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Written by Peter Van Buren
Tuesday October 6, 2015
Sustaining America’s state of post-9/11 perpetual war requires skillful manipulation of the public at home. The key tool used for this purpose is the bloodless narrative, a combination of policy, falsehoods and media manipulation that creates the impression that America’s wars have few consequences, at least for Americans.
How can the American government sustain its wars in the face of dead soldiers coming home? Why is there no outcry among the American people over these losses? The answer is the narrative of bloodless war.
The bloodless war narrative’s solution to the dead is a policy of don’t look, don’t tell.
Dick Cheney, as Secretary of Defense for George H. W. Bush, helped decide in 1991 the first Iraq War would play better if Americans did not see their fallen return home. He recalled the images of coffins from the 1989 invasion of Panama on television, transposed against the president speaking of victory, and banned media from Dover Air Force Base, where deceased American personnel would arrive from the Persian Gulf.
The ban at Dover lasted 18 years, past George Bush 2.0 and Iraq War 2.0, overturned only in 2009, well after the casualty counts dropped off. Even then, allowing cameras at Dover was left at the discretion of the families, except of course when the president needed a blood-stirring photo op. Obama took one just before ordering the surge in Afghanistan.
Death, when it is reluctantly acknowledged, must still follow the bloodless narrative as closely as possible. Death must be for a good cause, freedom if possible, “for his buddies” later when public opinion weakens.
There is no better example in recent times than the death of Pat Tillman, America’s once-walking propaganda dream. Tillman was a professional football player making a $3.6 million salary. Following 9/11, he gave that all up, and volunteered for combat. When he died in Afghanistan, the Army told his family he’d been killed by enemy fire after courageously charging up a hill to protect his fellow soldiers.
It was of course the right thing to say to support the narrative, but it was a lie.
A month later, the Pentagon notified Tillman’s family he had actually died as a result of friendly fire. The month placed the non-narrative news safely after Tillman’s memorial service and in the fog of faded media interest. Later investigations revealed the Army likely knew the death was by friendly fire within days.
The Physically Wounded
For all the trouble the dead cause to the bloodless narrative, the wounded are even messier. They still walk around, sometimes speak to journalists, and, well, do not always look bloodless.
The Honolulu side of Waikiki beach is anchored by a hotel run by the Department of Defense as a low-cost vacation destination for servicepeople. While some of the grounds are public by Hawaiian law, the hotel itself is off limits.
I used to have a government ID that let me in. Inside, who is a soldier? The buff bodies stand out against the beached whale look more popular among regular tourists. The odd-patterned tans – browned faces with pale white limbs – betray a recent trip to the Middle East.
But sometimes it is a missing limb on a 20-year-old, or a face that looks like raw bacon. Could’ve been a car wreck or a factory fire, but I doubt it. The burns sketched precisely where the helmet had, and had not, been, a map of pain.
That’s on the inside. When we as outsiders see images of the wounded, they instead follow the narrative. Brave troopers, with their state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, are shown skiing, surfing or working out. Some featured amputees even demand to return to active duty. They show off their new limbs, some decorated with decals from their favorite sports teams. They are brave and they are strong.
The inside story is again very different. A recent book by Ann Jones, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars, fills in what the narrative omits. As a summation, Jones offers the haiku of one military trauma nurse: “Amputees up to the waist. No arms. No legs. No genitals. Age 21 or 22. We cry.”
The Mentally Wounded
Military suicides have made it through the screen of bloodless narrative, but just barely, thanks to the Hollywood-ization of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Where we need clarity, we get tropes, such as the freaked-out-at-home scenes in Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Not to say those things don’t happen (they do) but to say those types of scenes are incomplete, giving enough info to arouse sympathy without actually being too alarming. As Ann Jones points out, such treatment of PTSD is “useful in raising citizen sympathy for soldiers, defusing opposition to Washington’s wars, and generally medicalizing problems that might raise inconvenient political and moral issues.”
At the same time, another non-Hollywood narrative bubbles just below the surface, that some vets are exaggerating or outright faking it. PTSD inherits all of our stigmas toward mental illness, and that dilutes the bad news.
Still, with all the attention PTSD and soldier suicides garner, one would think the military would, at minimum, have some ready statistics to help frame the problem. Oh, there are numbers, but not ones that fully strike back against the bloodless narrative.
The Department of Defense keeps statistics on suicides which occur while soldiers are deployed. The Veterans Administration (VA) tracks them at home. But since big suicide numbers run counter to the narrative, it is little surprise that it was only in 2011 that the VA announced a joint suicide database with the Pentagon, so the two bureaucracies might arrive at an accurate body count. Perhaps not unexpectedly, an Inspector General’s report stated that in 2015 the database is still a work in progress.
One way of not knowing is not to look for the answers at all. The narrative says we should be like Mafia bosses’ kids, who never ask what Daddy does for a living despite our big house and fancy cars.
When the Narrative Fails
During the year I spent in Iraq, the only deaths experienced by the Army units I was embedded with were suicides.
The death I was most familiar with was a young Private, who put his assault rifle into his mouth. No one back home saw what I saw, because they were not supposed to see: the fan spray of blood and brain on the wall, already being washed off as I arrived to look.
These things are not unspeakable, we just don’t want to talk about them, and the bloodless narrative says we don’t have to. That keeps it alive. Because when the narrative fails, the wars tend to end.
For example, in 1969, Life magazine published a famous edition consisting entirely of portraits of the Americans who died in Vietnam that week. Many subscribers canceled, but many more looked for the first time outside the narrative. The war found its end.
In another conflict, President Bill Clinton pulled American troops out of Somalia after a photo showed crowds cheering a dead American soldier dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. That image dogged American war mongering until it could be cleaned up by the bloodless narrative of Gulf War 1.0.
We are no longer likely to see those nasty pictures. The military has become more skillful at manipulating the media, even as the media has become more compliant. In the X-rated world of war, most of the media refuses to budge from family fare.
The military-media symbiosis is just one more tool that feeds the narrative. As long as Americans are convinced of the bloodlessness of perpetual war, the wars will go on.
By Coach Dave Daubenmire
October 8, 2015
They Hiss When They Speak
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." (John 8:44,45)
I am not saying that there is something special about me or that I have a unique gift that others do not have. All that I’m saying is that I cannot believe how easy it is to spot liars, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why so many are so easily fooled.
In all of my nearly 63 years of life, I don’t think lying has ever been easier to spot. It is as if all liars hiss when they speak…
What was it George Orwell said? “In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” I can’t believe the average American can’t see through the deceit.
Nearly everything the Left claims to believe is a lie. I have yet to figure out if they actually believe their lies or if they are simply passing on what their father tells them. Remember, the Devil doesn’t just tell lies…his very nature is to lie. Satan is the originator; the father of lies. He is incapable of speaking the Truth.
And that is what his children do. They lie. They act just like their daddy.
I watched the Jezebel-like leader of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, testify before Congress last week. She is a master deceiver. Lies usually aren’t bold and open, but are typically couched in the corners of an argument—hidden in the dark shadows of relativism. It is the way the Devil operates.
When he lured Eve in the garden, he subtly asked a series of questions designed to lead her away from truth. The Serpent didn’t call God a liar; he merely deceived Eve into questioning what she knew to be true. “Did God really say...?” he hissed at her. “You won’t surely die.”
Lying is most effective when it most closely resembles the Truth. Yes, a woman does have a right to choose, as the pro-aborts love to say, but it is the question that is NOT asked that makes all of the difference. Of course a woman has a right to choose, but does she have the right to choose murder?
Asking the right question is the only way to get the right answer. Does a woman have the right to kill her child? Certainly not, but the enemy is subtle. He simply changes the name “baby” to “fetus.” Negroes weren’t considered people when folks wanted to own them. Jews weren’t considered people when the Nazi’s wanted to burn them. Babies aren’t considered people when people want to abort them.
Choice is an open-ended statement. Choice, by its very definition, implies alternative options. Abortion is not “choice.” Abortion is murder.
I remember watching Bill Clinton when he uttered the famous statement, “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” That was his father speaking. He is masterful at avoiding truth by parsing words. He was the poster-child of a generation of children trained in moral-relativism in America’s Public Fool system.
Bill Clinton hisses a lot. He is an expert at hissing. His wife is as well, but her hissing seems easier to discern.
Obama is a hisser…an expert hisser. Hissing is hypnotic. It often soothes the troubled soul by justifying a deeply held aversion to sin. The Bible calls it ‘the conscience.’ An expert hisser silences the still small voice inside each of our hearts.
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If you like your Doctor, you can keep your doctor. It’s simply a blob of tissue., How does my marriage affect your marriage? What difference, at this point, does it make? If it feels good do it. Abortion is healthcare. War on women. Common core. Vaccinations are safe. Planned Parenthood performs mammograms. Graphic abortion images do not work. Islam is a religion of peace. The Pope is infallible. Jews are the most persecuted people on the earth. I was born gay. Bruce Jenner is a woman. Obama is a Christian. We can tax ourselves into prosperity. We can borrow our way out of debt. Christians should not judge. The Supreme Court makes laws. Hillary is honest. Fox News is fair and balanced. Homosexuality is normal and natural. You can’t legislate morality. If only we could get a Republican president. The economy is booming. Unemployment is down. The Rapture is about to sweep us out of here. Paper money is better than precious metals. Christians and Muslims serve the same God. Guns are responsible for the violence in America. Male on male anal sex is safer than smoking. Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry are good Catholics. People hate Obama only because he’s black. Democrats are looking out for the black man. The economy has turned the corner. Your pension is safe. Black lives matter…OJ Simpson is innocent…
The closer you get to THE TRUTH, the more you will recognize the lies.
Read your Bible. Seek Jesus. The Holy Spirit will guide you to all Truth.
We live in a time where deception has never been more prevalent. Turn off the TV. Stop listening to the lies. Clear your head. If you listen closely you can hear the hiss…
© 2015 Dave Daubenmire - All Rights Reserved
Oswald Chambers used to say, "Sanctification is allowing the perfections of the Lord Jesus to express themselves in human personality." God wants men and women in whom are married steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness and peace. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
Revival - Pastor Robert K. Teske
Tomorrow - Part 4P: The Why of Revival
Hi. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty®. Someone finally listened. I’ve been searching for the new Ronald Reagan to make America great again. I’ve argued in my past four books and hundreds of commentaries that taxes are too damn high on America’s risk-takers, job creators and business owners. I’ve pleaded for a dramatic, Reaganesque tax cut to supercharge the economy and create millions of new jobs.
I’ve been searching for a president who would reward the economic engine of America (small business) and reward the people who value work ethic, personal responsibility and rugged individualism over cradle-to-grave government dependency. That was how Reagan created the greatest economic expansion in world history — by incentivizing the only people who matter to an economy: the business owners, financial risk-takers and job creators.
By God, I think we just found our new Reagan. His name is Donald Trump, and his tax plan is Reagan squared.
Conservatives remember Reagan’s smile, his jokes, his positive attitude. They think that was the key to Reagan’s success. But what made Reagan great was simple: cutting taxes from 70 percent to 28 percent.
That reinvigorated investors and entrepreneurs and turned around the economy. That made America great again. Trump’s tax plan will do exactly the same.
In my new bestselling book “The Power of Relentless,” I give credit to Barack Obama for only one thing: He is relentless. I recommend that Republicans adopt his “never accept defeat, take no prisoners” mindset. What’s been missing from the GOP is a relentless fighter for lower taxes, for smaller government, for economic freedom, for more power to the people — a fighter who recognizes it’s not greedy to want to keep more of your own money but that the definition of “greed” is to ask government to steal it from those who earned it and redistribute it to those who didn’t.
It’s all about the taxes, stupid.
Lower taxes reward the work ethic. Lower taxes encourage the people who matter (business owners and job creators) to want to risk and invest our money, achieve, produce, and contribute. That’s what made America great and will make America great again.
By keeping taxes low, Reagan fought for capitalism, for small business, for taxpayers, for working Americans. The result was spectacular success. Reagan turned the misery, malaise, decline, depression and disaster of the Jimmy Carter years into the greatest economic expansion in world history. Reagan exploded the economy; $30 trillion in goods and services were created. Net assets like stocks and real estate went up by $5 trillion — an increase of 50 percent.
Reagan’s low taxes produced an era of prosperity unlike anything in history. Reagan’s low tax policies created nearly 20 million jobs in a short span, increasing U.S. employment by a remarkable 20 percent. In one year alone, the GDP increased by 6.8 percent — the largest increase in 50 years. In only seven years, the economy grew by a staggering one-third. The economic boom lasted 92 consecutive months — the longest peacetime boom in world history. It shattered the previous record of 58 months by almost 60 percent.
Trump’s new tax plan is Reaganesque. It’s a blast from the past. Like Reagan, Trump is relentlessly on the side of the makers, not the takers. Trump’s plan is great for the people who want to work and pay taxes. Trump will produce a new era of Reagan prosperity by rewarding the financial risk creators and job creators.
Finally, someone on our side is relentless.
Reagan’s tax plan was simple, lower, fairer, flatter, with rates of 15 percent and 28 percent. That did the trick. That unleashed an economic tsunami. That’s all Reagan did: cut taxes and regulations. Reagan’s deregulation saved consumers $100 billion per year in lower prices.
Obama is bankrupting us with higher prices. Hint, hint, Donald: Please give us a plan for dramatically cutting Obama’s regulations next.
Trump’s plan is just like Reagan’s: simple, lower, fairer and flatter. The four rates are zero, 15 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent — almost identical to Reagan’s, except the top rate is even lower! Brilliant.
But Trump has gone one step further. He’s cut the tax rate to zero for couples earning $50,000 or less. If your tax rate is zero and you get to keep everything you earn under Trump, millions of Americans will choose to work, get off the government dole and become productive members of society. Why stay home and collect welfare if you can go to work and keep everything you make? If the playing field is evened, most self-respecting Americans with pride and work ethic will choose to work. Brilliant.
Trump eliminates the marriage penalty, rewarding marriage and family. Bravo. His plan also eliminates the dreaded ATM (Alternative Minimum Tax) that has ripped off middle class American taxpayers. And Trump’s tax plan eliminates the estate tax, so anyone who has worked their whole life to build something and already paid their fair share of taxes on it can leave it to their children and grandchildren without the greedy government stealing it.
Trump also listens. In all my books, commentaries and personal correspondence with Trump, I’ve stressed the importance of a flat tax combined with keeping tax deductions for mortgage and charity. Nothing is more important to America, your family or your neighborhood stability than your home and your church. Trump kept those deductions 100 percent intact. Bravo.
But here’s where Trump trumps Reagan. Trump cuts corporate tax rates to a flat 15 percent and incentivizes U.S. companies to bring their $2 trillion parked offshore back to America with a 10 percent rate. Suddenly, America will go from the worst corporate tax rate in the world to the best. Trump’s plan will create reverse inversions. Every company in the world will want to relocate here in America! This is how you create millions of jobs.
Is Trump’s plan perfect? No. But it’s damn good. It’s close to perfect. If I could have my way, I’d replicate the exact tax system of Hong Kong, the most prosperous place on Earth, where individual taxpayers get the same 15 percent tax rate as corporations.
And instead of eliminating the estate tax, I’d have chosen to dramatically cut capital gains taxes. Hong Kong’s capital gains tax is zero. Guess what the capital gains tax rate is in China (our No. 1 economic competitor)? Zero.
Why is this important? Because average Americans don’t pay estate taxes, so they don’t care. But everyone will sell a home, sell a stock or sell a small business in his lifetime. Cutting those taxes is the greatest thing you can do for anyone who ever risks a dime on any business or investment. So that’s how I’d tweak Trump’s plan.
But never let the “perfect” get in the way of the good. Trump’s plan is damn good. It is damn Reaganesque. Trump’s plan is relentless. But this time, it’s relentless for the people who work, achieve, produce and contribute.
Trump’s plan will truly make America great again! Bravo, Donald.
I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty®. See you next week. God bless America.
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