The Programming of America: Pt II, Selling War

This is part II of my series on how Americans are programmed to think in certain ways without thinking, without questioning. If you missed part I regarding marketing in various forms (not always called marketing and advertising, sometimes called many other things), you can find part I here.

In part II of this series, I focus on war (military adventurism) and how it is sold like everything else in this country, though in a more complex form. We are sold warfare as a positive from early childhood until death. This is something I have written about previously, though often split between different subjects and articles.

Corporate (Military Industrial Complex) influence does not begin with the news media, as far as our life exposure is concerned. It begins in grade school. Think back to history classes and how past US wars were presented to you. Heroism throughout. Never the slightest question that each and every conflict we have been engaged in was justified and ethical. Never a hint that our soldiers and officials issuing orders have committed war crimes, which they absolutely have when you omit “patriotism” as a rationale. Protests against Vietnam barely gain mention and the protests which happened against WWII, Korea and Iraq are never mentioned in grade school. For all I know, they’re not even mentioned in college. Nor is it mentioned that the Nazi and Communist parties had wide support in the US prior to WWII. The Communist and Socialist parties had wide support in the US right up until McCarthyism.

For this, we have to look at the tangled ties between textbook publishers, politicians and the deep pockets of weapons manufacturers who donate to the politicians. Then the politicians set the standards by which textbooks are chosen. This is stage one of selling war to the American public, beginning with childhood.

Then the next stage comes as teenagers. Partly through movies and TV which glorify warfare without showing images of the reality involved. Military recruiters at schools and patriotic displays at sports events. Commercials showing someone in a uniform, then transitioning to that person in civilian life, uninjured, no PTSD from horrors they have witnessed or directly taken part in. They are all smiling, clean, drug-free, no therapy.

Who pays for all those displays and commercials? You do. Who pays for those textbooks? You do. Who acts as consultants to Whollyweird for the movies and TV shows? The military. Who pays for them to act in that role? You do. If a movie tries to show the military in an unflattering light, the military will bring pressure against the studio. That pressure can include coercion by coordinating with local authorities for licensing purposes. The military has “consulted” on tens of thousands of movies and shows over decades. Who pays for their “consultations”? You do. Who pays to prosecute and incarcerate peaceful antiwar protesters? You do.

Only after considering all the above do we reach the point where we can consider corporate “news” media and their paid portrayal of our military endeavors. Try and name a US military conflict which the media has ever opposed. I’ll wait. I’m 57 years old and have never seen the media object to a US military action. Look at the reactions we have seen when it was even suggested decreasing military presence in Middle Eastern countries or any peace efforts with Russia and North Korea.

No, you will never see anything more of the devastation wrought by US warfare beyond a few ruined buildings, blamed on “terrorists”. You will not see children splattered on walls and streets by our bombs. You will not see victims with limbs torn off and open head injuries showing exposed brain tissue. You’re more likely to see video of our missiles and aircraft launching, preferably in low light so it highlights the afterburner effect to make it visually appealing or exciting. You will hear rave reviews about drone warfare which makes warfare bloodless and without physical risk for our soldiers. You will not hear that drone pilots get PTSD too. You will not hear that children in the countries being bombed by drone warfare are terrified of blue skies because that’s when the drones are most likely to strike.

Cue the advertisements for Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup-Grumman. Paid sponsors of your favorite corporate news outlet. Who pays for the ads you see from them? You do. That is your tax dollars at work. Who pays for the drones? You do.

Up next, interviews with high ranking military officials and veterans speaking of how we need more bombs, more guns, more drones, more troops to kill more terrorists (children, mothers, grandparents living in their own countries, sitting in their own living rooms). It’s their own fault for living there. Their existence on top of “our” oil fields makes them enemies. Saying we need to invade another country and another. Never once do you hear a diplomat saying we need peaceful negotiations to end a conflict.

When the media and politicians talk about manufacturing weapons, they consistently do so couched in terms of “creating jobs”. What they fail to mention is that building bridges also creates jobs while not intentionally killing people. Universal healthcare would creates tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of jobs while improving and extending lives. Yet that we cannot afford. They fail to mention that to keep producing weapons means we must keep waging wars for as long as possible. When one war ends (if ever), another one must be started and another and another. We keep paying for each and every one of those conflicts with money ripped from our social support programs and educational system. We pay with creating more enemies and with trade losses. They fail to mention that producing weapons is only part of the cost. Then we have to pay for shipping those weapons, providing security for those weapons, targeting systems with training and salaries to operate them, and launching those weapons with training and salaries.. They fail to mention that weapons manufacturing frequently does extensive environmental damage long before the damage from using those weapons. Domestic environmental damage which we pay for in dollars, ill health and deaths. Yay, jobs..

Cue ads for oil companies who profit from our seizure of resources in the countries where we murder innocent civilians.

Next up, a report on how we cannot afford universal healthcare but we need to give more money to the VA for their limited socialized medical system which spends tens of billions per year on drugs and medical equipment. Wecan consider those VA costs to be subsidies for the oil companies, military contractors and drug companies who bribe politicians and advertise on corporate media to sell you on the next war. Who pays for the VA, even if you receive no care from them? You do. Who pays for the advertising? You do.

Cue ads from drug companies and medical insurance corporations. Maybe with big flags in the background telling you to support the troops. Yay, ‘Murca.

Up next, a report on the homeless epidemic. Many of whom are veterans. An epidemic, stated as though it’s a disease. As though the homeless are a disease, rather than victims of a diseased system which rapes them violently, bleeds them dry and leaves them to die by the roadside like bags of garbage thrown away by our government.

We have the VFW, the VA, insurance companies that specialize in veterans, magazines targeting veterans, Memorial Day, Labor Day… Have you ever noticed we do not have a single day or nationally recognized organization dedicated to the propagation of peace?

From childhood to death Americans are sold sterilized images of warfare. Shoved into developing minds in between basic math and English, as though mass slaughter is a mere fact of life. As long as it happens in other countries, not our own. Deaths at the hands of our war machine are sold as entertainment. The next war is sold as “humanitarian intervention” yet we are never shown the results when the bombs have stopped. Disease, famine, poisoned water, decimated economies, destroyed lives. Effects which take generations to “recover” from, as if recovery is possible. No reviews of success or failure, just advertising for the next war, the next “threat” which is never actually a threat, the next country we must save from themselves, the next investment opportunity.

Never question the advertising, the programming of your children or of yourself. Cheer for the veterans, pray for the widows, widowers and children of veterans but never ask why the war was fought. If you ask questions or object, you will be branded a traitor, un-American, unpatriotic, a pariah. Maybe a Russian troll.

Asking questions means you are brainwashed, not questioning means you think for yourself. Just believe, have faith, wave your flag and hold your hand over your.. eyes and ears. Keep telling yourself, “We’re the Good Guys©” until you convince yourself. Then keep watching the marketing machine, keep cheering as you act as free advertising for the death machine.

The Programming of America: Pt I, Marketing

This is my first installment of a series regarding how marketing pervades our lives in ways most do not realize and what the negative effects are. Be sure to subscribe to know when a new installment drops.

I continuously see Americans claiming to think for themselves while their words, opinions, attitudes and behaviors tell a far different story. This is no surprise. We live in a society that is ruled far more by marketing (advertising) than most Americans ever grasp. That’s because they fail to understand the very nature of marketing at it’s very core.

If you study marketing, what you find is that the core structure of marketing lies in a distorted study of psychology with the express intent of manipulation. In other words, it’s brainwashing on a massive scale.

If you look at a syllabus or course description of college marketing programs, you find references such as “customer engagement”, “consumer behavior and analysis”, “expanding value” (in other words, exaggerating claims) and so forth. You may have already heard such things as “creating a market”, “identifying a need”. What these things come down to means convincing people they need something they did not need last week.

Yet even that does not go far enough to explain how people are manipulated. One must understand that corporate news and political campaigns are forms of marketing. I’ve said before and say again, follow the money. Look at who is paying for advertising on a network. Look at who is donating money to campaigns.

Marketing is most frequently based on emotion. The emotion used most frequently is fear. Fear of social isolation. Is your breath fresh enough? Is your shirt white enough? Is your cologne as good as the next guy? Does your bra lift enough? (Look at old bra commercials, claiming to lift and separate and compare to push-up bras today.) Fear of pain. New insoles? How much pain medication can your liver withstand? Fear of illness. Fear of depression. In other words, using emotions to make you fear your own emotions.

Political campaigns use many of the same tactics and people with the same training in marketing techniques. That’s a large part of what campaign managers do. Identify “needs” of voters. Identify or manipulate fears to exploit.

The most interesting part of this is that it takes very little effort to convince people to be afraid and immense effort to convince them their fears are unfounded. The vast majority of people are programmed to react emotionally, rather than think critically.

Know who else makes extensive use of the exact same psychological techniques? The “intelligence” agencies. The CIA, NSA and FBI are well known to use propaganda in other countries and to have used propaganda in the US itself. For some reason, Americans think that any such manipulations inside this country are things of the past. Citizens also think they are not prone to being controlled by these techniques, even as they tune in to corporate media and watch people like James Clapper being used as a source of information on major networks. Even as “intelligence” agency veterans run for public office.

There are no Jedi mind tricks at play here. People are actually easy to understand, easy to manipulate. Most people want some authority figure telling them what to do, what to think. More “likes” means something is valid. Bigger is better. More viewers means higher quality. Join the crowd, march in line, buy the most popular items, watch the latest blockbuster on opening weekend, vote for the popular candidate but keep telling yourself how you’re different from all the rest.

Even here on what is supposedly independent media I see articles from major media sources with the highest views, likes and comments. Nothing about those articles are any different from what is published on the core websites of those corporate sources. So, why are readers even bothering to be on independent media sites if all they are going to do is follow corporate media?

Does it make any sense? Or have they just programmed themselves by their own choice?

What Would Russia Gain From Election Interference?

This is something I have covered before but it is worth reviewing again seeing that the Mueller investigation has ended. No Trump/Russia “collusion” was found, yet even Mueller keeps touting the story that Russia somehow interfered in the 2016 election.

Let’s remember here that Mueller is also one of those who claimed that there were WMD’s in Iraq, testifying before CONgress to that effect. It is obvious that he is a nationalist who supports the concept of the American Empire and will advance any idea which promotes that concept.

The only evidence of any Russian “interference” has involved a handful of internet trolls who were not advancing any specific candidate at all but scamming for money. Even that they did poorly. The amount of money they spent was roughly $100,000, half of which was after the election. They promoted Bernie coloring books, organized a rally for Hillary to which 8 people and a dog showed up (about on par for a Hillary rally, really) and a large percentage of their ads or posts had nothing to do with any candidate. This amount of money was spent in an election where just the top final 2 candidates spent nearly $2 billion. To put this in perspective, for every $1 spent by the internet trolls, the 2 candidates spent $2000. And that does not even count how much was spent by PACs in favor of those candidates.Plus consider that the internet trolls had no actual connection to the Russian government.

Mueller filed charges against the trolls in federal court. What he did not expect was that they had legal representation show up for the case. When the defense lawyers requested discovery of evidence, Mueller’s team attempted to refuse, claiming the information being used against the defendants was classified. The judge ruled against Mueller’s team, stating discovery was mandatory. This would be tantamount to a kangaroo court.

“How do you respond to the charges against you?”

What are the charges?

“You’re not allowed to know that! Now, how do you respond?”

I really don’t know.

“We have evidence!”

What evidence?

“You’re not allowed to know that!”

That was the last I heard of that case. It’s obvious no convictions have been obtained because it would have been front page on every MSM source the same day and still promoted today as Mueller has ended his probe.

None of that is the main point I am getting to here. The main point is that Russia has had nothing to gain by interfering in our election. Russiagaters from top to bottom use vague accusations and common arguments which hold no water at all. Such as:

Ending sanctions. No country wants sanctions which limit their trade. However, the sanctions which have been levied against Russia have done more harm to prior trading partners with Russia than they have to Russia. In the process of dealing with sanctions, Russia has developed industries which were not well developed in their country before the sanctions. They are now a leading oil and gas producer and the world’s largest grain exporter. All non-GMO.

To expand trade. Russia has been expanding trade for years. They have signed trade agreements with Japan, China, Europe and South American countries. The EU is primarily in favor of buying oil and gas from Russia, rather than paying higher prices for US oil and gas, which would be a less secure supply in certain seasons. Tankers can’t sail when there are massive storms in the Atlantic. Russia solves that problem with pipelines running directly into Germany.

To benefit their economy. Along with expanding trade, Russia has managed their economy far better than the US has in recent years. Their debt to GDP is less than 14%, our is currently 108% and rising. Think of debt to GDP as a ratio of household debt to income, the higher the number, the worse off you are. Russia has announced a budget surplus for the past two years and paid off the last of their national debt in 2017. Compare that to our $22 trillion national debt, which is the highest of any nation in history and accounts for over 1/3 of all global debt.

It is the US trying to benefit our economy by political, economic and military force. This is largely to preserve the petrodollar system which is failing as more countries continue turning away from the dollar. Other countries were once forced to convert their own currency into US dollars to purchase oil anywhere in the world. Now oil is being bought and sold in Chinese Yuan, Euros and Rubles. Other countries are also selling off US Treasury bonds but there is no way to force countries to purchase those. If it were possible, you could count on our government threatening an invasion of various countries.

For military dominance. Russia has 8 military bases outside of their own country. The US has at least 800. That’s a ratio of 100:1. Russia spends less than 6% of what the US does on military budgeting.

I have also pointed out on numerous occasions that our official military budget is an illusion. If it were accurate, it would include funding for CIA, NSA, FBI, upgrading existing nukes and VA funding. When you add those to the official US military budget, we spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth combined.

Guess which country has universal healthcare and which does not?

To sow discord. Really? Really? You’ve been watching too much reality TV. You also have not been paying any attention to what has been happening in this country for decades. Even if there were any truth to this, other countries did not create the problems in the US. Our problems have been here for years, decades, even centuries. Income inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, religious prejudice, poor public education, lack of access to healthcare and on and on. By discussing these issues, we have a chance of doing something about the problems instead of denying they exist. If you think we had unity before Trump came along, you’ve had your head up your ass so long you have no idea what sunlight looks like. Now try and explain to me exactly how it profits Russia to sow discord in our society. For them to get us to focus on our own problems and give us the opposrtunity to DO something about those problems? How the HELL does Russia benefit from that?!!!

So where does any of this go? If the Russiagate frenzy continues, where do you expect it to lead? Does it fix any of the real problems we have in this country? Does it offer any chance of world peace? Does it lead to decreased military spending by the US? Does it increase wages? Improve our economy? Fix our election system? Or does it continue on a path to warfare with multiple nuclear powers? More military spending? More conflict with allies? More resources stripped away from social support programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?

Think for yourself. Stop thinking in terms of your addiction to hate, fear, anger and ignorance. The media does nothing but act as the advertising wing of the military industrial complex (MIC). Mueller acts as a spokesperson for the MIC. Rachel Maddow gets paid $30,000 a day to promote war, nothing else. Turn off network and cable news. Stop paying attention to all corporate news sources. Stop looking for a boogeyman under your bed and start paying attention to what is really happening.

If you are not part of the solution, then you are the problem.

I’m Still Focusing On Issues.. Are You? Really?

I know I have been writing about certain names a lot recently. Some people have taken offense to it. I offer no apologies.

Here’s what anyone reading what I have written should notice. I am still discussing issues. Some try and claim because I refuse to join their cult that I am not a true Progressive. In defense I offer the entire list of my articles, which is somewhere around 400. I stand by every single one of them with the thoughts, ethics, values and concern for fellow human beings across the globe represented with each line inscribed.

Can my accusers do the same? Can they honestly state they have not turned their backs on their concern for others, surrendered to a name, to a party, to a cult, to.. pragmatism? Where have we heard that word before?

I have no shame in standing for what I believe in. I will never look back later and realize I gave up part of myself. I refuse. You cannot shame me into it. You cannot threaten me into it. You cannot scream any name loud enough in support or opposition to change my mind.

Call me a dreamer. I’ll call you correct. But I’m not the only one.

Call me idealistic. I will thank you and ask what your ideals are.

Call me naive. I will prove that you are the one naive and apathetic to the suffering of others for your own profit, no better than the Establishment you claim to oppose yet wield against me to defend.

Who have you become? Can you answer yourself with that question?

Like I said, I am still talking about issues. The same issues I have been talking about. A few of which are-

Peace. Not negotiable. How do we not promote peace? Threats do not promote peace. Sanctions do not promote peace. Invasions do not promote peace. Unilateral imperatives do not promote peace. Refusing to discuss differences with other world leaders does not promote peace. False accusations with no evidence do not promote peace. Ignoring people who promote these ideas does not promote peace. Donating to people and cheering for them does not promote peace. You send the message that you are completely in favor of the actions and rhetoric they represent. Don’t tell yourself otherwise. You cannot blame someone else for this, it’s on you. You are not innocent and I will not let you claim innocence in my presence.

Universal healthcare. Not negotiable. It should be obvious that I promote universal healthcare. I simply will not promote that above the massacre of children in other countries.

Eliminating corporate money in politics. Not negotiable. This is not going to happen without supporting policies which work toward that goal. Not incrementally but completely. The one and only path toward this is all elections funded through taxes. Make all the excuses you like but you know this is true.

Election reform. Not negotiable. Election reform has been a topic for decades. Addressing gerrymandering, election funding, paper trails, open debates, corporate party control of our elections including the Council on Presidential Debates and their rules which favor the duopoly. Millions of us agree that we need ranked choice voting and paper trails. Those will happen only with policies that we demand. Not vague platitudes. These things have to be part of a candidate or party platform with full commitment to them, fully defined. Then they must be held accountable.

Police reform. We all know police reform needs to be a national issue. Standards must be established but without establishing a national police force. Body cameras that cannot be turned off by officers, video that cannot be erased, civilian oversight committees with the power to indict with no refusal to charge by DA’s. Investigations of police must be handled by outside objective entities. Equal sentencing for abusive, corrupt and murderous police officers, same as any civilian offender.

Income inequality. Not negotiable. This is an issues that has to be addressed in real terms that benefit the people of this country, not the rich and corporations. That means increasing wages to a living wage standard, serious movement toward Universal Basic Income, before automation eliminates so many jobs that barely any jobs exist any more. The gradual move toward that needs to happen now, not later. The rich and corporations must be taxed to pay their fair share to maintain the welfare of the citizens of this country, not just themselves.

If you want to claim the title of Progressive, it is not disposable. It is a definition of self. It is part of you which cannot be denied. If you can deny it, then you need to redefine yourself because you’re not Progressive. Look in the mirror and be honest.

You, Venezuela, The Draft and Armageddon

For at least 74 years, the US Empire has been on a non-stop push for global domination by any means. Any means can include the absolute decimation of the planet with everything and everyone in it.

This has been a push since at least the end of WWII. During WWII, the US and the USSR were allies. Check your history books and you will find the US president meeting multiple times with Russian leaders in solidarity against Nazi Germany.

After WWII ended, so did US government goals and tactics. Russia became an enemy by virtue of the fact that they were seen as a competitor and propagator of Marxism, which stands in complete opposition to capitalist desire to own all in it’s view and destroy anything that stands in it’s way.

Not about Communism or Socialism. It does not have anything to do with Communism or Socialism, exactly. The US also opposes vehemently any capitalist economy that stands in competition rather than cooperation with the goals of the kleptocracy. Russia and China have been competing with us on capitalism and largely winning in recent years using fully capitalist methods. Depending on what method is used to measure, China is already or soon will be the strongest consumer market on the planet. They are not just producing goods for export, they buy their own goods. Russia has improved their economy and become a major oil/gas and grain exporter. Hence, they become major threats, though neither country is Communist any more.

No loyalty. Make no mistake in thinking that this has to do with country or nationalism. The same competition was taking place before the US became the world capitalist leader. Think back to the British Empire, which attempted to dominate any country which had resources they could plunder. So did the Spanish at one time. Capitalists have no loyalty to country or ideology. Their ideology is greed and power. They have no other belief system and never will.

Willing submission of the populace. To dominate the entire planet, it is mandatory that they convince the populace of the strongest country, whatever country that is, that oppression, murder, destruction and theft of resources is not only necessary but the birthright of the citizens of that country. They must be convinced to fight and die for some vague ideal which does not profit them but benefits the owners of capital, holders of power. To not only embrace their own slavery, real or virtual, willingly but to enforce that system with any citizens who raise an opposing voice. In reality, those who turn against dissident voices are no better than Nazi sympathizers.

Modern feudalism. Prof Richard Wolff has stated that the most stable economic system in history was the feudal system. Today the feudal lords are corporations and we are the peasants serving the masters.

Female draft approval. In June of 2016, CONgress quietly approved females for the draft. Most Americans are still not even aware of this fact. There are several things to note about that decision. 1- This was the first time that CONgress had discussed the draft in over 40 years, since the end of Vietnam. 2- We are not formally at war with anyone. 3- This was decided at a time when the military had not been meeting enlistment quota for several years. This remains true now and many service members have been involuntarily extended for years. 4- CONgress does not discuss the draft in abstract. This was planning. It did not matter who won the 2016 election.

Increased international tensions. Since that time, the government and media have intentionally ratcheted up tensions and animosity against numerous other countries with a strong military presence or resources worth pillaging. Syria, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela.

Military discharges. In the same time frame, the Trump administration has discharged and deported thousands of immigrant service members. Recently, they also managed to ban transgender service members from duty. In addition, there has been a strong push to discharge all service members who cannot be deployed to war zones for any reason. That accounts for tens of thousands of service members.

So, what do you expect to happen if we expand our military presence or our conflicts any further than they are now? Expanding that presence and conflict appears to be the goal of our entire CONgress.

Oblivious. Many Americans are oblivious to the fact that the US is currently bombing 8 countries, have armed forces in 50 of 54 African nations and are militarily threatening all of the countries mentioned above plus North Korea. Nor do most Americans do the math to realize that we have 1400+ military bases that are acknowledged by the government. We have no idea how many black sites we have.

That is a total of at least 28 military bases per US state. That is not even counting aircraft carriers, submarines and other warships spanning the oceans.

The draft is coming. To replace all the service members being discharged, those reaching retirement age, those injured and killed in the line of duty, the draft is coming. With the foreign policy which has been the same and expanding for decades, there will be no other choice if we, the people, do not stand in opposition to these policies. To do that means we have to see through the propaganda and we must rage against further invasion into other countries by any method, be it political, economic or military.

Allies? The US likes to speak of our allies. Yet because our alleged allies have been harmed in numerous ways by US sanctions and military actions, we no longer have true allies. In some cases we have accomplices but they will abandon us if there is no profit in the alliance for the “leaders” of those countries. Europe is resistant to US sanctions on Russian and Iranian trade. It costs Europeans more money to follow along with those sanctions. While some leaders follow like puppets, polls of the majority of European citizens show they do not feel Russia or Iran are threats. The same is true of Americans.

One must keep in mind that the UNSC never issued approval for the invasion of Iraq. Also that the UN has always considered US presence in Syria to be against international law.

Allied opponents. While we lack true allies, our opponents do not. Note that I do not call them enemies. That’s because they have legitimate complaints of our behavior and specific reasonable steps which would still ease tensions with them. Our government refuses to cooperate with those steps. When you look at the list of our opponents, you find they are all allied in one way or another. Russia and China are military allies. Russia has interests in Syria, where they have had a military base for over 40 years in addition to business interests. China and India trade for oil with Iran. China absolutely opposes any US presence in North Korea, right on their border. Both Russia and China have vested business and political ties with Venezuela which they will defend far more assertively than most Americans have any realization of.

There are more alliances beyond that. Turkey remains connected to the US only reluctantly. That can change, as it has before. Mexico and several South American countries only barely tolerate us. Other South American countries are only allied with us for monetary reasons. Pakistan wants nothing else to do with us. Nor do the Philippines.

Low consequences. With all of our military conflicts for well over a century, the continental US has not suffered domestic attacks. No civilians on American soil have died or been injured as a result of our military adventures. This makes Americans far too prone to supporting attacks on other countries. However, should we enter a major conflict with the opponents we are provoking now, that could very well change at a moment’s notice.

Lack of antiwar representation. Corporate media does not present the voices of Americans who oppose war. In the rare case they do, those voices are presented as less intelligent or not patriotic. At this point in time, we are likely to be called Russian trolls.

If you think this is a change, you’re wrong. Look back to how anti-war protesters were presented during Korea and Vietnam. They were often called Communists, portrayed as drug addicts prone to violence. Meanwhile most were college educated and protesting against violence.

With protests against later conflicts, the media has simply ignored us. If they do not present anti-war protests, people become disheartened and feel alone in their opposition. It is as if a protest does not exist and the entire country supports conflict.

The only choice we have is to engage in such massive protests and boycotts that they are undeniable. However, I do not expect to see this happen until a draft is announced. By then it may be too late and we will be in conflicts we can not back out of.

Leave Syria Alone

Since Trump announced ground troops would be leaving Syria soon, we have seen a lot of controversy and a lot of questions have been raised.

First, be clear on the fact that he only talked about ground troops. In no way has he stated that we would no longer be bombing the country. So it is very possible that US forces may continue bombing Syria unabated.

The neoliberal centrists have thrown absolute fits. Now claiming that we should remain in Syria to “protect the Kurds”. Of course, this line is repeated over and over by the mindless sycophants, most of whom had never heard of Kurds before a few months ago, probably a majority of whom never heard of Kurds before a few days ago. That’s when they were instructed what to think by corporate media in between ads from military contractors and clips of pro-war speeches by Hillary and the DNC elite.

What the corporate media fails to mention is the fact that the Kurds have met on multiple occasions with Assad in an attempt to reach a peaceful arrangement. They have, up to now, rejected any arrangement offered because they want to break Syria into multiple parts to form a new Kurdish nation.

Another thing they fail to point out is the fact that the biggest threat the Kurds face right this moment is by Turkey. The same Turkey to whom the US has been selling weapons for years, possibly decades and continue to do so. The same Turkey which is a member of NATO. The same Turkey which is home to Incirlik Air Base, which hosts forces of Turkey, the US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Spain. Yet we are going to help “protect” the Kurds from Turkey? Really?

The US is also giving money to Israel, then selling them weapons. So we are literally paying for the weapons Israel is buying. What does Israel do with those weapons or at least part of them? Attack Syria. The rest they use to attack Palestine.

Then we buy oil from Saudi Arabia. Who funds terrorists. To attack Syria and Yemen. We sell weapons to Saudi Arabia. So we are funding Saudi terrorism in the worst human rights atrocities since at least Pol Pot in Cambodia. Whom we supported directly and indirectly.

I’ve already written in the past how our weapons are sold at a loss. That article is here: https://medium.com/@russellmeyers_35963/arms-sales-create-jobs-cf4eec9a714c

The media also fails to point out the fact that our very presence in Syria has always been illegal. It was never authorized by Syria or Russia or the UN Security Council. Those are the only entities that could have issued authorization. Russia is in Syria legally because their assistance was requested by the Syrian government. Iran is in Syria legally because they offered assistance and it was accepted.

Some claim we are assisting Israel, yet Israel has militarily occupied the Golan Heights since 1966 illegally according to the UN.

Keep in mind that the US has not won a single military campaign since WWI, if even then. Even WWII was won more by Russia than the US and allies. Yet we have been at war in some form nearly every single year of the existence of this country.

Keep in mind that when the US steps back, there are typically greater chances for peace in other countries. It is when we get involved that military tensions ratchet up dramatically. While I am no fan of Trump and do not trust him, try and name the last time a sitting president engaged in peace talks with any country in a meaningful way. Then try and name the last time our country engaged in peace talks without imminent threat of invasion, bombing, etc.

Try and name the last time this country was directly threatened. Our government makes continuous claims that there have been attacks or threats to “our assets”. Meaning our military installations. Which reside in nearly every country on earth. If our military installations did not exist in other countries, they could not be threatened. They are threatened or attacked because of our involvement in the affairs of countries in which we truly have no rightful business except as intermediaries. Yet how often are we intermediaries, rather than primary actors of force and suppression? How many violent dictators have we installed or assisted to power? The Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Pinochet and the list goes on. How many elections have we interfered in? How many leaders have we overthrown? How many times have we ignored the will of the United Nations Security Council and even the General Assembly?

How much of our lives can we spend in terror that some other country may go some direction which we have not dictated? How much of our nation’s wealth can we steal from our own citizens to spend on bombs, bullets, aircraft carriers, drones, missiles, nuclear weapons? How many chemical weapons in the form of depleted uranium and white phosphorous can we use on other countries, then bomb a government when our proxy terrorists use chlorine or there has been no attack at all?

How many Americans must go without medical care, food housing, education and jobs so we can keep paying for the profits of military contractors? For every penny paid to them, we lose a penny which can benefit our own people.

We cannot afford to wage any more wars. We don’t have the money and we cannot borrow the money. No, it does not create jobs. No, it does not make us safer. No, it does not make our allies safer.

It is time for the American Empire to fall, to fail. It is time to bring our troops home. It is time to stop building bombs and start building bridges and schools. It is time to let the military contractors go broke. It is time to use diplomacy. Words rather than weapons. Before the rest of the world makes our decision for us.

Syrian Troop Withdrawal

On 12/19/18, Trump announced he will order withdrawal of US troops from Syria. By now we should know to hold our elation about such an announcement. Look at what happened with North Korea.

Don’t forget he is still belligerent toward Iran, who is helping Syria. He is also completely unpredictable regarding Russia and Turkey. So we have absolutely no idea what may come next.

With Trump himself, one has to take note of the fact that his announcement is only regarding ground troops. He did not make any announcement that we will not be bombing Syria or supporting Israeli military aggression in Syria.

The response to this announcement by the media was predictable. Corporate media immediately began attacking, claiming this action helps Iran.. and Assad.. and Russia.. and ISIS. Never mind that ISIS opposes Assad (kind of the whole point of ISIS’s presence in Syria), somehow this action helps both Assad and ISIS. How it helps Russia is anyone’s guess.

Of course, he makes the claim that this withdrawal is because the US somehow beat ISIS. If we beat ISIS and not Assad, then were we assisting Assad all along, while claiming Assad is some kind of monster? What happened to all the claims of Assad using chemical weapons on his own people at the most inopportune times over and over and over? Obviously, Russian and Iranian military presence which actually fought on the ground and bombed ISIS military positions had nothing to do with the defeat of ISIS. The US beat ISIS by bombing the Syrian military repeatedly. Because that makes sense.

This announcement also comes right after the announcement of a $5 billion weapons deal with Turkey. Maybe he thinks Turkey is going to invade Syria? Or that Turkey will band with Israel and Saudi Arabia to invade? We can only guess what actions the CIA will be engaging in next to keep our military in Syria.

I’m still waiting for more of a response from “the Resistance” about this. The one thing you can count on is that the response will not be positive. Anyattempt to move away from warfare in any way will be attacked ferociously and they will find some way to twist it into how it gives Mueller more ammunition and Trump should be impeached for withdrawing US troops from a country where our presence has been illegal from the very beginning.

We can also expect corporate media and “the Resistance” to start an aggressive campaign to use this as a further push for war with Russia and most likely Iran. I expect it to be part of the “protect Israel” story they weave.

No matter what, the one thing we should never expect of any of this is that it will be a step further toward peace in any part of the globe. That’s not what our government or media are about. Because “good guys” never want war to end, right?

The Battle For Everything

Make no mistake, this is war.

I have even close friends tell me that I can be “too aggressive” at times. especially on social media. I agree I can be aggressive. However, saying too much so is very open to debate.

I have been a Progressive at different levels my entire life. I am 56 years old, so I grew up through Vietnam and the first Cold War. I’ve seen Watergate, Reagan, Honduras, Iran, Iran-Contra, the fall of the Berlin Wall (while I was in Germany), Desert Storm (when I was recalled to active duty), 17 years of Afghanistan, 15 years of Iraq, the assassination of Qaddafi… All along the way I have fought for human rights, against war, against prejudice, against income inequality.

The problem with the Progressive movement is that too many in this movement over the years have been too nice. At least, that is my take on it. Too many are too willing to compromise. Don’t use harsh words, listen to opposing views, take incremental steps. Look where that has gotten us.

The line has moved ever onward in a steady march to the right. More war, more bombs, more debt, more corporate control, fraudulent elections, more censorship, more blatant prejudice and on and on.

Here are just a few examples of how we have moved ever farther to the right in the last few years and why this is most definitely civil war with no civility at all coming from the enemy.

Job market. Right now retail and manufacturing in this country are collapsing. Auto companies, GE and numerous other companies are laying people off by tens of thousands. Retail and small businesses are closing by the thousands. Automation is eliminating tens of thousands of jobs annually. At each step, more jobs are lost. Lost jobs means lost consumers, so there will be fewer jobs in retail or manufacturing in the foreseeable future.

Stock market. The stock market has been propped up by false images brought about by stock repurchases for years. That had to come to an end at some point because it was unsustainable. Even as I write this, the collapse I have predicted for the past decade or more is happening.

Lack of medical care. Millions of Americans have no health insurance. Millions more cannot afford the premiums, deductibles and medications. As fewer and fewer can afford care, more hospitals and clinics close. That means fewer medical jobs available and decreasing pay for the ones that are left. As a nurse, I can state without reserve that burnout and apathy are now common in the medical field. So experienced medical professionals are retiring or just walking away in droves. So the quality of care declines. The end result is that millions suffer acute or chronic illness, too often with long term consequences including death.

Income inequality. Because of the conditions already mentioned and simply the greed of the rich, the poor in this country keep getting poorer and the rich have been getting richer. More wealth is concentrated in the hands of a decreasing number of rich people than any time in world history. Less money in circulation means entire economies, including ours, will soon collapse. This has begun. We see protests and riots globally. Of course, corporate media reports on very little of it because you’re not supposed to know. It may give you ideas they don’t want you to have. When they do report on it, they make the rising millions seem like lawless gangs and criminals.

Poverty. Poverty is widespread and increasing, bringing hunger, malnutrition, homelessness, illness, social anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, depression and rising suicide rates.

Censorship. People rage against Trump for banning one CNN reporter from the White House. He did not ban CNN, he banned one reporter. CNN could have sent another reporter. Yet the same people raging about this have nothing to say about RT being banned. The DNC attacks Trump and yet are suing Wikileaks for releasing the DNC emails. Great! I’m for it. Evidence discover will backfire spectacularly on them! Many people who claim to be in favor of freedom of the press hate Assange and think it’s good that Alex Jones was censored. It’s all okay with them as long as a corporation does it, even when corporations own 95% of the media. FB and Twitter remove Progressive pages while YouTube demonetizes Progressive outlets. Neoliberal zombies don’t care. They keep listening to Rachel Maddow think for them.

Election integrity. Do we really have to go over what happened in the 2016 Democratic primary again? I’m just mentioning it, I won’t recap yet again.

Russiagate. Make no mistake, Russiagate is a march to war. It can go nowhere else. Even though polls have proven absolutely that most Americans do not believe this to be an issue which is of primary concern to them. Yet you hear about it every day. No evidence, no viable motive for Russia ever presented.

Environment. Right now we have over 1300 Superfund sites in this country. Climate change is a reality, no matter what science deniers claim. Over 95% of scientists agree. The only ones that do not have profits to make by denying it.

Collapse of the dollar and other currencies. The value of the dollar is built on thin air and resources we do not own. Systems of payment for oil which we have nothing to do with. The world is slowly turning away from that system, signing the death note for the dollar at a time when the US has more debt than all other countries combined. Hence other countries are selling off US Treasury bonds, hastening our demise. Meanwhile real estate and other investments are falling rapidly around the world.

The fall of capitalism. The UN recently issued a report stating capitalism is unsustainable. It is built on the need for never ending expansion of production requiring the consumption of resources beyond the capacity of not only the global environment but beyond the capacity of the market itself. We are already beyond the tipping point and it is falling in on itself. There is no way forward for capitalism to continue uncontested and humans to survive without a massive population failure.

Ever-increasing warfare. Right this minute, there are more countries engaged in military conflicts than at any time since WWII. The US is spending more on “defense” than all other countries combined. Meanwhile, all sides of our government claim to be opposing one another while all sides are in a non-stop and ever-accelerating push to war with Russia, China, Iran and anyone else who does not bow down to our imperial design. Corporate media takes profits from the war machine and acts as the advertising wing of the same war machine. It would be impossible to name a war or military confrontation the US has engaged in for the past 40 years, perhaps ever, that our media opposed.

This is only a short list. Yet it is illustrative of the challenges we are up against. Incremental change and pragmatism are not viable responses any more. Trying to convince people using nice words is no longer an option. In no way do I endorse violence. There may come a time when violence is the only choice we have as a response to the conditions at hand. This is not that time. However, tolerating those who continue to defend the neoliberal Establishment characters and tactics cannot be done any more with polite language and pedagogy. It’s time to treat adults like adults. It is far beyond time to call BS for BS.

If we are not contradicting the status quo, debunking propaganda ferociously, then we have laid down our arms and surrendered. By default, we are culpable for the continuation of the same problems listed above and all that goes with them.

This is the battle for everything. We do not need to be friends with the enemy. We do not need to recruit spies for the other side. We need comrades in arms. Peaceful, mindful warriors for the cause of bringing down the real enemies. The warmongers, the unrestricted capitalist eating machine, the power mongers, the priests and sycophants of hatred and bigotry, the sexists.

Call me aggressive. Call me not a nice person. Call me an asshole. I’ll even agree with you at times. We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That is the definition of stupidity. The one thing you cannot call me is stupid. Try it and I will absolutely call you on it openly.

Choose your side. Because neutrality is not an option.