Tuesday Thoughts

W.J. Astore

Today, I parked behind a car that had a “Semper Fi” sticker for the Marines, an American flag sticker, another sticker that said “Don’t blame me, I voted for Trump,” and a final sticker that read: “The Media Is the Virus” (in place of Covid-19, I assume). It’s nice that people identify themselves so readily in America, thereby making it easier to avoid them. I’ve traveled to a few countries and I’ve never seen this proclivity for bumper stickers and the like replicated in other lands. What is it about Americans that we want our cars and trucks and SUVs to scream our views? Doesn’t matter if you’re “liberal” or a Trumper or what-have-you. Americans are very much in your face about their beliefs. Because, ah, freedom?

Who will win in 2022 and 2024: the woke Republicans, otherwise known as Democrats, or the unwoke ones who generally support Trump? And if you think Democrats like Joe Biden aren’t like Republicans, consider this: Biden is pro-police, pro-military, pro-war, and anti-worker in the sense that we’ve seen no increase to the federal minimum wage, no student debt relief, no meaningful health care reform, and no concerted effort to reduce inflation or to lower gasoline prices. As the rich get richer under Biden, generally the poor get poorer. Worked the same way under Trump and Obama, didn’t it?

If we judge Biden by his deeds as well as his words, he’s emulated the pro-business Republican-lite policies of Barack Obama, but with none of Obama’s charisma.

Isn’t it time America had a second party to choose from, rather than two right-wing factions of the same corporate uniparty?

Biden has a new press secretary who’s a Black female and a member of the LGBTQ community. Will it feel any better being lied to by her rather than a white female or the typical cis white male? As Cornel West noted, it’s not enough to put Black faces in high places if they’re just as committed to the Establishment as the typical cis white male. We need more than optical diversity in this country.

That said, I’d love to see more women in Congress (indeed, more women in all positions of power), and more diversity across America. But, again, if the “civilian” Secretary of Defense is from Raytheon via a career spent in the U.S. Army, does it really matter that he’s Black when he’s thoroughly a man of the military-industrial complex?

What if all NFL players wore peace symbols on their helmets rather than American flags? Would their heads explode first, or ours?

There’s no escaping the military-industrial complex. This weekend, I watched the Red Sox play the Rangers in Texas. There’s a huge blue and white ad for Lockheed Martin in the outfield; even worse, the company logo was superimposed on the pitcher’s mound! Every pitch, almost every play, was sponsored by my friends at Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 jet fighter, among other weapons. How heartening!

Trevor Story makes a play for the Red Sox as Lockheed Martin looms in the background

Remember those old commercials: baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet? Chevrolet has been replaced by Lockheed Martin, with our president visiting weapons factories to promote the Javelin missile. With our president shilling for weapons and with Congress shoveling more than $50 billion to Ukraine to sustain a devastating war, tell me again how Democrats are making the world safer and more secure?

What will be the next galvanizing cause that forces people into the streets? The last one was Black Lives Matter and protests against police brutality that briefly led to a “defund the police” moment, which really meant to decrease police militarization while allocating more funds for mental health, family counselors, and other non-violent approaches to defusing trouble. President Biden has already said the answer is to fund the police, not defund them. How is this a “democratic” message? How is this even remotely adequate as a response to the very real anger and grievances of the BLM movement?

Fifty years ago, George McGovern asked America “to come home.” To end foreign wars. To focus on our problems here. To cut the Pentagon budget and to refund the savings to the American people. Was he the last real Democrat to run for President? Why do you never, ever, hear about his ideas today?

Why has every president since Ronald Reagan used the office to cash in after leaving? Kudos to Jimmy Carter for being a true, humble, and honorable public servant, and for having a brother who briefly brought us Billy Beer.

What are your Tuesday thoughts, readers?

21 thoughts on “Tuesday Thoughts

  1. I don’t believe the signals (like bumper stickers) indicate a belief, commitment, ideology-we’re too far down the UsVsThem, either/or road, and too fragile to consider we’ve been misled and are now cheering each other further into the abyss with the absence of “signs”.

    On Biden’s new press secretary: she proved a recent rule of mine, that being the amount of bullshit being shoveled to those unaware or unwilling to consider it as such will be offered extra booby-crack. At this rate, NewsHour, MSNBC, CNN & most of Fox will be like xHamster by Christmas.

    The MIC is in the open now-not even trying to hide their intent. LockheedMartin CEO on a Sunday show weekend before last offering increased Javelin production as a benefit to America and here in Iowa, MikeFranken is telling Iowans that manufacturing death is good for the state budget.

    BLM was a hustle from the start. MargaretKimberly [BlackAgendaReport] told MnarAdley of MintPress it would be another group that would dominate Black folks during the last “summer of love”.

    I subscribed to George for a time in 90s-reading is a bit of a compulsion for me-and in one issue, I found I was not only reading an article about Thoreau but another about LeniRiefenstahl. The copy of Walden that I sought out included OnCivilDisobedience and when I tell people they should watch TriumphDesWillens-free onYouTube-before giving up their money and perhaps time [Mets & Cardinals are on a screen as I type, but I’m paying not MLB for it], they look at me like I’m a Nazi, and maybe even tell others the same.

    When I was about 14, the junior high librarian saw what I was pulling to read and told me he had ordered a documentary series, but he wasn’t going to make it available to students as it was too graphic, which brought the teachers in as well, but I could watch it in his office during study halls if I wanted. Watching the faces of those people, who almost certainly had suspicions about what their government had become, realize that it was largely their fault was depressing-it’s stuck with me for 35 years.

    I don’t scare easily-I actually had an SF colonel flag me down so he could introduce me to a general as “fearless”-not bad for an E4 cook, and I’m really scared for these people when they can no longer hide from what government (and the press) has encouraged America to become.

    Mets are leading the Cardinals 3-0, FailArmy is showing more bad ideas, and eleven US senators said no. Who’s to say we can’t resist the pull of a black hole?

    Have a good day.

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  2. At least this Time, The Washington Post, posted a disclaimer deleting my comment in https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/16/oligarchs-emerald-coast-sardinia/
    In the past, they just deleted the comment.

    “This commenter has been removed by a moderator for violating our community guidelines.”

    Any thoughts on whose community guidelines I offended posting it as I see it, exercising my Right to Democratic Free speech? I think the comment violated the community of Billionaire Oligarchs.

    An Oligarch is a Billionaire and there are 2755 Billionaire/Oligarchs on Planet Earth.

    Naturally Americans, in the delusional belief of their “indispensable exceptionalism,” compounded with BLIND US patriotism, denounce only Russian Billionaires while American Oligarchs are getting much richer off the Ukraine War than Russian Oligarchs.

    Since the 2014 US/CIA Coup/regime change of the Elected Russian friendly Ukrainian government the Russian speaking Ukrainians in the East and Crimea VOTED for, changing it for a US proxy Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government, the 8 year Ukraine Civil War precipitated by the 2014 US Coup/regime change led directly to the War and it’s not all Russia’s fault contrary to the proscribed US/NATO War Propaganda..

    The entire Russian Military Budget was $60 BILLION last year. The US Military Budget for this year is over $800,000,000,000.
    Dragging out the Afghanistan War for 20 years and $2 TRILLION, made a lot of American Oligarchs rich off WAR.
    Most Christian America turns a BLIND eye to that double standard Reality of THIS World!

    The American Powers that be haven’t realized it yet, but the Russian Billionaires are only the Beginning.
    Next in line are American, Canadian, British, French, Indian, Chinese and all the 2755 Oligarch/Billionaires influencing governments everywhere to pass Laws that make them richer!

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  3. Heh. Yeah, Colonel. And what’s really cool is that the American taxpayer is paying for all that advertising.

    Or do Major League Baseball and the networks provide them as free, part-of-our-Patriotic Duty Public Service Announcements?

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  4. Well, here in central PA, and I’m sure you have very fond memories of your time in Lycoming County–the “bastion” of liberal democracy, it would be wonderful if we could get away from the antiquated closed primary, i.e., fowl of the same feathers, system. That method of voting disenfranchises a fair number of people, rather unfair since they have to live with and choose from the results of those efforts without being part of the original selection. I’m cynical enough to think that, even if those registered non-Dems and non-Reps could vote in both elections, it would take more than that to break us/US out of the ingrained cycle of thought and action that holds us in this pro-military business mindset of capitalism on steroids. And, as you noted, the poor get poorer, which tends to distract people and makes them struggle for their existence, not an efficient vehicle for action.

    As I saw yet another notice of an impending price rise in utilities, where UGI now asks for a 7.4% hike (and possibly another again in December), shortly after PPL announced a 38% increase in the beginning of May, I walked morosely through the grocery store watching the prices increase and drove home noting that gas rises every few days. This does not even take into account the supply chain issues, already horrendous, that are going to be exacerbated by the cost of diesel fuel that is trending into the ethers and giving us all the vapors.

    This causes me to wonder just how quickly those in charge are hoping to kill many of us obviously “worthless” people off.

    Let’s see! Elderly? Gee, you should have planned better for retirement. Too bad about that collapse in 2008 that hit the investments and wiped out half of it.

    Babies? Formula shortage? Hey, moms, guess you should be breastfeeding. You have to work? Sorry about that. Figure it out.

    Childcare problems? Can’t afford it on minimum wage? Guess you should have thought about that before getting pregnant.

    Pregnant and poor? Well, we don’t want to help now and won’t later either, but, by damn, you are going to have that kid–even if it kills you.

    Disabled? Hey, not my problem either. You’re getting a monthly paycheck, right? Learn to live on it.

    On that trip through the grocery store, I saw another woman looking in the frozen food case and mentioned that shopping may have been a chore before but now, looking at the rising prices… Her response, “Yes, we need him out. He has, what, 2 1/2 more years to go?”
    Me: “I’m of the opinion we need to dump them all regardless of who they are and start over fresh.”

    But, it’s all good right? Wages are strong, at least for some. According to Fortune on April 4, 2022, “…Just one year after many CEOs took pay cuts amid the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, median pay rose to $14.2 million last year for chief executives of S&P 500 companies, according to MyLogIQ LLC, which tracks salary data from companies.

    While not every CEO saw an increase—roughly a quarter of the CEOs took a pay cut in 2021—the majority saw their salary rise by at least 11% and nearly one-third saw salary hikes of at least 25%, according to The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of MyLogIQ’s data…. ”

    https://fortune.com/2022/04/04/median-ceo-pay-amazon-discovery-raises/

    Sorry for the rambling rant, sarcasm, and cynicism, but I am surrounded in central Pennsylvania.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rant away! I enjoy the company. And boy do I miss rural central PA! 🙂

      I was astonished when I first arrived to see so many Confederate battle flags. Thought I was in Alabama.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Colonel. Here’s what i am thinking this Tuesday [at least as regards Your piece]:

    You asked: “Isn’t it time America had a second party to choose from, rather than two right-wing factions of the same corporate uniparty?”

    It’s long past time; but that is not going to happen any time soon. And very probably, if it ever does, it probably won’t be soon enough.

    The best i can offer at this point is the piece You posted for me on April 10, “Reforming America’s Elections the NOTC Way” which presented the argument that “None Of These Candidates” [NOTC] should be on every ballot of every federal election.

    It proposed a nation-wide campaign to give the American Voters a real Alternative to ~ and an actual Antidote for ~ what America’s Ruling Political Class will give them for choices in 2022 and 2024: To make “None Of These Candidates” a mandatory choice on every ballot in every federal election held in the United States for Election2022 and Election2024.

    Its ultimate purpose being to give a meaningful vote to that cohort of Totally Forgotten Voters who have been disenfranchised since the beginning of elections in America, and to offer a very quick, simple, easy, and low cost solution to that problem. [https://bracingviews.com/2022/04/10/reforming-americas-elections-the-notc-way/]

    You also asked: “Why has every president since Ronald Reagan used the office to cash in after leaving? Kudos to Jimmy Carter for being a true, humble, and honorable public servant, and for having a brother who briefly brought us Billy Beer.”

    i would guess that a very strong argument can be made that the only Presidents who didn’t cash in after leaving office were those who died in office. But maybe not. But i have no doubt whatsoever that Every President cashed in while he was IN office. How could one not?

    In any event, despite his brother’s Beer, Carter is to be universally condemned for laying the groundwork for America’s Holy War against the Russkies in Afghanistan, and birthing who and what ultimately became OBL and Da Boyz. But then, he probably had absolutely no choice in the matter, wouldn’t You agree?

    And ~ just for clarification ~ with his Nobel Peace Prize, Obomber didn’t bother to wait to leave office to cash in.

    And finally, You asked: “With our president shilling for weapons and with Congress shoveling more than $50 billion to Ukraine to sustain a devastating war, tell me again how Democrats are making the world safer and more secure?”

    Heh. And while they’re at it: Tell us again how everybody in Washington ~ regardless of party and the division of power between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue ~ how Everybody is and has been doing a Great job of making the world safer and more secure for their owners and operators in our military-industrial complex and secrecy-surveillance-security panopticon.

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      1. Well that was certainly white of him, wouldn’t You say? Particularly given the fact that he had done absolutely NOTHING to merit getting a Nobel Peace Prize in the first bleeping place.

        And what is he worth today? How much are the Clintons worth? Or Biden? And how many of those folks ever held as job for any length of time outside of government?

        And one could and should ask the exact same questions about any and every elected politician in Swampland, Republocrat or Demican. Especially anybody who has been there for more than two terms in the Senate and 4 terms in the House.

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        1. I never got a reply to the email sent to the Nobel Institute until the Director of 25 years retired and wrote a book saying it was a mistake to give President Obama the Peace Prize.

          From: rayray
          To: postmaster@nobel.no; library@nobel.no
          Subject: Peace Prize/War Prize
          Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 22:35:33 +0000

          Honourable Members of the Nobel Committee,

          Considering the speeches candidate Obama gave before the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour-Tsunami of September 2008 under the watch of his predecessor, I was happy when your august Committee awarded the new President the Nobel Peace Prize.

          I supposed at that Time, you awarded it to him knowing the mess he inherited would leave him holding the bag, and at a great disadvantage with the American people to start with, and you hoped awarding him such a prestigious award at the outset of his Presidency might ameliorate the disadvantage of inheriting a failed economy and in those circumstances, help keep him focused on the Prize of Peace.

          I am positive I am not the only resident of earth to see the difference between the words of Candidate Obama and the inexperienced new President Obama you awarded the Peace Prize to, and his actions since then. Since being given the Prize, his actions on the world stage show he resorts to military action 1st and not as a last resort. He is showing by his actions to be undeserving of The Nobel Peace Prize.

          I may not be the 1st person to write to you about this, but I see justifiable reasons to recall the Peace Prize awarded to President Obama prematurely in wishful thinking. He is showing himself by his policies to be unworthy of it. If you can’t take it back, at least make a Public Statement saying in retrospect, The Committee made a hasty decision.

          What moved me Today to write to you was reading the latest article in the Blog of Professor Richard Falk, International Law Scholar titled ‘
          Missing the Point Twice: International Law as Empire’s Sunday Suit
          https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/missing-the-point-twice-international-law-as-empire%E2%80%99s-sunday-suit/

          Peace
          Ray Joseph Cormier

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  6. You’re always telling it like it is, Bill, seemingly the only sane voice in a blind, crazy, drugged, power-drunken, mindless, self-destructive society.
    It’s mystifying to me how so much science and ignorance can coexist. So much money wasted on destruction, so little invested in survival, so little respect for morality and truth, so little compassion for the truly needy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With all the humanitarian concern for European War Refugees, where’s the “humanitarian concern” for all those 25,000 non-White Humans who DIE of Starvation EVERY DAY, more than from COVID and The Ukraine War COMBINED?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Lt.Col isn’t there something positive about America you could write about? Surely there is!
    My thoughts here on Wednesday in New Zealand is that are tons of great things to say about the USA.
    After all America invented Donkey Gong!
    Are you in a Malthusian (?) mood today my friend?

    Boomer, Zoomer, Doomer, or a Bloomer — Which One Are You?
    https://pandagossips.com/posts/6357

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, about that “positive” thing in regard to the United States . . . Doesn’t the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX Noise, etc take care of that? They get paid fat salaries to flog the oligarchy’s narcotic narrative. Why should any of us impoverished proles do their work for them, and for free?

      Consider: My younger brother played football (offensive tackle) for Cal Poly Pomona. In one game, they found themselves behind in the score and so the coaches called for more “Hail Mary” passes to try and catch up. (You know, the “air power” thing). But the other team simply withdrew their linebackers (no threat of a run) and replaced them with additional defensive backs who then intercepted more and more passes. Cal Poly Pomona wound up hopelessly behind and eventually lost pursuing this “strategy.” At any rate, after throwing seven interceptions, the coaches pulled the dispirited quarterback off the field, with one coach trying to cheer him up as follows:

      “I always try to see the positive side of every situation, and I’m positive I never saw you play a worse game than you played tonight.”

      I feel the same way watching the fuck-up-and-move-up/kiss-up-kick-down U.S. military try again and again — decade after decade — to meddle in the foreign policy of the United States. As we used to say of our team back in Vietnam:

      If we knew what to do we’d have done it already. If we could have, we would have; but we didn’t, so we can’t. Time’s up.

      Something (actually, everything) tells me that this latest $40 billion Hail Mary pass — directed away from domestic baby formula and ostensibly towards our proxy Nazi regime in Kiev — will see numerous interceptions and recovered fumbles before any of it manages to make it onto the field of play much less into any end zone other than the other team’s.

      Finally, leaving athletic analogies for appropriate aphorisms: “They told me to cheer up because things can always get worse. So I cheered up. And sure enough, things got worse.” So much for the “logic” of Pollyanna Positivism.

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  8. Perhaps of interest for comparison of “wartime” lifestyles, Brussels-based analyst and businessman Gilbert Doctorow reports on his most recent trip to the Russian countryside: Life in the village.

    “. . . little has changed in village life from what we left behind on our last visit in October 2021. The food shops in Orlino and in the surrounding villages are fully stocked. Prices are unquestionably higher but not shockingly so. Local roads that were dodgy have been fixed and we drove on smooth asphalt. The taxi service has been improved; it now operates 24 hours. Gasification has finally come to Orlino: some residents on a parallel street to ours are now getting their connections after a wait of many years. Life is good.”

    It doesn’t look like the Biden Hologram (i.e., Victoria Nuland, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, et al) has had much luck with its grand “strategy” of blowing up the Russian economy and turning the Russian people against President Putin so as to replace him with the petty jailbird (and NGO favorite) Alexei Navalny. (I almost said Juan Guaido but then realized that the US needs Venezuelan oil and so supplication missions to elected President Nicolás Maduro have now gotten the go-ahead.) Ideological-reality whiplash — i.e., Orwellian schizophrenic doublethink — does indeed seem the order of the day in matters concerning the U.S. “government.” Life perhaps not so good?

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  9. Heh. If the US wanting Ukraine to join NATO precipitated this War, one can only imagine what Finland’s and Sweden’s compliance with US wishes just might make happen, eh? Now ALL of Russia’s borders will have been NATOized… :

    NATO Chief Hails ‘Historic Moment’ As Finland, Sweden Apply

    BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the military alliance stands ready to seize a historic moment and move quickly on allowing Finland and Sweden to join its ranks, after the two countries submitted their membership requests.

    The official applications, handed over by Finland and Sweden’s ambassadors to NATO, set a security clock ticking. Russia, whose war on Ukraine spurred them to join the military organization, has warned that it wouldn’t welcome such a move, and could respond.

    Continued at https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-government-and-politics-sweden-recep-tayyip-erdogan-bb85591c4cf0335cc053faccce26df32

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    1. Why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the spur here eludes me. Are Sweden and Finland that fearful that they might be next? Basically, I see the Russia-Ukraine War as limited, or at least it should be, except for all the U.S./NATO meddling and weapons deliveries. I very much doubt that Putin had any plans to attack Finland and Sweden. Domestic politics in those two countries must be involved: the desire “to do something,” to appear to stand firm. A relatively easy step is to join NATO.

      One thing is certain: chalk up another win for the U.S. military-industrial complex, assuming we all aren’t vaporized in WWIII.

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  10. Ukraine, an Antiwar Dilemma
    I find it strange that today — and this takes nothing away from the misery of the Ukrainian people or the ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin’s invasion — that the public seems vastly more engaged in a war its country is not officially fighting than in the ones we did fight over the past two decades.

    Instead, just as in the previous two decades, America’s involvement in war, this time with Russia, is above all a bonanza for war profiteers and our military-industrial-congressional complex………………………………….

    https://portside.org/2022-05-17/ukraine-antiwar-dilemma

    WAR IS HELL, “but the ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin’s invasion” wasn’t as ruthless as the 2003 US Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad we saw live on TV, but no dead bodies shown.
    Ruthless Vladimer Putin didn’t bomb Kiev like ruthless Americans bombed Baghdad in that US WAR in violation of the same International Law Russia is demonized by the US/NATO for violating.
    US/NATO maintaining that BLIND hypocritical double standard rigid attitude will eventually lead to MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION. Think about it!
    Only Americans can change the Direction. For the rest of the World, it’s only “Hope and Prayers!”

    With all the US/NATO experts knowing Putin’s mind, they called Russia’s withdrawal from the Kiev suburbs as a Military win for Ukraine.
    It was a deliberate strategy to keep Ukraine Forces tied up to defend Kiev, as the Russian pincer movement closed around Ukraine Forces in the East, preventing them from being re-supplied or re-enforced.
    It was successful since the last neo-Nazi AZOV fighters that waged the 8 year War against the Russian speaking Ukrainians in Donetsk finally surrendered!

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