Sunday, January 5, 2020

NeoCon & NeoLib Warmongers & Regime Changers Continue On


It never ends.  Now our Gov't has assassinated the Iranian General Soleimani, who essentially was the equivalent of our Secretary of Defense, and a folk hero in Iran.  Supposedly, he was an "imminent threat" to Americans overseas.  He probably was a threat to anyone associated with our Corporate-Government Complex, but the question is why?  The simple answer is twofold:  1) our Gov't keeps sticking its nose into Arab and Persian affairs; and 2) our Fed Executive Branch has been attacking and strangling the Iranian Gov't for decades.  Why?  According to the Feds, it's because they're "terrorists".  It would behoove anyone who believes that to study a little history.

I suggest to anyone who launches such a historical search:  start with the British discovery of petroleum in Iran in 1908 and the formation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP).  Then look into the Pahlavi Dynasty--- 1925-1979.  Don't overlook the Anglophile CIA-MI6 conspiracy that overthrew Mosaddeq in the 1953 Coup, after the Iranian Parliament voted in favor of nationalizing oil facilities in Iran.  Don't forget the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988.  Saddam invaded Iran, and was more or less backed by the USA.  More recently, don't forget to consider our economic & financial sanctions on Iran, which are punishing the entire population.  Then there's Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement, at a time when (according to independent sources) Iran was meeting all of the requirements.  Finally, don't ignore the Sunni-Shia Conflict, which has been going on for hundreds of years.  Dubya Bush didn't know anything about it; he thought all believers in Islam were of the same cloth.

This whole mess isn't about "terrorism".  It's all about economics and finance.  It's about natural resources.  It's about the Dollar as the world's reserve currency.  It's about Neoliberal plans to privatize the world.  It's about the fact that the USA's position as the preeminent Leader of the World is on a downhill slide.  Many countries have had quite enough of our Corporate-Gov't Complex trying to run everyone else's affairs.  Those countries are forming their own economic and financial alliances in order to bypass the control of the USA's Gov't-Sachs Cabal.  It's also about the NeoCon obsession with Regime Change, and "defending Christianity".  NeoCon nutcakes never would admit it, but I suspect many of them really do believe they are on a "Crusade".  If you recall, Dubya Bush used that word after 9-11, and was roundly criticized for it.

The Ivory Tower Powers-That-Be appear to be trying everything they can to start a war with Iran.  Don't let them do it.  Speak up every way you can.  When they harp on Iranians being "terrorists", keep in mind that Shia Iran is fighting against Sunni ISIS.  Also keep in mind that Iran has much more reason to be interested in Iraq than we do.  Iraq is their neighbor, and they were invaded by Iraq.

In his almost constant gaslighting, Trump goes back & forth between withdrawing militarily from the Middle East to escalating the trouble there.  It's all designed to distract us from his utter incompetence and violations of the Constitution.  Don't fall for it.

Lastly, consider the following.  The Orwellian politicians (both major Parties) in DC have been quietly changing the definitions of words for at least a couple of decades now.  Example:  "imminent", as in "imminent threat", no longer means "immediate"; rather, it now officially means something akin to "perhaps sometime in the future".  Another example:  "war" (the way it's used in our Constitution) no longer means war; instead, it officially means something akin to "counter-terrorism".  As such, Rules, Laws, the Supreme Law of the Land, and even morals & ethics no longer apply.  At least, that's according to the Powers-That-Be.  In reality, it's Orwellian nonsense ...and criminal.

SIDE NOTE---  In reference to his massive escalation of drone attacks, Obama once stated,  "Well, it's not really a war.".  Here's a clue, Mr. Obama:  when you cross a border and kill hundreds of people (1400 in Pakistan alone), that's a war.  The war clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution applies.  Nothing in Article II can contravene that provision...unless the USA is hit with a surprise invasion.  You know that; after all, you're a Constitutional scholar.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Finally - The Corrupt Gaslighter-in-Chief Has Been Impeached


He could have been impeached anytime after January 24, 2017.  Why?  Because on that date he violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  See my essay here:  https://individualsovereignty.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-violation-of-nepa-sepa-laws-rules.html
He did so by signing the authorization for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being done on that project.  It's a direct violation of the Law, a Law which has not been repealed.  Trump thinks he can contravene a Law simply by issuing an Executive Order.  Nope, not legally anyway. 

Here's the kicker.  The reason given for ignoring that Law was as follows.  The Administration claimed that each section of the main pipeline was the equivalent of a spur line.  Short spur lines are not required to have a separate EIS done.  They branch off from the main pipeline for a short distance to some terminus or another.  Any EIS on the main pipeline would encompass spur lines.  It's sheer nonsense to claim that each section of the main line is the equivalent of a spur line, and thus the whole pipeline does not require an EIS.  Such a concept is so ridiculous that it's absolutely hilarious.

That violation by Trump was at the very least a misdemeanor, and grounds for impeachment.  On January 18, 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers (the Lead Agency on the project) filed a Notice of Intent to write an EIS for DAPL.  After Trump took Office, the Corps of Engineers withdrew/cancelled that Notice.  I'm sure that was at the behest of The Don.

That whole business was a minor misdeed by Trump compared to his violations of the Constitution; nevertheless, it's an impeachable offense.  A President cannot essentially repeal a Law on his own...not legally.

In my view, The Democrats dropped the ball by not including all Trump's egregious violations in their Articles of Impeachment.  Ralph Nader has the same view.  According to him and a team of Constitutional scholars, there are at least a dozen misdeeds by Trump that constitute violations of his Office.  At least, indeed.

Too bad the Repub Senators are too chicken to do what's best for our country in the upcoming Trial.  Too bad, indeed.  Here's the good news.  As Al Green (a Rep. from Houston, & the 1st one in Congress to bring Impeachment of Trump to the floor of the House) pointed out, just because a President has been impeached once doesn't mean he/she can't be impeached again.  Let's see what our Serial Liar-in-Chief is hiding in his tax returns.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, December 6, 2019

"There's No Threat to Capitalism Like Capitalists"


Note---
I hope you don't leave this piece before reading the portion about Trump and Mnuchin.  Though the topic below is a bit of history, I do relate it to the players of today.  Plus, I suspect much of the history relayed in the video is mostly unknown to many or most people.
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There's a link below to an interview of William K. Black by Bill Moyers.  Black was a bank regulator key to the production of about a thousand criminal referrals in the Savings & Loan fraud in the 1980's.  He's also a Professor of Economics and Law, and in my view, a genuine American hero.  For more than a quarter century, he has worked tirelessly to expose the ongoing ripoff of the American public by Mega Banks and their political Cronies in DC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXWaAQpofqE&amp=&index=28&amp=&list=WL

In the above clip, Black explains exactly what caused the 2008 Crash and the complicity of Obama, Holder, Geithner, Jamie Dimon, and others.  He also tells us why the same thing will happen again.  This general topic may be old news, but the details in this interview are revealing, breathtaking, and largely unknown by the "average" American.  It's a Must-See, and brutally relevant to today.

Capitalism is a great economic system, but without strong regulations and enforcement it becomes Crony Capitalism-Casino Capitalism-Surveillance Capitalism and a Kleptocracy for the Super-Rich.  History supports that contention.  There's no question about it.

So, what about Trump relative to this essay?  That's probably an eight-hour conversation.  Briefly, though, here are some points to consider---
1.  Elsewhere in this venue, I've explained why he owes Bankers big-time, both literally & figuratively.
2.  He and his Crew are decimating regulations across the board, including Banking regulations.
3.  His Secretary of the Treasury is Mnuchin, who was more or less a foreclosure king during the last Crash.  Because he would make millions, he was overheard saying prior to the last bursting of the Housing Bubble, "I'm hoping for a real estate crash".  He was a Goldman Sachs Banker for 17 years.  He financially supported Hillary in her Primary run against Obama, and then supported Obama in his run against McCain.  He has strong ties to Wall Street, and apparently, no defining political ideology.  In some ways, he's another Paulson.

None of the above speaks well for Trump in relation to the coming Crash.  The Mega Bankers again will make out like the bandits they are...at our expense.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  The title quote is from William K. Black, and it's in the video interview.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Where the Political Left is Wrong in Social, Educational, & Political Spheres


Here's the main thing wrong with the general political Left in the social, educational, & political spheres of life---
and, although it's well-intentioned, it's creating a "stunning fragility" in our youth.  Plus, it's accompanied by an almost virulent self-righteousness.  The speakers here expose it, & explain why it's damaging...not only to our youth, but also to the country in general.  I agree 100%.
The clip is only 13.5 minutes.

The subject matter at the above link includes:  egregious, over-the-top, political correctness; the coddling of kids; gross intolerance of views other than those promulgated by the Left; "slurring" rather than debating in a reasonable manner; and a subtle self-righteousness regarding social and political issues.

By the way, the political Right (in general) is as bad as, or worse than, the Left regarding this whole shebang... at least, most of it.  The result is that the fracturing of our society gets worse & worse every year.  Civility is well on its way to being totally gone.  It's being replaced by not only rudeness, but intolerance and violence as well.  The Corporate Media seem to focus on such activities, but rarely (if ever) ask "Why is this happening?".  Undoubtedly, the answer contains many factors, complex factors; nevertheless, we need to figure this thing out.  If we don't, I believe our society will continue to break down, perhaps even to the point of Martial Law being imposed.  It costs little to nothing to seriously and rationally consider an opposing point-of-view.

A starting point is this:  every side in any significant disagreement passionately believes that its side is the one "in the right", or "best for most people".  The opposing sides need to find out why "the other side" thinks that way... rather than simply slurring them and giving them sound-bite retorts.

Politicians, institutions of all kinds (religious, educational, social, Law enforcement, non-profit, for-profit, etc.), and all of us "common" people need to wake up and re-double our efforts to promote reasonable & civil debate, tolerance, and respect for individuals with opposing views.  I've seen decades of decay in that regard.  It doesn't bode well for the future of our Land.

So, though it may be extremely difficult to do, I propose to all "True Believers" to (at least once in awhile) step outside the "For or Against" paradigm and make a herculean effort to consider issues without having any prejudgements.  I like Socrates' observation on Wisdom:  "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.".  Let's be more tolerant of each other's views...and start learning.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Crucial Narrative Regarding Freedom & Individual Sovereignty



Preface

I first posted this piece on March 1 of this year.  DC politicians only just recently finally have begun to address the issue.  This whole business is a dire threat to individual freedom.  So far, we are voluntarily marching straight into it.  The narrative at the link below is not against SMART tech, but rather, how it is being used.  If you value individual sovereignty, listen carefully.


Behavior Modification by Surveillance Capitalists Redux


At the link below, a Harvard Professor Emeritus brilliantly explains how we are being "herded", and why SMART technology & outfits like Facebook are an egregious threat 
to individual sovereignty.
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/1/age_of_
surveillance_capitalism_we_thought

Perhaps in their young adulthood (or maybe mid-life), our toddler 
grandchildren are going to wonder:  how could our grandparents have been so dense?  How could they have allowed this Brave New World of ours to develop?  Didn't they understand the dangers of ubiquitous surveillance?  Did they really believe the argument "I have nothing to hide" meant that they wouldn't be affected?  How could they have not seen how the State-Corporate-Financial Complex most likely would use the gathered data to manipulate and control us?  Were they asleep at the wheel, or too propagandized, or too stressed by trying 
to make ends meet in a declining worldwide economy?  Were they too worried about, and distracted by, advancing Neofeudalism?

Kudos to Professor Zuboff for a well-spoken, insightful, and much needed interview... and for her seven years of research for the book, The Age of  Surveillance Capitalism.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Pitiful Case of Donald John Trump

Preface
Everything I'm about to say in this essay, other than my opinions, is public knowledge.  One may have to dig just a little to find some of the information, but it's all available to anyone who looks.
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1.  The Don was a millionaire by the time he was eight years old.  Thank you, Daddy.

2.  He likes to tout the fact that his father gave him a "small loan" of a million dollars (when he was a young adult), and from that he built a billion dollar business...supposedly.  Indeed, Fred did give his son that loan...and then, over the following years, he did it again, and again, and again, etc.  The total wound up being sixty million dollars.  Thank you, Daddy.

3.  When his business was on the verge of utter and complete bankruptcy in the 1980's, various banks bailed him out and put him on a generous monthly allowance.  The financiers figured his name on a viable business was worth more than what they'd get out of his bankruptcy.

4.  So much for Trump's narrative that except for a "small loan" from his father, he essentially built a business from nothing.  It's one of an infinite number of outright lies.

5.  The Don learned how to lie, smear his opponents, and psychologically gaslight from the former Mob lawyer (and former Chief Counsel for Senator Joe McCarthy), Roy M. Cohn.  Cohn was his personal lawyer for a time.

6.  During his years in both real estate and the casino business, several times he shafted employees out of both jobs and wages.  At the same time, some independent contractors were shafted out of duly earned fees.  If they sued, he would countersue.  Cases would drag on until the aggrieved parties quit trying to recoup their losses.

7.  He's an autocrat wannabe, but appears to be a shallow, weak person who admires most of the dictators on the world stage.  That alone makes his Presidency an embarrassment to all decent people in this country. 

8.  Thanks to the mistakes, misdeeds, and sheer nonsense of the Establishment Oligarchy, The Don pretty much fell into the Oval Office.  Shenanigans by the Republican Party operatives prior to and during the 2016 election certainly helped, but mostly it was because most people were fed up with same ol', same ol' crap from politicians.  They thought The Don would change things to their benefit.  They were about 99.9% wrong about that.

9.  Since getting into office, he has been crass, boorish, a serial liar, foolish, ignorant, unstable, alienating, and dangerous.  I believe he's the most dangerous President in my lifetime...and I was born in 1942.

10.  The Don should not be hated...hate engenders more of the same.  Instead, he should be pitied... and booted out of office.  Maybe then, we can return politics to some degree of sanity here.  Maybe then, 80% of the world's adults will stop believing that our Gov't is the greatest threat to stability and peace on Earth.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Again, for any new readers, I'm not a Republican or a Democrat.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rules From and For the Oligarchy Redux


I first posted this essay a bit over five years ago.  It's being re-posted now because the Oligarchy in this country is getting more & more desperate, and it's wise to keep in mind their methods for manipulating us.  [I've added just a tad more to the text in several places.]
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By the "Oligarchy", I'm referring of course to those at the highest levels in politics, Big Business, and the Intelligentsia...the ones who "run the country".  They are both Democrats and Republicans, but those labels are not in any way important to them.  Their guideposts primarily are power and money.  They're not in any kind of conspiracy, but they do enjoy great solidarity.

Here, then, are their rules for success...the rules by which they live, thrive, and rule others.

1.  Utilize Edward Bernays style Propaganda at every opportunity...to its maximum effect.

2.  Select, groom, and finance the slickest liars and most unethical people possible for national political office.  Marginalize and denigrate any honest and sincere politicians who somehow manage to get into office.

3.  Wrap yourself in the American Flag at every opportunity.

4.  Strive to keep the country perpetually at war.  It's great for Big Business and the best way to control the public mind.  It also gives us every opportunity to "colonize" geostrategic areas without appearing imperialistic; that way we can assure American Primacy.  We're just defending our country.  If one person is killed, it's murder; but if 100,000 are killed, it's Foreign Policy and/or protecting our Homeland.

5.  At crucial times, tell the Little People whatever it is they want to hear.

6.  Continue the myth that Republicans and Democrats at the highest levels have substantially different views.  It's the best way to Divide and Conquer.  Pretend to squabble with your supposed political opposition.

7.  At all costs, never prosecute in court any mega bank CEO who has been complicit in swindling people.  Don't bite the hand that feeds you.  Instead, levy a large fine against the bank for "misleading investors".

8.  Distract the public with minor political issues and various circuses.

9.  Allow people to peacefully protest, but only in limited, designated areas.

10.  When caught in wrongdoing, criminalize the whistleblower.  To do that, take a page from (most recently) Obama's & Trump's playbook:  utilize the Espionage Act of 1917.  Apply the word "spy"...especially when it's not relevant.  The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.

11.  Make certain that the mainstream, corporate media keep serving up pablum to the public... and/or controversy over nothing of any significant consequence... and/or, fear.

12.  Continue the myth that the People live in a participatory democracy.

13.  At all costs, support and promote the WTO and Free Trade Agreements, the Neoliberal policy of deregulation of the worldwide Financial Sector, and the myth that we're aiding poor countries by forcing them to privatize gov't services.  In other words, continue the myth that Corporate Globalization is good for the common people and the economy.

14.  Avoid conflict with the U.S. Constitution simply by ignoring the document whenever necessary.

15.  Continue the myth that the President of the U.S. legally (and essentially) can create Law by the use of Executive Orders.  If questioned about that, respond by saying that the Constitution "implies" it.

16.  Oppose, denigrate, and when possible, eliminate all labor unions.  Substitute biased "mandatory arbitration" in their place.  This is the best way to keep the Little People workers in check.

17.  Keep the public in fear, and promote cognitive dissonance  in the Little People.  Mold the public mind.

18.  Continue the lie that National Security trumps everything... including common decency, the Law, the Constitution, ethics, and morality.

19.  Continue the War on Drugs.  It's almost as good as actual war in relation to controlling the populace.

20.  Act as though you favor egalitarian issues; in other words, lie.
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Do you recognize any of this?  There is a better way.  The second step toward that better way is to organize.  The first step I've stated over and over:  we must stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid coming from high-level Republicans and Democrats, (& Trump, who is neither a Repub or Dem), Mega Corporations, and the Corporate Media.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well