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A Country, and a Future, Worth Serving


A Country, and a Future, Worth Serving

Robert C. Koehler

Why is it that the American public has no say in the wars this country commits itself to?

The Pentagon, aligned with corporate America, has a budget that grows larger every year. Sixteen years ago, the Executive Branch declared war on evil itself. As far as I can tell, the only freedom it holds dear is the freedom to keep on fighting this war, which means to continue causing enough harm — killing enough civilians — to engender sufficient outrage that insurgencies keep emerging, justifying further intervention.


The high-pressure tactics of military recruiters who are an ever-present infestation in our Public High Schools, and their lies, make the best used-car salesman look like an amateur!


It’s called REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY…except the REPRESENTATIVES long ago figured out how to sucker the voters into believing they’ll focus their attentions on what their constituents want, need, or should have…then they go off to line their own pockets in Washington.

The non-voters contribute to this mess, and the lack of widespread, local focus on developing real candidates who do not plan to hold office as a sinecure for their personal enrichment. The voters have forgotten that there are THREE steps to electing real REPRESENTATIVES: 1) Local campaigning by people qualified and motivated to seek the job…and they’re supposed to speak to the voters’ self-interests…but the voters don’t show up. 2) The Primary election, where candidates for each party are winnowed down to ONE (or Zero!) by the electorate, and 3) The General election, where the voters select their REPRESENTATIVE (whether House, Senate, or White House) to do their bidding…then they forget all about it until the next round of elections.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY demands a PARTICIPATORY ELECTORATE for successful outcomes. So long as we gripe and moan and don’t DO anything until the General Election (the outcome of which is usually pre-ordained by the secret money behind campaigns), we will keep seeing the WRONG people being elected, dedicated to serving the moneyed interests, not REPRESENTING the interests of their constituents.

Who should we blame? LOOK IN THE MIRROR!


Thank you, Robert K. Your usual great insights. I well remember how relieved we were when the draft was ended; little did we know the consequences of that action. The idea of a mercenary army never entered our minds at the time.


Despite “the Vietnam Syndrome”, the American public has never lost faith in that most deified of institutions - the US military

And until the scales fall from our benighted eyes

The bombs and missiles will continue to fall from foreign skies.


thank you, robert koehler for another heart-felt essay!

They died for a cliché. This is the best the country could offer, but it’s hardly surprising, much as it rips the grief and the outrage wide open. They died in defense of no one’s freedom except those who wage and profit from endless war, and the fake media fuss over the nature of their condolences simply further shields this fact from public view

earlier today i heard or read that we have a "democracy of billionaires. these most wealthy hide behind the corporate shield and money now passes for free speech. we the people have been relegated to sound proof “free speech zones” where our thoughts and hopes matter little. mitt romney declares, “corporations are people, my friend!” now, that’s just silly. a corporation is a non-living entity. a corporation feels neither love nor hate because the corporation is but a paper contract. we have been led to believe, however, that the corporation is a benevolent being wishing only to provide meaningful work for earth’s living citizens and that those who steer the corporation are like saints in silk ties guiding this ship toward ever greater financial wealth for all those workers kneeling before the company logo.

huh! the sad truth is that when corporations are seen as people, people become mere commodities. compassion, caring, sharing, community and mutual respect have no place here for the corporation dehumanizes all that it touches–especially its upper echelon. we call them sociopaths and for good reason. these men and some women must think and act only in terms of profit and loss. should any put the well-being of employees before profits, he’ll find himself kicked to the curb.

just two days ago the dow jones average hit a new high. now, i ask you what on earth should give investors so much confidence in their confidence game? puerto rico? houston,? florida? mass bomb attack in mogadishu? northern california on fire? earthquakes in mexico? hmph, obviously the capitalists profit from human misery.

so, what can we, “the little people” “situated “surplus Americans” adrift in a vast ocean of capitalism-imposed nothingness” do about it? change our priorities. embrace life and one another. quit feeding the death eaters. after all the corporations, their titles and their money are only paper dolls. we have something very important to do and. . .

Don’t mess with Mother Nature!–and know she loves you!


Woody Allen’s 1973 movie “Sleepers” featured self-driving cars. Their sleek fiberglass body in white, probably set on a golf cart chassis, had a ‘dome’ (half an egg shell) opaque white roof with no transparent windows. There was one car that had clear windows in the dome, but in the single shot of its use, the passengers seemed very uncomfortable being able to view their world passing. Woody suggested individuals in this futurist society were more comfortable in isolation and ignorance throughout the movie. The perfect sound track to any serious consideration of self-driving cars is Woody’s Klezmer ragtime band choreographed to vaudevillian antics. Today’s sycophants of self-driving cars desperately hope their descendants’ Dear Leader’s nose will be cloned to produce a new Dear Leader after the previous Dear Leader passes away. Laugh at yourselves and this pretentious self-driving car technology while today’s nearer future world burns, floods and is blown away in gale force winds and genocidal warfare.


The concept of American exceptionalism that we are taught in schools from an early age has always been used to justify war in foreign lands. The reality of American exceptionalism, however, is that it is actually American racism and bigotry wrapped in the American flag.

Far too many Americans just don’t care about what happens to people in Niger, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya because, well, they are less than “exceptional” and therefore expendable and, in turn, exploitable. The contrast between what the public sees as permissible by the government, here at home, and what it sees as permissible in foreign lands is bears this out. Allowing refugees of these wars to seek sanctuary in this country is far more controversial and makes better news than the wars that created the refugees. Drop all the bombs you want, but just make sure government policy doesn’t allow the refugees it creates to seek shelter and sanctuary in this country. For far too many, the only way to get resistance to endless war is to cite the cost in dollars. They’re numb, though, to the cost in lives and the innocent blood that is shed.

Only when enough Americans rise above this insane patriotic brainwashing constantly reinforced by our leaders and the media and begin to see all people, in all lands, as having the same rights as they have, will the anti-war movement begin to grow and our war mongering leaders be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes. Donald Trump is hardly the only one in this country who lacks empathy. It’s epidemic.


Let me summarize the Phil Rockstroh article: The citizenry are the problem - in a democracy you really do get the government you deserve.

Let me post again SLOMO - and remind youwhy he took up roller blading for the last fifteen years - in his own words - so he doesn’t again become an “asshole”.

That just about summarizes Phil’s view - in one word.

Just so we’re clear; the great majority of the citizenry = assholes.

For number crunchers - last election, 98 % = dumb as a hammer.


oops! i meant to note that the above great phrase comes from a whale of a tale from the keyboard of paul street. paul has a way with words.

Why is it that the American public has no say in the wars this country commits itself to? During the Vietnam War, the national voice grew loud and clear. This is wrong. Get out. Then, as Engelhardt pointed out, in January 1973 Richard Nixon ended the draft.
ending the draft could have been--should have been--the beginning of peace on earth. yet the wars go on and on, don't they? we know that so many of those who sign up have few options for finding work so as some say "we have an army of mercenaries." as we discussed in the bowe bergdahl thread the military in order to attract the numbers needed for "boots on the ground" have pulled back on qualifications. a few years ago 90% of new inductees had a high school diploma. today it's 75%. i was surprised to learn that bowe had served in the u.s. national guard, but was forced to resign because he was emotionally unfit. yet the army welcomed bowe and sent him to "protect american interests" oversea. i found the following from a search:
Three days before walking off his post, he wrote in a letter, “this life is too short to serve those who compromise value, and its ethics. i am done compromising.”
as robert koehler points out there is great need for volunteers to work toward environmental stability and providing care and shelter for refugees. i feel sure young people would flock to the opportunity to see their lives as valuable and to know their work makes for a better world. let's make a commitment to keep the peace movement alive and growing. for when peace breaks out post traumatic stress disorder will become a thing of the past. bowe is not emotionally unfit--the system is insane.