Military “Heroes” ?

I read an article today on the Alternet entitled, “Stop Thanking the Troops for me:  No, They Don’t Protect Our Freedoms.”  Click HERE to read and it was very refreshing to hear someone voice what I have been thinking a lot lately when I hear these mindless statements about how “thankful” we should be for all of the military “heroes,” blah blah blah. How does killing civilians in illegal and unjust wars make you a “hero?”  What an offensive concept.

The heroes are the conscientious objectors (when there was a draft), not the people who participate in these acts of domination at the behest of the 1% who perpetrate the horror of war for profit. At best they are impoverished people with few choices coerced into the military by a merciless ruling elite, but some are nothing more than murder-for-hire thugs who have no problem not only robbing innocent people of their freedom but of their lives and would do the same to us if ordered to do so.  In fact, not only do they not protect our freedoms, they jeopardize our freedom and endanger us all by marching to the tune of imperialism and causing needless suffering and inequity that inevitably lands on our doorstep.

We need to rethink what a “hero” is and question the authoritarian idea that it is somehow heroic to allow yourself to be used as cannon fodder and maimed or killed in the process of maiming or killing other members of the human race for the dark purposes of the oligarchs who control the world’s resources, rather than pointlessly injurious and destructive. Might the internal conflict that many war veterans experience that leads to so much suicide be the result of trying to reconcile feeling shame and grief at one’s participation in such gruesome violence with the public accolades of being military “heroes?”

Peace or Profit: an Update

Due to the ongoing imperialism on the part of the U. S. and its allies, here we are again at the brink of yet another war, this one threatening to mushroom into WWIII, given the explosive situation in the Middle East and the clash of alliance between Syria/Iran/China/Russia vs. the U.S./Israel/Britain/rest of the Middle East, over yet another pipeline that threatens the business interests of the U. S. and Israel. http://t.co/A7ZGYTB20f

This is how this endlessly circular scenario always seems to play out:  the U. S. corporate government decides that its interests are “threatened” (read its monopoly of a sector of the global economy is challenged), the U. S. and its allies install dictators, or depose (or assassinate) democratically-elected leaders by funding and arming rebels (aka “foreign aid”), the country in question descends into chaos and civil war, some flimsy pretext is invented in an attempt to justify military intervention that invariably escalates into all-out war, and voila, U. S. corporate interests and profits remain intact.  See: http://www.corbettreport.com/selling-war-to-the-public/

Obama is again appearing to overstep his authority in yet another example of executive overreach by indicating his willingness to “draw a red line” over the use of chemical weapons supposedly by the Assad regime and attack Syria.  Since these weapons have more likely been supplied to the insurgents by the West in order to further destabilize the situation in Syria, one has to ask if the hypocrisy ever ends with this administration.  Claire Daly in the Irish Parliament did just that when she called the Obama Administration out on this issue:  http://disinfo.com/2013/07/obama-called-war-criminal-and-hypocrite-of-the-century-in-the-irish-parliament/  For a historical perspective, see also:  Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

Obama seems determined to double-down on these wrongheaded policies rather than question whether he has either the moral or legal authority to go on the offensive, which will undoubtedly leave far more victims in its wake.  The Green Shadow Cabinet has weighed in on this issue with a statement that if Obama attacks Syria “without prior explicit authorization by Congress, he will have committed an offense worthy of impeachment” and if he does so without UN authorization, that he will be guilty of war crimes: http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/dont-attack-syria

The corporate warmongers and their government shills know very well that their continued profiteering depends on the war machine–why so many peace groups, rallies, and marches are so viciously targeted as the goal of peace as inimical to its continued domination.  In funding and fueling wars in their malevolent, underhanded game of chess, they manipulate behind the scenes to pit different groups/nations against one another in an unending ruse to keep the peoples of the world at each other’s throats, off-balance, and fighting to survive and thereby distracted and diverted from not only the truth regarding who is directing the game but from being able to pursue and enjoy the fruits of peace:  health, justice, education, freedom, and democracy, all the human rights so under attack in a militaristic, authoritarian police state such as ours has increasingly become in the last decade.See:  http://www.answercoalition.org/march-forward/statements/to-my-fellow-sailors-refuse.html for a former sailor’s analysis of this situation.

Throughout history, wars have been waged over resources and profits to enrich the 1% at the expense of the 99%.  Never was the Civil War protest rallying cry of “a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight” more true than it is today, the impoverished young people entering the armed services as the options narrow for economic survival as our Treasury, into which we the taxpayers have paid, is raided to fund yet another war with all the corporate pigs gorging themselves from the war machine’s “defense” contracts and spying programs while paying no taxes. We have become a corporate welfare state heedlessly pursuing endless war for profit hell-bent on destroying all life on this planet if it means an uptick in quarterly earnings regardless of the ever-more disastrous consequences.  The ultimate irony is that we the taxpayers are funding our own destruction and that of the Earth as well as paying to be spied upon by our own government. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid

This war, like all the others, has nothing to do with being so offended by innocent casualties but rather, and quite to the contrary, it has to do with the corporate and governmental war criminals who profit from endless war and human carnage, cultural genocide, and ecological destruction. The empire hasn’t a vestige of clothing to cover its naked aggression.  The choice has never been more clear:  we the 99% can have peace, or the 1% can profit from war—which is it going to be?

Romney: 10 Really Important Reasons to Vote for Anyone Else!

Romney-01

And by anyone, I mean even Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, or Barack Obama, though there are far better choices out there:  Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, and Roseanne Barr for example.  I feel compelled to spell this out, especially since Romney is trying so hard to pretend he is someone other than who he really is, by listing the reasons he is the worst choice in my humble opinion.  When reviewing them, you may wonder why I have left out civil liberties, foreign policy, trade agreements, drug policy, and war.  This is because this piece is about reasons voting for anyone other than Mitt Romney, and Obama and Romney are both so disregarding of our civil rights, militaristic, devoted to continuing the destructive and pointless war on drugs, and ready and willing to enable corporate world government and a police state that Romney could not be singled out as worse, though on foreign policy his debate comments about “getting bad guys” reveal a more simplistic, comic book tone than Obama’s.

Ron Paul is only marginally better on most of these issues I have enumerated but infinitely better on war and civil liberties (except for women as he is anti-choice).   The only person running that is worse in most every way than Romney is Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party because he is right-wing-on-steroids crazy when you look at his voting record vs. what he says in the debates, where he comes across less extreme (kind of like Romney and Obama).  That should put this in perspective. Even so, voting for him means less chance of a Romney/Ryan win so I can still say for that reason, he is a better choice (only because he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning). Remember you can write names in in many states, even if they don’t appear on the ballot!

Here are 10 reasons why anyone sitting on the fence should NOT cast a vote for Mitt Romney:

  1. Paul Ryan – the architect of the most severe austerity budget imaginable, anti-government fanatic, misogynist extraordinaire, self-congratulatory elitist, utterly confused religious zealot who simultaneously embraces fundamentalist Catholicism (except for the part about caring for the poor) and the ultra-selfish philosophy of the very damaged, anti-social, arguably sociopathic Ayn Rand (an atheist), oblivious to the inherent contradictions. Romney, with his corporate raider, fascistic, anti-human policies and questionable ethics, not to mention his polygamist father and beliefs that are viewed as cultish by the rest of Christendom, has picked an even more dangerously fringe running mate who would be a heartbeat away from being President, in addition to being set up for a White House run later if elected VP.
  2. Women’s Rights – If you are a woman or care about a woman—any woman, say your mother, sister, wife, daughter, grandmother, friend, or your housekeeper, Romney is a disastrous choice.  Romney not only has declared his intention to defund Planned Parenthood, supported employers being able to refuse to cover employees’ birth control for ‘moral’ reasons, continued to back the likes of Todd Akin and now Richard Mourdock and Joe Walsh with their abhorrent views on abortion and rape and rape-induced pregnancy, and vowed to work towards Roe v. Wade being overturned, but has even endorsed the crackpot idea of a Constitutional Amendment to endow “fetal personhood” on nonviable life, like gametes and zygotes, being included in the Republican platform, and has never supported Lily Ledbetter and equal pay.  Romney and Ryan don’t have “binders of women,” they are BINDERS of women!  They will not stop until women have no rights whatsoever and are barefoot and pregnant, dependent brood mares; if elected maybe Romney might provide some “sister-wives” to help out with the laundry and childrearing since he certainly won’t support day care.
  3.  The Earth – Fast track to environmental doom with resulting drought, famine, worsening storms, hurricanes, fires, and water shortages await if this demonic duo wins the White House.  Romney is a climate change denier and actively promotes nothing but dirty forms of energy like oil and nuclear power and environmentally devastating practices like clearcutting, drilling in the antarctic, mountaintop removal, and fracking, when clean alternatives are not only preferable and available but essential, and actually uses the term “clean coal,” an oxymoron if there ever was one, while being hellbent on dismantling all of our environmental regulations and agencies.
  4.  The 99% or the 47% – If you are a member of the 47%, or even the 99%, Romney clearly not only doesn’t care about you, he sees you as a “parasite” who wants to mooch off of him and his other plutocratic, capitalist multimillionaire/billionaire/multibillionaire friends.  If anyone is parasitic, it is these two guys who have lived off of the work of the 47% and the 99% their entire privileged lives.  Romney and Ryan will do everything in their power to amass more power and wealth for the 1% and themselves at the rest of our expense, and enable the so-called “job-creators” they promote to do exactly what they are doing now–sit on all their cash like the fat-cat hoarders they are.
  5.  The Economy and Income Inequality – Extremist, trickle-down, voodoo economics is what this man and his side-kick believe in, the same policies that will only increase the already huge divide between the haves and have-nots.  The pathetically inadequate health care reform bill, otherwise known as “Obamacare,” that has instituted a few much-needed reforms such as outlawing the practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, Social Security, Medicare, and the entire social safety net will be under attack; tax breaks for the ultra-rich will not only be continued but likely increased while they pile on more taxes for the middle class and the poor; the already bloated military budget will increase (along with the deficit) and there are not going to be any jobs, not here anyway. Romney and Ryan believe in austerity, for everyone but the uber-wealthy and people like them who serve them; this is a rehash of Hoover’s policies that plunged us into the Great Depression and are currently causing financial collapse and social chaos in Europe.  A vote for Romney is a vote for Herbert Hoover.
  6.  Education – Romney believes in education for the 1% and those who can afford to go to an Ivy League school; everyone else doesn’t need an education because the fictional “jobs” he is going to provide won’t require one, especially if you have to commute to India or China. He probably “loved” his teachers at Harvard, but he doesn’t love the ones at your child’s grade school or those teaching at a community college, and you can forget about Title IX or Brown v. Board of Education because these rightwing people want to do away with equal opportunity.  If you think education should be less important than Halliburton’s profits, especially for girls and minorities, vote for this guy.
  7.  Theocracy, not democracy – These two men have no respect for the separation of church and state, support the blurring of these lines, and espouse beliefs that rationalize rule by the church.  Which one you ask?  Any of the authoritarian, fundamentalist, patriarchal religious sects will do as they all agree that basic human rights are expendable, such as sovereignty over one’s own body, right to make your most personal decisions regarding conception, whom you bed and whom you wed, what books you can read and films you can see, what words you can say and hear, freedom from religious tyranny, and so on.  The Bill of Rights (especially the 1st amendment) is basically superfluous to these people, except for corporations of course, though they love to abuse particularly the 10th and 14th amendments; only the 2nd amendment is exempt because corporations rake in obscene profits on firearms.  Obama has been a civil liberties nightmare also; he just isn’t as much of a Bible thumper as these two and doesn’t support their radical religious social agenda—nor does Biden, despite being a practicing Catholic.  You might as well vote for the Taliban as for Romney/Ryan as there is little difference.  Do we need more gun-toting religious bigots?!
  8. Corporate rule unchecked – The fact that corrupt billionaires like the Koch Bros. and Sheldon Adelson (a modern-day Meyer Lansky) support Romney and Wall Street has abandoned Obama for him says it all, this despite Obama’s letting banksters off the hook and caving in left and right to corporate demands. Romney, which someone pointed out can’t be spelled without “money,” is going to make sure that Bain Capital and its ilk are the bane of our existence because he is 110% corporate.  He thinks they should rule over every single aspect of our lives and continue to get government handouts in the form of subsidies and military contracts and pay no taxes in order to line the pockets of their shareholders while complaining about the deficit.  Corporations are not only “people,” they are the only “people” that matter.
  9. The Supreme Court – Mitt Romney has reportedly said that Roberts, Thomas, Alito and Antonin Scalia are his favorites.  Need I say more?  He apparently favors judges who give corporations free rein to wreak havoc on actual people and the environment, allow unlimited contributions from billionaires and super-pacs to elections as in the 2010 Citizens United decision because they claim money is speech, collude in the stealing of elections by ordering a voter recount to be stopped as in the 2000 elections, and who, like Thomas, don’t believe they need to report their wife’s income or recuse themselves from cases where there is a conflict of interest (his wife employed by the Susan Komen foundation and the Affordable Care Act ruling, for example).  What can you expect from a presidential candidate who doesn’t think the American public has a right to see his tax returns?  With him in the White House, he may be able to nominate up to FOUR justices to the Supreme Court, who we will have to endure for 40 or 50 years.  Remember Robert Bork?  He’s BA-A-CK as Romney’s top legal advisor!
  10. Oppression vs. Justice – that means people of color, LGBT people, women, workers, students, older Americans, the poor, the ill, virtually everybody but the privileged, entitled, ultra-wealthy, elitist 1% will be further disempowered, their rights trampled, their votes suppressed, and their lives and health degraded.  Vouchers for inadequate, for-profit healthcare (another oxymoron) at astronomical prices, no equal pay for women, no raise in minimum wage, corporate price gouging, GMO-engineered, pesticide, hormone, preservative-laden Frankenfood, exploitation of public lands, pollution of the air, water, and soil, privatized social security, corporate propaganda passing for news, no public television with quality programming or accurate, in-depth journalism, and limited legal recourse for injustice.

When considering for whom NOT to vote, Romney is at the top of my list; I hope you will consider putting him there as well and pick any of the others.  I personally am voting for Roseanne, the antithesis of everything Romney represents being a feminist, environmentalist, populist, pro-education, pro-worker, secular humanist (yes I used that wonderful term!), working-class, civil libertarian peace and justice advocate and the antidote to everything that is wrong with Washington.

9/11 Investigation

As I see it, 9/11 was the crisis by which the corporate takeover of government which had begun decades earlier was dramatically accomplished, and which set the stage for the fomenting of illegitimate wars and the dismantling of our civil liberties and destruction of society.  As such, it figures hugely in the state of this nation and the world today and its excoriatingly negative impact cannot be overstated, but it is a symptom of an even larger corruption and needs to be seen in this context.  So, though I believe it is clear that it is not an end in itself, a thorough investigation into the events of 9/11 would be a vehicle by which all of the issues leading up to it and following from it could be exposed and scrutinized and is important for the overriding reason that openly seeking the truth, especially of an event of such magnitude, is the cornerstone of a just society.

All for One, and One for All

We need a new national motto.  I have always loved the Three Musketeers’ motto, “All for One, and One for All” (unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno) because it speaks to the best of all systems:  it acknowledges the importance of the collective as well as the individual, and does not put one before the other.  If we were to think in these terms, we would have a much better life and system of government because everyone would be equally important and no one would be sacrificed for the good of the whole.  Think about that.  If we were to adopt this motto instead of the “In God We Trust”, how would our outlook, self-esteem, and behavior towards others change if we felt truly valued and indispensable!  Instead of engaging in endless wars because God is “on our side” and constantly fighting for our piece of the pie, we would instead be looking out for one another, ensuring each other’s safety and well-being, and making sure each person’s needs were met. No one would be attacking Social Security, Medicare, or the commons:  national parks, natural resources, a clean environment, a postal system, libraries, or single-payer healthcare.  They would all be seen as human rights because we as valued citizens would be entitled to them!

There is a serious need to shift towards more pro-social values like inclusion, sharing, and cooperation vs. anti-social values like exclusion, hoarding, and competition and we would be much better off if we switched to the motto, “All for One, and One for All”, which is Switzerland’s national motto, incidentally.  Switzerland, as you may know, never engages in war, doesn’t get embroiled in taking sides, is actively involved in international peace-building processes, home to the Red Cross, is one of the richest countries in the world, boasts cities with the 2nd (Zurich) and 3rd (Geneva) highest quality of life on earth, and has a direct democracy instead of a representative one.  There’s a lot we could learn from Switzerland, and I think their choice of national motto is both a reflection of and a reason for the country’s success.

I would like to suggest that we all give serious thought to adopting “All for One and One for All” as a personal motto.  Try it out for a week or a month, and see if it doesn’t change your outlook.  I’m betting it will help you feel less isolated and alienated,  more peaceful, and less stressed.   I believe it epitomizes the Occupy Movement (and every populist movement) and should become the rallying cry of Occupy.  Then maybe we can convince cities, communities, and eventually the country to consider endorsing it, and then it could become an international campaign.   All for One and One for All!

Occupy Wall Street

I was watching Occupy Wall Street Los Angeles livestream earlier today and there was some wonderful music playing that turned out to be “Uncle Sam Goddamn” by Brother Ali. It’s good to see someone doing some actual social and political commentary in music again, rather than the fatuous, self-serving prevalent schlock that glorifies criminality, misogyny, and brutality.

You can get the lyrics at: http://www.lyricsmania.com/print/457556.html

There was also a great slogan/demand that was being chanted:

“How to fix the deficit: End the war, tax the rich!”