Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war! a vote in epic bipartisan collegiality

…for the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill (subtitled ‘The Sneeze Wrong, We’re Comin’ to Fuck You Up Act’).  Here’s the very lengthy summary of provisions in the House version from govtrack.us, although it may have changed slightly since the House and Senate conference agreements.

Let’s start with the House: ‘House Democrats vote for record US military spending’, Patrick Martin, 28 July 2018, wsws.org

“By an overwhelming bipartisan vote Thursday, the US House of Representatives approved the largest military authorization bill in American history. The National Defense Authorization Act approves $716 billion to fund US military aggression around the world, and gives President Trump the power to order cyberwarfare attacks on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea without further congressional action.

The NDAA passed on a roll-call vote of 359 to 54. House Republicans backed the legislation by a near-unanimous vote of 220-5. House Democrats supported it by the margin of 139-49. The entire House Democratic leadership backed the military authorization bill: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Deputy Minority Whip James Clyburn, and Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. [snip]

“Among the costliest provisions are:

  • A 2.6 percent pay increase for uniformed military personnel, the largest in a decade
  • An increase of 15,000 active-duty troops
  • One new US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

  • Two new Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with atomic weapons
  • 13 other new warships
  • 77 new joint strike fighters

Adam Smith of Washington state, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, played a key role in the conference committee. During the brief floor debate on the bill Thursday, he said, “This bill does step up to confront our adversaries in Russia and China,” adding that it contained provisions to enhance “the absolutely critical work of pushing back against President Putin’s ongoing campaign to undermine U.S. alliances, partnerships, and democratic values around the world.”

The bill “restates our commitment to NATO and our partners,” Smith said. “It extends the prohibition on military cooperation with Russia. It declares that Russia violated the Chemical Weapons Convention … It strengthens the prohibition on funding for activities that would recognize the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea. It requires a whole-of-government response to malign foreign-influence operations and campaigns, it improves our cyber and counter-influence infrastructure, and a good deal more.”

The bill also authorizes Trump’s major military parade to celebrate ‘a hundred years of patriotic sacrifice by our men and women in uniform’ just after the Nov. 6 elections; a five-year extension of the Maritime Security Initiative, under which the US provides military assistance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the main arena for US-China competition, and according to the bill’s summary:

Counterterrorism – The bill authorizes the Counter ISIS Train and Equip Fund to aid partners and allies fighting ISIS and extends the Syria Train and Equip Authority through 2019.  The bill authorizes continued security cooperation with the Government of Iraq and supports the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban. U.S. Special Operations Command programs and activities are authorized including ongoing efforts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Eastern Europe.’

See Nick Turse’s January 9, 2018: ‘Special Ops at War; From Afghanistan to Somalia, Special Ops Achieves Less with More’, americanempireproject.com

“Since U.S. commandos went to war in 2001, the size of Special Operations Command has doubled from about 33,000 personnel to 70,000 today.  As their numbers have grown, so has their global reach.  As TomDispatch revealed last month, they were deployed to 149 nations in 2017, or about 75% of the countries on the planet, a record-setting year.  It topped 2016’s 138 nations under the Obama administration and dwarfed the numbers from the final years of the Bush administration.  As the scope of deployments has expanded, special operators also came to be spread ever more equally across the planet.”  (and you didn’t think the Uniparty War Machine was egalitarian!)

Also included in the summary are ‘a Defense Partnership to Counter Iran’, missile readiness to strike North Korea, material support for improving Taiwan’s military, loads of military exercises to er…warn China out of the South China Sea, and 10 steps to combat Russian aggression towards the United States and its allies’, space warfare, and one of my faves:

Facing New Threats

Emerging Technologies – To address advancements in Artificial Intelligence, space and counter-space capabilities, cyber, influence operations, and hypersonics the bill places emphasis on programs to advance capabilities in these areas. The legislation fully supports the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental to ensure technological superiority and provides additional funding to accelerate Artificial Intelligence, machine learning programs, and hypersonics programs.’

DARPA’s website; the stuff  Imperial Military wet dreams are made of… Active Social Engineering Defense (ASED), Advanced Plant Technologies in the Syn-bio category, and the Health Research in the dropdown menu.  The organization also funds and experiments with CRISPR gene-splicing.

While in her ‘The Democratic Party’s War History and the AUMF of 2018’ Renee Parsons, consortium news, April 26, 2018 writes:

“The proposed Authority for the Use of Military Force of 2018 (AUMF) of 2018 would replace AUMF 2001 and repeal AUMF 2002 while it will codify an “uninterrupted authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in armed conflict” against  the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and as yet unidentified “designated associated forces” who might “pose a grave threat to the US” in whatever country they occupy.”

The bill seems to have encountered some resistance, including Rand Paul and Jeff Merkley…it hasn’t been brought to a vote…so far.  But inside this bill is a ‘mini-cyber AUMF: (back to Patrick Martin):

“Particularly ominous are the sections of the NDAA on cyberwarfare. The bill authorizes the Pentagon to conduct “unattributed” cyber operations without having to comply with the usual restrictions on covert operations, such as requiring a Presidential Finding which is submitted to key leaders of Congress. According to the bill “clandestine military activity or operation in cyberspace shall be considered a traditional military activity.

It pre-authorizes US military cyber operations if the president determines that (1) there is “an active, systematic, and ongoing campaign of attacks against the Government or people of the United States in cyberspace, including attempting to influence American elections and democratic political processes” and (2) that Russia, China, North Korea or Iran are responsible. In that event, the president may order US cyberwar forces “to take appropriate and proportional action in foreign cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter such attacks.”

This provision effectively gives Trump and any successor, Democrat or Republican, the power to launch a full-scale cyberwar without further congressional authorization, merely on his own declaration that the United States is under attack.”

Yesterday, Aug. 3: ‘US Senate backs $708 billion military authorization’, Patrick Martin, wsws.org

After noting that a separate appropriations bill has to be passed to actually fund the bill’s provisions:

“The US Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act, a blueprint for $708 billion in Pentagon spending, voting Wednesday by a margin of 87-10. Forty-six Republicans were joined by 41 Democrats in approving the bill, which now goes to the White House for President Trump’s signature.


The 41-8 split in the Democratic Party caucus in the Senate was determined partly by political positioning. Those Democrats who are testing the waters for a presidential run and aim to strike a “left” posture for the 2020 primary campaign opposed the military spending bill: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Jeff Merkley.

All the Democratic senators seeking reelection this year in states carried by Trump in 2016 voted in favor of the military spending bill, and will undoubtedly feature it in their election campaign ads as proof of their desire to “work with the president.” These include Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Bill Nelson of Florida.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and virtually every other Democrat in the Senate voted for the record military spending without electoral calculations playing any role. They are just as ardent supporters of American imperialism as the Republicans, and demonstrated that in their votes.” [snip]

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis likewise hailed the vote, saying the bill’s quick passage “demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys.” He could have noted, but did not bother, that the House-Senate conference version of the NDAA actually set prospective spending levels $30 billion above those requested by the White House and Pentagon.”

“The figures in fiscal 2019 will be $617 billion for regular Pentagon operations, plus $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations and $22 billion for nuclear weapons operations of the Department of Energy, which oversees the construction of atomic warheads.

It is instructive to compare the provisions of this legislation with the funding requirements to meet urgent social needs, for which no such resources are being mobilized.

“The $617 billion in regular Pentagon spending is as much as the United States spends on public education, combining local, state and federal governments ($620 billion in 2016). It is also 10 times what Russia spends on its military ($61 billion).

The $69 billion for wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and drone warfare across North Africa and the Middle East is more than twice the amount of money required to feed all 862 million malnourished people in the world ($30 billion).


The bill authorizes $24.1 billion for shipbuilding, including the building of 13 new warships, among them a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and two nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear weapons.

The same amount of money, $24.1 billion, would provide decent housing for every homeless person in the United States ($20 billion), with enough left over to replace the toxic water infrastructure of Flint, Michigan ($1.5 billion).”

Now we also know that the publicly stated Military Madness War budget it somewhere in the neighborhood of half of the Shadow War budget given Nick Turse’s investigations in the past.

Ih his lengthy ‘US Militarism Marches On’, July 31, Marty Hart-Landsberg at econmomic front provides some of that history, with categories of ‘military spending is big for bidness’ (he provides names and figures of the death-dealing industries), ‘the military is everywhere’, ‘forced wrongful adjustments by the DoD to the tune of tens of trillions of amerikan dollars’, and this:

“As big as it is, the above measure of military spending grossly understates the total.  As JP Sottile explains:

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) tabulated all “defense-related spending” for both 2017 and 2018, and it hit nearly $1.1 trillion for each of the two years. The “defense-related” part is important because the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a.k.a. the defense budget, doesn’t fully account for all the various forms of national security spending that gets peppered around a half-dozen agencies.”

A trillion here, a trillion there…pretty soon it adds up to some serious loss to taxpayers. His exposé includes five or six depressing graphs and pie charts re: military spending.

…and the dead…stay dead.  What have you done, Amerika, besides create more enemies around the globe?  Will you never learn?  Who will stop this Endless War Machine for profit and fun?



(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

22 responses to “Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war! a vote in epic bipartisan collegiality

  1. Greyson Smythe

    Here we go? Perhaps with the involvement of Colombia, the US’s man in South America?

    BREAKING ALERT: Venezuelan TV transmission shows President Maduro abruptly cutting short speech, and soldiers seen running before the transmission cut off. We’ll keep you updated. pic.twitter.com/bFh97iwwk2— TAP ALERTS (@TAPAlerts) August 4, 2018

    BREAKING UPDATE: An armed drone attempted to assassinate President Maduro of Venezuela during a military demonstration.
    —-
    VOA: CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Drones loaded with explosives detonated close to a military event where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was giving a speech on Saturday, but he and top government officials alongside him escaped unharmed from what Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez called an “attack” targeting the leftist leader.

    Seven National Guard soldiers were injured, Rodriguez added.
    —-
    CBS – Venezuela’s government says several explosions heard at a military event were an attempted attack on President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro blamed the far-right for the attack.

    In an address to the nation Saturday, Maduro said: “This was an attempt to kill me. Today they attempted to assassinate me.”
    He said evidence gathered thus far “points to the far right” working in conjunction with Colombians in the neighboring Andean nation.” [snip]

    “Colombians officials have not yet commented on the accusation. Santos has become one of Maduro’s most outspoken critics.
    —-

    #Venezuela 🇻🇪: opposition account says the explosion was indeed a drone, shot down by a sniper before it could reach #Maduro https://t.co/IEtjXJRbMJ— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) August 4, 2018

    Opposition group confirms government assertion that the drones DID target presidential box but were shot down before reaching:https://t.co/snqagCvXox— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) August 5, 2018

    • nice hit piece on maduro via voa, but then, they’re one of the empire’s ‘tokyo roses’, aren’t they. but at least they noted the helicopter/grenade attack on him in june 2018 by oscar perez, ‘former LEO’. yeah, it’s begun, just as supporters thought. and now w/ ecuador’s military alliance w/ amerika, colombia in nato, bolton, et.al. might just arrange a nice little R2P VZ.

      may i delete the ‘platform.twitter thingies? they just go to massive lines of coded that (at least) i can’t decipher.

    • Greyson Smythe

      From 2017: VIDEO: CIA Director Mike Pompeo Hints U.S. Is Working with Mexico and Colombia to Push Regime Change in Venezuela

      “We are very hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela,” Pompeo said.

      Pompeo went on to reveal that he had met with officials in Colombia and Mexico to discuss regime change in Venezuela: “I was just down in Mexico City and in Bogota a week before last, talking about this very issue, trying to help them understand the things they might do, so that they can get a better outcome for their part of the world and our part of the world.”

      • thanks for that ‘un, too, greyson. i’ve seen the video, likely even have in one of my dozens and dozens diaries on VZ. but…under categor empire and war crimes…ooof, i hate to think how many pages are in there, even though i hadn’t figured out the ‘categories’ thingie when i’d built this place.

        but as my favorite tankie on twitter had posited: this has bolton’s scent to it, doesn’t it? and yes to the wikileaks of VZ; the bolvarian nations know about them as well.

    • Venezuela opposition warns of crackdown after Maduro denounces attack

      Reuters, By Brian Ellsworth, Vivian Sequera, August 5

      Caracas – Venezuela’s opposition on Sunday warned that the government of President Nicolas Maduro may launch a political crackdown after his government accused adversaries of seeking to assassinate him with an explosives-laden drone. [Snip]

      [Opposition critics:]“We warn that the government is taking advantage of this incident … to criminalize those who legitimately and democratically oppose it and deepen the repression and systematic human rights violations,” wrote the Broad Front opposition coalition in a statement published on Twitter.

      A little-known group called the “National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts” claimed responsibility for the attack. [Snip]

      U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton told Fox News in an interview on Sunday that the United States was not involved in the blast.

      • whoa; a.fangmann at wsws was doin’ reuters to a T today: ‘Venezuelan President Maduro charges right-wing opposition backed by Colombia with supposed assassination attempt’ Alexander Fangmann, 6 August 2018

        “Regardless of the exact circumstances of the explosions, it is clear that Maduro and the Venezuelan government are using the incident as a pretext to clamp down on growing protests against the country’s deteriorating economic conditions.

        According to an article in El Pais, the army has confiscated other footage from the private television company covering the event. Venezuela’s National Union of Press Workers said that seven journalists covering the event were interrogated for hours after the incident, with some having their cameras taken from them.

        The Colombian government issued a denial of any involvement in the affair, saying, “The suggestion that the Colombian president is responsible for this supposed attack against the Venezuela president is absurd and lacking in all foundation,” while US National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed “there was no US involvement.”

        Whether that group had any involvement or not, the Venezuelan government is poised to initiate a further crackdown on political dissent as well as growing protests against Venezuela’s deteriorating economic conditions. Attorney General Tarek William Saab said, “There will be a ruthless punishment.” This threat was echoed by Maduro in his own speech calling for “maximum punishment” and “no forgiveness.”

        OTOH:

  2. Greyson Smythe

    Sunday’s long read, via Truthout: Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History

    By Henry Giroux

    The nightmares that have shaped the past and await return slightly just below the surface of American society are poised to wreak havoc on us again. America has reached a distinctive crossroads in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged to produce what Philip Roth once called “the terror of the unforeseen.”

    Since the 1970s, American society has lived with the curse of neoliberalism, or what can be called the latest and most extreme stage of predatory capitalism. As part of a broader comprehensive design, neoliberalism’s overriding goal is to consolidate power in the hands of the financial elite. As a mode of rationality, it functions pedagogically in multiple cultural sites to ensure no alternatives to its mode of governance can be imagined or constructed.

    Central to its philosophy is the assumption the market drives not just the economy but all of social life. It construes profit-making as the essence of democracy and consuming as the only operable form of agency. It redefines identities, desires and values through a market logic that favors self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos and unchecked individualism. Under neoliberalism, life-draining and unending competition is a central concept for defining human freedom. [Snip]

    Rather than disappear into the memory hole of history, fascism has reappeared in a different form in the United States, echoing Theodor Adorno’s warning, “I consider the survival of National Socialism within democracy to be potentially more menacing than the survival of fascist tendencies against democracy.”20 Theorists, novelists, historians and writers that include such luminaries as Hannah Arendt, Sinclair Lewis, Bertram Gross, Umberto Eco, Robert O. Paxton, Timothy Snyder, Susan Sontag and Sheldon Wolin have argued convincingly that fascism remains an ongoing danger and has the ability to become relevant under new conditions. After the fall of Nazi Germany, Arendt warned totalitarianism was far from a thing of the past because the conditions of extreme precarity and uncertainty that produce it were likely to crystallize into new forms. [Snip]

    While it is true the U.S. may not be putting millions in gas chambers or promoting genocide… [Record Scratch]
    ——
    Wait, what’s this?

    Has Professor Giroux not noticed even the most recent example of promotion of genocide? Chris Floyd has been covering the US role in Yemen: Yemen: The Damning Silence of Liberals Leaves a Legacy of Shame and The Gates of Hell are Closing Behind us: US-Saudi Horror Show Heats up in Yemen

    Anyhoo – it’s a good article. If you’ve got the time, he’s got a solid historical view of the current sitch.

  3. thanks for both, although chris floyd’s is more on point. giroux’s sometimes a bit too academic for my (ahem) mental skill set. ;-)

  4. the smoke is in our eyes, the crackling is in our ears, the heat is on our skin…so let’s make some more Hellfire missiles? is it the wildfire smoke blinding everyone? “Seeing they will see but not understand…” to quote Jehovah. glass-eyed scurvy politicians thinks we need more gas stations.

    but it’s not the smoke, it’s the dollar sign. It is obscene in itself to talk about this stuff in terms of these fake dollars they print. aren’t the trees worth more than the monopoly money printed from their pulp? In any case, it is funny how hard it is to get people to admit that the frickin’ VA budget, for example, is a g.d. military expenditure. Just on the open budget, military & para-military eat about 60% of the federal budget. We don’t actually know the real figures cuz there’s a black budget too that we are not privy to. But, correct me if i’m wrong, aren’t the Iraq & Afghanistan bloodletting paid for in appropriations separate from the regular DOD budget, to a great extent? In any case, the baseline public DOD budget is really, really inaccurate. And the corruption…where to begin? I can fire up some joints that work in the rain quite unlike the Joint Strike Force Fighter. meh? so what? let’s buy another 50 of them. look on the bright side: maybe it’s a good thing that the future of war fighting is shit that doesn’t work?

    Let us also note how Congress just hands its rights, privileges & duties over to the Unitary President, while half of them crow about what a Hitler he is. “fit to be slaves,” as Tiberius supposedly said of his (sic) Senate. Per the Civics 101 gmo-baby formula we all sucked down in school, isn’t Congress to protect the people from the dictatorship of the presidency? they’ll be demanding loyalty oaths next. (hell, they already do in effect: swearing fealty to Zion.)

    Anyway, in the heavenly throne room scene at the beginning of Faust pt 1, God describes the figure he hates the most, Mephistopheles, as “the spirit that negates.” This is the spirit that animates everything the US gov’t does, w/o exception. The destruction of Iraq, the ruination of Afghanistan, is the goal. Whatever is good in VZ or Russia or China or Iran must be abolished. Like in Vietnam, lots of high-sounding words fly around about the nobility of calling down fire from the heavens upon the natives.

    “I am nothing, if not critical.” It is intriguing to me that as we talk about the grotesque use of human labor & natural resources to build something whose sole purpose is to destroy such labor & resources, we focus on money. it costs, what? 100k to ignite one of those hellfire missiles? the dollar as measure of the value of the labor, knowledge & material to build one of these things is meaningless. and what is the measure of the value of the infinite variety of life destroyed by a 100k missile?

    on the production side, this operation of death, loosely symbolized in the federal budget, requires a massive manufacture of false desire & manipulation & constant frustration of actual desire & need, in the “host” population, i.e., you & me. Desdemona will be yours, Rodrigo, if only what? you put money in your purse. Money is the filter used to dole out scarcity & abundance of everything, incl time & satisfaction. To be educated in our society is to learn to value money as our owners value it, to see a missile as “100k”, to see the worth of that piece of shit gimcrackery piled on the shelves at Wal Mart in the little $ symbol & numbers stamped on the completely wasteful packaging, to not see that the pig & the earth & the undocumented laborers pay far more than $1.89 for that pound of pork rinds.

    the labor & material from all this mass consciousness manipulation is then used to obliterate all form, all desire, all meaning, all history, all life, to impose complete negation upon those on the receiving end of our hellfire “economy.” Almost all of us are seduced into this imperialist game, doing our part for the economy, by the tyranny of money over every aspect of our lives, incl whether we will be allowed to poop or not. The state holds some 80% of the population in varying degrees of worry & obsession over where the next meal is coming from or whether they will be in the streets next month or not. False consciousness about money is the principal means of achieving this, with lots of boots & bullets behind the national fetish. e.g,, If one tells the bank “fuck you” about the little totemic numbers on this impenetrable document called a “mortgage”, of course they just call the cops. this whole operation is varnished with a pseudo-rationality & aura of inevitability in the guise of “economics,” “accounting,” budgeting, and all the rest. It all adds up, just look at the spreadsheet! and it’s entirely insane.

    “money is the root of all evil.” sorry, wrong answer. it’s the root of only about 99% of it. see? the bible is full of shit. biblical literalists stumbling over the word “all” is funny. anyway, some 1% or so of people recognize it’s not about money, it’s about power. (in pop fiction, it is usually the serial killer representing the truth that money ain’t everything. Hannibal Lector doesn’t eat people & take their faces simply to fatten his wallet. homo economicus is sooooooooo boring, why not dance around the woods in some Cervid cosplay & do Satanic rituals w/children? maybe it beats being told how heroic it is to run a Baskin Robbins? Pat Bateman in “American Psycho” just got tired of destroying companies from his pinnacle on one of Wall Street’s temples b/c, to him, it was all on paper. So he ate some of his victims’ brains & took up cooking. one wearies of hunting whales simply for money. revenge is much more exciting.) money is just the means of manipulation & domination. Iago is not interested in money. big bro is about the boot in the face. even in the deployment of law. the purpose of the law is punishment, the exercise of punitive authority, the law itself being a vehicle for negation of all life outside capitalist domination. (“hey! you can’t camp there! zoning codes forbid it. in the interest of public health, of course.” big smile from the park rangers as they trash your tent.) Saddam is breaking the law so let’s kill millions of people. and so on.

    it’s probably only people way at the top (or at the bottom ;) who know that money is bullshit. for the trumps & Clintons & Obamas & almost all the rest of us, the lust for money & lust for control probably cannot be distinguished. But at the very top, probably at the all-seeing eye part at the peak of the unfinished work of pyramid-building on our national idol, the Dollar Bill, they are aligned with the Grand Inquisitor’s “dread spirit in the wilderness.” for these people, greatness really is the ability to incinerate a million Russian babies by pressing a button. a button made by someone else. greatness is ripping the breast from a baby’s mouth & shoving a bottle full of gmo-formula in its smacking gums. doing this 10’s of millions of times on the poorest continent on earth is called “business genius.”

    “weep not for me. instead, weep for your children.” sound advice from the sage from Bethlehem.

    • whoa, nellie, are you on a roll j of 9! too many metaphors, quotes, and allegorical references in here to respond to in one comment, so i’ll have to respond serially, as RL chores have me backed against the wall right now.

      but this strikes me as the core of your comment: “Mephistopheles, as “the spirit that negates.” This is the spirit that animates everything the US gov’t does, w/o exception.”

      and this is just so: “the bible is full of shit. biblical literalists stumbling over the word “all” is funny. anyway, some 1% or so of people recognize it’s not about money, it’s about power.” but i’d add that for the fundie prosperity doctrininsts among us, if your portfolio is large, it means that god shines on your (whatever) endeavors, one of the most disgusting, soul-poisoning beliefs imaginable. crefflo dollar, the preacher, for instance. some of my in-laws, for other instances.

      given that this juke joint is eating so many comments now, i reckon i’ll have to break down and spend an hour or two with the wordpress hug team (or whatever it is) to figure out how to stop it. freeing them once i know eats a hella lotta my time, as well, and must be frustrating for the commentariat here. more later.

    • part of the OP was indeed about the shadow military budget, and you may be right in remembering that iraq and afghanistan wars funded separately. i buzzed back thru the summary of the bill and hadn’t sen it, but the VA was mentioned, as was the #meToo sop for dems on reporting sex crimes in the military. you betcha.

      this is great: “the dollar as measure of the value of the labor, knowledge & material to build one of these things is meaningless. and what is the measure of the value of the infinite variety of life destroyed by a 100k missile?”

      it reminded me that isaf, the US, would pay blood money to the families of those citizens murdered by drones (bugsplat) if a family could posthumously *prove* that the murdered ones…were not terr’ists, but only age 14-28 (or whatever) and were simply ‘walking in a military fashion single file’. their value in blood money was of course…next to nothing, if ever paid.

      and yes, sage advice from jesus.

      on later edit: re: Whatever is good in VZ or Russia or China or Iran must be abolished”: dayum, more of chomksy’s imperial drivel: ‘Chomsky on Regime Change in Nicaragua’, Roger Harris, counterpunch

      “With patented angst, Noam Chomsky opined on President Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua to an agreeing Amy Goodman: “But there’s been a lot of corruption, a lot of repression. It’s autocratic, undoubtedly.”
      Earlier in their DemocracyNow! interview, the main talking points were established via a video clip of a dissident former official from Ortega’s Sandinista Party: Ortega’s “entire government has been, in essence, neoliberal. Then it becomes authoritarian, repressive.”
      Left out of this view is why the US has targeted Nicaragua for regime change. One would think that a neoliberal regime, especially if it were authoritarian and repressive, would be just the ticket to curry favor with Washington.”

      “Nicaragua has provoked the ire of the US for the good things its done, not the bad.
      Besides being a “threat” of a good example, Nicaragua is in the anti-imperialist ALBA alliance with Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and others. The attack on Nicaragua is part of a larger strategy by the US to tear apart regional alliances of resistance to the Empire, though that is not the whole story.”

      “Meanwhile, USAID announced [read: CIA] an additional $1.5 million “to support freedom and democracy in Nicaragua” through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to overthrow the democratically elected government and “make this truly a hemisphere of freedom.” That is, freedom for the US empire.”

    • Dearest J, be safe. I extend to you the same prayer for peace and sanity around you that I give for my own youngest son who finds himself in similar straits, though his is mostly a condition of the mind.

      Do know, however, that the dread spirit of Ivan’s conception is not at the pinnacle of reality but where Dante put him, in the depths of an icy hell, or as Dostoievski himself tellingly places his mephistopheles thrice diminished, in Ivan’s own mind. An emptiness, a nothingness.

      I recently read that the way to read the Bible’s Old Testament and how it speaks of God is for a Christian at least, from the God who is incarnate to us in Christ. It makes sense to me that all of the Old Testament is thusly given perspective. In other words, the moment when eternity touches time is when God walks among us – we don’t, can’t! see him otherwise. (I am just telling you this from an Eastern Orthodox perspective – I know others don’t see things this way.) But what I do know, plainly speaking, is that when you are in the place that you, J, are presently finding yourself, you do see clearly, and that is because indeed, you are among the wretched and the outcast, the downtrodden in this society. In that, you are approaching the divine – not the demonic. Most of us don’t get there, not if we are cushioned in this life, distracted by distraction.

      Apologies. Did you know there’s a video online of T.H. Eliot reading his Four Quartets? Not a video, just the sound of his voice. I was listening to it a few days ago. He wrote it just before and during the second world war – was in London during the bombing of it as a fire warden on his publishing house roof. I don’t think he could have written such a thing otherwise.

  5. I may have admired Giroux’s ability to address complex matters in the past, wendye, but my opinion of this essay, politely expressed, is that it is total dreck.

    Trump, trump, trump along the highway…

    What about, say, what about —whatsisname?…oh, pardon me…part way through we do get “…Obama did little to correct these legal illegalities…” Um, okay but —Clinton? Either one?

    Then we get more Trump, trump, trump – oh and ‘his acolytes’ – core supporters who are uneducated and overburdened. Where have we heard that one before?

    Wow, like Hitler, like Mussolini! And those, those other guys — “authoritarian leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin…Erdogan…China’s Xi Junping” oh, and Trump actually PRAISED Kim Jong-Un!

    I have to admit at this point I am skimming, and skimming, and skimming. Ah! the end! The solution! But no, it’s simply, after all that, a bunch of questions. Into which, deftly nestled, this:

    “…how can hope be nourished by collective action and the ongoing struggle to create a broad-based democratic socialist movement?…”

    My question is this: Have the words “democratic socialist” b

    • The site wouldn’t let me complete the above sentence. I was going to say “Have the words ‘democratic socialist’ become the new ‘liberal’?

      Better quit while I’m ahead.

    • thanks for reading it so we dinnae have to, ww, but at least you can understand the bloke. you nailed it well: DSAs are the new libruls…er….progressives…er…who cares? ocasio2018 is trending !!!! oh, my, do the tankies on twitter scour her twit account to see who she puffs up, esp. the wealthy who bundle money for her.

      dagnabbed site hiccups; i’ll try to converse in one them that tiny little boxes 2″ x 3″ in ‘live chat’ w/ the wordpress happiness folks soon. it’s so bloody annoying, all of it.

      yep, make hitler hell over the parade, then vote for the bill. execrable! #WhatPhonies! there’s to be a counter-march for peace the same day, and code pink has a go fund me up to collect dollars to bring the giant trump babby in diapers balloon to deecee.

      nov, 11; i emailed this to myself: ‘no trump parade, but i it happens, protest!’
      someone over yonder posited that some sort of false flag event will occur, and the police state will clamp down even further. guess we’ll see.

  6. Before I got so longwindedly distracted, I was going to thank you for elaborating on that bill – wow, a military parade right after the election, how keen is that?! NOTTT!!!!

    And all the rest of it as well. Do we want it to rain on that parade? We want all of antarctic melted ice and the arctic to boot to combine into one mother of a maelstrom. Congress, what are you thinking?????

    [I know. It’s not]

  7. tonight’s lullaby just has to be sam bradley, as far as i’m concerned he owns this song now:

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