Jingoistic Military Fetishization Is as American as Bald Eagle McNuggets

There’s nothing alien or un-American about Trump’s July 4th military hardware parade, writes Caitlin Johnstone. 

By Caitlin Johnstone

“Putin’s America,” tweeted Anand Giridharadas, a pundit who was genetically engineered in a Monsanto laboratory to appeal to NPR listeners on every possible level.

Giridharadas used these words to caption a short video clip of two tanks being carted through the streets of D.C. in preparation for their appearance in a parade for Independence Day, a holiday in which Americans gather to eat hot dogs and drink Mountain Dew in celebration of the anniversary of their lateral transfer from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy.

The military hardware parade is taking place at the behest of President Bolton’s social media assistant Donald Trump, and critics have been vocally decrying it as alien and un-American. Pundits like Giridharadas and Steve Silberman have been saying it’s something Russia would do. The Independent said it’s a spectacle you’d see in “authoritarian regimes such as North Korea, Iran and China.” Adam Best and Charles Pierce both likened it to something that would be done in a “banana republic,” an interesting choice of phrase for a gratuitous display of American military bravado given that term’s blood-soaked origins in U.S. corporate colonialism.

All of these people are of course being ridiculous. There’s nothing alien or un-American about Trump’s parade at all. Jingoistic fetishization of the military is as American as a deep-fried trademark symbol.

All this parade is, actually, is just one of the many times over the last two and a half years that Trump has shown America its true face, and Americans haven’t liked what they’ve seen.

“That’s not my reflection!” the Americans scream at the mirror he holds up for them. “That’s Putin!”

“That’s not my reflection!” they protest. “That’s North Korea!”

“That’s not my reflection!” they say. “That’s a banana republic!”

No, America. That’s you. It’s been you all along.

This is the same country, after all, in which someone simply mentioning that they were in the armed forces often elicits a reverent “Oh, thank you for your service!” from whoever happens to hear them, as though spending four years protecting Raytheon profit margins and crude oil is something ordinary civilians should be grateful for. You guys know no other country does that, right? In Australia if you tell someone you were in the army they’ll tell you “Aww, bonza mate. I’m a plumber meself.” It’s not a thing, because when you’re not part of the most powerful military force in the history of civilization, powerful people don’t have nearly as much invested in making a thing out of it.

Cult of Idolatry

This is the same country where every second house and every single McDonald’s has its flag flying over it, a cult of idolatry that’s become so ubiquitous that a football player choosing to kneel instead of stand before that stupid piece of cloth generates national outrage. The same country where simply bleating “Support the troops!” or “Freedom isn’t free!” was in and of itself seen as a be-all, end-all debate-winning argument for the rape of Iraq. The same country that spent weeks on end mourning the death of bloodthirsty psychopath John McCain on the grounds that he’s a “war hero” when they should have loaded his heartless cadaver onto a trebuchet and launched it into the nearest tire fire as part of a telethon benefit for Syria.

All that’s considered perfectly normal by mainstream America, and liberals are getting their knickers in a knot over a few tanks and “Blue Angels” (another ridiculous yet perfectly normalized American spectacle)? Hell, it’s not even like Trump invented presidential parades full of instruments of mass military slaughter.

Check out this photo from JFK’s inaugural parade:


Or this one from Eisenhower’s:



Or this one from FDR’s:


And the fact that it’s mostly Democrats kvetching about this parade is especially absurd, given that in 2019 they’ve somehow managed to become even more hawkish and jingoistic than the Republicans. This is the same crowd that just the other day was attacking Trump for having the audacity to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the same crowd that’s constantly accusing Trump of being weak on Syria and Afghanistan, the same crowd that’s made heroes of the U.S. intelligence community and the “grownups in the room” generals in the administration, and the same crowd that’s been shrieking hysterically for the last three years demanding greater and greater escalations against a nuclear superpower. The biggest problem with Trump’s tank parade will be that male Democrats in attendance will have trouble hiding their erections.

Americans are the most aggressively propagandized people in the world, and U.S. service personnel are the most aggressively propagandized people in America. That’s the group that all this special reverence and fetishization has been attached to: a bunch of kids who’ve been manipulated into killing and dying for plutocratic investments and the mommy-shaped hole in John Bolton’s heart. That’s what this parade is meant to manufacture even more support for in a culture that is saturated past the brim in a relentless barrage of war propaganda.

Face it, America. Trump’s tank parade isn’t in any way alien to anything you’ve ever stood for. The only way to make it more American would be to add a few monster trucks and a Kardashian. This parade is your reflection. This parade is you.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” 

This article was re-published with permission.

260 comments for “Jingoistic Military Fetishization Is as American as Bald Eagle McNuggets

  1. Laualie
    July 9, 2019 at 22:54

    As always, Ms. Johnstone’s piece would be all the more powerful if she could somehow manage to do it without all the snark. Perhaps CN could place articles such as these in a different section instead of next to serious reporting.

    It’s a great point, but reads like an editorial from sarcastic college paper.

  2. Robert Mayer
    July 8, 2019 at 14:36

    Tnx CN, Caitlin… WOW Rogue… LOTTA Comments… Deserved… OUTSTANDING Research pullin & reproducin vintage 4th parade pics

  3. July 8, 2019 at 14:02

    What a great read! And the pics really drove the point home. Well done Caitlin.

  4. July 8, 2019 at 11:54

    I hate to say it, but she’s right. It has been pointed out that there have been only 16 years in which the U.S. has not been at war somewhere in its 243 year history – and we are still at war with no light at the end of the tunnel. To make matters worse, the causes of most of the wars can be laid at our own feet.

    We have out-Romed Rome in our quest for empire and, in all likelihood, will suffer the same fate.

  5. Zhu
    July 8, 2019 at 06:34

    Did anyone else think of how ironic it was for a notorious draft-dodger like Trump to put on such a militaristic show? Although it was oretty half-assed compared wirh Bastillwf Day, its inspiration. I suppose we should be flaf he didn’t try to revive cuirrassiers, chariots, war elephants, etc.

  6. geeyp
    July 8, 2019 at 03:18

    Thank you, Anonymous.

  7. Sheila Chambers
    July 7, 2019 at 18:09

    I refuse to say the pledge, to salute the dam bloody flag, I tear up the flags I get in our CONSERVATIVE 2X a week, news paper, too bad I can’t immigrate to some CIVILIZED country. But we are horribly overpopulated, there is no place to flee to as many illegal migrants are discovering.


    I am DISGUSTED at how we treat people of color, first nation peoples, poor people, homeless people, the mentally ill, immigrant children we pry from the arms of their terrified parents, I’m disgusted at how we treat LGBT people, at how we force our stupid RELIGION on everyone.


    The rest of the world needs to BOYCOT, SANCTION & DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE USA!

    So there!

    Feels good to do some IMPOTENT ranting doesn’t it?
    Kaitlin does it better!

  8. vinnieoh
    July 7, 2019 at 08:57

    After 210 comments maybe it’s time to re-focus on what Caitlin’s aim was here (if I may be that presumptuous.) Simply this: to ridicule the faux outrage of the Democrat messengers of Trump highlighting for all the world to see the reality of the US military empire. That the Democrat messengers are hypocrites and Trump is a pompous ass.

    Our national “dialogue” these days is a lot like listening to the Spike Jones Orchestra (now I’ve really dated myself): a hilarious comedic farce performed by musicians that were undoubtedly highly skilled in their art.

  9. geeyp
    July 7, 2019 at 02:04

    Thank you, Anonymous.

  10. John
    July 6, 2019 at 22:50

    I joined the army in 1959 in a program that allowed you to serve six months active duty followed by 5 1/2 years of active reserve. I had graduated from college, I wanted to get married, and the draft was breathing down my neck. I did my six months at Fort Dix and my reserve time in the the New York National Guard. Most of my ‘service’ was in the Park Avenue Armory and at what was then Camp Drum. I did my time while getting on with my life. You understand this was well before Vietnam was an issue. Fast forward fifty years or so and someone for some reason or no reason, I have quite forgotten, asked me if I had done military service. I said yes and was startled and a bit embarrassed to hear, “Thank you for your service.” It was no big deal to have done a bit. There was the draft. Most guys served or found a dodge around it. None of that was an issue until we embroiled ourselves in Vietnam. If people who have served in these increasingly stupid wars are thanked for their service, so be it, as long they are okay with it.

    Try sending an army of draftees to Iran. I can hear the echo from 1968: “Hell no; we won’y go.”

    • LJ
      July 7, 2019 at 17:08

      Case in point: Elvis served. Still the King in 1970.


    • July 8, 2019 at 12:00

      Maybe if we returned to a conscript army instead of an all volunteer army, there would be more opposition to all these frickin’ wars.

  11. LJ
    July 6, 2019 at 18:54

    Nice photos. Was Marilyn riding a tank in JFK’s parade? Kind of mean spirited overkill here. I mean 99% of the country if not, 99.9% doesn’t care about a parade in DC anyway and the press more than did it up about Trump concerning his rather telling gaffe regarding our Armies taking control of the airports back in 1810. Never trust a teleprompter, the Deep State is everywhere.I would take this writer’s line a little further though. I would say forget the parade, Trump is exactly the President that we deserve at this point in our history. We the People. It’s either an unpopular Democrat or an unpopular Republican. No other possibilities. If only Trump had been in the bag , half drunk, partying like a fool, watching fireworks on the 4th like most Americans when he made his stupid comment he’d be a lot more likable.. He is kinda lame and awkward but since he is a genius it’s OK.

  12. DW Bartoo
    July 6, 2019 at 17:55

    Interesting tidbit, even if off-topic:

    Kamala Harris has hired Marc Elias, of Perkins Coie. Elias is the lawyer who hired Fusion GPS, instrumental in constructing the “Russia-did-it!” narrative for Hillary Clinton, in 2016.

    I concur with Caitlin Johnstone’s assessment, in another article, not reproduced at CN, that Harris may very well be the Dem nominee.

    Therefore, this hire is likely more than chance coincidence and may well hint at narratives to come.

    • Anne Jaclard
      July 7, 2019 at 19:33

      Yes, I saw the same article. Harris also appears to be trying to set up relationships with Twitter similar to but not as sinister as Hillary’s relationship with Google. Their communications head, Nick Pacilio, was Harris’s press secretary before moving to Twitter. Already it seems that the site is biased. The Copmala account mocking Harris’s prosecutorial record was blocked from the site because it was “suspected of being a troll.” https://mobile.twitter.com/TJCornflake/status/1097305028472168449

  13. Brian James
    July 6, 2019 at 14:01

    Jul 6, 2019 Trump’s 4th of July Parade Draws Massive Crowd

    Trump supporters from all around the world came to Washington DC for his 4th of July celebration.


  14. CitizenOne
    July 5, 2019 at 22:51

    I completely agree that staging a couple of tanks at the stage of the Salute to America event is no big deal since the major military powers are racing to develop military artificial intelligence that will autonomously have command and control over military actions using unmanned robotic weapons. The military might as well have positioned Minutemen in colonial garb to show off our military might. The war of the future is cyber war and we are already in the middle of its development. The massive power failures in several nations are likely the result of hacking the power grids of those nations. China has massively committed to the development of a superior military AI stating that the nation with the best AI will dominate the World. This could be a good thing according to some optimists but it is likely that any development of AI for the purposes of World domination will not be too friendly. It will also pose new threats to traditional defense measures like nuclear missiles and will likely render them useless. The world is run by computers and the only limitation of controlling all of them is our own tiny wet brains which process mere bits per second and are utterly incapable of understanding the entirety of the computer based world we live in let alone how to instantly seize control of it all and use every single transistor inside every single computer chip to its advantage to defeat our enemies or its enemies as it sees fit.

    It would have been more menacing to our enemies and more hopeful to our nation if we placed a couple of supercomputers on either side of the stage. Either that or some drones capable of forming autonomous drone swarms that act without human input to neutralize enemy threats. These are the weapons of the future that the advanced nations are feverishly working on.

    A couple of tanks are not what we should be concerned with. On the other hand, Trump might just have some new advanced weapons on display next year which would lead to a different discussion.

    • Steve Naidamast
      July 7, 2019 at 18:44

      I guess these lunatics have never heard of SkyNet…

    • LJ
      July 8, 2019 at 20:19

      War is about getting stuff for our rich people . The loyalty of fools ( patriotic or conscripted ) is more important than the actual weapons used because the people have to be kept supportive of maintenance of the status quo. That’s what parades are for anyway. It’s just show. Eventually, Machines are going to give us orders to march to death against other machines? Even humans aren’t that stupid. The entire MIC would become redundant. That is why AI is a bad idea,illogical ,even despite the potential for Computer glitches, In my opinion AI is the flavor of the day. Sure it scary and it has potential for perimeter defense but it is like the Emporer that wears no clothes, We the People do not benefit from it and yet we pay for it. After all the hoopla it will go the way of Ringling Brothers,,,,. parades unnecessary.

  15. robert e williamson jr
    July 5, 2019 at 18:32

    Seems the Fourth has honed an edge on you folks. Good maybe we are having some progress here.

    Hope all those at the “Trumps Tribute to Merica” were thrilled to hear that more kids were killed while they celebrated.

    Judging from what I’m hearing the fireworks were aimed at them.

    How many more dogdamned days will it be before this clown viny fucks up something that cannot be fixed. Oh. Oh yes it’s far too late for that.

    By the way Catlin I’m guessing because I actually have no clue but I’m guessing you were not alive at the time of JFK’s inauguration . I was, lived through the Cuban Missile crisis also.

    The military had ran away with itself under Ike and Ike warned us. How much longer do you think JFK would have lived if he had embraced the same values as the Mad men who who came up with the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction.

    Check you history because some of those Dogdamned men really wanted Kennedy dead. I understand what you are saying but the comparison is skewed. Maybe you simply had to be there.

    The military industrial complex had a firm grasp on the U.S. government already. It’s called nuclear black mail, “You better let us alone or we all might die!”, they squalled every time someone wanted to question burgeoning military budgets . . . . . well you get the idea.

    So listen up until the State Security Apparatus has it’s control of congress and the courts wrested from it, the SSA will rule the roust!

    So happily goes the ship of state on the Fourth, true ship of fools. But hell everyone retirement investments are going through the roof.

    Happy %&#* ing $rth eveerykbody.

  16. Brian James
    July 5, 2019 at 17:23

    July 05, 2019 Justin Raimondo, RIP (1951-2019)

    Raimondo passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 67. Justin was a lifelong fighter for peace and liberty. In 1995, he co-founded Antiwar.l com with Eric Garris. He served as Antiwar com’s editorial director and top columnist, writing over 3,000 articles for the website. He can never be replaced and will be missed by countless numbers of fans and followers.


    • Josep
      July 6, 2019 at 06:32

      The scariest part is how the likes of Instapundit are cheering Raimondo’s death for his criticism of American wars being fought for Israel at the expense of 300M American taxpayers. For a long time, they have been chewing Raimondo, Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts out as “Jew-haters” and “Nazis” just for the ‘crime’ of exposing the Israeli lobby and its perfidy. I’m amazed that these neocons can ignore America’s $22T debt while supporting America forcing its blinkered, myopic version of “democracy” onto the throats of countries like Iran that refuse to be lapdogs to the American Empire.

      I must admit I was never a devout reader of AntiWar, and pardon my language, but seeing these neocons piss on Raimondo’s grave right then right there was scarier than any jumpscare I’ve ever encountered. If all they can do is throw accusations of anti-Semitism or Nazism at Raimondo, then it’s only going to prove him correct and rest his case. They say that if you resort to ad hominems and other forms of childish name-calling, then, suffice it to say, you’ve lost the argument.

      Rest in peace, Mr. Raimondo. Don’t give a toss about what those neocons say about you.

  17. martin rubarb
    July 5, 2019 at 16:59

    “Oh, thank you for your service!” – yes this is the phrase that everyone in our country of “freedom” is obliged to say when in the presence of military. if you don’t say it, or even worse, disagree with the american military you better have a body guard. i grew up in the sixties and it’s amazing what the propagandists have done.

    “Americans are the most aggressively propagandized people in the world, and U.S. service personnel are the most aggressively propagandized people in America. “

    • Nick
      July 7, 2019 at 11:10

      Try saying ‘fuck the troops’ on Facebook like I once did. People don’t seem to understand that they signed up for this trash, and people who volunteer for murder don’t deserve any respect. Fuck the troops.

      • Sheila Chambers
        July 7, 2019 at 18:30

        Please read “Winter solder” stories from Iraq. Those troops were LIED TOO! We have fed PROPAGANDA all of our lives which is why I won’t listen to the CORPORATE media any longer.

        They were told they were to bring peace & stability to those poor countries, instead, they brought death, terror & destruction.

        Some of “our troops” engaged in RAPE, PILLAGING, TERRORIST ACTS & MURDER of defenseless civilians, others did their best to undo the harm done by their comrades.

        Some came home in pieces inside body bags, they came home in caskets draped in our bloody flag, some came back destroyed in body & mind, never to see home again.
        Too many ended up HOMELESS & ABANDONED, they had served their masters & were now disguarded like disposable trash.

        Most had no idea what they would be asked to do, many regretted what they did & wish they could undo it.
        Not all troops deserve to be fu*ked up the bum, many need our help.

      • Zhu
        July 8, 2019 at 07:32

        We used to say “fuck yhr Navy” all the time, when I was in.

  18. Allan
    July 5, 2019 at 14:16

    Leftists are rightly notorious for their childish, sophomoric thinking, and they rarely fail to conform to expectations which they have carefully cultivated for centuries. Sometimes, however, there arises among them a know-it-all who says or writes a genuine howler:

    “…Independence Day, a holiday in which Americans gather…in celebration of the anniversary of their lateral transfer from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy.”

    Well, the secession was closer to the opposite of a transfer to “corporatist oligarchy”. You could say that it was something of a breakup of, or an escape from, the corporatist oligarchy of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Leftists are fond of caterwauling in Caitlin’s way about corporations, and “corporatocracy” is another of their favorite ways to do that. So it is pricelessly ironic that busy leftist do-gooders collaborate perennially with “corporatist oligarchy” while pretending to oppose it, too. For evidence of collaboration we need to notice only their fondness of schemes (i) to infiltrate the oligarchy, (ii) to put theirselves in possession of ALL OF ITS PROPERTY, and (ii) to merge that property with the state under exclusive control by leftists.

    We need to conceive a very different political movement to defeat both the “corporatist oligarchy” and the looters who want to make it worse. For starters, we need to abandon all sentimentality. This will free us to abolish incorporation without worrying that its many collaborators will suffer during

    • Anonymous
      July 5, 2019 at 17:58

      Quite a modest proposal there, sir.

    • Jessejean
      July 5, 2019 at 22:40

      Allan– god how I love Caitlin Johnstone! Between her and Ray McGovern, the U S may eventually be able to pull her head out of her ass and become a real country.

    • Realist
      July 6, 2019 at 06:04

      A generalised excoriation of “leftists” is not especially useful. You can find plenty of that in the forums on Yahoo or Disqus. Exactly who, in your worldview, is too far left? Who is optimally centrist or right? I think both the major political parties in the United States are right wing.

      The Dems are Johnnie-come-latelies to this game but, since the Clintons first sold their services to the highest bidders on Wall Street, Wilshire Boulevard and El Camino Real, if you ask me, they are now the bigger warmongers and the most radical (not progressive) agents pushing societal change with their identity politics. They are completely objectionable, but they are not “leftist” as they once were under FDR and LBJ. With the acquiescence of the Republicans, they will give minorities (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual) radically-transformed standing and entitlement programs under the law to keep them mollified, but they will not drastically change the taxing, banking or monetary policies to disadvantage the “top 1%” one iota.

      The Republicans have always been strident right wing advocates of aristocratic privilege to the detriment of the unwashed masses. However, they perennially sell themselves as the defenders of religious- or cultural-based “conservative” rights and values to maintain a critical mass of poor, uneducated workers in their voting base. But, as noted above, they are pragmatic enough to deal away these chits, when necessary, to maintain the economic pecking order within the realm.

      The Dems noted the Republicans’ greater success at capturing the White House ever since Eisenhower (7 GOP terms vs 3 Dem terms before Clinton’s DLC seized power within the party), and quite stealthily cozied up to the aristocrats giving the 1% two bites at the apple and less than a nibble to the entire rest of the spectrum (the 99%), ranging from the unemployed, to the working poor, to the middle class, to the comfortable so-called meritocracy.

      Neither party has since been the slightest “leftist” with respect to monetary policy, finance, the economy or taxation. The best evidence lies in the words that both Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton directed at their true bases, their cash cow campaign contributors in closed-door speeches that were either secretly recorded or leaked via Wikileaks. When a busboy taped Romney’s 47% comments in 2012, it was still kosher for the NYT, WaPo, CNN, NBC and the rest of the corporate media to share the dirt with all who would read or listen. (Yes, they were taking up sides, Obama was clearly their boy, though they would have got on swimmingly with Romney too.) When Hillary was embarrassed by her blatant double standard (two policies: one for mass consumption, the other for the elite insiders)… well, this was getting out of hand and the establishment had to blame Russia for good old fashioned American mendacities.

      If you want to consider the runaway illegal migrant problem (at not only the Mexican border but also international airports and foreign consulates across the land) and the sudden LGBTQ ascendancy across America which activists now demand be implemented planetwide as dramatic victories for leftist ideology, I would contend that 1) the migrant problem is driven as much by corporate demands for cheap labor as anyone’s push for social justice (so it’s part of both the right and left wing agendas), and 2) both major parties have been complicit in both phenomena, as noted earlier. Moreover, if they ever did, I don’t think liberals or progressives have a monopoly on all the feminists, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, or whatever in America. What’s sex identity got to do with most of the big issues on war, peace, employment, the economy, taxation, yadda, yadda, yadda? There are scores of other personal eccentricities and personality types that have nothing to do with sex and don’t divide along any left-to-right political spectrum.

      Many of the other purported culture clashes between right and left in the political arena are just incendiary rhetoric to stir the base. The second amendment? Settled law. The Supreme Court decided the issue a few years back. Abortion? After 45 years of favoring the “leftist” position of supporting a woman’s right to choose rather than the state’s right to dictate (why is this called “leftist,” rather than the opposite?), this seems about to change with Kavanaugh’s addition to the court. Score one for the “right,” right? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? The third rail of politics. Neither end of the spectrum (except perhaps for the reigning oligarchs themselves) want to see these programs eliminated or cut. However, their future always seems to teeter on the brink, especially in view of the dynamic population changes this society is undergoing. Dependent migrants and retiring boomers make increased demands on the system while the number of workers paying into it is constantly diminishing–at least on a per capita basis. The self-proclaimed moderate Republican president Barack Obama came close to making major cutbacks in the programs via a “grand bargain” that wasn’t quite austere enough for John Boehner. Civil rights legislation? Settled law. Two constitutional amendments plus LBJ’s legislation supported by more Republicans than Democrats. Voting rights? A constant advance and retreat by both sides mostly at the state level. No state or locality can legally empower illegal aliens to vote as citizenship is conferred by the federal government. If they try such voter fraud, prosecute them on real evidence. Frankly, most other developed countries, and even many poorer ones–like Venezuela, run better organised, more transparent and fairer national elections than we do in the United States. Otherwise, I suspect most of this hue and cry is just a lot of bushwah, not any advance of actual “leftist” power or ideology across our fair land. There is no march towards communism or even socialism in America.

    • anon4d2
      July 6, 2019 at 09:47

      You should review your thoughts here, Allan.
      1. Simplistic thinking can be found for all viewpoints, but predominates on the right where conformists and tribalists land.
      2. Very few leftists would take oligarchy property for use by an oligarchy of leftists: have you no concept of public benefit?
      3. Corporations or something like them are needed for business; it is regulation of economic power that is needed.
      4. What would “abandon all sentimentality” do for humanity?
      5. Caitlin’s expression was clever and truthful, so why quibble about technical precision?

      • Steve Naidamast
        July 7, 2019 at 18:55

        The corporate entity, as we know it today, was designed in the mid 17th century in England. It was specifically designed to be a new form of swindle to get investors to cough up capital for something that really didn’t exist.

        Prior to then, corporate entities were very temporary incarnations that were created to do a specific form of production and then be disbanded as per the charters provided.

        Once the British Parliament realized what these new forms of corporations were to be, they banned them. And that ban stayed in
        force for around 200 years.

        When these new corporations were allowed again to incorporate, they were allowed to do so permanently but with extreme restrictions and regulations as to how they may operate. This included the strict enforcement that all officers of the corporation were immediately liable for any crimes they may initiate or contribute to.

        In the 1920s in the United States, this strict enforcement of liability was changed to the benefit of the corporate officers.

        The rest is history…

    • July 7, 2019 at 19:26

      Are you speaking to me, Allan? You sort of drifted off there at the end… something cliché something strawman something something about suffering during… YAWN

      Sounds like you’re worried someone else will grab all the goodies so there won’t be enough for you; hence, you are projecting this psychological mindset on to me while labeling me a “leftist collaborator” or something, to avoid a feeling of cognitive dissonance.

      Is this correct? I don’t mean to put words in your mouth…

    • Zhu
      July 9, 2019 at 06:19

      Not just Leftists, Allan. Smy the USA has no Left.

      • July 9, 2019 at 10:09

        Indeed, Zhu. They aren’t Leftists because there has been no left-wing in US politics for 40 years. What they are is Neoliberals. These are not the same thing, but it makes a convenient strawman argument to confuse the two terms, then set it all on fire and point at it as if one is burning a witch, which is exactly what Allan – yawn – has done here.


  19. Brian James
    July 5, 2019 at 12:13

    Jul 4, 2019 What the Freedom is this Nationalism?

    It’s 4th of July. Let’s talk about what that means.


  20. DW Bartoo
    July 5, 2019 at 12:01

    While Caitlin Johnstone’s article deals with the military obsessions of the U$ and, I would add, the ready willingness of the U$ to, officially, ignore international law and basic tenets of the UN, as well, it must be further understood that OUR behavior emboldens others, primarily Israel, to act with the same disdain of international law. OUR example is ready excuse for other nations with perceived superior weaponry to behave as we do.

    MK Bhadrakumar, writing for “Checkpoint Asia”, suggests that the latest Israeli attack, “… via Lebanese air space”, on “Syrian civilians, killing 16 and injuring 21 … constituted the violation of national sovereignty and territory of two UN member states, Lebanon and Syria. Israel committed a war crime by killing innocent unarmed civilians.”

    “The Israelis are showing that they have neutralized the Russian S-300 missile system … supposedly guarding Syrian air space. This is Israel’s angry riposte to Russia’s refusal to break with Iran in Syria”.

    Just as the MSM will provide little coverage of such “incidents”, so too will they provide little perspective contrary to “accepted” Israeli interests.

  21. Jimmy G
    July 5, 2019 at 11:11

    Caitlin, isn’t Andrew Downer an Australian, hmmmm?
    And didn’t Australia participate in Vietnam Iraq Afghanistan etc.?
    Caitlin, please clean up your side of the street, and take the beam from your own “five eyes”.
    As far as the rest of those who single out the U.S. as the warmongering imperialist nation, did India and Pakistan make war? Didn’t France, matter of fact, what major nation hasn’t, in recent history, made war on their fellow man?
    The United States is unique only in that so many citizens sit comfortable in their air conditioning, sipping their lattes typing out their claims of injustice, condemning the very source of their wealth.

    • anon
      July 5, 2019 at 12:06

      Why do you seek to silence critics from outside the US with the silly notion that their country has problems too. Likely you are a troll who disagrees for career reasons and seeks to invent false criticisms. Let us see your commitment to stop aggressive US wars. Are you not the latte sipper?

      • Jimmy G
        July 6, 2019 at 15:37

        Defend to the end any criminal other than your own, is that it? No, I should as an Australian, ask the questions I have of Caitlin. You may call anyone who (tarnishes, even slightly, a journalist who is faultless) a troll, but don’t forget you unending struggle for truth.
        Nice of you to concede that “their country” has troubles too. So, “their” crimes are not to be considered.
        No thank you, I won’t let the five eyes countries off the hook. You can continue to specify the United States as the sole criminal, and pretend that their are no accomplices.

        • anon
          July 6, 2019 at 20:00

          It is fine to criticize Australia’s complicity etc., but it is not a reason that Australians not criticize the US. We are not criticizing nationals, but national policies, both of which we may agree are often reprehensible. Often cautious comments lead to more cautious responses.

      • Jimmy G
        July 6, 2019 at 15:49

        Anon, what false criticisms? And when did I advocate silence?
        Who is behaving more like a “careerist”, you or I?
        You do know what part Mr. Downer and Five Eyes played in the disruption of the last Presidential election, don’t you?
        I hope you realize that silencing criticism of critics is part of the problem, and I didn’t suggest that Caitlin be silenced, rather I asked her a question or two. Something you might think about.

    • Jessejean
      July 5, 2019 at 22:46

      G Jimmy, what are you afraid of– that Caitlin might inspire enmity towards the good ol’ u s of a? I’m pretty sure our bombs and marines have already done that. More over, we have to go off-shore to hear a voice like hers because on shore voices are all like yours: ignorant and pusillanimous. God, how I love Caitlin Johnsone.

    • Eddie S
      July 7, 2019 at 09:45

      “As far as the rest of those who single out the U.S. as the warmongering imperialist nation, did India and Pakistan make war? Didn’t France, matter of fact, what major nation hasn’t, in recent history, made war on their fellow man?”.

      Well, yes they did. And England beat up on the Argentinians over the Falklands, etc, etc, but there’s the little matter of ‘scale’ here – – S. C. A. L. E. As CJ and others point out, the US has ~800 military bases throughout the world. The evil Russkies? Zero. Aircraft carrier GROUPS (because you can’t have them as a stand-alone ship, they ‘need’ 7 or 8 escort craft) – the US has seven (7) groups last I heard, and were building an 8th, while no other country had more than one(1), although China is now building carriers because they’re tired of being intimidated by the US. Similarly with submarines, nuclear weapons, etc, etc. The US is currently involved in 7 wars, none of which can honestly be termed ‘defensive’.
      The US military is built-up WAY out of proportion for what any peaceful country would need, and our yearly military ‘defense’ spending is around one(1) TRILLION USD every YEAR, and only getting LARGER every year. Our legislative body literally appropriates MORE money to the military services THAN THEY ASK FOR, and that’s in a ‘bargaining’ situation (ie; where you intentionally ask for more than you ever hope to get because you normally expect it to be reduced). That’s because the politicians here have been cowed by the militarism in this country (much like they’re also cowed by the gun lobby here, so the politicians also have to reflexively genuflect to a mythical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution).
      So nobody is saying that all the other countries in the world are peaceful & innocent — there’d undoubtedly still be wars even if the US disappeared tomorrow —- but when you ‘ignore the elephant in the room’, you’re not honestly trying to address the problem of war.

      • Skip Scott
        July 7, 2019 at 10:52

        With today’s missile technologies carrier groups are “sitting ducks”. Those who work on them are the ones who should be afraid.

      • Josep
        July 7, 2019 at 22:41

        As CJ and others point out, the US has ~800 military bases throughout the world. The evil Russkies? Zero.

        IIRC someone else on this site said that Russia does have military bases outside of Russia, except that not only are those bases relatively few and far in between, but they’re in countries that share a land border with Russia. Still not as bad as America’s situation.

  22. July 5, 2019 at 11:04

    (““Putin’s America,” tweeted Anand Giridharadas, a pundit who was genetically engineered in a Monsanto laboratory to appeal to NPR listeners on every possible level.”)

    Ouch! Brilliantly insightful! We Americans can get our daily dose of deep state war propaganda delivered along with nice soothing jazz and classical music interludes at NPR, in tandem with thinly disguised racist and sexist banter at FOX, or delivered by a Rhodes scholar in the midst of a daily wild eyed spittle punctuated bat shit crazy Russo-phobic rant at MSNBC! Our choices regarding our preferred delivery systems for daily war propaganda are simply endless. This is an example of the “miracle of the market” I presume?

    • michael
      July 6, 2019 at 07:12

      Now that Biden has pointed out that DID NOT interfere during Obama’s (and his) watch, maybe Congress can start in on some serious issues for a change:
      “Speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the 2020 presidential contender insisted that the Kremlin’s evil designs to influence geopolitical outcomes wouldn’t happen under his watch, and didn’t happen when he and President Obama were in the White House.
      “Look at what’s happening with Putin,” said Biden. “While Putin is trying to undo our elections, he is undoing elections in Europe. Look what’s happened in Hungary. Look what’s happened in Poland. Look what’s happened in Moldova. You think that would happen on my watch or Barack’s watch? You can’t answer that, but I promise you it wouldn’t have, and it didn’t.”

      • Nick
        July 7, 2019 at 11:23

        This quote blew me away. Bumbling Joe Biden hopefully put John Brennan in jail with those words, or at least would if this wasn’t the US, a land of zombies where if no one at MSNBC points out what this means, none of the watchers will figure it out for themselves.

  23. DW Bartoo
    July 5, 2019 at 10:16

    Journalist Helen Buyniski has an oped article at RT:

    “Denial is America’s
    national pastime, but
    real patriotism
    requires honesty”

    Which is very much worth reading and ties very well into what Caitlin’s article and many comments, here, address and remark upon.

    As well, Ray McGovern appeared on a CrossTalk episode, also on RT, this past Wednesday, July 03, 2019,

    “CrossTalk on North Korea:
    DMZ diplomacy”

    That that also deserves the attention of commenters, here at CN.

  24. Kiwiantz
    July 5, 2019 at 10:05

    Emperor Trump finally got his Big boy Spurs & Dictator Badge with his Salute to Trumpmerica in a “Yuge” Parade, the Yugest in all the History of the World if not, the Universe? Like the Movie Independence Day, July the Fourth will no longer be a American Holiday but a World Celebration Holiday, like Earthday, to celebrate the new Nation of Trumpmerica? I have to say, the Donald put on a very average Military display, punctuated by his usual boorish, verbal diarrhoea & speechifying dribble along with his utterly mindless, exaggerated lies, which he is the master at telling? And if you want to see how a real Military Parade is done I suggest you turn to YouTube & view Russia’s Immortal Regiment Parade or China’s Military Parade in Mongolia or Korea’s Parades? That’s how a real Military Parade should be done, not the amateurish display you provided? The Fireworks display & Sesame Street show was great though so congrats with that? And what was with all the Bulletproof glass, didn’t you even trust you own Maga Cult followers not to take a potshot? Trump may be ignorant, but he’s not completely stupid? And Catlin really nailed it with her article here, with Trump providing the Bread & Circuses to the Masses!

  25. July 5, 2019 at 10:02

    Caitlin I love you more with each passing day. Well done.

  26. Lin Cleveland
    July 5, 2019 at 09:55

    All of these people are of course being ridiculous. There’s nothing alien or un-American about Trump’s parade at all.

    Yes, earlier this week I watched DemocracyNOW!’s interview with A. C. Thompson. He made some very good points and overall I thought the interview went well. Then he said something that always bugs me when I hear it:

    “this is not who we are!”

    Yes, this is exactly who we are! If we refuse to acknowledge the problem, we can never fix it.

  27. vinnieoh
    July 5, 2019 at 08:28

    Very busy yesterday; started several comments to this but couldn’t finish. This was one of the best editorials anywhere, by anyone that I’ve read in quite some time. Not a single throwaway sentence. I showed it to our new daughter-in-law last night, and now CJ has another fan.

    Great stuff, many good comments. Just would reinforce CJ’s message: no-one is clean here.

  28. K Lee
    July 5, 2019 at 07:14

    Trump tried his hardest to Make War Great Again in his speech but frankly, we’ve had enough. Btw, 60-90% of those who die in wars are civilians and no one ever honors them.

    Luckily for us, war has never been such a hard sell as it is today. Roger Ailes, in his disrespect for the journalistic profession, treated media as any other form of entertainment and in so doing, triggered the downfall of the Corporate Narrative which “both sides” are paid so lavishly to uphold.

    Elite news anchors are gone — The ship is going down:


    “According to activist and author David Swanson (War is a Lie, When the World Outlawed War) there is no logical reason for war—the suffering overwhelms any potential good.”


  29. T.J
    July 5, 2019 at 03:52

    Caitlin has demonstrated, for all to see, that the emperor has no clothes.

    • Jan Masleid
      July 10, 2019 at 02:27

      So.. do you think Caity’s entire article was simply to bash Trump? Is that it?

  30. elmerfudzie
    July 5, 2019 at 01:25

    The historical photos may dissuade the reader from an uneasy distrust, free floating anxiety or unrealistic fear, after all see! there is historic precedence! However let’s reexamine the reality and mindset of pre and post world war two America (circa 1932 to 1965). A comparison-contrast exercise shows that in IKE’s and JFK’s time, the Posse’ Comitatus Act of 1878 protected our citizenry at large from any domestic use of the armed forces or their military hardware. This restriction applied even to acts of God or civil disobedience. Somehow, after the early ’60’s, the brass buttons, blue uniforms and billy clubs version of law and order merged with using a “greater force” and it made it’s way into in domestic uprisings, such as Kent State, LA Watts riots, Chicago Seven riots, and New York City had one too many organized labor striker riots to even count…

    The Posse’ Comitatus Act forbade such military interventions but today, the National Defense Authorization Act repealed this restriction, and more alarmingly, is presently coupled with attempts by well funded lobbying groups or presidential executive actions (Obama), to weaken or all together remove our right to bear arms. The display of our armed forces on the fourth of July connotes a new message or suggestion from Uncle Sam. Something that our populace better get used to?. Example; Automatic rifles, flash bombs, and bullet proof vests for local police. Hint, John Doe! get used to Army tanks on main street? By contrast, during FDR’s presidency, our nation was in the throes of a world war and footing, rearmament by command economy but today, the armed forces are projected everywhere and anywhere to fight mini-wars, Kinetic military actions, run psy-op’s in cooperation with the CIA, do counter insurgency (COIN) operations, create insurrection (color revolutions) and hold small but lucrative fire sales afterwards AKA carpetbagging. The historically clear lines of war and peace vanished, a congressional declared war vs “police action” crept into our lexicon and this lack of distinction spilled over into both domestic and foreign conflicts.

    ASIDE: A civil war is no longer called a civil war, so many new euphemisms sprung up for what we all now know are bankster instigation’s that go all the way back to Franz Von Papen. He, a German nobleman, Chancellor and military attaché, closely linked to big bankers and industrialists, like Krupp and Farben. Papen was eventually indicted trying to blow up Canada’s Welland Canal (lake Erie). One may assume that a similar cabal of bankers, today act in the spirit of Franz Von Papen, perhaps orchestrated 911? the general public (may) find out in fifty years time?

    The mental images evoked by using the the bald eagle and McNuggets reminded me of a brush I had with formal studies in ornithology and food science. Our eagle (I’m not suggesting we change it) belongs to an avian species that waits for the hunter to kill the prey and only then does it swoop down and steal the fresh kill away. How apropos! to symbolize our banksters and their warmongering ways… The eagle symbol therefor must remain. Again, as an aside, I think it was Ben Franklin who actually wanted our national bird to be Pigeon or was it a Turkey?! Well, just goes to show how much serendipity plays into idolized national emblems. Oh and yes, deep fried chicken! bad enough we wash the carcasses in a concentrated solution of chlorine (something European cultures find disgusting), pump the birdies with antibiotics and then the meats are cut into small delectable bit sizes, oozing in a breaded layer of highly saturated fats ummmmm so gooood, eh? LOL

    • DW Bartoo
      July 5, 2019 at 12:05

      You have a habit of posting absolutely superb comments, elmerfudzie.

      All very much appreciated.


      • elmerfudzie
        July 5, 2019 at 14:51

        DW Bartoo, Thanx! enjoy! Elmerfudzie

    • Nick
      July 7, 2019 at 11:33

      The military has been used against the civilian population here quite a few times. Look up the 1894 Pullman Strike, which saw Grover Cleveland mobilize troops against railway unions on strike. Eugene Debs has voted for Cleveland, and left the Democratic Party after the use of troops against strikers, and became a founding member of the Social Democratic Party, a party that would, by the way, laugh at Bernie Sanders and his talk of being a socialist. My point though, is that if you’re an American who gets in the way of finance, the government will sic the military right on you.

  31. Curious
    July 4, 2019 at 22:52

    Thank you Caitlin for your article. After reading the comments may I add a simple appreciation for your use of the phrase “Bald Eagle McNuggets” since no one else has. A deep fried bald eagle seems really American somehow. Ben Franklins ‘turkey’ has already been murdered and slaughtered for tables around the country for years. I fear for the Eagle if it multiplies in numbers.
    I do have one nitpick though with your use of the military parades photos. There is a huge difference between an inauguration and the 4th of July in these US of As. The 4th for many was never a celebration of a sitting president until Mr Narcissist came along. He was so bloated in praise for the military he talked about the “brand new Sherman tanks” about to be on display. His ignorance knows no bounds since there aren’t any brand new Sherman tanks, and it is continually surprising that his foot in mouth disease still attracts people of similar ignorance. Instead of “brand new” they got some old, dented, rusty scraps with the gun barrels taken off. Quite the dramatic setting wished for by the spender of our taxes for silliness rather than the parks designated for said funds.
    But today, if one were to ask 100 people why the US celebrates the 4th of July one might get at least 97 different answers, beyond the obvious “to make noise and blow some things up” or some morphic resonance in the use of the word ‘freedom’ or something just as obtuse. But for many people it was never meant to be partisan in it’s celebration, and it’s not surprising that military parades on the 4th were rare, or downright non-existent.
    Some comments were about military parades after some other conflict which the propagandists had to show ‘we won’ ‘we really did win’ despite violating treaties and international law and a host of other Geneva Convention forgetfulnesses.

    • July 5, 2019 at 08:59

      Very, very well said.

  32. July 4, 2019 at 21:37

    Caitlin, you hit the nail on the head so hard, it came out on the other side. I am not American. I am the son of Nazi parents and can connect perfectly to your line thought. Delicious if it wouldn’t be so sad and upsetting.

  33. DW Bartoo
    July 4, 2019 at 21:07

    A most necessary set of comments and conversations responding to this article by Caitlin Johnstone.

    One hopes this might become an “Independence Day” tradition for all who have participated. There is no reason that the “holiday ” should not be an opportunity for considering what actually is being celebrated, the actual state of the nation and the well-being, or not, of the people, the quality of actual, experienced democracy, and whether the behavior of the nation, toward the rest of the world, is honorable, or hostile.

    Such an annual review, is very appropriate on the day we like to claim that this nation was born.

    True patriotism is not supporting a nation, blindly, “right or wrong”, regardless of facts, it is to insist that facts and the truth matter, even if that truth prove unflattering, for only by seeking the truth, with honorable rectitude, and considered right action may a nation, a society, disarm hostility, and build trust, that all, not just a few, may prosper and participate in ensuring peace and a sustainable future, among all other nations and among all peoples of the world.

    That is not an idle dream nor a call to utopia, it is a pragmatic recognition that past patterns of dominance and oppression cannot and will not ensure our collective survival but, instead will, certainly, guarantee our extinction.

    • old geezer
      July 5, 2019 at 18:40

      dw, here’s a thought experiment for you.

      imagine Columbus sailing west, and he and his men on the Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta are never heard from again. There is no American continent.

      please enlighten us all on how wonderful the world would be.

      here’s another question, in advance of your answer. can you answer a question directly without picking at random from everywhere else ?

      • DW Bartoo
        July 6, 2019 at 06:02

        Are you suggesting, old geezer, that had Columbus not “found” this place, or had not, for whatever reason, reported the “discovery” to Ferdinand and Isabella, that the place would not exist and the rest of the world still would not even know it existed?

        I am having a wee bit of trouble following your logic.

        Fortunately, we all have the freedom to be confused.

        Sometimes, we can manage to do that all by ourselves.

        Other times, we can get help from experts.

        • old geezer
          July 6, 2019 at 21:01

          it was quite a simple statement, imagine the world without the american continents.

          • DW Bartoo
            July 8, 2019 at 11:37

            When do you want those continents to disappear?

            In 1492?

            Then, Oh my gawd!
            We wouldn’t be here and U$ “interventions” and essential goodness would not have benefited all those ingrates – although you might argue that the U$ never invaded any place that was not a threat.

            Or, you could disappear it 65.5 million or more years ago, even from the beginning?

            66 million years ago the dinosaurs went extinct.
            Had that fortuitous event, substantiated by what is known as the KT Boundary, a thin layer of clay with a very high iridium content, found around the world (suggesting an event of global magnitude), not occurred “we”, human beings would, very, very likely not be here, anywhere, at all.

            Dinosaur remains are found ONLY under that layer, never above.

            We owe our very existence to one of the 25% of species that did not go extinct when the seven-mile wide asteroid slammed into Mexico, driving 20 miles into the Earth’s crust, creating an impact crater more than 100 miles across, even into the nearby Gulf of Mexico.

            Our furry little mammalian ancestor survived the dark, cold winter caused by dust thrown high into the atmosphere solely because it’s diet consisted primarily of insects, that did not require photosynthesis to provide their food sources, and seeds that survived through that dark,cold age. Of course, this is, strictly speaking, merely a theory, yet enough interconnected clues, some predicted by earlier clues, have been unearthed to effectively support the theory.

            If you wish, and it pleases you you could disappear the continents from the beginning of the formation of the planet.

            But then things would likely be even more different, the tectonics, ocean spreadings and contractions, much of the whole geological process might have been different.

            And we, still, would likely not be here.

            As it happens the continents ARE here.

            Likely they will be here for a long time to come.

            “We” are also here.

            How much longer depends …

            Let us not blame a portion of the Americas for our behavior, nor aggrandize it for the same unreason.

            Yes, I did ask you to define these “freedoms” you’ve been saying exist because of Good Guys With Guns.

            You indicate that to do so would comprise your intellectual integrity, or something like that.

            You might have noticed that I did not get on the “Freedom” bandwagon?

            The reason being that I think those much vaunted “freedoms” (the ones that we were told that others “hate” us for having) are seriously to be asked about in quite specific detail, is that, if they exist only because Guys with Guns “gave” these “freedoms” to “us” and those “freedoms” can be taken away at any moment, and I offered you an example of precisely that, then it is reasonable to consider that such “freedoms” are not only conditional, but essentially ILLUSORY, that they do not really exist. Yet, we are all to BELIEVE that they do.

            I am glad that you understood the point about not ever giving power to those who pathologically crave power, for that leads, inevitably, to kakistocracy, rule by the worst.

            Which citcumstance is best aided and encouraged by those members of society who prefer being unemcumbered by the thought process.

        • July 11, 2019 at 11:09

          Don’t bother to think.. It’s a mental masturbation which goes along in believing in the learned “superiority” of the White Man’s Burden-Manifest Destiny narcissist’s model of the world.

          Colombius didn’t discover America any more than Jesus discovered water is wet.

          The revisionist history some folks spout serves only to assauge the collective guilt of genocide through transference and cognitive dissonance.


      • DW Bartoo
        July 6, 2019 at 07:57

        You ask, “Where does your freedom come from?”

        I have tried to get you to define what you mean by “freedom”.

        Without a clear definition of terms, to begin with, discussion or debate is premised upon mere assumption.

        The problem with assumption is that it has precluded any real examination. Without any real thought, any effort to ascertain what it is we think or imagine that we “know”, to be true, to be beyond question, we run a very real risk of being wrong, of making mistakes.

        Of getting into fights, even of going to war, when unexamined collective assumptions are acted upon, with rather dire consequences.

        It all gets out of reasonable and rational “hand” far too easily.

        Then people “lose it” and contempt and derision are let loose.

        The progression from hurling insults at each other, to throwing stones and worse, are amply recorded in human history, which pleases those who hold “human nature” to be nasty, brutish, and generally unpleasant.

        I think it far more likely that violent behavior is learned, that it must be taught, either unwittingly or quite deliberately.

        I suspect that most people tend to be cooperative, rather than seeking to dominate or control others.

        I would go so far as to suggest that those who want the power to control or dominate are actually dangerous to the rest of us, pathologically so.

        Apparently you agree with that suggestion, otherwise what would be the need of your Guys with
        Guns? They are only necessary if there are Bad Guys with Guns?

        So your assertion becomes, “freedom” comes from Good Guys with Guns. Would that be right?

        Now, if I allow myself the freedom to move beyond the convention of unexamined tribal loyalties, beyond the conventional cant of U$ exceptionalism “goodness”, and all that, then it appears to me that our species is flirting with extinction, because Guys with Guns, now also have Really Big Bombs that could end human existence.

        If we succeed in that righteous, even “religious”, endeavor, then all questions become moot.

        The planet will continue on, even including the landmass Columbus “discovered”, without us, as if we never existed.

        So, clearly, “we” have the “freedom” to destroy ourselves

        I am just not sure that is the wisest move.

        Even if we all have the “freedom” to not give a damn.

        That, oddly enough, gives rise to another question,

        Where does your/our existence come from?

        Some will say from Gawd.

        Some will say from their parents,
        all the way back to ancient ancestors living in whatever remote places they consider their heritage to be.

        Why stop there?

        Why not go back to that shrew-like little mammal scurrying around when dinosaurs ruled?

        Or even back to the primordial stew of the oceans where life on Earth “began”?

        Indeed, why not go back to the Big Bang?

        What if is just lucky happenstance, not some cosmic “plan”, that has permitted our existence?

        What if it was just dumb luck, a series of fortuitous accidents or mutations?

        “Freedom” comes from Guys with Guns?

        Things must have been pretty grim, during all those millennia before our ancestors had guns.

        Compared to conditions, generally, AFTER “we” got guns.

        Frankly, there just is no comparison.

        And it would be foolish not to assume that things have never be better.

        In fact, it might be academically, socially, and financially rewarding to asset precisely that.

        The Best of All Possible Worlds.

        (And we’ve got the Good Guys with Guns to prove it. Have “you” any more questions?)

        If Good Guys with Guns have brought us “freedom”, then just imagine what further lucky “developments” and smarter Good Guys will bring?

        Your freedom comes from Good Guys with Big Bombs!!!

        Now THAT is a bumper-sticker I want to see prominently displayed on tanks a lot next Independence Day.

        • old geezer
          July 6, 2019 at 23:05

          dw, sir
          the very nice lady, self proclaimed utopia prepper, from down under despises the people who are responsible for her freedom. or perhaps she is what lenin affectionately termed a useful idiot. my guess however is she is on board with the radical transformation of western civilization. she is based at medium .com, and they are quite the true believers. i read that site for as long as i could. nassem taleb, the black swan guy, posted some essays there. he is a sharp cookie. his early life is quite useful as an example of what a country should not do.

          twice, i think, i have gone through your list of topics jotting a brief reply. it is quite difficult for me to respond cogently to the many serious items you put out.

          be that as it may,

          my bumper sticker is three of those removable vinyl magnetic types. the first one is a white background with black letters, all capitalized ; EVERYTHING SHOULD BE FREE

          below is a white background with a large unmistakable black image of a skull with a che guevara beret

          below that is a red back ground with yellow letters, all capitalized ; EXCEPT YOU

          i remove them before i return home since i am not like my neighbors who deem it necessary to put a sign in their front yard detailing things they believe. God isn’t on their, PhD, list.

          if you really want to debate with some one whose knuckles don’t scrape the ground, have you seen
          quillette.com ?

          my superiors ( did you see dr. ip’s comment ? ) have instructed me to let loose the incisive intellects of this web site onto that placid web site of conformists.

          if you did state where your freedom comes from i must admit i missed it. the WHY question i believe to be more telling.

          my little stink bomb, as you call them, seems to have been quite effective at running up the comments, no ?

          i hope you are enjoying your declaration of independence holiday.

          ps i never define anything. intellectually, it is a debate detour. practically, i hate weeding. you may find my reply, below, to realist of some use with regards to your question of what freedom means to me.

          • Josep
            July 7, 2019 at 05:47

            the very nice lady, self proclaimed utopia prepper, from down under despises the people who are responsible for her freedom. or perhaps she is what lenin affectionately termed a useful idiot.

            Calling Caitlin Johnstone a “useful idiot” is only going to prove her point. Please don’t throw insults at those you disagree with.

            The notion of the Americans “defending our freedom” starts to become a propaganda mantra when you consider how these American troops are being sent to fight in oil-rich Middle Eastern countries that have never fired a shot at the USA. What exactly is the USA doing there in the first place? And did I mention ‘oil-rich Middle Eastern countries’?

            Meanwhile, here in the USA, our freedoms have since diminished from these wars, notably the freedom to protest against these immoral wars and shed light on war crimes committed by our troops. For instance, back in the Iraq War’s heyday, anyone who protested against the invasion of Iraq was branded an “America-hating traitor” just for opposing a war that cost $6T and millions of lives, both American and Iraqi.
            This same loss of freedom extends to other Five Eyes nations as well, such as Australia. Unless you’ve been asleep these past several weeks, if not months, some Aussie bloke named Julian Assange was arrested after shining light on the war crimes committed by his country’s troops. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) had its offices raided by Australian police after it aired a documentary exposing the same.

            In short, the notion of America being the “defender of freedom” is a façade in order to shield what’s really going on: the expansion of the American Empire.

        • old geezer
          July 6, 2019 at 23:21

          “ I would go so far as to suggest that those who want the power to control or dominate are actually dangerous to the rest of us, pathologically so. “

          i believe this is the most astute thing i have read from you.

  34. Greg Cantin
    July 4, 2019 at 20:51

    Beautifully scathing prose. Thank you!

  35. John Brumfield
    July 4, 2019 at 20:44

    Catlin, Catlin, Catlin,

    What a engorgeable feedlot of photographic bolus you might have shown us, Catlin: triumphal images from Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, US News, Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Harpers, the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angles Mirror, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and every other print publication, cover to cover, page after page, year after year, generation after generation and, as up we grew, let us not forget the corner News Stand Commemorative Special Editions, Neighborhood Movie House Newsreels and Everybody’s Television Set -endlessly engluttable and without a molecule of nutrition: this is us? You’re right of course! We are what we et. Propaganda? As the saying goes, “Every Day in Every Way.”

    • Tim Slattery
      July 5, 2019 at 11:18

      “This parade is your reflection. This parade is you.” True, sharp pith. Ms. Johnstone gives us another hard shake to wake from the American Dream.

  36. July 4, 2019 at 18:07

    Stupid is as stupid does. Is anyone surprised? If so, ask yourself why you haven’t caught on yet…

    Freedom comes from killing others.


  37. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 4, 2019 at 18:07

    Awesome piece, Caitlin!

    I remember our “ peace” president Obama proclaiming every now and then that “this is not who we are” and the Sheeple would gobbled it up every time, and put Obama on an even higher pedestal. But everyone else, who had even an ounce of grey matter in their head, knew that this is exactly what we have become. And certainly, rest of the world knew that too.

    In the end, a nation founded on genocide of natives and on the back of salves can never be an honorable nation, let alone be a great one, until it comes to terms with how thenation was built. A house built on rotten foundation cannot stand for long.

    • E Wright
      July 5, 2019 at 01:35

      Not only founded on slavery and genocide but on behalf of a small group of oligarchs who defined freedom as freedom of action for their own small group of wealthy merchants and plantation owners. It wasn’t meant to include the great unwashed.

    • Tim
      July 5, 2019 at 07:28

      Nathan Mulcahy,

      > A house built on rotten foundation cannot stand for long.

      You picked a bad example for this: in a couple of years, the U.S.A. will have existed for a quarter of a millenium; it is one of the oldest states in the world…

      • Josep
        July 6, 2019 at 06:41

        Maybe, but only because America is “shielded” by two whole oceans and its neighbors Canada and Mexico pose no threat to it. Right?

  38. SteveK9
    July 4, 2019 at 17:58

    A lot has been written about the effect of the all-volunteer Army. We all have a guilt-trip now, which is a good part of the reason for the ‘thank you for your service’. It also unfortunately dampens down any criticism of the Forever War.

  39. Conor Kingston
    July 4, 2019 at 17:45

    Simply a marvelous piece.

    Well done.

  40. mrtmbrnmn
    July 4, 2019 at 17:36

    Cheers to Caitlin Johnstone, ever an astute, sharp and clever observer of our lunatic world, who always knows the right answer to the eternal question: WTF???

    • Jessejean
      July 5, 2019 at 22:56

      Great–this is the best tribute to my Shero Caitlin that I’ve ever read! Mmmwyaaaa! ( that’s a big smooch!)

  41. July 4, 2019 at 17:16

    Caitlin, I love you. Keep doing what you do best. And thanks for making me laugh.

  42. Realist
    July 4, 2019 at 15:55

    The very first military parade I recall from my toddling years, sometime in the late 40’s, included tanks. There they were, just a hundred feet or two from our apartment building on an arterial street in Chicago, ripping up the street car tracks and leaving great ruts in the tarmac. There were parades out the gazoo for years to come on Independence Day, Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day) and Veterans’ Day (then called Armistice Day).

    The VFW, American Legion, various marching bands, the boy scouts, girl scouts, social activists, politicians and their patronage workers, and probably the Ladies Garment Workers Union marched en masse from one war monument to the next where 3 rifle-volley salutes would be fired off followed by a bugler playing taps, after which the politicians would dispense patriotic platitudes. Afterwards all the participants and hangers-on would repair to the local legion hall where eating, drinking and gambling would occupy the rest of the afternoon. They stopped featuring tanks by the time I got to march with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, but, I must say, the post-war American citizenry would really get in the spirit for these events. If you were a dissenter, the McCarthyites would give you a lynching. Certainly the House Committee on Un-American Activities would open a dossier on you.

    Attitudes changed by the time Vietnam had lingered for far too long and the country has been fractured on its militarism ever since. Actually, if a vote were taken, I’d say apathy would win hands down. Most Americans don’t really like the constant warring, but they’e not going to put their asses on the line to stop it. If Trump is trying to revive the fervent “patriotism” he remembered as a boy post-WWII, he’s barking up the wrong tree. Americans wouldn’t unite now to fight Satan’s legions out of Hell.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 4, 2019 at 21:16

      Your recollections, Realist, are a true treasure as, I am certain, many here will agree.

      Thank you, for the clarity of your keenly observant memory and the humanity and wit of you perspectives.


  43. Stuart
    July 4, 2019 at 15:54

    Stupid comments: 1) “celebration of the anniversary of their lateral transfer from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy”. That transfer didn’t happen on July 4; 2) ” a football player choosing to kneel instead of stand before that STUPID PIECE of CLOTH generates national outrage”. That “stupid piece of cloth” is a SYMBOL of the freedom and the great industrial achievements we had and most are proud of. Unfortunately, much of that has eroded, but since the majority are more concerned with surviving and are not “intellectuals” they lapse into understandable ignorance. You do not have that excuse.

    • Realist
      July 4, 2019 at 20:47

      It’s a symbol (and no more) for a LOT of things, both good and bad, intended and unintended. It stands right up there with the hammer and sickle in a lot of venues around this world. Everyone does not, nor should they be forced to interpret history according to your chapter and verse. How do you know you haven’t been fed a load? Did you witness it all personally?

      The same thing can be said of the Confederate flag, which is why so many Southerners so fervently defend it. I am not a Southerner, and I don’t tool around like the Dukes of Hazard flaunting the stars and bars, but I can listen to what they have to say about their history, culture, symbols and intentions. I don’t assume the default position that they are every last man jack of ’em just fanatical racists, full stop, end of story. Recently, statues of their civil war heroes have been torn down throughout the region to placate national activists. The locals don’t view this as an attack on their racism (which they deny) but on their regional culture and history.

      Like ’em or not, those individuals depicted in the statues and the textbooks were the makers of American history in their day. Denying their existence is like trying to deny the history. Counter it with rhetoric and narrative, if you loathe it, don’t flush it down the memory hole and pretend none of it happened.

      And here’s where the chickens are coming home to roost: now the same activists are demanding a similar extirpation from the history books and government memorials the names and visages of numerous “founding fathers” who owned slaves or led military actions against the native Americans. Jackson is coming off the twenty-dollar bill, and Jefferson’s birthday was scratched as a holiday in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. Some want to dismantle the Jefferson Memorial and diminish the role of Mount Vernon as a national historical attraction, maybe even topple the Washington Monument because the man owned slaves. Madison, Monroe, Jackson and Van Buren are other founding fathers also on hit lists to sanitize America’s history. Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Johnson and Grant were not founding fathers but were other presidents who owned slaves when that outrage was still constitutional. Must they be forever judged by 21st century standards and shamed (or shunned) in the history books, or is it enough to say they were men of their times and not always perfect.

      Another thing all these historical figures shared in common, even the non-slaveholders, was membership in the elite aristocracy of their day. They made sure to skew all the rights and privileges of citizenship to their fellow wealthy elites. Does this not disqualify them from adulation in the history books? Some later presidents were enveloped in financial scandals, some had family members who traded with the most nefarious of enemies in war time, some tried to overthrow the elected president and many others purposely lied us into wars of choice. Should our history books be given a thorough revision to comport entirely with 21st century sensibilities? Winston Smith’s duties at the Ministry of Truth might soon become an official position in the bureaucracy. The kowtowing to symbols of the times and the masses seems fraught with dangers, most notably a willful manipulation of the truth as it actually happened.

      • geeyp
        July 5, 2019 at 05:58

        Yes, Realist. Some WPA murals in San Francisco (never a huge fan of murals although these few are priceless) might come down. This is ’cause one individual was “triggered” when they saw them. Imagine that. One snowflake is triggered and we lose everything. When is this shit going to stop?

        • old geezer
          July 5, 2019 at 18:48

          there must be much more written on the subject since Alynsky. but if you read his ” rules for radicals ” the answer is never.

          if you find a first edition, they had the paperback at my library, you will see one of the entities he dedicated his book to was satan.

          but the not good saul did it in a clever way …

      • Dave P.
        July 6, 2019 at 02:57

        Realist – As always, very far-reaching and astute comments, very relevant to what is going on, this reinterpretation of American History – and of World History too. And it is always very refreshing and informative to read comments by many excellent commentators on this site.

        As I wrote before in some comments, my wife still is watching CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. It seems to me that they are trying to create a new type of American. They want to rewrite their past. And it is succeeding with many. We watch Hockey games in Winter; the singing of national anthem, this salute to the men in Uniforms defending the Freedom all over the World. And display of some marine sergeant – Hispanic or Black – in uniform with family invited to watch the game and all that. My wife sometimes sings the anthem, and waves a small flag we have at home, and celebrates diversity – especially this gay and transgender type thing.

        My wife’s father was born just before World War I on a homestead. They were still giving out these lands for homesteads during 1890’s, and her grandfather had moved there from Missouri. The grandfather’s ancestry was of Pennsylvania Dutch who had migrated there from Holland even before Ben Franklin’s time there. It seems like they want to brainwash all these things from her head. Just like they were doing it in Russia with this 1917 October Revolution – all those Bolsheviks; Lenin and his close comrades Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev (not their real names) , Sverdlov, and the rest. And now this new brand of Bolsheviks in New York , this Financial and Media Oligarchy, with their loyal servants in Media want to remake America, and the whole World. The entire history will be rewritten, and whole new type of society to be created. It is going to be rocky ride.

        • Realist
          July 6, 2019 at 06:36

          Must have been exciting times to homestead a farm back in the 19th century. My great great and great grandparents farmed up in Minnesota since before the Civil War. My great uncles continued doing so until the 1940’s. I suspect they were given Indian land.

          It should prove fairly simple to rewrite our history when most of it will be archived digitally in the future. The storage and retrieval of paper books will be considered too inconvenient compared to calling up the desired information on an LED monitor. All our history books and textbooks may become as fluid as Wikipoedia.

          It might seem like something out of Ursula Leguin’s “The Lathes of Heaven,” when you wake up the next morning and discover the entire history you thought you remembered from the day before is entirely fallacious. The most fit members of society will be those who can adapt the quickest to these changing realities. Many will go mad.

          • Dave P.
            July 7, 2019 at 02:20

            Yes. Yes. This coming new age is not some thing far-fetched or figment of hyperactive imagination, we can already see the glimpses of it. Russia of the Soviet times is going to look like an age of intellectual paradise. There was no consumerism so to speak in Soviet Union of that time, and there was plenty of time to read books, and books were available in big libraries. I worked with many professional immigrants from Russia during 1980’s and 90’s. They were well read people.

            Just like in Soviet Union, they may start locking up people who make trouble, and are not fit members of society.

    • July 5, 2019 at 07:35

      @ “That “stupid piece of cloth” is a SYMBOL of the freedom and the great industrial achievements we had and most are proud of. ”

      Spare me from your flag-waving B.S.

      I doubt that a majority is proud of the flag. The flag is a lot like the Pledge of Allegiance. You faithfully rccite it every schoolday morning, beginning before you could understand the words, and never quite come to grips with the fact that you’re uttering a loyalty oath to a symbol of an intangible being, a government:

      “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      What truly great government needs a mandatory loyalty oath to begin each toddler’s day?

      Not all of us have good experiences with the U.S. government. Take me, for example. I was a journeyman typographer with a promising career when I was plucked by the Draft Board, given a few weeks training, and shipped off to dodge bullets in Viet Nam. I associate the flag with that experience. And when that flag gets waved in my vision, when a helicopter flies overhead, when I smell roasting meat, etc., I’m reminded of the horrible things I did and I reexperience the guilt of having survived. It makes me nauseous. And I’m not alone. Here, from an email I got yesterday on the third from the Dept. of Veteran Affairs:

      “Common symptoms experienced around July 4th may include:

      * Light sensitivity to fireworks and sparklers, especially at night.
      * Strong reactions to sounds, such as fireworks and ceremonial gun and cannon fire.
      * Uneasiness or feeling on edge in crowds.
      * Feeling more jumpy or easily startled.
      * Flashbacks (feeling as if traumatic events are actually happening again), frequently in response to sounds or smells.
      * Feeling emotionally distant or cut off from family and friends during celebrations.
      * Engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, in order to push away unwanted traumatic thoughts.”


      Lots of explosions and the stench of gunpowder? Just what a combat veteran needs. If he’s sufficiently self-medicated on alcohol, he might even sing, Yankee Doodle Dandy! But watch out: ““Recent research suggests that Veterans are at a much higher risk for engaging in violent behaviors if both PTSD and Substance Use Disorders are present than if either diagnosis is present alone.” Ibid.

      Generally, I view flag-wavers as ignoramuses blinded by propaganda nearly from birth who may never experience reality. I hope you manage to break free from that sooner or later.

      • DW Bartoo
        July 5, 2019 at 12:12

        Much appreciated comment, Paul Merrell.

        Thank you for – your conscience and for speaking the truth.


      • robjira
        July 5, 2019 at 15:43

        Excellent comment as usual, Paul.

      • Anonymous
        July 5, 2019 at 18:06

        It’s not just propaganda. It’s coercion; it’s fear of harm coming to oneself as a result of non-compliance. It’s threat/risk of getting alienated and struggling as a result. If you can, take a look at how your attitudes have impacted your life, if not, try talking to others who can see it for what it is.

        Some can get away with eccentricity, but we are not all Elon Musk. This national situation is not the work of rhetoric alone.

      • old geezer
        July 5, 2019 at 18:50

        so what you are saying is diversity was never really that great ?

      • Lily
        July 6, 2019 at 06:45

        Thank you, Paul Merrel!

        Your impressive comment about the life of the war veterans is much appreciated. It should be an eye opener for the many.

        Who of these war mongerers does ever reflect about what is really at stake? They never seem even to think about the aftermath of their disgusting crimes. They neither consider the unbelievably traumatic experience of the sodiers at war nor the endless years of suffering for the ones who survive.

  44. Jacquelynn Booth
    July 4, 2019 at 15:43

    Thank you. I do propose the idea that “President Bolton” is only giving that sterile entity half-credit. I see the President Bolton Pompeo as fully in charge; this hybrid entity personifies the melding of vampires with zombies. Therefore, the question becomes whether to use a wooden stake or a shotgun. But I’m a pacifist; I’m not looking to wield either.

  45. The Real Uncle Sam
    July 4, 2019 at 15:11

    Thank you, Caitlin. May I have another?

  46. Vera Gottlieb
    July 4, 2019 at 14:32

    So what is the big deal? So a few more dollars are being wasted. Not bad for a country that is broke.

    • ElderD
      July 4, 2019 at 22:38

      Governments that print money are never “broke,” as long as people around the world want that currency. For the foreseeable future, that remains the case for the US.

      Anyway, as Caitlin points out, it’s not a big deal. It’s who we are and who we always have been.

  47. July 4, 2019 at 14:26

    No one likes us, I don’t know why
    We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
    But all around even our old friends put us down
    Lets drop the big one and see what happens

    We give them money, but are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
    They don’t respect us, so let’s surprise them
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them

    Asia’s crowded and Europe’s too old
    Africa is far too hot and Canada’s too cold
    And South America stole our name
    Let’s drop the big one
    There’ll be no one left to blame us

    We’ll save Australia
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroos
    We’ll build an all-American amusement park there
    They got surfing too!

    Boom goes London, boom Paris
    More room for you, and more room for me
    And every city, the whole world ’round
    Will just be another American town
    Oh, how peaceful it’ll be
    We’ll set everybody free
    You wear a Japanese kimono, babe
    There’ll be Italian shoes for me

    They all hate us anyhow
    So let’s drop the big one now
    Let’s drop..the..big..one..now

    “Political Science” – Randy Newman 1972

  48. Susan
    July 4, 2019 at 14:23

    Thank you Caitlin for this! I boycott this day as I do most of the absurd ‘Holidays’ by shutting my blinds and reading a good anti-capitalist book (Today the offering is Plain Radical by Robert Jensen). This Patriarchal Parade of Sociopopathy is who we have always been. The problem is that looking at out true face is akin to what the old man in Neverending Story tells Atreyu when he goes to confront the mirror: Engywook:
    Oh ! That’s what everyone thinks. But kind people find that they are cruel, brave men discover that they are really cowards. Confronted with their true selves most men run away screaming !

    James Baldwin alluded to something similar, without confronting our true face, we will never heal, never change, and ultimately self destruct.

  49. DH Fabian
    July 4, 2019 at 13:31

    THANK YOU! The sudden outburst over this particular parade created an image in my mind of clusters of puppets on strings suddenly being jerked to life by the media puppet masters. Again. Once again, we hear the shocked expressions of outrage over something that has long been the norm. Seniors recognize old Sen. Joe McCarthy as the script writer of this play, by the repetition of such inanities as “Putin bot!” A contrary critic sits back and writes, “Is this the best America can do?” Tragically, the answer is already clear.

    • K Lee
      July 5, 2019 at 08:03

      May cooler heads prevail. Putin’s recent interview with Financial Times editor offers a clear-eyed perspective on our changing global structure:

      “What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the US? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.

      Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

      You know, it seems to me that purely liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another. 

      Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked. 

      Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect. 

      They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why? 

      For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point. Please.” ~ Vladmir Putin


      He’s talking about the end of neoliberalism, the economic fascism that has gripped the world for over 40 years:

      “If you’re not willing to kill everybody who has a different idea than yourself, you cannot have Frederick Hayek’s free market. You cannot have Alan Greenspan or the Chicago School, you cannot have the economic freedom that is freedom for the rentiers and the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) sector to reduce the rest of the economy to serfdom.” ~ Michael Hudson

      Let’s get back to using fiscal policy for public purpose again, to granting nations their right to self-determination and stopping the frantic neoliberal attempt to change international norms by installing fascist dictators in order to move the world backwards to a time when “efforts to institutionalize standards of human and civil rights were seen as impingements on sovereignty, back to the days when no one gave a second thought to oppressed peoples.”


      • DW Bartoo
        July 6, 2019 at 16:23

        Much appreciated comment, K

        Putin and Hudson make a lot of sense and both communicate in plain language which encourages others to readily understand how human society has gotten to this crux point.

  50. robjira
    July 4, 2019 at 13:31

    There’s a saying in Russia:
    “Don’t blame the mirror if your face looks crooked.”

  51. Tristan
    July 4, 2019 at 13:30

    Ms. Johnstone, you’ve nailed. “America, Fuque Yeah!” That’s about it.

  52. Diana van Eyk
    July 4, 2019 at 13:24

    Your article really cheered me up this morning. Thanks.

  53. Don Bacon
    July 4, 2019 at 12:29

    It’s like, why do we have a stupid national anthem glorifying battle, with bombs bursting in air, featuring a cloth with stripes, which few can sing or even attempt to, rather than a nice peaceful national anthem like Canada has. Even I can sing that one.
    There are examples:
    America the Beautiful
    Words by Katharine Lee Bates with melody by by Samuel Ward
    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    • rosemerry
      July 4, 2019 at 16:42

      Even calling the USA “America” as if it is the whole two continents is gross conceit.

      • Josep
        July 6, 2019 at 06:55

        I know, right? What excuse did the Founding Fathers have for not coming up with an original name for their country? At least the names for Canada, Mexico and Brazil were original.
        Heck, the full name of Mexico is The United Mexican States, and its Spanish name is los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. The Spanish name for the USA is simply los Estados Unidos. At least one advantage is that Spanish has a word, estadounidense, that specifically refers to anyone of or from the USA; “United Statesian” in English doesn’t have the same ring to it.

        Side note: I can see a similar situation with Australia. The name refers to both the continent and the country. At least the continent has alternate names. But still…

        • OlyaPola
          July 6, 2019 at 19:14

          “What excuse did the Founding Fathers have for not coming up with an original name for their country?”

          The “founding fathers” were not only white slave-owning landowners, but also intellectuals with a sense of humour based in significant measure on contempt of others, informed by the Dutch, French and Scottish “enlightenment”, including the experience of post-reformation plantation colonialism in Ireland and elsewhere in the British empire.

          Hence the name was chosen by design – “United” to propogate the twin notions of unity and we-ness to obfuscate that it was theirs in perpetuity as manifest destiny, and “America” as an indication of their ambition for their settler colonialist empire as manifest destiny, slightly rebranded as the Monroe doctrine and Truman doctrine still framed in religious register, to “rectify” the spread of Roman Catholicism when opportunity presented, through leaving off the “s” in “Americas” and hence the name was original given:

          July 6, 2019 at 04:14

          “As the “founding fathers” understood “The United States of America” was never and could never be
          “United” given that it was/is an amalga of social relations to facilitate the continuation of class rule; a linear progression from “monarchy to oligarchy”– a state of continual war externally and internally in an expanding linear frame with thinning boundaries and tolerances.

          As the “founding fathers” understood it was/is based on derivatives of fiat – the beliefs of others; hence the imprecise nature of the “American constitution”, the mantra “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” and one of the uses of “In god we trust” on the paper “currency”, enhanced through various forms of coercion both actual and kinetic as deemed appropriate.

          The contempt of the “elites” for others has been widely practised in lands of salesmen and make-believe.”

    • ranney
      July 4, 2019 at 16:55

      Hey Don, did you know that poem was written by a lesbian socialist? I totally agree with you it should be our national anthem. Peter Drier has an article about the people who wrote some of our most cherished poetry and sayings. Interestingly, they were all socialists! The guy who rote the pledge of allegiance was a socialist and a minister (who was thrown out of his church for being socialist). Fascinating history that I bet few of us know.

      Thank you Caitlin for holding up the mirror for us. We really need that on a regular basis.

  54. Jeff Harrison
    July 4, 2019 at 12:15

    The United States has several serious comprehension problems.
    We don’t understand what the income gap really means to real people who can’t make ends meet on a paltry wage as we expect them to make charitable contributions out of their non-existent disposable income.
    We don’t understand the difference between how we see ourselves and how we actually are. This actually applies all over the world but it is on stark display at the border. I hear people say that Central Americans should know better than to come to the US given how cruel, heartless, and unchristian we are. My response is well, if we hadn’t broken their societies and overthrown their governments maybe they wouldn’t be so desperate to get here. We don’t seem to get that there are consequences to some of the things we do in the world and that we are responsible for those consequences.

  55. Charlotte Ruse
    July 4, 2019 at 12:11

    That was an apologist essay for Trump based on irrelevant relativism.

    • anon
      July 4, 2019 at 12:32

      A Ruse you are, without evidence or argument, unsurprisingly.

      • Punkyboy
        July 4, 2019 at 13:29

        Good one, Anon!

      • ElderD
        July 4, 2019 at 22:43

        A Ruse by any other name would would smell as . . .?

    • Ml
      July 4, 2019 at 13:47

      Incorrect assumption, Ms. Ruse. Try again.

    • Tristan
      July 4, 2019 at 13:52

      Reciprocal irrelevant response obtusely supporting Trump in reverse. Where’s my Escher?

    • July 4, 2019 at 14:15

      Many thanks for volunteering as a living specimen in support of the author’s hypothesis

    • Gene Poole
      July 5, 2019 at 03:40

      A smear, pure and simple. Aren’t you going to red-bait her too?

  56. Lianet
    July 4, 2019 at 11:58

    WOW!, this is the first time I read something from Caitlin in Consortium News, thank you, I wish all news sites would be reproducing this.

  57. Pat Fahy
    July 4, 2019 at 11:56


  58. Eddie
    July 4, 2019 at 11:53

    Ms. Johnstone is in rare form today. I especially liked her comment about the war-crazed John McCain’s corpse launched by a trebuchet into a tire fire. Honorable mention must be noted for the male Democrats trying to hide their erections during the parade of missles and long-barreled phallic symbols.

    Keep ’em coming, Caitlin. No pun intended.

    • Punkyboy
      July 4, 2019 at 13:32

      Those were my favorites, too, but I have to go w/number 1 – McCain launched into a tire fire. Send Poppy Bush, too, and some who aren’t quite dead yet (it’s hard to tell), Cheney for one, W. for another, Bolton, Pompeo, and the rest of the neocons to numerous to mention – oh, and Hillary, yeah, Hillary.

      • cjonsson1
        July 4, 2019 at 18:39

        Don’t forget to include the wicked witch of the west, Eliott Abrams, and then there is fork tongued Nikky Hailey, Netanyahu’s personal cheerleader. Jared Kushner goes in the tire fire too. Get ready for the next nuclear reaction.

      • KiwiAntz
        July 4, 2019 at 20:58

        Hey Punkyboy leave George Bush offa ya list, W was just a useful idiot lead by the nose by Chenney & Rumsfield etc? In retirement W is a half decent guy? Contrast that with your current Emperor, Dictator in Chief, the Donald J (for Jerk) Trump? W is Einstein compared to the stupidity & ignorance of the Donald? This man’s utter stupidity was on display at the G20 for all to see as this seems to be a qualification requirement for any Presidential Candidate, so I guess the blonde airhead Ivanka is a shoo in for being the next President? And Military parades, how’s Trump going to manage this because all his Tanks & Planes etc are busy elsewhere in tge World in over 80 Countries, bombing & killing the bejesus out of everyone else on the Planet! So bring on that parade to celebrate that woeful record!

  59. Craig Mouldey
    July 4, 2019 at 11:49

    The nail is hit squarely on the head with this expose.
    >No, America. That’s you. It’s been you all along. This is a sobering statement when one thinks it through. In the history of America, how many years have been spent NOT involved in some military conflict? But a handful.
    Everyone should be repulsed by this record, especially with the escalating financial wars, sanctions, threats etc as the U.S. threatens the entire planet. Instead, we have stadiums filled with adoring fans for their golden prince MAGA. They all share responsibility for the millions of civilians killed.

  60. DW Bartoo
    July 4, 2019 at 11:32

    Get them knuckles off the ground!

    Dammit, you’ll wear ’em right bad to the bone.

    Like I said, your stink bombs, lobbed about as liberally as ya like, and to yer great amusement, actually hone the thought processes and debate skills of those who respond.

    As an aside, it is likely that Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are quite as little loved as Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, and Boing-Boing.

    I know that you love stirring up folks, while disguised as an ill-mannered, knuckle-dragging, intellectually outclassed Neanderthal, old geezer, and, if that’s whut gits ya off …

    It is a bit like pushing over outhouses, it raises a stink, but the shit underneath the edifice, however gussied up and euphemized, very like the underlying failures of a martial, rapacious culture of greed and dominance … remain.

    And, ultimately, must be dealt with.

    Which is precisely what Greenfield was addressing.

    And why he advocates actual debate and not incendiary contempt.

    Satirical deflation, best exemplified by George Carlin and Jonathan Swift goes to attitude, assumption, and cultural indoctrination, and does open minds.

    Swift’s, “A Modest Proposal”, has as much relevance today as when he wrote it.

    Check it out, you may easily find it on line.

    “If ya can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance …

    Then baffle them with

    Really does NOT impress.

    Eventually, no matter how flashy, and inviting, the lure, ya won’t get any bites.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 4, 2019 at 11:41

      Owed to old geezer.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 4, 2019 at 12:18

      Let us ask a different question but one that related to your question, old geezer.)

      If men with guns lose a war, do they lose their freedom?

      Now, I ask this in reference to the Civil War.

      Did the Armed Men of the South lose their freedom?

      If so, specifically, what or which freedom, or freedoms,
      did they lose?

      When nations attack other nations that pose the attackers no actual threat, then what freedom, or freedoms, may the attacking nation be asserting, exercising, or upholding?

      Suppose, just suppose, that WE go to war, and we lose, not just sticking our tail between our legs and sulking back to the Homeland, but being invaded, say by Martians, whose planet WE invaded and tried to colonize, taking Martian resources back to the Homeland.

      Could we really blame the Martians?

      Consider that this nation has, until the last seventy years, been distant enough from other nations that their armaments could not devastate OUR real estate.

      Suppose we were to start a war that escalated to the point that nations with nuclear arsenals capable of blowing US back to the Stone Age were to join in?

      In that case OUR sweet ass would be grass and, as Janis sang, “Freedom would be just another word …”

      What if OUR men with Guns do something stupid, which has happened, numerous times.

      Is that freedom or just plain dumb?

      • DH Fabian
        July 4, 2019 at 13:52

        I question the very notion of America’s “greatness.” We don’t have the most modern, sophisticated military. It isn’t even in the same league as that of China. What we have is an exhausted militarily with weak strings tied around the planet, more like unwanted clusters of wasps invading countries around the world. The world increasingly wants this threat (us) to be eradicated. Our nuclear bombs are no bigger or stronger than those of any other country. After the longest, most costly war in this country’s history, the US has been drained out militarily and economically. We gave corporate bosses the power to govern this country since the 1980s, and they wiped us out. Meanwhile, our media worked long and hard to pit us all against each other by class, race, political ideology. Where’s the greatness?

      • Truth first
        July 4, 2019 at 14:03

        The “Armed men of the South” lost their freedom to force millions of people do what they say without compensation, for their entire lives.

        • Gene Poole
          July 5, 2019 at 03:43

          The War of Secession had little or nothing to do with slavery, and almost everything to do with domination by Northern capital.

      • Tedder Tripp
        July 4, 2019 at 14:39

        Perhaps this is why 9/11 has been such a shock, such a terror.

  61. Pablo Diablo
    July 4, 2019 at 11:29


    • July 5, 2019 at 01:09

      Chief says, “Juicy Fruit.”

  62. July 4, 2019 at 11:20

    Just watched a History channel show on the colonists fighting for independence from the British, the whole prolonged bloody business to get out of the Brits’ control, Washington and the misery of Valley Forge–quite a story it is from start to independence! But now to realize how this has morphed into consumerism and so far removed that Americans don’t realize now they need to get out from under the boot of their own power system! Revolution is needed again, but not of the type espoused by the loony lefties! Good writing, Caitlin, and this flap over Betsy Ross and the American flag shows how nuts things have become here. Erasing history is no solution.

    • Steve
      July 4, 2019 at 14:39

      But what would have happened without the war for independence? Would we be more like Canada now? On the lighter side , would we stay on the US side when we visit Niagara Falls. Although my trip to Canada was a few years back, I was surprised how much nicer Toronto was than my hometown of Philadelphia. So when we celebrate this War of Independence I have to ask “For who, for what?”

  63. DW Bartoo
    July 4, 2019 at 10:45

    Tanks, Caitlin for those photos marking erections, past.

    They bring things to proper attention, and put wee timorous cowerin’ minds at ease,

    ‘Generally speaking, both public and private, it is important to rank disconbobulation and shocked outrage according to rules of engagement, especially in a society wedded to dominance but flattered with self-serving myths of being absolutely different from everybody else, which “others” would have no problems, at all, were they simply to do exactly what we tell them to do.

    So, Trump wants TANKS, a lot.

    So what?

    We got a lot.

    More than enough.

    That’s true of most military “stuff”.

    Yes, we did, very regrettably,actually run short of bombs, back when our Peace Prize President, Obama, had gone through a period of exuberant excess, but that could happen to any guy or gal at the helm. We did drop the “Mother of all Bombs”, of course, so that, along with the “beauty” of our weapons as rhapsodized so delightfully well through a prominent pundi’s soaring praise, not to mention the annual budget “upgrades” lavished on the Military Machine must, surely, prove our collective embrace and while-hearted support for the very best, and biggest weapons money can buy.

    Quite a number of certain of those “tools” may be seen in the service of local police forces all over the land.


    What is the effin’ problem with whipping ’em out in public?

    We did not get to be the Biggest Dicks on the planet by whacking around in distant places far from the public eye ..,

    Well, okay, actually we did.

    But we have also gone whole hog public with Big displays of prowess and potency.

    Admittedly, the fookin’ Ruskies did whip the most Nazi ass, in the Good War, but that was a fluke of “location”, just dumb good luck.

    I mean think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

    We really made an impression, there.

    Sent the message Loud and Clear!


    These colors don’t run.

    Yeah, some folks bleed, even our revered and celebrated own (thank you for your service, sorry you are dead, but it was a price worth payin’, doncha know?)

    The Nazis used to say,”Germany over everyone!”

    We do not have to say, or even think anything like that, it’s just a fact.

    Well, this has been fun, but I gotta go out and splat a few humming birds that have been makin’ a racket and annoying Smedley, the butler. I’m just tryin’ to decide whether to use the twelve gauge or fire up the old flame thrower.

    Life is pretty complex, these days.

    Which is why we oughtta just blast all the bad guys right back to the Stone Age.

    Shit! There goes another one of them damn birds!

    Duty calls!

  64. July 4, 2019 at 10:28

    Thank you for holding up the mirror to show America’s grotesque face Caitlin – too bad most people in this ugly country won’t open their eyes long enough to get the full effect…

  65. Mark Stanley
    July 4, 2019 at 10:23

    When Pageantry Prevails
    Empires Fail

    • Tristan
      July 4, 2019 at 13:34

      Poignant perspective perhaps.

    • Truth first
      July 4, 2019 at 14:05

      The failure cannot come soon enough!!

  66. Bobby Kwasnik
    July 4, 2019 at 10:21

    “that stupid piece of cloth”???????? Why don’t you call Buzz Aldrin and tell him that he had a stupid piece of cloth attached to his moon suit. He would school you. Although long gone and forgotten, the six Marines that raised the flag on Mount Suribachi would have had some boots for your behind if you could have gone back in time and told them that it was just a stupid piece of cloth. For all this country’s faults, it and its flag still stand for greatness.

    • July 4, 2019 at 10:44

      Get a grip. America is one of the most corrupt countries in the world sporting one of the biggest killing machines – “greatness”? I think not…

    • Pat Fahy
      July 4, 2019 at 12:04

      That Kool-aid your drinking has been spiked, bro. Beware

      • pat fahy
        July 4, 2019 at 12:13


    • AnneR
      July 4, 2019 at 13:05

      You realize, I imagine that the Stars and Stripes is apparently based on the East India Company’s flag with only the canton altered for the stars? You know that British tea company which controlled – colonially and brutally – India’s different states and delivered tea to Boston…

      And frankly I’ve *never* understood the fetishism for flags of any sort.

      • DW Bartoo
        July 4, 2019 at 18:55

        AnneR, for an ex-Brit, you most certainly “mix it up” well, with the Yankee Doodlers.

        I wonder how many USians, both the flag-wrapped and those of flagging spirit, had any prior idea of what you just shared?

        We all were taught that ’twas Betsy Ross who stitched up the first flag,while George Washington sat, watching the banner being sewed, thirteen, five-pointed stars on a dark blue field, the canton, left, top,
        set upon thirteen stripes, seven red, six white, reflecting some symbolic relation to blood, purity, and all that noble high-sounding palaver which has since fled memory … (truly, I do not mourn its loss, merely wonder what else has ebbed away, into a memory bank still run on pigeon-holes and mind-written notes, stuck here and there, as reminders now long forgotten and a source of mystery, similar to those old library card files I once rummaged through, with delight, long before google even was dreamt of … but, I digress).

        Now, you tell us the news (“news” to me, for certain) that those self same thirteen stripes in the same red and white proportion, flapped on the a pole in the breeze, an advertising pennant of a Brit trading company with base mercantile and colonial motives?

        The only saving grace, for this nation, were this depressing history, somehow, to be widely revealed is that, owing to the attention span, the size of a preoccupied flea, most USians would forget this less than inspiring historic anomaly faster than one can say, “Bob’s yer Uncle …”

        Gore Vidal was not kidding when he dubbed the states of mindlessness, “The United States of Amnesia.”

        Despite my shocked and shaken sense of historical dislocation, of finding the primrose path of US History far different and quite a bit less well kemp than I had been primed to imagine it was, even overgrown with weeds, loose cobbles and suspect “repairs”.

        Nonetheless, I do appreciate, even welcome, the sense of freedom that this truth doth offer.

        And to think it came, not from Guys with Guns, but from a former “subject”, now citizen, a true autodidact, who scatters about gems of wisdom with disarming veracity and real, genuine class.

        I can only say, thank you, AnneR, you really made my day.

        • AnneR
          July 5, 2019 at 14:27

          Ta very much D.W Bartoo – as we of northern England say. It is the irony (assuming that the info on Wikipedia is true – and that source is not, how to say, necessarily unassailable) of the possible/likely/maybe origin that struck me. As Betsy Ross – she may have sewn it… design it? Of course, her putative designing may/might have been influenced by the EIC’s flag – from which source her cuppas likely came, till the Tea Party took place.

      • July 6, 2019 at 09:07

        Anne speaks the truth. Here’s documentation of the real story we don’t learn in elementary school:


    • Tristan
      July 4, 2019 at 13:45

      While in the bunker just behind the trenches, we grabbed our best weapons and prepared to launch our “Offensive”. God and boots deploy to stitch cloth and suture wounds of historical cocimimey. We, M’rca, the best of humankind, are but tools of our oppressive obsessive need to be World Champion, driven like mules by relentless drivers who answer to no one.

    • Truth first
      July 4, 2019 at 14:08

      You CANNOT have numerous faults and still be great. Why is that so hard to understand??

    • Jim
      July 4, 2019 at 21:15

      That was WWII and a moon shot. Clearly, you have an IQ at the far left end of the bell curve.

  67. AnneR
    July 4, 2019 at 09:26

    My many thanks Caitlin, for this article and the photos of the military parades.

    Just a short while ago NPR (or BBC World Service) spoke with Ann Wright (who also adds the occasional piece here – she’s something of a retired military person) because she was part of a protest in DC against this military parade. And Ms Wright said (not verbatim unfortunately) that holding a military parade like this was un-American. It was what the Russians, Chinese and Iranians do. Not us. (In other words – we’re not like that!!!)

    How a retired member of the armed forces can with a straight voice (not face, couldn’t see her) make this utterly inane and untruthful claim is beyond me – and that’s before I saw the photos which Caitlin kindly added to her article.

    IT IS exactly what this country is all about. No other nation state has between 800-1000 military bases around the globe (China has 1, e.g.); *no* other nation state has (illegally, criminally) invaded other countries, bombed other countries to the extent and number that the US has since WWII, certainly none of the three she mentioned, indeed Iran hasn’t invaded any other country in well over 100 years or more; *no* other state – definitely among the three she named – continues to occupy those nations it formerly invaded or defeated (the latter in WWII).

    It would be far more *honest* of this nation state if it did have such military parades on an annual basis – not that it would reduce the shrug the shoulders, it’s happening over there, who cares about the deaths and destruction we cause to “those” peoples attitude so prevalent here. Disgracefully. But it would be more honest about the military worshiping, hint at the reality of the militarization of the “forces of law and order,” the pre-eminence of the MIC in the political, financial, social and international considerations of DC.

    • anon4d2
      July 4, 2019 at 12:44

      Ann Wright was certainly not denying excessive militarism, so why quibble about “what it’s about”?
      She referred to the proper higher meaning of the US (humanitarianism and constitutional rights).
      I’m sure that she would agree with your argument.

      • AnneR
        July 4, 2019 at 13:11

        You what? “She referred to the proper higher meaning of the US (humanitarianism and constitutional rights).” What on earth connection does or ever did the USA have to “humanitarianism”? Just because those who benefit $$$$ (the MIC and politicians) from dropping bombs on other peoples, destroying their cultures, their countries, *call* what they do *humanitarian intervention” doesn’t make it so.

        Moreover – genocidal ethnic-cleansing or how the USA came to cover its territory, and slavery or how it came to be wealthy are hardly the hallmarks of a humanitarian nation.

        As for constitutional rights – so far as I can see these are ignored when and as suits the politicos. And anyway weren’t, originally, intended to include African Americans, Native Americans or women. Nor, realistically, those men without property.

        • anon4d2
          July 4, 2019 at 13:19

          Very true, Anne, but (based on her writings here) I think Ann Wright referred to the same problem, simply calling the proper purposes of the US (humanitarianism and constitutional rights, which Should be what it does) what it is “about” whereas you are saying that its war crimes are what it is “about.” I don’t think you disagree much on US historical wrongs.

          • AnneR
            July 4, 2019 at 15:34

            anon – In my probably less than humble opinion I do believe that: 1. pretending and propagating the nonsense that, for whatever ends, that this is a “good” nation, an exceptionally good one, or would be if we just followed the constitution and humanitarian ways (would that still include bombing, sanctioning other nations into compliance with our diktats? not in my book) is not merely unwarrantedly hubristic but also only helps to “permit” our doing some of the most dreadful things to other peoples around the planet; 2. we need to mind out own bloody business and look after our own country, clean up our own wrongs that we have done and continue to do to those within our borders – from Native Americans, to humanizing our prison system and the legal system overall, to African Americans, demilitarizing the police and on and on…

            For Ann Wright to point the finger at the usual trio (surprised she didn’t include NK) of those nations we are supposed to despise because they’re not “like” us I found to be very hypocritical. “They” do military parades – sotto voce: because they are the bad guys; “we” don’t ‘cos we’re the good ‘uns. As Caitlin demonstrates – we do or have done military parades, just not on the 4th (but interestingly, on inaugurations; and it’s a bi-partisan thing).

          • anon4d2
            July 6, 2019 at 20:19

            If she did “point the finger at the usual trio” (say Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, or perhaps Syria, Iran, Lebanon) as foreign monsters warranting military response then I would agree that it is improper.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      July 4, 2019 at 17:54

      Ann Wright is a very honorable person. Please read up more on her anti war and anti imperialism before you condemn her.

  68. July 4, 2019 at 09:05

    Not quite my thought on the Kim Jong-Un meeting. My line of thought, questioning more relevant, was why it took place. It was a distraction from Trump losing the trade war with China at the G20. Which was also a distraction from what is really going on in Hong Kong. How many of you know that American NGO’s are funding and supporting those protest which just happen to become violent and destructive. Playing a CIA role there.

    • AnneR
      July 4, 2019 at 13:13

      Yes – I too think that the west (US-UK) are definitely involved in the HK demonstrations/protests and with the intention of piling on the pressure on China.

    • Gene Poole
      July 5, 2019 at 03:48

      NGOs _are_ the CIA. And as the late great William Blum wrote:

      Q – Why will there never be a military coup in Washington?
      A – Because there’s no US embassy there.

  69. Tom Graf
    July 4, 2019 at 08:37

    As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.”

    So too, we cannot pull ourselves (and other nations) to pieces and have a democracy. As per usual, I am grateful to Ms. Johnstone for keeping it real, and in this case showing us the military pageantry of the more ‘revered’ of our recent presidents. So for this 4th…

    I shall not pledge allegiance to the flag
    or to the empire for which it stands.
    One global oppressor; consumed with greed;
    always dividing;
    with ‘liberty’ and ‘justice’ for sale.

    • ML
      July 4, 2019 at 13:24

      Tom Graf, think I will recite your version of The Pledge of Allegiance at my next Garden Club meeting. I gag every time we have to stand for it, refusing to put my hand over my heart. Our conservation pledge is MUCH more appropriate: “I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet Earth and promise to promote education so that we may become caretakers of our air, water, forests, land, and wildlife.”

      • Tom Graf
        July 4, 2019 at 15:05

        ML, I reflect often on the 4-H pledge we recited as children.

        “I pledge my head to clearer thinking,? my heart to greater loyalty,? my hands to larger service,? and my health to better living,? for my club, my community and my country.” And I see they have added sometime since, “and my world.”

        Thanks for sharing the Garden Club pledge.

  70. Garrett Connelly
    July 4, 2019 at 08:29

    Great writing, And the pictures of military parades in the capitol, artfully sprinkled reality spice. The only edit I would make involves Monsanto Dew and hot dogs but I’ll keep it to myself.

  71. Skip Scott
    July 4, 2019 at 07:54

    Here is one of my favorite poems by e.e. cummings. Happy Independence Day! May the average citizen’s mind find some true “Independence”.

    i sing of Olaf glad and big
    E. E. Cummings?—?1894–1962

    i sing of Olaf glad and big
    whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
    a conscientious object-or

    his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
    westpointer most succinctly bred)
    took erring Olaf soon in hand;
    but?—?though an host of overjoyed
    noncoms(first knocking on the head
    him)do through icy waters roll
    that helplessness which others stroke
    with brushes recently employed
    anent this muddy toiletbowl,
    while kindred intellects evoke
    allegiance per blunt instruments?—?
    Olaf(being to all intents
    a corpse and wanting any rag
    upon what God unto him gave)
    responds,without getting annoyed
    “I will not kiss your fucking flag”

    straightway the silver bird looked grave
    (departing hurriedly to shave)

    but?—?though all kinds of officers
    (a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
    their passive prey did kick and curse
    until for wear their clarion
    voices and boots were much the worse,
    and egged the firstclassprivates on
    his rectum wickedly to tease
    by means of skilfully applied
    bayonets roasted hot with heat?—?
    Olaf(upon what were once knees)
    does almost ceaselessly repeat
    “there is some shit I will not eat”

    our president,being of which
    assertions duly notified
    threw the yellowsonofabitch
    into a dungeon,where he died

    Christ(of His mercy infinite)
    i pray to see;and Olaf,too

    preponderatingly because
    unless statistics lie he was
    more brave than me:more blond than you.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 4, 2019 at 14:00

      Thank you for sharing that poem, Skip Scott.

      I rather suspect it is not taught in high school English classes in the U$, any more than is Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” read aloud in places of worship.


    • Tedder
      July 4, 2019 at 14:51

      I remember reading this poem in high school. It marked the beginning of my true education. Thank you!

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2019 at 13:24

      Poem sounds like a product of its time. People like that fictional character in real life are just diagnosed as ODD or whatnot and ran through the wringer nowadays – has nothing to do with bravery any more. You come out eating more shit than anyone.

      Welcome to 2019, where “there’s a pill for that” might as well be the only thing anyone ever says.

  72. OlyaPola
    July 4, 2019 at 07:53

    July 4, 2019 at 05:07

    “their lateral transfer from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy.”

    “Lateral change is qualitative change and linear change is quantitative change – a
    contributory factor to the opponents’ ideological predisposition to conflate more/better.


    Give that even “monarchs with new clothes” have ingested such notions to some degree,
    including through reliance on projection, it was possible to obfuscate processes of lateral
    change through opponents – including but not restricted to the temporary social relations
    self-designated as “The United States of America”- perceiving such as linear change.”

    Lateral change is predicated on the understanding that all components change in interaction with varying trajectories, velocities and feedbacks, where as linear change is predicated on the notion that not all components are in interaction and hence some components can change whilst others remain the same – the underpinning of notions of, ends justifying means rather than means conditioning ends, lets-move-onism, and changing to remain the same in modified form a.k.a “reform/perestroika”.

    Since the opponents’ purpose was/is to restrict change to the linear, this saturates and frames much of the opponents’ “world-view” and “strategies” and “tactics” derived therefrom in facilitation in a lateral “world”, hence their “strategies” are rendered wishes and their “tactics” hopes.

    This ideological immersion in varying assay is quite prevalent amongst opponents.

    Mr. Wilkerson is a “strategist” with some experience of testing his hypotheses, or perhaps in a more rigorous interpretation, of also having others test his hypotheses.

    Consequently his opinions are often of some significance.

    At the beginning of his exposition sourced by the link below he makes reference to demos, characterises the “US constitution” and how “democracy” has been increased by some over time, and has receded by some over time, in illustration and practice of an assay of immersion in the linear paradigm “democracy” which like the “US constitution” is left vague.

    As a linear extrapolation he then suggests that a type of “equilibrium/oscillation” through emphasis the interests of the demos can be a solution to the present systemic crisis.

    This was also the basis of the Bolshevik project, the linear frame being coercive social relations in emulation of those of the opponents, and of Mr. Gorbachev and his roadshow seeking to return to an
    Elysium which never existed.

    Any resort to conflating the linear with the lateral has consistently been shown not to be conducive to continued well-being or well, being, although such continues to have utility for those with different purpose.


    • OlyaPola
      July 6, 2019 at 04:14

      “Lateral change is predicated on the understanding that all components change in
      interaction with varying trajectories, velocities and feedbacks, where as linear change is
      predicated on the notion that not all components are in interaction and hence some
      components can change whilst others remain the same – the underpinning of notions of,
      ends justifying means rather than means conditioning ends, lets-move-onism, and
      changing to remain the same in modified form a.k.a “reform/perestroika”.

      Since the opponents’ purpose was/is to restrict change to the linear, this saturates and
      frames much of the opponents’ “world-view” and “strategies” and “tactics” derived
      therefrom in facilitation in a lateral “world”, hence their “strategies” are rendered wishes
      and their “tactics” hopes.

      This ideological immersion in varying assay is quite prevalent amongst opponents.”


      Mr. Feynman’s artist friend posited that scientists are over analytical and hence cannot fully appreciate the “beauty” of a flower.

      Mr. Feynman explained that was not the case since in addition to perceiving appearances, scientists also have perception of modulations and transcendences of organisms in lateral process, including in respect of their facilitators, trajectories and velocities.

      Mr. Feynman was eluding to the advantages of not restricting focus to appearances/symptoms through immersion in linear framing, and widening focus to include “How” informed by developing understanding of lateral processes.

      Omniscience can never be achieved and hence doubt is a potential catalyst and facilitator of the lateral process of understanding and lateral change.

      Throughout history in varying assay “elites” have understood that doubt posed an existential threat to them, and have continually been engaged in efforts to deflect/”manage” this existential threat through belief to bridge doubt to attain “comfort”, including but not restricted to religions and mantra such as “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.”

      Among the consequences of the “elites” efforts is the immersion of others in varying assay in the contemplation of “the beauty of a flower”, a deflection of efforts of others in contemplation of matters including but not restricted to question informed by some perception of lateral processes posed of a different land of make-believe “The Soviet Union”:

      1. What is “The United States of America”?

      2. How is it facilitated?

      3. Can it be reformed?

      4. Is war restricted to things that go bang?

      As the “founding fathers” understood “The United States of America” was never and could never be
      “United” given that it was/is an amalga of social relations to facilitate the continuation of class rule; a linear progression from “monarchy to oligarchy”– a state of continual war externally and internally in an expanding linear frame with thinning boundaries and tolerances.

      As the “founding fathers” understood it was/is based on derivatives of fiat – the beliefs of others; hence the imprecise nature of the “American constitution”, the mantra “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” and one of the uses of “In god we trust” on the paper “currency”, enhanced through various forms of coercion both actual and kinetic as deemed appropriate.

      The contempt of the “elites” for others has been widely practised in lands of salesmen and make-believe.

      Reform is a linear process of modulation the facilitation of which is contingent on lateral processes and at best can be a temporary delaying option with the complicity of others who use such resort by opponents as an accelerant in facilitating their purpose to transcend the opponents :

      “Since the opponents’ purpose was/is to restrict change to the linear, this saturates and
      frames much of the opponents’ “world-view” and “strategies” and “tactics” derived
      therefrom in facilitation in a lateral “world”, hence their “strategies” are rendered wishes
      and their “tactics” hopes.”

      However like Mr. Gorbachov and his roadshow the hypotheses can be tested.

      As to war being restricted to things that go bang, this belief in others has always been encouraged but not shared by the “elites”.

      War is coercion which manifests in different forms in different contexts and hence “The United States of America” has always been at war externally and internally (not restricted to axes of evil on a particular day), and was and continues to be a state of war enmazed in a frame of coercion.

      However like Mr. Gorbachov and his roadshow the hypotheses can be tested since lateral processes of transcendence were encouraged/facilitated by an increasing sum of some in the “Soviet Union” and elsewhere.


    • OlyaPola
      July 6, 2019 at 05:31

      “This ideological immersion in varying assay is quite prevalent amongst opponents.”

      “Among the consequences of the “elites” efforts is the immersion of others in varying assay in the contemplation of “the beauty of a flower””


      “Academic Buffoons are Public Enemy No. 1: The Worst Corruption of All”

      Academic buffoons including but not restricted to Mr. Aslund are useful fools to those who can render them so – this helped facilitate the ongoing lateral processes of transcendence of the “Soviet Union” by the Russian Federation, in part because opponents believed/hoped that Mr. Aslund, Mr. Sachs and others fed by the Harvard no-bid assigned contract were close to being public enemies of the Russian public capable of furthering the opponents’ purposes – a hope disappointed leading to the cancellation of the Harvard no-bid contract – and subsequent efforts to integrate Mr. Yeltsin and others including “ensuring Mr. Yeltsin’s re-election” which was rendered by others including but not restricted to Mr. Yeltin, Mr. Zhirinovsky and numerous others as a tool in facilitating the purpose of transcending the opponents.

      “Let’s make this simple. Putin saved Russia from a scale of piracy the likes of which the world has never seen.  “

      In any interactive system simple is a synonym of wrong.

      Mr. Putin does not and has never acted alone in matters of “anti-piracy” or in many others as he acknowledges and has always acknowledged himself – societies don’t work that way, although it appears that many prefer to believe that they do with a little help from their “friends the elites”.

      As to the “description/interpretation” of the “anti-piracy” effort, Mr. Butler appears to resort to belief to bridge doubt rendering himself a useful fool reliant on linear frames to describe/interpret lateral processes, thereby illustrating that the benefits of “dumbing down” do not solely accrue to those active in efforts of “dumbing down”.

      Academic buffoons can be lands of opportunity which are facilitated by not rendering them targets for assignments of enemies-of-the-peopledom and sent to the gulag.

      • ML
        July 6, 2019 at 18:19

        My, but you do go on!

    • OlyaPola
      July 6, 2019 at 07:09

      July 6, 2019 at 04:14

      “Mr. Feynman’s artist friend posited that scientists are over analytical and hence
      cannot fully appreciate the “beauty” of a flower.

      Mr. Feynman explained that was not the case since in addition to perceiving
      appearances, scientists also have perception of modulations and transcendences of
      organisms in lateral process, including in respect of their facilitators, trajectories and

      Mr. Feynman was eluding to the advantages of not restricting focus to
      appearances/symptoms through immersion in linear framing, and widening focus to
      include “How” informed by developing understanding of lateral processes.”



      where those believing themselves to be realists framed in linear space/time are afforded opportunities of iterations of bridging doubt by belief.

      • OlyaPola
        July 9, 2019 at 04:01

        “Mr. Feynman was eluding to the advantages of not restricting focus to
        appearances/symptoms through immersion in linear framing, and widening focus to
        include “How” informed by developing understanding of lateral processes.”



        where those believing themselves to be realists framed in linear space/time are afforded opportunities of iterations of bridging doubt by belief.”

        “Jingoistic Military Fetishization Is as American as Bald Eagle McNuggets”



        To paraphrase Mr. Rove:

        We are an empire
        We create our own reality to which others react
        Whilst they are reacting
        We create another reality to which they react.

        predicated on the belief that:

        You can fool some of the people all of the time
        and those are the ones you should concentrate on.

        However not all “bought/buy” a ticket for the show.

        • July 13, 2019 at 21:30

          OlyaPola ~

          Can we get the CliffNotes version of this novel or drama or textbook or compendium of everything all at once, please?

          As in concise statements. I don’t mean you any harm. Seriously. You certainly have some useful sources and things to say.

          Problem is the verbosity of it all is simply impossible to wade through in this medium. Your message is being lost in the time it takes for people to translate your posts to a user-friendly state.

          Live long and prosper.

          ~ O

          • Skip Scott
            July 14, 2019 at 06:55

            I have quit reading any OlyaPola for that very reason. However, he seems to relish his opaqueness. I think he mistakes it for a sign of intelligence.

            I have also wondered if OlyaPola is even human. It almost seems to be possibly some form of an AI experiment.

  73. Sally Snyder
    July 4, 2019 at 07:31

    Here is an interesting look at why the United States could lose its next war:


    Despite Donald Trump’s attempts to satiate his nation’s military-industrial complex through this display, it is becoming clear that America’s massive investment in its military may not be sufficient to win a war.

  74. Sam F
    July 4, 2019 at 07:24

    The extreme stupor of mass media watchers is a fine source of humor.
    But in fact they have only claims of belief, not any rational point of view.
    They watch TV to hear what they must say for job security and social acceptance.
    They are afraid of their own kind, searching for excuses for the extreme corruption of the US.
    Searching for a dream to excuse the obvious loss of democracy and humanity.
    They are lost in their dream, morally rudderless, worthless, and selfish.
    It is good to have Caitlin ridicule their folly as the cause of our plight.
    Although democracy can be restored only by the destruction of the rich.

    • Gene Poole
      July 5, 2019 at 15:02

      Not destruction of the rich, but rather recognition of the tendency of capital, as it concentrates, to empower the worst tendencies inherent in the human state. That recognition just might lead, not to the destruction of the rich – for no individual is to blame for the crimes of capital -, but to the destruction of the notion that some may be rich while at the same time others are poor.

      • Sam F
        July 6, 2019 at 09:54

        Yes, I refer to destruction of oligarchy, but that is rare in history without destruction of the rich.
        Most rich persons are very much responsible for the crimes of capital. A few are not, or are less so.
        Discussions with the upper middle class and upper class show complete absence of public duty.

  75. john wilson
    July 4, 2019 at 05:37

    Over here in the UK we don’t tend to show off our weaponry (actually we haven’t got much. Fool Gavin Williamson said when he was defense minister something to the effect that he was planning on sending a ferry with a gun mounted on it to the South China sea to keep those Chinese trouble makers in check LOL) Over here we show off the Royal family (They are a bit silly, but quite harmless) which is far better than boasting about our ability to bomb the hell out of other people’s countries. Now don’t get me wrong. I know we have a truly brutal past and we are basically absolute bastards. These days however, the only excitement we have is watching our idiot politicians call each other names and shout slogans about the EU and Russia. We even dream up the odd Skripal/novichok fiasco (obviously a complete farce and nothing to do with the Russians or anyone else. It was just drugs), so the best we can do is hang on the skirts of the US in the hope some of the war glory will rub off on us.

  76. Zhu
    July 4, 2019 at 05:19

    Dems dont want to increase or lower rents or reduce homelessness, si the y must double down on partisanship and jingoism.

  77. OlyaPola
    July 4, 2019 at 05:07

    “their lateral transfer from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy.”

    Lateral change is qualitative change and linear change is quantitative change – a contributory factor to the opponents’ ideological predisposition to conflate more/better.

    Hence the spectrum from monarchy to corporatist oligarchy is linear change within the frame of the paradigm rulers/”subjects”/objects/subjects with facility/objects with imaginary facility.

    From inception the “monarchs with new clothes” have sought to obfuscate that frame aided by notions of “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident”.

    Give that even “monarchs with new clothes” have ingested such notions to some degree, including through reliance on projection, it was possible to obfuscate processes of lateral change through opponents – including but not restricted to the temporary social relations self-designated as “The United States of America”- perceiving such as linear change.

    Although a thumbnail sketch this was a contributing condition/predisposition to facilitate the ongoing transcendence – a process of lateral change – of the “Soviet Union” by the Russian Federation with the complicity of opponents’ perception, including conflation of lateral and linear.

  78. Robert Mayer
    July 4, 2019 at 02:51

    Noted: less comments between appx 11:30 PM Ca time & (on my cel clock) 11:50 PM…

  79. Robert Mayer
    July 4, 2019 at 02:34

    Tnx Caitlin & CN4 givin’ you work!
    Re: J. McCain- though I voted against him 2 my knowlege a several year Nam POW ergo deserving of respect… unlike numerous US Presidents who thru bribery or education avoided getting shot at!
    & repeat my comment which also appears in response2 “Antiwar” article below: US exports military Murder… India exports madras cloth!
    BTW… Always comment on your stuff Caitlin & Loved “President Bolt-on” (& his dog spot)

    • Sam F
      July 4, 2019 at 07:41

      No veteran deserves respect irrespective of the war. A war resister deserves respect, for examining the cause before killing the innocent. Defending government policy without examining the issues is immoral, it is bad citizenship, and it is the reason that we have lost democracy and all of the tools to restore democracy. A living veteran of US wars since WWII, who is not opposed to war, is a dangerous fool or a traitor to the United States. They were fooled into military duty, and remain too selfish and cowardly to stand for justice. There is nothing respectable about it, and they should be publicly shamed for their cowardly murders and subversion of democracy for social and financial gain.

      • Eddie S
        July 4, 2019 at 21:35

        Good points Sam! I never could understand why we should automatically revere guys who were unlucky or indifferent enough to get drafted, or those nowadays who simplistically fell for the recruiters nonsense about ‘protecting our freedoms’, or those who did it for money (real or imagined), or those who did it simply because their father had fought in WWII, or much less some of the gung-ho types who seemed a little TOO eager to engage in armed combat because they wanted to kill people.

  80. Jahaziel Bonilla Rivera
    July 4, 2019 at 01:46

    Ditto this to all of your article………..since the inception of this “Republic” or Plutocracy, Americans have experience 16 years of “peace”….case closed.

  81. Jay
    July 4, 2019 at 00:56

    “All of these people are of course being ridiculous. There’s nothing alien or un-American about Trump’s parade at all. Jingoistic fetishization of the military is as American as a deep-fried trademark symbol.”

    Sorry Caitlin, on the 4th of July in the USA there is.

    You’ve made a largely ignorant generalization about the USA.

    If you’d bothered to check, which would have been easy, the last event like this in Washington DC was in April 1991–after Gulf War One.

    This kind of thing is really unhelpful, and is apologia for Trump and his fascistic acts.

    There IS NO tradition in the USA of big military parades on the 4th of July. Nor is there such a tradition for Easter.

    You have conflated recent ANZAC Day “celebrations” with the USA’s 4th of July.

    You’re smarter than this.

    • Dao Gen
      July 4, 2019 at 22:54

      Wrong. As Caitlin points out, it is the Dem Party which is now the party of choice for passionate young neocons, and it is the Dems who created the most fascistic and militaristic hoax in recent American history, the grotesque Russiagate McMyth, which has brought the whole world to the edge of WW3 and America to the edge of intellectual suicide. Caitlin is no apologist for Trump. If you want to see where real red-blooded American fascists hang out, please turn on your TV and watch MSNBC or CNN or scroll down the jingoistic pages of the Washington Post or the NY Times. Trump is more like the court jester for the military-industrial complex, which represents a thoroughly bipartisan cross-section of the US economy. If you don’t realize that the US has become even more militaristic and fascistic than usual since 2001, then perhaps you haven’t been following current affairs.

  82. firstpersoninfinite
    July 4, 2019 at 00:23

    A picture is worth a thousand words, Caitlin! The truth hurts, but the truth shall set us free. I would like to see a list of how many Democrats voted for the Iraq war who are now calling out the treachery of Trump’s jingoistic expression of nostalgic longing for annihilation. I’m sure most of the DNC would fit the bill. Great article!

  83. Tom Kath
    July 4, 2019 at 00:07

    Very accurate observation Caitlin. Many (most?) people are deeply ashamed when their essential identity is revealed or exposed. Australians cringe at “The Castle” or Dame Edna.The British are offended by a symbolically raised little finger tea drinking gesture. – And Americans are horrified at the spectacle of the most quintessential Yank ever seen on TV.

    The question remains, which ones are proud of this self portrait? And what would the deeply ashamed ones be proud of?

  84. old geezer
    July 3, 2019 at 23:40

    Dear Caitlin,

    precisely where does your freedom come from ? maybe a constitution? and what protects that constitution ?
    a pen ? how about in the real world ? Brave Men With Guns

    best regards,
    old geezer

    • firstpersoninfinite
      July 4, 2019 at 00:30

      If the words of that Constitution mean anything, then it needs no protection. Otherwise, a military dictatorship will suffice. If might is all that matters, then we need no written laws since they would be rendered meaningless immediately.. Time to make a choice.

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:33

        could you please let me know the directions to utopia ? it isn’t just east of havana, is it ? i sure hope it isn’t northwest of peking, the weather isn’t nearly as good as cuba.

        by the way, is that 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights still valid ? or have we evolved ? ( you know i haven’t )

        • Josep
          July 6, 2019 at 15:30

          Firstpersoninfinite did not mention any utopia. Sorry sir, but if this is the way you respond, then, suffice it to say, you may have lost the argument.
          If you have nothing useful to say, then what’s the point?

          • old geezer
            July 6, 2019 at 23:39

            a constitution that requires no protection exists in utopia.

          • Josep
            July 7, 2019 at 22:15

            @ old geezer

            And even if that were true, you’re still putting words in firstpersoninfinite’s mouth.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 4, 2019 at 01:03

      Well, old geezer, Caitlin is an Aussie, so I suppose, it’s kangaroos, boomerangs, and didgeridoos …

      It’s just War paint, or make-up, kind of puffed-up ritualized courting displays.

      Some ruffled ole pin-feathers and a Tarzan chest-thump. Spiritual Geritol fer them what need a star spangled grump,

      Tanks a lot, fer playin’ how wits are doin’

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:43

        i saved my friend dw for the finale.

        i didn’t know she was from the land of the descendants of convicts : ). Quantas is one of the greatest airlines in the world. if i don’t state the obvious where her freedom comes from, would it be too obvious ?

        here is the finale

        so far, no one directly stated where their freedom comes from. the question was concisely, explicitly stated with next to no extraneous fluff. the question was dismissed. WHY ?

        • Ml
          July 4, 2019 at 13:31

          You’re free?? You seem pretty cloistered behind your own self-made bars.

          • old geezer
            July 4, 2019 at 16:08

            yeah, and i fly too. so far i have remembered to put the landing gear down before i land. i actually worry quite a lot about that. that plane is for sale.

        • DW Bartoo
          July 4, 2019 at 13:49

          Perhaps you need to define the word?

          Do you speak of “freedom”:



          To do?

          Do you consider “freedom”;

          To mean “from”, that is an absence of oppression,
          abuse, disease, hunger, or unprovoked attack?

          To mean “of”, say expression, speech, action (so long as it does not harm others), or thought, religion, and so on.

          To mean “to do” as you please, absent any constraint, whether it poses danger for others, poses harm to the commons, say a water supply, or not?

          Is freedom a “given”.

          Or is it a question of how much you can get away with?

          Let us suppose that you were to say, “Well, “freedom” is what you exercise when you comment here.”

          You could say, “That is freedom of speech.”

          Where did it come from?

          You assert that it was Guys with Guns whose “sacrifice gave” us that freedom.

          I recall some Guys with Guns who shot and killed students at Kent State who were “exercising” that precise “freedom”?

          So, who took that “freedom” and the lives of those young people?

          Was that merely an aberration or is such “freedom” contingent on the orders given the Guys with Guns?

          If freedom may be abridged at the whim of authority, then it is obvious that authority assumes that freedom is simply whatever authority decides that it is.

          Did the Guys with Guns from the South lose the “freedom” to enslave other human beings?

          Or is that “freedom”, that power, that “tradition” not really “freedom”?

          Where DID that power, to enslave others come from?

          Do you wish to argue that “freedoms”, privileges (as Carlin called them, very correctly and properly, I consider – given that such freedom/privilege IS conditional and not extended to all, on terribly arbitrary dictates) even including the power to enslave, lynch, or murder come from the self same place?

          Certainly, the power to kill must be sanctioned by power, and “the law”, if it is policy and given to officers of the law, to soldiers, and to slave patrols.

          Actually, old geezer, your question really ought give everyone pause, ought spark a debate about what “freedom” really means and how power may respect or destroy it anytime it may arbitrarily determine to do so.

          Now, why don’t you tell the rest of where you think freedom comes from, what it means, who has it and who does not, and why it may be limited, suspended, or simply done away with, explaining who, or what, has the power (if not the “right”) to give or take freedom.

          I thank you for encouraging thought and substantive debate, old geezer.

          Your move.


    • Jahaziel Bonilla Rivera
      July 4, 2019 at 02:01

      What “freedom” the freedom for many to be homeless, without health care and an educational system that brainwashes the population to “think we are free” as opposed to being mindless consumers? By the way I am a veteran and my cousin died in Nam and my father served in Korea with the 65th Infantry Division. Trump, Bolton and company never shed an once of blood for anything in their very privileged lives…..millions of working people have gone to war to enhance the profits of the “Military Industrial Complex” which a US General and former President(Dwight D. Eisenhower) in a rare moment of honesty warned the citizens of this war like nation to be aware and vigilant about it. The ruling classes love war because it lines their pockets with huge profit margins from their stock options in the Armaments Industry. Working people die and get mentally and physically maimed by it……..

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 10:14

        are you implying that only men who have served in the military should be eligible to govern ?

        thank you for protecting my freedom. that is what i tell men in uniform, women too. i take it personal. some people are not sure what freedom means. well, writing this little comment is one of them, no ?

        fwiw, i was one of the millions in the mic. i helped out on the b-2 and a few other projects. my back defect makes me 4f, so i was told by an ex Marine physician when i was in high school. but my little brother is still in the army. anything i can do, he can do better. he enlisted after high school. he let some lead fly against the enemy. now a Lt. Col. my brother in law, Dad and Step Dad all ex Navy. swabbies ?

        have you seen the profit margins of google and facebook ? i’m not sure what zuck does for fun, but sergei and larry have some very nice boeings and gulfstreams based conveniently nearby at Moffett NAS. did you notice the plurals, for each make ? they’re all tax write offs.

        funny how no one complains about obscene profits if it’s one their favored corporations doing the profiting , eh ?

      • jmg
        July 4, 2019 at 16:40

        Jahaziel Bonilla Rivera wrote: “By the way I am a veteran and my cousin died in Nam and my father served in Korea with the 65th Infantry Division. . . . The ruling classes love war because it lines their pockets with huge profit margins from their stock options in the Armaments Industry. Working people die and get mentally and physically maimed by it……..”

        There’s a Caitlin’s impressive article on this:

        The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. – Caitlin Johnstone

    • Dr. Ip
      July 4, 2019 at 04:00

      You have obviously been sent here to stir up trouble.
      The trouble is that “Brave Men With Guns” has nothing to do with freedom, it has much more to do with authoritarianism and fascism and organized crime and intimidation and violence, which people of your ilk have either been bred to admire because male authority figures beat you into submission and you think all opposed to your way of thinking must be dealt with in the same way, or because being a bully jibes with the physical and mental inadequacies you have had to deal with in yourself all these years. You don’t have to be brave when you have a gun in your hands, you have to be brave when you don’t!

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 10:37

        dear dr.,

        the one thing you got right was my physical and mental limitations. dw bartoo is getting real bored by now when i repeat, my knuckles drag.

        may i remind you, brave men without guns have no chance. being a doctor, i presume you recall Tiananmen Square ?

        “ “ Brave Men With Guns “ has nothing to do with freedom “. may i humbly suggest, it depends on the men.

        fwiw, i got a pleasant grin at your comment about being sent here to cause trouble. made my morning. now i must report to my superiors they will need to devise a new strategy. their simpleton methods have been discovered by the clever doctor and exposed !

    • John A
      July 4, 2019 at 04:01

      Since when has the USA, the most militarized and brutal and aggressive country on the planet, ever been under threat of invasion itself? Just asking!
      And dont say the war of independence, that was before USA actually existed.

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 10:50

        some people would say there is an invasion happening now.

        good question though. may i rephrase it, please. should america be the world’s police man. maybe not … maybe not.

        since we are now effectively energy independent, so it is said, perhaps we should let who ever wants to steal the persian gulf oil go ahead and do it. my guess is it might solve a few problems. likely would create others.

        i guess it could be argued this is what will likely happen anyway. as i told the good doctor though, my knuckles drag, and my brain is starting to hurt.

      • Jimmy G
        July 5, 2019 at 11:37

        John, read some history.
        You’re sure to find 1812 and Pearl Harbor.
        Do we need an army so gigantic for defense? Of course not. Do we need atomic weapons? No.
        Is the military necessary to expand the international corporate domination? Absolutely.
        How much comfort are we (the wealthy of the world) willing to give up without a fight?

    • Maureen O’Brien O’Reilly
      July 4, 2019 at 04:39

      Dear Old Geezer,
      How, pray tell, has the freedom our constitution provides been protected by our senseless, illegal wars of choice?

      Maureen O’Brien O’Reilly

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:16

        Dear Maureen,

        i certainly understand the question. ( as much as a knuckle draggler is capable ) a lot of books have been written on the subject. in the realm of an internet comment section, i guess i could point out that two planes from an airline i previously worked for were attempted to be used as weapons to kill americans. one of the attempts was successful and took down the world trade center south tower.

        the other attempt was unsuccessful.

        they took down two buildings ( not a completely accurate statement ) , we took down two countries.

        i suppose it reminded the world what can happen when a super power gets real pissed.

        from what has happened in the mean time it would seem the attack was quite successful, American’s are turning on each other, again. i wonder if the surveillance state will mitigate the possible damage. i wonder if the surveillance state will be the beginning of the end. or maybe the middle. the ironic thing is, if nature had run it’s course with me unimpeded, i wouldn’t even be here now. why do i even give a damn ?

        Best Regards,
        Old Geezer

        • Josep
          July 6, 2019 at 20:36

          Don’t blame the mirror if your face looks crooked. I think the REAL question is, what role did America’s suicidal foreign policy play in the 9/11 attacks?

    • Dr. Ip
      July 4, 2019 at 06:31

      Just one more fer ya old geezer:
      George Carlin will school ya

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:21

        he was a genius, wasn’t he. where did all the comedians go ? ( can’t go to universities )


        this one is genius too. i’ll skip the Yuri Bezmenov.

        Happy Independence Day

    • anon4d2
      July 4, 2019 at 07:04

      What garbage, geezer. Your traitor idols have completely subverted the Constitution with money, and you still hide behind a flag to declare false patriotism. You are all cowards afraid of your own kind, and afraid of the truth.

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:24

        i repeat the question, i am sincerely interested in your opinion, where does your freedom come from ?

        • Skip Scott
          July 4, 2019 at 11:57

          None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

          Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

        • anon4d2
          July 4, 2019 at 13:02

          If you mean only that some military readiness is necessary and proper, I will concede that. But the freedoms we have left are not to be credited to the processes that corrupted US democracy, which cause our endless aggressive wars for bribes to politicians. That freedom originated with the US revolution, and has degraded steadily since then.

          There is not a single instance of an invasion attempt against the US in over two centuries. The Civil War was a dumb mistake, a complete failure of diplomacy due to failure of public debate. WWI and WWII are unlike any US wars since then; probably neither readily avoidable.

          Now our enemies are entirely produced by US aggression to get bribes from zionists and warmongers. “Brave men with guns” are needed for UN humanitarian intervention, which the US never supports. Perhaps 20% of our military might be useful as deterrent and UN humanitarian forces. Those who serve for such purposes are honorable, but not those sent abroad to kill for campaign bribes to politicians.

        • anon
          July 4, 2019 at 13:13

          You may have been attacked here because you seemed to reflexively support militarism.
          I suggest supporting necessary military readiness, acknowledging that it is now excessive.

          • old geezer
            July 6, 2019 at 11:42

            i asked the question,

            from where does your freedom derive. i proposed the practical reply.

            as has been noticed for many years, the closer you scratch at the foundational contradictions of, as lenin affectionately termed them, useful idiots, the louder they …

    • July 4, 2019 at 07:13

      If brave men with guns, killing for corporate profit makes old geezers feel proud, then there’s no hope for the rest of the propagandised masses.

      • old geezer
        July 4, 2019 at 11:25

        i repeat the question, i am sincerely interested in your opinion, where does your freedom come from ?

        • jmg
          July 4, 2019 at 16:24

          old geezer wrote: “i am sincerely interested in your opinion, where does your freedom come from ?”

          “The truth shall set you free.”
          — John 8:32


        • July 4, 2019 at 16:37

          Freedom comes from killing poor frightened brown-skinned people in far-away countries who had never threatened me or you.

        • Realist
          July 4, 2019 at 19:16

          Maybe this freedom of which you speak does not exist in physical reality. Maybe it’s just a human state of mind, a psychological construct of the brain, like the color purple or brown. Maybe you characterise the sensations your brain generates when in a state of favorable homeostasis (because you are not threatened and have the resources you need for survival–you are sated, you are safe, you are fecund, life seems good) as, among other things, “freedom.” You have what you have because you were free to act as you did, or so you tell yourself.

          Since so much of life is incessant competition with other life forms (life feeds on death and all that, it pretty much is a zero sum game), how much of your “freedom” is realised at the expense of another creature’s demise or subjugation, including fellow humans? If someone else claims or feels a “need” for your forced labor or food supply in order to thrive, are they free to take it? They may or may not be in a position to try, but I think you are looking for some principle in the way of permission to so act. (Otherwise you would simply be saying that might makes right. I assume you are not saying this, but I could be wrong.) The quest for such permission may be one reason, among many, why humans invent their gods, which are basically more human mental constructs that can never be demonstrated to exist in physical reality.

          In the end, geezer, I suspect you will act as most other humans do with respect to this issue: you will do as you please, usually what is advantageous to yourself or to the empowering cocoon of your society, and claim the god-given right or freedom to do so. Moreover, you will claim such rights and freedoms to be self-evident, like the axioms of geometry needing no proofs whatsoever. Good thing too, because there are no work-arounds in either case.

          • old geezer
            July 5, 2019 at 19:17

            a brilliant response, undoubtedly the best here, much beyond the std cliches. may i be allowed to paraphrase it.

            i am free to become a better person, to become more than i once was. i won’t impede anyone else while doing so. i might even become good enough to help others, likely the ones i love. … for a knuckle dragger thats’s about as much as can be hoped for.

            i must take exception with the zero sum game. if that were true we’d still be digging for grubs with sticks.

            as well, the fundamental argument an atheist makes is, he has no soul. some have gone quite off course with that one, the worst mass murdering psychopaths in history. all the while claiming they were doing it “for the people”.
            ironic the way that works.

            i hope you enjoyed a good independence day.

            ps i wish i could have replied to you sooner, i hope you see this reply.

        • Skip Scott
          July 5, 2019 at 07:43

          I think a correlating question could be “where does Julian Assange’s and Chelsea Manning’s lack of freedom come from?”

          “step outta line the man come and take you away” Buffalo Springfield

    • Anonymous
      July 4, 2019 at 07:57

      The largest threats to this country’s constitution come from within. Those “brave men with guns” aren’t protecting anyone from it; they’re fighting instead for those in power whom have repeatedly threatened it. Most of these people abroad you see as wanting to take over the country couldn’t care less about diminishing the freedoms of the average American – it’s our leaders that have sold our collective soul many times over in the name of things like comfort, economic progress, and sometimes just their own public image. It’s the laws passed in the last 18 years that have eroded constitutional rights on a national level, not the many people we killed as revenge and in territorial/political conquest since.

      I’m sure there are people like you in North Korea, too, that believe that the military is truly fighting for the everyman and not their Dear Leader.

    • Jeff Harrison
      July 4, 2019 at 12:49

      Well Geezer, I’ll give you credit as a clueless one hit wonder but you need a dose of reality.

      Yes, we would want a military to protect us when we are threatened. Who, precisely is threatening us? The countries that could do us damage aren’t. Indeed it is we who are threatening them. You are clearly one of those people who sit around shivering in the dark terrified of imagined fears that don’t actually exist. All of the wars we have fought since WWII have been in service of the US’s imperial pretensions, or the stupidity of the President, or both. Our wars in recent years have been about “regime change” which is best translated as the change of government in a country we don’t like and are violations of the UN charter and international law. You’ll forgive me if I laugh my ass off at your descendants from my grave when somebody foists “regime change” on the regime in Washington because what goes around DOES come around. Grow a spine, Geezer, and stop being afraid of your own shadow.

      • old geezer
        July 6, 2019 at 12:05

        america good before ww2

        america bad after ww2

        what was it that happened in between before and after. i apologize for all the mistakes we made that did not meet your standard of perfection after. there is the possibility of pulling back and doing nothing. i could be convinced to do it.

        those would be interesting times, sitting back and watching from afar. think it through. at a certain point it may become the only viable option anyway.

        you would be humored for regime change in dc … as long as you were dead.

        thank you admitting to the quintessential leftist condition.
        you are free due to the sacrifice of better men than you, as am i.

        i acknowledge their sacrifice and my freedom.

        does it eat at you ? just a little bit … put the thought away.
        go back to your smug superiority, it is much more comfortable, no ?

        • Josep
          July 6, 2019 at 15:47

          That doesn’t diminish what Mr. Harrison says. He’s got a point.

        • OlyaPola
          July 6, 2019 at 19:39

          “you are free due to the sacrifice of better men than you, as am i.

          i acknowledge their sacrifice and my freedom.”

          As even Mr. Patton recognised you don’t “win” wars by dying for “your country”, but by making your opponent die for “his”, although he failed to recognise that “winning” wars by such means facilitates recurring “wars”, which precludes “winning” as you may have observed if only dimly.

          So perhaps your assertion should be reconstituted to read

          “you are “free” due to the efforts in killing and other forms of coercion of other men than you and your complicity, as am i.

          i acknowledge their efforts in killing and other forms of coercion including my complicity in facilitating my belief in “freedom.”

          There is a Yiddish blessing which I paraphrase:

          May you be blessed with wise friends and stupid enemies, (which is also misguided, since resort to the designation “enemies” is an emotional framing limiting/undermining focus, efforts and productivity).

          So let me take this opportunity to thank you for your illustration of some of the contents in the petri-dish of the opponents’ “culture”.

          • old geezer
            July 7, 2019 at 12:50

            you claim the descendants of egyptian slaves had limits, etc. ?

            you still can’t answer a simple question.

            it is the most obvious of all leftist contradictions. from where does your freedom derive ?

            from those you despise.

          • Skip Scott
            July 7, 2019 at 13:53

            old geezer-

            Your lie is no more true today than it was 3 days ago. We are much less free here in the USA than people are in many less warmongering nations that spend their human capital on endeavors other than murdering innocents abroad for the maximization of corporate profit. Your mind is in rigor mortis. It is stuck in a cliche.

            BTW, I make my own freedom. I became free when I unlearned the very propaganda you espouse.

          • Skip Scott
            July 8, 2019 at 10:40

            old geezer-

            I hope you find this to read, since it is late in the game here. It is the story of my finding freedom.

            I spent grades 1 through 5 in a Catholic school, where the “Baltimore Catechism” was taught. If you are not familiar with it, it is brainwashing at its finest.

            My uncle used to take me to his place on the river to spend weekends when I was a kid. The stipulation from my mother was that he had to take me to mass on Sunday. Skipping mass is a “mortal” sin, meaning that if it goes unrepented you go to hell. One Saturday my uncle had a friend over and they decided to boat down to the bay Sunday morning to go fishing. Of course, that meant missing church. When I voiced my concern, my grandfather (who was also present) told me, “I don’t even know if there is a God; but if there is, I am certain that he would rather see you fishing tomorrow morning than stuck in some church.” Thus my freedom was born.

            It was not derived from good men with guns. It was derived from my grandfather teaching me how to think for myself.

            Jingoism is the basis for the military mind. It is the opposite of freedom. It is another form of the “Baltimore Catechism”. Thinking that militarism is responsible for our “freedom” is a complete crock. The masses are sheep-dipped in such propaganda, and the senseless murder of innocents around the world is the result.

    • July 4, 2019 at 16:24

      The “brave men with guns” died by the thousands in Iraq defending their country in the early 2000s from the foreign oppressor. They could not win, but they made it too costly for the invader to stay and fully seize control of Iraq.

  85. Edward Rinaldi
    July 3, 2019 at 22:42

    Dig it … hitting past comfort zones … garlanding moments when we went right into where, we the people, left the rails … loved the bombastic inflection, poet.

    • old geezer
      July 4, 2019 at 11:26

      that wasn’t a compliment, was it ? if so thank you : )

      • Skip Scott
        July 7, 2019 at 10:56

        It was not directed to you, but to the author.

        • old geezer
          July 7, 2019 at 23:30

          thank you for pointing that out.

          if the PCR story is true, i hope the judge awards the family a lot of money.
          if true, a number of people should be fired.
          members of the swat team should have quit rather than knock down doors.

          a quick search yields some more info, seems the case has been tried, if it happened in commiefornia the judge would have awarded a lot more.


          fwiw, i live in sili con valley. home of the 21st century surveillance state. i have lived here since kindergarten and i am disgusted. this instance does as well.

          • Skip Scott
            July 9, 2019 at 08:07

            The SWAT team behavior is typical US military behavior come home to roost. When you teach boys to become unthinking killing machines and then they come home, why should it be surprising that these things happen in our “land of the free”?

        • old geezer
          July 8, 2019 at 11:31


          re: to your 7/8 10:40

          you are free because your grandfather taught you to think for yourself.

          it is quite natural for anyone to question the validity of any idea. in third grade, sunnyvale ca 1968, mrs. boucher taught her third grade class that the american constitution was a living breathing document.

          quite the claim that because i have reached different conclusions i am less free ?

          the question then becomes, is diversity really a good thing. or does it not apply to ideas, just skin color ?

          • Skip Scott
            July 9, 2019 at 08:20

            You have come to a different conclusion, but you have yet to present an evidence-based, logical argument to support it, or successfully refute any counter-argument. It is not a “debate detour” to define your terms, it is the very basis of any logical argument. Perhaps you should dig a bit deeper?

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