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Three Reasons Why Protest is Poppycock

The Free Press WV

YES, it was Marx that said “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.“

Thanks Chuck, I needed that. I think you will agree, old chap, that we are certainly in the farce era where leftist “protest” is concerned.

Because when millionaire black football players are “taking a knee” to protest police brutality against African Americans we are not talking about the wretched of the earth desperately trying to get the ear of the ruling class. We are talking about privileged young men who, like a young woman I once knew, want to get into “activism.“

And African Americans are not the wretched of the earth. They are a “protected class,“ a race specifically called out in the laws of the United States for special consideration. I know: can you spell racism?

Hey, Hegel “remarks somewhere”—actually in The Phenomenology of Mind —that the thing and its opposite are really the same, as in the north pole and the south pole of a magnet. So racism and anti-racism are really one and the same. Ask the anti-fascists of Antifa about that.

But the basic thing about “protest” is that it is a show of force. Every protest says: accede to our non-negotiable demands or we will fill the streets with real violence. That is why they used to talk about “marches” and “demonstrations” before the advent of that peculiar catchphrase “peaceful protest.“

There are three things wrong with the left-wing culture of protest.

The first is that the threat of violence is only appropriate for individuals and groups outside the system, that do not have a vote and a representative in the councils of power. That is the whole point of universal suffrage and representative government, to make sure that everyone has a right to be heard in the councils of government. And you will notice that our liberal ruling class makes it its business to represent everyone that might possibly be regarded as “marginalized,“ and outside the system. In other words, even illegal immigrants are represented by the system. So no need for protest. But note well, dear liberals, that the right to be heard is not the same as getting your way.

The second is that protest, shows of force, by people inside the system, like NFL players, is in fact a betrayal of the whole point of having representative government. The idea is that we will not resort to threats of violence or violence itself or the hell of civil war. Instead we will resolve our disagreements by bargaining and votes in the various representative councils, and the loser accepts the verdict and goes home in peace, resolved to “fight” at the next election. But as soon as you have a protest you are saying, forget it. If I don’t get my way I’m going to resort to force. The point of protest is to intimidate the supposed ruling class. But notice that in today’s world almost all protests are in fact endorsed by the liberal ruling class. It is considered scandalous for conservatives to protest about anything, because white privilege.

The third is that every wrong in the world cannot be solved by politics. It is one thing to use politics to stop government actively discriminating against people by race, as was done in the Jim Crow era. “Everyone” can agree to stop that. But what about forbidding people to discriminate in the private sector? That’s what Barry Goldwater was voting against when he voted against the Civil Rights Act; but Barry Goldwater was a libertarian. And then what about mandating representative percentages of traditionally marginalized groups in corporations, through polices of diversity and inclusion. I would say, following Hegel and Marx that “diversity and inclusion” are the farcical end-point of the whole idea that you can legislate equality, and prove Hegel’s point that the thing and its opposite are really the same, for “diversity” seems to be a doctrine of suffocating uniformity and “inclusion” seems to be profoundly exclusive. To me, at least.

So let’s get back to first principles. The whole point of the 18th century ideas of limited government was that the powers of government should be limited, so that people of different opinions and faith had a space to live and were not commanded by the force of government in every detail of their lives. Also, they thought, if you allowed government greater powers it would cause people disadvantaged by the petty authoritarianism of government officials to form a head of rebellion.

Now it is my view that it is pretty grand of liberals to complain about the abusive tweets of President Trump. Have not liberals been calling their opponents names these 50 years and more, as racist, sexist, homophobes, and now “white supremacists?“ What is the vile accusation of “racist” next to “sons-of-#######?“

What do you think happens when you stigmatize people, day after day, year after year, with your vile pejoratives, liberals? Why, I’d say that one day people will get fed up with representatives that won’t stand up to liberals and they will elect a president that can dish it out to liberals and tell ‘em to put it where the sun don’t shine.

So don’t be surprised if the liberal “protest” culture inspires a countervailing protest culture in the nation’s normals. The only thing I know about such a culture is that liberals will hate it and be completely bewildered about where it came from.

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

Mass Shootings: The Military-Entertainment Complex’s Culture of Violence Turns Deadly

The Free Press WV

“Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that relies on violence to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Given the profits made by arms manufacturers, the defense industry, gun dealers and the lobbyists who represent them in Congress, it comes as no surprise that the culture of violence cannot be abstracted from either the culture of business or the corruption of politics. Violence runs through US society like an electric current offering instant pleasure from all cultural sources, whether it be the nightly news or a television series that glorifies serial killers.”—Professor Henry A. Giroux

This latest mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and more than 500 injured is as obscure as they come: a 64-year-old retiree with no apparent criminal history, no military training, and no obvious axe to grind opens fire on a country music concert crowd from a hotel room 32 floors up using a semi-automatic gun that may have been rigged to fire up to 700 rounds a minute, then kills himself.

We’re left with more questions than answers, none of them a flattering reflection of the nation’s values, political priorities, or the manner in which the military-industrial complex continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

For starters, why do these mass shootings keep happening? Mass shootings have taken place at churches, in nightclubs, on college campuses, on military bases, in elementary schools, in government offices, and at concerts. This shooting is the deadliest to date.

What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?

Is it because America is a gun culture (what professor Henry Giroux describes as “a culture soaked in blood – a culture that threatens everyone and extends from accidental deaths, suicides and domestic violence to mass shootings“)?

Is it because guns are so readily available? After all, the U.S. is home to more firearms than adults. As The Atlantic reports, gun fetishism has become mainstream in recent decades due in large part to “gun porn in music, movies, and TV, [and] the combination of weapons marketing and violent videogames.” (Curiously enough, the majority of gun-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides, not homicides.)

Is it because entertainment violence is the hottest selling ticket at the box office? As Giroux points out, “Popular culture not only trades in violence as entertainment, but also it delivers violence to a society addicted to a pleasure principle steeped in graphic and extreme images of human suffering, mayhem and torture.”

Is it because the government continues to whet the nation’s appetite for violence and war through paid propaganda programs (seeded throughout sports entertainment, Hollywood blockbusters and video games)—what professor Roger Stahl refers to as “militainment“—that glorify the military and serve as recruiting tools for America’s expanding military empire?

Is it because Americans from a very young age are being groomed to enlist as foot soldiers—even virtual ones—in America’s Army (coincidentally, that’s also the name of a first person shooter video game produced by the military)? Explorer scouts are one of the most popular recruiting tools for the military and its civilian counterparts (law enforcement, Border Patrol, and the FBI).

Writing for The Atlantic, a former Explorer scout described the highlight of the program: monthly weekend maneuvers with the National Guard where scouts “got to fire live rounds from M16s, M60 machine guns, and M203 grenade launchers… we would have urban firefights (shooting blanks, of course) in Combat Town, a warren of concrete buildings designed for just that purpose. The exercise always devolved into a free-for-all, with all of us weekend warriors emptying clip after clip of blanks until we couldn’t see past the end of our rifles for all the smoke in the air.”

Is it because the United States is the number one consumer, exporter and perpetrator of violence and violent weapons in the world? Seriously, America spends more money on war than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy and Brazil. America polices the globe, with 800 military bases and troops stationed in 160 countries. Moreover, the war hawks have turned the American homeland into a quasi-battlefield with military gear, weapons and tactics. In turn, domestic police forces have become roving extensions of the military—a standing army.

Or is the Second Amendment to blame, as many continue to suggest? Would there be fewer mass shootings if tighter gun control laws were enacted? Or would the violence simply take a different form: homemade bombs, cars driven into crowds, and knives (remember the knife assailant in Japan who stabbed 19 people to death at a care home for the disabled)?

Then again, could it be, as some have speculated, that these shootings are all part of an elaborate plan to incite fear and chaos, heighten national tensions and shift us that much closer to a complete lockdown? After all, the military and our militarized police forces have been predicting and preparing for exactly this kind of scenario for years now.

So who’s to blame for the violence?

This time, in Las Vegas, it was a seemingly nondescript American citizen pulling the trigger.

At other times, it’s organized crime syndicates or petty criminals or so-called terrorists/extremists.

Still other times, it’s the police with their shoot first, ask questions later mindset (more than 900,000 law enforcement officers are armed).

In certain parts of the Middle East, it’s the U.S. government and the military carrying out drone strikes and bombing campaigns that leave innocent civilians dead and their communities torn apart.

Are you starting to get the picture yet?

We’re caught in a vicious cycle with no end in sight.

Perhaps there’s no single one factor to blame for this gun violence. However, there is a common denominator, and that is a war-drenched, violence-imbued, profit-driven military industrial complex that has invaded almost every aspect of our lives.

Ask yourself: Who are these shooters modelling themselves after? Where are they finding the inspiration for their weaponry and tactics? Whose stance and techniques are they mirroring?

In almost every instance, you can connect the dots back to the military.

We are a military culture.

We have been a nation at war for most of our existence.

We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

In order to sustain the nation’s appetite for war over the long haul in spite of the costs of war in lives lost and dollars spent—and little else to show for it—the military has had to work overtime to churn out pro-war, pro-military propaganda. It’s exactly what President Eisenhower warned against (“the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex”) in his 1961 farewell address.

We didn’t listen then and we’re still not listening now.

All the while, the government’s war propaganda machine has grown more sophisticated and entrenched in American culture.

Back when I was a boy growing up in the 1950s, almost every classic sci fi movie ended with the heroic American military saving the day, whether it was battle tanks in Invaders from Mars (1953) or military roadblocks in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). What I didn’t know then as a schoolboy was the extent to which the Pentagon was paying to be cast as America’s savior.

By the time my own kids were growing up, it was Jerry Bruckheimer’s blockbuster film Top Guncreated with Pentagon assistance and equipment—that boosted civic pride in the military.

Now it’s my grandkids’ turn to be awed and overwhelmed by child-focused military propaganda in the X-Men movies. Same goes for The Avengers and Superman and the Transformers. (Don’t even get me started on the war propaganda churned out by the toymakers.)

All of the military equipment featured in blockbuster movies is provided—at taxpayer expense—in exchange for carefully placed promotional spots aimed at indoctrinating the American populace into believing that patriotism means throwing their support behind the military wholeheartedly and unquestioningly.

Even reality TV shows have gotten in on the gig, with the Pentagon’s entertainment office influencing “American Idol,” “The X-Factor,” “Masterchef,” “Cupcake Wars,” numerous Oprah Winfrey shows, “Ice Road Truckers,” “Battlefield Priests,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Hawaii Five-O,” lots of BBC, History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, “War Dogs,” and “Big Kitchens.” And that’s just a sampling.

It’s estimated that U.S. military intelligence agencies (including the NSA) have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows.

And then there are the growing number of video games, a number of which are engineered by or created for the military, which have accustomed players to interactive war play through military simulations and first-person shooter scenarios.

This is how you acclimate a population to war.

This is how you cultivate loyalty to a war machine.

This is how, to borrow from the subtitle to the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, you teach a nation to “stop worrying and love the bomb.”

As journalist David Sirota writes for Salon, “[C]ollusion between the military and Hollywood - including allowing Pentagon officials to line edit scripts - is once again on the rise, with new television programs and movies slated to celebrate the Navy SEALs….major Hollywood directors remain more than happy to ideologically slant their films in precisely the pro-war, pro-militarist direction that the Pentagon demands in exchange for taxpayer-subsidized access to military hardware.”

Why is the Pentagon (and the CIA and the government at large) so focused on using Hollywood as a propaganda machine?

To those who profit from war, it is—as Sirota recognizes—”a ‘product’ to be sold via pop culture products that sanitize war and, in the process, boost recruitment numbers….At a time when more and more Americans are questioning the fundamental tenets of militarism (i.e., budget-busting defense expenditures, never-ending wars/occupations, etc.), military officials are desperate to turn the public opinion tide back in a pro-militarist direction — and they know pop culture is the most effective tool to achieve that goal.”

The media, eager to score higher ratings, has been equally complicit in making (real) war more palatable to the public by packaging it as TV friendly.

This is what Dr. Stahl refers to as the representation of a “clean war“: a war “without victims, without bodies, and without suffering”:

‘Dehumanize destruction’ by extracting all human imagery from target areas … The language used to describe the clean war is as antiseptic as the pictures. Bombings are ‘air strikes.’ A future bombsite is a ‘target of opportunity.’ Unarmed areas are ‘soft targets.’ Civilians are ‘collateral damage.’ Destruction is always ‘surgical.’ By and large, the clean war wiped the humanity of civilians from the screen … Create conditions by which war appears short, abstract, sanitized and even aesthetically beautiful. Minimize any sense of death: of soldiers or civilians.”

This is how you sell war to a populace that may have grown weary of endless wars: sanitize the war coverage of anything graphic or discomfiting (present a clean war), gloss over the actual numbers of soldiers and civilians killed (human cost), cast the business of killing humans in a more abstract, palatable fashion (such as a hunt), demonize one’s opponents, and make the weapons of war a source of wonder and delight.

“This obsession with weapons of war has a name: technofetishism,” explains Stahl. “Weapons appear to take on a magical aura. They become centerpieces in a cult of worship.”

“Apart from gazing at the majesty of these bombs, we were also invited to step inside these high-tech machines and take them for a spin,” said Stahl. “Or if we have the means, we can purchase one of the military vehicles on the consumer market. Not only are we invited to fantasize about being in the driver’s seat, we are routinely invited to peer through the crosshairs too. These repeated modes of imaging war cultivate new modes of perception, new relationships to the tools of state violence. In other words, we become accustomed to ‘seeing’ through the machines of war.”

In order to sell war, you have to feed the public’s appetite for entertainment.

Not satisfied with peddling its war propaganda through Hollywood, reality TV shows and embedded journalists whose reports came across as glorified promotional ads for the military, the Pentagon turned to sports to further advance its agenda, “tying the symbols of sports with the symbols of war.”

The military has been firmly entrenched in the nation’s sports spectacles ever since, having co-opted football, basketball, even NASCAR.

Remember, just before this Vegas shooting gave the media, the politicians and the easily distracted public something new to obsess over, the headlines were dominated by President Trump’s feud with the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

That, too, was yet another example of how much the military entertainment complex—which paid $53 million of taxpayer money between 2012 and 2015 to pro sports teams for military tributes (on-field events recognizing military service members, including ceremonial first pitches, honor guards and Jumbotron tributes)—has infiltrated American culture.

This Trump-NFL feud is also a classic example of how to squash dissent—whether it’s dissent over police brutality or America’s killing fields abroad. As Stahl explains, “Supporting the troops is made synonymous with supporting the war. Those who disagree with the decision to send soldiers to war are thus identified with the enemy. This is done through a variety of associations… Dissent becomes synonymous with criminal activity.”

When you talk about the Las Vegas mass shooting, you’re not dealing with a single shooter scenario. Rather, you’re dealing with a sophisticated, far-reaching war machine that has woven itself into the very fabric of this nation.

As Stahl concludes, “War has come to look very much like a video game. As viewers of the TV war, we are treated to endless flyovers. We are immersed in a general spirit of play. We are shown countless computer animations that contribute a sense of virtuality. We play alongside news anchors who watch on their monitors. We sit in front of the crosshairs directing missiles with a sense of interactivity. The destruction, if shown at all, seems unreal, distant. These repeated images foster habitual fantasies of crossing over.”

You want to stop the gun violence?

Stop the worship of violence that permeates our culture.

Stop glorifying the military industrial complex with flyovers and salutes during sports spectacles.

Stop acting as if there is anything patriotic about military exercises and occupations that bomb hospitals and schools.

Stop treating guns and war as entertainment fodder in movies, music, video games, toys, amusement parks, reality TV and more.

Stop distribution weapons of war to the local police and turning them into extensions of the military—weapons that have no business being anywhere but on a battlefield.

Most of all, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, stop falling for the military industrial complex’s psychological war games.

~~  John W. Whitehead ~~

What Is An American Patriot?

“The great debate over NFL Players “taking the knee” has raised this question: What is an American Patriot?…”

The Free Press WV

The great debate over NFL Players “taking the knee” has raised this question: What is an American Patriot?

How fortunate for us Americans that there is a simple answer: America was created by the Declaration of Independence—the first “law” adopted by the first Congress of America, the first American “Constitution” was a statement of the principles of what it means to be an American Patriot. Unlike all other countries at the time which had evolved from tribes to communities to warlord governed fiefdoms to “Kingdoms” imposed by strong men on the people, America was started by a legal declaration of the principles of legitimate government in July of 1776.

There was no “Flag” of America at the time, so pledging allegiance to the flag is not American Patriotism.

There was no “National Anthem” at the time, so standing and singing a song is not American Patriotism.

No, American patriotism is fidelity to the principles of the Declaration of Independence. The first principle is, of course, the right to secede from a government that acts contrary to its declared principles—we know this because that is what the original American patriots fought and died for in the Revolution—the right to secede from their own corrupt government, England at the time, because that government had engaged in behavior contrary to the “inalienable truths” declared in the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence, which has not been repealed, states these principles which remain American law and patriotism in a nutshell:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it; and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

American patriotism derives from the idea that the people are the sovereigns and the government their servant. The people have inalienable rights. Government is only legitimate when it protects those rights, which exist in the people before government having been given to the people, not by government, but by the “Creator.” Government only has the powers to which the people consent and when government acts contrary to the consent of the people or against their inalienable rights, it is the duty of American patriots to “throw off” such government.

Government, of course, does not like these ideas, not presidents, not congresspersons, not supreme courts justices, nor any other government agent, because it limits their power and like all human beings they resent limits on their power. Just like the English government American Patriots “threw off,” our current government is jealous of its power, and they lust for more. Thus, American Patriotism necessarily results in a tension between government and the people.

The “liberty” of the people is a bastion against which governmental power constantly batters, seeking to reduce liberty and to expand government authority. The American Patriot understands that the greatest threat to their freedom is their own government, not foreign enemies, but those right here at home, in your own backyard, constantly nibbling away at and undermining your liberty to expand their power. The American Patriot understands that every law is an intrusion on liberty and must be scrutinized carefully against these great principles before liberty is eaten away. The American Patriot understands that the greatest threat is a government agent who is willing to kill or cage you for your own good, because they know what is best for you, your consent be damned.

The American Patriot “takes a knee” for the liberty of other people to speak out against government abuse, government usurpation of unjust powers, and government overreach. The Government can wrap itself in a flag, sing an anthem, hold a parade and the American Patriot recalls the principles of the Declaration of Independence and declares: “not on my watch” shall these fundamental principles, won with the blood and toil of true patriots, be lost. Take a knee! Take back the flag! Take the streets! Vote out those who intrude on liberty! Declare to the government: we are the sovereign and you are our servant! To this we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor!

Kary Love is a Michigan attorney.

Jeanette Riffle: A Lovely Birthday

The Free Press WV

The seasons come and go and every year in the fall, at the end of September, my youngest brother and I have another birthday.  I am nine years older than him. Two days later was Dad’s birthday, in October, and by that time he was tired of chocolate cake and told Mom to bake some lemon meringue pies. This year I got several phone calls, cards and a visit from my sister in law down the road. She brought a nice card and a birthday bag full of gifts. My hubby took me shopping to get some comfortable shoes that I needed and got me a nice card.  Our son and granddaughter called from Michigan and our church sang, “Happy Birthday” to me this morning. Several friends and relatives sent birthday greetings on my Timeline page of FB. Usually by this time in the fall, I don’t want to go out to eat or get a birthday cake because I am trying to lose some weight from the summer. Butter on the corn, green beans cooked with bacon in them, bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with mayo, and then all those other good garden vegetables seasoned just right. Potatoes with butter. All that always puts on the extra pounds. So, it’s fall foods now. I’ve been getting out the soup pot a lot. We have switched over to furnace heat. It got down to 35 degrees at Shock last night. The garden will be mowed down before long. The tomato stakes and posts that pole beans were vining on, have to taken down, first. Deer love to come and dig up the remnants after the electric fence has been taken down. They eat the chopped up corn and other things that they find.

My middle brother gave us some potatoes as we don’t raise them anymore. We have had to downsize on gardening in our old age. It gets to be a lot of work.  Now, I have plenty for potato soup, mashed potatoes, fried, baked orboiled, depending on the menu. I can light the oven now without worrying about running the air conditioner too death. A friend gave me a new recipe for Impossible Coconut Lemon Pie. It makes it’s own crust. That sounds easy enough. If it turns out good for me, I might include the recipe in a story.  About the middle of October we will probably make our hot peppers in sauce. That will call for a pot of pinto beans, some buttermilk cornbread and boiled potatoes. Until next time, enjoy the lovely fall days and pray for rain. It is very dry.

Take care and God bless!

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