Posted by: quiscus | April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

1.  “Marching for Anzac in the 51st State
The street where I grew up in Sydney was a war street. There were long silences, then the smashing of glass and screams. Pete and I played Aussies-and-Japs. Pete’s father was an object of awe. He weighed barely 100 pounds and shook with malaria and was frequently demented. He would sit in a cane chair, drunk, scything the air with the sword of a Japanese soldier he said he had killed. There was a woman who flitted from room to room, always red-eyed and fearful, it seemed. She was like many mothers in the street. Wally, another mate, lived in a house that was always dark because the black-out blinds had not been taken down. His father had been “killed by the Japs.” Once, when Wally’s mother came home, she found he had got a gun, put it in his mouth and blown his head off. It was a war street.

The insidious, merciless, life-long damage of war taught many of us to recognize the difference between the empty symbolism of war and the actual meaning. “Does it matter?” mocked the poet Siegfried Sassoon at the end of an earlier slaughter, in 1918, as he grieved his younger brother’s death at Gallipoli. I grew up with that name, Gallipoli. The British assault on the Turkish Dardanelles was one of the essential crimes of imperial war, causing the death and wounding of 392,000 on all sides. The Australian and New Zealander losses were among the highest, proportionally; and 25 April, 1915 was declared not just a day of remembrance but the “birth of the Australian nation.” This was based on the belief of Edwardian militarists that true men were made in war, an absurdity about to be celebrated yet again.

Anzac Day has been appropriated by those who manipulate the cult of state violence – militarism – in order to satisfy a psychopathic deference to foreign power and to pursue its aims. And the “legend” has no room for the only war fought on Australian soil: that of the Aboriginal people against the European invaders. In a land of cenotaphs, not one stands for them.”

2.  Let me be clear – the wars are crimes and need to end now.  This is a different thing to watch out for:

The Danger of Ending the American Empire

To “bring the boys back home”, to close our foreign bases, end all the wars and allow the uncountable multitudes of uniformed servicemen and mercenaries to re-enter our borders as an armed compact body is an extremely dangerous proposition and one to be avoided at all hazards.

Our military must be demobilized overseas, it must not be allowed to re-enter US territory as an armed body. Honed by years of waging (and losing) colonial guerilla wars, having extensive experience in the minute regulation of and heavy handed operations against civilians, the US military would be primed for any outrage, and for those who believe that it would not turn its weapons against US citizens I suggest a library visit to dissuade you of such delusion. How can we believe they would uphold their sworn oath to defend liberty when for decades now they have blithely, and with not so much as a blush of shame, launched war after war without any declaration from Congress allowing them to do so?

We are far past the point of having a small army of citizen soldiers who feel a connection with their fellow Americans, we long ago turned to an all-volunteer military, one which now has formed its own caste, separate from civilian society. We disregarded the warning of Montesquieu that “it would be extremely dangerous to make the profession of arms a particular state, distinct from that of civil functions” (Montesquieu, I,V,19) as “the army will ever despise a Senate, and respect their own officers; they will naturally slight the orders sent them by a body of men whom they look upon as cowards; and therefore unworthy to command them.” (Hyneman, I, 37) And in those words we find, at last, a danger shared by both the workers and the political class of America.

For while the grandees in DC and the state capitals have absolutely nothing to fear from the American people themselves, they do have something greatly to fear from a large standing army recently returned from an overseas empire (now consigned to the dustbin of history), facing unemployment, angry at being “stabbed in the back” and fuming over the useless deaths of so many of their friends. Of course the “People” will be no help in defending a Congress besieged by an angry American army.

It was noted by Alexander Hamilton of those long impressed with the “glory” of their nation’s military, “it is very difficult to prevail upon a people under such impressions, to make a bold, or effectual resistance, to usurpations, supported by the military power”. The commander who turns an American army against Congress will find the road to DC wide open and undefended, in advancing to slay the beast of DC the military would finally experience the “cakewalk” it could never find overseas.

The Russian poetess Zinaida Gippius wrote in 1917 “nobody wants the Bolsheviks, but nobody is prepared to fight for (the Provisional Government) either”. We lie in the same bed, currently. The American people, inculcated to a blind worship of those “who serve” and long habituated to constant encroachments to our liberty (all excused by the necessity of “security” and military exigencies), this combined with the extreme unpopularity of the denizens of Congress makes me ask; who among us would be willing to risk it all in defense of the likes of Pelosi, Clinton, Obama, McCain, and Boehner?

Certainly not me. As for the answer “why” I leave you with a line from Freeman’s Journal (a Philadelphia newspaper) dated December 12, 1787. The writer noted “when people are once slaves, it is a matter of little concern to them who are their masters.” So come to think of it, a “temporary” military junta led by the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the current mess led by Obama & Pals…why should I care?

Whether one faction or the other is sitting on the Federal throne or swinging from a noose, it’s all the same to me.”

3.  “The True Cost of the Atomic Myth: “Uranium Dollars” and the Economics of Nuclear Power

The atom scientists of the 1930s- names we still know today, like Fermi and Einstein, argued about those subjects too. But being scientists, they were not especially concerned by what it would all cost. Only later, with the founding of the UN’s Atomic Energy Agency in 1956 – which is essentially a promotional agency for nuclear power – were the key subjects of entrepreneurial effort and the obligatorily linked need for government subsidies brought into the fray.

Setting aside this sheer madness, for the last 10 years and especially since 2005, nuclear mercantilism has rapidly grown as the effective and real mover. This extends far beyond simple market and sales maximising strategy, and the strategy is likely coordinated at high level among the key members of the NSG, who number less than 15 OECD countries.

Our fuel is uranium and this fuel is very far from rivalling world oil or other hydrocarbons for global turnover, with an approximate value around 13 billion USD in 2010, but as the nuclear industry likes to crow, uranium fuel costs are only around five percent of total operating costs. Uranium supplies are short, and import dependence for most major consumer countries is high. As a result, uranium fuel costs could likely grow, simply due to the permanent supply shortfall of this fuel for reactors and the heavy import dependence of nearly all major users in Europe, Japan and South Korea – incidentally making a mockery of the energy security claim used to sell nuclear energy.

Accessing uranium supplies, mainly in Africa and Central Asia is already a bargaining chip for nuclear financial packaging and uranium supply features among the underlying movers in Chinese rivalry with OECD country interests in Africa, and Russian versus Western rivalry in Muslim Central Asia. Creating the debt-and-dependency hook, and recycling uranium dollars is therefore part and parcel of the nuclear sales drive in starkly unprepared low income countries – in the case of Sudan (Darfur is home to one of the three largest deposits of high-purity uranium in the world), a long-term civil war and in many others exposed to serious civil strife.


Until the Fukushima disaster threw a cloud over the so-called Nuclear Renaissance announced by the nuclear industry, this prefigured as many as 100 – 125 reactor sales in emerging and developing countries outside China and India in the 2010-2020 period. Excluding uranium supplies, fuel services (waste and reprocessing), electric power infrastructures and other parts of the nuclear value chain this pre-Fukushima sales target implied a global 10-year turnover value of at least 700 billion USD.”

4.  “Beltway austerity values
To see what the Post Editors are really all about — and they are worth examining because they are the ultimate establishment mouthpiece — consider which military cuts they are affirmatively advocating (beyond the elimination of weapons systems which the Pentagon says it does not want):

Defense savings beyond those already achieved by Mr. Gates are certainly possible and even needed — though by and large they lie in areas that Congress has been unwilling to touch. As we pointed out in a recent editorial, military health care now costs as much as the war in Iraq, in part because military families — including working-age retirees — pay one-tenth as much for their health plans as do civilian federal workers.

Think about how rancid that is.  The Post Editors and their corporate bosses are people who have used their influence as much as possible not only to start multiple wars but to vehemently argue against their end.  Those wars have not, of course, been fought by Post Editors; that’s why they’ve so blithely cheered them on and demanded their continuation:  because it isn’t their lives endangered by them.  Their pro-war advocacy has instead imposed extreme burdens on a tiny portion of the population — members of the military and their families — and yet when it comes time to cut the military budget, they refuse to consider limiting the number of new wars they might want to start.  Instead, they demand that the people they send off to fight their wars and their families be forced to pay more for their health care.

That’s a perfect microcosm of the deficit and austerity debate taking place in Washington.  It consists of privileged elites demanding that ordinary, financially strapped Americans sacrifice what little is left of their First World living standard, while the policies that benefit those elites and which they love (especially the ones that explode the deficit and debt in whose name the “sacrifice” is justified) continue indefinitely (though even the much maligned Simpson-Bowles report called for relatively significant reductions in military spending).  Shielding the military budget from meaningful cuts on the ground that America must fight still more wars — while calling for reductions in the health care benefits of those who fight them — is about as warped a value system as one can find.

That’s well into Marie Antoinette territory, but so is most of our economic policy.  This is the rotted mindset — abolition of all societal opportunity and mass prosperity accompanied by endless militarization and a gorging oligarchical class — that lies at the heart of most instances of imperial collapse.  The Post Editors are worth scrutinizing not because they’re aberrations, but because they’re so representative of our political and media class.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: