military r us
Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire
"However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.
"According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories. In just one such country, Japan, at the end of March 2008, we still had 99,295 people connected to U.S. military forces living and working there -- 49,364 members of our armed services, 45,753 dependent family members, and 4,178 civilian employees. Some 13,975 of these were crowded into the small island of Okinawa, the largest concentration of foreign troops anywhere in Japan.
"These massive concentrations of American military power outside the United States are not needed for our defense. They are, if anything, a prime contributor to our numerous conflicts with other countries. They are also unimaginably expensive. According to Anita Dancs, an analyst for the website Foreign Policy in Focus, the United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony -- that is, control or dominance -- over as many nations on the planet as possible.
"We are like the British at the end of World War II: desperately trying to shore up an empire that we never needed and can no longer afford, using methods that often resemble those of failed empires of the past -- including the Axis powers of World War II and the former Soviet Union. There is an important lesson for us in the British decision, starting in 1945, to liquidate their empire relatively voluntarily, rather than being forced to do so by defeat in war, as were Japan and Germany, or by debilitating colonial conflicts, as were the French and Dutch. We should follow the British example. (Alas, they are currently backsliding and following our example by assisting us in the war in Afghanistan.)
"Here are three basic reasons why we must liquidate our empire or else watch it liquidate us."
Islamic patterns are something I've been wanting to explore since I bought a copy of Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach by Keith Critchlow in the late 1970s. By exploring I don't mean just looking at them. I mean drawing them. The Critchlow book has instructions on how to draw them. Islamic patterns are not measured, they are constructed using only three elements: point, line, and arc. Simplicity but with those three elements you can construct whole worlds.
My fascination is two-fold. The first is that I started drafting at age 13. We called it mechanical drawing then. I took it in all 4 years of high school. One of the main reasons I went to the school of Architecture at the University of Washington (Seattle) was because I could still do drafting. Well, that didn't work out but I did discover Islamic architecture which blew my mind. That was the second reason for studying Islamic patterns.
I ended up at Boeing as a drafter. From 1965 to 1981 (not continuous -- I got laid of once and quit once in that time period) I was on the board with triangles, pencils, pens, drafting machine, compass, and curves. I really enjoyed it. In 1981 I moved into Computer Aided Design (CAD). Same thing but on a computer.
In the mid 1990s I bought a t-square and drawing board and tried drawing them the old-fashioned way. That didn't work out. I knew I needed to do it on a computer. In 2001 I bought a copy of TurboCad 8 and took another run at it. I made some progress but then I ran into the problem of not being able to print them out so the Islamic patterns were put aside again. Part of the reason for not going forward was that the Critchlow book was difficult to follow at times.
I just picked up a copy of Islamic Geometric Patterns by Eric Broug and it is much more to my liking. That prompted me to look for a free CAD program since I couldn't find my copy of TurboCAD (I know it's around here somwhere!). I found DoubleCAD XT which is put out by the same people that do TurboCAD. DoubleCAD XT is 2D only and uses the 2D part of TurboCad which also does solid modeling. DoubleCAD XT is a much better tool. Now to take another run at Islamic patterns. And I have a printer this time.
I've not posted on Israel/Palestine for some time. Part of that is that there is a flood of information available and it's been more than I could post. I'll post this one...no,no...that one...no,no...this one over there..no,no...here's another one...nooooooooo!
Part of this flood is the work of anti-zionist Jews. There are three blogs by anti-zionist Jews to follow. Each has a wealth of posts with some cross posting. Two have visited Gaza and the third lives in Israel.
"Americans live in a bubble. I live in one, too.
"I spent Thursday with Jews mostly, talking about the issue. We talked about all the progress we are making changing the discourse. We spoke about how afraid the Zionists are of the new non-Zionists.
"Then at 9:30 p.m. I met a Palestinian acquaintance who’s visiting New York. We got together in a park on the Lower East Side, and sat on a bench for a while in the dark.
"He told me that no one he sees here knows anything about Palestine. No one knows about the weekly non-violent protests in Bi’lin. Yes, you write about it on this website, but none of his American friends has any idea.They know that Palestinians are terrorists. That image is still solid. It will take sophisticated, Max-Blumenthal-like media to change the image, but this has not happened yet in the American mind (and it is why he is being censored).
" "I didn’t know you were so political," I said.
" "I am completely political. I am just not an activist. I am political all day on the internet."
" "How many Palestinians are political?"
" "Almost all," he said. "They have no choice. Because they are miserable."
"I said, "The Israelis are miserable too. That’s what I found out the one time I visited. They can only imagine war into the future. That is misery."
"He smiled politely. "They have freedom. Israeli youths have the ability to imagine their future. To dream about going here or there, of innovating in life, of getting education and participating in the world. Palestinian youth has almost none of that." "
The Western view of Gaza is of a desperate and violent place. Terrorism, extremism, Jew-hatred and poverty merge to create a dangerous brew. The Hamas-controlled territory poses a supposedly existential threat to Israel (and Jews everywhere.) But this is only one side of the besieged Strip. And much of it is blatantly untrue.
This video is an attempt to paint an alternative Gaza. Hatred exists there – I saw and heard it and challenged the conflation of Israel with Judaism – but what I found was something else entirely. Entire neighbourhoods flattened by Israeli missiles. Destroyed buildings with families living inside them. Refugee camps caused by IDF incursions. Beautiful singing and poetry sung by eager men. A will to survive and thrive despite the belief that the world, including the Arab neighbours, have forgotten their plight. Rappers desperate to tell the Palestinian narrative to the world and reflect a Gazan sensibility.
"A rally was held this evening protesting the arrival of the US envoys in Israel. Members of National Union, Likud and Israel Beiteinu led the crowd, which included Kahanists wearing t-shirts saying “Kahane was right,” referring to Meir Kahane’s ideology of violence against all who stand in the way of the constant expansion of Jewish territory.
"The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy. As a humanist and a pragmatist, it can feel very uneasy and unsafe in this country.
"While the people opposing settlement expansion get no coverage in the media, those supporting it get plenty. As we were filming the event numerous people asked us detailed questions about where we are from and what we planned on doing with the footage. It was striking that MK Michael Ari made a special point to thank Arutz Sheva, the Israel National News. The coverage they put out is fine, but our attempt to show the world their racism is definitely a no-no. Their relative self-awareness added a new layer to our understanding of settler insanity.
"Most people we talked to did not hesitate to attack Obama and his administration, of which many are Jews themselves. The general atmosphere of the rally was that Obama is a Muslim and a racist who denies the Jewish people their right to control the Land of Israel. When asked about American aid to Israel, most replied that this was a separate issue."