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Why am I not surprised at this new revelation?

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  • Why am I not surprised at this new revelation?

    I read a piece on George Lucas, of American Graffiti, Star Wars, Indiana Jones fame, and whether you like the guy or not, it is difficult not to admit he is talented and brilliant in what he does. But I discovered a small bit of trivia about Star Wars, that after I read it my first thought was, I had always seen a resemblance between the Dark Empire of Starwars, with its Greek villians and heroes, and the nation of my birth, the United States of America, or just America for short. Even taking the continent of North America, which consist of Mexico, Canada and the USA, and calling the USA America is such an empire mentality with its great sense of entitlement to dictate to the rest of the world how they should act in their relationship to us, the top of the pyramid of entitled people. And it would be bad enough if it were just our high brow rarified air rulers who has such an entitled attitude towards the rest of humanity, but even many of the people in America also walk around cockily displaying this attitude in their beliefs, and even in the political ideology that they gravitated towards due to that mentality of entitlement. And it is something that only arose after ww2, but it didn't arise from the men who actually fought in that war but from the people who did not fight. For even when men win a bloody war, there is more humility than arrogance and the sense of entitlement that comes with arrogance. This difference in humility is shown vividly when you compare Ike, a man who truly knows of war and then men like Clinton, Bush Jr and his chicken hawk cohorts, like Cheney. In fact Cheney is a perfect match for Darth Vader and if the Dark Empire had a bumbling leader, indeed that would be Pres Bush Jr. But they didn't have such a leader, for theirs were truly evil. And then of course to add a new leader to the Dark Empire is filled perfectly by Obama, who has fit right in with the schemes of a Dark Empire and its sense of entitlement.

    Anyways here is the quote about Lucas that made me realized that I had indeed here on this board been quite right about America being seen as a lumbering Dark Empire by so much of the world.
    For given our lack of integrity, our refusal to be an honest nation and keep our word given to other nations and men, our perpetual war for perpetual peace, forcing ourselves upon other nations, many times violently, and serving an interest that is not the interest of the People of this empire, but the interest of a group of men who exist only to realize great wealth and who roll like pigs in the mud and shit, in the power that great wealth creates. And it isn't like this great wealth is created in a moral way, far from it, but by exploiting other desperate human beings, taking advantage of their abject poverty...

    Lucas nearly directed "Apocalypse Now," according to early Zoetrope principal Murch. He said Milius wrote the script for the nightmarish Vietnam War drama back in 1969, at the height of the war, when no studio would have dared release it. Instead, Murch has said said, Lucas took the script's central plot element -- guerrilla rebels fighting a lumbering empire -- and turned it into "Star Wars."
    So the book that the idea of the evil empire orginated from, was a novel about Viet Nam, seen from the Vietnamese side, with America being the lumbering but deadly empire imposing itself upon another land, with the guerrilla rebels finally in the end defeating a huge powerful empire.

    So how do you feel being a member of an empire that from the perspective of many others in the world is little more than a powerful, lumbering, evil empire? I guess Darth Vader should have been the hero of that film, Star Wars. And now that I think of it, when Vader pulled off his life sustaining helmet, there was a resemblance of Dick Cheney in that character. And we all know that Cheney literally walked around without a heart beat up until he got that heart transplant. That is so myth like, so biblical like, that the man responsible for perhaps a millions deaths based upon lies, didn't even have a beating heart.

  • #2
    The whole entitlement mentality started with FDR. Something for nothing. The government will take care of you. You deserve what someone else earns.


    • #3
      Finally found a use for Jar Jar...


      • #4
        Originally posted by Commodore View Post
        Finally found a use for Jar Jar...

        Messa agree, the empire isn't the U.S. its a childish abstract embodiement of authority and brutal power. Star Wars works as well as it does because it is a mythic and comprehensible tale to 7 year olds of any culture.


        • #5
          Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post
          The whole entitlement mentality started with FDR. Something for nothing. The government will take care of you. You deserve what someone else earns.
          I think humanity called it something differently for thousands of years, beginning with the collective nature of humanity when it was evolving into civilization It has only been recently that the selfish coined a new term for it.

          I sure hope that you are keeping a running tally of how much you are drawing out of social security, so that when you reach the amount you paid in, that you will refuse to accept any more money, for you would be getting something for nothing. Not that I expect you to do that, for the hyprocrisy on the right is almost unbearable at times. LOL


          • #6
            Originally posted by Commodore View Post
            Finally found a use for Jar Jar...

            Fair enough, but how about an officer filling your in? Of course if you only a bumper stick kinda guy, this will give you a headache. For it requires actually thinking, rather than being a good parrot. LOL.

            Its 1990. Im a young captain in the U.S. Air Force. Ive just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought Id see, short of a third world war. Right now Im witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared. Still, Im slightly nervous as my military gears up for an unexpected new campaign, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, to expel Iraqi autocrat Saddam Husseins military from Kuwait. Its a confusing moment. After all, the Soviet Union was forever (until it wasnt) and Saddam had been a stalwart U.S. friend, his country a bulwark against the Iran of the Ayatollahs. (For anyone who doubts that history, just check out the now-infamous 1983 photo of Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy for President Reagan, all smiles and shaking hands with Saddam in Baghdad.) Still, whatever my anxieties, the Soviet Union collapsed without a whimper and the campaign against Saddams battle-tested forces proved to be a cakewalk, with ground combat over in a mere 100 hours.
            Think of it as the trifecta moment: Vietnam syndrome vanquished forever, Saddams army destroyed, and the U.S. left standing as the planets sole superpower.
            Post-Desert Storm, the military of which I was a part stood triumphant on a planet that was visibly ours and ours alone. Washington had won the Cold War. It had won everything, in fact. End of story. Saddam admittedly was still in power in Baghdad, but he had been soundly spanked. Not a single peer enemy loomed on the horizon. It seemed as if, in the words of former U.N. ambassador and uber-conservative Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. could return to being a normal country in normal times.
            What Kirkpatrick meant was that, with the triumph of freedom movements in Central and Eastern Europe and the rollback of communism, the U.S. military could return to its historical roots, demobilizing after its victory in the Cold War even as a new world order was emerging. But it didnt happen. Not by a long shot. Despite all the happy talk back then about a new world order, the U.S. military never gave a serious thought to becoming a normal military for normal times. Instead, for our leaders, both military and civilian, the thought process took quite a different turn. You might sum up their thinking this way, retrospectively: Why should we demobilize or even downsize significantly or rein in our global ambitions at a moment when we can finally give them full expression? Why would we want a peace dividend when we could leverage our military assets and become a global power the likes of which the world has never seen, one that would put the Romans and the British in the historical shade? Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer caught the spirit of the moment in February 2001 when he wrote, "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."
            What I didnt realize back then was: Americas famed containment policy vis--vis the Soviet Union didnt just contain that superpower -- it contained us, too. With the Soviet Union gone, the U.S. military was freed from containment. There was nowhere it couldnt go and nothing it couldnt do -- or so the top officials of the Bush administration came into power thinking, even before 9/11. Consider our legacy military bases from the Cold War era that already spanned the globe in an historically unprecedented way. Built largely to contain the Soviets, they could be repurposed as launching pads for interventions of every sort. Consider all those weapon systems meant to deter Soviet aggression. They could be used to project power on a planet seemingly without rivals.
            Now was the time to go for broke. Now was the time to go all in, to borrow the title of Paula Broadwells fawning biography of her mentor and lover, General David Petraeus. Under the circumstances, peace dividends were for wimps. In 1993, Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, caught the coming post-Cold War mood of twenty-first-century America perfectly when she challenged Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell angrily over what she considered a too-cautious U.S. approach to the former Yugoslavia. "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about, she asked, if we can't use it?"
            Yet even as civilian leaders hankered to flex Americas military muscle in unpromising places like Bosnia and Somalia in the 1990s, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen in this century, the military itself has remained remarkably mired in Cold War thinking. If I could transport the 1990 version of me to 2015, heres one thing that would stun him a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union: the force structure of the U.S. military has changed remarkably little. Its nuclear triad of land-based ICBMs, submarine-launched SLBMs, and nuclear-capable bombers remains thoroughly intact. Indeed, its being updated and enhanced at mind-boggling expense (perhaps as high as a trillion dollars over the next three decades). The U.S. Navy? Still built around large, super-expensive, and vulnerable aircraft carrier task forces. The U.S. Air Force? Still pursuing new, ultra-high-tech strategic bombers and new, wildly expensive fighters and attack aircraft -- first the F-22, now the F-35, both supremely disappointing. The U.S. Army? Still configured to fight large-scale, conventional battles, a surplus of M-1 Abrams tanks sitting in mothballs just in case theyre needed to plug the Fulda Gap in Germany against a raging Red Army. Except its 2015, not 1990, and no mass of Soviet T-72 tanks remains poised to surge through that gap.
            Much of our military today remains structured to meet and defeat a Soviet threat that long ago ceased to exist. (Occasional sparring matches with Vladimir Putins Russia in and around Ukraine do not add up to the heated rumbles in the jungle we fought with the Soviet leaders of yesteryear.) And its not just a matter of weaponry. Our military hierarchy remains wildly and unsustainably top-heavy, with a Cold War-style cupboard of generals and admirals, as if we were still stockpiling brass in case of another world war and a further expansion of what is already uncontestably the largest military on the planet. If you had asked me in 1990 what the U.S. military would look like in 2015, the one thing I wouldnt have guessed was that, in its force structure, it would look basically the same.
            This persistence of such Cold War structures and the thinking that goes with them is a vivid illustration of military inertia, the plodding last-war conservatism that is a common enough phenomenon in military history. Its also a reminder that the military-industrial-congressional-complex that President Dwight Eisenhower first warned us about in 1961 remains in expansion mode more than half a century later, with its taste for business as usual (meaning, among other things, wildly expensive weapons systems). Above all, though, its an illustration of something far more disturbing: the failure of democratic America to seize the possibility of a less militarized world.
            Today, its hard to recapture the heady optimism of 1990, the idea that this country, as after any war, might at least begin to take steps to demobilize, however modestly, to become a more peaceable land. Thats why 1990 should be considered the high-water mark of the U.S. military. At that moment, we were poised on the brink of a new normalcy -- and then it all began to go wrong. To understand how, its important to see not just what remained the same, but also what began to change and just how we ended up with todays mutant military.
            Paramilitaries Without, Militaries Within, Civilian Torturers, and Assassins Withal
            Put me back again in my slimmer, uniformed 1990 body and catapult me for a second time to 2015. What do I see in this military moment that surprises me? Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for sure. Networked computers everywhere and the reality of a military preparing for cyberwar. Incessant talk of terrorism as Americas chief threat. A revival, however haltingly, of counterinsurgency operations, or COIN, a phenomenon abandoned in Vietnam with a stake through its heart (or so I thought then). Uncontrolled and largely unaccountable mass surveillance of civilian society that in the Cold War era would have been a hallmark of the Evil Empire.
            More than anything, however, what would truly have shocked the 1990 version of me is the almost unimaginable way the military has privatized in the twenty-first century. The presence of paramilitary forces (mercenary companies like DynCorp, the former Blackwater, and Triple Canopy) and private corporations like KBR doing typical military tasks like cooking and cleaning (what happened to privates doing KP?), delivering the mail, and mounting guard duty on military bases abroad; an American intelligence system thats filled to the brim with tens of thousands of private contractors; a new Department of Defense called the Department of Homeland Security (homeland being a word I would once have associated, to be blunt, with Nazi Germany) that has also embraced paramilitaries and privatizers of every sort; the rapid rise of a special operations community, by the tens of thousands, that has come to constitute a vast, privileged, highly secretive military caste within the larger armed forces; and, most shocking of all, the public embrace of torture and assassination by Americas civilian leaders -- the very kinds of tactics and techniques I associated in 1990 with the evils of communism.
            Walking about in such a world in 2015, the 1990-me would truly find himself a stranger in a strange land. This time-traveling Bill Astores befuddlement could, I suspect, be summed up in an impolite sentiment expressed in three letters: WTF?
            Think about it. In 2015, so many of America's "trigger-pullers" overseas are no longer, strictly speaking, professional military. Theyre mercenaries, guns for hire, or CIA drone pilots (some on loan from the Air Force), or warrior corporations and intelligence contractors looking to get in on a piece of the action in a war on terror where progress is defined -- official denials to the contrary -- by body count, by the number of "enemy combatants" killed in drone or other strikes.
            Indeed, the very persistence of traditional Cold War structures and postures within the big military has helped hide the full-scale emergence of a new and dangerous mutant version of our armed forces. A bewildering mish-mash of special ops, civilian contractors (both armed and unarmed), and CIA and other intelligence operatives, all plunged into a penumbra of secrecy, all largely hidden from view (even as theyre openly celebrated in various Hollywood action movies), this mutant military is forever clamoring for a greater piece of the action.
            While the old-fashioned, uniformed military guards its Cold War turf, preserved like some set of monstrous museum exhibits, the mutant military strives with great success to expand its power across the globe. Since 9/11, it's the mutant military that has gotten the lions share of the action and much of the adulation -- heres looking at you, SEAL Team 6 -- along with its ultimate enabler, the civilian commander-in-chief, now acting in essence as Americas assassin-in-chief.
            Think of it this way: a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military is completely uncontained. Washingtons foreign policies are strikingly military-first ones, and nothing seems to be out of bounds. Its two major parts, the Cold War-era big military, still very much alive and kicking, and the new-era military of special ops, contractors, and paramilitaries seek to dominate everything. Nuclear, conventional, unconventional, land, sea, air, space, cyber, you name it: all realms must be mastered.
            Except it cant master the one realm that matters most: itself. And it cant find the one thing that such an uncontained military was supposed to guarantee: victory (not in a single place anywhere on Earth).
            Loaded with loot and praised to the rafters, Americas uncontained military has no discipline and no direction. It never has to make truly tough choices, like getting rid of ICBMs or shedding its obscenely bloated top ranks of officers or cancelling redundant weapon systems like the F-35. It just aims to do it all, just about everywhere. As Nick Turse reported recently, U.S. special ops touched down in 150 countries between 2011 and 2014. And the results of all this activity have been remarkably repetitive and should by now be tragically predictable: lots of chaos spread, lots of casualties inflicted, and in every case, mission unaccomplished.
            The Future Isn't What It Used to Be
            Say what you will of the Cold War, at least it had an end. The overriding danger of the current American military moment is that it may lack one.
            Once upon a time, the U.S. military was more or less tied to continental defense and limited by strong rivals in its hegemonic designs. No longer. Today, it has uncontained ambitions across the globe and even as it continually stumbles in achieving them, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, or elsewhere, its growth is assured, as our leaders trip over one another in continuing to shower it with staggering sums of money and unconditional love.
            No military should ever be trusted and no military should ever be left uncontained. Our nations founders knew this lesson. Five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower took pains in his farewell address in 1961 to remind us of it again. How did we as a people come to forget it? WTF, America?
            What I do know is this: Take an uncontained, mutating military, sprinkle it with unconditional love and plenty of dough, and you have a recipe for disaster. So excuse me for being more than a little nervous about what well all find when America flips the calendar by another quarter-century to the year 2040.
            William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), is a TomDispatch regular. He edits the blogThe Contrary Perspective


            • #7
              Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post

              Fair enough, but how about an officer filling your in?
              Lets put it this way; how seriously would you take some partisan hack who traced our countrys worst ills back to FDR and his use of the atom bomb?


              • #8
                The military dog n pony show was trotted out after our wildly successful modern republic was introduced to the world in 1789. IOW, our mistake was over-using an antiquated imperial tool (the military) after we basically won the game. Look at it again: French Revolution, subsequent extinction of the rest of European monarchy (as a political force) by 1919. The communist revolutions, rising then falling due to a viable alternative to tyrants and antiquated economies. That alternative was the development of the mixed economy, an invention of US/European modern republics.

                The over-use of our military (WWI, backing multi-national corporations in Latin America, shutting down socialist revolutions in developing parts of the world) was counterproductive. Had we continued to promote the US revolution as we had before 1840, intervening with our military only when large scale genocide or significant numbers of US citizens were endangered, we would not be compromised in so many parts of the world today. Since we did get over-involved with the Roman "ass kicking, then trade" model, we wound up spending billions more, gaining less respect as our payback.


                • #9
                  Blue Doggy, why don't you just leave the country? Seriously, I have never heard you be anything other than disparaging of this country and its people. I am so tired of people who are utterly oblivious to the fact that they are blessed to be hear. Do we have a lot of problems and issues, absolutely, there is no place on Earth that doesn't, but only a completely intellectually and morally vacuous fool would fail to realize that the problems and challenges we face are ones that most of the world (and the overwhelming majority of generations that came before us) would envy!

                  In a very rare and atypical instance, I am now fully on board with a brand new federal spending program...the stop f-ing whinning or get the F out of the country if you don't appreciate it. I support federal purchase of a one-way, first class airfare to a destination of your choice, $20k in resettlement benefits, and all you have to do is sign your expatriation papers and accept a waiver of any right or privilege to ever set foot in this country you feel is so deeply, morally, ethically, and economical miserable place ever, ever again...I don't even want you interred here or your ashes scattered when the good lord calls you home (sadly I am fear you will find plenty to piss and moan about in Heaven as well).


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post

                    So how do you feel being a member of an empire that from the perspective of many others in the world is little more than a powerful, lumbering, evil empire?
                    The "evil empire" i'm concerned about is and its offshoot socialist organizations such as the Party of European Socialists. They state on their website that they want nothing less than world government. They also have fairly close ties with the UN.

                    Giving these leftist control freaks total power combined with the ability to monitor our every purchase, move, and word, and it could be a hellish global police state.


                    • #11
                      The socialists, like all other political parties, have proven their inability to govern uninterrupted for more than a couple of decades in any one country. Let alone the world. Humans run political parties, therefore they will screw up. This becomes more likely as time goes on.

                      Perhaps kramer fears the "comintern" or communist international? That would allow uninterrupted party control for much more than 20 years, due only to unfair elections. Oh wait, the communists proved they could rule one given country for 70 years or less, before imploding (Soviet Union) or forced morphing (Red China). Once again, due to the inevitable incompetence of one party in power for too long. It is a hard and fast rule of party or policy decay. Even with unfair elections, citizens will choose non-cooperation when the level of gov't. incompetence reaches lethal levels -the citizen literally has very little to lose by not cooperating.

                      However, claiming such parties exist and will exercise their world might is a good propaganda tool to convince unthinking voters to choose their opposition.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by radcentr View Post

                        However, claiming such parties exist and will exercise their world might is a good propaganda tool to convince unthinking voters to choose their opposition.
                        "The ultimate objective of the parties of the Socialist International is nothing less than world government. As a first step towards it, they seek to strengthen the United Nations so that it may become more and more effective as an instrument for maintaining peace."


                        You can read my "propaganda" "claim" from the fake site I linked to and I guess aimed at the unthinking voters (i.e., the Jonathan Grubers of the USA, aka your average US democrat) from the above link. It's about 80% of the way down the page.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post
                          Fair enough, but how about an officer filling your in? Of course if you only a bumper stick kinda guy, this will give you a headache. For it requires actually thinking, rather than being a good parrot. LOL.
                          You do realize that you can find someone on the internet willing to say anything, even that which makes you feel warm and fuzzy. And that warm and fuzziness isn't truth, it's just what you want to hear.
                          Last edited by Commodore; 05-17-2015, 11:38 PM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kramer View Post

                            "The ultimate objective of the parties of the Socialist International is nothing less than world government. As a first step towards it, they seek to strengthen the United Nations so that it may become more and more effective as an instrument for maintaining peace."


                            You can read my "propaganda" "claim" from the fake site I linked to and I guess aimed at the unthinking voters (i.e., the Jonathan Grubers of the USA, aka your average US democrat) from the above link. It's about 80% of the way down the page.
                            The socialist parties around the world talk about world peace and justice thru socialism. In practice, they compromise on national issues, integrate capitalism into their economies, and lose elections occasionally.

                            IOW, their practice bears no resemblance whatsoever to the comintern. Their rhetoric bears some resemblance, hence my statement about useful propaganda. They do not practice nor export violent revolution like the communists. They can't even muster coordination to bring down gov'ts thru civil disobedience. My position stands.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Commodore View Post

                              You do realize that you can find someone on the internet willing to say anything, even that which makes you feel warm and fuzzy. And that warm and fuzziness isn't truth, it's just what you want to hear.
                              Well sure, it's not like the internet isn't real life. In real life if the village idiot comes up and tells you something, you take that into consideration. By the same token, if someone who has credibility due to positions he had held, his experience, you should take that into consideration as well. I discount the village idiots right off the bat. But I do not discount credible men, just because they say something that I do not believe happened. I slow down, dig around, and try to sift it out. But one also has to understand that we create ideas about how things are from just daily observation, basing it upon information, and by what credible sources are saying. This tends to create a personal stance. If that stance is based only upon conspiracy sites, you can say that there is a good probability that any view taken from such sites will be false.

                              I think this is what most of us do, but there are some of us, who as you mentioned, start out with a belief, not based upon credible sources, but based upon anyone who will parrot what we already believe, with those beliefs being grounded upon village idiots from the get-go. LOL I don't see myself in that camp, but I know some who seem to be. Just by what they write.