We might as well get rid of Memorial Day, for all the good it does us. Originally “Decoration Day,” the last Monday in May has been the designated time for us to remember the war dead and honor their sacrifice – while, perhaps, taking in the lessons of the many conflicts that have marked our history as a free nation. In line with the modern trend of universal trivialization, however, the holiday has beenpaganized to mark the beginning of summer, when we get out the barbecue grill and have the neighbors over for hamburgers and beer. As for contemplating the meaning of the day in the context of our current and recent wars, that is left to those few pundits who pay attention to foreign policy issues, or else to writers of paeans to the “Greatest Generation” – World War II being the only modern war our panegyrists deign to recall, since it is relatively untouched by the ravages of historical revisionism.
Indeed, as far as our wars are concerned, the very concept of historical memory has vanished from the post-9/11 world. It seems the earth was born anew on September 11, 2001, and only ragged remnants of our mystified past – mostly from World War II and the Civil War – survived the purge. In the new version our victories areexaggerated and glorified, while our defeats – e.g. Vietnam, Korea, our nasty little covert wars in Central and South America – are not even mentioned, let alone considered in depth.
The abolition of historical memory is one of the worst aspects of modernity: it is certainly the most depressing. For the modern man, it’s an effort to recall what happened last week, never mind the last century. The news cycle spins madly and ever-faster, and the result is that we are lost in the blur of Now: for all intents and purposes, we are a people without a history, who recall past events – if we remember them at all – as one would summon a vague and confusing dream.
It’s Memorial Day in the United States, a day we set aside to remember men and women who’ve died in wars. Politicians make a lot of speeches today and lay a lot of wreaths, but the best way to honor the fallen would be to quit using the men and women of the military as expendable pawns in a global game for world influence.
There’s something honorable about fighting for something you believe in, and I respect the dedication and bravery of many thousands of those who’ve died. But since we can’t bring them back to life (and we can’t change the horrors they lived through), the best we can do is change how the U.S. government conducts itself around the globe so that fewer Americans will join the ones being honored today in military cemeteries — and fewer loved ones will face living without them, as the woman in the picture above had to do when her fiance was killed in Iraq in 2007.
Even if we set aside the question of the legitimacy of the state, there’s much to be gained from making U.S. foreign policy less intrusive and less aggressive. It’s not the business of the U.S. government what happens around the world, and it’s not U.S. taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for whatever happens elsewhere. It’s not U.S. soldiers’ legitimate role to die invading countries which haven’t invaded their homeland.
(Remarks prepared for Richmond Peace Education Center Event in Richmond, Va., May 24, 2012)
I have a friend who’s a compulsive liar.
OK it’s not a friend. It’s my television. And my newspaper.
According to them, the United States, as one among equals, in coalition with most of the world’s good countries, is asking the evil nation of Iran for some very reasonable requests, Iran is refusing, and the result, very regrettably and reluctantly — as an absolute last resort, albeit one we will celebrate with flags and music — will be war.
An op-ed in the Washington Post last Friday (and you know you can trust the Washington Post, because its fervent push for war on Iraq worked out so well) said:
“If Iran is willing to put hard ceilings on all aspects of its nuclear program, it can avoid a near-term conflict, but if it pushes forward, it will invite a strike that will be much more painful for itself than it is for the United States. . . . This proactive approach should help calm nerves in the region about Obama’s mettle, and could forestall Israel from taking matters into its own hands.”
Let me ask you this: if someone threatened to bomb you, would it calm your nerves?
In WaPo Land, the strange region where the Washington Post dreams up its own reality, Iran is threatening war, and the way for the good countries of the world to prevent that outrage is — you guessed it — to threaten war first. This makes sense to people. Or at least people who want to be on television badly enough are able to pretend it makes sense to them. Here’s why I think it’s crazy.
The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Thomas H. Naylor (left).
Introduction: Thomas H. Naylor, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University, is a writer and a political activist who has taught at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. For 30 years he taught economics, management science and computer science at Duke. As an international management consultant specializing in strategic management, Dr. Naylor has advised major corporations and governments in over 30 countries. During the 1970s he was President of SIMPLAN Systems, a 50-person computer software firm whose clients were Fortune 500 companies in the US and abroad. Recognizing that the United States had become more like its former nemesis the Soviet Union than most Americans care to admit, in 2003 he founded the Second Vermont Republic, a nonviolent citizens network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of corporate America and the US government and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic. Ode Magazine editor Jay Walljasper dubbed him, “Tom Paine for the 21st century.” The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Adbusters, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation and Business Week have published his articles. For additional information, visit http://www.vermontrepublic.org.
Thomas H. Naylor: I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s where my father admonished me to “be cautious” and always be concerned about “what people will think.” I was never very cautious nor very concerned about what people thought. I used to refuse to stand when Dixie was played at Ole Miss football games, and I understood fully the significance of that decision.
After three years at Millsaps College I moved to the Great Satan, New York City, and entered Columbia University where I earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Two years later I received my M.B.A. from Indiana University. Summer jobs at International Paper Company, Sun Oil and Dow Chemical convinced me that Corporate America was not for me. At I.U. I became interested in computers, which played an important role in my life for the next 20 years.
A recent Rasmussen poll has 51 percent of Americans favoring the pullout of all US troops from Europe – and yet not a single major American politician would even consider endorsing such a move. Why is that? I thought politicians were supposed to be consummate opportunists, whose weather vane-like views shift with the winds of public opinion. If so, then they should be jumping on the anti-NATO, anti-interventionist, “mind-our-own-business” bandwagon – right?
If President Obama has his way, the last U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan could be Americans born five years after 9/11. The administration has signed a pact to maintain a military presence there until 2024. After initially claiming the rumors of such a deal were false, the administration has since described this pledge as a means of providing “training” assistance to Afghan forces. The White House continues to issue mixed messages on the war, simultaneously insisting that the war is “over,” but that U.S. troops will face “hard days ahead” in the conflict.
Obama has long claimed that he would bring an end to the war will end by 2014, which is still way too long to wait. As for sticking around for another 12 years, the very idea should be maddening to anyone. A president that makes such behind-the-scenes arrangements should be a target for censure or impeachment.
This amuses me on many a level.
Over five centuries after the famed explorer’s death, historians are taking a fresh look at what motivated Christopher Columbus to make his voyage across the Atlantic — and how his faith may have played into those motivations.
Some scholars, after analyzing Columbus’ will and other documents, have devised a new theory about the explorer. They believe he was a Marrano, or a Jew who pretended to be a Catholic to avoid religious persecution. These historians also theorize that Columbus’ main goal in life was to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control, and that he decided to take his historic quest to North America in order to find a new homeland for Jews who had been forced out of Spain.
The news is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 of all births in the year ending July, 2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent.
I felt lonely and went out on the porch and hollered for my neighbor, a white German-American. Nothing stirred. I went back to my computer. At least someone is thinking constructively. The World Wildlife Fund says we need two planets. The rationale is that we create too much waste for one, but the roots of American environmentalism were always nourished by dislike of “those of mixed race”, and some over there at WWF has got their thinking cap on.
Is whitey ready for a fresh start? Face it, we may be a minority, but we got the firepower.
Where did we go wrong? Too much atonal music, maybe. Richard Pryor probably put his finger on it. Pryor to a white audience:
“What the matter, y’all stop fuckin’? There will be no shortage of niggers. Niggers is fuckin’.”
I began to sort things out for the big move to Planet 2. What a mess whitey had made of things! One horrible move after another. What will we Americans handing on to the new majority? The news is not good. At almost exactly the moment we yielded majority status, we – not the people to be sure – but our president and our Congress were putting the finishing touches to our modern system of government, known as fascism.
The Great Recession is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and, like the aftermath of Katrina, or the BP calamity, or the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a man-made disaster. Many signs point to worse tidings. Many of us who live in this the most advanced capitalist country are indoctrinated at an early age to believe our system is by far the most efficient and best ever created, especially if we are affluent and live well. We tend to believe it obeyed the laws of evolution toward ever higher form, more or less as we imagine the human species itself. We go to lengths to ignore the fact that our system began as the brainchild of a minority that imposed its will by brute force against others who had good reason to oppose it. It is impossible to separate our republican form of government from our economic system. As former Secretary of State John Hay put matters as far back as the 19th Century: “This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is government of corporations by corporations.” It has been the case since the American Revolution, and remains the case, that the American government has been owned and operated by the financial and corporate elites and government policies, and most definitely foreign policy, are largely their agendas set out for their interests. Bankers and immense industrial corporations largely run the global show, backed by the Executive, Congress and the Supreme Court, America’s gargantuan military power and the connivance of corporate media.
A Twitter friend of mine recently recounted a conversation with another friend — not a self-described anarchist — who spontaneously concluded that voting was useless. “I think it’s insane to think that people who are in the kind of power that only government and capitalism provide would willingly allow their stability to be up to CHANCE.”
Exactly! You might be forgiven for thinking “the enemy” our ruling circles always talk about is somebody with a strange language and religion on the other side of the world. But in fact “the enemy,” for the ruling class, is anyone capable of disrupting its goals or undermining its power — including us. The American people are potentially a far greater threat to their power than any foreign government.
From the Chicago Tribune
The only argument I became involved in was with the slightly militant vegans, like the guy who shouted at me, unprompted, “The human body wasn’t designed to digest meat!”
His colleague, Pamela Stelmasek, said he was just kidding.
“He talks like that,” Stelmasek said. “But he’s OK. You love your dog, but you eat farmed animals? How could you?”
How can I? With lemon and salt. But sometimes with a nice pan sauce.
There were others in the march who wanted trouble and got it, including some of the uniformed anarchists wearing black, although somebody should tell them that the phrase “uniformed anarchists” makes as much sense as “organized chaos” or “Chicago political reform.”
“I’m the one who was in the paper shaking hands with McCarthy,” said one of the anarchists.
He pulled down the scary anarchist bandanna from his face to reveal a kid, in his 20s, and he looked just like the young man on the front page of the Chicago Tribune the other day, shaking hands with the police superintendent.
Protesters and police wouldn’t be shaking hands later. The billy clubs would appear. The pushing would begin.
In Grant Park, before the march, there wasn’t the feel of a protest as much as it felt like a party on a college quad back in the day.
Parents brought their kids. People wore costumes. Some were dressed as dollar signs, others as skeletons and still others as medieval physicians in black robes with those long-nosed masks worn during the Black Death.
I asked the Black Death Physicians: Didn’t I see you at the Renaissance fair?
They pointed ominously at me with long fingers, but one gave me a thumbs-up and I thought I could see her eyes crinkle in a grin.
When the system fails it will be civilian insurgents and remnants of the military on one side, and mercenaries and the police state on the other.
This is the question puzzling Paul’s friends, as well as his enemies. A recentannouncement by the campaign that the anti-interventionist Congressman andpresidential candidate is not spending money in the remaining primary states provoked a Drudge headline: “Paul Out.” That is the GOP Establishment’s fondest wish, but the reality is that Paul is far from “out”: his campaign is merely recalibrating its tactics, concentrating on getting delegates through the complicated and often arcane process of party caucuses and state conventions. In short, Paul is pursuing the very same strategy he’s been talking about since Day One of his remarkably successful campaign: harnessing the enthusiasm and discipline of his supporters to enter a basically hostile entity – the pro-war, pro-Big Government Republican party – and challenging the Powers That Be.
There has been all kinds of loose talk about a “deal” being struck with the Romneyites, an impression pushed by the “mainstream” media and other clueless individuals who know little or nothing of Ron and imagine he’s just another politician. They are wrong. There will be no endorsement of Mitt Romney, and, because of that, no quarter will be given – or is being given – to Paulians intent on embedding themselves within the Grand Old Party.
The “go local” strategy of the Paul camp has recently met with a string of high profile successes: they took over the party in Alaska, Nevada, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, andColorado, and their delegate count is skyrocketing. Precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state, the Ron Paul Revolution is racking up victories – and the Romneyites are in a panic. Due to that panic, they are employing hard-line tactics, often simply closing down local conventions when it becomes clear the Paulians have a majority. They cut off the microphones, call the cops, and whine that the insurgents are “disrupting” a process the party bosses have controlled for as long as anyone can remember. At one point, attendees at a state Republican convention saw the walls literally closing in on them, as Rachel Maddow reported in a segment on MSNBC.
Using force, fraud, and their friends in the media, the Romneyites are determined to block Paul and his movement from having any visibility at the August national GOP convention, to be held in Tampa, Florida. What they want is a coronation: what they will get is a full-blown insurgency in their midst.
The key tactical question is this: will the Establishment even allow Paul’s name to be placed in nomination? GOP rules requires that, in order to do so, the Paul camp must have a plurality of the delegates in at least five states. Given the series of Paul victories at the local level, one would think this threshold has already been reached – but that’s not at all clear, given two factors. The first is that, in some states where the Paulians took control of the proceedings, many of those delegates legally bound to vote for Romney on the first ballot are actually Paul supporters. If they rebel in Tampa, however, there’s no telling what might happen. There seems to be no rule forbidding them from abstaining on the first ballot, and that, in itself, would be a very visible and powerful protest – precisely the sort of dissent the Romneyites justifiably fear.
American-born Islamist militant Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, speaks during a news conference held by the militant group al-Shabab at a farm in southern Mogadishu’s Afgoye district in Somalia, May 11, 2011. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Photo)
An Alabama mother whose son joined an al Qaeda group in Africa said she can’t turn her back on her boy even though he advocates attacking America and hasn’t been in direct contact with her in years.
“If I could touch him for five minutes, I would be thrilled,” Debra Hammami of Daphne, Ala. said of her son Omar who this week published a 127-page account of his road to terrorism from a small town in the American South.
“The silence has been devastating,” she told ABC News. “I don’t agree with the ideology of any of that, but I do love my son and I do have that motherly love.”
Both Europe and the United States confront great crises; while they are different in certain regards they have important similarities too. America’s crisis is both military and economic; they are interrelated because America has a huge deficit, in large part because it has the chimerical ambition to be the world’s dominating military power, which costs it immense sums of money, which its deficit spending largely funds. At the same time it has lost most of its major conflicts militarily, politically—or both. Europe is at the threshold of crucial economic decisions, and they also have grave political implications, whose effects are likely to last for many years. In essence, in Europe the question is whether or not German power or domination of the continental economy will be revived under the guise of pan-Europeanism.
The United States has been on the wrong track in terms of what it can attain. It still regards itself as having abilities which the events of the past century–wars, political crisis, and the like— have shown are beyond its or any country’s– power to control. America is having a very hard time being a “normal” nation that recognizes the limits and nature of its power. It is spending immense sums of money to be able to attain goals beyond its capacity. The German government under Angela Merkel is using pan-European methods to resurrect German power, but in ways that is developing important resistance. In their own ways both the United States and most of Europe are at important turning points—and they will affect each other.
Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, seems destined to become either the West’s coffin or the site of its rebirth. The nation’s debt crisis, combined with the fact that it’s a primary entry point for illegal immigration into Europe—in 2010, nine of every ten “migrant” outlaws sashayed into the EU zone through Greece—have helped fuel violent street clashes between far-left (i.e., internationalist) and far-right (i.e., nationalist) factions for years.
Last week’s elections were largely a repudiation of the political center, specifically the EU’s financial stranglehold on Greece. Although unashamedly pro-communist parties won a far higher quotient of the votes, most media outrage was predictably focused on the fact that the nationalist party Golden Dawn received 7% of the total. Pundits referred to Golden Dawn’s minor victory as “absurd and repugnant,” “a dark day for Greece,” “a scary development,” “a political horror,” and all the other histrionic scare terms typically spewed by compliant media lapdogs trained to establish an immediate—although immediately fallacious—connection between the merest squib of nationalist sentiment and the Holocaust.
Before reading the book “Red Republican’s and Lincoln’s Marxists” I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Despite my predisposition to be wary of any fiber of genuine Christian morality flowing within the veins of Lincoln not to mention the founders of the GOP, I did not think it likely that any of them would be sympathetic towards the precepts of communism. After all, communism is a monster of the 20th century isn’t it? More…
A three-judge panel on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager in September.
Pvt. Kevin Robinson was found guilty of raping the 17-year-old at her residence in Seoul after a night of drinking. He also was convicted of larceny for stealing the victim’s laptop.
Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon in countries where thousands of U.S. troops have been essentially permanently based. There was another high-profile case of rape last year in which “Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for brutally raping another South Korean teenager.” These two cases prompted widespread protests in South Korea and “led to calls for changes to the U.S.-South Korea Status of Forces Agreement regarding the treatment of U.S. servicemembers suspected of crimes,” since they are often granted immunity.
Japan is another classic case of this. Between 1972 and 2009, there were 5,634 criminal offenses committed by U.S. servicemen in Japan, including 25 murders, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 127 rapes, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts. Japanese citizens have protested against U.S. military presence on their land for decades.
…and she only had to kill 500,000 children to get it—you go, girl!
Read all about it at Antiwar.com.