Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is the U.S. Wagging the Dog in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, Egypt, Thailand, Turkey etc.?

Over the past three, or perhaps I should say fifteen, years one country after another has been having uprisings in the streets at the grass roots level as a result of oppression, environmental destruction and economic inequality, among other things. Most of these conflicts have almost certainly not been covered properly in the traditional media, and unless some people are good at sorting through the alternative media outlets they probably don't get much better information.

A lot of these conflicts seem to have an enormous amount in common although there are always some details different and there may be a few where they have been more receptive to grass roots pressure although in most cases that doesn't seem to be the case. In many cases it seems as if they might be efforts between two authoritarian forces trying to take advantage of the grass roots efforts to seize power; and unless there is an enormous amount of pressure the victor might only be willing to a token amount of reform to the grass roots uprisings that enabled regime change, or forced existing governments to make some concession.

A lot of people including, Nafeez Ahmed, the author of the excerpt below, seem to think that we might be heading for global war or riots; and they might be right assuming you don't think it is already happening; however there may also be an opportunity for major reform if the people at the grass roots level can influence the changes in many governments and have much more influence in the transition. Unfortunately in the mean time those currently in power are almost certainly distorting the news given to the majority of the public and making it seem as if some of the violence going on is probably much worse than it seems, while downplaying other violence and environmental destruction and economic inequality. They also continue to offer the same solutions that created these problems in the first place and pretend they're the only solutions with the possible exception of slightly more moderate versions of those solutions.

Get Ready for the Global Riots by Nafeez Ahmed / The Guardian

From South America to South Asia, a new age of unrest is in full swing as industrial civilization transitions to post-carbon reality.

If anyone had hoped that the Arab Spring and Occupy protests a few years back were one-off episodes that would soon give way to more stability, they have another think coming. The hope was that ongoing economic recovery would return to pre-crash levels of growth, alleviating the grievances fueling the fires of civil unrest, stoked by years of recession.

But this hasn’t happened. And it won’t.

Instead the post-2008 crash era, including 2013 and early 2014, has seen a persistence and proliferation of civil unrest on a scale that has never been seen before in human history. This month alone has seen riots kick-off in Venezuela, Bosnia, Ukraine, Iceland, and Thailand.

This is not a coincidence. The riots are of course rooted in common, regressive economic forces playing out across every continent of the planet – but those forces themselves are symptomatic of a deeper, protracted process of global system failure as we transition from the old industrial era of dirty fossil fuels, towards something else. Complete article

Perhaps one of the best indicators of the problems and potential success of these reform efforts are in Latin America where many of these reforms began close to if not more than fifteen years ago and some of them have had a significant amount of success although they still have more reform that needs to be done and there are still efforts by those that have been losing their grip on power to roll back what improvements they have accomplished.

I suspect a lot of people weren't even aware that these reforms were taking place while the media was focused on the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq among other things; I know that I didn't know about a lot of these activities until years after they took place and I started hearing about them through alternative media outlets.

A major part of the reason these reforms have been so slow might be due to the opposition from the US government which was supporting many of the old regimes and has also been supporting them for decades including the support of Pinochet and the Nicaraguan Contras. Perhaps if the US government wasn't distracted by their excessive war on terror in the mid-east they might have had even more success subverting the reforms in Latin America.

Now, however they're facing more grass roots reform efforts all over the world and many of them are rising up, somewhat, independently. By this I mean that they all seem to be organized at the local level but many if not all of them are being triggered by some of the same causes which are impacting people all over the world. In the past the US ahs often claimed that they want to be able to fight two wars at any given time. I don't know how they cam up with that figure or why they seem to think they need to get involved in many conflicts all over the world but now they might have much more to deal with. With people raising protest all over the world they can't suppress them all.

Even though the commercial press and the political establishment don't seem to be giving credit to grass roots efforts for some of the limited changes they're making there might be some signs that they're starting to slowly have an impact especially at the local level. Some of these successes have been described in Slow Democracy and Deep Economy; and there is some indication like the recent all night discussion on Global warming in the US Senate that the government is responding although on a limited level and they're not given credit to the grass roots efforts that preceded that discussion.

It's hard to imagine why they seem to be digging in their heels so much since it isn't in anyone's best interest even their own to continue with the epidemic amount of environmental destruction and economic inequality. Presumably the most likely explanation is that they've been repeating their own lies to us and each other for so long that they have become to believe them and some of them don't realize how much damage will inevitably happen if the amount of environmental destruction escalates too much and at the same time it is accompanied by economic inequality and instability all over the world.

On the after noon before their all night session while there were still plenty of Republicans in the chambers Jeff Sessions seemed to be using a chart to argue against the legitimacy of Global Warming. His chart showed the levels of Carbon Dioxide rising faster than the warming of the temperatures and he seemed to be arguing that since they didn't completely correlate their was problems with the Global Warming theory and that we didn't need to address it. Anyone that is familiar with the discussion over the past couple of decades might know that they acknowledged long ago that the more appropriate term should be Climate Change since although most of the trends are towards rising temperatures, at times they might go down and they might not rise consistently. Another problem with his argument is that even if Global Warming or Climate Change isn't a problem, which I doubt, the rise in carbon dioxide that he was citing still is. It contributes to hundreds of thousands if not millions of premature deaths every year. On top of that there are many other problems with pollution, but most of them are taking place where people don't have political power, so they seem to feel that they can continue to ignore them.

Now that their are people rising up all over the world it is a matter of time before they realize that they can't continue to ignore them much longer. This is actually in their best interest even if they don't realize it themselves since if the environmental damage continues to escalate they won't be able to keep it out of their own back yards indefinitely.

Even the Democrats that claim they want to make some changes aren't giving credit to those that deserves it, nor are they promoting the changes that are needed, at least not completely. When Diane Feinstein had her chance to speak she seemed to spend a lot of time taking credit for supporting reforms and letting people know that she supported Obama's reforms as well.

I got news for her Obama hasn't done much except to come up with a lot of rhetoric while pushing the industry agenda and many people will see right through that.

When Richard Blumenthal spoke the morning after their all night session he didn't indicate that he was willing to acknowledge many of the most important problems either. He kept repeating the claim that he believed that addressing Climate Change can be done with "economic growth" thanks to all the green jobs that it would create. Their might be some truth to this, creating more green jobs by increasing solar wind and geothermal will be helpful and this type of economic growth is worthwhile, since it is beneficial to the public; however he fails to acknowledge that an enormous amount of the economic growth that we've had over the past few decades isn't beneficial to society at all and a lot of it is contributing to the problem with pollution. A shocking percentage of economic growth can more accurately be described as economic fraud that is designed to benefit only one segment of society that is reaping all the profits while wages are being suppressed and quality of merchandise is deteriorating.

We grow cotton in the US and ship it abroad to be processed; after being woven into cloth it is shipped again and often winds up in Bangladesh, half way around the world so they can take advantage of low wages. the quality of these products is being reduced since they use thinner material that wears out faster so consumers have to replace them over and over again. then the merchandise ahs to be shipped back and go through a complex distribution process instead of taking advantage of factory direct which was much more common thirty years ago.

They call this efficient.

Instead of investing in activities that benefit society they invest in activities that will shift all the wealth to those with political power.

While the commercial media and the government are providing selective coverage for some of these problems and exaggerating them in a manner that suits their purposes they're ignoring some of the most effective solutions and many more protests that don't suit their purposes. Their solutions are extremely limited if they work at all and some of the more credible sources only receive attention at the grass roots level or if they're covered by the media at all the coverage is much lower profile.

Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed isn’t the only one with much better solutions than the political establishment but he does much a better describing some of the details in just a couple of his articles, The crisis of civilization is an unprecedented opportunity and The End of the World As We Know It? The rise of the post-carbon era, than the political establishment and the media establishment does in months if not years of their non-stop coverage that selectively provides an overwhelming amount of coverage for the ideology of a small percentage of the public with a narrow agenda that isn’t working at all.

When it comes to coverage of an enormous amount of environmental damage and many stories where there is a limited amount of success at the grass roots level Earth First! Newswire, which the political establishment would like to either ignore or portray as fringe, or even a terrorist organization, does a much better job compiling an enormous number of stories that receive little attention from the mainstream media and when they do cover them to do so as isolated incidents without acknowledging how often they happen. Once people look at the data it is hard to imagine that they are the fringe people while the establishment ignores all the destruction.

There are almost certainly additional websites reporting on other issues including the movement for Single Payer, Anti-War protests, the excessive rise in costs for education and many other issues which are being covered much better at the grass roots level in alternative media outlets than either the commercial media or the political establishment. While they keep the public distracted with their distortions and exaggerations there is much more going on that they aren’t reporting.

For the most part the traditional commercial media doesn't report on any of these things except as isolated incidents that are quickly forgotten and presented as if they're rare. The recent episode of This Week With George Stephanopoulos is far more typical of the kind of coverage that the commercial media provides now. I watched it for the first time in quite a while but I can't tell you much about what they discussed, which is part of the problem. the reason I can't tell you what much about what they discussed is because they talked so fast that I couldn't keep track; I suppose I could have focused really carefully or taped it and reviewed it slowly, or perhaps the best way to deal with modern media, assuming you think they say anything worthwhile, is to skip the show and look up the transcript on the internet when it is available.

What I could tell is that they had the same cast of characters that show up on all the commercial media outlets although some of them were from different networks and they talked as fast as they could constantly interrupting each other before switching speakers. These media pundits often change from one network to another but they rarely if ever invite any of the more credible commentators that do a much better job covering the issues and on the rare occasions that they do they don't give them much time.

All I could tell is that they discussed the latest obsession du jour, which happened to be Ukraine and Malaysia Flight 370, as fast as they could, presumably without pointing out many facts that didn't suit their agenda.

I'm no longer sure whether or not This Week With David Brinkley ever did a much better job covering the news; but I am sure that they did a much better job pretending to cover the news, at least.

Regardless of how good a job they do they have been sponsored by the financial industry and oil companies among other powerful corporations and they rarely if ever cover the financial scandals and environmental destruction that these coronations have been involved in properly. This is typical of the rest of the commercial media, as well, which is also sponsored by the same powerful corporations.

While they've been covering the news in this manner so that no one can keep up, or if they focus enough to keep track of what they say when they talk so fast they don't have time to actually think about it, there has been an enormous amount of other activities going on including many grass roots efforts to implement real reform at the local level.

I don't know how much of these local reforms and efforts to educate the public about the most important activities are going on but I do know that the commercial media isn't paying attention to them and some of them are being reported on alternative media outlets.

At some point perhaps soon it is possible that they might become so wide spread that even the commercial media may not be able to ignore it. This happened when both the Egyptian protests overthrowing their government and the Occupy Wall Street protests seemed to come out of no where without any warning to many of us; however there were some hints at the time even in the commercial media that this wasn't the case. On one occasion, presumably live, a reporter asked one of the Egyptian protesters why this happened without any notice and caught them by surprise and the protester looked confused and said he didn't understand it because they had been trying to get the attention of the media for months and they wouldn't pay any attention. The situation was similar with the Occupy Wall Street protests which the media didn't report on until they began; The first notice on the internet where all could see it was at least two months before the protest began yet the media acted as if they were surprised. this is highly unlike the media reaction for the Tea Party protest which received coverage while they were in the planning stage.

As I mentioned earlier ECHELON was reported long before that and since then they reported PRISM in a much higher profile manner so there is little if any doubt that the espionage agencies that refer to themselves as "intelligence" agencies knew about these before they happened and if they wanted to they could ahve tipped off the media which obviously wasn't even trying to report the news.

It is almost certain that similar incidents will happen in the future until there is major reform in the mass media that enables it to report news fairly.

Ironically it is even in the best interest of those in power if this happens because the environmental and economic damage they continue to ignore will eventually catch up with them. Until then they will almost certainly continue to "Wag the Dog" about one obsession du jour or another including some of the following stories including some that might be from alternative outlets more reliable than the traditional media as well as some that might be the traditional media accusing those that disagree with them of distorting the truth:

Syria “Wag the Dog”. Towards a Major Mideast War?

Constructing "Venezuela" protests: a photo gallery [updated]

“Wag the Dog” – The Sequel Set in Syria

Indy Media Venezuela - wag the dog

Foreign Policy Association: Wag the Dog? Venezuelan Troops to the Border, Again

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Russia Wags The Dog With Ukraine Disinformation Campaign Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, financing by the CIA and tacit support by the News Media

Obama’s War Against Civilization

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