Saturday, July 13, 2013

Energy and the National Security State

James Woolsey, former CIA Director, gives a talk on Energy and National Security at the School for International and Advanced Studies.

During the Q&A somebody asks him about the safety of natural gas extraction and he scoffs at the idea that there's any danger.  Plus, he points out that a lot of people are against fracking on their land until they are approached by the energy companies and offered $50,000 a month for the right to drill on their property.  So he insists that one of the best things about fracking for natural gas is that it's going to make a lot of ordinary people rich.

He states a little earlier that solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of energy are wonderful, but they won't be able to replace fossil fuels for a long time.

Never does he address the fact that renewable technologies have been "under development" for as long or longer than natural gas extreme extraction.  He completely dismisses the suggestion that capital investment, such as the fossil fuel companies and the government have made in oil and natural gas, is what has made fracking economical enough for widespread commercial use.

Neither does he admit any suggestion that the military and the national intelligence networks have promoted capital intensive fossil fuels over alternatives.

A solar and wind-powered USA would be full of enterprising citizens free to develop projects, machines and businesses off the grid.  The central governments and the capital markets wouldn't be able to control the energy supply.

The marriage between the fossil fuel industry and the national security state will be a healthy one, as long as American consumers are dependent on fossil fuels.

If we had followed the Energy Plan President Carter initiated in 1977, we would be 25% powered by renewables now.  Those green technologies would be advancing far ahead of the extreme extraction technology.

The national security state has always been the bully for big capital.  Whether you're talking about the media, medicine, the military, the food industry, transportation, education, ... whatever ... big capital is writing the plans and Congress is going along without a peep.

The capitalists set up these other systems in this country to serve their needs, and until the people decide we want to run our own country, things are going to keep going along just the way they are.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


With the revelations about massive secret data gathering and spying and hacking by the Department of Justice, the National Security Agency and the FBI, it's only reasonable to assume there's more--much more--that we don't know.
One can’t help but infer that the US Department of Justice has become just another security contractor, working alongside the HBGarys and Stratfors on behalf of corporate bidders, with no sense at all for the justness of their actions; they are working to protect corporations and private security contractors and give them license to engage in disinformation campaigns against ordinary citizens and their advocacy groups.

What we learned from Vision For 2020 is that taxpayers won't be the direct beneficiaries of any security obtained by the Pentagon's militarization of space, but we will be the funders.

Why should it be different with domestic cyber-security?

Short answer:  It isn't.  We may be underwriting all the spying and counterspying by contractors, soldiers and geeks, but corporations--or, as they're euphemistically called by the military:  Commerce--will be the party to be protected and served by the defense industry.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Superpower Illusion

Leslie Gelb is writing editorials for the New York Times on the international chess match.  In The New Anti-American Axis he colors in the traditional narrative of super military and economic world powers who engage in endless positioning for power, control and influence.

This new approach appears based in part on a sense of their growing strength relative to America and their increasing emphasis on differences over issues like Syria. Both Moscow and Beijing oppose the principle of international action to interfere in a country’s sovereign affairs, much less overthrow a government, as happened in Libya in 2011. After all, that principle could always backfire on them.
This is a useful narrative for those who benefit from the status quo, and have neither the will nor the imagination to embrace a better world.  Gelb concludes his discourse with a formula for continuing the balance of powers with a careful combination of force and diplomacy.

What he seems oblivious to is the limited relevance of this discourse.

Noam Chomsky discussed the limitations of this view in his speech at the American University in Beirut last month.

Surveying the terrible conflicts in the world, it’s clear that almost all are the residue of imperial crimes and the borders that the great powers drew in their own interests.
The worldview of the oligarchs who peddle special interest for capitalists and state militaries through consolidated media is crumbling from the force of the new social media and the internet.

Gelb and his ilk in the NSA, the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Monetary Fund have not grasped the futility of their efforts to control public consciousness, which they still consider to be, "public opinion."

But the collapse of the traditional human consciousness is manifest in historical events such as the approach of Voyager I to the wider reaches of interstellar space and the Milky Way, leaving the solar system as the first known artificial object to ever do so. 

Events in the Arab world, Asia and South America have recently bespoken in the loudest clarion terms wholesale rejection of the traditional state power alignments, and the inability of unpopular governments to sustain a grip on populations striving for progress via a new consciousness born of the cyber information age.

There's even discussion in the mainstream, corporate media of the futility of nuclear weapons, though the power centers in the nuclear-armed nations haven't awoken to the reality of such weapons' obsolescence.  

The clash of greatest import will not be among the great powers of old, rattling weapons they can only use for destructive purposes, but between the minds of old power structure and the consciousness that strives to bring all of humanity into a new reality of progress, together, with an unshakeable equality spelled out in the distant but ever-nearer galaxies where humanity prepares to take the baby step of its first stellar footfall.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Long Decline

It's nice to see Edward Snowden's application for asylum being honored, even it is by Venezuela and Ncaragua, in addition to Ecuador.  Those countries were puppet states to the U.S. military empire until a couple of decades ago, when Venezuela's oil wealth opened a pathway toward autonomy for a few of the region's more independent-minded leaders.

But the main reason for the decline in our influence in the hemisphere is the failure of the U.S. to exert any meaningful leadership on the real issues facing the majority of the world's people.  The concept of human rights has all but vanished from the national consciousness in America, replaced by the need for "national security" to combat the "fear of terrorism."  The rest of the world, in contrast, is engaging more and more in the quest for popular sovereignty through rejection of authoritarianism.

Whether it's workers in China, farmers in India, indigenous peoples in Africa and South America, the demand for equality, democracy, environmental protection and limitations on corporate power are nearing universal resonance.

Of course, because of the consolidation of corporate media in the U.S., that message is not penetrating the consciousness of the average American.  Here, the airwaves are full of reality tv, pro sports, military and corporate propaganda, and revisionist historical and social narratives.

The more forceful the anti-imperialist narrative becomes in the world around us, the greater the volume will be on the media's illusionary narrative of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Keystone Academy: Where Legislators Learn the Etiquette of Serving Special Interests

The Center for Media and Democracy is the best source of investigative information this side of Wikileaks.

They somehow obtained and reported on documents disclosing a junket to the Alberta Tar Sands for state legislators.  Apparently it was an ALEC function, and appropriately resulted in lots of KXL-friendly legislation quickly finding its way into state legislatures.

To anyone paying attention, who happens to also be free to draw their own conclusions, it's obvious our legislative system, and the media and education systems that enable us to participate in democracy, are fatally broken and need rebuilding from the bottom up ... sans wealthy special interests.

But that means organizing masses of ordinary people to realize what is happening and the urgency of their acting in concert in their mutual best interest.

The problem is exacerbated by the prevalence of commercial mass media that redirect the attention of the population away from the important circumstances that require sustained focus and a refined awareness.  We're forever turning our heads away from reality, which we don't even recognize on the rare occasions when we're actually able to glimpse it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Been Raining For A Week

You know, the baloney just keeps on flying, and piling up deeper and deeper. Every day, every major news outlet in the country breathlessly recounts the crimes and mystery of Edward Snowden, the so-called NSA whistleblower/leaker.

With all the minutes, hours and days of broadcasting and speculation as to his whereabouts and fate, there has been an alarmingly tiny amount of information for the public concerning what Edward Snowden actually did.

Moreover, what he revealed to the public is newsworthy, but there has been little or no coverage about the operation PRISM and other hacking and data gathering operations performed by the NSA and the Pentagon.

Why is it that somebody could divulge things so important and vital to our national security that he's front page news for a month, but none of the coverage is mentioning the scandal he blew the whistle on? All they're talking about is why and how he got away from Hong Kong, whether he's still in Russia or not, and will he make it to Ecuador or Venezuela before he gets caught.

Edward Snowden is not important.

What's important is that the NSA is collecting data in such volume that they're going to be able to track and corner anyone in America who steps out of line, and probably use rendition and indefinite detention without trial to shut down any peace activist, environmentalist, anti-corruption crusader or occupier they want.

Snowden was telling us that the NSA has the goods on everybody. Why aren't the "news media" reporting about that, about what the NSA is doing?

Because the news media are controlled by the Pentagon and the NSA.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Had supper with Tom and Donna tonight. Great food: Cucina in Woodstock. Of course, what makes it so great with them is Tom's perspicacity. He takes my wild-eyed theories about the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies as a matter of course: old news. Peter Van Buren on Edward Snowden:
No, it was conscience. I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere along the line Snowden had read the Declaration of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."
I never imagined the American people would find it so difficult to realize and discuss the mortifying effect of the Pentagon and intelligence services on our democracy. It's amazing how people want to laugh, shrug, smirk, and turn the other way. There's no talking about jobs or justice when there's a 350 pound gorilla in the room!