FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Xmas Games for a Gitmo World

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

Looking for a last minute gift idea for someone who is hard to shop for?

How about a chance to wreck the nation?

That’s the idea behind a wacky political board game dreamed up by two California women who watched as Bush and the Republican Congress ran the country into a fiscal hole and started several interminable wars financed on credit and decided to do something about it.

Thinking that what they were watching happen was akin to Monopoly in reverse, they developed their game, where the winner is the one who can destroy the county by a combination of wars, tax cuts for the rich and outrageous budgets for military production, pork-barrel projects and corruption.

Players pick a token representing a politician beholden to one of four special interests, like defense contractor or the oil industry, and move around the board to a pair of thrown dice, plundering the public treasury along the way and trying to spend their $1-trillion share of the national budget.

“The way it works is you pick up fact-based cards along the way-all based upon things that Bush and Congress have really done,” says Jennifer McGlynn, one of the co-creaters of Wreck the Nation (they also had consulting help from McGlynn’s 12-year-old son). “Although an article in the Chicago Tribune called Wreck the Nation one of the 20 coolest board games, we haven’t made it into Toys `R’ Us,” says McGlynn, “and I suspect we never will. The game is just too anti-Bush.”

It’s also probably too educational. As an added bonus, when players pick up one of the game’s revenue cards, homeland security cards or expenditure cards, they can go to a website and punch in the numbers on that card to find out the true facts behind what the card tells them to do.

A typical card is this one from the Homeland Security deck, which reads, “Supreme Court rules you cannot designate terror suspects `enemy combatants,’ declare them outside the US legal system, and imprison them forever at Guantanamo Bay.” Go to the website (www.wreckthenation.com) and enter the code. This takes the player to a web page that says:

After the tragic events of 9/11, 660 men from 42 different countries were rounded up as suspected members of Al Qaeda & other terrorist networks and sent to a makeshift prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

As “enemy combatants,” these prisoners are considered outside of the U.S. legal system and can be held indefinitely WITHOUT TRIAL until hostilities in the “war on terror” are concluded. Or at least, this was what the Bush administration originally intended when the majority of these men were captured back in 2001 & 2002. There have been numerous court cases brought on behalf of Guantanamo prisoners arguing that they can not be held indefinitely without the opportunity to refute accusations and suspicions against them. The result of a June 2004 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court h confirmed Guantanamo prisoners’ right to challenge their detention in the U.S. legal system. To circumvent this ruling, the Bush administration established Combatant Status Review Tribunals in July 2004 to decide whether a prisoner is rightfully detained and imprisoned as an “enemy combatant.” In February of 2005, a federal court ruled the Tribunals are illegal because the Tribunals insufficiently address the rights of a detainee to a fair trial.

As of February 2005, 5 men have been released without charges from Guantanamo Bay and over 100 of the original 660 prisoners have been handed over to other countries for further incarceration and interrogation.

As of February 2005, there are still 550 men imprisoned on the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. They have been waiting for meaningful legal recourse in regards to their imprisonment for over 3 years.

Not bad for a game rated “12 and older.”

The same card entitles the holder to “Declare war against civil rights and civil liberties.” This requires the player to flip another spinner three times. Each time the spinner lands on the category “Civil Liberties” (other choices are Democrats, American Workers, Choice, Pick a Country, etc.), the player pays out $25 billion.

McGlynn, a Democrat, and her partner and co-creater Julia Carson, a Republican, are both Bush haters, says McGlynn. Carson’s husband, a veteran, just returned from a tour in Iraq, so the war’s not popular with either of them.

I asked McGlynn why she and Carson had opted for such a retro idea as a board game, instead of going with the times and producing an electronic version.

“The problem with video games is that it’s just one or two people sitting in front of a screen playing silently,” she said. “The idea with Wreck the Nation is to have a bunch of people sitting around a table talking politics.”

What a novel idea!

My favorite part of the game is media monopoly. If a player lands on a media square-a TV or radio station or a newspaper-she or he can buy it. Buy three markets that are adjacent and you have a media monopoly. Or buy all three of any one media on the board and have a monopoly. Either way, if you have a monopoly, which allows you to take advantage of certain cards. For example, one Expenditure card, useable only if the player has a media monopoly, says, “Discredit an opponent’s revelation that before 9/11, your Counter-Terrorism Chief repeatedly warned you al Qaeda, not Iraq, was the real threat. Use this card at the time of your choosing to send your opponent to any space on the board.” Another Revenue card that can only be used by someone holding a media monopoly says, “To discredit your opponent, launch the new group Slow Boat Veterans for Monkey Business. Use this card at the time of your choosing to send your opponent to any space on the board.”

Wreck the Nation also has a poll spinner. If the needle lands on “Small gain in the polls” the player spends $15 billion (remember, the object of the game is to spend all the nation’s money in your possession faster than any of the other players).

One way to lose money fast is to land on one of the black “Gouge the Government” squares. Then you get to shake the special dice in a little black “Gouge the Government” cup. Add up the total of three throws of the dice and you get to spend that many billions of dollars.

My recommendation: A great gift for you child’s classroom, or maybe for that annoying uncle who still has a Bush/Cheney ’04 bumper sticker on his SUV.

This game is available at www.wreckthenation.com

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail