“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun.
~ From Tom Lehrer’s ballad of Wernher von Braun
From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning is the enlightening memoir by Paul Johnstone, a man who worked in the "department" that decided where "they" would come down. Johnstone labored there during WWII and then from 1949 to 1969, the initial period of the Cold War and the period covered by this book. On August 29, 1949, the USSR caught the world flat-footed when it set off its first nuclear bomb. Thus began the years when frightened children scrambled under their desks by day and were tormented with mushroom cloud nightmares by night. The U.S. and the USSR stood on The Brink over the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Crisis when The Wall went up. Those years were the initial period of nuclear standoff called MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).
What Johnstone saw as he went about his duties horrified him – and it should also horrify us. For it is the thesis of the Afterword, by the author’s daughter, the prominent political commentator Diana Johnstone, that after the demise of the Soviet Union, the US moved quickly from "MAD to Madness." Madness refers to plans for a knockout nuclear first strike on Russia, aided and abetted by the latest missile defense boondoggle. That was a favorite fantasy of the generals in the post-WWII era. Whether we now live in another era of Madness, when a disabling first strike again dances in the heads of the Elite, or once again in an era of MAD is an open question in my mind. But Paul Johnstone’s memoir is a work of great importance in either case.
Continue reading “The Fog of Cold War”
When President Obama expelled Russian diplomats over the hysterical and unproven accusation of "hacking the election" on December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to be drawn into a petty squabble, saying he would delay any response until Donald Trump assumed office. Instead Putin’s response was to issue an invitation to American diplomats and their families in Moscow to join the official holiday celebrations in the Kremlin.
Then came the shock from President Elect Trump, in the form of a tweet (what else) heard round the world that read:
"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!"
And to be sure that everyone saw it, Trump "pinned" the tweet which means it is the first thing seen by viewers of his account. This was a first use of "pinning" for Trump. And to be doubly sure, he posted it on Instagram as well. This was no spontaneous midnight outburst but a very deliberate action taken on Friday noon, December 30.
Continue reading “Let All Opposed to War Praise Trump’s ‘Treasonous’ Tweet”
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s cry of distress is that of a man watching a tidal wave of destruction gathering force, similar to ones that have engulfed his country twice in the Twentieth Century.
Commenting on NATO’s recent military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, Steinmeier said, “What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. … Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken. … We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation. .. [It would be] fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.”
His dread is not to be dismissed since it comes from a man who is in a position to know what the U.S. is up to. His words reflect the fears of ever more people across all of Eurasia from France in the West to Japan in the East.
Under the euphemism of “containment,” the US is relentlessly advancing its new Cold War on Russia and China. Its instrument in the West is NATO and in the East, Japan and whatever other worthies can be sharked up.
Continue reading “John Walsh: NATO Marches Toward Destruction”
Who is the arch racist, Hillary or Trump? To answer that, let us ask another question, a simple one. Which is worse: to denigrate some members of a group or religion or race – or to kill them by the millions? And maim more millions and displace even more millions? Which is more “racist”? With that in mind, who is the arch racist, Hillary or The Donald?
Do the liberals who criticize Trump, but not Hillary, as racist forget the slogan of the anti-Vietnam War movement, “Stop the Racist Bombing.”
And which causes more blowback, more revenge attacks by the victims – the denigration with words or the killing with bombs and sanctions?
Then consider the careers and statements of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Is there any doubt who is the greater offender in terms of hostility to Muslims? And yet in all of the accusations of “racism” hurled at Trump from the editorial pages of the New York Times to the most “progressive” web sites and outlets, there appears no corresponding charge against Hillary as racist. That is symptomatic of a deep imperial sickness, an inability to see what is all too clear. It is also an indication of the deep reach of the elite into all outlets of communication from the mainstream to most of the alternative ones and even into the minds of supposed progressives.
Continue reading “Who Is the Arch Racist – Trump or Clinton?”
“We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.”
~ Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015
Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction. And they are focused on China.
First, the arrogance and hegemonic intent of the statement is astonishing even though it has become routine for the U.S. elite. What gives the United States, a country of 300 million on the opposite side of the vast Pacific, the right to determine the rules of trade for East Asia, which includes China, a country of 1.3 billion people? The U.S. can no longer assert that privilege based on its economic power since its gross GDP, measured in Purchasing Power Parity is now, according to the IMF, second to China’s.
Continue reading “Obama on the TPP – Beckoning Us to the Graveyard”
If all of us rolled down our car windows at 5 pm on weekdays, we would hear a single great voice booming out across the land as if God himself were thundering from the heavens. In reality it would be countless car radios beaming out in unison “All Things Considered,” sometimes known as “Small Things Considered,” so stunted is its coverage of the news. Such jokes abound, “Boring Edition” at morning commute time, with the whole operation labeled “National Propaganda Radio” or “National Pentagon Radio.” My contribution: “National Pablum Radio.”
But NPR is no joking matter; it reaches over 20 million listeners a week. (Rush claims to reach 15 million, 25% less, and even this is apparently, but not surprisingly, hard to verify.) By comparison, the Wall Street Journal has a daily circulation of somewhat over 2 million, The New York Times a little under 2 million and USA Today about 1.6 million. So NPR has enormous reach and influence in the constellation of the mainstream media. Its drive time “news” programs , “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,“ carried by almost all of its 900 member stations are its most popular fare. How could it be otherwise? The listeners are hermetically sealed in their cars for hours each day at these times.
NPR’s coverage of foreign affairs and of the wars of the U.S. Empire is especially nefarious. FAIR and other organizations dutifully and routinely plod through NPR coverage to document bias, an eminently worthwhile project. But such reports come too late to help immunize the average listener. We need a quick and easy way of seeing through the fog of NPR. Fortunately there is such a way: If we simply stop and think with some care about what we are hearing, we will discover it is the grinding day upon day repetition of imperial propaganda. The key is active skepticism, and we badly need to cultivate it in ourselves and our friends.
Let’s take a recent feature as an example. On April 22, Robert Siegal of Small Things Considered went for deep analysis of the situation in Yemen and the Middle East. He interviewed Nicholas Burns, a “professor” now at the Kennedy School of Imperialism (often mislabeled as the School of Government) at Dear Old Harvard. One might think Burns a non-government source, a good professor seeking the truth. Not so. Burns, before he was put out to pasture in that graveyard of Has Beens in Cambridge, “served” in the State Department at the highest levels under Bush I, the Clintons and Bush II. (At the very end of the feature Siegal hastily adds that Burns is “formerly of the State Department.”)
Continue reading “NPR Watch (National Pablum Radio): Profound Analysis of Yemen by Objective Harvard Professor?”