It really is...
Demanding "that the billions of unnecessary tax dollars being spent on the military-industrial-media-intelligentsia complex be spent on social services for working, middle class and poor educational, health and local, state and national infra-structural oriented needs" and also the public funding of political candidates, are a couple of really important ideas.
Note that "the annual military budgets with the U.S. far in the lead, actually spending nearly as much as all other countries combined. For 2006 the U.S. military (defense) budget came to $426 billion, including $17.5 billion for nuclear weapons, and this does not count the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."link.
If we just stopped trying to control the whole world, with military bases** we'd save many billions. If we didn't feel we had to spend as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, we'd save many, many billions. If we didn't go of half-cocked into "wars" of choice, such as IRAQ or left when it's clear we're not wanted there, we'd again save many billions (anywhere from scores to many hundreds of billions).
Every citizen could avail themselves of the best education available. Research and Develoment in every field; America could be a much brighter, shining source of advancement and improvement to the human condition while improving the quality of life in America to wonderful new levels. Quality jobs/careers, homes, communities, infrastructure and a citizenry that's educated, well-informed and a society that ensures everyone has access to the American Dream.
Sounds like a Utopia. Well, it may fall short, but seriously, hundreds of Billions of Dollars invested/reinvested in our own people, our own country and intelligently invested to help the other peoples of the world would make great strides towards just such a thing. Alas, the wealthy and their Corporations want it all... Since 1979, the actual "wealth" in the U.S. has doubled; very nearly none of the increase went to the middle class and none of it went to the poor. The wealthy have become supremely wealthy while the lives of their fellow Americans (and the rest of the world) hasn't improved. The wealth needs to be distributed (and if the so-called "free" market fails, as it has, it must be fixed).
How long until everyone wakes up and realizes the possibilities and joins together to take the steps needed to right our nation? Simple understanding that if we really choose to do it, we can do it. A charismatic leader and a means by which he/she could communicate with everyone (since the M$M would either not cover them or seek to destroy them) and some real grass-roots support... A plan would be needed, one that people wouldn't reject (since everyone is taught from childhood how important, even Holy, the "free-market"/Capitalism is). That being an alternative economic theory (something like Participatory Economics) that makes such sense that it could convince people who are resistant to alternatives; one that might be implemented in phases since it would seem risky to do it all at once...
History has seen situations in which when the disparity between the haves and have-nots has become too large and the suffering of the many has become to great, their societies may undergo a violent transition. Any means of redressing the problems we face and avoiding the growing suffering and powerlessness people feel would be very desirable. Our own system, when it's allowed to work properly can be adapted or changed and can address many of the problems we face, but we have to take it back and clean it out for it to work.
We need change.
Following its bombing of Iraq in 1991, the United States wound up with military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Following its bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the United States wound up with military bases in Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia.
Following its bombing of Afghanistan in 2001-2, the United States wound up with military bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Yemen and Djibouti.
by William Blum
(as in a recent post by stillcool47 in "a couple of oldies but goodies...")
Posted by neoblues in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Dec 02nd 2006, 06:07 PM
Of the Trillions of Dollars in growth in the U.S. economy over the last couple of decades? Sorry, none for you... it's reserved exclusively for the wealthy (and the rich will only be getting richer faster in the future).
Rich-poor gap widens
May 2, 2006
Since the election of Ronald Reagan the wealth of the nation has more than doubled. Per capita, Americans are now 70 percent richer than they were in 1979. Where have these several trillion dollars of new affluence gone?
For poor people, the answer is clear: Essentially none of this wealth has come their way. Adjusted for inflation, the tenth percentile of after-tax family income is almost exactly the same today as it was in 1979 - about $13,500 (note this means that 30 million Americans live on even less). For the middle class, the situation is only slightly different. In 1979, the average middle-class family had an after-tax income of $38,000; today that figure is about $43,700, meaning that over the past quarter-century the average American family has seen its income rise by about $200 per year.
For our wealthiest citizens, by contrast, 25 years of Republican rule have made these very much the best of times. During this period, the average after-tax income of the top 1 percent of Americans has risen an astonishing 111.3 percent, from $298,900 to $631,700 per year (again, all these figures are adjusted for inflation).
"The top 1 percent of households have more wealth than the entire bottom 95 percent." (from Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap), and that was figured before the six years of Bush Jr...
Will we ever recognize this as being unacceptable?
Sadly, it inadvertently describes a truth about Bush that extends far beyond just the Afghanistan debacle. Generally, that is to say that everything Bush touches turns to shit. Alas, specifically, Bush has turned or is turning every important aspect of America and drowning it's hopes for the future in a endless ocean of excrement.
The clean up job, even if we get the chance to start within the next few years, will be a challenge equal to any this country has ever faced. I'd single out George W. Bush for the many thanks we owe and will owe him, but alas, there are a great many others who deserve significant credit or perhaps as much or more credit (enter Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, the NeoCons, the Republican Congress, the Republican members of the Supreme Court, those behind Electoral Fraud, and to a lesser but still real degree, all those blackhearted or badly misguided republican voters out there).
Whatever it was about American society that allowed for the creation of the typical Republican, that breakdown in the teaching of morals, ethics and rational/critical thinking (one of the big contributors here is Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity), to the degree we've seen... and also the fact that we allowed families to bequeath their great wealth from generation to generation, thus creating a subset of supremely wealthy, powerful, privileged (spoiled) citizens (an "Aristocracy") who then either created or took over the Republican party (as well as controlling the economy; business/corporations--especially the mega-Media Corporations (which in turn controls much of the social and informational aspects of our country)) are the reasons we're facing the true decline and perhaps fall of "America". Therefore, we have to make it our urgent priority to (a) thoroughly educate our young people (in a secular way with emphasis on liberal and rational/critical thinking and knowledge of sociology/government/civics), (b) restore taxes to a truly fair level (which, to be honest, is much higher than we hold in our public imagination, and is higher even than the level back in 2000! Remember, all wealth flows from America's resources--human and natural, so we should share, and a person can only "have" and "keep" such wealth (or any "property") by virtue of the common government ensuring it via laws and military force--which we all pay for and provide, so again our fair share is much higher), (c) by once again reigning in the power of business/corporations (restoring regulation to protect people from monopolies--especially in the media industry, and from other abuses of both consumers and labor) and (c) by restoring and strengthening our Democratic Republic (particularly separation of powers/Congressional oversight, and the doctrine of separation of Church and State, and others**).
**Other items that need addressing: 1. Campaign Finance (every qualified/capable citizen should be able to participate in our government--not just wealthy, greedy, power-hungry political types), 2. Right to Vote (every American's vote should be sacred enough to make it an enumerated "right" by amending the Constitution--thus making any disenfranchisement or vote fraud very serious crimes), 3. implement a form of "Approval Voting" (makes elections select better candidates under more flexible conditions, would help third parties to elect candidates (and we need more than two opposing parties) and a host of other benefits), 4. eliminate the antiquated, flawed concept of the "electoral college" (which can disenfranchise or overrule everyone's votes and makes some votes more important than other votes based merely on where they are cast; there are other problems as well), and while we're at it, why not (5) develop a secure, modern, internet voting system--at least for providing to the electorate the power to call for and perform an interim "referendum" vote--to override any decision made by our government, or force them to take up any issue we choose, or even to allow for the impeachment of any elected official, depending, of course, upon a call for a referendum to get a minimum number of votes, a period of public education/review, an actual national electronic election, and upon achieving a set percentage (depending upon what's being voted on)(supermajorities required for impeachments, etc)(this final option is simply intended to bring our national governmental processes up to date, the current processes mostly having been designed before the advent of the electric light bulb, radio/telegraphs, planes/automobiles/trains, etc., and really, to empower American Citizens to actually have control over their own government (no more being stuck with a mis-leader like Bush, no more waiting forever for Congress to clean up it's own corrupt problems with campaign finance and lobbyists, and the ability to tell Congress we want "national healthcare" despite what the insurance industry wants)). I know the last one is more than controversial, but think about it--our government is no longer really of, by and for the people, it is, in fact, an oligarchy of individuals who've manipulated our electoral process (via money or even more direct means)--that is, our government "rules" us. In fact, it should simply be there to create the laws we want created and to enforce them while ensuring they agree with our Constitution (and handle defense and foreign policy). They are supposed to "represent" the "will of the people" and work towards the "greater good". Since they do not, are not and will not in many cases; sometimes "we, the people" need the power to say "no" (at least). Anyway, those are, in my opinion, the 'big ones'. Even so, there are many others that are very, very important as well. Given these changes, however, we will be enabled to fix the others later.
If only it was as simple as just writing them down. Writing them down, and maybe... submitting a request for a referendum vote, preparing educational materials and holding public debate (over the new internet terminals provided at no cost to every citizen), having a final national electronic vote and... if the proposal passes, handing it off to Congress or the Executive for implementation. Alas.
A Favorite Technique of the Right-Wing Media! (ie. All Major Media Corporations)
"Fair and Balanced" is a misnomer when there is no valid dichotomy.
It's extremely misleading and frustratingly effective! One wants to ask "Can't Americans see through this?". The answer, at least for a fairly large number is: no. Apparently, they lack "Critical Thinking Skills"†.
For a good discussion of this concept (and many others**), I recommend: "Unfair Fallacy" (related to, but different from the "False Dillema Fallacy"--which is used alot by Republicans (then again, what logical fallacies don't they depend on?)).
**San Jose State University's "Mission Critical", Critical Thinking Web Page.
† Said to be a failure of our educational system; is just as likely due to all the distractions now available for young people--TV/Cable/Satellite/Video-Computer Games/Cellphones/Text-Messaging/Internet-Cyberspace (with MySpace.com††, Facebook.com, etc) and much more.
††Launched in January 2004, it took off like a rocket. In July, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million. So--wherever there exists a new, powerful means by which to distract and brainwash (propagandize/consumerize/manipulate) young people/teens, it appears that 'evil' is not far behind! This should concern us (especially parents).
Available Online Since 5pm Today...
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Posted by neoblues in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Jun 14th 2006, 01:31 AM
in the room.
Old news. Obvious. Bears Repeating.
A 'Humbled' News Media?
By Robert Parry
April 4, 2006
By failing to expand the criticism of Bush beyond success or failure, the mainstream U.S. news media implicitly embraces Bush’s assertion of a special American right to attack wherever and whenever the President says.
It’s still out of bounds to discuss how the Iraq invasion violated the Nuremberg principle against aggressive war and the United Nations Charter, which bars attacking another country except in cases of self-defense or with the approval of the U.N. Security Council.
Indeed, in the mainstream U.S. press, there’s a smirking attitude whenever international law is mentioned, much like the contempt expressed by President Bush in his quip, “International law? I better call my lawyer.”
To one extent or another, nearly all major U.S. news outlets have bought into the imperial neoconservative vision of an all-powerful United States that operates outside of international law. This perspective can be found among the loudmouths at Fox News as well as in the more tempered columns by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times.
So, the debate over the Iraq War’s legality has been limited mostly to the Internet and to the foreign press. Despite growing mainstream U.S. doubts about whether the Iraq War was “worth it,” there are almost no second thoughts about whether it was a war crime.
Yet there is a strong argument that the United States should begin facing up to how Bush’s actions violated the rules laid down by the Nuremberg Tribunals, which held that aggressive war was an offense so severe that it justified execution.
Whether or not we were lied to, whether the war was worth it or not, whether it was mismanaged or poorly planned... are not the real question. Perhaps the false claims in these areas deserve rebuttal, but the heart of the matter isn't even discussed.
If our presence there is the continuation of a crime, and it is, should we stop? Should our policies there change? No easy answers there.
If it was a crime, and no reasonable person can think it wasn't, shouldn't our leaders be tried and punished? Well, they very well might be but for two facts, (a) the U.S. seeks to be above the law and so did not participate in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and (b) the U.S. is the world's "superpower" and not even the ICC would dare try to hold us responsible, regardless of guilt (which is how Blair has avoided prosecution as well, since the U.K. is a signatory)(interestingly, if someone from a non-signatory nation is wanted by the ICC and they travel to a country that is a member, they can be arrested; alas, the court is too afraid to consider the issue so Bush travels freely).
Justice, in this case, is not only blind but afraid.
Posted by neoblues in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Jun 07th 2006, 08:57 AM
The material presented here may take considerable time to review, but it's not only interesting and informative, I believe it's important. I hope you find it to your liking.
Identifying our Real Enemies. We're under attack and the people are divided and fighting amongst themselves, but the most powerful, insidious identifable actors behind the most egregious damage beind done are "Corporation". They're the manifestation and organizational structure used by the corrupt Wealthy in their efforts to not only continue to control our country, but to increase that control to absolute power. In brief, it goes like this Greed->Wealth->Aristocracy->Corruption/Corporations. Profit at any cost...
Since this is a political matter in which those who control the wealth seek to further their domination of everyone and everything else, and although it involves economic forces as well as the unspoken/hidden/denied "class war" (which is really just a "resistance" effort since the our nation was designed to preserve and protect the Wealthy from it's very inception--though it did include a modest improvement in the lives of the common man, it's always been an uphill struggle). Thus this is a political matter (as well as a social and economic one) and thus why it's presented here... The reason is that in order to fight to preserve our lives and futures, we must know and understand that which seeks to undo all the gains in freedom, rights, protections, economic opportunity and political power the middle class has gained this century--and that force is composed of Corporations!
Our enemies are the Corporations**. To understand how that is, as a first step in responding to them, we have to review the rise and evolution of Corporations in America. It's important information and veryone should see it (if only to be well informed). I therefore present, The Corporation.
Starring: Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky ...
Director: Mark Achbar ...
This documentary charts the spectacular rise of corporations as a dramatic, pervasive presence in our lives. Filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott present a timely, entertaining critique of global conglomerates as they chronicle the origins of corporations, as well as their inner workings, controversial impacts and possible futures. The pros and cons are weighed via interviews with social critics such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore.
The Corporation - Part 1 10:00min
The Corporation - Part 2 10:00min
The Corporation - Part 3 10:02min
The Corporation - Part 4 09:57min
The Corporation - Part 5 10:00min
The Corporation - Part 6 08:58min
The Corporation - Part 7 09:59min
The Corporation - Part 8 10:07min
The Corporation - Part 9 09:53min
The Corporation - Part 10 10:07min
The Corporation - Part 11 09:58min
The Corporation - Part 12 09:23min
The Corporation - Part 13 09:58min
The Corporation - Part 14 10:06min
The Corporation - Part 15 09:06min
The Corporation - Part 16 09:54min
The Corporation - Part 17 10:00min
The Corporation - Part 18 09:58min
I would recommend everyone make an attempt to watch all of the associated video clips (tedious as it may be; at least all the links are here in one place). Alternatives include renting/buying the DVD (NetFlix, Amazon, IMDB), performing a bittorrent download (approaching 700MB) or searching for another online source. Good luck!
**Of course "Business" and "Corporations" serve useful and necessary functions, that's not the issue; it's when our providers and employer's begin to take over every aspect of our lives including our government, then we have a problem.
Your post reminds me of the following appropos article
George W. Bush's Disorderly Conduct
By Jane Smiley, HuffingtonPost.com.
May 14, 2006.
This brings us to little George. How do you like this for a description:
• frequent temper tantrums
• excessive arguing with adults
• active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
• deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
• blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
• often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
• frequent anger and resentment
• mean and hateful talking when upset
• seeking revenge
While I am not a personal friend of little George, I do clearly remember the report by Karen Kwiatkowski that he called the Constitution "just a god-damned piece of paper" (active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules) and that Condi Rice once cautioned the former British Ambassador, "Don't make him angry." Every dispatch out of the White House indicates that temper tantrums are frequent, and we all know that blaming others is his calling card. Seeking revenge is his life work. So, what is this? This is "Oppositional Defiant Disorder," seen in lots of children, along with ADD, ADHD, and depression.
If you haven't seen it, the last half the "Disorderly Conduct" article is absolutely a must see! It describes our mentally deranged, vicious, immature little megalomaniac of a "President" remarkably well, and it sort of explains some things...
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