“The Terminal List” and America’s Vision of the Heroic

“Trust no one” could be the motto of “The Terminal List.” And “kill all those who betray you.”

W.J. Astore

What is it about this country and guns and violence?  

The Westerns I watched as a kid (John Wayne in particular) had guns in them, of course.  Colt pistols, Winchester rifles, an occasional shotgun.  And there was no shortage of violence.

But nowadays shows/movies feature much more gunplay with military-grade weapons and armor.  The Western isn’t in vogue today.  It’s military dramas instead.  America’s overseas wars have come home for real on our streets and in mass shootings, but they’ve also come home on our screens, where SEALs are the new heroes.

A short series I recently watched, The Terminal List, features a Navy SEAL who must “go to war” domestically because he’s been betrayed by the U.S. government, which even kills his wife and daughter.  Action scenes feature sniper rifles, assault rifles, grenades, explosions, and torture (one man is hung by his own intestines).

Torture and war, common to America’s war on terror, are now here to terrorize us, on our screens but also increasingly on our streets. Strangely, I don’t hear anyone complaining about violence on TV, as people did in the 1980s.  It’s now acceptable, par for the course.  We are inured to it.  Worse: we desire it, or at least some of us do, judging by the success of The Terminal List and similar shows.

The theme is “trust no one” and exact your revenge in the most violent way possible.  The SEAL in Terminal List keeps his own kill list: echoes of Barack Obama and his presidential kill list.  But a democracy saturated in militarized violence can’t possibly survive as a democracy.

Interestingly, today it’s the MAGA Right that distrusts government with a passion.  Fifty years ago, with the Vietnam War running down and Watergate winding up, it was the Left that distrusted government.

One of my favorite movies from the 1970s is Three Days of the Condor, which can profitably be compared to The Terminal List.  The hero in the first movie is a bookish guy who’s betrayed by the CIA.  The hero in this year’s Terminal List is a Navy SEAL and a violent man of action.  In Condor, Robert Redford’s character outthinks his opponents and goes to the New York Times with proof of governmental corruption.  The Navy SEAL simply kills all his enemies, or they kill themselves when faced with his demands for retribution, with an impressive range of deadly weapons.  (Of course, such violent fantasies of hard men meting out murderous justice are hardly new; think of Sylvester Stallone as Rambo or various Chuck Norris vehicles.)

The Terminal List is truly a series for our times.  It’s slickly done, and Chris Pratt is good in it.  What it reveals is the profound skepticism so many Americans have in their government and in corporations — and rightly so.

The problem is elevating a Navy SEAL as the principled hero. SEALs make good warriors but are they what America wants for vigilante justice?  In real life, SEALs can be loose cannons, as recent events show.

For me, real heroes are not often chiseled men of action like Chris Pratt’s Navy SEAL, with all his guns and violence.  Or for that matter Rambo. Think instead of Chelsea Manning, Daniel Hale, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange.  They may lack bulging biceps and impressive arsenals, yet Manning and Hale went to prison to reveal war crimes, Snowden is in exile for taking on the government and telling us the truth about wars and our surveillance state, and Assange is being tortured in prison for practicing oppositional journalism, otherwise known as real reporting.

Heroes in life come in all shapes and sizes; a Navy SEAL may be among the least likely of shapes and sizes we’ll see.  They often do their best work without guns and grenades and without lengthy kill lists and torture routines.  Their strength is measured by their principles, not by their pecs.

I think even John Wayne might agree with me here.

115 thoughts on ““The Terminal List” and America’s Vision of the Heroic

  1. This theme seems so self-evident to me, and yet – and yet – box office receipts appear to support a public thirst for violence. I have to think that stems from an overwhelming sense of powerlessness in the face of a society rushing headlong into a future we don’t want to see.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. That and the glorification of the military.

      The way to solve problems is to send in an “American sniper” — or a SEAL team — or Maverick in his F-18. Shoot some bullets, drop some bombs, and problem solved.

      Except Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia …

      Liked by 3 people

      1. American Sniper, the biggest blockbuster of the Oscar season, does not glorify war, director Clint Eastwood says.

        But Eastwood says the film is definitively anti-war.

        “I think it’s nice for veterans, because it shows what they go through, and that life—and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under,” Eastwood told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I think that all adds up to kind of an anti-war message.”

        He added that he himself is anti-war, despite his long resume of war films.

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    2. I see it as the material reflection acting out this Vision in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
      Obviously, the Revelation is when you can see it shaping up among the People on Earth.

      And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
      Revelation 11:18

      Anywhere the People are reflecting and acting out the wrath of God, especially in the US who always thought of itself as God’s “Chosen Nation”
      Science is warning us we may be in even more dire straits than we realize as we destroy the environment that supports Human Life and other Life on this delicate Planet Earth.

      As I read this latest from Bill, he may be using other words, but I see the spirit in his letter being very similar to the spirit of this letter,
      Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.
      Revelation 12:12

      Now we see humans acting out the Wrath of God and the Wrath of the devil, but who can discern which Wrath is Which?

      Welcoming the Christ Spirit, the very same Christ Spirit 1st revealed in the fully Human Jesus, to dwell in your hearts and minds, will save you from the Wrath of God AND the Wrath of the devil.

      There’s a Sect of Christian belief putting their faith in ‘The Rapture.’ That group believes they are so righteous, just before all Hell breaks loose on earth for the other Sinners, they will ascend into Heaven like Jesus and be spared all the trial and tribulation the other sinners will have to endure.

      I believe those People will be in for a rude awakening. Jesus rules out any notion of The Rapture in this one line in The Lord’s other prayer,
      I don’t pray that you should take them out of the world, (Rapture) but that you should keep them from the evil.
      John 17:15

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    3. Tcom, I think perceived powerlessness is key, that of the individual. Movies build up one person that accomplishes superhuman achievements, enabled with powerful machines/guns, overcoming an opposition made up of a community of bad people who act together to oppress the hero. That is the core perversity of the movies – that the community is bad, in the form of a conspiracy and the individual is the last hope for justice, that justice almost inevitably administered in the most violent way. Call it Ayn Rand on steroids.

      I think of the hopelessness of American slaves that had no control over their lives and no chance of changing the situation. Many became intensely religious grasping at salvation in the afterlife. These days it is the gun that is the icon for salvation in this life. But the slaves suffered from a real and undeniable problem. What is our problem?

      The irony is powerful. We individuals have total control over our physical environment. We have heating in winter and cooling in summer, instant hot water to bathe everyday if we like, all the ice we want from the freezer, clean sheets and soft beds, entertainment 24/7, food food and more food, virtually all facts available instantly with a Google search, vehicles to get us anywhere and everywhere from the grocery store to the other side of the world. All things are possible beyond the imagination of people living just a few generations ago.

      But this doesn’t bring satisfaction. All of the above are assumed and put aside mentally while we stew with resentment to which movies offer a balm. The situation is quite serious, rage and resentment are widespread. The founding fathers dreaming of a future, what would they think of school shootings? There is something seriously wrong in the American psyche: of people who have everything and see themselves as deprived, victims of terrible injustice. How can we have so much and think we are swirling down the drain at the same time?

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      1. “How can we have so much and think we are swirling down the drain at the same time?”

        That’s another one of those “DFQs,” or Damn Fine Questions, clif9710.

        Maybe it’s because we deeply and clearly Sense ~ if not KNOW ~ that we in fact Are swirling down the drain, can do nothing to stop it, and are trying to make the best of a lousy situation by doing what we have been programmed first of all to be and do: Consumers consuming.

        Plus, remember Manifest Destiny, and that “Shining City on a Hill,” and Madam Albright’s admonition that we are the “Indispensable Nation” [thus justifying the deaths of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqi Children, Women, and Elders].

        We are Americans and this is America; God’s new Chosen People and Nation. There are lots of Americans who actually, honestly, and sincerely believe that. If we weren’t, the reasoning goes, we wouldn’t have all these goods, products, and services to buy.

        But most of all, it probably has more than anything to do with the fact that it has been 160 years since there has been a War fought here, and Americans get to experience first-hand what we have inflicted on the rest of the Planet over the last 77 years since the end of World War II.

        In any event, clif9710, i have to ask: How does “justice almost inevitably administered in the most violent way” have anything whatsoever to do with Ayn Rand, whether on or off steroids?

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        1. Jeff, I “proffer”, that word again, that there are millions of Americans who do not clearly sense they are swirling down the drain and can do nothing to stop it. They also do not believe they are trying to make the best of a lousy situation by doing what we have been programmed first of all to be and do: Consumers consuming. Surely this is a gross generalization. Most Americans are well off compared to other citizens of the world.

          It is only reading all this doom and gloom stuff on the internet that gets easily persuaded people thinking this way. My kids read all this dross online and shake their heads wondering what these gullible people are raving on about. And the same at my old place of work. My old colleagues roll their eyes with this stuff and get on with doing their jobs, living happy lives, bringing up their kids, and saving for their retirement.

          Yeah sure there are people struggling in America. But so are there in New Zealand, and all other countries on earth. How does that old saying go? If you took all the gold and divided it equally amongst everyone – at the end of the week the rich would be rich again, and the poor, poor again. Human nature my friend.

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          1. Dennis: Do You have any other sources about what Americans think and feel about the future besides Your physician Daughters and contacts from Your days working in and/or for the MICC?

            Here are the ones i found on just the first page of a Google Hunt n Gather on “polls on the future of America”:

            Almost half in new poll sees likelihood US will ‘cease to be a democracy in the future’
            https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/3524708-almost-half-in-new-poll-sees-likelihood-us-will-cease-to-be-a-democracy-in-the-future/

            Nearly Two-Thirds of Young Americans Fearful About the Future of Democracy in America, Harvard youth poll finds https://iop.harvard.edu/about/newsletter-press-release/nearly-two-thirds-young-americans-fearful-about-future-democracy

            6 in 10 Americans say U.S. democracy is in crisis as the ‘Big Lie’ takes root
            https://www.npr.org/2022/01/03/1069764164/american-democracy-poll-jan-6

            Americans are angry and worried about U.S. future, new NBC News poll shows
            https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/americans-are-angry-and-worried-about-u-s-future-new-nbc-news-poll-shows-146665029978

            23.2% of Americans feel the country is on the Right Track; 69.9% feel it is on the Wrong Track
            https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html

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            1. Five “polls” Jeff. And we know how accurate “polls” are eh!

              BTW Jeff, only about 25% of MANSON CONSTRUCTION’s marine construction work is for the Navy.
              All the Container Shipping Terminals, Bridges, Ferry Terminals, Hydro dam Work, Sewage Outfalls, New Orleans Seawall water work – is for other agencies than the military.
              AND both my physician daughters are married to successful entrepreneurs.

              My contacts are working people out and about in the world of commerce – not a bunch of internet journo’s who write to pay their bills.

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              1. Tell You what, Dennis: Suppose You tell me how accurate polls actually ARE.

                How about if You cherry-pick Your own polls ~ if You can find any ~ that demonstrate in the real world that the polls i cited are inaccurate. My hunch is that the only polls that You KNOW are inaccurate are the ones whose findings You disagree with.

                And if polls are so inaccurate as to be useless, why do politicians and, particularly, business executives producing, marketing, and selling goods, products, or services pay so much money for and attention to them?

                If You don’t like my cherry-picked articles serving as sources to suit my “Doom & Gloom Point Of View,” then i will ask You again: What are Your sources besides personal anecdotes from Your Daughters and Your contacts at Manson or others?

                And i’m curious: How many of those “Container shipping terminals, Bridges, Ferry Terminals, Hydro dam works, Sewage outfalls, New Orleans break water work,” etc, that Manson built were under contract with other agencies in the Federal government, or were paid for with Federal funds? The whole Infrastructure-Contractor-Congress Complex is hard at work in several Federal agencies besides just the DoD. Do You know what percentage of Manson’s revenues came from Federal, State, or Local government contracts?

                You wrote: “You have a very cynical view of the great country you were lucky enough to be born into Jeff – unappreciative even!”

                In this case, You are completely correct on two counts:

                <<< 1. i was Very lucky to be born in America; as opposed to, say, Vietnam, or any place else America has fucked with and/or over over these past 76 years; and,

                <<< 2. i have a Very cynical and bluntly unappreciative view of America primarily because 56 years ago this past August 8, i began what ended up being two years in Vietnam, and saw up close and very personally [and first as an infantryman and then as a helicopter door gunner, i contributed to] the Death, Destruction, Terror, and Horror that America inflicted on that People, Land, Country, and Nation.

                And thus, i have a very different perspective on what America has similarly inflicted over these past 56 years on the Peoples, Lands, Countries, and Nations of the rest of Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

                And i do not appreciate it one fucking bit; and thus am Very cynical about anything that America does that involves interacting with other Nations. Especially those Nations that have something that we Want: like fossil fuels, rare earths, and the like. How soon do You think it will be before we get involved in a War over Water?

                And finally: If You actually, really, honestly, and sincerely believe that Caitlin Johnson and people in the same category of Journalist that she is are “in it to get attention and pay bills,” any further conversation between us will be a complete and total waste of time, effort, energy, and bandwidth.

                Have a Great day. ~ jeff

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                1. Jeff, my sources are derived from intermingling with and talking to many patriotic and hard working Americans who are just going about their days doing the best they can to live productive lives and raise their families in America. Mostly white collar people I will admit, from my work background and families professions. I do not not put as much emphasis on the writings of “journalists” sitting at home in their basements, or in academic environments, writing articles reinforcing peoples paranoias because they know these articles are the ones that get the most clicks and sell.

                  As for “polls”, I like to think that I perform my own polls from my ongoing everyday life experiences with my family, friends and work colleagues. And you know that most polls have a collective basis. You prove what you set out to prove.

                  As for the jobs I managed all over the continental US, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, the Bahamas and Panama; yes they were all funded by public money. By Port Authorities like the Port of Long Beach; by the States; by the Feds; by The Corps of Engineers, and by other public agencies. I am very proud of those jobs. Even the ones we did for the MIC. We were the Low Bidder to get these jobs, and bought them home to specification, on schedule, and with few cost overruns. We never ripped off any of our customers. And everyday every worker could leave the job site with the satisfaction that he/she had done something that would benefit his fellow Americans for a long time.

                  I can understand why with your life experiences you are more cynical about the America you live in. And I certainly appreciate what you have contributed. But in a country of 300-million people everybody sees things differently. And if there is one thing I learnt during my 41-years in the US was the value of seeing the glass half full. As an old timer once taught me, once you start “poor boying” a problematic project you ruin your chances of saving it.

                  Take care Jeff.

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                2. “As an old timer once taught me, once you start “poor boying” a problematic project you ruin your chances of saving it.”

                  Like the US dominated Ukraine, has Putin been so demonized, as US Defence Secretary Austin said, NATO “will move heaven and earth” to have Ukraine win the US War with Russia?
                  That “poor boying” rules out any Peace negotiations to end the Death and Destruction.

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                3. i’m curious, Dennis: Approximately how many patriotic and hard-working Americans are You regularly in contact with? And of those, how many are retirees like You as opposed to how many are still in school or working, raising families, etc?

                  And i’m also curious as to whether or not You include Chris Hedges, Matt Taibbi, and Glenn Greenwald in Your list of Click Baiters; or Joe Rogan and Jimmy Dore.

                  Also: No, i do not know that “MOST polls have a collective bias.” How do You know that? Googling “collective bias in opinion polls” draws nothing but blanks. And do You know which specific ones of those “most polls” have a collective bias, and which ones don’t? And finally, Who determines a poll’s collective bias, and on what basis?

                  No doubt some pollsters ~ like some scientists ~ set out to prove what they want to prove and can do it; and use that as a selling point to potential buyers of their polling service. But i don’t see a lot of opportunity for pollsters who have been in the business for a long time to do that; nor do i see any reason why they would or should want to.

                  And it sounds like You certainly had a challenging, fulfilling, and altogether delightful career, Dennis. But that does not invalidate my assertion that the Infrastructure~Contractor~Congress Complex is alive and well all over the Federal government, and not just at the Pentagon.

                  And Yes; i know all about the advantages of seeing a glass half-full. But what is one supposed to do when, no matter how hard he tries, he sees a glass that is distinctly Less than half full, with a slow, steady leak down where the bowl joins the stem?

                  i ask that because i also know the danger that a Frog is in when he is sitting in a pot of cool water that is slowly, steadily, and gently, but inexorably being brought to a boil.

                  Stay Safe, and have a Great day. ~ jeff

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                4. Well, at least I’m not sitting in my basement. Nor am I writing for money. 🙂

                  Both of you, Jeff and Dennis, manifest the paradox of the American dream haunted also by American nightmares. Nightmares like Vietnam, for example.

                  Here on this Labor Day Weekend, Americans are out enjoying themselves. Swimming at beaches, cruising in pleasure craft, hiking in the hills, playing golf and tennis, even as other Americans are working, or struggling in debt, or suffering in hospitals.

                  Focusing on all the bad around us can lead to despair and depression. Focusing only on the good can lead to obliviousness to reality, a Pollyanna or Disney view of America.

                  In America today, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. It all depends on your family, education, money, health, friends, and so on.

                  Here at Bracing Views, I tend to focus on the “bad,” because the good takes care of itself. The idea is to make America “a more perfect union,” a vision pretty much abandoned by politicians today.

                  As Don Henley sang: “It’s take and take, takeover and takeover, it’s all take and never give.” Sometimes it seems that way. Now, why would he sing that? He’s a mega-millionaire and a celebrity. Can’t he sing “Take it easy” and shut up about it?

                  We need to see all sides of America, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so we can understand our country and hopefully change it so there’s less bad, less ugliness, and more good.

                  Liked by 3 people

                5. Very well said, Bill.

                  Particularly the part about our Political Class having abandoned the project of making America that “more perfect Union,” as spelled out in the Preamble to the Constitution.

                  The dominant, operative paradigm now ~ especially since the 2020 Presidential election ~ is to get enough votes and especially money on OUR SIDE so that we can do whatever the hell it is that WE want to do, regardless of what the OTHER SIDE wants to do. And that is exactly how to make that “more perfect Union” happen: By putting US in complete and total charge of Everything.

                  At this stage of the game, the concern may need to start shifting from “making a more perfect Union” to keeping this very imperfect Union still functional as a Nation State and Empire in the second decade of the 21st century.

                  Particularly if a Critical Mass of Americans start giving serious thought to the idea of saying “To Hell with a Union, let alone a more perfect one,” and start bandying about the “S-Word,” as in Secession.

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                6. From a Nina Turner tweet, some examples of the darker side of America:

                  Flint, MI still doesn’t have clean water.

                  Jackson, MS doesn’t have clean water.

                  Over half a million Americans will sleep on the streets tonight.

                  People will sleep in prisons for cannabis possession tonight. (End of tweet)

                  Then again, plenty of Americans have clean water, have fancy houses, and have plenty of mood-altering drugs, most of them “legal,” courtesy of our friendly pharma reps 🙂

                  America: More and more, a land of contradictions.

                  Liked by 1 person

                7. File this under “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining” 🙂

                  Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions
                  Life expectancy gains have stalled. The grim silver lining? Lower pension costs

                  ByJohn Tozzi

                  “Steady improvements in American life expectancy have stalled, and more Americans are dying at younger ages. But for companies straining under the burden of their pension obligations, the distressing trend could have a grim upside: If people don’t end up living as long as they were projected to just a few years ago, their employers ultimately won’t have to pay them as much in pension and other lifelong retirement benefits.”

                  America: the best of all possible worlds!

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                8. The glass is half-full — from weapons sales. The challenge is to make it full with even more weapons sales.

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                9. I understood your point, Jeff.

                  I was talking about this with my wife. More than a million dead from Covid. More than 200K a year dead from drug overdoes, guns, and vehicle accidents. So many people dying early deaths from lack of health care, obesity, bad diets, bad habits, mistakes in hospitals, a poisoned environment, etc.

                  It’s grim stuff. Which is why I make it a point to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air — while it’s still fresh and breathable.

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                10. And with the US delusional belief in it’s own indispensable exceptionalism, it expects the rest of the World to follow the failing US example.
                  If not willingly, than by Economic Warfare leading to Military Hostility.

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          2. Do you remember the old Seahawks head coach Chuck Knox?

            He always used to say to his players and the press…”You can only play the cards you are dealt. You just get on with it and don’t get bogged down with all that negative stuff”

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            1. Heh. Do You think that maybe that explains why his career NFL Playoff record was 7 wins and 11 losses? Including never winning an AFC or NFC Championship and advancing to the Super Bowl?

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        2. Jeff, I see Ayn Rand’s work as the apotheosis of the individual to the point of pathology. In her book, The Fountainhead, the protagonist is an architect who, when his plans are heavily modified by others, takes it upon himself to destroy the result, that being justice through violence by one man.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. precisely and ineffably so, clif. ayn rand led, deservedly or undeservedly, a self-centered, self-bloated life of misery in her championship of the individual rather than one of promoting communal concinnity, striving for comity snd equability.

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            1. i’ll ask You, Jeanie, the same question i asked CLIF0710: Have You actually read any of Rand’s works besides THE FOUNTAINHEAD? Either her other fiction or her non-fiction essays and articles?

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              1. no, jg, i have not even read the fountainhead; i gravitate toward science texts, research monographs, and environmental activism, particularly marine and aquatic activism. philosophical treatises, whether fiction or non-fiction, are not only beyond my purview, but also beyond my capacity to stay awake long enough to preclude yawning into oscitanct slumber.

                i read part of atlas shrugged, but had not the fortitude nor intellectual curiosity to slog through to the finish line. rand’s writing seemed more like a rant than a manifestation of her ‘rational egoism’, which i had thought was based on the greek concept of eudaemonia… i.e. the concept of a good spirit wherein one has a sense of well-being that does not source from harming others in order to enhance oneself. her characters were too self-serving, devoid of compassion, tautological, intellectually turgid, and were quite unencumbered by the principles of agape.

                i never met rand, but i read that she suffered egregiously after her successful father’s businesses collapsed when the bolsheviks gained suzerainty over the tsarist govt in russia. perhaps her writing was infused w/ an embitterment or resentfulness against socialism based on those early years. from what i’ve gathered via others’ depictions who did know her, rand’s mood swings, haughtiness, and volatile eruptions against those who disagreed w/ her might have been triggered by her 3-decades of popping amphetamines in order to remain alert and awake long enough to meet deadlines.

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                1. The fact, Jeanie, that You have only read “parts” of ATLAS SHRUGGED that left You with that impression; and that You have read none of Rand’s other fiction or any of her non-fiction work in the realms of epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, economics, politics, and history ~ makes You unqualified to engage in any kind of legitimate, logical, intelligent, and intelligible discussion about her or her point of view.

                  And Yes: Her Father’s very successful Pharmacy was seized by the Bolsheviks and her family rendered to the status of Refugees in their own homeland after the October Revolution. How do You think that would affect You and Your thoughts and feelings about Bolshevism as manifestations of Socialism as manifestations of Collectivism as, ultimately, a manifestation of “Altruism”?

                  And Ayn Rand was not the only author of note who found utility in drugs:

                  “Auden, Sartre, Graham Greene, Ayn Rand: They loved amphetamines” https://slate.com/culture/2013/04/auden-sartre-graham-greene-ayn-rand-they-loved-amphetamines.html

                  “16 Great Authors Who Struggled with Substance Addiction” https://smarmore-rehab-clinic.com/blog/04/2020/16-great-authors-who-struggled-substance-addiction

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                2. my apologies, jg, if my scanty, truncated, ill-conceived, ‘ignis fatuus’ comment offended your sensibilities. i stand shamed and humbled. i would have been more diplomatic had rand not been disdainful of homosexuals, which she allegedly adumbrated, then later more clearly elucidated, in a couple of her articles and lectures. it was too many years ago for me to be precise, in the late 1950’s and ’60’s when i was in my 20’s, for me to site specific references at this nexus, particularly given my diminished visual acuity and advanced presbiophrenia. i should have clarified that, as a sentient creature, it was my personal reaction to rand’s attitudinal sufferances. i was being injudiciously and unfairly judgemental.

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                3. No need to apologize for anything, Jeanie; and You didn’t offend my “sensibilities,” whatever they are.

                  And no need to clarify that that was Your gut reaction to Rand, even tho You had never actually read anything she actually wrote. Lots of people who have also never actually read Rand have the exact same gut feeling and are equally judgmental.

                  But then, that happens to lots of people who think and write for a living, eh? Especially if what they write doesn’t fit into the current, commonly accepted dominant narrative.

                  And finally, to be honest, i never knew [or particularly cared about] what Rand felt about homosexuality or homosexuals until You brought it up, and i Wikied “Objectivism and Homosexuality” and learned:

                  << Although Rand personally viewed homosexuality negatively, considering it immoral and disgusting, SHE ENDORSED NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION FOR HOMOSEXUALS IN THE PUBLIC (OR GOVERNMENT) SPHERE WHILE OPPOSING LAWS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ON THE BASIS OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

                  << In her 1968 lecture, she said, “I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but IT IS IMPROPER FOR THE LAW TO INTERFERE WITH A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONSENTING ADULTS.”[5] She did not directly address anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but IN GENERAL SHE WAS OPPOSED TO LAWS THAT PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR.[6]

                  << [C]ontemporary Objectivists generally continue to support the view that, WHILE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT DISCRIMINATE FOR OR AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS IN ANY WAY, PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE FREE TO DO SO, WHICH IS GENERALLY IN KEEPING WITH MOST STRAINS OF LIBERTARIAN AND CLASSICAL LIBERAL THOUGHT. >>
                  [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_and_homosexuality ] [EMPHASES added.]

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                4. submerging under these sulu seas propines ‘a great day’ everyday, jg… tho’ doing so now is a challenge for my old bod to go deeper than a few metres. at least my consociate undersea critters don’t discuss politics or philosophy!

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                5. ANY day on or in the Ocean is a Great day, eh, Jeanie? And one of the best parts about it is that politics and philosophy are, at best, a distraction from the Reality of much more significant things.

                  i’ve never done any Diving, but I have done a lot of Offshore and Blue Water Sailing. That’s how i got from San Francisco Bay to Sitka, Alaska ten years ago this Summer.

                  If You’ll Send me Your e-address [to jgmoebus@gmail.com], i’d like to send You something i wrote several years ago. It’s entitled “WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE WHALES? An Invitation to Participate in The Creation of an Hypothesis; or, Failing That, in The Forging of a New Paradigm”; and it begins:

                  “How is it — in the words of Heathcote Williams, in his epic poem WHALE NATION — How is it That:

                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, without killing their own kind.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, though they allow the resources they use to renew themselves.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, though they use language to communicate, rather than to eliminate rivals.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, though they do not broodily guard their patch with bristling security.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, without trading innocence for the pretension of possessions.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, though they acknowledge minds other than their own.
                  …In the water, Whales have become the dominant species, without allowing their populations to reach plague proportions.”

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          2. i’m curious, CLIF0710: Have You actually read any of Rand’s works besides THE FOUNTAINHEAD? Either her other fiction or her non-fiction essays and articles?

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      2. western zeitgeists are ‘swirling down the drain’, clif, precisely b/c they ‘have so much’. after deracinating from japan [teaching and studying for 2 years at kokusai kirisutokuyo daigaku] in 1964, i spent several months in a kowloon resettlement district on mainland china. never before had i experienced the unfettered joy, unbridled laughter, and anacrusic attitude toward life as these children and their families demonstrated, despite having no electricity, no toys but what they fashioned out of refuse, no toilets but a communal hole in the floor at the end of their hallways, nothing to eat but a bowl of rice w/ tidbits of dried fish and grass, no beds but mats stretched across concrete floors w/ as many as 10 bodies stacked like cordwood, no schooling, and no water except a 2-hour window twice/week at the public faucet in front of each resettlement building. my misplaced ‘de haut en bas’ as a westerner was crushed, shattered utterly, to realize that these egregiously depauperate chinese were far more equiponderent, upbeat, welcoming, concordant, and perceptive than i and my consociate westerners were. our obscenity of affluence has catalyzed a pandemic disease of mental defeasance.

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        1. Very neat, Jeannie; Thank You for sharing that. Where exactly were You in China for that very moving experience?

          Wherever it was, by going there in 1964, Your timing could not have better: Two years after the end of The Great Famine of 1958-1962, and two years before the Cultural Revolution kicked in in 1966.

          And, thinking about it for a moment or two, that may have had a lot to do with that “attitude toward life by the Children and their Families” that You found so profound. Let me run this thought by You and everybody else here at Bracing Views… .

          Those folks in that Resettlement Village had survived that Famine that had killed tens of millions of their fellow countrywomen and men, including no doubt members of those Survivors’ families, loved ones, and friends; a time when not even a bowl of rice [let alone a tidbit of fish and grass] was anywhere to be found. That may have been how and why all those folks ended up in that Village; as Refugees.

          And having experienced and survived that Famine [probably with nothing but perhaps a few small personal possessions], life in the Resettlement Village ~ as primitive as it was ~ was probably viewed by most of its Residents as a Gift, with very little real Need for anything beyond the absolute bare essentials that the Village provided and that they actually had.

          Do You think that that may be at least part of why You experienced that “unfettered joy, unbridled laughter, and anacrusic attitude toward life” that left You so amazed and humbled? When one’s own personal Needs and Wants are reduced to the bare minimum, it is a lot easier to find contentment; even if there is no real choice in the matter.

          i was going to conclude that it would be interesting to learn the fate of the Village ~ and of the Children and their Families that You met and came to know, respect, and 58 years later, still honor ~ the fate of the Village when the Cultural Revolution got launched a couple of years later. But thinking about it further, i don’t think i want to know.

          Thank You again for sharing that very moving and thought-provoking tale. ~ jeff

          ps: What is a “kokusai kirisutokuyo daigaku,” at which You taught and studied before going to China? Google is no help.

          pss: As always, i enjoyed reading Your missive; it gives me lots of time with one of my favorite books: a Dictionary.

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          1. first, i will address your interrogatives, jg: 1] i was in resettlement district #12, located on the kowloon peninsula of mainland china, across kowloon bay from the island of hong kong. 2] yes, w/ unequivocal certitude, that unfettered joy’s primary provenance was, as you suggest, the dispiteous circumstances of the refugees’ quondam depredations. given i am now in my 80’s, i suspect most of those refugees would no longer be among the living. if so, they would have been incorporated into the fabric of china’s cultural revolution. however, i eventually lost contact w/ the family who housed me in resettlement district #12. 3] kokusai kirisutokuyo daigaku is a university in mitaka-shi, japan, located about 45 minutes NW on the chuo-sen line from tokyo’s ginza station. its name in english is ‘the international christian university of japan’ [tho’ i’m not a christian].

            there is a synergistic umbilicus that connects your placenta to mine, jg. as such, it manumits us to share what we have experienced in our respective journeys that are as inenarrable as they are transformative. concomitantly, of course, those whose pathways have divaricated along anfractuous routes from our pathways capture their own profundities that neither of us is likely to absorb, no matter how detailed, concise, or accurate their narratives are.

            this i recognize. in your case, however, your pellucidities stab my dendrites b/c i recognize you too have viscerally suffered and recognized the ignominy of what your country and mine, the US, has committed against others in our name… you in vietnam; i in japan. admittedly, i had arrived in kowloon from japan, already tendentiously predisposed to a fierce antipathy and abjuration of my country. in the early~mid-1960’s during my regnancy there, the hideous sufferings of the japanese populace at the hands of the US war machine were ubiquitous and impossible to ignore.

            the US military had fire-bombed and destroyed 67 japanese towns and villages. the final ‘en decoudre’, when the US dropped its atomic bombs on hiroshima, august 6th 1945 [my 4th birthday] then on nagasaki august 9th, constituted the most egregious war crime committed in the history of the US military. by 1962, when i arrived, the streets of japan were awash w/ its radiation victims’ terrifying deformities, which were the result of their mothers’ ovaries’ being exposed to the radiation fallout of those atomic bombs. if already pregnant, the bairns either spontaneously aborted, died soon after birth, were deformed, or suffered immune-system deficiencies until they finally did die. those who survived were proscribed from marrying and having children. 60 years later, the guilt overwhelms. ‘en passant’, my canadian husband and children understand why.

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            1. Hi Jeannie. It sounds like going to Japan in 1962 had to be as profound an experience as what You had later in China. If not even profounder. Thank You for sharing that. And while i’m thinking about it: What did You study and teach at the University?

              And i need to clarify something. i did not “suffer” ~ physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or in any other way ~ during the two years i was in Vietnam. Nor have i “suffered” as a result of having been there then in the 54 years since i left Vietnam [ie, PTSD, etc]. In that regard, i am beyond being merely very, Very Lucky.

              But what i did take away from Vietnam was the realization that what we did and were doing to those People and that Place was not merely Wrong; but that it was pure, unadulterated EVIL. As You took away from the streets of Tokyo with a slight change of venue: “the hideous sufferings of the [Vietnamese] populace at the hands of the US war machine were ubiquitous and impossible to ignore.”

              And while You took “overwhelming guilt” with You when You left Japan, i have felt no personal “guilt” about what i ~ as an individual soldier ~ did in Vietnam. i felt only a helpless, seething rage that America was doing it, and that there was no way that it was going to be stopped until Johnson’s “Best and Brightest” finally understood that they were going to lose that war.

              And permit me to correct You: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki constituted not merely “the most egregious war crime committed in the history of the US military.” It was, is, and ever will be ~ until the next ones are used ~ the most egregious war crime committed in the history of war. Ever.

              That wasn’t about ending World War II; it was about announcing to the World ~ and the Soviet Union and its new Empire, in particular ~ that “The Cold War” had officially begun.

              And i’m going to defer for the moment responding to Your paragraph that begins “there is a synergistic umbilicus…,” and ends “no matter how detailed, concise, or accurate their narratives are.” It contains several words that i have never seen before and a couple of words i’ve never seen used quite that way before. So, more Dictionary time and some de-riddling beckons.

              Stay Safe, and have a Great day. ~ jeff

              Liked by 1 person

              1. a decent night’s sleep [after all the jungle animals surrounding us had settled into snooze-mode] was quintessential to addressing your numinous exegesis, jg.

                yes, the profundity of my years in japan was substantially more stabbing to what was left of my faStuous [haughty] fatuity, post-deracination, than were my 2 months in kowloon. in a way, japan marinated me for kowloon’s resettlement district.

                at KKD in mitaka-shi, i taught english, simply b/c i was a native speaker, to japanese science grads and undergrads who were hoping to study and/or work abroad in the english-speaking countries of australia, new zealand, canada, ireland, UK/scotland, or the US. i also taught night classes in the toa gosei chemical company’s adult education program. as a personal subvention, payable to my soul, i studied eastern philosophy, w/ an emphasis on zen buddhism.

                it is gratifying to have you confirm that you did not ‘suffer’ in those mental demesne realms or ambits you identified as i did. nonetheless, ‘suffering’ was for me an elucidating prerequisite for development, the external made internal beyond my circumscribed understanding of cultures and circumstances outside my own cultural blindspots. all these decades later, i hold those experiences and guilt as a birthed american in the forefront of my psyche, in order to insure that i’m not derailed into self-absorbed, hubristiic, unproductive sloth.

                as w/ you, my erumpent rage persists, but it has diminished sufficiently for me to gain control over its more deleterious repercussions. as you descry and decry, what the US military ‘visited’ on the japanese people was beyond demonic; it was unalloyed, unmitigated evil. all these decades later, their evil reigns across the globe w/ unapologetic vigour… w/ no strings attached but the diminishing purse strings of american taxpayers, their ever-depauperate health and welfare disbursements, the diminution of others’ resources, and their right-to-life w/out fear of MIC hardware and the US military’s murder machines.

                it is ironic, regarding our atomic holocaust against japan, but i too was initially tempted to type in the words ‘the worst war crime in the entire history of our species’, but as a marine biologist, i was reluctant to be so unequivocally damning. such a blanket declarative was nullified by my exiguous knowledge-base of military history and the political machinations driving that history.

                your pertinacity is admirable in your endeavours to slog through my sesquipedalian lexicon, cryptic phraseology, abstruse metaphors, and antediluvian words that are so antiquated old methuselah would be challenged to make sense of them.

                apologies, yet again, wja, for personalizing these remarks on your supernal and insuperably condign site.

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        2. Your comment makes me think of native-American life before its destruction. I maintain they had the highest civilization mankind has achieved and it did not include great buildings, monuments, sculpture, volumes of literature or anything material that lasted much beyond their own lives. Their culture was not free of war but it was limited war. Individuals were respected and all were accepted by the group. They knew their place within their environment and realized the worth of all life, with animals recognized as persons whose killing was both necessary yet a matter for regret. The many quotations from them related by whites show their deep understanding of what they were and of what we were doing to them.

          They had none of our modern comforts yet fit perfectly into life on earth as just another animal but with the ability to think beyond all other life with which they lived in intimacy. Whites commented frequently on how much native-Americans loved and enjoyed their children while giving them full freedom to experience the world for themselves. Above all, native-Americans knew their limits and were content to live within them.

          It was a way of life that was deliberately destroyed in the name of claiming land as private property, that is to say, greed. They had what we cannot obtain – peace of mind. Native-American culture was helpless to stop our destruction of it, yet now we discover ourselves victims of our culture. Endless pursuit of material desire is by definition suicidal in a finite world.

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          1. oh my dear clif, your words are transcendent. they resonate beyond the empyreal spaces of the cosmos. thank you for theis uplift into the welkin this morning, here on our wee space in that cosmos on the philippine island of mindoro. our 7 children, having spent 3 critical years of their youth among the inuit ‘first nations’ people of the western arctic in inuvik, have indelibly imprinted that lesson you have so profoundly described into their viscera.

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          2. I encourage all Americans to visit the Big Horn County Museum in Hardin, Montana, and the Chief Crazy Horse Monument Museum in the Black Hills of Custer County in South Dakota. And view for yourself the anthropology of the American Indians on the land before we white folks destroyed the life and their World. What those folk had will blow your mind. Thanks CLIF9710.

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  2. US Navy SEALS and Marines are trained to kill people. We all being human, is it little wonder that this destroys the psyche, the human soul, mind, or spirit, of a few of these men. To his credit, Director Clint Eastwood does a great job of analyzing this question in his movie “American Sniper”.

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  3. Totally Off-Topic:

    Having read President Biden’s prime time address to the nation on what he terms the “BATTLE FOR the soul of the nation,” and the existential threat to America posed by “MAGA Republicans” [2022’s rendition of Hillary’s “Deplorables”?]; and,

    Having read House Minority Leader McCarthy’s “prebuttal” on the President’s “ASSAULT ON the soul of the nation,” and other comments by other Republicans, MAGAts or otherwise;

    Two thoughts come to mind:

    First, it will be interesting to see how Americans ~ already no longer merely divided, but fractured to the point of disintegration ~ react and respond to this unofficial but very real launch of the September Phase of Election2022. One can only imagine what the “October Surprise” will be, eh?

    And second, it calls to mind the words of a song that first made the rounds back in 1967:

    There’s something happening here
    But what it is ain’t exactly clear
    THERE’S A MAN WITH A GUN OVER THERE
    Telling me I got to beware

    I think it’s time we stop
    Children, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    THERE’S BATTLE LINES BEING DRAWN
    NOBODY’S RIGHT IF EVERYBODY’S WRONG
    Young people speaking their minds
    Getting so much resistance from behind

    It’s time we stop
    Hey, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    What a field day for the heat
    A THOUSAND PEOPLE IN THE STREET
    SINGING SONGS AND THEY CARRYING SIGNS
    MOSTLY SAY, “HOORAY FOR OUR SIDE”

    It’s time we stop
    Hey, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    IT STARTS WHEN YOU’RE ALWAYS AFRAID
    STEP OUT OF LINE, THE MEN COME AND TAKE YOU AWAY

    We better stop
    Hey, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    You better stop
    Hey, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    You better stop
    Now, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?
    You better stop
    Children, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look, what’s going down?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIdfulZ1c5c [EMPHASES added.]

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    1. It is always nice to find myself on the same sheet of music as Lady Caitlin… :

      DEMOCRATS ARE VIOLENT EXTREMISTS by Caitlin Johnstone

      Republicans are up in arms over remarks from the White House depicting the Trump-aligned faction of their party as “extremist”, which Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Thursday by saying that MAGA Republicans are extremist because they disagree with the majority of Americans.

      “When you are not with what majority of Americans are, then you know, that is extreme; that is an extreme way of thinking,” Jean-Pierre said.

      Every part of this controversy is hilarious, from Republicans thinking they are not extremists, to anyone thinking that MAGA Republicans are meaningfully different from generic brand Republicans, to Democrats thinking they are any less extremist than MAGA Republicans, to Jean-Pierre claiming that you are extremist if you don’t agree with mainstream political consensus in the United States.

      Continued at https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/democrats-are-violent-extremists

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  4. I didn’t mention this in my post but “The Terminal List” is also caught up in America’s political divide. So-called liberal critics mostly hated it, whereas the MAGA world generally loved it. I think Tucker Carlson did a segment on it.

    I’m less interested in the MAGA-liberal divide than what “The Terminal List” says about all of America. The violence, the vendetta, torture and kill lists, weaponry everywhere, the elevation of special forces to super heroes: these are not “blue” or “red” features of America. It’s America, pure and blood-drenched.

    Naturally, the show is farfetched, with the hero always coming through no matter the odds. What’s truly revealing to me is the deep cynicism on display toward the U.S. government and its corporate handlers and camp followers. This level of cynicism, which is indeed warranted given how much our government lies and manipulates, is disabling. You can’t have a working democracy under these conditions — but I don’t think the solution is for a Navy SEAL to kill all the bad actors, though it’s a nice fantasy in theory.

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    1. i’m curious, Bill: When would You say was the last time that America actually had a functional, “working” democracy? Or something even close? And when it did, who was that democracy functioning and working for?

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      1. never have we been a non-violent functioning democracy! i would adjure that you recall, JG MOEBUS, the US’ european progenitors who not only enslaved captured africans but also slaughtered w/ impunity the indigenous first nations of the north and south american continents. our violent and esurient appetites have never been transformed by any govt who gained suzerainty over the NA/SA populace over the past 500 years of our benighted history.

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        1. The crimes of America are legion. So too are the crimes of France, of Russia, of Great Britain, of Germany, and indeed just about any country that’s had an empire and their own version of our “manifest destiny.”

          We should know America’s crimes — we should recognize them for what they are — and then we should do everything possible not to repeat them. Indeed, we should atone for them. But I don’t believe we should wallow in them and dismiss our entire history as benighted.

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          1. what other nations carry out in violation of their own citizens’ human rights and those of others does not in any way obviate the malfeasance of our own nation’s violent history. from the outset, the governing elite of the american colonies have been in collusion w/ capitalists and slaveholders to shape a governing zeitgeist that suits their own needs, not the needs of the other 90% of their citizenry. and so it goes these near-300 years later. you, wja, and most of your readers are recusants and iconoclasts screaming into the wild winds of deafened pathos.

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            1. All the US Officials who impose Economic Sanctions on any other Nation know the the Leaders of those regimes don’t suffer because of the Sanctions they still enjoy all the Material Comforts.

              Those US Officials KNOW. It’s only the ordinary Citizens in those US Sanctioned Countries that will suffer, the very same People the US claims to care about.

              From the Biblical Dynamic, ‘what you sow, so shall you reap,’ the ordinary American Citizen will feel all those Economic Sanctions in the US the US Officials placed on Russia and Iran.

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              1. as you infer, rj, the elite, whether global or national, never suffer the ignominy of having to defecate their faeces onto rice fields, holes dug in their backyards, outhouses, or riverine stream-beds. despite their faeces being just as malodorous as the rest of humanity, only flush toilets will be accepted and commandeered to elutriate their befoulments.

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              2. Ordinary Citizens all over the Planet are already suffering and will suffer more because of the Sanctions imposed on Russia, not just Americans. Especially with Winter coming on, food, fuel, and electrical power shortages, and Inflation hovering at just-below Weimar-levels of “Hyper-.”

                And what the U.S. has inflicted upon the People, Land, Country, and Nation of Iran didn’t start with the recent sanctions. That’s been going on since 1953 when we overthrew the democratically elected government to install our boy The Shah, and then when we bankrolled Saddam’s War against Tehran in the 80s to try to get our Embassy and control of Iran’s oil back.

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                1. too poignant are your insights, jg, to insouciantly ignore. the constellations of depredations and degradations we have inflicted on others are beyond exculpation for any american, given our taxes have funded these pernicious horrors.

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          2. I am feeling this morning reading all this America bashing that someone has to offer a more positive perspective of the United States of America. To dismiss America’s entire history as benighted as you say is surely overly pessimistic

            As readers of your blog know I immigrated to Seattle in 1974 and lived and worked in the US for 41-years. Managing large construction jobs all over the US. It was a wonderful life. A life of opportunity I could not have had in any other country, and certainly not in New Zealand. I had a beautiful home, and was able to provide my wife and two daughters with a 20-acre Appaloosa horse ranch. And my two daughters went to the best medical schools in the World and are free of debt.

            I was hospitalized in the best hospitals in the World and cured of cancer. I was treated with fairness, respect and dignity when I had a run in with alcohol and got two DWI arrests. And I flew my Cessna 185 from Seattle to the Oshkosh EAA AirVenture Air Show and Expo twice. I rode motorcycles in nearly all 50-states and met many wonderful Americans on the way.

            Sure, the politics on a Federal level was frustrating but I can honestly say I never felt disadvantaged whether the country went Democrat or Republican. I did my best to be involved in local and state politics. And I, my family, and most of my work colleagues did their best we could to be anti-war activists.

            Continually beating yourself up for ones indiscretions of the past is not helpful. America has an enormous amount going for it. Giving up on it now is,…well, defeatist. And merely with a more mind your own business foreign policy, and more involvement of the common man in politics, I believe Americans could justly feel proud about its place in World history.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. That’s what “Civilizations” DO, isn’t it, Jeannie?

          Every Civilization from the beginning of recorded history has done it: Eastern and Western European and North American, Eastern and Southern Asian, Ancient to Modern Middle Eastern, even those of Central and South American stock before the Europeans showed up.

          And the Europeans were not the first Enslavers or decimators of Original, Indigenous Nations and Peoples; not by a long shot.

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          1. As the Bible says, there’s NOTHING NEW under the Sun.

            As the 2700 year old Bible ‘Writing on the Wall’ records, the king of Babylon, now called Iraq, put on a State Dinner for 1000 of the Elite of his kingdom and they praised the ‘gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone.’
            From then to now, ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid!’

            While the nominally Christian Nations have developed a Material Economy where there is so much to want compared to the Babylonian Economy, most People lost sight of what they really need, and haven’t developed that much Spiritually, or we wouldn’t be at the precipice of Armageddon/WWIII.

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      2. I guess it depends on how we define “working” and “democracy.” Of course, America is a republic, a representative democracy, but with representatives coopted by special interests (big money), we don’t have anything like a democracy in the sense of government being accountable to the people.

        That’s why we have revenge and vengeance fantasies like “The Terminal List.” One person can’t make a difference by voting, especially when the choice is the lesser of two evils. but one man can make a difference when he’s a Navy SEAL with a high-powered arsenal.

        Some within the MAGA crowd, recognizing their own impotence and irrelevance, embrace the fantasy of “The Terminal List.” They see violence as a cleansing agent. And they’re not necessarily wrong about that. The state responds with more and more police, which is why Biden is boosting spending on police forces nationwide. It’s to keep the peasants in line.

        America has never had a perfect functioning democracy, but I think we sort of had a working one, however imperfect, when unions were stronger and a fair-minded leader like FDR was in charge.

        Now, we’ve made plutocracy our system, so the plutocrats prosper as others suffer. But those who are suffering aren’t happy. They watch shows like “The Terminal List” and perhaps fantasize about a few people they’d like to eliminate in the cause of justice. But vigilante justice administered by heavily armed military troops is not exactly the best way to move toward a fairer and more just government. You’re more likely to produce a militarized autocracy like the Roman Empire.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. i hate to sound like a broken record, Bill, but When was America and its system of politics, government, and governance NOT a Patriarchal Plutocratic Oligarchy?

          Go back to the very beginning and start with the Founding Fathers: Who they were and why they were in a position to be those “Founding Fathers,” in the first place.

          And do You really think that FDR wasn’t very much a sanctioned and certified part of and partner in ~ and thus tool of ~ that PPO and America’s Ruling Political Class Elites? Can You name one President ~ from Washington, Adams, and Jefferson to Obama, Trump, and Biden ~ who was not?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, there are degrees of PPO, Jeff. 🙂

            Sure, FDR was a PPO — who defined himself in opposition to the PPO. That’s why they (his fellow PPOs) hated him.

            And it’s “The Founders,” Jeff. Let’s have less sexism here. 🙂

            In all seriousness, I haven’t found a perfect system of government yet, and America’s certainly isn’t close. Our big flaws are appointing money as our one true god and building an empire in the pursuit of that god. Maybe our Tower of Babylon will grant us full spectrum dominance, am I right?

            We worship Mammon; heck, even evangelical Christians have converted Christ into a plutocrat! Talk about threading a camel through the eye of a needle. This is a true “miracle” if I’ve ever seen one.

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            1. Heh. Well if “Founding Fathers” is sexist, can anybody cite any “Founding Mothers” [other than perhaps Betsy Ross]?

              And as regards FDR’s being “hated” by his fellow PPO Elites: He was hated by them about as much as Trump was and is hated by today’s PPOEs, aka “The Deep State.”

              For details, see Antony Sutton’s WALL STREET AND FDR [part of his WALL STREET Trilogy which included WALL STREET AND THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION and WALL STREET AND THE RISE OF HITLER. To read the FDR book, go to http://papelesdesociedad.info/IMG/pdf/sutton2.pdf .

              As Amazon describes the FDR book:

              “Franklin D. Roosevelt is frequently described as one of the greatest presidents in American history, remembered for his leadership during the Great Depression and World War II. Antony Sutton challenges this received wisdom, presenting a controversial but convincing analysis. Based on an extensive study of original documents, he concludes that:

              “FDR was an elitist who influenced public policy in order to benefit special interests, including his own.
              FDR and his Wall Street colleagues were ‘corporate socialists,’ who believed in making society work for their own benefit. FDR believed in business but not free market economics.

              “Sutton describes the genesis of ‘corporate socialism’―acquiring monopolies by means of political influence―which he characterizes as ‘making society work for the few.’ He traces the historical links of the Delano and Roosevelt families to Wall Street, as well as FDR’s own political networks developed during his early career as a financial speculator and bond dealer.

              “The New Deal nearly destroyed free enterprise in America, but it didn’t adversely affect FDR’s circle of old friends ensconced in select financial institutions and federal regulatory agencies. Together with their corporate allies, this elite group profited from the decrees and programs generated by their old pal in the White House, while thousands of small businesses suffered and millions became unemployed.

              To get a quick sense of Sutton’s perspective on all this, consider this from Wiki:

              <<< In 1973, Sutton published a popularized, condensed version of the sections of the forthcoming third volume relevant to military technology called National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union, after which he was forced out of the Hoover Institution.

              His conclusion from his research on the issue was that THE CONFLICTS OF THE COLD WAR WERE “NOT FOUGHT TO RESTRAIN COMMUNISM” BUT WERE ORGANISED IN ORDER “TO GENERATE MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR ARMAMENTS CONTRACTS”, since the United States, through financing the Soviet Union “directly or indirectly, armed both sides in at least Korea and Vietnam.” >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_C._Sutton [EMPHASES added.]

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              1. speaking of wja’s implied sexism, i’ve been perpetually bewildered by the flagrant sexism of the judeo-xian bible and their god’s being referred to as a male-gendered creature. every referenced pronoun, possessive adjective, and direct object are ‘he’, ‘his’, and ‘him’. does this creature sport male genitalia? if so, more than half his flock were NOT ‘made in his image’, as the judeo-xian bible asseverates, given that more than half of the global population sport femme genitalia. the vexatious rejoinder that “it’s tradition” is an anaemic, ‘ignis-fatuus’ form of barratry.

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            2. Speaking as a historian, “The Founders” is preferred. Just because women often didn’t make the history books doesn’t mean their contributions to the Revolution should be ignored. To cite one example: John Adams’ wife, Abigail, who often advised her husband and who was a force in her own right.

              I haven’t read Sutton, Jeff, nor am I an expert on FDR. But it would take more than one naysaying account to convince me that FDR was a tool of Wall Street.

              We all know FDR wasn’t a saint; but the outpouring of grief from ordinary people when they heard of his death in 1945 spoke volumes about how FDR was willing to stand up for those less fortunate than himself.

              Historians are always trying to make a name for themselves by debunking established stories. For every historian who’d argue FDR was too conservative and a tool of the plutocrats, I’d wager that 10 or more see him as a radical socialist whose “Jew Deal” threatened “real” America.

              FDR was that rare thing in America, a true leader of vision.

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              1. Given the fact that Sutton ~ in 1973 at the very peak of the Cold War ~ declared that THE CONFLICTS OF THE COLD WAR WERE “NOT FOUGHT TO RESTRAIN COMMUNISM” BUT WERE ORGANISED IN ORDER “TO GENERATE MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR ARMAMENTS CONTRACTS,” i would say that his nay-saying about FDR is quite credible.

                And i’m curious: Do You have any idea how the outpouring of grief in America when FDR died compared to the outpouring of grief in Russia when Stalin died?

                In any event, i’m not familiar with any historian who claims that FDR was “too conservative.” But those who have argued that Roosevelt was a “radical socialist” are apparently ignorant of the distinction between “radical socialism,” on the one hand, and FDR’s “corporate socialism” ~ also known as Fascism ~ on the other.

                And the majority of those who condemned his “Jew Deal” were and are also convinced that America’s PPO is but a manifestation of the Protocols of The Elders of Zion, and other such Bullshit.

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            3. We didn’t appoint Money or, more specifically, Wealth as our One true god, Bill.

              Our other god is Power: “The ability to force another individual or group of individuals to do what You want them to do, regardless of what they may want to do.” And thus Wealth is nothing more than the ability to buy and sell that Power at a profit.

              And so begins the cycle of the pursuit of Wealth so as to gain and have more Power, so as to get and have more Wealth, so as to get and have even more Power, so as to and so on… .

              The problem is that The Founders founded ~ and their descendants have perpetrated, perpetuated, and perfected ~ a system of government and governance that places the legal authority ~ Power ~ of that government at the disposal of the highest bidders of all the various and sundry private, Vested, Special Interests so as to enable them to do ~ thru that government ~ as they deem fit to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

              And it is not just private, for-profit economic institutions and organizations that are playing The Game of “$ 1 = 1 Vote.” Washington is full of non-profit NGOs and other cultural and civil society activist groups who are playing it, as well.

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              1. So Jeff, the US becoming the most powerful and richest nation on earth having a corrupt government since its founding has done pretty well for itself eh? And still doing pretty well for itself eh? Which other nation has done better for its citizens?

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                1. What has been the cost to Other Nations and Peoples in America’s rise to the top of the Power and Wealth standings, Dennis?

                  Why don’t You ask the Nations and Peoples of East and Southeast Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean, Southwest Asia, Northern and Equitorial Africa, and, of course, the whole Middle East about what America has done for ~ and TO ~ them over the past 70+ years?

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                2. Yes Jeff I agree, but if you think we are going to stop the powerful rolling over the weak – write and publish your peer-reviewed paper on it and submit it for your Nobel Prize eh?

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                3. my pulse rate has ratcheted up another notch, jg, reading your scalpel-edged words and observations regarding the US’ heinous crimes against others and their resources, wrought in order to enhance their global power, wealth, and position on behalf of ‘the 1%’, who will perpetually slither about among us like vermiform snakes.

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        2. There is a reason why the Christ, speaking through Jesus then, and for those with eyes to see Today, says,
          Hardly ever will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven, and it is easier for a camel to enter the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
          NOTE, Jesus does not reject them or exclude them. In his other teaching he did say People cannot serve two Masters. You cannot serve God and MONEY.
          We also know in God’s view and values, the poor widow who put pennies into the Temple Treasury, all that she had, put in more than the larger amount the rich man gave.

          The same Christ, speaking through Jesus’ Disciple James, prophesied for THE LAST DAYS all Christian Denominations say we’re in NOW.
          Their Last Days appear to be disconnected from the LAST DAYS James wrote about some 1900 years ago.
          Many Atheists also see it’s possible these Days are the LAST DAYS as many here express in non-religious, non-Spiritual terms.

          Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
          Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
          Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the LAST DAYS.

          Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.
          You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
          You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
          James 5

          But who has believed our report?

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          1. …….Many Atheists also see it’s possible these Days are the LAST DAYS as many here express in non-religious, non-Spiritual terms.

            Ray my friend, an atheist has only one belief: that the existence of a supernatural god has never been proven. Nothing more. Nothing less.

            That a person sees it’s possible these Days are the LAST DAYS as many here express in non-religious, non-Spiritual terms – has nothing to with whether that person is an atheist or otherwise. In fact, I could put it more strongly: a person who believes these days are the LAST DAYS is surely not an atheist. Since, as I said above, an atheist only holds one and only one belief.

            Take care Ray

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      3. There is no True Democracy in this world YET, as defined in the Book, not the abbreviated online definition in the Merrium-Webster Website.

        The Book defines “Democracy” by these words, ideas and images.
        A THEORY of governance which, in it’s purest form, holds that the State should be controlled by ALL THE PEOPLE, each sharing EQUALLY in PRIVILEGES, DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES, and EACH PARTICIPATING in PERSON in the government, as in the CITY-STATES of ancient Greece.
        IN practice, CONTROL is vested in elective officers as Representatives who may be upheld or removed by THE PEOPLE. MASS of the people.
        POLITICAL, LEGAL, or SOCIAL EQUALITY

        WE have none of that in reality, as the people are slowly waking up from a deep sleep to understand we have a Plutocracy/Oligarchy Pyramid system, and only an delusional, pseudo Democracy in the False American Dream.

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        1. Which “Book” is it that You are citing, Ray?

          And Who among all the people residing in Ancient Greece were actually “Citizens” who got to actually participate in that “Democracy”? According to Wiki:

          “Only adult male Athenian citizens who had completed their military training as ephebes had the right to vote in Athens. The percentage of the population that actually participated in the government was 10% to 20% of the total number of inhabitants, but this varied from the fifth to the fourth century BC.”
          [ https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Athenian_democracy ]

          It sounds like Ancient Greece had their own version of a Patriarchal Plutocratic Oligarchy, eh?

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          1. The opening sentence says what “Book” JG.
            “There is no True Democracy in this world YET, as defined in the Book, not the abbreviated online definition in the Merrium-Webster Website..

            And you are right! American Women got the Vote only in 1924.
            It’s made harder for Blacks to these Days.

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              1. JG, I recognize your smarts in your comments, but are you trolling me?
                Let me repeat. Maybe you got confused because of the separate paragraph in the original comment?

                “There is no True Democracy in this world YET, as defined in the Book, not the abbreviated online definition in the Merrium-Webster Website.
                The Book defines “Democracy” by these words, ideas and images. Obviously, the Book I was referring to is the printed Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

                The Merriam-Webster online Democracy has changed from the Definition in the Webster Book Dictionary I have, published in 1992.
                1a : government by the people especially : rule of the majority
                b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
                2 : a political unit that has a democratic government
                3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S. from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy— C. M. Roberts
                4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
                5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

                Rights and Responsibilities go hand in hand!

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                1. No, Ray, i’m not trolling You. Thank You for clarifying that “The Book” is the 1992 version of the M-WD. That was not at all “obvious” from Your comment.

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    2. Is ‘The Terminal List’ that much different from ‘The Death List’ put out by Ukraine threatening all those who deviate and oppose Zelensky?

      ‘SCOTT RITTER: The Death List’
      The odious legacy of Stepan Bandera drives the suppression of those who dare challenge the narrative of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict promulgated by the Ukrainian government, its Western allies and a compliant mainstream media……………………………………………………..

      https://consortiumnews.com/2022/08/31/scott-ritter-the-death-list/

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I may have missed it, did anyone say anything about a “non-violent” functioning democracy? Continuing to harp on and judge events/policies of the past by contemporary standards is pointless and does nothing to remedy the problems of today.
    Despite my Catholic schooling by Dominicans & Jesuits – or, I should say, thanks to it – and dipping into the long line of philosophers – from all parts of the world – I am unable to feel any misguided guilt or shame over what took place in a different era of the world. My concerns are with this world, the world in which I may be able to make some small difference, if only on an interpersonal level with a single person. Railing against nations for doing what stronger nations had historically done against weaker or less advanced civilizations from time immemorial accomplishes nothing.

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    1. Did your Catholic upbringing impress on you this teaching of the Christ?

      Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
      (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
      You seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
      Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

      I see that as, no one can change the Past and Tomorrow has not arrived.
      There is only 1 Day that exists with God and it’s always called TODAY.
      It is what we do TODAY that creates the Tomorrows of Individuals and Nations.

      I agree with you BUTSUDANBILL. While the Warning is the Children will pay for the SINS of the Parents unto many Generations.
      The Children cannot be held responsible of their Parents SINS, but to strive to correct all the Evils of the Past in OUR Generations so they don’t perpetuate to the very END of Humanity.

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  6. OFF TOPIC, but maybe not.
    These are proving to be the best of times for US weapons manufacturers:

    “The Biden administration has announced a more than US$1 billion (NZ$1.64b) arms sale to Taiwan as US-China tensions escalate over the status of the island.

    The US$1.09b sale includes US$355 million for Harpoon air-to-sea missiles and US$85 million for Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, the State Department said.

    The largest portion of the sale, however, is a US$655 million logistics support package for Taiwan’s surveillance radar program, which provides air defence warnings. Early warning air defence systems have become more important as China has stepped up military drills near Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province.

    The US State Department said the equipment is necessary for Taiwan to “maintain a sufficient self-defence capability”. The administration notified Congress of the sale after close of business on Friday (local time).”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/300678482/taiwan-buys-a-billion-dollars-worth-of-us-arms-as-tensions-with-china-rise

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    1. That’s the best thing about the MICC: It’s always easy to drum up new customers, even if it hasn’t won a war in 77 years as of yesterday.

      Two recent examples: Every bullet, bomb, and piece of gear and equipment taken out of current US military stockpiles to give to Ukraine will have to be replaced and bought from the MICC.

      Just like everything that was left behind in Kabul a year ago had to be replaced and bought from the MICC.

      Quite a setup, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. @RAY JOSEPH CORMIER

    …….I know many Polls are worded in a way to get the desired response!

    Exactly Ray. Cleverly worded and along with playing on peoples Confirmation Bias – the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. People display this bias when they select information that supports their views, ignoring contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing attitudes, and when they design polls to get the response they want.

    Pollsters with an agenda, that we all have to one degree or another, especially political pollsters, know all too well that how and where you ask the question matters.

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  8. @WJASTORE

    I understood your point, Bill.

    “I was talking about this with my wife. More than a million dead from Covid. More than 200K a year dead from drug overdoes, guns, and vehicle accidents. So many people dying early deaths from lack of health care, obesity, bad diets, bad habits, mistakes in hospitals, a poisoned environment, etc.”

    See if I can get this right Bill? Psychiatrists call this “stair stepping”. When you take many negative events, that each by themselves is not overwhelmingly significant and eminently solvable, and carefully stack each one on top of each other to make one huge insurmountable step. Making it seem like the World is coming down on you. And making ones ability to solve any one of events by itself impossible.

    Covid: can be dealt with, and could have been dealt with better in the US. Hopefully the US will have learnt from Covid and their response to the next inevitable virus will result in less deaths. Drug overdoses: not negating their consequences, but are by themselves a small statistical number. Gun violence: we have talked a lot about on you blog, and we all know that there are solutions to this. Gun control. Car Accidents: over the past 40 years, there has been a downward trend in traffic fatalities. Safety programs such as those compulsory seat belt use and reducing impaired driving have substantially lowered the traffic fatalities. In 2018, drunk driving fatalities dropped about 4%. (And while we are at it decreasing vehicle emissions since 2008 have reduced the number of deaths attributable to air vehicular pollution by thousands.)

    People dying from lack of Healthcare is eminently solvable by promulgating programs like MEDICARE4ALL Obesity, bad diets and habits I am not so confident about. Although the amount of tobacco use in the US is on a downward trend long term. Cigarette smoking rates fell 68% among adults in 2018. From 42.6% in 1965 to 13.7%. If my Googling is reliable, medication mistakes only account for 7,000 deaths annually in the US. Maybe I am underestimating this but surely deaths from mistakes in hospitals are mitigated by the increased number of lives saved in hospital’s every year with discoveries of new drugs and medical procedures. And surely with the efforts of the EPA the deaths caused by poisoning of the environment must be trending down. For example, the UNEP estimates that eliminating the use of leaded gasoline globally all by itself has prevented more than 1.2 million premature deaths from heart disease, strokes, and cancer each year.

    So the world is not coming to an end eh?

    Or is what I am saying making me sound like some ageing Pollyanna who just wants to pretend that all is sweetness and light? Overly optimistic.

    Take care Bill.

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    1. My point wasn’t that the world was coming to an end, Dennis.

      What I see in the U.S., though, is a lack of regard for life, for some of the reasons you indicate. There are indeed ways to reduce the death toll, but for the most part we refuse to act (by “we” I mean those in power).

      As a result, longevity in the U.S. has decreased, which some people, like those paying out pensions, seem to think is a good thing.

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      1. WJ:
        Your comment as to “a lack of regard for life” reminded me. My unreliable memory tells me that I once read a Buddhist monk in Viet Nam told a journalist that America was destined to lose the war as they “had a culture of death”. I have searched with google to try and find the quote (and hence its context) but have been unable.
        I thought perhaps my late brother, after his all expense paid time there may have supplied it to me, but he said not. Maybe I made it up. If so, even if the quote isn’t from a real person, it should have been.
        It reminds me too, that while we say that all life matters, in reality some lives don’t matter as much as others. We pay a price for that, whether we know it or not.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. America wasn’t destined to lose its war in and on Vietnam because of its “culture of death,” Wornsmooth; whatever that means or may have meant sixty years ago.

          America was destined to lose that war because what we did and were attempting to do was not merely Wrong; it was pure, unmitigated, unadulterated EVIL.

          We became destined to lose that war when we brought the French back to Indochina after Japan’s defeat, and then bankrolled their doomed attempt to re-establish their colonial empire in Southeast Asia.

          And just like the French, we failed completely and accomplished absolutely nothing in our war but put lots and lots of money into the pockets of the workers, managers, executives, board members, and shareholders of America’s military-industrial-congressional complex.

          Just like we were destined to lose our wars in and on Afghanistan and Iraq for exactly the same reason that we lost Vietnam; but accomplished even more by way of transferring wealth and power to that same MICC.

          Given the fact that “The World’s Greatest Military” hasn’t won a war in seventy-seven [77] years, one begins to suspect that America doesn’t have wars to “Win” them [whatever that means], but simply to have them and to thus keep feeding The Monkey.

          And Yes, some lives DO matter more than others in a system where “all Men are created equal and have fundamental, inalienable Rights,” but where Some are more equal than Others, and Some have more of those inalienable “Rights” than do Others.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. in deference to wornsmooth, a ‘culture of death’ is a pithy phrase for a verisimilitude, if not a synonym, for pure, unalloyed evil… one of a multitude that can be used to describe our MICC.

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            1. Wouldn’t that depend almost entirely upon who is using the phrase “culture of death,” and the context in which they were using it?

              If some Vietnamese Buddhist Monk spoke of America’s “culture of death” sixty years ago, i seriously doubt that he was using it merely as a synonym for “Evil” to characterize America.

              He was very likely also referring to America as totally and completely Ignorant of what it was about to get into, and tragically Self-Delusional in its confidence that it would prevail.

              Permit me to recommend Thich Nhat Hahn’s book VIETNAM: Lotus In A Sea Of Fire ~ first published in English in 1967 ~ to hear what at least one Buddhist Monk so presciently had to say back then. It’s a shame his book wasn’t required reading at the White House and the Pentagon, and in Congress. And in every High School and College and University in the Nation. [ https://www.amazon.com/Vietnam-Lotus-Thich-Nhat-Hanh/dp/1952692032/ ]

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  9. Yes Ray, this article does a good job of showing just how divisive, tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people, religion can be.

    What are we to make of this paragraph alone?

    Evangelicals broadly confuse the Kingdom of God with a Christian America, preserved by thuggish politicians who promise to prefer their version of Christian rights and enforce Christian values. The political calculation of conservative Christians is simple, and simply wrong.

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  10. $67-billion for Ukraine now…the MIC is licking its chops!

    “The Joe Biden administration requested another massive infusion of cash for its war against Russia. The latest short-term spending proposal seeks nearly $14 billion for weapons and economic assistance for Ukraine……
    The latest spending proposal asks for an additional $2.7 billion in military and intelligence support for Ukraine and $4.5 billion in direct economic support for the government in Kiev. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Congress has authorized $53 billion in funding for the war in Ukraine. If passed, the latest aid package will bring the total to about $67 billion.”

    https://news.antiwar.com/2022/09/02/white-house-asks-congress-for-14-billion-to-fund-its-war-against-russia/

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  11. Another look at America as a “Culture of Death”…:

    THE GOVERNMENT CULTURE OF DEATH [Extracts] by Andrew P. Napolitano

    In proclaiming the “Death of God” in 1886, Nietzsche recognized that Christianity had ceased to be influential in contemporary life. Though properly rejected as a madman, he reminded the world that THE LOSS OF VIRTUE CAN ONLY BE SUSTAINED FROM THE BOTTOM UP, NOT FROM THE TOP DOWN.

    He meant that, for all the power the financial and governmental elites have, none of their valueless impulses would prevail were they not ACCEPTED BY THE MAJORITY OR A DETERMINED MINORITY.
    …….

    PEOPLE USUALLY GET THE GOVERNMENT THEY FEAR, whether it be Hitler’s willing executioners, Putin’s willing dupes or America’s willing subserviates.

    Thus, when cultural and financial elites craft a government based on NIHILISM — A BELIEF IN NOTHING BUT POWER — when everything the government says is a lie, when everything the government has it has stolen, when the one thing the government does well is engage in violence, THE RESULT IS A CULTURE OF DEATH.

    AMERICA TODAY EPITOMIZES A CULTURE OF DEATH.

    At home, America is at war with itself… And America is at war abroad… . What’s going on?

    What’s going on is the American rejection of the core Judeo-Christian value of the intrinsic worth of every person, and the tragic failure of American government at all levels to take rights seriously.
    …….

    WHAT IS A RIGHT? A right is an indefeasible claim against the whole world that originates in our humanity. Thus the right to live, to worship or not to worship, to think as you wish, to say what you think, to publish what you say, to associate or not to associate, to acquire property voluntarily, to defend your life and property, to travel and to be left alone are rights that are inherent in our nature. RIGHTS ARE ABOVE THE LAW. Like the color of our eyes, they are immune from the lawmaking power.

    The government, which is an artificial entity based on a monopoly of force in a geographic area, may not morally interfere with our rights unless we waive them. A house burglar waives his rights when he violates the property rights of the owner or legal occupant of the house.

    But absent that waiver, the GOVERNMENT CANNOT INFRINGE UPON RIGHTS WITHOUT ENGAGING IN MONSTROUS THEFT. And government theft has consequences. Whether it calls its theft “taxation” or “regulation,” one can understand Nietzsche’s aphorism that the government exists by lying and stealing.
    …….

    When James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights, he did not intend for the liberties that are protected thereby to become privileges subject to the whims of government. But through the long march of history, that’s what has happened. Jefferson predicted this when he said that WITHOUT A RADICAL REASSESSMENT OF GOVERNMENT ONCE IN EVERY GENERATION, GOVERNMENT WILL GROW AND LIBERTY WILL SHRINK. GOVERNMENT IS THE NEGATION OF LIBERTY.

    What can be done? Take rights seriously. Recognize rights as the extensions of our humanity. Take Jefferson seriously: “WHEN THE PEOPLE FEAR THE GOVERNMENT, THERE IS TYRANNY. WHEN THE GOVERNMENT FEARS THE PEOPLE, THERE IS LIBERTY.”

    Andrew P. Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, has published nine books on the U.S. Constitution.
    https://www.judgenap.com/the-government-culture-of-death/ [EMPHASES added.]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. true, jg; taxation is sanctioned theft! but i do take issue w/ your claim that the core value of the judaeo-xian tradition, the newell post of its foundation, is “the intrinsic worth of every person”. allow me to elaborate: their ‘holy book’, the bible, in no way reflects such a core value. their OT is saturated w/ the blood, guts, violence, genocide, and denial-of- rights to tramontanes, all of which are promulgated by a jealous, vindictive, hubristic god [jahweh]… one who makes hitler, stalin, trump, and biden, collectively, appear as saint-status eleemosynaries. all the ‘slay thine enemies’, killl every newborn son, slaughter all their animals, execute anyone found working on ‘his’ holy day, this god-figure’s insistence on “worshipping NO OTHER gods except me”, ‘his’ sanctioning of slavery, ‘his’ disdain of femmes, as if the delilahs are to blame for the downfalls of samsons… as well as the NT’s jesus-figure imperiously and peremptorily pronouncing that “no one can enter the kingdom of god except through ME!”…. i think, jg, you are confusing the judaeo-xian religion w/ some more pacifistic, less dictatorial, dogmatic religion.

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      1. “jealous, vindictive, hubristic god” describes the actions of humans made in the image of God of the Jewish OLD Testament.

        The God and Father of Jesus in the NEW Testament is not like that as he correctly recognized the hypocrites who are close to him with their mouth, and honour him with their lips, but their HEARTS are far from him.

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  12. First of all, Jeanie, I didn’t claim anything about the core values of the Judeo-Christian tradition. That was Judge Napolitano that claimed it. i merely offered his piece as another perspective on America as a “Culture of Death.”

    And second of all, do You disagree with anything else that he declared?

    About how Virtue is sustained? Or that our system of government and governance is based on Nihilism, a belief in nothing but Power? Or his definition and description of a “Right”? Or his distinction between Tyranny and Liberty based on who is fearing Who?

    And can You name any other major religions beside Judaism and Christianity that are “pacifistic” and neither dictatorial nor dogmatic, particularly when serving as the “spiritual foundation” of a drive for political and economic power? The only ones i can think of that might even come close are Buddhism and Taoism.

    As i have stated elsewhere on BV: The primary cause of Human Pain, Misery, and Suffering throughout all of Human History has been Government: particularly when it partners up with Organized Religion.

    And it’s not just Christians and Jews who have very effectively used political Power linked to “The Will of God” [or Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, etc, as the case may be] to accomplish their respective “Kingdoms of Heaven” here in Earth.

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    1. there is a pellucid difference between organized religion and spiritual predisposition, jg. the former is a manifestation of ritualized, rigid governance in itself. the latter is inspired by a fluidity that transforms thru time and experience which is manumitted from dogma. if i were to be labelled at this nexus in my sojourn, i would, somewhat reluctantly, classify myself as a buddhistic, eclectic nullifidian… recognizing that no label or nomenclature can reliably capture the essence of anyone’s animus/anima. to claim that a system of governance is “based on nihilism, a belief in nothing but power” is a specious contradiction in terms, given that, as you acknowledge, such governance is based on power, not nullity… as has been the ‘modus vivendi’ throughout our species’ beleaguered history of whoever it is who fears whom. [apologies wja, for veering way outside your topic, raised for discussion and debate.]

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      1. i wasn’t speaking of “spiritual dispositions,” Jeanie.

        i was talking about Organized Religion as the Handmaiden of Political Power: the ability to use the legal power and authority of Government to advance the agendas of those Vested, Special Interests who own and operate, script and handle, and command and control the elected politicians, career bureaucrats, and anointed appointees who run that Government. And in that realm, it can never hurt to have God [or Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, Etc, as the case may be] on Your side, eh?

        About the only times in the past 100 years that i can think of where what could easily be termed “spiritual dispositions” were a significant factor and driver in Politics were the campaigns of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Thich Nhat Hahn.

        And again, i didn’t define nihilism as “a belief in nothing but power”; Judge Napolitano did.

        But also again i would say that, throughout Human History, a belief in nothing but POWER ~ THE ABILITY TO FORCE OTHERS TO DO WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO ~ is and has ever been the primary, dominating force behind Government, Governance, and Politics, and the people who make their livings that way.

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      2. we’re on the same page with this line Jeanie, “there is a pellucid difference between organized religion and spiritual predisposition” The Bible makes it very clear the struggle of Christ Jesus was with ORGANIZED RELIGION.

        Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
        Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
        But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
        God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

        Like

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