The Badlands Journal editorial board wishes you a Happy New Year.
We believe that the coming year must be the year of the question.
But, where to begin?
Why are we being constantly told by the half-dozen media conglomerates owned and operated for the interests of a few billionaires that "America is exceptional"? Why would the billionaires who own our media and the politicians who were formerly our state legislators and the members of Congress wish to make us feel high and mighty at the same moment that they ruin our economy and steal our political representation from us?
Is it in fact happening at the same moment? Probably not. Haven't there been periods even in the recent past (c. 1890-1900, or during the 1920's, for example) when the rich completely dominated?
But what makes us susceptible to the lure of being "exceptional"? Why aren't we satisfied with ourselves? Could the journalist be right who wrote: "America, the society that wakes up every morning and has itself for breakfast"?
How many danger-free, painless murders, gun fights, car wrecks, deaths by any and all means, concocted by the drama machines of TV, have we seen or "virtually experienced" in the past year? And how many fire fights, aerial bombardments, market bombings (or the bloody litter of their aftermaths), or gun battles in the streets of major cities, and how many African-American young men have we seen gunned down by our police? How many police shootings of young men of all races have we not seen? Does this rash of videos indicate new behavior or is it just a media-sponsored murder-by-police wave?
Why are the best armed on our streets often the loudest whiners?
How many times have we caught the undertones of fear in a friend's voice? Or, worse, heard it in our own voices and been unable to tone it down without a deep breath? Were Americans always as afraid of each other as they are today?
Caught in the all-important Present of the Psychology Now! crowd, some might ask: "Are we going to war?" Is that a reason for anxiety?
Was History, with its time lines longer than a news cycle, just too complicated for that natural science paradigm that all higher learning must adhere to? What caused this obsession with the opinions of the living stooges on TV, when a whole history of opinions, some of which might shed some light, are available in books, on a variety of topics including imperialism, for example -- Assyrian, Hittite, Egyptian, Persian, Greek (Athenian, Alexandrian and Byzantine), Roman, Parthian, Ottoman, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, French, Belgian, Italian, to name a few of the followers of Shelley's "Ozmandias, king of kings" or the march of King Cotton and global capitalism?
Why does it appear to be so difficult for us to admit we have been at war nearly continually since "we" became a we? Remember the Pequot War? Did you forget 'Tippecanoe and Tyler Too"? Or the Monroe Doctrine? The Mexican-American War? The Civil War? The Indian Wars? The Spanish-American War? The entire 20th Century?
But, why are we at war at the moment? Who are we at war against? Who decided that we go to war without a vote in Congress? Again and again? Will this one or will the next one start a nuclear reaction? How much depleted uranium has the US left on its battlefields?
Who made the decision to quit chasing Osama in Afghanistan and invade Iraq? Who controls the oil fields of Iraq today?
What is this "Homeland" which was created by a master "security" bureaucracy that spreads military weaponry around local police forces, incredibly inefficiently runs airport checks, blocks free passage to government buildings and creates every year more ways to insinuate itself into and obstruct our daily lives? Is this Nazi-esque "Heimat" really the best way to show terrorists that we are not afraid of them?
Or are we so terrified of them that we will hand over our freedom at the door?
How many Islamic children, women, elderly, and peaceful people must our armed forces kill to create people filled with enough rage for justice and vengeance to commit acts of guerrilla warfare all over the world against the citizens of our the increasingly less secure "Homeland"?
Why does this perpetual war http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/34391-focus-driving-out-t... look like one great arms-dealing hustle in which arms are sold from the US to its own forces, to its allies who sell them to its alleged enemies, to "Homeland" police and security forces to protect us from people enraged by seeing their families slaughtered by insouciant drones or soldiers who are scared and/or crazy from stop-loss federal government abuse?
Is it possible that the coed from Annam, Jordan, interviewed in the first weeks after 9/11, said everything there was to say about Middle Eastern affection for America when she answered : "You can't bomb a people into democracy"?
Or, was British spy novelist John le Carre correct in his assessment at about the same time, that "America has gone mad again."
Why do Israelis characterize the army of my neighbors' children as "the proxy force" that perpetuates their perpetual war against Islam?
Now that the American Psychological Association has formally withheld its approbation of its members monitoring CIA "enhanced interrogations" of prisoners captured or bought from local dealers in "insurgents," (one might as well put everything the federal government has said since September 11 in skeptical quotation marks), will they turn their energetic attention to the Religious Trauma Syndrome hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from?
Who were the sharks that make student loans a profit center and why did the public accept it? Are they the same social vermin that own and operate the payday-loan racket?
Why has attitude replaced curiosity in our so-called "learning society"?
Why is racism replacing Sociology 101 on college campuses?
Is the "exceptional nation" suffering from the delusion of acute, collective Elite-itis -- its Bully Bigshot Syndrome? Is the reason education is failing throughout the country because Bigshots really do not want educated citizens prying into public affairs?
Are we powerless as individual citizens to protect ourselves against the people in power who want more and more war?
What other opportunity for advancement in the US do many lower income young people see but a military career? And aren't military contracts for business golden?
What is the war about? If the war is about oil -- and the Pentagon is the largest consumer of petroleum in the world -- then why is the administration pretending to care about the environment? Why is the US out to control as much oil as possible when responsible science says it must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming?
Why has the income gap increased and the economy not recovered since the collapse of the real estate boom and the inauguration of a Democratic Party president?
Why is the strongest political party in the national government the unnamed "war party"?
What has the president of Hope (through war?) done about the bees?
What difference does any president make? We've had a hardliner Republican and a wishy-washy Democrat for eight years apiece but has the War Party lost any significant battle for control of the war-making bureaucracies?
What happened to the War on Poverty?
How are we going to protect ourselves, including our environment without which we cannot live, from capitalism?
Can the planet and its people any longer support the capitalist political economy?
If capitalism isn't the main force of destruction, what is? And if it is the main force, what can we begin to do about it?
How can America simultaneously fight ISIS while allying with Saudi Arabia, which arms ISIS, and Turkey, which funds ISIS, Qatar which funds ISIS, Israel, which supplies ISIS with arms and medical supplies, and the UK and France, which provide support to ISIS and other opponents of President Assad of Syria? So that American arms dealers can make more profits? Or is this all about American elites' rivalry with Russia?
What does America have to offer Islam but annihilation? Is annihilation worth resisting?
How much corruption and hypocrisy can a government absorb before all it has is force with which to sustain its misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance?
Will the US tactic of creating chaos wherever it lands throughout the world come home to roost in the unlikely event that some sort of political resistance is actually organized to oppose the policies of the plutocracy?
The Badlands Journal editorial board wishes you a Happy New Year.