Tag Archives: Political Fortitude

Threat Level

8 Sep

Right Left, doesn’t matter the propaganda out of DC and the media is that we must stop ISIL before they reach the homeland. “Defeat them over there” is the patriotic battle cry . (Queue the multi-racial group of little children waving little American flags). Still no mention of oil.

Defeat ISIL, like we defeated the Taliban and al Qaeda and the myriad of like splinter groups. Webster defines defeat: “ to win a victory over (someone or something) in a war, contest, game, etc : to cause (someone or something) to fail : to control or overcome (something”). After all these years of death and money thrown at the ever popular defeat strategy, how we doin’? We can easily remember when al Qaeda was billed for years as the cataclysmic threat to the American homeland, why to the very fabric of “the American way of life” (that would have to include Ferguson). History is loaded with examples that groups mutate and morph constantly. Nazis have become neo-nazis, skin heads, white supremacists, etc. Al Qaeda becomes al Qaeda in Iraq becomes ISIS becomes ISIL becomes Islamic State. Whatever. So now this iteration is the worst we’ve ever seen, oh my God . . . . until, of course, the next one in the revolving door of war. How long are we going to buy the snake oil (the lubricant) and drink the cool-aid? This cool-aid concocted and distributed here at home is the threat to poor people and our middle class. After years of applying defeat military style what’s the score, ah, conspicuously worse than before we invaded. Our predictable military response to all things that sparkle is so primitive and strangely at odds with our intense interest in such things as technology, at the very least it’s embarrassing. Time to evolve past the global pro wrestling circuit. Time to formulate a plan B; a non- military way of navigating the planet and powering our cars. Plenty of perfectly nice nations do it without being brought to their knees.

The logistics: how would it work? The dooms-dayers and war hawks never give a description of how it would work. The DC and media outlets say that in addition to being the most barbaric group ISIL is also the most well funded of the bad guys at large. Assuming for the moment that this is true, how soon before they have an air force with highly trained pilots, air craft carriers to transport it, jet fuel (not crude oil), radar and satellite communication, missiles and bombs to arm it? Regardless of the revenue stream, how soon before they build this air force for themselves? Or, how soon before sympathetic supporter(s) gift them with a fully functioning air force as described? Or, how soon before they conquer/capture a complete air force and kidnap pilots (which they would have to resist beheading)? Can you see mega masculine Saudi Arabia or Iran allowing their military to be taken over by anyone? These are countries, like all countries, with men at the top that very much like their power and will get violent to retain it. How long before ISIL can fly over and bomb us, or launch long range ballistic missiles at us from the middle east, or launch missiles from their submarines or war ships? ‘Cause they’ve had the capability for years to come to the US and do one-on bombings; place bombs in crowded places, blow up a suicide bomber, etc. We don’t have to spend billions more dollars over seas, they can do one-on bombings right now. The Arab nations that circle ISIL must be thanking Allah daily for the abject foolishness of the United States.

Power to the People

Media and Politicians: Hear the Harmony

30 Aug

The language of TV commentators and politicians: so casual and assuming about US military “strategy” in Syria, Iraq, even Ukraine. They speak with a cavalier entitlement as if our military options in other countries are like coffee choices at Starbucks. Many accept a correlation between video games and a level of desensitization to violence but what of the media’s culpability in desensitizing us to terms like “US intervention”, “military options”, “surgical air strikes” and many more. Why is it wholly unremarkable to hear these people talking matter-of-factly about bombing here and bombing there like possible moves on a chess board? These televised parleys are relegated to debates about targets, timing of strikes, what kind of munitions to deploy and very occasionally about the various benefits of bombing but never about the actual right to bomb. The right to bomb is a given in these dialogs. We feel threatened or we feel there might be a threat in the future. After all there was 911, our “never again” moment (by the way, how has that “never again” strategy worked out for the Jewish people in the middle east?) We feel a paternity toward a world filled with nations and people centuries older than our own. We feel the power of unrivaled wealth (albeit morphing). The deal is we have the biggest stick, currently. Each of these fail to support the right to bomb other countries. Additionally, we continue to be inoculated against the principal question of the right to bomb with the “US interests in the region” serum. Now that covers a multitude of sins. Who defines all of these interests and which countries they are lodged in? We were once sold the very long and expensive Vietnam War as vital to US interests, ooops, not really. There’s the oil of course and the prime military base real estate to be considered to name a few. “US interests” can dissolve foreign boarders and sovereignty and our very own Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of The Constitution. “US Interests”: a powerful term that has migrated to normal. Who in the US profits financially by these critical decisions and who loses, always the same people.

Power to the People

ISIS Crisis

23 Aug

The US, who are we? Who do we want to be? As a nation we should finally be maturing beyond this cape crusader crap. The countries that surround ISIS (besides Iraq/Syria) are Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Given ISIS’ business plan, why aren’t these wealthy countries pounding big time on ISIS? But then why should they spend their money and resources when the ever adolescent US is always more than eager to don the saggy pants, flash some bad ink and play toughest kid on the block. The US forever trying to prove its manhood to its young self, to be the quarterback hoisted onto the adoring shoulders of the world. The world that holds us in contempt. Manhood must be singled out here as there are no women anywhere in charge of any war machines. When do we ever get to move to the boring adult table where wisdom reigns and manhood is measured by how well one cares for the family, the extended family stretching from shore to shore? All this BS about being the only country that can save the world from______________, fill in the blank, is standard teenage rationalization for continuing to play the video game. We have no savior destiny; we’re a simple mortal player like everyone else doing a stretch on the planet. And where is Switzerland, Japan, Russia, Brazil, to name a very few? Why aren’t they terrified of ISIS? They are by definition infidels too, surely they need some bloody CC, conquering and converting, why do they have no skin in this game? Could a US citizen turned ISIS commando fly on home and blow some of us up, yes. Or some cop in Missouri could blow us up, dead feels dead by any hand.

Even the evil ISIS needs a trumped up excuse to rampage, God tells them to; not too original but what are you going to do, it is a tried and true classic. Reduce temptation: we could just round up ALL the Americans in Iraq and bring them home removing one excuse that we use for ourselves. Actually what are these Americans doing in Iraq anyway? What vital function do they provide toward our general welfare? We need some cost analysis on this one. Even if you pretend that their continued presence is essential to American well-being how the hell could they get any work done under these circumstances. Is their charge in Iraq now really just to stay alive? What Iraqis are they conducting official US business with these days, the woefully inept Iraqi government? Picture that, Iraqi officials and diplomatic representatives of our congress working on anything. This refusal to extract Americans from Iraq feels very much like “you’re not the boss of me”. It’s the kind of posturing that neighborhood gangs do to act out sad fantasies of gloriously defending property that someone else owns. Think we will look weak to totally vacate Iraq? Think the Lindsey Grahams and John McCains are strategically brilliant? Face saving is a childish response to adult problems. Our crumbling infrastructure and failing transportation systems actually do make us weak. Our declining educational product makes us weak. Our unemployment crisis makes us dangerously weak. The assaults on voting rights weaken the core of our ideology. And on and on. Say no to war.

Power to the People

Now Let’s Try The Carrot

14 Jul

“Peace in the Middle East”, as it’s called, could be had but we’d have to stop funding the occupation. We’d have to give up the scripted delusion that an occupation is in our best interest regardless of the Wall Street/K Street hype. Then we’d have to redirect all that big time “aid” money into actual aid, not just an annual wad to be gifted to the current whomever to be spent at their discretion. If we had a financial stake in Palestinian held territories, hospitals/clinics that we funded and helped build, roads, desalinization plants, comprehensive irrigation systems, seed banks, solar and wind farms, housing, etc. we sure as hell wouldn’t want anyone blowing them up. You can bet the American tax payers would lose their collective mind over blown up tax dollars; i.e. you see how we’ve protected our colossal investment to date in the area with an “Iron Dome”. This change, this positive use of aid money turned into construction, instead of destruction, would also be a huge help to the unemployment crisis in the Palestinian territories. You know, all those young able bodied men with no jobs but lots of rocks and plenty of time to throw them. As a bonus these projects would reduce the hatred coming our way from the folks in Palestine and their many watchful neighbors. Any such reduction in hate is an upgrade in our national security. You want to get rid of Hamas, try building something with the Palestinians; improve people’s lives. This is not a new concept; this is sound foreign policy. Yes there would be problems overcoming Palestinian skepticism; “you reap what you sew”, we’d have to work hard to dismantle the reputation we’ve built but we’ve taken on difficult challenges before. The hardest element is shedding a false premise, like WMDs, and replacing it with positive action. And who knows, if the Palestinians come to like us just a little bit maybe we could begin to work on that misogyny thing they’ve got going on.

Power To The People

No Divine Appointment

30 Jun

Who are we to decide anything in Iraq/Afghanistan? Why because it’s so easy to trash their chronic dictator style of governance as oppressive and unjust? So what, oppressive and unjust circles the globe. Redrawing territories, ousting leaders, medieval laws, get over it, none of our business. Unless, that is, you slip up and get honest about the oil. We have misdirected trillions of dollars away from our dire domestic needs, infrastructure, economic growth, education, you know the list, and blown it instead on private security for BP, Exxon, Occidental Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron, Halliburton and others. But America is addicted to oil you say, and yes we are. Addiction is bad by anyone’s definition. What do experts say you do to eliminating an addiction, you stop using baby. Even Nancy Reagan gets it “just say no”. It’s not rocket science and not an over simplification. Many consider the US to have the most innovative people on the planet. Some alternative energy systems (solar, wind, hybrids) have already, despite all big oil efforts, been successfully introduced into our market place. Imagine the untapped potential. There’s a staggering amount of money to be made with alternative energy but we’ll have to cut the big boys loose to sink or swim, you know, capitalism style. We must stop subsidizing the big boys with corporate welfare: legal tax evasion, trillion dollar protection rackets overseas; it has destroyed their incentive, made them lazy welfare kings eating bon bons and driving Cadillacs on our dime. They have the option to take a chunk of their massive profits and retrofit their companies to alternative energy production or slip into an earned oblivion. To compete they’d have to actually work, build, invest instead of just brokering. The rest of us are constantly expected to adapt to the ever changing world usually with zero disposal income to retrofit a damn thing. The citizens will transition to alternative energy . . . . we moved from radio to TV, movie rentals to Netfix, rabbit ears to cable, land lines to cell phones, typewriters to computers, desk tops to IPads, 8 cylinders to 4 cylinders, leaded to unleaded. The list is endless. These conversions happen at an ever increasing pace. We hardly blink. We love upgrades. We’ve come to expect them. However, by in large our elected representatives are hopelessly indentured to big oil so cutting the cord will have to come from the citizens; we’re going to have to save ourselves from the ever hungry war/oil twins.

Power To The People

Iraq: The Arguments for More

20 Jun

DEBT: IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN

Why is it we owe the Iraqi/Afghani people anything?

We’ve never felt that we owed the Indigenous people of this country anything for invading their homeland, slaughtering them, diseasing them, decimating their food supplies, kidnapping their children, humiliating them, warehousing them in outdoor jails . . . to name a few.

We’ve never felt that we owed the kidnapped Africans in this country for turning them and their children into generations of slaves, selling them, trading them, raping them, whipping them, hanging them, working them, humiliating them, warehousing them in sheds . . . to name a few.

So why are the Iraqis/Afghanis so very special in our conscience? Certainly we’ve been carefully guided by our leaders for years to believe that we have a moral responsibility to do right by these countries that we’ve invaded, but why? What exactly has moved us to step so far out of character and spend gobs of our sacred money on people we don’t even approve of? Have we had an epiphany? Have we experienced metamorphosis? Have we come to Jesus? I’m not feelin’ it. I smell oil.

SECURITY: IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN

In the last ten or twelve years, globally speaking, do you feel more like a respected citizen of the planet or more like a preferred target? If you travel outside the U.S. are you perceived less like the ugly American or more like that ugly American? And how do we measure security? Women, for example, often measure personal security differently than men. Understandably it is not unusual for a woman to experience apprehension in certain situations that wouldn’t necessarily alarm a man. Young children can often be oblivious to danger and old people are often fearful of an abundance of hazards real or imaged. It’s a subjective thing. We want to feel safe, it’s primal. We want to believe that we can orchestrate safe. We do all that we can; we take the generally accepted precautions in our daily lives but simultaneously, deep in our bones, we also know that our whole existence down here is a crap shoot. How much will you believe to feel safe? I smell oil.

Power To The People

Letter to My President

14 Jun

NO on more money, soldiers, or equipment being spent on Iraq. There is no face to be saved, that childish notion was never an option. Every minute spent there only compounds the idiocy of our original transgression in 2003. Bush has definitely moved on, by what right are we still held hostage to this atrocity, why aren’t the rest of us allowed to move on? Whether we left in 2004 or left today or leave ten years from now there will be no difference in that county; women will continue to be regarded as chattel regardless of the rotation of men in power. This is the true raw measure of our irrelevance in Iraq. Despite all of our killing we’ve just been treading water in someone else’s befouled pond. Time to exit; take the usual pounding from the right wing about the resulting cataclysmic nation security failure that’s sure to come. It’s time to face the reality of our power within the universe. It’s time to get humble, go home and attempt to clean up our own abundant messes.

We can start with a job for me. I am 67 years old, worked damn hard all of my life, was laid off almost three years ago, cannot afford to retire, mortgage not paid off, have burnt through all but a few thousand dollars of my savings. These are the “Golden Years” American style. My daughter is 32 years old, was laid off four years ago, back living with me. Unemployment long since gone for both of us. I still send out resumes frequently, sometimes get phone interviews, occasionally get a face to face interview. Face to face interview from last week . . . was told they received thirty resumes for the one position, they granted interviews to only three applicants. I got one of those interviews but not the job. And my country’s priority is to dump obscene amounts of money into the black hole known as Iraq and Afghanistan, eh, to keep me safe. Hoorah.

Instead of sending me back a flowery form letter how about sending me a job, I live in the San Francisco area.

Power To The People.

Bergdahl: A Dessenting Opinion

4 Jun

Of course for all of us millions that weren’t there we don’t know the specifics yet of what took place for Bergdahl on June 30, 2009. News reports say that he left his assigned Forward Operating Base before he was scheduled to go on guard duty that date. His FOB appears to have been Sharana, if so, not a mere hill or ditch running through the landscape. If so, the Sharana photos look like there would have been more than one soldier on guard duty at any given time. Negative news reports say that Bergdahl deserted his post implying that he was on active guard duty and just walked away leaving the FOB exposed to attack. Did the soldier that Bergdahl was to replace desert his position before his replacement arrived? On this date, per the Army logs, was there ever a period of time when the designated number of guards were not on duty?

By all reports so far it would seem that Bergdahl resigned. The military of course calls it desertion; the working world calls it resigning. He shed his soldier stuff, guns, rifles, and then quit the soldier job. It happens thousands of times every day in America, people max out, lay down their building keys, office card keys, ID badges, etc. and quit the job that has become literally intolerable to work. The job Bergdahl was working was far worse than most jobs we give the boot to here at home and the consequences of quitting he faced as a result were staggering.

Oddly enough through the negative reporting there hasn’t been any mention of his being a fearful person, a man afraid of dying. That is his reasons for resigning so far as reported don’t seem to have anything to do with the classic fear of dying on the battlefield of war. Many already have started calling him a coward but from what was he cowering? He left unarmed, figuratively naked into a severely hostile environment with possibly his only asset being the power of his clearing conscience. People may not agree with his reasons for quitting or his timing but he can never be accused of quitting for profit.

So called leaders do start wars for profit and for the personal acquisition and sensation of power. And some soldiers slowly discover the lies wars are built on. Understandably they become disillusioned over time and a few, like Bowe Bergdahl, act upon what has been discovered before their tour is over. Per the war masters most of the disillusioned have the good grace to finish out the macabre contract and quietly kill themselves when they get home.

Those in the country who blood lust for a court martial regarding the six soldiers that died searching for the guy that left the war; let them start instead with the guys that told the enormous lies to launch the wars, Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld et. al. And in the charges don’t stop with these six that lost their lives, add on the thousands of US military personnel dead over the decade of these wars and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani people dead from our wars. Unfortunately, as the collective American psyche operates chances are that once home Bergdahl will have a miserable life and Bush, Chaney, and Rumsfeld will continue their’s in great comfort. This scenario is the cowardice.

Power To The People

Syria

11 Sep

It takes great discipline and strength to say no to military action, especially if you wield the biggest stick. Like Hollywood starlets we need to stop reading our own press, it’s poisoning our character and compromising our security. We need to put our ego in check; Jesus the Savior we are not we lack the purity of heart. Beneath the propaganda our choices of who to “save” have been self-serving; one doesn’t have to look any further than the civil war in Sudan. Two million dead, lots and lots of dead children, where was our divine intervention then? With our appetite for manipulation our military should be reserved exclusively for our defense. Any foreign use of our military should actually really require congressional approval. Calling these wars police actions, conflicts, and proportionate strikes (to name a few) is a deliberate evasion of the Constitution. The Constitution – Article I, Section 8 Congress shall have the power to declare war . . . . . . Requiring congressional action should put an end to war right there. And we also need to stop doing a Madison Avenue on these war ventures trying to pass them off as BS preemptive Homeland security measures. The best preemptive security program we could employ is one of clean living, leading by example (starting with fair voting rights), lots of well thought out foreign aid, educating and training people in relevant fields and then sending them back to their countries to help build strong US friendly nations, refusing to trade with ass hole nations regardless of the economic down side for the US, and remaining open to dialog to name a few.

A fool proof acid test . . . . . If, as a result of military action, you can’t definitively measure an increased liberation, power, and autonomy of the women in the region then the action has been an obscene waste of blood and money; it has been covertly orchestrated solely for the base purpose of material advantage and/or ego gratification. This is not a test because women are more important than men, it’s a test because consistently women’s status within a society is an unequivocal marker of its evolution. Like it or not this is just the way it is, everywhere. Don’t kid yourself, to “free” a man only to have him continue a sanctioned practice of oppressing women is no victory at all. This cannot be finessed into a feel good ending. To rationalize that one human’s freedom must come first before another’s can eventually someday in the future somehow follow is pure crap; a patriarch’s prescription for never. If Assad and his men win the civil war will there be no more child brides? If the Opposition men win the civil war will there be no more honor killings? From a female perspective this exercise is all just so much political masturbation.

Power to the People

Republicans: A Few Dichotomies

3 Oct

Most would agree that republicans are not usually described as the warm and fuzzy people. They are not considered the “mommy” party and most republicans would say that that description is just fine with them. Most have no tolerance for anything that could possibly smack of female coddling or nurturing of the citizenry. Every man for himself and all that, rah rah. But the ironic thing here is that they’re not the stereotypical masculine party. They’re weenies. They broadcast panic like little children. The sky is falling, all will soon be lost. The Mexicans are coming, the Mexicans are coming. There’s socialist monsters under every bed and black Muslim bogymen in every closet (especially the black bogymen). Republicans are constantly spraying fear and paranoia like skunk juice. Rightly or wrongly, this is not a stereotypically male image. Why would anyone vote to put a bunch of scaredy cats in charge of anything, except maybe the back door?

Then there’s this whole republican embrace of the economic survival of the fittest doctrine. Boy they love that one. Everybody just pull themselves up by their boot straps and if you can’t, well too bad for you, guess you didn’t pull hard enough or something, too bad for you, survival of the fittest. And yet they steadfastly maintain that Darwin is a pile of crap.

Now the republican push to delegalize most forms of birth control, there’s another odd one. We have to estimate that at least 50% of the republicans are men, sperm shooting men. We just know that the over whelming majority of them are not having sex strictly for procreation purposes alone. Please. Likewise it’s fair to assume that again the over whelming majority of them are not practicing abstinence (for any reason). Very hard to believe that these married men want to risk adding more unplanned children to their families or especially that single men want to add child support to their personal budgets. Logically one would think these republican men would want to shut down this nutso delegalization thing. And one would think that the republican strategists would also want to shut it down. After all, what did the last census tell them? We are currently undergoing the browning of America. People of color are the fastest growing populations in the United States. Do republicans really want “these people” without birth control? Do they know that by in large “these people” do not like them? Are republicans that short sighted or do they just calculate that they will be dead by the time this manifests into material votes?

Power to the People