October 12, 2022
WN: This is indeed tragic for our neighbours to the south; and Why Donald Trump was bad for America but good for Canada. We read in that article:
Polls taken in August 2016 showed that, if given the chance, only 15 to 20 per cent of Canadians would have cast a ballot for Trump, while 73 to 80 per cent would have voted for Hillary Clinton. And a poll taken just prior to election day in November 2016 found that more Canadians would support a third-party candidate than Trump.
This helps explain why, between 2016 and 2020, Canadians were united in their contempt for Trump, who served as a bipartisan symbol of evil they rallied against regardless of their political leanings.
This is evident in Canadian media coverage during this period. Upon analyzing mainstream print media articles published between 2016-2020 for an ongoing research project, I identified common themes: Canadian media increasingly associated “America” with “Trump,” and both of these with authoritarianism, selfishness, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, ignorance, irrationality, dishonesty and a lack of concern for the least advantaged.
One can sum up America thus:
It is The United States of Greed, Fear, and Hatred.
These three vices dictate Empire. Russia is a twin example. It is no wonder that these two countries represent rampant evil in foreign policy, with nuclear stockpiles reflecting it, on a magnitude of nearly 20 times greater than their nearest rivals: France and NATO.
We read in: Top 10 Nuclear Power Countries In The World:
Before and during the Cold War, the United States conducted over 1000 nuclear tests and tested many long-range nuclear weapons delivery systems. It was the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons and is the only country to have used them in combat with the separate bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. The US maintained a stockpile of 3750 active and inactive nuclear weapons, as well as about 2000 retired and pending dismantlement warheads (emphasis added.)
I write on my Front Page:
General (George) Lee Butler, a “nuclear warrior” in the early years of the Cold War (that many claim began with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, August 1945), spent 27 years in nuclear policy-making. He eventually in an overt mea culpa became a passionate proponent for outright nuclear abolition. He self-published Uncommon Cause: A Life at Odds With Convention (volumes I & II). He catalogued a long list of disturbing experiences:
• investigating “a distressing array of accidents and incidents involving strategic weapons and forces”
• seeing “an army of experts confounded;”
• confronting “the mind-numbing compression of decision-making under threat of nuclear attack”;
• “staggering costs;”
• “the relentless pressure of advancing technology;”
• “grotesquely destructive war plans;”
• and “the terror-induced anesthesia which suspended rational thought, made nuclear war thinkable, and grossly excessive arsenals possible during the Cold War.” (The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John W. Dower, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017; p. 37. See also my post on this here.)
In retrospect, he decried the “wantonness,” “savagery,” “reckless proliferation,” “treacherous axioms,” and voracious “appetite” of deterrence — for which he himself had helped create many systems and technologies, including “war plans with over 12,000 targets.”… Elegant theories of deterrence,” he exclaimed in one speech, “wilt in the crucible of impending nuclear war.” In later recollection of the folly of deterrence, Butler pointed out that at its peak the United States “had 36,000 weapons in our active inventory,” including nuclear landmines and sea mines and “warheads on artillery shells that could be launched from jeeps.” He concluded that mankind escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of diplomatic skill, blind luck and divine intervention, probably the latter in greatest proportion. (ibid, pp. 36 & 37; emphasis added).
Nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter described this longstanding policy as a “delicate balance of terror (ibid, p. 27).” [Take note: This is terrorism on the vastest scale imiginable!–by the “Good Guys!”]
In short, any number of nuclear war planners in Washington contemplated gargantuan acts of terror: striking 295 Soviet cities, with an estimated death toll total of 115 million, and another 107 million dead in Red China, besides millions more in Soviet satellite countries (ibid, pp. 28 & 29; emphasis added). In some circles, as a kind of sick dark humour, the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to “only” 200,000 dead, came to be called “firecracker nukes (ibid, p. 29).”
This is not to mention the millions killed since World War II with related devastation in at least 37 countries around the world, or the millions murdered through US proxy wars, CIA covert operations the world over, surrogate terror exported to countries throughout Central and South America for more than a century, and other parts of the world, etc., etc., etc… (See ibid, throughout the book.)1
And these “noble” American nuclear strategists holding up of course America as bastion of freedom and democracy throughout the world, blithely contemplated over many decades mass murder on a scale that all previous mass murderers combined in the history of the world could only dream of! And serious contemplation of first-strike deployment was given repeated consideration: Public as well as confidential proposals to launch a “preventive” or “pre-emptive” strike against the Soviet Union were not uncommon before the Soviets developed a serious retaliatory capability — including for instance General Douglas MacArthur. The American public likewise supported this in general (ibid, p. 41).
When a nuclear weapon is detonated, it releases energy which is expressed in kilotons of Trinitrotoluene (TNT). Hiroshima’s “Little Boy” bomb is estimated at approximately 15 kilotons of TNT and Nagasaki’s “Fat Man” bomb at 20 kilotons of TNT. One of the warheads in our arsenal, the B83 warhead? This weapon has a yield of 1,200 kilotons. That means that this weapon is 60 times more powerful than Fat Man.
This is why we need No First Use
The Obama administration planned to retire the B83 warhead, but Trump decided to retain the dangerous warhead. [It is still in the arsenal.] With the horrific effects that Little Boy and Fat Man produced, it is hard to imagine what the B83 could do. While everyone should read Hiroshima by John Hersey to take a more in-depth look at survivors’ accounts . . .
This is America — Leader of the Free World?! Vocabulary for such massive evil mindsets utterly fails! Yet every US Administration since Truman authorized the first atomic bombs dropped (which phenomenon he, a Baptist Sunday School teacher, declared to be “the greatest event in human history” — and not the Resurrection?! — one massively death-dealing, the other universally life-giving), along with thousands of strategists, day-in, day-out, went off to work with this kind of obscene potential horror, like “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.” How delightfully American (Empire)!2
This is the world we inhabit! This is our vaunted Western way of life! . . . It is “secured” at the potential expense of multiplied millions of human deaths–not to mention unknown numbers of potential animal/species eradication–an environmental apocalypse. Please see on this a new report: Almost 70% of animal populations wiped out since 1970, report reveals. We read:
From the open ocean to tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles is in freefall, declining on average by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 2018, according to the WWF and Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) biennial Living Planet Report. Two years ago, the figure stood at 68%, four years ago, it was at 60%.
Many scientists believe we are living through the sixth mass extinction – the largest loss of life on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs – and that it is being driven by humans. The report’s 89 authors are urging world leaders to reach an ambitious agreement at the Cop15 biodiversity summit in Canada this December and to slash carbon emissions to limit global heating to below 1.5C this decade to halt the rampant destruction of nature.
Even if climate change is fully “junk science,” (not my view!) anthropogenic pollution of the world is still overwhelmingly destructive of the environment. And we alone can stop it!
I add this on the Front Page:
American Empire has always and supremely been about “plundering, butchering, and stealing,” “the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation,” leaving “desolation,” “destruction and misery and death” in its wake (while calling it “peace and freedom”), and long since has been in voracious bid for worldwide domination, in order to extract maximum wealth from all peoples and the Planet. Our call is simply to practise insurrection against Empire in all its avaricious, brutal and horribly destructive ways. (No small order!)
In this historical moment that supreme manifestation of Empire is the United States – to which the entire Western world is tied in various supportive ways; under which domination the rest of the world suffers: in the Greater Middle East as only one example, which endures brutal will to domination and oppression at the hands of American Empire. I reflect on this in an introduction to a posting here. An expanding list of postings on American Empire may be accessed here.
Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest ‘mission civilisatrice.’
In this post, Empire’s Religion: Arundhati Roy Confronts the Tyranny of the Free Market, September 15, 2016, we hear something similar from author and activist Arundhati Roy:
We are told the world is being made “safe for democracy,” a trope that dates back to the days of the First World War. But “democracy,” in elite-speak, is code for [militarized] capitalism.
Military historian Tami Biddle wrote that when aerial warfare was still only imagined in the 19th century, it meant . . .
English-speaking peoples raining incendiary bombs over the enemy to impose the customs of civilization (Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: the Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002, italics added; page number lacking).3)
The Western empire doesn’t conquer the East by military means alone but also by ideological and cultural means.
Raheb continues to state the thrust of Edward Said’s claim in his book cited above: that there is a two-edged bias at play in the West–not least, Raheb adds–amongst liberal (self-congratulatory “enlightened”) theologians. There is clear bias against Arabs and Muslims–often subtly and viscerally present. The other reason is invariable favouratism towards Judaism and Israel–in part because of Western (politically correct) guilt about the Holocaust.4
Raheb adds baldly:
The Judeo-Christian dialogue is part of a subtle colonial ideology that looks at Islam as inferior (pp. 28 & 29).
In reality, as witnessed to on this website, the ideology is in fact baldfaced!
The white man’s (at least the West’s) noble burden indeed.5
If, in the above light, we still believe the West is “noble, sublime, exemplary, etc., ad nauseum“–then the Pope is Protestant after all! . . .
But please: just never raise any of the above in polite company . . . It tends to spoil the (induced deep Western spell) festive atmosphere, casting a pall on all our Western “innocence” and fun–don’t you think?
Then again, we could at those delightful gatherings, for openers, scream bloody murder at the top of our lungs:
Enough is enough!!! . . .
Or we could accept Jordan Peterson‘s pontification about the Church’s business, seen in my post: Interaction With: Looking for advice on masculinity? Try St. Joseph rather than Jordan Peterson.
You’re churches, for god’s sake! Quit fighting for social justice, quit saving the bloody planet! Attend to some souls, that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s your holy duty. Do it NOW … before it’s too late.
Sorry, Dr. Peterson. You clearly don’t have a clue about the church’s business!
But this person does: Gustavo Gutiérrez and the preferential option for the poor. I’m sticking with him–however minimally–in practice . . . In fact: Peterson strikes me as just a tad presumptuous (His next video/book perhaps titled: The Gospel Across The Jordan?) . . . In the words of Jesus, one could respond:
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy . . .’ (Matthew 9:13)
US News and World Report has a story about how the fringe has become the mainstream in the Republican Party. The headline of their story says it all: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Rises From GOP Fringe to Front.”
The GOP is no longer a normal political party with a single governing philosophy: instead, it’s become a coalition of interest groups, each seeking its own ends.The backstory here is fascinating and grim.
The GOP is no longer a normal political party with a single governing philosophy: instead, it’s become a coalition of interest groups, each seeking its own ends.
How did we get here, and where will this crisis of political governance lead America?
It all started with the billionaires. Of course, back then they were merely worth hundreds of millions, but in today’s dollars they were billionaires even in the 1950s.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote about them in a letter to his rightwing brother Edgar in 1954, the middle of his presidency.
Today those rightwing extremist billionaires have an outsized influence in the GOP. They’re pouring hundreds of millions into this fall’s elections, and every Republican politician must bow to them and their low-tax, no-regulation desires to gain or hold political office. Cross them and you’re toast in GOP politics.
But billionaires aren’t enough to make a political party and win elections so, when the GOP put itself up for sale in 1978 after Lewis Powell wrote the decision in the Bellotti Supreme Court case allowing that, the Republicans around Reagan pulled together a coalition of voters large enough to win elections. They are: . . .
Because the GOP has no unifying philosophy other than hate, fear, and kowtowing to billionaires and their giant corporations, the politicians who make up its governing class are similarly fractured.
Neoliberalism was their uniting philosophy in 1980 and Reagan cemented that system into place with his presidency: it still controls most of the American political and economic system and dictates most modern Supreme Court decisions as well.
But, while they don’t generally recognize the word neoliberalism, that system which includes offshoring jobs, massive tax cuts for the rich (“trickle-down”), privatization of government functions, and gutting the social safety net has fallen out of favor among most voters. (See: The Hidden History of Neoliberalism: How Reaganism Gutted America.)
This has left the GOP rudderless. Their persistent shout-outs to racists and homophobes—including efforts to ban books and the teaching of American History—have helped Republican politicians win primary elections, but have hurt Republicans electorally with their better-educated and higher income voters.
Republicans are now so devoted to reflexively opposing anything Democrats embrace that they literally led hundreds of thousands of their own followers to their deaths by ridiculing masks and vaccines during the worst pandemic in more than a century.
This lack of a clear ideological foundation across the GOP has opened the door to:
- *Predatory grifters (Mehmet Oz, Matt Gaetz, Rick Scott),
- *Wannabee stars and fame-seekers (Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Ted Cruz), and
- *Putin-style autocrats (Blake Masters, Doug Mastriano, Ron DeSantis).
Donald Trump, filling all three categories simultaneously, predictably became the “King of the Thieves” in the GOP: those who aspire to replace him are discovering it’s a damn hard act to follow, making Republican voters even more vulnerable to each of those three GOP factions.
Please click on: The GOP Is a Cultish, Destructive Fascist Organization
- Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:
Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin’s gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] (“The Cold War in Central America,” pp. 216 – 221).
What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary “City on A Hill” that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. “The Land of the Free” conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America’s leaders. It was also the apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.
See further: INVASIONS BY THE MAJOR POWERS SINCE WORLD WAR TWO.
- The following highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world’s) reality: “Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button“. ((He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:
Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Best of 2017 List
In These Times “Best Books of 2017”
Huffington Post’s Ten Excellent December Books List
LitHub’s “Five Books Making News This Week”
From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America’s Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day.
Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America’s nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization–and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration–threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.
- In Luke 9:55, Jesus’ disciples wanted to rain fire down upon a Samaritan village, and Jesus “rebuked them.” So ever is the Way of Jesus.
Outstanding Mennonite theologian Willard Swartley comments:
Rather than eradicating the enemy, as was the goal of Joshua’s conquest narrative in the earlier story – in a similar location [Samaria] – the new strategy eradicates the enmity… Instead of killing people to get rid of idolatry, the attack through the gospel is upon Satan directly (Luke 10). Instead of razing high places, Satan is toppled from his throne! [Note 48 reads: “Hence the root of idolatry is plucked from its source…] (Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006, p. 144.
- L. Gregory Jones in his superb theological treatise, Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis, suggests that the new American (liberal Western) cogito, is “I am a victim, therefore I am.”
People like Jordan Peterson (unhelpfully?–see my post: Interaction With: Looking for advice on masculinity? Try St. Joseph rather than Jordan Peterson) rail against such self-flagellation.
At least this: such black-white embrace or rejection of political correctness can blind us to what else is going on when liberals, about whom Raheb is talking, jump onto the bandwagon of the latest fadish cause célèbre.
- Of interest: Political scientist Mahmood Mamdani however, in Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, 9/11, and the Roots of Terror, New York: Pantheon Books 2004, says international terrorist organizations are America’s creation.
Not only does he argue that terrorism does not necessarily have anything to do with Islamic culture; he also insists that the spread of terror as a tactic is largely an outgrowth of American cold war foreign policy. After Vietnam, he argues, the American government shifted from a strategy of direct intervention in the fight against global Communism to one of supporting new forms of low-level insurgency by private armed groups… ‘In practice,’ Mr. Mamdani has written, ‘it translated into a United States decision to harness, or even to cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet.’… ‘The real damage the C.I.A. did was not the providing of arms and money,’ he writes, ‘but the privatization of information about how to produce and spread violence — the formation of private militias — capable of creating terror.’ ”
The best-known C.I.A.-trained terrorist, he notes dryly, is Osama bin Laden… Drawing on the same strategy used in Africa, the United States supported the Contras in Nicaragua and then created, on a grand scale, a pan-Islamic front to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Whereas other Islamic movements, like the Iranian revolution, had clear nationalist aims, the Afghan jihad, Mr. Mamdani suggests, was created by the United States as a privatized and ideologically stateless resistance force. A result, he writes, was ‘the formation of an international cadre of uprooted individuals who broke ties with family and country of origin to join clandestine networks with a clearly defined enemy.’ by Hugh Eakin: “When U.S. Aided Insurgents, Did It Breed Future Terrorists?”, The New York Times, April 10, 2004.)” Elshtain counters this idea somewhat in a section, “DID AMERICA CREATE OSAMA BIN LADEN?, (pp. 80 – 82)”, but knows nothing of Mamdani’s thesis.
And of course, the West were master terrorists for centuries against all manner of black and brown bodies. And even Winston Churchill called British carpet bombing of civilians (extensively) acts of terror, in memos to Bomber Harris. Please see on this, by Justus George Lawler, August 28, 2006: Terror Bombing: Shattering the immunity of civilians has become the very definition of terrorism. We read:
Winston Churchill launched Operation Gomorrah, ordering high-explosive and incendiary bombs to be dropped on the city of Hamburg on July 24, 1943. Five days later more than 50,000 civilians were dead. Two-and-a-half years later, the city of Dresden, crowded with refugees and of little strategic importance, was devastated by Allied bombers in February, just three months before the war’s end, making it a symbol to the world of the ruthlessness of modern warfare. In March of that year, the U.S. firebombing of Tokyo killed some 80,000 citizens. After the raid, U.S. Army General Curtis LeMay declared, “There are no innocent civilians.” Yet noncombatant immunity was the bedrock of the just war doctrine enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.
From the beginning of World War II, however, with the bombing of Warsaw, Pope Pius XII had repeatedly condemned the bombing of civilian centers. In this he was joined by George Bell, the Anglican bishop of Chichester, who would join him again in condemning weapons of indiscriminate destruction during the oncoming nuclear era.
Their opposition to the use of indiscriminate weaponry was, and still is, significant. During the cold war, it undercut the argument of some moralists that since the Soviet Union was a totalitarian society all of its citizens were, in effect, combatants. A similar argument is being used today by terrorists fighting in Iraq, Israel and Lebanon in an attempt to justify morally the killing of civilians to achieve war aims. The church’s teaching on indiscriminate bombing and its just war principles continue to offer moral guidance in these conflicts as they did in World War II.