AMERICA NEEDS A MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY

Occupy Deathstar

TO ANYONE WITH EARS TO HEAR AND EYES TO SEE, THE 2016 PSEUDO-ELECTION DEMONSTRATED THAT FOR OUR REPUBLIC TO REMAIN FREE AND A DEMOCRACY, WE NEED MORE THAN TWO PARTIES TO CHOOSE FROM IN ELECTIONS.

 

In the 2016 Democratic Party primaries, the level of vote-rigging, voter fraud and general hacking of machines and votes reached an unprecedented level that would have put even Boss Tweed to shame. It was not the Russians, as the CIA and the Corporate Media would have you believe who did it–it was the corrupt Neo-Liberals of the DNC who were guilty.

There were numerous online bloggers and a few remaining honest journalists present to document that fact, if one were willing to hunt these sources down online. Of course, if your source of news is the Corporate Media–the so-called Mainstream Media–you would have heard or seen none of this primary fraud. Thanks to Bill Clinton’s “reform” of the laws governing media ownership in the ’90’s, the United States went from about fifty different news and media sources down to five. The information highway, so-called, is controlled by a handful of Corporate conglomerates, who in turn have the fingers in the military-industrial government pie.

Stuffing-The-Ballot-Box

Case in point: the Washington Post, currently being lionized in the movies for releasing the Pentagon Papers in the 70’s, (which exposed the lies, collusion and fraud which the Pentagon and CIA engaged in to gin up the Vietnam War), was bought by Jeff Bezos with money obtained from a lucrative contract with the CIA. The WaPo then proceeded to shill for Hill and when Bernie Sanders became a serious threat to her coronation, began churning out attack pieces on Sanders, propaganda disguised as news, at a furious pace. In one day alone they vomited 18 attacks. Hillary, Wall Street’s choice for Democratic Party candidate, had the money, the power and the media behind her, as well as the CIA pulling propaganda strings behind the scenes. Yet still she lost to what is generally agreed as the worst POTUS in US history (sorry Millard Fillmore & James Buchanan you were bad, just not this awful). With the WaPo in the back pocket of the CIA, don’t look for it to ever do an expose such as they did with Watergate and the Pentagon Papers in the ’70’s.

trump_wedding_clintons 2006

As the DNC and Podesta emails proved beyond a reasonable doubt, not only was the Democratic primary rigged in advance, the Clinton machine–with Mainstream Media collusion–actually promoted the Trump candidacy in the GOP primaries. They called it “the Pied Piper” strategy: engineer the worst possible candidate into the role of GOP presidential candidate and the voters of the United States will be forced to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

Kevin & Bill sexperts in league together
Pervs of a feather fly the Lolita Express together to Jeff Epstein’s Under-Age Fantasy Island. The one with the hidden video cameras to use to blackmail the rich and famous later.

Despite many non Clinton dems urging for HER to go out and campaign in the contested states, Hillary and her acolytes were so sure she would win by a landslide they not only did not actively campaign in the field where it was most needed, they went out of their way to insult and degrade the Sanders wing of the party, which arguably was more than 50% of Democratic Party stalwarts. Well, as we know too well, the American electorate, given the choice of two evils, chose what they perceived was the lesser evil–Trump!

 

Bill Clinton & Harvey Weinstein
Two sexual predators compare notes and gloats.

I would like to gloat over the monstrous hubris of the Clintonites, but unfortunately the entire country–the entire world–is having to suffer the consequences. The Clintons, with their billions of graft and “donations” extorted from third world strongmen and dictators (including Vladimir Putin), can sit back and roll in their ill gotten money; most Americans however will suffer from the dangerous incompetency, the meanness and arrogance of Bill Clinton’s golfing buddy and fellow sex perv, Donald, “grab pussy” Trump.

Thomas Nast dead elephant and Donkey over cliff

There are many causes of how the American political system became so dysfunctional and in future articles I will delve into some aspects of the decline of Democracy and death spiral our Republic seems to be in. But for the present, let me just state the obvious: had the American public been presented with viable alternatives to the Hillary-Trump axis–or Wall Street Blue vs Wall Street Red as one pundit framed it–we would certainly be far better off for the next four to eight years.

Clowns to the left Jokers to the right

Third parties have arisen, but generally they have never attempted to build a party infrastructure county by county that can deliver votes in congressional elections. Once every four years for a charismatic candidate is not enough to turn the Republic’s death spiral around.

What America needs to restore democracy is not three, but at least four and perhaps even six legitimate parties, each of which would appeal to a broad swath of the American electorate. Most issues today are framed in a left vs right duopoly, as if there were no middle ground between either camp.

How many right to life advocates would argue that, if a woman’s life were in immanent danger due to a pregnancy, that she should be made to die rather than to save her life? Conversely, it is estimated that as many as 80% of all gun owners are for reasonable restrictions to keep guns out of the mentally ill, career criminals and terrorists. What they are not for is to have their constitutional rights taken away.

Most Americans, no matter what their declared party affiliation is, often take a variety of stands on a variety of issues: yet the two oligarchic parties restrict our choice to Column A and Column B. Bernie Sanders, a self avowed Socialist, was able to work with Ron Paul, a Libertarian, to force the Federal Reserve to do an audit of its holdings, revealing millions of dollars unaccounted for. That is an example of how independent politicians with different political philosophies can work together for the common good.

Ron & Bernie the political Odd Couple
politics makes for strange bedfellow, but at least they’re not underage.

It may be hard to fathom today, but the Republican Party started as a party whose rank and file were composed of Socialists of one ilk or another. Karl & Abe Book

The Republicans of the 1850’s and 1860’s not only abolished slavery, but redistributed millions of acres of land to the landless, set up a system of FREE higher education, had government intervene in building a transcontinental transportation system (a socialistic program if ever there was one) and many other reforms we now take for granted and don’t even recognize their socialistic origins.

 

 

The Democratic Party used to be the party of the working man and woman and under FDR and the New Deal, farmers, laborers and common folk in all parts of the country looked to the party of Jefferson and Jackson to defend their rights and expand democracy.

Since the mid-eighties, however, that party has been taken over by plutocrats disguised as liberals–the so-called Neo-Liberals–who are definitely NOT Liberals but who are basically Wall Street operatives in sheep’s clothing. More and more, Neo-Liberals’ main goal is to maintain control of the party–and the flood of money coming in from lobbyists and special interests–and less and less with actually winning elections. After all, their logic goes, who are union workers and minorities going to vote for–the Republicans?  With at least 40% of the electorate now identifying themselves as independent, clearly the answer is: NONE OF THE ABOVE

Bernie resistance.

We desperately need more than these two old and corrupt parties to choose from.  If comic book heroes can dwell in a multiverse, so too can the American voter. The electorate can handle more than two choices for not just the Presidency, but the House and Senate and, especially, for state and local offices. The Duopoly–that cabal of rich plutocrats who pretend to be for democracy but who really wish to keep American voters in the thrall of Wall Street–don’t want to give the voters a real choice at the polls. To be sure, those Americans who remain brainwashed by the Left-Right delusion, may think they are voting “Conservative” or “Liberal” when they go to the polls, but how often do they find that what they thought they were voting for never comes to pass?

Reality Pill
THE WORLD THAT HAS BEEN PULLED OVER YOUR EYES TO BLIND YOU FROM THE TRUTH

Wall Street Red and Wall Street Blue will continue to function for a long time to come, but many of the people now part of either party are not happy with their masters and if they were presented with viable alternatives, gladly bolt the failed duopoly that serves neither their needs nor their values.

In future articles I will go into detail as to what these parties should look like. Bear in mind, I do not necessarily subscribe to the values of such parties; but there are large numbers of Americans who would and whose voices would be best heard outside of the stifling political strait-jacket that now exists of Democratic v. Republican tickets. In a true democracy we do not always get what we want; but we are given clear and honest alternatives to choose from.

Delacroix Liberty at the Barricades
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?

In the past, America has had other parties than the Democrats and the Republicans and in some cases we had a genuine multi-party Presidential election. The one time we had a four-way Presidential election, the choice of the voting was arguably one of the country’s greatest Presidents: Abraham Lincoln.  We need more politicians like him today–and a multi-party system is the way to do it.

 

Theodore-Roosevelt

 

 In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt left the corruption of the Republican Party to form the Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party, the best expressions of the Progressive political movement in the 20th century. He beat the GOP candidate in the popular vote, but lost to Woodrow Wilson, a virulently racist Democrat, who pretended to be Progressive but was anything but, and who later dragged America into a war to defend Wall Street & London Bankers’ financial investments.

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Is CBS in Trouble For Savaging Star Trek AXANAR? If So MOONVES Is To BLAME

Star_Trek_Discovery_logo.svg

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” General Obi-Wan Kenobi, (Ret.)

For many devoted fans of Star Trek (not Star Wars) something terrible HAS happened.  Since upstart Producer Alec Peters surrendered to the Klingon Empiresorry, I mean CBS–there has been a disturbance in the fan film Force that continues to reverberate. Peters, of course, had little choice, given that CBS’s deep corporate pockets had the ability to pursue the lawsuit to infinity–and beyond–regardless of its merits.  This is how big business crushes opposition, real or imagined, and Alec Peters little project was obviously viewed as a threat, ostensibly because it was, “too good.”

 

330px-Les_Moonves_at_the_2009_Tribeca_Film_Festival via wkikipedia
Chairman and CEO of CBS. Les Moonves has taken a direct hand in the upcoming Star Trek Discovery TV series.

 

So, for now, CBS President, CEO and God-Emperor Les Moonves is triumphant and the imagined threat to CBS has been crushed like a bug.  More ominously, CBS and Moonves have established a strong precedent that can be used as a legal club to crush any and all fan films that dare aspire to do anything of quality based on the Sci-Fi world created by the late Gene Roddenberry.

For now, then, Les Moonves is reveling in his role as Ming the Merciless of the Star Trek TV franchise universe (Paramount has the movie half of that universe, but more of that another time).  CEO Moonves now, seemingly, wields absolute power over Star Trek fans and their puny earthling attempts at emulating their mentor and founder Roddenberry. But let me suggest that this triumph is illusory and that what Moonves and his army of corporate lawyers and television hacks have done is sown the wind of discord which may yet net them a whirlwind of fan animosity and financial disaster for CBS. If that does indeed come to pass, the blame should be lain squarely at the feet of the Media Mogul/Emperor Palpatine himself.

This is not the first time that Moonves has come down like a ton of bricks on someone whom he deemed to have defied his Imperial dignity.  In 2006, Moonves ordered his minions at CBS to file a $500 million lawsuit against shock jock Howard Stern for breach of contract.  Stern had been negotiating a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio and failed to properly notify his lord and master, or so CBS claimed.  Unlike Peters, however, Stern was not one to be bullied so easily.  Stern lawyered up and went on the offensive, even to the point of going on CBS’s own Late Show with David Letterman, where he wore a shirt mocking Moonves.  Eventually, the two parties settled: Howard and Sirius obtained exclusive rights to over twenty years of Stern’s radio shows, while CBS was paid $2 million for the tapes, a far cry from the $500 they initially asked for.  All in all, Stern emerged smelling like roses and CBS, well, CBS could hardly have claimed victory, given the circumstances.

Significantly, back in 2006, Stern claimed that Moonves shies away from standing up for CBS’s own corporate interests, but instead, said Stern, “I’ll tell you who Les Moonves sues and goes after: talent!  Because he thinks we’re easy targets.” Dan Rather has also had some choice things to say about Moonves and his corporate leadership as well.

Presumably, Moonves and CBS going postal over Scot Peters’ Star Trek Axanar project was due to their concerns over the new Star Trek Discovery series set to premiere on CBS’s new pay to play service.  It does not say good things about the new TV show that a major television network views a fan film as a potential threat to their professional production.  But, then, judging from the rumors emanating from the Discovery set, and fans criticisms of what CBS has released about it so far, maybe Moonves and CBS are right to be afraid.

Initially, the untold legions of Star Trek fans were overjoyed at the announcement that CBS would be coming out with a new iteration of the venerable Star Trek franchise.  Better still, they were told, this new series would be set in the original time-line, nowadays referred to as the TOS Universe, the one which the original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager (and Enterprise) were all set, not the newer “Kelvin Time-Line” universe of the Paramount movies produced by J. J. Abrams.  While the two initial offerings of Abrams’ re-imagining of the Star Trek movie franchise were well received, the latest offering, Star Trek Beyond, only managed to squeak out a profit through its sales overseas; domestic sales of this big-budget film were less than expected.

Bit by bit, however, the enthusiasm over Star Trek Discovery has waned the more fans learn about the new series. Some critics have said that if CBS really believed in the show, they would put it on the network in prime time instead of relegating it to their “all access” (sic) streaming service that will cost fans money to see. The first view of the new starship Discovery, was first unveiled at the 2016 COMICON fan convention to much hype.  But fans were less than pleased with the look of the new ship and, for a ship supposedly set in a period ten years before the time of the original Captain Kirk Star Trek show, it seemed oddly anachronistic, not to say even garish. The pilot episode was originally scheduled to premiere in January of 2017, but since the initial announcement date at COMICON, the start date keeps getting pushed back farther and farther, supposedly in order to ‘get it right.’

 

Bryan_Fuller Discovery initial producer via Wikipedia
Bryan Fuller was the initial Showrunner for Star Trek Discovery, but parted ways with CBS and Moonves over creative differences.

 

More seriously, hints of creative differences between the show’s initial producer, Bryan Fuller, and CBS Chairman/CEO Moonves started to surface.  Fuller was the ideal choice to produce the show: he was a dyed in the wool “Trekkie,” who started out as a writer on Deep Space 9, and since has gone on to produce a number of successful television shows. Fuller has publicly made it known since 2009 that he would love to produce another Star Trek show and on one occasion said he would “drop everything” to produce a Trek TV show.  But, after taking the helm as Show-Runner, in October of 2016 he abruptly stepped down from his pet project. CBS, in its official press release, claimed Fuller was too busy with “other projects” to oversee Discovery, but said he would stay on as Executive Producer; later statements by Fuller himself made it clear he was completely out of the picture with regard Discovery.

Rumors from insiders continue to seep out from the set of Star Trek Discovery, and none of it sounds good.  To start with, Moonves was the one who decided to put the show on All Access instead of on the prime time network, hoping to thereby force fans to pay cash to see their favorite show and thereby bail out CBS’s failing streaming service.  In truth, Netflix has paid most of the money to produce the show, in return for exclusive rights to overseas distribution.  Despite this, Bryan Fuller would have been well able to produce a show that met fans high expectations, until, it is said, Moonves started to try to micro-manage the show.

 Insiders claim that Moonves wanted to “sex up” the look of the show, to make it look and feel more like the J. J. Abrams movies, forgetting that the show is supposed to be in the world of the original TV shows, NOT the “Kelvin” one. He wanted to make the ships, the uniforms and the aliens unlike anything that had ever been seen before despite Fuller’s warning that fans would revolt if the new show deviated too far from the established Star Trek cannon. Insiders claim that Moonves has no interest or understanding of Sci Fi in general and can barely tell the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars. The latest trailer, which gives us a first look at the completed pilot for the series, seems to confirm this as it looks like a mish-mosh  For example, the opening to the trailer states that it takes place “ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise” (sic) which indicates that no one on the new series bothered to check back and look at the original series to learn that Spock had been first officer to Captain Archer aboard the Enterprise during this same period! It is an obvious gaff and an inconsistency so glaring that it shows how careless the new showrunners are being in producing the new series.

Moonves and his minions seem to have forgotten a fundamental fact about Star Trek: what has made Star Trek the overwhelming success that it has become is due ENTIRELY to the devotion of fans.  The original series was canceled after only three seasons; nonetheless, fans flocked to watch the re-runs for years afterwards, until eventually Hollywood saw the light–or dollar signs–and began churning out film versions of the original show.  Fan loyalty–fan fanaticism is more accurate–is what has sustained these films and all the subsequent television shows.  Nor is Star Trek unique in this regard: fan loyalty drives success in many other media: the reason the Beatles became so big, for example, was initially due to the devotion of their fan base, first in the UK and then in the US.  A handful of other musical groups, such as the Grateful Dead, have also enjoyed steady success for decades–and this in an industry know for the short shelf life of its products.

 

Gene_Roddenberry_crop
The late Gene Roddenberry was the creative genius behind the original Star Trek series and guided its sequels for many years.  His creative oversight is sorely missed.

 

Star Trek fans will put up with quite a bit in their loyalty to the universe that Gene Roddenberry created and, over the years, numerous fan films of varying quality and length have been produced.  In fact, whole series of fan TV shows have been made, sometimes featuring professional actors reprising their characters’ roles from either the original series or its sequels, all with nary a peep, either from Roddenberry or his successors until now.  If anything, these fan films and fan series have sustained fan’s enthusiasm for Star Trek and been the engine which has driven Hollywood’s fat box office and advertising profits.

 

Perhaps Star Trek Discovery can overcome the bad juju that Moonves and CBS have generated with its suppression of the Axanar feature film.  Certainly, most Star Trek fans want the show to succeed.  But if the rumors are right about Moonves’ contempt for the Star Trek canon and the new show turns out to be a garish mish-mosh as some claim, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of one person–Les Moonves.  If that happens, heads may roll at CBS, especially if it results in the failure of the network’s streaming service; if so, I doubt whether Howard Stern, Dan Rather or Bryan Fuller will shed a tear at the result.  As for Alec Peters, David may not have slain Goliath, but the fact that CBS sweated bullets, based only on a twenty minute short he produced, bodes well for his future career as a producer of (hopefully) major Hollywood films.

 

800px-Gene_Roddenberry_-_Star_for_TV
A star that will never fade from Heaven

 

Ambrose Bierce on Immigration

Ambrose-Bierce
Ambrose Bierce.  Cynic, observer of the human condition, disappointed idealist.

 

“Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.  And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Robert Fulghum

It seems like some issues in American politics never go away, they just change their context.  One such issue is the question of Immigration Policy.

This election year we hear the Republican candidate spewing racial stereotypes and absurd solutions to the problem of illegal immigration.  While members of his own party have condemned his statements, the truth is that for the last eight years their own stand on illegal immigrants has not been that much different than his.  Before the Great Recession of 2008, moreover, they positively welcomed “undocumented” immigrants because, they said, “we can’t get Americans to do hard work” and similar excuses for allowing cheap unskilled labor to undercut the American worker.

Conversely, the Democratic Party has embraced illegal immigrants–supposedly–even as President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than his predecessors combined.  To be sure, some humane immigration policies have been temporarily put in place by the present POTUS, but this is like putting a topical anesthetic on the skin to cure an internal tumor.

The truth is, many American blue collar workers have seen their good paying jobs disappear over the years, only to be replaced by low wage, no benefit jobs.  Americans are not lazy, nor they unwilling to do hard work; they simply want to be paid a decent wage, something the multinational corporations who run our government and who are writing the international “Free” Trade deals that continue to ship whole factories overseas don’t want.  What most working class Americans don’t understand is that each wave of illegal immigrants flooding into our country are the byproducts of these phony trade deals, which are neither free, nor even much about trade.  NAFTA spurred a flood of illegal Mexican workers, displaced by the deal, who came north seeking work; CAFTA did the same thing to Central Americans, also desperate for work at any price.  Nothing spurs ethnic animosity like the perception that these new arrivals are here to take your already substandard paying job.

The moral philosopher and humorist, Robert Fulghum, once observed that “All I Really Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten.”  Consider, if you will, the game of Musical Chairs; every time the music stops, everyone scrambles for a chair and someone ALWAYS LOSES. Then another chair is taken away and the music starts again;  again and again, the music stops and another chair is taken away, until only one person wins.  Do you all remember how many fights and arguments broke out over that game?  I do.  Our “rigged” economy is very much like that game of Musical Chairs.  So, yes, a lot of working class Americans are bigoted against immigrants, legal or illegal, because they blame them for the loss of their once prosperous and affluent lifestyle, without ever stopping to think who it is that is really manipulating the music and the chairs.

What has all this got to do with Ambrose Bierce?  Actually, precious little; but in the late nineteenth century many “real Americans” were also concerned about immigration and worried that the furriners were going to ruin our country. Having delved into Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce’s life and works for over six years as I worked on my current book, whenever I see a current political issue heatedly debated, it naturally reminds me of something Bierce said or did.  For you edification, therefore, I present Bierce’s take on immigration:

“America has issued a general invitation. Whether that may have been judicious or not is not for them to say who have accepted it. If we keep open house, we do not need, neither will we tolerate, an intimation from a guest that the company is not sufficiently select.” In other words, only Native Americans have a right to complain about more recent immigrants.”  AGB

Things have changed greatly from the day Bierce uttered his observation, but I would aver that his words still contain much wisdom.

 

Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife cover
Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife, due out in 2016 and available at all the better bookstores.

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit: Why Brits Made the Right Choice

EU Democracy
Metternich would be proud of you.

As the Corporate (actually Corporatist) Media goes into Chicken Little mode after smugly assuming for weeks that the citizens of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom would “do the right thing” and reject separation from the European Union, I thought it timely to provide a contrarian view of what is clearly a major political and economic world event.

Before I expound my own views on the subject, however, let me address the foremost objection a European reader might have to what I may say: being on the other side of the Big Muddy, I have no deep knowledge of the situation in the Euro Zone.  There is a grain of truth in this criticism, but only a grain.  True, American media has virtually ignored the issue, with the exception of BBC America and a few alternate media sites on the internet, even as it been the subject of intense discussion in Britain.  But I would argue that one can be too caught up in the minutiae of an issue to assess it properly, especially if one is firmly aligned in what has clearly been a partisan political event.  It is easy to be myopic in one’s outlook and overlook broader aspects of the vote.  Distance gives one perspective and that I humbly provide in the following paragraphs.

BREXIT FLAG

One headline in this morning’s news suffices to point out all that is wrong with the European Union, as it is presently constituted.  The headline this morning–quickly taken down because it was apparently too honest–had German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying “We must save our European Union.” The headline, if accurate, is very telling: save the European Union, but from whom?  The citizens of its constituent nations? Apparently Herr Steinmeier and a select circle of EU oligarchs are greatly afraid of similar referendums in other Euro Zone countries, where a popular vote by the majority of the nation’s citizens may also go against the supra national–and, apparently, in many ways undemocratic–EU government apparatus.  Is Herr Steinmeier’s possessive “our European Union” referring to the select circle of EU officials who make economic decisions which can–and have–adversely affected millions of average European citizens?

Brexit-Grexit-EU-Cartoon.jpg

Since Steinmeier’s inadvertent honesty, pronouncements emanating from him have been more diplomatic in tone but also edged with a coercive subtext: he and fellow EU patricians have stated that they want Britain gone as quickly as possible and that Prime Minister Cameron needs to be pressured to begin the process immediately, if not sooner.  Cameron, who opposed the exit, has already announced his intention to step down as head of the Conservative Party in October and, quite rightly, expressed the opinion that it should be up to his successor to carry out the process of separation.  The Lisbon accords, which created the EU, allowed for its constituent members to leave and provided for up to two years for an orderly withdrawal.  Apparently some of the EU oligarchs officials want a speedy divorce and some have even talked about making it as punitive as possible to Britain, as an object lesson to other nations whose citizens may also be unhappy with the way the EU is being run.

Wisely, Chancellor Angela Merkel was not among those wanting a nasty “divorce.”  Apparently talking in opposition to her foreign minister, the Chancellor opined that the European Union has “no need to be particularly nasty in any way” in the negotiations with Britain about its exit from the Union and called for an orderly separation.  Britain had previously opted out of surrendering its own currency to the Euro and instead recognized both currencies as legal tender, a prescient move in light of what the EU did to Greece when it dared to assert its own autonomy a little while back.

It should be remembered that the Euro Banksters–who colluded with Wall Street in bringing the world to the brink of fiscal collapse in 2008 by selling worthless paper and then providing easy credit to buy their worthless paper–when their self created bubble collapsed, demanded their pound of flesh from Greece and others nations who fell for their deceit. Greece was then forced into enacting programs detrimental to its own economic self interest; the EU colluded with the banks and forced upon a nation which could ill afford it crippling interest rates and counterproductive economic measures.  In this scenario the banks may be seen as Mafia Dons, acting as loan sharks, while the EU served as their “enforcer” ready to (figuratively) break the bones of Greece, or any other nation of the EU that dared defy them.

It should be borne in mind that during this same time frame, “Austerity” was not pushed on the American economy by the Obama Administration as it had been by the EU and their bankster colleagues, and while the American recovery from the Great Recession has been slow and uneven, with the top 1% benefitting most from a rigged economy and the rest of us only benefitting marginally, the US, unlike Cameron’s Britain, did not suffer any subsequent recessions, still less than Southern Europe, which remains nearly as bad off as it was in 2008.

Greece, after it had endured all it could from the Euro Bankster imposed Austerity, rebelled against its economic exploitation by the EU, in response to which the EU abruptly cut off the money supply.  It was an object lesson designed, not only to punish Greece, but to intimidate all other southern European countries to remain subservient to the EU or else suffer a similar fate.  Because Greece had surrendered its own currency when it joined the Union and relied solely on the Euro for its money, Greek banks were forced to shut down and those in Greece still with jobs not destroyed by Austerity went unpaid.  Finally, the reformist Greek government was forced to surrender to the economic imperialism of the EU.

Brexit-Inspiration-copy

By comparison, Britain is far better off, not only by wisely retaining its own currency, but also because it possesses a stronger industrial base better able to weather the ill effects and bad economics of Austerity.  Hopefully, with David Cameron’s departure the counter-productive doctrine of Austerity will also be gone–and that can only be a good thing for Great Britain.

The idea of European unity is fundamentally a good idea; Europeans not murdering each other in local wars that mutate into world wars is also a GOOD THING.  Likewise, the European Common Market, as originally formulated, made a great deal of sense when it promoted trade that was both fair and equitable across national borders.  Similarly, the idea that neighboring countries, living on good terms with one another and sharing a common cultural heritage should having relatively easy transit of people back and forth, also makes a great deal of sense.  But when a handful of bankers and powerful but unscrupulous trans-national corporations, hiding behind the curtain of European Union, adversely control the lives of millions of people and coerce punitive economic agreements from their national governments against their own citizens best interests and their nation’s economic well-being, that is neither democratic nor fair, nor just.

Britain was certainly a beneficiary in many aspects of the European Union; it may seem to many on the continent that the UK’s action was precipitous and unjustified.  But the Brits are not the only voices of dissent in the EU; there are similar voices of dissent in the Netherlands, Italy and France.  In Spain, in the wake of the Bankster created Great Recession, hundreds of thousands of families were evicted from their homes. In 2013, for example, firefighters in Coruña were called on to break down the door of an 86-year-old woman who was to be evicted; in that case they refused to do the bidding of the Banksters. But in the majority of cases the banks have had their way and the EU has been there all through it to make sure that their will is obeyed without question.

In the EU, vulnerable nations like Greece have been forced to eliminate jobs, cut pensions and privatize, privatize, privatize. Who benefits from all this?  Certainly not the citizens of the countries coerced into such policies.  The Euro bankers, like their Wall Street counterparts, reap in massive profits at the expense of individuals, cities and whole states.  Spain, in particular, is a prime example of the adversity imposed from above by the EU and the bankers who run it behind the scenes.  Eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession, Spain’s unemployment remains at over 20% nationwide, while the unemployment rate for those under the age of twenty-five is a whopping 45%!  Explain to me how Spain being in the EU has benefitted its citizens?  Could they be any worse off if they were independent?  Perhaps, if it did not have to follow the dictates of a remote, undemocratic, essentially oligarchic entity for the supposed benefit of European unity, the Spanish people might have been free to pursue other solutions better suited to their individual needs.

The United States would be in the same situation if, in 2008, our nation had been in the control of the Republican Party who, no sooner were they out of power suddenly preached balanced budgets and smaller government.  This is the same political party that spent like a drunken sailor for eight years, cut taxes for the ultra rich and got the nation involved in an unprovoked war in Iraq which added trillions to the deficit.  Yes, it is a good thing to maintain a balanced budget and pay your bills on time; in prosperous times a nation should maintain a healthy economic balance and even accumulate a “rainy day” fund.  But when one has a severe economic downturn, that is the absolute worst time to demand a balanced budget; still less do you go about laying off thousands or millions of people to adhere to a theoretical economic dogma.

Europe during this same period has been in the thrall of economic oligarchs, who used the shield of the EU to impose “Austerity” as a solution to the same economic downturn.  The net effects of this dogma have been devastating and have retarded most of Europe’s recovery unnecessarily.  Behind the smokescreen of this supposed solution to the Great Recession lies a hidden agenda.  The banksters have used the dogma of Austerity as an excuse to roll back long established social benefits and economic rights, many of which Americans would envy if they could but experience them even for a short time.  The Banksters have also used Austerity as an excuse to privatize publicly owned institutions for their own personal gain; they have similarly hidden behind the shield of the EU to engage in myriad other actions designed to enrich a junta of international banks and corporations.

Since the 1990’s in the United States, one after another so-called “Free Trade” agreement has been pushed through by politicians who touted its economic benefits to an uniformed public.  Without exception, these agreements have resulted in millions of good paying jobs leaving the United States to impoverished third world nations, often controlled by military dictatorships.  Ironically, these same impoverished nations have not benefitted from the influx of manufacturing jobs; rather, waves of immigration ensue, as local economies are also disrupted by these same “Free Trade” deals.  NAFTA, CAFTA and now the TPP, are not about trade at all, much less are they free; they are about a handful of trans-national corporations acting in collusion to adversely control the economic resources of nations and subordinate those nations’ sovereignty to the will of a Corporatist oligarchy.

Lest Europeans think they are immune to this type of corporate economic imperialism, just remember that after the oligarchs have rammed the Trans Pacific Partnership through a corrupt lame-duck session of our Congress, they are coming after Europe with the TTIP to do the same to you.  When they promise economic prosperity and jobs creation as its benefit, remember that the U.S. has suffered over twenty years of these empty promises and now Americans on both the right and left are wise to the lies.

At the present time, Europeans may be upset with the British for wanting to retain their own economic and political sovereignty; some Brits may be upset at their fellow nationals for what they perceive as being against “progress” or guilty of a perceived xenophobia. Perhaps they may be right in some regard.  In the greater scheme of things, maybe the wiser course would have been for Britain to stay within EU and pull the fangs of the oligarchs and banksters who have been manipulating things behind the scenes, and make it more responsive to the will of the citizens of its constituent countries.

Instead of blaming the bearers of bad tidings, however, the citizens of those nations which remain in the EU should take stock of the situation and demand real reforms to an organization which has proven to be unresponsive to the needs of many of its constitutents. The voters of these same nations should also reflect on the nature of the leadership of the EU, whose first instinct is to punish any nation that may wish to emulate Brtain.  Remember what the EU did to Greece; then reflect on whether the Brits were totally unjustified in the course they laid.

Do I have to choose? — Prog Chik

I’ve never voted Green Party, and I was never on the Jill Stein, Howard Dean, or Ralph Nader bandwagon. Why not? I agree with the Green Party’s viewpoints, but perhaps I was still too naive in my 20s or plain politically ignorant–I would have stared blankly had you asked me to explain Neo-liberalism, couldn’t have […]

via Do I have to choose? — Prog Chik

WHAT IS A POLITICAL CONVENTION FOR IF NOT TO CHOOSE A CANDIDATE?

Hillary Dumpty

The question of what is the purpose of a political convention may seem a trifle simplistic to modern media pundits, but as three generations of teachers—and Democrats—in my family were want to say, there are no stupid questions; just stupid answers.  So to all the politically savvy “experts” in the media and the Democratic political establishment nationwide, I recommend that you seriously consider—or reconsider—your own answer to this question, as well as my own answer below.

Thomas Nast dead elephant and Donkey over cliff
The GOP is a dying beast but can still do great harm; meanwhile, the Democratic Party establishment seems bound and determined to follow Hillary Clinton over the precipice.  Their convention in July is the place to correct their mistake.

For a number of years, the presidential convention has simply been one giant publicity event, a raucous but essentially meaningless cheerleading rally for the pre-anointed candidate of the respective political party.  We now have a prolonged and incredibly expensive process for selecting a presidential candidate, a process which is neither designed to choose the best possible person for the job, nor even the most electable candidate; and if the current Democratic Presidential nominating process is any guide, it is also not reflective of the wishes of the rank and file members of that political party, but the cynical will of a small circle of political bosses and their financial handlers.  

Traditionally, the purpose of a presidential political convention has been to select a candidate; how the candidate was chosen has varied over the years, but in essence the convention was the medium through which this was done.  Caucus, primary or smoke filled room have all been methods for selecting a suitable candidate; but the purpose has always been to choose the best person for the job, not to acquiesce to the political operative most acceptable to the billionaire class.

 

Hurricane image royalty free
The Democratic Party is traveling straight into the Perfect Storm with #CrookedHillary and can’t see it.  Only the nomination of Bernie Sanders can save the day.

Since the late 1970’s, the leadership of the Democratic Party—the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party of the common man, the working man—has transformed it into a “me too” party, mimicking the Republican Party, perhaps a little less austere and still giving lip service to American workers but in fact undermining them at every turn, but has been gradually abandoning the values of FDR and the New Deal, the very programs and values that had made the Democratic Party the dominant political party for half a century; the programs and policies that had not only reformed a broken economic system, but ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity for most Americans. 

Mind you, the wealthy also benefited from the economic programs of the New Deal, since we are a consumer economy and the more money American workers have, the more they spend. 

The reverse, however, is not true: giving the wealthy undeserved tax breaks and various “corporate welfare” schemes to not result in wealth trickling down to the American worker.  They never have and never will: Trickle Down economics, or whatever label you rebrand it with, is a proven failure and just a con to rob the middle class of their wealth and transfer it to the top 1%.  What is a billion dollars in political contributions when it will return you in 100 billion in tax breaks, government subsidies and assorted outsourcing and off-shoring schemes?

 

Stuffing-The-Ballot-Box
The only way Hillary has gotten the primary wins she has was by out and out cheating.

 

Bernie Sanders portrays himself as a “Democratic Socialist” and that is fine if he wishes to characterize his solid New Deal derived programs and policies in those terms.  Perhaps all these years the Democratic Party should have been more forthright to the American people about all those “socialistic” programs which created wealth and prosperity in this country.  Those programs, and a strong Union movement, created the record postwar prosperity we enjoyed between 1945 and into the 1970’s.  Perhaps then the Repugnican NeoCons would never have gotten to first base with their vile economic voodoo even in the Republican Party. 

 

Now both the GOP NeoCons and the DINO Democrat NeoLibs are attacking Social Security and Medicare as “entitlement programs” that need to be cut to balance the budget.  Even Ronald Reagan laid it out in simple terms that, while Social Security is technically in the Federal Budget, it DOES NOT contribute to the deficit; it is fully funded by the American people and their employers. YES IT IS AN ENTITLEMENT: YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THAT MONEY BECAUSE YOU PAID INTO IT YOUR ENTIRE WORKING LIFE, NOT THE BILLIONAIRES!  However, every American should be aware that over the years Social Security has been raided by the Republicans and some Dems as a giant slush fund to finance Billionaire tax cuts and otherwise unfunded wars (like Hillary’s Iraq War).  So, no Social Security is not “going broke” but the Billionaires and their Congressional toadies have been stealing from the till and need to put the money back,

Reagan Defending Social Security: reagan

Bernie Sanders Defends Social Security

bernie-sanderssmiling
Why is this man smiling? Guess.

However, to learn what the Repugnicans and the NeoLib Democrats have been doing with your Social Security money, listen to this radio show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqxMCjZxXYM

 

Hillary Clinton is a DINO—a Democrat In Name Only—and she and her fillandering husband have worked very hard to transform the Democratic Party in the Republican Light Party.  Even many progressives in the party—and they are fewer every year—are largely afraid to cross the Clinton Crime Family or run too strongly against the NeoLiberal lies that the Clinton organization has made the new party dogma.

 

Delacroix Liberty at the Barricades
aux la barricades in July and take the Democratic Party back from the Oligarchs, America.

 

The Democratic Party needs to get back to its roots; nominate Bernie Sanders, move heaven and earth to get money out of politics and push through financial reforms and all the regulations that were put in place after the “free market” bankrupted America.  The only reason these safeguards were removed was because of sheer greed.  During World War II, FDR proposed a Second Bill of Rights, also known as the Economic Bill of Rights.  Call it Socialism if you wish—but bear in mind the Pilgrims and the Puritans were socialists too and they never heard of Karl Marx.  Karl & Abe Book

 

Needless to say, all the phony trade treaties like NAFTA, the TPP and the upcoming TTIP and some 45 or so other scams to benefit multi-national corporations all need to be repealed and renegotiated into FAIR TRADE plans, where corporations are excluded and American workers benefited.  Then, and only then, can this nation come back from the precipice and begin to return to a prosperous and just society.

 

Unless the Democratic Natonal Convention in July does its true duty and nominate Bernie Sanders as their standard bearer, our nation is headed for an even bigger financial collapse than we experienced in 2008.  Hillary Clinton is a large part of the problem—her and the Republican NeoCons—and it is hard to say which would be worse, her or Trunp.  If Hillary is nominated, there is a strong chance the Democratic Party will go down to defeat; if she wins, it is almost certain she will be impeached.  Whatever vestige of Democracy we have is on the verge of disappearance.  The Democratic Convention can reverse this dangerous situation, but not if it nominates the worst candidate they have had since the era of Boss Tweed.

Hillary vs Bernie on Panama Trade Agreement