Power — 3

The article below, the third in a series, is based on Richard Heinberg’s forthcoming book, Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival. (The first two in the series appeared in this blog on Feb. 29 and March 28.) You can read the first article here, and the second here, both on the Post Carbon Institute website. For information about the book and how to join a pre-release reading and discussion group, please go to postcarbon.org/power.

   

Too Much Power / by Richard Heinberg

Do some people have too much power over others? Do we humans have too much power over the natural world? These questions get to the heart of our biggest global problems. They also force us to think critically about the way society is organized, and about our own behavior. We often tend to give knee-jerk answers, but too much is at stake for that. We need to think critically and contextually.

First, what do we mean by power? While the word is used many ways, there are primarily just two kinds of power: physical power and social power. Physical power can be defined as the rate of energy transfer, or as the use of energy to do something; social power is the ability of one person or a group to influence the thoughts and behavior of others.

Nature provides examples of excessive physical power. MORE . . .

Notes, 6-27-21

UFOs Are Now UAPs: As forecast here on June 16 (“Aliens Did 9/11?”), a report was issued last week on things flying around out there that “authorities” can’t figure out. In the New York Times the story was headed “U.S. Can’t Explain U.F.O.s, Report Says, and Doesn’t Rule Out Aliens.” An AP story is headed “No ET, no answers: Intel report is inconclusive about UFOs.” UAP stands for unidentified aerial phenomena.

   

Condo Collapse in Florida:  Confirmed deaths this weekend from the collapse of the 13-story beachfront condominium building in Miami Dade County are at five, with the unaccounted-for at 150. Among the stories online are two from the Associated Press, HERE and HERE. The collapse will prompt comparisons to the destruction of three skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 — the Twin Towers and the 47-story Building 7. Will the mainstream media continue to shield the U.S. government’s Executive Branch from questions about its impossible narratives cloaking the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

   

Fake News? Word yesterday out of Iceland that 28-year-old Sigudur Ingi Thordarson now says he made up some or all of his testimony against Julian Assange was unexpected. Thordarson is apparently a seasoned criminal and con artist cultivated by the FBI for testimony thought helpful to the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of the Wikileaks founder, currently imprisoned in England. HERE is our first look at it. HERE is Consortium News’s coverage. HERE is something from ParsToday, an Iranian outlet. These and other online services got the jump on mainstream media. The development originated from the Icelandic biweekly Stundid.

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Always on Guard: Dusty Bahlman, a weekly columnist for The Berkshire Eagle, concluded his tribute to a fallen “reporter’s reporter” and weekly newspaper founder with these words: “Pittsfield was lucky to have such a tireless sentry overlooking its civic affairs for so long. Jonathan Levine was a plain-spoken, scrupulously honest and deeply principled journalist. His work and the work of others like him, always will put the lie to the evidence-free, paranoid blather peddled by the many manufacturers of ‘fake news.’”

— Mark Channing Miller

FBI ‘Star Witness’ May Blow Its Case Against Assange?

The Islandic newspaper Stundid reported Saturday that a man it calls a major witness in the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has recanted important parts of his testimony.

The man, a 28-year-old Islander with a varied criminal record named Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, reportedly told the biweekly newspaper he made up important accusations in the case built by the FBI.

The Stundid story, headlined “Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment,” is HERE.

“A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange,” it begins, “has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history [of] sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.”

The story about the interview (which was presumably conducted in Icelandic) does not quote Thordarson, but it does quote Ögmundur Jónasson, Iceland’s minister of the interior from 2011 to 2013:

“They were trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange,” Jónasson said.

“What I have been pondering ever since,” he said, “is if the spinning of the web had already started then with the acceptance of the letter rogatory establishing cooperation that they could use as a pretext for later visits.”

An entity called wikileaks.shop, which sells items of clothing bearing pro-Wikileaks and pro-Assange messages, quotes the fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as saying, “This is the end of the case against Julian Assange.”

— Mark Channing Miller

9/11 TAP

Consider the 9/11 Truth Action Project

For more than three years I have promoted and applauded the work of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, repeatedly and deservedly — but have given short shrift to the 9/11 Truth Action Project. I apologize.

9/11 TAP may (or may not) be less known, but it is out there doing valuable citizen service to the overall truth effort. There’s no “left” or “right” to it, although people who are sometimes identified as left-wingers or right-wingers are part of it as well as workaday people who are not “political” as described by neighbors, by friends, or in the media.

At any rate, please take a look at the 9/11 Truth Action Project website.

9/11 TAP is not confined strictly to matters concerning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but also to things that are related because they are a part of a whole syndrome of events and realities of which “9/11” is part.

In their June newsletter, for instance, are two articles with these headlines (click on each to read):

Activist Voices:  Interview with Cat Watters” and “Punishing Syria with Deception and Economic Trickery: Part I.”

From the April newsletter is this: “Academic Media Censorship Conference Censored by YouTube: ‘At First I Thought it Was a Joke.’” A long subhead: “The entire video record of the conference — estimated at around 24 hours of material — was mysteriously disappeared from YouTube, say conference organizers.” 

Here is the first paragraph of Alan Macleod’s article:

“An academic critical media literacy conference warning of the dangers of media censorship has, ironically, been censored by YouTube. The Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas 2020 took place without incident online over two days in October [2020] and featured a number of esteemed speakers and panels discussing issues concerning modern media studies.”

— Mark Channing Miller

Ellsberg & Co.

Most of us “9/11 truthers” are truthers in many matters concerning the lies propagated through government, business and other realms. This blog’s concentration for the last three years has been on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, their planning, execution, consequences, and so on.

Millions of people in the United States alone are “truthers” concerning the atrocities of that day, a Tuesday—who was responsible, how, why, etc. Many of us support the legal and scientific challenges to the accounts of our government’s Executive Branch.

Yet very few of us are “conspiracy theorists” in the sense that we see CIA and other machinations under every rock rather than the usual assortment of critters minding their own business. Probably upwards of 95 percent of us have a variety of other healthy interests across the board. Take Daniel Ellsberg,  best known as key to the release in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers. Or take Seymour Hersh, whose reports for Dispatch News Service in 1969 introduced the world to U.S. Army Capt. “Rusty” Calley and the massacre at Mi Lai.

Ellsberg is not sneered at as a 9/11 “truther” even though he revealed himself as such in an interview 15 years ago. Here’s a LINK to bits of that interview. The interview itself apparently has been expunged from the Internet, possibly by forces that would prefer everyone to get our news and entertainment (redundant, I know) from mainstream media, and believe it all.

Hersh’s 10,000-word report for The London Review of Books on the killing of Osama bin Laden is HERE (although strangers to the LRB, also known as freeloaders, may have to go to more trouble to download it than they used to). Who knows if he’s digging into 9/11. I’m guessing yes.

As it happens, Ellsberg will participate tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, June 24, at 3, in a discussion on “The Dangers of Treating Whistleblowers as Spies.” I’m not sure if you have to register in advance, but more info is available HERE.

Meanwhile, if you’re a truther whose interests include getting to the bottom of 9/11, visit or re-visit the websites of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, and the 9/11 Truth Action Project and lend those people your support.

— Mark Channing Miller

Aliens Did 9/11?

Well, how about it? Did aliens carry out the crime of the century?*

This notion would be only the beginning of a hypothesis and not a proper “conspiracy theory,” because the latter would involve only humans, to the exclusion of extraterrestrials. But as a speculative theory possibly being developed as you read this by humans in the government/media complex, it makes a certain amount of sense.

First of all, Executive Branch concoctions “explaining” to the world the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, weak from the start, have been increasingly abandoned by media boosters and the general public (both target consumers of government propaganda) alike. No amount of distraction—not Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Covid 19, global heating, and electric cars all put together—can stanch the run for the exits in this theater of the preposterous, even among a populace as credulous, or hypnotized, as we in the United States seem to be.

In these times, perhaps, the combined voices of The New York Times, The Epoch Times, the Times of London, In These Times, CounterPunch, The Weekly Standard and their myriad allied (controlled) outlets are not sufficient, for much longer, to keep common sense from asserting itself, even in a nation of news junkies, cell phone addicts, sports fans, arts aficionados, political “conservatives,” political “liberals” and People magazine readers.

It’s true that the terrorist operation that launched a string of wars in countries most Americans can’t find on a blank map occurred almost 20 years ago, and that that hit of hits was a hit before today’s teenage mothers were born—all of which contributes to the attitude of “it is what it is” (in any situation).

What’s 9/11? Two hits in New York (not on Broadway) and one in (greater) Washington and a crash in rural Pennsylvania, none of them generating the kind of wreckage with telltale evidence one might have expected them to.

What’s 9/11? You know, these incredible hijackers with box cutters took out the Twin Towers and put a hole in the Pentagon and … you know, incredible. Yes, incredible.

The whole thing is incredible unless aliens did it. They’re capable of anything, these extraterrestrials, depending which ones (and this is all strictly in the realm of theory) one is talking about. Increasingly in mainstream media outlets somehow believed by their readers and listeners and viewers on a variety of subjects, one can find news stories and opinion columns devoted to the possibilities.

Like THIS ONE on today’s editorial page of a regional newspaper in Western New England. The byline is that of Stephen L. Carter of Bloomberg Opinion, and here’s the headline: “The UFO report won’t change minds.” The column is worth reading, and fun, even if the author doesn’t connect to any future hypothesis that aliens did 9/11. Carter, I’m guessing, has never once questioned in print the official version of those terrorist attacks, like all such scriveners who get paid for their stuff. Just as the newspapers in which the column appears have never questioned it.

Here’s an alternate headline for this entry: “Aliens to the Rescue!” Subhead: “News World Relieved to Find New Diversion.”

— Mark Channing Miller

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* Possibly “kick off” would be a better compound transitive verb than “carry out,” because the terrorist attacks were only the start of the overall crime, which continues.

Calling Engineers!

Andy Steele of 9/11 Free Fall chats HERE with engineers Scott Grainger and Kamal Obeid.

Their subject is twofold: This week’s presentation by Leroy Hulsey of the University of Alaska Fairbanks of his four-year Building 7 study before the Structural Engineers Association of Arizona. And “how educating the engineering community is critical to bringing about a new 9/11 investigation.”

Listeners can read a transcript of the interview while listening — or not. (The three are all affiliated with Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.) I read it without listening and picked up this typo, among others:

“We can’t just have something in the record that’s bogus. That would be a blemish on the profession forever…. Have we been sitting on our hands, essentially observing this force with the official story being put forward as science. I think that would be unacceptable to any practicing scientist or engineer.”

Or farce?

— Mark Channing  Miller

Glitches, Etc.

Dear Reader(s),

Thank you for your patience. You may have looked in in the last few days only to find the May 6 and previous entries, but nothing newer.

Reason: In addition to the usual, plentiful interruptions, technical glitches I haven’t previously encountered have presented themselves requiring expert help elsewhere in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where this blog is mostly written. But at least until I can figure it out myself or get some more expert help elsewhere in the same city, I still lack the ease of typing I formerly enjoyed owing to impediments of a technical nature. This afternoon I have had to learn a new way to type to accommodate the machine or its program. I don’t want to “get with the program” (in more ways than one).

Ah, technology! I wouldn’t mind finding an old Underwood or Smith-Corona — or whatever Clive Owen, playing E.H., was banging away on while standing up in a hotel room in Spain in  “Hemingway and Gellhorn.”

For now, thanks again for your patience,

Mark

 

An Evolving Faith

A couple of weeks ago, on May 22, 2021, some readers may have tuned in to find “Choose Love,” a week’s worth of reflections from the Center for Action and Contemplation. If this were an academic course, the teacher could have asked students, “What does one or more of these have to do with the search for truth in the matter of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?” Readers of this entry can do the same, or simply skip it and check out previous entries, or leave this site and never come back. People in the first category may click on any day of the week below to arrive at the whole reflection. — MCM

Anybody who has paid attention to their inner life of prayer or read history books surely recognizes that life and love are always cumulative, growing, and going somewhere that is always new and always more.

Monday
The tipping point of faith is the threshold of spiritual energy, where what we believe becomes what we do. When that power is released, there is no stopping it, for love is a force that cannot be contained. —Steven Charleston

Tuesday
An evolutionary faith understands that nothing is static. The universe unfolds, our understanding of God evolves and deepens, and our moral development surely evolves as well.

Wednesday
Doubt need not be the death of faith. It can be, instead, the birth of a new kind of faith, a faith beyond beliefs, a faith that expresses itself in love, a deepening and expanding faith that can save your life and save the world. —Brian McLaren

Thursday
We could acknowledge the unraveling, breaking, and cracking of our nation and churches as a bearer of truth and even a gift. —Stephanie Spellers

Friday
Evolution requires trust in the process of life itself. There is a power at the heart of life that is divine and lovable. In a sense we are challenged to lean into life’s changing patterns and attend to the new patterns that are emerging in our midst. —Ilia Delio

Louis M. Savary was a Jesuit for thirty years and has been studying, writing, and teaching on his fellow Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin for over fifty years. He has a knack for making Teilhard’s writings, which are almost exclusively about evolution, accessible. Here he introduces a version of the Ignatian Examen that emphasizes our participation with God’s desire for evolution by increasing our awareness of goodness, gratitude, possibility, and love.

Throughout his life Teilhard remained an optimist, despite the rejection he suffered from his religious order and from the official church because of his evolutionary ideas. In his prayer, instead of putting his attention on his failures and disappointments, he focused much more on praise, reverence, and gratitude when he related to God.

In recent years, psychologists have discovered a basic law of psychological and spiritual life. We might call it the first law of spiritual energy. It is simply this: Energy follows attention. In other words, wherever you focus your attention is where the energy of your body, mind, and spirit goes.

In terms of this first law of spiritual energy, Teilhard preferred to focus, with God’s grace, on his own resilience, his capacity to adapt and to restore his enthusiasm for his work and relationships. . . . If he was blocked from pursuing one avenue, he found another way. . . .

Teilhard’s life suggests a nightly review of your day focusing on what went right instead of what went wrong. If you focus on giving and receiving love, your thinking will change for the better. If you focus on thinking good thoughts, your heart will grow more loving. The heart and mind are always interacting in concert.

This process is known as the Thanksgiving Examen. . . .

  1. To give thanks in general to God our Lord for the benefits received in your life, in others, and in the world today.
  2. To ask for grace to recognize all those particular things that happened to you and others that you should personally be grateful for.
  3. To take account of your day from the hour that you arose up to the present time, hour by hour, or period by period: first your good thoughts, ideas, and intentions; then your good words spoken and heard; and then good acts, your actions and those of others, small or large, that positively touched your life or the life of someone else. Record these in your journal.
  4. To praise and thank God our Lord for all the opportunities you had to make a difference in the world today and to inspire you to recognize more and more such opportunities in the future.
  5. To thank God for all God has done for you, and to ask yourself: What can I envision doing that would lead me to be even more deeply grateful? Close with the Our Father [or another prayer with deep significance for you].

Matt on the Media

The all-boldface plug by News From Underground originator Mark Crispin Miller:

Liberal’ crybullies and snobs have now brought right and left together in ‘real common cause’ for (this is no joke) truth, justice and the American way (MUST-READ by Matt Taibbi) 

Miller excerpted this paragraph from Taibbi’s long substack.com post:

“The truth is, Trump conservatives and ACLU-raised liberals like myself, [Glenn] Greenwald, and millions of others do have real common cause, against an epistemic revolution taking hold in America’s political and media elite. The traditional liberal approach to the search for truth, which stresses skepticism and free-flowing debate, is giving way to a reactionary movement that Plato himself would have loved, one that believes knowledge is too dangerous for the rabble and must be tightly regulated by a priesthood of ‘experts.’ It’s anti-democratic, un-American, and naturally unites the residents of even the most extreme opposite ends of our national political spectrum.”

Headline and Subhead: “Congratulations, Elitists: Liberals and Conservatives Do Have Common Interests Now: Well done, snobs of the #Resistance. You made the Horseshoe Theory real.”

Read a bit more of Taibbi’s post HERE. I was tempted to subscribe to his Substack thing on the basis of it but was revolted by the, in my opinion, invasive nature of ApplePay (if I recall the name right).

Taibbi, a Rolling Stone writer as well as a Substack newsletter author, is a real wordsmith. He has a lot going for him but for all his derring-do aura is not independent enough, or honest enough, to abandon his habit of taking gratuitous pot shots at 9/11 truthers (true, we’re a varied lot) or to examine, in print, the U.S. government’s Executive Branch narratives about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Or if he has lost that habit by now, as others have, to make up for it by setting the record straight.

“Independent enough”? Well, Rolling Stone, seemingly a good money maker for Penske Media Corp., has certain standards. And if Taibbi were to go all the way on 9/11, how long would he be on their masthead?

Nine-eleven truth, for mainstream writers, is like Gardol’s “invisible shield” used to be against tooth decay in ads for Colgate toothpaste. Or like the glass ceiling has been for women’s pay. If one (mainstream writer) presses one’s nose against it, part of the nose flattens out. Taibbi likes his nose the way it is. Here’s a photo of him, on a website that took him to task on his stance on 9/11. (Thanks to Taibbi, and the other M.C.M., for letting me discover at this late date — today — 9/11 Truth News.) 

All of which is not to say that Taibbi’s good piece on mainstream media’s biases is not a welcome summary of what has become increasingly obvious.

— Mark Channing Miller