Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The preservation of archaic traits

Of all the evil notions the Predator classes hold dear, the idea that it is a good thing to get someone else to work for free is the MOST evil.  The manifestations of this belief include usury, slavery, and the one for the "big" boys, empire building.

Our empire builders include a military that is a Leisure Class wet dream.  It will enforce the ECONOMIC wishes of the top Predators.  They will bully ANYONE who gets in their way.  Of course, an imperial military must exhibit all the other great Leisure Class virtues--especially wastefulness and uselessness.  Military golf courses on land-starved Okinawa will have to serve as a perfectly good example of Leisure Class excess in these most corrupt days of the American Empire.

Of course, all this comes crashing down when the costs of empire greatly exceed any possible benefits their plundering ways can snatch.

And of course, there IS another way!  Producers like cross-border interaction as well.  But the whole idea is different.  You want your neighbors and trading partners to prosper.  The best foreign relations triumph you can imagine is turning a former enemy into a happy customer for what you make.  Instead of dehumanizing others so you may some day feel entitled to kill them, you want to learn those best things that other cultures offer so you can make your own life better.

The list of how to manage one's affairs with others without resorting to theft and violence is actually quite long.
Chalmers Johnson, Portrait of a Sagging Empire
by Tom Engelhardt | August 17, 2010 - 9:57am
— from TomDispatch
In September 1998, I was handed a submission for a proposed book by Chalmers Johnson. I was then (as I am now) consulting editor at Metropolitan Books. 9/11 was three years away, the Bush administration still an unimaginable nightmare, and though the prospective book’s prospective title had “American Empire” in it, the American Empire Project I now co-run with my friend and TomDispatch regular Steve Fraser was still almost four years from crossing either of our minds.
I remembered Johnson, however. As a young man, I had read his book on peasant nationalism in north China where, during the 1930s, Japanese invaders were conducting “kill-all, burn-all, loot-all” operations. Its vision of how a revolution could gain strength from a foreign occupation stayed with me. I had undoubtedly also read some of Johnson’s well-respected work on contemporary Japan and I knew, even then, that in the Vietnam War era he had been a fierce opponent of the antiwar movement I took part in. If I didn’t already know it, the proposal made no bones about the fact that he had also, in that era, consulted for the CIA.
I certainly turned to his submission -- a prologue, a single chapter, and an outline of the rest of a book -- with a dubious eye, but was promptly blasted away by a passage in the prologue in which he referred to himself as having been a “spear-carrier for empire” and, some pages in, by this passage as well:
“I was sufficiently aware of Mao Zedong’s attempts to export ‘people’s war’ to believe that the United States could not afford to lose in Vietnam. In that, too, I was distinctly a man of my times. It proved to be a disastrously wrong position. The problem was that I knew too much about the international Communist movement and not enough about the United States government and its Department of Defense. I was also in those years irritated by campus antiwar protesters, who seemed to me self-indulgent as well as sanctimonious and who had so clearly not done their homework [on the history of communism in East Asia]… As it turned out, however, they understood far better than I did the impulses of a Robert McNamara, a McGeorge Bundy, or a Walt Rostow. They grasped something essential about the nature of America’s imperial role in the world that I had failed to perceive. In retrospect, I wish I had stood with the antiwar protest movement. For all its naïveté and unruliness, it was right and American policy wrong.” more

How Close is America's Demise?
The Ecstasy of Empire
The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”
As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echoes from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big-spending Democrats.
It is encouraging to see some realization that, this time, Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore. 
However, the solutions offered by those who are beginning to recognize that there is a problem are discouraging. Kotlikoff thinks the solution is savage Social Security and Medicare cuts or equally savage tax increases or hyperinflation to destroy the vast debts. 
Perhaps economists lack imagination, or perhaps they don’t want to be cut off from Wall Street and corporate subsidies, but Social Security and Medicare are insufficient at their present levels, especially considering the erosion of private pensions by the dot com, derivative and real estate bubbles. Cuts in Social Security and Medicare, for which people have paid 15 per cent of their earnings all their lives, would result in starvation and deaths from curable diseases. more

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