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Sunday, April 14, 2013

U.S. 2014 budgetary priorities reflect chronic paradigm in violence

 Destroying futures at home and abroad
Re-reporting, editing, commentary by Carolyn Bennett

Deliberate cruelty

Reported by the Associated Press, U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2014 that, among other warped priorities, increases war funding and decreases education funding. 

Citadel of U.S. global violence: protracted war
Department of Defense 

Total Spending: $682.9 billion            [700 BILLION]
Percentage Change from 2013: 0.5 percent increase
Discretionary Spending: $615.3 billion
Mandatory Spending: $67.6 billion    [70 BILLION]

Cradle of future creators and leaders
Department of Education
Total Spending: $56.7 billion [60 BILLION]
Percentage Change from 2013: 10.8 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $71.2 billion
Mandatory Spending: $0        [ZERO]

The U.S. president’s proposed defense spending is almost 12 times ─ even on an incomplete list as war spending is spread out across government agencies ─ the level of education spending. It’s a good thing the president and members of congress are millionaires, pensioned, on corporate payrolls and speaker circuits so they don’t have to worry about their heirs and the future of their heirs.

Connected with defense is nuclear proliferation. Under “energy,” the president is proposing a 35.3 percent increase over 2013, which includes is a $2.1 BILLION DOLLAR upgrade in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

Britain and the United States ─ under threat by no nation or people but instead a threat to all ─ are upgrading their deadly weaponry while demonizing Iran for wanting nuclear technology for energy purposes. While claiming not to “trust” Iran, demanding an end to energy use of nuclear material and attempting to destroy peoples and drive them from their land (Iraq, Iran, North Korea and other places) by the imposition of economic sanctions (warfare by another name) ─ the United States alone holds the distinction of having wiped out hundreds of thousands of people and lands, committed unconscionable harm lasting well into the future, with its detonation of the atomic bomb.

U.S./West’s straw man (person) tactic justifying cruelty

To ‘attack a straw man’ is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequal or different proposition (the ‘straw man’); and to refute the ‘straw man’ without ever having actually refuted the original position.

traw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

Person 1 has position X.

Person 2 disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. The position Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:

Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent’s position;
Quoting an opponent’s words out of context—i.e., choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent’s actual intentions;
Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person’s arguments—thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated;
Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical;
Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument then attacking this oversimplified version.

Person 2 attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

his reasoning is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position does not address the actual position. The ostensible argument that Person 2 makes has the form:

‘Don’t support X because X has an unacceptable (or absurd or contradictory or terrible) consequence.’

However, the actual form of the argument is:

‘Don’t support X because Y has an unacceptable (or absurd or contradictory or terrible) consequence.’

This argument doesn’t make sense; it is a non sequitur. Person 2 relies on the audience not noticing this.

nited States’ nuclear straw man against Iran

In a report yesterday by Press TV, Iran’s Ambassador to France, Ali Ahani, continued to emphasize “that Iran has vehemently rejected claims that its nuclear energy program has military purposes, saying Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree (fatwa) two years ago on the prohibition of production, proliferation and the use of nuclear weapons.”

Note: The Iranian cleric and politician Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei served as president of Iran (1981–89) and as that country’s Rahbar or Leader from 1989. A religious figure of some significance, Khamenei was generally addressed honorifically as Ayatollah.

“On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons ‘a grave sin’ from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint [and described the proliferation of nuclear weapons as ‘senseless, destructive and dangerous,’ adding that the Iranian nation has never sought and will never seek atomic bombs as the country already has the conventional capacity to challenge the nuclear powers.”

 Ahani reiterated to Press TV that the Ayatollah Khamenei had announced that the use of atomic weapons is a crime against humanity. As far back as September 1974, he said, “Iran proposed an initiative to the United Nations on the establishment of a Middle East Free of Nuclear Weapons and has been following up on it insistently. However it seems that everybody is overlooking such realities and no country is willing to acknowledge Iran as a responsible country and a signatory to the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty or Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) that seeks to use its legal rights just as other IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) members.…

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closely monitors Iran’s nuclear energy work through cameras that have been installed at the country’s nuclear facilities and sites and record all activities around the clock.” Ahani said Iran’s “‘nuclear energy program is completely non-military [and] it is the Western countries that insist Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program.’

“The United States, Israel and some of their allies have falsely accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the U.S. and European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran.

The West, the ambassador said, “refrains from accepting the realities of Tehran’s nuclear energy program.”

Priorities in chaos and killing
Stockpile, destabilize, displace, destroy by any means
Air, ground or underground, sea, robotics, remote

The U.S. President’s budget proposes ZERO for a national domestic jobs program and ZERO for mandatory domestic education spending but gazillions for high tech public funding private ventures (drones?).

“Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program” (WHAT!?): $21 million

“International Trade Administration”: $520 million (off shoring jobs?)

“National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratories” (WHAT!?): $754 million (“cyber security, manufacturing, communications, disaster resilience”? Meaning what exactly ─ warrantless surveillance, domestic, foreign spying, black sites?)

U.S. wars against peoples of Afghanistan, Pakistan

The people of Pakistan continue to suffer under U.S. technology. In today’s news today four people died needlessly. Press TV reports “a U.S. killer drone fired two missiles at a house in Datta Khel area located some 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan.” The full death toll is not yet known but at the time of the report four people had died as a result of yet another attack “carried out by a U.S. assassination drone in northwestern Pakistan.”

hat is to me patently, disingenuously callous is to hear that deaths of the young in the United States (Connecticut or Chicago or Colorado or Virginia) murdered by whomever in public places are somehow more important than the hundreds of millions of defenseless children, women and men slaughtered, wounded in mind and body (not to mention young U.S. soldiers), robbed of their livelihoods and homes in so many malicious ways and there is no outrage, arrest or prosecution, or demands for the carnage to stop. I suspect Washington’s orators don’t care about the dead in California or New York or New Orleans or Georgia or Connecticut or Chicago or Colorado or Virginia either.

I seem to digress but they all connect; now return to U.S. massacres in Afghanistan’s southern neighbor bordering India.

The author, political analyst and historian, Webster Tarpley, told Press TV that Washington’s use of assassination drones and continued military presence in neighboring Afghanistan is a ploy to weaken, divide and destroy Pakistan. Consider similarly factional or sectarian violence all across the Middle East, where people had once lived together in harmony (consider the Koreas that had been trying to normalize, to resolve their conflict, consider Africa and the Americas) ─ stirred up and inflamed by Western foreigners in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon.

“The use of U.S.-led assassination drones in Pakistan and the ongoing war in Afghanistan,” Tarpley said, “are both part of Washington’s policy to eventually break up states which are ‘big enough to defend themselves.’”

his is the chronically violent, irrational and insensible model of U.S. engagement in the world. It is an ethos, a character that drives U.S. budgetary priorities and it inflicts deep and lasting harm on the United States of America and its people and on other nations and peoples of the world.  

Sources and notes

“An agency-by-agency guide to Obama’s 2014 budget” The Associated Press, Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 12:38 a.m., http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/apr/14/us-obama-budget-agency-highlights/

“West refuses to accept realities of Iran's nuclear energy program: Envoy,” April 13, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/04/13/298005/west-evading-realities-of-iran-nwork/

“U.S. assassination drone attack kills 4 in NW Pakistan,” April 14, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/04/14/298274/us-drone-strike-kills-4-in-pakistan/

“U.S. seeks to divide Pakistan through drones, Afghan war: Analyst,” April 14, 2013,

Straw man (person): “One common folk etymology of ‘straw man’ is that it refers to men who stood outside courthouses with a straw in their shoe in order to indicate their willingness to be a false witness.” 
Straw man, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man


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