Happy Independence Day!
~ Honest Abe Lincoln, Teddy Bear Roosevelt, and Michelle Lewin!!!
Anybody have that one Uncle Bob at 4th of July? You know, the super-patriot. Tells you all ’bout how he’s going to kick someone’s ass if they desecrate the flag, while wiping the mustard off his chin with one of those red, white, & blue beverage napkins? All around Bob’s stars & stripes Hefty plate are the pork’n’beanie weenies that missed Bob’s mouth and landed on the American flag vinyl tablecloth.
Meanwhile, Cousin Billy is done with the alphabet and has moved on to seeing if he can impress his girlfriend by burping the Star-Spangled Banner for his next performance. Chugs a Budweiser from its limited edition red, white, and blue Holiday can… and off he goes!
Do you know those people? Whose idea was it to spend all day with them… again?
Anyway, I’m all for treating the flag with respect.
That said, I notice the same guys yelling at the football players for taking a knee – by the way, when I played, we’d take a knee during football practice whenever the coach spoke to us, sooo… don’t you kneel before a king and stuff? – are the same ones sitting on their asses eating Nacho Flame Doritos and ordering Papa John’s while the National Anthem plays in the pregame. Ahem.
Treating the flag with respect is one thing. Fetishizing it disrespectfully – which is what many Americans do on the 4th – is quite another. Michelle Lewin looks fantastic… except the American flag covering her jiggly parts. Nobody seems to want to protest that misuse of the flag. Ahem.
Be that as it may, you probably don’t want to stick around while Cousin Billy does his Bud rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance. Speaking of which, anybody know why we pledge allegiance to a flag? It’s a piece of cloth. Respectfully speaking, I wouldn’t pledge allegiance to my bed sheets. Or my beach towel.
Apparently I just don’t get it. Why don’t instead of pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth, we pledge allegiance to the people? Each other? Our fellow Americans? That’s what matters. Citizens who live here. That’s what I care about.
How ’bout you?
Well, suppose after offending half the audience by calling out episodes of pseudo-patriotism and nationalism for what they are… let’s offend the other half by being skeptical about the war pigs. Show me the money.
I’ll show you mine.
John Lejeune and Smedley Butler
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War (I) a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns, no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war, nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it.
This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few;the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting: Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies.
Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.
Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends. But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?
In the World War (I), we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn’t join the army. So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions, our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side… it is His will the Germans be killed. And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies . . . to please the same God.
Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the “war to end all wars.” This was the “war to make the world safe for democracy.” No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a “glorious adventure.”
And even now, the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.
The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits — ah! that is another matter -twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit.
All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it.
Of course, it isn’t put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and “we must all put our shoulders to the wheel,” but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket — and are safely pocketed.
A few profit and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.
The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation, it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time, as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted; to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.
Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket. That, and nothing else.