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Chalmers Johnson on the Cost of Empire

Posted on May 15, 2009
book cover

Editor’s note: Author, scholar and Truthdig contributor Chalmers Johnson passed away Nov. 20. In his honor, we are reposting this 2009 book review, which, like much of Johnson’s work, remains relevant to this day.

In her foreword to “The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts,” an important collection of articles on United States militarism and imperialism, edited by Catherine Lutz, the prominent feminist writer Cynthia Enloe notes one of our most abject failures as a government and a democracy: “There is virtually no news coverage—no journalists’ or editors’ curiosity—about the pressures or lures at work when the U.S. government seeks to persuade officials of Romania, Aruba or Ecuador that providing U.S. military-basing access would be good for their countries.” The American public, if not the residents of the territories in question, is almost totally innocent of the huge costs involved, the crimes committed by our soldiers against women and children in the occupied territories, the environmental pollution, and the deep and abiding suspicions generated among people forced to live close to thousands of heavily armed, culturally myopic and dangerously indoctrinated American soldiers. This book is an antidote to such parochialism.

Catherine Lutz is an anthropologist at Brown University and the author of an ethnography of an American city that is indubitably part of the American military complex: Fayetteville, N.C., adjacent to Fort Bragg, home of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School (see “Homefront, A Military City and the American Twentieth Century,” Beacon Press, 2002). On the opening page of her introduction to the current volume, Lutz makes a real contribution to the study of the American empire of bases. She writes, “Officially, over 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees are massed in 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories.” She cites as her source the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for fiscal year 2007. This is the Defense Department’s annual inventory of real estate that it owns or leases in the United States and in foreign countries. Oddly, however, the total of 909 foreign bases does not appear in the 2007 BSR. Instead, it gives the numbers of 823 bases located in other people’s countries and 86 sites located in U.S. territories. So Lutz has combined the foreign and territorial bases—which include American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Johnston Atoll, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Guam is host to at least 30 military sites and Puerto Rico to 41 bases.


book cover


The Bases of Empire


By Catherine Lutz


NYU Press, 356 pages


Buy the book

Combining the two numbers is a good idea. Some of the most deplorable conditions in the American military empire exist in U.S. territories, notably in Puerto Rico, where the citizens fought a long battle to stop the naval bombardment of Vieques Island, and in Guam, where the government plans to relocate more than 8,000 Marines from Okinawa together with a $13 billion expansion of Air Force and Navy facilities. The result will be an almost 15 percent increase in Guam’s population, which will significantly exceed the capacity of the island’s water and solid-waste systems. (See “U.S. Military Guam Buildup Spurs Worry over Services,” San Diego Union-Tribune, April 12, 2009.) In the book under review here, Lutz also includes an essay on the state of Hawaii, with its 161 military installations (in 2004) covering 6 percent of the state’s land area (22 percent of the state’s most densely populated island, Oahu). The military is easily Hawaii’s largest polluter, including the secret use of depleted uranium ammunition at the Shofield range, evidence of which was uncovered in 2006.

It should be noted that the BSR for fiscal 2008 has been available since the summer of last year and it somewhat alters Lutz’s figures. It gives details on 761 bases in other people’s countries and 104 U.S. territories, which produces a Lutz total of 865. Such small variations from year to year have been typical of the American empire throughout the Cold War. Some 865 bases located in all the continents except Antarctica is not only a staggeringly large number compared even with the great empires of the past, but one the U.S. clearly cannot afford given its severely weakened economic condition.

Nonetheless, there has been no public discussion by the Obama administration over starting to liquidate our overseas bases or beginning to scale back our imperialist presence in the rest of the world. One must also remember that the BSR is an official source that often conflicts with other reports on the numbers of American military personnel located all over the world. It omits many bases that the Department of Defense wants to conceal or play down, notably those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. For example, just one of the many unlisted bases in Iraq, Ballad Air Base, houses 30,000 troops and 10,000 contractors, and extends across 16 square miles with an additional 12-square-mile “security perimeter.”

One other subject that Lutz touches on in her introduction and that cries out for a book-length study is the political machinations that every American embassy and military base on earth engages in to undermine and change local laws that stand in the way of U.S.  military plans. For years the United States has interfered in the domestic affairs of nations to bring about “regime change,” rig elections, free American servicemen who have been charged with extremely serious felonies against local civilians, indoctrinate the local officer corps in American militarist values (as at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Ga.), and preserve and protect the so-called Status of Forces Agreements that the United States imposes on all nations with U.S. bases. These SOFAs give our troops extraterritorial privileges such as freedom from local laws and from passport and travel regulations, and they absolve the U.S. from a country’s anti-pollution requirements, noise restrictions and environmental laws.

Mapping U.S. Power

The first essay in Lutz’s collection is by one of the few genuine veterans of military base studies, Joseph Gerson, the New England director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee. He is the editor (along with Bruce Birchard) of “The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of U.S. Military Bases” (Boston: South End Press, 1991). His essay on “U.S. Foreign Military Bases and Military Colonialism: Personal and Analytical Perspectives” is particularly good on the hypocrisy and opportunism that imperialism imposes on our foreign policy, regardless of our intentions. For example, he notes, in the words of the American Declaration of Independence, the “abuses and usurpations” that King George III of England imposed on us though his “standing armies kept among us, in times of peace.”

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, November 23, 2010 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

Chalmers Johnson, in his exposure of the extent of American militarism, performed a great service to humanity.

“We have become a military with a country.”
— Chalmers Johnson

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By Night-Gaunt, August 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

Congress stopped declaring war after December 8, 1941. So it has been a long time that our gov’t has been losing its checks and balances all the way to 2010 and beyond.

Our empire isn’t even fully formed yet! We still have the remnants of the Republic around which gums up the works even as our inverted totalitarianism slides most of what they want through without hardly a ripple while spending to save human life here and abroad is a battle royal for even the most meager of scraps, like our so called health care bill.

It isn’t our empire that is crumbling, it is our republic. Not the first time its happened and probably not the last until a fundamental change in the human animal happens and not before.

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By garth, August 26, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Let’s see.

This article ran in May of 2009.

Obama was in office for less than four months.

Today, General Petreaus says the war won’t end in Afghanistan, Odierno says the war won’t end in Iraq. Admiral Mullens says. ““Let’s saddle up for an attack aon Iran.”

What the hell happened to the chain of command?  I thought the POTUS was the CINC and only Congress declared War.  I guess I was wrong.  Wrong country.  I’m sorry.  Panama, France, Italy.. etc.

Where is that cute-little-African American boy?  Martha’s Vineyard.  Playing golf.  7 weeks vacation.  George W. had more vacay, but he has a weak mind.

I don’t want to contribute to the Republican Party in any way, but where the hell are true Americans?

When is this shit going to end?  Or do they think it can go on forever?

If I were to live long enough, I would be able to say, ‘I told you so.’

These bastards don’t know how close they are to the end.

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By Robert Taylor, August 26, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is well past time to end our empire and retore our republic.  Support our troops => Bring them home and put them on both of our borders.

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By daRaL, December 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Here in america, if the term is used, it will always be met with that old state of ‘denial’ because america is a moral and rightous country and never does a devious deed unless it was an ‘emergency’ needing the immediate actions of any number of secret agencies of ‘our’ government, then it is not blowback. dizi izle

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By oyun, December 4, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment
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By KDelphi, May 19 at 7:03 pm #

“That is how I took it..I made the mistake of watching 60 minutes also.”

I felt the same way after watching that segment.  I had to ask, why am I watching this?  My only excuse was that I wanted to see how the Status Quo was presenting this latest buildup to war.  I got my answer, but I was thinking as Gates was making all these statements to a Just-Happy-to-Be-Here-and-I’ll-Say-Anything-You’d-Like Katie Couric, that all these statements and pronouncements will change, and they know it.
I’ve heard enough from them on the subject.

As far as empire goes, I remember John Perkins, the author of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” saying in an interview that this empire doesn’t need to use the methods of previous empires until push comes to shove.  The oligarchy in the U.S. and England could easily bribe a tinpot dictator to do their bidding and reap the profits from a grab of the country’s mineral resources.  If not, then the Special Forces and the CIA would enter into the equation for an assassination.  If that bogged down, then the military would go in to “protect” US interests.
What’s interesting is that this tactic seems not to have worked lately in South America.  A a matter of fact, it seems to have failed miserably.
The other thing that has caught my attention is that Presidential administrations come and go, but the foreign policy of the US remains constant.  They are hell bent on full spectrum dominance.  And right now this is based on the availability and use of the Drone or Predator.  They are building more Drones than jet fighters in the next budget.
<a >oyun</a>

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By Night-Gaunt, November 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I found a number between $2.3-$3 trillion dollars missing and about 5 years ago a certified accountant couldn’t find where it was. He was baffled. You could outfit your own shadow army with that kind of money couldn’t you?

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By garth, November 23, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

It’s a cancer eating the mind and soul of this nation.

Bush doubled the Defense budget to 600 billion and Obama increased it by 4%.  It is larger than the combined defense budgets of the rest of the world.  Chalmers Johnson combined the military spending of the DoD, the State Depart, and the Dept of Homeland Security, and the budget grows to 1 trillion.
An Air Force brass, Somersby by name, in New Mexico entertained a few local civic leaders and warned them of the Social Security and Medicare spending and how it is fiscally irresponsible.  On September 10, 2001 an audit of the Pentagon was released that found that $ 2 trillion dollars were unaccounted for.
Parade magazine published a piece yesterday to prepare its readers for the cuts in Social Security and Medicare. 60 Minutes continues it propaganda to undermine Medicare.
The Boston Globe did a story about a Harvard researcer who also served in Afghanistan.  He represents the new American, Superman.  If you are sitting on your arse, or working at McDonalds, or going to a community college, you are not part of Be All You Can Be crowd.
Our brave senators, Bayh, Conrad, Gregg and Warner talked about forming a commission to make recommendations on the cutting the funding of Social Security and Medicare.  They also talked about taking the vote on these findings after the 2010 election.  Now there’s profiles in courage.
If you can’t pull yourself up by the bootstraps against Wall Street, Health Insurance, PHRMA, and the adminstration and Congress than you are weak, as useless as nun’s cunt.
God bless.

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By peynir, November 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m really very useful to follow a long-time see this
as a blog here Thank you for your valuable information

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By Night-Gaunt, November 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Yes, I said the same thing in that same language including the “shining city on a hill of skulls,” but I believe it to be a correct assessment. When the Greater Crash happens it will be all but too late to go against them then. Just as they planned for so many years. Using the greed of others was enough to head us as a Republic in a death spiral that Obama has done nothing to stem. Whether consciously part of the Cabal or not the end product amounts to the same thing.

If we could just defund the military surveillance complex by 90% and channel it into rebuilding the nation and dismantling the huge gambling casino called Wall St. we could have a chance of preserving and maybe fixing the Republic.

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By KDelphi, May 27, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

rocker—good video.

With Gen Welsey Clark showing his true colors.

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By Rocker, May 27, 2009 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

FYI, Catherine Lutz, along with James Der Derian, author of Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial Media-Entertainment Network, were on Open Source with Christopher Lydon last month:

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By KDelphi, May 20, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

I have to agree, again, with Folktruther on this one: (sorry…lol)

“In the US, being powerful increasingly means that what you do is legal. They can always find a judge to uphold it.”

And being powerful in the uS means being rich or appearing to be rich. Being of “their’ class. (“other lawyers”, “other Congrespersons”, “other Wall St gurus”—so “intelligent!”)

If you have enough money in the uS, you can do just about anything. If you dont , which the “middle class” will only soon come to realize, it doesnt matter what you do. Youre fucked.

garth—I agree, and, it is failing in the Middle East, and everywhere else.It should fail, but, the poor should not have to pay the price. But, they will. They must “live in the manner to which they have become accoustomed”!! As Kenny Boy said “its not a lifestyle that you can just abandon”, so he decided he’d rather die than be poor.

Why is the topic of class so avoided on websites? It isnt just about race. If youre Af Am and RICH, (Ivy League, etc.)you can be president, as long as you bow to the powers that be, like a WASP.

Its all just GREEN.

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By garth, May 20, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

By KDelphi, May 19 at 7:03 pm #

“That is how I took it..I made the mistake of watching 60 minutes also.”

I felt the same way after watching that segment.  I had to ask, why am I watching this?  My only excuse was that I wanted to see how the Status Quo was presenting this latest buildup to war.  I got my answer, but I was thinking as Gates was making all these statements to a Just-Happy-to-Be-Here-and-I’ll-Say-Anything-You’d-Like Katie Couric, that all these statements and pronouncements will change, and they know it. 
I’ve heard enough from them on the subject.

As far as empire goes, I remember John Perkins, the author of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” saying in an interview that this empire doesn’t need to use the methods of previous empires until push comes to shove.  The oligarchy in the U.S. and England could easily bribe a tinpot dictator to do their bidding and reap the profits from a grab of the country’s mineral resources.  If not, then the Special Forces and the CIA would enter into the equation for an assassination.  If that bogged down, then the military would go in to “protect” US interests.
What’s interesting is that this tactic seems not to have worked lately in South America.  A a matter of fact, it seems to have failed miserably.
The other thing that has caught my attention is that Presidential administrations come and go, but the foreign policy of the US remains constant.  They are hell bent on full spectrum dominance.  And right now this is based on the availability and use of the Drone or Predator.  They are building more Drones than jet fighters in the next budget.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

As I said FolkTruther we aren’t a full one just yet. Most of it is still hidden and only comes out for a few who stand out. You would know when we were under martial law conditions. The cops could just shoot you or arrest you and you would then disappear. At the very least it is selective totalitarianism. [Blacks, Asians and Hispanics know that kind.]But we are very close. Once we hit an economic collapse they will hold out their claws as refuge in a chaotic vicious world and most will take it. For those who take it will find themselves in a totally structured bee hive existence in a political/military/corporate/religious machine. You don’t know ruthless until you either read or experience what others have. Germany, Russia, Argentina. Cambodia, Uganda take your pick. I would recommend reading Naomi Wolf‘s book “The End of America” to see how it has been done and what is being done to us now.

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By Folktruther, May 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt totalitarianism is different than empire. As a neoliberal police state the US isn’t and can’t be totalarian.  It has been imperalist for a century or so, and an increasing police state for nearly a decade. 

I don’thave any Democratic rights and neither do you, you just don’t know it.  The US power structure can kill, imprison and torture you or me, any time they wish, as well as put you on alist to prevent you from flying, audit your taxes, etc. All to protect Freedom and Democacy.  They are currently threatening to fire a tenured professor at Santa Barbara for anti-semitism for analyzing the Gazan sluaghter.

there are no laws any more since we are at War, endless War. the powerfulcan do as they wish, it is merely a matter of conveinece and expense. and it will get worse, as it has been, because the American people are mired in the power delusions inherited from previous generations.

In the US, being powerful increasingly means that what you do is legal. They can always find a judge to uphold it.

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By KDelphi, May 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

I tend to think of the US as a sortve “as if” empire (not) speaks and acts as if it were an Empire (“we’re still the richest most powerful country by far…blah, blah, blah”), but, the US never really “got there” (never achieved Empire, except in terms of military)...“after the Cold ‘War’”, it became an Empire of kitsch…kitschy plastic crap, which they can now make cheaper elsewhere.

Everyone still wears US t-shirts (made in Mexico) and listens to corporate muzak. What kind of “culture” it really is, I havent a clue.

garth—“The DoD, what’s-his-name Gates, declared on 60 Minutes, one of the most ardent supporters of our government messages, that the Russians killed civilian Afghans in the 60s without remorse, meaning that we can kill as many of them them as want with remorse.”

That is how I took it..I made the mistake of watching 60 minutes also.

jimfromthefoothills—No, in 19th Century England, they wouldve had more rights.  At least they had the Magna Carta. At least Poor Law provided for necessary medical care and “relief” if one lost employment.

Now that I think about it, life in the US will probably become Dickinsonian for alot more people now.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2009 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

That is what Wolin called “inverted totalitarianism” but my contention remains that as an obvious totalitarian country the empire would react without the messiness of democracy. No matter how truncated it is. It would be an efficient gov’t without the niceties we still have. You still have rights so you are wrong at this point. So I say we still don’t have a full empire but a cobbled together kluge of a hybrid. Our would be owners want a clean sharp empire both inside and out. I stand by my contention Folktruther.

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By Folktruther, May 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, you are quite wrong that ‘we’ (not me) are not an empire until the traces of the republic are sweapt away. The five centuries that the Western Roman empire existed, the Roman Senate and all the various officials did as well, shorn of most of their power.  As did slavery. 

the idea was to assure the people when the emperor became military dictator, that nothing had changed.  So the political furniture was left intact. It is a question of perception management.  It is like so much of poltical discourse, a historical game of Let’s Pretend.  The powerful pretend to tell the population the truth and the people, with native courtesy, pretend to believe them.

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By garth, May 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know quite what to make of all this, but according to this website, the Global European Anitcipation Bulletin (GEAB), we have turned to the corner and we are entering into a new economic and social era. W need a new reference point.!-Global-systemic-crisis-June-2009-When-the-world-steps-out-of-a-sixty-year-old-referential_a3248.html

Now, if what they say is anywhere near the truth, what we are headed for is an earthquake-like disruption of the American social economy.

The subtle, or not so subtle changes, are all too obvious, yet nothing happens.  Seems very strange to me.

The DoD, what’s-his-name Gates, declared on 60 Minutes, one of the most ardent supporters of our government messages, that the Russians killed civilian Afghans in the 60s without remorse, meaning that we can kill as many of them them as want with remorse.  Today 29 Afghans were killed in a drone attack.  And that is the whole fucking thing that these people in the US defense industry is basing their success in the war in Afghanistan on—the figgin’ drone attacks, the disembodied flying cyclops with a missile attached and arms, and shall we call it a brain, in an army base in Nevada.
General Mullins today talked of 2010 being very violent as if he were talking about the harvest from a crop of corn, or the yield from an investment.
Katie Couric on 60 Mintes said that Pakistan had the highest percentage of terrorists per square mile of any part of the world. It kinda flies in the face of what Juan Coles said.  He’s a professor from University of Michigan who has lived there and Katie Couric is a dumb, dumb, high-school sweetheart kind a girl from Virginia,  Whom do you believe?
Katie said that the Taliban killed a young girl and her boyfriend in public for eloping.  Does that sound like George H.W. Bush’s claim that the Iraqis killed a baby in an incubator in their invasion of Kuewait?  That turned out to be all a lie. 
Yet 60 Minutes’s access to millions of “kill them” Americans makes it very unlikely that the truth of any of these stories will come out.  I am a conspiracy theorist. 
The most insidious is the sponsor of 60 Minutes, the Alzheimers Organization.  That’s right.  Not American Brands shit.  What that tells me is that we are heading in a new direction in advertisement.  Government sponsored programs to silently harm people will be followed by tax free non profit so called health organizations to reap the money that would be spent on Medicare and Medicaid.  It will all be done by means of advertising. 
Alzheimers Org, a non profit organization will pose as doing good while sucking the tax dollar.  And it will go on and on until the ones who could’ve done something are dead or dying and the young and the newly enfranchised don’t have any idea what you are talking about.

This is the New World Order!

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By Night-Gaunt, May 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

We are not a full empire until, “the last remnants of the old Republic have been swept away,” and the Frankenstein’s monster is one whole thing of evil beauty. Not the hybrid of Pheonix and Cockitrace that it is now.

If we are ruled by an organization that punishes corruption it will be even worse. Then it will run more efficiently and have the ability to last a long time. [Even 200 years is a long time in human lifespan reckoning.]

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By Paul_GA, May 18, 2009 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

Glad you like it, PSmith. Since this country is a fat, bloated, murderous empire now and no longer a republic, despite its retaining republican trappings (mere window dressing—smoke and mirrors), to continue to call its capital “Washington DC” is virtually blasphemous, and an insult to the memory of the great gentleman for whom it’s named. Thus, “Mordor-on-the-Potomac” seemed more fitting.

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By Folktruther, May 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

That’s pretty much it, Nught-Gaunt, except I don’t thnk we have enough time to prevent it.  and also the US power system is way too ramshackle to even think of world domination any more, but just in slowing the decline of power.  It is falling apart, which is why the neoliberal fascism is necessary, to retain power in the face of monstrous class inequality.

It’s a question of being ready to pick up the pieces, what Dmiti Orlov calls ‘collapse preparedness.’  We don’t have a clue as to what we agree on now.  We’re just horrified by what is happening to us.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

That military is already being redesigned to control large civil populations and monitor them down to where you walk every morning for exercise if need be. From crowd control weapons that inflict pain without a mark to a dozen kinds of drones to monitor or even take martial action on who they spy upon. Only when they need it. Most will just want a job and a house and a family.

The Second Reformation has been going on since its up front failure in 1934 and subsequent getting off scott free by FDR. Some of the names of families and corporations are familiar and collaborated with the Axis during World War II. After the war they continued in their quest to gain full plenary control of our country. They learned from their mistakes and found a multi-road way was the best to win against the standing polity. The heyday of the middle class (and its constitution) were from 1945-1980. When they made their move again in 1980 they started us on a slow road to destruction and gained more influence in all sectors of governance, religion, media and business. (First thing we became was a permanent debtor nation.) We are at the near fruition of their goals. Bring down the USA and build in its place a theocratic empire shining on a hill of skulls to use as a base to dominate the rest of the world. Evangelize, enslave, shock and awe are all part of it wrapped in a slick psychologically guided marketing scheme to sell and empire to the world and to us.

False hope is what Obama represents as just the latest face of the cabal that is behind it. As Machiavelli said, the hardest thing to do is to replace one organization with another. That is what they are up to. They believe in the Divine Right of Kings and other such things that elites of wealth and power consider as blessed by their Aryan Lord of Hosts. If you are not then you are not holy or worthy or blessed in their theosophy. It is a dog-eat-dog of the false “social darwinist” type created by them in the first place to give credit to their mind set. Self serving is the word for all of it. Ayn Rand would have approved of it except for the religion incorporated into it.

We are in perilous times hit from all sides as the middle is being collapsed to make way for a new order, on that won’t have the ACLU or the Bill of Rights or even Social Security as our protection. We will be left culturally naked to either join their ruthless ways or be preyed upon by them. They are in this to win and they have us out gunned, out thought and infiltrated and turned many to follow them. We don’t have too many options. Our time is limited to act before they do. Once they finish the economic collapse the people will not trust gov’t. That is when they will come in offering order, protection and stability and most will take it no matter what is being offered. It will be better that cannibalism and neo-barbarism.

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By rollzone, May 17, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

hello again. this cost of empire is the fear of the citizenry of its own military. could they be used against their own citizens…like in Ohio? would they win, or would the standing government be overthrown? what extreme mindset forsees big brother controlling everything: wimpicons? ...subversives propogating federal growth; instead of statehood, and local legislation?  wimpicons are the cost of empire, and aborted taxes are the cure. the military budget is dependent upon overtaxation and needs correction. wimpicons unite to abort military taxes.

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By jimfromthefoothills, May 17, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

We are all tilting against windmills.  Our society is no more democratic than 19th century England.  We lost the revolutionary war and nobody told us.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 17, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

re: Fadel Abdallah

A few thoughts on the links you posted. The Paul Craig Roberts piece should be read by those who still do not believe that war mongering under the Obama administration, is firmly in place. The $61 billion additional for Iraq, and the $65 billion for Afghanistan, reveal the true intentions of the current executives of the empire.
Ramzy Baroud’s piece at the same, reveals a stunning Orwellian moment, when he quotes from the Boston Globe editorial that speaks of “nests of Taliban”.
Howard Zinn assessment of President Obama as a politician is accurate and kind. I think the author of A Peoples History of the United States, can not totally conceive that the current President, could be just another continuation of what the late Hunter S. Thompson called “a truthless monster”. Of course our current Secretary of State already shares that distinction:

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By blogdog, May 16, 2009 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Brzezinski’s faction is in control, since the Iraq Study Group. The wars of impotency or being waged simply to fail all states, even the US. In fact, Brzezinski’s Trilateralist, CFR and Bilderberg buddies want all democracies failed and everyone, everywhere driven to 3rd world poverty levels, totally terrorized, fearing everyone else, on our knees, begging for protection.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 16, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

Here below are three links to three important articles related to issues of concern for the education of the serious participants in the the Truthdig forums!
Who Rules America?
By Paul Craig Roberts

“Why is the US making itself impotent fighting wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with its security, wars that are, in fact, threatening its security? The answer is that the military/security lobby, the financial gangsters, and AIPAC rule…”

Changing Obama’s Mindset
By Howard Zinn

“Wherever progress has been made, wherever any kind of injustice has been overturned, it’s been because people acted as citizens, and not as politicians. They didn’t just moan. They worked, they acted, they organized, they rioted if necessary to bring their situation to the attention of people in power. And that’s what we have to do today…”

The Drones Are Coming: New War On Civilians
By Ramzy Baroud

“There are an estimated one million Pakistanis already on the run in the northern and eastern parts of the country. They are threatened by fighting, hunger and all sorts of predators, including US drones circling overhead…”

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By garth, May 16, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

I have learned a lot from the article and the posts written here.  In fact, the more I think about the Obama Presidency, the more I feel that he was designated to be the President in 2004.  He seems like more of a titular head, a nascent cult of personality.  Everybody loves him despite the fact that all he can do is make a speech, and he’s selling them down the river and reneging on most of his campaign gobbledy-gook.
I’ve read that, as previously mentioned, the dominance of Russia is the ultimate goal.  China is the penultimate.  This fixation with Russia stems from Zbigniew Brzezinski.  I’ve heard him described as a complete lunatic.  And as one poster says, this action makes sense from their point of view, emperialism. 
To get a sense of this insanity listen to the talk of some of these think tanks on C-SPAN whose members have PhD’s from Johns Hopkins.  Listen to Fareed Zakaria and the double-talk coming from his expert guests, and read some of the exegeses of the crap they write by Noam Chomsky.
And the news is busy with, what else, distractions:  the current Pelosi kerfuffle, the Somalians trying steal some Simolians, the swine flu, the Blagojevich noise.  These are just a few examples of what the press covers to get people to look the other way while making them believe that what they’re looking at is the honest-to-goodness news. 
Back at the ranch we have apologists like the radio guru, Thom Hartmann.  His naivete has ceased to amaze me.  To him, Obama’s votes have always been a part of larger plan to lure those mindless Republicans into a Catch-22 or checkmate.
Bernie Sanders(Vermont-Indepedent, a supposed Socialist and constant critic of both the Obama and Bush administrations, is in reality a shunt.  His stances pacify the fearful populace who are taken in by is explanations. They think that they still have someone who knows what they are going through and that he wants to do something about it. He claims to be for all the “right things”, but in reality, what he is saying is that those are the policy changes we’re not going to see.  I have one question for Sanders.  What was he doing behind the speaker with Blagojevich in Chicago during one of Blago’s last press conferences as Governor of IL?  I thought he was Senator of Vermont.
I can see the neocons role in this process.  They have too much money in the financial world to just ignore, as much as Madman Zbig would like to, so they have to be cajoled, supported, armed and re-armed.  Meanwhile the Israeli’s fall back on their support for women’s rights all the time.  You’d think they’d come up with something more this far into the show.

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By Clash, May 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

The empire will end up taking all. Prosperity, civil rights, health care, and freedom. It will spread democracy at the barrel of the rifle across this island and bring repression here at home to those that support it.
Many across this land suffer from terminal denial and would believe that the situation we find ourselves in has to get better, well it could, but it is highly unlikely. As the populace is memorized by useless social politics the degradation of the life sustaining landmass continues exponentially. The dynamics of population overshoot have never before in history had the same global effect as it is having now.
The empire will be maintained by the abusers in control, as they will try to control us all, right up to the point that they would destroy everything rather than relinquish their power.

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By samosamo, May 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

By Jaded Prole, May 16 at 3:22 pm
“”“Keeping in mind that the ruling corporate elite are internationalists with no loyalty to anything but their own interests one must examine how we got to this level of globalism.”“”

One big factor in reaching this ‘level’ is the deliberately connived attack of that one important part of maintaining a healthy democracy of a republic and that is ‘eternal vigilance’ which the people have given up and the media have actually turned treasonous traitors in their complicity of keeping the people out of being a force to maintaining our democracy.

Once that vigilance was broken and attention is distracted to other things ‘made to look so much more important’(kinda like driving a train into hell without slowing down and eyes wide open) then it becomes easy to subvert the system and turn control over to a criminal cabal that stacks the deck in their favor and now the people are left not with just regaining that essential ‘eternal vigilance’ but undoing what has ‘become’ through the loss of that lost vigilance.

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By Jim Yell, May 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lots of interesting comments and quite a bit I think is on target.

To keep things short it only needs to be said that this is the Military/Industrial Complex that Ike spoke of, but did nothing in 8 years to control.

I suppose the reason little has been made of the Bush families history of support for the Nazi’s prior to WWII is because so many business types were also involved in these dealings prior to WWII, but when we think of the amount of influence these same people have had on our government since WWII, may we ask “how much of the last 8 years grew out of this nazi sympathy and even active support of the nazi goals?” Can we be surprised that Bush did what he did and thought he could make up the rules as he went along, given his families enchantment with National Corporationism?

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By KDelphi, May 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Bravo , once again, to thebeerdr and garth!

Paul_GA—By Paul_GA, May 16 at 1:07 pm #

Bogglesthemind, I think you’re on to something—-for the neocons but also for the Elites in general, keeping this country a great military power at all costs must be a sexual thing as much as anything else.

Yes, behold sexual sadism, ala GITMO and Abu Ghraib, “black” sites, forced prostitution in Guam and other “US territories”. Its just the outright expression of the “powers” of the Brass and political elites.

The combination, in the mind, of sex and violence is always very dangerous, and, will be “experienced” by many more , soon. (ie the “war comes home”)
There was an article, headlines, in my local paper today. ie the Marine who was killed by her married rapist (also Marine), supposedly carrying his child. Turns out it wasnt his!! Wow~!

So, I guess the case is off,or, at least, in very serious jeopardy, even through he buried her in his backyard…this is gonna get much worse before it gets better…if it ever does.

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By NYCartist, May 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

zeusfiction:My story is accurate.  It was Election Day of his 2nd Pres. race.

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By Jaded Prole, May 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

The ruling corporatocracy that defines US policy sees the US as the word’s policemen but what are they policing and for whom? Keeping in mind that the ruling corporate elite are internationalists with no loyalty to anything but their own interests one must examine how we got to this level of globalism. This article regarding the plans for an economic fourth Reich which bacame the basis for the EU sheds some light on a dark history:—EU.html

We must also recall that our “Allied” industries were never separate from those of the Axis and that the top minds of the Nazi SS were brought over to the US by John Foster Dulles <u>before</u> the end of WWII and worked into the State Department to fight Communism—seen as a threat to corporate interests at home and abroad.

So here we are with the largest military in history actively defending a ideologically nazified World Corporate Order built on mass graves and those graves continue to multiply. Obama is part of the problem as is anyone else that can feasibly be “elected” in a completely corrupt system. Who can we turn to? What can we do? As our global system collapses from functional imperialism to the chaos, barbarism and fascist oppression of a dystopic future in an unending cycle of depression to only answer to global corporate fascism is global worker unity. Workers of the World Unite (or Perish)!

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By radson, May 16, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Playing Nuclear Chicken

The more the present geopolitical drama unfolds,the more I see US and the Soviet system resembling one another.The five year plans fuelled by forced collectivization and the Gulag labour camps were created
to industrialize and militarize the country as quickly and cheaply as possible.The main objective was at all times aggrandizement,by whichever means necessary.The Soviet system was a dual system ,whereby
the Soviet citizens lived in constant fear and all that was transpiring in the homeland was kept in strict secrecy.On the other hand the Comintern had as their main objective ‘recruitment’ in as many countries as
possible simultaneously.Propaganda was the tool of preference for spreading lies and swooning people to join their ranks,somewhat like the MSM is doing globally on behalf of the US,based on “democracy and
progress”.Although the US does not use labour camps,the enormous amount of inmates being incarcerated at present ,mostly drug related and Afro-American could be put theoretically to better use.Big business
has already headed in that direction with the ‘downsizing and relocation’ of it’s manufacturing base into countries that supply very cheap labour and promise maximum profitability.Countries that resist US progress
are quickly sent into the chaos of revolution followed by a suitable ‘puppet’ emerging at the helm of the troubled country -to save the day,and sell out the land and serfs to big business interests.During WWII these
puppets were referred to as Vidkum Quislings today they are known as NGO’s and or a Color revolution.The Soviets were experts at this type of game and the Neocons are working hard at improving it.

The establishment of overseas bases actually makes sense from a geopolitical and power projection point of view.Why keep all these assets at home and pay them ,when you could use them to project power on a
global scale for the entire complex.Not that I agree with it on such an enormous scale on the contrary,but the logic is sound when global imperialism is the objective.Yes it is very expensive to maintain such a massive military juggernaut,but the goal is power and control,money, the majority of the citizens are earning less and less of along with dwindling social services,but the Elite have plenty of it and your either in the club of Magnates or not .Which is very similar to the Soviet model -the Politburo club or the proletariat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyaho and FM Lieberman are due to arrive in DC this coming week and they no doubt will have a lot to talk about with President Obama.Iran is obviously going to be the main topic
of discussion I say this because the American foreign policy is hinged on the Iranian Question. More specifically on the implications with regards to the Iranian nuclear program,which is not only being analyzed
to reshape the Middle East and Central Asia but also the EU’s between the US and Russia.The very lame excuse that the proposed US missile defense system in Polska and radar stations in the Czech Republic
are to be deployed with the intent to safeguard the US and allies from a nuclear attack from Iran is absolute nonsense,especially since Iran does not have the bomb and or the delivery system yet.The US is playing Nuclear Chicken with the Russians at the expense of Europe.This is a game that the US theoretically could win ,but what will become of Europe.Historically imperialistic countries have been known to go to extremes to maintain the Status Quo ,especially in someone else’s backyard, England being a good example.The European Union and her citizens better have a real hard look at the potential threat that is looming on the horizon,if the EU looks for greater cooperation with the East ,Capitalism could very well collapse as we know it.

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By godistwaddle, May 16, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Boggles my mind that inferior people all over the world don’t want U.S. bases in every town, village and hamlet.  What can they be thinking?

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By Paul_GA, May 16, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Bogglesthemind, I think you’re on to something—-for the neocons but also for the Elites in general, keeping this country a great military power at all costs must be a sexual thing as much as anything else.

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By rollzone, May 16, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

hello. have you ever heard of a judge giving a sociopath a choice to go to jail or join the military? the military takes advantage of sociopaths and gives them a cloak of authority that fertilises collateral damage on occupied societies. the military will be capable of executing global control from two strategic bases by 2015- let’s demand they do so. military imperialism is the lack of good diplomacy. bring all the troops home and legalise marijuana; so we can free up the manhours to locally handle our sociopaths. maintain the most powerful military in the world, but do it on our own soil. global military domination will result in the USofA being called upon to defend the world against those evil space aliens- except if they ever come, they will come in friendship- so the enemy is us. $100 billion of the military budget should go to sociology ($1 billion to education; $99 billion to economic developement aid to countries like Pakistan,...) except i would rather stop the taxation faucet completely. prison colonies where savages can test military toys against each other may provide a platform for R&D that would eliminate the need to fabricate disharmony amonst natives. we really ought to behave better and reflect what the people of this country want: not the egomaniacs.

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By bogglesthemind, May 16, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

“Why does the U.S. government maintain over 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees in 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories?

Because neocons, on both the right and left, need to maintain their erection above all else. It;s that simple.

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By garth, May 16, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

According to Juan Cole of the University of MI and, the US DoD is using a scare tactic to build up support for its actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Pakistan would be a model democracy to other countries in the world given its ouster of the military dictator, elections, and the restoring of the Supreme Court justice, the they are being portrayed as a muslim nuthouse.  Its nuclear weapons are dismantled and dispersed.  The missile parts would need to be put together and assembled in order to use them.  It is highly unlikely that a band of terrorists could overpower the Pakistani defense forces and gain control of the those weapons.
The minor forces in the Swat valley do not pose anywhere near the threat that the administration and the military are proposing.
I think that the real aim is to get Pakistan to allow the US to put a missile base next to the border with China.  This chess move would advance them to the next level:  surrounding China with missile bases and limiting its ability to react to a nuclear attack from the US.  Remember, G.W. Bush’ dictum said we can strike first if we feel that we are being threatened.

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By Paul_GA, May 16, 2009 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

I wish he would, too, Samosamo, but I’m reminded of one of my favorite exchanges from The Fellowship of the Ring:

Frodo: “I wish the Ring had not come to me; I wish none of this had happened.”

Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times. But that’s not for them to decide; *all we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us*.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 16, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

By Big B, May 15 at 2:16 pm #

“I hate to pile on Fadel, but you must be the guy that helps my wife balance her checkbook.”
Thank you Big B for the humor!

Actually, your proposal is more feasible and doable than mine and it’s certainly wiser than what the Obama’s administration have been doing! Despise my non-doable proposal, I am glad that it has generated more doable ideas like yours.

As a university professor (not in the field of math!)I find your idea about “making college free to any qualifying person for the next ten years” super excellent.

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By samosamo, May 15, 2009 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

By Paul_GA, May 15 at 11:56 pm
““Blogdog, Washington—or as I call it, Mordor-on-the-Potomac.”“

Yeah, I know what you mean, it is like Morgoth has come back from the void or his spirit or will is guiding Sauron to inflict more evil, war, horrors, and misery on Valinor and Tol Eressea in the West.

I wish Frodo would hurry up and drop that ring in Orodruin.

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By rockinrobin, May 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

democracy indicates the will of the people; this is NOT a democracy at all, folks; it is NOT of the people, by the people, & DEFINITELY it is NOT for the PEOPLE! of THIS or any nation; Exploitation is a CRIME.It is TARGETING and HARMING for PERSONAL GAIN and PROFIT. The PENTAGON has ALWAYS milked the majority of funds to “give back” into their OWN pockets & those of politicians; the $195m or b meant for the “reconstruction” of Iraq, disappeared into the pockets of top military & Pentagon & the PEOPLE got NOTHING. SUCH is so called “democracy”; it is a BASTARDIZED “democrazy”; and the PEOPLE of the USA & now onto globally are the TARGETS carrying out the AGENDA of HITLER; every nation run by Corps: the SAME ones who got that way thru “getting away with it in the USA for years!” All the “missing” equipment/guns/etc all in pockets; all the $ for aid for countries, in their pockets; keeping 2/3rds of all “aid” in THEIR pockets for “cost”; “free” trade of course is buying ONLY from THEIR Corps in every nation. The MEDIA is ran just like in Hitlers day as well; so the PUBLIC PERCEPTION is QUITE DIFFERENT from what is TRULY going on.

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By Paul_GA, May 15, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Blogdog, Washington—or as I call it, Mordor-on-the-Potomac—reminds me more and more of a madhouse in which the inmates have overpowered the keepers and are now in charge.

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By Warburton, May 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t mind my saying so, but I don’t see one bit what Chalmers Johnson’s ‘feminism’ has to do with her research, not that I object. But we all know how sensitive some folks are on that issue, which will turn them totally off when you introduce her in that way. Do yourselves a favor and skip the introduction.

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By blogdog, May 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Military hardware, software, weaponry, munitions, R&D,  supporting widgets, materials and the admin. to support it all is pretty much all that’s left of large scale manufacturing in the US. Even Boeing (world’s largest commercial aviation manufacturer) derives roughly 50% of its income from military contracts. Once the auto industry is fully gutted…that’s it; but there’s much more to the sotry.

As an empire, we could lead the world to great heights of civic virtue and human accomplishment, but we’ve become the most philistine nation of all time, and lost our humanity to boot - it’s no mystery as to why, these numbers don’t lie.

The 2009 budget of the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts:  $155 million
The 2009 budget of Germany’s National Arts and Culture: €1.14bn (about $900 million)

ratio: US to Germany = ca. 1 / 6
Now, as for the military in 2009: US $547 billion; Germany: $33 billion

ratio: US to Germany = ca. 16 / 1

final comparison:
US ratio of arts/culture budget to military = ca. 1/3647
German ratio of arts/culture to military = ca. 1/37

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By Paul_GA, May 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Mary Ann, I believe Ron Paul would’ve done so—but he never had a chance to prove me right or wrong, so I guess that’s tough. The Elites will continue to take this country down the proverbal primrose path, and most of us *hoi polloi* will cheer them on (especially when they show their “patriotism” by taking us into new wars).

Some of us, who are in the know (and who may well be termed “enemies of the State” for our pains) will just watch and burn with anger as we observe the wreck of our homeland, helpless to stop it ...

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By Mary Ann McNeely, May 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No Republican or Democrat - NONE - will touch the military foundations of the empire.  They will let this country rot in the sun before they even contemplate any reduction, no matter how small.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

I think that we were fooled again. I speak in general for I wasn’t but then I understand how the system works. It works against us. To keep us playing at democracy while they wreck it from the inside. (The elites never liked it because of its sloppiness and gives them problems when it is strong.) I have qualms with democracy but only when it gets too close to the mob mentality. Another topic for later.

If the cabal is going to fund their empire to be. We aren’t quite an empire just yet. They need to remove the rest of the democratic-republic we still cling to. But that is coming with the economic collapse and the loss in faith in the gov’t. #3 on Dmitry Orlov’s list on civilization collapse. At will give you more data on it. I believe that at level #3 of collapse the Dominionists will come to save us from savagery and cannibalism. [Most will chose a theocratic corporate dictatorship over neolithic life anytime.]

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By garth, May 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

“David Heller and Hans Lammerant have contributed one of the most useful essays in the volume on “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Bases in Europe.” Information on this subject is scarce and the U.S. press is frightened of reporting what little is available for fear of raising a taboo topic. Heller has been actively involved with anti-nuclear and anti-militarist campaigns in Britain, Belgium and other European countries since the early 1990s. Lammerant has long supported the Belgian branch of War Resisters International.

They reveal that there are today still an estimated 350 to 480 free-fall B-61-type tactical nuclear weapons in the territories of the NATO allies, compared with a maximum of 7,300 land, air, and sea-based nuclear weapons based in Europe in 1971. The bombs are housed at eight air bases in six NATO countries, all of which enjoy Bechtel-installed Weapons Storage and Security Systems, type WS-3. These devices are vaults installed in the floors within a “protective aircraft shelter” and allow for the arming of bombs and aircraft inside hangars, offering high degrees of secrecy and (supposedly) security. Heller and Lammerant note that the weapons based in Europe are “secret, deadly, illegal, costly, militarily useless, politically motivated, and deeply, deeply unpopular.” Before they were all withdrawn, ground-launched nuclear missiles were based at Greenham Common and Molesworth in Britain, Comiso in Italy, Florennes in Belgium, and Wuescheim in the former West Germany. Pershing II missiles were based at Schwaebisch-Gmuend, Neu Ulm, and Waldheide-Neckarsulm in West Germany. “

This is what the illegal exposure Valerie Plame’s identity was all about—the undercover rearmament of Europe with Amrican made nuclear weapons.  Dick Cheney and his cronies certainly profited from it.

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By blogdog, May 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Empires are built to fall -

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By thebeerdoctor, May 15, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

I would suspect if you just learned that the auto dealership where you worked in the service department, is being axed by the Chrysler corporation (after they received the TARP funds), you might not have much time to consider the intricacies of the language employed by President Obama. The folks who seriously believed him to be a candidate for peace will have to live with their decision. With this in mind, I think it is only fair to take a glimpse into the double speak of the former pseudo peace candidate, who I was told, was against the Iraq war from the start. Speaking at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Feb. 27, 2009, the President of the United States said this:

“And so I want to be very clear: We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime—and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government—and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard earned opportunity to live a better life—that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible.”

Personally, I think there is little need for Barack Obama to have to “channel” Dick Cheney. He has been guiding the new president, right out of the starting gate. Both of these men adhere to the doctrine of American Imperial power, their only disagreement is in the style in which it is carried out. This is classic neolib-neocon bullshit. Former Vice-President Cheney advocates the bare knuckles approach, where the worst the U.S. sounds, the better. The neocon embrace of torture operates on the idea that you can terrorize people to be afraid of you, so they will do what they’re told. President Obama, on the other hand, seeks to hide the mechanics of imperial brutality, by deploying a continuous series of humanistic euphemisms, all the while maintaining the bedrock United States government objectives, that both he and the former VP clearly believe in.
President Obama’s revisionist remarks at Camp Lejeune. remind me of a closing pitcher in baseball. With this level of lying about the Iraq occupation, does anyone seriously believe that Obama would pursue any kind of prosecution of the Cheney-Bush junta? If looking forward involves embracing the murderous mythology of the recent past, some might say that Mr. Obama, as President, is taking one for team USA. This may be the case, which also means the game is most certainly over.
Barack Obama, for all of his rhetorical skills and photogenic family, is now the President who presides over a country where the greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands has occurred. His cool smiling face will permanently be associated with the most brutal transformation of the country by the ownership class. Neoliberalism like its neoconservatve counterpart, will always resort to slash and burn policies, whenever their precious nest egg of power is even remotely threatened. The sorrows of empire, that Chalmers Johnson speaks of, will not be experienced by those who own. They instead, like always, will praise the peasants’ sacrifice, before retiring to their heavily gated homes.

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By Big B, May 15, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

I hate to pile on Fadel, but you must be the guy that helps my wife balance her checkbook.

But seriously, your idea would have proven to be interesting. Imagine where our nation would be if, instead of giving $800 billion to the banks, we would have given $25 thousand to each citizen, and made college free to any qualifying person for the next ten years? Do you think the economy would have caught fire? And don’t get me started on making healthcare a right and not a priviledge for the(ever) shrinking few. How about trickle up economics for a change? But alas, it is now too late. Instead of our economy catching fire, our collective house has caught fire, and much like the line from the old Warren Zevon tune, we are all now singing, “I was in the house when the house burnt down!”

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 15, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Thank you jackpine savage and Night-Gaunt for correcting my math! I apologize for the fuzzy math of my previous post, whereby I missed 6 zeros from the calculation! I guess if these six missed zeros were to the left of the numbers, it wouldn’t have mattered! (Laugh!)

However, the essence of my proposal is still valid since it helps directly the average citizen, not only the big banks and corporations. I guess the figures I suggested could be reduced in half and yet would be significant enough to help in improving the bottom line of most taxpayers citizens.

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By zeusfiction, May 15, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

This is to NYCartist, just a correction to your WBAI story on Bill Clinton. He didn’t call the station on the eve of his second term, it was to drum up support for Hilary’s NY congressional run.  If you recall, Amy asked him about the presidential pardon for Leonard Peltier because he was soon to leave office when presidential pardons are discussed.
Thanks for sharing the story though.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 15, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

That works out to $307 Trillion which is a huge loss. Talk about crashing a nation’s economy, that would do it. (The cabal is already doing something like that anyway.)

One thing the US military can do is to gain tribute from all of those countries it is “protecting.” Also it will be used to gain and control resources of others for its own uses and the empire to be.

I need to read all of Chalmers Johnson’s books. I just don’t know when I will be able to. The information is crucial.

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By jackpine savage, May 15, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Fadel, i like your plan, but you forgot six zeros.  The bill would be 300,000,000,000,000.  300T is a number big enough to make even a politician think twice.

And i’m not sure that the Chinese have that kind of money stuffed under the mattress.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 15, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

I have a proposal for a simple plan that would reduce or eliminate the high cost of the empire and simultaneously solve the unemployment problem, the health care problem, the spending problem, the debt problem and the home-foreclosure problem most middle class and poor citizens are facing.

The American population is estimated at 300 million. Let the treasury each individual a million dollar with the stipulation that they pay their mortgage in full, get health insurance for themselves and their dependents, pay all their credit card debt and invest the remainder in starting small businesses or investment. The cost of this package is 300,000,000 X 1,000,000 = $ 300,000,000; a very tiny fraction of the billions that are spent monthly and yearly on the evil imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and creating more enemies in every part of the world.

Furthermore, select one million from among the existing successful small business across the country and give each five million dollars, with the stipulation that they should expand their businesses and hire more workers and give them a generous health insurance. This will cost 1,000,000 X 5,000,000 = 50,000,000; again a very tiny fraction of what is spent monthly on the military machine in this country.

Furthermore, individuals or households whose assets or incomes exceed five million dollars could be excluded from receiving such assistance, thus bringing the cost of the package to even a lower figure.

This would have the effect of totally eliminating poverty and expanding the middle class whose survival and expansion is the essence of both the security and prosperity of America and the whole world. There would be be no need for an overrated and over-sized military industrial complex.

I can see that there will be only few elites in the financial, military, and political sectors who would oppose this simple plan. I guess they can go to hell or find themselves a tiny island where they can live and die. Alternatively, we can build for them an ivory tower where they can live and die isolated from the general population.

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By samosamo, May 15, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, May 15 at 9:31 am
“”“The “blowback” to all of this is enormous.”“”

Yeah, that old blowback, you know surprise, surprise, surprise, why did they do that to us?

Here in america, if the term is used, it will always be met with that old state of ‘denial’ because america is a moral and rightous country and never does a devious deed unless it was an ‘emergency’ needing the immediate actions of any number of secret agencies of ‘our’ government, then it is not blowback.

And there is no denying that denial of blowback’ is an exacerbator of our imperialism or just the plain fact the msm never reports on such activities or gives reasons for attacks on the US which to think about it, I have only noticed our citizenry attacking each other(you know fathers wiping out the family and then themselves and such mayham)and that really isn’t a surprise considering the state of affairs here in U.S.A.

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By NYCartist, May 15, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

It’s wonderful to have so much good information in one place and perspectives on the military bases with the consequences.  Interesting that it’s anthropologists, sociologists, feminists and AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)- academic scholars/researchers and activists. 

I first heard Chalmers Johnson on WBAI 99.5FM NYC’s Pacifica Network Station.  I have read l 1/2 of his trilogy, starting with “Sorrows of Empire” which speaks about the military bases.  I’m past the halfway mark of “Nemesis” and have “Blowback” waiting.  Read #2 first and then the others based on my library’s availability of the books. 

WBAI had extensive coverage of the Vieques Island bombing range in Puerto Rico over the years.  Amy Goodman was a show producer, along with Bernard White, of “Wake Up Call” and at some point, also News Director (before “DemocracyNow” was started, which originally was located at WBAI studio).

One of my favorite radio “events” was when President Bill Clinton called WBAI (on his list of radio stations to call to “get out the vote”) the morning of Election Day of his 2nd Election.  He called during a Latino music show, and the guy producing the show, ran for Amy Goodman, who took the call.  No doubt Pres. Clinton was surprised to find himself in an impromptu interview that lasted about 40 minutes.  One of the questions was about Vieques and why didn’t the US stop bombing?
To Clinton’s credit, he knew Vieques, but his answer was very Bill Clinton, vague. When Amy asked him about Leonard Peltier and pardoning him, Clinton said he’d have to look into it.  He then got angry at her for asking so many questions and accused her of being rude to the President, which was not true.
I heard the whole thing “real time” and it got played over and over.

If you don’t know the AFSC American Friends Service Committee, “check it out”.  I was once a relative of a worker (community organizer) and they remain a favorite group of mine.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 15, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

One of the most difficult things to grasp for the average American is that when it comes to the military industrial complex, profits are important, but power is much more so. The kind of behavior exhibited, all across the spectrum of empirical wishes, reveals a weird twisted rationalization for all kinds of atrocious activities. You have to ask yourself what is the great need to use depleted uranium? If you asked President Obama, he would probably say something about having the greatest fighting forces, second to none, with “greater lethality” as stated on his campaign web site. But is it not odd, that leaders who talk about protecting troops, inevitably cause an increase in their destruction? As the late poet Allen Ginsburg once said: “they say Saddam has a bomb, so George Bush has got to bomb”... Very little is ever said about the socio-pathology of the language used by these weasels. Even President Obama, who is suppose to be constitutionally smart and knows better, has the gall to use elsion and call torture “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
The stories from the American created torture camps are becoming know throughout the world. Read the reports posted by Scahill, Hersh, Fisk and others, to get a glimpse of what kind of a monstrous enterprise this Empire has become. And the sad fact that Chalmers Johnson, Catherine Lutz, and others have brought these inconsistencies up, reveals that between the propaganda idea of spreading democratic freedom, and the reality of what has actually evolved, is the darkest contractual shadow imaginable.
The “blowback” to all of this is enormous. In the old language, such premeditated hellfire disasters would by call tragedy. In the newspeak of today, it is called victory.

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By jackpine savage, May 15, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Empires are built to fall.  There is no such thing as the perpetual empire, and no amount of American exceptionalism will change that fact.  Nor does refusing to admit that there is an empire change that fact.

This one will fall like every other, and we’re almost certainly on the downhill already.

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By Big B, May 15, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Ahh, the old guns and butter argument. I find it somewhat amusing that we are following the old Soviet model to national oblivion, and that is to over reach your territory, and spend far more than you have on defending it, as well as attempting to influence every other nation with our military prowess. This policy cost the USSR their nation, and it’s eating away at ours.

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By coloradokarl, May 15, 2009 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

The Military Industrial Complex needs to be redirected towards Renewable energy. I know some beleive this is a fools errand but they are corporations, afterall, and as such driven by profits. Energy should be perceived for what it is, National Security…..

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By Paul_GA, May 15, 2009 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

If anything brings this country to its knees, it’ll be the increasing cost—in both blood and treasure—of maintaining and attempting to expand an empire that’s already in decline. And that on top of a declining economy.

Sorry I had to live to see it.

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By john farwell, May 15, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

samosamo is right about books and lasting power.
in 1973, sen. wm. j. fulbright wrote a very prescient book on american empire, The Crippled Giant.

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By samosamo, May 15, 2009 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

This is almost as good as it gets with investigative journalism which for me can mostly be found in books, even if those books were published years or decades ago, plus it is ‘hard copy’ that should last for at least a generation or life time for future reference.

I am currently getting into William Black’s book ‘The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One’ and though is references the S&L debacle of the 1980s it is pertinent enough for our current financial crisis which can be definitely classified as ‘history repeating itself for not one good reason to do so’.

I have also read Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback trilogy which really opened my eyes to how the military industrial congressional complex is master minding what can only be described as a plan to be the core power on this planet versus all the other countries, the classic us vs. them conundrum and those books are still relative reading.

All of these should be read by as many people as possible because to not read them would be like turning on msm venues and expect to be told the truth and think one knows the truth .

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