Who are the expedient ones?

14 February 2010 by

Jim Davidson takes on the cults of personality, the war mongers in libertarian clothing, and the death industry. Again.

About the campaign for “liberty” is found here:

The Libertarian Enterprise

Who wants war?

9 December 2009 by

The short answer is: death merchants like General Electric, Halliburton, Westinghouse, Lockheed, Boeing, etc.

Ron Paul asks the same question.

    One has to ask, if the people who elected these leaders so obviously do not want these wars, who does? Eisenhower warned of the increasing power and influence of the military industrial complex and it seems his worst fears have come true. He believed in a strong national defense, as do I, but warned that the building up of permanent military and weapons industries could prove dangerous if their influence got out of hand. After all, if you make your money on war, peace does you no good. With trillions of dollars at stake, there is tremendous incentive to keep the decision makers fearful of every threat in the world, real or imagined, present or future, no matter how ridiculous and far-fetched. The Bush Doctrine demonstrates how very successful the war lobby was philosophically with the last administration. And they are succeeding just as well with this one, in spite of having the so-called “peace candidate” in office.

The war profiteers make money on the blood of dead women, children, and other non-combatants. The chief executive officers of these countries are covered in blood – it never touches them, but they are drowning in it.

Anti-war Tax

24 November 2009 by

The senator Carl Levin and the congress critter David Obey both want to add taxes to fund the war in Afghanistan, and presumably the one in Iraq, and any other war they come up with. John Murtha and Barney Frank seem to be agreeable to this idea. Of course, none of these cowardly scum is willing to have Congress declare war.

I have a modest proposal, instead. There are companies that profit from these wars. Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), Halliburton, Boeing, Lockheed, Blackwater, General Electric, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) – the list goes on and on. Check the second post on this WordPress blog to find a partial listing. Feel free to volunteer time to help update and extend that listing.

My modest proposal is to tax the cash of these companies 100%. Take all their ready money away from them. Also, tax their income 100%. If the war is so important to them, they can supply the war machine as non-profits. Also, tax their senior management and their directors and any stockholder owning more than 5% of the company by taking 100% of their incomes and 100% of their property. Let them become monks.

For example this guy: David J. Lesar

Take all his money. His home in Houston. All his assets. If he’s committed to the war effort, he’ll continue to work after being stripped of everything he owns. His salary was apparently $1.3 million in 2007 and he made total compensation of something like $17 million that year, if I understand the wikipedia entry above.

There are hundreds of people like him working for the death merchant companies. They can give up all their wealth, all their property, everything they own. If they want the war to continue, it is on them, not us.

They gained the benefits from the first 8 years of the war (so far) and they can pay the costs of the next 8 years. And if they won’t consent to these terms, the USA government can send Predator drones to bomb their homes and slaughter their children, for a change.

How’s that sound?

We were soldiers once, and young

25 October 2009 by

It is a very sad film in many ways. Families are torn apart by distance, wounds, and death. A war torn country where the local population has fought against an oppressive colonial empire, an even more militaristic and oppressive Japanese empire, and a corrupt government with USA military advisors faces a new challenge. Americans see, for the first time, a pitched battle in Vietnam, with USA troops victorious.

At the end of the film, about four days of intense combat, the protagonist Harold Moore asks UPI reporter Joe Galloway to tell the American people what happened at the battle in Ia Drang valley in 1965. Sadly, the question of why those things happened never comes up.

We knew then, and we know now, that Vietnam never attacked the United States, not before the war, and not since. We knew then, or some did, that Ho Chi Minh had approached Woodrow Wilson’s staffer Mandell House in Versailles during the peace talks in an effort to gain American support for his war for independence from the French. The racists House and Wilson rebuked his advances – Wilson refused to see him. So Ho went to see the Soviets at the same conference.

In 1964, the American people were told about a dastardly attack on USA ships in international waters by forces of North Vietnam. However, the story was a lie. In 2005, the National Security Agency released documents establishing once and for all that the story was a lie. Since then, we’ve learned that then-president Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) laughingly told an aide in 1965 that the sailors on those ships were shooting at nothing but flying fish.

So the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie. There was never any attack on American ships. It didn’t happen.

Why was this lie told? Why were 58,159 American troops killed, 303,635 wounded, as many as two thousand missing, together with approximately 7.9 million others from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and other countries killed or wounded – why were all these people’s lives destroyed? Why?!

The answer is: money. LBJ got rich by investing in certain companies. Many, many others got rich by having contracts with the military to sell helicopters, ammo, weapons that jammed, artillery, jet fighters, bombers, bombs, and all the other accoutrement of war. Bureau-rats who reviewed contract proposals and picked carefully were rewarded after retirement with high paying jobs with the same death merchants they awarded huge contracts to.

Between 1965 and 1975, the USA spent about $111 billion on the Vietnam war. During most of those years, gold was $35 per ounce. For 1972, the average price was $58. For 1973, the average price was $97. For 1974, the average price was $159 and for 1975, $161.

A weighted average would better account for exactly how much LBJ, Nixon, and the others benefited, but the average of those eleven years is $65. The price of gold closed Friday at $1054.80. Or a bit more than 16 times the average price during the Vietnam war years. That gives us a figure of $1.8 trillion in today’s dollars. No, I won’t use the government’s figures for inflation – government lies got us into this mess.

Now, would you willingly slaughter or wound terribly seven million humans for about $2 trillion? I wouldn’t. But, very obviously, some people would – and did. Anything that has happened is possible.

And it wasn’t just possible once. It was possible again and again. Lies about the Taliban and lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were told in 2001 and 2003, and trillions of dollars have been spent. Somewhat fewer Americans have died in combat, so far, but the death toll still numbers in the thousands. The wounded troops number in the tens of thousands. And these are still life-changing, life-wrecking wounds.

The death toll of Afghans and Iraqis is harder to ascertain. The USA military knows, but they no longer release body counts. The National Reconnaissance Office knows quite certainly who is dead and who is wounded on every battlefield, but they don’t say. The figures are easily in the hundreds of thousands, possibly in the millions. We won’t know until the empire falls and the archives are opened.

But we know who benefits. We can follow the money. The people who benefit are not the soldiers, airmen, and sailors who give their lives and their blood on foreign soil. The people who benefit are not the foreigners who are militarily occupied, forced to submit to a corrupt puppet government.

The people who benefit are the death merchants and the evil men and women who invest in them. Are you evil?

Or is evil being done in your name, through your 401K or pension or retirement fund or mutual fund investments? Stop being evil.

Divest from the death merchants. Sell their stocks, send their stock prices to zero, make the government bail them out.

If we are to have this macabre farce, again, let it be with government owned and operated factories. Let there be no private investment in death, in war, in slaughter, in bombing schools and hospitals, in children being torn limb from limb, their tiny carcasses bleeding to death before their wailing parents.

Let the gruesome work be ended. Stop the wars. Divestment is effective.

Divestment helped end Jim Crow and it helped end apartheid. It can help end war.

If you understand why the USA goes to war with countries that have never invaded the USA, never attacked the USA, if you understand who benefits from these wars, then you’ll know what to do.

Divest from death.

War is (Still) a Racket

9 October 2009 by

Over seventy years ago, Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler wrote:

War is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Sadly, little has changed since Butler penned those words. America continues sending its soldiers into harm’s way, while the likes of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and General Dynamics (GD) continue raking in the dough. Of course, none of this war profiteering would be possible without politicians, whose job it is to trick the public into believing that war, or at least the current war, really is necessary, that if we don’t keep bombing all those defenseless Cambodians or Iraqis or Afghans, then somehow the world won’t be safe for democracy, somehow the things Americans most value will be jeopardized.

Our politicians don’t actually believe that wars will make the world a better place. They start wars, they send other people’s sons and daughters into harm’s way, because they themselves stand to profit. According to an April 2008 study by the Center for Responsive Politics, members of Congress have between $79 million and $196 million of their own money invested in defense firms. (Because lawmakers are “only required to report their assets in broad ranges,” the exact amount is unknown.) The Congressmen with the most money invested are:

• Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): $28,872,067 to $38,209,020
• Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): $12,081,050 to $49,140,000
• Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC): $9,232,037 to $37,105,000
• Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI): $5,207,668 to $7,612,653
• Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA): $2,684,050 to $6,260,000
• Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI): $2,469,029 to $8,360,000
• Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): $2,000,002
• Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI): $1,365,004 to $5,800,000

Not surprisingly, all of the above individuals are warmongers. All of them, for instance, voted for the Iraq War in 2002. (See Senate vote here, House vote here.)

Also not surprisingly, the above individuals receive money—lots and lots of money—from defense firms in the form of campaign contributions. For instance, Frelinghuysen’s top donor is Lockheed Martin, and four of Jane Harman’s top five donors are Northrop Grumman (NOC), Raytheon (RTN), Boeing (BA), and SAIC (SAI). The same is true of other congressional warmongers. If you don’t believe me, just go to OpenSecrets.org and look at all the money that such firms as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics have doled out over the years.

Now unless you’re a real idiot, it’s not tough to connect the dots here. Simply put, more war means more money for defense firms, which in turn means more money for members of Congress.

The answer to all this is, first of all, to get pissed, to get really pissed. I mean, let it all out. The system’s a fraud! You’re being used! Your sons and daughters are being sent out to die so a bunch of sleazy politicians can make a buck!

After you’ve gotten this out of your system, you need to do something about it. Follow Jim Davidson’s lead and divest from the death merchants. If you own stocks in any of these companies, sell them. If you have US Savings Bonds, cash them in. And, of course, do all you can to kick these sleazebags out of office.

And then tell others what’s going on. Blog about it, yell it out your window, whatever.

Look, I’m not exactly an optimist. I’m not saying we’re going to end the wars. But we at least have to try.

So much for “Don’t be Evil”

16 September 2009 by

Google gets in bed with big government.

Hat tip, Tom Knapp and Rational Review/news.

Do No Harm?

4 September 2009 by

Doctors swear an oath to do no harm to the people in their care. In Western tradition, this oath goes back to Hippocrates. It is meant to ensure that doctors act only in the best positive interests of their patients. But it doesn’t mean a thing to the doctors who work for the CIA.


    In April, a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross found that medical staff employed by the CIA had been present during waterboarding, and had even used what appeared to be a pulse oxymeter, placed on the prisoner’s finger to monitor his oxygen saturation during the procedure. The Red Cross condemned such activities as a “gross breach of medical ethics”. PHR has based its accusation of possible experimentation on the 2004 report of the CIA’s own inspector general into the agency’s interrogation methods, which was finally published two weeks ago after pressure from the courts.

The Guardian reports the above information at this link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/02/cia-usa

The group referenced above as PHR is Physicians for Human Rights. They argue that the CIA’s doctors are engaging in medical experimentation to see just how far they can torture people before they die or become unconscious. Obviously, the correct punishment for such behavior is to torture the doctors involved to the exact same extent, but without doctors present. (You wouldn’t want to have more doctors down the same path.) Since that won’t happen, perhaps preventing such doctors from ever practicing medicine, tattooing their war crime on their forehead for all future patients to see, or death by execution should be considered.

A press release from PHR is found here:

http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/news-2009-08-31-pr.html

Among other concerns they voice, “It is profoundly unsettling to learn of the central role of health professionals in laying a foundation for US government lawyers to rationalize the CIA’s illegal torture program.”

What can you do about it? Today you can sell any stocks you own which relate to companies selling or doing business with the CIA or the USA military. You can direct your pension fund or 401K manager to do the same.

Gold seems to be going up nicely. Perhaps you should sit out the current market mania and buy gold and silver with your money. Or gold mining stocks. Casey Research has plenty of good stock picks. We cannot advise you how to invest your money for best results, because only you know what is best for you. But there are plentiful alternatives to investments in companies that support torture, the slaughter of children, and the imperial death machine.

No Good Wars

4 September 2009 by

Bring the troops home from Germany and Japan – World War Two is over, and it was horrid.

Presenting the case that there are no good wars, Robert Higgs writes about World War Two on History News Network. Here is the link.

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/116246.html

Here is a brief excerpt.

    In this war, the belligerents plumbed new depths of depravity: operation of mass-destruction death camps, torture of every conceivable kind, terror bombing and other attacks systematically aimed at civilian populations, crowned by the gratuitous atomic bombing of two large, defenseless cities. I am aware that some people still defend some of these heinous actions, but in my mind nothing the war achieved can justify them. Indeed, I seriously doubt that anything can justify them. Yet such wanton, barbaric cruelties were deeply woven into the fabric of the war’s conduct from its earliest days. One is scarcely engaging in moral equivalence if one concludes that neither side represented “the good guys.” There was plenty of evil to go around.

There are no good wars. And it is long past time to bring the troops home. All of them. Let Europeans defend Europe. Let Japanese defend Japan.

Contagious Love

3 September 2009 by

I had an opportunity to meet Josh Stieber and Conor Curran. These two gentlemen are actually very gentle, kind, and considerate men.

You can read more about their ideas and intentions here:
http://contagiousloveexperiment.wordpress.com/about/

And they have posted other material on that same site. I think the explanation of why they chose to act as they did is important. It is important to understand what motivates a person to choose the path of war.

It is also important to understand how someone engaged in war, as a warrior, can choose the path of peace. This choice is an available moral choice. These young men took the path of peace.

And here we are. Each of us here today looking at these words on our screen as an individual has a bunch of choices to take. It is like a huge grocery store and there are a zillion things you can put in your cart. Only you know what you can afford, what you can stand, what your tastes are, and what you want to cook up when you get that stuff back home.

By analogy then, you have moral choices. Not just one or two, but zillions. Every action you take can be made on moral grounds.

That’s important, because your actions have consequences. So if you choose a path of love, a path of peace, a path that results in making the world better, those choices affect other people around you, inspire their choices, and may bring all kinds of benefit to you. Many choices you have available to you bring direct remuneration for your work or your ideas. Some choices bring about love, a sense of community, or a spiritual fulfillment that is not quantified in money.

You may also choose a path of war, of anger, of hatred. You may draw a line that encircles “your kind” and excludes “their kind” and make war. You may accept the lines on maps drawn by other men and women. You may choose to kill those who are “other.”

I don’t recommend these choices. But they exist, and to ignore them is to suggest that they are irrelevant or never selected. Of course we know they are often selected.

At this site, we also ask you to examine the choices you have made, or which may have been made on your behalf by your pension fund or 401K manager, to take profits from death. Even companies like FedEx and Microsoft which contract with the military may not be dealing death directly, but are facilitating it in some way. Examine these choices in the stock market, just as you examine other choices in your life.

Do you really want to buy software or an operating system from a company that supports the military in its war effort? I don’t. I don’t use their stuff. I don’t invest in their companies. I don’t want to be a part of that thing. If the profits come from war and death, I don’t want them in my portfolio.

Clean up your act. Learn about other choices. Consider the path of these two men who are bicycling across the country and visiting with people.

Choose love. Choose peace. Choose happiness. Choose intentionally.

Following orders is for ants.

US out of Europe

28 August 2009 by

And Afghanistan, and Iraq, too!

Jacob Hornberger’s latest essay points out the madness of continuing to have the world’s most expensive military.

http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2009-08-27.asp

“If the Pentagon withdrew from the Middle East, military officials know that people might well ask, Why stop there? Why not withdraw from Europe? After all, the Cold War ended long ago. Why not withdraw from Japan? It surrendered soon after the atomic bombs were dropped. Why not withdraw from Korea? The war there ended decades ago. Why not withdraw from Africa? What business do the troops have there?”

We join Bumper in calling for an end to the war on drugs, the wars in Latin America to fight against drugs that are in demand in the USA. We join Bumper in calling for an end to the wars in the Middle East, used to prop up the authoritarian regime in Israel, create terrorists, and justify an ever larger military. We join his call for an end to the occupation of Europe – the second world war has been over for decades.

Most of all we agree with his contention: “The fact is that despite deeply seeded fears and anxieties that the federal government has succeeded in engendering within the psyches of the American people, there is no nation on earth that has the military capability of invading and occupying the United States. To cross either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans with an invasion force would require tens of thousands of ships and planes, a capability that is nonexistent among all foreign nations.”

Moreover, the answer to such a capability is not a standing army, but a well armed people. As Yamamoto said, “I would never invade the United States. There would be a gun behind every blade of grass.”

The military is a scam, and the people in the military are evil. The defense contractors sell the death of children in foreign countries to a military that is eager to use their bombs and guns to slaughter those children.

The time to divest from death is now. Today. Not next week. Not some day.

Sell your death stocks now.


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