Friday, July 31, 2015

Quagmires and Plain Craziness, in the USA and Abroad

1.  Our Gov't continues its two and a half decade war in Iraq.  If I recall correctly, that war started in 1990.  There were a few brief respites between then & now, but not many.  [I count "sanctions" as acts of war... because History does as well.]  Just prior to 1990, Saddam & our Gov't Oligarchs were best buddies.  He was taken OFF the Terrorist Watch List by Reagan, I think it was, because Iraq was in a war with Iran.  We continue on in Iraq not because of "spreading democracy" or "fighting terrorism" or whatever the current excuse may be, but rather because our access to Iraq's oil is not yet secure.

2.  Similarly, our Gov't continues to wage war (Gov't Oligarchs call it "counter-terrorism") in Afghanistan because geologists estimate that a one trillion dollar bonanza in minerals lies under the ground there.  [Some of those minerals are rare and just about mined-out everywhere else.]  The U.S. Gov't wants to secure access to that bonanza.

3.  Our President continues to meet every Tuesday with some number of other Executive Branch outlaws in order to choose which people to murder in "counter-terrorism" drone attacks.  [In most cases, such people are SUSPECTS.]  Again, I point out that such action by the Executive Branch is a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.  One of the clauses in Article I, Section 8 clearly states that Letters of Marque and Reprisal (assassination orders) are to be issued by the Congress.  The Executive has no authority in that area.  Being Commander-in-Chief never has meant that the President gets to ignore some parts of the Supreme Law of the Land.

4.  Our Govt's Terrorist Watch List (or whatever the hack politicians call it) is completely illegal.  Admittedly, I'm not an attorney...thank Buddha-Mind (or "God", if you prefer); however, I do have a fairly good grasp of Logic and I'm very familiar with the Constitution.  I say that List is illegal because it accuses and harms people without them knowing about it until it's too late.  Plus, there's no appeal, no recourse, no chance to defend oneself.  You are deemed guilty until the Gov't changes its mind.  That whole scenario is not fair, just, or legal.  It's one more piece of evidence that we are in a Soft Fascist State.

5.  The Gov't of Turkey is now bombing both ISIS and the Kurds in northern Iraq, the same Kurds who are fighting ISIS.  Institutional idiocy.

6.  The Gov't of Germany (the richest country in Europe), along with the European Central Bank and others (including Hedge Funds), have refused to write-down Greece's debt to a point where it can be repaid.  After WW I, that's exactly the break that Germany got relative to its debt.  That's why, prior to Hitler, Germany was at the pinnacle of European culture and productivity.  The Germans were able to recover from WW I because their debt was reduced by their creditors.  [By the way, some portion of Greece's debt has been purchased at discounted prices by Hedge Funds, which stand to benefit greatly from the "Austerity" being imposed upon Greece.]  So now, pensions in Greece are being reduced to about $94 per month.  Public infrastructure will be sold to mega corporations.  Taxes will be raised in an already devastated economy.  Way to go, Germany, et. al.  Save the rich creditors, ruin Greece.  Great plan.

7.  The Police State in the USA continues on.  Read the headlines.  Plus, because cities & counties have lost so much tax revenue (due to Oligarchs moving manufacturing out of our country), in some places a driver can be ticketed & fined for having anything hanging from the rear view mirror...such as a deodorizer or a chain.  Then, too, there is Civil Asset Forfeiture.  With no charge, no indictment, no trial, nothing, your cash and other property can be seized by police because it's "suspicious".  For example, a significant amount of cash can be taken from you because the cop suspects that you may buy drugs with it...probable cause is not required.  Another example:  if you have certain tools in your car, they can be taken with no due process... because the cop thinks you're going to commit a burglary with them.  Have mercy.

8.  Saudi Arabia continues to behead people for "crimes" such as sorcery and blasphemy.  These barbarians are our allies, folks.  Again, have mercy.  Never mind that the State there sponsors the most radical form of Sunni Islam (Wahhabism) in existence... they behead people for "crimes" such as blasphemy and adultery.  Wake up, DC politicos.

9.  Obama continues to deny that his wars are war at all.  Instead, they are deemed "counter-terrorism".  Orwell would be proud.  The Constitution is clear about who can put this country at war... and it's not the President.  It appears, though, that very few Americans care whether or not our "leader" is violating the Supreme Law of the Land.  Amazing.

10.  It looks as though most Americans are gearing up for the phony national election next year.  For eight years, I've used this blog to detail why our whole political scene is a farce... so I won't repeat myself now.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The Kabuki Theater production of "The 2016 Election in The USA" is only a bit more than a year away.  Attention actors:  get your Kabuki masks or makeup early.  The Kabuki-loving crowd in America promises to be a large one.  Come one, come all!

We Americans should be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed that:  1. we allow this type of charade to take place; and 2. we participate in it believing that "if we can just get the right people in office, things will be much better".  After over 200 years of such thinking, one perhaps would recognize that it just isn't true.  Politicians say what the ad agencies tell them to (after opinion polls, focus groups, etc.), and after the election, they serve their true constituency---the Oligarchy.  Probably 99% of national political candidates are selected, groomed, and financed by the Rich & Powerful.  The remaining 1% quickly are marginalized or eliminated by the Corporate Media and Institutional Inertia.  The Rigged Game then continues.

The sad truth is that voting at the national level in this country doesn't matter at all.  The best and easiest way to send a powerful message to the non-representative Gov't in DC and to the non-elected Rulers in the Corporatocracy is don't vote at the national level.  That truly would shake up the Establishment and show who really possesses the power in this Land.  If we could get voting down to 5% or even 10%, the Powers That Be would have a collective fit.  They would understand that the jig is up.  The propaganda just isn't working anymore.

Of course, I don't expect any of that to happen.  The Edward Bernays style propaganda is too ingrained, too relentless, and too long-running.  Even if it were to be recognized fully, we Americans lost our nerve long ago when it comes to changing a political system which has become corrupted and perverted.  Besides, even though we're still in an economic disaster here, we're too distracted by "hot-button" social issues to care about anything else political.  Plus, we've more or less adapted to stagnant wages and salaries.  Finally, we appear to be distracted by sports events & sports "news", soap operas, "reality" shows, and other similar fluff.  Oh, I almost forgot, we're also distracted by "The Boogie Man is coming".  [Yes, some tragic events have happened...but that has been true throughout History.]

Despite all the above, I still have a dream and a hope that my fellow countrymen (& women) will come to understand several elementary truths, as follows.
1.  Along with our Republic, the old ways in politics are long gone.
2.  A Neoliberal Coup has taken place right under our noses, and it wasn't a "conspiracy".
3.  At the highest levels in politics, the old labels are completely meaningless.
4.  The new political paradigm is the Oligarchy versus the rest of us.
5.  Wealth is being transferred from the poor & middle classes to the upper crust at an unprecedented rate.
6.  Voting will not correct any of the above.  (Neither will violence.)
7.  Only boycotts, shunning, and other means of passive resistance will begin to correct the situation.
8.  Propaganda by the Corporate Media, other mega corporations, and the highest levels in DC is rampant.
9.  Capitalism and Socialism are economic systems, not political systems.  The primary cause of our problems is political Crony Capitalism, not economic Capitalism.  It's the current political system here that must be changed, not the economic system.  [As I pointed out in a previous post, we have a Mixed Economy; we've never had Free Market Capitalism, not even in the days of the "Robber Barons".]
10.  As long as Big Money is pervasive in our politics, politicians (in general) will serve Big Business instead of the rest of us.
11.  The first step in reclaiming our government is to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.
12.  Our situation cannot be corrected from within the current system.  Before that can happen, Oligarchs have to be shown who really has the power.  Voting will not do that...99% of your choices at the ballot box are servants of the Rich and Powerful.  The other 1% are toast; they will be marginalized by the corrupt cronyism in the current system.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Coup in Greece & Why it's Important to You

The new government in Greece was blackmailed by Oligarchs.  The Greek Gov't did not close the banks; it was the European Central Bank that did so.  Imagine if, for example, the Fed Reserve here closed all banks in the USA.  They would be re-opened only if our Gov't agreed to receiving a large loan AND the following:  raising taxes on everyone; cutting SS (which is paid for by every individual over the span of his/her working life); and selling off public infrastructure to mega corporations.  What do you think would happen?  I think our Gov't would cave in to the demands.

Those at the top of the hierarchy in the Euro-Zone, the IMF, Germany (the richest country in Europe), the European Central Bank, various hedge funds, etc. brought about the coup in Greece in order to continue Debt Bubble economies there and throughout the world.  Greece had been mounting what probably is the first democratic challenge in the modern world to the oligarchical, fiat money, central bank, debt bubble, false economic model, and wealth-transfer-to-the-rich SYSTEM.  It will be interesting to see what the Greek Parliament does now.

On Democracy Now tonight, it was pointed out that Goldman Sachs had been involved in a fraudulent way in getting Greece to qualify financially for the Euro-Zone in the first place.  Goldman apparently made a lot of money on the deal.  That was back when, of course, Greece had an entirely different government.  My point is that what's going on doesn't involve only the IMF, the Euro-Zone, the European Central Bank, and Greece.  Other mega banks are also a part of the whole scenario.

So, why should anyone care, especially anyone in the USA?  Here's why---

The situation in Greece is but one example of what's going on around the world relative to Neoliberalism.  Using various institutions (mega banks, other mega corporations, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, the WTO, "Free Trade" Agreements, governments, and others) and rampant Edward Bernays style propaganda, Neoliberals are ensuring the continuation of the largest transfer of wealth in history from the poor & middle classes to the super-rich.   Many methods are used, not the least of which is to make certain that everyone everywhere is in massive debt.  [None of this is a "conspiracy"; most all of it is in plain sight.]

Sooner or later, the worldwide Debt Bubble (public & private) will burst.  History shows us that all financial/economic bubbles eventually do so.  I imagine that Oligarchs either have, or are working on, some new system of money and economics.  Once the crash occurs, though, it may take months or more to institute that new system.

Until We the People in every country stop putting faith in deceitful politicians, this all will continue.  That's not pessimism, it's reality.  That means all politicians in all the traditional, major political parties in every country.  They've had their shot for hundreds of years.  In general, they have failed to enable a just and prosperous existence for all of us on a long-term basis.  It continually amazes me that people support these same, old, hack political parties and their dismal records.  They all, and that includes the Democrats in this country, work for the Super-Rich.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, July 6, 2015

KUDOS to Greece...Again

The Greeks did it again.  They told the Oligarchs of the IMF, the European Bank (or whatever it's called), and the various other white-collar criminal frauds involved to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.  Kudos!  It's hardly a surprise--- what country would want to be forced into raising taxes, cutting pensions, and selling off their public infrastructure (to mega corporations) during a time of economic disaster?  I can't imagine that any government would want to do those things.

The Corporate Media here reported that Greece may be forced to issue currency that amounts to IOUs; the implication was that such action is foolish, almost unheard of, and would be disastrous.  Are you kidding me?  The Fed Gov't here in the USA does that every single day.  The USA, thanks to the Fed Reserve, is the largest Debtor Nation in the world.  Every single dollar in our wallets is a debt instrument, an IOU.  Our Govt's debt is so large that the principal will never, ever be re-paid... that is to say, the foreign debt portion of it.  All our foreign creditors know that.  They are happy to get just the interest... in perpetuity.  In our system, that's what personal income taxes are for... Gov't services are financed by other means of revenue, such as excise taxes, fees, impounds, duties, asset forfeiture, corporate taxes, and most importantly, more borrowing.

Every developed country that I know of utilizes a fiat monetary system.  The whole thing is a farce in terms of genuine money, but it's the system the world apparently has settled upon.  It depends on good will... nothing else.  I imagine that Greece has just as much good will as most other countries.  Critics might say that defaulting on a debt does not show good will.  I would respond:  that depends on how the debt is structured, the conditions of acquiring it, and whether or not the creditors involved have good will.  History shows that the IMF, for example, plays a Rigged Game... for the benefit of bankers and other mega corporations.  As far as I can see, no government should ever get involved with the IMF.  Ask South American countries about that... see what they have to say.

The Corporate Media here also imply that Greece leaving the European Union (or Euro-Zone, or whatever the Oligarchs are calling it now) would be an unmitigated disaster for the country.  Corporatists and their Media puppets love to promulgate the idea that life without economic zones, without the WTO, and without the Corporatist version of Globalization is virtually impossible.  What a crock of horse crap.  In my 72 years, I've never seen more blatant, Edward Bernays style propaganda.  It's completely disgusting, untrue, and designed to benefit the Corporatist Oligarchy and their sycophants.

The whole idea of Corporatist Globalization, the IMF, the World Bank, and mega banks in general is nothing but a scam and a fraud visited upon the "little people" (which is exactly what Oligarchs refer to the rest of us as).  Most of the common people of the world are awakening to that fact... despite the fact that the Corporate Media are unrelenting in their oligarchical, Bernays style, Corporatist, anti-democratic propaganda.

Don't believe any of it, Greece.  You can make it.  Most of the world loves you.  Cowboy up, and continue on.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Small Business, Workers, Industry, and the Public Lose Again

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Malcolm Nance Comments on the Iraq-ISIS Crisis

Who is Malcolm Nance?  He's a retired combat veteran and U.S. Counter-Terrorism Officer who was in Iraq as far back as 1987.  He's Arabic-speaking and a recognized expert on Jihadist tactics, the Iraq insurgency, and Al Qaida's worldwide structure.

He had a good deal to say about the Iraq quagmire today on, Democracy Now!, the War and Peace Report, with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales.  To me, his most cogent statement was this:  "Invading Iraq after 9-11 made about as much sense as if we would have invaded Mexico after Pearl Harbor...the Intelligence just wasn't there [meaning, Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11].".  Amen to that.

Going way back to the 1950s, a U.S. Government Strategy Report (can't recall the exact title) stated that one of the U.S. Government's primary strategic goals was to secure access to Mid-East oil.  As recently as a few years ago, in an interview with Henry Kissinger, he stated, "Although it's not politically correct to say so, the Iraq invasion was about the oil.".  Most people recognize that today, and yet even now, the highest levels of our Gov't still say we're there for another reason or reasons---now it's the Boogie Man, ISIS.  When the White House spokesmen or Pentagon spokesmen claim that ISIS is a threat to our National Security, what they mean is:  we can't let them control that OIL.

Our President is now in Desperation Mode relative to all the above.  Our recent "support" of the Iraqi Army started out with about 300 "trainers and advisors"; presently, that number has jumped to about 3,000.  Obama today is considering moving the number up by another 500 or so.  It seems logical that the number will continue to rise.  He knows that the public here will not stand for sending in 100,000 troops (or some such number) all at once, so he's doing it incrementally.  He knows full well that an air war and "training" the Iraqi Army will not "defeat ISIS" (which is his stated objective).  In order to secure access to that oil, he must utilize U.S. combat ground forces.  That, of course, is beyond stupid...because we would have to occupy that country forever.  ISIS always can fade back into the population and reappear whenever it wishes.  So, once again the highest levels of our Gov't have stuck their noses into another civil war for reasons they refuse to acknowledge.   And the propaganda rolls on.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Keep in mind that all our military adventurism overseas is paid for by borrowing more & more money from foreign countries.  That's the only way we can afford it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Last Bastion

The last bastion against an errant government (not counting armed revolt) is jury nullification. Very early in our country's history, the role of jury nullification as a defense against oppression by the State was unquestioned. It remained so until the 1850s, a time during which many juries began not convicting in prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act. Judges, seeing a mighty demonstration of the power of juries, began to change the rules of the Court. The primary and most devastating change was that juries would no longer be permitted (by judges) to judge the law; they would be confined to judging only the facts of the case.

The new rules were (and still are) a blatant infringement on the rights of juries. That's not just my view...

"The jury has a right to judge both the law and the facts in controversy."
~ John Jay, First
Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1789
"The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts."
~ Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1796
"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
~ Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1941

Juries routinely are told by judges that jury members cannot judge the law, only the facts of the case. Not true. Numerous case decisions have upheld the right of any juror to nullify a "bad" law and vote to acquit. Example: "The jury has an unreviewable and unreversible acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge."
U.S. v. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139 (1972). Example: " is presumed that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision. You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine law as well as the fact in controversy." [Emphasis added.] State of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1 Dall. (1794).

So, why do jurors not know these things? The reason is simple: in
Sparf v. United States (1895), the Court decided that courts need not inform jurors of their de facto right of jury nullification even though the jurors' inherent right to judge the law remains unchallenged. All judges are aware of this. Rather than inform juries of all their rights, judges tend to intimidate jurors by telling them that they cannot judge the law.

All of this is crucial to individual sovereignty and freedom because governments practice Legislative Absolutism (a term coined by Justice Harlan in 1901), passing laws without any regard for constitutions (Federal and State). Other than bringing suit in a court of law, the aggrieved citizen has no legal and peaceful recourse except to rely on jury nullification. Bringing suit usually is very expensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, relying on jury nullification depends upon having a fully informed citizenry, and jurors with courage and integrity...therefore, spread the word! We need fully informed juries.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well