Trump’s Parade

Democrats and neoliberal media are having a meltdown over Trump’s military parade. I’m a veteran and don’t GAF.

You think there is something wrong with this? Yeah, I do. Along with a lot more in this country.

I think it’s wrong when military recruiters show up at high schools. Especially when they show up at a hell of a lot more schools in low income minority-majority neighborhoods than high income white-majority neighborhoods, where they are virtually absent.

I think it’s wrong that ROTC is a thing in public schools at all. And I went through ROTC in high school.

I think it’s wrong when we have military “patriotic” displays at sporting events, paid for with your tax dollars, whether you support it or not, whether you attend sporting events or not.

I think it’s wrong when “news” (sic) media channels host advertising for military contractors.

I think it’s wrong when those same “news” outlets have “experts” from weapons manufacturers and “intelligence” (propaganda factory) agencies, with every single one of them trying to get you to support the next war and the one after that, the one after that, the one after that….

I think it’s wrong when Brian Williams refers to “the beauty of our weapons”.

I think it’s wrong when veterans have a medical system separate and apart from non-military civilians.

I think it’s wrong when I tell people I am a veteran and they thank me for my service. I rarely get that kind of response when I tell them I am a nurse or a Progressive writer.

I do more to fight for their rights, freedom and welfare now as a writer than I did as a veteran!!!!!

I think it’s wrong when we have multiple holidays worshiping the military.

I think it’s wrong when most of the history taught in schools has more to do with warfare than any other, more important part of our history. Always portraying the US as the world hero and any opponent as nothing short of demonic.

I think it’s wrong that you don’t hear a damn word from “The Resistance” opposing military buildup along the Russian border, the South China Sea, off the coast of North Korea, in 50 African nations, threatening Venezuela.

I think it’s wrong that there are slave markets in the streets of Libya thanks to US “humanitarian intervention”.

I think it’s wrong that we are bombing 7 countries right this minute, some of whom we have been bombing for 16 and 18 years.

I think it’s wrong that the number of countries we are bombing expanded from 2 countries to 7 under a “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” and the Secretary of State that became the DNC nominee.

I think it’s wrong when Democrats and the media talk about “Russian aggression” yet cannot point to a single aggressive military act by Russia.

I think it’s wrong that we have 1600+ military bases globally while calling any other nation “aggressive”.

I think it’s wrong that social support programs are gutted while our “defense” budget will be increased by another $33–50 BILLION this year. That’s just for the Pentagon. I’ve written extensively that this does not include upgrading nukes, CIA, NSA, FBI or VA funding. When you add all of that to the official Pentagon budget, we spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth COMBINED. Even though nobody has threatened us.

I think it’s wrong that every politician that receives military contractor “donations” advocates for a “strong defense”. Really? When do we consider our “defense” to be strong enough? Where is the cutoff for this?

I think it is wrong that it is legal for military contractors to “donate” money to political campaigns when that very money came from taxpayers pockets.

I think it’s wrong that we are threatening Iran due to an attack on two Japanese ships, with no evidence Iran did anything and while the Japanese prime minister was in Iran on a diplomatic mission. Have you heard “The Resistance” speak out against any aggression toward Iran?

I think it’s wrong that we give nearly $4 billion a year to Israel while they slaughter Palestinians.

I think it’s wrong that we are buying oil from Saudi Arabia, helping to fund their genocide of Yemeni people.

I think it’s wrong that we have no arms embargo against Israel or Saudi Arabia.

I think it’s wrong that too many Americans are brainwashed enough to believe anything at all about Russiagate.

Fine. You object to his military parade? Then don’t tune in. Leave the corporate stations with no views at all. Leave the National Mall empty. Don’t mention it, don’t make it trend, don’t increase traffic and views regarding it. Don’t talk about it. Ignore it.

On the other hand, this would be the perfect opportunity to raise your voices and hold anti-war marches nationally. Are YOU going to do that?

Didn’t think so. If the same parade had been held by Obama or Hillary, would you object? Didn’t think so. So STFU. Your objection is false, empty and useless. You just want a warmonger that uses prettier words.

America Has No Enemies, Meeting With Foreign Leaders Is Not Treason

I see a lot of people sharing articles from clickbait farms and neoliberal propaganda warmonger sites about Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un. In the last few days, the same sites and people were sharing stuff about Trump shaking hands with Vladimir Putin.

In every case, the claim or implication is that Trump is committing treason.

First, consider what the Constitution considers treason. For any person to be guilty of treason means that Congress has formally declared war against another country. The guilty party then must be offering aid in some form to that country. Congress has not declared war against any country as of this time. Treason is not a charge which can be applied retroactively.

What you need to be paying attention to is what the “Resistance” suggests regarding any path to peace or diplomacy with alleged “enemies”. Because when you look at things from that perspective, they have nothing. Not one word about ending a single conflict, reducing tensions with other nations, bringing troops home from conflict zones, cutting military spending or US military presence anywhere in the world.

Does this mean I trust Trump? Absolutely not. North Korea has described Trump and his testosterone-drunken team as “gangsters”. In multiple cases there are convincing cases that he plans to make personal financial gains from any so-called “peace efforts” he has engaged in. Has the “Resistance” stepped in to prevent his profit motive? Have they devised stipulations that include peace but eliminate his opportunity to make a profit? Taken part in the peace process to make it more equitable and convince other countries that we are indeed not a threat to them?

No, they haven’t. Because we are a threat. In some way we are a genuine, very real threat to every nation, every person on earth in numerous ways at all times.

Some people discuss sanctions in ways that illustrate the fact that they have no understanding of how sanctions work. I’ve written about how sanctions work and how damaging they are many times. Sanctions kill human beings in targeted countries. Do you consider it peaceful when a person starves to death or dies from lack of medical treatment, rather than being shot or bombed? Dying slowly and painfully from preventable conditions imposed on your country is peaceful? In addition, sanctions do extensive damage to countries considered our allies. Sanctions reduce sales between countries, meaning allied countries may have to find alternative sources to buy products (like oil or grain) they once bought at more reasonable prices from the now-sanctioned nation. Or they lose sales to the now-sanctioned nation, which can and has destroyed entire industries in allied nations. How is that being helpful or a friend to our own allies?

Russia is no threat to us. I’ve written extensively on that subject. What is a threat to us is our continued threat against Russia, including our sanctions on our own allies.

North Korea is no threat to us. They have never threatened the US and their only threats involving any countries are solely in self defense.

Iran is no threat to us. Nobody claims they have missiles or weaponry of any kind that could reach the continental US. They have not invaded another country for over 200 years. They are not against Jews, they host the second largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel. They have synagogues older than the founding of the US and the Jewish population worships their faith openly.

Venezuela is no threat to us. That’s it, they’re no threat to us. Period.

China is no military threat to us. Unless we give them reason to be and even then it will likely only be in that region, where our military has no business in the first place.

Other countries hacking our elections are not a threat. It is a rationale to move to systems which are not online. You know, like paper ballots?

Other countries hacking our electrical grid are not a threat. It is a rationale to move to systems which are not online. You know, like we had for decades? There is literally no reason for our electric plants to be online in the first place. Who the fuck ever thought that was a good idea?!!!

When Trump threatens other countries, the “Resistance” and media have nothing to say in opposition. No more than there was any opposition or objection when Nobel Peace Prize winning Obama expanded bombing from 2 countries to 7 countries, largely with Hillary’s help as SoS. Nobody who supported Hillary said anything when she threatened to use “political, economic and military force” in response to alleged electronic warfare.

I understand you hate Trump. I agree. There is much about him which earns that sentiment. However, international conflict at this point is not about him. This is about you. To oppose Trump does not mean you should support tensions with other countries which may lead to even more wars. You cannot personally object to the ridiculously large military and “defense” budget while endorsing the same sentiments and paranoia which capitalize (literally) on the basis for that budget. You cannot blame Trump for this. If you want to blame someone for the next war, look in the mirror. Yes, he is a threat but so are you. If he leaves office without starting another war, then you will still be here. Your hate and fear will still be here. The defense budget will not decrease as long as you keep cowering in terror based on nothing.

We have many things to fear in this country. Let me repeat that. We have many things to fear IN this country. Not a damn one of those things can be solved with missiles, bombs, invading other countries, arming oligarchs conducting genocide. None of those problems can be solved by spending the entire federal budget on weaponry. None of that makes us safer. None of that improves international relations. None of that improves access to healthcare, improves wages, helps the homeless, improves education, decreases racism/sexism/religious prejudice. None of that does anything about censorship and in fact is the basis for much of our censorship.

Either you are for peace or you are for conflict and war.You are for the US being the good guys or the US being the global bully. There is no middle ground on this. Nobody has threatened us. If we have enemies, we created those enemies and we are creating more daily. No more excuses. What is YOUR choice on this?

I am for peace.

US Militarism And TDS

Some people still have some concept that I am in some way a Trump supporter or apologist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more of my writing and that becomes very evident.

Want to attack him for his economic policies? I’m right there with you. Immigration? Yes, he is monstrous. Sexism? I’ve referred to him having “tiny hand syndrome”. Racism? Absolutely.

Where international relations are concerned I will say he is an idiot with not the faintest clue what he is doing. He is the kind of person that personifies how many people in other countries view the US. Yes, he is what they think of when they think of Americans and how they have viewed us for decades. He is bellicose, arrogant and nothing short of a bully.

In other words, he illustrates what our government really is.

On the other hand, for all his threats and boasting, he is not as militaristic as his predecessors and opponents. Note that this in no way excuses the harm done by US sanctions, which I have explained in detail numerous times.

Consider the claims and criticisms of the corporate media and the “Resistance”.

With North Korea, they described the current administration as “gangsters”, as in mafia, organized crime. Yet still Trump has not used military force against them. When he temporarily suspended war games on the Korean border, instead of being praised, he was attacked. Ask yourself why? How well does intimidation work on other countries? How well does it work on you?

When he bombed Syria, he was praised. Brian Williams talked about the “beauty of our weapons”, citing it as a quote. Ask yourself, who pulls a quote like that out of their ass? I am a veteran and had never heard that quote in my life before that. Had you? I hope to never hear it again.

That attack happened with no investigation on the ground to verify facts and evidence. The following year almost the exact same thing happened, almost to the smallest detail.

In the first case, there was no investigation ever completed on the ground. Numerous sources stated what evidence was available did not fit. In the second case it was proven by the OPCW that no chemical weapon residue was found. The closest thing found were microscopic traces of chlorine in the soil, which was likely from destroyed PVC pipes or household chemicals, considering the concentration. Guess what? If you water your yard with municipally treated water, your soil has chlorine residue.

Yet Trump did warn Syria of the coming attacks and their locations.

When Trump made threats to invade Venezuela, the corporate media and the “Resistance” were largely silent. There was absolutely no sign of opposition. In fact, they almost daily portrayed false images of the conditions in Venezuela. Where hardships and even deaths have been occurring by the thousands, they never mention that this is due to the effects of US sanctions. They do not mention that the US and UK governments have seized assets that belong to the Venezuelan government and hence Venezuelan people. That’s as if I stole everything in your bank account and then portrayed you as a bad parent for not providing for your family. US sanctions have seized shipments already paid for of medications and medical supplies, then blocked further transactions of those items. How would you like it if that happened to your family?

Since Trump has backed away from any military threats against Venezuela, how much have you been hearing of the conditions in that country? Did you think they suddenly got better? Then why aren’t you hearing about it any more?

He has met with Vladimir Putin, talked with Putin on the phone and initially tried making peaceful overtures with Russia. For which he was viciously attacked and accused of treason. BTW, treason according to the US Constitution means giving aid to an enemy, which requires a formal Congressional declaration of war. So no, the claims of treason hold no water.

Yet the “Resistance” found no reason to call it treason when Hillary, with Mueller’s “intelligence” approval, sold 20% of uranium processing to a Russian company, Uranium One. They had no desire to call it treason when Bill made hundreds of thousands giving speeches to sell investments in Uranium One while Hillary was US Secretary of State. They did not choose to hold her to account when Uranium One resulted in lost uranium shipments, bribes, coercion and threats.

The media focuses on the trade war between the US and China, reports on near-confrontations between naval vessels yet conveniently fails to mention the largest buildup in history of US forces along the Russian border, Russian maritime routes and the South China Sea. There has been no military threat against any nation by Russia or China. So, one should be asking what our forces are doing there at all. The average American will not ask that question, even if they are aware of the situation. If the media reports on it, it portrays it as aggression by other countries, yet cannot explain what aggression.

The latest in this chain of events is Iran. Notice that while there were minor grumblings about him withdrawing from the JCPOA, there was no actual outcry. Why? There was no profit to be made. Then he threatened to attack Iran after an attack on ships that did not belong to the US and were not associated to the US in any way. They were both connected to Japan. Did Japan ask for US intervention? No, they did not. On the threats, there was not a single word of dissent spoken. Then he reversed course and chose to not attack. Suddenly, the media and the “Resistance” erupted like a volcano.

This is where I will once again, for the millionth time it seems, point out that the US media is deeply in bed with the Military Industrial Complex. Corporate media hosts advertising by military contractors like Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup. Know who pays for that advertising? You do, through your taxes. They have “experts” who work for military weapons contractors telling you why we need to invade, bomb, sell weapons (at a loss to the US taxpayer) to other countries. Why every country who succeeds at trade is a military threat. Why any country with a different, more Socialist, economic model is monstrous and also a threat to US national security. How we need to engage in “humanitarian intervention”. Because that has worked out so well in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Let’s do more of that, they say.

It does not even stop with overt militarism. When Trump blocked the release of the unredacted Mueller report, he was called a fascist, a tyrant, that he was hiding something. Then he did a complete 180 degree turn and directed Barr to release the entire report and all supporting evidence to the public. What did the media and the “Resistance” have to say? That he was a tyrant, that he was putting national security at risk.

So, the ultimate question here is really, what do YOU want? Do you WANT war with Russia? China? North Korea? Venezuela? Iran? Do you WANT the Mueller findings declassified and published for all to see? Do you WANT to keep increasing military spending? Or do you simply want every single thing that Trump does to be wrong, no matter what the cost?

If you merely want everything he does to be wrong and “Resistance” means risking or the actuality of global warfare, starving and killing people in other countries, all to vindicate your hatred of him, then you must ask yourself one last question.

Who is the REAL monster here?

Attacking Iran Would Not Be A Small Issue

This past week, Trump first called for a bomb strike on Iran. Then, when that strike was allegedly imminent, he called it off.

I am very happy he called it off. That strike would have, as others have stated, unleashed hell on earth. Iran has a large and experienced military and connections to numerous countries. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan.

I’ve pointed out on too many occasions to count the fact that most Americans are willfully ignorant of. That we are currently bombing 7 countries. This is not a new development, we have been bombing the same 7 countries for years. If you doubt me, do a web search of what countries we are bombing. The difference is that the countries we have been bombing for so long started off with military forces and capabilities far below that of Iran. In fact, in multiple cases, most notably Syria, Iran has been helping to combat the US-backed terrorist factions those countries have been contending with.

Many Americans want to claim that we have allies in the Middle East in the form of Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are a few big, big problems with that. Both of those countries buy their weapons from the US. Our weapons manufacturing capacity is at it’s limit. We have run out of bombs to drop on multiple occasions. Both of them gain the funds necessary to buy their weapons from the US. Saudi Arabia by oil sales, which Iran would block the shipment of if they were attacked. Israel is freely handed nearly $4 billion a year by the US. If we had an actual war with an actual opposing military, the US would have to stop handing out all that money. We are already responsible for over 1/3 of the global national debt and that amount keeps rising. So if they cannot buy weapons and/or we cannot produce enough weapons, any conflict with Iran would be over almost before it began. Iran produces weapons and buys weapons from Russia and China. We cannot stop that from happening. Russian and Chinese weapons manufacturing are nowhere near capacity.

For manpower and alliances in the immediate region, as I stated above, Iran has helped a number of countries in the Middle East. As those countries have been beating back terrorist groups, they have more manpower they could offer to help Iran. This is true even without leaving their own countries because US forces are in their countries or would attempt to occupy those countries in the event of conflict with Iran. All they have to do is evict our forces or turn on US forces in their countries. Not even kill anyone, just destroy our equipment and take our forces hostage. Think that can’t happen? Look at a map. Iraq and Afghanistan have been at war for nearly two decades because of American actions. Both countries have a majority that wants us gone. We have no forces in Pakistan and only a token illegal presence in Syria.

US forces are stretched to the point where we have had to send Coast Guard forces to other countries. That’s not the CG’s role. Their role is supposed to be guarding US waters. This, while we have yet to meet a maritime threat since WWII.

Trump has promoted the message that the US is a net oil exporter at this time. Note that precise wording. That we are a net oil exporter. That doesn’t mean we produce all the oil we need and more. Oil is one of our top three exports and top three imports. Now, consider that 2/3 of the world’s oil supply for export goes through the Strait of Hormuz, controlled by Iran. If they block oil transport, they bring most of the planet to a standstill. The US does not produce enough oil to meet our needs and that of other countries on a major scale. This would be even more true if major conflict erupted, meaning the military would requisition the remainder of our oil production.

That would open the door for Russia, the world’s third largest oil producer, to step in. It would also be a gain for Venezuela. Both would see massively increased oil and gas sales to other countries currently trading with Saudi Arabia, UAE and US.

Considering just how much the value of the US dollar is dependent on US and Saudi oil sales, military conflict with Iran would result in a massive decline in the value of the dollar in very short order.

Any conflict with Iran would result in the US even further threatening Russia and China, who trade with Iran. Especially China. It would at the very least offend and possibly anger the other nations that signed onto the JCPOA and have defended Iran’s compliance with that treaty, which the US has violated unilaterally. All these countries are not likely to simply accede to further threats and sanctions.

Even without military actions, US sanctions are actively resulting in loss of human lives in Iran (among other countries). Sanctions are acts of war. Sanctions kill. Sanctions also damage Iran’s trading partners economically. If you don’t understand all this and think sanctions are in any way peaceful, or that other countries go along with US sanctions without objection, do more research because it is something you do not understand.

Yes, Trump is extremely unstable. However, in this case the “Resistance” first criticized him for threatening Iran, while now criticizing him for not attacking Iran, no matter what dangers that action would result in.

Protecting “Our Way Of Life”?

In 2017, the Department of Defense released a revised mission statement which basically says the new role of the military is to preserve the American way of life. Not to defend against military threats. They were literally saying that our military is there to preserve the corporate profit system.

Think about this. Our military has not faced a single military threat in my lifetime. Not a single one. In the cases where our military has encountered an opposing military presence, it has been because of our presence in another country.

I’ve said many times that the draft is coming. Only this time, females as well as males can be drafted to combat roles. Consider the fact that we are bombing 7 countries and threatening 5 more militarily. Our direct military encounters with Russia and China become more frequent by the month and could be by the day, only we’re not allowed to hear about most encounters. Plus the fact that we are conducting aggressive cyber warfare against Russia.Though if you think we are not also conducting cyber warfare against China, you’re delusional. Plus we have combat troops in 50 of 54 African states.

Now we have the event regarding Iran, which I already wrote about and which I am guessing over 90% of Americans do not believe Iran is guilty of.

In the meantime, military recruitment has not met quota for years. The military has been involuntarily extending enlistments of more skilled positions such as fighter pilots for longer than you know. Experienced military members are growing older and ready to retire. The military has been ejecting anyone who cannot be deployed, which number in the tens of thousands. Then there is Trump’s war on transgender military members.

So, we have people leaving the military and inadequate new recruits to replace them at a time while we have active aggression against numerous countries, increased international tensions and probable invasions or attacks on multiple opponents. Though this time those countries are not weak, relatively defenseless countries with no allies. Most of the countries we are now threatening have alliances with one another.

When I think of protecting my way of life, the key part of that includes keeping my daughter safe. I really don’t GAF how old my daughter is at any point in my life and hers, she is still my daughter and I will always want her to be safe.

There is absolutely no part of me that understands or can relate to parents who are okay with sending their children to invade foreign countries for their way of life. Especially when what that means right now is preserving low cost gasoline and high profits for corporations.

What “way of life” is being protected for the general public in America today? Lack of affordable medical care, overpriced medications, low wages, struggling to make ends meet, credit card bills, student loan debt, homeless on the streets, systemic racism, being literally terrified of our own police, censorship, mass surveillance, social and political divisiveness, religious prejudice, sexism, increasing age of retirement, reduction in pensions, impending collapse of the dollar? WTF are we “defending”?

Though all the above really means that we have a de facto draft in a form already and have had for many years. Young people see these things and some will join the military to mitigate the fears they have of a future where they face these exact problems. At least in the military they have medical care, an income from which they cannot be laid off, a roof over their heads and tuition assistance. The fact that they are willing to risk PTSD, disability and death tells you exactly how truly afraid they are of the future created for them. This is excruciatingly true for young people from disadvantaged and rural areas.

These are our children, you bastards!!!!

You can talk about preserving your way of life but if that means sacrificing the future for your children and probably risking an actual war with an actual military opponent with the capability to bring that war back to our shores, you have nothing you are preserving.

It’s time to start questioning just what the hell you think we are defending. Define it. Not for me, for yourself. Really think about it.

China Just Shut Down Any Possibility Of War With the US

This is the good news. China just shut down any possibility of war with the US.

In the ongoing trade war between the US and China, President Xi stood in front of a rare earth mineral mine a few days ago to give a speech. He did not say it but the location and timing are widely taken as an implication that should the US continue the trade war as it is going, China could well restrict or cease shipping rare earth minerals to the US.

What are rare earth minerals? What makes them important? Rare earth minerals are not all that rare as far as usage is concerned. They are vital components in modern electronics. From earbuds and headphones to cell phones, wind turbines, telecommunications equipment and satellite communications. They are also vital to modern military equipment such as targeting and guidance systems.

China holds the greatest reserve of rare earth minerals at 44 million tons. The next highest reserve equals half that amount at 22 million tons each, held by Brazil and Vietnam. Russia comes in third at 12 million tons. The US comes in seventh, at roughly 1.4 million tons.

Some claim that the US can develop our mining and refinement of rare earth minerals. Yet they are so valuable by weight that it would seem to me that capitalist investors would have been doing that already, should it be a realistic option. Which means that if that industry is developed, US taxpayers will be subsidizing corporate profits on yet another industry. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for we, the taxpayers.

Some sources claim we can develop equipment which doesn’t use rare earth minerals. Hmm. Once again, I’m guessing this is not a first best option or we would have been doing so. Why pay additional expenses for elements which are not necessary? It would be a definite possibility but also possible that would place the US at tremendous technological disadvantage. Our electronics could be less efficient, less accurate and slower. Cost could be either lower or higher, depending on the materials and technology used.

Obviously gold could replace some mineral components but not all. Using gold could increase cost of electronics higher, making US consumer electronics less competitive unless built for durability, which most modern electronics are not designed for.

Obviously it would be possible to purchase rare earth minerals from other countries that hold greater reserves than we do. However, if China chose to not sell to us, it would be well known by those countries, causing prices to skyrocket. Law of supply and demand. We won’t be buying them from Russia, even if we wanted to at this point.

Thus, should China choose to make such a decision it would leave the US at a distinct disadvantage militarily, technologically and possibly economically.

The only other option would be if all rare earth minerals were diverted to military use. That would leave us at even more disadvantage regarding technological trade, which is one of the most profitable trade items by weight and volume.

As far as blocking China’s access to the Android operating system and partnerships, the result is likely to be the same as sanctions on Russia had. They will accelerate development of their own technologies, spreading new operating systems to Asia and Europe, the largest foreign markets whom we trade with. Leaving Google in the dust. That would mean Google trading partners would no longer be paying Google for advertising to markets Android no longer had access to.

Like I said above, this is only accelerating the development of technologies which China has already been working on. They may contract with experts from other countries, including Europe, other Asian countries, India, Russia and American freelancers. Hey, capitalism is capitalism, right? Other countries pulling away from us and advancing beyond us is only a matter of time. Asia and Europe are already expanding 5G and green energy years ahead of the US. In teh case of China, you can blame Trump all you like but they began accelerating their technological development toward more independence from the US ever since Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” which continued on with the Hillary Clinton campaign (“We could rename the Pacific Ocean the American Sea.”) and the Trump campaign. No matter which one took office, they knew what was coming.

The ultimate fact is that any military confrontation with China will leave us at a disadvantage, first in the short term and possibly in the long term. It’s about time we started playing nice with the other kids on the playground.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

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Bernie Is The New “I’m With Her”

Something which started small and has continued to expand as we get closer to 2020 is something I completely expected. Bernie is the new “I’m with her”.

What do I mean by this?

Never question. In 2016, we were not allowed to so much as question whether Hillary had done anything wrong. If you did so, you were ostracized, belittled, called a trump supporter or a Russian troll. Now it’s 2019 and the same thing is being seen by Bernie supporters.

I am a Russian troll. I find it especially ironic to be called a Russian troll by Bernie supporters, seeing that there were claims in 2016 that he was a Russian puppet. That was followed by Bernie himself stating that if his own supporters questioned Hillary, they were Russian trolls or had fallen for Russian propaganda. He used the usual Establishment tactic of making his claim vague, nonspecific and offered no detail on what, exactly, the exact propaganda was. He continues pushing Russiagate even now. Even after the Mueller report, even as millions of his own followers have said they will not vote for him if he continues doing so. There is never mention of the cost measured in tens of billions of dollars in increased “defense” spending. Never mention of the risk of an actual World War which would all stem from this fabrication.

No mention of election fraud. Through 2016 and up until today, the DNC has never directly addressed allegations of election fraud in the 2016 primary. Neither has Bernie. He simply doesn’t talk about it. Which means nothing will actually be done about it. Superdelegates still exist, still hold enormous power within the DNC. The number of DNC candidates is an absolute insurance plan that superdelegates will have their say in second round voting for the DNC nominee.

Election reform? One vital step we need in election reform is a paper trail. If Bernie has mentioned this, it has only been in the form of attacking the GOP for not approving federal funding for paper ballots. He does not mention that this is something funded and implemented at the state level, not federal. So it is simply a divisive tactic created and dictated by the DNC. Do we hear him talk of ranked choice voting? His followers may openly discuss ranked choice voting but does Bernie, himself? Eliminating corporate money from politics would be an extremely valid option for having more valid elections. Rescinding Citizens United is not enough for that. The only real way to eliminate corporate money in politics would be through federally funded elections. For a self-proclaimed Socialist, don’t you find it strange Bernie has not suggested that?

Passive-aggressive warmongering. In the case of Venezuela, Bernie has issued mandates to Maduro, saying Maduro must hold another election. A “supervised” election. Supervised by whom? The election in Venezuela was monitored by observers from 40 countries and deemed valid. Bernie pushes that 50 nations back Guaido but fails to mention that at least 75 countries back Maduro. Bernie also insisted Maduro must allow Western aid into the country. He never mentions that Venezuela received aid from numerous other countries. Russia, China, Mexico among them. While Bernie claims to be against regime change, notice that he never says what should happen if Maduro does not comply with the mandates. Sanctions? Sanctions kill. They are acts of war. Sanctions are how Venezuela came to be in the condition it is in. All of this being aside from the fact that all these demands are exactly what Trump has been demanding. No doubt Hillary would just have Maduro assassinated but regime change is still the end result. US hegemony is still the end result.

Kindly explain to me in rational detail how Bernie is raging about election integrity in Venezuela yet still silent about the 2016 primary rigging. I’ll wait.

DNC Loyalty Pledge. Bernie publicly signed the DNC Loyalty Pledge, stating if he does not get the Democratic nomination, he will endorse any candidate the DNC runs. Any candidate. Think about that. How is that any different from 2016? He has literally promised to do the same thing as 2016 all over again if he is not the nominee. Admittedly, Hillary demanded the DNC be loyal to her rather than the other way around but the result for us is still the same, that none of that loyalty is to we, the voters.

Your choice. None of this is saying Bernie is completely evil. He promotes and has promoted some good ideas. I campaigned for him ferociously through the 2016 primary. I will not say do not vote for him. What I am saying is that you should not be blind to facts. Don’t be another “I’m with her” voter who denies all doubt, all discrepancy, all danger. Don’t cheer for Medicare For All when there is so much else attached to it. We can work toward universal healthcare. It does not need to have one name attached to it when the majority of Americans support the concept.

We have no heroes. We are our own heroes. Let’s act like it.

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.