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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.

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….

Financial Regulation Bill Will Hurt Main Street

Posted by: Orrin Hatch in Untagged  on May 19, 2010 Print

The following originally appeared as an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune. -Staff

The words of Hatch will be in white, mine in red. This op-ed of the senatorial equivalent of Mr. Ed, explains why we are doomed unless we can get these jack-holes out of office.

The U.S. Congress should be forced to take the same oath that doctors take to “first do no harm.” Yeah, except doctors have to go to school and be certified competent to practice medicine, and you just have to be rich and willing to sell your soul. Because more often than not, under the guise of “fixing” a problem, Washington  You are “Washington”, 33 years of sucking on the taxpayers teat, the corporate teat, and the lobbyist teat. You are everything that makes Washington not work makes things much, much worse for hard-working middle-class families and small businesses.

That’s precisely the problem with the financial regulation bill that’s before the Senate right now. I was powerless to interject anything, or draft anything of my own. Instead of strengthening our financial system, this legislation will stifle (regulate) economic growth and job creation, (regulate) strangle critical credit, send U.S. jobs overseas and add more burdensome, costly and misguided regulation onto the backs of struggling businesses. It will be more of the same stuff I have been going along with for 33 years.

Thus, instead of the Obama administration’s promise to “fix” Wall Street, we’ve got a bill that squarely takes aim at Main Street instead. The careless overreach will have a lasting and negative impact on small businesses across Utah and America. We should do nothing, and trust the corporations that got us into this mess, to get us out. I mean if they didn’t know how to run a bank, they wouldn’t call them bankers, right?

Let’s be honest, Wall Street is going to have armies of accountants, lawyers and experts figure out a way to get around any of the new rules in this bill. Let’s be honest, I am one of  only 100 senators for the most powerful nation in history, this makes me completely powerless to make any effort to close up loopholes these guys use, so that I can protect you. I would really like to, but again let’s be honest, you don’t have the cash in hand to make it worth my effort. No wonder Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of the New York investment giant Goldman Sachs, said “that the biggest beneficiaries of reform will be Wall Street itself.” I quoted him, because Goldman hasn’t dropped any loot into my campaign funds for several years. Luckily, I have been doing quite well with health care industry contributions. That’s a luxury our small businesses in Utah can’t afford when they’re saddled with this legislative monstrosity. I like to use monstrosity and any other word that gets you to think about big, out of control government. It is much more logical to think that a piece of legislation dealing with massive unregulated transactions of huge amounts of money across international borders, at the electronic speed of light, should be able to fit on the back of a napkin, you know, keep it simple, stupid.

Furthermore, at a time when public trust in Washington is at a record low, the White House and its Capitol Hill allies grab more power for federal bureaucrats at the expense of states and our judicial system. Yeah! Power grab, that gets um every time. They are grabbing your right to be financially sodomized away from you. Now you may not like having your 401k disappear, but it is your right, to let it happen to you.

When companies get in trouble, bankruptcy courts should be in charge to ensure transparency and accountability. Instead, the bill creates “expedited liquidation authority” that permits the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s politically appointed bureaucrats to take over large, complex, intertwined financial institutions. Yes, politically appointed, how else would they be appointed? Again, the logic of it is too complicated for the federal department in charge of finance to handle it. The bankers know the best way to do it. It is like saying that nobody knows more about booze than your alcoholic Uncle Billy, so he knows just what to do to stop drinking. In addition, the bill contains a provision that would allow the FDIC to play favorites — and give more money — to certain creditors if the FDIC determines a particular creditor poses a systemic risk. Any financial institution that takes undue risk, regardless of size should be given less free reign to ruin my 401k. Doesn’t this put the large banks at an unfair advantage over smaller institutions?

The White House is pushing for a new consumer protection agency. Why a big new bureaucracy? The real solution lies in taking a closer look at why these agencies failed to protect consumers and fix the problem existing within the system. Yes, the right solution,  2 full years after the collapse, is to form a committee to discuss and debate the issue for another 4 years, by which time we should be ready for our next financial meltdown, because we haven’t regulated anything. We do not need to add more layers of regulators that will make it more expensive and complicated to get a car loan or credit card. Maybe because you and your cronies gutted the ones we have, maybe because this is a whole new area that needs to be regulated, maybe because we the regular people have to pay for the shit you get for free.

But the worst part of this legislation is what it’s missing — reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two mortgage agencies caused the financial crisis by backing loans to people who couldn’t afford it. But that certainly didn’t stop Uncle Sam from bailing them out and continuing to bail them out at a cost of $145 billion to the taxpayer. Yes that is the worst part, not the banks or the corporations, certainly not the system of modern serfdom created by the credit card companies. It is the people who wanted a house, and were told they could live the american dream and get one. All these people knew was they were told yes, signed a bunch of stuff, and then had two years of bliss before the clouds rolled in. The bankers and real estate agents got what they wanted, the people got the shaft, and the mortgage agencies did what they were told to do. They didn’t start it, they just went along with it. They backed the loans the banks sent them.  Just like you do Mr. Hatch, on everything your corporate masters tell you to do.

Why is it that people don’t know how much debt these two agencies are piling onto the backs of our children and grandchildren? Well, that’s because the Obama White House decided not to put their debt on the books where it can be seen. Now if that isn’t outrageous, I don’t know what is. You are outrageous, you have piled debt onto the backs of the american people for 3 decades. You do everything you can to produce bombs, and tanks, and jets, but fight tooth and nail against help for the poor, the sick, and the undereducated.

We can’t hide from this problem. Which is why they created this legislation. This administration has to stop propping up Fannie and Freddie with taxpayer dollars while refusing to push significant reform. Utah families have had to make tough choices; it’s time these Washington bureaucrats did, too. Can one of those choices be that you drop dead?

Does our financial regulatory system need reform? Absolutely, but this legislation is a prescription to make things worse for Main Street all in the name of fixing Wall Street. Again, my master likes when I bark at the dark, so that’s what I did. Have I come up with anything to reform the financial regulatory system, well no, because sometimes your friends and bosses do things you don’t like, but you just look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening, and pray to God it doesn’t happen again. The worst thing in the world is to have to say harsh things you don’t mean to your friends in public, so that you can protect yourself and your friends from the public.

Lets be honest, to borrow a Orrin phrase, I always say politicians are politicians are politicians. The reform bill in the Senate is pathetic, it is weak, and it is too late, but at least it is something. To side with Wall Street is the height of hypocrisy. Orrin Hatch, you are a cancer to the American People.

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

Rand Paul has been in the news quite a bit for his comments about the Civil Rights Act. I understand what his position is, regardless of how petulantly dogmatic it is. Mr. Paul wants the Federal Government out of states rights. Your role as a black second-class citizen in Alabama trumps your rights as an American Citizen. Deal with it.

Ironically, I had spoken to a Tea Party supporter about this very issue a few days before this story broke. He was adamant that the Federal government always gets it wrong when they make states do stuff they don’t want to. I asked him about the Civil Rights Act, and the Federal government calling out troops to force school integration. He agreed that was a good thing, but “it was gonna happen anyway.” I somehow doubt that. That is the funny thing about these back to basics fundamentalist people. They don’t see the last 230 years as a dialectic of democracy in which we have further defined what we as a people mean by democracy. To the far right-wing, they just want a do-over, like a controversial play in a sand lot football game. They say they love and revere this country and its history, but not the last 200 years worth. It’s like they and American history are an old married couple. It started out hot, but now they are unhappy and want to get back to the excitement.

But I digress from my main point. Mr. Paul further pontificated on his right-wing viewpoint, when he came to the defense of British Petroleum against the harsh criticism they have faced, including some by President Obama. Mr Paul stated, “What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP, I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.

To be critical of a corporation that buys the men and women you elect to represent you with campaign contributions, and lobbyists, and golf outings, that subverts and perverts the laws designed to keep it in check and you healthy, that has manufactured a system so flawed, with  the protections enforced by law  so minimal and weak, that they are left to monitor safety themselves and ensure compliance, which they don’t even bother to do, thereby destroying countless fish, game, wildlife, ecosystems, jobs, futures, and dreams, is un-American!

Patriotism in nothing more than brand-loyalty to Mr. Paul. The flag that he loves is the one that flies on corporate headquarters. In his eyes, as in our pathetic Supreme Court’s ruling, corporations are people too, except he believes it is oppression for the government to stop them from oppressing you, and at the same time defends a states right to oppress you without the Federal government to interfere.

These are the politicians you want, angry, far-right America. There will always be somebody willing to tell you what you want to hear, if you just vote for him. Mr. Paul lives in a world where things are valued and people are used, instead of things used and people valued. He will wear a flag-pin and shed a tear as he talks about the American Dream, while the corporations pour oil down your throat and grind you to dust.

Corporate fascism is dressed like Uncle Sam and calls itself patriotism. Here comes one of its clowns, his name is Rand Paul.

The media is awash in hype and analysis about what the American People are saying with these election results, and which policies this means they want, how this reflects on the popularity of the President, on and on and on.

As I have stated before, the media relish this kind of story, and do everything they can to play it up without actually doing any investigative journalism to find real meaning in the story.

The real story is this: the American People are like a fat girl trying to find a prom dress to make her look hot. You change the dress but this one makes your butt look big, that one reveals your flabby stomach, and this other one you can’t get over your hips.

We will keep changing these talking head politicians in attempt to find the ones that flatter us, but just like that fat girl, there comes a point when you have to admit, that it is you, not the dress.

No politician that is in office, or currently running has the ability to change this country. Corporations have made sure that the flow of money will continue to run to them regardless of the state of the rest of the country. This is exactly what cancer does in the body, releasing chemicals that mimic a wound, so the body sends extra blood and nutrients to the area in an attempt to heal it, and of course instead of that, the cancer spreads and kills the host. This is also a pretty good description of how the bailout works.

We are in trouble folks, there is no way around it. We don’t make anything in this country, so it is difficult to recover the economy. We have been systematically shut out of the democratic process in any meaningful way by the rich and the people we have elected, regardless of party. The future of this country has been sold, quarter by quarter, to insure good stock numbers. How can we have long-term recovery when the only real concern is how we look over the next 3 months?

The political landscape of the country has become even more idealistic and cartoonish than ever, and that’s saying something when we are talking American politics. There is a growing movement that sees itself as patriotic, but at the same time despises the government. They actually believe that business will save us, despite the main problem we are facing being the corruption of the system by these same businesses. It is kind of like trying to milk a tiger. I guess you could, but I don’t think what you get is gonna be worth the price.

On the other side, which is the side I am more partial to, you have those who want to make the government help the people. Where I differ in my viewpoint, is that I believe the government is incapable of meaningful help and change the way it is currently configured. It serves the rich and the powerful, not the people. It promotes welfare for the rich by a system of patrimony and influence peddling.

We have to unite, organize, and make ourselves heard. We have to make government do what it is supposed to do, which is represent us, the people.

George Bernard Shaw, one of the most quotable men of all time said, “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”, and therein lies our issues, my friends.

I am not going down the well tread path that states that the American people are too lazy or stupid to participate in democratic society. Americans are not lazy, we are working our asses off. http://www.timeday.org/default.asp states that we work more hours now, than medieval peasants. We live in a time where both parents have jobs, they work longer hours, for wages that cover less, as the cost of living increases.

Wages have stayed the same, once they are adjusted for inflation for the last 30 years. The rich are 300% richer over the same time period. Our gross domestic product has continued to increase, meaning we the workers are doing more, for less, every year. The end result of not seeing your kids except on the weekends, is more money in the pocket of the owner and CEO of the company.

Technology that was supposed to free us has instead enslaved us. We are computer age serfs, tilling electronic pockets of cubical space. I remember seeing movies from the 50’s or 60’s, showing the then common squads of secretaries manning typewriters, or platoons of people crunching numbers. All these people have been replaced by a handful of slaves strapped to a computer all day. The companies of that day were able to make money employing more people who did less work. Now people are tied to work all of the time with electronic leashes of cell phones, email, and text message. Technology has freed the corporations to make more money, but it hasn’t trickled down.

That leads me to another thing. I am tired of hearing that in order for us to improve the economy that we need to cut taxes on corporations and businesses. Cutting taxes doesn’t mean a company is going to hire more people, they will pocket most of it as profit, and maybe with the rest they buy new equipment and technology, which will give them a tax write-off.

The problem we face isn’t that government is too big, and it isn’t that they waste money, because that is the only “trickle down” system that actually trickles down, however poorly. The problem is that the government isn’t doing its job of protecting the American people from the depredations of corporations.

Instead of government of the people, by the people and for the people, we have profits off of the exploitation of the people, by the corporations, who make the decisions for the people through campaign money and lobbyists corrupting the elected officials.

Americans in general are too busy, too tired, and too worried about keeping themselves afloat to spend much time investigating issues and forcing their congressmen to vote in favor of the people instead of the lobbyists.

The news media as I previously wrote, does its part to keep you out of the loop, but not feel out of the loop by reporting all the drama and controversy, but few of the facts, and little useful information.

The first thing we have to do, is to stop believing the fairy tales we were taught that masquerade as history. We didn’t get a 40 hour work week in the constitution, people died to get you that right. The “American Dream” is a carrot at the end of stick for most of us. It is not lazy, poor, or illegal immigrants that are destroying the country, it is the unchecked corporations. They subvert the government and the law. Immigrants have been coming for a long time. The country absorbed the Germans, Irish, Italians, and everybody else just fine. With every wave came the cries over jobs and feeding them, and yet, the country survived. It will survive this round too.

Second, we don’t have much free time, so stop wasting it on watching tv. No more sit-coms or spending the entire Sunday watching football. Spend at least one hour a week on politics. Start by finding out who you Congressman and Senator are and how to get a hold of them. Then find out who is putting money in their campaign funds. Then look into their voting record.

Third, no matter how strongly you feel you are right about whatever political issue, take an honest look at the other side of the issue. Not from any talking head on tv, but searching for information online. If you don’t understand your opponents viewpoint, you don’t have a good understanding of your own.

One of the things that is most disturbing about our news media, is how willing they are to trade integrity and objectivity for access.

It was a well-known ploy of the Bush White House to punish correspondents who had offended them in some way, by denying them access to Bush officials.

This same type of process was used in the Iraq war. Reporters were embedded with military units, but with the understanding that they had to curtail their reporting or lose their access.

The most disconcerting thing about it isn’t just how willing the media is to play ball in this way, but how little they get in return. What they gain with their access isn’t any exclusivity, it is just banal garbage that every other agency is getting as well, and that speaks to the absurdity of the acquiescence. They are trading their investigative birthright for a mess of glib pottage.

What is the use of access if you don’t use it to ask anything significant? If they are only going to give you a dog and pony show, then DON”T GO. Stop being the tool of political propaganda. Report news, not events, not reaction.

One of the cherished rights of this country is the right to a free press. This right is hailed as one of the cornerstones of a democratic nation. The ability of the press to monitor and report on actions of political figures and corporations is fundamental to the ability of the people to exercise their other rights, particularly voting, allowing them to shape the direction of the nation. At least that is the theory, and part of our collective “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” belief system.

In reality the media is not free, nor is it the bastion of biased liberal dogma conservatives so rue. Because the reality doesn’t match what we have grown up believing to be the case, democracy has suffered.

First, what we have in this country is the right to a free press, not a free press. It is not the same thing. The major news organizations in this country are owned by large, powerful corporations. Corporations are driven for profit, not by truth. Corporations have a message to promote and use the media to promulgate the message, and ignore other viewpoints and contrary information.

Second, media is managed in the same way as, and is in fact, entertainment. The news disseminates very little actual information. Everything it does, and all of the stories it runs are designed for an emotional response. This is the reason for the focus on the salacious, the criminal, and the perverse. Equal time is given to a story on soldiers killed in Afghanistan and a story on who some Hollywood star is cheating with. News is a product, it has to be packaged and sold, and so it is. Like fast food, it is brightly colored, and devoid of substance. If news was not a product to be sold, there would be no commercials.
Now on to the myth of liberal media. As previously stated, all major news sources are owned by large corporations. The liberals generally are not corporate friendly, so how would these corporations fail to control the content of the media which they own? I think that the appearance of controversy is cultivated to make it seem as though it is anti-government or liberal. The truth is that the news dutifully reports negative stories regardless of which party has their man in the White House. Notice, I said they report stories, not information. During the entire health care reform debate and drama, there were thousands of hours of tv devoted to the anger, the fear, and the controversy, but there was almost zero information on what was in the bill. All you knew was, depending on which party you believed, either your health care worries and bills were over, or grandma was going to be put to sleep.

If we had a truly liberal media, it would be critical of both the political parties we have. On a world-wide political scale, the Republican party would be hard right, and the Democrats would be considered a centrist party. I know that is a hard pill to swallow for followers of either party, but it really is true. Any country that has a true socialist party would not recognize our “leftist” Democrat party as socialist.

It is easy to demonstrate that the media is not liberal, because of the extreme lack of substantive reporting. There is little, if any investigative journalism. All that would be needed to foment dissent and change in our country’s current situation would be to report the truth, which our media dutifully ignores at their corporate masters command.

A great example of a news story that a liberal media would have jumped all over, but that our media did not, involved a spy program called “Echelon”.

Echelon was a program to eavesdrop on ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world’s telecommunications networks, and was put in place in the 1980’s. Years before the threat of Al-Qaeda.

The story was first run here in the United States, in Covert Action Quarterly, in their winter of 1997 edition. Parenthetically, Covert Action Quarterly was a magazine run by ex-agents of our intelligence agencies that had become disillusioned with destabilizing democratic government, bribing foreign officials, and paying drug cartel soldiers for information. They had started to find the process undemocratic.

Anyway here is the link, http://mediafilter.org/echelon/.  The page is formatted strangely, but it is readable.

I remember when I bought the magazine I expected a shit-storm of controversy. There was nothing. Several months later it did create controversy in Europe and New Zealand. This was exactly the type of controversy and law-breaking, privacy-breaching story that a liberal media would jump on, right? A chance to give the government a black eye, hold their feet to the fire. I mean, they had to jump on this, right? Well, our media did jump on it, kind of, a mere 2 1/2 years later. http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm

What was Echelon used for? Well, amongst other things, it was used to spy on officials in Saudi Arabia, and expose them for receiving bribes from a French company, thereby allowing the American company to get the job. It was also used to expose bribes to Brazilian officials, so an American company could get the contract, and it was used to spy on Japanese officials during trade negotiations, and the information then fed to American businessmen, so they could wring out the best possible deal.

Another example of our government serving the true rulers of this country–the corporations. Even our spies are doing their bidding.