Boots on the Ground, Bombs From the Air: Vietnam to Syria: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby (Or Have You)

US / Syria Conflict

The music never stops when it comes to the U.S. war machine. The exceptional nation invokes R2P (Responsibility to Protect), or claims it’s upholding treaties and alliances, or reassures an uneasy public it’s keeping the enemy du jour away from our shores (domino theory). In the sixties, President Johnson used all three justifications but finally settled on the domino theory as his go-to argument for blunting the cries of anti-war opponents. “Without our support…Vietnam will collapse and the ripple effects will be felt throughout Southeast Asia and India…Indonesia and the Philippines.” That meme has been updated and in the twenty-first century version, hawks on both sides of the aisle speak darkly of withdrawal in Syria giving new life to the terrorism threat posed by Iran, Russia (where would we be without the international Communist conspiracy) and Israel’s favorite enemy Hezbollah. What does withdrawing 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria really signify? Judge for yourself. 170,000 U.S. troops ring the globe in at least 80 countries (that we know about). 40,000 of those troops are on classified missions and it’s anybody’s guess where they are. Which brings us right back to wondering if the Syrian troop withdrawal is all it’s cracked up to be. The democrats think so and they’re steamed. Here’s Nancy Pelosi, indignation jets open to full throttle: “…a decision…made in a cavalier fashion…a decision that is dangerous.” Do the mistakes and missteps in Vietnam have anything to teach us 50 years later as the U.S. finds itself facing an even bigger quagmire all over Asia and Africa? Read “Boots on the Ground, Bombs from the Air: Vietnam to Syria: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby (Or Have You) and see if you can make heads or tails of it.

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How Many Presidents Lied Their Way into the White House and Beyond

Presidential Liars
“There are a generation of Americans whose instinctive reaction to a public statement is that it is false.” Frank Mankiewicz, national coordinator for the McGovern campaign, diagnosed the cancer in the U.S. body politic in1972. Trouble is forty-six years later Americans find themselves on the horns of the same dilemma. The demands of a phony national security crisis created the surveillance state and before you could say WTF led to historic invasions of privacy by U.S. leaders whose “arrogance of power” (Hannah Arendt) is matched only by their lack of morals. Turns out that most of the presidents Americans consider their best, the likes of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and LBJ have another trait in common. They are serial liars whose careers have been marked by their uneasy relationship with the truth. In a bizarre twist one president, himself a consummate liar, stepped up to pinpoint the perils of a lying secret government. “When information which properly belongs to the public is systematically withheld by those in power, the people soon become ignorant of their own affairs, distrustful of those who manage them and —eventually—incapable of determining their own destinies.” (President Richard Nixon, March 8, 1972). Want to know how virtually all U.S. presidents have used lies and secrecy to delude the public on a range of issues, how innumerable costly and deadly wars have started on the basis of big, fat presidential lies, take a gander at our latest “How Many U.S Presidents Lied Their Way into the White House and Beyond? All of Them!”

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BREAKING NEWS: Santa Claus Skips Town. Excessive Debt Blamed

Santa Claus Bankruptcy

Average Americans buying into the fairy tale that the economy is hunky-dory. A bought-and-paid-for media deluding Americans with visions of a healthy economy exemplified by a booming stock market (84% of stocks are owned by wealthy oligarchs) rising wages (swallowed up by rising inflation) and an upsurge in consumer confidence (based on phony statistics). Nothing to fear, go out and spend, spend, spend. Who can forget President Bush after 9/11 urging Americans to do what Americans do best —spend. That’ll show the terrorists we mean business. Ridiculous, huh? But American consumers are drinking the hemlock. This holiday season promises to be a blockbuster carrying a $1 trillion price tag. The oligarchs thank you for your generosity, retail shareholders rake in the dough and average Americans —what’s in it for them? An avalanche of bills. What’s wrong with this picture? Read “BREAKING NEWS: Santa Claus Skips Town. Excessive Debt Blamed” for a possible answer.

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American Bloodbath: Perpetual War Abroad, Mass Killings at Home

End Wars

People mowed down worshipping at a synagogue, kids murdered in school, churchgoers fleeing certain death, unimaginable loss of life at nightclubs and concerts, police violence adding to the carnage on city streets. Life in 21st century America is risky business. It’s not just guns, although with 265 million in circulation, wing nuts of every political persuasion can vent their rage and hostility on an unsuspecting public. But we ignore at our peril the contribution of U.S. foreign policy, where making war outruns diplomacy, threats and sanctions replace strategic policy-making and sky-high military budgets enable the colossus to maintain at least 800 military bases world-wide and carry on 7 wars simultaneously. Where will it end? Read “American Bloodbath: Perpetual War Abroad, Mass Killings at Home” for a possible answer.

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Up To Your Eyeballs In Student Loans? Stuck In a Minimum Wage Job? Afraid to Get Sick?

Welcome to Life in Exceptional America

American Exceptionalism

Birth to death in the American imperium. If it were a play, most of us would be done for by the second act. Behold in act one the risky and expensive business of giving birth and the budget-busting costs of daycare. Act two features a generation of education moguls getting rich while U.S. children get a second-class education. Act three spotlights even more massive debt, helped along by spiraling education costs, sky-high student debt and a job market of mainly part-time, minimum wage, contingent jobs with zero pensions. The epilogue completes the rout: the “golden” years tarnished by bipartisan support for entitlement reform, which turns out to be a naked attempt to screw the vast majority of Americans out of the benefits they worked their entire lives to earn. Life in exceptional America has a long tail of discouragement, debt, and despair. Why then do we stand in reverent silence, head gear removed, hand over heart as the Star-Spangled Banner is sung? One place you won’t find a comforting answer is in: "Up to Your Eyeballs In Student Loans? Stuck In a Minimum Wage Job? Afraid to Get Sick? Welcome to Life in Exceptional America."

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Joe Biden: The kind of Leader the U.S. Doesn’t Need

Joe Biden

“Is this a dagger which I see before me… a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain…” it’s not really Macbeth’s preternatural visions that keep us awake at night, is it? It’s the real-life vision of the leadership crisis in the U.S. As the 2020 presidential sweepstakes begin in earnest on November 7, and democratic hopefuls dash to the microphones to parse bad behavior with excuses, defenses, and lies, Joe Biden, fresh off his vice-presidential labors, resurfaces for yet another presidential run (he hasn’t made it to the finish line two times before). In the tradition of the last few crappy presidents, his inauguration would guarantee four more years of “same old, same old. The oligarchs would have another friend in high places. What has Joe been doing since his first election 46-years ago? Let’s see —for openers, screwing tens of millions of indebted young Americans out of millions of dollars in order to land a cushy job for his son with a grateful bank, insuring that an unqualified, right wing nominee got a seat on the Supreme Court, using his political muscle to further enrich his already fabulously wealthy major donors, the big banks — that’s the real Joe Biden. Not the charlatan who rewrote history: “there are some things worth losing over” while he did his best to ban busing as a federal remedy for segregated public schools. His home boys, the likes of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, couldn’t have found themselves in better company. The clay feet of this “leader” are easy to spot. If you want to know why people like Joe Biden (and there are numerous Biden clones roaming the halls of Congress) should not apply for the job of president of the exceptional nation, don’t wait too long to read “Joe Biden: The Kind of Leader the U.S. Doesn’t Need.”

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Bezos Sticks It to Amazon Workers: Minimum Wage Up, Earnings Down

Make Amazon Pay

Here’s a headline grabber: “Richest varmit in the world breaks arm patting himself on the back for raising wages of his workers.” Fake news? Consider the facts: the reigning king of U.S. oligarchs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, announces what purports to be a historic income boost for workers. Operating on the principle that perception is the only reality that counts, he makes sure to get lots of media coverage. It works like a charm. Eager to change the subject from economic inequality to keeping their jobs, a bi-partisan group of politicians aren’t about to second guess a prospective campaign donor even one as soulless as Amazon’s boss. When will our “see no evil, hear no evil” elected leaders hear the voices of outraged workers at the mercy of corporate moguls who promise the moon but deliver “smoke and mirrors?” Seems like the only cure for the lopsided U.S. economic system is to reduce the incentives for bad behavior on the part of the captains of industry. Congress and the president have the power to make workers’ lives so much better. Care to make a bet on how likely they are to do it? Read “Bezos Sticks It to Amazon Workers: Minimum Wage Up, Earnings
” before betting the ranch.

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A Country Afraid of its 3-Year-Olds is Approaching Insanity


Holy cow, is it criminal insanity or just business as usual in the exceptional nation? Judge for yourself. What benighted theory of child development directs the U.S. education bureaucracy to wage war on 3 and 4-year-old preschoolers? For what heinous crimes? A gun hidden in their onesies? Not quite. Just a bunch of little kids suspended or even expelled for doing what little kids do best: annoying the hell out of their caregivers. Rambunctious behavior, temper tantrums, defiance —used to be a case of kids being kids. Not any more if you live in the empire. The screws are tightening, the vise-like grip of repression holds our smallest, most vulnerable, predominantly children of color, to the zero tolerance policies of a fearful nation. Easy as one, two, three. Discipline them for infractions they are too young to comprehend, label them as “troublemakers,” punish them with suspensions or expulsions when they fail to “reform.” Frontier justice—tried, convicted and sentenced. Due process need not apply. Problem solved. It’s not really about education, is it? Running out of countries to devastate, the U.S. turns inward to find easier targets. At last, a war the greatest military on earth can win. To read the shocking details, don’t miss “A Country Afraid of its 3-Year-Olds is Approaching Insanity.

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She Spoke, He Bellowed… The Democrats Have Only Themselves to Blame for This Mess

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat what hath the past wrought? Dial back a few years to November 4, 2008. Obama was elected president that day. His base —union workers who needed to kick start organizing drives, middle and working class Americans who needed a fix to growing inequality, poor, disabled and elderly Americans trying to hold onto their meager benefits, and all Americans hungering for universal healthcare (like most of the unexceptional world)— thought they had won the lottery. “

Yes we can,” he promised in campaign mode. The bloom came off the rose when the tune in the White House changed to “I’d better not.” Democrats have long memories. Eight years later when Obama tried to hand the baton of leadership to Clinton, his base responded “No, we won’t” vote for four more years of an Obama clone. Deciding that Donald J. Trump was the lesser evil, they voted with their feet (didn’t vote) and with their choice (not-Clinton). The downside —Trump won with all the attendant misery that caused. Last week’s spectacle, a side-effect of victory, —eleven Republican men bent on reshaping the Supreme Court in their misshapen image —didn’t come out of the blue. Echoes of Democratic failure are all over that looming catastrophe. Read “She Spoke, He Bellowed…The Democrats Have Only Themselves to Blame For This Mess” to find out the true extent of their culpability.

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U.S. Drug Prices Are Too Damn High

Leaping Lizards, have you ever seen such a swindle? Profits sky-high in the $3.5 trillion U.S. no-care health industry. Drug companies, in particular, getting away with murder (sometimes literally) making off with three-quarters of a trillion dollars of that pot of gold. What are the American people getting? If your answer is ripped off, you’re on your way to understanding how drug company profits are forcing millions of Americans to choose between their meds and food on the table. But wait it’s a lot more complicated than that. Thanks to an indifferent government that lets the vast marketing machine known as the drug industry hook you with lying promises their drugs will make you healthy, wealthy and wise, half of Americans take two or more drugs every day. Do you know what the drug companies do when a new drug gets “hot?” Raise the price, in some cases 1,000% or more. In the absence of regulatory agencies overseeing this larcenous bunch, who’s really guarding the hen house? The foxes of course — In this case the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) charged with overseeing the health and well-being of the American public. Instead they appear to be the official cheerleaders for the profit-hungry drug companies. In one instance, they greenlighted a drug that had already caused hundreds of deaths but promised to be a blockbuster for the drug maker (cost: a whopping $48.00/tablet). Then there’s that merry band of gougers, grifters, and knuckleheads we euphemistically call our elected representatives in a congress whose supine, cowardly inaction gives “the price gouging and tax dodging [of the drug industry] a veneer of legitimacy,” That’s how it goes in the empire. Plan on skipping dinner if you dare to read “U.S. Drug Prices Are Too Damn High.”

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