Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I imagine that right now you’re feeling a little like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit-hole…I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth…Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when you go to church, or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth...
-Morpheus, "The Matrix"
So how did this "prison for our minds" evolve, where did it begin. Lets start in 1917, when the "man of peace" Woodrow Wilson, was desperately trying to get us involved in World War I:
The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI and the Creel Commission, was established under President Woodrow Wilson as an independent agency by Executive order 2594, April 13, 1917. Consisted of George Creel (Chairman) and Secretaries of State (Robert Lansing), War (Lindley M. Garrison), and the Navy (Josephus Daniels) as ex officio members. Its purpose was to influence American public opinion toward supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a vigorous propaganda campaign. Among those who participated in it were Wilson adviser Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, the latter of whom had remarked that "the essence of democratic society" was the "engineering of consent", by which propaganda was the necessary method for democracies to promote and garner support for policy. Many have commented that the CPI laid the groundwork for the public relations (PR) industry. The CPI at first used material that was based on fact but censored to present an upbeat picture of the war. Very quickly, however, the CPI began churning out raw propaganda picturing Germans as evil monsters. Hollywood movie makers joined in on the propaganda by making movies such as The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. These titles illustrated the message the CPI tried to convey. CPI pamphlets were created and warned citizens to be on the lookout for German spies. Dozens of "patriotic organizations," with names like the American Protective League and the American Defense Society, sprang up. These groups spied, tapped telephones, and opened mail in an effort to ferret out "spies and traitors." The targets of these groups was anyone who called for peace, questioned the Allies' progress, or criticized the government's policies. They were particularly hard on German Americans, many of whom lost their jobs, and were publicly humiliated by being forced to kiss the American flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or buy war bonds. Committee work was curtailed after July 1, 1918. Domestic activities stopped after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Foreign operations ended June 30, 1919. The CPI was abolished by executive order 3154 on August 21, 1919.
Abolished, meaning "privatized", or rolled into the all new "Public Relations" industry. This major problem the elites faced around the turn of the century, was how to control the public mind overtly. Rockefeller's "goon squads" weren't working so well, people were fighting back, it was easy to see the oppression and injustice when you had hired goons open fire on women and children. Emerging working class leaders like Eugene Debs, and Mother Jones were commonplace, and people had a unifying cause to get behind. This all ended when the elites discovered the power of psychology. And the vehicle would be "Public Relations", and subsequently media ownership, as discussed here, and finally the school systems. Walter Lippman was one of the founders of the Public Relations industry. Noam Chomsky has written extensively on the matter. Here he is asked by an interviewer to explain the two concepts of "manufacturing consent" and "necessary illusions."
Manufacturing consent comes from Walter Lippman, the Dean of American Journalism and one of the most highly respected public intellectuals of the 20th century. The other, necessary illusions, that comes from Reinhold Niebuhr who was the guru of the Kennedy intellectuals and George Kent and others, again highly respected. Both of them said that manufacturing consent, in Lippman's case, and imposing necessary illusions is the central feature of a democratic society. The "responsible men," as they called them, the small elite that has the talent and the ability -- the major talent being to know how to serve people with real power, but they didn't say that -- but those who enter their category of skilled responsible intellectuals, they have the duty of making sure that the stupid and ignorant masses stay out of their way. They are "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" as Walter Lippman put it. They don't have the intelligence or ability to care for or run their own affairs, and we're only doing them a favor if we control them, and since we can't do it by force then we have to do it by imposing beliefs. This is a very widely held doctrine. Incidentally these are not reactionary people. There are sort of on the center to left. And I should add that Marxism/Leninism has exactly the same view. The Vanguard party of Lenin very much acts on the same doctrine. The people are just too stupid to be able to run their own affairs and we're smart enough so we'll run it for them. And they better do what we say or else.
How does the mass media play in this?
The mass media are simply part of the corporate system and their goal is roughly that of what you read in the manuals of the public relations industry, which is very frank about it. We have a very class conscious business community. The leaders of the public relations industry, which is the aspect of big business that is concerned with manufacturing consent, they talk quite openly about the need to "control the public mind," to "fight the everlasting battle for the minds of men," who have to be "indoctrinated with the capitalist story." The leading manual of the public relations industry was written back in the 1920's, incidentally by a good Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal, highly respected in Cambridge where he lived. The book opens by saying something like this, that the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the attitudes and behavior of the masses is the central task of the democratic system and we, the business classes, the responsible men, we have to do it. Well the mass media are just being imbued with that conception. Not just the mass media, the entertainment industry, the schools and everyone else. That's a leading and understandable doctrine on the part of the elite sector, and they do it in various ways.
It is also important to not make the mistake of saying the elites "control" the media, as Chomsky says:
And you can't say that they control the media, because they are the media. That's an enormous, a huge sector of life that is out of public influence and control in a manner which would have absolutely appalled someone like, say, Thomas Jefferson, who already condemned the very early stages of it that he saw and said that they would bring an end to democracy and restore the worst kind of aristocratic rule. (see opening quotation in Part 2)
How did this happen? U.S. Congressman Oscar Calloway, stated in 1917:
In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press….They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.
Anyone with "eyes to see" knows that in the US at least, there is nothing even resembling democracy. In fact, our leaders are outright contemptuous of the concept. Congressman have a 99% incumbency rate, and every four years, about half of the registered voters decide which business class representative they want. This provides the public with the illusion of meaningful participation. Meanwhile, almost none of the issues affecting the average American are even discussed in Congress. Take for example health care, around 75% of Americans support national health care legislation, yet it cannot happen because the health care companies have vastly more influence than the 225 million or more Americans who believe we have a democratic government, and want universal health care. Meanwhile, these same Americans actually believe we have the "greatest" democracy in the world, yet every developed nation (and many undeveloped nations) on Earth has universal health care except the US. Our syle of government is much more like what Benito Mussolini defined as fascism:
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
The Banking System has been covered so often, I don't think I can add much to the subject, so I will simply summarize. Take a look at this website, for the film "Freedom to Fascism" .
Led by JP Morgan, the elites convened a secret meeting on Morgan's private island off the coast of Georgia, "Jeckyl Island". See the "The Creature from Jekyll Island" for all the details. The concept was simple, create a banking scare, which Morgan did after returning from England, by spreading rumors that New York's Knickerbocker Bank was insolvent. This created a bank rush, and was the the incident used to create the Federal Reserve Bank, which, as Michael Ruppert says is "no more federal than Federal Express". This is the "crisis, reaction, solution" tactic that has been used by rulers and tyrants for centuries. Create the crisis, wait for the reaction, and come to the rescue with the solution, which, in this case, was to convince the American people to accept a tax on their labor. Of course it was a scam though, income tax is, to this day, unconstitutional, and there is no law, anywhere, that says Americans have to pay tax on their wages. At first, the wealthy opposed this, but quickly quieted down when they realized that, at the same time, loopholes, or tax shelters were created, so the rich would not have to pay the tax. Why did they need the Income Tax? Simple, to pay the debt service on the magically created money. The Federal Reserve is simply a cartel of private banks. They buy paper and ink from the government, print whatever denominations they want with it, than sell the "fiat currency" back to the government, for the denominated amount, plus interest. They could only accomplish the ever increasing money supply scheme, with the interest payment being paid by the average American laborer.
The form of debt slavery that the Federal Reserve system reigned in, quite closely resembles the "machines" in the film "The Matrix", utilising the life energy of the human race, to further the trend of the worlds wealth being funneled to the wealthy and powerful, away from those who simply want to survive. This is obvious today, as more than half of the human population lives off of less than it takes to feed and house a cow. Who is to blame?, how do we fix the problem? Mass psychology cannot simply be undone, by regulations, and compromises, or elections, this problem has roots in every aspect of our lives, from the day we were born. To quote Morpheus again:
...You are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. (Produces a box containing two colored pills, one blue and one red.) This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you awake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes
To get a better understanding of how things work, and why we are slaves, read Steven Yates "The Real Matrix" . An excerpt:
Let us conduct a thought experiment. Let us remove the obviously evil artificial intelligence and its minions—“agents” and “sentinels”—and substitute a power system controlled by a few hundred extremely wealthy and well-placed individuals—a super-elite, I will call it. I use this term to distinguish it from visible, national elites. This super-elite operates at an international level, outside all national loyalties. Its only loyalties are to money and power. It exercises control by controlling not just much of the Western world’s finances but much of the information released to the public. It controls the mainstream mass media (television networks and newspapers mostly owned by six or so megaconglomerates) and most education through top-down policies permeating the prevailing form of education in this land: government (“public”) schools. So-called higher education is part of this system. The super-elite bent academic disciplines such as history and psychology in the direction it wanted them to go by generously supplying foundation and grant money to compliant graduate students who then become compliant professors and administrators. Through the endowment system it gained control over Ivy League universities. The latter, via their enormous prestige and control of flagship organizations within academic disciplines (such as the American Historical Association or the American Psychological Association), set the course for those disciplines that others can be expected to follow automatically.
Automatic, this is our thinking process, many of us cannot "unplug" because we are trained as a child to trigger an emotional response when authority, or the status quo, are questioned. This happens because emotion always overpowers reason, you can't really think for yourself until you abandon the reifying process of our culture, seperate emotional response from logical, and take a step back and really observe reality. Reification is the process by which an abstract concept or idea, is beleived to be material, or real. For example, patriotism or nationalism is reification. The concept is nothing, it means nothing, but people are willing to die for it. But in a decentralized, autonomous, localized community/economy, nothing matters outside of your community. It is the Matrix itself that instills its belief system in us, otherwise it can't exist. So great measures are taken culturally to insure that everyone takes part in the servitude to the state, or the capitalists, or the congressman, or whatever they call themselves.
"The fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly (and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered): Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?" - Gilles Deleuze
Simple, it is how it has "always" been done. "Always" of course, means since the agricultural revolution, because, as we now know, human life was infinitely better for 99.9% of its history, as so eloquently laid out by Jason Godesky, in his "Thirty Theses".
The educational system took a turn for the worse, via the usual method; "standardization". Make everybody the same, make them think the same, act the same, dress the same. "Children should be seen and not heard", is a good example. These tactics are used not only to force children to conform to social and cultural concepts, but to time itself. We are born oblivious to time, it doesn't exist to children. Before you create slaves out of people whose deepest instincts and desire if freedom, you must acclimate them to the false construct of time. As John Zerzan writes:
For a while in my 20s, I asked visitors to take off their watches as they entered my home. Even today children must be broken of their resistance to time. This was one of the primary reasons for the imposition of this country's mandatory school system on a largely unwilling public. School teaches you to be at a certain place at a certain time, and prepares you for life in a factory. It calibrates you to the system. French situationist Raoul Vaneigem has a wonderful quote about this: "The child's days escape adult time; their time is swollen by subjectivity, passion, dreams haunted by reality. Outside, the educators look on, waiting, watch in hand, till the child joins and fits the cycle of the hours."
Even now, at 31 years old, I still cannot get used to waking up at 6:00 A.M. to go to work. Waking to an alarm is not normal, it goes against the grain of 3 million years of human evolution.
Carroll Quigley of the School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University is quoted by Mr. Yates:
The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy… [E]ither party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of those things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.
Problems accelerate at an incredible pace in the world, it is getting worse everywhere, inequality, poisoned air, water, and land, war, poverty, etc. Yet, all we need to do is elect the other party, and things should turn around! It is very simple. The concept is drilled into us through the education system:
a “real matrix” had to be constructed around middle America, quietly, quietly. Or as the idea was expressed openly at Carnegie Endowment facilities: “We must control education in the United States.” Centralization, of course, makes control easier. It is far easier to impose policy or a single line of thought on a centralized, top-down educational system than it is to impose it on hundreds of privately owned, independent schools and autonomous districts. The government school system was perfect for what the super-elite wanted. The Founding Fathers simply assumed that education would not be a function of the federal government. The Constitution does not mention education. The Founding Fathers themselves were privately educated. It is clear, also, from such events as the publication of the Federalist Papers in the major New York newspaper of the time, or from the literature that was published and sold well at the time (e.g., James Fenimore Cooper’s difficult, philosophically dense novels) that early generations of Americans had a command of language and intellect that is superior to today’s masses. Government schools got their start in the 1840s, when Horace Mann returned from Prussia bearing news of an amazing school system. The Prussian system was also rooted in Hegelian thought. Hegel had believed we lived in a universe of Absolute Reason that would be expressed politically as the Absolute State—the exact opposite of the limited government the Founding Fathers had established. In the Prussian system children were educated not for intellectual accomplishment but for obedience to the state. The word kindergarten is, in fact, Prussian. It suggests growing children, as in a garden (which may recall that disturbing scene in The Matrix where, under the malevolent supervision of AI machines, humans “are no longer born, we are grown”).
We are grown, it is true, no longer can we deny it.
History, as we know it is nothing but a government sponsored brochure designed specifically to garner support for the creation myths of our country. For example, Columbus "discovered" America, never mind the fact that there were as many people already here, as there were in Europe, he "discovered" America, and Americans will likely get agitated or uncomfortable if you tell them the following, from Howard Zinn's "A Peoples History of the United States":
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log: "They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus. Columbus wrote: "As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts." The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold? The Indians, Columbus reported, "are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone...." He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage "as much gold as they need . . . and as many slaves as they ask." He was full of religious talk: "Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities."
This is but a small sample of the indoctrination process, or what Bob Marley, and more recently, Manuel Valenzuela refer to as "Brainwash Education". I will quote extensively from the article entitled The Dumbing Down of America, because I cannot articulate the concept as well as Manuel has in this article. I highly recommend reading the entire thing.
The education system in America has been carefully eroded over the course of time, altered in such a way as to make creative and curious children barren and submissive adults indifferent to the world around them. The system now in place begins robbing a child's ability to think for himself or herself from the very start of the education process. The class structure itself eliminates individuality, personality and energetic ability, as one teacher must educate many students competing for attention. It is here when talents that need to be discovered get ambushed instead. Yet with a class structure that has endured for decades, the child must become part of the whole, learning from books laced with government and/or corporate propaganda.
In many school districts, mostly poor ones strapped for cash, books can be dozens of years old, lacking modern thought or progress. Many books are tools created by entities with special interests that have as a purpose the teaching of their ideology or the furthering of their goals. The absurd teaching of creationism is one such example. Many corporations now create and donate books to school districts that contain references and examples to their brand names and product descriptions. Even in school children cannot escape the growing omnipresence of the corporate Leviathan which thirsts to program the innocent the way it sees fit.
Indeed, the young mind is needlessly brainwashed with a history of a nation that in many instances contradicts and even subverts the true historical reality of the United States. Only the 'good' that America has fostered during its rapid and short rise is taught, without ever dealing with the requisite bad inherent in an Empire that has laid claim to land and man during years of brutal conquest, both militarily and economically. Glossing over national heroes, mythifying them into deities and transforming them into perfect human beings is the role of the school book, brainwashing the young to a fictional perfection when reality begs to differ. Yet humanity must be balanced and its reality etched in stone so that future generations learn the human condition as well as its civilization.
The genocide of indigenous Americans is whitewashed; the slavery of blacks that lasted hundreds of years, oftentimes suffering barbaric treatment at the hands of their white masters is easily covered up in a few paragraphs, deceiving readers to the true horrors their ancestors committed or suffered. The subservient role women were placed under for centuries is hardly mentioned, and the great civil rights movement that helped change history for the better never gets the coverage it deserves.
The war crimes and crimes against humanity America has perpetrated worldwide to millions of anonymous people under the rubric of freedom and democracy is never mentioned, rather, they are sugarcoated and glamorized, serving as examples of America's 'great history.' Also, the corrosive and damaging effects of American capitalism disguised as democracy that has condemned untold millions to the dustbins of history is manipulated to look like a chivalrous attempt to save lives and free nations.
Brainwashing unquestioned patriotism into our young one's minds government controlled education furthers the squashing of dissent and the questioning of our sovereign's motives. We are conditioned that our elected leaders are gods walking among men, to be trusted and never to be questioned. Their intentions are always noble, their reasoning pure. Dissent and debate, protest and curiosity are seen not as patriotic manifestations of an informed citizenry but rather as an alien afterthought not worthy of nationalistic pride.
The ingraining of loyalty to flag and country, even when committing evil worldwide, is to be allowed to continue, eventually becoming the means by which the state is allowed to declare war, economic genocide and market colonialism, without so much as a whisper from its constituency. The elite therefore bask in the glow of the radiant bean called patriotic fervor, indoctrinated from childhood, lasting until death.
I must stress that it is not only the education system that indoctrinates us all, but, like the Matrix, it is the combination of stimulus consisting of education, media, advertising and marketing, sports, entertainment, religion, science, economics, even philosophy. All of these forces act as one to mediate all of our experience. Nothing is real unless TV says its real, because if it were true, it would have been disseminated by the "experts" and broadcast for all to see. We have almost no meaningful interaction with other people that aren't commercial in nature, even our presumed meaningful relationships with friends and family almost always are mediated by the Matrix, since discussions are predictably limited to the above categories, like the latest idiotic sitcom, or fake reality show, or the latest home improvement, or great deal we got on that computer, or car, or clothing, or cell phone, or jewelry, or the escapades of some celebrity. Our entire consciousness is defined by the Matrix, and there is little discourse allowed to penetrate it, lest we be exposed as thought criminals. As Joe Bageant describes:
Once the monsters in the traffic reveal themselves, life can never be the same. We are left to go about doing all the ordinary things we always did, but with the building inexpressible moral outrage, living out our lives as rote actors in a theater of iron. Inside the iron theatre -- a place surrounded by high walls of normalcy, where to discover a window to the outside is considered madness -- the majority have apparently learned their scripts too well. So we are left in sitting in traffic jams to fester on our evil situation.
Now we stand at the threshold of uncharted territory, where the masses are now so docile and subservient, that they will fight for their god-given right to live like a slave in a virtual fantasy world. As Morpheus described:
The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
Most Americans today are so prone to this craziness, that they mostly appear to be nothing more than vacant eyed sheep, being led to the slaughter, much like the good German Jews who believed that somehow, someway, their oppressors would eventually release them, if only they did exactly as they were told, and never questioned the power structure:
What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about and kept us so busy with continuous changes and "crises" and so fascinated by the machinations of the "national enemies," without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures" must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone, you don't want to "go out of your way to make trouble." But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father could never have imagined."
-- Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)
Sometimes there are glitches in the Matrix, this happens occasionally, and can be very disconcerting to those in power, especially when it comes from a highly visible individual like Keith Olbermann:
Today, 135 years to the day after the last American President (Ulysses S. Grant) suspended habeas corpus, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. At its worst, the legislation allows President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld to declare anyone --- US citizen or not --- an enemy combatant, lock them up and throw away the key without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. In other words, every thing the Founding Fathers fought the British empire to free themselves of was reversed and nullified with the stroke of a pen, all under the guise of the War on Terror.
Olbermann's guest, Jonathan Turley had this to say:
Turley: "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."
So the vice begins to tighten around the necks of those thought criminals who have the audacity to challenge those in power. In the Matrix threats were neutralized when found, and these people were given a choice, start acting like good Germans' or perish.
Morpheus:I've been looking for you, Neo. I don't know if you're ready to see what I want to show you, but unfortunately, you and I have run out of time. They're coming for you, Neo, and I don't know what they're going to do.
Make no mistake about it, they are coming for us. They will soon come for anyone who steps out of line. Especially those of us who are speaking the truth, and revealing to the world the true nature of this Matrix. Don't beleive me? Just look at what Michael Chertoff recently said at a press conference:
Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday.
"We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police.
"They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination," Chertoff said. "Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites.
Neo was able to defeat Agent Smith because he was finally able to KNOW that he had the power to defeat him. Once we deprogram ourselves in large enough numbers, we too can defeat the evil that controls us. It is only an idea that defines and confines us. It is time to break free...
"Rise like lions after slumber, In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew, Which in sleep had fallen on you, Ye are many they are few."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, a great revolutionary poet
Chertoff's comment illustrate the fear that now encompasses the machines. They can no longer ignore us. Perhaps Neo said it best:
“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. I’m going to show them a world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”
After reading this Anthropik.com article, I was inspired to watch the Lord of The Rings Trilogy again, searching for the symbolism that Tolkein wrote about, and Peter Jackson made come to life in the films. Some of the movie lines are startling metaphors for what is happening around us today, as energy supplies fail to meet demand. (This is merely my interpretation of the story.)
For example, In the film, Sarumon says:
"The world is changing. Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman and the union of the two towers? Together, my lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle-earth."[The trees around Isengard are being ripped down, chopped up and used to feed huge furnaces. The caverns of Isengard glow with the fires of industry, sounds of hammering fill the air and molten iron is poured into casts to forge weapons.] "The old world will burn in the fires of industry. The forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machine of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fists of the Orc. We have only to remove those who oppose us."
After reading the piece on Anthropik, and looking at the website with the kids, I don't believe I have been so disturbed in a long time. Tolkein's warnings have transpired, a black cloud is now growing, literally, despite the false promise of "clean coal". No one now has the strength to stand against the armies of the east and the west, there are no elf, man, and dwarf armies to beat back the forces of evil from "covering all the lands in the second darkness" to quote Gandalf. The coal issue as a replacement for oil is crazy, almost as crazy as nuclear, but these are just the symbols of the darkness we as a species face, if we want to survive, joining the Orcs or becoming Urak-hai, is not the answer.
There are of course, no Ents to destroy the growing threat of Isengard. For most of the earth has already been deforested, as William Kotke wrote in Final Empire:
How the Forests Went Down
It is estimated that more than one third of the earth was forested prior to the culture of empire. This is roughly 30 billion hectares (nearly 94 billion acres).1 The most recent estimates show that only about a tenth of the forests remain, some 4 billion hectares (about 9.9 billion acres).2 It is important to note here that these figures refer to any assemblage of trees, not just the climax ecosystems. The amount of uninjured old growth forest remaining has never been calculated; indeed, this minuscule, high-value remainder is so much in demand by the timber industries of the world that any calculation would be immediately outdated because the trees are disappearing so fast.
Alex Macsporan wrote a great article last year entitled, "A Hobbit's Choice: Saruman or Sam": In it, he illustrates Tolkein's metaphor of a sustainable, simple, happy life the Hobbit's lived, compared to the darkness which was threatening that livelihood:
For us Hobbits who do not wish to be swept up into the wars of the rival Sarumans and see our Shires turned into ugly replicas of Isengard, it behoves us to come up with some other way. Our first priority will be to keep some ordered society intact. Hobbits were blessed with a placid temperament and almost never killed each other on purpose; we humans are not so well-configured. In a brutish struggle of all against all, we will become like the Uruk-hai, brutal, cannibalistic and cruel. It would hardly be worth surviving if that were the world we were bound to live in. It would represent the final triumph of the Shadow.
...Being at war with nature, blighting and defiling that which is beautiful in the pursuit of profit and power, is what distinguishes the evil powers of Middle-Earth. Mordor is a poisonous wasteland, full of smoking desolation and toxin. Isengard is a place of wheels and machines, steadily laying waste to the neighbouring Forest of Fangorn. Our version of this madness is of a particularly virulent kind. We have even pressed the corpses of the plankton that floated for tens of thousands of generations in the sunlit waters of the long-vanished, dinosaur-haunted Tethys Sea into our service. Here indeed was a Lost World worthy of Tolkien at his most nostalgic, and our exploitation of it worthy of Saruman at his most corrupt. This substance, which we call ‘oil’, has been our glory, and as it expires, as it must, it will become our bane. Using it we have created a society unique in the history of the world for its bland, arrogance and soulless uniformity; producing an endless array of foods that do not nourish, medicines that do not cure, recreations and satisfactions that do not satisfy.
...In some ways it is worse than the squalid, industrial ugliness of Tolkien’s Mordor; for it carefully hides the evidence of its relentless murder of nature behind a screen of slick, fair-sounding patter. Every day through our TV palantirs and printed scrolls, the Voice of Saruman erodes our good sense, our morals and our reason. Slowly we become beguiled wraiths, cut off from light and nature, passing inexorably into Shadow.
The voice of Saruman is always whispering in our ear, whether through a commercial that warms your heart because it says "don't worry, ethanol from clean burning, renewable corn, or sugar, or grass will save us". Save us from what? The natural world? To quote Treebeard:
That sounds like Orc mischief to me!
The process of making ethanol uses more fuel to produce than the ethanol itself yields, and that is at today's oil prices, which won't last. So the big score for the Orcs and Urak-hai now, is the vastly unexplored, melting, arctic, and antarctic. On June 3rd, this Reuters article came over the wire:
1920 treaty holds key to Arctic energy riches
The area holds the world's best stocks of cod, worth billions of dollars, and geologists say it could contain massive energy supplies comparable with the southern sector of the sea. The two sectors could hold a combined total of up to 6.3 billion barrels of undiscovered oil equivalent, almost as much as Azerbaijan's total reserves.
This insanity is nothing but Orc mischief, we are in a deep hole, and in order to find our way out, we should invest our time and energy into the full support of those wraiths who got us into this mess. Einstein put it, "the problems we now face will not be solved with the same thinking that got us into the problem in the first place". In other words, joining the Orc, and Urak-hai hordes is not the answer to our problems. As Frodo faced darkness after being stabbed by one of the Ring Wraiths, Arwan was able to lead him back to the light. We must now do this for others, those not yet completely taken by the darkness.
SARUMAN: Against the power of Mordor, there can be no victory. We must join with him, Gandalf. We must join with Sauron. It would be wise, my friend.
GANDALF: Tell me, friend, when did Saruman the wise abandon reason for madness?
In the "Two Towers", after Treebeard's "Entmoot" decided not to help defeat Sarumon, Pippin began to give up, and suggested going home:
PIPPIN: Maybe Treebeard’s right. We don’t belong here, Merry. It's too big for us. What can we do in the end? We've got the Shire. Maybe we should go home.
MERRY: The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won't be a Shire, Pippin.
Isn't this what it has really come to? As Derrick Jensen says, in his new book, Endgame:
Are we willing to live a life without clean air, clean water, wild animals: a livable planet? For what, precisely, will we face down our own fears? We have the best excuse in the world to not act. The momentum of civilization is fierce. The acculturation deep. Those in power will imprison us if we effectively resist. Or they will torture us. Or they will kill us. There are so many of them, and they have weapons. They have the law. And many of them—prob-ably in the final analysis nearly all of them—have no scruples, else they would never support the current system in the first place. Because of all this, there really is nothing we can do. We may as well admit that.
But the question becomes: would you rather have the best excuse in the world, or would you rather have a world?
Merry understood this, he knew he could return to the Shire, but that it wouldn't last, because the darkness would follow, destroying "everything that was once green and good in this world"
This is the predicament we face now, those of us whose bodies remember the old ways, but do not know how to consciously or physically actualize those ways, may be haunted by the words of Galadriel:
The world is changed: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air...Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.
So the question becomes, is there still a chance for stability, for our children to survive, and even thrive in a new world? Macsporan writes:
Those who imagine they could isolate themselves from this catastrophe in Hobbit-like isolation must be prepared to defend themselves against the rampaging orc-hordes indefinitely, with no friendly Rangers to guard them and no empty leagues of Eriador to keep enemies at bay, just perpetual war with hostile neighbours interspersed with waves of invaders: that was the lot of Europeans during the real Dark Ages. While this might be better than the Uruk-hai scenario, it is a long way from the Shire, let alone Lothlorien
It is no longer a feasible option, to stay at home, and hope for the best, as Derrick Jensen points out, Hope, is what got us into this mess to begin with. It is action that will get us out. One of my favorite dialogues in the "Two Towers" is at the end, when Sam is discussing with Frodo, the importance of going forward into the darkest regions of the world:
SAM: It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
We may be at the very crossroads of history that Tolkein envisioned , as when Frodo said to Gandalf,
"I wish the ring had never come to me", I wish none of this had ever happened"
Gandalf replied, "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
So I ask of myself, what shall I decide to do with my time? We do not get to choose the times we are born into, but we can make a choice that becomes starkly more urgent every day, Do we become Urak-hai: half man, half Orc, or do we go back to being Hobbit's? Macsporan wrote:
Yet Tolkien’s tale of the survival of the Hobbits in the former lands of Arnor has an important lesson for us humans in the real world. Eventually everyone else in that region perished, leaving the Hobbits alone in their little land. We have already noted that Hobbits didn’t kill each other. This bespeaks a social harmony and cohesion in their society that our more “advanced” culture might well envy. All that we know of them with their close-knit families and social egalitarianism suggests this very strongly. It is these qualities above all that we must learn to cultivate.
A similar solidarity exists between the characters in the Lord of the Rings, often of diverse cultures and races. This solidarity makes the story instinctively attractive and real to us. The Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men are able to work together despite their differences, differences which make our own seem trivial. We cannot survive alone. We may not survive together either, but our chances are very much enlarged if we try to. After the other races left and the Hobbits were alone in their region, they did not breed their way into the empty spaces and take up all the vacant land until they were pressing up against the borders of Gondor far to the South. They stayed within their boundaries happy with what they had. How Hobbits controlled their population is not known. Tolkien is silent on this delicate subject, but however they controlled their population we would do well to emulate them. We must learn, like Hobbits and Elves, to control our numbers, if we are to have a life above orc-level.
To me, Tolkein made it clear that despite the courage and valor it took Aragorn, Legolas, Eomer, and Faramir to storm the black gates of Mordor, they could not have hoped to defeat the forces of darkness themselves, they could only create a diversion. Sam and Frodo had to succeed, and the ring was slowly turning Frodo to darkness, with only Sam left to save the day. I think Sam is Tolkein's expression of what humanity's potential could be. From Macsporan's article:
Samwise was more than a stout-hearted hero, he was a gardener too. In future we will all be growing much of our own food. We must learn to love the earth and all growing things as he did, as the Elves and Ents. As Peak Oil hits, the mechanised Mordor-agriculture that feeds us will experience breakdowns. Veggie gardens, both individual and collective, will make all the difference. Permacultural techniques, using natural methods to combat insect predators and other pests will inevitably replace the undead food-production methods in use today.
The ring represents war, famine, poison, death, and above all, power. For power is what tempts Boromir, Galadriel, and Gandalf. And while the latter two reject that temptation when faced with it, Boromir could not. Situationist Raoul Vaneigem explains why so many of us love the oppression that is so obviously tied to possesion the "One Ring" (money and power):
"Where constraint breaks people, and mediation makes fools of them, the seduction of power is what makes them love their oppression. Because of it, people give up their real riches for a cause that mutilates them; for an appearance that reifies them; for roles that wrest them from authentic life; for a time whose passage defines and confines them." -- Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday
The world is burning in the fires of industry, just like Sarumon said. We go to our pathetic jobs every day, into the service of Sauron, burning fossil fuels, wasting unimaginable amounts of paper products, building dead things like skyscrapers and mansions, loaded with the very industrial pollution Tolkein despised. And these are only the minor problems compared to the existence of power plants, open-pit coal mines, smelting plants, petro-chemical plants, oil refineries, factory farms, etc. We can use the "best excuse in the world", as Jensen talks about, or we can summon the courage of Samwise Gamgee, and Frodo, and Aragorn, and Legolas, and Gimli, etc., and fight scores of Orcs and Uruk-Hai, who greatly outnumbered them and fight for our very lives, before it is too late, before all that is "green and good in the world" is gone. Or we can fall into the trap set by Sauron, the one that Boromir, Denethor, Saruman, Wormtongue, and Gollum fell into. Tolkein used these characters to demonstrate how otherwise good creatures, can so easily fall into darkness, as a result of the hopelessness so many of us feel, or simply out a need to choose the "winning" side as Sarumon insinuated. From the Tolkein Society website, from a section entitled "Those Awful Orcs":
Tolkien's orcs are not of course intended to stand for Germans or any other nation of the "real world"; they represent the worst aspect of humankind when engaged in indiscriminate violence. Tolkien does not show his orcs at their worst, in rape and massacre, and there is nothing observed or reported of the orcs which has not happened in our world. The human-like characters who choose evil, however - Denethor, Saruman, Wormtongue, and Gollum -are tempted, fall, and are given chances to repent. Moreover, throughout the epic Gollum's life is frequently spared: part of the essential patterning of the plot in order for Gollum to reach the Crack of Doom and save Frodo from the Ring. Tolkien urges his readers to choose Good over Evil; but as a Roman Catholic believing the doctrine of original sin, he feared for the world's future. He was particularly concerned about ultimate war, which he predicted before the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima: "Shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rottenness?" In his hatred of industrial pollution and his portrayal of the Ents, he was also ahead of his time.
If only there were Ents left to attack and dismantle the Orc mischeif of deforestation, dams, coal and oil burning, etc. But there are not, I heard an environmental activist song recently, that said, "If the trees could scream, none of us would sleep at night" This is the picture on the cover of Derrick Jensen and George Draffan's book "Strangely like War"
In the book Jensen and Draffan explain that:
In the U.S. only five percent of native forest remains; forests on a global level are also under attack, with one estimate claiming that two and a half acres are cut every second. International deforestation causes the extinction of plants and animals in addition to driving human forest dwellers, like the Karen of Burma, the Mapuche of Chile and the Penan of Malaysia, from their homelands. The destruction of forests also results in flooding, erosion and landslides. Production of paper products releases highly toxic chemicals into both the air and water. The authors provide many instances of collusion between industry and government, which has led to a U.S. commercial timber and logging industry permitted to destroy forests almost without restriction. Environmental agencies such as the Sierra Club or the Environmental Defense Fund, according to Jensen and Draffan, are more interested in raising money than in raising discomfort among the economically powerful. Globalization, they argue, is a network of financial, legal and political structures that operate for the benefit of the economic elite, allowing those in power to consume the natural resources of other nations.
In Tolkein's vision of resistance, the Men, Elves, Hobbit's, and Dwarves didn't wait for the "fires of Mordor" to encroach their landbase, to destroy their forests, and poison there rivers, as Boromir stated in part one of the trilogy, explaining the impossible task before them:
BOROMIR:One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust...the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.
The advantage the fellowship had, was they knew where the enemy was located, and, at least for the time being, could avoid Mordor. They also knew what Orcs looked like. But when the Elrond and Gandalf recongnized that Sauron was on the move, and amassing an army, they acted, they pre-emptively organized a resistance effort to fight. Where are the elders of our time, wise and knowledgeable, whom we would listen to and respect their advice, even if it meant doing something extremely difficult, and dangerous. Perhaps people like Jensen and Draffan could be compared to Elrond and Gandalf, but the majority of people do not even know who they are. Where are the noble and courageous men and women who would follow, abandoning the comforts and elegancies of modern culture to join the resistance against the growing shadow.
After killing one of the men marching to Mordor, in order to join Sauron's army, Faramir asked:
The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he comes from, and if he really was evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home, or he would not rather have stayed there... in peace? War will make corpses of us all.
Today's Orcs are the most respectable and highly regarded people in our society, what drew them on the long march to Mordor, was more than likely a big house, a fast car, a 401K plan, and a large salary. Isn't it so much easier to just go along with it?, to be rewarded instead of punished? This was the choice also given to Jews, in Nazi Germany, as Jensen explains:
It’s a measure of the dysfunction of civilization that no longer do very many people of integrity believe we can or should go forward with it because it serves us well, but rather the most common argument in its favor (and this is true also for many of its particular manifestations, such as the global economy and high technology) seems to be that we’re stuck with it, so we may as well make the best of a very bad situation. “We’re here,” the argument goes, “We’ve lost sustainability and sanity, so now we have no choice but to continue on this self- and other-destructive path.” It’s as though we’ve already boarded the train to Treblinka, so we might as well stay on for the ride. Perhaps by chance or by choice (someone else’s) we’ll somehow end up somewhere besides the gas chambers.
What is even more frightening to me, is that not only do we accept the course, but most of us, due to the constant whispers of Sarumon and the like, believe that, somehow, someway, if we continue along this course, where egotism, greed, and selfishness are central, it will eventually lead to peace, sustainability, and a complete reversal of the current trend. This is madness, the system of Mordor, as well as our own system, is based on the destruction and/or slavery of every living thing on Middle Earth, and Earth respectively, how could the course possibly change on its own? How does joining Sauron, and participating in the spoils of conquest and industrial production help our children to have clean air, and water, and bodies? We are under attack every hour of every day, there is dioxin in mothers breast milk, almost all of the fresh water in the world is contaminated with industrial carcinogens, so is the air, and the land. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 50,000 plant and animal species are extinguished every year, the worlds biggest die-off in 50 million years. Yet people continue to show up for work in Isengard, day after day, year after year, selling themselves for and the natural world, for money, or more appropriately, for "The One Ring".
I spoke with several of my siblings this weekend, trying desperately to get at the heart of the problem, at what drives us to not care, and just go along with it. Most of the counter arguments to action are the usual ones, "I don't want to know", "I don't have enough time to read something, or talk about something, that will make me depressed", "If you aren't doing anything about it, than why should I". I often say, I am doing something about it, I am telling you about it, raising awareness through writing about it, talking about it, trying to convince people that neither you or I can bring down the forces of evil ourselves, we need allies, many allies, anyone who has not been wholly taken by the ring. Just because out of necessity, I still drive a car, doesn't mean I can't try to change that. It can't happen overnight, especially if you rely on your car, and your job, to feed your family. But as Jensen also explains, Love is not pacifism, it is not "going along with it", because Saruman's voice is whispering in your ear, through television, radio, advertising, etc., telling you it is irresponsible to not work as an Orc. Once we recognize the lies and hypnotism that is a central part of our society, we can begin resisting, first through creating awareness, and than through direct action.
In the part two of the trilogy, "The Two Towers", Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, go to Rohan, to free King Theoden from the spell of Saruman. Once the spell is broken, immediately Theoden is able to recognize that he was tricked by Wormtongue, and he finds his old strength, picks up his sword, and throws Wormtongue out of his kingdom. But Theoden is not yet ready to committ to war:
GANDALF: This is but a taste of the terror that Saruman will unleash. All the more potent for he is driven now by fear of Sauron. Ride out and meet him head on. Draw him away from your women and children. You must fight.
ARAGORN: You have two thousand good men riding north as we speak. Éomer is loyal to you. His men will return and fight for their king.
THÉODEN: They will be three hundred leagues from here by now. Éomer cannot help us. I know what it is that you want of me. But I will not bring further death to my people. I will not risk open war.
ARAGORN: Open war is upon you. Whether you would risk it or not.
Open war is upon all of us, thinking that some invisible being or some leader, or organization is going to save us from destruction is ridiculous. Love of themselves, of their children, their family, their landbase, and the natural world is what drove the races of Middle Earth to fight, as it drove the Bear, in this essay by Jensen, to attack rail cars:
I’m holding a newspaper clipping from 1996. The creases are torn, the page yellowed. The headline reads “Mother bear charges trains.” Trains had killed her two sons, and so this mother grizzly charged train after train after train...
We suffer from a misguided belief that love implies pacifism. I’m not sure mother grizzly bears would agree, nor many other mothers I’ve known. I’ve been attacked by mother horses, cows, mice, chickens, geese, eagles, hawks, and hummingbirds who thought I was threatening their children. I have known many human mothers who would kill anyone who was going to harm their little ones. If a mother mouse is willing to put her life on the line by attacking someone eight thousand times her size, what does that say about our own hearts? (The mother mouse won, by the way.)
If we won’t fight back when our loved ones are dying and our own bodies are being poisoned, when will we take a stand? We each need to find our own threshold: the point at which we break free of our fear and act on behalf of those we love...
I think often of that grizzly bear, as I think, too, of the horses, cows, mice, chickens, geese, eagles, hawks, hummingbirds who have defended their loved ones. I think of the courage of bees who have flown at me, burrowed themselves into my hair to find a way to sting me, who have driven me away from their homes, at the inevitable cost of their lives. I think of the courage of salmon, who come back home year after year, who continue in the face of all that we are doing to them, or rather, all that we are allowing to be done to them. And I realize that before I can save them, I need to rely on them to save me, to teach me and help me remember what it is to love, what it is to step beyond my fears, what it is to act in defense of those I love.
Love and Valor led the good races of Middle Earth to fight back. Personally, I am much more afraid of living as a slave, or an indentured servant for the rest of my life, or being poisoned by carcinogens, than I am of our society collapsing. Sure, many will die and suffer, but most of us already are suffering. Where is our sense of valor, our dignity, our courage? What does it say about our hearts, as Jensen asks? that a creature thousands of times smaller than us, will give its life to protect its offspring, and its home?
ARAGORN: What do you fear, my lady?
ÉOWYN: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.
These are the voices we need to listen to, and understand, like Aragorn understood, that despite the impossible odds Frodo and Sam faced, that the free people of Middle Earth had no choice but to protect their homes and loved ones.
ARAGORN: I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day may come when the courage of Men fails; when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day - an hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Man comes crashing down - but it is not this day!!! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth - I bid you stand!
The Hobbits of the Shire faced anhiliation. Like the animals Jensen mentioned, they stood up to a foe many orders of magnitude larger and more powerful than themselves. Yet they had the courage to continue, because they knew if they didn't', that all was lost, maybe not at that time, the fires of Mordor and Isengard may not have reached the Shire for many months, or years, but they would eventually, and life would no longer be worth living.
GANDALF: Ten thousand Ores now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom.
GANDALF: I have sent him to his death.
ARAGORN:There is still hope for Frodo. He needs time and safe passage across the Plains of Gorgoroth. We can give him that.
ARAGORN: Draw out Sauron' s armies - empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate.
EOMER: We cannot achieve victory from strength of arms .
ARAGORN: Not for ourselves . . . But we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron' s eye fixed upon us. Keep him blind to all else that moves .
LEGOLAS: A diversion . . .
GANDALF: Sauron will suspect a trap. He will not take the bait!
Isn't this what is necessary? to draw out the forces of darkness, through spreading awareness of them, to organize a united front, of people who have had enough? Of people who are tired of watching 1,500 friends and relatives die of cancer each DAY, in the US alone. Of people who are sick of driving in their mobile climate controlled box, to sit in their stationary climate controlled box, every day, for their entire waking life, wondering why they can't seem to silence that voice that challenges the voice of Saruman, that says "somethings not right", the one most of us havn't yet been able to silence, no matter how much caffeine, or alcohol, or tobacco we consume, no matter how much we shop, no matter how many new cars, or nice house we have. Of people who are tired of watching their landbase cleared of all living things, and replaced with concrete, steel, and glass. Of people who have realized that the global economy, deforestation, plastic production, and the whole throwaway commodity system doesn't help them one bit.
Deep down we all know better, we know we are not living the way we should, yet the temptation of the "One Ring" is strong, almost irresistible. But we still have this void in us, this hole that can't be filled up with consumer products, because our bodies, and our souls know that such things only make the void larger, creating in us more quiet desperation every day, as we are forced to work harder, longer hours, just to pay the bills, and to buy back the things we need, that the earth gives freely, like food, and water, that not only do we have to now pay for, but that are being poisoned with the same industrial chemicals that the forces of evil convince us we can't live without.
The races of Middle Earth recognized well before it was out of control, what the agenda of Sauron and Saruman was, and acted to protect their lands, and their people. They put aside their differences, and focused all their energy on defeating the gathering darkness. Think about this in context to today's events, as the mass media (voice of Saruman) continues to whisper to us, blaming the Arabs or the Jews, or the Gays, or the Democrats, or the Republicans, make the connection, become aware of the obvious, that they only control us to the extent that we see them as necessary, as invulnerable, as inevitable, and only to the extent that we continue to focus our individual power on each other, blaming some other race, or nation, or whatever it may be, for their crimes.
The most difficult thing to do is cut through the propaganda, ideology, and mythology of modern culture, especially when that same culture is based on, and maintained by propaganda, ideology, and mythology.
It is time to leave our comfortable Hobitt holes, and gather a council in Rivendell, in order to form a fellowship of all races, of our one human family, to rise up against the fraction of 1% of us who rule, who maintain, and benefit primarily from this Orc mischief. As Aragorn told Theoden, "war is upon us", it does not matter, if we do not wish to risk our lives, and livelihood, when not fighting means we will lose them anyway. It is time to dig deeper than we ever believed we could, and summon the strength, courage, and valor of the fellowship.
As Gimli said:
Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?
That is the question that haunts me, the Orcs and Urak-Hai are on our doorstep, So what ARE we waiting for?
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
— Thomas Jefferson, author of the declaration of Indepedence, US President 1801–1809
Fast forward 175 years:
The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media. We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.
– William Casey, Director CIA (Quote from internal staff meeting notes in 1981)
In 1948 the CIA created Operation Mockingbird, the purpose of which was to, as Mr. Casey pointed out, spread disinformation in the media.
In 1977, Rolling Stone alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged by Rolling Stone Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).  According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work. 
The Rolling Stone article mentioned was written by Carl Bernstein of "Woodward and Bernstein" fame. He claimed that "over a twenty-five year period over 400 American journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA":
"Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad."
In 1983 there were 50 different media companies who owned about 90% of the mass media.
Now think about the fact that the government was successful with 50 companies in control, imagine today how easy it must be for the CIA to have "assets" at the executive level of all 6 companies:
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world's largest media corporation. In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.
So it is well established that the wealth of information, and diversity of opinion available (at least in the U.S.) is decreasing rapidly as it approaches absolute zero. Some examples:
"Full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad". This is important because it is commonly used by the US government to portray its enemies as not having "freedom of speech", as is the case in Venezuela today. Chavez has most likely jailed journalists whom he claims work for the CIA, and of course, he is almost certainly correct. There has been a massive CIA destabilization effort going on in Venezuela, and they almost succeeded in 2002, when Chavez was ousted for about 24 hours. The reason for using "Operation Mockingbird" type programs in Venezuela, is because Chavez's government nationalized their oil supply, and drastically reduced the major oil companies share in profits. Recently, an article in USA Today discussed the current profits of oil producing nations:
Of course, not every dollar spent at the pump props up a desert autocrat or funds global terror. Norway, a major producer of North Sea crude, uses its oil export earnings to fund its citizens' retirement program. The Persian Gulf oil states are investing about half of their increased oil revenue in the region, spurring luxury hotel construction in places such as Dubai and sending shares on the Saudis' Tadawul All-Shares index up 79.7% this year...
They do however, at the bottom of the article mention:
...At home, Chavez has lavished oil money on his constituents in Venezuela's poorest neighborhoods. Through "Mission Mercal," a network of government-run groceries, Chavez provides half-priced food to more than 10 million people. The social largesse cements the president's political standing. But economists such as Claudio Loser, former head of the IMF's Western Hemisphere department, say such spending can't continue indefinitely. Already, inflation is galloping at 18% annually and is expected to hit 25% next year.
The message is clear, if you are Norway, a noble way of spending oil money is to invest in government employee pensions, but if you are Venezuela, spending your nations wealth on its people is "social largesse". Of course this only partially reveals the truth. Tariq Ali of the independent "Counterpunch" wrote "Why he Crushed the Oligarchs", where he explains what is actually happening in Venezuela:
Just under a million children from the shanty-towns and the poorest villages now obtain a free education; 1.2 million illiterate adults have been taught to read and write; secondary education has been made available to 250,000 children whose social status excluded them from this privilege during the ancien regime; three new university campuses were functioning by 2003 and six more are due to be completed by 2006. As far as healthcare is concerned, the 10,000 Cuban doctors, who were sent to help the country, have transformed the situation in the poor districts, where 11,000 neighbourhood clinics have been established and the health budget has tripled. Add to this the financial support provided to small businesses, the new homes being built for the poor, an Agrarian Reform Law that was enacted and pushed through despite the resistance, legal and violent, by the landlords. By the end of last year 2,262,467 hectares has been distributed to 116,899 families. The reasons for Chavez' popularity become obvious. No previous regime had even noticed the plight of the poor. And one can't help but notice that it is not simply a division between the wealthy and the poor, but also one of skin-colour. The Chavistas tend to be dark-skinned, reflecting their slave and native ancestry. The opposition is light-skinned and some of its more disgusting supporters denounce Chavez as a black monkey. A puppet show to this effect with a monkey playing Chavez was even organised at the US Embassy in Caracas. But Colin Powell was not amused and the Ambassador was compelled to issue an apology. The bizarre argument advanced in a hostile editorial in The Economist this week that all this was done to win votes is extraordinary. The opposite is the case. The coverage of Venezuela in The Economist and Financial Times has consisted of pro-oligarchy apologetics. Rarely have reporters in the field responded so uncritically to the needs of their proprietors.
The enormous success of disinformation campaigns is glaringly obvious when you hear things like "That crazy son of a bitch (Chavez) doesn't give a shit about his people" spoken so eloquently by a right wing nut coworker of mine. Currently there is an email going around which declares:
Venezuela Dictator Hugo Chavez has vowed to bring down the U.S. government. Chavez, president ! of Venezuela, told a TV audience: "Enough of imperialist aggression; we must tell the world: down with the U.S. empire. We have to bury imperialism this century." Regardless of your feelings! about the war in Iraq, the issue here is that we have a socialist dictator vowing to bring down the government of the U.S. And he is using our money to achieve his goal! The Venezuela government, run by dictator Chavez, sole owner of Citgo gas co. Sales of products at Citgo stations send money back to Chavez to help him in his vow to bring down our government.Very interesting, apparantly ending imperialism is a bad thing, or at least the CIA would like you to not know the difference between ending imperialism, and bringing down the US. Of course this sort of nonsense never explains that the CIA has been trying to overthrow Chavez for 4 years, nor does it explain that Chavez has only threatened to "bring down the U.S. empire" if we invade his country. The most enraging part of this is the fact that Chavez has also been making deals with U.S. congressmen to sell free and discounted oil to poor Americans, who otherwise would not be able to heat their homes:
The sale of heavily discounted heating oil by the Venezuelan government to poor citizens inside the US continues to spread despite opposition from the US government. Venezuela uses Citgo, the refining and distribution subsidiary of its state-owned oil company based in the US, to establish the means, with the aid of supportive politicians or community organisations, to distribute the heating oil. According to Citgo’s website (), 27.7 billion gallons of heating oil at prices discounted up to 40%, and 258,000 gallons of free heating oil, are being distributed as part of the program in New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Vermont...
Chavez insisted that Citgo’s program would continue, claiming that formerly “Citgo and the Venezuelan money was aimed at presidential election campaigns and US congressmen — now it is aimed at aiding and supporting poor people”, according to a March 5 statement issued by Venezuela’s ministry of communication and information. Despite the hostility, the program is expanding. According to Gonzalez, the program is soon to be extended to upper Manhattan, while Reuters reported on February 27 that the program had expanded into Connecticut.
And of course, there is nothing that Texas oil men hate more than using oil money to help poor people, so enter corporate lackey for the oil industry, Joe Barton, close alliy to the Bush Administration:
In response, the US Congress has launched what was described in an opinion piece by Juan Gonzalez in the February 24 New York Daily News as a “bizarre investigation” into Citgo over alleged anti-trust violations. The investigation was launched by “powerful Texan Republican” Joe Barton, the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton, one of the highest recipients in Congress of campaign donations from the energy industry, sent a letter to Citgo on February 15 giving it 10 days to produce all records, minutes, logs, emails “and even desk calendars” relating to the program. While the deputy staff director for the energy and commerce committee, Larry Neal, claimed the cheap heating oil program was an attempt by the “bellicose” Chavez to “meddle in American energy policy”, Gonzalez claims the real reason for the opposition is that the program “has created a huge public embarrassment for Barton’s friends in the major oil companies, all of which recently announced record-shattering profits for 2005”. These profits are the result of the record prices and alleged price gouging, which have hit poor people dependent on heating oil during winter especially hard.
Certainly in terms of South American issues, everything the American public knows is false. Has anyone seen anything about this issue in the American press?
The real success of these sort of misinformation campaigns was before the invasion of Iraq, both the US and British media (this sort of thing is not limited to the US empire) created a rich tapestry of lies. George Monbiot reports:
All journalists make mistakes .… But the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job. — George Monbiot, Guardian (UK), July 20, 2004
For example, a Harris Poll from February 2005 states:
On other issues concerning Iraq, the attitudes of large majorities of the public have not changed significantly in the past few months.
- 88 percent of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein would have made weapons of mass destruction if he could have (down slightly from 90% in November).
- 76 percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (same as November).
- 64 percent believe that history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq (up slightly from 63% in November).
- 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up slightly from 62% in November).
- 61 percent believe that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious threat to U.S. security (down slightly from 63% in November).
More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who believe the following claims not made by the president and which virtually no experts believe to be true:
- 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
- 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).
- 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).
These are absolutely staggering falsehoods. But the true monstrous nature is apparent when Americans simply turn on the television. The popular TV show "24" is about a "counter-terrorism" agent played by Keifer Sutherland, who routinely tortures subjects in order to "prevent" terrorist attacks. This is such egregious propaganda, it is sickening. A good friend of mine recently repeated this line of nonsense with something like "We need to torture to get information".
Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine wrote in November of 2005:
There are really only three issues in this debate, and the Journal carefully turned a blind eye to all three: (1) is torture reliable, (2) is it consistent with America's values and Constitution, and (3) does it best serve our national interests? No one has yet offered any validated evidence that torture produces reliable intelligence. While torture apologists frequently make the claim that torture saves lives, that assertion is directly contradicted by many Army, FBI, and CIA professionals who have actually interrogated al Qaeda captives. Exhibit A is the torture-extracted confession of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda captive who told the CIA in 2001, having been "rendered" to the tender mercies of Egypt, that Saddam Hussein had trained al Qaeda to use WMD. It appears that this confession was the only information upon which, in late 2002, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state repeatedly claimed that "credible evidence" supported that claim, even though a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 questioned the reliability of the confession because it was likely obtained under torture. In January 2004, al-Libi recanted his "confession," and a month later, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements. Exhibit B is the case of Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi deemed a "high-value" target by the CIA. After being beaten to an extent that he had several broken ribs, he was subjected to a form of crucifixion known as "Palestinian hanging." Forty-five minutes later, he was dead, never having revealed whatever vital, ticking-bomb information his American interrogator was seeking.
Much like what happened during the Spanish Inquisition, you can get people to say anything once they have been tortured enough, which is why the concept almost always provides bad information. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, some of the reports coming out of Iraq are simply too much to comprehend. The next picture is an artists rendition of one of the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib prison. It depicts US soldiers beating an 8 year old girl. This of course is done in front of the parents, in order to get them to talk. Of course, the parents of the girl must be guilty of something, yes?
According to the International Red Cross, close to 90% of the people being held are not guilty of the allegations and many were picked-up almost at random by US patrols on sweeps.
A very interesting technique, sweep innocent people off the street, throw them in prison, and beat and rape their children in front of them, in order to get them to "talk". Jack Bauer of "24" does this each week, and ALWAYS saves the day. According to Hollywood, we are ALWAYS on the brink of annihilation, and some brave patriot, whether a cop, or a "counter-terrorism" agent, (usually played by Tom Cruise) is able to stop the "terrorist" in the nick of time, only because of the necessary use of torture, to get the information needed to thwart the attack. Think about it, you know that is what we are conditioned to believe. Joe Bageant recently wrote:
As my late friend Timothy Leary put it, "An enormous industry, similar to the national projects of pyramid-building in Egypt, cathedral-building in medieval Europe, and prison-camp building in Stalinist Russia has emerged in America -- the production of political martyrs, fallen heroes and concept outlaws. ... The essence of 'news' is, of course, the modern version of Roman coliseum shows and gladiator combats." And like clockwork, there is the nightly ritual bloodletting through televised wars and domestic murders, with detective Lenny Briscoe finding the corpses at seven, eight and eleven PM weekdays.
I know what you are saying, what about the terrorists, how will we stop them. What terrorists? Since the Department of State started keeping records, around 500-600 people every YEAR are killed in terrorist attacks. That average includes the 9/11 attacks, it would be much lower otherwise. Here is the DOS's numbers:
Interesting, Terrorism didn't really exist until around 1970, coincidentally the same year oil peaked in America. Also coincidentally, we got a spike around the time of world-wide oil supplies started peaking, or getting close. Personally, I don't believe in coincidence. How can it be that every country the U.S. decides needs to be brought "democracy", also has resources coveted by the U.S. Recently, Jeff Wells of Rigorous Institution, wrote:
And I'm reminded again of former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow's advice: "When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map: where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that - they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away."
The "Cocaine Import Agency" otherwise known as the CIA, is another story altogether, so I digress.
As we can obviously see, the average fatalities since 1968 are around 500-600 per year. The total since 1968 is 17,166. We almost definitely killed more innocent Iraqi's in the first few DAYS following the 2003 Invasion. In October of 2004, the Lancet journal released a report:
Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," researchers from Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal on Thursday. "Violence accounted for most of the excess death and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for the most violent deaths," the report added.
In the first Gulf war, the U.S. bombing Campaign killed about 150,000 in the first 40 days, with the cruise missile equivalent of 7 Hiroshima bombs. We leveled the entire country, set up conditions that would cost the lives of aroung 1.5 million innocent civilians, mostly women and children, and left the dictator in power, actually rewarding him. As Noam Chomsky points out, this is like capturing a criminal who hijacked a schoolbus full of children, rescuing him, setting him free, and than burning the schoolbus with the children inside, in order to punish the hijacker. The absurdity speaks for itself. And regarding the economic sanctions, under the terrorist Clinton regime, Madeline Albright has publicly announced that the blockade was "worth it".
So how do we measure a threat, worthy enough of dropping bombs on tens of thousands of women and children? Here are some more fatality statistics:
- Tobacco 435,000
- Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,000
- Alcohol 85,000
- Microbial Agents 75,000
- Toxic Agents 55,000
- Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,347
- Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,000
- Suicide 30,622
- Incidents Involving Firearms 29,000
- Homicide 20,308
- Sexual Behaviors 20,000
- All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,000
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,600
- Marijuana 0
As you can see, "Sexual Behaviors" alone (whatever that is) kills more people every year, than the cumulative total of international terrorism has, since they started keeping track 40 years ago. Furthermore, Lightning is responsible for about 60% more deaths each year than terrorism is.
Getting back to the Abu Ghraib picture above, this is not simply the work of some German's imagination, this really is going on. Wayne Madsen has reported on the abuse, and the true origins of it as well. Doesn't it strike you that it is always some low ranking officers, or "bad apples" that are punished for these crimes? Of course this is what we must believe because this way, the perpetrators of the crime have been caught, tried and convicted, the system works, this won't happen again, trust us, we are the government. This flys in the face of reality, because NOTHING in the military happens that way. All orders come from the top, soldiers don't think or plan, they obey. They are trained to take orders, and those orders come from the very top when it comes to things like trashing the Geneva conventions. From Wayne Madsen:
From WMR, Nov. 18, 2005: There is good reason for the embarrassment of the Pentagon in the affair. The orders to take the sexually-oriented photos and videos, some of which involve teenage Iraqi boys and girls and sodomization by their guards, came directly from a pedophile and closeted male homosexual ring operating in the White House, according to the intelligence sources. Copies of the tapes and photos were sent directly to the White House for the entertainment of senior members of the Bush White House, including officials in the Vice President's office and the Executive Office of the President. When the photos at Abu Ghraib became public, the senior military command structure in Iraq "went nuts," according to an individual who witnessed the cover-up of the affair. "They ordered an immediate policy of denial about details of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib," said the source. The source added that senior officers were disgusted that lower ranking guards were prosecuted and jailed when the order for the mistreatment came directly from the White House.
I think we have now established that, at least in terms of geopolitics, mostly everything the American public knows is demonstrably false. So how did it get this way, who is to blame? The origins of the deceit go way back, Americans believed these same absurdities 100 years ago, when Emma Goldman wrote:
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.
She said this in 1908, so we now see how long this has been happening. The consensus among Democrats is that this is a Bush administration tactic, and all we need to do is elect someone else, and everything will be swell. The fact is, this has been done for 100 years, and the hard core mind-washing didn't even begin until 1917 with the beginning of the Public Relations industry, and the "Creel Commission", which I will discuss next.