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  Noam Chomsky is 92 years old, yet his grasp of world and US politics remains a force to be reckoned with.

 

“The U.S. always portrays itself as the greatest force on the planet for peace, justice, human rights, racial equality, etc. Polls tell us that most other nations actually regard the U.S. as the greatest threat to stability. What in your view is the truth here?

Even during the Obama years, international polls showed that world opinion regarded the US as the greatest threat to world peace, no other country even close. Americans were protected from the news, though one could learn about it from foreign media and dissident sources.  Sometimes illustrations are reported.  Thus there has been some mention of the recent UN vote condemning the savage Cuba sanctions, virtually a blockade: 180-2 (US-Israel).  The NY Times dismissed it as a chance for critics of the US to blow off steam.  That’s quite normal.  When there are reports of how the world is out of step, the usual framework is curiosity about the psychic maladies that lead to such pathological failure to recognize our nobility.

There’s nothing new about that stance.  It’s typical of imperial cultures.  Even such an outstanding figure as John Stuart Mill wondered about the world’s failure to comprehend that Britain was an angelic power, sacrificing itself for the benefit of the world – at a moment when Britain was carrying out some of its most horrifying crimes, as he knew very well.”

William Astore, former American Military, dares the public and the American industry of defense to think outside the box.  He reimagines the role of the US military as primarily for the defense of the American republic.  It is a bold and necessary move as the role of ‘policeman of the world’\imperial power is simply to costly for a nation to fund and take care of its citizens in a reasonable matter. Some inside the the military would be unhappy, yet I think the operational clarity that is concomitant with defending the physical territory of the United States and not spending blood and treasure on imperial ventures would eventually win the day.

Elite opinion might be a more negative however as they current system does much to support their unsustainable way of life.

“Here, then, are just 10 ways America’s military could change under a vision that would put the defense of America first and free up some genuine funds for domestic needs as well:

  1. No more new nuclear weapons.  It’s time to stop “modernizing” that arsenal to the tune of possibly $1.7 trillion over the next three decades.  Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles like the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, expected to cost more than $264 billion during its lifetime, and “strategic” (nuclear) bombers like the Air Force’s proposed B-21 Raider should be eliminated.  The Trident submarine force should also be made smaller, with limited modernization to improve its survivability.
  2. All Army divisions should be reduced to cadres (smaller units capable of expansion in times of war), except the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division.
  3. The Navy should largely be redeployed to our hemisphere, while aircraft carriers and related major surface ships are significantly reduced in number.
  4. The Air Force should be redesigned around the defense of America’s air space, rather than attacking others across the planet at any time.  Meanwhile, costly offensive fighter-bombers like the F-35, itself a potential $1.7 trillion boondoggle, should simply be eliminated and the habit of committing drone assassinations across the planet ended. Similarly, the separate space force created by President Trump should be folded back into a much-reduced Air Force.
  5. The training of foreign militaries and police forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan should be stopped.  The utter collapse of the U.S.-trained forces in Iraq in the face of the Islamic State in 2014 and the ongoing collapse of the U.S.-trained Afghan military today have made a mockery of this whole process.
  6. Military missions launched by intelligence agencies like the CIA, including those drone assassination programs overseas, should be halted and the urge to intervene secretly in the political and military lives of so many other countries finally brought under some kind of control.
  7. The “industrial” part of the military-industrial complex should also be brought under control, so that taxpayer dollars don’t go to fabulously expensive, largely useless weaponry. At the same time, the U.S. government should stop promoting the products of our major weapons makers around the planet.
  8. Above all, in a democracy like ours, a future defensive military should only fight in a war when Congress, as the Constitution demands, formally declares one.
  9. The military draft should be restored.  With a far smaller force, such a draft should have a limited impact, but it would ensure that the working classes of America, which have historically shouldered a heavy burden in military service, will no longer do so alone. In the future America of my military dreams, a draft would take the eligible sons and daughters of our politicians first, followed by all eligible students enrolled in elite prep schools and private colleges and universities, beginning with the Ivy League.  After all, America’s best and brightest will surely want to serve in a military devoted to defending their way of life.
  10. Finally, there should be only one four-star general or admiral in each of the three services. Currently, believe it or not, there are an astonishing 44 four-star generals and admirals in America’s imperial forces. There are also hundreds of one-star, two-star, and three-star officers.  This top-heavy structure inhibits reform even as the highest-ranking officers never take responsibility for America’s lost wars.

Pivoting to America

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “pivot to Asia” under the Obama administration — the idea of redeploying U.S. military forces from the Greater Middle East and elsewhere in response to perceived threats from China.  As it happened, it took the new Biden administration to begin to pull off that particular pivot, but America’s imperial military regularly seems to be pivoting somewhere or other.  It’s time to pivot to this country instead.

Echoing the words of George McGovern, a highly decorated World War II bomber pilot who unsuccessfully ran for president against Richard Nixon in 1972, “Come home, America.” Close all those foreign military bases.  Redirect resources from wars and weapons to peace and prosperity.  Focus on restoring the republic.  That’s how Americans working together could truly defend ourselves, not only from our “enemies” overseas, almost always much exaggerated, but from ourselves, the military-industrial-congressional complex, and all our fears.”

Canada is experiencing a fair amount of Covid fatigue.  The reception of news of the fourth wave seems like only a small ripple in the news.   Unsurprisingly the news isn’t particularly good.  The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel has gotten farther and dimmer as the delta variant of Covid 19 makes its rounds through the population.

“The country’s seven-day average for new daily cases is now close to 1,300 — an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the previous week, with cases ticking back up mainly in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

“We’re absolutely in the fourth wave,” said Dr. Peter Juni, who is the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. “There’s no doubt about that.”

But unlike previous waves, which overwhelmed various hospital systems and led to catastrophic death in long-term care facilities, there is hope this spike won’t be quite so dire.”

Do we have the pandemic under control?  I think much of that answer to that will depend on how willing Canadians are to get fully vaccinated.

“High vaccination uptake across the country has changed the game: Roughly 60 per cent of Canadians are now fully vaccinated, and research continues to show leading vaccines offer high levels of protection from serious illness, even against the fast-spreading delta variant.”

“The point is we can’t go back to normal,” said Juni. “Because we continue to have a challenge with the large proportion of people who remain unvaccinated.”

As usual, we have the crowd that arduously shout about how their personal freedom is being impinged upon by pubic health measures.  This is the segment of the population that will knowingly or unknowingly cause the pandemic to drag on for much longer than necessary.

“Unprotected individuals around the world have proven vulnerable to the highly contagious delta variant in recent weeks, with surges of cases — including serious infections and deaths — in areas of low vaccine coverage, ranging from entire regions in Africa to certain U.S. states.

“This is going to overwhelmingly be a disease of unvaccinated Canadians and under-vaccinated populations,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician and member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force.”

The Delta variant is kicking the ass of un-vaccinated populations, not only in Canada, but world wide.  It is very much a personal responsibility/consequences issue.  It’s just that in this case the vaccine hesitant are, in my opinion, are acting irresponsibly and unfortunately the consequences can be quite dire.  No one should have to suffer intubation or the Long Covid when we have the means of preventing the majority of such outcomes.

“With early signs of a delta-driven wave beginning and the fall approaching, efforts to increase the proportion of fully vaccinated Canadians and reinforce individual precautions per local public health advice are crucial to reducing virus spread and lowering the risk of a resurgence that could lead to health-care capacity being exceeded this coming fall and winter,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, in a statement on Tuesday.”

Let’s make this pandemic as short as possible and continue to follow the best evidenced based public health practices.

 

 

 

This letter published in the Scottish newspaper The National.

It is a letter that would likely not see the light of day here in Canada where we seem to be beholden to a small subset of society that demands we disbelieve our eyes and perceptions to order to ‘be kind’ and validate their delusions of gender.  I’m tired.  Very ducking tired of expending energy dealing with entitled queer males who masquerade as women all the while pleading they are the most oppressed people(?) in society.  It’s horseshit from stem to stern.  And dangerous horseshit at that, as the lunacy extends to putting predatory males in female prisons and defunding rape crisis centres because they have the audacity to maintain a female only service.  Women (adult human females) in Canada have to fight for their rights to spaces, boundaries, and services *again* against this latest queered delusional assault by men.  It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so detrimental to female rights in society.

This letter highlight illustrates the disconnect from reality that is central to queer theory and identity politics.  The corrosive politics of the personal (identity) can only survive in a society that has reality based rights, protections, and safeguards for its citizens.  Women in Afghanistan can not identify out what is happening to them.  Like all of fucking history if you are born female you are automatically second class in society and no amount of queer pandering to the identity gods will ever change that.

But enough of me, let us get to the letter, which is brilliant.

 

“In recent years it has become fashionable in predominantly English-speaking “progressive” circles and establishments to feign bewilderment at basic evolutionary facts related to our species. Often, this bewilderment is specifically reserved for only one half of the population. Despite millions of years of mammalian ancestry preceding us, it is only now that the female homo sapiens is apparently a convoluted, nonsensical entity.

A cherished argument to prop up this convoluted, nonsensical entity is that female people everywhere at any point in time do not share exactly the same experiences, therefore a “woman” can encompass any male who lays claim to the label.

It is true that women come from all kinds of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and as a result they will have been shaped as individuals by various experiences over the course of their lives. Women differ in our beliefs, political values, personalities and ethics.

Yet, looking at events unfolding in Afghanistan in recent days, many women around the world feel a shared sense of dread and heartache for the women trapped in such intolerable circumstances. The sickening, sinking feeling is an instinctive one that bypasses all pseudo-intellectualism. Strip away the relatively superficial differences between women and that sickening, sinking feeling is an instinctive one precisely because there are some experiences that only female humans can be subjected to. For better or worse, there is a common reality that no convoluted, nonsensical definition can erase.

Looking an Afghan woman in the eyes, what connects her suffering with our struggles here in Scotland? The embodied reality of womanhood that transcends time, distance and cultures. She is me and I am her. It is a visceral bond that no male can ever identify into and no female can ever identify out of.

It is only by an accident of fate that I live in the UK. I am one of the rare winners in the grotesque lottery of life. Life for women in the UK has been shaped by its own cultural and religious heritage. Its historical trajectory enabled British women to organise and win incredible gains for their daughters in a way that women from many other countries can only dream of doing.

The plight of Afghan women is a stark reminder of the iron fist of oppression that men can wield against women on the basis of our sex. It is an uncomfortable truth that without the majority of men on our side, women truly are at the mercy of the vicious whims and savage violence of men. My heart breaks for the women of Afghanistan – so many of them had a taste of freedom, opportunity and being a person in their own right, and now it has evaporated almost overnight. I know what is happening to them could happen to me too, if circumstances enabled it. The incel attack in Plymouth reveals the deep hatred and desires of subjugation that some men harbour for women.

Far too many women in the UK take their precious freedoms for granted. Yes, there’s much that can be better, but it’s important to realise just how rare it is to live in a time and place where women have so many rights and protections within a stable, wealthy society and where most men view us as worthy of full personhood.

Some women are so intoxicated by these freedoms – freedoms they themselves did not win – that they think it’s great fun to indulge in all kinds of outlandish luxury beliefs, such as biological sex being a social construct, women are not oppressed on the basis of sex, and that being a woman is nothing but a feeling and set of sexist stereotypes. They have feasted at the table of liberty for so long that they think they can ignore reality by chanting mantras and “queering” words.

Bloated by their gluttony, they cheer the erosion of the same rights and protections that enabled their arrogance and ignorance. Their fingers and mouths greasy with the remnants of the fruits of labour of the women that came before them, they sneer at those who understand the precarious nature of our rights and personhood and seek to protect it. They might belch out insults and smears in between mouthfuls, but deep in their hearts they know they would never willingly trade places with Afghan women, because all the queer theory in the world won’t save them from the slaughterhouse.

Mel T

Claude Debussy was a French composer. In the years between 1888 and 1891, he composed Deux arabesques, the first of which was Arabesque No.1 in E Major. It was one of his earliest pieces – published when Debussy was still in his twenties.

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