Permanent War Is Bad for You

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But It’s So Good for Business; What Can We Do?

I wonder if the American dedication to permanent war over the past quarter century worries you as much as it does me. And it’s looking more permanent every day, as if the country had developed a bellicose addiction. It comes in colors: black ops, pre-emptive strikes, war by false flags, war by proxies, mercenary wars. What to do about it? I’ll do what I normally do, write it up, in the vain hope that someone will at least notice the absurdity and injustice of the situation.

I’ve got some specific concerns regarding this “Permawar” business.  Permanent war means victims every day, victims of all flavors, young and old, saints and sinners, most every type of person in fact, except politicians and war profiteers. I do want to include soldiers in this list of victims. They are, after all, human beings, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, all with families, dreams and ambitions to lose in a war. And most of them don’t want to be there in the first place.

Then there are the elderly and children, the utterly helpless. Yours are safe at home for now, but theirs are daily exposed to the biblical wrath of American military might at the hands of GI’s, U.S. “contractors” or neighboring proxy killers on the ground. Or they are victims of the even-more-sinister remote death from the sky delivered by troglodyte mannish boys playing video games in Nevada.

The Effect on the United States is Devastating

I’m also worried about the kickback damage done to the Americans at home. War is expensive. The twelve-zero sums that finance the forever wars have to come from somewhere. They come from the domestic budget, and don’t leave much money for anything else. This is why any European country has better roads and bridges than the United States. Between the defense budget (“defense” being an Orwellian euphemism, of course) and the refinancing of the country’s biggest banks and finance companies, the American lower and middle classes were pauperized. Their poverty begat a deficient education system which begat inequality, which begat delinquency and the largest prison population in the world.

That’s another issue that is seldom mentioned by “responsible journalists,” the fact that most of these wars seem made to order for arms manufacture profiteering. Does the mass media live in another dimension that doesn’t permit them to see certain aspects of the permanent war game? Permawar is a hedge-fund manager’s dream: an unending stream of parasites to be parasited. The reconstituted banks, meanwhile, have ascended straight into heaven on the backs of their investments in the arms-of-mass-destruction business. (You’re not going to pretend that cruise missiles and nuclear bombs aren’t “arms of mass destruction,” are you?)

One is tempted to wonder if the Permawar Machine wasn’t created purposely by a group of demented plutocrats to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich–The Trickle Up Machine–which they, never to miss a chance to exercise their fine sense of irony,  dubbed benevolently the “Trickle Down Machine.” So it goes.

Self-Censorship on Auto-Pilot

It also strikes me as uncanny that scarcely anyone over there who writes or speaks on the subject in the mainline American media ever mentions the fact that most of these senseless wars are about “the enemies'” strategic natural resources, the main (but far from only) one being oil. “What about Afghanistan?” you ask. “They don’t have oil wells.”

That’s true but, according to surveys done by the United States Geological Survey  a decade ago, Afghanistan sits atop a trillion-dollar lode of gold, silver and platinum, as well as significant quantities of iron ore, uranium, zinc, chromium, tantalum, bauxite, coal, copper and natural gas. Some experts have suggested that this impoverished, war-torn Himalayan country might also be on it’s way to becoming “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”, thanks to vast deposits of the raw material used in phone and electric car batteries. In all it amounts to an Aladdin’s cave just waiting to be plundered. This article from The Independent (August, 2017) highlights President Donald Trump’s interest in the subject.

Small, Important Voices

The most compelling comment on this lamentable situation comes not from the all-powerful American mass media, but from the humble blogosphere. Here’s a moving paragraph from a 1915 blog post by Jase Short entitled The Permanent War on Afghanistan-A Personal Reflection:

“9/11 and the war on Afghanistan woke me up to the situation in the world and made me who I am today. But what is shocking is that … the people of Afghanistan have been subject to the same violence for 14 straight years. They do not have the privilege of shrugging their shoulders or enjoying the emotional distance of screens. They are there when the daisy cutter bombs hit, when the hunter killer teams collect their grotesque trophies of human body parts, when killer robots massacre wedding parties. Caught between the occupation, its local agents, and the Taliban itself, these are the people whose lives have been turned into instruments of global politics.”

I wish I had said that.

Read the full story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

It’s Far Worse Than You Realize

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Trump, Trump, Trump…

It’s not only about Trump. He’s just the token tip of the American iceberg. Look beneath, that’s where all the serious–and seriously scary–stuff is to be found. Ironically, most of the players and issues that affect your lives in meaningful ways–both positive and negative–don’t make the papers much and, even if they did, Americans don’t read the papers as much as they used to.

So, what are the American people up against? They (you?) are facing a systematic undoing of laws and institutions, regulations and rights that have protected American citizens for many years. The following are just a few examples. Suddenly the Secretary of the Interior becomes the Secretary of Wrecking the Interior. How is this demolition operation going on? See this clip from the NY Times: 52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump.

Trump’s Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, (born in Selma, Alabama, 1946) is taking similar backward steps in the Justice Department. Here’s what USA Today had to say on the subject. And the Secretary of Education, Betsy de Vos (sister of Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater USA, now known, ironically it seems, as Academi) wants to use America’s schools to build “God’s Kingdom.”

What Is to Be Done

Obviously, the first and most urgent step in the treatment of the American domestic and geopolitical malaise is to remove President Trump from office before he and his merry band of trolls dismantles the American government utterly. This removal would have to be carried out by legal means, of course. Here’s a brief summary of the impeachment process: Article Two of the United States Constitution states in Section 4 that:

“The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate.”

But who can guarantee that the Representatives would impeach President Trump or that the Senators who tried Trump would convict him? Far worse, supposing that he were convicted and ordered out of the White House are we sure that his rabidly loyal followers would obey the law and respect that eviction? They are, after all, the ones who own most of the unregulated guns in the United States and they appear to be prepared to use them. Yes, they probably could be overwhelmed by the Army but it would be one hell of a mess. Would it even come to a showdown between the Army and Trump’s unconditionals? Whose side would the police and the Army be on?

It’s Not Just Trump and His Trumpeteers

Now that we’ve got those sticky questions on hold, back to our premise: It’s not just Trump nor his atypical cabinet you’re up against. It’s the entire U.S. power structure. It’s the great lobbies, from the banks and arms manufacturers, big pharma and the NRA, to tobacco and the corporate media.  All of these interests are in the business of buying legislators in order to win them over to the lobbyists respective causes. How is this possible in the United States of America? It’s not only possible, it’s legal. This kind of government tampering in the form of lobbying was legalized by the legislators themselves.  This mercantile treatment of “democratic” power is, however, illegal in the rest of Western democracies.

Outside the U.S. everbody down to the last busboy in the cafeteria is acutely aware that when business interests start controlling their presidents, primer ministers, legislators and jurists, the essence is sucked out of their democracy, leaving it a “democracy” in name only. Is this to say that I am casting doubt here on the legitimacy of American democracy itself? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting.

Wait, there’s more. There are other powerful twisting factors that come from both home and abroad, the former principally from freelance amateur billionaire “activists,” wacky end-of-times religious groups and the Pentagon. Then there are the threats from from foreign countries. The first one that comes to mind is Israel. Their lobbying operation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), represents the Likud-led Israeli government’s interests in the U.S.  One of several pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United States, AIPAC claims more than 100,000 members, seventeen regional offices, and “a vast pool of donors.” The organization has been called one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. Virtually all members of the United States Congress have sworn allegiance to the Israeli cause, with all of its ramifications.

Yet, what are the U.S. corporate media going berserk about? Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Naturally.

Strangleholds and Anti-Semites

Critics accuse AIPAC of being an agent of the Israeli government with a “stranglehold” on the United States Congress with its power and influence. Any attempt, no matter how tepid, to oppose the Netanyahu government’s policies is branded “anti-semitism” by AIPAC and the “offenders” are ostracised on all fronts. Consequently almost nobody opposes AIPAC. It’s too dangerous for anyone who hopes to have a political future in the U.S.

Everyone who has eyes to see–including the right-wing Israelis themselves–know that the main issue here is not racism against Jews. If there’s any racism involved it’s Israeli bias agains their neighbors, the Palestinians and Iranians. One suspects that, more than anything else, this has to do with Israel’s pressing need for lebensraum.

According to American Arms Manufacturers Not All Arabs are Bad Guys

This bias doesn’t extend to all Arabs, however, as the right-wing Likud Israeli government forms part of an unholy alliance with Saudi Arabia, to take over the Middle East, starting with Iran. The Saudis are the principal sponsors of radical Islamic proselitism and terrorism world wide. Where do the Americans stand on this issue? The American government has no objection. The Israelis are the Israelis, after all, and the Saudis are massively important buyers of U.S. arms.

Have you noticed that I haven’t told you anything here that you didn’t already know? It’s just the familiar litany of Trump & Company’s outrages and bloopers. Not quite; it’s more than that. To understand it requires at least rudimentary quantitive risk analysis. (What can go wrong? How likely is it to happen? If it does, what are the consequences?) Every one of President Trump’s oafish statements and egregious acts contributes to a ballooning cumulative effect. This constant stream of ignominy doesn’t add up in the form of an arithmetic progression (1+1+1+1+1…), rather an alarming geometric progression (1+10+100+1,000+10.000…) So the President’s next gaff, be it just another insult to a head of state (see Japan and North Korea) or support for an Israeli/Saudi attack on Iran, it just may be the straw that breaks the nuclear camel’s back.

Read the full story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

The Godzilla Flag Is Loosed on the U.S.A.–2/2

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The Pledge of Allegiance is a Socialist Invention

The Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Pledge of Allegiance and I want to cite a couple of  quotes from it. I’m sure they won’t mind:

“The Pledge of Allegiance, as it exists in its current form, was composed in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898).

“In 1892, Francis Bellamy created what was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up. Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, which was adopted in Germany later, the US Congress stipulated that the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the US would be the salute to replace the Bellamy salute. Removal of the Bellamy salute occurred on December 22, 1942, when Congress amended the Flag Code language first passed into law on June 22, 1942.”

On the same Wikipedia page as this second quote there is a Dorthea Lange photograph of Japanese-American first graders standing in line with their right hands over their hearts reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It is 1942 and they are standing outside the concentration camp barracks where they are interned with their parents for the duration of World War II.

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Flag Waving is Good Business

This inspirational quote is posted on the webside of a flag manufacturer in the state of Washington: “Show your support of our country by proudly flying your flag in 2016. If you have an American flag at home or at your business, it should be should be flown every day—especially on the national holidays and state birthdays listed below.” They would say that, wouldn’t they.

To See Ourselves as Others See Us

People from other countries have trouble understanding the Americans’ devotion to their flag. Other countries have flags but—with few exceptions—they are not objects of worship. Let’s let this BBC correspondent speak for himself:

“What you still don’t see in the U.K. however, are flags flying outside houses, so it comes as something of a surprise when we first set foot in the U.S. Indeed, some Brits have confessed to feeling a “bit creeped out” at the sight. We can stretch to the odd bit of red, white and blue bunting, but only if there’s a BIG occasion like the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or a Royal Wedding. Over here however, it’s not uncommon to see Old Glory in glorious six-foot dimensions hanging right outside the front door of regular houses. Obviously they are everywhere around 4th of July, (American Independence Day), but many homes have flags flying throughout the year.

“In most cases, Americans who choose to fly a flag outside their houses are your normal, common-or-garden folk. Whether or not other nations agree or think it’s odd, these people are proud to be Americans and heck, it’s not harming anyone. Flag-flying and general love of country isn’t quite the neo-Nazi, skinhead thing that it’s often perceived to be in the U.K.

“And flag-flying is very serious business in the U.S.; there are federal guidelines with “instruction and rules on such topics as the pledge of allegiance, display and use of the flag by civilians, time and occasions for display, position and manner of display, and how to show respect for the flag.” I’m betting that not many Americans are aware of how often they break the law either,

“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. “ Oops. And even worse, “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. (Imagine the revenue that could be generated if the government cracked down on this.)

There’s even Flag Day (June 14) which was made official by President Truman in 1949, and must be officially proclaimed by the sitting President each year.

And finally, did you know that the study of flags is “vexillology” and a flag expert is a “vexillologist”?

Other Pieces in the Puzzle

The National Anthem is up there with the flag for patriotic morbidity. If it weren’t we wouldn’t have had the recent brouhaha over the black football players “taking a knee” as protests against white police officers killing black people for no cogent reasons. In all fairness the matter was also driven by racism, which added fuel to the already considerable Godzilla issue.

Even the Boy Scouts contribute their part to the Godzilla cause. I loved the Boy Scouts with the marching and saluting, the fire-building contests (I still build a mean fire.) and winter toboganning outings. It wasn’t until many years later, after I was discharged from the U.S. Army, that I realized that the Boy Scouts were a Godzilla paramilitary organization. Religion also plays a part in the Godzilla game. The role of the clergy is to convince the populace that “God is on our side.” And that’s only one of their perversions.

The crowning experience of the Godzilla trip is military service. There you are under orders with a Godzilla obligation to kick down doors, detain all males, shoot family-filled taxis and bomb weddings. Either that or take out whole streets of villages with drone missiles launched video-game style from a bunker in the Nevada desert. There you truly become a star-spangled patriot. There’s only one higher step on the totem pole: to die in the line of duty. That makes you an American Hero. Your little brother gets your motorcycle and your mother gets a broche.

The most tragic result of the Godzilla phenomenon is that it’s virtually irreversible. Young people become old people and die without ever being able to shed the Godzilla mindset. It’s a life sentence. No amount of reasoning will change their minds, which are impervious to facts, logic and humanitarian considerations. Nothing can dent their empty, false and inhuman convictions. In the end the Godzilla society becomes a diabolical perpetual motion machine. We are all victims of the lies we were told as children. So teach your children well.

Now, when right-thinking Americans bewail the shape their country is in, and cast about for solutions, it’s possible that it’s already too late for solutions. This time Godzilla may not be stopped.

Back to Part 1

Read the full story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

The Godzilla Flag Is Loosed on the U.S.A.–1/2

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Uncle Sam Wants You

A flag is just a rag but throughout history flags have been used to encourage and justify mankind’s most heinous crimes. And in the U.S.A nothing has changed in this respect. Whenever an American government—of any stripe—wants to recruit cannon fodder for any of their foreign adventures the first thing they haul out is the flag, “Old Glory.” Time after time young Americans respond in true Pavlovian style. And it’s not just any old bone they’re drooling after. It’s a death lottery.

What possible explanation can there be for young people to put so little value on their very lives? The answer is simpler than you might think. Just as collies are bred for herding sheep, Americans are bred to go to war. But why? That’s not too complicated, either. Because if the United States runs out of soldiers their policy of permanent war falls apart. And they can’t have that. Without war what’s left of the American economy—technology and arms sales—falters, along with the myth of American invincibility and their militarists’ dream of “full spectrum dominance.” They’re almost there. They have already conquered Grenada and Panama, though they found some unexpected resistance in Irak and Afghanistan. Now all they have left to dominate are North Korea and Iran. Oh, I almost forgot. There’s Russia and China, too.

Inside the Godzilla Contraption

Underlying all this bellicose folderol is a drive train of tricks and lies that I shall refer to here as “Nationalism/Patriotism,” codename “Godzilla.” In theory those two concepts are closely related but different. But in current American practice, as patriotism is invariably linked to militarism, heroism, conquest and glory, nationalism and patriotism are Siamese twins, linked at the hip. In order for the Godzilla contraption to work young Americans have to be brought up in an immersion tank of perfectly-coordinated mechanisms all pulling together. All are designed to make these young people believe that they are, in some magical way, exceptional, uniquely different, actually superior to people of other societies around the world. This is pure poppycock, of course, but it’s common currency to them and most Americans believe it implicitly or explicitly. Concomitant with this exceptionalism is the tendency to underestimate their enemies, a tradition that dates back to General George Armstrong Custer.

George Orwell’s Observations from 70 Years Ago

I ran across some notes on nationalism written by Orwell in 1945 and found some of them eerily applicable to our own times. He starts with a definition:

“By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”

More Vintage Wisdom from Orwell

“Nationalism is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”

The Author of Animal Farm and 1984 Goes On:

“Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakably certain of being in the right. As nearly as possible no nationalist ever thinks, talks or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance.”

This observation seems to me particularly apt considering the outrages being perpetrated on the world today by American militarism:

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.

“Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder to discover what is actually happening. “Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.”

Orwell’s prescience is remarkable. What is even more remarkable is how little this state of affairs has changed over the past seven decades.

How Do They Build Their Godzillas?

Let’s look at the factors involved in converting an innocent child into a full-fledged American Nationalist/Patriot. First (and I say “first”because it hits most American children in the first grade) is the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. I was one of those little shavers in 1949 and I clearly recall standing up beside my desk, putting my hand over my heart and reciting a magical incantation. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…” I had no idea what these words were about but I knew they were magic because you had to stand up and put your hand over your heart to invoke it.

Go to Part 2

Read the full story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

Who Are the Bad Guys?

bad-guysby Mike Booth

What If We Got It All Backwards?

The most illustrious, most powerful men and women of the U.S. political classes have always been fond of telling us who the Bad Guys were. According to them we’re surrounded by them, have been for a long time. In the 50’s and 60’s it was the Russians. Remember them? They had recently contributed 20 million dead to help us win the Second World War, but we immediately felt we had to be their enemies. Churchill, who was miffed for being sidelined by Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, actually advocated “neutralizing” the Russians as soon as the war was over.

The Russian Communists were our pretext for a lot of vile and truculent shenanigans in the name of national security: the cold war, the McCarthy witch hunt, the nuclear arms race, and the tragic destruction of a miniscule South Asian country which was about to push over the first piece in a series of deadly “dominoes” which would take the Red Menace to the American heartland via the port of San Francisco. Continue reading “Who Are the Bad Guys?”

Sex, Money, Power, Nonsense and Killer Euphemisms

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It doesn’t have to make sense, unleash the dogs of war!

Many things in this world, some of them of great consequence, don’t make sense. That’s because the world doesn’t run on sense. It runs on greed and lust. It runs on envy and revenge. It runs on ambition. And let’s not forget cynicism and falsehood.  That said, a miniscule part of the world is actually driven by love and loyalty, truth and sincerity, altruism and generosity. Say Iceland…

For most of the rest it’s half-truths and false appearances, vested interests, bribery and chicanery. (Want to know how it works? Read John Perkins’s book in PDF here.) Cravings for fame abound, along with hidden agendas and false-flag operations. Pride and obstinance coexist at the highest levels. Good God, I can’t believe I almost forgot sex, money and power, the aristocrats in this senseless world. I was tempted to include examples of all these sins, but I decided not to. It’s not necessary. Examples abound. Choose your own. Continue reading “Sex, Money, Power, Nonsense and Killer Euphemisms”

The Myth of “Permanent War” Pervades American Democratization Efforts

.I Think I Can Explain Why

Can anybody remember a time when the United States was not at war, in some form or another, somewhere, with someone? I can’t, and I’m 74 years old. They seem to be in a permanent state of military conflict. Is this eternal war due to mistakes, coincidences or deliberate policy decisions? I’ll opt for the latter. It’s unlikely for any person or country to be so wrong so consecutively over more than three quarters of a century. The trend looks even worse if it’s the same “mistake” over and over again. As for coincidences, the statistical unlikelihood of these events occurring coincidentally is utterly off the graph. There aren’t enough nines to express it.

So, we’re left with policy. Where can such a demented policy come from and how does it come about? I think I can explain it. Essentially it’s due to a misunderstanding regarding “democracy.”  The Americans’ think it can be promulgated by the sword and harbor a missionary zeal for spreading it around the world and into outer space. Curiously this missionary fervor grows in geometric proportions when the Americans are dealing with countries that are strategically located (eg. Vietnam) or rich in natural resources (eg. Iraq and Venezuela) or both (eg. Iran). It’s the 21st century equivalent of “civilizing and christianizing our little brown brothers.” Continue reading “The Myth of “Permanent War” Pervades American Democratization Efforts”