The Democratic Party has become the party of permanent war, fueling massive military spending which is hollowing out the country from the inside and flirting with with nuclear war.
The Pentagon strategy of putting a military facility or contractor in every Congressional district in the country is brilliant. Congresscritters know, without even being lobbied, that cutting the military budget will cost their constituents jobs and lead to an abrupt end to their time in office.
Personally, I'm particularly worried about the state of our public infrastructure. Bridges, roads and tunnels are in decrepit shape making them dangerous for all travelers and freight haulers. IIRC, engineers have estimated it would take over $2 trillion to bring our existing infrastructure into compliance with accepted safety standards.
Neglect of our electric grid is already causing preventable deaths and damage counted in the billions. At the same time we are encouraging a transition to electric vehicles that will further stress the grid.
Without a radical, even revolutionary, change in priorities, we are surely screwed. The quotes Chris includes about militarism being the end of empires is especially relevant.
Y'all stay safe out there.
“Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.”
-Bob Dylan, Masters of War
That last paragraph is so poignant for me personally. You know you’re in a society of denial and avoidance when stating basic facts about your country’s budget at totally appropriate intervals turns you into a party pooper pariah. It makes sense that people who fear evil are also unable to look at it closely~within as well.
And since it’s Christmas Day, do you all remember the feeling when your best friend no longer wanted to be your friend when you gently told him Santa wasn’t real? Yeah, there were kids who will unfriend you and kids who would go ask their parents for the truth. The latter are our truth seekers. We need to nurture this personality as much as possible because, clearly, our society has a deficit here.
Thank you, Chris for framing the big picture in a way that isolates the inescapable truth of the last 35 years.
“...Since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its discretionary budget on past, current and future military operations.”
The oligarchs are discovering that their domestic propaganda program doesn’t extend to the countless sovereign nations they sought to dupe. And sadly, it looks to be left to the victims and witnesses to ungoverned imperialism to curb the behavior of the murderous bully. The American public is in an impenetrable bubble, and until its material reality is upturned, it will happily wear blinders and recite the creed it has been fed.
Anyone who refers to Arnold Toynbee is someone who should be taken seriously.
The 1980s elevated the military orgy by at least one order of magnitude, and probably two. Reagan's massive military buildup was the greatest threat to life on this planet since the Cuban Missile Crisis. (How incredible that you have to go all the way back to the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs to find a comparable disaster.) It has never ended. There never was a Peace Dividend. Instead, Clinton's Democrats sold out to the corporations that push war as the sole national enterprise, aside from prisons and cops. Hedges has seen firsthand what those billions have wrought.
Coming of age in the 80s, I remember Carl Sagan and the Federation of American Scientists noting with alarm that the vast majority of science and engineering college graduates during that time were sucked up by the military-industrial complex. So much treasure went into "cost-plus contracts" to build expensive WunderWaffen that didn't work. SDI/Star Wars was the poster child of this. And Star Wars never went away.
The United States has been functionally bankrupt for decades. As infrastructure falls apart, and covid and the diseases that follow from its immune destruction mount, will we return to a Middle Ages serfdom of disease and filth? A large fraction of Americans already live that life.
Both Team R and Team D are the War Party, although Team D rhetoric features more self-serving and hypocritical human rights talk, while Team R talks more of naked aggression.
For its part, Team R does appear to tolerate slightly more dissent from the Forever Wars, at least when they are out of the White House and as long as the dissent doesn't actually threaten to accomplish anything. Team D demands absolute fealty.
The warmongering Democrats are used to spewing their logical fallacies, and they are used to no one calling them out. Their parents apparently never did. These morons, who spend much of their time calling people 'right wingers', are apparently too dumb to realize being a warmonger is right wing. Sorry violent Dems, melting the flesh off of brown people in the 3rd world, via drone strikes and missile raids, is not 'progressive.'
This underscores the modern climate, assisted by social media, of being in favor of eatablishment doctrine, and not principles. Dems and Pubs support their leaders, regardless of what they do. A real, mature adult, is not loyal to any man, woman or party. He or she is loyal only to his or her principles. Period. The Pubs called Obama a Commie while he was a right wing, war industry puppet. Trump violated the Constitution, and jacked the deficit over $1 trillion; he was a socialist. These and his big government philosophy were as 'Commie' as anything Obama did.
The military complex is based on socialism/big government spending. They get their handouts and the taxpayers pay. The pharma industry is the same. The military industry is a bloated, bulging socialistic appendix, ready to burst. Anyone so stupid as to call one 'unpatriotic' for not supporting a big government racket for foreign countries, should not be voting and should likely question his or her citizenship. Yes not supporting Ukraine is unpatriotic; apparently some morons think Ukraine is a U.S. state.
People cannot or choose not to think critically, and I believe this is partly due to the increasingly juvenile behavior of 'adults.' Denying facts that make one's party/ideology look bad is not adult behavior. It's also weak. Anyone who labels one a Putin puppet, or conspiracy theorist, just for disagreeing, is more non-adult behavior. Hey kids, remember calling people names in grade school? Sound familiar? The Twitter and other online worlds are asylums for children, running their mouths, who have to be right, all the time, no matter what.
Destroying the world at the behest of War Profiteers for 60 years - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/26/vietnam-wars-napalm-girl-kim-phuc-has-laser-treatment-to-heal-wounds
Absent from most discussions of the bloated military budget is the carbon footprint of the Department of Defense, which surpasses that of nearly 140 countries. Nevertheless, Congress exempted the DoD from the Kyoto treaty to curb greenhouse-gas emissions — even before it refused to ratify the accord.
And, in December 2021, Biden exempted the military from his executive order mandating a reduction in carbon emissions throughout the federal government, even though, since 2001, the military has accounted for 77% to 80% of federal energy use.
As for who most benefits from the runaway military budgets, in addition to politicians and those whose paychecks are linked to military programs, it is the major stock index funds — BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street — which together are the majority institutional owners U.S. weapons manufacturers.
THERE IS NO VISION
That the smug Ivy Dem elite considers itself a "meritocracy" must not require knowing history. This Best and Brightest (Halberstam) 2.0 is on the same March of Folly (Tuchman) that produced such splendid results in Vietnam. But wait--there's more! Look how new and improved! Many more places plus a waaay bigger budget!
Never mind that makes everything domestic a side issue. Never mind that a classic definition of neurosis is repeating the same mistakes over and over, yet hoping for a different outcome.
Shows how intellectually and morally bankrupt the current Dem party is. They cannot imagine alternatives to terminally ill market fetishism, so they keep trying to reset it through the defibrillators of war. The American working class, and increasingly the rest of the planet, viewed only as economic cannon fodder. The natural world and human lives merely things to be sacrificed to keep artificial corporate persons alive.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Only Two years BEFORE the Jan 6 capitol-crumbling raid, Pelosi had a premonition:
"I have said to people when they ask me, if this capitol crumbled to the ground the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid, and i don't even call it aid, our cooperation with israel. That is fundamental to who we are."
How odd. Pelosi, an avowed catholic, evoking evangelical end times war language? How odd.
The endless war economy is a propaganda and policy success, with bigger budgets automatically given year in and out, no debate needed. No austerity hand-wringing. No moral hazard arguments. Totally bipartisan in scope. There’s no effective opposition. All in a country that is, wink-wink, not at war. Insane.
Jeffrey Sachs has it pegged --- "The Quiet American Empire" is employing sophisticated, subtle, and smooth propaganda to great effect in this contrived proxy-war through comedian Volodymyr Zelensky.
Of course the Democratic Party -- of the two duopoly American parties --- is the consummate 'War Starter' of both the First World War of Empires and the Second World War of Empires --- and will try to ignite in a Third World War of Empire's Winning.
IMHO, while Chris Hedges has rightly stated that "The Greatest Evil is War" --- I would posit that the proximate and seminal 'cause' of WAR -- and perhaps all Wars retrospectively -- is "Empire-Thinking", which might be well be called, in this age of post-nuclear war, the Kryotron 'Slapper-Switch' in actually starting the very Last World War.
My fear is that with militarized police and all the build up, I mean they just arrested people who were peacefully demonstrating against a large police training grounds in Atlanta. They will turn their guns on us like they did during Kent State. We have to be willing to die like a soldier, if we are going to turn this country around.
What is the recipe for "un-cowing" the citizenry so they demand accountability? Like - on the micro level - that citizenry that rises up in school board meetings protesting against the academic, art and special needs funds be siphoned off and funneled into the school football team?What is the recipe for "un-cowing" the Progressive Caucus who collapse the minute the Presidential finger wags at it?
One manner in which the faux patriotism needed to support the military and its profiteering excursions is created and nurtured is through the unholy enmeshing of the U.S. military into college and professional sports.
Thunderous fighter jets in formation swooshing low over stadiums and coaches wearing hoodies and other clothing in the army's basic olive/sand color instead of school or franchise colors for games have been common for years. I saw a game the other night in which three or four coaches, all wearing apparel in the basic color of today's military, were in the frame and I couldn't tell what team they were on until the camera panned out and I could see the players uniforms.
It's all to show the military in a positive light, a force for good in the world. We're all in it together, just one, big militant family. rallying around a simple game. Except the reality of the harm that the military/industrial complex does around the world tells another tale. If they can just keep us distracted enough, disinterested enough...