Sunday, May 27, 2012

Some film and quotes for Memorial Day

My recommendation for two brilliant films to see for Memorial Day:
  • "The Ground Truth" (2006)
  • "The Veteran" (2011)
Both available on Netflix. Some quotes I find appropriate for this Memorial Day: 

"About 18 veterans kill themselves each day. Thousands from the current wars have already done so. In fact, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died by their own hand is now estimated to be greater than the number (6,460) who have died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Eleven years of war in two operating theaters have taken a severe toll on America’s military. An estimated 2.3 million Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and 800,000 of those service members have been deployed multiple times."
"Anthony Swofford on the Epidemic of Military Suicides"

"The organizing principle of any society is for war. The basic authority of the modern state over its people resides in its war powers. Today it's oil, tommorrow water. It's what we like to call the GOD business: guns, oil, and drugs. But there's a problem. Our way of life. It's over. It's unsustainable and in rapid decline. That's why we implement demand destruction. We continue to make money as the world burns. But for this to work, the people have to remain ignorant of the problem until it is too late. That's why we have triggers in place: 911, 77, WMDs. A population in a permanent state of fear does not ask questions. Our desire for war becomes its desire : a willing sacrifice. You see? Fear is justification, fear is control, fear is money. You're a brilliant soldier and I could still use someone like you."
Actor Brian Cox in "The Veteran" (2011)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is War with Iran next?

It is a beautiful, bright spring day in Bellingham, WA.  Here at the edge of contiguous United States, busy educated professionals mingle with international visitors who are mostly British Columbian shoppers, but least they're polite most of the time. Lulled by the serenity of North Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, Bellingham Bay...and protected by Joint Base Lewis McChord,  Everett Naval Station, Bremerton and Bangor/Kitsap Nuclear Submarine Base, Whidbey Island Air Force Base.  Here in the topmost corner of what was anti-communist Henry M. 'Scoop' Jackson  second WA congressional district, most of us don't often think too much about being the gateway to the most important West coast naval bases in the United States.

Even most war protesting here is often a sedate affair. But a new war in the Middle East could change this. The drumbeats for 'War with Iran' have been beaten by two U.S. Presidential administrations for almost ten years now. For my money (which mean free analysis only), William Engdahl covers the roots of the Iranian-U.S. conflict with as little nonsense as possible (1, 2, 3, 4) . I will sum up his viewpoint: 'Never mind all the crap you read about a nuclear Iran threatening Israel. Our government wants a friendly client state in the Middle East so they can neutralize Russia and China.'  It looks like Russia and China have no illusions about about our imperial motivations.  So will Iran become the flashpoint that re-ignites the cold war? What would the effect of such a war be on our national and local economy? Not exactly topics that the main stream media is covering now, are they?  Perhaps there won't be any media build up to such a war. After all, trying to rationalize the Iraq war through the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" logic wasn't a stunning publicity coup last time round.

Is the Obama administration militarism based on getting American imperialism done as quietly as possible while mollifying domestic liberals with leftist social policies?  Hard to know, I suppose.  However, we can know that war with Iran (and indirectly with Russia and China) could have unique international and domestic consequences. Clearly, Russian under Putin is signalling it will respond.  Here are some recent links on  War with Iran:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From Bernie Saunders..."Ending Polluter Welfare"

  • "Fossil fuels are subsidized at nearly 6 times the rate of renewable energy. From 2002 to 2008, the US Government gave the mature fossil fuel industry over $72 billion in subsidies, while investments in the emerging renewable industry totaled $12.2 billion. 
  • The fossil fuel energy industry does not need taxpayer subsidies. In 2011, the Big Five oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits. During the first quarter of 2012, the Big Five oil companies earned a combined $33.5 billion, or $368 million per day
  • Unlike renewable energy incentives which periodically expire and require Congress to approve extensions, the fossil fuel industry has dozens of subsidies permanently engrained in the tax code from decades of successful lobbying. In 2011, the oil, gas, and coal industries spent a combined $167 million on lobbying the federal government. "
And check out Bernie Saunders' list of coal deductions and subsidies: