#101 – We Just Disagree

Compliance – It is hard not to!  

When asked, “Which of these people do you think you would be?” somewhere between 80 and 85% of people said they would be the lone, dissenting man with his arms crossed. Psychological studies show that not even 10% of us are likely to be that man.

In a 2016 Harvard Business Review study, people were asked, “What would you do if someone cut in front of you in line?” Most say they would promptly and politely ask the person to go to the back of the line. When researchers ran the experiment, only 1 in 25 did so. The rest were too afraid of what others would say or do.

Today, we face rewards for compliance; compliance with the government’s pandemic response measures (masking, distancing, lockdowns, and now the ever-increasing and nebulous vaccine rollout), we are granted the conditional privilege of reentrance into society; and the penalties for failing to comply. Being bullied, shamed, excluded, canceled, fined, and arrested has made it difficult for the courageous to dissent.

We hear that the vaccine is the only defense against COVID-19. Accusations that this is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” have gone unchallenged. We are vaccinating 5-year-olds when the vaccines give them at most a 1% absolute risk reduction. While the Director of the CDC, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, Israel’s Director of Public Health, Bill Gates, and even Dr. Fauci have all stated that the COVID vaccines do not, cannot, prevent transmission.

We have lost our moral compass and, with it, the moral and civic virtues on which we have built our health care system, our legal system, and communities. However, the despicable leaders instruct us to hate, divide, shame, dismiss or cancel. This narrative should not be the price for admission into the new American club.

So many today are choosing a life in a cage, blind to the restrictions that surround them. Their vision is impaired because they have voluntarily allowed their confinement. Government stimulus checks and mortgage moratoriums act to sedate fear. They have the essentials that most zoos for animals have. The zookeepers have worked diligently to keep its fold fed, safe and comfortable. 

Is there any sense in trying to emancipate those that don’t realize they are caged? Talking about rights falls on deaf ears or is dismissed as irrelevant or even selfish. There is a frightening majority in this country that doesn’t believe that they have lost anything. They have decided that a life of comfort, security, and conformity is possible and worth the price of freedom. 

Some amount of fear is the stress of living free. Freedom sometimes comes by being cold, hungry, and constantly afraid of being someone else’s meal. The choice is clear, between being fed or being free? Emancipation begins with the caged accepting that they are not free. Courage is moving ahead through fear, despite fear.

I am not your enemy because I do not feel the need to comply. A choir in which everyone sings the one part is bland and pathetic. The beauty of their sound comes when people sing different but complementary notes. This blending creates unity in the harmony of an enlightened and diverse choir. A choir in which we respect each other’s sound is a liberated society.

We Just Disagree – Dave Mason

#100 – Dear Ms. Cohen, I Still Question Everything

Question Everything

If society is judged by how it treats its citizens, what is the verdict for treating those that look, think, and behave differently? Is compliance the essential trait for being normal and accepted? I remember when the bumper sticker “Question Everything!” was a pass into the teacher parking lot. Today those bumper stickers have been covered over with “Where In This Together!”

History shows quite clearly that the medical field makes disastrous mistakes. Many of those mistakes were allowed to continue longer than necessary. Missing from these disasters are telling oversights; earlier intervention, lack of research and data on impact, and infatuation with a novel procedure/drug. Voices of the informed citizens and professionals become silenced by the noise emanating from the medical/pharma/governmental industries.

Mistakes? I’ve Had a Few

Until the twentieth century, the American government forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of people to improve the human species. Eugenics intended to reduce human suffering to a vulnerable population. The idea of selective breeding to eliminate disease, disabilities, and undesirable characteristics from the human population were inhumane.

As late as 1987, homosexuality appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association as a mental illness, whose diagnosis justified involuntary treatments ranging from confinement to drug and electroshock therapy.

In 1949, Egas Moniz won the Nobel Prize for inventing lobotomy. Lobotomy was to treat a range of illnesses, from schizophrenia to depression and compulsive disorders. By the mid-1950s, it rapidly fell out of favor due to poor results.

Dr. Henry Marsh, an eminent neurosurgeon, says the operation was simply bad science. “It reflected very bad medicine, bad science because it was clear the patients subjected to this procedure were never followed up properly.”

Marsh continued, ”If you saw the patient, after the operation, they would seem alright. They would walk and talk and say thank you, doctor,” the fact that the lives “were ruined as social human beings probably didn’t count.”

Testing Data?

Thalidomide, first marketed in 1957, was a widely used drug in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Prescribed for the treatment of nausea in pregnant women, experts estimate that thalidomide led to the death of approximately 2,000 children and more than 10,000 infants with birth defects.

From 1990 to 2001, over 2 million doses of an anthrax vaccine were injected into the arms of United States military members. Recent research indicates that the anthrax vaccine booster contained squalene. Its usage causes collective chronic illnesses and disabilities known as Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Pam Asa said in her view the fact that veterans testing positive for squalene provided conclusive evidence that vaccinations were a “major cause” of the condition. Dr. Asa said, “I believe that those people who were given vaccinations in the US and the UK were given something they should not have been, probably in the anthrax vaccine.”

The drugging of children is common. In the United States, 20% of all children are on psychiatric drugs. Many medical professionals believe that the psychiatric drugging of children violates their rights and is a form of child abuse. Children whose only crime is failure to adhere to behavioral norms become introduced to psychiatric drugs.

What Will It Take?

Medical science is far from infallible but continues to be blinded by hubris. It took Hitler and Nazi techniques to persuade the medical profession and the American public against human engineering; 1,987 years after Christ to accept homosexuality; 10,000 birth defects to stop distributing thalidomide to pregnant women; Gulf War Syndrome to stop squalene usage.

Is there any hope for skeptics to change vaccine coercion? One basic principle of human rights is the freedom to decide what is allowed into my body. Dear Ms. Cohen, I still question everything. Thank you!

#99 Covid – Treatment vs Vaccine

Distorted Narrative

At the age of reason, usually around seven years old, children can determine the difference between the truth and a fabrication/distortion of the truth. So then, why do adults accept fabrication and distortion?

Are they bullied by the supporters of the official version that refuse to discuss conflicting opinions? Or is it fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist, dog-whistle language for a fool, an evil person, a terrorist?

The government has not educated the public on the limitations of vaccines. Vaccines appear to offer some level of protection. But we continue to hear, wear the mask. Both vaccinated people and unvaccinated people spread covid. The pandemic of the unvaccinated narrative is false. It is a pandemic spread by both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

Anthony Fauci and his minions do not recognize that many unvaccinated and vaccinated Americans want therapeutic alternatives. The “trust me and take the vaccine” narrative has worn thin. Covid infections and variant infections of the vaccinated demonstrate a failure of the vaccine. Even the spin that vaccines prevent symptoms and death is not conclusive.

The only conclusion to be made is that the government is continuing to double or triple down on coerced vaccination policy. This policy has negatively influenced the research and development of other therapies to fight covid.

Covid and HIV

For the past 25+ years, Fauci has preferred respond to pandemics by vaccines from HIV through COVID-19. His singular focus on vaccines slowed the development of effective therapeutics in HIV. Are we repeating history?

COVID-19 vaccines, their availability, and the overhyped effectiveness have prevented further development of alternative treatments for covid. Fauci has set a course very familiar to those familiar with HIV in the 1990s. Friends and families of AID victims may remember that an over-investment of vaccines research slowed the development of much more effective therapeutics in HIV. Like leronlimab/PRO 140 and the advancement of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).

Ignored Alternatives

The government spent $12 billion on vaccines in 2020 through Operation Warp Speed while therapeutics were underfunded. All it would have taken is a few billion dollars to fund and expedite the manufacturing of a wide range of therapeutics to save lives, reduce the symptoms of covid and the fear of getting sick. Washington spent $2.3 trillion in stimulus due to the widespread shutdowns as therapeutics took the back seat. What a deal!

Vaccine makers were provided money and given special treatment in the clinical trial approval process. Therapeutic choices were limited because they conflicted with the vaccine-for-all policy. Tollovir and leronlimab are existing drugs that suppress the cytokine storm throughout the lifecycle of the virus.

Antiviral Therapy

Currently, big pharma is turning to antiviral therapies because the vaccines are failing to put the nail in the COVID-19 coffin. Pfizer, Merck, Shionogi, and others are now racing to develop better and more convenient antivirals. Antiviral therapy uses protease inhibitors to help hospitalized patients lower inflammation quickly to avoid entering the cytokine storm phase of the disease. These drugs work well in the early stage of the disease. More widespread use could make an impact on flattening the curve. Remember that catchy phase?

In an October 1, 2021 press release, Merck announced an easy-to-take, oral antiviral pill to treat covid-19. Pharmaceutical giant Merck announced that in an international clinical trial, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half among higher-risk people diagnosed with a mild or moderate illness. The company said it would seek regulatory approval as soon as possible, meaning further delay for the United States having an anti-coronavirus pill. No Operation Warp Speed here.

Monoclonal Antibodies

The FDA authorized monoclonal antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly in November 2020. Recently they have attracted more attention as the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 surges across the U.S. In other words, they have moved to the forefront due to the ineffectiveness of the vaccine.

Monoclonal antibodies boost the immune system after infection, speeding up your immune response to prevent COVID-19 from getting worse. Monoclonal antibodies target and neutralize the virus. When the antibodies bind to the spike protein, they block the virus from entering other body cells. They prevent severe symptoms that require hospitalization. When exposed to covid, monoclonal antibodies can fend off the virus to prevent them from becoming sick in the first place.

A monoclonal antibodies study of nearly 1000 people who lived or worked in U.S. nursing homes received either a single infusion of Eli Lilly’s antibody-containing four times the dose used for therapeutic purposes—or a placebo. In a press release, January 21, 2021, the company announced that the antibody reduced the risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 in the following eight weeks by 57%.

Among nursing home residents, who made up about one-third of the trial participants, the risk of COVID-19 illness dropped by 80%. Only four COVID-19–related deaths occurred in the study, and all were in nursing home residents in the placebo group.

Regeneron clinical trials of a different monoclonal antibody treatment using casirivimab and imdevimab reduced COVID-19-related hospitalization or deaths in high-risk patients by about 70%. And when given to an exposed person, someone living with an infected person, monoclonal antibodies reduced their risk of developing an infection with symptoms by 80%.

There are a few issues that surround monoclonal antibody treatment. Monoclonal antibodies treatment must begin within the first ten days of symptoms. Monoclonal antibodies are effective for about a month. Monoclonal antibodies were authorized as an IV and given at infusion centers making this therapy a bit cumbersome. However, a recent study indicates that an injection into the belly can also be effective.

Patients have to qualify for monoclonal antibodies. Many doctors are not very experienced with this treatment. Authorized uses for monoclonal antibodies may include: being the President of the U.S.; be classified as a high-risk person; test positive for COVID-19; have had symptoms for fewer than ten days; not be hospitalized, or not on oxygen because of COVID-19.

The deal-breaker appears to be that monoclonal antibodies might undermine the effectiveness of the sacred vaccines. Two vaccines authorized in the United States contain mRNA that directs the body cells to make the surface protein, spike, of SARS-CoV-2 acting as a trigger to the immune system to produce antibodies. Because the monoclonal antibodies target the coronavirus spike protein, there is concern that they could bind to the protein made by the mRNA vaccine, thus stopping the vaccine from functioning.

Conclusion

Has Fauci’s dedication to the vaccines suppressed treatment, destabilized the approval process of new therapy drugs, left therapeutics to fend for themselves, and contributed to a failed strategy? Have there been needless death? Has the national narrative enhanced fear? When did getting sick from covid become equated to death?

Gambling with human life is unacceptable. The combination of antiviral therapy and monoclonal antibody drugs may force us to look differently at treatment vs. vaccines. The loss of human life as a result of a failed strategy is criminal. Will anybody be held responsible?

Probably not. Only skeptics are held responsible.

#98 – Military Madness

State vs Government

Governments come and go with elections while the State grows stronger over time. With the growth of the State, a dehumanization effect occurs. The State views the citizens not as people they are responsible, but as obstacles. They have contempt for those citizens who stand in their way. 

The State maintains control through militaristic power and fear. It inspires awe and patriotism to which people pledge allegiance with hands placed over their hearts. Many people adore militarism and the U.S. empire. They believe that the U.S. government has to dominate and rule the world.

War is the Health of the State

In an unfinished manuscript, Randolph Bourne (1886-1918) wrote that War is the health of the State. He claims that in times of war, everything that the individual does is for the benefit of the State. He concludes, if war is the health of the State, then war is the death of individualism. 

Bourne observed, “people at war become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them.” War creates a “great herd-machine” functioned under “a most indescribable confusion of democratic pride and personal fear.” Individuals who constitute the herd “submit to the destruction of their livelihood if not their lives, in a way that would formerly have seemed to them so obnoxious as to be incredible.” 

America has been at war for over two decades. American troops have spread across the Arab world and the Middle East, leaving casualties heaped and enemies numerous. Not for me, not for you, and not for democracy but the State. 

Editor Carl Resek wrote, “In its proper place it [War is the health of the State] meant that mindless power thrived on war because war corrupted the nation’s moral fabric and especially corrupted its intellectuals.” 

Bourne wrote that in peace, ”the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men.” In times of peace, people are defined by self-interest and society, community, religion, or ethnic heritage rather than a political party; they interact casually with the government, giving little thought to the State. 

War destroys the ability of the individual to control their destiny. Bourne compares the individual to a “child on the back of a mad elephant” with no control. Only able to ride upon it until the elephant decided to halt. We have been on the backs of these elephants for much too long.

Tyranny Comes Home

Mark Twain wrote that ‘foreign intervention had real effects on the social fabric of America as the intervening country.’

According to authors Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall, war has a boomerang effect that erodes domestic liberties. Coyle and Hall claim that U.S. militarism abroad returns home to infect domestic politics and policy. With the expansion of government power, “the methods of social control, originally developed for use abroad, can be imported for domestic use.”  They call it the boomerang effect. 

A foreign policy of coercive intervention has created a monster in Washington. Reduced constraints and oversight or accountability have resulted in an expansion of government. Its broadened domestic scope, size, and power have negatively impacted liberties and freedoms that the government is supposed to protect. 

The perpetual wars have created a compliant citizenry. They have become more willing to accept these abuses in the name of security. A toxic mixture of fear and nationalism gains a stranglehold over many citizens, who are willing to pay any price to be kept safe from the hordes of fascists, communists, immigrants, terrorists, and viruses that will destroy their way of life. 

Coyne and Hall believe the U.S. government purposefully inflates fear to promote the growth of the national security state. Fear threatens the foundations of a free society. Fears push the citizens, in pursuit of security, into the arms of the State. The State obliges, offers security to unify the domestic public and the government. 

Even the separation of powers has broken down. The Judiciary defer to the State on national-security grounds. Legislators worry about seeming unpatriotic, especially when there are soldiers’ lives at stake. Anyone that questions the jingoism emanating from the White House or their colleagues in Congress is considered a traitor.

The reclamation of the United States of America begins with stopping this militarism madness. Stop foreign interventions that reinforce militarism. Stop promoting fear. Stop The Elephant!

#97 China – Not a New Cold War?

President Biden has declared the U.S. is “not seeking — I’ll say it again — we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.

Actions speak louder than words. Biden’s statement of not seeking a new Cold War and a world divided into rigid blocks is laughable. Historically Washington will use a position of strength to force its diplomacy upon other nations. China, on the other hand, tends to do what is best for China. Not what the U.S. wants.

Three Red Lines
China will not back down or buckle on issues contrary to its foreign policy. China has spelled out three red lines for the United States and has warned Washington not to cross them. The three red lines:
1) not challenging China’s political system;
2) not disrupting China’s development; and
3) not interfering in China’s sovereignty issues such as matters in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan

Cold War 1950’s and 60’s
In 1949 Mao Zedong and the communists defeated the U.S. backed Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang), led by Director-general Chiang Kai-shek to take control of China. The U.S. portrayed China under the dictates of Mao as the ultimate rogue state. In the 1950s and 1960s, China was far more radical than its Communist ally, the Soviet Union.

Chairman Mao Zedong’s policies led to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Beijing also fought two undeclared wars against the U.S., in Korea and Vietnam; it promoted insurgency and revolution in the developing world.

During the 1950s, the President Dwight D. Eisenhower administration put extreme economic and military pressure on Beijing in hopes that Mao would make excessive demands for support from Moscow. Washington’s Cold War narrative was that the US-led international rules-based order must preserve against revisionist states like China and the Soviet Union.

A 1965 Washington memorandum best outlines Washington’s strategy on China. It points to four blocs required to contain China; the USSR (Russia) on the north and northwest, the Japan-Korea front; the India-Pakistan front; and the Southeast Asia front. The U.S. was diligently maintaining an economic and military advantage in these blocs.

Korea and Japan Bloc
Three fronts, identified in 1965, are still maintained by the U.S. The U.S. currently has tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed along the Japan-Korea front. Washington continues to cite the threat of North Korea as justification for the installation of THAAD missile defense systems. However, it is no secret that THAAD is to defend U.S. installations from Chinese retaliation, not a North Korean attack.

India-Pakistan Bloc
Regarding the India-Pakistan front, the U.S. has most recently included India in another attempted anti-China front, the Quad Alliance. The US has armed and backed separatist militants in the Baluchistan, southwest region of Pakistan. These militants have for years attacked Chinese-led infrastructure projects that form the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). An assassination attempt targeting China’s ambassador to Pakistan, in Baluchistan, was aimed at disrupting China’s Belt and Road Initiative against the Chinese.

Southeast Asian Bloc
US-backed anti-Chinese opposition groups’ attempts to seize power in the respective Southeast Asian States have promoted an arc of instability. Dubbed the “Milk Tea Alliance,” the common denominator besides their anti-China agenda is their U.S. government funding funneled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and adjacent corporate-funded foundations, including Open Society.

Nixon Goes to China
Fifty years ago, in 1971, Henry Kissinger took a secret trip to Beijing. It began a U.S.-China effort to discuss issues that had divided them since the 1949 Communist take-over. The move changed the strategic geometry of the Cold War and proved to be a high point in Sino-American relations. Taiwan was the final stumbling block for the U.S.-Sino diplomatic relationship.

The Kissinger meeting was followed by a President Nixon visit the following year. This diplomatic change created the global conditions for China’s rise. Washington understood that re-establishing ties required moral compromises — such as abandoning Taiwan and toasting Mao.

China expected Washington to break formal ties with Taipei as a condition of Sino-American diplomatic normalization. Nixon was reluctant to give up on Taiwan, but he knew that the success of his 1972 trip depended on U.S. admission that it did not seek “two Chinas or a “one China, one Taiwan solution.”

Outmaneuvering Moscow and winning the Cold War was the greater benefit. The Soviet Union had to contend with two powerful rivals working to counter it. It had a two-front confrontation against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and China.

China pulled away from the Soviet Union driving a dagger into the heart of Moscow’s stagnate socialist model. The Soviet Union would have to contend with two powerful rivals, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and China.

After Mao’s death, the new partnership facilitated reforms. China moved toward capitalism and its relationship with the world changed. China received valuable intelligence, technology, and military goods from the U.S. from close American allies such as Japan. China received aid, trade, and investment.

Illiberal China

Many had believed that China would eventually become more democratic as it grew rich, like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. It never happened. A democratic wave swept across the communist world from 1989 to 1991. As the Berlin Wall fell, Germany reunified, the Soviet Union collapsed, the Iron Curtain tumbled, democratically elected governments replaced the communist regimes of Eastern Europe – China chose bullets.

The Tiananmen Square human rights crackdown in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later ended the 1971 marriage of geopolitical convenience between the U.S. and China. The U.S. unipolar moment led them to double down on engagement with China.

Washington believed that the forces of globalization and liberalization would transform China into a more liberal and less brutal regime. China had no interest in being transformed. The inertia of that policy, plus the fact that the U.S. got hooked on trade with China, has pushed Washington in the direction of a new cold war.

Recent U.S. Actions
Washington will keep tariffs and sanctions in place and continue to add additional rounds until Beijing changes its tune on trade and human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The militarization of the Asia-Pacific will continue to unbalance the power structure in favor of Washington.

To counter China, the U.S. regularly conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations(FNOPs), sailing U.S. Navy warships through waters claimed by China. Then points to the 1982 Law of the Sea of Conventions which provides for certain rights and freedoms and other lawful uses, of the sea, to all nations. (the US is not a signatory)

Washington demands that Beijing backs down on Taiwan and the South China Sea and then ultimately resigns itself to the reality of a permanent American military presence in its backyard. These policies reiterate that normalized relationships will only happen on Washington terms.

The AUKUS and the Quad
The U.S. has inserted itself into otherwise ordinary and long-standing disputes in the South China Sea. To justify the growing naval presence in the region, they have been escalating minor regional disputes into a global conflict. To help advance U.S. foreign policy, encircle and contain China, they have recruited nations into belligerent alliances like the Quad and AUKUS.

AUKUS
Following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration appears to be reorienting its foreign policy with China. Confrontation with China will most definitely ensue. Leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia launched a new strategic partnership, AUKUS, an alliance aimed at China.

Biden should explain how the AUKUS alliance between the U.S., U.K., and Australia fits his not seeking a new Cold War narrative. Defined as an enhanced trilateral security partnership to foster the integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains will deepen cooperation of security and defense capabilities.

Maybe Biden should be asked to explain how providing Australia with nuclear-powered submarines with offensive attacks and not defensive needs deepens information and technology sharing?

To suggest that AUKUS would protect China’s shipping lanes from China is paradoxical. AUKUS appears to be the primary threat to international commerce. Added physical force will only strangle free trade over the open seas.

World Reaction
Asked about AUKUS, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called it an extremely irresponsible move. Zhao continued, “Seeking [a] closed and exclusive clique runs counter to the trend of the times and the aspirations of countries in the region,” and those sticking to this “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality… will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.”

In a recent article, Malaysian politician Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said, “You have escalated the threat blasts Australia.” He reports, “this agreement indicates you openly regard China as a possible enemy and that if it comes to the crunch, you might even go to war. Just imagine what war would do to Southeast Asia.”

Hugh White, a former Australian defense official, told the New York Times, “the Australian decision to go this way is not just a decision to go for a nuclear-powered submarine. It’s a decision to deepen and consolidate our strategic alignment with the United States against China.” White added, “This just further deepens the sense that we do have a new Cold War in Asia,” he continued, “and that Australia is betting that in that new Cold War, the U.S. is going to emerge victoriously.”

The QUAD – (United States, Japan, India, and Australia)
Biden boasts that the Quad partnership is to counter China. Their biggest concern is its perceived challenge to maritime security posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing has built military installations on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea, a global waterway and trade route. Quad members see that as a potential threat to free trade and travel.

In March, the Quad leaders issued a joint statement about the importance of the rule of law [and] freedom of navigation. Clearly about what all four countries consider as China’s illegitimate claims in the South China Sea.

The United States, Japan, India, and Australia presented a united front amid shared concerns about China. Last week, the leaders pledged to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region undaunted by coercion. They claim to stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity.

Nations in the region have disputes not only with China but among the other neighboring countries. There is a series of overlapping territorial claims over the South China Sea. Is it presumptuous, or is it predictable that the U.S. would single out China as the bully?

#96 – 90 Years Later, War is Still a Racket

In the 1930’s, Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient, made a nationwide tour giving his speech War is a Racket. In 1935 he published the book War is a Racket. Butler points out how industrialists, subsidized by public funding, can generate substantial profits, making money from mass human suffering.  

In a September 13, 2021 paper entitled, Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 Pentagon Spending Surge, William D. Hartung examines Pentagon spending that has benefited weapon makers, logistics firms, private security contractors, and other corporate interests. His paper echos the same conclusion that Smedley Butler made almost 100 years ago. 

Hartung points out that the financial benefits from a war economy include much more than just the weapons industry. Although one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years have gone to just five weapons contractors: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, there has been an abundance of booty to be had.

Heidi Peltier reported that roughly half of the Pentagon 2019 budget went to military contractors. These funds were both for war-related and ongoing peacetime activities. The FY2020 indicates, the spending for these contractors grew to $420 billion. It includes logistics and reconstruction firms like Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), Bechtel, and armed private security contractors like Blackwater and Dyncorp. 

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud, and abuse in the two war zones as of 2011 had totaled $31 billion to $60 billion. Taking advantage of the less rigorous oversight under wartime conditions is what is called war profiteering. The war industries are guilty of overcharging, shoddy construction, and outright theft by contractors. 

Overcharging violations in 2004, KBR refunded the U.S. $27.4 million for potential over-billings at dining facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. Shoddy work has had tragic human consequences, like the electrocution of at least eighteen military personnel in several bases in Iraq due to faulty electrical installations and lack of grounding. 

The list goes on; $43 million on a never used gas station, another $150 million on lavish living quarters for U.S. economic advisors, and $3 million for patrol boats for the Afghan police that were also never used.

A Congressional investigation found that a significant portion of $2 billion worth of transportation contracts to U.S. and Afghan firms ended with kickbacks to warlords, police officials, or payments to the Taliban. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that a source of funding for the Taliban was the protection money paid from U.S. transportation contracts.

The use of private contractors reduces transparency and accountability in war zones, accompanied by disastrous results. In 2011 contractors represented more than half of the U.S. presence in the contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, at times employing more than a quarter-million people.

A 2017 analysis by Brown University’s Costs of War project documented abysmal labor conditions and human rights abuses inflicted on foreign nationals working on U.S.-funded projects in Afghanistan. Including false imprisonment, theft of wages, and deaths and injuries in areas of conflict.

Activities of private contractors like Blackwater and its 2007 massacre of 17 people in Baghdad’s Nisour Square have occurred. Contractors like Titan and CACI International firms involved in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Their activities included interrogators and translators on the ground at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison where inmates were tortured.

Failures like DynCorp, a primary contractor to train and develop the Afghan police force between 2002 and 2017, are rewarded instead of terminated. By 2009, over half of DynCorp’s revenues were coming from the Iraq and Afghan wars. The same company paid $1.5 million to settle fraud allegations for a scheme in that DynCorp officials received kickbacks from subcontractors. The same company agreed to pay the U.S. $7 million to settle a lawsuit for submitting inflated charges.

Smedley Butler wrote: ”War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war, a few people make huge fortunes.”

The ultimate solution for stopping war profiteering is stopping war. Until then, slash the Department of Defense budget and change the U.S. foreign policy. Prioritizes real diplomacy, not gunboat diplomacy.

#95 – American Tune

“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken”

In August 2021, after a bomb was detonated at the Kabul airport, killing thirteen Marines, President Biden declared that he would seek revenge. The terrorist attack was to goad the U.S. government to overreact, which it did. Three days later, a drone strike on August 29, 2021, incinerated Zemari Ahmadi’s entire family. 

Zemari Ahmadi, was a family man. He had a wife and seven children. He was working diligently to obtain refugee visas to the United States. Zemari Ahmadi was a U.S. aid worker, an electrical engineer by training, worked for a California-based NGO, Nutrition and Education International. Who would believe that carrying water and transporting colleagues around town in a white Toyota Corolla would be a death sentence?

“And many times confused”

Revenge justice became an injustice for Ahmadi and his family. While the Pentagon believed that the target was behaving suspiciously, in fact, he was going about an ordinary day of running errands. Security camera footage of Ahmadi moving about with colleagues, holding laptops and empty plastic water containers. The Pentagon interpreted the water bottles and laptops as evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. 

In press conferences after the strike, officials maintained that a large secondary explosion showed that the car contained bombs. They surmised that the non-existing bombs were to be used to disrupt the evacuations underway at Kabul airport. However, independent weapons experts enlisted to assess the damage at the scene found no evidence of a secondary blast. They found no damage to peripheral structures and no indication that the destruction of the car and the deaths of ten human beings resulted from the missile of a U.S. drone, only.

“Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken”

During the Vietnam War, hatred and fear of communism led U.S. government administrators to devise immoral programs such as Phoenix, which resulted in widespread civilian carnage. In the 1970s, the Church Committee and the Pike Committee reined in the CIA and the Pentagon. A moratorium was put on assassination by President Ford in 1976 through Executive Order 11905. However, in response to the events of September 11, 2001, the Global War on Terror ended the moratorium on assassinations. 

After the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government launched a War on Terrorism. Under the Geneva Convention, it was illegal for a soldier to execute an unarmed enemy soldier point-blank. In the Drone Age, it is perfectly permissible for an operator located thousands of miles away from a “battlefield” devoid of allied soldiers to push a button and eliminate a suspected enemy combatant, along with anyone who happens to be around him at the time.

And certainly misused

The drone program assumes that it is perfectly acceptable to execute anyone anywhere based on purely circumstantial evidence. In addition to cellphone SIM card data, drone video footage and the testimony of bribed informants on the ground are also used to add names to hit lists. “Crowd killing,” entire groups of men of unknown identity have been eliminated under the assumption of guilt by association.

Politicians and the populace have been “tricked” into believing that a soldier located in a trailer in Nevada could kill a person without being provided the right to surrender or be allowed to prove that he was not a terrorist. Many of those executed were unarmed, innocent, women, and children. 

U.S. taxpayers funded this large-scale program of mass murder. Yet this killing was ignored by most citizens, in large part because the mainstream media outlets choose not to discuss the matter, deferring to the Pentagon pretext of national self-defense. Their truth is corrupt as military bureaucrats convinced the populace that was doing nothing wrong, even when, under the guise of national defense, they killed scores of human beings at gatherings such as funerals and weddings. Hell, they have even bombed hospitals.

These premeditated executions, formerly known as assassination and considered illegal under international law, were rebranded as targeted killing and embraced as a new standard operating procedure of was billed as “smart” war. Remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) or lethal drones was good news for politicians who promoted the drone program without thinking about the consequences for the people on the ground. Lethal drones made it possible for war without the troops risking their lives without boots on the ground. 

“Oh, but I’m alright, I’m all right”

Daniel Hale, who worked in the drone assassination program in Afghanistan he stole and shared top-secret documents. “The Drone Papers,” were published online by Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept and later in his book, “The Assassination Complex.” The documents reveal; little analysis is giving to ensure the safety of innocent civilians, that the people killed were of entirely unknown identity, the targets were considered guilty without any ability to prove themself innocent. 

I’m just weary to my bones

For whistleblowing, Hale will spend 45 months in prison for violating the Espionage Act. His defense, “I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless.” He went on to say that he felt a need to share what “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

*Sub titles taken from Paul Simon’s lyricsAmerican Tune

#94 Mandate – What Can We Do?

A plan to force all federal workers to get the COVID-19 jab mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for others, weekly tests, and crippling fines for those who don’t comply. President Biden assures us that “this is not about freedom or personal choice.” No, at issue is power.

Biden’s order is a usurpation of executive power. Hell, human freedoms and rights are only secondary issues. People are angry that one man has the power to make health decisions for them regardless of their ability to make rational judgments concerning their own body, medical history, and overall health.

It is personal when a needle, filled with liquid, is forced into the arms of reluctant people: people that may have; natural immunities; never opted for a flu shot; no fear of exposure to the pathogen; concerns about being part of an experiment; or any other reason. People get mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights.

The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus. We have known this is not true since at least February 2020. However, there has been little information about the range of demographic gradients in infection. Age and overall health are the most susceptible gradient.

Scientists for hundreds of years have worked to understand pathogens. Their effect on the body, the range of susceptibility to both infection and severe outcomes, the demographics of vulnerability, how we become protected from them, and the opportunities and limits available to people to protect themselves and others.

The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is the vaccine, not natural. Natural immunity is long-lasting and broader. Science, for centuries, has been telling us this. Why have we not been inundated with this tidbit of science?

Biden appears to believe that vaccines stop the infection and spread. He has claimed this many times, with certainty that this is not the case. The CDC admits it. The best guess at this point is that it can help in preventing hospitalization and death. However, currently, statistics indicate that most cases in the developed world are occurring among the vaccinated.

The vaccine may provide more protection for those with natural immunity. However, the vaccine is new and untested relative to most drugs approved by regulators. This vaccine was approved much faster than any drug in our lifetime. People are concerned about possible side effects. There is no one in a position to say with certainty that the skeptics are wrong.

Modern society has, until now, focused on protecting human freedom, individual rights, and public health while preserving peace and prosperity. However, in the last 18 months, this work and knowledge have been shredded, replaced by superstition masquerading as some new science of social and pathogenic control.

One year ago, we had the opportunity to embrace the wisdom of the Great Barrington Declaration to protect the vulnerable while letting society otherwise function. This proclamation was censored and ignored. Instead, travel restrictions, capacity limits, business closures, school shutdowns, mask mandates, forced human separation (“social distancing”), and vaccinations have produced no successes.

In his July 4th, 1776 Declaration of Independence, Jefferson proclaims that the citizens of the United States have certain unalienable rights. He lists Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Biden’s mandate violates the truths that Jefferson described as being self-evident.

Jefferson proclaimed, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” He is clear that there are consequences for a dereliction to uphold this responsibility. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

Today’s governments have attempted to demonstrate to the world that they are powerful enough, smart enough, educated enough to outsmart and manage any living organism, even an invisible one that has been here amongst us since humans existed. They have failed. What can we do?

Much of this blog is the work of Jeffrey Tucker. (link below)

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/september/10/science-denied-the-biden-vaccine-mandate/

#93 – New Herd Immunity ?

Democracy Unchained

Alexis de Tocqueville was a French aristocrat and the author of a book that every American should read. Democracy in America was the result of his work for the French government. In 1831 he was sent to the U.S. to inspect the prison systems, but he used his nine-month trip to study all aspects of American life. His study became the first volume in 1835 and the second volume five years later, in 1840.

Tocqueville’s genius was in his ability to recognize the inherent dangers of American democratic tendencies. He accepted American democracy but was skeptical of what this modern democratic nation-state may become. Tocqueville’s study in America’s social science examines the virtues of democracy and its vices.  

Tyranny of the Majority

Of particular concern is what Tocqueville calls the “tyranny of the majority.” In a democracy, the majority tends to suppress the interests and opinions of the minority. In effect, the tyranny of the majority tramples on the rights and interests of the minority. 

Tocqueville worried about the potential of such a sinister tyranny when exercised over thoughts and opinions. Tocqueville points at political correctness as an example of this danger. He warns that those that protest will be isolated and afraid to speak or think because of the influence of the majority. 

Today, social issues dominate the ether. Activists, usually university-educated with an unhealthy focus on equality, have seized control of the airwaves. With dreams of racial justice and agendas related to race, gender, sexuality, and a host of other issues, cancel criticism and levy personal attacks on the infidel.

This social outcasting has dismantled individual opinion and choice. Any divergence from groupthink becomes intolerable as all substance in dissent is lost. The result is that vetted politically acceptable thought becomes shallow, simplistic dogmas.  

Love of Equality

Tocqueville argues that in a democratic country, the love of equality becomes a passion that tends to override the love of liberty. The more equal and alike men become, the more they are bothered by inequalities the equality of opportunity becomes extinct.

The love of equality is so strong that men will readily sacrifice their freedom to achieve it. As Tocqueville puts it, democracy awakens “a depraved taste for equality in the human heart … that reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.” With this, Tocqueville predicted that the ardent love of equality leads to socialism and the rise of a new despotism.

A New Despotism

Tocqueville describes this new type of despotism as “an innumerable crowd of like and equal men procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. An immense tutelary power takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. An absolute paternal power motivated not to prepare men for manhood, but on the contrary in childhood.” 

This power seeks to keep the crowd fixed irrevocably. The power promoted its citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. So, this power willingly works for their happiness and wants to be the unique agent and sole judge. It will provide for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances. It medicates its constituents from the trouble of thinking and the pain of living.

Government expansion and dominance prevail to monitor and enforce equality and fairness within social society. This legislation creates a government leveling system. These laws and regulations bring about an equality of conditions that makes ideas and opinions more uniform. Tocqueville calls it tyranny because an expansive, irresistible government is not in the citizen’s best interest. 

The governmental bureaucrats understand the relationship between irresistible paternal government and the vulnerable public. When opportunities arise, they have to be ready and able to comfort the insecurities of the masses. All it takes is action and good marketing. John Madden described this reaction, “It does not matter if the horses are blind just load up the wagons.” Although cavalier, I find this procedure lacking critical thought. 

New Herd Immunity Conformity

When unknown or threatening occurrences appear, many of us submit to a primal natural human instinct, herding. Thus a shepherd is needed to influence the herd. The role of government, as a shepherd, is what Tocqueville calls tutelary power. When people feel insecure, they abdicate freedom for safety, a mass abdication of responsibility to authority occurs. 

Too little herding becomes anarchism, while excessive herding is totalitarianism. The gatekeepers of society must keep their flock within the submissive boundaries without applying excessive force. Covid impingements and the vaccine issue have become the barometer to measure where that boundary is. 

Erich Fromm described automaton conformity as changing one’s ideal self to conform to a perception of society’s preferred type of personality, losing one’s true self in the process. He goes on to describe this process. ‘Most people are not aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists. That they have arrived at their opinions as to the result of their thinking – and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority.’

Henry David Thoreau prescribed individualism as, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however, measured or far away.” Thoreau insists that mavericks need space to dance; they dance to a different tune. Reckless conformists hear only one note mavericks hear the whole range. 

#92 – Mandatory Vaccines – Science or Dogma?

Mandatory Vaccines – Science or Dogma?

Scientists investigate the structure and laws of natural phenomena and conduct research and advance knowledge. Science is ideally open-minded and uses an open-ended process to test theories continually and updated them based on evidence and logical thinking about empirical observations. 

Scientists are willing to revise their beliefs when confronted with evidence. Science is a rough-and-tumble process of hypothesizing, public testing, attempted replication, theory formation, dissent and rebuttal, refutation, revision, and confirmation. It’s an unending process, as it obviously must be. 

Today select scientists are exalted into a position of being an expert not just in their field of study but in other areas beyond their expertise. Often, these men and women achieved their positions not solely on merit but through a political process; appointments to a government agency, awarded prestigious grants, etc. Some scientists win the adoration of the progressive intelligentsia because their views align easily with a particular policy agenda.

When medical scientists advised a lockdown of economic activity because of the pandemic, they were not speaking as scientists but as moralists in scientists’ clothing. What are their special qualifications for that role? Did these scientists understand the consequences of a lockdown–psychological, domestic, social, economic, for the diverse individual human beings who would be subject to the policy?

Scientism

Giving our assent to claims based on mere authority or assertions of “settled science” leaves us vulnerable to the dangers of scientism. For many people, science has become associated with a particular worldview. It is often maintained and defended like religion. We are led to believe that the political agenda is science. Scientism has justified some of the worst horrors in human history. Skepticism is the hallmark of genuine science and should be our guide.

Scientism is undermining the credibility of science itself. Merriam-Webster defines scientism as “an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities).” Scientism takes science to be the only means of answering questions concerning human behavior and motivation.

Humans are radically different from animals or other natural phenomena. They have minds, consciousness, self-awareness, and most importantly, free will, the ability to act spontaneously and unpredictably. None of these attributes have yet been explained solely through science, and their existence still keeps humans and their behaviors a mystery. While social scientists discover patterns of behavior to hold under certain circumstances, there will always be exceptions that defy the norm.

Disasters of Scientism

Scientism has been historically disastrous. For example, Marxism did not present itself as a philosophical theory but as the science of history, comprising predictable, objective laws of economic and political development equivalent to the laws of biology and physics. The truth is that Marxism is more of a pseudo-religion, which explains why many today still cling to some of its tenets in the face of the overwhelming evidence of its bloody failure evident in the 100 million people killed in vain in its name.

The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century created social and economic policies justified by “race science.” A division of humanity into superior and inferior races based on Darwinian theories about the natural selection of species based on their fitness for survival. Armed with the authority of Darwin, eugenicists categorized people based on superficial and often arbitrary qualities deemed “unfit” for survival. If allowed to reproduce or intermarry with superior races, the inferior races would swamp the more civilized and advanced white ones. The scientism crowd applied irrational bigotry to objective science.

For the first three decades of the twentieth century, eugenics was a “settled science,” and adherence to its theories was a sign of intellectual sophistication and superiority. Professors and esteemed scholars from the nation’s most prestigious universities published eugenics research and started academic programs teaching this new “science.” Mainstream media, newspapers, and magazines popularized this research. States passed forced sterilization laws, as New Jersey did under Governor Woodrow Wilson in 1911. The federal government passed two immigration restriction acts in response to fears of racial and ethnic pollution from Chinese, Slavs, Poles, and Southern Italians. 

With little genuine scientific evidence, eugenics and race science shaped decades of federal and state government policy. Resulting in a policy of illiberal and cruel policies. Programs of forced sterilization, racial and ethnic exclusion, and institutionalization of those deemed “unfit.” It took the horrors of the Holocaust, which followed these theories to their logical conclusion, to discredit eugenics and relegate it to the long catalog of other pseudo-sciences like phrenology, mesmerism, and alchemy.

Telescopic

There is an important parallel with the story of Galileo, who invited his contemporaries to look through his telescope. The Aristotelians and Church dignitaries refused to do so, as they had already decided that they knew the truth and didn’t want their worldview undermined. Dogmatic materialists refuse to consider and dismissed, out of hand, any evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

Most people are unqualified to judge most scientific conclusions. So we all need to rely on scientific and medical authorities, not in the sense of power but the sense of expertise and reputation. They are not qualified to live the lives of others. Medical experts saying, “Vaccine X is generally safe and effective” is different than saying “Vaccination should be mandatory.” Individual risks taken or avoided are not for science to determine. 

John Stuart Mill believed even dissenters with demonstrably wrong views could have information of relevance. To our peril, do we shut people up, cancel them or shout them down as heretics. That’s dogma, not science. We must have the courage to look through the telescope of others because that’s science.