A few reflections on a new world order

Maybe the power of open communications is our only way forward.

A number of disparate ideas have flown into my ‘in-box’ and left me with these thoughts.

The first was the last essay on TomDispatch.  This one from the hands of Mr. Engelhardt himself.  I’m referring to Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Washington Straitjacket.  As many of you know, Tom has been generous in granting me blanket permission to republish his posts and I frequently so do;  as yesterday’s post written by Professor Michael Klare demonstrated.

Let me give you a idea of where Tom was coming from with this personal essay,

The Barack Obama Story (Updated) 
How a Community Organizer and Constitutional Law Professor Became a Robot President
By Tom Engelhardt

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

Nothing you don’t know, but let me just say it: the world’s a weird place. In my younger years, I might have said “crazy,” but that was back when I thought being crazy was a cool thing and only regretted I wasn’t.

I mean, do you ever think about how you ended up where you are? And I’m not actually talking about the Oval Office, though that’s undoubtedly a weird enough story in its own right.

The next paragraph opens, thus:

After all, you were a community organizer and a constitutional law professor and now, if you stop to think about it, here’s where you’ve ended up: you’re using robots to assassinate people you personally pick as targets.

Then there’s a comprehensive description of all the outcomes that have taken place in the last few years as in this paragraph,

Still, who woulda thunk it?  Don’t these “accomplishments” of yours sometimes amaze you? Don’t you ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering just who you are? Don’t you, like me, open your eyes some mornings in a state of amazement about just how you ended up on this particular fast-morphing planet? Are you as stunned as I am by the fact that a tanker carrying liquid natural gas is now making a trip from Norway to Japan across the winter waters of the Arctic? Twenty days at sea lopped off an otherwise endless voyage via the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Did you ever think you’d live to see the opening of the Northeast Passage in winter? Don’t you find it ironic that fossil fuels, which helped burn that oceanic hole in the Arctic ice, were the first commercial products shipped through those open waters? Don’t you find it just a tad odd that you can kill someone in distant Yemen without the slightest obstacle and yet you’ve been able to do next to nothing when it comes to global warming? I mean, isn’t that world-championship weird, believe-it-or-not bizarre, and increasingly our everyday reality?

Tom’s essay comes to this conclusion,

And don’t you ever wonder whether a labyrinth of 17 (yes, 17!) major agencies and outfits in the U.S. “Intelligence Community” (and even more minor ones), spending at least $75 billion annually, really makes us either safe or smart? Mightn’t we be more “intelligent” and less paranoid about the world if we spent so much less and relied instead on readily available open-source material?

I mean, there are so many things to dream about. So many ghostly possibilities to conjure up. So many experimental acts that offer at least a chance at another planet of possibility. It would be such a waste if you only reverted to your community-organizer or constitutional-law self after you left office, once “retirement syndrome” kicked in, once those drones were taking off at the command of another president and it was too late to do a thing. You could still dream then, but what good would those dreams do us or anyone else?

It’s a very powerful analysis that I really encourage you to read.

Then thanks to a mailing from the WordPress team, I was drawn to a recent account of life by Ruth Rutherford.  In an essay from the 13th November, Ruth writes about living in the dark, as this sample evocatively describes,

Dating in the dark

Just got back from visiting my ol’ stomping grounds in New Jersey where I spent the weekend with my parents and grandparents, just talking, eating and enjoying good company. And all this was done in the dark. Yep, that’s right. Even nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury, the Garden State is still struggling to recover. And let me tell you: Living without power for that long will quickly make you appreciate the little things.

Like walking into a dark room and then transforming it with just the flip of a switch. Or turning on a faucet and seeing water actually pour out. Or pulling into a gas station on any day you choose, not just the days you’re allowed to based on the numbers on your license plate. Or just using the bathroom without strategically planning your “number twos” based on how much water is in the tank. Or not having to wake up at two o’clock in the morning to wander outside in your pajamas to fill the generator with gas. (Okay, fine. My dad did that part. But still…)

When you’re without electricity for a while, your mind tends to do a lot of thinking. There are no reality shows to turn your brain into mush, no hair dryers to block out the noise of everyday life, and no steaming hot baths to drown your worries in. Basically, it’s you, alone, with a candle, a flashlight and your thoughts. So I spent the time brain blogging.

At the heart of this essay is the concept that ‘dating’ as in finding one’s life partner has become too complex.  This is how Ruth concludes her ideas.

Yep, I’m telling you to be shallow.

Forget the deep end, folks. Jump, cannonball style, into the shallow end and let the fun begin!

Shared interests. Favorite movies. Local hot spots. Interesting hobbies. Recent vacations. Current music playlists. Boring work stories. Embarrassing childhood memories. Stupid jokes. Mutual attraction. Sparks. Chemistry.

Because if you can’t relate on these basic levels, then who the heck cares if you both want two boys, one girl and a yellow Labrador named Minnie?

Start small. Start simple. Grab a lantern and meet during a power outage. It’s amazing what you’ll find out about your date in the dark. (With your clotheson, people! Get your minds out of the gutter.)

~Ruth

Finally, closer to home. Patrice Ayme and Martin Lack have been exchanging views in comments to my recent post Unintended Consequences.  Patrice ended a comment with this: ” If goodness is to win, it has to be smarter than the enemy.

So what’s this all coming to?  According to WordPress there are over 500,000 people blogging about the world as they see it.  The number of others who read all those words must be well into many, many millions.  Even humble old Learning from Dogs received over 45,000 viewings in November alone bringing the total viewings to over 785,000!

As the saying goes, “the only thing required for evil to win, is for good people to do nothing.”

Go and read the latest from Bill McKibben on 350.org.

The_New_York_Times

The article in The New York Times tells the story of students, faculty and alumni around the country who are demanding divestment from fossil fuels. On a few campuses, like Swarthmore, they’ve been at it for semesters — but all of a sudden, as the article says, they find themselves “at the vanguard of a national movement. In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.”

The picture that accompanies the article comes from our Minneapolis roadshow last Friday night, and the article concisely lays out the demands and the strategy of the campaign. It’s precisely the boost we need. So please, go read it here: www.nyti.ms/SESrfr

We’re quickly getting traction, but we can get more if we have your help.

So, first things first: please email the article by clicking the “E-Mail” button on the New York Times website — if we can get it on the newspaper’s “most emailed list”, we can help make sure it goes as far as possible, as fast as possible.

For full instructions on how to email the article, click here: www.350.org/nyt

I sense that we, as in the peoples on this planet, are well into a period of such change that even by the end of 2013, a little over 50 weeks away, the precipice for humanity will be within sight.  I hold out zero hope that any time soon our leaders and politicians will stop ‘playing games’ and focus on doing what’s right.  The time for truth, for integrity, for sound debate is NOW!

The sharing of ideas, thoughts and emotions that this ‘virtual’ world of blogging offers (despite me regarding the word ‘blogging’ as ugly) is going to be the only tool, the only channel to carry sufficient weight and power for the wishes and desires of the ‘common man’ to live peacefully and safely to the end of this century and beyond!

10 thoughts on “A few reflections on a new world order

  1. As with Patrice Ayme, if Tom Engelhardt believes he will be effective in changing US Policy by using emotive, sarcastic and/or aggressive language, I think he is badly mistaken. If such a letter is not thrown straight in the bin, I think it is likely to be forwarded to the FBI. In the final analysis, if the people in the White House can ignore people like James Hansen, why should the pay attention to someone like Tom Engelhardt?

    I know you cannot say this, Paul (for perfectly legitimate and understandable reasons), so I will: The only way for the general public to gain the attention – and influence the decisions – of our politicians… is for them to indulge in collective action and civil disobedience. Hence the strategy of 350.org will be far more effective.

    Note to FBI Investigators: I am not a US Citizen, I live in the UK, and, although I pose zero threat to your country, you (or your colleagues in Grosvenor Square, will no doubt find my address on the Internet somewhere. 🙂

    Like

  2. Dear Martin: Even you has been known to use sarcasm, so cool down. Tom used small sarcasm. The White House uses BIG sarcasm. I hope you read the White House’s declaration about signing into law the outlawing of European law in Europe. And that to make sure there is no carbon tax. If that was not sarcastic, what is?
    Read more in much broader and deeper perspective:
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/heat-is-on-usa-cooking-us-all/

    Civil disobedience works very well, indeed. It is significantly beyond sarcasm, though, as it breaks the law. Even breaking the law of those who make laws to break laws, is still breaking the law. As Tom tried to explain to you, it’s not about the FBI, but about 17 secret “intelligence” agencies that dispatch death around the world, at the whim of the White House resident, so your feeble effort to claim innocence and lack of jurisdiction make me laugh.

    When some individuals tried to assassinate me, they cared neither about innocence, nor jurisdiction, that was their point entirely. Discarding innocence and jurisdiction is exactly the robotic system the White House is presently instituting, for all to see. It’s all about establishing an aura of omnipotent terror.

    And what of civil disobedience? Don’t hold your breath. All what Americans care about is work, and the ability to fill up their tanks cheaply. Differently from the Europeans, who have collective memory of horrible times in WWII, Americans remember it mostly as the gateway to the American Century.
    PA

    Like

  3. “And don’t you ever wonder whether a labyrinth of 17 major agencies and outfits in the U.S. “Intelligence Community” (and even more minor ones), spending at least $75 billion annually, really makes us either safe or smart?”

    And then they are not even able to catch how “foreign” Basel located bank regulators castrated the banks in their land of the brave and have these singing in falsetto?

    http://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2012/01/homeland-security-what-if-terrorist.html

    Like

    1. Bin Laden was originally hired by the CIA and its Saudi equivalent. As a princeling in the most powerful family in Arabia behind the Sauds, it was thought he would be best to recruit more feudal plutocratic lords’ money in a vast effort against the Afghan republic. That was in 1979. It worked very well. Now the USA president has become the Assassin in Chief, and (most) Americans love it.

      Like

      1. Yes, because they know nothing. So they want to adulate great lords (who themselves know nothing!) It makes them feel secure, and taken care of. It’s infantile, thus the deepest.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.