Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stealing a March on 2014

Two weeks ago, an office I was calling was already having their Christmas party, so I figure it’s not too soon to be talking about 2014.
Next year’s date probably doesn’t remind most on-line readers of anything in particular, whether we’re talking about the millennial generation or the baby-boomers. But for someone who was a child during World War II, 2014 inevitably calls up 1914, when the presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated in Sarajevo, setting off World War I. Today, we associate that city in the former Yugoslavia with the mass killing of Muslim men and boys by Serbs, as the country invented after that war fell apart. 

A hundred years ago the killing of one person started a war so savage that it ended with a shared vow: “Never again!”  And yet, that senseless butchery of thousands of young men in trenches by the newly invented machine gun merely paved the way for the use of other new technologies to assassinate Jews, Gays and Communists by the millions in Hitler’s crematoria.  This was followed by the dropping of two atom bombs in Japan, the Khmer Rouge killing by starvation or assassination between one and two million people, and on and on.

As the American media focuses tirelessly on the mid-term elections that will determine whether the needle on the political spectrum moves slightly left or right, it continues to turn its back on the struggle for equity marked indelibly by the milestone that followed 1914, 1917, the date of the Russian Revolution.

In the hundred years since 1917, notwithstanding two world wars and countless “minor” wars resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, humanity has failed to solve the problem of equity. Coming at the height of robber baron capitalism, the Russian Revolution gave rise to capitalism’s most extreme incarnation, fascism, the alliance of state and oligarchy to squelch popular demands for economic justice. Although Russian peasants were still living under a form of feudalism, the workers and peasants in Eastern Europe were scarcely better off, and the October Revolution spread briefly to Hungary and to heavily indebted post-war Germany, allowing Hitler’s rise.

In response, resigned to the fact that World War I had not been ‘the war to end all wars’, the liberal democracies banded together to protect their interests against those of a resurgent Germany. They sided temporarily with the Soviet Union in order to achieve this (nor could they have succeeded otherwise). However, the two sides in the alliance had different aims: the capitalist world didn’t want its pursuit of wealth subservient to Germany’s, while the communist regime didn’t want Hitler to turn back the clock to the time when oligarchs ruled. Given that dichotomy, the postwar world could only lead to a full fledged standoff between two systems that competed for the allegiance of third world client states.

Several important things happened over the next fifty years: the number of client states increased as Third World countries achieved independence from their colonial masters, Eastern Europe came out from under the Soviet grip, and the Soviet Union itself broke apart, leaving Moscow to complete Peter the Great’s Westernization and achieve a major power status that went beyond ICBM’s. Almost simultaneously China reached a level of development that put it too in the running for major power status, and the two former communist allies which had for a time been enemies, realized they again shared a common goal: the defeat of financial capitalism in favor of worldwide development that would not throw the socialist baby out with the Communist bathwater.

Largely under-reported by America’s mainstream media, China offers no-strings attached development aid to Latin America and Africa, while Russia challenges the United States in the oil-rich Middle East (though it has plenty of oil of its own, as well as a cornucopia of other precious minerals).  While Beijing acts as Washington’s banker of last resort, Russia burnishes its legal and civil credentials, with one big advantage over its lesson-giving rival: Russia’s executive is closer to FDR’s than Obama’s. While gradually developing the ‘rule of law’ and ‘representative democracy’, Putin doesn’t have to coddle a Duma intent on sabotaging his Presidency, and he has the power to keep his oligarchs in check.  His relationship with the later is not only about power, but about a determination that consumption not become the supreme value, nor eliminate old fashioned morality.  In response to attacks by radical Islamists from Russia’s periphery, Putin supports a modernization that is compatible with family values  - as important in Islam as in other religions. This gives him a decided advantage in the Muslim world, whose opposition to ‘the West’ is precisely about life-style and morality.

What does all this bode for 2014? The strife in the Muslim world should be viewed as one overarching phenomenon, even if each country is unique. It is a systemic upheaval in which the antagonism between the haves and the have-nots overlaps with a conflict between secular and religious world views, that is likely to require at least one generation to overcome. In that respect, 2014 also harks back to another fateful date in the teens: 1517, when Martin Luther posted his critique of Catholicism on the door of a church in Germany, setting off what would become the Protestant Reformation. As I’ve written before (, I do not believe it to be far-fetched to describe the what is happening in the Muslim world as a sort of Reformation.  The Christian Reformation coincided with the Renaissance, when modern science was born. Today, many Muslims, while not rejecting science, condemn the society that it has inspired. 

If a hundred years from now humanity is able to look back with more hope than we have today, it will be partly thanks to a worldwide questioning of that society’s lifestyle that threatens the planet.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Conversation with Fidel Castro after JFK's Assassination

Taking advantage of my dual U.S./French citizenship, in the summer of 1963 I flew to Cuba on a dare from the French photo-weekly Paris-Match to do a ‘portrait’ of Fidel Castro.  After the story was published, lavishly illustrated with photos of Fidel scuba-diving by the French photographer Roger Pic, I was invited back, having momentarily broken a Western anti-Cuba mold that began with the 1959 revolution and was exacerbated by the Missile Crisis the year before.
While making arrangements with an Italian publisher for the book I wanted to write (were the barbudos Communists before they made the revolution or not?), I was interning at Paris-Match.  We had just put the week’s issue to bed when news came of President Kennedy’s death.  We stayed up all night redoing the magazine, and I made up my mind to cash in my open invitation as soon as possible.

A week later I was on a flight to Havana from Prague.  As sometimes happened in those days, the plane developed engine trouble and we spent two days in cold, rainy Shannon, Ireland, the wheel of French cheese I was bringing for Fidel smelling up my hotel room.  Fidel’s doctor, friend and tireless aide de camp, Commandante Rene Vallejo, met me at the airport and took charge of the cheese.  A few days later, he and Fidel, plus a couple of security guards, woke me at 1 a.m. at the Habana Libre.

About ten days before the Kennedy assassination, Fidel had met with French journalist Jean Daniel, editor of l’Observateur (now Le Nouvel Observateur), and reports of that meeting had held out the hope of a truce with Kennedy.  (Eighteen years and I got into an argument with Daniel over socialist France’s new-found fascination with the United States - but that’s another story.)

In the fifty years since JFK’s assassination, including my ten-year stay in the U.S. in the seventies, and the thirteen years since I returned again, I’ve never had the impression that the American public was aware of what we Europeans had found so tragic: that JFK’s death came shortly after that fateful meeting with a prominent French journalist to whom Castro had entrusted a message for the American president (or maybe it was the other way around, memory fails me on this point today).  

Anyway, here was I sitting on the edge of my sofa-bed in my bathrobe as four men with beards found chairs and lit up their cigars.  They had just come from watching the Italian film ‘Divorce Italian Style’ and Fidel was imitating Mastroianni’s rendition of the maritally handicapped husband’s tics.

If I had thought we would zero in on the assassination of the American president, I was mistaken - as was often the case when trying to predict what the Cuban leader would do.  He made relatively short shrift of the subject:

“Kennedy was an enemy that we knew.  But Johnson has to think about the elections.”

I interjected: “That’s why I’m worried that he might do something spectacular that would put him on an equal footing with the Republicans.”

Fidel disagreed: “He’s trying to win over the liberals.  I don’t think he’ll try an invasion.”  He was glad that the Cuban consulate in Mexico happened to deny Oswald a Cuban transit visa to travel to the Soviet Union.  Had the visa been granted, the accusations against the ‘Castro-Communists’ would have been a lot more worrisome.

Vallejo mentioned a UPI report that Oswald had made a previous trip the Soviet Union for the CIA.

And that was that.  What Fidel really wanted to talk about was cyclone Flora, that had devastated the island a few weeks earlier.  He wanted me to be sure to hear about  it from those most affected.  The next day I viewed the newsreels showing the barbudos participating in the relief efforts, before going on a tour of the island with Alberto Korda.  You can read all about this and other events that took place during the year 1963-64 in my book ‘Cuba 1964: When the Revolution was Young’.  Pictures from my Cuban archive are on-line at

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Privatization of the World

Each day brings fresh revelations of aberrant human behavior on the part of the 1%, followed by on-line petitions, demonstrations and appeals to intelligence or good conscience. At some point, activists must come to the realization that their actions cannot bring meaningful results because the behaviors they wish to correct are not exceptions but part of an overarching new normal.
Take for example the intensive lobbying on the part of American private prison companies to increase sentences for non-violent crimes.  The privatization of activities that were hitherto the purview of government, or were regulated by government, or were at least required to conform to national or international laws, are part of a massive, coordinated, plan to harness all human activity for the benefit of a few. Governments to whom petitions are addressed provide merely a semblance of control. 

The twentieth century saw the birth of fascism, an extreme form of capitalism in which the state is allied with a corporate oligarchy.  Hitler and Mussolini were defeated in World War II, but having discovered the goose that lays the golden egg, i.e., state-sponsored private enterprise, corporations have become so powerful that they no longer need a dictator to protect their activities. What President Eisenhower dubbed the military/industrial complex is now a many-headed hydra. Under the Reagan administration, it added finance, then George Bush continued Richard Nixon’s attack on legality by inventing the ‘unitary executive’; finally, under law professor Barack Obama the Imperial Presidency morphed into 21st century fascism, whose aim far outstrips that of Hitler’s crowd. They merely wanted to ‘rule’ the world: the one percent would privatize all activity in every conceivable area of human endeavor across the entire planet for profit.

The impossibility of achieving this through military means  was clear almost as soon as Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled, so while coping as best they could with the Pandora’s box of occupation, the Neo-Cons launched the Tea-Party to disrupt government at home, while crafting a diabolical plan to pimp the world using seemingly peaceful means. We’ll probably never know whether the 2008 financial debacle was a conspiracy, but one thing is certain: it created economic mayhem in our closest economic rival, Europe, which also offered its workers benefits that Americans might someday demand for themselves. Forced to implement ever greater austerity measures that have turned the welfare state upside down, stocking popular revolt, governments were finally offered a way out: their signatures on overarching treaties with the United States that would put paid to solidarity. The one intended to harness the Pacific community to America’s aims is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the one that will discipline Europe is the Trans-Atlantic Free trade Agreement (TAFTA). Drafted with major inputs from transnational corporations, they spell out the means by which the goals of the international 1% are to be implemented.

As I wrote in The Fatal Loneliness of American  Exceptionalism, “for centuries, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans kept the United States isolated from the give and take between neighbors on other continents. America remained alone and proud of it, interacting with other nations only to ensure that they served our needs, bought our products and agreed with our definition of freedom.“ Now, as the BRICS countries, led by China and Russia, increasingly threaten America’s lone superpower status,  it has codified these obligations.

Here are some slightly edited excerpts from an October paper on TAFTA by Global Research:
“There is growing concern that the negotiations could open Europe’s floodgates to GMOs and shale gas (fracking),  threaten digital and labor rights and empower corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regula-tions which they dislike.
Recognition by the EU and the US of each others’ rules and regulations could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The US wants all so-called barriers to trade, including controversial regulations protecting agriculture, food and data privacy, to be removed. The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.
The European public does not want these things. Europeans want powerful corporations to be held to account and their practices regulated by elected representatives whom they trust to protect the public good. Under pretext of a legally binding treaty, TAFTA (would allow) corporations to impose unpopular and dangerous policies rejected by the democratic process.
Corporate demands include an ambitious liberalization of agricultural trade barriers with as few exceptions as possible. The lobbying group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies, Unilever, Kraft, NestlĂ©, etc. supported by feed and grain giants Cargill, Bunge, ADM, the agribusiness lobby COPA-COGECA, and the biotech industry on both sides of the Atlantic, are pushing for acceptance of low levels of unapproved genetically modified crops.  
The report also warns that the agreement could open the floodgates to multi-million Euro lawsuits from corporations who could challenge a country’s laws if they affect their bottom line. 
According to Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory and author of A Transatlantic Corporate Bill of Rights :
“The proposed investor rights show what the transatlantic trade deal is really about: It’s a power grab by corporations to rein in democracy and handcuff governments that seek to regulate in the public interest. It’s only a matter of time before European citizens start paying the price in higher taxes and diminished social protection.
“Where is the democracy surrounding this proposed TAFTA? Where is ordinary people’s protection from the ‘free’ market corporate-financial cabals that ultimately drive global economic policy and geo-political strategies? TAFTA is little more than a corporate power grab that pretends to promote growth, freedom, harmony and job creation.”
And French political activist Michel Collon adds:
“Under the treaty it would be illegal to tax financial trans-actions, prevent banks from speculating with depositors’ money, limit the size of companies, regulate imports and exports of oil and natural gas in order the protect the environment. Government power over education, health and public services would be curtailed, Big Pharma would be able to block generic drugs, internet providers could legally spy on us, trash content and even deprive us of access.”
As part of a worldwide plan, these agreements are not only detrimental to American workers. Unfortunately, even independent news sources cannot bring themselves to tell them that their foreign counterparts are in the same leaky boat as they are, therefore depriving them of jobs will not be a solution. As environmental threats pile onto economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Americans to widen their access to news: France 24 gives daily, detailed coverage of events in Europe, Africa and the Far East, while RT devotes considerable air-time to under-reported American news, international finance, the BRICS countries, and Latin America. Together they reveal the rich tapestry of a world that Americans only hear about when their leaders decide they ‘require’ intervention, but whose reality informs what happens to them.  
In 2000, the Andean peasants of Bolivia successfully defeated attempts by international water companies to tax their life-giving resource, ultimately bringing Evo Morales to the presidency. The question now is whether together, the citizens of the world, coming from widely different cultures and political traditions, will be able to defeat the ultimate threat to freedom and solidarity: the total privatization of their lives for profit.  The first step is to resist the temptation to focus on individual aberrations. This drains energy from the one big fight that determines all the rest: that against the international military/industrial/financial complex.  
Americans need to realize that on-line petitions are mere irritants to the system - the externalities of doing business. Recent revolts in places as different as Turkey and Brazil against the consumer society indicate a much greater level of awareness of what is at stake than exists currently in the United States. Americans are still divided over a health care reform that is still far from universal coverage, while the rest of the world considers it an aberration for education and health to be privatized.  This dichotomy shows that the best investment American activists can make of their time and efforts is to join with their counterparts in Europe and Asia to scuttle TAFTA and TPP.  If implemented, these two treaties will form the legal and structural basis for even more aberrant power behavior in every area of human life, therefore priority should be given to defeating them, rather than opposing  the individual ways in which the power structure sells humanity down the river. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why is US Relief Taking So Long?

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines a week ago and it is only now that the US military announces it is sending help.

Notwithstanding the Asian Pivot, that must include dozens of ships in the region, the response has been shockingly slow. (The typhoon had been forming since November 3rd...)

Yesterday the Philadelphia Metro signaled that once sailors returned from shore leave a US ship in nearby Hong Kong would take off for the disaster. Once they returned? Really? What happened to urgent recall of all personnel?

With climate disasters set to increase, Washington should be thinking about increased preparedness: this is one area where it can still shine - if it wants to.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why Do I Write About The Big Picture?

I recently read that only 5% of Americans are interested in foreign affairs, and I believe that astonishing figure goes far toward explaining why we have been traipsing across the world in big boots for so long. The 'international community' our Presidents invoke to justify intervention appears to be coalescing in opposition to that behavior, so Americans need to start paying attention to daily events beyond our borders.

Forget about the butterfly wings flapping in Mexico that impact Siberia. What happens from day to day in the 200 countries Americans share the planet with have a direct - and newly cumulative - bearing on our daily lives: whether taxes go up or down, whether social security is solvent, whether schools are repaired, immigrants welcomed or deported - and especially, whether we will continue to dominate those 200 countries with the most awesome military and spying technologies the world has ever seen.

Rather than the butterfly, it’s useful to think in terms of phase transitions. A phase transition is a magic moment when a trend that was gathering pace reaches a tipping point and changes direction, whether for better or worse. The problems we face are disparate trends all leading eventually to phase transitions, but also, interacting and hence affecting each others phase transitions.

Another useful notion derived from modern physics is that the arrow of time is irreversible: once a trend takes off, it keeps going in the same direction until it reaches a phase transition. That is why when a political opposition campaigns for peaceful change, it rarely succeeds. It take a sustained acceleration of energy through a system to provoke a phase transition, or bifurcation. Examples are 1917 Russia, when the Mensheviks failed to obtain gradual, ‘civilized’ change and the more determined, better organized Bolsheviks imposed it by force. This also happened in Depression era Germany, where the social democrats capitulated to highy organized and energized Nazis.

The United States is witnessing a monumental phase transition from uncontested world power to has been, as one diplomatic blunder after another bring its ‘Atlantic’ partners closer to the point of view of former ‘Third World’ nations whose voices are poised to carry the day in international fora.

America’s decline is occurring more rapidly that its ascent. I cannot advise you on how to cope with it, but I will continue to report and analyze the sea changes that constitute its daily markers.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sea Changes V, Vi, VII and VIII

When Larry King signed on to RT, Vladimir Putin’s international television channel that broadcasts in English, Spanish and Arabic, one could rationalize that the aging TV personality may not have found another opportunity in the US after leaving CNN.

But now Donald Trump goes to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant and reveals plans to build a second Trump Tower.

And while that was happening, Germany and Brazil, whose leaders were among those spied on by the NSA, submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly calling for internationally recognized rights to privacy.

If anyone is still wondering whether a new international configuration is taking shape (led by China, Russia, and the other BRICS nations, including Brazil), they need only to consider that during a Florida fund raiser President Obama wondered if it still made sense to maintain the Cuban embargo put in place when he was a toddler.

A few years ago lifting the Cuban embargo might have sufficed to save America’s reputation. But now, while it will of course benefit the Cubans, it’s too little too late to save the Empire.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some Myths Never Die

What if the myth of American exceptionalism were linked to an insane idea? According to “A report based on a secret NSA document and published this week in Der Spiegel and the Sydney Morning Herald, has named a number of cities in which Asian embassies have been used for electronic surveillance by a group of intelligence partners known as the "Five Eyes". The US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are bound by a written intelligence-sharing agreement. The embassies allegedly involved in the spying spree are [those in] Jakarta, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia, among others.

Can spying by five AngloSaxon eyes be explained merely by their geographically justified interest in ‘Oriental’ Asian countries? Or does this juxtaposition hark back to a 150 year belief in ‘Aryan superiority’ as documented in James Bradley’s 2005 book ‘The Imperial Cruise’?

Bradley’s account uses a 1905 Pacific junket organized by then President Theodore Roosevelt as pretext for an investigation into a little-known pillar of American foreign policy, the myth of the superiority of the ‘Aryan’ race. This deleterious idea did not begin with Hitler, as most Americans believe, but goes back several centuries and has played a major role in the foreign policy of both Great Britain and the United States.

You have to read Bradley’s book to get the details, but let me just divulge here that in the early twentieth century Japan set out to prove that it was unlike the other Asian ‘barbarians’ by industrializing and adopting American ways, ultimately being seen by Washington as Honorary Aryans. So strong was his belief that the United States backed Japan in its epic 1904 war with white but non-Aryan and non-Protestant Russia over Manchuria.

One might think this crazy idea would have died a natural death since the second world war, but if it did, why are five ‘Aryan’ countries spying on a list of Asian nations to this day? And for that matter, is ‘the West’s’ battle with Islam partly a prolongation of the old myth of Aryan superiority that was brutally challenged when non-Aryans took on the bastion of White supremacy on 9/11?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

America's Finlandization of Europe

As Edward Snowden prepares to tell the German leaders everything he knows about American spying, and considers the possibility of moving his asylum from Moscow to Berlin, it’s time to take a retrospective look at Europe’s relations with Russia.

During the Cold War, Washington incessantly warned Europeans that even if Soviet tanks didn’t come rolling across the Central plain, the continent would be neutralized, as happened to Finland. For decades that country felt it had to avoid challenging its powerful neighbor, the Soviet Union, thus limiting its ability to pursue a truly independent foreign policy. (During that period social democratic Finland rose to become one of the most prosperous countries in the world…)

Somehow, pundits on both sides of the Atlantic warned, doughty Moscow was going to draw the prosperous, hip countries of Western Europe into its orbit and lock them away behind an Iron Curtain. Reagan wanted to install ‘defensive’ Pershing missiles in West Germany; if fired, they would have destroyed the heart of Europe in order to ‘save’ it from Communism. That insane project fortified the peace movements on both sides of the Iron Curtain and in a few short years led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emancipation of the rest of Eastern Europe, and less than a year later, to the formal reunification of Germany’s two halves.

Notwithstanding this truly earth-shattering event, which no recognized pundit foresaw (I did, in my book ‘Une autre Europe, un autre Monde’ which came out on the day the Berlin Wall fell), the governments of Europe stuck with Washington (those of the Eastern half being the most pro-American, even though Washington had not lifted a finger to liberate them). After 9/11, their osmosis with Uncle Sam led them to throw decades of strict banking regulations to the winds and buy into Wall Street’s Financial Follies. In 2008, the world’s largest economy was decapitated, along with its welfare system that included month-long vacations, maternity leave and a host of minor benefits that Americans could not even dream of.

Meanwhile, Russia got through the Yeltsin years, during which Western financiers got richer on the backs of its citizens, finally inventing a new power-sharing system between a law professor and a former KGB agent. The musical chairs between Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, who have alternated in the roles of President and Prime Minister, elicit condescending remarks from American pundits. But is this arrangement any less ‘democratic’ than alternations between the American Democratic and Republican parties which nowadays can hardly be told apart?

Under its duopoly, Russia’s involvement with Europe is not limited to supplying gas: besides being a member of the Council of Europe, (along with Ukraine and Azerbaijan, while the United States is only an observer...), Russian teams play European football, soccer, hockey, etc. (The Union of European Football Association includes Russia, Kazakstan, Moldova, Bela Rus and Ukraine....) While all this can be seen as a post-Communist friendly Finlandization (or the realization of Mikhail Gorbachev’s dream of ‘a common European home’), is it pure coincidence that it should come on the heels of a truly devastating American Finlandization of Europe.

The 2008 crash was no self-contained event from which the continent, five years on, is recovering. It put an end to a system that had provided its people with ever-broader support for everything from education to old-age care (known pejoratively as cradle-to-grave welfare) since the end of World War II.

The United States did not turn Europe into a battlefield, or even bring it under its direct control, as the Soviet Union supposedly aspired to do: it used the international financial system it controls to destroy a superior way of life built up over half a century. And following Edward Snowden’s revelations as to the extent and depth of America’s secret aggressions, Europe is increasingly likely to gravitate toward Russia and the other BRICS countries, leaving the United States to console itself with the conviction that the rest of the world hates it for its freedoms.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Luck Running Out

George' Clooney's 2005 film 'Good Night, and Good Luck', a tribute to the great journalist, Edward R. Morrow, who signed off with those words, should be shown again.

   Morrow was CBS's star newsman.  His boss William Paley, did not interfere with editorial decisions, but would "not allow editorial decisions' to bring down the network.  When Morrow denounced Joseph McCarthy, for conducting a veritable witch hunt against supposed Communists, Paley riled but stood behind him.

  Morrow felt compelled to break with the media's uncritical coverage of Congress's anti-communist crusade when the Air Force dismissed a pilot on grounds that his immigrant father had subscribed to a foreign newspaper, supposedly making the young man a security risk. His principled stance eventually led to McCarthy's downfall, and the film closes with a shot of President Eisenhower reminding Americans that "we have habeus corpus' and no one can take that from us.

A year after Clooney's film was released, in 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Patriot Act, eliminating habeus corpus for those suspected of terrorism - or, in an eery throwback to the airman's father - of associating with terrorist suspects. Seven years later, the corporate media maintains an obedient, united front against Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and a growing cohort of whistle-blowers.

  In the films' final take, Morrow maintains that television could be a powerful educational tool, but he was not heard in the big three boardrooms.  CNN came on the scene in 1980 with the desire to do better, but with Ted Turner's ouster, it became just another spin machine.  Neither the print media nor mainstream telelvision acknowledge the existence of foreign networks such as Al-Jazeera, France 24 or RT, hence most Americans haven't a clue as to what the rest of the world is thinking, doing or wanting.

  Publlc ignorance has led to a situation that even the most astute observers would have deemed impossible just six months ago: Edward Snowden is weighing whether to swap his Moscow asylum for Berlin, or testify remotely about NSA spying on the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The arrow of time, combined with the acceleration of energy within the world system is moving it toward a bifurcation point that signals a change of era.  Notwithstanding Morrow's fervent wishes, our luck is running out.