America’s Longest War and Attorney General Sessions

Attorney General Sessions clearly knows no history, even that of his own lifetime. He is just another petty, cyclical political hack thrust into a prominent position.

Nixon’s War on Drugs which Sessions is now re-intensifying began as a cynical campaign tactic. As described by John Erhlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy adviser:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”1

So, more than 45 years ago began America’s longest war. Over this period these policies have locked up a very large number of people effectively ruining their lives because this war also brought on repressive laws and policies that make it very difficult for people released from jail to get a job and restart their lives. And, these policies have done nothing to decrease drug usage in the US. In fact we have seen the internationalization of these failed policies with agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency roaming about in pursuit of drug kingpins. One might also note that despite more than ten years of US armed intervention in Afghanistan, more than a 100,000 deaths, and between 1 and 2 trillion dollars spent2 Afghanistan remains a narco state.

So Jeff Sessions, tough guy, is going to reverse the very modest corrective direction of Obama’s policies to once again refill our jails. More vicious mindless policy making from the Trump regime.

  1. https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/ accssed 5/13/2017 []
  2. The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets by Linda Bilmes – https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=8956&type=WPN accessed 5/13/2017 []

Election Results: The Next Ten Years

img_1844– The Morning After –

The election of Trump and the continued Republican control of both Congress and Senate guarantee that the rich will continue to get richer at the expense of the shrinking middle class and further aggravate conditions for the poor. Trickle down economics and tax subsidies will flow for the rich and corporations. The financial sector will buy its way out of the weak regulations of Dodd/Frank and lurch towards new adventures in gambling; a financial disaster will once again require the socialization of their risk at taxpayer expense. Continue reading

Book Review – The Rise and Fall of American Growth

Rise and Fall of American Growth-bookcoverThe Rise and Fall of American Growth: the US standard of living since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon1 is a weighty book in every regard. At 762 pages it is a heavy lift – not beach reading or even bed-time either. But I found it almost a page turner. It is very well structured and written. None of the fussiness or obscurantist language one often finds in academic works. The central point of the book is that during the period from 1870 to 1970 the US economy grew at an extraordinary and we will not see a return to that rate for some pretty fundamental reasons. Continue reading

  1. Princeton U. Press. 2016 []

“The True Size of Africa” – immappancy revisited

For years I have been disturbed by my lack of knowledge of Africa. This lead me years ago, stimulated by Michael Crichton’s pulp novel Congo, to investigate Mercator maps and the true size of Africa. You can find  some of that in an earlier twice revised post,  “Michael Crichton’s Congo and the Transformation of the Western Mind“.

Now comes a more compelling graphic from Kai Krause, “The True Size of Africa“.12

The True Size of Africa by Kai Krause

click on map to get larger image.

 

  1. I found the graphic and reference in the 10/10/2010 Economist []
  2. I am not the first to discover this map – Google “true size of africa” []

Hidden History of Columbia County – lecture at HAL

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book cover

The Hudson Area Library History Room sponsored a lecture April 2, 2015 by Allison Guertin Marchese based on her book “Hidden History of Columbia County New York” (The History Press, 2014. Available locally at The Spotty Dog Books & Ale 440 Warren St).

Ms. Marchese touched on many topics: healing waters in New Lebanon that supported a 300 room hotel, sulfur springs in Stottville, the Shakers, Electric Park, interesting people in the area, a fairly extensive comment on Edna St. Vincent Millay, the poet and finally the library’s current home at 400 State St.

(The audio is captured on an iPhone. Serviceable, but at times a bit noisy with rustles and comments)

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Allison Marchese at Hudson Area Library 04/02/2015

 

Defending the Homeland

MarineMonumentRecently I stopped at the US Marine Corp War Memorial in Washington DC. Walking around the base with its lengthy list of Marine engagements since 1775, now a double row on several sides, I thought, “How many of these can faithfully be considered to be in defence of the homeland? How many expansionist wars within North America and how many imperialist ventures around the world?”

Run through them yourself and see what you think. Keep in mind that the section devoted to WWII, which takes up two sides, includes the names of all the major engagements, but still within that single conflict.1Imperialism-a Imperialism-b Imperialism-c Imperialism-d Imperialism-e Imperialism-f Imperialism-gjpg Imperialism-h Imperialism-i Imperialism-j

  1. Don’t forget that these are just Marine engagements – think of ones you would have to add to the list including the Army, Air Force, Navy, CIA, DEA, and so on. []

Book Review – The Whisperers – private life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes

Whisperes- family life in Stalin's Russia by FigesThis book by Orlando Figes is exciting, terribly depressing, and cautionary. Based on hundreds of in-depth interviews and thousands of letters, diaries, and government documents, Whisperers1 puts real people in place of the faceless numbers that constitute our usual image of the human costs of Stalinist Russia – the 10 million lost during collectivization, the same or larger number disappeared during the various Terrors and the 20 million or more dead during the Great Patriotic War (aka WWII). For those who do not have much background in Russian and Soviet history Figes provides concise sketches of key political and economic developments covering the entire span of Soviet Russia. You will not feel at a loss during the NEP period nor the ensuing collectivization and the round ups of “kulaks”. This allows you to understand the private lives with a reasonable understanding of the context.

But the real contribution of this book is its discussion of the truly radical efforts by the Communist Party to crush the family as a basic unit of society and replace it with other institutions. The goal is to shape the new Soviet man. The coercive intrusion by the state into every aspect of daily life is comprehensive – it adds new depth to understanding the machinery of a totalitarian state.

  1. more here on Figes’ website []

Hudson and Its People: immigration in 19th & 20th centuries by Sally Naramore

Warren St Hudson NY at dusk looking up townThe Greenport Historical Society hosted a lecture by Sally Naramore on Wednesday evening 4/18/2013 at the Greenport Town Hall. Her presentation which included visuals not included here, focused on immigration to Hudson in the 19th and 20th centuries.

If you know Hudson, especially the churches, you should be able to follow her descriptions of where people settled within Hudson. Ms. Naramore is the Department Chair and Teach of Social Studies at Hudson High School. She was Executive Director of the Columbia County Historical Society from 1983-1990 (biographical information from the historical society’s flyer). Continue reading

Ten Years After Shock and Awe – A Crime Against Peace

 On March 19, 2003 George Bush, Dick Cheney and the cabal surrounding them launched their war of Shock and Awe on Iraq. The stated purpose was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”1

Bush on aircraft carrier declaring victory in IraqThis war that no one is celebrating was based on a nest of lies and deception not only by the President but many others in the government. It failed to accomplish its three goals. Continue reading

  1. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030322.html []

Men Landed on the Moon – I’m Depressed – another leg falls away from my world

Shot from 2001 a space odyssey - used w/o permissionThis morning I was scanning through Zite and found this article claiming that some guy had definitively crushed the “hoax” that men landing on the moon in 1969 was shot on the back lots of Hollywood. Continue reading