My Sincere Apologies

Posted on September 16th, 2016 in General by Robert Miller

I know that you have received too many MillerCircle articles recently and I sincerely apologize for my mistake. It happened innocently enough, as I tried to send out my latest missive, I noticed that my usual efficiency was interrupted by an error but at first I didn’t know what the problem was. Time and again I clicked on the Publish, followed by the Update button, but each time I couldn’t see my own published file where in should normally be and then I discovered my problem, but by then I had sent out many copies of the same posting. The problem I discovered was the I had made the images too large, and because of that the published ms was lying far below where I could read it. So I made the images smaller and Voila it appeared in all its original splendor. Let’s chalk it up to a senior moment on the part of RFM. I can live with that. In the meantime I want to apologize for cluttering up your inbox.

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What might have been

Posted on September 15th, 2016 in American Hegemony,Books,Capitalism,Climage Change,Economy,Education,War by Robert Miller
Children with gas masks 1941 in Great Britain

Fig 1  Children with gas masks 1941 in Great Britain

This is the story of what might have been, had FDR stayed alive to finish his fourth term as the President of the United States, he died just as his fourth term was beginning on April 12, 1945. This story begins in the more modern days of Global Climate Change and “Black Lives Matter.” Had FDR been around to finish his fourth term, things might have gone very differently: we might have avoided the Cold War. Let me say at the outset that I regard the Cold War as the most senseless, the most costly, the most wasteful thing that was ever perpetrated on the human soul. In addition to its cost [we are spending more than a trillion dollars every year] part of which is to support our nuclear capability. Now, Obama has recently announced that we will spend a trillion dollars to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal; creating in the process much smaller ‘bombs,’ the use for which has not yet been specified. Where is the logic in this? We should be putting all of our energy into getting rid of the Nukes, so at least some us can get some sleep. So far this news has not been contested by the American public, who will have to pay for this enhancement, while our roads and bridges continue to erode. We will miss the opportunity to invest in education and training to help advance our students and prepare them for better lives. We are still living with the dangerous aftermath of the nuclear arms race and n0 one knows if or when we will successfully mitigate the danger that these threats pose. World-wide I count the total number of lethal warheads at 15,493; the United States (7100), Russian Federation (formerly the Soviet Union, 7300), France (300), India (110), Great Britain (210), China (210), Israel (80), Pakistan (120), North Korea (8); [See Fig 2]

The number of Nukes still threatening the stability of our planet; based on national distribution

Fig 2. The number of Nukes still threatening the stability of our planet; based on national distribution

all of these nations have placed our civilization in a perilous future, one that has no guarantee that we will emerge from this nightmare with our bodies intact rather than be instantly  vaporized.   Should a single one of these be fired accidently or not, the whole array of these missiles might go off in some horrified, modified synchrony and in doing so eliminate all human life on this planet; perhaps we will go back to a state where only bacteria will survive and we will restart the life’s cycle all over again. Conceivably we might already have done this and we are currently enjoying life the second time around like Bill Murray’s rendition of Groundhog day.

The reader might ask, quite sensibly, why the author of this posting would wander back and revive interest in a President that has been dead for more than seventy years. But that is when the Cold War started and we have a special responsibility, because most of the blame for starting the Cold War falls on our shoulders:  we have to face the fact that We Started The Cold War.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning

These are the words Churchill used when the Battle of Britain was safely concluded in November 1942 at which time Pearl Harbor had already taken place, so the Americans were in the war, alongside Great Britain. Although it didn’t seem so at the time, it proved to be prophetic projection to the end of WW II; even though there would be many more years of bloodshed and the final blow of WW II would not be struck by the British, or the French, or the Americans, but it would be the Russians, who, against all odds defeated the vaunted sixth German army at the battle of Stalingrad; from that moment on it would be the Red Army, including the tank battle of Kursk that further destroyed the German army’s capacity to make war, and allowed the Russians to march right into Berlin, though they would pay an enormous price along the way: the final tally was 27 million Russians dead [mostly civilians, I recently heard a professor of Russian history proclaim that the death toll for the Russians in WW II could be as high as 40 million]. I mention this because far to few Americans are aware of the fact that Russia won WW II. Hitler send upwards of 200 divisions into the war against the Russians, but the most the allies faced was 10-15 divisions in the wars in Africa and Sicily; event in Sicily was a bloodbath for the Americans and British.

What I really want to talk about

I will come back to WW II later, but first I want to paint the full panoply of the collective threats we face today.

It seems to me and to many others I know, that the world is on fire, not just because of our many failures related to war on “terror,” and there are many of these, but also plaguing us is the incomplete recovery from the Great Recession, that has introduced all of us to the deficiencies of globalization, which concentrates too much wealth into the hands of those that don’t need it and don’t spend it appropriately. The most recent data, released very recently suggests that improvements in median income rose 5.2 % in 2015, but we will need to see a steady progress of these years, before we get too excited.

This is one reason that Donald J. Trump has has staked out a claim to be the President of of the United States. With all the uncertainties in this race, and the fact that the polls seem to be narrowing, he just might win the election, even though right now he has a special talent for inducing people not to like him at all.

We have to face the real possibility that Donald Trump could be elected the next president of the United States of America

Posted on July 26th, 2016 in Politics by Robert Miller
The Donald

The Donald

Donald J. Trump could be the next president of the United States. Recent polling data shows Trump up by 6 points over Hilary Clinton, we can no longer assume that this will be anything other than a close election, and the majority women of America may have to come together to make sure our country doesn’t make a serious turn to the right, from which it will never recover. A recent article in truthdig by Alan Minsky makes this point very emphatically. Alan attended the Republican Convention and did not like what he saw. He did not see a bunch of “red necks” hanging around water coolers; what he did see was a section of mid-America who are now committed to the election of a fascist in the form of Donald J. Trump.

(From Alan Minsky’s article)

  • This is all happening because of rampant disgust with the members of the American political establishment. While their clients (aka donors) grow richer, the middle class is sinking. Simply put, the contemporary “neoliberal” American economy does not allow for the majority of the population to lead comfortable lives. In fact, the opposite is true: More people are falling out of the middle class and into seemingly inescapable debt traps. Trump acknowledges this reality more than the establishment Republicans and promises a different economic path, albeit without providing details. America will remain in a political crisis until this reality changes.
  • No one should have any illusions: The election of Donald Trump would generate a real sense of empowerment for the most reactionary white supremacist forces in our society. Stating this fact does not amount to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who has much to answer for herself as a neoliberal at the center of power for decades; but Trump’s ascendancy has revealed how vibrant these terrifying forces remain in American society. No decent people should have any illusions about the real danger a Trump presidency would represent.
  • Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster for “Brand America.” This is not a concern of mine politically, but it is certainly important to an American political and economic establishment that operates in, and to a great extent oversees, a globalized world. Trump is the personification of the “ugly American,” and that’s not helpful for the maintenance of the United States’ military empire, or for U.S.-based global corporations. If for no other reason, the political establishment would be expected to rally to Trump’s opponent over these concerns. But in 2016, support from the political establishment can be a kiss of death.
  • On this point, let’s return to this week’s vertiginous convention. We’ve all been told that Mr. Trump is the candidate of the anti-establishment, and yet if you came to Cleveland expecting to find the Quicken Loans Center overrun with the Duck Dynasty/NASCAR set, you’d be disappointed. In contrast, the delegates on the floor look almost like the same crowd who nominated Mitt Romney in 2012: a preponderance of blue blazers, Laura Ashley summer dresses and a notable lack of Army fatigues. In fact, the most conspicuous alt-culture present was the 10-gallon-hat-wearing, pro-Ted Cruz Texas tribe.

The last, underlined point cannot be overemphasized. The Trump crowd at the Republican Convention looked like good, normal people, caught up in a dilemma not of their choosing, but if Donald Trump gets elected, we will open the political flood gates, to people, the likes of which we have never seen in the modern political theater. What we can say about Donald Trump and his followers is that electing Trump would be a disaster from which we would not recover. On the other side of the ledger, Hilary Clinton represents the same forces of neoliberalism that the Trump crowd is sworn to defeat. Hilary may have too much baggage to safely avoid an election defeat in November. We have all noticed that the recent liberalization of Hilary Clinton has a lot to do with the candidacy of Bernie  Sanders, who my yet be Hilary’s savior. The fact that Wikileaks revealed a conspiracy to deny Bernie from getting the nomination, but spreading rumors that Bernie was an atheist, does not help Bernie supporters who may now be seriously contemplate voting for Trump, even though significant voting from this young crowd of Bernie supporters could represent the death knell for her election. Right now the Republicans seem unaware of the damage their policies have wrought, but there is no question that the party will never be the same party it was before the 2016 primaries.

I hope I am wrong about this, but the fact that Trump got a significant bump out of the Republican Convention, a convention in which he did not state a single significant policy that anyone could identify, and that fact alone should have us all deeply concerned about the election this fall: if Trump is elected, it will be entirely due to his populism and for no other rational reason. He is devoid of any policy making notions and he and the rest of his neoliberal-minded cohorts should go down to an ignominious defeat in the coming fall elections. If Bernie Sanders had won the nomination his victory over Donald Trump would be a certainty, but Hilary promises us a nail-biter.

A note about Alan Minsky:

Alan Minsky is the Program Director at KPFK Radio Los Angeles; and the executive producer of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, and producer of the Nation Magazine podcast Start Making Sense.  He has hosted/produced numerous radio shows and specials including The People’s Game (on soccer), Building a Powerful Left, and Alternative Solutions to the Global Economic Crisis.  A prolific author, Alan has written plays and film scripts, and is the author of four books on sports history.  A co-founder of the Los Angeles Independent Media Center, Alan’s writings can be found on numerous Indymedia platforms, Commondreams, and Truthdig.

RFM

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