Op Ed Commentary
This writer has been ‘at it’ for perhaps 16 years now: that being to focus on our Military Industrial Empire. Many of my regular readers and even close friends who agree with me have stated “Oh, you say the same thing over and over.” Mea Culpa! Sadly, with all the myriad of issues affecting everyday working stiffs, to me there is NO issue more important than this empire. Seeking the truth can hopefully enlighten. Tune in any news show at any hour of the day, and in between the constant drivel of this phony Two Party/ One Party presidential horserace, they give you ‘stories’ of how hard so many have it. Recently, one such news show focused on a family on Long Island, N.Y. and their economic woes. The ‘hook’ to the story was that although both spouses worked ( he full time at UPS and she with two part time jobs ) and their total earnings were $ 90k a year, they were having trouble making it. What with $ 12,000 a year in property taxes, having to pay out of pocket for comprehensive health coverage, they hadn’t been able to afford even a vacation for years! The town they lived in was having its own fiscal crunch, as are most places nationwide.
That story and the many other similar ones never explains how over 50% of our federal taxes goes for military spending! Yet, right before any sporting event being televised , they bring out the honor guard and the flags and hammer us with patriotism . After all, we are at war aren’t we? Way back in the late 80s, the ‘ bought and paid for ‘ politicians had no choice but to discuss the so called ‘ Peace dividend’. This would mean more federal tax money (Revenue Sharing) actually going back to our states and cities for better roads, schools, hospitals, mass transit to name but a few. Then, in 1991 Bush Sr. made sure that the ‘New Hitler’ , the ‘Butcher of Iraq’ (who incidentally our empire helped put into power and supported militarily) became the bogeyman that we spent our ‘Peace Dividend’ to defeat. They did make sure, after our powerful assault on Iraq, to keep him in power to ‘ police ‘ the region of fanatical jihadists. Once again, it was our empire that nurtured and supported the Mujahedeen during the 80s in Afghanistan. In 2003, using the very suspicious 9/11 attacks as cover, the Bush/Cheney gang conducted their illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq that put us on the road to bankruptcy. Now the empire has come up with the newest threat: ISIL. Reading between the lines one can realize that these fanatics were most likely recruited from the aftermath of Amerika’s utter devastation of Afghanistan and Iraq. For geopolitical reasons our empire has once again nurtured fanatics, in this case to help it overthrow ASSAD in Syria. From all this a new Cold War is brewing between Amerika and the Russians, while another one is ripening with our Trans Political Partnership pissing off the Chinese. We better be careful on that one, because if the Chinese pull out their holdings in bonds and T-bills etc… Wal-Mart will be forced to really use that slogan ‘Buy American’ after all.
This writer likes most of what Bernie Sanders is saying and advocating, but… I do not like what he is not saying. That being our nation’s foreign policies. A dear and old friend of mine supports Sanders, both monetarily and emotionally. He went to the Brooklyn, N.Y.C Sanders headquarters the other day to donate more money to the campaign. My friend, knowing how I feel, asked to speak to the regional campaign manager about my concerns. He was told: “Bernie knows and agrees with your friend, but it would be political suicide, in light of this ISIL threat, for him to even bring up the military spending, occupations and bases overseas at this time. He first has to win the election.”How many times have we heard the same rhetoric on key issues of major importance by Two Party/One Party candidates? In 1932, if one studies American history, FDR lashed out during his campaign against the big money interests, especially the FAT CAT bankers. Things were really bad then, even worse than the crisis we faced in 2008. There were those in FDR’s new administration that implored him to do the most expedient thing to solve the crisis: Nationalize the banks. So many were failing and so many Americans were losing their life’s savings that FDR could have done it and gotten the highest approval rating imaginable. He chose not to. The big banks survived and grew greater with each decade, until… you know the rest. Obama had the same chance that FDR had, especially when the truth came out that the Wall Street banksters were using the massive bailout to continue their greed with high pay and bonuses, while millions of homeowners were being foreclosed. Instead, he had as his Treasury Sec. another ex Goldman Sachs guy, Tim Geithner, to replace Bush Jr.’s ex Goldman Sachs Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson. ‘And the hits just keep on comin….’
Pardon the pun, but the ‘ elephant in the room ‘ for we working stiffs is this obscene military spending and our War Empire. If more of us do not begin to realize that when over 50% of our taxes goes toward this end, it will ultimately be our end! If one truly loves this great country and cares about our young soldiers, then we need to drastically cut the military spending, close the overseas bases, end our occupations and use the massive savings to save our states and cities. Tell our elected leaders to stop ‘dancing around the truth’!
Philip A Farruggio is a semi retired baby boomer born and bred in blue collar Brooklyn NYC. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn longshoremen, and educated at ‘free tuition’ Brooklyn College, class of ’74. Philip has written over 300 columns since 2001 and his work is found on many fine progressive sites like World News Trust, Nation of Change, Information Clearinghouse, Intrepid Report, The Sleuth Journal, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.