“You close one loophole and the slime oozes out of another hole” + The Lie of Omission by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
Apr. 4, 2009

The Anti-Empire Report

Some thoughts about socialism

“History is littered with post-crisis regulations. If there are undue restrictions on the operations of businesses, they may view it to be their job to get around them, and you sow the seeds of the next crisis.”

– Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment analyst, CharlesSchwab & Co., a leading US provider of investment services.1

And so it goes. Corporations, whether financial or not, strive to maximize profit as inevitably as water seeks its own level. We’ve been trying to “regulate” them since the 19th century. Or is it the 18th? Nothing helps for long. You close one loophole and the slime oozes out of another hole. Wall Street has not only an army of lawyers and accountants, but a horde of mathematicians with advanced degrees searching for the perfect equations to separate people from their money. After all the stimulus money has come and gone, after all the speeches by our leaders condemning greed and swearing to reforms, after the last congressional hearing deploring the corporate executives to their faces, the boys of Wall Street, shrugging off a few bruises, will resume churning out their assortment of financial entities, documents, and packages that go by names like hedge funds, derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, index funds, credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, subprime mortgages, and many other pieces of paper with exotic names, for which, it must be kept in mind, there had been no public need or strident demand. Speculation, bonuses, and scotch will flow again, and the boys will be all the wiser, perhaps shaken a bit that they’re so reviled, but knowing better now what to flaunt and what to disguise.

This is another reminder that communism or socialism have almost always been given just one chance to work, if that much, while capitalism has been given numerous chances to do so following its perennial fiascos. Ralph Nader has observed: “Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out.”

In the West, one of the most unfortunate results of the Cold War was that 70 years of anti-communist education and media stamped in people’s minds a lasting association between socialism and what the Soviet Union called communism. Socialism meant a dictatorship, it meant Stalinist repression, a suffocating “command economy”, no freedom of enterprise, no freedom to change jobs, few avenues for personal expression, and other similar truths and untruths. This is a set of beliefs clung to even amongst many Americans opposed to US foreign policy. No matter how bad the economy is, Americans think, the only alternative available is something called “communism”, and they know how awful that is.

Adding to the purposeful confusion, the conservatives in England, for 30 years following the end of World War 2, filled the minds of the public with the idea that the Labour Party was socialist, and when recession hit (as it does regularly in capitalist countries) the public was then told, and believed, that “socialism had failed”.

Yet, ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, polls taken in Russia have shown a nostalgia for the old system. In the latest example, “Russia Now”, a Moscow publication that appears as a supplement in the Washington Post, asked Russians: “What socio-economic system do you favor?” The results were: “State planning and distribution”: 58% … “Based on private property and market relations”: 28% … “Hard to say”: 14%.2

In 1994, Mark Brzezinski (son of Zbigniew) was a Fulbright Scholar teaching in Warsaw. He has written: “I asked my students to define democracy. Expecting a discussion on individual liberties and authentically elected institutions, I was surprised to hear my students respond that to them, democracy means a government obligation to maintain a certain standard of living and to provide health care, education and housing for all. In other words, socialism.”3

Many Americans cannot go along with the notion of a planned, centralized society. To some extent it’s the terminology that bothers them because they were raised to equate a planned society with the worst excesses of Stalinism. Okay, let’s forget the scary labels; let’s describe it as people sitting down to discuss a particular serious societal problem, what the available options there are to solve the problem, and what institutions and forces in the society have the best access, experience, and assets to deliver those options. So, the idea is to prepare these institutions and forces to deal with the problem in a highly organized, rational manner without having to worry about which corporation’s profits might be adversely affected, without relying on “the magic of the marketplace”. Now it happens that all this is usually called “planning” and if the organization and planning stem from a government body it can be called “centralized”. There’s no reason to assume that this has to result in some kind of very authoritarian regime. All of us over a certain age —individually and collectively — have learned a lot about such things from the past. We know the warning signs; that’s why the Bush administration’s authoritarianism was so early and so strongly condemned.

The overwhelming majority of people in the United States work for a salary. They don’t need to be motivated by the quest for profit. It’s not in our genes. Virtually everybody, if given the choice, would prefer to work at jobs where the main motivations are to produce goods and services that improve the quality of life of the society, to help others, and to provide themselves with meaningful and satisfying work. It’s not natural to be primarily motivated by trying to win or steal “customers” from other people, no holds barred, survival of the fittest or the most ruthless.

A major war can be the supreme test of a nation, a time when it’s put under the greatest stress. In World War 2, the US government commandeered the auto manufacturers to make tanks and jeeps instead of private cars. When a pressing need for an atom bomb was seen, Washington did not ask for bids from the private sector; it created the Manhattan Project to do it itself, with no concern for balance sheets or profit and loss statements. Women and blacks were given skilled factory jobs they had been traditionally denied. Hollywood was enlisted to make propaganda films. Indeed, much of the nation’s activities, including farming, manufacturing, mining, communications, labor, education, and cultural undertakings were in some fashion brought under new and significant government control, with the war effort coming before private profit. In peacetime, we can think of socialism as putting people before profit, with all the basics guaranteed — health care, all education, decent housing, food, jobs. Those who swear by free enterprise argue that the “socialism” of World War 2 was instituted only because of the exigencies of the war. That’s true, but it doesn’t alter the key point that it had been immediately recognized by the government that the wasteful and inefficient capitalist system, always in need of proper financial care and feeding, was no way to run a country trying to win a war.

It’s also no way to run a society of human beings with human needs. Most Americans agree with this but are not consciously aware that they hold such a belief. In 1987, nearly half of 1,004 Americans surveyed by the Hearst press believed Karl Marx’s aphorism: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was to be found in the US Constitution.4

Along these lines, I’ve written an essay entitled: “The United States invades, bombs, and kills for it, but do Americans really believe in free enterprise?”5

I cannot describe in detail what every nut and bolt of my socialist system would look like. That might appear rather pretentious on my part; most of it would evolve through trial and error anyway; the important thing is that the foundation — the crucial factors in making the important decisions — would rest on people’s welfare and the common good coming before profit. Humankind’s desperate need to halt environmental degradation regularly runs smack into the profit motive, as does the American health-care system. It’s more than a matter of ideology; it’s a matter of the quality of life, sustainability, and survival.

“Omission is the most powerful form of lie.” – George Orwell

I am asked occasionally why I am so critical of the mainstream media when I quote from them repeatedly in my writings. The answer is simple. The American media’s gravest shortcoming is much more their errors of omission than their errors of commission. It’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. So I can make good use of the facts they report, which a large, rich organization can easier provide than the alternative media.

In early March, the Washington Post ran an article about Iran which stated that “Iranian leaders … reiterated that the Holocaust was ‘a lie’.” The article then went on to add that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “repeated his assertion that the Holocaust is a ‘big lie’.”6 That’s all we’re told. What is the poor reader to conclude but that some Iranian leaders must be amongst that much vilified and ridiculed group called “Holocaust deniers”?

What the article fails to mention is that these Iranian leaders use the word “lie” to refer to only particular features of the Holocaust. There is no report of any of them simply, clearly, unambiguously, and unequivocally asserting that what we know as the Holocaust never took place. Ahmadinejad, for example, has instead commented about the peculiarity and injustice of a Holocaust which took place in Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price for a German crime? he asks. And he wonders about the accuracy of the number of Jews — six million — allegedly killed in the Holocaust, as have many other people of all political stripes and nationalities, including the noted Italian author Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor. Even Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority — Israel and Washington’s favorite Palestinian because of his opposition to Hamas, their least favored Palestinians — wrote in his doctoral dissertation: “The truth of the matter is that no one can verify this number, or completely deny it. In other words, the number of Jewish victims might be 6 million and might be much smaller — even less than 1 million.”7

It is also worth noting that at the end of the Post article we learn that “a senior Israeli official in Washington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not cleared to discuss such matters publicly” has asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.” Really? That’s what I and others have been saying for years. It should have been the story’s headline, not the very last sentence, literally. Yet, we can be certain that Israeli and American officials and their disciples will continue to warn the world of the danger of Iranian missile attacks. So will the Washington Post, engaging in future omissions of its own news story.

What actually has long worried Israeli and US officials about possible Iranian nuclear weapons is not that Iran might attack anyone, but that Israel’s beloved security blanket — being the only nuclear power in the Middle East — would at risk, as might be Washington’s dominance of the area.

Later in March, the Los Angeles Times ran an obituary of Janet Jagan, the former president of Guyana and widow of Cheddi Jagan who had earlier also been president. The obituary says not a word about the fact that for 11 years, 1953-64, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths in their repeated attempts to prevent the democratically elected Cheddi Jagan from occupying his office.8

I’ve selected these examples of omission virtually at random. If I wanted to report on each media omission concerning significant US foreign policy matters I could fill this newsletter each month with nothing else.

It happens that in late March the Washington Post also provided us with the less common out-and-out lie. In an editorial about the leftist former guerillas in El Salvador, the FMLN, winning the presidential election with their candidate Mauricio Funes, the Post said: “If Mr. Funes as well as the election’s losers now respect the rule of law, the result could be the consolidation of the political system the United States was aiming for when it intervened in El Salvador’s civil war during the 1980s. At the time, the goal of a successful Salvadoran democracy was dismissed as a mission impossible, just as some now say democracy is unattainable in Iraq and Afghanistan.”9

The idea that the US intervention in the Salvadoran civil war stemmed from a desire to bring democracy to the country is so breathtaking in its audacity that it’s conceivable the Post editorial writer is suffering from early-stage Alzheimer’s; it’s wholly comparable to saying that the Apartheid regime of South Africa strove to increase harmony and equality between blacks and whites. In the process of supporting a Salvadoran government of remarkable tyranny, brutality and human-rights violations, the United States provided the country’s armed forces with a never-ending supply of funds, weapons and training that brought continual destruction and suffering to the people of El Salvador. The Post’s “disclosure” will not send historians scurrying to rewrite their books. Nor can it serve to conceal the fact that the United States is not fighting for “democracy” in Iraq and Afghanistan any more than it did in El Salvador.

The ideology of Barack Obama

In the past two months:

  • US Vice President Joe Biden was asked by reporters at a summit in Chile if Washington plans to put an end to the near-50-year-old economic embargo against Cuba. He replied “No.”10
  • Israeli authorities broke up a series of Palestinian cultural events in Jerusalem, disrupting a children’s march and bursting balloons at a schoolyard celebration.11 There has not been, nor will there be, any embargo of any kind by the United States against Israel. Nor will President Obama make any comment about what he really feels about invading a children’s party and bursting their balloons.
  • The White House and the Pentagon appear to be having a competition over who can announce the most troops being sent to Afghanistan. Is anyone keeping a body count?
  • US drones continue to drop bombs on people’s homes and wedding parties in Pakistan. No one in Washington publicly admits to this or comments in any way about the legality or morality of it all.
  • Bolivia and Ecuador have expelled American diplomats for what their hosts saw as conspiring to undermine the government.

Any number of other examples can be given of how alike the foreign policies of the Bush and Obama administrations are, how little, if any, change has occurred; certainly nothing of any significance. Yet, my saying such a thing is precisely what most often bothers Obama supporters who read or hear my comments. They’re in love with the man with the toothpaste-advertisement smile, who’s “smart” (whatever that means), who plays basketball, and is not George W. Bush, and his wife who puts her arm around the queen of England.

Obama’s popularity around the world is enhanced, to an important extent, by the fact that he has endeavored to conceal or obscure his real ideology. As an example, in early March, in an interview with the New York Times, he was asked: “Is there a one word name for your philosophy? If you’re not a socialist, are you a liberal? Are you progressive? One word?”

“No, I’m not going to engage in that,” replied the president.12

The next day he called the Times reporter, telling him: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question”. Obama then gave the reporter several examples of why his policies show that he isn’t a socialist.13

He didn’t have to convince me. Obama’s centrist bent is clear to anyone who bothers to look. But after the Times incident — which apparently bothered him — he may have felt the need to be more clear about his ideological leanings to avoid any further silly “socialist” episodes. The next day, meeting at the White House with members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of centrist Democratic members of the House, Obama said at one point: “I am a New Democrat.”14

Most conservatives will probably continue to see him as a dangerous leftist. They should be happy that Obama is the president and not any kind of real progressive or socialist or even a genuine liberal, but the right wing is greedy.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, March 29, 2009 ?
  2. “Russia Now”, in Washington Post, March 25, 2009 ?
  3. Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1994 ?
  4. Frank Bernack, Jr., Hearst Corp. President, address to the American Bar Association, early 1987, reported in In These Times magazine (Chicago), June 24 – July 7, 1987 ?
  5. William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”, chapter 26 ?
  6. Washington Post, March 5, 2009 ?
  7. The Middle East Media Research Institute, “Inquiry and Analysis”, No. 95, May 30, 2002; also see Wikipedia, entry for Mahmoud Abbas, “Doctoral Dissertation” section. ?
  8. Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2009. See William Blum, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II”, chapter 16 for what was left out. ?
  9. Washington Post, March 21, 2009 ?
  10. Miami Herald, March 28, 2009 ?
  11. Washington Post, March 22, 2009 ?
  12. New York Times, March 7, 2009 ?
  13. New York Times, March 8 2009 ?
  14. Politico magazine, online, March 10, 2009 ?

***

William Blum is the author of:

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2

Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir

Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at “essays”.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned. www.killinghope.org

***

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

by William Blum

William Blum book

see

The Nation and “socialism” by David Walsh

Bill Moyers Journal: Families over the edge + Socialism

The rise of ‘socialism for the 21st century’

Michael Hudson: The Way We Were and What We Are Becoming

Economic Meltdown: The “Dollar Glut” is What Finances America’s Global Military Build-up by Prof. Michael Hudson

Iran on Dandelion Salad

Iran Israel US Nukes

Leftist FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes Wins El Salvador Presidential Election

Historic power shift in El Salvador

Socialism

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

20 thoughts on ““You close one loophole and the slime oozes out of another hole” + The Lie of Omission by William Blum

  1. Pingback: Romero (1989) + Chomsky on Oscar Romero + Massacre during Romero’s funeral (must-see) – Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Romero (1989) + Chomsky on Oscar Romero + Massacre during Romero’s funeral (must-see) | Dandelion Salad

  3. Natureboy,

    I am not a Conservative in the Dick Cheney sense. I am not a hunter, nor am I a logger. I am no bible thumper; I’m an atheist. I am not a war hawk. I am against creationism being taught in schools, and although I’m a little skeptical about global warming, I still am for being environmentally friendly – particularly by finding sustainable energy sources and, especially (and I don’t see why more people don’t suggest this) replanting trees. I think we should take more care of the environment, but NOT because of some apocalyptic catastrophe is inevitable if we don’t clean up our act. I simply think we should take care of the environment because of inevitable resource depletion, not the threat of global warming.

    And I agree that Locke’s 18th postulate is, indeed, wrong, since (as he later adds, ironically), if a thief takes your money, you can appeal to the law, thus it is unlawful to kill him.

    Yes, I agree that the banks must be regulated, but the problem is who determines how we regulate them. I’m not so sure I trust our Congress.

    By the way, your words on the so-called “moral majority” are spot on. I despise them with every ounce of my being. But, live and let live, as they say.

    Don’t confuse me with today’s Conservatives – I just want the government as far out of my life as possible WHILE PROTECTING ME from those who would steal from me and kill me.

    As a side note, look up “Money as Debt” (I believe Lo posted it here) for some (scary) enlightenment about how banks work. After seeing that, I don’t believe that you’ll be calling for more regulation as much as an entire overhaul of how banks work.

  4. I’ll preface my statements by saying that Conservative politicians, more often than not, expand government while in power. Strange how power corrupts. Yet, you attack the conservative ideology (that is, limited government) like that is exactly what they have been doing, when they have been doing the opposite the entire time.

    You then say:

    Indeed individuals are the key point if centralizing policy is to be the path we take. But democratically centralized power requires fair elections, and the rule of law, which the ‘individuals’ in power of the last 8 years didn’t exactly abide, so moral of the story, regulate them even more, since power corrupts, and prosecute and impeach when they violate the law!
    But we know all too well that individuals can be completely deranged, and often those who seek power are more deranged than most, hence trust least those who seek authority.

    Yes, yes, let’s regulate the hell out of everyone in government! Except there’s a problem: how can we be sure that the person or people making these regulations are being just? Put another way, quis custodiet upsos custodes, or who watches the watchmen? If we can’t trust individuals, then surely we can’t make them in charge of making just regulations on our leaders.

    That’s not gonna work. Conservatives are forever the ones who want to be left alone to rape the earth, blow away animals for the fun of the kill, and be left to buy assault-rifles for the fun of guns (the 1st amendment excuse is a complete farce, they like guns because they like to kill things), regardless of how many school shootings, or how many people get slaughtered in Binghamton or Columbine.

    I know plenty of Obama voters who own weapons. Moreover, it is the 2nd Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms. And I challenge you to live without consuming something that has been killed for the rest of your life. If you’re gonna talk the talk, at least walk the walk.

    As for the right to bear arms, I ask you: how do the American revolutionaries stage their revolution without owning hunting rifles? They don’t. That is one reason the right to bear arms in the constitution, another in that a weapon is needed to defend your liberty. Recall that the Founders were very influenced by Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. In there, he says:

    Postulate 18: This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him: because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretense be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in my power, take away everything else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

    Locke makes it clear there that killing is just and lawful to kill anyone who infringes upon our liberty directly, which makes it seem that the Founders also included the Second Amendment as a way for every man to be able to protect his liberty.

    Conservatives are also the ones obsessed with defense, who created this massive government expense machine which spends 54% of our revenue on weapons of war when there’s no credible threat of invasion. That’s big government on steroids.

    Yes, I agree that it is a problem.

    No, you cannot trust them, and this is not an opinion, as William Blum in his other works so aptly points out. The USA needs to be reigned in, its culture completely reformed, its guns removed from the little boys who love to shoot things (they’ll invade Mexico before restricting access to the assault rifles and handguns Mexicans smuggle from Texan gun dealers, who are no doubt thrilled with the business).

    “Culture needs to be reformed”? Surely the only means you have to do that is by “programming” the populace to have the correct views, i.e. indoctrination and tyranny? I love how you want to beat the neocons at their own game.

    Only when the people of the USA evolve, or are taught, by ‘tough love’ if necessary, that greed is not god, that guns are not good, that war is not just, that consumerism and capitalism has obviously not been all it’s cracked up to be– only then when Americans become human again, can they be trusted.

    But until then, legislate them to smithereens, or every last remaining old growth tree will be sawed, every last endangered species will be killed, every remaining bit of coal, oil and gas will be burned in a great honorary pyre to consumption, and every possible resource exploited because apparently ‘god’ said this place was ours to destroy.

    Again, how do you go about giving these folks “tough love”? Restricting their rights, mass indoctrination in the schools? Regulate them until they are little robots who calculate their carbon emissions at the end of every week and bow down to the all-mighty Democratic Party at 6 P.M. every night? I agree that there’s a serious problem with people living entirely on credit, and hopefully this crisis will get them to reel in that kind of irresponsibility. But we can’t legislate rules like that.

    You mention that “when Americans become human again…” as if they’re not human now. You then suggest that until that point, we legislate them to death. Thus, you’re advocating a patriarchal government taking total control over its sub-human children that don’t know any better. Let me ask you: how is this relationship any different than a relationship between a master and a slave?

    And then you have the gall to mention:

    Remember this was a nation built by slaves, and so bent on preserving that 4-centuries crime were americans that the whole hideous malaria-infested swamp of the South revolted and seceded and had to be forced to join the ranks of the living at gunpoint (not that I advocating burning down the rednecks and the banks, but regulate them and force them to be civil we must, because once again, they obviously can’t be trusted).

    You know what, your position looks frighteningly similar to slavery. White men regarded blacks as mentally deficient and unable to be civilized. They were treated like they were animals that barely resembled humans. And this is precisely what you say Evil Conservatives are; that they’re stupid and destructive and deserve to be under government regulation.

    Can’t you come up with something better than that?

    • Leapsecond, from your site you must be pretty smart, so what’s with all this burying your head in Glen Beck’s arse?

      I’d rather hear your answer to the ‘Dyson’s Number’ from Yesterdays Times:

      A group of scientists will be sitting around the cafeteria, and one will idly wonder if there is an integer where, if you take its last digit and move it to the front, turning, say, 112 to 211, it’s possible to exactly double the value. Dyson will immediately say, “Oh, that’s not difficult,” allow two short beats to pass and then add, “but of course the smallest such number is 18 digits long.”

      As to your political points, this is all a bit of an arbitrary and silly debate, with little realistic reference, but so be it. The point of the debate, however, is rather pointless, since it’s been shown that contrary to Locke’s ‘Tabula Rasa’, conservatives do have preprogramming brain issues, the main one is their minds are not designed to adapt or change, so it’s like talking to a wall. Nevertheless:

      Yes you CAN legislate against excessive dangerous debt, you don’t do it by regulating the people, you regulate the BANKS! Nobody’s out for mass control, it’s the corporate control, the vulgarities of the ‘free market’ which so obviously needs to be reined in. It’s the conservatives who are adamantly lockstep, religiously indoctrinated in their opposition to regulation of that which ultimately oppresses the people, corners all the cash with the aristocracy at the expense of the population (trickle down didn’t work, remember?).

      Unfortunately the ‘people’ in the form of the ‘Moral Majority’, et. al. were co-opted into supporting with their votes the bogus lies of the ‘conservative’ corporate class. Their punishment will come in the form of their own self-fulfilling poverty. There’s plenty of money in even small government to legislate against bad, conservative laws, you’d need the will.

      And yes conservatives and the Christian coalition, and the middle-amerigun bible-belt who consistently voted for this warmongering, robber-baron corpotocracy were wrong, stupid, idiotic and self-defeating to ‘believe’ for 4 decades in the raygun dogma, and so deserve to be desperately poor for the economic terrorism they voted for, which was inflicted on us all!.

      John Locke was a theorist, and wrong in many regards. This ‘postulate 18’ is NOT part of the 2nd amendment, nor is it any part of the letter or spirit of any US law!! You don’t get to kill on sight nonviolent thieves, nor people you think might be robbing you! Criminals are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. This is exactly what’s wrong with the whole US heartland. Such a beautiful pristine land was mowed down by these gun-toting goons who quote 18th c. theorems as quasi-legalisms excusing some ‘right’ to go around shooting things they think are a threat. That’s called a lynch mob!

      No you don’t get to kill people to defend your ‘liberty’, you get to defend yourself if you or yours are being personally, violently attacked, period, and a moral person would try NOT to kill in the course of that self-defense unless that were the only option. Not many pacifists would argue with that.

      But this right doesn’t mean you get to arm your crazed rogue band of fatigue-clad militia-nuts with a bunker-full of explosives and automatic weapons in anticipation of the ‘FEMA concentration camps’. (Bizarre paranoia has always been the hallmark of the right wingnuts. You love yer gunz so much, you just can’t wait to find a commie or something to kill. It’s like your favorite movie is Red Dawn).

      This whole Alex Jones, Lyndon Larouch, Bircher right wing mania prays to the Jeffersonian dictum about refreshing ‘liberty’ with the blood of patriots and tyrants (also not a law!).

      But then you’re hypocrites: You don’t then actually go after the tyrants, like Dick Cheney, who take away your beloved ‘rights’, or even conservatives like Joe McCarthey. Your side won’t impeach, won’t prosecute, won’t even demonstrate hardly. Your ‘blood of tyrants’ is all a sham, you’re not gonna get yer fat red-stated butts out of that 4-wheeler for anything that isn’t a skwerl you’d shoot for target practice. What a friggin’ preposterous vile joke!

      ‘Patriotism’ is a nationalistic disease. The Nazis, Fascists, Stalinists and Maoists were all ‘patriots’. Nobody’s invading the USA, least of all FEMA. Give it a rest.

      I don’t buy the 2nd amendment argument. As I’ve said over and over, no militia and their shotguns are gonna prevail against the US armed forces with their Blackhawks & bunker-buster bombs.

      Similarly, the US armed forces can’t even subjugate a nation the size of Texas, they failed in Vietnam, they couldn’t possibly prevail. Somebody needs to put these skin-headed, neo-nazi, kkk militia-movement nuts in their place, and prove to them they just like playing ‘army’ like little boys, and pose no challenge to any military, least of all the mutated mite of the US armed forces, or even the FBI or cops for that matter. You’re just setting yourselves up for another Ruby Ridge or Waco.

      The Militia myth is a farce. People are gun enthusiasts for one reason alone: They are either violent gangster criminals, or they are just fascinated with guns and sport-hunting. It’s an addiction.

      In service of this fascination with the power and the noise of lethal high-tech military-grade firearms, they’ve lobbied the government to allow handguns and assault weapons to be flooding the streets, refuse and defy any regulation, and would allow the sale of Stinger Missiles and hand-grenades to civilians if they could.

      Gun fanatics apparently believe the right to ‘bear arms’ in fact does mean they have the right to buy military ordinance. The cult of firearms is something that needs to be legislated, especially the availability of ammo. It’s dangerous, there is nothing ‘defense’ about it, and the greatest reforms in this nation were gotten through peaceful means, not armed insurgency!.

      The only life-forms that don’t parasitize other life are plants, able to build bodies from sun, water and elements. This argument by hunters against vegetarians is so old, so preposterous, so typical of the brain-dead rational of gun-mongering ‘conservatives’ which is so infuriating.

      What I ‘kill’ are plants, and I do just fine on them, as do the largest, strongest animals on the planet. Edible plants reproduce or regrow the next year, often they are annuals at the ends of their cycle, or bear fruits meant to be eaten as well as great vast quantities of seeds and nuts exactly for the reason that most are meant to be eaten as well.

      Your killing of animals like ourselves who live on the plants, is simply immoral murder, and worse if you raise them for slaughter. (Sure you can hunt my woods, but only if the only thing you kill are other hunters! I’m sure the lazy, white, well-marbled flesh of fat hunters tastes just fine).

      Mammals are as complex as yourself, with nerves, brains, personalities, unlike fruit and berries and leaves and beans. You need to know how completely sick in the brain Ted Nugent looks to a human, but then those vampires are not normal humans, are they?

      These deranged ideas about meat (study the phylogeny and morphology of ‘carnivora’ the one branch of ‘Mammalia’ actually evolved to hunt and eat flesh, and you’ll see we are not evolved to live on flesh, nor to chase & hunt it) are no excuse for blowing baseball-sized holes in bucks with the biggest trophy rack, just so you can have another stuffed head on the wall of yer trailer in Deliverance.

      You hunt not for survival, you hunt because you like to kill things, for ‘sport’. This is a sickness, an addiction, and nothing ‘natural’ about it.

      If you were a true hunter, you’d be culling the weak, instead you kill the alpha male. Same with loggers. ‘Sustainable’ loggers would cull the sickly and weak, leaving the giants. But if you instead let a yahoo loose in a forest with a chainsaw, he’s immediately going after the biggest logs he can cut, devastating the genetic stock forever.

      So you have to regulate hunters and you have to regulate loggers, and the same applies to miners, oil-drillers, hog-farmers, and everyone who would rape the earth for personal gain.

      All this nostalgia about the revolution is preposterous. It’s a frontier fantasy that you’re roaming the forest like Daniel Boone defending against King George and his Tories. Leave it for literature and movies. There are no more frontiers, it’s all a single, small fragile bubble around a ball without borders. Besides Canada didn’t need a revolutionary war to make their land safe for it’s land-owning, slave-holding class like the USA did.

      Similarly leave for literature that conservative fascination with hawkish foreign policy which once again stems from a fantasy nostalgia for the ‘heroism’ of WW2, but which consistently begets disaster in every single deployment since.

      Conservative ideology would not be so dangerous had they not enlisted via the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and the mega-churches, these giant bands of faith-healing miscreants.

      The huge reason the conservatives have activated against everybody’s best interest is that they created a voting block out of religious cultists, who vote like lemmings for the corporate interest, against their own, and became pawns in a giant scheme to overturn the ‘new left’ counterculture. yes, they are stupid, anti-intellectual (creationists? hullo?) anti-progressive (as in unable to progress). Read ‘What’s the Matter With Kansas’.

      Not convinced? Look at Hagee, and the millions he’s raised for AIPAC through a completely demented ideology where he preaches the rapture of the second-coming via nuclear anihilation, etc. etc. This is not a political movement, this is allowing irrational deranged cultists to get near the single most dangerous military machine ever concocted.

      If conservatives believed in the founders, they’d support the division of church & state, instead they try to put the commandments in front of courtrooms (fine with me, so conservative Christians can be reminded that practically every foreign policy they promote, ends up violating any number of commandments).

      In this way, conservatives are the ones who successfully ‘reformed’ the culture of the nation, creating a purely corporatist, religious-fanatic, lock-step, militaristic, consumeristic sea of clones. Prior to the raygun ‘revolution’, there still was intellectual, cultural, musical, artistic, literary innovation in this land, and not everything we did was immediately co-opted by the consumerist ‘free market’.

      This ideological ‘reform’ was exemplified by the overwhelming knee-jerk popularity for the Iraq war. So you see, the cultural ‘reformers’ were the conservatives, who don’t like change.

      As we need to reverse conservative tax cuts for billionaires, and conservative rape of roadless areas, and conservative rollback of endangered species laws (ironically put in place by a conservative), we need to also reverse the conservative war on the counterculture, and bring back diversity, culture, creativity and human ideals, not conservative religious and corporatist ones.

      The ‘reform’ of which I speak is merely to bring back the ‘revolution in values’ that Dr. King. Spoke about, before the conservatives put an end to all that.

      Tough love? More like tough law: No more deregulating environmental protection, no more teaching religious absurd creationism in schools which are there to teach knowledge, not ‘faith’, no more denying human-induced climate change, no more preaching absurdity that humans overlapped with the age of dinosaurs, no more insane gun-addicts insisting the public has access to the most dangerous military firearms, no more defunding the arts, no more privatizing schools, no more letting conservatives lock up potsmokers for life in privatized prisons, no more torturing, no more manufactured false-flag invasions, no more illegal wiretapping, no more vote-rigging, no more lobbyists for the corporate class, no more deregulating banks. NO MORE!

      Indeed any laws put in place to ‘reign them in’ will just be opportunity for conservatives to find new ways around them (see the Corporation), but it’s a start!

      About ‘watching the watchmen’ and integrity, indeed we have had a few, I supported Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader who demonstrate long lives of profound personal integrity in service of the public good, and BTW I’m no Democrat. If people cared about integrity in government, they would have supported, not marginalized these two.

      This is not a debate on which party is better, they are clearly completely in cahoots. But there is no excuse for letting the conservatives get away with the truly dangerous policies they’ve promoted these past 40 years, and people who can actually think with their brains, not their bibles or their guns, should be outraged at what ‘conservatives’ have gotten away with, regardless of prior affiliation.

      I’m sooo sick of arguing with these false incurable vampires who call themselves ‘conservatives’! Where are the good people??? (sorry Lo, but it’s enough with conservatives who say that rolling back the stifling, selfish, destructive, dogmatic evil of the conservatism that’s so messed everything up, is akin to Stalinism & McCarthyism simultaneously).

  5. I’ll disagree with natureboy.

    You say you can’t trust individuals to make the “correct, humanistic choice”, yet, who are you going to employ in the government to dictate what is the “correct” choice and what is humanistic? INDIVIDUALS. The difference between this society and one where there is centralized planning is that, in a society with (relatively) small government, irresponsibility by the G-Men is less likely to create a catastrophe; there’s less collateral. If you concentrate the power to a select few up top, the odds are greater that they will make a mistake, and, what’s worse, it will effect a whole lot more people if we give the government monarch-esque powers.

    That is the reason I believe in small(er) government.

    Look at the revolving door of idiotic politicians that we have in the United States. Look at Congress’s approval ratings in the past dozen years. Look at the kooks from both parties. Can you tell a Democrat from another Democrat? Or a Republican from another Republican? Ask yourself: are these the type of people that we want having large amounts of power at the top of government?

    I know your situation would only work given politicians with integrity. But, if such a dream were to come true, I’d advocate full on Despotism provided we had a leader who was, unequivocally, the greatest leader ever, and preached Enlightenment values. But, barring that (this man would have to be a demigod), I’ll take my liberty.

    • Wasn’t it ‘small government’ Bush who said it would be easier if he were dictator?

      Nobody likes government, nor taxes. Anarchists are often for banning both. The idea that ‘conservative’ republicans have a lock on reducing taxes and government is part of their arrogance (especially when they spend more on the military than all developed nations combined in corporate welfare to the MIC, so how is that ‘small government’?).

      Indeed individuals are the key point if centralizing policy is to be the path we take. But democratically centralized power requires fair elections, and the rule of law, which the ‘individuals’ in power of the last 8 years didn’t exactly abide, so moral of the story, regulate them even more, since power corrupts, and prosecute and impeach when they violate the law!

      But we know all too well that individuals can be completely deranged, and often those who seek power are more deranged than most, hence trust least those who seek authority.

      It’s quite telling that of all congress, only Dennis Kucinich wrote bills to impeach. He could of course be the very best ‘good king’ we could have, and undoubtedly the first thing he’d do is rebuild democracy.

      All isms aside, the founders weren’t always right, and one of their gravest errors was the ‘commander in chief’ role of presidents. Over and over we are shown that warmongering by presidents is a disaster, our greatest disaster, undoubtedly a nostalgia on the part of the founders for their king.

      Usually it’s the ultra-rightists, the Ron Paulists and the idea of ‘states rights’ who advocate for less government regulation. Why? So they can deregulate the rape of resources, period.

      That’s not gonna work. Conservatives are forever the ones who want to be left alone to rape the earth, blow away animals for the fun of the kill, and be left to buy assault-rifles for the fun of guns (the 1st amendment excuse is a complete farce, they like guns because they like to kill things), regardless of how many school shootings, or how many people get slaughtered in Binghamton or Columbine.

      Conservatives are also the ones obsessed with defense, who created this massive government expense machine which spends 54% of our revenue on weapons of war when there’s no credible threat of invasion. That’s big government on steroids.

      Americans are not a peaceful, enlightened breed. They love to log old trees for the machismo of it, they love to kill for the trophy, they are obsessed with their frontier mentality cowboy cult of red-stated bible cult, and believe they have a ‘states right’ to devastate anything on the land they feel they own, and promote the devastation of public lands regardless of need (clearcutting in the Tongass National Forest, ‘drill baby drill’). They promote policies that are anathema to peace and the common good, sponsor dangerous international arrogance and militaristic and environmental and economic abuse.

      No, you cannot trust them, and this is not an opinion, as William Blum in his other works so aptly points out. The USA needs to be reigned in, its culture completely reformed, its guns removed from the little boys who love to shoot things (they’ll invade Mexico before restricting access to the assault rifles and handguns Mexicans smuggle from Texan gun dealers, who are no doubt thrilled with the business).

      Only when the people of the USA evolve, or are taught, by ‘tough love’ if necessary, that greed is not god, that guns are not good, that war is not just, that consumerism and capitalism has obviously not been all it’s cracked up to be– only then when Americans become human again, can they be trusted.

      But until then, legislate them to smithereens, or every last remaining old growth tree will be sawed, every last endangered species will be killed, every remaining bit of coal, oil and gas will be burned in a great honorary pyre to consumption, and every possible resource exploited because apparently ‘god’ said this place was ours to destroy.

      Remember this was a nation built by slaves, and so bent on preserving that 4-centuries crime were americans that the whole hideous malaria-infested swamp of the South revolted and seceded and had to be forced to join the ranks of the living at gunpoint (not that I advocating burning down the rednecks and the banks, but regulate them and force them to be civil we must, because once again, they obviously can’t be trusted).

      Indeed you can’t trust individuals, that is why we have checks and balances, which is a good idea, until CONSERVATIVES under Cheney take it all apart, rig the courts, rig the elections, and rig the wars. This is why they must be further regulated, tried, convicted and made examples of.

      Yes, reduce government, but not by making monarchy or removing restrictions on greed and abuse, instead nullify the military and the 300 bases around the globe (and while we’re at it, just outlaw and incarcerate all right-wing conservatives… just kidding!)

  6. Any number of other examples can be given of how alike the foreign policies of the Bush and Obama administrations are, how little, if any, change has occurred; certainly nothing of any significance.

    This is what people say, but still I ‘hope’, (after all he’s not Botch). If Blum says it, I’m getting really depressed… because he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

    Anyway, all political ideology and foreign policy aside, about labor:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

    https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/stimulator-spring-of-rage-the-take-2004-naomi-klein/

  7. This guy should be writing history books for schools:

    The idea that the US intervention in the Salvadoran civil war stemmed from a desire to bring democracy to the country is so breathtaking in its audacity that it’s conceivable the Post editorial writer is suffering from early-stage Alzheimer’s; it’s wholly comparable to saying that the Apartheid regime of South Africa strove to increase harmony and equality between blacks and whites

    • Great point about Blum writing history textbooks. History is one of the most poorly taught subjects in American schools (I also think Math and Science are poorly taught).

  8. I love, love, love William Blum.
    What a good person, what a smart, literate, intelligent, well-informed historian, the real deal.

    Somehow, however, I fear we must come to terms with the democratic desires of the populace of the USA. They don’t want any kind of centralized plan (at least until ‘capitalism fails’ and socialism bails them out).

    What the people want, I suspect, is a complete abdication of the common good. What they want is the opportunity to be the ‘f~~~er’ not the ‘f~~~ee’.

    And they want free, unfettered, Laissez faire reign to do this, at the expense of everyone and everything else (actually what they want is a job, where they don’t have to think much, and they can get enough to get obese and consume on, but this is concerning the ‘thinkers’ on the preeminent right wing)

    Not to generalize, but we need to deal with the reality here: It’s a selfish, backward, obese, anti-intellectual, conservative, megachurched society of gambling-addicted miscreants, and the sort of freedom and liberty the nation was founded on is in reality the last thing they need.

    The conservatives are wrong, you cannot trust individuals to make the correct humanistic choice, any more than you can trust free-enterprise to police itself.

    Sorry folks, but as much as Stalinism was proven completely corrupt, so has now capitalism and free-enterpirse, and conservatism and republicans.

    REGULATE THEM TO SMITHEREENS, and repent that you didn’t do it sooner.

  9. I, as a liberal (in the Founding Fathers/John Locke sense of the word), think that those “super-Americans” who decry any and all regulation as “socialism” as, well, idiots. I think that there are things that should be regulated, and things that shouldn’t. Trade between two companies? Can’t be regulated. The drug industry? Absolutely must be regulated.

    You can’t see regulation as a black and white issue, otherwise, you may become blind. I’m sure you should thank the FDA for making sure your drugs don’t kill you (and even if drugs are FDA approved, they still can kill you!).

    • Regulation is easy, if it’s dangerous or harmful or unfair or unjust, regulate it.

      But my question per the times today to leapsecond (if your questions were IQ tests, I’d be a dunce):

      A group of scientists will be sitting around the cafeteria, and one will idly wonder if there is an integer where, if you take its last digit and move it to the front, turning, say, 112 to 211, it’s possible to exactly double the value.

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