Power, Illusion, and America’s Last Taboo

The following article is the text from John Pilger’s address to Socialism 2009 in San Francisco, California on 4 July.

Two years ago, at Socialism 2007 in Chicago, I spoke about an “invisible government,” a term used by Edward Bernays, one of the founders of modern propaganda. It was Bernays who, in the 1920s, invented “public relations” as a euphemism for propaganda. Deploying the ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays campaigned on behalf of the tobacco industry for American women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation; he called cigarettes “torches of freedom.”

The invisible government that Bernays had in mind brought together the power of all media — PR, the press, broadcasting, advertising. It was the power of form: of branding and image-making over substance and truth — and I would like to talk today about this invisible government’s most recent achievement: the rise of Barack Obama and the silencing of the left.

First, I would like to go back some 40 years to a sultry day in Vietnam.

I was a young war correspondent who had just arrived in a village called Tuylon. My assignment was to write about a company of US Marines who had been sent to this village to win hearts and minds.

“My orders”, said the Marine sergeant, “are to sell the American Way of Liberty as stated in the Pacification Handbook. This is designed to win the hearts and minds of folks as stated on page 86.” Page 86 was headed WHAM: Winning Hearts and Minds. The marine unit was a Combined Action Company which, explained the sergeant, “means that we attack these folks on Mondays and win their hearts and minds on Tuesdays”. He was joking, though not quite.

The sergeant, who didn’t speak Vietnamese, had arrived in the village, stood up in a jeep and said through a bullhorn: “Come on out everybody, we got rice and candy and toothbrushes to give you!…”

There was silence.

“Now listen, either you gooks come on out, or we’re going to come right in there and get you!”

The people of Tuylon finally came out, and stood in line to receive packets of Uncle Ben’s Miracle Rice, Hershey bars, party balloons and several thousand toothbrushes. Three portable, battery-operated, yellow flush lavatories were held back for the arrival of the colonel.

And when the colonel arrived that evening, the district chief was summoned, and the yellow flush lavatories were unveiled. The colonel cleared his throat and produced a handwritten speech.

“Mr. District Chief and all you nice people,” he said, “what these gifts represent is more than the sum of their parts. They carry the spirit of America. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no place on earth like America. It’s the land where miracles happen. It’s a guiding light for me, and for you. In America, you see, we count ourselves as real lucky having the greatest democracy the world has ever known, and we want you nice people to share in our good fortune.”

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, even John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” got a mention. All that was missing was the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background.

Of course, the villagers had no idea what the colonel was talking about. When the Marines clapped, they clapped. When the colonel waved, the children waved. As he departed, the colonel shook the sergeant’s hand and said: “You’ve got plenty of hearts and minds here. Carry on, Sergeant?”


In Vietnam, I witnessed many spectacles like that. I had grown up in faraway Australia on a steady cinematic diet of John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Walt Disney, the Three Stooges and Ronald Reagan. The American Way of Liberty they portrayed might well have been lifted from the WHAM handbook.

I learned that the United States had won World War Two on its own and now led the “free world” as the “chosen” society. It was only much later when I read Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion that I understood something of the power of emotions attached to false ideas and bad history.

Historians call this “exceptionalism” — the notion that the United States has a divine right to bring what it calls liberty to the rest of humanity. Of course, this is a very old refrain; the French and British created and celebrated their own “civilizing mission” while imposing colonial regimes that denied basic civil liberties.

However, the power of the American message is different. Whereas the Europeans were proud imperialists, Americans are trained to deny their imperialism. As Mexico was conquered and the Marines sent to rule Nicaragua, American textbooks referred to an “age of innocence.” American motives were well meaning, moral, exceptional, as the colonel said. There was no ideology, they said; and this is still the received wisdom. Indeed, Americanism is an ideology that is unique because its main element is its denial that it is an ideology. It is both conservative and liberal, both right and left. All else is heresy.

Barack Obama is the embodiment of this “ism”. Since Obama was elected, leading liberals have talked about America returning to its true status as a “nation of moral ideals” — the words of Paul Krugman in the New York Times. In the San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford wrote that, “spiritually advanced people regard the new president as ‘a Lightworker’ . . . who can help usher in a new way of being on the planet.”

Tell that to an Afghan child whose family has been blown away by Obama’s bombs, or a Pakistani child whose family are among the 700 civilians killed by Obama’s drones. Or Tell it to a child in the carnage of Gaza caused by American smart weapons which, disclosed Seymour Hersh, were resupplied to Israel for use in the slaughter “only after the Obama team let it be known it would not object.” The man who stayed silent on Gaza is the man who now condemns Iran.

Obama’s is the myth that is America’s last taboo. His most consistent theme was never change; it was power. The United States, he said, “leads the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good . . . We must lead by building a 21st century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people.” And there is this remarkable statement: “At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that a we stood and fought for the freedom sought by billions of people beyond their borders.” At the National Archives on May 21, he said: “From Europe to the Pacific, we’ve been the nation that has shut down torture chambers and replaced tyranny with the rule of law.”

Since 1945, “by deed and by example,” the United States has overthrown fifty governments, including democracies, and crushed some 30 liberation movements, and supported tyrannies and set up torture chambers from Egypt to Guatemala. Countless men, women and children have been bombed to death. Bombing is apple pie. And yet, here is the 44th President of the United States, having stacked his government with warmongers and corporate fraudsters and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, teasing us while promising more of the same.

Here is the House of Representatives, controlled by Obama’s Democrats, voting to approve $16 billion for three wars and a coming presidential military budget which, in 2009, will exceed any year since the end of World War Two, including the spending peaks of the Korean and Vietnam wars. And here is a peace movement, not all of it but much of it, prepared to look the other way and believe or hope that Obama will restore, as Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times, the “nation of moral ideals.”

Not long ago, I visited the American Museum of History in the celebrated Smithsonian Institute in Washington. One of the most popular exhibitions was called The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. It was holiday time and lines of happy people, including many children, shuffled through a Santa’s grotto of war and conquest, where messages about their nation’s “great mission” were lit up. These included tributes to the quote “exceptional Americans [who] saved a million lives” in Vietnam where they were quote “determined to stop communist expansion.” In Iraq, other brave Americans quote “employed air strikes of unprecedented precision.”

What was shocking was not so much the revisionism of two of the epic crimes of modern times but the sheer routine scale of omission.

Like all US presidents, Bush and Obama have much in common. The wars of both presidents, and the wars of Clinton and Reagan, Carter and Ford, Nixon and Kennedy, are justified by the enduring myth of exceptional America — a myth the late Harold Pinter described as “a brilliant, witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

The clever young man who recently made it to the White House is a very fine hypnotist, partly because it is so extraordinary to see an African-American at the pinnacle of power in the land of slavery. However, this is the 21st century, and race — together with gender and even class — can be very seductive tools of propaganda. For what matters, above race and gender, is the class one serves.

George Bush’s inner circle — from the State Department to the Supreme Court — was perhaps the most multi racial in presidential history. It was PC par excellence. Think Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. It was also the most reactionary.

To many, Obama’s very presence in the White House reaffirms the moral nation. He is a marketing dream. Like Calvin Klein or Benetton, he is a brand that promises something special — something exciting, almost risqué, as if he might be a radical, as if he might enact change. He makes people feel good. He’s postmodern man with no political baggage.

In his book, Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” For some reason, he does not say who his employer was or what he did there. The employer was Business International Corporation, which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action, and infiltrating unions and the left. I know this because it was especially active in my own country, Australia.

Obama does not say what he did at Business International; and there may be nothing sinister, but it seems worthy of enquiry, and debate, surely, as a clue to whom the man is.

During his brief period in the Senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He voted for the Patriot Act. He refused to support a bill for single-payer health care. He supported the death penalty. As a presidential candidate, he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority and has not. Instead, he has excused the perpetrators of torture, reinstated the infamous military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact and opposed habeus corpus.

Daniel Ellsberg was right when he said that, under Bush, a military coup had taken place in the United States, giving the Pentagon unprecedented powers. These powers have been reinforced by the presence of Robert Gates, a Bush family crony and George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, and by all the Bush Pentagon officials and generals who have kept their jobs under Obama.

In Colombia, Obama is planning to spend $46 million on a new military base that will support a regime backed by death squads and further the tragic history of Washington’s intervention in Latin America.

In a pseudo event staged in Prague, Obama promised a world without nuclear weapons to a global audience mostly unaware that America is building new tactical nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war. Like George Bush, he used the absurdity of Europe threatened by Iran to justify building a missile system aimed at Russia and China.

In a pseudo event at the Annapolis Naval Academy, decked with flags and uniforms, Obama lied that the troops were coming home. The head of the army, General George Casey, says America will be in Iraq for up to a decade; other generals say fifteen years. Units will be relabeled as trainers; mercenaries will take their place. That is how the Vietnam War endured past the American “withdrawal”.

Chris Hedges, author of Empire of Illusion puts it well. “President Obama,” he wrote, “does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they can make you feel.” And so you are kept in “a perpetual state of childishness.” He calls this “junk politics.”

The tragedy is that Brand Obama appears to have crippled or absorbed the antiwar movement, the peace movement. Out of 256 Democrats in Congress, thirty are willing to stand against Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s war party. On June 16, they voted for $106 billion for more war.

In Washington, the Out of Iraq Caucus is out of action. Its members can’t even come up with a form of words of why they are silent. On March 21, a demonstration at the Pentagon by the once mighty United for Peace and Justice drew only a few thousand. The outgoing president of UPJ, Leslie Cagan, says her people aren’t turning up because, “it’s enough for many of them that Obama has a plan to end the war and that things are moving in the right direction.” And where is the mighty MoveOn these days? Where is its campaign against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? And what exactly was said when, in February, MoveOn’s executive director, Jason Ruben, met President Obama?

Yes, a lot of good people mobilized for Obama. But what did they demand of him — apart from the amorphous “change”? That isn’t activism.

Activism doesn’t give up. Activism is not about identity politics. Activism doesn’t wait to be told. Activism doesn’t rely on the opiate of hope. Woody Allen once said, “I felt a lot better when I gave up hope.” Real activism has little time for identity politics, a distraction that confuses and suckers good people everywhere.

I write for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, or rather I used to write for it. In February, I sent the foreign editor an article that raised questions about Obama as a progressive force. The article was rejected. Why? I asked. “For the moment,” wrote the editor, “we prefer to maintain a more ‘positive’ approach to the novelty presented by Obama . . . we will take on specific issues . . . but we would not like to say that he will make no difference.”

In other words, an American president drafted to promote the most rapacious system in history is ordained and depoliticized by the left. What is remarkable about this state of affairs is that the so-called radical left has never been more aware, more conscious, of the iniquities of power. The Green Movement, for example, has raised the consciousness of millions of people, so that almost every child knows something about global warming; and yet there is a resistance within the green movement to the notion of power as a military project. Similar observations can be made of the gay and feminist movements; as for the labor movement, is it still breathing?

One of my favorite quotations is from Milan Kundera: “The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” We should never forget that the primary goal of great power is to distract and limit our natural desire for social justice and equity and real democracy. Long ago, Bernays’s invisible government of propaganda elevated big business from its unpopular status as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic driving force. The American Way of Life began as an advertising slogan. The modern image of Santa Claus was an invention of Coca Cola.

Today, we are presented with an extraordinary opportunity, thanks to the crash of Wall Street and the revelation, for ordinary people, that the free market has nothing to do with freedom. The opportunity is to recognize a stirring in America that is unfamiliar to many on the left, but is related to a great popular movement growing all over the world.

In Latin America, less than 20 years ago, there was the usual despair, the usual divisions of poverty and freedom, the usual thugs in uniforms running unspeakable regimes. There is now a people’s movement based on the revival of indigenous cultures and languages, and a history of popular and revolutionary struggle less affected by ideological distortions than anywhere else.

The recent, amazing achievements in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay represent a struggle for community and political rights that is truly historic, with implications for all of us. These successes are expressed perversely in the overthrow of the government of Honduras, for the smaller the country the greater the threat that the contagion of emancipation will follow.

Across the world, social movements and grassroots organizations have emerged to fight free market dogma. They have educated governments in the south that food for export is a problem rather than a solution to global poverty. They have politicized ordinary people to stand up for their rights, as in the Philippines and South Africa. An authentic globalization is growing as never before, and this is exciting.

Consider the remarkable boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign — BDS for short — aimed at Israel, that is sweeping the world. Israeli ships have been turned away from South Africa and western Australia. A French company has been forced to abandon plans to built a railway connecting Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli sporting bodies find themselves isolated. Universities have begun to sever ties with Israel, and students are active for the first time in a generation. Thanks to them, Israel’s South Africa moment is approaching, for this is, partly, how apartheid was defeated.

In the 1950s, we never expected the great wind of the 1960s to blow. Feel the breeze today. In the last eight months millions of angry emails, sent by ordinary Americans, have flooded Washington. This has not happened before. People are outraged as their lives are attacked; they bear no resemblance to the massive mass presented by the media.

Look at the polls that are seldom reported. More than two thirds of Americans say the government should care for those who cannot care for themselves; 64 percent would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for everyone; 59 percent are favorable towards unions; 70 percent want nuclear disarmament; 72 percent want the US completely out of Iraq; and so on.

For too long, ordinary Americans have been cast in stereotypes that are contemptuous. That is why the progressive attitudes of ordinary people are seldom reported in the media. They are not ignorant. They are subversive. They are informed. And they are “anti-American”.

I once asked a friend, the great American war correspondent and humanitarian Martha Gellhorn, to explain “anti-American” to me. “I’ll tell you what ‘anti-American’ is,” she said. “It’s what governments and their vested interested call those who honor America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity. There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States. They are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms, though they would call it common decency. They are not vain. They are the people with a wakeful conscience, the best of America’s citizens. They can be counted on. They were in the south with the Civil Rights movement, ending slavery. They were in the streets, demanding an end to the wars in Asia. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional.”

A certain populism is once again growing in America and which has a proud, if forgotten past. In the nineteenth century, an authentic grassroots Americanism was expressed in populism’s achievements: women’s suffrage, the campaign for an eight-hour day, graduated income tax and public ownership of railways and communications, and breaking the power of corporate lobbyists.

The American populists were far from perfect; at times they would keep bad company, but they spoke from the ground up, not from the top down. They were betrayed by leaders who urged them to compromise and merge with the Democratic Party. Does that sound familiar?

What Obama and the bankers and the generals, and the IMF and the CIA and CNN fear is ordinary people coming together and acting together. It is a fear as old as democracy: a fear that suddenly people convert their anger to action and are guided by the truth. “At a time of universal deceit,” wrote George Orwell, “telling the truth a revolutionary act.”

* Watch a video of Pilger’s address.

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most recent book is Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (2006). Read other articles by John, or visit John's website.

45 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Gracchus Babeuf said on September 2nd, 2009 at 10:06am #

    A piece that really hits the heart of the problem, so to write. The real problem is that people are not mobilized to remedy the situation at all! The tragedy is Obama and how he really duped the “left.” By him doing so, it really shows how bankrupt the Global “left” is from Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein, to Antonio Negri and all the lazy erudite academics in between! We need a Global Left , the real deal, that we demand the radical change needed! The demand for a planned democratic socialist economy or some other type of leftist regime. Not to say all academic left are bad such as Slavoj Zizek, David Harvey, Immanuel Wallerstein are still more positive examples comming from a very diverse variety. In short, we need to sort the garbage and get into action seen and organize!

  2. rosemarie jackowski said on September 2nd, 2009 at 11:43am #

    Good article. The problem is the voters. There were choices on the ballot. 8 candidates for president plus a write-in option on my ballot. Nothing will change until the voters decide to inform themselves. I don’t see that happening any time soon. It seems that reality shows, football, and NASCAR are more important.

  3. b99 said on September 2nd, 2009 at 1:02pm #

    Our society is deeply divided along class and race lines. Those who are privileged hold it against those who are not. The changes will come only with realignment of priorities – when the white working class rejects privilege as illusory and joins with their natural allies, blacks and Hispanics to force a better deal. There will be no advances in quality of life for the bulk of the American people, never mind socialism – until the racial barriers are actively dismantled.

  4. lichen said on September 2nd, 2009 at 5:26pm #

    It doesn’t matter how many candidates are on the ballot; the electoral system is stacked in every possible way against anyone but two of them having a chance at all, so blaming it on voters and pretending we have a democracy that gives anyone a chance is ridiculous, and makes you part of the problem.

  5. Jeff said on September 2nd, 2009 at 5:27pm #

    Bottom Line, nothing mre under that line. America is a joke! Print that.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 2nd, 2009 at 6:43pm #

    Obama is the greatest product of the US political lie-machine, yet. The brilliance of cultivating an ersatz black man, in reality the living embodiement of Malcolm X’s ‘house Negro’, to do the Bosses’ dirty work for them, is sheer genius. Now that there is no longer any doubt whatsoever as to Obama’s real nature, his total subservience to elite power and his absolute dedication to the US/Israel policy of Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet, now and forever (which won’t, alas, be that long)we are left to ponder his role in this debacle. Was he a total fraud from the very beginning, willingly recruited by the Zionists who boast of his impeccable pro-Israel credentials, to serve elite power? Was he once an idealist, who did dream of changing America’s seemingly immutable class divisions and global aggression and pillage? All I know is that his mastery of subterfuge, his ability to trick millions into believing he really was a force for ‘hope’ and ‘change’ are the marks of the true confidence-man, a species of psychopath. I’m absolutely certain that even greater betrayals of the patsies who voted for him lie ahead. I’d really hate to be Palestinian, Afghani or Iranian in an Obama led world.
    The Right has had a truly multi-dimensional win with Obama. It has emasculated what is left of the Left, who seem unable to admit that they were conned in the most flagrant manner. Of course these are the sort of ‘Leftists’ we have these days. People so intellectually compromised, so lacking in common-sense and guts that they actually see the US political system as somehow legitimate, somehow able to produce a ‘reformer’. Belief in such stupefyingly idiotic falsehoods is unforgiveable. The US political system is immune to change. Obama’s very existence as a candidate was proof that he was acceptable to the money interest that totally controls US life. To have entertained a second’s hope that he would be any different was madness. He has, however, been rather blatant in spitting in his supporters’ faces, while serving his real masters in the Zionist circles and the financial grifters (overlapping categories, of course).
    Not only has the Right a black on the outside, lily white on the inside ‘coconut’ President, but they also get to have a real laugh accusing those on the Left who are finally waking up, of ‘racism’, while resuscitating the psychopathic Right with a straight racist message of hatred. I think that the ‘tea-party’ and ‘health-care ‘death-panels’ hysterias, so carefully cultivated by the Fox/News psychotics is based in race hatred, but addressed to other issues for convenience and as a smokescreen. I’d expect similar mob mania when Emissions Trading comes up for attention. Obama’s reaction to this mobilisation of Rightwing mass hatred and agitation has been interesting. He seems either genuinely surprised at the virulence of the Right, given that he has down everything in his power to continue Bushism in every particular, or it’s all part of the game, and the script calls for a Republican revival in 2010, as with another total phoney, Clintion, in 1994, and Obama emasculated and compliant for six more years, or thrown out on his bum in 2012, his service to money power done, and the masses of deluded hopenicks who voted for him so disillusioned that they will never cast a ballot again, to the immense advantage of the Right.

  7. Obstreperous said on September 2nd, 2009 at 8:55pm #

    “Our society is deeply divided along class and race lines.”

    I disagree. America is divided along the lines of fascists of both the Left & Right who want to tell people how to live their lives and have control over our decisions and normal folks who just want to be left the H#%% alone to live their lives. Race and class are used as talking points to creating voting demographics and control elections. Normal folks have no issues with race and class, except that they’d like the opportunity for their children to be at or above their current class.
    Today we are fighting for as never before for the simplest of opportunities as outlined in the Bill of Rights. That is where the problem lies. There is not as much apathy as there is real fear of opression from this administration that has turned it’s aggression from enemies abroad to its own citizens.

  8. Schuler said on September 2nd, 2009 at 9:42pm #

    President Obama sometimes seems to be a sun tanned Teddy Roosevelt.

  9. Don Hawkins said on September 3rd, 2009 at 2:23am #

    “It’s what governments and their vested interested call those who honor America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity. There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States.

    They are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms, though they would call it common decency. They are not vain.

    They are the people with a wakeful conscience, the best of America’s citizens. They can be counted on. They were in the south with the Civil Rights movement, ending slavery. They were in the streets, demanding an end to the wars in Asia. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional.” —————————

    If it’s going to start now is a good time. Maybe we will not make it but we must try. Last night on Fox News in there infinite wisdom and the old third grade level thinking they were trying very hard to tell people why the fires in California are not because of climate change. CNN just doesn’t bring up the subject but Fox they are fighters. On Fox earlier in the day they said the fires were started by a human. These people are amazing to watch in there attempts at stupidity. The problems in California will only become worst and Australia is in worst shape and of course could keep witting for an hour. Wall Street is waiting for the big recovery and or just trying to make as much money as they can now again amazing to watch in it’s complete insanity.

    The deciders just what is it they have decided? Well first of all the problem is to big for them as trying to solve this one with third grade level thinking and doing that with a rather old way of thinking thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines well no wonder it’s to big for them. To watch so called leaders all the groups, gangs and how they rationalize there thinking to hide from the truth is mindnumbing new word. Yes it is true that many don’t hide from the truth they know the truth and just don’t care and yet they say they do but they don’t. There’s a word for that asshole. We get to see many of these asshole’s very soon decide if future generations will have a fighting chance and very sure many will say we can’t try because it will hurt future generations the little people third grade level thinking. Anyway the next few month’s probably zero on the try part from the asshole’s. We need to drill for more oil keep burning coal and go shopping watch your parking meters listen to your so called leaders as we all go down the drain in not such slow motion and call call now in Clowntown USA. Yes the next few month’s then what? Then what?

    Let’s think of this as kind of a war. What would the battle lines look like or what do they look like. About two trillion barrels of oil still in the ground harder to get and yes about twice as much as we have already used up and we are now using it up faster. Coal still being used on a grand scale and the system known as Capitalism kind of likes more then more to keep going at full speed. If we keep burning fossil fuels at the same rate or more for just the next 9 years probably can’t slow a warming Earth and in twenty years or there about’s is when survival starts for the human race in a very real way. You can add to this cutting and burning as if we need more burning of the forests Worldwide and water fresh water that will become more rare like life on this planet. The answer from a few is drill more burn more coal burn more forests for the more have more and so be it. Not to bright and lazy and all done with third grade level thinking. How do you like them Apples well forget Apples as the Bee’s are now going along with the forests. Anyway Glenn Beck and Fox News are going to Washington in a week or so for a big tea party. Sorry people it’s going to take a little more than a tea party to TRY this time.

  10. mjosef said on September 3rd, 2009 at 3:46am #

    Fine and outstanding words, occasioning good and decent amplifications here, especially from the resounding Mumblebrain, but it’s always the finger-pointing from the social critics, and always the “telling” and the “ordinary people” that are seen as the ultimate visions.
    Power is what matters, and the current supersystem has arrogated all manner of power to itself in all institutional corners. Pilger says the “much” of the antiwar movement is “prepared to look away” and “hope” that the US becomes a nation of “moral ideas.” Besides a few stupid quotes from fatuous antiwar “leaders,” I find Pilger’s expression bizarre. The foreign war is conducted with paid volunteer soldiers, funded by taxes extracted from American working people under penalty of jail. Politicians are funded by the military business and supply industry, so do not vote against military procurement. Putting flowers in the tank gurrets is no match f or the logic of this system. Marching into a designated pen to “protest” makes no sense. How many bombers did Pilger stop? How long did the Vietnam War continue after the initial social protest upheavals?
    The valorization of the “common people” is a fallacy of the ascetic left. We all act according to the imperatives of our circumscribed social situations, and the “”common people” are not “exceptional.” We commit terrible destruction in furtherance of our self-interest, and yet we continue to slavishly listen to the our holy prophets of “resistance.” Human life is always and foremost about predicament, futility, vanity – and it is time the last remnants of the furious Left admits it. Learn from history – don’t try to be Mr. Preacher, selling the snake oil of “revolution.”

  11. dino said on September 3rd, 2009 at 5:47am #

    An ideea from Bill Blum,that i’m sure that is the reality an idea which never will be explained methodically in the “official history”:Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Boys of Capital have been chortling in their martinis about the death of socialism. The word has been banned from polite conversation. And they hope that no one will notice that every socialist experiment of any significance in the twentieth century — without exception — was either overthrown, invaded, corrupted, perverted, subverted, destabilized, or otherwise had life made impossible for it, by the United States and its allies. Not one socialist government or movement — from the Russian Revolution to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, from Communist China to the FMLN in El Salvador — not one was permitted to rise or fall solely on its own merits; not one was left secure enough to drop its guard against the all-powerful enemy abroad and freely and fully relax control at home.

    It’s as if the Wright brothers’ first experiments with flying machines all failed because the automobile interests sabotaged each test flight. And then the good and god-fearing folk of the world looked upon these catastrophes, nodded their heads wisely, and intoned solemnly: Humankind shall never fly.

  12. Don Hawkins said on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:37am #

    Dino your last comment the last paragraph is it in so many way’s.

  13. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:48am #

    mjosef, yes to your analyses
    Most powerful have ruled over gradated less powerful for ca. 10-15K yrs.
    During that time sanity had seldom prevailed.
    In short, it always had been and is now a case of cosa nostra for the powerful and cosa mia for hobos, prisoners, indigenes, blacks, latinos, housepeople, wage earners.
    Or in other words, strong interdependence for the topmost class and fierce independence for the lower classes.
    And it seems that a hobo is most independent person of all. tnx

  14. Don Hawkins said on September 3rd, 2009 at 8:35am #

    Most powerful have ruled over gradated less powerful for ca. 10-15K yrs.
    During that time sanity had seldom prevailed.

    And now the so called powerful have met there match and it’s not human. I wonder what’s the next move because so far the illusion of power doesn’t appear to bright and just maybe we are starting to see the insanity of that so called power.

  15. Eric said on September 3rd, 2009 at 10:26am #

    About 1.5 yrs ago a friend asked me what I thought of Obama. My response was that I had no opinion. He asked me to check him out. so I did, without bias one way or another.

    I found out that Regan was Obama’s role model while Obama was a teenager. That Obama voted present in the US Senate and in the Illn. legislator more than for or against anything. That he voted against puttting a cap on credit card interest rates. I treid to warn people. They didn’t want to hear it. The image of Obama in the White House satisfied them enough.

    I began to fear for my future, the future of the children in my family and the kids that they would have. Imperial wars. Printing excess currency. Outsourcing; mitgates against any future that our kids might have. Facts outweigh ideology and image. Its time to wake up and resist anyway you can. If not for yourself, do it for the kids and grand kids.


  16. Don Hawkins said on September 3rd, 2009 at 4:58pm #

    Very well written and to the point in simple terms.


    Eventually Earth will slip again into the pattern of cyclical ice ages, Miller added, but it may be thousands of years before that happens.

  17. Philip said on September 3rd, 2009 at 5:24pm #

    Pilger and his like live in hope.

    The masses will not come together until it gets personal and up close. At present they have the remnants of their toasters, TVs and steel belted tires. But this illusion is fading fast. The Central Bankersters have plans for the great late USA.

    The Second Amendment – the right to bear arms is so Americans can protect themselves from their own government gone rogue. The awakened see it. They’re going to Tea Parties, Town Hall meetings and end the Fed rallies. Listen to Patriot radio on then net. It’s crackling with discontent.

    Ron Paul’s HR1207 is a search warrant to uncover the evidence. America will go up in flames before it’s ever allowed to be served. Time is running out.

    The Fema camps are being readied for Orwells’s truth tellers. Civil liberties are being stripped. Bush 43 call the Constitution a; ‘god damn piece of paper’ and bemaoned things would be easier if he was a dictator.

    What’s going on?

    I fear for America as the Global Banksters plans unfold. The plans have been in the making for decades. Professor Carrol Quigley told us in ‘Tredgedy and Hope. The first shot in the hot war against the American people was fired on 911.

    What Americans should ask is who fired that shot and why? The answer will have them locking and loading to their weapons when the find it was fired from the inside.

    For those who doubt it a shadow government really exists and .it’s part of the coming world government determined to impose upon itself by conquest or coercion, listen to what the patriots are saying. They are warning you America.

  18. stevie Mac said on September 3rd, 2009 at 5:32pm #

    Schuler wrote: ‘President Obama sometimes seems to be a sun tanned Teddy Roosevelt.’ Well, didn’t Roosevelt bring in The New Deal to combat economic depression? -Obama’s ‘New Deal’ is letting the auto-industry hit the wall, and robbing billions of tax-payers money in order to bail out the corrupt financial institutions who greased his path to power. This insane corporate globalist elite is quite literally destroying the world – we need to stop believing in personalities – they all serve the same insatiable masters. Obama is a puppet, a front-man: fine words and foul actions. They can all shove their New World Order up their Henry Kissingers!!!

  19. Don Hawkins said on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:11pm #


    Here’s same report just shown in a different way. Think of this as kind of a war calm at peace we start now or all the plans we hear about just words and one word survival sums it up. NOW!

  20. Dad said on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:44pm #

    Its like any start to an ugly fight if your sane.First you look away,hoping it goes away.Then you try to reason it away,hoping again.Then you warn,repeatedly,again hoping to dissuade from conflict.Finally,there is no choice.You must fight or be overcome.America has been fighting actually since Vietnam its “own” gov’t.Who is this entity controlling this 6.5% of the worlds population?Read Fritz Springmeier’s “Boodlines of the Illuminatti”.Its time to leave the 20th century left-right,rich,poor thinking.

  21. B99 said on September 3rd, 2009 at 7:40pm #

    Obstrep – Our society is indeed deeply divided by race and class. Race is why we don’t talk about universal health insurance. White people don’t want black people to have it. They are afraid it means paying more taxes for the benefit of black people.

    There is no fascism on the left – and there are only wanna-be fascists on the right – the nation itself is not fascist- not yet anyway.

    “Normal’ folks indeed have issues with race. Race and racism is pervasive among ‘normal’ people. The fear these people have is that Obama is going to make us socialist and turn money and power over to black people. That’s the ‘oppression’ these so-called normal people fear.

  22. B99 said on September 3rd, 2009 at 7:42pm #

    Stevie Mac – The “New Deal” was cousin Franklin Roosevelt, not Teddy.

  23. Obstreperous said on September 3rd, 2009 at 8:20pm #

    B99, 1) I don’t know where you live, but I’ve lived all over this land in big cities and small and have had an incredibly diverse group of friends, coworkers, bosses, employees, instructors, students, etc. over the years. I haven’t run into the idiot thinking and racism you describe…nor have my colleagues described such experiences from their past or present. There’s no denying it exists to a far greater extent than it should, but using the term “pervasive” is far from reality. 2) People fear socialism not because it would claim to help anyone…they oppose it simply because they have seen through history how it has tended to destroy entire societies and operates only for the benefit of far fewer than in other systems. Many of my colleagues are escaped former Soviets who do have REAL stories of pervasive oppression. 3) No fascists on the left???? Wow, you need to read a little history. They were all progressives! Is America there yet? No, but there sure seems to be a will on the part of this administration and its supporters to create an unquestioning cult where Americans serve the government and not the other way around. I’m sorry, I think that oppression is a bad thing, so like I said about the ‘normal’ folks. It’s good sometimes just to be left alone. No fear, no paranoia, no conspiracy…just wanting enough space to make one’s own way in the world. I always thought it was a good thing to speak up.

  24. Patrick Sullivan said on September 3rd, 2009 at 9:53pm #

    A question for us all is “How have we allowed ourselves to stand by and not be able to find the group strength to prevent the build up and positioning of tens of thousand s of nuclear weapons that on any slight mishap or mistake will destroy us all in a few hours?”

    The central bankers are at the root of this issue and the next question is “When are we going to take them out of the equation of whether or not we all should be turned into nuclear waste?”

    “Why is the truth so hard for even highly intelligent people to understand?”
    If you decide to read the book that I wrote, please do me a favor and write a review and tell me what you think? Paste the address into your browser to read the Politics of Extraterrestrials…Connecting the Dots. Thank you. Sincerely.


  25. Dirk Diggler said on September 3rd, 2009 at 11:13pm #

    He lost me once he lied and said great things are happening in Venezuela. He rails against imerialism yet he supprts a Communist dictator wannabe. As for his so-called “Anti-Americans” they are nothing but reasonous vermin deserving of execution, along with the rest of the radical left. Pilger would do well to go back to Oz. Perhaps he could apologize to the primitive Aborigines for suffering the indignities of being civilized and brought out of barbarism.

  26. Steve Pallister said on September 4th, 2009 at 12:13am #

    As always a scintilatingly jewel of clarity, John Pilger.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 4th, 2009 at 12:14am #

    Don, so you think your Murdochian Fox/News anthropogenic climate change denialists are loony? Well our specimens, from Murdoch’s local shite-rags, went one better, during the most recent fire season here. Before February’s ‘Black Saturday’ in Victoria when 173 died, there were weeks of fires elsewhere in South-East Australia. The Murdochians, probably because the scientific rationalists had long predicted these mega-fires because of changing climatic and weather conditions, decided to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, so to speak. They started a fear and loathing campaign centring on ‘fire jihadis’, Moslem fanatics (locals, of course, the enemy within)who had, allegedly, sworn to wage jihad against the non-Moslems by starting fires. Need I say that there was not one scintilla of evidence, but no doubt one of Murdoch’s legions of Judeofascist functionaries received a pat on the head for his or her inventiveness. And, also needless to say, after a week or so of Islamophobic hatemongering, enthusiastically echoed by the droogs on the Rightwing blogs, the story disappeared without trace, but certain, I would wager, to be resurrected next summer, probably just before the attack on Iran, scheduled, I presume, as these things are, out of religious considerations somewhat opaque to the goyim, for Purim, which next year is February 28th.

  28. Hue Longer said on September 4th, 2009 at 1:53am #


    I seem to remember that a third “bird” was the Greenies (green party members/ activists/ environmentalists for those outside Oz)….who were somehow at fault for not allowing more bush to be destroyed in previous years

  29. Don Hawkins said on September 4th, 2009 at 2:54am #

    Well that last study and very sure more on the way very soon we will hear adapt to late and listen to me listen to me listen to me. Oh we are listening and third grade level thinking better known as stupidity is tiring to say the least. It’s the Sun.

  30. Bobby said on September 4th, 2009 at 5:59am #

    How deeply asleep the American public is, including the populace of many Western Nations in general, is nothing short of mindboggling.It seems nothing will motivate them to protest and slap down the evil crap that is going on. Another great article by Mr. Pilger, but of course, many will still think it’s America bashing, missing the whole point as usual.

  31. Obstreperous said on September 4th, 2009 at 6:41am #

    People aren’t asleep as much as they are disinterested. The reasons are multitude and there’s nothing sinister about it. People are motivated en masse only when they see their or their children’s lives being affected DIRECTLY and IMMEDIATELY. Hence, this is why politicians who choose to manipulate the public like crisis, since it is the motivator and they try to be the rudder for their own purposes often unrelated to the crisis or its resolution. Therefore, to end ‘evil crap’ the direct and immediate benefit (not indirect or delayed) must be communicated. Therein lies the skill of a true leader, the likes of which no longer seem to be attracted to the political sphere.

  32. Max Shields said on September 4th, 2009 at 6:49am #

    Yes, I think the weakest part of an otherwise well written piece is Pilger’s faith in the “American” people. (I’m not sure how much he believes it, but that he’s hoping incite some core value(s)).

    In varying degrees, the American people have been beneficiaries of Empire, much as the British people and other empire citizens have been.

    As the American war machine kills, as it has done relentlessly for decades, there is little disgruntlement about it. This has been a perplexing society. Given to a marketed creation of ME, with some history of community, but an even stronger inclination toward individualism. The latter has played into the national narrative and used by the corporate and elite propaganda machine to sustain war, and concentration of wealth.

    Today, the USA is mounting war in 3 countries as Mr. Pilger rightly acknowledges. Not a peep from anyone. Is that because Obama quieted the masses? Because the Democrats are in and so they are silent for purely partisan reasons, and only make noise about war when it is the other Party? Certainly.

    But the greatest noise at this time is health care. And that is an utter fiasco. There is no authentic universal health care that will come out of this Washington. Nor should there be. A belief in the fundamental right of health care for all, is tied inextricably to the war machine that daily destroys the lives of thousands, and over time many millions. Why should Americans expect OR have a peaceful life of cradle to grave care when they, indirectly, deprive others of such?

    Tell me Mr. Pilger, please.

    In fact, such a war machine, and the complicitness of its citizenry of all colors and classes, ensures that such peace, that such a fundamental human right will never happen so long as the nation continues to murder and maime children, innocent adults and babies.

  33. theone23ord said on September 4th, 2009 at 8:24am #

    If a Gentile exposes Zionism, they are called “anti-semitic” which is nothing more than a smokescreen to hide the Zionists actions.

    But, if a Jew is the person doing the exposing, they resort to other tactics.

    First, they ignore the charges, hoping the information will not be given widespread distribution.

    If the information starts reaching too many people, they ridicule the information and the persons giving the information.

    If that doesn’t work, their next step is character assassination. If the author or speaker hasn’t been involved in sufficient scandal they are adept at fabricating scandal against the person or persons.

    If none of these are effective, they are known to resort to physical attacks.

    But, NEVER do they try to prove the information wrong.

    Jack Bernstein, (assassinated by MOSSAD)

  34. theone23ord said on September 4th, 2009 at 8:26am #

    “It is essential that the sufferings of Jews. . . become worse. . . this will assist in realization of our plans. . .

    I have an excellent idea. . . I shall induce anti-Semites to liquidate Jewish wealth. . .

    The anti-Semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews.

    The anti-Semites shall be our best friends”

    — Theodor Herzl, Founder of Zionism in 1897

  35. theone23ord said on September 4th, 2009 at 8:27am #

    “The Jewish people as a whole will become its own Messiah. It will attain world dominion by the dissolution of other races, by the abolition of frontiers, the annihilation of monarchy and by the establishment of a world republic in which the Jews will everywhere exercise the privilege of citizenship.

    In this New World Order the children of Israel will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition. The Governments of the different peoples forming the world republic will fall without difficulty into the hands of the Jews. It will then be possible for the Jewish rulers to abolish private property and everywhere to make use of the resources of the state. Thus will the promise of the Talmud be fulfilled, in which is said that when the Messianic time is come, the Jews will have all the property of the whole world in their hands.”

    — Baruch Levy, Letter to Karl Marx, ‘La Revue de Paris’, p.574, June 1, 1928

  36. bozh said on September 4th, 2009 at 8:28am #

    Well, for a long time now [but i didn’t once] i have considered americans as people. And there is only one specie of people.
    And all peoples and people can be deceived! Think of serbs and germans with their wishes to bring all serbs and all germans in their respective countries.
    Think of japan and its ‘right’ to annex much of asia and pacific islands.
    Then there is ottoman, roman, egyptian, chaldean, akkadian, persian, greek, UK, et al empires.

    All gone! And all that killings/maimings/burnings in vain and in infinity of time, ephemeral in duration.

    The question arises, Will US succeed? Yes, i think US can succeed now because world plutos are not waging wars against one another but against poor people and peoples.

    Possibly only russia and china stand in the way. And neither china nor russia can expect any help from the christo-islamo-talmudic world.
    In fact, the two ‘evil’ empires may encounter open emnity and warfare from most ‘pious’ people.
    So much for piety! tnx

  37. bozh said on September 4th, 2009 at 9:50am #

    theone, well said,
    However, present talmudniks, mishnahiks, and mosheists have not connection of any kind, save cultish, to hebrews or canaan. tnx

  38. Gary Corseri said on September 4th, 2009 at 11:38am #

    A magnificent piece by John Pilger–journalist, cinemast, director–a sterling conscience of the West.

    Pilger is never polyannaish. He knows history–and adduces the historical record here–,he knows the vagaries of the human heart and mind. He understands the power of myth and modern propaganda– built on the theories of Bernays and others–to seduce, confuse, enrapture, terrify and conquer. He also knows the yin and yang of human history and he makes a cogent cri de coeur here to all men and women of conscience, yearning for justice–a cogent case to keep the faith, prepare for the long struggle, honor those comrades who have advanced the cause before us by persevering with knowledge, cunning and wisdom.

    Muchas gracias, Sr. Pilger!

  39. Mark said on September 4th, 2009 at 2:33pm #

    John Pilter is ok but he never touches the jewish relation to anything at all.
    Why is that?

  40. Don Hawkins said on September 4th, 2009 at 3:39pm #

    Rendezvous in Copenhagen
    Saturday 29 August 2009
    by: Hervé Kempf Le Monde

    Hervé Kempf’s recipe for the success of climate change negotiations: “Proclaim that we must redistribute wealth and put a ceiling on income by establishing a maximum allowable income.”
    Nice summer, countryside, seaside, love affairs, all is going well? Heat wave, full airplanes, highway traffic jams. The summer routine. Factories have closed? Hmm. We got a good rest. And … now everyone is back.
    For ecology, the comeback takes the form of a countdown: In less than 100 days the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change will open. A historical, magical, civilizational, vital rendezvous (prepare yourself for grandiloquence). Cohorts of diplomats are going to converge on Denmark in December, and, no doubt, a plethora of activists, militants, citizens – they’re expecting 100,000 people!

    The goal of the hubbub: to develop the treaty that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol in order to organize the international struggle against climate change. At stake: Will the industrialized countries commit to drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in exchange for emerging countries’ commitment to limit their own? Report card: The negotiation is blocked. Barack Obama, tangled up in his health care reform, is unlikely to get his proposed climate law voted on before December. Suddenly, US diplomats are putting on the brakes. China and India respond: As long as you don’t budge, we’re not budging.

    Will this logjam be broken? We’ll see. But basically, the key is not to be found in the great powers’ game. Or rather, the geostrategic reading has no meaning if it neglects the division of social forces in the wealthy countries. Thus is the lock that must be opened situated at the heart of the operation of contemporary capitalism. Of course, you’ve heard people talk about the bonus issue. Of what is it the symptom? Of the fact that the richest people obstinately refuse to question their privileges.

    Now, if we seriously want to battle climate change, it’s necessary that all of society put itself to the task. Whether we like it or not, that means a reduction in material consumption. But it’s impossible for the middle classes to agree to move towards sobriety as long as the ruling classes don’t agree to seriously reduce their lifestyle.

    Breaking with decades of the culture of consumption is already very difficult; it becomes unbearable if the transformation is not equitably shared. Consequently, preventing climate change presupposes a profound reconsideration of the social system. Precisely that against which the United States oligarchy is uniting – by blocking health care reform before trying to derail the climate law – but also Europe’s, as the whole bonus comedy illustrates. The result: a weak diplomatic position and the stalemate of the climate negotiation.

    You want to succeed in Copenhagen? Proclaim that we must redistribute wealth and put a ceiling on income by establishing a maximum allowable income.

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 4th, 2009 at 4:22pm #

    Yes, Hue, you’re correct. Once the responsibility for the mega-fire catastrophe (the third mega-fire in Victoria since 2000, but the first to cause mass casualties)of climate change became clear, the anthropogenic climate change denialists had to resort to lying, pronto. They are good at it! The thirteen years of unprecedented drought (followed this year by the 17th out of the last 19 autumns with below average rainfall)the record dryness of the first five weeks of 2009, the lowest humidity ever recorded in Victoria, several consecutive days above 43* Celsius, followed by the hottest day ever recorded in Victoria (46.9*) accompanied by hurricane-force winds, were all totally dismissed. The fault was not of climate change, let along the denialist vermin who have done so much to ensure the coming apocalypse, but of environmentalists. A typical example of Rightwing projection, of course, characterised by that ineffable combination of mendacity, imbecility and arrogance we can confidently expect from the Right. The ‘Greens’ were blamed for the lack of ‘hazard reduction’ burning, a lie, as more hazard reduction has occurred over recent years than ever before. In fact the limiting factor on hazard reduction has been the dangerous condition of the bush, which has been tinder dry even in winter, the traditional burning season. But, of course, in the sewer of human perfidy and cretinism that is the Rightwing media here (ie the vast majority of the mainstream media) this lunatic message was soon being rammed down our throats. This of course is not how our world ends, but how it is already ending. As the disasters mount, as the wildfires blaze, as the typhoons create greater and greater,’ unexpected and unprecedented’ havoc, as the coral reefs crumble, as temperature records tumble (the record for August temperatures in Alice Springs, in the centre of the country, were smashed on three consecutive days last month)the Rightwing psychopaths will just go on lying, as ever. Why they do it, is work for the students of human psychopathology. Why we continue to tolerate it, is another wretched conundrum entirely.

  42. Deadbeat said on September 4th, 2009 at 5:11pm #

    B99 writes…

    Our society is deeply divided along class and race lines. Those who are privileged hold it against those who are not. The changes will come only with realignment of priorities – when the white working class rejects privilege as illusory and joins with their natural allies, blacks and Hispanics to force a better deal. There will be no advances in quality of life for the bulk of the American people, never mind socialism – until the racial barriers are actively dismantled.

    Very true and extremely accurate B99. We see this split among the most “progressive” forces. And if they are divided along race and class, building trust and solidarity will be extremely difficult to achieve.

  43. Don Hawkins said on September 5th, 2009 at 3:59am #

    Watched Glenn Beck on Fox News tonight and he had on David Horowitz and Rush. Again third grade level thinking. Of course they think Obama is far left and probably a Communist. They are Capitalists and just trying to keep America free. Well fellows good luck on that one. Man these people are nut’s. I mean so far the economy is a good one just cover up the problem. The problem is the pie is only so big and yes you can make it bigger with illusion and very hard to eat illusion. With climate change the pie get’s smaller and now you have I guess the right mean people who want a big piece of the pie that’s just the way they are and at least we know where they are Fox New’s. The left want’s to give the pie to more people but the so called leaders of the left want a big piece of the pie before it goes out to the other people that’s us. Somehow I don’t think this will work out well so far. The last study I put on a comment on this article nails it down and we are all in deep do do screwed. What is being done to slow the problem well talk and then more talk then it’s time for lunch and have some pie and then maybe go on TV and tell people strange things that some could call bullshit from a group of asshole’s. Is this to complex will I watch the History Channel. One idea on climate change we tax carbon and tax it hard and or nationalize these means of production and fast then return some of the money to the people that us again. Who would not like this idea well on Fox New’s is the best place to see them but they are on all the channels. I want more pie give me pie that’s my pie you can’t have any it’s all mine I don’t share. Think of this as kind of a war calm at peace. Cap and trade is a joke on the human race and it’s next for town hall meetings. Kind of a choice at no choice.

  44. pat said on September 21st, 2009 at 6:29am #

    There are some very interesting coments here about cllimate change, however no-one sems to have raised the issue of population growth and the impact this is begining to have and will increasingly have in the future. The worlds population is growing at an alarming rate-faster than the ability to produce consistent supplies of food and water. This is particularly the case in so called third world countries. The incidence of droughts and famines are increasing. But we are no longer checked by nature through mass starvation and widespread disease to the extent in former times(I do not advocate a return to this) and aid agencies are stretched to the limit.Here in the West as the period of industrialisation began to guarantee food supplies and better control of disease and a longer life span there was a corresponding reduction of births. The rest of the world is begining to industrialise and there is a lot of investment in primary health care. However there has been no corresponding reduction in births. As I say I do not advocate standing back and allowing nature to take its course but the pressure on the worlds resources from the explosion of the worlds population must figure in any discussion of climate change and managing the earths resources over the longer term. All wars contain an element of a struggle to control natural resources but , this is no more an answer than allowing a famine to do its worst. If we do not take this issue seriously and the population continues to increase at the rate it is the human race may become a victim of its own success and die out.

  45. Campbell said on November 16th, 2009 at 5:15am #

    Amazing to read – as a Classical Liberal, this is very familiar to me. There was a huge political movement that used Liberal ideology as its standard, and we got very excited about it. Remember in 2001, we had a president who promised to end foreign entanglements, to never engage in “nation-building”, and to improve lives the way Liberals think lives can best be improved. We all know how well those promises were kept, but amazingly the brand still identifies with those Classical Liberal values.

    In 2008 many Liberals felt like we had the potential for a presidential candidate that could ‘take back’ the GOP from it’s deceitful leadership . Ron Paul – whatever you think of his politics – was a legitimate grassroots phenomenon on an incredible scale. We thought – even after Palin – that whatever happened, those Classical Liberal values had flexed their muscles. We thought that the party HAD to start catering to our wants.

    The word you’re looking for is “co-opted.” A grassroots movement that gets legitimized by mainstream leadership, and then moves in a totally different direction. When you get frustrated with Brand Obama, think of us poor Classical Liberals on the other side of the political spectrum. Think about how we have to watch Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin make a mockery of our ideals. These people take our words and remove their meaning, applying their own brand of insanity to them.

    Wait for it. It’s just beginning. Pretty soon you’ll feel a lack of identification with the words “leftist” and the popular use of “liberal,” because those words now mean “Obama-ist”. “Anti-war” now means “supporter of Obama’s ‘withdrawal'”, “health reformer” now means “supporter of Obama’s health bill.”

    I sympathize. I really do. All the words I used to use to self-identify now mean “nutball,” “idiot,” and – worst of all – “Glenn Beck fan.” And I can’t do anything about it, except hunt political nomenclature from 150 years ago and use that to self-identify instead. Fucking sucks.