Angela Merkel il culone intrombabile

But Silvio Berlusconi might alternatively have used “strutto culo inchiavabile” to describe any other Euro usury kapo, like himself, or his mates Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron who paid a surprise visit to Tripoli yesterday to herald the victory of Neoliberal World Bank “Democracy” over Libyan sovereignty –or was it to say thanks in advance for the oil? News of Berlusconi’s wiretapped indiscretion via Twitter offered what online translators would not reveal, how to say “unf*ckable” in the languages of your upstream: infollable, onneukbare… his choice of words remain as yet censored in the German press. Wouldn’t it be curious to learn which cultures have no word for the concept? I’d have thought that would be American.

Robert Fisk and the language of power, danger words: Competing Narratives

Celebrated reporter -and verb- Robert Fisk had harsh words, “danger words” he called them, for host Al-Jazeera where he gave an address about the language of power which has infected newsman and reader alike. Beware your unambiguous acceptance of empty terms into which state propagandists let you infer nuance: power players, activism, non-state actors, key players, geostrategic players, narratives, external players, meaningful solutions, –meaning what?
I’ll not divulge why these stung Al-J, but I’d like to detail the full list, and commit not to condone their false usage at NMT, without ridicule, “quotes” or disclaimer.

Fisk listed several expressions which he attributes to government craftsmen. Unfortunately journalists have been parroting these terms without questioning their dubious meaning. Fisk began with a favorite, the endless, disingenuous, “peace process.” What is that – victor-defined purgatory? Why would “peace” be a “process” Fisk asks.

How appropriate that some of the West’s strongest critics are linguists. Fisk lauded the current seagoing rescue of Gaza, the convoy determined to break the Israeli blockade. He compared it to the Berlin Airlift, when governments saw fit to help besieged peoples, even former enemies. This time however, the people have to act where their governments do not.

I read recently that the Gaza Freedom Flotilla might be preparing accommodations for Noam Chomsky to join the passage. Won’t that be an escalation? I imagine if Robert Fisk would climb aboard too, it would spell doom for any chance the relief supplies would reach the Gazans. A ship convoy with Chomsky and Fisk on board would present an opportunity that an Israeli torpedo could not resist.

Here is his list. If you can’t peruse the lecture, at least ponder these words with as much skepticism as you can. The parenthesis denote my shorthand.

peace process (detente under duress, while enduring repression)

“Peace of the Brave” (accept your subjugation, coined for Algeria, then France lost)

“Hearts and Minds” (Vietnam era psych-ops, then US lost)

spike (to avoid saying: increase)

surge (reinforcements, you send them in you’re losing)

key players (only puppets and their masters need apply)

back on track (the objective has been on rails?)

peace envoy (in mob-speak: the cleaner)

road map (winner’s bill of lading for the spoils)

experts (vetted opinions)

indirect talks (concurrent soliloquies, duets performed solo in proximity to common fiddler calling tune)

competing narratives (parallel universes in one? naturally the perpetrator is going to tell a different tale, disputing that of victim’s; ungoing result is no justice and no injustice) examples:
occupied vs. disputed;
wall vs. security barrier;
colonization vs settlements, outposts or Jewish neighborhoods.

foreign fighters (them, but always us)

Af-Pak (ignores third party India and thus dispute to Kashmir)

appeasers (sissies who don’t have bully’s back)

Weapons of Mass Destruction (not Iraq, now not Iran)

think tanks (ministry of propaganda privatized)

challenges (avoids they are problems)

intervention (asserted authority by military force)

change agents (by undisclosed means?)

Until asked otherwise, I’ll append Fisk’s talk here:

Robert Fisk, The Independent newspaper’s Middle East correspondent, gave the following address to the fifth Al Jazeera annual forum on May 23.

Power and the media are not just about cosy relationships between journalists and political leaders, between editors and presidents. They are not just about the parasitic-osmotic relationship between supposedly honourable reporters and the nexus of power that runs between White House and state department and Pentagon, between Downing Street and the foreign office and the ministry of defence. In the western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words.

It is about semantics.

It is about the employment of phrases and clauses and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history; and about our ignorance of history.

More and more today, we journalists have become prisoners of the language of power.

Is this because we no longer care about linguistics? Is this because lap-tops ‘correct’ our spelling, ‘trim’ our grammar so that our sentences so often turn out to be identical to those of our rulers? Is this why newspaper editorials today often sound like political speeches?

Let me show you what I mean.

For two decades now, the US and British – and Israeli and Palestinian – leaderships have used the words ‘peace process’ to define the hopeless, inadequate, dishonourable agreement that allowed the US and Israel to dominate whatever slivers of land would be given to an occupied people.

I first queried this expression, and its provenance, at the time of Oslo – although how easily we forget that the secret surrenders at Oslo were themselves a conspiracy without any legal basis. Poor old Oslo, I always think! What did Oslo ever do to deserve this? It was the White House agreement that sealed this preposterous and dubious treaty – in which refugees, borders, Israeli colonies – even timetables – were to be delayed until they could no longer be negotiated.

And how easily we forget the White House lawn – though, yes, we remember the images – upon which it was Clinton who quoted from the Qur’an, and Arafat who chose to say: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. President.” And what did we call this nonsense afterwards? Yes, it was ‘a moment of history’! Was it? Was it so?

Do you remember what Arafat called it? “The peace of the brave.” But I don’t remember any of us pointing out that “the peace of the brave” was used originally by General de Gaulle about the end of the Algerian war. The French lost the war in Algeria. We did not spot this extraordinary irony.

Same again today. We western journalists – used yet again by our masters – have been reporting our jolly generals in Afghanistan as saying that their war can only be won with a “hearts and minds” campaign. No-one asked them the obvious question: Wasn’t this the very same phrase used about Vietnamese civilians in the Vietnam war? And didn’t we – didn’t the West – lose the war in Vietnam?

Yet now we western journalists are actually using – about Afghanistan – the phrase ‘hearts and minds’ in our reports as if it is a new dictionary definition rather than a symbol of defeat for the second time in four decades, in some cases used by the very same soldiers who peddled this nonsense – at a younger age – in Vietnam.

Just look at the individual words which we have recently co-opted from the US military.

When we westerners find that ‘our’ enemies – al-Qaeda, for example, or the Taliban -have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it ‘a spike in violence’. Ah yes, a ‘spike’!

A ‘spike’ in violence, ladies and gentlemen is a word first used, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase. We are using, quite literally, an expression created for us by the Pentagon. A spike, of course, goes sharply up, then sharply downwards. A ‘spike’ therefore avoids the ominous use of the words ‘increase in violence’ – for an increase, ladies and gentlemen, might not go down again afterwards.

Now again, when US generals refer to a sudden increase in their forces for an assault on Fallujah or central Baghdad or Kandahar – a mass movement of soldiers brought into Muslim countries by the tens of thousands – they call this a ‘surge’. And a surge, like a tsunami, or any other natural phenomena, can be devastating in its effects. What these ‘surges’ really are – to use the real words of serious journalism – are reinforcements. And reinforcements are sent to wars when armies are losing those wars. But our television and newspaper boys and girls are still talking about ‘surges’ without any attribution at all! The Pentagon wins again.

Meanwhile the ‘peace process’ collapsed. Therefore our leaders – or ‘key players’ as we like to call them – tried to make it work again. Therefore the process had to be put ‘back on track’. It was a railway train, you see. The carriages had come off the line. So the train had to be put ‘back on track’. The Clinton administration first used this phrase, then the Israelis, then the BBC.

But there was a problem when the ‘peace process’ had been put ‘back on track’ – and still came off the line. So we produced a ‘road map’ – run by a Quartet and led by our old Friend of God, Tony Blair, who – in an obscenity of history – we now refer to as a ‘peace envoy’.

But the ‘road map’ isn’t working. And now, I notice, the old ‘peace process’ is back in our newspapers and on our television screens. And two days ago, on CNN, one of those boring old fogies that the TV boys and girls call ‘experts’ – I’ll come back to them in a moment – told us again that the ‘peace process’ was being put ‘back on track’ because of the opening of ‘indirect talks’ between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t just about clichés – this is preposterous journalism. There is no battle between power and the media. Through language, we have become them.

Maybe one problem is that we no longer think for ourselves because we no longer read books. The Arabs still read books – I’m not talking here about Arab illiteracy rates – but I’m not sure that we in the West still read books. I often dictate messages over the phone and find I have to spend ten minutes to repeat to someone’s secretary a mere hundred words. They don’t know how to spell.

I was on a plane the other day, from Paris to Beirut – the flying time is about three hours and 45 minutes – and the woman next to me was reading a French book about the history of the Second World War. And she was turning the page every few seconds. She had finished the book before we reached Beirut! And I suddenly realised she wasn’t reading the book – she was surfing the pages! She had lost the ability to what I call ‘deep read’. Is this one of our problems as journalists, I wonder, that we no longer ‘deep read’? We merely use the first words that come to hand …

Let me show you another piece of media cowardice that makes my 63-year-old teeth grind together after 34 years of eating humus and tahina in the Middle East.

We are told, in so many analysis features, that what we have to deal with in the Middle East are ‘competing narratives’. How very cosy. There’s no justice, no injustice, just a couple of people who tell different history stories. ‘Competing narratives’ now regularly pop up in the British press. The phrase is a species – or sub-species – of the false language of anthropology. It deletes the possibility that one group of people – in the Middle East, for example – are occupied, while another group of people are doing the occupying. Again, no justice, no injustice, no oppression or oppressing, just some friendly ‘competing narratives’, a football match, if you like, a level playing field because the two sides are – are they not – ‘in competition’. It’s two sides in a football match. And two sides have to be given equal time in every story.

So an ‘occupation’ can become a ‘dispute’. Thus a ‘wall’ becomes a ‘fence’ or a ‘security barrier’. Thus Israeli colonisation of Arab land contrary to all international law becomes ‘settlements’ or ‘outposts’ or ‘Jewish neighbourhoods’.

You will not be surprised to know that it was Colin Powell, in his starring, powerless appearance as secretary of state to George W. Bush, who told US diplomats in the Middle East to refer to occupied Palestinian land as ‘disputed land’ – and that was good enough for most of the American media.

So watch out for ‘competing narratives’, ladies and gentlemen. There are no ‘competing narratives’, of course, between the US military and the Taliban. When there are, however, you’ll know the West has lost.

But I’ll give you a lovely, personal example of how ‘competing narratives’ come undone. Last month, I gave a lecture in Toronto to mark the 95th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide, the deliberate mass murder of one and a half million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turkish army and militia. Before my talk, I was interviewed on Canadian Television, CTV, which also owns the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper. And from the start, I could see that the interviewer had a problem. Canada has a large Armenian community. But Toronto also has a large Turkish community. And the Turks, as the Globe and Mail always tell us, “hotly dispute” that this was a genocide. So the interviewer called the genocide “deadly massacres”.

Of course, I spotted her specific problem straight away. She could not call the massacres a ‘genocide’, because the Turkish community would be outraged. But equally, she sensed that ‘massacres’ on its own – especially with the gruesome studio background photographs of dead Armenians – was not quite up to defining a million and a half murdered human beings. Hence the ‘deadly massacres’. How odd!!! If there are ‘deadly’ massacres, are there some massacres which are not ‘deadly’, from which the victims walk away alive? It was a ludicrous tautology.

In the end, I told this little tale of journalistic cowardice to my Armenian audience, among whom were sitting CTV executives. Within an hour of my ending, my Armenian host received an SMS about me from a CTV reporter. “Shitting on CTV was way out of line,” the reporter complained. I doubted, personally, if the word ‘shitting’ would find its way onto CTV. But then, neither does ‘genocide’. I’m afraid ‘competing narratives’ had just exploded.

Yet the use of the language of power – of its beacon-words and its beacon-phrases -goes on among us still. How many times have I heard western reporters talking about ‘foreign fighters’ in Afghanistan? They are referring, of course, to the various Arab groups supposedly helping the Taliban. We heard the same story from Iraq. Saudis, Jordanians, Palestinian, Chechen fighters, of course. The generals called them ‘foreign fighters’. And then immediately we western reporters did the same. Calling them ‘foreign fighters’ meant they were an invading force. But not once – ever – have I heard a mainstream western television station refer to the fact that there are at least 150,000 ‘foreign fighters’ in Afghanistan. And that most of them, ladies and gentlemen, are in American or other Nato uniforms!

Similarly, the pernicious phrase ‘Af-Pak’ – as racist as it is politically dishonest – is now used by reporters when it originally was a creation of the US state department, on the day that Richard Holbrooke was appointed special US representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the phrase avoided the use of the word ‘India’ whose influence in Afghanistan and whose presence in Afghanistan, is a vital part of the story. Furthermore, ‘Af-Pak’ – by deleting India – effectively deleted the whole Kashmir crisis from the conflict in south-east Asia. It thus deprived Pakistan of any say in US local policy on Kashmir – after all, Holbrooke was made the ‘Af-Pak’ envoy, specifically forbidden from discussing Kashmir. Thus the phrase ‘Af-Pak’, which totally deletes the tragedy of Kashmir – too many ‘competing narratives’, perhaps? – means that when we journalists use the same phrase, ‘Af-Pak’, which was surely created for us journalists, we are doing the state department’s work.

Now let’s look at history. Our leaders love history. Most of all, they love the Second World War. In 2003, George W. Bush thought he was Churchill as well as George W. Bush. True, Bush had spent the Vietnam war protecting the skies of Texas from the Vietcong. But now, in 2003, he was standing up to the ‘appeasers’ who did not want a war with Saddam who was, of course, ‘the Hitler of the Tigris’. The appeasers were the British who did not want to fight Nazi Germany in 1938. Blair, of course, also tried on Churchill’s waistcoat and jacket for size. No ‘appeaser’ he. America was Britain’s oldest ally, he proclaimed – and both Bush and Blair reminded journalists that the US had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Britain in her hour of need in 1940.

But none of this was true.

Britain’s old ally was not the United States. It was Portugal, a neutral fascist state during World War Two. Only my own newspaper, The Independent, picked this up.

Nor did America fight alongside Britain in her hour of need in 1940, when Hitler threatened invasion and the German air force blitzed London. No, in 1940 America was enjoying a very profitable period of neutrality – and did not join Britain in the war until Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbour in December of 1941.

Ouch!

Back in 1956, I read the other day, Eden called Nasser the ‘Mussolini of the Nile’. A bad mistake. Nasser was loved by the Arabs, not hated as Mussolini was by the majority of Africans, especially the Arab Libyans. The Mussolini parallel was not challenged or questioned by the British press. And we all know what happened at Suez in 1956.

Yes, when it comes to history, we journalists really do let the presidents and prime ministers take us for a ride.

Today, as foreigners try to take food and fuel by sea to the hungry Palestinians of Gaza, we journalists should be reminding our viewers and listeners of a long-ago day when America and Britain went to the aid of a surrounded people, bringing food and fuel – our own servicemen dying as they did so – to help a starving population. That population had been surrounded by a fence erected by a brutal army which wished to starve the people into submission. The army was Russian. The city was Berlin. The wall was to come later. The people had been our enemies only three years earlier. Yet we flew the Berlin airlift to save them. Now look at Gaza today. Which western journalist – and we love historical parallels – has even mentioned 1948 Berlin in the context of Gaza?

Look at more recent times. Saddam had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ – you can fit ‘WMD’ into a headline – but of course, he didn’t, and the American press went through embarrassing bouts of self-condemnation afterwards. How could it have been so misled, the New York Times asked itself? It had not, the paper concluded, challenged the Bush administration enough.

And now the very same paper is softly – very softly – banging the drums for war in Iran. Iran is working on WMD. And after the war, if there is a war, more self-condemnation, no doubt, if there are no nuclear weapons projects.

Yet the most dangerous side of our new semantic war, our use of the words of power – though it is not a war since we have largely surrendered – is that it isolates us from our viewers and readers. They are not stupid. They understand words, in many cases – I fear – better than we do. History, too. They know that we are drowning our vocabulary with the language of generals and presidents, from the so-called elites, from the arrogance of the Brookings Institute experts, or those of those of the Rand Corporation or what I call the ‘THINK TANKS’. Thus we have become part of this language.

Here, for example, are some of the danger words:

· POWER PLAYERS

· ACTIVISM

· NON-STATE ACTORS

· KEY PLAYERS

· GEOSTRATEGIC PLAYERS

· NARRATIVES

· EXTERNAL PLAYERS

· PEACE PROCESS

· MEANINGFUL SOLUTIONS

· AF-PAK

· CHANGE AGENTS (whatever these sinister creatures are).

I am not a regular critic of Al Jazeera. It gives me the freedom to speak on air. Only a few years ago, when Wadah Khanfar (now Director General of Al Jazeera) was Al Jazeera’s man in Baghdad, the US military began a slanderous campaign against Wadah’s bureau, claiming – untruthfully – that Al Jazeera was in league with al-Qaeda because they were receiving videotapes of attacks on US forces. I went to Fallujah to check this out. Wadah was 100 per cent correct. Al-Qaeda was handing in their ambush footage without any warning, pushing it through office letter-boxes. The Americans were lying.

Wadah is, of course, wondering what is coming next.

Well, I have to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that all those ‘danger words’ I have just read out to you – from KEY PLAYERS to NARRATIVES to PEACE PROCESS to AF-PAK – all occur in the nine-page Al Jazeera programme for this very forum.

I’m not condemning Al Jazeera for this, ladies and gentlemen. Because this vocabulary is not adopted through political connivance. It is an infection that we all suffer from – I’ve used ‘peace process’ a few times myself, though with quotation marks which you can’t use on television – but yes, it’s a contagion.

And when we use these words, we become one with the power and the elites which rule our world without fear of challenge from the media. Al Jazeera has done more than any television network I know to challenge authority, both in the Middle East and in the West. (And I am not using ‘challenge’ in the sense of ‘problem’, as in ‘”I face many challenges,” says General McCrystal.’)

How do we escape this disease? Watch out for the spell-checkers in our lap-tops, the sub-editor’s dreams of one-syllable words, stop using Wikipedia. And read books – real books, with paper pages, which means deep reading. History books, especially.

Al Jazeera is giving good coverage to the flotilla – the convoy of boats setting off for Gaza. I don’t think they are a bunch of anti-Israelis. I think the international convoy is on its way because people aboard these ships – from all over the world – are trying to do what our supposedly humanitarian leaders have failed to do. They are bringing food and fuel and hospital equipment to those who suffer. In any other context, the Obamas and the Sarkozys and the Camerons would be competing to land US Marines and the Royal Navy and French forces with humanitarian aid – as Clinton did in Somalia. Didn’t the God-like Blair believe in humanitarian ‘intervention’ in Kosovo and Sierra Leone?

In normal circumstances, Blair might even have put a foot over the border.

But no. We dare not offend the Israelis. And so ordinary people are trying to do what their leaders have culpably failed to do. Their leaders have failed them.

Have the media? Are we showing documentary footage of the Berlin airlift today? Or of Clinton’s attempt to rescue the starving people of Somalia, of Blair’s humanitarian ‘intervention’ in the Balkans, just to remind our viewers and readers – and the people on those boats – that this is about hypocrisy on a massive scale?

The hell we are! We prefer ‘competing narratives’. Few politicians want the Gaza voyage to reach its destination – be its end successful, farcical or tragic. We believe in the ‘peace process’, the ‘road map’. Keep the ‘fence’ around the Palestinians. Let the ‘key players’ sort it out.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not your ‘key speaker’ this morning.

I am your guest, and I thank you for your patience in listening to me.

Avatar: novel push for noble savage

Avatar movie poster based on the novel by SapphireI’d like to contrast the high-profile critical receptions being given two Hollywood films about darker-skinned-ness. Precious is about an African-American girl so dark she absorbs the light, without being about race at all. The movie tells a story of poverty, incest and the cycle of abuse, while tipping the scales with gratuitous stereotypes of Hottentot welfare mamas attendant their usual good-for-trouble black males. Vilifying the subjects it pretends to rescue, Precious has the blessing of the media, a shameless Oprah included. James Cameron’s Avatar on the other hand, opened to depth-charges of faint praise calculated to dim the buzz, perhaps because it packs the most subversive black-is-beautiful message since Muhammad Ali.

Avatar evokes rudimentary indigenous spirituality, peppered with what even elementary-schooled audiences can associate as Native American themes, from which we can infer the concepts are eternal, but idealizes an athletic aesthetic more human than the movie’s live-action characters. The “blue cat people,” as the critics have chosen to describe its Na’vi tribe, are but fantasy-striped, tailed Spartans, computer iterations of the Williams sisters and NBA dream teams. The real humans of Avatar tower in prowess, dignity and luminescence over their modern mensch oppressors.

Where racial equality on film is plotted according to how black figures are granted access to the world of white priviledge, Avatar celebrates the sovereignty of dark skin in its environment, where it’s not a barbershop, rapper’s crib, or street corner in Harlem. And instead of prepping the more palatable light-skinned negro for easier assimilation to the welcome-diversity crowd.

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, is an ugly project by and for gentrified American, whose title character is White-America’s usual avatar into their mysterious conception of Black America. I can do it no better justice than this review excerpt published Counterpunch:

A fiction whose “policy message is that welfare recipients are black women who wish to avoid work, who use their time having sex with their daughters, watching television and dining on pig leavings.” Is this a film – or a crime?

A crock and defamation that reinforces white man’s supremist burden.

Under Iran’s culturally repressive Islamic Revolution, the artists have produced a golden age of film. The greatest of these films have had to disguise their social message in analogies surrounding the concerns of children. Avatar takes perhaps a similar tack. Behind diversions of fantasy and special effects, is a profound morality tale. Critics can attack James Cameron for his simplistic storytelling, it’s the price to pay to bring the simplest of viewers along. Perhaps the director can release a final cut for cineastes which omits the redundant exposition. I don’t mind that Cameron uses a highlighter for the Cliftnote set. A survey of online comments shows me that some fans applaud themselves for getting Avatar’s message where they are certain their fellow audience members might not.

Most certainly the alarm most critics are raising has to do with the unpatriotic attitude which Avatar takes toward Capitalist imperialism. In GWOT America where we still “Support Our Troops” and still refrain from labeling our military contractors as mercenaries, this film will rub flag wavers the wrong way. I’d hate to be an active duty US soldier, watching Avatar in my uniform, as the audience roots for good to vanquish evil. It will probably be some time before Americans will want to see Iraqi or Afghan freedom fighters depicted as heroes. We’ve yet to see sympathetic accounts for example of the Vietcong holding down the Ho Chi Min Trail, or for that matter, the real Germans or Japanese beyond the Allied propaganda. But by disguising his story in science fiction, James Cameron has rehabilitated the Vandal and Visigoth, from the shadow of the Roman Empire. The shadow of man’s civilizing drive which grows darker the more it is illuminated.

And best of all, Cameron’s pagans are not whites like the typical Anglo Semites of the Christian holy lands. Cameron’s indigenous humans have the beautiful noses, skin and haunches indigenous to the climates which cradled humankind.

Three meals away from revolution

Brochure from ready.govThe phrase is oft quoted, but no one knows who originated it –or, even if it’s true. It could just be an old pharah’s wives tale. But Obama buys it: from the people who brought you hope.gov we’ve now come to ready.gov. Where the White House assures you there is no need to fear coming plagues and pestilence so long as you “Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.” and be sure to have food for three days.

Is it three meals or nine? Is the consequence anarchy or revolution? The “truism” is commonly sited as being an old Russian expression, but it’s so pithy, others guess it has a literary source like Dumas. A contemporary scholar placed it back much further:

The Romans believed that civilization is never more than three meals away from anarchy.

Of course, when Stalin or Trotsky are thought to have said it, the dire consequence for civilization is revolution. Which is where the saying catches the popular imagination. Internet sleuths are eager to credit the wisdom to a BBC situation comedy. “[Arnold] Rimmer said it in Red Dwarf.” Although two decades before, Science Fiction authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote in Lucifer’s Hammer, that civilization is “only three meals removed from savagery.”

Doubtless in earlier times, you ate well if you could rely on one solid meal every day, which no doubt holds true for the majority of the world still. In the developed nations of course, we cannot see ourselves subsisting on less than three.

The makers of the documentary King Corn interviewed Senator Chuck Grassley about America’s food supply, which is where the expression piqued my interest. Grassley explained: “A society is always nine meals away from a revolution. If you have people going without food for three days and there are enough of them out there, they will revolt.”

Like the “300 pound gorilla” which has now become 900lbs, the units have indexed with man’s inflated prosperity, likewise the vicarious sense that salvation from inequity might come by revolution. A better educated Briton is thought to have coined the nine meals abstraction. At the height of last year’s food crisis, it was recalled that Lord Cameron of Dillington, in his capacity of head of the UK’s Countryside Agency, coined version 2.0 “nine meals from anarchy.”

The distinction between anarchy and revolution was noted by Fredick Upham Adams in 1896, unearthed by Wikiquotes, who speculated on the veracity of the concept:

…I realize that the spirit of liberty does not exist in hungry men. People talked about a day coming when the people would become so hungry and desperate that they would rise in a revolution and sweep all before them. Such a day will never come. Hungry men may fight, but it will be for a bone—not for liberty. The perpetuity of liberty rests with those who eat three square meals a day.

Of course, Maslow would later quantify this with his hierarchy of needs, but I think modern man clings to the revolutionary idyll over anarchy because it gives him imaginary elbow room to believe right could prevail over the totalitarian misrule of the state. For the common man, it grants him reprieve from the likelihood that Orwell was correct to imagine that the future of mankind will be a soldier’s foot on your face forever. For the affluent, thoughts of a revolutionary cleansing assuage their guilt.

But Obama’s crew appears to be taking no chances. They’ve unveiled a website at www.ready.gov which expands on George W. Bush’s plastic and duct tape. Actually, the plastic and duct tape are still there, but at the top Obama wants us to be sure to get our three squares, for three days.

Ready
Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.

EMERGENCY SUPPLY LIST

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

– Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
– Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
– Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
– Flashlight and extra batteries
– First aid kit
– Whistle to signal for help
– Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
– Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
– Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
– Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
– Local maps
– Cell phone with chargers

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

– Prescription medications and glasses
– Infant formula and diapers
– Pet food and extra water for your pet
– Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
– Cash or traveler’s checks and change
– Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from http://www.ready.gov
– Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
– Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
– Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
– Fire Extinguisher
– Matches in a waterproof container
– Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
– Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
– Paper and pencil
– Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Through its Ready Campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security educates and empowers Americans to take some simple steps to prepare for and respond to potential emergencies, including natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Ready asks individuals to do three key things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.

All Americans should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. Following is a listing of some basic items that every emergency supply kit should include. However, it is important that individuals review this list and consider where they live and the unique needs of their family in order to create an emergency supply kit that will meet these needs. Individuals should also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in their workplace, vehicle or other places they spend time.

Rupert Murdoch FIX NEWS moves to sink Palin 2012 campaign for good

Fox’s Carl Cameron: Palin ‘didn’t understand that Africa was a continent.’ Well now they tell us, do they?

Let’s just say that the Republican Party Fat Cats know exactly what lost them the Presidency for 4 years, and they don’t want Sarah Palin being a continual noose around all their necks.

Maybe, too, this is what John McCain meant when he said that he alone was to blame for the loss? He picked her because he had lust in his heart, and she was one hot potato! Too hot, in fact, for the Republicans to have her around for long.

African continent

The Radical Novel Reconsidered

When I go into bookstores these days it makes me kind of sick. The problem is not merely that WalMart sized chains like Borders and Barnes and Ignoble only distribute trash in their outlet. No, the problem is much greater than that and consists of the reality that nothing of much worth has been published in many, many decades now. It’s hard to find much worth reading even in the independent bookstores out there.

Instead, we have rows upon rows of things like Occult and New Age, ‘Christian Fiction’, ghost written crap by politicians and media talking heads, etc. fluff to be found. No good English language literature, no translations of current foreign writers, no informed histories or current events, no nothing just know nothing stuff.

It was not always this way, since America was not always as dumbed down as it has gotten these days. American writers once had something to say, and some of their works once got published. That is not the case nowadays.

Professor Alan Wald some years ago tried to rehab and republish some of these works in a project called The Radical Novel Reconsidered. There was so little interest and knowledge amongst the American public, that many of these works were sadly never funded for republishing. But some were!

Here’s the easy way to locate them. Just go to Amazon dot com and punch in ‘radical Novel Reconsidered’ and you will draw up about 12 of these old radical novels at that site. Most of them can be bought used for $7 or less now, so check them out!

How sad that these great works of literature are now lost in our history, while oodles and oodles of trash dominates. We need a new effort to republish America’s great literature of the past, and until we get such it will be a depressing experience walking into the bookstores of our country.

Alas, our own ignorance and inability to read or know what is worth reading, has teamed up with corporate bottlenecks to publishing the works of good current writers, and now there just is little out there that is even worth reading. It can only change if we as a people can change?
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From Amazon dot com…

1. The Great Midland (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Alexander Saxton (Paperback – May 1, 1997)
Buy new: $22.00 Used & new from $7.15

2. To Make My Bread (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Grace Lumpkin (Paperback – Jan 1, 1996)
Buy new: $24.00 Used & new from $2.98

3. The World Above (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Abraham Polonsky (Paperback – Feb 1, 1999)
15 Used & new from $3.98

4. Burning Valley (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Phillip Bonosky (Paperback – Dec 1, 1997)
Buy new: $19.00 Used & new from $5.00

5. The Big Boxcar (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Alfred Maund (Paperback – Dec 1, 1998)
Buy new: $18.00 Used & new from $3.77

6. The People from Heaven (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by John Sanford (Paperback – Feb 1, 1996)
Buy new: $30.00 Used & new from $2.40

7. Moscow Yankee (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Myra Page (Paperback – Feb 1, 1996)
Buy new: $18.00 Used & new from $5.98

8. Pity Is Not Enough (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Josephine Herbst (Paperback – Jan 1, 1998)
16 Used & new from $2.99

9. Lamps at High Noon (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Jack S. Balch (Paperback – Oct 19, 2000)
Buy new: $19.95 Used & new from $12.00

10. A World to Win (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Jack Conroy (Paperback – Oct 19, 2000)
7 Used & new from $19.97

11. Tucker’s People (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Ira Wolfert, Angus Cameron, and Alan Filreis (Paperback – Jul 1, 1997)
Buy new: $20.00 Used & new from $6.60

12. Salome of the Tenements (Radical Novel Reconsidered) by Anzia Yezierska (Paperback – Jan 1, 1996)
Buy new: $22.00 Used & new from $4.00

Pastor Billy, there are some real nuts and perverts out in Manitou Springs

There is a building out there in Manitou Springs that is full of nuts. The building houses the remnants of Pastor Billy Hargis’s ‘Christian Crusade’ , Hargis being a commie-phobic radio evangelist from Texarkana, who lost his ministry when caught screwing with both man and wife in a married couple whose marriage he had just performed! Talking to each other they both discovered that they had both lost their virginity to Billy! Some ministry it certainly was!

Here is how Manitou based Summit Minstries and their ex-Billy Hargis disciple, Pastor David A. Noebel, was described in PublicEye.org back in 1993.

Summit Ministries
Summit Ministries of Manitou Springs, Colorado, is a little-known Religious Right organization whose work is national in scope. It is a 30-year-old Christian organization specializing in educational materials and summer youth retreats. Its president is Rev. David A. Noebel, formerly a prominent preacher in Rev. Billy James Hargis’s Christian Crusade. As early as 1977, Noebel authored The Homosexual Revolution, in which he claims that “homosexuality rapidly is becoming one of America’s most serious social problems.” He has also written several books claiming that rock’n’roll and soul music are communist plots to corrupt US youth. Summit Ministries later published AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: A Special Report, co-authored by David Noebel, Wayne C. Lutton, and Paul Cameron. For the last several years, virtually every issue of The Journal, Summit Ministries’ monthly newsletter, has contained several anti-homosexual entries. Summit Ministries has just published Noebel’s new book, Understanding the Times: The Story of the Biblical Christian, Marxist/Leninist and Secular Humanist Worldviews.

Noebel’s background with Rev. Billy James Hargis’s Christian Crusade helps to explain the historical friendly relationship between Summit Ministries and the John Birch Society (JBS). Both the Christian Crusade and the John Birch Society represent a political sector known in political science literature as the “old right.” Born out of the conviction that communism was rampant in the United States, both organizations believed that the civil rights movement was manipulated by communists, that the National Council of Churches promoted communism, and that the United Nations was controlled by communists. In 1962, Rev. Billy James Hargis purchased an old resort hotel in Manitou Springs, which was renamed The Summit. The Summit became a retreat and anti-communism summer college.

Summit’s relationship with the John Birch Society is deeper than mere ideological affinity. In fact, in 1983, a donor responding to a John Birch Society fundraising letter sent a check to Robert Welch of JBS, and received a thank-you letter from Welch. The check, however, was made out to Summit Ministries.

Rev. David Noebel was a member of the John Birch Society until at least 1987, and for many years Summit Ministries took out full-page advertisements for its summer youth retreats in Review of the News and American Opinion, two John Birch Society publications.

Summit Ministries is also politically close to Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson, especially since moving to Colorado, leads seminars at Summit Ministries, and his endorsement of Summit’s work was prominent in Summit’s material promoting its 30th anniversary. David Noebel is on the advisory board of Colorado for Family Values.
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to see the full article go to Constructing Homophobia
Colorado’s Right-Wing Attack on Homosexuals

Also check out Summit Ministries itself. And for more about David A. Noebel and his Billy James Hargis connections see wikipedia.

And for more about how the Rightwing preacher was laid low by sexual scandal see the 2004 obituary for him in The Guardian.