After we stop pretending….

If you look at this post’s title and wonder “after we stop pretending” about what? I’ll get to that shortly. It’s a prickly subject and it will make a lot of people very uncomfortable. Others won’t feel any discomfort or shame simply because they (a) don’t understand the problem or (b) just don’t give a shit. But please bear with me and I’ll do my best to explain.

Have you ever started on something and it leads to something else and that leads to somewhere else, or an idea, or pattern of thought that hadn’t occurred to you? That’s kind of how I got here….to the After We Stop Pretending thing…and it’s all my wife’s fault. Let me explain.

She, like me, has become very disenchanted by the direction that modern society is going in. Being connected to Wifi, the world wide web, to our phones, to technology, to over consumption of stuff….but completely disconnected from one another, from society, from community and most of all from nature. However, unlike me – I who am content to moan and bitch about how, as a species, we’ve lost our way and how terrible this disconnect with nature is – my wife tends to look deeper into the problem and to try to find out if it can be solved. It was her search to find ways of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature that brought her to Mark Boyle – an Irishman, writer, environmentalist, free thinker and freeconomist – who was formerly as entrenched in the system as the rest of us, having trained as an economist.

Mark Boyle has written a book, (actually he’s written a few books…..but this one in particular was one my wife was drawn to), called “The Moneyless Man”. Which is about how he took a year off from the system – from modern day life – from the economy – from consumerism – and lived for 12 months without money. (This actually became his way of life for a 3 year period, not one). Both to see if it could be done at all and also as a bit of a social experiment. He didn’t completely disconnect from technology though. He lived in a caravan on someone’s farm – he was allowed to park the caravan there in exchange for several days labour in the fields each month. On the caravan he had a solar panel with which he would charge his cell phone – on which he could only accept incoming calls as he had no money to make outgoing calls – and his laptop on which to write his book and a number of newspaper and magazine articles about his one year of living without money. He used a bike for transport and his food came partly from what he grew, partly from what he could forage in the wild and partly from dumpster diving behind the supermarket in the nearby town. His life for the next 12 months proved that necessity is indeed the mother of invention AND that living without money is a possibility.

This first book brought my wife to Boyle’s latest book called “The Way Home” – in which, 9 years on from his moneyless experiment, he has now built his own cabin, has realised that money is in some cases necessary – so has used the money from his book sales to purchase some land of his own – but has opened it up for anyone to live there. He has totally kicked modern technology into touch, even his phone and laptop have now gone. He still writes, but on recycled paper, with pens he finds here and there abandoned or lost by other people. His philosophy is one of paying it forward – he does things for people without expecting anything in return. There is no quid pro quo with Boyle.

It is this recent book, The Way Home (2019), that provides us with the next link. In The Way Home, Boyle refers to another writer by the name of Paul Kingsnorth. Kingsnorth is a former journalist, former editor of the Ecologist and according to his book is “A Recovering Environmentalist”. He is co founder of The Dark Mountain Project – a haven for writers who have seen through the veil of misinformation and fabrication of todays society, have come to the conclusion that the environmental movement has been hijacked by big business and political clout, decided that as things stand our disconnect from nature and our belief in the ideals of consumerism and the growth economy will push us not just to the brink of extinction, but over the brink. After the collapse of the system, perhaps people views about the sanity of the status quo will change. Only After We Stop Pretending can we make the changes in the way we live, that we should have made 40 years ago and get down to the work of re-growing a living culture.

Paul Kingsnorth used to be an environmentalist who put his body on the line to protest abuses of the environment. This video is about his current take on environmentalism, the life we live and why it’s too late for us to save the earth. It’s 49 minutes long but very interesting and has many truths.

Much is made these days about buzz words like “sustainability”. It used to be about sustaining and about not abusing nature or “natural resources”. These days the green movement is more about sustaining our life style by replacing one thing with it’s perceived “eco” counterpart. Environmentalism has become about sustainable development – which let’s face it is an oxymoron. Big business and the consumer lifestyle must, it seems, be the things that we place the priority on sustaining.

We have had countless feel good rallies in parks, marches to parliament to present petitions about protecting the environment, to which a smiling politician speaks a few empty promises about looking into the problem….probably involving committees and sub committees and flights overseas to see how other governments are handling the “environment problem”. But nothing happens to slow down the wheels of industry, of commerce, of commercialism.

We’ve had countless years of presentations of scientific evidence, discussions, debates and resolutions at the United Nations – yet still nothing has been done to slow the commercial machine – CO2 emissions continue to rise, pollution of the air and seas continues unabated, the rain forests continue to be cleared at alarming rates, the icecaps and glaciers continue to melt, sea level continues to rise as do average temperatures. But it’s all okay, none of this will affect the value of your shares on the stock exchange. Despite all the international agreements and environmental protection agencies we are destroying and polluting at an ever increasing rate. Changing your lightbulbs to energy efficient ones or banning single use plastic bags in supermarkets – whilst a step in the right direction – are not going to solve the problems we face and are in fact a case of too little, much too late.

The problem is a result of the system we follow, blindly. It’s not just about our consumption of, and our reliance on, fossil fuels that is the problem – it’s about the need to change the system that drives this consumption. This is the truth that everyone skirts around because of fear of how the abandoning of the growth economy system will affect their lifestyle.

The more disconnected we are from the source of our food, the less we value it and the more wasteful we become. If I can explain….go back to hunter gatherer time…Back when we were hunter gatherers we would spend a couple of hours a day sourcing our food from the forests and streams in the locality of our home base. We’d work along side and within the natural world – take as much as we needed from nature, eat it that day, fresh and then start the whole process again the next day. Rinse and repeat.

Then some bright spark had the idea of gathering some seeds from the bushes and plants that they found in nature and farming the ground close to home base to grow the food we needed right on our doorstep. Because we now take care in tending our food supply it takes us a little longer, but we are still very connected to our food and to nature. We value it and take only what we need. Jumping forward several hundred years we have for the most part separated ourselves from nature. We now live in cities and work 8 hour days, or more, in order to earn these tokens called money. With this money, we can pay for other people, sometimes on the other side of the planet to grow our food for us, pay for the mining and refining of the fossil fuel to power the trucks, ships and planes to bring it thousands of kilometres to a supermarket near us, where we can jump into our cars, using more fossil fuel, to drive to the supermarket to collect the food, (now mostly wrapped in plastic packaging on Styrofoam trays), that we once used to grow fresh on our own doorstep. We have no idea about how much petro-chemical sprays or other toxic materials have been used in the production of our food – which is now grown for shape and colour and shelf life rather than for any nutritional value. And then we waste a third of all the food we buy. This we call progress….and….civilisation. Is it just me, or can anyone else see that this just makes no sense at all?

Photo from Gloria’s Bits and Pieces on BlogSpot.com

And don’t even think to get me started on all the other rubbish that we import from around the world that is built only to last for a limited span of time. We have embraced the throw away society whole heartedly. We have fast food, fast fashions and even fast furnishings. All of which are tasteless and unfortunately get us addicted for more of the same. Anything to keep us spending that money and keep growing the economy. We are blasted by advertisements to buy more, update this, bigger that, new and improved…buy buy buy! Celebrity endorsements on TV, in magazines, on billboards, on the internet. We have so much stuff these days that off site storage is now a multi billion dollar business. It’s craziness. We haven’t just lost our way, we’re completely off the map. A byproduct of this greed for more stuff is that we need more land and more resources, to make the stuff, so we destroy nature, we wipe out hundreds of species weekly….WEEKLY…without even pausing to consider the consequences. We need to have the courage to change, to be responsible for our own actions and to do it quickly. Governments support the status quo – they are NOT going to save us if we don’t force them to.

It’s been said many times, so I’ll say it once more in the forlorn hope that this time someone will read it and say – yes that’s absolutely right, and make the change that we all need for our survival – “You can not have infinite growth on a finite planet”. So, yes we need to Stop Pretending that everything is just fine and dandy. The science says that we may have already passed the tipping point or are within a year or two of it. It’s frightening, but we need to accept that, to look despair right in the face and change the way we live. Let’s not make things any worse than they are already going to be. Is it only when money, credit and “the economy” are seen to be nothing more than the Emperors New Clothes of fairly tales and the system comes crashing down around our ears that most of us will finally admit that it was doomed to fail all along, and try to change the system to one of living with nature. We must realise that we are part of the natural world, not above it.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the Dark Mountain Project, the link to their website is https://dark-mountain.net/

Mark Boyle (the moneyless man) will be at Scotland’s Booktown – Wigtown – for their annual book festival, appearing on 4th October 2019. He’ll be talking about his latest book and his life without technology.

What does it mean to be human as boundaries between man and machine blur? Mark Boyle tried to find out, embracing life with no running water, car or electricity. The former business graduate, who once lived without money for three years, talks about his remarkable life on a Galway smallholding.

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Movie Reviews – Vice…and Fair Game.

As 9/11 approaches it seems only fitting to review these two movies.

Earlier in the year on an international flight I watched the movie Vice (2018) – about Vice President Dick Cheney and what goes on behind the political scenes with regard to running “black-ops” missions.

It shows us that ethics have little place in politics, where rules are made up as they go along, and then broken to suit their passing whims. Often, things are happening behind the scenes that even the President is either totally unaware of, or is partly aware, but the finer details are with-held from briefings. This, as shown in the movie Vice, has been going on at least since the Nixon administration, possibly even before that. A select few at, or near, the top of the political food chain are the ones pulling on the strings of the puppets fronting for the media….and the public. During the Nixon administration Cheney worked as an intern under Donald Rumsfeld, and overheard Henry Kissinger discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Nixon, revealing the true power of the executive branch to Cheney.

See the source image
Bale on the left and the real Cheney on the right.

Christian Bale plays the title role and is quite brilliant in his portrayal of the ‘win at all costs’ Cheney for whom ethics do not exist. Amy Adams plays his wife….who pushes her husband along all the way. Over various presidencies, Cheney works his way up the political ladder taking on roles that bring him closer and closer to the Presidential inner circle including being secretary of state under George H W Bush. During the Clinton administration he was the CEO of Halliburton (a big player in the Oil industry and later in the business of private armies/armed security details). Cheney is asked to be George W. Bush’s running mate and to take up the Vice President role. He agrees, on condition that the President hands over the daily running of certain “mundane” executive tasks such as foreign policy and energy. Bush is so keen to have someone as experienced as Cheney to show him the political ropes that he readily agrees. Cheney then manipulates president George W Bush so easily, by making suggestions and then encouraging Bush to adopt them as his own. I always thought that George W was a scheming, lying, jingoist…..but it seems, if the movie is to be believed, that the foreign policy ideas came from Cheney. Bush is still guilty of waging wars on countries such as Iraq based on false intelligence. He is complicit by signing the presidential orders to attack, although he may not have been the instigator.

We all have suspicions that this sort of cloak and dagger/smoke and mirrors, shadow world exists in politics. This movie goes a long way to confirming those suspicions. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and can’t rate it highly enough. There were comedic episodes along the way, but mostly it’s about politics and war at its most unethical. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 – see it if you can.

The second movie again about political activities going on behind the scenes, this time involving CIA operatives, is called Fair Game (2010), which I saw yesterday on Netflix. It stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It is based on Valerie Plame’s memoir, Fair Game, and Joseph C. Wilson’s memoir, The Politics of Truth. Be warned – there are spoilers below, but even with the spoilers, the movie is definitely worth seeing.

Plame/Watts is a CIA operative working predominantly in the middle east and is tasked with finding out if Iraq are manufacturing nuclear weapons. Her husband Wilson/Penn, a retired diplomat is sent on a government mission to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein is attempting to buy ‘yellow cake uranium’ from the Niger government. Both of them come to the conclusion, via their separate investigations, that there is no substance to either of these claims. The nuclear programme in Iraq was shut down and dismantled under US instruction and oversight in the 1990’s. But the CIA were investigating with a view to casting suspicion on this….to give the Bush administration grounds for invading Iraq.

When it appeared that, in spite of both reports that the US government were pushing ahead with the “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction” line, Wilson/Penn made his report public knowledge by releasing it to the news media, who ran front page stories. This naturally incensed the powers that be and the CIA were directed to blow Plame/Watts’ cover and expose her as a CIA agent. After 18 years as an operative for the CIA, Plame Wilson’s spy career effectively ended  July 14,2003, when The Washington Post published Robert Novak’s column detailing Wilson’s ties to the CIA, including Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert agent. The column followed her husband Joe Wilson’s outspoken opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and the leak of Plame’s identity by top-tier Bush administration officials. This therefore put her and her family in danger. It also exposed all the people she had been in contact with in the various middle eastern nations – scientists and informants – resulting in the internment or execution of these individuals.

All this had a negative affect on their marriage, which was in tatters. There are death threats and government lead public humiliation. After pressure from Wilson and much soul searching, Plame/Watts agrees to go to the Congressional committee. This doesn’t topple the government, but a senior government official – chief of staff and national security adviser, Scooter Libby (former adviser to Dick Cheney) is selected to be the one to fall on his own sword – forced to resign, and is also found guilty in Federal court. He gets 30 months in prison and a hefty fine, both of which are quashed by President Bush and Libby goes free. Again another high scoring 4 out of 5 from me for the movie Fair Game.

Now….both of these movies go to show that the rules don’t apply to those in power. Rules are here to keep you and me in our place….down there. To control and subdue the public, while the powerful – comfortable in their ivory towers – flip the finger at us and the courts. And as the Wilsons found out, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how much use you have been to those in power – it doesn’t even matter if the truth is on your side – once you are not needed, or you become an embarrassment…you’re expendable. They will cut you loose and feed you to the wolves.

So, people….please realize that although both of these are dramatizations of real life events….they tell the truth about how our governments work. Not just the US government, but ALL governments. Just like Lord Acton said back in the 1800’s, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think that is a very apt quote on which to end.

As usual, many thanks for reading/following/liking. And your comments are always welcome.

2040 the book and the film – review.

Australian Damon Gameau’s 2015 directorial debut, That Sugar Film became the highest grossing non-Imax Australian documentary in history. He’s back again in 2019 with a new doco-movie titled 2040 – where he looks at the problems associated with “Climate Change” and what we can do to not only stop the man made portion of it in it’s tracks, but help reverse the long term effects. It’s a positive and optimistic look at the technology and methods available today that can help to save tomorrow’s earth, so that in 2040 the problems caused by human action that have helped to create climate change, rising temperatures and rising sea levels, will have been conquered – by making sensible, smart changes now, in 2019 and beyond.

Concerned about what the future would look like for his 4 year old daughter, he set about looking into alternative solutions to today’s industrial problems interviewing a number of innovators – the movers and shakers in eco and alternative methods. The result is a surprisingly optimistic, glass half full view of tomorrow’s world – where 2040 is seen almost as a utopian vision rather than the doom and gloom predicted by today’s climate scientists.


The UN Climate Science paper of 2018 told the leaders of the world that we had very little time left to stop Climate Change becoming irreversible…..and yet almost 18 months later, world governments are still bickering over the fine print and for now it’s still more or less business as usual with the destruction of the rain forest, pollution of the world’s oceans, the belching out of fossil fuel smoke from power plants and transport, and Big AG farming methods – which rely on massive use of fertilizer and petro chemicals, which deplete the life in the soil rather than helping it thrive.

What I find frustrating is that Gameau’s movie shows us clearly that the answers to all our pollution problems are here today, available for use world wide, if only the powers that be would bite the bullet, change their ways and adopt them.

The movie is peppered with interviews with small children, being asked how they would like the future to look…..what they want to see. Of course kids being kids you do get a few asking for clouds that rain chocolate….but I was so impressed with some of their answers. Children today seem far more aware of what’s happening to the planet than I did as a kid. Their honesty and intelligence is quite humbling. They are the guardians of tomorrow’s earth – if only today’s decision makers leave them an earth worth looking after – and the sooner we allow them to take over, the better. We, my generation and those before, have totally fucked things up (pardon the language). For thousands of years we lived in harmony with nature and therefore with the earth…..we were part of the natural cycles. But for the last hundred, maybe hundred and fifty, years we have tried to dominate the earth and in doing so have wiped out millions of species and are gradually pushing ourselves toward extinction.

Link to the movie trailer is below. It’s only a couple of minutes, please take a look.


As I write this post, the Amazon rain forest, which we depend on for providing around 20% of the earths oxygen, is burning out of control. The oceans provide at least 50% of our oxygen. Depending on which set of figures you believe, ocean phytoplankton are responsible for between 50 and 70% of Earth’s oxygen production and yet we continue to pollute the oceans. It’s like we have a death wish as we pursue the god of money.

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The 2040 book is equally impressive and contains all of the information from the movie. There are lots of easy to follow ideas and instructions on what we can do as individuals in our own lives to make small changes in our daily routines that, with the participation of millions of others, can result in big changes and positive effects on the climate change problem. There are lots of colour photos and drawings that go along with the text to make it so easy to understand. The book is littered (pardon the pollution pun) with photos of the young kids who were interviewed along with little quotes from them.

When asked how they would like the future to look, here’s what some of them had to say:-

Stella who says “Well I’d like it to be human instinct to just look after the world and to care for the world”

Caden says “In the future I think people should find other ways to settle their problems instead of forcing each other around with guns”

Charlotte even said “Well, a lot of people text. Maybe we should talk face to face more. I’d probably like to see people less on electronics.”


Raahil points out that we don’t consider the consequences of our actions. “By 2040 I would like if people acknowledge that the factories they build hurt nature sometimes….like the things we produce, it can hurt the wildlife and it’s not good but people just ignore it.”


And finally Scarlett who points out our tardiness on fixing the problems we’ve created. “Well, I would like for the government to have done something on global warming and pollution as now I think they’re not really doing anything about it”.

So, as you can see, the kids know that there’s a problem and that it needs fixing urgently. They can’t understand that we adults are dragging our asses playing for time, when there may not be much time left. The kids see the problem, note that there is a solution to it and their first move would be to stop doing the things that cause pollution and the second thing would be to implement the new technology or methods required that have a positive effect on the earth. Simple. What the kids don’t take into consideration, or share our obsession about, is the economy….money and profits. They care about the earth, nature and human well-being.

The system we have is causing the problems so the sensible thing is to change the system…..OR to make changes within the system that negates the problems it currently creates.


The book also points out the methods that the corporations and big industry employ to create doubt about climate change science. For example in a three year period alone, Exxon spent $8.9 million and the Koch brothers $24 million on the dissemination of climate misinformation. They also set up and funded a range of groups, organisations and companies under different names to give the impression that there were lots of climate denial groups – when in fact they all stemmed from one or two base companies. A power company in New Orleans was caught paying actors with placards pretending to be “concerned citizens” who were supporting a new natural gas plant.

They always argue that Big Ag, (agriculture that produces mono-crops or animals in feed lots), can not change it’s farming methods, as they claim that those methods feed the world. But in fact Big Ag actually produces only about 20% of the worlds food and a lot of that is soy and sugar – particularly high fructose corn syrup that seems to find its way into so many manufactured ‘food like products’. Smaller family run farms with a diverse crop are the people who feed most of the worlds population. All the better if the farms are run on organic and regenerative methods.


Another argument the deniers use is that “the science isn’t settled”… and they wheel out a stream of fake “experts” to denounce climate change. This method almost worked for the tobacco industry saying that smoking and cancer were unrelated.


I don’t want to say too much more about either the movie or the book as it’s important for you guys to see and read for yourselves and to form your own opinions. I enjoyed, and was educated, by the book and the movie equally and would give each one 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope it’s been of some help.

No one is too small to make a difference – Greta Thunberg

This is not the post I had been planning on writing this morning. However, my wife Lizzie came home last night with a copy of Greta Thunberg’s book “No one is too small to make a difference”. It only costs NZ$7.00 and the money raised goes toward the Climate Crisis movement….so please buy a copy and help Greta to stand up for her generation….for all of us in fact.

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference cover art

Greta Thunberg was born in 2003. In August 2018 she decided not to go to school one day, starting a strike for climate outside the Swedish Parliament. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils, world wide, to go on strike for our planet. This action has earned Greta the prestigious Prix Liberte (Freedom Award) – Thunberg, 16, is the first recipient of this new award, which was designed to honor a young person ‘engaged in a fight for peace and freedom’.- as well as a Nobel Peace prize nomination. Greta has Asperger’s, and considers it a gift which has enabled her to see the climate crisis ‘in black and white’.

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference is Greta’s first book in English, collecting her speeches from climate rallies across Europe to audiences at the UN, the World Economic Forum, and the British Parliament. She is not afraid to hold the older generation responsible for the mess our planet is in. She is not afraid to call out governments and corporations to act responsibly and to help to clean up the mess that they have created, or have allowed to be created, all in the name of the mighty dollar…for profit in financial terms, and to hell with the environment on which we all depend for life itself.

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She is an amazing, caring, passionate, intelligent and very responsible little girl with a huge heart who deserves our respect and our support, so please buy the book….or at least read it….or view/listen to her speeches on Youtube – link below – and join in the fight for the survival of the earth and all life, (including your own), on it. The corporate world hate her and fear her – every time she speaks to an audience, more and more people get on board to help the climate crisis cause – so they try to discredit her, belittle her for her ‘simplistic ideals’ and accuse her parents of manipulating her. There have also been personal attacks linked to her autism and her physique. It is pathetic to attack a child who’s only interest is to save the earth which we all – even the corporate executives – depend on for life.

I can’t wait for her to become of voting age…to see politically where it will take her. This young lady will go far. Click on the link below to hear her speak.

I would be delighted if any other bloggers would like to share this blog post to help to get the word out about Greta and her quest. She, we, and our planet, need all the help we can muster. Many thanks.

Noam Chomsky and the “War on Terror” – a look at 2 books of interviews with the great man.

I recently read 2 books of interviews about Noam Chomsky’s take on 9/11 and the events that followed. Here is a brief summary.

Most people will know of Chomsky. He is a well known political activist/commentator, writer and professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT, where he started teaching in 1955. He has written and lectured on many subjects including linguistics, philosophy and politics. He’s not a man who skirts around the issue and has been quite scathing of his countries role in world wide terrorism.

He states that as far as the government of the USA is concerned, terrorism is what is done by others to the united states….not something that the USA actively participates in. He then goes on to name many of the terror events that America has wrought upon other nations around the world in the name of “Freedom & Democracy”…. and what hypocrites the government have been over the years.

The USA have ignored World Court ruling on several occasions. Have gone against United Nations resolutions designed to bring peace to troubled parts of the world and have instead chosen to act unilaterally rather than side with its traditional allies. They refused to sign the Kyoto climate change agreement and more recently pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. They have violated many treaties to further their own global dominance. They have overthrown foreign governments that were opposed to the USA and installed puppet governments in their place….often these puppets becoming dictators who violate the human rights of their citizens…..get too big for their own boots and are in turn kicked out/replaced by the USA again. Thus is their revolving door foreign policy.

It was the Clinton administration back in 1993 that informed the U.N. that the U.S. “will – as before – act multilaterally when possible but unilaterally when necessary” and they have been choosing to ignore their friends and allies ever since in order to pursue their own ends. Bush continued this stance. The USA has become the playground bully. They took over the mantel from Britain, who’s empire crumbled after becoming almost bankrupt as a result of the 6 years of fighting in World War 2.

Since becoming “Top Dog”, the USA has been a quite ruthless bully. It takes war to other countries quite happily, but then becomes shocked and outraged when someone attacks them. September 11 2001 was the first time since the war of 1812 that America’s national territory had been under attack….by which I mean mainland USA, so not taking into consideration the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour back in 1941. Having said that, Hawaii did not become an official US State until 1959.

So, the attack on the Twin Towers was a shock to the system for the USA. They over-reacted, a knee jerk reaction – and committed themselves to the “war on terror” and the needless attack on Iraq….who had nothing to do with the attack in the first place.

A war usually takes place between two or more nations. What happened on September 11 was a crime….not an act of war. It should have been treat as a crime – an act of terrorism perhaps, but a crime all the same. A thorough, non-biased investigation would have helped rather than leaping to the conclusion that somehow Osama Bin Laden from a cave somewhere in Afghanistan had done this horrendous deed and that some how the Iraqi’s were also implicated.

With the majority of the “terrorists” linked to the attack being of Saudi nationality, if a war was going to be declared and retribution taken it should therefore have been against Saudi Arabia…..so why attack Iraq and the Libya? The answer was to overthrow the government of the day – neither of which were friends of the USA, although both at points in the past had been recipients of military aid from the USA…when it had suited the USA to befriend and prop up these dictatorships. So, the “War on Terror” was declared as a smokescreen to mask US foreign policy decisions. Bush, incidentally, originally called it a “Crusade” but on advice corrected this to the war on terror, as crusade brings to mind religious ideals and ethnic cleansing.

But it was not a War on Terrorism – it was a politically motivated means of gaining control of the middle east and its oil supplies. By attacking Muslim targets, the USA fell straight into Bin Laden’s trap. Their actions, in attacking the Muslim world, enraged even the most peaceful followers of the Islamic faith…..creating no end of would be terrorists.

It’s not only in the war on terror that the USA is culpable in the deaths of innocents. Their economic foreign policies – sanctions – against countries who fail to comply with the USA’s “requests” have been responsible for ending trade between allies of the USA and a number of “victimised” nations. For example they stop aid and trade with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya bringing about death by starvation of millions of civillians – half of which are children. When asked if it was worth these deaths in order for the USA to maintain its political dominance the reply from the Whitehouse…..yes it is.

Such is US foreign policy. In reality the world is full of “grey areas” and yet to the USA policy makers it’s black or white – “you’re either with us or agin’ us” – as they used to say in those old B movie westerns – ….and we retain the right to change our policies, and our friends, as we choose, when we see fit to.

Getting back to Chomsky’s books….In the September 11 book, he was asked if he thought that Bush’s “War on Terrorism” was winnable. His response – I’d love to copy straight from the book, but don’t want to infringe copyright laws so I’ll paraphrase.

He says that in much of the world, the USA is seen as THE leading terrorist state and with good reason. In 1986 they were condemned by the World Court for “unlawful use of force” (international terrorism) – and they were told to adhere to international law. They ignored the World Court on that occasion, as they have done on other matters since. The USA are a rule to themselves and damn anyone who disagrees with them. When terrorist events occur, we should try to reduce any further threat rather than escalate it by knee jerk reactions such as bombing sovereign nations without evidence. When the IRA bombs went off in London and other places in the UK, there was no call by the British government to bomb west Belfast….or to attack the financial backers of this terrorism in Boston – an Irish stronghold. Rather, steps were taken to gather evidence and to take the criminals responsible into custody…..and efforts were also made to remedy the reasons behind the attacks. When the Oklahoma bombings occurred, calls were made immediately to bomb the middle east. It was only when it became clear that the terrorist was domestic…a white US citizen….with links to white nationalism that it didn’t go ahead. BUT there were no calls to bomb Montana or any other state with strong links to the perpetrator. Go back to the 1980’s and the USA “involvement” in Nicaragua. Tens of thousands of civilians died in Nicaragua as a result of violent assault by US forces. This terrorist attack by the USA also brought about the start of an economic war in which a small country like Nicaragua could not compete – it devastated the country and it’s never really recovered. The World Court ordered the USA to stop its actions immediately and to pay reparations to make up for their crime. As usual, the USA ignored the judgement, dismissing it with contempt, upping its destructive actions in Nicaragua. Did Nicaragua respond by sending terrorists to Washington? No…the went to the UN security council and asked them to intervene. The security council put forward a resolution calling on all states to observe international law. The U.S. alone vetoed it. They then went to the General Assembly where this time Israel, USA’s puppy state also opposed a similar resolution to obey international law. These are just a few of many many examples where the USA has dismissed international law and opinion and gone its own “lone wolf” way. It makes it’s own rules because no one else is big enough or powerful enough to make them act responsibly. If that doesn’t define what a Bully is, nothing does.

In his other book “Power and Terror”, Chomsky, as he has done many times in the past, places the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the context of American foreign intervention throughout the postwar decades – in Vietnam, Central America, the middle east and elsewhere. Beginning with the fundamental principle that the exercise of violence against civilian populations is terror, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a well organized band of Muslim extremists or the most powerful state in the world. Chomsky, in uncompromising terms, challenges the United States to apply to its own actions the moral standards it demands of others.

In the book, Chomsky compares US policy with that of Nazi Germany – as an indicator of the current moral and intellectual culture in which we live. He says that it’s something that we should be very concerned about and continues…. The acts of terror that the USA have brought to Central America, the Middle East and certain parts of Africa – they don’t count as Terror. The USA and the west as a whole see these actions as a “just war” or as “counter-terror”. But the same thing gets carried out by foreign parties against the USA or its allies, and it is “most certainly an act of terrorism”. This idea is not something new. It has been the standard line throughout the whole history of European imperialism. The USA are simply carrying on this tradition. So, they do it to us and it’s an act of terror….we do it to them and it’s a just war, it’s counter-terrorism, it’s a civilizing mission, it’s democracy in action, it’s bringing “freedom” to the oppressed. It’s bullshit… but it’s true with even the worst killers in history. If you read Nazi literature, in occupied Europe, they claimed to be quote -defending the population and the legitimate governments against the terror of the partisans (freedom fighters) who were controlled from abroad – close quote. The USA does the same things in modern times by propping up dysfunctional (but friendly to the USA) dictatorships to prevent rebels/freedom fighters/political opponents – call them what you will – from changing the government. It’s happened with El Salvador, Turkey, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Syria (where we have changed sides too many times to be credible)….the list goes on. But lets just take Columbia as an example.

In the 1990’s Colombia’s human rights record was the worst in the hemisphere and yet the USA gave more aid, including military aid, to the Colombian government than to the rest of the nations in the hemisphere combined. Mass murders were committed by government forces (including an incident where chainsaws were used to kill civilians) as evidenced by mass graves. Colombia also had, at that time and beyond, the world record in killing trade unionists and journalists – political murders ran between 10 and 20 per day and thousands of people went “missing” every month. Over 2 million fled the country while other civilians were pushed out of their homes to find refuge in slums without proper sanitation, schools or even the most basic of health care……and yet the USA financed this government, because it suited their short/mid term political and strategic goals. This is the moral decay that Chomsky fears has taken over modern political life.

He doesn’t only condemn the USA in “Power and Terror” – he also has a go at other world powers who, over the years have committed politically motivated atrocities (Britain included). Notable mentions were the German government of Nazi Germany before and during world war 2 – particularly the genocide of the Jews and Romanies – and also the actions of the Chinese government which brought about the deaths – through starvation, due to politically motivated decisions – of 25 million of its citizens.

Both books make interesting and compelling reading….depressing as they are. This is politics as it really is….dirty, low and evil – anything goes as long as we maintain the upper hand.

We owe a debt of thanks to professor Chomsky for being courageous enough to criticize his own and other rogue governments in this manner and to help us see beyond the smoke and mirrors of modern politics usually brought to us by the “bought and paid for” media.

I read things such as these two books from reliable sources like Noam Chomsky and realize that some of the “far fetched conspiracy theories” circulating on line or in publications such as the magazine “Uncensored” are maybe not so wide of the mark after all. It’s a strange and scary world in which to live and yet Chomsky remains upbeat and optimistic that the world is a more “civilized” place than it used to be. Perhaps as the end note of Power and Terror says – “his optimism sustains his life long mission: to bring the facts to the public, in the faith that, armed with knowledge, they will not fail to act”.

Noam Chomsky – on Terrorism

Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT – political activist, writer. I am in the process of reading 2 of his books relating to the 9/11 attacks. One is called simply “September 11″… and the other is called “Power and Terror” – post 9/11 talks and interviews.

I will do a review of the books in a few days time. Meantime, here are a few quotes from Professor Chomsky concerning Terrorism…..and the role the USA plays in it.

Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”

It’s only terrorism if they do it to us. When we do much worse to them, it’s not terrorism.”

The number of people killed by the sanctions in Iraq is greater than the total number of people killed by all weapons of mass destruction in all of history.”

Violence can succeed, as Americans know well from the conquest of the national territory. But at terrible cost. It can also provoke violence in response, and often does.”

Time to accept responsibility. Silent Spring – Silent People – Silent Planet.

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27th September 1962 was the day that Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was published. It documented the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting the industry’s marketing claims unquestioningly. Since then, things have undoubtedly become worse for the environment. Governments are in the pockets of large corporations. The tail is wagging the dog. Disinformation and profit at all cost is King.

Yes there are small pockets of environmentalist minded people, organic farmers and the like who strive to do the right thing for our planet. BUT most individuals and governments alike turn a blind eye because to do otherwise would affect companies profit margins, drive down share prices, countries economies and our (in the western nations) comfortable lifestyles. But at what cost?

The scientists at the U.N. tell us we have 11 years left to make the changes needed to prevent the planet heating past it’s tipping point. The climate, weather, temperature of this planet we call Earth is regulated by the ice-caps and by ocean currents. Once the ice has melted, it’s game over. The temperature rise will be rapid and without control and it is projected to rise beyond 60 degrees C….some scientists say beyond 80 degrees C. Meat will cook at 50 degrees. Think about that for a moment.

Others claim we have less time than that to make the rapid changes we need to make to survive….even as little as three years. YET, turn on the TV and we are still being bombarded with advertisements to buy, buy , buy. Keep that consumerism wheel turning like the hamsters in a cage that we are! Gotta have the latest gadget. New and improved. Chuck the old one in the landfill.

The project of promoting maximum economic growth is the most vulgar ideal ever put before suffering humankind. And yet we have taken it on board totally. Because it’s easier than fighting it.

I find it strange that there is a multi-nationally funded study in place to scan the universe to check for possible earth bound asteroids that may impact the earth creating conditions for extinction – something that could happen in the time that you could snap of your fingers. Whoosh, boom and goodnight!

At the same time we are, and have been it seems, quite happy to allow the slow creation of the same extinction environment over the last few decades. We have one decade left – if we are lucky – to prevent this……so why are companies and governments still pushing the growth economy and consumerism? And why are we following blindly along? For fucks sake wake up! Look around you at all your “stuff” – the products of the throw away/disposable society. It’s all unnecessary rubbish. You don’t actually need it. The products made these days are made to break down after a certain time frame so you have to buy new ones, updated ones – so we simply throw the old ones away. But there is no AWAY. It all stays here….polluting the planet.

Meantime, the banks give us loans and credit cards – those magical square bits of plastic – that mean we can buy more and more stuff today and worry about actually paying for them tomorrow, or next year….add mortgages that run for 30 years, an economy that favours the rich and pushes down the poor, and we are totally trapped and in debt to the system. 99% of us are slaving away to pay for the profits and lifestyle of the 1% at the top of the food chain, wrecking the environment and creating extinction conditions in the process. Oh well done Human Race….great way to show our intellectual superiority.

We seem prepared to trade our lives and the lives of all species on the planet for something that is an artifice – money and the economy are simply a cunning trick, falsehoods. They are like the emperors new clothes – they don’t exist – don’t really have a real value. We can live without them…we used to live without them for thousands of years. We can’t however live without clean air, clean water or healthy soil to grow our food – FACT!

The kids know this, but us dumb adults who run things – and ruin things – are still following blindly on because we can’t turn away from “progress”. How the hell can we call what we are doing to the planet…what we are inflicting on the planet and everything on it “PROGRESS?” It’s the kids who will suffer the most. Your children, your grand children will look at you when it’s all too late and ask “why didn’t you do something to stop this madness?” Are you prepared for that? Will you accept responsibility for your complacency? Will you be able to look them in the eye and honestly say “I did everything that I could”?????

27th September 2019 – the 57th anniversary of Carson’s book is the day that the kids want us to join them in a world wide general strike. A bid to force corporations and governments to listen to them…and to us….and to make them realise that change is needed NOW. Follow the link here for details https://www.earth-strike.com/

Do something to make your kids and grand-kids proud of you. Rise up. Join in the protest. Protest to Survive. For the sake of the planet, for your sake and for theirs.

Please watch this video of 16 year old Swedish school-girl Greta Thunberg’s emotional plea to the politicians. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWsM9-_zrKo