David Bowie, and why music no longer influences culture

The problem when old rockers die, and the last two that hit me the hardest were Bowie and Lou Reed,  is that it brings up a ton of feelings in someone, say 57 years old.  Here’s the thing:  there are hundreds, nay thousands of bar acts that count as quality even rebellious rock and roll out there right now, but NONE will have the impact of Bowie or Reed, and NONE who question authority or promulgate an alternative lifestyle hit with the IMPACT on our culture the music once had.

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This has occurred, as all glorious creative times (1950 to 1980, give or take) yield to the new dark age that came upon us in 1980, or just before, and the squelching of truly alarming and monumental creativity has slowly but surely gotten worse.  As electronics, propaganda via ALL MEDIA, and “conservative values” whitewash all fields of a cultural realm (maybe not classical music…)  we are left living in the past (Jedthro Tull) and yearn for more Michael Moores or at least more Ernest Hemingways, and if their contemporary equivalents are out there (where, or who is the NEXT Kurt Vonnegut even?) there’s a good chance they’ve been left unpublished, unheard, unseen due to things like Sony buying Columbia records.  Conservative Japanese guys took the label that brought us Dylan, Springsteen, Simon and Garfunkel and a LOT of other acts that questioned authority and BAM squelched any new ones from hitting it being (by not being signed).

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Throw in a pinch of MTV and a heavy dose of an ass-lick or two (see American Idol or even the Voice) and again,music no longer has the influence to help end a war(Vietnam ended due to an entire generation being inspired by countless anti-war  protest songs).

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Now that Billy Bragg has slowed his US touring schedule and bands like Rage Against the Machine are bundled and tied, name me who is going to replace the cultural icons known as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young or a long string of others.

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Here I can go to Cat’s Cradle and 25 other venues to catch a huge sampling of the up and coming bands. Probably 20% have the chops and even the philosophy to challenge my theory that the days of a culture influenced by creative people has died. But can you name me one of these bands? Have you seen them live?  Did you download their stuff?

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Worse yet, other than Kathy Acker and few others, which writers are busting full blast against the wars? OK Chris Hedges (the Pulitzer Prize winner fired from the New York Times) has it going on at http://www.truthout.com. Journalists who persist in investigative reporting are often fired.

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Hell, the movies and tv are a lost cause, and basically (look at all the cop shows on CBS alone!) feed such malicious propaganda (lies) that it makes me want to puke. TV? Who has time for that shit. And I say that in the face of a TON of new great shows…still it doesn’t outweigh the pro war, pro “tough on crime” poop. We’re being transferred into a country where the police are militarized, meaning someone somewhere believes more direct attacks (um police killing unarmed people is a problem that equals the racism behind it) on suspects is A-OK.

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Sprinkle in the icing: The Patriot Act ended Habeas Corpus, the legal belief that people MUST be told WHY they are being arrested, at the time of arrest. This has been in western law since 1215. Yes 1215, when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta. Before I go off hard on how impossible it is to defend yourself if the cops or anyone else doesn’t tell you why you’re being arrested… wow King George the Bush got this crap passed, and the Supreme Court didn’t bat an eyelash (though it’s extremely unconstitutional) and the Constitutional expert,Barack Obama,also never once brought up overturning this foul law and Patriot Act 2, another insult. Had their been an effective watchdog ANYWHERE, this stuff might not have happened. Rise up young voices; or be squelched forever.

 

To Be Human

is to fall in love over and over,
to never give up on any of them,
to cry for the inhumanity, and try to
overcome all that surrounds us by creating
a closeness with those in proximity, both
geographical and philosophical. It is to
carry those loves in our heart, flooding our
minds no matter how gone they are. And
to put others’ needs first, understand their
flaws, work on our own so we can be
better helpers. It is to take it all in and
follow our dreams no matter how preposterous;
to pull apart another brown paper bag and
to write it all out, no matter how choppy.
So take my hand and make it all better
before I repeat the painful parts until
I can no longer act. To struggle past
obstructions and obligations, self-imposed and
expected; to wallow in joy, build strength and
change what we can for the better. To give.

 

 

 

The US Role In Globalization, and the consequences of our policies.

The US Role in Globalization

Posted by dougstuber on March 5, 2012 · 9 Comments (Edit)

Updated January 3, 2016

The State of Globalization as realized by the G-20 in the year 2012

The United States and its economic allies, as defined by countries subscribing to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Global Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt I and Gatt II)and other free trade agreements, have assured themselves their best possible corporate profits by moving manufacturing to countries with the lowest possible factory-labor wages without regard for how this effects their own labor communities, or the horrific consequences of moving products so far in the face of global warming and myriad other pollution concerns.

Lee Jae Eui, the author of the Gwangju Diary, and editor of the Gwangju Uprising, and head Nano-technologist at GIST rightly points out that the best governments are those who create a burgeoning middle class.  If the opposite is also true, that the worst governments are the ones who favor larger corporate profits by shrinking their own middle class, then the United States would be culprit number one, and countries like Vietnam, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, (and too many more to list) who are being abused by this set-up are not to be blamed for allowing these pollution-heavy industries to move in and under-pay their workers, because by each countries standards, the miniscule wages gives a large population of people just enough to get by on.  Not what a South Korean would call a middle class existence, but enough to survive.

Benito Mussolini, himself a fascist, defined fascism as “big business and government working together to the benefit of only big business and government.”  By this accurate account, the United States has been a purely fascist state since 1980, with plenty of on-and-off examples since its inception in 1776.  The United States was founded on genocide, made rich by slavery and continues to feed its insatiable greed by dominating human and natural resources worldwide, at gunpoint, if necessary.  Such openly American institutions like the World Bank and the IMF have ruined one economy after the other in order to retain control, drive unemployment up as high as 70% (see Argentina in the 1990s)  and then move in manufacturing once free trade agreements are in place that improve profits by banning tariffs on products flowing back to the US.  In Argentina, J.P Morgan and Fleet Bank went one step further and BOUGHT its central bank.  Once accomplished, the IMF moved in and demanded austerity measures that would assure that JP Morgan and Fleet Bank were paid back their very stupid loans, not in Pesos that were valueless, but in Pesos that, after three years, were jiggered around to being one-to-one with the dollar.  Two banks and a handful of manufacturing concerns benefitted, while an entire population was reduced to economic ruble.

This is not an isolated incident.  Excellent research by my business English class at Chonnam National University discovered, that, of the 147 largest IMF loans since 1980, 144 countries economies suffered, some greatly, like Ghana and other African countries in which the leaders stole great hunks of the loans (as the IMF knew they would), one country managed to battle back and save themselves (South Korea) and two countries saw economic gains by such loans:  Belarus and Costa Rica.

The US itself was not afraid to hand over its own sovereignty to the “trade is king” fascists that thought up the GATT treaties.  Continued meetings of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 have been met by ineffective, thus useless protests from the very beginning.  Protestors are cordoned off into “protest zones” so far away from the proceedings, the media won’t be tempted to cover them, and the head honchos can walk from limousines to pampered meeting rooms, guarded by expensive security forces without having to hear a single peep from the opposition.  It is not hard to prove the globalization is in fact world-wide fascism on a scale Hitler could have only dreamed about.

Even relatively poor countries like Russia can’t help but join the fun, as they sell off their natural resources (mostly oil) so those at the top can have luxurious lifestyles, while the rest of the country languishes in poverty.  Was it a coincidence that the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan even though 15 of the 19 bombers during 911 came from Saudi Arabia?  Was it a coincidence that the very man (Osama Bin Laden) who helped us fend off Russia so it couldn’t build an oil pipeline in Afghanistan as head of the Mujahedeen was the one who created 911 which gave us an excuse to attack Afghanistan because that’s where he was hiding out?  No.  This was true, because, once in control of the pipeline that circumvents gnarly Iran by going hundreds of kilometers too far to get to the Indian Ocean, the US would also control a greater percentage of the Russian oil profits.  As it is, Russia receives about 30% of the money generated by its own oil. Wow, bad deal eh?  But Amoco knows how to drill and Luk Oil does not, capiche?

The Iraq fiasco assured that Sunnis and Shia would be fighting ad infinitum.  This is a replay of why the US was willing to tie the Korean War, not win it, and lose the Vietnam War badly.  Why?  Because by in effect losing both wars, Russia and China would forever remain un-allied.  Or at least not allied until we could figure out which one would make the steadiest trading partner.  Winner, China. The loser, by far, in all of this, has been humanity.

One definition of socialism is “from those according to ability, to those according to need.”  China is living proof that communism as a governmental choice has never existed, and its version of socialism does not, in fact, share things equally amongst everyone.  Yes, China is growing a middle class, but not at the expense of even an inkling of inflation.  Why?  Because, as the average factory worker in China makes 52 cents an hour, the Chinese government must control the price of food and rent with an iron fist, and too large a middle class would cause inflation, thus rioting among the factory workers.  Lo and behold, over 40 cities in China have experienced such expressions of rage in the last two years alone.  As the Chinese were lured off the fields and into the factories, they soon found out that what seemed like big money, came with the price of long hours, high rent, and many families ending up in debt who were NEVER in debt as farmers.  Poor yes, but at least not worked to death.  They are now working to fill the communist party coffers, while watching high rise luxury apartments go up, and spiffy Audi and Buick automobiles passing the standard VWs on clogged highways.  Highways NOT clogged by factory workers, who jam like sardines into the subways, or walk or bike to work.

But if US manufacturing concerns are making so much money in Asia (the plastics industries in Vietnam pay an average of 14 cents an hour!) then why are Americans losing their homes to foreclosure at a 6,000 per day clip?  Well, it goes back to 1995, a year in which Bill Clinton, coming off a stunning reversal in the Democratic Party by getting his fellow conservative democrats to usher in NAFTA, he added both the Welfare Reform act and the Banking Reform Act.  What a trifecta for the rich!  Ross Perot, for all his rotten ideas like surrounding drug-infested neighborhoods with swat teams and Marshall Law, was right about one thing: there was a giant sucking sound of American jobs being moved to Mexico as soon as the sizable tariffs on goods coming into the US were dropped.  Winners: corporations, Losers: workers.  Altha Cravey in her excellent book the Working Women of the Maquiladoras points out that those highly polluting companies also moved to Mexico to flee what was left of the anti-pollution laws in the US.  This gave the hard working Mexicans exciting but heart rending experiences like still-births due to anencephaly, (babies born without brains).  Mexicans did not protest, as one dollar per hour is an awfully high wage in Mexico.  So the fate of American labor was set, and only got worse once tax breaks encouraged all companies to move to cheaper labor countries.  Note:  few moved to Africa.  It has been Central and South America and mostly Asia that has been dominated by American and European firms and their own subordinated governments under these treaties that help mostly the famous ONE PERCENT that the US Occupy Movements keep screaming about.

But I digress:  Clinton’s Welfare Reform did this:  it codified and made legal the concept that anyone who receives government help can do so for 36 months per lifetime.  Meaning, if you are a single mother who can’t find work, and have three or five children, after 36 months you are done.  Couple this with NAFTA and later the effects of GATT one and two, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Ice this sewer cake with national, corporate and individual debt, and the stench cannot be covered.  Assure the next depression via the 1995 Banking Reform Act, and, “voila,” you have the current mess in the US.  You see, after the depression of the 1930s, smart legislators, who were NOT OWNED by corporations applied a four-to-one loan to deposit ratio, meaning banks could lend out four dollars for every one dollar they held in deposits.  This is prudent.  By the 1960s the ratio was relaxed to a dangerous 12-to-1.  Still, at 12-to-1 very few “subprime” loans were handed out because there were plenty of worthy customers who could afford to pay their mortgages back.  Then came Clinton’s law, I hope he is still happy about it, in which banks were allowed to lend out 30 dollars for every dollar in deposit.  This 30-1 ratio made it hard for banks to maximize their profits by lending money only to those who could afford to pay it back.  So they devised pernicious loans that were “interest only” for 3 or 4 years, or the famous “reverse mortgages” which gave borrowers absurdly low payments at first, while ADDING to the amount of the loan in the process.   A loan with a repayment of $700 per month for the first four years coulod jump to $2000 per month or more under such schemes.

European banks, envious of their counterparts in the US, requested this same absurd ratio. They did not get it until one finance minister thought up this scheme:  European banks were allowed to lend more than the standard 10-to-one in place at the time, as long as every loan over the 10-to-one ratio was insured.  This way if the shaky loans went bad it would fall on a private insurance company to bail out the banks, not the governments of Europe.  Which insurance company was dumb enough to fall for this assignment?  AIG.

So, in November of 2008, when Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Bank of America and, ahem, AIG were receiving, in total, trillions of bailout dollars, the biggest initial bailout was to AIG, and where did the US Taxpayer’s money go?  To rich European bankers. CBS television News came close to asking the right questions about this, but stopped short of what they knew to be true, thus letting the US congress off the hook for bailing out European banks.  In 1998 in Sweden a similar banking melt-down occurred, with one large difference.  The bankers went to jail (some are still there) and the banks paid the entirety of the bail-0ut money back within four years.  In the US however, JP MOrgan and Bank of America just moved $75 Trillion dollars worth of “loans” from their investment units to their commerical units.  This is alarming, as, in sum this represents 10 times the enormous US National Debt.  It is horrifying because those loans are sub-prime mortgages now insured by the FDIC, meaning BY LAW, US taxpayers could be on the hook for ten times more than our spend-happy, war-mongering government now owns, should those loans go bad.  Once the FDIC bails out these loans, the banks are stil free to sell the foreclosed properties for whatever the can get.  Hence they don’t mind getting 20 cents on the dollar, since the entire loan has already been covered by “bailout” money.  This has skewered the housing market in Florida, Nevada, Michigan, etc.

Barak Obama was blamed for being the initiator of bail-outs the Republicans now claim never should have happened.  (Hank Paulson claimed that without bailouts the entire banking industry would have collapsed, when in reality, Lehaman Brothers was already being bailed out privately by J.P Morgan, while Bank of America was forced to swallow Countrywide and Merrilll Lynch (choosing Lehman Bo\rothers would have been less expensive for them).  But those bailouts, voted on by such notables as Nancy Pelosi, and jammed through congress with hardly anyone reading the details, happened under the Bush Administration.  Bush.

In February, 2012 the Republican candidates stormed Michigan (where Auto manufacturers were, in fact, bailed out by Obama, thus saving hundreds of thousands of jobs) and said he never should have bailed out the car makers.  Seems to me they do NOT want to win in 2012 if they are going to Michigan and saying the jobs should not have been saved.  And holy canoli, the auto makers paid the money back and are reaping huge profits from the bailouts, which is far better than the banks have done.  2012 then is a repeat of 2008, when Republicans also threw the election by picking Sarah Palin as a VP running mate to John McCain.

If the Republicans should, however, gain control of both houses of our legislature, AND the White House, then they would be stuck holding the ball when the depression hits in earnest.  And by golly, they were sitting in the White House (Herbert Hoover, a true market capitalist who refused to loosen the economic reigns, thus exacerbating the crash of October 1929) the last time around, would much rather kick back and sling arrows at Obama than to stand up and do what needs to be done to correct the errors that started in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan, the 8 short years, tripled the US National Debt.  That “fiscal conservative” figured he could borrow his way into a good economy, and everyone since except (of all people) Bill Clinton has followed suit, to the detriment not just of the US economy, but every country that holds US dollars in reserve.

Ah, the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  Sixty-seven percent of the world’s reserve currency is US dollars.  Imagine how many China has!  Russia is #2 (thanks to oil mostly) and then easy-to-guess countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia and Germany follow suit.  But, due to a massive trade imbalance, the US itself ranks 22nd in foreign currencies held.  Uh Oh.  South Korea weighs in at about 5 or 6 depending on how well its cars and electronic gizmos are selling in the US, and back in 2006 when S. Korea announced it was going to switch its reserve currency from dollars to Euros, the US stock market dropped 600 points before noon.  Even Bush II was smart enough to get on the horn and stop this from happening, because if it had, the entire world may have followed suit and the dollar would have traded one-to-one with the Won.  In short, this reserve currency reality is what keeps the US dollar afloat, via economic blackmail.  Should  the US dollar fail, then everyone will be stuck holding monopoly money in their central banks.

And the IMF has the Bancor1 waiting in just such a circumstance should occur.  Indeed the Bancor is not a fictional currency made up by JM Keynes as it once was, it is already in place should the dollar fail. It will be traded by CENTRAL BANKS ONLY one-for-one with the failing dollars, but at considerably fluctuating rates for any other investors who want to trade in dollars after that initial deal.  This means if your banker or broker is not prepared to get you your Bancors within minutes of their being available, you will have to give up more than one dollar to get one Bancor.

In 2009 the US averaged 6,600 foreclosures per day.2 In 2010 it jumped to 10,000+3per day, in 2011 it was 9,000 per day4 and God only knows what the tally will be in 2012.  The worst year for home foreclosures during the 1930s was 1933, which saw 1,000 home foreclosures per day.  Sure there were less Americans then, but that does not mitigate the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their main investments (the money they’ve put into paying back loans, and the equity on their homes).  How dare Clinton write a book called “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy” when his own idiotic government passed the two main laws that put us in this mess, then cut off funding for the gigantic rise in poverty.  Now he wants Americans to get back to work, and back to work we have gone…in France, South Korea, China, anywhere that has work…but good luck finding a job in the USA!  I wonder how much his advance was and what his total take will be on this book.  I wonder, how much of that he will donate to charity!?

While in the US I filmed a documentary with the filmmaker Cristian Alva.  We took in quite a charade by Senators Simpson (R. Wyoming) and Bowles (D. North Carolina) who run the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.5  They suggest that higher taxes and cuts to entitlements and defense spending are the only way to avoid the “Moment of Truth,” that is hitting the United States.  But Washington is not about to implement their plan, as Republicans refuse to consider a dime in tax increases, and may well control the whole town again soon.  Worse yet, even if taken at its word, the plan would wipe out “entitlements” in such draconian ways as to render the already-impoverished desperate, perhaps starving.  Aha, just like Argentina, if enough Americans are so desperate, perhaps the Republicans can lower the minimum wage, thus giving small and large business owners incentives to hire more people.  Ooops, bye-bye middle class.  Already minimum wage earners are nowhere near the middle class which is disappearing rapidly in the US.

Grim realities are hitting the US, as fuel and food prices are skyrocketing, while wages are going down, and so many are unemployed.  Ah, but the oil companies will be OK, oil spills or no oil spills.

Already the US pays a number of countries for GATT infractions rather than exposing the well-subsidized farmers of the US to free trade.  European and US subsidies to farmers have made it impossible for Africa to strengthen their economies (corrupt governments in Africa have exacerbated this).  But, for those who refuse to “play ball” the consequences of remaining outside globalization can be huge.  Cuba, Iraq and North Korea are all one need to know about how bad things can get when economic sanctions are applied.  Economic sanctions are often the precursors to war, thus, let’s see what happens in Iran.

Iran, Israel, the US and China could be at the tip of the spear should the world economy fail and another world war be required to help the rich stay rich.  Note:  the EXACT day that Iran had its first large oil auction (“burse”) in which their oil was sold for EUROS instead of dollars, Condoleezza Rice stood up and said Iran had nuclear capabilities.  This was partly because, I am sure, that other than being a reserve currency, the only thing propping the value of the US dollar is that oil is traded in dollars.

Should Israel attack Iran, China will see this as an extension of the US attacking Iran.  Israel, the US last ally, and well paid for at that, would be foolish to drop bombs in Iran without the back up of the US.  China, however, gets about 30% of its imported oil from Iran.  Uh oh.  50% of the US Navy is floating between Taiwan and China.  Why?  Worse yet, under Bush II the US stopped sending its annual letter to India reminding them that they are breaking the nuclear non-proliferation treaties they signed.  Instead we sent over 300 scientists to India to teach them how to build MX missile-sized warheads, which they never had the capability of doing in the past.  Why would the US do this for one of the least stable democracies in the world?  Well, India sits just to the West of China, for one.  And our Navy sits to the east.  For those keeping score at home, the US navy can pinpoint and bomb a single building from 400 miles at sea.

William Blum accurately points out that the US has attacked 31 countries a total of 70+ times since the end of World War II.

“The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:

* making the world safe for American corporations;

* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;

* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;

* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power.”

This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.”6

For the record, I am an American Patriot who still believes the US has a chance to make amends for its egregious attacks on human liberty since 1492, when Columbus started murdering and enslaving Native Americans.  It will not happen if we keep electing people like Barak Obama or Mitt Romney, that’s for sure.

Obama campaigned on “Change” but has not even fought to change the unconstitutional or unwise laws Bush II cooked up or repealed.  Not once has he mentioned repealing Patriot Act I or II, not once has he asked congress to reinstate even one of the 186 environmental laws Bush II wiped out.  His only change in the Middle East was to move troops from Iraq to Pakistan, where we caused 2 million refugees to flee their homes.  Don’t forget, the last 200 miles of oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean must flow through Pakistan.  US citizens now live in a country where they can be arrested without habeas corpus (without being told why they are being arrested).  At an Occupy Movement action in Chapel Hill, NC in January, a journalist was smashed to the ground and was told not to take any pictures of machine-gun toting police arresting 20 meek protesters.  Caitlyn F. will never be the same, but the US may never be the same either.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is setting up camps in case of social disorder that will be able to house over 2 million “visitors” and the US jail population is over 2 million already.  Thus US citizens themselves may be vulnerable to fascist attacks if they get upset about the economic disasters that could occur in the future.

“FEMA’s latest efforts to satisfy the demand for emergency camps represents a continuation of preparations on behalf of the federal government to prepare for civil emergencies and potential social disorder.”7

In order for the Occupy Movement, or any other (like the protests that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) to be successful, the replacements of the dictators will have to make life better for their people, without the help, nay under potential sanctions from the world powers.  Thus, growing self-sustaining economies will be key.  A country like South Korea that is 70% dependent on  exports for its GDP and 67% dependent on imports for its food are extremely vulnerable in these circumstances.  S> Korea has its ways too:  companies pay workers by the month, and with no hourly wage, and no 1.5 or 2 times-the-rate for overtime, the bosses job is to get as many hours as he can out of the workers for the same base monthly pay.  Thus, instead of a normal 40 hour week, workers work much longer, yet for no bonus pay once past 40 hours.

Perhaps NONE of the 175 demands the Occupy Movement has penned so far will be met with laws that meet those demands.  Thus, they will have to come up with an electable candidate who is far to the left of Barak Obama, and who will bring home 100% of the American troops, reduce military spending at three times the rate the entitlements are reduced, and get the US to stop being a fascist bully in order to concentrate on national health care, like so many non-combative countries already have.  If such a candidate were elected, she would have to also have her party in control of the Senate and House of Representatives.  The US Electoral College and embedded, yet illegal “two party system” will surely see to it this never happens.  Fascists don’t give up, they just die.  Steve Jobs and his mega-profitable Apple Computer refused to shut down its repressive factory in China, due to profit demands from its shareholders.  I see.  A company as flush in cash as Apple won’t even hire Americans.  Now Obama says he’s going to bring jobs back to the US.  Since 1917 history shows that revolutions often make things WORSE than they were before.  Wow, how can globalization be worse than it is now?

World War III that’s how.  It’s been centuries since China was an imperialist country.  Not true for the US.  One suspects that China would be a tough country to conquer.  Thus, like me, I am sure you are against World War III, since it could start in Iran, or right here, who knows.  The question is, how do we, as citizens prevent it before it occurs?

Peace.  What do we want?  Peace.  When do we want it?  Now.

  1. http://prosperityuk.com/2003/05/how-keynes-bancor-international-trade-currency-would-work/
  2. .(http://www.onlineforextrading.com/blog/6600-foreclosures-per-day/)
  3. http://charleslincoln3.com/2012/01/31/a-historical-perspective-on-foreclosure-1000-per-day-in-1933-vs-10000-per-day-in-2010/
  4. https://gicjournal.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/the-morning-after-2/

5.http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf

  1. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/US_Interventions_WBlumZ.html
  2. http://www.prisonplanet.com/fema-puts-out-contract-for-emergency-camps-to-house-displaced-citizens.html

A Brief History of U.S. Interventions:
1945 to the Present

by William Blum

Z magazine , June 1999

The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:

* making the world safe for American corporations;

* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;

* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;

* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power.”

This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.

China, 1945-49:

Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of Chiang Kai-shek against the Communists, even though the latter had been a much closer ally of the United States in the world war. The U.S. used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight for its side. The Communists forced Chiang to flee to Taiwan in 1949.

Italy, 1947-48:

Using every trick in the book, the U.S. interfered in the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of “saving democracy” in Italy. The Communists lost. For the next few decades, the CIA, along with American corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the specter that was haunting Europe.

Greece, 1947-49:

Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture.

Philippines, 1945-53:

U.S. military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the U. S. continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

South Korea, 1945-53:

After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favor of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments.

Albania, 1949-53:

The U.S. and Britain tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the communist government and install a new one that would have been pro-Western and composed largely of monarchists and collaborators with Italian fascists and Nazis.

Germany, 1950s:

The CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Iran, 1953:

Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint U.S./British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalize a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran. The coup restored the Shah to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the U.S., each 40 percent, other nations 20 percent.

Guatemala, 1953-1990s:

A CIA-organized coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims -indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century. Arbenz had nationalized the U.S. firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite. As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the Russians had so little interest in the country that it didn’t even maintain diplomatic relations. The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala’s social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America.

Middle East, 1956-58:

The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States “is prepared to use armed forces to assist” any Middle East country “requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism.” The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the middle east and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, “Communist.” In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism.

Indonesia, 1957-58:

Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the cold war seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well). He nationalized many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. He refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally. Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders “wrong ideas.” The CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government. Sukarno survived it all.

British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64:

For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his office. Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent. He was elected three times. Although a leftist-more so than Sukarno or Arbenz-his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was still a marked man, for he represented Washington’s greatest fear: building a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model. Using a wide variety of tactics-from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the U. S. and Britain finally forced Jagan out in 1964. John F. Kennedy had given a direct order for his ouster, as, presumably, had Eisenhower.

One of the better-off countries in the region under Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, was one of the poorest. Its principal export became people.

Vietnam, 1950-73:

The slippery slope began with siding with ~ French, the former colonizers and collaborators with the Japanese, against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of Communist. He had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored. Ho Chi Minh modeled the new Vietnamese declaration of independence on the American, beginning it with “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with …” But this would count for nothing in Washington. Ho Chi Minh was some kind of Communist.

Twenty-three years and more than a million dead, later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the U.S. lost the war. But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist.

Cambodia, 1955-73:

Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret “carpet bombings” of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This was all that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray. Five years later, they took power. But five years of American bombing had caused Cambodia’s traditional economy to vanish. The old Cambodia had been destroyed forever.

Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even greater misery on this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after their subsequent defeat by the Vietnamese.

The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65:

In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the Congo’s first prime minister after independence from Belgium. But Belgium retained its vast mineral wealth in Katanga province, prominent Eisenhower administration officials had financial ties to the same wealth, and Lumumba, at Independence Day ceremonies before a host of foreign dignitaries, called for the nation’s economic as well as its political liberation, and recounted a list of injustices against the natives by the white owners of the country. The man was obviously a “Communist.” The poor man was obviously doomed.

Eleven days later, Katanga province seceded, in September, Lumumba was dismissed by the president at the instigation of the United States, and in January 1961 he was assassinated at the express request of Dwight Eisenhower. There followed several years of civil conflict and chaos and the rise to power of Mobutu Sese Seko, a man not a stranger to the CIA. Mobutu went on to rule the country for more than 30 years, with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers. The Zairian people lived in abject poverty despite the plentiful natural wealth, while Mobutu became a multibillionaire.

Brazil, 1961-64:

President Joao Goulart was guilty of the usual crimes: He took an independent stand in foreign policy, resuming relations with socialist countries and opposing sanctions against Cuba; his administration passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinationals could transmit outside the country; a subsidiary of ITT was nationalized; he promoted economic and social reforms. And Attorney-General Robert Kennedy was uneasy about Goulart allowing “communists” to hold positions in government agencies. Yet the man was no radical. He was a millionaire land-owner and a Catholic who wore a medal of the Virgin around his neck. That, however, was not enough to save him. In 1964, he was overthrown in a military coup which had deep, covert American involvement. The official Washington line was…yes, it’s unfortunate that democracy has been overthrown in Brazil…but, still, the country has been saved from communism.

For the next 15 years, all the features of military dictatorship that Latin America has come to know were instituted: Congress was shut down, political opposition was reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for “political crimes” was suspended, criticism of the president was forbidden by law, labor unions were taken over by government interveners, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into crowds, peasants’ homes were burned down, priests were brutalized…disappearances, death squads, a remarkable degree and depravity of torture…the government had a name for its program: the “moral rehabilitation” of Brazil.

Washington was very pleased. Brazil broke relations with Cuba and became one of the United States’ most reliable allies in Latin America.

Dominican Republic, 1963-66:

In February 1963, Juan Bosch took office as the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic since 1924. Here at last was John F. Kennedy’s liberal anti-Communist, to counter the charge that the U.S. supported only military dictatorships. Bosch’s government was to be the long sought ” showcase of democracy ” that would put the lie to Fidel Castro. He was given the grand treatment in Washington shortly before he took office.

Bosch was true to his beliefs. He called for land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalization of business, and foreign investment provided it was not excessively exploitative of the country and other policies making up the program of any liberal Third World leader serious about social change. He was likewise serious about civil liberties: Communists, or those labeled as such, were not to be persecuted unless they actually violated the law.

A number of American officials and congresspeople expressed their discomfort with Bosch’s plans, as well as his stance of independence from the United States. Land reform and nationalization are always touchy issues in Washington, the stuff that “creeping socialism” is made of. In several quarters of the U.S. press Bosch was red-baited.

In September, the military boots marched. Bosch was out. The United States, which could discourage a military coup in Latin America with a frown, did nothing.

Nineteen months later, a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power. The United States sent 23,000 troops to help crush it.

Cuba, 1959 to present:

Fidel Castro came to power at the beginning of 1959. A U.S. National Security Council meeting of March 10, 1959 included on its agenda the feasibility of bringing “another government to power in Cuba.” There followed 40 years of terrorist attacks, bombings, full-scale military invasion, sanctions, embargoes, isolation, assassinations…Cuba had carried out The Unforgivable Revolution, a very serious threat of setting a “good example” in Latin America.

The saddest part of this is that the world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone, if not constantly under the gun and the threat of invasion, if allowed to relax its control at home. The idealism, the vision, the talent were all there. But we’ll never know. And that of course was the idea.

Indonesia, 1965:

A complex series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the ouster from power of Sukarno and his replacement by a military coup led by General Suharto. The massacre that began immediately-of Communists, Communist sympathizers, suspected Communists, suspected Communist sympathizers, and none of the above-was called by the New York Times “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history.” The estimates of the number killed in the course of a few years begin at half a million and go above a million.

It was later learned that the U.S. embassy had compiled lists of “Communist” operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then hunted those persons down and killed them. The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. “It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands,” said one U.S. diplomat. “But that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment. “

Chile, 1964-73:

Salvador Allende was the worst possible scenario for a Washington imperialist. He could imagine only one thing worse than a Marxist in power-an elected Marxist in power, who honored the constitution, and became increasingly popular. This shook the very foundation stones on which the anti-Communist tower was built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that “communists” can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the population.

After sabotaging Allende’s electoral endeavor in 1964, and failing to do so in 1970, despite their best efforts, the CIA and the rest of the American foreign policy machine left no stone unturned in their attempt to destabilize the Allende government over the next three years, paying particular attention to building up military hostility. Finally, in September 1973, the military overthrew the government, Allende dying in the process.

They closed the country to the outside world for a week, while the tanks rolled and the soldiers broke down doors; the stadiums rang with the sounds of execution and the bodies piled up along the streets and floated in the river; the torture centers opened for business; the subversive books were thrown into bonfires; soldiers slit the trouser legs of women, shouting that “In Chile women wear dresses!”; the poor returned to their natural state; and the men of the world in Washington and in the halls of international finance opened up their check- books. In the end, more than 3,000 had been executed, thousands more tortured or disappeared.

Greece, 1964-74:

The military coup took place in April 1967, just two days before the campaign for j national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece. The 1967 coup was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a “Communist takeover.” Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.

It was torture, however, which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote in December 1969 that “a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand” the number of people tortured, usually in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States.

Becket reported the following: Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance: “You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can’t fight us, we are Americans.”

George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-Communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War, and had questioned remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States.

East Timor, 1975 to present:

In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched the day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington’s most valuable tool in Southeast Asia.

Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia’s claim to East Timor (unlike the UN and the EU), and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job.

Nicaragua, 1978-89:

When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast-“another Cuba.” Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan, violence was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington’s proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza’s vicious National Guard and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing. These were Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” There would be no revolution in Nicaragua.

Grenada, 1979-84:

What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000? Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979 coup, and though their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro’s, Washington was again driven by its fear of “another Cuba,” particularly when public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm.

  1. S. destabilization tactics against the Bishop government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of disinformation and dirty tricks. The American invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the U.S. suffered 135 killed or wounded; there were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.

At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held which was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration. One year later, the human rights organization, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada’s new U.S.-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights.

In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the prime minister suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called “an increasingly authoritarian style.”

Libya, 1981-89:

Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished. U.S. planes shot down two Libyan planes in what Libya regarded as its air space. The U. S . also dropped bombs on the country, killing at least 40 people, including Qaddafi’s daughter. There were other attempts to assassinate the man, operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign, economic sanctions, and blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.

Panama, 1989:

Washington’s bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless. Counting several days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count, what the U.S. and the new U.S.-installed Panamanian government admitted to; other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died; 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead, 324 wounded.

Question from reporter: “Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?”

George Bush: “Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”

Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they reelected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force even after the very recent dissolution of the “Soviet threat.” The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega’s drug trafficking, which Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by.

Iraq, 1990s:

Relentless bombing for more than 40 days and nights, against one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East, devastating its ancient and modern capital city; 177 million pounds of bombs falling on the people of Iraq, the most concentrated aerial onslaught in the history of the world; depleted uranium weapons incinerating people, causing cancer; blasting chemical and biological weapon storage and oil facilities; poisoning the atmosphere to a degree perhaps never matched anywhere; burying soldiers alive, deliberately; the infrastructure destroyed, with a terrible effect on health; sanctions continued to this day multiplying the health problems; perhaps a million children dead by now from all of these things, even more adults.

Iraq was the strongest military power among the Arab states. This may have been their crime. Noam Chomsky has written: “It’s been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients, and, crucially, that no independent, indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price. “

Afghanistan, 1979-92:

Everyone knows of the unbelievable repression of women in Afghanistan, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists, even before the Taliban. But how many people know that during the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, Afghanistan had a government committed to bringing the incredibly backward nation into the 20th century, including giving women equal rights? What happened, however, is that the United States poured billions of dollars into waging a terrible war against this government, simply because it was supported by the Soviet Union. Prior to this, CIA operations had knowingly increased the probability of a Soviet intervention, which is what occurred. In the end, the United States won, and the women, and the rest of Afghanistan, lost. More than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees, in total about half the population.

El Salvador, 1980-92:

El Salvador’s dissidents tried to work within the system. But with U.S. support, the government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds of protesters and strikers. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war.

Officially, the U.S. military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity. In actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis. About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced of a U.S. role in the ground fighting as well. The war came to an official end in 1992; 75,000 civilian deaths and the U.S. Treasury depleted by six billion dollars. Meaningful social change has been largely thwarted. A handful of the wealthy still own the country, the poor remain as ever, and dissidents still have to fear right-wing death squads.

Haiti, 1987-94:

The U.S. supported the Duvalier family dictatorship for 30 years, then opposed the reformist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the CIA was working intimately with death squads, torturers, and drug traffickers. With this as background, the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend-because of all their rhetoric about “democracy”-that they supported Aristide’s return to power in Haiti after he had been ousted in a 1991 military coup. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich, and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving literally starvation wages.

Yugoslavia, 1999:

The United States is bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention is motivated only by “humanitarian” impulses. Perhaps the above history of U.S. interventions can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.

***

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Portions of the book can be read at:http://members.aol. com/bblum6/American holocaust.htm.

William Blum page

Foreign Policy watch

****Note:  This ends in 1999.  Let’s Add the most horrific bunch of countries on this list since World War II…I mean the last 13 years+ in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria,  – dare I say UKRAINE?  Have seen the USA KILL more than one million non-combatants, and cause OVER four million refugees, while not accomplishing a dang thing other than profits for the bomb and gun builders.  Why was the USA attacked in 9-11-2001? You might get a lot of answers to this.  It seems evident that enough people are upset at USA policies, that suicide attacks seem reasonable.

http://templatelab.com/the-moment-of-truth-final-report/

Democratic Underground

Fallujah Fandango

Fallujah Fandango

 

 

No greater power rose then fell so low

Than currently mounts the throne, an outhouse seat.

As, to itty bits the Middle East we blow.

 

It all started decades before San Bernadino

As bomb doors opened, Belgrade to Tekreet.

No greater power rose then fell so low.

 

Before the next attack, the people pack and go

Through Macedonia or Crete.

As, to itty bits the Middle East we blow.

 

The drone scout screams “Look out below!”

Refugees submit to smuggling cheats.

No greater power rose then fell so low.

 

So gather near, learn how to fix, and build and grow.

Cherish these the last days of the feast.

No greater power rose then fell so low.

As, to itty bits the Middle East we blow.

What if?

I like this one

What if you had a muse.  The muse was constantly inspiring more art, more poetry, more investigation of the multiple aspects of life that you might have overlooked.  Let’s say you had this muse for 1.5 years, and she/he was in your life as completely as possible, but then had to leave.  How long would that use still inspire you?  i’d say it has to do with how well you were inspired while together.  Also, how strong the bond became.

The muse in my life will not vanish.  She is just around the corner in my mind.  Just an electronic click away, most times.  and the type of friend, though we may not meet again for a long time, that will always inspire these words.  I took a week off here, as I got busy with regular chores.  Glad to be back.  Hope to regain my blogster friends.  Everyone I follow in here has inspired me to keep going in blogland, so thanks for the constant perks here.

Have a great week, enjoy your weekend (should you get one) and don’t forget how smart the children are.

Art Music Poetry #93

Spiritual Scuffle above Macedonia,2010,Kicevo Artist Colony

Spiritual Scuffle above Macedonia,2010,Kicevo Artist Colony

Bright eyes dig up a question from generations ago:

You want to know why the wind blew us

Together, how our sons will grow, when we will

Meet again, where will we be as one again?

Training gives you the desire to examine cause and

Effect.  Experiences about as wide apart as possible

Come at us, yet we harmonize, learn each other’s secrets,

Give what we know the other will love, provide

Sanctuary in a world spinning out of control for so

Many.  This I offer to distinguish myself from regular

Men, be they handsome or young: a complete heart

With continued support, undying gratitude, massage

Therapy, attempts at cooking, quite a way with words.

I expect you to smile when we chat, remain a solid

Force, a muse for my art, the reason I will always

Yearn for more, forever the target of happy life,

Memories (plans?) and a fresh heart, made whole

By the time we spent sincerely swirled, sufficiently

Molded to continually receive jolts of good news,

Connected forever by this love, complex, alive, strong.

Low Rider

Woman catches 300 pound jumping tuna

Woman catches 300 pound jumping tuna

Play

Brandy barks at swooping swallows,

Life, lowered to one foot or so

In summer time is simple,

As the lure of tired dogs and clover

Greets only those who need to play.

Scampering down outside stairs

Past the skidding bicycle marks

To a tumbling fit of joy

Goes the only daily memory

Of a happiness once known.

Landing in a pile of limbs,

Which includes the golden hair

That shines of wetness on the

Back of Brandy, the player

Laughs at the summer sun.

How long will it be

Before the play begins again,

Before the youthful joy

Once known appears, before

The love, if ever, returns?

written at age 14

A Giant “No” To Suck-Up Ted Cruz

Beware of anyone who announces their Presidential campaign at Liberty University. Liberty University and its founder Jerry Falwell have used church tax-free coffers to do many dastardly things.

One:  Jerry Falwell rented 300 727 airplanes (huge, right) to Frank Clinton (Bill’s brother) that were used to run guns to Honduras so they may be walked over the river to Nicaragua, thus countering the congress’ LAW that forbid any support to the Contras.  The FBI had 100 counts ready for Frank Clinton as drug runner since the planes that took guns down were alledgedly bringing planeloads full of Manuel Noriega’s cocaine back into the united states, in army duffel bags.

The FBI was ready to move in, when Bill got nominated for President, and presto those charges went away. As a reporter for the Roanoke Times and World News, I knew about and saw the documents that proved Frank Clinton was guilty enough to be arrested and most likely incarcerated. Who but a big ol’ phony warmongering church could even afford 300 727s?

Noriega’s eventual trial was moved from Roanoke Circuit court to Miami for no apparent reason, except the fact that Frank Clinton rented the planes from Falwell, never got further than  Roanoke as the AP and then UPI never ran the story on their wires.  Huh?  Noriega has been in an air-conditioned, porn-filled, fax-ready luxury jail cell since. Falwell and his huge coffers almost got Oliver North elected after he was found guilty in the Iran Contra affair.

Remember that was when Reagan and friends sold billions of dollars worth of arms to Iran, our sworn enemy after their operatives took 53 American hostages that amazingly were released exactly 2 hours after Reagan was sworn in.  The hostages ended President Carter’s chance of being reelected, but their dire actions were also ignored by Reagan when he sold arms to Iran.  The US thus had sold arms to BOTH sides of the three year long Iraq-Iran war in the middle 80s, thus starting the middle east conflict that rages on to this day between Sunis and Shia,exacerbated by the USA.  (OIL OIL OIL).

So that’s Ted Cruz for you. He sucks up to robotized Christian fundamentalists (all fundamentalists are dangerous, but Christians are far more so than Muslims, so far.)  Since the Crusades, Christians have been launching attacks against Muslims in order for big wigs to make a dandy war profit. Falwell’s family had a reputation and got in trouble for moonshine running until Jerry hit on a better money-making scheme, and legal and tax free.

Thus began the Moral Majority (it is still neither….not moral by a lot and not a majority by even more.) Liberty university is also alive thanks to these monies rich folks sent to Falwell, some knowing exactly what he was up to.  The fact that Oliver North, the fall guy for the Iran Contra scheme was narrowly defeated in his run for the US Senate, shows the influence Falwell’s congregation (roped in via Television) continues to have as they pump out Christian activists that, I pray, do not represent most church goers point of view:  the biblically verified concept that Jesus was a plu-perfect liberal.  He always railed against the money changes, the unrepentant rich, war, etc. and Fundamentalists and Baptists in particular are full of greedy supporters of the perpetual wars we’ve created and fought since World War II My Friends and I dressed in dark blue blazers on Easter and handed out “Jesus Is a Liberal” bumper stickers along with the following poems at the Mission Street Church where Falwell spit his junk.

We quickly vamoosed before the envelopes were opened, and did get a rather stout response since my email address was on the stickers.  It’s going to take a lot more than actions that subtle to bring down the powerful and wealthy who have us in our 13th year of Middle East war, and our  73rd of nearly continual wars. Bring the troops home and then never send them out again, that’s my idea. cut military spending by 70% or more, and spend some money trying to regain dignity for the Americans who lost jobs when our billionaires shipped them overseas via free trade, GATT and GATT2. Wondering about the poem we handed out with the bumper sticker?

Here it is:

Jesus is a Liberal

Jesus Christ would not be proud

To see religion in this state. (Virginia that is.)

TV evangelists preach a canon of intolerance.

Jesus never expected people to hate in his name.

Building amusement parks in homage to God

Makes as much sense as waging war for Christ.

A god who attracts such diverse attentions Is not

a nice god or even a holy god. He must be the god

of money, or, The god of land acquisition, or, perhaps

Even the god of death.

Now that should Set bells ringing in your bible-belt ears.

The god of death destroys life and love,

The god of death is worshipped in Lynchburg.

This Poem first appeared in “the Muse,” Edited by Ilya Kaminsky, 1997, Rochester, NY Copyright, Doug Stuber, 1999. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

DH, II

DH, II

Commissioner, how

did that chance

to save your family land

work out?  Lewis and

Clark sure did

not steal land

as they went, and our

friend Jefferson ended up

millions in debt back when a

dollar was a good

week’s pay.  So what of

these bailed out

bankers while austerity

rules the land?  Got a

new plan that

can save a

town, village, household?

That’s it!  Stay local, make a

place that works outside the damned

globalized, profit,

fascist hold

on the planet.  True, people

everywhere

would have to form new

cooperative farms,

urban style

communes,

and barter, to stay

clear of tax-

as-war-support, or

we’re all culpable.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Man Shall Profit from Another Man’s Labor

“No Man Shall Profit from Another Man’s Labor”

The concept of rugged individualism is an American thing. Starting with the Puritans who preached “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” and coming through the great depression when Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked that Americans “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” the combination of Christianity and diligence has been one of the guiding forces in what made the United States of America the great country it has been.

But a wider reading of the bible (narrow readings range form Jehovah’s Witness to Church of Christ to Seventh Day Adventist, and are also lumped under the title “fundamentalist” Christian) like the one the Quakers adhere to, and most Presbyterians and quite a few Methodists runs counter to the popular, yet ill-informed teaching of most Baptist churches, especially in the south of the United States.

George W. Bush, raised Methodist, had to switch affiliations to Baptist when the Methodist Church of the United States came out against his Iraq war. He was notably, the only U.S. President to switch religions mid-term.

So how does this apply to the rise of Christianity, mainly in the cities, of South Korea, and how can we learn from the title of this article, how the Christian church, ostensibly an offshoot of the teachings of Jesus himself, has been warped in many cases, to the point where the guiding principles (including the ten commandments) of the church have been ignored, and tolerance of, especially GREED, has been whisked under the altar carpet, with all sins absolved by the stroke of a Sunday prayer.

Recall the seven deadly sins:  The currently recognized version of the list is usually given as Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins

Religions should be graded based on how well their followers follow their “bibles” or Korans, or Bhagavad Gitas or Old Testament, etc. Since World War II United States Christian political leaders have been miserable at following their own book, often led astray by fundamentalists who promise to round up many votes in trade for an increasingly religious government, one Jefferson warned about when he inscribed the principle of separation of church and state.

The Sermon on the Mount, as written by Matthew, says that “Jesus condemns the “good works” of fasting, alms, and prayer, when they are only done for show, and not from the heart.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sermon_on_the_Mount

Love thy enemy as thou love thyself is in there, and the Golden rule “treat others as you would have others treat you,” is also in there, and when slapped, “turn the other cheek” meaning offer your aggressor another slap, as, perhaps you deserve it, but in no case should you raise a hand to hurt anyone else. This is a condemnation of war, is it not?

So if a Christian leads his country into war, or is greedy or commits adultery, and then shows up at church to get these absolved, that in itself is condemned by Jesus.

The Quakers are certainly the most peace-loving Christians, and, as the “Prince of Peace” Jesus condemned war, and though the bible says war may at times be inevitable it NEVER condones war, and Jesus sure didn’t. Then what are Americans and Koreans to think of the inexcusable, unnecessary and horrific wars the United States has been involved in since 1960? The only President who resisted these wars-of-greed was a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, and it is no coincidence that he was assassinated BECAUSE he was against fighting a major war in Vietnam.

Kennedy was the only Catholic ever elected President, and it is also interesting to note the huge majority of US presidents who go to church, but who were also Freemasons. Starting with George Washington himself, this band of earth-controlling “gentlemen” have wielded great power, and been inadequate Christians, especially when held to the standards Christ himself ascribed.

Christ was a left-wing radical… a man who suggested rich people give to charity, greed is a sin, and that, in effect, no man should profit from another man’s labor. This makes him, in today’s world, a socialist. He was also an environmentalist, and, were he alive today, might be requesting people to stop driving cars for the sake of future generations.

Thus, any church that flies conservative values in the name of Christ should break away from Christianity and form their own religion. The only hint of a conservative value coming from the Bible comes from the Old Testament’s 10 commandments (thus predates Christ). #5: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you,” fits nicely into the Confucian principles Korea has followed since “the first century after the Chosun dynasty was founded (when) the volume of legislation that was concerned with social issues was unusually high.” (“The Confucian Transformation of Korea” Martina Deuchler, P.3) This means that Confucian principles were being made into LAW. It is this long-held tie to Confucianism that made it easy for fundamentalist Christians to get a foothold in Korea. The Seventh Day Adventist church in particular has found its way to control, some people estimate, as much as 30% of the Korean food supply.

“Only about two percent of the Asian population is Christian, and while Christians are to be found in virtually every Asian country, it is South Korea that has witnessed the most spectacular and historically significant Christian expansion, particularly over the past three decades, the period of the country’s remarkable modernization.” http://www.tparents.org/library/religion/cta/korean-christianity.htm

Because CONSERVATIVE values run throughout Confucian and fundamentalist teachings, it has been relatively easy for fundamentalist churches, and others to synergize the two beliefs and gain great strength in South Korea. But Jesus was NOT conservative in any way. He instructed his disciples to welcome believers of all religions into the prayer service…something many fundamentalists wipe out by their continual harping about how only followers of Jesus will go to heaven. Hmmm, the Ten Commandments say that people should follow ONE GOD, not ONE JESUS to be able to float upward upon death. Thus why wouldn’t a Jew or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist also be able to pray their way into heaven?

In South Korea, but even more so in the United States, Koreans use their church service as a full-service religion, discount-rate country club and place to do business at the lunches that characteristically follow the services. This is an excellent use of the Christian church to the extent that it promotes brotherhood, but is a kind of strange use when it comes to deriving profit from fellow parishioners.

In a “correct” reading, one would find Jesus to place people over profit, which puts him in direct opposition to most capitalist practices, if not all. So how do card-carrying capitalists, rich ones, greedy ones, manage to hold their heads up without embarrassment in church? Because so many of the ministers are up on the altar condoning their behavior! Cleanliness is next to Godliness, the most Puritanical of beliefs, is in effect, a code for the fact that rich people are closer to God than poor people. How is this? Because in colonial times in New England, USA, the only people who could keep a clean house, were in fact, rich people. The “Puritan work ethic” was instilled so that the WORKERS at the small manufacturing plants would work very hard in order that the church leaders and owners of the business could make a large profit. This “original sin” of American religion has been passed down and quoted often by such notables as President Ronald Reagan.

The Catholic belief that birth control is a sin is directly linked to their belief that a huge underclass helps the rich guys stay rich, and it is those folks who, after all, donate to the church, as they should, if they believe their donations will create the type of prayers that will get their ilk into heaven.

In these tricky economic times, it is of immediate concern that we re-learn how to help our fellow men and women because a new depression is not a futuristic horror story, but has already begun. In the 1930s my mother’s father, a carpenter who walked 8 miles or so each way to earn 25 cents a day, raised four children on that somehow. He also had a mark on his house that meant that nearly every night a “hobo” from the nearby train tracks would be visiting them for supper. Delmar Spellman knew his house was marked and, slightly poor as they may have been, they never removed the mark, and never turned anyone away from a meal. It’s my firm belief he made it to heaven.

What worries me is that the all-or-nothing, fire-and-brimstone, black-and-white with no shades of gray churches that dominate the Christian (and at times Muslim) worlds will, instead of instilling the brotherhood once trumpeted by Jesus, cause further rifts, and make way for a new depression-era criminality that no church should condone. If we do not find ways to become friends on a local level now, then the ill-fated politicians and the big money that controls them will throw us into one war after the other to try to bail out their economies…and we will have to decide whether to bear arms against one another, or lend each other a hand.

This diatribe is not meant to get people to quit their churches, temples or synagogues or mosques, but is written in the hope that we can have enough friendship at the local level to outweigh (somehow) the horrors that are increasing at the global level.

And for those keeping score at home, here are the Ten Commandments, ever so misquoted:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.

2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

US Soldiers in Seoul, 2013

A little back and forth on current events

Doug Stuber: I am sickened by the US Soldiers, two weekends in a row, running around Seoul, mostly in Itaewon and pulling out guns and “pretending” to shoot at Koreans. It’s sad enough that the US has a mostly poor man’s army fighting the RICH MAN’S wars on many fronts for WAY TOO LONG. But who is TRAINING these volunteers? WHAT DO WE WANT? PEACE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!

Russell Scott Day: Peculiar or not. North Korea is a shameful aberration allowed to torture its own and threaten all of us. Working class people do not deserve the insults and threats that North Korea is to us. Even in a complex world it is simple. North Korea is a failure and a threat none of us deserve.

Doug Stuber: But these are soldiers in SOUTH KOREA ACE Scott Day. Where I live. The reason 5000 to 10,000 North Koreans starve to death every month is this: Due to a trade deal, an OLD ONE, the US ships 40 million tons of Rice to South Korea every year. Until Lee Myung Bak ended that rice flowing directly to NORTH Korea, as it always had, less people starved. Repeat, South Korea now keeps the rice, thus hurting own farmers in order to what? Punish fellow CITIZENS in the north. Maybe North Korea got sick of starving to death. Maybe if the rice started flowing again they’d back down as they did Under Clinton, and even Bush. It was a SOUTH KOREAN error that led to the Cheonon Naval Corvette being sunk with 64 sailors dying. Then the bombing of YeungPyeungdo in which 4 South Korean civilians died. BOTH were in reaction to the South cutting off the rice. Those were the 57th and 58th time North Korea had broken the now 60-year-old cease fire. In all 58 instances South Korea never attacked back (thank God. Wanna know why? Artillery cannons that fire shells small enough so no forces can pick them off on their way) are already armed and aimed at Seoul’s population of 18 million people. If South Korea or any part of the US Navy, Army, Air Force or Marines even sneezes at North Korea, Seoul is gone in ONE SHOT, ONE ORDER, unstoppable. History: in the early 2000s, under President Roh, a progressive, reunification Minister Chung (who later lost to Lee Myung Bak in a presidential race) set up the Gaeseong Industrial complex with 88 companies using highly trained technical labor from North Korea to help their firms be competitive (the trained labor made $75 per hour, but Kim Jung Il, now known as “Dad” to Kim Jung Eun) never knew. Then it got reported about the low pay, the Kim Jung Il demanded better pay and that South Korea pay RENT, they never had. When Lee Myung Bak said they never should pay rent because it was an effort to reunify (of course after Chung was gone and Roh was dead) then Kim Jung Il CUT OFF Gaeseong from all supplies, making the 88 corporations already there, and the 220 lined up to be a part of the action a MUTE point, so Gaeseong closed. It was AFTER it closed the Lee Myung Bak CUT OFF THE RICE, and just after the rice denial that the Cheonan went down. Who’s the bad guy here?

Additionally, CAPITALISM is the greatest threat to the environment, sustainability and human dignity, as globalization (see many previous posts) wage-enslaves so many, while leaving US workers unemployed, in many cities.  As unemployment leads to higher crime rate, the for profit prisons, and PRISON LABOR IN THE US go up.

**********************************************************

Two for our readers, first from Noam Chomsky, and then from Alan Whyte and Jamie Baker.  Although the second cut-and-paste is from 2000, imagine more workers working in prisons with solitary confinement or 21 cents an hour as their choices.  This to puts hard working, never-a-criminal Americans our of work while contributing to the profits of war mongers, among others.

Noam Chomsky: Will Capitalism Destroy Civilization?

There is “capitalism” and then there is “really existing capitalism.”

The term “capitalism” is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the “too-big-to-fail” government insurance policy for banks.

The system is highly monopolized, further limiting reliance on the market, and increasingly so: In the past 20 years the share of profits of the 200 largest enterprises has risen sharply, reports scholar Robert W. McChesney in his new book “Digital Disconnect.”

“Capitalism” is a term now commonly used to describe systems in which there are no capitalists: for example, the worker-owned Mondragon conglomerate in the Basque region of Spain, or the worker-owned enterprises expanding in northern Ohio, often with conservative support – both are discussed in important work by the scholar Gar Alperovitz.

Some might even use the term “capitalism” to refer to the industrial democracy advocated by John Dewey, America’s leading social philosopher, in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Dewey called for workers to be “masters of their own industrial fate” and for all institutions to be brought under public control, including the means of production, exchange, publicity, transportation and communication. Short of this, Dewey argued, politics will remain “the shadow cast on society by big business.”

The truncated democracy that Dewey condemned has been left in tatters in recent years. Now control of government is narrowly concentrated at the peak of the income scale, while the large majority “down below” has been virtually disenfranchised. The current political-economic system is a form of plutocracy, diverging sharply from democracy, if by that concept we mean political arrangements in which policy is significantly influenced by the public will.

There have been serious debates over the years about whether capitalism is compatible with democracy. If we keep to really existing capitalist democracy – RECD for short – the question is effectively answered: They are radically incompatible.

It seems to me unlikely that civilization can survive RECD and the sharply attenuated democracy that goes along with it. But could functioning democracy make a difference?

Let’s keep to the most critical immediate problem that civilization faces: environmental catastrophe. Policies and public attitudes diverge sharply, as is often the case under RECD. The nature of the gap is examined in several articles in the current issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Researcher Kelly Sims Gallagher finds that “One hundred and nine countries have enacted some form of policy regarding renewable power, and 118 countries have set targets for renewable energy. In contrast, the United States has not adopted any consistent and stable set of policies at the national level to foster the use of renewable energy.”

It is not public opinion that drives American policy off the international spectrum. Quite the opposite. Opinion is much closer to the global norm than the U.S. government’s policies reflect, and much more supportive of actions needed to confront the likely environmental disaster predicted by an overwhelming scientific consensus – and one that’s not too far off; affecting the lives of our grandchildren, very likely.

As Jon A. Krosnick and Bo MacInnis report in Daedalus: “Huge majorities have favored steps by the federal government to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated when utilities produce electricity. In 2006, 86 percent of respondents favored requiring utilities, or encouraging them with tax breaks, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit. Also in that year, 87 percent favored tax breaks for utilities that produce more electricity from water, wind or sunlight. These majorities were maintained between 2006 and 2010 and shrank somewhat after that.

The fact that the public is influenced by science is deeply troubling to those who dominate the economy and state policy.

One current illustration of their concern is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” proposed to state legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth.

The ALEC Act mandates “balanced teaching” of climate science in K-12 classrooms. “Balanced teaching” is a code phrase that refers to teaching climate-change denial, to “balance” mainstream climate science. It is analogous to the “balanced teaching” advocated by creationists to enable the teaching of “creation science” in public schools. Legislation based on ALEC models has already been introduced in several states.

Of course, all of this is dressed up in rhetoric about teaching critical thinking – a fine idea, no doubt, but it’s easy to think up far better examples than an issue that threatens our survival and has been selected because of its importance in terms of corporate profits.

Media reports commonly present a controversy between two sides on climate change.

One side consists of the overwhelming majority of scientists, the world’s major national academies of science, the professional science journals and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They agree that global warming is taking place, that there is a substantial human component, that the situation is serious and perhaps dire, and that very soon, maybe within decades, the world might reach a tipping point where the process will escalate sharply and will be irreversible, with severe social and economic effects. It is rare to find such consensus on complex scientific issues.

The other side consists of skeptics, including a few respected scientists who caution that much is unknown – which means that things might not be as bad as thought, or they might be worse.

Omitted from the contrived debate is a much larger group of skeptics: highly regarded climate scientists who see the IPCC’s regular reports as much too conservative. And these scientists have repeatedly been proven correct, unfortunately.

The propaganda campaign has apparently had some effect on U.S. public opinion, which is more skeptical than the global norm. But the effect is not significant enough to satisfy the masters. That is presumably why sectors of the corporate world are launching their attack on the educational system, in an effort to counter the public’s dangerous tendency to pay attention to the conclusions of scientific research.

At the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting a few weeks ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned the leadership that “We must stop being the stupid party. We must stop insulting the intelligence of voters.”

Within the RECD system it is of extreme importance that we become the stupid nation, not misled by science and rationality, in the interests of the short-term gains of the masters of the economy and political system, and damn the consequences.

These commitments are deeply rooted in the fundamentalist market doctrines that are preached within RECD, though observed in a highly selective manner, so as to sustain a powerful state that serves wealth and power.

The official doctrines suffer from a number of familiar “market inefficiencies,” among them the failure to take into account the effects on others in market transactions. The consequences of these “externalities” can be substantial. The current financial crisis is an illustration. It is partly traceable to the major banks and investment firms’ ignoring “systemic risk” – the possibility that the whole system would collapse – when they undertook risky transactions.

Environmental catastrophe is far more serious: The externality that is being ignored is the fate of the species. And there is nowhere to run, cap in hand, for a bailout.

In future, historians (if there are any) will look back on this curious spectacle taking shape in the early 21st century. For the first time in human history, humans are facing the significant prospect of severe calamity as a result of their actions – actions that are battering our prospects of decent survival.

Those historians will observe that the richest and most powerful country in history, which enjoys incomparable advantages, is leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster. Leading the effort to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations, tribal, indigenous, aboriginal.

The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction.

Thus Ecuador, with its large indigenous population, is seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial oil reserves underground, where they should be.

Meanwhile the U.S. and Canada are seeking to burn fossil fuels, including the extremely dangerous Canadian tar sands, and to do so as quickly and fully as possible, while they hail the wonders of a century of (largely meaningless) energy independence without a side glance at what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self-destruction.

This observation generalizes: Throughout the world, indigenous societies are struggling to protect what they sometimes call “the rights of nature,” while the civilized and sophisticated scoff at this silliness.

This is all exactly the opposite of what rationality would predict – unless it is the skewed form of reason that passes through the filter of RECD.

© 2012 Noam Chomsky

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Prison labor on the rise in US

By Alan Whyte and Jamie Baker
8 May 2000

US trade union officials have repeatedly denounced China for its use of prison labor, as part of the AFL-CIO’s campaign against the normalization of trade relations with China. At the same time, however, the union officials have virtually been silent about the huge growth of prison labor in the United States.

There are presently 80,000 inmates in the US employed in commercial activity, some earning as little as 21 cents an hour. The US government program Federal Prison Industries (FPI) currently employs 21,000 inmates, an increase of 14 percent in the last two years alone. FPI inmates make a wide variety of products—such as clothing, file cabinets, electronic equipment and military helmets—which are sold to federal agencies and private companies. FPI sales are $600 million annually and rising, with over $37 million in profits.

In addition, during the last 20 years more than 30 states have passed laws permitting the use of convict labor by commercial enterprises. These programs now exist in 36 states.

Prisoners now manufacture everything from blue jeans, to auto parts, to electronics and furniture. Honda has paid inmates $2 an hour for doing the same work an auto worker would get paid $20 to $30 an hour to do. Konica has used prisoners to repair copiers for less than 50 cents an hour. Toys R Us used prisoners to restock shelves, and Microsoft to pack and ship software. Clothing made in California and Oregon prisons competes so successfully with apparel made in Latin America and Asia that it is exported to other countries.

Inmates are also employed in a wide variety of service jobs as well. TWA has used prisoners to handle reservations, while AT&T has used prison labor for telemarketing. In Oregon, prisoners do all the data entry and record keeping in the Secretary of State’s corporation division. Other jobs include desktop publishing, digital mapping and computer-aided design work.

US employers have pointed to the tight labor market for their interest in employing prisoners. But the other advantages, though not stated publicly, are obvious. The prison system can provide an “ideal” workforce: employers do not have to pay health or unemployment insurance, vacation time, sick leave or overtime. They can hire, fire or reassign inmates as they so desire, and can pay the workers as little as 21 cents an hour. The inmates cannot respond with a strike, file a grievance, or threaten to leave and get a better job.

Prisoners who refuse to work under these conditions are labeled “uncooperative” and risk losing time off for “good behavior,” as well as privileges such as library access and recreation. In one case, two prisoners at California’s Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility were put in solitary confinement after a local television station broadcast their complaints about working for C.M.T., a T-shirt manufacturer that required them to put in 60 days of unpaid “training.”

The growth of prison labor has directly led to the destruction of other workers’ jobs. For example, Lockhart Technologies, Inc. closed its plant in Austin, Texas, dismissing its 150 workers so that it could open shop in a state prison in Lockhart. The prisoners assemble circuit boards for industrial giants such as IBM, Compaq and Dell. Lockhart is not required to pay for health or any other benefits. The company must pay the prison the federal minimum wage for each laborer, but the inmates get to keep only 20 percent of that.

Linen service workers have lost their jobs when their employer contracted with the prison laundry to do the work. Recycling plant workers have lost their jobs when prisoners were brought in to sort through hazardous waste, often without proper protective gear. Construction workers have lost their jobs when the contractors were assigned to build an expansion of their own prison—essentially making the chains that bind them.

In 1990, California voters approved a change in the state’s constitution allowing the operation of private enterprise in the prisons if the governor will assure that no civilian jobs will be lost. According to the law, companies that are about to begin using prison labor are obligated to notify the state’s AFL-CIO, but in reality they rarely do.

In 1994, Oregon residents voted overwhelmingly for a constitutional amendment mandating that all prisoners work 40 hours a week. As a result, thousands of public sector jobs have been lost to convict labor, and thousands of private sector jobs have been lost as a result of firms that now utilize prison labor.

The struggle over prison labor has a long history in the US. In the early 1800s, group workshops in prisons replaced solitary handicrafts, and the increased efficiency allowed prisons to be self-supporting. Entire prisons were leased out to private contractors, who literally worked hundreds of prisoners to death. Manufacturers who lost work to prison contractors opposed the leasing system, but only with the growth of the union movement came effective opposition to prison labor. One of the most famous clashes, the Coal Creek Rebellion of 1891, took place when the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad locked out their workers and replaced them with convicts. The miners stormed the prison and freed 400 prisoners, and when the company filled up work with more prisoners, the miners burned the prison down.

The prison leasing system was disbanded in Tennessee shortly thereafter, but remained in many states until the rise of the CIO and industrial unionism in the 1930s. As a result of this mass movement of workers, Congress passed the 1935 Ashurst-Sumners Act, making it illegal to transport prison-made goods across state lines. However, under the presidency of Democrat Jimmy Carter, Congress passed the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, which granted exemptions from Ashurst-Sumners for seven “Prison Industry Enhancement” pilot projects. Congress has since granted exemptions to all 50 state prison systems.

Although prison labor is today in its infancy, it could become one of America’s most important growth industries. Over the last decade, the prison population has increased by 840,000, many of these prisoners having been convicted of nonviolent crimes. With the use of tough-on-crime mandatory sentencing laws, the prison population continues to grow. Some experts believe that the number of people locked up in the US could double in the next 10 years. The expansion of the number of prisoners will not only increase the pool of slave labor available for commercial profit, but also will help pay for the costs of incarceration.

With 2 million inmates, the US already has the largest prison population in the world. China, which the AFL-CIO consistently condemns as anti-worker and totalitarian, has a half-million fewer prisoners. With only 5 percent of the world’s population the United States has a quarter of the world’s 8 million prisoners.

Proponents of prison labor have argued that the employment of labor for profit has a rehabilitative effect. Expenditures for education and training of prisoners, meanwhile, have been declining.

Nevertheless, the use of right-wing propaganda made possible a situation in Oregon where 70 percent of voters, including many union members, approved the use of prison labor. Today, many of these same voters say they were fooled by the original media campaign advocating prison labor, which maintained that its essential purpose was to teach inmates proper discipline and prepare them to be good citizens when they were released.

Today, the AFL-CIO in Oregon is split on the issue. The Teamsters and the building trades unions and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) now officially stand for the repeal of the prison labor laws because their implementation has already resulted in the loss of dues-paying union members. However, corrections officers who are AFSCME members support prison labor because it makes their jobs a lot easier; they say that the commercial work keeps the prisoners both occupied and exhausted, and therefore easier to control.

In 1997, the Tennessee AFL-CIO supported proposals to privatize the state’s prison system, having struck a deal with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to represent the workers. Private, for-profit prisons such as those run by CCA and Wackenhut have become the modern-day version of the nineteenth century leased prisons. Brutal treatment of prisoners is commonplace, as the for-profit entrepreneurs seek to reduce the expense of food and housing in order to add to the profits from running commercial industries.

Perhaps more significantly, the unions tend to portray inmates as the ones who should be blamed for the loss of union members’ jobs. They depict prisoners as bad seeds wholly responsible for their own incarceration, rather than the victims of a system based on the exploitation of workers’ labor-power. Unions have expressed the idea that giving inmates hard work is good because it will help discipline and rehabilitate them. This ideological outlook turns the prisoner into the enemy of organized labor, as well as civilized society. This conception also makes it possible to deflect responsibility from the corporations that pushed for prison labor, and who are now profiting handsomely from its use.

One step towards organizing an effective response to the growth of prison labor is to clarify what is really behind the law-and-order mentally that is being pushed by both major parties in the US. This would involve examining the relationship of crime to the growth of poverty, social and economic inequality, the decline of real career and growth opportunities for millions of people, the crumbling of schools, the impact of racism and bigotry, and so on.

The labor bureaucracy is incapable of doing this as this would threaten the privileged position that it enjoys in a system based on the exploitation and oppression of the working class. It is for this reason that union officials share and promulgate to their membership the same ideological outlook of the corporations, which essentially blames the working class for the social problems that it confronts.

The role of the union bureaucracy can be clearly seen in the political maneuvers taking place in Washington DC concerning the issue of using inmates as laborers. Officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons are pushing for legislation that would expand the use of prison labor. There are now two competing bills in Congress that would accomplish just that. Representative Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, is offering one of the bills that would compel prison labor in state prisons to compete with private enterprise. This is an absurd attempt to claim that somehow free labor can successfully compete with the slave-labor conditions in the prisons. Significantly, this bill has the support of both the United States Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

The other bill proposed by Representative Bill McCollum, a Republican from Florida, would greatly expand the program but allow the inmates to earn a paltry $1.15 an hour instead of the current 21 cents an hour. This bill also contains a provision that would prohibit existing jobs from being lost as a result of the expanded use of convict labor. However, the experience in California shows that such guarantees are not worth the paper they’re printed on.

There has been discussion about merging the two bills. This demonstrates the real dangers posed to workers and prisoners alike as both the labor bureaucracy and the organized voice of big business in America work together to enlarge the scope of prison labor.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

This article is over 12 years old.  Do you think using prisoners to make profits in the USA is more or less than it was then?

When Globalization finds the cheapest labor it can in order for corporations to profit, what does that do to the value of labor?

Is cheaper labor a problem just for countries that have less-strong economies (Mexico, Argentina, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, etc.) or when jobs move to cheaper labor from “developed countries” does it ALSO lower the value of labor back in the countries (mostly Europe and the USA) that export their jobs and polluting factories to the countries whose populations are so desperate for work?

When corporations make larger profits, those who own shares (stocks and bonds) in the company can make even more money just for investing.  Being able to invest money in companies in order to become even more rich is an integral part of Capitalism.  WHO profits the most from capitalism, the laborers, or the rich people who own shares in the company?

Why does capitalism feel compelled to ruin the earth in order to make profit?

Since most people would rather be a manager in a business than a factory worker “on the floor,” then how long will it be before the planet is used up just so the very few at the top of the economic pile can make more money?

Which parts of South Korea are still socialized?  Did Lee Myung Bak do anything to start to chip away at the benefits for elderly or other parts of the socialized segments of Korean society?  Will Park Gun Hye follow his lead and allow more hospitals to be privatized, less money to be spent on helping the poor, and more money spent on “defense?”

Genocide, Slavery, Greed

IMG_4780

Genocide, Slavery, Greed

We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,

This is not just  the land of the free.

We witness genocide all over this earth.

What can we do to end greed?

We cry for the land, full of modified crops

We must work to save human life.

What will our grandchildren have to live through

Since our appetite causes such strife?

The oil wars that started a decade ago

Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.

We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,

Even if we are cut at the knees.

We cry for the news they keep off TV,

The grapevine could snap any day.

Disinformation is the age we live in,

So who’s going to show us the way?

The answer is simple, we grow as a team,

A new brotherhood in the light.

We must build the village, invite all your friends,

This is no time to give up the fight!

They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,

Monsanto is spraying the poor.

We must dig our hands into arable land

Or genetics will foul every spore.

Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,

We must reclaim all that we can.

Industrial China, the last frontier,

Soon money will own every man.

The kids on the streets are locked-down together,

Push a bike, and you could get ten years!

All this is forced because we stopped caring,

Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.

We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,

The replacement is for-profit jails.

Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,

Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.

The time is upon us, united as friends

We can make anything grow.

Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,

Tomorrow we get out the vote.

We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed

That persists after thousands of years.

It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard

We can stop the torrent of tears.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2003. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

We can stop the torrent of tears.

#Chapelhill is About Peace (and brotherhood movement)= CHAPS

Deah with, from left, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

in a Facebook image.

Let’s all be chaps. I mean friends,not some division of the underpaying, overcharging Ralph Lauren Polo products. First, another prayer (we all pray to the same God ok?) for Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Mr. Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

The real enemies, if anyone at all, are those decimating the earth, getting a major profit from the hard work of underpaid labor in Asia, South America, and, um the USA, not to mention India and the Middle East in Specific.

People of all denominations and spiritual beliefs need to come together to save the earth, demand a living wage, replace the hogs at the top of the status quo, and use democracy (when available) to change the laws to create a system of social safety nets and RESOURCE PRESERVATIION everywhere from the Amazon rain forests to the entire oceans of the world.

Why not take the world’s massive underemployed and unemployed population and have them scoop plastic out of the ocean.

Why not ban plastic, not just plastic bags?  What’s wrong with glass?

The chance now, to not just honor the lives of the victims, but to use this to unite EVERYONE on the planet in a movement to save the planet and create *peace* for everyone not just the gated community people.

For international reader: There is no place better than Chapel Hill to start an NGO, to start an activist movement, to take back the planet for everyone.

Massive changes of laws must occur for this to work out. GATT 2, GATT 1,NAFTA and almost any other free trade agreement is set up to profit from cheap labor.

Labor unions which brought us the best pay and best working conditions and best lives possible, are now powerless as any strike can be met with “ok then we will just move the entire line of manufacturing abroad.”  No More strike ,and no more jobs at all in the USA.

Everyone except the shareho0lder class has been hurt by these pernicious WTO rules which supplant national sovereignty with “all-the-money-to-the-rich” schemes that resemble feudalism.

Fundamentalsim is scary in the Christian world and not exactly helpful anywhere else.  Fundamentalism means “my way or the hiway” or “my way or death to infidels” but that means perpetual war, and the USA has attacked 91 times since World War II, notably in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Serbia, Iraq (1,2,3) Afghanistan, Pakistan, (where next, Ukraine or Korea again?)

As an American I’m willing to give up my time to prove that as human beings we are as nice as anyone else, and that it is our GOVERNMENT that smells out loud.

This is true for everyone I’ve met either on the International Peace Walk in Russia in 1987 and again in the USA in 1989 or in my work in South Korea, or in the 31 other countries I’ve been in.

But this is about the movement, that should be larger than Occupy because the goals are even more radical in the face of this divided world.  DO NOT LET THE BIG WIGS AT THE TOP DIVIDE US ANY LONGER!

It’s our PLANET, God help us make CHAPS a reality.

Genocide, Slavery, Greed

We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,

This is not just  the land of the free.

We witness genocide all over this earth.

What can we do to end greed?

We cry for the land, full of modified crops

We must work to save human life.

What will our grandchildren have to live through

Since our appetite causes such strife?

The oil wars that started a decade ago

Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.

We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,

Even if we are cut at the knees.

We cry for the news they keep off TV,

The grapevine could snap any day.

Disinformation is the age we live in,

So who’s going to show us the way?

The answer is simple, we grow as a team,

A new brotherhood in the light.

We must build the village, invite all your friends,

This is no time to give up the fight!

They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,

Monsanto is spraying the poor.

We must dig our hands into arable land

Or genetics will foul every spore.

Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,

We must reclaim all that we can.

Industrial China, the last frontier,

Soon money will own every man.

The kids on the streets are locked-down together,

Push a bike, and you could get ten years!

All this is forced because we stopped caring,

Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.

We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,

The replacement is for-profit jails.

Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,

Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.

The time is upon us, united as friends

We can make anything grow.

Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,

Tomorrow we get out the vote.

We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed

That persists after thousands of years.

It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard

We can stop the torrent of tears.

Malalai Joya: Afghan Parliamentarian and Karzai target

IMG_1678 Joya pres7                 IMG_1667 Joya pres3

from the JULY 2010 Gwangju News, photos and Story by Doug Stuber http://www.gwangjunewsgic.com/online/about-us-2/

For readers still wondering if Gwangju could possibly be effected by world events, the return of Malalai Joya (a former Gwangju Human Rights Award winner) to this year’s Human Rights Forum, hosted by the 518 Foundation, provided a first-hand account about the chaos and human disaster unfolding in Afghanistan. “Before the US arrived to inflict ‘democracy,’ Afghanistan lived under fear of a brutal Taliban regime.

Now, with democracy there are three human rights offenders:  the US Army, Karzai and his drug lord friends, and the Taliban.  The situation for women is terrible, but the US used the Taliban’s forced wearing of Burqa’s and women’s issues to gain support for a war that has made our situation much worse,” Joya said as she first sat down to lunch at the Kim Dae Jeong Convention Center,  four years after winning the Gwangju Human Rights Award.

Joya, who was a duly elected member of Afghanistan’s Parliament before being expelled, has survived five assassination attempts, the wrath of senior Islamic officials, and is a polarizing figure in Afghanistan, as the seated government of Hamid Karzai have attempted to mute Joya perhaps because she repeatedly points out that the Karzai government was founded on war, and is aiding the United States in continuing a war that has killed thousands of civilians. If antagonism, armed attacks and provocations continue between North and South Korea, there is little doubt that the Unites States would be involved if war ever broke out on this peninsula.

The ROK Armed forces are still under the control of the US Army, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been straightforward in her warnings to North Korean President Kim Jung-Il since the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan in March. The US Navy, in the form of an aircraft carrier and six support ships arrived at the border waters in very short order, providing those who had forgotten,  immediate evidence that a large portion of the US Navy is floating around China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Though seemingly over-worked in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, the US armed forces bear observing in our neighborhood too. While wearing a “U.S. Out of Afghanistan” button, Joya returned to the podium this year full of heart-wrenching stories.

“There is no hope for human rights, womens’ rights or democracy when Afghanistan is occupied by the United States.  After 911 the US has made a war against the people of Afghanistan.  It is a war of propaganda in which a ‘good job’ means a day in which civilians died,” Joya said.  “Foreigners have given the tools of government to famous drug traffickers.  We live in a hell three-quarters infected by fundamentalists.

The government has released from jail key members of the Taliban recently.” Since winning the 2006 Prize, Joya has continually used her knowledge of the May 18th struggle for democracy in Gwangju to motivate those seeking true democracy in Afghanistan. “You motivate me to fight with the same determination and steadfastness against enemies of humanity in my ill-fated country which was demonstrated by the freedom-loving people in Korea and Gwangju.

The cycle of violence is not over under US domination, and cluster bombs and depleted uranium bombs have been used against innocent people.  Widespread abuse and restrictions on freedom continue, where women are attacked with acids if they are seen not fully covered (by Burqas), where laws still suppress women, and a country as the UN put it, becoming a “Narco-State” under the Northern Alliance drug mafia. If Joya’s contention is correct, that Karzai and others in the parliament and cabinet of Afghanistan are, in fact, drug lords, the chances to untangle Afghanistan and make it safe for peaceful freedom-loving families can not be solved militarily.

“Democracy never came by the bomb,” Joya continued from stage.  “The imposed war has been an obstacle to true democratic movements, our education system and the road toward human rights in Afghanistan.” Joya moves from one place to the other at all times these days.  She can use the hated Burqa as a way to stay unknown.  She has a group of supporters and a well-knit movement is building to change the fate of Afghanistan, she said. “The silence of good people is as bad as the bad acting bad.” She implores people to learn more at http://www.malalaijoya.com Here in contemporary Korea, the Lee government wisely downplayed the Cheonan sinking, at great risk to his personal standing as a politician.

This allowed cooler heads to prevail, as the ROK armed forces never overreacted, nor headed calls in the western media for immediate counter attacks.  This greatly reduces the risk of any armed conflict here. Whether in Joya’s Afghanistan or among western English teaches and Koreans, “citizen diplomacy” in which people become friends personally, and a long way away from what their governments are doing, goes a long way to build communities that can work together to solve problems, be they large or small.  Gwangju remains a place that both symbolizes great movements in the past, and welcomes a continually swelling number of students and workers from overseas via the GIC and international events like the World Music Festival coming up August 27-29, and the Gwangju Biennale set for September 3 to November 11th.

Again, to learn more about Afghanistan’s current events than you might got on CNN, Click to:   http://www.malalaijoya.com