Posted by: quiscus | December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

1.  ” Why Are the Feds Cultivating Their Own “Homegrown Terrorists”?

High profile domestic terrorism plots appear to have increased in recent months, but they’ve been largely concocted.

The FBI caught another homegrown terrorist this week, except like many recent plots the agency has “uncovered,” the attack was a plant, a plan concocted by the FBI itself. It’s the latest in a growing number of terrorism plots that the FBI stirs up by infiltrating communities and helping to devise attack plans. The practice raises serious questions about the government’s implementation of it’s ongoing war on terror.

http://www.alternet.org/story/149160/?page=entire

2.  “Boy of 12 hauled out of class by police over David Cameron Facebook protest ”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/12/12/boy-of-12-hauled-out-of-class-by-police-over-david-cameron-facebook-protest-115875-22778944/#ixzz17wVP1KC5

3.  “Fareed Zakaria Destroys Beck on Lunatic Islamophobia

On his indispensable television news magazine, GPS, Fareed Zakaria demolishes Glenn Beck’s mind-numbingly stupid assertion that ten percent of Muslims are terrorists. Zakaria’s courage in standing up to the hate-mongers should not be underestimated, and he is among those few now standing in the way of a Rupert Murdoch plot to foment physical attacks of a Ku Klux Klan sort on American Muslims, using his Fox Cable News to spread hate. Leaked memos over the years have repeatedly demonstrated that Fox is a propaganda organ where reporters are routinely instructed how to spin the news to favor the filthy rich and the US Republican Party (there, I’ve been redundant).”

http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/fareed-zakaria-destroys-beck-on-lunatic-islamophobia.html

4.  “Western Civilization and Classical Economics: The Immorality of Austerity

When a civilization abandons its morality, no rationalization can be devised to justify its continued existence. It is likely that many reasons can be given for this abandonment in the Western world, although I am convinced that one predominates—the expansion of law. Law once governed various kinds of behavior. It has now encroached upon various kinds of speech and is even being applied to the realm of belief. When someone is accused of having done something wrong, the reply offered usually is something like, “What was done complied with all legal requirements.” But “right” has never been defined as “conforms to law,” because thoughtful people have long noticed that the law itself can be a great crime, and the worst criminals in a culture can be its lawgivers, as the people of Ireland, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, and Great Britain are now finding out. Americans will soon find it out too.

Numerous critics of classical economists over the past two centuries have argued that it is immoral when judged by any of the recognized moral codes. Major aspects of it clearly violate the Golden Rule. It violates many, perhaps all, of the Ten Commandments. It conflicts with various teachings of Jesus. Aristotle’s Ethics can be used to demonstrate its viciousness. It violates Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Mill’s Utilitarianism. Yet some of its proponents continue to argue that The Wealth of Nations is not inconsistent with moral principles. Clive Cook and Gavin Kennedy recently made such a claim, but what they cite as evidence doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

The upshot is that if the dogmas of classical economics are applied consistently, there is no need for any people not capable of functioning in the workforce. So, in keeping with this implication, Andrew Mellon, President Herbert Hoover’s treasury secretary recommended that Hoover fight the depression by ”liquidating the farmers, liquidating the workers, and driving down wages.”

Of course, if this were openly advocated, the outrage would be uncontrollable and the system would be torn asunder. So this fact is obscured by the provision of “safety nets” that provide little safety, since what they are comprised of cannot exceed or even equal the subsistence wage. So Americans have social security which provides no security, unemployment compensation which is too meager to subsist on, welfare which is really illfare, and chancy access to healthcare at best. Yet those who promote this economy can, it seems, always find money to buttress business, create killing machines, and fight continual wars. What few seem to realize is that these consequences are logical implications of the dogmas of classical economics and come straight out of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Livestock, when unneeded, are routinely shipped to slaughter.

Yet the most difficult thing to understand is what the proponents of this economy believe the purpose of it all is. What is the goal of all of this destruction, suffering, and killing? Does it give them some kind of deranged pride? Does a banker really feel good when he is told his bank evicted hundreds of families in the past week? Does a general rejoice when he is told that dozens of the enemy and scores of his own troops have been killed in the battle just fought? Does a legislator drink a toast to progress when it is learned that hundreds of children in her/his district go to bead hungry each night? If so, what kind of human beings are they? If not, just what can they possibly be thinking?

All the moral codes mentioned in this piece are Western in origin; yet none now plays a role in how the people of this civilization behave. When a civilization abandons its morality, no rationalization can be devised to justify its continued existence. It is likely that many reasons can be given for this abandonment, although I am convinced that one predominates—the expansion of law. Law once governed various kinds of behavior. It has now encroached upon various kinds of speech and is even being applied to the realm of belief. If there is a single aspect of human life that is not now circumscribed by law, I do not know of it. So when someone is accused of having done something wrong, the reply offered usually is something like, “What was done complied with all legal requirements.” But “right” has never been defined as “conforms to law,” because thoughtful people have long noticed that the law itself can be a great crime, and that the worst criminals in a culture can be its lawgivers, as the people of Ireland, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, and Great Britain are now finding out. Americans will soon find it out too.”

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22379

5.  “Losing Our Moral Compass in Pursuit of Profit, Efficiency

Recently, on a cold morning with a little snow fooling around in the bright air, I was chilled by this sentence in an AP news story:

The idea isn’t to just raise revenue, economists say, but finally to turn Americans into frugal health-care consumers by having them face the full costs of their medical decisions (“Tax Break on Employer Health Plans Targeted” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP 11/29/10)

Oh, of course — all Americans should face the full costs of their decisions to have broken bones, heart attacks, or sick children, right?

Even more chilling to me were the underlying assumptions that economists/technocrats decide what’s best for everyone, and that it’s just as important — if not more important — to turn Americans into tame consumers for the private sector as it is to raise revenues for the common good.

This led me to some further, chillier assumptions:

  • democracy and politics are messy and unmanageable and must be replaced by the disciplined professionalism of scientists, technicians and economists.
  • ordinary citizens lack the ability to deal with the “real world” of money, brokerage, extraction of natural resources, wars, weapons and political power, and must be kept out of decisions about them or even knowing about them.
  • our most important moral obligation to our children is to not leave them any debts.
  • to be secure we must pre-emptively kill terrorists, would-be terrorists, might-be terrorists, geriatric terrorists, stone-throwing juvenile terrorists…..
  • the economically sound is the morally right.

In his recent book “The Logic of Discipline”, Alasdair Roberts proposes that democracy has been undermined by financial liberalization, free trade and a globalized economy. Technicians, economists and managers, he observes, are very skeptical of the ability of democracy to make “the right decisions” for financial stability and security, and they doubt that ordinary politicians and voters are ‘disciplined’ enough to make sensible policy decisions.

That’s why, Roberts suggests, we have a new generation of professional technocrats and managers supported by corporate money and ideology who are running not only our giant corporations but our political parties and our governments. They have reconfigured central banking, fiscal control, farm policy, taxes, health and safety regulations, port and airport management, infrastructure development and energy policy to meet the economic needs of multinational corporations in a global economy, not the needs of human beings on a fragile planet. And they have determined that secrecy is a basic necessity for good management, to keep the public from interfering with the professionals’ decisions.

That’s why we have public officials, democratically-elected (sic) politicians, banks and giant corporations like Amazon & PayPal all deciding that WikiLeaks is a criminal operation and Julian Assange is a terrorist who deserves to die.

 

 

Roberts further notes that the world of fiscal discipline is amoral: efficiency and objectivity always trump emotional and unreliable ideas of right and wrong

That’s why — or at least how — in the pursuit of profit, efficiency and financial stability in global marketplaces, Americans are losing our moral compass. Many people now believe — or say they believe — that our most important moral responsibility is to the economy: reduce the deficit, cut taxes, protect profits, and shrink government spending, and keep actions of public officials secret.

So: we have messed up the entire world socially, economically, politically and morally, and have failed to address our habits of consumption that are warming the planet and destroying ecosystems that sustain the web of life. The oceans are rising, disaster and disease stalk humans and ecosystems, war and destruction consume natural resources, but the most important things to us are to cut taxes and government spending, reduce the deficit and keep secret the actions and words of government officials because we the people can’t be trusted.

We don’t even trust coming generations to find better ways to live together. Instead, we base our expenditures for their education, nutrition and health care on principles of profit and “fiscal responsibility”, we teach them that killing in war is noble and exciting, and that most strangers should be feared and mistrusted, while we use up the natural resources they will need to survive.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27053.htm

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