Protecting America’s national interest comes at too high a price for Third World

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“The people of the United States want us to kill all the men, f*** all the women and raise up a new race in these Islands.”*

American soldier serving in the Philippines, commenting on the message filtering down to troops from their superior officers, circa 1900

“I knew enough about the Philippines to have a strong aversion to sending our bright boys over there to fight with a disgraced musket under a polluted flag.”*

Celebrated American author Samuel Clemons, aka Mark Twain, speaking in New York

At the turn of the 19th Century, America defeated Spain in a one-sided war advertised by the government as a fight to liberate the Cuban people from Spanish depredations. Revolutionaries in the Philippines, also tired of being ruled by far-off Spain, joined America’s cause when the U.S. Navy anchored off Manila, a strategic Spanish possession. They did so with the expectation Filipinos would be given the opportunity to govern themselves when the conflict ended, in keeping with stated American values.

Instead, the alliance devolved into a brutal fight over control of the geographically important Archipelago, in which the better trained and equipped U.S. troops were given licence to kill and torture. Honing techniques the American military would later deploy in Viet Nam, soldiers roamed the countryside in search and destroy missions, indiscriminately killing, raping, torturing captives, often to death, and burning entire Filipino villages suspected of harboring the enemy.

The U.S. Colonel who tamed the Tagalog rebels, lionized at home as ‘Fighting’ Frederick Funston, pillaged his way up the military promotional ladder to General and a Medal of Honor. Theodore Roosevelt, the president who never met a war he wouldn’t fight in personally, declared it would take more than 30 generations for the savage islanders to be on a level with Americans and capable of governing themselves. The American public, who swallowed the official bullshit with no aftertaste, viewed the conflict as being in the country’s national interest. The hundreds of thousands of brown people who died, in their polluted view, possessed ‘limited intelligence and ability’. Collateral damage.

The Third World has been enduring America First for a very long time.

During the Philippine adventure, as in Viet Nam, the U.S. did its own dirty work, with Presidents William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt and later Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, suffering the political consequences of the moral outrage heaped on them by progressive thinkers like Samuel Clemons, a staunch anti-imperialist. Similarly, Bush 45 and Barack Obama had to answer for Iraq and Afghanistan.

A hundred-plus years and many wars later, it is hard to ignore the cliché and truism—”History repeats itself.”—when considering the current conflict in Yemen, wrought by the Saudis with the full complicity of America.

But who is answering for the catastrophic despoliation of Yemen being wrought upon millions of brown people by proxy for America’s national interest? Where are the voices of outrage in the midst of the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis?

The Saudi-piloted murder planes, until recently being refueled by the U.S. air force, and the bombs falling from them upon innocent men, women and children, some of them riding in school buses, bear the Made-In-America stamp.

Death and mayhem in the Middle East mean billions of blood dollars for America and jobs for U.S. workers, rationalizes the  Bloviator-in-Chief. Donald Trump’s coverup of the Khashoggi killing told the world all it needs to know. America sanctions murder for the right money.

The Trump administration can’t be blamed for the cause of the conflict, which dates back centuries and is rooted in religious rivalry and intolerance. But there can be no question the U.S. trains and props up a despotic Saudi regime that tortures, decapitates and dismembers its opponents and only this year gave women the right to drive.

It does so, the U.S. government tells its people, because it is in America’s national interest. Saudi Arabia is a bulwark against the nuclear wannabe mullahs of Iran. A kind of the enemy of my enemy is my friend rationale. And because they have oil money to pay for American weapons.

The Senate makes noise about limiting U.S. support for the murderous tyrant known as MSB as people starve in real time. Is anybody questioning the wisdom of providing billions of dollars in sophisticated weaponry to a psychopath who runs a country that spawned the 9/11 attackers? A country that is a friend of terrorist enemies.

If so, I haven’t heard about it on American media, currently obsessed with the top-rated multi-network reality show, Donald Trump’s Blackening of the White House, starring a villain who makes J.R. Ewing look like Mr. Rogers. Collectively, the media virtually ignores the killing of Yemenis as it does all but the most egregious interruptions in regular programming.

It takes a natural disaster of historic proportions in the homeland to shift the focus for a day and get anchors away from Washington and New York desks and out to affected locations in tight black t-shirts or stylish rain gear and boots. Only mass shootings in double digits can avert the media’s focus from its ratings winner. Or the killing of one of its own, especially if it involves a grisly dismemberment and a djellaba-wearing villain the American public can get behind hating.

It is a sure bet that most Americans are only vaguely aware of the country where the Made-In-America humanitarian disaster is unfolding, beyond that it is somewhere far away, maybe the Middle East, or Africa. On the periphery of their personal device-addled brains they know Arabs are fighting each other. They don’t know why or much care.

It doesn’t occur to them that it is not in Yemen’s national interest to have a proxy war on its soil. That Yemenis, though Muslim and brown, are parents and daughters and sons, grandparents and uncles and aunts, who want what Americans want–food, lodging and neighbourhoods where kids can play without fear of foreign made bombs, mines or machine gun bullets.

CNN managed to squeeze in a short segment last week on the Yemen man-made catastrophe at the end of one of its Trump’s Blackening of the White House episodes. After a voice-over warning about disturbing content, cameras took viewers into an emergency facility where doctors were unable to save a tiny famine-ravaged boy, following outside as his grieving Dad left cradling the body to his chest. Another scene showed children with ghastly wounds from bombs, shrapnel and snipers’ bullets.

But the most haunting images were of emaciated kids with sunken eyes, bloated bellies and skeletal arms and legs. Not a ratings winner with viewers slumped in easy chairs and on couches or bar stools, drinking beer and eating burgers, pizza and potato chips, growing more obese on four thousand calories a day.

Millions of people are homeless and hungry and the United States, using the same old ‘national interest’ trope it has relied on for a hundred-plus years, is complicit. That is not fake news or an alternative fact. It is the plain truth.

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the country that elected a world class narcissist to its highest office is a country of navel-gazers bordering on mass narcissism. It is only natural to have a leader like Trump when the electorate has a propagandized view of the havoc wreaked in the name of America’s national interest.

Christian evangelists, so concerned about human life in the womb they will support a soulless, venal liar if he will give them judges that further their cause, care diddly squat about the brown kids their government is helping kill. Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr., well-fed and safe in their gated communities, prefer to rail against the “war on Christmas.”

Putting America First, the oft-stated goal of white supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan, has cost millions of brown, yellow, red and beige people their lives. As I have stated in previous blogs, there can be no argument that the U.S. is a great country, but to be the ‘greatest country’ requires more than self-proclamation. It means learning from past wrongs and making things right in the present. It’s well past time that Americans stop parroting the party line and start walking the righteous walk.

(*Quotes from the Statesman and the Storyteller, an exhaustively researched book on turn of 19th Century America by Mark Zwonitzer.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In and Out Like Flynn

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You have to give Donald Trump his due. He makes great alternative reality TV.

A new storyline every day.

The latest episode involves the man he hand-picked to be his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after denying he contacted the Russian Embassy to talk about the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration before assuming office. He held the post for 24 days, the shortest such tenure in American history.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Deplorables: Forget about the travel ban and insist on extreme vetting at the White House.

Trump knew about the lie on Jan. 26 after officials in the intelligence community informed the White House that intercepted transcripts of the conversation indicated sanctions had been discussed and expressed concern that Flynn might be blackmailed to keep that information quiet.

Trump sat on the information for 18 days as Flynn continued to take part in sensitive security briefings. He refused to comment after a Washington Post story came out confirming Flynn’s lie, saying he hadn’t heard anything about the reports.  As late as Feb. 13 his Propaganda Minister Kellyanne Conway went on television to say Trump had full confidence in Flynn. An hour later, after news surfaced that Trump had long been aware of the lie, his Press Secretary contradicted Conway by saying that Flynn’s status was under evaluation.

A few hours later Flynn submitted his letter of resignation using suspiciously Trump-like hyperbole by predicting that despite his unprecedented departure Trump’s presidency would go down as one of the greatest in U.S. history. The letter acknowledged that he ‘inadvertently misled’ Vice President Mike Pence.

Talk about an alternative fact. Let’s call it a lie.

Wow. Are we still in the first month of the Trump administration?

The Narcissist-in-Chief reacted to the scandal by Tweeting that the real story should be the illegal leaks coming out of government agencies.

Donald Trump prides himself on being a straight shooter who talks to his followers in language they understand, which sometimes means speaking at grade school level.

Let’s lay out what happened in plain language even a ‘bad high school student’ can understand.

Trump chose Flynn despite the misgivings of many people about his temperament and management abilities. He was rewarded for supporting Donald Trump when it looked like he couldn’t win and was on the front lines at Trump rallies shouting “Lock her up.” He was fired from a high-ranking intelligence job in the Obama administration.

He has been at Trump’s side throughout the campaign and during the transition and first 24 days of the Presidency as a trusted advisor. Flynn contacted the Russians and told them not to sweat the sanctions imposed by President Obama for helping Trump win the election. He told the Russians it wouldn’t be long until Trump relaxed the latest sanctions and Vladmir Putin knew he could look good by not retaliating with his own sanctions as every Russian administration had done in past similar circumstances. The next day Trump praised Putin, Tweeting that he was very smart.

When Trump found out Flynn’s calls had been recorded he did nothing, hoping that the embarrassing information could be contained. Flynn accompanied him to Florida for weekend meetings with the Prime Minister of Japan and continued acting as his National Security Adviser right up until the evening of his resignation.

When the story broke, Trump focused on the leaks instead of the lie, ignoring the inescapable real fact that if the Washington Post hadn’t published the information Michael Flynn would still be the National Security Advisor, lies be damned.

This should be shocking stuff for all Americans. How many lines have to point from the White House to the Kremlin before Congress and the Senate put partisan politics aside and stand up for the country by launching an independent investigation.

Let’s put things in point form for those who don’t comprehend things as well as Donald Trump, who told an audience last week that nobody comprehends things better than him. Another whopper that in his alternative world make him the smartest person on the planet.

  • Russia wanted Donald Trump to be President and they interfered in the U.S. election to get him to the White House. Think about that, bad student. Why would Russia want Trump?
  • Trump publicly encouraged the Kremlin to hack the Democrats during his campaign.
  • His campaign chair Paul Manafort was fired when his ties to Russia came into question.
  • The FBI has corroborated certain details from a dossier compiled by a highly credible former British intelligence agent suggesting the Russians may have compromising information on Trump. They are looking deeper.
  • Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, arguably the most important post in the cabinet, was awarded the Medal of Friendship from Russia for oil deals he made while head of Exon Mobile.
  • Trump’s now disgraced pick for the highly sensitive position of National Security Advisor appeared at Putin’s elbow at a dinner celebrating the state controlled television network for which Flynn provided paid commentary.
  • Before assuming the National Security Advisor job, Flynn contacted the Russians to give them the heads up on what to do about Obama’s sanctions for interfering in the election, violating a longstanding U.S. tradition of ‘one President at a time’ and possibly contravening the Logan Act.
  • Trump then praised Putin for not reacting to the sanctions calling him smart.
  • Flynn lied about the call to the Russians the American people, saying sanctions were never mentioned.
  • When given the opportunity to call Putin out for being the murdering, thieving, thug the world knows him to be, Trump told a huge pre-Super Bowl audience that Putin’s tactics were no worse than things the U.S. had done, flabbergasting even Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and outraging hawkish Republicans.
  • Flynn came clean only when he realized the FBI had transcripts of the call, saying he couldn’t remember if sanctions came up.
  • Trump kept Flynn at his side, and sent his top aide Kellyanne Conway to express his full confidence in Flynn 17 days after he was informed of the lie.
  • Flynn resigned hours after the second Washington Post story broke about the Department of Justice informing Trump that Flynn lied.
  • The next day Press Secretary Sean Spicer, doled out a serving of alternative facts, telling assembled media that Trump acted decisively and has been very tough on Russia.

My fellow North Americans, good students and bad, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well… Adults living outside the U.S. are seeing the bigger picture here. Your President is mentally ill. At the very least he may have real business or personal reasons for being soft on Russia. As it was so vociferously communicated at a Town Hall meeting in Utah, make your representatives in Congress and the Senate “Do their jobs.”

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICA THE BLESSED, REDEEM THYSELF

trump-crazy

 

Ladies and gentleman of the U.S. you have put a mentally ill man into a position of power over the world’s most lethal military. You have placed the rest of us in grave danger.

The man you chose out of a population of 300-odd million to lead you through these most dangerous of times is exhibiting classic signs of mental breakdown, perhaps being brought on by the reality of the Presidency that cannot be so easily molded by denials, obfuscations and outright lies.

That said, I can no longer make fun of Donald Trump in print by calling him a Mango Megalomaniac, as that would be making fun of the mentally challenged. I will now refer to him by name, but not title, and officially join the conspiracy to delegitimatize his Presidency.

Donald Trump is a narcissist by the classic definition of the illness. Google the Merriam Webster Medical Definition of Narcissism: a personality disorder characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for attention, lack of empathy for others. Excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful or patronizing attitudes.

Never mind taking Donald Trump’s picture and pasting it beside this definition, these words are his political eulogy. And that is not good for any of us.

During his bizarre stop at CIA headquarters on the day of the record protests, his first official day in office, he appeared a mentally ill man under tremendous stress.

Think about it. There are at least three ongoing investigations with Russian connections. Some ‘400-pound’ computer genius sitting on a bed in a basement somewhere in the vast cyber world is trying to hack into his tax returns or his text messages or post a salacious video that could go viral.

A lot of smart people, motivated by professionalism, patriotism, party politics or revenge, are digging deep into the dirt of his life, including all his ‘alternative’ versions of it.

They are looking for factual facts.

Before taking office he began a public feud with the American intelligence community, going on international television and likening intelligence officials to Nazis in an attempt to delegitimatize future findings and the intelligence community’s credibility going forward.

He then chose to make the CIA his first stop as President. He stood before the cameras, enveloped in the narcissist’s world of ‘alternative facts’, in front of the hallowed wall of fallen American heroes and the people he has so recently denigrated, and claimed there is no better friend of the intelligence community than himself, before launching into a bizarre and disjointed ramble against the media, spouting conspiracy theories about the size of his inauguration crowd.

Are you worried yet people?

A man whose organization and associates are under investigation, not to mention the run of the mill national and world problems that a new President must deal with, is focused on the pettiest of issues, one that equates in the mind of a short-fingered narcissist to saying the first black President is better endowed.

Unable to let the crowd size issue go, he stewed and obsessed, finally sacrificing the credibility of his press secretary by sending him out for his first briefing to read a written list of ‘alternative facts’ that made him appear not only a narcissist’s lackey but a laughing stock.

Unprecedented has become a media cliché. If Donald Trump can unravel over an issue that basically boils down to ‘mine is bigger than yours,’ what unprecedented international actions will he take with Putin pulling his strings and pushing his buttons.

The lack of awareness in a man who made his political bones questioning the legitimacy of Barrack Obama, and is now whingeing and whining about a conspiracy to undermine his own Presidency, shows how far into the world of narcissism he has gone.

Fake intelligence. Fake news. Fake sexual assault claims.

The narcissistic mind whirls within a windstorm of ‘alternative facts’.

Americans? Do you understand what you have done? You ignored all the symptoms and put the planet in jeopardy and now it is up to you to get it undone.

Fortunately, you get a do-over.

As powerful as the office is, there are safeguards through which a mentally ill President can be thwarted. A narcissist cannot operate without the cooperation of Capital Hill. You must put enormous pressure on both parties to put patriotism ahead of politics. You must demand that your representatives in the Senate and House of Congress recognize the dangers associated with this disorder. You must ensure the investigations move forward without interference. Make him release his taxes. Refute his propaganda minister’s ‘alternative facts.’ Make your President live in the real world.

You must be vigilant for your democracy before Donald Trump starts dressing up in a gold-braided hat and military suits with flashy gold epilates and a chest full of medals.