Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Believe It Or Not
     If memory serves, it was about a week or so ago that President Trump announced he was sending 15,000 troops to the Mexican border to repel what he called an invasion by a combined force of Central Americans and Middle Easterners.
    That was around Election Day. Since then there have been no reports of battles, casualties or territory lost or gained. So if the president is to be believed, this is the first stealth attack against the U.S. since there doesn’t seem to be any tangible trace of it. Calls to San Diego or Juarez are getting through with no problem.
      The Pentagon had said that operation will cost about $220 million. Not a problem since most Americans agree that there is such thing as too much military spending.
    You would expect the government and the media to keep the citizenry informed when it comes to an invasion of the nation.   So far all I’ve heard are reports on MSNBC  that some of our forces may be coming home for Christmas.
    The attitude of Americans towards their wars has changed since Vietnam. Losing that conflict was highly controversial.  Since then stalemate and defeat have become acceptable so long as they are profitable. Witness our pointless 16-year-long trudge in Afghanistan which has yet to produce much contention.
    Our current Mexican border war seems equally likely to remain ignored.  Merely announced by the president and unmentioned after that, it’s our first truly stealth war. So you can forget about it. Just pretend it never happened. Maybe it didn't. Maybe the president lied. Nah, that couldn't be.

Monday, November 12, 2018

                      U.S. troops OccupyVladivostok, 1918

Talk About Meddling 
     Exactly one hundred years ago in November 1918, invading U.S.troops were joined in combat against Russian armies—in Russia! They were part of a coalition of western powers whose mission was to meddle in the affairs of that country; more specifically to overthrow the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and reinstall the despotic Romanov dynasty. Or, as Winston Churchill more colorfully put it, “to strangle the infant in its cradle.”
    Thousands of Americans fought and hundreds died. Nearly all were from Michigan-based units. They served at Arkangel in frigid northern Russia and Vladivostok on the Pacific. The force was ill-equipped for the horrendous weather and poorly led. It returned home in 1920, leaving Russia under the domination of Russians.
     Like the U.S. invasions of Canada in 1775 and 1812 or of Cuba in 1961, it was a failure that was swiftly unremembered so we could maintain the the ever useful pretense that we are not meddlesome imperialists but the ever laudable self-styled leader of the whole world.
    Interestingly, it’s a full century later and Washington, apparently with the exception of Donald Trump, is still about the business of trying to overthrow the regime in Moscow. This even though Russia has long since abandoned communism, the evil of evils, and replaced it with a capitalist system such as ours. The problem our leaders have with capitalist Russia is that it has the economic and military wherewithal to maintain its independence in defiance of America’s oft-proclaimed prerogative to “lead” the other 95 percent of humanity. The same holds true for China, and to a lesser extent, Iran.
    A part of our leadership in Washington has been  willing to live with insubordinate nations so long as they don’t threaten our global interests. But a hard-line element, including  National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of States Mike Pompeo,
seem determined to restart the Cold War and, God forbid, get us into  hot one.
      They are making our existence dependent on the intelligence and sang froid of Putin and his regime by provoking Moscow in ways we would never tolerate (see the 1962 Cuban missile crisis).  We have torn up treaties we signed limiting medium range nukes and have placed troops and nukes right on Russia’s borders.  Imagine Russky bases in Mexico and Canada!
    Back in Cold War times, Americans were aware and worried about the nuclear threat. We had a thriving peace movement.  Now, with the danger far greater, you hardly hear peace sentiments in churches let alone on the streets.  America may well disappear by way of insouciance.  Meanwhile, the Russians have not, and will not forget our brutal invasion of their county a century ago.

Monday, August 27, 2018

First on Falsity, Honestly  
   There's been lots of talk, some of it even true, in recent days on the subject of lying.  Everywhere you look and listen there's a farrago of fakery.  Somehow, it all seemed familiar.  Then I recalled that, as with so many other societal subjects, the KarmanTurn, was yet again at the "nucleus of hip in America," having long ago been there and done that on the fad for fibbing.

    See the following from Friday, November 2, 2012
Unemployment Solved!
    Finishing up school and need a job? There’s a business growing faster than a pig can fly. And it’s hiring millions of grads right now. These jobs feature ultra-high salaries, full health benefits, reimbursement of tuition debt, free luxury housing in desirable resort areas, and  unlimited no-charge use of new Lexuses, Range Rovers and, in many cases, Corvettes. Act soon and you may even be driving a Ferrari.
    What is this incredible new business?         
    Fact checking!    

    Right now and right here, there have never been so many liars in one place in the whole history of the universe. You would have thought that with the electoral campaigns almost over, there would be a sharp decrease in fakery and fabulation.  Quite the opposite.  People are taking their cues from politicians and have begun to palter to a fare-thee-well.  For instance, dentists are lying about the number of cavities they fill while the cable company is claiming that you did order the Latvian premium channel.
     Each and every day countless canards are created, each of which has to be checked and then indexed and sent to cloud storage. A proposed Constitutional amendment that will entitle Americans to their own facts is expected to raise the boom in fact checking to new heights. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.

(The above article has been fact-checked by the firm of Bugiardo Mentiroso and Lugner and has been rated  TL--Tissue of Lies)


Friday, August 24, 2018

Heil and Farewell
                                                         West Tisbury, MA
    There are few things as certain in these uncertain political times as the enduring pusillanimity of the leaders and a good number of the rank and file of the Democratic Party. 
    For example, ever since the ascendancy of The Donald, backed  by GOP majorities in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and company have been ardently advertising their eagerness to “work across the aisle” with these Republicans. Left unmentioned but obvious is that the Republicans they want to work with are, with few exceptions, some of the most reactionary, if not proto-fascist, politicians this country has ever known.
   Don’t be surprised then if the denouement of the Trump trauma is a “compromise” backed by the Dems which lets The Donald resign and accept a pardon as was done in the case of Tricky Dick Nixon. The Donald's demission will be credited to health problems or his desire to get closer to his family—particularly Ivanka.
  After some recoup time, we can expect The  Donald to return to the media spotlight, with his image elevated to a new category of noteriety: a combination Benito Mussolini and Charlie Sheen or, if you will, an eminence orange. The Dems will champion this outcome as “in the best interest of the country” as they try and fail to cuddle up to Mike Pence.

   I will, of course, take back this prediction in the unlikely event that the rising democratic wing the Demoncratic Party takes power and starts challenging reaction rather than groveling before it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

 Syria, In Short 
   Syria has a brutal and dictatorial government—on a par with some of the nasty regimes with which we enjoy kissyface relationships in that part of the world. Nevertheless, the Assad regime in Syria is the legally recognized authority. It’s a member of the UN and other international organizations, and has even signed on to the Paris environmental agreement.  It has an embassy, though currently vacant, here in Washington.
     For decades, Washington and its Israeli
advisors have sought to overthrow the Assad government  and replace it with a tractable one.   They have two reasons for this: to get rid of an 
insubordinate regime, and to deny Russia, which has long had a naval base in Syria, one of its two outlets to warm water (the other being Crimea). The Russians understandably regard the second reason as vital to their national security even at the risk of war.  
    Seven years ago, civil war broke out in Syria, with the Russians and Iranians supporting the recognized government at its request, and the U.S. arming and advising anti-government rebels.  The difference is that the Russians and Iran were acting legally while the U.S. was once again committing aggression, the worst crime under international law.
    When that civil war began, then President Obama assured us that the Assad regime would collapse in a matter of weeks. He was dead wrong. As in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, Washington had again underestimated its enemies, this time in Syria. And so our Middle East wars have dragged on from years into decades.
    The reason why our leaders habitually discount their adversaries is hubris. They believe that America, being the greatest, has nothing to learn from the not-so-great other 95 percent of the world. So far, there is no cure for this condition.
    Thus we are wedded to never-ending war, a horror that benefits only military contractors. As I write this, our president is bragging that his missiles are smarter than Russian ones and that he’s about to prove that in Syria. Since, he always tells the truth and is never wrong I guess we don’t have to worry.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Living With Losing 
    North Korea has three neighbors: China, Russia and South Korea. Despite the north’s  nascent nukes, none of the three regard North Korea as much of a threat. It’s too small and weak to invade Russia or China. That would be like a badger attacking an elephant. As for invading the far bigger and stronger south, the north tried that in 1950 only to have its own territory utterly devastated and 20 percent of its population slaughtered. So it’s not likely to go that route again.
    By contrast, the United States regards North Korea as a major threat to itself. This despite the fact it’s thousands of miles distant from America, not to mention that the U.S. has the means to wipe North Korea off the map in a matter of minutes.
    Ignored whenever Washington bruits the threat from the north is why, in any case, would the Kim Jung-un regime commit national suicide by attacking the U.S.?  By the same token, why would Iran want to attack Israel and/or the U.S.?  Would it presumably be to enjoy a few minutes worth of schadenfreude before  retaliatory nuclear strikes by Israel and the U. S. atomized their 5,000 year old civilization? And if that’s so, why haven’t they done it yet?
    No, Kim and the ayatollahs are meanies but not nut cases.  They have no intention of committing national suicide with the help of our Pentagon.  What they do want is to remain outside the sway of the American empire.  So they have developed sufficient military power to deter the U.S. And that’s what Washington cannot abide.  It demands that North Korea, Iran and any other refractory state disarm, thus making it easier to control them. To put it in the vernacular what our empire wants is to be the only one bringing a gun to a knife fight.
   Given the lessons of Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, that’s not likely to happen. Sixteen years later and the Pentagon has yet to defeat the Afghans. This while Syria has proved a far tougher nut to crack than our generals gave it credit it for. A tussle with Iran or North Korea would make Afghanistan or Syria look like a playground fight.

    We live in very strange times. Our military has never been so lavished with our national wealth or so praised to the heavens at virtually every public event. All this for disastrously misjudging their enemies and not winning the wars they inflicted on them.