Centre for Research on GlobalisationCentre de recherche sur la mondialisation
The year 2000 US presidential election and subsequent events represent a passion play written by the collective consciousness of US citizens and people throughout the world. Lead roles in this passion play were assigned to key people who represented the three faces of the United States and the three basic probable paths along which we could move into the future. The setting for this passion play is a world and a planet in crisis, preparing for an inevitable transition. This passion play has not yet reached its conclusion, but it is that conclusion which will decide the fate of humankind and of this planet.
Setting The setting against which this passion play is being acted out is that of a planet suffering through the first symptoms of global environmental catastrophe spurred by carrying capacity strain, misusage and pollution. In 1992, 1600 of the world's senior scientists (including a majority of Nobel laureates) issued an unprecedented warning that, "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated." ( http://dieoff.com/page8.htm )
To name just a few specific symptoms of global environmental catastrophe: · We are currently in the middle of the third worst extinction event in the history of the planet. Within the next several decades, we could lose fully one third of the species living on this planet. The only past extinction events of this magnitude or greater are the end of the dinosaur age in the late Cretaceous, and the extinction at the end of the Permian. In both cases, it took millions of years for the Earth's biosphere to recover. Unlike these other examples, the current extinction event is entirely caused by the actions of one species: Homo Sapiens. ( http://www.well.com/user/davidu/extinction.html )
· Soil and water degradation and depletion are threatening the loss of these essential resources. Between the 1940's and the early 1990's, 11% of the world's vegetated surface had lost its productivity; this is an area larger than India and China combined. Pollution and depletion of groundwater and other potable water sources now affect over 50% of the world's population. Water wars are predicted for the next few decades. ( http://dieoff.com/page8.htm )
· Ocean fisheries are collapsing as a result of commercial fishing pressure and pollution. (ibid.)
· Of more than 75,000 chemicals registered with the EPA, only a fraction has ever been tested to determine their effects on humans and the environment. And hundreds of new chemicals are added every day. The chances are, wherever you live there is a toxic waste dump or spill site located close by. ( http://www.pbs.org/tradesecrets/ )
· Increased ultraviolet penetration is stressing all ecosystems, and all plant and animal communities. Ultraviolet destruction of embryos is the main cause in the recent decline of amphibian species, and in the increase in human skin melanomas and eye cataracts. ( http://www.epa.gov/ozone/ , http://www.igc.org/envreview/blaustei.html , http://www.arn.org/currpage/uvhealth.htm )
· Global warming has been confirmed, using drill cores from global ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and has been accepted as a bona fide phenomena by the legitimate--non-industry aligned--scientific community. Effects of global warming include weather instability, increased tornado and hurricane activity, glacial recession and melting of the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, thawing of permafrost, and the migration of warm weather species into far northern and southern latitudes. In coming years, global warming could lead to increased desertification, coastal flooding, failed agriculture as a result of climate stress, and destructive weather patterns. (http://www.climatehotmap.org/ , http://www.ucsusa.org/warming/ )
This is just a sampling of environmental problems currently facing this planet. One or two of them would be challenging by themselves. All of them taken together assure us that there are tough times ahead for this planet. However, if we do not halt the destructive practices which are the cause of all of these problems, then we will have a very grim future indeed.
Likewise, we are faced with social and technological crises which are the result of our own exploitative behavior. Within the United States, the last two decades have produced growing inequality. To quote the CIA: "Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups." (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ ) In the last twenty years, earnings of top executives have risen by 4,300%, while income for middle and lower class workers has actually decreased when adjusted for inflation. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/14/opinion/14KRUG.html?ex=1025056377&ei=1&en=9f73e63a42020807 ) A society is only democratic to the extent that its citizens are equal. Taken together with this logical statement, the figures on economic inequality quoted above explain why the majority of citizens feel disenfranchised from the US political process.
Comparing the United States to the rest of the world, with only 10% of the world's population, we consume over 40% of the world's resources. This disparity is maintained by the active repression of populations throughout the rest of the world (Rogue State and Killing Hope by William Blum are perhaps the most poignant and the most thorough exploration of this subject. http://members.aol.com/superogue/homepage.htm & http://members.aol.com/bblum6/American_holocaust.htm Also see any of the writings of Noam Chomsky.)
On top of this, we are now approaching an era of resource depletion which will be the end of our technological civilization. This is signaled by the peaking and subsequent decline of energy production. (The Background is Oil by this author http://www.copvcia.com , http://www.mbendi.co.za/indy/oilg/p0070.htm , http://www.hubbertpeak.com/ , http://dieoff.com/page1.htm ) Dr. Richard Duncan has proposed a model known as The Olduvai Theory which states that the lifespan of technological civilization will be approximately 100 years, and that industrial, technological civilization will never be repeated due to resource depletion. (The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road to Olduvai Gorge, http://dieoff.com/page224.htm )
Due to all of these abovementioned problems, we are now at a turning point in the history of humankind and of this planet. From here we can take control of our destiny, end the exploitation of people and the planet and promote democracy and egalitarian values. Or we can go on the way we are, exploiting wealth while we still can without a thought about the future. Some would say there is a middle path whereby all we have to do is moderate our activities somewhat, while still maintaining a basic system of exploitation.
This is the setting for our current passion play, and the first act of this play involved the year 2000 US presidential election and subsequent events. This election was watched with baited breath by people the world over, who commonly remarked that US citizens were electing the president of the world. So let us look at the principle characters in this first act of the passion play.
In regard to the Setting presented above, Ralph Nader might have represented a positive response to the troubles looming before us. He certainly would have championed the environment, the working classes and the poor. He campaigned for democratic reforms and he wanted to level the economic playing field. Unfortunately his goals were opposed by corporate America, and so his campaign was practically ignored by the mainstream media. When the Green party stood poised to meet the restrictive qualifications for participation in the presidential debates, these qualifications were tightened beyond reach of any but the major political parties. In an event which put the lie to democracy in the United States, when Nader arrived at the debate hall bearing a ticket of admittance, he was barred from entering by guards. I am not stating that a Nader presidency would have saved the world. Chances are a Green administration would have been embattled by both Democrats and Republicans, and--more importantly--by corporate America. If Nader had appeared to have a chance of winning the election, it is likely that he would have been assassinated.
Al Gore's position to the impending crises threatening this world is that of compromise. While presenting himself as an advocate of working people and of the environment, Gore has shown himself as more than willing to compromise his advocacy in the interest of corporate America. Early on, his campaign was nearly capsized by his position on drug patents versus the AIDS epidemic threatening millions of lives in Africa. Likewise, due to family connections he refused to take a position in the dispute between Occidental Petroleum and the U'wa Indians of Colombia. Al Gore was vice president in 1992 when the world's scientific community issued their stern warning. In the years following, he did very little to heed this warning. Instead, he learned from Bill Clinton how to become a champion solicitor of campaign funds from corporate America. By the time of the year 2000 election, Al Gore possessed few principles which were not compromised. He was heavily indebted to corporate America and not at all likely to stand against the course of commercial society.
Far from compromising, George W. Bush is plainly a puppet of corporate America. His stance toward the approaching crises is to deny their existence and insist on giving over the reins to corporate interests entirely. As a brainless, spoiled child of a rich family, George W. Bush is the perfect representative of the privileged class. His grandfather was a nazi supporter, and his father was an oilman, former head of the CIA and the president who oversaw the first Middle East oil war. George W.'s own past contains a number of questionable and unethical business practices and a callous disregard for the poor and the working class. George W. has the mentality of an eight year old and the perspective of a privileged child who believes that wealth should control society and that the acquisition of wealth is the only necessary basis for a free society.
The elites who are behind George W. should also be mentioned here. These are people at the pinnacle of power, and it should be noted that nobody can amass the kind of power which they hold without having at some point in either their past or in their family's past resorted to criminal activities. Power brokers are concern with their own ends, never mind the costs. Without the privilege bestowed upon them by their money and their power, these power brokers would be termed sociopaths. To understand the extent of elitist corruption, one simply has to study the mechanics of drug money laundering. It can be shown that the money which finances the neoliberal economy is in fact drug money. ( http://www.narconews.com/narcodollars1.html ) Wall Street would collapse without it, and so would virtually every major banking institution and many of the world governments--foremost our own.
Finally, one cannot ignore the power of Christian Zionists within the Bush government--or, for that matter, within the Bush family. Christian Zionists (or dispensationalists) believe that God is calling upon them to usher in Armageddon. They believe that the path to Armageddon lies through the resurrection of the Jewish state in Palestine, the destruction of the most holy Moslem site in Jerusalem and the raising upon its ashes of a new temple of God, and finally a holy war of worldwide nuclear destruction. This they believe will usher in the rebirth of Christ, and the ascension of all of his true followers into heaven. As for the rest of us and the planet; well, God simply doesn't favor us. Christian Zionists are powerful within the Republican party, and were powerful within the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Reagan's original Star Wars initiative was born of a liberal Christian Zionist interpretation of the Book of Revelations. And it is suspected that dispensationalism is behind Dubya's weak stance on the current Sharon offensive on the West Bank. ( http://www.againstbombing.com/ArmageddonUpdates.htm ) Though most Christians and Jews do not believe in dispensationalist theology, unfortunately, dispensationalists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have extraordinary clout.
Thus far these are the principle characters in this drama. Having introduced them, now let us look at the first act of the passion play.
Act One To begin with, Ralph Nader's election campaign is completely marginalized, to the point that the Democratic and Republican contenders rarely deign to even acknowledge him. More importantly, Nader's campaign positions are not even reported. The corporate interests who own the mass media do not want the public to be aware of the issues Ralph Nader is trying to raise. Likewise, major protests at both the Democratic and Republican conventions are either ignored or participants are portrayed as rabid, militant nihilists. World public outcry against neoliberalist globalization is not permitted to reach the ears of the United States public. The issues focused upon by the Democrats, the Republicans and the media included tax cuts, retirement privatization, school vouchers and school prayer, health coverage, expanding free trade, and gun laws and school violence. The United States public is found to be indifferent, rightfully claiming there is little difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.
In an historical election, Bush and Gore arrive at a virtual tie and the results are delayed pending an investigation of election irregularities in the state of Florida, where George W. Bush's brother Zeb reigns as governor. It appears that a difference of a few thousand votes will decide the election. In other words, the election is decided by a difference of .0018 percent of the population; any mathematician will tell you that such a small percentage is statistically insignificant. Studies of Florida's election results commissioned long after the election have yielded the conclusion that if a statewide recount had been undertaken, Al Gore would have won the election. Al Gore won the popular vote, and if Florida had been counted correctly, he would have won the electoral vote.
This was not to be permitted. The corporate powers which truly run this country wanted Bush in charge as we face the approaching global crisis. They did not want to take any chance that Gore might do the right thing when corporate profits must be judged against the welfare of the entire planet. In a decision which the court stated could never be used as a precedent, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Florida recount should end, giving the presidency to George W. Bush. Though considered highly questionable and possibly unconstitutional, Reagan and Bush appointees on the Supreme Court awarded Bush the presidency. Around the world, people were stunned; democracy had failed in the United States.
Dubya surrounded himself with a cabinet of business shills--mainly appointees from the oil business, along with defense contractors and pharmaceutical representatives. And immediately after being installed as president, Bush began making proclamations to promote the interests of his corporate handlers. Practically his first action after taking office was to back out of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, claiming that it would harm businesses. Instead, Bush's handlers offered their own proposal whereby corporations would be able to trade greenhouse gas credits, thus allowing compromises to negate any effort to combat global warming. More recently, Dubya has been forced to concede that global warming is occurring, but he insists that nothing can be done about it.
Likewise, following the California fuel crisis of winter 2000-2001--a crisis which was manipulated by energy corporations such as Enron--vice president Cheney set up a special panel to establish a comprehensive energy policy. This was dominated by the energy industry, with little or no input from the public, environmental groups, or independent scientists. The conclusion of this energy commission was that the US should offer tax and subsidy incentives to the energy industry, make major investments in infrastructure, open up restricted areas to energy exploitation, roll back environmental regulation and make energy issues a priority in foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asia. Only token gestures were made to alternative energy and conservation. Subsequently, the Bush administration has refused to release any information about these meetings.
Bush policy positions, along with Bush statements and misstatements, proceeded to alienate the entire world and disturbed a sizable portion of the US public. Refusing to bow to anyone else, Bush insisted that the United States would do just as it pleased, no matter how the rest of the world felt about it. At home, Bush found himself embattled with Congress. One of the cornerstones of his energy policy, the permission of oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, was soundly rejected by Congress. Finally, Bush's popularity was plummeting as the public discovered that he truly was an imbecile and a corporate stooge.
The corporate powers had placed their candidate in the White House. However, it appeared that he would be a very weak president, unable to take charge and ensure that corporate interests would control the direction of civilization through the stormy seas ahead. Yet this storm was clearly visible on the horizon and something had to be done to return control of the ship to their chosen captain.
It was at this point that the terrorist attacks of September 11th occurred. I am not going to take room here to debate whether the Bush administration and the US government knew about the attacks beforehand or whether they were actively involved in the attacks. These questions have been examined elsewhere and I believe enough evidence exists to demonstrate that the Bush administration knew of these attacks beforehand and--at the very least--allowed them to happen. For those who would like to explore these issues, I point you toward the most logical and most thorough investigation of 9-11 which I have found: September 11: Unanswered Questions. ( http://www.communitycurrency.org/IndexMX.html , or a copy of this 140 page document will be forwarded by this author to interested individuals who can't locate the web site; simply email me with your request.)
For now, let me simply state that if 9/11 had not occurred then it would have to have been staged. This one tragic attack united the nation behind Bush and silenced Congress. Within hours, the identity of the perpetrators was announced with certainty. Bush gave his historic speech declaring an endless "War on Terrorism" wherever it was found. In a matter of days, Congress was presented with terror legislation which would negate much of the Bill of Rights. Congresspeople were forced to vote on this legislation without even having a chance to review it. Bush also established a new cabinet position titled the Office of Homeland Security. And within a month, the United States was prepared to launch a military campaign against one of the poorest countries in the world.
In the months since 9-11, the US has directed its "War on Terrorism" against several countries, most of which hold major oil and natural gas resources, or are strategically located along energy supply routes. Among the former we have Iraq, Iran and Colombia. Among the latter are Somalia, Yemen and the Philippines. On top of this, we have an attempted coup in Venezuela with clear ties to Bush administration officials. And we have the establishment of US military bases in Central Asian countries possessing large quantities of untapped energy resources.
Directly after 9-11, any dissent within the media or Congress was silenced by the anthrax letters. It is interesting that the investigation into the source of these letters ground to a halt after it was discovered that the anthrax was manufactured in US military laboratories. The FBI has stated that they know who sent these letters, but the perpetrator is tied into very sensitive government business which must not come to light. So the perpetrator of the anthrax letters remains at large while several people are being rigorously prosecuted for hoax letters. And the anthrax investigation itself seems to have slipped right out of public consciousness.
Then there are the periodic terror alerts, which usually seem to be issued when disclosures about 9-11 make their way into the media or when congressional figures begin to ask questions. There have even been statements by Ari Fleischer and others within the administration strongly hinting that the terror threats are motivated more by political concerns than by safety considerations. Most recently, as of this writing, there is Attorney General Ashcroft's claim that the Justice Department foiled a plan to explode a dirty bomb in the nation's capital. This claim was made after Ashcroft drew heat for granting invasive new powers to the Justice Department. Ashcroft has had to back down from his dirty bomb claims, and others within the administration have admitted that the dirty bomb plot amounted to no more than idle talk, and that the detained suspect is an unlikely Al Qaeda member.
Finally, as congressional hearings begin to produce disclosures of foreknowledge, and as foreign countries step forward to state that they warned the US explicitly about the terrorist threat, the Bush administration is rushing forward with plans to limit the rights granted by the Constitution and strengthen the police state within this country.
Here, then, is the scenario for the first act of our passion play. The planet's biosphere has been stressed to the point of collapse by intense human exploitation. Likewise, the planet's resources are no longer capable of sustaining an exploitive technological civilization. The bulk of humanity has been unempowered as the majority of the wealth extracted from this planet has been transferred to the hands of the richest 10% of humankind. Those among the elite tend to be self-centered and power hungry; this is how they reached their current position. The elite intend to maintain their position as king of the mountain even as the mountain crumbles beneath their feet.
The world's only remaining superpower could lead the world into a sustainable future based on democracy, brotherhood & sisterhood, and conscientious stewardship of the planet. Or it could go on exhibiting the sort of greed which has made it the richest nation on the planet and the nation of greatest inequality. So far, the elite have seemed to be determined to make this decision without any input from the other 90% of humanity. Approaching the year 2000, there arose a strong international grassroots opposition to the goals of neoliberal globalization. This public outcry frightened the elite and presented, to their minds, the necessity for drastic measures.
In the year 2000, the US presidential candidate most closely attuned to the public outcry was marginalized as the elite instead pushed their chosen candidate to the fore. To insure that their man was enthroned in the White House, the elite saw to it that the election was rigged. And when the results were still in question, they simply threw them out. The media acted to pacify the public and assure them that a coup was not committed, and the opposing candidate quietly acceded to the wishes of the elite, giving the coup a further appearance of legitimacy.
Unfortunately for the elite, once installed, their chosen leader proved himself extremely unpopular with the US public and the rest of the world. Their chosen leader was viewed for what he was: a fool and a figurehead. The grassroots outcry against globalization continued to pick up steam while at the same time the first approaching tremors of resource crises had a distinct effect upon the world economy and upon everyday life within the United States and elsewhere. Something had to be done. They needed to clamp down on grassroots protestors and rally the US public behind their chosen leader. They also needed an excuse to lay claim to the Earth's remaining resources--especially the remaining energy resources. They needed to proclaim an open war against anyone who tried to buck their authority. And they needed to strengthen the police state within the United States against the day when hunger and poverty bred dissent would turn the public against them.
At this point the reader may balk at the idea that anyone could stage such a heinous attack upon the US public; however, there is precedent for this action. Leaders of the US government allowed Pearl Harbor to be attacked in order to draw us into World War II. And before that, US leaders seized upon the mysterious sinking of the Maine to call for war with Spain. Likewise the sinking of the Lusitania was used to drum up support for World War I. Most recently, papa Bush pushed the Panamanian people until they reacted with violence which claimed the lives of US soldiers, and then used this as the justification to launch an attack on Panama. Furthermore, back in the 1960s, the military establishment contemplated staging terrorist attacks on US targets to precipitate a war with Cuba. These plans are detailed in the declassified Project Northwood documents.
Whether staged from the beginning or merely egged along and allowed to happen, an unconscionable terrorist attack occurred on September 11th, 2001. This attack served to rally the US public, the media and the congress behind the elites' chosen leader. Any hint of dissent was subdued by subsequent anthrax attacks. The anthrax letters also made it impossible for Congress to function normally and effectively cut the lines of communication between congresspeople and their constituency at the most effective time. Within a few short weeks repressive restrictions on domestic freedoms had been rammed through Congress, and an open ended war had been declared against anyone the president chose to view as a terrorist, or even anyone he chose to accuse of aiding terrorists. Since then, the US has been engaged in a war of global domination and a military campaign to control the flow of energy resources.
Sufficient time has passed now that all but those completely in denial are beginning to wonder what truly happened on September 11th. The strategically renewed warnings of terrorist threats have become highly suspicious. In the United States, Michael Moore's pre-9-11 critique of the Bush administration, Stupid White Men, has become a runaway best seller. And Mike Ruppert is traversing the country lecturing to packed houses about the evidence of US involvement in the terrorist attacks. ( http://www.copvcia.com ) In Europe and elsewhere, the cover story for the terrorist attacks is commonly believed to be a lie. A best selling book in Europe reasons that the Pentagon was not struck by a commercial jet.
Meanwhile, the chosen leader is still planning on further attacks on oil-bearing countries as part of his "war on terrorism," without even a tenuous connection between these targeted countries and the organization which it is claimed masterminded the September 11th attacks. And the strengthening of the police state within the US has been stepped up. And finally, the military-industrial complex has begun building a space-based weapons system, the ultimate purpose of which is to make automated war from the skies possible against any target on the planet, independent of conventional military force.
Act Two Soon the curtain will open on act two of this passion play. Though the elite would like to think so, they are not the only ones writing this script. It is far from certain where the plot of this drama will take us next. Even in Afghanistan, the ultimate success of the US invasion is in doubt. US abuses of the Afghan people are galvanizing them against the invaders. ("We were better off under Russians" http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501020617-260745,00.html )
There is a window here where strong action by the US public and other peoples of the world could defeat this power play. But first the US public has to wake up and realize the necessity of such action. Too many people in the US are still in denial about 9-11 and subsequent events. Far fewer people are aware of the threat of energy depletion or other approaching crises. When thinking of these crises, they tend to view them as still far off in the distant future. That is, unless their life has already been unmistakably impacted by these crises. (Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/16/national/16ALAS.html ) Yet there is a growing momentum of dissatisfaction with the official version of 9-11 and the "War on Terrorism." It will remain to be seen if people can rise up to take action while we still have the resources to make the necessary changes, before the biosphere begins to completely unravel.
Will people awaken quickly enough? That is the question, even for the elites who are currently running the show. The Bush administration is moving quickly to formalize and implement the police state before the public grows dissatisfied enough to take action. And they are rushing to build a space based weapons program to ensure world domination. If there is to be a chance of other nations joining together to oppose US backed corporate world domination, then they must do so now. And if the US public is to rise up and reclaim their country for democracy and equality, then they must do so now.
Our chickens are coming home to roost. We stand prepared to harvest the result of over a century of intense exploitation. There are two options before us (compromise is really no option): we can build a sustainable civilization based on true democracy and equality, or we can continue allowing our greed to govern us to the bitter end. The United States, as the only remaining superpower, has the lead in choosing which of these paths to follow. The year 2000 presidential election and subsequent events are a passion play in which this choice is being made. Unfortunately the greater probability seems to lie along the path of greatest sorrow.
Copyright © Dale Allen Pfeiffer 2002. For fair use only
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DAL208A.html