The Bizarre States of America–2/2



Seen from Abroad “Bizarre” Seems to Be the Operative Word

To Europeans the American political milieu seems riddled with semantic manipulation. US politicians love the Pavlovian use of trigger words and phrases to elicit nationalistic citizen responses. If you want to promote a dubious war or a convenient regime change just use the term “our boys” repeatedly, or the word “patriotism” and any of its derivatives. Any reference to “our flag” or the “national anthem” will also work. It’s easy for them to undermine American citizens’ civil rights by citing “national security” or “terrorism.” Never mind that it’s American state terrorism that leads the world in false-flag atrocities and devastating economic deception perpetrated by their clandestine services abroad. (Need examples? See any book by John Perkins or William Blum.)

Wacky Pastors and President Trump’s Middle East Policy

From The Independent May 15, 2018–The Rev David Swaggerty, leader of CharismaLife Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, told the Religion News Service, that the embassy relocation was not simply a geopolitical bonus. “We see the embassy as crucial to God’s timing to bring about the revelation of the Messiah,” he said.

In a stunning exercise of institutional irony, it was Robert Jeffress, the wacky pastor known for suggesting that the Jews and Muslims are headed for hell, who was commissioned by the Trump team–or President Trump himself–to pronounce the Jerusalem embassy’s opening prayer.

A sector of the evangelicals that experts in these matters refer to as “premillenialist dispensationalists” believe the transfer of the embassy and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will help bring about the so-called Rapture, an event in which they believe all Christians, living and dead, will ascend into heaven and join with God. As news website Vox points out, these interpretations based on the books of Revelation and Daniel, suggest the return of Jesus will take place once the Jewish temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and Israel is made an exclusively Jewish state.

Does anyone know why the United States is fertile ground for such grotesque fanaticisms on such a grand scale? If you do, would you please be kind enough to explain it to us here, at the end of this post, in a comment?

Some analysts have suggested that the embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a cynical Trump move designed to win the votes of these evangelicals in the next presidential election. It is estimated that there are some 60,000,000 of them. Here is a statement by Trump that would seem to confirm that theory.

Did President Trump Realize What He Was Doing?

Was President Trump fully aware of the grave implications not only for the Palestinians but potentially for the entire world of his embassy transfer? It’s possible that he wasn’t. Either way it’s a moot question. Even if he had foreseen the Israeli Defense Force snipers joyously picking off unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the other side of the Gaza border fence he wouldn’t have done things any differently. His decision was determined by two of his highest-priority agendas: a slavish devotion to Netanyahu and Israeli fascist objectives and the necessity of pandering to the evangelical vote in the U.S.

The world is driven by extravagant ideologies, each one with its relentless egomaniacal agenda and Trump and the Rapture loonies are typical examples. The latter will follow their preposterous agenda straight through the metaphorical gates of hell if they are told by some tent preacher they are the gates of heaven, whatever innocent bystanders must be sacrificed along the way.

The same rule of thumb applies to the American militarists with their full-spectrum-dominance ideology and their agenda of world conquest. Nothing will stand in their way—until something stands in their way. The NRA gun-worship phenomenon follows the same pattern.

The Americans’ latest cruel and unusual undiplomatic move, just a few days ago, was to launch joint American-South Korean military maneuvers immediately after an unprecedentedly cordial peace meeting between Kim Jong-un representing North Korea and Moon Jae-in the South. Observers are convinced that considerable American arm-twisting was necessary to move the South Koreans to take such a step at this time.

This morning’s Washington Post (17 May 2018) headlines their follow-up story about North Korea breaking off negotiations with the South, “Kim Jong-un Gets Cold Feet.” As so often happens in Washington, they got the story backward. It’s not about Kim’s feet; it’s about the Americans bullying the South Koreans into military maneuvers at a critical point in the negotiations.

Kim Jong-un’s response, according to the North Korean news service KCNA, was to suspend further high-level talks with Moon Jae-in of South Korea. In addition, North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, saying the US should carefully consider the fate of the upcoming meeting, in view of what it calls “provocative military disturbances with South Korea,”

The American move was not entirely unexpected, as it seemed clear to old Korea hands that no amount of hand-holding between North and South would induce the United States to loosen their controlling grip on South Korea, a grip that has remained implacable since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

I want to mention some more examples of what I perceive as American strangeness at home and abroad. But I think you get the picture and I’m loath to bore you, so let me just cite a few of the more egregious cases in a list:

  • The lynching of two black youths that took place outside Moore, Oklahoma in the month of April 2018, an act that was somehow overlooked by U.S. national media.
  • The American “defense” budget, variously cited as 16% of the discretionary and mandatory federal budget according to, or 55% of discretionary spending according to other sources, equivalent to the military budgets of the next seven countries on the list, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. But the U.S. is not a nation of war-mongers. What would their defense budget look like if they were?
  • The naming of American torture maven, Gina Haspel, to head the CIA. (But don’t worry, she promises to be a good girl from here on out.)
  • The kid-gloves treatment of the bands of neo-Nazis and White Supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017.
  • Members of the Trump team—It’s not yet clear at what level.—hiring an Israeli private-intelligence firm, Black Cube, to compile profiles on Colin Kahl and Ben Rhodes, Obama-era advisors who advocated the Iran nuclear agreement. Why investigate them? Why use Israeli investigators? As if the United States didn’t have competent detectives of its own. What other sensitive matters have these Israeli spooks gotten into? Is this really kosher?
  • Last but not least, given the wealth of the country and the astronomical amounts of money they spend on the military, isn’t it a criminal anomaly that they don’t have universal health care, as in the civilized world?

Full disclosure: I confess I’m running out of adjectives to characterize the reality twists and shape-shifts that are occurring over there. I’ve lived in Europe now for two-thirds of my life and it’s possible that my thinking is different–more critical–from that of normal Americans. I must admit that possibility. But so different?

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Read more rantings in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.
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The Bizarre States of America 1/2


There’s Weirdness in the Air Over There

Seen from Europe the United States looks pretty strange. In all fairness, different countries have a right to their individual differences, but the direction and degree of American differences are so exaggerated, so unusual that they shock sensibilities in Europe and farther afield, the way a snuff film leaves normal people horrified and unbelieving. We’re not referring to all Americans here, rather about half of them, the abnormal half, those who subscribe to extreme anti-any-sort-of-government political thinking, magical religions, Nazism, white supremacy and other forms of racism present from the cop on the beat to the highest echelons of the American government.

It was glaringly evident, for example, in the instant, knee-jerk Congressional opposition to virtually all of President Obama’s legislative initiatives throughout his presidency. Even today it lives on in the person of President Donald Trump, whose reneging on the Iran nuclear treaty was clearly motivated, by his own admission, by his rabid anti-Obama sentiment. Let’s be frank; to a majority of the United States Congress and many other high-ranking Republicans, Obama, though the elected President of the United States, was considered an aberration, to them “just an uppity nigger.” They consistently did their best to thwart him in every possible way, regardless of the subsequent negative effects on the well-being of the American public.

You see and hear actions and declarations in the USA that don’t occur anyplace in the real world. What shall we call the American setting? A parallel reality? The Fourth Dimension? Surrealism? Lowbrow Propaganda? Lock’em-up insanity? Brave new neo-con world? Or is this just American exceptionalism taken to the nth degree? What exactly is “American Exceptionalism,” anyway? Is it something they decreed or is it just a phenomenon they consider axiomatic? Isn’t it relevant that practically no one else in the civilized world accepts the stranger American “axioms?”

Ironically, the term “American Exceptionalism,” of which today’s right-wing American politicians are so proud and rely upon so heavily, was a term invented by the Comintern in 1927-28. The Communists employed it as an insult to their own American members who insisted upon special treatment for American communism due to their “exceptional” circumstances. It was an easy matter for American patriots to flip the term to refer to their country’s presumed special status in the world.

The NRA’s New President Starts Off on a Weird Foot

American gun laws are certainly strange, as are the most recent developments in the National Rifle Association, which has just named as its president, convicted (and later un-convicted) felon and international terrorist, Lt. Colonel Oliver North. His opening remarks as president are a textbook exercise in the most cynical manipulation of language in the interest of turbid interests. As for the Second Amendment to the Constitution, it has been skewed so far to the right that today it’s little more than a smokescreen behind which the country’s most sinister ideological and economic interests can hide. These interests pretend not to notice that the United States is the only country in the world whose laws defend the absolute right to bear arms, something considered dangerously anti-social everywhere else in the world. This has to be the most heinous example of “American Exceptionalism.”

On February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, students at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida witnessed the random gun slaying of 17 of their classmates, teachers and staff. The very day of the victims’ funeral the Parkland high-school students started to mobilize a nationwide opposition-to-assault-rifles movement, an initiative that most Americans considered valiant and admirable. But in his first remarks on assuming the presidency of the NRA Lt. Colonel North took advantage of the opportunity to insult these teenage activists.

North’s reaction was strange in the extreme. According to Julia Conley, staff writer for, “In an interview on Thursday, NRA President Oliver North compared the criticism that gun rights activists are facing as Americans call for gun safety legislation, to the attacks on civil rights advocates in the 1960s.”

North claimed in an interview with the Washington Times that the student-led #NeverAgain movement which has invigorated Americans since February’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., amounts to “civil terrorism.” “This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America,” said North to the Washington Times. “You go back to the terrible days of Jim Crow and those kinds of things—even there you didn’t have this kind of thing.”

Such a disrespectful, bizarre-world reply from an individual like Oliver North calling protesting students “terrorists” just highlights the fact that, though he’s profoundly concerned about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms, he has no regard whatsoever for the First, the right to free speech. The fact that the National Rifle Association should name a person like him its president speaks volumes about the values of that organization, which prioritizes its own deadly firearms-first agenda over all other considerations.

Rev. Sharon Risher, whose family members were killed in a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C. in 2015, replied. “For the NRA to compare its treatment today to the atrocities that occurred during the Jim Crow era is beyond the pale, especially considering it’s the NRA’s extreme leaders who have harassed and intimidated survivors of gun violence with often vile rhetoric. Oliver North should apologize, to black Americans and to all who’ve been touched by racism or gun violence in this country.”

(For information on Oliver North’s role in the Iran-Contra affair, here’s a link to an excellent long article published on the Politicalgates blog. At the end of the article the author draws some compelling parallels between North’s case and that of Bradley/Chelsea Manning and notes that North got off virtually scot-free while Manning did seven years of a 35-year sentence in Ft. Leavenworth federal prison.

Libertarianism Is to “Liberty” as Friendly Fire Is to “Friendly”

When I first ran across the term “Libertarianism” for what seemed to be a new current of political opinion in the United States I thought, “Great, the American anarchists have finally formed a movement to promote freedom for the oppressed.” Then I looked it up. Libertarianism turns out to be the exact opposite, a movement that promotes freedom to oppress and to turn one’s back on the rest. It’s the ultimate I’m-all-right-Jack political philosophy, if you can call that “philosophy.” The gist of it seems to be no—or very little—government, leaving the country’s most capable citizens complete “liberty” to operate and exploit, as if that were liberty. What about the rest of the population? “Oh, them, they’ll have to shift for themselves.”

This thinking (Did it come from one of Washington’s septic “think” tanks?) is offensive for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it ignores the fact that human society is an organism that depends upon the health of all of its members to survive and prosper. The opposing every-man-for-himself doctrine–built into the American “rugged individualism” pietism is pernicious when it comes to building a healthy, sane society, but it’s something that American right-wing cant emphasizes more than ever of late. The Libertarians seem to believe that Americans in a free society should have the liberty to sleep on the street in cardboard boxes.

What is most offensive is the way the Libertarians have co-opted the very word “liberty” for their own perverted form of un-freedom. If this concept gains acceptance across American society they will have young people growing up thinking that “liberty” is the right to divorce oneself from humanity in the interest of the individual: selfishness and greed as holy scripture, the right to neglect the less fortunate and abandon all notions of commonwealth. It’s manipulative and disgusting as it cynically twists beyond all recognition one of the basic supports of all decent human relationships: our language.

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