Posts Tagged ‘genocide’

PRUNING: Gentle Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Inc.

June 4, 2019

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Illus: “CONSERVATIVE CONQUEST OF AMERICA” ©JLegry

Short Story – Approx. 2,500 wds

“January gives a man pause, doesn’t it, Bob?” Lowell W. Lucash Jr., President of the United States, asked. “Turn of the year, life shrouded in ice and snow, but still a time of renewing and all that crap.”
“Not so much,” Old Bob replied, never diverted by simple life.
Lucash stood at the windows of the Oval Office, staring out at the frosted White House grounds. The bare trees were thin sticks against a pale sky. A guard muffled in winter clothing, accompanied by a large breath-steaming police dog, crossed the snow-shrouded vista and went into the dormant Arbor. Lucash felt the cold despite warmth from his cheerful fireplace. He shivered.
His distinguished senior advisor, Robert “Old Bob” Archer, was seated in front of his desk, neat and meticulous, resolutely bald and shiny on top, with a thin signature file in his lap. Lucash had depended upon him from college into the White House, a legacy from Dad, now safely buried in New Jersey.
“Profits are up,” Lucash said. He sat at his desk, glancing at a crystal paperweight from Tiffany engraved with his name and the Presidential Seal– a gift from his wife, Marilyn, at his joyful first-term inaugural celebration.
“Buying power is down,” Old Bob replied.
Lucash smiled humorlessly. “We are committed?”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“There are no alternatives?”
“No, Mr. President.”
“So, we are ready to ‘relieve the strained, overpopulated regions of earth,’” Lucash said uncomfortably. “Isn’t that what the agreement says?”
“Everything is prepared,” Old Bob replied. “We are ready for pruning.”
“‘Pruning,’” Lucash repeated. He ran a nervous hand through his famous luxuriant, color-enhanced hair. “I should never have allowed this.”
“We have no choice,” Old Bob replied. “The Developed Fossil-Fuel Nations, China, the Arab Oiligarchies and the Russian-Ukrainian Petroleum Alliance have already signed the secret accord. There is no going back now, Lowell. You must be resolute.”
“What is the full list?” Lucash asked, stalling. “How many continents and countries are we pruning? I can’t believe that I have to do this. Trump ignored the problem. Why me? This is hard. I need an assistant. I need more options.”
“There are no other options,” Old Bob said. “You can’t use an assistant. You are the president. You have to do it yourself. That makes it legal. No one likes this, but it is all that is left. If we wait any longer, we are lost, overwhelmed by starving, desperate people in a rising tide of garbage and toxic waste.”
“How did the world prune before it had me?” Lucash asked resentfully.
“The same sorts of things: famine, fire, war and pestilence, but considerably less well managed, more drawn out and agonized. We are not savages, Lowell. We do not want people to suffer. We are organized. Our pruning will be swift and merciful.”
“We’re the Gentle Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Incorporated.”
“It is self-defense, Lowell,” Old Bob sympathized. “As difficult as this is, you’ve seen the projections. Our way of life will be destroyed, if we don’t act.”
“There must be a way out,” Lucash said helplessly. “Trump’s ‘Take a Big Stick and Flail It Wildly’ Strategy was an utter failure.”
“It’s pointless to rehash the whole discussion,” Old Bob replied. “It is too late. Too much is at stake for last minute change of plan, or a time-wasting crisis of conscience. Sign the Executive Order, authorize the Third World Strike, suffer crippling angst later.” He opened the file, put papers and pen on Lucash’s desk.
“This is wrong,” Lucash said. “What about a total embargo?”
“Embargo what? The world’s resources are running out. A few years ago there was choice. Trump pissed it away. Today, billions are eating each other.”
“I thought they didn’t eat meat,” Lucash said. “Or, is that only Hindus?”
“It is getting worse,” Old Bob replied. “The good Lord provided necessary tactical devices, and it is up to us to use them to clean up our mess.”
“‘The good Lord provided necessary tactical devices,’” Lucash mocked.
“But we survive,” Old Bob argued. “Food and water are short, energy is giving out, food riots here at home, overflowing prisons, border fights with migratory gangs the size of military battles. We must control the situation. Do it quickly. Do your duty, sign the fucking accord.” Old Bob urged, not unkindly.
“It’s good we waited until after Christmas,” Lucash said bitterly, “because genocidal holocaust depresses sales. Not even Trump could think like this.”
Old Bob looked away in pain.
“I still need time to think,” Lucash said, avoiding the papers on his desk.
“There’s not much time.”
Lucash did not reply.
“Don’t agonize,” Old Bob said gently. “It will only consume you, Lowell.”
“I followed the rules,” Lucash said. “I did what I was supposed to do. I went along with the Trump Libertarian Me-First Agenda. But… I’m having trouble beating my conscience down on this. How do you do it, Bob? How do you stay so detached?”
“I approach it academically,” Old Bob said uneasily. “I try to keep my perspective.” His hands were atremble in his lap. Old Bob’s academic perspective was wearing thin. That still doesn’t stop him from being a bossy old murderous bastard, Lucash noted.
“Why don’t you go to hell?” Lucash asked with sudden anger. “Why don’t you do your damned hideous holocaust pruning without my signature? Get that frickin’ robber’s nest in the senate to sign it!”
“It’s your legal responsibility,” Old Bob insisted. “You make it official.”
“My signature makes it official to kill, how many, Bob, seven billion?”
“Five and a half, before they multiply to twenty and eat the planet.”

Lucash studied his mentor and saw a tired frightened old man. It scared him. “I need more time,” he said. “Please ask Marilyn to see me on your way out.” He turned his profile to the right to close the meeting. He often turned that way for photographic effect. He did so now to hide his fear. Old Bob rose, said farewell and left. Lucash rose and went to the windows, looked out at the frozen day and shivered again. Moments later, his wife Marilyn entered, a slender dark-haired beauty, elegantly dressed as always. They were loyal to one another, publicly and privately, despite discrete dalliances on both sides.
“You sent for me, darling?” she asked.
“Oh, Mommy!” he cried, going to her.
She held him, soothing him and stroking his hair.
“Now, now,” she crooned, “it’s all right. Poor little Lowly. It will be all right. You didn’t think the Presidency was all golf, after dinner speeches and rallies, did you? Of course, you did. Remember your programming. It would make old Uncle Puti proud if he wasn’t down with stroke. Der Don would pop his buttons. You’re trained to pop buttons too, aren’t you? Don’t you carry a big flailing stick?” Lucash flinched and released her.
“Whose side are you on?” he asked in distress.
“I support you, Lowly, as always, but you must act soon. Do something.”
“What should I do?”
“Do what Old Bob wants. Don’t think and sweat. It’s bad for vid lights.”
He nodded grimly, staring at the documents on his desk.
“The hell with Bob,” he decided. “I’m going to the War Room.”
“‘Situation Room,’” she corrected. “They haven’t called it the War Room since FDR died. I don’t think they have wars anymore, just situations.”
“Whatever,” he replied and was soon the center of noise and activity: voices, phones, flickering screens. Hours passed, predictions piled up, scenario after scenario was analyzed. At last, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General McClean Benson, arrived with a small entourage to receive immediate private audience with the President.
“Every scenario runs the same, Mr. President,” Benson said. He put the summaries on Lucash’s desk. “Pruning is the only option.”

Lucash looked at him suspiciously.
“I’m not eager for this either, Mr. President,” Benson said defensively.
“The projections are totally unbiased?” Lucash asked.
“Totally unbiased, Mr. President.” I did not have to bias them, he thought.
“Not good enough!” Lucash yelled. “Run it again. Find something!” Upset by his own passion, he said, “Keep working, General, thank you. Carry on.”
Benson saluted stiffly and departed.
Hours later, with the early morning darkness still upon the city, Old Bob returned to the Oval Office to find Lucash hunched tiredly at his great desk.
“Come up with anything?” Old Bob asked, wanting to say, I told you so.
“There’s enough data to reflect every possible variable on the uncertain face of the whole planet. It all adds up the same, regardless of how arranged.”
“You admit that we have no other choice?”
Lucash abruptly picked up the pen Old Bob had provided hours earlier and signed the accord. He shoved the papers across to him.
“There are two more copies,” Old Bob said, pushing them back.
Lucash stared, then quickly signed the copies. He tossed the pen down.
“Souvenir, Bob. Put it in your breast pocket. It will eat a hole in your heart.”
“It already has, Mr. President,” Old Bob said. He picked up the documents, avoiding the pen, and advised, “Destroy it.”
“Pruning is set for seven-thirty a.m., EST,” Lucash said, glancing at his Rolex. “We’ve two hours, fly the damned pen to the closest target and nuke it.”
“I’ll have the Secret Service dispose of it,” Old Bob said. He picked the pen up with a tissue. “I…uh, must get the documents to the courier.” Lucash nodded and Old Bob left. Marilyn Lucash entered immediately. He looked at her bleakly.
“Are you all right?” she asked and was suddenly crying. He went to her.

“It’s done,” he said, hugging her close. “Please, be still.”
“How bad will it be?” she asked, wiping her cheeks with her palm.
“’If everyone holds to the accord,’ he cited the official Trumped Scenario, “‘and if we contain effects, according to projection, we guarantee safety for the civilized world: North America, Europe, Russia, Japan.’ Unfortunately, Australia may suffer due to wind, or ocean currents, but that is part of the ‘necessary cost to succeed.’” She stared at him. He took a deep breath and released her.
“What about China and Korea?” she asked.
“Whatever must be done, will be done. This is no time for mourning.”
“We must be brave,” she agreed, drying her eyes. “You look so tired.”
Thirty-eight hours later, a haggard Lowell W. Lucash Jr. stood at a microphone, looking at a largely uniformed crowd of men and women cramped into Command Shelter Number One. Their families were in equally crowded adjoining quarters linked by a brightly-lighted tunnel network. Built for ten thousand, the bunker accommodated sixteen-thousand-five-hundred for the “duration of the emergency.”

Lucash saw Marilyn with the White House staff group. She smiled bravely at him and he smiled back uneasily.
“Your attention,” Lucash called, stilling excited voices. “Pruning is over. We think it is. Nothing has been released, or detonated for an hour. I regret that everyone exceeded pruning level by, uh, 32%. Is that right, General Benson?”
“That may be conservative, sir,” Benson replied. “We matched ’em release for release. Some analysts say fifty, but, damage assessment isn’t complete.”
Lucash nodded. The world felt upside down.
“Your prepared remarks,” Old Bob urged.
“In a short while,” Lucash read, feeling disconnected, as if in a dream, “we will return to the surface, hopefully. Thank each of you for your dedication and loyalty. The real task lies ahead: building a strong new America and a brave new world order.” There was scattered applause. “I know that you are up to the challenge. Our goal is worth sacrifice. Our country began nearly three hundred years ago and it is up to us to see that it lasts for a thousand more. Our brave new world order will be finer, better and safer than ever. As Tiny Tim once said, ‘God bless us every one!’” There were patriotic tears in many eyes as he finished. The crowd applauded and cheered, full of hope, glad the speech was over, their optimistic echoes springing back from the high-vaulted thick concrete ceiling.
“Can we trust the Chinese and Koreans, sir?” General Benson asked.
“Trust has to begin somewhere,” Lucash replied. “I’d rather not spend the rest of my life cooped up down here, would you, General?”
“What if they are waiting for us to come out so they can finish us off right now?” Benson warned. “We should hit ’em first. Pre-emptive strike.”
“General, everyone is horrified,” Lucash said. “I even heard it in Imam Fuad’s voice when he agreed to cease fire and he thought it was a holy war.”
“I wouldn’t mention that publicly,” Old Bob cautioned.
“It’s all my fault,” Lucash said sorrowfully.
“Stop that,” Old Bob scolded. “Be strong.”
Lucash looked at the people waiting to return to their normal topside world. The great concrete walls curved over their heads into black darkness and they instinctively moved closer, seeking comfort in proximity. Lucash wanted to console and wish each one well, and then lead them straight up out of that claustrophobic over-filled chamber.
A military attaché arrived with a message for Lucash. Lucash was shocked at what he read. He handed the message to Old Bob, whose face went white.
“The surface is contaminated beyond habitability,” Lucash told the crowd.
A moan went up.
“Damned Korean overkill!” General Benson shouted angrily.
People wept.
Lucash signed to Marilyn who quickly joined him. They hugged as when flashbulbs exploded and the Party Convention rocked with cheers short years before. Such pride. This time, shame almost overwhelmed Lowell W. Lucash Jr.
“We must…we must somehow live with this,” he told the crowd. Amid a common agonized murmur, an Air Force general went to his knees on cold concrete and began to pray. Others followed. A droning wail went up as echoes.
“My God,” Old Bob said at Lucash’s side, assessing the bunker’s long-term livability, “this is like being buried alive.”
“There are other bunkers all the way to California,” General Benson advised. “They were doing okay until communication went out. If they survived, they will be loyal to us.”
“If they survived, they are in the same mess,” Lucash said. “Cut off.”
“Meantime,” Old Bob said, “we must survive underground and there isn’t much room.” People looked at Lucash in horror. His flesh crawled.
“The Great Pruner!” an enraged technician screamed, pointing an accusing finger. “The bloody-handed Great Pruner!”
There were angry shouts, more weeping, more hostile eyes, more people screaming at Lucash. Marilyn’s arms tightened around his waist.
“O, Lowly, what do we do?” she whispered.
“This is a nightmare, Mr. President,” Old Bob said, taking Lucash’s arm.
“I wish to God it was, Bob,” Lucash said, trembling.
“Get behind me, Mr. President,” General Benson ordered, drawing his service weapon, as the angry crowd surged toward the Presidential party.

THE END: JL:Portland: 05-19
© JLegry

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LIFTING THE VEIL

March 28, 2010

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Reform by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship March 27, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

That wickedly satirical Ambrose Bierce described politics as “the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

Bierce vanished to Mexico nearly a hundred years ago — to the relief of the American political class of his day, one assumes — but in an eerie way he was forecasting America’s political culture today. It seems like most efforts to reform a system that’s gone awry — to clean house and make a fresh start — end up benefiting the very people who wrecked it in the first place.

Which is why Bierce, in his classic little book, The Devil’s Dictionary, defined reform as “a thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.”

Give the victors their due: the bill Obama signed expands coverage to many more people, stops some very ugly and immoral practices by the health insurance industry that should have been stopped long ago, and offers a framework for more change down the road, if there’s any heart or will left to fight for it.

But reformation? Hardly. For all their screaming and gnashing of teeth, the insurance companies still make out like bandits. Millions of new customers, under penalty of law, will be required to buy the companies’ policies, feeding the insatiable greed of their CEO’s and filling the campaign coffers of the politicians they wine and dine. Profits are secure; they don’t have to worry about competition from a public alternative to their cartel, and they can continue to scam us without fear of antitrust action.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/27-0

Earth ‘Entering New Age of Geological Time’ by Murray Wardrop March 27, 2010 by The Telegraph/UK

The Earth has entered a new age of geological time – the epoch of new man, scientists claim.

Humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes on the planet that we may be ushering in a new period of geological history.  It is feared that the damage mankind has inflicted will lead to the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history with thousands of plants and animals being wiped out.

The new epoch, called the Anthropocene – meaning new man – would be the first period of geological time shaped by the action of a single species.  Although the term has been in informal use among scientists for more than a decade, it is now under consideration as an official term.

A new working group of experts has now been established to gather all the evidence which would support recognising it as the successor to the current Holocene epoch. It will consider changes human activities have brought to Earth’s biodiversity and rock structure as well as the impact of factors including pollution and mineral extraction.

It is hoped that within three years, their case will be presented to the International Union of Geological Sciences, which would decide whether the transition to a new epoch has been made. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/27

Celebrating (Mourning) a Culture of Lies by Robert Freeman March 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

Tomorrow, March 29th, marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam. You won’t hear it celebrated in any mainstream media, though it should be. Or more precisely, it should be mourned. Vietnam is the first war America ever lost.

It should be remembered so that we might learn the lessons of that loss. They are many, they are profound, and they could inform so many of our policy decisions today: that withdrawal from immoral wars doesn’t mean the end of civilization as we know it; that even America’s seemingly limitless resources are, in fact, limited; that masses of engaged, moral individuals can constrain the reckless, destructive folly of renegade elites.

Perhaps the most important lesson of Vietnam is that policies based on lies will ultimately fail, for in an open society it is the consent of the governed that is required to sustain major policy initiatives. A government can either earn that consent, or it must forfeit the essence of its democracy. If lying becomes its essential modus operandi, a nation ceases to be a democracy. Rather, it becomes a criminal conspiracy of self-interested insiders donning the trappings of democracy in order to gull the credulous.

It is time to grow out of our materialistic fetishes and begin cultivating the personal and civic maturity we like to fancy we possess, but which we don’t. It is time to grow up and accept the burdens of mature citizenship, among the most important of which are a capacity and a willingness to tell the truth, letting go the comforting but corrosive lies in the confidence that courage mustered now will yield not only greater self respect today but a more sane, a more decent, and a safer society in the future.

It is important that we commemorate Vietnam, both to mourn the objective horror of what it was, but also to redeem our capacity to tell the truth, to ourselves, about ourselves. Only in that way can we begin to reclaim the country and the people we want to imagine ourselves to be.

Robert Freeman writes on economics, history and education. His earlier piece, “Is Iraq Another Vietnam?” was also published on CommonDreams.  He can reached at robertfreeman10@yahoo.com. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-3

Related:  https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/politics-mostly/organized-irresponsibility/

The Rage Is Not About Health Care by Frank Rich March 28, 2010 by The New York Times

THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television.  On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber – instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too. Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company.  Frank Rich is a regular columnist for The New York Times.  He is the author of many books, including The Great Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28

INTRODUCING WORLD WAR III

Have a Nice World War, Folks by John Pilger March 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.

John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s highest award, that of “Journalist of the Year,” for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-5