‘Military industrial complex’ has grown in power in the US
As a young boy, I didn’t have a clue what then-President Eisenhower was talking about when he warned the nation of the “Military Industrial Complex”. Less than a decade later in 1967, I found myself on my first tour in Vietnam.
Being in a war zone is a shock for almost anyone. It wasn’t like movies we’d seen back then but there was one thing that didn’t surprise me and I actually expected it, crude living conditions. We lived in “hooches” surrounded by sandbags, got one meal a day if you were lucky from a field kitchen, (C-rations the rest of the time), cold showers in a building with a water tank above for the water, and yes, the “crapper” which was a well-remembered smell not forgotten.
It was a new base and I was part of what was called the Air Police. Part of our duties was escorting convoys from a well-developed base with a shipping port. These convoys were targets of Vietcong ambushes, but also had some “bennies” (benefits), once you got there they had a regular chow hall, you could get things like real eggs, ice cream that wasn’t liquid, go to the latrine with flush toilets that didn’t stink and if there was some delay, get a shower with hot water. The convoys mostly had materials and equipment for a massive building project.
Most of our base to that point was built by the Army Corp of Engineers, but once enough material and equipment were brought in, private U.S. contractors began building, almost eventually turning our base like state-side bases. We did like the benefits but used to joke that this was the plan to win the war, “Build up all this stuff, show these people who live with dirt floors, no electricity or running water what they’re missing so they want to become the 51st state.”
Years later I realized all the blood and treasure that were wasted there and the people who profited from what turned out to be a fiasco, not necessarily because of the idea, but because of the way it was carried out, including those with profit in mind. That was part of the “Military-Industrial Complex”, which went and still does go well beyond party lines and has grown in power and spread to other areas of the government. It’s a ‘cash-cow’ or an opportunity for those who are well-connected or support it. There has been refinement and well-designed structures built to gain supporters and allies. Some of these allies may be just ignorant pawns, idealistic believers, actual profiteers for their own reasons, and actual or hopeful profiteers of it, now known as “The Swamp”.
Things have been going pretty well for some time, thanks to clever diversions by themselves, allies such as much entrainment, academia, media, the corporate world, and in particular in today’s world, the most powerful, the high tech world.
Then something drastic happened in 2016, a very crude, rude, abrasive “Orange-man” was elected to the presidency, and even with the multitude of faults, he didn’t fit in the swamp. As a matter of fact, he became the biggest threat to the swamp’s very existence by sometimes knowingly sometimes not, exposing their actions, so he needed to be totally destroyed. And that comes directly out of Sun Tzu’s book, “The Art of War”, which states you must totally destroy your enemy if he still has any power at all.
Due to the election, will the swamp return to a “federally protected wetland” once again? Just think how all the stories have disappeared about the Biden family’s international businesses. Will enough people be brave enough to ask the right questions to the right people (without violence), to open enough people’s eyes, still remembering the gifts we have still, being citizens of this country by the Constitution that the only power they have is given to them by us, or continue to be oblivious to what is really happening, which could be defined as the “fleecing of America”.
Unlikely Nevada will have enough vaccine for near future
On Jan 11, 2021, governor Sisolak gave a news conference, aired on Channel 5, about the COVID-19 vaccination program in Nevada. It emerged that the state of Nevada had received 170,000 doses of vaccine since Dec 14, 2020, and that 61,000 have been used, leaving 109,000 in storage.
There are about 3 million residents in Nevada. If all residents were vaccinated twice, then 6 million doses would be needed. At 60,000 shots in the arm per month it would take about 100 months, or more than eight years to complete the vaccination program (or four years if we went with one dose)!
Now, that length of time is not likely because our health care system is currently under a terrible strain from the surge in COVID-19 cases. We will likely be able to devote more resources to vaccination when the surge abates. Also, we will learn how to be more efficient.
However, that being said, it seems highly unlikely that Nevada will be able to boost its vaccination rate to over half a million per month. This would be about ten times the current rate, and needed to complete a one-dose program by end of June this year (HHS secretary Azar on Dec. 23 claimed this would be done). Even if we could do a half million per month we might be limited by supply from the manufacturers. Let’s hope that as more vaccine manufacturers come online, and existing ramp-up production, supply will not be limiting.
Anyway, what I conclude is that the state will not be able to vaccinate enough people to provide a general immunity anytime soon. Maybe by the end of 2021. We are sensibly prioritizing health care workers, the elderly in nursing homes, and other essential workers for shots which should reduce the death rate faster than a ‘first come-first served’ program.
Fascism could come to America in the name of liberalism
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”, is a quote that is dubiously attributed to Sinclair Lewis, author of “It Can’t Happen Here.” Written in 1935 at a time when fascist regimes were consolidating their power in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Lewis basically envisions a scenario where the United States becomes an authoritarian state through a president coming into power by embracing patriotism, traditional values, and economic and social transformation; and buttressed by a base of ultra-nationalist, religious fanatics, and xenophobes. He furthers his hold on power by suppressing a free and liberal press, and supporting a paramilitary that enforces the policies of the president and terrorizes all opposition. As prophetic aspects of this novel are in light of the Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol and our democracy, we are not fully holding everybody who contributed to the big lie(s) accountable and reforming the infrastructure that breeds the big lies.
After challenges to the presidential election have been reviewed ad nauseum (repeated to the point of nausea), it would take a long stretch of the imagination to claim that the election was fraudulent, and all of our institutions and officials were complicit in a grand scheme. Thankfully, our courts, election officials and security experts did a remarkable job objectively calling the election. Either the adherers of fraud are choosing not to accept above any reasonable doubt the results because their man did not get enough votes and they are so distressed of the new administration that they will not accept the majority’s decision and jeopardize our democracy or they are mesmerized diehards that are completely entrenched in their beliefs and trust in Trump that nothing will enlighten them.
“If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism” (“60 Minutes” – December 1975), is a quote that is attributed to former President Ronald Reagan. Although by liberalism he did not mean to liberate as Trump and his supporters of “patriots” promoted in the “Save America” rally, he has ironically identified a key tenet of Trump’s supporters. It is a liberalism, under almost all circumstances that gives people the right to do whatever they chose, freedom without limits. Patriots apparently think it is alright to liberate states (by kidnapping governors), have freedom to not wear masks (as you endanger others), and now protest the steal (by violently attacking and murdering). Save America by destroying it is oxymoronic or just moronic if anything is.
Reagan spent World War II as an Army captain in the first motion picture unit fighting fascism. In 1946 he began making speeches condemning fascism and communism. His speeches against fascism focused on the atrocities of World War II, America’s growing fascist movement, and the need to protect against racism and all forms of intolerance. President Reagan’s battle against communism coincided with the Cold War, his presentations exposed the oppressive character of communist regimes.
Scholars view fascism as capitalism run amok and communism as socialism run amok. Both are dictatorial, both engage in a high degree of propaganda, falsely elevating their leaders as saviors and protectors from an enemy that is not part of their group or an enemy that is foreign or an enemy that has opposite political views. Consensus among economists is that a mixed economy where capitalism plays its part and socialism plays its part is best, but neither has dictatorial power and both exist within the confines of a democratic state.
The Trump brand of fascism fits Sinclair Lewis’ characterization to a large degree. He is viewed as larger than life leader who for some has been sent by God, he is a strong man who is protecting his followers from non-Christian cultures, socialists, fake news, government intrusion, Second Amendment restrictions, satanical Democrats, and the list goes on. Fear-mongering and scapegoating are classic tools of fascists. Lies and exaggerations are basic.
On August 22 (1939), Adolf Hitler told his generals: “I will provide a propagandistic casus belli (provocation used to justify war). Its credibility doesn’t matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth.” (Wikipedia – Propaganda in Nazi Germany) Thereby, justifying the invasion of Poland that led to the Second World War.
Trump’s lies and exaggerations have led to our present state of pandemic denial and violent mobs.
Trump is no Rambo, no strong man or has he been sent by God. Inciting a mob, promising (a promise unfulfilled) to lead it to Congress and then condemning its action as heinous is duplicitous to say the least.
Media personalities, equivocal and unscrupulous politicians, and a biased mindset contribute to the Big Lies. Solutions to complex problems are made simple, or better yet, problems are denied that they exist. Willingness to propagate and accept unsubstantiated and false narratives, obviously, magnifies their existence. A proportion of the populace distressed economically and one that perceives to be threatened unrealistically by multiculturalism, socialism, government, mainstream media, poor immigrants etc. are easily swayed to scapegoat, demonize and accept conspiracies promoted by biased media and self-serving politicians.
Freedom of speech has a responsibility to be truthful. Just as it is illegal to create panic by falsely yelling fire in a theater, it should be illegal to stoke chaos and political polarity by spewing lies. Genuine policy disagreements are essential in our democracy and should be encouraged. Unfortunately, Hitler’s view that credibility doesn’t matter has taken hold in the American political and media spheres. Unfortunately, the only remedy to this, is restricting and regulating, coupled with litigation (Dominion threatening to sue Fox News for false stories) In England, a regulatory entity enforces rules on impartiality and accuracy. We may need something similar to assure that we do not radicalize but inform, to give us an unbiased and comprehensive presentation of news and issues.
The attack on Congress and our democracy has revealed a better insight and appreciation of what motivated Union soldiers, especially immigrants during the American Civil War after the siege of Fort Sumter. They had left tyrannical systems of government, fought against these systems and were not going to let attacks by insurrectionists on democracy and self-government be unanswered.
In a Times article history professor Don H. Doyle, author of “The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War” writes: So it was civil war, but for many foreign-born soldiers and citizens, this was much more than America’s war. It was an epic contest for the future of free labor against slavery, for equal opportunity against privilege and aristocracy, for freedom of thought and expression against oppressive government, and for democratic self-government against dynastic rule. Foreigners joined the war to wage the same battles that had been lost in the Old World. Theirs was the cause not only of America, but of all nations. (Times magazine-The Civil War Was Won by Immigrant Soldiers Doyle, Don H, Dec. 23, 2019)
Those of us that came here as refugees because of repressive and totalitarian states and those of who inherited this democracy will not concede and have our vote discounted. We will defend the decision of our court system, and the majority of voters.
To quote President Reagan: “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” (Brainy Quotes, Quotes of Ronald Reagan online).
The opposite of that is: War is not absence of conflict, it is the inability to handle conflict by peaceful means.
War has casualties. Those who support violence and armed insurrection need to assess the risk and benefit of their actions. We are all mortal, our lives are tenuous and war against the majority is likely to be futile and the consequences catastrophic.
Our vote, whether we are in the majority or in the minority, is sacrosanct, and is our connectedness to self-government. It is the majority vote that makes the final decision, and we, if are in the minority, are obliged to respect and defend.