Friday, February 13, 2015

War Profiteering

The death of Kayla Mueller, and the consequent media spectacle, with the near immediate request by President Barack Obama to authorize war against ISIS anywhere in the world, puts into stark relief the extent to which war is embedded now as a significant part of GDP in America*. In a time of glaring "inequality", when the economic "recovery" is a contrast between those who are invested in Wall Street and everybody else, the direct beneficiaries of TARP and QE taking over America in a kind of quiet coup, what we have got since the fall of the World Trade Towers is a kind of global untouchable aristocracy encouraging conflict on every front. The economy poised at a kind of knife edge, any cut in military expenditures, with American growth anemic, European instability, Russian sanctions, a Chinese debt bubble, Japanese money printing madness, and global demand deflation, could result in de-growth for America and global economic depression. To deflect the people from the malfeasance and outright mismanagement of global economic affairs, and really outright plundering of national treasuries, war is ever the answer, the ultimate imperial distraction.

Good thing for GDP bean counters, the increased economic activity of the war profiteers, that America is increasingly hostile toward Russia, Syria, ISIS and North Korea. Little did Kayla know how "useful" her healing hands would be.

As part of my job, maintaining housing for the profoundly autistic, I was painting a wall I had repaired, while one of the staff, a young father of about 27, watched CNN and Fox coverage of the death of Kayla Mueller. I asked him what he thought: "It sounds terrible," he said, "but my first thought was, I wonder if she really existed." I replied that it seemed like she did, that she was a kind, pretty, generous, thoughtful, loving, self-less young woman, who very much wanted to bring healing to the world, and that there would certainly be people in America who would not necessarily be sorry that she is dead.

Classic psy-ops/perception management. "Never waste a crisis." I don't think the leadership of America realizes to what extent it has trickled down into the consciousness of Americans, the concept of government and media manipulation, how everything about war and the economy is never quite as it seems. When did Kayla die? How? How was it that she was taken captive before ISIS became news; as hideously brutal as they have seemed, that she was treated with "the utmost kindness," even gaining weight, and yet there were no demands? She wasn't news until she was dead. She was kidnapped in August 2013!

Maybe she died in a Jordanian airstrike, maybe she died a long time ago. Maybe she died in a recent combat skirmish, ISIS vs ?, and "her captors couldn't keep her safe." Whatever, the next day Obama asks Congress for military authorization to go to war against ISIS, anywhere in the world.

Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, said recently that the US invasion of Iraq created ISIS. That is only part of the story. Destabilizing the Middle East has been American foreign policy, if unspoken, at least since the mid-Nineties. With recent revelations suggesting Saudi involvement in 9/11, it begins to look like ISIS as well as Al Qaeda, were cultivated in a joint venture by American neo-cons, and Saudi princes. ISIS is much a result of American meddling in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq (etc). Combined with Middle East over-population, high unemployment, and legions of disaffected young men educated only in the finer points of hard-core conservative Islam, it was a potent means of making war profiteering extremely lucrative, indefinitely.

It's no secret, a cabal of geo-political Neo-Cons, and economic Neo-Liberals, have aspired after an imperialist Pax-Americana based on debt and a monopoly on power, global hegemonic domination, since at least the Clinton era, and really since Ronald Reagan, and the rise of Chicago School supply-side, trickle-down economics. Full-spectrum dominance, according to the military. Groups like the Council on Foreign Relations, Project for a New American Century, have advocated openly for such a Pax-Americana, and any serious evaluation of American realpolitik reveals, continuity in the building of a total surveillance infrastructure, eternal war profiteering, and the empowering of multinational banks and corporations, is the ideological (if unspoken) foundation of both major political parties in America.

Indeed, it is as if we are on Imperial auto-pilot, like total war is as inevitable as the passing of the seasons. This is obvious to even the most casual observer, and yet a film like American Sniper, and the death of Kayla Mueller, reveals how easily so many in America can be swayed. The American people still perceive the measles virus a greater threat than an untouchable class of war profiteers seemingly destined to initiate Armageddon/Apocalypse/WWIII. Is a virus that has killed fewer people in America than the vaccine the last twenty years, a greater danger than banks and military contractors and their executives and shareholders guiding American foreign policy?

Then again, it bears to return to the question, who profits? Of course there are those making millions, tens and hundreds of millions, billions, profiting from war in the name of peace and freedom and democracy; at the same time, many corporations profiting from eternal war are traded publicly in the stock market. That means, hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, IRA's, 401k's, university endowment funds (unless there is some specific covenant restriction) profit directly from war. Which means something like 50% of Americans profit directly from war, and many of the rest profit indirectly, if only that the economy keeps humming along, the government keeps paying it's employees, handing out benefit checks, etc.

There are few things more morally repugnant than profiting off war. Especially now, when a global conflict, WWIII, would be universally damaging, would likely destroy much of global infrastructure, much of the capacity of humans to maintain a global economy. Especially as the rich and powerful of the world, more connected to those who are making the decisions about war, are more able to position themselves to profit in the aftermath, in the same way we have seen the exponential minting of billionaires, in the aftermath of the global economic crash of 2008.

What would Kayla say, about her life and death used as a means to benefit war profiteering? I think if she had known how much the conflict in Syria is a product of American imperialism, she might have found any number of places in the world where there is the opportunity to ease suffering, without running the risk of becoming a propaganda tool of warmongers. Which is a direct message to anyone inclined toward healing: if you want to bring healing to the world, start with yourself, by questioning everything you are told about America's wars. If you want to heal the world, heal America.

*Most of the "military expenditures as % of GDP" information to be found, is grossly inadequate, and make the US numbers seem small compared to much of the rest of the world. They do not take into account how much of the economy is ancillary to the military, the contractors involved, the suppliers etc. Nor do they take into account those agencies not specifically military in name - CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS etc - but very much about the State maintaining full spectrum dominance. And Washington and Wall Street and the Federal Reserve are become like a supra-national State unto themselves. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What Is There To Say?

I was ranting on Facebook recently. Earlier that day, I had driven 150 miles through the city and the suburbs, for my job maintaining houses for the profoundly autistic. The last few miles, through Minneapolis during rush hour, cursing urban planners, "if the plan is to get us to sit at the lights as long as possible..." When I arrived home, I thought I would take a nap. Three hours later I was still on Facebook, ranting. Later that night I posted a mea culpa.

It wasn't just Facebook, with my ranting. I was on other sites simultaneously, back and forth, reading this and that, commenting, back to Facebook with a plan to share what others had posted, back and forth, site to site. I wanted to post a dozen articles I read elsewhere - see, see what I have been saying! But I restrained myself. I don't mean to act like a mad man. ODD, what? LOL

Seriously though, if the country had any heart left, we would think about violence less, and more about how institutionalized the country has become, how dependent we have become upon institutions for our survival. By institution I mean any collective group ordered according to a strict hierarchy: Corporations, banks, health care, food production and delivery, water delivery, fuel, military, law enforcement, education (public and private), government in all it's myriad forms.

Institutionalized. It seems to me, consumer, whatever the case for the great achievements of the modern age, institutions are increasingly efficient at de-humanizing people. The corporation as a person? If to dehumanize is to be sociopathic, the three most sociopathic persons I ever worked for were two S & P 500 corporations and one of the biggest banks. Government? Does government make you feel like the sovereign citizen of a Republic? Like an equal voice in a Democracy? Government is better at sustaining itself than it is at checking the will to power in corporations or banks or individuals. The will to power rules. Who rules what? Whom?

What is Washington DC? Republicans decry the dictatorial powers Obama assumes with Executive Orders, and then prostrate themselves with delight, handing him the divine right of kings, with TPP and TAFTA trade pacts, or drone bombing whatever "terrorist" or "violent extremist" the President decides has to die. What is a beltway Democrat? A neo-liberal, neo-con true believer in the power of the State to hand over the reign of power to corporations and banks, warmongering her way to prosperity? Obama asks Congress for another war in the Middle East, he taunts Russia, and the primary message out of the levers of power is summed up in gladiatorial drama to distract the masses from their economic troubles, American Sniper to draw on American Christian mythology of Armageddon to feed the military machine and globalist demands for world domination, and oh how we love the middle class. 

An "investor" told me recently he has claimed 12% annual gains the last six years, in bonds and stocks. That's QE, international banker money, building asset bubbles for investors. Trickle Down? When? Who among the non-investing (because they don't have any money to invest) middle class, the working poor, have seen even 1% gains, all of the last six years combined, the last 40 years? How many have seen their wage decline?

I don't blame that investor. He's just a "middle class guy" who was a good local business man, who grew up poor with a working class single-mom, born during WWII, a true believer in the American dream. What he achieved, most people want for their family. He just doesn't see how fewer people have access to that dream every day.   

Meanwhile, the American Dream is become like the dream of every one who has ever desired to rule the world. Radar exists to see into any building, where the people are, what they are doing; we are building the infrastructure to track license plates, to keep a record of everyone's travel; they can track you with your phone or new car; we have the drone technology to track any movement; every digital communication can be recorded and saved; we have the ability to access anyone's digital life - there is no firewall that cannot be breached.

That doesn't bode well for freedom, for anyone.   

What is there to say, when even the keystrokes of this computer can be watched, monitored, recorded by government or gov contractors (corporations), anyone with the skill and the tech?

Whatever it is, speak up :)


What was this blog supposed to be about? A friend messaged me on Facebook recently, saying I sounded angry and cynical, and that he was worried about me. He admitted he might be projecting, feeling his own sense of being overwhelmed about the state of the world. I assured him that if I merely sound angry and cynical, I need to take a look at that; because that is not what this blog, or any of my online activity, was supposed to be about.

A woman I love told me, if she had met me through my writing she would have thought I was an asshole; she added that my writing sometimes made her feel stupid. I told her that a lot of people do that, they encounter an unfamiliar or uncomfortable idea and they shut down, and then criticize themselves for not being smart enough. But how do people change when they need to, or learn about what they don't understand, if they don't ask questions?

I've since re-read some of the writing in this blog, and have cringed. I think a lot of the time, I sound exasperated, like I can't figure out why people don't get it. I think some of the time I sound ignorant. I think some of the time I sound crazy. A lot of it is not attractive or constructive. Bad form. Not worthy.

I didn't post much in 2014. I was distracted by love; and overwhelmed like a lot of people, with economic concerns, with the volume of information, with the tragedy of so much of the news. I needed a re-set.

I started this blog, because I was squatting in this house without utilities or money, and no job. I had blown up my middle class life, returned destitute, with a dream to take the house off the grid, to make a model of it, for a time when people need it.

I'm still on that path. It's not easy. But there is the shell infrastructure of a greenhouse installed, plans for a rocket mass heater and solar heating. A bio-gas burner. Fish tanks. More brewing. More singing and dancing. LOL

I'll keep posting. Thanks for reading.