Sunday, June 30, 2013

Japan lost WWII - but Militarism won

I have always believed the statement, "My country, right or wrong" to be silly. Did it apply to Nazi Germany? To post-Pearl Harbor Japan? Of course not. So why does it apply to the United States of America? After WWII the U.S. really set an impossibly high standard requiring soldiers ..."with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something about it is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent commission of the crimes." Okay, so Bradley Manning should be given a medal - by that standard. Obviously, no country allows its soldiers to share its secrets. Yet, this high standard really was influential to young Americans ... it smelled like American Spirit.

Here are some quotes I took from
"In 1953, the Department of Defense adopted the principles of the Nuremberg Code as official policy" of the United States. (Hasting Center Report, March-April 1991) 
We are all bound by what U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert K. Jackson declared in 1948: [T]he very essence of the [Nuremberg] Charter is that individuals have intentional duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state." At the Tokyo War Crimes trial, it was further declared "[A]nyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something about it is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent commission of the crimes." 

Hippies (and Yippies and the Students for a Democratic Society) grew up in this post-war world and took to heart the notion that these words were the true statement of American policy. When Viet Nam War protestors stood in front of draftees and urged them not to go to war they were more in tune with America than was Richard Nixon! The ire they aroused was what was unAmerican, not their protests. But Nixon took what could be argued is a more real emotion - that citizens must fight whenever their government orderes them - and began the so-called "hardhat" and "silent majority" tactic. He added draconian drug laws and racist agendas to the mix and achieved the political equivalent of the CIA's 60's assassination program. He scared the shit out of us. It's no accident that the massive Viet Nam anti-war movement has not been repeated - it was murdered just like JFK, Martin, and RFK.
Americans believe that they are the city on the hill and that the rest of the world is mired in the muck. I am grateful to Barack Obama. I support him, but I shuddered and was shamed when he ordered a repeat of the election process in Afghanistan where people's index fingers were stained with indelible ink to show they had voted. The Taliban cut off some of these purple fingers and then Obama ordered Afghanis to vote again because Republicans claimed the election was tainted. The horror, the horror. As if the USA is ANY kind of role model for fair elections! I don't believe George W. Bush was ever ELECTED President and I believe he, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals. American soldiers face the prospect of torture because of their open endorsement of torture.
I hate the distortion of language in the U.S. where someone like me who is criticizing the power structure is accused of "not supporting the troops." The way to support our powerful and brave troops is to oppose their casual deployment. As Pete Seeger sang, "If you love your Uncle Sam (bring them home, bring them home), Support our troops in Viet Nam - bring them home, bring them home. Both the Viet Nam War and the last Iraq War were horrible abuses of our brave soldiers. The conduct of the war in Afghanistan was begun with high-altitude carpet bombing when our stated objective was to get a small group of people. And, for God's sake, I am not unpatriotic to say we have wreaked immoral havoc on these nations.

The world does not hate Americans. They do hate us fucking with them all the time. Most of the world emulates parts of our culture and many countries appreciate what our aid and troops have done for them. That so many Americans have contempt for rest of the world is a product of propaganda and lies. Propaganda and lies that have actually been spread and inflamed by so-called Christian leaders. I'll never forget when during the Republican Presidential debates in North Carolina Ron Paul suggested that American government "do unto others as they would have others do unto us." And the audience in the heart of the Bible Belt laughed. 
The USA regularly makes fun of the French, a major WWII ally. The USA NEVER gives Russia its due for literally dying for us in WWII. And the financing of Communist China gives lie to the statement that we still oppose Russia for being dictatorial Communists. Hell, we PAID for Communist China's rise! Mitt Romney was so out of touch that he made fun of the Brits during his campaign. Great Britain, home of those dandy doppelgangers Thatcher (Reagan) and Blair (W. Bush).
Those of us who pay the high percentage of our income to support the Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex (the 99%) can no longer afford the eternal wars for oil and corporate power. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Southern Baptist Law, Sharia Law, it's 1937 - Let's Party!

I was in Amarillo, Texas in 1979 during the Conservative Resurgence - when the Southern Baptist Convention began its shakedown - insisting that every word in the Bible was inerrant and literal truth, purging professors from its seminaries who would not follow Baptist Law, etc. My parents had literally raised my sister and I with the help of Trinity Baptist Church. I was surprised to hear her say that Pastor Winfred Moore of Amarillo's First Baptist Church disagreed with many things happening with the Southern Baptist Convention. I was surprised and heartened that he would disagree with the Convention! Long story short -  for those of you who did not grow up going to a conservative church, those of you who think the secular nature of our culture would not allow Theocracy to occur - you are not in touch with the true nature of this country. The people who keep shouting about Sharia law as a threat to the U.S. - those are the people who would gladly lock you up when Southern Baptist Law completes its takeover. 
There is an intriguing except from a new novel called Christian Nation: a Novel by Frederic C. Rich here on Salon.

German Nazis lost WWII, but fascism won

Fascism, like socialism, is a word that cannot be strictly defined. It's more of a continuum and we are too far along the line in the wrong way. Let's trust Benito Mussolini, a true fascist, as to what fascism is.  I get this from

He said, "Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism...
The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State...
For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence."
And from
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

I think it obvious that the United States takes fascist actions all the time, a good example being  the use of taxpayer dollars to bail out large corporations, to build sports stadiums for multi-millionaire owners, the utter dictatorship of the Federal Reserve, and in its perpetual use of military power overseas against nations that have not harmed us. In its "war on terrorism" the U.S. has relegated individual rights both at home and abroad to an inferior role. Thomas Jefferson's words "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are rendered inoperable in a society that passes laws merely for the benefit of the rich, that wages war on behalf of corporate interests using its brave soldiers as cannon fodder, that imprisons its citizens at a rate that only totalitarian China approaches.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the World Bank, and all the tools the Western World uses to impose strictures on less powerful nations are a kind of corporate fascism. The actions of the U.S. and the World Bank both within and without its borders are not based upon philosophy. They are based upon CONTROL, mostly control of oil. Exceptions to the so-called philosophy are easily obtained through the proper application of bribes, excuse me, political donations (free speech, says the Supreme Court). It seems that a 100,000 dollar contribution to either the Republicans or the Democrats brings a one million dollar reward. Laws that make the words "open market" and "free trade" a joke will be passed for you. A million dollars might buy you a war. And in the chaos of war pallets of one hundred dollar bills "disappear." 
So many Americans only get worked up about issues that are ginned up by our corporate media - like the NSA violations of "privacy." I just can't believe that Americans could think their privacy had not been utterly violated by the Bush-era Patriot Act and even the No Child Left Behind Act - a law purporting to be about education, and yet it required public schools to hand over private information about minor children to military recruiters.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' message will resonate with many female Texans

I was in Austin during the Solidarity With Wisconsin rally a couple of years ago. Due to what was either anti-rally staffers or a simple mess up, those of us who didn't get the word that the rally was one hour later had time to mill around, discuss, and argue with others. I noticed a big group of women in pink shirts gathering. When the Solidarity rally was just about to begin these spunky ladies came marching through chanting: "What does Democracy look like? This is what Democracy looks like." They made quite a noise and quite a sight. I remember the lady in a shirt with paw marks located over her breasts: "Keep your laws off my body!" it read. Another lady wore a vintage nurse's uniform and one of those little nurse hats and carried a sign: "How far backwards do you want to go?"
Rick Perry and others are using coded language to basically call State Senator Wendy Davis a slut. Ain't gonna work Ricky. You, and most if not all men, can't really understand the full range of reproductive and sexual rights woman want. Lots of women in Texas, even conservative high-hair types are quite likely to close that curtain on election day and vote blue. So, keep on talkin' Mr. Governor, just like you did in the Presidential primaries.
Democrats, please rise to the occasion. Quit being so timid. Take a lesson from Senator Davis.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

we've lost our minds in the USA

I have begun watching Al Jazeera online and it so reminds me of American TV news in the '60s. You might remember when Walter Cronkite, Huntley-Brinkley, and who-was-it on that new network (ABC) brought us 30 minutes of news every weeknight. Remember when Cronkite agonized over making an editorial comment suggesting that we had been lied to about progress in the Viet Nam War? Now we are stuck in this 24 hour nightmare of a news cycle and news departments overseen by entertainment divisions. And who is that lady who goes into hysterics all the time about Jodi Arias and other trials? Isn't that Paula Deen? And why is she in trouble with the Food Network? WTF!
Thirty minutes before President Obama makes a speech they're asking, "S'what do you think President Obama will say in tonight's speech?" Here's a thought - let's wait 30 minutes and hear it. Jesus Christ, my country has lost it's little pea brain. Hey, if we're lucky it will be under Princess Kate's mattress and we'll get it back!
I despair over the state of my country. From time to time I am reminded of something that was said or done 100 years ago and I'll think, oh yes, we were always crazy. But, the thing is, I spent my life thinking that America was getting better. Slowly, but surely. I was born in 1950, the year China invaded Tibet. My first political awareness was during the Nixon/Kennedy campaign of 1960. A family friend was explaining to my Dad that the Pope would be running America if Kennedy won.
I came home from school one day and heard Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech on TV. Then, that November, 1963, they killed Kennedy. I was still in junior high school when I wondered why that crucial Zapruder film of the assassination had been purchased by the Time/Life company and locked away. A news organization hiding the truth. Hmmmmm. I really was a small, serious child.
I graduated High School in 1968, but it was years before I learned that the weedy overgrown vacant lot that impaired the view of James Earl Ray as he allegedly peered through his rifle scope at Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel was cleared the day after the assassination. All this reminds me of the rapid clean-up of the World Trade Center site. You know, I think after the JFK cover-up succeeded, "they" figured they could get away with anything. The lesson of Adolph Hitler - to tell a lie so big that no one would dare think someone would make it up - works well in the USA.
Remember the pallet of 100 dollar bills that went missing in Iraq? That was around 18 billion dollars. Twelve billion more was handled out like candy from a creep. I'd bet the company then known as Blackwater got the pallet if there were a way to prove it.
The USA has gone over the cliff. Lemmings to the sea.
I think about all the Jews who left Germany before 1938 and I wish I could remove everyone I love to a safe place. Maybe a country with zero petrol, zero coal, and zero natural gas might be safe. Because right now it's 1937. We are Berlin. Let's party.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Texas, my Texas

Texas state Senator Wendy Davis is a brave woman. She stepped up to the plate and reminded the world that not all Texans are right-wing nut cases. My home state had the misfortune of being the testing ground for Karl Rove and the scorched earth policy of American politics. Many people hate Texas as a symbol of all that is wrong with America - Texas as America's asshole. It's happening all over the country though, this hatred of women, this racism, this love of warfare, this intolerance. It's just the blessing and curse that Texas has. Everything's bigger in Texas.
The specific issue that she addressed - women's reproductive rights - has been addressed far better by others than I can put it. Comedian George Carlin said, "You have a right to life, but not a right to live." Holly Near has a great song called "Why, Oh Why." Read the lyrics here. Then seek it out as a download. It's powerful stuff.
I grew up in Amarillo, Texas. My relatives on both sides were Southern Baptists. One of the reasons the Civil Rights era moved me so was that I knew the melodies to so many of those songs sung by black Baptists. Martin was a Baptist. Sad to say, I was grown up before I learned that SOUTHERN Baptists were the denomination that split off from the others because they supported slavery. Anyway, I want to say that my relatives have overall been quite tolerant of my radical views as long as I spoke politely. They'd say, "Well, I don't agree, but you have a right to believe that."
The Texas I grew up in was a hospitable place (for a naive white kid). It is only in the last three decades that that the Reagan passive-aggressiveness and the Karl Rove-style hostility has come to the forefront. For all those who hate Texas I'd say just go ahead and hate the whole USA because you have the same germs. Well, ours ARE bigger, after all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

If this NSA scandal happened under Bush it would already be over

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is getting serious respect from many journalists and Americans. Coleen Rowley and Valerie Plame were hounded out of their careers without much keening from journalists or their fellow Americans. What would the main reasons be for the difference in treatment? If Snowden had let loose during George W.'s presidency, the White House would be telling the press to  "Watch what you say." George would remind us that "I am a war President." Dick would convince us, just by the sneer on his face, that "we must work the dark side." And that would be about that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bill Clinton's Syria comments are a precursor of a Hillary Presidency

Slate has an article about Bill Clinton and John McCain appearing together in a question and answer session. About Syria Bill said, "... Obama risks looking like a "total fool," a "wuss," and "lame" if he keeps the U.S. largely on the sidelines.
"You just think how lame you’d be… suppose I had let a million people, two million people be refugees out of Kosovo, a couple hundred thousand people die, and they say, ‘You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?’ And I say, ‘because the House of Representatives voted 75% against it?’" Clinton said. "You look like a total wuss, and you would be." (via DB)
"If you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken is, ‘Oh my god, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ You look like a total fool," Clinton said. (DB)
Excuse me, I'm getting old, but is this man who implies that President Obama might look like a wuss and a total fool the same man who was President when the Hutus slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors in, oh what was it, oh yes the Rwandan Genocide. You know, that thing where ten-cent machetes and rocks and sticks were used to murder something close to a million people? Gosh, a president who just sat back and let something like that happen would be worse than a wuss, huh? Unless he was too busy getting blown under the desk to do anything. Now that would be understandable by the men of America. Apparently, the women, too, now. Is it the guy who pressured Haiti into buying cheaper American rice, wiping out Haitian self-sufficiency in its traditional food source? That guy was a total fool. Or worse. I take this as a salvo for Hillary's White House run. My God, she's going to run against Obama!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the NSA scandal is peanuts - it's Guantanamo

I am in no way surprised at the NSA scandal. With all the shenanigans our Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex pulls - you know little things like totally unnecessary wars in Viet Nam, Iraq, the Reagan-era South American illegal incursions, etc. - why be shocked? From the atom bomb on, American government has proven that no new technology will be kept from its war arsenal including the dirty ones - chemicals and germs. So we have this vast new network that can track all information - internet connections, computers, and smart phones - hell they can track one's every key stroke. Did people think they wouldn't use it? Or did people not pay ANY attention when the Patriot Act was passed?
Our Congress passed a law called No-Child-Left-Behind that commands schools to hand over information to military recruiters! The books you check out from your public library are legitimate information of interest to the government - according to the Patriot Act. These last two outrageous laws were passed under President Bush. 9/11 happened on the Bush/Cheney watch. Where was the outrage then? In truth much of the outrage that may have been extant was not reported.
Now we have the media frenzy about the NSA leak and, of course, it's President Obama's fault. I feel bad about Obama. I truly believe he is a good, Christian man who will bear full blame for crimes he may have committed, but which prior Presidents also committed and got away with. I fear our fellow citizens who have worked and fought in Afghanistan will be killed and harassed as they draw down and leave Afghanistan. I fear we will, as in Viet Nam, leave behind collaborators to face ruin as we did to so many Vietnamese. Obama, of course will bear the blame, not Bush.
Here are some things I think were and are far more worthy of being outraged about.
1. No hard, locking cockpit doors on commercial airplanes. My God, I was a preteen when I first noticed a plethora of plane hijackings and now I'm 63. My memories are that it was almost always Palestinians hijacking planes to Cuba. If you live in a dangerous neighborhood you lock the doors.
2. The shrug-your-shoulders response to the assassination of JFK. I asked many people over the years if they thought Oswald acted alone, and if not, did they think our government played a role. The overwhelming majority answered yes, Kennedy was killed by our own government. I grew up in Texas so most of the people I asked were grown-up relatives, grown-up church members, etc. The U.S. House Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1978 that a conspiracy was likely involved in the murder of JFK. I have come to believe that the casual acceptance of Kennedy's death is the proof that the United States of America lost it's soul in November, 1963. Indeed, there is no more such thing as the United States of America. There is a place called the USA where we pretend to honor freedom and justice, where we go through the motions of elections, but George Carlin was right - the U.S. is a club and you and I don't belong. Not even our worthy soldiers belong. But the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the billionaires whose money comes from government jimmying with the system (like bankers) belong. They are Americans. It's their world. The rest of us just live in it. And die for it.
3. Guantanamo. You've seen the MIA flag right? If not you can see it on most Harley Davidson motorcycles on the other side from the Stars and Stripes. Or at a Veterans cemetery. My first memory of these flags is after we left Viet Nam and there was a belief among many that there were living U.S. soldiers still in Viet Cong prisons. People still believe this. And they will NEVER forget or FORGIVE, right? To do so would be unAmerican. Can we possibly admit that other peoples may feel the same way about their loved ones?
For over 10 years the United States has held innocent human beings in Guantanamo. These people have been tortured. The innocence of most of these prisoners has been apparent for a long time to fair-minded people. This from the nation that lead the way in establishing the Nuremberg Principles at the end of World War II. Is this not the action of a nation with no soul? A nation gone rogue? A nation that places itself so high in self estimation that they can do no wrong?
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 that "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Right now in Guantanamo, Cuba Jesus Christ is on a hunger strike. American soldiers, under orders, are force feeding Him to keep Him alive so that He may continue to be tortured. His people feel emotions that range from abject misery and horror to absolute hate and dreams of revenge. They will do more than fly an MIA flag. Someday an innocent American soldier will be tortured in revenge. Someday a terrorist attack will kill innocent people because they are filled with hatred of Americans.
Jesus said in Luke 18:14 that "...for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
While American's are shocked, SHOCKED to learn that the NSA is violating their privacy, from all over the world chickens are coming home to roost. God help the innocent among us.