Why would anyone celebrate the “joy” of war?

War is hell.
Unless, of course, you happen to be a global corporate peddler of rockets, drones, bombs, and all the other hellish weaponry of military conflict. In that case, war is literally “manna from hell.” So bring it on! Indeed, it seems as if Beelzebub himself is in charge these days, with US military forces enmeshed in at least 135 countries in 2015 alone. Plus, such chicken hawks as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are maniacally beating their flabby chests and screeching for even more military adventurism.
This perpetual warmongering is music to the ears of the CEOs and big investors of the war machine, for it means a windfall of perpetual profits for them. In a rare admission of their war-profiteering ethic, a group of major military contractors spoke late last year about how splendid war is. In leaked tapes of speeches at a wealthy investors conference top weapon makers exulted about the spreading horror of ISIS and escalating wars in the Middle East and Africa.
Hailing the rising conflict in Syria and Turkey, for example, a Lockheed Martin honcho enchanted the potential investors with the happy news that Lockheed’s profits would enjoy “an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that [war’s] environment and [sales] of our products in [that] theater.” Raytheon’s CEO chimed in that his corporation was upbeat because of “a significant uptick for defense solutions across the board in multiple countries in the Middle East.” And all of these masters of war celebrated the joyous news that Congress had just delivered a $607 billion dollar budget to the Pentagon – meaning more sales and more profit for war investors. “We think we did very well,” exclaimed one.
Many go to war and die, but a few go to war and thrive. So, see, it balances out.
“Weapons Makers Caught on Tape Celebrating the Financial Benefits of ISIS and Syrian War,” www.alternet.org, December 7, 2014.
“How Many Wars Is the US Really Fighting?” www.thenation.com, September 24, 2015.

Should big corporations have to pay the taxes they owe?

I would trust a pack of coyotes to guard my little herd of lambs before I’d trust a pack of corporate hucksters to “reform” America’s tax code.
Yet, Carl Icahn, a noted corporate predator, is fronting for CEOs of a small group of huge multinatonial conglomerates who’re demanding that Congress drastically slash the taxes they owe on foreign sales of their products. This “reform” would let them escape paying most of the $600 billion in taxes that US law assesses on some $2,600,000,000,000 in profits they’ve been hiding in foreign bank accounts. Three-fourths of these hidden profits belong to only 50 enormously profitable corporations.
Putting the $600 billion they owe into America’s public treasury would fund a lot of education, infrastructure repair, green energy, social services, etc. that our people desperately need. But Icahn & Co. claim that forgiving this corporate tax debt “would allow companies to reinvest… in the United States, creating thousands of jobs.” Notice that verb, “allow.” They could put this tax windfall into job-creating, US investments – but the Icahners do not want Congress to require any sort of patriotic use of the money.
Haven’t we seen this movie before? Ah, yes – it was in the 2008 Wall Street bailout. They said that if Washington rescued them, they would then invest in Main Street and in middle-class jobs. We did, they didn’t. Carl even asserts that the corporate elites are “completely justified” in leaving America if they aren’t given this tax boondoggle. After all, he says, CEOs “have a fiduciary duty to enhance value for their shareholders.”
What a self-serving crock! Shareholders are not more important or more valuable than workers, consumers, and the common good. To help stop this giveaway to corporate elites, go to www.AmericansForTaxFairness.org.
“Bring the Corporate Tax Exiles Home,” The New York Times, December 14, 2015.

The wall of campaign dishonesty

In a faraway land, a long time ago, a civilization existed that was governed through a fairly rational political system. Even conservative candidates for high office had to have a good idea or two – and be quasi-qualified.
That land was the USA. It still exists as a place, but these days, Republican candidates don’t even have to be sane – much less qualified – to run for the highest office in the land. All they need is the backing of one or more billionaires, a hot fear-button issue to exploit, and a talent for pandering without shame to the most fanatical clique of know-nothings in their party. Also, they must be able to wall themselves off from reality so that facts and truth cannot deter them.
Indeed, the GOP’s “One Great Issue” of the 2016 Campaign is: The Wall. Ted Cruz practically snarls when he declares again and again that he’ll “build a wall that works.” Marco Rubio is absolute about it – “We must secure our physical border with a wall, absolutely.” And Donnie Trump has basically built his campaign atop his fantasy of such an imperial edifice – “We’re going to do a wall,” he commands.
There are, of course, certain problems that you might expect them to address, such as the exorbitant cost of the thing, the extensive environmental damage it’ll do, and the futility of thinking that people aren’t clever enough to get around, over, under, or through any wall. But don’t hold your breath waiting for any common sense to intrude on their macho posturing.
Trump even made a TV ad depicting hordes of marauding Mexicans invading our country – proof that a huuuuuuge wall is necessary! Only… the film footage he used is not of Mexican migrants, but of Moroccans fleeing into Spain. But after all, when trying to stir up fear of foreigners, what the hell does honesty have to do with it?
“Finishing Texas-Mexico wall daunting task,” Austin American Statesman, January 2, 2016.
“Presidential candidates differ on border wall with Mexico,” Austin American Statesman, January 2, 2016.
“Donald Trump’s first TV ad shows migrants ‘at the southern border,’ but they’re actually in Morocco,” www.politifact.com, January 4, 2016.