Saturday, November 17, 2012

Corrupt Capitalism. Time to take to the streets

 "While globalism has it's benefits, the flaw is that there is no good governance at that level, meaning that it ends up being a playground of the powerful" David  Creelman,

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” 
― Edward AbbeyThe Journey Home

“Fascism is capitalism plus murder.” 
 Upton Sinclair

The .01% want to run the world and want the 99.99% to either help out or get out of the way. The only roles they see for for the nation state are to release their national assets for private  acquisition  and  to police a labour force offered at the lowest cost to service their needs and fight their wars. Their corporate mandate is solely profits and growth and it is assumed that any benefits to nations and their citizenry will naturally trickle out as corporate needs are met.

By their terms Globalization has been a phenomenal success. It has industrialized the Far East, opened new markets and massively improved their profits by closing up services and production in the West and moving it to areas where labour costs are much lower and social benefits are virtually non existent. It accounts for about 7 million middle class jobs being taken out of Europe and the United States

Capitalism is beginning to come apart at the seams. What is happening in Greece, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere has become intolerable and German/French demands reducing these nations to long term penury can't continue. There is a similar build-up of middle class impoverishment in France and the US while we tolerate the rich hiding their wealth offshore, compounding it with hedge funds and bribing politicians while the young increasingly face a dim future and politicians obey their masters and advocate cost cutting of social benefits, letting the infrastructure and ecology deteriorate and selling off the nation's heritage to carpet baggers as the only solution. As with the Greeks and Spaniards it is time to take to the street and bring to a halt this rape. If only the Greeks do it then the gang in Brussels can cut them off but if this mass movement spreads the oligarchies and bankers will have to capitulate. Democracy started in Greece and maybe they can lead in fixing it.


Globalization and The Divine Right of Kings

I'm getting impatient with economists who always put growth at the top of agenda.  Why don't we have an economy like say, 2004.  People were busy, living well, kids could get jobs.  If that existed only due to great liquidity well, why not recreate that kind of liquidity?  We don't need a bigger economy than 2004, just the same one. (David Creelman - Creelman Research)

My response;
I have to conclude that we are systematically building a human disaster. It makes no sense so why are we doing it? The answer is that a small number of obscenely rich people are benefiting and they have the financial means to corrupt our politicians and courts to do their bidding and control the media to baffle the public. They are seeking a return to the 17th century when the Divine Right of Kings ruled the land. It was a political doctrine of royal and political legitimacy asserting that a monarch was subject to no earthly authority thereby deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God. Like these ancient kings the obscenely rich don't want the nations they live in touch any of their wealth. It has been estimated that this off shore theft amounts to between 21 and 32 trillion dollars; a staggering amount exceeding the GDP of the US and Europe.

In the United States the rationale for this modern day Divine Right has been packaged in a witches brew from the philosophy of Ayn Rand (an ardent atheist, a hack writer of pot boilers, and worshiper of male power) , Milton Friedman (a naive believer in unregulated markets that will eventually work things out for the best) and Religious Fundamentalists (who proclaim the Divine Right of  their leaders).  Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan were Rand's and Friedman's ardent cheerleaders. Financed by their kings (the Koch brothers and others) the Tea Baggers enthusiastically repackaged this rubbish and have led the political charge with leaders like Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, Sharon Angle, and Sarah Palin all professing divine inspiration and a return to a marriage of church and state, long discarded by the Founding Fathers. I suspect the Libertarians and visible spokespersons on Fox News and talk radio don't necessarily buy into all this rubbish and take a deep breath to let it wash over them in order to support their shared neocon agenda of enriching the rich ( and their paid servants) at the expense of the rest of us.

It took revolutions to end the Divine Right of Kings in Europe, Russia, and Iran (and it removed a few heads). With youth unemployment and underemployment in Europe and the United States running as high as 50% , wages and social services collapsing, public anger and demonstrations mounting, there is no end in sight. All of this is happening while the 1% become richer each year, It is only a matter of time before this anger spills over with unpredictable outcomes. The demand for reform has become violent in parts of the Middle East (The Arab Spring) and something like this (hopefully without the religious part) could happen here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Let's Eat Bugs!

Hungry? Lacking protein? Eat an insect, UN says

In 2008 the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization held a conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand to assess the dietary value of insects as food and discuss how to harvest more of them. Scientists from 15 countries probed the role of edible forest insects. They explored insect protein as a contributor to better nutrition, the economics of collecting edible forest insects, methods of harvesting, processing and promoting insect eating with snacks, dishes, condiments -- even recipes.

Animals that eat insects are known as Insectivores. Many humans are Insectivores because insect-eating is common in cultures in parts of the world, such as North, Central and South America; and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Over 1,000 insects are known to be eaten in 80% of the world's nations.

Tasty and nutritious dishes of insects includes crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, various beetle grubs (such as mealworms), the larvae of beetle, various species of caterpillar, flies,wasps,scorpions and tarantulas. Add arachnids that includes shrimps, snails; slugs, lobsters and crabs.

Whether we want to or not we all eat insects. Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables, flour and rice all contain limited quantities of these harmless insects cruelly referred to by Food and Drug Administrators as insect filth. The illustrations below include a  lollipop with ants, a bowl of mealworms, a variety of deep fried assorted insects, and fried insect pupae.

Israel has recently been invaded by a plague of locusts arriving from Egypt. Moshe Basson is the chef of the popular Jerusalem restaurant Eucalyptus. He is also a food historian specializing in Biblical food traditions, and an expert on wild edibles native to the Holy Land.
So naturally, Basson has appeared on TV serving locusts with dipping sauce, according to Haaretz.
Here is another article you may want to read about eating nutritious bugs

Here are some hair raising menus from an annual event at the Waldorf Astoria. It takes courage to try these mouth watering delicacies   

You can eat insects as tasty snacks just as is or consider one of the many mouthwatering recipes;

Here is a challlenging recipe
Grasshopper Goulash
20 GRASSHOPPERS  chopped
2 handfuls of moss
6 owlets eyes
3 cups of chicken blood
2 grass snakes innards
3 cups of maggots

Fry the chopped grasshoppers with the owlets eyes and innards from the snakes. Once well cooked add the chicken  blood.  Simmer for 15 mins. Serve on a bed of pan fried maggots and garnish with the finely chopped moss
This is a friendlier recipe
Grasshopper Gumbo
    Ingredients (6 servings):
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoon minced fresh herbs -- parsley, mint, thyme and/or tarragon.
    12 frozen grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, or other suitably sized Orthoptera, thawed
    1 red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
    1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
Directions: Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a  baking dish. Add the insects, cover, and marinate overnight. When ready to cook, remove the insects from the marinade. Pat them dry, for ease of handling. Assemble each kabob, alternately skewering the insects, tomatoes, and onion wedges to create a visually interesting lineup. Cook the kabobs two or three inches above the fire, turning them every two or three minutes and basting them with additional olive oil as required. The exact cooking time will vary, depending on the kind of grill and types of insects used; however, the kabobs should cook for no longer than 8 or 9 minutes.(from Utterly Outrageous Recipes)

Now Here is A Desert
Fruitcake, Desert
1 cup Cricket or Grasshopper Flour
1/4 cup Cherries, Dried, Chopped
1/4 cup Cranberries, Dried, Chopped
1/4 cup Water
This recipe is very traditional  and does not take into account advances in cooking technology -such as yeast. It is, however, a wonderful nutrition bar packed  with protein, carbohydrates, sugars, and about 2% fat (better than most
granolas). Mix all ingredients together to make a coarse dough. Pull off enough dough to make finger-sized strips and lay
these on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350oF for 20 min or until the outside is deep tan (adjusting for the colour of
the flour) and a toothpick stuck into one comes out clean. Cool and serve as nutrition bars for snacks, hiking, or camping or store for later use.Var. - Add 1/4 c Rolled Oats and a tad more Water to make this more like a granola bar. Var. -
Substitute other Bug Flours for slightly differing taste.  From Edible Insects

Another Idea
My father late in life often placed all his is food in a blender and then drank it as a brown mush.. You may want to consider this if any of these menus displease you.

Why Should We Eat Bugs?
Well they are cheap, plentiful and everywhere. Canada's north for example is filled with them  and after the birds and fish have had their fill there are still billions of them ready to drink your blood and strip the leaves from the trees. Why not eat them instead of poisoning them and thus saving other living creatures at the same time.

They are rich in protein, and we are rapidly depleting our fish supply and polluting and despoiling our land raising cattle. .Prices are soaring and manipulated by speculators thus putting much needed protein out of the reach of billions of people. Insects are plentiful everywhere, an affordable supply that offers local employment to harvest and market. 

Global Warming is rapidly depleting coral reefs around the world. Half the coral cover of Australia's Great Barrier Reef is already gone and we can expect a similar deterioration  in he size and number of fish. We will have to start thinking about eating bugs for our protean.                                  .

Marketing Insect Eating to Westerners

Children under two will eat anything and maybe this is a place to start. Another ready consumer groups are drunken university students and entomologists. The problem is overcoming the prejudice of most others (including I confess the writer of this blog). One marketing approach that sells billions of everything is TV and print advertising about how the rich, young and beautiful celebrities  live. If they are seen happily eating insects we will all soon stampede to follow. They will be paid handsomely to claim they eat bugs and and who is to know whether they do or don't .

Then it will be up to the fast food outlets offering bug topped pizzas, bugburgers, cheese bugburgers topped with onions and lots of catsup and the market will soon take off. Our palates will adjust and bugs will become a normal item on our shopping list.

And with a thousand or more bugs to choose from, both wild and farm raised,  how interesting it will be for chefs, food writers and shoppers ( and possibly for medical specialists).

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Scary Lies and Just Plain Dumb Quotes by Republicans

Some Republican thoughts to ponder. My comments in blue

"We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him," . As the Dallas Sun reported, the crowd responded with a loud cheer. -Hank Williams Jnr    Hmmm!! mentally still an angry irrational child

 But the Lord says, 'Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands." -because God was speaking through him  Rep. Michele Bachmann   I wish I could convince my wife of this

 "I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was." —Mitt Romney Sounds entirely agreeable whatever it was.

"Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas." -Rep. Michelle Bachmann I wonder why the ice caps are melting?

“If we took away the minimum wage-if conceivably it was gone-we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
—Michele Bachmann, Energy and Community Development Committee. January 2005 It's the Chinese solution

“You know what, evolution is a myth….Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” 
—Christine O’Donnell We need to talk to zoo keepers about this.

Christine O'Donnell "It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, YOU ALSO HAVE TO BE ABSTINENT ALONE. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can't masturbate without lust."  She has a point here. Lust is very important. How does she know?

If we took away the minimum wage -- if conceivably it was gone -- we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level." Rep. Michelle Bachmann,  Not very original; this is an old tradition still; practised in most of the world. . The Koch Brothers recommend this for America and are footing most of the Tea Baggers bills so it must be right.

 "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."  Rep. Michelle Bachmann iIf you put a bunch of scientists in a room they will debate everything. But to be serious abut it, did the dinosaurs die off only five thousand years ago because there was no room in Noah's Arc?

"We needed to have the press be our friend ... We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported." Sharron Angle  Most politicians would agree with her

 "This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture....I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist." - Glen Beck  Glen must know a lot about the white culture of his strange friends. Obama is a polite guy but just maybe he doesn't like Glen Beck's friends:

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. ... No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out. Is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, 'Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore,' and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.' And you know, well, I'm not sure." –responding to the question "What would people do for $50 million?", "The Glenn Beck Program, Michael Moore must have said a few things that offended Beck. Obviously he therefore has no right to live.

When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining." –"The Glenn Beck Program," It must have been something he ate

"The only [Katrina victims] we're seeing on television are the scumbags." –"The Glenn Beck Program," Obviously poor and mostly coloured folk who got caught up in the lowlands.

 "Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend".- Mitt Romney If they shower you with millions to do their bidding why not pretend they are citizens and call them your friends.

“American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”
—Christine O’Donnell Obvious that Democrats are doing this to turn them into Tea Baggers

The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they’re Nazis.”
—Glen Urquhart, the Tea Party-backed Republican nominee for the Delaware House seat held by Rep. Mike Castle, April 2010 This proves that Demcrats are Nazis!!

T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand." –Paul Ryan That explains it all - deregulation, bank buubbles; hedge fund scandals and the 1%

Chuck Devore: "We have to prepare for the next enemy. It's not Afghanistan. It's the PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA. Makes sense: Enemies=military spending=wars=profits=flag waving support

Trent Franks on Obama: "He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an ENEMY OF HUMANITY." Of course he is, as are all Democrats. Trent is a Repug Congressman who knows his enemy

Glen Urquhart: "The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph HItler's mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ASK THEM WHY THEY'RE NAZIS." Canada, the UK and European nations and the US Founding Fathers separated Church and State before Hitler was born. Glen is a bit weak on history but most senators are.

Kristi Noem on driving (she has received 30 tickets and multiple arrest warrants for skipping court): "OBVIOUSLY, I'M NOT PROUD OF MY DRIVING RECORD, but I've been working hard to be a better example to young kids and young drivers out there" Nominated the "hottest freshman representative (Repug) obviously with a bit of a character flaw

Lamar Smith Repug congressman: "The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS." Those liberals hate our America and must be stopped. Sounds like a Texan Tea Bagger

Joe Miller on GUNS AT HIS RALLIES: "It's not unusual in political rallies, it's not unusual in parades, to see that type of thing.; He is a Repug from Alaska and there are a lot of bears to shoot up there. A true Tea Bagger he says we should carry a gun everwhere. Unfortunately he lost in the election.

 Rand Paul on health care: "The fundamental reason WHY MEDICARE IS FAILING is WHY THE SOVIET UNION FAILED -- socialism doesn't work And that is why it is failing  in socialist countries like Canada, the UK, Norway, Luxembourg, Singapore and Germany.  Rand Paul is an inspired Libertarian so how can we disagree with his profundity.

The leader of the Mississippi Tea Party is calling on God to save the country from "criminal invaders" following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health care reform law.
Roy Nicholson, chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, posted a statement on the group's website Friday saying that the court's 5-4 decision has "killed" the "constitutional republic" and that a "dictatorial junta" of "criminal invaders" is now controlling the federal government. He fears that a "banana republic" is coming next.Wow!! this is frightening Frankly if the Tea Baggers have their way the US will be well on the way to becoming a banana republic so what's the problem?

  Here is an earlier blog about Scary Bible quotes applied to the law that explains the logic(???!) and self-righteous indignation of so many devout Tea Party members.



Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Can't Take it Anymore - Feb 2015 update

Jan 2015 update. The sweeping victory of Alexis Tsipras's left-wing Syriza party raises hope for a better life in Greece and dashes Merkel's demands for endless austerity.  Read on.

"The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945"
Dmitri  Christoulas
* * *

Our Capitalist Manifesto: Welcome to laissez-faire Global Capitalism!! Anything goes! We the bankers and international oligarchs own the system, enforce the rules, and the public must pay for it.  As personal profit is our sole motive we shelter our wealth off shore to hide it from Nation States, lend without discipline and constraints to create collapsing bubbles, day trade for speculation from tax havens sums that exceed by many times the world's daily GDP , and take ownership of the media and flood the political system with largess to ensure it does our bidding. We grab hold of an ever increasing share of the nation's wealth from a less worthy citizenry and accept that many will provide their inexpensive labour within a modern framework of serfdom.

In the US, Canada, Great Britain and the greater part of Europe the public, largely disillusioned and passive, have retreated from participation in the public debate. Demonstrations are scattered, lacking teeth and soon forgotten. France is currently an exception that raises hope for revolutionary reforms. This hope for change comes from a movement on the Far Left that has become the third force in the election battle. It is a revolutionary call for citizens to take charge to gain their rights and bring an end to laissez-faire capitalism. It's apparent that there is an awakening of a disillusioned public, many of whom in the past have retreated from voting. With more than 15% of the popular vote and not far behind the UMP(conservatives) and PS(Socialists) they have become a deciding factor in who will take power in France. It is also a cry that is reaching the public in Greece, Spain and other countries now facing years of brutal restraints to pay off the bankers who are largely responsible for creating the financial mess they are in.

This movement is being led by a fiery orator,  Jean-Luc Melanchon who is attracting audiences of  70, 000 or more wherever he speaks filling public squares and surrounding streets.  Here is a video of his oration in Toulouse. You don't have be bilingual to gain an impression of his passionate delivery and the audience's enthusiastic response. 

His critics, of which he has many, say that his programs for radical reforms are unaffordable, in conflict with France's trading partners and excessively idealistic.Clearly his critics are right if France decided to go it alone, but I think Melanchon  is reaching out for an international audience to bring about unbearable pressures on laissez-faire capitalism and those fighting to maintain the status quo. 

The months ahead will determine whether this movement burns out from exhaustion or this is the beginning of a constructive and hopefully non-violent revolutionary movemencan't take it anymoret that will spread.

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras
Feb 2015 Update!! On Jan 25th the Greeks finally gave voice to "I can't take it anymore" and elected the left-wing party SYRIZA led by Alexis Tsipras winning a legislative election for the first time ever, securing 149 out of the 300 seats, 2 seats short of an absolute majority. On the other hand, conservative and then-ruling New Democracy lost 53 seats and obtained it's worst result ever in terms of seats won.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pussy Riots and Western Hypocrisy

The Western response to the Pussy Riot conviction is a classic example of a superficially informed  public being easily manipulated to turn these punk women into heroines, to deny the government the right to set standards and laws, and to confirm Putin as a corrupt and much hated despot. The reality is that the US Government and particularly the Neo Cons are using this event to attack Putin and destabilize the government. Putin stands in the way of  US hegemony, NATO's missile shield and their ambitions in the Middle East. He also brought to a halt the rape of Russia during the Yeltsin period (that was ably assisted by Larry Sommers and others from the US). In short, Putin stands in the way of US intentions to dominate on the world stage.

The acts of this group in a public museum, a supermarket and then in a cathedral would be a criminal offense and punishable in any Western country. A conviction and some time served, long enough to discourage this kind of public behaviour seems reasonable. A year sounds like a sufficient deterrent and my guess is that when the dust settles, good behaviour, public pressure and the fact that one of them is a mom will see them released in that time frame.  Public standards are at stake here and the choice is whether any society has the obligation to draw a line somewhere or whether young punks can do as they please without punishment. The calls for leniency from leaders in the West is shear hypocrisy. Does anyone seriously believe that the invasion of a church, mosque or synagogue by punks uttering insults and obscenities and similar invasions of public space such as supermarkets and Moscow's Biological Museum to stage, video tape and photographing a group of about 20 participation in sexual intercourse would go unpunished in the United States and Western Europe?

They no doubt have a just cause in objecting to corruption in the Kremlin but they should surely accept that these public acts will result in arrest, punishment, public shock and outrage. An arrest ensures publicity and that is why they accept punishment.

Aside from their acts in the Cathedral here are some of the facts about these "nice girls" who are simply expressing their right to free speech.

1. Pussy Riot is not a "band" as Western media call it. It is an extremist group. They have held no concerts or recordings, they have never written a song. But yes, beginning in November 2011 they are planning to include some "music" in their defacing and attacks, so thus they are called a "band".

"Pussy Riot" is an outgrowth from the organization "Voina", which means War in Russian. They have open connections and financial assistance from the U.S. government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy.

2. They openly admit that their acts are criminal. For example, aside from the "Holy shit, Holy shit" masked shouting in the church, Voina/Pussy Riot have also attacked "capitalist" McDonald's staff by throwing live cats at them, overturned police cars, once with a police officer inside, stolen a frozen chicken in a supermarket and inserted it in the vagina of one of the group's members, fire-bombed property with petrol bombs, staged and filmed full penetration sex acts in Moscow's Biological museum. Here is a video in French that includes a moderator's expression of disgust and presents clips from their acts. that shows their disgusting acts. One has to ask why during their tour in America interviewers like Colbert, Leno and others are treating them like sweet young girls. As for Google it presents an overwhelming avoidance of the facts. 
[link to] Such nice innocent girls.

And their big supporter who was recently arrested at one of their demonstrations is Gary Kasparov, the world renowned retired chess player who holds both American and Russian citizenship. In Russia his popular support is about 6%, about the same as the Pussy Riot.

In the real world, Kasparov is a clear de facto puppet of Western opposition to Putin. Back in 1991, he was awarded the “Keeper of the Flame” by the Century for Security Policy (an organization founded by Frank Gaffney Jr. of the Project for a New American Century), typically reserved for American neocon defense policy wonks, including Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, Gingrich and Caspar Weinberger. Kasparov is allegedly still connected with the organization. Also read Washington’s “Fifth Column” in Russia. 

Kasparov was recently an invitee to the secret Bilderberg meeting on June 12th in Virginia. The Bilderberg  Group meet once a year, in North American or European location, and attendance is limited to about 120 to 140 business and financial leaders from the world's largest corporations and leading politicians from Europe and America.  They discuss shared international concerns and set a foundation for future collaborations on objectives. Clinton, Merkle and Obama have attended past meetings.

  I'm sure the Pussy Riot are thrilled to have all this international support. Do they really know that they have  well organized extreme right wing elements in the US behind much of this publicity with the clear intention to topple Putin  and replace him with a leader more like Yeltsin who will accept US leadership and business as usual? 

In the meantime being a Pussy Riot is spreading worldwide. Here is one young women's comments.
“Initially there was desire, a very strong desire to become part of Pussy Riot. That was some sort of dream of mine. I didn’t even know how real it could be, how I could join those awesome girls and be close to them, then it all somehow happened. … It was so cool. It is just happiness. For me, it is just one big chunk of happiness to be a Pussy Riot girl.” 

Maybe a meeting for this profound girl could be arranged with Dick Cheney, Woolfowitz, Richard Perle or Hillary to discuss their shared dreams for Russia.

Postscript from Counter Punch: The Secret History of Pussy Riot 


Thursday, August 09, 2012

We are Being Raped and Like Sheep Passively Accept Our Fate and Follow the Herd

James Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey and an expert on tax havens estimates that as much as 32 trillion euros worldwide is held by a handful of dictators and  billionaires (a staggering sum roughly equal to the combined National Debt of the USA and the European Union) and this statistic doesn't include their non financial assets like mansions, yachts, private jets and art. 
 The reality is that .001% of the worlds' population are systematically skimming off the wealth of ordinary citizens.  Take the time to listen to this interview with James Henry wherein he describes the collusion between the extremely wealthy, bankers, lawyers, lobbyists and greased politicians to facilitate this massive ongoing theft.

By what logic can we justify this grotesque transfer of wealth that if repatriated and taxed would go a long way to resolving the crisis with the Euro and eliminating any justification for dismantling social spending? Why are we sidestepping this fundamental issue? HSBC, Goldman Saks, JP Morgan, Barclay's, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse have been the dominate players in facilitating money laundering  and setting up offshore accounts. Contrary to the public's general understanding, the small offshore banks are mainly conduit for sums eventually ending up on Wall Street, Swiss banks and The City in London. Each of these centres do not report to tax authorities the money deposited by foreigners and there is a long history of benefiting from the illegally gained and laundered wealth of the dictators, drug dealers, tax avoiding corporations and oligarchs they do business with. It is referred to as Hot Money.  Their political donations, investment in lawyers and extensive lobbying renders them untouchable. And compounding this injustice the banking system demands indebted nations to accept high interest loans, years of austerity and the selling off of public assets to reduce it's debts while at the same time assisting their wealthiest citizens to the avoid taxation that would alleviate many of the problems. A disgusting two-faced banking logic earning money from indebted nations while earning more by helping its richest citizens to hide their wealth and thereby avoiding their rightful taxation contribution.  Facilitating the rape of a nation's wealth is clearly a corruption of the banking system but lawyers and politicians keep them out of jail.

  And this wealthy group never has enough and with the support of  their corrupted politicians advocates the dismantling of government programs such as social security and Medicare, privatizing public utilities, eliminating unions, further deregulation and promoting the denial of man made global warming as a means for their further enrichment without government interference. They must have more. There is no end to their gluttonous demands. They have become the untouchables ably supported by their bankers and richly rewarded politicians.

Their credo is don't tax us, don't regulate us and some of it will trickle down. Their justification is the Laffer Curve as it is applied to the highest incomes. It is much loved by the Tea baggers, Libertarians and their devoted followers, but not by any serious economist. The curve states the obvious. At the low end of the curve the government role is minimized with insufficient tax revenues to support social programs and public investments, and oligarchs and banks and businesses have all of it to invest;  at the highest end of the curve heavy taxation keeps most money in the hands of governments who conservatives believe will only waste it and not enough is left for business investments. The conservative assumption is that if the government can't get their hands on revenues the economy will thrive from private investments. Well Globalization, off-shoring wealth in tax havens and the casino effect of hedge funds have changed all these assumptions and recent studies overwhelmingly show that wealth has poured up to the untaxed rich instead of trickling down with the income gains of the wealthiest at the expense of the public. For example in 1978, CEOs in the US took home 26.5 times more than the average worker. They now make on the average roughly 206 times more than workers and the pay isn’t always tied to the performance of their businesses. Commonly huge CEO pay increases often occur when stocks are plunging and jobs are cut.

The reality in this nightmare is that the wealth of the untaxed rich (better known as Hot Money) mainly ends up in offshore accounts where aside from self indulgences is mostly directed to investments in speculative Hedge Funds and foreign investments. Casino like electronic day trading and the marketing of complex and often fraudulent financial products with this Hot Money simply compounds this theft. What we have here is a greed driven human chain without principles and with no purpose other than 'having more' with oligarchs, bankers, traders, media hacks and hangers on  all chasing money. With the immense wealth created within this system they buy their politicians to do their bidding and the nation-state can no longer represent the needs of it's citizens.This is a power grab by people without a vision other than personal gain. I don't think they even know where they want to take us and where it will end. 

The public is easily led, confused by the complexity of what is happening and their attention easily diverted by divisive media created issues to influence opinion. There is no limit to the lies, distortions, flag waving and inflaming imagery the rich will invest in publicizing to deflect the public's attention from their massive theft and their determination  to place nation-states under their control. The politicians who mouth this filth are their paid prostitutes. Clearly democracy is in conflict with their greed driven goals and must be converted to bread and circuses to entertain and manipulate the masses. Simply the music of the pied piper leading the many to the slaughter.We are sheep and our pastures are drying up.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Ayn Rand and the worship of selfishness

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

 The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.

 To reduce you to a body, to teach you an animal's pleasure, to see you need it, to see you asking me for it, to see your wonderful spirit dependent on the upon the obscenity of your need. To watch you as you are, as you face the world with your clean, proud strength - then to see you, in my bed, submitting to any infamous whim I may devise, to any act which I'll preform for the sole purpose of watching your dishonor and to which you'll submit for the sake of an unspeakable sensation ...I want you - and may I be damned for it!

If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

The word "Freedom" has now taken on a narrow meaning within the mainstream of American opinion: "What I personally want I must have" It's the concept that has always been used by small children, thieves, dictators and ancient kings. It's the chant of infants " Gimme; it's mine and you can't have any."

Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged" popularized Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: advocating rational selfishness and free markets(unregulated). I like Paul Krugman's view of this philosophy: "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." 

Reagan, Greenspan and Milton Friedman became great fans of Rand and her thoughts  have popularized the Libertarian movement and heavily influenced Paul Ryan and the Tea Party, The Supreme Court and right wing extremists. Rand's early years were spent in Stalinist Russia  and this clearly influenced her hatred of Governments and her obsessive faith in the good will of rich and powerful men acting in a free and unregulated economic system. She claimed that in such a privatized system there never would be a need for regulations and social legislation because the economic system would work so well. She died in 1982 before events proved how utterly wrong she was about human nature. I wonder whether this rigid ideologue might have changed her views if she had lived to observe the rape of Russia under Yeltsin, the greed driven destructive behaviour of Wall Street and British bankers that came close to destroying the economies of the West, the alarming rise in unemployment in a deregulated laissez-fare market and the obsessive greed of an oligarchy intent on keeping it all.

 Mike Wallace interviewed her in 1959 and taking the time to listen to some of these You Tube tapes will give you an idea of what an ideologically narrow and naive woman she was.  A rigid ideologist, just like the communists she detested, she was determined to fit all human affairs into a simplistic model. Her model simply rejected government and replaced it with a blind faith in the leaders of laisez-faire capitalism.

Her influence still dominates the thinking within Wall Street, the Republican Party and the Supreme Court.
No doubt her philosophy has provided a justification for the selfish values of wealthy men like the Koch Brothers and many others like him; gave birth to the Tea Party and popularized and strengthened the Libertarian movement. She was a pro-choice atheist, and viewed all religions and beliefs in the supernatural as barriers to reason so I am sure she would have been puzzled by the Tea Baggers (and most mainstream Republicans) who have blended her "Objectivism" in with a curious reinvention of evangelical Christianity, a contempt for intellectuals, blacks, the poor and foreigners, and a love for the military.

Rand's beliefs continue to dominate Republican political thinking in America despite the alarming wealth gap widening between the 1% and the rest of America. Freedom is now all about me. Rand vigorously rejected any form of social conscience and the Social Contract as influenced by John Locke in the Declaration of Independence and refined by the eminent American philosopher John Rawls as purely signs of human weakness. 

It is hard to conceive of a functioning democracy based on a philosophy of selfishness and laissez faire capitalism run by an oligarchy of wealth, free from any restraints. As described in Ayn Rand's writings it advocates a rejection of the social reforms of the 20th century and reduces the role of the nations state to that of a modern Sparta. Not a promising outlook.