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It All Gets Real

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"Some get stoned, some get strange, sooner or later, it all gets real"
(Neil Young)

We live in a cloud with our inputs overloaded, like pool balls bouncing off the bumpers, looking for a hole. The news media tells us about the mean old Chinese that are harassing an unarmed US navy vessel. Those bad old Chinese, how dare they do that to our boys? Except that it is a US spy ship spying off the Chinese coast, and we want to blame the Chinese?

Saddam had to prove that he didn't have weapons of mass destruction and the Iranians have to prove that they aren't building a nuclear bomb. No matter what hoops they jump through, we just move the bar. The Iranians signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and India did not. We threaten Iran and try to trade nuclear fuel for mangoes with India.

Hugo Chavez is an evil dictator because he nationalized oil fields after American oil companies refused to pay Venezuela the same royalties that they currently pay to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Of course, the Saudis and Kuwaitis are our friends. After 9-11 Bin Laden's relatives were allowed to fly home to Saudi Arabia and requests to interview Saudi intelligence agents were refused.

The CIA, through Cuban nationals, has waged a fifty-year campaign of bombings, sabotage and even the bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner. As President Bush called for a war on terror, the perpetrator of the Cuban airliner bombing walked the streets of Miami, a free man. The numerous CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro are famous, but after Hurricane Katrina it was the Cuban government that offered doctors and aid for the refugees. Those offers were rebuffed. Those sneaky bastards, Castro is a dictator who holds thousands of political prisoners on that island in fetid cells; he holds them and tortures them without trial.

We condemn the Cuban system of one-party rule as not being Democratic enough. But, of course, America's largest trading partner, China, has an identical if not more odious and authoritarian version of one-party rule. The primary difference is that Cuba will not trade tropical poverty for sweatshop prosperity. We want to promote democracy so that Cuba can achieve the same level of prosperity as democratic El Salvador and Nicaragua. Cuba spends 9.1% of its GDP on education; El Salvador and Nicaragua spent 3%. Infant mortality is 5.93 per thousand births in Cuba. In El Salvador it is 22.9 deaths per thousand; in Nicaragua it is 25.9 deaths per thousand live births.

Americans have the greatest healthcare system in the world, or so we are told, yet our infant mortality rate is 6.3 deaths per thousand, and we give the parents a bill to grieve with. American life expectancy is 78.4 years while the Cuban life expectancy is only 77.2 years. How dare I compare a brutal communist dictatorship to the blessings of this capitalist wonderland? I should consider the things the Cubans miss out on. Like, they will never have to worry about their pensions being liquidated in a bankruptcy court. Or their jobs being outsourced somewhere where the workers will work for less.

They don't have to worry about saving enough money to send their children to college, or if they will have enough money when they get old. They do have to worry about fighting the global war on terror; they have been fighting it for the past fifty years and their enemy is powerful and is always just ninety miles from their shores and even has bases in their homeland.

Democracy is the single-minded policy of this country; if necessary, we will even impose it by force of arms. Now you vote! Make your choice, pick a party; we will tell you who the candidates are later.(Afghanistan) Safety concerns, you know. Why, this country spends hundreds of millions of dollars promoting democracy in the third world. And our candidates always win! Almost always!

During the 2006 Mexican Presidential election the Republican Party sent advisors to assist conservative candidate Felipe Calderon. Through statistical anomalies and 900,000 annulled votes, Calderon was eventually declared the winner replacing Vincente Fox the former CEO of Coca Cola in Mexico. The will of the people clearly prevailed.

Senator John McCain is the leader of the International Republican Institute whose stated goal is to "Advance freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law. The IRI has been active in Venezuela, and in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and in Georgia. The IRI was also active in Haiti.

In 2004 US ambassador to Haiti, Brian Dean Curran, accused the IRI of subverting his efforts to bring peace to Haiti during the contested elections of 2000. The IRI can be found operating anywhere there is trouble to be had or to be made. Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia, Bosnia, Belarus, Burma, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, East Timor, Egypt, Estonia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Serbia, Uganda, Ukraine. And, of course, the West Bank and Gaza; how could they possibly be forgotten?

The conflict in Georgia began when Georgian troops launched a large-scale ground-and air-based military attack on South Ossetia's capital and began firing on Russian peacekeeping troops. Georgia claims that it was responding to Russian troop movements. It 's the same "they're harassing my spy ship" argument. Since when does the movement of peacekeeping troops constitute grounds for a full-scale offensive? The American media, as would be expected, excoriated the Russian troops for returning fire when fired upon.

The aggressors are crowned with laurels for bravely attacking and standing up to peacekeeping troops. Russian officers complained of American advisors on the scene assisting the Georgians and of the great deal of radio traffic in English. It was probably just the IRI again, advancing freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law.

Some say the conflict was based on the encouragement of the US to enlist former Soviet bloc countries into NATO. The Russians pointed out that if NATO was formed to counter the Warsaw Pact and the Warsaw Pact no longer exists, what then is the need to expand NATO? Isn't it obvious? To aid young democracies, like Afghanistan and Georgia and Belarus. The prior administration's plans were to put missile batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend the United States and Europe from Iranian and North Korean missiles that don't even exist and might never exist. The Russians were just expected to take our word that these missiles are only pointed towards them but not at them. We've spent billions of dollars to develop a missile defense shield against countries that don't have missiles of that caliber and they don't trust us.

Why don't they trust us? Why do they harass our spy ships? Why do they resist when we attack?

Then there is the recent Seymour Hersh story about an "executive assassination squad" which reported directly to Dick Cheney. Oh, I'm so surprised, how could it be? The new President is going to close Guantanamo but retain other facilities. He's promised to no longer torture but still retains the privilege. He is going to get us out of Iraq but keep half the troops there. He is going to fight in Afghanistan by sending in half the troops removed from Iraq. He is going to fix the budget by taxing the rich, then gives out more tax cuts to the rich in the stimulus package. He's going to fight global warming with cap and trade, then admits he's open to negotiation on cap and trade and on cutting the corporate tax rate, as well.

Last Wednesday a troubled man in South Alabama opened fire and killed ten people. Mass shootings have become almost commonplace in America, or freedom as a disguise for license to abandon our people, neglect their needs and their futures. We hold more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world including Communist China, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. Are Americans just more criminally bent? Or is it a collective madness brought on by a society that talks one way and acts another. A society that holds out promises it has no intention of keeping.

That man in Alabama was reported to his supervisor by a co-worker for not wearing his earplugs at work. Maybe that was all it took. Freedom can be a heavy burden when you've got nothing but promises to carry it in.

"As soon as you're born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so f*cking crazy you can't follow their rules,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can't really function you're so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still f*cking peasants as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There's room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill,
A working class hero is something to be.
A working class hero is something to be.
If you want to be a hero well just follow me,
If you want to be a hero well just follow me."
(John Lennon)

What is surprising is that there aren't ten or twenty shootings a day.

 

I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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David...Another great article...You didn't men... by Jim Calderwood on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 7:26:11 AM
TV and everything else glorifies force and fraud.&... by John Hanks on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 6:04:51 PM
All my life, I've been a stranger in a strange... by Sister Begonia on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 7:50:29 PM