Indigenous cultures are being discarded in the name of profit and economic growth. The world's wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very select few. Transnational corporations exercise more power than governments. The US gov't is creating a world of fear and terror through its policies around the world and disinformation is ubiquitous. We live in an era of neo-colonialism and we must fight to preserve what vestiges of culture and freedom remain in the face of miltary and economic oppression.

Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.

  • digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • scuttle
  • Simpy
  • Spurl
  • YahooMyWeb

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ignorance, Racism, the Military, and Money

...is so pervasive in this country, I am starting to feel it's almost impossible to hold a serious conversation about the most important issues facing our nation and planet with an average American.

For example, check out this forward I received:
I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed.

Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table...everywhere.

...
And others birds were boisterous and loud:

They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

...I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone.

.. no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now lets see....... our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education and allows anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.

Then the illegal's came by the tens of thousands.

Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families: you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English:


* Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box;

* I have to press 'one' to hear my bank talk to me in English:

* and people waving flags other than 'Old Glory' are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

Maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

Wow, what a bunch of crap. That kind of "logic" is the Jim Crow of today's racist, fascist subculture.

There is no debate that whoever wrote this is motivated by a strong vein of racism and white supremacy, but that aside, there are some 'points' he tries to make that are worth dispelling.

Subsidies
The truth is the US government subsidizes the oil companies, defense contractors, weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, mega-farms and other big profit industries to an massive degree, and things like urban development, housing projects, and food programs get a pittance.

"Welfare," as Americans know it, has been intentionally set up to fail. Take second to think about it-- ever since Reagan, there has been a conscious attempt by right-wing ideologues to only pass legislation that makes such social programs bloated, bureaucratic, and destined to fail.

But if you take a look at European "welfare states" such as France, Germany, the UK, and the Scandinavian nations, their "welfare" systems guarantee such things as months of paid leave for new mothers, subsidized daycare, sick leave, 1 month paid vacation, etc.. Things that help people and society work better.. WORK. The concept of a "safety net" is a strawman set up by Republicans to encourage "free market" social policy-- raping our national resources, including labor and capital, and filling the coffers of big business.

The real thesis of this racist's tirade is that: the US is some kind of big free meal ticket, with bloated, generous, and free access to vast amounts of freebies and easy rides...and that's why we have all the problems we have, everything from violence and crime to budgetary problems.

Well, if that's true, and the US government is such a generous free ride, the statistics sure don't think so. You'd expect the US to be at the top of a list of nations and their expenditures on social programs:
Nation ↓ Welfare expenditure (% of GDP) ↓ GDP per capita (PPP US$) ↓
Denmark 29.2 $29,000
Sweden 28.9 $24,180
France 28.5 $23,990
Germany 27.4 $25,350
Belgium 27.2 $25,520
Switzerland 26.4 $28,100
Austria 26.0 $26,730
Finland 24.8 $24,430
Netherlands 24.3 $27,190
Italy 24.4 $24,670
Greece 24.3 $17,440
Norway 23.9 $29,620
Poland 23.0 $9,450
United Kingdom 21.8 $24,160
Portugal 21.1 $18,150
Luxembourg 20.8 $53,780
Czech Republic 20.1 $14,720
Hungary 20.1 $12,340
Iceland 19.8 $29,990
Spain 19.6 $20,150
New Zealand 18.5 $19,160
Australia 18.0 $25,370
Slovak Republic 17.9 $11,960
Canada 17.8 $27,130
Japan 16.9 $25,130
United States 14.8 $34,320
Ireland 13.8 $32,410
Mexico 11.8 $8,430
South Korea 6.1 $15,090

Figures from the OECD[12] and the UNDP.[13]

There are two interesting things about this data:
  1. The US is 4th-to-last in the list... We spend the 4th lowest amount of money on social welfare among these developed nations.
  2. The US has one of the highest GDP's per-capita, so the US has one of the most productive/richest economies, but spends the least amount on its citizens' welfare!
It should be obvious from this data that the US welfare state is a strawman, set up so that this sort of racist can have someone to blame for the problems that their own policies have created.

Or, for more proof, just take a look at the annual US expenditures on the military and subsidies for big oil.

The USA, responsible for about 80 per cent of the increase [in world military expenditures] in 2005, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for almost half of the world total;
The USA is responsible for 48 per cent of the world total [in military expenditures], distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4–5 per cent each.


I could go on and on, but the truth is the US spends an ungodly amount of money on its military, its wars, its big oil, its big business. It spends shit on its people.

Immigration is a totally separate issue. The same neoliberal/neoconservative policies that the IMF, World Bank, the Chicago School, and Economic Hitmen have forcefully implemented in South and Central America over the past 50 years has created a blowback of desperate immigration. If we hadn't pillaged their nations and corrupted their governments, people would be quite happy to stay at home.

But then when heroes like Hugo Chavez and Eva Morales have recently started to push back, denying IMF structural adjustments and policies, and putting their people on the path to national wealth and self-determination, you see the right-wingers sabre-rattling and spinning their imperialist manifestos into propaganda both at home and abroad.

There is no room in this debate for such blatant ignorance, racism, and fascism. And it makes me sick.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cut-and--Shut up

This phrase, cut-and-run, has got to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. To those who would use this as an insult:
  1. It's not true: We (the congress) authorized a -war- to take out Saddam, done. Mission Accomplished. So why are we still there? We are now engaged in an -occupation- of a sovereign nation where a strong (close to 70%) majority of its people want us out NOW. And more than 60% of the nation's people thinks it's OK to kill US troops (as do I--wouldn't you want to fight Chinese troops if they decided they didn't like our current trend towards imperialist theocracy and invaded US soil?)

  2. There is no victory in a forced occupation--we are holding an entire nation hostage at gunpoint.. what would you consider 'victory'? Perhaps after murdering enough people so that the rest lie down and welcome the pillaging of their natural resources and economy? The people of Iraq are fighting to oust an invading army. Period. Imagine the strategic reality of your 'victory' and try to distinguish it from genocide.

  3. We know the facts: Bush and his cronies lied us into war. There was no link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The Iraqi Hydrocarbon law gives unprecedented control and profits of Iraqi oil to foreign energy corporations. US military corporations have made, and continue to make billions, off of this war. Hundreds of thousands to a million innocent Iraqis have died as a result.

  4. That is the America you want?
    Vote for Kucinich or Biden, or any Dem to help restore the America the founders fought and died for.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 10, 2007

From the - Osama's - Mouth


Funny how American news media will portray the message one way or another, but won't just release a full transcript, or at least, for brevity's sake, excerpts. Let us make up our own damn minds. Luckily there are some more reputable news organizations out there.
Follow the link above and read for yourself.

You even get diverse opinions from real people:
"Osama has never been a threat to anyone's security, just for those who are aggressors"
Euhunza, Karachi, Pakistan

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

Mr. Correa, the president of Ecuador, is taking historic strides to raise his people out of poverty. In the spirit of the Great Hero Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, he is taking on head-first the real causes of South & Central American poverty--enslavement to the IMF and World Bank.

This article from the BBC explains how he, an American-trained economist, has paid off Ecuador's debt to the IMF, and is threatening to expel the "World Bank men" and default on their debts.

And...

Bye Bye Gonzo!!
He's gone. He's finally gone!
Now the job for the democrats is: (from Salon.com.)
It is difficult to overstate how vital this is. The unexpected resignation of Gonzales provides a truly critical opportunity to restore real oversight to our government, to provide advocates of the rule of law with a quite potent weapon to compel adherence to the law and, more importantly, to expose and bring accountability for prior lawbreaking. All of the investigations and scandals, currently stalled hopelessly, can be dramatically and rapidly advanced with an independent Attorney General at the helm of the DOJ.
We must all keep pressure on our representatives NOT TO CONFIRM Michael Chertoff !
and to only confirm someone independent from the Bush admin, so at least no new damage can be done.

Then.. there's today, the 2 year anniversary of Katrina.

Their Levees & Our Levees

Here is how the British hold back the waters from flooding London:


And the Dutch solution to protecting an entire nation that mostly rests below sea level


The Italians are defending their city on the sea, Venice


And the richest, most powerful & technologically advanced nation on the face of the earth, the USA!!! Go US Congress for funding corporate welfare and not state-of-the-art levees!


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Vote

You sit down at a seafood restaurant, wanting a fresh plate of scallops, and the waiter arrives. He says they are out of scallops but they have carrots and peas.. so.. what will it be?

Carrots or Peas?


Is that really a choice? In "The Matrix" they address this issue--that it is the illusion of choice that men are so smitten with and superficially impressed by, not real choice. Our strict two-party system, the electoral college, electronic voting machines, the homogeneity of the major party candidates, voter intimidation, widespread ignorance and apathy--all contribute to a failed democratic process in this nation... But result in a simplified, streamlined, 21st-century vote that can be tallied and done in a night so everyone can sleep soundly knowing things will be exactly the same when they wake up.

But is that what we want? Over the past 6 years we have watched the executive branch amass unprecedented power, our civil rights be stripped one by one, right-wing elements of the state take control of the national media, the Constitution be thrown out the window, lies spill forth from the highest echelons of the ruling party, Congressional subpoenas be ignored by White House officials (who then perjure themselves to Congress as well), the politicization of the Justice Department by the Executive Branch (violating the Separation of Powers), the rights of women and immigrants be trashed, the indictment of the Chief of Staff of a Vice President for Obstruction and Perjury---and the manipulation of Congress, the American People, the UN, and the world, into allowing corporate interests to lead our nation to war.. to use our military and our country's resources to invade an innocent and sovereign nation--to steal their resources, murder and subjugate their people, turn their national economy into a profit machine for offshore investment--and murder almost 1 million innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, and create a refugee crisis with millions of Iraqis fleeing their homeland for their lives.

Had enough? I have.

Choice is possible.. and not just between carrots and peas.. I want scallops goddammit, so let's get cooking!

Joe Biden had my vote for a while, I was surprised that such an intelligent, respectable, statesman as he was even an option. However, Rep. Kucinich has the most pristine voting record of them all--he is consistently on the virtuous side of the issues--standing for the Constitution, Peace, Freedom, and the People at every turn. He is the most intelligent, eloquent, honest, and capable candidate for president of our United States-- the man who is best suited to take on the mammoth problems that have resulted from the disastrous presidencies of Reagan, Clinton (to a lesser degree), Bush 1 and Bush 2.

The Integrity of the Constitution and our Civil Rights.
  • Abolishing the Patriot Act, the recent FISA act (assuming it is renewed in 6 months), and the Military Commissions Act
    (thereby restoring the 4th amendment, and Habeas Corpus)
  • Addressing the issue of Signing Statements, and the other ways Bush and Cheney have amassed so much power, emasculated Congress, and enslaved Justice.
  • Ending the Warrantless Wiretapping program--and punishing those who were involved (impeachment, anyone?).
  • Closing Guantanamo and the Black Sites across Europe.
Health Care.
  • working towards a single-payor model providing health-care for all
  • prohibiting the pharmaceutical companies from peddling drugs on television
  • prohibiting children from taking psychiatric drugs like Adderall (unless they are in full-time care like a hospital or home for the handicapped)
  • a higher emphasis on preventative care through personal physicians -- who should have the say on all issues -- not insurance companies
Foreign Policy
  • ending the war
  • pulling support for the terrorist state of Israel
  • ending the embargo on Palestine, providing aide.
  • removing Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Hamas, and Hezbollah from the 'terrorist list'
  • supporting the UN
  • ending support for dictators like the Saudi royal family, Musharaf in Pakistan, and the Chinese.
  • rewriting economic policy and forgiving the debts of South and Central American nations who we have raped for the past 50 years through trade policy--to make amends for what we have done to them.
  • removing the Cuban embargo and opening limited trade with Cuba.
  • helping to rebuild Lebanon and Iraq
** any time I propse help or aide, I mean in a way modeled after the Marshall Plan, allowing their domestic companies and people to rebuild, thereby stimulating the economy from the ground up, rebuilding enterprise and industry, and putting money in the average person's pocket--not the few elite at the top.

Trade & the Economy

  • pulling out of NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, and the WTO
  • reinstating tariffs on foreign-made goods
  • rebuilding the domestic manufacturing base
  • protecting American jobs (via tariffs, but as well as other abandoned methods such as subsidies to small farmers rather than mega-farms, creating jobs in local community projects rather than giving money to churches, etc..)
Education
  • providing higher education to all in the model of the European nations--free college for all citizens would be the best investment we could make in this nation.
  • Abolishing in the so-called 'No Child Left Behind' act and its horrible test-taking standards
  • Providing targeted assistance to schools in poor areas and inner-cities.
Environment & Urban Planning
  • Working with other industrial nations to sign a treaty like Kyoto, with carbon emission standards, limits, and goals.
  • Abolishing vehicles like the Hummer, and big-engine sports cars.
    Either making them illegal for driving on public roads, or placing a tax equal to the cost of recovering from that driver's ignorant excesses on the environment (I'm thinking $10,000 a month for every Hummer eh?)
  • In the spirit of Eisenhower, engaging in a massive public transit and green energy program.
    This initiative would create tens of thousands of jobs building new forms of green energy infrastructure, new train tracks, light rail, buses, and small roads.
  • Moving from centralized urban decay to well-thought-out integrated cities like Amsterdam--with many alternative transportation options and distributed energy production and infrastructure suppport.
    • Move away from centralized power-- solar panels on every roof.
      Realize Carter's dream.

"We need to rebuild America and restore it to its state before NAFTA and the WTO. On behalf of American workers, I will fight to reopen factories and bring manufacturing back to the U.S. to create jobs." -Dennis Kucinich

Well that's a small summary of the issues most important to me in a candidate.

And the man for the job:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich for President in 2008

Watch this moving speech given at the 2007 DNC Winter Meeting


http://www.dennis4president.com/
http://www.dennis4president.com/
http://www.dennis4president.com/
http://www.dennis4president.com/

SAVE OUR NATION!!
RESTORE OUR RIGHTS!!
TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY FROM THE ULTRA-RICH WARLORDS!!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Privatizing.. The Mint?!?!

Well you might not already know, but the Federal Reserve, yes including the minters of our paper money, is a private corporation. It is held and operated by its member banks (think Citibank). Believe it or not, in 1918 our country sold its paper money printing and Federal Reserve Banking institutions to private industry.

But they left the coins.. Why? Coins are more expensive. Paper money printing was grossly profitable so the lobbyists took our printing presses and left the expensive coin printing to the gov.

But over the years, really in 1985, coin printing has become quite profitable.. In 2000 the engraving of coins yielded more than $2 billion in profit! And guess what, the aristocrats want it now..

So, here comes HR 5818.

On its face it's a law to stop stamping out pennies (because the US dollar has become so worthless that it costs more to stamp a penny than its worth). BUT buried within the text of the bill, under section 8, is a provision to:
Transfer of the United States Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing to the Federal Reserve Board.
You guessed it, now the private banks, the ultra-rich, their boards and CEOs, and their investor-scumbag stockholders, want that 5 billion (that's right, now the portion of the mint that is still in public hands-the coin printing, is turning a profit of up to 5 billion-think commemorative coins) in their pockets, rather than going back into our hands, our government, and helping us have a lower tax bill.

Here is the full text of the bill, browse down to section 8.

In section 8, they say quite clearly,
"by striking `Secretary of the Treasury' and inserting `Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System';"
look at that.. replacing a revenue-generating enterprise, that saves you money, lowers your taxes, and prints the money that makes our entire economy work, that is beholden to you--our government--the Secretary of the Treasury--with 'The Board of Governors'.. in other words the richest, most powerful banks and their CEOs. Great.

This is utterly mind-blowing. If you people out there don't wake up, this country will be like modern-day Russia any minute. Our currency will be worth nothing (it's almost there already), our trade deficit will hold us hostage to China, we, the people, will be an army of working poor, and the ultra-rich will hammer down on us with fists of gold.

Oh, and one more thing, I pay $800 per paycheck in taxes. That's 32% of my gross earnings per paycheck. That's a hell-of-a-lot isn't it? and I make less than $65,000/year.

With the Bush admin in office, the richest of the rich, those who invest money in massive corporations, and can sit by their pool and collect dividend checks all day, pay 15% on those earnings. Fair huh?

"Warren Buffet Pays 17.7% Tax Rate; His Employees Pay 32.9%"

This headline, from a recent story that broke, where Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the country, slammed the tax system for this injustice (link 1, 2). Even those on the side that benefits from this enslavement system lament the moral illegitimacy of their position.

If you haven't already, call and write your congressmen and say

NO TO HR 5818.

AT A BARE MINIMUM, WE DEMAND OUR MINTS TO BE HELD IN PUBLIC HANDS, AND THE PROFIT GENERATED FROM THE MINTING OF U.S. COINS SHOULD GO TO THE PEOPLE, NOT CITIBANK

Labels: ,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Cheers to Mr. Michael Moore

Congratulations on a job well done.

I just wanted to get that out. I've been surprised at the prevalence of negative remarks about him and his movie. While, of course there is much praise out there, from Slate, for example, it surprises me that the mainstream media does no sharply embrace Mr. Moore. Well, actually, it doesn't surprise me at all.

There are some issues I am willing to debate--issues where the atmosphere of opinions and facts is rich and disparate--where I may have a position, and yours may differ, and there exist facts and opinions that any rational person might consider to support either position. Religion is not one of those issues, find an iota of evidence that supports the existence of god. The fact that the US health care system is completely broken is not one of those issues either.

And it isn't just broken, it exists, and is sustained, not to benefit the people (or the insured, for that matter) but to benefit the CEOs and the shareholders of the privately-held bloodsuckers.. the ultimate leeches, bottom-feeding, blood-sucking (literally!) demons who own and profit from HMOs, PPOs, and every other incarnation of the American Sicko Dream.

I am terrified of getting sick and I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. I am terrified of hospitals--where I am judged as a walking wallet, if it looks thick enough for my condition I might get treated.. by next year. And god forbid I'm not bursting at my seams with cash, or who knows where I might end up. I've noticed some hospitals do have big chimneys.. hmm..

Just talk to or look at a Canadian or a French man or woman, don't they just look so freakin happy?

No I'm not that naive, I know some Canadians are unhappy. But every American, except the 10 rich ones, is pretty damn upset. If you've seen the movie you'll remember the guy who had to choose between 1 or 2 fingers. If he could come up with $72,000 he could get both of his fingers re-attached, if he could only come up with 12 he got one. Well, without spoiling the plot, he's missing a finger today.

If he lived in Canada, or any other Western, industrialized nation, he'd have two.

The cost is simple. A private insurance corporation is just that, a private enterprise. The lies about this fact are pervasive, so just ignore them. Doctors will still be rich, we'll still have MRIs and CTs and PETs (Japan has more than we do, and yes they have socialized medicine).

Private insurance companies spend billions on advertising, corporate jets, CEO pay packages, beurocrats to deny claims, researches to figure out how to deny claims... etc.. etc..

Here's a fact: a private insurance corporation spends 30% on administrative overhead (like what I just mentioned. The government's Medicare plan experiences a 3% overhead cost.

We spend the most, we get the worst care.

If you bought the most expensive sports car on the planet and it ran a 10 minute 1/4 mile what would you call it? If that ain't broke I don't know what is.

Labels: