Jan 132011
 

Ike was good for his kind but not so good as to rise above the interests of his class and especially those of the elites that truly ran the show.  And his inbred anti-communism clouded his vision.

By David Swanson  [print_link]

January 13, 2011

Fifty years ago this Monday, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he famously warned of the dangers of influence on our government by the “military industrial complex.” Our current Secretary of War, Robert Gates, has proposed to retire this year and has recommended that his successors stop increasing the military budget. But Eisenhower didn’t just bring this up on his way out the door. It was seven years earlier that he had remarked:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed 8,000 people.”

But pulling these quotes out of context, as we like to do, misses the reprehensible context of the speeches in which they originated. It would be a similar act of distortion to quote President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and leave out everything but that peaceful opening line,

“Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:”

Obama went on to argue the necessity of war. And that is what Eisenhower did in his farewell address. He argued against unlimited militarization while arguing for something just short of it. He proposed disarmament while suggesting that we’d really better not do it. These lines are less well remembered:

“We face a hostile ideology, global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration.”

How does one dismantle the military industrial complex in the face of a ruthless, atheistic ideology? Of course, Eisenhower did not do so. He refrained from some of the excesses, in both war funding and war lying, of his successors. He dug our country into a pointless war on Vietnam, but not to the extent of his successors. And when his immediate successor resisted the military machine more than Eisenhower had, a single bullet struck him multiple times in Dallas.

If we set aside for a moment the pressing question for all presidents of whether Eisenhower was a devil or a saint, we can appreciate the value of having a president say anything worthwhile. But a half century later, we should be able to bring ourselves to also recognize what ideally should have been said — and was being said by others.

In the same speech in which Eisenhower spoke of the theft from those who hunger, he claimed eternal innocence for the United States in foreign affairs. The United States had never been an aggressor; that was the Soviet Union’s role. The United States relied on “trust and mutual aid” while the USSR relied on “force: huge armies, subversion, rule of neighbor nations.” Why did we have to steal from the hungry in order to build weapons? Eisenhower had the answer:

“The amassing of Soviet power alerted free nations to a new danger of aggression. It compelled them in self-defense to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments.”

Eisenhower blamed the Soviet Union for “aggression in Korea and southeast Asia.” We know that to have constituted a pair of super-destructive lies. The point is not that Eisenhower wasn’t relatively responsible, when compared with his predecessors and successors. But he maintained the same set of lies that allowed for the military industrial complex to grow into something today that probably didn’t penetrate his worst nightmares.

Fifty years later it has come to look likely that militarized global empire cannot be maintained at a limited level that permits democracy at home. This is an all or nothing endeavor that requires a radical solution. We cannot both live and breathe fear of the evil now-Muslim terrorist ideology and halt nuclear proliferation. We cannot pretend our wars have been defensive and humanitarian while at the same time shutting down bases around the globe. We cannot imagine foreigners to be subhuman beasts and simultaneously pursue disarmament. In 1959, A.J. Mustesaid:

“I am not impressed . . . with the struggle that goes on periodically between the White House and Congressional committees over whether a balanced budget or national security is of first importance. These are not struggles between pacifists and militarists, people who want or do not want ‘genuine negotiation.’ And however these controversies come out, the military budget will be of astronomical proportions for ‘peacetime’.”

Muste cited C. Wright Mills and George F. Kennan in arguing for unilateral disarmament and adoption of a very different approach to the world. A half century later, that idea has less respect than ever, but the dominant idea is taking us off a cliff. The war machine is stronger than ever, the war propaganda slicker, the dangers heightened. Continuing down this course is not survivable in terms of proliferation or blowback, environmental destruction or loss of democratic representation, or in simple economic terms. This week a congress member proposed a bill to allow his colleagues to come armed to work, on the grounds that they could not safely walk home on Capitol Hill.

Tinkering with a self-destructive system will not save us. We need what Martin Luther King, Jr., whose holiday is also celebrated on Monday, called a revaluation of values. We need to outgrow the idea that there can be a good or just war any more than there can be a good slavery or a just rape. We need to confront the root of the militaristic ideology that even Eisenhower pushed on us: the lies about World War II. Yes, Franklin Roosevelt campaigned for office promising to stay out of a war he was already working to maneuver the United States into, and for all the wrong reasons, and he lied about German attacks and plans for conquest, and he lied about Pearl Harbor.

For a truly painful experience, read what FDR and others knew. Then read the endless saga of investigations and coverups.

That FDR pursued very good policies domestically is not altered by what he did abroad. If we are looking for people to model our lives after, they should not be elected officials.

They should be people like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is someone doing that.

Author’s Website: http://davidswanson.org
Author’s Bio: David Swanson is the author of “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org

 

If you think this article is important, share it:
Jan 132011
 

SCUMWATCH:

Brian Beutler | January 12, 2011 | [print_link]

BE SURE TO ANSWER OUR POLL AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE

Left: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)  

Late last year, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the country’s major trade associations and private corporations asking them which regulations they want to see weakened or eliminated.

In response, the GOP-friendly National Association of Manufacturers has asked him to probe forthcoming regulations aimed at enhancing worker health, improving toxin standards, mitigating climate pollution and preventing another crisis on Wall Street.

In a letter dated January 7, NAM demands “immediate action and attention is needed on the following areas of regulatory policy this Administration is in the midst of proposing or implementing. If they are not substantially changed from their present form, they could cost millions of jobs and weaken an economy in a still fragile recovery.”

Some of the regulations — particularly of greenhouse gas emissions — come as no surprise. Others will raise eyebrows.

For instance: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule that would establish more stringent emissions standards on industrial and commercial boilers and process heaters (i.e. Boiler MACT). This broad-reaching proposal could cost manufacturers over $20 billion in compliance costs and place hundreds of thousands of jobs in jeopardy.”

Here’s how the EPA puts it. “These rules would significantly cut emissions of pollutants that are of particular concern for children. Mercury and lead can cause adverse affects on children’s developing brains — including effects on IQ, learning, and memory. The rules would also reduce emissions of other pollutants including cadmium, dioxin, furans, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid. These pollutants can cause cancer or other adverse health effects in adults and children.”

NAM also takes aim at an OSHA injury and illness protection plan that would require employers to find and fix hazards in their workplace. This, NAM says, “would have sweeping ramifications on all aspects of both workplace safety enforcement and the promulgation of new regulations.”

You can read the entire letter here. Given NAM’s influence in the GOP, it likely provides a glimpse at the sorts of regulations Republicans will challenge.

________________________________

[poll id="12"]

 

—————-

BONUS FEATURE

Issa’s Glaring Omission: War Spending

Will the House’s new watchdog sniff out waste in the defense budget?

By Andy Kroll | Wed Jan. 5, 2011 4:58 AM PST

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) [1], the incoming chairman of the powerful House oversight committee, has vowed to sniff out the “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the federal government, even if it means holding [2] seven committee hearings a week. On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Issa pledged to identify as much as $200 billion in wasteful spending at the federal level, and an early target list [3] for Congress’ top watchdog includes WikiLeaks, housing giant Fannie Mae, and Food and Drug Administration recalls. However, a top Democrat on the oversight committee, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.), is calling out Issa on a glaring omission in the chairman’s attack plan: the US’s bloated defense budget.

In a letter sent Tuesday [4], Kucinich challenged Issa on why he hadn’t pledged to rid the Department of Defense’s $663 billion budget of wasteful spending. Kucinich cited a 2001 Government Accountability Office report, mentioned by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that found US officials had lost track of $2.3 trillion of DOD spending. Kucinich goes on:

“We have seen dozens of reports of corruption, lost money, and unaccountable transactions in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have seen report of billions of taxpayers dollars in shrink-wrapped packages sent to Iraq for unsupervised distribution. We have seen millions of dollars flow into Afghanistan, and we have seen millions of dollars flow out again into the hands of the family of President Hamid Karzai for purposes such as building luxury villas in Dubai.”  

He concludes, “To meet your stated purpose of protecting American taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse, it is essential that you examine the Department of Defense and money wasted during unnecessary wars.”

Source URL: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/01/kucinich-issa-waste-oversight

Links:
[1] http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/darrell-issa-enter-stage-right
[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20022217-503544.html
[3] http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/46952.html
[4] http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/letter_to_Issa_regarding_potential_waste_at_DOD.pdf

COMMENTS

    •  

fargo1169 HOURS AGO
Watch Issa slavishly do what they want and the Democrats to cave right along with him.

 
  • docb7 HOURS AGO
  • How did this guy get elected and why is the media ignoring this?
    http://mediamatters.org/resear…

     
  • Powkat9 HOURS AGO
  • Shorter version: Keep allowing us to poison and abuse people for profit.

     
  • CMO9 HOURS AGO
  • Hang it around his effing neck – start telling everyone in America right now that the man who brought us CAR ALARMS now wants to add more mercury, dioxin and HCL acid tot he environment

     
  • marconichols7 HOURS AGO
  • What is the common thread in all of this? 
    Profits. (not the religious kind either). 
    Cold, hard cash in the bank accounts of the owners of the various industies that will make even more money if they don’t have to be regulated and can dump the toxins waste into the environment. And not have to have any worker protection on the job site. 
    I am sure they will next ask their shills in the GOP in Washington to- 
    Lower the minimum wage (Wow! If we don’t have to pay the workers look how many jobs we will create!), 
    Get rid of overtime (Why should workers get paid more to work more?), 
    Release them from any other benefits on the job, (Hey, there is no constitutional right to health care!), 
    Get rid of child labor laws, (Chinese kids work, so why are we coddling ours?) 
    Make belonging to a union a federal crime, (Damn unions are to blame for EVERYTHING!) 
    Completely abolish the EPA and OSHA, (It is a big liberal LIE that mercury is bad for you) 
    Lower the corporate tax rate to zero, (Hey, if we don’t have to pay taxes, we might hire more people. Maybe.) 
    Make us immune to liability laws, (We really thought that product was SAFE. We are SORRY, isn’t that enough?) 
    Get rid of equal employment laws, (Black don’t WANT to work, they LOVE welfare) 
    Any reader here who votes gop listen to me good; 
    When you or someone in your family comes down with some kind of strange cancer or illness, I don’t want to hear SHIT out of you about “Why wasn’t the government doing something.” 
    You voted for people like this moron Issa so he and his ilk can gut any type of worker/environmental protections so his pasty faced, fat fatcats in corporate american can become even fatter. 
    They whittle your job pay and benefits away or send your job overseas. 
    They risk you and your children’s health by dumping their industrial byproducts in the environment. 
    They lie, cheat an steal not to pay ANY taxes, because only the little people pay taxes. 
    They go to their fancy country clubs and laugh at you for being so stupid to vote for them when everything they do is to harm you and your family. 
    But soldier on good GOP grunt! 
    Keep voting for them so they can increase their net wealth while partying on your back and credit card. 
    Maybe they will let you have a few scraps off their table if you are a good boy. 
    Next time you see that picture of the Earth from the Apollo missions, look at it closely. 
    THAT is the only place in the known universe that can sustain life as we know it. 
    And the more you vote gop, the faster it will be rendered unihabitable. 
    But I guess it comforts you at night that you have your guns, your little book of spells, and that two guys you don’t know in some far away city can’t get married. 

     
  • afblac7 HOURS AGO
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that a corporation is a person. But a corporation has one purpose and that is to make a profit. A corporation today if a person, is the least patriot person in the nation. Aided by the GOP, a corporation does NOT want to refrain from pollution, provide worker safety, pay taxes or feel any obligation to serve the public good. When it falters, it expects the government to bail it out and it appeals all fines and judgments which usually amount to what a traffic fine would be to a person. Compare that behavior to an actual person if they knowling poisoned the water supply, the air or the ground, if they knowingly created a dangerous work environment resulting in injury or death, if they worked back room deals to avoid taxation. In most cases if a person behaved like a corporation they would be prosecuted and possibly fined taking a far greater percentage of their wealth than corporate fines or jailed. Yet, what happens to a corporation-virtually NOTHING. Now, they have Mr. Issa and the House of Representatives trying to further absolve them of the responsibility of being a decent person. When we look at Mines in West Virginia, AIG, Bank of America, BP and others, let’s think of them as a PERSON and then decide what their responsibility should be and if they are patriots on the side of this country or traitors to it, and we should be asking the Congress whether they are corporate patriots or American patriots?.

    If you think this article is important, share it:
    Jan 132011
     

    The Poison Of Limbaugh—Andrew Sullivan, himself a longtime conservative, reacts to Limbaugh’s latest provocation. 

    11 JAN 2011  |  [print_link]

    Editor’s note:

    Rush Limbaugh reacted to the instantly infamous mugshot of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in the Arizona shooting, by saying that Loughner is smiling in the picture because he knows he is backed by the Democratic Party.

    Speaking on his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh said that Loughner was getting the exact attention that he wanted:

    What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that…the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America…this guy clearly understands he’s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder – but something lesser.”

    Left: Rush Limbaugh, the biggest pile of manure in the Western World.

    Below, Andrew Sullivan’s own reaction to Limbaugh’s comment. Sullivan may be shocked at Limbaugh’s volley, but the latter is a monster he and other “distinguished” establishment conservatives, especially Bill Buckley Jr., (above, left) helped to create, since their own work to whitewash and sell “conservatism” as a respectable ideology has contributed mightily to the strengthening of the lying, mean-spirited, Right and its brutal antisocial agenda. 

     

    ANDREW SULLIVAN:

    “Very very very few people have contributed more poison and hatred and extremism to the culture than Rush Limbaugh. As every single conservative commentator joins ranks in calling the Tucson assassination a completely apolitical act, and as the right discovers that there is no connection whatever between political culture and political acts, we get this:

    What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.

    Again, the statement is so offensive and absurd one has to pinch oneself to believe someone actually said that about a mass murderer. No one has said something that crudely partisan about Loughner and the GOP. So this is actually a classic example of what some of us have long been worried about in “conservative” discourse. Limbaugh is not mainstream, you say? National Review just approvingly reprints excerpts from Limbaugh’s show. He is untouchable; and his tone will not change.”

    If you think this article is important, share it:
    Jan 132011
     

    The Right noise machine is working fulltime to deny complicity in the Tucson massacre.

    By Dave Lindorff  January 11, 2011  

    [print_link]

    There is, it cannot be denied, a tendency on the part of many Americans to grab for their guns, if not actually, then figuratively.

    And let’s face it, we also have an awful lot of guns to reach for. The FBI estimates that it’s 200 million, not counting the guns owned by the military, and the National Rifle Assn. says that’s a number that rises by close to five million a year.

    BELOW LEFT: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, one of the sane voices in the entire mess, and of course viciously attacked by Sheriff Arpaio, an unreconstructed rightwinger and racist, and the whole gaggle of rightwing talk radio criminals constantly inciting the masses toward fascism.

    And we sure do use “em. NY Times columnist Bob Herbert says 150,000 people have been killed by guns in the US just in the first decade of this new century. Clearly it’s not just Tucson, capital of the Arizona county that also includes the gunslinger town of Tombstone, that is the Wild West. This whole country is gun-crazy.

    Back in the 1970s, when I was a journalist in Los Angeles, I witnessed police officers there drawing their guns on people being arrested for jaywalking. One poor guy was shot dead by accident because a cop who had made a traffic stop had his gun out and tripped as he approached the driver’s window. Honest. I reported on a case where a young man, Ron Burkholder, apparently burned badly while making some PCP in his basement so that he had torn of his clothes and run out onto the street naked, was shot dead by a cop. The thing was, Burkholder was a small skinny guy, and he was naked and clearly in pain. The cop, well over six feet tall and powerfully built, blew Burkholder away with, if I remember right, five shots from his service revolver. Not one. Five.

    His excuse: He “felt threatened” by the naked, and clearly unarmed, Burkholder.

    No charges were filed.

    BELOW RIGHT: Federal Judge John Roll, one of the random victims.

    When Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, in conjunction with several large media organizations including the New York Times, the UK Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel, released leaked cables that showed both the pettiness and the bullying of the US State Department, there were immediate howls from members of Congress and from the right-wing talk radio and TV crowd for his summary execution. The more sedate called for his arrest, trial and execution. Now his lawyer in the UK has quite rightly made the argument, at a hearing on a Swedish government extradition request on possible sex offense charges, that Assange faces the very real possibility of execution if extradited to Sweden because he could end up being snatched from that country by the US, and brought back to face a death penalty for his exposés, which the US would like to call “espionage.”

    None of this bothers a lot of Americans, who seem to think summary execution without even a trial for just about anything is quite okay.  Many Americans even say they think the death penalty is not only a good thing, but that we should be executing more people, and doing it faster. This despite recent solid evidence from Texas that innocent people are being executed, and despite the reality that over 140 people having been absolved by incontrovertible DNA tests of capital crimes for which they spent years on death row, sometimes coming within hours of execution.

    That may explain why so many politicians these days, and self-proclaimed pundits like the corpulent druggie Rush Limbaugh and the Vicks addict Glenn Beck, call for the killing of those whose politics they don’t agree with.

    It also, sadly, explains why so many young people respond positively to the lures of military recruiters, like the young friend I wrote about just recently.  

    BELOW LEFT: Cynical multibillionaire David Koch and his brother Charles are credited with seeding the Tea Party phenomenon across America.

    It was simply shocking for me to hear a 17-year-old kid from a family of two professionals, neither of whom has any military background, talking excitedly about wanting to be a machine gunner in a Marine helicopter, and anxious to be sent to fight in Afghanistan.  What kind of attraction can there be to firing waves of 30mm rounds at people down on the ground who have never done anything to you, who pose no threat to your family or your country, and who may not even be fighters at all?

    It’s as bizarre and alien to me as the people who thrill at the idea of shooting wild wolves from the air–a popular sport in Alaska fondly described as wholesome entertainment by America’s sweetheart, Sarah Palin.

    I brought my son and a friend last year to the notorious Army Experience Center, a multi-million state-of-the-art virtual war recruiting wonderland based in a mall in Northeast Philadelphia. Filled with an array of very fast computers and video screens on which kids  as young as 14 could blast away in realistic war scenarios, and featuring two darkened rooms that had real bodies of an armored Humvee and a Blackhawk helicopter where kids could man the guns and operate in a 3-D video environment with surround sound so that you felt like you were moving through hostile territory and had to “take out” the “bad guys” while quickly identifying innocent civilians and avoiding shooting them.  My son, his friend and I tried the Humvee out, and at the end of our “mission,” the recruiter, an Iraq vet, congratulated us, saying we were “the best gunners all day!” and that our error rate had been “only 30%.”

          I asked him what “error rate” meant, and he said, “Collateral damage–civilians killed.”

    “30 percent of the peope we just killed were civilians?” I asked, aghast.

    “Oh yeah,” he said matter-of-factly. “Don’t feel bad. That’s not a bad percentage.” Indeed, in real war it’s a lot higher.  Depending on whom you ask, the US in Iraq killed between 150,000 and 1.1 million Iraqis, and reportedly only 20,000 of them at most were enemy fighters. That means our “heroes” in Iraq killed civilians at a ratio of between 13 % and 98% of the time! That explains the latest news that American troops have been expending 250,000 to 300,000 rounds of ammunition to kill each enemy fighter in Iraq and Afghanistan–a rate so prodigious that the domestic armaments industry can’t supply enough shells (the US has been buying half its bullets from an Israeli manufacturer).  Just imagine where most of those missed shots went. A lot clearly hit the wrong people, including many very little ones.

    LEFT: The angelic looking Sarah Palin is proof conclusive that (a) God doesn’t exist, (b) that s/he empowers evil behind lovely covers, and (c) that physical beauty is often wasted on monsters.  A heartless bitch to the core, Palin in a short time has become the undisputed poster girl for the misguided cryptofascist legions.

    And yet at every indignity, every international disagreement, every terror act by some foreign nutcase or angry jihadi, Americans are quick to call for massive military retaliation. “Blast them back into the stone age!” is a common refrain, even when nobody knows who “them” is. “Kill them all and let God sort them out!” is a popular line too.

    No wonder a certifiable whackjob like Jarod Lee Loughner, when his twisted and fevered mind got angry at whatever demons were tormenting him, turned to a gun and headed out to kill him a congresswoman.  He may have been nuts, but he was acting out a very popular American fantasy, at the very least: Kill the bastards!

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for banning guns. I had a gun when I was 12, and I loved shooting it. If I hadn’t sold it when we were low on money shortly after I got married, I’d still have the thing. 

    But nobody needs an assault weapon. And nobody should be able to carry a concealed weapon around town, crazy or not.

    More importantly, though, this obsession with killing and war has to stop.

    We need to recognize that the people who call for ever higher military budgets, who justify blasting the sh*t out of a poor country like Afghanistan, the people who argue for bombing Iran, and the police departments that send cops to demonstrations armed with assault weapons, as well as the politicians and the fascist radio and TV pundits who call for killing political opponents, are all every bit as sick and twisted as a lone gunman who goes to a Safeway parking lot and shoots a Congresswoman in the head.

    DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, LINN WASHINGTON and CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
    ____________________________________ 

    If you think this article is important, share it: