The Watering Hole; Friday February 5 2016; Wage Peace, Not War!

“The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.”
(William Shakespeare)

Way back in the late sixties I happened across an article that caught my eye: “Wage Peace, Not War!” the title read. The article itself was in a science or engineering monthly (can’t remember which  one), so the title seemed a bit out of place — but the concept implicit grabbed me (I was, at the time, about as anti-Vietnam as anyone could be) and hasn’t let go since. Then just this week up pops this on Think Progress:

Veteran Confronts Chris Christie About The Military Industrial Complex

Feb 3, 2016

(U.S. Navy veteran Will) Thomas, a New Hampshire native and voter in next week’s critical primary election, has been trying to nail down the candidates visiting his state on how they would pursue peace, not war, if elected to the White House. (emphasis mine)

Thomas asked Christie a rather simple — but direct — question:

“As president, how would you respond to this issue: we have a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but we’re not living by it,” said Thomas, adding that he was deeply concerned that President Obama has proposed spending hundreds of billions of dollars upgrading and modernizing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. Thomas told Christie he thinks that money should be spent instead on domestic needs like fixing aging roads and bridges, and asked if the presidential hopeful would resolve international crises through diplomacy or warfare.

Suffice to say, Christie blew it by advocating massive increases in armed forces personnel, the conventional weapons stockpile, and priority upgrading of submarines, all costly in the extreme. He made no mention of diplomacy.

Thomas reacted to the idea of yet more military bravado this way:

“I don’t think we should be spending that much money on weapons we can’t afford and that we can never use. We should be using that money for affordable housing and healthcare and education and job training. We shouldn’t be putting it in the back pockets of Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing.” (highlight mine)

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve argued all of my adult life that military spending should be SLASHED to the point where there could be NO MORE military adventures such as Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Kuwait, Bosnia, Iraq — to name the few I can remember offhand. I have to wonder how many trillions of dollars were WASTED simply to make a president look fearless, or maybe to reward his favorite corner of the M.I.C.? Also, how many trillions have been WASTED on our nuclear arsenal, itself easily large enough to destroy every shred of life on this planet?

Suppose for a moment that, say, 80%? of the money burned by the M.I.C. had been employed to stop wars, to improve lives both here at home as well as ‘over there’ — could either ourselves or the world in general be any worse off than the collective ‘we’ are today? How many millions of people would not have needlessly died? How much physical destruction could have been avoided? How much healthier would people be the world over ? The environment? And how much lower would our own national debt be?

As Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler duly noted way back in 1933, “I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket . . . . Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”

Yes. And as Will Thomas said of Christie following their exchange, “There is a military industrial complex, and he’s part of it.” My guess is the same could be said of each and all of the current presidential candidates, both Democrat and Republican — with the probable exception of Bernie Sanders.

As for myself, I guess I’ve wondered ever since I was old enough to wonder — why is it that the people on this planet can’t get their heads screwed on properly, and with a collective SHOUT loud enough to be heard on the moon, demand of ALL their leaders:

WAGE PEACE, NOT WAR!!

******

“Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
to unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.”
(William Shakespeare in The Rape of Lucrece)

******

OPEN THREAD

 

25 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday February 5 2016; Wage Peace, Not War!

  1. Listening to yesterday’s Nicole Sandler Show in the early this morning, I heard about a line in one of Hillary’s answers during the Wednesday night Town Hall forum that is getting a lot of attention.

    Hillary Clinton delivered a powerful answer about how her ego influences her decisions

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton delivered a deeply personal answer to a question about how she stays self-confident while being conscious of her ego and staying humble.

    Responding to a question from a rabbi at a CNN town-hall event, Clinton seemed to allude to damaging past public scandals, saying she kept a parable from the Bible in mind during tough situations.

    “It’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly. Everybody knows that I’ve lived a very public life for the last 25 years. So I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues,” Clinton said.

    She continued: “I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. It basically is, ‘Practice the discipline of gratitude.’ Be grateful for your limitations, know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you to support you advise you. Listen to your critics, answer the questions, but at the end, be grateful.”

    Is this not really a dog whistle to those wealthy special interests that are bankrolling her candidacy? In the end of this campaign, who will Hillary Clinton be grateful to?

  2. Today’s Nutcasearrhea pinnacle (so far, but I know it’s early):

    Rick Wiles Prays Obama Will Be Ousted And Sent To Prison

    “Trunews” host Rick Wiles was outraged by President Obama’s appearance at a Baltimore mosque yesterday, calling the president a supporter of Islamic terrorism and asking listeners, “Why are we tolerating this criminal thug?”

    Insisting that the president is not only a Muslim but “the jihadist-in-chief” who “is waging jihad from inside the White House,” Wiles said that he prays Obama “will be arrested, tried in court, found guilty and sentenced to prison for his bloody crimes against humanity.”

    • There is no god who knows how hard I prayed to have GW Bush “arrested, tried in court, found guilty and sentenced to prison for his bloody crimes against humanity.”. Good luck with that wish list Pricky Wiles.

      • Heh. I actually prayed we’d find the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq because I feared we were abandoning the reasonable UN investigation and going to war over a lie. That didn’t turn out too well either.

  3. Our current defense budget of $610 billion per year is more than the next seven countries combined. Those countries are, in order:
    China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, U.K., India and Germany
    And what do we get for it?
    More 1%ers, largely in the MIC, siphoning our pocketbooks.

    • And what would we get if we spent most of that on helping people both here and ‘over there’, wherever people needed help? What better serves humanity — “carpet bombing,” or peaceful enterprise?

    • So much of it is wasted. Husband has a rather pressing problem at work. He has devised a simple solution that took him one weekend to complete. One of the large corporations that use what his organization provides is dragging their feet on implementing the solution because the wish to use their own, which they estimate they could have ready in a year or two at a cost of millions of dollars. The government entity involved is actually considering spending the money to avoid pissing off the large corporation.

    • Amen Brother serious …. will this appear in a GOP debate? Nope – only Bernie will bring this up.

  4. A shift in thinking about “foreign invaders” inflicting damage on our infrastructure, damage that poisons thousands, should invite military intervention in Michigan. Special Forces and SEAL Teams could round up the leaders of the enemy contingent while the Army Corp of Engineers attacks the damaged infrastructure.

    • Yah butt the bad guys in Michigan were/are Republicans and them’re sacred folks serving the rich and therefore not terraists. Besides, Flint is mostly black so who cares, really. ///

    • Why would we do anything? Flint added a new crime to the list that black people do all the time – the crime of ‘Drinking water while black’

    • I like the idea of taxing oil but I think I have a better idea. I would love to see a mileage based tax on gasoline. Just to pick numbers at random…

      Owners of vehicles that get 40mpg would pay little or no additional tax. Owners of vehicles that get 30-39mpg would pay an additional $.10 per gallon. 20-29mpg? $1.00 a gallon. Under 20mpg? $10.00 a gallon.

      • Owners of gas guzzlers already pay more per mile. Also, whose mileage tests would we use: environmentalists’ or oil companies’? How would the gas be dispensed with the proper rate applied?
        Anyway, poor people would probably pay the most for the least miles traveled, since they have to get along with older, less efficient cars.

        • The hardest part would be deciding what data to use. The actual dispensing would be the easy part. A chip in the gas spout and a reader in the pump nozzle. Cars produced before the plan went into effect could be considered exempt and be taxed at an intermediate level. Exemptions exemptions could be made based on income although it would probably have to take the form of a rebate. Or? People could possibly receive a personalized chip based on income constraints; perhaps similar to a different scale for commercial vehicles.

          I also think that imposing displacement/horsepower limits on personal vehicles would fit in somewhere. The whole idea would be to actually impose a punitive tax that would strongly discourage people spending half their day sitting at stop lights in 5,000lb 4X4 pickups that will do 0-60 in 6 seconds. It’s easy to justify buying more gas to feed a gas hog if there is no actual extra penalty involved. I know lots of people who actually like to brag about how they are “showing the damned libruls what’s what” by driving big-assed trucks that never carry anything but a bag of groceries in the bed. The knowledge that they are being forced to pay more per gallon just might wake them up.

        • Yep. My rig is a 21 yr old Ford van. We drive it in the neighborhood of 1000 miles per year, and even that costs us an average of about $20 – $40 a month, depending on the pump price. I might just buy a new Tesla — IF S.S. would increase my monthly by, say, $2000. Short of that, however, my options are very limited.

          • I have a 1986 Mazda 323 that gets 35mpg in the garage. I run it up a couple times a month, if that. If i could screw myself up to get rid of a dozen boxes of old “treasures” I would junk out the car and stop paying rent on the garage.

      • I see where you are going, but hard to enforce. Alas Obama’s idea fails too – they just pass on the tax to the driver – it’s always us that get to bend over.

        Now even so – higher prices force people to make good chocies about mileage. ONe of Obama’s most unsung achievements was raising the minimum limit on MPG for car manufacturers – I think that more than the Bakken field and fracking has influenced prices – demand is down absolutely.

        • Of course; now that gas prices are down the GOoPers will most likely start a full-blown war on mileage standards. Got to keep those Behemoths of Holy Writ flowing off the production lines.

    • Wow. Yikes. Holy shit. Talk about the process of redefining the word “stupid”!

      I looked up “stupid” on a thesaurus, here are some of the synonyms:
      dumb dull foolish futile irrelevant laughable naive senseless shortsighted simple trivial unintelligent . . .

      I recommend adding a new word to that list: REPUBLICAN.

  5. Meanwhile in Syria – Putin continues to stoke the refugee crisis.

    A clearer example of ‘one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’ and Russia’s bald-faced deceit and hypocrisy you cannot imagine.

    Putin’s armed forces, mercenaries and thugs in the Donbas? Freedom fighters protecting ‘Russians’.

    Syrian’s protecting themselves from Assad’s barrel bombs and chlorine gas while Putin’s aforementioned armed forces, mercenaries and thugs bomb the crap out of them – terrorists.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35503343

  6. I’m legal! I got around to getting my “Unmanned Aircraft System” registration from the FAA. $5.00 for 3 years sounds a lot better than facing up to $200,000.00 in fines if everything went to shit and I hit someone or something with an unregistered RC airplane. Despite it being quick and painless; you would not believe the whining from the modeling community. The funny part is that it’s been in the works for about 3 years, complete with many avenues to guide the process, but most modelers and the AMA took the “cold dead hands” approach. Just like I tell the gun nuts who are apoplectic that President Obama took action on background checks; “If you are unwilling to negotiate in good faith then you lose your right to complain when the ebil guvmint acts without your input”.

      • Pretty much. Of course, the ones that have been causing problems lately have flight stabilizers, so one needn’t actually learn how to fly them, and are being used to do really stupid things like chasing police helicopters and filming people through their windows.

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