THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW REPUBLICANS…CAN THE GREENS BECOME “THE NEW DEMOCRATS”?

11 09 2016

Today’s date, September 11th, is, to borrow President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words, “a day that will live in infamy.” On this date in 1973, Salvador Allende, the Bernie Sanders of Chile, salvadorallende_251who, unlike Bernie, had succeeded in become his country’s President, was killed in a military coup that had the full backing of the United States and especially our then-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. The Chilean military, with the assistance of the United States, didn’t just take out Allende. They jailed, tortured, and murdered thousands of Chileans, and forced tens of thousands more into exile. The US then used Chile as a base for “Operation Condor,” which orchestrated the murder of thousands of mostly non-violent left-wing activists all over South America, most notoriously in Argentina, where “the dirty war” killed at least thirty thousand people. That’s a US government program, directly approved by Henry Kissinger, that targeted people like me and, probably, people like you. So, when I think about Hillary Clinton, who has repeatedly declared her admiration for Henry Kissinger, being President, when I notice the approbation with which her followers greet any mention of her faults or approval of the Green Party, when I read that a Clinton-supporting PAC has budgeted a million dollars to pay Clinton supporters to harass Sanders supporters and Greens on the internet, I start feeling a little nervous, and since today is the anniversary of the Chilean Bernie Sanders being murdered by Hillary Clinton’s inspiration, this becomes a more emotionally charged anniversary than it would be if a protegée of Henry Kissinger were not so likely to be our next President. Donald Trump is dangerous because he doesn’t really seem to have a plan.

readyforoligarchy

Do not think about a Green Party!

Ms. Clinton, on the other hand, is dangerous because she does seem to have a plan–and it’s not one she’s sharing with the general public. With a horde of pundits and bloggers ready and willing to bend the truth to discredit any criticism of her, not to mention discrediting the critics themselves, I start wondering if we have a “Ministry of Truth” in our future.

 

Oh yeah, it’s also the fifteenth anniversary of the day a bunch of Saudis apparently hijacked several US airliners and flew them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, killing a mere three thousand people. OK, it was three thousand all at once, not one by one, but…. Anyway, because the Saudis did that, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. If that makes sense to you, then you can accept the World Trade Center story exactly as the mainstream media portray it. It doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t accept the story, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. The Allende-Kissinger story is much more apropos. Read the rest of this entry »





AMERICA’S RADIOACTIVE CHICKENS ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST

4 08 2012

If you ask people about a terrorist attack involving two airplanes that killed a large number of civilians, most peoples’ thoughts go immediately to the World Trade Center, when somebody (and just who it was doesn’t matter for the sake of this discussion) dropped the tallest buildings in Manhattan, killing nearly 3,000 people within a few minutes, and causing long-term illness in thousands of others who were exposed  to the cloud of toxic chemicals released or created by the burning and collapse of the buildings.

Few people would think back to August of 1945, when the United States government flew two airplanes into two Japanese cities,  dropped small,  primitive atomic bombs on them, and killed nearly 200,000 civilians, many in the blink of an eye, but many very slowly and painfully from radiation poisoning.   The attacks were totally unnecessary.  Japan had been desperately contacting the U.S and Britain for months, asking for peace, and had consistently been rebuffed.

Leo Szilard, one of the scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb, wrote in 1960

“If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined (it) as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.” Read the rest of this entry »





LOSING INTEREST

10 09 2011

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently lead a three-day prayer marathon, asking for God to make it rain on Texas.  God’s answer?  Tropical Storm Lee skipped the state, and even more wildfires have broken out.  No reports yet of any brimstone, but a volcanic eruption in Texas would put quite a cap on the summer disaster season, wouldn’t it?  Where are all the Evangelicals who have framed other natural disasters as God’s wrathful judgment on the sinners of New Orleans, New York,  or wherever?  If God is all-powerful and on their side, how come he’s burning up the home state of his self-proclaimed most devoted servant?  Do I blaspheme?

Speaking of God’s wrath, today is the tenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.  I’m starting to suspect we will never know the real story of what happened, despite the many obvious contradictions and peculiar decisions contained in the official version.  For instance:  cell phones didn’t work on airplanes in 2001–how was someone allegedly on one of the hijacked flights able to make cell phone calls?  How could an airliner hit a building at ground level (the Pentagon), and disintegrate so thoroughly that virtually no trace of the airliner was left?  How could somebody with virtually no experience flying an airliner do such a good job of flying it so close to the ground?  Why was no attempt made to shoot the plane down before it hit?  And if, as some claim, it was a missile and not an airplane that hit the Pentagon, thus explaining the lack of debris, what happened to the missing airplane?

And that’s just the Pentagon–moving to the main event, in New York, we don’t know how a kerosene (aka jet fuel) fire could get hot enough to melt structural steel–there are videos that seem to show molten metal pouring out of the stricken floors of the World Trade Center, and plenty of eyewitness reports of molten metal in the collapsed ruins.  Why were the remains of the buildings hastily recycled, rather than carefully examined for evidence of why they collapsed?  Why were traces of high explosives found in World Trade Center structure samples that were independently analyzed?  Why did Building 7, which was not hit by an airplane, and contained the security camera records for the towers, collapse and burn hours after the main event?

On the other hand, if it was, as many allege, a controlled demolition, how could the enormous amount of material needed have been spirited into the building and put in place without attracting notice?  Such a task would require so many hands that it is hard to believe that everyone’s lips would remain sealed after ten years.

I haven’t even touched on the larger questions–who knew what, and when.  Perhaps that is why our government took such great care to seal Mr. Bin Laden’s lips and confiscate his records.  We may never know if the attack occurred without the knowledge of our government, or whether it occurred with the collusion or outright participation of our government.  After all, the neoconservative “Project for a New American Century” had, only the year before, proclaimed a need for “a new Pearl Harbor” to galvanize Americans into supporting a war that, they believed, would result in American dominance of the Middle East and its oil.  And Pearl Harbor, let us not forget, was an attack that upper echelons of U.S. intelligence may have known  about, and allowed to happen, in order to…galvanize Americans into supporting a war.  Maybe that’s what happened.  As I said, there’s a lot we just don’t know.

But, in a way, it doesn’t matter whether Dick Cheney was in on the 9-11 plot or not.   It doesn’t even matter that the country, or at least the media, has largely lost interest in these questions. What the attack really succeeded in doing was provoking a massive increase in U.S. government spending–and borrowing.  Our national debt nearly doubled during the Cheney administration, largely due to increased war and “homeland security” spending.  This was all part of a mindset that saw no need to regulate or rein in government spending on big business , or in any way question the basic assumption on which our economy runs:  economic growth is the ultimate good thing.

And that is where this country has run into trouble, because our commitment to unrestrained economic growth at any cost was bound to create a crash, sooner or later, and increased government spending and borrowing–not to mention private sector spending and borrowing, as in the consumer credit boom–just brought the contradictions to a head that much faster.

Here’s the key:  a financial system based on loaning money at interest presumes that the economy can somehow grow indefinitely.  There is no way to pay off an interest-bearing loan other than to somehow create more wealth than the original loan represents.  But oops!  That presumes infinite growth on this small and extremely finite–not to mention fragile–planet.

In the prescient climactic scene from the 1983 Monty Python movie “The Meaning of Life,” the Chairman of the Very Big Corporation of America says

… which brings us once again to the urgent realisation of just how much there is still left to own.

In 1983, it seemed that there was still a lot left to own, but, just a few years later, the field had narrowed considerably.  By the early 90’s, the planet’s material resources were pretty much accounted for or tapped out, and bankers started resorting to what you could call ‘creative financing”–Collateralized Debt Obligations, Collateralized Bond Obligations, and so forth, even a second generation of essentially artificial financial instruments based on CDO’s, etc., which catapulted high finance into a realm of such huge amounts of–ultimately–imaginary money that the only “collateral” for these abstract investment opportunities was more  abstract money, because there just wasn’t enough actual stuff to do the job.  The world of finance had run out of things to own, and yet  banksters made billions in a market that resembled nothing so much as an off-track betting parlor for an imaginary horse race.  They made enough money to buy the U.S. government, with the result that, when their schemes blew up in their faces, they were able to manipulate that government into bailing them out instead of prosecuting them for theft and fraud.

The rest of us are not so well-connected.  Debt also became overwhelming at the family/individual level, resulting in a flood of bankruptcies and foreclosures that has decimated the American middle class and shoved the poor even farther down the storm drain.  Oh, and did I mention that part of the corporate Ponzi scheme involved moving as much manufacturing out of the US as possible, to places where they wouldn’t have to pay their workers as well, or observe expensive environmental safeguards?

Here’s some numbers:   real wages for the average person have declined by about 14% since the early 1970’s, while the cost of living,  as measured by the consumer price index,  has risen by a factor of five.  The cost of living increase is partly due to price increases, but also  involves using television to hypnotize people into believing they need things that they do not, in fact, need, thus inflating demand.

A more concrete example:  the average home price in 1972 was $27.000.  Adjusted for inflation to 2007 prices, that’s about $134,000.  But, in 2007, the average home price in the U.S. was  around $300,000, and the median was in the neighborhood of $250,000.  So, for the average American, income–down 14%,  while the price for keeping a roof over our head is up nearly 100%.  That has opened up a big hole between our expectations and our ability to fulfill them, a hole known as a “debt trap.”  The total amount of individual debt in the U.S. is about 2.4 trillion dollars, about a third of it credit card debt, the rest mostly home and college loans.  In 2009, the average household debt was only about $16K, but the average household debt of households with credit card debt was $54K.  The good news is, both these figures were about half of what they had been a year earlier.

The bad news is that a fair amount of this debt disappeared when banks gave up on collecting it, because the debtors went bankrupt.  Foreclosure, of course, technically transfers the asset to the bank, but unoccupied, unsaleable homes have a funny tendency to lose value rather rapidly.  Too bad for the banks.  My heart bleeds.

The other bad news is that, since our economy is based on credit, the fact that people are borrowing and spending less is ‘bad for the economy.”

But the good news is, our unsustainable, growth-dependent economy needs to wither and die, to keep the planet from withering and dying.  I’m not too hung up in the “either/or” of this, because it looks like the planet is going to wither and die enough to shake the cancer of our civilization, and possibly our entire species.  As one who appreciates what is valuable in humanity–our self-awareness, our ability to understand large concepts, and our ability to be compassionate with each other–I hope it doesn’t come to that.  But unless several million mostly rich, white, mostly Americans ( who are overall somewhat deficient in self-awareness, understanding, and compassion) don’t get a clue pretty quick, it could, indeed, be curtains for us.  These are interesting times, indeed.

music:  Eliza Gilkyson, “2153





BUGSPLAT

12 03 2010

I learned a new word recently, but I kind of wish I hadn’t, because the more I consider its meaning, application, and implications, the sadder and angrier I feel.  It’s a word like “raghead”  “gook,”  “nappy-headed ho,” or the unspeakable n-word.  The word is “bugsplat,” which sounds like it’s just a way to refer to the unfortunate insects who end up pasted to your car’s windshield.  Not very appetizing, but what makes it really revolting for me is the fact that it is a word our government uses to refer to human beings.

Yes, our government refers to some human beings (dark-skinned ones, so far) as “bugsplat.”  How would you like it if the U.S. government’s official term for you was “bugsplat”?  I mean, would it piss you off, or what?  Wouldn’t you feel…dehumanized?

OK, you’re wondering, where did this designation come from,  what does it mean, and why should I care?

Here goes….”bugsplat” began as the name of a computer program the Pentagon has used since the Iraq invasion to calculate the effect bombs will have on their intended targets INC the number of “incidental” civilian deaths. aka “collateral damage,”  that will occur as a result.  For example,the Pentagon estimated that between six and seven hundred civilians would be killed on just the first day of the U.S. bombing campaign against Iraq–about a third of the number of Americans who died in the World Trade Center attack (or demolition). The name of the computer program has become a way to label these civilians–they are just “bugsplat.”  No big deal.

To answer my own question, you wouldn’t feel pissed off or dehumanized or anything if you were bugsplat, because you’d be dead.  But yes, you would have been dehumanized before you were killed, so your murderers wouldn’t need to get their undies in a bunch about offing you.  You were just bugsplat.  “Oops, sorry ’bout that.  Scrape it off the bottom of my shoe…”.

Our government and media have demonized the  “terrorists” who  flew airplanes into the Pentagon (maybe) and World Trade Center–but the government has had no hesitation, and the mainstream media have had no outrage, about U.S. air strikes that, through the years, have been responsible for the deaths of far more innocent civilians  than the September 11 attack.  Who’s the bigger terrorist?

Indeed, the complete illegitimacy of America’s war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan has been largely swept under the rug.  Hey, who wants to admit they’re a war criminal?  War crimes trials are for losers, right?  Besides, Obama and his legal crew know full well that any prosecution of John Yoo or any other high-ranking Bush juntoids will lead straight back to Dimocratic complicity in every criminal decision, and only underline the fact that, in essence, the Obama administration is following the same policies.  So, to” combat terrorism,”  the U.S. will to fight to the last angry Muslim, or the last dollar the Chinese will loan us,which ever comes first, in our attempt to prevail in this struggle against the enemy we have created for ourselves.

Yeah, just wade into a culture that’s big on family ties and avenging the wrongs done to members of your family, start killing people right and left, and wonder why they don’t like you.  Or maybe it’s “act like you wonder why they don’t like you.” Yeah, act innocent, but, not so very deep down, the corporate/military/government complex doesn’t care who or how many end up as “bugsplat.” It’s about the money.

I recently heard Medea Benjamin speak about her experiences in Afghanistan. (on Rose’s edition of this radio show, actually) Ms. Benjamin described meeting with Afghan women and asking them why they thought the U.S. was in their country.  “Because it’s making some people in the U.S. a lot of money” was their basic answer.  Smart enough, eh?

And, let’s face it, what enraged Muslims long before the U.S. invasion was the obvious lack of respect for their culture shown by the multinationals, to whom they were  just another market to be penetrated in the never-ending drive to concentrate the world’s wealth in a few corporate pockets.  When our government talks about “introducing freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” it’s just code for creating a market economy where Exxon, Monsanto,Walmart, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and their ilk are free to operate, an environment in which  “freedom of choice” ain’t about your culture or economic system, it’s about  “Coke or Pepsi?”

To date, the U.S. has spent about $711 billion on the war in Iraq, and about 258 billion on the war in Afghanistan.   That’s about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan, and about $24,000 for every Iraqi.  These people would have been much better off, and much more kindly disposed to us, if we had just given them the money, or at least spent it on projects that benefitted them directly, like reforestation, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, sanitation, and health and education projects (and this is the most important part) driven by local input.

But NOOO….we spent it all on military hardware and private contractors and all kinds of things that make Americans rich, and who cares if we rip off the dark-skinned people–hey, it doesn’t matter, they’re not us…..they’re just “bugsplat” if they get in our way, so get out of our way, ’cause it’s our way or the highway, and we own the highway, so get out of our way there, too….as long as the gasoline lasts.  And when the gas runs dry and the lights flicker out, the remaining relatives of all that “bugsplat” our leaders so arrogantly dismissed will take to the newly level playing field and visit their long-awaited vengeance on whatever Westerners they can get their hands on, and it won’t be pretty….not that it’s pretty now.

“Bugsplat.”  Have mercy on them, Mother, for they are proud, greedy, and willfully ignorant, and they know all too well what they do….and have mercy, too, on those of us who see this but lack wit and wisdom to show them the error of their ways.

Jackson Browne, Soldier of Plenty





TRUTH IN STRANGE PLACES

6 08 2008

This month’s “Truth in Strange Places” award goes to….the Organic Consumers’ Association.

“What!?” you may ask.  “The TISP award usually goes to somebody from the dark side who spills the beans in spite of themselves.  What could a gang of goody-two-shoes like the OCA come up with to put themselves in such company?”

Well, it wasn’t their revelation that supposedly “organic” Chinese ginger is tainted with Aldicarb, a dangerous insecticide.  Hey, I always said “organic food from China” was an oxymoron, not to mention a whopping carbon footprint.

No, it was nothing food-related at all, although I suppose they fit the story in by deciding it was health-related.  I mean, Anthrax is a health issue, right?  It’s a disease, but it’s also a burning political issue, because, as OCA’s story pointed out, it’s looking more and more like the “Anthrax scare” that accompanied the Twin Towers bombing was created by the US government…not to mention the bombing itself. This from the Organic Consumers’ Association, of all people!  Here’s the words that won the award:

the majority of Americans do not believe the “official story” of what happened on 9/11, nor the official story from Bush & Cheney (echoed by McCain in 2001) behind the mysterious anthrax attacks which caused panic among the American public and pushed Congress to pass the fascist Patriot Act a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Isn’t it interesting that two high-ranking Democratic Senators (Daschle & Leahy) who were criticizing the Patriot Act in Congress at the time had deadly anthrax letters mailed to their offices?

OK, so now we know Al Queda or Saddam didn’t send the anthrax, that it was a genetically engineered “weaponized” strain from the US military’s Fort Detrick, MD facility. Who then are the real terrorists who obtained this heavily-guarded anthrax, weaponized it, and then mailed it to two liberal US Senators and Tom Brokaw’s office at NBC? First, the FBI said Army scientist Steven Hatfill did it, now they say, no, Army scientist Bruce Ivins did it, but Ivins then inconveniently (or conveniently) committed suicide. However another scientist who worked with Ivins at Fort Detrick said in today’s New York Times that Ivins couldn’t have weaponized the anthrax strain himself, transforming it into tiny nano-like particles that could be inhaled. Bruce Ivins was an expert on anthrax vaccines, not weaponizing anthrax, a highly specialized and complicated undertaking. As Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC piece on national TV suggested yesterday, this all looks like an “inside job.”

http://digg.com/lbv.php?id=7794188&ord=1

This all brings up other, even more troubling questions. If the Administration lied about the anthrax attacks, and the CIA & FBI helped cover this up, and are continuing to do so, then why should we believe their other rather preposterous stories about 9/11 (no prior warnings to Bush and Cheney, FAA didn’t properly notify the Air Force, no standard Air Force interceptions of hijacked planes, no anti-aircraft batteries guarding the Pentagon, physics-defying molten steel pouring out the side of one of the Twin Towers–aircraft fuel and building materials do not produce a hot enough fire to produce molten steel, molten steel filmed on national TV in sub-basement areas, and magical free falls and near-disintegration of three skyscrapers, one of which, WTC7, was not even hit by a plane)? How does this relate to Bush/Cheney/Congress lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about Iraq links to our former Carter/Reagan/Bush operative in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden? If these are all lies, then why did we attack Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands of people? Why did we pass the Patriot Act? Why are we occupying and making war on Afghanistan and allying ourselves with psychopathic warlords who are just as evil as the Taliban? Unfortunately the corporate mass media are not going to answer these questions. Nor will Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Nor will MoveOn and the other middle of the road liberal and progressive groups who are afraid to look at the evidence and admit the scary truth: Bush and Cheney have created a near-fascist state. The Democrats are too scared or too compromised, or both, to stand up to Bush and Cheney and the rogue Shadow Government that has hijacked our democracy for the last 45 years. But here I’ll say it: America’s wave of terror in September 2001, including the anthrax attacks, was an Inside Job.

For real information, censored by the mass media, and unfortunately ignored by many progressive publications, you can look at well-documented books like The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin, or websites like http://www.911truth.org and 911blogger.org

And of course, now we have the official word from the FBI that Ivins was the sole person responsible for the anthrax attacks, and he has conveniently committed suicide, so I guess we’ll have to take their word for it, huh?

A lone actor.  Just like Sirhan Sirhan.  Just like Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, who managed to slip nuclear secrets out of his heavily-guarded closely-scrutinized lab without the knowledge of his higher-ups.  Yeah, right.  A lone actor, now dead, like Timothy McVeigh, like James Earl Ray, like Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald, like five of the  airmen who were involved in the mysterious, highly unlikely “accidental” transfer of five (or was it six?) armed nuclear weapons from Minot, North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the primary Middle East staging ground.

But the point here is not these incidents themselves.  The point is that the belief that the government is not telling the truth has gone viral.  It is not the property of a few fringe crazies like me.  It is showing up in places you wouldn’t expect, like the Organic Consumers’ Association newsletter, and I think that’s very good news.  Distrust of the government has a life of its own and cannot be censored or brushed aside any more.  Sooner or later, its demands and questions will have to be met.  Sooner.  Not later.

music: James McMurtry, “Cheney’s Toy








%d bloggers like this: