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May 21, 2017


Today’s TV tells us that Trump has received the Saudis’ top decoration (as his Secretary of State Tillerson did with Putin’s Russia not so long ago, but for different reasons, though both connected with oil). I note that this happened as Trump signed an agreement in the Saudi capital to provide our defense industries with $110 billion in military equipment sales to the Saudis, ostensibly to fight terrorism and keep an eye on Iran. What a coincidence! Jets and tanks for a medal and superstar treatment for a narcissistic buffoon! Can even Trump’s state of delusion in his other world withstand such worship?

The Saudis don’t have the capacity to make their own military equipment; they only have oil, money, and an authoritarian regime that will keep the status quo in place. Authoritarians such as the Saudis need enemies in order to prevent domestic disorder. Hitler had his Jew and communist scapegoats; the Sunni Saudis have Shias and “terrorists.”

Never mind that the bulk of those who brought us 9-11 were Saudis, as was bin Laden; and never mind that we Americans were labeled as “terrorists” by the British during our American Revolution with calls for Washington, if caught, to be “hanged from the nearest tree.” While I hold no brief for terrorism, I do think we should be careful in defining our terms. Shia Iran has supplanted Jewish Israel on Sunni Saudi Arabia’s number one hit list, and the Saudis are our proxies in defending our own interests in the area, contrary to official propaganda about being staunch allies and other such nonsense. They are also good customers for our military hardware.

Trump’s signature on the arms deal means that our “defense” industries will do well for the foreseeable future, especially since Trump also wishes to increase our “defense” budget by billions and billions (at the expense of social programs for the poor and declining middle class already beset by wage inequality and accelerating automation). I am sure that the “defense” industries will respond in kind when Republican politicians knock on their doors for “campaign contributions” for the 2018 propaganda war (aka elections). All in all, this oil money for jets and jet money for elections works out quite well for a certain class of investors, a class which excludes the interests of the 99.9 percent, including you and me, who are essentially left on our own to fund such initiatives as education, our crumbling infrastructure, healthcare, research and development etc. from the crumbs after the interests of the rich and corporate class have been first served with more tax cuts and less regulation of their businesses.

The rich and corporate class (including the booming “defense” industries) are historically profitable (witness the Dow) while the rest of us are increasingly impoverished (median wages as adjusted for inflation have not moved for 40 years) via choices made by our politicians, yet we vote for them in some sort of political lockstep each election. Why? Why do we vote for such as McConnell, Ryan and Trump when it is plain to be seen that they cater almost exclusively to the interests of the rich and corporate class and only throw a few bones our way to allay civil commotion while, for instance, trashing our healthcare laws and farming out our health and education with grants to governors of states who will if unregulated give such money away in tax cuts to their friends and supporters? Why do we vote for people who (contrary to their propaganda) obviously do not have our best interests at heart? Inertia?

Our military budget is higher than the next 22 or 23 countries combined, but someone tell me how that contributes to our sense of security. Rome had a mighty army, too, but fell not from “the barbarians” but from within due to internal rot and political decay. See any similarities to our present situation? We should be guided though not captive to history, but history at this point plainly tells us to come up with different tacks in solving both foreign and domestic problems since, as with Rome, a strong military is destined to lose its civilian support as the latter become alienated and jaded and felt left out of its role in fashioning affairs of state, as with Rome, which led to its fall into oblivion never to return.

I, for instance, and I have plenty of company, feel left out as a very small minority of the powers that be are legislating as though they represent the majority of the American people. They don’t, but we have to get off the couch in every election and let them know in no uncertain terms that the party is over; that we are going to find balance between military and civilian appropriations of our tax money, that we are going to look askance at all dictatorships whatever our strategic plans, that, in sum, We the People are going to advance American and our own interests and not just the interests of the relatively few among the superrich. We live here, too, and have jobs to get and children to educate, so let’s speak up!

The “barbarians” are not at the gate, as in ancient times; they are among us posing as good citizens. Let’s not be fooled; let’s instead remove them from the trappings of power each November, or by impeachment or indictment or both, or whatever is called for in the pursuit of truth and justice and the rights of the governed to select and/or remove their governors.     GERALD       E



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