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Tereza Coraggio

Third Paradigm is an out-of-the-box thinktank on community sovereignty and regenerative economics.

We look at how to take back our cities, farmland and water; our money, production and trade; our media, education and culture, our religion and even our God.

We present a people's history of the Bible and a parent's view on how to raise giving kids in a taking world.

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Past Shows


911: Making a Killing

May 31, 2009

3P-029 Show Information (includes MP3 download link)

Welcome to the 29th episode of Third Paradigm, entitled 911: Making a Killing. This week, I interviewed Richard Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth, where Richard presents evidence that 911 was a controlled demolition. His allegations have been ridiculed and denied by the administration. You can listen to my interview with Richard at the end of this show. But no one has refuted his proof points, or offered an alternative theory to refute his conclusions. Evidence is a very mild-mannered word for something so sobering. In coming face-to-face with it, you have to find a way to internalize it and change your whole worldview. As Richard says, you have to deal with it. You can't just walk away. What "it" is is the conclusion, as much as it seems like a bad movie, that a group of corporate executives plotted the deaths of 3000 other Americans to further their own profit. And that those people are completely in control of the highest levels of our government, when they aren't the highest levels of government themselves. If they would kill 3000 fellow citizens, what wouldn't they do? Suddenly, rescuing democracy and curbing corporate power isn't a game anymore. It's something that we have to realize is deadly serious.

[Richard Gage – 9/11 Blueprint for Truth]

Who are "they," the mysterious omnipotent "they" we're always referring to? If there is such a "they" plotting world domination, they were to be found, or rather not found, in Athens for a weekend in May. Charlie Skelton, reporter for The Guardian, writes,

"I'm flying out to Athens for no reason at all. To have a holiday I don't deserve and can't really afford. Maybe catch a little sunstroke, grab some food poisoning, and come home. Pointless. Unless, of course, the rumours are true. Unless, as a handful of people are saying, this weekend is Bilderberg. The yearly alignment of the distant stars that shape our destiny.

A long weekend at a luxury hotel, where the world's elite get to shake hands, clink glasses, fine-tune their global agenda and squabble over who gets the best sun loungers. I'm guessing that Henry Kissinger brings his own, has it helicoptered in and guarded 24/7 by a CIA special ops team. If it's happening at all, Kissinger will be here. David Rockefeller will be here. Presidents of banks, and chairmen of boards. The Ben Bernankes and Condoleezza Rices of this world. Heads of oil companies, media magnates, the Queen of the Netherlands and Peter Mandelson. Probably Ben Bernanke, possibly David Cameron. Politicians and financiers from all five corners of the globe (don't let them tell you there are four). And me."

Skelton, however, gets no closer than photographing a passing hubcap and is hauled into a Greek police station for his trouble. By the end, the overkill of security – being shadowed by undercover cops he brings bottled water to – ends up unnerving him. If there's not something dastardly and underhanded going on, why all the secrecy? Isn't that what they retort when we object to wire-tapping? If you don't have something to hide, why do you care?

It's time to stop being politically correct and get serious. When "they" at Bilderberg are less than 50, and we who are excluded are 330 million in this country alone, why do we go along with it? 5 billion people in the world are forced with violence to go along with it, and even at that, they're resisting. I'm counting the 80% of the world that lives on 14% of what the world produces, which means what they produce, since we, the 20% that consume 86%, don't produce. We, the 330 million, aren't subjected to violence if we talk about it, blog about it, take back our media to broadcast it. 50 people couldn't rule the world without our acquiescence, from the Greek policeman, to the dad in Dallas directing killing drones to their targets, to the Guantanamo psychologist, to the personable crew maybe fixing the elevator and eating in the cafeteria while setting up the World Trade Center detonators. All of these are people who are just doing their jobs. Except for the Bilderberg 50 no one's making a killing financially by making a killing. Yet we're all going along with it, and not just with our jobs but with every dollar we spend, every word we say, every media message we assimilate. None of us would sell a child's life to get a TV, but Peter Singer has an essay where he shows that we do just that, indirectly, all the time.

We'll look at how our underlying ideology has been manipulated to let us do as a society what would be unthinkable for us to do as individuals. But first, let's break for a song by Arcade Fire called the AntiChrist Television Blues.

[Arcade Fire – AntiChrist Television Blues]

That was Arcade Fire, a great indie band out of Montreal, with the AntiChrist Television Blues from their Neon Bible CD. Thanks to my friends Ernest Gusella and Tomiyo Sasaki from my hometown of Cumberland MD for that recommendation. Ernest writes, "It mashes together 911, child exploitation for sex, and religion in a wonderful off-the-wall manner." Ernest and Tomiyo convince me that you can go home again, and it might have changed as much as you did in the meantime. So now that we understand the depth of the problem, we'll read a poem as a strategy to rescue social activism. This is Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson. The music is Michael Hedges with Because It's There.

[Michael Hedges –Because It's There ]

* * * * * * *

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~
From There's a Hole in my Sidewalk

I'd like to apply Portia Nelson's Autobiography in Five Chapters to social activism in the US. Has anyone else noticed that we keep falling into holes in the sidewalk? And that whenever we get out of one, through an enormous mobilization like the election of Obama, we fall right into another? In a room full of activists there are as many causes as people in the room, any one of which can consume all the free time and spare change you can muster. It can also consume every spare breath, as is evident in the frequent scramble for soapboxes in the room.

These multi-agenda meetings often include an admonition to play nice, and try not to cannibalize other organizations. Each group is trying to get more members devoted to their cause, more people to donate more money, more people to sign petitions, more people marching or writing to Congress. Or just get more people doing more of something – follow your passion. It doesn't matter what you do – if we all tackle the issue closest to our own heart, it'll add up to a movement. Isn't this just falling into the hole from different directions? What we're doing isn't working, so that's why we need to do more of it, goes the logic. If you do the same thing again and again even though you get a result you don't want, isn't that the definition of insanity?

There's one thing on which all the different groups agree – it not our fault! It's the government, the corporations, the rich, the evil, the corrupt. At the conference to rescue democracy and curb corporate power, I asked a question. If there's only a handful of them benefiting from these policies and all the rest of us are on the other side, why are they winning? One answer that came back was that we need to give more, do more, and wise up. Another person differed, and cited Paul Hawken's book, Blessed Unrest, showing that we're part of the largest social movement in history. This movement is unprecedented in its scope, but is decentralized and has no clear leaders. But for all of these mini-movements or movement-ettes, at least in the US, there's still no evidence that we're winning. We're still falling into the hole in the sidewalk. Are we pretending we don't see the hole?

[Paul Hawken – Blessed Unrest]

All we're up against is a handful of greedy corporate execs and corrupt politicians. Maybe the hole we're falling into is trying to find someone to blame so we can say that it's not our fault. We could admit that a few old guys aren't really controlling all of us. We could do whatever we wanted if we decided together what that was. Decentralized is good, no one leader is good, but we should, as Julia Ward Howe said, leave all that's left of hearth and agenda and come together for a great year of counsel. Let 2009 be the year of strategy. Let's keep talking until we find the purpose we all share and can define it in a sentence, so the smallest child can recite it as our own pledge of allegiance. If each person is going to pursue their own passion, let's first know how it fits within the whole (and if it does) rather than falling into the hole together. We don't need a hierarchy, but we do need a common purpose, a network and a strategy. We need to know how to prioritize our time and our money. We need to find our common ground.

At the conference, there was a woman named Riki Ott who lived in the vicinity of the Exxon Valdez spill. For years, she worked within the Alaskan community helping to bring various factions together – Republicans and Democrats, fishing villages and small businesses. As Naomi Klein predicts, as soon as the fisheries were dealt the shocking blow of the oil spill, the sharks started to circle. Lumber interests were glad to help out. Wal-Mart could bring in jobs. Maybe more oil and gas exploration was the answer. As the community struggled to define itself in the midst of this onslaught, Ott observed how they did it and what worked. She also realized that coming together to work on a solution was a healing process. And so she started going around the country to various communities and sharing what they had learned through their trial by oil muck.

[Dr. Riki Ott, author of Not One Drop – the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill]

She explained one of their most successful techniques, the community unity exercise. First, dedicate at least three hours. There's no such thing as microwavable ready-in-seconds community. Then form circles of 10, including children 12 or older. Give every person three pieces of paper and a pen. On the first paper, write the word VALUES, on the second VISION, and on the third, ACTION. Under Values, give three minutes to write your answer to "What do you like about living in your community?" Under Vision, answer "What do you want to be different in 20 years?" And under Action, "What steps would you take to make the changes?" One at a time, go through each member of the group's answer, with one person as scribe, putting a check by shared answers. Pool the results with all groups, categorizing them as economic, social or environmental capital.

In Riki's experience, this helped people to focus on what they shared in common rather than differences. They were able to articulate why some economic plans, although they brought in much-needed income, conflicted with their values and what they wanted to preserve for the next generation. They could also build a common vision and come up with a strategy for collective action. More information can be found on her website WILPF is also planning to bring Riki Otts back to Santa Cruz to lead this workshop.

We'll now break for a song by Thievery Corporation called The Passing Stars. When we return, I'll talk about George Lakoff and his opinion of why, when there are 100 million of us for every 1 of the Bilderberg 50, they're still winning.

[Thievery Corporation – The Passing Stars]

So why, if the vast majority of us are on the same side, are we losing? UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff has this answer:

"Conservatives understand what unites them, and they understand how to talk about it, and they are constantly updating their research on how best to express their ideas. They build infrastructure, they build TV studios, hire intellectuals, hire research assistants for their intellectuals so they do well on TV, and hire agents to put them on TV. They have 1500 conservative radio talk show hosts. They sponsor professorships and thinktanks where the professors can lecture and write articles. Republicans have a 500-page manual written each year by a guy named Frank Luntz who goes issue by issue on what the logic of the position is from the Republican side, what the other guy's logic is, how to attack it, and what language to use. Most importantly, they coach them on how to frame the debate and put liberals on the defensive."

According to Lakoff, the conservative worldview is based on a strict father model who teaches his kids right from wrong through painful discipline. The good people, who become successful, are the disciplined people. Wealth is a measure of self-discipline, and the government is there to protect, maintain order, administer justice, and promote business. The progressive worldview, on the other hand, is modeled on a nurturant parent family, involving empathy, protection of the weak, inclusiveness, fairness, and responsibility towards those less fortunate. Its highest value is helping individuals who need help. The purpose of the government is to provide a social safety net and take care of those in need, not at the expense of the Bilderberg 50 but of the struggling for self-reliance 330 million.

To take Lakoff a step further, this is what I call Big Daddy Democracy. And now that we have Big Daddy Democracy in Congress and the White House, where has it gotten us? A $2.7 Billion military budget for Israel, increased by $225 million for killing over 1000 civilians. A pending trade deal with a tax haven. A quagmire in Afghanistan. Murder by drone in the Middle East. Bailouts for those who should be posting bail. War crime cover-ups with evidence withheld. Glaring incongruencies that implicate the Bush administration in the greatest act of cold-blooded, premeditated terrorism ever committed against US citizens, and no one bothering to investigate. If Richard Gage is presenting false evidence or drawing the wrong conclusion, why is no one answering him, except for a few snide snickers and catcalls?

Our closing song is Gimme Some Truth, a cover of John Lennon's classic by Pearl Jam. The song by Thievery Corporation is from Causes 1: a CD on the Waxploitation label that benefits Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam America. This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm. Thanks to Skidmark Bob for production, editing, and music, and to Richard Gage for the interview on Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth.

[Pearl Jam – Give Us Some Truth]

* * * * * * *

Richard Gage Interview

Tereza Coraggio interviews Richard Gage

Richard Gage, the founder of Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth. Reports on his more-than-compelling evidence that 911 was a controlled demolition, and the staggering implications of that.

And does Bilderberg - the clandestine meeting of uber-elite in Athens - have anything to do with it?

Listen to the Interview

Show Information (includes MP3 download link)

Thanks for listening.