Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review #86

Next to Hughes;
Behind the Power and Tragic Downfall of Howard Hughes
by His Closest Advisor
-- Robert Maheu

     This one rocked me.
     Hughes has fascinated me, like many, as the ultra-rich, power-mad, playboy-recluse, cottonpicker-genius-legend that he appeared to be.
     The  isolated horror of his end, and the waves of corruption, both deep and wide, around him in the Meantime are unbelievably shocking.  However unbelievable, this story is yet another stark proof of the old rule, '...the love of money is the root of all evil.'  In this case, Hughes realized there was Nothing he couldn't of course, that's what he went for, and got:  LOTS of Nothing.
     Maheu's personal story, which sounds pretty believable, has him at or near the center of many of the most pivotal events of modern civilization.  All this reminds me that our word, civilization, comes down to us as Rome's great gift to the's what you get when the dust settles and the blood soaks into the ground.
     Life and Peace get next to zero credit for enduring this process and paying ALL the bills, ALL the time.  I'm guessing this is largely 'cause the pirates write the history and run the schools that teach it.  
     The Rich ARE different.
     Such a deal!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Horses' Mouths

During the '70's and '80's there were pronouncements from a couple of Americans, both of whom had been in positions to know, which were of prime interest then, and should still be so for us, today.  These statements, by notorious figures with histories of involvement in 'organized crime,' shed brilliant light on the very nature of organized crime, how it works, for whom it works, and clear insights into its behind-the-scenes organizational structures and modes of operation.
Whether you think of them as 'folk heroes' or simply as criminals, what they had to say was, and is, well worth thinking about...

     Mickey Cohen -- Confirmed mobster, longtime boss of gambling in California, presented a recipe for success in organized crime, requiring these essential ingredients in hand:
     The Chief of Police
     The Sheriff
     The District Attorney
...and stated flatly that if you control these elements in any given location, " can do anything you want..."

     Malcolm X -- From his previous incarnation as the underworld figure, 'Detroit Red,' he concluded that, "...organized crime exists only to the extent that it is known to 'the authorities'...

Our most trusted 'public servants,' then, are in fact involved deeply in organized criminal activities, not just by their tacit approval, but in collusion and direct participation; it's the way 'they do business.'

These statements were not provided (then or now) as blueprints for prospective organized criminals, but as descriptions of the mechanisms already in place in our towns, cities, nation, and in the world...stark images of 'how things work' in the Big Picture.

The Real Lesson, if there is one, is recognizing and acknowledging what this means to us here and now, today.  How does it relate to Big Money's unlawful control of our governments (Executive, Legislative, Judicial branches, elections, the Pentagon, and more); economies (markets, banks, tax structures, Treasury, resources, and more); media (the Press, TV, internet and other electronic communications, and more)?
How does it relate to our imposed and enforced addictions to the most dangerous and expensive energy sources (petroleum, coal, fracking, nukes, etc.), in spite of the eternal presence of alternative, infinite, FREE sources, most urgently in need only of recognition and development?  How does it relate to these Most Dangerous Energies' contributions to the growing crisis of Global Warming?  How does it relate to the explosive growth in War Industries, and the mushrooming emphasis on War-making?...[I could go on, and generally do, given half a chance.]...

Just wondering...

Please let me know what you think; I encourage you to leave a comment here, and if you've the time and inclination, please also see my other notes here and respond accordingly.  Thank you. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Most Important Quotes In History (So Far)

(And Somehow, Mysteriously Unknown Almost Everywhere)

   "A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks."
--John C. Calhoun

     "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
--Abraham Lincoln

     "You don't think we'd let that fool in the White House, do you?  You know you can get half the people in this country to shoot the other half, and we've got the money to hire them."
--Mark Hanna, speaking of his boy McKinley's opponent, William Jennings Bryan

     "I should probably have gone to the penitentiary than to the White House."
--William McKinley

Friday, June 22, 2012

War Is Crime

Thursday, 4-12-12

     Von Klauswitz said, "The sole cause of war is undefended wealth."  This seems a rash oversimplification of a most complex and persistent problem.  Yet, von K. is still highly regarded as one of history's foremost authorities on things military, required reading at West Point and other institutions of the 'military mind.'  What, in Herr von Klauswitz's considered and revered opinion, did he mean by such a statement?  It looks, for all the world, like another way of saying, "War is armed robbery."  If this is true, then it was a most prudent Public Relations move, and an ingenious and timely marketing ploy following WWII, to change the name of the U.S. War Department to the Department of Defense.  This fumigated the pesky odor of crime, bleached the stigma of aggression, and still encourages patriotic compliance and support.  Since then, all things with a 'defense' tag have been held as sacrosanct:  'Defense' budgets inflate explosively, immune to cuts; Blood-merchant 'defense' contractors even achieve preferred status, clothed in false innocence and 'benevolent' strength...all for the 'common good.'  Any opposition to this juggernaut of piracy is then depicted as attacking our common defenses.
     Nonetheless, such opposition has come, not only from the consistent Public outcry, but from many in our pantheon of true American 'Greats,' all in positions to know whereof they speak:
     General George Washington saw a standing army as inherently dangerous to our Liberties, and warned against allowing it...correctly.
     Abraham Lincoln announced the 'enthronement' of the corpirations by 1865, "...because of the war...," and predicted the destruction of our Republic in a rising flood of greed and corruption...correctly.
     Mark Twain and the Anti-Imperialist League spoke loud warnings against the acts and consequences of Empire...correctly.
     General Omar Bradley eloquently warned after WWII of our increasing focus on war-making... correctly.
     General Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex...correctly.
     Theodore Roosevelt warned against "...that most dangerous of classes: the wealthy criminal class...", correctly. 
     General Smedley D. Butler even wrote a book, War Is A Racket (1932), in which he said, "I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers.  In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism."  Where von Klauswitz's statement was an exquisitely diplomatic way of blaming the victim for the crime, Smedley Butler's language is in blunt American English, leaving no room for intellectual mincing.  General Butler goes on to recount his participation as a hired killer of dark-skinned people in China, Haiti, the Philippines, and elsewhere, for American corpirations.
     Redefining war as highly organized crime, according to Herr von Klauswitz and all these great Americans, then overturns the very way we see war, and the very ways we think about it.  This sheds a new and terrible light on our own national conduct toward those of other nations.  Once we entertain the possibility that covert forces within our nation have used us personally, and have used our awesome national might to work piracy and plunder on other countries, we recognize this possibility's becoming a likelihood, and then a certainty.  This is shocking enough on the face of it, that America's People could be so deep under the spell of the military-industrial cult that we've been party to the rape and pillage of any of the rest of the planet for someone's gain.  There are further revolutionary revelations...
     Having turned over this one rock, redefining war as crime, and exposing the corpirate criminal vermin there, let's not freeze up in shock and awe.  In the revolutionary spirit of leaving no stone unturned here, let us have the fortitude to recognize that the furtive forces, the corpirations and bankers who have subverted and corrupted our highest offices, have in fact been making war on us.  They have, at least since 1865, seen America and all our riches...our natural resources; our Human resources; our groundwater, lakes, streams and seas; our very atmosphere undefended wealth, ripe for plunder and exploitation.  They have succeeded nicely, so far.  Yet this success is based upon our not recognizing its true nature.  Not recognizing it, we'd not even see the need to defend ourselves.  We'd be pressed into compliance and cooperation and 'patriotic' submission to their illegal wars they wage on others, and on us.
     We've long thought of war as a clear division between us ('friend'), and them ('enemy').  To prevail, we defend our weak spots and mobilize our strengths to pierce their weak spots and destroy or neutralize their strengths.  Our victory means securing our position, and gaining control of their position.  For defensive aims, victory ends any threat they've posed to us.  For offensive aims, victory gives open access to their natural resources, Human resources, political machinery, and real estate, all their wealth and power as prizes of war...plunder.  Making war without real defensive reasons...lying about the, then, offensive war for plunder, confirming von Klauswitz's naming war as Armed Robbery.  We traditionally have seen this highly organized-criminal looting as limited to the extent of their undefended wealth.  Yet the modern machinery of war-thievery ravages a booty far greater and more valuable than theirs: yours and mine.
     Having lied to us repeatedly about 'threats' and 'sneak attacks' is itself a blind-side attack on our ability to make informed decisions about our own life-and-death issues.  This has defeated us at the outset, leaving undefended our own natural resources, Human resources, political machinery and real estate, all our wealth and be plundered at will by the the very apparatus of our own 'defense,' with the active collusion of 'our' politicians.  It's becoming more starkly clear by the hour that this is the circumstance in which we in America and our world find ourselves, today.  One hundred fifty years' covert insurgency by the corpirations and bankers have drenched us and our flag and our world in innocent blood.  It has obliterated wide swaths of our Life Support Systems, fouling the Earth, the waters, and the sky.  It has gutted the lawful sovereignty of America's People and others' around the planet.  Rigged for ever-greater profits for ever-fewer individuals, it lays waste to ever more and more.
     What does this mean in dollars and sense?  Take a glimpse of General Butler's numbers
for WWI, alone:
Corpiration                             Peacetime avg. annual profit             Bloodmoney avg.       %Increase
duPont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,000,000.00  (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$58,000,000.00 . . . . . >950%
Bethlehem Steel . . . . . . . . . . $6,000,000.00  (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$49,000,000.00 . . . . . >800%
U.S. Steel  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$105,000,000.00 (1909-1914) . . . . . . . $240,000,000.00. . . . . >100%
Anaconda Copper . . . . . . . . .$10,000,000.00 (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$34,000,000.00 . . . . . >300%
Utah Copper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,000,000.00  (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$21,000,000.00 . . . . . >400%
Central Leather Co.  . . . . . . . $1,167,000.00  (1911-1914) . . . . . . . .$15,000,000.00 . . . . .  1100%
General Chemical Co. . . . . . .     $800,000.00 (1911-1914) . . . . . . . .$12,000,000.00 . . . . .  1400%
International Nickel Co.  . . . . $4,000,000,00  (1910-1914). . . . . . . .$73,500,000.00 . . . . . . 1700%
American Sugar Ref. Co. . . . .    $200,000.00  (1911-1914). . . . . . . .  $6,000,000.00 . . . . . .   300%

122 meat packers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200-300%
340 coal producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100-7856%
     WWI corpirate ripoffs for which we taxpayers (the 99%!) are still paying (again, this is a partial list):
  • 35,000,000 pairs hobnailed shoes (for 4,000,000 soldiers)
  • Hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles (for non-existent overseas 'cavalry')
  • 20,000,000 mosquito nets (for troops in France; not one delivered)
  • 40,000,000 additional yards of netting (?!!)
  • $1,000,000,000.00 for airplanes, engines (for France; not one delivered)
  • 4,000,000 extra sets of 'gear' (knapsacks, contents) (obsolete 'surplus' at war's end)
  • 6,000 buckboard wagons (not one deployed)
  • $635,000,000.00 for wooden 'ships' (wouldn't even float -- gone)
     $25,000,000,000.00 National debt, 1918 (owed to 'bankers')
     $52,000,000,000.00 WWI cost to U.S. taxpayers, for generations
.....and this is just looking under one little corner of the rug, as of the end of WWI.
* * *
     Regarding how the government and the war-profiteers 'support our troops,' consider the 'Bonus Army:'
American troops in WWI were promised a 'victory bonus' of $1,000.00 each (to those surviving) at the successful conclusion of the conflict.  This would have been a hefty chunk of change then, especially handy in a Depression.  Fourteen years after the end of the War, in the depths of the Great Depression, they still had not been paid this bonus.  Tens of thousands of these veterans converged on Washington in the 'Bonus March' in 1932, demanding their promised reward.  In support of these veterans, General Butler stood as their spokesperson, to encourage them and advocate for them.  This gathering in Washington D.C. was then actually attacked by active-duty U.S. troops, to end the 'demonstration' and disperse the massed vets.  One adult and one infant were killed in the melee.  Commanding this attack were Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, later to become such vaunted 'heroes' in WWII, the 'good' war.  The significance of that treatment of American veterans then is not lost on us, today; that betrayal is typical of the behavior of the military-industrial cult in all its highly profitable dealings around the world...making our country so 'great,' so famously loved and respected everywhere.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friendly Fire; One Veteran's View

     My American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, defines the word oxymoron as meaning "...pointedly foolish..."  The expression friendly fire clearly fits this description.  A product of military intelligence, it's covered in layers of irony so thick and so many, we might expect it to take the cake in the oxymoron department.  But, until today, each occurence of 'friendly fire' has taken considerably more than 'cake.'  Among the victims of such mistaken aim, few survive to tell of it;  if you can find one of these survivors, ask them how friendly it felt.  Further, look up the one who pulled the trigger in each of these instances; consider the horror, grief, and self-condemnation each will carry to their last breath.  Is there any way any of these, on either side of the 'friendly fire,' could not take it personally?  No.  The rest of us are encouraged not to think of it at all, or if we must, to call it 'regrettable...tragic...inadvertent,' and so on; a sad side-effect of armed conflict.  So far in this observation, we're talking about circumstances in which individual soldiers on the battlefield, PEOPLE, have literally called the shots.
     By 1865, when Abraham Lincoln announced it, corpirate traitors had secretly seized control of the U.S. government, lock, stock, barrel, and armed forces.  Since that time, the corpirations have in fact been calling the shots in the 'big picture.'  Do you think Honest Abe was kidding?  I don't think so.  If you're a fan of friendly fire, you're sure to get a really big bang out of the consequences of these covert subversions, and the corpirations' rule-by-remote-control for the past 150 years or so;  for instance:
     Late 1800's
     Exercising dominant sea-power, 'American interests'* eagerly set about the building of Empire; subjugating, and yes, enslaving Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian, and American workers across the Pacific, and along the coasts of Chile and Peru for guano, the raw material for fertilizers and other agrichemicals, and for feed-stocks for plants producing gunpowder and other explosives, laying the foundations for the Military-Industrial Cult.  These pools of 'cheap labor' were also forcibly brought to work the woods, mines, and railroads of the American West.  When war with Spain threatened, Spain quickly met U.S. demands to avoid it.  These 'American Interests' took us to war with Spain anyway, for cheap real estate, resources, and labor.  The subsequent occupation of the Philippines, and the ongoing 'difficulties' there are covered in some detail in the book Conspiracy for Empire; Big Business, Corruption and the Politics of Imperialism in America, 1876-1907, by Luzviminda Bartolome Francisco and Jonathan Shepard Fast.  This piece of work should be required reading for anyone who still thinks it might be ok for corpirations to run our country (and the world) behind the scenes.  This needless conflict also fit in well with the designs of the Sugar Trust of Henry Havemeyer, gaining control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, much of Central and South America, even Hawai'i, indirectly.  While these corpirate 'American' incursions made many Americans 'uncomfortable,' their significance and apparent success was not lost on other powers, notably, Germany and Japan, both of whom felt elbowed away from the Imperial trough.  Could this have contributed to the hard feelings leading to WWI, WWII, and so on?  Quite obviously, it did.  How many American PEOPLE were put in harm's way for these commercial ventures?  How many American PEOPLE lost their lives, limbs, and loves, there?  Some 10,000,000 Filipino men, women, and children perished (so far).  Could all these losses be attributed to a kind of 'friendly fire?'  Could America's aim be so far off as to allow such things to happen?  I say, it could, and it did...and it is.
     Early 1900's:
     Similarly, Marxism and other socialist movements came in direct response to these corpirate predations around the world.  And, Kaiser Wilhelm was not about to let 'American interests' get by with all their plunder without getting in on the action, hence WWI...hence the interference in the Mideast by European and 'American interests' for their oil...
     ...hence German National Socialism (the German-flavored Military-Industrial Cult), the rise of militarism in Japan, and WWII...hence the cutting up of the planet like a pie between 'American interests' and 'Soviet interests,' the Cold War, and the Arms Race.  No discussion of 'friendly fire' should miss the advent of nuclear weapons.  Ostensibly created for our own defense, these heartwarming arms quickly reached a magnitude such that they threaten our entire biosphere.  That is, they are potentially so destructive, it no longer matters whose they are, or where they are aimed, the entire planet has been directly in the line of fire, ever since.  This has widely been recognized as 'unthinkable,' first, by the awakening to it among PEOPLE, and only then, with seeming reluctance among our 'leaders.'  Having then accomplished the 'unthinkable,' and further, having still accomodated it to this day, we must conclude we have done so, and continue to do so, unwittingly.  Congratulations.  Unwittingly is no way to avoid 'friendly fire.'
     The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 have been seen here largely as coming 'out of the blue,' perpetrated by vicious, religious fundamentalist wackos, for some twisted reasons unknowable to reasonable minds.  However, knowing how 'American interests' have behaved toward the PEOPLES of the oil-rich Mideast, at least since the end of WWI, would leave little room for such great surprise.  911 was nothing more, and not a bit less than the 'chickens of Empire' coming home to roost.  The manipulation of governments, rigging and abolishing free elections, installing despots cooperative with 'American interests,' would have predictable, unpleasant consequences.  In fact, the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Mideast, as the only outlet for the voice of the PEOPLE in those countries, was predicted.  Such dire predictions were promptly ignored, most unfortunately for us all.  Further, 'American interests' then engineered a 'counter-attack' on these nebulous terrorist forces, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, clearly based on 'intelligence' which ranged all the way from poor to none.  That these ill-advised military adventures work to the immense benefit of the infamous 'American interests' is no coincidence whatever.  Making such undeclared wars here and there pretty much guarantees control of their oil by these 'American interests,' and in the process, racks up astonishing profits for these same corpirate bandits.  How much do you suppose it costs to fuel a fighter jet?  An aircraft carrier?  Who gets the money?  The corpirate catastrophes we still insist on calling 'American interests,' that's who.  Who pays for it?  You and I do, in cash and blood, and at the cost of our hard-won American revolution!  To say very little about 'collateral damages.'
     Still certainly regrettable and tragic, these great 'friendly fires' are in no way inadvertent, since they have been, and still are perpetrated deliberately, by design, for immediate profit and control of potential profits.  And I repeat, we are all in the line of fire on this little globe.
* * *
      More Deliberate 'Friendly Fire'
     James Fallows's book, National Defense, traces the development and deployment of two of the most important weapons in the vast U.S. arsenal, the F-16 fighter jet, and the M16 assualt rifle.  Each of these charming artifacts was originally designed and produced as an extremely efficient and dependable killing machine.  Each was then further 'developed' by 'American interests' to the point that ruined its dependability and efficiency, resulting in the killings of thousands of American troops (our PEOPLE).  Lobbyists for the defense contractors, bent on yet more record profits, altered each of these designs, to the peril, and to the destruction of GI's, and at huge additional, needless costs.
     F-16:  They insisted on larger engines for these planes, overpowering their airframes, with the result that they spent more time in the 'shop' than in the air;  They changed the onboard electronics so that the aircraft became a glaringly obvious target on enemy radars...  The question is:  "Why?!"  The answer is, "$$$$$!!"
     M16:  Originally Colt's Armalite AR15, this little honey had a .223 bore with ballistics that ripped flesh and bone to hamburger; it's ammo had a fast-burning powder, matched to its chamber/round design that made for a ferocious rate of fire on 'full auto;' it was small, light, made largely of plastic (immune to rust), which made it easy to carry and use, its ammo being small enough to carry lots of it; it was quite resistant to jamming caused by the dirt and debris of the battlefield; all-in-all, an impressive little implement for mayhem and slaughter.  Yet, it was greeted with derision by the lobbyists and the 'big wheels' at the Pentagon; they saw it as a silly toy...not a 'real man's' rifle.  Here, they changed it for a bigger, heavier, 'more macho' chamber/round design; they rejected the faster-burning powder in favor of that which had been supplied 'our' armed forces since 1900 (duPont?).  They dubbed this altered weapon, 'M16.'  These changes resulted in a rifle obviously harder to carry and use, with fewer extra bullets, and notoriously prone to jamming in combat.  Combat field commanders in Vietnam were near unanimous in reporting 80% of their battlefield casualties were because of jammed M16's.  (It got so that in combat situations, GI's would throw down their @#&*!! M16's and pick up a Russian or Chinese AK47 whenever possible!)  Again, the question is:  "Why?!"  And again, the answer is:  "$$$$$!!"
     [For those of you in the carnage business, you may be pleased to know the AR15 is still available...should you be more interested in surviving a firefight than not.  Or, if you prefer, there are so many tin-and-plastic AK47's around, you might buy one, in the Mideast for instance, for around $5!]
* * *
     The Bradley Fighting Vehicle:
     This immensely expensive piece of killing equipment was deadly to GI's from the very drawing-board.  The precursor to the infamous Stryker, this vehicle doomed many of 'our' troops from the beginning.  The driver could not even see adequately out half his view; small 'rifle' ports on the sides were ok to see out of, unless you poked your rifle out, then your view was severely restricted; the aluminum 'armor' actually enhanced the explosive force of armor-piercing rounds, spraying molten 'armor' all over the interior, again, killing and maiming 'our' troops (PEOPLE).  These 'design oversights' were quickly and painfully obvious to GI's stuck in them.
     Designed and marketed by FMC, Farm Machinery Corporation (sic(sic!)) out of California, these deadly machines were funded by Congress and approved by the Brains at the Pentagon with some enthusiasm.  Even after it became known that they were killing our own PEOPLE, the Congressional representatives involved sustained their approval, implying that FMC, in its infinite wisdom, would correct any pesky problems.  (General Omar Bradley would spin in his grave, screaming and puking, if he knew they named this thing for him.)  You can find the names of these 'public servants,' in Congress and the Pentagon, should you care to look into it; please do.  Yet again, the question is:  "Why?!"  And, one more time, the answer is:  "$$$$$!!"
     Is anyone besides me getting sick of this endless, astronomically expensive (in dollars and in lives) corpirate pattern?  If so, talk to me!
 * * *
     Until and unless we recognize and acknowledge these most unpleasant truths, 'friendly fire' will become more and more the most salient feature of our great Western 'civilization.'
     Good luck; we're going to need it!

*A consistent media euphemism for the corpirations, distinct from America's PEOPLE