Thursday, July 23, 2015

ABC’s of Armageddon Part III: Starved Beast Hooked on Heroin

The ABCs of Armageddon, America Britain and Canada, have perfected the “conservative style of governing” created by the Chicago gang of Milton Freidman called starving the beast and have brought it to its intended outcome.  That outcome is a sick, starving, financially devastated populous serving an engorged ruling class. 

Back in October of 2014, in an interview conducted by Truth-out’s Michael Nevradakis with Henry Giroux called “Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism” some very revealing observations were made regarding the absolute global human devastation that has resulted.


Henry Giroux: I think since the 1970s it's been the predominant ideology (neoliberalism), certainly in Western Europe and North America. As is well known, it raised havoc in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Chile and other states. It first gained momentum in Chile as a result of the Chicago Boys. Milton Friedman and that group went down there and basically used the Pinochet regime as a type of petri dish to produce a whole series of policies….

We're talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs…

And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. These massive dislocations have also produced serious mental health crises. We are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity.

One segment of society that has suffered mightily and found no relief for the resulting demons invading their psyche are the military personnel who are sent to kill or be killed in the battlefield for world domination. 

I’m speaking of the military and their families that were sent first to Afghanistan to kill goat herders in retaliation for the “9-11” attacks on a deregulated financial center located in the World Trade Center, then the expanded wars for profit in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine, Egypt and all across the world. 

The brave, selfless citizen soldiers are discarded like broken toys when the ruling class no longer makes a profit off them.  Suicide rates are extremely high in the ABC’s of Armageddon.  For Example:


            From CNN

Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher….

Who wasn't counted?

People like Levi Derby, who hanged himself in his grandfather's garage in Illinois on April 5, 2007. He was haunted, says his mother, Judy Casper, by an Afghan child's death. He had handed the girl a bottle of water, and when she came forward to take it, she stepped on a land mine.

When Derby returned home, he locked himself in a motel room for days. Casper saw a vacant stare in her son's eyes. A while later, Derby was called up for a tour of Iraq. He didn't want to kill again. He went AWOL and finally agreed to an "other than honorable" discharge…

Who else might not be counted?

A homeless person who has no one who can vouch that he or she is a veteran, or others whose families don't want to divulge a suicide because of the stigma associated with mental illness; they may pressure a state coroner to not list the death as suicide

If a veteran intentionally crashes a car or dies of a drug overdose and leaves no note, that death may not be counted as suicide.

An investigation by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper last year revealed an alarmingly high percentage of veterans who died in this manner in Texas, a state that did not send in data for the VA report….

Nikkolas Lookabill had been home about four months from Iraq when he was shot to death by police in Vancouver, Washington, in September 2010. The prosecutor's office said Lookabill told officers "he wanted them to shoot him." The case is one of many considered "suicide by cop" and not counted in suicide data.

Carri Leigh Goodwin enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2007. She said she was raped by a fellow Marine at Camp Pendleton and eventually was forced out of the Corps with a personality disorder diagnosis. She did not tell her family that she was raped or that she had thought about suicide. She also did not tell them she was taking Zoloft, a drug prescribed for anxiety.

Her father, Gary Noling, noticed that Goodwin was drinking heavily when she returned home. Five days later, she went drinking with her sister, who left her intoxicated in a parked car. The Zoloft interacted with the alcohol, and she died in the back seat of the car. Her blood alcohol content was six times the legal limit.


From BBC:

More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan over the same period….

Some of the soldiers' families say the men did not get enough support. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said every suicide was a "tragedy"….

Seven serving soldiers have been confirmed as having killed themselves last year, and inquests are pending for a further 14 deaths where suicide is suspected.

The British government, unlike its American counterpart, does not record the suicide rate among ex-soldiers.

But Panorama has independently established that at least 29 veterans took their own lives in 2012….

One serving soldier who killed himself was L/Sgt Dan Collins, who had fought in Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2009.

Deana Collins, the mother of L/Sgt Collins, said her son was a "victim of war"…

L/Sgt Collins, a Welsh Guardsman, twice survived being shot and was blown off his feet by a roadside bomb….. His friend, L/Cpl Dane Elson, was blown to pieces just yards away from him.  … Collins's mother Deana had noticed a difference in her son during his time in Afghanistan….

"The phone calls changed and I remember him telling me, 'Mum, this place is hell on earth and I just want to get out of here'," she said….  After 10 months of intermittent treatment, the Army told L/Sgt Collins he had recovered and would soon be ready to return to duty…  Over the next three months, he twice tried to kill himself…

He recorded a farewell video on his phone and then hanged himself. He was 29.


From CBC:

The recent deaths of two Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan have renewed public debate about how to deal with military suicides. But veterans advocates say that the data collected by the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada on how many active and retired army personnel have committed suicide is incomplete, and makes it difficult to help soldiers who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) has confirmed that two soldiers died in the past week.  Corporal Alain Lacasse, 43, of Valcartier, Que., was found dead in his home on March 17. Police said it was a suicide.

Master Cpl. Tyson Washburn, 37, of Pembroke, Ont., was found dead on March 15. Officials aren't releasing details about his death, but CBC News has learned Washburn appears to have taken his own life….

There has been a spate of soldier suicides in recent months, including three in the span of three days in November.

Three more soldiers died in January. On Jan. 3, Cpl. Adam Eckhardt, a native of Trenton, Ont. who was based with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at CFB Suffield in Alberta, was found dead…

Alain Lacasse, 43, served six tours of duty including two in Bosnia and one in Afghanistan. He was found dead in his home in Valcartier, Que., on March 17. (Facebook)

On Jan. 8, Cpl. Camilo Sanhueza-Martinez, a member of The Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment based in Kingston, Ont., who had fought in Afghanistan, was found dead.

On Jan. 16, Lt.-Col. Stephane Beauchemin, a 22-year veteran who had been deployed to Haiti and Bosnia, died in Limoges, Ont, a small town east of Ottawa.

The deaths of Master Cpl. Washburn and Cpl. Lacasse bring the number of confirmed suicides of Canadian soldiers in 2014 to five.

The difficulty of getting accurate numbers

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has published figures on soldier suicides up to and including 2012. The numbers show there were 10 suicides in 2012, 21 in 2011 and 12 in 2010.  Poulin says the figures published by the CAF are incomplete…

The ABC’s of Armageddon have nothing but disdain for the military lives that are lost and destroyed, especially if they cut into their war profits.  As Henry Giroux stated in his interview in Truth-out:

We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class…

Dismantling of the welfare state and privatization of public services and public assets are essential for unending war for the ruling class of the ABC’s of Armageddon.  They care not about the suffering their trillion dollar wars cause across the world, because there’s gold in them thar hills. 



Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker  quoting a Reuters investigation that reveals that $8.5 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for…

While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty the highest amount in nearly two decades – Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are “too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse.


Tales of “profligate” Greece, with its population living beyond their means, have long been central to the British and other European governments’ insistence on austerity. “Take the medicine, or you will end up like Athens” is the mantra.

Naturally, nothing is said of the criminal policies of the ruling elite in Europe, involving huge bailouts to the banks that have reduced working people in Greece to penury….

Described privately by some Conservatives as a “moment of maximum pain,” Osborne set out measures that will plunge millions of workers and youth further into economic insecurity and poverty.

Welfare cuts are intended to raise £34.9 billion…   Working age benefits, including tax credits introduced by Labour as a means of subsidising low pay, are to be frozen, reduced and/or phased out. The government pledged to slash the numbers eligible for one or another benefit from nine out of ten people in 2010, to just half.

Tax credits and universal credits will be restricted to the first two children in a family. From April 2017, those with larger families will receive no extra help.

Only last week, the government changed the measure through which child poverty was calculated. This came after official figures revealed that 4.1 million children are in “absolute poverty”, an increase of 500,000 children (or 14 percent) in the lifetime of the coalition. Now, families with more than two children (12 percent of the total) are to be hit harder still.


From The Star

Unions, teachers, students and community groups have taken to the streets across Quebec this week to protest expected public service cuts as a provincial budget is set to be unveiled this spring.

A coalition of community groups was formed to oppose the government’s austerity measures, which they say will slash education, health care, youth and other programs across the province….

In December, Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said Quebec was on track to get rid of its $2.35-billion deficit by 2015-16.

To do so, the province announced it would cut $700 million in public service jobs, $300 million in payments to municipalities and $200 million to the health-care system, as well as raise some fees.

So the ABC’s of Armageddon are slashing a swath across every democratic institution vital to the health, safety and wellbeing of their people in order to fund a war based economy.  And as Henry Giroux put it in the Truth-out article, they have no remorse.

What shocks me about neoliberalism in all of its forms is how utterly unapologetic it is about the misery it produces. And it is unapologetic not just in that it is indifferent to the violence it causes, but it also blames the very victims that suffer under these policies.

The heroine epidemic is part of these conservative neoliberal policies.  First pharmaceutical companies flood the market with drugs to control ADD in the schools and over prescribe medications like OxyContin and opiate based pain medications to relieve suffering.  Next the ruling class enacts laws restricting dispensing of the pain medication that results in a shortages and opens up a lucrative, illegal black market for cheaper substitutes like heroine.  From CNN:


Back in the 1960s, heroin users were usually young men, who started using around an average age of 16. They were most likely from low-income neighborhoods, and when they turned to opiates, heroin was their first choice.

Now, more than 50 years later, a study from JAMA paints a very different picture.

Today's typical heroin addict starts using at 23, is more likely to live in the affluent suburbs and was likely unwittingly led to heroin through painkillers prescribed by his or her doctor.

While heroin is illicit and opioid pills such as oxycontin are FDA-approved, each is derived from the poppy plant. Their chemical structures are highly similar and they bind to the same group of receptors in the brain. (A few opioids, like fentanyl, are totally synthetic but designed to bind with those same receptors).

In any case, the various drugs produce the same result: an increase in pain tolerance and a sense of euphoria, along with drowsiness, occasional nausea and, at higher doses, a slowing of the user's breathing.

All these drugs trigger "tolerance" -- the need to take higher doses for the same effect -- and a craving for the drug in its absence.

It is precisely because there are so many similarities that pain pill addicts frequently turn to heroin when pills are no longer available to them.

Heroin is usually cheaper than prescription drugs. Opiate pain medications cost the uninsured about $1 per milligram; so a 60-milligram pill will cost $60. You can obtain the equivalent amount of heroin for about one-tenth the price…

Last year, the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte spent time trying to better understand the patients who were coming into detox for heroin. What they found were cops, lawyers, nurses and ministers who came from some of the best neighborhoods in the area.

Most of them shared a common story: "We used to take pills, but now we inject heroin."

Those are the human costs of the ABC’s of Armageddon’s conservative ideology of starving the beast.  For the ABC’s of Armageddon, the pain and suffering is nonexistent in their ivory towers.  They could care less about the horrors of a war based economy that leaves nothing but waste and devastation in its wake, because for them if they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. 

By Patricia Baeten.

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