*edit, August 14, 2018 – I’m throwing in a few words to add force to the argument I’ve made. I corrected a few typos and gave a quote from Richard Walton a little more attention as I didn’t use it well.
Reading, ploddingly, Richard J. Walton’s book, “Cold War And Counterrevolution,” led me to write this post. The US establishment (preferring the war-making State over the hapless Country) has created (deliberately or by chance) the myth of Camelot in which former President, John F. Kennedy, was a white knight fighting the forces of darkness. It’s the opposite of the truth, but a myth is by definition not the truth. For that reason, I am interested in accounts, like Walton’s, that might help me to counter that lie. The challenge that I have is that 1. There is less material by authors who endeavor to be entirely factual than there is material that is dishonest and 2. People – even progressives who know better – are not terribly bothered by the myth of Camelot, for which reason there is less interest by them in doing what I’m doing. Therefore, they are of less help to me than they would be otherwise, which feeds into challenge 1.
I don’t know how to do proper research. I have to just do a lot of reading and paying attention. Anyway, The aspect of Walton’s book that caused me to put it down temporarily and go to work on this post was the way it seemed to me that JFK’s actions, including his hypocritical speechifying, revealed an inability on his part to think. (Walton says that in so many words.) The longer JFK carried on, screwing up constantly, the more his worshippers would call his screw-ups ‘learning events’. No wonder the establishment’s guiding minds later decided to fashion an enduring ad selling the American Empire (mainly to Americans) out of the handsome, sexy young President. Now, That’s my theory. I don’t have evidence to support the idea that Camelot is nothing more than hero worship taken to the extreme and that, especially as it is still widespread, it just happens to serve as an ad selling the American Empire. And I’m not sure that it matters. As well, By now, it isn’t possible that cultural managers – especially in media – don’t see Camelot as the ad that it is. Let’s look at what we know.
It looks like movers and shakers who wanted to sell ‘Kennedy the white knight fighting the forces of darkness’ found that they could kill two birds with one stone without too much difficulty, since Kennedy worshippers wanted (as they do now) to believe only good things about John Kennedy. (Even some of those who manage to report honestly, mostly, about JFK, like Richard J. Walton, are infected with Camelot propaganda on some level.) In other words, Facts about the warmongering, reckless and unprincipled Kennedy, not widely known, could be, to the extent that they surfaced, counted on to more or less bounce off of Kennedy worshippers, who think that the pious Christian JFK is up right there with Jesus Christ. Even so, In time, a close look – presumably with the help of a few serious historians, including infected ones, and a handful of honest writers, like Paul Street – at Kennedy would reveal that the American system is no good and not fixable. Richard J. Walton notes that (in Kennedy’s day) polls were showing that the pride of the American people, namely the Presidency, had taken a big hit. Since corporations need politicians for cover, it’s obvious that the American establishment would see that eventuality – enlightenment of the public about the true nature of the American system – as a problem, just as it in fact came to see democracy as a problem (where seeing problems is married to the freedom to do something about them). If the establishment saw that the American Presidency, because of mismanagement by a President, could prove to be an existential problem, it follows that the establishment, including its most powerful and influential corporations, would see a need for a solution. Sexy Kennedy was both a problem and a solution – with the right massaging.
“Government, in the hands of speculators, is a protection racket for corporations and a small group of oligarchs. And the longer we play by their rules the more impoverished and oppressed we become.” – pg 32 of “Wages Of Rebellion” by Chris Hedges
I just read, on the Black Agenda Website, Paul Street’s article “Against False Conflation: JFK, MLK, and the Triple Evils,” in which Street, in reviewing Martin Luther King’s genuinely democratic positions (unlike Kennedy’s) and statements, such as one about “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom,” remarks that King “might better have said “military empire.”” Indeed. Ira Stoll wrote “JFK, Conservative,” (an awful book) and would agree with what Bruce Miroff said years ago about Kennedy, namely that Kennedy was just as dedicated to the well-being of corporate America first and foremost as any president had been. And the most powerful and influential segment of corporate America is the Pentagon and the military generally. (“JFK, Rightwinger” would have been a more appropriate title for Stoll’s book in my view.)
“The historical record provides some foundation for that [good] reputation. Kennedy did break fresh ground in American political economy – he did so, in fact, in the face of business antipathy, congressional reluctance, and public indifference. And the substantial success of his innovative measures, which guided the most extended economic expansion in recent American history, produced a new consensus in American economic life.
“Yet if Kennedy can, in this sense, be termed an economic progressive, in another less obvious sense he must be considered an economic conservative. For his innovations were by no means intended to alter the existing structure of the American corporate economy. His policies posed no obstacle to the continued domination of the economy by giant oligopolies whose wealth and power permitted them, contrary to the myth of competitive capitalism, to control output, prices, employment, and investment. Instead, Kennedy’s “New Economics” helped to stabilize and rationalize the corporate economy, to underwrite its risk taking and guarantee its market…
“Kennedy felt that he needed business. Upon business success rested an increase in government revenues; upon business success rested, in large part, the attainment of the Administration’s economic growth objectives. The preservation of corporate confidence – and the avoidance of measures that limited corporate profits or undermined corporate strength – would be seen as an imperative by Kennedy. As we shall observe later on, the one time he did deny big business its desires (in the steel affair), he had to make up for it with compensatory gratifications…
“Business opposition was further aroused by Kennedy’s accompanying [progressive] proposals… but the business community mobilized its strength against the reform package, and the President retreated…
“…The most significant Administration contribution in these months to economic recovery was seldom discussed, however, in economic terms. This was Kennedy’s rapid acceleration of American defense spending. Three separate presidential requests to Congress (in March, May, and July) hiked military appropriations in 1961 by approximately $6 billion… the primary impetus for this highly consequential military buildup was Kennedy’s conception of an intensified Cold War, whose decisive stage coincided with his term in office. But Administration officials were not unmindful of the economic benefits to be derived from the buildup.” – pages 167, 168, 172, 174, 175 of “Pragmatic Illusions – The Presidential Politics of John F. Kennedy” by Bruce Miroff (pub 1976)
“Major US corporations were heavily involved in German war production, sometimes enriching themselves (notably, the Ford motor company) by joining in the plunder of Jewish assets under Hitler’s Aryanization program. “US investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power,” Christopher Simpson writes, increasing “by some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe” and barely holding steady in Britain.” – Noam Chomsky, pg 20 of “Rethinking Camelot – JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture”
“…[Jeremy] Scahill, provided a litany of statistics that illustrated how corporations have taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They not only run our economy and own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. And they have become unassailable…
“…He lamented the lack of support in Congress for a bill put forward by Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. House Resolution 4102, known as the Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act, would “responsibly phase out use of private security contractors for functions that should be reserved for U.S. military forces and government personnel.”
“”It is one of the sober realities of the time we are living in that you can put forward a bill that says something as simple as ‘we should not outsource national security functions to private contractors’ and you only get twenty members of Congress to support the bill,” Scahill said…” – pages 41 & 42 of “Death Of The Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges
I have a problem with Jeremy Scahill and I really don’t like quoting him. He works for Pierre Omidyar, who helped fund the murderous Nazi regime in Ukraine. But I doubt that the above info is bad.
An observation: Miroff’s statement about an intensified state in the Cold War corresponding to Kennedy’s arrival in the White House is interesting. Isn’t Kennedy supposed to be a peacemaker? (It’s amusing, and disturbing, how they’ve taken a fierce Cold War warrior, a warmonger [Vietnam], a terrorist [Vietnam black ops, plans for the overthrow of democratically elected João Goulart, the first of the South American regime change operations in modern times that installed a slew of dictators presiding over police States], a gangster and rightwinger who said that he isn’t comfortable around liberals [page 4 of “JFK, Conservative” by Iral Stoll] and turned him into a peacemaker. They did the same thing with terrorist Obama, and in much the same way.) The State will have its war-making way no matter who is in the White House. On the other hand, Anything is possible. (Anything’s possible, although consequences are inevitable. Kennedy could have actually been a dove and opposed the military and the exploiters in corporate America, but there would have been consequences, perhaps similar to the fate Kennedy did meet – at whose hands we don’t know. However, Seymour Hersh reasonably states that the idea that the mob did it is stupid. The mob was hoping for a return of gangster Cuba once Kennedy successfully killed Castro and his revolution.) Richard J. Walton notes, in relation to the Vietnam situation that JFK inherited, “…what is the point of having elections if one President must necessarily follow the course of the previous one?” But Richard Walton didn’t factor in the deep State when he wrote that. The deep, that is, permanent, State will have more to say about the direction the country goes in than any single President. (To the reader who is less up to speed on all of these things than I am – and I have much to learn – war in Vietnam was, as Joe Allen explains in “Vietnam – the (last) war the U.S. lost,” a long time in the making. That’s just American involvement. The Vietnamese had been dealing with invaders forever. “The original U.S. commitment in Vietnam was made by Harry Truman, who supported and financed French recolonization after WWII. John Kennedy escalated the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam and turned it into [a] laboratory for counterinsurgency theories and programs. And Lyndon Johnson, of course invaded South Vietnam with an army that would grow to half a million soldiers on the ground…” -pages 124, 125.) As Noam Chomsky points out, Kennedy escalated the American presence in Vietnam “from state terror to aggression.” ‘Aggression’ means ‘war’ to go by the way Chomsky uses the word, which apparently is conventional, if strange, usage. For example, which would you say is worse: ‘torture’ or ‘aggression’? And yet, in scholarly literature, including Chomsky’s writing, ‘aggression’ is worse than torture, the reason being that aggression is actually war, which includes torture on a massive scale. “The Vietnam war, and all its terrible consequences, are Kennedy’s responsibility, for he launched America on the course of war. Johnson is responsible for escalating the war and Nixon for widening it, but it was John Kennedy who started it.” (pg 182 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton) In fact, as others note, the war-making in Vietnam was in a state of continuous escalation from the time of Kennedy. But, during the Kennedy phase the escalation was also qualitative. Or as Hersh put it, Kennedy “expanded the rules,” introducing awful firsts, including black ops/ terrorism.
“In an assessment of American counterinsurgency programs, General [Maxwell] Taylor told the 1995 graduating class of the International Police Academy (itself a Kennedy Innovation): “I think we should look to President Kennedy as the architect in large measure of the programs and policies of my government and eventually of many other governments directed at facing the challenge of what was originally called subversive insurgency.”” – Michael T. Klare, pages 40 & 41 of “War Without End – American Planning for the Next Vietnams”
“Recall that “subversion,” like “concealed aggression,” is a technical concept covering any form of unwelcome internal political development. Thus the Joint Chiefs, in 1955, outline “three basic forms of aggression”: armed attack across a border (aggression in the literal sense); “Overt armed attack from within the area of each of the sovereign states”; “Aggression other than armed, i.e., political warfare, or subversion.” An internal uprising against a US-imposed police state, or elections that come out the wrong way, are forms of “aggression,” which the US has the right to combat by arbitrary violence. The assumptions are so ingrained as to pass without notice, as when liberal hero Adlai Stevenson, UN Ambassador under Kennedy and Johnson, declared that in Vietnam the US is defending a free people from “internal aggression.” Stevenson compared this noble cause to the first major postwar counterinsurgency campaign, in Greece in 1947, where US-run operations successfully demolished the anti-Nazi resistance and the political system and restored the old order, including leading Nazi collaborators, at the cost of some 160,000 lives and tens of thousands of victims of torture chambers, and a legacy of destruction yet to be overcome (along with great benefits to US corporations). Similar premises are adopted routiney by apologists for state violence; thus Sidney Hook condemned the “incursions” of the indigenous South Vietnamese resistance, praising the US for using armed might to counter these crimes despite the “unfortunate accidental loss of life” in such exercises as saturation bombing by B-52s in the densely-populated Delta.” – Noam Chomsky, pages 41 & 42 of “Rethinking Camelot – JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture
A point: The military already possesses too much power. Today, we are all watching in horror as the Donald Trump Presidency threatens all of humankind with nuclear annihilation, in part because he has brought into his government quite a few generals and retired generals and their thinking isn’t thinking. Every problem is seen by them through military eyes, to be solved by military means. And American politicians are already hawkish enough on their own. Referring to a situation in Laos in which the Pathet Lao attacked Nam Tha, Roger Hilsman reported on how the Kennedy admin analyzed the situation. That analysis included apocalyptic language and statements like “The attack had been a large-scale probe… designed both to discredit [Souvanna] Phoumi… and to test American determination. Unless the United States responded promptly and effectively, the communist side would be encouraged to step up their military effort…” About that Walton says “These words are characteristic of the Kennedy administration, indeed of every American administration since World War II. They demonstrate a tendency to see events in apocalyptic terms, as fateful testings of American resolve that might have terrible consequences unless the United States responds with unmistakable but measured firmness. These words also demonstrate the American conviction that Washington can, without any genuine attempt at understanding an adversary, unerringly read his mind.” -pages 29, 30 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution”
“The establishment of “the most powerful military force in human history” is often cited as one of John Kennedy’s great achievements. But perhaps another view is possible. Perhaps it can be argued that this extraordinary buildup contributed massively to the growth of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. That it represented a diversion of resources, material, intellectual, and even spiritual, that contributed to the domestic upheavals soon to come. That it increased world tensions. That it demonstrated Kennedy’s tendency to see the world’s problems in military, not political terms. That it provided the wherewithal which led inevitably to Vietnam.” – pg 60 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution – The Foreign Policy of John F. Kennedy” by Richard J. Walton
The establishment’s task: 1. They need to take steps to counter the bad image that JFK’s presidency would cause once enough people (who are still capable of thinking critically) begin to get a close look at it, in an effort to have Americans once again feel pride in the American Presidency and, thereby, have the American people, and people whose countries are aligned with the US, embrace the American Empire. The basic idea is that yes, the American (imperial) system is imperfect, but it ‘can’ work. Kennedy proves it. 2. They need to turn JFK’s known flaws into virtues, hide what evil they can and highlight his sexiness – which diverts from other issues while also making it harder for folks to think of JFK as evil – and claimed achievements, which they’ve done.
There’s two ways to look at Camelot propaganda. 1. You can believe that the State, which is solidly behind any marketing campaign that leads to a situation where its position is strengthened, feels vulnerable and is always seeking ways to reduce its vulnerability. Kennedy was the ultimate Cold War warrior. As an ad selling the American Empire, he is the American State’s wet dream. As Randolph Bourne explains in his unpublished (due to death) book “The State,” “War is the health of the State.” (Bourne wrote when the concept of ‘deep state’, as far as I know, had not been formulated. Bourne’s description of the State is essentially the same as that which people today apply to the ‘deep State’. The central feature of the deep State, as we who consider the deep State and Bourne who considered the State, explain, is relative permanence. Bourne, then, simply dealt with a stripped down, or bare bones, deep State. The difference is quantitative, not qualitative. But I am not familiar enough with Bourne to say with confidence that I have him figured out completely, although his main ideas, mostly, are too obviously true for anyone to have difficulty with. And you have to figure that anyone who is willing to speak Truth to the powerful State is, in the absence of information to the contrary, right. Even the idea of the deep State is new [especially to the general public] and perhaps fluid, but I don’t see any problem with it. Do you want to include government in your definition? If not, then you are looking at a State, minus government, that is, in its entirety, ‘deep’. Right? What about the rest of the State? We can probably devise some simple criteria. If a part of the State can disappear tomorrow and not alter the overall system, then it’s not ‘deep’.) Therefore warrior Presidents are good for the health of the State. 2. Or you can believe that the State, collectively, is vigilant. It never rests, taking the view that while its position is secure and therefore opportunities to strengthen it aren’t urgently needed, it chooses to not rest on its laurels. Rather, It takes a wise position that if there are ways to make its position more secure, even though its position is supremely secure already, then it will consider exploring them. The best offence is a super good defence. As deep State defender Kennedy said “…having the second best defensive hand in the 1960s will be like having the second best poker hand.”
“The admirers recorded the Berlin crisis as another Kennedy triumph and another step in the ongoing education that prepared him for his supreme triumph: the Cuban missile crisis. There is a mad logic here. The Bay of Pigs, although it could be called a disaster, prepared him for triumph. The Berlin “crisis,” in which Kennedy approached the brink, could, by skillful presentation, be made into a triumph. And the Cuban missile crisis, in which Kennedy stood on the very edge of the brink, could be constructed as the greatest triumph of all. There is, to be sure, a consistency here, but it is possible that future historians will see that consistency in a different way than Kennedy’s admirers.” – pg 93 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton
Since starting this blog post, I have read a few things that I found helped me to think about ‘thinking’. I only read Bourne shortly after I had begun this post. The point that I’m trying to make in this post is that counterrevolution is tantamount to a rejection of thinking, which tracks. Darkness is the opposite of enlightenment. But it’s not just a matter of knowledge and cleverness. It’s also a matter of morality and the spiritual heath of individuals. Counterrevolution is essentially terrorism, a bad thing, something evil people do. Evil people are self-modified people who have embraced darkness. Self-modified people have set aside, as completely as it is possible, their God-given conscience. They are neoliberals and neoconservatives and you don’t get one without the other. Neoconservatism is the philosophy that violence, deceit and inequality are positives (which requires you to completely reject God, in fact, because you can’t adopt standards that are opposite of his and not reject him) and neoliberalism is a social economic system designed to prosper a few at the expense of the many. Honest, principled people do not endorse neoliberalism. I connect all of this in more detail below.
There’s an interesting section in the part of Seymour Hersh’s book dealing with the Bay of Pigs fiasco that illustrates my, and Richard Walton’s, point about not thinking. Consider:
“That winter Ernest Betancourt, a onetime Castro supporter who defected after Castro seized power, ran into arrogance and hostility when he attempted to warn the White House about the folly of the exile invasion. In an interview for this book, Betancourt said that he approached the journalist Charles Bartlett, a Kennedy confidant, and cautioned that the administration was viewing Cuba only in terms of the Cold War and ignoring the bases of Castro’s legitimate popularity there. “My judgment was that the operation was antihistorical,” Betancourt told me. “There was a total lack of understanding [in Washington] of what Fidel had done.” Betancourt, one of the few Cubans in the anti-Castro movement to oppose an exile invasion, had gone to Bartlett with his concerns, he said, because he knew that “talking to him was like talking to Kennedy.” A few days later Bartlett called “and warned me about the [anti-invasion] group I was associating with.” The implication was clear: Betancourt’s complaint about the impending invasion had endangered his political standing in the United States.” -pages 207 & 209 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” (published 1997)
In other words, Kennedy et al, were following passion, not reason. And we are not talking about any sort of positive passion. A lot of people – like Jacob Esterline – were careful about their steps around the fanatical Kennedys. Some, like Richard Bissel, who crossed them, by just doing their jobs, learned the hard way that the Kennedys were loveless and cruel. Interestingly, Hersh tosses out that Richard Nixon was inspired by JFK’s ruthlessness! (pages 183 & 184 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot”)
In his discussion of the Bay of Pigs, Richard Walton notes that JFK’s response to the Cuban revolution was “not very imaginative.” (pg 40) It’s a central theme of Walton’s book that the Kennedy administration couldn’t separate revolution from Communism. (He could have if he wanted to. But that only means that, once he made other choices – tax cuts [leading to deficits and an excuse to privatize, not a good thing] and military spending to boost the economy for example – then deciding to separate the idea of a nefarious global communist conspiracy from a people’s need for revolution with or without communist characteristics wasn’t going to happen.) Walton makes the point about Castro’s revolution, which the US, under Kennedy et al, was ready to hurl its military might at and which really had nothing to do with Moscow (despite Kennedy’s claims), that “About all that Castro had was the idea of revolution.” That says it all. (Before the US proved to be Cuba’s enemy, willing to invade and slaughter away the revolution, Castro was absolutely no threat to anyone. He wasn’t a threat after the Bay of Pigs either, when you consider that even with the missiles in Cuba, as experts acknowledged, the balance of power was unaltered.) Walton points out that that idea of revolution already existed all throughout South America, as did the idea of the American Revolution for crying out loud. The rabid NSC 68 rhetoric from hawks like Kennedy, about dominoes falling and the need to roll back the ‘conspiracy’ of Communism was nuts. And what did it stem from? It stemmed from a desire on the part of the entire American establishment – including, crucially, the weapons makers component of the capitalist class which wants war so that it can make money – to dominate the global capitalist system that it designed post World War II. Surprisingly, Randolph Bourne missed that, or seemed to.
“The mass media everywhere tend to serve the important interests that dominate the state and select and suppress facts so as to convey the impression that national policy is well-intentioned and justified. Much the same is true, quite commonly, of those areas of academic scholarship that deal with contemporary affairs or social issues. The difference between a society with official censorship (e.g. the Soviet Union) and one without (the United States) is real and significant, but the extent and especially the policy consequences of such differences are often overrated. There is a corresponding tendency to underestimate the significance of self-censorship and the strength of the underlying factors that make for unified mass media support for foreign policy – notably, the force of nationalism, government pressure and resources, and the overlap and community of interest among government, media, and business leaders, who jointly dominate state policy-making. Thus, if the dominant interests of a free society call for a policy of foreign aggression, the mass media will voluntarily mobilize the population as effectively as under a fully censored system.” – Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, page 26 of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism”
Counterrevolution is merely a tool of the powerful who, as self-modified believers in ‘riches for the strongest’, have no concern for, but only a fear of, ideas that others have about pretty much anything, but especially about how society might be organized. Elites fear change, in which they imagine losing the power and privilege that they have – especially when change presents the privileged with unknowns – and which they gained, usually, via strategic rule-breaking. So, There’s also a fear, to some extent, of being caught and punished for crimes committed. And there’s a big element of projection in their thinking, for they now view others through the unfocussed eyes of those who have self-modified and they fear that others might do to them as they’ve done to others. (You really see this in the case of Israel, where the biggest fear among the deciders there is about the demographic bomb. They fear that if Arabs – not their Arab ruling class allies – in their midst become powerful and numerous enough, then they will destroy, literally, all the Jews within their reach.) As Jesus Christ said, “If your eye is focussed, then your whole body will be bright. But if your eye is envious, then your whole body will be dark.” (Matthew 6:22,23)
But, as Bourne explains, such darkness doesn’t confine itself to the breasts of those who embrace it. It spreads out. It infects the wider society and even undermines the very health of the nation, if not the State. War is the health of the State and when citizens are caught up – for any number of reasons – in the State’s war-making passion, there are inevitably some who don’t join the herd (a concept which Bourne bases on the fantasy, from my standpoint, of biological evolution). And while Bourne’s ideas are not shaped by a belief in God and his plan of salvation for imperfect humankind, he’s right about the way citizens, caught up in patriotic fervor (sometimes out of fear), turn on their fellow citizens who aren’t patriotic enough. Marry that to the State’s deliberate targetting of the ‘internal enemy’ and you get an ugly scene. Just read Chris Hedges’s account, in “Death Of The Liberal Class,” of the patriotic murder of Robert Prager.
Under John F. Kennedy, the theme of the ‘internal enemy’ came into its own. Then, (as now) if you didn’t support the status quo, then you were the enemy. Usually, such enemies were simply called Communists or under their influence. That craziness died down for a while but never really went away. It rears its ugly head now and then, as it did when Trump laughingly brought it up at the UN, in connection with Venezuela. He blamed Venezuela’s US- and opposition-caused problems on socialism. The audience was silent until Trump glared at it, causing some to applaud. The internal enemy was an explicit concept that proponents like Adlai Stevenson talked about. Jeff Halper wrote “War Against The People,” explaining and describing the global pacification program of the Corporatocracy (Corporatocracy being a term that he didn’t, but I do, use) called securocratic warfare. That’s also the subject of the book edited by Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes called “The Secure And The Dispossessed.” And recall Obama’s “Insider Threat” initiative. Employees of the government are required to monitor each other! Oh joy! Isn’t fascism fun?
From Chris Hedges’s “Death Of The Liberal Class”:
“The virus of nationalism infected every aspect of society. Daschunds were renamed liberty dogs. The City University of New York reduced by one credit every course in German. Fourteen states banned the speaking of German in public schools. German-Americans, like Japanese-Americans in World War II, provided convenient scapegoats. An angry mob in Van Houten, New Mexico, accused an immigrant miner of supporting Germany. The mob forced him to kneel before them, kiss the flag and shout, “To hell with the Kaiser.” Robert Prager, a German-born coal miner, was accused in April 1918 by a crowd that swelled to 500 people of hoarding explosives outside of St. Louis. Prager, who had tried to enlist in the navy but had been rejected on medical grounds, was stripped, bound with an American flag, dragged barefoot and stumbling through the streets, and lynched as the mob cheered. At the trial of the leaders of the lynch mob, who appeared in court wearing red, white and blue ribbons, their defense counsel argued that the killing was justifiable “patriotic murder.” It took the jury twenty-five minutes to return a not guilty verdict. One jury member shouted out, “Well, I guess nobody can say we aren’t loyal now.” The Washington Post wrote of the trial that “in spite of the excesses such as lynching, it is a healthful and wholesome awakening of the interior of the country.” The explosives that Prager was alleged to be harboring were never found.” – pg 79
“The greatest sin of the liberal class, throughout the twentieth century and into the early part of this century, has been its enthusiastic collusion with the power elite to silence, ban, and blackmail rebels, iconoclasts, communists, socialists, anarchists, radical union leaders, and pacifists who once could have given Ernest Logan Bell, as well as others in the working class, the words and ideas with which to battle back against the abuses of the corporate state. The repeated “anti-Red” purges of the twentieth-century United States, during and after both World Wars, and continuously from the 1950s until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, were carried out in the name of anticommunism, but in reality proved to be devastating blows to popular social movements. The old communists in the American labor movement spoke in the language of class struggle. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as BP, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision that allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force in the 1940s and 1950s, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the hunts for phantom communist agents, the country was robbed of the ability to make sense of the struggle with the corporate state.” – pg 15
Since the Cold War has been revived, with, incredibly, many of exact the same features as during the 50s, 60s & 70s, Noam Chomsky’s crystal clear explanation for the Cold War is in order. From pages 20 & 21 of “Deterring Democracy”:
Needless to say, if we define the Cold War as involving nothing beyond a confrontation of two superpowers, with their allies and clients tailing along, it follows trivially that that is precisely what it was, and that with the the withdrawal of the USSR from the conflict, it ended with a victory for the US. The question, however, is how to intgerpret the Cold War era, and plainly that question is not answered by begging it. Rather, we want to look into the contours, character, driving forces and motives, and major effects of the bipolar world system that emerged from World War II…
For the United States, the Cold War has been a history of worldwide subversion, aggression and state terrorism, with examples too numerous to mention. The domestic counterpart has been the entrenchment of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” – in essence, a welfare state for the rich with a national security ideology for population control (to borrow some counterinsurgency jargon), following the prescriptions of NSC 68. The major institutional mechanism is a system of state-corporate industrial management to sustain high-technology industry, relying on the taxpayer to fund research and development and provide a guaranteed market for waste production, with the private sector taking over when there are profits to be made. This crucial gift to the corporate manager has been the domestic function of the Pentagon system (including NASA and the Department of Energy, which controls nuclear weapons production); benefits extend to the computer industry, electronics generally, and other sectors of the advanced industrial economy. In such ways, the Cold War has provided a large part of the underpinnings for the system of public subsidy, private profit, that is proudly called Free Enterprise.
The call for vigorous action in NSC 68 resounded again as the Kennedy and Reagan administrations came into office, with the same dual thrust: militancy abroad to assert US power, and military spending to revive a flagging economy at home. The rhetoric was also duly revived: “the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” on the march to destroy us (Kennedy); the “Evil Empire” that is “the focus of evil in our time,” seeking to rule the world (Reagan)…
Attention to the historical record reveals the realistic core enshrouded in the outlandish rhetoric of NSC 68. The Great Depression had put an end to any lingering beliefs that capitalism was a viable system. It was generally taken for granted that state intervention was necessary in order to maintain private power – as, indeed, had been the case throughout the development process…
“Every individual citizen who in peacetimes had no living fragment of the State becomes an active amateur agent of the Government in reporting spies and disloyalists, in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom. Minority opinion, which in times of peace was only irritating and could not be dealt with by law unless it was conjoined with actual crime, becomes with the outbreak of war, a case for outlawry. Criticism of the State, objections to war, lukewarm opinions concerning the necessity or the beauty of conscription, are made subject to ferocious penalties, far exceeding [in] severity those affixed to actual pragmatic crimes. Public opinion, as expressed in the newspapers, and the pulpits and the schools, becomes one solid block. “Loyalty,” or rather war orthodoxy, becomes the sole test for all professions, techniques, occupations. Particularly is this true in the sphere of the intellectual life. There the smallest taint is held to spread over the whole soul, so that a professor of physics is ipso facto disqualified to teach physics or hold honorable place in a university — the republic of learning — if he is at all unsound on the war. Even mere association with persons thus tainted is considered to disqualify a teacher. Anything pertaining to the enemy becomes taboo. His books are suppressed wherever possible, his language is forbidden. His artistic products are considered to convey in the subtlest spiritual way taints of vast poison to the soul that permits itself to enjoy them. So enemy music is suppressed, and energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice. The rage for loyal conformity works impartially, and often in diametric opposition to other orthodoxies and traditional conformities or ideals. The triumphant orthodoxy of the State is shown at its apex perhaps when Christian preachers lose their pulpits for taking in more or less literal terms the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian zealots are sent to prison for twenty years for distributing tracts which argue that war is unscriptural.” – from “The State”
From the above: “…energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice…” Compare that with this: “Lorde didn’t bow to pressure, she rose to the occasion” I’m also reminded of the situation with Chris Hedges, a minister (which actually works against him, in my view) who pulls no punches in speaking truth to power. In return, the State has not been kind to Chris Hedges. The (awful) paper he worked for, namely the New York Times, took him to task for an anti-empire, anti-war speech he gave in 2003 and shortly after Hedges left the paper. As for his involvement in Christendom, that’s between him and Jehovah. And Hedges, incidentally, has a lot to say about revolution and his statements about revolution exemplify the core political meaning of the term, which is innovation and society-building minus class warfare. Politically, in this dark world, such innovation is a labored, anxious reaction to oppression from systems put in place by uncaring, rightwing monsters. When people react, thoughtfully, to oppression or even just out of their imaginations to the problems needing solving, the Right (fearing loss of control and the unknown) reacts thoughtlessly, with repression. During the Vietnam ‘war’, as authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman note in “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism,” students (whose business should be thinking about thinking) protesting US aggression in Vietnam were labelled terrorists!
“In each country a web of myths evolves that allows the loyal citizenry to feel good about their nation, that depicts it and its people as generous, progressive, decent to a fault in its international behavior. People who question these myths, whether myths about a beneficent past, or the myths currently employed to put today’s actions and policies in a favorable light, are thus highly offensive to good taste and basic feelings of right and wrong. These doubters of myths may even pose a threat to communal integration and policy, which rest on this foundation of myths, and societies therefore usually have methods for containing or squelching critics who raise such questions.” – Edward Herman, page 1 of “The Real Terror Network – Terrorism In Fact And Propaganda”
“Recall that “subversion,” like “concealed aggression,” is a technical concept covering any form of unwelcome internal development. Thus the Joint Chiefs, in 1955, outline “three basic forms of aggression”: armed attack across a border (aggression in the literal sense); “Overt armed attack from within the area of each of the sovereign states”; “Aggression other than armed, i.e., political warfare, or subversion.” An internal uprising against a US-imposed police state, or elections that come out the wrong way, are forms of “aggression,” which the US has the right to combat by arbitrary violence. The assumptions are so ingrained as to pass without notice, as when liberal hero Adlai Stevenson, UN Ambassador under Kennedy and Johnson, declared that in Vietnam the US is defending a free people from “internal aggression.” – pg 41 of “Rethinking Camelot – JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture” by Noam Chomsky
In view of the above State concept of ‘internal aggression’, it’s sobering to realize that US officials (choose to) view the Communist conspiracy as global. In other words, the people – as in regular people – everywhere are seen as a threat to be dealt with (via ruination [or turning, the way a citizen is turned by foreign agents into a traitorous spy or the way a vampire makes another vampire] or literally destruction) to those who own and rule the world. You may not hear much about the global Communist conspiracy, but I’m sure that if it weren’t for the fact that people’s governments everywhere are being destroyed, you would. This is the point brought home forcefully in Stephen Gowens’s book, “Washington’s Long War On Syria.” Washington’s problem with Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya was that those were secular, Arab and socialist States. In other words, People everywhere who are subject to the global pacification program, described by some as securocratic warfare (with governments claiming that it’s for national security), are also attacked for resisting or fighting back. Slime-ball Spruille Braden, the one-time leader of a Council on Foreign Relations study group (looking at Latin America) stated: “Because Communism is so blatantly an international and not an internal affair, its suppression, even by force, in an American country, by one or more of the other republics, would not constitute an intervention in the internal affairs of the former.” (That example is from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism.”)
“In March 2007, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviewed retired four star U.S. General Weslely Clark, who had commanded NATO forces during the alliance’s 1999 unprovoked air war on Yugoslavia. Clark revealed that in the days following the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington of September 2001, the Bush administration developed plans to wage war on seven countries, one of which was Syria. Recalling a visit to the Pentagon he made in late September 2001, Clark said:
“About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, ‘Well, you’re busy.’ He said, ‘No, no.’ He says, ‘We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.’ This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, ‘We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said ‘I guess they don’t know what else to do.’ So I said, ‘Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qeda?’ He said, ‘No, no.’ He says, ‘There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.’ He said, ‘I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.’ And he said, ‘I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.'”
“A few weeks later, Clark returned to the Pentagon, and talked to the same general. By this point, the United States had launched a war on Afghanistan.
“I said, ‘Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said, ‘Oh, it’s worse than that.’ He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, ‘I just got this down from upstairs’ – meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office – ‘today.’ And he said, ‘This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.'”
“Clark’s revelations indicate that Washington had contemplated regime change in Syria since at least 2001, a full decade before the Islamist insurgency re-erupted in Syria in March 2011. The addition of Syria to the “Axis of Evil” on May 6, 2002 by then U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton underscores the point that Washington wanted to take down the Assad government a full decade before the Arab Spring upheavals…
“…Every one of the Axis countries rejected the United State’s self-declared global leadership role, refused to be integrated into the U.S.-led global economic order, and had what U.S. strategists called “economies [featuring] the heavy hand of government.” That Washington labeled these countries as “evil” followed from the view, unapologetically expressed by George W. Bush administration, that “economic freedom,” defined as “free and fair trade, open markets…[and]…the integration of the global economy” is “a moral imperative.” By rejecting “economic freedom” in favor of state ownership, planning and direction of their economies, these countries had marked themselves as immoral, and therefore evil…
“Washington’s assigning Syria to the company of countries in which it sought regime change, a full decade before the Arab Spring uprising, is evidence that the March 2011 disturbances, or more presisely, Damascus’s response to them, did not precipitate Washington’s decision to topple the Syrian government. This conclusion is strengthened by the facts that Washington contemplated military intervention in Syria in 2003 (if not as early as 2001, according to Wesley Clark) and began funding Syrian opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2005. That the Syrian government’s values of Arab unity, freedom from foreign domination, and Arab socialism, were inimical to Wall Street’s interests – and given the enormous influence Wall Street exercised in Washington – suggests very strongly that the U.S. government had a compelling reason to topple the Ba’athist governments in Damascus. Washington’s long record of overthrowing foreign governments which had undertaken hostile acts to Western business interests – for example, the ousting of Mossadegh for nationalizing Iran’s petroleum industry – only strengthens the conclusion.” – pages 113-115 of “Washington’s Long War On Syria” by Stephen Gowans
“UN Expert Decries Global Assault on Freedom of Expression” by Andrea Germanos
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
“Governments are treating words as weapons,” a United Nations expert has warned, previewing a report on the global attack on the freedom of expression.
The report, based on communications with governments stemming from allegations of human rights law violations — reveal “sobering” trends of threats worldwide and “how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists.”
The expert, Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, is presenting his report on the sometimes “abusive” practices by governments to the UN General Assembly on Friday.
The “tools of repression” used by governments worldwide in their assault include internet shut-downs and over-classification of documents in the name of national security. The tactics may also include criminalization of criticism of the state, which may lead to detention and other punitive measures against political and human rights activists — and even journalists.
Carl von Clausewitz:
“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” (This is how Carl spelled his own name. He used a ‘C’ instead of a ‘K’.)
Words, clearly, aren’t banned. The State’s words will be free. The people’s words will be banned, unless they are non-threatening to the war-making State. See my blog post titled “A Loud Whoompfing Sound.”
Randolph Bourne wrote “The State.” (The Randolph Bourne website linked to on the troubled Wikipedia website presents the Randolph Bourne Institute. Would Bourne approve? I hope not. It seems that the establishment, via Antiwar.com, has hijacked Bourne’s legacy. Check out Sibel Edmond’s thoughts about the establishment Antiwar.com. [And take note that Sibel has either had a breakdown of some sort – which her ‘friend’ Spiro should not have given fuel to – or she’s been got to. See “The Destruction, Or Self-Destruction, Of Newsbud.” Her examination of Antiwar.com, however, is straightforward, with her and Spiro simply pointing out how all of Antiwar.com’s links go to corporate-owned media sources.] And, While I find Bourne to be a fine thinker, I of course can’t follow him when he starts talking about the ‘fact’ of biological evolution.) Another interesting Bourne comment, which the above comment flows from, is: “Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power, of competition: it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion. The State is the country acting as a political unit, it is the group acting as a repository of force, determiner of law, arbiter of justice. International politics is a “power politics” because it is a relation of States and that is what States infallibly and calamitously are, huge aggregations of human and industrial force that may be hurled against each other in war..”
What would Bourne have made of John Perkins’s concept of Corporatocracy, I wonder? For sure, Bourne is much more correct than he could have imagined. Governments have been captured by powerful special interests and are now essentially fronts for Corporations and other powerful special interests. The Pentagon supposedly is governmental. However, Today it looks like its main function is to enable, protect, aid and abet the weapons makers in the private sector. And with so many generals (acting and ex) within the Trump admin, What sort of independence does Donald Trump have to care about the American people more than, let alone at the expense of, ‘defence’ contractors and other private sector businesses? Have a look at William Hartung’s recent article titled “Weapons For Anyone.” Hartung concludes his article with these words: “If Trump’s vision of an all-arms-sales-all-the-time foreign policy is realized, he may scale the weapons-dealing heights reached by the Obama administration. As Washington’s arms-dealer-in-chief, he might indeed succeed in selling American weaponry as if there were no tomorrow. Given the known human costs of unbridled arms trafficking, however, such a presidency would also ensure that whatever tomorrow finally arrived would prove far worse than today, unless of course you happen to be a major U.S. arms maker.” Indeed. The health of the State is the illness of the people. Major arms makers, and other corporations and special interests, are not outside of government. They are informally, but powerfully, a part of government. At this point, People wanting to become politicians know that and have no problem with it. But they will not say it the way people like Edward Herman (referring to the “joint venture” of powerful special interests with politicians and governments) and John Perkins (Corporatocracy) do.
“The really massive and significant growth of terrorism since World War II has been that carried out by states… Contrary to [Claire] Sterling’s foolish remark about the “colossal” armaments of retail terrorists, state military resources are vastly larger, and the power of even small states to intimidate is much greater than that of non-state terrorists. Only states use torture extensively as a means of intimidation, and if we use as our measure of the scale of terrorist violence either political murders or incarceration accompanied by torture, retail terrorism pales into relative insignificance.” – Edward Herman, page 83 of “The Real Terror Network”
“It need hardly be noted explicitly that for [Arnold] Beichman, like [Walter] Lacquer, the term “terrorism” never includes a bombarier on a B-52 mission over Indochina wiping out entire villages of “literal innocents,” nor the higher authorities ultimately responsible for such attacks – at a certain level of apologetics, state terror, no matter how gross, occupies a sacred place exempt from invidious language. But Reichman’s [sic] hysteria over dissidence is so great that for him, civil rights workers become indistinguishable from bomb throwers in the frightening array of opponents of the holy state.” – Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, page 105 of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism”
“But in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal,” notes Bourne. “Other values, such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.” (the bolding is mine) Chris Hedges has a chapter in his book called “Vigilante Violence.” He’s talking about gatekeepers. In my essay titled “Gatekeepers,” I look at how there are two types of gatekeeper, namely those who are appointed and those who are self-appointed, but I didn’t concern myself with separating out the perpetrators of violence, or vigilante violence. A gatekeeper will already be an unprincipled person who has decided that how he (or…) survives is less important, or totally unimportant, while simply surviving is all that matters. Such people may view themselves as pious, as Christians or other religionists, but, as Jesus Christ said, “By their fruits you will recognize them.” And so, the easiest way, in this dark world, to survive, from the standpoint of such ruined ones, is to ally themselves with power, whatever its flavor. Now, All those who have the ‘wrong’ political views – a questioning of the status quo – are the enemy and are to be hindered and that hindrance ranges from the mildest form to the most violent form.
“Violence in America is not restricted to state violence. There is a tradition of vigilante violence that is used, usually with the state’s tacit if unofficial blessing, to crush dissent, to keep repressed minorities in a state of fear, or to exact revenge on those who the state has branded as traitors. It is a product of hatred, not hope. It is directed against the weak, not the strong. And it is deeply ingrained in the American psyche.
“America has been formed and shaped by slave patrols, gunslingers, Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detectives, gangs of strikebreakers, hired gun thugs, company militias, and the American Legion – originally right-wing World War I veterans who attacked union agitators, especially those belonging to the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”). The influence on the country of the White Citizens’ Council, the White League – which carried out public military drills in the South – the Knights of the White Camelia, and the Ku Klux Klan – which boasted more than 3 million members between 1915 and 1944 and took over the governance of some states – has been equally profound. More recently, heavily armed mercenary paramilitaries, violent Cuban exile groups, and armed militias such as the Oath Keepers and the anti-immigration extremist group Ranch Rescue have perpetuated America’s seamless tradition of vigilantism.” – pg 145 of “The Wages of Rebellion” by Chris Hedges
I am always furious when I think about the tolerance for bike gangs. Why isn’t that terrorism? Why is none of what Chris looks at above terrorism? The war on terror is not what the authorities would have people believe it is. It is, in fact, a war of terrorism against the people.
The privately owned gatekeeping (major and alt in some cases) media and (ruined) reporters who they employ, sucked into supporting foreign policy goals that their governments pursue, become guard dogs (like The Intercept, which Jeremy Scahill helps run) rather than watchdogs and the nation becomes aggressive (Nazi) and quite self-abused. Note that reason – thinking – has taken a holiday in Bourne’s ruined nation. Passion has been allowed to drive it away.
“The leaders of the significant classes, who feel most intensely this State compulsion, demand a 100 percent Americanism, among 100 percent of the population. The State is a jealous God and will brook no rivals. Its sovereignty must pervade every one, and all feeling must be run into the stereotyped forms of romantic patriotic militarism which is the traditional expression of the State herd-feeling.”
Bourne’s boast that enlightened Europe would never see war within was proved empty when NATO destroyed, with support from European nations, neutral, socialist Yugoslavia. See Michael Parenti’s article, “The Nobel Peace Prize For War.” (Parenti completely fails, though, when it come to the subject of JFK.)
Bourne again: “For the very existence of a State in a system of States means that the nation lies always under a risk of war and invasion, and the calling away of energy into military pursuits means a crippling of the productive and life-enhancing processes of the national life.” Bourne elevates ‘nation’ to unrealistically great heights in my view. His point is sound about the negative effect of the State on the nation, because of its war-making priorities, but are people ruined by this or not? He seems to forget his own analysis. Once people are ruined (in a fascist, a la Herman and Chomsky, sense), are they not one with the State?
Bourne again: “All this organization of death-dealing energy and technique is not a natural but a very sophisticated process. Particularly in modern nations, but also all through the course of modern European history, it could never exist without the State. For it meets the demands of no other institution, it follows the desires of no religious, industrial, political group.” This is simply incorrect. The fossil-fueled military and the oil companies (two entities in the unholy trinity that is uncle Sam) benefit from war, at least by some standards. And Bourne, in the same paragraph as he makes the above statement goes on to say something like that, contradicting himself. It’s not just impulses or feeling among members of certain sectors of society that impel the State on a straight and narrow path of war, but it’s also the profit-motive. Walton makes several good points in this regard. He refers to another who makes the point that the political influence of the military becomes problematic when military people are over-represented in government, something that Kennedy was not bothered by.
Bourne again: “Because the entire nation is regimented and the whole resources of the country are levied on for war, this does not mean that it is the country qua country which is fighting. It is the country organized as a State that is fighting, and only as a State would it possibly fight. So literally it is States which make war on each other and not peoples.” Point taken, but this approaches what is known as a distinction without a difference. When the people of a nation are ruined, they will also be one with the epitome of ruin, namely the State. “Thus arises conflict within the State. War becomes almost a sport between the hunters and the hunted. The pursuit of enemies within outweighs in psychic attractiveness the assault on the enemy without. The whole terrific force of the State is brought to bear against the heretics. The nation boils with a slow insistent fever. A white [white-hot perhaps?] terrorism is carried on by the Government against pacifists, socialists, enemy aliens, and a milder unofficial persecution against all persons or movements that can be imagined as connected with the enemy.”
Some anti-State propaganda. The bolding is mine:
“Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas to Beroea. On arriving, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with great eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:10,11
“Therefore, I appeal to you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed my making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1,2
“Indeed, Just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26
Jesus Christ said that “…wisdom is proved righteous by its works,” which God will either approve or disapprove. (He said that in reference to John the baptist’s decision – which led to a huge influx of seekers for Truth to the ranks of Jesus’s followers – to loyally carry out his God-given ministry. John’s “works” [Matthew] or “children” [Luke]; In other words, what John was producing, were evidence of God’s blessing and therefore approval.) Let’s think about that. There’s an interesting debate on the Left about a guaranteed annual income. This was mentioned recently in comments attached to a Real News Network show featuring Chelsea Manning. (Repeated efforts by myself to link, in the attached readers’ comments, to Toby Sanger’s, and John Clark’s, articles about the dangers of the guaranteed annual income were fruitless. What’s up Real News?). I cautioned people to think carefully about the annual guaranteed income and someone wondered what I was suggesting we could lose. I replied and that reply was disappeared. But it led me to re-read, and read, a bit about it. I attached a comment to an article by Toby Sanger, below. But first, I will provide an excerpt from Ben Stein’s interview with Warren Buffett, since Toby quotes Buffett, linking to that Stein article.
“In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning” by Ben Stein
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.
It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. “How can this be fair?” he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. “How can this be right?”
Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
There’s been an enormous amount of recent interest in an old policy idea: a basic income guarantee (BIG), also known as a guaranteed annual income (GAI), guaranteed minimum income (GMI), citizens income, negative income tax (NIT), etc.
The discussion below focuses on these proposals from a progressive labour perspective. It reviews positions Canadian unions have taken in the past, highlights concerns that have been raised and considers the conditions under which these proposals should be supported in relation to progressive labour priorities…
The Ontario government announced in its 2016 Budget they will “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.” The federal and other provincial governments are likely to follow suit and the federal Finance committee is also planning to study it…
Some conservatives, such as economist Milton Freidman and Charles Murray, like the idea of a guaranteed income or “negative income tax” because they see it as a way to dismantle the social welfare state and replace it with simple cash transfers. Others, including some businesses, are attracted to the fact that it could subsidize low wages. A number of Silicon Valley CEOs and “techno-utopians” also advocate for basic incomes as a way to address poverty in a new economy becoming increasingly productive but with jobs that are increasing flexible and precarious—and in a way that aligns with a libertarian and anti-government regulation philosophy…
At its 1988 convention, the CLC [Canadian Labour Congress] discussed and approved a policy paper on a Guaranteed Annual Income, Adequate Incomes for All Canadians: A Working Future. The CLC paper strongly opposed the MacDonald Commission’s corporate proposal for a poverty level GAI and put it in the context of the failure of their economic system to provide decent well-paid jobs for all and the conservative government’s erosion of social programs and benefits. It stated “a GAI must be part of an integrated and comprehensive approach to the question of poverty and low incomes that attacks the root causes of these problems.”
It affirmed support for a GAI but only one that provided adequate incomes and that was part of a comprehensive and integrated program, including restoring and maintaining full employment, increased minimum wages and non-wage benefits, strengthened collective bargaining relationships, ending discrimination, pay equity, improvements to social assistance programs including UI, CPP, workers compensation, benefits to disabled workers and child benefits, and expansion of public services, including universal Medicare, affordable housing and a universal child care system, and fundamental progressive tax reform…
We should be just as concerned now about basic income schemes that serve to dismantle the social welfare state and public services, or to drive down wages. The 2016 Ontario budget announcement reveals their interest behind this proposal:
“The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market. The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas, such as health care and housing supports.” (2016 Ontario Budget, page 132)
This suggests they are considering providing cash or vouchers as a substitute for public services provided to social assistance recipients (such as affordable housing, health and drug benefits, etc.) as a way to confront the “welfare wall”. This could lead to an erosion of public services, greater privatization, and the replacement of existing decent public sector jobs providing with lower paid and more precarious private sector jobs—thereby further fuelling more need for basic income supports. These are some of reasons the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is highly skeptical of Liberal plans for a basic income.
My posted comment, with small corrections and modifications, in response to the above article follows:
“Can we expect a revolution of the precariat?” asks Toby. Presumably he means, by revolution, a situation whereby the precariat wakes up to its untenable situation, which would require it to care enough to know. Being victims of an attack such as neoliberalsim doesn’t automatically make you caring. And caring is knowing (the revolution).
I’d be interested in knowing the context for Buffett’s comment about class warfare that his class launched and is winning. In any case, it’s an interesting idea. It almost makes it sound like Buffett’s class is on the ball and everyone else is, like docile sheep, not on the ball. But, as the Christian Bible notes, wisdom is proved righteous by its works. Jesus when explaining to his disciples the way the faith of those pursuing righteousness worked gave illustrations showing that his disciples should expect a negative reaction (rightwing reaction) from much of the dark world that they would be working in. One example he gave concerned how faithless ones in that day reacted to both John the baptizer and himself. John was a divinely appointed Nazirite (some of God’s people being voluntary Nazirites), namely one who was dedicated to God in a special way, not drinking or eating any product of the grapevine, nor strong liquor, nor cutting their hair nor touching a dead body, even one of a close relative, although in special circumstances a rule might be overlooked. The Nazirite Samson was allowed to touch dead bodies, because God used him like a one-man army. “…John the Baptist has come neither eating bread nor drinking wine, but you say “He has a demon.” The Son of man has come eating and drinking, but you say “Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by all its children.” John introduced Jesus to the people, himself hearing a voice from out of the invisible announce that Jesus is God’s son. His purpose was to direct people to seek forgiveness (symbolized by his water baptism) and to look for the messiah to come. He continued to baptize people for some time after Jesus’s arrival, but was eventually thrown into prison by Herod Antipas because he expressed disapproval of Herod’s adultery. While in prison, John, whose faith never waivered or Jesus would not have continued to praise him, asked those reporting to him Jesus miraculous works to ask Jesus whether he was the coming One or would there be another? As with the other disciples, there were things they didn’t know right away. John probably wondered whether that Jewish system would be shut down or whether it would happen later, perhaps by the power of another prophet from God. Unlike Warren Buffett, John wasn’t living it up, but it didn’t cause him to reject God. In fact, it appears that John’s family was not impoverished, which would make John’s sacrifice more notable.
Those, like Buffett, get ahead of and on top of others, usually, by breaking rules, written and unwritten. Once they come to dominate in society, those self-modified people – having ignored their God-given consciences and the golden rule of ‘do to others as you would have done to you’ – now express twisted values. They become (de facto and self-identified) neoconservatives and neoliberals. Neoconservatives believe in violence, deceit and inequality and they are down with neoliberalism, a socio-economic system that has, at its core, inequality. They become glory seekers who get a kick out of taking the means of survival from others who see who it is that robs them. Glory that is unseen isn’t glory. Right Warren? Neoliberalism – privatization and deregulation – means prosperity for the 1% and austerity for the 99%.
Unfortunately, Those who are victims of beastly people in authority who impose neoliberalism and austerity on them are not, automatically, caring. They are not automatically righteous. And that’s how we have acquired the discouraging situation whereby 98% of the 99% are dull and unable to counter the counterrevolution. Counterrevolution isn’t activity in a positive sense. Scheming and breaking rules isn’t creativity and thinking about problems with a view to solving them. But the dull 98% receive the propaganda of the State and its agents as though the State is caring and its actions and policies are an effort on their behalf, often called “national security” or “the national interest” or “a war on terrorism.” The 1% has a huge challenge and, in fact, does not possess the power to slay the wild beast of Corporatocracy. And their ideas, their thinking, their solutions (including a ‘progressive’ version of annual guaranteed income) that involve having socialism for all rather than only the iconic 1%, are not only not welcomed by the 1% (and we shouldn’t expect it as John Clarke notes), but they are actively snuffed out (the way the current Ontario Liberal government is seeking to get in a guaranteed basic income which capitalists can get behind, that way shutting down further, meaningful exploration of the solution). The general population may join the 1% of the 99% in being devastated by the assault by the counterrevolutionaries, but our being within the same fence doesn’t mean that we are all children of righteousness who reject this world’s paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’.
Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, the saying goes. Those idle hands are idle toward righteousness and solutions (from the standpoint of those who have not self-modified). The world is full of Devil’s workshops and very, very busy workers, like Warren Buffett, and this ruined world is only proof that what they are building is faulty and in need of destruction, which is why Jehovah God said that he would bring to ruin those ruining the world. John the Baptist died in Herod’s prison but not because he was an unthinking sheep deserving of slaughter. On the contrary. (Revelation chapter 11)
How do we determine whether wisdom is righteous? God decides. When someone called Jesus “good teacher,” Jesus took the opportunity to make a point (Matthew 19:17). He replied with “One there is who is good.” (The apostle John reports, in Revelation chapter 11, an incident in which, in vision, he fell to his knees before an angel who was giving him information and the angel cautioned him to “not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and your brothers.” Same thing.) Jesus didn’t mean to say that he was bad. He meant to point people to his Father, the Creator, whose standards we must embrace in order to embrace and reflect him. (Ultimately, good people – like Noam Chomsky or Randolph Bourne – who have not embraced God will have to do so in order to be found to be good, with life and death consequences. There’s no getting around it.) It’s a matter of life and death, for only God can save us – if we want it. His Son is an instrument in that salvation which we experience, but we do not receive salvation automatically. Even those who possess faith are required to demonstrate their faith, by showing fear of God rather than fear of man, and telling people about Jehovah’s Kingdom and his plan of salvation for imperfect humankind, in which plan Jesus Christ plays a central role. The Bible notes that faith without works is dead. And wisdom would have those who possess faith, who aren’t totally in chains, produce works – and let us not judge others as to how worthy they are – that make that faith meaningful and of use to the person possessing it and to others. God’s people are a part of the miracle of life and, when the world is in darkness, a part of the solution. Whereas, Those who have self-modified themselves, jettisoning Jesus’s golden rule of ‘Do to others the way you would have them do to you’ for this world’s rule of ‘riches for the strongest’ are those who are busy scheming as workers in the Devil’s workshops. They are idle toward good works. They are, collectively, the problem.
We know God’s standards. He’s honest. He shows (agape) love. He embraces righteousness and hates injustice. He shows compassion and is forgiving, but not at the expense of justice and righteousness. We can therefore compare someone’s actions, including their words, with those standards. In that regard, It’s fascinating, in an awful way, to consider the political myth/ad of Camelot, in which John Kennedy is portrayed as a white knight fighting the forces of darkness. The idea to create Camelot must have come about, largely, as a result of a problem whose solution presented an opportunity, as I noted earlier. John F. Kennedy was a singularly awful man and President. He used the mob to get elected in 1960 and then tried to use it to assassinate Fidel Castro, whom he was obsessed with. Kennedy had venereal disease and no doubt gave it to many women. He was an adulterer – and it wasn’t by mutual consent with his wife – and even slept with the East German communist leader’s (Walter Ulbricht) former employee, Ellen Rometsch! Talk about reckless! (Politically, it was reckless, being something that might make JFK’s re-election, which he cared about, impossible. JFK may not have known right away all the details about Rometsch, but the point is that he didn’t care. By JFK’s own standards, he was reckless. Otherwise, There was no threat to actual national security here.) Seymour Hersh, who wrote “Dark Side Of Camelot,” stated that Kennedy liked living on the edge. But his recklessness, as Hersh and others have noted, often cost others their health and/or lives.
Richard J. Walton looks at JFK’s time in office as President. For someone who was infected with Camelotism (as was Hersh I think), Walton’s reportage is not too kind to Kennedy. Hersh made the point, interestingly, that the dark side of Camelot is probably more important than the good that may have been there. (And I can guess what Hersh might call good about the Kennedy White House: The Alliance For Progress [that saw aid go to prop up sub-fascist, anti-communist National Security States], the sexy bureaucracy [because betrayer Kennedy is so sexy and everyone, male and female, was turned on by him], the lunar expedition [NASA is merely an extension of the Pentagon and has as its true goal the testing of missiles that will kill people, as Paul Kellog explains].) When Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” Was he scoping out skirts in the audience? Kennedy (and his awful brother) was a pious (and Godless) Catholic. He, therefore, was a part of Christendom, which is destined to be destroyed when Jehovah maneuvers to have Babylon The Great, which includes Christendom and all false religion of all denominations, destroyed in Armageddon. Both Walton and Hersh and others provide numerous examples of Kennedy lying and behaving recklessly. Interestingly, both authors, writing many years apart, depict a Kennedy who eschewed thoughtfulness.
Hersh recounts an incident in which a professor of history, David Herbert Donald, who encountered the youthful President was struck by his ignorance. Kennedy came from a political family, his father Joseph having served as Ambassador to Britain and having harbored an interest in running for President, which idea had to be scotched when he failed to support America’s decision to go to war against the Nazis because he calculated that it was better to have the Nazis there to check Communism. (Which, from the American establishment’s standpoint, would not have been a terrible idea. For political reasons, however, it was. Americans being sent to fight Nazis would not vote for someone who appeared to not want to give the Nazis the war with the US that the Nazis wanted.) But JFK was, like his father (and grandfather), a gangster. Joseph Kennedy sold booze (jointly with gangster Frank Costello) during prohibition, in the 30s and 40s, and was completely supportive of the gangster Batista regime in Cuba. Kennedy was destined, it seemed, to become a schemer, not a scholar, just like his father. And he never learned properly from his mistakes. He always drew wrong conclusions from them.
“In a diary entry dated May 22, 1939, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau described how Thomas G. Corcoran, one of Roosevelt’s senior political advisers, “got really violent” while discussing Kennedy and Krock. “He said that Krock was running a campaign to put Joe Kennedy over for President.” Krocker was further described as “the number one Poison at the White House.” Harold Ickes had earlier expressed concern about Kennedy’s qualifications, and his ambitions, in his diary: “At a time when we should be sending the best that we have to Great Britain, we have not done so. We have sent a rich man, untrained in diplomacy, unlearned in history and politics, who is a great publicity hound and who is apparently ambitious to be the first Catholic President of the United States.” – page 71 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh
Walton writes about Kennedy’s failure to pursue dialog with a puzzled Soviet leader. It wasn’t only the Soviets who were puzzled by this President who came to talks, but didn’t talk. As Hersh noted, Kennedy talked tough and that in turn caused others, who worshipped him, to imitate him. Kennedy was a Cold War hawk who hewed to the Cold War NSC 68 document, which was full of awful language about the evil of Communism and the righteousness of the United States which had the task of opposing Communism everywhere. How convenient for US-based investors and capitalists who wanted as free a hand as they could have in the new, post WWII, global capitalist system that was designed and dominated by the US.
Kennedy became a victim, sort of, of his own vile bullcrap. He, and other leaders in both parties, as well as the entire American establishment, going back to the beginning of that awful nation, were responsible for the ruination of the entire American population, with some principled people resisting, as you always see when darkness sweeps the land. And so, When Kennedy speechified, or engaged in ‘talks’, it was too often the case that they were bellicose and threatening, because that’s what the ruined people, and Kennedy’s ruined cabinet, and a Congress full of ruined Congress people, wanted from their ruined leader and he knew it. Hersh and Walton write about how Kennedy bamboozled the public about his proposed partial test ban on nuclear weapons, presenting the proposal as being a step toward peace, in accordance with his stated (bullcrap) desire to exist alongside the Soviet Union as an equal. By confining the tests to underground, Kennedy knew that he guaranteed American superiority, for the Soviets were behind the Americans in technological expertise in that area. Indeed, Showing that the Soviets were sincere about peace, as I.F. Stone reported, they reduced their tests altogether while the Americans stepped up their’s.
“Although Kennedy in his speech to the nation presented the test-ban treaty as the first step on the path toward peace, he presented it to the Pentagon and to the Congress not as a step toward ending the arms race but as a lasting triumph in it, as an acknowledgement of American nuclear superiority and as a way to maintain it. Not only did the exclusion of underground testing avoid the problem of onsite inspection but it permitted a form of testing in which the United States was more skilled and could better afford. Since Kennedy genuinely seemed to fear that it would be difficult to get the two-thirds majority necessary for Senate ratification, he stressed just those aspects of the test ban that weakened its effect. And since he feared public opposition by the top military might torpedo the treaty, he made a series of concessions to the Joint Chiefs of Staff perhaps more significant than the treaty itself. Even so, a number of admirals and generals opposed it either in Senate hearings or in public.
“As Secretary McNamara told the Senate, “By limiting Soviet testing to the underground, where testing is more difficult and more expensive and where the United States has substantially more experience, we can at least retard Soviet progress and thereby prolong the duration of our technological superiority.” When it came his turn to testify, General Maxwell Taylor, since August 1962 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate that “the most serious reservations” of the Chiefs were based on “the fear of a euphoria in the West which will eventually reduce our vigilance.” They feared, in short, that peace would cause us to lose our enthusiasm for preparing for war. Thus, they attached “safeguards” to their support, and Kennedy gave “unqualified and unequivocal assurances” that their conditions would be met. This is the Kennedy – and the McNamara – who established firm civilian control over the military.” – pages 155 & 156 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton
I’m very sure that that last sentence is sarcasm.
“Despite Kennedy’s stirring words at American University, during Senate hearings on the test ban treaty in the summer of 1963 there was no talk of the recklessness and wastefulness of an uncontrolled arms race. The test ban treaty was described to senators hostile to arms control not as a victory against the arms race but as a victory in it. In his memoir Kennedy, Ted Sorensen, who wrote the first draft of the American University speech, recalled that Kennedy’s essential skepticism was not about Senate ratification, but about obtaining Moscow’s acceptance of the treaty. “Inasmuch as even a limited test-ban treaty required a Soviet acceptance of a permanent American superiority in nuclear weapons [emphasis added],” Sorensen wrote, “[Kennedy] refused to count too heavily on the success” of negotiations with with Moscow.
“Khrushchev would immediately have broken off the test ban talks had he been able to anticipate Robert McNamara’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the treaty. On August 13, 1963 – eight days after the Soviets signed the treaty – McNamara, wary of criticism from the right, outlined an exponential increase in the arms race. America would triple its fleet of ICBMs, from 500 to 1,700, by 1966. This new push would also triple the total of available submarine-launched missiles by the same year. As for America’s missile defense system, McNamara told the Senate that the ABM warhead designs “we now have or can develop through underground testing will provide a high probability of killing Soviet warheads even if [the Soviet warheads incorporate advanced technology far beyond what now exists.” The journalist I.F. Stone, in a 1970 essay on the test ban treaty for the New York Review of Books caustically wrote that when McNamara’s testimony was read in Moscow, Khrushchev’s opposition within the Kremlin – which had steadily grown since the missile crisis – “must have felt Khrushchev had lost his mind in believing that the treaty was a step toward lightening the burden and danger of the arms race.”
“Khrushchev, perhaps as much dazzled by Jack Kennedy as the reporters who covered him and the aides who worked in the White House, was ousted as premier and stripped of all his government and party posts in October 1964.” – pages 385 & 386 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh
Kennedy’s attitude toward humankind: ‘You will have peace over my dead body.’ If only that were so. But you were never an exceptional President, John. Here we see a variation of the ‘idle hands are the Devil’s workshop’. Here we have Kennedy the schemer, not Kennedy the dreamer or thinker. His hypocritical speechifying amounted to the sound of silence, in which the world heard words that it didn’t need to hear, since they were in fact insincere, but didn’t hear words that it needed to hear. Keep in mind that Kennedy’s partial test ban treaty actually accelerated the arms race. JFK was alternatively talking about peace and his willingness to pursue it, always contradicting himself even in the same speech (for those listening) or thundering and promising fire and fury, like his modern day, unpolished counterpart, Donald Trump, “who fumbled his way through a foreign-policy pop quiz before announcing, “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”” (Listen to Hugh Hewitt’s interview of Donald Trump here.) Kennedy wasn’t as dumb as Trump is, But when you embrace darkness, it’s only a matter of time. If imperfect humans could live for hundreds or thousands of years, those who embraced darkness would all begin sounding like a cross between the Rain Man and Homer Simpson. And they would still be going downhill until they were like drooling dogs chasing their tails.
Kennedy went into talks with Nikita Khrushchev, in April of 1961, in a dour mood, having no intention of giving anything to his opponent, which really required no thought and reflected stupidity, inflexibility and a lack of imagination. Walton suggests that the reporter, James Reston, when reporting, a year after Kennedy’s death, on Kennedy’s frame of mind after meeting with Khrushchev, misinterpreted Kennedy’s dourness for a state of agitation caused by a bullying Khrushchev. Ted Sorensen, Walton notes, talked about a “legend” arising out Kennedy’s grimness and over-management of news “that Vienna had been a traumatic, shattering experience, that Khurshchev had bullied and browbeaten the President and that Kennedy was depressed and disheartened.” What Reston and others were really observing, in relation to his demeanor after Vienna, was Kennedy in a state of dourness that he put himself in on his way into the talks, which was not dropped right away afterward. (Hersh has a different take, for whatever reason. He runs with Reston’s reportage and accepts the idea that Kennedy had been bullied by Khruschev.) Kennedy liked to party (and orgy) and that made him fun. But he was also a psychopath, like Sam Giancana, who helped get Kennedy elected. Hersh even compares Kennedy to Giancana at one point explaining that just as the psycho Giancana’s response to bad news was often ‘Kill him, kill him, kill him’!, that was Kennedy in relation to Castro.
From “Pragmatic Illusions – The Presidential Politics of JOHN F. KENNEDY” by Bruce Miroff:
“Contemporary critics noted the absence on the New Frontier of any vision or design for the future of American society. James Reston recounts, in this regard, a revealing story about Kennedy:
I once asked him in a long private talk at Hyannis Port what he wanted to have achieved by the time he rode down Pennsylvania Avenue with his successor. He looked at me as if I were a dreaming child. I tried again: did he not feel the need of some goal to help guide his day-to-day decisions and priorities? Again a ghastly pause. It was only when I turned the question to immediate, tangible problems that he seized the point and rolled off a torrent of statistics about the difficulty of organizing nations at different levels of economic development.
“Kennedy’s response to Reston can be seen, as it has been by Schlesinger, as a reflection of the pragmatist’s disdain for impractical questions. But it can also be seen as hinting at something far more significant – that Kennedy possessed so thoroughgoing an acceptance of the American social and economic order that he could not begin to think of why or how it might need changing.” – pg 8
“Acheson was given the chance to set the initial terms for the Administration’s debate on the American position toward Berlin, and he responded with an apocalyptic vision that exceeded even Kennedy’s. Imperiously sweeping away the tangle of historical and political factors, his report to Kennedy proclaimed, according to Schlesinger, that
West Berlin was not a problem but a pretext. Khrushchev’s démarche had nothing to do with Berlin, Germany or Europe. His object… was not to rectify a local situation but to test the general American will to resist; his hope was that, by making us back down on a sacred commitment, he could shatter our world power and influence. This was a simple conflict of wills, and, until it was resolved, any efforts to negotiate the Berlin issue per se would be fatal. Since there was nothing to negotiate, willingness on our part to go to the conference table would be taken in Moscow as evidence of weakness and make the crisis so much the worse.
…When Harold Macmillan and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, came to Washington in April, Kennedy invited Acheson to the discussions on Berlin. The British (as well as a few of the Americans present) were understandably disturbed by Acheson’s harsh logic…
Armed with Acheson’s conclusions (though not yet with his final report), convinced that Berlin was the “touchstone” of American integrity and that Khrushchev would utilize it to probe Western unity and resolve, Kennedy journeyed to Vienna with his meeting with the Soviet Premier in June of 1961.” pages 70,71,72
Kennedy’s counterrevolution crowded out any positive vision for America and the wider world. Instead of reason, therefore, all you had was machismo and a negative passion. Dean Acheson, and most of the people Kennedy ‘chose’ to surround himself with, gave Kennedy all kinds of ways to do politics the tough, John Wayne, hero-making way Kennedy wanted to do them. I don’t believe that Kennedy believed fully in any of the Cold War crap he dished and took as guidance for policy-making, but that didn’t matter. If Kennedy had principles, and if he had ideas and vision, he would not have been the kind of president that a ruined political class could have. Kennedy, whose sole interest was in foreign policy, where he hoped to make historic and heroic moves, was “devoid of vision, empty of any substantial ideas about bettering American society or reshaping the fabric of American political life. Neither dramatic encounter with the ills of American social life nor the slow patient enterprise of educating the American public appealed to Kennedy, because his domestic goals were conventionally framed and shallowly held,” noted Bruce Miroff. (pg 67) Consider the way the young President responded to the warm overtures from the Soviet leadership upon becoming President. The utterly unclassy Kennedy was utterly disrespectful – just as he intended to be. Kennedy gave no more thought to the positive overtures of Khrushchev and Brezhnev than he gave to other matters, except sex.
From pages 5 & 6 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton:
“…The suspicious will argue that it was merely a tactical gambit, but at 4 p.m. on Inauguration Day a friendly message from Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev was delivered to the White House. After congratulating Kennedy, the two Soviet leaders expressed
…the hope that by our own joint efforts we shall succeed in achieving a fundamental improvement in relations between our contries and a normalization of the whole of the international situation. We are convinced that, step by step, it will be possible to remove existing suspicion and distrust and cultivate seeds of friendship and practical cooperation between our peoples. On its side, the Soviet Government is always ready to support any good undertakings in this direction and to do everything in its power in order that durable peace may be established in the world, so that all nations may live in friendship and without enmity.
Kennedy replied in routine formal language. A few days later the Russians gave substance to their words by informing Kennedy that they would release the two survivors of a six-man RB-47 reconnaissance plane shot down by the Russians over the sea near Murmansk on July 1 the year before. As Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, wrote, the release of Captains Freeman B. Olmstead and John R. McCone was “an obvious gesture of friendship toward the new President, and was to signal, if only briefly, a hopeful new atmosphere in our relations with the Kremlin.” Kennedy in his first press conference, on January 25, declared that “this action of the Soviet government removes a serious obstacle to improvement of Soviet-American relations.”
For the moment it appeared that Kennedy had responded to the Soviet gestures of word and deed. The moment was brief. It was ended by John Kennedy less than a week after the release of the RB-47 fliers. On January 30 the President stepped before a joint session of Congress to deliver his first State of the Union message. This was not John Kennedy the conciliator but John Kennedy the Cold Warrior. He chilled the Congress and the nation with a bleak assessment of the world situation that went beyond even the alarms of John Foster Dulles. He told the Congress that he spoke “in an hour of national peril” and he declared that it was “by no means certain” that the nation could endure. And in the kind of language normally reserved for moments of mortal danger, Kennedy declared:
No man entering upon this office, regardless of his party, regardless of his previous service in Washington, could fail to be staggered upon learning – even in this brief ten-day period – the harsh enormity of the trials through which we must pass in the next four years. Each day the crises multiply. Each day their solution grows more difficult. Each day we draw nearer the hour of maximum danger, as weapons spread and hostile forces grow stronger. I feel I must inform the Congress that our analyses over the last ten days make it clear that – in each of the principal areas of crisis – the tide of events has been running out and time has not been our friend.
The President left no doubt who, in his view, was to blame.
Our greatest challenge is still the world that lies beyond the Cold War – but the first great obstacle is still our relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China. We must never be lulled into believing that either power has yielded its ambitions for world domination – ambitions which they forcefully restated only a short time ago. On the contrary, our task is to convince them that aggression and subversion will not be profitable routes to pursue these ends.
This was the young President who was supposed to be free of the tired and sterile ideologies of the Cold War.”
“War — or at least modern war waged by a democratic republic against a powerful enemy — seems to achieve for a nation almost all that the most inflamed political idealist could desire. Citizens are no longer indifferent to their Government, but each cell of the body politic is brimming with life and activity…
“For the last stronghold of State power is foreign policy. It is in foreign policy that the State acts most concentratedly as the organized herd, acts with fullest sense of aggressive-power, acts with freest arbitrariness. In foreign policy, the State is most itself. States, with reference to each other, may be said to be in a continual state of latent war. The “armed truce,” a phrase so familiar before 1914, was an accurate description of the normal relation of States when they are not at war. Indeed, it is not too much to say that the normal relation of States is war. Diplomacy is a disguised war, in which States seek to gain by barter and intrigue, by the cleverness of wits, the objectives which they would have to gain more clumsily by means of war. Diplomacy is used while the States are recuperating from conflicts in which they have exhausted themselves.” – Randolph Bourne, “The State” (written in 1918)
Enlightenment vs Darkness
I agree with Bourne because that’s simply the kind of world I live in and which I see all around me. But I would point out that that doesn’t mean that we should be anti-diplomacy. I applaud those who fight global warming which they say could lead to the extinction of the human species, not because I believe that evil people can bring that about, for God will prevent that, but because it’s the right thing to do. If others who don’t possess faith, or faith such as mine, want to do all that they can to prevent humankind from committing suicide, then, relatively speaking, they are taking a principled stand that I, and God, can agree with. And they should be supported. In any case, God does not intend to micromanage us. We have to be responsible.
There’s a lesson there. When we do something that we think is wrong, say act like a tough guy for no good reason, and do not show humility and admit that the behavior was wrong, and mean it, then we will go in the opposite direction. We will rationalize – make appear good – that bad behavior. Rationalized behavior becomes ‘normal’. Anti-communism and hostility, in the extreme, toward those who choose (which democratic principles actually allow) Communism (which means people looking after each other, rather than the dog eat dog of capitalism) was adopted by Kennedy and most of his ruined nation – and Kennedy had to keep up the act. It was an act, but it was not a one-time thing and it was an act that Kennedy was used to performing pretty much 24/7. Everyone, just about, bought into the anti-communist bullcrap (as Chris Hedges notes, above) and it just wasn’t possible for the nation’s leader to be less anti-communist than a citizen below him. Recall Noam Chomsky’s above explaination for how Cold War revolved around what the US business community wanted. The American nation did recover it’s sanity somewhat a few years after Kennedy was assassinated, with much of the nation believing, to the dismay of the establishment, that Vietnam was not just a mistake by their supposedly well-meaning political leadership, but a major crime. But, come forward to now, and the establishment and its military component is thrilled that it has overcome, with the war in Iraq, the “Vietnam Syndrome.”
In digging through the declassified documents of his government, Chomsky has found a great deal of interesting material, including statements indicating just what the deciders in government really thought about the Soviet Union. It wasn’t, as the lies told by politicians like Kennedy would have people think, the Soviet Union’s military power that worried the American 1%. Rather, it was the Soviet Union’s political power that worried American and other Western elites. In other words, If you actually allow people to freely choose between Communism (people looking after one another) and capitalism (dog eat dog and great uncertainty), they could be expected to choose, as they did in Vietnam, Communism.
Walton reports that upon taking up residence in the Oval Office, Kennedy actually thought that the Soviets had superiority in missiles. But he found out very soon from his intelligence agencies that the Soviets were considerably behind the United States, although the US’s conventional forces were somewhat meager. But that didn’t stop Kennedy from lying to the American people, and Congress, about it. Kennedy asked Congress, three times, for incredibly large sums for both missiles and conventional forces, none of which was needed except in the sick anti-communist rhetoric of ruined politicians and military and media partners. Which led to a dangerous situation in which the evil American hammer felt compelled to go after nails, somewhere, anywhere. Enter Indochina.
Kennedy, the venereal disease-ridden playboy was full of passion (minus reason) and lust ‘and’ was pious. But the love that God shows is agape love, which is love based on principle. God’s love is not against romantic love and the human passion that goes with it, but it does inform it. Without a world of people who believe in law and order, on principle and not as a means of control and manipulation, everyone eventually fails. Those who self-modify into neoconservatives have rejected God’s standards and unwisely cast aside his love without which beating others can be accomplished, but true success cannot be achieved with spiritual failure. True success would mean having avoided making unwise choices that prevent one’s survival into the new world to come. Those who self-modify into supporters of the ‘riches for the strongest’ paradigm come to possess twisted values and desires. They enjoy taking the means of survival from others. They enjoy surviving that way because it makes them feel strong, which has become important to them. And they like the glory that comes from seeing those who they have robbed, exploited and manipulated, look back at them in the knowledge that those who they are looking at, their Benefactors in power, robbed them. Glory that is unseen isn’t glory. And so those self-modified ones have put themselves into God’s position, exercising the power of life and death over those sucker sheep who don’t follow them in their lawless course. They have no problem with breaking rules and agreements and have discovered that by doing so, strategically (as with the above limited test ban treaty), they can get ahead of and on top of others. And so they come to dominate in society and from positions of authority they can now dictate all kinds of outcomes, including economic outcomes that benefit them and their families and their class. Douglas Valentine talks to Sibel Edmonds about the lawless CIA and explains how they are even more powerful than people, who already know that they are powerful (and successful and prosperous), know. For example.
A sane person might ask “Why, If people like those in the CIA and other powerful people who hobnob with them know everything about everyone – which today they can do, easily – do they choose to treat innocent people like criminals?” Remember, These are, for the most part, self-modified people. Everyone is free to self-modify, but not without consequences. Their sentiments are now abnormal. They are a disturbed, dark crowd. They are not God’s crowd, but Gog’s Crowd (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39). Recall how Cain, a son of Adam, self-modified after letting his mind go in dark directions (Genesis chapter 4). Abel, his brother, did not self-modify but continued to please his parents and God. And for that reason only, Cain killed him. CIA agents are part of the Cain class. What about agents in the CIA, and other such orgs, who whistleblow and turn against the evil that their government is doing? That’s for God to judge. Which means that, as long as they are acting in such a way that their claim to be against their government’s evil behavior is believable, then trust them – as much as you can.
For example, Douglas Valentine, again, has some interesting things to say about Seymour Hersh (who he calls CIAmour Hersh), who I have learned much from but don’t really trust. He points out that in all of Hersh’s articles, there’s a sub-context (by which he means subtext), whereby the intelligence agencies whose awful behavior he reports are still the good guys. He points out that Hersh has never whistleblown and, despite all of his juicy reporting on evil done by the CIA, etc, Hersh seems to never lose his contacts with that org and the deep state that it is a part of. You have to ask why. People are good at fooling themselves, as well. Hersh gets nothing but admiration from his followers on the Left who stick with him ‘because’ he doesn’t whistleblow. Should Hersh give up his sources? No. But if he’s privy to so much info because of them, and if some of that is vitally important to ‘the people’, then Why can’t he whistleblow? Hersh answers that question by simply stating that he has a family. Fair enough. I can’t judge. But we all descended from the same first human couple. And, for those who have faith, and hope for themselves and their families therefore, only God can take life. And he will only do so when someone knowingly and willingly chooses to give it up.
Darkness is its own reward. Embrace darkness and that’s what you’ll get even if its fullness might not be in evidence right away.
Watching people do unrighteousness is the same as watching their minds disintegrate. And watching an otherwise healthy mind disintegrate is the same as watching unrighteousness overtake someone. No one who acts in accordance with his (or…) God-given conscience (inner guide) embraces darkness. Choosing darkness is a spiritual thing. And it leads to spiritual and mental darkness. And it makes no difference how clever you are to start with. No one is more abased and alienated from Jehovah God than the spirit creature known as Satan and yet it is certain that he’s still far smarter than any imperfect human being is. But if he had millions of years ahead of him, he’d end up dumb as the dumbest human being, because that’s the path he chose. Intelligence is relative.
Lying is disconnecting from reality. The cleverness of the liar can’t change that fact. Does the practiced liar know that he has started down the path of darkness? Yes and no. When you choose – and it is a matter of choice – to enter onto the path of darkness, you are going to end up rationalizing and justifying your behavior. Practicing lying indicates that you have already jettisoned certain principles, since lying is what one does in order to get from A to B quicker and/or easier. It’s also, inherently, rule-breaking. To get from A to B involves certain steps that are common to all who desire to get from A to B. But some want to get there easier and faster and so those natural steps that one would normally take, holding out no promise of getting ahead of, and/or on top of, others, are ditched for shortcuts, or lying. Why does one person have to be better than others? Why does one person have to beat others in order to be satisfied and content?
Humility is the condition of being able to see yourself as equal to others and it includes the ability to acknowledge when others are right about something that you initially thought was wrong. Humility is a choice. It comes with choosing to be principled. It involves the ability to see oneself as less, in some ways, than others. And it’s something that Jesus taught. The practiced liar, however, is also the practiced rationalizer. Rationalization is the act of ‘making appear good’ a bad deed that one performs, whether that deed is an action or words. Justification, a companion to rationalization, is where an individual judges his own overall course to be right. (And self/world justification obtains when the self-justifier is morally supported by others who have taken a similar dark course. As they morally support the errant one, the errant one in turn morally supports them.) We use the term self-justification differently, depending on the situation. For example, there’s justification that means giving reasons – asked for by others and not stemming from the subject’s own psychological needs – for a position, or course of action, taken. Both liars and honest people justify their actions. But it’s only the liar who has a special need to do so. Honest people with good intentions, who are asked to justify their behavior, are not going to experience the same (self-caused) angst about it, because they have not introduced conflict into their minds.
We all possess, and desire to possess, a positive self-image. When we do things that we know detracts from that image, and we do not possess humility, then we ‘will’ rationalize, or ‘make appear good’, our transgressions that otherwise would contradict that positive self-image. When two cognitions conflict, that leads to what social psychologists call cognitive dissonance. And there’s two ways to deal with the mental itch of cognitive dissonance. The conflicted person can either show humility and say “I made a mistake,” and change course (getting back on track) or he can rationalize or make appear good his wrong, which involves lying to oneself (making excuses and imagining plausible explanations) until the cognition that contradicts the positive self-image is less glaring. Elliot Aronson calls that ‘dissonance-reduction behavior’. But, underneath the lies that the liar tells to himself and others, the truth still lurks. It’s like a microscopic pitchfork deep within the rationalizer’s body that periodically stabs a nerve. And it’s my belief that, while you will grow dimmer as you travel further down the path of darkness, that inner conflict, stemming from a truth that can’t be completely snuffed out, translates into outer trouble-making. And when you’ve gone so far as to sin against the holy spirit, which means knowingly and willingly working against God, you have crossed a line which you can’t come back from, whether you want to or not (Luke 16:19-31). You are now on the wrong side of a chasm – judgment – which can’t be crossed over, neither by the living to assist the dead nor by the dead to a condition of forgiveness and life. Jesus portrayed those on the wrong side of that chasm as existing in torment, meaning either that they can be aware of their damnation or they are extremely disturbed or both things. Being on the hot side of that chasm (remembering that this is a parable) means you’ve lost all hope. God can’t help you nor protect you from the Devil’s influence, at least not without violating his own standards. And you will belong to that one (the Devil), which is really what you chose at the beginning of your career as a liar, for when you make yourself your own God, you also make Satan – who rebelled the same way but who has more power than you do – your God. But until you cross the line – and there’s no Force (as in Star Wars) happening here, whereby you can ‘always’ change the road you’re on – you can get back on track and not lose your life, if you exercise humility, admit your wrongs and change your ways.
In this neoliberal era, the neoconservative philosophy dominates. Neoconservatism means the embrace of deceit, violence and inequality. Neoliberalism is a socio-economic system and neoconservatism is the twisted value system that allows people to embrace neoliberalism, which has inequality at its core. Neoliberalsim means prosperity for the 1% who are strong – which they tell themselves after they’ve broken rules, or lied, to get where they are – and austerity for the majority, who are actually, but not always, principled and interested in law & order, in a principled way. We are all free to self-modify ourselves into being ‘believers’ in ‘riches for the strongest’. (There’s belief that’s partial, which means active and convenient only [enabling you to function socially in this dark world] and belief that is full, or external and internal.) Since Adam and Eve, this world’s operating principle has been ‘riches for the strongest’. Since Gog’s attack, beginning around 1919 C.E., that operating principle, or paradigm, has been embraced by more people and with more gusto.
The name ‘Gog’ means darkness. It’s another name given to the spirit creature known as Satan, aka Devil. The Bible, in the book of Ezekiel (chapters 38 & 39), gives Satan that additional name to mark a period of time when he is abased, or brought low, again. (Using a serpent, the way a ventriloquist would use a dummy, Satan deceived Eve, after which God passed judgment on him, telling him that his days going forward would see him eating only dust. So, Satan was judged and restricted to a diet of dust, which can’t sustain life. In other words, his situation, once he acted on his wrong desire to have worship in God’s place – like all powerful, evil people do – became hopeless (non life-sustaining, like dust) back in the Garden of Eden, a first abasement.) As a perfect spirit creature, When that true son of God became Satan, he did so very willingly and knowingly, which made his sin one which can’t be forgiven. Satan’s anger, since 1914, has only increased in accordance with his awareness that his time, although long by imperfect human standards, is running out. He knows that the “seed” of deliverance, namely Jehovah’s appointed Savior of imperfect humankind and the King of humankind, within Jehovah’s greater Kingdom, will soon fulfill prophecy and crush his “head.” (See Genesis chapter 3) That seed’s ‘heel’ was “bruised” long ago by Satan when Satan managed to have his human agents impale (not crucify) Jesus. But one can recover from a bruise and God resurrected his loyal (to the death) Son, who returned to his true home, as he told his apostles he would, where he would reside forever, with further events pertaining to him prophesied to take place. The first major event, that we are told about, was his being officially crowned as King of (human) kings. Which doesn’t mean that those ‘human’ kings are automatically part of Jesus’s kingdom. But it certainly means that their rulership is over. And this event is directly tied to another major event, which the prophet Ezekiel told us about long before Jesus was born to Mary, namely Gog’s attack (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39).
As Revelation chapter 12 explains, upon Michael’s (Jesus) ascension to the throne (which chronology indicates was in 1914 C.E.), war broke out in heaven and Satan was cast to the (realm of) the earth, angry, knowing that he has a short time left. Until that time, Satan was free to come and go between heaven (and the presence of God) and earth. But Jesus’s first act as the King of kings was to rid heaven of the vile Satan, banning him from entering that realm again, thereby showing his deep love and respect for his Father and the sanctity of his heavenly realm. He could do no less. And thereafter, as Revelation explains, “woe,” more than formerly, befell the earth. First we got World War I. And at the same time, we got a hotter spiritual attack from an angrier Satan who was now abased further, but not as far as he would be. And that’s how we got Gog and his spiritual/ psychological attack. (That’s always how I saw it. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Gog’s attack is solely physical and corresponds to the secular realm’s assault on worldwide religion. Most of that religion is false, depicted as a harlot in Revelation chapter 17 and elsewhere, and God allows it to be destroyed. But not absolutely every religionist attacked by the secular realm – acting with authority from a temporarily empowered UN – is disloyal to Jehovah, which is the mistake that the world makes, for an attack that targets his people draws in Jehovah God and his Son, beginning Armageddon. I agree with that, but I don’t believe that Gog doesn’t appear until then.)
Indeed, The trouble-makers have multiplied and become more angry, violent and lawless in recent times. And they are on the Left and the Right. While I view rightwing as being evil, that doesn’t mean leftwing can’t be. I guess leftwingers can be viewed as slower suicides, hopefully with some deciding at the end to show humility and change course – if they haven’t crossed the line. (Many leftists, I would argue, have crossed the line and they are heavily represented in political parties, as members and supporters, that call themselves Labour, or Democratic among other things. And that darkness has spread to the left of that Left, making great inroads among the alt media/ progressive crowd. There’s a strong anti-God, anti-Christian Bible streak in the non establishment Left, where I am met with hostility on a regular basis.) I would self-identify as a leftwinger and a democrat, but with qualification, obviously. Ultimately, You can’t have democracy and theocracy, where democracy means rule by man. But there’s much about democracy, or what people on the Left say it is, that I, as a Christian, support. In other words, there’s much about democracy that is godly. I support human rights and fairness and equality. But I just happen to know that imperfect humankind needs a perfect, holy savior and he isn’t imperfect humankind collectively. I just happen to believe, actively and internally, or fully in other words, in a Creator God whose self-given name is Jehovah (however you want to pronounce that name). I feel no conflict within and I have no interest, and, hopefully, no capacity, to cause trouble.