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By Arlen Grossman
Editor’s note: This is a revision of my November 20 posting.
1.War is not the answer. I don’t envision any military solution to Jihadism. That would entail massive bombing by us and retaliatory terrorist attacks by them. An unending thousand-year cycle of war and violence much like Israel and the Palestinians. An eye for an eye, another eye for an eye…ad infinitum. If we continue waging war as we have, we will never eliminate ISIS and other extremists-but we will help recruit new terrorists. In addition, a lot of innocent civilians there will die. And because of the inevitable blowback, innocent Americans will die here from terrorist attacks. What is it that we can accomplish militarily? Nothing lasting–just endless war for generations to come.
2) Get Our Military Out of the Middle East. If we pull out of the region entirely, terrorism will not be eliminated, but it will be greatly reduced. Why? Because the main complaint of Muslim extremists–and non-extremists–is Western influence and interference in their part of the world. Osama bin Laden’s stated reason for 9/11 was American involvement in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Arab world. “They hate us for our freedom” is no more than a Republican talking point. Let the Sunnis and the Shiites kill each other if that’s what they want to do, but we don’t need to be involved in that.
3) Limited Military Action. Just to clarify, I’m not advocating appeasement. If there is reliable intelligence about planned attacks on Western targets, surgical military strikes by coalition governments would be appropriate. But lets make sure no U.S. or Western ground troops are involved. That would only make the situation worse.
4) The Most Radical Idea of All: Assisting the Muslim World. Think of the money we would save if we withdrew our military from the Middle East. Then imagine what would happen if we used some of that money to help our former adversaries. Imagine what the average Muslim would think if Western nations, instead of invading their countries militarily, came to their lands to help them–-building schools, providing health care, and building (or rebuilding) roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. Americans and other Western countries could send thousands of non-combat soldiers and citizens invested in making the Muslim world more modern, secure and friendly.
I don’t expect these acts of assistance will immediately stop all terrorism and hatred of the West. What I’m proposing is a long-term strategy, not a short-term one (the kind we are fondest of). Muslims will naturally be suspicious at first, but once real assistance was in place, they might start to look at Western powers in a different way: as (gasp!) friends. Terrorism would eventually dissipate. There would no longer be a compelling reason to seek revenge on the West. No guarantees here, but one thing we can count on: staying the course or doubling down militarily will not work.
There are no easy solutions to this centuries-old cycle of death and destruction. But we need to utilize our brains and common sense rather than give in to mindless hate and violence.
By Arlen Grossman
I wish nothing but the best for America’s veterans. But let’s get real on this Veteran’s Day. We will hear over and over that our soldiers “defended our country” and “fought for our freedoms.”
But how accurate is that? After World War II American troops have invaded and bombed countries all over the world, none of which realistically were threats to us or our freedoms. We have been the aggressors. In fact, the last officially declared war America fought was WWII. Only when we accept these unpleasant truths will we pull back from policing the world and truly work to defend our country. It is not the fault of our veterans, but, sadly, they make the biggest sacrifices.
A highly decorated Marine, Major General Smedley Butler, figured it out years ago. “I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.”
Also published in the Monterey Herald Nov. 13.
Twelve-second summary of the Republican Debate on the Fox Business Network: “We will cut taxes and regulations and grow the economy. Hillary Clinton will destroy the economy. We can’t agree on what to do about illegal immigrants or military spending. Check my website for my plan to fix all of it!”
By Arlen Grossman
When you look at the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, it is hard to imagine any of them nominated by the party to run for the highest office in our land.
In one way or another the current field lacks the gravitas, charisma, ideas, judgement and/or intellect to handle the job of leader of the free world.
If the GOP expects to beat Hillary Clinton–or even Bernie Sanders– in 2016, it probably won’t be by anyone among the candidates running now. Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. Dr. Ben Carson has proven to be a serial liar. Lacking charisma, Jeb Bush is fading fast. Carly Fiorina’s business record is flawed. Ted Cruz is too extreme, and Marco Rubio too young and inexperienced. The rest don’t excite or interest the voters.
But Republicans desperately want to win and have plenty of money to help make it happen. So, to whom do they turn? Based on the current crop, it just might have to be a candidate not currently running for president.
That’s why an outsider, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to be specific, could be poised to accept the Republican Party’s nomination to run for president. Ryan, vetted as a vice-presidential candidate for the GOP in 2012, is well-respected inside and outside of the Beltway. When the party desperately needed someone to take over as Speaker of the House, they turned to Ryan, who was acceptable to establishment and Tea Party Republicans. The mainstream media has always liked the good-looking, hard-working conservative policy wonk.
Paul Ryan touts his 2012 federal budget plan. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
At age 45 and with young children, Ryan would probably prefer to make a run for president later down the line. But with the GOP stumbling to find a viable, electable candidate, he might feel his destiny is to rescue his party and his country and take the plunge early. As an added incentive, his family would be able to live with him at the White House.
As a progressive, I’m not advocating for Ryan, and the Republican Party isn’t asking for my advice. But I think Democratics should be prepared for such an eventuality. Ryan would be a formidable candidate and would have a far better chance of being elected president than anyone we’ll see on the Republican debate stage.
Paul Ryan for President. Yes, it really could happen.
Also published at OpEdNews, Nov. 11
The “War On Terror” Is The Hoax Foundation Of The Police/Spy State
By Paul Craig Roberts/ paulcraigroberts.org/ November 5, 2015
The “war on terror” was a hoax. Americans were deceived by policymakers, who are pursuing a hegemonic agenda. The American people were too trusting and too gullible and, consequently, Americans were easily betrayed by Washington and by the presstitute media.
The consequences of the deceit, gullibility, and betrayal are horrendous for Americans, for millions of peoples in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine, and for Washington’s European vassals.
The consequences for Americans are an aborted Constitution, a police/spy state and rising resentment and hatred of America around the world.
The consequences for peoples in Somolia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Palestine, and Ukraine have been massive deaths and dislocations, infrastructure destruction, internal conflicts, birth defects, invasions, bombings, drones. Millions of peoples have been murdered by Washington’s pursuit of hegemony, and millions have been turned into refugees.
The consequences for Washington’s European vassals is that the millions of refugees from Washington’s wars are now overrunning Europe, causing social and political discord and threatening the European political parties that enabled, and participated in, Washington’s massive war crimes in eight countries.
The populations of the eight countries and Washington’s vassals are stuck with the consequences of Washington’s evil, vicious, and illegal actions. And Americans are stuck with the police/spy state and militarized police who murder three Americans each day and brutalize countless others.
The countries we have destroyed have no recourse to restitution.
Our European vassals will have to provide from their own pockets for the refugees that Washington’s wars are sending to them.
As for Americans, they seem to have settled into acquiescence to the brutal police/spy state that has crowded out freedom and democracy.
But Americans could do something about it.
It is a proven fact that the police/spy state rests on a foundation of lies and deceptions, and these lies and deceptions are now known. Even George W. Bush has admitted that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Thousands of independent experts consisting of physicists, nanochemists, structural engineers, highrise architects, fire fighters and first responders, and military and civilian pilots have provided the detailed explanations of September 11, 2001, that Washington failed to provide. Today not even an idiot believes the official explanation. The corrupt neoconservative Bush regime created a false reality and sold it to a trusting population that was anxious to prove its patriotism.
The American electorate knew that the Bush/Cheney regime had deceived them about many things, and the people, believing Obama’s promises of change, put him in office to rectify the situation. Instead, Obama protected the criminal Bush/Cheney regime and continued with the neoconservatives agenda.
We don’t have to stand for this. We can turn off Fox “News,” CNN, NPR and all the rest of the presstitutes who lie for a living. We can cease purchasing the useless newspapers. We can demand that the police/spy state that was created entirely on the basis of lies and deceptions be rolled back.
Who can possibly believe that the massive PATRIOT Act was written so quickly in the aftermath of 9/11? It is not possible that every member of Congress and the staff does not know that such a massive document was sitting on the shelf waiting its opportunity.
Who can possibly believe that a handful of Saudi Arabians acting without the support of any state and any intelligence service could outwit the entire apparatus of the American National Security State and inflict a humiliating defeat on the world’s only superpower?
9/11 is the worst national security failure in world history. Who can possibly believe that not a single one of the national security officials who so totally failed in their responsibilities was held accountable for their failures that brought total humiliation to the proud United States?
Who can possibly believe that the Bush regime’s invasion and destruction of Iraq was a response to 9/11 when Bush’s Treasury Secretary publicly stated that the invasion of Iraq was the topic of the Bush regime’s first cabinet meeting long prior to 9/11?
Are the American people really such washed-up sheeple, such cowards, that they acquiesce to a police/spy state, the foundation of which consists of nothing but lies told by criminals and repeated endlessly by whores pretending to be journalists?
If so, the American people are not a people who any longer matter, and they will continue to be treated by Washington and by their local police as people who do not matter.
Ten-second summary of the Republican Debate: “Government ruins everything. Cutting taxes is good. Hillary is dangerous. I’m the only candidate with a plan to fix it all!”
Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does
Raykovich, Iceland – In stark contrast to the record low number of prosecutions  of CEO’s and high-level financial executives in the U.S., Iceland has just sentenced 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison.
The majority of those convicted have been sentenced to prison terms of two to five years. The maximum penalty in Iceland for financial crimes is six years, although hearings are currently underway to consider extending the maximum beyond six years.
The prosecutions are the result of Iceland’s banksters manipulating the Icelandic financial markets after Iceland deregulated their finance sector in 2001. Eventually, an accumulation of foreign debt resulted in a meltdown of the entire banking sector in 2008.
According to Iceland Magazine :
In two separate rulings last week, the Supreme Court of Iceland and the Reykjavík District Court sentenced three top managers of Landsbankinn  and two top managers of Kaupþing , along with one prominent investor, to prison for crimes committed in the lead-up to the financial collapse of 2008. With these rulings the number of bankers and financiers who have been sentenced to prison for crimes relating to the financial collapse has reached 26, and a combined prison time of 74 years.
Massive debts were incurred in the name of the Icelandic public, to allow the country to continue to function, which are still being repaid to the IMF and other nations eight years later by the citizens of Iceland. In contrast to the U.S., Iceland has chosen to hold the criminals that manipulated their financial system accountable under the law.
In the U.S., not a single banking executive was charged with crimes related to the 2008 financial crisis , even though the U.S. itself precipitated the crisis. Icelandic President, Olafur Ragnar Grimmson summed it up best in his response when asked how his country recovered from the global financial crisis.
“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the people and didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”
While Iceland has prosecuted those that caused their financial crisis, America has done the opposite. In 2008, after Congress bailed out the failing American banks to the tune of $700 billion dollars, courtesy of the American taxpayer, many of the executives of institutions that received TARP bailout funds ended up getting large bonuses!
The prosecution of the Icelandic banksters represents an accountability that does not exist in the United States of America. It seems clear that the financial “Masters of the Universe” are the ones that truly control the political apparatus in the U.S., making it obvious there is no one who is going to hold them accountable for manipulating and crashing the financial markets.
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