Tom Diaz

It’s Baaaack….The New Cold War Comes to Washington

In Chicken Hawks and Other War Birds, Cronatos Hybamper, Defense Spending, Espionage, Nuclear Weapons and War, Putin, Russia, Trump, War and Rumors of War on September 3, 2017 at 7:37 pm

 

Cloud earth in space

Just when you thought the elementary school-yard back and forth was over, a New Cold War has broken out.

Cold wars are good for the military-industrial complex, the national-security-consulting-complex, and the careers of professional politicians.

However, the inconvenient thing about cold wars is that they have every potential to go hot. I was of a generation that sweated through the last Cold War and the era of Dr. Strangelove.

That thought crossed my mind as I walked past the Russian Trade mission in Washington this morning and saw that it was occupied by … United States Secret Service uniformed police officers. Poo-tee-wheet, poo-tee-wheet, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote.

So, I made a little video to commemorate the occasion.

 

Enjoy.

 

 

простите…er…I Mean, Pardon Me

In Corruption, Crime, Cronatos Hybamper, Ethics in Washington, Piracy, Political Satire, politics, Presidential Pardons, Russia, The Great Stupid, Transnational crime, Trump on July 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Goofy Trump copy

“I know what you’re getting at. Now, the plain fact is that I can’t just flat out order the FBI to drop this leak thing. They wouldn’t stop even if I asked them to. Such a request might seem an easy thing to do, but it would be the wrong thing to do. We in the White House must respect in thought, word, and deed the FBI’s independence as the first among all federal law enforcement agencies.”

Attorney General Charles-Bates nodded in agreement.

“So, instead of making such a request,” the President continued, “I am issuing a blanket pardon. White House Counsel has drawn it up and I have signed it. It provides that anyone who might have in any way been otherwise guilty of any crime related to the leaking of the Black Pearl directive is off the hook, so to speak in lay terms. There is therefore nothing left for the FBI to investigate. I am sure the Director won’t want to waste valuable time or tax dollars sniffing down a dead end.”

 

President Roger Wilson Lane

From Cronatos Hybamper –An Extraordinary Incident by Tom Diaz

I know. It’s tedious. I anticipated and wrote about virtually every hair-brained, self-serving grift the news is exploding with today. Yep, there is even a Presidential pardon scene.

The thing that amazes me and my tens of thousands…ummm…okay, score or so…of followers is how uncanny it is that I wrote Cronatos Hybamper before the preening, vacuous buffoon strutting around the White House today was even elected. And, to my credit, my fictional grifter never made it into the Oval Office. (Read the book to find out why.)

But Washington was, is, and always will be Crazy Town. So, no sooner do I write some unbelievable blather about pardons, and it appears in the news (fake, real, and in between) without missing a beat:

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

James Hohmann,“The Daily 202: Asking about a pardon for himself is a quintessentially Trumpian move,” The Washington Post, July 21, 2017.

Sail on, O Pirate Ship of State!

Pirate ship

To catch up with the innermost in-crowd:

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B01MT0JMCM&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_6tXvyb1HWXMPQ

 

 

Victory Day, День Победы–May 9th

In Russia, War and Rumors of War on May 8, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Russian Officer o2

 

May 9th is celebrated in Russia as Victory Day, the final defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and the conclusion of what Russians call The Great Patriotic War.

Putting wholly aside the political wars, cold and hot, that followed and still simmer, two things have to amaze anyone who has bothered to learn the real history of the Second World War. The first is the disparate weight that the Soviet Union carried in winning the war. The second is the shocking difference between the destruction and casualties in the West (including even “war-battered Britain”) and those of the East.

The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College posted an excellent paper on this questions, The Soviet Experience in World War Two, by J.T. Dykman. What follows are relevant excerpts:

Overview

Americans have little conception of the Soviet Union’s experience in World War II. No cities in the United States were besieged, not a single bomb was dropped by an enemy airplane on any of our 48 states, no part of our population was enslaved, starved or murdered, and not one village, town or city was completely destroyed or even heard a shot fired in anger.

About the only way we can begin to understand is through imagination. The distance between Moscow and Berlin is about the same as that separating New York City and Atlanta. Imagine twenty million people being violently killed between those two American cities in four years. The Eastern Front in the war wound like a serpent from Sevastopol on the Black Sea to Leningrad on the Baltic. Including the twists, bulges and turns of the line of battle at the height of German penetration, November 1942, the line would have stretched from Baltimore to Cheyenne, Wyoming. In place of Leningrad, can you fathom Chicago under bitter siege and constant shelling for 900 days? Is it possible for us to mentally picture thousands of dead bodies lying on the frozen streets between Lake Shore Drive and Evanston? Could we endure seeing a million people die, mostly from starvation, during the Chicago siege or begin to fathom our own citizens engaging in cannibalism for profit? At the same time of the Chicago siege think of Cincinnati becoming a battleground such as Stalingrad where not a single structure was left habitable and several hundred thousand soldiers killed each other in the process of leveling the city. Mentally switch names such as Smolensk, Karkov, Minsk, Kiev and Rostov for American cities and picture them destroyed and silenced. If such images are possible for us to even conceive, we can begin to understand why Americans refer to the conflict as World War Two, but the Russians universally refer to it as the Great Patriotic War.

The Numbers

The populations of the United States and the USSR were about the same, 130,000,000, when both nations went to war within six months of each other in 1941. To Americans, we were sending our boys to fight a foreign war that we’d never experience. To the Soviets, it was an up front and personal war of monumental savagery. America would lose slightly more than 400,000 soldiers (killed or missing) and almost no civilians during World War II and the USSR, depending on which historian you believe, would lose at least 11,000,000 soldiers (killed and missing) as well as somewhere between 7,000,000 and 20,000,000 million of its civilian population during the Great Patriotic War.

Numbers of such dimensions are hard to grasp in the abstract. This graphic from Business Insider helps understand the relative losses of the principal combatants:

this-chart-shows-the-astounding-devastation-of-world-war-ii

War is Hell.

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