A historian’s notes on now (written sometime in the future)

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America’s increasing proto-ISIS behavior

Sam Smith – If you step back from the ideological goals of ISIS, it is clear that its way of achieving these goals is what upsets decent folks the most, a presumption that if what you are seeking is considered godly, then you are entitled to achieve it anyway you want.

We are horrified when we read of the ways that ISIS acts on this presumption, but we fail to note how this same concept is increasingly driving public behavior in the United States. Thus it is argued by some:

  • That police may kill, injure or abuse persons at will provided that they do it in the name of law and order.
  • That America may use drones regardless of how many civilians are killed, provided that at least one presumed target is declared a terrorist.
  • That Republicans can pass legislation that results in the death, hunger or homeless of large number of citizens provided that it is done in the name of its political goals.

It is hard to argue effectively against such proto-ISIS behavior when our churches are quiet, the media disinterested, and our universities too busy finding new dollars from students and corporations. We must first understand far better than we do how modern corporatism promoted by morally vapid MBAs, modern law controlled by morally indifferent lawyers, and a media interested only in power and not how it was obtained have helped get us to this spot.

We may not be as bad as ISIS, but we are headed in that direction.

The real World War III: Corporations vs. nationhood

Sam Smith

The recent IMF loans to Ukraine with their dictatorial provisions are one more example of the world’s concealed great war, which is to say the massive invasion of nationhood by corporations. Far more dangerous than any current military threat, corporations have already taken huge territories, legal and financial as well as geographical. Our politicians, many of them covert allies of the corporations, say little of this. And the major media, massive corporations themselves, steadfastly hide the truth from their audience.

For America, not since the Civil War has the sovereignty and constitution of this land come under such assault. In the two previous great wars the damage mostly occurred across two great oceans. Now the victims of the battle are in the heart of our land, witness the deleterious economic effects of NAFTA, the political disaster of Citizens United and the corporate assault on our public schools parading as education reform. Nestles is grabbing our water, our language has been mangled by corporate gobbledygook and even non-profits have adopted the organizational misanthropy of modern corporations.

Without debate, without formal conflict, without even much consciousness, we have absorbed the principles of America’s greediest, adopted their language, and surrendered our constitution and other values to their will. Our last three presidents have been willing participants in undermining our sovereignty, our values and our culture. One might well expect this of a Bush, but Clinton and Obama were just as deeply involved and their liberal constituency hardly said a mumblin’ word.

We may not win this war but we certainly won’t until we admit we are in it and must stand as firmly for American standards and beliefs as we have in great military conflicts.

The Battle of the Economic Bulge – aka TPP – is the struggle presently before us, involving arguably the most disloyal legislation since secession. We still have time to stand up against it. But to do so, we can’t pretend it’s just another measure. We have to recognize the stakes of the battle that we’re in. Our leaders are not surrendering America, they’re just selling it away bit by bit. But the results could well be the same.

Normalizing failure

 Sam Smith The tediously unsuccessful manifestations of American intervention in the Middle East brings to mind the lengthy unwinding of the Vietnam War during which our leaders – like alcoholics avoiding treatment – never admitted that they had made terrible mistakes and never publicly discussed the alternatives. They just ran it all out until they had to give up.

In fact, to this day the establishment and its embedded mainstream media regards those who opposed the deadliest stupid war in American history as nuts or extremists while those who organized the withdrawal years after it should have occurred as our wise leaders.

The same is true today, which is why you are not likely to see any serious critics of our Mid East policy on the Brian Williams show. Truth is not regarded as a matter of accuracy but of timing, as determined by approved sources. It is not a question of if the truth is said, but who says it and when,

Thus it is not surprising that American have such little awareness of how many ways our society is silently failing. After all, who with power is there to tell them?

Here are a few cases in point:

– A drug war that has been failing drastically for over four decades.

– The Iraq and Afghanistan wars – the longest unsuccessful military efforts in American history.

– An economy which, once you move past a few comfortable approved indicators, is still in its worst shape since the Great Depression.

– A level of ethnic conflict we haven’t seen since the days of segregation.

– Police and courts that have moved increasingly towards military rather than constitutional standards of behavior, with America just another occupied country.

– A nation that has silently closed down the First American Republic in favor of a post-constitutional, oligarchic adhocracy whose future remains unpredictable but which history suggests will not return to the better.

– The replacement of votes with money as the primary denominators of elections.

What all these have in common is that our declared ideals have been repeatedly subverted, perverted, and averted to a degree so overwhelming that our leaders, our media and even much of our public consider these stunning failures to be normal.

And as the Germans discovered many decades ago, once you accept the false as normal, anything can happen.