Monday, September 4, 2017

We're Voluntarily Heading to the Brave New World


Below is my response to a forwarded, satirical email from a dear friend.  In that piece of satire, a caller is ordering a pizza from what turns out to be "Google Pizza" instead of "Gordon's Pizza" .  As the conversation proceeds, the customer is amazed to discover that the business knows the caller's pizza-ordering history, medical history, finances, etc., etc.  The header of the forwarded email is:
"This could be where things are heading.
                                                                      .... Partially there now?"
My response has been edited for this venue...in particular, the last four paragraphs have been added.
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We're probably HALFWAY (or more) there already.  Plus, people who have this small electronic tower (I think one is called Alexa, or something) in their homes that they request things of, and that listens to the household even when it's turned off, are flat-out crazy...or maybe merely not thinking clearly.  

Employees at some company recently agreed to have electronic chips embedded in their hands (or maybe some other part of the body...can't remember).  There certainly are some advantages to having "chipped" humans (e.g., opening restricted doors, finding lost kids, kidnapped people, etc,), but the dangers far outweigh the benefits. Imagine what an errant gov't or company could do with such tools.

How people cannot see the danger of these things is completely beyond me.  We seem to be voluntarily heading into the Brave New World.  All because these gizmos supposedly make life "easier" & "more convenient".  The whole thing is just plain nuts... chips in humans, SMART HVAC systems, SMART household appliances, SMART cars, SMART anything, including---Hello--- SMART phones.  They're all hackable, by individuals or by institutions public and private.  Privacy not only is at risk, but privacy also is starting to be treated as some sort of anti-social sin.  The former is bad enough, but the latter is even more dangerous.

The Corporatists---the Powers-That-Be---want to eliminate privacy as much as humanly possible.  They appear to believe that's a very good thing.  As a corollary, it seems they want people who seek solitude to be thought of as anti-social (in a harmful way), off-kilter, perhaps even mentally ill or dangerous.  The Corporatocracy is working toward having us all in a closely-watched herd, or a series of such herds...because herds are easier to manage than free-thinking individuals.  In a still relatively free society such as ours, the Powers-That-Be can't rely on massive brute force to control us, so instead, they use Edward Bernays style Propaganda--- molding the public mind--- and maximum surveillance.  History shows those have been very effective.

All the above must be peacefully resisted if we are to retain any semblance of freedom.  Protect your privacy as much as possible.  Avoid "tracking" of your activities whenever possible.  Speak up against the War on Cash (the War on Un-tracked Transactions).  Avoid surveillance whenever possible.  Gov't AND Big Biz have no business whatsoever in tracking our activities unless we are suspects in a crime.  But they have adopted the attitude that everyone should be tracked and/or surveilled.  That's a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.  According to the Fourth, the people are to be "secure in their persons, houses, PAPERS and EFFECTS" (emphasis added) unless there's "probable cause" and a properly obtained, specific, and signed Warrant.  The NSA hasn't observed that in decades...and the Big Boys in the Telecom Industry have assisted the NSA in constantly recording our emails & phone calls...1.5 billion emails per day are recorded in the USA.  The Snowden documents revealed that the NSA has a program (can't recall the name of it) the goal of which is to record "everyone, everywhere".

At times, a few "Conservatives" have said to me, "If you're not doing anything illegal, why should you care?  What do you have to hide?"  Are you kidding me?  1. What the NSA is doing in that regard is unconstitutional, and thus illegal.  2. No one needs to justify wanting & protecting privacy...it's a Natural Right.  3. There's a definite danger in relinquishing your privacy; the info obtained easily can be used against anyone who is a critic of the Gov't (or some Mega Company), especially by any rogue element within the Gov't (or Corporation)...and you would most likely never know who did the deed that ruined your life.  And all that could happen to individuals who never broke the Law.

Do I really have to remind everyone of McCarthyism?  Why in the world do you think the Fourth Amendment was created...perhaps to protect you from an errant Gov't?  Hello.  It slays me that "Conservatives" rail against "Big Government", and yet for the most part, fully support the massive NSA---many, many times larger than the CIA---and its illegal, unconstitutional activities (I'm not saying all their activities are such).  Do you support the Constitution, or not?  You can't have it both ways and still be ethically consistent...or even make any common sense.
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Not only my opinion.  Happy Trails

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Impeach the Fake President


Below is a copy of the bulk of an email I sent to my New Mexico Congressman, Representative Lujan.
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Whenever possible & appropriate, I hope you will share the following with your colleagues.
1.  I'm not a Democrat or a Republican, but I've been keenly observing American politics since 1956 (1956 is not a typo)... for about 15 years now as an Independent.
2.  Trump has violated the Constitution at least twice... emoluments, and bombing without approval from Congress... not only the Syrian airfield, but elsewhere as well.  [The fact that other Presidents have taken similar actions does not mean that Trump's actions are legal.  The War Powers Act does not supercede the Constitution.]
3.  He has violated NEPA (Nat'l Environmental Policy Act) at least once.  [Environmental regulatory compliance is one of my areas of expertise.] The DAPL Project requires an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement); there's no question at all about that.  Immediately prior to Trump taking office, the Army had filed an NOI (Notice of Intent) to complete the EIS ; in February, they cancelled that NOI, and later, Trump bragged about closing his eyes & just signing it (the authorization for DAPL).  He did so without a NEPA-required EIS in place.  In short, he violated the Law.
4.  He has made us a laughingstock throughout the world.
5.  His conflicts of interest are beyond belief.
6.  Republicans in Congress are starting to desert him.
7.  It's time to get serious about the Articles of Impeachment that already have been introduced.
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Egregious Corporate News Media re N. Korea, and Elitism in the USA


I've heard/seen almost nothing from the Corporate Media about the "diplomatic efforts" regarding the situation with N. Korea.  Instead, all we hear are the war drums.  Where are the details of the very recent Asian Summit held because of this crisis?  Rexxon Mobilson claims that N. Korea has rejected diplomatic efforts.  Details, please.  What have we rejected diplomatically?  I suspect that N. Korea again offered to curb its nuke weapons program if the U.S. would lift sanctions and cease the war games/exercises off the coast of that totalitarian regime.  I also suspect that our Executive Branch replied, no deal.  Unfortunately, we don't know...because the Corporate Media have glossed over the diplomatic side of the story.

The question arises:  why would they do that?  Could it be that it's because Corporate News organizations either are owned by, or heavily influenced by, war contractors (referred to as "defense" contractors since the end of WW II)?  For example, not too long ago, GE---a major war contractor---owned NBC outright.  Now it's a bit murkier...because GE and Comcast formed some sort of joint venture to share ownership, and then there was a merger in some way or another.  Could it be that it's because Corporate News organizations are doing what they've done just prior to all recent major wars---which is: promoting war---in order to increase the number of their viewers and thus their ad revenues?

Whatever the case, they are doing what the late Edward Bernays described as "molding the public mind".  War is good for a failing economy, and a great distraction from things such as the gross income inequality in this country, the ongoing theft by Wall Street & Mega Banks, the nefarious activities of some politicians, and the fact that 50% of working adults in the USA make $30K or less per year.  As Machiavelli knew, perpetual war is the best way to control a population, serve the Rich, and keep the Elites in Power.
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I would venture to guess that about 99% of all elected DC politicians in office are millionaires, or if they're new, on their way to being so.  It has only been fairly recently that they finally passed a law that forbids members of Congress to avail themselves of the benefits of insider trading on Wall Street.  The other perks available to these Congress people are quite substantial.

When newbies come to Congress, each Party tells them flat-out that their number one priority is to raise re-election campaign money.  Everything else is secondary.  That's especially crucial for the House of Reps people; two years isn't much time.  They have to maintain the illusion of one "Party" battling the other.  That "battle" distracts the People from the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.

There was a time when genuine differences did exist between Dems & Repubs.  The Dems WERE Populists; and the Repubs (except for a few) really did THINK that they were Populists...especially for small business interests (which employed 80% or more of us).  That scenario is long gone.  Now (with few exceptions) they're all for the Super-Rich, the Mega Banks, & other Mega Corps.  So, in my opinion, the high-level Dems of today believe that Populism is for suckers as far as they're concerned.  What they're after is phony Populism, just like the Repubs...because that ensures the continuation of the transfer of wealth, while at the same time placating We the People...who are the real suckers.

Plain and simple:  this is a battle between the Super-Rich and the rest of us.  And most importantly--- at the highest levels, the Dems & Repubs are on the same team...and it's not ours.  They are securing the future for the Super-Rich, themselves & their families, and no one else...and at the cost of everyone else.  To me, that's so obvious that it's excruciatingly painful.

From the beginning of the so-called Two-Party System all the way to the present day, the higher-ups of both Parties (with very few exceptions) have all been Elites/Oligarchs.  A few of them often helped the Common Man, but very, very few.  Even before the Two-Party System, all our Founders were Elites; once the USA was founded, all the 1st politicians were Elites.  Our entire political system is based on Elitism.  It took me decades to realize that.  It certainly isn't taught in school...quite the opposite.

I firmly believe if we ever are to break out of this tilted-toward-the-Rich system, the first two steps have to be:
1.  stop drinking the Edward Bernays style Propaganda Kool Aid coming from the Repubs AND the Dems; and,
2.  shun and/or get rid of the Elitist Two-Party System.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Republicans, Democrats, Trump, Elections, and North Korea


Below is my Reply to an email from a friend.  His email contained a link to an article by Thom Hartmann, the author, pundit, and Talk Show host.  Hartmann detailed various illegal methods that Republicans have employed over the years in order to get elected.  [Hartmann often has some great points, but his flaw (in my opinion) is that he almost always puts 99.9999% of the blame for our troubles on the Republicans.  Very rarely does he ever recognize the role of Democrats in those troubles.]  Plus, my friend opined that if Dems had been elected instead, a whole slew of things would be so much better.  My Reply has been edited a bit for this venue.
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Hartmann and his long-time false paradigm of Repub v. Dem; sorry, I don't agree.  Regardless of illegalities by Repubs, the Dems are no better.  Carter was elected strictly because of the backdoor doings of the Globalist Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller's and Brzezinski's Think Tank)...he was their choice, a guy who basically came out of nowhere.  They published their 1st book-length report just prior to his term:  The Crisis of Democracy...written by so-called "Liberals".  Their conclusion essentially was that the "Crisis" was this:  America has too much democracy...and that something had to be done about it in order to preserve the Meritocracy.  ["Meritocracy" is code for Oligarchy.  Originally, the term meant Rule not only by those of merit, but also Rule by aristocrats...or their puppets.]

After Carter came Corporatist Clinton...enough said.

Then came the wolf in sheep's clothing, Obama.  Enough said.

Now the Corporatist Schumer is one of the top Dems.  He's the go-to guy for Wall Street election campaign money.

Going way back to 1960, there even are serious questions about JFK's election---shenanigans in Illinois by Richard J. Daley & Crew.

No-sir, blaming only Repubs doesn't work for me.  They are only half the problem.  There's only one major Party in the USA---the Corporatist Party.  It has two branches, and they differ only on some social hot-button issues.  When it comes to economic, monetary, fiscal, financialization, war, and Corporatist matters, they are essentially the same.  Hartmann needs to wake up to that fact.

And so it goes.
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The following was not in my email response.

Trump should consider writing a new book:  "The Art of the Failure".  He's made us a laughingstock in the world.  He can't decide who he really wants working for him in the West Wing.  [He keeps replacing people who not long ago were, according to him, "fantastic", "great", "wonderful", etc.]  He can't stand (or work with) the Republican Top Dogs, and they can't stand him either.  He has violated the Constitution at least twice.  He has broken Laws that are on the books.  He continues to refuse to be transparent regarding his finances, taxes, and conflicts of interest.  He has zero diplomacy in his actions.  He continues to beat the war drums; although, so do most of the politicians in DC.  His past lies continue to surface, such as, "I'll be the best friend that the LBG community ever has had..." (paraphrased, I can't remember the exact quote), and "Mexico will pay for the Wall, guaranteed..." (paraphrased).  He has alienated several of our Allies.  He has yet (as of tonight, Saturday, 7-29-17) to get a major piece of legislation through Congress...even though Repubs are a majority in both Houses.  He has yet to fill dozens & dozens of high-level positions in our Gov't; many of them are in the State Department.  That puts us all at risk.  And on & on.
OR---
All the above merely is his GASLIGHTING, in order to distract us from his political incompetence and, more importantly, from his real goal--- to make gobs of money from the Presidency...which is not an unheard of thing in American politics.

Side note, or questions regarding North Korea---
1.  Does the U.S. Gov't have nuclear weapons that can reach N. Korea?
2.  Does Trump appear to be a stable person? 
3.  Is he the one who can order the launch of nukes?
4.  Has the Trump Administration threatened N. Korea in any way?
5.  Given what I think are the obvious answers to those questions, is it any wonder that N. Korea wants nukes that can reach the USA?
And finally---
6.  Where are the political Statesmen in the present Administration???

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Economic and Financial Crash is Just Around the Corner


Best guess--- The Crash probably will be anytime before the end of next year.  No one can predict exactly when.

Today I saw an ad for blue jeans; the price of the britches---$60.


In 1961, similar jeans were $3.95...I know because I remember buying a pair for that price in Ft. Collins, Colorado while I was a student at Colorado State U.  [You remember the damnedest things when you get old:]  So, about four dollars versus sixty dollars; to me, that's hyperinflation...it's already here.  It may be a bit anomalous for hyperinflation because of the long span of time involved, but nevertheless, it seems to me it IS the beast.

Decades of monetary policy from the Fed Reserve have reduced the value of the Dollar from 100 cents in 1913 to about 3 or 4 cents today.  They've purposely debased/devalued the Dollar in order to be able to afford the interest payment on our massive National Debt (ever since that Debt doubled or tripled---can't remember which---during the Reagan years).  They can pay it with ever cheaper dollars.  That's why the Fed is always shooting for 2% inflation... per year

Imagine what an ounce of gold would be worth if all the beaches of the world consisted of grains of gold instead of grains of sand.  Whenever the amount of some item is increased in the Market, the price/value of each unit of that item goes down.  Through institutionalized deficit spending, the Fed being the main purchaser of T-Bills (monetizing the Debt), and the horrendous QE for the last 8-9 years, the Fed has made the Dollar almost worthless...by creating huge amounts of it out of thin air.  That's why some jeans are $60 now.  That's why the Fed Budget is in the trillions instead of millions or the low billions.  The Dollar is worth less...a lot less.  One even might say that it's almost worthless.  Of course, the Propaganda from the Powers-That-Be says the Dollar is strong.  What that really means is:  it's the best of the worst.  It's the cleanest dirty shirt...and even that characterization is questionable.

The Gov't always can get more "money".  All it has to do is type digits in a computer.  That's what it does when the Fed Reserve buys Bonds/T-Bills.  Actual currency isn't printed up and handed to the Treasury by the Fed; the Fed simply types the amount onto its Balance Sheet.  It never will "run out".  The problem is that the world is fast losing faith in the value of the Dollar.  We all should be, too.  Countries are dumping the Dollar and bypassing the Dollar right & left.  Those Dollars then come home, which means more inflation, but this time it will be much faster than that from 1961 to the present.  International players such as the IMF and Bank of International Settlements already are looking into replacing the Dollar as the world's reserve currency.  Can you blame them?  I think not.

No politician can stop this...it's too late.  We'll survive, but the cost of that survival & recovery will be high.

Don't believe the Elites' current Propaganda.  They're telling bald-faced lies because they're afraid the truth would result in massive panic...including a monumental exodus of capital from the USA.  [To those who think the public & private Powers-That-Be never would lie about such things---please, are you kidding me?  History says otherwise.]

Be Prepared (see previous posts), and Hang in There
p.s.  Your degree of comfort during the real recovery will depend upon your degree of preparation.  And, no, you don't need a bunker & hand grenades; there won't be a massive Mad Max scenario.  The Powers-That-Be would institute Martial Law on a monumental scale before allowing that to happen.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump's Violation of NEPA-SEPA Laws-Rules


Preface---
Formerly I've been an independent environmental regulatory compliance consultant to businesses.  In that capacity (and others) I became very familiar with the various National and State environmental laws and regulations.  In addition, I did the research for and wrote a number of EISs (Environmental Impact Statements, which are required by Law for many projects) for some clients.  Because of that, I became well versed in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)---a Law passed during the Nixon years---and a few different SEPAs (State Environmental Policy Acts).
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A couple days ago, I came across an article with a link to a page in the Federal Register dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)...specifically, a Notice of Intent (NOI) stating the Army would be doing an EIS in relation to the Pipeline.  That NOI was published in January of this year.  I was a bit surprised because I had seen no indication of such an EIS all this year.  [Because this whole thing is in my field, I keep my eyes peeled for EISs on huge, major projects.]  I did another Search...no luck.  I then contacted (by email) the Army's Corps of Engineers Civil Projects section and asked to see a copy of the EIS in question...or, if there was none, why not?  Incredibly, I heard back within the hour.  Here's the body of the text/reply:
"Upon revaluation of the Dakota Access Pipeline project the U S Army terminated its intent to complete an EIS. This action was announced in the Federal Register in February 2017.".

The Army, as the Lead Agency, published the NOI on January 18, 2017...a couple days before Trump was sworn in as President.  Here's the link:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/18/2017-00937/notice-of-intent-to-prepare-an-environmental-impact-statement-in-connection-with-dakota-access-llcs
The easement for crossing the Missouri River at Lake Oahe is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The point being:  there's no doubt that the NEPA requirement for an EIS applies in this situation.  Sometime after Trump is sworn in as President, the Army publishes its EIS termination notice... in February.

Not long ago, I saw a News clip of Trump bragging how no one else had the guts to authorize DAPL.  "But I closed my eyes and just signed it.".  Yes, and here's what that means: 
you have violated the National Environmental Policy Act.  If the Fed Gov't issues a permit for a project of that size & potential impact (& owns the easement on which the project is located), and even if the project is completed by a private company, an EIS is required.  That's well established...there's no question about it.

SEPAs also require an EIS on major projects.  [If an EIS is completed under NEPA Rules, it fulfills any State requirement.]  North Dakota doesn't have a SEPA, but South Dakota does...and the DAPL goes through portions of both Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois.  It's a HUGE project with significant potential impacts.  For one thing, it crosses (or goes under) more than one major river.  There's no doubt at all that an EIS is required by Law.

I think the Standing Rock Tribe has filed a lawsuit over this very thing.  I hope so.  Trump is not above the Law; he just thinks he is.

It's not relevant to my point here if you are for or against fossil fuels, or for or against the Rights of Native Americans/Indigenous People/American Indians.  It's not even relevant if you believe the EIS requirement on major projects is a good or bad thing.  What's relevant is that the President has violated the Law.  He can't repeal a Law without Congress.  Perhaps the Corporate Media and the Democrats should stop beating to death the Russia distraction, and instead, concentrate on something solid...such as this scenario.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump Admin Wants to Kill Net Neutrality Rules


Ajit Pai, who originally was brought into the FCC by Obama and more recently was appointed as FCC Head Honcho by Trump, is planning to eliminate Net Neutrality Rules (referred to as NNR in the rest of this piece).  Pai has a credible background, but it should be noted that he did a two-year stint as a Verizon attorney.  He claims that the NNR are hurting Business interests, stifling job development, and that the Mega Internet Providers should be allowed to "voluntarily" comply with the spirit of the Rules.  Please...who in their right mind thinks that will work out in favor of the rest of us?

I don't have the time to detail all the reasons why NNR need to be retained forever, so if you're not already familiar with those reasons, do a Search for:  what killing net neutrality means for the internet.  Suffice it here to say that those Rules prevent the Mega Players from screwing over 99.9% of us relative to internet usage.  Killing the NNR would hurt us and benefit the Big Boys in the Internet Game.

Although the Oligarchs lost the last battle over this issue, it's obvious they haven't quit the war.  They never will.  That's because the internet is the greatest democratizing tool ever to exist...and they know that.  The Gaslighting Trump knows that, and the last thing billionaires want in a society is full participatory democracy.  As in the last battle over NNR, it again will take millions of citizens speaking out to overcome the Oligarchs' efforts to eliminate these protections.  On Wednesday, July 12, you'll see all kinds of postings on the Web showing you how to have your voice heard.  Please participate.  If you don't, it's pretty much guaranteed that:  the cost of internet usage will increase; there will be "slow lanes"; some sites will be "throttled"; smaller ISPs will be hurt; and outfits such as Comcast and Verizon will be the BIG winners.  There will be censorship on items/ideas that never should be censored.

To those of you who still support the Corporatists in the Executive Branch (or anywhere else), this issue further demonstrates that their beliefs & policies definitely do not favor the everyday citizen.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well