"Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that The State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." : Arthur Miller playwright

You don't have to be as astute as Miller to recognise evidence for what it is, as in Kipling's 'The Great Game'.



See too by Neil Clark 16th April 2014:

'I'm Confused, Can Anyone Help Me?'



I N T R O...

(This article written by Phil Clarke in 2005)

Don't be alarmed! The following is not a rant - at least, it's not intended to be - that is, not just yet; it's merely a few observations that illuminate an otherwise obscure phenomenon which, for the sake of simplicity, I'll call 'instilled befuddlement'. This is an insidiously inculcated sense of ignorance, insignificance, and powerlessness. It is prevalent in all society generally, but is at its most lethal in regard to our relationship to the political Establishment.


Anyone who regularly reads my scripts will know that I'm apt to bang on about how lousy, corrupt and incompetent our government is - that is, at managing things to suit us public rather than at serving the interests of bignut investors and the corporate enterprises they own. And the same, amplified many times over - it hardly needs adding - applies to our overlords: the US neo-con aspirants to corporate global domination come-what-may - which spells: OBLIVION!

Well, the truth is that when some years ago I first began to take an interest in these issues, and to look into them in some detail, I wasn't at all confident in my conclusions. They were just so improbable, astounding, horrendous, insane… "This is absurd," I thought, "I'm being naïve, simplistic; I don't know the facts; I have no experience in this area; how can a dunderhead like me have a clue what's really going on in those elevated echelons that merely seem so inept, incompetent and pointlessly aggressive? How can such an ignorant, inexperienced blitherer, hardly even a novice, possibly understand the immense intricacies of global trade or power struggles, of international law, and so on?"

In those days I used to wonder why people in charge in the various countries didn't just talk, hammer out differences round a table, compromise, have a drink together - if not for their own pleasure then for everyone else's. After all, wasn't that what they were paid for, and paid very handsomely too? Even that great blackguard Churchill, who (though indisputably a rogue) was luckily just the right type in the right place at the right time, is reputed to have declared: "Jaw, jaw; not war, war." Or was that propaganda to win-over the meek?

Anyhow, the point is that we, all of us, are trained to think that we can't understand the reasoning of government - other than a broad outline perhaps. We're brought up to believe that we shouldn't even be enlightened to this reasoning - it would only confuse us anyway - and that those in power will always, by necessity, know things that we don't. We are even led to imagine that our 'leaders' have qualities that make them exceptional in some way, almost super-human (to a few perceptive individuals who base their view on practical criteria rather than propaganda, they appear sub-human). But most of us are conditioned to accept an inferior status, a level of ignorance, and an unwitting role as their benefactors. We are, like willing slaves, entirely at the mercy of their misinformation…

If this is all true, then is it any wonder they get away with so much so easily - squandering vast sums of our money, committing genocide in our name, plundering, obliterating… scarcely to consider the pressures they force onto third world countries to buy our arms, privatise their utilities so that western moguls can exploit them, and otherwise dominate their economies and everything else? Is it any wonder we, like robots, watch with complete helplessness, if not indifference, these outrageous, subversive activities take place in our name?

Will we ever wake up to the fact that these corporate political 'leaders' of ours don't give a button for any of us, third world, first world, whatever? Isn't it obvious that if they can retain the status quo, and keep us just sweet enough to avert mass civil unrest, then that's all they want? But if by some fluke we did awaken, we would surely ask: who the hell do these megalomaniacs think they are, pretending to serve us while actually seizing control? And then, seeing that they are nothing more than psychopaths (or corporate stooges) on the make, grasping and swindling their way to power, we'd surely revolt… wouldn't we?

It's my guess, we wouldn't even flinch.

But supposing we did; supposing we did take action and called a national strike or attended repeated mass demonstrations? Well, then the media propaganda circus would be wheeled out, together with establishment commentators; there'd be endless interviews and documentaries on radio and TV proclaiming that allegations of government incompetence were misplaced and erroneous. The effort to restore public compliance would be enormous, no expense would be spared to reassure us that the government really does care, really does value our 'welfare', our 'freedom'.

Well, tosh! The truth is that, if we did but know and accept it, one of the Establishment's chief self-assigned tasks is to keep us politically ignorant. Otherwise why don't they teach it to kids? Can you imagine a schoolteacher declaring: "Politics is purely a mechanism designed to manage, subdue and conceal the perpetual war between rich idlers and poor workers."? Another self-assigned task of the Establishment is to keep the masses financially on the edge - like an employer who pays the workers a minimum below which he knows they'll resign (at least for unskilled and semiskilled jobs).

After many years of practical observation and reading from all kinds of sources, I have found no other option but to conclude as above: ie, that those in power are actually precisely as I suspected when I first began to consider the issue: inept, treacherous, and impervious to attack or even persuasion to go easy on their more feeble kin.

Despite this, I suppose the question of gullibility remains - I might have thought that my reasoning must be absurdly simplistic to conclude that the real motives for invading Iraq, for instance, were to plunder the oil, grasp regional power, and appease Israel's hatred of Iraqis into the bargain - because these seemed so manifestly obvious; they made sense. Yet however hard I tried, wherever I looked, I could not unearth a single alternative explanation that stood the test of truth. The politicians, those corporate 'leaders', dished up their hollow lies day in day out. But every reference, every report, every source, merely confirmed and consolidated the opposite, as was already palpably evident.

Why did I, why do so many of us, doubt their own eyes, their own senses? Is it so hard to believe that our 'leaders' can commit such acts as they do in the pursuit of power and profit? It's nothing new, after all.

Six months before the invasion of Iraq, I found an authentic website containing leaked Pentagon papers that proved the non-existence of WMD in Iraq - since, I think, 1995. I found reports from well-known, seasoned sources, reporters and commentators (with reputations to maintain, and who were often there on the ground), which verified over and again my suspicions. Some of these individuals had sifted and analysed official documents, investigated and interviewed those involved… again, all the results supported what was patently clear from the start.

I confess, to begin with, I was guessing, taking cues from intuition and recent past events; for instance, from the 1950s US bombing of Guatemala City because the elected government there demanded fair wages for their workers at the United Fruit Company - a giant US corporation that had moved in there and was bleeding the country dry. There were many more examples, dozens in fact, most notably Vietnam; they are listed and described in detail on several websites, and in several books (ie, Bill Blum and Mike Moore). How could an awareness of these historical facts fail to produce misgivings in anyone?

You may not believe this, but I remember taking the 11-plus. (I'm going back 45-years here! - and this is entirely relevant). I remember - like I must have a slightly photographic memory - I remember several pages of that test. They come into my brain as easily as yesterday. There was a question that returns to me very clearly about cubes. At the time I'd never heard the word 'cube', and had no idea what one was. It said: "If 3 one-inch cubes are placed on top of one another, how high would the result be?" There was a whole page, maybe several pages, of questions like this, each using different figures or orientations of cubes. I thought: "Whatever a cube is, and three one-inch ones are placed together, then that would make 3-inches. A five-year-old would know that. Which means a cube must be something more complicated - because they wouldn't ask such a stupidly simple question in a test like this. So whatever the answer, it can't be 3." I've no idea what I put, probably I left it blank.

There were other questions, I recall, about money; page after page of them: "What is ½ of £1?… What is ¾ of £1?" In those days £1 was 20-shillings, and there were 12-pence in a shilling. Also, something costing 3-shillings and 4-pence would have the price label 3/4d written on it - often without the 'd'. (ie, L s d - pounds, shillings, pence - Latin: librae = pounds, solidi, denarii - roman coins). Also, in those days, our teachers only ever wrote fractions with the oblique as a horizontal line, which I can't reproduce here. This meant that when I saw the question: "What is ½ of £1?" or "What is ¾ of £1?", I thought: "Well, half a pound is ten bob (shillings); everyone knows that. And three-quarters is fifteen bob - nothing could be simpler! But that's not the question. Can't be. Much too easy - everyone would get it right… even the stupidest kid. No, the question must be - because see how it's written -: How many times does 1/2d (one-shilling and two-pence) go into £1? Answer: 17 (with 2d short); And: how many times does 3/4d go into £1? Answer: exactly 6! - I remember feeling very pleased that 3-shillings and 4-pence went exactly 6-times, with no remainder.

So what I fell for here was precisely the trick which, as we get older, we are more and more prone to fall for: the mistaken belief that the truth is far too complex for us simple ordinary folk to possibly understand. And so, over and again, just as those staggeringly simple questions in the 11-plus caught me out, we are hoodwinked by our own erroneous expectation of complexity - which in so many subtle ways, as I've said, we are insidiously taught throughout our lives to assume.

See just the last 90-seconds of this 8-min 40-sec Youtube Chomsky interview.

As I've said, regular readers of this site already know I tend to plug away - a bit too much I guess - at revealing these simple and obvious facts about the way our political (and practical) world is developing… or should that be: deteriorating? Last month was no exception. But what I said (and is said also, day after day, by reporters on znet and the multitude of similar sites) was almost identically said a day later - though in more articulate language - by Ron Jacobs (who, I admit, I don't recall hearing of before; which doesn't mean I haven't previously read his reports…). But he was so concise that I've decided to reproduce here just the brief opening and closing paragraphs of his report - with the web address of the full version in the middle (just in case you're interested):

The Terrorism of War

By Ron Jacobs

04/06/05 - - Burlington, Vermont - - Since US planes first started bombing the mountains and plains of Afghanistan back in October 2001, we have heard and read plenty about the US "war on terrorism." As has become quite apparent to those who aren't blinded by the rulers' propaganda, this war has very little to do with defeating terrorism and much to do with attempting to establish permanent US domination of the world and its resources. Like the Athenian, Roman, and British empires before it, the US government and the interests it serves need easy and unchallenged access to resources, labor and markets to maintain not only a certain margin of growth (which means profit), but to continue to exist…

2174 words removed. For full article see:

Our foreign policy has been decided by oil companies, Wall Street, and the politicians who serve them, for too long. If the world is to survive, the US can no longer act as if the world is its real estate. It is essential that we put human needs before corporate desires. A fact that should be better understood than it is, is that the drive for profit is not only bad for the earth's environment and its people, it puts the American people in real danger. Bombing and fighting wars against other countries (or groups within those countries) only makes the situation worse.

This essay originally appeared in a different form in the Alternative Press Review, Issue 16

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden.


Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs.... gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far.

Cindy Sheehan: Gold Star Families For Peace

So this is how it is, this is what we have come to - inconceivable a few years ago, yet now so clear. And this is the consequence of what we elect in our sham democracy: voting these days is like grabbing a little mat for the helter-skelter to annihilation - choose any colour: green, orange, red, blue or mauve (softest first), by various convoluted routes they lead to same destination. It reminds me of a film I once saw (whose title eludes me) where a US airman, so ebullient and bedazzled by the sheer zest of his mission to blast the enemy to hell, that he actually climbs onto a missile and rides it, horseback style, to his own oblivion too as it is detached from a bomber over - I think - Vietnam in the sixties. This is what we are doing now - though most of us, so far as I can tell, are not feeling particularly ebullient at the prospects that await us - or, more especially, our progeny.

As even war-criminal Rumsfeld observed: if it looks like a duck… etc, then maybe it IS a duck. We are so used to lies and deceit that we can no longer recognise truth (which of course never emanates in full, if at all, from a politician or Establishment reporter) - and this, now, is what those who rule us are gambling on. So don't let them fog your brain any more! (A vain hope...)