STAYING ACTIVE BEHIND THE SCENES

I haven’t given up on this Blog for all the Faithful Followers that stayed with me for so long, although I’m not as active here as I was in the beginning. This post explains why.

What I’m posting Today is self explanatory in the covering letter to The Independent, the  News Organization. The Independent replied the next Day this way,

Richard Best (The Independent)

Jan 14, 2022, 12:08 GMT

Dear Ray
Thanks very much for your message. It’s good to know that people are so actively engaged in our democracy!Kind regards,

Richard Best

The Independent

Good Day,

AMERICA’S BUSINESS IS WAR

‘Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.

He shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

The Pentagon as Pentagod

W.J. Astore

The other day, retired General Michael Flynn called for “one religion under God” in the United States.

Ah, General Flynn, we already have one religion of militant nationalism and imperialism, and we already have one god, the Pentagod, which is the subject of my latest article for TomDispatch.com.

First, one religion. This weekend I watched the New England Patriots play the Cleveland Brown during which a Pentagon recruiting commercial broke out. The coaches wore camouflage jackets and caps, the game started with military flyovers of combat jets, and there even was a mass military swearing-in ceremony hosted by a four-star general and admiral. That same general claimed during an on-field interview during the game that the military is what keeps America free, which might just be the best definition of militarism that I’ve heard.

(Aside: In a true democracy, the military is seen as a necessary evil, because all militaries are essentially undemocratic. The goal of a true democracy is to spend as little as possible on the military while still providing for a robust defense.)

Here’s an illustration, sent by a friend, of America’s one religion:

So, according to the NFL and the mainstream media, “all of us” need to honor “our” military and indeed anyone who’s ever worn a uniform, no questions asked, apparently. I wore a military uniform for 24 years: four years as a cadet, twenty as a military officer, and I’m telling you this is nonsense — dangerous nonsense. Don’t “salute” authority. Question it. Challenge it. Hold it accountable and responsible. At the very least, be informed about it. And don’t mix sports, which is both business and entertainment, with military service and the machinery of war.

OK, so now let’s talk about America’s god. As I argue below, it certainly isn’t the Jesus Christ I learned about by reading the New Testament and studying the Gospels in CCD. America has never worshipped that god. Clearly the god we worship — at least as measured by money and societal influence — is the Pentagod, which leads me to my latest article at TomDispatch. Enjoy!

The Pentagon As Pentagod

Who is America’s god? The Christian god of the beatitudes, the one who healed the sick, helped the poor, and preached love of neighbor? Not in these (dis)United States. In the Pledge of Allegiance, we speak proudly of One Nation under God, but in the aggregate, this country doesn’t serve or worship Jesus Christ, or Allah, or any other god of justice and mercy. In truth, the deity America believes in is the five-sided one headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.

In God We Trust is on all our coins. But, again, which god? The one of “turn the other cheek”? The one who found his disciples among society’s outcasts? The one who wanted nothing to do with moneychangers or swords? As Joe Biden might say, give me a break.

America’s true god is a deity of wrath, whose keenest followers profit mightily from war and see such gains as virtuous, while its most militant disciples, a crew of losing generals and failed Washington officials, routinely employ murderous violence across the globe. It contains multitudes, its name is legion, but if this deity must have one name, citing a need for some restraint, let it be known as the Pentagod.

Yes, the Pentagon is America’s true god. Consider that the Biden administration requested a whopping $753 billion for military spending in fiscal year 2022 even as the Afghan War was cratering. Consider that the House Armed Services Committee then boosted that blockbuster budget to $778 billion in September. Twenty-five billion dollars extra for “defense,” hardly debated, easily passed, with strong bipartisan support in Congress. How else, if not religious belief, to explain this, despite the Pentagod’s prodigal $8 trillion wars over the last two decades that ended so disastrously? How else to account for future budget projections showing that all-American deity getting another $8 trillion or so over the next decade, even as the political parties fight like rabid dogs over roughly 15% of that figure for much-needed domestic improvements?

Paraphrasing Joe Biden, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you worship. In that context, there can’t be the slightest doubt: America worships its Pentagod and the weapons and wars that feed it.

Prefabricated War, Made in the U.S.A.

I confess that I’m floored by this simple fact: for two decades in which “forever war” has served as an apt descriptor of America’s true state of the union, the Pentagod has failed to deliver on any of its promises. Iraq and Afghanistan? Just the most obvious of a series of war-on-terror quagmires and failures galore.

That ultimate deity can’t even pass a simple financial audit to account for what it does with those endless funds shoved its way, yet our representatives in Washington keep doing so by the trillions. Spectacular failure after spectacular failure and yet that all-American god just rolls on, seemingly unstoppable, unquenchable, rarely questioned, never penalized, always on top.

Talk about blind faith!

Yet, before I bled Air Force blue, before I was stationed in a cathedral of military power under who knows how many tons of solid granite, I was raised a Roman Catholic. Recently, I caught the words of Pope Francis, God’s representative on earth for Catholic believers. Among other entreaties, he asked “in the name of God” for “arms manufacturers and dealers to completely stop their activity, because it foments violence and war, it contributes to those awful geopolitical games which cost millions of lives displaced and millions dead.”

Which country has the most arms manufacturers? Which routinely and proudly leads the world in weapons exports? And which spends more on wars and weaponry than any other, with hardly a challenge from Congress or a demurral from the mainstream media?

And as I stared into the abyss created by those questions, who stared back at me but, of course, the Pentagod.

How Congress Loots the Treasury for the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Even as it loses war after war overseas, the U.S. military has waged a far more successful one to burnish its image in the hearts and minds of Americans and win every budget battle in Washington.

Despite a disagreement over some amendments in the Senate, the United States Congress is poised to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have been doing year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand the lion’s share—over 65%—of federal discretionary spending to the U.S. war machine, even as they wring their hands over spending a mere quarter of that amount on the Build Back Better Act.

The U.S. military’s incredible record of systematic failure—most recently its final trouncing by the Taliban after twenty years of death, destruction and lies in Afghanistan—cries out for a top-to-bottom review of its dominant role in U.S. foreign policy and a radical reassessment of its proper place in Congress’s budget priorities.

Instead, year after year, members of Congress hand over the largest share of our nation’s resources to this corrupt institution, with minimal scrutiny and no apparent fear of accountability when it comes to their own reelection. Members of Congress still see it as a “safe” political call to carelessly whip out their rubber-stamps and vote for however many hundreds of billions in funding Pentagon and arms industry lobbyists have persuaded the Armed Services Committees they should cough up. 

Let’s make no mistake about this: Congress’s choice to keep investing in a massive, ineffective and absurdly expensive war machine has nothing to do with “national security” as most people understand it, or “defense” as the dictionary defines it. 

U.S. society does face critical threats to our security, including the climate crisis, systemic racism, erosion of voting rights, gun violence, grave inequalities and the corporate hijacking of political power. But one problem we fortunately do not have is the threat of attack or invasion by a rampant global aggressor or, in fact, by any other country at all. 

Maintaining a war machine that outspends the 12 or 13 next largest militaries in the world combined actually makes us less safe, as each new administration inherits the delusion that the United States’ overwhelmingly destructive military power can, and therefore should, be used to confront any perceived challenge to U.S. interests anywhere in the world—even when there is clearly no military solution and when many of the underlying problems were caused by past misapplications of U.S. military power in the first place.

While the international challenges we face in this century require a genuine commitment to international cooperation and diplomacy, Congress allocates only $58 billion, less than 10 percent of the Pentagon budget, to the diplomatic corps of our government: the State Department. Even worse, both Democratic and Republican administrations keep filling top diplomatic posts with officials indoctrinated and steeped in policies of war and coercion, with scant experience and meager skills in the peaceful diplomacy we so desperately need. 

This only perpetuates a failed foreign policy based on false choices between economic sanctions that UN officials have compared to medieval sieges, coups that destabilize countries and regions for decades, and wars and bombing campaigns that kill millions of people and leave cities in rubble, like Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

The end of the Cold War was a golden opportunity for the United States to reduce its forces and military budget to match its legitimate defense needs. The American public naturally expected and hoped for a “Peace Dividend,” and even veteran Pentagon officials told the Senate Budget Committee in 1991 that military spending could safely be cut by 50% over the next ten years.    

But no such cut happened. U.S. officials instead set out to exploit the post-Cold War “Power Dividend,” a huge military imbalance in favor of the United States, by developing rationales for using military force more freely and widely around the world. During the transition to the new Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright famously asked Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

In 1999, as Secretary of State under President Clinton, Albright got her wish, running roughshod over the UN Charter with an illegal war to carve out an independent Kosovo from the ruins of Yugoslavia. 

The UN Charter clearly prohibits the threat or use of military force except in cases of self-defense or when the UN Security Council takes military action “to maintain or restore international peace and security.” This was neither. When U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Albright his government was “having trouble with our lawyers” over NATO’s illegal war plan, Albright crassly told him to “get new lawyers.” 

Twenty-two years later, Kosovo is the third-poorest country in Europe (after Moldova and post-coup Ukraine) and its independence is still not recognized by 96 countries. Hashim Thaçi, Albright’s hand-picked main ally in Kosovo and later its president, is awaiting trial in an international court at the Hague, charged with murdering at least 300 civilians under cover of NATO bombing in 1999 to extract and sell their internal organs on the international transplant market.

Clinton and Albright’s gruesome and illegal war set the precedent for more illegal U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, with equally devastating and horrific results. But America’s failed wars have not led Congress or successive administrations to seriously rethink the U.S. decision to rely on illegal threats and uses of military force to project U.S. power all over the world, nor have they reined in the trillions of dollars invested in these imperial ambitions. 

Instead, in the upside-down world of institutionally corrupt U.S. politics, a generation of failed and pointlessly destructive wars have had the perverse effect of normalizing even more expensive military budgets than during the Cold War, and reducing congressional debate to questions of how many more of each useless weapons system they should force U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for.       

It seems that no amount of killing, torture, mass destruction or lives ruined in the real world can shake the militaristic delusions of America’s political class, as long as the “Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex” (President Eisenhower’s original wording) is reaping the benefits. 

Today, most political and media references to the Military-Industrial Complex refer only to the arms industry as a self-serving corporate interest group on a par with Wall Street, Big Pharma or the fossil fuel industry. But in his Farewell Address, Eisenhower explicitly pointed to, not just the arms industry, but the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.”

Eisenhower was just as worried about the anti-democratic impact of the military as the arms industry. Weeks before his Farewell Address, he told his senior advisors, “God help this country when somebody sits in this chair who doesn’t know the military as well as I do.” His fears have been realized in every subsequent presidency.

According to Milton Eisenhower, the president’s brother, who helped him draft his Farewell Address, Ike also wanted to talk about the “revolving door.” Early drafts of his speech referred to “a permanent, war-based industry,” with “flag and general officers retiring at an early age to take positions in the war-based industrial complex, shaping its decisions and guiding the direction of its tremendous thrust.” He wanted to warn that steps must be taken to “insure that the ‘merchants of death’ do not come to dictate national policy.” 

As Eisenhower feared, the careers of figures like Generals Austin and Mattis now span all branches of the corrupt MIC conglomerate: commanding invasion and occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; then donning suits and ties to sell weapons to new generals who served under them as majors and colonels; and finally re-emerging from the same revolving door as cabinet members at the apex of American politics and government.

So why does the Pentagon brass get a free pass, even as Americans feel increasingly conflicted about the arms industry? After all, it is the military that actually uses all these weapons to kill people and wreak havoc in other countries. 

Even as it loses war after war overseas, the U.S. military has waged a far more successful one to burnish its image in the hearts and minds of Americans and win every budget battle in Washington. 

The complicity of Congress, the third leg of the stool in Eisenhower’s original formulation, turns the annual battle of the budget into the “cakewalk” that the war in Iraq was supposed to be, with no accountability for lost wars, war crimes, civilian massacres, cost overruns or the dysfunctional military leadership that presides over it all. 

There is no congressional debate over the economic impact on America or the geopolitical consequences for the world of uncritically rubber-stamping huge investments in powerful weapons that will sooner or later be used to kill our neighbors and smash their countries, as they have for the past 22 years and far too often throughout our history.

If the public is ever to have any impact on this dysfunctional and deadly money-go-round, we must learn to see through the fog of propaganda that masks self-serving corruption behind red, white and blue bunting, and allows the military brass to cynically exploit the public’s natural respect for brave young men and women who are ready to risk their lives to defend our country. In the Crimean War, the Russians called British troops “lions led by donkeys.” That is an accurate description of today’s U.S. military.  

Sixty years after Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, exactly as he predicted, the “weight of this combination” of corrupt generals and admirals, the profitable “merchants of death” whose goods they peddle, and the Senators and Representatives who blindly entrust them with trillions of dollars of the public’s money, constitute the full flowering of President Eisenhower’s greatest fears for our country.

Eisenhower concluded, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals.” That clarion call echoes through the decades and should unite Americans in every form of democratic organizing and movement building, from elections to education and advocacy to mass protests, to finally reject and dispel the “unwarranted influence” of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex.

DO YOU PONDER WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING IN THIS WORLD?

I started this Blog in February 2011 and in 11 months there were 14,131 views on the articles posted up to that Time. In 2012 there were 25,000 views.

Even though people were not looking for my Blog, it turned up in the results of many different Google search terms. I was covering a lot of different subjects.

That all changed in 2013 when Google changed their algorithm and my Blog no longer showed up in Google results. Views plummeted 2/3 and having been going down ever since. To this Day of 2021, there is a total of 1509 views of so many more articles for the whole year.

In my own estimation, one of the most important, significant and informative articles in my Blog is SIGNS OF THE TIMES even though I now realize it’s too long for most people to read, digest and understand all the implications.

Even though Google has the most sophisticated Web Crawler of them all, “SIGNS OF THE TIMES” with quotation marks doesn’t even show up in the search results and that’s unusual.

It’s not that Google hides me. Searching for “ray joseph cormier” with the quotes, turns up over 30 pages of results on my Internet footprint, and that doesn’t include some 10,000 comments and analysis on the unfolding Realities in the rapidly changing News cycle in The Washington Post and other places.

That reality has discouraged me from writing for a while, but that has to change, especially shortening the reports. I haven’t figured out a new format and style yet, but for starters, this is what I see unfolding reading recent news as posted to my Public FaceBook page.

November 11

Video of Pierre Trudeau 53 years ago, saying in Washington, living next door to the US is like sleeping with an elephant. No matter “how friendly and even-tempered” it is, in CanaDa, we feel every twitch and grunt.

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1797537698

That was when the US was still friendly and even tempered.

The American Carnage Trump introduced with his 1st Presidential speech, is taking root on American Streets inciting an American MOB Mentality of WE vs THEY at all costs.

It will be much different from the Time when CanaDa sheltered Americans wanting to get away from the American War on Vietnam.

This Time, Americans will be seeking Refugee Status in CanaDa to escape crazy, American Style, Homemade Domestic Terrorism. Almost everybody has guns, many of them made for War.

I’m not the only person that sees it. The government won’t/can’t openly warn and prepare Canadians for that very real possibility until it’s too late and has no choice but to address and deal with it when it will be much more difficult.

Will Canadians be Spiritually, Mentally and Emotionally strengthened to deal with it then?

I’ve often thought if WWIII/Armageddon comes, no one will have to go to it. It will unfold all around us if WE the People, consent to it by our Silence.

In that chaos, The Lord will save only those who call on him, not those who don’t!

Long before I unexpectedly, and to my great Wonder and surprise, came alive to the Christ in me, the fundamental active belief of Christianity itself, I was a labourer for the Foundation Company of CanaDa on the Distant Early Warning line in 1963, when it was the 1st radar warning line of a surprise Soviet attack over the North Pole.

The Foundation is laid, but the Line is no longer Distant, and it’s getting Late!

I knew I wouldn’t have much Time, but these are the choice words interjected into the Official Remembrance Day Ceremonies November 11, 1985, in the hearing of the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, The Military Brass, the Ambassadors of the Nations and the Public. The Americans and Soviets were shouting at each other in PUBLIC.

“Hear O people and Nations, even to the ends of the Earth, the Word of the LORD God, who is, and was, and is to come, The Almighty.The LORD has a controversy with the people.

Do you do well to honour the dead, and yet, deny the God of the Living? Why do you follow the vain traditions of men, and make of no effect, the Principles of God?

You come here for one hour, one day a year, in a great show of Public Patriotism, and then forgetting, go back to work and make the same careless mistakes made by the generations prior to the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

Hitler is dead, but it’s his legacy that remains. A Soviet-American military-industrial complex consuming $trillions of dollars every year, holding the entire World hostage…………

“Hostage” was the last word said perched on a bus shelter roof, as police got up and grabbed the megaphone. I was arrested for shouting, causing a disturbance, convicted and fined $250. I appealed without a lawyer to The Supreme Court of Canada.

The Status Quo hasn’t changed in 36 years except now it’s a Russian-American-Chinese Military-Industrial Complex taking more money away from Civilian NEEDS than ever before. There’s only One Direction that will bring your Children and Grand Children in the FUTURE.

The biggest tragedy I see is, it seems People just don’t care as they escape in their Smart phones while remaining Dumb on what’s really important.

November 13

Beirut Lebanon in the Past, was known as The Paris of the Middle East.

“Some rich people who trusted the banks blindly were pushed to middle class status, while people in the middle class joined the ranks of the working class or the poor. The poor did not lose money in the banks, but living conditions in Lebanon are harder than ever and basic living necessities are more expensive than they have ever been.”

People stand in line at the banks to receive whatever arbitrary and meagre cash amounts the banks allow, and at a great loss to depositors.”

THE ANGRY ARAB: Saudis Provoke Another Lebanese Crisis

Within 2 weeks of 9/11, the US came out with WAR PLANS to change the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and at THE END, Iran.

We can see the result. Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Lebanon are now FAILED States, while the nominally Christian Nations that inflicted all the Damage, resent the Refugees from the US led destructive Wars arriving in Europe.

Jesus was crucified for overturning the tables on the Bankers and Merchants working the Shopping Mall in the Temple in a Kosher deal with the Priests.

Since then, under the Establishment Christian Religion, the Bankers and Merchants made such a big comeback in the last 2000 years, their BIGGEST money making Season is Christmas, and no one sees anything wrong with that picture.

Everyone knows the implication in the adage, “The Writing’s on the Wall!”

It comes from the account of ancient Babylon, the 1st Nation to reach Military-Economic Superpower Status, Daniel 5 in his Book in the Book of Books, describes a great feast or State Dinner, the king put on for 1000 of the ELITE of the kingdom and they praised the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone some 2600 years ago.

From THEN to NOW, it’s ‘The Economy, Stupid!’ and the ELITE are still the ELITE.

Ancient Babylon is now called Iraq. The US is this World’s latest, greatest Nation to achieve Military-Economic Superpower status, and also the shortest lived of the Superpowers of History.

The Tail struck the Head, leading to this World’s tightening Economic Straitjacket.

The Lord does work in mysterious ways it is often said. A Fundamental Tenant of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions say ‘Vengeance belongs to God, and God will repay.’ What is happening in Lebanon now, will be coming the Christian Economies sooner than most people DARE think!

Still, for those who keep the Faith, they will know the Peace and Joy of the Resurrected Christ, no matter how desperate it becomes on Earth

All who seek You shall exult and rejoice; those who love Your salvation shall constantly say, “May the Lord be magnified.”