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After Assange’s Arrest, Ecuador’s Creep Towards Authoritarianism Becomes a Sprint

Ecuador | Protest

After Assange’s Arrest, Ecuador’s Creep Towards Authoritarianism Becomes a Sprint

The recent violation of Assange’s rights as both political asylee and citizen of Ecuador sends a chilling message to Ecuadorians who are being increasingly targeted for their political views both within Ecuador and abroad.

QUITO, ECUADOR — Last week, Ecuador’s government gravely undermined not only its own national sovereignty but international refugee and asylum laws by allowing U.K. police into its London embassy to arrest then-Ecuadorian citizen, Ecuadorian asylee, and journalist Julian Assange. 

As has been observed by many analysts, the shocking yet somewhat anticipated decision has shown that Ecuador’s government — led by Lenín Moreno — is willing to play fast and loose with its domestic laws, as well as international law, if it stands to benefit Moreno and his increasingly unpopular administration, whose approval rating now hovers at around 30 percent

In the hours that followed Assange’s disturbing arrest, which saw him dragged from the embassy by British police, Ecuador’s government has wasted no time in taking actions that are not only highly troubling but show Moreno’s willingness to embrace fascist tactics in his desperate bid to silence dissent. 

Indeed, a key factor in Moreno’s decision to revoke Assange’s asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship, was alleged to be Moreno’s rage at WikiLeaks — the organization Assange founded but no longer runs — for simply retweeting and spreading information regarding the burgeoning INA Papers corruption scandal, which centers around an offshore bank account in Panama linked to Moreno and his family. Notably, the firestorm of media coverage around Assange’s violent removal from the embassy has distracted from the media coverage of the scandal.

The witch hunt begins

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On liberal authoritarianism

On liberal authoritarianism

Bowing to the authority of experts saps the lifeblood of democracy.

If liberal principles seem threatened, it is only because they have been so successful. Look more carefully at American, British or European Union politics, and it is hard to find any viable alternatives to liberalism even in its supposed moment of peril. Donald Trump spews forth an endless stream of illiberal invective, but even as the US president, at one point holding majorities in both Houses of Congress, he has been unwilling or unable to roll back the liberal agenda in any meaningful way. Liberalism is, after all, based on the idea that individual liberty is the highest political virtue – and who doesn’t love liberty? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ These were the words that created the United States of America, and ultimately the global liberal order.

But over time the kinds of liberties demanded by liberals have evolved and expanded. They have shifted from a historical focus on ‘negative’ freedoms toward a contemporary focus on ‘positive’ rights. The philosophical construction of the concept of liberty is contentious and convoluted, but there is an obvious and intuitive difference between the simple freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution (freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and the press) and the expansive rights promised by Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (rights to food, clothing, housing, medical care, social services, unemployment insurance and social security). 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Localisation: A strategic solution to globalised authoritarianism

Ladakhi girls. Photo credit: Helena Norberg-Hodge

Localisation: A strategic solution to globalised authoritarianism

For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again?

From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialised and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalisation. When I say globalisation, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalisation goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.

Under globalisation, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a liveable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure.

As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit. But people today are targeted by more than just marketing campaigns for deodorants and tooth polish: insecurity leaves them highly vulnerable to propaganda that encourages them to blame the cultural “other” for their plight.

Let me illustrate how this happened in Ladakh, or Little Tibet, where I first visited as a young woman and where I have worked for over four decades. Situated in the Indian Himalayas, Ladakh was relatively isolated—culturally and economically—until the late 1960s. When I arrived in the early 70s, a campaign of Western-style development had just been launched by the Indian government — giving me the opportunity to experience what still remained of the ancient culture, and to observe the changes that came with modernisation.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Facebook Is An Intolerant Authoritarian Organization That Suppresses Free Speech

Facebook Is An Intolerant Authoritarian Organization That Suppresses Free Speech

Facebook Is An Intolerant Authoritarian Organization That Suppresses Free Speech

Facebook, Twitter, Google are information monopolies that intentionally violate the US Constitution’s protected First Amendment right. These organizations are evil and they are destroying the public’s right to know. These organizations should be nationalized without compensation and put under the governance of known and committed defenders of the First Amendment. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are inconsistent with a free society. They are functionaries in Big Brother’s police state.

If an investigative journalist looked into these organizations, I believe many links to the CIA and deep state would be found.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/technology/inside-facebook-employees-political-bias.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/30/facebook-engineer-stunning-admission-we-tear-down-posters-welcoming-trump-supporters.html

Read more:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/31/facebook-censorship-mad-ben-nimmo-and-atlantic-council.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/29/social-media-giants-enter-nato-service.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/27/facebook-kills-inauthentic-foreign-news-accounts-us-propaganda-stays-alive.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/14/four-person-nato-funded-team-advises-facebook-flagging-propaganda.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/05/24/facebook-partners-with-hawkish-atlantic-council-nato-lobby-group-protect-democracy.html

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/30/how-facebook-etc.-suppress-key-truths.html

Vicious Cycle: How Government “Solutions” Spiral into Bigger Problems

The Hydra serpent with many heads

Vicious Cycle: How Government “Solutions” Spiral into Bigger Problems

Government creates a problem. Government becomes more authoritarian to solve that problem. This creates more problems. Government becomes even more authoritarian…

This is basically the story of the war on drugs, the oppression of teens, the wars in the middle east, every bubble, burst, and bailout, ad infinitum.

Where the government intervenes, you can be sure that bigger problems will spring forth.

Like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, two more serpent heads sprout each time one is severed.

Denmark Considers Draconian Measures to Assimilate Immigrants

European countries have been quite liberal in accepting immigrants from the middle-east. In itself, this is not a problem. But the countries also liberally dole out public benefits, costing taxpayers ballooning sums to support the new population.

But now many countries want to attach strings after the fact.

Denmark has proposed new rules that could land immigrant parents in prison if they take their children on extended vacations to their homeland which interfere with schooling. The legislation leaves “extended” open to interpretation.

Other rules require children from any of 25 identified “ghettos” to attend 30 hours of daycare per week until age six. Parents will lose welfare benefits if their kids miss too much school.

Another rule would make penalties for the same crime in certain areas. So if you shoplift in a predominantly Danish area of a city, you might get a fine, while a shoplifter from a predominantly Muslim area could get jail time.

All of this is an attempt to integrate new immigrants. It is a backlash from vastly different cultures clashing.

But why would the government of Denmark think forced integration would produce the desired results? It seems more likely to produce a counter-backlash from immigrants who resent having different rules than the Danes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump’s Trade Tantrum: On Tipping Points and Authoritarian Peril

Trump’s Trade Tantrum: On Tipping Points and Authoritarian Peril

Photo by Graham C99 | CC BY 2.0

The Tangerine Tosser’s triple trade tiff – with China, the European Union, and the United States’ NAFTA partners (Canada and Mexico) – has the potential to spark an American and global economic meltdown.  Classic signs of a coming collapse have been evident for some time: wage stagnation for the many alongside skyrocketing wealth for the ever more absurdly opulent few (three of whom now possessbetween them the same net worth as the poorest half of the U.S. populace); colossal accumulated corporate, government, student loan, and credit card debt; rampant surplus and “fictitious” capital devoted to speculative rather than productive investment; capitalist profits far beyond real economic growth; wildly unsustainable stock market values (artificially buoyed by debt and corporate buybacks); the deregulation of financial markets and institutions.

As the astute Goldman Sachs veteran and financial commentator Nomi Prins noted last January, “There will be a tipping point – when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won’t cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds.  Leverage is a patient enemy.”

The next financial “correction” could cut deeper than the last one, “the Great Recession.”  That’s because, as Prins argues in her latest book Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, “there is no Plan B” this time. Interest rates can’t fall any further.

Collusionwas written before Trump started making good on his protectionist promises, which could tighten the noose.  The more immediate economic blowbacks are clear: the withering of foreign markets for U.S. agricultural exports (thanks to retaliatory foreign tariffs); rising prices (thanks to U.S. tariffs) for capital goods and intermediate inputs that U.S. producers purchase from foreign countries (China especially); the loss of U.S. jobs as corporations that make goods in the U.S. seek to circumvent retaliatory tariffs abroad by shifting production to foreign countries (Harley Davidson recently announced that it has decided to do precisely that).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again?

From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialized and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalization. When I say globalization, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalization goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.

Under globalization, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a livable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure. As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit. But people today are targeted by more than just marketing campaigns for deodorants and tooth polish: insecurity leaves them highly vulnerable to propaganda that encourages them to blame the cultural “other” for their plight.

Let me illustrate how this happened in Ladakh, or Little Tibet, where I first visited as a young woman and where I have worked for over four decades. Situated in the Indian Himalayas, Ladakh was relatively isolated – culturally and economically – until the late 1960s. When I arrived in the early 70s, a campaign of Western-style development had just been launched by the Indian government – giving me the opportunity to experience what still remained of the ancient culture, and to observe the changes that came with modernization.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rotten to the Heart: Authoritarian Chickens Roosting at Home

Rotten to the Heart: Authoritarian Chickens Roosting at Home

Photo by T toes | CC BY 2.0

Yes, He’s Awful

Much of what liberals say about Donald Trump and the chilling political moment the Trump presidency represents is true enough.

Trump really is the arch-authoritarian malignant narcissist that liberals say he is.  Trump thinks he deserves to rule the nation like an absolute monarch or some ridiculous Banana Republic dictator.  He believes he’s above all the law, consistent with Louis XIV’s dictum L’etat, C’est Moi (“the state is me”). The notion that Trump can pardon himself from any crime really is the height of imperial arrogance.

Trump really does value nothing but the advancement of his own wealth and image. There is no person, no principle, no higher loyalty he is not willing to sacrifice on the altar of self.

Trump really is the almost perfect embodiment of venal malevolence that liberals say he is. The idiotic military parade Trump has scheduled for the next Veterans Day is an exercise in proto-fascistic, Mussolini-like imperial-presidential self-adulation.

This racist and sexist beast befouls the nation and world with his ghastly, eco-cidal presence. The sooner he draws his last undeserved breath, the better for all living things (or maybe not: Mike Pence could be worse).

The Authoritarian and Inauthentic Opposition

Fine, but why does this despicable, orange-tinted insult to common human decency occupy the White House? He holds the most powerful office in the world because the Democratic Party has long been and remains what the late liberal-left Princeton political scientist Sheldon Wolin called the Inauthentic Opposition. “Should Democrats somehow be elected,” Wolin prophesied in early 2008, they would do nothing to “alter significantly the direction of society” or “substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards. …

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Democrats and Republicans: United on Glorifying Authoritarian Systems

Democrats and Republicans: United on Glorifying Authoritarian Systems


With President Donald Trump fighting against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), his Republican minions have managed to navigate a somewhat tortuous road. They have to somehow criticize one of the many authoritarian organizations that they generally revere. Ultimately, this has proved not too difficult for them; they simply attack the leadership, while praising the rank-and-file.

Democrats, on the other hand, are able to avoid this conundrum altogether, by maintaining their obvious adoration for the corrupt, invasive bureau.

As the Russia-Trump Campaign probe drags on, providing headlines that few people are genuinely interested in, the worship of authority continues unabated. The U.S. military, the largest and most powerful terrorist organization in the world, one that is responsible for the murders of at least 20,000,000 people over the last fifty years, continues to receive increasing amounts of U.S. taxpayers’ money, to the determent not only of the millions of people victimized by the U.S. military, but also of those very taxpayers. Money that goes to weaponry has to come from somewhere, and in the eyes of those who run the U.S. government, both Republican and Democrat, such frivolities as food for the poor, roads, public education and higher education are expendable, as long as the war machine gets all that its lobbyists want.

And then, of course, we have the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Talk about a rogue organization! This is the arm of the U.S. government that is responsible for overthrowing democratically-elected governments, funding and training foreign terrorists, and torturing U.S. citizens and others at various sites around the world.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Climate Change a Tool to Eliminate Democracy?

COMMENT: Your view on denying climate change is supporting the capitalist model. This shows you have no credibility.

OD

REPLY: Climate is changing and it is part of the normal cycle. You are actually correct that I support capitalism and freedom and am against authoritarianism and totalitarian systems. What you fail to understand is that climate change is an agenda to eliminate your freedom. The entire argument is to support a move toward an authoritarian state. You better wake up. This not truly about the climate, it is all about controlling society, eliminating democracy, and changing the entire economic model that changes society.


It’s a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models we are told prove the link between human CO2 emissions and catastrophic global warming have been found, after nearly two decades of temperature stasis, to be in error. It’s not surprising.

We have been subjected to extravagance from climate catastrophists for close to 50 years.

In January 1970, Life magazine, based on “solid scientific evidence”, claimed that by 1985 air pollution would reduce the sunlight reaching the Earth by half. In fact, across that period sunlight fell by between 3 per cent and 5 per cent. In a 1971 speech, Paul Ehrlich said: “If I were a gambler I would take even money that ­England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Fast forward to March 2000 and David Viner, senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, told The Independent, “Snowfalls are now a thing of the past.” In December 2010, the Mail Online reported, “Coldest December since records began as temperatures plummet to minus 10C bringing travel chaos across Britain”.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Eleven Saudi Royals Arrested For Protesting Against Austerity

Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family have apparently learned nothing from their cousin’s authoritarian tendencies. To wit, Saudi authorities on Saturday detained 11 princes after they gathered at a royal palace in Riyadh to protest austerity measures imposed by their cousin and the state’s de facto leader: Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aka MbS.

Saudi

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

As part of the latest wave of cutbacks forced by still-low oil prices, bin Salman suspended payment of royals’ utility bills. The decision triggered a backlash among the royals who weren’t prosecuted during the Crown Prince’s “corruption crackdown”/cash grab from late last year, and they swiftly assembled at the Qasr a-Hokm, a historic royal palace, to demand the cancellation of a royal decree that stopped state payment of water and electricity bills for royal family members. The move was a rare act of defiance against the Saudi crown, per Reuters. They were also demanding compensation for a death sentence issued against a relative, local media  reported.

In light of recent “events” in Saudi Arabia, it was a rather poor decision.

The identities of the princes taken into custody have not been released. However, the leader of the group has been identified by the initials S.A.S.”Everybody is equal before the law and anyone who does not implement regulations and instructions will be held accountable, no matter who he is,” a local media website added.

Late last year, MbS imprisoned dozens of royals at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton until they agreed to fork over substantial chunks of their wealth in exchange for their freedom. The shakedown resulted in one former general being tortured to death after refusing to give in to MbS’s remunerative demands – the princes spoke up, and were promptly taken into custody.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Expect Desperate and Insane Behavior From Government in 2018 – Part 1

Expect Desperate and Insane Behavior From Government in 2018 – Part 1

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

– Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

As we head into 2018, I believe governments around the world will become increasingly insecure about their positions of power and control, which will result in increased paranoia about whether or not they have the consent of the governed.

Being a global empire in decline, the U.S. power structure has the most to lose, making it particularly vulnerable to such panic. I suspect forces within the U.S. government are likely to engage in various attempts to reestablish authority via desperate and authoritarian moves as 2018 unfolds. I don’t say this to spread fear; rather, I think such moves will result in considerable pushback from the population at large, particularly from younger generations who are intimately aware of how spectacularity the status quo has failed them. Panic and desperation from those in control shouldn’t be feared, it should be expected and contemplated ahead of time. That’s why I’m writing this series. I want as many people as possible to start thinking about this now so we aren’t caught off guard.

The areas I’ll be diving into with these pieces consist of cannabis, Bitcoin and war against Iran. I’m sure there are plenty of other areas government will target in its last ditch effort to exert control over a populace sick and tired of these busybody, corrupt authoritarians, but these are issues I follow closely and have a certain degree of familiarity with. As such, they’ll be the focus of this series.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Museletter #304: Energy and Authoritarianism

Download printable PDF version here (PDF, 148 KB)

This is an extended version of the article. An edited version was delivered in the email Museletter.

Could declining world energy result in a turn toward authoritarianism by governments around the world? As we will see, there is no simple answer that applies to all countries. However, pursuing the question leads us on an illuminating journey through the labyrinth of relations between energy, economics, and politics.

The International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Energy) anticipate an increase in world energy supplies lasting at least until the end of this century. However, these agencies essentially just match supply forecasts to anticipated demand, which they extrapolate from past economic growth and energy usage trends. Independent analysts have been questioning this approach for years, and warn that a decline in world energy supplies—mostly resulting from depletion of fossil fuels—may be fairly imminent, possibly set to commence within the next decade.

Even before the onset of decline in gross world energy production we are probably already beginning to see a fall in per capita energy, and also net energy—energy that is actually useful to society, after subtracting the energy that is used in energy-producing activities (the building of solar panels, the drilling of oil wells, and so on). The ratio of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) for fossil energy production has tended to fall as high-quality deposits of oil, coal, and natural gas are depleted, and as society relies more on unconventional oil and gas that require more energy for extraction, and on coal that is more deeply buried or that is of lower energy content.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Don’t Be Surprised by Authoritarianism

Don’t Be Surprised by Authoritarianism

Kids are conditioned from birth to submit to authority.

Most kids are conditioned almost from day one to obey arbitrary authority. No one attempts to explain or justify the source of the parent or teacher’s authority; no consent is sought, and no choice is offered.

Schools demand complete conformity to schedules and activities, controlling everything from when and how long you get to think about what, to when you can eat and go to the bathroom. The authority is entirely arbitrary. The main fallback when kids question is, “because I said so”.

The real wonder is just how rebellious and free humans still are after so many years of control and conditioning.

Kids are also conditioned to believe that, absent this imposed control, they would destroy themselves. They’d be dumb, self-destructive, and socially disastrous if they weren’t controlled in every facet by whatever adult has appointed themselves an authority. Nevermind how stupid, shallow, cruel, or petty that adult may be.Eventually, kids begin to believe it. They assume the world cannot function unless they blindly follow orders. They assume they would hurt themselves and others if they were free. They cannot see beyond the frightful comfort of conformity.

After nearly every citizen spends the first two decades of their life conditioned to obey authority without question, something odd happens. People act surprised when those same citizens follow political strong men and seek legislative solutions for every problem.

The real wonder is just how rebellious and free humans still are after so many years of control and conditioning.

A Political Realignment is Necessary – The Real Struggle is Liberty vs. Authoritarianism

A Political Realignment is Necessary – The Real Struggle is Liberty vs. Authoritarianism

Until the American public ceases bickering amongst itself along Democratic and Republican or “left” vs. “right” lines, we’ll continue to be divided and conquered by authoritarians who wield tremendous power throughout both sides of the traditional political spectrum. This isn’t to say there aren’t real, meaningful differences between those who classify themselves on the “left” or the “right,” but it is to say there’s a much bigger battle afoot and nothing’s going to get better until we frame the new political reality for what it is. The most significant, existential struggle at play in these modern United States is a battle between Liberty and Authoritarianism, and it’s extremely important you know where you stand.

While the entire Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution is crucial to our civil liberties, no right is more significant than the First Amendment. If we lose freedom of speech, it’s game over for our society, and we have to understand that authoritarians on both the “right” and “left” are taking shots at freedom of speech as I write this. As such, differences between “right” and “left” should be deemphasized because if we lose the First Amendment, we lose everything.

A major political realignment is not simply a good idea, it’s absolutely crucial to the survival of a thriving civilization here in the U.S. The historical struggle we face today is not Democrat vs. Republican, or right vs. left, but Liberty vs. Authoritarianism. 

Let’s get started by highlighting an extremely creepy proposal recently published, titled, Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of “Fake News. One of the authors is Ann M. Ravel, who was previously a Democratic Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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