19 August 2014

US hegemony ends: Newer World Order (1)

. @HJBentham. #hegemony. #geopolitics.

Attempts to establish a unipolar world order after the end of the Cold War have proven futile. As the US is controverted by powers it had dismissed, such as Russia, China, and even Germany, the mad dream of an American-led world dies.

The ability to “keep the Germans down” (true friendship?) had been a significant badge of honor for the postwar US regime after it rose to superpower status in 1945. In 2014, the badge finally fell off, as top historiographer Immanuel Wallerstein notes, in the unprecedented breach triggered by US stupidity and ignorance towards European “allies” over the implications of US unilateral spying and other excesses of US hegemony.

Desperate to look strong, the US appears to be anemically drawing on Cold War imagery and fears to reassure itself. This is a pathetic gesture, hiding the regime’s humiliating decline behind the fevered idea of a “new” Cold War, pointing nostalgically towards the Russian specter when the real issue is its own internal crisis and the severe degradation of ties with its own allies. One could say more accurately that the old Cold War is back, because the US has lost its crown.

It is tempting for many jingoists to present America’s senescence as a temporary injury, but it is not. America is dying as a superpower, dragged to its grave by the momentum of history, and it will never heal. The unique circumstances that brought the US to leadership over the world are gone, and a steady demise is all that awaits the US.

As the view that an “exceptional” nation-state is going to “lead” our civilization to the stars loses credibility, we must think about alternatives to such an order. From what is happening to this regime, we can infer key lessons to determine how we might go about shaping the alternative order in succession to what we have already seen in history.

All nation-states will ultimately be retired to the dustbin of history. America, being the most powerful of such entities and an eminent global influence, deserves to be undone before all others.

Lesson 1: Nations don’t exist, including the American nation

Illusions of a new Cold War arising from the 2014 crisis in Ukraine and other inconsequential contests with Russia, China etc. are not tests for US global leadership, but clear signs that the megalomaniacal concept of global leadership under one state’s aegis is over. The United States is beginning to realize it is a single country, no more entitled to govern or monitor the world than Lichtenstein.

Why should any country have more rights than another? Why should US nationalist ambitions be allowed to hijack the machinery of European allied states, who have moved beyond nationalism? There is a fundamental ideological disconnect between a state that views itself as a special “nation”, and more sophisticated states that devalue the concept of the nation, instead seeing their future in the European/Eurasian integration projects and other facets of transnationalism.

The ultimate failure of the lunatics in Washington to bring their regime to a position from which it can rule the world is helping the American people to realize, like other aggressor nations, that they are not special. Let us hope that this compels US leaders to withdraw their obscene claims of “exceptionalism”, i.e. superiority over other states.

Without the runaway powers of the US regime interfering in our lives under the doctrine of exceptionalism, the world will be a safer place. In Europe, the view is that we survive despite America, rather than because of it, so this regime’s demise and military withdrawal from the world stage will be universally recognized here as a blessing when it happens.

In sum, let us call for the Americans to question their country’s doctrine of exceptionalism, and the existence of any kind of “American nation”. Perhaps without this delusion – this inane flag-waving contest – US people will wake up and become as enlightened as the average European today. From there, the US can realize how far behind it is on the cultural ladder, and can start to catch up with remainder of the West as we remove the final vestiges of warlike nationalism and vanity.

Lesson 2: The American culture of aggression threatens the world

The United States is responsible reprehensible and inhumane crimes, and has surpassed all of the European states as the world’s primary source of aggression, with the 2003 Iraq War being the deadliest aggression of the new millennium. American aggression must end, for the United States to move forward.

American aggression is rooted not simply in the militant doctrine of US exceptionalism at the heart of the US establishment, but in a broader culture of “patriotism”, moronic flag-waving and slogans, and blind belief in the lies of fascist authority figures. Such a culture is alien to Europeans today, just as the idea of taking up arms and dying for one’s “nation” in the Nineteenth Century sense is regarded as extremism in Europe now. For the US to remain part of the global story, it must dispose of its archaic ideology by digesting the lessons of its own aggression in Iraq, if it is not capable of learning the lessons of aggression from other countries.

The origin of all conflict, the cancer that murders in the name of peace and security, is the nation. This fraudulent entity, used to delineate differences among mankind, has been the excuse for every mass atrocity known to man. Some blame religion for war, but no lie is as divisive and destructive as the lie that one can be part of a nation or that once can be patriotic.

Lesson 3: Americans must accept their regime’s inferiority

America believes it is superior to other countries. As of 2014, scandals have shown the US is not only morally inferior to its European allies, but is a disgrace to the entire international community.

The turn of events that has set in motion the downfall of the US regime started with the regime’s decision to augment its role in the world with its disproportionate technological strength, especially trampling on its “allies” in this regard. Led on by the narcissistic view that it is a paragon of democracy and freedom, the hypocritical regime applied the totalitarian doctrine of “total information awareness”. As the regime uses the resulting infrastructure of privacy-violation to nullify civil rights on a daily basis by spying on the personal communications of any individual it chooses in the entire world, a strategy has resulted that can only be called thuggish. The regime abuses its technological power not to save lives but to spy, victimizing its own allies and every innocent soul on the planet, including you.

Further hypocrisy exposing how the “democratic” US regime defies its moral and legal obligations are found in the regime’s record of torture, unprecedented prison populations, and political repression. This record portrays an unscrupulous entity that cannot be entrusted as any kind of authority over such international domains as democracy or human rights.

Now alienating its own Western allies by demonstrating the whole new lengths of pervasive greed and cruelty that it can be capable of, the American regime has lost the legitimacy to represent anything valued or regarded as democratic by the world. With such a loss of legitimacy, the regime is no longer able to take up its conceited role as a credible rallying point for the international community. Instead, the name of the United States shall be placed in the category of abominations including Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa and its own most loathed ally, the State of Israel.

The sheer hilarity that such a cockeyed and murderous regime might try to preach anything to Europeans or its other “allies” is now apparent for all to see. Why should anyone take lessons on global governance from a hypocrite? One might have a better fate voyaging aboard the Titanic than taking a seat with the lunatic regime, at the present juncture.

By Harry J. Bentham - More articles by Harry J. Bentham

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What is the Nation?

. @HJBentham. #FlyTheFlag. #YesScotland.

What is the nation? Should we be asking what, or perhaps who? Is it the land? The odd space shown within some contours drawn on a map by dead white men, centuries ago?

Are they the people born on a particular side of the border? A gender? A race? An ancient tribe? A conquering army in the Eleventh Century? A raging Parisian mob in the Eighteenth? The government and the local authorities? Is he the taxman? Is she the Queen?

Your president, or your prime minister, keeps telling you that you are special – that armies will protect and represent you because you are part of the nation – unless it is inconvenient at the time. We can be members of the nation while abroad, ungoverned by these authority figures, or we can be governed by them on their territory, yet not be members of the nation.

Being born on one side of the border supposedly makes you a “citizen”, belonging to a particular nation – but so does processing some forms when you apply for citizenship. Being a citizen makes your government send soldiers to save you when you are under threat – but that’s aggression and is contrary to international law. Being a citizen means you are protected under the law – until the law changes. Being a citizen means you have rights – until the government doesn’t want you to have those rights. Being part of a nation helps the authorities decide which prison you will carry out forced labor in, or who is entitled to kill you.

“The Nation”. Lots of people believe they are part of a nation, but what is it? Many governments talk about the nation, the national interest, national security. But what is the nation? Maybe the nation is just a word, used by pundits, politicians and demagogues, when they can’t determine who or what they are appealing to other than their own interests. Maybe the “national interest” is a way of talking about their own interests, without sounding too selfish in front of their audiences.

Who decides if you are part of a nation, and who decides if you are not? Can you really change your nationality at will? And if so, what connection does it have with birth, familiarity or the concept of loyalty? Can others change or revoke your nationality at will, without asking you? Can something so freely changed and nebulously defined really exist? So ill-defined, can such a thing really guarantee anything for you as a so-called “citizen”?

If I have no loyalty to the nation, and I call it a worthless and false idol, am I still part of that nation? If an American desecrates and burns the flag, is his allegiance to the flag still valid, and can he still be drafted and sent off to war? If people are no longer punished for the archaic crime of treason, like in the UK, doesn’t this mean the nation too is archaic and doesn’t really have any legitimacy?

Racist regimes like the Nazis and the Hutu Power government in Rwanda believed the nation was so important that entire groups should be exterminated to purify it. Were they right, or is the nation a whimsical notion undeserving of such fanaticism?

The United States of America believes it is the greatest “nation” in the world, and that it is so exceptional that everyone in the world should follow its commandments and rules. America must smite other nations as well as “domestic” enemies and “traitors”, if they threaten its interests.

We are told that anyone can migrate and become part of the great American nation – you, me, victims of America’s wars, dissidents, traitors to other countries, unbelievers in the American nation, and anyone else in need of a new home. But doesn’t this contradict the idea that America is exceptional, given that it is actually a self-labelled amalgam, filled with examples of humanity from all over the world, and no firm criteria with which to define itself?

How can something undefined be exceptional? How can an assortment of people and icons that already existed elsewhere, be exceptional? Isn’t the same stock still out there, in other countries? Telling us that America is exceptional, then, is like telling us that a scrapheap is exceptional while the world’s best car factory is unexceptional and unworthy of praise.

Loud-mouthed politicians and pundits tell us that something is good for our nation. But what is the nation? When pressed, they will begin to talk about themselves, their democratic right to vote, and their petty opinions. Are they the nation? Are society’s fattest, richest and oldest men, including the top media moguls and pedophile celebrities of the day, the “nation”? Why is that so? It is only because they heaped titles and a misplaced sense of importance on themselves? And why, then, should the rest of us care for this “nation”?

What is the nation? The nation is an archaic myth, kept alive by our ignorance and hatreds. It is a lie used to grab authority, to trick us into serving an arrogant regime that has earned nothing and deserves no loyalty. The nation is the worst manifestation of bigotry and parochialism. The nation is a rag with colors on it, waved by empty-headed demagogues and regressive ideologues, and deserves to be thrown on the pyre of history. The nation is whatever the hardliners, warmongers and chicken hawks tell you it is, so they can send you off to die in pointless battles anchored in myth and propaganda.

What is the nation? Nations do not exist.

By Harry J. Bentham - More articles by Harry J. Bentham

Originally published at Dissident Voice on 4 August 2014

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15 August 2014

Real debate possible with DemocracyOS

.@ScottWNesbitt. @OpenSourceWay. @DemocracyOS. @PiaMancini. #transparency. #democracy. #Occupy.

From Scott Nesbit at Opensource.com:

One of the biggest barriers to open government is the decline in citizen participation. Far too many voters believe that their ideas and opinions don’t matter to, or won’t reach the ears of, those in power.

It doesn’t help that many lawmakers are reluctant or outright resistant to changing the political status quo. As Pia Mancini, an Argentine political scientist and one of the founders of Democracia en Red, said in a 2013 TEDx talk:
It’s time to innovate where no one is innovating: the political system. Because our democracy is stalemated and is no longer able to answer the demands of a society that is becoming more and more complex and which is being transformed by new technologies.
Mancini and her colleagues at Democracia en Red, though, might just have the answer to that. It’s called DemocracyOS, and it’s an open source platform that enables citizens to debate proposals that their representatives are voting on. It's also a place for voters to present projects and ideas to their representatives for debate.

In part one of this a two-part interview, Pia Mancini talks with me about the origins of DemocracyOS and the technologies that run it.

Tell us a little bit about Democracia en Red.

We’re a group of 40+ enthusiasts aligned for one common purpose: to update democracy to the challenges of modern society. Democracia en Red believes in technology as a way of expanding democracy to its citizens, and it aims to build a new culture of political participation.

How did the idea for DemocracyOS come about, and what problem is it trying to solve?

We see a system that allows us to choose between binary options, but excludes us from participating in the design of those options. And this exclusion is the key to a huge crisis of representation that is global. Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, Greek Riots. These are just consequences of a system that no longer represents us, and is only able to produce agitation.

Before this, we wondered how could we go from that agitation to construction. And this is what we came up with: a new tool. A tool that will transform the noise we create during protests into a signal that has a clear, direct and strong impact on the political system.

DemocracyOS is designed to solve the crisis of representation by letting citizens speak for themselves.

How does DemocracyOS work?

DemocracyOS is a decision-making platform, so it is designed to address the fundamental components of the decision-making process. It allows citizens to get informed, debate and vote on topics, just how they want their representatives to vote.

Why did you make DemocracyOS open source?

The decision to make DemocracyOS open source had to do mainly with transparency and collaboration. Open source software can be used by anyone, so we can share what we’ve done with others and allow others to build on what we do instead of everyone having to reinvent the wheel as well while receiving help and ideas from those who want to collaborate with us, the end product of collaboration is always better.

We believe in this day and age, proprietary source code is not compatible with a project that has real political and social impact.

What technologies do you use to develop DemocracyOS?

Our codebase is 100% Javascript, and is based on the following libraries and frameworks:

Democracy OS is being used in several countries right now, including Mexico and Tunisia. Have governments and groups in any other countries expressed interest in adopting Democracy OS?

We’re now collaborating with an NGO from Brazil and the Spanish political party Podemos, as well as with Codeando Mexico (a Mexican civic innovation hub).

DemocracyOS is the first project from Democracia en Red. Is there anything else in the works that you can share? Will those projects also be open source?

Now we’re mostly heading to create new components to improve DemocracyOS. But if there would be any other projects in the near future they would definitely be open source because as we said before, it’s a decision we make with a philosophical stand.

You're about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for DemocracyOS. What are the goals of that campaign?

The goal is to get more people to know and help us improve this innovation for the political system that we’re trying to build. You can get a head’s up about the launch of our Kickstarter campaign at the DemocracyOS website.

How can people get involved with and contribute to DemocracyOS?

People can help by spreading the word, doing some press, or by giving feedback on our current beta.
You can keep track of the progress of the project, and help us spread the word, by:

    By Scott Nesbitt - More articles by Scott Nesbitt

    Originally published at Opensource.com on 7 August 2014

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    12 August 2014

    The Mont Order: ancient club revealed

    .@HJBentham. #MontOrder. #Lordre.

    The Mont Order, which is already the subject of a popular conspiracy theory, has revealed itself. It is described as a "club" which is presently extinct, but endorsed such ideas as world government, transhumanism and an end to national borders during its time.

    From the Lordre blog at Beliefnet:
    This should explain the facts as they presently exist on this apparently misused subject, as well as clarify my own intentions for all things that the Mont Order deserves to encompass in future, if any.  
    Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2014/08/we-are-all-of-the-mont-order.html#ixzz39vv38ofJ
    The post links to an exclusive essay on the Mont Order group, which maintains ambiguity on the question of who authored it, and states that it exists mainly to support people who have been invited to join the mysterious club.

    Tweeted from Harry J. Bentham, who claims to have inside knowledge of the Mont Order, in support of the Lordre post:

    There is even a satirical Mont Order Twitter account now open, calling itself an "ancient and secret society"!

    Amid continued serious-sounding conspiracy theories on the internet regarding the Mont Order, we can only suggest that conspiracy nuts just chill out and realize that this is really only a prank already.

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