Wednesday, April 9, 2014

US Corporations Pay No US Taxes On Trillions Of Dollars Of Income

Foreign IRE assets are "indefinitely reinvested earnings", or effectively permanently reinvested earnings in foreign countries, which US corporations use to keep huge amounts of their earnings out of the United States, and so immune from US federal taxation. Some US corporations, such as Microsoft, keep over half their assets offshored as IRE. This tax strategy, or anti-tax strategy, enables US corporations to pay extremely low effective income tax rates, even though corporate taxes in the US top out at 35%. In the case of General Electric, whose effective tax rate for 2013, was 4%, the company has for years paid little or nothing in federal income taxes. The table above shows that the top 8 US corporations in IRE assets were responsible for about 25% of the total foreign IRE for 2013, which was over $2 trillion.
At a time when millions of American citizens could not (and still cannot) find a job, and were losing homes, families, and futures, and at the same time the nation was experiencing a huge budget deficit, as bank bailouts and stimulus spending were used to partially alleviate the suffering, American corporations were making record overseas profits, keeping the money out of the USA to avoid paying taxes.

A new audit of what is known as “permanently reinvested foreign earnings”, i.e., profits American corporations keep away from the USA, by investing it in operations, and jobs, in foreign countries, shows that this tax strategy of keeping trillions of dollars untaxed, is one way in which major American companies not only survived the Great Recession, but came through it making record amounts of money.

The problem is, the amount they made and kept from being taxed by the US government is so large—$2.119 trillion* in 2013 alone for the top 1000 corporations—that now Congress and even the Department of Homeland Security are investigating the corporations to see if the tax avoidance strategies are having a negative impact on the economic health, and the national security, of the United States.
*—This amount is double what it was in 2008.

Certainly, rich Americans are likely happy about the untaxed trillions American corporations are keeping out of the USA. Rich taxpayers employ similar strategies to keep from paying income taxes on vast amounts of money themselves. Additionally, most rich people are heavily invested in stocks of major corporations, which generally do better as the corporations increase profitability.

For example, the stock price of General Electric has more than tripled since 2009. Investors with large holdings in these corporations stand to make huge amounts of money, just because of the increased profitability of the companies, obtained by their keeping trillions of dollars away from contributing to the revenue of the United States Government.

This of course increases the burden of revenue payments on all other Americans, and on American companies which do not have foreign investments.

The current national debt of the USA is $17.5 trillion.

The current number of unemployed Americans is 10.5 million persons, including 3.7 million who have been jobless for more then 6 months. However, millions more Americans are employed in jobs paying wages that cannot support them and their families, and millions more than that have become so hopeless during the Great Recession, and its alleged recovery, they have permanently left the work force.

The political impact of the considerable and growing inequality in the United States has yet to be seen, except in a few cases—for example, the election of Bill De Blasio as mayor of New York City.

However, the growing mounds of data showing the extremist tactics of American corporations and wealthy tax avoiders, can only help to cement the view for the vast majority of non-rich Americans that the system is fundamentally fixed against their interests.

Electing the same politicians who have enabled the situation hardly seems like a reasonable course for the electorate to follow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DNA Science Proves Poverty Is Slow-Motion Mass Murder—Perpetrated By The Rich

DNA is politics! It is hardly surprising, given how fundamentally important DNA is in shaping our lives, and establishing our chances, that the stress of poverty attacks the DNA of poor children, demonstrating scientifically how bad economic conditions doom poorer kids to bad health, worse educational performance, and shorter lives. This is slow-motion mass murder of millions, perpetrated by rich people against the most vulnerable human beings. Only basic political and economic revolutions (in our thinking and our systems of distribution of power and wealth) can stop the carnage of these terrible crimes against humanity.
Yep, the wealthy, the winners, the capitalist elites—mass murderers all.

You think that sounds like an exaggeration?

Read this, and then tell me how an attack on the most fundamental biological component of millions of poor children—just because they are poor—does not constitute mass murder. A new study shows that children from poorer families suffer genetic damage, caused by the stress of being poor.

How can that be true?

First, a scientific definition. Don’t nod off. Yes, science, that thing invented by Satan to attack the notion that God’s will—for the rich to deservedly lord it over everyone else—is anything other than a fairy tale.

TELOMERE—According to Wikipedia: “A telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromatid, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes.”

Cool, but what does that mean? Think of the telomere as a buffer, like a rubber end on your DNA strands, that protects them from damage. Shorten or erode the telomeres, and the DNA strands are left vulnerable. To what exactly?

Well, “decrepit” telomeres of the type studied are associated with all kinds of negative health effects, like depression, bipolarism, cancer, and even advanced aging.

In other words, children with decreased telomeres, are exposed to mental disorders and physical deterioration, that can produce serious health problems, and explains issues like a decreased ability to control behavior, a component in the lack of success generally in school, compared to children from wealthier homes.

We have known for—thousands of years—that being a child of poverty is debilitating to one’s prospects for success, as well as health and longevity, but now we are discovering that the deadly attack on the most vulnerable humans, begins very early for poor children at the level of their DNA, and this damage helps to shape the terribly negative outcomes experienced by poor people.

As always, there is no excuse for this in a vastly wealthy society. However, there is an explanation: the continued hatred displayed by American politicians, especially Republicans, towards poorer Americans, is an intentional policy on the part of rich masters, a policy whose intended outcome is not merely to hobble the upward mobility of poor people in America, but far worse—to economically assault and destroy millions of American children.

Inequality is not just a matter of unfairly distributing wealth. It is a matter of life and death and vast crimes against humanity.

Monday, April 7, 2014

When Will America Confront The Bush-Cheney-CIA War Crimes?

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host of the Morning Joe political talk show, has been one of the most prolific defenders of the CIA and its kidnap and torture regime. Repeatedly, Scarborough has talked about how, in his view, torture such as "waterboarding", works. Indeed, Scarborough has claimed the majority of useful intelligence gotten by the USA in the Terror Wars, came from "enhanced interrogation" or torture.
The New York Times today ran a likely little-read article about an old man, a torture victim under the fascist regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, finally getting his day in court to confront his torturer.

Of course, because of the decision made many years ago in Spain, during the move to democracy, to not seek "reconciliation" and to not hold accountable the criminals of the Franco tyranny, the old man and other victims have not been able to seek justice in Spain itself. Rather, as the Times explains:
“Mr. Galante and others have taken their complaints to Argentina, invoking the legal principle of universal jurisdiction under which certain crimes, because of their magnitude, transcend borders.”
And so a question arises, will America finally have the courage to confront the war crimes perpetrated by the Bush-Cheney regime, including the CIA and its kidnap and torture operations, or will American citizens have to take their complaint to Argentina?

As the US Senate prepares to issue what is called a “scathing” report on the CIA and its Terror Wars operations, including the use of torture against detainees, many Republicans, especially, are claiming that Democrats and liberals are unfairly attacking the American torturers and their bosses for having protected America after 9/11.

This is the same excuse all tyrants and criminal regimes use—they only did what was necessary to protect the state and the people from dangerous threats. 

But were the American people safer because the CIA was kidnapping and torturing people? There is no evidence to suggest they were—in addition to the fact that even if it could be shown they were safer, torturing people is an unconstitutional behavior on the part of the US government, and it also violates international law.

That law was mocked by the Bush-Cheney regime as “quaint” after 9/11, as they sought, through the Patriot Act, to redefine the relationship between government and the people, such that government was in not merely the dominant position, but in the absolute position to erase the rights of the people—including their lives—without any judicial process whatsoever.

Bush, who had bragged about wanting to be a dictator, had Congress pass laws that effectively made him one. And when he decided to invade Iraq, where Bush would kill thousands of Americans and Iraqis without any good reason whatsoever, questions about the advisability of the war, and the behavior of US troops—often engaged in horribly counterproductive actions against Iraqi citizens—were attacked as unpatriotic.

Further, questions about the behavior of Bush’s regime, and the CIA under his control, were shelved, because it was demanded that such questions were inappropriate during a war. Even questions asking about the accountability of the Bush regime for allowing 9/11 to happen—if not knowingly, then through an intentional indifference to stark evidence suggesting the level of danger shortly before the attacks—were dismissed.

Repeatedly we were told: it’s too soon to ask questions about 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, and who or what to blame about the horrible number of things that have gone so terribly wrong for the USA in the Terror Wars. No, many Republicans say, it is too late to ask these all important questions. The wars have wound done, and it's all "ancient history" to most Americans.

Republicans will never want Bush’s and his regime’s war behavior to be closely scrutinized. In spite of this, the American people deserve to know the facts, and they need to know the facts to correctly assess the political acts and motives of national leaders who took the nation to war, and who fought it so badly.

Let us hope we do not have to wait decades—time enough for Bush to get good at painting perhaps—to finally have a hearing where the American people can confront the perpetrators of America’s stupidest and most shameful wars.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Speaking Of Conspiracies, Did You Hear The One About Putin Taking Back Sonoma County?

Proud Sonoma County vintner, Vladimir Putin, peddles his stock in front of newly annexed Sonoma County, California, yet another place Russia USED TO own, and which Vladdy just might try to retake while Barack Obama is making appeals to Europeans to get ready for war—or you know at least war posturing.
So, you have probably heard how Vladimir Putin totally punked all the little Western dweebs, whose statesman (in Europe) is some elderly ex-East-German-Commie who hates dogs! (actually a point in Angela’s favor)), into thinking Vladdy was some kind of post-commie, Draculacrat, who would have been a regular addition to the European Unity movement, except for his having grown up to be a KGB colonel who, totally unexpectedly, was secretly intending on rebuilding the Russian empire (which included Alaska, as well as bits of Hawaii and California).

Speaking of the latter, ever heard of Fort Ross, California? Or the Russian River—which Russians back in the day (when they owned the land and named stuff in California) called the Slav River?

Now, what if Vladimir Putin decides, along with Crimea, he would like to reclaim that long-lost bit of California? Just so you know, when Vladdy does that, he’ll be reclaiming modern-day Sonoma County—“No Chardonnay for YOU!”

In fact, here is what Wikipedia says about Sonoma County:
“Much of central and northern Sonoma County is in the watershed of the Russian River and its tributaries.”
Close your eyes and imagine they are talking about an empire, instead of just a river.

And now for the scary bit: Barack Obama is in charge of defending Sonoma County, California from invasion by unmarked Russian troops.


Might as well start handing out the ushankas and balalaikas right now.

But that isn’t the conspiracy theory I wish to discuss with you today.

Nope, it’s this.

See, every time the world-wide military-industrial complex (we’ll call ‘em The Complex) takes a hit, like from the USA winding down the Terror Wars, and with most people not so crazily afraid any longer that Osama bin Badguy is going to plant a bomb in their underwear, the aforementioned Complex is frantic because it is about to lose a LOT of influence and money.

That is already happening in the USA, as the military is doing the usual postwar budget slashing and preparing to be relatively peacetime in its size and scope.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?

Let’s see, who was that all-purpose, ever-scary, evil empire that we were never seriously going to go to war against (because the world would have joker-burned to dust in a couple of hours), but which we could dangle in front of the Western dweeb club to get them to toss tons of money on military power?

Oh right, that was the Russians! They were always such good enemies, weren’t they?

And, after all, Vladdy Putin is an honest-to-Stalin ex-commie KGB colonel and everything. And the fact is, even if Vladdy isn’t any longer a commie, and has instead gone back to being a kind of (democratically anointed) Czar, that doesn’t make Russia any less nuclear-tipped scary.

And just so we take this shocking view seriously, there are people out there, people whose credentials are supposed to be very credible, telling us that if Vladdy overplays his hand right now, and marches into Ukraine, it’s gonna be very doomy Dr. Strangelove.

For example, this is Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, on Morning Joe two days ago, telling us that Armageddon was packing its bags for a possible visit to Kiev:
“War…I think if Putin were to march into Kiev, this would be absolutely—we would be on the precipice for global disaster. If Putin is marching into Kiev, I hope we have a quick show, because it is going to have to be a quick one.”
In plain terms, Sachs is warning that Russian tanks and paratroopers in Kiev, Ukraine, might invite the kind of nuclear exchange between the West and Russia that could be an ELE—extinction level event. Very scary, isn’t it?

But, here’s the thing. What if Dr. Sachs, and all the blither-blathering pundits, who are telling us this and that about what is going on, are just playing us, or are getting played by The Complex? What if, among other sources of income, Vladdy Putin is getting a big, healthy, check from people like Lockheed Martin, who might all of sudden be getting a lot more orders for F35 Yancy-Fancy fighter jets?

Because, you know, in all fairness, Putin should be getting a check from them, and from all the other weapons makers, military commanders, and war-pushers.

For example, in what basically amounts to a war speech yesterday, Barack Obama chided fellow NATO members to increase their military spending to “step up” to the challenge presented by the new Russian threat:
“Today, NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics, and we’ve reinforced our presence in Poland.  And we’re prepared to do more.  Going forward, every NATO member state must step up and carry its share of the burden by showing the political will to invest in our collective defense, and by developing the capabilities to serve as a source of international peace and security.”
Two kinds of Flanders. But most Americans only know about Ned. One gets the impression, listening to President Obama stumble repeatedly trying to say "Flanders Field", that Obama had probably only become acquainted with the words in the drive over to an American war memorial. There, Obama said he would never forget seeing the graves of 368 Americans, who died fighting to liberate Belgium—nope, not in World War II, but in World War I. Altogether, 117, 000 Americans died in World War I. How many will die in World War III?
AND, in what seems like a coordinated effort between the White House and its American media partners, the New York Times this morning published an article, “Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia”.

In this article, the President’s message is bolstered by pointing out how the European NATO members have always been overwhelmingly dependent upon the US financial and military commitment to NATO, and should now be expected to do more.

In addition, the article offers a disturbing analysis of how difficult it would be for the United States to fight and win a war in Ukraine. It does not take long for the phrase “a higher level of intensity” to be employed, meaning that one side or the other might be tempted to use nuclear weapons to obtain a quick victory that would not come in any protracted conventional struggle.

Seriously, the New York Times is ALREADY explaining the logistics of the coming war with Russia in Ukraine.

And, parse this statement from the article:
“Even if Russia moves into eastern Ukraine, senior administration officials said, there should be absolutely no expectation that American troops would head to Kiev.”
Again, “eastern Ukraine”, no problem. But “moves into Kiev”, maybe it will be the biggest problem you can possibly imagine.

There are a lot of things the current current events are about—but mainly it is about recapturing lost territory, whether that is in Crimea, Sonoma County, or the banks accounts of The Complex.

So remember—do your part as well—spread the conspiracy.

It’s good for the economy!

And, the way things are going, the economy may not be around all that much longer. Or you either.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Rumsfeld Knew The Known: That He OWNED The MSM

Donald Rumsfeld delighted in telling the American people they were a bunch of stupid saps, who didn't rate straight answers from the government goons sending their relatives off to die in wars, and to kill so many thousands of other people in those wars. Rumsfeld hasn't spent one day in prison for his war crimes—because Rummy was right about the American people and especially right about the disgusting, slimeball sellouts in the war-mongering, corporate-owned MSM.
There a moment, maybe the creepiest moment in the very creepy Salem’s Lot, Tobe Hooper’s 1979 TV movie, made from Stephen King’s book, where James Mason, who plays the villainous vampire’s human servant and curator, tells the hero, played by David Soul, that the human’s “Master”, Mr. Barlow the vampire, will soon be there, and a meeting would be mutually beneficial.

Mason encourages the prospective victim with a big smile:

“You’ll enjoy Mr. Barlow. And he’ll enjoy you.”

When former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would speak to the American people, via the assortment of hacks the media corporations would send up to the Pentagon to be lied to by the war perps, he sounded a lot like the creepy curator of a vampiric obsession:

“You’ll enjoy the Iraq War. And it’ll enjoy you.”—Rumsfeld would say to the American people.

Today, the New York Times starts a four-part series, “The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld”, where Errol Morris, who examined another vampire from another era, Robert S. McNamara, in the documentary, The Fog of War, looks at the strange, still deeply disturbing, story of how the American press simply went to sleep, dealing with Rumsfeld, and the rest of the Bush gang, during the Terror Wars.

Of course, Morris isn’t setting out to make that case exactly. What he is examining today are what Morris calls Rumsfeld’s most famous words, spoken in a Pentagon press briefing, back on February 12, 2002. (see video)

After being asked a fairly straightforward question by NBC Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski:
“Is there any evidence to indicate that Iraq has attempted to or is willing to supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction?”
Rumsfeld went off on a silly, evasive anti-response, not in any attempt to answer that question of course, but rather as a way of punishing Miklaszewski’s stupidity and cowardice, in adding this bit to the end of his question:
“Because there are reports that there is no evidence of a direct link between Baghdad and some of these terrorist organizations.”
As all the Pentagon reporters, whose memoirs of this incident are reviewed by Morris in his article, the last thing any Pentagon reporter wanted to do, in questioning Rumsfeld, was to try to armor up his question with bullshit. The fact “there are reports” is absolutely irrelevant. There could be reports claiming lots of dubious things, after all, or even claiming sound things. But saying that gave Rumsfeld what former UPI Pentagon reporter Pam Hess, called an “exit ramp”, or an escape from having to answer the real question.

Instead Rumsfeld said the following infamous gibberish:
“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
As you can see, Rumsfeld leaped right over the actual question to attack, in gayly sophistic terms, the strawman of crappy journalism, which while definitely an evasion, had the beneficial aspect for Rumsfeld of being a fair criticism. People who watched Rumsfeld manage the Pentagon reporters, like he was herding dumb sheep, were definitely watching a bunch of hacks, seemingly elevated to their positions on the basis of their willingness to comply with the post-9/11 rules of journalistic integrity—100% erased in service to the Bush regime's war crimes machine.

For example, after Rumsfeld turned to his gal pal, Pam Hess, to make a joke about the silly question involving “reports”, Miklaszewski managed to get a followup.

Now, you might think a proper followup would be something like:
“Mr. Secretary, if the Administration has evidence Saddam Hussein is handing out WMD to terrorists, the American people deserve to know this. When I asked you a straightforward question about this, you evaded by focusing on the part of my question you preferred to ridicule, instead of the question the American people need answered by their government.”
And then Rumsfeld would probably have said something like:
“Excuse me, Jim, did somebody appoint you the spokesman for the American people, and their interests?”

And that is when a good journalist would have said:
“Actually, that is exactly what we are supposed to be, Mr. Secretary. And getting the facts, instead of arrogant spin, out of government officials, is precisely what our job is all about. SO, why don’t you actually answer the question about the evidence you have or don’t have about Saddam giving out WMD to terrorists?”
Then they would have escorted Miklaszewski out of the room, and had him shot. But at least he would have reminded that bunch of cowardly doofuses, including himself, how to deal with a serial evading killer, like Donald Rumsfeld.

Instead, Miklaszewski tried to outsmart Rumsfeld, by asking him if the evidence situation on Iraq’s WMD was one of the “unknown unknowns”. In other words, having seen Rumsfeld treat the question as a joke, Miklaszewski wanted to score some smartass joke points of his own.

Eventually, Jamie McIntyre would come back to paring down the question again—are you aware of any evidence?

But Rumsfeld wasn’t have any of it:
“Yeah, I am aware of a lot of evidence involving Iraq on a lot of subjects. And it is not for me to make public judgments about my assessment or others’ assessment of that evidence. I’m going to make that the last question.”
At one point in Morris’ article, Pam Hess, who Morris calls “my favorite” (she seems to have been Rumsfeld's favorite too), makes the following defense of her reporter crew at the Pentagon:
“The anti-war crowd really wanted the reporters in that room to take up their fight. And that is something that we couldn’t do, professionally or ethically. We’re not there as antiwar protesters. We’re there as reporters, trying to assemble a public record.”
Actually, Hess seems to have “reporter” confused with “stenographer”.

But on the point about reporters being professionally and ethically bound not to be in league with “the anti-war crowd”—she might as well have called them a stupid mob—is that really true?

Because, by only being concerned to create this “public record”, as supplied by the Bush gang, Hess and her comfy colleagues were failing to do their jobs—which is to pull apart the ivory tower to find the facts, NOT JUST for the public record, but to supply some idea of the truth to the American people. Remember them? Because they just might have been interested to know the case for war in Iraq was so dubious, and not a slam dunk, before the USA went off to lose, and to cause Iraq to lose, thousands of lives with no justifiable reason.

But, as Morris’ article makes quite clear, Hess and the other reporters were pleased to think that Rumsfeld, who should have been their adversary, was instead somebody who liked them, and who respected them as “people who [were] saying what they thought”.


Well, that’s really the problem. Because the press corps in the Bush years, at least up to the time of Katrina, simply changed the definition of what it meant to be a journalist. Very little discussion takes place in Morris' article about the right of the American people, through reporters, to confront and challenge the confident claims of public officials.

Morris does say that he at one point asked Rumsfeld to address this question, to finally explain to the American people why the US went to war in Iraq. Morris admits his frustration in being unable, in 33 hours of interviews!, to get a straight answer from Rumsfeld to that question.

Does it really take 33 hours to ask the only question that matters:
“You’re a war criminal, right, Rummy?”
Not that we need Rummy’s answer to that, to know the truth, but you know, it might be instructive to see if he even bothers to spin it. My guess is he would smile and say “Next question, little doggy. What’s buried in Baghdad stays buried in Baghdad.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

David Brooks On The Virtues Of USA's Great Wall Of Wealth

David Brooks talks repeatedly, behind his corporate and national Great Wall Of Wealth, about the disorderly, loser, scum of the Earth—meaning almost everyone but David Brooks—who isn't of, or retained to defend, the 1 percent. Brooks advises us today that the loser states and their people are full of fear, whereas the winner states, like the USA, are full of happy-go-lucky rich people, who have nothing to fear, and who have the money to bribe it away if necessary. Sweet. And that, to judge from Brooks' increasingly didactical approach to explaining political and cultural inequality in the world, is why mammon is ever so much more virtuous than manna.
“Unless cruelty is tamed, poverty will persist.”

So David Brooks spurts tautologically today in the New York Times. And the thing is, Brooks isn’t talking about the United States. In fact, in Brooks’ new column, entitled “Republic of Fear”, the USA is the cruelty-free, affluent land, where fear has been banished, and we’re all living behind “a great global threshold”, or we might call it The Great Wall Of Wealth.

More than anything, watching David Brooks once again craft his weird, golem-world, where the USA is economically well-off, fear-free, and just loving the NSA-brand security, while the non-USA world is Hell, reminds me of so many dystopian stories, where there are always the state-owned shills posing as journalists and pundits.

The job of these shills is to spin an extremely divisive myth of political and cultural superiority, where the repressive soul-crushing dictatorship is made to seem completely the opposite of its true nature, while the rest of the world, outside the control of the regime, is made to seem absolutely horrible and evil.

These journalistic shills are a fundamental tool of state thugcraft, employed to control the people.

And David Brooks sure smells like one of these shills. But the thing is, most of the MSM smells like them these days.

In Brooks' article, intended to promote that notion that economic and other brands of liberty are not nearly as important as "creating order" in a nation, Brooks tells us all kinds of heartwarming, affirming things about the USA, and the alleged benefits of the order it creates:
“In the United States, there is one prosecutor for every 12,000 citizens. In Malawi, there is one prosecutor for every 1.5 million citizens.”
YAY! Prosecutors! And those prosecutors and cops, many of whom are obviously out of control in the USA, have made America the number one country in the world—for incarceration! Yep, more people are locked up per person in the supposedly liberty-loving USA than anywhere else in the world. THAT is supposed to be an indication the safety is spreading. And you are supposed to value that more than anything else in the world, including all those rights you don’t really need.

Brooks allows of course:
“Even when there is some legal system in place, it’s not designed to impose law and order for the people. It is there to protect the regime from the people.”
Now, remember, that statement is supposed to help you distinguish the USA, where allegedly, the regime LOVES the people, from the bad places in the world where the government would totally be spying on all the people in the world!—if only it had the resources employed by the United States government to achieve that objective. Increasingly, Americans are coming to realize that, if the US government doesn’t explicitly identify American citizens as “the enemy”, it sure as hell treats them that way.

The NSA and its exploits in tyranny were designed with the assumption that everyone was a suspect, for any and every criminal or just suspicious act, potentially perpetrated, in any future one could imagine (or not imagine). And so, the NSA argued, they needed to collect every single bit of data on pretty much every single person their technology enabled them to spy on. The Constitution? Rights? Nice abstractions. But the NSA and the spy regime in Washington DC treated anyone talking about their rights as a political extremist.

And while it is true, the news today, about what Obama has been forced to do by Edward Snowden, is encouraging, nobody should let their guard down for a moment about the way in which the US government views the people it is supposed to be serving.

As I was saying above, the shill message is very divisive. Brooks illustrates:
“We in the affluent world live on one side of a great global threshold.” 
YAY! Affluence! Are you affluent? Maybe compared to the poor villagers of Malawi—and as you see above that is who Brooks decides to compare the USA to!—but what affluent world is he talking about, where fear of violence and other bad things happening have been washed away?

One of the bad things about being a 1-percent hack writer for the New York Times, is you probably have a 1-percent chance or less of realizing your lifestyle is actually kind of an impediment to your being able to see the 99 percent all that clearly—or even to see them as human beings at all.

Brooks explains the distinct moral advantages of security in the USA:
“Our fundamental security was established by our ancestors.” MEANWHILE: “When thuggish autocracies [Brooks means Russia] invade their neighbors we impose economic sanctions. But people without our inherited institutions live on the other side of the threshold and have a different reality.”
YAY! USA are good people! Russians are thugs!

Except, aren’t the Russians just following the thuggish example set by the American Thug-in-Chief, George W. Bush, and still being perpetrated by Bush’s all-too-compliant successor in thuggish foreign policy, Barack Obama? Indeed, the Russians actually OWNED Crimea for a long time before some commie dictator gave it to Ukraine as a “gift”. How long did the USA own Iraq, before deciding to invade it to rid the world of hundreds of thousands of human beings the USA decided no longer needed to be alive?

And what does “established by our ancestors” mean? Oh, you know, genocide and stuff, committed by the United States military, with plenty of help by civilian thugs, as they swept the American continent (well, actually, the land belonged to indigenous peoples no doubt very grateful to be killed or assimilated) , making it “safe” for Americans, i.e. safe from wolves, bears, and indians. We have to always remember that "our fundamental security" was a lot of people's fundamental terror at being brutalized by American pirates.

There are a lot of articles talking about what is essentially a Balkanization happening in the world, and even in the USA, where Robert Reich says political differences between the two parties and people in general have reached the point where the competing tribes can no longer identify sufficient points of similarity in values and aims with their political opponents to say they are of the same people or even the same nation:
"[T]he two tribes are pulling America apart, often putting tribal goals over the national interest – which is not that different from what’s happening in the rest of the world."
Well, that may be what the "two" tribes are doing, but the only tribe that matters in the USA, the rich, could not possibly care less about that. Their assumptions are that they will be profiting, and ever building their power, regardless of which tribe is in power. Anyone who has watched the "progress" of the rich and the poor in the USA since 2009, will have no doubt that the rich tribe has things figured out pretty well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obamberlain Declares Russia “An Extraordinary Threat” To US National Security

One of the dumber ways in which Barry Obamberlain has allowed himself to be totally played by Vladimir Putin, is how Obamberlain rejected the idea of any legitimate move by Crimea to achieve self-determination. Nobody for a moment suggested there wasn't a strong secessionist fervor in Crimea, but Obamberlain believed democracy (the secession vote yesterday) enabling self-determination for Crimea, was "destabilizing" to Ukraine, and so the Crimean separatist leader, Vladimir Konstantinov, pictured above, found himself today on Obamberlain's hate list for sanctions. And yes, of course, real democracy in Putin's Russia is like real democracy—oh, in the USA—what actual difference does it make?
Amping up the war-rhetoric (even more), which yesterday, on the Russian side, included some nut reminding the world that Russia can reduce the United States to “radioactive ash”, US President Barry Obamberlain today declared the Russian Federation “an extraordinary threat” to US national security:

“I find that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine—including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine—undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

So, does that mean the US is going to war against Russia?

Nah. The US is going to act like Russia’s daddy, and attempt to financially isolate Russia’s leaders, in an effort to make them behave.

Specifically, Obamberlain declared the US government has issued a series of sanctions, including individual sanctions on all officials of the Russian government. In fact, the wording of the individual sanctions order would appear to include any Western interests that “have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for” any “senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation”.

Does this mean Obamberlain is going to get tough on European bankers money laundering Russia’s pirate economy? Of course not.

In another piss-list, or “FACT SHEET”, Obamberlain includes the names of people now considered perpetrators of the extraordinary threat, and explains in some detail why the US government considers them so. The list includes Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukranian president overthrown in February’s coup by Ukrainian nationalists.

The reason Yanukovych is held by Obamaberlain to be extra bad is that the tossed-out leader fled to Russia and then begged Vladimir Putin, the head meanie of Russia, to invade Ukraine with Russian troops, something Putin has done, and seems ready to continue doing.

Also included in Obamberlain’s hate list is Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimean parliament leader, whose crime against humanity is pushing to have his region, Crimea, secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Basically, Konstantinov is guilty of demanding just a little too much democracy and destiny for his people, to make Obamberlain happy. Why Konstantinov should wish to make Obamberlain happy is not evident.

Obamberlain additionally threatens “to hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials.” This broad statement sounds as if it is directed at pretty much everyone who has ever done anything for Russian senior management—presumably including the bell hops at the hotels the Ruskies stay at.

President Barry however includes this disclaimer:
“We recognize that the Russian leadership derives significant support from, and takes action through, individuals who do not themselves serve in any official capacity.  Our current focus is to identify these individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state.”
Again, exactly who or what does this mean? It sounds as if the Obamberlain’s list of the financially proscribed can only grow, especially since Putin has made it pretty clear that economic sanctions will only incite him to shoot right back at the USA, in unspecified ways.