The Chemistry of Blame

Do you choose being right or being happy?
— Gary Hendricks

In this article, a couples counselor recounts his recurrent encounters with people who blame one another for their difficulties getting along.  His first job is to get them to unite in blaming him, the counselor.  It’s a tense moment, he says, but usually a ripe, new beginning.

blame

In a workshop with Charles Eisenstein last month, I heard him challenge us: There is ritual child abuse in high places; there is war, which is just another name for mass murder; there are people who make their living selling children into slavery and people who psychologically program others from an early age to be zombie-killers.  Suppose that we could put an end to all this, but without the satisfaction of “justice”.  There would be no admission of guilt, no punishment, the perpetrators would walk free.  Do we choose justice, or do we choose amnesty?  Just supposing that we could end violence and cruelty by ending blame.  Just supposing that were the choice…

Just supposing…

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Mass Media Propaganda Is The Only Thing Keeping Us From Rising Like Lions

lion

“Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!”

 

This excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “The Masque of Anarchy” was read by Jeremy Corbyn at the 2017 Glastonbury festival before an audience of thousands in what was in my opinion one of the most thrilling political events of last year.

Corbyn’s message was about as subtle as a kick in the teeth: The people are many. Their oppressors are few. The masses can rise like lions and force their government to begin acting in the service of the people instead of the wealthy and the powerful.

 

Read more from Caitlin Johnstone
 

What does Peace ask of us?

One hundred years ago today, an armistice was signed to end the War to End All Wars.  Unaware, the troops went right on killing, raping, and plundering.  But the Great War led to an up-wising, as people the world over figured out that they had been snookered into a murderous, devastating, tragic and pointless world war.  Numerous bills limiting war profits were introduced and narrowly defeated, and in 1934, Congress passed the Vinson-Trammell Act, which capped some war profits at 10%.  In 1928, the US led the world in outlawing all future war, with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  This treaty remains in force today, and all acts of war are criminal, by US law and by international law.

After decades of lending money and supplying technology to Hitler, FDR taunted the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, and had his excuse for drawing the US once again into a World War. Temptation to profit from Nazism had finally created a situation in which war could be put forward as the only option.

The myth of a global communist plot was used to drag the American public into pointless, horrific wars in Korea and Vietnam.  After Vietnam, the American public was once again energized and passionately dedicated to peace, but a decade later Reagan was once again slick-talking the American people into sanctioned murder and plunder, this time invoking the Existential Threat to our Republic that came from the political choices made by people on the 15-mile-long Caribbean isle of Grenada.

The people have never demanded war of their government.  There has never been a popular war.  Every war has been justified with lies and authoritarian coercion.   Hence the rise of war in the 21st Century has been heralded by a suppression of democratic rule.  Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine all warned us that the Constitution was no lasting guarantee that We the People would control our government.  It is demanded of every generation that we rein in our own government.  Electoral politics today offers us no candidates for peace—even Sanders would not call out the American military machines for the criminal enterprise it has become.  (Jill Stein did that, but she was denied a seat at the table and a place in the debates.)

Hence it is our job to cultivate peace within our own hearts, to meditate on peace and visualize a peaceful future, to practice non-violence in our every interaction with humans and with nature, to engage in acts of protest and non-violence as necessary to end the perennial holocaust.

— Josh Mitteldorf

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International Day of Peace

Human tribes have been warring for at least the last several thousand years. We are descended from the tribes that were able to field the largest and most cohesive armies. That is to say, we all have war in our genes.

But as humans filled the globe and as the technologies of destruction made war ever more deadly, the human race has been gradually coming to its senses. General Sherman taught us that “war is hell”. General Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history, came later in life to teach that “war is a racket.” And General Eisenhower prophesied, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

Nowadays, David Swanson teaches us that every war has been founded on lies. That is to say, if our leaders or our news media were telling us the truth, it would not be possible to brainwash enough people into the insane proposition that they ought to participate in mass murder.

So, what can we do, you and I, citizens of the greatest military power in the history of the world (fact) and the world’s biggest bully (my opinion)—what can we do to promote peace? My belief is that the spiritual truth, “peace begins within you” can be misleading.  Working on ourselves to achieve inner peace is of unquestioned value, but we cannot wait until we have individually tranquil inner lives in order to begin the collective work of organizing an end to war. The few who benefit from war are exquisitely organized, working together in what we might call a conspiracy, if the word hadn’t been discredited by our own CIA. We must be organized. We must take concerted action. We must resist the temptation to wage war in the name of peace. We must be firm in our resolve, but never coercive. We must be persistent in our vision, but not necessarily patient. I think that our cause is too urgent for patience. We should demand peace, now.

Don’t neglect the capitalist connection. The major reason for our country being the world’s greatest war monger is that war is profitable for banks, for defense contractors, for fossil fuel companies. There was a sweeping movement in America of the 1920s to take the profits out of war, culminating in a bill introduced in Congress in 1935 to take the profits out of war, and it nearly succeeded in passing.  In 2007, a War Profiteering Act passed the House, but not the Senate. You can bet your bippy that if for the largest international corporations peace were more profitable than war, we’d have peace.

Get out and organize peace demonstrations. Talk to people you know and people you don’t know. Tell them you think war is insane, even as it is pushed as “normal” by almost every politician and every news pundit. And meditate on peace, pray for peace, visualize peace. Yes, there is real evidence that collective intention has power even apart from its psychological effects on the individuals involved. Go figure.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

United Nations page for International Day of Peace

 

The Spoils of Peace

As echoes of past conflicts start to fade,
The dissipating fog lays bare what’s planned;
Whilst treaties dance upon a blunted blade,
With bloodied fist replaced by sleight of hand.
The broken boughs pollute this new wasteland,
As mended limbs now exhume every crease
And bow and scrape to each perverse demand.
The gongs of war may well begin to cease,
But can the chings of profit broker peace?
Sam Illingworth

 

It was 90 years ago today

We don’t have to dream.  All we have to do is enforce the law.  War is illegal by International Law, and war is illegal by United States law, and any president who sends troops abroad, any senator or congressman who votes to authorize fighting, has reneged on his oath of office.

David Swanson tells the story in a book.  The American people had been hoodwinked into joining World War I.  No one could even explain what the fighting was about, but by 1917, U.S. banks had lent so much money to France and Great Britain that the banks couldn’t afford to let them lose.  Can we, in 2018, imagine a time when the U.S. government was more influenced by what is good for the banks than what is good for the people?  Stretch your imagination.

The cost of the war was devastating.  Idealistic men were loaded onto boats for Europe, partying and singing songs, full of patriotic enthusiasm.  They came back shell-shocked, traumatized, permanently damaged with fear in their eyes and  cynicism in their hearts.   My grandfather was one of those who left America as a happy-go-lucky high school grad, and came back a nervous, obsessive zombie—which is how I remember him 40 years later.  Of course, 100,000 of our boys didn’t come back at all, and another 700,000 Americans died in the influenza pandemic that was carried around the world with the soldiers.

Americans were divided in their opinions about many things, but fully agreed on one thing: never again, would we sign on to someone else’s war.  If attacked, we would defend American soil, but never would we send troops overseas.  Not only was the Kellogg-Briand pact ratified by the American Senate, it was an American initiative from the start.  And it was a grass roots movement, imposed on our leaders by a people united in one voice.

The story I tell in my book is one of a divided and struggling peace movement that united and grew. The Europhiles and the isolationists had to come together. The prohibitionists and the drinkers had to join hands. The outlawrists had to develop a vision of a transformed world and convince people it was possible. The case had to be made to the public with moral passion and urgency. There had to be an endless stream of flyers and pamphlets and books and meetings and petitions and lobby visits. Women’s groups and men’s groups that had sold out during World War I and those that had not had to put their shoulders to the wheel together. Those who wanted a world court and those who didn’t, those who wanted a League of Nations and those who didn’t, and those who wanted to focus on disarmament, and even some of those who wanted to focus on condemning U.S. imperialism in Latin America had to decide that outlawing war was one useful and achievable step and pour everything into it for a year or two, forego sleep, and work literally in some cases to the point of heart attack.

Happy Kellogg-Briand day!

Our Most Articulate Advocate for Peace

For the last 15 years, David Swanson has made it his mission in life to put an end to war.  He has read and digested a great deal of history.  He convinces us from every side that war is a fraud.  He argues always from the mainstream narrative, never risking being labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’.  Even when evaluated by the criteria that our leaders put forth to justify war, war fails miserably.  It is not merely that everything gained from war pales by comparison to the lives lost and shattered, the hatred engendered, the problems the next generation must absorb.  No, beyond this, there is no gain to be balanced against these horrific costs, unless you count the money accumulated by a few tycoons who have adopted patriotic postures to sell us wars in the first place.

Swanson’s books are overwhelming in their truth.  In this department, he turns ‘overkill’ on its head.

War is a Lie             War No More          War is Never Just           Curing Exceptionalism