The Anti-Empire Report #6
By William Blum – Published January 22nd, 2004
The Never-Ending Enemy Invasion Of America
“If we don’t stop the Reds in South Vietnam, tomorrow they will be in Hawaii, and next week they will be in San Francisco.” 1
A defeat in Congress for his war against the Sandinistas of Nicaragua, said Ronald Reagan, would mean “consolidation of a privileged sanctuary for terrorists and subversives just two days’ driving time from Harlingen, Texas.” 2
“Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York or St. Louis or Los Angeles.” 3
Supply And Demand: A Law Written In Heaven
“Unprecedented demand for the flu vaccine has caused its price to skyrocket across the United States, from $40 a vial two months ago to as high as $215 today, leading to charges that companies are price-gouging health agencies amid fears of an unusually harsh flu season. … The [vaccine] companies say they are doing nothing wrong. It is a simple case of supply and demand, they say.” 4
The law of supply and demand … a law as necessary and as immutable as the law of gravity, or so they would have us all believe in the United States. But what does this so-called law mean? A manufacturer is selling a product for X dollars and presumably making a decent profit with X demand. Then, for whatever reason, the demand jumps, say it doubles, meaning that the manufacturer will make twice as much as before by continuing to sell the product for X dollars (probably even more than double because the cost per unit of manufacturing will likely decrease with higher output). That sounds pretty good. But according to the law of supply and demand, instead of counting their blessings, the manufacturer is inspired to raise the price to earn even more than double. In the case of the flu vaccine – like with any other “commodity” – what it comes down to is that the more people need it, the more the business will make them suffer financially, punishing them for having human needs such as health care.
Is this not an odd way to organize a society of human beings? A kind of society The American Empire is determined to impose upon the entire known world.
Preaching To The Converted
“Preaching to the converted” … “Preaching to the choir” … That’s what speakers and writers and other activists are repeatedly told they’re doing; i.e., saying the same old thing to the same old people, just spinning their wheels. But long experience as speaker, writer and activist in the area of foreign policy tells me it just ain’t so. From the questions and comments I regularly get from my audiences, via email and in person, and from other people’s audiences where I’m in attendance, I can plainly see that there are numerous significant gaps and misconceptions in the choir’s thinking, often leaving them confused, unable to understand or see through the next government lie or shell game, unknowing or forgetful of what happened in the past that illuminates the present, or knowing the facts but unable to apply them at the appropriate moment, vulnerable to being led astray by the next person who offers a specious argument that opposes what they currently believe, or think they believe. As cynical as others or themselves may think they are, they frequently are not cynical enough about the power elite’s motivations, underestimating the government’s capacity for perfidy; while others of the choir are much too cynical, conspiracy theorists to a ridiculous degree – their inability to access my website at anytime must be the work of the CIA, they inform me; hardly any political figure ever dies a natural death; any US policy toward any country is based on oil (or some similar manifestation of “vulgar Marxism”).
In sum, their hearts may be in the right place, but their heads need working on. And in any event, very few people are actually born into the choir; they achieve choir membership only after being preached to, multiple times.
Be Alert! We Need More Alerts!
The recent Orange Alert of delayed and cancelled flights; fighter planes accompanying passenger planes; highly intrusive luggage and body searches and questioning of passengers; unschooled flunkies, relishing their new-found bully power, making decisions which can be appealed only to god; sealed manhole covers in Times Square New Year’s Eve with mailboxes, trash cans and newspaper vending machines removed; and all the numerous other humiliating and discomforting aspects of an Ultra National Security State endowed with unbridled power appears to have been inspired by the usual suspects: intercepted electronic communications and informers.
From my experience as an activist in the 1960s and 70s I know that informers, particularly those with the incentive of a payment, would take bits and pieces of real information – mundane details about legitimate political protest – and add some personal tidbits so they could perhaps lay claim to greater recompense. I can see where today’s informers in the Arabic-speaking world would take bits and pieces of omnipresent anti-American imperialism talk, perhaps throw a tablespoon of exaggeration into the mix, and wind up with a genuine “terrorist threat”. Some of them make their living in the information business, it’s their most saleable commodity; at times they may even be motivated by the chance to harm a personal or political enemy.
In the 60s, I and friends in Washington would purposely engage in fanciful and radical conspiracy talk over the phone for the benefit and torment of supposed FBI eavesdroppers. We would speak in hushed conspiratorial tones, calling each other “comrade”, using a coded-sounding language, and dropping heavy hints of secret meetings. Words like “Trotsky”, “Lenin”, “Do you have the tape?” and “Leave the documents in the usual spot” crossed our lips.
Without question, this game would be much more dangerous to play today, but can all Middle-Easterners – who have much more reason to suspect that their communications are tapped than we had in the 60s – resist the temptation?
Why Do People Vote The Way They Do?
During the upcoming primary elections and presidential election in the United States if we could question each and every voter in depth, thoroughly probing their conscious and unconscious, to ascertain exactly why they voted for the candidate they voted for, the resulting disclosure that most of the voters acted on incorrect and/or wholly irrelevant beliefs might produce such a national embarrassment that it could lead to a call to scrap the whole tedious and exasperating process.
The old adage: “Never tell a child how they make sausages or laws” should be updated to include voting.
The Bush Liebrary
The current tale that will eventually wind up in The Bush Liebrary is that the United States is busy preparing to turn over power – “governing power” they call it – to the people of Iraq by June 30. In deciding whether to suspend your customary mistrust of the Bush regime you first have to remember that on several occasions in the past month or so high US officials have stated that a military force of at least 100,000 will remain in Iraq until at least 2006. The British have said the same. At the same time, Washington has announced that it will be building a huge embassy in Baghdad, which will house more than 3,000 employees.
Also keep in mind that a truly governing Iraqi government could demand that all foreign military forces leave, that privileges granted to foreign corporations be revoked, and that all assets given to these companies be returned because under the Geneva Convention an occupying power has no right to dispose of a country’s assets.
The next time the Bush regime declares its determination to grant the Iraqi people self-rule, think “election in November”. The Bushies are desperate to be able to present the Iraqi misadventure in some kind of positive light (even if it means allowing the much-maligned United Nations a more-than-token role), but it would all be subject to modification after the American election, no matter who wins.
The Stock Market – Raison D’être?
Associated Press headline, January 6, 2004: “Stocks sail on a raft of good news; Dow rises 134”
Washington Post headline, January 21, 2004: “Dow Falls Despite Solid Earnings Reports”
One can find innumerable similar headlines over the years telling us that the stock market has risen or fallen for the very same reason in either case. Do the economic fundamentals change dramatically from day to day? We are told that the Dow or Nasdaq can rise or fall because of a war, an election, a scandal, a speech, the Fed raising the interest rate, the Fed lowering the interest rate, something called “profit taking” … or anything. There must be someone on Wall Street whose job it is each day to decide on the reason to be announced for the market’s movement. Why do they even bother to make this daily announcement? Is it to show that the market is rational, that it has “meaning”, and thus by implication that their work has meaning, that it’s not just a glorified slot machine, a high-class regulated casino?
- Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2003)
- United Press International, March 3, 1986
- George W. Bush, August 26, 2003
- St Louis Post-Dispatch, (December 17, 2003)
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to williamblum.org is provided.