Ode to America

Published on Countercurrents.org, and CounterPunch, March 9 2018,

Dissident Voice March 10 2018

“My own little world
Is what I deserve
‘Cause I am the only child there is.
A king of it all
The belle of the ball
I promise I’ve always been like this.
Forever the first
My bubble can’t burst
It’s almost like only I exist.
Where everything’s mine
If I can keep my mouth shut tight, tight, tight.”

-Guster, “Center of Attention”

So much for the city on the hill. Narcissism has changed to nihilism and solipsism: “climate change isn’t real”, and the ravages of history continue down the rabbit hole of memory.

Take another look. Genocide and chattel slavery. The war against Mexico, the quite uncivil war, the Spanish-American war, the massacres in the Philippines, the two World Wars. Dust off a book and check out the post-WWII carnage. Three million dead in Korea, three to five million dead in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. A million or more in Indonesia where our CIA handed out kill lists to Suharto’s regime. Untold atrocities in Nicaragua. Juntas and death squads covering South and Central America, trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. Hundreds of thousands dead in Afghanistan, a million or more in Iraq. Refugees numbered 65 million last year, with 20 million worldwide at risk of starvation.

Welcome to America, where minorities are killed for loose cigarettes or burned-out taillights. Where kids are shot up in school after warning of the madman dozens of times. Where we are chided to “support our troops” as they massacre, where we’re told “blue lives matter” as black men are murdered in cold blood.

The only solution is to abolish the military and the police. There is no reforming to be done. Likewise the nation-state and the corporation must be banned as well. Banish capitalism to the dustbin of history. The neoliberal globalizers (yes, Trump, that means you too) have got to go.

This is the fourth world war, as Subcomandante Marcos explained brilliantly. Billions of people now are no longer needed in the global economy and form the reserve army of temporary, part-time, and seasonal laborers. This is the new precariat, which along with the ever exploited proles constructs and maintains the property of the oligarchs in our new gilded age.

The risks from global warming, nuclear war, industrial pollulants, new pandemics, and food and water shortages from drought, floods, and extreme weather all should remind us that we are constructing our very own abattoir as well. Seven and a half billion of us fighting and scrambling over the scraps and dregs of our fossil fuel age doesn’t paint a pretty picture when you step back and look at things with a global perspective.

There is an absolute nothing at the heart of Western life. This gets touched up in media and the arts, when terms like “Spaceship Earth”, “The Big Empty”, and “Lonely Planet” are used in a playful way, masking our sorrow. Projecting our own isolation and alienation onto the world, we anthropomorphize features and creatures around us and thus imagine that everyone and everything else must be feeling as helpless, bleak, and disturbed as we are.

Yet, it is just not so. Just because the universe is kind of a lonely and scary place does not give us the right to destroy the planet out of fear of our own mortality, our own sense of meaninglessness.

While our foreign wars mutate and mushroom out of control, domestically, America today is increasingly provincial and insular. Like many subcultures, the political realm is dominated by nostalgia, a return to a so-called Golden Age. From “Make America Great Again” to Bernie Sanders’ New Deal/Keynesian/Social Democratic promises, they are all based on delusions. These are delusions of isolationism, delusions that we can use a Scandinavian blueprint onto a population of 320 million, delusions of American exceptionalism, being the indispensable nation.

There is also a delusion regarding the “living wage”. There can only be a living wage coinciding with a radical restructuring of the economy towards sustainability and ecological living. Without this, what would happen? A wage hike to $15/hour would encourage everyone to spend more, consume more, go on more trips and use more fossil fuels. This would not help any single living thing on the planet, as our economy is built to destroy and degrade the Earth’s natural resources and ecosystems.

Comments on US Left Radicals, with Respect

I also sense a split between two strains of Leftist radical thought in the US: the activist/socialist Left and what one might call the counter-culture/spiritual Left. Turns out, each has much to offer the other.

The activists/Marxists will be instrumental in breaking the passivity, new-age hedonism, and tendency to harp on conspiracy theory of the spiritualists. Organization and discipline on the strategic and tactical levels are in short supply, and here socialists have a lot to contribute to the conversation.

As for the counter-culture/spiritual types, they have much to teach the social justice activists and socialist/communist organizers and academics as well. In a very practical sense, those in the counterculture who have “dropped out” are doing a great service by not contributing tax money to our war machine. Those who squat and occupy public land responsibly should also be applauded, not ignored, by the academic Left. The growing movement in permaculture and homesteading also is uniquely absent even in alternative media (is too much patchouli and yoga a repellant for otherwise intrepid journalists?).

There is also an idea as old as time, summed up by the saying “Man does not live by bread alone”. The constant focus of some on the socialist Left on only materialistic problems and solutions (exemplified by some Marxist and lefty economists, among others) and inequality does not give enough weight to questions of inner life in modern society.

Many of the activist/socialists cannot even be counted on to support full drug legalization. Additionally, many ignore the issue of, or are scared at speaking out in favor of, the responsible use of cannabis and psychedelics, even though study after study confirms their beneficial effects. Of course I’m not trying to inflate the heads of the credentialed experts, as any hippie on Haight-Ashbury or Rasta in Kingston could have confirmed this 50 years ago.

Speaking of the 60s, 50 years ago the French managed to scare De Gaulle out of the country, with an alliance of students, workers, feminists, artists, Leftists, and citizen protestors. Union workers in the US should be supporting high school students’ calls increased legislation to halt gun violence, as well as college students’ call to end student debt, creating free higher education for universities and community colleges, etc.

Then there are people who fit neither category, including environmentalists, peace activists, anti-nuke and GMO protestors, dissidents, anarchists, etc. For many here, the Greens are simply not anti-capitalist enough, and the socialists do not put enough emphasis on environmental concerns and ecology.

I have offered a respectful critique of one of the main Left parties, Socialist Alternative, in a previous piece, especially their call to “democratize the Fortune 500 companies”, instead of breaking them down to human-scale anarchic cooperatives and inherently questioning the nature of the consumer goods and production model, which contribute to pollution, misery, disease, alienation, and global warming.  Also, their call for a living wage without structural transformation of the industrial system falls flat, for reasons mentioned above.

Last year, Alan Jones wrote a pretty epic essay dismantling the faulty thinking going on in the leadership of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in an essay here.

What is needed among radicals is more guts, and more imagination. We need more people like SPUSA 2016 presidential candidate Mimi Soltysik who called for the military and the police to be disbanded in the LA Times.

What is necessary is to become more grounded in speech and action. Technological utopianism has to be replaced by scale-appropriate bioregional and eco-centric Earth-based production techniques. To accomplish this, we will need to reorient our culture and pay respects to the main keepers of this wisdom, the First Nations of Turtle Island, the land we know as North America.

Visioning

What anyone with a heart wants is a rainbow nation, not in terms of a country or nation-state with borders, but groups of interdependent communities, aka intercommunalism as the Black Panthers called it, where our brown, black, white, yellow, and red sisters and brothers can live and thrive in a veritable kaleidoscope, a mosaic of multicultural and intergenerational cooperation and beauty. To live in cooperation with each other and live close to the Earth, we will have to learn from and adopt the rejuvenating and conflict-avoidant cultural practices of indigenous communities.

Land and property reform are at the center of this agenda, as is instituting a universal basic income. We must utilize the burgeoning fields of biodynamic farming, permaculture, and agroforestry to feed ourselves. We must decentralize…Small Is Beautiful, as Schumacher explained.

Over the course of human history, the village was the central unit of society, where bioregional production, markets, and trading dominated. This is how unique culture is formed, where syncretism and blending is encouraged, not denigrated by xenophobic bigots.

The modern city is completely unsustainable as well as uniquely alienating as it divides citizens by class, race, as well as in the more subtle realms of social and cultural capital, as Bourdieu foresaw.

Holistic, ethical science can be used in tandem with decentralizing farming practices and renewable energy infrastructure. The dream of the primitivist, anti-civ, and “green anarchists” (funny how somehave tried to appropriate this term, which can apply to a wide spectrum of theory) to go without any modern technology is ridiculous. Sustainably made labor-saving devises should be encouraged, not denigrated, and applied science based on the precautionary principle must be upheld.

Also necessary will be deliberative councils based on merit, publicly broadcast to stimulate citizen input and education, where scientists can openly debate and plan for strategies to mitigate global warming, industrial pollution, medical and psychological epidemics of suffering (drug abuse is rampant in this country and largely attributable to loneliness and alienation, as the Rat Park study showed), etc. Imagine how much more enlightening and interesting watching the top researchers in their fields resolve crises would be, compared to the absolute shit on CNN, CSPAN, FOX, or MSNBC.

Meritocracies are not utopian, and flourish in scientific research, in spontaneous social situations, as well as for open-source coders, engineers, and technologists. Arthur Koestler sketched this idea out a bit in his book Janus, dubbing it “holarchy”.

Global warming continues to be the number one threat to the planet. By opting out of the Paris Accords (a pitiful excuse for a climate agreement, but better than nothing), the US government has very clearly shown itself to be very clearly at war with the world.

Yet “America” does not exist. Borders do not exist. We must become ungovernable, semi-nomadic if need be, like many of our multicultural, cosmopolitan ancestors were. We should re-wild and reinvigorate our natural surroundings through sustainable communal-based agriculture.

This does not mean consigning every family to peasant-level subsistence farming, as likely only 10-15% of the population would need to work in a food-production based capacity and would be compensated for their hard work and dedication compared to our mass society, compared to the 1-3% in our mechanized agro-business model where laborers and seasonal workers are ruthlessly exploited. There must be a mind-shift from a culture based on scarcity to a culture based on natural abundance.

More and more people are waking up to the ever-increasing dangers of runaway climate change and nuclear war. If the Left does not unify and form a cohesive, coherent strategy that speaks to ordinary people, the proto-fascists in Washington as well as the alt-right will continue to scapegoat minorities for capitalisms’ failures in pursuit of their goal of a tyrannical white-supremacist state.

Possibly the most feasible solution to our interlocking crises is to address the elephant in the room: overpopulation. Instituting a global program promoting woman’s education, safe sex, and birth control, and redistribution of wealth to the Global South could help tremendously.

The fragmentation of the Western Left continues because ultimately it is rooted in Eurocentrism, in a Baconian/Cartesian/Newtonian view of science and the universe. The advent of capitalism as well as the cementing of the Westphalian ideology of the nation-state ultimately leads to oligarchy, fascism, and the destruction of the biosphere and its natural resources. Revolutionizing the system of global capital and abolishing the nation-state cannot be delayed for reforms that seem more realistic. Our time is running out.

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Interview with Extinction Radio

I recently did an interview with Mike Ferrigan and co-guest Rob Seimetz for Extinction Radio. It is episode 84 part 2, and it’s posted on their home page, Extinctionradio.net

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Interview with Balkans Post

Balkanspost.com, Feb 20th, 2018

What’s your take on the latest developments in Syria, especially Israel’s aggressions inside the Syrian soil?

William Hawes: Where to begin? There are so many elements in the Syrian conflict it is dizzying. There have been chlorine attacks in January. Turkey has invaded around Afrin and threatens to move east along the northern border. Syria’s army is tacitly helping out the YPG in Afrin against Turkey now. Russian mercenaries are fighting with Syrian troops and Iranian militias in the east near Deir Ezzor. Iran supposedly flew a drone into the Golan Heights and Israel overreacted with airstrikes against Syrian anti-air facilities and Iranian and Hezbollah command posts. Israel is concerned as well about Hezbollah missile factories in Lebanon. The U.S. had a massive attack against Russian/Iranian/Syrian troops near the oilfields at Deir Ezzor as well, killing hundreds.

Some have compared this situation as akin to three-dimensional chess in all its complexity. Perhaps with regard to the complicated nature of the conflict this has a grain of truth, but ultimately war has no logic or rationality behind it. This is pure mayhem and murder, and in modern, total war, civilians bear the brunt of the tragedy. The blame goes all around, but this conflict was instigated by the [Persian]

Gulf States and NATO who backed terror proxies to establish a Sunni jihadi insurgency, which their own declassified documents have proven.

With regard to Israel, Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption and it is possible the noose is closing fast for him. One could posit he is using war as a distraction to continue his bloody reign, a “wag the dog” scenario similar to what Clinton did in Kosovo. Today (Feb 18) the deranged Netanyahu is waiving a piece of the Iranian drone around in an interview: he is a clear and present danger to peace in the Middle East, and this is a clear type of baiting and provocation to induce a response, via political theater.

The Syrian military said it had hit at least one intruding Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked positions inside Syrian territory, sending it down in flames and smoke. How would this affect the Syrian crisis?

William Hawes: This could have been a lucky hit, or it could mean Syria’s anti-aircraft capabilities are improving with possible help from Iran or Russia. Haaretz reported the jet lingered in the area longer than it normally would have, but who can actually believe an outlet like that in this day and age? The F-16i variant that Israel uses is a very advanced modern jet which the U.S. and NATO use and should have easily outmaneuvered Syrian anti-air missiles.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described his country’s most significant air attacks on Syria in decades as a heavy blow to Syria and Iran. What’s your analysis?

William Hawes: A heavy blow to Syria, yes, as it is claimed half of all the Syrian anti-aircraft facilities were destroyed. A heavy blow to Iran, not at all. Iran’s influence across Mesopotamia into the Levant is increasing and this scares Israel. By making friendships with the governments Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, Iran has created a formidable alliance and will try to leverage this in the future towards becoming the “regional hegemon”.

The Israeli PM is a fool and a war criminal, head of an apartheid nation which has terrorized and ghettoized Palestinians for generations and invaded Lebanon multiple times causing mass bloodshed. People in Gaza and the West Bank are literally shot in the streets for no reason and children are thrown in cages for protesting or throwing rocks or much less.

Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy, Michael Oren, has said the U.S. currently “has almost no leverage on the ground”. How do you view Washington’s role in Syria in recent months?

William Hawes: Washington’s role is to continue to provoke unrest, chaos, and death in the region, as it has done for generations. U.S. foreign policy has been clear for a while – it will not allow another hegemon to control the Middle East, not Iran, and certainly not Russia or China. America along with their EU vassals and the Sunni Takfiri/Salafist/Jihadi fundamentalists, the Turk, Saudi, UAE, and Kuwaiti financiers, will back al-Qaeda, Daesh, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, you name it.

The U.S. role is fading around the globe and there is no clear way to recover the imperium, but the U.S. can sow chaos and destruction for every other potential rival by causing a conflagration and regional war. This was the “deep-state” strategy behind the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s: back both sides and watch them kill each other.

One could posit that Oren’s comments are a plea towards the Trump administration to escalate U.S. involvement, as the paranoid and fearful Israeli government understands that without some dramatic change America’s, and thus, Israel’s role in the Middle East is fading.

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Perspectives on Activism: Waiting and Being Present

Published online at Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Feb 8-9, 2018

“The more people I meet, the happier I become.”

-Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

In the interregnum, we find ourselves as citizens waiting…for something. We bide our time with pablums, social media, or sports, or even pseudo-political debates. Many have insulated themselves from real issues: economic, social, and ecological justice.

Capitalism imposes a state of captivity, one where spontaneity and genuine feeling are shunted into commodified culture, into privatized service-oriented companies, and into increasingly mind-numbing social media and digital platforms.

When the unexpected occurs; a storm, a war, a tragic accident, we are transported back to the time when the depth of our emotions could overwhelm us, could drive us to joy or ecstacy or ruin. Just as many cannot help but watch a car crash, we cannot resist the temptation of a rush of adrenaline, a surge of serotonin.

To some degree, this urge is natural. Yet, for instance, the endless pathological displays of violence on TV and media point to some sort of social disease, a barbarism and degradation of inner life. This was best exemplified on 9/11: what was the point of endlessly replaying the jet smashing into the tower, or the people jumping? The only explanation is that it made people feel…something, anything to escape the boredom/ennui/anomie/malaise of modernity. The live feeds from CNN in 2003 Iraq accomplished the same goal, with the additional jolt of dark revenge-energies.

I think this is why, for certain people, it is inevitable that they go live with and experience plight of the drug-addicts, the very poor, the oppressed and castaways: for someone like Baudelaire, for instance, it was the only place where authentic human existence still thrived.

To be sure, we’ve all experienced immense joy and beauty in our own private lives. The thing is, we should be able to comfortably express the feelings of awe and mystery regarding our universe, our existence, in a common space, in public, unencumbered by feelings of guilt, shame, or judgment from community. We must confront our own mortality, daily, and live in the moment.

Our culture is complicit, but it does not mean we are necessarily doomed. We are “condemned to be free”, as Sartre put it. Our agency cannot be denied, we are free to choose our path.

This freedom can be downright scary, it is the feeling of existentialist dread and nausea. One can see it today, as Trump’s authoritarian promises calm the nerves of fearful, mostly older, mostly whiter folk who have and are living inauthentically, who have ceded their agency to the corporation, the nation-state, the town, the church.

Masha Gessen wrote of this recently, citing the great, often forgotten Erich Fromm:

“Fromm suggests that at certain times in human history the burden of ‘freedom to’ becomes too painful for a critical mass of people to bear, and they take the opportunity to cede their agency- whether it’s to Martin Luther, Adolf Hitler, or Donald Trump.”

This submerging of individual identity, losing oneself in the collective authoritarian or fascist collective, seems to ring true in today’s politics. One can sense this turn in large corporations, in state bureaucracies, in the military with all its Borg-like qualities. The loss of individual autonomy is palpable.

All this becomes even more dangerous in our “biopolitical” age: one where social production and reproduction reduces the juridical subject into a consumer, a body to be prodded, socialized, anesthecized and for many lobotomized into a culture of amnesia.

Now that the fires of Occupy and Standing Rock have died down, progressive citizens yet again find themselves waiting. Waiting, as millions of our sisters and brothers around the world die of starvation and preventable illnesses. Waiting, as the US bombs and kills civilians with impunity. Waiting, as we continue to plod along to our jobs pumping more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, imperiling hope for a livable future.

We know what we are facing. The solutions, however, are not exclusively, or even primarily material-technological ones. They lie within. The lessons of the indigenous are our guide.

Westerners are going to have to stop talking, and start listening. The answers lie in the ground we stand on, in the plants and soil that traditional people worship, in the waters that provides life and sustenance.

Recently, there have been some howls of protest about the defeatism on the Left. Broadly, the analyses are correct, but I am left to wonder, are they helpful to movement-building, are they inspirational?

It does no good to harp on the limitations of pusillanimous liberals, on the social justice warriors or identity politic mavens. Especially since propaganda and false consciousness continue to mold citizens into consumers, free-thinkers into conformists. We have been all socially constructed to become weak, infantile, and many have succumbed to this, and its not entirely their own fault.

Waiting can be tiresome, we all know that. It’s also tiresome to hear endless diatribes of the limits and failures on the Left. For we are have limitations, and we all need each other’s help. As for the lack of success, it was Beckett who said: “Fail again. Fail better.”

This is the task before us. The struggle is all we have, all we’ve ever had. There is no inevitable march of progress towards some pre-ordained teleological utopia, Marxist or otherwise, no moral arc of history. There is only us. There is the autonomy of the individual, and there is the structural servitude that the nation and the corporation impose upon us.

When I see someone consistently angry, or complaining, or consistently negative, I think of what Castaneda might say: “They are on a path with no heart”. It does no good to castigate a person or group, or to uphold one’s purity politics. What is needed is to hold out a helping hand, to establish charity, patience, reciprocity.

I read recently that the origin of the word miracle comes from the Proto-Indo-European words to smile, to be astonished. I cannot imagine a more apt analogy for activism today. We are going to have to remember how to smile.

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Review: Walking on Lava: Selected Works for Uncivilised Times

Nyjournalofbooks.com, 1/11/2018

The Dark Mountain Project is a worldwide collective of writers, artists, activists co-founded by Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth, dedicated to creating “uncivilized” art, poetry, prose, and more. By “uncivilized” they mean ecocentric: dissolving our dominant culture’s myths regarding human centrality in the cosmos and the notions of continual, beneficial technological progress.

Dark Mountaineers sagely encourage readers to understand how inherently unsustainable our society is, as well as acknowledging our complicity and acquiescence in propping up the system.

We are prodded to “look down,” and the founders draw inspiration from the fabulous Robinson Jeffers and the long lineage of environmentalist thought. This collection of works from 40+ writers, poets, and artists encompasses everything from a recipe for pheasant, meditations on the Mahabharata, two interviews, numerous poems (some heartfelt, some silly), and many commentaries on social and ecological collapse.

The common thread to each piece can be understood by quoting the Mountaineers first “principle of uncivilisation”: “We live in a time of social, economic, and ecological unraveling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.”

Written in 2009, the Dark Mountain Manifesto (which appears at the beginning of this collection) attracted many readers (this reviewer included) with its fiery, polemical arguments breaking down the false narratives embedded in Western civilization. Their website and multiple journals continue their tradition, with contributors chiming in from around the globe.

Radical, sincere environmentalists though many of the contributors may be, the antennae of this reviewer were alerted with warning shocks as soon as the cover was opened: testimonials from the odious Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen. On the other hand, kind words from Eric Utne and Kirkpatrick Sale gave a sense of reassurance.

With so many contributors, it would be insanity to review each. Highlights include Akshay Ahuja’s interview with Dmitri Orloy as well as his “Strange Children,” Carla Stang’s “Rampant Rainbows and the Blackened Sun,” Sylvia V. Linsteadt’s “Osiris,” and Vinay Gupta’s “Death and the Human Condition,” which are all brilliant.

One would think there would be more focus on practical steps in the book: perhaps a focus on permaculture, low-tech renewable energy, or homesteading. Especially since it is proclaimed in the manifesto that: “we write with dirt under our fingernails.”

Rather, the majority of works here favor the need expressed in the original manifesto (no doubt legitimate) for our culture to properly grieve for the losses in our societies and in the biosphere: the species pushed to extinction, rich ecological systems deforested and desertified, complex indigenous cultures bulldozed in the name of “progress.”

Like the original manifesto, there are tinges of fatalism and resignation in many of the essays. Grief at the impending collapse of ecosystems and society due to global warming, environmental devastation, and cultural disintegration due to neoliberal globalization should eventually lead to the next stages of processing: resistance, resilience, and initiation into a new holistic culture. The shoots of such a shift in worldview can be glimpsed in much ecocentric thought and are visible in a few of the better contributions, but they are not at the forefront here.

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Interview: Moving Forward w/ Rob Seimetz for the Progressive Radio Network

1/8/18: https://movingforwardprn.podbean.com/e/moving-forward-010918/

Here’s the link to my interview on Rob Seimetz’s radio show, I talk about the pitfalls of capitalism and what a future world can look like with Rob and my awesome co-guest, Paul Street.

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Review: Death of a Nation: 9/11 and the Rise of Fascism in America

Review: Death of a Nation: 9/11 and the Rise of Fascism in America

By George W. Grundy

NyJournalofBooks.com, January 3, 2018

George Grundy has done us all a great service: he’s written a definitive and expansive book about the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. Spoiler alert: Grundy, like the reviewer, believes the 9/11 attacks were a false flag perpetrated by elements in our own government along with foreign help, financing, and patsies who would take the fall for the crime.

Dylan Avery contributes the foreword, and like Avery’s documentary Loose Change, Grundy leaves no stone unturned in the events leading up to 9/11, such as the terror suspects’ incompetence in flying, arrogance, stupidity, and lack of discretion in public, the FBI being pulled off the suspects tails due to interference at the top of the Bureau, and the myriad inconsistencies of the two years leading up to the attacks.

Grundy covers all the bases on the day of September 11th 2001, including the free-fall collapses of the World Trade Center buildings and Building 7, the Pentagon attack which shows no evidence of a plane hitting the building, and the fourth plane which fell near Shanksville, PA, which was almost certainly shot down by a missile, not taken down by the courageous passengers. The author also importantly cites the removal of rubble of the twin towers which would have proved explosives were used to take down the World Trade Center buildings.

Grundy connects the dots between the chain of command in the White House, Pentagon, Saudi and Pakistani agents, and shadowy war games designed to confuse the coordinated response of America’s air force (by NORAD). There are many other dead giveaways that parts of the US security apparatus were behind the attacks that the author details.

Grundy documents how certain actors in the military and intelligence high command and Bush Administration covered up these events, using the media to immediately and conveniently blame Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, despite no hard evidence of their involvement.

The horrible events of that day were then bizarrely and grotesquely spun by the government and mainstream media to create a cause for war with Iraq, even though no evidence was found connecting al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, and no WMDs were found in Iraq post-invasion. Stoking fear and paranoia among the populace, the author rightly points out that our massive military budget and global war on terror could never have taken off without the “New Pearl Harbor” that various Republican elites called for pre-9/11.

With a compliant, submissive citizenry obeying and believing whatever lies the government tells us, the Bush, Obama, and now Trump regimes have continually stripped our rights, whittled away at any anti-war resistance, we have corporate control of government via lobbyists, robbing us blind via Wall Street bailouts and rising inequality. Grundy sees all these issues as connected, and rightly so. There are also the tragedies of the prison-industrial complex and total surveillance society which the author deftly touches on near the end of the book.

Finishing the book by drawing on the events of 2016, the author points out that President Trump fits many of the characteristics of a fascist. Trump’s hatred towards minorities and chauvinism are total horrors, no doubt. Grundy sees a massive economic depression and wars igniting around the globe on the horizon due to the ignorance, incompetence, and bellicosity of the American Empire. This is certainly possible, yet as Grundy points out, the American people are far more progressive than their government.

While the author sees a slide into outright fascism as nearly inevitable in the near future, this reviewer would caution against such a prediction. The outright arrogance, stupidity, and patriarchic, violent nature of the American government, which Trump embodies, may yet serve as a warning to the American people against following such a dark path.

 

 

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