How We Got Here (3)

May 20, 2014

The war’s long shadow

Why had the war led to a bipolar world? Look at the war’s results. Japan and Germany, the prime opponents, had been economically and militarily flattened. Equally exhausted were Italy, the third Axis power, which had been defeated in 1943, and France, which had emerged on the winning side under Charles DeGaulle, after defeat in 1940, and Great Britain, the only power to fight the entire war from September 1939 to September 1945.

The Soviets had lost 20 million people in the war, and had had most of their industrial heartland destroyed, either by Germans or by their own hand in “scorched earth” tactics. But the Red Army of 1945 far outnumbered American troops on the ground in Europe, and even outnumbered the troops of the Americans combined with their European allies. The West feared that the only thing preventing the Red Army from conquering its way to the Atlantic was America’s possession of the atomic bomb.

The Soviets feared that a continued American monopoly of atomic bombs, then hydrogen bombs, would sooner or later lead to an attack such as the one Hitler had made a few years earlier. Similarly, the Americans feared another Pearl Harbor, this time with atomic warheads. Hence, the arms race, and what came to be called the balance of terror. Hence, too, Soviet and American rivalry among what came to be called the Third World – the African, Asian, and Latin American countries whose alliance might amount to a flank attack by whichever power or social system captured their allegiance.

It was a long, expensive conflict. True, it was cheaper than another hot war would have been, but it was expensive enough. America’s triad of forces included a strategic air command that kept bombers in the air 24 hours a day, fleets of nuclear-powered attack submarines and carrier forces, and ground forces and Marines stationed in various countries around the world.

What was perhaps more expensive, in some ways, was that America – or rather, the people who got hold of the levers of power — whether elected officials, military officers, behind-the-scenes operatives of covert agencies, or other people whose money or connections bought them a passing measure of control — got into the habit of thinking that it was America’s right and responsibility to control events. Domestically, this led to ever more intrusive surveillance and manipulation of American citizens. Internationally, it led to ever more assertive efforts to influence other countries’ popular opinion, elections, and policies, and led to the pursuit of ever larger ability to project American military power – that is, to threaten. America had come a long way from its pre-World War II isolationist position.

I agree with Dr. Roberts that there was something fishy about the way Watergate was used to destroy the Nixon presidency. I didn’t think so at the time, but in retrospect it has seemed more and more obvious. Like John F. Kennedy, his agenda threatened too many people’s rice bowls.

Disinformation On Every Front

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, May 5, 2012

paulcraigroberts.com

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30706

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The system

April 7, 2012

This just struck me.
Most of us, from time to time, have met people who think they are always right, who can’t hear an opposing opinion, who if pressed resort to abusive language, ridicule and other forms of attempted intimidation — anything rather than admit that they may not have a lock on the truth.
In everyday like we call people like that know-it-alls.
In extreme cases, we call them psychopaths.
In politics we call them candidates.

And, what’s worse, in politics those who are too sane to think themselves inerrant are forced to pretend that they do. That’s some system we have. Can anybody be surprised it gives us what it gives us?

Just 20 years old, and this kid understands what our beloved Congress pretends not to understand. Ditto our president, if he signs it. As so often, Ron Paul is on the right side, in a miniscule minority. I’m surprised that Dennis Kucinich wasn’t, though.

The Criminalization of Protest: Say Goodbye To Free Speech in America
By Devon DB

Global Research, March 9, 2012

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29673

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I wonder sometimes, can’t anyone in the press corps do any digging besides Michael Ventura? His “Letters at 3AM” column for February 10, 2012, from the Austin Chronicle.

It Came From The White House

It is a murky story, and no one knows its end.

During the long congressional tussle over the National Defense Authorization Act, some legislators actually read the small print and were alarmed by a section permitting the military, at the order of the president, to arrest designated enemies without warrants and hold them indefinitely without trial. “Without trial” is the usage in the bill; “until the end of hostilities” is its code for “indefinitely.” That section also permits a detainee’s “transfer” to “any other foreign entity” — i.e., disappearance.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noticed that to subject American citizens to arrest without warrant and to detain us without trial violates the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. Feinstein proposed to specifically exempt American citizens from the NDAA’s arrest policy.

Her clarification of the NDAA passed the Senate by a vote of 98 to 1. That’s as bipartisan as it gets, even in good times. In these times, passage of Feinstein’s clarification was a miracle of agreement.

Yet in the NDAA’s final version, as signed by President Obama, American citizens are not exempt. How did that happen?

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Michael Ventura’s “Letters at 3 a.m.” column for December 30, 2011. He calls it “What’s Your Sign,” but I have chosen for a headline the best of the signs he quotes.

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

Austin Chronicle – Dec. 30, 2011

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Dear Senator Simpson

November 2, 2011

A friend forwards this, and I can’t argue with the logic of it.

Social Security was the best-thought-out and most socially stabilizing legacy of the Roosevelt administration. And then, as this woman points out, the pols first started messing with it, then began demonizing it, and now seem determined to destroy it.

Do you remember about 15 years ago when the Republicans were making it an article of faith that the thing to do was to “privatize” Social Security so people could put equal amounts into Wall Street accounts? That was just before the crash. Would have worked out real well, wouldn’t it?

And of course, people, given a choice, would have spent what would begin to look like a lot of money, not realizing how much money is needed to finance a retirement. This, while nearly everybody’s pensions were being stolen….

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