climate change factors, stripped forests, conflicts over resource rights, the sixth great extinction, water and other critical resource deficits and other dire matters increasingly in the mix over time.
The Quaker economist Kenneth Boulding sums up the situation in a pithy way: Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
Meanwhile the human population keeps bursting ever higher while more and more people slip into poverty due to a number of myriad interrelated factors like an inadequate number of jobs, inadequate salaries for many jobs that do exist, too many people for the local resource base to subsume, resource conflicts ending in murder and other factors.
So this is the situation that results to date:
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening. – Poverty Facts and Stats — Global Issues
The richest 1% of the global population received 82% of wealth created in 2017, while nothing went to the poorest half (3.7 billion) of humanity, according to a new study … And while billionaire wealth rose by 13% a year from 2006-2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of 2% a year. – Oxfam: 3 Richest Americans Have as Much as Bottom 50% | Money
In relation to such facts, I’ll be the first to claim that the bottom half of humanity in poverty needs to raise eco-footprint and carbon-footprint loads so as to have adequate simple housing, sufficient food, clean water, schools, water treatment plants, clothes, adequate household furnishings, medical care and so on. Many families live on the streets across the entire world AND in the USA. This is unacceptable as are the deplorable and disease-ridden slums spread out across the world in which many live.
All the same, can you picture about what this improvement means in terms of the natural world degradation and climate change issues with half of humanity receiving many more basic goods and services? Can you picture it in terms of the fact that the human population just keeps climbing ever higher when beneficial conditions do exist for the majority of us?
Many people can. And here are some of the demographic results:
Yet there is more. In the USA, for example, our Southern states may become too hot to support much life if any at all. Some of them and others will be overwhelmed with floods, tornadoes, ocean rise problems (which will destroy many coastal cities, other landscapes and possibly much of Florida), wildfires due to drought and other causes combined, spreading desertification and lack of water, as well as a transportation system and sufficient energy supplies to bring in goods to regions under duress.
It’s fine to learn about water conservation. Lots of people who I know, including farmers, practice water care. However, one has to first have sufficient and CLEAN water to use it in a careful way.
I read back in 2010 that 50 to 70 countries had fresh water deficits. Now one can assume it is even higher now in number of inefficiencies for entire countries and particular regions for some countries.
In relation here are some excerpts from For global water crisis, climate change may be the last straw: World to face 40% water deficit by 2030:
Before man-made climate change kicked in — and well before “Day Zero” in Cape Town, where taps may run dry in early May — the global water crisis was upon us.
Freshwater resources around the world were already badly stressed before heat-trapping carbon emissions from fossil fuels began to warm Earth’s surface and affect rainfall.
Many major rivers — diverted, dammed, over-exploited — no longer reach the sea. Aquifers millennia in the making are being sucked dry. Pollution in many forms is tainting water above ground and below.
“Across the densely-populated Indo-Gangetic Plain” — home to more than 600 million people in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh —- “groundwater is being pumped out at an unsustainable and terrifying rate,” said Graham Cogley, a professor emeritus at Trent University in Ontario Canada.
More than half the water in the same basin is undrinkable and unusable for irrigation due to elevated salt and arsenic levels, according to a recent study.
Groundwater provides drinking water to at least half of humanity and accounts for more than 40 percent of water used for irrigation.
But underground aquifers do not fill up swiftly, as a reservoir does after a heavy rain. Their spongy rock can take centuries to fully recharge, which makes them a non-renewable resource on a human timescale.
As a result, many of the world’s regions have passed the threshold that Peter Gleick, president-emeritus of the Pacific Institute and author of The World’s Water, has called “peak water”.
“Today people live in places where we are effectively using all the available renewable water, or, even worse, living on borrowed time by overpumping non-renewable groundwater,” he told AFP.
Exhausted groundwater supplies also cause land to subside, and allow — in coastal regions — saltwater to seep into the water table.
Dozens of mega-cities, rich and poor, are sinking: Jakarta, Mexico City, Tokyo and dozens of cities in China, including Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai have all dropped by a couple of metres over the last century.
“Half a billion people in the world face severe scarcity all year round,” said Arjen Hoekstra, a water management expert at Twente University in the Netherlands.
I do know about what this situation means for my country. These links make it quite clear:
Yes, we are losing our Ogallala fossil water, which is under eight USA states. There goes the USA breadbasket — our Midwestern agriculture — and a part of California is sinking much every year due to losing its underground water, too.
It seems to me that our northern states that are still intact when conditions worsen in the US will have to take on the brunt of the US population, which is currently still climbing and at 327 million to date.
Of course, these states doing so will subsume a great many more people at a further loss of biodiversity, forest being cut down for fuel, lumber, other wooden products, along with the development of farmland. Yet if too much human population comes into the Dakotas, Michigan, northern New York, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and so on — they will be in population overshoot and collapse, too, as will have eventually happened to the Southern and Midwestern states, in addition to at least a portion of California.
So I do understand that the states still viable in the USA will not be able to take in lots of people from collapsed and collapsing regions of the world. They will be hard pressed to just handle the entire US population (if that can be done) without any additional people from other regions.
Another problem is whether the natural world will adjust to climate change factors in those state. For example, Massachusetts is supposed to become like Florida by century’s end. Is that enough time for the evolving of the plants and animals around that state to new conditions?
Meanwhile I read this description and shudder at the ramifications for much of the rest of the world:
Weather experts at the United Nations just said that the highest April temperature ever may have just been recorded—an ominous sign that comes on the heels of the monthly average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hitting the highest level on the books.
Now consider: UN projects world population of 6.2 to 15.8 billion in 2100 with 10.1 billion in the next ninety years: May 4, 2011 – The UN has a new world population forecast out to 2100 The current world population of close to 7 billion is projected to reach 10.1 billion in the next ninety years, reaching 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, according to the medium variant of the 2010 Revision of World Population Prospects.
Furthermore much of the animal and plant diversity will disappear unless this matter, too, is addressed — displacement of the rest for ever more humans … and it needs to be quickly and meaningfully addressed across the entire world since the sixth great extinction is ALREADY underway. (A friend of mine, who hosted a dinner party on Friday, told me that lots of people would lose life in the 6th Great Extinction, she decided. She looked really glum and upset when telling me this.)
My conclusion is that we as a whole are simply not doing enough to prepare for the coming times ahead. Moreover anyone who thinks that many people who live with lots of extravagant privileges (such as vacation homes out of state, travel for holidays out of country and other ways to lavishly treat themselves) will have to realize that they have no intention of changing their own lifestyles until forced to do so by circumstances. Why would the wealthiest members of societies want to curtail their own copious pleasures? After all, life looks often mostly rosy from their vantage points and they don’t want lacks of luxuries.
In the end, the good news is that some of our plentiful US northern states can subsume many more people that will do fairly well by this century’s end. Alternately these states cannot take in everyone in peril from climate change and other factors. There’s the sad rub!
Sheshu Babu shares:
It is not just extreme weather conditions which are posing a major threat, but also ‘unseasonal ‘ extreme weather that is becoming more and more common. For example in South India, there were thunderstorms and rains in the middle of summer that destroyed mango crops. There was a dust storm across north India that killed many people and the Met office did not care to warn people initially and, when it did finally warn, the damage was already done.
Similarly, there are ‘extended’ snowfalls in US which people rarely expect and forest fires in some parts of Australia or central and South America. There are also cases of abnormal sea tides along the coasts.
Hence, the seasons are overlapping and becoming arbitrary and thereby predicting is becoming more difficult. We are living in a precarious atmosphere where weather prediction is becoming as inaccurate as astrology….!
Everyone should seriously think about these complex daunting problems. Before the start of industrialization, the natural resources were rarely disturbed. There were plenty of forests, fresh air, water and less polluted seas. The tribes, Adivasis, aborigines, etc., lived along with flora and fauna and wild life in the forests. The fisherfolk could go fishing without fear as they could almost accurately estimate the time when seas are likely to be rough.
But, as industries picked up, greed of people too started to rise rapidly. In their eagerness to amass profits and increase production, they began to plunder forests, cut trees, occupy coasts and build skyscrapers along the coasts, displace people on the pretext of ‘developing’ nuclear plants, etc. In short, a few tycoons with economic and political power began to ‘ control’ the environment and make it a ‘slave’ as are many slave-wage workers to their aims.
That is why, there are resistance movements in forest areas (like Chhattisgarh in India) , in coastal areas (like in Kerala, India or in the south coast of Australia where the Adani group wanted to have its coal company), or the Amazon basin or Narmada river, or the Standing Rock Sioux movement to protect their hills and lands.
Unexpected and unpredictable, climatic changes including many earthquakes (i.e., ones related to fracking) are mostly man made. Especially the few elite corporates and industrialists constituting 1% with 99% wealth bring disasters. They care less for balance of climate and environment. They trample the earth and its beauty by overwhelming greed for their own personal wealth and sense of power.
It is these few oligarchs who must be controlled. The majority of people do not like to disturb Nature. The fact that deterioration of climate at a faster rate has begun relatively recently is an indication of haphazard growth of industries and contains madness, human madness, at the root. Otherwise, the decline would have started much earlier – much prior to industrialization.
[In relation to Sheshu’s comments, I want to add two thoughts. One is that he mentioned to me previously that the fact that people are living longer and many of their children are thriving rather than dying young is adding to the population explosion. Secondarily, I think that the development of agriculture and animal husbandry largely brought the shift away from protection of the natural world into being.
Imagine the amount of species that declined or were killed off to bring a landmass the size of South America into being for human agriculture. Imagine that one the size of Africa was put in place for care of our domestic animals — a boon to our species, but certainly not much else.
Everyone tries to foster their own selves and the groups with which they identify. Yet we need to be more inclusive to have members outside of our groups and in other species more included in the mix or else we are all across the planet in deep peril. – S.D.]
Steve Salmony shares:
What could be causing this worldwide ecological devastation? The number of human beings on Earth was 2+ billion in the year of my birth (1945). In all of recorded human history there is no evidence to indicate that the human population was ever larger than it was then. Hundreds of thousands of years passed by without an incredible increase in absolute global human population numbers such as we have seen in one lifetime… in the past three score and ten years. During the past 70 years human numbers have increased by 5+ billion. There is only one question worth asking. Why have human numbers increased so rapidly in so short a period of time? The answer is simple. The spectacular capability of humankind to increase annual production and distribution of food for human consumption has given rise to the colossal growth of the human population in our planetary home.
One of the most significant unintended consequences of this bacterial-like growth of a mammalian species is the onset of the Anthropocene Era when The One Percent of Homo sapiens sapiens (self-named to signify ‘the wisest of wise’ species) became the momentary rulers of the world we inhabit. The skyrocketing increase of the human population on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth has given rise to a number of apparently unforeseen and exceedingly deleterious outcomes. Among these potentially catastrophic, human-driven results is climate destabilization. What is fortunately becoming relatively easy to see now here, as we observe what is happening through our naked eyeballs, is the manifold ways overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities of the human species are occurring synergistically and simultaneously threatening life as we know it, environmental health and future human well-being. The spectacular increase of these distinctly human, overgrowth activities is causing the unrestricted extirpation of global biodiversity, the relentless dissipation of limited natural resources, the unbridled degradation of the environment and the reckless threat to a good enough future for children everywhere.
Perfidiously, profanely, the masters of the universe among us have taken so much of what is regarded generally as “abnormal” in human behavior and cleverly normalized all of it. If only the world worked the way we want it to! That all-too-human creatures of Earth were actually self-proclaimed ‘masters of the universe’ in more ways than “name only.” By evading extant scientific knowledge about our distinctly human limits and the biophysical limitations of the planet we inhabit; by denying that Earth is relatively small and finite with a frangible environment; by widely sharing and consensually validating utterly false, hubristic thinking regarding our seemingly god-like super-human capabilities and Earth as a maternal presence—-imagined as an eternally expressive teat, it may be that The One Percent is not able to evade the consequences of its patently unsustainable behavior. In that event, humankind can be expected to “reap the whirlwind.”
[In relation to Steve’s comments, I don’t just blame food for the spectacular increase in human population increase. There are other factors, too. Here are a few of them.
For example, micro-predators (diseases) and macro-predators (such as wolves and tigers) kept our populations down in the past. The former sorts have largely been controlled by drugs, other medical interventions while other means like guns can be used to get rid of large animal killers.
There is better distribution of food and other goods critical for survival, but it is not sufficient to stave off starvation across the globe. So it is not just food in the mix in my opinion. More impinges on the overall picture
Indeed, there are religious and cultural beliefs that support large families even in the face of daunting local scarcities in resources. For example, there are belief systems in place that prohibit birth control except for the rhythm method since it is up to God or gods to decide about whom should be born and to whom and when.
In addition, many people in certain societies equate having lots of children with male prowess and familial happiness. The thinking is: the more the merrier, especially when the wife or girlfriend is tasked with care of household and children, along with her sometimes having a paying job, too!
So where does such an orientation get us collectively? It leads to deprivation in basic, life supportive materials. And who is suppose to provide them for regions undergoing overshoot and collapse? Who is supposed to pay for the supplies being created, delivered and distributed? (For instance in South Sudan, huge cargo planes deliver food and cans of oil dropped by individual parachutes compliments of western nations, but still it is not enough food to feed everyone in this war-torn nation and why should equally impoverished people in western countries have to pay taxes to feel other impoverished people outside of their own countries?)
Oh, and let’s not forget the role of the wealthy people in terms of the overall situation. Many would much rather foster their own self-gratifying benefits than serve humanity and the eco-system as a whole.
A case in point is the $75,000 USD to $100,000 USD lavish wedding that I observed from a distance this weekend. Now I do know people, I myself included, who would have begged my parents to give the excess funds to charities serving the poor rather than to have such an over-the-top affair were I the bride.
Another illustration is that I know a bride’s maid for a fall wedding going to Iceland for a bride’s maid party this summer. How costly and self-gratifying is that instead of starkly looking at the larger picture of the world so as to make a less self-serving, expensive choice? (The same bride’s maid is going to Germany and Switzerland for three weeks in August with her husband and child.)
Apparently while humanity can exhibit much goodness, there is a deep flaw that our species also shows. It is that many people want whatever they want — whether ever more children or carbon-loading vacations — and aim to get them regardless of the consequences for everything and everyone else around them, including the ramifications for the people to be born in the future as the world deteriorates due to their present choices.
This present period will not be the first time. nor will it be the last, that the human population has been delimited by catastrophes, such as droughts and locust plagues. This curtailment has been happening since our kind has shown up on Earth. Indeed, the same sort of crunch has happened to other species, too, and has taken place since life first showed up on the planet. It is the way that evolution works …
However, it is the first time that a supposedly intelligent species caused widespread damage practically across the entire Earth due to very poor choices. How tragic that we can’t get over our myopic, self-centered wants!
All the same, we will likely prevail if we can show sufficient compassion for others — other people and other species — as we support them into our regions. In times ahead, it will certainly have to be done.]
|May 16, 2018||
Systemic Change Driven by Moral Awakening Is Our Only Hope.
by Richard Heinberg, in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents.org
Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue. Over the past century-and-a-half, enormous amounts of cheap energy from fossil fuels enabled the rapid growth of resource extraction, manufacturing and consumption; and these in turn led to population increase, pollution and loss of natural habitat and hence biodiversity.
The human system expanded dramatically, overshooting Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for humans while upsetting the ecological systems we depend on for our survival. Until we understand and address this systemic imbalance, symptomatic treatment (doing what we can to reverse pollution dilemmas like climate change, trying to save threatened species and hoping to feed a burgeoning population with genetically modified crops) will constitute an endlessly frustrating round of stopgap measures that are ultimately destined to fail.
The ecology movement in the 1970s benefitted from a strong infusion of systems thinking, which was in vogue at the time (ecology—the study of the relationships between organisms and their environments—is an inherently systemic discipline, as opposed to studies like chemistry that focus on reducing complex phenomena to their components). As a result, many of the best environmental writers of the era framed the modern human predicament in terms that revealed the deep linkages between environmental symptoms and the way human society operates. Limits to Growth (1972), an outgrowth of the systems research of Jay Forrester, investigated the interactions between population growth, industrial production, food production, resource depletion and pollution. Overshoot (1982), by William Catton, named our systemic problem and described its origins and development in a style any literate person could appreciate. Many more excellent books from the era could be cited.
However, in recent decades, as climate change has come to dominate environmental concerns, there has been a significant shift in the discussion. Today, most environmental reporting is focused laser-like on climate change, and systemic links between it and other worsening ecological dilemmas (such as overpopulation, species extinctions, water and air pollution, and loss of topsoil and fresh water) are seldom highlighted. It’s not that climate change isn’t a big deal. As a symptom, it’s a real doozy. There’s never been anything quite like it, and climate scientists and climate-response advocacy groups are right to ring the loudest of alarm bells. But our failure to see climate change in context may be our undoing.
Why have environmental writers and advocacy organizations succumbed to tunnel vision? Perhaps it’s simply that they assume systems thinking is beyond the capacity of policy makers. It’s true: If climate scientists were to approach world leaders with the message, “We have to change everything, including our entire economic system—and fast,” they might be shown the door rather rudely. A more acceptable message is, “We have identified a serious pollution problem, for which there are technical solutions.” Perhaps many of the scientists who did recognize the systemic nature of our ecological crisis concluded that if we can successfully address this one make-or-break environmental crisis, we’ll be able to buy time to deal with others waiting in the wings (overpopulation, species extinctions, resource depletion and on and on).
If climate change can be framed as an isolated problem for which there is a technological solution, the minds of economists and policy makers can continue to graze in familiar pastures. Technology—in this case, solar, windand nuclear power generators, as well as batteries, electric cars, heat pumps and, if all else fails, solar radiation management via atmospheric aerosols—centers our thinking on subjects like financial investment and industrial production. Discussion participants don’t have to develop the ability to think systemically, nor do they need to understand the Earth system and how human systems fit into it. All they need trouble themselves with is the prospect of shifting some investments, setting tasks for engineers and managing the resulting industrial-economic transformation so as to ensure that new jobs in green industries compensate for jobs lost in coal mines.
The strategy of buying time with a techno-fix presumes either that we will be able to institute systemic change at some unspecified point in the future even though we can’t do it just now (a weak argument on its face), or that climate change and all of our other symptomatic crises will in fact be amenable to technological fixes. The latter thought-path is again a comfortable one for managers and investors. After all, everybody loves technology. It already does nearly everything for us. During the last century it solved a host of problems: it cured diseases, expanded food production, sped up transportation and provided us with information and entertainment in quantities and varieties no one could previously have imagined. Why shouldn’t it be able to solve climate change and all the rest of our problems?
Of course, ignoring the systemic nature of our dilemma just means that as soon as we get one symptom corralled, another is likely to break loose. But, crucially, is climate change, taken as an isolated problem, fully treatable with technology? Color me doubtful. I say this having spent many months poring over the relevant data with David Fridley of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Our resulting book, Our Renewable Future, concluded that nuclear power is too expensive and risky; meanwhile, solar and wind power both suffer from intermittency, which (once these sources begin to provide a large percentage of total electrical power) will require a combination of three strategies on a grand scale: energy storage, redundant production capacity and demand adaptation. At the same time, we in industrial nations will have to adapt most of our current energy usage (which occurs in industrial processes, building heating and transportation) to electricity. Altogether, the energy transition promises to be an enormous undertaking, unprecedented in its requirements for investment and substitution. When David and I stepped back to assess the enormity of the task, we could see no way to maintain current quantities of global energy production during the transition, much less to increase energy supplies so as to power ongoing economic growth. The biggest transitional hurdle is scale: the world uses an enormous amount of energy currently; only if that quantity can be reduced significantly, especially in industrial nations, could we imagine a credible pathway toward a post-carbon future.
Downsizing the world’s energy supplies would, effectively, also downsize industrial processes of resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and waste management. That’s a systemic intervention, of exactly the kind called for by the ecologists of the 1970s who coined the mantra, “Reduce, reuse and recycle.” It gets to the heart of the overshoot dilemma—as does population stabilization and reduction, another necessary strategy. But it’s also a notion to which technocrats, industrialists, and investors are virulently allergic.
The ecological argument is, at its core, a moral one—as I explain in more detail in a just-released manifesto replete with sidebars and graphics (“There’s No App for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss”). Any systems thinker who understands overshoot and prescribes powerdown as a treatment is effectively engaging in an intervention with an addictive behavior. Society is addicted to growth, and that’s having terrible consequences for the planet and, increasingly, for us as well. We have to change our collective and individual behavior and give up something we depend on—power over our environment. We must restrain ourselves, like an alcoholic foreswearing booze. That requires honesty and soul-searching.
In its early years the environmental movement made that moral argument, and it worked up to a point. Concern over rapid population growth led to family planning efforts around the world. Concern over biodiversity declines led to habitat protection. Concern over air and water pollution led to a slew of regulations. These efforts weren’t sufficient, but they showed that framing our systemic problem in moral terms could get at least some traction.
Why didn’t the environmental movement fully succeed? Some theorists now calling themselves “bright greens” or “eco-modernists” have abandoned the moral fight altogether. Their justification for doing so is that people want a vision of the future that’s cheery and that doesn’t require sacrifice. Now, they say, only a technological fix offers any hope. The essential point of this essay (and my manifesto) is simply that, even if the moral argument fails, a techno-fix won’t work either. A gargantuan investment in technology (whether next-generation nuclear power or solar radiation geo-engineering) is being billed as our last hope. But in reality it’s no hope at all.
The reason for the failure thus far of the environmental movement wasn’t that it appealed to humanity’s moral sentiments—that was in fact the movement’s great strength. The effort fell short because it wasn’t able to alter industrial society’s central organizing principle, which is also its fatal flaw: its dogged pursuit of growth at all cost. Now we’re at the point where we must finally either succeed in overcoming growthism or face the failure not just of the environmental movement, but of civilization itself.
The good news is that systemic change is fractal in nature: it implies, indeed it requires, action at every level of society. We can start with our own individual choices and behavior; we can work within our communities. We needn’t wait for a cathartic global or national sea change. And even if our efforts cannot “save” consumerist industrial civilization, they could still succeed in planting the seeds of a regenerative human culture worthy of survival.
There’s more good news: Once we humans choose to restrain our numbers and our rates of consumption, technology can assist our efforts. Machines can help us monitor our progress, and there are relatively simple technologies that can help deliver needed services with less energy usage and environmental damage. Some ways of deploying technology could even help us clean up the atmosphere and restore ecosystems.
But machines can’t make the key choices that will set us on a sustainable path.
|May 20, 2018||
As It Turns Out, Environmentally ‘Protected’ Lands Really Aren’t.
by Dan Robitzski, in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents.org
Over a third of the land officially designated as protected is facing “intensive human activity,” according to research published today in Science. That means that allegedly-preserved areas — so designated for their crucial role as habitats for endangered or threatened species — are being damaged. By tourists, loggers, developers, miners, farmers, and all other sorts of people who have decided to leave their mark.
In fact, the only protected areas that aren’t facing human-induced devastation are those far from human habitation, according to the new research and existing work to analyze ecosystem health.
So, congratulations everyone — we haven’t screwed up northeastern Greenland (yet).
In an article that they wrote for The Conversation, the researchers call for conservationists to hold national governments accountable, while also demanding transparent, honest assessments of areas crucial for biodiversity and a functioning ecosystem (but subject to the whims of political and economic leaders).
The protected areas that face the worst human-related damage are the ones given their “protected” designations before the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. Those regions were likely to be smaller pockets — ecological “islands” — of preserved space that don’t accurately reflect and meet the needs of the plants and animals who live there and may be cut off from nearby populations as a result. Also, the areas that were protected before 1992 were subject to weaker and more lenient rules.
Over half of these areas have faced growing pressure from human activity, according to the new research. Meanwhile, areas protected after the Convention on Biological Diversity was ratified have fared somewhat better. Of note: Many of those areas encompass larger expanses of land than the ones to receive protection before them.
What’s all this mean? Above all else, it means we need to impose stricter rules on ourselves, because we just can’t seem to keep ourselves from screwing up the planet at every turn. Calling something “protected” isn’t enough — we have to enforce laws around it. If we viewed damage to the planet’s protected areas the same way we viewed damage to one’s property or home, people might be more reluctant to engage in environmentally-damaging behaviors. And after all, what’s the planet — for now — if it isn’t our home?
Good news: About fifteen percent of the planet’s landmass is designated as a protected area where threatened wildlife should be able to live free of disruption. Bad news: Humanity seems to have missed the memo.
Dan Robitzski is a writer focused on local and global environmental issues impacting our planet.
|February 19, 2018||
A Theory of War and Violence
by Thomas Scheff, G. Reginald Daniel, and Joseph Loe-Sterphone. ,
Download full WORD document by authors.
Aggression and Violent Behavior. 39, March–April 2018, Pages 109-115.
Abstract: It is possible that war in modern societies is largely driven by emotions, but in a way that is almost completely hidden. Modernity individualizes the self and tends to ignore emotions. As a result, conflict can be caused by sequences in which the total hiding of humiliation leads to vengeance. This essay outlines a theory of the social-emotional world implied in the work of C. H. Cooley and others. Cooley’s concept of the “looking-glass self” can be used as antidote to the assumptions of modernity: the basic self is social and emotional: selves are based on “living in the mind” of others, with a result of feeling either pride of shame. Cooley discusses shame at some length, unlike most approaches, which tend to hide it. This essay proposes that the complete hiding of shame can lead to feedback loops (spirals) with no natural limit: shame about shame and anger is only the first step. Emotion backlogs can feed back when emotional experiences are completely hidden: avoiding all pain can lead to limitless spirals. These ideas may help explain the role of France in causing WWI, and Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. To the extent that these propositions are true, the part played by emotions and especially shame in causing wars need to be further studied.
“...if a whole nation were to feel ashamed it would be like a lion recoiling in order to spring.” Karl Marx (1975, p. 200)
Marx was in his twenties when he wrote that sentence in a letter to Ruge (1843) about the tension between France and Prussia. Later he became a historical materialist: he believed a war could be caused only by material goals, like land and resources. As he grew older, he seemed to join the trend in modern societies toward ignoring emotions, regarding them as not as real or important as material things. Bertrand Russell (1915) proposed an idea like Marx’s, but also like Marx, abandoned it in his later life: Men desire the sense of triumph, and fear the sense of humiliation which they would have in yielding to the demands of another nation. Rather than praised; it is called high-spirited, worthy of a great nation, showing fidelity to ancestral traditions. The slightest sign of reasonableness is attributed to fear, forego the triumph, rather than endure the humiliation, they are willing to inflict upon the world all those disasters which it is now (in 1915) suffering and all that exhaustion and impoverishment which it must long continue to suffer. The willingness to inflict and endure such evils is almost universally and received with shame on the one side and with derision on the other (1915). (Underlining added)
There are by now many, many studies of war and violence. Some, however, do not propose a theory of causation, but merely record the facts. Those that do propose a cause usually offer a material one, even though most do not name Marx or historical materialism. For example, theft, as in colonialism, is an example of material things causing violence: one nation steals the land of another nation by brute force. The spreading of a religion is a non-material cause that has also been proposed. The Crusades to conquer Palestine are one example. In addition to material causes and beliefs, there is also a miscellany of causes that have been suggested. Marx’s and Russell’s early idea of shame as a cause of war is one of that miscellany.
Cooley’s Concept of the Self
In our present society, it is not an easy task to expand upon the brief statements by Marx and by Russell that war may be caused by shame, an emotion that arises out of social relationships. But the work of Cooley and others can help us begin. Sociologist Charles H. Cooley (1902) laid the groundwork for a conceptualization of human beings that is both social and emotional:
[The self] seems to have three principal elements:
1. The imagination of our appearance to the other person.
2. The imagination of his [or her] judgment of that appearance.
3. Some sort of self feeling, such as pride or mortification [shame]. (p.184)
This idea, “the looking-glass self,” is an abstract theoretical statement, but Cooley gave only a few brief examples of how it works. Consequently, his definition has been largely ignored. Yet it is still useful for building a theory of violence. His theory of the makeup of the self proposes that it is both social and emotional, contrary to most current thinking. The idea presented here, that the looking-glass self posits the emotions of pride and shame in all humans would be a great surprise to most sociologists. Cooley’s model of the self is useful not only because it posits a social and emotional self, but also because he goes ahead to write openly and directly about one of the two emotions in the model ¬– shame. He suggests the possibility that this emotion is present in all human beings and plays a central role both in internal and external experience. Cooley (1902) proposed that we “live in the minds of others, without knowing it” (p. 207).
The comparison with a looking glass hardly suggests the second element, the imagined judgment, which is quite essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not the mere mechanical reflec¬tion of ourselves, but an imputed sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon another’s mind. This is evident from the fact that the character and weight of that other, in whose mind we see ourselves, makes all the difference with our feeling. We are ashamed to seem evasive in the presence of a straightforward man, cowardly in the presence of a brave one, gross in the eyes of a refined one and so on. We always imagine, and in imagining share, the judg¬ments of the other mind. A man will boast to one person of an action—say some sharp transaction in trade—which he would be ashamed to own to another.
Cooley seems to have had a great interest in shame, but little for any other emotions: anger, grief, and fear, for example, are hardly ever mentioned, even in passing. One part of his definition of self, pride, is little discussed, as already mentioned. It makes sense that pride and shame would be the central emotion for humans, just as it is for all other mammals. The very life of every young mammal depends upon being accepted by his or her tribe. Adult mammals also still need acceptance, but in more subtle ways. Cooley’s act of linking the self to shame may help to outline a new theory of peace and violence.
As already indicated, modern societies tend to ignore emotions as unimportant. The process of ignoring is particularly strong with shame. The psychologist Gershen Kaufman is one of the writers who has proposed that it is usually taboo to mention this emotion, just as direct reference to sex was forbidden in the 19th century. Indeed, he wrote: “American society is a shame-based culture, but …shame remains hidden. Since there is shame about shame, it remains under taboo” (Kaufman, 1989, 46).
The first studies of sexual behavior published by Kinsey (1948) and by Masters and Johnson (1966) met condemnation because they discussed subjects that had previously been taboo. Yet they quickly became known both to the research world and to the public at large. Suppose, however, that they had used inoffensive but ambiguous words like love or intimacy instead of the word sex, which at that time was more taboo than it is now. They would have caused little offense, but their work would have become less well known. If that were the case, there might have been less effect on the public.
The phrase “I feel rejected” implies that an emotion is like a behavior (reject). That keeping the emotion hidden, as sex would have been had Kinsey used ambiguous words like love or intimacy. Sexuality is less secret today than in Kinsey’s time, but it appears that one is still not to talk about shame in polite society. But when shame is unacknowledged, a social and emotional process may be generated that is dangerous both to individuals and to nations.
Some useful steps toward a general theory of the causes of violence were suggested by Gilligan (1997), based on his experiences with violent men as a prison psychiatrist. For many years, he made a habit of asking the prisoners who had murdered a simple question: Why did you do it? Most of the answers took the same form: “because he dissed (disrespected) me.” This answer implied to Gilligan that they had used anger and violence to avoid shame. From this background, Gilligan proposed:
The emotion of shame is the primary or ultimate cause of all violence... Anger is a necessary but not a sufficient cause of violence, just as the tubercle bacillus is necessary but not sufficient for the development of tuberculosis. The different forms of violence, whether toward individuals or entire populations, are motivated (caused) by shame. (pp. 110–111)
[There are three preconditions under which shame leads to violence.] The first precondition is that the shame is a secret, probably the most carefully guarded secret held by violent men…The degree of shame that a man needs to be experiencing in order to become homicidal is so intense and painful that it threatens to overwhelm him and bring about the death of self, cause him to lose his mind, his soul, or his sacred honor. (p. 112) The idea that secret shame is the prime cause of violence is very important, but needs to be elaborated. Normal emotions are hardly overwhelming because they are brief and instructive. Fear is a signal of imminent danger, but usually comes and goes in a few seconds, like other normal emotions. Similarly, normal shame and embarrassment are brief signals of actual or potential rejection by other(s). What kind of dynamic can result in feeling overwhelmed by painful emotions to the point of losing all inhibition? We will return to this question below, after considering Gilligan’s other two conditions.
…The second precondition for violence is met when these men perceive themselves as having no nonviolent means of warding off or diminishing their feelings of shame, …such as socially rewarded economic or cultural achievement, or high social status, position, and prestige. (p. 112)
The third precondition …is that the person lacks feelings that inhibit the violent impulses that are stimulated by shame. The most important are love and guilt toward others, and fear for the self. … (p. 113). Finally, there is a fourth issue implied: Since Gilligan worked only in male prisons, his perpetrators are all men. As discussed below, the majority of multiple killers are men, but there is only a small minority of women.
Gilligan’s examples of insults leading to violence can be understood more concretely than his explanation above. The insulted person can avoid feeling any shame at all (such as realizing that he or she was at fault, or from being called a coward for not fighting immediately), simply by killing the person insulting him.
How Much Shame?
The question of conditions under which secret shame leads to violence turns out to be important, because it seems reasonable to assume that shame, or the anticipation of shame, is virtually omnipresent in most people, especially secret shame. The idea that people spend much of their time and energy involved in or avoiding shame or embarrassment was central to much of the writing of Erving Goffman (1959); one example: “…there is no interaction in which participants do not take an appreciable chance of being slightly embarrassed or a slight chance of being deeply humiliated. (p. 243, emphasis added). If this sentence is taken literally, it means that shame and/or the anticipation of shame haunts all social interaction (assuming that embarrassment is a light version of shame, humiliation a heavy one). Avoidance of shame/embarrassment/humiliation is the driving force behind Goffman’s central idea of impression management. Two studies that suggest a very high frequency of shame-related episodes in ordinary life will be discussed below.
The idea that shame issues are a virtually continuous presence in human affairs seems odd in modern societies because they foster the doctrine of individualism. We are taught that each person is a sovereign entity, self-reliant, standing alone. This emphasis is just a pipedream, since flourishing and even, to a large extent, surviving is dependent upon acceptance by others.
Finally, there is an issue of secret shame that makes trouble, but no violence. Many years ago, Cressey’s (1953) study of persons jailed for embezzlement shows that every case involved what he called a “non-shareable financial problem,” in Gilligan’s terminology, a secret (see also Braithwaite, 1989). Similarly, many studies have suggested that bullying, which usually involves only threats of violence, are linked to secret shame (Ahmed, et al., 2001). This essay will propose that it is not just secret shame, but endlessly recursive shame that leads to violence of all kinds.
In the US, at least, many multiple killers have been loners who were harassed and ostracized. Yet most people treated that way do not shoot anyone or even make trouble. What could be special about the killers? It may be that destructive management of shame might be a major part of the problem. Although they use the word rejection, rather than shame, Leary et al.’s (2003) review of school shootings comes to a similar conclusion. Again, they do not use the term shame, but it is implied in their analysis of the shooters who “felt rejected.”
Before developing the theory further, first some examples. Tyler Peterson was a 19-year-old who killed six in Crandon, Wisconsin (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 8, 2007). He had gone to his on-again, off-again girlfriend’s house in the middle of the night and instead of patching up their relationship, argued with her. One of the persons gathered at her home for a party called him a “worthless pig.” He went home, got his AR-17 machine gun, and returned to kill all of the gathering but one. According to one of his friends, Peterson had been picked on in high school because he was not originally from Crandon, and not an athlete. Cho Seung-Hui was the 23-year old killer in the spree at Virginia Tech in 2007. Like Peterson and all of the other school killers, he was an isolated male loner who felt rejected. Many of his written complaints imply that he was rejecting those that he felt had rejected him, a strong indication of shame. There are also plentiful indications of isolation. One of his teachers reported, “He was the loneliest person I have ever known.” (Washington Post, August 29, 2007).
His roommate commented that often he did not respond at all when spoken to, or would respond with only one word. In Cho’s writings, there are many indications of shame and humiliation. He often mentioned others’ disrespect for him and those like him. In one instance, he referred directly to humiliation: “Kill yourselves or you will never know how the dorky kid that [you] publicly humiliated and spat on will come behind you and slash your throats.” (Washington Post, 2007). In another posting, he stated:
I have friends, but I’m basically a loner in a group of loners. I’ve never shared my past with anyone, and I’ve never talked about it with anyone. I’m excluded from anything and everything they do, I’m never invited, I don’t even know why they consider me a friend or I them….
Cho seems to have been without a single bond, rejected continually and relentlessly by everyone around him, including his so-called friends. It is little wonder that his writing contains many clear indications of shame; for example, “I really must be fucking worthless….”
His claim to being publicly humiliated could be either true or imagined, since there is at this writing no outside support for it. However, there is such support in the case of Jennifer San Marcos. She was the 44-year-old killer in the Goleta, California post office spree in 2006, killing 7 persons and herself. (Santa Barbara News-Press, 2006). An investigator who requested anonymity spoke with many of Jennifer’s co-workers for several weeks after the spree.
The investigator was surprised to find that with only one exception, the 18 co-workers interviewed expressed deep sympathy not only for the victims, but also for Jennifer. They all told roughly the same story. She was fired because of her mental illness, which had led to periodic misbehavior on the job. On the night, she was fired after her latest outburst, she was handcuffed to a mail cart by the management, awaiting the arrival of the police. During the extended period of waiting, she was in full view of her co-workers, as if she were in stocks. Because this part of the story shows management in a bad light, it has not been mentioned in the media. Perhaps anyone, mentally ill, or not, would feel intense humiliation under these circumstances.
In May 2014, Elliott Rodger, a student at Santa Barbara City College, killed seven people, including himself, and injured fourteen more. Rodger left behind a manifesto and nine videos, both detailing the experiences and feelings that motivated his killings. In each, the role of shame is evident, especially as it intersected with race and sex. Indeed, Rodger wrote frequently about instances of (perceived) sexual rejection by women in the Isla Vista community where large numbers of Santa Barbara City College and University of California, Santa Barbara students reside; for example, he wrote: “Humanity has rejected me. The females of the human species have never wanted to mate with me…” (Rodger, 2014, p. 135; see also pp. 25, 88, 110, 112). Rodger understood this perceived rejection as shaking the foundations of his identity. Of the effect of this rejection on his relationships with other men, he wrote: “I had to suffer the shame of other boys respecting me less because I didn’t get any girls” (Rodger 2014, p. 135). It even extended to feeling that members of his family would feel ashamed of him for not having a girlfriend.
All of this, however, was heightened by his perceptions of race. Rodger’s white supremacist beliefs intersected with his obsession with sex in a way that increased his feelings of shame given that the women he desired but who rejected him were white. Describing an incident in which he was at lunch with his father, Rodger wrote:
I saw a young couple sitting a few tables down the row…. I regarded it as a great insult to my dignity. How could an inferior Mexican guy be able to date a white blonde girl, while I was still suffering as a lonely virgin? (Rodger, 2014, p. 87)
His belief in his own racial superiority, albeit mitigated by being “half Asian,” caused him to anger at the sight of men-of-color out on dates with white women, who he perceived as rejecting him. Another incident makes clear the shame he felt for being mixed-race, for being sexually rejected, and, more specifically, for being rejected in favor of men he perceived as racially inferior:
I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian… How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them? (Rodger, 2014, p. 121)
Shame and Violence
The role of humiliation in multiple killing was suggested by Gaylin (2003) in his analysis of hatred: “The rampage of an ex-employee at the workplace is often the product of …a perceived public humiliation, where the “public” may be only his fellow employees at the post office” (p. 60). Gaylin’s statement, made several years before the event, is nevertheless a telling comment particularly on the Goleta multiple killing. In an earlier study, Diamond (1997) also emphasized shame and humiliation, stating clearly that workplace violence seems to be based equally on management mistreatment and the killers’ shame dynamics.
I have located three empirical studies that support the shame/violence hypothesis, and a review of a large literature of empirical studies (Leary, et al., 2006). The review does not use the word shame, but an expression that is its cognate (“feeling rejected“). Of the three studies that employ the word shame, two of them are on a fairly small scale, by Brown (2004), and by Thomas (1995).
A second series of studies has been made by Evelin Lindner (2000, 2006, 2006, and 2010) and her associates. The studies are of interest in themselves, and also in the way they were begun. For many years, she avoided the s-word, referring to it (and pride) indirectly in the phrase “dignity and humiliation.” It was for this reason, I believe, that she was able to assemble an international organization that studies shame and violence (www.humiliationstudies.org).
The third study, Websdale (2010), however, is the largest, most detailed, and most systematic study of individual killers so far. He found evidence of intense shame in almost all of 211 cases of multiple killings within families: one partner kills the other partner, and one or more children. This type of murder is a multiple killing, but usually enclosed within a single family. In a few of the cases, however, bystanders were also killed.
All of Websdale’s cases except the very early ones contained many, many details about each case, obtained not only from media reports, but also police records and in some cases actual interviews with persons who knew the family. Most of these sources were available to Websdale through the Domestic Violence Fatality Review movement, a sizable group judging from the many persons acknowledged by the author. The author patiently sifted through these materials in order to understand each case separately. Judging from my own reactions, this part of his study must have required considerable emotional fortitude on his part: a review of highly detailed material from some 150 tragedies, one after another.
Websdale’s findings strongly support Gilligan’s idea that violence is caused by shame. However, in addition, Websdale discovered that that most of the killings took one of two seemingly different forms: the livid coercive hearts, and the civil reputable hearts. The first type of violence, a majority of the cases, is clearly parallel to the commonsense idea of violence exploding out of rage. The second type is quite different, involving killings with no history of violence whatever, and clearly and quietly premeditated, sometimes during lengthy periods of time. The idea of a type of premeditated violence turns out to be quite important in several ways, but particularly in understanding collective violence. The theory outlined here, like Gilligan’s, Lindner’s, and Websdale’s, proposes shame as a causal agent.
Recursion of Emotions and Alienation in Killers
It has been suggested that recursive thinking is unique to human beings, differentiating their mental processes decisively from other species (Corballis, 2007). The theory presented here proposes that recursion of feelings, feeling about feeling, would also differentiate humans from other species, and explain episodes of depression or rage of extraordinary intensity and/or duration.
Gilligan’s (1997) explanation of the way in which secret shame leads to violence is largely metaphorical, as already indicated:
The degree of shame that a man needs to be experiencing in order to become homicidal is so intense and so painful that it threatens to overwhelm him and bring about the death of the self, cause him to lose his mind, his soul, or his sacred honor. (pp. 110–111)
The model of recursive loops proposed here explains how laminations and spirals of shame could lead to pain so unbearable as to feel like one is dying, or losing mind or soul.
The idea of isolation and shame/anger spirals seems to fit most of the recorded cases of multiple killing: the killers were not only isolated but also may have been in unacknowledged shame states. In her book Rampage, the social scientist Katherine Newman (2004) analyzed 25 school killings that took place in the U.S. between 1974 and 2002. The 27 killers all had been marginalized in their schools. That is, they had been harassed and ostracized to the point that they were completely alienated. Although Newman did not often mention shame or shaming, her descriptions suggest that the killers may have been in a state of unacknowledged shame prior to their rampages.
In another study of school killings, Fast (2008) considered 13 cases, and also suggests isolation as a cause (he calls it lack of integration into the school social milieu). Like Newman, some of his terminology (e.g., self-hatred) implies shame without naming it explicitly. The Columbine multiple killing has evoked the largest amount of research. Larkin (2007), already mentioned, has described in detail the circumstances that led up to the killings. It is quite clear from his investigation that the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were quite isolated from others, but engulfed with each other. In the writing they did in secret, it is also clear that they both felt humiliated by the treatment they received from the high school cliques that rejected them.
Multiple killings occur at the collective level also, in the form of gratuitous assaults, genocides and wars. The individual and interpersonal emotion spirals would be the same, but there would also be a recursive process between media and people, as suggested below.
The origins of World War I can serve as an example. The differences that divided the countries that fought this extraordinarily destructive war might have been negotiated, had there been last-minute negotiations to avoid war. But there were not. There was merely an exchange of single letters from the rulers, a formality. Historians have so far been unable to satisfactorily explain the causes of this war.
My book on the politics of revenge (1994) proposed that social scientists have been looking in the wrong places. The basic cause of the war, I argued, was not economic or real politic, but social/emotional. The German and French people seem to have been caught up in alienation and shame spirals. The French defeat by the Germans in 1871 led to national desire for vengeance. The French leaders plotted a war for over 40 years, including a secret understanding with Russia for the purpose of defeating the Germans (For a more recent and broader discussion of emotions, revenge, and conflict, see Frijda 2007, Ch. 7).
Media and Masses
During this period, the role of mass media in both generating and reflecting collective humiliation and anger is quite blatant. The French public and its leaders experienced their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (l870-71), and the Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the war, as humiliating (Kennan, l984, Sontag, l933, Weber, l954). Going against Bismarck’s warnings (he feared revenge), the Germans had annexed two French provinces (Alsace and Lorraine). Revenge brought about through the return of the two lost provinces, revanchisme, became the central issue in French media and politics of the whole era.
Leading political figures such as Gambetta and General Boulanger talked about revenge openly in their campaigns (Boulanger was known in the popular press as “General Revenge.”) Vengeance against Germany was a popular theme in newspapers, magazines, poetry and fiction. Revenge themes were common in the popular literature of the time. The poetry and novels of that era serve as examples. The war poems of Deroulede, Chants du Soldat (Songs of a Soldier, l872) were wildly popular. Here is a sample stanza (quoted in Rutkoff, l981, p. l61):
Revenge will come, perhaps slowly
Perhaps with fragility, yet a strength that is sure
For bitterness is already born and force will follow
And cowards only the battle will ignore.
Note that this poem not only appeals to the French to seek revenge, but also contains a coercive element. In the last line, anyone who might disagree with the poet’s sentiments is labeled a coward. There are many other instances of appeals to vengeance, honor, and glory in the other poems: these are the main themes. By l890 this little book had gone through an unprecedented 83 editions, which suggests that it had a vast audience. The extraordinary acclaim that greeted Chants du Soldat (Soldiers’ Songs) prompted Déroulède to publish further books of similar thrust, most of them devoted to military glory, triumph and revenge. For example, in l896 his Poesies Militaires (Military Poetry) continued in the same vein. The following is a representative stanza:
French blood! — a treasure so august
And hoarded with such jealous care,
To crush oppression’s strength unjust,
With all the force of right robust,
And buy us back our honor fair... (Déroulède, 1896, p. 172)
Although revenge is not mentioned explicitly, the last line implies what might be called the honor-insult-revenge cycle (Scheff & Retzinger, l991).
Also indicative of open revanchism was the rash of novels about the plight of Alsace and Lorraine under German occupation, which became popular in the l5 years preceding WWI. The best-known author of this genre, Maurice Barres, published two: In the Service of Germany (l905) and Collette Baudoche (l909). These books, like many others of their ilk, were not works of art, but “works of war,” to use the phrase of Barres’ biographer (Boisdeffre, 1962).
Websdale’s idea of a type of multiple killer who, not acting in a fit of rage, but carefully and with considerable planning, seems to be applicable to wars like WWI. The ruling emotional spiral is not shame-anger, but shame-shame. A person or a nation can become so lost in a spiral of being ashamed of being ashamed that it becomes the dominant force in their existence, as it seems to have been in the French nation 1871-1914. The violence that results is not because of a loss of control, but submerging the inhibitions that prevent killing.
Hitler’s Rise to Power in Germany
With only a few exceptions, the idea of emotional origins of war not been well received by most experts in history and political science. It seems that they are caught up in the denial of the importance of the social-emotional world, assuming that causes lie in the material world, like the grown-up Marx, and/or in thoughts and beliefs. They share this denial with most of the members of modern societies, lay and expert alike, as discussed above (see also Scheff, 1990; 1994; 1997; 2006; Scheff & Retzinger, 1991).
It might be that hiding shame was the basic underlying reason that Hitler took power in 1934 and was able to steer Germany on his murderous course. It is possible that although the Germans’ contempt for the Weimar Republic arose for many reasons, the most powerful one might have been because it had signed a treaty that affirmed the accusation that Germany had not only lost WWI, but was also solely responsible for starting it. If it was actually France that started the war, as the Germans correctly thought, the crucial reason that Hitler was able to take and keep power in Germany was because he promised to remove that stain from their honor by revenge not only against France, but the whole world.
Another factor that should be taken into consideration in this discussion of shame is Hitler’s evolving anti-Semitism and the prevailing obsession with an international Jewish conspiracy. Before Hitler came to power, there had been a long history of anti-Semitism in Germany and elsewhere propagated by prominent thinkers, including Adolf Stöcker, Heinrich von Treitschke, Count de Gobineau, etc., and even further back to Martin Luther and medieval Christianity (Richards, 2013). Moreover, there was a developing belief in a Jewish conspiracy aimed at global domination. The growing respectability of this paranoiac line of reasoning can be attributed in part to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1905), a document which purported to represent the ideas of a secret society of Jewish elders about a Jewish plot to take over the world. The dissemination of this document depended on already existing belief that made it almost invulnerable to evidence indicating it was a fabrication and forgery (McMillan, 2014; Mosse, 1978).
Yet this thinking enjoyed a new surge in acceptance in Germany after World War I, in part because of Germany’s surrender. Indeed, Hitler and many others did not believe that Germany had ever lost the war. Rather, many Germans harbored feelings of shame that were rooted in anger at the so-called November criminals—those who had signed the Armistice and were involved in the negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles. These criminals had allegedly betrayed Germany by unjustly abandoning the war effort, a shameful action that Hitler believed had been engineered by inimical Jewish forces (Aviram, 2008; Hitler, 1925; Hyland, Boduszek & Kielkiewicz, 2011; Mosse, 1978).
During the 1920s, the Treaty of Versailles was regarded by Germans of all political persuasions as a “treaty of shame” (Krumeich, 2006, p. 162; Scheff, 2000, p. 108) or “dictate of shame” (Mommsen, 1998, p. 535), and the blame for the war as unjust. On June 28, 1919, one nationalist newspaper Deutsche Zeitung railed, “Today German honour is dragged to the grave. Never forget it! The German people will advance again to regain their pride. We will have our revenge for the shame of 1919!” (Trueland, 2004, p. 88). Similarly, in Mein Kampf, Hitler states:
…[E]very one of these points [in the Treaty] could have been burned into the brain and feeling of this nation until, finally, in the heads of sixty million men and women the same sense of shame and the same hate would have become a single fiery sea of flames, out of whose glow a steely will would have risen and a cry forced itself: ‘We want arms once more!’ (Hitler 1925/1941, p. 920).
Hitler thus found his ready-made political platform of revenge and vindication for Germany’s shame: the denunciation of the Treaty of Versailles, the annihilation of international Jewry, the rebuilding of German military power, the recapturing of the lost eastern territories, and most important, the restoration of Germany’s lost sense of community, as well as national pride. In essence, Hitler was motivated by his individual-level shame, and was able to deploy shame to enlist the German people into supporting his plan (Kershaw, 1998; 2010; Scheff 1990; Scheff, 2000; Scheff & Retzinger, 1991).
Many studies attribute Germany’s motives during World War II primarily to conventional notions of war objectives based on territorial conquest, wealth, and power acquisition. Notwithstanding the importance of those factors, the shame, as well as loss of a sense of national pride Germany incurred for accepting full responsibility for World War I was a significant contributing factor (Scheff, 2000). These emotions were carried forward, intensified, and became the centerpiece of Hitler’s and the Nazi Party’s anti-Semitic logics leading to the Holocaust wherein the Jewish “race” had to be removed from Germany (Herf, 2006).
Of course, there was no scientific basis to identify Jewish people as a race in terms of biology or genetics. Yet in the early part of the 20th century, and especially in the 1930s and 1940s, particularly in Germany, anti-Semitism was buttressed by Social Darwinian thought, mainly those influenced by British thinker Herbert Spencer, including the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Social Darwinists further developed Darwinian ideas surrounding race and argued aggressively that certain “inferior races” were less evolved than “superior races” (Mosse, 1978; Richards, 2013; Snyder, 2015; Weikart, 1993).
According to this line of reasoning some races or nations had progressed further than others, who were less fortunate in the genetic endowments for intellectual accomplishments. The writers of popularized science, as well as many biologists and anthropologists, carefully ranked races and nationalities from lowest to highest in value. Whites of European descent, particularly the Nordic (or Aryan) races, were always at the top of the hierarchy, and Blacks always at the bottom, with numerous gradations among various people who we now consider White. Many Social Darwinists extended this belief to include the idea that superior peoples had every right to conquer, exploit, and even exterminate inferior ones. All of these notions were declared to be proven scientific fact (McMillan, 2014; Richards, 2013; Snyder, 2015; Weikart, 1993).
Hitler’s obsession with and belief in these ideas was spelled out in no uncertain terms in Mein Kampf (1925). Yet, they had been germinating in his consciousness since his time in Vienna, where he lived between 1906 and 1913. While there, he developed his deepening ant-Semitism. His various political ideas were influenced by Vienna’s politicians, its journalists, its many racist cranks, and even by socio-economic factors such as inflation, the chronic housing shortage, and its soaring unemployment rate. Yet anti-Semitism was the key contemporary social and political issue. Indeed, anti-Semitism was debated at length in Parliament, in Vienna’s many cafés, as well as in its wide variety of daily and weekly newspapers (Hamann, 1999; Jones, 2002; Victor, 2007).
When Hitler first arrived in Vienna, the Austrian capital was a vibrant metropolis that served as something of a magnet for artists, composers, writers, and other “Modernist” intellectuals. There Hitler developed his passion for drama, theatre design, and the operas of Richard Wagner. But it was also in Vienna where Hitler’s childhood ambition of becoming an artist was dashed. He was twice denied admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, once in 1907 and again in 1908 (Kershaw, 2010; McMillan, 2014) because his sketches and paintings were considered “unsatisfactory” (Kershaw, 1998, p. 24). The issue appears to be that Hitler’s drawings did not display much interest in or consideration of the human form. Landscapes, and particularly drawings of buildings, appeared to be of greater interest to him (Spotts, 2003). Given that Hitler considered himself to be exceptionally talented, rejection by the academy was therefore the source of considerable shame (Brenner, 2016).
Vienna was also awash with Modern Art (meaning abstract and non-representative art), which was an avant-garde trend counter to the academy’s conventional style and genre of nineteenth-century representational painting (e.g., neoclassical, realist, impressionistic, etc.) (Colotti & Mariani, 1984; Hamann, 1999; Kershaw, 1998). As someone whose paintings were still stylistically wedded to the latter (Kershaw, 1998), Hitler disdained Modern Art. He came to view it not only as “degenerate art” but also part of the great Jewish Bolshevik cultural conspiracy (Hamann, 1999; Lauder, 2014; Peters, 2014; Price, 2014; Victor, 2007).
Also in Vienna, Hitler, a provincial from Linz, developed the mindset of an uncertain, frustrated, sexually insecure, socially awkward, emotionally volatile outsider who felt alienated and rejected. By Christmas 1909, Hitler was without even enough money to feed himself, and ended up living on the streets. This obliged him to seek shelter in a privately-run men’s home before eventually finding a more permanent dwelling in a new, ultra-modern men’s hostel. During his stay in the hostel Hitler began selling his watercolor and postcard paintings to tourists and picture frame manufacturers to try to earn a living (Hamann, 1999).
Hitler left Vienna for Munich in May 1913 just prior to World War I. His subsequent experiences as a soldier in World War I and its disastrous aftermath––the Treaty of Versailles, the Depression, and the economic hardships these events would impose upon Germany, Hitler’s newly adopted homeland––would help transform him into the confirmed anti-Semite and political opportunist whose emerging gifts as a public speaker would help catapult him and the Nazi Party to power in 1933 (Kershaw, 1998). And the quickest path to power was to exploit Germany’s already existing anti-Semitic prejudices (Hamann, 1999; Herf, 2006; Victor, 2007).
Supported by a biologistic and pseudoscientific notion of Jewish inferiority, Nazi legislators institutionalized what have been referred to as the Nuremburg Laws, which used birth and ancestry (blood) as criteria. Consequently, anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents, regardless of whether they identified as Jewish or belonged to the Jewish religious community, was defined as Jewish. Tens of thousands of Germans who would not consider themselves to be Jewish were suddenly without citizenship and, thereby, without political rights. To further complicate matters, individuals who had only one or two Jewish grandparents were labeled Mischlinge. This “mixed-race” class was not initially stripped of their rights, but eventually were to have them curtailed (Ludwig, 2015; Whitman, 2017).
However, it is important to remember that Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitism was a combination of racial ideology and paranoiac conspiracy theory. Notions of racial defilement, contamination, and impurity combined with tales of an international Jewry striving for global domination by undermining Germany from within its national borders and body politic (McMillan, 2014). The shame Germany experienced as a result of its surrender during World War I—and therefore the loss of territory, resources, and people—was displaced primarily onto Jewish people (Brenner, 2016). This culminated in policies of extermination legitimated by racial pseudoscience (shame via contamination or miscegenation) and the belief in a Jewish international conspiracy (shame about the engineered surrender). Accordingly, Jewish people were conceived of as all-powerful puppeteers who pulled the strings of both the democratic capitalist West and the totalitarian Communist East (McMillan, 2014; Mosse, 1978). They were the masterminds behind Germany’s shameful surrender and thereby caused World War II. Consequently, the war against international Jewry and World War II were one and the same. As such, the Jewish populations in Germany and abroad were the primary enemy; all Jews were considered enemy combatants (Herf, 2006; McMillan, 2014).
By 1941, Hitler and Goebbels were announcing publicly that the threatened extermination of Jewish people was now part of ongoing official Nazi policy. The regime broadcasted these intentions to its own citizens even if it did not go into detail about the death camps and specifics of the actual genocide. Anti-Semitic propaganda newspapers and wall posters flooded into every public space throughout the Reich—from subway stations to kiosks to hotel lobbies. Yet the fact that the Nazi regime was able to keep the empirical facts and gruesome details about the mass exterminations hidden from the German people and the world to the extent they did, was perhaps the greatest propaganda achievement of the Nazi propaganda war against Jewry (Herf, 2006; Johnson & Reuband, 2005).
Wars that might have been avoided are now being called “vanity wars” (Harbaugh, 2013). The author applied this idea to three US wars: Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This phrase seems also to fit WWI. There was only a brief and shallow attempt to settle differences peacefully before World War I. The term vanity war seems to have been coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1915) when he explained why he refused to fight in that war.
Bertrand Russell was one of the few people who noticed and acted upon this idea. He refused to fight because, as he actually stated, it was a “vanity war.” He did not go into detail about the nature of vanity, but he did propose the idea of hidden humiliation and shame:
Men desire the sense of triumph, and fear the sense of humiliation which they would have in yielding to the demands of another nation. Rather than forego the triumph, rather than endure the humiliation, they are willing to inflict upon the world all those disasters which it is now (in 1915) suffering and all that exhaustion and impoverishment which it must long continue to suffer. The willingness to inflict and endure such evils is almost universally praised; it is called high-spirited, worthy of a great nation, showing fidelity to ancestral traditions. The slightest sign of reasonableness is attributed to fear, and received with shame on the one side and with derision on the other. (Russell 1915, 133-134; Russell 1916, 88-99) Russell received no reward for actively opposing the war. Indeed, he spent 8 months in prison for it.
The Iraq war might also be understood as a mass killing occasioned, at least in part, by humiliation. The motivation of the leaders who launched the war is more complex than that, but even for them the war can be seen as partly motivated by revenge, and the use of revenge to placate the public. Rather than acknowledge the shame caused by 9/11 happening on their watch, and apologizing, they masked it with an attack on a nation that played no part. Like other spree killers, most of their victims were innocent bystanders.
Perhaps the crucial question is not about the leaders, but the public. Why have they been so passive about a war that is obviously fraudulent, and for which they must pay with their earnings, and some with their lives? It is possible that the only thing they have to gain is continuing to mask their fear, grief, and humiliation with anger and violent aggression committed in their name. Needless to say, this is only a hypothesis, like all the others proposed here. Given the current world situation, further exploration and study is urgently needed.
The need for public understanding of the part the social-emotional world might play in generating violence can be illustrated by studies of the motivation of terrorists. Several studies strongly suggest that massive experiences of humiliation could be the main motivation of terrorists, such as Palestinian suicide-bombers (Jones, 2008; Strozier, et al., 2010, pp. 143-147. See also Stern, 2003; Smith, 2006). Smith (2006), particularly, provides detailed analysis of the humiliation/vengeance model at the level of massive violence. A remark by the then prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, frames our dilemma. When asked by a reporter why Palestinians crossing the border are kept waiting so long, he replied: “We want to humiliate them” (Reported in a talk by Jones, 2010). Both Helmick (2003) and Michalczyk (2003) suggest that humiliation was an intentional Israeli policy. If this was true, it would be fair to say that Israeli policy was manufacturing terrorism against Israel.
According to the theory, the humiliation–revenge–counter revenge cycle is the most dangerous thing in human existence, even more than plutonium. We are jeopardized because emotional motives are virtually invisible to politicians and the public as well. Our job as social scientists and as citizens is to try to make the social-emotional world visible and as important as the political-economic one. Conclusion
If the idea of interacting isolation/rejection and shame/anger and shame/shame spirals turns out to be a step in the right direction, what kinds of remedies might be possible? For the sake of brevity, I will mention only one: the present educational system is usually shaming to all but the A students. A remedy would be to offer classes to children and young adults that encourage them to notice and acknowledge their emotions.
The movement called Cooperative Learning proposes that both grammar and high school teach about the social-emotional world, in addition to traditional education topics. Although promising in many ways, it is weak with respect to the emotion part. So far there has been only the mere mention, if that, of the names of some of the common emotions, such as anger, grief or fear. That is to say it follows the practice of modern societies of dismissing emotions as unimportant, not referring to them at all, or so briefly as to amount to dismissal. The most effective location for emotion education would probably be high schools, a vale of low grades, cliques and rejection for a substantial part of the student body.
In the long run, the study of emotional causes of war and peace, and especially the part played by revenge, should at least be admitted to the existing approaches in history, political science and the other social and psychological studies. This change needs to be done carefully since the systematic study of emotions is still in its infancy. But in the long run, this change might change the world in a positive way.
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