Monthly Archives: January 2017

Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

By Mark Danner, published 2016

Review by Dom Nozzi

January 30, 2017

I just finished reading a powerful, highly disturbing, infuriating and depressing book. Spiral, by Mark Danner, lays out the criminal and exceptionally self-perpetuating downward spiral of the so-called American War on Terror. Danner shows how the “war” continuously induces more and more fear amongst Americans. And how fear is the most effective means that elected officials have to convince voters that our corrupt, militarized government is justified in ramping up, without end, a global forever war. The “war” 41h2vikpal-_sy344_bo1204203200_moves us further and further away from the publicly alleged objective of “making us safer” by endlessly recruiting countless new “terrorists” who have made a lifetime vow to engage in violence in retribution for American violence (even the hawkish Donald Rumsfeld asked if “we [are]…killing… more terrorists…than…the radical clerics are recruiting…”). The fear so sharply escalated by the “war” has led large numbers of Americans to passively accept things now routinely engaged in by the US that throughout history have been considered barbaric: torture, starting wars of aggression, indiscriminately killing countless civilians, spending way more than the next several world military powers combined, and engaging in invasive domestic surveillance of all Americans. There is no end in sight for American forever wars being conducted in so many places today. Neither major party in the US seems to have any interest in ending the murderous boondoggle.

The self-perpetuating nature of these forever wars reminds one of the bursting-at-the-seams US prison system, which is so harsh and retributive that it has become a crime factory ensuring that upon release, prisoners will soon re-offend and be imprisoned again.

In my view, all of us alive today will live for the rest of our lives with a much greater fear of violent extremism (such as domestic lone-wolf bombings and mass shootings) than any previous generation. The great irony is that this increased fear and increased number of terrorist incidents domestically and internationally is the direct result of America engaging in what is now a 14-year (and counting) “war on terror” to make us “safer.” Another irony in all of this: Noam Chomsky is correct when he notes that the US has become the most prolific terrorist nation the world has ever seen. Had we not engaged in this shockingly counterproductive “war,” our future would have been significantly safer.  Instead of making us less safe and substantially increasing the incidence of worldwide terrorism, our nation could have had spent those trillions of war dollars to actually improve our lives rather than worsen it. Money that instead of being used to kill a huge number of mostly innocent people, could have been used to create a national passenger rail system, provide free college education, create much cheaper or free national health care, fund a lot more scientific and medical research, repair infrastructure, and so on.

Excerpts from this sobering book:

“…nearly 33,000 people worldwide died from terrorism in 2014, an increase of 35 percent over the year before – and of 4,000 percent since 2002.”

“Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.” – President Barrack Obama, [Nobel Peace Prize winner] September 30, 2011

“[America now routinely engages in] warrantless wiretapping…Extraordinary rendition. Unlawful combatants. Indefinite detention. Targeted assassination. Extrajudicial killing. Enhanced interrogation techniques. Torture. …once unthinkable [these tactics have become] quietly accepted weapons in an endless war.”

“…the reality of [Obama’s] years in office have turned out to be more complicated. Guantanamo remains open. The military commissions go on. Torture goes unpunished [“We must look forward, not backward”]…he sent drones to kill thousands, including many civilians. Americans, believing themselves to stand proudly for the rule of law and human rights, have become for the rest of the world a symbol of something quite opposite: a society that imprisons people indefinitely without trial, kills thousands without due process, and leaves unpunished lawbreaking approved by its highest officials…Even as ‘core’ al Qaeda has been battered and reduced, al Qaedism, the ideology, has thrived…powered by the outrage of young Muslims over Western imperialism, torture, drone attacks…this very plentitude means the odds against those charged with stopping attacks grow ever longer…successful lone-wolf attacks [in the US are] increasingly likely.”

Ordinarily, I’d advise everyone to read this essential book as soon as possible, but as the author notes in his concluding remarks, it seems today that most Americans would hardly bat an eye if they were to learn a lot more about American atrocities and self-defeating actions in the “war on terror.” Indeed, Americans became so apathetic, cynical and callous during Obama’s two terms of office that I suspect most Americans these days would, if anything, applaud upon learning that the US behavior was now similar to the North Koreans, the Chinese, the former Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany. After observing how both major parties seemed to want to aggressively step up the “war on terror” in the 2016 presidential campaign — despite the enormous number of books, essays, investigations, and news reports showing its failures — the author asks “[w]hat if you tear off the veil and no one gasps, no one cringes, no one even blinks? What if, apart from a handful, the public mostly yawns and turns the channel?”

 

 

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Why Did Trump Win?

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 27, 2017

For the entire 2016 US Presidential election season, a great many folks on the Left (and Right) who were understandably disgusted by Donald Trump thought – wrongly – that the way to stop him from being elected was to constantly attack him as a horrible person. He’s a liar! A misogynist! A racist! A moron! An egotist! An unstable person! A fascist! The worst presidential candidate ever! An out-of-touch billionaire!

But with all due respect, it turns out that many of those who screamed those things – and CONTINUE to scream those things after he was elected – are the ones who are out of touch.

Both the Republican Party AND the Democratic Party have become so corrupted by Wall Street, Corporations, the Military-Industrial Complex, and Big Pharma that they have turned their backs on the many people in America who are hurting for jobs (both the unemployed and underemployed) and income.2aaa

The Republicans have a long tradition of engaging in this sort of corruption. But now the neo-liberals – lead by such folks as Bill Clinton — have convinced the Democrats to take the same path. The neo-liberals decided that they would be better Repubs than the Repubs. Neo-liberals would adopt the same economic, criminal justice, and military objectives as Repubs, but would be more supportive of women’s rights and environmental protection.

The neo-liberals (which includes Hillary Clinton and those who supported her in the primaries) took the working class for granted, and assumed such voters would be trapped into voting for the Democrat. All they had to do was point out how HORRIBLE Trump was as a person. Identity politics would lock in a victory.

But the strategy utterly failed.

Trump realized that the key to being elected was to appeal to the working class. To speak to them in ways that appealed to the pain they are feeling.

Trump attacked NAFTA and TPP (while Dems such as Hillary and Obama supported such agreements). The working class HATES those agreements. Trump promised to bring jobs back to America and impose punishing rules and tariffs on nations taking American jobs and importing foreign goods to America. That is music to the ears of the working class. Trump promised to be an “outsider.” A tough-guy superhero (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) who would be strong enough to stand up to the people and nations who were taking American jobs and income.

As much as the Left dislikes this, calls by Trump to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport immigrants and weaken environmental regulations all can sound appealing to people looking for a job.

In the end, the fact that Trump is a horrible racist or sexist or liar or moron matters far less for a huge number of Americans than the fact that it appears he cares about bringing back American jobs and income, and appears to be tough enough and savvy enough to do it. Privileged Dems who have jobs and income, by contrast, cannot even imagine how ANYONE could vote for a racist, sexist moron.

Because they are out of touch with the working class.

Do the self-righteous neo-liberals realize the extreme income and wealth disparities that now exist in the US? Do they know that about half of all Americans are suffering economically? Are neo-liberals even paying lip service to these America-is-not-great conditions?

Such an out-of-touch attitude fails to recognize that needing a job and an income are far more important than the fact that a candidate is an asshole. Or the opponent is a woman.

This helps explain why Trump – the biggest clown to ever run for president – won the election. Why the Repubs won the House, the Senate, the statehouses, and many governorships.

If the Dems don’t discard the corrupt, warmongering, neo-liberal wing of their party, they will continue to experience defeats in future elections – elections they should be winning (or the Left should be winning).

Pointing out that the Repub candidate an asshole is not enough. Running a Right Wing woman won’t work in 2016.

While I support the protesting against bad Trump appointments and bad Trump policies, I do not support the Dems acting like Repubs by opposing EVERYTHING Trump proposes (such extreme partisanship ignores the fact that Trump/Repubs occasionally propose things the Left should support – such as dumping TPP and NAFTA). The Left needs to realize that it is particularly likely that Trump will occasionally support Left Wing causes because he has not been as corrupted by lobbyist dollars as have the Dems and Repubs. This is a golden opportunity, therefore, for long-standing Leftist policies to be adopted.

It is time for the Left to stop screaming about what an asshole Trump is, and get to work on either creating a new party or reforming the corrupt Dem Party.

Neoliberals need to look in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at others.

The blame for the Trump election resides with corrupt neoliberalism. Not the oft-stated claim that a huge number of Americans are racist morons. Or the Russians. Or Leftists who didn’t vote for Hillary.

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Republicans Adopt Left Wing Agenda and Democrats Adopt a Right Wing Agenda

 

By Dom Nozzi

November 22, 2016

Has American politics shifted to the Right as Democrats move to the political Right? Or are the Democrats and Republicans shifting sides?

Wars started by Democrats https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061003172851AAZgpzV

http://911billofrights.blogspot.com/2013/04/democrat-or-republican-presidents-who.html

Bill Clinton passed NAFTA, gutted welfare, and exploded the prison population.

Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ronald Reagan reduced American weapons more than any president in US history.4651031e199584e15518435378568b8a

Barrack Obama says to look forward, not backward (no Wall Street bankers or “War on Terror” torturers imprisoned).

Jimmy Dore on Democrats acting like Republicans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4dG0dpiMV0

Bill Clinton’s legacy:

  • The multi-lateral free trade deal NAFTA (still in effect and destroying American manufacturing).
  • The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly LGBT people serving in our Armed Forces (repealed many years after Bill Clinton left office).
  • The federal “Defense of Marriage Act” that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages (ruled unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court many years after Bill Clinton left office).
  • The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” federal religious discrimination statute (still in effect and used by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow private-sector businesses to discriminate against women).
  • The gutting of America’s welfare system (still in effect).
  • The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill (many provisions are still in effect and contributing America’s mass incarceration problem).

More evidence of Democrats acting like Republicans:

 

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Facebook Comments Directed at Me in the Fall of 2016 Regarding My Presidential Election Views

 

Rob Brinkman [a friend of mine for several years]: Fuck you, Dom. [In response to my FB comment to a Mark Sexton post comparing Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton. I said “Shame on those on the political left who would vote for a DINO [Clinton].”

Colin Whitworth [a friend of mine for several years]: You’ve lost your fucking mind, Dom. [He then unfriended me on Facebook.]

Kathie J Smith: Dom Nozzi well you could start by maybe getting your head out of your ass.

Gina Hawkins [a friend of mine for several years]: I can’t believe you are being such an idiot. I have some land to sell you in south Florida…

Gina Hawkins [in reference to my traumatic brain injury in 1996]: That knock to your head was worse than I thought.

Dave Newport [a friend of mine for several years]: You’re truly an idiot. You should write in Trump and make America stupid again.

Joe Courter [a friend of mine for several years]: You know Dom, for being a rational free-thinker, you are taking a huge leap of faith in your self righteous vote your conscience advocacy… get real.

Mary Del Balzo (my sister): I won’t bother to respond. I know from previous elections that you are beyond help. [She then unfriended me on Facebook.]

Jane D Myers: You can’t changed closed minds.

Francoise Poinsatte [a good friend of mine]: : What is wrong with you, Dom?? I can’t stand to see you bad mouthing Hillary on everything, and hardly even mentioning Trump. … In the meantime, you may get your fervent wish, as Trump appears to be gaining in the polls, and we may have to contend with the nightmare of his presidency. I highly disrespect all I have seen you post on facebook recently. I believe you have lost a lot of respect with your constant diatribes against Hillary Clinton. [She then unfriended me on Facebook.]

Grant Thrall [a good friend and colleague for several years]: : Dom’s way is “my way or the highway.” No compromise. Just like the t-party Republicans. That can bring an end to the nation.

Steve Manning [a friend of mine for several years]: Which means you didn’t care who won. Noted. You stood by. Easy to do when you don’t have kids. you stood by. Good bye. [He immediately unfriended me on Facebook. This was after more than 40 years of our being good friends.]

Betsy MacWhinney [a friend from high school]: I’m so fucking tired of people call themselves “Progressive” but are fine with the country heading back to 1952.

In all, 11 Facebook friends unfriended me during the 2016 presidential campaign. I blame much of the above hostility to the extreme, 24/7 attacking from the US corporate media, which has continued since Trump’s election. Even relatively educated people have, at least partly as a result, lost their minds in their fury over Trump. “HE IS THE MOST EVIL, STUPID, AWFUL HUMAN IN HISTORY!!! THE WORLD WILL END THE DAY HE IS ELECTED!!! I’M TERRIFIED AND WILL HIDE UNDER MY BED!!!”

I am certain that the media hostility toward Trump has destroyed a great many friendships and family relationships. I am firmly on the political left and have very little sympathy for Trump, but the media opposition to Trump was shockingly one-sided.  trump-as-hitler-2

I’ve never seen anything like it. Almost like living in the former Soviet Union with Pravda as the media.

 

 

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Hillary Clinton is a Republican

 

By Dom Nozzi

October 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton is a DINO (Democrat In Name Only).1x-1

  • She supported the Iraq war (and likely has no desire to end the endless Afghan war, or the many other Middle East forever wars the US has gotten involved in). As Secretary of State Hillary used Bush/Cheney-style false intelligence as justification for levying of militarist aggression on Libya. In other words, she fully supports the ruinous “War on Terror,” which would more accurately be called the “War to Endlessly Fund the Pentagon & Create More People Who Hate the US.”
  • She supported the Patriot Act in 2001, and regularly supports other domestic spying proposals and civil liberties violations.
  • She was, according to the NYT, by far the biggest militarist and interventionist of all presidential candidates in 2016 (she is, unsurprisingly, supported by many nationally prominent Republican hawks, including Kissinger).
  • She was instrumental in fomenting a right wing coup in Honduras. Now, indigenous rights activists are being murdered by the regime.
  • She claims to be in support of immigration but as Secretary of State called for the deportation of children who were refugees from the murderous unrest in central and south America.
  • She supported NAFTA; the Clinton’s “Two-For-The-Price-Of-One” presidency’s so-called Welfare reform act — The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) — an act that cast more women and children into poverty than any event since the Great Depression.
  • She has been corrupted by huge sums of money from military contractors. Combined with her militaristic views, she is highly likely to pour even MORE money into the obscenely bloated Pentagon than Obama did (Obama set all-time US records for money going to the Pentagon). The US ALREADY spends more on the military than the next 8 nations in the world, combined, who spend the most on the military).
  • She supports the death penalty. She termed minority youth “super predators” while shilling for the Clinton administration’s Jim Crow 2.0 omnibus crime bill i.e., Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — a racist piece of legislation that was the origin of the U.S. prison industrial complex. She reaped rewards for that years later when the largest private prison industry financed her senate campaign and both her presidential runs.
  • She served as a shill, lawyer and lobbyist for Walmart, Tyson foods, and the environmental destructive practices of the Arkansas timber industry. As a reward she was given a cushy spot on Walmart’s board, a paid position that requires no work, just the use of her name on letterheads.
  • She unconditionally supports the Israeli government.
  • She supports the US continuing to spend a disproportionate amount of funding on NATO (way more than other members of NATO).
  • She is a strong supporter of the utterly failed, ruinous war on drugs.
  • She is silent on the pressing need to revitalize passenger rail in the US.
  • She supports the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • As Secretary of State she organized the multinational corporate engineers for TPP, the trade deal that will kill the environment when combined with TiSA and TTiP and CETA, all of which Clinton helped organize, even though she is dodging it for campaign purposes.
  • She supports offshore oil drilling.
  • She supported the 2006 border fence legislation.
  • In the primaries in 2016, she raised over $20.3 million in Super PAC dollars, and $38.8 million in large donor contributions, including from Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and the for-profit medical lobby.
  • Her personal net worth is $21.5 million. The Clinton family now has something on the order of $200 million. She is, in other words, clearly a 1 percenter.
  • When she ran for president in 2008, she supported the second amendment, stood by her vote in support of the Iraq war, and opposed same sex marriage.
  • As a Young Republican, she worked for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign.
  • When the minimum wage was raised in Haiti to 61 cents an hour, the U.S. Department of State, under Madame Clinton, intervened on behalf of the corporate garment industry exploiting defacto slave labor and had the rate changed back to 31 cents.
  • She supports fracking.
  • She opposes reinstating Glass Steagall (or other Wall St regulations). She supported much banking deregulation that crashed the global economy in 08; moreover, the Clinton family has grown wealthy due to the quid quo pro involved.
  • Hillary is a great example of a “Rockefeller Republican” from the 70s. http://www.salon.com/2016/08/21/clinton-isnt-the-perfect-gop-nominee-but-she-is-the-conservative-option-for-2016/?source=newsletter

During the 2016 campaign, I have not had a single lesser evil voter take the time to respond to any points on the above list (makes me wonder if it matters to lesser evil voters that Clinton is a right-winger, as not responding implies agreement with the accuracy of the list).

One problem with the above list is that Clinton is infamous for changing her position on issues regularly to suit political or monetary interests. Therefore, it is relatively difficult to know where she stands from day to day. When one looks up “flipflopper” in the dictionary, there should be a drawing of her.

One person told me it was unfair to refer to Clinton supporting Goldwater, as views change over the course of 50 or 60 years. But where Clinton stood in 1964 is of possible importance, as most of us don’t change our political views radically from our teen years to our adult years (and when views change from teen to senior years, they tend to move toward more conservative). Sure, it is possible Clinton no longer harbors Goldwater views, but it is unlikely that she has utterly rejected all of them (for example, she seems to be a Goldwater person when it comes to warfare). Another reason to consider her Goldwater support in 1964 is that it would dovetail with many of her current Repub views, and help explain her often Repub value system.

Hillary Clinton, in sum, is the consummate neo-liberal, which I define as someone who is a Republican when it comes to economics, the military, and criminal justice, while being more of a Democrat when it comes to social issues such as women’s rights and education.

Postscript January 2017: I am convinced that neo-liberals such as Hillary and her supporters were largely responsible for Trump’s election, as neo-liberals largely turned their back on the Democratic base. Trump showed far more sympathy for the financially hurting working class, and said enough in support of military isolationism that a number of hawks opted to support Hillary. As a result, Hillary lost many blue-collar states won by Obama.

 

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Did Leftists Oppose Hillary Clinton Due to White Privilege?

 

By Dom Nozzi

November 7, 2006

A common charge I heard from supporters of Hillary Clinton when they learned that I, a political leftist, was opposed to Clinton, was to claim that my opposition was due to my “white privilege” status. In other words, I was able to overlook the horrible things that her opponent, Donald Trump, would do to minorities and lower-income folks — if he were elected – because it would not affect me nearly as much as those groups.

Over and over this charge was unfairly directed toward those of us on the left who refused to vote for Hillary.

Why unfair?

Because Hillary and her supporters must explain how it is okay that Hillary, as Secretary of State and Senator (and now in her statements as a presidential candidate), strongly pushed for Kissinger-like warfare in the Middle East and Central America.gty_david_petraeus_hillary_clinton_jt_140209_16x9_608

That bombing killed tens of thousands of innocent Muslims, Blacks/Browns, and single mothers in the Middle East and Central America. Those people are just as human and deserving of life and freedom from US aggression as those in the US.

But wait, there’s more.

Hillary has supported NAFTA, TPP, deregulating Wall Street, fracking, and deportation of women and children back to Central and South America. She seemingly has no sympathy for Israeli aggression/apartheid for the Palestinian women and children (and Muslims). Her policies have destroyed many Black/Brown, Muslim, Hispanic, and single working mother lives with her full-throated support of the ruinous war on drugs. As Secretary of State, she intervened on behalf of the corporate garment industry exploiting defacto slave labor and had the rate changed back to 31 cents.

In sum, she is at least partly responsible for many deaths of Hispanic, Black/Brown, Muslim, and single women, and as an apparently callous multi-multi-multi one percenter millionaire, the economic policies she supports have financially crushed those same groups.

Seems to me, given this sordid laundry list I just summarized, it is those who support Hillary who are more appropriately labeled white, privileged white people in a bubble who have no qualms about crushing Hispanics, Blacks/Browns, Muslims, or single mothers.

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Making Cars Happy is a Priority for Town Planners

 

By Dom Nozzi

July 15, 1999

Yesterday was a dispiriting day for me as a town planner for a city in Florida.

It was a typical conversation amongst my town planning colleagues, who supposedly were in a job that obligated them to create a better quality of life for their city. Typical because my colleagues are thoroughly quite suburban and auto-oriented.

For the second staff meeting in a row, what was the main agenda item for these planners at the meeting?

The DESPERATE need to require businesses to provide more car parking.parking lot3

Yes. Perhaps the most effective way to undermine the quality of life of the community.

To say I was appalled was to put it very mildly. I was livid.

I cannot imagine ANYTHING that is more damaging or more likely to lock a community into a sprawling, car-dependent debacle than to widen roads or build bigger parking lots.

Why are allegedly professional planners – whose job it is to protect and promote the city quality of life – doing all they can to ruin the city?

To add insult to injury, we spent the first 45 minutes of the meeting trying to come up with rules for fences or barricades that a business with an outdoor cafe would be required to install to seal off their outdoor tables and seating.

Why, I asked?

Is it not true, I said, that seating and tables are scattered, unfenced, throughout Europe???

Coral Gables FL, in fact, had a law that says that outdoor cafes must NOT be fenced. Are people dying in Coral Gable as a result? Is my city so terrified of urban vibrancy?

Is it not true that at a coffee shop in the town center of my city, the ambience of unfenced tables is fabulous? (it is actually quite vibrant, for the record)

The response from my planner colleagues: “It looks messy if the tables area is unfenced.” (Urbanism is ugly!) “People might walk through the tables area.” (horrors!) “The tables might end up on the sidewalks and people will have to walk around them.” (run for your life!)

Typical suburban concerns. Let’s protect ourselves from a quality city by barricading, by protecting against disorder, by sealing things off, by sterilizing, by cocooning.

Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just quit this shameful suburban sprawl job and write a book or run for commission or something…

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