FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.

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"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war." - - Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia - Popularized by Bob Marley in the song War

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The right to tell the Government to kiss my Ass Important Message for All Law Enforcers Freedom; what it is, and what it is not. Unadulterated freedom is an unattainable goal; that is what the founders of America knew and understood, which was their impetus behind the documents that established our great nation. They also knew that one of the primary driving forces in human nature is the unconscious desire to be truly free. This meant to them that mankind if totally left completely unrestricted would pursue all things in life without any awareness or acknowledgement of the consequences of his/her own actions leaving only the individual conscience if they had one as a control on behavior. This would not bode well in the development of a great society. Yet the founders of America chose to allow men/women as much liberty as could be, with minimum impact on the freedom or liberties of others

Sunday, September 24, 2017

War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism


War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism


Tomahawk Land Attack Missile launched toward Iraq, 2003 | WikiCommonsThere is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out

The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.
I remember John Hersey’s novel, The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. President Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be much like the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine impotent.

The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations — the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — and were forced to withdraw.

Even the “victories” of great military powers turn out to be elusive. Presumably, after attacking and invading Afghanistan, the president was able to declare that the Taliban were defeated. But more than four years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country.

The two most powerful nations after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, with all their military might, have not been able to control events in countries that they considered to be in their sphere of influence — the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the United States in Latin America.
Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a “war on terrorism” is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.
The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in Lebanon) is called accidental, whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (on 9/11, by Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.

This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a “suspected terrorist” is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is “inevitable.”
So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.

For instance, more than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by “accident.” Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the 20th century and they do not equal that awful toll.

If reacting to terrorist attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism, including the terrorism of war. And if military retaliation for terrorism is not only immoral but futile, then political leaders, however cold-blooded their calculations, may have to reconsider their policies.


War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism


Tomahawk Land Attack Missile launched toward Iraq, 2003 | WikiCommonsThere is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out

The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.
I remember John Hersey’s novel, The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. President Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be much like the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine impotent.

The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations — the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — and were forced to withdraw.

Even the “victories” of great military powers turn out to be elusive. Presumably, after attacking and invading Afghanistan, the president was able to declare that the Taliban were defeated. But more than four years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country.

The two most powerful nations after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, with all their military might, have not been able to control events in countries that they considered to be in their sphere of influence — the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the United States in Latin America.
Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a “war on terrorism” is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.
The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in Lebanon) is called accidental, whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (on 9/11, by Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.

This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a “suspected terrorist” is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is “inevitable.”
So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.

For instance, more than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by “accident.” Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the 20th century and they do not equal that awful toll.

If reacting to terrorist attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism, including the terrorism of war. And if military retaliation for terrorism is not only immoral but futile, then political leaders, however cold-blooded their calculations, may have to reconsider their policies.


What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire


What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire


With an occupying army waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with military bases and corporate bullying in every part of the world, there is hardly a question any more of the existence of an American Empire. Indeed, the once fervent denials have turned into a boastful, unashamed embrace of the idea.
However, the very idea that the United States was an empire did not occur to me until after I finished my work as a bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in the Second World War, and came home. Even as I began to have second thoughts about the purity of the “Good War,” even after being horrified by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even after rethinking my own bombing of towns in Europe, I still did not put all that together in the context of an American “Empire.”

I was conscious, like everyone, of the British Empire and the other imperial powers of Europe, but the United States was not seen in the same way. When, after the war, I went to college under the G.I. Bill of Rights and took courses in U.S. history, I usually found a chapter in the history texts called “The Age of Imperialism.” It invariably referred to the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the conquest of the Philippines that followed. It seemed that American imperialism lasted only a relatively few years. There was no overarching view of U.S. expansion that might lead to the idea of a more far-ranging empire — or period of “imperialism.”

I recall the classroom map (labeled “Western Expansion”) which presented the march across the continent as a natural, almost biological phenomenon. That huge acquisition of land called “The Louisiana Purchase” hinted at nothing but vacant land acquired. There was no sense that this territory had been occupied by hundreds of Indian tribes which would have to be annihilated or forced from their homes — what we now call “ethnic cleansing” — so that whites could settle the land, and later railroads could crisscross it, presaging “civilization” and its brutal discontents.

Neither the discussions of “Jacksonian democracy” in history courses, nor the popular book by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Jackson, told me about the “Trail of Tears,” the deadly forced march of “the five civilized tribes” westward from Georgia and Alabama across the Mississippi, leaving 4,000 dead in their wake. No treatment of the Civil War mentioned the Sand Creek massacre of hundreds of Indian villagers in Colorado just as “emancipation” was proclaimed for black people by Lincoln’s administration.

That classroom map also had a section to the south and west labeled “Mexican Cession.” This was a handy euphemism for the aggressive war against Mexico in 1846 in which the United States seized half of that country’s land, giving us California and the great Southwest. The term “Manifest Destiny,” used at that time, soon of course became more universal. On the eve of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Washington Post saw beyond Cuba: “We are face to face with a strange destiny. The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle.”

The violent march across the continent, and even the invasion of Cuba, appeared to be within a natural sphere of U.S. interest. After all, hadn’t the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 declared the Western Hemisphere to be under our protection? But with hardly a pause after Cuba came the invasion of the Philippines, halfway around the world. The word “imperialism” now seemed a fitting one for U.S. actions. Indeed, that long, cruel war — treated quickly and superficially in the history books — gave rise to an Anti-Imperialist League, in which William James and Mark Twain were leading figures. But this was not something I learned in university either.

The “Sole Superpower” Comes into View

Reading outside the classroom, however, I began to fit the pieces of history into a larger mosaic. What at first had seemed like a purely passive foreign policy in the decade leading up to the First World War now appeared as a succession of violent interventions: the seizure of the Panama Canal zone from Colombia, a naval bombardment of the Mexican coast, the dispatch of the Marines to almost every country in Central America, occupying armies sent to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As the much-decorated General Smedley Butler, who participated in many of those interventions, wrote later: “I was an errand boy for Wall Street.”

At the very time I was learning this history — the years after World War II — the United States was becoming not just another imperial power, but the world’s leading superpower. Determined to maintain and expand its monopoly on nuclear weapons, it was taking over remote islands in the Pacific, forcing the inhabitants to leave, and turning the islands into deadly playgrounds for more atomic tests.

In his memoir, No Place to Hide, Dr. David Bradley, who monitored radiation in those tests, described what was left behind as the testing teams went home: “[R]adioactivity, contamination, the wrecked island of Bikini and its sad-eyed patient exiles.” The tests in the Pacific were followed, over the years, by more tests in the deserts of Utah and Nevada, more than a thousand tests in all.

When the war in Korea began in 1950, I was still studying history as a graduate student at Columbia University. Nothing in my classes prepared me to understand American policy in Asia. But I was reading I. F. Stone’s Weekly. Stone was among the very few journalists who questioned the official justification for sending an army to Korea. It seemed clear to me then that it was not the invasion of South Korea by the North that prompted U.S. intervention, but the desire of the United States to have a firm foothold on the continent of Asia, especially now that the Communists were in power in China.

Years later, as the covert intervention in Vietnam grew into a massive and brutal military operation, the imperial designs of the United States became yet clearer to me. In 1967, I wrote a little book called Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal. By that time I was heavily involved in the movement against the war.

When I read the hundreds of pages of the Pentagon Papers entrusted to me by Daniel Ellsberg, what jumped out at me were the secret memos from the National Security Council. Explaining the U.S. interest in Southeast Asia, they spoke bluntly of the country’s motives as a quest for “tin, rubber, oil.”
Neither the desertions of soldiers in the Mexican War, nor the draft riots of the Civil War, not the anti-imperialist groups at the turn of the century, nor the strong opposition to World War I — indeed no antiwar movement in the history of the nation reached the scale of the opposition to the war in Vietnam. At least part of that opposition rested on an understanding that more than Vietnam was at stake, that the brutal war in that tiny country was part of a grander imperial design.

Various interventions following the U.S. defeat in Vietnam seemed to reflect the desperate need of the still-reigning superpower — even after the fall of its powerful rival, the Soviet Union — to establish its dominance everywhere. Hence the invasion of Grenada in 1982, the bombing assault on Panama in 1989, the first Gulf war of 1991. Was George Bush Sr. heartsick over Saddam Hussein’s seizure of Kuwait, or was he using that event as an opportunity to move U.S. power firmly into the coveted oil region of the Middle East? Given the history of the United States, given its obsession with Middle Eastern oil dating from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1945 deal with King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and the CIA’s overthrow of the democratic Mossadeq government in Iran in 1953, it is not hard to decide that question.

Justifying Empire

The ruthless attacks of September 11th (as the official 9/11 Commission acknowledged) derived from fierce hatred of U.S. expansion in the Middle East and elsewhere. Even before that event, the Defense Department acknowledged, according to Chalmers Johnson’s book The Sorrows of Empire, the existence of more than 700 American military bases outside of the United States.

Since that date, with the initiation of a “war on terrorism,” many more bases have been established or expanded: in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, the desert of Qatar, the Gulf of Oman, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else a compliant nation could be bribed or coerced.

When I was bombing cities in Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and France in the Second World War, the moral justification was so simple and clear as to be beyond discussion: We were saving the world from the evil of fascism. I was therefore startled to hear from a gunner on another crew — what we had in common was that we both read books — that he considered this “an imperialist war.” Both sides, he said, were motivated by ambitions of control and conquest. We argued without resolving the issue. Ironically, tragically, not long after our discussion, this fellow was shot down and killed on a mission.

In wars, there is always a difference between the motives of the soldiers and the motives of the political leaders who send them into battle. My motive, like that of so many, was innocent of imperial ambition. It was to help defeat fascism and create a more decent world, free of aggression, militarism, and racism.

The motive of the U.S. establishment, understood by the aerial gunner I knew, was of a different nature. It was described early in 1941 by Henry Luce, multi-millionaire owner of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, as the coming of “The American Century.” The time had arrived, he said, for the United States “to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit, and by such means as we see fit.”

We can hardly ask for a more candid, blunter declaration of imperial design. It has been echoed in recent years by the intellectual handmaidens of the Bush administration, but with assurances that the motive of this “influence” is benign, that the “purposes” — whether in Luce’s formulation or more recent ones — are noble, that this is an “imperialism lite.” As George Bush said in his second inaugural address: “Spreading liberty around the world is the calling of our time.” The New York Times called that speech “striking for its idealism.”

The American Empire has always been a bipartisan project — Democrats and Republicans have taken turns extending it, extolling it, justifying it. President Woodrow Wilson told graduates of the Naval Academy in 1914 (the year he bombarded Mexico) that the U.S. used “her navy and her army… as the instruments of civilization, not as the instruments of aggression.” And Bill Clinton, in 1992, told West Point graduates: “The values you learned here will be able to spread throughout the country and throughout the world.”

For the people of the United States, and indeed for people all over the world, those claims sooner or later are revealed to be false. The rhetoric, often persuasive on first hearing, soon becomes overwhelmed by horrors that can no longer be concealed: the bloody corpses of Iraq, the torn limbs of American GIs, the millions of families driven from their homes — in the Middle East and in the Mississippi Delta.

Have not the justifications for empire, embedded in our culture, assaulting our good sense — that war is necessary for security, that expansion is fundamental to civilization — begun to lose their hold on our minds? Have we reached a point in history where we are ready to embrace a new way of living in the world, expanding not our military power, but our humanity?


What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire


With an occupying army waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with military bases and corporate bullying in every part of the world, there is hardly a question any more of the existence of an American Empire. Indeed, the once fervent denials have turned into a boastful, unashamed embrace of the idea.
However, the very idea that the United States was an empire did not occur to me until after I finished my work as a bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in the Second World War, and came home. Even as I began to have second thoughts about the purity of the “Good War,” even after being horrified by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even after rethinking my own bombing of towns in Europe, I still did not put all that together in the context of an American “Empire.”

I was conscious, like everyone, of the British Empire and the other imperial powers of Europe, but the United States was not seen in the same way. When, after the war, I went to college under the G.I. Bill of Rights and took courses in U.S. history, I usually found a chapter in the history texts called “The Age of Imperialism.” It invariably referred to the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the conquest of the Philippines that followed. It seemed that American imperialism lasted only a relatively few years. There was no overarching view of U.S. expansion that might lead to the idea of a more far-ranging empire — or period of “imperialism.”

I recall the classroom map (labeled “Western Expansion”) which presented the march across the continent as a natural, almost biological phenomenon. That huge acquisition of land called “The Louisiana Purchase” hinted at nothing but vacant land acquired. There was no sense that this territory had been occupied by hundreds of Indian tribes which would have to be annihilated or forced from their homes — what we now call “ethnic cleansing” — so that whites could settle the land, and later railroads could crisscross it, presaging “civilization” and its brutal discontents.

Neither the discussions of “Jacksonian democracy” in history courses, nor the popular book by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Jackson, told me about the “Trail of Tears,” the deadly forced march of “the five civilized tribes” westward from Georgia and Alabama across the Mississippi, leaving 4,000 dead in their wake. No treatment of the Civil War mentioned the Sand Creek massacre of hundreds of Indian villagers in Colorado just as “emancipation” was proclaimed for black people by Lincoln’s administration.

That classroom map also had a section to the south and west labeled “Mexican Cession.” This was a handy euphemism for the aggressive war against Mexico in 1846 in which the United States seized half of that country’s land, giving us California and the great Southwest. The term “Manifest Destiny,” used at that time, soon of course became more universal. On the eve of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Washington Post saw beyond Cuba: “We are face to face with a strange destiny. The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle.”

The violent march across the continent, and even the invasion of Cuba, appeared to be within a natural sphere of U.S. interest. After all, hadn’t the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 declared the Western Hemisphere to be under our protection? But with hardly a pause after Cuba came the invasion of the Philippines, halfway around the world. The word “imperialism” now seemed a fitting one for U.S. actions. Indeed, that long, cruel war — treated quickly and superficially in the history books — gave rise to an Anti-Imperialist League, in which William James and Mark Twain were leading figures. But this was not something I learned in university either.

The “Sole Superpower” Comes into View

Reading outside the classroom, however, I began to fit the pieces of history into a larger mosaic. What at first had seemed like a purely passive foreign policy in the decade leading up to the First World War now appeared as a succession of violent interventions: the seizure of the Panama Canal zone from Colombia, a naval bombardment of the Mexican coast, the dispatch of the Marines to almost every country in Central America, occupying armies sent to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As the much-decorated General Smedley Butler, who participated in many of those interventions, wrote later: “I was an errand boy for Wall Street.”

At the very time I was learning this history — the years after World War II — the United States was becoming not just another imperial power, but the world’s leading superpower. Determined to maintain and expand its monopoly on nuclear weapons, it was taking over remote islands in the Pacific, forcing the inhabitants to leave, and turning the islands into deadly playgrounds for more atomic tests.

In his memoir, No Place to Hide, Dr. David Bradley, who monitored radiation in those tests, described what was left behind as the testing teams went home: “[R]adioactivity, contamination, the wrecked island of Bikini and its sad-eyed patient exiles.” The tests in the Pacific were followed, over the years, by more tests in the deserts of Utah and Nevada, more than a thousand tests in all.

When the war in Korea began in 1950, I was still studying history as a graduate student at Columbia University. Nothing in my classes prepared me to understand American policy in Asia. But I was reading I. F. Stone’s Weekly. Stone was among the very few journalists who questioned the official justification for sending an army to Korea. It seemed clear to me then that it was not the invasion of South Korea by the North that prompted U.S. intervention, but the desire of the United States to have a firm foothold on the continent of Asia, especially now that the Communists were in power in China.

Years later, as the covert intervention in Vietnam grew into a massive and brutal military operation, the imperial designs of the United States became yet clearer to me. In 1967, I wrote a little book called Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal. By that time I was heavily involved in the movement against the war.

When I read the hundreds of pages of the Pentagon Papers entrusted to me by Daniel Ellsberg, what jumped out at me were the secret memos from the National Security Council. Explaining the U.S. interest in Southeast Asia, they spoke bluntly of the country’s motives as a quest for “tin, rubber, oil.”
Neither the desertions of soldiers in the Mexican War, nor the draft riots of the Civil War, not the anti-imperialist groups at the turn of the century, nor the strong opposition to World War I — indeed no antiwar movement in the history of the nation reached the scale of the opposition to the war in Vietnam. At least part of that opposition rested on an understanding that more than Vietnam was at stake, that the brutal war in that tiny country was part of a grander imperial design.

Various interventions following the U.S. defeat in Vietnam seemed to reflect the desperate need of the still-reigning superpower — even after the fall of its powerful rival, the Soviet Union — to establish its dominance everywhere. Hence the invasion of Grenada in 1982, the bombing assault on Panama in 1989, the first Gulf war of 1991. Was George Bush Sr. heartsick over Saddam Hussein’s seizure of Kuwait, or was he using that event as an opportunity to move U.S. power firmly into the coveted oil region of the Middle East? Given the history of the United States, given its obsession with Middle Eastern oil dating from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1945 deal with King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and the CIA’s overthrow of the democratic Mossadeq government in Iran in 1953, it is not hard to decide that question.

Justifying Empire

The ruthless attacks of September 11th (as the official 9/11 Commission acknowledged) derived from fierce hatred of U.S. expansion in the Middle East and elsewhere. Even before that event, the Defense Department acknowledged, according to Chalmers Johnson’s book The Sorrows of Empire, the existence of more than 700 American military bases outside of the United States.

Since that date, with the initiation of a “war on terrorism,” many more bases have been established or expanded: in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, the desert of Qatar, the Gulf of Oman, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else a compliant nation could be bribed or coerced.

When I was bombing cities in Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and France in the Second World War, the moral justification was so simple and clear as to be beyond discussion: We were saving the world from the evil of fascism. I was therefore startled to hear from a gunner on another crew — what we had in common was that we both read books — that he considered this “an imperialist war.” Both sides, he said, were motivated by ambitions of control and conquest. We argued without resolving the issue. Ironically, tragically, not long after our discussion, this fellow was shot down and killed on a mission.

In wars, there is always a difference between the motives of the soldiers and the motives of the political leaders who send them into battle. My motive, like that of so many, was innocent of imperial ambition. It was to help defeat fascism and create a more decent world, free of aggression, militarism, and racism.

The motive of the U.S. establishment, understood by the aerial gunner I knew, was of a different nature. It was described early in 1941 by Henry Luce, multi-millionaire owner of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, as the coming of “The American Century.” The time had arrived, he said, for the United States “to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit, and by such means as we see fit.”

We can hardly ask for a more candid, blunter declaration of imperial design. It has been echoed in recent years by the intellectual handmaidens of the Bush administration, but with assurances that the motive of this “influence” is benign, that the “purposes” — whether in Luce’s formulation or more recent ones — are noble, that this is an “imperialism lite.” As George Bush said in his second inaugural address: “Spreading liberty around the world is the calling of our time.” The New York Times called that speech “striking for its idealism.”

The American Empire has always been a bipartisan project — Democrats and Republicans have taken turns extending it, extolling it, justifying it. President Woodrow Wilson told graduates of the Naval Academy in 1914 (the year he bombarded Mexico) that the U.S. used “her navy and her army… as the instruments of civilization, not as the instruments of aggression.” And Bill Clinton, in 1992, told West Point graduates: “The values you learned here will be able to spread throughout the country and throughout the world.”

For the people of the United States, and indeed for people all over the world, those claims sooner or later are revealed to be false. The rhetoric, often persuasive on first hearing, soon becomes overwhelmed by horrors that can no longer be concealed: the bloody corpses of Iraq, the torn limbs of American GIs, the millions of families driven from their homes — in the Middle East and in the Mississippi Delta.

Have not the justifications for empire, embedded in our culture, assaulting our good sense — that war is necessary for security, that expansion is fundamental to civilization — begun to lose their hold on our minds? Have we reached a point in history where we are ready to embrace a new way of living in the world, expanding not our military power, but our humanity?


Spend the Bailout Money on the Middle Class


Spend the Bailout Money on the Middle Class


It is sad to see both major parties agree to spend $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out huge financial institutions that are notable for two characteristics: incompetence and greed. There is a much better solution to the financial crisis. But it would require discarding what has been conventional wisdom for too long: that government intervention in the economy (“big government”) must be avoided like the plague, because the “free market” can be depended on to guide the economy toward growth and justice. Surely the sight of Wall Street begging for government aid is almost comic in light of its long devotion to a “free market” unregulated by government.

Let’s face a historical truth: we have never had a free market. We have always had government intervention in the economy, and indeed that intervention has been welcomed by the captains of finance and industry. These titans of wealth hypocritically warned against “big government” but only when government threatened to regulate their activities or when it contemplated passing some of the nation’s wealth on to the neediest people. They had no quarrel with big government when it served their needs.

It started way back when the founding fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the Constitution. The year before, they had seen armed rebellions of farmers in western Massachusetts (Shays’s Rebellion), where farms were being seized for nonpayment of taxes. Thousands of farmers surrounded the courthouses and refused to allow their farms to be auctioned off. The founders’ correspondence at this time makes clear their worries about such uprisings getting out of hand. Gen. Henry Knox wrote to George Washington, warning that the ordinary soldier who fought in the Revolution thought that by contributing to the defeat of England he deserved an equal share of the wealth of the country, that “the property of the United States…ought to be the common property of all.”

In framing the Constitution, the founders created “big government” powerful enough to put down the rebellions of farmers, to return escaped slaves to their masters and to put down Indian resistance when settlers moved westward. The first big bailout was the decision of the new government to redeem for full value the almost worthless bonds held by speculators.

From the start, in the first sessions of the first Congress, the government interfered with the free market by establishing tariffs to subsidize manufacturers and by becoming a partner with private banks in establishing a national bank. This role of big government supporting the interests of the business classes has continued all through the nation’s history. Thus, in the nineteenth century the government subsidized canals and the merchant marine. In the decades before and during the Civil War, the government gave away some 100 million acres of land to the railroads, along with considerable loans to keep the railroad interests in business. The 10,000 Chinese and 3,000 Irish who worked on the transcontinental railroad got no free land and no loans, only long hours, little pay, accidents and sickness.

The principle of government helping big business and refusing government largesse to the poor was bipartisan, upheld by Republicans and Democrats. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, vetoed a bill to give $10,000 to Texas farmers to help them buy seed grain during a drought, saying, “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” But that same year, he used the gold surplus to pay wealthy bondholders $28 above the value of each bond–a gift of $5 million.

Cleveland was enunciating the principle of rugged individualism–that we must make our fortunes on our own, without help from the government. In his 1931 Harper’s essay “The Myth of Rugged American Individualism,” historian Charles Beard carefully cataloged fifteen instances of the government intervening in the economy for the benefit of big business. Beard wrote, “For forty years or more there has not been a President, Republican or Democrat, who has not talked against government interference and then supported measures adding more interference to the huge collection already accumulated.”
After World War II the aircraft industry had to be saved by infusions of government money. Then came the oil depletion allowances for the oil companies and the huge bailout for the Chrysler Corporation. In the 1980s the government bailed out the savings and loan industry with hundreds of billions of dollars, and the Cato Institute reports that in 2006 needy corporations like Boeing, Xerox, Motorola, Dow Chemical and General Electric received $92 billion in corporate welfare.

A simple and powerful alternative would be to take that huge sum of money, $700 billion, and give it directly to the people who need it. Let the government declare a moratorium on foreclosures and help homeowners pay off their mortgages. Create a federal jobs program to guarantee work to people who want and need jobs.

We have a historic and successful precedent. The government in the early days of the New Deal put millions of people to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of young people, instead of joining the army to escape poverty, joined the Civil Conservation Corps, which built bridges and highways, cleaned up harbors and rivers. Thousands of artists, musicians and writers were employed by the WPA’s arts programs to paint murals, produce plays, write symphonies. The New Deal (defying the cries of “socialism”) established Social Security, which, along with the GI Bill, became a model for what government could do to help its people.

That can be carried further, with “health security”–free healthcare for all, administered by the government, paid for from our Treasury, bypassing the insurance companies and the other privateers of the health industry. All that will take more than $700 billion. But the money is there: in the $600 billion for the military budget, once we decide we will not be a warmaking nation anymore, and in the bloated bank accounts of the superrich, once we bring them down to ordinary-rich size by taxing vigorously their income and their wealth.

When the cry goes up, whether from Republicans or Democrats, that this must not be done because it is “big government,” the citizens should just laugh. And then agitate and organize on behalf of what the Declaration of Independence promised: that it is the responsibility of government to ensure the equal right of all to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is a golden opportunity for Obama to distance himself cleanly from McCain as well as the fossilized Democratic Party leaders, giving life to his slogan of change and thereby sweeping into office. And if he doesn’t act, it will be up to the people, as it always has been, to raise a shout that will be heard around the world–and compel the politicians to listen.

Spend the Bailout Money on the Middle Class


It is sad to see both major parties agree to spend $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out huge financial institutions that are notable for two characteristics: incompetence and greed. There is a much better solution to the financial crisis. But it would require discarding what has been conventional wisdom for too long: that government intervention in the economy (“big government”) must be avoided like the plague, because the “free market” can be depended on to guide the economy toward growth and justice. Surely the sight of Wall Street begging for government aid is almost comic in light of its long devotion to a “free market” unregulated by government.

Let’s face a historical truth: we have never had a free market. We have always had government intervention in the economy, and indeed that intervention has been welcomed by the captains of finance and industry. These titans of wealth hypocritically warned against “big government” but only when government threatened to regulate their activities or when it contemplated passing some of the nation’s wealth on to the neediest people. They had no quarrel with big government when it served their needs.

It started way back when the founding fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the Constitution. The year before, they had seen armed rebellions of farmers in western Massachusetts (Shays’s Rebellion), where farms were being seized for nonpayment of taxes. Thousands of farmers surrounded the courthouses and refused to allow their farms to be auctioned off. The founders’ correspondence at this time makes clear their worries about such uprisings getting out of hand. Gen. Henry Knox wrote to George Washington, warning that the ordinary soldier who fought in the Revolution thought that by contributing to the defeat of England he deserved an equal share of the wealth of the country, that “the property of the United States…ought to be the common property of all.”

In framing the Constitution, the founders created “big government” powerful enough to put down the rebellions of farmers, to return escaped slaves to their masters and to put down Indian resistance when settlers moved westward. The first big bailout was the decision of the new government to redeem for full value the almost worthless bonds held by speculators.

From the start, in the first sessions of the first Congress, the government interfered with the free market by establishing tariffs to subsidize manufacturers and by becoming a partner with private banks in establishing a national bank. This role of big government supporting the interests of the business classes has continued all through the nation’s history. Thus, in the nineteenth century the government subsidized canals and the merchant marine. In the decades before and during the Civil War, the government gave away some 100 million acres of land to the railroads, along with considerable loans to keep the railroad interests in business. The 10,000 Chinese and 3,000 Irish who worked on the transcontinental railroad got no free land and no loans, only long hours, little pay, accidents and sickness.

The principle of government helping big business and refusing government largesse to the poor was bipartisan, upheld by Republicans and Democrats. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, vetoed a bill to give $10,000 to Texas farmers to help them buy seed grain during a drought, saying, “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” But that same year, he used the gold surplus to pay wealthy bondholders $28 above the value of each bond–a gift of $5 million.

Cleveland was enunciating the principle of rugged individualism–that we must make our fortunes on our own, without help from the government. In his 1931 Harper’s essay “The Myth of Rugged American Individualism,” historian Charles Beard carefully cataloged fifteen instances of the government intervening in the economy for the benefit of big business. Beard wrote, “For forty years or more there has not been a President, Republican or Democrat, who has not talked against government interference and then supported measures adding more interference to the huge collection already accumulated.”
After World War II the aircraft industry had to be saved by infusions of government money. Then came the oil depletion allowances for the oil companies and the huge bailout for the Chrysler Corporation. In the 1980s the government bailed out the savings and loan industry with hundreds of billions of dollars, and the Cato Institute reports that in 2006 needy corporations like Boeing, Xerox, Motorola, Dow Chemical and General Electric received $92 billion in corporate welfare.

A simple and powerful alternative would be to take that huge sum of money, $700 billion, and give it directly to the people who need it. Let the government declare a moratorium on foreclosures and help homeowners pay off their mortgages. Create a federal jobs program to guarantee work to people who want and need jobs.

We have a historic and successful precedent. The government in the early days of the New Deal put millions of people to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of young people, instead of joining the army to escape poverty, joined the Civil Conservation Corps, which built bridges and highways, cleaned up harbors and rivers. Thousands of artists, musicians and writers were employed by the WPA’s arts programs to paint murals, produce plays, write symphonies. The New Deal (defying the cries of “socialism”) established Social Security, which, along with the GI Bill, became a model for what government could do to help its people.

That can be carried further, with “health security”–free healthcare for all, administered by the government, paid for from our Treasury, bypassing the insurance companies and the other privateers of the health industry. All that will take more than $700 billion. But the money is there: in the $600 billion for the military budget, once we decide we will not be a warmaking nation anymore, and in the bloated bank accounts of the superrich, once we bring them down to ordinary-rich size by taxing vigorously their income and their wealth.

When the cry goes up, whether from Republicans or Democrats, that this must not be done because it is “big government,” the citizens should just laugh. And then agitate and organize on behalf of what the Declaration of Independence promised: that it is the responsibility of government to ensure the equal right of all to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is a golden opportunity for Obama to distance himself cleanly from McCain as well as the fossilized Democratic Party leaders, giving life to his slogan of change and thereby sweeping into office. And if he doesn’t act, it will be up to the people, as it always has been, to raise a shout that will be heard around the world–and compel the politicians to listen.


War and Peace Prizes

War and Peace Prizes



 The dismaying gift of the Nobel prize puts Barack Obama on the list of its winners who promised peace but prosecuted war

I was dismayed when I heard Barack Obama was given the Nobel peace prize. A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on two wars would be given a peace prize. Until I recalled that Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger had all received Nobel peace prizes. The Nobel committee is famous for its superficial estimates, won over by rhetoric and by empty gestures, and ignoring blatant violations of world peace.

Yes, Wilson gets credit for the League of Nations – that ineffectual body which did nothing to prevent war. But he had bombarded the Mexican coast, sent troops to occupy Haiti and the Dominican Republic and brought the US into the slaughterhouse of Europe in the first World War, surely among stupid and deadly wars at the top of the list.

Sure, Theodore Roosevelt brokered a peace between Japan and Russia. But he was a lover of war, who participated in the US conquest of Cuba, pretending to liberate it from Spain while fastening US chains on that tiny island. And as president he presided over the bloody war to subjugate the Filipinos, even congratulating a US general who had just massacred 600 helpless villagers in the Phillipines. The Committee did not give the Nobel prize to Mark Twain, who denounced Roosevelt and criticised the war, nor to William James, leader of the anti-imperialist league.

Oh yes, the committee saw fit to give a peace prize to Henry Kissinger, because he signed the final peace agreement ending the war in Vietnam, of which he had been one of the architects. Kissinger, who obsequiously went along with Nixon’s expansion of the war, with the bombing of peasant villages in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger, who matches the definition of a war criminal very accurately, is given a peace prize!

People should be given a peace prize not on the basis of promises they have made – as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises – but on the basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war, and Obama has continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.



War and Peace Prizes



 The dismaying gift of the Nobel prize puts Barack Obama on the list of its winners who promised peace but prosecuted war

I was dismayed when I heard Barack Obama was given the Nobel peace prize. A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on two wars would be given a peace prize. Until I recalled that Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger had all received Nobel peace prizes. The Nobel committee is famous for its superficial estimates, won over by rhetoric and by empty gestures, and ignoring blatant violations of world peace.

Yes, Wilson gets credit for the League of Nations – that ineffectual body which did nothing to prevent war. But he had bombarded the Mexican coast, sent troops to occupy Haiti and the Dominican Republic and brought the US into the slaughterhouse of Europe in the first World War, surely among stupid and deadly wars at the top of the list.

Sure, Theodore Roosevelt brokered a peace between Japan and Russia. But he was a lover of war, who participated in the US conquest of Cuba, pretending to liberate it from Spain while fastening US chains on that tiny island. And as president he presided over the bloody war to subjugate the Filipinos, even congratulating a US general who had just massacred 600 helpless villagers in the Phillipines. The Committee did not give the Nobel prize to Mark Twain, who denounced Roosevelt and criticised the war, nor to William James, leader of the anti-imperialist league.

Oh yes, the committee saw fit to give a peace prize to Henry Kissinger, because he signed the final peace agreement ending the war in Vietnam, of which he had been one of the architects. Kissinger, who obsequiously went along with Nixon’s expansion of the war, with the bombing of peasant villages in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger, who matches the definition of a war criminal very accurately, is given a peace prize!

People should be given a peace prize not on the basis of promises they have made – as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises – but on the basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war, and Obama has continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.





A Marvelous Victory

A Marvelous Victory



In this world of war and injustice, how does a person manage to stay socially engaged, committed to the struggle, and remain healthy without burning out or becoming resigned or cynical?

I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world.

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability. A revolution to overthrow the czar of Russia in that most sluggish of semi feudal empires not only startled the most advanced imperial powers but took Lenin himself by surprise and sent him rushing by train to Petrograd. Who would have predicted the bizarre shifts of World War II-the Nazi-Soviet pact (those embarrassing photos of von Ribbentrop and Molotov shaking hands), and the German army rolling through Russia, apparently invincible, causing colossal casualties, being turned back at the gates of Leningrad, on the western edge of Moscow, in the streets of Stalingrad, followed by the defeat of the German army, with Hitler huddled in his Berlin bunker, waiting to die?

And then the postwar world, taking a shape no one could have drawn in advance: The Chinese Communist revolution, the tumultuous and violent Cultural Revolution, and then another turnabout, with post-Mao China renouncing its most fervently held ideas and institutions, making overtures to the West, cuddling up to capitalist enterprise, perplexing everyone.

No one foresaw the disintegration of the old Western empires happening so quickly after the war, or the odd array of societies that would be created in the newly independent nations, from the benign village socialism of Nyerere’s Tanzania to the madness of Idi Amin’s adjacent Uganda. Spain became an astonishment. I recall a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade telling me that he could not imagine Spanish Fascism being overthrown without another bloody war. But after Franco was gone, a parliamentary democracy came into being, open to Socialists, Communists, anarchists, everyone.
The end of World War II left two superpowers with their respective spheres of influence and control, vying for military and political power. Yet they were unable to control events, even in those parts of the world considered to be their respective spheres of influence. The failure of the Soviet Union to have its way in Afghanistan, its decision to withdraw after almost a decade of ugly intervention, was the most striking evidence that even the possession of thermonuclear  weapons does not guarantee domination over a determined population.


The United States has faced the same reality. It waged a full-scale war in Indochina, conducting the most brutal bombardment of a tiny peninsula in world history, and yet was forced to withdraw. In the headlines every day we see other instances of the failure of the presumably powerful over the presumably powerless, as in Bolivia and Brazil, where grassroots movements of workers and the poor have elected new presidents pledged to fight destructive corporate power.

Looking at this catalogue of huge surprises, it’s clear that the struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience-whether by blacks in Alabama and South Africa, peasants in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Vietnam, or workers and intellectuals in Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union itself. No cold calculation of the balance of power need deter people who are persuaded that their cause is just.
I have tried hard to match my friends in their pessimism about the world (is it just my friends?), but I keep encountering people who, in spite of all the evidence of terrible things happening everywhere, give me hope. Wherever I go, I find such people, especially young people, in whom the future rests. And beyond the handful of activists there seem to be hundreds, thousands, more who are open to unorthodox ideas. But they tend not to know of one  another’s existence, and so, while they persist, they do so with the desperate patience of Sisyphus endlessly pushing the boulder up the mountain. I try to tell each group that they are not alone, and that the very people who are disheartened by the absence of a national movement are themselves proof of the potential for such a movement.

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power that can transform the world.

Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not being foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of competition and cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, it energizes us to act, and raises at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

A Marvelous Victory



In this world of war and injustice, how does a person manage to stay socially engaged, committed to the struggle, and remain healthy without burning out or becoming resigned or cynical?

I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world.

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability. A revolution to overthrow the czar of Russia in that most sluggish of semi feudal empires not only startled the most advanced imperial powers but took Lenin himself by surprise and sent him rushing by train to Petrograd. Who would have predicted the bizarre shifts of World War II-the Nazi-Soviet pact (those embarrassing photos of von Ribbentrop and Molotov shaking hands), and the German army rolling through Russia, apparently invincible, causing colossal casualties, being turned back at the gates of Leningrad, on the western edge of Moscow, in the streets of Stalingrad, followed by the defeat of the German army, with Hitler huddled in his Berlin bunker, waiting to die?

And then the postwar world, taking a shape no one could have drawn in advance: The Chinese Communist revolution, the tumultuous and violent Cultural Revolution, and then another turnabout, with post-Mao China renouncing its most fervently held ideas and institutions, making overtures to the West, cuddling up to capitalist enterprise, perplexing everyone.

No one foresaw the disintegration of the old Western empires happening so quickly after the war, or the odd array of societies that would be created in the newly independent nations, from the benign village socialism of Nyerere’s Tanzania to the madness of Idi Amin’s adjacent Uganda. Spain became an astonishment. I recall a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade telling me that he could not imagine Spanish Fascism being overthrown without another bloody war. But after Franco was gone, a parliamentary democracy came into being, open to Socialists, Communists, anarchists, everyone.
The end of World War II left two superpowers with their respective spheres of influence and control, vying for military and political power. Yet they were unable to control events, even in those parts of the world considered to be their respective spheres of influence. The failure of the Soviet Union to have its way in Afghanistan, its decision to withdraw after almost a decade of ugly intervention, was the most striking evidence that even the possession of thermonuclear  weapons does not guarantee domination over a determined population.


The United States has faced the same reality. It waged a full-scale war in Indochina, conducting the most brutal bombardment of a tiny peninsula in world history, and yet was forced to withdraw. In the headlines every day we see other instances of the failure of the presumably powerful over the presumably powerless, as in Bolivia and Brazil, where grassroots movements of workers and the poor have elected new presidents pledged to fight destructive corporate power.

Looking at this catalogue of huge surprises, it’s clear that the struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience-whether by blacks in Alabama and South Africa, peasants in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Vietnam, or workers and intellectuals in Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union itself. No cold calculation of the balance of power need deter people who are persuaded that their cause is just.
I have tried hard to match my friends in their pessimism about the world (is it just my friends?), but I keep encountering people who, in spite of all the evidence of terrible things happening everywhere, give me hope. Wherever I go, I find such people, especially young people, in whom the future rests. And beyond the handful of activists there seem to be hundreds, thousands, more who are open to unorthodox ideas. But they tend not to know of one  another’s existence, and so, while they persist, they do so with the desperate patience of Sisyphus endlessly pushing the boulder up the mountain. I try to tell each group that they are not alone, and that the very people who are disheartened by the absence of a national movement are themselves proof of the potential for such a movement.

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power that can transform the world.

Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not being foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of competition and cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, it energizes us to act, and raises at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.


If History Is to Be Creative

If History Is to Be Creative




We revisit Howard Zinn’s essay, “If History Is to Be Creative,” published in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, a collection of essays from The Progressive magazine. The following excerpt is a reflection on the role and responsibility of the engaged historian, and is an inspiration for us all to continue the fight for justice. Zinn writes, “If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.”
_______________________________________
By Howard Zinn
America’s future is linked to how we understand our past. For this reason, writing about history, for me, is never a neutral act. By writing, I hope to awaken a great consciousness of racial injustice, sexual bias, class inequality, and national hubris. I also want to bring into the light the unreported resistance of people against the power of the Establishment: the refusal of the indigenous to simply dis­appear; the rebellion of Black people in the antislavery movement and in the more recent movement against racial segregation; the strikes carried out by working people all through American history in attempts to improve their lives.

To omit these acts of resistance is to support the official view that power only rests with those who have the guns and possess the wealth. I write in order to illustrate the creative power of people struggling for a better world. People, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government. Our history runs deep with the stories of people who stand up, speak out, dig in, organize, connect, form networks of resistance, and alter the course of history.

I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements. But to think that history writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.

History can help our struggles, if not conclusively, then at least suggestively. History can disabuse us of the idea that the government’s interests and the people’s interests are the same.

History can tell how often governments have lied to us, how they have ordered whole populations to be massacred, how they deny the existence of the poor, how they have led us to our current historical moment—the “Long War,” the war without end.

True, our government has the power to spend the country's wealth as it wishes. It can send troops anywhere in the world. It can threaten indefinite detention and deportation of 20 million immigrant Americans who do not yet have green cards and have no constitutional rights. In the name of our “national interest,” the government can deploy troops to the U.S.-Mexican border, round up Muslim men from certain countries, secretly listen in on our conversations, open our e-mails, examine our bank transactions, and try to intimidate us into silence.

It is easy to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the real­ization that the war makers have enormous power. But some historical perspective can be useful, because it tells us that at certain points in history governments find that all their power is futile against the power of an aroused citizenry.
There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers and teachers and artists. When the citizens begin to suspect they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power. We have seen this happen in recent decades all around the globe. Awaking one morning to see a million angry people in the streets of the capital city, the leaders of a country begin packing their bags and calling for a helicopter.

This is not fantasy; it is recent history. It’s the history of the Philippines, of Indonesia, of Greece, Portugal and Spain, of Russia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania. Think of Argentina and South Africa and other places where change looked hopeless and then it happened. Remember Somoza in Nicaragua scurrying to his private plane, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos hurriedly assembling their jewels and clothes, the shah of Iran desperately searching for a country that would take him in as he fled the crowds in Tehran, Duvalier in Haiti barely managing to put on his pants to escape the wrath of the Haitian people.

There is a long history of imperial powers gloating over victories, becoming overextended and overconfident, and not realizing that power is not simply a matter of arms and money. Military power has its limits—limits created by human beings, their sense of justice, and capacity to resist. The United States with 10,000 nuclear weapons could not win in Korea or Vietnam, could not stop a revolution in Cuba or Nicaragua. Likewise, the Soviet Union with its nuclear weapons and huge army was forced to retreat from Afghanistan and could not stop the Solidarity movement in Poland.
A country with military power can destroy but it cannot build. Its citizens become uneasy because their fundamen­tal day-to-day needs are sacrificed for military glory while their young are neglected and sent to war. The uneasiness grows and grows and the citizenry gathers in resistance in larger and larger numbers, which become too many to con­trol; one day the top-heavy empire collapses.
Change in public consciousness starts with low-level discontent, at first vague, with no connection being made between the discontent and the policies of the government. And then the dots begin to connect, indignation increases, and people begin to speak out, organize, and act.

Today, all over the county there is growing awareness of the shortage of teachers, nurses, medical care, and affordable housing, as budget cuts take place in every state of the union. A teacher recently wrote a letter to the Boston Globe: “I may be one of 600 Boston teachers who will be laid off as a result of budget shortfalls.” The writer then connects it to the billions spent for bombs, for, as he puts it, “sending innocent Iraqi children to hospitals in Baghdad.

There are millions of people in this country opposed to the current war. When you see a statistic “40 percent of Americans support the war,” that means that 60 percent of Americans do not. I am convinced that the number of people opposed to the war will continue to rise while the number of war supporters will continue to sink. Along the way, artists, musicians, writers, and cultural workers lend a special emotional and spiritual power to the movement for peace and justice. Rebellion often starts as something cultural.

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson—that everything we do matters—is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pam­phlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.
We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.


"If the American people really knew history, if they learned history, if the educational institutions did their job, if the press did its job in giving people historical perspective, then a people would understand. When the President gets up before the microphone, says we must go to war for this or for that, for liberty or for democracy, or because we’re in danger, and so on, if people had some history behind them, they would know how many times presidents have announced to the nation, we must go to war for this reason or that reason."

If History Is to Be Creative




We revisit Howard Zinn’s essay, “If History Is to Be Creative,” published in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, a collection of essays from The Progressive magazine. The following excerpt is a reflection on the role and responsibility of the engaged historian, and is an inspiration for us all to continue the fight for justice. Zinn writes, “If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.”
_______________________________________
By Howard Zinn
America’s future is linked to how we understand our past. For this reason, writing about history, for me, is never a neutral act. By writing, I hope to awaken a great consciousness of racial injustice, sexual bias, class inequality, and national hubris. I also want to bring into the light the unreported resistance of people against the power of the Establishment: the refusal of the indigenous to simply dis­appear; the rebellion of Black people in the antislavery movement and in the more recent movement against racial segregation; the strikes carried out by working people all through American history in attempts to improve their lives.

To omit these acts of resistance is to support the official view that power only rests with those who have the guns and possess the wealth. I write in order to illustrate the creative power of people struggling for a better world. People, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government. Our history runs deep with the stories of people who stand up, speak out, dig in, organize, connect, form networks of resistance, and alter the course of history.

I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements. But to think that history writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.

History can help our struggles, if not conclusively, then at least suggestively. History can disabuse us of the idea that the government’s interests and the people’s interests are the same.

History can tell how often governments have lied to us, how they have ordered whole populations to be massacred, how they deny the existence of the poor, how they have led us to our current historical moment—the “Long War,” the war without end.

True, our government has the power to spend the country's wealth as it wishes. It can send troops anywhere in the world. It can threaten indefinite detention and deportation of 20 million immigrant Americans who do not yet have green cards and have no constitutional rights. In the name of our “national interest,” the government can deploy troops to the U.S.-Mexican border, round up Muslim men from certain countries, secretly listen in on our conversations, open our e-mails, examine our bank transactions, and try to intimidate us into silence.

It is easy to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the real­ization that the war makers have enormous power. But some historical perspective can be useful, because it tells us that at certain points in history governments find that all their power is futile against the power of an aroused citizenry.
There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers and teachers and artists. When the citizens begin to suspect they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power. We have seen this happen in recent decades all around the globe. Awaking one morning to see a million angry people in the streets of the capital city, the leaders of a country begin packing their bags and calling for a helicopter.

This is not fantasy; it is recent history. It’s the history of the Philippines, of Indonesia, of Greece, Portugal and Spain, of Russia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania. Think of Argentina and South Africa and other places where change looked hopeless and then it happened. Remember Somoza in Nicaragua scurrying to his private plane, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos hurriedly assembling their jewels and clothes, the shah of Iran desperately searching for a country that would take him in as he fled the crowds in Tehran, Duvalier in Haiti barely managing to put on his pants to escape the wrath of the Haitian people.

There is a long history of imperial powers gloating over victories, becoming overextended and overconfident, and not realizing that power is not simply a matter of arms and money. Military power has its limits—limits created by human beings, their sense of justice, and capacity to resist. The United States with 10,000 nuclear weapons could not win in Korea or Vietnam, could not stop a revolution in Cuba or Nicaragua. Likewise, the Soviet Union with its nuclear weapons and huge army was forced to retreat from Afghanistan and could not stop the Solidarity movement in Poland.
A country with military power can destroy but it cannot build. Its citizens become uneasy because their fundamen­tal day-to-day needs are sacrificed for military glory while their young are neglected and sent to war. The uneasiness grows and grows and the citizenry gathers in resistance in larger and larger numbers, which become too many to con­trol; one day the top-heavy empire collapses.
Change in public consciousness starts with low-level discontent, at first vague, with no connection being made between the discontent and the policies of the government. And then the dots begin to connect, indignation increases, and people begin to speak out, organize, and act.

Today, all over the county there is growing awareness of the shortage of teachers, nurses, medical care, and affordable housing, as budget cuts take place in every state of the union. A teacher recently wrote a letter to the Boston Globe: “I may be one of 600 Boston teachers who will be laid off as a result of budget shortfalls.” The writer then connects it to the billions spent for bombs, for, as he puts it, “sending innocent Iraqi children to hospitals in Baghdad.

There are millions of people in this country opposed to the current war. When you see a statistic “40 percent of Americans support the war,” that means that 60 percent of Americans do not. I am convinced that the number of people opposed to the war will continue to rise while the number of war supporters will continue to sink. Along the way, artists, musicians, writers, and cultural workers lend a special emotional and spiritual power to the movement for peace and justice. Rebellion often starts as something cultural.

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson—that everything we do matters—is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pam­phlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.
We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.


"If the American people really knew history, if they learned history, if the educational institutions did their job, if the press did its job in giving people historical perspective, then a people would understand. When the President gets up before the microphone, says we must go to war for this or for that, for liberty or for democracy, or because we’re in danger, and so on, if people had some history behind them, they would know how many times presidents have announced to the nation, we must go to war for this reason or that reason."


Violence of undermining the family

Why would an adult pressure and promote a teenager to alter his life in an irreversible way?


Violence of undermining the family




Removing a child’s chance to enjoy childhood, the one time in life where there’s no responsibility to be shouldered for the woes of the world, is ever the agenda of the left. Children are targets of indoctrination from the time they enter preschool.

Immediately they are bombarded by climate change theory, making them believe they are accountable for the earth’s mean temperature, and, among other programming, imposed confusion about what was once the simple difference between boys’ and girls’ plumbing.

Childhood is meant to be carefree while parents handle the hard questions and provide for young ones to grow up playing at emulating their wiser elders. Instead they are now surrounded by so-called adults who refuse to take responsibility for their self-centered actions by forcing others, and especially children, to accept their inadvisable choices.

Progressives’ game is to infiltrate the clueless population, infusing them with amoralism to justify their own imprudent, and previously considered anti-social, behavior as the norm. If they aren’t a large enough sector of society to bankroll their own schools—such as islamic madrassas or the communist and socialist youth movements as seen in the Third Reich, People’s Republic of China or, going further afield, pressing poverty-stricken youngsters into murderous child armies in Uganda—they infiltrate Western public education.

As can be seen, this is not a new method but eons old in application. Training up a child, as noted in Proverbs 22:6, can go both ways—raising them to serve what’s morally right and proper that builds social cohesion, or to accept, condone and imitate what unravels the social fabric by warping the weave.

It has gone so far that should the parent be non-compliant with the minority’s reconstruction of cultural tradition that has been force-fed to youngsters, then secular administrative officials take it upon themselves to step in. In 2015, in Oregon, state healthcare usurped parents’ authority, deciding they needn’t be notified if an underage child wishes to undergo sex reassignment procedures. Oregon Health Authority unilaterally determined that a child as young as fifteen is mature enough to make an informed sexual choice that would irreversibly change the course of their whole life.

In Minnesota, a mother lost the first round of a lawsuit against school administrators that assisted her underage son with sex change therapies without parental involvement, let alone permission. They claim that the son was “emancipated” because he was no longer under his father’s roof, not because he had been granted such status by the courts, which is the only acceptable route for emancipating children. In effect, the son was literally a runaway sheltered by a homosexual advocacy group that encouraged him to make life-altering physical changes that lead to more suicides than most every form of clinical depression. It’s called gender dysphoria and is classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

When David Edwards, speaking for the transgender organization Transforming Families said, “Purposefully mis-gendering a transgender person is an act of violence…” he conveniently overlooks how he and his cohorts are purposefully annihilating nuclear families with malice aforethought, to quote a legal phrase.

“To continually do that to your child is not only insensitive but also really harmful,” added Edwards. The real harm, the real violence is indoctrinating impressionable kids going through a period of sexual confusion that accompanies the onslaught of teenage hormones, that they can possibly understand and make a rational decision about bodily transformations (to borrow his group’s intent) that can destroy a young psyche.

Why would an adult pressure and promote a teenager to alter his life in an irreversible way? To justify the life altering decision that he, she, or whatever gender appellation they prefer, has made themselves. The violence implied and applied is by those who are bent on destroying the normal, the average, the genetic sex identity (which is different from sexual identity, i.e. what you ‘feel’) with self-serving aberrant behavior that is anti-family, anti-social and amoral.



Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,
Why would an adult pressure and promote a teenager to alter his life in an irreversible way?


Violence of undermining the family




Removing a child’s chance to enjoy childhood, the one time in life where there’s no responsibility to be shouldered for the woes of the world, is ever the agenda of the left. Children are targets of indoctrination from the time they enter preschool.

Immediately they are bombarded by climate change theory, making them believe they are accountable for the earth’s mean temperature, and, among other programming, imposed confusion about what was once the simple difference between boys’ and girls’ plumbing.

Childhood is meant to be carefree while parents handle the hard questions and provide for young ones to grow up playing at emulating their wiser elders. Instead they are now surrounded by so-called adults who refuse to take responsibility for their self-centered actions by forcing others, and especially children, to accept their inadvisable choices.

Progressives’ game is to infiltrate the clueless population, infusing them with amoralism to justify their own imprudent, and previously considered anti-social, behavior as the norm. If they aren’t a large enough sector of society to bankroll their own schools—such as islamic madrassas or the communist and socialist youth movements as seen in the Third Reich, People’s Republic of China or, going further afield, pressing poverty-stricken youngsters into murderous child armies in Uganda—they infiltrate Western public education.

As can be seen, this is not a new method but eons old in application. Training up a child, as noted in Proverbs 22:6, can go both ways—raising them to serve what’s morally right and proper that builds social cohesion, or to accept, condone and imitate what unravels the social fabric by warping the weave.

It has gone so far that should the parent be non-compliant with the minority’s reconstruction of cultural tradition that has been force-fed to youngsters, then secular administrative officials take it upon themselves to step in. In 2015, in Oregon, state healthcare usurped parents’ authority, deciding they needn’t be notified if an underage child wishes to undergo sex reassignment procedures. Oregon Health Authority unilaterally determined that a child as young as fifteen is mature enough to make an informed sexual choice that would irreversibly change the course of their whole life.

In Minnesota, a mother lost the first round of a lawsuit against school administrators that assisted her underage son with sex change therapies without parental involvement, let alone permission. They claim that the son was “emancipated” because he was no longer under his father’s roof, not because he had been granted such status by the courts, which is the only acceptable route for emancipating children. In effect, the son was literally a runaway sheltered by a homosexual advocacy group that encouraged him to make life-altering physical changes that lead to more suicides than most every form of clinical depression. It’s called gender dysphoria and is classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

When David Edwards, speaking for the transgender organization Transforming Families said, “Purposefully mis-gendering a transgender person is an act of violence…” he conveniently overlooks how he and his cohorts are purposefully annihilating nuclear families with malice aforethought, to quote a legal phrase.

“To continually do that to your child is not only insensitive but also really harmful,” added Edwards. The real harm, the real violence is indoctrinating impressionable kids going through a period of sexual confusion that accompanies the onslaught of teenage hormones, that they can possibly understand and make a rational decision about bodily transformations (to borrow his group’s intent) that can destroy a young psyche.

Why would an adult pressure and promote a teenager to alter his life in an irreversible way? To justify the life altering decision that he, she, or whatever gender appellation they prefer, has made themselves. The violence implied and applied is by those who are bent on destroying the normal, the average, the genetic sex identity (which is different from sexual identity, i.e. what you ‘feel’) with self-serving aberrant behavior that is anti-family, anti-social and amoral.



Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,


Are We Politicians or Citizens?

Are We Politicians or Citizens?


When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them. As I write this, Congress is debating timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. In response to the Bush Administration’s “surge” of troops, and the Republicans’ refusal to limit our occupation, the Democrats are behaving with their customary timidity, proposing withdrawal, but only after a year, or eighteen months. And it seems they expect the anti-war movement to support them.

That was suggested in a recent message from MoveOn, which polled its members on the Democrat proposal, saying that progressives in Congress, “like many of us, don’t think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war.”

Ironically, and shockingly, the same bill appropriates $124 billion in more funds to carry the war. It’s as if, before the Civil War, abolitionists agreed to postpone the emancipation of the slaves for a year, or two years, or five years, and coupled this with an appropriation of funds to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.

When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

Timetables for withdrawal are not only morally reprehensible in the case of a brutal occupation (would you give a thug who invaded your house, smashed everything in sight, and terrorized your children a timetable for withdrawal?) but logically nonsensical. If our troops are preventing civil war, helping people, controlling violence, then why withdraw at all? If they are in fact doing the opposite—provoking civil war, hurting people, perpetuating violence—they should withdraw as quickly as ships and planes can carry them home.

It is four years since the United States invaded Iraq with a ferocious bombardment, with “shock and awe.” That is enough time to decide if the presence of our troops is making the lives of the Iraqis better or worse. The evidence is overwhelming. Since the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, about two million Iraqis have left the country, and an almost equal number are internal refugees, forced out of their homes, seeking shelter elsewhere in the country.

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. But his capture and death have not made the lives of Iraqis better, as the U.S. occupation has created chaos: no clean water, rising rates of hunger, 50 percent unemployment, shortages of food, electricity, and fuel, a rise in child malnutrition and infant deaths. Has the U.S. presence diminished violence? On the contrary, by January 2007 the number of insurgent attacks has increased dramatically to 180 a day.

The response of the Bush Administration to four years of failure is to send more troops. To add more troops matches the definition of fanaticism: If you find you’re going in the wrong direction, redouble your speed. It reminds me of the physician in Europe in the early nineteenth century who decided that bloodletting would cure pneumonia. When that didn’t work, he concluded that not enough blood had been let.

The Congressional Democrats’ proposal is to give more funds to the war, and to set a timetable that will let the bloodletting go on for another year or more. It is necessary, they say, to compromise, and some anti-war people have been willing to go along. However, it is one thing to compromise when you are immediately given part of what you are demanding, if that can then be a springboard for getting more in the future. That is the situation described in the recent movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley, in which the Irish rebels against British rule are given a compromise solution—to have part of Ireland free, as the Irish Free State. In the movie, Irish brother fights against brother over whether to accept this compromise. But at least the acceptance of that compromise, however short of justice, created the Irish Free State. The withdrawal timetable proposed by the Democrats gets nothing tangible, only a promise, and leaves the fulfillment of that promise in the hands of the Bush Administration.

There have been similar dilemmas for the labor movement. Indeed, it is a common occurrence that unions, fighting for a new contract, must decide if they will accept an offer that gives them only part of what they have demanded. It’s always a difficult decision, but in almost all cases, whether the compromise can be considered a victory or a defeat, the workers have been given some thing palpable, improving their condition to some degree. If they were offered only a promise of something in the future, while continuing an unbearable situation in the present, it would not be considered a compromise, but a sellout. A union leader who said, “Take this, it’s the best we can get” (which is what the MoveOn people are saying about the Democrats’ resolution) would be hooted off the platform.

I am reminded of the situation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, when the black delegation from Mississippi asked to be seated, to represent the 40 percent black population of that state. They were offered a “compromise”—two nonvoting seats. “This is the best we can get,” some black leaders said. The Mississippians, led by Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses, turned it down, and thus held on to their fighting spirit, which later brought them what they had asked for. That mantra—“the best we can get”—is a recipe for corruption.

It is not easy, in the corrupting atmosphere of Washington, D.C., to hold on firmly to the truth, to resist the temptation of capitulation that presents itself as compromise. A few manage to do so. I think of Barbara Lee, the one person in the House of Representatives who, in the hysterical atmosphere of the days following 9/11, voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to invade Afghanistan. Today, she is one of the few who refuse to fund the Iraq War, insist on a prompt end to the war, reject the dishonesty of a false compromise.

Except for the rare few, like Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, and John Lewis, our representatives are politicians, and will surrender their integrity, claiming to be “realistic.”
We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth. That, history suggests, is the most realistic thing a citizen can do.

Are We Politicians or Citizens?


When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them. As I write this, Congress is debating timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. In response to the Bush Administration’s “surge” of troops, and the Republicans’ refusal to limit our occupation, the Democrats are behaving with their customary timidity, proposing withdrawal, but only after a year, or eighteen months. And it seems they expect the anti-war movement to support them.

That was suggested in a recent message from MoveOn, which polled its members on the Democrat proposal, saying that progressives in Congress, “like many of us, don’t think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war.”

Ironically, and shockingly, the same bill appropriates $124 billion in more funds to carry the war. It’s as if, before the Civil War, abolitionists agreed to postpone the emancipation of the slaves for a year, or two years, or five years, and coupled this with an appropriation of funds to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.

When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

Timetables for withdrawal are not only morally reprehensible in the case of a brutal occupation (would you give a thug who invaded your house, smashed everything in sight, and terrorized your children a timetable for withdrawal?) but logically nonsensical. If our troops are preventing civil war, helping people, controlling violence, then why withdraw at all? If they are in fact doing the opposite—provoking civil war, hurting people, perpetuating violence—they should withdraw as quickly as ships and planes can carry them home.

It is four years since the United States invaded Iraq with a ferocious bombardment, with “shock and awe.” That is enough time to decide if the presence of our troops is making the lives of the Iraqis better or worse. The evidence is overwhelming. Since the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, about two million Iraqis have left the country, and an almost equal number are internal refugees, forced out of their homes, seeking shelter elsewhere in the country.

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. But his capture and death have not made the lives of Iraqis better, as the U.S. occupation has created chaos: no clean water, rising rates of hunger, 50 percent unemployment, shortages of food, electricity, and fuel, a rise in child malnutrition and infant deaths. Has the U.S. presence diminished violence? On the contrary, by January 2007 the number of insurgent attacks has increased dramatically to 180 a day.

The response of the Bush Administration to four years of failure is to send more troops. To add more troops matches the definition of fanaticism: If you find you’re going in the wrong direction, redouble your speed. It reminds me of the physician in Europe in the early nineteenth century who decided that bloodletting would cure pneumonia. When that didn’t work, he concluded that not enough blood had been let.

The Congressional Democrats’ proposal is to give more funds to the war, and to set a timetable that will let the bloodletting go on for another year or more. It is necessary, they say, to compromise, and some anti-war people have been willing to go along. However, it is one thing to compromise when you are immediately given part of what you are demanding, if that can then be a springboard for getting more in the future. That is the situation described in the recent movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley, in which the Irish rebels against British rule are given a compromise solution—to have part of Ireland free, as the Irish Free State. In the movie, Irish brother fights against brother over whether to accept this compromise. But at least the acceptance of that compromise, however short of justice, created the Irish Free State. The withdrawal timetable proposed by the Democrats gets nothing tangible, only a promise, and leaves the fulfillment of that promise in the hands of the Bush Administration.

There have been similar dilemmas for the labor movement. Indeed, it is a common occurrence that unions, fighting for a new contract, must decide if they will accept an offer that gives them only part of what they have demanded. It’s always a difficult decision, but in almost all cases, whether the compromise can be considered a victory or a defeat, the workers have been given some thing palpable, improving their condition to some degree. If they were offered only a promise of something in the future, while continuing an unbearable situation in the present, it would not be considered a compromise, but a sellout. A union leader who said, “Take this, it’s the best we can get” (which is what the MoveOn people are saying about the Democrats’ resolution) would be hooted off the platform.

I am reminded of the situation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, when the black delegation from Mississippi asked to be seated, to represent the 40 percent black population of that state. They were offered a “compromise”—two nonvoting seats. “This is the best we can get,” some black leaders said. The Mississippians, led by Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses, turned it down, and thus held on to their fighting spirit, which later brought them what they had asked for. That mantra—“the best we can get”—is a recipe for corruption.

It is not easy, in the corrupting atmosphere of Washington, D.C., to hold on firmly to the truth, to resist the temptation of capitulation that presents itself as compromise. A few manage to do so. I think of Barbara Lee, the one person in the House of Representatives who, in the hysterical atmosphere of the days following 9/11, voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to invade Afghanistan. Today, she is one of the few who refuse to fund the Iraq War, insist on a prompt end to the war, reject the dishonesty of a false compromise.

Except for the rare few, like Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, and John Lewis, our representatives are politicians, and will surrender their integrity, claiming to be “realistic.”
We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth. That, history suggests, is the most realistic thing a citizen can do.


How the US Became a Warmonger Police State

How the US Became a Warmonger Police State

Paul Craig Roberts on the transformation.

Professor David Ray Griffin is a tenacious person. He has written a number of carefully researched books that demonstrate the extraordinary shortcomings in the official account of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the subsequent anthrax attack. He has provided the mountains of evidence completely ignored by the US government’s account and the presstitute media.

In his recently published latest book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World , Professor Griffin demonstrates how 9/11 was used by the Zionist Neoconservatives, the Cheney/Bush regime, and the military/security complex with the complicity of Congress and the US media to create Islamophobia among the American public in order to launch wars of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and provinces of Pakistan with Iran in the crosshairs. These wars are based on lies and fabricated “evidence,” on determination to control pipelines and oil flows, on maximizing profits for the military/security corporations in which Cheney has a personal interest, and on extending neoconservative hegemony over the world.

One consequence has been the destruction of US constitutional protections that protect liberty and violations of US and international law such as the laws against torture.

Another consequence has been millions of displaced refugees from Washington’s wars over-running the countries of Europe.



Indeed, Europe faces a “Camp of the Saints” situation, and the US now has a police state in which all citizens are subject to: indefinite detention (imprisonment) on suspicion alone without conviction or evidence presented to a court; assassination on suspicion alone without due process of law; and total violation of privacy, including body cavities, without presentation of a court warrant. American women are now subjected to having their vaginas examined by police in public on the roadside.



The hoax “war on terror” has turned America into a Gestapo state. Not many Americans directly experience the consequences, but they will be denied valid information as the Gestapo American state closes down all dissent on the grounds that it is harmful to national security. People who speak their minds will find that they no longer have First Amendment protection.

Every passing day truth is less and less prevalent in the United States. Democratic control over the government is already nonexistent. Essentially, Americans live in the Fourth Reich which has already budded and is now blossoming.

Wars and their expense will continue to multiply as the military/security complex uses manufactured “threats” to continue the excessive flow of American resources into more weapons to be used in the destruction of more countries.

Professor Griffin provides the details of the story of how the United States ceased to be a free country ruled by law and became instead a threat both to American civil liberty and to life on earth.

In world polls 25% of the respondents recognize the United States as the greatest threat to peace in the world. This is 5 times higher than those who regard North Korea and Iran as threats, much less Venezuela which does not even register. When Trump gave his UN speech he should have said that the United States, controlled as it is by the CIA and military/security complex, is the great threat that the entire world faces, including Americans.

But Trump has betrayed us. He accepted the aggressive militarist neoconservative line that the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us, to no avail, in 1961, 56 years ago, is the hegemonic police power chosen by History to protect the peace of the world.

It must reassure the 7 or 8 countries bombed into the stone age by Washington’s might that their destruction is “protecting the peace of the world

How the US Became a Warmonger Police State

Paul Craig Roberts on the transformation.

Professor David Ray Griffin is a tenacious person. He has written a number of carefully researched books that demonstrate the extraordinary shortcomings in the official account of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the subsequent anthrax attack. He has provided the mountains of evidence completely ignored by the US government’s account and the presstitute media.

In his recently published latest book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World , Professor Griffin demonstrates how 9/11 was used by the Zionist Neoconservatives, the Cheney/Bush regime, and the military/security complex with the complicity of Congress and the US media to create Islamophobia among the American public in order to launch wars of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and provinces of Pakistan with Iran in the crosshairs. These wars are based on lies and fabricated “evidence,” on determination to control pipelines and oil flows, on maximizing profits for the military/security corporations in which Cheney has a personal interest, and on extending neoconservative hegemony over the world.

One consequence has been the destruction of US constitutional protections that protect liberty and violations of US and international law such as the laws against torture.

Another consequence has been millions of displaced refugees from Washington’s wars over-running the countries of Europe.



Indeed, Europe faces a “Camp of the Saints” situation, and the US now has a police state in which all citizens are subject to: indefinite detention (imprisonment) on suspicion alone without conviction or evidence presented to a court; assassination on suspicion alone without due process of law; and total violation of privacy, including body cavities, without presentation of a court warrant. American women are now subjected to having their vaginas examined by police in public on the roadside.



The hoax “war on terror” has turned America into a Gestapo state. Not many Americans directly experience the consequences, but they will be denied valid information as the Gestapo American state closes down all dissent on the grounds that it is harmful to national security. People who speak their minds will find that they no longer have First Amendment protection.

Every passing day truth is less and less prevalent in the United States. Democratic control over the government is already nonexistent. Essentially, Americans live in the Fourth Reich which has already budded and is now blossoming.

Wars and their expense will continue to multiply as the military/security complex uses manufactured “threats” to continue the excessive flow of American resources into more weapons to be used in the destruction of more countries.

Professor Griffin provides the details of the story of how the United States ceased to be a free country ruled by law and became instead a threat both to American civil liberty and to life on earth.

In world polls 25% of the respondents recognize the United States as the greatest threat to peace in the world. This is 5 times higher than those who regard North Korea and Iran as threats, much less Venezuela which does not even register. When Trump gave his UN speech he should have said that the United States, controlled as it is by the CIA and military/security complex, is the great threat that the entire world faces, including Americans.

But Trump has betrayed us. He accepted the aggressive militarist neoconservative line that the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us, to no avail, in 1961, 56 years ago, is the hegemonic police power chosen by History to protect the peace of the world.

It must reassure the 7 or 8 countries bombed into the stone age by Washington’s might that their destruction is “protecting the peace of the world


The Erosion of Empathy

The Erosion of Empathy

By Simon Baron Cohen 

How is it possible to treat a person as a mere object?

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.
"Without empathy democracy would not be possible."
Posted September 23, 2017

The Erosion of Empathy

By Simon Baron Cohen 

How is it possible to treat a person as a mere object?

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.
"Without empathy democracy would not be possible."
Posted September 23, 2017



Thursday, September 21, 2017

War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism

War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism

Tomahawk Land Attack Missile launched toward Iraq, 2003 There is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.

The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.

I remember John Hersey’s novel, The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. President Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be much like the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine impotent.

The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations — the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — and were forced to withdraw.

Even the “victories” of great military powers turn out to be elusive. Presumably, after attacking and invading Afghanistan, the president was able to declare that the Taliban were defeated. But more than four years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country.
The two most powerful nations after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, with all their military might, have not been able to control events in countries that they considered to be in their sphere of influence — the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the United States in Latin America.

Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a “war on terrorism” is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.

The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in Lebanon) is called accidental, whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (on 9/11, by Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.

This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a “suspected terrorist” is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is “inevitable.”

So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.

For instance, more than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by “accident.” Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the 20th century and they do not equal that awful toll.

If reacting to terrorist attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism, including the terrorism of war. And if military retaliation for terrorism is not only immoral but futile, then political leaders, however cold-blooded their calculations, may have to reconsider their policies.


War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism

Tomahawk Land Attack Missile launched toward Iraq, 2003 There is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.

The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.

I remember John Hersey’s novel, The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. President Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be much like the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine impotent.

The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations — the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — and were forced to withdraw.

Even the “victories” of great military powers turn out to be elusive. Presumably, after attacking and invading Afghanistan, the president was able to declare that the Taliban were defeated. But more than four years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country.
The two most powerful nations after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, with all their military might, have not been able to control events in countries that they considered to be in their sphere of influence — the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the United States in Latin America.

Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a “war on terrorism” is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.

The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in Lebanon) is called accidental, whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (on 9/11, by Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.

This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a “suspected terrorist” is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is “inevitable.”

So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.

For instance, more than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by “accident.” Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the 20th century and they do not equal that awful toll.

If reacting to terrorist attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism, including the terrorism of war. And if military retaliation for terrorism is not only immoral but futile, then political leaders, however cold-blooded their calculations, may have to reconsider their policies.




What If You’re Forced To Homeschool?

What If You’re Forced To Homeschool?



Welcome! Could you use some personal help getting prepped for emergencies? Come join me for the Prepping Intensive. Class starts Sept. 3! Click here for complete details. Thanks for visiting!

AVR Forced to Homeschool TitleA new school year is almost here. If your children attend school outside your home, have you ever thought about what would happen if their school was closed for an extended period of time?

The most likely to occur disastrous events don’t have a long duration before order begins to be restored. Natural disasters can be devastating, but most are relatively localized and the response and recovery time is a couple weeks to a month at the longest. Your children might miss some school, but the time is usually made up at the end of the year or possibly by extending the school day.

Think Katrina

But every now and then a major event happens, like Hurricane Katrina, that disrupts entire geographic areas and devastates schools.

Katrina completely destroyed 110 of 126 New Orleans public schools, displacing more than 60,000 students. A year later, the school system was only able to accommodate the return of half the students. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students in the Katrina ravaged regions had to move to other cities to attend school.

Another issue is pandemic. Experts believe that it could take at least 4 to 6 months to prepare a vaccine for distribution during a flu pandemic.

Schools have varying response plans for outbreaks. Some close as soon as an outbreak has been identified. Others will not close until the school itself has a certain percentage of confirmed illnesses. Either way, schools could be closed for months to help reduce transmission rates. Depending on the time of year and how long schools are closed, recommendations could be made to hold all students back until work is made up or promote them all as if they completed the current grade. Neither is a good option.

Homeschooling Your Public School Children

If you find yourself post-disaster with school aged children at home for an extended period of time, you will likely need a way  keep them occupied. You may also want to continue their education so they don’t fall behind.

If they have their school books with them, you can simply progress through each subject as if they were attending school. Have your children read the text, work in workbooks, and take chapter quizzes and tests. If there are no tests, create them by reading through the text yourself.

AVR Forced to Homeschool
Maintain good notes on what the student accomplishes each day and keep a copy of all finished work. This will provide proof that your child has successfully completed missed curriculum and could prevent him from being held back a year. If the students are promoted to the next grade automatically, you will be confident that there won’t be any learning gaps because they did the work.

Online Resources

There are other study options whether your children have their school textbooks or not. Assuming you have power and an internet connection (for example, in a pandemic scenario), there are no limits to the education that can be provided to your kids. You can enroll your children into full time online schools like Freedom Project Education, K12 Online Public Schools  or Connections Academy, Time4Learning, or Easy Peasy.

If you’re looking for specific courses, here are some of our family favorites:

Math, Science, Computing, Test Prep and more: Khan Academy
Science: The Happy Scientist
Writing: Young Writer’s Program, The Inspired Scholar (writing & literature classes that can be taken online)
Spelling and Vocabulary: Spelling City
Current Events: Student News Daily
History: Have Fun with History
Art: Mark Kistler Art Lessons
Multiple Topics: BrainPop

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to teach your children at home using a computer, it will be easy to find the curriculum you need. (These are also great resources for your children to use ANY day!)

Let’s assume though that for whatever reason you won’t have your children’s textbooks at home, you don’t have internet access, and you are looking at weeks to months of educating your child yourself. What should you have in your home to prepare for such a time?

Books, Books, Books!

It’s ideal if every home has a large library anyway, but if you don’t, consider picking up a few books that you know your children will enjoy and keep them stashed away until needed.

Like clothes and food storage, these may need to be “rotated” as your children get older. Most books are fairly inexpensive and easy to pick up here and there as the budget allows. Others can be found at garage sales, library sales, and used book stores for pennies on the dollar.

Ebook readers, such as the Kindle, can store hundreds of books and all it takes to keep them charged is a small solar battery charger. Load up on the classics, of which nearly all are free. Go through reading lists for your child’s age and grade, and begin adding those books as well. One good source of book recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction is Ambleside Online.

Besides “pleasure reading” books, what kind of books should you buy?

A workbook that covers broad topics for the entire grade. You buy and use them throughout the year, save them for use during the summer before buying the next grade’s workbook, or not use them at all and save them for younger children or to sell or donate to others.

Textbooks that cover an entire year of information like the “What your Kindergartner Needs to Know” series. There’s a book for each grade up through sixth and covers math, literature, history, and science.

Encyclopedias have mostly gone by the wayside with the advent of the internet, but nothing beats a full set for concise information on so many topics. One could use nothing but encyclopedias to get a great education. Unfortunately, a new, updated set can cost over $1,000. If your budget can handle that, I would encourage purchasing a set.

For most, that’s too big of an expense. An alternative is buying a variety of “encyclopedic” books for a fraction of the cost. There are thousands of encyclopedic books like these that are available for pre-schoolers through adults (and are likely your best option for find relevant educational books for teens) and it would be impossible to list even a fraction of them here.  Just a few of our favorites include:

8000 Awesome Things You Should Know
DK Encyclopedia of Science
National Geographic Answer Book
Time for Kids Big Book of How
The New Way Things Work
You can also find sets of encyclopedias for sale on eBay, Craigslist, in used bookstores and thrift stores.

Don’t Forget School Supplies!

Whether preparing to educate on- or offline, remember to have a stock of school supplies on hand. This would include pencils and sharpeners, erasers, crayons, lined and unlined paper, folders, a calculator, ruler and protractor, dictionary. We keep a large stock of the consumable items at home because we know we will always need them, in good times or bad. If you are able, double up one what you would normally buy for your children when you go school supply shopping this year. Send half to school and keep the other half at home.

You’ll find these supplies at their very lowest prices in the weeks leading up to the first days of school.

Worst Case Scenarios

While some people maintain moderate levels of preparedness to protect themselves during common or expected disasters, some also prepare for “The Big One,” whether that means EMP, zombies, total economic collapse, super-volcanoes or polar shifts.  Even if these events are extremely unlikely, there is always the potential that something catastrophic could happen which would keep kids out of school for years. For those that prepare for this possibility, there are two main schools of thought.

First, the idea is that if things got that bad, there would be little need to learn higher level math and science or to analyze literature. Everyone will be too busy trying to survive to have time for such things. If this is your philosophy, then you should consider stocking up on survival type books. Knot making, gardening, how to repairs, trapping and hunting, identifying edible plants, and so on. The “education” that your kids will receive will be geared directly toward their survival.

At the opposite end of that spectrum are those that believe it is imperative to maintain the higher level of learning even in survival situations. Eventually, the knowledge needs to be passed on in order to make a strong recovery. After a TEOTWAWKI event, the world will need individuals who understand electronics and power, who have a strong grasp of mathematical and scientific principles, and even a comprehensive understanding of history and literature. Filling your shelves with textbooks and specific topic manuals should be your goal if this is your belief.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ll fall somewhere in between and work on building a library that helps cover both ideas.

Head to your local book store or peruse Amazon for more ideas. The wider the variety of books you have available, the more options you will have when you find yourself forced into homeschooling.

Are there any subjects you specifically plan to teach your kids if you were forced to homeschool? Subjects you would set aside? Do you have resources you would like to share with others? Post your ideas in the comments.

What If You’re Forced To Homeschool?



Welcome! Could you use some personal help getting prepped for emergencies? Come join me for the Prepping Intensive. Class starts Sept. 3! Click here for complete details. Thanks for visiting!

AVR Forced to Homeschool TitleA new school year is almost here. If your children attend school outside your home, have you ever thought about what would happen if their school was closed for an extended period of time?

The most likely to occur disastrous events don’t have a long duration before order begins to be restored. Natural disasters can be devastating, but most are relatively localized and the response and recovery time is a couple weeks to a month at the longest. Your children might miss some school, but the time is usually made up at the end of the year or possibly by extending the school day.

Think Katrina

But every now and then a major event happens, like Hurricane Katrina, that disrupts entire geographic areas and devastates schools.

Katrina completely destroyed 110 of 126 New Orleans public schools, displacing more than 60,000 students. A year later, the school system was only able to accommodate the return of half the students. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students in the Katrina ravaged regions had to move to other cities to attend school.

Another issue is pandemic. Experts believe that it could take at least 4 to 6 months to prepare a vaccine for distribution during a flu pandemic.

Schools have varying response plans for outbreaks. Some close as soon as an outbreak has been identified. Others will not close until the school itself has a certain percentage of confirmed illnesses. Either way, schools could be closed for months to help reduce transmission rates. Depending on the time of year and how long schools are closed, recommendations could be made to hold all students back until work is made up or promote them all as if they completed the current grade. Neither is a good option.

Homeschooling Your Public School Children

If you find yourself post-disaster with school aged children at home for an extended period of time, you will likely need a way  keep them occupied. You may also want to continue their education so they don’t fall behind.

If they have their school books with them, you can simply progress through each subject as if they were attending school. Have your children read the text, work in workbooks, and take chapter quizzes and tests. If there are no tests, create them by reading through the text yourself.

AVR Forced to Homeschool
Maintain good notes on what the student accomplishes each day and keep a copy of all finished work. This will provide proof that your child has successfully completed missed curriculum and could prevent him from being held back a year. If the students are promoted to the next grade automatically, you will be confident that there won’t be any learning gaps because they did the work.

Online Resources

There are other study options whether your children have their school textbooks or not. Assuming you have power and an internet connection (for example, in a pandemic scenario), there are no limits to the education that can be provided to your kids. You can enroll your children into full time online schools like Freedom Project Education, K12 Online Public Schools  or Connections Academy, Time4Learning, or Easy Peasy.

If you’re looking for specific courses, here are some of our family favorites:

Math, Science, Computing, Test Prep and more: Khan Academy
Science: The Happy Scientist
Writing: Young Writer’s Program, The Inspired Scholar (writing & literature classes that can be taken online)
Spelling and Vocabulary: Spelling City
Current Events: Student News Daily
History: Have Fun with History
Art: Mark Kistler Art Lessons
Multiple Topics: BrainPop

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to teach your children at home using a computer, it will be easy to find the curriculum you need. (These are also great resources for your children to use ANY day!)

Let’s assume though that for whatever reason you won’t have your children’s textbooks at home, you don’t have internet access, and you are looking at weeks to months of educating your child yourself. What should you have in your home to prepare for such a time?

Books, Books, Books!

It’s ideal if every home has a large library anyway, but if you don’t, consider picking up a few books that you know your children will enjoy and keep them stashed away until needed.

Like clothes and food storage, these may need to be “rotated” as your children get older. Most books are fairly inexpensive and easy to pick up here and there as the budget allows. Others can be found at garage sales, library sales, and used book stores for pennies on the dollar.

Ebook readers, such as the Kindle, can store hundreds of books and all it takes to keep them charged is a small solar battery charger. Load up on the classics, of which nearly all are free. Go through reading lists for your child’s age and grade, and begin adding those books as well. One good source of book recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction is Ambleside Online.

Besides “pleasure reading” books, what kind of books should you buy?

A workbook that covers broad topics for the entire grade. You buy and use them throughout the year, save them for use during the summer before buying the next grade’s workbook, or not use them at all and save them for younger children or to sell or donate to others.

Textbooks that cover an entire year of information like the “What your Kindergartner Needs to Know” series. There’s a book for each grade up through sixth and covers math, literature, history, and science.

Encyclopedias have mostly gone by the wayside with the advent of the internet, but nothing beats a full set for concise information on so many topics. One could use nothing but encyclopedias to get a great education. Unfortunately, a new, updated set can cost over $1,000. If your budget can handle that, I would encourage purchasing a set.

For most, that’s too big of an expense. An alternative is buying a variety of “encyclopedic” books for a fraction of the cost. There are thousands of encyclopedic books like these that are available for pre-schoolers through adults (and are likely your best option for find relevant educational books for teens) and it would be impossible to list even a fraction of them here.  Just a few of our favorites include:

8000 Awesome Things You Should Know
DK Encyclopedia of Science
National Geographic Answer Book
Time for Kids Big Book of How
The New Way Things Work
You can also find sets of encyclopedias for sale on eBay, Craigslist, in used bookstores and thrift stores.

Don’t Forget School Supplies!

Whether preparing to educate on- or offline, remember to have a stock of school supplies on hand. This would include pencils and sharpeners, erasers, crayons, lined and unlined paper, folders, a calculator, ruler and protractor, dictionary. We keep a large stock of the consumable items at home because we know we will always need them, in good times or bad. If you are able, double up one what you would normally buy for your children when you go school supply shopping this year. Send half to school and keep the other half at home.

You’ll find these supplies at their very lowest prices in the weeks leading up to the first days of school.

Worst Case Scenarios

While some people maintain moderate levels of preparedness to protect themselves during common or expected disasters, some also prepare for “The Big One,” whether that means EMP, zombies, total economic collapse, super-volcanoes or polar shifts.  Even if these events are extremely unlikely, there is always the potential that something catastrophic could happen which would keep kids out of school for years. For those that prepare for this possibility, there are two main schools of thought.

First, the idea is that if things got that bad, there would be little need to learn higher level math and science or to analyze literature. Everyone will be too busy trying to survive to have time for such things. If this is your philosophy, then you should consider stocking up on survival type books. Knot making, gardening, how to repairs, trapping and hunting, identifying edible plants, and so on. The “education” that your kids will receive will be geared directly toward their survival.

At the opposite end of that spectrum are those that believe it is imperative to maintain the higher level of learning even in survival situations. Eventually, the knowledge needs to be passed on in order to make a strong recovery. After a TEOTWAWKI event, the world will need individuals who understand electronics and power, who have a strong grasp of mathematical and scientific principles, and even a comprehensive understanding of history and literature. Filling your shelves with textbooks and specific topic manuals should be your goal if this is your belief.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ll fall somewhere in between and work on building a library that helps cover both ideas.

Head to your local book store or peruse Amazon for more ideas. The wider the variety of books you have available, the more options you will have when you find yourself forced into homeschooling.

Are there any subjects you specifically plan to teach your kids if you were forced to homeschool? Subjects you would set aside? Do you have resources you would like to share with others? Post your ideas in the comments.



The Biggest Lie

The Biggest Lie
The CIA and NSA produce national security and need secrecy



The Biggest Lie: The CIA and NSA Produce National Security and Need Secrecy

What we really need for 9/11 truth is to open the files of the CIA, NSA and FBI, and we need it for truth in many other realms too. The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have a petition that seeks a new and truly independent investigation. This is a step in the right direction. We need far more than that. We need to penetrate the secrecy of the CIA and NSA on a timely and complete basis, not 50 years after the fact and only partially. Their files have to be opened. We cannot let the government continue to hide behind “national security”.

This blog began as a comment on theories of the Trade Towers collapses, but it grew into a criticism of secret government hiding behind the term “national security”. I sympathize with the petition for a new investigation of 9/11, but I want to see a far more radical process, the dissolution of the CIA and the NSA. The call for opening their files and exposing their activities is part of that process. Edward Snowden’s work is a major step in that process as is the work of a number of others whose desire to expose the evils of the CIA and NSA has led them to personal sacrifices and risks.

My scientific approach is (a) devise and adopt a simple theory first to rationalize the known observations, (b) consider the anomalies if any, (c) reconsider the initial theory and revise if need be, or else live with the unexplained anomalies. I follow Occam’s Razor and Kuhn in this respect. My mind prefers simplicity. I prefer to understand the basic facts first, leaving details and anomalies to later consideration.

What are “anomalies”? They are observations we do not understand or that seem to contradict our understanding of basic facts through our initial theory. If the anomalies are large enough, we have to revise the theory or even abandon it and devise an entirely different theory.


The Trade Towers collapsed. What caused this? There are two leading theories: the crash theory and the demolition theory. The crash theory says that the airplanes that crashed into the towers were the cause. This rationalizes the largest known facts, which are that the two planes did crash into the towers and did cause destructive fires because they were loaded with large amounts of jet fuel. Also, the fires burned for 102 minutes and about 60 minutes in the North and South towers, respectively. This weakened steel girders, ergo a collapse eventually occurred. This theory is simple but powerful. The towers were standing, Planes crashed into them. They eventually collapsed. Ergo, the planes crashing into the towers caused their collapse. As a supplemental fact, the manner of construction of the towers was not as strong as in earlier skyscrapers.

The alternative theory, the demolition theory, is that the two planes and the resulting fires didn’t cause the collapse. There is no reason to formulate this theory unless there are anomalies. These are many and varied, including claims of nanothermite, the appearance of the collapses, witness evidence of explosions, temperatures not being high enough, etc., but these anomalies are all contested. That is, for every claim of an anomaly, there are arguments by reputable people who contest the claims. Without venturing into this very large thicket, this means that the impetus arising from anomalies for any alternative theory, including the demolition theory, is not strong enough to overturn the crash theory.

There’s no necessity to delve into consideration of the anomalies specifically because the demolition theory has major problems of its own. If the airplane crashes didn’t cause the towers to collapse, then what did? The demolition theory answers: Explosives that had been planted in them earlier. This theory is not at all simple. It raises unanswered questions of its own.

In order for explosives to be the explanation, a number of persons would have had to organize the project and plant them. That’s a major, major project. People have to buy explosives, transport them to the site, find places to place them, and so on. This would have to be done either during construction or later. Both would be difficult to conceal. Who did this and why? How did they do this and keep it secret? This would be very difficult to keep secret, to say the least. Is there independent evidence that this planting and demolition of explosives occurred? Have two witnesses come forward and reliably confirmed that explosives were planted and then detonated? There is no such evidence.

The demolition theory attempts to point out and then rationalize anomalies, but it has no substantial evidence coming from outside. This theory finds no confirmation from processes that would have had to occur prior to the crashes. This theory also has a burden of explaining the relation if any between the crashes and the subsequent explosions that it proposes brought the buildings down. Whereas we know that the crashes were an external event and a likely cause and we know a lot about the people and processes they were involved in before the crashes, the demolition theory tells us nothing we can be sure of regarding its prior processes, regarded as an external event.

What does the demolition theory entail? Does it say that the crashes were part of a larger false flag scheme? Where’s the external evidence of that? That has to lead to the CIA and to its knowledge of some of the hijackers and to its not sharing information with the FBI. This is the kind of external evidence that can help build a case for the demolition theory. However, this is not strong enough and there is not enough of such evidence. All over the world, we constantly encounter terrorist attacks in which the authorities knew the people involved beforehand, had been warned about them, or even had arrested them at some point. The CIA-FBI behavior in this case looks like one more of such rather frequent failures of government bureaucracies and agencies to coordinate with one another or even to act efficiently by themselves.

I repeat: What we really need for 9/11 truth is to open the files of the CIA, NSA and FBI.

The largest objections to what I’m arguing are that I’m overlooking or downplaying the anomalies. These are physical matters listed on the site of the architects and engineers for 9/11 truth. These anomalies persuade this group to propose the demolition theory. There is some room for reasonable people to differ. No theory is going to explain everything.

The demolition theory is a theory of mass murder by people other than the terrorists who crashed the planes. We do not need this theory of the Trade Towers collapse in order to tear off our blindfolds and observe clearly the existing mass murders perpetrated by our own U.S. government. These murders are not secret if we look for them, but our government does everything in its power to obscure its crimes and present them as its virtues and its duties.

We need to open the government’s files, especially the files of the shadow government that is led by the CIA and the NSA. We need to see for ourselves their evil, their lies, their false ideas, their true aims, their cupidity, their stupidity, their cleverness, their ignorance, their knowledge, their control over the government, and their grasping for power. Understanding why the Trade Towers collapsed is important. It’s important to understand the deeper causes of why 2,996 people died in the terrorist attacks on that day and more than 6,000 were wounded. It’s important to understand the causes of the mass murders caused by the U.S. government that run backwards for decades and are still running now in real time; and for that understanding, we must end the secrecy that cloaks our shadow government and its major institutions, the CIA and the NSA.

They hide behind “national security” and the claim that without them and their secrecy, without their unconstitutional tyranny, we are nationally insecure. That is the BIGGEST LIE. We must reject that lie.
The Biggest Lie
The CIA and NSA produce national security and need secrecy



The Biggest Lie: The CIA and NSA Produce National Security and Need Secrecy

What we really need for 9/11 truth is to open the files of the CIA, NSA and FBI, and we need it for truth in many other realms too. The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have a petition that seeks a new and truly independent investigation. This is a step in the right direction. We need far more than that. We need to penetrate the secrecy of the CIA and NSA on a timely and complete basis, not 50 years after the fact and only partially. Their files have to be opened. We cannot let the government continue to hide behind “national security”.

This blog began as a comment on theories of the Trade Towers collapses, but it grew into a criticism of secret government hiding behind the term “national security”. I sympathize with the petition for a new investigation of 9/11, but I want to see a far more radical process, the dissolution of the CIA and the NSA. The call for opening their files and exposing their activities is part of that process. Edward Snowden’s work is a major step in that process as is the work of a number of others whose desire to expose the evils of the CIA and NSA has led them to personal sacrifices and risks.

My scientific approach is (a) devise and adopt a simple theory first to rationalize the known observations, (b) consider the anomalies if any, (c) reconsider the initial theory and revise if need be, or else live with the unexplained anomalies. I follow Occam’s Razor and Kuhn in this respect. My mind prefers simplicity. I prefer to understand the basic facts first, leaving details and anomalies to later consideration.

What are “anomalies”? They are observations we do not understand or that seem to contradict our understanding of basic facts through our initial theory. If the anomalies are large enough, we have to revise the theory or even abandon it and devise an entirely different theory.


The Trade Towers collapsed. What caused this? There are two leading theories: the crash theory and the demolition theory. The crash theory says that the airplanes that crashed into the towers were the cause. This rationalizes the largest known facts, which are that the two planes did crash into the towers and did cause destructive fires because they were loaded with large amounts of jet fuel. Also, the fires burned for 102 minutes and about 60 minutes in the North and South towers, respectively. This weakened steel girders, ergo a collapse eventually occurred. This theory is simple but powerful. The towers were standing, Planes crashed into them. They eventually collapsed. Ergo, the planes crashing into the towers caused their collapse. As a supplemental fact, the manner of construction of the towers was not as strong as in earlier skyscrapers.

The alternative theory, the demolition theory, is that the two planes and the resulting fires didn’t cause the collapse. There is no reason to formulate this theory unless there are anomalies. These are many and varied, including claims of nanothermite, the appearance of the collapses, witness evidence of explosions, temperatures not being high enough, etc., but these anomalies are all contested. That is, for every claim of an anomaly, there are arguments by reputable people who contest the claims. Without venturing into this very large thicket, this means that the impetus arising from anomalies for any alternative theory, including the demolition theory, is not strong enough to overturn the crash theory.

There’s no necessity to delve into consideration of the anomalies specifically because the demolition theory has major problems of its own. If the airplane crashes didn’t cause the towers to collapse, then what did? The demolition theory answers: Explosives that had been planted in them earlier. This theory is not at all simple. It raises unanswered questions of its own.

In order for explosives to be the explanation, a number of persons would have had to organize the project and plant them. That’s a major, major project. People have to buy explosives, transport them to the site, find places to place them, and so on. This would have to be done either during construction or later. Both would be difficult to conceal. Who did this and why? How did they do this and keep it secret? This would be very difficult to keep secret, to say the least. Is there independent evidence that this planting and demolition of explosives occurred? Have two witnesses come forward and reliably confirmed that explosives were planted and then detonated? There is no such evidence.

The demolition theory attempts to point out and then rationalize anomalies, but it has no substantial evidence coming from outside. This theory finds no confirmation from processes that would have had to occur prior to the crashes. This theory also has a burden of explaining the relation if any between the crashes and the subsequent explosions that it proposes brought the buildings down. Whereas we know that the crashes were an external event and a likely cause and we know a lot about the people and processes they were involved in before the crashes, the demolition theory tells us nothing we can be sure of regarding its prior processes, regarded as an external event.

What does the demolition theory entail? Does it say that the crashes were part of a larger false flag scheme? Where’s the external evidence of that? That has to lead to the CIA and to its knowledge of some of the hijackers and to its not sharing information with the FBI. This is the kind of external evidence that can help build a case for the demolition theory. However, this is not strong enough and there is not enough of such evidence. All over the world, we constantly encounter terrorist attacks in which the authorities knew the people involved beforehand, had been warned about them, or even had arrested them at some point. The CIA-FBI behavior in this case looks like one more of such rather frequent failures of government bureaucracies and agencies to coordinate with one another or even to act efficiently by themselves.

I repeat: What we really need for 9/11 truth is to open the files of the CIA, NSA and FBI.

The largest objections to what I’m arguing are that I’m overlooking or downplaying the anomalies. These are physical matters listed on the site of the architects and engineers for 9/11 truth. These anomalies persuade this group to propose the demolition theory. There is some room for reasonable people to differ. No theory is going to explain everything.

The demolition theory is a theory of mass murder by people other than the terrorists who crashed the planes. We do not need this theory of the Trade Towers collapse in order to tear off our blindfolds and observe clearly the existing mass murders perpetrated by our own U.S. government. These murders are not secret if we look for them, but our government does everything in its power to obscure its crimes and present them as its virtues and its duties.

We need to open the government’s files, especially the files of the shadow government that is led by the CIA and the NSA. We need to see for ourselves their evil, their lies, their false ideas, their true aims, their cupidity, their stupidity, their cleverness, their ignorance, their knowledge, their control over the government, and their grasping for power. Understanding why the Trade Towers collapsed is important. It’s important to understand the deeper causes of why 2,996 people died in the terrorist attacks on that day and more than 6,000 were wounded. It’s important to understand the causes of the mass murders caused by the U.S. government that run backwards for decades and are still running now in real time; and for that understanding, we must end the secrecy that cloaks our shadow government and its major institutions, the CIA and the NSA.

They hide behind “national security” and the claim that without them and their secrecy, without their unconstitutional tyranny, we are nationally insecure. That is the BIGGEST LIE. We must reject that lie.


The Scam Known as Social Security Trust Funds

The Scam Known as Social Security Trust Funds


A couple reports by the Congressional Research Service...
"Maintaining financial balance after trust fund insolvency would require substantial reductions in Social Security benefits, substantial increases in income, or some combination of the two. The trustees project that following insolvency of the combined funds in 2034, Congress could restore balance by reducing scheduled benefits by about 23%; the required reduction would grow gradually to 27% by 2091. Alternatively, Congress could raise the Social Security payroll tax rate from 12.4% to 16.0% following insolvency in 2034, then gradually increase it to 16.9% by 2091."
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33514.pdf
Social Security: The Trust Funds
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33028.pdf
https://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=1&ThreadID=244306#244307
There is no trust fund. There is only a pile of IOU's issued by the government.
Social Security is now running a deficit. So, the Social Security Administration cashes in some of these IOU's to send money to recipients.
This is known as "'looting the trust fund." That is silly. There is no fund to be looted.
This has always been true. John Attarian explains.
Much of the public is convinced that a perfidious Congress is rifling a “trust fund” where our Social Security taxes are “held in trust” to pay future benefits, that this is why Social Security is headed for trouble, and that all Congress has to do to fix Social Security is put this stolen money back. These beliefs crop up perennially in letters to editors.
In July 1998, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, director of the Americans Discuss Social Security project, told the Senate Special Committee on Aging that this alleged raiding of the trust fund to finance other spending is “the real focus of the public’s concern.” Her poll found that 79 percent of respondents believe that this is one reason why Social Security might experience financial crisis, and 45 percent believe it is the main reason. (Just 26 percent answered, correctly, that the main reason is that the elderly population is growing faster than the number of workers financing the program.)3 Obstacle to Reform 
This mentality is a serious obstacle to Social Security reform. If a looted trust fund is the problem, why bother overhauling Social Security? Just make Congress return the money.
Yet this popular belief is utterly mistaken. There is no trust fund, and Congress is doing nothing wrong. What’s more, the source of this misunderstanding is the government’s own public-relations efforts to create support for Social Security.
The Social Security Act of 1935 created an “Old-Aged Reserve Account” in the Treasury and required that every year an amount determined sufficient to pay that year’s benefits was to be appropriated to it. Any of this money not needed for benefits was to be invested in federal debt (including unmarketable debt issued for this purpose) earning 3 percent interest, or other government-guaranteed debt.
He then provides a documented history of the debate over the trust fund. It was recognized early as a public relations scam. He then concludes.
But as we have seen, there is no trust fund to be looted, only a Treasury account. And Congress is only doing what the Social Security law requires.
In adopting trust language to cure a Social Security public-relations problem 60 years ago, the federal government sowed the seeds of today’s grave misunderstanding over the Trust Fund. This dishonest and misleading language should be abandoned immediately, the better to clear our minds of cant and false issues and enable us to see Social Security as it really is, grasp its real problems, and do what needs to be done.
The two articles that were produced by the Congressional Research Service are simply extensions of the original scam. The varied titles are part of the scam.

We see these figures, which are always arising, about what the government needs to do to make Social Security solvent. They never admit the unpleasant truth, namely, that the present value of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are in excess of $200 trillion. That's not the future unfunded liability. That is the present value of the future unfunded liability. Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University has been complaining about this for a decade. Congress of course pays no attention.

Instead of dealing with the problem, Congress kicks the can down the road. So, every time Congress kicks the can, the net unfunded liability gets larger. This means that the taxes that would have to be raised, as well as the reductions of expenditures that would have to be imposed, both get larger. As they get larger, they become even less likely to be dealt with by Congress. The public will not accept the tax increases. The public will not accept the reduction in expenditures. The public will not let Congress take action. Congress understands this. So, the unfunded liability gets larger. 

This means that the so-called trust fund will melt away over the next few years. The money will have to come out of the general fund. This means that the federal deficit will get larger. The public does not care about that, either. Congress pays no attention.

We can see where this is headed: the great default. It is inevitable. The numbers do not lie.
The trust fund will be depleted soon enough. Then, and only then, will all the talk about losing the trust fund end. Then, statistical reality will begin to intrude. It is being concealed by all the talk about looting the trust fund. Such talk indicates that there is a trust fund, and that there are marketable assets in the trust fund. On the contrary, the IOU's in the trust fund are legally non-marketable.

It is all a gigantic scam. It has always been a scam. Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost. Then the voters will claim that they have been deceived. Yes, they have. They have been deceived because any attempt by any politician to undeceive them always led to the defeat of that politician at the next election. The public wants to be deceived. The public insists that they be deceived. They get what they want.

The voters are not going to like what they get when the trust fund is gone, the federal deficit is astronomical, interest rates are rising, and the government can no longer send out checks to the geezers on schedule.
The government is going to redefine what it takes to become a geezer. It is going to raise the retirement age. It is going to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare. This will be disguised default. The people already in the programs will demand that they be paid. Their votes will count. So, the government will simply provide default by salami slicing. Up, up, up will go the age of eligibility. The government will not cut payments to most oldsters, although it will probably impose some form of wealth test to get paid. But for those hoping to cash in on the scam at the age promised to them, the gravy train is going to leave the station later than they had hoped.

The Scam Known as Social Security Trust Funds


A couple reports by the Congressional Research Service...
"Maintaining financial balance after trust fund insolvency would require substantial reductions in Social Security benefits, substantial increases in income, or some combination of the two. The trustees project that following insolvency of the combined funds in 2034, Congress could restore balance by reducing scheduled benefits by about 23%; the required reduction would grow gradually to 27% by 2091. Alternatively, Congress could raise the Social Security payroll tax rate from 12.4% to 16.0% following insolvency in 2034, then gradually increase it to 16.9% by 2091."
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33514.pdf
Social Security: The Trust Funds
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33028.pdf
https://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=1&ThreadID=244306#244307
There is no trust fund. There is only a pile of IOU's issued by the government.
Social Security is now running a deficit. So, the Social Security Administration cashes in some of these IOU's to send money to recipients.
This is known as "'looting the trust fund." That is silly. There is no fund to be looted.
This has always been true. John Attarian explains.
Much of the public is convinced that a perfidious Congress is rifling a “trust fund” where our Social Security taxes are “held in trust” to pay future benefits, that this is why Social Security is headed for trouble, and that all Congress has to do to fix Social Security is put this stolen money back. These beliefs crop up perennially in letters to editors.
In July 1998, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, director of the Americans Discuss Social Security project, told the Senate Special Committee on Aging that this alleged raiding of the trust fund to finance other spending is “the real focus of the public’s concern.” Her poll found that 79 percent of respondents believe that this is one reason why Social Security might experience financial crisis, and 45 percent believe it is the main reason. (Just 26 percent answered, correctly, that the main reason is that the elderly population is growing faster than the number of workers financing the program.)3 Obstacle to Reform 
This mentality is a serious obstacle to Social Security reform. If a looted trust fund is the problem, why bother overhauling Social Security? Just make Congress return the money.
Yet this popular belief is utterly mistaken. There is no trust fund, and Congress is doing nothing wrong. What’s more, the source of this misunderstanding is the government’s own public-relations efforts to create support for Social Security.
The Social Security Act of 1935 created an “Old-Aged Reserve Account” in the Treasury and required that every year an amount determined sufficient to pay that year’s benefits was to be appropriated to it. Any of this money not needed for benefits was to be invested in federal debt (including unmarketable debt issued for this purpose) earning 3 percent interest, or other government-guaranteed debt.
He then provides a documented history of the debate over the trust fund. It was recognized early as a public relations scam. He then concludes.
But as we have seen, there is no trust fund to be looted, only a Treasury account. And Congress is only doing what the Social Security law requires.
In adopting trust language to cure a Social Security public-relations problem 60 years ago, the federal government sowed the seeds of today’s grave misunderstanding over the Trust Fund. This dishonest and misleading language should be abandoned immediately, the better to clear our minds of cant and false issues and enable us to see Social Security as it really is, grasp its real problems, and do what needs to be done.
The two articles that were produced by the Congressional Research Service are simply extensions of the original scam. The varied titles are part of the scam.

We see these figures, which are always arising, about what the government needs to do to make Social Security solvent. They never admit the unpleasant truth, namely, that the present value of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are in excess of $200 trillion. That's not the future unfunded liability. That is the present value of the future unfunded liability. Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University has been complaining about this for a decade. Congress of course pays no attention.

Instead of dealing with the problem, Congress kicks the can down the road. So, every time Congress kicks the can, the net unfunded liability gets larger. This means that the taxes that would have to be raised, as well as the reductions of expenditures that would have to be imposed, both get larger. As they get larger, they become even less likely to be dealt with by Congress. The public will not accept the tax increases. The public will not accept the reduction in expenditures. The public will not let Congress take action. Congress understands this. So, the unfunded liability gets larger. 

This means that the so-called trust fund will melt away over the next few years. The money will have to come out of the general fund. This means that the federal deficit will get larger. The public does not care about that, either. Congress pays no attention.

We can see where this is headed: the great default. It is inevitable. The numbers do not lie.
The trust fund will be depleted soon enough. Then, and only then, will all the talk about losing the trust fund end. Then, statistical reality will begin to intrude. It is being concealed by all the talk about looting the trust fund. Such talk indicates that there is a trust fund, and that there are marketable assets in the trust fund. On the contrary, the IOU's in the trust fund are legally non-marketable.

It is all a gigantic scam. It has always been a scam. Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost. Then the voters will claim that they have been deceived. Yes, they have. They have been deceived because any attempt by any politician to undeceive them always led to the defeat of that politician at the next election. The public wants to be deceived. The public insists that they be deceived. They get what they want.

The voters are not going to like what they get when the trust fund is gone, the federal deficit is astronomical, interest rates are rising, and the government can no longer send out checks to the geezers on schedule.
The government is going to redefine what it takes to become a geezer. It is going to raise the retirement age. It is going to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare. This will be disguised default. The people already in the programs will demand that they be paid. Their votes will count. So, the government will simply provide default by salami slicing. Up, up, up will go the age of eligibility. The government will not cut payments to most oldsters, although it will probably impose some form of wealth test to get paid. But for those hoping to cash in on the scam at the age promised to them, the gravy train is going to leave the station later than they had hoped.