Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Take Your (Tiny) Fingers Off the Button

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Once upon a time, long ago in another universe, the end of the world was left in the hands of the gods, not human beings. Today, however, humanity, in its curious ingenuity, has managed to come up with two ways of destroying itself, as well as the very habitat that welcomed and nourished it all these eons. For the first of these, two dates suffice: August 6th and 9th, 1945.  read more

Associated Press Associates Itself With War

Robert Burns and Matthew Pennington of the Associated Press tell us:

“U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is visiting the Korean Peninsula at a momentous juncture in the faltering effort to persuade Pyongyang to halt and dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Ominous questions hang in the air.”

Why momentous? North Korea has in the past been successfully so persuaded. And it’s subsequently been antagonized and threatened until it recommenced. This has gone on for decades, while it’s been 64 read more

Vocabulary of ‘Veterans’ Day’

As the United States gears up for its annual mourning orgy for dead U.S. soldiers, there are some words and terms that are bandied about, that are meant to either comfort the survivors, lighten the impact of U.S. war-making, or possibly both. We will take a few moments to look at three of them.

  • Fallen Soldier: how benign! A ‘fallen soldier’! So much more pleasant than the truth: a dead man or woman; a son or daughter, mother or father, brother, sister, friend, etc. is dead. He or she has been blown to bits in some foreign country where the poor victim had no business being, but joined the ‘service’ (see below), to uphold the U.S. Constitution, protect the border, maintain national security, or so they were told. They were never advised of the real reason: protecting corporate interests by strengthening U.S. power around the world. And now they are dead, rotting in a grave, sacrificed on the altar of the almighty dollar.
  • Gold Star Family, and its variations: Gold Star Mother or Father. This is another gentle term to describe the family of the dead soldier. A gap now exists in the family; this could be a beloved brother or sister that is now forever missing, and/or a mother or father, which can never be replaced, or husband or wife, who will never be forgotten. But let’s not discuss such unpleasantness; wave the flag at the Gold Star family a few times a year, put hand on heart as a tear comes to the eye, and then forget them and the unending grief they feel for a lost loved one. And, of course, continue to ‘support the troops’ by sending more of them to early graves.
  • Service: We have saved the best for last. The U.S. government has skillfully convinced the U.S. citizen-lemmings of a new definition of service. First, let’s look at a definition found quickly by doing an online search: “Service: the action of helping or doing work for someone”. That, to this writer’s mind, is a good, concise definition of ‘service’. The U.S. government, however, has been able to convince the populace that when they enter into a legal agreement with the United States, and are stripped of many of their basic rights, then sent to foreign lands to kill the people living there, it is ‘service’. It is ‘service’ to operate a drone in the U.S., target people one has never seen in person, and kill them, often killing those around them. It is ‘service’ to break into homes at all hours of the day and night, terrorize and interrogate the people living there, and then arrest all the males over the age of 12.  One supposes that in a very broad sense, this could be seen as helping ‘someone’, since the U.S. Supreme Court has declared corporations to be people (does not EVERYONE see this as totally bizarre?). And certainly, the work that soldiers often die doing serves corporate America.
  • Also, the actions described above could be seen as ‘doing work for someone’. U.S government officials don’t want to dirty their own hands, so they get young citizens to do their dirty work for them.

But at least, one might say, they are highly regarded by the government for this so-called ‘service’. Well, no.  We will look at just a few examples from history.

On August 4 of 1964, U.S. ships patrolling read more

Focus: New Probes of Russian Uranium Deal and FBI Clinton email investigation – Oct 24, 2017

Tomgram: John Feffer, The Real Disuniting of America

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Stop thinking of this country as the sole superpower or the indispensable nation on Earth and start reimagining it as the great fracturer, the exceptional smasher, the indispensable fragmenter.  Its wars of the twenty-first century are starting to come home big time — home being not just this particular country (though that’s read more

UVA’s Miller Center Plans Three Days of Russophobia

Even as some Democrats are at long last growing frustrated with the lack of actual evidence for the past several months of stories about Russia stealing a U.S. election, Russiagate has penetrated so deeply that Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations has declared Russia’s alleged crimes to be acts of war. That Russia’s fictional actions being warfare would read more

Where the New York Times Fails to Understand War

Let’s read a New York Times editorial from Monday:

“The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories. While the number of men and women deployed overseas has shrunk considerably over the past 60 years, the military’s reach has not. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but read more

Tomgram: Erik Edstrom, Teaching Revisionist History 101 at West Point

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, a former businessman who had helped run companies into the ground, he was widely considered ill-prepared for the presidency, out of his depth, a lightweight in a heavyweight world. Still, having won the Republican nomination and then a uniquely read more