"Shock Doctrine's" Shocking Short Shrift

Carolyn Baker

I recently had the opportunity to view a lecture by Michael Parenti whom I consider a foremost expert on imperialism. Parenti began his lecture with the use of the word "stochasticism" which essentially means random, non-deterministic, based on conjecture or guess. A simpler way of summarizing it is, "stuff happens." It is, in fact, the polar opposite of "conspiratorial." In the lecture Parenti went on to criticize those who refuse to admit that the United States is imperialistic and who explain its imperial adventures around the world as something that "just happened." Generally, those in academia who rationalize U.S. imperialism are astute, incisive thinkers on other issues, so one is perplexed by the obtuseness they demonstrate around the topic of imperialism.

In the same way, I have been bewildered by a singular stochastic perspective of Naomi Klein in her brilliant, exhaustive, superbly-documented book The Shock Doctrine. In it Klein builds an intricate and convincing case for the use of various techniques of trauma applied to societies and individuals during the twentieth century and continuing into the current moment for the purpose of perpetrating what has become one of her hallmark phrases, "disaster capitalism" Yet two pages in the book left me aghast.

Invasion - A Comparison of Soviet and Western Media Performance

Nikolai Lanine & Media Lens


The writer Simon Louvish once told the story of a group of Soviets touring the United States before the age of glasnost. After reading the newspapers and watching TV, they were amazed to find that, on the big issues, all the opinions were the same. "In our country," they said, "to get that result we have a dictatorship, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. So what's your secret? How do you do it?" (Quoted, John Pilger, Tell Me No Lies, Random House, 2004, p.9)

It's a good question, one being asked by Nikolai Lanine who served with the Soviet Army during its 1979-1989 occupation of Afghanistan, but who now lives and works as a peace activist in Canada. Lanine has spent several years trawling through Soviet-era newspaper archives comparing the propaganda of that time with modern Western media performance.

Unemployed man starves himself to death

Dietmar Henning

Hans-Peter Z’s is not an isolated case. The constantly rising physical and psychological pressures and the rapid development of technology in the workplace mean many people aged over 50 find themselves pushed aside and dependent on welfare.

The demise of a 58-year-old unemployed man who deliberately starved himself to death in a remote hideout in the woods is both a personal tragedy and a devastating indictment of the current state of German society. It says more about conditions in Germany than all the pious speeches of professional politicians and academic studies into poverty and unemployment.

The emaciated body of Hans-Peter Z was discovered two weeks ago, in a forest area near Solling in Lower Saxony. It is estimated that Hans-Peter Z had already been dead for over two months. According to a police report he died after not eating for 24 days and drinking only a little water, while documenting his suffering in a diary.

The circumstances of his death and his diary entries indicate that he wanted his suicide to send out a message. According to the press reports available, his death was as calm and quiet as his previous life had been. Even if he had “only” wanted to draw attention to his personal fate, it is closely interwoven with the sorry state of society, which his suicide has now graphically illuminated.

Protecting Our Children in a World Gone Mad

Karin Friedemann

When I spent a year teaching 6-8 grade students in Detroit, Michigan, I had hoped that with my high ideals, I could influence the children to become thinkers, perhaps even sway them towards a Godly life. But I found a tragic situation. American children of today are seriously brain damaged from computer games, TV, movies and pop music. They have an attention span no longer than a commercial and if something is not flashing lights and making bleeping noises they have no interest in it. They have a huge problem translating their thoughts into written words and they have a hard time sitting still. They really require - and want - adults to manage their behavior.

Concerning sex education, it was painfully clear that there was nothing I could do for these kids, except maybe an occasional isolated miracle. How do you convince a girl not to date boys when her own mother goes out on dates? You and I know that she is too young to think about such things, but the fact is, by 6th grade these kids' minds are set into the pattern created by the mass media. It made me realize that you really have to focus on protecting your kids from a very young age and arm them with knowledge.

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