Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Congratulations

Someone in DC finally stated the obvious.  "Washington is not working for hardworking Middle Class families."  ~ Senator Elizabeth Warren.  It's significant that Warren, a Democrat, did not say, "Republicans are not working for...".  Her statement was totally nonpartisan.  She also went on to say, "The system is rigged."...and, "The large banks are now 38% larger than they were before the Bailout."...and, "They have not been held to account."...and more.  Congratulations to us, the People...we finally have at least one honest, national politician.  I predict that she'll be smeared, or marginalized, or both.  I hope I'm wrong.

It should be glaringly apparent that "voting" (in the present corrupt system) is not going to save us.  Ever since I took a keen interest in American politics (in 1956, Mr. Benson's American Government Class, Highland Park High, Highland Park, Illinois), I've watched our Fed Gov't, our society, and our country proceed on a steady downhill slide.  During the time from then to now, there have been periods when the Republicans were in the majority in our Gov't, and times when the Democrats were in the majority, and even times when the power was more or less evenly split.  Throughout it all, the downhill slide remained fairly steady.  Corruption grew, the Fed Gov't threw off its Constitutional restraints, the rich became the super-rich, poverty grew, the Middle Class continued to shrink, the Fed Gov't expanded and became more intrusive, unconstitutional wars became the norm, and politics became more and more about money.  It didn't matter whether Republicans or Democrats held the majority power.

On average, only about 50% (sometimes as high as 60%) of eligible voters actually bother to vote in any USA national election.  Before I became a nonvoter, I thought such people were lazy, or didn't care, etc.  For some time now, I've believed that the paragraphs above describe the real reason for people not voting.  The Game is rigged.  James Madison once stated something to the effect that there will come a time when our Republic will be in grave danger because wealth will be concentrated in the pockets of the very few.  We're in that era now.  He went on to say that it will be up to the People to change our laws if we are to remain a free, prosperous country.  Glenn Greenwald (a former Constitutional attorney and now a dissident independent journalist), Noam Chomsky, and others have explained very clearly how The Law is used to rig the Game.  [See YouTube.]

Who writes our laws?  Many, if not most, Legislative Bills are written by lobbyists...and then hawked to Representatives and Senators.  [A cabal of Fat-Cat Bankers wrote the Bill that became the Fed Reserve Act.]  Who determines Fed Gov't policies?  Let's take Hank Paulson as an example...net worth in 2012, over $700 million.  He came from Goldman Sachs (the world's largest investment bank)...he was the Head Honcho, salary---$40 million per year.  Both Dubya Bush and Obama had him as Secretary of the Treasury.  [Apparently the concept of a conflict of interest no longer exists in DC.  Just because he liquidated his Goldman Sachs assets doesn't mean he had zero conflict of interest.  By the way, because of an obscure tax loophole for the rich, he was able to avoid $200 million in capital gains taxes on those assets by going to work for the Feds...in case you're wondering why he would go from a salary of $40 million to one of $183,000 & change.]  During the financial crisis of 2008, "Too Big to Fail", Paulson tells Congress that we have to give billions to the big banks, including of course, Goldman Sachs.  He said our entire economic system would collapse otherwise...a complete fairy tale.  Bernanke and Paulson also decided that about $13 TRILLION in loans must be made available to the Big Banks...at POINT 25 (.25) % interest.  That whole scenario was the greatest heist in American history.  The legislative "reforms" since then are nothing but window dressing.  "Voting" will not solve this problem...at least, not until the system is unrigged.

So, what's to be done?  There are many good, peaceful options...none of them include the present bought-and-paid-for Republicans and Democrats.  [There are very, very few exceptions to that statement.]  That means the very first step is to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.  Until that happens, there's no point at all in even discussing the options.

Partly just my opinion.
Happy Trails

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Biggest Lie

Let's begin with the premise that what I'm about to say is a generality.  There are always exceptions (usually minor) to any general truism; however, exceptions don't disprove the overall general statement... if the general statement is true.  This one is true.  We also need to accept the premise that this piece is an essay, not a scholarly research paper.  Even though I've done the research, you won't find footnotes and a bibliography; they're simply too time-consuming.  You may take my word for the accuracy of the info, or not.  In either case, you certainly can do your own research... and you'll come to the same conclusions.

So, what is the biggest lie currently being told by Oligarchs in the Fed Gov't of the USA, the Corporate Media, and the advertising depts of mega corporations (Goldman Sachs is probably the most egregious offender in that last category)???  It's not that we're in a legitimate, constitutional "war" with someone.  No, that's not it, but that was a close second.  It's not that the fairly recent bailout of health insurance companies, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, improved health CARE in the U.S.  Nope, that's not it.  It's not that "inflation" is low and unemployment is decreasing.  Although those all are lies, not one of them is the biggest lie.

The biggest lie (in my estimation) is that the U.S. economy is slowly improving.  You see, when Oligarchs talk about the "economy", they're NOT talking about manufacturing, or jobs that have worth, or the expansion of the shrinking Middle Class, or an increase in the quality of life for the average American (which would be a reversal of the current situation).  No, no, no.  What they're talking about is this:  the incomes of the super-rich are continuing to increase, and the whole process of Financialization is causing the GDP to grow...while manufacturing and decent jobs for the "little people" continue to shrink.  That's the reality of our "improving" economy.  Financialization does not produce anything except wealth for insiders.  It's paper creation and paper shuffling.  The idea began to take hold in the '70s, grew tremendously in the '80s and '90s (helped by deregulation of financial institutions), and exploded in terms of growth since the Millenium.  AT THE SAME TIME, wages stagnated, manufacturing and jobs were exported, the Middle Class decreased in size, and oligarchical propaganda increased exponentially.  It all continues today.

Along with "the biggest lie" is the associated lie/propaganda that the super-rich "create jobs".  In general, that's simply not true; perhaps it was decades ago, but no longer.  In this day & age, they ship manufacturing & jobs to Third World countries or China, they buy companies here and downsize them, and they merge companies and downsize them.  They take some of their money and invest in bizarre financial instruments (securitized bundles) that are shuffled around by insiders and result in no production and no jobs.  Worse, they've turned our economy (such as it is) into a giant casino.

All of the above has happened because of the fraudulent politics of both Republicans and Democrats at the highest levels.  None of it is a "conspiracy".  It's simply due to the common interests and objectives of the Oligarchs, their short-sightedness, and their greed.  To them, it's just good business.  Making it all possible has been the Edward Bernays style propaganda with which we've been bombarded for well over half a century.  There's no question whatsoever that it has been wildly successful.  Union busting, unconstitutional wars, deregulation (especially of financial institutions), so-called Free Trade agreements, our China Trade Policy, mega corporation lobbyists, Legislative Absolutism, Executive Absolutism (including Executive Orders), Judicial changing of the Constitution in place of Amendments, the Fed Reserve manipulating our currency, fractional reserve banking, the WTO, the IMF, etc., etc., ad nauseum all have contributed to not only the marginalizing of our system of gov't, but also to the ruination of our economy.

There is a better way, but first we must stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.  Oligarchs rule this country; that's an axiom, accept it.  More axioms:  Republicans v. Democrats or "Conservatives" v. "Liberals" is a farce; Oligarchs choose, groom, and finance probably 99% of national political candidates; Oligarchs usually don't care who wins an election...they basically own any winner...through various means; the State-Corporate Complex essentially castrates or otherwise marginalizes any politician who isn't on board with the Oligarchs; the Game is rigged...and not in your favor; voting doesn't matter at all...there is no "lesser evil" anymore; those at the highest level in the Fed Gov't lie almost every day; those at the highest level in mega corporations lie every day; the Middle Class continues to shrink; we're rapidly moving to an economic Feudal Society; and finally, American politics is an utter fraud.

My best guess is that about 50% of our adult population already believes the above.  I'm guessing that the 25% fanatical "Conservatives" (which means Neoconservatives nowadays) and the 25% fanatical "Liberals" (both of whom are still in a dead political paradigm strictly because of propaganda) don't believe any of it...or at least, don't believe most of it.  Furthermore, they never will.  Myopic on their part.  The 50% of us who do believe it probably mostly feel that the situation is hopeless, that there's nothing significant to be done about it.  I no longer think that.  I now believe that it's possible to correct the situation with peaceful means...in big ways and in tiny ways.  Unfortunately, it will take a tremendous, sustained effort...over a significant time period.   Remember, no institutional system is carved in stone (so to speak).  One doesn't have to be a fanatic to contribute to the peaceful change of an institution; one only has to want something better and be willing to work toward it...to whatever degree with which you're comfortable.  As an East Indian activist once said, "...we be many, and they be few."...a big Amen to that.  :)

Partly just my opinion.
Happy Trails

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Biggest Foreign Enemy of the USA

This enemy dwarfs all other threats to our beloved country, and for that matter, the world.  Our Neoliberal Elites, both Democrats and Republicans, for the most part coddle this particular enemy.  [I'll illustrate below.]  In terms of a threat, this enemy makes Al Qaida look more akin to the Mafia than anything else.  [You have a better chance of being killed by lightning than by a terrorist; that's according to a statistical study done by someone...the source escapes me at the moment.]  In 2001, this enemy was allowed to join the Elitist, worldwide economic structure known as the WTO.  In the ten years following that event, 57,000 manufacturing facilities disappeared from the USA.  Literally millions of jobs were lost, along with tax revenues supporting a decent level of government services in cities and counties all over our country.

Yes, that's correct...the foreign enemy of which I speak is the totalitarian Gov't of Mainland China.  It's important to note that we're not talking about the Chinese people; they are victims of this most brutal regime.  With the possible exception of North Korea, Mainland China's Gov't is probably the most brutal on Earth.  In addition, because of the policies and actions of that regime, China is the most environmentally degraded country in existence.  Grossly polluted air, water, and soil are common throughout that land.

When Bill Clinton and the Republicans in Congress sold the idea of China being in the WTO to the American people, they claimed that not only would it create jobs in the USA, but that it also would democratize Mainland China.  We have had, and still have, a Trade policy regarding China that isn't only foolish...it's just plain stupid.  If not, then it's nefarious.  It benefits transnational, mega corporations...and no one else.  It fits right in with the dominant political and economic philosophy of Neoliberalism.  [See other posts on this Blog.]  China's fourth largest Trading partner is not a country...it's WalMart.

Mainland China uses weapons of mass job destruction against the USA... in particular, forced labor in many of their factories, child labor, State-subsidized exports, little to no expenditures for the protection of workers, no concern at all for economic "externalities" (such as environmental degradation, the prevention of which costs money), and manipulation of the value of their currency (the Yuan) to their distinct Trade advantage.  The result of all this is a huge China-USA Trade imbalance in favor of a brutal, totalitarian Gov't.  This is so-called "Free Trade" in action.  This is what is being promoted by the Elites in DC.

A number of experts in the documentary, Death by China (narrated by Martin Sheen), state that the best Jobs Program in the USA would be a total revision of our China Trade Policy.  It's common sense.  Our society is being destroyed by the current policy, by "Free Trade" in general, by Neoliberalism, and by both branches (Republican and Democrat) of the Mega Corporation Party...arguably the only major political party in the USA.  Other knowledgeable people in Death by China (which also is in book form) state that a society without a strong manufacturing base cannot sustain a viable Middle Class.  Without that, we're left with only the super-rich and the poor.

Small manufacturers cannot compete with the Big Boys anymore...because the Big Boys have moved out of the country to places where costs have been slashed to the bone.  Elites have made that possible, both Democrat and Republican Elites.  Our China Trade Policy is a perfect example.  We need Fair Trade with China, not "Free Trade".  By the way, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (should it be approved here) will make this whole scenario even worse.  Obama is pushing for the TPP with great enthusiasm...and is putting forth pretty much the same propaganda that Clinton and the Republicans did relative to China entering the WTO.

I know full well that sometimes it's extremely difficult to find a particular consumer good that is not made in China.  Nevertheless, the next time we're thinking about such a purchase, let's consider these facts---
1.  Many children in China work 12-hour days in factories.
2.  Prisoners (political and otherwise) make Chinese goods in various forced labor camps and prison manufacturing facilities.  No labor, no food.
3.  Mainland China now has "cancer villages", in which the soil is heavily contaminated with carcinogenic heavy metals...a result of no concern for "externalities".
4.  The organs of some political prisoners in China (as well as those of criminals) are harvested by Gov't doctors for sale on the Black Market in Shanghai.  There are confirmed reports that in some cases all the prisoner's organs are harvested...and then the body is cremated.
5.  Contaminated pet food from China has killed household pets here in the USA.
6.  Children's toys from China have been found to contain lead and other toxins.
7.  Various baby appliances/furniture from China have been found to be unsafe.
8.  If you attempt to organize workers at your workplace in China, you can be sent to prison.
9.  There are almost zero worker protections in Mainland China.
10.  China has been rapidly building up its military, with high-tech weapons.
11.  The Gov't of Mainland China definitely is not our friend, nor is it the friend of its own people.
12.  Not only are factories and jobs being shifted to China, so too is Research and Development, as well as intellectual property.
13.  Our China Trade Policy is responsible for the loss of millions of US jobs... thank you, DC Propagandists.
14.  The Gov't of Mainland China is a most brutal, totalitarian institution...and its Trade and manufacturing practices are illegal, immoral, and completely unfair.

Despite all the above, we Americans continue to buy goods Made in China.  Perhaps it's time to seriously re-think the matter.  Perhaps it's past time to hold Republican and Democrat policy-makers to account.  Perhaps it's time to boycott certain mega corporations.  [Most of them are headquartered in the USA, and have maybe 25,000 or more management-type employees (e.g., Apple Computer); unfortunately for our economy, though, they have hundreds of thousands of employees overseas.]

Sixty or so years ago, there was a much different Business Culture in this country.  The Elites in Business had concern for not only the present, but the future as well... the future of both the corporation and our society.  In recent times, the only concern appears to be for short-term profits...quarterly, not even yearly.  Many CEOs don't seem to plan to be around in the company for long...they're looking for that Golden Parachute in the short-term.  There appears to be very little concern for the future of either the corporation, its employees, or the American society.  This shabby attitude is masked by almost continuous propaganda of the Neoliberal variety... and we Americans have been, oh, so gullible.  I'm slightly encouraged by the observation that people seem to be awakening a bit from their slumber.

There is a better way, but first we have to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.

Partly just my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Addendum to: Signs That the Elites in Our Gov't Have Lost It

As reported on Democracy Now! ---

1.  The FBI has deemed Ryan Shapiro's PhD Dissertation on Animal Rights to be a threat to national security.  Ryan, an Animal Rights activist, is a PhD candidate at M.I.T.  He also has submitted more Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Feds than any other American.  Perhaps the tagging of his Dissertation was Gov't payback for all those FOIA requests...who knows.

2.  In 2006, Dubya Bush signed into law the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).  As a result, animal rights activists who go undercover into Big Ag factory farms and film deplorable conditions and gross mistreatment of livestock may be charged with terrorism.  Nonviolent, peaceful activists who stage sit-ins or lie-downs at such factory farms are not just practicing civil disobedience protests anymore; they may be charged with terrorism as well.

3.   The Feds have tagged the underground Animal Rights activists (not the out-in-the-open protesters) and the underground environmental protesters as the number one domestic terrorist threat.  So, if you break into, say, a fur farm at night and release all the critters, you're part of the number one terrorist threat in America.  Really?  Imagine if you stole an apple in the process.  Admittedly, a few of these eco-activists and animal rights activists who are clandestine have burned structures to the ground or otherwise damaged the property of Big Business in the past...but, the number one domestic terrorist threat?  I don't think so.  As far as I know, not one person has been injured as a result of their illegal actions.

4.  In the course of monitoring the peaceful "Occupy Houston" protest not too long ago, the FBI discovered a sniper plot against the leaders of that rally.  The FBI kept that fact from everyone.

5.  In a memo and a scenario similar to a portion of the old COINTELPRO, the FBI describes how peaceful Animal Rights activists can be neutralized by spreading false rumors that certain ones of them are FBI undercover agents.  More lies from the Fed Gov't.

6.  Ryan Shapiro (see number 1. above) is suing the NSA, FBI, and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) for their refusal to disclose the USA role in the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.  Shapiro also wants to know why the Gov't kept Mandela on the Terrorist Watch List until 2008... which is another indication of how the management of all this unwieldly "terrorism" info is really beyond the capability of the sprawling Fed Gov't.  The right hand often doesn't know what the left hand is doing.  I think there's a misconception amongst the public that the central government is one big monolith.  In reality, it's thousands of semi-autonomous institutions which often are competing for turf and funding.  The result is what you see today...some of it good, much of it miserably bad.

Partly just my opinion.    Be Well

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Signs That the Elites in Our Gov't Have Lost It (Edited 3-25-14)

1. It appears that the Executive Branch is spying on the Legislative Branch because the latter is investigating the former for alleged acts of torture.

2. James Clapper, the Head of Intelligence, lied before Congress...which is a felony in this country.  There are no consequences suffered by Mr. Clapper.

3. President Obama marks terrorist suspects in various countries for death by assassination.  "Collateral damage" (the death and maiming of innocent civilians) continues---about 1400 in Pakistan so far--- despite White House claims of "precision" and "minimal loss of innocent civilians".

4. Various sections of the Constitution (e.g., the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, Article II Section 2, in fact---all of Article II, which is the portion dealing with the Executive Branch, and others) now mean pretty much whatever the Gov't desires them to mean.  [This is not unique to the Obama Gang...other White House Gangs have been just as guilty; so too have various Legislative and Judicial Gangs.]

5. Russia is being criticized and punished for violating International Law.  You see, when they do it, it's a crime.  When the US Gov't does it, it's "spreading democracy" or "a humanitarian mission"... or "in the interests of the security of the USA".  The US Elites never commit crimes; everyone knows that.  That's because US Elites are, you know, "exceptional", "special", and beyond question as to morality.  Besides, they have the biggest guns.  Apparently, might makes Right.

6.  It would seem, according to the actions of the US Gov't, that the Pakistani People have no sovereignty.  Their Gov't has asked the US Gov't to stop launching Hellfire missiles onto their territory.  The US essentially has said:  Frack You.  It would seem that the Big Bully US Gov't gets to decide who has sovereignty and who doesn't.  This whole scenario, of course, is not a crime...because US Elites are ordering it.

7. For decades, the US Gov't has done what it can to oppose the peace process in the Middle East.  That continues today.  I say that because the only acceptable proposals (in the Elites' eyes) are those made by the US and Israel.  Even though the overwhelming majority of people in the world believe that Israel is in the Occupied Territories illegally, that doesn't count.  Leaving is not an option.  Israel should be able to continue evicting Palestinians and bulldozing their houses...because, you know, that's how we get peace.
[NOTE:  Some people seem to have forgotten that just before Israel became a nation, when that land still was British Palestine, men like Menachem Begin were bombing hotels there...they were terrorists.  Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at others.]

8. According to the Elites in our Gov't, inflation is low in this country.  That's because when figuring the rate of inflation, they don't count the rises in the cost of food, energy, and housing.  No wonder inflation is "low".

9. The NSA has plans to infect (using automated systems) millions of computers...and has impersonated the Facebook server...in order to gather more bulk data...on everyone.  It has done so with no probable cause, and no proper warrants.  Obama claims it's all legal, and there's "oversight".  Yes, we've seen some of that oversight---Clapper lied to Congress.  Here's how "oversight" works:  a representative of the appropriate Executive Department appears before the Congressional Oversight Committee...and tells the truth when answering questions, or lies, or both.  No one knows for sure...unless a whistleblower such as Snowden releases documents to the public.

10. Whistleblowers are being smeared and criminalized.

11. Independent journalists are being smeared, and in some cases, criminalized.

12. You now can become a "terrorist suspect" by reading the "wrong" thing on the internet.  Even if you're later cleared of suspicion, you're already in the information system in probably a thousand places.  That system is too unwieldy too manage properly.  There's a definite chance that you're screwed.  Ask Cat Stevens.

13. The Heads of mega corporations can buy their way out of Fed criminal prosecutions by paying a fine amounting to billions of dollars.  A top executive in a mega bank involved in a case recently sent an email to a colleague stating, "Just throw some money at it, it'll go away."  The Feds don't prosecute the top cronies in Big Business...the geese that lay the golden eggs...for campaign financing.

14. A Fed Gov't official recently stated, "I would gladly walk up to Edward Snowden and shoot him in the head."  As far as I know, that official is still on the job.

15. Presumption of innocence apparently no longer exists in the minds of some in our Gov'tSuspects are being assassinated overseas in the name of We the People.  At least two American citizen suspects have been so assassinated. 

16. Though we're not constitutionally at war, the Elites have propagandized us into believing that we legally are in an actual war.  They've convinced us that the War Powers Act somehow trumps the Constitution, which is impossible.  No Legislative Act trumps the Supreme Law of the Land.  They've also convinced us that the President can do pretty much as he pleases with the American military...because he's Commander-in-Chief.  To the Elites, that means he's not constrained by the constitutionally permitted uses of the military.  Hello...that's false.

17. Thanks to the misnamed PATRIOT Act, FBI Agents can write their own search warrants...a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment.

18. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. the City of New London, governments now can seize private property under Eminent Domain and sell or give that property to private developers.  Supposedly, the "public use" in that scenario are the taxes generated by the development.  Essentially that means anyone's property can be seized at any time and sold to private entities.  Incredible.

There is a better way, but first we have to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.

Be Well

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Gall of Fed Policy Makers is Truly Astounding

Snowden-documents reveal that the NSA has been collecting every phone call from an undisclosed country.  100%.  Apparently they do it in 30-day batches.  They then can "rewind" whatever device the info is on, and pick and choose.  The "authority" for this blatantly illegal action, I'm assuming, probably comes from the secret FISA "Court".  Never thought I'd live to see the day when there would be a Fed, secret, political court in the Republic of the United States of America.  [This is totally unlike a Grand Jury.]
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There's a good deal of evidence to indicate that the NSA has been spying on Congress, including hacking into staffers' computers.  If true, and it's certainly looking that way, it's a violation of the Separation of Powers concept, never mind the Fourth Amendment protection afforded every American (including staffers).  Plus, it makes a joke out of Congressional "oversight".  I can't guess where the "authority" for that spying is found.
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The Feds are boycotting international talks in Geneva regarding the USA's use of weaponized drones.  Because they don't have a leg to stand on, I really don't blame them for the boycott. :)  Pakistan spurred the calling of the talks; it seems they're fed up with violations of their sovereignty and the murdering of innocent civilians.  Go figure.
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Right-Wing Death Squads in Colombia are murdering people again.  These squads, what they do, and their victims ("suspects") essentially are ignored by the oligarchical government of Colombia...you know, the gov't that our Fed Gov't supports.  The last I heard, Colombia is the only South American government that still allows us to have US military bases on its soil; we have seven there.  Every other S.A. country has kicked us out or never let us in to begin with.  Their shabby experiences with US "intervention" in their affairs has been the reason.
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Obama's supposed "authority" for imposing sanctions on Russia is the concept of the "Executive Order".  This one isn't as bad as Clinton's Exec. Order that declared that Serbia was a threat to the security of the USA (Congress disagreed), but it's bad enough.  We the People have been sold a fraudulent bill of goods regarding Exec. Orders.  The Congressional Research Office claims such orders are implied by the Constitution, especially Article II, Section 2.  Here are the two orders that the President can issue under that Section:  he may require the opinion, in writing, of each of his Department Heads on any subject relating to their duties; and, he may order Pardons related to offenses against the United States.  Those are a far, far cry from imposing sanctions on, or invading, a foreign country.  Nowhere else in the Constitution is power delegated to the Executive Branch to issue so-called Executive Orders.  It's not the office of a King, but it has morphed into something that's too close to that for comfort.
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Partly just my opinion.  Happy Trails

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This and That

I certainly don't know the full story on the Crimea Crisis, and I have no affinity for the Oligarch, Putin...but I do know this much.  Any group of people, anywhere in the world, has the Natural Right to secede from the governmental institution ruling over them.  Government is not the Master...at least, that's the way it should be.  Unfortunately, most all governments in today's developed countries are Fascist in nature.  Again, I'm using FDR's and Mussolini's definition of Fascism:  the power of the State married to the power of BIG Business.  That situation is always totalitarian to one degree or another.  Whether or not the presence of Russian troops influenced the referendum in Crimea is beside the point...people have the Right to choose a different government.  My understanding is that Ukraine essentially has been two separate countries for decades anyway.  Plus, what happened there in 1954?  History matters.

Perhaps some Americans are unaware that in the late 1780s both New York and Virginia refused to ratify the Constitution until they were given assurances that withdrawal from the Union was permitted.  Such assurances were given... and believed... another Fed Gov't lie and broken promise.
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The highest levels of the USA Fed Gov't criticizing Russia's actions, and worse, proposing economic sanctions, is the absolute height of hypocrisy.  Remember Panama...and Poppy Bush?  Have you seen the acclaimed documentary, The Panama Deception?  Remember Iraq...not only the invasion, but previous to that, the economic sanctions that were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 500,000 children?  Let's go way back--- the "annexation" of Hawaii, which amounted to the theft of the islands from the indigenous Hawaiians by the US Gov't.  How about the invasion of the Philippines in the late 1890s, and the slaughter of thousands of indigenous people?  How about the theft of half of Mexico in the 1840s?  More recently--- after Osama escaped from Afghanistan, and Dubya Bush shifted the military effort to the invasion of Iraq, various "trial balloons" were sent up by the Feds and the Corporate Media to test the public mind relative to the proposed bombing and invasion of Afghanistan.  At that time, an international poll was conducted around the world asking if that was a good idea.  The results of that poll largely were suppressed... because the world in general overwhelmingly was against the idea.  Or, how about Pakistan, where the US Fed Gov't is killing hundreds of civilians (see previous post on this Blog) with drone strikes?

In addition, to hear Kerry talking about "International Law" violations by Russia is both tragic and comic.  The highest levels of the US Fed Gov't, throughout History (right up to present day), have violated International Law probably more than any other country on Earth.  In fact, the World Court has deemed some of the US actions as "acts of terrorism".  Naturally, the Corporate Media report almost nothing of that.  Fed Gov't hypocrisy abounds.

In no way should this essay be taken as some sort of support for Russia's actions in Crimea.  Putin is just as much an Oligarch as the puppets in DC.  The point here is that US criticism of his actions is nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black.  Plus, the Russian-speaking people in Crimea do have the Natural Right to choose their own government.  Governments are supposed to be the servants of the People.
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In general, Oligarchies care about institutions, not people.  For the most part, Oligarchs view us as livestock.  To them, our purpose is to provide cheap labor and money to public and private institutions...which are controlled by the Oligarchs.

Consider "job creation" and the economy.  The Edward Bernays propaganda from the Oligarchy is that rich people create jobs; therefore, corporate welfare from the government is necessary.  In fact, the exact opposite is true:  consumers create jobs.  A corporate institution can manufacture all the widgits it wants to... for a time... but if no one buys those widgits, the corporation goes bust.  Numerous studies have shown that consumers drive about 70% of the economy.  When listening to the Corporate Media, one would think that the stock market is the main factor in the health of our economy.  Not true; actually, it's consumers (of both goods and services) who are the main factor in the health of the stock market and the economy.

Consider the Iraq War (which was completely unconstitutional).  Not too long ago, Alan Greenspan spoke publicly about the fact that it was politically incorrect to say so, but that war was "all about the oil".  That's a fairly amazing admission from an Oligarch.  Most of the world, including me, knew that already... but it was nice to hear.  One thing's for sure--- we didn't bring democracy, peace, freedom, and prosperity to Iraq; instead, we facilitated death, despair, corruption, and civil war.

Meanwhile, Obama, Kerry, McCain, et. al., criticize Russia in relation to Crimea... where, so far at least, not a shot has been fired by Russian soldiers.

Be Well