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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/22/10

A Disturbance in The Force

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In the first Star Wars, "A New Hope", Obi Wan Kenobi reacts to the destruction caused by the Imperial Death Star blowing up the planet Alderaan: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

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Here on Planet Earth something terrible has happened. Here The Empire does not possess Death Stars, but it does possess the same misaligned priorities as any other empire. Simply, to maintain and grow The Empire. And that happens at our expense. It literally happens with our money. It is the opposite of government of, by and for the people.

The Empire on Planet Earth can be expressed as the "Corporate Nation-State', where global corporations operate around and above the laws of any given nation-state, and that only when they're not writing the laws themselves. They are the proverbial bull in a china shop, powerful, reckless and uncaring, unaware of the deep hurt they cause, as they "see' only profits. Despoiled lands, factory farms, sweat shops, melting icecaps, broken lives - they see these things not-at-all, except as they potentially impinge on profits.

Since World War II,when the U.S. [and U.S. corporations] wrestled the mantle of Empire from the British, the United States Federal Government became the perfect "goon squad' and enabler of corporate power. We get platitudes during election cycles, and we get raped by policies that reduce real wages, ruin our ecosystems and destroy our communities once these folks are in office. After the boondoggle that was healthcare reform, the financial crisis and the Gulf Gusher [and tepid response], not to mention our constant wars, no reasonable person can surmise otherwise.

We need only to hear those who come to the defense of Goldman Sachs against substantive financial reform, those who defend BP's "accident' as though there was no negligence, or the champions of endless war to appreciate our tenuous position as citizens. Tenuous indeed.

And yet Empire is even more insidious than this. The global weapons trade business is fantastic in more ways than one. At a trillion dollars per year, it's the biggest single expenditure on the planet. And when we follow the money? We find some few profiting handsomely at our expense. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Government, true to form, continuously finds a bogeyman to justify the abhorrent behavior of violence. First the Russians and Cubans, then Serbs, Venezualans, and now "terrorists', who, if the situation were reversed, we would call "freedom fighters'. We even went after the people of Granada when The War Machine needed a diversion from domestic policies during the Reagan presidency.

The U.S. is not only the largest purveyor of weapons, it is the largest buyer of weaponry as well. Therefore the huge corporations [Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel, Aegis] who profit from the global paradigm of war, have as their prime objective the continued policies of war. Smells like Empire.

And, as Job One of Empire is to maintain control and grow more powerful, our options as a citizenry are decidedly small. Ideally, we vote for representatives who have the integrity to resist and reverse the inclination toward war. There are some few. But with the distracted and propagandized minds of our citizens vs. the money, power and influence of global corporations, our chances for success are not good. Democracy requires an educated citizenry - hardly likely where the corporations control the media.

As attested by Naomi Klein in "Shock Doctrine Economics", the more recent technique of the ruling elites leverages disasters to "privatize the profits, socialize the losses", the age old mantra of corporations and elites. There are dozens of examples showing how nation-state citizenry has been exploited in this way. New Orleans after Katrina comes to mind. A recent example was Goldman Sachs' hiding of Greece's debt, and then selling "shorts' where they gambled that Greece would default on its debt, a very inside game. Or how they got out of the US housing market after its collapse and got into global food derivatives, causing the 2008 food spike that cause starvation for perhaps 200 million in poor nations. But under the rules of Empire, completely legal.

The financial duress of nearly every nation-state on earth these days is by design. More disasters, more "capitalism". But it's not truly capitalism, because the biggest players make and distort the rules. There is no level playing field. Honest competition, like in sports or games, requires clear and just rules. So it's perfectly consistent that in every major area of commerce, there are but a few corporations in control. The healthcare system, the energy sector, the war machine, food production, the financial sector - all controlled by a handful of corporations. More privatizing profits and socializing costs - the antithesis of a healthy culture.

This, my friends, is what we, the people of Earth, are up against. It's actually a very old system, reaching back to emperors and dictators and early corporations like the East India Trading Company. Any old excuse will do for war, conquest, resource extraction and human subjugation. Only the scale has changed, as global corporations continue to consolidate power, but it has changed to our detriment.

We cannot defeat this system by fighting it. They have all the money, guns, media and influence. We defeat this system by replacing it, one decision at a time.

But first let's step back and consider "A Disturbance in the Force' a bit more clearly. From the perspective of Eternal Awareness, there are no disturbances. In God, in This Moment, All is One and the dance and drama that are part and parcel of being Here in no way impinge on the Peace of Stillness inherent in Eternal Awareness.

And yet, as people attempt to live out their lives, and find, for example, that their livelihood and local ecosystem are ruined for years and possibly decades to come, there is clearly a disturbance in The Force. As our individual or collective health fails, or as we fall into financial ruin due to the excesses of the corporate nation-state, there is clearly a disturbance in The Force here on Planet Earth.

While the status of the Gulf Gusher is in question, and even long after, we on Planet Earth suffer from a disturbance in The Force that is fatal to millions of creatures in the area, cataclysmic to local residents, and laden with ecological effects that may take centuries to heal. We clearly need a new system, a new methodology and roadmap for restoring health and balance to our systems of government and commerce. A way to heal the disturbance in The Force.

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Jim Prues is the Founder of World 5.0 and President of Panoptic Media. He understands that 'democracy is not a spectator sport.'

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