Combat-Veteran Congresswoman and Army Major Tulsi Gabbard appeared on Joe Rogan this week to confirm her candidacy for President of America, proving to be the only candidate articulating the vociferous anti-war sentiments of war-fatigued American soldiers. During her 16 years in military service, Major Gabbard has deployed twice to the Middle East as a combat medic, and today continues to serve in the Hawaii National Guard. Unlike virtually everyone else running for the Oval Office in 2020, Tulsi understands from first-hand experience and sacrifice what it actually means to be in war. She has also served for over 6 years on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, working intimately on issues related to National Security and Foreign Policy. It seems only logical that anyone tasked with the responsibility of serving as Commander-In-Chief of the most powerful military in the world should be required to be a veteran of the military they command.
Hope has two beautiful daughters: Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are and the Courage to change them. Whether it be the looting and pillaging of Wall Street, the war profiteering of the arms industry, or the corruption of health care and educational institutions, it is time for the oppressed to build movements that are unrepentingly antagonistic to every aspect of corporate power. Every action must be directed to dismantling the structures that oppress us, and that will come only by building movements that grasp that it is not our job to take power. Power is the problem. The question is not, “How do you get good people to rule?” Most people attracted to power are at best mediocre or venal. The question is, “How do you make the powerful frightened of you?” That is the only question, and as Fredrick Douglass understood, that is the only way power responds. Every leap toward justice and equality throughout American history was made by movements that frightened the powerful.
Until now, the Justice Department has always distinguished between government employees who leak classified information and outlets that publish it, due to protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. The purpose of the First Amendment was never to lionize The Press into a privileged institution. It protects all persons in their right to print, speak, write, report and publish what they will. But the DOJ’s unprecedented decision to indict Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange for violating the Espionage Act seeks to penalize Assange for simply “Encouraging and Inducing” Chelsea Manning’s disclosures. Despite rampant innuendo from the corporate media, the charges against Assange have nothing to do with Wikileaks’ publication of Emails from the DNC and Hillary’s private server, but for revealing the war crimes of the Bush Administration. The Espionage Act has always been used as a weapon used to attack free speech and dissent, but now threatens to finally bring about Orwellian censorship.
Words have the power to shape thought. They form the basis of society from everyday interactions to our hightest ideals. Since our ability to think and communitcate clearly is what most directly separates egalitarian nations from totalitarian dictaorships, attacks on language always constitute attempts toward authoritarian overreach. The Corporate mercenaries running our world get away with their pillaging by burying their crimes in eupehmismsm and convoluted sentence structures, thereby making terrible atrocities sound accpetable. The word “Torture” becomes “Enhanced Interrogation”; Theft becomes Civil Asset Forfeiture; Genocide becomes Ethnic Cleansing. Such deliberate irony corrupts the very ideas our words refer to, leaving us in a hypnotic state of cognitivce dissonance in which we are compelled to disregard our own perception in place of the officially dictated version of events. The result is a world in which even the privacy of one’s own thought process is violated.
How is it possible that amid a $94-Trillion economy, median wages are in decline? America’s economic policy constitutes a kind of structural genocide, killing 18 million people annually worldwide through the violence of poverty and socioeconomic inequality. Economic “busts” are good for the rich because they create cheap labor and allow banks to seize properties the poor can’t pay for anymore. All that wealth consolidates at the top to the point where 70% of the population can no longer generate enough income to afford basic necessities without taking on ever-increasing levels of debt that they will never be able to pay back under current economic policy because the financial opportunities necessary to generate the income do not exist. Our entire economy is based on unnecessary consumption that relies on advertising to create artificial demand, and rewards manufactured scarcity, be it arbitrarily priced pharmaceuticals or polluting watersheds to increase bottled water sales.
In his classic, A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean writes, “The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.” Though historians don’t agree unanimously on the exact translation of the word “Missoula”, the trading post that started out as the “Hellgate Village” has come to be known by many names over the decades, including the City-with-Soul, Zootown, the Hub of Five Valleys, and the Garden City. It’s also been referred to as the Little Bigtown, not only in reference to the Custer Battleground in eastern Montana, but because Missoula is the best of both worlds. It’s a bustling urban area with deer frolicking in the streets and Osprey hovering over Missoula’s many rivers, all teaming with fish. This emerald of the Rockies is the Golden Mean between urban and rural; progressive and classical. Missoula’s modern influence is world renowned, attracting worldwide attention from a wide range of audiences for it’s university, biodiversity, artistic relevance, outdoor enthusiasm, cultural tolerance, community focus, and stunning beauty. And while the community has been compared to places like Berkeley and Amsterdam, there really is nowhere quite as weird or as free as Missoula, Montana.