How Hitler Analogies Obscure Understanding of Mideast Power Struggle

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While growing up in America during the 1950’s, one would sometimes encounter supermarket tabloid headlines asserting that Adolph Hitler had not died in May 1945 in the ruins of the Reich’s Chancellery. It was claimed that he had somehow escaped and was living under a false identity somewhere in South America, most probably in Argentina. Eventually, as the Fuhrer’s hundredth birthday came and went in 1989, the stories pretty much vanished from sight though the fascination with Hitler as the ultimate manifestation of pure evil persisted.

The transformation of Hitler into something like a historical metaphor means that his name has been evoked a number of times in the past twenty years, attached to Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddafi, Vladimir Putin and, most recently, to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. The attribution in the cases of Hussein and Gaddafi was essentially to create popular support for otherwise unjustifiable wars initiated by the United States and its European and Middle Eastern allies. Putin, meanwhile, received the sobriquet from an angry Hillary Clinton, who certainly knows a thing or two about both personalizing and overstating a case.

The Hitler designation of the Iranian spiritual leader, which appeared one week ago in a featured profile produced by Tom Friedman of The New York Times, is particularly ironic as it came from the de facto head of state of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whose country has long been regarded as cruel and despotic while also being condemned for its sponsorship of a particularly reactionary form of Islam called wahhabism. Bin Salman described the Iranian leader as “the new Hitler of the Middle East.”

Both Khamenei and bin Salman exercise power without a popular mandate. Khamenei was named to his position in 1989 by a so-called Assembly of Experts, which is a quasi-religious body, and bin Salman was appointed Crown Prince by his father King Salman in June. Both have considerable power over other organs of state, but the comparison largely ends there as Iran does have real elections for an actual parliament with enumerated powers and a president who is also serves as head of government.

Iran is also tolerant of long established religious minorities whereas Saudi Arabia, which is seen by most observers as a theocratic based autocracy that is a personal possession of the House of Saud, is hostile to them. In particular, Riyadh has been actively promoting hatred for Islam’s second largest sect, Shi’ism. The Saudis have also been assisting al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front and ISIS, though denying the considerable evidence demonstrating those links, while Iran and its allies have been destroying those terrorists on the battlefield.

Crown Prince bin Salman has been preaching an anti-corruption drive of late, which includes torture of those arrested. Many observers believe it is actually a bid to shake down some billionaires while also diminishing the power exercised by some members of the extended Royal Family. The Prince has also suggested that he will be promoting a “more open and modern” form of Islam, which might reduce some beheadings and amputations as punishment. But the death penalty will still apply for heresy, which includes the Shi’ism practiced by Iran, Iraq, some Syrians and Hezbollah. Nor will it put an end to the current horrific slaughter by disease and starvation of Yemenis being implemented by Riyadh with some help from its friends in Tel Aviv and Washington.

Liberal journalists like Tom Friedman, who have editorially sided with the Saudis and Israelis against Iran, have largely bought into the anticorruption theme. The Times profile accepts at face value bin Salam’s claims to be a reformer who will somehow reshape both Saudi Arabia and Islam. Friedman, a passionate globalist, largely goes along for the ride because it is the kind of language a poorly-informed progressive hopes to hear from someone who walks around wearing a keffiyeh and sandals. It also serves Friedman’s other regular agenda justifying Israeli threats to go to war against its neighbors, starting with Lebanon. Make no mistake, the offerings of war abroad and repression at home being served up by Riyadh and Tel Aviv are not the birth pangs of a New Middle East. That died a long time ago. It is instead a fight over who will dominate the region, the same as it always is.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.

What If Trump Dismantled the State Department, and It Didn’t Matter?

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Bad news: President Donald Trump may be dismantling the State Department. The good news? No recent president has made much use of those diplomats, so they are unlikely to be missed. And that’s really bad news.

Recent stories try hard to make the case that something new and dark has crept into Foggy Bottom. Writing for the December 2017 Foreign Service Journal, American Foreign Service Association President Barbara Stephenson sounds the alarm on behalf of the organization of American diplomats she heads: “The Foreign Service officer corps at State has lost 60% of its Career Ambassadors since January… The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today.”

Stephenson doesn’t mention a 60 percent loss of Career Ambassadors, the most senior diplomats, means the actual headcount drops from only five people to two (and of the three that did retire, two are married to one another suggesting personal timing played a role. One retiree worked in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, another was seconded to a university, important but outside State’s core diplomatic mission that many feel is “at risk.”) Choosing to count noses “right after Labor Day” is deceptive. Most retirements take place officially on September 30 in line with the ending of the federal fiscal year, so numbers will seem lower in November. Stephenson also leaves out the losses are voluntary retirements, not a taking of heads by the Trump administration. None of the retirees have stated they are leaving in protest.

The number of Career Ministers (another senior rank) in the Foreign Service actually increased from 22 to 26 under Trump. Growth had been delayed by Senate confirmation process, not the White House.

Stephenson is equally alarmed at Trump’s government-wide hiring freeze affecting entry level diplomats, though fails to note the freeze won’t touch a good two-thirds of new hires, as they come from exempt fellowship programs.

Also not mentioned is that intake of new Foreign Service officers is now primarily via existing fellowship programs, as regular intake is frozen. These fellowships recruit heavily from historically black colleges and universities, which means diversity at State should actually increase under Trump. And hiring has been below attrition since the Obama years anyway.

So good news, the dismantling is not happening. Overall, the number of senior diplomats (the top four foreign service ranks) is only 19 people less than at this time in 2016. But the bad news: while a shortage of diplomats is not new under President Trump, the weakening of American diplomacy is real.

For example, no other Western country uses private citizens as ambassadors over career diplomats to anywhere near the extent the United States does, handing out about a third of the posts as political patronage in what has been called a “thinly veiled system of corruption.” In 2012, the Government Accountability Office reported 28 percent of all senior State Department Foreign Service positions were unfilled or filled with below-grade employees.

Relevancy?  State has roughly the same number of Portuguese speakers as it does Russian.

Or take a longer view: in 1950, State had 7,710 diplomats. The pre-Trump total was just 8,052 as State has failed to grow alongside the modern world. The reasons may differ, but modern presidents simply have not expanded their diplomatic corps.

It is the growth of military influence inside government that has weakened State. Months before Barbara Stephenson’s organization worried about Trump dismantling the State Department, it worried about State becoming increasingly irrelevant inside a militarized foreign policy. That worrisome 2017 article cited an almost identical worrisome article from 2007 written at the height of the Iraq War.

In between were numerous reiterations of the same problem, such as in 2012 when State questioned its relevance vis-vis the Pentagon. In Africa, for example, the military’s combatant commanders are putative epicenters for security, diplomatic, humanitarian, and commercial affairs. One reason is range: unlike ambassadors, whose responsibility, budget, and influence is confined to a single country, combatant commanders’ reach is continental. When America’s primary policy tool is so obviously the military, there is less need, use, or value to diplomats. As a foreign leader, who would you turn to get Washington’s ear, or to pry open its purse?

It wasn’t always this way. A thumbnail history of recent United States-North Korean relations shows what foreign policy with active diplomacy, and without it, looks like.

For example, in 2000 there were American diplomats stationed in North Korea, and the Secretary of State herself visited Pyongyang to lay the groundwork for rebuilding relations. These steps took place under the 1994 Agreed Framework, which ended — diplomatically — an 18-month crisis during which North Korea threatened to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Framework froze North Korea’s plutonium production and placed it under international safeguard.

President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 inclusion of North Korea in his “axis of evil” scuttled that last real attempt at direct diplomacy with Pyongyang. Bush demanded regime change, which led to the North going nuclear. Unlikely at the advice of his State Department, Bush also found time to refer to North Korea’s then-leader Kim Jong-il as a pygmy. Bush plunged into the Middle East militarily with little further attention paid to a hostile nuclear state.

With one failed exception, President Obama also avoided substantive negotiations with Pyongyang, while warning the United States “will not hesitate to use our military might.” The Obama administration-driven regime change in Libya after that country abandoned its nuclear ambitions sent a decidedly undiplomatic message to Pyongyang about what disarmament negotiations could lead to. Without a globally thought-through strategy behind it, war is simply chaos. Diplomacy has little role when the White House forgets war is actually politics by other means.

It is clear that President Trump thinks little of his State Department. Morale is low, the budget is under attack, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s reorganization plans have many old hands on edge. But the real question of what is wrong with President Trump’s non-relationship with State is answered by asking what value Presidents Bush and Obama derived from a fully-staffed State Department, either by ignoring its advice, or simply ignoring diplomacy itself. As with the numbers that suggest State is not being dismantled, the point is much of the current hysteria in Washington fails to acknowledge that a lot of what seems new and scary is old and scary. It is a hard point, rationality, to make in a media world where one is otherwise allowed to write declarative sentences that the president is mentally ill and will start WWIII soon in a tweet.

Having the right number of senior diplomats around is of little value if their advice is not sought, or heeded, or if they are not directed toward the important issues of the day. Whether Trump does or does not ultimately reduce staff at State, he will only continue in a clumsy way what his predecessors did by neglecting the institution in regions where it might have mattered most.

Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com.

Massacre In Somalia: US Troops To Blame?

In August ten villagers in Somalia were killed in a military raid conducted by US and Somali troops. According to a recent investigation by the Daily Beast, they were killed by Americans. A subsequent Pentagon/AFRICOM investigation claimed that those killed were all enemy combatants. Who's telling the truth? But more importantly, why are American troops even operating in a country like Somalia. There are no legitimate threats to the US in Somalia. The only threats will come if the US continues to kill civilians, which leads to radicalization of the population. More in today's Liberty Report:

Decades of US Diplomacy Has Failed: Why the US Wants to Shut Down PLO Office

On November 18, just days before the 50th anniversary of United Nations Resolution 242, the US State Department took its first step towards severing its ties with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The timing of this decision could not be any more profound.

The first formal contact between the US and the PLO occurred in mid-December, 1988, when US Ambassador to Tunisia, Robert H. Pelletreau Jr., picked up the phone to call the PLO headquarters in Tunis to schedule formal talks.

Palestinian PLO officials were ‘elated’ by the fact that the US made the first move, as reported by the New York Times.

This assertion, however, is quite misleading. For over a decade prior to that ‘first move’, PLO’s chairman, Yasser Arafat, had to satisfy many US demands in exchange for this low-level political engagement.

The ‘talks’ in Tunisia were prolonged, before the PLO was ready to make its final concession in secret meetings in Oslo, Norway in 1993.

Eventually, a PLO office was opened in Washington DC. It served little purpose, aside from being an intermittent platform to arrange Washington-sponsored talks between Israeli and PLO officials. For Palestinians living in the US, it was almost invisible until the US announced its decision to possibly shut it down.

The American threat followed a United Nations speech last September by Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Chairman of the PLO. From an Israeli-US perspective, Abbas committed a mortal sin for seeking the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take Israel to task regarding its human rights violations in Occupied Palestine.

By doing so, Abbas not only violated a peculiar US law that forbids the PLO from seeking ICC help, but also an unspoken rule that allowed the US to engage the PLO in 1988, where the US served the rule of the political and legal frame of reference for the so-called ‘peace process.’ The UN took a backseat.

But even that unequal relationship proved too much for the US government, which is moving fully and unconditionally into the Israeli camp. The Trump Administration is now working to rewrite the nature of US involvement in the Middle East, and, especially, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Unfortunately, Trump’s team has no concrete strategy and no frame of reference, aiming to change 50-years of US foreign policy – unfair to Palestinians and Arabs – but has no alternative plan of its own.

Almost a year ago, Trump made a promise to Israel to be a more trustworthy ally than President Barack Obama, who gave Israel more money than any other US president in history. Obama, however, had violated a golden rule in the US-Israeli relationship: he did not veto a UN resolution that condemned the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel panicked at that unprecedented event, not because it feared that the UN Security Council would enforce its purportedly binding resolution, but because the US had, for once, refused to shield Israel from international censure.

Even before officially taking over the White House, the Trump team attempted to prevent UNSC Resolution 2334 from passing. It failed but, come January, it took over the Israeli-Palestinian file with a vengeance, threatening to cut off funds to Palestinians, blocking their efforts from expanding their international reach, and declaring its full and unconditional support for the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

But there was more to Israeli alarm at Resolution 2334 than mere US betrayal. This Resolution – which asserted that Israeli settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of human rights – was partly predicated on, and clarified and added to, previous UNSC Resolution 242.

This means that 50 years of incessant Israeli attempts to absolve itself from any commitment to international law have failed miserably.

For Palestinians, and the larger Arab context, Resolution 242 marked their defeat in the war of 1967. Unsurprisingly, this Resolution has been cited in various agreements between Israel and the PLO, but only to give these agreements a veneer of international legitimacy.

However, the Oslo Accords of 1993 gave Israel the opportunity to use its leverage to bypass international law altogether: signing a peace agreement without ending its military occupation became the goal.

Against this backdrop, it is no wonder that Netanyahu was quite shocked to witness that a recommitment to Resolution 242 last year at the UNSC did not garner US opposition. Actually, the longstanding Resolution gained more substance and vigor.

The June 1967 war was Israel’s greatest military victory, and Resolution 242 enshrined a whole new world order in the Middle East, in which the US and Israel reigned supreme. Although it called for withdrawal of Israeli military from Occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, it also paved the way for normalization between Israel and the Arabs. The Camp David Agreement between Egypt and Israel was a direct outcome of that Resolution.

This is why Resolution 2334 has alarmed Israel, for it invalidated all the physical changes that Israel has made in 50 years of illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

The Resolution called for “two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, liv(ing) side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders”.

Unlike Resolution 242, Resolution 2334 has left no room for clever misinterpretation: it references the pre-June 1967 lines in its annulment of the Israeli occupation and all the illegal settlements Israel has constructed since then.

The Resolution even cites the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN Charter and the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion of July 2004, which stated that Israel’s barrier in the West Bank was illegal and should be dismantled.

With international law once more taking center stage in a conflict which the US has long designated as if its personal business, Abbas was empowered enough to reach out to the ICC, thus raising the ire of Israel and its allies in the White House.

Even if the PLO’s office is permanently shut down, the decision should not just be seen as punishing Palestinians for seeking ICC support but, ultimately, as the culmination of disastrous US diplomacy, for which the Trump Administration has no clear alternative.

Fanning the Flames of Revolution

The power of the privileged elite, like capitalism itself, is predicated upon lies and delusion. Their power appears formidable and insurmountable. In reality, it is as tenuous and ethereal as a wisp of smoke. A virtuous man or woman causes them to quake in their shoes and wet their pants. The nation’s rulers are not like ordinary Americans; they are psychopaths. I cannot confirm if they actually believe the lies they have planted in the public mind, but I do know that they have a preternatural fear of truth and mass revolt. They loathe Democracy and Socialism like the plague.

Nothing exemplifies the elite’s fear of truth more than the absurdities circulating in the corporate media. Because capitalism is in terminal decline and the economic, political and social institutions of the US are corrupted and undemocratic, emancipatory journalism is under assault, as is reality itself. Truth must be denied and kept from public view at all cost. If the masses move from false consciousness to true consciousness, there will be trouble.

Owing to feckless politicians, many of them democrats, and fearing mass dissent resulting from developing class consciousness, Russia Today (RT) is being forced to register with the US Department of Justice as a foreign agent. When will the journalists that criticize capitalism and expose the corruption of the US political system be required to do the same? When will people of conscience begin to disappear?

It is the power elite and the institutions they have corrupted, including the corporate media, not Russian agents, that are sowing dissent. It is growing class consciousness among American workers that is producing discord. Foreign agents have nothing to do with it, but grotesque inequality, opulent wealth, and its counterpart—destitution, killer cops and injustice does.

Capitalism is predicated upon the exploitation of workers—an awareness that is gestating in the minds of workers like a developing fetus. Higher consciousness inevitably leads to resistance. The growing realization that “at will” workers are expendable wage slaves causes internal conflict. When that conflict does not find a healthy outlet, it can lead to pathology — mass shootings and other acts of systemic self-mutilation.

The two major political parties, both of which represent capitalists and the militarized corporate state, are complicit in perpetuating an elaborate hoax on America’s working class and her poor. When the truth is finally revealed, some heads are going to roll. The ruling class knows that: hence the evolving militarized surveillance/police state.

During America’s reprehensible episode of chattel slavery, the slave owners’ worst nightmare was slave rebellion. Nat Turner and his men transformed that trepidation into reality, and so did the Russians in 1917. The fires of revolution are still smoldering underground. The fundamental conflicts inherent to capitalism remain unresolved. When these fires break through the surface, as they inevitably will, the established order will be burned to the ground.

What, if anything, arises from the ashes cannot be known, until it happens. Clouds of entropy and chaos are gathering. Vultures are circling overhead.

Even with advancing age, a conscientious man need not mellow or moderate his radical leftist ideology, much less apologize for it. If that man is awaking and if he is socially and politically astute, his consciousness will grow as he ages, and it will hasten the ripening of the fruit of wisdom and dissent. His outrage will mature, not shrink. He will see things as they really are, and he will be able to connect the dots in order to discern the bigger picture and comprehend the political motivation behind events. He will identify all things in their appropriate relation to other facts and interpret them in their proper historical context. He will speak inconvenient truths, and he will make people uncomfortable. He will run risks. Like Socrates, he will be a gadfly.

But a conscientious man is not easily deceived. He holds onto his truth with the tenacity of a pit bull. Principled people cannot be dissuaded or thrown off the scent of truth; they have a functioning shit detector. Neither can they be bribed. They never back down or seek to avoid conflict; they embrace struggle because they know it is the only vector to justice.

Flag worship, nationalism, reverence for the national anthem and the military, and what is commonly called patriotism, are right-wing ideologies. Their purpose is to promote obedience and respect for authority. Patriotism is a tool of oppression that is used to prevent dissent. It serves the interests of the oppressor, not the oppressed. Organized religion serves a similar purpose: to keep the rabble in line and to preserve the power and privilege of the ruling elite.

While there is no indisputable absolute truth: there is ordinary truth, the kind that is simply demonstrably true; it is supported by credible, verifiable peer-reviewed evidence that makes sense of everything. It meets the smell test of dialectics. Reality revolves around truth like the Earth revolves around the sun. A nation of people that are incapable of grasping truth are delusional; they lack the character and fortitude to grapple with reality and its inconvenient truths. They cannot see what is in plain sight. Fear blinds them.

The power elite and their minions have retreated into realms of fantasy and magical thinking—a parallel universe of alternative facts and fakery. The corporate media is one of these alternative universes; it is saturated with unsubstantiated conspiracy theory: anti-Russian hysteria, the Kennedy and King assassinations, 9-11 and the myth of American democracy. It reeks of the CIA, FBI and the deep state.

A republic that loses its orientation to reality is hopelessly confounded and lost. It flounders and thrashes without a functioning moral compass. It becomes a nation of dead men walking, destined to cannibalize itself and everything pure, good and decent. Such a republic will not long survive.

Theatre, Death and the ICTY: The Suicide of Slobodan Praljak

Theatre, hysterics, denunciations.  No tight, orderly and sterile space could ever entirely contain those dark characters with lengthy butcher’s bills and blood soaked attributes.  Screams accompanied accusations; words to make all blush were shouted at witnesses, lawyers and judges.

In the sanguinary mess of attack, counter-attack and retribution, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was meant to rise, glinting above the squalor, peering over with a sort of moral responsibility.  Its effects after it closes on December 31 this year will be debated for decades, leaving perhaps the lawyers content that something was done to bring acts of conflict into the court room.  The narratives on the ground will, in large part, remain untouched, mutating into various poisonous guises.

Coming to its grim finale, it was fitting that the curtain would close on a publicly executed suicide by Bosnian Croat wartime commander Slobodan Praljak, a figure most closely associated with the destruction of Mostar, a gem of Bosnia’s Ottoman legacy. “I just drank poison,” he exclaimed, having seemingly toasted those deemed his adversaries.  “I am not a war criminal.  I oppose this conviction.”  The 72 year old subsequently died in hospital in The Hague.

It had been quite a scene, a live broadcast that was garnering special interest.  Croatia’s parliament, for one, had been suspended to enable members to follow the reading of the verdict, along with those of five other Bosnian Croats: Jadranko Prlić, who had presided over the Croatian territory in Bosnia, along with military and police figures Bruno Stojić, Milivoj Petrović, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić. Altogether, it was considered the most voluminous appeal the ICTY had heard.

All similarly heard their convictions upheld spanning the whole gamut from crimes against humanity, violating the customs of war to the destruction of property, deportation, unlawful transfer of civilians, and wilful killing.

The biggest bone of contention, as it has been from the start, centred on that ever problematic concept of a criminal conspiracy or joint criminal enterprise connecting the participants and the authorities of President Franjo Tuđman.

The object of the conspiracy – the “ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population” – was brutal and, in parts, persecuted with gruesome effect.  The vision of the perpetrators, more broadly, was the creation of a cleansed, ethnically appropriate “Greater Croatia” comprising Croatian Banovina, a point acknowledged in the Trial Chamber findings.

With the poison taking effect, Presiding Judge Carmel Agius immediately went into prim and proper mode.  “We suspend the… We suspend… Please, the curtains.  Don’t take away the glass that he used when he drank something.”  The courtroom was duly declared, ironically enough, a crime scene. The place where justice was supposedly delivered with cold application had itself succumbed to the drama of crime.

In Mostar, candles of contemplation and prayer were lit for Praljak in acts of traditional historical dysfunction.  (The general had been found to have “caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim population” through such acts as the destruction of the 16th Century Stari Most or Old Bridge in November 1993.)  Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told a press conference how “we have all unfortunately witnessed his act by which he took his own life”.

Plenković demonstrates how far judicial rulings of his sort have penetrated into the consciousness of the judged and the broader collectives who participated and suffered in the wars of 1992-1995.  Taking it in his stride, the prime minister insisted that Praljak’s act “speaks mainly of the deep moral injustice towards the six Croatians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian people.”  Yes, the government did express “sympathy for all victims of all the crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina” but felt “dissatisfaction and regret regarding the confirmed verdicts for the six [who were on trial]”.

Traditional defences reared their head, suggesting that the court had erred.  The efforts of the six men were part of cruel necessity, an act of heroic salvation.  The Republic of Croatia had also assisted “at a time it was faced with Greater Serbian aggression, and when its territorial independence was compromised.”  Emergency is the cruel mother of invention.

Deals were struck, military partnerships forged between the Bosnian Croats and the Croatian military to intervene at key points.  The Serbian siege of Bihać, he cites, was frustrated and broken, thereby preventing “the most serious of crimes and genocide such as what happened at Srebrenica.”

This theme is a common one, a point of false difference that is meant to distinguish the Croatian mission during the civil wars from those of their Serbian and Bosniak counterparts.  While the Muslims were given short shrift in some parts, and butchered in others, the Croatian cause stood firm, thereby avoiding genocide at the hands of their enemies. The essence of the ICTY is thereby turned on its head: in perpetrating atrocities, according to this skewed angle inimical to law, people were saved.

Even more brazenly, Plenković insisted that the Croatian Army be more broadly thanked, along with the Croatian state that actually supported Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The Croatian Army freed a large part of Bosnia and Herzegovina territory, thus halting the war and allowing for the possibility for the Paris-Dayton peace agreement.”

Gaps and omissions fill the account.  The efforts to remove Bosniaks (or Muslim Bosnians), initiated by the Croatian leadership, is not mentioned. Irritably, the Croatian prime minister reverts to a traditional theme: blame Serbia when the spotlight shines brightly on Croatian exploits.  It was “absurd that no international verdict has established the responsibility of Serbia’s then state leadership.”  The move to challenge that account with the narrative of rescue and heroism has begun.

Waiting for the American Dream

All good things arrive for them that wait – and don’t die in the meantime.”

— Mark Twain

It is damp, drizzly November once again, the grim grey in-between month, a time for dying and a time, above all, for waiting.  Waiting for the fallen dead foliage to be buried in snow, waiting for the shortest day to come and go, waiting for the New Year to usher in great changes.

Waiting – so what’s new?

Some sullen sage once said that life is what we do while we wait for death.  It’s not the kind of wise-guy wisdom I would try to refute, since I was one of the precocious kids who saw the skull at his first pabulum banquet.  He seemed to be waiting for me even then, and I can only assume he is waiting still, though, like the dead writer William Saroyan, I can enjoy thinking an exception will be made in my case.  But wishful thinking aside, there’s no question that Mr. Death knocks at everyone’s door sooner or later, preferably later, better never than late, to coin a phrase in reverse and revert to wishful thinking.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny he’s coming and everybody is waiting for his knock.

Of course, rather than knock, he just might blow the house down.  Though it’s a little impersonal, a lot of people are waiting for that.  Like the early Christians who were eagerly awaiting the imminent end of the world, most people today are waiting for a nuclear holocaust – on the evening news, of course.  The general consensus seems to be that it will solve all problems; and anyway, what’s there to do goes the refrain.  Keep waiting, that’s all, seems to be the popular approach.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think people were looking forward to meeting Mr. Death.  For why else are they waiting?

That’s the big picture, so to speak, the big waiting game.  Waiting in the smaller sense can also kill you, or keep you going (but don’t ask where), depending on your point of view.  There are endless variations to this waiting game.

Every day at my local post office I see the anxiously expectant faces of people eagerly awaiting their mail, as if that special, life-transforming letter will be arriving.  Then, when they pull the latest sales circular from their magic boxes, you can see their faces momentarily drop, but just as quickly do they revive, for now they can still have something to wait for – tomorrow’s mail.  But tomorrow is such a long time away, so most quickly check their phones to see if God has called, or at least sent a text.  Hope springs eternal in the banal post office.

Then there are those other desperate waiters, those who regularly play the lottery.  They are the truly faithful ones who haven’t lost their faith, or who’ve found a parallel one – true believers in the money god waiting to surprise, the deus ex machina of the American happiness machine.  For no matter what the odds, they regularly plunk down their bucks and intone the magic numbers that will change their lives forever.  Then they wait. “You never know; someone’s got to win, so why not me” is their refrain.  Sure.  And everyone has got to die.  But to hell with the odds.  Ever hopeful, like Gatsby cataleptically gazing across the water at the green light on Daisy’s dock, they wait for their numbers to be up – up above the conjuring computers that raise their tickets to happiness – so that they too, like John Smith, who won 400 million last year and said, “Of course, I’m not going to let this change my life.  I’m not going to quit my job in the dog food factory.  I’m going to be the same regular guy I’ve always been” – so that they too can give up waiting for the gravy train and find something else to wait for.

It’s easy.  They can always join the millions who are waiting for the interminable weather reports or those who, as soon as one season has barely begun, are anxiously awaiting the next.  Spring is a favorite season to wait for, eternal green spring, the time of year when most suicides can’t take waiting any longer since the weather’s nice but nothing else has changed, so they rush to Mr. Death who solves all their anxious waiting.

We all know those who are always waiting for Fridays and the great relief from their weekday horrors that the weekends bring.  If that’s your game, and you’re far from retirement age, don’t worry, you can look forward to years and years of waiting for Fridays.  Thank God.  And then you can wait in dread for Mondays. Damn the devil.  Wasn’t it Studs Terkel who said that most jobs in America are hellish?  You wait to get one and then you wait until you can afford to get rid of it.  It’s a lot of waiting.

Waiting is endless, and endless is the waiting.

As for me, I’ve been waiting to tell you the truth.  Not too long ago I lost all hope.  After decades of secretly waiting for a knock at my door, I now know it will never come.  It’s over, this waiting of a true believer in the American Dream.  I guess I’ve been exactly where George Carlin meant when he said to believe in the American Dream you have to be asleep. I was shocked to recently learn that Michael Anthony is dead, or to be more precise, Marvin Miller, the actor who played Michael Anthony is dead. Even as the years have tumbled out the backdoor of my life – 32 to be exact – I thought Marvin/Michael was waiting in the wings to surprise me.  But I have just learned he died in 1985.  My heart dropped.  My waiting all these years, my secret hope of hopes, my train that would one day come in and rescue me – gone.  No more. The door will not be knocked.  My waiting days are over.

Who, you ask, was Michael Anthony, this character…in a movie, a play, or on television?  In reality?  A dream?  An hallucination?  He was my hope and salvation coming from the private sector, of course.  He was the emissary from the invisible god, the billionaire John Beresford Tipton. And every week he would knock on someone’s door and hand him or her a check for one million dollars.  “The Millionaire” was more than a television show; it was a waiter’s dream.  It was why I thought of myself as “a temporarily embarrassed millionaire,” as John Steinbeck said most of us poor slobs do.   And though I haven’t been waiting for reruns, I have thought a knock was imminent, that I would be a chosen one.  Now my hope is gone, my capitalist dream in shatters. I am Zero Mostel without a song.

The odd thing is, it’s a great relief.  Hope, after all, is the fuel that drives all this waiting.  Without waiting, everything changes.  That’s often the message waiting in an obituary; you see the name, realize it’s not yours, and perhaps give up waiting for the day your waiting ends.

It’s living, I think they call it, something you can’t wait for forever, no matter what the month.  Take a tip from me: being a waiter is not that rewarding.  You can get by doing it, but you’ll miss the meal.

There is No Sheltered Rear: So Stand Up, Get Angry, and Don’t Take it Anymore!

Every artist, every scientist, must decide now where he stands. He has no alternative. There is no standing above the conflict on Olympian heights. There are no impartial observers. Through the destruction, in certain countries, of the greatest of man’s literary heritage, through the propagation of false ideas of racial and national superiority, the artist, the scientist, the writer is challenged. The struggle invades the formerly cloistered halls of our universities and other seats of learning. The battlefront is everywhere. There is no sheltered rear.

— Paul Robeson, Here I Stand, p. 52.

The struggle for us common folk daily is a battle on many fronts, with the sirocco of plague-coal gritty winds chasing us into poverty, into incarceration, into structural violence and penury with the jaws of the dogs of usury rabidly biting at our young and old.

There is no dignity in the grapes of wrath and no heaven inside the gates of religion.

When we end up working for the poverty pimps, social services, in the public sector, or those non-profits and NGOs, or for those purveyors of a fake capitalist green environmentalism, or in the same league of neoliberals or even patsy identity politics liberals, our stories end up frayed and sent into the abyss in a culture that kneels at the altar of celebrity-wealth-military might-superficiality.

Most of us can’t get the gumption up to face down power, even in this junk society where our collective powerlessness could be vital to standing down this tragedy called Americanism, Consumerism, Militarism, Capitalism.

Some of us are tilting at windmills and screaming,

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter.

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’

— Howard Beale, Network

More poignant in Peter Finch’s portrayal of a disenchanted newscaster is his call to our humanity:

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot — I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. [shouting] You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

It’s an easy life gig, really, showing, being, acting mad as hell, and standing down in that glorious moment of realizing that the powers that be, the fascists in boardrooms, the militant bankers and financial devils, all those militarists and digital demigods, the lot of them, are only in the driver’s seat because the consumer half-citizens we have become in the US of A have not taken the first two steps – being mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

I mean really, not some deplorable bullshit under the mantel of the madman Trump, or the faux anger of the liberals and Hillary lovers, none of that is even in the same league as true anger and standing down. Enough of us in the USA are done with this experiment, but not enough of us have the balls or ovaries to stand down and make a bolt away from their prisons, both symbolic ones and those literals ones.

Bolt and stop taking it. Engage in real dirt-smeared arguments, debates, and stop letting the purveyors of neutering and spaying control our lives. If it’s one poor sop doing it, then that’s one poor schmuck left to hang and dry. In so many ways, my life has been my soul and my intellect splayed by the legions of small men and small women, Little Eichmanns and Compliancy Bureaucrats, Admin Class, Deanlets, Chair Persons, HR Midgets, Diversity Officers, Punishment Officers, Pay Masters, Incrementalists, and Violators of All Good Things About Creativity.

Splayed in the sense that it’s easy to sack people who go against the grain, against the vanguard, against the status quo. Each and every time I have been sacked, it seems like the first time, and my own naïve exasperation is almost overcoming, but in the end, my stands are more than righteous. They are demonstrative, chillingly expressive, and others in my circle can judge and pooh-pooh, and point to my spiraling out of any power or fame or thumbs near or on the levers of power.

In the end, you can die on your principles and feel the incredible lightness of being a human being, and feel emancipated even near the gates of endless poverty, waning sanity and extreme disenfranchisement from this capitalist franchise called America.

I’ve cataloged here and other places my struggle with/in/because of the “work place” in America – it started with newspapers where I had drag-out fights with editors about my attitude – going too strong against the powers, in several cases, the policing agencies I was reporting on. Sacked. Struggle as a union organizer a decade ago fighting the middle of the road bosses who thought compliancy and lock-step (to the Democratic Party) were necessary formulations for working there. Sacked. Fighting for part-time faculty and for students at several community colleges . . . terminated. Working with homeless and drug-addicted adults as a social worker . . . encouraged to resign.

Unbelievable that it may seem, but some of us can be up against the vast majority, and be right most of the time, and the fact that the majority can be wrong almost one hundred percent of the time when it comes to false beliefs in patriotism, loyalty, god-country-hierarchy. So many people I have come across in my 60 years, a good 45 of which involved work and work places, have only been able to go-think-believe-philosophize-contemplate-act so far. Halfway is half-assed, and going nine-tenths of the way is still an incomplete journey, flawed, dangerous and retrograde.

Fired for fighting administrators and college-university presidents. Fired for writing too loudly. Hell, I even went up against the ameliorators in so-called progressive alternative radio and newspaper circles for being too radical, too left, too outspoken, too in your face.

Perception is not reality, but their reality is not mine.

Now this fleeting battle line as I am hitting my Sixties is taking even more bizarre turns with my most recent end of the line work in social services. Sort of takes on an entire multi-layered Orwellian, Kafkaesque, Brave New World ugliness only capitalism can refine to a really disturbing level.

Fired because three insignificant trainers and two of their supervisors in a Planned Parenthood two-day class determined after eight hours that my simple and non-disruptive questioning of Planned Parenthood’s policy of believing — one hundred percent — the efficacy of everything Western medicine shoves down our throats and my doubting some of the mumbo-jumbo propaganda of Big Pharma would somehow weigh negatively on my work at a completely unrelated-to-Planned Parenthood non-profit as a non-medical social worker with my foster youth clients.

Imagine — in a training, with that progressive blathering of “this is a safe space” and “anything said here stays here” — and my livelihood is ripped from me by three narc trainers who outright lied about me being a disruptive element. Imagine the level of punk in these people, these urbanites, these Seattlites, these people who are working in the shadow of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is shoving Big Pharma and Big GMO and Big Contraception and Big Sterilization and Big Family Planning and Big Vaccinations and Big Agra down the throats of the so-called developing world. I questioned one vaccine, tied to the human papilloma virus. Planned Parenthood gets tens of millions from Big Pharma and Big Philanthropy.

This shit brings tears of absurdity to a grown adult’s eyes. These people, these Little Eichmann’s working for Seattle’s Planned Parenthood, with a flick of their wrists, and a punch of their index fingers on their smart phones sending messages to my boss that I was somehow a disruption to the training. Read here part of my story and my lightly political question about Gardasil-Merck.

In their world, they believe they hold the power ingrained in their Hillary Clinton stupidity and Uber Alles Planned Parenthood. These people determined from a really light-hearted and anonymous forum that I would be a chigger in their sides for a second day of training. Really, so, this “ich liebe dich Planned Parenthood uber alles in der Welt … I love you Planned Parenthood above anything else in the world” bullshit went as far as influencing my former employer – a social services non-profit in Portland for more than 45 years – to put me on paid leave and then processed through the ringer of an unfair and incomplete investigation that ended with my termination.

Talking to these people in the non-profit sector is like talking to emptied-out moth chrysalises. This mostly female-run and female-staffed organization had the gall to not talk to my two co-workers who were at the training. They had the gall to pointedly show me that I was being investigated and then canned for barely challenging Planned Parenthood’s take on Gardasil, the Bill Gates/Genetically-Engineered/CDC Fast-tracked Approved/Massive PR campaign vaccine for the sexually transmitted virus, HPV.

In the echo chamber of these female-run/female-staffed social services agencies, the people do not resist the malfeasance and poor treatment. The people do not speak out as if social justice is the key to assisting people as social workers and mental health practitioners. These people do not want any rocking of the boat. These female-staffed/managed outfits want to embrace the superficiality of LGBTQ-ism and faux multiculturalism, yet, when push comes to shove, they are middling humans, who have reached their own ceilings of compassion/knowledge/ radical social work that pale in comparison to the real work that has to be done.

Every step of my administrative leave and then bullshit investigation and then dismissal reeks of unethical and wrongful termination. This non-profit, Lifeworks Northwest, is colluding with Planned Parenthood, because tens of thousands of dollars comes from PP’s coffers, and that grant money is really taxpayers’ money.

The power of my simple anonymous comments on unsigned notepaper got my ass hung out to dry, and the bitterness is magnified since I had youth on my caseload in major iterations of crisis, and because I had no opportunity to challenge my accusers, and because I wasn’t able to cut through stupidity and illogical thinking.

Simple stuff, a social worker anticipating what my young clients might also ask: “IS the Gardasil HPV vaccine safe since when I go onto the Internet and Google ‘Gardasil Dangers’ or put in ‘Is the HPV virus safe?’ I get all sorts of incriminating information about the dangers herein.”

Or, I could have posited at the training something more concrete: “I get all sorts of stories from parents and young women who are outraged by the dangers of the vaccine, and I see many documentaries cataloging the dangers and the chronic pain and deaths attributed to the Merck-made Gardasil, and I can download all these scientific journal articles and browse all these advocacy blogs and web sites that point-blank catalog all the issues tied to the three-shot vaccine”: Here!

The highly controversial HPV vaccine “Gardasil,” given to young girls to defend against early onset of the only form of contagious cancer, has been responsible for over thirty deaths (from blood clots in the heart and lungs) and more than 10,000 adverse events (anaphylactic shock, loss of muscle use, and seizures) being reported. Certain forms of HPV are known to cause cervical cancer by fueling the development of precancerous lesions in epithelial tissues of the vagina, vulva, oropharynx, anus and cervix. Most infections however, are benign and cleared rapidly by the human immune system, and never progress to cervical cancer. A valid reason for giving CHILDREN the HPV vaccine has NEVER been established.

Plus, the supposed “benefits” of the two known HPV vaccines, Gardasil (made by Merck) and Cervarix (made by GSK-GlaxoSmithKline), wear off after a few years, meaning that even if they do work, the cancer only lasts a few years anyway before a normal immune system beats it, so why bother with the vaccines, which are known to be loaded with neurotoxins, carcinogens, synthetic emulsifyers and genetically modified organisms.  Worst yet, there are at least 120 known human papillomaviruses, so, worse than the flu shot, the HPV vaccine is a complete “shot in the dark.” On top of that, only a third of those viruses are the ones typically transmitted through sexual contact. At least 15 types of HPV are CARCINOGENIC.

Just days after given the intramuscular injection Cervarix, Stacey Jones, 17 (at the time), suffered her FIRST EVER SEIZURE and was left brain-damaged from it. The Cervarix inoculation contains recombinant proteins and for those unfamiliar, recombinant means DNA molecules are brought together from multiple sources in a laboratory to create genetic material with DNA sequences that would NOT OTHERWISE EXIST in the genome. That means the culture is chemically altered and then mixed with sodium chloride and “residual” amounts of insect cells. If that itself is not bad enough, according to the Rx list itself, the “tip caps” may contain rubber latex.

By the way, sodium chloride when injected raises blood pressure and inhibits muscle contraction and growth. All of this sends the immune system into hyper-panic mode when injected, and explains the seizures and anaphylactic shock these girls are experiencing just hours or days after the HPV jab.

In the case of Stacey Jones, her parents said that during the few weeks after her getting the cervical jab, Stacey had MORE fits, causing such severe swelling in the brain and brain injury that Stacey had to go to a rehabilitation unit to relearn simple tasks. GSK called it all a coincidence.

Eleven deaths occurred less than one week after receiving the vaccine, seven of which died in less than two days. Three of the deaths were boys. Guess what the most common diagnosis was for the CAUSE of DEATH–BLOOD CLOTTING. Where is the CDC in all of this? One of the girls died within 3 hours of getting the jab. Her echocardiogram revealed a blood clot within the right atrium and the right ventricle.

Other reports include girls coming down with the sudden onset of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where the immune system attacks itself. With Rick Perry as a sponsor, Merck’s Gardasil was causing permanent injuries and death all in the name of Rick Perry’s political need for monetary backing.

Judicial Watch public interest group investigated this government level corruption and released a report based on FDA documents about adverse reactions to the vaccine and found over 100 DEATHS and spontaneous abortions CAUSED BY GARDASIL. Even JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) went so far as to publish over 12,000 reports of vaccine injury.

You see, when I work with youth, and talk about student debt, about drone murders by the USA, or about Trump’s felonious business deals, or talk about the power of media to manufacture consent, or what the real history of the United States is about, or how we bombed the hell out of Korea in the 1950s and Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, or when I talk about what the real Thanksgiving means, the real Israel means, the real NATO means I expect my youth to go on their own Smart (sic) phones and start double checking my facts and theses.

So, what are these people thinking, sacking me, because I shaped a question around maybe Planned Parenthood anticipating some resistance from some percentage of our youth on all our caseloads, and resistance from their foster and biological parents, or their siblings and friends about this unproven vaccine?

Clenched-teeth trainers, and this room of 40 women and three men, and I was the only one raising what some portion of all of our client loads might ask – is this shot safe? I raised the eyebrows of the Planned Parenthood trainers when I supposed that maybe practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathic treatments, shamanism, Native American healing, and other non-Western Medical beliefs should also be included in their amazing rainbow flag of diversity. These people are lock-step, neo-fascists, for sure, of the liberal kind, and I was not prepared for the absolute party-line around Gardasil.

It took very little to time to research how Planned Parenthood gets massive funding from Big Pharma and Big Industrial Medicine . . . that Planned Parenthood is part of the big PR push to get as many young women and boys globally vaccinated with this toxic brew. Right now, over 270 million doses have been distributed. Mark that as $30 billion or more for Merk.

Yet, these Uber Alles Planned Parenthood punks and then my own former employers – punks with master’s degrees in social work and taught in reduced harm techniques and trauma informed care  – find it impossible for me to continue taking a mandatory class and then I get my ass unfairly and wrongfully sacked?

I am in the process of writing Part Three to the series I was asked to work on over at Hormones Matter (and here at DV it’s here and here and here). This entire episode dealing with the cahoots of Planned Parenthood and the drug makers, including the Gardasil manufacturer, Merck, and my own puny job and possibly my future in social services – oh, my next interviews for new jobs will most certainly involve HR folk Googling me and Googling my writings, and, bam, another illicit and unethical determination of my qualities based on my writing – stinks of what’s really rotten to the core in America: the careerism and the death of a real liberal class, and this entitled stupidity and perceived aggrieved neoliberal class.

The formula is clear – if you are a scientist or researcher or expert or legitimate journalist questioning your government, your paymaster, your employer, your school, your non-profit, your NGO, your media, your Fortune 1000 companies, your millionaire and billionaire miscreants, you get harassed, de-funded, shunted into a corner, threatened with lawsuits, threatened with termination, sacked, and in some cases, murdered by these economic and patriotic hit men and hit women. Chris Hedges on careerism!

The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

These systems managers believe nothing. They have no loyalty. They are rootless. They do not think beyond their tiny, insignificant roles. They are blind and deaf. They are, at least regarding the great ideas and patterns of human civilization and history, utterly illiterate. And we churn them out of universities. Lawyers. Technocrats. Business majors. Financial managers. IT specialists. Consultants. Petroleum engineers. “Positive Psychologists.” Communications majors. Cadets. Sales representatives. Computer programmers. Men and women who know no history, know no ideas. They live and think in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia.

They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without colour,” the poet wrote. “Paralysed force, gesture without motion.”

Even the HR people at that non-profit wouldn’t get it right about why I was terminated, and the little letter I received from Oregon Employment Department belies the non-profit’s absurdity and confusion:

You ARE allowed benefits on this claim . . . .

Findings: You were employed by Lifeworks NW until Oct. 26, 2017 when you were fired because you received too many complaints about being unprofessional, confrontational and argumentative. This was not a willful or wantonly negligent disregard of the employer’s interest because there was no policy or rule violation. You deny the accusations of being a disruption to a training that occurred on October 16, 2017. Employer failed to respond to additional attempts to retrieve information.

Legal Conclusion: You were fired but not for misconduct connected with work.

This short piece can end with those concepts, these people Chris Hedges likens to docile and compliant followers who obey for whatever prestige they can garner. Notice my former employers use words like “unprofessional” and “confrontational” and “argumentative.” This is how these people running social services agencies work the mental muscles in their heads.

My entire work with foster youth, connected to the department of human services case managers and foster parents and a plethora of agencies and businesses, was deemed both “professional” and wise and compassionate. I have written testaments to that fact. What does it mean to have this pejorative thrown at me after the fact, stated to the unemployment adjudicator without my ability to answer this lie? This is a case of so called social services providers putting in the dull knife in my already opened torso.

Then, this all-female staff and supervisory and management team throw out the term, “confrontational,” in the double-speak of these fake positive psychological beratings. What in the world does this mean, “confrontational”? I did confront abusive parents, abusive bureaucrats, abusive psychologists and employers and teachers, and a few case workers. That was my job to be advocate and mentor for 16-to-21-year-old youth – foster youth. I confronted abuse and lies and mismanagement and maligning and prejudice and pre-judgments and structural violence. I confronted the school to prison pipeline mentality of officials and confronted the lackadaisical attitudes about my youth becoming homeless.

Finally, “argumentative”? You know, I got along with everyone, except a couple of officials at public gatherings who made fun of addiction, who made fun of youth caught by cops for pot smoking or carrying booze in the car. I argued with people who laughed at mental challenges, and who somehow thought addiction was just a fad, a choice. I fought prejudice and stupidity, and did it with aplomb and respect. I never was “argumentative” with supervisors or co-workers, yet, these women social workers dare tell a state official – unemployment adjudicator – that the reason for my termination is my “argumentative” disposition? As if I am getting graded as a third grader for my class demeanor, decorum, participation and citizenship?

This is the coda of our social services gone amok and awry, and with these fake diversity-chanting female workers and these social workers who fall over themselves to help gay young men and women, while arguing their point that anyone else who is not a pushover or who is defiant, or who disagrees with their spin on the world, well, even a 60-year-old seasoned teacher with training, skills, experiences and education they could only read about or dream about, is deemed “argumentative” and “confrontational.” This syllogistic thinking (non-thinking) then puts an icing on their canards with the terminology, “unprofessional.”

We are not in good hands, fellow readers. We have a society that is far removed from the reality of being one emergency room visit from the poor house or one paycheck away from being homeless. This is a society that fines homeless people for loitering, that fines panhandling for a meal or a beer, that fines people camping in alleys or kipping in their perfectly legal and running vans and motor homes. This is the society of people who lets the world know how “powerful” they are – proof is in the gouged-out cultures and ecosystems, perpetual war, the illegalities of every ounce of investment, retirement, consumption schemed up in America, and endorsed by twenty or thirty percent of the population. This is a country that has no history because it forgets and forestalls and fabricates. This is a country of teary-eyed infants, raised on Marvel Comics’ narratives and Disneyland philosophy and computer mush and Hallmark moments, and violence and junk goo for the brain and junk food for the soul.

These people, who are tied to the lies of the most powerful collective organization on earth – Big Pharma (twice the lobbying bucks paid to politicians than even the militarists) – and they give shit about the lives of young women and men forcefully vaccinated.

These are the crimes of the weak, the so-called do-gooders. And their crimes go unchallenged, unnoticed, and under-discussed. Because this country is one giant criminal project — Continuing Criminal Enterprise.

These armies of bureaucrats serve a corporate system that will quite literally kill us. They are as cold and disconnected as Mengele. They carry out minute tasks. They are docile. Compliant. They obey. They find their self-worth in the prestige and power of the corporation, in the status of their positions and in their career promotions. They assure themselves of their own goodness through their private acts as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They sit on school boards. They go to Rotary. They attend church. It is moral schizophrenia. They erect walls to create an isolated consciousness. They make the lethal goals of ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs or Raytheon or insurance companies possible. They destroy the ecosystem, the economy and the body politic and turn workingmen and -women into impoverished serfs. They feel nothing. Metaphysical naiveté always ends in murder. It fragments the world. Little acts of kindness and charity mask the monstrous evil they abet. And the system rolls forward. The polar ice caps melt. The droughts rage over cropland. The drones deliver death from the sky. The state moves inexorably forward to place us in chains. The sick die. The poor starve. The prisons fill. And the careerist, plodding forward, does his or her job.

— Chris Hedges