At The Baffler, “The Nostalgia Trap” podcast is hosted by historian David Parsons and produced by Peter Sabatino. Each week they engage in conversations with some of the left’s leading thinkers and writers in an exploration of “how individual lives intersect with the big events and debates of our era.” A recent session—War is a Racket—featured Nate Bethea. He co-hosts the podcast A Hell of a Way to Die, which looks at the intersection of leftist politics and American military culture:
While serving as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007-2014, and deploying to Afghanistan in 2009-2010, Bethea reports that he “lived the Army values so hard that I became a socialist.” In this conversation, he discusses the hazards of being openly left while on active duty, the disturbing rise of MAGA-style fascism among veterans, and how his experience at war deepened his political commitments:
Leftist veterans aren’t coming from the perspective that everyone should be in the military, but what we’re saying is that we’ve seen some of these policies put forth in the military, we’ve seen things like universal health care, things like the GI Bill covering your full tuition—we see these things, and we think, why can’t everybody have this?
And we also have seen the waste and the stupidity . . . the containers full of shit burned in Afghanistan, vehicles valued at $300,000 abandoned in Iraq . . . I mean, if you take ROTC paying for my undergrad, and the GI Bill paying for my M.F.A., and if I had done a Ph.D., all of that tuition put together, and all the cost of living allowance they’ve given me, would not equal the cost of one stupid Humvee that we gave to the Iraqis and then ISIS stole, and then we bombed it with a bomb that cost more than the Humvee.
“Technology enables us to work every minute of every day from any place on the planet.”
~~Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (2005)
On this date at Daily Kos in 2013—GOP senators howls about the ‘environmental jihad’:
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson may not be up for re-election until 2016, but he is not letting a League of Conservation Voters ad against him go without a bout of whining—and fundraising:
“The League of Conservation voters is not an organization with a balanced approach to a cleaner environment,” states the email from the Johnson campaign. “They are an extreme left group on an environmental jihad.”
The email, which also solicited donations from supporters, denounced what Johnson said was an “unholy alliance” between LCV and the Obama campaign that gives the green group “unlimited resources and campaign expertise.”
Ah, yes, the “extreme” “unholy” “jihad” of the League of Conservation Voters, with their ads filled with facts about severe weather’s cost in human life and property damage, Johnson’s big donations from oil and gas, his votes in favor of continuing pollution, and his general record of climate change denial. Those scoundrels. Send Ron Johnson money, so he can “respond to their attack ads with the truth.” Is he implying that he actually doesn’t deny the reality of climate change, or is that the truth of … him being a giant climate change denier, but with an explanation of how he’s proud of his position because capitalism?
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Omarosa continues to leak tape. Trump’s lawyers suck so bad, they may have F-ed up all their NDAs! Saudish Arabia weaponizes “its” wealth, and Trump is willing to shrug off their 9/11-style threats as long as he gets paid. And gets to watch himself on TV.