Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Every road is a lonely street, I cry like a baby.

In this edition: Blue-eyed soul. Black hearts. Tracking the descent of American ideals. Best politicians money can buy. To-do list: avoid copyright infringement and finish on a positive note.

Cry Like a Baby

As I look back on a love so sweet
I cry like a baby
Every road is a lonely street
I cry like a baby

1968 —  Written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and performed by The Box Tops

 Cry Like A Baby Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Memphis producer/songwriter Dan Penn contacted Spooner Oldham to write a song that would follow-up The Box Top’s success with “The Letter.” Oldham was a session organist and songwriter. Sitting in a diner, frustrated by a lack of ideas, Oldham told Penn that he could “cry like a baby” and Penn got inspired. The first verse came together as they walked to the studio, and the duo birthed a demo that night. The next day Box Tops’ singer Alex Chilton heard the demo and smiled. It soon reached #2 on the charts.

The Box Tops were a “blue-eyed soul” group from Memphis. A white group with a black sound. Singer/guitarist Chilton was just 17 in 1968. Like many young bands of the time they were mistreated by managers and road promoters and this led to their disbanding in 1970. The management company continued to release material recorded by the band, and when that ran out they created a new studio band to record using the name Box Tops. In their quest for fame and fortune, the band had ceded all control to the management and record companies. Their dream was derailed by the greed of the people they felt were going to help them.

And in case you were wondering, the strangely buzzing plucked string sound is from a sitar.

Several things came up in the past week or so that has me ready to cry like a baby. Healthcare.gov’s issues are touted by everyone (Left and Right) as “Obama’s Katrina.” The only truth in the analogy is that it is very effective in reinforcing the perception that government can’t get things right–a great boost to people who want to make government small enough to drown in the tub (see Grover Norquist). SNAP benefits (food stamps) were cut in November and nobody seems to care that benefits are reduced for 22 million children and 9 million people who are elderly or disabled. The super-typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippine province of Leyte. As many as 10,000 may be dead and over 600,000 people have been displaced. At the same time, the Warsaw Climate Change Conference is barely reported. Thirty members of Greenpeace are being held in a Russian jail because they climbed an offshore drilling rig in the arctic with banners and ropes. The Executive Branch and State Department remain silent on the topic (and this reeks of cowardice). The troubling thing is that the issue of the worsening climate doesn’t make a blip on the mental radar screens of a seemingly hypnotized American people who can’t seem to get it into their heads that 150 years of dumping CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels has consequences. Media has something to do with this as instead of paying people for investigation the news is simply reported as “this side says this and that side says that” and false equivalency abounds.

Those skeptical of climate change believe that there is no problem–it’s just natural cycles or manipulation by those that would benefit from a carbon market. What they don’t realize is that the energy companies employ between 3 and 8 lobbyists per member of Congress. The oil and gas industry spends $150 million per year lobbying politicians. They have spent $260 million in campaign contributions since 2000. While 75% of that goes to Republicans the industry was also a huge contributor to the Obama campaigns. By purchasing these politicians they may well be exchanging their profits today for a livable world tomorrow. What do the oil and gas companies get for their money? Freedom from pesky regulation, $4 billion in annual tax breaks, and continued profits–about a trillion dollars over the past decade for the top companies. And they don’t even thank us while they pick our pockets. (Perhaps a sexually oriented metaphor would be more appropriate?) The tens of millions the American Petroleum Institute spends on PR provides quite a return. It makes you wonder if the truly soulless can enjoy their ill-gotten gains? Of course they can. Lie about climate science by day, count your 30 pieces of silver at night.

While the Right likes to claim that the Koch Brothers are simply baseless scapegoats of the Left (they know that Al Gore and George Soros are the REAL threats LOL) yet we find Koch Industries at the top of the lobbying lists. The Kochs spent $122 million of their oil billions on Americans for Prosperity, a tax-exempt conservative political organization JUST IN 2012. They are focused on funding more local races to put Tea Party conservatives in charge of towns and counties across the country. Their money is important to Republicans generally–they either receive it or a candidate “primaries them” bankrolled by these anti-democratic maniacs. Their money funds much anti-Obamacare advertising through support of extreme right-wing groups.

I would say that 40 years ago most Americans understood that we needed to control the pollution of air, food, and water. Now, we’ve somehow been led to the place where we will no longer fight for controls against these terrible attacks on the environment. We not only lay down for polluters but we mindlessly believe that globalization is necessary, Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable for the U.S., the military can do no wrong, and that we can trust the efforts of private sector corporations over public sector civil servants.

How did we get here? I believe that it started out with Ronald Reagan duping socially conservative Democrats and business owning Republicans into trusting his ideology that what was good for business was good for everyone. Before that, Americans had more skepticism about where to place their trust. They understood that labor and management had a pact that neither would be sacrificed for the benefit of the other. Moreover, they understood (as Henry Ford did when he doubled the wages of his employees in 1918) that the success of the worker was a way to maintain the economic ecosystem. Communities need the consumption and civic participation of workers as much as the oceans need plankton.  Companies need a stable motivated workforce or they squander energy on training and recruitment. Post-Reagan we raced to the place where in the name of globalism we have sent tens of millions of jobs overseas. Since labor is a market, we now have more workers than jobs to employ them (and few opportunities for low-skilled workers) and the result is that pay is flat or declining. High supply means low prices.

Low wages results in an elevated demand for cheap goods. Like from Wal-Mart. Except that Wal-Mart finds its low prices by forcing companies with American factories (like Rubbermaid, Levis, and Master Lock) to close their U.S. facilities and send those jobs to Asia to provide items for cheaper than the price we would be willing to pay for them. So the whole thing is a vicious, community-destroying cycle. But if you keep the masses occupied worrying that they might slip into poverty then they are unwilling to risk anything that threatens their shitty jobs and 2% raises. A debased and defeated work force is the easiest to take advantage of.

So depressing. Let’s get over it together. Have you seen this quote?

“Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.”

Hear more below.

From a Bill Moyer’s interview of Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo , “If there’s injustice in the world, those of us that have the ability to witness it and to record it, document it and tell the world what is happening have a moral responsibility to do that. Then, of course, it’s left up to those that are receiving that knowledge to make the moral choice about whether they want to stand up against the injustice or observe it.”

https://soundcloud.com/smileyandwestshow/kumi-naidoo-from-greenpeace

Knowing that such sentiments exist and that they have meaning to a large number of people is a comforting thing. Like tomato soup in Chicago in November.

More on the steps that led us into this descent next post. I will now be quoting only a verse of the songs that launch my blog posts. I wanted to collect a few things together (e-book style) and then I realized that in order to fit a fair use standard for copyrights I would have to restrict the lyrics to the relevant part. Luckily other sites have no qualms and I will link to their content as I did above.

Take care and do right.

Lefty

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Filed under Economy, History, Politics, Social Issues

Like we was lost and nobody cared…

In this edition: Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath not ripening in post-Reagan America, what’s the matter with unions, if you put yourself on a pedestal then my instinct is to knock you off. Please do the same for me.

Quotes from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

Ma Joad: I ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared….

Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain’t no good and they die out, but we keep on coming. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out, they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, cos we’re the people.

Tom Joad:  Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.

Jim Casy: I wouldn’t pray just for a man that’s dead, ’cause he’s all right. If I was to pray, I’d pray for folks that’s alive and don’t know which way to turn.

Grandpa Joad: It’s my dirt! Eh-heh! No good, but it’s – it’s mine, all mine.

My custom on this blog has been to abuse the copyrights of songwriters to introduce posts but in this entry I’ll abuse the copyright of an author and a screenwriter instead. I saved the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath on the DVR and finally got around to watching it one recent night. My wife, who HATES old movies, got interested in it and watched it with me. Not born and schooled in the U.S., she was shocked by the portrayal of the Okies and the Depression-era abuses they endured. To me, the resonance with the themes we face today were fascinating.

Steinbeck outlined his main aim saying, “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for the Great Depression and its effects.” His goal was realized by the film but by blunting Steinbeck’s razor-sharp edges of realism the film became a better method of communicating to the wider audience.  Outrage induced by the injustices endured by the dust bowl migrants renews whenever this classic is shown.

The content is quite socialist but the people involved in bringing the film to life were far from that. The director was John Ford whose life encapsulates the development of the American film industry from silents to talkies with star-building thrown in and rejection of studio controlled films in order to preserve freedom of expression. We can see from his films a strong sense of justice but not an outright rejection of capitalism. The producer was Darryl F. Zanuck. Reportedly, Zanuck was nervous about the left-wing political views of the novel. Red-baiting is both a part of the film and a part of the times it was produced in. Then, as now, when the focus shifts to the interests of the common man the response of “conservatives” is to call it socialism or communism. Zanuck sent private investigators to Oklahoma to investigate the plight of the tenant farmers and collected documentation that would help him to defend charges that he was pro-communist.

Steinbeck wrote, “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.” The metaphor is based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Which in turn was taken from the New Testament’s book Revelation, in 14:19–20 which is big on prophetic visions:

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

All this led me to the question of “Why aren’t the grapes of wrath growing heavy today?” How have we been convinced that the good of the people at the top is more important than the good of hard-working people who make all success possible?

For example:

From 1978–2011, CEO compensation grew more than 725 percent, more than the stock market and remarkably more than the annual compensation of a typical private-sector worker, which grew just 5.7 percent. As of 2011, the figure of CEO comp to average worker was 231 to 1. Just before Ronald Reagan took office, that number was 35 to 1. In many industries, especially retail, the ratio is over 1000 to 1.

Wal-Mart’s ratio is more than 600 to 1, even while they actively fight unionization, include applications for federal aid as part of their hiring packet, and fight the expansion of covered healthcare costs. The six remaining Walton family members have a fortune equal to the combined wealth of the bottom 30 percent of the American population – 100 million people. And in one year they spent nearly $8 million lobbying politicians to work against trade regulation, to reduce corporate taxation, and to degrade worker’s rights (like paid sick days). They are supporters of conservative policy thinktanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. They fulfill a mission of providing low quality, low-cost goods and admittedly, that can help low-income people. But they’ve created a situation where predatory practices do more harm than good.

It has been reported that the average Wal-Mart worker required $730 in taxpayer-funded healthcare and $1,222 in other forms of assistance, such as food stamps and subsidized housing due to low wages and miserly benefits. More here…

While such fortunes accrue to the few, 47 million Americans–or one out of seven–need food  assistance. Almost half of the hungry are children. For every food bank we had in  1980, we now have 200. At the same time, 20 people made more from their investment income in  one year than the entire 2011 food assistance  budget. That’s $73 billion, taxed at the capital gains rate. Meanwhile, President Obama couldn’t get the $1 billion per year he needed to improve childhood  nutrition in schools.

Some will argue that in a free market compensation follows value. This is not true. Money=Power=Influence and once at the top, those driven by greed and narcissism use their power and influence to stack the deck in their own favor. This is not free market capitalism, and in fact free market capitalism would demand that wages have equity externally and internally since that’s the path to the highest levels of employee performance resulting in higher levels of business success. There’s a good Harvard Review article on the topic here.

Those with influence have had great success in avoiding taxation, reducing the amount of money available to serve the other 99% of Americans. Loopholes and exemptions cost the public about  a trillion dollars a year, and under-reported income costs another $450 billion. The total is much more than the cost of our stable but always threatened Social Security program. Since the recession, Fortune 500 corporations have  cut their tax payments in half, even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years. If that were not enough, it is  estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed, with up to 40% owned by Americans.  U.S. PIRG estimates that the average taxpayer in 2012 paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. The average small business paid $3,067.

Were you aware that America has the highest death rate for newborns on their first day in the industrialized world?  According to a report published by Save the Children, an international aid group, an estimated 11,300 babies don’t make it past their first day in the United States. “This is 50 percent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined,” write the authors of the report.  America may have good healthcare, but it’s not universal and the poor and underprivileged are left out in our for-profit system. Where are the leaders to champion a cause like reducing newborn deaths? I hear crickets chirping.

A news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports:

In 2012, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.3 percent, down from 11.8 percent in 2011. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.4 million, also declined over the year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

And the benefits of unions:

$917 = Median weekly earnings in 2010 of union members.

$717 = Median weekly earnings in 2010 of non-union workers.

That’s a yearly difference in salary of $10,400 for union members vs. non-union members.

But the problems of unions are that they make products and services too expensive! Bullshit. Bullshit for two reasons.

1. The differential is reasonable.

From BLS:  In private industry, unionized electricians earned an average of $21.05 per hour, compared with $15.11 for non-union electricians. In the public sector, these figures were $18.07 and $13.51, respectively. The wage differential was greater in private industry ($5.94) than in the public sector ($4.56).

Working a normal workweek a union electrician in the private sector would make just $43,784 per year. This amount seems very reasonable for a trained person doing a quality-critical job.

2. The cost of labor represents only a portion of the cost of producing a product. Costs are generated by labor, capital costs like machinery, and raw materials costs.

Analysts at JP Morgan have written:

Let’s put the importance of labor costs in its proper perspective. It may be surprising to note that labor accounts for a relatively small 16% of total manufacturing costs in the US. This moves as high as 30% for certain sectors such as electronics and apparel, to as low as 6-7% for sectors such as Motor Vehicles, where capital costs are so much more significant. Raw materials and components are clearly the biggest drivers of input costs (emphasis mine).

So while industry fights the worker over wage gains along the lines of what unions provide this may represent a 1 or 2% uptick in pricing (25% increase of labor on 6% of the  item’s costs). More on the proportion of manufacturing that comes from labor costs here.

The term Fordism refers to Henry Ford’s system of mass manufacturing but it also includes a component that encompasses the idea that the system must afford its workers decent enough wages to buy the product that is being manufactured. Disregard for the worker seems to be the hallmark of those we entrust the strategic planning in companies to.

So these concepts have fallen out of the conversation since around 1980:

1. Around 2/3 of the economy is consumer spending and by restricting wages (caused by anti-unionism, shifting of funds to investors and top management, and outsourcing to create a labor surplus in the U.S.) the economy struggles.

2. There are people in need at the bottom of socioeconomic spectrum, there are always needs there (e.g. beggars in the Bible), their lives will not be improved by “tough love” impulses to have them raise themselves by their own bootstraps (whatever that chestnut means), and a certain amount of our prosperity must be focused on helping them and intervening on the rising generations to “mainstream” children into the productive economy.

3. The people at the top are more likely to be money-hoarders than job-creators and we need to knock them off the pedestals they’ve assigned themselves to.

4. The kind of greed and injustice that befell migrant farmers lured to the California orchards in the 1930s (for the express purpose of creating a labor surplus that would drop labor costs dramatically) still exists and maybe even thrives in our current world. There are a subset of people who will never have enough, and begrudge a fellow American wages or healthcare while they themselves develop un-spendable quantities of wealth.

LB_Rule

“But ain’t nowhere near the fella I was. Jus’ let me get out California, where I can pick me an orange when I want it. Or grapes. There’s one thing I ain’t never had enough of. Gonna get me a whole big bunch of grapes off a bush, or whatever, an’ I’m gonna squash ’em on my face an’ let ’em run offin my chin.” Quote from Grandpa Joad in Grapes of Wrath. Didn’t a Firesign Theater bit parody this?

LB_Rule

Since this is a “literary” edition, I wanted to share this gem:

In an eon came evening, to cool and to displace the sounds of daytime with whispers and croaks and sounds like rusty hinges from grass-tuft sanctuaries in woods and pastures and from lily pads a quarter of a mile away.

That single sentence paragraph comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s posthumous book We are What We Pretend to Be and is from a novella he wrote in the 1940s called Basic Training. The amazing thing is that the work was rejected by publishers and didn’t find its way into the world for 72 years.

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Filed under History, Social Issues

As the war machine keeps turning

War Pigs

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait ’til their judgement day comes

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour

Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees the war pig’s crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings

1970 Written by F. IOMMI, W. WARD, T. BUTLER, J. OSBOURNE
Performed by Black Sabbath

(Listen to it at GrooveShark.com)

Quotes suggest that Black Sabbath wasn’t all that into the anti-war movement and it’s said this song evolved from a straight witches and sorcery version called “Walpurgis” that was making record executives uneasy. Yet, it’s striking that on their second album, Paranoid, these young prototypical metal freaks hit on the major points driving the anti-war sentiment. The power structure  manufactured wars  selling them to the masses and reaping the gold and glory while the poor paid in blood, fear, and isolation. Finally, the appetite for destruction would lead only to horrible ends.

Seems like the recognition of the futility and ugliness of war was such common sentiment in the 1970s that it’s mind-boggling to see where some would take us today. After 9/11, when we allowed ourselves to be passively  led to other wars by the shock and disorientation of that terrible day, did we not once again begin to return to the common sense view of the truth about American bullying abroad?

Then why oh why are we going down this road again?

Amid the background noise bubbling up from the fear-mongering right-wing press out pops Governor Romney trying his best-est to destabilize international relations, reinforce the image of the ugly American unilaterally deciding the fate of  sovereign nations, and playing at fake deals with the Israeli Prime Minister and conservative thug, “Bibi” Netanyahu. “Oh, American people not buying the dehumanization of Palestinians to the degree that serves you, Bibi?” He talks tough with China, calls Russia “our number one geopolitical foe” and suggests that we should not be ending the Afghan occupation. The contrast between “Forward” and turning back the clock couldn’t be clearer.

Hopeless or referencing Eagles song? “Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?” No habla espanol.

————————————————————

Rick Perry was groomed by handlers to be Reaganesque and it served him well. Post-primary season he has been busy turning Texas into a Christian Taliban stronghold and on this smaller stage he’s having great success. Perry recently said America is engaged in “spiritual warfare” and that Religious Right activists who “truly are Christian warriors, Christian soldiers” need to stand up to “activist courts” and “President Obama and his cronies in Washington.” While 6 million in Texas (25% of the population) are uninsured, he vows to reject Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. That means he places the burden of caring for the uninsured on the already challenged financial back of the State’s hospitals. His administration backed a voter ID law that was struck down in late August around the same time a Federal court ruled that political maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in Texas discriminated against minority voters. He’s backed The Source for Women as the model for Texas women’s health centers but it provides only counseling, no reproductive medicine services. He is positioning a move away from Medicaid’s Women’s Health Program which would starve funding for Planned Parenthood in Texas. More here.  Perry vowed to ignore the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” plan as a “slap in the face to the rule of law.” But we use Perry mainly to reintroduce the ghost of Ronald Reagan (while maintaining real sympathy for the majority of Texans who are not as bat-shit crazy as Perry and his base of rich preachers hell-bent on Christian rule).

The GOP establishment clearly thinks that “Reaganesque” has legs. They place Reagan in a holy, exalted place–totally pedastalized by our most backward thinkers. They refer to him as Ronaldus Magnus (Magnus meaning great in Latin) and believe an overwhelming pantload of fake history. I’m sure that portraits will be showing up with halos illuminated soon.

One of Reagan’s tactics, detailed very extensively in the new Rachel Maddow book, Drift, was to ride commie bashing to the top. Red-baiting got him elected and served as the impetus for a scheme where the false suggestion that the Soviets had passed up the U.S. in arms stockpiling and weapons production would allow him to justify the expense of a massive arms buildup. He told Walter Cronkite in 1981 that Soviet leaders were “liars and thieves” and “We’re naive if we don’t remember their ideology is without God, without our idea of morality in the religious sense–their statement about morality is that nothing is immoral if it furthers their cause, which means that they can resort to lying or stealing or cheating or even murder if it furthers their cause.”  Based on the wildly false estimates of anti-commie zealots he promoted the idea that Soviet investment in military hardware exceeded the U.S.’s by $500 billion. In his 8 years in office, he doubled military expenditures while turning America from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation.

Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev said, “It is dangerous madness to try to defeat each other in the arms race and to count on victory in nuclear war…No matter what method of unleashing nuclear war he chooses, he will not attain his aims. Retributions will ensue ineluctably.” Brezhnev’s deputy (and future General Secretary) Konstantin Chernenko said, nuclear war “must not be permitted…it is criminal to look upon nuclear war as a rational, almost legitimate continuation of policy.” Another deputy (and future General Secretary), Yuri Andropov, said “any attempt to resolve the historic conflict between these systems by means of military clash would be fatal for mankind.”

Reagan’s position? “Unlike us, the Soviet Union believes that a nuclear war is possible and they believe it is winnable.” Then he doubled down by promoting the “Star Wars” missile defense which would have broken the stalemate of mutually assured destruction had it any chance of working.

Fast forward to 2012 and Romney reintroduces the Soviet threat while talking about the immoral Jihadists as the stand-in for commies. Of course, they believe in God… but it’s not the RIGHT God.

So Romney promises to boost Pentagon spending to 4% of GDP (repeating history like it was Groundhog Day and he had a shot at Andie MacDowell). Without other spending cuts, (think Medicare and Medicaid), then that would add $2 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. Budget experts are stumped on how anyone could cut taxes and increase defense spending and reduce instead of enlarge deficit and debt. But Mr. Romney seems untroubled by details.

Some contrasting views on the topic of war.

“A military option is one which would be available to the president of the United States.”

“I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies.

― Gov. Romney in an interview with CBS News.

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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
 
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“Israel does not want us to make it more difficult for them to sit down with the Palestinians. Ultimately, the Palestinians and the Israelis are going to have to agree on how they’re going to settle the differences between them. My view is this: We stand with the Israeli people. We link arms with them. If we disagree with them, like this president has time and time again, we don’t do it in public like he’s done it, we do it in private. And we let the Israeli leadership describe what they believe the right course is going forward.”

― Mitt Romney in the Yahoo’s “Your Voice Your Vote” debate in Iowa, December 2011

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It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
~Albert Camus
 
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“We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so… In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded.”
–Romney at Mishkenot Sha’anamim, a cultural center in Jerusalem.

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The chain reaction of evil–wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“No question in my view that we can put all manner of pressure on the regime that’s there, but they have to also know that a military option is one which we’d be willing to consider if they do not take action to dissuade a course towards nuclearization,” Romney said of Iran in an interview with CBS News.

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Force always attracts men of low morality.
~Albert Einstein

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“This is President Obama’s greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly… Finally, the president should have built credible threat of military action, and made it very clear that the US is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know: if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you’d like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.”
— Romney in 2011 debate on Foreign Policy in South Carolina

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Military glory–that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood–that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy…
~Abraham Lincoln

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“Let’s consider the greatest challenge facing America–and facing the entire civilized world: the threat of violent, radical Jihad. In one wing of the world of Islam, there is a conviction that all governments should be destroyed and replaced by a religious caliphate. These Jihadists will battle any form of democracy. To them, democracy is blasphemous for it says that citizens, not God shape the law. They find the idea of human equality to be offensive. They hate everything we believe about freedom just as we hate everything they believe about radical Jihad. Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play. About this, I have no doubt.”
–Mitt Romney at 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference

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It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.
~General Douglas MacArthur

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The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers.”
–Romney during  South Carolina primary debate

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All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.
~Dalai Lama

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So finally, after 2000 words, a picture to (I hope) make you smile.

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