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Reviewing Sibel Edmonds: The Lone Gladio

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reviewing Sibel Edmonds: The Lone Gladio

Years before I began this blog, I had been following Sibel Edmonds' story for clues about what larger, darker truths would be revealed. From the 60 Minutes story of her FBI whistleblowing to the gagging by Attorney General John Ashcroft, the State Secrets Privilege Gallery and sworn testimony in Schmidt v. Krikorian, the story kept getting more vast and labyrinthian. But of all the stories that Sibel Edmonds' time as an FBI translator bore witness to, the story that fascinated me the most concerned what she learned about 9/11. Most of this was detailed in her book Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, an autobiography of her experience with the FBI. But she has always been meticulous about strictly stating the facts that she uncovered, without resorting to speculation about what those facts mean in the context of the larger question: how did 9/11 really go down?

She found the perfect venue for elaborating the details of how she thinks it all went down: a fictional novel. The Lone Gladio is a spy thriller written by Sibel Edmonds that deals with her experiences in a fictional manner, but has multiple story lines that weave together in unexpected ways. If I were to approach this as a regular review, I would give this my highest praise for being a genuine page turner, filled with memorable characters, exciting plot twists and riveting confrontations. But rather than approach this as a review of just the book itself, I want to review this through the context of what I have learned about Sibel Edmonds' experience through her public revelations. Specifically, I want to review portions of the book in the context of her revelations in 2013 on The Corbett Report about Gladio B, which I synopsized here.

As Sibel Edmonds alludes to in her interview on The Corbett Report, 9/11 was a Gladio B operation. While I employed my own hyperbole to describe her allusion that 9/11 was an Operation Gladio false flag operation on steroids, a more accurate description in light of what Edmonds has illustrated in The Lone Gladio is that 9/11 was a highly compartmentalized Gladio-within-Gladio operation. Though there is a character in the novel based on Edmonds named Elsie Simon, the character who really does the most to expose the Gladio B network is Gregory McPhearson. Also known as OG 68, his story begins on June 18 2001, working for "the company" in Azerbaijan. Greg seems calm, cool and impenetrable, though when the target of the false flag terror operation he is working on is switched to a Moscow day care center to ensure Russian retaliation against the Chechens, he seems bothered by the possibility of messy, unanticipated consequences. When we see him next, it is October 6, 2003, in Mui Ne, Vietnam. While still outwardly Greg appears the same strong, cold operative, his inward calculations now seem focused against the company. The reason is that since he knows Operation Gladio did 9/11, and he was excluded from involvement, he was considered by the top tier to be not suited or undetermined, and would have to eventually be eliminated. Besides his own safety and security, he has another motive: he fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Mai.

Part of the fun for me in reading this book was deciphering who some of these people named in the book might be in real life and who some of the organizations named really are. I find it interesting, especially after reading a different book that I hope to review later that addresses memetic propaganda, that Edmonds never refers to 9/11 as 9/11; throughout the book she refers to it as the "2001 attack." The attack was carried out by "al-Hazar", obviously al-Qaeda. Greg found out about it at Frankfurt Airport watching "BCB", or BBC. She refers to it as "a tool of the company", as well as "NCN", or CNN, and "New York Corp", or New York Times. As she writes on page 84, "The entire thing was a supreme cosmic joke. Yes, he was deliberately placed outside the loop: before, during, and after the attack. And why? They knew he'd know, of course; it was Greg and the rest of the company who had created al-Hazar in the first place. They created a brand and coined it with a name that started as a joke among company men, and somehow it had stuck."


Posted by robertpaulsen | Tue May 5, 2015, 04:16 PM (0 replies)

An American View of Greece Revisited

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An American View of Greece Revisited

Almost five years ago, I interviewed my father and wrote a blog post regarding his experience of his most recent visit to Greece. At the time, Greece was undergoing a strike where buses and trains had curtailed their services. Economic growth had sputtered, debt had ballooned and unemployment had skyrocketed to double digits. When I asked my Dad what he thought of James Howard Kunstler's insight that Greece might resort to communism, he responded, "As far as I'm concerned, they're really close to it, they're crazy over there."

Fast forward to today. My father is no longer with us, passing away almost four years ago, but almost all the problems that plagued Greece then have magnified and multiplied. Unemployment is now at 25%, as bad as it was in America during the height of the Great Depression. Instead of communism, the extremist threat on the rise is from the far-right in the form of the fascist Golden Dawn, which took third place in parliamentary elections earlier this year. But the biggest immediate problem is the debt. To address the debt crisis, there had been a debt restructuring program set up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Eurozone countries and the European Central Bank (ECB) which was initiated around the time I wrote my original post. When the first restructuring obviously wasn't working, a second restructuring which carried over the bailout of the first one was ratified by all parties in February 2012. But with the January election which brought the left wing Syriza Party to power, a new coalition government declared the old bailout agreements cancelled. They were given until May 31 to negotiate with creditors.

How will this all play out? The current outlook isn't very positive:

Greece is probably already defaulting on its debt. Here’s why

more at link...

Posted by robertpaulsen | Thu Apr 9, 2015, 03:05 PM (3 replies)

Malcolm X: The Ignored Legacy

Friday, February 20, 2015

The X Factor

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, I would like to examine the evidence of government involvement. There's no question that there was a conspiracy where his assassination is concerned. The sequence of events on February 21, 1965 leave little doubt. From an article originally in Newsweek:

Death came moments after Malcolm stepped up to a flimsy plywood lectern in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom, just north of Harlem, to address 400 of the faithful and the curious at a Sunday afternoon rally of his fledgling Organization of Afro-American Unity. The extermination plot was clever in conception, swift and smooth in execution. Two men popped to their feet in the front rows of wooden folding chairs, one yelling at the other: “Get your hands off my pockets, don't be messing with my pockets.” Four of Malcolm's six bodyguards moved toward the pair; Malcolm himself chided, “Let's cool it.”

Volley: Then came a second diversion: a man's sock, soaked in lighter fluid and set ablaze, flared in the rear. Heads swiveled, and as they did, a dark, muscular man moved toward the lectern in a crouch, a sawed-off shotgun wrapped in his coat. Blam-blam! A double-barreled charge ripped up through the lectern and into Malcolm's chest. From the left, near the spot where the two men had been squabbling, came a back-up volley of pistol fire.


more at link above

While this was written a month ago, I believe this and the accompanying excerpt show that while some attention was paid in the past, we are witnessing the memory of the greatness of Malcolm X diminished over time.

Legacy of Malcolm X ignored by millions, including namesakes

Is it just me or does less attention seem to be shown toward the life and legacy of Malcolm X?

Regardless of one’s political views or even their opinion of Malcolm, his actions and activism have left an indelible mark on the history of America and that fact should never be ignored or erased from the history books.

Feb. 21 marked the 50th anniversary of Malcolm’s death, yet most people would not have realized that simply because few people and even fewer media outlets talked about the occasion. Bothered by the lack of attention for the commemoration of Malcolm’s death, I decided to investigate to see what some entities that bore the Malcolm X name did in recognition of the slain advocate’s death.


more at link above

Posted by robertpaulsen | Sat Mar 21, 2015, 08:28 PM (3 replies)

Bill Cosby and the Reagan Era Reckoning by Eric Frost-Barnes

Bill Cosby and the Reagan Era Reckoning

More than thirty years ago, as then President Ronald Reagan spoke to us about coming “to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions,” Bill Cosby was seemingly giving us something else all together; manageable life lessons through a lot of laughter and a sense of comfort.

President Reagan’s quote is from his second inaugural address, referring to a “time of reckoning” in terms of what he described as “fifty years of deficit spending.” Reagan wanted to make cuts and curb certain governmental spending habits, and through his well-rehearsed “aw-shucks” delivery, we, as a trusting nation, went along with him on a fiscal journey that has since proven to have been far more harmful than helpful, in terms of balancing the budget and helping those Americans in need.

In other words, we trusted dear, sweet Ronnie – and as a result, we took an economic beating for it.

But at least we could look back on Bill Cosby and his shining symbol of the near-perfect American father, that now iconic character’s name being Cliff Huxtable. Excuse me, I mean, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Cosby’s portrayal of the good doctor was everything we as a nation were looking for; a father who loved his wife and children, and a man who never shied away from a teachable moment. In short, Dr. Cliff Huxtable was a devoted family man who appeared to tell it like it was (much like our loving grandfather-figure in the White House) through honesty, humor, and rarely seen TV candor.

And for eight seasons (coincidentally, the same length of time Reagan was in the Oval Office) we trusted dear, sweet Dr. Huxtable – and as a result, we were taken for a ride by someone who (Cosby, the man) was, at times, behaving in ways far different than his beloved television persona. (In hindsight, the fact that Dr. Huxtable was an obstetrician with an office in his home basement seems horribly creepy and a bit of a “tell” as to how the real Cosby thought). At the time of writing this piece, more than thirty-three women have stepped forward publicly and claimed they were either sexually harassed or raped by Bill Cosby, with some of these alleged incidents happening as far back as the late 1960s and early 70s.

more at link...

Posted by robertpaulsen | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 02:14 PM (3 replies)

The X Factor: 50 Years Since The Assassination of Malcolm X

Friday, February 20, 2015

The X Factor

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, I would like to examine the evidence of government involvement. There's no question that there was a conspiracy where his assassination is concerned. The sequence of events on February 21, 1965 leave little doubt. From an article originally in Newsweek:

Death came moments after Malcolm stepped up to a flimsy plywood lectern in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom, just north of Harlem, to address 400 of the faithful and the curious at a Sunday afternoon rally of his fledgling Organization of Afro-American Unity. The extermination plot was clever in conception, swift and smooth in execution. Two men popped to their feet in the front rows of wooden folding chairs, one yelling at the other: “Get your hands off my pockets, don't be messing with my pockets.” Four of Malcolm's six bodyguards moved toward the pair; Malcolm himself chided, “Let's cool it.”

Volley: Then came a second diversion: a man's sock, soaked in lighter fluid and set ablaze, flared in the rear. Heads swiveled, and as they did, a dark, muscular man moved toward the lectern in a crouch, a sawed-off shotgun wrapped in his coat. Blam-blam! A double-barreled charge ripped up through the lectern and into Malcolm's chest. From the left, near the spot where the two men had been squabbling, came a back-up volley of pistol fire.


Malcolm X 1925-1965

Beyond the obvious role the Nation of Islam (NOI) played, I want to explore the role of government agencies. To do so, I am not going do my usual thing as I do when exploring the role of government agencies in the JFK assassination. I will not be quoting from books dedicated to investigating government conspiracy in Malcolm X's assassination, though I know there are a number of well written books on the subject. What I will do is quote from a single history book, the National Book Award finalist Malcolm X A Life of Reinvention by the late Manning Marable. And I will use an evidentiary standard familiar to many investigators of the 9/11 conspiracy: LIHOP, or Let It Happen On Purpose, as opposed to MIHOP, or Made It Happen On Purpose.


Posted by robertpaulsen | Fri Feb 20, 2015, 04:29 PM (2 replies)

Choose It or Lose It

Choose It or Lose It

I first got into Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was around 9 or 10 years old, so sometime in 1982 or 1983. The first one I bought was the 14th book in the series, "The Forbidden Castle." In that story, you journey into the Cave of Time, which takes you back to the Middle Ages where you encounter a couple of knights who reveal a riddle about a forbidden castle. You spend the rest of the story either trying to solve the riddle or trying to avoid it, depending on your choices.

The excitement of being able to choose different story lines within the same book got me hooked on this series. I particularly liked the element of time travel and was curious to read the first book in the series, "The Cave of Time." This was one of my favorite books in the series, where different corridors in the cave would lead you to different time periods. Apparently, it was a favorite among many of the fans. Not only was "The Forbidden Castle" an unofficial sequel, but when the series became so popular that they got up to 50 titles, they decided to make the 50th book "Return to the Cave of Time."

Looking back on the series with the passage of 30+ years in some cases, I became aware of a barely perceptible shift in the narrative tone from the first book to the 50th that coincided with the shift in the political tone in America during that period of time. "The Cave of Time" was written, or at least the first edition was published, in 1979. While there are 40 possible endings, there were a couple that stood out for their presentation of a hopeful future. One occurs in which you encounter a girl named Louisa from the year 2022. She tells you that since 1997, they've allowed no new roads to be built, only bike trails. The country she describes is filled with bike trails that run through forests and plains instead of alongside buses and trucks. There's even hostels for bikers paid for by taxes on gasoline. When you eventually get back to your time (1979), you both see a billboard that says, "CADILLAC - the Car of the Year, every Year!" Louisa's response is, "What's a Cadillac?" The second story line illustrating a future scenario occurs in the year 3742. Through the Cave of Time, you have entered a society that is a sort of paradise. Computers do everything for humans, so there is no need to work and the world is at peace. You spend all your time in your beautiful bedroom with a choice of over 10,000 movies. (Netflix Utopia?) But when you venture out of your place for human interaction, none of the people you meet are very interesting. You settle into your new life watching the greatest movies of all time with the awareness of one slightly disturbing thing: no one has made any new movies in the last 300 years.

The 50th book, "Return to the Cave of Time", was initially published in November 1985. I believe I received a copy for Christmas that year. It was "morning in America", the first year of the second term for President Reagan. I've written before about the probability of an October Surprise that decided the 1980 election, but aside from the issue of Iran, voters were at a crossroads with an even bigger issue in terms of our overall well-being: the Carbon Crisis. The two choices, Reagan and Carter, represented diametrically opposed viewpoints where energy and the environment were concerned. This opposition was brilliantly expressed in a satirical manner by The Onion

Since it was clear by 1985 which message resonated with voters, Edward Packard, who wrote all the Cave of Time books in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, reflected the diminished importance of protecting the environment in favor of consuming our way to prosperity with increased reliance on the Military-Industrial Complex in one of the future scenarios of "Return to the Cave of Time." To describe this scenario as dystopic is an understatement. You are on a planet Earth filled with the grey clouds of a greenhouse effect gone wild. There is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that the oxygen content is only 2.3 percent. You must wear an oxygen-generating helmet at all times. What little hope exists for the planet consists of a team of alien custodians from a group called the Planetary Council who have improved the planet's environment tenfold "during the past few hundred thousand years" by their own account. You might even get to witness their most recent accomplishment: rain, albeit in a slicker, greasier form. The smartest choice, at this point, is to return to the Cave of Time and hope to escape to a time before the planet went to hell in a hand-basket.

more at link...

Posted by robertpaulsen | Mon Dec 22, 2014, 03:38 PM (1 replies)

Degree Absolute and the JFK Assassination Conspiracy

Degree Absolute and the JFK Assassination Conspiracy

Having recently been turned on to the joys of internet TV, I spent the early part of autumn with my family watching The Prisoner on Crackle. This is a British TV series that ran just one season, 17 episodes from 1967-68, but I've had a number of people recommend it over the years. Now that I've seen every episode from start to finish, I understand why it got so many raves. It was groundbreaking, truly ahead of its time, not just for its presentation but also its content. The presentation has its origins in the creator and star (and producer, director and writer of many of the series episodes, often under an alias) Patrick McGoohan, who had risen to fame from 1960-62 for his role as John Drake in Danger Man, playing a secret agent. Three years later, the series was revamped as Secret Agent. While this was one of the first British TV series to gain fame in the United States, by 1966, McGoohan yearned for something a little different.

The Prisoner, like Danger Man, has a British secret agent played by McGoohan as the lead character. This secret agent (there is much debate among fans as to whether it is the same character in both series or not) abruptly turns in his resignation. However, the agency he works for is not so eager to accept his resignation. While packing his bags in preparation for departure, his home is gassed and McGoohan passes out. When he comes to, his home seems just as it was, completely undisturbed. When he opens the window, he is startled to discover that instead of London skyscrapers, he has the view of a garden. Upon further investigation, he finds he is in a secluded coastal place called The Village where everyone is either a prisoner or a warden, but there are no identities; everyone is assigned a number. McGoohan is assigned Number Six (which he resists proclaiming, "I am not a number! I am a free man!") and is constantly kept under surveillance by Number Two. In almost every episode, Number Two is replaced by a "new Number Two", either to confuse Number Six or because the 'old' Number Two was outsmarted by Number Six.

I loved every episode from the pilot to the finale, even the episode set in the Wild West, which actually fit into the pattern of interrogation perfectly. My favorite episode was the penultimate titled Once Upon a Time. It begins with Leo McKern, who had previously played Number Two in the second episode of the series, The Chimes of Big Ben, returning to the role for one last shot at breaking Number Six. He asks on the phone to his superior and gets approval to use "Degree Absolute" on Number Six. Degree Absolute is an extreme form of regressive therapy in which Number Two guides Number Six, who has mentally regressed to a child, through Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man in the hopes of discovering, as every Number Two throughout the series has attempted, why Number Six resigned. Throughout these seven ages, Number Two conducts tests in which he plays an authority figure and Number Six must react in a subordinate role. However, Number Six turns the tables eventually locking Number Two in a room for torment as time for the session runs out. Number Two collapses, apparently dead, and when the Supervisor played by Peter Swanwick enters to ask what Number Six wants, he agrees to give Number Six an audience with the figure he's been asking to confront ever since his imprisonment in The Village: the elusive Number One.

What makes this episode both ahead of its time and incredibly relevant to today is in illustrating how the combination of torture and drugs have been used in the pursuit of mind control. I've written previously on this blog about the subject of MK-ULTRA, the CIA mind control program conducted in secret during the 1950s. Yet knowledge of this classified program did not become public until the 1970s. So in that regard, McGoohan seems to be extremely prescient (or extremely connected) in his enactment of mind control techniques. As for contemporary relevance, one need only read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine to understand that these same techniques have become the favored method of pressure on "enemy combatants" kept prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. Not only has this "enhanced interrogation" been applied to foreign detainees, but in the case of Bradley Manning we have an American citizen whose lawyers alleged that while in solitary confinement at Fort Quantico, Manning was alternately kept naked and forced to sleep in a straitjacket, while being "drugged heavily with antidepressants." Whatever you may think of what Edward Snowden did with his subsequent leak, in the wake of these allegations, can you blame him for escaping from the USA and preferring to spend the rest of his life in exile?

But I digress. We're approaching another anniversary where JFK's assassins have escaped justice. Strangely enough, there is an incident where an intelligence operative who sought to expose part of the charade erected by the conspirators faced his own Degree Absolute.

Read more at the link...

Posted by robertpaulsen | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 01:01 PM (35 replies)

Carbon Crisis 2014 Update: Planet Jenga

Carbon Crisis 2014 Update: Planet Jenga

While this post continues as an update to last year's post on the same subject, that Peak Oil and Global Warming being flip sides of the same coin should be condensed and renamed the Carbon Crisis, I hope to explore the situation from a more anthropological level, as well as defining the impending danger.


Have you ever played Jenga? It's a game I only recently discovered when someone brought it to work. You stack 54 wooden blocks into a tower. Each player in their turn takes one block out from the tower and places it at the top, building the tower higher and higher while being careful not to disrupt the rest of the tower. The game ends when someone knocks the tower down, the winner being the last player to successfully put a block on top.

I believe, if I understand totalitarian agriculture correctly, that civilization has effectively turned Earth into Planet Jenga. We've been approaching turbo speed ever since our infrastructure was shifted to be predicated on cheap oil production, whereas prior to that we were on cruise control when our infrastructure was predicated on cheap coal production, which we had been since roughly 1750. But we were on that course even prior to that with the advent of agriculture. Not because agriculture itself is inherently environmentally corrosive, but because of the human attitudes that made it totalitarian agriculture as described by Daniel Quinn: "it all belongs to us: everything; every bit of it and we can do with it what we want."

more at link

Posted by robertpaulsen | Thu Nov 20, 2014, 01:06 PM (11 replies)

Why doesn't the 'long emergency' feel like an emergency?

Why doesn't the 'long emergency' feel like an emergency?
by Kurt Cobb, originally published by Resource Insights | Jul 27, 2014

In 2006 when James Howard Kunstler published his breakthrough book The Long Emergency, the next two years seemed to vindicate his warning that the oil age was coming to an end with perilous consequences. Oil soared to $147 a barrel in mid-2008. A few analysts suggested that it was headed for $200; but that was not to be. By autumn the stock market had collapsed and with it the world economy. Oil, too, then collapsed, trading in the mid-$30 range by December as demand for oil fell off a cliff with the economy. It seemed for months that the world was headed for an economic depression.

But extraordinary stimulative spending by governments around the world and emergency measures by central banks reversed the trend and led to a weak, but extended recovery of sorts that lasts to this day (though not for everyone--just ask the Greeks).

Oil prices have rebounded and have remained at or near record levels for more than three years when measured by the average daily price of the world benchmark Brent Crude. That high price (higher on average than the year of the spike) is holding back economic growth. It is creating a seeming puzzle for economic policymakers who don't understand why their extraordinary measures have not led to extraordinary growth. They are blind to the central role of energy and particularly oil in the economy.

Despite the so-called recovery, much of Europe remains mired in low or no growth, lingering on the edge of a deflationary spiral. Germany is the one bright spot; prospects for France continue to darken. In the United States jobs are only now starting to return to previous levels almost five years after a slow and laborious climb off the bottom of the so-called Great Recession.

Today, governments of some of the world's largest nations are still running extraordinarily high deficits, though these have come down as the world has inched its way out of the recession.

What appears to be masking the ongoing emergency is the rise in stock and bond markets (which has disproportionately benefited the rich who hold the most stocks and bonds). The disconnect between the still sluggish economy and the stock market which keeps hitting new highs is one indication that dangers lurk in the world economy.

Retirees and others who are risk-averse have been getting virtually no interest on their money in the bank, interest that many rely on to live. For five years the world's central banks have maintained ultra-low interest rates designed to goose the economy. This policy has forced these risk-averse investors out of their comfort zone and into the stock and bond markets to obtain income and a chance at growth. Such markets, of course, carry far more risk than bank CDs.

The people at the top and those with substantial retirement investments are doing okay again, but do not understand the precariousness of markets which are now totally driven by government and central bank policy--policy that will inevitably shift or, if unchanged, will stoke the world's speculative fever to such a degree that no intervention will be able to prevent a financial crash.

Perhaps another reason that the long emergency we have entered does not seem like one is that some emergency measures have morphed into permanent fixtures of society. The Bank of England has held its key lending rate at 0.5 percent since 2009, the lowest since the opening of the bank in 1694. The projected U.S. federal deficit of $492 billion for 2014--which previously would have provoked sharp public debate about the ruin of government finances--today seems unnoteworthy when compared to the four straight $1 trillion plus deficits from 2009 to 2012. The abnormal is becoming normal.

Analyst Doug Noland at first didn't believe that governments around the world would mortgage the future of their peoples to such an extent to protect and enrich the financial class in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. Eventually, he dubbed the phenomenon the "government finance bubble." He expects it to be the largest and final bubble of a series occurring in the last 30 years. At the end there will be no Bank of Mars to bail us out when the government finance bubble collapses.

On the energy front, new hydraulic fracturing technology combined with horizontal drilling is being touted as the answer to high oil prices. But oil prices remain stubbornly elevated. And, the technology itself is designed to harvest oil from shale layers thousands of feet below conventional reservoirs, layers which are far more difficult and expensive to exploit. In a way, our extraction of shale-based oil should be considered an emergency measure, one designed to forestall a decline in world oil production and one that would never have been taken if the easy-to-get oil hadn't already been gotten.

Likewise, attempts to exploit oil under the Arctic Ocean (so far unsuccessful) are opening a new front in the era of "extreme oil" and should also be classified as emergency measures.

But the public and policymakers generally do not view these developments in oil exploration with concern. On the contrary such efforts are touted as evidence of humankind's inevitable advance through clever manipulation of the environment using technology. It is just this idea of inevitability which holds the public mind in thrall regarding the economy with a promise that conditions will return to normal sometime soon--normal being defined down to include all sorts of emergency measures.

Meanwhile, the rampage of an itinerant army of vengeful youths in Syria and Iraq intent on building a new caliphate and the suddenly shifting borders of The Ukraine and Russia (accompanied by the downing of a civilian airliner by belligerents) seems to trouble the public elsewhere very little. Regarding the Middle East few are saying out loud that oil and water are among the driving forces of intensified conflict that threatens to make current borders obsolete.

Joining in the mess are Palestinians and Israelis who are once again in a hot war that seems to draw yawns from the rest of the world populace.

As long as we ignore the role of climate change and resource and energy depletion, we can delude ourselves that somehow things will return to the way they used to be--before the long emergency began--that political or ethnic factors are the main problems and that it has ever been thus! So, we tell ourselves not to worry too much since these problems are really local or regional; as long as we can stay out of the way, we think we can safely ignore them.

But, of course, we can't because the world is now one global system dependent on critical resources coming from the very areas affected by conflict--oil, of course, in the Middle East and natural gas from Russia upon which Europe depends.

Is all of this happening too slowly to be considered an emergency? Emergencies generally make obvious the need for immediate and decisive action. Some people do indeed perceive that swift action is needed to address urgent energy and sustainability issues. But, it is also true that we will need decades-long engagement with such issues if we as a species are to navigate the path to a successful transition to a renewable energy economy that also conserves the soil, the water, the climate and ultimately us. Hence, the long emergency.

But in order to embrace such a worldview, most people would have to give up the supposed comfort offered by the financial bubble of the last generation, a bubble made possible by cheap fossil fuels, especially oil. It seemed as if the public might let go of this fossil-fueled fantasy after 2008. But because of the extraordinary financial measures deployed in an attempt to return us to business-as-usual, the global economic and financial system has been revived just enough to allow us to engage in a few more years of fantasizing--until our cumulative debts to nature and to one another catch up with us.

Posted by robertpaulsen | Wed Jul 30, 2014, 08:11 PM (0 replies)

Duck Dynasties, Our 1st Amendment, and the Hypocrisy of The Right

Duck Dynasties, Our 1st Amendment, and the Hypocrisy of The Right

December 25, 2013

I figured since nearly everybody else has jumped into this pool of controversy (or pond, given the setting), and you cannot swing a dead duck without hitting a Facebook diatribe, angry tweet, or know-it-all talking head babbling over reality-TV star Phil Robertson’s recent controversial interview in GQ magazine, I may as well wade in a bit, too.

I am a proud American and a proud liberal, and I firmly believe in our Constitution and all that comes within it. So, while I personally disagree with the recent racially-charged and homophobic comments made by “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, I equally agree with the notion that as an American citizen Robertson has a fundamental right to make those comments out loud – however controversial, judgmental, and myopic they may be.

We all, as Americans, retain the right to our freedom of speech, and that obviously includes Phil Robertson. But despite the claims of so many people on The Right, the decision by A & E executives to briefly remove Robertson from “Duck Dynasty” was not about taking away his right to free speech, nor was it about unfairly silencing him. All the proof you need is the fact that Phil Robertson made his comments to the GQ reporter in the first place, and has since been able to speak out about those comments and defend them. Robertson’s opinions about the sin of homosexuality and, how back in the pre-Civil-Rights-era South, African-Americans appeared to be very happy under old Jim Crow laws have not landed him in jail, nor has he been fined heavily for them. He was allowed to make his statements, as is his right.

A & E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson from “Duck Dynasty” was little more than a reflection of our Capitalist system. A & E does not want to lose advertisers, as that would cost the network money. When any company has an employee who publicly says things which may embarrass that company – or hurt their bottom line – they have a right to reprimand that employee in an appropriate manner. It’s funny to me that Republicans – the very same ones who claim anyone against the Free-Market is a Marxist or socialist – are decrying A & E’s decision as anti-American and a blatant violation of Robertson’s right to free speech. That is simply laughable. Robertson said some pretty ugly, hurtful things about various Americans, and his bosses – in this case the suits who run A & E – decided to distance themselves from his controversial comments; not unlike MSNBC did after their “employee” Martin Bashir made incendiary comments about former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. MSNBC placed Bashir on leave, and he later resigned. But you know what did not happen during that ugly incident? Throngs of conservatives did not defend Bashir’s right to free speech. Rather, they called for his firing.

“Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.” This is what Sarah Palin said about the Martin Bashir incident, yet when it comes to reality-star Phil Robertson (a religious conservative) saying vile things about African-Americans and the LGBT community, both she and her eldest daughter, Bristol, came out publicly and claimed Robertson’s own rights were being threatened – instead of holding him up to a higher responsibility.


Posted by robertpaulsen | Mon Dec 30, 2013, 05:55 PM (3 replies)
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