Posts Tagged ‘us’

Why Aren’t Americans Ending War?

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Americans spend trillions of dollars on warfare every single year. This is an absurd amount of money to spend on anything, let alone using it to blow up your fellow humans on an industrialized scale. With that kind of cash, you could end extreme poverty the world over, give every person a home and an education, and dramatically lift the tide which raises all ships.

Ask the average person in America, and they would tell you they want the fighting to stop. The barely-adult people sent overseas to kill or be killed would sure as shit rather be home with their families and friends. And the people in Yemen and Pakistan? I imagine they could stand fewer innocents being killed by drone assassination.

The financial costs are an incredible burden, and the emotional scars would take generations to heal even if war ended this very second. The longer these large scale conflicts get prolonged, the worse off our entire world is.

So why aren’t Americans ending war? If the US people, much like the rest of us, just want to live and prosper in peace, why don’t their politicians listen to them and give them what they want?

The sad truth is that they can’t.

The entire American system has, to the detriment of the world, fallen victim to what can only be described as a parasitic entity, a beast that has been around in one form or another for thousands of years.

Whether through anesthetizing concepts like pride and security, the unfettered power of wealth, or, when all else fails, brute force, the war machine of which I speak has been able to keep countless populations within their grasp – and right now their prey is the American public.

In the United States, mainstream newsanchors all dance around the issue ending war, and ‘radical’ concepts like bringing home the troops rarely arise. Politicians are no better, for they too are in the pockets of the military industry, as made evident by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who intentionally escalates wars around the world.

So even when the vast majority of Americans want peace, a political system which is mostly theatre combined with a deliberate lack of guidance from the media makes it hard for the anti-war movement to gain the momentum needed to make a significant impact.

But peace-loving Americans won’t stay down for much longer. They simply cannot. Fueled by a crumbling economy, driven by global awareness, and united by social media, a multi-million person strong movement will prove more powerful than the entire military industrial complex. Or so we shall hope.

The world is changing faster than even those who sit atop can control. Unprecedented technology is causing new concepts like transparency and global solidarity to crash down on our world. As the old guard falls away, a newfound democracy is sure to bring to fruition the civilization our species has been cultivating for eons.

Cutting Out the Corruption – Lessig

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Institutional corruption runs rampant throughout American politics. This is especially true in Congress, where members spend 30-70% of their time raising money for their next re-election.

The tiniest slice of Americans – 0.0000063% – fund the vast majority of campaign costs. THIS IS CORRUPTION! It’s a corruption of dependency, as elected officials depend on special, elite interests well above those of the people they represent.

This corruption needs to be removed for democracy to be reclaimed. And the only way this can be done is with an upheaval to the entire system, making it so that the power to select leaders is distributed equally across the population. (more…)

No Unconditional Support for Israel – Senior US Military Brass

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 4-star General Martin Dempsey, let Israeli leaders know they will be without American support in a war against Iran, unless they wait for prior agreement from Washington.

Well, that’s probably a good thing, given how former Israeli Defense Forces Chief believes a military attack on Iran would culminate in all out war, engulfing the entire Middle East in conflict.

All the more reason to continue to pressure our governments to avoid another long, expensive and ineffectual invasion at all costs.

Still, one wonders if Israel’s interests have become too entrenched in the US’s political landscape when ranking members have to explicitly say ‘Look, Israel. We’re tight and all, but there’s only so much crazy we can tolerate, even from you.’

Crushing Rate of Soldier Suicides

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

As deadly as a foe can be when they are fighting to protect home and family, American soldiers have found themselves facing an even greater threat: the mental damaged incurred during military service. For the second year in a row, more US soldiers took their own lives than died in combat.

Just look at the tremendous toll being paid by America’s soldiers. These poor young men and women are getting scarred for life, their noble values exploited by an industry seeking only to profit from prolonged armed conflict. It’s such a tragedy!

Look how poorly the American government cares for it’s soldiers. Once churned through the machine, service people get spit out and forgotten by the country they fought and killed for. Where is the honor in that?

These suicides should be a wake up call – the costs of military endeavors far exceed any rewards. It is time for this war bullshit to stop!

Apart from the rarest of occasions, violence will not solve any problems. Most of the time, the use of deadly force will only extend or exacerbate conflict, neither of which is beneficial for people or planet.

The right to use violence should be considered amongst the most sacred of privileges, not the primary go-to solution for every single problem. Since they’ve clearly been abusing the power we’ve entrusted them with, our governments need to be reined in and their licenses to kill put back on the shelf until they learn some respect.

Remote Assassins Exhausted With Demand

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Throughout my frequent rants against the use of unmanned aircraft as tools of war, I’ve consistently neglected to consider the humanity of the drone operators themselves. In my head, I dismissed them as heartless, glorified-video-game playing, soldier wannabes. But that is not the truth. It turns out they have feelings too.

A recent study by the Armed Forces has found half of all Air Force drone operators experience high levels of job-related stress.

Yet, remarkably, this stress isn’t coming from guilt or remorse over the lives taken by the pseudo-soldiers. Rather, the reported ‘high operational stress’ comes from being overwhelmed with long hours and frequent shift changes due to staff shortages.

That’s right, it’s not that these drone operators are finding it too hard to kill people, it’s that they’ve become too good at their job. These radio-wave assassins can exterminate any threat with such immediate efficacy that demand for their services has skyrocketed!

It makes sense, if you think about it. To start, every Air Force employee will, like any good soldier, be indoctrinated to believe they are fighting for a just cause – be it freedom or protecting civilians or whatever other lie they’ve been sold by the war machine.

Then, on top of this, any atrocities they happen to commit will always occur on the other side of a computer screen. No hearing screaming mothers. No seeing blood and wrecked flesh. No insight into the direct suffering tolled by the population. It’s just – acquire a target, lock on, deploy death – then on to the next one – a system streamlining the whole mess of war with the push of a button.

With murder being dished out via mechanisms monkeys could operate, it’s no wonder military brass aren’t asking ‘Should we do more?’ just ‘How can we do more?’ As evident with the 350 new unmanned aircraft controllers undergoing training right now – more than the number of real fighter and bomber pilots combined – it is clear the use of drones is set to experience massive growth.

But contrary to what those who make their living fighting wars will tell us, the increased use of autonomous death machines is not a good thing for our long-term security. Without a significant public resistance, these drones will be used against us soon enough.

First, they’ll start with drones just for surveillance (like many Americans already face). Then, once the machines are up there, you may as well arm them. But only to use against the worst of the worst, like terrorist or drug dealers. Then, once the population is complacent enough, you can keep escalating your reach until speaking out against the use of drone strikes becomes an offense punishable by drone strike.

And that’s not something I ever want to see, which is why I’m already making noise right now.

US Taxpayers Funding Taliban

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In what can accurately be described as a colossal fuck-up, the U.S military estimates that $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of the Taliban and other criminals.

We all know that the war machine needs to manufacture their enemies, but this is ridiculous! I mean, come on Defense Industry, at least try to be a little more covert when creating people to fight.

It’s like they’ve been getting away with industrialized murder for so long that they’ve completely lost all respect for the dissenting ability of the American public.

But who can blame them… if $20 billion can go unaccounted for in Iraq without any major uproar, then a mere $300 mil should be no big deal.

While these tremendous fortunes are gone forever, not all is lost. Like Dr. Ron Paul says, people are waking up to the silliness of America’s bloated military spending and are no longer willing to just blindly accept anything in the name of defense.

It’s only a matter of time until the majority of humans, everywhere on earth, see war for what it is – a giant waste of lives and money just to hurt ourselves. And this is precisely why institutionalized armed conflict will soon go obsolete, paving the path for peace to overtake our planet.

US Leaving Afghanistan

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

(“Exit strategy? I dunno… maybe try rocking it.”)

President Obama is expected to deliver a highly anticipated speech on the troop drawdown, where plans to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan will be announced.

Great! Way to earn that Nobel Peace prize, Barack.

The US has also begun negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban for the first time.

Amazing! All it took was a bankrupt economy and hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the diplomatic process has neared the point it could have been at 10 years ago.

Pulling Back the Patriot Act

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Is the US Government spying on its own population? Yes. Absolutely.

The question is not longer “Does the US spy on its citizenry”, but rather “To what depths can America’s surveillance system reach into the daily lives of the people?”

And the chilling answer, says Senator Ron Wyden, is way more than most people think.

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” describes Wyden “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”

Not enough American’s are aware of how integrated their surveillance state has become, and fewer still even perceive government spying as a threat. The end result of this is that too much power concentrates into too few hands, leading to a political system that runs more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

So what does the US government do already, using different interpretations of information gathering bills like the Patriot Act?

  • They can grab a cellphone company’s phone records, giving access to driver’s license records, hotel records, car-rental records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and the like.
  • They can perform a “bulk collection” operation, pulling in massive amounts of information on private citizens, including implementing an internet dragnet.
  • They can even use geolocation data from cellphones to collect information on the whereabouts of Americans.

Of course, some have postulated they’ve been doing this for years. The Patriot Act only sought to make legal what the US Gov’t was doing anyway.

This begs the question, if America has long been spying on its own population without legal authority, then why even bother repealing the Patriot Act?

Well, it’s about swinging the pendulum back towards the side of freedom. If Americans can at least make it unlawful for their government to invade such depths of personal privacy, they will have some recourse to hold the violators accountable.

Otherwise, the more-surveillance-is-always-better mindset will keep pushing the envelope, eroding more civil liberties until the only thing left to protect is the surveillance state itself.


Super-Duper PAC is Super-Duper Scary

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

(Corporations are bad, mmmkay? More on this after a word from our sponsors.)

As you probably know, US corporations and other organizations can donate unlimited sums of cash in support of their political agendas, thanks to the Citizens United decision of 2010.

Now, as described above by Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks, a new motion is in place to allow a ‘Super-Duper PAC’, which can raise unlimited outside money a la Citizens United, only with politicians doing the fundraising themselves.

If this decision passes, which is quite likely considering how far gone the US already is, then Americans will be one step closer to having a political system where corporations and special interests can directly purchase politicians with their unlimited purse-strings.


US Losing Unions, China Gaining Them

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

(No, no, no… you can’t wear white after a labor day protest!)

As union busting legislation creeps into American politics, the world’s soon-to-be superpower – China – has seen increasing trends towards unionization. The Independent’s Johann Hari describes China’s atrocious working conditions:

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us.

In 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: “We are like prisoners here.” The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps 10 workers, and each dorm houses 5,000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with.

A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations 15 minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: “Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!” Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the lavatory. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the lavatories as punishment. Then it’s back to the dorm.

It’s the human equivalent of battery farming.

Fortunately, the indomitable human spirit refuses to be caged like cogs in a machine. Collectivist action has been growing across the Sleeping Dragon. Hari:

Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting, “There are no human rights here!” and, “We want freedom!”

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that it prepared an extraordinary step forward. It drafted a new labour law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China’s workplaces.

This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 per cent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced that they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all.

A positive sign indeed. More power to our fellow freedom fighters in China.