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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Occupy upon Others at Their Expense

Posted by heyrandy on January 19, 2012

The Occupy (place-name here) movement has inflicted itself upon my town. Occupiers have pitched their tents in a city park. The city government, acting on orders from the Department of Homeland Security, has once expelled the camper from the park. The park needed “cleaning” was the excuse. The movement, originally called Occupy Wall Street, has spread to many cities. The original idea of the movement was to address what the movement called disparity in wealth distribution. This perceived disparity is expressed in the 1% verses the 99%. These percentages referred to the movement’s claim that 1% of Americans hold most of the country’s wealth. Those in the movement believe that the 1% hold this wealth in detriment to the 99%.

When the movement spread from Wall Street to other areas, the movement’s demands became broader. The movement never said how to redress what it considered an unfair imbalance of wealth, but the movement did begin to make issue of what they considered other injustices. Their demands We Want. This theme is not unique to them, but the Occupiers have a list of specific items. The list includes free health care, free tuition, free student-loan debt payoffs, and free mortgages. This is a free lunch.

The Occupiers are so far unsuccessful, but they remain undaunted. The Occupiers seem to have no obvious plan on how to get the free stuff. So far the movement has been a minor nuisance and a petty public health problem. The movement has been mostly peaceful. The lack of violence is to their credit. The Wall Street Occupiers did one time make some employees of some Wall Street firms late for work, but there was no riot.

The problem with the movement is its lack of understanding of how an economy works. Beneath all the demands is the presupposition that everyone is equal in all areas. The communists tried this (in theory) before. Its results were disastrous. Even if we disregard massive killings in Eastern Europe and China, the misery of state enforced equality in those areas was horrible. The Occupiers do not show any understanding of this history.

Occupy is also built on the envy principle. It is a case of “If I can’t have what you have, neither can you.” This does not lead to wealth for the poor. It only leads to poverty for the less politically connected. Making the rich poor has never made the poor rich. Occupy forgets that money is portable, and the rich are willing to travel. What would you do?

The Occupiers forget that America, and the West in general, is middle class. This is the group that will most suffer. There is irony here. The Occupiers are mostly middle class. You can tell by their stuff. The latest high-tech gizmos are very prevalent among the campers. To make their message heard, the movement uses this technology. They fail to see the obvious.

They also fail on the personal responsibility front. The outrage at the bailouts for the bankrupt mortgage bankers is just, but the other part of that is the personal responsibility of those who took out the loans. There were plenty of naïve people, but no one signed under duress. A share of the responsibility goes to those advocacy groups that militated for mortgage loans for those people who were obviously unqualified. Do you get a pass if you were only trying to help?

Where is the Occupy the Federal Reserve? The easy money policy of the Federal Reserve made possible all those bad mortgage loans. Here is where the movement could do real good. Focus upon the Federal Reserve. It is the source of much of the monetary problems we have. The Federal Reserve has been given carte blanche since its 1913 creation.

The Occupy movement is naïve. It lacks focus, has unobtainable goals, is wrong-headed. It espouses the tried-and-failed socialism that made many suffer but made a few powerful. Until the movement offers a coherent, obtainable agenda; until it understands the problem and not just the obvious symptoms of the problem, and until abandons its core tenet of free everything for everyone, its only hope is for martyrdom through heavy-handedness by the local authorities. That and a mild winter.

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Hyphen-Nation

Posted by heyrandy on January 11, 2012

Suicide of a Superpower Will America Survive to 2025? Patrick Buchanan 2011

America is rapid becoming a fractured state divided along the lines of ethnic identity. This is Buchanan’s thesis. Identity politics, as it is called, will turn us against each other. He cites many examples of what is dividing us. It is mostly about who gets what from whom. This is not in dispute nor is it new.

The Balkanization of America is a real problem. A lot of very stupid government enforced policies are fueling it. Buchanan criticizes all the usual offenders. The difficulty is the expectation culture that has grown up because of the attempts to make us equal with each other.

The author points out that equality is a new idea, that it is impossible, and that it only leads to bitter divisions. It is also totally unenforceable. This is not going to stop its proponents from averring its merits. Buchanan does us service by showing that there are no merits to artificial equality.

Buchanan has his list of fixes. They are as bad as the problem. “Congress should enact a constitutional amendment…making English the official language of the United States.” (p422) Define English. Who makes whom the judges of English?

Other fixes rely upon statistics for enactment. Whose statistics? We have learned that the government’s numbers are politically derived. Privately generated numbers are always disputed.

Buchanan has good objections to many of the social evils that beset us, but he offers no adequate solutions. He fails entirely to think outside of the Government-can-do-it box. He wants a small government, but doesn’t realize that he is also calling for a larger government. Buchanan is a right of center statist. He wants a free market but protective tariffs. He wants freedom but government to control what he doesn’t like. He wants low-skill manufacturing jobs that pay high wages. These contradictions make the book little more than a complaint. Buchanan comes across as petulant.

I did not spend a lot of time reading this book. I just skimmed it. I recommend you stop with this review. America will survive well beyond 2025 even if this book does not.

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Seeing the Shadows in the Mirrors

Posted by heyrandy on November 23, 2011

Shadow Masters, Daniel Estulin, 2010

Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, has given us a new book along the same lines. This time he focuses not on the Bilderberg meetings but on what he thinks comes out of and is related to the meetings.

The author goes to great effort to sort through the information. Much of what is openly published is false. Some of it is so obviously false that one has to wonder how it got past the editor. This is not a small problem Estulin has worked through hundreds of reports from government agencies, UN agencies, and news reports. In this mountain of nonsense there is an occasional nugget.

This is the real value of the book. It exposes the complicity and incompetence of the accepted media. No one is doing the real hard work of digging past the easy to quote official report. Worse, Estulin shows that the media are often merely quoting each other, something he believe betrays a systemic misinformation effort.

Estulin’s thesis is that nothing is as it seems. He quotes one American diplomat as saying that it is all “a wilderness of mirrors.” Nothing is certain, nothing makes sense, but it is all there. The case of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko is an example. Litvinenko was poisoned in London, England. This is not all that odd, but the poison used makes this case one for the wilderness of mirrors. Just where does one get polonium 210? I checked in the nuclear material section at Home Depot, but they were out. Why such an exotic material? Why such a slow acting one? This case screams “Weird!” This is not what you want in a political assassination.  You want quick and quiet. This way investigators do not get suspicious. Litvinenko lived long enough to blame almost everyone. This was not a quiet killing.

The book’s sub-title indicates that the author reveals how “governments and their intelligence agencies are working with international drug dealers and terrorists for their mutual benefit.” Estulin does not quite prove this. He does prove that there is a lot of duplicity in government dealings. Estulin spends a lot of time on how the US government used Victor Bout, a Russian ne’er-do-well whom the US government later tried to demonize, for logistical operations in Iraq. Unlike others who have written about Bout, Estulin actually traveled to Thailand to interview Bout at the prison where Bout is held while he fights the US government’s extradition effort. Bout is wanted for allegedly conspiring to sell anti-aircraft missiles to undercover Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents posing as Colombian terrorists. This is legal in Thailand because the agents were not really terrorists or even Colombians. They were US citizens. Estulin wants to know why DEA agents were doing the buying. He also wants to know why the DEA did not give the $20,000 to Bout when Bout asked for it as advance on the missiles. This would have been valuable evidence for the prosecution. The third thing Estulin wants to know is why the US authorities did not check Thai law before launching this sting operation. I would like to know too.

I found the book a bit disorganized. I can overlook this because the author is careful to provide reference notes at the end of each chapter. There is also an index. There are 107 pages of photographs (mostly of Bilderberg attendees) and reproduced documents at the end of the book. This will be a valuable resource for future research. Future research is needed. The book does not give all the answers, but it does make us aware of the wilderness and just how uncertain everything is when it is a forest of mirrors.

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Tragic Farce, Total Loss

Posted by heyrandy on February 3, 2011

Code Name Greenkil: the 1979 Greensboro Killings Elizabeth Wheaton, University of Georgia Press, 1987

In 1979 five American Communists were killed during a demonstration parade. Members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party were charged, tried, and acquitted. The same defendants were later tried in federal court on civil rights violation charges. There they were acquitted.

None of this is quite straight forward. The events leading up to the killings and trials are a mixture of ideological blindness, racial hatred, class envy, and bureaucratic bungling. The people on both sides of this tragedy display some of the best and worst of human traits. The only group that comes out without much venality is the defense lawyers.

The author admits that the entire truth of the events will probably never be known. The author also states that the facts known can be interpreted in many different ways. There are too many facets to this affair and too many points of view for any black and white distinctions.

The dead were all members of various communist or communist leaning organizations. Ideological rigidity prevented the surviving family members from cooperating with the police. Everything was driven by ideology. The party, the cause first. It was a giant case of do-goodism driven by unmitigated naiveté. Throw in some serious class envy and racial hatred and the mix was volatile.

The opposing sides were quite different. The communists were the well-educated (some were doctors), largely from privileged backgrounds, but very naive. They thought nothing of provoking their adversaries. One member of the communists said that one of the slain had wanted to get a martyr.

The Klan and Nazis were largely poorly educated, lower or working class, and not all that bright. One, however was quite sharp. The BATF sent an undercover agent into the area. He approached the smart Klansman with the story that he was operating a training base in a nearby county, he had an airplane that would be able to take people to South America if they needed to escape the law, and would kill people for $20,000. The Klansman saw through this story. To gain control of the Klan group, the Klansman turned down the agent’s offer and sent the agent to some rival members of the Klan. The rival members bought the whole preposterous story. The rival members were later convicted of conspiring to make a bomb. It was not to be an ordinary bomb. This one would weight 17,000 tons, require 850 tractor-trailers to deliver it, and cost $4 million dollars. The freight charges were extra. One of those convicted was an informant for the Greensboro Police Department.

Both groups were very factious. There were splits, power grabs and machinations on both sides. Opportunism was the operating principle.

The law enforcement agencies were incompetent, bureaucratic, and self-protecting. Had there been better inter-agency cooperation, it is unlikely any violence would have occurred. The official investigations exonerated the cops.

The prosecutions for murder in the state court were driven by political motives. The District Attorney stated after the trial that it evidence to support a first degree murder charge (meaning there was premeditation) was weak. To charge with second degree murder was to have to face the wrath of the community.

The second trial in Federal court was no better. The prosecution was caught by surprise when the defense cross examined a communist–they had decided to cooperate– about a book he had written honoring the dead. The book was a  blend of truth, distortion, and fiction. It was pure hagiography. The prosecution was stunned. Their prize witness was being discredited, having to eat his words.

The prosecution was further caught by surprise when the defense introduced a firearms purchase record. This form was filled with the BATF as required by law. The prosecution did not know of it until the defense submitted it as evidence during the trial.

The BATF ran two undercover operations in Greensboro. In neither case did the bureau inform the U.S. Attorney as required by bureau policy. A local newspaper reported started putting all the little bit of information together to publish the story of the bureau’s action. When she asked the U.S. Attorney for comment, he was shocked. He had no idea that any undercover operation was going on.

Communism is dead. The Berlin wall fell on it. The Klan is more of a myth than reality. Both groups still have trace presence, but no real effect. The Klan is little more than useful video for the requisite anti-racism political correctness seen on the television news.

How did the event turn out the way they did? There is no good answer. It is a series of little things, each innocuous, that culminated in five death. The tragedy could have been averted if any one of those things changed. The Klansmen brought guns because they feared the communists would be violent. The communists goaded the Klan, daring them to show up at the demonstration. The Klan came to heckle. Some of the men stopped to buy eggs to throw at the demonstrators. This is not something one is likely to do if his real intent is to shoot people.

The police were unprepared for the violence. Poor communication within the Greensboro police department and no communication from the FBI or the BATF lead to no one knowing what the other was doing. Inter-agency infighting was going strong.

The real value of the book is in its analysis of the persons involved. Everyone was a blockhead. No one looked beyond their own concerns. No one was honest. Ego drove everything. Personal friendships were sacrificed for petty gain.

The events were long ago. They have been forgotten. Everyone would like to forget them. There were no winners.

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The Last Best Hope is not Enough

Posted by heyrandy on April 16, 2010

I like Ron Paul. He is a genuine pain to both halves of the Establishment of this country. He does not go along, but he gets along. It is the others that do not get along. They go along.

I think people with his views are the only hope for the country. His views about returning to the Constitution are what we need. He is a lone voice crying above the cesspool called politics. That he survives unsullied tells us of his genuineness. This genuineness is unique in modern politics.

It is not enough. I would vote for Paul in any election, for any office, anywhere. But even if elected as President he is not going to do any long term good. This is not a reflection on Paul’s integrity or ability. It is a stark reality of American politics.

Most people think that the politicians run the country. The politicians think they do. Some people think that a secret elite runs the country. They do. The bureaucrats know that they run the country. The politicians know this too. So do some reformers. Most voters do not. The elite do not care about the bureaucrats.

The President has at most eight years. Some have had only four. Some have had less. A few have almost had less. Eight years is nothing for a tenured bureaucrat. He can easily wait for the next politician. Once a reformer is gone a hack takes over and all is returned to the status quo ante. “As it was in the beginning, so it is now and forever shall be. Amen.” This is the hymn of every government bureaucrat.

The only things bureaucrats fear are violating the rules and a budget cut. Rules are the reason the bureaucracy exists. Money is its food. Without funds, bureaus die. No one long works free.

Parkinson’s Law states that all work expands to consume available resources. This is a fundamental law of bureaucracy. No reformer can change the desire of every bureaucrat to have an assistant.

The bureaucrats make the rules, but the politicians have the power of the money. Politicians are loath to cut spending. Too many jobs will be lost if spending is cut. Unemployed bureaucrats might vote for the other candidate. Why take the chance when it costs you nothing to play it safe. Spending other people’s money is safe. No politician campaigns on the claim that he voted to close some taxpayer funded boondoggle in his district. Politicians who do this are not re-elected. That obviously unnecessary military base may no longer be needed, but “it is the heart of the community.” Heartless communities do the unthinkable: elect someone else.

The government run schools are probably the one area where reform could take place. They are usually administered locally, so are closer to the people who fund them. Here all change has proved to be superficial and cosmetic. The school are still a tangle of bureaucratic bloat, efficient only at making kids stupid and somewhat compliant to government.

I wish reformers well. You are our last best hope. But you are not enough.

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Tea: Stirred not Shaken

Posted by heyrandy on April 15, 2010

I am a coffee drinker, but I went to a tea party. Actually, it was a Tea Party. They did not serve tea. They served rhetoric. Normally I avoid political events, but when I heard of the local Tea Party, I decided to go.

There were possibly 1000  people there. It was held in a small park behind the local federal building, along the river. Apparently the police like tea: there were at least 12 by my count. I overheard someone say he counted 15. There were four on horseback, two at each end of the park. The horses made their presence known. I am sure the police will remove and preserve this evidence of littering. This will probably be done by those plain clothes officers who were in the crowd.

Many people carried signs and wore shirts with political messages, mostly along the lines of the government is bad. I didn’t argue.

There were tables set up with people selling various politically themed items. One guy was there giving away DVD’s. One of the DVD’s was titled Are You NIV Positive. I did talk to him, but I got the impression he is a The-King-James-Version-Is-The-Only-One-To-Use believer. I do not understand this. If someone who does would like to explain it to me, please do.

The Tea Party movement is a new phenomenon. It started when the Bush regime gave the stupid bankers 700 billion dollars in bailout money. The public was very opposed to the bailout (and still is), but this didn’t stop Congress. Not much stops Congress. The bailout failed in its first try through the House, but then the goodies were passed out. In politics there is almost nothing and no one that money can’t buy.

I just finished read Philip Berrigan’s book Widen the Prison Gates. It gives some details of his prison time for various crimes he  committed when he and his brother Daniel were leaders of the Vietnam War protest “Movement”. When I finished the book, I wondered what happened to the Movement. I also wondered why, with two wars raging with no realistic end in sight, we don’t have a Movement of some kind. I hope we have not degenerated to the point that we only protest wrong when money is involved. The Tea Party meeting began with a short appreciation for the military. This is obviously not 1965.

Although I am not a member (where does one go to join; indeed, can one join?), I have a general affinity for much of what the Party is saying. I think that the movement is a good one. It is evidence of people beginning to understand how bad the country is. Given the slander and vituperation Tea Party has suffered from its critics, it is evidence that others are beginning to wake up to what the Tea Party means.

I had a good experience at the meeting. What the future holds is difficult to tell because I can not read tea leaves well since I am a coffee drinker.

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Recycling Platitudes

Posted by heyrandy on September 19, 2009

There has been a lot of talk about green things. We had a green Czar. He is now an ex-Czar, but is he still green? There has been talk of green jobs. The government even owns General Motors and is going to produce green cars that no one wants. Blue ones too.

I am not a green. I am a cheap. I look at the green idea from the stand point of money. Who pays whom? That is the question.  It is seldom asked except by cranks like me. It is never answered in any real way. “It will pay for itself,” is the usual answer.”We all benefit from a better environment” is the other platitude.

Green has never paid for itself. It cannot pay for itself. Green is someone’s idea of what is good for others. That someone has political support. The politicians force you to pay for it. They force you to participate in an otherwise unworkable venture.

We have mandatory recycling where I live. I must sort my trash into groups. The recyclable items are taken by a specially equipped, dedicated truck to a central location where the recyclable items are shipped off to be reprocessed.

I cannot imagine that there is any profit to this. I wonder how green friendly is this process. Do we have a negative effect? Consider what is involved:

Trucks to move the recyclable items must be manufactured.

Special equipment must be made and installed for the truck.

Sorting and handling machinery must be made for the central collection point.

There must be machines made and operated to process the recyclable items.

There is the environmental cost of making and operating the trucks and machinery.

Has anyone done an audit to determine if we are getting a real benefit from what we are forced to do? Anyone who raises the issue faces the potential wrath of the non-thinkers. Green is sacred.

There has been little voluntary effort by any private company to deal with household items. There has been a great deal of effort to collect and recycle usable scrap items from large producers because of the potential for profit.

It is the economy of scale. It cost the scrap dealer about the same to send his truck to your curb to pick up a few empty boxes as it does for him to send the same truck to the back of a big box store to pick up several tons of boxes.

Election signs are sprouting on lawns near you. Now is a good time to question the candidates about this matter. They won’t have any answers, but you can add what they say to your collection of recycled platitudes.

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A Reply

Posted by heyrandy on September 5, 2009

I have just received a reply to my letter to Jackie Mendez. She gave some general answers to my questions. This does not surprise me since detailed answers are seldom forth coming.

I wrote back stressing my views on government projects. I noted that government can only get its money by taking it from those who own in. The federal government being the only entity that can print its own, California’s attempt notwithstanding.

I ended my letter by telling her that politics is the art of compromise and that she will be taking an oath of office to the contrary.

I feel a tax increase coming.

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Breathing Regulations

Posted by heyrandy on May 22, 2009

In an effort to combat the increase in global warming, the Obama administration has today announced that it will be issuing regulations on breathing.  Since it is well known that humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, administration officials decided to act quickly before more damage was done to the environment.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been given the task of formulating the necessary regulations.  While still in draft form, the proposed regulations call for each citizen to be given a quota of daily breaths.  It is still being debated among the regulators whether to allow the existence of a secondary market for unused breaths.

The DHS technical division is working with major government contractors to develop personal breath monitors to enable the department’s enforcement division to adequately ensure that no one is using too much oxygen.  The ideal design will not only monitor the number of breaths but will also gauge and record the actual oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide emission.  A global positioning system will be incorporated to facilitate the tracking of breathing patterns.   A proposed feature of the device will be the will be the breath noise analyzer.  This feature will enable department officials to ensure that all citizens are using proper breathing techniques.  Small monitors will record the sound of each breath and ambient noise to help establish a data base for compliance assurance.  The information collected will be kept confidential.

Department officials have stated that they envision voluntary compliance and have no plans to use the built-in breath stop function.  “Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear,” said a department spokesman at a press conference announcing the regulations.  When asked if the president would be fitted for such a device, the questioner was assured that the devices were harmless.  He was then taken to another part of the building for a demonstration.

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Just the Way They Like It

Posted by heyrandy on January 31, 2009

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, Daniel Estulin, TrineDay, 2007.  340pp. , index, endnotes.

In conspiracy theory circles the Bilderberg Group is always an object of much discussion.  Founded in 1954 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the group has met annually ever since.  The meetings are always held in a five star hotel in a small city of the main road.  Security is extreme.  On film I saw on YouTube said the group always meets in “five star accommodations amid ten star security.”  The meeting are private; attendance is by invitation only.  The location is revealed only a week before the meeting.  The meeting gets very little coverage in the mainstream media.

Estulin states that his purpose is to “tear the mask off the Bilderberg group.”  He succeeds somewhat, but, even as he admits, there is still much to learn.  The Bilderbergers do everything in their power to keep it that way.  Estulin points out that there is never an  official statement issued, discussions and presentations are not recorded or transcribed, and note taking by participants, while not forbidden, is discouraged.  The code of silence is honored.

Much of what Estulin writes is available from  other sources (e.g., YouTube, where there is a lot of video).  But the book does give us a summary of the discussions of the 2005, 2006, and 2007 meetings.  There are copious photographs of the attendees, some documents reproduced, and lists of the participants.

Estulin’s sources are the real issue.  It is the nature of the matter that verification is difficult.  How do we check behind Estulin?  How do we check behind anyone who writes about such groups?  There would be no conspiracy if this were all done in the open.

But this leads to the question, “Why is this done in secrecy?”  The official answer from the group is to allow the participants to speak freely without fear of attribution.  Estulin asks why can’t we know what the attendees say; they all are leader of giant corporation, principal journalists, government officials, and university administrators; people who all affect our lives.

Estulin’s book is not just limited to discussion of the Bilderberg Group.  He spends considerable time discussing the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral commission.  Both of these groups are prominent in conspiracy theory.  Here too he does not reveal anything that is not already known by those who are interested in finding out, but for those who are just beginning to look into this matter it will be helpful.

Estulin spends several chapters discussing his intrigues in tracking the conspiracy.  He relates how he was detained for questioning by airport security.  Nothing came of it when he insisted that they either charge him with a crime or let him go.  He was released.  In another chapter, he tells of getting a cryptic postcard that lead him  to a meeting with a acquaintance of poor repute.  Suspicious of the matter Estulin retains his own security force of ex KGB agents.  They arm him with a pistol, apparently not concerned with any violation of local gun laws.  The meeting never takes place. Another intrigue is his almost walking into an empty elevator shaft after meeting with a contact.

The book is filled with photographs of attendees during breaks in the sessions.  While interesting, most of the 51 pages of photograph are collages of attendees talking to each other as they stroll about the grounds between sessions.  There is even a photo of David Rockefeller eating alone.

This book will be most useful to those beginning to sort through the various groups that meet in private.  Whether or not the Bilderberg group is a cabal will be denied by the group.  Until the group is examined by the mainstream media (unlikely, since the major media owners are often in attendance) the discussion of the group will remain entirely within conspiracy theory circles.  This is just the way the Bilderbergers like it.

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