The Stars & Stripes
Have Changed Their Spots 

Jim Kirwan 

Back on July 4, 1976 when Nixon's wrath was sweeping though this land I wrote something that perhaps still applies in part today:  
"The Stars and Stripes have changed their spots: now pentagrams and bars enshrine a mockery of tongues, and courage shares the darkness with the corpse of private conscience.
Where dialogue and discourse thundered; cowardice now crawls along an overcrowded floor. Where innovation and determination came to joust; the drunken stutter of imagination, now stumbles in a headlong sprawl.
Doorway's once flung so wide in confidence are now shuttered, bugged and barred, in Terror: of the hunger in the world outside.
Renegade-wolves of violence now prowl beneath our bolted windows; while we huddle ever closer to each other ­ to be with 'like-minds' ­ while we watch 'justice' sell herself on every corner in the nightmare world outside. We cringe and burrow ever deeper into our feather-beds of folly: while we mumble our whispered condemnations of the 'cancers' in our system-and yet we fail to see how much of all of life these poisons have consumed already. 
Observe this kneeling nation, clinging to our toys of plenty, while inside we cry out, in the darkness of our dying souls; for release from all responsibility-for what has come to pass. Heedlessly we view the rape of yesterday's "requirements"
just to subsidize the plunder of tomorrow's long-dead dreams. 
So many years ago when we were small, before the needles of affluence had addicted us to "more:" We flung upon the world a special kind of pride. Now arm-in-arm we go, inflated by our number-oneness with our non-existent culture, to worship in the temples we have built with perpetuated blindness. These institutions have become our monumental tribute to an omnipresent deity wherein expedience finds solace in the profit margins of the god of GNP. 
Our birthday party has arrived and here we sit: bloated, bored and shapeless. We have become a headless eagle shorn of wing, whose talons glow with swollen military budgets and dripping blood: all neatly bound by fraud that looks only to corruption for protection from the growing public wrath of outrage.  
Introverted now, in the litter of excess, our tarnished remnants struggle to attain the nothingness of 'middle-middle.' While we who were the actual targets of it all, begin to torment all our former mentors; while flinging bribes into the looking glass that cannot lie. Here we stumble in that darkness yet again, fumbling for credence in a world grown cynical and cold. Numbed by scandals too numerous to name, and drunk with gorging at what was once the public trough-we seem to seek to ask . . . "Who is the fairest nation of them all?" For answer there is only silence, punctuated by the ever-present rumors of lots more wars, that echoes back from every quarter where we looked for freedom from this folly we have built. But we are captivated by that elusive empire that no nation may possess." And because we failed to act against that traitor, Nixon's evil went on to reproduce in Ronnie's echo chamber, a yet more virulent strain of that corrupted-inner-passion, born of that phrase "to own it all!"  
Which brings us all the way to now: We say we have a nation-but that's the cruelest kind of lie. Nations are founded on common ideas and common-dreams. Ours was founded on something else entirely-and that has only just now become apparent. There were many hints along the blood-drenched path we followed, but we were not inclined to notice, just how it was, that this 'golden dream' of ours could continue to yield so many unearned benefits. Benefits that were actually paid for with other people's lives. NO ­ that was "too-negative" to ever dwell upon. Instead we spoke about all the great things that this Great Nation did for others: rather than what we had done to so many million more, in the darkness of our military and the clandestine secrecy of our real foreign policies.  
All of that was allowed to fall away with the coming of puppet-George and his bare-knuckles polices of imperial muscle and totalitarian police-state tactics both at home and abroad. Having appointed himself as the Decider for the world, all our problems here and our failures to deal with them-grew exponentially-in the wider world as well.  
How is this "nation" tied together now? We have no commonly agreed principles: we are only bound together by the avarice of our common greed as that has been expressed in our individual passion "to acquire" without regard to consequence or overuse-because we care not for sustainability, or for any other people on the planet (except for Israel).  
Israel being the one exception that makes this entire equation into an obscenity against the universe itself. Because Israel is at war with every one of her neighbors, and has always been. Just as she has always flaunted every law, insulted every convention, and crushed all opposition with a brutality that not even the Nazi's of old had ever shown.  
Yet this crazed and rabid "nation" of Israel has become our one untouchable cause-the one spirit that we will defend even at the cost of our own nationality and whatever might be left of our own 'national honor.' We physically support her every whim, just as we pay in excess, for her every folly-and despite all of Israel's crimes against the people of the United States, so clearly shown in the attack upon the USS Liberty, and the Johnson administrations efforts to cover-that-up: we continue to embrace her passion to create the Greater-State-of-Israel. This is what lies beneath the wars in the middle-east, and goes beyond the acquisitions of oil in just one country: what's at issue is the oil in all the lands of that region: along with the extermination of the entire Arab world-regardless of the cost in the lives of American troops or the bankrupting of the US treasury throughout that filthy process.   
Early morning Sunday hours, on the box, are devoted to the wishlists of the temporarily powerful. It's a time to sum up the past week's problems while looking forward to coming events. Today was no exception, yet it did bear some ugly surprises. 
For instance while nothing at all was said about the continuing failures in the wars: again having failed to note that the generals that are directing those wars are all following the orders that come from the one true and constant failure in everything that the USA has done: that would our one-and-only "Decider." Aside from that omission: all the "talk" was about the huge sums of money raised, and the varying degrees of promise for the new crop of presidential wanta-be's. The elections are now 20 months away-yet the Newspeak talking-heads still cover this as if the elections were mere days away-and that "this" holds real promise for what we must now do. Lost in the pomp and ceremony is the fact that the last election was
also supposed to have turned this country's policies around. That didn't happen then, and it looks even more doubtful now.  
The answer to this quandary lies in what the country is and is not-today. What we are is a collection of like-minded appetites, segregated into a class structure that hungers only for more, more, and yet still more. To achieve this outrage, the "nation" has been divided into herds that can variously be controlled by their own fears and needs. The point of this exercise is to create and fulfill the small armies of slaves needed, to continue to fill the coffers of the mega-rich. But at the same time this effort will also diminish the numbers of those in need of services and goods-that government once supplied (by law). It's a 'fun system' if you're one of those above the fray: It's a living hell if you're not one of those with the kinds of privileges that only money or position can insure.  
By definition this description of this country, classifies the USA as something far less than a nation-we have become only a breeding ground for new wealth and an assortment of new privileges-that are being paid for by the sweat and blood of the poor, the disenfranchised and the uneducated. There is no longer any common view of what any citizen has a right to expect in exchange for the taxes that we all must pay. In fact, the vast majority of Americans no longer have any rights at all-only obligations to a corrupt and spreading stain of criminality that the thugs refer to as the lawful government of this nation. By this definition we are nothing but slaves to Supra-capitalism run amuck, with no way out except revolt 
Other nations have a constituent population, some even still refer to their own people as citizens: Americans are no longer seen as citizens we even refer to ourselves as "consumers." We ought to skip the pleasantries and begin to call ourselves what we are ­ Wage-slaves that live in an undeclared police-state, who have no rights, except the fascist-duty to follow every order given to us by any higher authority. 
We have become a "zero-tolerance" system, in which there are no longer any shades of gray, never mind any hues or tints of color. In effect we have allowed the Masters to rule out any and all thought that might challenge any decision of the Corporate State of the USA ­ in favor of something that lives within those mega-pretensions that have nothing to do with being a part of anything like a real nation-state. 
The proof of this, this morning, came in what the Newspeak directors said regarding the 'public's new attitudes.' In their words: "the public just wants to put all the Clinton's and the Bush's behind us ­ it's time to turn the page and leave all this behind us now." Really"  
That's a fabulous idea: Except . . . what about the over one million people that we've already slaughtered, what about the crimes against humanity that we created in Gaza, in Lebanon, and potentially all that the Decider has already decided that we "must do" in Syria and Iran, if not in another three or four other nations as well? What do we tell the survivors: "Sorry about that ­ bad call ­ but we need to move on now"?  
Every single problem we currently have is directly due to our thoughtlessness as that is exhibited globally, by the Outlaws in this and other governments, BEFORE these Wars were ever begun. When the public failed to demand a full investigation of 911, immediately after that crime ­ we set the stage for everything that has followed since.  
Just as we allowed this congress to backtrack on the promise inherent in their last election; an election where both houses of the congress changed hands completely. Because this congress has not stood up to the Decider and his thugs, the Tarnished House can still get away with claiming that anyone opposed to his policies is "against the support of his troops." Everyone seems to forget that as Commander-in-Chief the Decider is responsible not only for how many troops are sent, but he must insure that they have whatever they need to do the job.  
Throughout this war, Bush has been the one that cut troop funding for housing at home, for combat-pay in country, for after-action medical services, and for longer-term support after discharge: All those cuts came from the Tarnished House-not the congress. Moreover, by consistently failing to approve the correct number of troops being requested by commanders on the ground-it was the Decider who is responsible for the continuously ineffective military actions in Iraq: along with everything that flows from that.  
Bush deserted this country during the Vietnam War, and he has deserted this country again by failing to provide the kind of military operations that could have had a completely different outcome-if he personally had not been so opposed to  
anything that didn't come out of the mouth of Donald S. Rumsfeld, who is still hiding out in the Pentagon-then maybe we would not be having this debate. Bush is guilty of the deaths of every one of those GI's that died or was seriously injured in his failed wars: primarily because he exhibited no leadership whatever-and some might say that he was in league with the enemy because his efforts on behalf of his own policies were so riven with structural failures that it actually became impossible for our forces to even begin to do what He said they were sent there to do.   
Now we should just "move-on"? No consequences, no apologies, no reparations ­ just cut and run? The Decider has used that term on the congress to blackmail them into giving him the money that he says he needs: but what about all the other appropriations that were to have accomplished the exact same things ­ what about all that? This creature is a failure in every way humanly imaginable-why should anyone give him one more cent? Why are Cheney and Bush not both facing impeachment proceedings now? What kind of an upside down world has it become, wherein those who have failed repeatedly for over four years of massive and brutal warfare-are still 'in-charge' and still calling the shots? The world has seen right though what we absolutely refuse to see: and now we are still hesitating while Cheney and all the monsters continue to push the world ever-closer to WWIII? 
It matters that this country is no longer a nation ­ but if we don't begin to act like a people with some things in common; like real justice; real consequences; and like a nation with people who have real lives; quite apart from the mega-thieves and outlaws at the highest levels of this country-then we may as well just accept whatever's coming next, because in fact "we're done!" 
Iraqi Details 'Shocking' U.S. Missteps,,-



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