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Category Archives: Justice

The central problem this country faces and the heart of the issues, all of them, to me, that is not understood by most Americans and is ignored by the media (“liberal” or not) is that our country is now a corporate state.

The reason we can afford $700 billion this year for the military is because the military-industrial complex says we can, via the politicians that our corporate  c— sucking Supreme Court says can be endlessly funded by those corporations.

The reason we can’t get sensible health care in this country is because the health care corporate complex is 1/6th of our economy. Obama would never have made meaningful reform during a massive recession of an industry that though it raises prices every year in return for lowering care, would have guaranteed he didn’t get a second term. To reform it would have meant they cut jobs to maintain profits, and that would have destroyed Obama’s chances to be reelected.

The reason the health care bill sucks is that Obama played to another devil–the pharmaceutical industry. The bill guarantees that American doctors will fulfill their role as pill pimps for the drug industry, which Americans won’t mind because they only pay for the pills indirectly through health care funded by taxes, instead of directly out of pocket, but the cumulative effect is that we are no more healthy.

We have by far the highest incarceration rate in the world, which means either we are the world’s worst people, or the prison industrial complex is being very successful at getting their lobby and politicians they own to pass laws to “be tough on crime”.

It was the prison complex that drafted, funded, and paid to promote the Arizona immigration law. It wasn’t Joe Six-Pack that was sick of illegals and decided to act, as the media promotes. It was corporate power looking to make more money. It takes 6 years to rename a post office in this country, but this immigration bill went from being drafted to being a law in one year. That is corporate power greasing the wheels.

There is a book out that says the average American commits at least one felony a day, mostly without knowing it, due to the massive amount of Federal, State, and Local laws. My half-brother is half Native American, and he gave me a Golden Eagle feather, which by law only Native Americans can possess. If I am caught with this feather, I will be charged with a Federal crime. Yes, putting me in prison for a bird feather will make the world safer for democracy.

The bank industry is so powerful it has circumvented and struck down all of the laws made to reign in dangerous betting activity. The last law passed to “reform” them was a joke, and the SEC is staffed by a mere handful of people, who have law degrees, but have no understanding of credit default swaps and all the other tricks of Wall Street. This is as the bank industry wants it, and wills it through the politicians it owns.

The media are owned by corporations, and the liberal bias so often cited is a joke. News is a product and won’t sell unless it is compelling. This is achieved through attacking politicians but not the corporate power behind it, unless that corporate power belongs to your rival.

The common thread of most of these massive corporations is that they are tax payer funded. They are given money to develop weapons, or drugs, that then become their property to sell to the government that funded it in the first place. The banks are given money to loan, etc etc.

The military budget has doubled from the already massive amount of $350 billion it was a few short years ago, and our “liberal” government is going to cut $78 billion over 5 years? Wow!  This equates to an incredible average of $16 billion a year. How is the military going to survive on only $684 billion dollars?

The food industry is another example of corporate greed and corporate welfare. The majority of the handouts going to farmers are actually going to corporate farms. They have managed to get the Supreme Court to say you can patent life, so they are now forcing genetically modified foods into the market place, so that farmers don’t own the crops they grow in their fields.

Corn is tax payer subsidized, making in falsely cheap, and then put in every product we consume from soda to soap, to a maximize profit. It is fed to cattle because it makes them fat quickly, but evidence points to it also creating an acid resistant form of e.coli that sickens our people, and kills the old, and young among us, but the profits are good.

This is why the tea party b.s. is just that. They talk about free market, and most of our major industries are tax dollar addicted and funded.

They talk about cutting taxes to make jobs, the banks and major industries have recovered and are making record profits, because they are keeping their money and not making jobs. Cutting taxes isn’t changing that.

The Tea party hates handouts, but only the ones for the poor. Corporate hand outs are somehow patriotic. Tea partiers are mad they can’t afford stuff, but it isn’t because the government is giving it all to illegals and lazy people, it is because the corporations suck it all up, and you guys defend them. When Malcolm X talked about the house slaves, he was talking about you.

The viciousness of this country against the poor and needy disgusts me, even Rome, one of the most vicious societies in history, guaranteed all citizens free bread daily, so that none went hungry. Even wolves take care of the old and weak in their pack, but not us. You have to work for it, and if you are too old, too sick, or too simple, then F— you.

None of the politicians are going against business. The Dems take it in the rear for business, the GOP says “thank you” while doing it, and the Tea Party whistles the national anthem as they are getting railed. I would love it if we did really have left-wing politicians. We NEED a labor party to give the common man some relief.

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I am sometimes accused of being anti-American. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I love this country, and I love it enough to read, study, reflect, and meditate on it and the issues facing it and the American People. I am nobody special, just a prole, but as a citizen it is my job to put time into being a good citizen.

Being a patriot is more than a flag sticker on your car, or playing Toby Keith songs, and a hell of a lot more than yelling at people who point out some of the areas we as a nation are not doing so well. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t patriotism. True patriotism is like true love, it isn’t that you don’t see the flaws in the people you love, it is that you do see them, and you love them anyway. If you can, you help them attempt to improve on their flaws, but you love them unconditionally.

A group of people whose patriotism I admire very much are the Brazilians. I have lived for short periods of time in Brazil on two occasions. That first time was during a horrible economic crisis, with inflation of 971% that year. Brazilians are patriotic, not because they have the biggest military in the world, or the most economic power, but because they are Brazilians. They know where their country has problems, but they still love it. Brazilians use to tell me, “My country is third world, but it is mine.”

One of the great examples of this is in sports. It doesn’t matter what sport, or where it is, if a Brazilian is competing, you will find other Brazilians supporting him. It can be any sport, Judo, volleyball, even sailing. If they held a snow-cone making contest in Antarctica, you would find a group of screaming, dancing Brazilians, painted yellow and green, cheering on their guy. When you go and support your countrymen, win, lose, or draw, that is true patriotism.

Another great patriot was Socrates. He went about, exposing hypocrisy, and trying to get people to think. He was as he called himself, “a gadfly”, stirring the people to try to improve themselves, their people, and their city. He got himself the death sentence for that. I admire and in a small way, try to emulate the example of Socrates, that is part of the reason I write this blog. I will try to avoid the death sentence though.

The situation of this country is stark. Corporations have laid waste to our economy and our system of government, and along the way have convinced many people and politicians that the only way to fix it, is to give them even more power and free rein to do it again. The American people who still have jobs, are working longer, and getting less. They are yelling for more prisons, and more guns, to calm the fears put in their heads by a “free media” owned by corporations, that banks on ratings from fear-mongering and misinformation. The Americans that don’t have jobs anymore, are finding out that the chickens have come home to roost. Jobs, and manufacturing have all been sent overseas to China, so that the CEO’s can show a profit and get their bonuses. Many jobs are gone, and aren’t coming back, and we, the richest country in the world, have one of the worst support and unemployment systems of any first world country.

The glimmer of hope is this: we, the people of the United States of America, have the power to change it. The rights in our Bill of Rights, give us the power to speak, to assemble, and to make our representatives fix the problem, the way we want, and to do it now. We have those rights, and we still have time to use them, but the clock is ticking….

I had wanted to write about Israel for a few weeks and with the news of their attack on a convoy of aid ships, I figure now is the time.

I am not Jewish, but I like Jewish people. I bought and read the Torah and I really liked it. I have collected many quotes by great rabbi’s and sages of the Jewish religion. I used to read regularly on aish.com, it has some really great stuff. For a while I really wanted to go to synagogue, but I was nervous about just showing up. I still want to go sometime.

I believed that Jews were among the wisest people ever. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from the Torah, the Talmud, and Jewish history. Part of the reason I think there is such a rich tradition of wisdom with the Jewish people, is because of their suffering.

In my own life I have seen that suffering teaches, it creates compassion, and understanding, and forgiveness. Getting what you want doesn’t teach you a damn thing, besides to be careful what you wish for, maybe.

Yet, I wonder if this wisdom and especially the compassion that was manifest in the Jewish tradition through all the history of oppression and exile, pogroms and inquisitions has been lost. Have the Israeli’s forgotten all their history and become like the people who tried to exterminate them?

The Israeli’s barricade off the Palestinians into cramped, hopeless shantytowns, like a thousand Warsaw Ghetto’s. They demand papers, deny aid, cut power and water. They attack and kill and maim, without reason or provocation. This is the history of Nazi’s against the Jews.

I am well aware that the Palestinians are also guilty of cruelty and indiscriminate killing. I know the history of the slaughter of Jews by the Palestinians before Israel was a state. The attacks on Israel by the Arab nations. In the end, where does it end, and with whom? A man with a bomb strapped to him, blowing up a bus full of people just trying to go home is wrong. So is a helicopter blindly firing rockets into a neighborhood. Just because one group is recognized as a nation by the U.N. doesn’t mean that it is not a terrorist act, they both are. It has to end. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.”

It can start by letting the Palestinians have a real economy. Real jobs, making real money, gives people real hope. A man with hope and a little money in his pocket wants to deck his car out with a stereo and a ton of speakers, not a detonator and a ton of tnt.

I understand that Israel is in a tough spot. Israel cannot afford to trust anybody. Every once in a while somebody here in the U.S. will be caught spying for Israel, and nobody here can understand why they would do that. I understand why, think about this: toward the end of WW2, the Allies ruled the skies over Germany. Thousands of planes flew over Germany day and night, attacking anything that moved. We had liberated some of the camps and knew the Germans were shipping Jews to the camps by rail, but despite literally having thousands of planes to blow up the rails leading to the camps, we never did.

Even the creation of Israel was really Anti-Semitic. The Vichy French, and many of the other countries conquered by the Nazi’s had gleefully helped round up Jews to be shipped to slaughter. They didn’t want the Jews back after the war, and the U.S. didn’t want to bring them back here. We kept them in the death camps while we figured out what to do. Finally, we decided to send them “home”, except there were already people living there. It would be like the U.N. deciding to give California back to Mexico. The Mexican’s might be happy, but I don’t think too many Californians would be pleased.

I have long suspected that the real reason we support Israel is because it foments so much dissent in the Middle East. It keeps all the bees buzzing and angry and leaves the honey to us.

I sometimes wonder, with all the history of the Jews trying to go home to the Promised Land, if the death of 6 million Jews was the price, and if that price was worth it? Now, I wonder if the price was not only the cruel death of all those people, but the abandonment of Jewish wisdom and compassion and understanding.

Does the Holy Land render God’s Holy People unholy?

If it makes them the agents of the same hatred and violence that the very nation of Israel was recreated to allow them to escape, than what is the worth?

Maybe I was wrong that the lesson is that wisdom comes by enduring and overcoming suffering, maybe the lesson is that you just grit your teeth and bear it until it is your turn to crack the whip.

It is a lot to ask any people to find mercy, and kindness, and justice in a place of so much anger and pain and hatred, but if the Chosen People of God cannot do it, who can?

Americans are the worst people ever! Do you believe that? I don’t either, but that is the only logical conclusion you can reach if you examine the statistics for incarceration in this country.

If we weren’t the worst people ever, committing the most rapes, murders, thefts, drug deals, and swindles in the world, than why would we have the most people in prison in the history of the world?

1 out of every 31 adults in this country are in jail, prison, on probation or on parole.

Every time I hear somebody saying that we need to get tough on crime, I wonder how much tougher we can be? Maybe when we get to a full 10% of adults in this country incarcerated, then we will finally being putting our foot down.

Here is the really great thing about prisons: they are privatized. They are for profit, private corporations, subsisting on your tax money.

The prison system is like your uncle Billy, who lost his job and moved into your basement. He can’t find a job so he watches tv all day and has put on 50 pounds, because he is eating you out of house and home, but he feels like he is contributing because he brought his .357 and says he keeps the house safe while you work.  Oh, and he wants you to upgrade your cable package. That is the American Prison System. Proudly taking more of your tax dollars every year.

The levels of violent crime have remained the same for the last 40 years. There are more murders than in 1970, but only because there are more people as well. Per capita, murder, rape, armed robbery, etc is still on the same level as it was. You are statistically no more likely to suffer a serious crime now, than you would have been in the 70’s. Lets take a look at a chart of prison population however.

You would expect that there would be more people in prison, because the population has increased, but clearly the levels of incarceration have exploded. It seems to have really taken off around 1980 when we started the “War on Drugs”. I have spoken about that fiasco previously. But, we are doing more than busting drug addicts and putting them in the pokie. With the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, prisons are now the largest mental health caretaker in the world. In the eyes of the court a crime is a crime, even if you are too mentally ill to know better, or be able to do anything about it.

Actually, with the heavy emphasis on punishment in this country, it makes perfect sense to incarcerate the mentally ill, along side predatory criminals. Americans love to punish.  Being mentally ill is as good a reason as committing crime, in order to merit punishment. I don’t understand exactly why it is that Americans are like this. I think it might be partly the successful indoctrination of most people by the elites that the poor are to blame for the difficult situation the middle class finds itself enduring. The rich continue to prosper by corrupting laws and elected officials, by demanding corporate welfare and subverting representational democracy, but the middle class, whose earnings continue to shrink, while they work longer hours, continues to blame to poor for receiving handouts and committing crimes.

Certainly a portion of the increase in incarceration does relate to better police tools. DNA, forensic science, etc have all improved the ability of police to solve crimes, but most crimes don’t require much police work to solve. Most murders, for instance, are committed by people known or related to the victim. TV shows make us think it is difficult, but that is rarely the case.

It is also rarely the case that once you are charged with a crime that you will be acquitted. Once again, public perception is shaped by TV. The lawyers on the shows make impassioned speeches, or use clever legal sophistry, or technicalities to win freedom for their clients. This belief is furthered by the famous cases of our times. O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant come to mind. For you and me however, a good lawyer is going to try hard to get your punishment reduced, the conviction is rarely a question. The DA has a virtually unlimited budget so they can use as many lawyer’s, investigators and time as they want. Plus, the cops that investigated your case are always called as expert witnesses. What they are experts at, is leaving out any information that shows you are innocent, and emphasizing anything that tends to make you look guilty.

Here is another great thing about prisons. Not only do prisons cost us a ton of money, they have evolved in our corporate-fascist society to take your job. The large, private corporations getting fat off of your tax dollar are not satisfied with the skyrocketing prison population. Profits are good, and the tax money that funds them is guaranteed, but now prisons are being used for slave labor.

The Prison Industrial Complex is pimping out their prisoners to other corporations for cheap labor, and I don’t just mean picking up trash along the roads.  Chevron, IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret and Boeing are among the corporations taking advantage of this labor. Forget college, pretty soon, the best way to get a job will be by going to prison.

Covert Action Quarterly covered this subject 10 years ago. I really miss that publication. Here is the link: http://covertaction.org//content/view/59/0/

A recent post I have found will tell you the same things: http://www.theurbanpolitico.com/2010/05/unmasking-prison-industrial-complex.html