There were over 28,000 Prince deaths last year.

I never use the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ anymore. It carries too much of a pejorative connotation and strongly implies that what is being discussed should obviously be dismissed.

I prefer a clumsy phrase which will never be used again:  ‘Observations and commentary on suspicions of coordinated action’.

To be candid, I will not be presenting anything like a conspiracy theory here, or making any attempt at a cohesive and conclusive argument.  What I will do is offer some facts and throw out some questions, then let you draw your own conclusions and make whatever connections might seem appropriate.

We were all saddened, perhaps shocked when Prince recently died from prescription opiate abuse.

At the same time, over 28,000 people died in the U.S. last year from prescribed opiates.  We might ask:  Is there is no human price too high to pay when it comes to maximizing corporate profits?

“Nationally 125 people die every day from drug overdoses,” according to a recent article in the New York Times.  Death by drug overdose has recently been dramatically accelerating.

Death by heroin overdose quadrupled in eleven years and is now reaching alarming levels.

Here are some questions that immediately come to mind:

Why is it that so little funding is being made available for rehabilitation programs to treat drug addiction?

Why is it that the FDA is so lax when it comes to dealing with Big Pharma, apparently not willing or able to perform its mandated duty to protect the American public?

Why is it wherever the U.S. mounts special ops campaigns or as in the case of Afghanistan a full-on military assault, production of heroin and trafficking of drugs seems to explode?

Why is it that the CIA is often implicated in drugs-for-arms deals and drug trafficking?

Why is it America seems incapable of winning the War on Drugs?

Okay, here comes the curve ball . . .

Are you familiar with the Boxer Rebellion?

I was taught in high school world history class that this was an uprising against the West in China, specifically Beijing, which illegally seized power from the legitimate authorities, and was subsequently put down by Western powers with the help of Japan, to restore the proper order.  It was a turn-of-the-20th Century example of the enlightened West fighting the evil of terrorism in a nation we held dear to us because of our mutually-beneficial trade relations.

The truth is that China had been the victim of a vast opium trade, promoted by the West over several decades, which resulted in massive addiction and effectively a subjugation of China to economic manipulation and control by the West.  The Boxer Rebellion was an attempt to reclaim the country from foreign control and eliminate the scourge of opium addiction and the resulting disintegration of Chinese society.

Xi_Jinping_October_2015Xi Jinping, the current president of the People’s Republic of China, as many other embittered Chinese scholars likewise do, refers to this era of addiction and enslavement as the Century of Humiliation.  He has vowed to never allow China to be subjected to such disrespect again.  It’s what drives his foreign policy and what our historically-ignorant politicos view as his “confrontational” policies and recalcitrance with the U.S.  You see, Xi Jinping is acutely aware of America’s use of drug trade and drug addiction to control and enslave whole nations.

Are you?

 

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Health Care, Political Rant, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Making A Buck

US Top Arms SupplierIt seems that every time I look at a news media site, there’s yet another announcement of a giant arms deal between the U.S. and some foreign country.

Maybe I should feel all aflutter that at least some things are still being manufactured in the U.S., instead of China or Bangladesh.

America is the main supplier of arms to the world.  I don’t mean prosthetic arms.

Guns, bombs, bombers, fighter jets, ammunition, artillery, tanks, attack helicopters, attack and reconnaissance drones, rockets — you name it — just about every killing device and deadly combat technology, except nuclear weapons, is in the catalog.  Last year our foreign sales of military equipment reached a record high of $46.6 billion!

Recognizing that making money and bolstering the economy are main drivers for most of our foreign policy decisions, I still can’t help but wonder why two obvious questions never get asked:

  1. As an allegedly Judeo-Christian nation, is this really the best way to honor those values we claim are the core of our beliefs?  “Do unto others …” and “Thou shalt not kill …” are a couple phrases that immediately come to mind.
  2. Is flooding the world with weapons which may, given the apparent volatility of political loyalties, be ultimately pointed right back at us, really a very smart thing to do?

I realize that these are secondary and tertiary considerations — if they ever come up at all — in the boardrooms of military companies and their mirrored think tanks, and the decision making forums of our government, where profit and raw power are more important than people’s lives, reducing and eliminating human suffering, or even embracing basic human decency.

But how can we claim to be advocates for a peaceful world if any Tom, Dick, or Abdul can arm their countries to the teeth by simply buying the ingenuity and efficacy of American killing machines, instruments of war, technological marvels that erase human life?  Or do we even bother worrying about such inconsistencies anymore?  Frankly, it doesn’t seem that in the raucous din of saber-rattling and incessant beating of war drums we now must endure 24/7/365, peace ever gets even passing mention by our congressional leaders or White House spokespersons.

It’s quite obvious to anyone not under the ideological spell of neocon lunacy . . .

The aggressive promotion of our war industries and pursuit of profit through arms deals is mind-bogglingly self-sabotaging, whatever the pecuniary rewards.  It’s like pulling up with a truck full of assault weapons in downtown Cambden, NJ and selling them to anyone who forks over the bucks, hoping that all these folks will use good judgment and not cause any undue harm.  It is an understatement to say this approach is patently stupid and suicidal!

President Obama himself, a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize based purely on the rhetoric of his presidential campaign and speeches made in the first few months of his presidency, most notably his A New Beginning address to Muslim nations June 4, 2009 in Cairo, has outpaced George W. Bush with accelerated approvals of lethal weapons sales to foreign buyers, and has significantly relaxed or done away with altogether the regulatory framework intended to safeguard against those weapons getting into the wrong hands.

ISISTo put this in perspective, President Obama has sold more armaments than any president since World War II, and thus we are daily treated to scenes in the media of all sides of a conflict blasting away at one another with high-end U.S. manufactured equipment.  Much of it initially goes to legitimate, approved buyers but then gets stolen, captured, even intentionally passed along, so that terrorists groups who represent our worst nightmares, who are anti-American to the core and willing to do anything to destroy the “Great Satan” and supreme infidels we are judged by them to be, then are in a position to mount astonishingly successful military campaigns, conquer and control huge swaths of territory, forcing millions of refugees to flee to Europe and other areas of the globe, creating the worst such crisis in seven decades.

Many political analysts on the left — ones I happen to agree with — say this is all actually entirely preplanned and deliberate, that the U.S. has mutated into the Empire of Chaos, one maintaining its supremacy as the world’s only remaining superpower by seeding and feeding disarray and destruction.  This is entirely consistent with the Wolfowitz Doctrine, a landmark policy embedded in Defense Planning Guidance recommendations issued in 1992.  This paradigm-shifting proposal in short order established the tone and substance for America’s application of power over the subsequent two-and-a-half decades:

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.  This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

So America is to reign supreme and anyone who appears to threaten that arrangement will have to be dealt with accordingly.  Even the slightest challenge can trigger overwhelming opposition by the U.S.  The list of countries bombed into submission, functionally erased as nations, or whose leadership has been replaced by regime change if formidable and still growing. 

Except for its confrontation with the Soviet Union during the five decades of the Cold War, the U.S. has typically limited itself to smaller, more easily bullied countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Libya.  Despite its abysmal record of both military and diplomatic failure in almost all of its interventions, America’s recklessness and hubris continues to escalate, as this cycle’s presidential candidates, divorced from the realities on the ground, competed in bluster and bombast, promising bigger and badder explosions and wars.  No country, large or small, is to be given a pass. For example, Russia and China just recently were identified as major national security threats.  They are now prime targets for either military action or chaos and crippling by whatever means the U.S. chooses to enlist.  Of course, neither has attacked nor shown any intention of attacking America.  BUT they are both growing more powerful and have proven unwilling to play a submissive vassal state role, determined to meet their own needs and national priorities.  And even more horrifying in the view of the hegemonic America-first neocons, Russia and China are now cooperating on many fronts and appear to be entering into a full-on military and economic alliance, inviting countries from the rest of the world who are fed up with Washington’s imperialism and truculence.   

Not only Russia and China are in the cross hairs.  It seems on a more perspicuous analysis that the Wolfowitz Doctrine applies not just to hostile powers, but any power, as the U.S. manipulates and bullies even its allies to exclusively serve American interests.  Recently, we’ve seen aggressive interference by the U.S. to prevent any pursuit of independence by EU/NATO countries.  Japan, of course, has been under America’s thumb for seventy years, and despite some grumbling from Japanese citizenry, has remained a good lapdog for the Empire.  With Obama’s “pivot to Asia”, which is built on intensified deployment of military assets in the region, while stirring up longstanding rivalries among the Asian countries, divide-and-conquer is alive and well.  Though the Chinese have a longstanding history of non-aggression and have made it clear they would rather work out any disputes at a conference table rather than on the battlefield, it is now the primary boogeyman.

For our “friends” often much of this meddling and manipulation comes down to money.  It’s such a win-win situation — unless, of course, you happen to be an American citizen.  The U.S. guarantees the security of other nations against both real and imagined threats, and foots the bill for much of the military equipment and deployment of U.S. troops.  The countries are effectively subsidized for being an American protectorate, quite generously so.  Pax Americana gets to be king of the mountain.  You and I foot the bill.  The defense industries pocket the profits.

All I can say is this:  What a colossal waste!

What a waste of our tax money.  What a waste of our leadership role in the world.  What a waste of our generosity.  What a waste of our resources.  What a waste of the energy that once went into building a great nation and maintaining a functioning society.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben, activist Naomi Klein, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, and countless others have proposed that America immediately take the lead in creating a green energy world.  We can still make a buck — billions and billions of them, far more than we make on weapons of war — manufacturing and selling the necessary equipment and technology, and providing training and infrastructure for a global green energy revolution. 

Is it so far-fetched to imagine a world covered with wind turbines and solar panels, instead of missile launchers and tanks?  Is it so extreme or quixotic to want to transform the surface of the planet into a vast sustainable community instead of a killing field?

Where would you have America invest its vast economic resources and wealth?  Creating a harmonious future and habitable planet, or promoting chaos, death, destruction, and the inevitable collapse of civilization?

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Red State vs. Blue State Looks Like To An Ant

Red_vs_Blue_Ants_View

Just watching the two major-party conventions and seeing people now excitedly lining up on one side or the other like opposing Ninja turtle teams is both amusing and frightening.  We can count on the talking heads and modern media to regurgitate a story line familiar to devotees of Saturday morning cartoon shows to give substance to our political aspirations.  Unfortunately, the narrative is insultingly simple-minded and mostly a distraction.

With the nation divided into red and blue states, the news robots now have the solemn and putatively critical duty to keep us up to date on any shifting of allegiances and rebalancing of the color scheme, milking any incremental addition of a splotch of blue or dash of red for whatever drama they can generate, before cutting to a commercial break.

What has this got to do with the mounting crises we find ourselves in?

Here is a short list of profound challenges confronting the world:

  • Potential for nuclear war and the annihilation of the planet.
  • Climate change.
  • Resource depletion.
  • Desertification of shrinking tracts of farm land.
  • Diminishing fresh water supplies.
  • Acidification of the oceans and overfishing.
  • Antibiotic-resistant diseases.
  • Accelerating species extinction.
  • Human trafficking and enslavement.

Here is a short list of critical challenges just to our nation:

  • Destruction of democracy and rule by an oligarchy.
  • Historical levels of wealth inequality.
  • Loss of privacy and basic constitutional rights to the surveillance state.
  • Corporate tyranny and plutocratic control of the economy.
  • Almost 50% of Americans living in or close to poverty.
  • As many as 29,000,000 still without health insurance.
  • Rampant social and systemic racism.
  • Crumbling of infrastructure and crippling of our social institutions.
  • Militarization of society and seizure of power by the military-industrial complex.
  • Police brutality and murder of innocent citizens.

Pundits and politicos in service to their oligarchic masters can generate all the wonderful spin they can.  But America’s economy has been hollowed out from the inside, and due to a fanatic allegiance to a defective and extremely destructive ideology, the needs of everyday citizens have been ignored.  Anger and frustration mount.  Signs of decline and decay are all around us, behind the glitter and the glitz.  Worst of all, the U.S. as a world power is losing the mantle of leadership.  Its policies have inflicted so much chaos, destruction and death on the rest of the planet, the U.S. is losing its legitimacy and predictably is being challenged by Russia, China, and the non-aligned countries of the South.  Of course, with the myopia and desperation that characterizes a dying empire, what’s America’s answer?  More chaos, destruction and death.  We are involved in seven wars right now and the specter of World War III looms frighteningly on the horizon.

Everything comes back to what we as a people do to reverse this disastrous course.

Isn’t it time to put away the gang colors and actually begin to solve some problems?

Is it possible?  I don’t know.

I do know it’s absolutely necessary.

Our survival as a country and even as a species depends on it.

Posted in Climate Change, Corporatism, Democracy, Economics, Environment, Health Care, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Look At The Numbers

NumbersThis references my previous article, The “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” Pledge Campaign, which to my pleasant surprise has resulted in quite a bit of positive support.

Several commenters asked me how I came up with the numbers, and how realistic was it to think that we could get 50,000,000 folks to sign the pledge to vote for Jill Stein, the target for “activating” the promise to vote for her.  Meaning, if 50,000,000 voters took the pledge, they could all vote for her, secure in the knowledge that they would not be throwing their vote away — a vote of conscience for a minor-party candidate would be considered “throwing their vote away” if it resulted in a victory by whichever major-party candidate they happened to despise.

I said that 50,000,000 would “guarantee” a plurality win?  How did I arrive at that figure?

Well, there are no “guarantees” in a system using unverifiable electronic voting machines, so we can just give this our best estimate:  There are 146,311,000 registered voters in the U.S.  In the 2012 election, 126,144,000 voted.  If we assume a quite formidable turnout of 130,000,000 for 2016, 50,000,000 represents a 38% plurality.  This would allow as much as a 12% spread between Trump and Clinton, e.g. 25% Trump and 37% Clinton.  Actually, some predict that it might go the other way, meaning as much as 37% for Trump and 25% for Clinton, on the expectation that Stein would be pulling the “progressive” vote away from Clinton.  The most current polls support that direction.  But as long as Donald and Hillary split the 62% not voting for Jill Stein with 12% or less of a spread between them, Jill wins by plurality.

I also said that 50,000,000 was realistic — it was an achievable target — and showed how the power of an exponential multiplier provides us plenty of time to get this organized and done.  At the same time, we should recognize that the arithmetic alone begs the question of whether there are people out there who are even receptive to a third-party option, who are sufficiently disgusted with the way this election is shaping up to jump off the major-party bandwagons.

Again, we can only speculate.  But a few factors are encouraging.

As cited in a Salon article, Gallup polls for the fifth year in a row indicate that over 40% of voters identify themselves as “independents”, so disenchanted are they with the two-party system which has defined electoral politics for much of recent history.

More specifically, deep dissatisfaction with the major-party choice of Trump vs. Clinton is evidenced by historic levels of unfavorability ratings.  Clinton is at 55% and rising, Trump is at 70% and could go either way.  But just taking them at these current levels means that there is a minimum 25% of voters who strongly disapprove of both.  This 25% translates to more than 36,000,000 registered voters — a huge number of voters who apparently prefer to vote for neither.  If they can be directed Jill Stein’s way, this is a big head start toward our goal of 50,000,000!

Lastly, Jill Stein has taken a bold and powerful stand on an issue which garnered much favor and enthusiasm in the Bernie revolution, that of free college education.  Currently, some 42,000,000 college graduates are saddled with onerous debts, just trying to obtain skills and credentials which will give them a fighting chance for a decent job in our highly competitive and compromised job market.  Jill Stein has committed to a full forgiveness of student loan debt if she becomes president.  Talk about reaching out to young people and appealing to them to vote in their own interests!

I don’t have to tell you that I think the “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” pledge idea could be a real game-changer.  It risks nothing, demands little of voters other than a few minutes of their time and a commitment to attentive, fearless voting, should the campaign succeed, yet offers the possibility of a paradigm shift in electoral politics.  Finally, the stranglehold of the two major parties will be broken, and a new broad range of potential solutions will be brought center-stage to the national conversation.

But good ideas are not automatic.  Good ideas only get traction if people take the time to understand them, then actively share their understanding with others.  The language of the pledge makes this necessity clear:

“I will now contact two other people who I respect and trust, let them know there is a real alternative to the Clinton vs. Trump political spectacle, explain that if we frustrated voters join together, we will not be throwing our votes away, we can elect a great president, America’s first female president no less.”

The corporate-controlled main stream media did everything it could to marginalize and destroy the Bernie Sanders campaign.  It has also been completely successful at keeping Jill Sanders an invisibility on the political stage.

Therefore, it’s up to us:  Each person tells two others, who each tell two others, who . . . 

It’s the power of numbers.

It’s the power of people over plutocracy, the voice of individual citizens shouting down the mind-numbing mantras of the 1%, mouthed by their brain-dead talking heads and political puppets.

There are 61,450,000 “independents” out there somewhere.  There are 36,578,000 voters who think neither Clinton nor Trump should be president.  There are 42,000,000 students struggling to pay for their college education.

We have work to do!

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Economics, Political Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” Pledge Campaign

The Power Jill SteinVast numbers of voters are frustrated and angry!  It’s come down to Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump?  Can this be happening?  These are the two most unpopular candidates in the history of presidential elections!

Of course . . . there is an excellent alternative.  But understandably voters are afraid of “throwing their vote away”.

Here’s the solution:  We join together in a person-to-person pledge campaign, the “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” initiative, supporting the presidential bid of Dr. Jill Stein.  And together we’ll elect the first female President of the United States, one who will do a phenomenal job of putting America back on track.  Here’s how . . .

Vote 4 Jill Pledge

Step 1:   After you take the “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” personal pledge, just let us know by officially signing the petition at one of the sites listed below.  (The petition reads exactly as the pledge does.  We are “petitioning” every registered voter in America to join with us in rejecting the anti-democratic charade the two-party system has become.)

Step 2:   You find two other people who you respect and trust — friend, neighbor, relative — let them know about Jill Stein if they don’t already, get them to take the “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” pledge, and make sure they let us know, just as you did, by going to one of the listed sites below to sign the petition.

Step 3:   These two people likewise will each solicit two others to take the pledge and add their names to the growing list of pledge takers.  The new ones will each find two more.

Step 4:   When and only when we reach our target of 50 million pledges, we will vote for Jill Stein.  Why 50 million?  Because 50 million voters will guarantee a victory by plurality for Jill, thus we will all know with absolute certainty we’re not throwing our votes away, that indeed our votes will go toward electing a great president!

50 million may seem like an impossible goal.  But it’s all in the math.  If one person tells two about this tomorrow, then the following day those two each tell two more, and so on and so on, how many days does it take to get to 50 million?

The answer might surprise you.  2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 . . . believe it or not, in ONLY 27 DAYS, we’ll have 67,108,864 pledges!  (Go here for a full explanation.)

It’s the power of numbers!

It’s the power of people!

It’s the power of joining together and declaring:  NO MORE LESSER EVIL VOTING!

Remember, there’s nothing at risk here.  We honor the “I’ll vote for Jill if you will” pledge only if we get to our goal.

On the other hand, there’s an awful lot at stake . . . a better America for ourselves and our children!

It’s up to you.

Take the pledge.  Let us know by signing at one of the petition sites.  Then have two others take the pledge.  Make sure they go to the petition sites as well.  Here are the sites:

Sign at . . . Change.org

Sign at . . . RootsAction.org

Or sign at . . . iPetitions.com

Sorry, Hillary and Donald.  The people will have spoken.

We intend to celebrate Dr. Jill Stein as the 45th President of the United States!

Posted in Banking, Climate Change, Corporatism, Democracy, Economics, Environment, Health Care, Political Analysis, Technology, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Throwing My Vote Away?

I'm With Jill Stein

The presidential election of 2016 — if you only consider the presumptive nominees of the two major political parties — is like choosing between being brutally beaten to death by a street gang and mercilessly Tasered to death by the police.

It’s a masochists game.  But I’ve never viewed voting as a game, no matter how minor the stakes or ridiculous the choices.

Maybe in the past, having a lower tolerance for deception and corruption, I’ve mirrored Ralph Nader’s decades-long warnings about and battle against the corporatization of our society and the tyranny of an oligarchic elite which would inevitably result.

Perhaps until now, this appeared to be driven by a heady, theoretical, ivory-tower world view, an approach distanced from day-to-day realities.

Perhaps such abstractions seemed frivolous or self-indulgent, even dangerous.  Need we revisit the spurious judgment that voting for Nader threw the election and set the stage for eight years of George W. Bush?

Perhaps all of my histrionics about the disappearance of democracy, the corruption of our Congress, the takeover of our government apparatus by self-appointed autocrats, the need for replacing at bare minimum 450 senators and congressmen, my railing at the duplicity of Obama, my warnings about the subversion of his allegedly “progressive” leadership, yes all of this may have been dismissed as hyperventilation and raving lunacy.

But with the treachery and abysmal hypocrisy of Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president this past week, it couldn’t be clearer where things stand.

Nor could it be more evident how broken our two-party political system is or what a trap lesser-evil voting has been all along.

Don’t anyone dare tell me that by not voting for presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton or presumptive nominee Donald Trump, I am throwing my vote away!

Voting for either of these privileged-class monsters is the definition of throwing away my vote, of surrendering my right of choice, of rendering voting a meaningless exercise.

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Hands-Down Ultimate Super-Bowl of Showdowns!

Avengers Captain AmericaHey, fight fans.

Here it is! 

The one you’ve been waiting for.

It’s going to be the battle of the ages!

Nothing like this has ever occurred in the history of the world.

Yes, folks . . . it’s a showdown that will reverberate till the end of time!

No, they’ll never stop talking about this head-to-head clash of the greatest titans EVER!

Are you ready to rumble?!! 

Have you got your seat belts fastened?

Are you wearing your rubber diapers?

In this corner, coming off two decades of undefeated combat with environmentalists and eco-scientists, teary-eyed tree huggers, Al Gore, and other addled acolytes of Gaia . . .

CLIMATE CHANGE!

And its opponent, veteran of decades of terror struck into the hearts of citizens across the globe, a warrior whose very name evokes visions of untold horror and suffering . . .

NUCLEAR WAR!

Which one will exit the battle triumphant, its opponent curled up in a fetal ball, savaged, humiliated, beaten by the overwhelming power and pitiless cunning of brutal competition?

Remember . . . This is a fight to the finish!

ChaosWhat’s at stake?  Ha!  This is not some girlie-boy contest, a phony reality show, another risibly froofy sport like hot-oil wading-pool arm-wrestling, three-legged gymnastics team dancing, or naked Ken and Barbie ping pong.

This is serious business, ladies and gentlemen!  As in . . . DEAD SERIOUS!

Only one of these ferocious fighters will lay claim to the ULTIMATE TITLE, and be able to say with the blood lust pride of a true warrior, a barbarian who embraces no moderation, a heartless amoral killer who knows no rules, feels no compassion, and has no conscience: 

“It was I who destroyed the human race!”

Will it be Climate Change turning the Earth into an uninhabitable pile of dust, dead fields of dried withered stalks, rotting corpses, extinct species, desiccating trees and shrubs — a barren wasteland where cockroaches frantically skitter looking for something to eat?

Or will it be Nuclear War turning the Earth into a radioactive pile of dust, dead fields of dried withered stalks, rotting corpses, extinct species, desiccating trees and shrubs — a barren wasteland where cockroaches frantically skitter looking for something to eat?

OH YEAH, BABY!  This is going to be truly awesome!

So stay tuned, folks.  Watch this battle AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!

And remember.  You can only get it here, exclusively on . . .

The Apocalypse Channel!

Apocalyptic Ending

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Nihilism, Satire, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“P. S. I Love You!”

P = Plunder

S = Steal

And yes, the insatiable moguls of the big banks and ravenous Oberführers of the multinational corporations love it!

We’re talking about people who don’t live and think like most of us.  For these folks, ‘more’ is never a question.  It’s an answer!  The only answer.

When the economy crashed in 2008, largely the result of an orgy of speculation and gross distortion of the investment market by the greed of these banksters and corporate hustlers, they were more than happy to line up to plunder the Federal Reserve to the tune of $16 trillion dollars.  Why not?  Money was like manna falling from the heavens into the accounts of major banks all over the world, so that their addiction to casino capitalism could continue without a pause and set us up for the next catastrophic meltdown.

Besides outright theft of fiat money in the form of capitalization subsidies, at another level the plunder takes the form of a lot of acronyms — NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, TTIP, TISA — and the gutting of any regulatory oversight.  These so-called “free trade” deals just lubricate the wheels for transferring the wealth and political control from the vast majority of citizens — the ones who actually work a living, producing things of practical value, products which are markedly more substantial and less diabolical than debt leveraging, collateralization, privatization, and monetization — to the already ultra-wealthy, ultra-powerful elite.

What will they come up with next?

Corporate greed and plutocratic avarice apparently knows no limits.  As if exporting our jobs to sweat shops in China and Bangladesh putting millions of American workers on the streets; gutting our manufacturing base by shuttering 50,000 factories; pursuing hostile takeovers to gain market share and even monopoly control; promoting predatory lending and liars loans to ravage families and small businesses; destroying unions and driving wages down to the point that a person can’t survive any longer working a 40-hour work week; yes, as if abusing the enormous resources and financial power of corporations and their brothers in crime, the Wall Street banks, to relegate the average individual during the long working years of his or her life to the status of a serf weren’t enough, now the rich are coming after the elderly.  Giving 45 years of your life to serving the “man” no longer means you are allowed to live a decent, comfortable life in your retirement years.  These criminals are now after employee pension funds.  And because any big pile of money is targeted for a P.S. I Love You blitzkrieg, regardless of who it rightfully belongs to, since 1985 using their pay-for-play puppets in Congress they have been raiding the Social Security trust fund.  Did you get that?  TRUST FUND, as in the fund of all of our accumulated contributions toward retirement, set properly aside and protected so that the money would not be used for anything else.  All the money is gone now.  It funded wars, bail-outs, every variety of corporate welfare and fiduciary abuse which has become standard operating procedure. The money the old folks in retirement homes in good faith paid into Social Security over their lives is just another asset for exploitation.

Just so you aren’t deluded into thinking that the mountains of money stolen via all of the unprincipled, anti-social, anti-democratic, coldly callous and cruel instruments of wealth extraction the ultra-rich have ruthlessly applied in the past is ever enough, consider this:

Over the past several years, while poverty rates in America continue to increase, while real wages have barely risen and many are forced to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, using a rather innocent-sounding device called quantitative easing, $3.5 trillion has been created out of thin air and made available to investment banks and our too-big-to-fail menagerie of casino capitalists.

$3,500,000,000,000!

Is there anyone out there who could use $10,000?  How about $1,000?

Actually, $500 would be a big deal for most of us.

Of course, none of the $3.5 trillion trickled down to you and I — I assume this is not being read by hedge fund CEOs or any other members of the exclusive .1% club — au contraire! Instead, it trickled up!

A lot of it found its way into offshore accounts and tax havens.

Plundered . . . stolen . . . socked away.

For what?

More yachts?  More vacation homes?  More private jets?

What else can they possibly buy?

Patience now!  Give them time.

Spending trillions of dollars is not easy.

It takes time and energy.

Arrogance and myopia.

Unfeeling and irrepressible selfishness.

A sense of entitlement and a disdain for the less fortunate.

Callousness, irresponsibility and a total lack of decency and compassion.

Fortunately for the rich, they won’t have to plunder and steal to get these.

They already have them in great abundance.

Posted in Banking, Corporatism, Economics, Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Endorsement Bernie Should Have Given Hillary Clinton

“Historically the two-party system has a long and durable standing in our heralded electoral process.  Many believe this is the way it should be.  I myself chose to run my campaign for the presidency within this two-party framework, as a Democrat.

“The voice of the voters has been heard and honored.  That is to say, those who voted in the recent primaries have made their choice for who will be representing the Democratic Party in the coming presidential election.  I accept the implied wisdom of this choice.

“In my official capacity as a candidate, as a person who has faithfully worked within the mechanism the Democratic Party has in place for campaigning for the highest office in the land, I now address the voters of this country. 

“If you as voters see the presidential election as binary, meaning, purely as a choice between presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive nominee Donald Trump, I can say unequivocally and with conviction that you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Having said that, and being known for my candor and honesty — and mind you I am now speaking only as a private citizen but with the same privileges and responsibilities I share with other private citizens — when I step into the voting booth on November 8th to make my choice for President of the United States, I will be writing in the name ‘Bernie Sanders’.  Thank you and God bless America.”

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kingda Ka, oh baby!

Kingda_Ka_Tower

I love my wife’s perspective on America. 

She recently drew my attention to Kingda Ka, one of the world’s fastest and probably most frightening roller coasters.  It whips riders straight up, then plunges them straight down, in a shrieking, brain-compressing drop of 418 feet.  Maximum speed?  128 MPH!  You can see from the POV YouTube video at the end of this posting, this ride is most definitely not for the faint-of-heart.

Kingda Ka is one of the main attractions at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ and has no shortage of takers.  These would be the same people who like base-jumping from the Eiffel Tower and bobbing for apples in a wingsuit in the jet wash of a 747.

Back to Masumi, my brilliant Japanese wife.

Her take on this?  Well, after I watched the video and read about this spectacular display of American ingenuity — an astonishing engineering achievement by any measure — she smiled and said:

“So . . . America can build a high-speed jet coaster [ roller coasters are called jet coasters here ] but they can’t build a high-speed train?”

Now, this was not America-bashing.  Masumi has no particular problem with America — that is, other than a couple of atomic bombs in 1945 and all of the raping and murders that go on in Okinawa because of the U.S. military base there.  Despite these minor caveats, she has no repressed antipathy toward America.

It was just a comment, an expression of astonishment at the incongruity of it all, as in:  “You can send a man to the moon but you don’t have any way of sewing buttons on a shirt?”

Maybe this comes as a shock to most Americans:  But trains as a form of transportation are completely taken for granted in most of the industrialized world.  China, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria, France, even South Africa, India, Malaysia, and Thailand, and of course Japan, are just some of the countries where I have personally used trains to get around.  In most places, trains are like flush toilets, running water, electricity, roads, and now WiFi.  They are a standard component of everyday life, just like cars in the U.S.  You want to go somewhere?  You take a train.  Every day around 7:30 am, the trains here are full of kids on their way to school and businessmen on their way to work.

Beyond regular train service, high-speed trains — high-speed is considered being able to sustain a speed of 200 MPH, though many go much faster — are, among other places, up and running in China, Spain, here in Japan, France, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Russia, Finland, and even Uzbekistan.  China leads the world with almost 12,000 miles of high-speed rail, Spain is second with over 1,900 miles, and Japan is third with over 1,650 miles.

jr500_shinkansenTo give you some perspective on the marvels and flexibility of travel by train just about everywhere in the civilized world:  I live way out in the country, in a small, traditional, rural farming community.  But if I want a mega-dose of big city life, I can leave in the morning, take a regular, then a high-speed train (called the Shinkansen) to Tokyo, go practically anywhere in the most populous city in the world by using the incredible subway system there, and be back here in my home town before sun down.  Note that I live almost 400 miles from Tokyo!  But using only my bicycle to get to the train station, I could have lunch in Tokyo and be back home in plenty of time for dinner.  No car!  No driving!  I could read a book or work on my next novel on my way there and back.

Yes, this is pretty standard fare.  In Europe and Asia, everything is connected.  All of the airports, both domestic and international, the trains, the subways, and the buses, are all engineered in vast intertwined and layered matrices to make transportation the least of anyone’s worries.

If you want to get technical about it, Masumi is not entirely correct.  The U.S. does have one high-speed corridor.  It is part of the Acela Express service between Washington DC and Boston.  It’s a 17 mile-long stretch where “theoretically” the train could reach the 200 MPH qualifying speed.  But the entire run is on rickety old regular railroad tracks and the train makes so many stops, the average speed for the trip is only around 65 MPH.  Good grief!  The normal everyday trains here in Japan go faster than that!

As if the U.S. were not already dismally behind just about every other advanced country — and some not so advanced — get this:  China and Russia are in the process of developing something called hyperloop technology, a system using magnetically-suspended pods to transport people and products across the expanses of their vast countries at — are you ready for this? — up to 750 MPH!  Seat belts are recommended.

“So America can build a high-speed jet coaster but they can’t build a high-speed train?”

Actually, it could.  It just doesn’t.

Until you can visit Six Flags Great Adventure personally, I’ll just leave you with the next best thing.

Posted in Economics, Living On The Edge, Political Analysis, Social Commentary, Technology, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment