Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over– take his words seriously, somebody damn well better.

It is quite possible-even probable-that life in the United States will get worse before it gets better (if it gets better) in the coming decades. We are likely to experience profoundly challenging times. Even in an era focused narrowly on issues of terrorism and war, however, large-order, longer-term change is rarely precluded. There are reasonable possibilities in the coming period of history (as in most periods of history) for much more fundamental change-building to and through the difficulties-than many conventionally hold.

==America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy (Gar Alperovitz)

To sum up, the appalling total killed deliberately during this century —not in actual combat but in cold blood, for various ideological or religious reasons—comes to upward of 80,000,000 lives. Thus, during the twentieth century, no less than 167,000,000 lives—and quite probably in excess of 175,000,000—were deliberately extinguished through politically motivated carnage. That is the approximate equivalent of the total population of France, Italy, and Great Britain; or over two-thirds of the total current population of the United States. This is more than the total killed in all previous wars, civil conflicts, and religious persecutions throughout human history. These horrendous though dry numbers are also a reminder of what can happen when humanity’s innate capacity for aggression becomes harnessed by dogmatic self-righteousness and is enhanced by increasingly potent technologies of destruction.

==Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the 21st Century (Zbigniew Brzezinski)

A Pentagon plan entitled ‘Vision 2020’ had already identified the goal as ‘full spectrum dominance’. This would allow ‘the medium of space, the fourth medium of warfare – along with land, sea and air – to close the ever-widening gap between diminishing resources and increasing military commitments’.” General John Jumper of the US Air Force predicted that the planet could be easily mastered because American forces enjoyed ‘God’s eye’ from satellites and commanded ‘the global information grid’ . He had a point. More than 725 American bases are now placed strategically in compliant countries, notably at gateways to sources of fossil fuels and encircling the Middle East and Central Asia.

==Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (John Pilger)

Another establishment voice, Paul Craig Roberts, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, wrote, The United States is starting to acquire the image of Nazi Germany. Knowledgeable people should have no trouble drawing up their own list of elements common to both the Bush and Hitler regimes: the use of extraordinary lies to justify military aggression; reliance on coercion and threats in place of diplomacy; total belief in the virtue and righteousness of one’s cause; the equating of factual objections or `reality-based’ analysis to treason; the redirection of patriotism from country to leader; the belief that defeat resides in debate and a weakening of will. ‘Fascism’ is too easily used as abuse or as a neat label for all the world’s evils, but what is striking about the debate in America today is the recurring warning of conservatives who believe in the separation of powers under the constitution. `In effect,’ wrote Roberts, `Bush is asserting the powers that accrued to Hitler in 1933 … Thus has the US arrived at the verge of dictatorship.

In 2005, the US Senate, in effect, voted to abolish habeas corpus when it passed an amendment that overturned a Supreme Court ruling allowing Guantanamo Bay prisoners access to a federal court. On October, President Bush signed a bill that legalised torture and kidnapping and all but confirmed the repeal of habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights. The CIA can now legally abduct people and `render’ them to secret prisons in countries where they are likely to be tortured. Evidence extracted under torture is now permissible in `military commissions’; people can he sentenced to death based on testimony beaten out of witnesses, and on hearsay. You are now guilty until confirmed guilty. And you are a ‘terrorist’ if you commit what George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four called “thought-crime.”

==Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (John Pilger)

Only 14 years have passed since the world left behind the bloodiest century that humanity has ever experienced. Prior to 1914, those that anticipated war believed it would be short, contained and not seriously unsettling to the post Thirty Year and Napoleonic war’s nation state power architecture constructed from the  Peace of Westphalia and the Congress of Vienna.  Perhaps the war of 1914 would be conducted along the lines of the relatively brief Franco-Prussian War of 1870, brief, decisive with little change in the dynamics of the power structures of Europe. They were wrong.

On what grounds do we slumber our way towards a greater conflagration than those America has been engaged in over the past sixty years, some of which were long and modestly bloody, Afghanistan and Vietnam being respective examples., the strength of the global order? Perhaps a significant evolutionary genetic leap forward and away from mankind’s disposition to violence and war? Or because these things just cannot happen in the “modern era” they are too passé?

Did anyone really listen to what Putin said? They had better. I agree, the games must stop, but the chance of this message reverberating in the thick skulls of elites pulling the levers of the American Empire is extremely low, if not zero. Our hubris will not end, until we are forced to face our own national figurative death. If things get out of control, which history proves over and over again that they very well can, the word figurative might need to be replaced with a different one, literal.

Important Read from Dmitry Orlov:

1113Vladimir Putin, Grand Kremlin Palace, 12/12/13Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.

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via ClubOrlov: Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over.