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em·pire

ˈemˌpī(ə)r/

Noun

an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The largest empire today has amassed more foreign military bases than any other in world history, spends more seeking hegemonic domination than the rest of the world combined, and has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of which were elected by their populations.

Support research, reporting, and analysis. Contribute $10 or more and receive an essay on the historical roots of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

em·pire

ˈemˌpī(ə)r/

noun

an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The largest empire today has amassed more foreign military bases than any other in world history, spends more seeking hegemonic domination than the rest of the world combined, and has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of which were elected by their populations. - See more at: http://www.empireslayer.org/2016/01/second-most-biased-source-possible.html#sthash.Jn1BsTr6.dpuf

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Emeritus Russia Scholar at Princeton: Obama, US are ‘Testing, Provoking Russia’, Pushing towards Hot War

Points from interview with Stephen F. Cohen, Emeritus scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University:

“The US in its history has never put troops so close to Russia, going back to the eighteenth century.”  (Okay, this is factually incorrect; the US invaded Russia with some 13,000 troops in 1918.)  Now the US is “right on Russia’s borders. … Obama cannot hide from this one in the shadows as he sometimes does regarding foreign policy.  This is his decision” and now “NATO is going to quadruple its military power around Russia.”

“The new Cold War has become much hotter because of a decision taken in Washington” and is “more dangerous than the preceding Cold War”.

Saying the new Cold War is “solely due to Putin’s ‘aggression'” is “simply not true.  At a minimum, both sides were responsible”, and in fact, as Cohen details, the US is the aggressor (which makes sense, as it has been expanding militarily since its inception, and is by far the largest military force in the world.)


On the US/NATO using Turkey to ignite the hot war: “We do know, I think, one thing: that for whatever reason, possibly because of its lucrative bootleg relations with the Islamic State, mainly involving oil, Turkey is trying to provoke a military conflict with Russia on the assumption that that would bring NATO directly in against Russia. … on the surface, there is no other explanation … NATO can tell Turkey to knock this off, but it goes on”; Washington doesn’t stop it, just as it does not, as Dr. Prashad points out, invoke the NATO charter to force Turkey to close its border to stop relations with ISIS.


“What’s going on at the moment” in terms of Turkey, Syria, and NATO’s expansion, is the US “testing Russia… provoking Russia… awaiting Russia’s reaction.”

Russia’s reaction so far is talk of “fortify[ing] its Western border.”

In the West, “all this is blamed on Russian aggression. But who’s the aggressor here?  Russia didn’t move its military equipment toward NATO.  NATO moved its toward Russia.  So I would say what you have here is a proactive NATO/American policy against Russia and a highly predictable reactive policy on the part of Russia.

In Ukraine, “the provocations and the initial punch came from the West, and Putin reacted in a way that Yelstin could not have or would not have, but Putin is Putin.”

Cohen says we are now at the most dangerous nuclear moment since the nuclear crisis of the early 1960s, and “Obama cannot hide from this now.  All his silences and his ellipses and his vanishing moment… this is his decision.  The buck stops there.  He signed off on this, and it is an enormous escalation of the Cold War in the direction of hot war.”

Perhaps the most notable statement of the interview comes at the end, when Cohen points out:

“Not one question about it has been raised in all this multitude of presidential debates.  … You and I tonight have talked about something that is unknown to the American public.”
How’s that for a propaganda system?

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ralston Saul: Neo-Liberalism / Neo-Conservatism a Low-Level Form of God-Worship

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges interviews John Ralston Saul, an ‘award-winning philosopher, novelist and essayist’ who is considered ‘Canada’s leading public intellectual’.


Some points detailed in the discussion:

-Neo-liberalism / neo-conservatism relate to neither ‘liberalism’ or ‘conservatism’.  They are an ideology and form of religion and god-worship, based on self-interest and the whitewashing of memory.  ‘At the end of the day, it’s about power and money.’

-Declarations of ‘truth’ and ‘inevitability’ are two aspects of ideology highly prevalent in neo-liberalism/conservatism.

-Neos claiming Edmund Burke as their ‘godfather’ indicates lunacy and denial of history; like other lunatics claiming Christ or Muhammad to justify other unacceptable things.

-Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is a low-level image of the hand of god.  But when one talks to the neos about Adam Smith, one discovers they haven’t read him.  He isn’t taught.  People only know quotes.  They don’t know Smith was actually ‘incredibly distrustful’ of powerful businessmen and said things like ‘never allow them to be alone in a room together; they’ll combine and falsify the market’, etc.

-At this point, [for example, as illustrated by latest Oxfam report], all of the promises made by neo-liberal globalization [summarized in discussion, 13:30] have collapsed.  None of them happened; it’s the exact opposite.  We are now in the most nationalist period we’ve seen since the 1930s, with all the dangers that go along with it.


-There isn’t a single neo-liberal/conservative who would deny that Athens is the beginning of what we call ‘Western democracy’, and yet they don’t even know that the way Athens got going was by destroying all the debt to re-launch citizenship and justice systems. 

-While people at the bottom largely still believe they are in a ‘democratic’ society, what we have going today is a Mussolinian-corporatist authoritarian state.

-People have clearly lost faith in the ‘mafia, oligarchic elite’, which is currently using the pick-pocket’s tactic of saying ‘look over there’ at those ‘terrorists’, while robbing everyone.

-[Interesting discussion about how to move forward, largely pertaining to language and memory, presented starting at 22:30:]

Most of the writers killed globally are not killed by ‘religious’ fanatics, but by governments linked with the West, Mexico being a good example.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Animal Law Professor: Veganism Part of the Commitment to Non-Violence

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges interviews Gary L. Francione, ‘Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.  Francione received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia.


Some points detailed in the interview:
  • “Veganism is part of a commitment to non-violence … It’s all one issue.  It’s a fundamental issue of justice.”
  • Vegans are often called ‘elitist’, when in fact, as Francione explains, “[t]here is nothing more elitist than the standard Western diet.”
  • On whether animal rights detract from human rights: “Go ahead and focus on human rights, but you still have to eat three times a day and buy clothes.  When you do, eat vegan and don’t buy leather, wool, or silk.”  [Side note on the torture and exploitation involved in producing honey for humans.]
  • Indeed, “[v]eganism leads us to many other issuesWe shouldn’t be exploiting women, we shouldn’t be exploiting children.  We should care that there’s a Palestinian genocide going on.”
  • “I say to people, do you think animals matter morally?  I very rarely encounter people who say no.  Almost everybody agrees animals matter morally.  And I say well, then fine, whatever else is the case, we can’t justify imposing suffering and death on them for reasons of pleasure [their taste], amusement [taste], or convenience [i.e. easier not to change what I’m already doing]. … We’re not on a desert island, we’re not on a lifeboat.”
  • Francione points out that since no one with any authority can argue that a healthy vegan diet is not at least as healthy, if not more healthy, than even a carefully-planned diet involving animal exploitation and abuse, then “the best justification we have” for harming and killing animals so we can eat them is pleasure, “the fact that they taste good.”


  • In Eat Like You Care, Francione and Charlton illustrate that distressing, harming, exploiting, or killing animals because we like the way they taste, i.e. for the sake of personal pleasure, makes us morally equal to Michael Vick and other people who also exploit and abuse animals with no better justification than that it brings them pleasure.  They also devote individual chapters to virtually every excuse possible for not going vegan, as well as to not-immediately-apparent issues, such as the torture, sadness and death involved in the dairy industry.
Francione points out that a vegan diet is not only easy, but is a joy rather than a sacrifice.  When eating a healthy vegan diet, one not only feels physically, but morally better.

The vegan food pyramid:





Vegan cookbooks:

books_0007

Don’t worry much about protein.  It is highly overblown in our culture.  Essentially all vegan foods have it, and combining grains and legumes (ie pasta with almonds) creates a complete protein and high protein meal.  Numerous plants contain complete proteins by themselves.

The real problem with protein is that most Westerners get far too much, leading to health problems.  “Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.”

Still worried?  Don’t be.  All the information needed and more is easily searchable and accessible online and in books.

And check out one of the strongest men in the world, vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian:









And some of our animal friends safe in farm sanctuaries:











“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” – Albert Einstein


“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy

“What should move our very hearts and sicken us,… is the realization that animals are morally innocent, that they have done no harm. Next they have no power whatever of resisting; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are victims which makes their suffering so especially touching… there is something so very dreadful, something so dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power …” – Linzey, Animal Gospel, 65

"Vegan fucking power!" - Patrik Baboumian

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.