Monday, January 15, 2018

Why Do We Put Up With Endless War? #MLKDay

Every once in a while I stumble across another lamentation about how the people don’t want war but it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along...wait, I am quoting Nazi propagandist Hermann Goering.

How the people get dragged along is the subject of this terrific comic The Good War examining 1990's Hollywood propaganda about WWII. You know, when the U.S. virtuously beat the Nazis after hanging back long enough to let the Holocaust happen. A genocide effected with IBM technology for monitoring and slaughtering Jews. And no Nuremberg trials for the rocket scientists who were whisked away to join the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Source: The Good War by Mike Dawson and Chris Hayes on
Maybe dragged is not such a good word here because of the feel-good quality of all those Hollywood movies glorifying WWII as the U.S. lolled in the boom economic cycle of the 1990's.

Dragged is what leaders need to do when the populace looks more like this fellow sleeping under newspapers on a park bench.

Or like this unfortunate woman, obviously traumatized, who was dumped on the street in freezing weather by security[sic] guards for a Baltimore hospital last week. 

Ok, so now we're getting dragged.

An international Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases (also in Baltimore) this weekend examined the 800 or so military bases the U.S. has established in 80 other countries. I say "or so" because they multiply so quickly, and there are so many of them popping up all over Africa and Eurasia at the moment, that it's nearly impossible to keep an accurate count.

The Nib comic explains why people put up with (and pay up for) this. In a nutshell: Terror! Goering again: "All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Conveniently, the people of Hawaii were terrorized this week by a false report of incoming ballistic missiles (presumably from Russia? maybe from China?) sent via text to all their cell phones. Thirty-eight minutes later the governor of Hawaii announced that it was a human error, that somebody had pushed "the wrong button." This is in the same month that the demagogue with bad hair tweeted from the White House that his nuclear attack button is bigger than the leader of North Korea's nuclear attack button. What a coincidence!

Much of the manufactured consent of U.S. taxpayers for endless war is accomplished, like most everything else these days, by robots. Whittling down the number of "boots on the ground" and turning away from conscription in favor of the poverty draft model ensures that there aren't many families concerned about their loved ones in harms way. And the families that do worry about their son or daughter are for the most part low income and disenfranchised, with few ways to make their voices heard amid the din of glorified militarism.

Mothers who have suffered the loss of a child are a potent force for change.

Mothers who continue to pay taxes supporting the neo-Nazis of Ukraine while being kept ignorant of this fact by corporate media hyping the Russian threat are not a potent force.

I think the corporate state is waiting patiently for us baby boomers to die. We're the last generation to rise up against a war, mostly because we were pursued by the draft and died in droves in the jungles of Vietnam. 

As most warfare today is conducted via the weaponized flying robots most people call drones, it's wicked expensive but seldom results in death for our soldiers. Instead, they quietly suffer the PTSD they get from sitting in front of screens killing people thousands of miles away.

The psyops that is really powerful is the designation of impoverished nations hollowed out by colonialism as "shit hole countries."

The first step in any genocide or war is dehumanizing the targeted people. This is why leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are so galvanizing: he was a brilliant, articulate member of the most dehumanized group in the U.S., the descendants of enslaved Africans. Can't dehumanize that? Assassination is the obvious next step.

REVISED 1/15 at 1:25pm: Number of U.S. military bases and number of countries they are found in updated on the basis of info shared at the recent Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Maine Rep. Jennifer DeChant Wants To Hear From General Dynamics But Not From Mainers

Here in Maine we're still waiting for an LD number for the bill that Rep. Jennifer DeChant and Sen. Eloise Vitelli are sponsoring for General Dynamics.

The fifth largest weapons manufacturer on the planet needs Maine taxpayers to pony up $60 million in tax breaks next year or else (insert repeated threats of job loss at the Bath Iron Works shipyard owned by GD).

Ironically, Rep. Jennifer DeChant has blocked me on twitter after I sent her this photo of my Sunday bridge vigil:

That's the Kennebec River in the background, the same river that General Dynamics regularly pollutes and dredges in order to make enormous profits, buy back its own stock, and pay its CEO $21 million a year.

Here's the informative article by investigative reporter Alex Nunes that I wanted to share with Rep. DeChant: Extending Bath Iron Works Tax Break Would Ignore State Consultant’s Review. The article details how a study in Maine determined that continuing to put all our eggs in the weaponized ship building basket was a bad gamble for the future of our state economy.

Also ironically, the Maine bill's co-sponsor, State Senator Eloise Vitelli, had this to say on twitter about the GOP's recent corporate tax giveaway:

Both DeChant and Vitelli are Democrats, carrying water for General Dynamics. They barred a videographer from a meeting with concerned constituents in December, and now one of them has barred me from tweeting information that her followers might see.

You can check out my twitter account in case you think I might have gotten blocked because I had sunk to name-calling, threats or vulgar language. But that's not my style.

The ugly, naked truth is powerful enough.