Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

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W.J. Astore

Weekends are a good time to sit back, reflect, and think.  Here are a few ideas I’ve been thinking about:

1. Remember 9/11/2001?  Of course you do.  Almost everyone back then seemed to compare it to Pearl Harbor, another date that would live in infamy — and that was a big mistake. In 1941, the USA was attacked by another sovereign nation. In 2001, we were attacked by a small group of terrorists. But international terrorism was nothing new, and indeed the U.S. was already actively combating Al Qaeda. The only new thing was the shock and awe of the 9/11 attacks — especially the images of the Twin Towers collapsing.

By adopting the Pearl Harbor image, our response was predetermined, i.e. the deployment of the U.S. military to wage war. Even that wasn’t necessarily a fatal mistake, if we’d stopped with Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban. But, as Henry Kissinger said, Afghanistan wasn’t enough. Someone else had to pay, in this case the unlucky Iraqis. And then the U.S. military was stuck with two occupations that it was fated to lose.  And millions of Afghan and Iraqi people suffered for our leaders’ mistakes.

But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of 9/11 was how no one in Washington took the blame for it.  I don’t recall any high-level firings. The buck stopped nowhere. Same with torture. The buck stopped nowhere. Officialdom looked the other way, including the next administration under the “change” candidate, Barack Obama.  He changed nothing in this area.  His mantra about “looking forward” meant learning nothing from history.

It’s this lack of accountability, perhaps, that made Trump possible. He lies constantly and blunders and blusters, yet (so far) there’s no accountability for that either. People just expect our government to be composed of con men and serial liars, so why not just elect one as president?

No accountability after 9/11 and torture led to “no accountability” Trump.

2.  Another thought on 9/11: The 9/11 war-driven response was part of American exceptionalism. What I mean is this: America is not supposed to be on the receiving end of “shock and awe.” We are supposed to be the givers of it. As Americans, we were totally unprepared, psychologically, for such a blow. (A Soviet nuclear attack, a million times more devastating, would have made more “sense” in that the danger was drummed into us.) An attack by hijacked airliners, a mutant form of airpower? Well, America is supposed to rule the skies. We bomb others; they don’t bomb us.  Right?

It was all so shocking and destabilizing, hence the “rally around the flag” effect and the blank check issued by Congress to Bush/Cheney for what has proved to be a forever war on terror — or something.  And now, with Trump and crew, is the new “something” Iran?

3.  In our military-first culture, projects like the B-21 stealth bomber are just accepted as business as usual — the cost of keeping America “safe.” We had more debate about weapons systems during the Cold War, when we truly faced an existential threat. Now, weapons ‘r’ us. It’s a peculiar moment in American history, a sort of cult of the gun, whether that “gun” is a bomber, missile, aircraft carrier, etc.

Put differently, our personal insecurities (due to debt, health care, jobs, weather catastrophes, fear of immigrants, etc.) have driven a cult of security in which guns and related military technologies have been offered as a palliative or even a panacea. Feel secure — buy a gun. Feel secure — build a new stealth bomber. Stand your ground — global strike. The personal is the political is the military.

4.  If Reagan’s motto was “trust — but verify” with the Soviet Union, Trump’s motto with North Korea is simply “trust.”  Yes — it’s a good thing that Trump is no longer threatening to bring nuclear fire and fury to the North Koreans, but his recent meeting with Kim Jong-un, large in image, was short on substance.  Will those verification details be worked out in the future?  Do the North Koreans have any intent to give up their nuclear weapons?  Both are doubtful.  So, does Trump deserve a Nobel peace prize?  About as much as Obama did.

5.  I’ve never witnessed a man destroy a political party like Trump has taken apart the Republicans.  It’s a remarkable achievement, actually.  And I don’t mean that as a compliment.  I was once a Gerald Ford supporter in the 1976 election, and I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984.  (We make mistakes when we’re young; that said, Walter Mondale was an uninspiring Democratic candidate.)  I thought the Republican Party had principles; I think it did in the 1970s and 1980s.  Now, the only “principles” are money and power, as in getting more of both.  If that means kowtowing to Trump, so be it.  Kneel before Zod, Republicans!

That’s enough for my Saturday afternoon.  Fire away in the comments section, readers!

25 thoughts on “Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

  1. 1976 and 2018 are the only two US elections I will always remember.
    In 2018, my usual common sense did see the outcome of the actual elections coming, but failed to foresee that of the Republican primaries.
    I shamefully admit that I initially hailed Trump’s candidacy, as I never expected him to become a serious threat. If by chance he would become their front runner, I figured that surely the party would refuse such a loose cannon and switch to someone else. Having had a taste of political power and liking it, Trump would then refuse to step down and continue as an independent and thus the Republican votes would be devided and the Democrat would win.
    All that was well before the primaries so I still had hopes that Bernie would make it and certainly did not have Clinton in mind. I never imagined the Republican party top could be such incredible morons.
    As for the 1976 one, that summer I was with American friends somewhere between Australia and Indonesia, on a sailing boat they had built in Thailand after their time there in PeaceCorps. They were discussing the upcoming elections and all three were going to vote for Carter, as I’m sure they did :-).

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    1. In 1976, I was a teenager, so I spake as a teenager. Back then, Carter was dismissed as the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. He was seen by many as too idealistic, too naive. He said crazy things like “I’ll never lie to you.” He lusted in his heart in a Playboy magazine interview. Ford seemed like a good man, a moderate Republican; his pardon of Nixon, unpopular as it was, saved the country from a bitter political struggle in the aftermath of Vietnam.

      Now, I have the utmost respect for Carter. He grew in office. And as a “retired” president he’s done many good and even great things. We could use a man like Jimmy Carter again.

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  2. Three thoughts:
    > Regarding 9/11, the people who (to me) were god-like in their response to that event went under the moniker Not in Our Name, relatives of victims and survivors of 9/11.
    …from wiki:
    “Pledge of Resistance”
    The Pledge is written by Starhawk and Saul Williams, in the style of free verse, beginning:
    We believe that as people living
    in the United States it is our
    responsibility to resist the injustices
    done by our government,
    in our names
    Not in our name
    will you wage endless war
    and concluding
    Another world is possible
    and we pledge to make it real.
    comment. . . .too bad the US didn’t go that way
    > On Trump, he’s unorthodox, but I try to judge a man on his achievements and not his behavior. (I don’t recommend it for marital amity.) Donald Trump, so far, has broken alliances that have aided the US all-war strategy, and his progress on Korea is something Obama could have had but didn’t dare try. I don’t depend on Trump & Pompeo for the details, I expect ROK, Russia and China to work the details. They don’t want the nukes either. The nukes were merely (I believe) a part of the DPRK strategy to improve its economy, which is desperate. . . .Also on Russia Trump is sensible. Imagine Hillary! And Trump is the Republican party now. You know Carter was in a similar position as an outsider and the Dem party destroyed him. Politically killed him. Disagreed with everything he proposed. Not good. Carter only smiled. Trump reversed that. If Trump has destroyed the Repubs, it might be a good thing to get the party closer to the voters who elected him. Anyhow change is good. The majority of Americans has believed for a long time (RCP polls) that the country was going in the wrong direction. Hey, and reportedly the economy is better. Personally I love the stock market. Thank you Donald.
    >Finally, this is happening in a country (USA) that is totally neck-deep in corruption at all levels of government especially (but not entirely) in Washington. It’s probably more in the Pentagon than elsewhere, but the sole-source contracts and the sweetheart consulting contracts have taken over everywhere. So anything good is an aberration when the dollar, not truth and right, rules nearly every part of our public life. The corruption also makes progress difficult, so every other advanced nation is better than the US in a myriad of measures, including healthcare, transportation, crime, vacation time, etc. Trump is not to blame for all that.

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    1. Thank you for stressing the corruption, a permanent frustration whenever US officials blame wrongs in other countries on their corruption – which usually their own US $$ fuelled to start with. As for Trump, ever since he started his reign, I felt that his ‘unconvential’ attitudes could have brought (and maybe do in some sense) a refreshing change to traditional ‘free world’ politcs which in many ways have landed the world on a sandbank – provided he had proper moral & ethical values. Which he doesn’t. Unlike Bernie …

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    2. They say the devil is in the details. But Trump is not a details guy. Does that mean Trump is putting the devil behind him?

      In all seriousness, Trump has brought the “change” that Obama promised — too bad, as Pamela says, those changes are mostly amoral if not immoral.

      Improved relations with North Korea and Russia — and perhaps China as well if the trade “war” doesn’t accelerate — would be major accomplishments. But those changes should drive a major reduction in “defense” spending, whereas all we’re witnessing is more and more growth in military spending.

      Is Trump neutralizing or pacifying the national security state with money? Or is this about yet more war, possibly with Iran?

      As we approach 2020 and Trump’s reelection bid, war with Iran may grow more likely, especially with hardliners like Bolton and Pompeo and Mattis, all on record as seeing Iran as a major threat.

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      1. Is Trump neutralizing or pacifying the national security state with money?
        Yes, especially on Russia eventually, and the useless Army has lots of new money which will shut them up about the concocted “Russia threat” (Army’s only raison d’être) as Trump makes nice with Russia as I expect him to do. So he makes some money off Russian hotels, so what? Recently on Korea war games, Mattis says “no surprise” because the Pentagon is fat with new money right now. The Pentagon budget games rule Washington, with the Pentagonal Puzzle Palace being a congressional de facto ATM.

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      2. “Improved relations with North Korea and Russia — and perhaps China as well if the trade “war” doesn’t accelerate”
        Yes if you look at it from a mere security standpoint this may be welcomed (as the countries you mentioned are classic “enemies”), however this has to be weighed against worsened relations with Latin America, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia. This is nicely illustrated by the Economist of June 2018, which has a schematic representation of the change in global approval rates regarding US leadership from 2016 to 2017 by country. Ex-USSR states, such as Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and interestingly enough large parts of Africa (probably dictatorships?) have increased approval rates. What it basically comes down to is better relations with enemies and worse relations with friends, which reminds me of Tusk: “With friends like that who needs enemies?”.

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    3. Trump is “sensible” on Russia? And it’s perfectly fine for Russia and China to “work out the details” on the Korean Peninsula? But the stock market is great. And Trump’s not screwing with vacation time. There’s the thumbnail on America. Deep thoughts indeed. I’m wondering what Melania is going to wear in the Fall.

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  3. Truth in Disclosure: I took the weekend off watching the games via Russia Today (RT). State owned, NO COMMERCIALS!! Even the talking heads have something of value to say: it’s all sports, players, mistakes, good moves, etc. No Putin* on air! All pros! Photography, music, coordination, puts West to shame.
    Moscow is glorious in the sun; in better shape than London or Washington. RT & Russia, are making sports fun again, with lots of intelligent critiques. (* Putin hobnobs with the international set in a VIP room: “That’s my job, and I’m no José Mourinho….”)

    All the mud the West has slung at Russia over the past few years! They pull off a feat like this! Too formal and polite to comment, I wonder what goes through their minds, when just last week, our courts are (slowly) proving ‘Russiagate’ is a historical sham. Meanwhile in UK, the “Russian poisoned” Skirpal’s are alive. I don’t trust – nor respect – the West anymore.

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      1. Haha! Got that right Don Bacon. US’SR’ & Israel aren’t in Russia’s extravaganza World Cups!!!??? Just spite of corce

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  4. Speaking of Carter, the deep state and Korea, this from The Diplomat:

    U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s was ultimately stopped by congressional obstruction, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community, among others, from implementing a [South Korea] troop withdrawal policy he had repeatedly promised during his presidential campaign in 1976. Put otherwise, and to use 21st century Trumpian parlance: the so-called “deep state” stopped Carter from executing his plans.

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  5. Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?

    The war was never “begun in good faith.” It was never just a “mistake.” It was, from the beginning and throughout, a morally depraved undertaking.
    by Doug Rawlings

    At this juncture of the film, four episodes into a 10-episode saga, it is evident to me that we are not watching a true documentary film. The documentarian’s function is to get down to historical truths, to discover cause and effect, and to provide us with a trustworthy scaffolding on which to rebuild our memories as soundly as possible. No, we are watching instead a series of anecdotes, each one imbued with the earnestness of the teller.

    It is a cornucopia of anecdotes that gives us a glimpse of that war that I’m sure the Pentagon and the Koch brothers, who funded it, would approve of, but its priorities are misguided. The war was never “begun in good faith.” It was never just a “mistake.” It was, from the beginning and throughout, a morally depraved undertaking.

    John Pilger, the Australian journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker wrote: “The invasion of Vietnam was deliberate and calculated—as were policies and strategies that bordered on genocide and were designed to force millions of people to abandon their homes. Experimental weapons were used against civilians.” https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/06/17/does-burnsnovick-vietnam-documentary-deserve-emmy
    ==================================================================

    Post Vietnam also featured a lack of accountability. It maybe the first time history where one power in this case the USA possessed overwhelming firepower over their enemy and still lost. At the time I was over in Nam 1970/71 there were those peculiar “arm chair or air conditioned trailer generals or wannabe generals” who wanted to march into North Vietnam. These “experts” seemed to forget that at a point in the Korean War, the Communist Chinese were not going to allow American troops close to their border.

    Burn’s docudrama had to spin the Vietnam as tragic mistake, rather than a premeditated attack, which was looking for a reason to attack and found it in the Gulf of Tonkin.

    As you mentioned no one was sacked, cashiered or fired at the high levels for 9/11 or for not finding WMD’s in Iraq. No accountability at all. But hell, when the Steroid Capitalists a decade ago, left our economy trashed, there was no accountability either – Too Big to Fail – Too Big to Jail.

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    1. re: Burns
      Wars aren’t caused, they just happen. That’s a common theme expressed by the US military officer corps. We must prepare for war because war is inevitable and we must be ready for it. Vietnam, Iraq, they just happen. No accountability. Afghanistan, it is still happening, nothing we can do about it, just replace the head monkey every year and too bad about the GIs that get their legs blown off by mines. We’ll continue to fund Pakistan and depend upon their help in getting supplies through, even though we’ve known for ten years or more that Pakistan is the main support of the Taliban who are planting those mines that are blowing US legs off. Everyone above the grade of captain travels by chopper, so they never get their legs blown off. It just happens. Choppers happen, trucks happen, mines happen, war happens, for sixteen years it happens. Nothing we can do about it. Thank you for your service.
      PS: Costa Rica hasn’t had an army since 1948, and unlike other nearby countries has not been at war. Peace happens in Costa Rica, not war.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, ML. I had a similar reaction when I watched the Burns/Novick series:

      https://bracingviews.com/2017/09/20/the-vietnam-war-a-tragic-mistake/

      And, after I had watched all ten episodes:

      I now know the main message of the series: the Vietnam war was an “irredeemable tragedy,” with American suffering being featured in the foreground. The ending is revealing. Feel-good moments of reconciliation between U.S. veterans and their Vietnamese counterparts are juxtaposed with Tim O’Brien reading solemnly from his book on the things American troops carried in Vietnam. The Vietnamese death toll of three million people is briefly mentioned; so too are the bitter legacies of Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance; regional impacts of the war to Laos and Cambodia are briefly examined. But the lion’s share of the emphasis is on the American experience, with the last episode focusing on subjects like PTSD and the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

      The series is well made and often powerful. Its fault is what’s missing. Little is said about the war being a crime, about the war being immoral and unjust; again, the war is presented as a tragedy, perhaps an avoidable one if only U.S. leaders had been wiser and better informed, or so the series suggests. No apologies are made for the war; indeed, the only apology featured is by an antiwar protester near the end (she’s sorry today for the harsh words she said decades ago to returning veterans).

      The lack of apologies for wide-scale killing and wanton destruction, the lack of serious consideration of the war as a crime, as an immoral act, as unjust, reveals a peculiarly American bias about the war, which Burns/Novick only amplify. The series presents atrocities like My Lai as aberrations, even though Neil Sheehan is allowed a quick rejoinder about how, if you include massive civilian casualties from U.S. artillery and bombing strikes, My Lai was not aberrational at all. Not in the sense of killing large numbers of innocent civilians indiscriminately. Such killing was policy; it was routine. Sheehan’s powerful observation is not pursued, however.

      https://bracingviews.com/2017/10/11/the-atrocious-nature-of-the-vietnam-war/

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      1. (she’s sorry today for the harsh words she said decades ago to returning veterans).
        Ironically it was primarily the troops that took the actions which ended the Vietnam War, to include mission refusal and fragging. (That may not have been covered in the documentary.) The Army was broken so the Pentagon threw in the towel. Never wanting that to happen again, they went to an expensive all-volunteer force. Enlistment bonuses currently are worth between $5,000 and $20,000. If you’re eligible for both an enlistment bonus and a quick-ship bonus, your pay-out is capped at $40,000.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The Republican Party has been the same since Nixon and ate the monkey brains under Reagan. Prion disease: tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, denial of global climate change, religion and creationism, voter suppression, dog whistle racism, misogyny and bigotry, “rugged individualism” myths covering for rampant greed and heartless “YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN” government policies, etc. Trump’s just the logical product of 3 decades + this prion disease driven lying and profiteering. 2 of 4 presidential elections in this century have been stolen from the majority of Americans. Don’t let it happen again. Vote your principles and interests in November.

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  7. I’m willing to go so far to say that I don’t give a damn about 9/11 anymore.

    Yes, it was a tragedy and a heinous crime. But, no worse than much of what the US does abroad. Count up the casualties the US has inflicted on civilians over the years. This ‘shining city on a hill’ business, the claims that Americans are better than anyone else… all just meaningless propaganda designed to keep us cheering for the team, and avoiding any reflection on the evil done in our name. America’s actions produced the blowback pressures that resulted in 9/11. And its actions over the past couple decades have all but guaranteed a repetition at some point.

    The one single glimmer of hope in all this is that the rest of the world seems to have woken up to the fact that the power of the US is becoming a threat to everyone’s interests. I doubt any world leader will fail to note that the Trump team has essentially abandoned the alliance with South Korea, in exchange for empty promises of future moderation given by a murderous dictator. Foreign policy instability and trade wars may well leave the US isolated and in dire economic straits here in a few more years.

    The powers-that-be (particularly the Democratic establishment) have pretty clearly decided that all they will do is kick the can down the road to 2020 and promise to reverse course if elected. Bit like the Brexit opposition in the UK – somewhere in 2019, when Brexit becomes real, then the mobilization for a ‘fix’ will begin. A reasonable plan, except that on the western side of the pond the Dems are running up against voter dissatisfaction with politics in general, legalized voter suppression in states key to winning the electoral college, and the advantages of incumbency for a candidate who has *not* lost any support judging by poll numbers, and is doing a disturbingly effective job of playing tribal identity politics.

    All 9/11 really did was mask how badly America was already divided even in the 2000s, and gave cover for a bunch of power players try and remake the Middle East by force as a way to keep attention focused on fears abroad instead of national disintegration at home. The memory of it is used, right along with Pearl Harbor, to justify America’s neocolonial brutality at home and abroad.

    I really think if Americans can’t muster the courage to denounce the treason against the Constitution that Trump and Trumpism represent, they don’t deserve the country they inherited. May as well turn all sovereign authority back over to the indigenous peoples and start from there.

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    1. @AT
      the power of the US is becoming a threat to everyone’s interests.
      That has been true, but Trump is cutting back on US world involvement while encouraging other countries to step up and do more, especially in Europe.
      the Trump team has essentially abandoned the alliance with South Korea, in exchange for empty promises of future moderation given by a murderous dictator.
      Actually South Korea’s President Moon has devoted most of his adul life to reconciliation with the north, and even unification of the two Koreas. Moon & Kim are “an item.”
      the Democratic establishment) [has] pretty clearly decided that all they will do is kick the can down the road
      Yes, the Dems were absolutely not prepared for Hillary’s loss and for the rejection of the ongoing worthess Democrat political strategem which favored the establishment above all, powered by huge government spending.
      if Americans can’t muster the courage to denounce the treason against the Constitution that Trump and Trumpism represent
      Treason? Certainly Trump is discarding many of the usual ways of doing policy, but that’s because a majority believe that the country is going in the wrong direction, and everybody knows the US lags other developed countries in many measures, including health care, human rights, transporation, employment etc.– and leads on war-making. If that’s treason then give me treason.

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  8. A Strangelove project to militarize space is now underway.

    ‘Space force’: Trump orders new branch of US military. Donald Trump said on Monday he would direct the Pentagon to create a “space force” as a new branch of the US military to shore up American dominance in space. Trump insisted: “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important.”

    Bill Nelson, the Democratic senator for Florida, home of Cape Canaveral. He tweeted: “The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want. Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/18/space-force-donald-trump-orders-new-branch-of-us-military
    ==========================================================================
    The Democrat response by Senator Bill Nelson does not call this stunningly stupid idea out as a waste of time, money and efforts, and the trashing of the idea of peaceful space exploration. Senator Nelson is committed to the political commandment of -Thou shalt not criticize the Military.

    It is difficult for me to comprehend how anyone could possibly sink to such a depth of complete thoughtless mentality and then have Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mike Pence, the new Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, join him.

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    1. Yes, stunningly stupid space speculation, meanwhile China is working on various technical inventions for under sea warfare, featuring gliding underwater drones and ways to destroy underwater cables. That’s in the liquid space that covers over two-thirds of the earth, a place where the US Navy is having a lot of difficulty simply navigating never mind technically keeping up. So the oceans are where we need a capable “space force.”

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  9. One Hundred Years Ago, Eugene Debs Gave An Anti-War Speech That Landed Him in Prison.

    “The master class has always declared the wars. The subject class has always fought the battles,” Debs said. “The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose—especially their lives.”

    “They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.”

    Debs added:

    “And here let me emphasize the fact—and it cannot be repeated too often—that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.”

    Debs said, “These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to Junker rule in the United States.”
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/06/18/one-hundred-years-ago-eugene-debs-gave-anti-war-speech-landed-him-prison
    =========================================================================
    Debs ended up in jail a victim of the newly minted Espionage Act.
    Debs, even 100 years ago observed, the master class declared wars, and the subjects fight it. Today, with the Imperial Presidency, declaring wars has been dispensed with as an unnecessary Constitutional impediment.

    What struck me was the phrase Debs used: “These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to Junker rule in the United States.” >>>> Here we should think of the NFL Players who took a knee.

    One other observation, our McMega-Media has reinforced the Espionage Act in a non-judicial sense, by exalting the military well beyond their accomplishments and not allowing the slightest opportunity for opposition to Global Military – Imperialism.

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    1. @ML
      I agreed with you up to “. . .not allowing the slightest opportunity for opposition to Global Military – Imperialism.”
      About fifteen years ago I created an anti-war corporation which featured a multipage website for the self-created “Smedley Butler Society,” Butler being an anti-war Marine general, with two Congressional Medals of Honor (Butler is my avatar). The website (gone now) was quite open and verbally aggressive, fully anti-war. It even had a blog-site for awhile “Rummywatch” which included the statements of the SecDef at the time, with caustic criticism.
      Well long story short I fully expected a ‘knock on the door” as you suggest but it never came. We do have a full opportunity for opposition to government militarism. I take advantage of it on military blogs, get called a Russian etc, been barred from one or two blogs, but that’s about it. I try to stick to facts whereas the war-hawks are usually full of wild opinions but short on facts, which is really not their fault given the unity of the pro-government MSM with writers who toe the line and don’t seek facts. So we have an opportunity to educate people, as our host promotes here. It is allowed.

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      1. Don, concerning the McMega-Media I mentioned, they do not allow the slightest opportunity for opposition to Global Military – Imperialism.” Here I mean CNN, MSDNC, FOX the major print media are all on board with Global-Imperialism.

        Thankfully, we still have Web Sites like this.

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  10. Of the change in the Republican Party…I have often wondered how the views of the people change. Having graduated from high school in 1968 with the fervor of the fight against the Vietnam War and the shock over the killings of King and RFK, I sensed a real desire for change, but in the opposite direction to what has happened. I was astounded when GWB won re-election after the disaster of Iraq was well known. But that can’t hold a candle to these days with the victory of reactionary thought in all three branches of our government. Citizens United, Trump as president, Granny McConnell in the driver’s seat, endless war and the full embrace of Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda? My nightmare is real.

    How can any sane person fall for the idea that government should set free the corporations even with the evidence of the bank bust, the record of the tobacco companies and the environmental damage from pre-EPA days? There really is a significant part of our population that hates the government; plenty of little guys that are spouting the traditional view of billionaires.

    Even with the great income divide steadily widening, the people that are getting elected are pushing through the big business/1% agenda with a will, Trump in the lead, thumbing his nose at our desire to see his income tax records. This is an almost complete corruption of our democracy, but people do voluntarily put the people pushing the agenda into office.

    I am currently reading a book that explains how this all came to be, “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer. What we are seeing now was planned from back in the 1970’s. Billionaires got the idea of using the IRS allowed “foundation” to set up far-right think tanks that did nothing more that churn out research that followed the ideas of the billionaire escaping taxes through his foundations funded with his money, claiming that the work done was for the public good. A double win for the 1%. Thus came to be the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and on and on, most with clever names that deliberately hid the source of the money to push the “research” coming out. The ideas these billionaires wanted to advance – get rid of all regulation, kill the EPA, end public assistance of all kinds, cut the taxes of the wealthy, end the estate tax, etc. have all come to be the to-do list of the Republican Party and most amazingly, successful at the voting booth!

    Too many members of the public accept these ideas as supporting liberty even as they are being robbed without waking up to it (see Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas”). The huge majority of people fall further behind those who are grabbing everything for themselves and don’t rebel. The biggest threat to democracy is ignorance and we have far too many people who have no idea where the ideas so cleverly prepared to appeal to them are coming from. Billionaires with names like Koch, DeVos and Scaife (deceased) have successfully framed the national conversation in their own interest and control things as they had dreamed of back in the 1970’s.

    If we can’t derail this agenda this November, the democracy of dupes is here to stay.

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