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Celebrity ‘Charity’: A Gift for a Vicious System

Celebrity ‘Charity’: A Gift for a Vicious System

Al Jazeera

December 3, 2017

By Belen Fernandez

Irish rock star Bono talks to pupils at a school near Lesotho’s capital Maseru on May 17, 2006 [Mike Hutching/Reuters]

When movie star George Clooney married human rights lawyer and fashion icon Amal Alamuddin in Venice back in 2014, the Entertainment Tonight website declared that “it was charity that came out as the real winner” of the multimillion-dollar nuptial festivities.

The reason for the alleged win was that proceeds from certain wedding photos were said to be destined for – you guessed it – “charity”, that favourite celebrity pastime that so often translates into massive PR points and saviour-hero credit, not to mention tax breaks.

We non-celebrities have been so conditioned to perceive charity as something unconditionally positive – rather than a commodification and exploitation of faux altruism – that we don’t seem to notice reality’s conspicuous absence from the feel-good world of celeb-philanthropy.

Case in point: reports that rock star Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE managed in 2008 to channel a mere 1.2 percent of the funds it raised to the people it purported to be assisting have done nothing to interfere with the man’s portrayal as some sort of messiah for Africa.

In the case of the Clooneys, who now preside over their very own Clooney Foundation for Justice, celebrity worship and Amal-mania have also precluded sound judgement. Objectively speaking, it would seem that “justice” is not really an option in a world in which human rights lawyer-philanthropists by the name of Amal Clooney wear outfits costing $7,803.

The obscenity of inequality

Currently targeted for charitable assistance by the Clooneys’ organisation is the Syrian refugee population of Lebanon, where, the foundation’s website stresses, “refugee children are sent out to work for as little as 2 dollars per day”. Roughly calculating, it would thus take a Syrian refugee child approximately eleven years to accumulate enough funds for the aforementioned outfit (less if accessories are left out).

Fantastically expensive galas, celebrity photo ops with black and brown children in international charity hotspots, and other mainstays of the celebro-philanthropist repertoire do little, in the end, to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression, and the rest of the global ills that are repeatedly invoked to tug at heartstrings and thereby provoke admiration and/or financial contributions to the cause being peddled.

This is not to suggest, of course, that one must always calculate and justify one’s expenses in terms of Syrian refugee income, but rather to point out that any sort of actual justice in the world would require dismantling the prevailing neoliberal panorama of obscene economic inequality.

In a forthcoming book titled Against Charity, authors Julie Wark and Daniel Raventos offer a meticulous and scathing indictment of the institution of charity as a key component of the neoliberal order – and of the role of celebrity philanthropists in keeping the have-nots in place and the powerful in power.

Celebrities, write Wark and Raventos, “draw attention to social distress but immediately cover it up by giving the impression that something is being done” by the wealthy of the world, who have the money to do things.

But fantastically expensive galas, celebrity photo ops with black and brown children in international charity hotspots, and other mainstays of the celebro-philanthropist repertoire do little, in the end, to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression, and the rest of the global ills that are repeatedly invoked to tug at heartstrings and thereby provoke admiration and/or financial contributions to the cause being peddled.

Again, were global oppression to somehow magically cease, the “philanthropic” rich and famous would be up a creek – since no arrangement governed by literal justice would allow the obsequiously-celebrated “poverty fighter” Bill Gates to own a house with 24 bathrooms or for the ever-so-charitable David and Victoria Beckham to trademark their children’s names.

Disappearing context

Regarding the function of celebrities within “a system that sees famous people as brands and thus consumer products”, Wark and Raventos note that celebrity “excess” helps sustain the consumerist model by providing glorified examples of over-the-top materialism – while celebrity “beneficence” helps whitewash the brutality of institutionalised socioeconomic disparity.

Meanwhile, the “awareness” that celebrities purport to raise for their respective causes is frequently devoid of the political context necessary to comprehend contemporary causes of human suffering.

Take, for example, actress and philanthropic superstar Angelina Jolie, whose work as Special Envoy for the United Nations refugee agency elicits continuous media prostration before her charitable “radiance“.

Descending upon war-torn nations and refugee camps in characteristic superhuman perfection, Jolie decries earthly injustice – while regularly excising crucial pieces of the puzzle from her lament.

This was the case in a March 2017 speech in Geneva, when Jolie referenced “the conflict in Iraq – the source of so much Iraqi suffering to this day”, and yet proceeded to self-identify as “a proud American” and a believer in the notion that “a strong nation, like a strong person, helps others to rise up and be independent”.

Never mind that the US – a strong nation indeed – happens to have effectively destroyed Iraq, inflicting unquantifiable death and misery upon the Iraqi people.

In Iraq and beyond, in fact, the military and economic policies of the country of which our heroine is so “proud” have contributed to a range of humanitarian crises now abstractly seized upon by Jolie & Co – not least the Saudi-led starvation of Yemen, aided and abetted by none other than the US.

It’s showtime

A recent Vanity Fair cover story on Jolie touches on numerous aspects of the actress’ life, from her new Los Angeles mansion – “listed for around $25 million” – to her cofounding, with British former foreign secretary William Hague, of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012. According to its website, the initiative “aims to raise awareness of the extent of sexual violence … in situations of armed conflict and rally global action to end it”.

This is the same Hague who, in addition to fervently championing the war on Iraq, argued in 2015 that just because Iraq had turned out poorly didn’t mean the west shouldn’t intervene in Syria.

In other words, so much for the prevention of violence.

Wark and Raventos observe that “the demigods of celebrity culture are a symptom of a general moral and ethical malaise in which, as capitalism is foundering in its own morass, mythmaking is essential for keeping the show going”.

If only the curtain would fall – not only on the sideshow of celebrity philanthropy, but on the myth itself.

 

[Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.]

 

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

#U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 Tampa

The Raydiant Labyrinth

November 1 2017

This essay is intended to deal with two elements: it delineates the political agenda of the latest U2 tour, and highlights that there are socio-religious roots introduced in conjunction with that political agenda, which actually present the doctrinal basis for theocratic fascism in the United States as “good”, -and both of these elements are absorbed by the sum audience as “good”. This geopolitical juggernaut was not only put forth to “entertain” the US buying public, but introduced abroad.
Here is Frank Zappa discussing what he viewed to be the greatest existential danger to the United States, -“theocratic fascism”. I’d like to offer this distinction: what Zappa is describing, -when theocratic doctrine becomes legally codified for a nation as its version of morality, is not theocratic fascism. That is the first and most fundamental signifier of a functioning theocracy. Theocratic fascism is when theocratic ideology integrates itself so fully into the prevailing culture (mainly by way of its leadership) that it begins implementing itself in foreign and domestic policy through that leadership, with the domestic public acculturated enough to its tenets and dictates that they are either unconcerned or full believers themselves. The way to innoculate the public is through culture. Below is a more extended clip of the exchange with Frank Zappa that led to this quote:

And now, onto our essay.

Part I: I Never Saw a U2 Tour That I Didn’t Like

Maybe I should have been happy to see U2 do #Canada150 (our 150th birthday). -Nope. And by “do”, I mean the pejorative.

“I like the PR implications of the framing of this performance for impact domestically in Canada even less than I like its intended framework of effect as per the US audience. ONE was a wee bit too deliberate a song selection and this whole intro in that context was tooled as a PR gift to our PM personally to help him domestically, in the light of sanctioning a certain pipeline [and then some] and tacitly supporting military presence to force its construction if need be. We do know how U2’s ONE/RED billionaire sponsors do loathe their indigenous pipeline protests against their investments. It was called #NoDAPL. #askU2 #U2 TheJoshuaTreeTour 2017” – Pamela Williams

Blame it on the Rain“ Bono’s gifted intro to our PM and our country (which was more of a calculated gift to our PM than it was to our country), that was turned into an American political football in the same light, purely in terms of a contrast in leadership (given Bono’s disturbing depiction of Trump the entire #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 for “Exit” every night) is to be found here, segueing at 0:45. That in its own right might not be too much of a problem. But this is #Canada150, -right? And Bono calculated it for all of this effect, in light of his equally calculated effect with the present tour. Given the population ratio, you might say he calculated it for its partisan effect on his American audience by a proportionate population ratio of about 10 to 1. Sounds about right. And its calculated effect domestically? -That I have a bigger problem with. We’re getting the exact same tour in Canada that Americans are getting in the USA, btw, so the calculated effect was equally intended on both sides of the border.

-That’s right folks. U2 and Co. took their partisan-ly political US framed tour cross border complete with all its ode to Americana (with the expected cornucopia of American neuroses), and performed it in full as if it were fully applicable and appreciable to a Canadian audience. Makes perfect sense now. Even the PR inbuilt into #Canada150 was informed by this lexicon and designed to play and convey to both audiences of the paying faithful cross-border. And, -that’s right folks. This is U2?s present current notion of creating an international show based on universal appeal, basically proselytizing America to the world. The Pentagon (or military brass Bono is now thanking live in concert for attending and for their service abroad) must be absolutely jizzing themselves. This is where U2 have ended up to commemorate their 30 years.

I have pulled out the aspects of U2’s #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 that play into the aspects of the Canada150 performance and put them here as a summary dealing solely with that (for the repeat intro I apologise in advance). -Seeing U2 “do” #Canada150 was leavened by the fact that I just saw what they do for the USA every day by seeing them in Tampa. On the scale of patriotic patronage, if you will, this diminishes Bono’s and Edge’s personal effort by appearing in this one-off to commemorate a different country in orders of magnitude of hundreds to one. Having seen the tour in the US, and being aware that it’s being performed this same way in Canada due to the screen montage always being the same, as well as the general formula, (though Bono’s personal touches and twists do doll up the entire thing as an American homage from start to finish when performed in the States), greatly alters your perspective.

This got its start as a comment on U2’s #Canada150 appearance that got waaay out of hand, as it really became all about what it was like to witness them in Tampa. Despite all this negative analysis that I’ll put down to political (and some religious) awareness (I’m in no way remiss to possess), let me state outright that despite having this aspect of awareness, I still really did enjoy the show throughout, and not even this could sink it for me. There’s just no way on earth I would have paid for it. -And then reality began to sink in. To quote the comment:

“So, first flavor of FB censorship is that in viewing this, all negative comments on U2 have been filtered out. I can’t see them for this reason. Bono is a major, invitation only Facebook investor. Facebook’s working overtime for him.

I may appreciate that they showed up and did this, but then I have seen #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 despite boycotting it, (as in friend of a friend got gifted), which throws it into a very different form of relief. -Having seen them perform this tour in the USA is enlightening, semi-automatic machine guns on law enforcement aside. Basically the entire concert is one giant PR BJ for the USA.”

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” which began existence about The Troubles now commemorates the blowback (shout-out for Manchester, London (and Kabul) @3:15)  from Obama and Hillary’s excellent Libyan adventure, but utterly disassociated from the adventure, solidarity evacuated of all culpability. Thus are our military war crimes expiated as opener, the sole lens being that of shared victimhood.

Unsurprisingly, “One Tree Hill” was dedicated to the Orlando Pulse Night Club massacre, again, without any attendant context of how that transpired. –You don’t say.

A Syrian refugee infant washed to shore on the Mediterranean in ‘Pride” (@1:11) who represented hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, was equally rendered a non sequitur. U2, having so offended the nation that would vote for Trump and having been so offensive as to tell them to vote for the losing side, turn “Pride”, the ode to civil disobedience, MLK’s martyrdom and the Civil Rights movement, into a bread sop bipartisan embrace of the American right and left (sacrificed to polarization to divide a nation election 2016) starting at 2:30, going on to exhort the audience that the Dream (MLK’s, or the American one that executed him?) -is still alive and kicking. [Stuff like this makes me wonder if he might even possibly be right, doubly so as this take-back of the flag will have to be bipartisan.]

U2 have bent over backwards to create a non-stop homage to all things America to woo all those sensitive snowflake consumers back post election, seeing as it was the first time ever they took a side during an election. (‘Pride” opens with “all come, to look for America” ), -can’t upset the money cart. It covers every banality and subverts the band’s spirituality to make it an unadulterated homage to the American golden calf (which they’re actually proselytizing in Canada itself as well as every country).

Above: U2 concert montage featuring Morleigh Steinberg

-The above (hyperlinked) video for the song “Trip Through Your Wires” doesn’t give you this implication sufficiently so let me explain. This song was Bono’s first foray into the notion of a feminine Holy Spirit, but it was nascent rather than articulate at the time; -he delineated this with subsequent releases (proven in my book from public record, –namely the songs themselves). Instead of an open spirituality for this song what we have is an entire big screen video montage dedicated to Edge’s wife Morleigh alternating between her American flag bikini and painting the American flag to provide an object as per the song’s lyrics, -thus the spiritual rescuer is personified not as something Godly/spiritual redemption, but rather, -the band’s rescuer is portrayed as being America in the feminine.

[This is not trying to imply the song wasn’t originally broad enough in its intention that this doesn’t work. It has a scope; like arriving at a rung up or down on a ladder it can go anywhere on, and the idea was merely potential at the time. The Divine Feminine did not become part of this song’s possible scope until Bono indeed wrote songs that were incontrovertibly referencing a feminine Holy Spirit, based on how he cross referenced the Bible to do it. He arrived not at an angel or devil in the end, but the Holy Spirit Feminine, and said so.]

On the other hand there is a word for this type of staged formulation wherein the sacred is substituted for the non-sacred as object as the sum of performance art. It is called sacrilege, but the audience are far too infantilized to be aware of the nature of the merger, which I’m only asserting as being the case because this wasn’t about one song, but was vested by the concert’s entire content, as interspersed with the unending obeisance to America, Bono had the audacity to simultaneously claim that attending the concert was the same as going to Church (at 2:30). That’s only true if God is your object. The sum of the show in no way has God as object. It has America as its object. Basically the waters are so deliberately muddied there is no difference to be had at this point, which is the essence of the problem. In the Old Testament, the substitution of any object in the place of God as an object of veneration or worship is idolatry, and God put it in the top 10 commandments of sins not to commit.

“In God’s Country” is deftly turned into a personification of the United States with one line shift to “she thinks her only gift is gold” at 1:45. The elimination of ambiguity (or inverted shift, depending on your take) is the elimination of all meaning, except the one option to be taken in the literal, -and that’s a problem. God’s country is Heaven, -or God’s Creation, depending on your angle. The lyric shift deftly designates America as God’s country. This belief that America is uniquely God’s country on earth is rooted in its self conception going back to Plymouth; “Manifest Destiny” and American “exceptionalism” are founded on the assertion, which means the invocation is not something akin to asserting the nation as perhaps, uniquely Godly or virtuous, it is accessing a loaded interpretation with a vast body of thought and consequences that lie at the very root of the American psyche.

Americans generally have no clue “exceptionalism’s” present secular incarnation formed its roots in “one nation under God”. Exceptionalism first had to arrive at a religious justification for itself (that was the doctrine of “manifest destiny”). “As originally used in the US, Manifest Destiny was the idea that God had given the United States a mission to expand their territory throughout North America. Three basic ideas underlie the concept of manifest destiny. First is a belief in the righteousness and superiority of the Christian moral values and institutions of the United States. The second is a belief in the responsibility of the U.S. to spread these for the benefit of the world and to fulfill God’s wishes. The third is the faith that God has blessed the country to succeed and every success confirms that blessing. The term Manifest Destiny was revived in the 1890s as a justification for US international expansion.”

For Bono to invoke America as God’s country puts him squarely in the mindset of both the neocon (G. W. Bush -who resurrected manifest destiny, the religious brand of American exceptionalism to invade Iraq) and neoliberal camps of ideological thought (“Obama is likely the most strenuous advocate of American exceptionalism on the left today” (see review that has interview with the author of “American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion”, John Wilsey) and “city on a hill” Hillary). Note that this author has two views of American exceptionalism, with the theological version being the (euphemistic in the extreme) “closed” (dark, supremacist and dangerous) version, which, however lightly he’s treading, is what Bono is invoking. It’s so interesting what territory you have to range in order to be bipartisan in the USA. Both sides believe in American exceptionalism, the question is simply at what latitude. Witnessing the fruits, it appears the differentiation between “closed” (theological) exceptionalism and “open” (secular) exceptionalism are virtually indistinguishable in terms of foreign policy as bloodbath. And when Hillary on the campaign trail invoked American exceptionalism with “shining city on a hill”, it was the equivalent of a wet kiss campaign smack to the “closed” (theological) voter-ship, the true believers. (Bono flirts with the best.)

It has interesting roots: “manifest destiny” doctrine was a reference point for Hitler to formulate an existent justification for “Lebensraum”; -basically, if they can justify illegal land expropriation of other sovereign nations by claiming God destined the land for them and making the mandate essentially unlimited, then why on earth can’t we? (This was not the only ideological justification where the Nazis resorted to the USA as a templatethey also studied and sourced its race and immigration laws, as well as its reservation system in devising concentration camps.) Manifest Destiny was the ideological justification the United States used to genocidally cleanse the West. It went beyond, as it was quoted as justification for the annexation of the Phillipines (loverly -still cluelessly referenced as an outstanding figure in history), as well as to illegally annex Hawaii. It was used to threaten Canada more than once (“54:40 or Fight”), in the argument that the colony had no right to exist in the face of America’s Godly dispensation as the conquistador of democratic ideals for the entire North American continent. While fundamentalist, it is a uniquely American condition, and would by and large otherwise be regarded as (again) sacrilegious in any Protestant reformist movement’s antipathy to the material -apart from those migrating spawn of the Puritans who were, thanks to the evolution of manifest destiny doctrine from their unique “New Israel” Calvinism, more than prone to dispensationalism (and look where that got us).

Now what’s interesting is that the countermanding Old Testament refutations that repeal present day Zionism (which is sanctioned in Christian minds by the doctrine of dispensationalism, and such repeals in the Bible do likewise to Divine mandated American exceptionalism) lie primarily in the female testaments, particularly those of Rahab and Ruth (the above “look where that got us” link references both Rahab and Ruth for the Biblical doctrinal refutation of dispensationalism, but in addition in my refutation there’s Esther and other elements). Even within Zionism itself it is Biblically (Talmud) refuted, as in the manner in which Zionism may have God’s mandate to fulfill itself has been hotly contested, meaning “this country [Israel] is ours by God’s decree because we alone are God’s people” could have moral constraints in its attainment, -and by the argument the Rabbi is alluding to in the above link, -could only be obtained morally.

I’m speculating that perhaps the only nations fundamentalist enough to come up with an equivalent notion to America’s religious version of Manifest Destiny (if more virulently) might be the ISIS Caliphate, the present Jewish State, the Taliban, the Saudi monarchy (if it considers itself a Divine Monarchy) and Iranian theocracy. Hopefully now that I have laid out some of the US’s own doctrinal background and pointed out some of the other entities that presently hold this same brand of belief, -you can begin to register what is actually being accessed by Bono’s invocation of America as “God’s Country”, otherwise put as, just how perilously Bono is flirting when it comes to how he’s defined his ultimate object for this present tour. Present doctrinal implementations of “God’s nation”, namely American dispensationalist doctrine conferring this to Israel, is how you’ve arrived at unconditional support for a form of Zionism that attacks your First Amendment rights; obviously US support for Israel is geo-strategic, but that’s not the basis for the delusion feeding the religious aspect of Christian support, which tips US support. Not exactly good bedfellows to keep with this sort of domestic influence. As for their international influenceprepare to dig your own grave, make that sooner rather than later.

Why would it be considered healthy to unconsciously invoke this sort of underlying doctrine in performance art in the collective psyche of your receptive audience (you could not find a more passively receptive audience in terms of band trust), -when this is their historical (and present -as in NYT bestsellers make their bread and butter on this s***) -resonance? This allegation is made, of course, on the basis that we are dealing with a professing Christian believer, so the question is simply -in the context of this presentation, what sort of belief is he presenting? As you can see the answer has disturbing undertones. Ironically, the doctrine of dispensationalism was conceived by an Irishman, and so by and large were Sheela na Gigs. Bono seems to have a difficulty choosing between the two (pretending to proffer both), -when they are mutually exclusive. This I find even more disturbing about it.

While Bono and U2 made the whole set of #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 climax in the third act on feminism and #herstory, and Bono introduced the tour by stating that we are dealing with the rise of universal feminine consciousness in all of humankind and thus the show is deliberately celebrating that (in this Rolling Stone interview), -his embrace of the notion of “God’s Country” as a nation that exists on earth is utterly in opposition to the feminist elements that appear in the Old Testament itself, whose existence in the Bible provide a direct antithesis to precisely this brand of fundamentalism. (I demonstrate how this exists under my above self-referenced hyperlink.) It’s like he’s literally betraying his own belief system right in front of you, -in the name of America. It’s like inverting the element of feminism found in the two monotheisms (Judaism and Christianity) to force it to embrace its very opposite (literally the opposite of what he himself is professing his combined belief system to be, if his feminism is at all grounded in Christianity) and substituting the Whore of Babylon, not as an removed object, but rather sold to the receptive audience as an internalized self-image that is utterly false. The idol/image exists in terms of themselves as a form of self-worship. Adoration of their false perception of their country is adoration of themselves in terms of their self-regard for what that country is, by the simple fact that their internal perception of their country simply has no bearing on reality.

In fact the show is providing a deliberate substitute for reality. As such, it is purely a figment of their own perception that receives their veneration, -a self created image designed to buttress the self in terms of providing them with a good perception of themselves. In this manner the object of veneration Bono and the band have designed for this tour is not external but interior and purely self serving, for what Bono presented them with as the subject of honour was not God, but America as “God’s Country”, -namely themselves. Moreover feminism in the Bible introduced the very opposite of the notion of any nation on earth asserting itself to be “God’s Country”. The Book of Esther introduced the very concept of secularism, the separation of Church and State, and Rahab introduced the elemental idea of individuals joining God’s people via faith as opposed to being designated by ethnic tribalism, -namely who they descended from or their nationality. The idea of “we and we alone are God’s nation on earth, and it is this earthly nation, and it gives us this dispensation” is of course the ultimate merger of Church and State.

I have one last additional point to make on this, and it is purely anecdotal. The only other place I have witnessed this deliberate muddying of arch-types in order foster a somewhat religious emotional attachment to nationhood (namely the deliberate cross over between Church, State (being by default the US in this instance), and Christ-like Hero mash-ups relayed in terms of Sacrifice (with a healthy dollop of Mother thrown in) is in present Hollywood movie incarnations I would frame as propaganda, and speculate are tooled if not by the Pentagon as such then definitely by someone else at the level of psy-ops. There’s no doubt the Pentagon tools Hollywood movies, and I would speculate heavily on many incarnations of Marvel (I’m referring here to a DC Comics movie), as Marvel script modifications are explicitly referenced in the promotion of this book, by authors that have documented the minutiae management of scripts and production on over 1800 Hollywood films by the Pentagon (not surprised at all).

Part II: Just What, Exactly, are you Hijacking Feminism For?

Wonder Woman is a hero only the military-industrial complex could create – Jonathon Cook

“Is it any surprise that in the Hollywood-Pentagon world of Wonder Woman, the values of a female superhero sound exactly like those of the military men who run the West’s wars?

Now roll on “Wonder Woman 2: Time to Intervene (Humanely).”

That DC Comics productions also provide a platform of this nature is getting obvious, -especially when it comes to co-opting feminism as a platform in presenting “humanitarian intervention“. This is exactly what just happened with Wonder Woman, and is what is being presented for this U2 Joshua Tree Tour, -as the climax of the entire show is the track “Ultraviolet” as a video montage to feminist figures (inaugurated by the #herstory hashtag which featured in Hillary Clinton’s campaign), and featuring Hillary ClintonMichelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and both her daughters, and Madeleine Albright (“the price is worth it” “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other“) as some of these leading lights, – not to mention the vicechair of (RED sponsor) Bank of America, Melinda Gates (from whom ONE and RED obtain the bulk of their sponsorship), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook on ONE’s Board of Directors). Then there’s (climate deaf) Oprah. Basically we’re dealing with the interspersal of neocon and neoliberal politburo figures and First Ladies (banging a war criminal makes you a leading feminist), all of whom exist in tacit sanction of the perpetual war time state under the premise of the “war on terror“, with actual feminists and female activists.

Maybe if I provide an even balder sample of “cred appropriation” al la feminism for Hillary, leading architect in the destruction of Libya, using the exact same concept, it will begin to dawn on you why this is a bad employ of art. (-As in it really is just a bald faced attempt at credibility appropriation, which just happens to serve very well as propaganda; if you don’t think art is utilized for such, you’re daft.) The use of all these leading feminists’ names to form a portrait of Hillary (the above “balder” hyperlink) subsumes these women’s entire legacy as feminists responsible for change as if it has culminated in one individual and they provide her source; they become nothing more than merely a device wholly suborned in service to her in terms of her image. This is especially laughable when you consider Hillary’s latest attempt to blame everyone and anyone over herself for her election loss was to state that her failure to obtain white women’s vote was their fault, in a manner that was deeply sexist. (It’s even more laughable as Hillary stated it was Sheryl Sandberg (one of Hillary’s election campaignenabling prospects for Treasury Secretary) who told her this was the cause; -basically calculus to get away with using sexism, by cred appropriating the author of “Lean In” feminism. (Sheryl couldn’t be sexist!) Sheryl, btw, doesn’t have a clue when Facebook’s advertising is illegally racist.) If you want to know why lauding the philanthropically connected as leading feminists is equally dubious, I’ve provided a decidedly unpleasant list as to why ONE/RED and the largesse they depend upon is deeply problematic (scroll down). Multiplying this concept as providing equivalency for multiple women (for an aggregate that tacitly sanction and/or promulgate the war on terror ideology, to boot), as well as having the audacity to promote members and financiers of your own lobby group/consumer activism charity in the same token (“Lean In” authorship does not a feminist activist/ theoretician who changed society make), in no way improves the situation. It’s the same cred appropriation, just more broadly applied, making the appropriation that much worse. It got decidedly sicker depending on what country you happen to inhabit.

Above: Chrystia Freeland and Mary Robinson (of the Richard Branson and Purpose B Team)  highlighted in U2 montage. Women who serve empire are interwoven with radical feminists in order to reframe what constitutes feminism. Venues such as this serve as unique functions for achieving conformity and acquiescence utilizing the psychology of crowds. #SoftPower

For “Ultraviolet” video montage performances in Canada, U2 featured Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is responsible for these sorts of policies. Stepping up Canada’s defense spending by 70% was lauded as a personal coup for her and Defence Minister Harjit Sanjian, when it was a reflex genuflection to Trump’s public demand that NATO members up their military spending a week earlier. Incidentally this is the same woman who will helm our NAFTA renegotiation with the United States, so perhaps ass-kissing is just how you do business post reality TV presidency. NAFTA’s most fascist aspect is of course, already off the table. Not that this bothers her (nor do the specific resource issues to do with our water and oil that abrogate Canada’s sovereignty; namely the dangers of the proportionality clause Mexico was wise enough to reject, which destroys our energy sovereignty).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, greets Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde during arrivals of G-7 leaders and Outreach guests at the G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday, June 8, 2015. G-7 leaders, in a second and final day of the conference, were set to tackle the difficult issue of climate change and fighting terrorism. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)/VLM102/741893071685/1506081055

 

It is clear that the resounding silence by Canadian Jewry on her Nazi heritage is a tacit trade off for her unconditional support of Israel, as well as her active policy record mirroring their desires for the Middle East via Canada’s foreign policy, including her absurd public announcement with respects to the arms increase that Canada must make its foray into world stage “humanitarian interventionism”, due to the advent of “isolationist” Trump. Our Prime Minister has been rendered unable to differentiate when he’s using Nazi slogans to greet national leaders (Ukraine’s, so maybe he isn’t).

Chrystia Freeland visited Ukraine to attend the Euromaidan protests, speaking publicly there in March 2014. She continued her unremitting journalistic support for the Ukraine revolution, utterly immune to what happened in both the Maidan and Odessa. Her control of Canadian foreign policy emulates these consequences in terms of utter servility to American interests, to the point of selling out our country (while literally scare-mongering NAFTA negotiators with the historical preludes to WWII to coerce ratifying the deal). As for the results in the Ukraine, they are decidedly predictable.

-Half of Trudeau’s cabinet is women. This was U2’s #herstory political pick for Canada, the biggest militarist to ever hit the post. A better shoe horn to inaugurate Cold War II/WW III could not have been contemplated, and that’s due to her Nazi heritage. In light of the fact that Bono as Mac Phisto used to call Mussolini’s grand daughter while touring Italy (then a party member of the MRI), declaring “I’m back [as in the Devil’s back]”, in much the same vein of antagonism he was calling Bush Sr. at the White House every night in North America (1992/93), -you’ve come a long way, baby.

Jonathon Cook presents the segue way that when Wonder Woman was scripted, it was probably deliberately tooled to parallel and create additional feminist confluence and credo for that incumbent humanitarian interventionist, Hillary Clinton, for whom the presidency appeared assured. Such surety certainly put Trudeau adrift. Not only is the similitude between the ideologically platformed (propaganda scripted) “Wonder Woman” and U2’s set a little too close for comfort, the developments in Hollywood/Marvel/DC Comics show this attempted management of the public psyche via “art” is already a program. The question then becomes, why have U2 lent their entire artistic trajectory to the self-same program for this tour?

The difference between what looked like a DC Comics foray into sublimating arch-types, and Bono’s present foray is that with DC’s apparent effort these notions were being somewhat toyed with, while simultaneously cracking deep insecurities you might call population touch stones that make the audience susceptible and accessible. Bono, on the other hand, has been tooling this operation on America’s crowd-mind as high art for three decades, and has now presented them with their golden calf in full form, -themselves. DC Comics/Pentagon may have absolutely nothing on him but it likewise appeared on cue in almost perfect prep form. Like I said, they must be jizzing themselves. Hollywood’s comparative effort toying with such notions, (if it could be a considered notion, and I don’t know), is child’s play. Bono’s is a perfectly calibrated collective release that follows the redemptive/worship cycle without an iota of culpability, repentance, sacrifice or depth of faith. U2 accesses those collective insecurities about themselves on the plateau of national id at a level of somnolence that is practically unconscious, basing it on a completely false sense of honesty, substituting a panacea for the kind of relief you’re supposed to get from truthful introspection that jars you awake.

To make the point of just how complete this is, near the end of the concert in Tampa Bono pointedly thanked US military servicemen in attendance for their work and service abroad after broadcasting a Syrian refugee, -in the same week American white phosphorus was used on civilians in Raqqa  and civilian deaths due to US intervention there peakedThere’s US bases in a country where no war has been declared in violation of international law. When “humanitarion intervention” was first conceived and began its faulty legal tread, U2 were broadcasting live out of Sarajevo civilian’s eye-witness accounts of NATO bombing during their POP Tour. They were warned to cease in no uncertain terms, and complied. What a reversal in twenty years.

Above: “Jo Cox, an ambitious Labour MP who had fervently lobbied the U.K. Parliament for further British intervention in Syria” [source] highlighted in U2 montage.

Every use of the sublime and sentiment for #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 was banality imbued by what should have been glaring hypocrisy, some were just more lethal than others. Bono claimed that hearing this Syrian refugee espouse America as “civilised”, as her wish of where to live, the American Dream, is some sort of velvet delivered “kick in the balls” for the American audience. So utterly kid gloves he made it completely disassociated by his obeisance to the American military in attendance in the same token, and completely defanged the framed intent of “Bullet the Blue Sky” with this offering to boot, which was presented as being about the militarization of the US population (again, America complete with all of its neuroses was proselytized in Canada, -as if this somehow is our thing or our shared introspection).

-Let’s take a tour tooled solely to and about America on the road and have other nations pay for the privilege of listening to an entire album as an ode to one country that’s completely overbearing on their existence regardless. I mean, it only attains a measure of relevance because America truly is this overbearing upon the world. And gains full tilt irony if not absurdity given U2 lauded Canada’s lockstep foreign minister, (the one who’s completely aping US foreign policy -reliably weighing in on Venezuela; with Canada now implementing sanctions against Venezuela at her behest) as their #herstory political figure for Canada, -with the additional audacity to label a proponent of a Ukrainian nationalist (neoNazitakeover of a democracy “feminist”. (Basically Trump is elected so even those Nazi military supporters have a way to look good, if not be praised for taking control, which they already have. You can condemn Nazism at home and attend their independence day celebration abroad, -and even arm themall in the same week, and no one even blinks. If you don’t think glorification of Nazism was a problem for Ukraine’s government, remember this vote. Yes, it is a problem for them, with national heroes like these. You’d also deserve to be served with the reminder that this s*** is not new, and has more than a little to do with the US being forced to bear Wall Street’sconsequences, which had the usual contrivance of domestic support. It is a salient point that the consequence brought about no correction.)

The support of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine is part of a longstanding relationship.” – Michel Chussodovsky

What is this celebration of independence if you have other people’s troops on your main square?” -apres le parade, the bases.

That Canada’s soldier’s are leading this parade in front of Mattis has a great deal to do with Chrystia Freeland. (US Secretary of Defence Mattis‘s military nick name as a general was “Mad Dog” for a reason (Fallujah war crimes). CIA contractingWaPo owning neoliberal plutocrats have no problem consorting with un-prosecuted war criminals promoted to Secretaries of Defence, effectively normalizing this precedent.) Her position in providing these troops has even more to do with the United States, as it was USA’s orchestration of the Ukrainian coup under the tenure of the Democrats that even puts a Nazi Ukrainian nationalist descendent in the universe of having a “useful” resume for attaining a Foreign Affairs post in a purported Liberal government (with no prior political or diplomatic experience whatsoever; she was a journalist with a stratospheric rise, winning a Liberal nomination in 2013, attaining a Ministerial post in 2015, assigned Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017). As for Freeland’s adjunct’s counter threats as per Russian disinformation providing her background and the danger of ever airing such speciously sourced information (the obeisant press gave her a lot more than that), it pays to look at the source.

Again, the USA’s ability to leap off the lemming cliff into unreality rather than come to terms with what its own democratic process means about itself is unleashing untold damages across the diplomatic world, which includes, in this instance, a Foreign Affairs Minister with Nazi heritage getting blanket avoidance of any consideration or examination of how her past might be implementing itself through Canada’s present. US machinations abroad affect the entire world. The convenience of U2’s world tour as performance art as ode to the USA abroad at this moment, and that they’d consider it valid to publicly laud Chrystia Freeland as part of that package, cannot be understated, given the Obama/Clinton administration’s involvement in Ukraine. U2 are enabling rather than challenging. They arrived in Canada and tacitly implied we bow to these masters of the universe on foreign policy, -that this is not bowing, -that behaving in this manner on the world stage, surrendering your foreign policy dictates to a foreign power, accepting Nazi backgrounds into your cabinet who provide unconditional tactical support for regimes more virulently racist than the white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, is leading “feminism”. Chrystia Freeland represents unconditional support “for a [Ukraine] government that outlawed its country’s third largest political party and that has made it illegal to be critical of Nazi collaborator ‘nationalists’ in its past.”

The Story of Charlottesville was Written in the Blood of Ukraine” – Counterpunch

America’s Ukraine Hypocrisy” – Strategic Culture

Wonder what Omaima (U2’s big screened representative Syrian refugee) would have thought of all this? Bono thanking the US military for their participation while American white phosphorus rained down on Raqqa and over 500 civilians were killed by US forces there and in Mosul in the same period? Could there be a worse euphemism I can use, than “overbearing”? That’s Bono’s notion of a velvet touch that works like a kick in the balls, right there, her outright love of those delivering phosphorus and killing her people -rest assured not one audience member felt it, and it’s framed so they never would. They are viewing it through the optic of “humanitarian intervention”, -viewing her admiration as originating in her recognition they bring salvation via their military, and all introspection stops there. After all he thanked them himself while they were killing her countrymen.

U2 also big screened a token Native American (starts at 1:14). No mention, of course that their ONE/RED billionaire sponsors are majorly invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline and thus invested in the mass use of rubber bullets and tear gas on those Americans throughout 2016. #NoDAPL They certainly weren’t on the side of right with this one. Bear in mind Bono took the opportunity of #Canada150 to bald-facedly brand promote his lobbying organization, ONE, whose financial backbone is provided by these DAPL investors. That is the only purpose the song “One” now serves in being in the #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 set, it’s there to provide a chance for Bono to segue this lobby organization. That connection was lost on no one who’s been watching the band, or indeed our Prime Minister. That was the reason for its choice, a calculated little piece of brand synergy bromance for the faithful.

Call it a win-win, between our PM wearing ONE t-shirts, -and Bono promoting him on the band’s Facebook page for responding financially to ONE. I suppose those with mutual interests in state suppression of pipeline protests bed well together, considering ONE’s financing and our PM’s position towards First Nations is to bring in the Canadian military to enforce pipelines for Texas multinationals shat out of Enron’s carcass (Kinder Morgan, whereas another of these offshootsis responsible for helping to bankrupt our public utility BC Hydro) if their construction is blockaded, -blockades that will be spear-headed by those who’ve inhabited Canada for tens of thousands of years. Welcome to #Canada150.

To have U2 open this “Native American” video montage with the feminine-ly and Revelation-ally loaded red moon as a symbol is just doubly insulting. It’s like a cue signal: we’re going to enter a “spiritual” interlude in this concert, and present you with American Native spirituality to signify our “deep moment” is inclusion and includes one-ness with the Earth; -when this is precisely the element subject to complete and total erasure with this tour. Native Americans “present” in apparent homage whilst U2’s ONE/RED sponsors were in actuality having them brutalized to force through their investment, the Dakota Access Pipeline, when the pipeline has been adjudicated as illegal, -a point I was very clear on (not that this stopped Trumptopia from counter-suing over it, claiming water protectors are terrorists). -I’m not claiming U2’s DAPL investor sponsors were direct orchestrators of this state violence  (nor the adjunct unleashing of the private “surveillance industrial complex“, using private mercenary security contractors outsourced from the occupation of Iraq); -they were merely silent investors who controlled even the #NoDAPL protest itself to protect their financial interest. Who finances your lobby group makes it performance art as lie perpetrating the lie to hide the bodies underneath it all. (U2 usedto know about those, and brought them to light. Now they hide them for their sponsors.)

Both the use of the Syrian refugee and this usage of a Native American are in fact performed inversions that perform no other exercise than to betray the truth in the collective minds of the audience by hiding it utterly, and giving them a feel good substitute in evasion of the existent barbarism being exacted upon these peoples in the name of “America”. America has no place for Native American spirituality invoking protection of an earthly place, they just exacted retribution for the sake of U2’s sponsor’s investments (investments RED and ONE in turn are dependent upon financially) to the tune of over 700 arrests, many of whom they kenneled like dogs, many of whom were injured (as well as being subject to hours of water jets in sub-zero temperatures), to terminate their resistance on this very notion, namely their integrated belief in the sacredness and health of their land and water. (Specifically this was the substance of the court case launched by the Yankton Sioux, that the pipeline’s implementation was a violation of their religion. Of course this was rejected by the court. The issues of endangerment to the tribes’ drinking water and lack of a environmental impact study did stand up in court.)

Having watched U2 fellate America with these bromides for ticket sales sort of blows any national commendation they might make, since they do this in such a spirit of flaming hypocrisy and their obeisance is inversely related, it appears, to the level of of the lie required.

U2 are doing patriotism for the money. Not only will they sell you your self image for the money it’ll make them (when it is this far divorced from reality and the performance is in fact tooled to divorce you this far from its realities, what you are in fact being sold is not patriotism, but your own self-image of patriotism), they’ll do it while utterly immunizing you to your real sins; -their trade on mutual idolatry apparently inversely commensurate to how much you manage to consume the world. And it costs their target market more than it would to purchase either a therapist or a hooker, whereas attending Church is free.

This is what U2 have deliberately reduced themselves to in the effort to maintain their target market, offering them their own brand of personal idolatry in exchange for payment. Idolatry is not an arcane concept in this light. Without it, how would we have arrived at conceptualization that gave us the distinction between love, and love of a false image? Would you recognize that what you’re being sold, and in fact directing your homage to, is your notion of what America means, as opposed to reality, which is the equivalent of having your own self-image, as it attaches and defines itself via your sense of patriotism, -sold to you? That this fake conscience wash is the sum of your purchase? -The worship of a false image is in the top ten commandments of worst sins to commit. In terms of the delusions and complacency being enabled in the minds of literally millions of people with this (deliberately) conflated performance art, this is not a small issue. In other words my perspective on what the commandment may have been meant for has to do with the psycho-social inferences I’d develop from witnessing this; -analysing it in terms of self identity and its manipulation.

U2’s stances are not principled, but rather a sanctioned neoliberal branding process of how many ego strokes they’ll provide -that are in turn a commensurate win-win for the band financially, if not philanthropically. They rewarded Trudeau handsomely with a politically loaded #Canada150 performance for handsomely stepping up Canada’s aid on ONE’s prompt, -and of his own volition, stepping up on Syrian refugees, -curiously a campaign promise he managed to keep. Canada just got officially endorsed for voting the “right” sort of identity politicking, militarist, pipeline/tar sands sanctioning neoliberal to the helm, –a public-private partnership idealogue (-a must), -who’s already inveighed he’ll arrest First Nations’ Chiefs if they dare to engage in civil disobedience against the Trans Mountain pipeline sought by a Texas based foreign multinational (that’s documented in Part IV), you know, the kind that gets a pass despite lying on every significant domestic election platform he ever made (you can scroll to the bottom of this page for a list). You know, the kind perfectly willing to be Trump’s b****. A bit of ONE PR surely helps on that count, -at least if you’re Liberal. So does the cover of the Rolling Stone, -and they’re using precisely the same juxtaposition Bono framed for Trudeau for #Canada150 in announcing “One” (the article, while appearing in the August issue, was actually published online June 26th, five days before #Canada150). -Just in case you remain skeptical that this messaging is being framed across media in concert when it comes to retention of neoliberal power.

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet.” – Bill McKibben

Canada isn’t the sole target. The target is the EU, at precisely this moment, to gloss over the irreparable harm The United States is committing against their allies economically. The target is Macron’s France. (Astonishingly the exact same young neoliberals produce the exact same talking points to destroy western civil liberties that are the product of the sum of our entire history for the sake of nations who choose to define themselves by ethnic tribalism as grounds for brutality, occupation and indigenous displacement, and when their approval ratings are not so sound because they are utter failures as progressives (being the true neoliberals that they are), Bono is there, like magic.) Take a look at the timing of Bono’s visit with Macron with respects to the latest Russian sanctions ratified by Congress with the express neutering of the President, sanctions so severe for the energy sector they could easily be taken as grounds for war (nor were they appreciated by NATO allies -Germany announced they were illegal). The timing of U2’s “ode to America” Joshua Tree European tour, complete with schmoozing the “right” neoliberal heads of state (right when their popularity in the polls was at an all time low), was truly impeccable. Again, NATO/Pentagon could not have asked for a better US PR platform in light of their terrible destabilization of the EU given the flood of refugees out of Syria and their deliberate destabilization of North Africa (Libya, on the EU’s doorstep), not to mention the costs to the EU of their sanctions regime. How opportune to have a entire set that climaxes with the “Miss Sarajevo” appeal to take these refugees in, without any attribution of responsibility for why they’ve come (and therefore who should be providing refuge), but rather an entire setlist dedicated to honouring rather than challenging the architect of such suffering in the global Great Game, at exactly the moment they punish the EU economically to sever energy ties to their dependency, -Russia.

Hillary Clinton poses with members of the anti-Vladimir Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot, 2014.

The greatest target, however, is Americans themselves in the cultivation of complacency; -in light of the social engineering exercises being undertaken by U2’s billionaire sponsors under the guise of philanthropy (scroll down to the questions), -not to mention U2’s philanthrowashing provides cover and avoidance of the (continuedfraud and other nefarious outcomes of their billionaire sponsors’ investments. (The miscreant, Wells Fargo’s shares are a nest egg for RED/ONE due to Gates Foundation’s being 55% bankrolled by Berkshire Hathaway shares.) Who needs to penalize or replace executives when the philanthrowash media fix is already in by direct funding? (ONE/RED funder Warren Buffett has majority control of Wells Fargo at over $28 billion. He could vote for it.) Nor is the financial dependency of ONE/RED to be taken lightly considering the buckets of cash (literally over $100 billion) Warren Buffett has at his disposal to lobby say, for this Republican piece of legislation, considered “the equivalent of Republicans handing out a get-out-of-jail-free card to Wells Fargo and to Equifax”. Wells Fargo was culpable enough in the mortgage fraud that precipitated teh 2008 financial crisis, to have been hit with a consequent fine of $1 billion.

But the graduation here is witnessing U2 embrace not just philanthrowashing for the US elite, but actively enabling its military ambitions as well by conditioning acceptance of “humanitarian intervention”, and acculturating acceptance of the consequent refugee and terrorism crisis. They did this employing a religious ideological root: stealth assimilating George W. Bush’s “Manifest Destiny” brand of faith into their concert and proselytizing it en masse, in inverse and utter violation of their prior presentation of their own professed faith. No wonder Bush is handing Bono awards.

Part III: How to Dog Whistle US Theocratic Supremacy to Millions -And Get Away With It

No one would have dreamed this would be the end of U2’s Joshua Tree trajectory, given “Bullet the Blue Sky” has conveyed opposition precisely to Reagan’s dispatch of US military support to prop up military dictatorships in central America (despite the fact that they were engaged in massacres prior to receiving aid), and the use of domestic military proxies abroad in civil wars that were in fact funded and deployed by the US (the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua – which begat the Iran-Contra scandal), -a brand of South American intervention neither Obama nor Hillary really graduated from; Canada’s been on board since Aristide. Bono wrote the song based on being in El Salvador at the time of Reagan’s terror campaign by military aid in Central America (again, see this Rolling Stone article, conveniently bereft of any details, like the fact that when Bono conceived the man peeling off dollar bills, he envisioned Reagan). Now he praises the presider in chief, Ronald Reagan, in contrast to Trump, relating his “open door” allusion of America as the city of light on a hill (barf-blat 101 @ 22:40 for those with a memory, or any sense of historical continuity). -If that’s not a direct betrayal of one’s own world view, then what is?

“I have a kind of love-hate relationship with America. I love the place, I love the people. One of the things I hate is that such a trusting people could have put their trust in a guy like Ronald Reagan,” Bono said in a 1987 radio interview. “There is no question in my mind that the people of America, through their taxes, are paying for the equipment that is used to torture people in El Salvador. In my trip… I met with mothers of children who had disappeared. They have never found their children went or where their bodies were buried. They are presumed dead.”

World views of course can change. But when it comes to artistic integrity, the song’s very essence as testament to lives lost all these decades has been utterly inverted in the obfuscation of why, which is a total betrayal of its incarnation. It was born to bear witness; re-contextualizing the song in a setlist framed on total obeisance to America thirty years later is a direct artistic betrayal to the loss of life expressed in it, and so is commending Ronald Reagan for a quote. Ronald Reagan’s policies were directly responsible for that loss of life. How cheapening is it, for example, to reframe this song in terms of who to vote for in an election when it’s about people being murdered by their own governments with American military assistance; -as if who’s at the presidential helm of the United States in any way alters their world wide blood mongering? Doesn’t retooling the song to reflect on the militarization of the US domestic populationeffectively erase the bloodshed being carried out covertly in their name, when that was what the song was about? The song is no longer about those murdered in El Salvador with the aid of US military equipment. It has now been officially Trumpified. By giving the song a villain in the context of a US election, Bono has evacuated the evils committed abroad by the United States in the minds of his collective audience, as well as giving them the misperception they can resist merely by checking a ballot. Were the song shifted in the interest of retaining its relevancy in terms of the bloodshed it actually signifies, it might have been re-tooled to address Libya or Syria (which can’t happen, of course, if your morality compass is now possessed of a partisan filter).

The implications of Bono’s public appreciation of Ronald Reagan’s statement are far worse for someone with the working Biblical knowledge he possesses. Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” imagery with all its gates open was a dog whistle to his religious constituents with their fascist religious belief in American exceptionalism, namely manifest destiny. It originates from a speech by Puritan (soon to be Governor of New England (and founder of Boston)) John Winthrop (remember that’s where the Calvinist trajectory that gave us Manifest Destiny took root and disseminated to the rest of the colonies). While it is easy to see that the speech has been turned into a political football by manifest destiny adherents (witness our NYT besteller), it is imbued with the seeds to take it there, as both Matthew 5:14 and Psalm 48 are recognized as the Biblical source of the phrase “city on a hill” (as in, it’s obvious Jesus Himself was self-referencing his own Torah). Psalm 48 invokes Jerusalem (on Mount Zion – very loaded term).

Those with religious knowledge duly take note that the political re-invocation of the phrase is, depending on whether your brand of American exceptionalism is “open” (secular) or “closed” (religious), also deliberately designed to imbue the United States with overtones from Revelations that invoke the New Jerusalem, basically invoking Manifest Destiny for those who read their bible and know how Jerusalem was strategically situated, -and anyone who took the time to bible study with the Shalom group (Bono) knows that. Did the Puritans arriving in the New World believe this about themselves (that they were the “New Israel” or “New Jerusalem”)? –Yes. Yes they did. For the religious manifest destiny American exceptionalist, this is a veiled way of invoking that the “New Jerusalem” of the End Times (i.e., God’s Country) is in fact America. There’s no doubt which side of the exceptionalism coin Ronald Reagan was catering to with this statement. Reagan came to power on the constituency he targeted (then labelled the “new Christian right”, -as if they had gone anywhere, in fact his core base might be better labelled End Times Evangelists), -the exact same constituency that endorsed and gave us Donald Trump, -and tells him his pugilist approach (he’s the first sample for the word’s definition) to North Korea is endorsed by God. It was the exact same constituency that formed GW Bush’s real time Presidential Prayer Team, who were fed topics over an e-mail mailing list to pray for on Bush’s behalf every few weeks.

This deserves a reckoning for Bono, firstly because the pretension of there being such a difference between Reagan and Trump when they targeted the exact same voting base (and Reagan’s ascendancy was integrally related to its political resurgence), is wholly deceptive and puts it in a facetious light (Trump Trumpifies everything, trivializing origins, either by his clownish adoption or by making the originators look so much better), -plus, Bono the Biblical knows full damned well how religiously and politically weighted the phrase actually is, as he’s used it precisely in terms of its religious coinage in his own lyrics. (-Um, a song where Bono uses God’s Old Testament name that’s never supposed to be uttered has the lyric, “Take this city, A city should be shining on a hill”, which means he has explicitly used the exact same phrase in its Jerusalem-Zion religious framework, namely, he’s using the allusion for the ascendency of God’s people in the End Times as a rebirth. In the Christian interpretation, this is the Church restored in the End Times.) Ascribing “shining city of a hill” to the United States is a veiled way of signifying that the true latter day Church on earth is in actuality the United States. This is as far as you can ultimately go in the belief in Manifest Destiny.

Yet in quoting Reagan’s use of it, Bono deliberately treats the “city on a hill” as just being wonderfully transracial (-seriously(?!)), which is true deception of the woefully ignorant, when manifest destiny was the ideological device to expedite an exceedingly brutal form of nationalized white supremacy, and that’s what the phrase was expressly pulled out to cater to in Reagan’s employ (!), -namely its existing adherents.

“In the 1980 presidential election, Falwell’s moral majority helped propel Ronald Reagan into the White House. Reagan knew what his God-fearing demographic really wanted, which is why he kicked off his campaign with a stump speech supporting states’ rights at a fair in rural Mississippi. ‘States’ rights’ had been a rallying cry for Southern segregationists for decades, and in case anyone missed the coded message, Reagan delivered that speech just 7 miles from where three civil rights workers had been murdered in the 1960s. On the campaign trail, and many times while he was in the White House, Reagan also did a lot of grousing about ‘welfare queens.’” – “Does God Believe in Trump?” – Newsweek -What Newsweek found unfit to print when it came to H. W. Bush.

-Yup. In fact what Reagan was doing by explicitly making the statement a transracial one was avoiding how racist it was in its implementation throughout America’s history; he was forced to do so or he’d have no possibility of ever resurrecting it. He had to try and take it back to its first utterance by John Winthrop, detach it from its legacy. This was actually Reagan’s strategy for retaining American exceptionalism (namely if we pretend it was transracial or make it so, perhaps we can manage to justify its use for further bloodletting, and promptly headed for Central America and the Iran-Contra scandal). It’s a have your cake and eat it too win-win, because in doing so he was appealing to and picking up all those fundamentalist religious believers for whom the concept never evolved in the first place. This is the same strategy as attempting to secularize it, when it is simply impossible to whitewash a legacy that bloody, -except of course that it worked. Indeed Ronald Reagan proved serviceable in white-washing and transitioning a great many things, presiding over the transition from covert operations for regime change (which had fallen out of favour due to public opprobrium) to much the same manipulation of the domestic affairs of other nations via foreign aid. (Which is why Bono to this day proves exceedingly useful.)

“Under Obama, the US has extended secret ‘special forces’ operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s ‘soldier to soldier’ doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger

Secondly, Bono deserves remonstrance because by quoting Reagan to Trump’s religious far right constituency, with their knowledge of Bono’s Biblical awareness, Bono is in fact doing the exact same dog whistle Reagan performed for the “new right”, -namely he’s catering directly to Trump’s Christian (so fundamentalist they’re fascist) constituency himself (the proof of this is how he’s presently tweaking the lyrics live on tour in the US). Beyond that, his lyrics catalogue is public knowledge; -in other words, the problem lies in the fact that with “Yahweh” he used this exact same phrase religiously, -and already transferred something very similar to the city of New York, so the religiously literate can see that he’s actively made this transfer himself by arriving at Reagan’s ascription of this phrase to the United States and agreeing with it, whether the secular audience is too religiously illiterate to notice this or not. I can assure you, the Biblical are not. The evangelical fundamentalists who brought Reagan to power (who Bono used to use the song “Bullet the Blue Sky” to castigate for their appeals for money from their flockare Trump’s fundamentalists. But  today Bono’s hawking the most extreme range of fundamentalism (flirting with graduation into theocracy) those fundamentalists could ever possibly hope to achieve in subverting the nation on tour every night in the US. He considers this bipartisan behaviour, when his public rehabilitation of Reagan (in full knowledge of his deeds, which he used to sing against every night of the original 1987 Joshua Tree Tour) is in fact part of a political media program to justify the current neocon/neoliberal alliance. Not to mention the fact that for Bono this “bipartisanship” is his effort to maintain ticket sales.

This is how you’ll naturally transmogrify if you begin inhabiting the same hemispheres as “Manifest Destiny” George W. Bush in your laudable but wholly hogwash belief that your behaviour is somehow bipartisan bridgemanship. Bono’s now philanthropy smarming “shock and awe” war criminals to rehabilitate their image (participation in the same media project) for inflicting a permanent climate of genetic deformaties in countless women’s wombs, the result of a war whose proponents were directed to lie to get us there, who is culpable in the death of perhaps a million people and responsible for the geo-strategic collapse of the Middle East into ISIS. No matter, his wife is canonized in U2’s current incarnation of “Ultraviolet” as a leading feminist (what the hell did she do for feminism is a fair question -?), and so are his daughters, an especial irony when you consider that regression into such deep fundamentalism means retrenchment of the sexual repression and suppression inbuilt by design into all three monotheistic faiths, the Abrahamic religions. Anyone in service to fundamentalism that transgressive at the top of leadership, whether they uptake its attendant baggage in its entirety (or not), is still serving to regress the entire nation by normalizing such fundamentalism (something Bono should take to heart, especially since its normalization under Bush has now handed us over to the Drumpf).

-You care about feminism? Then you don’t normalize fundamentalism by letting it offer you awards for humanitarianism. I don’t think there could be a more obvious indicator of the consequences of fundamentalism’s normalization than Trump’s subsequent (more like consequent) election as the next Republican victor after Bush. Sexism came out of the closet. The exact same concern can be said about racism: you don’t like it? -Then don’t normalize fundamentalist ideology that historically deliberately muddled religion and nationhood together in a manner that institutionalized white supremacy internationally as a pretext for annexation and colonial enterprise. And bloody hell, don’t attempt to secularize it in the pretension that American “exceptionalism” has somehow transformed itself into something good. Better yet, U2, you don’t take the most basic tenet that historically has been (and would be) used to define US theocratic statehood on a national tour and turn it into a concert experience for your facile paying audience. How’s them apples? (You might think these conclusions aren’t supported yet, bear with me, we have yet to reach the end.)

Yes, and the Clintonistas think Bono’s on their side because he told them to vote for her twice, and Trumpifies “Exit” on tour every night. They should take note that U2’s entire setlist for this tour was tuned to Reagan’s “shining city of a hill” dog whistle to woo the biggest, most extreme religious alt-right sector in Trump’s constituency for the whole #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 tour. Basically Bono’s choice quote of Reagan (who used it more often than that) more or less cinches the deal. How he’s tooling the present setlist shows he knows exactly what he’s doing with this and fully understands the religious/supremacist undertone -he’s employing it himself, -to take money from their pockets. -Clinton adherents should be looking to their pockets likewise. They are only on the same side in the sense that Clinton herself is fully willing to go there, for votes (aka acquisition of power), whereas Bono does it for the money, and the power base manifest destiny/American exceptionalism ideology provides amounts to no more or less at present and throughout history than an exercise in self-deception to exonerate the consequence of wholesale wanton international bloodshed via the dispensation “we’re special”. It is possible Bono is so fully into self-deception he thinks this adoption is a benign one, and holy purposed, -they all do, after all. They all did, even when it was their grounds for embracing genocide via starvation in the name of progress. (And you’d have thought U2 knew all about that one too. Priceless.)

I am not here to argue the point of whether or not the settling of the West amounted, at times, to genocide (think of the big picture). I think the fact that this starvation programme (perhaps more luridly) took place concurrently in Canada (also) for the sake of a railroad (completed in 1885) takes a lot of wind out of US sails in debate, -especially given US foreign influence/intervention with Canada at the time on behalf of Mr. Starvation himself, Sir John A. Macdonald, -who took US military assistance to stop any attempt at integrational parity for the peoples of the West in suppressing the Northwest Rebellion (1885), meaning it was the United States who helped bring to fruition his execution of Riel with their gatling gun invention’s first ever usage on a population. -In all probably this just means that the US is better as a nation at self-deception. (I have yet to see any airing of the recognition that the same policies taking place cross border concurrently heftily increases the probability of genocidal intent since it was done in concert.) Better yet, when it comes to complicity in genocide, the US provided the (first ever) machine gun the size of a small cannon (via US naval support) that put a swift and short end to the Rebellion, which made Macdonald’s western pogrom of starvation assured. -That was why the US supplied military support.

“The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will have to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization are ridiculous…” General William Tecumseh Sherman (-Yes, he was named after a Chief who fought against the United States during the war of 1812, and the above attitude, his value to the US in cleansing the West (as well as in the Civil War), was why the USA named the largest tree in the world (by volume) after him.)

This was not simply a one-off for the sake of settlement/displacement, the United States fully believed manifest destiny meant graduating internationally to water torture. One has only to examine American frolics on the international stage with respects to the PhillipinesPuerto Rico, and Guam (how the US handled the acquisition of Spain’s colonies in war, 1889), Korea (1882), and Japan (1905) to realize the USA’s domestic ambitions of expansion and intervention in that period were in all probability hardly benign either.

The same can be said of aiding and abetting the only Prime Minister who used “aryan” in the Canadian House of Commons in debate as a member during that period, the longest running Prime Minister (who was also the longest running Aboriginal Affairs Minister, and laid the groundwork for basically every institution now blamed for the horrid state of Ottawa-aboriginal relations: The Indian Act, Indian Residential Schools and an over-bureaucratized Department of Indian Affairs”), -with a gatling gun in suppression of a (mixed race and religion, predominantly Catholic) indigenous rebellion, -to force the conditions of the West’s incorporation into Canada along fault lines of religious and ethnic dominance, namely WASP supremacy, -as if this was a good thing.

In terms of land divestment and control this had massive ramifications with respects to Native American disenfranchisement, which had been approached quite differently in terms of Francophone/Catholic -> Metis integration in Canada historically, -as opposed to proceeding in the framework of British property law (the only point of reference in the US), -meaning land ownership was modelled on the architects of “the highland clearances” (which resulted in half of the privately owned acreage in Scotland being owned by 0.008% of the population), -plus Britain’s personal (and brutal, with antiheroes like Kett and Winstanley (the Levellers)) several hundred years campaign of enclosure of the commons (the outcome being that half the country is owned 0.06% of the population), -not to mention they set the colonial trend of genocidal responsibility in both the Irish and Indian famines. -Now check out what land ownership means in Canada thanks to the British, -who’s #1 and why. “Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth.” –Canada is by far the biggest reason. Disenfranchisement never lived this large in the history of the planet, and what that’s meant for the hinterland under provincial administration is unhindered continual resource rape carnage so vast it is viewable from space. -And yes, you would think that might make the Crown vulnerable as Canada ratifies UN DRIP. After all, the Crown claims 94% of the Province of British Columbia is public Crown Land, yet the Crown only negotiated Treaties for parts of Vancouver Island and the Peace River Valley – Treaty 8, which is the basis of the court case against the Site C dam. This means the vast bulk of BC Crown land is unceded territory for which there were and are no Treaties ever negotiated with the people who first lived on the land. -Seems like a problem…. -A Treaty negotiations process was initiated in the 1970’s; -only one treaty negotiation has reached conclusion so far. Settling this discrepancy has barely begun.

-A tad more relevant to Canadian existence than who the USA elects in a given election year…. colonization, and what it means for the land to be held in this form of trust (namely the office of Queen, and an interesting bit of legal fiction, namely the Queen not of Great Britain, but of Canada): “Crown land, in its Canadian legal conception, belongs to the Canadian Crown [over 86% of the country]. The Queen of the United Kingdom has had no legal relationship whatsoever to land situated within Canada’s borders for many decades, although the Queen of Canada has, and does. When the Crown sells Crown land, it does not require the Monarch’s signature to effect the conveyance, but instead that of one of her Canadian Ministers, or their designate.” -Talk about the biggest heist of the land from those that lived on it, that the world has perhaps ever witnessed. It bears mention that this form of land monopoly is exceedingly effective for resource extraction in the form of wholesale resource rape, and exceedingly easy to control. –How ironic, but the reason she’s “Governor” of the Church rather than “Head” is because English theologians were not stupid enough to attempt a manifest destiny hijack of the Church where they equated England’s monarch with either Christ or the Pope; -they merely claimed ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the nation itself, rather than the Pope. America in proclaiming its personal Godly dispensation offered no such distinction. In doing so, they led by example.

“We’ll take away its character of an Asiatic steppe, we’ll Europeanize it. … As for the two or three million men whom we need to accomplish this task, we’ll find them quicker than we think. They’ll come from Germany, Scandinavia, the Western countries and America. …There’s only one duty: to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the natives as Redskins. If these people had defeated us, Heaven have mercy! But we don’t hate them. That sentiment is unknown to us. We are guided only by reason. …All those who have the feeling for Europe can join in our work.” – Adolf Hitler’s optimistic prospectus on the invasion of Russia, 1941 –  “Columbus Day is the Most Important Day of Every Year” – The Intercept -Compared to the Crown’s, Hitler’s campaigns of land disenfranchisement were not so very different in scope. And he took his tips, and expected accord, because of how the West was won under the auspices of Manifest Destiny, not to mention how the Queen’s colony come Dominion carried it out, and where it stood at the time. It’s not looking very different at present, is it? What does “europeanize” mean, exactly?

I don’t have to haul up history to point out American “exceptionalism” when it trolloped about the globe as an ideological crutch in doctrinal form for these aspirations wasn’t exactly benign. Whenever it was aired, it spoke for itself. Here’s the thing, the very conflation Bono is employing in performance art right now, (invoking America as God’s country) was and is theology so bastardized it beggars contemplation. Bono can offer no excuse that he is simply referencing John Winthrop in a benign idealization of the country as a beacon of Christian virtue that must hold itself to account. That is not what he’s presenting live in concert right now. The man who carried out the conflation of America as the Church to perfection historically (you guessed it, O’Sullivan), was the very man who coined the term “manifest destiny”, setting the stage for the war with Mexico one year later (1846). Check out their national anthem at the time: it sounds no different than a Psalm. It was tooled, literally, to equate “[e]xpanding the territorial domain of the United States [as] an act of homage to the King of Kings [God]”. (The American anthem that came into permanent adoption was not without a racist couplet that is conveniently omitted, and was composed during a battle initiated by a US attack on the colony of Canada, -the war of 1812.)

“Without the slightest apparent sense of incongruity, O’Sullivan adopted language given by Christ to conceptualize the church, and used it to convey divine approval for the territorial expansion of the United States.” (O’Sullivan did this by invoking the United States exclusively as the national manifestation the God’s holy Church on earth, by robbing language by, for and about the Church and using it to personify to America instead. This conflation is the same as believing the entire worldwide Church does not exist. It’s either that or you’re again engaging in another strain of doctrinal BS, on top of what it takes to justify that your nation is actually the true Church on earth manifesting God’s Divine purpose through “democracy” implemented by overwhelming physical force.)

-Bono is invoking his collective, receptive American audience as the Church every evening he performs in the US on this tour, –by virtue of their being American. Not by virtue of their being the Church. It is the exact same act of substitution performed by O’Sullivan and others, with the active potency of applying that live to audiences of tens of thousands where they participate in this as an experience. The substitution takes place in their minds. It is this very act of designating America as the Church, that one simple shift, that shifts the framework and orientation from perceiving the nation as a functioning democracy to orienting it on theocratic fascism. Very participation in that perception is participation in the ultimate merger between Church and State, as an assimilated perception. Yet millions upon millions of adoring US fans identify this tour as a wonderful experience. If any surveys were conducted and you discovered just how high of a quotient of U2’s fan base identify attending their concerts as being a religious experience at times, you’d find this conflation terrifying. Face it, the only way there is to have fascist theocracy doctrine be assimilated (if not quite consciously, and yes, the only rational root for such is an existent doctrine, no matter how screwed up it may happen to be) is through millions of people experiencing it as a good thing. The Devil could not have designed this stealth introduction any better. No one gives a rat-fink if you tell people how to vote when you’re serving the deeper level of proselytizing their ideology so that it’s assimilated by those exact same voters. Call it an end run in an end game. The purpose is better served overall. What better success could you have than to have the most basic tenet of theocratic fascism assimilated as an experience by a bipartisan, irreligious audience, -with the audience being none the wiser? It’s an attempt to baptize those fundamentalist fundamentals in the minds of the younger Democrat voter-ship, using the rejection of Trump to enshrine them at the bipartisan level, thereby retaining them as the Republican party implodes on its own absurdity and the Empire’s nakedness becomes apparent. Again this is active participation in a concerted propaganda campaign to invert what it means to be a Democrat.

To treat the receptive audience as the Church on tour (by saying so, literally, by personifying America as object in repurposed religious oriented songs, and making America the sum object of the performance), is to cross the line between invoking American exceptionalism (the belief that America’s special attainment springs from its inclusive, trans-racial republic and democratic ideals) to invoking manifest destiny (God-given dispensation to the Church as America). The conflation and impact in the minds of his audience is the same and done with intention. When they are not distinguishing the import religiously, they are distinguishing it patriotically, which is the ultimate intention/substitution that manifest destiny set out to perform to begin with. The very intention is to substitute Godhood with the United States as the ultimate interlocutor, in order to sanction “exceptionalism”. If you integrate God with the US by claiming the US is God’s nation exclusively on earth with a Divine mandate to expand globally in the name of God’s purpose, you are not going to God. You have no distinguishable differentiation of purpose. America First. This is literally the last thing the planet needs, and indeed Americans need to see in concert. And exactly like Reagan, this is an all inclusive exercise of having your cake and eating it too where you divest nothing that was previously poisonous in the dispensation, but deliberately take that with you in order to increase the potency and give it strength to buttress the utter faultiness of its conception.

To succeed in secularizing manifest destiny has been the agenda for a long time, namely to arrive at the pretext that their mandate to intervene militarily across the earth is based in their inception as an inclusive democratic republic. To have a concert that elicits what is in fact a religious sourced emotional experience in terms of American exceptionalism in the minds of literally millions of Americans, with the secular audience being none the wiser that this is what they indeed experienced, successfully transfers that emotional power to a secular belief framework for American exceptionalism. Since it must justify itself on the legacy of deeds, secular American exceptionalism has no rational basis. This performance art successfully transfers the plane of experience to being an emotionally based belief precisely when it can no longer succeed morally or rationally in secular form. (It was a doctrinal failure to begin with. They can’t acknowledge the original doctrine was BS, because they’d be forced to question whether it ever had grounds to be evolved rather than rejected.) This is perhaps the pinnacle of what propaganda could ever hope to achieve in terms of disassociating emotion from its idealogical source or framework even while exacting it, putting it at greatest utility. Those conscious of the experience for what it is are nigh in their entirety believers (either the religious or secular varietal) for whom the performance simply provides massive emotional reinforcement of their failed ideologies. The beauty of this ploy is you’re going to assimilate American exceptionalism via U2’s performance art whether you believe it religiously, or secularly, or none of the above. It takes all comers. It was even proselytized internationally (probably in stealth mode, i.e., only the secular varietal of American exceptionalism was readily apparent outside America’s own borders, which is what you’d witness if Bono himself is not doctoring his own lyrics; -yes, this is all subject to what Bono feels empowered to sing on any given night and how he moderates the show in the moment; -ego tripping never had it so good).

Even more disturbing is that Bono is proselytizing the religious mindset of the present leadership, -namely Trump’s cabinet choices of the generals (with the (WaPo) liberals openly advocating for military control of the executive through what are supposed to be civilian cabinet choices to control the military). Bear in mind that we’ve now entered the generation where the furthest career experience embarks on Gulf War I. We’ve entered the generation that has never participated in a legitimate war, and on this foundation of illegitimacy is merely self-perpetuating, assuming daylight robbery of over 50% of the American tax base annually must by all means be increased. As of Gulf War II, these generals were participating in a war initiated by a President due to his belief that the war was Divinely purposed, i.e., his predication was mixed and from his vantage, based primarily on theocratic fascism, -and these generals themselves believed in this war. The three generals’ collective religious/ideological mindset is so analogous that these self-same observations were made at the outset:

“In the process, one radical idea will be pitted against another: American exceptionalism, armed to the teeth and empowered by war-lovers (some deeply involved in an evangelizing Christianity) against Islamic jihadist extremism. Rather than a “clash of civilizations,” it’s a clash of warring creeds, of what should essentially be seen as fundamentalist cults. Both embrace their own exceptionalism, both see themselves as righteous warriors, both represent ways of thinking steeped in patriarchy and saturated with violence, and both are remarkably resistant to any thought of compromise.

Put another way, under Trump’s team of “civilian” warrior-generals [we’ve had the substitution of McMaster for Flynn since this was written], it looks like the crusades may be back — with a vengeance.” – William J. Astore:  “The Crusades Are Back, With a Vengeance

Would the Clintonista, liberal audience be thrilled to learn they were being soft-peddled these religious values, those values resplendent in the soft coup? Trump did not arrive here by choice, but in the effort to prevent an intra-governmental insurrection against his presidency. (How priceless, we have arrived at the killer of democracy’s true face; -it’s the exact same bipartisanface. ) If you think “soft coup” is hyperbole, consider this choice quote by Japan’s Defence Minister: “I think Washington has not decided … The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis … Not the president.” That’s right, it’s Mad Dog who decides if America goes to war with North Korea. There, you see, #fixedit! By the time of his first speech to the UN, Trump had transformed into a raving interventionist. Magic!

With U2 presently at the pulpit, ticket purchasing liberals are not only openly advocating and supporting the soft soup because U2 have presently equated evil in America with the incarnation of President Trump, they’re assimilating the soft coup’s most extreme brand of religious fundamentalism without knowing it, which they absolutely adore so long as it castigates Trump on tour every night. America got a partisan Democrat token slap on the wrist in terms of a re-tooled Trumpian version of “Exit”, (which again, U2 have the nerve to proselytize, as if America’s problems are our problems), -the re-tool of a song that was originally about a suicide. This is spine-snapping in its illogic, in light of catering to the religious fascist aspects of the Trumpian voter-ship (together with the Trumpian leadership), -unless you’re in have your cake and eat it too territory, namely the money to be had in executing a “bipartisan” performance, and you’ve found the perfect solution in exemplifying the infinitely permutating superiority complex, aka American exceptionalism, which is really the trojan horse for American fascism, with the religious variant inarguably existing as theocratic fascism. The liberal Democrat ticket buying public was incapable of registering that the doctrine Bono was flirting with the entire tour in the US (equivocating America as the Church) is more extreme than either G. W. Bush or Trump’s most evangelical generals (or indeed, any of these evangelical ministers, who do not get into what their notion of a return to a being a Godly nation actually means), -could ever dream to dare to air. Even Paula White (who compares Trump to Queen Esther and says Trump is president due to God) could not go that far, and her belief system is considered laughable and subject to mockery by purported liberals, -liberals who had no problem attending this concert.

It is one thing to declare God gave you the presidency, or that God has ordained your war in Iraq (because you happen to believe in Armageddon, (just like Reagan did -see 6); -bear in mind that if you implement a war on the basis of this belief as opposed to moral/geo-strategic necessity for the sake of defence, you have already succeeded in implementing theocratic fascism in terms of international warfare), or to have a pastor endorsing your bluster and asserting God is condoning your destruction of North Korea. We are now opining the values of theocratic fascism in public because enough of a critical mass in the voter-ship are perceived to believe in it; they have the same values enough that the press is not afraid to quote these values, as it was this value system represented that won the presidency. It’s not like these individuals don’t exist when a Democrat happens to win the presidency; -the Democrats are enabling by virtue signaling the same constituency. -Can’t win an election without being an exceptionalist.

“One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,’ said Obama”.

“According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger -not to mention he handed Israel the largest military aid deal in US history.

It is another graduation entirely to make the indistinguishable implication of treating America as if it’s God’s implementation of the Church on earth (God’s country on this earth, in substitution of the existing Church). Bono is presenting the final ascendency, the existential basis of theocratic fascism, -literally how the state itself would create its definition and ascribe its powers as a theocratic fascist Christian state. He has hijacked feminism, which is absolutely antithetical to this within the faith to the extent of dismantling it doctrinally, to this end. As per my opening definition, U2 have hijacked feminism in service to theocratic fascism, its very biblical antithesis.

The question should be raised, at the very least, what exactly did Bono himself intend with these deliberate iconic mergers and this ode to America international tour? He should have been duly obligated to clarify his position, and offered the opportunity to tacitly divorce himself from these historical and present realities, were this not a society of somnambulists. It is worthy of scrutiny. Letting this tour pass unnoticed and un-noted puts him in the position of serving as enabler to ideology and policies loathed by bulk of U2’s fanbase. It is a worthy question who appreciates that more, but I doubt the band does in comparison to the powers serviced by what now passes unobserved as perhaps the most effective propaganda art hijack every accomplished. He should at least be offered a last chance to save his own soul.

In other words, Bono would not be performing as a useful tool to this doctrine if anyone had the awareness to take note and question this merger, which would surely put him in the position of articulating his intentions and disavowing it using the path provided by John Winthrop, if people were broadly aware enough to have addressed it in social media. Were it a matter of public record, Bono would have no choice. It is our choice what we adhere to and what does not pass muster. This does not deserve to and it beggars belief that U2 got away with it. That is your greatest indicator of inculcation into the prevailing culture that theocratic fascism has already accomplished. It is already so culturally inoculated that this tour, tooled in this manner, passed without a single eyebrow cock. It may be that U2 themselves are so culturally inoculated they were themselves this foolish, but somehow I doubt it. Bono should be obliged to restore the phrase back to its origin and divorce its attendant baggage, if he’s going to honour it with the sum of a tour. I hope this essay has thrown into adequate relief that the machinations of the right wing are not your sole danger in the US, if such so called Democrat electioneers are getting a pass when the theme for their entire tour can be effectively analysed as active advocacy for the doctrinal foundation of theocratic fascism, which had no problem passing muster providing it identify itself as art to the American public.

U2’s Bono promoting the United Nations “Global Goals” – which in reality is the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale via payments for ecosystem services. #NaturalCapital #PES

 

Why do you think these litmus tests are performed on the population? Their success, namely that they pass without incident, provides a green light to proceed further over the brink, because they show this level of theocratic fasicm is already tacitly embraced by a paying audience; -whether that’s due to awareness or ignorance does not matter. In the case of U2’s foray, this litmus test as tour was inflicted on the Western world (North America and Europe, and now South America), -and no one blinked. -At least not out loud, an indicator they’re sufficiently cowed and by and large deluded. Europeans should duly take note when they’re attached militarily to a nation so possessed of grandiose delusions en masse. It’s either that or they’re too stupid to notice them played out right in front of their faces when the auteur is a rock band. Instead, the U2 ticket buying fan base in Europe were all too happy to see a setlist dedicated to another country’s “exceptionalism” performed inside their borders, -as if this was perfectly normal, -if it was fed to them by the same rock band.

In the context of their evasions and invasions, for “Exit” U2 might as well have hung an effigy in a ritualized personification of evil within the banal confines the audience was barely prepared to tolerate, let alone contemplate, purely as an exercise of avoiding the real evil, which arguably could be the reason Trump’s in power in the first place, a convenient effigy at which to hurl spite that utterly avoids any culpability for the mechanisms that would deign to give him power, namely how infantilized does a voter-ship have to become to choose a reality TV president (or even better yet, believe that he’s attained this position due to God).

(Paula White was forced to walk that back by saying the same about bipartisan and recent presidential candidates (an option generously provided by WaPo), -which in actuality just broadens the premise to bona fide theocratic fascism, -with “Where do you draw the line on world leaders being assignated by God?”, being the fair question. -Consider the range of answers that are possible here: 1) Godly dispensation of the presidency only applies to America, i.e., she believes in America as a theocratic fascist state, -it’s either that or her answer could be 2) to restrict this Divine dispensation to only what we regard as the Christian West or all Christianized states (Israel is a given, as in Israel First for the bulk of the evangelicals who espouse dispensationalism, with Eastern Orthodox exclusion, naturally, God forbid she have to say the same about Putin), -i.e., the answer is racially bifurcated but only to the extent it is politically expedient, and would actually mirror what the doctrine of dispensationalsm permits as Christian or, 3) does she truly believe globalized theocratic fascism is already in place and applies to every despot on this earth, as in every leader put above us rules by God? -Welcome back to the premise of Divine Monarchy. This theological imbecilism receives hundreds of milllions in donations and meets weekly with the current president. It’s reasonable to surmise not one of the answers she could possibly provide would be sound, but no one asks.)

How ’bout what Bill Clinton did, and the subsequent monopolistic corporate control of private media? Did it actually raise culture? How and why has this been arrived at, if not for the regulatory dismantling of the state for wholesale resource predation and untrammeled pollution, coupled with the rollback of workers’ rights? In other words Trumptopia presents itself as the great external IT (perhaps a juxtaposition of these two images will help throw into relief what he serves to normalize, -yes, see, he normalizes her, the neoliberal who was catering to the exact same constituency as Reagan in the exact same way, the neoliberal who advocated starting WWIII as part of her campaign platform. He normalizes war criminals, and this is because he is tacking foreign policy even further as an Israel first dispensationalist, which is baldly constituency strategic in his case, but this hardly matters; the only hope is that the tail is now out in the open as America embarrasess itself in front of the entire world, but hey, withdrawal from UNESCO was also performed by Reagan. Bear in mind that Trump’s irrational posturingover JCPOA (the joint nuclear accord with Iran, the EU, Russia and China) was emulating Paula White’s personification of Trump as comparable in the present day to Queen Esther, as the dispensationalists are duly serving Israeli foreign policy interests and have hijacked the Biblical story as an analogy for present hostility with Iran. Netanyahu himself used the Biblical history of Queen Esther on Obama in the appeal to have him act the same (framing the attack of Iran by the US as a matter of life or death for state of Israel), literally hijacking the one Bible story that hearkens the development of the first secularized state that allowed more than one faith (Persia). Fundamentalism is now hijacking foreign policy initiatives, though it’s not like this is new (G.W. Bush started an unjustified war on this pretext). It’s just graduating to the level of nuclear.

Trump is literally the best thing that could have ever happened to the neoliberals (who are so little different their alliance is with the neocons, which has including the media effort to whitewash their historic theocratic fundamentalists). Only a raving clown could have diverted from this implacable truth of why they lost, and made them actually look somehow palatable. The pied piper strategy may have failed election 2016, but it gave “Democrats” the capacity to resuscitate themselves for the next grab for power, election 2020, when they should have just crashed and burned. Trump constitutes the perfect Reality TV distraction, conveniently presenting a funnel for a useless array of #resistance (attenuation by anger, russophobia and civil strife), whilst simultaneously providing another complete exorcism of introspection on the nation’s completely bipartisan catalogue of sins (nigh indistinguishable militarism abroad, etc.). Nothing gets done during Hate Week(s). And everyone, it seems, can’t get enough of Hate Week. All this bombast and bluster is so infinitely more important than ecological holocaust.

I’ve always believed in working across the aisle … but there’s a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option” – Bono

Culpability for this state of affairs includes the willingness to adopt a pied piper strategy in order to win; -by an utterly corrupt DNC U2 instructed you to vote for after they deliberately contained and castrated Bernie Sanders. The problem is more rooted in the dual party system’s policy framework at home and abroad’s continuity in either guise, no matter what the cost to national integrity and democracy, -and for what, exactly? Why is it the USA can never, ever have a Corbyn? (Nor Canada, for that matter?)

Why would you continue to ingratiate an audience complacent in a state of affairs that is so patently over the edge it has unhinged itself from reality’s mainframe? When that is the real situation, displacement of culpability can only be achieved in curating a framework of villainy for mass consumption. U2 provides. They do it for no more or less than the money it makes them. This is basically the knee jerk reflex they must now provide indicating they still stand (strongly) with the voting constituency they told how to vote. This is their pass at integrity. Discomfort need not apply.

Happy 4th, oh ye deluded. (This page and the writing were initiated and by and large concluded on the 4th. Silly me, -thought that was it.) U2 now performs to insure you stay that way. This is displacement in totality as art as emotional exorcism, -in a curious way total evacuation of what America meant and what it means to be an American, for theocratic ideology serves in every way and all of its purpose to rob you of your liberties. You might call it the infantilized version passed off as the deep while you’re unconsciously on the brink of losing it forever at the level of ecological suicide, served to you by your very own military. Viva la #resistance! Thirty years ago you attended a U2 show in order to wake up. Now you attend to absorb circumscription of thought. Better yet, without even realizing it, you get a dose of the doctrine behind theocratic fascism that literally desires the End of the World, -and you love the taste. -Maybe it’s time Americans register that when you engage in war within a fundamentalist framework, that single factor above all is what makes you a target of fundamentalist terrorism; -for fundamentalism will identify, correctly, fundamentalism, and inevitably arise more virulenty to embrace combat, for the combat is on those terms. G. W. Bush crossed that threshold. You may have a problem with him, -but this concert is indication that you embrace and enjoy fundamentalism as a religious experience if it means idolizing your own country as a way to feel good about yourself. You will not be aware of the difference; -if fundamentalism’s tenets are introduced to you stealthily in a form you happen to like. If it’s not identifying itself as a raving evangelist you’re too clueless to identify what fundamentalism actually is. And that was the “beauty”, if you will, of this tour’s success.

-With friends like this, who needs enemies -? It is not longer “good” to be in U2’s good books, in other words. Not if you’re aware of the benchmarks of their esteem. But it will always reveal the metrics and calculus of a win-win.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky

U2 provides.

 -As tepid as an election campaign. What a reversal on the umbrella in 20 years.

 All those broken Trudeau electoral campaign promises (not even listing the privatization matter and (continued) roll back of Canada Post):

Justin Trudeau Just Broke a Major Campaign Promise (Electoral Reform) – Time

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: 500 Days of Trudeau’s Broken Promises – desmogcanada -lists six, -including failure to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Liberal pipeline approvals, failure to improve environmental assessments (this was due to Conservative revocation and weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), granting indigenous nations veto power over resource projects, and adequately addressing climate targets

Why the appointment of Bill Blair is the harbinger of the New Prohibition – Marc Emery (on marijuana legalization)

Bill C-51 Anti-terrorism law: Why the Liberals aren’t amending it – The Globe and Mail (it got a reboot, not revokation as promised. Why?)

Feds leave 99 per cent of lakes, rivers unprotected – The Council of Canadians – not only did the Liberals fail to restore the Navigable Waters Act, but also the Fisheries Act -significant because the two were just about the only legislation protecting freshwater bodies (i.e., if they were fish bearing)

Change the House of Commons Standing Orders to end practice of using inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures. – trudeaumeter – This was huge, second only to electoral reform perhaps. It was how Harper took out the Fisheries Act. -Broken.

Trudeau government on defensive after approving “carbon bomb” – Observer – Trudeau approves Pacific Northwest LNG plant in the Great Bear Rainforest, which was so economically dodgy with such a dodgy foreign multinational it collapsed in its own right.

#askU2 #U2TheJoshuaTree2017

The Radiant Labyrinth

March 14, 2017

 

ONE strengthie-beyonce-nbhap-1-770x345

In the category of “this is just irritating” consider this due reciprocity.

Bono’s ONE is up to their eyeballs in a campaign dubbed #girlscount #povertyissexist to support public education for 130 million girls for #IWD2017 (that’s International Women’s Day 2017 -may I remind you that by their own declaration 83% of ONE’s budget is allocated to “raising awareness and educating policymakers”).

That’s a little ironic, considering ONE’s present funding is dependent on Gates Foundation, whose stock portfolio depends on Warren Buffettwho’s practically the biggest individual Dakota Access Pipeline investor, -especially considering Buffett’s and Gates Foundation’s DAPL investment has officially crossed the threshold where its financial success is in fact dependent on racial oppression, which has its inherent adjunct of sexual oppression (evidenced by the disparate native indigenous statistics for poverty, education and sexual abuse/trafficking statistics for North Dakota (at the bottom of this page)).

Bill Gates has also crossed the threshold of picking his very own governor for North Dakota as of November 8th, 2016. (He announced his bid January 2016.)

Former Microsoft Exec Doug Burgum wins North Dakota’s Governor’s Race” – Fortune – “Why Former Microsoft Exec Doug Burgum Would Make a Good Governor

Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, delivers the Keynote speech and talks with Doug Burgum - Senior Vice President responsible for the Microsoft Business Solutions business group at Microsoft Convergence 2005 at the San Diego Convention Center. Gates spoke candidly about his personal visions and future endeavors to over 2000 attendees. (Photo by R. Born/WireImage)

Doug Burgum (right) with Bill Gates in 2005. Photograph by R. Born — WireImage/Getty Images

Were you aware the current Governor of North Dakota not only received more than a $100,000 from oil companies but also received $106,000 from U2’s ONE/RED sponsor, Bill Gates, and was previously the chief of staff for Microsoft in Fargo? Burgum’s fortune was made when Microsoft purchased his software company for a little over a billion. He then went on to work for Microsoft for six years. -Nothing like insuring your man is in charge when the investment that funds you goes from violent to shady to protect itself, eh? Burgum’s election campaign funding eclipsed that of his contender by just that, – $100,000 dollars. “Burgum Gets $100k from Bill Gates for Campaign, Raises nearly $1 million” – Inforum (-it ended up being $1.1 million)

Oil Money Flowed into the Burgum Campaign” – The Bismarck Tribune -oil money? -Yes. But Bill Gates gave him more, and that wasn’t just oil money.

The report goes onto claim there’s no funding connection between Governor Burgum and the Dakota Access Pipeline, -with a straight face. -But there is. Gates Foundation is proportionately invested in Phillips 66, who has a 25% stake in the pipeline, around $1.6 billion, thanks to over 55% of Gates Foundation’s portfolio being invested in Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, who has majority control of Phillips 66. That’s your connection. You don’t think a former staff person of Bill Gates (when it was Bill Gates who made him a multimillionaire) is not going to protect Gates’ financial interests? Gates funded him more than the oil companies. Remember, Bill Gates sits on Berkshire Hathaway’s Board of Directors.

“The role of governor is the closest thing to a CEO job in government,” says Burgum – “Why Former Microsoft Executive Doug Burgum Wants to Be Governor of North Dakota (Q&A)” -recode

Simultaneous to all this U2 are running #askU2 #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 where they only want to be asked about music, their album The Joshua Tree, and its commemorative tour. This was the resultant interview. Canadians aren’t sorry for not cooperating. At this point there’s just no justification for retaining that sort of privilege, after all, you took the money. (Gates Foundation’s funding of RED alone, which constituted 50% of their revenue, was $128 million for 2016.)

The Joshua Tree itself is dead, BTW, as are the Joshua Trees. The truth is fitting. May they join the ether as opposed to ending up buried alongside U2’s ethics. The term “Joshua Tree” is emblematic of “The Tree of Life”, because Joshua=Yeshua=Jesus; suitably it’s dead; as Bono would just as readily sacrifice it on the altar of the ideology vacuum we call capitalism if not for anything else.

Under normal circumstances the band saying they’re taking questions only about their latest musical foray might be considered fine and good, -were it not for the fact that they’ve already allowed considerable merger between the band brand, page, music fanship, and their charitable activities, and of course they just had to announce ONE’s #girlscount launch on their official facebook page, just as they just had to use it to announce Bono was commemorated as ‘Woman of the Year” by Glamour Magazine for #povertyissexist, when the protestors simultaneously being targeted and brutalized at the #NoDAPL protest were significantly women (scroll to the middle).

That in itself would be all right (if not for the subtext). But then there was that sordid episode where they employed humanitarianism with the greatest cynical calculus humanly possible simultaneous to telling milliennnials how to vote in #election2016 not once, but twice over. The problem was that the humanitarian appeals were on results of human suffering and root causes for terrorism that were directly consequent of policy enactments of who they instructed you to vote for, making the whole process a very calculated disassociation of conscience from the perpetrator they tried to manipulate you into voting for.

The problem is not that they told you how to vote. The problem is that they deliberately disassociated you from her direct policy results in doing so, because to vote for her is to act in complete conflict with their humanitarian statements (it is a state of cognitive dissonance to uncritically accept the humanitarian need of these situations and wish to solve them and yet endorse their architect, giving her the power to perpetuate more of the same). This issue has nothing to do with the present danger of the opposing candidate.

Telling the U.S. public who to vote for wouldn’t be so bad in and of itself, but in this instance, like a pack of smokes, it should have come with a sponsorship warning about the latest and greatest of Hillary’s billionaire sponsors bankrolling both of Bono’s charities/awareness campaigns, namely ONE and RED. And it is very questionable, given the long history of attendance with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative, –right up to the moment when he told you who to vote for, whether Bono was given a promisory note of sorts for how his effort towards Hillary Clinton’s election would be rewarded in kind from the Clinton Foundation vis a vis RED monies for AIDs. After all he had her on direct line enough to get broadcasts from the International Space Station on tour every night.

But better yet, U2 have been using their fanbase for RED monies in contests every year that capitalize on their fandom in meet Bono and/or meet the band virtual lotteries. So they’ve already created a cross-over situation in which they use their official band page for great utility raising money for RED using themselves, which is financial extraction designed to exploit the desire of the fan base. These contests are thrown for the wealthy, as the wealthy can make $25,000 entries and receive a commensurate number of lottery entries. Quite honestly the band can be accused of flogging these contests as much or more than any other subject, season depending. (For this run I have seven different posts, and I didn’t include all of them. Nope.) This is the affliction you’ll receive for being a fan. But none of these fans were informed that all of their entries were being matched by one of the biggest investments extant in the Dakota Access Pipeline now were they? Nor were any of the many celebrities that put themselves up for the sake of the meet and greet contests for RED, December 2016.

So what gives U2 the arbitrage to decide when they are specifically entitled to only be asked questions about music anymore, when they’ve combined matters so much as to use their fanbase as a charity extraction base -?

Here are all the truly sordid questions they blithely ignored and avoided with this arbitrage. They are not small matters. All of the questions are substantiated with the substantiation hyperlinked under the question. It is obvious due to the scant nature of the sourcing in places that some were of their nature genuine questions. Others must indicate the basis for their having to be asked. Those are also genuine.

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and Bono exchange laughs during a session at the Global Fund conference Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and Bono exchange laughs during a session at the Global Fund conference Saturday, September 17, 2016 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

I did miss one Question, however. That would have been whether U2 were aware that their secondary RED/ONE sponsor was also sponsoring 350.org and indeed the Standing Rock Tribe itself in order to attenuate and mis-direct the entire #defundDAPL boycott movement away from him and his investment; whereas Gate controls and attenuates the entire situation from the direction of Gates Foundation “media partners“, so you never hear about either Buffett’s or indeed Gates’ corporate misconduct (either invested or owned), or how Buffett’s funding makes Gates Foundation a major DAPL investor as well. As for those Gates Foundation Questions, you might find yourself floored.

The #askU2 exercise has given me the opportunity to fill in all the previous #askwarren questions I did not have enough time for. As a result there were 24 questions this time ’round. As a separate query exercise, it also means some are a repetition and cross reference those prior substantiation pages, -but you’ll be happy to know if you’ve been down this path before that I’ve added considerably to those. You will find something new, even in something so apparently innocuous as the name, Sacagawea. It may surprise you but beware, for opening each Question is akin to opening a nightmare.

#askU2 -How do   think  ‘s    celebs would feel finding out they were DAPL matched? -For that matter, how do you think the U2 fanbase and general public purchasing RED products would feel?

All this for what is really just a boom/bust operation anyhow. U.S. consumption is indicated to be in desperate straits.

That was the end of the DAPL related questions (turns out there were 11 in total, same as with #askwarren). There is a more substantial array: 

#askU2 –Are @U2 aware your @RED sponsor @gatesfoundation made handing down seeds illegal in Africa (Tanzania)?

#askU2 –Are you aware your @RED sponsor disaster capitalism’ed the New Orleans school system post #Katrina?

#askU2 –Are you aware your @RED /@ONECampaign sponsor is known for preying on the poor? #askwarren

#askU2 –Are @U2 aware your @RED/ONECampaign sponsor provided toxic trailers to refugees for #Katrina and #Haiti? #askwarren

 

Bob Geldof and the Aid Industry: “Do They Know it’s Imperialism?”

Under the Mask of Philanthropy

March 29, 2017

by Michael Barker

[Author Michael Barker published the following article in the activist journal Capitalism Nature Socialism in 2014 (Volume 24, No.1, pp.96-110).]

The central role that celebrities maintain within global society provides a good illustration of the essentially hollow and manipulative nature of contemporary democracies. Corporate elites literally manufacture all-star celebrities, and acting through these malleable figureheads, freely flood the world with imperialist propaganda. Much like the economic forces acting to misguide politicians, institutional pressures ensure that only right-thinking individuals become trusted celebrities. However, the main difference between celebrities and politicians is that the public cannot exert democratic control over celebrities. Bob Geldof is no different in this regard, and as the consummate celebrity-power broker, he stands clear of many contemporaries as a pioneer of celebrity-led imperialism: acting effectively in the service of capital. It is for this reason that this article critically excavates such a largely overlooked history to help unearth an explanatory framework for understanding exactly why the ongoing tragedy of famines will never be solved under a capitalist framework.

Stephanie McMillan industry

Geldof first rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead singer of the Irish band the Boomtown Rats and, having learned how to play the music industry’s game to perfection, went on to become a rare beneficiary of the stifling culture industry. However, that was not enough for Geldof, and at the peak of his musical career he attempted to give something back to the world; call it something akin to musical social responsibility. For Geldof, this time of charitable maturation arrived in 1984 when, having been shocked by a news report about the ongoing famine in Ethiopia, he sought to harness his celebrity power and to direct it toward the challenge of solving global injustice. Such good intentions are all well and good, but seeing that Geldof explicitly set upon this task in a manner that ignored any systematic critique of the politics of exploitation, his actions ending up bolstering the very same unjust capitalist system that created the problem in the first place. In fact, a good case can be made that it is precisely the imperialism-lite of ostensibly good-intentioned liberal elites—whose activities are subsumed under the kind-sounding rhetoric of “philanthropy,” “democracy,” and “human rights”—that has facilitated the institutionalization of neoliberalism.

Celebrities and the Politics of Starvation

In our interconnected world, extended famines do not occur when harvests fail, or because there are too many mouths to feed; quite the opposite, they occur with unfortunate regularity precisely because geopolitical priorities place profit before people. Scrutinizing the case study provided by the Ethiopian famine is important, as not only did it mark Washington’s “first hundred-million dollar commitment to international disaster relief,” but the intervention has also provided a “blueprint for future policymakers to follow”. Thus, to advance a realistic and useful solution to starvation, one needs to look beyond the mainstream media’s propaganda of futility, and strive to examine the role of capital in catalyzing “natural” disasters. Celebrity activists cannot be relied upon in searching for such solutions; as embedded within capitalist networks of power, they tend to be amongst those few individuals least likely to engage in such a rational approach to problem solving.

victorian

Counter to the rational nature of anti-capitalist thought, the latest tried and (media) tested method of addressing capital’s wrong-doings is to harness the angry voice of a celebrity (or better still a group of celebrities) to rant and rave about individual greed. Illustrating this is the latest iteration of a longstanding trend that has seen capitalists harness the power of philanthropy to the extension and consolidation of capitalist relations worldwide. This smokescreen approach to social change channels public attention away from any discussion of meaningful issues, and ensures that capitalists are empowered to “solve” the very same problems they caused in the first place. Geldof is singled out in particular because he took this basic formula for corporate success and then pushed this model for celebrity-led reaction to such an extent that celebrities are now a vital part of the “aid” industry.

Geldof clearly does not interpret his own actions in such a negative way, and seems to believe that the moral suasion of celebrities can force the hands of the very same political and economic elites that sustain their careers. There may be a limited grain of truth in this way of thinking, but it is to state the obvious that a celebrity campaign to expose capitalist injustice is hardly likely to be instigated by corporate-sanctioned celebrities, let alone gain active elite support in corporate circles. Hence, a good case can be made that Geldof’s entire Band Aid/Live Aid phenomenon actually shifted:

the focus of responsibility for the impoverishment of the Third World from western governments to individuals and obscured the workings of multinational corporations and their agents, the IMF and the World Bank. Worse, it made people in the West feel that famine and hunger were endemic to the Third World, to Africa in particular (the dark side of the affluent psyche), and what they gave was as of their bounty, not as some small for what was taken from the of the Third recompense being poor World…. [A] discourse on western imperialism was transmogrified into a discourse on western humanism. [1]

Geldof’s own humanitarian campaign thus exemplified itself as a stereotypical attack on governments and the existing aid industry: the visual problem was identified (famine), blame was then squarely placed on the local (foreign) government, and a “new” uncorrupted form of charity was then promoted. Along with such myths, he also pushed the equally misleading idea that foreign governments allowed the famine to continue because they were apathetic. Geldof’s serviceable response to these “problems” was obvious; he had to force Western governments to care more for distant others and rail against the existing aid industry’s inefficiencies. In both instances, this meant that Geldof dismissed the primary institutional reason for the existence of the aid industry. This is because governments do not donate food out of generosity; rather their food distribution networks are considered to be an integral weapon through which they promote their foreign policies. Critical books that Geldof might have read at the time include Nicole Ball’s World Hunger: A Guide to the Economic and Political Dimensions (1981), Susan George’s How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons for World Hunger (1976), Teresa Hayter’s The Creation of World Poverty (1981), and Marcus Linear’s Zapping the Third World: The Disaster of Development Aid (1985).

Geldof book

Paradoxically, writing in 1986, Geldof was evidently aware (at the rhetorical level anyway) of the strategic use of aid:

Aid is given in direct proportion to how friendly a government is towards the donor. It is used as threat, blackmail and a carrot. This is wrong …. Aid by and large benefits the donor country as much as the recipient, more so in fact as it stimulates, by trade, the donor’s economy, but leaves the recipient aid-dependent. (Bob Geldof, Is That It?, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1986, p.318.)

However, such critical words never informed his actions.

Band Aid Imperialism

Considering the exploitative nature of government food aid, the actions of the glut of “Bloody Do-Gooders” that Geldof brought together under the remit of Band Aid in 1984 certainly need to be viewed in a critical light. [2] Released in December 1984, Band Aid’s humanitarian anthem “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” quickly became the fastest-selling UK single of all time and marked Geldof’s return to the public stage as a born-again humanitarian rabble-rouser. Reflecting on his initial experiences in his autobiography Is That It? (1986), Geldof acknowledged that the result of Band Aid’s fund raising “would be so small in the context of the problem that it would be like putting a tiny plaster on a wound that required twelve stitches” (p.223).

Do They Know It's Christmas

With the benefit of hindsight, I would suggest that this is an extremely bad misdiagnosis. A more accurate description of Band Aid’s work would be to say that they put a plaster over capitalism’s body politics and sutured the public’s eyes shut. Here, Geldof would vehemently disagree as he insists that Band Aid carried out its work without involving itself in regional politics. Such claims, however, are patently false, especially given the fact that he recruited some of Britain’s leading elites to serve as trustees of the charity, the Band Aid Trust, which was set up to distribute the funds raised in the course of his activism. [3]

So how did it all start? If one returns to the initial seven-minute BBC story broadcast on October 24, 1984 that fueled Geldof’s humanitarian impulses, it turns out that the two reporters who filed the report (Mo Amin and Michael Buerk) were working under the auspices of World Vision—a well-publicized, imperialist, evangelical Christian charity. World Vision exists as just one, often overlooked part of imperial counterinsurgency efforts carried out by conservative evangelists who wage “spiritual warfare” upon recalcitrant populations. Little wonder that the television report described Ethiopia as the scene of a “biblical famine,” which was the “closest thing to hell on earth”. Thus, it is appropriate that in the early stages of Geldof’s frantic organizing efforts, the head of World Vision UK, Peter Searle, “kept phoning” Geldof in a bid to influence his activities. Having never heard of World Vision, Geldof recalled that he was “very suspicious” of Searle’s offers of help, but he seems to have been reassured when told that “they were an excellent organization but with roots in the right-wing American evangelical revival.” As Geldof continues: “Later we backed several of their projects” (p.235), [4] but to be more precise, it should be noted that as reported in May 1986, the “largest sum spent so far [by Band Aid] on a single project, dollars 1m, went to the charity World Vision” for their work in the Sudan (“The Band’s Last Big Number/The Future of Band Aid.” The Sunday Times, May 11, 1986).

Lest one forgets, the Cold War was in full swing, and Ethiopia was in the grip of a protracted civil war against rebels of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Geldof thankfully recognized the existence of this war; but when he met the officials of the Ethiopian government’s relief commission, he told them, “It seems to me that your basic problem is one of PR.” He added that while “I may not know anything about famine … I do know a lot about PR.” The narrow solution as viewed through Geldof’s celebrity eyes was that Ethiopia should see the international media as their natural ally because, he continued, “once people in the West appreciate the scale of what is going on here you won’t be able to stop them from helping” (p.249). Geldof’s naivety certainly did not make him receptive to the contrary idea presented by members of the Ethiopian government, that the Western media were part of the problem, and that it had actually consciously acted against the best interests of their country. Further, given Geldof’s gross ignorance about Ethiopian politics, it is no surprise that he missed the fact that the Ethiopian government was deliberately withholding food aid from the “huge areas of Tigray where TPLF guerrillas held sway” because, as their acting foreign minister Tibebu Bekele made clear at the time, “Food is a major element in our strategy against the secessionists”. [5]

William Hogarth the_lottery

One might note that the only aid group active in Ethiopia at the time that challenged the hegemonic imperialist discourse of the famine was Médecins sans frontiers, and for doing so, they were promptly ejected from the country. At that time, the longstanding trend of manipulating humanitarian aid to serve the donor countries’ geostrategic interests is most clearly demonstrated in the provision of aid on the borders of Pakistan-Afghanistan and Honduras-Nicaragua during the 1980s. In the former case, Fiona Terry concludes, “Whether they believed they were neutral or not, NGOs that received US funding either in Pakistan or for cross-border operations were assisting the foreign policy strategy of the US government.” With respect to Honduran “aid,” some NGOs themselves were openly critical about such manipulations, and a report by Catholic Relief Services concluded, “The border relief programs are not designed to meet the long- or short-term interests of the Miskitos, but rather are designed for political purposes as a conduit of aid to the contras”. Interestingly in Ethiopia, Catholic Relief Services appear to have maintained a somewhat antagonistic stance vis-à-vis their role in promoting US foreign policy objectives but, despite rhetorical objections, still retained their prestigious position as the largest recipient of US disaster grants.

It is, therefore, far from surprising that more recent reports demonstrate that some of the relief monies entering Ethiopia were used to buy arms for the rebels via the TPLF’s aid front group, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST). The US government was of course well aware of this situation as a now-declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report written in 1985 makes clear. The report observes, “Some funds that insurgent organizations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes”. Geldof, no doubt dismissed such possibilities as belonging to the realm of conspiracy theories, which is perhaps the reason he did not refuse an offer of aid from the shadowy employee of a former CIA agent. As Geldof recounts in his autobiography, the influential CIA agent in question was Miles Copeland, whose philanthropic-minded boss was the longtime Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, and whose militaristic background remained unmentioned by Geldof. Thus, Geldof adds, he was informed by Miles Copeland’s son, Stewart Copeland (the drummer in the rock group The Police), that:

Khashoggi was interested in donating some planes for us to use. On the eve of my departure for Ethiopia I met up with Khashoggi’s son who was passing through London. The planes would be for famine relief in the Sudan only, he said, and a meeting would be arranged between me and President Numeiri’s personal adviser, Baha Idris. It all seemed very complex, but the offer for the planes was firm, I was assured. (p.251) [6]

Then, while on his subsequent foray to the Sudan, Geldof had lunch with Andrew Timpson of Save the Children where his briefing provided:

… one enlightening piece of information. Adnan Khashoggi was said to have oil interests in the Sudan and a special relationship with President Numeiri which led him to getting a remarkably good return on his investment. It was said that if anyone could arrange a cease-fire in the civil war which was disrupting development in the oil field which was thought to be the biggest in black Africa, it was he. (p.252)

Alan Hardman

Geldof’s follow-up sentence is increasingly curious, but as far as he is concerned, that is the end of the story as he fails to return to this intriguing subject. He does, however, mention in passing that during the preparations for the Band Aid concert, “all the Band Aid office expenses were being paid for by a Malaysian oil millionaire called Ananda Krishnan” and, contrary to Geldof’s own personal intentions for the project, Krishnan “was interested in turning Band Aid into a permanent institution” (p.266). Such curious humanitarian contacts befit a man with little enthusiasm for challenging the legitimacy of powerful political interests. In Geldof’s own words:

[A]s in England, where I didn’t want to get involved in party politics, so too in Africa. ‘I will shake hands with the devil on my left and the devil on my right to get to the people who need help,’ I would say, when I first asked questions about the political complexion of some local government. That was crucial, for you could become bogged down in the myriad moral uncertainties of dealing with an imperfect political system. (p.318)

Geldof Versus the American Government?

Despite Geldof recognizing the fact that aid is regularly used by powerful governments “as threat, blackmail and a carrot,” in 1985, Band Aid strangely sought to gain the support of the best-organized imperialist aid agency in the world, the US Agency for International Development (AID). No need to worry about such incongruous behavior though, as Geldof would have us believe “the greatest single donor in the world” did not really know what it was doing in terms of coordinating its global operations. Geldof recalls that he “was frightened” that USAID “would have the better of me or have a better grasp of the facts.” “But they didn’t” he continues, “we were all tap dancing” (p.320). [7] This seems most peculiar, and I would argue that this interpretation of events owes more to his naivety than to reality, but either way this false impression certainly gave Geldof the confidence boost he needed to argue for their help. That said, he didn’t have to argue much, as USAID already knew his plans, as he “had stipulated the agenda before” he arrived in America. He recalled, “They knew that we were not prepared to leave without firm undertakings from them that they should match us on a dollar-for-dollar basis on some of our mutually beneficial projects” (p.322). So in the end, it is not surprising that the US State Department came through for Band Aid. The Ethiopian government, on the other hand, was, as Geldof reports, “not delirious to have help from US Aid” (p.323).

usaid-humanitarian-relief

Are we really to believe that it was Band Aid that manipulated the US government and not vice versa? If we just consider the quantitative issue of food aid, the total value of US aid for Ethiopia in fiscal 1983 was around $3 million; this then increased to some $23 million the following year, and then “jumped to more than four times that amount (about $98 million) between October 1 and December 1, 1984.” Given that approximately two-thirds of this last increase was committed after the initial National Broadcasting Company (NBC) broadcast of the famine in the United States (October 24, 1984), one way of interpreting this change would be to say this boost in aid was due to the change in media coverage and the resulting public outcry. Alternatively, one could just as easily interpret this change as illustrating that the media became more receptive to the issue once the US government signaled that they were increasing, and no longer decreasing, food aid to the region. This latter argument is evidenced by the fact that in March 1984, Senator John Danforth (Republican-Missouri)—who throughout 1984 played an important role in lobbying for famine relief in Ethiopia —successfully introduced a bill (H.J.Res. 493) that provided $90 million in food assistance for emergency food assistance for Africa. This money was not, however, freed up until an earlier bill (H.J.Res. 492), which aimed to provide $150 million to famine-stricken areas in Africa (which the $90 million represented part of) stalled, passing into law in July 1984, but only when proposed amendments to add covert funding for the Contras in Nicaragua had been dropped from the bill (African Famine: Chronology of U.S. Congressional and Executive Branch Action in 1984, Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service).

Counter to Geldof’s recommendation to Ethiopian officials that they only needed better PR to get their story out to the global public, US journalists had been attempting to air stories about the famine for some time, but they simply had no takers in the mainstream media. As far as the media were concerned, “It was not ‘new’ news, for the roots of the 1984 disaster lay in conditions known for years before the disaster hit the headlines”. However, by the end of the year, Ethiopia was now considered as being an issue that deserved political attention. One wondered if this was in any way related to ongoing attempts to coerce the Ethiopian government to accept more aid from the West. For example, it is interesting to observe that just after the increase in aid and media attention (in October), Reuters reported on December 1, 1984, how “The Marxist Government of Ethiopia has agreed to move toward a free market policy to improve the country’s agricultural production…” (“Ethiopians Consider Free Market.” The Globe and Mail, December 1, 1984). Thus, extensive economic and diplomatic pressure was clearly being brought to bear on Ethiopia well before the rise in media attention. By way of another example, the Italian government had its own important role to play in ramping up the political pressure, “and the Italian ambassador is generally credited with making it clear to Mengistu in early October 1984 that Ethiopia could not continue to suppress information about the famine, but must publicize it in order to attract Western relief”.

Ethiopia was now the media’s number one story, but during the seemingly endless deluge of one-dimensional coverage, at no point did the mainstream media help the public understand what was happening by making any significant effort to explain the root causes of the famine. One would have been hard-pressed to have heard of the ambitious land reform program—launched in 1975 when the military Marxists (known as the Derg) rose to power—that was “very successful in eliminating large holdings, absentee landlordism and landlessness.” Similarly, there was no talk of how the Derg’s top-down control over their agrarian reform program had the net effect of “lessen[ing] farmer’s incentives for good natural resource management by decreasing both the security of land tenure and the profitability of agriculture”. Factors that combined with the prolonged civil war and the Derg’s massive resettlement program (which was undertaken in the wake of the 1984–1985 famine) exacerbated farmer land insecurity and mismanagement, which depressed agricultural production in Ethiopia’s time of need.

Banksy

Instead of providing historically-informed investigative journalism that explored such issues, the racist media delivered up a nightmarish story about a natural disaster of biblical proportions. This is an outcome that was entirely predictable given the propagandist nature of the mainstream media that was well aligned to celebrate the successes of the imperialist development narratives upon which the nongovernmental (NGO) aid industry operates. Thus, the media and the international aid community simply latched onto well-worn neo-Malthusian environmental degradation narratives to justify ongoing aid in the post-famine period (1985–1990). Likewise, little or no mention has been made of the deleterious effect that the Soviet Union’s policy of disengagement had on the nominally Marxist government.

Such an ill-informed development narrative was supremely useful to imperialist donors as it promoted an intervention in a geostrategically important region which “was narrowly technical, largely bypassed the Ethiopian government, was targeted directly on the rural poor and would be welcomed by the growing environmental lobby in Washington”. With respect to the utility of this massive influx of aid (for the people of Ethiopia), “in retrospect, it is clear that much of this effort was wasted or counterproductive.” It is not coincidental that it was during this golden period of “development” aid that the Derg “moved away from socialist agriculture”.

One might point out that neo-Malthusian arguments drawn upon in Ethiopia are intimately enmeshed with the ideological underpinnings of the mainstream environmental movement, which are especially in line with the environmental lobby in Washington. Indeed, since the 18th century, such specious logic has solidified yeomen service to imperial elites who falsely argue that humans simply cannot cultivate enough food to feed the entire human population. Thus, given Ethiopia’s positioning in the ongoing Cold War, it is appropriate that the leading proponents of neoliberal environmentalism played a major role in justifying the aid communities’ protracted interventions in the region. For example, from late 1984 to mid-1986, the executive coordinator of the United Nations Office for Emergency Operations in Africa was none other than , the immensely powerful former oil executive who, over the past four decades, has arguably done more than any other individual to promote the misnomer of sustainable development.

Capitalists for Just Exploitation

Old humanitarian habits die hard and, having already proved their ability to neglect the role of imperial power politics in global affairs, Geldof and his Band Aid friends have continued to act as willing implementers of capitalistic responses to capitalist-bred inequality. However, if one had to choose one Band Aid contributor who best followed Geldof’s own model of leadership on behalf of imperial elites it would have to be Bono, who in 2005 was voted TIME magazine’s Person of the Year alongside the well-known “humanitarian” couple Bill and Melinda Gates. After contributing to the Band Aid single and the Live Aid gig in 1985, Bono had even emulated Geldof’s commitment to the right-wing evangelical charity World Vision, and spent six weeks volunteering at one of their orphanages in Ethiopia. Bono’s overt commitment to Christian missionary work was then put on hold, that is, until 1997 when Jamie Drummond encouraged him to became a spokesperson for a church-based campaign known as Jubilee 2000, a group which was set up to campaign the canceling of Third World debt. Fresh from this spiritual revival, Bono then began spending weekends at the World Bank with his friend Bobby Shriver, who himself was an old colleague of the World Bank’s president, James Wolfensohn, having worked with him within the venture capital division of the Wolfensohn Firm.

Having gained his humanitarian apprenticeship under leading imperialists like Wolfensohn, it is fitting that economist Jeffrey Sachs completed Bono’s education. Bono, like Geldof, was pioneering new ground within the realm of celebrity activism, moving from the former archetypal celebrity-as-fundraiser to the realm of celebrity-as-corporate-lobbyist. With the zeal of a born-again zealot, Bono endeavored to work the circuits of power of the hallowed nonprofit-industrial complex, and in 2002 he turned to Geldof, who helped devise the name DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) to christen his and Bobby Shriver’s new group; this organization flourished with $1 million start-up grants flowing in from the likes of global democracy manipulator George Soros, software businessman Edward W. Scott, Jr., and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Once established, DATA recruited like-minded high profile corporate lobbyists, the two main ones being the Democrat AIDS activist /defense contractor lobbyist Tom Sheridan, and Scott Hatch, who formerly ran the National Republican Campaign Committee. Much like Geldof, Bono sees his work as bipartisan, that is, encompassing all political views as long as they stand firmly on the side of capitalism.

cartoon-wasteful-system-jpeg-large

In 2004, Bono extended his activist commitments, and with the backing of Bread for the World, the Better Safer World coalition, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he created “ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History,” which merged with DATA in 2007 and is now known as ONE Campaign. All board members of ONE are leading representatives of the US power elite, but three who exhibit outstanding service to capitalist propaganda are president and CEO Michael Elliott (who most recently served as the editor of TIME International), board chair Tom Freston (who is the former CEO of Viacom and MTV Networks), and Joe Cerrell (who presently works for the Gates Foundation, but formerly served as the vice president of the philanthropy practice at APCO Worldwide and as assistant press secretary to former US Vice President Al Gore). A significant recent addition to ONE’s board of directors is World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is active on the board of Friends Africa where he sits alongside African “friends” like Jeffrey Sachs and the chairman of De Beers, Jonathan Oppenheimer. Yet another especially interesting ONE board member is Helene Gayle, who as a former employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now employed as the president of the leading international “aid” outfit, CARE.

Here, it is noteworthy to recall that CARE was formed by Herbert Hoover as the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, and since its inception in 1945 has provided a valuable means of promoting imperialism via the strategic provision of food aid. Indeed, as Susan George suggests in her excellent book How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons for World Hunger (1976), Hoover was given the opportunity to form CARE primarily because he had demonstrated his ability to use food aid as a weapon during and after World War I. In fact, she suggests that Hoover was arguably the “first modern politician to look upon food as a frequently more effective means of getting one’s own way than gunboat diplomacy or military intervention”. As recent critical scholarship on the international role of CARE demonstrates, it still serves much the same imperial purpose that it was created to perform.

CARE thus provides a vital training ground for budding “humanitarians”; for instance, many of their former staff are involved in a relatively new venture known as Build Africa—a “charity” working in rural Uganda and Kenya that helps “young people” better themselves through learning about the wonders of “business enterprise.” One particularly significant trustee of Build Africa (who also heads their board of ambassadors/investment bankers) is the investment banker and private equity power broker Mark Florman, the CEO of the British Venture Capital Association. In addition to acting as one of the co-founders of the UK-based Center for Social Justice—a think tank that was set up in 2004 by the former leader of the Conservative party, Iain Duncan Smith [8]—Florman worked with Bob Geldof to raise $200 million to launch a private equity fund in 2012, called 8 Miles, with the aid of , which, bluntly put, aims to capitalize on Africa. According to the Financial Times:

Among others that Mr. Geldof has approached for advice on the [] venture is Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born telecoms tycoon turned philanthropist, and Arki Busson, the founder of hedge fund EIM. He has also discussed his plans with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who sits with Mr. Geldof on the Africa Progress Panel, monitoring donor commitments towards increased aid to Africa. [9]

To flesh out the backgrounds of Geldof’s new friends, one might note that Mo Ibrahim was soon to be a board member of the ONE Campaign and is currently chair of the advisory board for an investment firm focused on Africa called Satya Capital; its small portfolio includes Namakwa Diamonds, a mining group whose board members notably include a former executive vice president of the notorious Barrick Gold. In 2004, Ibrahim founded the Mo Ibrahim Foundation “to recognize achievement in African leadership and stimulate debate on good governance across sub-Saharan Africa and the world.” In this context, “good governance” means implementation of neoliberal reforms. [10] Hedge fund tycoon Arki Busson, like Ibrahim, is well-versed in the power of philanthropic propaganda, and on the side of his main business interests he runs an educational charity known as Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), which is one of Britain’s powerful new academy chains that run academies on US charter school lines. In 2007, at ARK’s seventh annual fundraiser, Geldof and Tony Blair were in attendance, so it is suitable that ARK’s patrons include two close associates of Geldof’s. The first is the “human rights” crooner Sir Elton John, and the second is the former World Bank economist Dambisa Moyo.

Moyo is the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (2009), and she lividly expresses her humanitarian commitment through service on the boards of Barclays, SABMiller PLC, and the global independent oil and gas exploration and production company, Lundin Petroleum. [11] With “her total unflinching faith in markets as the ultimate solution and her silence on issues of social justice” Moyo’s book sits comfortably with the ambitions of the “Bono-Bob Geldof-driven development industry that is convinced that the ingredients of lifting the wretched of the earth out of poverty include higher economic growth, liberalised markets, good governance, better-funded NGOs and, most important of all, more aid”.

A Leftist critic of the aid industry (and of Geldof in particular) reminds us:

[t]o understand the Geldof phenomenon, we need to look historically at the role that Africa has played in the European imagination and in global capitalism. Geldof’s crusade and attitude is not new. He is only the latest in a long line of European men whose personal mission has been to transform Africa and Africans. David Livingstone, the celebrity of his day, embarked on a similar crusade in the late 19th century, painting Africa as a land of “evil,” of hopelessness and of child-like humans. His mission was to raise money to pursue his personal ambitions.

In this manner, “Livingstone’s and Geldof’s humanitarianism fits well with the demands of global capitalism as they serve to obscure distinct phases in the exploitation of Africa.

early bob

Close Your Minds and Give Your Money!

Contrary to the pleasant-sounding rhetoric accompanying the entire Band Aid phenomena, Band Aid and its offshoots have always worked closely with imperialist policy agendas. Thus, the Band Aid Trust still exists, with the most recent revival of their formula for deception being the Live8 concert, which was held in 2005, which again relied heavily upon the two most famous celebrity big hitters, Geldof and Bono. While Geldof and Bono’s initial approach to humanitarianism could at best be described as naïve, the power-struck duo are now quite obviously working hand-in-hand with neoliberal elites, not in solidarity with the poor and oppressed. So while the musicians involved in the first Band Aid project might argue that they were unaware of the means by which food aid is tied to imperialism, the same could be not true of the artists who participated in the monumental corporate aid bonanza that was Live8. After all, it was there that Geldof introduced Bill Gates to the millions watching Live8 as “the world’s greatest philanthropist”; George Monbiot appropriately observed, “Geldof and Bono’s campaign for philanthropy portrays the enemies of the poor as their saviours.”

Over the past three decades, the formidable Bono-Geldof tag-team has provided a vital propaganda service to ruling elites. On a broader level too, some argue that their celebrity activism is a natural corollary to the politics of privatization. C. Wright Mills, in his seminal book, The Power Elite (1953), dedicated an entire chapter to celebrities, observing that with the rise of national means of mass communication, “the institutional elite must now compete with and borrow prestige from these professionals in the world of the celebrity.” He thereby outlined the integral function that celebrity lives fulfill vis-à-vis the requirements of managing democracy, noting “the liberal rhetoric—as a cloak for actual power—and the professional celebrity—as a status distraction—do permit the power elite conveniently to keep out of the limelight”. Writing so many years ago, Mills was unsure as to whether the power elite would be content to rest uncelebrated; however, now, under neoliberal regimes of media and social management, the differences between interests of the jet setting crowd and other parts of the power elite have converged. Celebrities become political leaders and politicians become world class “actors,” while the real power behind these media-friendly figureheads remains in the hands of an increasingly concentrated economic elite.

Notes

1 For a musical critique of Live Aid see Chumbawamba’s album Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records: Starvation, Charity and Rock & Roll – Lies & Traditions (1986).

2 Geldof’s initial suggestion for Band Aid’s name was “The Bloody Do-Gooders.”

3 Geldof was also involved in the US version of Band Aid which under the organization of Harry Belafonte released the song “We Are the World” in March 1985, which became the fastest-selling American pop single in history. The Band Aid Trust was initially chaired by Lord Gowrie, then Minister for the Arts. Other founding trustees included Lord Harlech, the head of Harlech TV, Michael Grade, the controller of BBC1, Chris Morrison, the manager of Ultravox, Maurice Obserstein, the chairman of the British Phonographic Institute, John Kennedy, a pop industry lawyer, and Midge Ure (Geldof 1986 Geldof, B. 1986. Is That It? London: Sidgwick & Jackson. [Google Scholar], 256).

4 On his first visit to Ethiopia, Geldof bumped into another conservative religious “aid” worker, Mother Teresa (Geldof, Is That It? p.239), who according to Christopher Hitchens “has consoled and supported the rich and powerful, allowing them all manner of indulgence, while preaching obedience and resignation to the poor.”

5 One should look to Ethiopia’s recent past for similar examples that illustrate the political nature of famines. For example, “During the final two years (1973–1975) of the US-supported Haile Selassie regime, some 100,000 Ethiopians died of starvation due to drought. At least half the amount of grain needed to keep those people alive was held in commercial storage facilities within the country. In addition, Emperor Selassie’s National Grain Corporation itself held in storage 17,000 tons of Australian wheat which it refused to distribute. While commercial interests thrived by selling hundreds of tons of Ethiopian grain, beans, and even milk to Western Europe and Saudi Arabia, the Ethiopian government received 150,000 tons of free food from aid donors”.

6 Khashoggi was the arms dealer in the Iran-Contra scandal.

7 “The impact of food aid can only be understood within the context of the broader US aid programme. Two-thirds of the total aid package is security assistance: military aid and cash transfers to governments deemed ‘strategically important’ to the US national interest. So whatever worthwhile may be achieved by feeding some people or supporting some useful development efforts is far outweighed by the propping up of anti-democratic elites and regimes whose policies perpetuate inequality”.

8 It is interesting to note that the Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Philippa Stroud, was recently employed by the charity known as Christian Action Research and Education, which is also known as CARE, and whose activities are separate from the aforementioned “aid” agency with the same acronym. The long-serving chair of Christian Action Research and Education is Lyndon Bowring, who is a council member of the conservative Christian group The Evangelical Alliance and a member of the board of reference of the equally zealous Christian Solidarity Worldwide that is very active in promoting “aid” in the Sudan.

9 The “core funding 2008–2010” for the Africa Progress Panel “comes from two sources: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).” Africa Progress Panel, available online at: http://www.africaprogresspanel.org/en/about/, accessed 11 January, 2012.

10 Mo Ibrahim is one of many elite counselors of a group called One Young World, which describes itself as “the premier global forum for young people of leadership calibre.” Bob Geldof is also counted as one of their counselors, and One Young World’s cofounder, marketing executive David Jones boasts of “work[ing] closely” with David Cameron and the Conservative Party in the UK and having been tasked to “create and lead the Tck Tck Tck, Time for Climate Justice Campaign.” For an insightful critique of this latter campaign, see Cory Morningstar’s “Eyes Wide Shut: TckTckTck Expose from Activist Insider.”

11 Lukas Lundin a board member of Lundin Petroleum serves as the chair of Lundin Mining, a corporation whose CEO, Phil Wright, is the former president of Freeport-McMoran’s Tenke Mining.

#askwarren Question #9: Are you, Gates Foundation, U2, RED & ONE Campaign Aware of the State Violence Enforcing Your DAPL Investment?

March 8, 2017

Radiant Labyrinth

 

Singer of Irish band U2, Bono (L) poses with Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum annual meeting on January 22, 2016 in Davos to mark the 10 years of (RED).  Launched at Davos in 2006, (RED) has raised $350 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, impacting 60 million lives.  / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Singer of Irish band U2, Bono (L) poses with Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum annual meeting on January 22, 2016 in Davos to mark the 10 years of (RED). FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

#askwarren Are you, @gatesfoundation, @U2, @RED, @ONECampaign aware of the state violence enforcing your DAPL investment?

(Question #9 of 11 #askwarren DAPL Questions. -#1 shows Warren Buffett is invested in a DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) staked corporation over $6.3 billion, meaning proprotionately by his largesse Gates Foundation is invested nigh $1.6 billion, whereas Q#8 shows Bono’s ONE and RED are dependent on Gates Foundation funding, and thereby the DAPL investment.)

“#Cringemas it is! –#Cringemas is arms lost to the 1%.”

“Bill Gates surely would have known the #NoDAPL protest suppression was completely off the chain by the time of U2/RED’s 2016 Shopathon [he sits on Buffett’s Board of Directors], just as it’s surely known Sophia’s never going to get a Secret Santa down her chimney. In fact the Guardian’s hit piece targeting Trump as an investor was timed to target the blame after the attack dogs had been deployed. Actually it was right on cue with when police and military moved on the Oceti Sakowin camp141 arrests followed.  The attack dogs were unleashed by private security, but they weren’t the ones who got kenneled. We got to find out who they were and that they weren’t licensed to work in North Dakota and were from out of state and may be criminally liable, but we never get to hear who hires them. The Guardian will only repeat Trump’s nigh bogus connection to the project.

However, in terms of modus operandi (if not involvement), BNSF [which Buffett owns] was already using private police to perform arrests in Washington State at protest blockades and they were already being blockaded there by climate protests. The public was much more aware of the oil by rail issue than the media gave credit.”

“Yet even Bono managed to outdo himself, by getting named Glamour’s Woman of the Year‘ [for ONE’s #povertyissexist] precisely for becoming this sort of paragon of ‘consumer activism’. He literally hijacked feminism and made it #brandfeminism, -merely an adjunct to the philanthrowash of his billionaire benefactors and a philanthrowash the Dakota Access Pipeline, and all of #NoDAPL’s brutality, against womenLots of WomenLots and lots of them. We stand with Sophia.  We stand with the women of Standing Rock.”

Source quotes from “How Bono’s RED became the color of philanthrowashing done right for the Dakota Access Pipeline

Secondary source quotes (article hyperlinks with supplementary news support):

Woman’s Arm May Be Amputated After Horrific Injury At Standing Rock Protests” – Huffington Post article on Sophia Wolansky (actual photo of injury in this article) Video: “Standing Rock Protector’s Arm Blown Off By Police Grenade” – TYT -medical treatment ringing in at over $350,000

Testimony of Vanessa Dundon, who had retina severed by a tear gas grenade. “Standing Rock Protester Shot in Face with Tear Gas Grenade May Go Blind” – TheDailyBeast -#notjustwomen are losing eyes.

Testimony of Floris Whitebull, who was arrested from a prayer circle and kenneled – Josh Fox

Cyndy Coppola is arrested to enforce forcible installation of the DAPL on her own property using eminent domain. – KFYRTV “Iowa Woman arrested on her own property for interfering with DAPL construction” – KFYRTV

Testimony of Caro Gonzales, “Guarding Red Tarantula Woman”, Chemehuivi Tribe” – The Guardian

Testimony of Angie Spencer, Trauma Counselor arrested at the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest – TYT Politics

As for poverty and education? (Seeing as the whole basis of ONE’s current #povertyissexist campaign, #girlscount, is the educational exclusion and unequal poverty rate of girls.)

The Dakota Pipeline Could Devastate Some of the Poorest People in America” – Time

One-in-four Native Americans and Alaska Natives are living in poverty” – PewResearchCenter -has Obama visiting the Standing Rock Reservation in June 2014 -has education statistics for Standing Rock

Poverty Rate for Native American North Dakota women: 35.5% –Source page. The poverty rate for Native American women in the USA by state ranges from 11.7% in Maryland to 43.6% for a high for South Dakota. North Dakota’s poverty rate for Native American women is the third highest in the nation, coming in slightly over 1 in 3. The Standing Rock Reservation where the #NoDAPL protest took place in in North Dakota.

“[Sex trafficking (in Canada, where this is 94% ‘domestic’)] is also something in which indigenous women – and girls – are vastly overrepresented. Aboriginal people make up just 4 per cent of the population, but a study in 2014 found they account for about half the victims of trafficking – Public Safety Canada calls them the country’s “population most vulnerable to exploitation.” – “The Trafficked” – The Globe and Mail

“The U.S. Justice Department reports that sexual violence in American Indian/Alaska Native communities is ‘epidemic.’ Native Americans experience sexual assault at a rate of 2.5 times greater than other races. A third of all Native women will be raped.”

“Forced prostitution of native women also is a problem in oil fields, forestry projects or fracking operations such as the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota [what the Dakota Access Pipeline was constructed to export] and Montana, where transient workers, almost exclusively male, are housed in remote ‘man camps.'” – “Sex Traffickers Targetting Native American Women” – Voice Of America -seems America might be more coy and more lax on determining figures.

ONE: YOU CAN’T RUN A #girlscount #povertyissexist Campaign that is obtaining funding that depends on the enforcement of structural racial oppression that ‘just happens’ to be furnishing PRECISELY THE FORMS OF SEXUAL OPPRESSION YOU PURPORT TO BE AGAINST.

Did you know the present installation of the pipeline is likely illegal, on not one, but two counts? Did you know the Standing Rock Tribe was basically forced at gunpoint to accept unsafe risks to their drinking water?

How can these billionaires qualify this sort of profit making as philanthropy -?

Questions about #DefundDAPL, Standing Rock or #NODAPL? – #askwarren

The Radiant Labyrinth

 

ask warren cnbc

CNBC is running the twitter hashtag #askwarren so that the general public can submit questions for Warren Buffett’s interview with them on Monday, February 27th, 2017. I’ve created this page to document and supply real questions with accompanying documented explanations for why they ought to be asked, in order to tweet all of them using the hashtag. The reason for this is to out Mr. Buffett for being a major DAPL investor to the tune of over $6.8 billion, a fact that has been obsequiously omitted by the press. This is in all likelihood because Buffett’s philanthropy protects him since he is responsible for giving Gates Foundation 58% of its stock portfolio. Since Gates Foundation manages the mainstream press via funding, Buffett is avoided in the press. FYI, CNBC, the outfit doing this interview of Buffett is on that funding list of media partners.

Thanks to Buffett’s bankrolling of Gates Foundation in Berkshire Hathaway shares exclusively (Buffett’s holding company) -Gates Foundation is in fact invested in the DAPL’s completion to the tune of nearly $1.7 billlion. This is because over 15% of Berkshire Hathaway’s stock portfolio is invested in majority control of Phillips 66, who has a 25% stake in the pipeline. It is Berkshire Hathaway’s 5th largest holding at over $6.8 billion.

Since the likelihood is that all of these documented, reasoned questions will be ignored, the exercise is intended as a demonstration of how the mainstream media is in fact incapable of negotiating reality to the extent of being nigh completely disassociated from matters of pertinence and relevance.

The main point of reference for questions will be my published article which substantiates all of these financials:

HOW BONO’S RED BECAME THE COLOR OF PHILANTHROWASHING DONE RIGHT FOR THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE

However the third column will be dedicated to the other spectrum and indeed sordid realm of Buffett’s extreme wealth capitalization, a property he shares with Bill Gates and four other men. Nonetheless, the goal will remain to generate awareness as to why Buffett’s 90 wholly owned Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries should be subject to a general boycott (you can start with Geico) due to Buffett’s DAPL investment, which is more than twelve times larger than any of the banks maximally financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, the largest of whom rank between $500 and $600 million. Incidentally, Gates Foundation’s investment is three times as large, yet you’ve never heard of this in the (Gates Foundation financed) mainstream media. You never hear about Buffett because, philanthropy. Susan Sarandon called it, but she won’t name the DAPL investor-mainstream media funding connection. I have. It’s the Gates Foundation.

Every piece of substantiation of the Question is hyperlinked under the Question. -Learn something.

#askwarren Why are you & by your largesse @gatesfoundation unconcerned about being major DAPL investors?

#askwarren Were you & @gatesfoundation aware @POTUS’s Memorandum causing the USACE to revoke the EIS probably makes the raid initiated on 2/22/17 to enforce your investment illegal?

#askwarren Are you, @POTUS and co-DAPL investor @gatesfoundation aware that the present DAPL route being enforced by state violence violates the Treaty of Fort Laramie?

#askwarren Are you and co-DAPL @Phillips66Co investor @gatesfoundation aware of their conduct in ND and elsewhere?

#askwarren Are you and co-DAPL @Phillips66Co investor @gatesfoundation aware of DAPL design flaws and inherent risk to drinking water?

#askwarren Has @gatesfoundation’s funding of media partners succeeded in concealing his & your DAPL investment from the boycott?

#askwarren Does the #NoDAPL #boycottbanks campaign know they are being helmed by an organization that receives funding from you, 350.org?

#askwarren Are @RED and @ONECampaign aware your funding of @gatesfoundation means they are DAPL beneficiaries?

#askwarren Are you, @gatesfoundation, @U2, @RED, @ONECampaign aware of the state violence enforcing your DAPL investment?

#askwarren Given enforcement of your DAPL investment is questionably illegal & violates Constitution, why are US taxpayers to foot the bill?

#askwarren Are your beneficiaries (@gatesfoundation, @RED, @ONECampaign) aware going against NA tribes over a Treaty issue isn’t a first for you?

Buffett, Gates Foundation, Bono’s RED and the Dakota Access Pipeline

How Bono’s RED Became the Color of Philanthrowashing Done Right for the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Raydiant Labyrinth

February 8, 2017

by Pamela Williams

 

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PART 1

Who’s Invested? Complicit Corruption Aiding and Abetting the Bakken Shale Boom (#bombtrains)

 

If you Google “phillips 66 DAPL investment” right now, -unless a new divestment announcement is resulting in an algorithm smackdown of the headlines as we speak, your search will turn up a mass majority of articles stating how President elect Donald Trump is (mainly was) invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through both Energy Transfer Partners LLC and Phillips 66, at a maximal of $1 million that was reduced to between $15 000 – $50 000 for the former (which Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks announced was divested of) and an investment which may maximally be a quarter million in the latter, Phillips66, which has not garnered any response of whether Trump divested or not. These reports give you confirmation that Phillips66 has a 25% stake in the Dakota Access Pipeline.  This is what Google’s search algorithms latch onto. In November, the other two majority stakeholders consolidated.

Trump’s investment is hailed of interest for its conflict of interest, and may rate as a calculated smackdown of Trump targeted at the environmental constituency, echo-chambered by the mainstream media to swamp searches on the subject in the last heat of the election. Google “Trump DAPL investor October 2016”. It hit then. Stories on this went so far back as May, 2016 (see Sources; they remain focussed on the subject to this day).

The next focus of aspersion and the sole focus for financial punishment designated by environmental groups and indigenous activists as the rightful target for a divestment campaign has been the banks funding the project, a campaign more or less launched by Food & Water Watch. What is interesting about this is that in terms of the banks loaning credit to the DAPL, not one of these banks exceeds an investment of $600 million.

 

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Hardly a murmur is heard on the media or inter-webs as per the billionaire investors in DAPL’s fruition, but Counterpunch made mention of Warren Buffett, invested in Phillips 66 at over $6.8 billion through Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, making Berkshire Hathaway the majority shareholder of Phillips 66 at 22%. (The second ranked investor, Vanguard Group, sits at 8%.) Phillips66 is Berkshire Hathaway’s 6th largest holding and 5th largest percent stake. Phillips66 is responsible for building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Perhaps even curiouser given Berkshire Hathaway is invested in the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline over a hundred times as much as any of these banks, it owns a host of subsidiaries, many of which are easily boycott-able by the general public, starting with Geico and Dairy Queen. Curiously, the most significant of Berkshire Hathaway’s “wholly owned subsidiaries”, which figures significantly in the scenario about to be laid before you of who’s been deep down and dirty in the Bakken, North Dakota, is not on that list. BNSF and its fracking holding company, Burlington Resources, figure prominently in this New York Times’ expose dated November, 2014. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) belongs to Berkshire Hathaway. At $44 billion it was the largest acquisition in Berkshire Hathaway’s history, which would be common knowledge to anyone in the NYT readership with a memory, but was a curiously omitted fact in the above expose on state corruption in the Bakken five years later.

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The expose delineates pay to play collusion involving the then current North Dakota Governor and state officials (the director of mineral resources) with the oil and gas industry with respects to mineral rights (i.e., fracking rights, helpful hint: mineral rights trump surface rights), which BNSF had originally owned through land it had been historically awarded including those rights. When they sold off surface tracts of land in North Dakota, they were not selling the mineral rights. Those rights “were managed by its energy company, Burlington Resources.” Burlington Resources was sold to Conoco Phillips for $36.5 billion. The NYT article does not provide the crucial purchase date, but this does (Feb. 1, 2006), so it was a Conoco Phillips entity when this corruption scandal transpired (by three years), a date of transaction curiously omitted by the NYT that was pretty essential for clarification. Incidentally Phillips 66 was created and spun off from this parent company in 2012, meaning Conoco Phillips investors received two Phillips 66 shares for every Conoco Phillips share they owned.
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Take it as a promise that these financials are being laid out to deliver the juice. The NYT expose had a Part 1, depicting how oil and gas resource industry was an old-school regulatory douche-nozzle we normally identify as structured unbridled corruption with ghastly spill rates, (precisely the sort of situation completely ripe for an explosive protest with the level of ineptitude just waiting to blow), accompanied by the above Part 2 pointing out the level of corruption that is legally structured into state governance around oil resources in North Dakota, as well as a history of connective issue informing us that these are more or less the same corporate players. The most salient point is that NYT would make no mention of Warren Buffett’s ownership of BNSF or lend any clarification with regards to its subsidiary, Burlington Resources although this would have indicated it avoided a direct conflict of interest on the part of the companies and himself. The basis for this became clear with the fact that NYT pointedly omitted on its description that the photograph of a charred skeleton of an train engine from a rail explosion outside of Casselton, ND, was a BNSF train. If you avoided the train was BNSF’s, the query of conflict of interest would not even arise at all for those who didn’t already know that. They certainly weren’t bringing up who owned it to those not in the know of their readership, and that was the priority.

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“On its website, BNSF reported that a westbound grain train with 112 cars derailed at about 2:10 p.m. Monday about one mile west of Casselton, hitting an eastbound 106-car train carrying crude oil on an adjacent track and causing it to derail, as well. An estimated 21 cars caught fire, some exploding and sending huge fireballs into the blue sky.” [Source] Photo Credit: Shawn Rode Photography

To give you some curious foreshadowing (think of if as appropriate visual and musical montage  for accompaniment) you can opt to interrupt this broadcast by taking note of how a shot of a BNSF train running through the southwest graces the opening credits of Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers”  (and reappears throughout). That won’t be a left field statement by the time this report is concluded; indeed the movie might almost seem peppered with the visual spice and splice of foreshadowing itself, were it not for the truth that the architects of human global imminent peril are not, and never have been, individual mass murderers. They’re the opposite. That aside, even the death toll (48 before Mickey and Mallory go to prison) will have a curious resonance (not to mention the 666 motif almost already does), so let’s get back to it.

NYT’s photo of the charred shell of an train engine whose company they wouldn’t name makes a picturesque omission that should have been worth a thousand words, or could have easily held the potential for a Part 3; -the trace remnant of a BNSF train that exploded near the governor’s birthplace of Casselton, ND (with such fierceness that the town had to be evacuated). In fact it was BNSF’s first Bakken oil train explosion, and it was truly spectacular. However these were not new. The first explosion of fracked product out of Bakken immolated the town center of Lac-Megantic along with 47 people. Homes were burned from the inside out while “fire erupted from water pipes, drains and sewers”:

“The Lac-Mégantic disaster generated an estimated $2 billion in liabilities with the cleanup alone projected at $200 million. The train’s operator, MM&A, a short line railroad transporting the crude from a Canadian Pacific (CP) yard to a refinery in New Brunswick, had just $25 million in liability insurance. Soon after the accident, MM&A filed for bankruptcy protection.” – Sightline Institute

 

While there was obvious negligence at fault (brakes not set properly on a single engineer run train at the top of a hill) and these problems increased, rather than decreased in Canada afterwards) -this was clearly not simply the problem as evidenced by the barest of timelines offered by Sightline, which marks the BNSF train at Casselton as the third such explosion. This is problematic as many actual explosions are treated as spills or derailments in the press, and additionally many accidents were omitted. Two reports have reached a consensus of 14 such headline accidents by multiple carriers, whereas Sightline lists eleven. In the instance of the Gogoma ON oil train fire mentioned by all three, that was in fact the fifth derailment in Ontario alone for that year (in less than three months) of just CN trains. There were more (of just CN trains for that period) in other provinces, actually seven additional derailments, five in Canadian provinces, and two more in the US.  This article on the second oil train accident/fire listed in Sightline’s timeline in Alabama mentions another one in Alberta. By the time of the Timmins ON derailment (and massive fire), that was the third such derailment in less than a month. Noteworthy incidents like two Wisconsin accidents two days in a row  and one in Buffalo don’t make the list. Neither do products other than crude oil, like a CN coal spill in Vancouver that took out a river Streamkeepers had been rehabilitating for salmon, due for its biggest run in 80 years , or a train carrying ‘liquid petroleum’ (propane) that caused the evacuation of hundreds in Tennessee.

Another fine example of this type of downplaying of events (though they mention 17 such derailments, 10 of them “terrifying”) is a far more recent piece of glaring headliner clickbait by Chicago Magazine that states the energy potential of a single oil rail car is the equivalent of ‘2 million sticks of dynamite’, a piece designed to at once to frighten and soothe the Chicago populace. Chicago was where Buffett was apparently behind forcing rail yard workers not to unionize for anything above minimum wage.

Chicago Magazine labeled this BNSF Casselton explosion (mushroom cloud is more like it) a collision. Initial reporting of this accident by eye-witnesses said this was between standing rail cars, and that a grain car tipped off its rails onto the adjacent oil train. For Chicago Magazine’s citation the Lynchburg derailment in Virginia was treated was as a spill into the river (with 50 000 gallons of crude oil ‘missing’  that endangered the drinking water supply), when it had an explosion from the derailment that sent ‘flames stories high’ and set the river on fire. Likewise, Sightline’s listing of the same accident treats the Lynchburg derailment as just that. The same watering down is apparent in Sightline’s ambiguity as per the second Bakken oil train fire in the timeline at Alliceville, Alabama which they dubbed “derailment and river contamination” when the accompanying blaze could not be approached for eighteen hours, was referred to as hundreds of feet tall and could be witnessed from ten miles away. Ignited Thursday, it was still burning on Saturday, and kept going. Ergo, by the time of the second major headline accident, it was already known that a simple derailment could engender massive combustion with large fires.

The third explosion in the rail accident chronology by BNSF outside of Casselton stands apart for one thing, it brought about a report by Truthout that all trains out of Bakken were being permitted to carry highly volatile VOC’s, alleged by non-corporate testing of the Bakken product to easily range between 30% and 40% of the product. (Casselton got the undivided attention of Mark Ruffalo.) Also, those in receivership of BNSF Bakken trains had to obtain “special conditions” permits, requiring them to “flare-off” the dangerous VOCs before barging them down a river, the Mississippi. This wasn’t your usual crude. (The article doesn’t even mention the obvious potential of residual methane, which in fracking operations was being flared off all the time.) The permit process showed that those in receivership knew the volatility as they were required to treat the product, which means so did the shippers. What was AWOL was Federal regulation of the product out of North Dakota, and this was because volatility equated with profitability, especially with respects to jet fuel.

At this threshold the salient point to be derived from the New York Times expose on the prior coexistence of BNSF and their spin-off Burlington Resources becomes very clear. BNSF had a subsidiary dealing in this product that was more than likely offloaded at the right time to prevent any conflict of interest being thrown into relief by a subsequent explosion, a situation that would would have surely made it liable, whereas after Casselton, Buffett was campaigning for the equivalent insurance exceptions as nuclear power plants, despite a record of 721 safety violations in North Dakota alone since 2006. After all, you cannot obtain such exemptions in the face of such a record when you can in no way have claimed ignorance after 47 people got immolated, which you could not when the same company that ships the product has an existing subsidiary fracking the product. By the point of purchase of BNSF, Buffett was in the clear of such a glaring direct conflict of interest. Nonetheless there is no way those responsible for shipping product out of Bakken could have been any more naive than those in receivership who were being regulated to treat the contents for volatility, and even if one could have laid claim to ignorance, after the second conflagration in Alabama, there was really no question anymore. Really there should have been no question after Lac-Megantic, but strike 3, you’re out. The BNSF Casselton explosion resulted in a nigh instantaneous safety classification alert by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Canadian pipeline corporations immediately followed suite. (Look at the photo caption. -Little late to protest the Keystone XL, -weren’t we?)

Yet rail companies continued to insist on not even upgrading their tanker cars, as well as one engineer per train after 47 dead, (which has met with consistent resistance). BNSF was spearheading continual lobbying efforts against safety regulation, -including against upgrading the braking system to ECP(electronically controlled pneumatic braking system), right up to the present day.

Buffett himself needed no more hints after Casselton, he diversified into a subsidiary pipeline company of Phillips 66 within 24 hours, whose specialty was “lubricating oil’s movement through pipelines, increasingly crucial for the industry to move both tar sands crude and oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) in an efficient manner.” At that point he was already invested in Phillips 66 to the tune of 27 million shares. This article cites shipment of Bakken crude by BNSF at “over 1 million barrels per day”. This move to formulation is pertinent if one were to consider the question of whether the mixture ratios for transport via pipelines would be dissimilar to the necessary need for viscosity to get the substance into individual train cars. With respects to the tar sands/diluent formulation, this would be especially likely since you are dealing with bitumen, literally sand granules individually coated in tar, where they’ve managed to get the guck off the sand granules. And the truth of the substance is that it was being cut 30% with “diluent” (out of Texas) to get it to even move through a pipeline. This logically constituted natural gas, combined with all those undisclosed chemicals that went into fracking the product. “Increased demand for diluent among Alberta’s tar sands producers has created a growing market for U.S. producers of natural gas liquids, particularly for fracked gas producers.”

This question of what amount of diluent would be needed to get the tar sands product in and out of individual rail cars was brought instantly to the fore by the fourth listed oil train accident, a CN train in New Brunswick. At the time of the fourth listed “derailment” in New Brunswick (by Sightline and the rest), Reuters was deceiving the public as to the train’s point of origin. (They literally claimed it was from Toronto, with a straight face. Oil does not come from Toronto.) It was later confirmed to have originated from “western Canada”. This vague imputation (which was about all you would find) was deliberately framed to avoid the determination whether it was tar sands with diluent or Bakken “crude”, as western Canada is home to both. CN callously refused to disclose to the shaken Canadian public the train’s point of origin at the time in order to avoid the nature of the contents, but after all, this was the same corporation that after Lac-Megantic “argued against an emergency provision that trains loaded with dangerous goods such as crude oil [which should be put in the requisite air quotes, as it was never dangerous before Bakken] never be left unattended.

Transport Canada was no help at all. They announced in 2013 that CN was failing to disclose “hundreds of derailments, accidents”, a discrepancy which began ten years after privatization in 2005. They were also classifying the safety exemptions they gave to rail carriers, (including and especially CN, who was still favored by laws that remained in on the books from when CN was Canada’s national rail company, -exercised to brutal effect), and were heftily to blame for the failures that led to Lac-Megantic. Before Lac-Megantic, the Bakken oil trains had been labeled with the wrong hazard class in Canada, one that gave no warning of their explosiveness. They were classified the same as regular crude.

While the New Brunswick rail fire has been clarified as three cars of propane and one of ‘crude’ (-that’s in the “Oregon Live” accident summary, we never got to know where it came from or what it constituted), –since the deliberate venting post fire involved three cars carrying “liquified petroleum”), it’s safe to conclude the three propane cars involved did not explode in the first place. Oh geez, lucky us. What a boom that would have been! Now you’re beginning to grasp why this accident was the subject of such cover-up. It was, given the product portfolio of “western Canada”, (and the nature of the burn), likely from the Athabasca tar sands and diluted bitumen (shortened in the parlance to ‘dilbit’), and not Bakken product involved in the conflagration. After all the cat was already out of the bag about Bakken, so why was this one hush-hush? Additionally this Global News article on the vent taking place points to the same venting technique having to happen at another Alberta oil train fire, which otherwise would not have made mention.

What is dilbit? This answer shows you how easy vague reportage on these explosions could be by describing different aspects of the product. It was in fact devilishly difficult to track and quite some time before reportage started declaring which oil train fires were diluted bitumen shipments. With the New Brunswick accident, no one was the wiser. Seattle fire chiefs were certainly alarmed by that point, an unavoidable consideration since Seattle had experienced a BNSF/Bakken “crude” derailment the July prior at only 5 mph. By the time of their communication of disclosure demands for the sake of safety by BNSF, “North Dakota [Bakken was] principally responsible for increasing domestic production from 5 million to 9 million barrels of oil a day.”

The dawning of this insight (the looming question of what was the diluent percentile of tar sands bitumen/diluent needed for sufficient viscosity to transfer “dilbit” in and out of rail cars and how volatile that might prove (as already indicated)) was made irrevocably clear in the accidents to follow. The article that cleared this one up is referring to the fifth oil by rail accident on Sightline’s timeline, the Timmins Ontario CN fire, which was dilbit (as was the ninth listed (CN) rail accident fire at Gogoma ON). In fact the volatility of tar sands with diluent, while not quite as explosive as Bakken product, was certainly as volatile and produced burns that lasted for days, -so volatile that it was just as explosion prone in the newly issued CPC-1232 tank cars brought in to replace the vulnerable DOT-111’s that weren’t designed for oil transport. (The BNSF oil by rail explosion at Galena ILalso involved safer rail cars upgraded for the purpose, showing these upgrades also did not solve the problem for Bakken shale product.)

Further complicating the issue, while there was always an interest in flaring off the additives that originated in the Bakken ‘crude’ (or they could be subject to pre-treatment if anyone cared), diluent was added to tar sands bitumen to make it in any way viable in the first place, and it was exploding in Ontario at minus 40 degrees Celcius. Not only was Buffett’s acquisition of stock in the Phillips 66 subsidiary, Phillips Specialty Products, pivotal, it already looked like they’d proven incapable of the job. It was either that or it was impossible to do the job safely. While the constraint to oil by rail was making money hand over fist for everyone involved, something had to give, and that give was to transition to pipeline. But that did not mean the abandonment of Buffett’s original strategy, either, which was to divert and attenuate the environmental climate movement and use them to prevent the Keystone XL and maximize the oil by rail profit boom.

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At this point it should be brought into the record that Bill Gates has the majority investment stake in CN (Canadian National Railway), and it is the Gates Foundation Trust portfolio’s third largest investment (it was second in 2015). His private investment is the maximal investment permitted under the rules of CN’s privatization. As a personal investment (after the 28,000% increase in oil by rail shipment out of Canada in only four years), it was Bill Gates’ second biggest milk cow after Microsoft in 2013, thanks to a 34% share increase that year.

 

PART 2

Opposing DAPL: Billionaires are Philanthropists because they’re DAPL investors (and much more)

 

Gates and Buffett both got into oil by rail nigh simultaneously, -after touring the Alberta (Athabasca) tar sands in 2008. (Cory Morningstar provides an invaluable timeline on this, though it doesn’t capture Bill Gates’ point of purchase until attaining majority control (they might have been one and the same). Her own online version of this is visually fab.) The tar sands tour article mentions that in 2006 Buffett was notably invested in Conoco Phillips, which means his hands weren’t entirely clean of what went down in North Dakota with the Burlington Resources subsidiary (owned by Conoco Phillips when BNSF sold it). The reason Bill Gates sought majority control of CN at all was in order to cash in on the 28 000% increase in oil by rail shipping out of Canada, driven in no small part by bitumen export to the United States, basically cashing in on the dirtiest oil cash cow on earth. That was the long game.

As a sideshow amusement (which for Canada wasn’t amusing at all), their tour host was a Canadian dilbit billionaire named Murray Edwards. He had the usual PR BJ from Forbes, and still appears listed by them as the 25th richest Canadian (he was 14th at the time he committed one of the worst bits of corporate environmental negligence Canada’s ever seen). Forbes makes no mention that the Albertan instantly engaged in tax flight from the province the moment the NDP party got elected to power, ending over 40 years of conservative rule furnished by the Alberta oil patch.

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Tl’abane Declaration, Kablona Keepers

As CEO of Imperial Metals, Edwards was responsible for the largest mine tailings spill to ever occur in Canadian history. Despite clear abrogation of safety regulations, Imperial metals ignored the Liberal (which should read ‘neoliberal’) provincial government’s warnings on the dam multiple times, (there was no reason to heed when they simultaneously made spine snapping allowances). The dam blew, and released “10.6 million cubic metres of water, 7.3 million cubic metres of tailings and 6.5 million cubic metres of ‘interstitial water’” into the pristine Quesnel Lake, which fed a tributary responsible for up to 25% of the Fraser River’s annual salmon run. The BC provincial Liberal government was simply giving themselves a paper trail to legally keep them out of liability should the inevitable consequence of such corporate negligence prove devastating, which it did. There were no consequences.

It should also be noted (as it has now caught the attention of the New York Times), that rules for election donations and political party funding in British Columbia (BC) might rival behavior in North Dakota (this is the same formula for all the resource hinterland extraction areas needed to fulfill the demands of the ultra-consumerist West). In particular among the Liberal Party’s biggest donors last election were Imperial Metals (after whence they had their massive mine tailings spill in Beautiful BC), and (wait for it, as this will sound off by article’s end like a gong) a foreign multinational shat out of Enron’s carcass named Kinder Morgan. Murray Edwards himself hosted a million dollar funding [election] campaign luncheon for the BC Liberals in Alberta:

“When British Columbia’s Liberal Premier, Christy Clark, was in danger of losing last spring’s election, Edwards helped sponsor a fundraiser in Calgary; he advised Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the controversial takeover last year of Nexen Inc. by China’s CNOOC Ltd. and on future foreign investment by state-owned enterprises; he was instrumental in clenching a deal with Jean Chretien in 2003 that limited the oil sands’ financial exposure to the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, he co-hosted a tour of the oil sands for Warren Buffett [together with Bill Gates], one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s top advisors who has since invested in oil sands producers Suncor Energy Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp.” – National Post

In light of the need for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline to furnish shipment of Alberta diluted bitumen to Vancouver’s ports (for export beyond, which newly elected Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau just granted them), this should be as incontrovertible in its logic as basic addition. When the price of “dilbit” is depressed, the product is being exported out of Vancouver by Kinder Morgan to California. As we of BC know all too well, California’s consumer demands are truly inexhaustible.

The year Bill Gates was raking in his peak oil by rail profits (2013) “just happened” to be the same year that US records showed that rail related oil spills were more frequent in that one year than had occurred in the four decades prior, (bear in mind CN transports in the US), -and accidents at CN’s newly acquired (and thereby privatized) BC Rail went up 21%. US rail clocked in 88 oil by rail accidents for 2013 while oil by rail in the US “increased by 423 percent between 2011 and 2012 and in 2013 had surpassed 400,000 rail carloads per year.” CN used backed to work legislation on its workers seven times, who were suffering from exhaustion and genuinely worried about safety. Rail on both sides of the border prioritized oil by rail to the point that grain transport was severely constrained. (Ranchers on Vancouver Island were three days away from having no grain for their cattle during a year with a 60% grain surplus, a boom crop that sat in silos.) It was so bad General Mills complained to the Federal Government of factory shutdowns due to lack of grain. And then fortunes began to shift. 2014 was the year Bill Gates’ CN basically graduated to being a gong show on rails (derailments soared 73% that year), but his profits pulled ahead of Buffett’s BNSF.

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I suppose you might be wondering why I’m inserting Bill Gates into the fray, but the answer’s obvious, as in herein lies the crux. It is Bill Gates who has succeeded in turning Bono’s philanthropic endeavors into pure philanthrowash of he and Buffett’s investments. After all, ONE was Gates’ brainchild as much or more than it was Bono’s. Bono’s ONE and RED are more or less Gates Foundation funded affairs, (with 81% of ONE’s budget dedicated purely to generating awareness). This obviously cuts both ways, i.e., in generating awareness for the funding target, it simultaneously generates a benevolent awareness about the funders. There are years when half ONE’s funding has been from Gates Foundation, and with ONE’s  $31.8 million dollar budget for 2014, -obviously Gates Foundation’s self-declared $135 million over the years to ONE is not insignificant. Gates Foundation’s beneficence to RED (that flagship of “consumer activism”) is not insignificant either. This was the Gates Foundation funding grant Bono rapturously announced out of Davos next to a grinning Gates on a snowy alpine slope for January, 2016 on RED’s Facebook home page.

Singer of Irish band U2, Bono (L) poses with Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum annual meeting on January 22, 2016 in Davos to mark the 10 years of (RED). Launched at Davos in 2006, (RED) has raised $350 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, impacting 60 million lives. / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Singer of Irish band U2, Bono (L) poses with Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum annual meeting on January 22, 2016 in Davos to mark the 10 years of (RED). FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

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Back in 2006 Buffett matched Gates Foundation’s funding 50%, to the tune of $30 billion -which he gives them incrementally in Berkshire Hathaway shares at a rate of 5% annually, -which brings us right back to the beginning financials I labored to show you, because that’s right, 54% of Gates Foundation portfolio is Berkshire Hathaway stock (2nd quarter, 2015). The second ranking in the portfolio, CN, is only 5.81%. (This puts Gates Foundation’s BH holding at 58% with CN as the third ranked investment for the third quarter, 2016.) This means in fact Bono’s RED and ONE were indirect but definite financial beneficiaries of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

 

Furthermore, Bill Gates has been sitting on Berkshire’s Hathaway’s Board of Directors since 2005. So it’s literally impossible he doesn’t know about the goings on with DAPL stakeholder Phillips 66, -he was there seven years before they even existed. It’s literally impossible that he has not decided upon the entire course of this DAPL investment, yet you’ve never heard of the connection. Furthermore, it should begin to dawn you that there cannot exist such two disparate sides to the same coin. They are inherently incompatible. You are either charitable or predatory. They are mutually exclusive. From a PR standpoint, now you know exactly why Bill Gates went all out this Christmas as Secret Santa on reddit.  He had something very big to hide, -that Warren Buffett’s beneficence in the way of Berkshire Hathaway shares meant over half of Gates Foundation’s portfolio was invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline via Phillips 66, making him a very big investor indeed (much bigger than Trump ever was), -and that given his directorship in the company, he not only was apprised of every detail, he was in charge. He had surely overseen the purchase and continually approved of it given he was on Berkshire Hathaway’s Board of Directors long enough to have overseen and approved the attainment of majority control of Phillips 66[6], thoughit had been Buffett’s acquisition all along,  -and definitely his favorite.

When it comes to Berkshire Hathaway, Bill Gates was still buying in as of December 2015.  (Coincidentally this was the month Congress lifted the 40 year ban on oil export out of the US.)

Phillips 66 was still Buffett’s big stake, even with #NoDAPL going on. (The protest began April, 2016.)
Seeing as North Dakota state’s corruption was at a level where his BNSF Bakken bomb trains were simply a matter of zero concern (Heimdal included, which again was the new generation rail cars), clearly there was no reason to worry. (Maybe it was that North Dakota knew it needed the Dakota Access Pipeline at any cost. All its spectacular rail accidents went eastward and the pipeline went south of Chicago.)

#Cringemas was one of RED’s promotional twitter hashtags for #shopathon December 2016 (the youtube online gamer portion), -a RED campaign that was matched by the Gates Foundation to the tune of $78 million.) While RED’s page for this bears no date, you can take it from me that this was announced in conjunction with RED’s Shopathon launched on December 1st, 2016. #Cringemas it is! –#Cringemas is arms lost to the 1%. Sophia Wolansky sure could have used Secret Santa’s help for her two years of reconstructive surgery; her father was trying to crowd fund it just before RED kicked off on Jimmy Kimmelwith their Gates Foundation matched #Shopathon funding drive. With his usual canniness, Bono launched RED’s spending drive on Jimmy Kimmel by resurrecting Mac Phisto (a play on Mephistopheles, meaning he came out as the Devil) for the first time since 1993 (when he actually was a bit dangerous). Mac Phisto entered the “REDtm Pack” little celebrity sing a long ditty “We’re Going to Hell” (with celebrities he’d managed to gull into the celebrity contest portion of RED’s promotion) with the opening line “welcome in to my cauldron of sin”. (The’s song title is, from a planetary perspective (if you know the Biblical mistranslation involved), literal.) This exact same promotion using meet celebrity contests you paid to play (you could throw the thing with entries of up to $25 000, which was commensurate to the number of entries you received) was launched last year. That announcement was made on U2’s official Facebook; -the brand-bleed crossover was officially begun, and officially offensive. Those celebrity stakes included a chance to bike ride with Bono, the promotion of which was through U2’s FB site. (U2’s FB announced the happy winner.) As of December 2015 they were now targeting U2 fans as the fundraiser, but last year’s was the first disclosure this was all being officially matched by Gates Foundation, as the entirety of RED’s funding drives had been for 2016. This time, you could meet the entire band and have them play for you exclusively.

Bill Gates surely would have known the #NoDAPL protest suppression was completely off the chain by the time of U2/RED’s 2016 Shopathon, just as it’s surely known Sophia’s never going to get a Secret Santa down her chimney. In fact the Guardian’s hit piece targeting Trump as an investor was timed to target the blame after the attack dogs had been deployed. Actually it was right on cue with when police and military moved on the Oceti Sakowin camp141 arrests followed.  The attack dogs were unleashed by private security, but they weren’t the ones who got kenneled. We got to find out who they were and that they weren’t licensed to work in North Dakota and were from out of state and may be criminally liable, but we never get to hear who hires them. The Guardian will only repeat Trump’s nigh bogus connection to the project.

However, in terms of modus operandi (if not involvement), BNSF was already using private police to perform arrests in Washington State at protest blockades and they were already being blockaded there by climate protests. The public was much more aware of the oil by rail issue than the media gave credit.

#NoDAPL would prove to be the rumble, and why would it not? It was the place and tribes who wiped Custer off the face of the earth Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, ground zero of the longest war in American history, in a manner of speaking. The strongest point of Native American resistance, against which a grudge was held ever since. In truth it was the Seven Fires Council who wiped out Custer. #NoDAPL was the first time in 150 years they reconvened (since 1867 –at 0:45) #NoDAPL was a treaty dispute over lands the tribes first relented to being confined to by the US in the Treaty of Fort Laramie, 1851. While the reservation tract is much smaller than that original territory agreement thanks to the second Treaty of 1868, they never surrendered hunting or fishing rights, nor water rights over the land reserved for them in the Treaty of Fort Laramie and the land is unceded meaning “owned by the Sioux, outside of the reservation.” “Almost the entire pipeline from the source to the river” the Treaty of 1868 defined as “unceded.”

This doesn’t quite gel with Obama’s statement that “the pipeline cuts too close to tribal lands in North Dakota.” It’s true the land is outside of the reservation. The Federal government tried to force the issue by giving them money for the land, which the Sioux refused. The Federal government is still sitting on over a billion dollars in trust for that land, that the Sioux still refuse, demanding to retain title. They never let it go. Despite their impoverishment, they never took the money. Obama fed the misapprehension about the Treaty deliberately. He did everything he possibly humanly could to kick the ball and the entire issue past his tenure in avoidance of the interests of his billionaire sponsors, to a president who would surely vet the DAPL, while the injuries, arrests and camp population mounted. He abandoned the issue to brute force by rumble. Of course he was going to vet the pipeline come hell or high water. He as well as anyone else could see where the bomb trains situation was headed.

The Army Corps of Engineers is involved only due to land expropriated from the tribe against their wishes to build the dam that created Lake Oahe. (The dam was just outside the reservation. The USACE expropriated the land inside the reservation to remove several native communities that would be submerged due to the flooding.) But the tribe accepted the monies offered by the Federal Government decades later for that incursion, so they no longer have a leg to stand on on that one.

The Black Snake is what Lakota people call the Dakota Access Pipeline. It will extinguish the world. For a people who have endured the end of their way of life so many times, who can doubt the truth of their vision, which coincides with scientific truth about the relationship of fossil fuels to catastrophic climate change?” – New York Times

In keeping with a rumble, police were brought in from seven states under an emergency assistance clause (for natural disasters) enacted under Bill Clinton. A security force named TigerSwan who collaborated with Blackwater and was a sub-contractor in the Iraq occupation was brought in to gather intelligence and oversee security. Private security forces brought the usual roster of agent provocateurs. Water cannons were used on 400 water protectors in freezing temperatures at night. Arrests exceeded 600. When 2000 veterans were set to arrive the day before eviction of the camp (set for December 5th), Army Corps of Engineers suddenly announced they were denying the easement through Lake Oahe.  (WP still couldn’t resist braying about Trump’s investment whenever they ran a piece.) It’s like the Army Corps switched sides. (As for the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) notice of intent the Tribe was waiting for, that was announced on January 18th.) Public input as to why an EIS was needed was being accepted until February 20th. But the the USACE reversed themselves again and declared, after Trump’s executive order, that they intend to grant the easement. The EIS is aborted the moment they do.

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Upon USACE’s denial of the Lake Oahe easement, Energy Transfer Partners LLC and Sunoco immediately issued a formal statement. In it they stated they were still “fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.” Phillips 66, the 25% stakeholder, was notably absent. For some reason they were evading publicity, or putting their stamp on any response, even though they were players.

The entire #NoDAPL protest was (and is) a win-win for Buffett. It delays the pipeline sufficiently long enough to keep boosting his flagging oil by rail shipment, but even if the Standing Rock protestors win their re-route (which was about all you could hope for with the pipeline over 90% complete), he is still going to profit from the pipeline regardless, a pipeline he was forced to diversify into because oil by rail has proven so manifestly unsafe. Even Buffett can register a mushroom cloud for what it means.

This is the world we live in. Callous corporate indifference (structured into governance as we now know with the entire State of North Dakota, with their mighty and brutal enforcement) is compensated for by the appearance of DAPL investor Bill Gates acting as random reddit Secret Santa, though the general public has no clue they bear any relation. That’s the point. They are only supposed to be aware of Secret Santa. Gates himself knew though. In much the same manner the billionaire class purported to be of conscience ‘compensate’ for profiting off global depredation of the planet by funding philanthropic foundations utterly hamstrung by the implementation of their benefactor’s ideology, the PR equivalent is Secret Santa. In the same manner and same respects, philanthropy can never and in no way compensates for planetary depredation. We are dealing with two of the eight richest men on the planet, who possess the same amount of wealth as the lower half of human kind. Think then on what that means if we calculated each of these individuals’ true ecological human footprint, which certainly provides an indicator that all it not well. (According to this critique, our collective human footprint would be worse than 1.5 earths, and it’s all down to deforestation and carbon.) We are dealing with the existential apex of individualism, the very essence of what we’ve internalized so much we can’t break away from it, the very nature of “Consumer Hell”. Is there any compensation this precious minority of eight can provide to the 50% of the human race that somehow or in any way compensates for their acquisition, unique to all of human history and more serious to the planet than it’s ever been when we’re dealing with the specter of catastrophic climate change? No, they could never come close. In short, you can’t save Africa when you’re invested in cooking Africa, i.e., sunk bigger than practically anyone into the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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According to this latest figure, Gates Foundation was invested in Berkshire Hathaway at $10.74 billion.  Buffett’s sunk Berkshire Hathaway over $6.8 billion into the Dakota Access Pipeline. 15.77% of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio has majority control of Phillips 66 (22%). That’s the equivalent of a $1.69 billion investment in Phillips 66 on the part of the Gates Foundation. The entire climate movement (it doesn’t merit the term ‘protest’) had you chasing after a list of parties (who were loaning/financing the pipeline, not investors) at under the under $600 million mark, down to a paltry $30 million. You wanna Boycott? GOOD. You start with Warren Buffett. And you wallop those philanthropies with a  good ol’ counter awareness campaign, -especially the ones where that’s all they’re good at in the first place. YOU BLOODY PRIORITIZE according to THE BLEEDING MATHs. The Guardian/350.org/tcktcktck consortium of climate “activism” (which doesn’t merit the term resistance), -their “keep it in the ground” campaign’s entire focus was the $722 million Gates Foundation had invested in fossil fuel corporations, one tar sands operation included.

 

PART 3

Image VS. Reality: -Plus What’s Wrong with the DAPL 

 

Fifty years of tailings mismanagement in Alberta: How did we get here, and where are we headed? – The Pembina Institute

What is it to be invested in the tar sands boom, even in the more tertiary form of capitalizing on its shipment? The tar sands’ other output is over 176 km of open toxic tailing ponds  that are death to migratory birds, will be death of the Athabasca River they sit next to the moment we have a sufficient flash flood  (as they are now providing slow death by seepage since there is no impermeable shield between the toxic ponds and the soil), and provide death to the people living there. I suppose you didn’t know this is all sitting on the Athabasca River, which is a tributary of the 2nd largest watershed basin in NA next to the Mississippi, -the Mackenzie. -Good one! The Federal Government of Canada knows all of this, and has deemed it to be in our best interest. -Whose interest, precisely? Surely not Fort McMurray’s, the tar sands boom town where you can make over $100 000 grand per annum with a high school diploma. It just went up in flames last spring (the wildfire precluded the official start of fire season by starting in May) due to the brand new climatologically induced raging wildfire regime consuming the North. This one was of such severity it was dubbed ‘“The Beast”. It was the largest fire driven evacuation in Alberta’s history. It generated its own super cells, winds and created its own lightning. It leapt the Athabasca River and was clocked moving at 30 to 40 meters per second, reaching temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celcius. It consumed nearly 600 000 Ha and made it into Saskatchewan. It now lies smoldering underground in the peat, waiting to resurrect this spring. -That’s a real problem with northern fires. -Ask Alaska.

Welcome to the dilbit/frack billionaires’ not so invisible, off-set costs (visible from space) that are absorbed by society and the environment at large. These are the self-same billionaires who regard divestment from fossil fuels as a “false solution”.  (He’s right but for the opposite reason, it’s the very least of what should be done. Face it, no one who sinks themselves into rail just because of the tar sands/shale boom is going to think divestment is the solution! Get Real!)

The Gates Foundation has a history of responding to public pressure, while simultaneously not admitting they are responding to public pressure.” -It took protests outside their Seattle office every day (for months), a petition signed by over 300 000 as part of The Guardian’s “keep it in the ground” campaign; (which took no notice of CN, or whether Gates might be otherwise privately invested, in which case the Gates Foundation divesting might simply have been a PR exercise). Gates eventually listened (not 100%, but kudos for divesting from the big one: Exxon at $662 million). Honestly given the fall out of events and when in the timeline protests would have even had to be engaged in on the DAPL to even be effectual from a climactic standpoint (when instead we ended up in this brutal confrontational mess because these investors (not to mention the corrupt state of North Dakota) were treated with total kid gloves all this time), what good did the climate movement do -? They missed Gates Foundation’s biggest/worst investment by a mile (the DAPL), literally until there was no chance of stopping it. You’d think if tcktcktck was serious about their divestment campaign launched at the Gates Foundation, they could have landed on a lightning rod of an issue like #NoDAPL. It had all the right stuff from a PR perspective. How on earth if this is your campaign do you miss this? Oh, wait

How can Bill McKibben even claim he’s serious about this?! Oh, wait

Ha-ha-ha!

Are you seriously going to tell me that not one of these campaigns, focused on precisely the investor issue, -when it involved one of the most headline grabbing protests we’ve seen in years, (forget the somnolent the media, the Gates Foundation funds The Guardian’s Global Initiative page), simply didn’t notice who the investor was? All those announcements were going on that Buffett was investing hand over fist in Phillips66 the entire period. They were all over the financial news. Everyone knew he bankrolled Gates Foundation by half. If the environmental groups coordinating the climate divestment campaigns are this incompetent at their calling, we might as well all go bury ourselves right now. It’s no wonder Bill Gates responded by telling them how redundant their divestment campaign is if they can’t even follow the money. Big Hint: They’d missed the oil by rail boom to begin with. It showed they weren’t serious, in just the same manner none of us are serious enough about our habits of consumption. They weren’t by design.

The fact that all of the above was going on and you never heard of the connection; -you heard plenty about Bono and the benevolence exacted by ONE and RED and their benefactors, should be enough for you to register how philanthrowashing works on behalf of the benefactors more than those they’re benefitting. If not, watch and learn, -because I am going to show you how this works with the transition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. You should recognize that the entire transpiration above was effectively philanthro-washed by Bono’s philanthropic endeavors already, because those philanthropic efforts being bankrolled by the above billionaires are what you heard about, -not the sordid actions of their investments that were bankrolling those endeavors. That’s what human “superbrands” like Bono are for.  Philanthro-washing is for providing a subtext of sanctity and doing good so impervious that the entire host of media will simply self censor as they’re simply overwhelmed in the face of your good image. They find it unassailable. Who on earth is willing to jeopardize their career in order to be such a churl as to challenge the most generous and charitable billionaire on earth?

However, that is not simply what is going on in the philanthropic endeavor of Mr. Gates, who is literally curating the image of the Gates Foundation through coordinated funding that works as a stranglehold preserving self-censorship within the most laudatory founts of what we consider the liberal/left media.  Read the list of Media Partners, “New York Times, NPR, the Guardian, NBC, Seattle Times and a number of other news organizations, non-profit groups and foundations. Not all were grant recipients, or partners. Some just came to consult.” It goes without saying this is ripe for investigative reportage, and I’m sure this is not happening because it is, outside of those favored, decidedly opaque. That it will never happen among those with access goes without saying. I’d like to know who everyone is on that list and what their basis for invitation is myself. (It also indicates that if Trump’s defunding plan succeeds, NPR will likely be in the Gates Foundation’s pocket. Let the partisan media wars begin, -except that Obama thought it perfectly fine to create a Federal propaganda division and hand it off to Trump after he won.)

Voila, there’s the New York Times at the top of the list! This self censorship (after all, you don’t get any Gates Foundation funding if you say anything negative about Gates Foundation or their sponsor) protected Buffett and kept them from touching the bomb trains when NYT did their two part expose on the Bakken and North Dakota state corruption, which has already been demonstrated to extend the bomb trains themselves.The point is the New York Times wouldn’t investigate or touch it, even though the incautious shipping and total absence of regulation on what was effectively a new hazardous substance (they left Canada none the wiser about) resulted in 47 dead. New York Times’ censorship is so strong on the matter that you can’t post a comment pertaining to the bomb trains that mentions either Gates or Buffett by name. I know because I tried, and I tried the same reply to a second individual without their names immediately after it did not work (three times). Without their names, the same text and links posted.

Now it is true that North Dakota State avoids direct culpability for the bomb trains since regulation of rail shipment is a federal concern (they could have petitioned the Feds, of course), but there’s no evasion possible on DAPL’s enforcement, –isn’t it lovely? -Incidentally, here’s a lovely 25 point chart of everything wrong with DAPL’s construction plan under Lake Oahe as stands by an engineer with a life time career in the business listing the flaws in the original Environmental Assessment (EA) in order to ram through DAPL’s permission. (His name is Steve Martin. His full report on behalf of the tribe fighting the DAPL in court has just been released.) A full Environmental Impact Study was avoided by the DAPL consortium making their applications for the pipeline piecemeal. They did this deliberately to avoid the much more stringent Environmental Impact Study (EIS, -called elsewhere “Environmental Impact Statement”). This is something North Dakota State could have easily called them on, demanding an EIS be done. Steve Martin has more to say about what’s wrong with the DAPL, in the main pointing out how much more the installation of an underground pipeline is compounded by the length under a water body, and safer relative to the distance being shorter, and how this hampers detection systems for leaks. When they’re allowing much worse projects by Phillips 66 to fly (the pipeline under Lake Sakakawea that endangers the drinking water of several North Dakota cities; Steve Martin has plenty more to say about the design flaws and danger on this -namely when longer HDD tunnels are done, there is no protection of the pipe possible in construction (i.e., casing), plus the danger of hydrofracture increases during installation relative to length) -if North Dakota State is granting permission on pipelines like these, it’s not like they care. No one cared about the Phillips 66 pipeline under Lake Sacagawea (Native spelling) in North Dakota, which has already been whistle blown for shoddy construction. Once it’s under, it’s done. There’s no going back. This pipeline is set to service a rail terminal for BNSF trains, so you never heard of it. The Natives didn’t protest that one. They bought in. (In keeping with our touchstone, consider that your real Route 66[6].)

You can ask a large margin of those who voted for Trump about how and why this could have happened. They were revolted and disgusted by the collusion that went into making Buffett and Gates rail barons that could corner oil shipment into oil by rail using the Keystone protest, bomb trains and all. To them it’s just an adjunct conspiracy to their climate change denial, because pipelines were better (the truth is pipelines also have serious problems with the highly corrosive nature of dilbit). On the Republican side, the rail monopolization of oil transport by the Democrats’ favorite billionaires is broadly public knowledge. The billionaire cronyism relationship on exhibit between Buffett and the ruling Democratic Party, Obama, and Hillary Clinton was a factor in their loss.  And they were right on that count.

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The philanthrowash effort in Buffett’s hands is also a lucrative greenwash; it included the protracted foundation funding by Buffett through Novo and Tides Foundation to manufacture the 350.org movement  in order to attenuate and direct the environmental movement towards the Keystone pipeline because that would secure his and Gates’ oil by rail profits. There is also a decidedly partisan connection between Buffett and Bill McKibben, and Bono as well. Between them is the confluence of the neoliberal. Neoliberal is an epithet to me because this is what they are. These are the crimes committed on their watch. They are partisan first, and that means they are not environmental, in fact all ideological cause is subborned to that of the market, and the market’s main driver in America, -making war. This makes them the very opposite of their purported causes, the covert sanction of everything rejected by the Left hiding under the skirt of identity politics.

OK, so in case you’re just too lazy to hop links or too busy read a five part series, in a nutshell McKibben’s 350.org is tied directly to Buffett through his Novo Foundation’s funding of the Tides Foundation, which funds 350.org. Which is bloody brilliant, because it channeled all climate activism to the Keystone XL (when it was already too late to protest that one’s completion as well), which should have aroused the question “Who benefits?” It sure explains a lot at any rate. Like how you could magically de-prioritize the investor who’s into the DAPL for $6.8 freaking billion as unmentionable and invisible. I’m sure the fact that, after all, he’s the one giving you the money surely helps. The #NoDAPL protest marks the second time Bill McKibben’s coordination or involvement with a pipeline protest has directly benefitted Buffett’s economic interests.

Here, asked point blank by Amy Goodman where Hillary Clinton stood on the DAPL, he actually declared “One has no idea.” He also remained true to the formula of mentioning only one of the corporations with a stake in the DAPL (albeit the majority one) -Energy Transfer Partners LLC. But that keeps anyone from landing on Phillips 66’s connection to Warren Buffett in an inter-webs search, -that is if they aren’t drowned by Trump articles in the attempt anyhow. McKibben’s main function in this regard is to insure the water gets deep enough you’ll never touch bottom. Anyone remotely aware of Buffett stumping for Hillary on the campaign trail (or any of the above) should have fallen on the floor laughing at McKibben’s reply to Amy. Really, you kill me. When Clinton finally managed a tepid statement on the DAPL, -a statement that had been literally forced from her by a #NoDAPL protest at her campaign headquarters which she steadfastly ignored, not even accepting a letter, McKibben finally managed to bark a single tweet. McKibben did not even bother with repudiation he should have been well capable of, namely her affiliation and donor support from one of DAPL’s biggest investors, who had been Obama’s biggest individual donor for his 2012 election campaign. Buffett “approves of Trump’s cabinet ‘overwhelmingly’”, by the way.

Between them (Buffett, Gates, and their Bono AIDs charity charm offensive on the one hand, with Bill McKibben flying wingman one the other), it’s no damn wonder you’ve never heard a damn thing about this. Cory Morningstar has provided in depth coverage of Buffett and the “Democrat” (neoliberal) administration’s attenuation of the environmental climate movement. I am going to provide you with some indicator of how Bill Gates turning the media into media partners effectively helped silence the press on their connections to the Dakota Access Pipeline, maybe even to the extent of actively thrusting Trump into the position of drowning the search algorithms to the point you’d never, ever find out just who had control of Phillips 66. Omission in the press means the general public never lights upon the terms to search for. The thrust of the Trump story, and story it was given the relative scale of the investments, was designed to insure what terms were searched and what terms weren’t. Furthermore, Buffett’s foundation funding insures that not only the media are in collusion downplaying the #NoDAPL protest thanks to participating as Gates Foundation “Media Partners” (this in addition to completely avoiding the perpetrators they are protesting), -it is, through its funding control of environmental groups, actually shown to be damaging to the climate change resistance movement (see the above wrongkindofgreen urls, but I’m going to pull some explicit examples for you of how this is attenuated in the press), and most especially damaging to the indigenous resistance movement.

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This is highlighted by the spectrum of Bill McKibben’s public interviews on #NoDAPL, especially with The Guardian, who launched the Trump DAPL investment story in the final election heat of 2016, after Trump had already divested. They did this after Washington Post already had gone on record showing this just three days before. The Guardian performed this fake expose that was echo-chambered around the entire leftist media in the last heat of the election (and still is). Just keep reminding yourself, the Gates Foundation is responsible for funding The Guardian’s Global Initiative section.

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Then I’m going to show that while Bono may have easily been unaware about this entire business about the bomb trains and the DAPL investment, (which he could and should have known), he’s certainly over a barrel, because it’s fairly demonstrative that RED is, as per the very nature of “consumer activism” a philanthro-washing outfit, and it doesn’t take too much to show you.

 

PART 4

RED is a Philanthro-washing Operation, -Plus Everything Bill McKibben Insured You Did Not Know

 

So what makes RED a philanthrowasing outfit? Let’s begin with the declaration from RED’s official site that a percentile of all corporation affiliated RED products you buy go directly to the Global Fund (all of it -RED claims this can be up to 50% of a purchase, but this is effectively not disclosed), -and 50% percent of those sales revenues go to fight AIDS, and that over its course RED has managed to raise $365 million in this manner. This is a report that was attempted on how that all worked in 2009, when the monies raised by RED stood at $135 million. The monies the corporations claimed as going to the RED cause were simply sequestered from their pre-existing marketing budgets. It short for them the RED cause was a marketing campaign based on human lives; granting them life was really their PR promotion for themselves. These corporations would not disclose the amount of sales that were apportioned to RED. Rather than just contributing to the cause directly themselves by donating, they commandeered witless consumers to spend on their product to do it, while adding a small cut. This is called consumer activism.

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Let’s consider Apple, who is hailed in the afore-referenced link announcing RED’s funding January 2016 as a “founding partner” who has since raised $110 million for the cause. Apple is one of the biggest tax evaders on the planet, along with Microsoft, and most of the Silicon Valley corporations sitting here at Trump’s table. (This includes Facebook, who Bono was an invitation only investor of before the stock opened to the public (it made him a mint); -incidentally Facebook’s lead independent Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the Gates Foundation.) They have collectively managed to evade US taxes to the tune of $560 billion. A not insignificant number of these (including Google and Facebook) are based out of Ireland expressly for the purpose of evading taxes in the EU. In fact it was Apple who was penalized for this just recently with the largest settlement the EU has ever exacted for tax evasion, and they were ordered to give Ireland restitution to the tune of $13 billion with interest (which put it over $14 billion). According to the press release on the penalty, Apple’s exclusive Irish tax rate steadily declined from 1% to 0.5%, -coinciding rather remarkably with the period that U2 were shilling expensive, exclusive Apple iPods with their entire song catalogue on them. (With countrymen like this, who needs enemies?)

I’m not sure whether this qualifies the band as uncultured, uneducated, social media Luddites, or just plain naive at this point, so I’ll just stick with my true epithet, as it looks like we’ve found what Bono truly believes in, which is philanthro-washing tax evaders at fractions of pennies to the dollar giving them wonderful RED PR out of their already allocated marketing budget to drape themselves in the red cloak of sanctity of charitable life giving operations, while getting consumers to foot most of the bill, which serves to increase their total sales revenue (win-win-win as PR coup), -whilst simultaneously utterly reneging on social contract with tax evasion that is wholesale divestment of society of astronomical amounts of revenue (not just of nations but entire continents) that would otherwise provide for the population they still manage to convince to spend money on them, by making them feel all warm and fuzzy about themselves because they chose this purchase for RED in order to save lives. That divestiture is in the billions to one, and these corporations have decided where their substituted penny tokenism goes, not governance, and not society. Bono hails this as consumer activism, when it’s really just the targeted exploitation of human conscience in a deliberate displacement designed to maintain corporate total divestment of the consumers themselves. Of course, Apple is one of Warren Buffett’s high dividend stocks. And of course, it looks like Apple will get their US tax break, -from Trump.

I think you can see where this is going, so let’s return our attention to Bill McKibben.

McKibben struck next with a “thought piece” on Grist, apparently designed to develop empathy towards the Native American resistance that created the #NoDAPL protest, as well attempting to ground it in a sense of history, titled “After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native Americans”. He goes onto to instruct the general public to Google “Wounded Knee”, “Custer”, “Washita River”, and “Pine Ridge.” While I’m sure the general public needs an overview, only Custer was directly pertinent to the #NoDAPL location in North Dakota, having suffered the defeat of The Battle of Little Bighorn of 1876 on the bank of the Greasy Grass River (-tributary of the Missouri River, -even rock band the The Black Crowes know the name of this river for this reason, which has since been reduced to Greasy Creek). And if Bill Mckibben was advocating for empathic awareness and unity with the natives on this issue, you would think instead of mentioning the white man involved, he could have had the grace or knowledge to mention who some of the Native historic actors in this defeat were, namely Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. (Canadian musician Neil Young knows who Crazy Horse is.) This helps evade what this confrontation is rooted in, which is Native American warrior culture. This is not rooted in the civil disobedience pacifism defining the civil rights movement. However it may define itself now, it’s an entirely different resistance movement, definitely rooted in something else, and the defeat of Custer was their greatest victory.

standing-rock

Wounded Knee took place in South Dakota. The Washita River massacre took place in Oklahoma. The Pine Ridge Reservation is in South Dakota, and while it brings up the Treaty of Fort Laramie, you’d be left with no clue at all THAT THIS IS THE TREATY AT ISSUE in the #NoDAPL protest. It is no disservice to reference all this, not at all. The problem is that in allying yourself with a particular Native American cause, you should be aware of its existing roots, and if you’re not providing and sharing that awareness, you’ve defeated the cause by failing to equip the general public to be able to inform themselves of what this contest actually is by exercising their own judgment. If you are aware of these existing roots already (as he well should be in this context), this amounts to a failure in disclosure, a vital one, because it leaves the public ultimately and completely uninformed on this issue that caused this Native American confrontation with North Dakota State at this location in the here and now. There is no mention and no reference whatsoever to the Great Sioux Reservation in North Dakota where this is all taking place, when everyone could have really, really used a map right about now. This from a “Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, and a founder of 350.org. He is a member of Grist’s board of directors.” -How nice. As a director, he could have laid out anything he wanted to. He didn’t even mention the Treaty.

-How come a Canadian, Cory Morningstar, is left to provide the history of the Treaty(ies), provide the maps of the existing reservation and the land allocated by the Treaty of Fort Laramie? -How come we know better than you? It’s not a question of superior knowledge, it’s that in devising a statement apparently designed for the public to develop empathy with the Natives, he wasn’t even grounded enough to focus on the background and history of #NoDAPL itself. Which would be a fairly slight slight, -apart from the fact that it left the general public he was purportedly informing completely without compass or reference point, and yet, paradoxically, if they’d followed McKibben’s instructions, feeling completely grounded in what was in fact a total evasion of the issue at hand. Amazing, what?

The implications of this piece are much worse. It takes a Cory Morningstar to not only give you the history, but name all the tribes involved and ground you in the financials of the here and now (as her piece does, Buffett included), including again a realm of scam and fraud over leasing rights to frack, directing you to the frack boom in Fort Berthold Reservation and the Lake Sacagawea (Sakakawea) pipeline. It remains to her to delineate the entire scope of oil and gas (and nuclear) development presently going on in the Bakken, and who benefits, -the sponsor of 350.org twice removed that Bill McKibben will never reference. But worse yet, what is truly astounding about McKibben’s total omission of this pivotal investor behind the DAPL, is that this isn’t, given his massive array of investments, the first time Buffett has targeted a Native American tribe over a Treaty issue for fossil fuel development, or was met with the resistance of several tribes. In particular, Buffett was going head to head with the Lummi Nation in Washington State over the development of a coal port at Cherry Point. Once again it remains to Cory Morningstar to set you straight. This fight also got dirty, with “Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad are now laundering funds through the Washington Republican Party to donate to pro-coal candidates for Whatcom County Council.” -Oh. You don’t say.

If Bill McKibben was onside with the Native American cause, he’d bloody mention the opposition, as well as knowing who and what they’re up against elsewhere. It’s not like a new coal port (Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT), for export to China) is an unsuitable point of resistance for the climate movement.

This might be considered a mis-step unless it were patterned behavior, which was indicated when he provided an ultimate capitulation of sorts by way of The Guardian while touting the victory at Standing Rock when USACE denied the last needed easement for completion the DAPL. What’s truly astonishing about this one is that while he touts the alliance of 200 tribal nations that came together and made the #NoDAPL protest win this unprecedented battle, he then doesn’t mention the most significant bi-national tribal alliance that developed in tandem with this resistance, even though he asserts that in the near future, they’re going to be responsible for “Standing Rock North” around two tar sands pipelines in Canada he doesn’t bother to specify at all, namely the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Energy East. If you’re participating in climate resistance, you sure as hell be specific as to the next points of resistance where public participation will prove needful. Indeed one of these, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline had already been the site of multiple arrests at Burnaby Mountain. This is again a catastrophic failure to convey information to the general public, information he is not remiss about. As for the “Canada First Nations” organization he said would be behind the protest but didn’t even bother to name, he himself had retweeted them, knew they were the Treaty Alliance (against the Tar Sands), but here he was not only evading their name but the fact that he knew they had a homepage. This prevented the general public from Googling both the Native center of the pipeline resistance and the prospective pipelines involved. This was particularly true with respects to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly approved less than one week before, so it just had hit the media fan, and both Canada’s environmental and indigenous movements were up in arms. But unless they were already this well informed about Canada, The Guardian’s readership were rendered incapable of putting 2 + 2 together thanks to McKibben. Talk about dropping the ball.

When Canada’s Prime Minister was asked whether he was willing to arrest tribal elders (which is sure to happen), Justin Trudeau’s reply was Canada was a nation under “the rule of law” (15:50). No one in the Liberal government would rebut “a pledge made [two days after Trudeau’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline] by federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to use Canada’s military to deal with ‘non-peaceful’ anti-pipeline protests” inveighing the government would willingly militarily enforce the Trans Mountain pipeline’s construction against Canada’s First Nations people for the sake of a foreign multinational, Kinder Morgan. (Trudeau’s father is the only Prime Minister to invoke the War Measures Act (basically martial law) outside war time, dubbed the “October Crisis”.)

Given the mass arrests to prevent the logging of virgin coastal temperate rainforest that occurred on the BC coast in the past (namely Clayoquot Sound, the largest civil disobedience action mass arrest site in Canadian history at well over 800 people, -at a site that was pretty inaccessibly remote, yet managed to become a standing camp of over 5000 people, which is really saying something for a nation with a similar population size to California, where the vast majority of those arrested under what were arbitrarily made criminal charges were BC residents), -given the way the people of BC are willing to put themselves on the line for the environment, resistance to the Trans Mountain on the west coast in Canada’s third largest urban center could end up making Standing Rock look small. It may also well prove the biggest challenge the Treaty Alliance has to face. Bill McKibben found neither worth mentioning by name.

McKibben’s gloss over article in The Guardian also meant no one knew how unprecedented the Treaty Alliance is, and was deliberately misleading as to the fact that it is a bi-national alliance that has since expanded to include over 120 Native tribes in both the US and Canada, -not to mention that they all co-signed a Treaty to do it. It has the strength of an actual Treaty between this number of tribes. In all probability McKibben was averse to making any reference to a movement that wasn’t just against a pipeline here or a pipeline there, but had been co-signed to curtail any and all tar sands development, which is again aversion on Bill McKibben’s part to any climate resistance action that’s really real. And again, he avoided framing the confrontation in terms of the real opposition (namely the investors) completely by framing the opposition solely in terms of Trump.

Getting the general public to participate on effectively stopping the DAPL was worth one tweet;  the Women’s March was worth over ten times as much to Bill McKibben. He couldn’t even issue a statement as to what the implication of finally obtaining the EIS declaration of intention meant and what you as a citizen could now do to legally oppose the DAPL. That pivotal discussion was left to YES Magazine.

-I think we’re done now. Let’s finish roasting Bono. Where the eye gazes, it burns; fire is all it sees.

Let’s start with one of RED’s seminal partners (that’s a cool $10 million from them right there ) – Bank of America. Bank of America is indelibly imprinted with the slogan “Too Crooked to Fail”. $10 million seems incredibly generous. $8 million of this was a grant outright, and $2 million was a match fund that would depend on how many people chose to download U2’s “Invisible” song for free in the first 24 hours it launched. (Someone b****-slapped @BofA on twitter about how there should be no $2 million funding cap on this drive; they removed the cap and the result was they ended up matching the drive based on total downloads for a cool $3.1 Mil.)

When you realize that this was launched for the Superbowl and a Superbowl slot would have cost them $4 million for a 30 second commercial slot, and U2 gave them a 4 plus minute slot launched during the Superbowl of impeccable marketing with their name on it for the cause of saving lives, surely, given their patronage was about the equivalent of purchasing papal indulgences in real lives, -surely it was the least they could have done! At that point it just becomes good marketing for Bank of America, which God knows they needed at that moment, after all, this is what they’d done to America. Nor were they going to pay for it, at least not to those they really hurt. Millions of American homeowners got shafted.

The point was, this settlement had just been announced for Bank of America in January. The philanthrowash could not have proven more timely. And compared to how they’d screwed over mortgage securities and compared to the fines levied on them for their crimes, the image makeover RED provided was practically nothing. The settlement for the millions of homeowners they’d destroyed was still in process, and God knows they needed to look charitable before that one came down the pipes. At the going rate, had they purchased the best PR money could buy in the attempt to redress their image on Superbowl Sunday, RED probably cost them less. This is not to impinge on RED’s good deed. Rather it’s pointing out just how little of a good deed it is for a very bad corporation.

This Christmas Season Bank of America helped paint New York Times Square REDtm. This year, Bank of America are subject to the boycott campaign to divest of the banks loaning credit for the Dakota Access Pipeline. They’re in for $350 million.

-It so happens if you look at the list of the seven largest tax evaders in Europe, four of these appear on RED’s corporate partner list in this 2009 article. And that’s not looking into the matter with any scrutiny. One of them likes stripping the Boreal to the tune of 4 billion disposable paper cups annually (as if that’s “normal”).

Yet even Bono managed to outdo himself, by getting named Glamour’s “Woman of the Year” precisely for becoming this sort of paragon of “consumer activism”.

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He literally hijacked feminism and made it #brandfeminism, -merely an adjunct to the philanthrowash of his billionaire benefactors and a philanthrowash the Dakota Access Pipeline, and all of #NoDAPL’s brutality, against womenLots of WomenLots and lots of them. We stand with Sophia.  We stand with the women of Standing Rock.

While all these women were being brutalized and Bono was simultaneously receiving his “Woman of the Year” award for successfully performing the philanthrowash of those whose investment was being enforced by this brutality, the whole U2 band put themselves forward as a contest reward where you could meet them this year’s Shopathon, funding matched by Dakota Access Pipeline investor Gates Foundation. Post holiday binge and post Trump, The Edge made a point of performing at the #WomensMarch with Julliette Lewis (who played Mallory in “Natural Born Killers”). It’s like the hijacking of authenticity and resistance is never going to stop. Julliette Lewis sang “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, which no doubt under the existing cirumstances would have been enough to have MLK rolling in his grave.

I wanted to double over and vomit. I wanted to double over and vomit when Lac-Megantic burned alive; I was writing this essay before that happened. Bono’s succeeded in insuring the feeling’s never left.

On January 27th, 2017, it was announced that Gates Foundation declared an intention to “Sell Almost $10 Billion Worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares” (intention does not necessarily mean they will follow through). Wow. Now you know I was right on my numbers, Gr. 5 maths. In fact it appears they’ve been divesting steadily as of September (that’s the latest available update period in share transactions on this page, and the above announcement chronicles the same thing happening as of November). It was even going on as far back as March.

Someone must’ve said ‘Boo’.

“The Gates Foundation has a history of responding to public pressure, while simultaneously not admitting they are responding to public pressure.”

A little late, mate. I think the fact it happened at all means a bill is still due.

So’s RED’s page has no announcement of the winners of this latest and greatest Gates Foundation matched Shopathon shizzle (they’ve probably done it by e-mail). The winners were supposed to be informed on Friday, January 27th. Those winners won’t ever even know what they were actually participating in.

How sexy am I now?” (Since I have a twee bit more identity with this plot line, than U2.)

Your Postscript: Can you even imagine what you’re never going to know now that Bono’s billionaire benefactor also gets to curate Facebook for #fakenews? Bow. Wow.

Canada’s Postscript: An interview with the inventor of human ecological footprint calculus, Bill Rees, provides more proof that economists aren’t engaged in anything akin to reality when discussing carrying capacity. At Bill’s first presentation of his application, an economist gave him this rebuttal:

“’Look, economists have long ago resolved this issue. Carrying capacity has no meaning, whatsoever, because, after all, we can trade. Almost any area, like the lower mainland here has certain resources in surplus. And, if there is anything in short supply then we just sell off what we have in surplus in exchange for what we need, such as food, and thereby we can overcome any local limits to the carrying capacity of the area. And if trade doesn’t work, then there is technology.’ In fact, it’s almost a doctrinaire position in modern economics, that human ingenuity is capable of substituting for almost any good or service provided by nature.”

-Food was and is what BC is in shortage of; 70% of BC’s produce comes from [drought stricken] California. -And here we are about to sink 30 000 acres of prime agricultural land for the Site C dam(capable of feeding at least 1 million people) for electrical power BC residents don’t even need. It’s been asserted the excess power is for export to California. Its immediate use will be for corporations to frack with. It’s other use (potential and logical, given the total illogic of its construction) is so we’ll be perfectly situated for water export in cooperation with NAFTA conditions, -to drought stricken California. Rather than achieving self sufficiency on our own land (by watering agriculture with the river in its very own fertile valley), we’re going to drown the land, just in order to pollute the living f*** out of BC’s North for foreign multinationals to frack, and we’re going to basically rape BC residents’ utility bills and tax rates to do so, just to export the water so California can sell the produce back to us at extortionate prices that will also be accounting for the cost of shipment or our water. Yes, neoliberal Trudeau vetted that one too. Of course, this is what happens to Canada’s third largest public utility (this becomes their notion of sound business) -after they’ve already been privatized and partititioned out to an American consulting firm that only just managed to distance itself from Enron’s carcass. Tallk about poisonous exports maligning Beautiful British Columbia. They’ve succeded in not only destroying our public utility, but using it to destroy the province itself.

-And I’m supposed to be thrilled I’m part of the human race. With corporate globalization structured like this, who needs enemies?

 

[Pamela Williams is the author of The Raydiant Labyrinth, which covers over twenty years of music lyrics (including U2’s) in the interest of delineating a transcendent concept that implies transcendent consciousness, inadvertently participated in by a host of alternative graduated to mainstream artists. U2 was arguably the first. She does not appreciate that their topical nature in her research obliged her attention anymore.  She can be contacted at the book’s website, www.theraydiantlabyrinth.com and exists on twitter as @raysondetre.]

The DeKlein of Logic. The Art of Conflation

The Art of Annihilation

The following is an excerpt from Part thirteen of the Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

Khrizantemy-Chrysanthemums-Yevgeni-Bauer-Vera-Karalli-(10)-Vera-flower-drop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chrysanthemums (translit. Khrizantemy; 1914): a “conflation of art, performance, and death”  [Source]  

 

With the 350.org divestment movement and Klein at the helm, in addition to its in partnership The Guardian (who has also partnered with Klein personally outside of 350.org) and endorsement from the UN, 350.org et al have a position in the media to create mobilizations on cue, simply by calling out on its army of divestment students, now global in scope. On the This Changes Everything website it should be noted that within Klein’s bio, 350.org continues to be referred to as a global grassroots movement. Disregarding the fact that 1Sky (which merged with 350 in 2011) was an incubator project of the Rockefeller Foundation; it is still an NGO whose annual incomes exceeds millions; and rewards staff with six-figure salaries. Due to its now global size (not to mention its oligarchic origins), 350.org is very far removed from the true concept of grass roots. The word disingenuous, in regard to this claim, is an immense understatement.

+++

conflation
verb from ‘conflate’
occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places,
sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity
— the differences appear to become lost.

bono clinton 2007

2007: “Former President Bill Clinton and musician Bono appear on stage during ‘Giving – Live At The Apollo’ presented by the MTV and Clinton Global Initiative at the Apollo Theater on September 29, 2007 in New York City.”

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2008: “U2 singer Bono speaks with Al Gore during the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on Sep. 24, 2008, in New York City. Gore attended the fourth annual meeting of the CGI, a gathering of politicians celebrities, philanthropists and business leaders to discuss pressing global issues.” (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

In the October 12, 2007, CNN article The Bono-ization of Activism, Klein (rightly) criticizes the “Bono-ization” of the protest movement:

“…the new style of anti-poverty campaigning, where celebrities talk directly with government and business leaders on behalf of a continent (such as Africa) is another form of “noblesse oblige” where the rich and powerful club together to ‘give something back.’ “They are saying we don’t even need government anymore, it’s the replacement of nation states with corporate rule — this Billionaires Club, including Bill Clinton that gets together to give a little something back.”

And yet, eight years later, Klein has fully immersed herself in this same (yet even more powerful) “Billionaires Club”, having replaced nation states with corporate rule. If anyone could be characterized as embracing “another form of ‘noblesse oblige’” it is Klein, the 350.org NGO she serves, and the climate cartel they run with—inclusive of Wall Street.

In 2007, Bill McKibben launched the national ‘Step It Up’ campaign (Clinton Global Initiative Commitment 2007) targeting members of the U.S. congress to be ‘real leaders’ on climate change. Presidential candidates including Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton attended Step It Up events and issued statements of support for 1Sky’s goals. Step it Up then morphed into 1Sky. 1Sky was an incubator project of the Foundation at its inception. [Further reading: Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion] At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, then President Clinton announced the 1Sky campaign. [Video, September 29, 2007: 1Sky at Clinton Global Initiative published by Step It Up][Clinton Foundation Press Release, Sept 27, 2007: “Working with partners 1Sky will raise $50 million to advocate for a simple set of goals and policy proposals to improve the federal government’s policies on climate change.”]

Four years (2011) after voicing very strong criticisms of the anti-poverty campaign’s engagement with Bill Clinton, a campaign that coincided with the 2007 Step It Up and 1Sky alliances with the Clinton Foundation, Klein would choose to serve on the 350.org board of directors as it officially merged with 1Sky.”

Klein: “What’s complicated about the space that Bono and Geldof (Bob Geldof, founder of Live Aid) are occupying is that it’s inside and outside at the same time — there’s no difference. What’s significant about the Seattle movement (the WTO protests in 1999 and 2000) is that it’s less the tactics but the fact that it identifies that there are real power differences, winners and losers in this economic model.”

In similar fashion, the space that 350.org and the NPIC “are occupying is that it’s inside and outside at the same time – they are part and parcel of the same elite power structures Klein criticizes. There’s no difference.” Like Bono’s Live Aid that Klein condemned, the divestment campaign, that Klein actively promotes, deliberately avoids the fact that “there are real power differences, winners and losers in this economic model.” (i.e. the divestment model)

“Klein believes when celebrities such as Bono engage in talks with world leaders at forums such as Davos they are legitimizing the structures in place, and the inequalities that arise from these structures, rather than promoting any radical change; “The story of globalization is the story of inequality. What’s been lost in the Bono-ization is ability to change these power structures. There are still the winners and losers, people who are locked in to the power structures and those locked out.” [The Bono-ization of Activism]

The official Road to Paris website cites Klein is one of the top twenty influential women in respect to this year’s “Road to Paris, United Nations, Conference of the Parties” (with McKibben being cited as one of the top influential men). Like Bono lending legitimacy to Davos, Klein’s and McKibben’s luminary (and manufactured) status is being fully utilized in the same fashion: legitimizing the structures in place, and the inequalities that arise from these structures. While Klein spoke to Bono’s legitimizing of globalization and inequality, 350’s partnership with the United Nations is stealth marketing that serves to whitewash the United Nations pivotal role as part of the finance/credit cartel subverting state sovereignty and undermining Indigenous autonomy. [Absence of the Sacred]

Failure to publicly expose and condemn the third pillar of the new economy, that of the commodification of nature via implementation of ecosystem services accounting, not only legitimizes the current power structures in place, but expands and insulates them beyond reproach. The inequalities that arise from this one single, and most critical, false solution (of many) not only legitimizes inequalities, it guarantees the finish line for the ongoing genocide of the world’s Indigenous peoples—nothing less than total annihilation. The NPIC, as the third pillar of contemporary imperialism, [3] which Klein has submerged herself in, ensures current power structures are not only kept intact, but strengthened and insulated.

Of course, this is not the first time 350.org has taken to subverting state sovereignty and undermined Indigenous autonomy.

“Bono’s Red initiative is emblematic of this new Pro-Logo age. He announced a new branded product range at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland last year called Product Red. American Express, Converse, Armani and Gap were initial partners, joined later by Apple and Motorola. The corporations sell Red branded products, with a percentage of profits going to Bono approved causes. In this Pro-Logo world there is an irony of consuming to end poverty. Perhaps an even bigger irony: through initiatives like the Red card, consumer culture and branding is buying a stake in anti-globalization and alleviating poverty movement.”

The global divestment campaign (as was the Stop the KeystoneXL! campaign) is emblematic of the increasingly sophisticated, 21st century Pro-Logo age. Today, Bono’s 2008 branded product range promoting his ‘Product Red’, has been replaced in the public realm, with the divestment campaign’s ‘Fossil Fuel Free’ Funds and portfolios (while in the background, hedge funds and private investments comprise the portfolios of the ultra wealthy). Responsible Endowments Coalition, Energy Action Coalition, Sierra Student Coalition, As You Sow, Better Future Project, Better Future Project (financed by Wallace Global Fund) and Ceres were initial partners, joined later by the Guardian and the United Nations. In this “capitalism vs the climate” world, there is a strengthening/expanding of capital markets to counteract capitalism. Perhaps an even bigger irony: through initiatives like the global divestment campaign, investment (which furthers consumption/consumer culture) and branding is buying a stake in the anti-capitalist and environmental movements.

“What they’ve tapped into is a market niche. There’s nothing that’s inherently wrong with these initiatives except when they make radical claims that it’s going to end poverty. There’s a long history of radical consumption — what’s pretty unbelievable about this (the Red Label) is that they say it’s revolutionary and it’s going to replace other forms of politics.” [The Bono-ization of Activism]

What the divestment campaign has tapped into is a market niche. While the future will bear witness that there is /was everything inherently wrong with the divestment (dis)course, the framing that the campaign is in service to the fight against climate change, is more than insulting. Remix: There’s a long history of “radical” consumption — what’s pretty unbelievable about this current version (the divestment campaign) is that they say it’s revolutionary and it’s going to replace other forms of politics.

In the 2007 article, Klein argued that Bono’s supporters believed he was being constructive because his camp was engaging with power, which she disagreed with. Yet eight years later Klein has aligned herself with some of the most powerful oligarchs and institutions in the world.

Toward the end of the 2007 article, the author quotes an unidentified activist who stated charity concerts were a way to recorporate the issue. The parallels are striking, for who could disagree that the divestment campaign does perform the exact same function— “a way to recorporate the issue”?

In a single quote that serves to be most prophetic, the unidentified activist added: “It changes nothing.”

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Man Ray (Radnitzky, Emmanuel)

Klein’s partnership with the Guardian newspaper, her placating of 350.org’s foundation funding, her chosen decision to remain silent on warmonger NGOs such as 350.org’s strategic partner Avaaz (in large part responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands in Libya [4], which they seek to be repeated in Syria), her silence on the NPIC undermining of vulnerable states at COP15 (with Greenpeace, 350 and Avaaz being the first signatories of TckTckTck), her acceptance of 350’s undermining of a sovereign state and the world’s Indigenous peoples, her scant, almost non-existent references to the military-industrial complex in relation to its massive (and exempted) contribution to both climate change and ecological devastation (case in point, consider The US Air Force (USAF) is the single largest consumer of jet fuel in the world. The avoidance of this subject is even more unconscionable considering US President Barack Obama is one of the most (if not the most) militarily aggressive US presidents in history, authorizing various airstrikes and military operations in at least seven Muslim countries ); her silence on industrialized factory framing (livestock stats), and her failure to disclose the relation between 350’s KXL campaign and Buffett’s 21st century oil by rail dynasty, etc. — all demonstrate Klein’s own “noblesse oblige”.

Klein’s most glaring “noblesse oblige” is the exclusion of ecosystem services accounting in her international best seller, This Changes Everything. The promotional description reads: “The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism.” The solution is delivered in the next line: “The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed system and build something radically better.” The elites are indeed seizing this existential crisis to transform our failed system—it’s the financialization of the Earth’s commons referred to as “valuing ecosystem services”.

Consider that in a 505 page book written on climate and capitalism not a single chapter, or even a single page explores the most pathological intent of the 21st century. One is tempted to conclude that investigative journalist Klein has simply over-looked another critical issue pertaining to the climate. Or perhaps Klein simply has no knowledge of this scheme. However, the word financialization does garner one vital mention—buried in the acknowledgements: “Two years ago, Rajiv and I were joined by Alexandra Tempus, another exceptional and diligent journalist and researcher. Alexandra quickly mastered her own roster of topics, from post–Superstorm Sandy disaster capitalism to financialization of nature to the opaque world of green group and foundation funding to climate impacts on fertility. She developed important new contacts, uncovered new and shocking facts, and always shared her thoughtful analysis.” (The single reference to ecosystems services within the book is found within one sentence on p 34: “Nor have the various attempts to soft-pedal climate action as compatible with market logic (carbon trading, carbon offsets, monetizing nature’s “services”) fooled these true believers one bit.”)

Further consider that in an Earth Island Institute “Conversation” with Naomi Klein (Fall, 2013) Klein is asked a direct question on monetizing ecosystem services. Interviewer to Klein: “It’s interesting because even as some of the Big Green groups have gotten enamored of the ideas of ecosystem services and natural capital, there’s this counter-narrative coming from the Global South and Indigenous communities. It’s almost like a dialectic.” Klein’s response is not only incoherent, she evades the question altogether:

Klein:

“That’s the counternarrative, and those are the alternative worldviews that are emerging at this moment. The other thing that is happening … I don’t know what to call it. It’s maybe a reformation movement, a grassroots rebellion. There’s something going on in the [environmental] movement in the US and Canada, and I think certainly in the UK. What I call the “astronaut’s eye worldview” – which has governed the Big Green environmental movement for so long – and by that I mean just looking down at Earth from above. I think it’s sort of time to let go of the icon of the globe, because it places us above it and I think it has allowed us to see nature in this really abstracted way and sort of move pieces, like pieces on a chessboard, and really loose touch with the Earth. You know, it’s like the planet instead of the Earth.

 

And I think where that really came to a head was over fracking. The head offices of the Sierra Club and the NRDC and the EDF all decided this was a “bridge fuel.” We’ve done the math and we’re going to come out in favor of this thing. And then they faced big pushbacks from their membership, most of all at the Sierra Club. And they all had to modify their position somewhat. It was the grassroots going, “Wait a minute, what kind of environmentalism is it that isn’t concerned about water, that isn’t concerned about industrialization of rural landscapes – what has environmentalism become?” And so we see this grassroots, place-based resistance in the movements against the Keystone XL pipeline and the Northern Gateway pipeline, the huge anti-fracking movement. And they are the ones winning victories, right?

 

I think the Big Green groups are becoming deeply irrelevant. Some get a lot of money from corporations and rich donors and foundations, but their whole model is in crisis.”

Noblesse oblige indeed.

Klein’s contributions have not threatened capitalism; rather her efforts are utilized to not only protect it, but strengthen it.

Perhaps the icing on the cake that is the Rockefeller and Clinton 350.org/1Sky project, is as follows: Participation in the Clinton Global Initiative is by invitation only. The membership fee is $20,000 ($19,000 tax deductible) per year. 2014 annual meeting sponsors include HSBC, Barclays, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Foundation, Monsanto, Proctor and Gamble, The Rockefeller Foundation, Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Dow, Exxon Mobil, and others. Clinton Global Initiative University includes McKibben’s Middlebury College within its network (“These 70 schools have pledged more than $800,000 to support CGI U 2015 student commitment-makers.”) Thus, it is of little surprise to find that in December of 2014, Global CEO cites both McKibben and Klein as those within the top ten list of  “inspirational CSR leaders”  as voted by their readers.

Identified in the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative membership along with princes, baronesses, heads of states, and CEOs are none other than:

  • Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, (In 2013, Morgan Stanley created the Institute for Sustainable Investing Lubber serves on the Institute’s Advisory Board, which is chaired by Morgan Stanley’s Chairman and CEO James Gorman) (Stern Citi Leadership & Ethics Distinguished Fellow)
  • Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Chair/president of Greenpeace and TckTckTck a.k.a. GCCA, International Advisory Council for 350.org and SumofUs)
  • Billy Parish Coordinator, Co-Founder, Energy Action Coalition, (1Sky Board of Directors)
  • Betsy Taylor, Chair 1Sky Campaign (Ceres Board of Directors, Greenpeace Board of Directors President of Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions,SumofUs Advisory Board)
  • Lynne Twist, Trustee The John E. Fetzer Institute (Pachamama Alliance founder)
  • Timothy Wirth President United Nations Foundation (Next System Initial Signatory)

 

 

“Who will be the Bill Gates of ecosystem services?” Read the full article: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse

 

[3] “Accordingly, a nonprofit-corporate complex (based in international non-governmental organizations, NGOs) dominating an array of social services, many of which were performed by the state in the past, emerged as the third pillar of the triangular structure of contemporary imperialism during the 1980s. It represents a kind of “Third Way” on the part of capital that privatizes state functions and occupies key strategic points within civil society (co-opting social movements) while seemingly outside the realm of private capital—thereby enabling an acceleration of privatization and reinforcing the hegemony of monopoly-finance capital globally.” [Source]

[4] 500,000 dead, 30,000 in terrorist-run prisons, 2.5 million exiled, tens of thousands of refugees.

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

Bono: A Complete Fraud

Hang the Bankers

September 23, 2013

 

“In separate remarks at the UN on Saturday, Zuckerberg said Facebook has partnered with global advocacy organization One in a global call to action for universal Net access by the year 2020.” — September 26, 2015, CNET

 

“… today I’m pleased to announce that Facebook is partnering with the one campaign 21 organization and leaders and public figures all over the world to launch a global campaign to support a conductivity declaration a declaration recognizes internet access
is an important enabler of human rights… I’m also most pleased to announce today that Facebook will be partnering with the UN to advance our common goals.” — Mark Zuckerberg, September 26, 2015

 

Bono+Holds+Press+Conference+AzcBXQfoLBXl

U2’s Bono (L) visits with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Headquarters on February 13, 2008 in New York City. (Credit: Michael Nagle) [Further reading: Who Shapes the United Nations Agenda?]

‘Bono’s positioning of the west as the saviour of Africa while failing to ­discuss the harm the G8 nations are doing has undermined campaigns for justice and accountability.’

It was bad enough in 2005. Then, at the G8 summit in Scotland, Bono and Bob Geldof heaped praise on Tony Blair and George Bush, who were still mired in the butchery they had initiated in Iraq.

At one point Geldof appeared, literally and figuratively, to be sitting in Tony Blair’s lap. African activists accused them of drowning out a campaign for global justice with a campaign for charity.

But this is worse. As the UK chairs the G8 summit again, a campaign that Bono founded, with which Geldof works closely, appears to be whitewashing the G8’s policies in Africa.

Last week I drew attention to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launched in the US when it chaired the G8 meeting last year. The alliance is pushing African countries into agreements that allow foreign companies to grab their land, patent their seeds and monopolise their food markets. Ignoring the voices of their own people, six African governments have struck deals with companies such as Monsanto, Cargill, Dupont, Syngenta, Nestlé and Unilever, in return for promises of aid by the UK and other G8 nations.

Bono of U2 new world order puppet

A wide range of activists, both African and European, is furious about the New Alliance. But the ONE campaign, co-founded by Bonostepped up to defend it. The article it wrote last week was remarkable in several respects: in its elision of the interests of African leaders and those of their people, in its exaggeration of the role of small African companies, but above all in failing even to mention the injustice at the heart of the New Alliance – its promotion of a new wave of land grabbing. My curiosity was piqued.

The first thing I discovered is that Bono has also praised the New Alliance, in a speech just before last year’s G8 summit in the US. The second thing I discovered is that much of the ONE campaign’s primary funding was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, two of whose executives sit on its board. The foundation has been working with the biotech company Monsanto and the grain trading giant Cargill, and has a large Monsanto shareholding. Bill Gates has responded to claims made about land grabbing in Africa, asserting, in the face of devastating evidence and massive resistance from African farmers, that “many of those land deals are beneficial, and it would be too bad if some were held back because of western groups’ ways of looking at things“. (Africans, you will note, keep getting written out of this story.)

The third thing I discovered is that there’s a long history here. In his brilliant and blistering book The Frontman: Bono (in the Name of Power), just released in the UK, the Irish scholar Harry Browne maintains that “for nearly three decades as a public figure, Bono has been … amplifying elite discourses, advocating ineffective solutions, patronising the poor and kissing the arses of the rich and powerful”. His approach to Africa is “a slick mix of traditional missionary and commercial colonialism, in which the poor world exists as a task for the rich world to complete”.

Bono, Browne charges, has become “the caring face of global technocracy”, who, without any kind of mandate, has assumed the role of spokesperson for Africa, then used that role to provide “humanitarian cover” for western leaders. His positioning of the west as the saviour of Africa while failing to discuss the harm the G8 nations are doing has undermined campaigns for justice and accountability, while lending legitimacy to the neoliberal project.

Bono award from Queen Elizabeth II

Bono and awards from Queen Elizabeth II

Bono claims to be “representing the poorest and most vulnerable people“. But talking to a wide range of activists from both the poor and rich worlds since ONE published its article last week, I have heard the same complaint again and again: that Bono and others like him have seized the political space which might otherwise have been occupied by the Africans about whom they are talking. Because Bono is seen by world leaders as the representative of the poor, the poor are not invited to speak. This works very well for everyone – except them.

The ONE campaign looks to me like the sort of organisation that John le Carré or Robert Harris might have invented. It claims to work on behalf of the extremely poor. But its board is largely composed of multimillionaires, corporate aristocrats and US enforcers. Here you will find Condoleezza Rice, George W Bush’s national security adviser and secretary of state, who aggressively promoted the Iraq war, instructed the CIA that it was authorised to use torture techniques and browbeat lesser nations into supporting a wide range of US aims.

Here too is Larry Summers, who was chief economist at the World Bank during the darkest days of structural adjustment and who, as US Treasury secretary, helped to deregulate Wall Street, with such happy consequences for the rest of us. Here’s Howard Buffett, who has served on the boards of the global grain giant Archer Daniels Midland as well as Coca-Cola and the food corporations ConAgra and Agro Tech. Though the main focus of ONE is Africa, there are only two African members. One is a mobile phone baron, the other is the finance minister of Nigeria, who was formerly managing director of the World Bank. What better representatives of the extremely poor could there be?

Bono & Buffett

June 5, 2013: Bono gave Warren Buffett the inaugural Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy. In presenting the award, Bono serenaded Buffett, singing a special version he penned of “Home on the Range”.

U pay tax 2

As Bono and his bandmates took to the Pyramid Stage, activists from direct action group Art Uncut inflated a 20ft balloon emblazoned with the message “U Pay Your Tax 2?” exposing U2’s offshore tax avoidance.

If, as ONE does, an organisation keeps telling you that it’s a “grassroots campaign”, it’s a fair bet that it is nothing of the kind. This collaboration of multimillionaires and technocrats looks to me more like a projection of US and corporate power.

I found the sight of Bono last week calling for “more progress on transparency” equally revolting. As Harry Browne reminds us, U2’s complex web of companies, the financial arrangements of Bono’s Product RED campaign and his investments through the private equity company he co-founded are all famously opaque. And it’s not an overwhelming shock to discover that tax justice is absent from the global issues identified by ONE.

There is a well-known if dubious story that claims that at a concert in Glasgow Bono began a slow hand-clap. He is supposed to have announced: “Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.” Whereupon someone in the audience shouted: “Well fucking stop doing it then.” It’s good advice, and I wish he’d take it.

Bono hanging out with some other NWO criminals: 

Bono with Obama

Obama…the teleprompter reading president who bombs kids for a living and gets a peace prize.

Bono and Al Gore

The inconvenient lie that is Al Gore.

Bono and Clinton

Bill Clinton…where do I even start with this guy?

George W. Bush, Bono

Wanted war criminal George W. Bush Jnr.

Bono with Lindsey Graham

War mongering senator John McCain.

Bill Gates and Bono

Mr Eugenics himself Bill Gates.

Bono and Tony Blair

Wanted war criminal Tony Blair.

Bono and the Queen

Madame evil and best friend of mass pedophile Jimmy Savile, Queen Elizabeth II.

bono 2

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks with Angela Merkel (left), Chancellor of Germany, and Bono, activist and lead singer of the rock band U2, at the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, organized by UN Global Compact. (UN Photo/Kim Haughton) [Further reading: Celebrity “Activists” Change Everything: UN Forum to Adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development]

Who Shapes the United Nations Agenda?

“The global institutional machinery of the so-called United Nations is designed to destroy the sovereign will of the peoples. That is where a bureaucracy works in the service of capital and imperialism. We, the peoples of the world, do not accept that international organizations should appropriate to themselves the right of invasion and intervention. The UN has no morality to impose. We, the peoples of the world, do not accept this elitist institutionality of the bureaucrats of the empire.

 

It was in the bowels of the UN that the privatizing green economy originated, which we understand as the black economy of death; from those entrails originate the recipes for privatization and interventionism. The UN seems to be the Organization for the Rich and Powerful Countries; perhaps it should be named the INO, Imperialist Nations Organization. That UN we do not want, we disown it.

 

That neoliberal bureaucracy, the bureaucracy of the green economy and privatization, the bureaucracy that promotes structural adjustments, those functionaries of capital and ideologists of domination and poverty, act with the patriarchal and colonial conviction that the peoples and developing countries are incapable and stupid and that to emerge from poverty we must faithfully follow their development recipes.” — Evo Morales’ historic speech at the Isla del Sol

***

First Phase Digital

“Premier of the Republic of the Congo at Press Conference Premier Patrice Lumumba, of the Republic of the Congo, photographed at a press conference he held at U.N. Headquarters earlier today. Conferring briefly with the Premier is Ambassador Mongi Slim, of Tunisia.” 25 July 1960, United Nations, New York (UN Archives)

Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, November 2015

Excerpts from the paper Philanthropic Power and Development – Who shapes the agenda? by authors Jens Martens and Karolin Seitz

Final Phase Digital

Photo:”President Salvador Allende of Chile paid an official visit to United Nations Headquarters and addressed the General Assembly. He conferred with the Assembly President and the Secretary-General, and also held a press conference. Here, President Allende is seen at his press conference. Seated next to him are Colodomiro Almeyda (left), Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, and Genichi Akatani (right), Assistant Secretary-General, UN Office of Public Information. 04 December 1972, United Nations, New York (UN Archives)

“On 5 June 2013 a remarkable event took place in the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations (UN) in New York City. Over 150 invited guests met for the second annual Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit. The event was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, attended by celebrated philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Bono and Warren Buffett, and sponsored by Credit Suisse. According to Forbes magazine the attendees, who represented “close to half a trillion of the world’s wealth, discussed how they can use their wealth, fame and entrepreneurial talent to eradicate poverty.” As follow up to this summit Forbes released a Special Philanthropy Issue under the headline “Entrepreneurs can save the world.” The event at UN Headquarters was a symbol for the rapidly growing role of philanthropists and their foundations in global development policy and practice.”

UNITED NATIONS PAPER 1
“A large share of the UN Foundation’s revenues from other donors came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Between 1999 and 2014 Gates gave US$231 million in grants to the UN Foundation, mainly for projects in the areas of health and agriculture.”

UNITED NATIONS GATES

In order to broaden its funding base, the UN Foundation has actively explored ways to raise funds directly from governments.In the last decade the UN Foundation received direct funding from a number of governments or governmental agencies, inter alia the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department for International Development of the Government of the UK (DFID), the European Commission, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

UNITED NATIONS 5

In addition to individual governments, the UN Foundation is now actively exploring opportunities for building so-called “anchor partnerships” with multinational corporations and corporate philanthropic foundations as an important element of its longterm sustainability strategy. This intention caused concerns in some parts of the UN because of the potential reputation risk involved. The UN Foundation lists currently (July 2015) 23 corporate partners, such as Exxon Mobile, Shell, Goldman Sachs, and the Bank of America.

UNITED NATIONS 4
According to the UN Secretary-General the relationship agreement between the UN and the UN Foundation has been reviewed and amended to ensure that it reflects this evolution of the Foundation’s mission and approach. The new agreement was signed in October 2014. But instead of providing a solid basis for effective and transparent governance, the new agreement seems to reinforce the exclusivity of this relationship and the preferential treatment of the UN Foundation by the UN Secretariat. The drafting of the most recent agreement took place behind closed doors without any intergovernmental oversight or transparency, and in contrast to the two earlier agreements, has not been made public.

United Nations 3