Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Some would say that I should omit the word "soft". I leave it in place because we still have a considerable amount of Freedom here... although, that is changing fairly rapidly. Adherents of the so-called Right think we still have a Republic as our form of government; adherents of the so-called Left think we still have a Democracy. If you're no longer drinking the Edward Bernays style Propaganda Kool Aid, it's readily apparent that the USA has neither of those forms of government.
First, let's examine the false belief that we're still a Republic. The bedrock of the Republic of the USA was the U.S. Constitution... and obedience to its provisions. All three branches of our Fed Gov't (at the highest levels) have been ignoring large portions of the Supreme Law of the Land for decades and decades. That practice has become increasingly more blatant in the last thirty years or so. It makes no difference at all if the Administration is Republican or Democrat... or should I say, Republicrat or Demopublican. In 1901, a Supreme Court Justice Harlan warned of "Legislative Absolutism", a term he coined and by which he meant passing Laws that were unconstitutional. He said (in a dissenting opinion) that there were two governments in the USA now (1901): one obeying the Constitution, and one not. It only has gotten worse since then.
The list of violations of our Supreme Law of the Land by the highest levels of the Fed Gov't is virtually endless. I've described many of those violations on this Blog in the last almost eight years. I don't intend to re-list them now. One Representative in DC even admitted to an interviewer, "Half of what we do [in Congress] is unconstitutional."... at one time (several years ago), a recording of that was on YouTube. There is no question whatsoever that the Fed Gov't violates many of the provisions of the Constitution... no matter which political Party is in power. The icing on the cake is the provision of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which gives the Feds the power to detain indefinitely, without access to an attorney and without a trial, any U.S. citizen chosen by one person, the President... and even to execute that person on the say-so of only one person, the President. No due process, no attorney, no trial, no appeal. That's according to many legitimate news sources, including an article in Forbes. When Obama signed the last NDAA into Law, he stated something like, "I would never do that."... I'm not reassured.
Without obedience by the Feds to the provisions of the Constitution, there is no Republic of the USA. It exists in name only.
Second, let's examine the false belief that we're a Democracy. I'm referring to a truly participatory democracy. Yes, we get to vote... well, some of us anyway. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of national political candidates are selected, groomed, and financed by the Oligarchy. That means it doesn't really matter who gets elected. Even FDR wrote to a friend back in the '30s, "In this country, Presidents are selected, not elected."... so are most Congress people. The whole process is dominated by those in the Power Structure by means of ballot-access laws, Cronyism, rules of various kinds that further restrict Third Parties, and Propaganda from both the Government and the Corporate Media. On top of all that, there is Black Box Voting--- rigged voting machines. See the site, blackboxvoting.org and the documentary by the same name. See especially the documentary.
Both Mussolini and FDR defined Fascism as: the marriage of BIG Business to the State. That's precisely what we've had in the USA for years and years. We just recently had an example of that on 12-15-14 (this past Monday). The Senate passed the already House-passed $1.1 trillion spending Bill into Law. Attached was an amendment written by lobbyists of Citibank that essentially rolled-back the paltry protections against the Financial Sector that were in Dodd-Frank. The Amendment also provides that any future losses on risky investments suffered by Mega Banks will be reimbursed by the Feds (meaning, the taxpayers). So, if the speculative Wall Street Banks fail again, they'll be bailed out again. That's Crony Capitalism, aka, Fascism. It's not only at the national level. At every level of government in this country, elected officials kowtow to their primary constituency... BIG Business.
A few different, scholarly, legitimate studies in the past several years have shown that anywhere from 70% to 95% of the public is ignored when elected officials formulate public policy. In other words, the opinions of most of us do not count in the minds of those elected by us. The primary constituencies of most politicians are the Super-Rich. That's Fascism.
Sorry to say, but we live in a Soft Fascist State. As far as I can tell, the same applies to most developed countries.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Sunday, December 14, 2014
I've begun posting short talks on YouTube... dealing with topics such as Neoliberalism, Globalization, Free Trade Agreements, the phony politics in America, and several others often covered here. There also are a few mildly amusing, short clips of me singing, and one of an impression of Henry Kissinger. I invite everyone to visit.
This video (link below) should be of interest to all Republicans and Democrats.
Here's the address of my YouTube Channel...if you're interested.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The 2010 movie, The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford, triggered my researching the case of Mary E. Surratt, the first woman to be executed by the U.S. Fed Gov't...after being tried and found guilty by a military tribunal. Mary was convicted of being one of the conspirators in the assassination of Lincoln. The prosecution case against her was flawed; as a result, a judge signed a writ of habeas corpus, ordering a new trial in civilian court. The writ was vacated by President Andrew Johnson, and Mary was hanged. Her attorney, Frederick Aiken, was so disheartened by the turn of events that he left the Law and later became the first City Editor of the Washington Post. A year after Surratt's execution, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision stating that military tribunals for cases against civilians were unconstitutional, and that civilians must be tried in civilian court...even during times of war.
Before going further, let's clear up what I believe is a misconception regarding Rights and the U.S. Constitution. It appears to me that too many Americans believe that our Supreme Law of the Land grants us Rights, and that only citizens of our country are entitled to those Rights in the USA. Not true. What the Constitution does is protect Rights that all people possess at birth. The Declaration of Independence states, "...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.". So, Freedom for example, is our birthright...and is not dependent upon any government grant. The former Attorney General under Dubya Bush, Alberto Gonzales, was dead wrong when he testified before Congress that people don't necessarily have the Right of habeas corpus..."because the Constitution does not grant us that Right". Everyone is entitled to the Right of habeas corpus; the Constitution doesn't grant us any Rights. They are ours at birth. It's crucial to the survival of Freedom that people understand that point.
Humans have understood the difference between troops in war and civilians for centuries. Modern day Oligarchs and their puppets have changed the rules... and muddied the waters. According to them, we now have "enemy combatants"; they aren't troops, but should be treated the same as troops...sometimes. When captured, they can be treated as neither troops nor civilians, but rather as something akin to rabid animals. According to the Plutocrats, Rights do not apply to them...even criminals are treated better than "enemy combatants". This all comes from the rulers of supposedly civilized, ethical, moral nations. Incredible. Suspects have been held in Guantanamo for years with no charges, and then released for lack of evidence. Suspects have been subjected to so-called "enhanced interrogation", and then released for lack of evidence. A German citizen, after being flown to various Black Sites around the Globe by the CIA finally was released afoot in the middle of nowhere in Germany...in the middle of the night. For months, his family had no idea where he was. Put yourself in his or their shoes. It's no wonder to me that the government of the USA (and for that matter, the UK as well) is becoming more & more hated around the world. They don't hate you for your Freedom Bush-Cheney; they hate you for your terrorism. [We'll get to Obama shortly.]
Presumption of innocence and anything resembling due process apparently are gone...or very well hidden. The use of weaponized drones against civilians (suspects) has become the new norm under our Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning President. As reported on Democracy Now!, apparently for every ONE terrorist SUSPECT killed by drones, TWENTY-EIGHT unidentified people are killed by the same means. The Administration can claim "precision" in these murders because anyone killed by a weaponized drone automatically is designated by the military as an EKIA...Enemy Killed in Action. If anyone can prove otherwise, then the person is de-listed as an enemy... of course, he/she is dead by then. A drone operator on the job for six years finally quit because he had grave doubts about how "suspects" are identified. It seems to me that it should be paramount to be certain we are not killing innocent civilians. One poor soul in Pakistan has been trying for years to get justice for the slaughter of members of his family...one a child and another a grandmother. We should all be ashamed and enraged at the same time, but very few seem to care.
The Oligarchs, our President chief among them, have made sure that the psychological/emotional cost to most of us for this so-called "war" is very little to none. Even the financial cost is well hidden...it's all borrowed money, to be paid by our posterity. [They'll pay the interest on the debt; the U.S. Gov't has no intention whatsoever of repaying the principal...because that's not possible. We never could do it; the National Debt simply is too large. That's why, sometime in the future, countries of the world will reject the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Shortly after that happens, barring unforeseen circumstances, the Great Depression of the '30s will look like a picnic compared to the economy that will be experienced.] Obama claims that none of this really is war; instead, it's "counter-terrorism". That's code, or Gov't-Speak, for Perpetual War. The Oligarchs and their puppets have dropped the phrase, "WAR on Terror" or "WAR on Terrorism" (which, by the way, first was coined by the Reagan Administration) because people eventually saw through it. Now it's "counter-terrorism" or "defending the homeland". In any case, SUSPECTS are being grossly mistreated... or murdered outright. In the process, U.S. troops and other military personnel are expected to have Law Enforcement skills. It's no wonder that more vets have committed suicide than have been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military actions encourage more terrorism; Law Enforcement actions prevent more terrorist acts.
In addition to Obama's egregious drone operations, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) assassination squads continue to operate. Where is the civilian oversight? Where is the proof of guilt relative to the victims? [I still haven't seen a shred of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Osama was responsible for 9-11. The video in which a supposed Osama was sitting around with cohorts admitting guilt was a sham. I could instantly see that was not Osama bin Laden.] Where is the accountability regarding the murder of innocent civilians by drone attacks? Are We the People so propagandized that we've abandoned all concepts of fairness and justice? Has the Fed Gov't (at the highest levels) itself become a terrorist organization? Why is it that when "they" murder innocent people, it's terrorism; but when "we" do it, it's "collateral damage", or "the price of war"?
Terrorists are CRIMINALS, not soldiers. Suspects are just that. In an ethical society, they must be accorded due process...no matter how emotionally painful that may be. Apparently we do not live in an ethical society. Obama can't seem to make up his mind. Some terrorist suspects he has taken to trial in civilian court. Others are locked down in Gitmo for a decade or so...with no formal charges. Others simply are killed. Suspects. This whole scenario is a genuine travesty... as was the case of Mary Elizabeth Surratt.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Here are just a few crucial ones---
1. The Income Tax
Disregarding earlier, temporary income taxes in the 1860s (to fund the Civil War), the Big Kahuna was the Revenue Act of 1913. It passed into Law shortly after the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. [I won't get into arguments about whether or not the 16th was legitimately ratified. That's a can of worms and could be argued until the End of Time...and is a waste of time.] The purpose of the 16th Amendment apparently was to correct a glitch having to do with direct taxes and income from property & interest in the 1909 CORPORATE Income Tax law.
In passing the 1913 Revenue Act, the intent of Congress was to levy an income tax only on the very richest Americans. [I forget the income threshold, but it was high.] Only the top 2% of households were required to pay the tax; everyone else was exempt. Furthermore, the tax was on income from property, rents, and interest, not wages. [The top 2% had no wages.] That was the original Income Tax Law. Obviously, successive Congresses changed it...23 times if I recall correctly. I sincerely doubt that We the People wanted all those changes...to the point where the IRS does what it does today.
The point is this: I'm fairly certain that most Americans are largely unaware of the information above. We've been sold a Bill of Goods relative to the history of the Income Tax Law. The original intent of it never was to tax the wages of average Americans. That was rammed through by the Oligarchy later.
According to Reagan's Grace Commission, 100% of your income tax dollars is used to pay the interest on the National Debt. [97% of all money in circulation in the USA is debt.] Gov't services are paid for by other taxes, and more borrowing.
2. The Cold War (1945-1989) Resulted in a Victory of Capitalism over Socialism
Not true, and here's why. First of all, we had then and still have a Mixed Economy. At best, it's Crony Capitalism, not Free Market Capitalism. The only Capitalists in the Western World are SMALL business people. Western societies, including the USA, have both a weak Welfare State AND strong socialism for the super-rich. Corporate welfare abounds. The State-Corporate Complex rules the day. That is not Free Market Capitalism. Secondly, when Lenin and his Gang seized power in Russia, socialistic institutions created during the 1917-1918 Revolution were eliminated. Bolshevism morphed into Communism...which is a political system, not an economic system...and it's totalitarian. Socialism is not a political system. The Cold War resulted in the triumph of Democracy (of a sort) over Communism.
The point is this: the Oligarchs in the Western World today continually claim that they are Free Market Capitalists and that the only other alternative is Socialism...which they claim was defeated by the Cold War. None of that is a true picture of reality. Crony Capitalists are not Free Market Capitalists; instead, they are married to the State. Soviet Russia had a super-elite Class which practiced Totalitarianism...that's what was defeated by Democracy (of a sort) and a Mixed Economy.
Mega, transnational corporations and their propagandists falsely claim that they are Capitalists opposing Socialism. What they really are (in general) is Fascists opposing the rest of us. Both FDR and Mussolini defined Fascism as: the marriage of the State to BIG Business. That's pretty much what we have in almost the entire Western World today. Even China now is more Fascist than Communist. I don't remember any Communist countries ever having billionaire real estate moguls. China does.
Don't buy into the Propaganda. Despite their claims, the super-rich are not Free Market Capitalists and they're not opposing Socialism. They are Neofascists and are opposing the rest of us.
3. The Scam of Neoliberalism
In the USA, it dates back to at least the 1970s. The overthrow (essentially by Nixon & Kissinger) of Allende and the installation of Pinochet in Chile on 9-11-73 (the other 9-11) was to be the first practical test of a portion of Neoliberalism. What a disaster. The implementation of this political and economic philosophy continues, but Oligarchs here have managed to keep it mostly in the shadows... until recently. None of that is a conspiracy; to them, it's simply good business practice. In general, most all Oligarchs today are Neoliberals. Those at the highest levels are Democrats, or Republicans, or Liberals, or Conservatives in name only. They don't care at all about those obsolete categories... except to use them as divisive propaganda.
Neoliberalism exploded in growth during the reigns of Reagan and Thatcher. It continues today. The goal is nothing short of domination of the worldwide economy and finance by super-rich elites and mega transnational corporations. Its adherents agree with David Rockefeller, who stated publicly in 1991, "Surely it is preferable to have the world run by unelected elites than by the corrupt politicians of today.". At least he got the "corrupt politicians" part correct. He also thanked the Mainstream Press for keeping the Elites' work under wraps "for the past 40 years". [You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.]
The irony of this is that it seems some, perhaps many, of these Elites actually are altruists. I'm convinced that some of them really believe that the world would be better off if it were run by the unelected super-rich.
If all this seems convoluted, that's because it is. It's so Orwellian that I'm afraid most people don't believe it. Or, if they do believe it, they either don't grasp how it affects them directly or they think nothing can be done about it, or both. And so it goes.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Saturday, November 22, 2014
She works for Trade Watch at Public Citizen.org, and has a complete grasp of the abomination known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a so-called "Free Trade Agreement". Go to the link below to see why this Agreement never should be approved by our country.
About 500 to 600 attorneys from mega corporations essentially have created the 29 or so Agreements that form the core of the TPP. Only five of those Agreements/Chapters have anything to do with traditional Trade. The rest will benefit the Super-Rich at the expense of common people. The only reason we know this is because a whistleblower leaked the documents not long ago. Prior to that, it was the most secret Agreement in the Trade arena. Not even the U.S. Congress had access to it.
Very shortly, Obama and McConnell will be working together to get the TPP approved here as quickly as possible. They've said so publicly. This Agreement, if approved, will offshore millions more jobs from the USA, threaten the safety of our food, further threaten the environment, boost the cost of medicines, and protect mega bankers from prosecution to an even larger degree than presently. That's only a few of the detriments we'll experience as a result of this bonanza for mega transnational corporations.
The TPP also will allow ANY corporation that believes its profits have been diminished by any U.S. law to sue the Gov't in a quasi-private international tribunal in order to get compensation. In other words, corporations will be able to raid the U.S. Treasury if, for example, some safety law forces them to spend any money in order to comply. [Any judgments can be enforced by Trade sanctions against the USA.] Obama and McConnell certainly won't tell you, but that's one of the things they're working to get approved in our country.
Our puppet politicians and the Corporate (Mainstream) Media for years have propagandized us into accepting the falsehood that there are no alternatives to "Globalization". Lori Wallach and others have shown that is a bald-faced lie. For dozens of informative Video Clips on the subject, do a YouTube Search for her name. She has been exposing the whole phony business for twenty years. Kudos to you, Lori Wallach. We all owe you a great debt. With the aid of the work you've done, we peacefully can dethrone the Oligarchs.
STEP ONE: stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.
Not just my opinion. Be Well p.s. The upcoming TAFTA, the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, is even worse than the TPP.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Gooooood Morning, Iraaaaaaaaaaq!
How bizarre. Is there no end to the gullibility of We the People? Really?
Hermann Goering stated the following during the Nuremberg Trials:
"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY." (emphasis added)
"...drag the people along...", indeed. Apparently it's especially easy in the USA.
Some observations and questions for the Oligarchs in DC---
1. Syria is in a civil war. Iraq is in a civil war. Vietnam was in a civil war. Do you really expect us to believe that you haven't learned the lessons of Vietnam? Of course there are differences amongst these wars, but the similarities ---especially with Iraq and Vietnam--- are very significant.
2. After more than a decade of "training Iraqi troops" & police, we're back there ONLY to do that again. Are we supposed to believe that? What happens if & when Iraqi troops on the ground can't ever complete the job of defending their country?
3. Several U.S. transnational oil companies currently are operating in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan), but that has little or nothing to do with the current escalation of U.S. involvement. Do you really expect us to believe that?
4. "There are no combat troops in Iraq...only trainers and advisors." Really? ALL troops are potential combat troops.
5. What happens when one or more of these "trainers" gets killed by a mortar round, or a suicide bomber, or a roadside bomb, or a rifle bullet? Will that be an excuse for even more U.S. involvement? And then more?
6. After you "degrade" or "suppress" or defeat ISIS, do you think they might simply fade back into the woodwork only to reappear later...again and again? If you recognize that, is that a dandy excuse for Perpetual War?
7. I missed it. When/where was it that the Constitution allowed Congress to abrogate its war-making authority...and that became the purview of the President? Exactly in which clause in the Supreme Law of the Land is that found? I've studied the Constitution for over half a century, and I can't find that clause.
8. Are the War Contractors (facetiously named "Defense" contractors) happy with the almost 800 U.S. air strikes and the recent doubling down of U.S. troops in Iraq? Perhaps they need more.
9. How many innocent civilians have been killed or maimed by our strikes lately?
10. What happens if a U.S. plane gets shot down? Will that be an excuse for even more U.S. involvement? And then more?
11. Are you aware that in the last few years 8,000 (probably more) combat vets per year have committed suicide either during or after their service? [That means more have died by suicide than by combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.]
12. Do you really believe that we don't know that all this actually is about Transnational BIG Business? You're not fooling many of us. How could you? It's right out in the open. For the most part, you don't even try to hide it.
There is a better way. Oligarchs can be peacefully dethroned. Step One: stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid. Keep in mind that with Neoimperialism and Neoliberalism, Oligarchs don't have to permanently occupy a land in order to control the government of that land. If you haven't yet, please read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins and Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill...both New York Times bestsellers...or search for those fellows on YouTube. You'll get an education on the phony politics of today.
Not just my opinion. Be Well