Kurt Nimmo's hit-piece on Mike Ruppert is a classic example of a wonderful little genre that everyone should try sometime. You pick a figure whose work is unusual, someone who doesn't fit into the mind-numbingly dull subculture of progressive activism. Adopt a tone of wry suspicion, resentful that someone has tried to deceive you with a scam that doesn't taste quite like the other scams (everything that doesn't eventuate in letters to indifferent legislators and an endless round of mass demonstrations "in the streets" is a scam). Next, accuse the person of having failed to offer the messianic holy grail that would rescue the public from the fascism we all deplore. Finally, having projected your own longings for that sort of strongman charisma onto the other guy, warn your readers that he is surely a megalomaniac, likely to foment a personality cult of some kind. Before serving, garnish with a sprinkling of contemptuous modifiers: "self described 9/11 investigator," "dubious information," "hawking his latest book." That book would be Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. |
I edited the book. I am the Assistant Managing Editor of Mr. Ruppert's website, www.fromthewilderness.com. That must be why I'm defending him! Yes, and the reason why I work in this organization is because I find its analysis compelling. Our approach to anti-fascist journalism seems to me much more useful than the discourse of plaintive longing that fills the pages of so many left-progressive publications I hate to love. Now back to the point. Kurt Nimmo is a smart writer whose piece on Ruppert is junk. It made it past Nimmo's own bullshit-detector because he is in pain. Every journalist does this now and again, and I think each of us should get a few pardons for this sort of thing before being written off as an irritable nonentity.
The article begins with the complaint that Ruppert is "stating the obvious"; not a crime, as the Nation, Mother Jones, and the Progressive can attest. For Nimmo, the trouble starts when Ruppert says things that aren't obvious:
Ruppert told the crowd to put their money, "or whatever cash we have left, into precious metals; that we must rid ourselves of debt, get out of the stock market and begin to think about a more self-sufficient living style. We must reduce personal consumption."
Said just like a wealthy Libertarian.
Esteemed colleagues, do your homework. Ruppert's website states clearly:
I support four fulltime employees who are dedicated activists and thrilled to be feeding their families as a result of doing work they love. I pay three editors (Hecht, Goff and Pfeiffer) and four freelance writers. In addition I buy many products from credible authors and activists and resell them, giving a large share of the revenue back to people who are thrilled to receive energy and financial support which makes them more effective and keeps them in the game.
Personally, I live in a studio apartment, drive a 9-year-old Ford and have lived for many years in poverty an animal might not recognize. I have no medical insurance, no retirement plan and every one of my employees will tell you that they have always gotten paid before I do and that I have many times forsaken my own paycheck to make sure that they got paid and were taken care of.
Perhaps when From The Wilderness makes it big and we're rolling in dough, that will somehow falsify everything we report. Americans are awash in private debt, dog-paddling with their credit cards in oceanic mortgages. The houses they don't really own are wildly overvalued. Their pensions have been looted by the same corporate sharks who are about to loot Social Security, precisely by moving the money into the stock racket. The "middle class" (who is that? Well, Nimmo writes, "the sort of people who have enough money to buy Ruppert's book") were motley fools to throw their meager assets into the dot-com bubble, and if the Republicrats have their way we will all do it again. I don't understand why we are not supposed to advise our subscribers to stay out of the stock market.
Let's say that through a combination of work, luck, and restraint I manage to save three thousand dollars in a year and a half of teaching, freelance writing, and selling books on eBay. If I put my egg in the stock market it is likely to disappear. If I keep it in a savings bank, the purchasing power will drain out of it as American manufacturing jobs drain into the Pacific - while murderous Uncle Sam infuriates his creditors with ham-fisted racist imperialism. If I buy a little silver or gold, I can barter with it or just wait out the coming Depression. Is that ok with everybody?
In the forty years since LBJ stepped over his predecessor's corpse (on the day of the funeral!) to escalate US troops levels through the roof in Vietnam, American dollars have changed. They are no longer backed by the gold of a robust economy that actually exports goods and services; they are backed by a global loan-sharking scheme - the full faith and credit of the Marines. Half a trillion dollars in CIA-protected narcotraffic is laundered though Wall Street every year, as Mike Ruppert told his audience in Seattle during the event Mr. Nimmo didn't like (he wasn't there). The polarization of wealth in this country (you've heard this a zillion times this year, and it's only January) is the result of domestic and international piracy. Good old Roger and Me remains a really good movie about it; many of us live in Flint Michigan-like hell holes and almost all of us see that socio-economic death's head getting closer. The game is rigged.
But for the moment you are managing to read this on a computer, because the US economy of financial speculation, ephemeral services, and wood chips has not yet been imploded by capital flight, debt default, and fuel prices. That debacle is coming down fast, and everybody who's paying attention knows that it will hit before 2008. The evidence and argumentation supporting this claim is all over the reality-based press, of which www.fromthewilderness.com is just one example. Nimmo is angry because he doesn't like to be told the hideous truth unless the messenger also has a magic solution to the crises he describes:
Mike offers no solution for people like me, living precariously near the economic periphery. As Mike apparently sees it, I am consigned to a fate of pushing a wheelbarrow down Main Street, piled with useless greenbacks to buy a loaf of bread, like German paupers of yore.
Exactly. Now would you like to start by fixing the busted wheelbarrow and learning to bake bread? Or shall we keep hoping that, say, John Kerry will pull a manufacturing economy out of his ear and give us jobs? Confronting the imminent collapse of the economy is not defeatism. We all know the Bush junta are bona fide fascists, and they are taking us over an economic and political waterfall. When the plunge comes (not decline: plunge), they are likely to activate provisions of Patriot I & II that are now just waiting in the toolbox, and it will get uglier than most of us dare to imagine. That is not how progressives talk, so I must be a right wing demagogue of some kind, right? If so, then you can dispose of me and my claims ad hominem. But nothing could be further from the truth. Mike Ruppert and I and our colleagues at From the Wilderness are Jeffersonian small-d democrats who espouse the rule of law, the G.I. bill, the New Deal, the Peace Corps, Hugo Chavez, publicly funded higher education and a tofu steak in every solar frying pan. But I'll eat the frying pan before I tell you that voting and marching are going to get us there.
For many Americans--an increasing number of Americans--Mike Ruppert offers nothing except scary predictions of "peak oil" and a weak palliative... Instead of urging political action, he tells Americans to invest in gold, sounding oddly like an investment banker or somebody from the gold industry. Ruppert may call Dick Cheney "a murderer," again stating the obvious, but offers no concrete solution for getting rid of such multiple and repeat felons beyond slimming down the consumption habits of middle class Americans in preparation for the Grapes of Wrath, the sequel. If he did offer other political alternatives, they were not mentioned in the article penned by Mike's agent, Ken Levine. But then, I suppose, to get the whole story we have to buy Mike's book.
Yes, or borrow a copy from a friend. The book has one thousand footnotes, so it will cost more to buy all the other books and journals and transcripts on which it bases its argument. Peak Oil is scary, I know. The more you actually know about it, the scarier it gets. It might even make you realize that FDR himself cannot conjure cheap and abundant energy out of nothing, and the shell game of "political action" is pointless when there is no natural gas to run the power grid. Cheney's solution is to kill other people and steal what little remains. The other solution is permaculture, local production, reduced consumption, increased community and social cooperation - which Mike Ruppert and our own Dale Allen Pfeiffer discuss all the time.
Having enjoyed some of Mr. Nimmo's previous work, I'm baffled at his decision to write this little article on no basis but Ken Levine's press release about a well-attended speaking event Ruppert gave in Seattle last week. Read www.fromthewilderness.com and the sites to which we link, and you'll appreciate the goofy irony of this little misunderstanding. You'll also have a clue about how to cope with what's coming. I close with a quotation from Nimmo's blog:
However, if the dog and pony show at Kane Hall is any indication, it would seem, more than anything, Mike Ruppert is a shameless huckster, more interested in selling books and forging a career than getting to the bottom on what really happened on September 11, 2001.
I defy you, dear reader, to find anyone on this planet who has done more than Mike Ruppert to discover and expose the truth about 9/11.