The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label SOLDIERS FOR PEACE INTERNATIONAL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SOLDIERS FOR PEACE INTERNATIONAL. Show all posts

Monday, May 26, 2014

"HOW TO HONOR THE WAR DEAD" Soldiers For Peace International

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

IS DEMOCRACY POSSIBLE?

Posted with permission from Soldiers For Peace International


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Friday, April 11, 2014

A GROWTH-BASED ECONOMY?

We thank Rick Staggenborg for the opportunity to join Soldiers For Peace International and from time to time post his pieces here on the TPI. ~ The Pardu


This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2014

WE CANNOT SAVE A GROWTH-BASED ECONOMY




As any literate citizen knows, the global economic crisis was brought about by the unregulated banksters who run Wall Street. Few realize that in the aftermath of the near-collapse of the system of international credit, they have expanded a shadow economy that has been financed by taxpayer dollars. The total value of the derivative and commodities markets is now many times the world GDP. This system amounts to a pyramid scheme. If unchallenged, it is destined to leave the rich more powerful than ever and the 99% destitute. The growth-based debt economy is not capable of recovering, yet mainstream economists cannot seem to fathom why.

Classically trained economists are beginning to see that prospects for economic recovery in the post-bailout era are dismal to nonexistent. Although increasingly recognizing the consequences of crony capitalism, they must learn to question their most basic assumptions to understand the problem and its solution. The answer to the continuing global economic crisis requires a complete restructuring of the economy based on principles of environmentally sustainable local production and trade, worker-owned enterprises and nationalization of monetary policy. 

It isn’t hard to understand why the economic system cannot recover as currently structured. As jobs are shipped offshore, those being created in the US are mostly low-paying. This limits the flow of wealth upon which growth is based.  With declining demand, corporations are unwilling to invest in the real (productive) economy in the US. Economists who blamed the consumer for incurring excessive debt failed to recognize that the banksters had created an economy that depended on ever-expanding credit. Driven to consume ever more by systematic brainwashing, Americans amassed huge debt under the assumption that the economy and especially housing prices would continue to grow forever. Sadly, they have not learned the lessons that the collapse of the Ponzi scheme that fueled the economy in boom times have to offer. There will be no return to prosperity as long as we continue to equate economic health to growth in GDP.

The architects of this system walked away with billions while homeowners, taxpayers and those dependent on the social safety net paid the price. Austerity for the 99% is hailed as the answer because it is the only way to maintain the privileges of the 1%.  In the face of austerity, the growth-based economy is destined to fail. Continuing to amass government debt to promote war over natural resources, sustain a system of corporate welfare and provide even fewer protections to a population devastated by economic collapse consigns future generations to debt slavery. We can only escape this fate by transitioning to an economy that places human needs over corporate greed. 

Capitalism itself depends on the assumption of endless growth. When the wealth and power of the economic elite depends on its ability to extract wealth from workers, production has to increase exponentially. This requires markets for the goods produced. If jobs are not available and workers cannot provide this demand, there is nothing to sustain them. Even is the global elite were to suddenly realize that wealth distribution were in their best interest, it could not save a growth-based economy that is ultimately limited by the planet’s finite resources. When the trillions of dollars in debt that the derivatives and commodities market begin to be called in as investments in the globalized economy fail, the collapse of 2008 will seem like a mild recession in comparison.

There is a solution. The United States is the driver of the global economy. If Americans want to create a world economy that is just to all, they will have to create a true representative democracy. That is the only way that the People can prevent human civilization from collapsing when the resources upon which it is based become inaccessible to the masses. It is up to us to unite to challenge the corruption that has made us the pawns of the global banking elite. We can start by making a campaign issue of support for a constitutional amendment that would establish that money is not speech and that corporations are not people with constitutional rights.

If we have any concern for our children we will put aside partisan differences and together, take back America for the People.

Readers interested in learning more about the consequences of endless growth and the principles of a steady-state economy are encouraged to read Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Change We Need To End War


Re-blog with permission from Soldiers for Peace International



This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2014

BEING THE CHANGE WE NEED TO END WAR


Those who reflexively oppose President Obama on foreign policy share one thing in common with those who defend his actions unquestioningly: Neither is using a realistic measure to appraise him. In addition, partisan supporters who are unwilling to criticize him fail to use a consistent yardstick to compare his actions with those of his predecessor. Despite his many accomplishments, the similarities in foreign policy between the Obama administration and that of Bush are more striking to most critics than are the differences. While there is truth in this observation, it is not the whole story.

There is a pervasive myth that we elect Presidents who will represent the interests of America in foreign policy, if we choose correctly. The reality is that as a consequence of an electoral system thoroughly corrupted by special interest money, we elect Presidents who are vetted by a relative handful of extremely powerful individuals. They have a huge financial stake in the maintenance of the status quo in international economic affairs.  “American” interests have become defined as what serves the aims of powerful international financial institutions that have a disproportionate influence on both US domestic and international policy. The interests of these institutions have nothing to do with the interests of America or any nation. In fact, if Americans do not develop a clearer understanding of the nature of their power, nation states themselves will become obsolete. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is designed to do just that.

Of the largest 25 international corporations, almost all are financial institutions. Members of their Boards are also members of the Boards of the top 147 corporate behemoths that control 40% of the assets of over 14,000 international corporations and collect 60% of their total profits. This is how global financiers control key industries such as aeronautics, insurance, armaments, energy, telecommunications and others whose profits depend on control of natural resources and human capital around the world, including the US. Their enormous influence over the fortunes of businesses puts them in the position to determine who is a viable candidate for President. If you were hoping that Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul can become President if we elect enough Democrats or Republicans, think again.

Foreign policy is not created de novo with each new administration. The general direction of foreign policy is determined by corporations and foundations that fund the think tanks that gave us the neocon agenda in foreign policy that is still the blueprint for military strategy. Think tanks also came up with the neoliberal agenda of free trade. These two ideologies are really two sides of the same coin. Both seek to extend corporate domination of the planet. Where economic coercion and bribery in the form of free trade agreements, IMF loans and economic and military aid are not persuasive and regime change is not possible by covert means, military force is used.  Neoconservatism and neoliberalism are so called because they are neither liberal nor conservative, but corporatist.

This is the reality that confronts the President. He still has all the powers granted him under the constitution as well as powers claimed by previous Occupants of the White House, but his use of them is sharply constrained by the political influence of special interests over Congress, the military, a CIA unaccountable to him under the doctrine of plausible deniability, the media and even the courts. If he wanted to end the “war on terror” that is a think disguise for an agenda of global corporate domination, he would have to take on the entire military-industrial-government complex that has mushroomed since WWII. It is a direct threat to democracy, as Kennedy found out when he tried to end the Cold War. 

You may say Obama still has a choice and you would be right, but what chance of success would he have without America behind him? While we should and must criticize him when he chooses war over diplomacy as he did in Libya has largely done in Syria, we cannot expect him to take on alone the entrenched power of the entire political, economic and military structure of the oligarchy that the US has become. If we want to see democracy and justice in the US and the rest of the world, we must be the change that will make him do what must be done. We did it on Syria, when we told Congress in no uncertain terms that we will not use US taxpayer money to start WWIII.

What few seem to appreciate is that the President set up a situation where our voice would determine a major foreign policy decision. The pressure on him to attack Syria from Israel, Saudi Arabia and neocons in the US was intense, yet he consulted with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and allowed him to publicly report that not only would an attack be incredibly risky, but that a decision was not necessary immediately. He then threw the decision to Congress, giving citizens a chance to weigh in. Our victory in stopping a disastrous attack on Syria showed that we are not powerless over the architects of what former CIA chief and President George HW Bush called the New World Order.

One of the most powerful forces aligned against Obama is the alliance between right-wingers in Israel and the US, who see their interests as identical. The base of fundamentalist Christians in the US constitutes the vast majority of Zionists in America. One of our tasks surely has to be to awaken Americans to the facts of Israeli occupation and apartheid. Obama has given us the chance by allowing diplomacy to succeed in Syria at least to the extent that he avoided a direct US attack that could have led to a regional and even world war. Many have concluded that by showing his willingness to let Putin score major points and rebuffing the attempts of Israel and Saudi Arabia to directly attack both Syria and Iran, Obama is showing that he will not bow to the demands of neocons in either Israel or the US. If there were any doubts about this, they should have been dispelled when he immediately reached out to Iran.

It takes a great bit of chutzpah to claim that the decisions that led to Americans stopping a rush to war for the first time in history was the result of a series of foolish stumbles by a President some claim is in the pocket of Israel.  If that were the case, how do they explain his immediately reaching out to Iran as soon as the crisis was over, infuriating both Israel and Saudi Arabia, already seething at his “mistakes” in carrying out the planned attack on Syria? Anyone who still thinks the President doesn’t know what he is doing has been gamed. For the rest of us, let’s take the hint and “be the change we need.”  Demand immediate cuts in the defense budget. Shut down unneeded military bases around the world, get rid of space age weapons that we will never need in an age of American dominance, end drone warfare, drastically curtail domestic surveillance and redirect the money to rebuilding America and becoming a responsible member of the world community.

In a democracy, the people are responsible for the actions of their government. If Americans aspire to living in a democracy and becoming a model for the rest of the world, it is time they took back their government from the hands of the architects of the New World Order. It is possible, and it begins when the movement to amend the constitution to reform campaign finance and abolish the doctrine of corporate constitutional rights becomes the basis of a social movement to end the corrupt rule of the plutocracy.


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Friday, January 17, 2014

SOLDIERS FOR PEACE INTERNATIONAL: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BELIEF

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

WAR AND DEMOCKRACY


Re-blog from Soldiers for Peace International (linked below)

This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

           WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2013   

It should be obvious that the only reason war is possible at this point in history is the widespread acceptance of the idea that it is inevitable. With this idea so firmly entrenched in the minds of millions, few bother to question it. After all, there is no sense in trying to understand the reasons for war if it will not lead to any change.  If the real causes of war were generally understood, Americans might ask whether they should allow them to be fought in their name. In a real democracy, the People would be responsible for the actions of their government.

War has always been about controlling other people's resources. It is inherently inconsistent with the basis of democracy, which is recognition of the inalienable rights of all and the responsibility of governments to ensure them. A truly democratic government is one of, by and for the People. Not some, but all the people. If the rights purportedly guaranteed by the constitution are universal, then they are also the rights of the Peoples of all nations. The US has no right to deny them. As long as Americans allow their government to violate the rights of others, they mock the idea of liberty and justice for all. In doing so, they are enabling corporate powers that control the US government to deny these basic rights to themselves.

It is Mankind’s oldest and greatest dream to rid the world of the scourge of war, yet at a time when the US military unquestionably dominates the rest of the world Americans continue to accept the obvious lie that they must waste their resources on the destruction of other nations. In a 2013 poll, over half opposed cutting the military budget even while funds to care for the poor are slashed. Are Americans such cowards that they would accept seemingly random US state-sponsored terror in the name of “freedom” and “security" forever if they knew wars were really fought for corporate profit? After NDAA and the revelations of NSA spying, would they still accept the loss of their constitutional rights in the name of "American interests" if they saw that these have been defined as the interests of transnational corporations with no loyalty to the US, its citizens, or humanity itself? If so, is there any price they will not pay?

European citizens, despite having experienced war directly within living memory, are not much better at recognizing that their self-interest is served by opposing war. In the modern era, it has been argued that warfare is justified to fight threats to freedom. For decades, communism was seen as such a menace, when in fact it was merely a threat to the profits of global elites cooperating to carve up the resources of the planet. Now stateless terrorism is claimed to a threat and warfare the only answer. The Global War on Terror has provided cover for the global war on democracy and national self-determination. If those who are profiting from it succeed in creating a worldwide corporate Empire, no nation will be spared. Somehow, we have to make citizens of the US and other NATO countries understand that war is always about competition for resources and that this one is to secure all the resources of the planet for the benefit of war profiteers. Only then can they make a conscious decision about whether it is worth sacrificing the lives of their children and those of targeted nations.

The fact that wars are conducted for the sole purpose of expanding the power of the ruling elite was well understood prior to the revival of the archaic notion of “democracy,” the idea that people can rule themselves. The ruling class never really relinquished its power. When the concept of divine rights of kings was questioned, the economic elite dusted off the ancient idea of democracy and systematically encouraged the masses to delude themselves into believing that they controlled their own national destiny and through their governments, protected their rights from foreign tyrants. The allure of the idea of democracy was so powerful that Americans failed to see the rise of tyranny within their own government. Somewhere along the way, the delusion of democracy became so ingrained that a majority seemed to accept the insane notion that the root of terrorism was that perpetrators were “jealous of our freedom.”  What could be more ironic?

In the generations since the American Revolution that real cause of war has been forgotten by the People. A mythical version of American history has been created that clouds the minds of those indoctrinated by the American educational system. The outrage over Vietnam led to a glimmer of awareness of the connection between corporate power and war in the minds of that generation, but with the end of the war and then the end of the draft the lesson has been largely forgotten. That is how we came to be faced with the prospect of what the corporatocracy expects to become a permanent corporate-dominated New World Order. Only a revival of awareness that all just authority arises from the People can citizens of the United States use their collective power to help ensure that the last, best hope for Mankind does not perish from the Earth. For that, they will need the support of other NATO nations and the Peoples of the world, with whose fate theirs is intertwined.

It is said that no two democracies have ever fought a war against each other. To the extent that is true, it is not by chance. “Democracy” has come to be defined by the ruling class as any form of government that submits to the will of the Anglo-American Empire and thereby concede sovereignty to the international corporations that dictate its foreign policy. If national interests are defined as synonymous with defending and expanding the wealth and power of the global elite that control these corporations, any nation that submits to the Empire is defined as "democratic." While citizens of NATO nations have come to equate democracy with the power of the vote in the absence of any other evidence of its presence, the majority fail to realize that their governments do not even apply the same minimal standard to others that they label “democratic” or “despotic,” friend or foe.

The simple rule is that the enemies of any nation that is a threat to corporate power are friends of the corporatocracy, regardless of how such governments treat their own people. Under the guise of protecting citizens from their own governments, the US selectively targets nations that refuse to fall into line with the globalist agenda. The doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" is nothing more than a noble sounding version of preemptive warfare. Condemned when adopted by the Nazis and outlawed by the agreements that established the UN, it has become official US policy, with the nearly universal support of the governments of NATO nations if not their peoples. The world is full of such potential enemies, of course. Any nation that does not submit to the dictates of the global elite and in particular the international bankers who are the real Puppet Masters of the show is by definition an enemy. Anyone who doubts this likely fails to realize that all of the recently targeted countries from Iraq to Syria had central banks that operated independently of the Bank of International Settlements, where global financial warfare is plotted.

When the symbolic enemy of the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its economic inefficiency and the need to maintain an enormous military, it was not hard to find a substitute. Former allies became the enemy, as has become an ever more obvious pattern. It used to take years or decades for a former foe to become an ally. The process accelerated after WWII, when the US government made common cause with former Nazis where it served the purposes of the national security state and the economic interests whose interests it exists to protect. Today, yesterday’s enemy is today’s ally.

The Mujahudin were recruited to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. It leaders were listed in a CIA data base that became known for its Arabic name: al Qaeda.  These useful idiots were later put to use in Bosnia, the southern tier of the former Soviet empire, the Mideast, Africa and even the US. The Empire has abandoned any pretense of forming alliances based on defense of “democracy.” It is openly using the same fighters it claimed it sacrificed thousands of Americans to defeat to wage war on weaker nations whose resources it covets. Millions of innocents who are killed, maimed or displaced are dismissed as collateral damage. Its naked aggression has become apparent to all but the most casual observer.

That is why it is our duty to draw attention to the real reasons for war. If we believe that democracy is possible, then we must believe that humans are essentially good. Good people do not knowingly allow atrocities to be committed while they stand by. While willful ignorance helps explain inaction, so does the sense of helplessness that comes from blindly accepting the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable. We must help those blinded by a culture of self-interest to see the connection between war and the failure of democracy.  Citizens of NATO countries are so distracted by their economic problems that they fail to see that those who have undermined their standard of living are the same economic elite who are expanding their Empire through economic coercion, bribery, murder and war in even less fortunate nations. They must be made to understand that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Democracy cannot exist in a society that tolerates injustice because it requires the acceptance of inequality that is antithetical to self-governance.

Time is running out for humanity to decide. Will we stand by as the last, greatest hope for Mankind vanishes from an Earth dying from the ravages of exploitation, of which war is the most glaring example? Or will we fight for real liberty and justice, using the tools of nonviolent resistance while it is still possible?  Democracy will only become real if we can see ourselves as basically good and capable of ruling ourselves in the best interests of all. This will not happen naturally. It will take our best efforts. Each of us has something to contribute and together, we can end war. It starts when we abandon the self-imposed distinctions that divide us, and work together to free the 99% forever from that which has always been the greatest ambition of the global elite: The enslavement of the human race.
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rick Staggenborg: A Day Of Thanksgiving And A Ever Mindful "TRUST BUT VERIFY."

SOLDIERS FOR PEACE INTERNATIONAL

Soldiers For Peace International

Rick Staggenborg
Today, I am thankful that the President has shown that he is willing to take significant risks for peace. It is no small thing to change the course of American foreign policy of empire-building that he inherited and seemed to many to be something he embraced. 
President Obama is bucking the tide of history that was being written by a senate totally in the pockets of war profiteers and people who believe that American interests are identical to the right-wing government of Israel, never questioning whether Netanyahu's polices are in the best interest of Israel, which is identical to that of Palestinians with whom they share a common land. That cause is justice. We will know justice only when there is no war. 
The success of Obama's efforts will depend on whether the American people can show the same kind of support for peace as they did when he called on his to weigh in on whether to attack Syria. That gave us the opportunity to make a difference in ending the war of terror that he said could not go on forever. Now it is our job to help him achieve Mankind's greatest goal: the end of war itself.
This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013

TRUST BUT VERIFY



Dear President Obama:



I feel a little guilty that it took me so long to write this. I have been pretty quick to write letters, sign petitions and make phone calls criticizing your actions in the past. When you get something important right, it’s only fair that I take the time to express my support. Besides, I imagine that if all you hear from certain people is negativity, questioning of your motives and cynicism about your actions you might be disinclined to listen to them. I wouldn’t blame you, either. 


You deserve credit for avoiding a direct attack on Syria and opening up dialogue with Iran. Cynics claimed that you bumbled your way into the situation, but that doesn’t add up. It seems to me that you have masterfully handled pressure from a Congress in the pockets of the military-industrial complex and blindly obedient to the wishes of the right wing Israeli government of Bibi Netanyahu. Your actions in response to the false flag attack in Syria not only allowed but encouraged a debate in which Americans finally spoke against further American imperialist overreach. Some even entertained the heretical notion that Israel’s interests are not identical to their own. This is a healthy skepticism that I am sure will only become more widespread as Israel’s aim of destabilizing Syria and attacking Iran at any cost becomes ever more nakedly apparent.

Holding our elected officials responsible for their actions may be everyone’s duty, but it’s obvious to me that without the support of the People, a President cannot change a nation that has gone so badly off course. Lincoln didn’t free the slaves until he believed that slavery proponents would not be able to use it to defeat the cause of preserving the Union. When citizens who had doubted him rallied to the cause after a Union Army victory, he took a calculated risk in challenging the property rights of slaveholders with the Emancipation Proclamation. He could not have done the same thing and won the war without political capital. That only comes when the People support the President for doing the right thing.

The way I see it, we are in a similar situation but this time the People must rally around your efforts at waging peace, not war. Just as Lincoln forced a confrontation by challenging the economic interests of slave holders by seeking to limit slavery, your recent actions threaten the enormous investments of corporate war profiteers who would enslave the world in endless war if they could. If you can expect no support from those who would like to believe you mean what you say, it is hard to imagine how you could prevail against a Congress so deeply committed to serving the interests of those whose profits are threatened by the prospect of peace, when half the country will oppose whatever action you take. 

I hope that I have been right in calling for patience from people who have demonized you for widening the war in Afghanistan, failing to close Guantanamo, exponentially expanding drone warfare, helping build a domestic spying apparatus so massive it could be the backbone of your jobs plan and insisting that Americans be subject to the same violations of constitutional rights as foreigners have suffered since the outbreak of the War of Terror. While I share their concerns about these and other decisions that threaten freedom in the US and the world, I try never to forget that I am not the one in the office that Kennedy held when he was murdered by the national security state for trying to end the Cold War. As a student of Presidential history, I am sure that you are fully aware of that fact and the implications it has for what you can accomplish without risking the same fate. I don’t feel that I have any right to judge you for what you have or haven’t done. I understand what you meant when, according to former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, you told disappointed friends who wanted you to explain your record “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King, Jr?”

With all this in mind, the world will be watching while you determine whether the cynics or the optimists will be vindicated by your conduct of the negotiations in Tehran and Geneva. It seems to be a good sign that the long-delayed negotiations on Syria are finally scheduled, despite the opposition of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the terrorist groups they are hoping will topple the Assad government. Since the delay was due to a refusal of the Syrian insurgents to take part, this appears to be tacit recognition that the al Qaeda-led “rebels” are not going to prevail in turning Syria into a failed state, Libya-style. If the negotiations lead to substantive agreement, they will have to take what they can get. 

At the same time, I cannot ignore the possibility that both negotiations may be a sham, like the Israeli “peace” negotiations with the illegitimate PA government. Just as there can be no negotiating for peace with a nation that continues to commit international crimes in expanding its colonization of an occupied country, so too can the US government talk peace while doing everything in its power to undermine it. Removing Assad from power as a precondition to peace in Syria is a nonstarter. The government is regularly defeating the terrorists in the field, but pundits and politicians are expressing hope that Iran can be convinced to “help” with negotiations around Syria. If you press Iran to convince Assad to step down, we will know that the negotiations in Tehran are just for show. 

If you are serious about wanting peace, you will do everything possible to present an acceptable deal to the Iranians, taking into account that they have hardliners who benefit from politics of confrontation just as right wing hawks in both parties do in the US. It is a delicate balancing act, and anyone with an ounce of understanding of the situation will know why your tough rhetoric and hyperbole is necessary for domestic consumption even if you truly want to bargain fairly. After all, if that is what it takes to get support for a treaty in the Senate, the peoples of both nations will benefit. At the same time, you will have finally declared American independence from the right wing of the Knesset. 

I really want to see you do the right thing. I am willing to trust you until I see proof that this move toward peace is insincere, if it is. Some people would rather be right in their cynical assumptions than be embarrassed should you prove them dead wrong, though they will never admit it. I am not one of them. I am not afraid of being embarrassed by having the audacity to still hope that we can be the change that will make you do what is right. If we fail to support you when you need us the most, I am not sure that we could handle democracy if we had one.

Sincerely,

Rick Staggenborg, MD
Founder, Soldiers For Peace International
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