Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Formosa Aborigines Betrayed Again

Articles may be considered worthwhile for two opposing reasons. Either they tell us something hitherto unfamiliar to us; or they confirm our beliefs that situations in other parts of the world aren't very different from our own.
There’s nothing new or unfamiliar about aborigines getting betrayed by powerful elitists. I’m descended from two Native American groups: the Eastern Band of Cherokees and an Eastern Sioux grouping who was assimilated before there was a Bureau of Indian Affairs. During the 1830’s, to satisfy the greed of mainly northern investors, an estimated 17,000 Cherokees were rounded up and forced to travel in the dead of winter to the present state of Oklahoma. Some 4,000 died along the way.

Aboriginal inhabitants throughout the world can tell similar stories. Many of these stories are ongoing and, for whatever reason, they are either unreported or under-reported in what passes for a news media. Several aboriginal groups live in Taiwan.
As in the previous article, I feel I must defend my use of the word betrayed. As I said before, that word implies a deliberate violation of trust. For the purpose of this article, I must show either malicious intent or callous indifference by a person or people in positions of public trust.
About four decades ago, Taiwanese aborigines sought work in Taipei. Since they couldn’t afford housing in Taipei, they settled on river islands along the wetlands outside of the city. They built their homes from whatever discarded materials they could find. As I cross the bridge going into the city, I can still see gardens on some of these islands.
From time to time, rains were heavier than usual and their homes were damaged and destroyed. Each time this happened, they found other discarded materials, rebuilt their homes and replanted their gardens.
I should note at this point that the doctrine of adverse possession (also called squatter’s rights) is as established in Taiwanese culture and Chinese culture as it is in the West. The aboriginal use of this land was as common law requires: actual, open, exclusive, continuous, and hostile. As a legal doctrine, it’s so well known, even to laymen, that it’s mentioned in Chinese novels dating from the late Ming and early Ch’ing dynasties.
In 2007, the mayor of Taipei was Ma Ying-jeou, who had received a doctorate in juridical science from Harvard University. Without regard for the aborigines’ legal and moral right to the land that nobody else wanted—except that the aboriginal houses spoiled the view from the bicycle trails Ma was promoting—Mayor Ma told them they’d have to leave the land. Without regard for the fact that they had lived there for four decades, the excuse he gave was that it wasn’t safe for them. He—not the homeowners—would decide for them what was safe.
The City of Taipei would provide “low-cost” housing for them that would still be more costly than they could afford. On December 8, 2007, in a speech oozing with unction, Ma told the assembled aborigines, “I see you as humans and as citizens of this city. I'm going to educate you well and do a good job of providing you with opportunities. That's the place from which the attitude of aborigines needs to be adjusted. Now that you've come here, you need to play by the rules here...." (For this disgusting story of arrogance and perfidy, click here.)
Excuse me, but I don’t think they needed an over-privileged elitist to inform them that they were human; they already knew it. They didn’t need the government to take care of them; they’d been taking care of themselves and each other for 40 years. They didn’t need to move from their land and play by someone else’s rules. They already had their land and they lived perfectly well by their own rules. They certainly didn’t need to adjust their attitudes; Ma Ying-jeou needed to adjust his attitude.
Now Ma Ying-jeou is the president of Taiwan—except when a Chinese bureaucrat comes to town. Then he’s “Mr. Ma,” groveling like a eunuch before his Chinese master and pushing the "Taiwanese redneck" protesters out of sight. Though Ma’s office has changed, his attitude toward aborigines hasn’t.
In early August 2009, Mr. or President (or whatever) Ma’s popularity stood at Olympian levels, having recently won a presidential election with 58% of the vote, mainly from women voters. Politicians all over Taiwan wanted to be seen with him and have their photos taken with him. Then came Typhoon Morakot on August 6-7. Now he’s only a little more popular than a turd in a swimming pool; people can’t get away from him quickly enough.

What happened? Aboriginal villages in central Taiwan suffered some of the worst flooding and mudslides in memory. With lives on the line and every hour crucial, Ma dawdled for three days. For three days, his administration didn’t call out the military to help, as is customary in Taiwan. (By contrast, when the 9/21 Earthquake struck Taiwan in 1999, President Lee called out the military just 20 minutes after receiving the news.)
For three days, while more than 500 people were buried, and thousands of others were stranded, Ma’s administration refused other countries’ offers of rescue assistance. Many people to this day believe that the delays were due to Ma’s reluctance to offend China by acting like the president of a sovereign state. (Click here.)
Around 700 people were killed as a result of the typhoon, the flooding, and the mudslides. Prompt action probably could have saved many of them. In Taiwan Matters, we read this result from a poll conducted after this shameless episode:
"A survey released by pro-blue, 100% Chinese-funded TVBS says that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's approval rating is now at 16 percent following his inept and deadly response to Typhoon Morakot, which began battering Taiwan on August 7, 2009, leaving a village with approximately 500 people with approximately 500 people buried in a gargantuan mudslide, thousands stranded--some for over a week--and tens of thousands inundated by deep flooding." [Note: In Taiwan, it's illegal for a foreign company to own majority interest in a broadcasting station. The last time I checked, TVBS's ownership was 49% Hong Kong (a colony of Beijing) and 51% Taiwanese. Oh, the Taiwanese company has the same address as the Hong Kong company. What a coincidence!]
Now it’s 2010, and aborigines are still suffering at the hands of the Ma administration. Most of them can’t go home again to their ancestral lands. (Click here.)
The aborigines claim that the government is forcing them to move to the lowlands. The gaff-prone Premier Wu Den-yih claims that no one is forcing the Aborigines to move. That depends on what the meaning of the word force is. Roads to certain villages are not being rebuilt. Bridges are not being rebuilt. Aborigines are receiving assistance if they move but not if they try to stay on their land.
The central government has built housing widely scattered about in low-lying areas. This scattering of houses, as well as their locations, aborigines say, is tearing apart their social fabric. Moreover, in the mountains they lived close to nature. Even this is being taken from them.
Even the do-gooders are shafting the aborigines. The Red Cross, to their credit, is working with them as well as they know how. The Buddhist Tzi Chi Foundation, which I’d always respected, has blown it. They’ve provided housing, but it was built without regard for the aboriginal way of life. To add insult to injury, it’s a conspicuously Buddhist environment; Taiwan’s Bunun people (aborigines) are disproportionately Christian.
Oh, and let’s not forget that many of the aborigines have found jobs. They’ve been offered jobs making handcrafts for tourists.
Premier Wu, echoing Ma’s sentiments from December 2007, says that their traditional villages weren’t safe; that they were prone to landslides. The aborigines say that the land didn’t become unstable until the central government widened the roads and made other changes in the environment. Now, doesn’t that one sound familiar?

In case you’re wondering, Wu wasn’t the premier during the Typhoon Morakot debacle. Wu was appointed premier in September 2009, after Ma’s entire cabinet resigned to take the rap for Ma’s Morakot-related failures. Ma’s political career is littered with the ruined ambitions of loyal subordinates who had taken the fall for him.
I suspect that Ma has exceeded the late movie villain Victor Buno in the number of times he has effected an escape by, figuratively speaking, pushing a loyal subordinate under a bus.

The issue isn’t all that complicated. The aborigines want to go home. Is it all that difficult for Ma and Wu to understand? Or perhaps they fail to grasp the full meaning of Ma’s condescending remark, “I see you as human.” If they did, they would treat them as human beings should be treated.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Taiwan Matters

Taiwan is so small that the average Taiwanese can’t find it on a world map. Its surface area covers barely half the size of West Virginia and it’s barely the size of Maryland. It’s smaller than Guinea-Bissau, Bhutan, or Togo.
Taiwan has no seat in the United Nations. It’s recognized by only 23, mostly obscure, countries. In fact, it’s a joke among Taiwanese that the list of countries recognizing Taiwan is a geography lesson in obscure countries.
How many do you recognize? They are as follows: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Vatican City, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In Taiwan’s favor is its population size and economic ranking. Its population is roughly that of Texas and it’s larger than that of Australia and Switzerland. Taiwan’s GDP is nineteenth in the world, down from fourteenth a few years ago. By personal income, it’s thirty-fourth (or forty-second, depending on whose figures you use) in the world (the United States is in ninth, tenth, or thirteenth place.)
The Taiwan Strait is considered one of the likeliest flash points for the world’s next major war. If and when such a war erupts, the United States and Japan (in a supporting role) will probably be drawn into it.
Given the risks involved in supporting or defending Taiwan, why should the world place that high a value on a country with even fewer people than Morocco, Uzbekistan, or Ghana?
In the paragraphs above, you were given a lesson in geography as it really is. Geopolitical strategy, however, is based also upon geography as it is imagined to be. To use the popular phrase imagined geography, though, doesn’t mean assigning value that isn’t really there. Imagined geography involves recognition of how each side in a conflict views the geographical area being contested.
Imagined geography tends to shift with shifting perceptions. During the seventeenth century, the Ming loyalist Koxingo envisioned Taiwan (then Formosa) as a base from which to attack China, overthrow the Ch’ings and restore the Ming Dynasty. From the 1940’s through the 1975, the dictator Chiang Kai-shek took the same strategic view of Taiwan. Since both men failed, it may be argued that their geo-strategic concept of Taiwan was flawed.
From 1683 until World War II, China viewed Taiwan as a buffer to protect it from foreign invasion. That view of Taiwan was also proven faulty during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. Japan simply went around Taiwan to attack China.
From 1895-1945, when Taiwan was in Japanese hands, Japan attacked China twice: once in 1900 (the eight-nation China Relief Expedition) and again during World War II. In neither case was Taiwan seen as having any geo-strategic significance.
The new realities and perceptions of the Cold War gave the world a new prism for viewing Taiwan. This period marked the beginning of the imagined geography of today’s geo-strategy.
At first, the Western powers adopted a policy of containment by which Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines were viewed as the first chain of islands creating a barrier to Chinese expansion into the Pacific. The second chain of islands, viewed as more porous, consisted of Benin Island, the Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.
At the same time, China reversed its previous view of Taiwan. They began seeing Taiwan not as a buffer against invasion but as a stepping stone for expansion into the Pacific.
A few years ago, I invented a board game that combined chess (as we know it internationally) with Chinese chess. In a nutshell, the Chinese chess pieces more or less follow the rules of Chinese chess (I had to make some changes to make it possible) and the international chess pieces are played according to international chess rules.
At the time, I didn’t realize that my new game was a metaphor for the way geo-strategy is played on the Eurasian continent today. The Western strategy, backed by such shady characters as the international bankers, the military-industrial complex, and the disaster capitalists, is called The Grand Chessboard.
The Grand Chessboard is an encirclement strategy refined and described by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his 1997 book by that name. In 2004, he expanded on this concept with a book called The Choice. Although The Grand Chessboard was written thirteen years ago, it closely outlines the news in our daily papers today. You can see from the map that the Grand Chessboard strategy is to gain control of the physical resources surrounding China and Russia in order to eventually gain control of all Eurasia.
The Chinese and the Russians play on a similar board, but their game is called The String of Pearls.
In the String of Pearls strategy, China projects its power by establishing naval bases all along the Pacific Rim and the Indian Ocean. This is in keeping with Thayer’s theory concerning the importance of sea power to building and maintaining national power.
On the map, I’ve made three green marks to indicate important choke points in the Indo-Pacific region. From left to right, they are the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia, and the Taiwan Strait in the South China Sea. The Panama Canal, not on the map, is another major choke point; and it’s presently under Chinese control. Two other key choke points are the Cape of Good Hope and the Strait of Magellan.
About one third of the world’s sea transport passes through the South China Sea. Much of Japan’s and South Korea’s oil passes through the South China Sea.
You can see then that China has its own encirclement strategy. Since the election of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president, many China watchers fear that Taiwan has been slipping into Beijing’s orbit.
I see no “good guys” in this drama. Under the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese leaders have been the most prolific mass murderers in the history of the world. According to the most reliable estimates, they’ve killed between 56 and 65 million of their own people. Russia under Stalin killed over 22 million.
On the other side, the cabal of international bankers, military-industrial complex, disaster capitalists, and prostituted “news” media have given us two world wars, the Great Depression, two cold wars (including the present war on Muslims), and—well, the list is almost endless.
Somewhere in between, we the citizens of various countries would benefit by preventing either side from getting what they desire: Iran and Pakistan by the Western criminal cabal, and Taiwan by the butchers of Beijing.
We face a stark choice. We can continue to be pawns in a board game of murder and pillage, or we can make an end run around the criminal psychopaths and build a better world. We can speak to each other and with each other; and, yes, we can listen to one another. We can cooperate with each other instead of allowing the criminal cabal to divide us against one another. We can build understanding among ourselves and with all nations. We can give peace a chance.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Formosa Betrayed Again

(I had intended to write this as one article and be done with it; however, Taiwanese have been betrayed so often, so continuously, and in so many ways, by their leaders, that one article isn’t possible. I’ll try to limit this article to some of the ways Taiwan’s leaders are betraying Taiwanese who depend on Taiwan’s wetlands. Over the next few months, I hope to cover areas of law, justice, human rights, international agreements, labor rights, and the rights of Taiwan’s aborigines, although not necessarily in that order.)

Betrayal is a harsh word. It implies that the accuser is in some way capable of reading the thoughts and feelings of the person or people he’s accusing of betrayal, which, of course, no one can do. Often, however, we can infer people’s thoughts and feelings by what they say and do.
I’ve lived in Taiwan for almost two decades, and I’ve had many opportunities to read the words and see the actions of this nation’s ruling elite. I’ve also seen the results of opinion surveys reflecting thoughts and feelings.
Some 2% of Taiwan’s population is aboriginal—Austronesian people who came to Taiwan 14,000 years ago and spread all over the Pacific. The first people of Sino-Japanese to come to Taiwan arrived roughly 350 years ago and settled along the western coast. They were Hokkien (a.k.a. Hoklo) and now comprise 70% of Taiwan’s population. The Hakkas, of uncertain origin, though certainly of Sino-Japanese stock, came later.
During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, as Chiang Kai-shek was driven from China, a fourth group, Waishengren (informally called “mainlanders”) arrived. As early as 1947, they established martial law, killed as many as 30,000 Taiwanese (who initially had welcomed them,) and stole so much property that their Chinese Nationalist Party (the KMT) became the richest political party in the world as well as the only political party in Taiwan.
Two generations have passed. The Waishengren now comprise 14% of the people in Taiwan. According to opinion surveys, most of them—especially young people—consider themselves Taiwanese and are loyal to Taiwan; and most of Waishengren opine that Taiwanese and Chinese are separate peoples.
The betrayers of Taiwan are basically the same two kinds of people who betrayed the American South during the so-called Reconstruction of 1865-1877. Specifically, they are the carpetbaggers who still see themselves as rightful rulers of a conquered land; and scalawags—native Taiwanese who appear to have thrown in their lot with the ruling elite.
Public opinion polls and personal experiences aren’t my only sources of information indicating elitist attitudes of these carpetbaggers. Especially revealing is the saga of Kuo Kuan-ying, who was the information division director of Taiwan’s representative office in Toronto. In effect, his job was to make Taiwan look good in the eyes of Canadians. Secretly, he wrote many articles calling Taiwanese Tai-ba-dz (Taiwanese rednecks), Tai-ke (Taiwanese hicks), and wo-ko (Japanese pirates.) He further expressed the view that Chinese had both the right and the duty to rule Taiwan because they couldn’t rule themselves.
When his offensive writings became known to the Taiwanese public, there was such an outcry that Kuo was removed from his responsibilities of making Taiwanese look good to Canadians. Astonishingly, many Waishengren argued that Kuo was simply exercising his freedom of speech and shouldn’t have been removed.
I apologize for the necessarily lengthy introduction. Now let’s get to the people of the wetlands.
For hundreds of years, Taiwanese have made a living from the wetlands. Many Taiwanese are freshwater fishermen. Many others are rice farmers, or farmers of other crops that require flooded terrain. They depend on terrain that will partially flood and stay wet enough to support rice crops.
Beyond the estuaries, many others take their small boats out to sea; they depend on the relative cleanliness of the water flowing from Taiwan’s rivers. Along the seacoasts at low tide, countless women flock to the shore to gather various mollusks such as surf clams, crustaceans such as crabs, and various edible plants. (I usually see many more than the one woman you see at right.) These gifts from the sea are edible for only as long as they’re uncontaminated by chemical pollutants.
Taiwan’s wetlands serve yet another valuable purpose in Taiwan’s economy. Only 20% of Taiwan’s waste water is treated by waste water treatment plants. Taiwan’s wetlands, serving as low-cost, low-maintenance waste water treatment plants, treat even more than 20% of Taiwan’s waste water.
Some 15 to 20 years ago, Taipei County undertook the massive project of restoring the county’s damaged wetlands, and they even created man-made wetlands to add to them. Danshui River’s water is now much cleaner than it was before.
Bicycle paths extend from the Nangang District at the eastern end of Taipei all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, beyond Danshui. The ferry boat, which had fallen into disuse after the Guandu Bridge was built, has been revived to take paying visitors on tours of the now beautiful Danshui River. Danshui, once a decaying fishing village, is now a major tourist attraction.
All these benefits I’ve just described, from the traditional to the modern, represent a strategic fit among people, planet, and profits. As you can see from some of the pictures (see links,) it’s also a strategic fit for such wildlife as little egrets, intermediate egrets, cattle egrets, black-crowned night herons, oriental ibises, gray herons, and myriad other wildlife.
Ironically, agrarian peoples throughout the world and throughout history have had the good sense to strive for just such a strategic fit as this. Only in the past twelve years has the idea been presented to us as a new model for business social responsibility. (See “Reclaiming our Agrarian Heritage and "A Search for Universal Values.”)
It’s risible for anyone to look at this centuries-old partnership between man and nature, augmented by modern ideas, and say that the land is undeveloped or that it needs to be developed to provide jobs to boost the economy. Only the arrogance of elitism would cause someone not to realize that fishing, farming, and harvesting of mollusks are, in fact, jobs and that they do, in fact, contribute to the economy.
These occupations don’t add much to the nation’s GDP, but economists today place less stock in those figures than they did only a few years ago. The GDP measures money spent, but it doesn’t measure value received. Consider as well that the growing of grain contributes less to the GDP than the processing of cereal products; but it’s the growing of grain that makes all the successive links of the value chain possible.
Early this summer, Premier Wu Den-yih ordered the confiscation of farms belonging to 24 families in Miaoli County. The purpose of the seizure was to allow the expansion of a “science park.” No, that’s not an educational facility. It’s a catchall term for an area that’s may be used by such businesses as chemical plants, electronics manufacturers, or others claiming an interest in science.
Since Taiwan is a world leader in electronics and other sciences, Taiwan is self sufficient in those areas. Taiwan is far from self sufficient in agriculture, though. That didn’t seem to matter to some people. Premier Wu was determined to take what wasn’t his to take and give what wasn’t his to give.
The farmers had more use for the land than for the money. Land is always there, but what can a farmer do when money runs out and he has no land? Although the farmers refused to sell, Premier Wu proudly announced that the payment was in a special account from which the farm families could draw at any time. Tough luck, farmer.
The farmers formed a delegation to speak with President Ma Ying-jeou. They made sure to tell him that their rice crops were less than a month away from being harvested. Ma uncharacteristically received them and told them he’d have an answer for them in less than two weeks. In less than two weeks, men with backhoes appeared on the farmers’ lands and destroyed their rice fields.
Nationwide, Taiwanese protested the wanton seizure of the land and the destruction of the rice harvest. Premier Wu backed down—sort of—and announced that the farm families would be given land suitable for farming. Of course it wouldn’t be the lands that had been in their families for generations, but that’s tough luck, farmer. Wu also used the excuse that he hadn’t known that farmers were living there.
As appalling as this story sounds, it’s one of many taking place in Taiwan even as I write these words. Farmers in Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Changhua Counties are fighting to save their lands. One blogger seemed to suggest that the science parks didn’t really need all the land that was being seized in their names. (Click here.)
He wrote, “[T]he fact is that most existed science industrial parks are not used. More than 247 hectares in Tungluo Park of the Hsinchu Science Park alone have not been developed at all, with only 4 hectares being genuinely put to use!”
Then there’s the pollution problem, especially in Central Taiwan. The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, an endangered species inhabits that area. Gaffe-prone Premier Wu Den-yi hassures us that “dolphins are a kind of fish;” and, since they have the good sense not to bump into the sides of pools in a seaquarium, they should have no trouble avoiding polluted waters. (Click here.)
Here’s another groaner for you: In the same article, the gaffe-prone Wu was quoted as saying, “If Taiwan preserved all its wetlands, would it be able to develop the economy or create employment opportunities? You cannot just look at one part of the picture.”
Excuse me, but what is farming if it’s not a job? What about fishing, and coastal harvesting of mollusks and other coastal sea life? What about tourism? Doesn’t their employment count for something?
No, to gaffe-prone Premier Wu Den-yih, if he has bothered to think about it, farming, tourism, harvesting, water purity, wildlife, and all the other people who depend on the wetlands are just “part of the picture.” Major polluters who have money to contribute to political campaigns are, perhaps, the big picture.
And, in case you missed it, nobody was asking the gaffe-prone Premier Wu to spend time, energy, and tax dollars to “save the wetlands;” they were asking him not to spend time, energy, and tax dollars to destroy the wetlands. Where does he expect to build other wetlands that will be as beneficial as the ones he’s destroying, and how does he presume to replace the local economies he’s destroying?
Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China espoused the Three Principles of the People: Nationalism, Democracy (the will of the people), and Livelihood, which came from Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Somehow, I didn’t see the phrase, “in spite of the people.” How would the gaffe-prone Premier Wu Den-yih explain his position to Dr. Sun or Mr. Lincoln?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Freedom from Manipulation, Part 2

I began the previous article thusly: “Stephen King, George Lucas, the late Roy Orbison, Madison Avenue advertising agencies, and political manipulators—what do they all have in common? They all use similar techniques for generating suspense as a means of manipulating people.” I ended the article by promising to describe, in the next article, how people are manipulated by such scams as the 9/11 false flag terrorist attack, the bogus avian flu scare of 2009-2010, and more recently the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Between then and now, I read that, in politics, “A narrative is the key to everything.” I couldn’t have asked for a more apt quote, especially when you consider who said it: Sidney Greenberg.
In case the name isn’t familiar to you, think back. Picture Barack Obama giving British Petroleum executive Tony Hayward a severe dressing down, ordering him to set aside a $20 billion fund to compensate for damages his company had caused. That little drama made a lot of Americans proud of their “President.”
The problem was that “a little drama” was all it was. It was part of the overall narrative staged for our benefit.
Enter Sidney Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg was the British Petroleum adviser who had allowed White House Chief of Staff (and de facto President of the United States) Rahm Emanuel the use of his New York City apartment rent free for five years. (Click here.)
It gets worse. Over the last 20 years, BP’s political action committees (PACs) have contributed more to Obama’s political campaigns—some $ 77,501—than to any other candidate. (Click here.) A White House spokesman said that Obama didn’t take contributions from Big Oil (or lobbyists, either, as I recall.)
In case you’re thinking that $77,501 isn’t enough to buy a politician, consider that Congressman Marie Landrieu received less than $2,300 from BP, and that was enough to buy the following stupid remark from her: “I mean, just the gallons are so minuscule compared to the benefits of U.S. strength and security, the benefits of job creation and energy security. So while there are risks associated with everything, I think you understand that they are quite, quite minimal.”
That’s not all. Obama’s investment manager dumped BP stocks just weeks before the oil spill and later reinvested the money in an expected Exxon takeover of BP. As a result of this very timely move, Obama stands to gain $185 million from the BP oil spill. (Click here.)
So, you see, the outrage Obama demonstrated toward BP was just a performance staged for the consumption of gullible people. If you think that the performance was just a one-act play, then you still haven’t caught on. It was one of the “feel-good” moments in a novel or movie.
In politics, movies, and novels, the narrative is a story line and perspective toward the story that impels a reader or viewer to take the author’s perspective toward the characters and events. Depending on the narrative (to take a familiar example), the reader can root for the settlers or the Native Americans.
To take another example, we’ve all seen movies in which one person is competing against dozens of others in a competition only one of them can win. The reader or viewer is given a narrative that causes him to want one in particular to win.
The one we desire to win will always be either the one who either deserves to win (such as Jason, the rightful king, who had to win his crown anyway) or the one whose narrative resonates with our own. One such resonation is the true story of Lin Yan, the Cambodian refugee who overcame language and cultural difficulties to win a regional spelling bee. Her story is a narrative that reflects our own difficulties in achieving goals.
To create a narrative that resonates with the target audience, political manipulators use the same techniques as Stephen King and George Lucas. I’ll mention only a few techniques. The Gulf oil spill is an excellent case study, though I’ll bring in other contrived events as needed.
In every well-developed novel or movie, there comes a point—just before the climax—when all appears hopeless. In fact, a character serving as “the voice of the novel” says, perhaps outright, something like, “Only a miracle can save us now,” or words to that effect. (Think about it: Do you recall ever watching a movie that didn’t express hopelessness just before the hero or some unexpected event came to save the day?)
With the avian flu scare (a.k.a. swine flu; it actually contained the DNA of five or more separate forms of the flu, indicating that it had been created in a laboratory), a comparatively small outbreak of an artificially created form of the flu was upgraded to a pandemic. Mass rounds of flu shots, at taxpayer expense, were the Obi-wan Kenobi of the day: “Please help us, Obi-wan Kenobi. You are our only hope.”
(Oh, by the way: Are you aware that the second round of Star Wars movies closely parallels the 9/11 false flag attacks and subsequent power grabs? Not only was the first of these three movies made two years before 9/11, but George Lucas wrote this back story in 1975, two years before the release of the original Star Wars. Click here for the You Tube video.)
In the Gulf, we heard that we were facing an extinction-level event if the well isn’t capped, and the pounds of pressure per square inch were too great for capping to be possible. Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the capping took place, and we were all relieved.
Every well-developed novel or movie ends with some kind of affirmation. For The Girl Who Spelled Freedom, it was that, with determination, planning, and diligence, we can overcome our disadvantages and reach our goals. For Frankenstein and Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, it was that there are some areas than science was not meant to explore. (Tell that to Monsanto.)
Often, the affirmation is not in the text but in the subtext. At that level, the Bruce Willis Die Hard movies are no different from the Robin Williams tearjerkers. The first Die Hard was about a married man who needed the assurance that he was still important to his wife after she had gotten a job. Somehow, shooting up dozens of bad guys was more satisfying than remembering their anniversary or taking out the trash. It also affirmed his masculinity. The last Die Hard movie reflected similar insecurities after his little girl had grown up and left the nest.
(At least I hope it was the last Die Hard movie. I’m not sure I want to watch a decrepit Bruce Willis creaking around in search of affirmation from his grandchildren.)
What about the theater contrived by BP and their unindicted co-conspirators? Oh, it’s that Americans must be “weaned from oil” and that the best way to do this is to enact cap-and-trade legislation. Of course, that would mean switching to other means of creating energy, and it would mean employing something called “carbon credits.” This would really punish BP, wouldn’t it? Or would it?
BP has been pushing for cap-and-trade legislation all along. (Click here.) They’ve also lobbied for federal subsidies for the now-discredited biofuels as well as solar energy production. It’s no coincidence that BP is heavily invested in these areas, thus stand to profit big time from cap-and-trade legislation. (Click here.)
Isn’t that something like another work of literature you’ve read—the one in which Br’er Rabbit pleads with Br’er Fox, “Please don’t throw me into the briar patch”?
Let’s briefly look at another staged event: the September 11, 2001, false flag attacks.
The affirmation here is that Israel’s fight is America’s fight. What we weren’t told at the time is that the United States would be bleeding itself dry fighting Israel’s armed enemies while Israel would have the luxury of conducting genocide against Palestinian infants and other civilians; nor were we told that it would result in no-bid contracts for Cheney’s Halliburton, resulting in our paying $18,600 for $20 toasters or tens of billions of dollars for alleged services without having to show that the services were ever performed.
For more detail on what these no-win wars are really about, see the page “How Terrorism Really Works.”
How do the political manipulators transmit the narrative that impels people to work against their own interests? They do it through corporate-owned “news” sources. Not counting the Internet, some 96% of the “news” is filtered through six corporations. Most of their information comes from only two corporations: Reuters and the Associated Press. (Click here.)
Contrary to popular belief, newspapers, magazines, and news programs don’t compete with one another for readers and viewers; they compete for investors and advertisers. They’re also answerable to corporate owners, investors and bankers. . (To see the three-part series “How News Reporting Really Works,” click here, here, and here. For the companion article “Sometimes They Lie,” click here.)
In many movies and novels, the narrative is helped along by an expository character. The apparent purpose of an expository character is to explain to the main character how he should interpret what’s going on. From the author’s point of view, the expository character explains to the reader what’s going on and how he should interpret events. For the corporate media, the function of the expository character is filled by editorials, controlled talk shows, and commentary. But for them, readers and viewers may be tempted to draw their own conclusions.
That’s why the Gulf of Mexico became a no-fly zone and people were being arrested just for taking pictures. The manipulators wanted full control of the narrative and how it was interpreted.
We as Americans or as citizens of other countries should be on guard against the theater of contrived disasters and pat explanations. By the time a contrived disaster has occurred, the political manipulators will have already written all four acts of a four-act play. We don’t have to accept the ending.
Suppose we had asked ourselves on September 12, 2001, “Where is this leading, and is it in our best interests?” To put it another way, “If 9/11 had not taken place, would this still be in our best interest?”
If the answer is, “No,” then we know who the real terrorists were. They belong in prison for the rest of their lives.
We can ask the same questions about the contrived BP oil gusher, the avian flu scam, and a host of other contrived disasters. The power to lie and be believed is their most potent weapon against us. If we begin to ask ourselves what those 6,000 or so would-be autocrats are expecting us to accept and whether it really is in our best interests, then we will wield a far more potent weapon: the Truth. We outnumber them by a million to one; it will be their turn to be afraid.

"Let there be peace, and let it begin with me." The brotherhood of man transcends sovereignty of nations. May people of all religious faiths, nationalities and cultural groups pray together. Pray any day or every day. On November 1, the day before congressional elections, pray for the American people, rather than voting on the basis of political party or ideology, will vote for wise and virtuous leaders.