Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 1,946
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 1,946
Your post reminded me of CNN's "is it a good thing, or a bad thing?" I know we're all busy and have limited time to give to any single post, but I'd like to present my take on what is actually happening.
I won't go into everything that would be a factor in the reasons for NSA spying, nor am I informed enough to do so (none of us are, and that's no accident, we're talking about the NSA here).
A few things that occur to me:
Sure, part of this is about terrorism. Part of it. And their definition of terrorism would not be mine, they would include non-violent populist uprisings in their terrorist web, though they would identify and exploit any actual violence that either comes from such uprisings or that are staged and blamed on them.
I would rather include the corporate polluters who spend money to lobby governments for unimpeded extraction and combustion of the greenhouse-gas producing fossil fuels they are profiting from.
In addition to extraction and delivery of these resources, they also spend a lot of money to misinform the public about the coming consequences of their pollution, funding industry-friendly scientists, owning our major media outlets, funding "think-tanks", and working against, not for, zero or low-emission fuel alternatives, all in the name of profit. Those are the real terrorists, and the planet we live on is not a collection of natural resources for extraction, it is an intricate and dynamic system being pushed beyond its limits by fossil fuel profiteers.
Things like the Arab Spring, 9/11, other terrorist attacks, and Occupy have the attention of governments around the world. They can respond in a number of ways to these events. It appears their responses are oriented more towards control of the populace rather than on listening to and responding to citizens' legitimate concerns and demands.
In addition to those kind of events, they are looking ahead to future economic collapse and catastrophic environmental degradation which will result in massive evacuations and migrations.
We need a mobilization against climate change, a massive economic and lifestyle reconfiguration, and we need it yesterday. Instead, we're seeing an intense ramp-up of security and control systems. They seek not to avoid catastrophic climate change, but to create a total-awareness information network that can be used by both states and corporations against those seeking the drastic change needed to avert the unthinkable, and against the radicalized victims of the disasters we are and will increasingly be facing. They seek continuity of governments and corporate structures, and firewalling of the oligarchs from catastrophe and catastrophe's blowback when the populace realizes what they're in store for.
It is clear to me that the emphasis is on control by the elites of the masses, crushing dissent, and managing crises as much as possible rather than on dealing with the actual problems we face. I realize it's not entirely either-or, the newly arising total information awareness systems would not necessarily preclude prevention efforts, but it would take a lot of denial, IMO, to not see where the priorities are, which is on building populace control systems rather than on building an economic system that is compatible with sustaining human life on this planet for anything more than elites living in artificially controlled environments.
I would like to refer readers to this post
How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt by Naomi Klein
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Oct 30, 2013, 03:24 PM (0 replies)
though I agree that the need to strike Syria is just the latest B.S. from the MIC.
I don't believe Kerry or Obama are warmongers.
The more I learn, the more it looks like Zappa's statement quoted in that warmonger video (https://) was right on target. I forget his exact words, basically the political establishment is the entertainment arm of the MIC.
For the most part, power does not change hands in the U.S. with elections. It lurks in the background, making policy decisions, then coming up with evidence to put in front of whoever the current administration is. They have their contingencies drawn prior to the requests for them from the POTUS. They know what the POTUS will ask for because they know the intelligence they have presented to him.
Seymour Hersch used to dive down this rabbit-hole pretty deeply, though his reporting lacked the unified theory to tie it all together (not a reporter's job, really). He goes into some of it in this article
which also includes a link to the full half-hour talk he gave. It feels circuitous and unfocused to me, but he's one of the more credible journalists we've had and he was trying to get us to pay attention. His particular focus at that point in time was on W/Cheney and the secret activities of the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). More on that here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh?printable=true
I think even Hersch would now have to alter his view, he focused too much on what he considered unusually evil men (his words) in W and Cheney. He was no doubt correct about them, but W was little more than a stooge, the jester in Zappa's view. Now we see the same patterns with a new administration, we see the NSA scandals, we know a lot more now.
Power in this country is no longer accountable to the electorate. If that doesn't change, it's game over for any real democracy we hope to have.
Kerry is one of our guys I have always admired, so it saddens me to see him playing this role. I think he mostly believes the story that is presented to him by the people that matter. I'd say the same for Obama, though less so, hard to explain away all of the drones and the right-wing appointments he makes. But this game is much larger than either of them, and we're all in deep trouble without a truly representative government.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Sep 4, 2013, 05:08 AM (0 replies)
in one of those other parties, but I've come to believe that you'll just be abandoning any real chance at bringing that ideology to power. Seems to me that the system is rigged to support 2 parties. Maybe we can change that after getting the corrupting influence of private money out of elections, though I doubt it. So if your conscience needs it, go for it. I don't think it helps. Why not be less principled and more practical by giving the Dem your vote when it appears that it will keep a Republican out of office, but also putting all of your efforts and donations into CCFR (comprehensive campaign finance reform), or kick-starting campaigns for non-corporate Dems?
As for DU, I'd say stay here and stay within the rules, it isn't that hard, and fight the good fight, we need you here, and there are many here who share your views.
As for a name, I actually think that's a great place to put some energy. We need a name for a subgroup of the Democratic Party that doesn't buy the 3rd Way smoke and mirrors. The Tea Party is no parallel since they're corporate puppets, but they did establish themselves as a powerful bloc within the Republican Party that has to be reckoned with. There really needs to be a subgroup of our party that the party leaders will have to fear and respect. An organization and a name would be great. The Progressive Caucus is there, but they're mostly bought, too, and powerless besides. My own rep is in that caucus and he had a lot of corporate money behind him, he isn't a reliable defender of the 99% at all, in fact he and his well-funded campaign got in the way of better candidates in the primary.
Better yet, why not a group that isn't a true party, just a group of ordinary Americans that have awakened to the fact that our reps are working for other bosses, not for us. It could leave left-right issues completely to the domain of the 2 major parties, and promote non-corporate candidates in both of them. I used to kick around a name for such a thing, probably lame, but it was the CoJones Party (yeah that'll sure fly, lol. It was for the popular all-American name Jones, also for cohones, literally a nut-sack with a left nut and a right nut,, would look great on a redneck's trailer hitch for that matter).
We're going to need the support of the most salt-of-the-earth, down-home, intellectually challenged low-information voters to get power back from the corporations, and that isn't likely to happen by pushing a progressive agenda down their throats. I'm pretty sure we can get them to understand that it's the corporations that are screwing them, many of them already know it. Enlist their help, enact the money reforms, and fight left-right battles as two sides of a loyal opposition, as good Americans who happen to differ on social policy.
My 2 cents, thanks for responding, hopefully this discussion continues here and in other threads.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 02:55 AM (0 replies)
I don't buy into false equivalence, there's no Republican I can imagine ever voting for, since I disagree with pretty much everything that party even pretends to stand for.
But yeah, I'm way more down on the elected Dems than you. Obama, with his record and his appointments, is nowhere close to anything I would ever support. Better than McCain? No doubt. But playing the same game, working for the same forces, a Dem like that legitimizes the goals of the uber-rich like no Republican can.
We have to fix the system so actual Democrats can be elected, rather than the oligarchy's "good cops" that call themselves Democrats.
To the extent that we can work within the party to get an actual good Democrat to run in a primary, maybe even to actually win a primary and the general election, that's great and well worth the effort. My own district is absolutely safe blue, so it makes sense to elect someone more progressive than Jared Huffman, our incumbent.
It's also worth the effort, IMO, to show up at election day and reluctantly check the box next to the corporate Dem's name if the race is close enough that it makes any difference. I still do so when I think it might matter. But that doesn't get us anywhere better. At best it just slows down the kleptocracy, though in practice it often hastens it, since a Dem doing the bidding of the powerful can get a lot more done for them using the popular veneer of the Democratic Party to get people to accept otherwise unacceptable policies. And the corporations are well aware of that fact, which is why they support Democrats as well as Republicans.
Most all of effort really needs to go into campaign finance reform, complete public financing of all federal elections, at a minimum. There is also a corporate money problem in state-wide races, not sure if that has to be fought state by state or if a constitutional amendment could also take care of that money. It's an incredibly difficult task but it absolutely has to happen. If you put 70 Dems in the Senate, a Dem House majority and a Dem president, without campaign finance reform, you still won't see government for the people, almost every single one of them is and will be totally owned by big business interests.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 02:23 AM (1 replies)
Some context from this story (hopefully I'm within copyright limits for fair use, tried to clip it to a minimum, these are not complete paragraphs):
...the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.
So, Parry says LBJ wouldn't release the 'X' Envelope "out of a benighted belief that revealing Nixon's actions might somehow not be "good for thee country". That seemed odd to me, didn't pass the smell test. But if this info had its roots in an illegal wiretap of Nixon's campaign by LBJ, it makes a lot more sense.
Major kudos to Parry for this article. The whole thing should be read by anyone wanting to understand our actual history. Both the Nixon and Reagan-Bush administrations came to power by defeating peace efforts / hostage releases at the end of the prior Democratic administration.
History seriously needs to be rewritten, so we can go forward without the blinders and be willing to critically examine all possible explanations of major political events. We pay for this naivety with our freedom, living under illegitimate power. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this kind of thing go down near the end of Obama's term to bring Jeb into power.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 03:32 AM (1 replies)
it's small enough to drown it in a bathtub.
There, I bet that got some people's attention. Apologies for the Grover reference. Even worse, in this context, I actually believe it.
Honestly, U.S. taxpayers, for some reason, are footing the enormous bill (in both blood and treasure) of securing an international resource extraction economy, making sure these resources are sold on the global market rather than used for and controlled by the local residents. We have our meddling little (not so little) fingers in every corner of the planet, influencing other governments' behavior, or even outright installing other countries' governments and training proxy militaries that take over when our troops move on to the next "situation".
Since all of this is done in our names, ultimately as U.S. citizens it puts a price on all of our heads. What goes around comes around.
I see very little defense in our Dept. of Defense. It's pretty much all offense. The bad guys we supposedly need to kill are for the most part just sick of our troops and diplomats treating their countries as our own, which we do to an insane degree.
Respect for the military? Well, for the most part, I don't respect the jobs the military is tasked with. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions, not the main function of our military.
It's very difficult to speak honestly about feelings towards the military. In my case, it's sure to offend many, though it's not my intention. Glorifying military service by extension serves to glorify military activity, and is very actively used for that purpose by a massive corporate media empire that is itself at the heart of the military industrial complex.
Seems to me we need the freedom and the courage to talk about this, as our society has become overtaken by the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.
We need a real jobs program at home, we need the money we spend on the military to retool our economy to avoid catastrophic climate change (also the U.S. military is apparently the single greatest polluter on this planet) and to lift so many of our citizens out of poverty, we need to respect other cultures and other forms of governing and managing resources.
None of this is relevant to the story cited in the OP, which seemed distasteful to me just on a human level. But the OP went on in this direction, asking broader questions about our military mindset, and I think it's a brave and necessary question. K & R.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:36 AM (1 replies)
Yeah lots of reasons people put up with it, no doubt that's one of them. Also, unfortunately, the real push for change won't come until a large portion of our population is in dire straits. Of course by then it will be too late for some things and for some people. No time to lose...
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Sep 9, 2012, 02:22 AM (0 replies)
Apple is used as an example (and they are a perfect example), not as the whole problem, so being hung up on Apple, good or bad, is missing the point.
This long article does a great job of laying out the whole situation. Some of the comments on the Times' site are good too. If anything, I thought the article was too easy on the whole system. Its strength was in painting the picture, its weakness was in interpreting the picture, and there was no attempt to do the analysis of how do we create a better picture in the future. But that's the New York Times for you.
It paints an amazingly dismal reality for the American worker. We're all living it, so no surprise, but it shows that we need radical change, not better management of our current system.
Productivity has never been higher. And, given a company's ability to offshore much of product development and manufacturing, taking advantage of controlled and desperate labor forces overseas, productivity has never been cheaper. Profit margins have probably never been higher. So, the privileged few get richer, the Asians get to live in forced work encampments, and we, if we can get any job that gives us enough money, can buy the products they make. No way is this a workable scenario for the future of this country.
I believe the corporate charter mandates maximizing shareholders' value. There's a real problem with this. What if a company wants to provide good wages, benefits, and good LIVES for their employees, at the expense of huge profits, and makes that their company's priority? They can be sued by their shareholders, that's what. That HAS to be changed.
Apple used the Chinese factory's ability to wake several thousand people in their dorms during the night to immediately begin work on the iPhone glass screens when Steve Jobs decided to wiggle his finger and demand the change in weeks. That's totally sick in so many ways.
Soon they'll just keep large pools of trained workers in suspended animation in tiny hibernation pods, only to be awakened when their services are needed for a job, then back to sleep they go, into a chemically induced comatose state. Worker drones. Count on it, that's where this road leads, and it's evil at its core.
I like the idea of tariffs. I've always liked the idea of a labor exchange rate, too, similar to a currency exchange rate. Or how about using monetary policy to enable us to make $17/day and live well on that amount of money in this country?
Ultimately I think we need to reject this whole business model, and make it either illegal or super expensive to buy products from companies that use it. It's why the trade agreements (supported by most all of our Dems as well as the Republicans) suck, they do nothing to address concerns of the workers, only concerns of the capitalists.
We want lives, not jobs. The two are not mutually exclusive. The story told in the Times' article is the story that results when the capitalists are running the show.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Jan 23, 2012, 06:40 PM (1 replies)
It looks like you just found a few quotes that you could use to support the viewpoint you already held. This is an amazing article, and it says nothing similar to what you are saying. You're so far off I hardly know where to start, or if it's worth my time.
You said "To prosecute this, you have to start here, with the loan / mortgage broker."
There is no support for that in the article, in fact quite the opposite. Black goes to great length to explain just how futile that approach is. And the brokers were not the problem, they were the little guys implementing the fraud desired by their employers.
Black: "Remember I told you there were over a million cases of mortgage fraud a year and that overwhelmingly it’s lenders who foot the fraud, the lie in the liars loan. But the FBI couldn’t and didn’t investigate any of the major lenders. So it is looking at these relatively small folks, and that is what it reports back. The FBI decides you know, as I said, this cannot work. This is like going to a beach in San Diego and throwing handfuls of sand in the Pacific Ocean and wondering when you are going to be able to walk to Hawaii. Every year, with a million plus cases of fraud a year, if you prosecute a thousand of them or two thousand of them or three thousand of them, you are a million cases further behind every year, right. It is just insane. So the FBI says we got to start going after the big guys at which point Bush’s Attorney General Mukasey says no, he refuses to even create a National Task Force against mortgage fraud"
Jim Puplava: "What about the Obama Administration?
William Black: They never did it. They didn’t even back off. They never, you can tell from the numbers that they have, in how many FBI personnel it takes to do a really sophisticated, large institutional investigation. They have never done what would have been considered a real investigation in the Savings and Loan era of any, any of the major fraudulent lenders and investment banks that created the worthless financial derivates—not worthless, but not worth very much—financial derivatives.
Jim Puplava: What about the Obama Administration? Had they came in, they continued with the same policy basically, they ignored it. Where they could have had let us say, an opportunity. Is it because Professor, that the process is you know, some have said that Congress is bought and paid for by the financial industry. I mean, is that part of the reason?
William Black: Well, it’s not just Congress of course. The President has said that he wants to raise a billion dollars in the reelection effort and despite all the press you may have heard about how the White House is despised by finance—in fact, last I read, a bigger percentage and a bigger absolute dollar amount of contributions in this effort, than in the original effort had come from finance. And so both parties are tremendously beholden to finance. That is part of it but again, the Obama Administration was better than the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration was willing to create a task force and it’s the numbers of FBI Agents have been increased, but they are still looking at relatively small cases. And they are nowhere near the numbers required and so unless something dramatic or radical changes, this is going to be the greatest case of elite fraud with impunity in the history of the world. And it is only going to change if we express our outrage as the people and demand that it is changed. Let me tell you how bad it is. The Federal Housing Finance Administration, has just last week, or about ten days ago now, filed fifteen hundred plus pages of complaints against seventeen financial entities. And about ten of them are among the biggest financial entities in the world saying, every investigation has found repeated enormous fraud at these entities. So, and there is a track record, a paper trail of that fraud. But these entities got reports saying these assets were trash and that they lied and then sold the assets to Fannie and Freddie by making acts of deceit, which is of course, the key element of fraud.
So, now that this has happened, there are really only two possibilities. Either the Federal Housing Finance Administration has gotten all those documents wrong, and there is no such record, or there is such a record in which case, where is the Justice Department, why is it not bringing criminal prosecution against most of the largest banks in the world.
Jim Puplava: not one single prosecution was brought in this entire situation, what is probably the largest fraud committed in history. And yet it still goes on Professor, we still have the financial industry contributing large amounts of money to politicians in both parties, both at the national level, the local level, and so basically, what you have is influence buying here. ... I thought my goodness, there was enough evidence to go after but not one thing was done. And even when a lot of these firms went under, as the shareholders lost everything, the taxpayers losing everything, the guys at the top walked away with some of the biggest bonus packages I’ve seen in my investment career.
William Black: ... The firm failed because you followed the fraud recipe that I gave you, which causes catastrophic losses but their CEO’s and other Senior Officers can walk away incredibly rich. ... So again, if people, I do not understand who have never done this, how absolutely critical the criminal referrals are.
The Administration is not necessarily fighting strong for any, the Dodd Frank Bill was not created and designed to deal with the actual causes of the crisis. And so it most likely will not stop the next crisis. But the focus on legislation is a bit misleading. Under the existing laws and regulation, this was an easy crisis to prevent.
Bernanke was reappointed by President Obama. You know, I tried as little, what one little person could, to stop that. We need to have a complete new crew. Geithner needs to go, Attorney General Holder needs to go, and Bernanke needs to go and we need to put people in who will make a high priority ending the ability to loot institutions with impunity.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Jan 2, 2012, 03:29 PM (0 replies)
Panetta is a former Republican who is a "centrist".
His wiki page gives him credit for authoring legislation to create the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and preventing oil drilling off our coast. I remember it differently...
He was my rep in the 80's when I lived in Santa Cruz (which is part of Monterey Bay). There was a huge push to create that sanctuary, as I remember it the driving force was NOAA. There was a series of regional public comment meetings on the proposals for the sanctuary. I went to the one in Santa Cruz, held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.
The presenters gave an overview of the sanctuary, and outlined 3 different choices for sanctuary boundaries. They were mostly about how far from shore the sanctuary would extend, with the two main issues being protecting sensitive habitat and the routes taken by offshore oil tankers. 2 of the 3 routes would have put the sanctuary borders so that they would contain the routes taken by the tankers (spills happen from tankers, they were trying to prevent this from happening). So the tankers would have been pushed further from shore. The 3rd route was placed just inside the tanker routes, so the sanctuary could prevent drilling inside its boundaries but we would receive no further protection from tankers cruising our shores.
There were probably a thousand people in attendance, it was huge, the largest such thing I ever went to. The crowd overwhelmingly supported one of the first two sanctuary boundaries.
Then Panetta's aide (Panetta didn't show up himself) spoke in support of the 3rd choice, where the sanctuary boundaries were drawn just inside the tanker routes to avoid pushing them offshore. He gave no believable explanation for this choice. It was clear they were selling us out, and the aide was literally booed off the stage by an angry crowd, an incredible occurrence that is burned into my brain to this day.
Panetta is also responsible, I think, for the stepped up drone attacks in Pakistan. Those attacks create many more terrorists than they destroy, as many innocent people are wiped from the face of the earth by an unseen attacker from the sky. I can't imagine living in such a circumstance, though I think we'll all experience it someday when armed drones patrol our own skies.
Panetta is no friend of mine, and I have never considered him a Democrat either.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:21 PM (0 replies)