Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Astounding PROPAGANDA from the State-Corporate Complex

Below is a copy of an email I sent out tonight.  The title was "A Perfect Example".

The brilliant Glenn Greenwald explains EXACTLY how the State-Corporate complex dupes people via shameless Propaganda.  This instance is in regard to terrorism, Snowden, Gov't officials, the recent Paris attacks, etc.  Too bad more people will not see this.  It shows how many, especially those on the so-called Right (but also those on the so-called Left), are being subjected to misleading info & outright lies, led down the path to more war, led into Islamophobia, and being flim-flammed into accepting the destruction of the Fourth well as other parts of the Constitution.  All of these efforts by the Powers-That-Be are not only un-American, but also anti-American.  The whole thing is disgusting.
The segment after this one also is illuminating relative to the submissive Corporate Media in the USA.
If we continue to accept the rubbish put out by the Gov't & Corporatist Media outlets, our grandkids will be living in Orwell's Animal Farm.  Guaranteed.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Several Insanities in the Western World, Especially the USA

Remember reading about the Age of Enlightenment, often cited as running from the late 1600's to about 1800, and sometimes called the Age of Reason?  It would appear that we humans are in need of a Second Age of Enlightenment.  Following are some of the things supporting such an assertion.  Let's begin with a somewhat trivial (compared to the others) example.

1.  Trump recently stated that "wages [in the USA] are too high".  What planet is The Don on?  Wages here essentially have stagnated for the last thirty years.  The cost of living has not.

2.  Our Fed Gov't and those of Russia & France are bombing ISIS in Syria...but, mostly thanks to the US,  they're not all cooperating with each other.  Is that a good plan?

3.  The Fed Gov't here denigrates Russia for sticking it's nose into Syria (a Russian ally) and for trying to increase its influence in the Middle East.  Are you kidding me? about the pot calling the kettle black.  The US Gov't's primary foreign policy component is to stick its nose into just about every civil war in the world...especially in the Middle East and/or southern Central Asia.  Good grief!

4.  The US Gov't continues to kowtow to Saudi Arabia...not entirely, but significantly.  That's a troublesome issue because of the following.  Wahhabism, the Saudi State-sponsored extremist Sunni Sect, spreads its poison all around the world.  Radical, extremist terrorists are greatly encouraged by the Wahhabis; the roots of ISIS are in Wahhabism.  The DC Powers-That-Be know that...and yet they continue to support the House of Saud.

5.  The situation in Syria and Iraq is a complete mess.  [Over 7,000 airstrikes by the US Gov't haven't helped much at all...but they have pissed off a whole bunch of terrorists.]  In addition to the points above, the Gov't of Turkey is fighting ISIS...and fighting the Kurds, too...who happen to be fighting ISIS.  Certain leaders in the world seem to have lost their minds.

6.  The Taliban in Afghanistan now control more territory than they ever have since the US invasion.  So much for interfering in a civil war...and so much for "nation-building".

7.  Iraq now essentially is a failed State.  Ditto the last sentence above.

8.  The General in charge of the US program to train "moderates" to fight ISIS in Syria either has been or is going to be promoted.  The program was a complete failure.  About 5,000 were to be trained and equipped.  Five or so were put into battle; in short order they all were killed or captured...along with their weapons.

9.  Obama and most Republicans continue to push for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Most Americans appear to be either oblivious to the Agreement/Treaty or against it.  The smallest bit of research should reveal to anyone that the TPP is bad news for average people.  It benefits only the Rich and Powerful.  For any politician to claim that it will make us more competitive and increase the number of jobs here is utter nonsense at best, and a bald-faced lie at worst.

10.  The War on Cash is well underway.  Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws here, any significant amount of cash on you now can be seized by Law Enforcement...without you being charged with anything.  The reason?  It's "suspicious".  In addition, the Powers-That-Be are pushing for a move to a cashless society.  One of the reasons is to prevent bank runs in the case of an economic/financial collapse.  Another reason:  those same Powers then will know, because of the National Surveillance State, every single purchase you make...or at least, they will have access to those records.  Consumer privacy will be gone.  I foresee a day when, if you use any cash at all, you'll most likely be deemed a "financial terrorist" or a run-of-the-mill criminal.

11.  The Police State in the USA continues.  Examples:  the Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws cited above; FBI Agents now writing their own Search Warrants (euphemistically titled "National Security Letters")...our Constitution is clear---a Judge must sign a Search Warrant; monitoring of people not even under investigation (the National Surveillance State); the militarization of local Police [a problem because the Police then act as though all citizens are their enemy...they have to, it's policy, it's "safe" procedure]; the almost unrestrained use of TASERs...which have killed people; shooting people in the back...for minor infractions [e.g., a homeless guy in New Mexico was camping outside of town...he turned to walk away from the cops & they killed him]; and many other examples.

12.  The Mega Banks, Mega Hedge Funds, and Mega Insurance Corporations have created, bought, and sold "Swaps" (Credit Default Swaps) to the tune of $550 trillion.  [The entire world's annual GDP is about $75 trillion.]  These Swaps do not make up all of the bizarre financial derivatives out in the Market (that total is about $1.25 quadrillion), but they are the ones that supposedly act as "insurance" against defaults on various contracts.  Should that Swap Bubble burst, as many reputable economists all across the political spectrum say it will, the whole world will be plunged into a Great Depression.  Who benefitted from the sale of these Swaps?  Oligarchs the billions and billions...and billions.

13.  About 95% of world commerce is conducted either in dollars, the Pound, the Euro, or the Yen.  Every one of those currencies purposely is being debased (devalued).  That causes inflation in countries that don't have those as their currency...the emerging Markets, such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, etc.  Because of that, China is engaged in a Currency War with us...and because of that (and other reasons), the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency most likely will not last much longer.  Our Gov't tends to denigrate and blame China for all this.  The fact is, China is only protecting itself and its economy.  The U.S. is doing what many countries historically have done when they have way too much debt:  our Gov't, in a de facto way, is purposely debasing the dollar in order to cope with a massive debt...a debt that never will be repaid in full.  All gov'ts know that's what's happening.  My point here is this:  inflation is a currency event, not a price event.  In 1961, I bought a pair of Levi jeans for $3.95; the price of jeans now is anywhere from about $25 to $40.  In 1961, cigarettes were 25 cents a pack; now they're anywhere from $4 to $8 a pack.  That's because the U.S. dollar is worth less; it has been debased for decades via creating "money" out of thin air.  The chickens are finally coming home to roost, and the Fed Reserve is out of ammunition.

14.  Whether Democrats or Republicans are in power in the United States, Edward Bernays style Propaganda reigns supreme regarding war, the economy, and the "value" of the Rich and Powerful.  Again, please heed the words of Warren Buffett:  "We are in a Class War in this country, and unfortunately, my Class is winning.".  A big Amen to that, Warren.
Yes, I would say Humankind is in dire need of a Second Age of Enlightenment.
Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Powers-That-Be are Lying

The Oligarchs don't lie about everything, but there are several crucial subjects about which they do lie often.  Following are some of those.

1.  Price inflation is stagnant.  The State-Corporate Complex can say this with a straight face because when they figure how much prices have increased, here's what's not included:  the costs of food, housing, and energy.  Those items are not part of what's called "core inflation".  To give credit where it's due, the Powers-That-Be are correct regarding energy costs...even though those are not counted.  Oil has tanked, no pun intended; that's good, but a guy like me drives only about 20 miles per week.  "Low" gas prices don't make up for the constant increases in food and sundry grocery store items.  Manufacturers of those goods either are raising prices outwardly or doing it surreptitiously by shrinking the size of product packages.  Plus, rent for housing in the USA (with a few exceptions) is skyrocketing.  An old dog like me cannot believe how high rental costs are nowadays.

2.  Unemployment in the USA is now 5.X%.  This lie is so egregious as to make one physically sick.  Reputable, credible economists and former Fed Gov't officials all across the political spectrum estimate that the true unemployment rate is somewhere between 20% and 43%.

3.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will be good for everyday Americans.  The details of that abomination now are finally public; some were released earlier by WikiLeaks, but now we have the entire disaster available for scrutiny.  The critics (such as Lori Wallach of TradeWatch) are saying, "It's worse than we expected.", and they were harsh critics before the full text was released.  I've written about this before, so I won't repeat myself.  The details of this miserable Treaty can be found in lots of places, not the least of which is  Promotion of the TPP by many in Gov't, the Corporate Media, and various other Mega Corporations is proof positive that Oligarchs don't give a damn about us.

4.  We are not at's "counter-terrorism"; therefore, Geneva Conventions, Due Process, the Constitution in general, Ethics, and even Morality do not limit us when dealing with "enemy combatants".  That lie is so outrageous and defies Logic so much that I'm beginning to think that George Orwell was the greatest political prophet in all of none.  The Powers-That-Be are trying to sell us on the concept that the people we're fighting are neither soldiers nor criminals.  Sorry, Oligarchs, they have to be one or the other.  The term, "enemy combatant" is a fiction.  Due Process applies to everyone, even soldiers or criminals.  If it doesn't, we no longer are civilized, ethical beings.

5.  It is necessary to monitor everyone in the National Surveillance State.  Good grief, that is pure, unadulterated's bullshit to the Nth Degree.  Why people are buying into that is beyond my comprehension.  Have mercy.

6.  We are in an Economic Recovery.  That statement is so blatantly ridiculous it defies not only Logic, but the imagination as well.  All one has to do to see it's not true is take a little time to do a serious, critical study of our economic condition...utilizing a wide variety of credible sources while ignoring Propaganda from the State-Corporate Complex.  The USA, and most of the world, is in a deep Recession and heading for a Depression that very well may be worse than the one in the 1930's.
It's important to keep in mind that when it's "crunch time", when Institutions are in a bind, any Institution will protect itself rather than individuals or Individual Rights.  Natural Rights, possessed by all people, will be sacrificed by any Oligarchy upon the altar of expediency.  It is Institutions that constantly must be us.  Remember the words of an Eastern philosopher:  we be many; they be few.  That is precisely why we are inundated totally with Propaganda from the State-Corporate Complex.  It's important to us and future generations that we think critically, speak out, deny unwarranted power to Institutions run amok, boycott those entities that trash Natural Rights, and do it all peacefully.  Violent actions beget more violence and complete suppression of the individual.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Politicizing and Militarization of the CIA

Melvin A. Goodman, a former CIA analyst and current Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, points out how the CIA has declined and fallen due to both being beholden to political interests and becoming militarized.  Goodman was a senior analyst and division chief at the CIA (total CIA service: 1966-1986), a Professor of International Security at the National War College (1986-2004), and currently is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.  He is regarded as an expert in the fields of Intelligence and National Security.  His latest book is National Insecurity:  the Cost of American Militarism.  Google the man; his views are informed, somewhat prickly, and I think, right on the mark.  Here are a few of those views, as follows.

1.  Failure to anticipate the fall of Soviet Russia, failure regarding the terrorist attacks of 9-11, and failure to anticipate the disastrous consequences of the 2003 Iraq invasion all demonstrate the CIA's decline.

2.  The Pentagon and the CIA essentially are merging into one entity.  Military Intelligence and the Intelligence of our civilian Agency should remain separate; they should counterbalance each other.

3.  Having former military Generals as Heads of the CIA is a really bad idea.  The CIA has become too much of a para-military force.  [In my opinion, that aspect of the CIA (especially regarding the Drone Wars) even could be considered Death Squads.]

4.  The CIA has become a political tool.

5.  Military domination of the Intelligence field now interferes with the CIA's function of providing a check on the Military's influence on foreign policy and the use of force.

6.  Militarism in the USA truly has contributed greatly to national insecurity.

Militarism is a part of Fascism, which makes use of Crony Capitalism, which dominates the Fed Gov't matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in power.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, October 16, 2015

"The Drone Papers", and Obama the Assassin

For a great overview of this subject and interviews with the investigative journalists involved, see today's newscast at Democracy Now (Friday, October 16, 2015).  I doubt you'll see anything like it on the Corporate Media outlets...which seem to be obsessed with the weather.

A whistleblower has supplied The with official secret documents regarding Obama's Drone Wars in Yemen, Somalia, & Afghanistan.  At their website (The Intercept), there's a series of articles based upon those documents:  "The Assassination Complex", "A Virtual Glossary", "The Kill Chain", "Find, Fix, Finish", "Manhunting in the Hindu Kush", "Firing Blind", "The Life and Death of Objective Peckham", and "Target Africa".  In a classified Pentagon study, officials found significant flaws in the Drone Program, including faulty Signals Intelligence (cell phone calls, texting, emails, etc.) and serious limitations in the drone technology itself.

Other of the Papers revealed that sometimes nine out of ten people killed are not the intended target.  [Anyone killed in a drone attack automatically is classified as an EKIA (Enemy Killed in Action)... even if that person is the target's grandmother.]  Also, reliance upon foreign intelligence is heavy, and in some cases, it's entirely possible that political opponents (especially in Yemen), not terrorists, were killed.  The Papers also revealed that in a few Afghan provinces, the residents opposed/resisted the Taliban...until Americans invaded their land.  There's much, much more, but I don't have the time or energy to cover it.  See the newscast at Democracy Now.

Obama is unconstitutionally targeting people for death.  A clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it clear that only Congress, not the Executive Branch,can issue "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" (assassination orders).  Perhaps some people think, so what, he's killing terrorists who are a threat to us.  Too bad that's not always true...too bad that many more innocent people are being slaughtered than what we've been told by the Executive Branch, and too bad that we're not even at war with Somalia, Yemen, or Pakistan... all sovereign nations.  Pakistan, in particular, repeatedly has told our Gov't to stop bombing in their country.  Too bad that the Taliban now control more of Afghanistan than they ever did in the last fourteen years.  Too bad that Afghanistan is known (for very good reasons) as "The Graveyard of Empires".  The old Soviets had 500,000 Russian troops there...they lost that war.

Obama just recently stated (paraphrased):  "You know I'm not in favor of Endless War.".  All I know, Mr. President, is that's what you keep saying.  I see little to no evidence of the truth of that.  You claim these Drone Wars are not "war".  If that's true, then here's a thought for you:  you have no legal authority to order the murder of people around the world.  Who died & thus made you King?  Some of the people you're having killed probably were toddlers on 9-11-01.  Have they attacked us?  The fact is, even more than Bush-Cheney, you've maneuvered us into a present & future of perpetual war.  There's no end in sight.  There's no reasonable plan in sight.  Drone wars, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and who knows what's next--- you're a warmonger, all in the name of national security.  Wow, what an original justification.  Here's another fact:  your military actions are making new terrorists and stirring up the old ones.  A final fact:  IT IS LAW ENFORCEMENT and everyday citizens who are keeping us safe from Terrorism...not your terrorist-creating, military maneuvers.  You've succeeded in making our Gov't's actions the number one generator of terrorists in the entire world.  You've beaten out Bush-Cheney in that regard.  I didn't think that was possible.

I (& many reputable analysts) think your military misadventures are because the economy here is in bad shape, our fiscal & monetary conditions are appalling, the dollar's world reserve currency status is being seriously threatened, and your implementation of the Big Stick around the world supposedly will hold it all together.  All you're doing is making enemies around the Globe, while at the same time, destroying our economy.  You people in the DC Ivory Tower need to wake up and pay attention.  You're not the Master, you're the Servant.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Clinton is Either Ignorant or Lying...O'Malley Too

That's what Norman Solomon, documentary producer & long-time political activist, said on Democracy Now today.  I agree.  He was talking about her response regarding a question on Edward Snowden during the Democratic Debate Tuesday night.  Hillary essentially said that Snowden "could have been" a whistleblower "if" he had gone through the proper channels and gotten the "protections" provided to whistleblowers.

That statement by Clinton is either a lie, ignorance on her part, or a really bad joke.  Tom Drake, Jeffrey Stirling, and several others spent months going through the proper, internal channels with their whistleblowing.  All that did was target them for persecution, and then selective prosecution.  "Selective" because guys like David Petraeus only get a slap on the wrist.  Guys like Brennan, Panetta, & Clapper get NOTHING.

As Solomon stated (paraphrased), Obama's war against whistleblowers and journalists is unprecedented in our history.  Indeed.  Barack Obama is perhaps the most Fascist President we've ever had in the Oval Office.  Propaganda calling him "socialist" is just that---propaganda.  As I've pointed out many times, both FDR and Mussolini defined Fascism as:  the marriage of the Power of the State to the Power of Big Business.  That fits Obama to a tee.  Those who wept with joy at his election in 2008 must be the most disappointed voters in our political history.  They elected a Corporatist posing as some sort of Populist and/or Leftist.

Then, too, we had O'Malley of Maryland in the Debate stating that "whistleblowers don't run to Russia".  Again, ignorance, or a lie, or a bad joke.  Snowden was on his way from Hong Kong to Ecuador.  At the stop in Russia (or maybe in-flight from H.K.), the U.S. Gov't revoked his passport.  He then wasn't allowed to board the plane to continue his journey.  It always amazes me how politicians twist stories to suit their particular agendas.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Truth is Being Sidestepped, Omitted by Politicians & the Corporate Media

Those at the highest levels in politics, along with the Corporate Media, are avoiding talking about the Economic Crisis in this great Land.  For most people here, the American Dream has turned into the Nightmare of the Working Poor.

Fifty percent of working households in the USA now are economically insecure.  They are just getting by... barely.  Many of them have two part-time jobs because they can't find a decent-paying, full-time gig.  Many companies nowadays prefer part-time workers...fewer employee benefits to cut into corporate profits.  Ask the Great Wall of Mart...the largest private employer in the world.  Because these workers are only scraping by, they can't save for emergencies...or anything else.

Many college graduates now are working as bartenders, or waiting tables in restaurants, or working as CSRs in "call centers", or as security guards (the minimum wage type), or as part-time cashiers in retail stores.  Not only have wages across the board stagnated for the last thirty years, but adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in this country is the same as it was in the 1960's.  Meanwhile, those few in the Upper Crust here have seen their incomes go up by 700% in the same time period.

Ever since NAFTA and other "Free Trade" Agreements were approved, millions of jobs have evaporated from our economic landscape.  Since the year 2000, about 60,000 factories have closed or been moved out of the country.  The TPP will exacerbate the problem.  The jobs replacing those generally good-paying manufacturing positions are mostly, to be blunt, shite...crap...bullshit.  For the most part, they are low-paying, often part-time, and sometimes temporary.  They rarely match the jobs lost in terms of pay & benefits.

The 2008 Crisis resulted in the loss of eight million jobs.  It's clear by now that the cause of that Crisis was not only "greed".  Massive fraud was Mega Banks, by stock-rating agencies, by real estate brokers, by due diligence companies, etc.  On top of all that, the highest levels of the Fed Gov't were not paying attention to the developing Crisis.  Worse yet, at the beginning of the meltdown and in between the times when TARP was voted down by the Congress and when it finally was passed, the Fed Reserve made between $12 trillion and $13 trillion (estimates vary) available to several Mega Banks in loans at point two-five percent (.25%) interest.  That amount of money is equal to all Fed Gov't expenditures from the Revolutionary War to the beginning of 2008.  Think about that.  It turns out that the overwhelming bulk of those loans was not converted into loans for businesses or consumers.  The Mega Banks either hung onto it or used it for more stock market casino gambling.  Neither action created any jobs.  The Fed saved the Mega Banks instead of the economy of our Land.

What should have happened is QE for the People instead of the Mega Banks.  All those trillions of dollars did not "trickle down" to the economy of We the People; those dollars stayed in the Big Banks.  QE for the People would have saved the economy.  About 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending.  It isn't driven by Mega Banks or the Stock Market...and especially, not by the Casino Gambling done by Wall Street ever since the invention of bizarre financial derivatives.  Those derivatives now infect almost all commodities and stock transactions to the tune of $1.25 quadrillion (best estimate by experts).

Estimates of the real unemployment rate are at about 20%.  Some people have given up looking.  I remember looking in 1997 for what turned out to be my last wage-slave job...the last before I retired in 2004.  I sent out 88 inquiries & resumes, had 16 different interviews, and finally secured a job after about five months of effort.  I was getting fairly discouraged just prior to being hired.  Some people today have been looking for two years; imagine how they feel.

Despite what the highest levels of the Gov't and the Corporate Media tell us, there is no Recovery going on in the U.S.  Any honest evaluation of our economic condition shows that.  In addition, the world economy and financial situation appear to be imploding.  The whole scenario, according to many reputable analysts, is so fragile that we are a hair's breadth away from another Great Depression.  Unfortunately, too many people in Power seem to have their heads in the sand.  Either that, or they don't want to risk putting us into a panic.  Or, worst case, they are keeping us in the dark until they and their Big Business Cronies can suck as much wealth as possible out of the economy before the Crash.  [The last choice probably is unlikely...but I would never say that it's impossible.]

Not only my opinion.  Be Well