Timeline/Stages for Collapse of our Way of Life

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  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 02:09am

    #1642

    tom.

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    SOPA-PIPA

I doubt that the original anonymous actually made that post – IMO its more likely to have been SOPA-PIPA pushers.

  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 05:34am

    #1643
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    Welcome to the Fascist Boot On Your Face

                                    

I was able catch a recent speech by Glenn Greenwald on America’s two-tiered legal system, the one we have in which corporate executives are allowed to fleece the public and wreck the world economy while at the same time an OWS activist, protesting such corporate crimes, is arrested, detained, and charged after their body has been slammed into the pavement and their hands zip-tied behind their back by a militarized police force. The reason Greenwald quite practicing law and started writing and speaking about politics is because of a growing radicalism he perceived in how Law was being defined and implemented during the Bush administration. This was all occurring post 9-11 after the nebulous term “war on terror” was coined and local police departments across the country were being given ever-increasing grants to arm themselves with the latest in “anti-terrorism weaponry”.  As I and others have noted before, the “war on terrorism” has become the rubric under which governments can smash those dissenting against the malfeasance and abuse of the corporate and financial elite, those referred generally as TPTB. More broadly, the “war on terrorism” has been used as an excuse for the invasion and occupation of foreign countries in order to gain control of resources, i.e. oil, and increase geopolitical power over foreign lands/governments.  Greenwald is currently traveling across America with a new speech entitled “Endless War and Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism” which sounds even more interesting.

As noted by Greenwald, a more effective form of dictatorship is to subvert and manipulate the laws meant to protect civil liberties rather than overtly and officially take them away. Below are snippets, transcribed by myself, of his hour long speech on America’s two-tiered legal system which protects oligarchy while subjecting the common person to the iron hand of the totalitarian security state:

What we do with ordinary citizens when it comes to justice and punishment and retribution is the exact opposite from the world in which the elite reside. We have created, at exactly the same time that we’ve built up a structure of elite immunity, the world’s largest and one of its most oppressive penal states. We have imprisoned more of our citizens than any other country in the world by far, including countries that have far greater populations than we have. The most amazing statistic in that regard is that the United States accounts for roughly 5% of the world’s population, and yet 25% of the prisoner population in the world is on American soil. We imprison people for trivial transgressions that are far too insignificant to ever give rise to the prospect of imprisonment in other parts of the world. We have constructed this harsh and merciless penile state for all other Americans at the same time we have created this template for elite immunity for our most powerful.

… in the post 9-11 era, we have created an even lower classification than what ordinary Americans get when they commit crimes – that is people who are accused of being terrorists. In that world, for that class of people, including American citizens arrested on American soil, there is NO law of any kind. It is a world of pure lawlessness. They are sub-persons, sub-humans literally, who receive not even the pretense of the due process of the law that ordinary Americans do. They can be arrested and detained and even killed without any due process of any kind.

we have the most radical act, the most lawless and tyrannical act that a government can possibly seize, literally the power to target its own citizens in complete secrecy with no charge of any kind, no evidence presented of their guilt, no transparency, no checks and balances. This is the extreme lawless world that is inhabited by those accused of committing “terrorism.”

… At least ordinary citizens who are charged with crimes have the pretense of due process, the trappings of it. They’ll get a public defender who spends an average of seven minutes talking to them even when they are charged with a felony that can send them to prison for decades, but people accused of terrorism don’t even receive that. It is the world of lawlessness, and that is as much an evisceration of the rule of law as one can imagine.

Now I want to talk about what I think is the main implication of creating this two-tiered justice system. It isn’t just that extreme injustice is generated when we have a multi-tiered justice system depending on who you are rather than what you do, although that is true. And it isn’t just that we essentially eviscerate and abandon the rule of law by doing that, although that is also true. I think it’s much more insidious. The real implication of this development is that the law ceases to become what it is intended to be, which is a legitimizing  anchor for everything done in society, the guarantor of equal treatment by our government. And it becomes the exact opposite. It becomes a coercive weapon wielded by the powerful to entrench their power and punish those who challenge and subvert them.

…the [Obama administration’s] motive for doing that [Bradley Manning’s unusually harsh and inhumane treatment, i.e protracted solitary confinement of the kind proven to cause long standing psychological damage, being stripped naked and forced to stand, etc…] is exactly the same motive of the Bush administration to pick up thousands of people from around the world and ship them thousands of miles away to a Caribbean island and dress them in orange jump suits and shackles and show the world what we’re doing. We are going to torture people at will and be quite open about the fact, even boastful and proud of the fact we are doing it. The reason is to send a signal. And the signal that is being sent is, “We, the people who run the American government and the people who control and own it, we do not act within the constraints of law. We can do whatever it is we want to do, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. And not only that, but we can use the law and manipulate the law and turn anyone who challenges us into a heinous criminal who can then be punished under the pretense of legalism and legality and law, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that either. So if you’re somebody who learns of something we did in secret that is illegal or corrupt or improper, and you are thinking about exposing it to the world what we did, take a look at what we did to Bradley Manning and what we were able to do to him. Or if you’re a Muslim living in a Muslim country who wants to oppose our bombing and our occupation and invading of your country, take a look at what we’ve done to all of your neighbors or the thousands of people that we’ve arrested and put into black holes with no due process of any kind. It’s a way of sending a signal, of deterring anybody who might challenge or in any way meaningfully dissent from those in power, using the law as a coercive tool to shield the powerful rather than by equalizing the playing field as it was intended to do. …”

  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 09:19am

    #1644
    elsur

    elsur

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    IP Address for CM Site

In case the internet ever is attacked, it is my understanding that websites may still be accessed if one knows the IP address.  Is the IP address for this site http://174.120.12.180?   Perhaps it would be good for all members/users to have this address written down in a safe place in case it is needed.  Seems like this site could be an important source of information.

 

Elsur

  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:22pm

    #1645

    Damnthematrix

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    duh….

xraymike79 wrote:
Chevy-SS wrote:

Kurzweil postulates that somewhere around the middle of this century, Artificial Intelligence will have progressed to the point that it exceeds human intelligence.

Some challenge……..

Mike

  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 01:09pm

    #1646

    tom.

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    What a Wonderful World

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=auSo1MyWf8g

  • Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 09:37pm

    #1647

    Damnthematrix

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    take the red pill….

  • Sun, Apr 01, 2012 - 06:01am

    #1648
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    Synopses of recent Archdruid Essays

 

The Crux of 

The Nature of Empire by John Michael Greer:

  • People use the word Empire as a symbol of evil (e.g. David Korten) or order and peace (e.g. Niall Ferguson). But the actual meaning is this:
  • “An empire is an arrangement among nations, backed and usually imposed by military force, that extracts wealth from a periphery of subject nations and concentrates it in the imperial core. Put more simply, an empire is a wealth pump, a device to enrich one nation at the expense of others.”
  • There are different methods for extracting wealth. Ancient empires used direct tributes, modern ones, like the US, use unbalanced exchange. 

The Crux of 

The Structure of Empires by John Michael Greer:

  • “Free trade is simply one of the mechanisms of empire in the age of industrialism, one part of the wealth pump that concentrated the wealth of the globe in Britain during the years of its imperial dominion and does the same thing for the benefit of the United States today.”
  • “Flows of wealth can be used to trace out the structure of empire”: It is a pyramid of nations, each extracting wealth from those under it.
  • Inside each nation, there’s a pyramid of people, each extracting wealth from those under themselves: “The vast majority of people in the imperial nation and its allies, and a certain fraction of those even in the most heavily exploited subject nations, receive at least a modest share of wealth and privilege in exchange for their cooperation in maintaining the imperial system”.

The Crux of

The Trajectory of Empires by John Michael Greer:

  • “The fall of civilizations takes place through a process [of] catabolic collapse”: when the economic activity required to maintain the empire overshoots its dwindling resource base.
  • The economic cost of maintaining an empire tends to increase over time.
  • The resources are always limited, and usually suffer under-investment because of the extraction of wealth up the imperial pyramid.
  • As this process proceeds, the empire must repeatedly shrink to fit its shrinking resource base.

The Crux of 

Myth of The Machine by John Michael Greer:

  • Americans can’t imagine giving up cars just as they can’t imagine giving up television – both answer important emotional drives: “If the automobile is America’s talisman of freedom, the television is its talisman of community, of participation in a world of shared activities and shared meanings.”
  • But watching tv is isolating, and using roads and highways is dependent on big bureaucracies: “Isolation packaged as participation, dependence packaged as freedom”.
  • Americans allow themselves to depend on these two machines. When they imagine solutions to oncoming problems, they think of other machines: “A solar panel, a wind turbine, an electric car, a thorium reactor, a supercomputer, a flying saucer or a nuclear bomb, take your pick, but it’s got to be based on a machine.”
  • The idea that any problem has some machine that can solve it is a myth, in the original sense of the word: a narrative that directs actions.
  • Machines don’t have an inner world like people, so they allow their users to have power without needing to wield real power over others. This leads to a problematic “nexus between an illusion of power, a reality of dependence—and a large and increasing cost.”

Even relying on spellcheck to catch all mistakes can have embarrassing results.

The Crux of 

The Blood of the Earth, or Pulp Nonfiction by John Michael Greer:

  • Apocalyptic prophesies become popular when the dominant cultural story no longer works to make sense of reality.
  • In Roman times that story was of how chaos was reduced to order, peace and prosperity under the paternal rule of a benevolent despot. In our times it is the story of progress.
  • Since progress no longer describes our reality, and since the alternative story of apocalypse is a bubble, we need to find a different story to make sense of our reality.
  • Many fantasy novels describe life in a declining empire, whose kings and sorcerers turns evil. This story matches our declining economy and financial institutions.

  • Sun, Apr 01, 2012 - 08:35am

    #1649
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    The Wealth Extraction of Empires

 Commenting on the wealth extraction of empires, Michael Parenti elucidates what America really is – an Empire –  and what an empire is all about: Imperialism. 

What Do Empires Do? by Michael Parenti

 

When I wrote my book Against Empire in 1995, as might be expected, some of my U.S. compatriots thought it was wrong of me to call the United States an empire. It was widely believed that U.S. rulers did not pursue empire; they intervened abroad only out of self-defense or for humanitarian rescue operations or to restore order in a troubled region or overthrow tyranny, fight terrorism, and propagate democracy.

But by the year 2000, everyone started talking about the United States as an empire and writing books with titles like Sorrows of Empire, Follies of Empire, Twilight of Empire, or Empire of Illusions— all referring to the United States when they spoke of empire.

Even conservatives started using the word. Amazing. One could hear right-wing pundits announcing on U.S. television, “We’re an empire, with all the responsibilities and opportunities of empire and we better get used to it”; and “We are the strongest nation in the world and have every right to act as such”—as if having the power gives U.S. leaders an inherent entitlement to exercise it upon others as they might wish.

“What is going on here?” I asked myself at the time. How is it that so many people feel free to talk about empire when they mean a United States empire? The ideological orthodoxy had always been that, unlike other countries, the USA did not indulge in colonization and conquest.

The answer, I realized, is that the word has been divested of its full meaning. “Empire” seems nowadays to mean simply dominion and control. Empire—for most of these late-coming critics— is concerned almost exclusively with power and prestige. What is usually missing from the public discourse is the process of empire and its politico-economic content. In other words, while we hear a lot about empire, we hear very little about imperialism.

Now that is strange, for imperialism is what empires are all about. Imperialism is what empires do. And by imperialism I do not mean the process of extending power and dominion without regard to material and financial interests. Indeed “imperialism” has been used by some authors in the same empty way that they use the word “empire,” to simply denote dominion and control with little attention given to political economic realities.

But I define imperialism as follows: the process whereby the dominant investor interests in one country bring to bear their economic and military power upon another nation or region in order to expropriate its land, labor, natural resources, capital, and markets—in such a manner as to enrich the investor interests. In a word, empires do not just pursue “power for power’s sake.” There are real and enormous material interests at stake, fortunes to be made many times over.

So for centuries the ruling interests of Western Europe and later on North America and Japan went forth with their financiers—and when necessary their armies—to lay claim to most of planet Earth, including the labor of indigenous peoples (both as workers and slaves), their markets, their incomes (through colonial taxation or debt control or other means), and the abundant treasures of their lands: their gold, silver, diamonds, copper, rum, molasses, hemp, flax, ebony, timber, sugar, tobacco, ivory, iron, tin, nickel, coal, cotton, corn, and more recently: uranium, manganese, titanium, bauxite, oil, and—say it again—oil (hardly a complete listing).

Empires are enormously profitable for the dominant economic interests of the imperial nation but enormously costly to the people of the colonized country. In addition to suffering the pillage of their lands and natural resources, the people of these targeted countries are frequently killed in large numbers by the intruders.

This is another thing that empires do which too often goes unmentioned in the historical and political literature of countries like the United States, Britain, and France. Empires impoverish whole populations and kill lots and lots of innocent people. As I write this, President Obama and the national security state for which he works are waging two and a half wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, and northern Pakistan), and leveling military threats against Yemen, Iran, and, on a slow day, North Korea. Instead of sending medical and rescue aid to Haiti, Our Bomber sent in the Marines, the same Marines who engaged in years of repression and killings in Haiti decades ago and supported more recent massacres by proxy forces.

The purpose of all this killing is to prevent alternative, independent, self-defining nations from emerging. So the empire uses its state power to gather private wealth for its investor class. And it uses its public wealth to shore up its state power and prevent other nations from self-developing.

Sooner or later this arrangement begins to wilt under the weight of its own contradictions. As the empire grows more menacing and more murderous toward others, it grows sick and impoverished within itself.

From ancient times to today, empires have always been involved in the bloody accumulation of wealth….

 

  • Mon, Apr 02, 2012 - 12:41pm

    #1650
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    Playing with Fire

Bird flu is already aggressively lethal but scientists have now engineered a version of H5N1 that can be transmitted atmospherically, and with devastating results. This controversial research has not only divided the scientific community but also enraged global security agencies concerned about bioterrorism. “There’s no way of saying how many humans would die. [The Spanish flu of 1918] killed 100 million human beings with a 2% kill rate. So jump to the age of globalisation, and imagine a 50% kill rate, says Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer…

  • Tue, Apr 03, 2012 - 06:07pm

    #1651
    xraymike79

    xraymike79

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    The Totalitarian Two Step

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhNK9edFZIA

A Time for Folly 

4-2-2012

What better time to release a story about Britain’s latest move towards a surveillance state than April Fools’ day?

 

We were told yesterday – sadly it was no joke – that the threat of terrorism is to be used as an excuse to give the state the power to snoop on all our web traffic, to keep an eye on the websites we read, to note with whom we talk in email and online, to perform traffic analysis on our personal networks and, at the flick of a switch, peer inside our private communications to ensure we are being good, passive, uncritical, obedient citizens.

What the government is proposing is nothing short of the technological infrastructure necessary for dictatorship.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, responded to Sunday’s news with the warning:

Of course the security services should be able to get a warrant to monitor genuine suspects.

But blanket collection, without suspicion, or powers to compel companies to hand over data on the say-so of a police officer would be very wrong.

The saga of complicity between senior police officers and Murdoch’s journalists should tell us how vulnerable people’s privacy can be. The government should stand by the commitments both parties made before the election to protect our privacy.

Nobody could look at the ways in which the police routinely break the law – abusing the extraordinary powers they have been given to assault, intimidate, even murder with impunity – and think that increasing the powers of the state will not lead to further corruption.

But of course the only thing of value in our sick society is the health of the financial markets.

Terror is always used as the excuse to keep the people in line but what the weekend’s leaked proposals suggest is that the apologists for capitalism in the UK have reached the point where they will no longer seek to justify their ideology as being about freedom and are instead adopting something closer to the Chinese model.

As the cascading failure of the markets continues to gain in momentum, more and more force will be used to keep the people in line.

As we see on the streets of Athens, if people are not willing to bear the yoke of supporting their new masters, then they will be beaten and gassed until they comply.

If the smooth functioning of the markets demands a police state then that is what we will get. If spying on all communication between individuals is necessary to prevent growing discontent from becoming dissent then that is what the government will do.

It is not enough to refuse to vote and believe we are creating alternative, autonomous zones, refusing to participate in the ballot for fear of seeming to endorse the status quo. It makes no strategic sense to leave the field of battle uncontested as the most rapacious elements of humanity increasingly use the powers granted by slim electoral success to criminalize dissent, step up surveillance, militarize the police and pass regulations and laws to choke off any possibility of attempts to live outside the system.

 

We are going to have to engage with a system that seems to corrupt even the purest of hearts and win power so that we can give it away. Many say that such an attempt is doomed to failure but it  is no more quixotic than to believe that if we wait long enough the people will spontaneously rise up and overthrow the government and replace it with something more benign.

If the promises of the Enlightenment are not to end in a new feudalism in which the majority are forced to spend their lives working in increasingly miserable, dangerous conditions to keep the rich in luxury, then it is time for us to stop pandering to and failing to oppose parties that favour tyranny through surveillance over freedom and believe we exist to serve them, not the other way round.

The arguments of capitalist realism are always used to dismiss those who dream of a better world. We are told we need to grow up and pick only from the narrow range of political options that the bond markets will like. We must be sensible.

With these new draconian proposals giving a hint of what the future holds if we continue down this path, now has to be the time for folly.

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