MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Empire’

The US Isn’t An Israel Puppet, Israel Isn’t A US Puppet: It’s One Empire – Caitlin’s Newsletter

Posted by M. C. on May 24, 2021

There is no real “Israel” or “America”, there’s just the one empire. Lobbying, financial support, propaganda etc are just some of the glue that’s required to hold together an empire that doesn’t officially exist. The empire will use any ideology to advance imperial interests, whether it be Zionism, Christian fundamentalism, white supremacism, Islamic extremism, or woke progressivism. It’s all just narratives to move the empire along, because that’s what’s required in an unacknowledged, unofficial empire.

There is no one government in charge of all this; the official elected governments are not where the real power lies. The actual power structure keeps itself hidden and unaccountable, because it has seen what the masses can do to oppressive rulers who wear crowns in modern times:

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-us-isnt-an-israel-puppet-israel

Caitlin Johnstone

The real consequence of this is that people will begin losing trust in the government and media institutions which support Israel, because without trust the empire can’t propagandize people, and without the ability to propagandize us our rulers cannot rule. There’s no risk for Israel of losing US backing due to the US government suddenly evolving a conscience or listening to its constituents, that won’t happen, but losing control of the narrative poses a major problem for the empire. Someone’s image is going to have to change, and those changes could end up benefiting Palestinians.

We’re already seeing this narrative management campaign come into play as mainstream outlets are now permitting some serious criticisms of Israel. This is done cynically to prevent people from losing trust in propaganda institutions, but it also has real effects that can benefit real people. This is a good example of how expanding consciousness is always beneficial, even on the most depraved institutions. The more aware the public becomes of abusive imperial power dynamics, the less abuse the empire can get away with. The empire losing control of the narrative is always a good thing.Don’t Extradite Assange @DEAcampaignJulian Assange’s partner @StellaMoris1 at the #Palestine Solidarity March in Hyde Park, London. “Julian published the words of Israeli government officials that were spoken behind closed doors.” #Gaza #londonprotest #assange May 22nd 2021703 Retweets1,517 Likes

As criticism of Israel’s malfeasance becomes more widespread, so too do attempts to analyze exactly what Israel’s role is on the world stage and why it receives so much support from the United States. Some say that Israel is a vassal state of Washington, serving as a functional US military outpost in the most resource-rich region on earth. Others say it’s the other way around, citing the influence of the Israel lobby in DC and often getting into ugly nonsense about Jews ruling the world.

All this is born of an immature understanding of what nations are and how they operate within the US-centralized power alliance that functions as a single empire with regard to foreign policy.

The US is not a puppet of Israel, and Israel isn’t a puppet of the US. Saying one puppets the other is like saying Ohio puppets Nevada; they’re both member states of the same undeclared empire ruled by uncrowned kings who use governments as weapons to kill and steal.

The lines between nations within the US-centralized empire are no more real than the official elected governments of those nations. It’s just a single unified power structure which uses whatever narratives it requires to justify its continued campaign to rule the entire planet.Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitozNations are conceptual constructs with no independent existence outside the human imagination. Saying Israel has a right to exist is the same as saying Bugs Bunny has a right to exist, except if you needed to murder a bunch of kids every few years to keep Bugs Bunny around.May 20th 2021107 Retweets349 Likes

There are no separate, sovereign nations within the US-centralized power alliance. The imaginary lines drawn between nations are performative illusions for the little people; they don’t apply to the transnational alliance of plutocrats and government agencies that actually runs things. This alliance centralizes a large amount of its military, financial, and diplomatic firepower around the conceptual construct known as the United States, but the actual behavior of the empire is determined by the alliance, not the US government.

There is no real “Israel” or “America”, there’s just the one empire. Lobbying, financial support, propaganda etc are just some of the glue that’s required to hold together an empire that doesn’t officially exist. The empire will use any ideology to advance imperial interests, whether it be Zionism, Christian fundamentalism, white supremacism, Islamic extremism, or woke progressivism. It’s all just narratives to move the empire along, because that’s what’s required in an unacknowledged, unofficial empire.

In the old model of empire, an emperor would just issue commands and hold the empire together overtly. In this new model of empire, where imperial member states officially keep their flags and their governments but lose their sovereignty, it’s held together by narrative control.

There is no one government in charge of all this; the official elected governments are not where the real power lies. The actual power structure keeps itself hidden and unaccountable, because it has seen what the masses can do to oppressive rulers who wear crowns in modern times:

Image

Instead, oligarchs now rule from behind the scenes in collaboration with opaque and unaccountable government agencies, because humanity has grown too conscious to tolerate overt rulers. They use narrative manipulation to keep the empire moving in alignment with their interests.

The antidote to this dynamic is of course to keep getting more conscious, to keep learning what’s going on in our world and spreading awareness of what we’ve learned. Their job is to keep truth hidden and unconscious, while our job is to help make truth visible to everyone. Whoever wins will determine our fate as a species.

Nations, like so much else in our world, are conceptual constructs with no independent existence outside the human imagination. What’s real are weapons, explosions, gunshot trauma, and the movement of resources from one area to another. Everything else you see in the news is just mental narrative promulgated at mass scale to manipulate people into accepting these movements. Our job is to help people perceive what’s real underneath all the narrative management.

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How Empires End – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2021

Taxes, taxes, taxes

https://internationalman.com/articles/how-empires-end/

by Jeff Thomas

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

Histories are generally written by academics. They, quite naturally, tend to focus on the main events: the wars and the struggles between leaders and their opponents (both external and internal). Whilst these are interesting stories to read, academics, by their very nature, often overlook the underlying causes for an empire’s decline.

Today, as in any era, most people are primarily interested in the “news”—the daily information regarding the world’s political leaders and their struggles with one another to obtain, retain, and expand their power. When the history is written about the era we are passing through, it will reflect, in large measure, a rehash of the news. As the media of the day tend to overlook the fact that present events are merely symptoms of an overall decline, so historians tend to focus on major events, rather than the “slow operations” that have been the underlying causes.

The Persian Empire

When, as a boy, I was “educated” about the decline and fall of the Persian Empire, I learned of the final takeover by Alexander the Great but was never told that, in its decline, Persian taxes became heavier and more oppressive, leading to economic depression and revolts, which, in turn led to even heavier taxes and increased repression. Increasingly, kings hoarded gold and silver, keeping it out of circulation from the community. This hamstrung the market, as monetary circulation was insufficient to conduct business. By the time Alexander came along, Persia, weakened by warfare and internal economic strife, was a shell of an empire and was relatively easy to defeat.

The Tang Dynasty

Back then, I also learned that the Tang Dynasty ended as a result of the increased power amongst the eunuchs, battles with fanzhen separatists, and finally, peasants’ revolts. True enough, but I was not taught that the dynasty’s expansion-based warfare demanded increases in taxation, which led to the revolts. Continued warfare necessitated increasing monetary and land extortion by the eunuchs, resulting in an abrupt decrease in food output and further taxes. Finally, as economic deterioration and oppression of the citizenry worsened, citizens left the area entirely for more promise elsewhere.

Is there a pattern here? Let’s have a more detailed look—at another empire.

The Spanish Empire

In 1556, Philip II of Spain inherited what was regarded as Europe’s most wealthy nation, with no apparent economic problems. Yet, by 1598, Spain was bankrupt. How was this possible?

Spain was doing well but sought to become a major power. To achieve this, Philip needed more tax dollars. Beginning in 1561, the existing servicio tax was regularised, and the crusada tax, the excusado tax, and the millones tax were all added by 1590.

Over a period of 39 years (between 1559 and 1598) taxes increased by 430%. Although the elite of the day were exempt from taxation (the elite of today are not officially exempt), the average citizen was taxed to the point that both business expansion and public purchasing diminished dramatically. Wages did not keep pace with the resultant inflation. The price of goods rose 400%, causing a price revolution and a tax revolution.

Although Spain enjoyed a flood of gold and silver from the Americas at this time, the increased wealth went straight into Philip’s war efforts. However, the 100,000 troops were soon failing to return sufficient spoils to Philip to pay for their forays abroad.

In a final effort to float the doomed empire, Philip issued government bonds, which provided immediate cash but created tremendous debt that, presumably, would need to be repaid one day. (The debt grew to 8.8 times GDP.)

Spain declared bankruptcy. Trade slipped to other countries. The military, fighting on three fronts, went unpaid, and military aspirations collapsed.

It is important to note that, even as the empire was collapsing, Philip did not suspend warfare. He did not back off on taxation. Like leaders before and since, he instead stubbornly increased his autocracy as the empire slid into collapse.

Present-Day Empires

Again, the events above are not taught to schoolchildren as being of key importance in the decline of empires, even though they are remarkably consistent with the decline of other empires and what we are seeing today. The very same events occur, falling like dominoes, more or less in order, in any empire, in any age:

  1. The reach of government leaders habitually exceeds their grasp.
  2. Dramatic expansion (generally through warfare) is undertaken without a clear plan as to how that expansion is to be financed.
  3. The population is overtaxed as the bills for expansion become due, without consideration as to whether the population can afford increased taxation.
  4. Heavy taxation causes investment by the private sector to diminish, and the economy begins to decline.
  5. Costs of goods rise, without wages keeping pace.
  6. Tax revenue declines as the economy declines (due to excessive taxation). Taxes are increased again, in order to top up government revenues.
  7. In spite of all the above, government leaders personally hoard as much as they can, further limiting the circulation of wealth in the business community.
  8. Governments issue bonds and otherwise borrow to continue expansion, with no plan as to repayment.
  9. Dramatic authoritarian control is instituted to assure that the public continues to comply with demands, even if those demands cannot be met by the public.
  10. Economic and social collapse occurs, often marked by unrest and riots, the collapse of the economy, and the exit of those who are productive.
  11. In this final period, the empire turns on itself, treating its people as the enemy.

The above review suggests that if our schoolbooks stressed the underlying causes of empire collapse, rather than the names of famous generals and the dates of famous battles, we might be better educated and be less likely to repeat the same mistakes.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely. Chances are, future leaders will be just as uninterested in learning from history as past leaders. They will create empires, then destroy them.

Even the most informative histories of empire decline, such as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, will not be of interest to the leaders of empires. They will believe that they are above history and that they, uniquely, will succeed.

If there is any value in learning from the above, it is the understanding that leaders will not be dissuaded from their aspirations. They will continue to charge ahead, both literally and figuratively, regardless of objections and revolts from the citizenry.

Once an empire has reached stage eight above, it never reverses. It is a “dead empire walking” and only awaits the painful playing-out of the final three stages. At that point, it is foolhardy in the extreme to remain and “wait it out” in the hope that the decline will somehow reverse. At that point, the wiser choice might be to follow the cue of the Chinese, the Romans, and others, who instead chose to quietly exit for greener pastures elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: The US government is overextending itself by interfering in every corner of the globe. It’s all financed by massive amounts of money printing. However, the next financial crisis could end the whole charade soon.

The truth is, we’re on the cusp of a global economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released a guide that explains what could come next and what you can do about it.. Click here to download the PDF now.

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State Legislators Are Working To Reign in the Empire | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on April 7, 2021

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/state-legislators-are-working-to-reign-in-the-empire/

by Brian P McGlinchey

Fed up after years of relentless National Guard deployments in undeclared wars, state lawmakers across the country are pushing legislation that would prohibit the use of Guard units in combat zones without a formal declaration of war by Congress.

The bills are being promoted by BringOurTroopsHome.US, a self-described organization of “right-of-center” veterans working to end American involvement in “endless wars” and restore congressional authority over war-making. The libertarian 10th Amendment Center is also backing the cause.

The proposed laws would require governors to determine the constitutionality of orders that place Guard units on federal active duty; where they’re deemed unconstitutional, the governor is required to take action to prevent the unit from being surrendered to federal control and sent into harm’s way.

The first “Defend the Guard” bill was conceived and introduced by Air Force veteran and West Virginia state legislator Pat McGeehan. While no state has enacted the law yet, interest is spreading widely, with legislators now pushing the measure in 31 states.

Conservative Veterans Taking Point

BringOurTroopsHome.US is led by Dan McKnight, a 13-year veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve, active duty Army and Idaho Army National Guard whose military service ended after he was injured in Afghanistan.

McKnight and many other veterans leading the drive against the War on Terror are from the right side of the political spectrum. That’s a sharp contrast to the typical antiwar veteran of the Vietnam era, but McKnight says vets from both wars share a common experience.

Today’s veterans “are coming home and saying the same thing (Vietnam vets did): ‘What was the point of that? What was our mission? We have no mission, we have no definition of success, we have no clear path to victory, we have no idea what victory means and we’re there without a constitutional authority to send us there’,” he says.

“Every one of us raised our hands and swore an oath to the Constitution…and when it says Congress shall be the only body to declare war, we take that to heart. And when Congress doesn’t do it, we understand bad things can happen: long, endless foreign misadventures,” says McKnight.

In a 2019 Pew Research poll, 64% of veterans said the war in Iraq wasn’t worth fighting; 58% said the same of Afghanistan. A January Concerned Veterans for America/YouGov poll found two-thirds or more of veterans support full withdrawals from both countries.

“The right-of-center veterans are now echoing the message of left-of-center veterans, and it’s hard to ignore when veterans from the entire political spectrum are saying the same thing: Enough already—if you want us to go and bleed and die and spend our lives and your treasure in a foreign land, then Congress should put their name on the line before we put our boots on the ground,” McKnight says.

That’s what the Constitution demands. In an impassioned speech at the West Virginia legislature last month, McGeehan quoted James Madison: “The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature.”

Deployments’ Steep Toll

The National Guard has played a major role in America’s post-9/11 militarism: As recently as December, more than 57,000 Guard members were deployed around the world.

The federal government’s reliance on the National Guard makes state legislatures an intriguing second front in the drive to curtail the War on Terror. “Defend the Guard” laws also give state lawmakers a rare chance to influence foreign policy—and to impose consequences for the executive branch’s usurpation of war powers.

The heavy reliance on the Guard takes a toll on soldiers, families, neighborhoods and states. The intense pace of National Guard deployments was underscored at a recent Defend the Guard hearing in South Dakota: While opposing “Defend the Guard,” the state adjutant general acknowledged that, during the entire Global War on Terrorism to date, the state has had all its troops home for just 42 days.

McKnight has friends who’ve done a staggering 12 or 13 overseas National Guard deployments. Beyond the risk to life and limb, and the hardships imposed on individuals, families and marriages, he says communities also pay a price.

Guard members “are police officers, tradesmen, mechanics, schoolteachers, attorneys. (When) they have to leave that job behind, it puts a burden on the community,” says McKnight. Upon their return, Guard members are generally guaranteed the option to reclaim their jobs—but that sometimes means displacing those who filled their positions while they were away, compounding the disruptive effect.

Deployments also prevent National Guard units from responding to crises at home—their primary reason for existing. For example:

  • When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, thousands of the states’ National Guard soldiers were deployed to Iraq. Mississippi’s 223rd Engineer Battalion returned to repair hurricane damage—but was ordered to leave its equipment in Iraq for use by other units.
  • In 2020, as Oregon endured some of its worst wildfires ever, half the state’s National Guard helicopters were in Afghanistan, including all its CH-47 Chinooks—dual-rotor choppers capable of carrying 26,000-pound payloads and ideal for use in firefighting. The Oregon Guard did what it could with Blackhawk helicopters that have one tenth the lifting power.

The Empire Strikes Back

When Defend the Guard measures are introduced in state legislatures, the national security establishment and its allies emerge to defend the status quo—by hook or by crook.

In South Dakota, McKnight says, “the military-industrial complex…sent a two-star general to testify…and made all kinds of threats, and insinuated the state would lose their National Guard if they passed this bill, which is simply not true.”

Weeks ago, Republican Idaho Representative Joe Palmer, who chairs the state’s Transportation & Defense Committee, seemed to resort to underhanded tactics to kill a Defend the Guard bill.

He put the measure to an initial procedural vote in the committee, and declared it to have failed by voice vote. Video of the proceedings, however, shows the result of the voice vote to be unclear at best, and McKnight says his group’s post-vote polling of members suggests the measure would have advanced had Palmer taken a recorded vote.

If Palmer didn’t already know he should play fair with veterans who are trying to prevent fellow citizen-soldiers from dying in unconstitutional wars, he may be learning that lesson now: McKnight says his group facilitated an emergency meeting of the GOP committee in Palmer’s home town, which is now considering a resolution censuring Palmer for his conduct.

“If you want to play parliamentary tricks and the price of your tricks is the blood of my brothers and sisters who (deploy) over and over again, then we’re going to take some blood of our own, and we’re going to do that the way politicians understand, and that’s with voters in the primary and the general election,” says McKnight.

Sometimes, the establishment’s machinations are done away from cameras. In a 2015 interview, West Virginia’s McGeehan said he was summoned to a meeting in the Speaker’s office with the commander of the state National Guard. The general said he’d received a call from the Pentagon, threatening that, if Defend the Guard became law, West Virginia bases would find their way onto the list of installations targeted for closure.

Liz Cheney Intervenes to Thwart Wyoming Bill

McKnight says “the most offensive opposition that we’ve faced” came from U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney.

“When we pushed the Defend the Guard bill in Wyoming last year, she or her staff contacted members of the Wyoming legislature and said, ‘If this passes in Wyoming, I will personally see to it that two C-130 aircraft are stripped from Wyoming and sent to Texas’,” says McKnight, who was in Cheyenne to support the bill, along with U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

Bethany Baldes, Wyoming state director of BringOurTroopsHome.US, was also on hand. She too says lawmakers told her they received calls from Cheney’s office that included threats to send new C-130 cargo planes to Texas. (Cheney’s communications director has not replied to an invitation to comment on this story.)

The measure failed, 35-22. A statement signed by a group of Wyoming senators opposing the measure seemed to turn logic on its head by claiming the bill “calls into question Wyoming’s support for our soldiers and airmen in the National Guard.”

That episode was McKnight’s second jarring encounter with Cheney, whom he describes as a “warmonger heiress of a military-industrial fortune.” Months before, he and other veterans met with Cheney in Washington to urge her to support the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

“We went into Liz Cheney’s office and we asked her, ‘What conditions must be met on the ground for you to support ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing our troops home?’ And she said, ‘I don’t think I could ever support that position’.”

Pressing the issue, the veterans asked Cheney how long troops should remain. “She looked us stone-faced in the eye and said, ‘Forever. American troops will be in Afghanistan forever’,” says McKnight. “That’s when we decided it was time to step away from the swamp and work in the states, and force the states to force Congress’s hand.”

This article was originally featured at Stark Realities

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The Rise & Fall of Empires, Nations, & City States has been Going on for Thousands of Years – It’s Just Our Turn! | Armstrong Economics

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2021

https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/revolution/the-rise-fall-of-empires-nations-city-states-has-been-going-on-for-thousands-of-years-its-just-our-turn/

COMMENT: Marty: I was re-reading Herodotus and saw early in his book a reference to the rise and fall of civilizations pertinent to the concept of capital flows:

Herodotus, Histories 1:5

“For many states that were once great have now become small; and those that were great in my time were small before. Knowing therefore that human prosperity never continues in the same place, I shall mention both alike.”

Here is the source for the above translation:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D5

I studied Ancient Greek in college.  “Prosperity” is the proper translation of  “Eudaimonia” (Greek: εὐδαιμονία) in this context.  See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudaimonia

I thought you may find this of interest in case you hadn’t noticed this before in your readings.

Be well and thank you for your work and your continuous improvements of Socrates.

DP
NYC

Winged human-headed bulls, the powerful guardians of ancient Assyrian gateways, serving such a purpose for the royal palace of Nimrud.

REPLY: Yes, great to point that out. To put this in context for the non-Ancient historian, when Herodotus had written that, it was about 2,000 years after the rise and fall of the Sumer Empire, which is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia. There were the Minoans, Troy, Greek Heroic Age, Babylon, and Cyrus the Great who conquered Lydia, the Hittites, and the Assyrians.

Civilization in its primeval state was already at least 6,000 years before Herodotus. It was ancient history to them of the Greek Heroic Age when Evander entertained the stranger of Troy. The relics of the glory of civilization still littered the landscape during the age of Herodotus like the gates to Babylon which have survived in the Berlin Museum. History is delineated by the fancy of Homer and later by Herodotus. Athens was but a solitary thicket during the Age of the Hittite. The temples of Asia Minor (Turkey) had long been crowned with the gold of Lydia when the Greeks were rising again. But those temples would be overthrown and the gold will be pillaged, as the wheel of Fortune accomplished her revolution, and the armies of Alexander the Great would conquer the world about 100 years after Herodotus.

The ruins of the Minoan Empire were already 1200 years before Herodotus. The old walls of Knossos near Heraklion and the ruins of the Minoan palaces are the largest archaeological site of all the palaces on the Mediterranean island of Crete destroyed by the eruption of Thera around 1650 BC, leaving the remains that are known as Santorini.

At the time of Herodotus, coins were a comparatively modern invention just a little over 200 years old. Before that was simply the Bronze Age, where the Minoans used ingots of bronze in trade cast in a sheepskin shape, which was the common standard of monetary exchange in the Greek world.

Today, it is hard for most people to visualize a timeline of history. Eridu is often considered the oldest city among the ancients, for it is mentioned in the Sumerian King List: “In Eridu, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. Alalngar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.” Damascus in Syria has been established as being as old as 10,000 years, and the city of Jericho is nearly as old. A major Bronze Age city, Catal Huyuk (c 7500-6700 BC), has also been argued to be the first real major city displaying true urbanization with trade guilds for construction, agriculture, and even art as many homes had painted murals. Even this was about 6,000 years before Herodotus.

The rise of great empires was comparatively modern history to Herodotus being within 3,000 years of his birth, and yet even he proceeds Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). Indeed, even before urban cities rose when the ground was covered with thorns and weeds, there was the Neolithic Age in most of the world where they built religious monuments out of stone which made the transitional period of the Chalcolithic Age from about 4500 BC. Monuments such as Stonehedge are believed to have been constructed around 3000 BC or about 2500 years before Herodotus.

Hattusa, capital of the Hittite empire, Turkey

Each of these empires viewed themselves as the citadel of the earth and the terror of kings. Their history was recorded by the footsteps of so many triumphs of the age of conquest, which enriched their treasuries with the spoils of war and tributes of subservient city-states. Each was a feared spectacle of the world, viewed as invincible. The Hittite Empire rivaled that of Egypt, and indeed it was feared by the Egyptians. The Hittite Empire reached its peak under the reign of King Suppiluliuma I (c. 1344-1322 BCE) and his son Mursilli II (c. 1321-1295 BCE) after which it declined and, after repeated attacks by the Sea Peoples and the Kaska tribe, fell to the Assyrians.

Indeed, in studying history I was fascinated by the rise and fall of so many great empires that each assumed would last forever. I was confronted by the repeating question: How did it fall? How did its culture change? How was its greatness defaced by the passing of time? The path of victory for each was soon obliterated with the passing of time. Its palaces were covered by the sands of time and often concealed from the modern view. Yet, we too seem to never consider the fall of our own great societies. We too assume we will last forever.

Alexander the Great’s (356-323 BC) conquering of the Persians produced a massive volume of silver and gold bullion, plundered from their treasuries at Babylon, Sardes, Susa, and Persepolis. At the beginning of his reign in 336 BC, the Macedonian kingdom was 500 silver talents in debt (one talent was 26 kg of silver) which was over 400,000 ounces. This was satisfied when, from the treasury of Persepolis alone, Alexander claimed 120,000 silver talents worth of bullion.

The significant influx of precious metals led to the first one-world currency in the West as he standardized the monetary system. The same design was struck with symbols denoting where the coins were struck like modern mintmarks on coinage or on printed notes of the euro. Alexander struck the largest Greek gold coin issued up to that time: the gold distater (20 mm, 17.26 grams)(a stater was 8.56 grams). With a value of 40 silver drachms, the distater was likely used to pay Alexander’s veteran soldiers who were awarded for their labors with a silver talent (6,000 drachms). This new denomination meant that a talent could be paid out as 120 gold distaters. The reverse is a representation of Alexander’s victory, depicting Nike the goddess of victory.

Therefore, Herodotus died about 20 years before the fall of Athens itself in 404 BC to Sparta. His perspective of the empire that came before him is about the same as our view of ancient Athens during his lifetime. The Athenian Empire collapsed in 404 BC, and the public and private edifices that were founded for an eternity of Athens and all the empires before his time still lie prostrate, naked, and broken, simply the limbs of a once-great mighty empire which lie in ruin as a visible reminder that political states also die just as any biological lifeform.

These stupendous relics of history should remind us that all empires are mortal. We too will not survive the pains of time and fortune, because we too believe we are invincible and will last forever as everyone that has preceded us for 6,000 years. So the words of Herodotus will still ring true even after 2032. The edifices Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum, including heads of state and billionaires, are destroying in thinking they can rebuild a new world order from scratch like Karl Marx is fulfilling perhaps Schwab’s role in bringing about the decline and fall of Western society for 2032.

“For many states that were once great have now become small; and those that were great in my time were small before. Knowing therefore that human prosperity never continues in the same place, I shall mention both alike.”

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Panic in the Imperial City | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2021

Why are the media and congress silent on these war crimes, especially at a time when they will stop at nothing to destroy President Trump?

Because the media is complicit—they exist to serve the empire.

Nothing that substantially challenges the presumption of U.S. global hegemony ever makes the airwaves.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/panic-in-the-imperial-city/

by Kenny MacDonald

Pexels Jacob Morch 572779

Despite all the lip service about democracy, justice, human rights, freedom, equality and so forth—the entire Washington establishment exists for the sole purpose of perpetuating the empire.

How do I know?

Because the media response to the January 6th attack at the Capitol reveals the Washington establishment’s true nature.

The political class has commenced Operation Destroy Trump. The Washington machine will stop at nothing to expose every character flaw, every incompetency, and every authoritarian tendency of Trump.

Except one thing; if I wanted to prove that Trump was a dangerous racist dictator with no regard for human decency I could do it pretty easily, and I wouldn’t even have to search for subliminal messages in his bumbling speeches.

Trump has been complicit in a genocidal war waged by Saudi Arabia that has killed over 200,000 Yemeni civilians.

Trump illegally assassinated a high ranking member of the Iranian government—a sovereign government that the United States is not at war with—risking a conflict that would certainly produce more casualties than any other war this century!

Trump has dropped more drone strikes on Somalian civilians in 2020 than Bush and Obama did in 10 years combined! He also killed more Afghan civilians via airstrikes in 2019 than any other year in that war!

Where was mainstream media? Where was Congress? they must have been combing through speeches and tweets for racist dog whistles and subliminal calls to violence because they certainly weren’t monitoring the American drones dropping bombs on the heads of black children in Somalia.

Trying to prove Trump is the most dangerous president in U.S. history, while not attacking him on the worst atrocities he has committed is criminal, maybe even slanderous in a morbid way.

Why are the media and congress silent on these war crimes, especially at a time when they will stop at nothing to destroy President Trump?

Because the media is complicit—they exist to serve the empire.

Nothing that substantially challenges the presumption of U.S. global hegemony ever makes the airwaves. Yes, every once in a while the media will toss a low ranking soldier under the bus for war crimes, but those crimes are never presented in a way that challenges the policy. And to their credit, the media did create a hoopla over the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani, but again, they never asked the critical questions that would challenge U.S. policy in the region.

The mainstream media is state media in all but name. Journalists enjoy relationships with various anonymous sources within the intelligence community who leak cherry-picked intelligence for news rooms to gobble up in exchange for writing news stories that parrot the regime’s official lines.

After the lines are repeated enough times to satisfy Joseph Goebbels, a litany of retired generals who sit on the boards of defense contractors (which is never disclosed) make their rounds on cable news networks as they pass the ready-made sermons of the empire along to the people without a bit of skepticism from the host. In other words, the American people are exclusively inundated with the opinions of so-called experts who all stand to financially or professionally benefit from war.

The formula is rather simple. The think tanks create the policy; congress implements the policy; the network news manufactures your thirst for war; and the defense contractors fasten the weapons and buys everyone else off. Ultimately, money is moved from your pocket and is used to line the pockets of the whole cabal.

That’s why no one on network news, despite their real hatred of him, will ever dunk on Trump with the phrase “Trump is a war criminal.” Because even taking out Trump is not worth the American people wondering for even a second what exactly they mean by war criminal.

The mainstream media is not just complicit with the empire, in fact, their sole job is to protect the empire against any threat to it, such as Trump. Trump was the first candidate in recent history to make it into the Oval Office without the approval of the Washington establishment. He cracked the code of American politics by circumventing the filters of the corporate media and spoke directly to the American people through social media. The recent social media purges against Trump and his inner circle was not spontaneous, it was premeditated. The Washington machine was merely waiting for a catalyst event to occur so it could reassert its stranglehold on American political discourse.

Before Trump broke the system, the presidential primary elections were designed specifically for the corporate media to weed out unacceptable candidates. What constitutes unacceptable? Anyone who opposes the American global empire. The media gatekeepers successfully scuttled every campaign that advocated radical foreign policy change. Tulsi Gabbard spent her 2020 primary season getting ridiculed on TV for allegedly being a friend of dictators, which is an impressive way to spin her anti-war platform. Gabbard was simply getting the Ron Paul treatment, who was also lambasted by the elites during his presidential runs (2008, 2012) for having the gall to point out the evil hypocrisies of American foreign policy. The Washington machine conspired to steal the democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders twice – not because of his democratic socialism – but because he wasn’t an empire zealot either. The message is clear: anything goes in American politics except questioning the empire.

In 2016, on a Republican debate stage Trump openly called the Iraq war a mistake, criticized our wars in Afghanistan and Syria, and questioned our role in NATO. The media worked overtime to ensure a Trump defeat, but Trump proved to be bulletproof because of his cult-like following on social media. Of course, Trump never quite lived up to his promises of an America First foreign policy as he perpetuated the criminal wars of his predecessors. However, it was clear that the Washington establishment was terrified of what he might do, which is why most of his administration was plagued with a ridiculous investigation of a Russian collusion hoax that nobody believed, followed by an impeachment based on the flimsiest of pretexts. They were grasping at straws to get rid of Trump.

Trump’s improbable victory caused a panic in 2016 until the establishment realized that Trump had very little understanding of his own America First ideology. A Trump presidency could be managed by the Washington machine as long as Trump didn’t appoint anyone who could implement his campaign promises. For the most part, the Washington establishment was able to control the Trump administration with well placed neocons such as Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and Jim Jeffrey who worked tirelessly to undermine Trump’s vision at every foreign policy turn. The only redeeming quality the Washington establishment saw in Trump was his hawkishness on China, which the media has been happy to help propagandize the American people into supporting a trade war and military posturing in the South China Sea.

As the Trump movement comes to an end the chickens are coming home to roost. Washington was so worried about controlling and eliminating Trump that they neglected his base, which has become increasingly radicalized due to the media’s deranged hostility towards them.

The anger of Trump’s base came to head on January 6th when protesters stormed the Capitol building because they believed the election had been stolen from Trump. Of course the violence at the Capitol was inexcusable, but why was the Washington outrage machine cranked up to level 11?

Washington is panicking because they see the unfolding events as an existential threat to their stranglehold on the American people and their global empire. The Washington machine was unable to stop Trump’s 2016 insurgent campaign, and Washington’s damage control strategy only worked to contain Trump’s policies but failed to control his growing popular base. Here’s three reasons why panic is suddenly setting in in the Imperial city.

First, the ruling class recognizes that their power is waning. George Bush’s Global War on Terror was truly a global war fought on two fronts, international and domestic. The national security state was given a shot in the arm with the Patriot Act, and Americans have been taking their shoes off at airports ever since. After twenty years of war, it’s undeniable that the war abroad has been a miserable failure (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria). But despite the empire’s failures abroad, the American people could always be counted on to stay in line. Now it seems the population is spiraling out of control of the Washington handlers.

Second, the violence is finding its target. The ruling elite has always tolerated violence as long as it stays on the peripheral and is directed at factions within the population, such as the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer. Although their cause may be misguided and their legitimate anger has been manipulated, the Capitol protesters have at least identified the proper source of all their frustrations, Congress. Congress has robbed all of us blind in pursuit of their maniacal vision of global dominance, and now—to their surprise—the war has come home.

Finally, whether the claims of the protesters are true or not, this event exposes American democracy for the sham that it is. The assumption of U.S. global hegemony is derived from the belief that America has a uniquely exceptional system of government. When an angry mob storms the Capitol building because 34% of voters believe the election was fraudulent, America’s exceptional system appears to be a myth. Therefore, the foundation of America’s global empire is nothing but a house of cards on display for the world to see.

To the empire zealots, this wasn’t just an attack on a government building, this was an attack on a religious structure, which should raise red flags. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi both referred to the Capitol as a “temple to democracy.” Joe Biden called the process of ratifying the election “sacred.” The Capitol is their vatican, their religion is American democracy, and their salvation is fighting evangelical wars to spread their religion far and wide. To these true believers, only America’s government is sacred. No one was referring to Muammar Gadhafi’s government buildings as sacred when Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden all supported Obama bombing those buildings to spread the blessings of American democracy to Libya. Trump and his supporters have exposed America’s favorite export, democracy, as a rotten product. For Washington’s empire lackeys, such as Republican Liz Cheney, this attack on America’s religion can not be tolerated.

In response, the domestic War on Terror, which previously relied on spying and government psyops, is now being fought in plain sight. Congress immediately moved to impeach Trump with just days to go in his administration to make sure that he never gets near the strings of power again. The Capitol protestors are labeled as “domestic terrorists” to clear the road for a new domestic terrorism bill in the upcoming Biden Administration. Big tech has been co-opted to do the government’s bidding by removing anyone deemed a dangerous subversive from the internet. Take out their leaders, label them terrorists, and disrupt their lines of communication. Sound familiar?

The Republican base, which has always been loyal to the Empire, has lost its faith in American Exceptionalism. The Past 12 months of impeachments, lockdowns, corporate bailouts, left-wing riots, mandatory white privilege training, and censorship has pushed a large segment of Republicans into a corner where they feel like they have nothing to lose. Despite all the nonsense rhetoric about right wing militias, the reason the Capitol police was so unprepared for this moment was because the right doesn’t normally act like this. Now Washington realizes they have a full on insurgency on their hands that isn’t going away no matter how bad they want to wish it out of existence.

It’s tempting to interpret the empire’s employment of its awesome powers against the American people as a sign of its overwhelming strength. But that’s false. This is a sign of weakness. This is how empires die, like a wounded beast lashing out as it takes its last gasps. The war on the home front is failing. The people are rejecting the government which increasingly feels as if it’s being forced upon them. The government response is merely the domestic surge (like Iraq’s in 2007, and Afghanistan’s in 2009) that puts a bandaid over an infection that will continue to spread underneath. That infection is our lack of consent. Washington is now recognized for what it is, an occupying force that hardly anyone consents to anymore. After the last 4 years of the left declaring “not my president,” the right will share that same sentiment for the next 4 years.

People are finally waking up and realizing that the federal government stopped caring about its citizens long ago. The beginning of the end was when President Truman stood up the national security state after World War II and declared that the U.S. government would counter the Soviet Union in every country on the map, including our own. After 70 years, the United States has morphed into a rogue military state hiding behind a facade of democracy that exists only to feed its own lust to dominate the globe at the expense of the American people. While the empire spoiled over $6.4 Trillion in the last 20 years looking for other countries to fix, America was slowly crumbling and stood woefully unprepared to respond to domestic emergencies, such as a pandemic or a fedup American population that has begun to reject government legitimacy.

There is no putting the genie back in the bottle. The system is exposed. The empire can not be reigned in, it’s a cancer that has metastasized to engulf the entirety of the beltway. The only solution is secession and a peaceful dissolution of the federal government. If that sounds crazy to you, consider the alternative: a perpetual cycle of hatred and violence that may end in a bloody civil war.

Kenny MacDonald is a former Navy SEAL and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history. Follow his Youtube channel here.

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Caitlin Johnstone: America has no allies, only hostages — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2020

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/504263-caitlin-johnstone-america-allies/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that absorbs nations and turns them into imperial client states. Once absorbed, it is rare for a country to escape and rejoin other genuinely sovereign nations.

The new president-elect of Bolivia, Luis Arce, has told the Spanish international news agency EFE that he intends to restore the nation’s relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. This reverses the policies of the US-backed coup regime which immediately began closing embassieskicking out doctors and severing relations with those nations after illegally seizing power last year.

Arce also spoke of warm relations with Russia and China.

“We are going to re-establish all relations,” he told EFE. “This government has acted very ideologically, depriving the Bolivian people of access to Cuban medicine, to Russian medicine, to advances in China. For a purely ideological issue, it has exposed the population in a way that is unnecessary and harmful.”

Arce expressed a willingness to “open the door to all countries, the only requirement is that they respect us and respect our sovereignty, nothing more. All countries, no matter the size, who want a relationship with Bolivia, the only requirement is that we respect each other as equals. If that is so, we have no problem.“

If you know anything about US imperialism and global politics, you will recognize that last bit as brazen heresy against imperial doctrine.

Bolivia will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, said President-elect Luis Arce in an interview with EFE. He will also re-establish good relations with China & Russia.Arce condems the coup govt for its ideological & pro-US approach to foreign policy. pic.twitter.com/3ATXjSVbuF— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) October 20, 2020

The unofficial doctrine of the empire-like cluster of international allies that is loosely centralized around the United States does not recognize the sovereignty of other nations, much less respect them as equals. This empire takes it as a given that it has every right to determine what every nation in the world does, who their leaders will be, where their resources will go, and what their military posture on the world stage will be. If a government refuses to accept the empire’s right to determine these things, it is targeted, sabotaged, attacked, and eventually replaced with a puppet regime.

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that slowly works to absorb nations which have not yet been converted into imperial client states. It is rare that a nation is able to escape from that blob and rejoin the unabsorbed nations like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba in their fight for self-sovereignty, and it is encouraging that it was able to do so.

We saw the dynamics of the imperial blob explained quite vividly last year by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the eastern hemisphere, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.

The rules based human rights defending democratic order, ladies and gentlemen https://t.co/ZEfxGm6LFi— RaHoWarrior Steve Bannon, 1st Boomer Division (@healingbyhenry) October 8, 2020

“The question that’s on the table is what should Australia’s foreign policy be in light of the rise of China,” Mearsheimer said. “I’ll tell you what I would suggest if I were an Australian.”

Mearsheimer said China is going to continue to grow economically and will convert that economic power into military power to dominate Asia “the way the US dominates the western hemisphere,” and explained why he think the US and its allies have every ability to prevent that from happening.

“Now the question is what does this all mean for Australia?” Mearsheimer said. “Well, you’re in a quandary for sure. Everybody knows what the quandary is. And by the way you’re not the only country in East Asia that’s in this quandary. You trade a lot with China, and that trade is very important for your prosperity, no question about that. Security-wise, you really want to go with us. It makes just a lot more sense, right? And you understand that security is more important than prosperity, because if you don’t survive, you’re not gonna prosper.

“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right, you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.

“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”

Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.

If you’ve ever wondered how the the US is so successful in getting other nations around the world to align with its interests, this is how. It’s not that the US is a good actor on the world stage or a kind friend to its allies, it’s that it will destroy you if you disobey it.

Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US. As a Twitter follower recently observed, the US doesn’t have allies, only hostages.

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution.” Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

The primary difference between the coup in Australia and the one in Bolivia was that the Bolivians refused to roll over and take it while we shrugged and said ‘No worries mate.’ We had every option to become a real nation and insist on our own self-sovereignty, but we, unlike the Bolivians, were too thoroughly propagandized and placid. Some hostages escape, some don’t.

The US empire got rid of Whitlam, and then when we elected in 2007 a prime minister who was considered too friendly with China they did it again; in order to facilitate the Obama administration’s “pivot” against Beijing the pro-China Kevin Rudd was replaced by the compliant Julia Gillard. World Socialist Website reports:

Secret US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in December 2010 revealed that “protected sources” of the US embassy were pivotal figures in Gillard’s elevation. For months, key coup plotters, including senators Mark Arbib and David Feeney, and Australian Workers Union (AWU) chief Paul Howes, secretly provided the US embassy with regular updates on internal government discussions and divisions within the leadership…

Rudd had proposed an Asia-Pacific Community, attempting to mediate the escalating strategic rivalry between the US and China, and opposed the formation of a quadrilateral military alliance between the US, India, Japan and Australia, aimed against China.

Gillard, who had cultivated her pro-US credentials through Australia-US and Australia-Israel leadership forums, was literally selected by the US embassy as a reliable replacement to Rudd. In her first public appearance after knifing Rudd, she demonstrated her devotion to Washington by posing for a photo op with the US ambassador, flanked by US and Australian flags. She soon had a phone call with Obama, who had previously twice postponed a planned visit to Australia under Rudd.

The centrality of Australia to the US preparations for war against China became apparent in November 2011, when Obama announced his “pivot to Asia” in the Australian parliament, rather than the White House. During the visit, Gillard and Obama signed an agreement to station American Marines in Darwin and allow greater US access to other military bases, placing the Australian population on the front line of any conflict with China.

Gillard’s government also sanctioned the expansion of the major US spying and weapons-targeting base at Pine Gap, agreed to the US military’s increased use of Australian ports and airbases, and stepped up Australia’s role in the US-led top-level “Five Eyes” global surveillance network, which monitors the communications and online activities of millions of people worldwide.

Rudd’s removal marked a turning point. US imperialism, via the Obama administration, sent a blunt message: There was no longer any room for equivocation by the Australian ruling elite. Regardless of which party was in office, it had to line up unconditionally behind the US conflict with China, no matter what the consequences for the loss of its massive export markets in China.

This is what we’re seeing all around the world now: a slow motion third world war being waged by the US power alliance against the remaining nations which have resisted being absorbed into it. As the most powerful of the unabsorbed nations by far, China is the ultimate target of this war. If the empire succeeds in its ultimate goal of stopping China, it will have attained a de facto planetary government which no population will be able to oppose or dissent from.

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

This omnicidal, ecocidal way of living that the oligarchic empire has laid out for us does not suit our species, and it will drive us to extinction along with God knows how many other species if we do not find a way to end it. Rulers historically do not cede their power willingly, so we ordinary human beings as a collective are going to have to find a way to destroy their propaganda engine, force an end to imperialism, and build a healthy world.

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How empire is destroying the American republic – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on October 6, 2020

McCrystal’s deployment of anti-terrorism technology to manipulate domestic political opinion during an election is surely incompatible with republican values. One would have thought that the McCrystal revelation would have generated more controversy as it comes on the heels of the astonishing abuse of another anti-terrorism tool, NSA surveillance, by FBI agents who submitted phony warrants to the FISA court in order to frame Trump campaign operatives. 

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/10/05/how-empire-is-destroying-the-american-republic/

Written by
William Smith

Many American hawks fail to grasp one of the most axiomatic rules of history: when a republic becomes an empire, it is no longer a republic.

For all their concern about spreading democracy abroad, many hawks show a decidedly noticeable failure to recognize that imperial adventures weaken republican government at home. The devolution from republic to empire has a number of causes, some practical and some cultural, with most on display in our current politics. 

On a practical level, the massive national security commitment necessary to maintain an empire tends to overwhelm the republican safeguards against unnecessary wars. In recent decades, for example, the national security state has gone to war in numerous countries — Libya and Syria are only two examples — on the basis of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was enacted by Congress to sanction attacks on the perpetrators of 9/11.

The use of that AUMF to justify wars unrelated to 9/11 made these wars blatantly unconstitutional. Yet it is apparent that most of Congress is now a mere appendage of the national security state and no longer protects its constitutional prerogative to sanction war as this would require difficult votes as well as jeopardize the largesse bestowed by defense contractors. Madison’s famous argument in Federalist #51 that, in a republic with separated powers, one branch of government would “resist encroachments of the others” becomes obviated in an empire. Empires tend to ignore republican rules. 

The other practical difficulty of maintaining a republic when it aspires to empire is that the technologies created to fight wars abroad end up undermining republican government at home. In imperial Rome, the legions themselves became a threat to domestic order; in the present U.S. the domestic attacks are more subtle. 

Numerous media reports indicate, for example, that an anti-Trump PAC, Defeat Disinfo, is employing retired Army General Stanley McCrystal to deploy a Defense Department-developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool to counter candidate Trump’s social media posts and to create “counter-narratives” using a network of “paid influencers.” The AI technology was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to counter the propaganda of terrorist groups overseas. The culture of our present officer corps seems a long way from that of General George Marshall who once remarked to Eisenhower, “I may make a thousand mistakes in this war, but none will be the result of political meddling!”

McCrystal’s deployment of anti-terrorism technology to manipulate domestic political opinion during an election is surely incompatible with republican values. One would have thought that the McCrystal revelation would have generated more controversy as it comes on the heels of the astonishing abuse of another anti-terrorism tool, NSA surveillance, by FBI agents who submitted phony warrants to the FISA court in order to frame Trump campaign operatives. 

As observers from both parties have noticed, military technology and tactics have bled into domestic policing with local police departments deploying armored vehicles and drones. One need not be a Trump partisan, nor a rabid libertarian, to conclude that the technologies developed to maintain the American empire are now being used to undermine our republican traditions. 

Tufts law professor Michael Glennon has concluded that the national security state has in fact grown so large that the “Madisonian” branches of government — the presidency, Congress and the courts — are no longer in charge of national security policy. Glennon asserts that we now have a “double government” in which policy decisions are made by “a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement, and the intelligence departments and agencies of our government” who “operate at an increasing remove from constitutional limits and restraints, moving the nation slowly toward autocracy.” Despite his clear desire to do so, Trump’s inability to extricate us from Afghanistan is confirmation that the Madisonian branches of government no longer determine policy.

The rise of a double government was captured perfectly in a Tweet by Michael McFaul, an Obama national security official, who commented that, “Trump has lost the Intelligence Community. He has lost the State Department. He has lost the military. How can he continue to serve as our Commander in Chief?” To those with an imperial outlook, the President serves at the pleasure of those who run the empire, not the voters. To Michael McFaul, the unelected members of the foreign policy establishment determine the legitimacy of elected leaders. 

While legal breakdowns and the technologies of American empire are overwhelming our republican traditions, the much deeper problem is that American leaders have eschewed a constitutional culture and adopted an imperial culture. 

Republican institutions cannot operate unless its leaders embody a certain temperament or “constitutional personality.” They must demonstrate measured and restrained habits even with political opponents. They will seek common ground and compromise. They would, in Hamilton’s words, “withstand the temporary delusion” of popular pressures and engage in “more cool and sedate reflection.”  

In foreign policy, this constitutional temperament would, in Washington’s words, “observe good faith and justice toward all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all” and “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded.”  In other words, republics have leaders of a certain quality and type, leaders who demonstrate restraint not only in domestic politics but on the world stage. 

Contrast this constitutional temperament with our current crop of leaders. In domestic politics, we have fierce, vituperative and irrational partisanship. There is no spirit of compromise and no willingness to show good faith with political opponents. Our politics, as Hobbes said of the state of nature, exhibit “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” In foreign policy, the imperial personality shows itself in “maximum pressure” campaigns, an “inveterate” antipathy toward Russia, and chest-thumping assertions of American exceptionalism. The constitutional personality exhibits a certain humility; the imperial personality exhibits none. 

Removing the practical dangers of empire would be hard, but not impossible. Restoring congressional authority in matters of war and peace and banning the domestic use of military and intelligence technologies are both achievable goals for those wishing to restore republican values. However, the imperial culture of our national security elites flows out of a will to power that is, at root, a character flaw. Changing laws is easy compared with improving character. 

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From Ego To Empire, All Our Problems Stem From The Impulse To Control – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2020

Let’s be the dissenting sardine. Let’s turn around from the egoic momentum of our species and each extricate our unique corner of humanity from the energetic contractions of selfing. Free the world from our delusions so we can know true peace. If that does open the door for true peace to pervade our world, then so much the better.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/09/16/from-ego-to-empire-all-our-problems-stem-from-the-impulse-to-control/

The human organism arrives in this world squishy, defenseless and easily startled, which it turns out is really starting things off on the wrong foot.

Because of the size of our newly-evolved brains relative to the birth canal, humans have to give birth to what are essentially fetuses, far more helpless for a much longer time than the offspring of our animal cousins. While we are slowly completing our post-natal gestation and learning to move and walk as most mammals can do right out of the womb, we are in a very frightening stage of helplessness which inevitably leaves us scarred with psychological trauma.

Our formative impressions of the world are that it’s an unpredictable land of giants who make unexpected loud noises and sudden movements, where we have to scream our heads off to get what we need and where we’re incapable of articulating any desires we might have that are more complex than hunger or changing.

We’re just flung into this scary environment that we do not understand and cannot control. So it’s not surprising that we start forming strategies to exert some degree of control in order to feel safe and secure.

As our little heads get fuller and we begin to use language, we discover that one way we can exert control over this scary world of giants is with a conceptual framework known as “me”.

When we were newborns we did not experience a “me”, we just experienced raw sensory input and simple being. As our capacity for language and thought develops we learn that it’s useful to move thoughts around an imaginary conceptual construct called “me” in order to exert control over our environment using thoughts and words like “Mine!”, “I want that,” “Stay with me mommy,” “Don’t do that to me,” etc.

In reality there is no hard, solid thing that could be called a “me”, either scientifically or experientially. Scientifically the human organism is a loosely collaborative cellular process with no defining boundaries and no real separation from the ecosystem which forms and sustains it, and experientially there’s just thoughts, feelings and sense impressions with no hard “me” at the center if you really look closely. But because it’s useful for exerting control, the mental story of “me” gets energetically imbued with the power of belief in the organism.

This is what various spiritual traditions are pointing to when they employ the English word “ego”. Not to any hard, solid thing, but to a behavioral tendency to energetically contract around an imaginary “me” construct. It’s where nearly all of our suffering comes from, and it’s why the world is messed up in the way it is.

This impulse to control begins with egoic contraction, and depending on how forceful that contraction is it can lead to the impulse to control loved ones, communities, the environment, and every human being on this planet.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills over onto others can become abusive: beating their children, manipulating their family members, terrorizing their significant others, doing whatever it takes to give themselves the feeling of security they get when the people around them are brought under control. There’s no respect for the self-sovereignty of those people, because granting them self-sovereignty would be placing them out of your control.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills over into their communities might become a bully at school, a tyrant at the office, a malicious gossip, a domineering preacher or cult leader. Again it’s all about bringing the people around them under control so that they can feel safe and secure, with no regard for the self-sovereignty of others.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills out indiscriminately might try to amass as much control over as much wealth as possible so they’ll be able to influence vast collectives of people. They might climb the political or media ladder to gain power in the form of governmental or narrative control. They’ll do anything they can to exert as much control as they can over anything that makes them feel insecure, to force a paradigm that ensures they’ll always get everything they want and none of it will ever be taken away from them.

And that’s why we’ve got these oligarchs now doing everything they can to amass as much wealth for themselves as possible while keeping it out of the hands of everyone else.

It’s why vast fortunes are poured into manipulating the political/media class to control what people think, how they act and how they vote.

It’s why we’ve got wars and regime change operations around the world brutalizing any nation that tries to insist on its own self-sovereignty.

It’s why we’re destroying the ecosystem in which we evolved by beating it into submission rather than learning to collaborate with it.

It’s why we consent to a system of competition against each other as rivals instead of collaboration with one another as comrades.

It’s why egocentric dominators are endangering us all by waving armageddon weapons at anyone who doesn’t move exactly the way they like.

All ultimately because of our big heads and their relation to the size of the birth canal.

People whose impulse to control is especially pernicious seem to labor under the delusion that if they could just control every single atom in the universe, everything would be fine. That anything that goes wrong is due to the fact that they weren’t in control of it. So they spend their lives doing everything they can to exert control over as much of the world as possible. This is of course insane, and stems from the early impression they got of the world that bad things happen because the world is out of control.

But the world is always out of control. Necessarily. Even if one particularly powerful ego managed to enslave the whole human race and bend it to its will, an asteroid could hit the earth and end it all in an instant. The path toward peace is not toward control, it’s toward allowing it to be forever out of control.

The path out of this mess is the path away from domination and control and toward respect for self-sovereignty. We can begin walking this path ourselves, on our own, away from our own impulse to control and our own egoic contraction.

In the Monterey Bay Aquarium there’s a huge circular tank built into the ceiling of one of the rooms where sardines swim around in a circle all day. This creates a whirlpool effect which carries the school with its momentum, but if you watch the linked video you’ll notice that there are always a few little fish swimming against the tide. It would be easier for them to swim in the same direction all the other fish are swimming, but for whatever reason a few of them are saying “Screw this, I’m going the other way.”

If you think about it, those fish are doing two things with the path they have chosen. First, they are reducing the momentum of the whirlpool by the energy of one fish, simply by not participating in it. Secondly, they are actively pushing the energy of the whirlpool in the opposite direction by the energy of one fish, just by swimming the other way.

That’s really the best course of action we ourselves can take in a sardine tank that is spinning in the direction of domination and egoic contraction. We can uproot in ourselves all impulses to bend the world to our will and bring consciousness to the various ways that self-sovereignty is not being respected in our world. We can do deep inner work and pierce through the illusion of self and separation and see through to the nondual reality which exists already here and now beneath the mirage of the labeling, dividing mind.

We do these things as our part in slowing down the egoic whirlpool that is spinning us toward extinction. We do this because maybe other sardines will turn around and join us. But primarily we do this because it is right, and because it is true. Because a life that is devoted to truth is the only kind of life that will truly satisfy.

Let’s be the dissenting sardine. Let’s turn around from the egoic momentum of our species and each extricate our unique corner of humanity from the energetic contractions of selfing. Free the world from our delusions so we can know true peace. If that does open the door for true peace to pervade our world, then so much the better.

______________________

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One Party State: Washington Unites To Block Trump Afghan Troop Withdrawal

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2020

When it comes to foreign policy and war (among other things) there are not two opposing political parties in Washington. Both Republicans and Democrats desperately cling to the warfare state as their ideological and economic lifeblood. That is why Congress is using a bizarre trick to attempt to block President Trump’s plan to remove US troops from its longest war in history (Afghanistan). Plus in today’s program: The HUGE scandal in Florida’s Covid testing!!!

War, money, power and keeping the empire.

 

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End of empire | Spectator USA

Posted by M. C. on July 1, 2020

A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

https://spectator.us/end-american-empire-dominion/

This article is in The Spectator’s July 2020 US edition. Subscribe here to get yours.

The end of World War Two inaugurated the era of American dominion, with the United States politically, economically and militarily the most powerful nation on the planet. Yet throughout the subsequent period of American global ascendency, the American people endured a seemingly endless sequence of domestic crises, upheavals and disasters. Primacy abroad did not insulate them, convinced of their unique place in human history, from the trials and tribulations routinely befalling other, more ‘ordinary’ nations.

Yet neither did trials at home undermine the deep-seated belief that history had summoned the United States — and no one else — to lead the world. So even as presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama wrestled with pressing challenges at home (for Truman there was race and McCarthyism, for Obama race and the Great Recession), they all, without exception, testified to the nation’s indispensability. They deemed it their duty to do so. All, therefore, found ways to prevent domestic problems from encroaching upon America’s assertion of singularity among nations. Leading the world took precedence over addressing the contradictions and shortcomings affecting the American way of life. So from 1945 until the end of the 20th century, creating ‘a more perfect Union’ took a back seat to venturing ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy’.

Whatever the turmoil on the home front, this conviction that the United States was called upon to exercise global leadership remained unwavering. Even in 1968, when assassinations, racial unrest and widespread opposition to a deeply unpopular war brought the nation precariously close to unraveling, the conviction held. Two decades later, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemingly validated that conviction for all time. We were indeed, as presumably serious US officials proclaimed, the ‘indispensable nation’ and destined to remain so until the end of time. So we were led to believe.

Now, a mere three decades since the end of the Cold War delivered its seemingly decisive verdict, the barrier between what happens ‘out there’ and what happens ‘back here’ has been breached. Foreign policy and domestic matters are becoming intermingled. As a direct consequence, American global leadership appears noticeably rickety.

At a moment when media coverage suggests that Trump is everything and everything is Trump, it’s important to note that this intermingling dates from long before his presidency. It commenced on 9/11 when an event that was never supposed to happen — a devastating attack on the United States itself — did happen. Americans suddenly awakened to the fact that global leadership as practiced by the United States can produce painful blowback.

Reinforcing this shock to the system were other unpleasant surprises. First came wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the world’s mightiest military was supposed to win but did not, despite sustaining terrible casualties and expending trillions of dollars. Second came episodes of stunning ineptitude by political authorities. Hurricane Katrina provided one example among many, showing that the people in charge were clueless about how to protect the population for which they were responsible. Hard on the heels of Katrina came the worst economic crisis since the Depression, suggesting that the people charged with managing the economy were incompetent, on the take, or both.

In 2016, the electorate responded by repudiating the establishment, voting into office a thoroughly unqualified presidential wannabe who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and put ‘America First’. Donald Trump has kept neither of those promises. As the end of his first term approaches, the actual legacy of his presidency has now become clear: yet more ineptitude, cluelessness and incompetence, all reinforced by Trump’s trademark narcissism, vulgarity, blustering tough-guy posturing and casual dissembling.

History will doubtless judge Trump harshly. As US president, he has proven to be an abysmal flop. Trump has failed to end the wars he vowed to end. For all his self- touted skills as a dealmaker, his record consists chiefly of unfulfilled promises. He also failed to address effectively — or even acknowledge — the threat posed by COVID-19. As a direct consequence of his administration’s belated and bungling response to the pandemic, the death toll in the United States now exceeds a staggering 125,000. Trump, of course, accepts no responsibility for that outcome. Coming hard on the heels of the pandemic is the worst economic calamity since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House almost a century ago. Hoover ‘owned’ the Great Depression. So too Trump ‘owns’ the economic consequences of the Great Lockdown. Yet again he refuses accountability.

And finally, there is Trump’s typically callous and ham-handed response to the wave of civil unrest triggered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Looking back on the nation’s recent past, baffled Americans are left to ponder two questions: how could this have happened? And what can we do to escape from the terrible straits in which we find ourselves?

 

A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice, with the persistence of racism offering just one example of what neglect has produced. Yet it deserves to be emphasized: the neglect was not Trump’s doing; he was merely its ironic beneficiary. We are its victims.

A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership — thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home — has become intolerable.

A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

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