In response to a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice by Doctors
for Human Rights and a group of soldiers in the Israel Defense Force (IDF)
who had protested medical experiments--specifically Anthrax vaccine
tests--that had been carried out in secret without informed consent, without
medical supervision, between 1999 and 2006, the Government consented on
Sunday that all future medical experiments on IDF soldiers are to be
conducted only under strict Health Ministry supervision and approval.
The army tested the experimental anthrax vaccines on elite combat soldiers
in secret without knowledge of their commanders. When soldiers suffered
adverse symptoms they were told the ill effects were unrelated to the
experimental vaccine, and they were denied treatment.
The petition to the Israeli High Court sought to end medical experiments on
IDF soldiers during their military service.
Israeli law regulates medical experiments on human beings through
sub-ordinances rather than through major legislation. In the IDF, the
legislative status of human medical experiments is even more uncorroborated.
Vigilance is needed to stop unethical medical experiments conducted on human
beings. This is a global issue.
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Link GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington , DC 20520
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
· I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pleaded guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been 'lost' and is not available.
· I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam .
· I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.
Past Work Experience:
· I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.
· I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
· I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
· With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.
Accomplishments As Governor Of Texas:
· I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
· I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
· I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
· With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.
Accomplishments As President (with 4 3 5 Notable Firsts):
· I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
· I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
· I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
· I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
· I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
· I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
· I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues.
· I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My 'poorest millionaire, ' Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
· I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.
· I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
· My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history,
· My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
· I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.
I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
· I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
· I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts
· I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.
· I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.
· I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S history.
· I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations to remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
· I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
· I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. 'prisoners of war' detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
· I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).
· I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
· I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
· I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
· I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
· I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.
· I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.
· In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
· I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
· I am supporting development of a nuclear 'Tactical Bunker Buster,' a WMD.
· I have so far failed to fulfil my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.
Records And References:
· All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
· All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
· All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I specified that my sealed documents will not be available for 50 years.
How Vaccines Can Damage Your Brain
Link By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., CCN
It has been estimated that 14.8 million Americans suffer from major depressive disorder and of this number 6 million are elderly. If we include anxiety disorders, which commonly accompany depression, the number jumps to 40 million adults.
Depression later in life tends to last longer and be more severe than at younger ages. It is also associated with a high rate of suicide. Previously, it was thought that major depression was secondary to a deficiency in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly the monoamines, which include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
While alterations in these important mood-related neurotransmitters is found with major depression, growing evidence indicates that the primary culprit is low-grade, chronic brain inflammation.
This exclusive article will review in detail the functions and impact of various agents on depression and neurodegeneration, including:
The impact of MSG on your brain and mood
The link between elevated brain glutamate and inflammation
The connections between pesticides and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
How vaccinations cause brain inflammation
The impact of an expanding vaccine schedule for the elderly
The shocking truth, linking brain inflammation to neurodegenerative diseases
How vaccine additives such as mercury and aluminum impact your brain health
The real danger of live virus vaccines
Current recommendations by the CDC for adult vaccinations include a total of 14 separate inoculations with infectious agents and powerful immune adjuvants.
According to CDC recommendations, multiple vaccinations for a single disease are separated by no more than 4 weeks, which is close enough together to trigger a smoldering process of brain inflammation and excitotoxicity that can not only result in depression, anxiety and high suicide rates, but can increase your risk of developing one of the neurodegenerative diseases as well.
We have also seen that in many cases a person will be injected with several vaccines during a single office visit and this means that their body is exposed to a very large dose of immune adjuvant. Compelling studies, using many animal species as well as humans, have shown that this overactivates brain inflammatory mechanisms that can last for years.
I urge you to read Dr. Blaylock’s full-length article,http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/pages/vaccines-depression-and-neurodegeneration-after-age-50.aspx Vaccines, Depression and Neurodegeneration After Age 50: Another Reason to Avoid the Recommended Vaccines, a Mercola.com exclusive, for a fascinating in-depth look at how neurodegenerative diseases are created, and how to protect yourself from what many consider to be simply side effects of the ravages of time -- but are anything but a natural byproduct of aging.
Generals to quit if US strikes Iran
Tue, 26 Feb 2008 00:49:33
Some senior US military commanders are prepared to resign if President Bush orders a military strike against Iran, a new report says.
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” The Sunday Times quoted Monday a source with close ties to British intelligence .
“There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible,” the source added.
If proven true a revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented because 'American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source.
Robert Gates, the defense secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.
Iran has announced that in face of any aggression it will respond like a 'tsunami'.
Iran, China close to $16B gas deal
Tue, 26 Feb 2008 19:34:14
Iran will sign a deal with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) on Wednesday to develop the country's North Pars gas field.
CNOOC is expected to invest $16 billion in the upstream and downstream sectors of the North Pars gas field, Shana news agency reported.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and CNOOC agreed to sign the deal last year.
The North Pars gas field reportedly contains 80 trillion cubic feet of gas and each of its four phases can produce 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.
CNOOC is a state-owned oil company and the third largest in China next to CNPC and Sinopec.
Iran signed a $2 billion deal with Sinopec in early December to develop the Yadavaran oil field.
"The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it." - Joseph Mengele
The Army is still in denial but now admits the epidemic of Gulf War Syndrome II which I predicted would result from its own blatantly unethical vaccine policy (see warning here: http://www.winstonsmith.net/dontbeaguineapig_part2.htm ).
The Las Vegas Sun recently reported:
"More than 1,200 military personnel who received the anthrax vaccine before going to Iraq have developed serious illnesses, according to an Army report released last month, though local military officials contend the shots still are safe and necessary." (June 16th, 2005)
At least the military is now reportedly allowing service members to refuse its deadly vaccines without having their careers destroyed. According to the Sun, "Maj. Brian Blalock, public health flight commander at Nellis Air Force Base, said the anthrax shot is no longer mandatory for service members who are willing to sign a waiver releasing the military from liability." (We've come a long way from the first Gulf War when recalcitrant soldiers were held down and forcibly injected with experimental vaccines.)
But still touting the necessity of government vaccines, Blalock continued: "There are terrorists who are intent on using biological agents and there are countries that certainly have the capability."
Indeed there are. While the US government initially attempted to scare the public and military into taking its dangerous vaccines by blaming Iraq as the source of anthrax in “terrorist” attacks on the US (among other things), it has been revealed that the source of the disease is likely to be none other than the US government itself. The New York Times reported years ago that
"The dry powder used in the anthrax attacks is virtually indistinguishable in critical technical respects from that produced by the United States military before it shut down its biowarfare program, according to federal scientists and a report prepared for a military contractor." (December 3, 2001)
I summarized the 2001 anthrax attack ties to the long-running vaccine experimentation program conducted by the US government in my report, subtitled: "Who Are The Real Terrorists?". It was in this 2002 report that I asked, "Are we being set up for another Gulf War Syndrome disaster?" (www.winstonsmith.net)
If the veracity of a theory is proved by its ability to predict future events, the thesis that the US government is deliberately inducing preventable epidemics through tainted vaccines is now undeniable. (For the initial predictions on Gulf War Syndrome, please see links below.)
If an epidemic can be so easily started in a population captive to an institution with a long and varied history of human rights abuses in the midst of public warnings and federal rulings against vaccines known to be unsafe, how many more convenient epidemics have been quietly started by nominally humanitarian institutions (now known to be working with the military biowarfare inftrastructure and infiltrated with Nazi war criminals) using other vaccines in unsuspecting populations? And how long has this been going on?
p.s. If you are feeling patriotic this weekend, please consider sending this to anyone who knows a soldier and help relay the good news: thanks to the efforts of real heros like Michael Donnelly, they may no longer be required to be a lab-rat for Uncle Sam and his biological warfare infrastructure, which was built with the aid of Nazi war criminals who, immediately following the war, were turned loose to experiment on American soldiers on American soil.
"The reason Gulf War Syndrome happened is that no one did anything about AIDS. The reason AIDS happened is that no one did anything about MKULTRA. The reason MKULTRA happened is that no one did anything about ongoing U.S. complicity in Hitler's crimes." --Jerry Leonard, http://www.winstonsmith.net
Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what . And it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat of Republican. Facts are facts!!!
Our Social Security
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social
Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
1.) That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary.
2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual
incomes into the Program,
3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
4.) That the money the participants put into the Independent "Trust Fund" rather than into the General Operating Fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other government program, and,
5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month --
and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the federal government to "put away", you may be interested in the following:
Q: Which political party took Social Security from the Independent "Trust Fund" and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it?
A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically-controlled House and Senate.
Q: Which political party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
A: The Democratic Party.
Q: Which political party started taxing Social Security annuities?
A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the "tie-breaking" deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the U.S.
Q: Which political party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
AND MY FAVORITE:
A: That's right!
Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, they began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them even though they never paid a dime into it!
Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), th e Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe changes will evolve. Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so.
But it's worth a try. How many people can
Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.
AND CONGRESS GIVES THEMSELVES 100% RETIREMENT FOR ONLY SERVING ONE TERM!!!
****A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
When Change Is Not Enough: Seven Steps to Revolution
By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future.
"Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy
A well thought out and provocative look at the 1962 work of sociologist James Davies, who laid out seven preconditions for violent revolution. The author stresses the point that all of these preconditions have now been met to one degree or another in the current U.S.
The seven conditions are:
1. Soaring then crashing standards of living
2. Rising class war/disillusionment
3. A generation of abandoned intellectuals (hey that’s you guys)
4. Incompetent government
5. Failure of leadership
6. Fiscal Irresponsibility
7. Inept and inconsistent use of force
“A revolutionary state of mind requires the continued, even habitual but dynamic expectation of greater opportunity to satisfy basic needs…but the necessary additional ingredient is a persistent, unrelenting threat to the satisfaction of those needs: not a threat which actually returns people to a state of sheer survival but which put them in the mental state where they believe they will not be able to satisfy one or more basic needs … The crucial factor is the vague or specific fear that ground gained over a long period of time will be quickly lost … [This fear] generates when the existing government suppresses or is blamed for suppressing such opportunity.”
There's one thing for sure: 2008 isn't anything like politics as usual.
The corporate media (with their unerring eye for the obvious point) is fixated on the narrative that, for the first time ever, Americans will likely end this year with either a woman or a black man headed for the White House. Bloggers are telling stories from the front lines of primaries and caucuses that look like something from the early 60s -- people lining up before dawn to vote in Manoa, Hawaii yesterday; a thousand black college students in Prairie View, Texas marching 10 miles to cast their early votes in the face of a county that tried to disenfranchise them. In recent months, we've also been gobstopped by the sheer passion of the insurgent campaigns of both Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom brought millions of new voters into the conversation -- and with them, a sharp critique of the status quo and a new energy that's agitating toward deep structural change.
There's something implacable, earnest, and righteously angry in the air. And it raises all kinds of questions for burned-out Boomers and jaded Gen Xers who've been ground down to the stump by the mostly losing battles of the past 30 years. Can it be -- at long last -- that Americans have, simply, had enough? Are we, finally, stepping out to take back our government -- and with it, control of our own future? Is this simply a shifting political season -- the kind we get every 20 to 30 years -- or is there something deeper going on here? Do we dare to raise our hopes that this time, we're going to finally win a few? Just how ready is this country for big, serious, forward-looking change?
Recently, I came across a pocket of sociological research that suggested a tantalizing answer to these questions -- and also that America may be far more ready for far more change than anyone really believes is possible at this moment. In fact, according to some sociologists, we've already lined up all the preconditions that have historically set the stage for full-fledged violent revolution.
It turns out that the energy of this moment is not about Hillary or Ron or Barack. It's about who we are, and where we are, and what happens to people's minds when they're left hanging just a little too far past the moment when they're ready for transformative change.
Way back in 1962, Caltech sociologist James C. Davies published an article in the American Sociological Review that summarized the conditions that determine how and when modern political revolutions occur. Intriguingly, Davies cited another scholar, Crane Brinton, who laid out seven "tentative uniformities" that he argued were the common precursors that set the stage for the Puritan, American, French, and Russian revolutions. As I read Davies' argument, it struck me that the same seven stars Brinton named are now precisely lined up at midheaven over America in 2008. Taken together, it's a convergence that creates the perfect social, economic, and political conditions for the biggest revolution since the shot heard 'round the world.
And even more interestingly: in every case, we got here as a direct result of either intended or unintended consequences of the conservatives' war against liberal government, and their attempt to take over our democracy and replace it with a one-party plutocracy. It turns out that, historically, liberal nations make very poor grounds for revolution -- but deeply conservative ones very reliably create the conditions that eventually make violent overthrow necessary. And our own Republicans, it turns out, have done a hell of a job.
Here are the seven criteria, along with the reasons why we're fulfilling each of them now, and how conservative policies conspired to put us on the road to possible revolution.
1. Soaring, Then Crashing
Davies notes that revolutions don't happen in traditional societies that are stable and static -- where people have their place, things are as they've always been, and nobody expects any of that to change. Rather, modern revolutions -- particularly the progressive-minded ones in which people emerge from the fray with greater rights and equality -- happen in economically advancing societies, always at the point where a long period of rising living standards and high, hopeful expectations comes to a crashing end, leaving the citizens in an ugly and disgruntled mood. As Davies put it:
"Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal. The all-important effect on the minds of people in a particular society is to produce, during the former period, an expectation of continued ability to satisfy needs -- which continue to rise -- and, during the latter, a mental state of anxiety and frustration when manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality ...
"Political stability and instability are ultimately dependent on a state of mind, a mood, in society...it is the dissatisfied state of mind rather than the tangible provision of 'adequate' or 'inadequate' supplies of food, equality, or liberty which produces the revolution."
The American middle class was built on New Deal investments in education, housing, infrastructure, and health care, which produced a very "prolonged period of objective economic and social development." People were optimistic; generations of growing prosperity raised their expectations that their children would do even better. That era instilled in Americans exactly the kind of hopeful belief in their own agency that primes them to become likely revolutionaries in an era of decline.
And now, thanks to 28 years of conservative misrule, we are now at the point where "manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality;" and the breach is creating political turbulence. The average American has seen his or her standard of living contract by fits and starts since about 1972. This fall-off that was relieved somewhat by the transition to two-earner households and the economic sunshine of the Clinton years -- but then accelerated with the dot-com crash, followed by seven years of Bush's overt hostility toward the lower 98 percent of Americans who aren't part of his base. Working-class America is reeling from the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs and the scourge of predatory lending; middle-class America is being hollowed out by health-care bankruptcies, higher college costs, and a tax load far heavier than that of the richest 2 percent. These people expected to do better than their parents. Now, they're screwed every direction they turn.
In the face of this reversal, Davies tells us, it's not at all surprising that the national mood is turning ominous, from one end of the political spectrum to the other. However, he warns us: this may not be just a passing political storm. In other times and places, this kind of quick decline in a prosperous nation has been a reliable sign of a full-on revolution brewing just ahead.
2. They Call It A Class War
Marx called this one true, says Davies. Progressive modern democracies run on mutual trust between classes and a shared vision of the common good that binds widely disparate groups together. Now, we're also about to re-learn the historical lesson that liberals like flat hierarchies, racial and religious tolerance, and easy class mobility not because we're soft-headed and soft-hearted -- but because, unlike short-sighted conservatives, we understand that tight social cohesion is our most reliable and powerful bulwark against the kinds of revolutions that bring down great economies, nations and cultures.
In all the historical examples Davies and Brinton cite, the stage for revolution was set when the upper classes broke faith with society's other groups, and began to openly prey on them in ways that threatened their very future. Not surprisingly, the other groups soon united, took up arms, and rebelled.
And here we are again: Conservative policies have opened the wealth gap to Depression levels; put workers at the total mercy of their employers; and deprived the working and middle classes of access to education, home ownership, health care, capital, legal redress, and their expectations of a better future for their kids. You can only get away with blaming this on gays and Mexicans for so long before people get wise to the game. And as the primaries are making clear: Americans are getting wise.
Our current plutocratic nobility may soon face the same stark choice its English, French, and Russian predecessors did. They can keep their heads and take proactive steps to close the gap between themselves and the common folk (choosing evolution over revolution, as JFK counsels above). Or they can keep insisting stubbornly on their elite prerogatives, until that gap widens to the point where the revolution comes -- and they will lose their heads entirely.
Right now, all we're asking of our modern-day corporate courtiers is that they accept a tax cut repeal on people making over $200K a year, raise the minimum wage, give us decent health care and the right to unionize, and call a halt to their ridiculous "death tax" boondoggle. In retrospect, their historic forebears might have counseled them to take this deal: their headless ghosts bear testimony to the idea that's it's better to give in and lose a little skin early than dig in and lose your whole hide later on.
3. Deserted Intellectuals
Mere unrest among the working and middle classes, all by itself, isn't enough. Revolutions require leaders -- and those always come from the professional and intellectual classes. In most times and places, these groups (which also include military officers) usually enjoy comfortable ties to the upper classes, and access to a certain level of power. But if those connections become frayed and weak, and the disaffected intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes, revolution becomes almost inevitable.
Davies notes that, compared to both the upper and lower classes, the members of America's upper-middle class were relatively untouched by Great Depression. Because of this, their allegiances to the existing social structure largely remained intact; and he argues that their continued engagement was probably the main factor that allowed America to avert an all-out revolution in the 1930s.
But 2008 is a different story. Both the Boomers (now in their late 40s to early 60s) and Generation X (now in their late 20s to late 40s) were raised in an economically advancing nation that was rich with opportunity and expectation. We spent our childhoods in what were then still the world's best schools; and A students of every class worked hard to position ourselves for what we (and our parents and teachers) expected would be very successful adult careers. We had every reason to believe that, no matter where we started, important leadership roles awaited us in education, government, the media, business, research, and other institutions.
And yet, when we finally graduated and went to work, we found those institutions being sold out from under us to a newly-emerging group of social and economic conservatives who didn't share our broad vision of common decency and the common good (which we'd inherited from the GI and Silent adults who raised us and taught us); and who were often so corrupted or so sociopathic that the working environments they created were simply unendurable. If wealth, prestige, and power came at the price of our principles, we often chose instead to take lower-paying work, live small, and stay true to ourselves.
For too many of us, these thwarted expectations have been the driving arc of our adult lives. But we've never lost the sense that it was a choice that the America we grew up in would never have asked us to make. In Davies' terms, we are "deserted intellectuals" -- a class that is always at extremely high risk for fomenting revolution whenever it appears in history.
Davies says that revolutions catalyze when these deserted intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes. And much of the energy of this election is coming right out of that emerging alliance. The same drive toward corporatization that savaged our dreams also hammered at other class wedges throughout American society, creating conditions that savaged the middle class and ground the working class toward something resembling serfdom. Between our galvanizing frustration with George Bush, our shared fury at the war, and the new connections forged by bloggers and organizers, that alliance has now congealed into the determinedly change-minded movements we're seeing this election cycle.
4. Incompetent Government
As this blog has long argued, conservatives invariably govern badly because they don't really believe that government should exist at all -- except, perhaps, as a way to funnel the peoples' tax money into the pockets of party insiders. This conflicted (if not outright hostile) attitude toward government can't possibly lead to any outcome other than bad management, bad policy, and eventually such horrendously bad social and economic outcomes that people are forced into the streets to hold their leaders to account.
It turns out there's never been a modern revolution that didn't start against a backdrop of atrocious government malfeasance in the face of precipitously declining fortunes. From George III's onerous taxes to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake," revolutions begin when stubborn aristocrats heap fuel on the fire by blithely disregarding the falling fortunes of their once-prosperous citizens. And America is getting dangerously close to that point now. Between our corporate-owned Congress and the spectacularly bad judgment of Bush's executive branch, there's never been a government in American history more inept, corrupt, and criminally negligent than this one -- or more shockingly out of touch with what the average American is going through. Just ask anyone from New Orleans -- or anyone who has a relative in the military.
Liberal democracy avoids this by building in a fail-safe: if the bastards ignore us, we can always vote them out. But if we've learned anything over the last eight years, it's that our votes don't always count -- especially not when conservatives are doing the counting. If this year's election further confirms the growing conviction that change via the ballot box is futile, we may find a large and disgruntled group of Americans looking to restore government accountability by more direct means.
5. Gutless Wonders in the Ruling Class
Revolution becomes necessary when the ruling classes fail in their duty to lead. Most of the major modern political revolutions occurred at moments when the world was changing rapidly -- and the country's leaders dealt with it by dropping back into denial and clinging defiantly to the old, profitable, and familiar status quo. New technologies, new ideas, and new economic opportunities were emerging; and there came a time when ignoring them was no longer an option. When the leaders failed to step forward boldly to lead their people through the looming and necessary transformations, the people rebelled.
We're hard up against some huge transformative changes now. Global warming and overwhelming pollution are forcing us to reconsider the way we occupy the world, altering our relationship to food, water, air, soil, energy, and each other. The transition off carbon-based fuels and away from non-recyclable goods is going to re-structure our entire economy. Computers are still creating social and business transformations; biotech and nanotech will only accelerate that. More and more people in the industrialized world are feeling a spiritual void, and coming to believe that moving away from consumerism and toward community may be an important step in recovering that nameless thing they've lost.
And, in the teeth of this restless drift toward inevitable change, America has been governed by a bunch of conservative dinosaurs who can't even bring themselves to acknowledge that the 20th century is over. (Some of them, in fact, are still trying to turn back the Enlightenment.) Liberal governments manage this kind of shift by training and subsidizing scientists and planners, funding research, and setting policies that help their nations navigate these transitions with some grace. Conservative ones -- being conservative -- will reflexively try to deny that change is occurring at all, and then brutally suppress anyone with evidence to the contrary.
Which is why, every time our current crop of so-called leaders open their mouths to propose a policy or Explain It All To Us, it's embarrassingly obvious that they don't have the vision, the intelligence, or the courage to face the future that everyone can clearly see bearing down on us, whether we're ready or not. Their persistent cluelessness infuriates us -- and terrifies us. It's all too clear that these people are a waste of our tax money: they will never take us where we need to go. Much of the energy we're seeing in this year's election is due to the fact that a majority of Americans have figured out that our government is leaving us hung out here, completely on our own, to manage huge and inevitable changes with no support or guidance whatsoever.
Historically, this same seething fury at incompetent, unimaginative, cowardly leaders -- and the dawning realization that our survival depends on seizing the lead for ourselves -- has been the spark that's ignited many a violent uprising.
6. Fiscal Irresponsibility
As we've seen, revolutions follow in the wake of national economic reversals. Almost always, these reversals occur when inept and corrupt governments mismanage the national economy to the point of indebtedness, bankruptcy, and currency collapse.
There's a growing consensus on both the left and right that America is now heading into the biggest financial contraction since the Great Depression. And it's one that liberal critics have seen coming for years, as conservatives systematically dismantled the economic foundations of the entire country. Good-paying jobs went offshore. Domestic investments in infrastructure and education were diverted to the war machine. Government oversight of banks and securities was blinded. Vast sections of the economy were sold off to the Saudis for oil, or to the Chinese for cheap consumer goods and money to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.
This is no way to run an economy, unless you're a borrow-and-spend conservative determined to starve the government beast to the point where you can, as Grover Norquist proposed, drag it into the bathtub and drown it entirely. The current recession is the bill come due for 28 years of Republican financial malfeasance. It's also another way in which conservatives themselves have unwittingly set up the historical preconditions for revolution.
7. Inept and Inconsistent Use of Force
The final criterion for revolution is this: The government no longer exercises force in a way that people find fair or consistent. And this can happen in all kinds of ways.
Domestically, there's uneven sentencing, where some people get the maximum and others get cut loose without penalty -- and neither outcome has any connection to the actual circumstances of the crime (though it often correlates all too closely with race, class, and the ability to afford a good lawyer). Unchecked police brutality (tasers, for example) that hardens public perception against the constabulary. Unwarranted police surveillance and legal harassment of law-abiding citizens going about their business. Different kinds of law enforcement for different neighborhoods. The use of government force to silence critics. And let's not forget the unconstitutional restriction of free speech and free assembly rights.
Abroad, there's the misuse of military force, which forces the country to pour its blood and treasure into misadventures that offer no clear advantage for the nation. These misadventures not only reduce the country's international prestige and contribute to economic declines; they often create a class of displaced soldiers who return home with both the skills and the motivation to turn political unrest into a full-fledged shooting war.
This kind of capricious, irrational ineptitude in deploying government force leads to public contempt for the power of the state, and leads the governed to withdraw their consent. And, eventually, it also raises people's determination to stand together to oppose state power. That growing solidarity and fearlessness -- along with the resigned knowledge that equal-opportunity goons will brutalize loyalists and rebels alike, so you might as well be a dead lion rather than a live lamb -- is the final factor that catalyzes ordinary citizens into ready and willing revolutionaries.
"A revolutionary state of mind requires the continued, even habitual but dynamic expectation of greater opportunity to satisfy basic needs...but the necessary additional ingredient is a persistent, unrelenting threat to the satisfaction of those needs: not a threat which actually returns people to a state of sheer survival but which put them in the mental state where they believe they will not be able to satisfy one or more basic needs ... The crucial factor is the vague or specific fear that ground gained over a long period of time will be quickly lost ... [This fear] generates when the existing government suppresses or is blamed for suppressing such opportunity."
When Davies wrote that paragraph in 1962, he probably couldn't have imagined how closely it would describe America in 2008. Thirty years of Republican corporatist government have failed us in ways that are not just inept or corrupt, but also have brought us to the same dangerous brink where so many other empires have erupted into violent revolution. The ground we have gained steadily over the course of the entire 20th Century is eroding under our feet. Movement conservatism has destroyed our economic base, declared open war on the middle and working classes, thwarted the aspirations of the intellectual and professional elites, dismantled the basic processes and functions of democracy, failed to prepare us for the future, overseen the collapse of our economy, and misused police and military force so inconsistently that Americans are losing respect for government.
It's not always the case that revolution inevitably emerges wherever these seven conditions occur together, just as not everybody infected with a virus gets sick. But over the past 350 years, almost every major revolution in a modern industrialized country has been preceded by this pattern of seven preconditions. It's fair to say that all those who get sick start out by being exposed to this virus.
Hillary Clinton is failing because this is a revolutionary moment -- and she, regrettably, has the misfortune to be too closely identified with the mounting failures of the past that we're now seeking to move beyond. On the other hand, Ron Paul's otherwise inexplicable success has been built on his pointed and very specific critique of the kinds of government leadership failures I've described.
And Barack Obama is walking away with the moment because he talks of "hope" -- which, as Davies makes clear, is the very first thing any would-be revolutionary needs. And then he talks of "change," which many of his followers are clearly hearing as a soft word for "revolution." And then he describes -- not in too much detail -- a different future, and what it means to be a transformative president, and in doing so answers our deep frustration at 30 years of leaders who faced the looming future by turning their heads instead of facing it.
Will he deliver on this promise of change? That remains to be seen. But the success of his presidency, if there is to be one, will likely be measured on how well his policies confront and deal with these seven criteria for revolution. If those preconditions are all still in place in 2012, the fury will have had another four years to rise. And at that point, if history rhymes, mere talk of hope and change will no longer be enough.
Sara Robinson is a twenty-year veteran of Silicon Valley, and is launching a second career as a strategic foresight analyst. When she's not studying change theories and reactionary movements, you can find her singing the alto part over at Orcinus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and two teenagers.
"Euros Accepted" signs pop up in New York City
Wed Feb 6, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain't what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise.
"We had decided that money is money and we'll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank," Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines, told Reuters television.
The increasingly weak U.S. dollar, once considered the king among currencies, has brought waves of European tourists to New York with money to burn and looking to take advantage of hugely favorable exchange rates.
"We didn't realize we would take so much in and there were that many people traveling or having euros to bring in. But some days, you'd be surprised at how many euros you get," Chu said.
"Now we have to get familiar with other currencies and the (British) pound and the Canadian dollars we take," he said.
While shops in many U.S. towns on the Canadian border have long accepted Canadian currency and some stores on the Texas-Mexico border take pesos, the acceptance of foreign money in Manhattan was unheard of until recently.
Not far from Chu's downtown wine emporium, Billy Leroy of Billy's Antiques & Props said the vast numbers of Europeans shopping in the neighborhood got him thinking, "My God, I should take euros in at the store."
Leroy doesn't even bother to exchange them.
"I'm happy if I take in 200 euros, because what I do is keep them," he said. "So when I go back to Paris, I don't have to go through the nightmare of going to an exchange place."
(Reporting by Angela Moore, writing by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Doina Chiacu)