Here are a few of the BIG lies used to support the status quo. What we need, rather urgently, is a counter-narrative
LIE 1. The earth is an open system with infinite supplies and sinks;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Earth is a closed system, changes that used to take 10,000 years now take three, humanity is “peaking” the entire system.
LIE 2. Everything must be monetized;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Money is an exchange unit and an information unit; in the absence of holistic analytics and “true cost” transparency, mony is actually a toxic means of concentrating wealth and depriving communities of their own resources (e.g. land).
LIE 3. The extreme unregulated free market is the only option for a modern economy;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Information asymmetries and “rule by secrecy” have been clearly documented–the free market is neither free nor fair. A modern economy needs to be transparent, resilient, and hence rooted in the local.
I think the best description of Robert Gates is that he is a very smart bureaucrat who exemplifies the concept of go along to get along. He demonstrated this admirably in his farewell ‘warning’ as reported in the Wall Street Journal. This was a “guns or butter” speech designed to reassure the defense industrial complex that the safety of the U.S. will depend on the continued acquisition of pointless complex and expensive weapons systems.
Rather interestingly in this speech Gates ignored two pieces of information that might have caused him to reconsider his advocacy of super weapons systems.
Robert M. Gates is one of those people the Beltway Consensus refers to as a “serious adult”: not overtly partisan, measured in his pronouncements, possessed of actual knowledge about the job he has been charged to do. The adulation he has received is certainly understandable if we grade on a curve; his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, established an Olympic record for petty vanity, nasty abrasiveness, and disastrous professional judgment. Such a collective sigh of relief greeted Rumsfeld’s departure that his successor was bound to shine in comparison.
But what of Gates’s record on his own merits? He is given to making such comments as, “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.” A normal person would infer that he is opposed to the types of military intervention that have contributed significantly to a near-bankruptcy of the country. Yet in practice he has taken concrete measures to protract the very problem he professes to deplore.
Phi Beta Iota: Mr. Ferguson is correct on his four factors, but leaves out much more. The loss of integrity across not just the US Government but across every major “tribe” comprising the US nation-state (see our “Paradigms of Failure” and also “Legitimate Grievances“) is the root problem Within that is the collapse of education, the ruthless export of jobs that could have been kept in the USA if infrastructure had been developed properly, the looming private debt collapse (defaults of credit cards and everything else), and the deep social challenge of dealing with several hundred thousand returning veterans who are mentally and physically ill, facing unemployment, and rapidly discovering that their pain and suffering was for nothing.
The Tehran Peace Conference started on 14 May and ended today, 15 May, (63rd Anniversary of Palestine’s Nakbah ) with me chairing the 7:30 am panel entitled, “Terrorism: Concepts and Contexts.” Members of the Clergy from Brazil, Greece, and the U.S. made presentations as well as international lawyers, academicians, and peace activists from Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, Ghana, and Bolivia. My assignment is to write up my report of each of the presentations and submit the recommendations from the panel to the Conference Secretariat.
On Day One of the Opening Plenary with journalist Jim Lobe seated on my right and Rabbis Weiss and Rosenberg sitting in front of me, I was surprised when my name was called to make a presentation at the opening plenary of the Tehran Peace Tribune. I immediately set about writing my remarks and here is what I said:
International Conference on Global Alliance Against Terrorism for a Just Peace
15 May 2011
How wonderful to be at a Conference where the word “love” is used; we are here because we love humankind. We are here from all corners of the earth; we are against terrorism; we want peace.
However, we must clarify peace. What kind of peace do we want?
President John F. Kennedy answered his question by saying: “. . . not a Pax Americana” imposed on the world by weapons of war. He went on to say that the kind of peace we want is the kind of peace that makes life worth living–peace for all men and women for all time.
No Justice, No Peace. No Truth, No Justice!
But, today, U.S. policy is rooted in lies, injustice, and war. And at home, the people of the U.S. suffer. Racism is acute, despite and maybe because of President Obama; hatred is rampant with hatred of Muslims, incarceration of Palestinians, targeting of immigrants, the lynchings of Blacks, disappearances of Latinos, and the pauperization of the people. People inside the U.S. are under attack in the realm of policy: