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The Demise of the Mad Hatter

By       Message James and Jean Anton     Permalink
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Mad Hatter
(image by Sir John Tinniel)
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The Facebook comment below recently appeared on our timeline.

"He (Sanders) conveniently ignores the fact that we are protecting the entire Western world, including all those wonderful European socialist countries that don't spend money for their own protection. We do it for FREE. He likes to provide free stuff. I'd like to see us charge them for our services and see how easy it is to find their socialist nirvana. Make them pay us for protecting them. Instead we actually send some of them money too. This country is upside down like a huge Mad Hatter party. "

This person sincerely believes that the U.S. is in the business of protecting Europe, which includes 'hateful' socialist countries that Bernie Sanders admires, like Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He doesn't seem to realize that every country in Europe is socialist compared to us. In any event, he thinks that they should be paying for their own security.

There is actually a kernel of truth to the above, albeit confused, comment.

We have a minimum of 662 military installations (Ron Paul put the number at over 900) in 38 foreign countries. Our "friends" all over the world do not pay a plug nickel for our services -- we provide the protection completely free-of-charge. These military installations cost us in excess of 200 billion dollars a year.

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Why are we so terribly generous?

Neither neoliberals nor neoconservatives give a straight answer.

They put their sanctimonious hands over their hearts and say something like: 'we are a beacon on the hill. The good guys. It is our God-given duty to protect the Western World even when the rest of the free world does not want to contribute a plug nickel to its own safety.'

Huhh??? Is it our duty to protect people who are better off than we are and perfectly capable of protecting themselves?

Surely they jest.

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The real reason for the good-guy ruse is that it makes non-thinkers, for whom extreme right-wing politics has become a religion, feel good about themselves. These people believe deeply that America is the only righteous nation in the world. These are the ones who have bumper stickers that say 'They Hate Us Because They Ain't Us.' The ones who fly oversized American flags from the fenders of their Harleys. The ones who have American flags in their front yards next to plaster-cast grottos of the Blessed Virgin. The ones who carry automatic weapons to fundamentalist, evangelical churches and pray for the slaughter of infidels.

Neocons (who rely on righteous indignation) won't tell them that we are not even remotely interested in protecting the freedom of the entire Western World. They won't admit that the national defense industry is really a money-laundering scheme in which precious dollars are transferred from Americans to the offshore, tax-free bank accounts of war profiteers -- war profiteers like the CEOs of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics Corporation.

They won't say that war profiteering is the reason behind our unusual generosity.

So what about 'Make Them Pay'?

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James and Jean Anton were born and raised in New York City, and spent ten years living and working abroad in countries as diverse as Brazil, Ecuador, Denmark, Italy and Iran. They have written and illustrated books for Scholastic Inc, McGraw (more...)

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